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Business Insider - data reflects information prior to April 24, 2020
How can you reopen something that was never closed?
With several states relaxing “shelter in place” orders this past weekend, America is poised to find out.
To be clear, all this talk of reopening the economy and getting back to normal is premature; full stop!!!
This is a pandemic. The word pandemic means that this is a global epidemic. In other words, the virus is agnostic, and it does not care about or respect our manmade, imaginary state borders. It does not care what you or your Mayor or your Governor thinks, and it does not care that you need to get back to work. It will affect every state. In fact, it already has.
And although many states and local jurisdictions have taken extensive measures to “close” their economies, the USA as a whole has not. Several states have never issued shelter in place orders, and there is tremendous variation in what such orders mean from state to state. Now states are "reopening."
Business Insider - data reflects information as of April 27, 2020
So let me tell you a little story…
I’m originally from the cold weather state of Michigan. And in Michigan, if a door is open in a home in the cold of February, we close the door.
Why, you ask?
Because it’s cold outside!!!
If the door is 5-feet wide, closing it 4 feet and 11 inches is not enough. Yes, just 1 inch of cold air blowing inside of a warm home in the middle of February in Michigan is a problem; a BIG problem. If you don’t know where a cold draft is coming from, you look at every door and every window to find out where that cold draft is coming from. Once you find it, you close the door, ALL THE WAY!
And here’s the kicker; once the door is closed, NO ONE asks the question, “can we reopen the door now?”
You know why no one asks that question? BECAUSE IT’S STILL COLD OUTSIDE!!!
Ultimately, we reopen the door when the weather conditions outside have improved.
Did you get that?
Talk of reopening the economy is premature because:
By the way, we still don’t know so many things about this novel coronavirus. But we do know that shelter in place orders can limit its devastation. We know this from other countries that put in place shutdown orders. We also know this from cities & states here that are now seeing declining numbers of cases and deaths as a result of putting in place strict shelter in place orders (e.g. Seattle, New York).
Yet there are folks protesting such orders.
I find these “Constitutional Rights” protests at various State Capitals frustrating. I understand the protester’s fears, concerns and sentiments. And yes, we have a Constitution that guarantees us certain freedoms. But EVERYONE has these fears, concerns and sentiments; not just the protesters. The protesters are not unique in their desire to ‘restart’ the economy. Everyone wants to go to work to continue making a living. Everyone wants to be able to go to the malls, restaurants, churches, concerts and sporting events. We all want to freely visit our friends and loved ones. And we all want to exercise our Constitutional Freedoms.
The protesters ARE NOT SPECIAL!
Sadly, by not adhering to stay at home recommendations, regulations and laws, the protesters are prolonging the amount of time the economy suffers.
I find Mayors, Governors, and religious leaders who are “reopening” barber shops, beaches, tattoo parlors and churches while COVID-19 cases in their areas haven’t consistently declined – actions that are in direct defiance of the guidelines set out by the White House – to be irresponsible.
But here we are. So here’s my solution:
If people want to go to work, despite the advice of scientists & medical professionals from the CDC & NIH, and despite local & state regulations and White House recommendations, let them. BUT, those people should be required to sign a waiver indicating that they waive their right to be seen by doctors if they get sick with anything. The waiver needs to be strapped to the person at all times so 1st responders and hospitals know not to risk saving that person’s life. It would be likened unto a “do not resuscitate” notice that people put in their Wills. It would be those person’s way of ‘putting their money where their mouth is.’
To the states that reopen in direct opposition to the sensible guidelines outlined by the White House, go ahead and open up the businesses in your states. But in so doing, you forfeit any claim to future Federal aid that goes to states to combat the coronavirus.
Reopening the economy now is the wrong decision, and I can’t even believe we are having this discussion right now. It’s still ‘cold’ outside!
-Dr. Boyd “The Chemist”