The Daily Gamecock

Column: We need to go into a second lockdown

Times Square in New York stands mostly empty as as much of the city is void of cars and pedestrians amid the coronavirus pandemic, March 22, 2020.
Times Square in New York stands mostly empty as as much of the city is void of cars and pedestrians amid the coronavirus pandemic, March 22, 2020.

The United States leads the world in COVID-19 cases. The count rises everyday. It’s time for the United States to take COVID-19 seriously and shut down the country.

South Carolina is among the 41 states where new cases are higher than average. In South Carolina alone, there are over 431,000 total reported cases and over 6,900 deaths as of Tuesday night. As of Wednesday, there are over 3,500 active cases, according to the New York Times.

The CDC confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the United States on Jan. 21, 2020, after a man traveled from China to Washington state. Then-President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020. That day is considered the last typical day Americans experienced. All states then went into different levels of lockdown.

It’s now January 2021, a year since the first confirmed case, and the United States is still like a chicken running around with its head cut off, with no idea how to control this virus. The U.S. has over 25 million confirmed cases and over 421,000 deaths as of Thursday, according to the World Health Organization.

Recently, there has been a new strain of the virus that has been seen in South Carolina from South Africa. This variant of the virus spreads faster and easier but doesn't seem to be causing different symptoms. South Carolina DHEC said to still social distance and wear masks to protect against the virus.

The United States desperately needs to go into another quarantine for the safety of everyone and the economy. President Joe Biden has tossed around the idea of starting a four-to-six-week quarantine now that he is in office.

One of the biggest cons of the lockdown is unemployment. Many people can’t live without getting paid for six weeks, and lots of businesses can’t pay their employees when they're not earning revenue. Americans have gotten two stimulus checks throughout the pandemic, and if we go into a lockdown, they will need more.

Getting the first two stimulus checks took a long time, and still people are waiting to get the second one. If Congress proposes a new stimulus check now that both the House and Senate are blue, it’s more likely to go through. Politicians need to start thinking about their people and about the long run. If the government aids the people and we go into a lockdown then, eventually, we will open back up entirely, and money will go back into society.

If we don't go into this lockdown soon, everything is going to get so much worse. Cases will continue to rise and people will continue to die. Other countries have gone into lockdowns; granted much smaller countries, such as New Zealand and Australia. Still, they took it seriously and are back to normal, almost as if the pandemic didn't happen. A Washington Post article showed how Australia defeated the virus. They closed all international and internal borders. No one was allowed to travel within Australia's states. The government also instituted a strict 111-day lockdown for the entire country.

The United States needs to mirror this. A complete and total lockdown is the only way America will get this virus under control. A four-to-six-week lockdown has been shown to work. During those first two weeks, anyone with COVID-19 will show symptoms and get tested and treated. Then, if any family members or anyone living with the infected person catches it, they will have the next two weeks to overcome it. This process will help cases drop rapidly. 

The only way to get this idea to Congress and Biden is to write and call your representative in Washington. Columbia is split into two districts with two representatives, Joe Wilson and James Clyburn. This is how bills are started.

The United States desperately needs to start taking COVID-19 seriously. People are dying every single day. Hospitals are running low on beds and nurses. The economy is suffering. If we ever want to get back to normal, there needs to be a lockdown under this presidency, and people need to follow regulations.