Lewis: Open Minnesota For Business

Lewis: Open Minnesota For Business

March 25, 2020

WOODBURY, Minn. — U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis released the following statement calling for Minnesota to ease the coronavirus restrictions at the end of the Trump Administration’s “15 Days to Slow the Spread” initiative:

“We are not only victims of a pandemic, we are victims of imperfect information. Epidemiological models—not to mention economic ones—have failed to converge. No one knows when caseloads will peak, but it is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot fight the coronavirus with an economy that is not working. Over the last few days I have talked with senior centers sewing their own masks, manufacturers retooling to make hand sanitizer, and restaurants turning to take-out. They are the best of Minnesota, and thankfully are all doing their part—but they and their workers need relief.

Yesterday, Dr. Birx said, ‘the mortality rate is driven, almost exclusively as we have talked about, by preexisting conditions,’ which, of course, is good and bad news. Vulnerable populations still need protection. Though the 15-day coronavirus guidelines will soon expire, most Minnesotans have already seen substantial reduction to their economic activity (and income) in the last month. While this pause has given us a crucial head start on beating the virus, it cannot go on forever.

Some medical professionals are suggesting it may be counterproductive to continue the business lockdown. In fact, clustering the young and old may have been an ineffective way to fight the contagion. By ‘preferentially protecting the medically frail and those over age 60’ and letting healthy working-age Minnesotans go back to work, we can avoid extending the very real social—and eventually health—costs of a second Great Depression.

Therefore, once the federal government’s 15-day guidelines expire on Monday March 30th, Minnesota should start reopening for business for all but the most vulnerable of its residents. While some states may have to continue their own stricter guidelines, Minnesota’s emergency orders shutting down all schools should end two weeks later on April 13th, deferring those decisions back to local school districts.

Some are unfortunately portraying fighting a virus and getting Americans back to work as a binary choice. It is not–you can’t do one without the other. So let’s get started.”

Read Lewis’ full opinion piece here.