States are reopening their economies after shutting down for at least several weeks, in some cases nearly three months. Small and large businesses alike are beginning to pick up the pieces as states lift their shelter-in-place orders and Americans are slowly going back to work. Naturally, Democrats and some news organizations are pushing a narrative about a “second wave” of the virus.
The claim of a “second wave” is because of increases in newly reported cases of COVID-19 in some states that reopen. Of course, an increase in cases was to be expected as more people began leaving their homes, particularly in light of recent protests.
According to Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Report, the mobility trends for retail, recreation, grocery stores and work in the states that are the focus of the media’s anxiety — Arizona, Florida and Texas — are still down compared with the baseline, a measure of the median number of visitors or time spent in such establishments. Each of those states began to reopen by at least mid-May.
Without question, we should all take precautions to protect vulnerable populations. We know that people 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, represent 81% of deaths caused by COVID-19. More than 50,000 deaths caused by COVID-19, or about 40% of all deaths, are tied to long-term care facilities. We know that individuals with preexisting conditions like diabetes, liver disease and serious heart conditions are also vulnerable.
Before COVID-19, the American economy was performing well. The unemployment rate was 3.5%, a 50-year low. Since then, millions of Americans have lost their jobs or been furloughed. The May jobs report showed progress, with 2.5 million jobs added and a declining unemployment rate. We need to keep building on this progress.
The Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex on June 16, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Many businesses have taken steps to protect consumers through the use of face masks, mitigating the risk of infections. States should continue moving forward with reopening their economies, and those of us who are healthy and can return to work can and should do so.