Political side of the pandemic

photo by Laura Shaw
Zoom interview with Mayor Megan Sladek on April 8th.

With everything happening and lives changing significantly on a daily basis, the main question on most Oviedo residents minds’ is “When will life get back to normal?” Behind this tricky question, that no one seems to have a straight answer for, is the list of policies and guidelines set in place by our government to do exactly that: get everything back to normal as quickly as possible. 

Seeing as the last major pandemic that significantly impacted the United States was the 1918 flu from 1918-1920. COVID-19 has hit the community hard. Government policy must adapt to this crisis, to reduce spread and mitigate the economic consequences. The national government has implemented a number of policies including a stimulus check, travel restrictions and social distancing orders. 

The first reported case of coronavirus in the United States was reported mid January in Washington state and there are currently 895,766 total cases throughout the nation.

 On January 29th President Trump created the White House Coronavirus Task Force to combat the effects of the virus. Forming this task force only after the first case was reported has left room for criticism. 

“On the national level, we lost a month we could have been using to prepare for this pandemic,” Sophomore Sana Yoseph said. 

Florida has 30,839  recorded cases of corona and 1,055 deaths, ranking 8th nationwide. To try and minimize the number of cases and lessen the strain on medical resources, Florida Governor Ron Desantis issued a stay at home order, taking effect April 1. 

Oviedo Mayor Megan Sladek recommends that all citizens listen to the executive order, “stick to the guidelines. I don’t think there’s any value in doing anything more than what’s already out there,” Sladek commented on the policies. But many students have expressed frustration with the state government’s slow response to the virus. 

“Florida should have been enforcing CDC social distancing procedures since early March when they came out,” sophomore Sana Yoseph said, “our state should have taken this seriously from the beginning instead of downplaying the risks for economic gain (from spring break tourism).” 

While other students agree with Sladek and think that there is really nothing else that we can do except follow the guidelines provided by the state. 

“I think local governments should be more strict about people being out and should really work to enforce the state order. Follow the state order, that’s all we can do, just stay inside.” said Junior Izzy Pacheco. 

Seminole County declared a local state of emergency on March 2nd, a month before the statewide stay at home order was enacted, and has since updated it multiple times providing more and more guidelines to help residents stay safe.

It was announced on April 18th that all schools would remain closed throughout the end of the 2019-2020 school year. 

Something that Sladek and DeSantis agree on is limiting the constraints on personal freedoms. Many of the policies are more of a personal choice than anything else, and Sladek agrees that it is a person’s own decision whether to follow them, even if that is controversial.

“How far do you want to go to protect the weakest of the weak,” Sladek said. “If you want to go out and stay 6 feet away from everybody that’s fine, if you want to stay inside, that’s fine too, there are different ways of going about protecting yourself.” 

As of right now, there is no real telling of how long this could be going on for. All Oviedo residents can do right now is take it one day at a time, listen to the news but take it with a grain of salt, according to Mayor Sladek. Each individual family needs to think about what is best for them in order to stay safe and healthy in this difficult time.