Opinion

Let Our People Go

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Posted: Apr 17, 2020 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Let Our People Go

Source: AP Photo/John Locher

“Better safe than sorry” seems to have replaced Americans’ treasured love of liberty. We are settling for being controlled by politicians and “experts” who are afraid to let Americans take control of their lives. President Trump has done a masterful job of reacting quickly to shut down travel with China in the face of COVID-19. He’s successfully managed a consistent measured federal response to the pandemic while giving governors and local leaders more say in how they respond. He has now released a reasonable three-phase plan to an economic recovery rollout. It’s time to let more people begin to go back to work!

Too many seem trapped in the “Myth of Perfection.” They want us to wait for the perfect test, the perfect treatment, and the perfect plan. Perfect plans and perfect decisions don’t exist in our complex ever-changing world. Waiting for an approved vaccine or “herd immunity” would require more than a year. Most Americans realize that preserving their way of life and liberty is more important than the risk of coronavirus infection. 

They know that no matter when we release our economy, some people will still get the COVID-19 and some will die from it. But Americans also know that this pandemic is not as bad as predicted. They know that treatments are making a difference. They know that the longer they keep their businesses closed and employees furloughed, the more likely they will not be able to rebuild the businesses they worked so hard to create.

Does sheltering in place really matter? Maria Medvin brought to light the findings of Professor Yitzhak Ben Israel of Tel Aviv University. He plotted the rates of new coronavirus infections of the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Italy, Israel, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Spain. The data confirmed that whether the country quarantined like Israel, or went about business as usual like Sweden, coronavirus peaked and subsided in a seemingly identical coronavirus infection patterns. The number of infected peaks in the sixth week and rapidly subsides by the eighth week.

If there is no significant difference, it’s time to let people choose when to return to work and to quickly phase out mandatory requirements to shelter in place. Sure, regions and states will be different in how they initiate a return to normalcy, and individuals will differ in the levels of risk they will tolerate. That is as it should be, but Americans are freedom-loving people. We chafe at government controls and unnecessary regulations crafted by “experts.”

We value our property, our businesses, our jobs, and the opportunity to secure a future for our families. All are at risk every day we extend this lockdown madness. We’re ready to gradually get back to our lives.  If we can go to our market for food, why not other stores? Why not our jobs and our places of worship?

This is not diminishing the benefits of the initial government measures. Following established protocols in key states minimized the infections and deaths. Citizens also found creative and meaningful ways to enjoy their additional family time. Gardens were tended, and garages are cleaner than they have been in years. Community has flourished with neighbors helping neighbors.

The ease of testing and their accuracy and availability are improving daily. Treatments may not have control-group studies to validate them, but there is enough anecdotal evidence to invite further study and support for use under a doctor’s supervision. The plan forward is not complicated. If you have signs and symptoms, take a test, and if infected, isolate at home and seek treatment if necessary. 

We have more data on the most at-risk populations, and that specificity will only grow. More precautions may be wise with nursing homes and seniors in our communities. At risk citizens now know what they can do. They are smart enough to shelter in place as needed. Social and physical distancing, hand washing, and wearing masks are options that many will continue on their road back to normalcy. We know what to do to protect ourselves.

Those who continue to shelter in place now have options to stay connected. The pandemic has forced millions of citizens and companies into using digital options to stay connected. Zoom use has taken hold enough to be the subject of a Saturday Night Live skit.

Enough said. It’s time to let people choose for themselves. Freedom matters and needs to be fought for. Our founders lost lives securing it. We have lost lives to COVID-19 and will continue to as we open our communities. But we don’t need months of government curtailing our civil liberties to find our way back. Freedom is that important,

Continue to be mindful of our new habits—social distancing, washing your hands, avoiding shaking hands or touching your face, and wearing masks as needed. But it is time to get out of the rearview mirror and back into living out the front window of our lives. It’s time to begin to let our people go. 

Terry Paulson is a PhD psychologist, author, and professional speaker on Earned Optimism, Making Change Work, Claiming Your American Dream, and Becoming a Conservative Values Voter. To have him speak to your group, visit www.terrypaulson.comor contact him at terry@terrypaulson.com.