When Will Coronavirus Crisis and Stay-at-Home Orders End?
If the countries held up as models for how we should proceed can’t figure it out, what does it mean for the U.S., which is saddled with broken institutions and has already bungled and delayed its response at nearly every stage? Here in New York, we are about to enter our third week of sheltering in place; in San Francisco and Seattle, the social-distancing orders have been in effect even longer. Yet there is no clarity to be found from the federal or state or local level for how long these measures will last. And there is no public or concrete plan for, and little visible discussion about, what it would mean to sunset them: how and at what point and in what ways we will try to exit this temporary-but-indefinite wartimelike national bunkering almost all 330 million of us now find ourselves in. What, exactly, is the endgame here?
Some of this ambiguity is inevitable — it may be hard to remember, given the way the coronavirus has distended our sense of time, but this crisis is just a few months old and the scientific and public health wisdom just as preliminary. But while it may not be possible to pinpoint a date, or a month, at which point we can expect to transition out of bunker living, no one seems to have any sense of how we’ll arrive at that determination, how much we will have wanted to contain the outbreak, at what levels, before moving forward, and what steps moving forward would then entail. That there is no coherent federal plan to deal with the outbreak as it currently stands is horrifying enough — an absolute evacuation of presidential leadership that has already cost thousands of lives and will likely cost tens of thousands more. But the fact that there is also no planning to speak of for how we might leave behind the present crisis means all we can see looking forward from the darkness — is more darkness.
Just like the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on crime, and the never ending wars against everything else, the war on COVID-19 is not meant to be won. It will be never ending, and a huge source of PROFIT, just like all other never ending wars that end up doing nothing but making the problems worse, as root causes are ignored/denied.