According to Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, the best choice in Georgia is for businesses to reopen right away. He is open-minded about reopening after he viewed the consequences of business shut-downs all over his state. He views continued closure as extremely damaging to many Georgians. After the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, minimum wage jobs proliferated all across the nation and many of those jobs are particularly vulnerable to closure. In addition, the people working for minimum wages have little money in reserve to protect them after their employment closes down and their income goes away.
Even in healthcare, he wants to return to practices that were in place for conditions of business as usual. He noticed, for example, that hospitals had ended elective surgeries and without the deluge of covid-19 patients that had been planned for, the hospitals were losing money. Although it was thought that hospitals would be overrun with critically ill people, that never happened. Now hospitals need to resume their usual operations in order to stop losing money.
The Governor admitted that people may need to adapt to reduce close contacts but he believes that it is critically important to stop planning for a dramatic deluge of sick people because we haven’t seen that situation in real time and space. It’s time to stop planning for a covid-19 catastrophe.
A lot of what people were worried about when covid-19 escaped China to infect the whole world hasn’t happened. In comparing infection rates in Sweden, which never closed its businesses with the rest of the world that did close businesses, the rate of infection is similar. It looks like we didn’t stop infections with social distancing even though we had all hoped that we caused dramatic changes in the rate of infection. Sweden did isolate its most vulnerable populations but they allowed groups of up to 50 people to gather in public places and they didn’t shutter their businesses. The experiment to isolate healthy people instead of sick people appears to be without merit. Meanwhile it is costly.
Now in addition to comparing with Sweden, we can compare with Georgia. As we do that, it may become apparent that Georgia is on the right track.
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source: John Fund and Joel Hay, National Review, http://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/coronavirus-resposne-sweden-avoids-isolation-economic-ruin/, April 6th 2020, accessed on 23 April 2020.