Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) has come under heavy fire for his decision to let several high-risk businesses like bowling alleys and hairdressers reopen despite the ongoing pandemic.
But on Wednesday, writing for The Washington Post, columnist Helaine Olen warned that what is playing out in Georgia will happen inevitably across the country.
"Yes, people — by large majorities — tell pollsters they support the continued strict social distancing that has shut down huge swaths of the economy and tossed tens of millions of people into sudden unemployment," wrote Olen. "But the same polls often find limited patience for prolonging the restrictions. In one recent poll released last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 1 in 6 said they had no more than a month of strict social distancing left in them. The largest share (37 percent) said three months from the day they were questioned was the limit. The shutdowns are increasingly difficult — economically, emotionally and logistically."
"It’s easy to scold, but we are also social animals: People are people. Combine our abrupt isolation with sudden economic fears and life-or-death health worries, and you’ve got a petri dish of misery," wrote Olen. "Parents are struggling with both child care and ludicrously inadequate online classes. Work-life balance, for those lucky enough to be able to work at home, is all but defunct. Internet network provider NordVPN says Americans lucky enough to still have jobs and ones that likely permit them to work at home, are putting in three more hours a day. (I don’t doubt it. I wrote this sentence at 11:44 p.m.) People are desperate to blow off steam."
"It seems almost certain that pressure to reopen will grow," continued Olen. "But it’s likely that the perfect world, the one where we can reopen with full confidence that we will all be safe, will not exist — at least not within the time frame that we need. Thanks to President Trump, we are leagues behind on where we need to be to responsibly begin the process. We still lack anything resembling an adequate number of diagnostic tests or protective masks. Individual state efforts cannot fully compensate for a failed federal response."
"We will almost certainly know within a few weeks whether Georgia was simply a New York City waiting to happen — or if by luck of geography, lack of density or simple timing, it is leading the way to get back to normal life.," concluded Olen. "But make no mistake: Soon we will all need to take Georgia’s potentially fatal gamble."
You can read more here.