Paul Gosar: It’s time to slowly reopen America

Image source: Paul Gosar's office

America is at a standstill; our economy is paused, and while there is light at the end of the tunnel, it is time to craft a plan to reach it. America is at her best when she is tested and we are rising to the occasion like never before. Let’s continue that American spirit as we chart a path back toward economic prosperity.

In January, as the Wuhan coronavirus spread around the world, President Trump made the decision to restrict entry to the United States from all travelers who had recently been in China. This decisive action bought the United States valuable time, and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the Coronavirus Task Force said it “absolutely” made a difference. This bold action was criticised by  the World Health Organization as “not needed,” Nancy Pelosi labeled it “racist” and Joe Biden called it “xenophobic.”

In an unprecedented response to the spreading pandemic, the United States implemented strict social distancing measures designed to slow the spread of the virus. These guidelines undoubtedly saved millions of lives, but they have also effectively shut down our entire economy. Universities, local school districts, manufacturers, sports teams, offices, restaurants, malls, hotels, and every type of American business has suffered. When America’s small businesses suffer, we all do.

Models projected a complete doomsday scenario with overrun healthcare facilities, millions of dead Americans, and mass graves. These models were way off, and they continue to scale back projections on a daily basis. Everyone agrees that when addressing treatment for a disease, the “cure” should not be worse than the disease itself. By staying home we are reducing the spread and impact of the coronavirus on Americans but we are also killing our businesses and the livelihoods of millions of American families. As a healthcare provider, I think we now have enough data available to us to conclude that there are high risk groups, medium risk and low risk groups. Telling lower risk groups, such as healthy people under age 50, to stay home, when the data show that this group is not impacted, is a cure that is worse than the disease. We know that people over 70 are at highest risk, and they should stay home until the pandemic passes or we have a working vaccine. Data also tells us that individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure or people who are otherwise immunosuppressed (cancer patients, HIV patients, etc.) are at higher risk at any age and should stay home.

We also know that some parts of the country are hardly impacted while other parts are hit quite hard. Cities like New York, the epicenter of the pandemic in our country, should remain under quarantine. Conversely, there are states like West Virginia where the pandemic has hardly had any health impact. It makes little sense to treat Morgantown and New York city the same way, the former having zero deaths while the latter has thousands.

I am encouraging President Trump, the Centers for Disease Control and FEMA to evaluate the data closely and implement a plan for Americans to return to work based on risk groups and risk locations. We have the information now and we know how to do this. In a recent briefing with the Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump pointed out that he built the greatest economy in the world, and he would do it again if he needed to. It’s time to start the process of getting America back to work and rebuilding the greatest economy in the world.