Coronavirus: Easing Lockdowns, Opening Schools

Is it madness to talk about ending lockdowns, opening schools, and getting back to business as usual? Is it madness not to? Or is the truth somewhere in between?

(photo: Register Files)

To conservative COVID-19 skeptics, ending all lockdowns and returning as quickly as possible to business as usual seems a no-brainer. Progressives preoccupied with COVID might retort that easing the current lockdowns is a “no-brainer,”as in you’d need to have no brains even to consider such a thing.

I think both extremes are wrong. Here’s why.

On the one hand, COVID continues to be a serious public health threat, particularly though not exclusively in the South and Southwest, with many states continuing to report record numbers of new cases.

Wearing face masks in public, social distancing, and washing our hands as frequently as possible should not be controversial or politicized. We should all embrace these precautions for the common good.

On the other hand, while the pandemic is definitely cause for ongoing concern, it’s not the only cause for concern.

We should also be concerned about focusing only on the health dangers of COVID and otherwise doing everything possible to perpetuate and sustain lockdowns.

Ongoing and pending consequences of a one-size-fits-all red-alert lockdown approach include:

Of all lockdown-related debates, among the most contentious is reopening schools. Reopening schools in an ongoing pandemic is a frightening thought. But it may not be as frightening as it seems — and, as we’ve seen, there are other things to fear.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has suggested that it’s time to think about reopening schools, and that there are ways we can do it more safely. As usual, I think he’s worth listening to.

Some considerations:

Maintaining a full-on red alert on all fronts indefinitely is unsustainable and ultimately does more harm than good. At some point we have to talk about devoting resources and action where the need is greatest and easing efforts elsewhere.