I ran into a nurse I know this week.
“Let me ask you a question,” I said, keeping a safe six feet away from her.
“About 40 percent of the people in the country get a flu vaccine each year and yet we still lose between 25,000 and 60,000 every flu season. A couple years ago there were something like 80,000 deaths. And we didn’t shut down the country.”
“I know people who get flu shots each year but still get the flu. Their doctor always explains it was because they caught a different strain of the flu than the one she gave them the vaccine for.”
“So if we come up with a vaccine for COVID-19 in a year or so, and I start getting COVID-19 shots, could I still get COVID-20, or COVID-21?”
“So this war against the coronavirus is just the beginning of a never-ending war?”
“Yes,” she said. “It’s sad so many people are dying, but many of us think that what we’ve been doing is kind of silly.”
I talked to another friend this week who is a state senator in California.
She said her biggest problem right now is that she has six hospitals in her district and a total of three COVID-19 patients. The rest of the hospital beds are empty.
Because the coronavirus has barely shown up in her part of the state, and because hospitals have decided not to schedule elective surgeries, the hospitals are empty and are having to lay off nurses and other employees.
My two friends are among the millions of Americans who’ve come to realize it was a terrible mistake to shut down so much of our country, crush a booming economy and throw nearly 20 million people out of work in our war against the coronavirus.
This week there were hopeful signs that the Great American Shutdown will end soon.
Some federal and state officials and disease experts still think that it’s too dangerous and shouldn’t happen until the coronavirus is completely gone in a month or two – or more.
But they’re wrong. We’ve already done too much harm to the economy and our future fiscal health.
President Trump is right to speed up the reopening of the country, return it to normalcy and reassert the basic freedoms that have been taken away from all of us.
We can be trusted to wear a mask and keep our social distance when it’s necessary.
Our retail businesses, restaurants and golf courses are perfectly capable of figuring out what they must do to reopen safely by working with their local health departments.
From now on, we have to rebuild and reshape our daily lives and concentrate on protecting our most vulnerable citizens – the oldest and sickest folks – while the drug companies work on that vaccine for COVID-19.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.