From a Google Image Search – NPR.com
First Trump left the approach to the novel coronavirus up to the states. States were competing for PPE’s and ordering secret shipments to be hidden away in undisclosed locations. A fifty-state approach left us with these waves of virus as different states have been peaking at different times. Then he ignored the only things that work against this virus – masks and social distancing and he made it almost patriotic not to wear a mask or stay home or get testing. He made it about ‘freedom.’ “Liberate Michigan,” he declared in a tweet.
People seem very concerned about bars. They want their bars back. They want their sports back. They think that so few people die from this virus that we should just ignore it and go about our business, which is mainly about the economy (and pleasure and bingeing). We seem to be a nation of hedonists, out for instant gratification. Life is short. Carpe diem. Perhaps shorter than you know with this ‘herd mentality’ approach.
But think about how quickly China and other countries sidelined this virus and did get back to business. Of course, China is an authoritarian state. They could force people into quarantine and they did. They could contact trace and if you didn’t like it the other option was jail. America cannot do these things and thank goodness for that. But a concerted campaign, calling on people’s commonsense desire to open up the economy and their patriotism might have had the same effect if our President could inspire Americans in this way. However, he can’t and he won’t.
Clearly many of us believe that if we did our due diligence for a month; if Congress subsidized the economy for that month; if we all wore masks, kept our distance and sacrificed those crowd pleasures we love so much, then we could drop that curve down very low. Then the economy could open back up without this ghoulish bargain with life and death. If we all cooperated with contact tracing and quarantining and we were assured that we would not lose our jobs could we get it all back in pretty short order as other places have managed to do? Or will they have a new wave of the virus regardless of their careful health practices? It’s a risk. Whatever way we approach this there are risks.
So, what would you choose? Are you the go with herd immunity and keep the society open, just go about your life as if the virus did not even exist type?
Or are you the — take one month and get really serious about this, buckle down and do our due diligence with financial support from our federal government to stomp on those rising curves, and then stick to the health directives as we reopen — type? Perhaps we would be able to reopen completely if we made this a patriotic war to save our entire way of life; a voluntary war, but with all the social coercion of the stop smoking campaigns.
What would you want to do if you were President? What would you like to see this President do?