Time to Reopen Illinois

We know the economic costs of this Covid-19 lock-down has been devastating on working families and small business; many who will never recover.

We are just now starting to see the warned about social impacts as a result of these leader’s decisions to shut the state down as they did. Disturbing data is emerging that, during the lock-down, we are seeing increases in depression, domestic violence, drug and alcohol use, suicide, and child abuse. We may well find out as Francis Bacon said “the remedy was worse than the disease.”

It is becoming clearer that the projected Covid-19 health impact; while devastating, has not been near what the “models” and “theories” had indicated and therefore, it is time for Illinois to reopen. 

Would there be an increased potential risk with reopening the state now vs. 2 weeks from now or July 1? That is debatable. However, what is not debatable is the negative impact that staying closed is having on the economy and social/mental health of our families. And yes we all understand that until a vaccine is in place or the public has built up sufficient immunity, some commonsense social distancing guidelines will need to be part of the reopening  

We have seen other states that closed later and opened sooner that had fewer negative Covid-19 impacts than Illinois. One of the reasons for the higher negative results in states like Illinois, maybe as a result of the unintended consequences of the early decision to close small business, retailers, and restaurants, thereby resulting in the “herding” effect of record numbers of people into a few box stores. This may have been one of the reasons that lead to the spike of Covid seen in urban areas.  Reopening the state would naturally distance people away from big box stores and move them into small retailers and restaurants where social distancing was occurring before the forced shut down. 

I believe science will eventually determine that the “Sweden Model” would have been a better course of action for our state to have taken. While we cannot go back and implement that model, we can use that model going forward. That model is simple; open businesses now, social distance, clean, and concentrate efforts on protecting those at risk. 

Dave Syverson

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