As I keep saying over and over again, unless people feel it is safe to resume their lives outside their homes, the economy will not revive.

  • You cannot declare the economy “open.”
  • You cannot force people to work by screwing around with unemployment benefits.
  • You cannot slogan people back to normal.
  • You cannot squirrel at people and distract them back to normal.
  • You cannot scream at people to get back to normal.
  • You cannot protest to get back to normal.

There is only one way to get people to feel comfortable about leaving their homes and going about their business again, and that is to make them feel it is safe.  Without a Federal plan that crosses state boundaries to make people feel like the virus is under control, the economy will not turn on.

There is no “turn on the economy” or “listen to the epidemiologists.”  It’s an and.  The economy will only turn back on when people understand the risks, and understand the risks are low enough that they will be safe.

Let’s use the TSA analogy.  I’m a well-known security theater hater, but the TSA serves a very important function.  They don’t actually keep terrorists off planes. They’ve shown they’re terrible at keeping weapons, drugs, and annoying people off planes.  They’re a huge hassle and an annoyance.  They’re often racist.  But they make a certain very large population feel safe to fly because someone is doing something across the country.  The very act of theater makes someone who might feel skittish about 9/11 get on that plane.

Don’t listen to me.  Listen to each other:

  • In this poll, 83% are either very or somewhat leery of opening up.
  • And in this poll, 2/3rds of Americans don’t think anything will get back to normal for six more months.

These numbers are big enough to show that the risk calculations go across party lines.  Without a clear communication about the risks, about safety, and without clearly making progress to make people safe, no one is coming out of their homes.  It doesn’t matter how much you want to “open up.”

Unfortunately, the hard work must be done and no one seems to want to do the hard work.

Meanwhile, here in Maryland, on the State level, we’re opening 17 drive through coronavirus testing stations — including one next to my home.   This looks like a nationwide partnership with CVS to get the testing numbers over 500,000/day so that we can at least find the virus and see where it is.  No symptoms necessary.  Testing is free.  I hope they open up more locations.

The first step is to get testing to where it needs to be, so this looks like a pretty snazzy move forward.  The second step is, of course, contact tracing.

Stats:

  • 12,647,791 tested.
  • 1,579,068 confirmed cases.
  • 94,926 confirmed deaths.
  • 371,374 confirmed recovered.
  • 42,434 cases in MD with 2,160 deaths.
  • 1 out of 216 people have it in Howard County.

At least testing is ramping.  That’s something.