NYT Lead: States Reopening, 'Undermining' Stay-at-Home Efforts as 'Grim Milestone' Set

April 28th, 2020 2:14 PM

The front of Tuesday's New York Times tackled how various states plan to re-open for business over a surprisingly sunny banner headline, “States Set Course To Unlock Doors Of U.S. Commerce.” The story's own headline: “Texas Thinks Big – Ohio Is Cautious.”

But that optimistic beginning was swiftly overridden by the doubt-ridden tone of reporters Jack Healy, Manny Fernandez, and Peter Baker, teaming up to seed the ground to say “I told you so” if the states' plans backfired and coronavirus cases shot back up:

Governors across the country forged ahead Monday with plans to reopen their economies, even as the nation hit a grim milestone of 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus and public health experts warned against lifting stay-at-home orders too quickly.

They explained that Texas was being ambitious, while Ohio and Colorado were undergoing more cautious re-openings, then started sowing unease:

As the known death toll from the virus crossed the bleak threshold of 50,000 people, according to a New York Times tally, the total number of confirmed cases in the country topped 983,000. Health experts worry that reopening prematurely without sufficient testing, protective equipment and other safeguards could fuel another spike in cases that may not be detected in official numbers for two weeks.

The liberal Times just can't abide America's federalist "patchwork" of 50 states:

The efforts to reopen across the country were creating a patchwork of contradictory rules that could undermine weeks of messages urging Americans to stay home and could endanger the entire nation’s ability to beat back the pandemic.

The reporters made sure to point the finger at “conservatives” rushing to reopen (click “expand”):

Local health leaders in Mr. Oregel’s corner of Northern Colorado, a conservative hub of ranching and oil drilling, had urged county leaders not to reopen amid a surge of coronavirus cases tied to a meatpacking plant and other hot spots. But county leaders said businesses had a right to open, and Mr. Oregel, who has bills to pay, decided it was worth the risk.


In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey has signaled that he will follow reopening guidelines provided to governors from the White House. Mr. Ducey has faced intense pressure to reopen parts of Arizona’s economy as conservative protesters, many holding military-style rifles, have swarmed the State Capitol to demand an easing of distancing measures.

Are protesters really calling for "an easing of distancing measures" because they want to stand really close together again, or do they just want to get back to work (with distancing measures in place)?

The Times predictably longed for a federal, one-size-fits-all response --- while presumably trusting President Trump to make all the right calls:

With states not bound by any unified national plan, the different timelines for reopening have created a gulf between those hustling to reopen restaurants, movie theaters and tattoo parlors, and New York and California, which are moving more slowly and cautiously toward reopening....

Perhaps because the damage wrought by the coronavirus differs between New York City and, say, Wyoming.