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GREGG NEWBURY, San Clemente
You asked us to stay home. We learned a new term when we had to go out: social distancing. The object was to “flatten the curve,” you said. Just a few weeks so as not to overwhelm the hospitals.
We did that successfully for two months. You pushed the goalposts out further to somewhere between getting a vaccine and obtaining a zero coronavirus death rate. Both objectives are impossible.
If there were no costs to staying home, then we could stay home forever. But there are costs. The costs are tremendous, possibly irreversible.
Many, many businesses won’t be here when we open up as it is; the longer we stay out, the fewer businesses will sustain this shutdown. These are lives ruined.
Your favorite restaurant downtown will be shuttered. Bars and night clubs. Hospitals. Manufacturing. Shops. Millions will remain on unemployment until it runs out. Homelessness. Suicides. Domestic violence. Drugs. Alcoholism. Depression. Robberies. Murder.
We bent the curv,e and now you are asking for more. Shutting down the largest commerce in the union is easy. You should use your ingenuity and science to figure a way to open this state back up. Flatten the unemployment curve. Flatten the economic curve.
Some people make it a choice between staying home and dying. That is a false assumption. A Stanford study showed the death rate is extremely lower than 1%. Lower than driving on the 405. Lower than the common flu. Lower than most anything.
You will get some help from science, if you let it. Sunlight, heat, and fresh air are all thought to be anathema to coronavirus, and we are coming into summer. Open our beaches. We found a way to keep supermarkets open by wearing masks, following the decals on the floor, plastic shields between worker and customer.
Now open all retail. Anything without dine-in should be a no-brainer; large gatherings will require more thought, but that can be done. Open up the other-than-retail workplaces as well; get people back to being productive again. Some have to pay rent. Study other states opening up. Open this state now.
Editor’s Note: Based on a sampling of 3,300 Santa Clara residents who received antibody tests in early April, a team of Stanford University researchers believes the findings suggest the virus has a fatality rate of between 0.12% and 0.2%, much closer to the death rate of the flu, which is 0.1%. Other statisticians, epidemiologists and infectious disease experts have questioned the Stanford study, which had not been peer-reviewed. Skeptics of the study note that the math isn’t consistent with other cities, such as New York City.