Safety measures taken on behalf of COVID-19 stir controversy in its level of efficiency

by Jada Ingleton

SPRING BREAK-OUT: New York City police sends out 1,000 officers to enforce social distancing at local park, as naysayers gather together to bask in the warm weather in early May. New York City governor Andrew Cuomo then instituted a new policy that you can be fined up to 1,000 dollars if caught violating any social distancing rules and restrictions. Photo courtesy of FOX 29

In the wake of the global pandemic known as COVID-19, districts, states, and even countries have taken into effect the use of several safety measures, in hopes of getting control of the situation. While the different measures vary between area and government officials, most of them include but are not limited to stay-at-home-orders, instated curfews, social distancing restrictions, the closing of recreational facilities, etc.

Many people believe that the ‘younger’ crowd, or teens, don’t understand the significance and dangers of the fatal pandemic; however, we do. With that being said, I believe the measures taken to protect the majority are extremely necessary and vital, but to an extent, they may not be proved as effective as intended. 

According to a new report released by the Journal of the American Medical Association 

(JAMA), concerns over the mental health and stability of many Americans have slowly increased, not to mention the rate of suicide attempts have also risen in the last month since social isolation has been put in major effect. While the orders and policies put in place are in the best interest of the people, a lot of teens do not have the healthiest living situation or conditions, nor may they be accustomed to being confined to their homes day in and day out. Being forced and expected to stay home on behalf of the new safety measures can cause a steady decline in mental and emotional health for the youth. Alongside the damage it can do mentally, these safety measures can also prove ineffective simply by the fact that some people still fail to follow them closely. 

One of the more controversial orders behind the social restrictions policy is the instating of a curfew in certain districts. A lot of teens are not used to the new hours in which they are expected to be home. In Miami-Dade, their curfew hours being from 10 pm to  5 am; in Sunny Isles Beach the curfew hours were between 11 pm to 5 am. Curfews in all seem to be one of those rules that are ineffective and to an extent unnecessary. Enforcing a curfew may limit human interaction to a specific time frame; however, a curfew cannot reduce contamination or contraction. People will still sneak around the restrictions put in place, despite the fact that certain areas have taken to enforcing fines. Possible arrests and other consequences may occur if caught violating any social isolation order or policy.

While it seems to be a topic of controversy in regions closer to home, other countries, such as China and North Korea, have used many of these measures and several more intensified approaches and have seen good results and a drastic change in the spread of the virus. Many will argue that the different measures and precautions may take more time to show the effectiveness and the United States is considered to be in the ‘early’ stages of the pandemic. And while it seems to teens everywhere that a curfew lacks a significant purpose, the whole point of one is to further support the idea of keeping people at home as much as possible and encourage stay-at-home orders. 

However, with all that being said, if the policies are not being supported, enforced, and followed in the best way, its effectiveness loses value. The news has been known to shine the reports behind the Coronavirus in the worst light, which makes it hard for people to know what exactly is helping the cause. Not to mention, from the beginning, local government and national government have publicly shown differing perspectives on how to deal with the Pandemic- President Trump has taken little to no action to keep social orders in check, while state officials have been quick to implement and act on new rules.

The argument surely is not that the safety measures are unnecessary, but if they are proving to be as effective as possible. The point behind implementing these tactics is to ensure the safety and security of the residents and to use a method that can allow normalcy to return to the world as soon as possible. But when the orders backfire and fail to physically or even mentally protect those who need to follow it, it’s safe to say that a new approach should be used instead. The conditions we’re living in are stressful and probably a lot more challenging than what we’re accustomed to- but that just further shows how we need to do our part to get the country back to where it once was. Without the help, consistency, and practice of residents, there will never be a difference made or hope found. The coronavirus has already taken so much from the world- these safety measures should ensure that we have a chance at saving what all we have left. As a resilient generation, we should be encouraging that, not belittling it. When speaking on behalf of the COVID-19 relief efforts, West Broward senior Michael Constant represents the attitude and perseverance we, as a whole, should showcase. 

“If we were to go on a serious lockdown or have seriously enforced precautions, we probably wouldn’t even have to be worried about this virus anymore. People have lost their jobs, their sanity, their senior years, and their lives over something that should easily and quickly be handled in a better way,” Constant said. “For better or worse, we need these safety orders. As a country, we just need to do our part to show the benefit of them.”