• Yizheng Wang

To Open, or Not to Open

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

By the time I started this short article, the coronavirus confirmed cases on this planet are 14 million (14,744,887) with 611 thousand (611,599) people died. If you think this number is shocking enough, then the fact that the confirmed cases in the U.S. have reached 3.9 million and will hit 4 million in another two days may further astonish you. We all know the story: the only two superpowers in the world accused each other of releasing the virus on purpose, failing to take the lead to encounter the COVID-19. It’s a big topic to discuss, and we don’t talk about U.S. foreign policies or Sino-US relationships today; instead, we will focus on the impact of this pandemic within America.

The last pandemic getting hundreds of millions of people infected is the 1918 pandemic, which occurred 102 years ago and spread quickly because of the World War I. COVID-19 inevitably brought enormous economic loss to the world economy as some businesses were forced to close. Trump Administration was reluctant to close the business because it would hurt the economy badly. However, by April 3, 46 states decided to close nonessential businesses, which has no doubt to slow the spread of coronavirus efficiently. The question is: Is it worth it?

Some complained that the closure of nonessential businesses had led to a drastic increase in the unemployment rate. According to the Pew Research Center, the COVID-19 caused more than 14 million Americans to lose their jobs. That being said, the number of unemployed Americans rise from 6.2 million in February to 20.5 million in May. It’s believed that the overall unemployment rate in May might have reached 16%, which surpassed the 10.6% in the Great Recession period. (Kochhar, 2020 June)

On the one hand, the state governments have to shut down the businesses to stop the coronavirus; On the other hand, the Americans need to keep their jobs to feed the families. This dilemma explains the recent social unrest. Although the government is seeking a balance for an optimal outcome, the problem will last for a while. So do you think the government should reopen the nonessential businesses? Would you work at your own risk during this pandemic? Or would you rather stay at home and waiting for the unemployment compensation?


1. McPhilips, D. (2020, May 18). The Statistical Support for Closing Non-Essential Businesses. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from

2. Schumaker, E. (2020, April 3). Here are the states that have shut down nonessential businesses. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from

3. Kochhar, R. (2020, June 30). Unemployment rose higher in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from

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