In the beginning, we had a goal: to flatten the curve. We were warned that COVID-19 would overtake our hospitals and cause a health-system collapse. We were to stay home to give our medical heroes a fighting chance.
So we did, and thanks to the strength of our system, it worked. The Javits Center never filled up; the USS Comfort is sailing away. Three weeks ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was vowing to seize ventilators from upstate hospitals and send them to Gotham. Last week, we were dispatching our ventilators out to other states.
We did our part; we flattened the curve. So why is there no move to loosen regulations?
In February and March, expert and elite opinion seemed to understand that patience with lockdowns would at some point wear thin. But not anymore. . . .
It’s also becoming apparent that staying closed is some weird poke in the eye to President Trump. Hyper-polarization means that if the president wants to awaken the nation from its devastating economic coma, it must mean that he and his cornpone followers are wrong. Smart people — who tend to have lockdown-immune jobs in academe, government and media — must know better, and they have a license to mock and demean.
Yeah, they seem to have gotten steadily more invested. Plus:
It’s less that we need to know when this ends than we need to know how it ends. Are we waiting for deaths to fall below a certain daily number? What is that number? Are we waiting for hospitalizations to evaporate? For better treatment? For a vaccine? Antibody tests? Herd immunity? New Yorkers are tough, we can handle the truth.
But this uncertainty can’t last, or people will decide to leap into irresponsibility. We need a plan, and we need it now.