Governor DeSantis, Shut it Down NOW


An organized approach now is better than a knee-jerk reaction later.

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez

Eight days ago I panic-rushed to my primary care physician’s office to take a COVID19 test after my temperature vacillated between 99 and 101F over  several days. Only this morning, yes, eight days later, did I receive a call from my doctor’s office at 8:30am with the news, “I tested NEGATIVE.”

I hung up the phone and immediately text-messaged my three kids “NEGATIVE” in all caps. My son Pablo’s answer was the most interesting. Instead of responding, “That’s great news Mom,” he wrote.

“Oh no! That means we can all still get “Rona” (this is the nickname his generation has for the coronavirus).” He continued, “Lockdown begins now!”

What I think he meant to say was, “Now we’d better get serious about staying home and protecting ourselves.” Up until now, our family had been privy to a  bizarre “waiting-in-limbo” status, this fantastical notion that if I had tested positive, we would all somehow have what everyone wants, immunity to the coronavirus.

Truth be told, we’ve been locked down, but we could have been more diligent. My 17-year-old ran to Target yesterday to buy a boardgame. My college-aged son (home from school) hosted some of his buddies one night in my backyard (unbeknownst to me until my neighbor texted to complain and I ran out shrieking in my bathrobe, hands gesticulating in the air, to tell them party’s over until this coronavirus issue was settled). My children and partner have been shopping at supermarkets without masks or gloves (because none are available), so every time we venture out, we really do increase our probability of infection.  Publix has no one checking temperatures. There are no mats with bleach to clean our feet. Workers have no gloves or masks. It’s dangerous and contagious!

We are now under an official “stay at home” order from the City of Miami Beach, and our beaches and hotels are closed to tourists, but this morning, on my daily walk, construction crews and landscapers were visible up and down my street. Is this fair to us? Is this fair to them?

In one week, we’ve come a long way. Drive-through testing centers are opening, the federal government is on the verge of passing legislation to provide several trillion dollars in relief to businesses and workers, and Bill Gates came out with a self-nasal swab test for coronavirus—much better than having that long stick stuck up your nose and into your throat, causing patients to gag and cough all over healthcare workers (this is gross but when tested I found out I have a deviated septum—yuck!).

We still have a long way to go. Shut down the construction sites! Shut down anything that is truly non-essential for 14 days!

Are we waiting for bodies to pile up in New York City to strengthen our shutdown order? Last week I wrote that the sooner the United States makes a strict united effort to completely shut down for 14 days, we cannot expect business to go on as usual. Bill Gates said it best in a teleconference yesterday, “Is someone going to go show an apartment or a house for sale when there are bodies piled up on the corner?” I agree with him. We must suffer now to recuperate quickly.

An article in New York Magazine paints a stark picture of the shutdown in China. We are nowhere near their sanitizing regulations or isolation protocols.

I congratulate the City of Miami Beach for being a leader. We were the first to shut down hotels. We issued a “stay-at-home” order and implemented a curfew. Today, we allocated money to open a service center to help laid-off workers fill out the long and complicated Florida unemployment forms. We are doing everything except the obvious, which is a comprehensive shut down for a finite period. Confucius said it the best, “Life is really simple, but we insist on complicating it.”

Governor DeSantis, stop dancing around the special interests and shut it down! Better to be rational now, than knee-jerk later.

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