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Opinion: It’s Time to Reopen California

Californians have answered the call and are doing a great job in adhering to, and complying with, the “stay-at-home” mandate in the wake of the unprecedented situation that we find ourselves in regarding the  COVID-19 pandemic.

As a scientist, I believe the initial reaction and response by, respectively, our federal and state governments to the novel coronavirus, was warranted, proper and measured. And frankly, we (as a society) had no choice but to be proactive with the implementation of the healthcare guidelines in order to achieve mitigation and containment.

However, I sincerely believe that we’ve now entered a new phase whereby we’ve successfully “flattened the curve” (even in many “Hot Zones” around the country and certainly in California) including, but not limited to, key benchmark rates such as the dramatic decline in the rate of hospitalization and the ratio of infection rates to death counts (this despite the fact that many have tested positive as our respective natural immunity is an incredible defensive mechanism).

There are many other parameters that are showing demonstrably positive results and encouraging signs and trends.

Consequently, and not because many people have reached a “tipping point” and are experiencing severe cases of “cabin fever” and “quarantine fatigue”, it’s time to reopen the economy and restore the American way of life — albeit in a gradual, measured and judicious manner.

We can do this safely, smartly and responsibly. We can, and should, reopen the economy in California in a phased-in approach by continuing to observe the guidelines that the White House Task Force has recommended while conducting business simultaneously.

In other words, we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Several of our friends and relatives have lost their jobs and businesses. So, unless we re-ignite and restart the economy (certainly with prudent best practices), many small and medium-sized businesses (and potentially large corporations) will not survive unless we open the economy within weeks not months.

Moreover, many counties, cities and municipalities are experiencing adverse impacts in delivering basic services for their constituents as their tax revenues have significantly declined during the shutdown.

We need to reopen the economy immediately in a safe and responsible manner as the course, trajectory, velocity and direction that we’re on right now in California are unsustainable.

Many experts have stated that more people will die from financial hardships and other medical, physiological, emotional and psychological conditions/ailments than from the pandemic (i.e., poverty, homelessness, suicides, depressions, obesity, heart attacks, diabetes, drugs, opioids, alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, mental health issues).

It’s imperative that we go back to work, school, and other places of our choosing soon — notwithstanding what that “new normal” might look like in the near-term and long-range.

For example, in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against our country, we did not stop traveling by airplanes. In fact, we took corrective actions and made security adjustments and continued to fly in record numbers.

Additionally, we drive our cars (for many, on a daily basis) despite the fact that on average between 35,000 and 40,000 people die in any given year from accidents. Life is about balancing, mitigating and managing the ultimate risk/benefit and risk/reward ratios.

America is about freedom, liberty, capitalism/free enterprise system, entrepreneurship, risk-taking, inventions, innovations, technological advancements, and to dream big and to grow, diversify, expand and to prosper.

America is not about shutdowns, lockdowns, blackouts, or suppression and curtailment of our civil liberties and the “all-important” Bill of Rights.

We are the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” and we are coming together and we will WIN again for humanity and our children and grandchildren — just like our parents and grandparents did during WWII!

The State of California and County of San Diego, and all of its constituent cities, must end the lockdown safely and effectively (and in phases) starting the first week of May as there is no scientifically persuasive (empirical) evidence and no socio-economic basis or justification for an extended shutdown.

John Daiza, Carlsbad