Americans may not submit to a second lockdown
On March 24, President Donald Trump said he wanted the country and the economy "opened up and just raring to go by Easter."
Easter came and went. And Trump was mocked for being aspirational and unrealistic. Yet, with Ascension Thursday at hand, 40 days after Easter, the president seems to have been ahead of his time.
The country, as a whole, is, and has been, opening up. Sunday's New York Times reports that, for weeks now, more than two-thirds of the states have been relaxing restrictions as Trump had urged.
The reasons: weariness with the lockdown and sheltering in place, a growing belief that the worst of the pandemic is behind us and undeniably positive news from several fronts in the coronavirus war.
"New Cases in U.S. Slow," ran The New York Times top headline Sunday, adding the cautionary warning, "Posing Risks of Complacency."
The facts suggest a positive trend. The number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has been dropping for a month. The number of deaths has fallen from 2,200 a day in April to closer to 1,400 a day in mid-May. Several days last week recorded fewer than 1,000 deaths, an awful toll but a clear improvement over April.
As of Friday, the rate of new cases of the coronavirus was declining in 19 states and rising in only three. New Orleans and Detroit have seen sharp drops. The number of new cases in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island has dropped. New cases in Cass County, Indiana, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where meatpacking plants had seen outbreaks, have declined.
"On eight of the past nine days," said the Times, "there have been fewer deaths announced than there were seven days prior, indicating that the virus toll appears to be easing. More than half of the 24 counties that have recorded the most coronavirus deaths, including Oakland County, Mich., and Hartford County, Conn., are seeing sustained declines."
Still, the thrust of the Times article was about the new crisis we will be courting, should we try to resume normal activities too soon. Do that, says the Times, and we could easily forfeit all the progress we have made.
Message: Social distancing, sheltering in place, wearing masks, working at home -- the practices that broke the back of the pandemic -- should be sustained for those able to do so.