PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – MAY 5
By Leo Haggerty

TIME TO EMBRACE REALITY

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

Forget about sports.  In my opinion, the United States of America is coming to a crossroads that the nation has never experienced outside of time of war.

Whether you like or dislike President Trump and your governor, they are between a rock and a hard place right now. It’s a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” scenario and here’s why.

Let’s start by laying just the real time facts.  Novel thought, right?

First, as we move forward toward June, the number of deaths will increase.  The unknown is by what percentage.  The known is it will be more than the 1,750 mortalities a day from COVID-19.

Second, to quell this surge in the death rate from the coronavirus, a national “shelter in place” must be put in place indefinitely.  We saw that China was able to “contain” the outbreak by STRICTLY limiting human movement.

That’s the good news.  The bad news, if you believe what is being released by the Middle Kingdom, is that it took somewhere around 75 days to accomplish that feat and, in some locales, even longer.

Finally, the American economy is hanging on by a thread and no one in “The 50” will dispute that.  The clock is ticking on when the collapse will occur.  Businesses must be allowed to open within the next couple of weeks or irrevocable economic damage will caused to millions of American families.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, on an interview with CNN on Monday, pretty much crystallized what high level political leaders are facing.  Christie pulled no punches as he emphasized, “Of course, everyone wants to save every life that they can.  The question is, towards what end, ultimately? There are going to be deaths no matter what.  We’ve got to let some of these folks get back to work because, if we don’t, we’re going to destroy the American way of life.  It will be years and years before we can recover.  We’re in the midst of a pandemic that we haven’t seen in over 100 years.  And, we’re going to have to continue to do things.  The American people have gone through significant death before.  We’ve gone through it and we’ve survived it.  We sacrificed those lives.”

Christie isn’t being callous or uncaring about the American citizens who would likely die by reopening the country.  He’s just “being Jersey” and telling it like it is.  It’s how we roll in “The Garden State” so deal with it.

To summarize, Christie is expressing his belief that the country needs to have a “war mentality” when it comes to combating COVID-19. He advocates reopening the country and to treat the inevitable increase in coronavirus deaths to be “collateral damage” that occurs when fighting a war.  He may be spot on with that assessment.

In my opinion, here’s what it comes down to in extremely simplistic terms.  People who are no longer employed have two options.

One is to take a chance by going to work with the possibility of contracting the deadly COVID-19 and bringing in home to expose their family.  On the surface, that doesn’t look like a really good choice, does it?

The other is to continue to “shelter in place” and, when the money eventually dries up, to starve to death.  Not a very appealing decision either, correct?

So, let me present the dilemma. If politicians reopen the country, the death rate from the pandemic will definitely increase as Christie stated.  To what extent is anyone’s guess.

If elected officials continue to keep the country closed, businesses will certainly fail with the economy crashing and burning.  That could lead to riots or, even worse, revolution and no one wants that to happen either.

It all comes down to this.  Pandemic versus pizza so get ready to choose your poison.

One thing is for sure.  Whatever decision that is made will have severe ramifications.

Look for the leaders of state and federal government to choose the one where they believe has the lowest “collateral damage” predictions.  As I look at it, the union will be going back to work real soon.

It’s the “lesser of two evils” whether we like it or not.  Sadly, it is the “new” normal.