This week we have seen an unfortunate, but probably inevitable, trend in Maine and across the country as conservative protesters have gone to state capitals demanding an end to the quarantine.

On Monday, April 20, protests were staged in Augusta, organized by groups called Reopen Maine and Maine Against Excessive Quarantine.

The groups primarily seem to be concerned about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused temporary closures of businesses across the state and widespread layoffs and furloughs of workers. Mainers, like people all over the world, have been working from home or simply social distancing at home to slow the spread of the virus.

We all want a return to normalcy — to get back to work, to go out to our favorite businesses to meet with friends, have our cup of coffee, see a movie, and so on. We all want to see our friends and neighbors return to work.

However, people have to be wise in situations like this. This has been a deadly outbreak. It has claimed more than 40,000 lives in the United States alone and there were about 755,000 confirmed cases by Monday, April 20.

Maine has been fortunate so far to not share heavily in the death toll, but that being said, we here at the Courier have friends and co-workers who have lost loved ones to this disease and it is a very real thing to them. We hope and pray Maine will be spared the worst of it, but our chances of that will be diminished by stupidly and prematurely ending social distancing measures.

In the 1918 flu pandemic, there were two waves. The illness seemed to have run its course by summer and people were hoping it was over, but there was a second wave in the fall, and it was much more severe and deadly than the first. This was seen in flu outbreaks in 1957 and 1968, according to The Guardian.

Practicing distancing — staying inside except when necessary to buy supplies, saying six feet away from others, wearing masks, keeping all but essential workers home, closing schools, restricting gatherings — is working. It is slowing the spread.

This means that the hospitals and health care system will not be overwhelmed all at once with everyone getting sick at the same time. Imagine if the Titanic’s sinking could be slowed down enough that people could get away on the life boats and then send them back for the remaining passengers. That’s all we’re trying to do.

We are in this thing for the long haul, and none of us are happy about it. We can deal with it like adults and with wisdom, listening to medical professionals who are trained in these matters, or we can be rash and emotional.

It should be noted too that these protests are not happening organically. Political operatives have been promoting these protests around the country and similar language is cropping up in all of the social media posts from the protest organizers, according to NPR. This is not helping.

We appreciate the hard work and clear-eyed leadership that Gov. Janet Mills has provided.

We ask readers to stay the course until the doctors and health organizations give the all clear.

Be smart, be patient and stay safe.