Opinion: We need to stop complaining about quarantine


Silhouette of a sad young girl / Thanakorn Suppamethasawat / Dreamstine / RF

Many people have been feeling depressed since quarantine started. However, we have it better than a lot of people.

As humans, one of our natural instincts is greed. When we lived in the caves, we had to be greedy to survive, as the ability to successfully hunt and gather determined whether one would live or die.

However, now, humanity has a different kind of greed. In fact, we foster many types of greed, with the most prominent one being jealousy towards those above us or those who have more than us.

At this moment in time, we are jealous of our former selves. We won’t stop talking about how horrible our quarantine is, or how we are going crazy being cooped up all the time. Yet, in reality, our quarantine is nowhere near as bad as others’.

In China, a boy named Sean Miller* was going through things similar to us. In his home city of Shenzhen, Miller was under quarantine for almost three months. Although his quarantine experiences were much different than his usual life, some things stayed the same.

“We usually had two to six hours of homework, but I am very fortunate to have had the time to do hobbies,” Miller said.

In China, one of the reasons COVID-19 spread so quickly was due to their failure to react, similarly to what happened during the SARS outbreak in 2002. After lots of backlash from the global community, China stepped up its efforts.

At first, China’s quarantine was similar to ours; face masks were necessary, shops were being cleaned out of supplies, and people were losing their jobs. However, that soon changed as China tightened its restrictions by imposing blockades in villages and closing down factories. China also monitored all of its citizens at all times, tracking them on their phones and using cameras to surveil them. 

At all times, you needed a health card where police could scan and find all of your information. The government tracked you at all times, and if you got the virus, they would track down everyone else that you came into contact with,” Miller said. 

Although the reason China had such a strict quarantine was mainly in the interest of the people, a big motive may have been to exert more control over the people.

Wuhan is home to 11 million people; however, when the lockdown started, it was the start of Chinese New Year, and many people were visiting family. According to Miller, many didn’t even know about the virus until Wuhan was locked down, leaving people trapped and feeling hopeless.

“In January, [word of COVID-19] was on Chinese social media. On Chinese Twitter, people were calling for help because they couldn’t get out. Nobody could get to hospitals at first, people were panicking. It was very heartbreaking,” Miller said. 

As the virus was slowing down in China, they did what they do best: censor. Reporters sent to china have mysteriously vanished and doctors trying t0 get the word out about COVID-19 were sent to prison, never to be heard from again. Instead of coming clean about their mistakes, China tried to make them disappear into thin air, a reality that many believe is far from a solution.

“The government needs to be transparent and let people talk instead of silencing them. We need to focus on the wellbeing of the people to actually progress in order to be free,” Miller said.

The severity of the pandemic and the effect it has on people around the world can also be seen prominently in India, much more so than in the United States.

In India, millions are on the brink of starvation. As the average income of India is already low at $2000, many people were left unemployed and unable to provide for themselves. Although here, many are in crippling financial situations, most are not at a point where finding the next meal may mean life or death.

The government in India is trying to set up stations to feed their population, however, there is a limited supply. Homeless people who relied on charitable people on busses are now starving as public transportation is closed. As India has 1.35 billion people, the second largest in the world, their job is not an easy one.

At home, many people’s problems stem from boredom. On social media, people are complaining about how bad they have it. Celebrities like Sam Smith are going through breakdowns and crying about how bad their situation is. In contrast, many people on this planet do not have the luxury to be bored, as they have to work to stay afloat.

Mental health is very important, especially at a time like this. However, we need to consider our situation compared to other people.

The government needs to be transparent and let people talk instead of silencing them. We need to focus on the wellbeing of the people to actually progress in order to be free.”

— Sean Miller*

In California, a system of about 3,000 churches is set to open in defiance of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s orders. These churches are responsible for some 2.5 million people, and the interaction of people within each church could boost the spread of the virus even more than it is spreading presently. Likewise, as the people who go to these churches are in clear defiance of the quarantine, what’s to stop them from seeing other people, or going places where they shouldn’t?

The answer is that there is nothing to stop them. The only option would be to tighten the quarantine even more; however, with many already protesting the current restrictions, such a crackdown would be near impossible. 

Although many people want to get back to work so they can be financially stable, we must not forget that if we rush it, going back to work could result in another wave of COVID-19, and potentially another round of quarantine.

To come back to what will be the new normal, we must continue to persevere through these rough times. Although we may have it bad, we in the U.S. do not have it as bad as it could be. As a society, we must not be greedy and want to go back; we must think about the consequences of our actions. And, in the future, we must never forget about the people who persevered. 

To all the people still persevering, thank you.

*This name has been changed to protect the anonymity of the source.

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