Coronavirus will soon exceed the 2019-2020 flu death estimates according to the CDC. This is a serious illness.
Recent reports say most people who have COVID-19 don’t even know they have it because they have no symptoms and have not been tested. Recent studies report a far greater spread of asymptomatic disease than originally anticipated, meaning the hospitalization and mortality rates are actually lower than estimated.
In South Carolina, we flattened the curve more effectively than other parts of the country because we took to social distancing early. Today we are far below projections for both infection and mortality, for those tested at least.
South Carolina residents are doing an excellent job taking this virus seriously. In grocery stores we’re wearing masks and gloves, and staying six feet apart even when we’re outdoors.
Our nation’s reaction to the virus has since caused 26 million people to lose their jobs and plunged our country further in the red, racking up an additional $6 trillion dollars of debt -- that’s about $200,000 per household to put that in perspective. Our deficit in 2020 will reach nearly $4 trillion.
Too often, money meant to go to small businesses, instead went to many big ones, permanently shuttering many small companies.
It took about a week for the stimulus money to run out.
At the end of the day, the decision to jumpstart our economy begins with the states, their citizens and their businesses. Federalism doesn’t empower DC to dictate down to the states or the local level. New York City is different from Charleston which is different from Atlanta.
Any such guidance must allow for differences between states and regions.
In South Carolina, all businesses that want to operate should be allowed to with safety measures in place. Everyone should wear masks and wash their hands regularly. In some cases, employees should go further by wearing gloves. Capacity should be limited initially, then brought back up to normal as quickly as possible.
A restaurant owner open at 50 percent capacity or open with outdoor seating only is still open, creating jobs and generating revenue for the local economy.
Parks and beaches allow people to get in the sun and exercise. Did you know sunlight is where we derive vitamin D and vitamin D helps us stay immune to disease, especially viruses and it’s even believed to improve respiratory health?
Many of us venturing to the grocery store each week have seen the shortages. Our supply chain will get worse the longer we remain shut down. We need to ensure our supply chain is moving, and we can’t do that if we continue to force people to stay home.
Here in the Lowcountry, large companies have begun layoffs. This will get significantly worse the longer we remain closed.
And no one is hiring at this point.
I don’t believe a soft restart of our economy is going to see crowds of people everywhere overnight. For example, as a mom of two young children, I am still going to operate out of an abundance of caution, not just to protect my children, but to protect all children, and the public at-large.
I trust South Carolina residents to continue to take this virus seriously.
People who are at greater risk for COVID-19 can and should stay home longer.
We should use prudence when making decisions as to what is best for us, our families and our communities based on the information we have.
That’s why I’ve been pushing for widespread, rapid testing. In less than 15 minutes, these tests can tell if you actively have coronavirus or if you have the antibodies and may have some level of immunity.
Restoring our economy isn’t minimizing or ignoring the serious nature of the coronavirus. But if we don’t devise a safe and prudent plan, then we are burying our heads in the sand and inflicting unnecessary pain.
That’s not a vision for America.
South Carolina has hit a plateau according to DHEC. Our state has flattened the curve. Now it’s time to safely restore our state with appropriate safety measures in place.
I look forward to seeing America get back on its own two feet again and soon, the Lowcountry is counting on it, and I want us to lead the way.