Bold Brian or Callous Kemp? Mostly the latter, though it depends on who you’re asking. If it’s people who voted for the Georgia governor, there’s an elevated chance for the former, but the odds are still long. The following graph shows the percentages of Americans who believe it will be safe to fire things back up by the first week of May. Those who answered “not sure”, comprising 18% of the response, are excluded:
Demographically, the divide is more partisan than it is anything else.
While unsure if it’s now safe–whatever that means, exactly–to begin the process of a return to normalcy, I still support the idea of a state or a few giving it a shot, with important caveats.
Most importantly, anyone uncomfortable with no longer sheltering in place should not be compelled in any way to go back out and about. The two congressional relief bills require most businesses to provide leave for employees affected by coronavirus–including what is already covered by the Family Medical Leave Act and added to that responsibilities for looking after children under the age of 18–and an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits such that many service sector workers will be taking a pay cut if they elect to go back to work now.
Those at high risk like the elderly and people with potential comorbidity conditions such as obesity or respiratory ailments should stay in for the time being. Social distancing, the wearing of face masks, and limited occupancy standards should all be strongly encouraged if not mandated.
The best guinea pigs are voluntary ones, especially if eagerly so. And a substantial minority of Americans undoubtedly are.
The impending econoclysm will be far worse than most people realize. Its effects will reverberate through the economy in the form of lower living standards for many years to come. The sooner the country is able to get back on its feet, the better.