Thinking About ‘Getting Back to Business’

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It was refreshing to learn that serious discussions are underway about reopening parts of our country – away from COVID-19 “hot zones” and highly congested cities – by May 1.

Fortunately, most citizens have taken seriously the Centers of Disease Control’s recommendations in response to this global pandemic.

This week while shopping at a Yukon grocery store and walking in a local park, I noticed everyone was making the effort to stay a safe distance from each other – and many were wearing face-coverings.

More than ever, people strive to avoid eye contact … as part of our no-personal-contact society. It’s the “new normal”, to borrow a hackneyed phrase.

Being especially careful to protect our sick and over-65 population from the spread of any disease is critical more than ever.

Just ask anyone who’s in a hospital, rehab center, nursing home, or assisted living facility. They are under absolute “lockdown” and can have NO visitors … not even close family!

We as a community, state and nation must understand the impact that “shutting down” businesses, schools and sporting activities has had.

Taking this COVID response too far could end up causing irreparable harm to the United States if retail businesses and offices don’t soon reopen and people get back to work.

Our economy has tanked fast and there’s only so much money we can print before have an even Greater Depression. The economy will likely collapse in a few weeks unless something is done to “get back to business.”

We all value life, and more than 30,000 lives have been lost in our country due to the novel coronavirus. (It is called COVID-19 because it was discovered in 2019 not because it’s the “19th version” of the virus).

But we cannot shut down indefinitely until we have no more cases. That’s just not realistic.

Our president and other national leaders have a difficult decision to make.

They realize that reopening the country and relaxing social distancing restrictions will lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases. This is inevitable.

It’s also inevitable that when you leave your home and drive on the highway, you risk getting in an accident and even dying. There is risk is many things we do, but we can’t constantly live in fear.

I believe citizens can “shelter in place” and stay away from other people for only so long before long-term harm occurs. We cannot be afraid to be around each other and I hate to think we will never be able to shake people’s hands again!

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PROGRESS STAYS STRONG: Your Yukon Progress staff continues to come to the Spring Creek Building office daily to prepare our print and online editions.

Our publisher, Randy Anderson, is committed to providing a minimum three-section newspaper twice weekly. Our staff also produces the weekly Piedmont and Okarche papers.

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THE WORST DISEASE: Nearly 22 million people have filed unemployment claims in the past month, NBC News reported Thursday. And that’s just “new” jobless claims.

I fear for these many millions of otherwise able-bodied citizens who have been told (or have grown to believe) they should not work. The longer someone’s body and mind is dormant, the longer it will take to get them back functioning property.

Perhaps the worst disease we face is poverty. And it could kill many times more people than COVID-19, or the flu for that matter.

Poverty kills people in massive numbers. We’ve seen that throughout history. And keeping millions of otherwise-productive people sheltered at home away their jobs will cause a spike in depression, domestic violence, drug use, and divorce.

Our national debt continues to climb, now exceeding $24.3 trillion. How many more multi-trillion-dollar federal bailouts can the U.S. economy endure?

Many Yukon businesses need to be able to open back up soon so they can start generating sales tax revenue again and get people off unemployment.

We can still practice physical distancing and take other precautions to reduce the risk of illness.

There’s no easy solution, and even a partial reopening will cause COVID and other viruses to spread faster. It’s just a reality. But how much longer can our economy endure until we’re in a depression?