Partisanship is more deadly than the virus

"We’re talking about the battles that are firming up along political lines about when it will be safe to reopen the economy — and whether 'safe' should even be a criteria."

By

Opinion

April 22, 2020 - 8:30 AM

Protestors march outside the Kentucky State Capitol to rally against current social distancing requirements and business closures ordered by Gov. Andy Beshear, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S. April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston/File Photo

There are many frightening aspects to the coronavirus pandemic. Among the most frightening is how much we still don’t know.

We don’t know why some cities and areas of the country are seeing higher mortality rates than others. We don’t know what percentage of the population is currently infected, and what percentage may have immunity. We don’t know when we will have an adequate supply of N95 masks and tests.

Amid this uncertainty, one thing is clear: There is something more fatal than the virus, and that is political partisanship. We’re not just talking about the way President Donald Trump has often defaulted to partisan swipes and blaming other parties and administrations for the crisis, though that is damaging enough. We’re talking about the battles that are firming up along political lines about when it will be safe to reopen the economy — and whether “safe” should even be a criteria.

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