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A False Dichotomy

Rock Hill, SC, May 13, 2020

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) said it perfectly yesterday: “We are too often presented with a false dichotomy: either saving our economy or saving lives.”

He was talking with Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing, and what Sen. Scott said was exactly right. Those who believe preventative measures should never have been taken are ignoring the immeasurable toll that would have had on human lives and our healthcare systems. I believe that’s an extremist point of view.

Equally extreme, in my opinion, are those who claim that now is not the time to consider safe steps towards re-opening our economy. This viewpoint ignores the likelihood of CATASTROPHIC economic damage and widespread poverty, as countless economists have predicted will happen if we can’t find a way to safely get Americans back to work.

THESE ARE BOTH FALSE CHOICES. It is NOT government overreach to take precautionary measures based on data and medical expertise. Nor is it somehow “reckless” to look at calculated, reasonable steps to re-open South Carolina and our nation.

From the start of this pandemic, the partial shutdown of our economy and stay-at-home recommendations were ALWAYS meant to be temporary. The objectives have never changed: (1) “flatten the curve” to keep our healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed, and (2) give our nation time to ramp up its response efforts.

All things considered, South Carolina has done quite well so far. In fact, as Dr. Fauci told Sen. Scott today, our state has “put things in place that I think would optimize your capability of reopening.” He went on to say, “I almost want to clone that and make sure other people hear about that and see what [South Carolina has] been doing.”

So when we talk about re-opening our economy here in South Carolina and across the nation, we need to hold to account people who intentionally lie about what that really means, or use scare tactics for cheap political points. Only to the uninformed does the term “re-open” mean things like forced gatherings, or lessening our prevention efforts, or leaving those who are vulnerable out to fend for themselves.

Instead, when we talk about plans for re-opening, this is what it includes:

✅ We should continue working to protect those most at risk. (e.g. elderly, those with underlying health concerns, etc.)

✅ We should continue our extraordinary efforts to ramp up testing and tracing.

✅ We should continue to reinforce the healthcare facilities throughout our state.

✅ Development of both vaccinations and therapies is already happening at a breakneck speed.

✅ We should continue efforts to help businesses weather this storm, like the EIDL and PPP programs, without being bogged down in efforts to “restructure things to fit our vision.”

✅ We should continue to refine and improve the guidance and resources that employees and employers need to help keep their workplaces safe.

✅ We should continue to encourage remote work whenever it’s possible and practical.

✅✅✅ And when data and medical guidance indicate it’s reasonably safe to do so, we should gently move forward, step by step, evaluate the data to see what happens, and then go from there.

In other words, exactly what South Carolina has been doing. Thank you, Dr. Fauci, for recognizing this and pointing it out to the nation.

https://bit.ly/dr-fauci-praises-sc

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