Are we really ‘overreacting’ to the virus?

Tony Evers

MADISON, Wis. — Time during the Covid-19 pandemic moves so quickly that an evening gone can seem like a thousand ages.

But it was just over a month ago that Dr. Anthony Fauci explained all the shelter in place restrictions by saying something like, “If we do this right, it will seem like an overreaction.”

What he meant was that the dire predictions of hundreds of thousands of deaths could be mitigated if the nation did pretty much what it ended up doing – shutting down much of society and sending the economy into a deep hole.

Sure enough, infection and death rates are nowhere near the ghastly toll predicted, and, sure enough, critics are calling the social restrictions an overreaction. Some critics claim the cure may be worse than the disease.

This is America and we pretty much accept the fact that we don’t agree on anything. The 1,500 protesters who marched on the Capitol on Friday hardly represented an insurrection.

Their political argument – that Governor Tony Evers is a power-mad bureaucrat – is stupid. No politician is happy about sinking his state’s economy; that’s just not a good way to win votes.

Their emotional argument – that closing down the state for a minimum of two months carries its own high costs – is obvious.

But their demand that Evers present a plan for getting us out of this mess is just inaccurate.

Evers has presented a plan for reopening the state. It is pretty much the same plan that President Trump has offered.

Those plans include waiting at least two weeks until hospitalizations for the Covid-19 virus have decreased and until the number of tests for infection have become widely available, plus some restrictions on how things will reopen.

They seem reasonable, and, believe me, I don’t say that often about a Trump plan.

The problem is, of course, that those minimum requirements have not yet been met.

Hospitalizations in Wisconsin are not decreasing. They are increasing and so is the number of reported infections. The 331 new cases reported Saturday is the highest daily number yet. Brown County, where Green Bay (and the Packers) is located, reported 171 new cases just last weekend.

It is true that many Wisconsin counties have suffered very few cases of Covid-19. It is also true that the economies in many of those counties benefit greatly from tourist traffic from people in Madison and Milwaukee.

The upshot? There is a plan. It may not be a perfect plan but both the president and the governor agree on it. We probably ought not scrap that plan before it is even tried.