OUR OPINION: Listen to the experts: Now is not the time to relax

OUR OPINION: Listen to the experts: Now is not the time to relax


No one is against reopening business in the United States.

It’s just a matter of timing.

That’s what came through quite clearly Tuesday when experts testified before a Senate committee. Anthony Fauci, the face of caution on the White House’s coronavirus task force, said states face serious consequences if they open too quickly, particularly if they don’t have the safeguards in place before doing so.

All the Plexiglas panels and sanitizing stations won’t do us any good if we don’t have the necessary medical equipment and personnel to handle a surge that comes from sloppy distancing and poor hygiene.

“There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control,” Fauci told the politicians. If that happens, economic recovery could be set back even further.

While his view differs from President Trump’s – who has pushed for states to re-open businesses – it strikes a reasoned tone, one that we should heed.

Yes, we all want to get out of our homes and go somewhere, particularly our workplaces. But we’ve got to make sure we’re doing so in a way that doesn’t trigger that setback. Wearing a mask is a small price to pay if it means saving the life of someone with a compromised immune system. Washing your hands and refraining from touching your face is something that should have been ingrained in grade school.

Similarly, going to a restaurant, a public event or even a grocery store should come with a new set of rules, ones everyone can adhere to.

Until there’s a vaccine for COVID-19, the normal we remember won’t return.

Today, the Southern Hills Mall is opening, cautiously, so shoppers can visit stores they’ve missed for more than a month. Officials there have put guidelines in place; individual stores have gone even further.

As patrons, we should heed their advice and follow directions.

They’re simple, but they could lead to that “new” normal that’s acceptable to all.

Restaurants will follow suit and put their practices in place. Likewise, churches, schools and other gathering places.

But to argue – as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., did – that the virus is on a “relatively benign course” is irresponsible.

Tuesday’s testimony reminded us this isn’t the time to follow the cheerleaders, but to listen to the experts.

Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and others who testified, know what they’re talking about. Politicians are merely looking for a way to change the subject.

By increasing testing, sharing best practices and looking for solutions, we can find that “business as usual” everyone is seeking.

But now is not the time to ease back on anything.

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