People are worse than the coronavirus

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Maria Grenyo, Staff Columnist

COVID-19 is sweeping the nation and upending everything we know and love. Sports leagues are being delayed left and right. Universities are shutting down for weeks at a time. The United States has declared a state of emergency, and certain states are forbidding citizens to leave their houses. I can even fly from Chicago to Denver for $31. Although the virus is a serious matter and people should act with caution, the true problem is how people have responded. 

As news of the coronavirus continues to spread, people across the nation are stocking up their apocalypse-style bunkers. Beans, rice and canned vegetables are all being hoarded, and rolls of toilet paper are scarce. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are being limited to a certain amount per customer. Even baby formula is being swept into shopping carts. 

In the United States, around 50,000 people have contracted COVID-19, and 327.2 million Americans are panicking. The coronavirus is dangerous, especially for the elderly and young children; however, the major problem stemming from this outbreak will be a recession or even depression, and we must focus on the economic as well as health issues.

The first economic problem caused by coronavirus is that while middle- and upper-class individuals can hoard supplies, this might leave those in lower classes with much less food than usual. For people working paycheck to paycheck, sometimes food can’t be purchased until the end of each week or after every two weeks. When the hoarding began, they might have just stocked up on food for the next week or two, or they might not have even gotten that chance. Those who weren’t paid during hoarding week might be even more food-insecure during this time.

The second economic problem caused by coronavirus is negative market growth. This could happen because the economy is no longer being stimulated. Many people have lost their jobs and cannot buy anything right now, while others are being told to stay inside as much as possible. Businesses have shut down for the time being. People are not going out to eat, getting their hair done or shopping for clothes, appliances or electronics. This will leave many businesses struggling when they reopen, especially those that are family-owned. Because the future is uncertain, even if these locations were open, I doubt many would feel secure spending their money. Most would probably want to save money in case the situation worsens.

If we go too far either way, we will fail. Spending a bunch of money to buy excess supplies now will not help those in lower classes. However, not spending money at all will inevitably cause a recession. It seems that many people are not considering either of these problems, only caring for themselves and their families by buying as many nonperishable food items as possible. It is understandable to want to protect those dearest people, but not to the detriment of the entire country. If we all take the middle road and still buy a normal amount from the stores that are open, we might not face severe consequences in the future. 

In this situation, now more than ever, the country must unite. By caring for each other and only buying what is needed, we are looking out for our neighbors. By still buying from the open stores, we are looking out for our country. Only by having compassion for others and behaving normally can the U.S. come out of this situation stronger than ever.