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Jim Crawford: Demands to rush reopenings are dangerous

What is the single best way to extend the horrific impact of the coronavirus?

Follow the example now being set by the state of Georgia, basically acting as though the pandemic is over and inviting the coronavirus to spread openly. That is, in the language of President Donald Trump this week, just plain dumb. But it gets dumber.

How did we ever get here, to actively trying to make the novel virus even more devastating to the United States, inviting more innocent deaths and ignoring the knowledge of experts who actually know how we need to mitigate the suffering caused by coronavirus?

No one wants the coronavirus and no one wants to continue our isolation and separation from each other and our loved ones. But those with actual knowledge tell us the coronavirus will be with us until there is a successful treatment protocol and a vaccine. That means cautious progress as long as a year or more, of showing slow and steady gains, community by community, where the virus shows significant containment. It means using the formula just developed by the Trump administration this week.

What is preventing that rational approach? The words of Donald Trump, who one day after announcing those scientific rules, tweeted, “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”

In one tweet Trump undermined rational policy and came within a word or two of advocating insurrection in the United States. What has followed is Trump supporters, supported by monied, ultra-rightwing backers, marching in the streets of several mostly Democratic-governed states, to demand freedom from common sense and rational thought.

What Trump did was, in a word he used just this week to describe the speaker of the House, dumb, really dumb. But worse still, it was political, it was Trump using the deadly coronavirus to try to win votes. Appealing to his lemming-like base, Trump chose to toss out some anti-government meat to those who listen for his direction on all things.

But Trump had even dumber followers, folks who took to the streets, standing next to each other without face masks, spreading the coronavirus that some of them still claim is, in Trump terms, fake — infecting each other, their families when they go home, their contacts, their parents.

Let there be no defense of those who put all of us at risk to practice their own version of stupidity.

Trump is not appealing to Americans in general with his anti-science actions. He is appealing to those who value the economy over our lives and to followers who value Trump’s ignorance over science. In new polling, more than seven in ten Americans trust the actual experts and want the stay-at-home policy to continue through May. Even in crucial electoral states like Florida, voters do not want their governors ignoring the scientific facts and opening their states too fast to be safe, too soon to effectively fight the virus.

And, unfortunately, Trump has enough dumb Republican governors, mostly in the South, to advance the murderous decisions to eliminate containment measures, ignore the science and re-fuel the virus we have all fought to defeat.

There will be consequences. More people will die. And the result will not be instant business success, because most Americans know it is still not safe out there. We are not going to suddenly fill cruise ships again, rush to the airports to fly or head to the gym to sweat near others who may already have the virus but do not know it is in their body yet.

These are difficult days in America made more difficult by the dumb and the dumber.