The Fatal Folly of a Premature “Grand Opening”

Politicians across the nation are pushing the premature removal of social restrictions that have produced solid results in flattening the upward curve of coronavirus infections and deaths across the nation. Goaded by the greedy moguls of Wall Street, these so-called “leaders” are moving to “re-open the economy” while leading medical professionals warn it is folly to do so. But the politicians and their lackeys are ignoring science in favor of commerce — and will have to live with the responsibility for the additional fatalities that will undoubtedly result from their foolish moves.

Here in Montana our citizens have been very conscientious about taking the recommended precautions to avoid coronavirus. Not only have most Montanans heeded the call for sheltering in place and social distancing, but they’ve done it with grace and courtesy to their fellow Montanans in this difficult time. And what do you know, it’s been working and our state remains relatively free of mass infections and deaths.

But now the crazy guy in the Oval Office says it’s time to re-open our national parks, literally inviting hordes of people from all over the nation and world to come to Montana and bring their diseases with them. Many Montanans are rightfully concerned about the potential disaster such a move unleashes on those who have followed the rules and remained healthy.

And just how crazy is the guy in the Oval Office? “Completely off the rails” would be an apt description, especially following his insane comments to the nation last week that perhaps injecting disinfectants and UV light into their lungs will kill the virus. It was so nuts that the makers of Lysol, a popular and potent disinfectant, immediately put out a national warning telling people “that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).”

Perhaps Trump should lead by example and snort a little Clorox, eh? Maybe put a flashlight down his throat to test if, as he put it, “you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way.” And then maybe take a ride on a re-opened subway while gobbling some of the hydroxychloroquine tablets as he waits for the onset of the fatal effects from the coronavirus treatments he’s lauded — all of which have been completely debunked by medical professionals.

Maybe in-person “leadership” should be mandatory for the governors and other politicians who want to throw the nation back into the jaws of the pandemic against the advice of infectious disease experts who warn “these states will have to pay a big price later on because of what they’re doing.” Maybe the politicians should drop their kids off at the re-opened schools and personally test their “phased in” plans. After all, if it’s good enough for the populace, it ought to be good enough for the politicians pushing the premature relaxation of the techniques that are working.

There’s an old saying that “if the people lead the leaders will follow.” Right now the vast majority of Americans are not clamoring for “re-opening” the nation since they’re rightfully anxious as the death toll from coronavirus rolls past 50,000. It’s time our politicians put their campaigns, ambitions and stocks aside for a while and listen to the scientists and doctors instead of the hedge fund managers.

After all, their primary responsibility is not to corporations and commerce — it’s to the people who are counting on their leaders to keep them, their families, and their communities safe.

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Daily Montanan, where this essay originally appeared.