Like I said a few days ago after Los Angeles County decided to lock down through July(!), “If you’re one of the many Californians who’ve grown tired of the tax burden and cost of living, an indefinite lockdown might be the last little bit of motivation you need to finally pack up and go.”
Isn’t Rogan a Berniebro, though? How’s he going to fit in in Texas?
Austin or bust, I guess.
Trump should probably wall off California before there’s a mass exodus to a bunch of reddish-purple states, Texas foremost among them, that finally flips them to blue. Watch, then read on.
Some people groused at me following the post about L.A. that I had changed my tune after weeks of skepticism of the “reopen now” push. But I didn’t. Here’s what I said last week amid a long rant about the risk that reopening too quickly will tank the economy even worse than it is now: “I’m fine with ending lockdowns sooner rather than later because I’ve been persuaded by the data I’ve seen in reading over the last few weeks that lockdowns don’t matter much to people’s behavior. Americans were self-isolating in March before most stay-at-home orders were issued. As long as people are being given honest, accurate daily information about the state of the epidemic I’m okay with experimenting by opening businesses back up and having the public act in accordance with its own level of collective risk tolerance.”
If you want to reopen, reopen. My worry isn’t that businesses will be operating, it’s that consumers will be misled by the fact that businesses are operating into believing that conditions are safer than they actually are. We’re not going to BS people into thinking they’re not at risk because we’re afraid they won’t patronize the local pizza joint if they know the truth. Case in point:
BREAKING: Texas officials report 58 new deaths since yesterday – single largest death toll in one day since this started. We have had 116 deaths over three days. Worst three day total this month.
— Jeremy Wallace (@JeremySWallace) May 14, 2020
Rogan’s talking up a state that’s in the process of gradually reopening even though it *might* be trending towards a nasty outbreak. If you’re a Texan, you should be aware of the number of new cases and deaths and act according to your comfort level in visiting those newly reopened businesses. I said last week, and I’ll say it again here, that the vibe I get from some of the “reopen now” group isn’t so much that we need to reopen now as that we need to reopen and then say and do whatever it takes to keep people marching into retail shops and restaurants, potentially up to and including suppressing public health information. We won’t be able to keep the economy afloat if consumers are very reasonably afraid of commercial activity.
Ideally we’d reopen when it’s “safe,” i.e. when we’ve built out the capacity we need to detect new outbreaks early and snuff them out. More testing, more tracing of contacts. “Reopen now” has nothing to say about capacity. But by the same token, neither does “reopen at the end of July,” as L.A. officials want to do. I don’t understand the arbitrary timeline of “reopen now” and I don’t understand the arbitrary timeline of what California wants to do. How about “reopen when we think we have the ability to douse any new viral wildfires once they start burning”?
Anyway. There continue to be signs of national improvement, strengthening the case for reopening sooner rather than later:
— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) May 14, 2020
About 6.5% of Americans tested for Covid-19 are now testing positive, per the Johns Hopkins coronavirus testing hub, a new low.
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) May 14, 2020
I’m not sure why, or even whether, there’s still a debate over reopening. It’s happening. It’s in motion in all but the very bluest states, whatever the local case and death counts may be.
Even some of the very bluest states are reopening. Check out Massachusetts, which has been hit hard by the virus.
Health policy professor Marty Makary published an op-ed today chock full of common-sense ideas on how to slow the spread and keep it slow as commerce resumes. Do as much as possible outdoors. Keep businesses hygienic, with surfaces sanitized frequently and everyone on the premises separated as much as possible. Don’t send infected people back into nursing homes, for cripes sake. Have the most at-risk members of society stay home as much as possible. And of course, wear a mask. If we can’t wait for testing and contact tracing to ramp up before reopening, we can minimize the risk of contagion through insistence on basic precautions.