Let’s get America back to work, but let’s not be stupid about it. Stupid equals murder.

I think we can all agree that the handling of the covid-19 catastrophe has the unfunny appearance of desperate last-second football or rugby plays. The ball is dropped, then picked up and pitched to another player who stumbles, flips it to another who runs sideways and hands it to a buddy, who restarts the whole absurd process. Meanwhile, the stadium is full of people who are locked up until one team scores. If you picked the losing team, you go bankrupt or die! Those who touch the ball get very, very ill.

Does it have to work out like this? Coaches and quarterbacks are supposed to, at the least, take part of the randomness away from the bouncing of an oblong ball. They teach ball-handling, organize plays and, if they are champions, have a whole book full of logical responses to the unexpected that they immediately put to use.

When they repeatedly fail at their assignments, they get fired.

We are in the biggest game of modern times. Many are dying, many more are losing their financial security, their livelihoods, their homes. Children are learning to distrust the system, elders who had productive lifetimes are having their peaceful years of comfort and care stolen from them. Education and careers have been put on hold. If you want to check the latest score in this “game,” go to covid19.live.

Whoever wins the coveted role of our national coach and quarterback must have the ability to focus on three objectives, all at no cost to the individual.

1. Immediate access to testing and results for the entire population.

2. Immunization for everyone, except those with religious or medical objections.

3. Proven treatment for the disease.

Until we have effective immunization, only those whose current test results show they are free of disease or have recovered from it and are no longer likely to be infected should be totally exempt from social and work restrictions. Only when we at least achieve Step One — Testing — should we throw the doors open to the economy, restaurants, stores, schools — our lives.

MICHAEL CARMEL

Long Beach

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