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Commentary: The Trump Administration wants to re-open America. Are we ready?

Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

Commentary: The Trump Administration wants to re-open America.  Are we ready?
April 23
00:05 2020

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

In a million years, I never thought I would hear someone talk about re-opening America. How can that be? America has always been open. It has never been closed. Well, the unthinkable has happened.

America has been officially closed for a while now. Commerce for the most part has been stopped. Only essential businesses have remained open. Just a few days ago the president said America will re-open gradually. It is a three-pronged approach. In his conversation with our country’s governors, he stated some states were in a better position to re-open. He is leaving that decision up to them to make.

For example, in Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has already said that “our state will not be one of the first states to open.” He said, “This is not a cookie cutter approach where one size fits all. We don’t like it, but we are a hotspot here.”

While some may differ with his assertion, Louisiana was leading the country at one point in the number of new cases of the coronavirus. He has said repeatedly while the numbers have improved and the curve appears to be flattening, we are still not out of the woods. He added, “Social distancing will be in place until there is a vaccine.” In my opinion, this will be for awhile as a remedy has not been identified.

The City of New Orleans has stretched its policy of no contact until May 16. Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced this decision this past Wednesday at her daily press conference. While some are disappointed, the decision was based on public health and safety. Currently, there have been 1,267 people to pass away from COVID-19 in Louisiana.

Other states such as Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia, and Wisconsin are slow to re-open. Protests are happening in Michigan and Wisconsin because many of their citizens want to return to work. There are no quick fixes to this health crisis that has huge economic implications. We are going to pay now or pay later, but we will pay for the decisions we make.

Florida and Texas are opening some of its recreational facilities. The Sunshine State is opening its beaches in Jacksonville. It is revealing that Florida has made that decision given that a large percentage of its residents are senior citizens. The COVID-19 research has already shown that older Americans are more likely to contract the disease. If I were a senior citizen living in that state, I would stay at home. Use discretion in the short term and it will pay off in the long term.

Many senior citizens have pre-existing conditions such as heart problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure, all of which means we must stay out of harm’s way. While our knee-jerk reaction might be to rush back into the public square, we should not do so.

Medical experts and health reports suggest that we need at least 500,000 testing kits. We need to know who has COVID-19 and who does not. Right now, the disease is beating us, so we must be wise about how to attack it. It is my thinking at this time that we should have a mandatory face-mask-wearing law. Simply put, that when we are in public, that we should wear a face mask. This law should be enacted sooner rather than later.

This will curb the spread of COVID-19. Other measures that we are taking are working and wearing a face mask will work too. Changing our behavior and the way we do things will ultimately benefit us. If we do not, we will become a statistic and that is not what we want.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator and can be reached at ewers.jr56@nullyahoo.com.

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