Today (May 20, 2020) all US states have reopened partially after two months of lockdown. This has left many of our readers wondering why America is reopening when Coronavirus infections and deaths keep increasing ? Here are some thoughts on this question:
Summer is Fun in America : Think of all the fun Hollywood movies set in summer. If you look at Google trends in the last 30 days you realize that even states that do not have very cold winters – summer is important. Traditionally, summer is when kids are not at school. Despite huge celebrations of the calendar new year Americans live more by the school calendar. Summer is when you have Memorial Day the unofficial start of summer and it’s interesting that all states have decided to re-open before Memorial day in 2020 which is May 25, Monday. It’s quite amazing that politicians from both parties criticize each other exuberantly in public at the local, state and federal level and yet no one is staying entirely shut down by Memorial day.
Summer is tourism season: If travel and tourism does not limp back over the summer of 2020, it’ll be really hard to start everything in the summer of 2021. While people may not travel far but you can be sure that local attractions will have good crowds. There is a lot of local government intervention if people ignore rules for face masks and social distancing. Local governments at the town level are very important because they provide all emergency services, schools and collect property taxes to pay for these services.
Government Bailouts are rare in America: Folks globally hear a lot about American bailouts to businesses and individuals. Since individualism is a core value in America, people do not rely on Government as far as possible. The Government also tries to stay out of peoples lives except for support to the most vulnerable. If you are employable, you are on your own. Seen in this backdrop, the idea of the “Paycheck Protection Program” is motivated by the need to finance businesses to keep their employees. For if a business fires its employees, everything truly grinds to a halt. Even in low skilled jobs if the business is closed and employees fired – there is a whole new cost associated with finding employees, training them once the business starts.
Coronavirus New Cases are down: The new cases of coronavirus infections are down as are are death rates. It’s fascinating to look at the state and county data at the CDC website. Given access to data and much better testing of infection and antibodies local leaders are in a much better position to manage the re-opening effectively.
Coronavirus needs a host: The coronavirus needs a host where it replicates. With lockdowns the hosts were away so the coronavirus could not find hosts and hence the decline in cases. The COVID 19 realizes that if it makes the host very ill or the host dies then it dies too. There is thus an emerging view that COVID 19 might be causing less harm to hosts to stay alive like other viruses like SARS etc. which are around but less severe. Disclaimer: We claim no medical expertise. Please ask your doctor.
All in all, we do hope and pray that all the US re-openings go well. People are aware and co-operating with rules, Businesses are eager to get back and the disease surveillance is in place.