By Jeff Jobe
It seems from a well balanced review of headlines and news articles that the coronavirus curve has flattened, but sadly our state and national economy continues to tank.
Now, with a full month of following guidelines and stay-at-home advisories, Kentuckians will rightfully be looking for the lessening of restrictions and goals in place for some return to normalcy.
In a conference call with state governors last Thursday, President Donald Trump outlined new guidelines for a gradual reopening of the economy after May 1. It centers around a three-phase process as relaxing restrictions on work, travel, school, and social activity for states.
Yet, all news accounts indicate that states must demonstrate a 14-day downward trend for the virus, their symptoms, and documented cases. Plus, they must make sure their hospitals are functioning comfortably within their patient capacity and are equipped to self-test their staffs.
This disease has dealt a devastating blow to our state and nation in the form of not only an economic devastation but also in the form of motivation and optimism. Our national and state mental health will become an issue if we can’t begin to show hope for those whose lives have been drastically affected. With 35,000 deaths and the panic associated with all the negative news surrounding those deaths, this will soon be followed by the depression and despair that is a direct affect of more than 22 million Americans out of work. Health care experts are expecting thousands to die from suicide and drug overdoses as a result of these layoffs. That jarring forecast could exceed the death toll projected for the virus itself. One study released indicates a projection of 77,000 if our country even hits the 32% mark.
Kentuckians want and need to get back to work. We are in a region spared by the virus’s full intensity, and much of our region is low population and could begin a return with strong encouragement of social distancing and cleaning routines.
President Trump and Governor Beshear can lift the sanctions in place. Yet, they don’t control when our economy will resume. This will be up to us, the American people.
When we feel our health and our jobs are safe, then and only then will we see a return of the fastest growing economy in America’s history.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at www.sckentucky.com