April 21st, 2021


Time To end the great shutdown

Michael Reagan

By Michael Reagan

Published April 20, 2020

I ran into a nurse I know this week.

"Let me ask you a question," I said, keeping a safe six feet away from her.

"About 40 percent of the people in the country get a flu vaccine each year and yet we still lose between 25,000 and 60,000 every flu season. A couple years ago there were something like 80,000 deaths. And we didn't shut down the country."

"That's right."

"I know people who get flu shots each year but still get the flu. Their doctor always explains it was because they caught a different strain of the flu than the one she gave them the vaccine for."

"That's right."

"So if we come up with a vaccine for COVID-19 in a year or so, and I start getting COVID-19 shots, could I still get COVID-20, or COVID-21?"


"So this war against the coronavirus is just the beginning of a never-ending war?"

"Yes," she said. "It's sad so many people are dying, but many of us think that what we've been doing is kind of silly."

I talked to another friend this week who is a state senator in California.

She said her biggest problem right now is that she has six hospitals in her district and a total of three COVID-19 patients. The rest of the hospital beds are empty.

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Because the coronavirus has barely shown up in her part of the state, and because hospitals have decided not to schedule elective surgeries, the hospitals are empty and are having to lay off nurses and other employees.

My two friends are among the millions of Americans who’ve come to realize it was a terrible mistake to shut down so much of our country, crush a booming economy and throw nearly 20 million people out of work in our war against the coronavirus.

Here in California, the coronavirus apocalypse we were warned to expect never happened.

It still could get worse, but the percentage of Californians who've been infected by COVID-19 – 70 per 100,000 people – is a tenth of New Jersey's and the number of our daily cases of new infections seems to be leveling off.

So far we have had 949 deaths. Most are concentrated in dense Los Angeles County (457) and the San Francisco Bay Area (130).

People in rural places like Modoc County, where COVID-19 deaths are zero, or Imperial County, where three have died, think it is absurd that their communities had to be closed down like super-dense New York City, where nearly 12,000 have died.

It's also extremely frustrating living in L.A.

This weekend, as the weather turns warm, the beaches, hiking trails and golf courses will remain closed.

Like everywhere else, schools and restaurants are closed. Parks and playgrounds too. Except for grocery runs and take-out food pickups, we're expected to stay home like bad children.

But this week there were hopeful signs that the Great American Shutdown will end soon.

Some federal and state officials and disease experts still think that it’s too dangerous and shouldn't happen until the coronavirus is completely gone in a month or two – or more.

But they're wrong. We've already done too much harm to the economy and our future fiscal health.

President Trump is right to speed up the reopening of the country, return it to normalcy and reassert the basic freedoms that have been taken away from all of us.

I think he knows the American people are not as stupid, irresponsible or helpless as many Democrat politicians and the liberal media think.

We can be trusted to wear a mask and keep our social distance when it's necessary.

Our retail businesses, restaurants and golf courses are perfectly capable of figuring out what they must do to reopen safely by working with their local health departments. Major league baseball and other sports leagues can figure out how to play in front of fans, too.

From now on, we have to rebuild and reshape our daily lives and concentrate on protecting our most vulnerable citizens – the oldest and sickest folks – while the drug companies work on that vaccine for COVID-19.


Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder of the email service and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation.