Why COVID regulations matter more than ever

My head hurts and my eyes are red, as my back aches after another day leaning over a computer screen to attend my Zoom lectures.

As much as I want to get back to how life used to be, I know the regulations preventing me from attending in-person classes are to protect my health and my peers.

While society may be disgruntled and burnt out from the regulations set forth to minimize the harm of this pandemic, they are necessary to prevent a further inconvenience: death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 246,000 COVID deaths in the United States since Jan. 21.

In addition, more than 11.3 million cases have been reported, with over 1 million based in California; a state allowing several counties to operate businesses at 25% capacity, including those in Long Beach.

With people flooding hospitals, I think Gov. Gavin Newsom has made the appropriate effort to impose new restrictions that limit business hours in an effort to encourage people to stay home.

I understand that people have jobs and need to make ends meet.

But at what cost?

Individuals from racial and ethnic groups with lower educational attainment are more likely to be employed as “essential workers” during this pandemic.

These working-class families rely on their front-line jobs, which often require them to leave the safety of their home to serve others, in an effort to make ends meet. For them, working from the safety of their home is not an option.

Through these essential jobs, they may be disproportionately exposed to the virus due to their increased interaction with the public for long periods of time. This situation worsens when they are exposed to inconsiderate people not wanting to wear masks.

According to John Hopkins University, the United States holds a mortality rate of 2.2 deaths per 100 confirmed cases. There are higher risks associated with social factors, including income and legal status or lack of access to adequate health care.

These families that rely on one or two breadwinners to make ends meet and live paycheck to paycheck would be heavily impacted if that person were to get sick or die.

But by continuing to follow regulations set in place to limit people’s exposure to each other, including wearing a mask, social distancing and practicing good hygiene, we can reduce the number of people harmed by the virus.

I wear a mask every time I go to work in Long Beach State’s mailroom to protect myself and the faculty and students that I deliver mail to on a routine basis.

While it is annoying that my vision is compromised as the mask fogs up my glasses often, I would still rather wait for the fog to clear than be stuck in a hospital, hoping I’m not just another COVID statistic in a body bag.

If implementing a four to six week lockdown and other regulations will guarantee the safety of our communities and help us get back on track to what we considered normal, then by all means establish them today.

Health care workers are putting in long hours in hospitals alongside COVID patients, risking their lives. Essential workers keep the economy up and running by risking their lives as well to serve the general public.

These workers are expected to follow regulations for the entirety of their shifts in order to create a safe environment for customers.

Yet, there are people who feel as if they can’t adhere to regulations while they enter the store for just a few minutes.

Those people must remember that it is better to wear a mask over your face for a couple of hours than have a plastic tube stuck down your throat helping you breathe.

We have to keep in mind that we’ve made it this far because of regulations, and if we ever want normality again then everyone must do their part to stop the spread of germs by wearing a mask and social distancing.

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