Perspectives: Responsible Public Health Plans Need To Follow Governors’ Decisions To Reopen States; Who Is Really Pushing The Reopen Protests?

Editorial pages focus on these pandemic issues and others.

The Washington Post:
Georgia Leads The Race To Become America’s No. 1 Death Destination 

Whether you’re going to heaven or hell, the old joke goes, you’ll have to change planes in Atlanta. But Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is proposing to offer a new nonstop service to the Great Beyond: He has a bold plan to turn his state into the place to die.Kemp, a Republican and an ally of President Trump, just called for the reopening within days of his state’s gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body-art studios, barbers, nail salons, cosmetologists, aestheticians, beauty schools, massage therapists, theaters, private social clubs and dine-in restaurants. (4/21)

Atlanta Journal Constitution:
When It Comes To His Pandemic Decision, Brian Kemp Is Who He Said…

Gov. Brian Kemp’s order to begin reopening a state economy battered by the coronavirus is set to take effect Friday, the same day that Operation Gridlock, a Fox News-endorsed protest against shelter-in-place policies, intends to wrap its arms around the state Capitol. The vehicle-based parade– call it a white version of Freaknik — now has an opportunity to become a victory celebration by a group of (presumed) voters whom Georgia Republicans will need in November. (Jim Galloway, 4/21)

Dallas Morning News:
The Success Of Gov. Abbott’s Plan To Reopen The Texas Economy Rests With What We Do In Our Cities And Counties

The decision to shut down the Texas economy was a tough call. Getting back to business safely is becoming an equally difficult decision. On Tuesday, Colleyville Mayor Richard Newton announced plans to relax stay-at-home orders and Dallas County Commissioners voted to extend Dallas County’s stay-at-home order until May 15, both acting before the expiration of the governor’s statewide shelter in place order at the end of April. It is essential that state and local officials work together and that timetables for reopening the Texas economy not devolve into a clash over local and state control. By law, Abbott has the legal last word over cities and counties, and he plans soon to issue a new executive order to reopen the economy and replace his statewide order to shelter in place with a phased-in process. (4/23)

Cincinnati Enquirer:
DeWine’s Stay-At-Home Order Is Unenforceable

At least 22 people in Hamilton County have been criminally charged with violating the stay-at-home order issued by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to news reports. However, enforcement of the governor’s order via criminal charges would violate the constitutional principle enshrined in the 14th Amendment that persons not be deprived of liberty “without due process of law.” (Michael Mannheimer, 4/22)

The New York Times:
Who’s Behind The ‘Reopen’ Protests?

I first became aware of the political influence of Charles and David Koch in 2009 when I started looking into who was behind the protests at health care town halls. The Tea Party, formed after America elected its first black president, used a series of health care town halls to spur angry Republicans to oppose the Affordable Care Act as a socialist takeover of American medicine. Little matter that it was modeled on a plan devised by Mitt Romney, a Republican, when he was the governor of Massachusetts. (Lisa Graves, 4/22)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Close Off Some Streets — For The Health Of The Public 

Oaklanders can now use the slow roads of the pandemic era to get some social distance from each other as they walk, run, cycle and roll — free from worry about being hit by a vehicle. Residents of San Francisco, San Jose and all other cities in the Bay Area deserve the opportunity to do the same. With streets suddenly empty — and with all of us now, more than ever, needing a bit of space — other mayors should follow Mayor Schaaf’s lead and show that, once again, the Bay Area is ahead of the curve in protecting the public’s health. (Robert Ogilvie, Harold Goldstein and Mary A. Pittman, 4/22)

Boston Globe:
Boston’s Post-Pandemic Recovery Must Be Equitable

With coronavirus cases and fatalities surging to a peak this week, Boston is at a turning point. Our health care system is under strain as nurses, first responders, and doctors rush to save lives — with limited hospital beds, ventilators, and personal protective equipment. We are also in an economic free-fall that threatens to deepen inequities for the very communities who are overrepresented in infections and fatalities. (Michelle Wu, Julia Mejia, and Ricardo Arroyo, 4/22)

The New York Times:
Covid-19 Threatens Global Safety Net

Having rampaged through the wealthier Northern Hemisphere, the coronavirus is expected to strike next in the poorer South, where many countries are far less equipped to cope with the medical and economic ravages. Fortunately, there are international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Health Organization to help with just such a contingency. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is hampering the work of these critically needed agencies. (4/22)

The Hill:
COVID-19 Public Health Orders Should Not Target Asylum Seekers

The recent move to expel 10,000 asylum seekers from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border is no act of generosity. These individuals, families and children have left violence and poverty behind them and furtively travelled thousands of miles seeking safety and opportunity in the U.S. For them, there is no way forward, and no way back. (Orit Abrahim and Dr. Paul Spiegel, 4/22)

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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