Different Takes: What Reopening The Economy Tells U.S. About Its Priorities; Lessons From Countries That Locked Down And On Sweden’s Call
Opinion writers express views on these pandemic issues and others.
The Wall Street Journal:
Why Does Reopening Polarize Us?
The debate over reopening the economy has a peculiar characteristic: It breaks down almost entirely along political lines. Liberals emphasize the dangers of an open society, shaming those who want to go back to work. Conservatives argue the opposite. Red states are steadily reopening, while most blue states lag. House Democrats believe it isn’t safe for lawmakers to go back to work, while the Republican-controlled Senate is back in session. It isn’t obvious that such a debate should be partisan, yet it is. Why? One popular explanation is that all roads lead to President Trump. Whatever he says, the left will say the opposite. (Dan Crenshaw, 5/18)
The New York Times:
The Phony Coronavirus Class War
A Washington Post article on Sunday described people in a posh suburb of Atlanta celebrating liberation from coronavirus lockdown. “I went to the antique mall yesterday on Highway 9 and it was just like — it was like freedom,” said a woman getting a pedicure. “Yeah, I’m going to do the laser and the filler,” said a woman at a wine bar, looking forward to cosmetic dermatology. “When you start seeing where the cases are coming from and the demographics — I’m not worried,” said a man lounging in a plaza. (Michelle Goldberg, 5/18)
The Wall Street Journal:
Chinese Lockdown Redux
Remember those graphs showing that Beijing’s draconian lockdown of Wuhan and other parts of China had beaten the coronavirus more effectively than any other public-health measures anywhere? Well, the virus didn’t stay beaten, to judge by new cases emerging in Jilin province that have prompted another lockdown. Jilin, in the country’s northeast, had reported around 120 new Covid-19 cases by this weekend. It’s not clear how this cluster started—officials initially suggested the disease re-entered China from nearby Russia—but local transmission also has occurred. Cue another general shutdown, as the government rushed to halt transport in and out of the region and imposed new limits on daily life. This is the latest example of China’s experience confirming warnings that even draconian lockdowns don’t eliminate the coronavirus. (5/18)
Coronavirus: Why Britain Doesn't Want To Come Out Of Lockdown
Rival soccer teams in Germany’s Bundesliga clash in an empty stadium, Italians meet for socially distant restaurant dining and tourists are visiting the Acropolis again. Things are reopening in Europe. Not so much in Britain. Here, the lifting of restrictions has been a source of bitter controversy, confusion and nervousness. Britons may be pouring into parks and hitting the roads again, but 46% say the recent limited changes to lockdown rules go too far. Just one in 10 says the lifting of restrictions doesn’t go far enough. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have refused to follow England’s reopening plans. (Therese Raphael, 5/19)
The Washington Post:
Did Sweden Make The Right Call On Limiting Its Lockdown?
Sweden offers an appealing model to many people who are fatigued by the hardships of pandemic lockdown or who were never convinced it was entirely necessary. The Nordic country took some measures to control the spread of the coronavirus: It banned groups larger than 50 people, called for social distancing and put older students on video learning. But it did not take a draconian approach. Schools for those under 16 remained open, as did many bars, restaurants and gyms, with social distancing. That raises the question of whether the example is worth emulating.In terms of illness and death, it appears Sweden has paid a higher price for its approach. (5/18)
Coronavirus Exposes How Putin Failed Russia's Health Care System
It’s been an uncomfortably swift rise to the top of the coronavirus tables for President Vladimir Putin. From only a handful of Covid-19 cases in early March, Russia now has more than 290,000 of them and a rate of new infections that puts it second only to the U.S. — a country with more than twice as many people. Few governments have made a success of managing the epidemic. Yet the rapid spread of the illness has exposed a Russian health system that’s suffering from poor funding, incomplete reforms that neglected much of the country and a misguided attempt to replace imports of drugs and medical equipment with local production — at least until two ventilators caught fire and killed patients. An authoritarian regime that dislikes bad news and fuels disinformation hasn’t helped. (Clara Ferreira Marques, 5/19)
The Washington Post:
China Agreed To A Global WHO Review. Where Was Trump?
President Xi Jinping of China maneuvered adroitly Monday in a video appearance before the World Health Assembly, the annual meeting (being held virtually) of the 194-member World Health Organization. Under pressure for an international probe into the Chinese origin of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Xi agreed to a more global review led by the WHO, one that is less likely to cast blame on China alone. Mr. Xi sweetened the pot with a pledge of $2 billion to combat the virus around the world.We have been critical of China’s early coverup of the outbreak in Wuhan, which hampered the response. Nor was it smart of the WHO to lavish praise on China when the concealment was evident. But Mr. Xi’s announcement Monday shows a desire by Beijing to remain engaged in fighting the pandemic, wield influence at the WHO and be at the table when the lessons of the disaster are weighed. (5/18)
To Prioritize Both Student Learning And Student Health, Schools Must Work Differently This Fall
As states and communities across the nation address the significant public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and begin the intentional reopening of our communities, it is important to also look ahead to an important benchmark: the return to school for the nation’s 51 million Pre-K — 12 students. COVID-19 has created not only a devastating public health crisis but a real crisis in learning, requiring its own intensive recovery planning. (Former Sen. Bill Frist and David Mansouri, 5/18)
The New York Times:
New York Doesn't Need More Policing During The Coronavirus
Of the 125 people arrested over offenses that law enforcement officials described as related to the coronavirus pandemic, 113 were black or Hispanic. Of the 374 summonses from March 16 to May 5, a vast majority — 300 — were given to black and Hispanic New Yorkers. Videos of some of the arrests are hard to watch. In one posted to Facebook last week, a group of some six police officers are seen tackling a black woman in a subway station as her young child looks on. “She’s got a baby with her!” a bystander shouts. Police officials told The Daily News the woman had refused to comply when officers directed her to put the mask she was wearing over her nose and mouth. (5/18)
Los Angeles Times:
Georgia Coronavirus Data Made Reopening Look Safe. It Wasn't
Nothing about the spread of the coronavirus or the nature of the disease suggests that it’s safe to get back to business as usual. And yet “reopen” is the word on almost every American’s lips, despite apocalyptic warnings from public heath experts suggesting that, without an aggressive national public health strategy, the country could face its “darkest winter.” In the absence of a coherent federal public health response, millions of Americans are trying to will the coronavirus away through the sheer force of their God-given exceptionalism. Mass delusion seems a dubious strategy for ending the coronavirus crisis. And yet if you look at the data coming out of Georgia over the past month — which had one of the earliest and most aggressive efforts to reopen its economy — you might be convinced that there is little danger in a broad economic reopening. (Matthew Fleischer, 5/18)
Baker Moves Slowly To Reopen The State — And Swiftly To Remove Nursing Homes’ Coronavirus Liability
Baker is moving cautiously to reopen the state. But when it comes to protecting the nursing home industry, he moved swiftly and boldly. Baker filed legislation on April 8, saying it was necessary to protect health care workers and facilities from an unprecedented health care challenge. The bill flew through the House and Senate and was signed into law on April 17. As other such state laws passed around the country, the Massachusetts law protects the nursing home industry and hospitals from civil liability for injuries to patients during the coronavirus crisis. (Joan Vennochi, 5/18)
Senior Independent Living Population Needs Coronavirus Care Too
As Massachusetts residents wait in anticipation for an escalated reopening of the state in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a group of us lives in fear we will continue being the demographic with the highest casualties of the virus. We were not visible before COVID-19, and we are not being included in important policies to protect our lives now. We are the neglected group called the senior independent-living population. (Patricia J. Burns, Herman Chernoff, Jerome I. Friedman, and Wilfred E. Holton, 5/19)