There have been times, during this COVID-19 pandemic, when some have viewed Gov. Ned Lamont as too cautious. People want to get back to normal, or at least to take the next step in that direction. We’ve seen people in other states living it up at beaches and lakes, not maintaining social distance, not wearing masks, just simply partying.
But the governor keeps urging vigilance, keeps saying, in effect, “Not so fast!”
“I see the flareup in Charlotte,” he said last week. “I see the flareups in Phoenix, Arizona, I see what’s going on around the country, along with South Korea. Israel just had to close down their schools. Which is why we are being so careful as we reopen.”
Connecticut has, in fact, been slow to reopen. But we need to remember that we’re not Wyoming or some other sparsely populated place hundreds of miles from any major viral outbreak. We’re right here in the thick of the Northeast Corridor, squeezed between Boston and New York.
As of last week, Connecticut had passed two statistical landmarks: more than 43,000 positive COVID-19 cases, and more than 4,000 COVID-associated deaths — grim reminders that the emergency has not yet passed.
We are starting to see more businesses open, at least in a limited way. As things stand, the next major phase of reopening will happen on June 17, when indoor dining at restaurants, movie theaters, tattoo parlors, spas, gyms, fitness studios and nail salons will be allowed to open. That may also be the day when the state will allow up to 50-person outdoor events, such as weddings. Larger events may be allowed a month later.
This shutdown has been a strain on everyone’s nerves. It has taken a terrible toll on many people’s way of life and on huge numbers of small businesses, many of them family businesses.
Lamont is trying to protect the state from a second wave of the pandemic. In addition to the human toll, that could cause an economic disaster worse that the one we’re suffering right now.
The treatment Lamont has prescribed for Connecticut is a bitter pill to swallow, and the recovery will be painful. But the alternative could very well be a quick “recovery” followed by a relapse that makes us go through the whole process all over again.
And nobody wants that.