It’s time to reopen

Published 8:17 pm Monday, May 4, 2020

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Dear editor,

Reopening the American economy and schools is better than committing economic suicide and stalling education. Self-protection at this point is an acceptable solution compared to imposed government protection and all its consequences.

Most Americans who have contracted COVID-19 virus did not even know they had it. The huge number of asymptomatic Americans with COVID-19 proves the true average mortality rate is around 0.2%, not that much higher than numbers which formed the basis for alarm.

The recent antibody sampling results from New York confirm a much lower mortality rate. The Swedish government has not imposed virus restrictions, trusts the people to make sound and safe individual decisions, and Sweden is now surviving in good order.

We may have a resurgence of COVID-19 and can in that event go back to maximum isolation. We cannot wait on the manufacturing and distribution of reliable tests for each of the 50 States. Continuing deaths must be weighed against the horrible social, personal and economic effects of having 26,500,000+ recently-unemployed Americans and shuttered businesses.

Millions of Americans are thrown into poverty despite inefficient, uneconomic and paltry subsidy payments made along with misallocated loans to a limited number of supposedly small businesses.

Paying people (with borrowed money) not to work, subsidizing idleness with loans and sharply declining tax revenues are together the very definition of economic suicide.

Everyone says we are in a war. Although you are now safe in your home, please put yourself into the triage mindset of a D-Day medic on Omaha Beach. Triage decisions must be made.

The vulnerable people should self-isolate to the maximum practical extent, and that includes me at age 68. Healthy younger people without underlying health conditions should work with maximum practical social distancing and healthy habits regardless of the consequences to the vulnerable.

The burdens of isolation should not fall on our once-healthy economy. We now idle many millions of productive healthy workers and students to temporarily and inadequately protect from death a tiny fraction of the unemployed. This is not the strategy of advancing nations.

I am sorry for the brutal honesty, but what we are now doing to the world economy has never been done before on this scale. The great majority of deaths involve more than one pre-existing medical or physical condition. The average COVID-19 fatality is above the traditional retirement age of 65.

Yes, there is much we do not know about COVID-19, but our economy does not have time to wait on the research, vaccines, full testing or the best medications.

In the blizzard of scientific unknowns, we see the undeniable principle that for a healthy economy, the maximum number of people need to work. We are supposed to follow science, and the latest epidemiological and healthcare science has just been revealed in New York.

The best interests of the nation as a whole outweigh the risks to the vulnerable. In a real war, the young and healthy are the ones to take the risks of combat, including high disease rates. Young people die in a fighting war; old people die in a war against viruses.

We will fight and win the war against COVID-19 with our superior medical and pharmaceutical research, knowledge, engineering and production. Hard work wins.

John Gleissner