The social isolation that all of us have been doing is difficult, but now is not the time to give up.

So far Arizona has been doing well with the COVID-19 global pandemic going on with about 7,200 total cases and just over 300 dead. The self-isolation is working but I fear lifting it too soon will be a huge mistake.

There have been more than a million cases of the virus in the United States. We still have more than 815,000 active cases in the country and nearly 2 million active cases on the planet.

Now is not the time to give up as the peak is approaching.

I know politicians, business owners and average employees want to get our economy back to whatever normal is going to be. The new normal will not be what it was in the past.

Our economy remains teetering on the edge of failure. The survival of many businesses is in doubt. If our small businesses fail, our economy fails and we all know that.

I’m not sure that we can recover from this as a nation anytime soon. It will take our entire planet a long time to economically heal after being shut down so long, but we have no choice but to be patient and work toward recovery.

Now is not the time to reopen our businesses. It is too soon, and I fear that the past six to eight weeks that most of us have spent working at home or being unemployed will be for nothing.

As of Wednesday morning, there were 387 cases in Pinal County.

Is it worth the risk of opening everything right away just to make a buck?

I hate to think that the sacrifices already made by the millions of people in our nation were in vain. I fear that if we do get back to work that this whole pandemic thing will kick back into gear and we will start burying more and more people.

Sitting down and having a meal at a local restaurant sounds so inviting.

I would love to get my hair cut. I miss going to the movies. I miss playing bluegrass music with my friends. I even miss covering a large event at a local park with thousands of people there.

This self-isolation era we live in is difficult, but it is not impossible. If we rush back at the peak of the virus, we must start all over again.

That would be insane.

I am a former business owner and I know what it is like to have employees depending on you to be successful. I do believe the country that comes back economically first will become the leader of the world. That could be China, it could be Russia and it could be the United States.

At the same time, I believe if a nation tries to come back too soon, failure will lead to a long economic depression that may never heal.

I think back to Germany’s economy between World Wars I and II. Imagine taking a wheelbarrow full of money to the store just to buy a loaf of bread.

It was so bad then that printing money was too expensive, and some government officials actually had a rubber stamp made that turned used newspapers into cash — nearly worthless cash.

Yes, it really got to that point.

We need our economy working again but we also need our citizens healthy and able to work. Some people do not understand that our economy is our people. They are not separate.

We’re in this together and we need to work as a team.

When it is time, we can lift one restriction at a time and use it as a test of what is working and what is not.

Otherwise the virus finds new hosts and the pandemic spirals out of control.

I must commend Gov. Doug Ducey and Health Services Director Cara Christ, M.D., M.S., for doing an excellent job so far through this health emergency.

Shutting down Arizona had to be the most difficult decision any Arizona governor has ever faced. It was the right decision and Ducey saved many Arizonans from death.

We’re not ready to open it all back up yet and I hope the governor realizes this.

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Justice reporter Jim Headley can be reached at jheadley@pinalcentral.com.

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