Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

President Trump stressed at Friday’s White House coronavirus briefing the decision of reopening the U.S. economy will be made with the help of a task force set to launch next week. He said the decision is not one he takes lightly, but remained optimistic. Trump previously hoped the country would open again by Easter.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx announced how aggressive social-distancing efforts appear to be working, and encouraging numbers seemed to indicate a reopening in the near future. However, projections show infections could spike during the summer if stay-at-home orders are lifted after 30 days. Disparities in the number of cases reported across states further complicates the timeline. 

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) called for the economy to reopen in order to save livelihoods following a week of record high unemployment numbers. Attorney General William P. Barr has said some of the government-imposed restrictions were “draconian.” Others argue expanding testing efforts remains a top priority, stressing estimated death totals if the country were to reopen too soon. 

Various plans from universities and economists outline different approaches to navigating life post-social distancing that involve digital surveillance, mass testing and imposing levels of increased social distancing. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

White House points to hopeful signs as deaths keep rising – Associated Press – April 10, 2020
“At the end of a week officials had warned would be this generation’s Pearl Harbor, White House officials pointed to hopeful signs Friday that the spread of the coronavirus could be slowing, even as President Donald Trump insisted he would not move to reopen the country until it is safe. At the same time, Trump said he would be announcing the launch of what he dubbed the “Opening our Country” task force next Tuesday to work toward that goal.”

Sen. John Kennedy: The economy looks like a ‘Mad Max’ scene, livelihoods must be saved – Fox News – April 10, 2020
“While the United States must continue to save lives from the coronavirus pandemic, the nation must also start saving livelihoods as well, LouisianaRepublicanSen. John Kennedy said Thursday night. Appearing on “Hannity” with host Sean Hannity, Kennedy said that the economy must be reopened.” Our numbers are headed in the right direction. We still have to be vigilant. But, while we save lives, we’ve always got to get started saving livelihoods, Sean,” he stated.”

Public Health Officials push back on May opening – The Hill – April 10, 2020
“Public health experts are pushing back against suggestions the Trump administration could relax social distancing measures and open much of the country by May 1, warning that acting too soon will risk a resurgence of the virus. The number of cases of COVID-19 nationally is starting to show signs of slowing, due in large part to the closure of thousands of business as people stay in their homes.”

I’ve read the plans to reopen the economy. They’re scary. – VOX – April 10, 2020“There’s one from the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, the left-leaning Center for American Progress, Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer. […]  Until there’s a vaccine, the US either needs economically ruinous levels of social distancing, a digital surveillance state of shocking size and scope, or a mass testing apparatus of even more shocking size and intrusiveness.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Andrew Wortman on Twitter, 04/10/20: Telling the American people we must “reopen the economy” because “the cure can’t be worse than the disease,” which not only puts economic success above American lives, it ignores the fact that the death toll of reopening everything prematurely would be WORSE for the economy.

Joe Scarborough on Twitter, 04/06/20: TESTING. TESTING. TESTING. “The US desperately needs more testing for the virus in order to give policymakers the first key piece of evidence they need to determine how fast the virus is spreading and when it might be safe for people to return to work.”

Millie Weaver on Twitter, 04/07/20: “We’re never reopening this economy fully until we’re able to GPS this virus” – Chuck Todd The truth about using #COVID-19 to push Real ID, ID-2020 & collecting biometrics finally comes out. I reported on this just last week: https://youtu.be/SQCKBSt7PVw

Mark R. Levin on Twitter, 04/03/20: The time is now to begin opening more of our economy, before it is too late!

There's depth. And then there's in-depth.

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