To the editor:
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment maintains a well-designed website about the progress of the coronavirus in Kansas. It can be found at www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/
I see it as the best source of information needed to decide when to put people back to work in Kansas.
Now we have the COVID-19 task force guidelines for restarting America’s economy.
They are defined in three phases. The first phase allows a return to work, very carefully, with a limit of 10 people in any gathering. This offers little or no relief for schools, sit-down restaurants, bars and sporting events.
The second phase allows a bit more freedom, and the third is mostly unrestricted.
After studying the Kansas situation, I believe Kansas should implement phase three now in all but 10 counties. As of April 15, Wyandotte County had 379 confirmed cases, Johnson 343, Sedgwick 217, Leavenworth 114 and Ford 51. Shawnee, Douglas, Lyon and Coffee counties were in the 30s or 40s. Riley had 24. I believe these 10 counties could go to phase one now, but probably should go no further.
The other 95 counties each have less than 20 confirmed cases. About half of those have 0, 1 or 2 cases. A one-size-fits-all order to close down unessential business is grossly unfair to them.
Kansas, with a population of almost three million, is not seriously affected by the coronavirus. As of April 17, we have only 1,588 cases and 80 deaths. Only 359 have been hospitalized across the state and most of those have been discharged.
I find it unfortunate that President Trump must leave reopen decisions to governors. Governors are politicians and I believe most Democrats will resist restarting as long as they can, until forced to by public opinion. Will Laura Kelly see the opportunity to reopen most of the state?
I predict that states with Republican governors will move much more rapidly to reopen than the rest. The main-stream media will scream bloody murder about any progress in that direction. The propaganda war has already begun and the collapse of the American economy, if it happens due to delayed reopening, will kill, impoverish and injure many more people than the coronavirus.