• Tue. Jul 7th, 2020

Reopen MN

Apr 16, 2020

This week I was happy to discover that I am not alone in my belief that it is time to slowly start reopening businesses.
I can understand the May deadline but a plan needs to be in place and extending anything beyond the beginning of May and definitely anything past Memorial Weekend is asking for huge rebellions.

One of the members of the group I found wrote this:

At some point we must agree upon an acceptable level of risk with this thing. If not, we can no longer function as a society. The question is…what is that level? Is it the point at which no single person is at risk of contracting COVID-19? This is an unobtainable and unreasonable goal. Equally unreasonable is immediately flipping the economic switch to full on and feeding the virus back to full pandemic mode. Somewhere between these two indefensible extremes is a point where this acceptable level of risk can be largely agreed upon and maintained.

We all accept risks on a daily basis. Driving your car carries with it a level of risk. Banning cars would reduce that risk to zero. On the other extreme, elimination of all speed limits and traffic laws raises that risk to an unacceptable level. As a result, we, as a society, have reached an agreed upon level of risk by finding a balance between the two extremes.

The same can be said for air travel, eating food prepared by others, visiting high crime areas to attend a ballgame or concert (I’m looking in your direction Minneapolis), and, yes, for diseases like COVID-19. The complete eradication of the risk is certainly the ideal but the steps we must take to achieve that goal are unreasonable if we want to continue as a functioning and productive society.

To say that those who want to begin on the path towards reopening our economy don’t care about people dying is irresponsible and insulting. As is the argument that any and all economic and individual rights trump any and all health concerns. This “my way or the highway” attitude sets up a false dichotomy of extremes which only serves to inflame emotions and divide us. There is a middle ground and the fear among most of us here, I believe, is that we see the scales tipping towards an economic disaster that will pose incredible danger and create irreparable harm to our society for untold number years to come.

A vaccine for COVID-19 will eventually be developed. When it is, people will still be in danger of contracting it but at levels we must deem acceptable or we will become paralyzed and ineffective as a state or as a nation. The time is now to start resurrecting our economy or we face a very real crisis that no vaccine will mitigate or cure and will affect the lives of every single American citizen, certainly for the rest of my lifetime.