As a recent college graduate, I — and many others — watched in horror as the events of this past year unfolded. One particularly haunting aspect was the complete disarray caused by politicians who implemented large-scale national shutdowns in a supposed attempt to combat COVID-19 without, seemingly, considering the long-term consequences.
Amidst November’s massive uptick in COVID-19 cases, a second national shut down remains a possibility, with some local leaders already renewing failed restrictions from earlier this year, even despite the progress made regarding vaccine distribution. It’s imperative that we understand that these nationwide lockdowns are damaging our society in ways that will take generations to reverse, and Millennials and Gen-Z left to rebuild from within the rubble.
Younger generations of Americans are uniquely positioned to lead the charge against any new, poorly designed COVID restrictions by working to inform our peers of the tangible consequences of a second lockdown, contacting elected officials, and, if necessary, peacefully protesting. Shutting people inside for prolonged periods may stop them from spreading a disease with well over a 90% survival rate, but committing our nation to a second shutdown will yield worse consequences than the problem it is attempting to solve. The reality is that COVID-19 presents a negligible risk to young people. According to the CDC, the novel coronavirus is less lethal for healthy young people by a considerable margin, with 20-49-year-olds having a 99.98% chance of surviving the virus.
In addition, our nation’s medical system was never truly overwhelmed. The Army Corps of Engineers mobilized to erect emergency, overflow field hospitals throughout the country, and most of these facilities were never utilized. Even medical facilities within the USNS Comfort were hardly put to use while docked in New York. This indicates that, across the country, the mad scramble for resources and hospital space was fueled not by need, but by hysteria and confusion.
Beyond explicitly physiological aspects, the national lockdowns also wreaked havoc upon the mental health of Americans. Suicide hotlines experienced a 600% increase in calls, substance abuse rates skyrocketed, thus contributing to increasing overdoses, occurrences of domestic abuse, and the overall suicide rate. Without a doubt, this impacts younger generations of Americans.
In June, one-in-four respondents to a CDC survey between the ages of 18 and 24 said they had “seriously considered” suicide in the past month. Nearly half of the nation’s youth have begun to seriously struggle with their mental health since the COVID-19 shutdowns took full effect. Tragically, in early-December, an eleven-year-old student in California committed suicide during a Zoom school session.
The state-enforced isolation intended to protect people has yielded catastrophic consequences. We cannot allow our countrymen to fall victim to their darkest impulses because of our leaders’ penchants for poor policy. Younger generations of Americans must speak out and ensure that our leadership is aware of the bone-chilling effects of these widespread lockdowns, and we need to use whatever leverage we have and ensure our concerns are acknowledged.
Just under half of low-income adults lost their jobs due to the economic shutdown, with lockdowns drastically exasperating wealth and income disparities throughout the nation. In the context of young adults, where can they look for income or employment? After all, you can’t build a career on stimulus checks, and those $1,200 don’t spread very far.
Any young person with hopes of starting their own business or taking over the family store may have already lost hope. Thousands of locally owned businesses were forced to close, and almost two-thirds of these will never reopen. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, one-fourth of small businesses in this country risk permanent closure because of COVID-lockdowns.
We must do our due diligence in taking personal responsibility in limiting our risk of exposure to COVID-19 and ensuring that people in at-risk demographics are as protected as possible on a case-by-case basis. But we must also understand that slamming on the economic breaks leads to catastrophic consequences, many of which will have long-lasting effects.
As the individuals who will be inheriting this world and becoming its next leaders of industry, we need to set aside our phobias and personal qualms about the state of the pandemic. Our generation must demand better from those in positions of power. We must be conscious of how the policies that affect our lives today impact the America of tomorrow.
Samuel Mangold-Lenett is a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a contributor to Lone Conservative and the Editor-in-Chief of the Cincinnati Republic, a conservative media outlet that is based out of his hometown.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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