Here we are, in a time our Nation has never experienced---a shut down due to a virus. According to History.com, the Spanish Flu of 1918 was estimated to have infected 1/3 of the world’s population (500 million people). The death toll was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 deaths occurring in the U.S. Yet there was NO shutdown or suspension of our Constitution.
A quarantine is the isolation or restriction of free movement for those having, or directly exposed to a contagious disease. The healthy or “well” people can work and move about with guidelines of washing hands, etc.
The complete authority for the State’s lockdowns has fallen to the Governors. Idaho’s legislators and the Lt. Governor are being kept informed but not necessarily consulted about the suspension of our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. Our Constitution was ratified as the Supreme Law of the Land. Nowhere in the Constitution does it allow for its suspension for a disease. As Ben Franklin stated: “Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
In a Legislative briefing with Kootenai Health I learned that they have lost $6 million in the last 2 weeks of March and if the shutdown continues, a projected loss of $12 million a month. We were told at the onset of the outbreak that the suspension of our 1st Amendment right “to assemble” was necessary to ensure space for a massive influx of critically ill COVID-19 patients. To date, that has not occurred. I also met with Panhandle Health officials and they maintain the need to continue current policies to be ready for the 2nd wave of COVID-19 ill. This is based on models that have continually proven inaccurate! The facts are simple, there was NO 1st wave in most areas. Even those areas hit with an outbreak were medically able to accommodate the seriously infected. Unless our hospitals nationwide receive massive amounts of federal money, they will bankrupt along with many other businesses.
There is no doubt that this disease is highly contagious and deadly. Sadly, many people have died and many more will die as a result of this pandemic. However, if we do not open our economy soon, I believe the depression resulting from stopping commerce will ultimately impact and/or contribute to the deaths of more people than the disease. My desire is to keep you informed. Please know we are earnestly trying to address this shut down and get people’s lives up and running.