REAGAN COLUMN: Overreaction to outbreak more fatal to businesses

REAGAN COLUMN: Overreaction to outbreak more fatal to businesses

  • 0

The disease experts and the panic-pushing media initially scared the pants off California’s 40 million people with their predictions about the death toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

They said 25 million people in the state would become infected by COVID-19 and a million of us would die from it.

Predictably, the experts’ computer models were way off the mark, thank goodness.

Compared to devastated states like New York and New Jersey, California has been relatively unscathed by the coronavirus pandemic.

So far about 3,000 people in the state have tragically died from the coronavirus—almost half in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

More than half of California’s deaths—1,663—have been here in Los Angeles. And about 25 of the state’s 57 counties have had one or zero fatalities.

California’s good fortune didn’t stop Gov. Gavin Newsom from torturing everyone in the entire state for two months with a strict shutdown that closed nonessential businesses and 280 state beaches and parks.

And now, as he works to gradually reopen the state, he’s come out with a detailed, four-phase, open-ended “roadmap” that looks like it’s going to prolong everyone’s agony.

The good news is that Newsom has kindly reopened the beaches and state parks.

But he and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have laid down a bunch of rules that will make living in L.A. about as enjoyable as living in a prairie dog hole in the Mojave Desert.

If you go outside your home to walk your dog, ride your bike or perform some other “essential” task, you have to wear a mask.

If you enter a retail store or stop at curbside pickup, you have to wear a mask.

And if you’re on a hiking trail, a golf course or a beach, you have to wear a mask—though not when you’re in the water.

The dumbest and most scientifically dubious social-distancing rules apply to California’s beautiful beaches.

You can walk, run, surf or swim at the beach, but you can’t sit on the sand and sunbathe. No standing around, either. Forget the coolers, chairs, umbrellas, Frisbees and footballs. And no parking in the lots by the beach.

This week we were told the bad news by the city that its stay-at-home orders and strict mask rules will remain in place for another three months.

Because the mayor figured that might be depressing news for mentally fragile citizens, he announced that the city has set up a suicide hot line where they could seek help.

Garcetti doesn’t get it and never will.

But there are millions of perfectly sane Americans, like me, who think going out and risking a COVID-19 infection is better than spending the rest of your life in your house.

We know the odds of getting hospitalized or dying are extremely low, and as adults in what’s supposed to be a free country we’d like to be able to choose to take the risk.

Garcetti obviously doesn’t think that way.

He said the city’s tougher rules are necessary to help slow the spread of the coronavirus and that wearing our masks “will help us get more freedoms.”

Don’t tell the mayor, but I don’t think we need to please him so he’ll give us back the freedoms we used to have.

Despite abuse we’ve suffered from over-cautious and power-grabbing politicians, Californians have done pretty much what they have been told to do—so far.

But the statewide economic shutdown should have been relaxed weeks ago. The curve has been flattened by social distancing and our health care system was never overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

It’s inevitable that many more people are going to die from the coronavirus. Developing a vaccine could be a year away—or never—and achieving zero deaths is a fantasy.

So unless California and the rest of the country isn’t quickly and safely reopened, the coronavirus is going to end up killing more businesses than people.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant and the founder of the email service Send comments to


Catch the latest in Opinion

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

If there is a silver lining to the flawed U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, it is this: The relatively high number of new cases being diagnosed daily - upward of 20,000 - will make it easier to test new vaccines. To determine whether a vaccine prevents disease, the study's subjects need to be exposed to the pathogen as it circulates in the population. Reopening the economy will likely ...

It has often occurred to me that the appropriate response to some of the ridiculous things President Donald Trump utters is: "He's an idiot." Don't get me wrong (as op-ed writers like to say). I'm not impugning Trump's IQ. By "idiot" I mean something a bit different: that Trump often doesn't know what he's talking about. (That doesn't exclude the possibility that some of his misrepresentations ...

These past few months have taken a serious toll on every American; especially those who recently lost their jobs and are struggling to find work, keep food on the table for their families, and do everything possible to avoid becoming sick themselves. The coronavirus has attached its tentacles to almost every aspect of our lives and has placed enormous strain on the 1.5 million local, regional ...

If there's a silver lining to living in virtual lockdown, it's this: Plenty of time to attack those lists of "things we should do around the house." Which is how we came recently to complete a book purge, ultimately donating 27 boxes to a used bookstore, getting rid of six overflow bookshelves in the garage and moving one other back into the house. Now, for the first time in two decades, we ...

The historian in me is fascinated by how Americans in crisis make use of the past to predict the future. To those inclined to look backward, the so-called Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 offers pundits the obvious historical analogy to our own COVID-19 moment. A century ago, the flu killed roughly 50 million people worldwide, negatively shaped the global order for years afterward and ...

The disproportionate COVID-19-related death rates and job losses suffered by communities of color in the United States are a stark reminder of the glaring systemic inequities baked into our economy. Getting back to "normal" will only serve to deepen these disparities. Instead, we need a top-to-bottom shift in our economy that puts the health, prosperity and resilience of all people - whatever ...

In July 2001, a 28-year-old woman named Lori Klausutis fell and hit her head on a desk at work in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. She was found dead the next morning. The medical examiner concluded that there was no foul play, and it later turned out that Klausutis had an undiagnosed heart condition. There would be no reason today to publicly discuss this tragic accident, but for the fact that ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alert

Breaking News