Most of the USA has been shut down since mid March. For more than 2 months tens of millions of people have been ordered to shelter in place resulting in millions of lost jobs, the probable loss of small businesses that will never re-open, Congressional spending in multi trillions of dollars, a stock market crash that has devastated the retirement savings of a significant portion of the population, and the creation by some communities of tattletales reporting COVID violators and mask shaming reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Commuters deemed "essential" in the Washington, DC area have been pulled over on I66 with the Virginia State Police demanding to "see their papers" to validate a right to go into the office.
While I fully understand the governments' desires to flatten the curve to ensure hospitals are not overwhelmed, closing the entire country to curtail the spread has in many geographical areas done more harm than good. Addicts that rely on Twelve -Step Programs which involves feeling part of a recovery community risk relapse, which can result in death. People that delayed routine medical screenings may have missed a window of opportunity for an earlier diagnosis of a disease that can be best arrested or cured when caught in its infancy. People with mental health issues miss critical in person counseling. People who rely on stress relieving therapies such as massage, acupuncture, Reformer Pilates and bio-feed back risk increased likelihood of heart attack of stroke. People are hording food. Our fishmonger told us on Friday evening that a few panic buyers cleaned him out buying 15-20 pounds of fresh fish instead of purchasing just for the weekend.
It is time to re-open the economy using common sense. People at higher risk should stay home. This includes elderly people, those of us with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, COPD, an auto immune disorder, heart disease, pulmonary disease, kidney disease or any bacterial or viral disease that could be spread in society. People with the ability to do so should be given the opportunity to telecommute. Students with underlying health conditions should be provided with high speed internet and a computer to keep up with studies. This would be an excellent use of the taxpayer's dollars earmarked by Congress for COVID-19 relief. But everybody who is able- bodied, healthy, and able to work, should re-open their businesses using common sense, return to their jobs, and get back to living.
Most people recover from COVID-19. The world did not shut down for AIDS or the swine flu, the dreaded smallpox, yellow fever, polio, cholera, measles, typhoid, tuberculosis, Ebola, Zika, leprosy, the Black Death, or SARS. Destroying the economic health of the world in the pursuit to prevent even one death is admirable, but not smart or sustainable. While it may be politically incorrect to remind people of Darwin's theory of the "survival of the fittest", it is something we must consider. There will always be new diseases that emerge to cull the population. It is not fair. It is often indiscriminate. But we cannot destroy the lives of the survivors to protect all. And in this pandemic, it is those that cannot telecommute, those who must keep their businesses solvent to support numerous families, those who have invested their life's savings and all of their energies to build a business, those who must work to put food on the table, those who have an opportunity that may never come again, those who could not hold the hand or hug a loved one as they succumbed to COVID, those who could not share grief over the loss of a loved one, those who live alone and haven't had a human touch in 60 days that we must consider. It is time to re-open and embrace life.