12 Things to Consider as We Reopen America

1) This isn't over.

2) Rural areas, like southeast Missouri where I live, haven't yet experienced many Covid infections because of dumb luck in Covid's timing. If it had hit in June, my hometown of Piedmont would have been filled with tourists from St. Louis and elsewhere. Other communities in southeast Missouri would've been traveling elsewhere and returning home. We would've had a very different experience. Keep that in mind.

3) We didn't see hospitals filled with capacity, turning away non-emergencies, putting off treatments, deciding who gets a ventilator and who doesn't, BECAUSE social distancing worked. It wasn't unnecessary. It was effective.

4) If we allow Covid cases to rebound, then we will have done all we've done, sacrificed all we've sacrificed, for nothing.

5) I checked the CDC stats this morning (5/4/20). No matter how you slice it, Covid is much deadlier than pneumonia or the flu. Yes, most Covid deaths are older, sicker people. But in each age group, Covid kills many more people than pneumonia or the flu.

6) There is still SO much we don't know about Coronavirus. We haven't had years, decades, to research and understand it. But this is clear: in a few months, Covid killed about as many people as flu kills in a year. Plus, the flu still killed people. Covid added; it didn't replace.

7) Yes, there are probably many infections we don't know about due to the unavailability of Coronavirus testing. But that doesn't necessarily mean it has a significantly lower death rate. There are ALSO many Covid deaths we don't know about.

8) Diseases spread exponentially. On March 7, the US had 25 Covid deaths. On March 14, the US had 49. On March 21, 493. On March 28, 2,712. On April 4, over 8,000.

9) Social distancing DID flatten the curve. On April 11, the US had over 12,000 Covid deaths, an increase of 4,000 over April 4, but a much slower rate increase than 2,700 to 8,000.

10) The Texan Lt. Gov. said, "There are more important things than living. I want to preserve this country for my grandchildren and their children." So do I. Imagine our children living in a country of 250 million instead of 300 million. Imagine THOSE economic impacts.

11) The health and economic impacts have fallen, and will continue to fall, much more on disadvantaged and marginalized groups. If millions die from Covid, most of them will be the bus drivers, delivery drivers, meat processors, grocers, farm workers (migrants and illegals!), janitors, gas station attendants, and others whom we have only recently deemed "essential" so people like me can work from home.

12) So, when you resume normal activities, PLEASE keep your distance from people as much as possible, wear masks, wash hands, don't even elbow bump. Ask "rude" questions like, "Have you been around a lot of people? Anyone from out of town?" Protect yourself and others, from the immunocompromised to future generations.

Eric Sentell teaches writing and rhetoric at Southeast Missouri State University. He is the author of How to Write an Essay like an Equationand Become Your Own Fact-Checker. Learn more about his work, sign up for a newsletter, and get free excerpts at www.EricSentell.com.

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