A tale of two states: a COVID-19 comparison

   written by Tanner Page

     COVID-19, or Coronavirus, is an illness that has caused an uproar in countries all over the world. Schools are being shut down, restaurants are closing, a large part of the world is coming to a full quarantine. Preventing the spread of the virus seems like a main priority to every state and county. Big cities like Los Angeles and New York City seem to be getting more attention due to their large population and large attractions. New York has the most confirmed cases of the illness so far. Yet, their response has been hesitation. California being the third highest state of confirmed cases, has closed schools until the end of the school year. States who have done similar procedures include Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia, so far. Some states, like Indiana, are taking drastic, but necessary, measures to stop the spread of the virus. 

     “I’ve stayed home. I haven’t gone to stores or restaurants, but I have taken a few walks around the block with my dogs. I think it’s important to social distance because you don’t know if you’re carrying it and you can help save peoples lives. You don’t know who you are affecting, so it’s selfish to go out frequently,” says Samantha Porti, a New York resident on preventing the spread of COVID-19.

     According to USNEWS, Utah, Minnesota, New Mexico, and California seem to be the most prepared for economic upheaval. State stress tests are taken to see how well a certain state’s budget would hold in the midst of unexpected shock, like a global pandemic. These states conduct regular tests and have identified a number of scenarios that would help protect them and their budgets. These states have built up certain rainy day funds for scenarios specifically like this. According to THEHILL, the most vulnerable state is Maine. This is due to the large number of elder people and a large number of citizens who are self-employed or work in smaller businesses. The higher number of elders living in a state means more people collecting dependency and less working. Similar to Maine is Florida, both being vulnerable for the same reasons.

     “A number of states specifically cited COVID-19 related layoffs, while many states reported increased layoffs in service related industries broadly and in the accommodation and food services industries specifically, as well as in the transportation and warehousing industry, whether COVID-19 was identified directly or not,” said the U.S Labor Department in a news release. 

     There is not much news on Indiana’s economy. It’s suffering, just the same as other states, but the governor is confident the state will bounce back amid the pandemic. Even though Indiana’s main revenue is going to drop intensively. More than 130,000 Hoosiers applied for unemployment at the beginning of April and unemployment benefits are being altered in relation to the Coronavirus. For example, benefits will be paid to those who file their unemployment claims late and will allow individuals to continue to collect unemployment eligibility if they take work leave due to COVID-19. In Indiana, the maximum weekly unemployment amount is set to $390 and workers who are either self-employed who have independent contractors might find themselves being rejected. In neighboring states, like Ohio, the benefits are much more generous. An individual with no dependents could be getting a maximum of $480 a week. Illinois’ maximum is $484. Although, tons of people are being denied unemployment in states everywhere.

     The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the banning of large social gatherings with 10 or more attendees. Certain states are doing everything in their power to enforce this ban. In Maryland, 38 people have been arrested for violating this newly founded rule. Maryland state police say they have over 17,000 accomplice checks. Other states seem to be having the same idea. A New York City bartender was arrested for violating an executive order against nonessential gatherings. In Tampa, Florida a pastor was arrested, similarly, for holding a service with more than ten people in an Evangelist church. Indiana’s stay-at-home order seems to be flexible as no arrests have been made on the order. 

     “People should be made to follow the social distancing order, but arresting people should depend on the severity of their crime. In some cases though, arresting people would probably be the only option. Also to demonstrate the importance of social distancing, arrests might be necessary to show the penalties of not following the rule,” said sophomore Mia Isaac.

     As of today, Indiana’s COVID-19 death toll reaches 785. Marion County and counties surrounding have been affected the most. The state has reported 14,395, in total confirmed cases. IU health hospitals currently have more than 230 patients admitted, but have released over 300. The Indiana government seems to be doing everything in their power to keep services available for those who are ill. Although, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicts there will soon be a shortage in ventilators and ICU beds. The Trump administration backed out of the one billion dollar deal which would provide more ventilators country-wide. This leaves Indiana exposed to the decline of resources.  Indiana will see a decline in just about everything from health resources to revenue. 

     One thing that all states have in common is their struggling economy and the spread of Coronavirus. All states are doing everything in their power to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it doesn’t stop with government shelter at home orders or business closings. To prevent the spread, people everywhere have been advised to practice social distancing, avoid coming into contact with other people, apart from one’s family, and don’t leave the house unless it is absolutely necessary. States who have followed these procedures have seen huge changes. Massachusetts went five days and saw a massive decline in the number of new Coronavirus cases. Even countries, such as South Korea, who have followed their countries prevention procedures have had a significant loss of infected patients. United States government officials hope to see the virus dissolve in around twelve weeks in the country, although some doctors say the process could take up to a full year. 

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