I’m happy that my neck of the woods (literally in some areas) is beginning to reopen, but it’s bittersweet. I’m not a fan of #lockdownforever or recklessly reopening, but it’s a false choice that those are our only two options because there is a middle ground that makes a lot more sense that the federal government should have been working on but didn’t.
The point of stay at home orders and social distancing recommendations was never to defeat the virus, it was to buy time for the government to massively ramp up testing, establish contact tracing protocols across the country, work on a vaccine, flatten the curve so as to not overload the health care system, and raise the line above the curve so that the health care system could handle more. There are more policy actions that could have been taken, but it’s a moot point now since we’re choosing between lockdown forever and recklessly reopening, neither of which are good deals.
It’s not that the federal government did anything wrong per se, it’s that it has effectively done nothing and abdicated its responsibility to the states when it was supposed to be an intermediary trying to steer the country in the right direction. Imagine you’re with a very drunk friend at a bar and she wants to drive home. Your job is to do something, anything, to prevent her from driving home. Calling a taxi, driving her home yourself, hanging out with her until she sobers up, etc.
It sucks that we’re reopening while 2,000 people die every day. I mean, in comparison we lost roughly 3,000 Americans on 9/11.