On May 19, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced yet another wave of reopenings just in time for Memorial Day weekend. To date this means that Iowans are being told they can safely crowd into movie theatres, pools, and dine in at restaurants. I for one, am excited by the prospect of being able to get out of the house just in time for all the summertime staples in Iowa — fairs, baseball, and bonfires with friends and family. Despite this excitement, removing these restrictions right now is careless since we haven’t gotten a good handle on the virus’ spread.
Widespread testing is one of the fundamental things that needs to happen before we remove restrictions, and social distancing measures. Experts say that testing capacity needs to at least double before we can start safely peeling back restrictions. Iowa has increased testing to its credit, but it certainly is nowhere near the bare-minimum doubling that is recommended. States across the country need the resources the federal government can provide.
One of President Donald Trump’s main priorities amid the pandemic has been to get people back to work and get the economy moving. Small businesses, and working class people, need this for their own livelihood. But we can’t sacrifice all the progress we’ve made already and risk a second more destructive wave. Trump should use his emergency powers, and activate the Defense Production Act to expand supplies for testing of the coronavirus.