It looks like California is starting to open up, and that’s good news. Some people might not agree. However, the quarantine was not expected to stop all exposure to the virus forever; that simply isn’t reasonable. After two months of ‘sheltering in place’. We now have ways to control the pandemic, but we also have a crippled economy. 39 million Americans have been laid off from their jobs. Some of those jobs will not come back.
The government spent.$3 trillion dollars managing the crisis to date; it is considering spending another $3 trillion – but it is money we don’t have. The state of California has gone from a 5 Billion dollar surplus to a 54 Billion dollar deficit – and the state is making draconian cuts to help cover the loss.
We simply can’t afford to stay shut down. People have to work. Businesses need to provide their goods and services. We must get the wheels of the marketplace turning again.
Remember that the quarantine was initiated to give our medical service time to adjust to the pandemic. Staff had to be trained on how to control the contagion. Hospitals needed to build up supplies – ventilators, masks, protective gear – all were in short supply. Our goal was to ‘flatten the curve’ so hospitals were not inundated with patients. We did all that. But we also needed – and still need – to protect the most vulnerable among us, the people with preexisting conditions or of advanced years who could die from this disease.
The quarantine worked to reduce the initial impact of the virus. Our medical services are as ready as they ever will be to handle the load. To continue to keep healthy people at home instead of allowing them to go to work – or just spend the day in a park – seems wrong. A quarantine keeps sick people at home, not healthy ones. It flies in the face of all our country stands for to continue the quarantine of healthy people.
We don’t need to keep the world at a standstill. We’ve run up a huge debt and lots of problems. We now know how to protect ourselves and others with masks, hand washing, and social distancing. Let’s get off the couch and get to work.
About the Author
Len Wilcox is a retired scientist who also ran a newspaper and has written for agricultural publications since the 1980s. He was a regular contributor to California Farmer Magazine. His commentary “The Western View” is a regular feature on Farm City Newsday and AgNet West.