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We need a plan to reopen America


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The United States is entering a precarious few weeks in the fight against the coronavirus. New York City’s medical system is on the brink of collapse as the number of patients with the COVID-19 virus requiring intensive care is overwhelming system capacity. While it may be possible to channel scarce resources to the city to increase capacity, that becomes much more difficult if other hot spots such as San Francisco and Seattle follow a similar fate. Then we could be talking about a nationwide collapse of the medical system. 


So while it’s understandable that national, state, and local leaders are focused on trying to avoid this dire scenario through aggressive measures that require mass lockdowns and business closures, they must also work on a strategy to open things up once the peak is passed.

There are a few facts to keep in mind. Even if everything goes perfectly, it will take at least 18 months, until fall 2021, for there to be an effective vaccine. Realistically, however, it could be longer. That means policymakers and the public should brace for the reality that the coronavirus will be part of everybody’s lives for the next few years.

The current level of lockdown is unsustainable. The airline, hotel, restaurant, and travel and leisure dependent industries cannot remain closed for years. Schools cannot be shut down indefinitely. Parents are not going to absorb the burden of homeschooling their children forever while struggling to hold down full-time jobs, especially if they must also avoid help from grandparents, playdates, going to playgrounds, and so forth.:snip:

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