One of the things that sets the United States apart from the rest of the world is that we are supposed to have certain civil liberties guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution.
Of course the U.S. Constitution has been absolutely trampled on by many of our leaders for decades, but most Americans still deeply cherish the basic rights enshrined in our founding document. Unfortunately, many of our politicians are convinced that all of those rights can be taken away during a "national emergency," and these days, the bar for declaring a national emergency has been set very low.
Yes, this coronavirus pandemic is a major threat, and experts are warning that millions of Americans could die. But in the process of fighting this virus, we don't want to relinquish the freedoms that previous generations of Americans fought so hard to secure for us. As history has demonstrated, once certain freedoms are gone, they can be exceedingly difficult to get back. We are now being warned that this pandemic could last 18 months or longer, and losing any of our freedoms for that long is absolutely unthinkable.
Unfortunately, some of our politicians are apparently thinking about the unthinkable.
I would like for you to consider something that California Governor Gavin Newsom just told the media very carefully:
California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a Sunday presser said that martial law was not necessary to combat coronavirus in his state.
"If you want to establish a framework of martial law, which is ultimate authority and enforcement, we have the capacity to do that, but we are not feeling at this moment that is a necessity," Newsom said.
At this moment?
Does that mean that later on it may become "a necessity"?
And why would he even dare to use the term "martial law" anyway?
Less than 200 Americans have died during this pandemic so far. Yes, the numbers are rising rapidly, but no politician in their right mind should be allowing the term "martial law" to escape from their lips.
That is just going to freak everyone out and cause even more panic.
Without a doubt, citizens of California are already on edge due to the severe restrictions that have already been implemented. In Southern California, Orange County officials have decided to ban virtually all "public and private gatherings":
Orange County officials Tuesday took unprecedented action by banning all public and private gathers beyond those of a single household as jurisdictions across the world grapple with the spread of coronavirus.
County health officer Dr. Nicole Quick issued the order effective immediately prohibiting "all public and private gatherings of any number of people, including at places of work, occurring outside a single household or living space."
And in Northern California, nearly 8 million people have essentially been "locked down":
In Northern California, about 8 million people have been ordered to shelter in place. The Southern California city of Palm Springs issued a similar mandate.
In all one in four Californians live in an area where there is a stay at home when possible order.
Hopefully these measures will slow the spread of the virus.
But what if they don't?
And unless the other 49 states enact similar lockdowns at the same time, people are going to keep bringing the virus back into the state.
At this point COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire all over the nation. If you can believe it, even a couple members of Congress have now caught the virus:
Two members of Congress, Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams, have tested positive for coronavirus in one day, causing other members who may have been exposed to go into self-quarantine and raising the question of whether there are more cases on Capitol Hill.
But most Americans still seem to believe that this pandemic isn't actually that serious.
In fact, one new survey found that a whopping 62% of all Americans believe that the mainstream media "has exaggerated the threat of coronavirus":
62 percent of Americans believe that the media has exaggerated the threat of coronavirus, according to a new Pew Research poll.
The results of the survey found that 63 percent of Americans believe the CDC and public health officials have got the risk of COID-19 about right, with just 21 percent believing they have exaggerated the risks.
To me, the mainstream media was actually very slow to recognize the seriousness of this story.
If they had started warning people much earlier, we would be in far better shape today.
I keep trying to get people to understand that you do not want this virus.
If you doubt this, just consider the immense suffering that one survivor went through:
"Imagine your lungs turning solid. It's like suffocating without holding your nose," said Harris who owns an auto body shop and typically run five miles every day.
"Every time I [lie] down my breathing gets lower and lower. I thought my lungs would fail me. I was screaming for mercy and praying to God."
Does that sound like it is "just like the flu" to you?
Sadly, the truth is that we are just in the very early chapters of this pandemic. According to Dr. Deborah Birx, it is likely that the number of confirmed cases inside the U.S. will "dramatically increase" over the next several days...
"We will see the number of people diagnosed dramatically increase over the next four to five days," Dr. Deborah Birx, of the White House's coronavirus task force, said at a news conference.
The number of cases in New York state grew by more than 1,200. More than 500 of those were in New York City.
And even though there are now more than 3,000 confirmed cases in the state of New York alone, Governor Andrew Cuomo is warning that he believes that the virus "is much more widespread than any of these numbers suggest":
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there are likely "tens of thousands" of COVID-19 cases in the state by residents who never knew they had the illness."
An increase in testing is "revealing more cases," Cuomo said Wednesday on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. "I think it is much more widespread than any of these numbers suggest."
So yes, this virus is a very serious threat, and this pandemic requires a very strong national response.
However, we have got to find a way to fight this virus and maintain our constitutional rights at the same time.
I understand that it isn't always going to be easy to find the right balance, and the temptation for our leaders to overreact is going to be overwhelming at times.
But defeating this virus won't be any sort of a "victory" if we lose what it means to be Americans while we are doing it.
So let us battle COVID-19 with great courage, but let us also carefully guard our constitutional rights whenever they are threatened.
This article originally appeared at the End of the American Dream.
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