Friday, April 17, 2020
The Plan To Reopen
President Trump yesterday unveiled his detailed plan for reopening the country and getting America back to work.
It's clear that Trump listened to health experts and to economic experts. After weighing the concerns of both, President Trump, Vice President Pence and members of the Coronavirus Task Force developed a three-phased plan for reopening the country.
The states will not open all at once, and governors will decide how and when their states open up. For example, they could do it statewide or county-by-county. It's all fact-based, and will be determined by how well the coronavirus is contained in each area, and how well hospitals and medical facilities are functioning in each area.
Below is a brief summary of each phase of the plan.
- All vulnerable individuals (the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions) should continue to self-quarantine.
- When in public, individuals should continue social distancing and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
- Non-essential travel should be avoided.
- Schools and youth camps will remain closed.
- Businesses should encourage teleworking and common areas should be closed.
- Restaurants, gyms and movie theaters can reopen under strict social distancing and cleaning procedures.
- All vulnerable individuals should continue to self-quarantine.
- When in public, individuals should maximize physical distancing as best as possible, and avoid gatherings of more than 50 people.
- Non-essential travel is permitted.
- Schools and youth camps can reopen.
- Businesses are still encouraged to use teleworking, and common areas should remain closed.
- Restaurants, gyms and movie theaters can operate under less strict social distancing, but should maintain vigorous cleaning protocols.
- Vulnerable individuals can resume normal activities, but should avoid crowds.
- Trips to nursing homes can resume.
- Businesses and worksites can resume normal operations.
- Bars, gyms, movie theaters and restaurants can resume normal operations with limited social distancing while maintaining strict cleaning protocols.
For more details, click here.
I think this is an excellent approach. This continues what has been an incredibly astute effort by the president, vice president and the coronavirus task force to manage this pandemic, which no one would have predicted a year ago.
Some states may be able to reopen any day now. More could open by the end of the month. Even some hard hit states, depending on their conditions, could reopen by Memorial Day.
An Amazing Response
It's worth remembering that when all this started, the experts were predicting 2 million deaths in the United States. The administration had inherited a depletednational emergency medical stockpile.
Some states had auctioned off their supply of ventilators because they didn't want to pay to store and maintain them. Some suggested our healthcare system would collapse. The president and vice president took significant steps to ensure that did not happen.
Under Vice President Pence's direction, we began efforts to mitigate the severity of the outbreak and the fatality estimates quickly fell. Not one person who needed a bed in an intensive care unit was denied a bed. Not one person who needed a ventilator was denied a ventilator.
Working with private industries, the president was able to manage existing supplies while rushing new materials into production. By the end of the year, the president estimates we will have more than 137,000 new ventilators to deal with a reemergence of this disease or a new threat.
Return To Normal?
There's a big debate about whether the world will ever go back to business as usual regarding travel, telework and other habits. Dr. Fauci, for example, has suggested that we may never go back to shaking hands again.
I think some of this is seriously overblown. But there's one situation where we must not return to business as usual.
As President Trump has said repeatedly, China has taken advantage of America for decades. They have stolen our jobs and our technology, and it was done over multiple decades and tolerated by administrations of both parties. (I remember well the debates I had with George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential primary when I accused him of being weak on China.)
This will not be easy. China's tentacles are deeply embedded all over the country, particularly in American journalism and the tech industry. Virtually every news source in America is owned by a large corporation that wants to grow in China. I have no doubt those relationships are impacting how our news is delivered.
Bloomberg News, for example, silenced journalists to appease Beijing. But we're also learning that Facebook's fact checkers are connected to China.
The tech giant has announced that it is fact checking all stories about coronavirus and blocking those it alleges are false. Well, it turns out that one of their fact checkers is virologist at a medical school in Singapore who has "collaborative projects" at the Wuhan lab.
When The Epoch Times, a great independent newspaper, ran a story on China, Facebook's "fact checkers" blocked the story. But that story is now being supported by multiple government sources and by reports from the Washington Post and Fox News.
During one of the daily press briefings last week, the president called on a reporter who asked a question with a clear pro-China bias. When Trump challenged the reporter, she insisted that she worked for a private newspaper in Hong Kong.
Well, that was true to a point. It turns out that the paper is owned by a former Chinese military officer, and its coverage is sympathetic to the Chinese Communist Party.
The struggle ahead is not going to be easy. The struggle against the Soviet Union was hard, but it was never an economic power with the ability to exert such tremendous influence in the United States.
By the way, have you noticed that the national Chamber of Commerce, which for years has been one of China's biggest cheerleaders, has fallen strangely silent as more and more evidence comes to light about China's negligence, lying and hoarding of medical supplies?