Too Soon to Re-Open The Economy?

We are facing a big challenge: no jobs and no money, the economy suffers. At the moment, over 32 Million people in America are jobless, most surviving on savings and unemployment compensation. Tens of thousands of business owners are hurting for lack of customers and slow re-opening. Is it safe to re-open the economy while coronavirus cases are still on the upswing, daily hospitalizations and deaths are still happening? Wouldn’t it be wiser to re-open when cases are proven to be down?

With vaccines far in the horizon, a weakening economy and mounting financial pressures to pay rent, bills, loans and to live a normal life as before, millions of people have adopted  a “I will take my chances” attitude, despite warnings from health officials that we may be re-opening prematurely.  Phrases like “social distancing” and “wearing masks” are popular, but common sense isn’t always common practice. While I would like to have more faith in society, that we will all follow the established rules for the benefit of all, that’s wishful thinking at best.

It’s important to not ignore the fact that some people refuse to do the right thing, such as social distancing and will even assault those trying to protect the public. One Dollar store security guard was killed after telling customers they needed to put on their masks to be inside the store.

A trip to the local grocery store will quickly show you that many wear masks and many don’t and act like there is no need for protection for themselves or those around them.  Contrary to other developed countries, many in the U.S. still don’t care about the rules. They act like nothing is going on. Like it’s all a hoax and media hype.  77,000 dead in a just few weeks, and many in the public still don’t use PPE!

Consequently, the logic is simple: more people out, more infections. More infections, more deaths.  If people stay isolated with no money and no financial assistance, they will end up homeless with or without their families. Not everyone has relatives or parents to stay with. The homeless population would explode, shelters would be in panic and more people would come down with the disease. Can you imagine being seriously ill with the effects of coronavirus and living under a bridge in out of your car? This is what people are scared of. Tent living for the Summer and Fall?

In my opinion, we should have waited another month to evaluate whether cases are going down. Re-opening most businesses to save the economy is a noble act, but it should be done wisely, prudently and only when there is evidence that millions more won’t get infected. Otherwise, it will cause an inevitable lockdown. What is going to happen? Open up for 3 months, lockdown, open up, lockdown?  Print more money to assist the financially strapped?

Put more money into work-at-home planning and more emphasis on telecommuting?  Imagine opening up call centers all over the U.S. and gathering everyone into one room with the same air recirculating all day? Would that prevent infections if everyone is pre-tested daily, kept more than 6 ft distance and masks were required for their shifts?

Would everyone need to sign wavers that they can go to work at their own risk and that if they came down with the virus they agree not to sue the employer?  Or would it be cheaper and more efficient to keep everyone working from home for 2020?

Given, some jobs make it impossible to work from home. Police can’t work from home. Firemen can’t extinguish fires from home, medical emergency, nurses, doctors, dentists, etc., cannot work from home.  You cannot have a virtual hair cut.

What’s going to happen if Bill Gates is right? What if the Fall brings on a more serious wave of the disease? What if a percentage of all these people that are out now end up infecting millions of others? There are unanswered questions. Why does it seem that government officials dispute what the CDC and health officials are recommending?  How many lost lives are acceptable for the sake of re-opening the economy in a premature fashion? Collateral damage in an invisible war against an invisible enemy? The virus has not taken a vacation. It’s still out there looking for hosts.