Is it time to reopen America?

Our local media publisher, Gatehouse (Patriot Ledger, Hingham Journal, all the Mariners and others) asked, “Is it time to reopen America?” I submitted an answer, and they published it today:

//No. It’s not time to reopen America. A government for the people should prioritize the health and well-being of people above all other concerns. Now is a time to maintain the quarantine and give our healthcare system time to catch up with this virus. Reopening doesn’t just mean more cases of coronavirus, but more of every other kind of communicable illness and human accident. In normal times, our healthcare system could handle all these things, but with hospitals bursting with COVID-19 patients, we should do everything we can to minimize other kinds of accidents and illness, and prevent new COVID-19 infections.

Now is also a time to reflect on our institutions, systems, and industries and consider whether we’re getting what we really need from them. Does it still make sense that health insurance is tied to employment? In the Zoom era, do we need so many people traveling so frequently for work? Do we really want to rely so heavily on food grown and products manufactured far away from our homes? Why are so many children dependent on school meals, and how can we support families better so that parents can ensure there’s food at home every day? We rarely have a chance to address these questions broadly, and this crisis has brought these and other issues into the spotlight.

Right now, we have the opportunity to align our priorities with the common good, so that people’s best interests are truly served by our institutions, systems, and industries. It will be a tremendous shame if we let the moment pass without significant reflection.//

[Graphic includes an excerpt from the above quote from the Hingham Journal]

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