Should States Allow for the Reopening of their Economic Sectors?

The United States is passing the two month-mark since a national emergency was declared for the COVID-19 pandemic. As some states’ stay-at-home orders have expired, or are expiring, they face choices about reopening vs. extending the shutdown. This has sparked a nationwide debate amongst policymakers, economists, scientists, and citizens about how quickly parts of the economy should reopen and what restrictions should be advised. This circumstance is a good time to consider the virtue of Prudence, which BRI defines as, “practical wisdom that applies reason and other virtues to discern right courses of action in specific situations.”

Those who argue that states should reopen certain economic sectors (such as restaurants, retail, fitness centers, personal care, etc.) generally contend that the quarantine has caused problems like unemployment, a recession, and reduced wages for workers. This side believes that changes need to be made in order to allow Americans to return to work. Additionally, those who argue that states should reopen their economies question the legality of prolonged quarantine measures issued by the government.

Those who argue that states should not reopen their economies tend to argue that the health risks of doing so outweigh any economic issues caused by stay-at-home orders. This side believes that a prolonged quarantine is necessary in order to protect the lives and health of Americans, and is therefore justifiable. Additionally, those who do not support reopening certain sectors argue that doing so too soon could lead to a rise in cases of COVID-19, resulting in further deaths and harm the economy further.

So, what do you think? Should states allow for the reopening of their economic sectors? Students can argue Yes, states should allow for the reopening of economic sectors; No, states should not allow for the reopening of economic sectors; or something else! This issue is not necessarily binary—there are a variety of factors to consider when forming your answer such as the virus’s impact on different regions and what sectors could be more problematic to open during a pandemic, among other issues.

Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:

-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner

-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers

-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors

-Address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner

-Are organized in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly

Current Standings:
Yes: 62%
No: 37%
  • Meekal from California

    I agree with our President that if we keep the country closed for too long we are no longer going to have one.

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  • Sonya from New York

    For the better of each sector, allowing the states to reopen with regard to the sectors will keep this virus at bay and at its lowest points.

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  • Nina from New York

    I feel like we need to be focused on bringing the economy back up again and i think this will help because america is losing a lot of money right now.

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  • Justin from New York

    While a cure or vaccine for COVID19 may be on the horizon we must proceed in the absence of such factors. We CAN begin to reopen cities and businesses but only when a cohesive plan is in place and all possible reasonable safeguards are in place. According to the Brookings Institute “We will get through this pandemic, too. We will go back to work and school and gather in restaurants and theaters and sports stadiums again. But when we do, cities and their leaders should not simply return to business as usual. Not only does COVID-19 threaten to reappear in subsequent waves if we do not remain vigilant, but there will always be future pandemics to brace against as well.” So while I believe things can begin to return to a NEW NORMAL however as noted in a recent Guidance from The Brookings Institute some target areas must be addressed.

    To paraphrase their guidance we will need to: “Pandemic-proof airports, Prepare large-scale civic assets to safely handle large crowd, Modify vital infrastructure this includes transportation hubs, stations Ready key anchor institutions this would mean major upgrades to safety practices at Medical centers, hospitals, and universities. We will need to expand work from home programs and make it more seamless than at this time. Upgrade jobs for front-line service workers these workers need additional safety procedures to protect the most vulnerable front line workers.”

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    While a cure or vaccine for COVID19 may be on the horizon we must proceed in the absence of such factors. We CAN begin to reopen cities and businesses…

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  • Mary from New York

    Certain states should be allowed in the clear because not all states got it as bad as others.

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  • Emma from New York

    I think states have to open at some point. I think they should open slowly and keep the numbers monitored. Then they can adjust further openings dependent on the numbers.

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  • tyler from New York

    I believe that the states needed to close for a while but I personally don’t believe we needed to this long. We did need to close but they extended it to long I was happy to see some of the states finally open. I hope that all the states open up but mid summer.

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    I believe that the states needed to close for a while but I personally don’t believe we needed to this long. We did need to close but they extended it…

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  • Judith from New York

    SHOULD STATES ALLOW FOR THE REOPENING OF THEIR ECONOMIC SECTORS?

    The Covid19 affected a lot of people. This Pandemic caused several damages to the entire country inclusively worldwide. Many people are still fighting in the hospitals because of this illness, many people have already died, but also many people are fighting to get over this pandemic because it caused a reduction in home wages. “the quarantine has caused problems like unemployment, a recession, and reduced wages for workers.” (Ln 9-10) The states should allow for the reopening of their economic sectors because the people need an income to sustain their families, bring them essential things as food, personal cleaning supplies, etc. This is an issue that American people are facing, but also other people as emigrants that are living in the US. Most of them are not receiving the economic help from the government, they really need to go back to work sustain their families. “Those who argue that states should not reopen their economies tend to argue that the health risks of doing so outweigh any economic issues caused by stay-at-home orders.” (Ln 14-15) It is true that the reopening is a risk but everything in life is it. The most favorable way to the reopening is a slowly reopening and most important still having the sanity orders to prevent the spread of the Covid19 in the entire country.

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    SHOULD STATES ALLOW FOR THE REOPENING OF THEIR ECONOMIC SECTORS?

    The Covid19 affected a lot of people. This Pandemic caused several damages to the…

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  • Jeff from Kansas

    As of right now, most of the States in the Union are not facing a significant threat from COVID-19. Obviously, states which are being overrun by patients should take necessary measures to protect their citizens. However, most states have already “flattened the curve” and kept their medical facilities from surpassing capacity levels. These states should take steps to reopen their economies and get things back to normal.

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    As of right now, most of the States in the Union are not facing a significant threat from COVID-19. Obviously, states which are being overrun by patie…

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  • Alisha from New Jersey

    Yes, extending the lockdowns only ignores our crashing economy. More than twenty million jobs were lost in April alone (CNN) and stimulus checks are not enough to solve that issue. Generally speaking, most people are sensible and most people care at least enough about their health that they follow social distancing guidelines. The perfect example of this Florida, a state in which many we were waiting for failure in its early reopening. Yet generally they have had lower death rates than the rest of America’s states(DeSantis on Fox). There was no boom and climb in cases as they reopened. With this, it is important to note that the process of reopening must be taken slowly taken with caution which it is. The sooner we reopen the country, the sooner the economy will recover and the sooner people will be given their jobs back.

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    Yes, extending the lockdowns only ignores our crashing economy. More than twenty million jobs were lost in April alone (CNN) and stimulus checks are n…

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  • Leo from Illinois

    I think states should start to reopen there economy during Covid 19 due to every states circumstances with the virus is different states with how many people are infected and the death rates so they have the rights to reopen and even with the recent studies in New York City and how 13% of NYC or 2 million people got the Coronavirus which is what they didn’t expect and due to that recent study and a recent study in LA Country shows that the virus is a lot more infectious then what we first thought. The WHO is also recommended that country should start to follow the Sweden strategy of opening every thing up and making life be pretty much normal expect for protecting the elderly and immune compromised from the compromised and they had economy pretty much the same and the death rate per 100,000 is lower than most of European countries like U.K.,Germany and Belgium. This shows that the virus is a lot less lethal than expected and that it is more infectious than we thought and since we’ve taken the time to flatten the curve and not it’s getting to the point where hospitals are laying off workers we should start to open the economy and start to go back to normal

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    I think states should start to reopen there economy during Covid 19 due to every states circumstances with the virus is different states with how many…

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  • nicholas thompson from New York

    yes they should open up back up because they world needs that

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  • paul from New York

    The country needs to start working again.

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  • Daniel from New York

    This country needs to economically get back on its feet.

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  • Christopher from Connecticut

    I believe that the economy has been struggling for the past two months. With that being said, we have to start somewhere and restarting the economy is our best bet. Yes, we should all understand the risks that are with opening businesses, but as long as we follow all rules and regulations, like washing our hands and keeping to social distancing, we should all be okay.

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    I believe that the economy has been struggling for the past two months. With that being said, we have to start somewhere and restarting the economy is…

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  • Elisha from North Carolina

    Yes I believe it’s time for us to get back to a some what normal way of life. Its important to do this responsibly, follow safty guidelines and parameters so that people will stay safe. Using our mask and facilities keep strict mesures to insure our safty. Our communities need to get back to work, we need to get back to school and our economy needs to get back on top.

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    Yes I believe it’s time for us to get back to a some what normal way of life. Its important to do this responsibly, follow safty guidelines and parame…

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  • Madison from North Carolina

    The purpose in closing certain economic sectors not deemed “essential” is to reduce the risk level of infection during the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet citizens are still allowed to go into high risk public places to get groceries and other “essential needs”. Without a vaccine at hand, or any true way to stop the virus from spreading, the reopening of economic sectors should be greatly considered. Over time, both small and large businesses will suffer the consequences financially. People working in the currently closed economic sectors are also suffering. Although government financial support is available for unemployed individuals, it is not sustainable long term. If these sectors stay closed for much longer, both America and it’s citizens will be in financial turmoil. The shutdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic was a means to protect citizens, but restricts certain liberties mentioned in the Constitution. Our first amendment is set to protect us from the governments restriction on freedoms regarding assembly and establishments of religion. It can also be argued that the shutdown of economic sectors is protecting individuals and should be continued. If economic sectors re-open, at risk or concerned citizens can stay home, but it should not infringe upon the freedoms of other citizens. There will always be a risk, regardless of government action and the reactions of the people. It is in the best interest of everyone involved to re-open economic sectors.

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    The purpose in closing certain economic sectors not deemed “essential” is to reduce the risk level of infection during the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet citi…

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  • Emma from Vermont

    I believe that states should allow for the reopening of their economic sectors. As a citizen of the United States of America, it is your constitutional right to pursue, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Today, millions of Americans are without income, struggling to get products due to supply shortages, and, although the nation is in the midst of a pandemic, many are lacking healthcare from unemployment caused by the economic shutdown of their states. Although some argue that the Necessary and Proper Clause can, at times, override this fundamental American right, the courts are supposed to determine that. In the case of COVID-19, even many of the courts have shut down to prevent the spread of illness. Thus, carefully constructed checks and balances embedded in the Constitution have been disrupted, and more power than ever before has been placed in the executive and legislative branches. Our government was built on the premise that the government derived its power from the people, but with the lack of proper evidence given to the American people, it seems we have placed our power almost entirely in our government’s hands. If states do not start to reopen their economies, all of the social distancing measures that people have taken will be for nothing, because poverty will inevitably lead to widespread death across the nation. Those that argue we should keep printing money have likely not researched the economic crisis that took place following the Revolutionary War. The government decided to print seemingly endless amounts of money in order to repay their debts to Americans and other nations, and the result was hyperinflation. As a nation, we are increasing our debts to both our citizens and fellow countries by continuing to hand out stimulus checks to companies and individuals. In order to fix the damage, in order to prevent death, we need to start to allow people to return to work with proper measures to limit the spread of disease. There are even more lives than just Americans. If Americans cannot afford to purchase food, and thus the demand for said food decreases, the people of Africa may not have a source of income either. Many of our luxury products, for example, cocoa and coffee, are sourced from Africa. These people receive their incomes from the value of the product that they collect, and if the price the product decreases, so does their income. Due to the level of globalization in today’s world, the economy at stake is not just those of American citizens. The crippling of one economy can lead to the destruction of those that depend on their products or purchases. The number of global deaths from hunger and poverty could far exceed the number of deaths from COVID-19 if the global economy is not restored soon. The U.S. has a major role in the maintenance of the global economy, and thus states need to reopen their economic sectors.

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    I believe that states should allow for the reopening of their economic sectors. As a citizen of the United States of America, it is your constitutiona…

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  • Christie from Georgia

    Right now in the status quo, the economy is being crippled and is in a status similar to that of the Great Depression. The government is shelling trillions of dollars out to the people, while the rates of infection continue to rise. Although there are stimulus packages for those we need it, several people are relying on unemployment benefits when they can work safely.

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    Right now in the status quo, the economy is being crippled and is in a status similar to that of the Great Depression. The government is shelling tril…

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  • Kate from Massachusetts

    If they do not open up the state economies, more people will lose money, which in turn will mean that more people will lose their jobs. Even though there are health risks in opening up, the rate of suicide and homicides will most likely go up because people cannot provide for their families. If we do not open up soon, there will be a recession and it will be worse than conditions now.

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    If they do not open up the state economies, more people will lose money, which in turn will mean that more people will lose their jobs. Even though th…

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  • Gwen from Pennsylvania

    The closing of the economy hurts the working class more than anyone else. The closing of the economy put countless people out of work, who live paycheck to paycheck, which is most of the American people. If we open the economy, in safe stages, now we could save the lives of people who are struggling, or soon to be at the end of their reserves. The nation’s and state’s economy will not be fully functionally until the crisis is over, but keeping it closed is doing more damage than good.

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    The closing of the economy hurts the working class more than anyone else. The closing of the economy put countless people out of work, who live payche…

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  • Sarah from Connecticut

    The Constitution doesn’t give the federal government the right to regulate intrastate commerce- states have the right to control their own economies. It is unfortunate that some states will not listen to the guidance of epidemiologists and other experts. That being said, it is dangerous to give the executive branch too much control over the states.

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    The Constitution doesn’t give the federal government the right to regulate intrastate commerce- states have the right to control their own economies. …

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  • Charles from Florida

    Throughout humanity’s existence, there has never been 0% risk. Think back five years ago to when we used to go out into public without a mask. Were we still in danger of contracting a disease? Absolutely! Did this mysterious disease have the potential to kill thousands of elderly and immunocompromised people? Of course it did! We have never known a 100% risk-free environment because that type of environment has never existed. There will come a point where the cost of job loss and stress caused by the economic fallout of this disease will surpass the cost of the lives lost because of it. The numbers that every news media outlet reports only takes into account the people diagnosed with Coronavirus. What about the people starving in the streets because they lost their job and home? What about people suffering from mental health disorders that have been quarantined at home with nothing to do but worry about what is happening in the world around them? What about the people who take their own lives because of the hardship this has brought upon them? What about the children that live in households where alcoholism is a reality that has been amplified because of the stay-at-home orders? These situations are unfortunate realities for many American citizens. We need to make opening up our economy one of our top priorities otherwise MORE jobs will be lost, MORE people’s mental health will deteriorate, and MORE families will be subject to abuse. Upon opening states back up, certain precautions will of course have to remain in effect. For example, early shopping hours for elderly and immunocompromised people is a great way to ensure the safety of that portion of the population. Citizens need to continue to make efforts to abide by the social distancing that is encouraged by the CDC. People who feel sick need to STAY HOME, and employers need to make an effort to emphasize the importance of that notion. No one wants you to be the hero. You become the hero by staying home when you are sick. If we as a country continue to abide by these important regulations, then it is okay for us to get back to work. In fact, the is what is BEST for our country.

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    Throughout humanity’s existence, there has never been 0% risk. Think back five years ago to when we used to go out into public without a mask. Were we…

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  • Brendan from Massachusetts

    I’d first like to say I agree with those who oppose this question that lives are at stake in regards to risks coming from the coronavirus, however, lives are also at stake regarding people’s jobs. Poverty is not only linked to obesity, crime, and depression but also ironically infectious disease. This is not a zero-sum game. But putting this aside let’s examine this from a practical viewpoint of the virus. At this point, we’ve beaten the curve, an incredibly low percentage of people have the coronavirus, to begin with, and an incredibly low percentage of people are dying because of it. We know who is an increased risk and who isn’t. This question isn’t asking if things should immediately go back to normal, it’s asking if we should start going down the path. The information we have shows us that a vast majority of the country is not at risk and the problem is going away. So when it comes to the question of whether states should allow for the reopening of their economic sectors, the answer is yes.

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    I’d first like to say I agree with those who oppose this question that lives are at stake in regards to risks coming from the coronavirus, however, li…

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  • Saniyah from New Jersey

    The safety of American citizens is more important than facilities that can be operated online or from home. Instead of forcing people to congregate in public spaces for minimum wage that will risk their health, why not support them financially with money that’s sitting around? Doctors don’t need to see any more people die. Nurses don’t need to see any more people die. Essential businesses like grocery stores and restaurants can stay open on a restrictive basis (ie. letting only a certain number of people in at a time or only drive thru) but if a business doesn’t need to be open, it shouldn’t be.

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    The safety of American citizens is more important than facilities that can be operated online or from home. Instead of forcing people to congregate in…

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  • Andrew from New York

    I think that when the world and it’s people recover from corona states should with the reopening of states. It’s better to be safe and not kill anymore people if it’s not necessary.

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    I think that when the world and it’s people recover from corona states should with the reopening of states. It’s better to be safe and not kill anymor…

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  • Samantha from New York

    I feel like states should wait a little longer before reopening their economic sectors because then the U.S could see yet another spike in COVID-19 cases which is something that I doubt anyone wants to deal with.

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    I feel like states should wait a little longer before reopening their economic sectors because then the U.S could see yet another spike in COVID-19 ca…

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  • Shana from New York

    Maybe primary and secondary sectors could be plausible. But, I don’t think states should open everything just yet. Places such as businesses , restaurants, and fitness centers a long with many others should hold back. I want everything to open up as much as another person would. It’s not ideal to be stuck in our homes. However, for health and safety, I do think we need more time. Corona has not gone away and opening things up like it was will only potentially create more spread.

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    Maybe primary and secondary sectors could be plausible. But, I don’t think states should open everything just yet. Places such as businesses , resta…

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  • Katie from New York

    Honestly, I am kind of neutral on this topic. I don’t necessarily understand all the sides of the argument. However, as someone who is aiming for a career in the medical field, I think that reopening the economy can pose some health risks. If a prolonged quarantine were to occur, it could protect the lives and health of others. Additionally, reopening certain sectors too soon could lead to a rise in cases of COVID-19, due to exposure, resulting in further deaths and harm the economy further.

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    Honestly, I am kind of neutral on this topic. I don’t necessarily understand all the sides of the argument. However, as someone who is aiming for a ca…

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  • Desteny from Massachusetts

    I believe states shouldn’t allow economic sectors to reopen because it is a rigorous Health Target. The reopening of economic states can result in so many problems, such as this pandemic lasting longer than those expected

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    I believe states shouldn’t allow economic sectors to reopen because it is a rigorous Health Target. The reopening of economic states can result in s…

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  • Payge from Pennsylvania

    Only two states, Rhode Island and West Virginia, are carrying out enough tests per capita to identify those who are infected and react quickly if infections start to mount, based on calculations by researchers at the Harvard Global Health Institute. Opening is a risk the second wave of increased infections and deaths that could overwhelm hospitals and hit more Americans with expensive medical bills.

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    Only two states, Rhode Island and West Virginia, are carrying out enough tests per capita to identify those who are infected and react quickly if infe…

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  • Ira from Tennessee

    The current COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, leaving a fatality rate of 6.8% in its wake. (Bar-Yam,Yaneer, Don’t Let Governors fool you about reopening, CNN, May 12th, 2020) As of today, 5/21/2020, there have been 93,061 deaths in the U.S. alone due to the coronavirus. (Coronavirus Disease 2020: Cases in the U.S, CDC, May 21st, 2020) To prevent the spread of infection, local leaders all over the country have issued shelter-in-place orders. These orders mandate citizens to stay at home, with exceptions made for essential activities. (food, water, medicine, etc.) The reason these restrictions prevent infection is because COVID-19 is spread by person-to-person contact. Essentially, these orders keep people away from one another, drastically reducing the amount of cases. However, many people are interested in opening up the country’s economic sector. Their reason for this is the economic mayhem COVID has caused. However, opening up the country now could in fact make the economy even worse. Re-opening the economic sector will inevitably lead to more cases. Even with efforts of social distancing, in most of the businesses reopening will still lead to increased cases. Increased cases leads to more people dying. These deaths and increased cases will further burden our now fragile economy. The U.S. has witnessed how “without extreme preventative measures, we’ve seen how coronavirus infections doubled every two to three days at one point in different areas — which equated to about a tenfold increase per week. That means that a state with 1,000 new cases could have well over 100,000 more in two weeks, if social distancing is loosened.” (Bar-Yam,Yaneer, Don’t Let Governors fool you about reopening, CNN, May 12th, 2020) In fact, according to a new study, 36,000 lives could have been saved if social distancing guidelines were put in place one week earlier. (Ebrahimji, Alisha, If the US had started social distancing fewer people would have died, study says, CNN, May 21st, 2020)) Considering how important these shelter-in-place orders have proven to be, is it really worth opening up the economic sector now? No. Not, it is not.

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    The current COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, leaving a fatality rate of 6.8% in its wake. (Bar-Yam,Yaneer, Don’t Let Governors fool you about …

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  • Saniya from Maryland

    No, states should not open up their economic sectors. This is because with more businesses being open in their areas, citizens are more likely to go out. With more citizens outside their homes, there are more chances of people not practicing social distancing and spreading COVID. This sudden increase in cases could lead to another period of quarantine and overall boredom among us all. It is mentioned in the Constitution and many other documents that the national and local government has the responsibility to take care of the people. By opening up businesses, states are basically calling for more people to get sick and more deaths in their state. This is not taking care of the people are the people would have more places to go and more people to interact with that may infect them with COVID. However, some people may say that we should open local businesses because of unemployment. Even though people are losing their jobs, they are staying safe at home and can complete many activities to earn some extra cash. Many companies and institutions like BRI are setting up competitions and contests specifically for this purpose. The US states should not open up their economic sectors so their constituents can stay healthy in their homes and properly practice social distancing.

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    No, states should not open up their economic sectors. This is because with more businesses being open in their areas, citizens are more likely to go o…

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  • Nova from New Jersey

    While there are many factors to consider, it is overall a bad idea to reopen them… at least for now. We need more time for the cases to die down. We need to gradually open businesses that are considerably essential and allow for workers to socially distance. With many young people yearning to go outside with friends, summer is already a potentially dangerous time for the pandemic. If we can just hold out a bit longer on opening economic sectors, more lives can be saved.

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    While there are many factors to consider, it is overall a bad idea to reopen them… at least for now. We need more time for the cases to die down. We…

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  • Angel from Texas

    With what is happening opening up places for people to go and in joy themselves should be up to them selfs. But that is the same ignorance that get people sick, people should be able to choose at a certain level. The level we are on is no matter to joke about or others to deny and make sense if it by believing in false claims.

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    With what is happening opening up places for people to go and in joy themselves should be up to them selfs. But that is the same ignorance that get pe…

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  • Elizabeth from Texas

    The public health should always come first. Although many Americans have lost money since the height of the outbreak, they are contributing to stopping this pandemic’s spread as United States citizens.

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    The public health should always come first. Although many Americans have lost money since the height of the outbreak, they are contributing to stoppin…

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  • Anisha from New Jersey

    Reopening everything increases the risk of inviting this unknown disease into our body. It’ll be very hard to maintain social distancing, and it’ll also be hard to decrease the number of deaths and cases that we have everyday. I live in New Jersey where it is the 2nd most cases in U.S. I’m really worried of the people around me and those that are dying due to this disease. Reopening events will make us worry to death for our loved ones. It isn’t fair for those who are more likely to get this disease and die from it.

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    Reopening everything increases the risk of inviting this unknown disease into our body. It’ll be very hard to maintain social distancing, and it’l…

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  • Hannah from Texas

    It should be for the safety of all, not the well being of some. It is true that there are a huge number of unemployed Americans, it is also true that there are a huge number of individuals who have Coronavirus. The states, like mine, that are reopening are “seeing a decline in cases.” While that is true, it is not eradicated. We might not get to the point where we are in as bad of shape as New York is and was, but if we reopen too soon we will. That will make the unemployment, economy, and mental toll of the essential employees be ever worse.

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    It should be for the safety of all, not the well being of some. It is true that there are a huge number of unemployed Americans, it is also true that …

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