Different Takes: Is Call To Reopen The Economy A Hope For Rebirth Or A Recipe For Disaster?; Testing Shortage Leaves Nation In Dark

Editorial pages express focus on the president’s call to reopen the economy during the pandemic and other health issues.

Fox News:
Easter Resurrection From Coronavirus? A Hope For Rebirth Of The Economy

Last Sunday morning, a friend wise in the ways of things both political and economic offered a thought. The next big decision for the White House, he said, would be how and when to get the country back to work. Otherwise, the economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak would be too deep and painful to bear.Fortunately, President Trump already was thinking along those lines. Late that night, he tweeted in all caps that “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF” and promised to reassess the federal guidelines at the end of the established 15-day period. (Michael Goodwin, 3/25)

The Houston Chronicle:
‘We Can Rebuild Our Economy But We Cannot Bring Back The Millions Who Could Die.’

I choose to stay home. I choose to stay home not to protect myself nor to protect my parents or grandparents because, unfortunately they are no longer with us. I choose to stay home to protect your parents and your grandparents because I respect them and value their knowledge, wisdom and perspective and because I value their lives and their humanity. I choose to stay home to protect you and your children because COVID-19 is killing people of all ages. I choose to stay home because I value and respect our courageous frontline nurses, hospital workers and doctors who are selflessly risking their lives and putting their own loved ones at risk every day for each one of us. (Daniel W. Snare , 3/25)

The Washington Post:
We Must Plan Now For How To Get Back To Business Later 

“Lock it down vs. let it open” is a flawed debate. It fails to recognize how much economic activity continues now, even in our current condition; it also fails to appreciate the nuanced alternatives to “going back to the way it was” when it is time to move toward normalization. Public health advocates need to do a better job of messaging their side of the coronavirus argument if they want to keep the American people as safe as possible. And all of us need a new way of thinking about risk management when it comes time to restore currently constrained parts of economic life. (Ronald A. Klain, 3/25)

Los Angeles Times:
The Most Important Thing Is To Contain COVID-19. Then We Can Think About Going Back To Work 

The drastic steps taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 are pushing the United States and much of the rest of the world off an economic cliff. Analysts estimated that more than 3 million Americans registered for unemployment benefits last week alone — a staggering 50% increase in the total number of jobless workers.So it’s no wonder there’s a growing chorus of business and political leaders complaining, as President Trump puts it, that the cure is worse than the disease. “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down,” the president said Monday. Instead, he keeps hinting that the restrictions on movement and commerce could be ended around April 12, which is Easter Sunday.Well, sure, we’d all like to see the restrictions lifted as soon as possible. But it would be reckless, irresponsible and deadly to do so anytime soon. (3/26)

The Washington Post:
Trump Barrels Toward Calamity

President Trump has issued his order: Damn the mortality — full speed ahead.With all the foresight of Napoleon invading Russia and all the caution of George Pickett charging the Union lines, Trump barreled ahead Tuesday with his plan to send Americans back to their workplaces — and, consequently, their airplanes, subways and restaurants — within 19 days, even as the rapidly spreading pandemic builds toward a peak. (Dana Millbank, 3/24)

NBC News:
Coronavirus Has Donald Trump And Dan Patrick Ready To Sacrifice Older People

On Monday, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick essentially said that the economic well-being of the country was more important than the lives of older people. The Republican politician was riffing on a theme that President Donald Trump has been hammering at this week, framing the dilemma posed by the coronavirus as either save the entire U.S. economy or tolerate a few more deaths. “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” Trump tweeted Sunday. (Celia Viggo Wexler, 3/26)

Los Angeles Times:
Trump’s Deadly Optimism On The Coronavirus Pandemic

Even as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States has zoomed past 64,000, President Trump continues to express confidence. He has gone from optimism in the face of the imminent threat of the coronavirus to suggesting that the pandemic will abate soon and the U.S. economy will be “raring to go” by Easter. Trump’s optimism stands in sharp contrast to the recommendations of healthcare professionals, who tell us that the worst is yet to come, and that our only chance of containing the virus is by maintaining tight restrictions on business activity, social contact and travel. (Don A. Moore, 3/26)

The New York Times:
Trump Wants To ‘Reopen America.’ Here’s What Happens If We Do.

President Trump says he wants the United States “raring to go” in two and a half weeks, on Easter, with “packed churches all over our country.” He and many other political conservatives suggest that we are responding to something like the flu with remedies that may be more devastating than the disease. We created this interactive model with epidemiologists to show why quickly returning to normal could be a historic mistake that would lead to an explosion of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. (Nicholas Kristof and Stuart A. Thompson, 3/25)

Coronavirus Testing Shortage Leaves America Flying Blind 

Americans are used to swimming in a sea of data, from football stats for fantasy leagues to the personal info Big Tech mines to shove ads in our faces. And yet in the biggest crisis in many of our lifetimes, hard numbers are suddenly scarce. That’s because we’re still not testing nearly enough people for coronavirus to have any real sense of just how much this invisible enemy has infiltrated our towns, homes and businesses, writes Michael Lewis, in the first entry of an ongoing Covid-19 diary. (Mark Gongloff, 3/25)

The Wall Street Journal:
The High Price Of Coronavirus Relief 

Congress rarely does anything that isn’t messy, so let’s stipulate that a $2 trillion bill written on the fly in a week will be loaded with waste and a lifetime supply of unintended consequences. Americans will pay for this for decades. The consolation is that the Senate bill that was moving to a vote by our deadline Wednesday includes money to keep workers and businesses afloat during this national economic shutdown and perhaps avoid a depression. The virus rescue shouldn’t cost this much. The bill includes $250 billion for $1,200 payments to Americans whether or not they’re affected by the virus. The cash will do little or nothing to help an economy closed by government fiat. The bill also pluses up unemployment insurance beyond 100% of wages—an incentive not to return to work if you’re laid off. Republicans were scrambling to fix that provision on Wednesday, and we hope they do. (3/25)

The Hill:
Failure To Fix Immigration Undermines Our Ability To Mitigate COVID-19 

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the country and the globe, the Trump administration has enacted a series of travel restrictions with other countries and new measures targeting asylum seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border to combat the crisis. Although President Trump has claimed that these measures would mitigate the crisis by stopping “mass global migration” that purportedly spreads COVID-19, they overlook the systemic problems in our health care infrastructure that failed to contain the virus in the country. (Cristobal Ramon, 3/25)

The Wall Street Journal:
FDA Shouldn’t Keep Safe Drugs Off The Market

The federal government requires pharmaceutical companies to prove that their drugs are both safe and effective before putting them on the market. Before 1962, companies needed to prove only safety. While there is some appeal to this two-hurdle approach, evidence suggests that there is only a slight benefit and a tremendous cost. With the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the world, there has never been a better time to revoke the Food and Drug Administration’s efficacy requirement. (Charles L. Hooper and David R. Henderson, 3/25)

Coronavirus: Biases Are Playing Role In Poor Pandemic Leadership

It’s the worst epidemic of our times, a health emergency that has now left more than 420,000 infected, 18,800 dead and paralyzed the global economy. The scale has been clear for weeks. All the more baffling, therefore, to watch poor decisions being repeated, over and over again. From Italy to the U.S. and Britain, each government first believes its country to be less exposed than it is, overestimates its ability to control the situation, ignores the real-time experience of others and ultimately scrambles to take measures. (Clara Ferreira Marques, 3/25)

The Advocate:
Don’t Sentence Unconvicted Inmates To Coronavirus In Jails

New Orleans has the second-highest per capita rate of confirmed cases of COVID-19 of any city in the country — but too many of its leaders are displaying a callous disregard for the evidence-based steps that would stem the spread of this deadly disease.Instead of following the recommendations of public health experts to reduce arrests and incarceration in response to this unprecedented pandemic, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro is engaging in misinformation and fearmongering that puts all of us at risk. (Alanah Odoms Hebert, 3/25)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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