Thursday, March 26, 2020

America will open for business - but just not the dangerous way that Trump imagines

JVL in the March 25 The Bulwark counters Trump’s dangerous “Open For Business” fantasy. Here is a phased approach to getting America back to business that is quite different than Trump’s whimsical impulsive

We talked yesterday about the benchmarks that need to be met in order to begin re-opening the economy: A clear understanding of the infected population and rate of transmission; the healthcare system at a steady-state; a rigorous and basically unlimited ability to test and process cases on-site.

But what does “re-opening” the economy look like after those goals are met?

I’ll tell you what it doesn’t look like: Millions of people who may or may not be carrying viral loads crammed on top of each other in churches on a Sunday morning just to make a rhetorical point.

The economy will have to be re-opened in phases.

Manufacturing comes first. You want to get production lines moving and you can do that with reasonably low people density.

In the next tranche you’ll want to get low-density retail open. Daycare facilities. Food-service that can be run at a distance with delivery or carry-out.

After that, you start to think about high-density retail and getting remote-workers back into office settings.

The very last things you think about are big, nonessential, communal spaces: churches, bars, theaters, sporting events.

If you move through the re-opening gradually, at each step making sure the virus isn’t breaking out again, then you build confidence as you go. Because if you think things are bad now, imagine what it will look like if we open up everything again and then have to shut it down because we lose control over the management of the virus.

The idea that America is just going to throw the doors open on a Sunday morning two weeks from now and declare “We’re Open for Business” is yet another one of Trump’s dangerous fantasies and it is irresponsible of him to have planted it in the public’s mind.

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