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Lockdown and Endgame

Lockdown & Endgame
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

The country has effectively been in lockdown for weeks, but many are asking when all of this will change. President Trump optimistically hoped Americans could be in church on Easter. Yesterday was a reminder that we aren’t even close to bringing normalcy to our society.

We need to start talking about an endgame, or to use a military term, we need an exit strategy. Epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists rightly focus on the medical health of humans. But economists and politicians need to focus on the economic and social health of a country that has been shut down.

One of the best ideas I have seen came from a New York Times column by Thomas Friedman who writes about “A Plan to Get America Back to Work.” He quotes Dr. David L. Katz, a public health expert at Yale University. He proposes a targeted approach in which we reboot the economy while also calling for the most vulnerable to shield themselves from infection. He also calls for establishing mobile testing and temperature-check systems like South Korea.

Ronald A. Klain (who served as President Obama’s Ebola response coordinator) writes that it is time to reopen production facilities, even if it has to be done with fewer workers per shift who are spread further apart. We could even allow some stores to open with limited capacity and hours.

These are good ideas that the president and governors should consider, especially since all of these ideas come from people who certainly are NOT fans of Donald Trump. But this is an election year. The moment the president or governors mention these ideas, they will face a firestorm of criticism. We need an endgame, but there will be a political price to pay for implementing it.

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