A sign hangs telling customers they are closed at The Golden Triangle shop during the new coronavirus pandemic, Monday, April 20, 2020, in Coral Gables, Fla. Most businesses in Miami-Dade County remain closed to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
As millions of Americans continue to live under stay-at-home orders and other restrictions that are ostensibly designed to curb the spread of COVID-19, many are growing increasingly concerned about the impact on their freedoms. A recent Hill-HarrisX survey that was published on Monday reveals that an overwhelming percentage of Americans fear losing their liberties as a result of the pandemic.
According to The Hill, “more than 7 in 10 voters fear losing freedoms due to the coronavirus pandemic.” The survey, which was conducted between April 6 – 7, also found that 83% of registered voters worry that they might be exposed to the virus.
Last week, Americans living in Texas, Michigan, Ohio, California, and other states marched on their state capitols to protest excessive restrictions on their freedoms in response to the pandemic. Many have argued that some, or all, of the measures are an overreaction that is devastating the economy.
Public health officials have advised that people should continue to tough it out under the restrictions to avoid a resurgent outbreak, which could lead to even worse outcomes. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Instititute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases and a key member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force argued that the mass gatherings at the anti-restrictions rallies could lead to an extension of the shutdowns if it causes the virus to spread further.
Mohamed Younis, Editor-in-chief at Gallup told Hill.TV that this situation is “going to be one of the really important crossovers in the post-COVID era, between civil rights and public health.”
Younis also explained that countries will need to find a balance between protecting their citizens’ health and protecting their freedoms. “Hopefully those concerns will be alleviated when there is a vaccine and people are able to move more freely but in the short term, I think every major democracy is going to be grappling with the fact of how do you find a balance between having people tracked on their cell phones in order to control the virus and who turns that off?” he said.
While it is important to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, it has become clear that many state and local governments are guilty of overreach. This is especially clear when it comes to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has used her position to enact harsh regulations on the state’s residents.
RedState’s Nick Arama outlined some of the measures that Whitmer has imposed in response to the virus:
“So you’re allowed to drive to a park or out of state, just not to any other cottage or residence. The idea sounds arbitrary but it was about trying to prevent those from the more likely infected areas from spreading it to other areas of the state not as infected.”
The governor also prohibited residents from buying car seats and seeds from the store to plant a garden. She has also shut down all nurseries and garden centers. Recently, the state’s Republican-led legislature had to pass legislation that limited an extension of Whitmer’s emergency powers.
As the coronavirus begins to start its downward trend, some states are preparing to reopen. Last week, the Trump administration unveiled its guidelines for states to restart commerce using a phased approach. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has already started reopening restaurants and other businesses. Texas is also beginning to allow certain businesses to open their doors.
As the progressive left continues to advocate for more extensions of shutdown orders, everyday Americans seem to be growing increasingly weary of not being able to go about their lives. It seems that people are shifting towards a desire to return to normalcy, while progressives seem to want to make this situation the new normal.