While the coronavirus infection and death curves have been flattening, other curves, possibly even more deadly, have been spiking. And the only way to flatten those curves is to get the country back to work.
Unemployment Continue to Spike
Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn Sunday, presidential economic adviser Kevin Hassett said the COVID-19 shutdown was "the biggest negative shock that our economy I think has ever seen" and could result in a 16% unemployment rate.
"We see an unemployment rate that approaches rates we saw during the Great Depression," Hassett said." "During the Great Recession we lost 8.7 million jobs in the whole thing. Now we’re losing that many every 10 days, so the lift for economic policy makers is an extraordinary one."
He added that the U.S. GDP could plummet at much as 30%.
The Suicide Rate Climbs
Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Mark A. Reger said that a combination of economic stress, social isolation, decreased access to community and religious support may be creating a "perfect storm" for suicides globally.
He cautions, however, that "concerns about negative secondary outcomes of COVID-19 prevention efforts should not be taken to imply that these public health actions should not be taken. However, implementation should include a comprehensive approach that considers multiple U.S. public health priorities, including suicide prevention.
"There are opportunities to enhance suicide prevention services during this crisis."
The most heartbreaking suicide to date was that of Dr. Lorna M. Breen, who, at a youthful 49, was the medical director of the emergency department at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, where she treated COVID-19 patients.
"She tried to do her job, and it killed her," said her father, Dr. Philip C. Breen.
Domestic Abuse Spikes Globally
The New York Times reported that the same factors that lead to suicide — social isolation, economic stress, decreased access to community and religious support — also contribute to a rise in domestic abuse.
The Times’ Amanda Taub reported that "with families in lockdown worldwide, hotlines are lighting up with abuse reports, leaving governments trying to address a crisis that experts say they should have seen coming."
A Chinese woman identified only as Lele indicated that she was already in an abusive relationship — but extreme sheltering-in-place restrictions only made it worse.
"During the epidemic, we were unable to go outside, and our conflicts just grew bigger and bigger and more and more frequent, "she said. "Everything was exposed."
Get America Back to Work
The only way to flatten these and other curves is to get the United States back in business again — but with precautions.
That appears to be supported by a recent study of Los Angeles County residents, concluding that while more people may be infected than originally believed, the disease isn’t nearly as deadly as we once thought.
That study was confirmed by physicians in Bakersfield, Calif., after testing more than 5,200 patients.
"Now that we have the facts," Dr. Dan Erickson told 23 ABC News. "It's time to get back to work."
Armed with these and other data, Fox News chief political analyst Brit Hume told network host Martha MacCallum Tuesday night that the case for sheltering-in-place is growing weaker every day.
With that in mind, those at risk can continue to maintain social distancing while everyone else greases the wheels of industry and commerce.
There’s a Monkey Wrench in the Works
The only impediment to opening up the economy is the Democratic Party.
Two years ago, conservative political cartoonist A.F. Branco published a cartoon, "Thoughts and Prayers." It depicted a Democratic donkey knelt in prayer with his eyes closed. He says, "Dear God (if you even exist) please destroy America so that it makes Trump look bad."
And indeed, Democrats appear to be doing exactly that.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has repeatedly slow-walked provisions to get relief to those small businesses and employees most affected by the shutdown.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a socialist-leaning New York Democrat freshman lawmaker, is asking workers to call for a work boycott once the country is opened up again.
"When we talk about this idea of 'reopening society' you know, only in America does the president, when the president tweets about liberation, does he mean go back to work," she said. "When we have this discussion about going back or reopening, I think a lot people should just say 'no.' We're not going back to that."
That sort of thinking has to be rejected. The COVID-19 curve has flattened; it’s time to flatten the other, more deadly curves.
In the meantime, if there are going to be any work boycotts, let them be limited to Congress — beginning with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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