What is happening to our civil liberties during the coronavirus?
The novel 1984, by George Orwell is about a government that totally controls every part of a person’s life. Is this what is suddenly happening, here in America, with the coronavirus scare? Why are politicians telling us what to do, and forbidding us to go to work and go outside, because of a coronavirus that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says is contagious, while the news gives us conflicting information about wearing masks and social distancing. Is 1984 finally here, thirty six years later?
In Ohio, Governor, Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health director, Amy Acton, have ordered us to stay at home, since March 23rd. They decided what businesses were essential and could remain open, and what businesses had to close. Many Ohioans had no jobs and no income in March, April and May. People all across America lost their ability to support their families because of similar “stay at home orders.” Only people with specific types of jobs, like white collar workers, were able to work at home. This prevented blue collar workers from having their jobs.
The stay at home order is destroying America. Children had no lunches at school, and could not learn at home, if they had no computer. It forced people out of work, and businesses into bankruptcy. People could not pay their rent or car payments. People with no car, had no way to pick up groceries in a drive-through.
The government’s unemployment website did not work, and the government did not send unemployment payments to those of us who were able to apply.
But DeWine and Acton did not stop working, or stay at home. They gave news conferences and had a salary. The other state governors did not lose their jobs, either.
This month, in May, Governor DeWine started relaxing some restrictions, so businesses could start to re-open, but he says we still have stay at home. He calls it “Stay Safe Ohio.”
The CDC said the reason to stay at home is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but people in New York, who stayed at home, are still getting the virus.
In May, almost two months after the stay at home orders were implemented, Governor, Andrew Cuomo said that the majority of new coronavirus hospitalizations were from people did not go outside.
If staying at home did not prevent people from getting the virus, why were we ordered to stay at home?
We also have to wear masks when we go outside in public places, but the CDC gave us conflicting information on the necessity of wearing them. First they told us not to wear masks, and then they told us to wear masks. They said the masks would prevent us from catching the virus from someone, and later said the masks would prevent us from transmitting the virus to someone. Which statement is true?
The CDC says the coronavirus only travels six feet in the air, so grocery stores have plastic shields by cash registers, and six feet markers on the floor, for customers. But according to the CDC's reasoning, if the virus can travel six feet, wouldn’t it be able to move over the top of the plastic shield, unless the shield is six feet high!
How does social distancing do us any good when other people walk through that six feet of air space when walking up in line? Doesn't air move when there is motion? Isn’t the air in motion throughout the store, especially when we enter and exit, while opening and closing doors? Is social distancing realistic, when we go outdoors, where there is a lot of wind and air current?
The CDC says the virus is in droplets, but some experts say the droplets can be in smaller particles, called aerosols that linger in the air.
Can a cloth mask stop a microscopic virus? Don't masks have to be made from certain breathable materials specifically made for that purpose? Won't the moisture from our breath, in the cloth mask, trap the virus and other germs more easily?
The CDC also said not to put a mask on a child under 2 years old, because it makes it hard to breathe and the child could die. Couldn’t masks make breathing more difficult for people with asthma and COPD? What if we have allergies, and have to adjust the mask while trying to breathe? Can the droplets or aerosols leak around the edges of a cloth mask, when the wearer breathes, if the mask does not have a tight fit?
Why does the CDC recommend wearing cloth masks, and not specify the weave size that is needed to prevent the virus from passing through? If the coronavirus is causing a worldwide pandemic, shouldn’t the CDC give us better specifications on what type of fabric and weave to use in the mask, and not leave up it to us to use a T-shirt or bed sheet or sock?
Why has everything the CDC recommended for us to use (masks, and bleach and alcohol for disinfecting) suddenly become scarce? Why are some food purchases being limited, also? If masks are so scarce, why did masks, in all shapes and colors, become available on the internet, with no regard to fabric and weave?
I wonder if the "new normal" of wearing masks in public, because of the coronavirus, is just the first in a cascade in the loss of our personal civil liberties that will slowly be imposed on us. Like our loss of our privacy, and our right to go out when and where we want.
The CDC says contact tracing is important to find out who infected someone. But how this is of any use, when there is no way to find out if someone has the virus, but has no symptoms, and passes it on to someone else, or where they went.
Contact tracers are supposed to start calling us (to find out who we had contact with), and the Ohio Investigative Unit will have undercover agents watching us in public places to enforce social distancing.
Contract tracing could also include monitoring credit card statements, to see where we went shopping, and what we bought. This is an invasion of privacy because lots of people are shopping online, and staying at home, but their personal business will still be monitored.
Politicians are infringing on our rights to make our own decisions. Posts on the internet are being monitored and taken down if they have an opinion different than the CDC guidelines. The government is taking away our freedom of expression and our right to think for ourselves.
Why do the death toll numbers from the CDC have discrepancies? Why have news reports claimed that death toll numbers from the coronavirus were not accurate?
Why has the nightly news just focused on the virus, and nothing else? Why did all the other news stopped? Why did the news about the virus change every day, before the stores were allowed to reopen?
These are some of the things I heard on the news, that I have questions about, that never seem to be answered.
- An antibody treatment that seems to work, but does not get any more news coverage. (There were stories of people who were helped by donated antibodies. So why aren’t antibody treatments being done?)
- A malaria drug that might work. (But how can a drug for malaria which is caused by a parasite, work on a virus?)
- The difficulty in getting a vaccine. (Aren’t vaccines made from dead viruses? If vaccines are so hard to make, how do they make a flu vaccine every year, when the flu virus mutates? Do people who have antibodies have to get vaccinated?)
- The false hope of unemployment checks and stimulus checks, for people who do not receive them. (What happened to all the unemployment payments people were supposed to get? Promising something then not delivering is a form of manipulation.)
- If the virus is so contagious, why did President Donald Trump stand next to someone with the virus, but did not get it himself. Why did his valet get the virus, but he did not get it. Although everyone is supposed to wear a mask, he did not wear one. (What happened to his valet?)
Why does the CDC keep changing its story about the virus? The CDC says that the corona virus is a respiratory disease that targets older people. But now they say it is affecting children with rashes and internal inflammation. How can a respiratory virus cause rashes and inflammation in children? Could there be more than one virus?
Did the flu disappear this year? Where are the flu numbers?
During the beginning of the pandemic, why did the TV stations have normal programs all day long, like nothing was happening? Then when the evening news came on, they only talked about the corona virus. This does not seem like a realistic way things would be done during a pandemic.
Staying at home and social distancing is forcing us into an abnormal way of living. It is isolating us in our homes. Is it also changing how we behave toward other people in public? The government’s use of social isolation and peer pressure (using the phrase “we are all in this together”) is controlling us.
The politicians are making decisions about who can work, and who cannot. Their decisions are favoring the more affluent, and choosing among us which person is essential, and whose job is essential.
A few people do not have the right to control all of us! If this coronavirus pandemic is such a dire health situation, why did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi form a committee to monitor where the $2 trillion dollars in stimulus money was really going, instead of researching the virus? Did her committee ever find out where all that stimulus money went? Why is Pelosi talking about a new $3 trillion dollar relief bill? Where is all this money coming from, and where is it all going?
Why aren’t the people in America getting help from this money? The $1,200 stimulus payment we received was not enough money for anyone to pay two months’ worth of bills. Is this whole thing politically motivated?
In a period of a little over two months, America, as I knew it, has changed into a dictatorship. Or was it there all along, just waiting for the right moment to emerge, while pretending to be a free country?
Jeanne Coppola was a lifelong resident of the Collinwood neighborhood. Her interests include art, writing, and advocacy for animals, humans and the environment.