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To the Editor: Maine should not shut down because of COVID-19

Nationally and statewide, people have been told to stay home. Businesses are closing, and nonessential employees are not working. These efforts are to flatten the curve of coronavirus infection, but they threaten our state’s future wellbeing. 

It is unsustainable to shut down our country and state because of COVID-19. The unemployment rate has risen to 13%, nearly half of the nation’s citizens are told not to work, and stocks have plummeted. We cannot expect to sustainably fund Congress’ $2.2 trillion stimulus package and statewide aide from a dwindling tax base of workers. The essential employees still working will be overburdened by taxes. These workers cannot be expected to support half the nation.

Policymakers are only postponing the virus’ spread. COVID-19 will likely become like the next cold or flu, so most people will catch it. We cannot shut down the country once or twice every year simply because of a virus with less than a 4% fatality rate.

By keeping people home, we may not ever fully recover. Children miss quintessential socializing and learning. Many businesses may not be able to reopen. People are being laid off. Without employment, people can’t afford groceries or housing.

As a senior myself, I understand how difficult it is for my peers to work on intensive team projects remotely. It is also aggravating how our graduation ceremony is still precarious at best.

Instead of shutting down our nation and state, we should severely restrict international and out-of-state travel. If not for global travel, COVID-19 would still be contained in China. People coming from New York and populous cities in order to not catch the virus are bringing it to Maine. Maine must close its borders and return to normalcy.

Gabriel Karam

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