President Trump needs to call for a two-week shelter-in-place order, now, as part of a coherent national strategy for the coronavirus to protect Americans and their livelihoods.
Once he does, and governors follow his request, there will be time to debate how soon some controls might be lifted, or how soon certain people, like those under a particular age, might be free to resume something like normal life.
There will be more time then to develop palliative treatments, and more time for the federal government to order up the test kits and ventilators needed nationwide. There will be more time to gather data about which regions, and which people, are most at risk.
But the United States has passed the point where aggressive, targeted efforts at tracking and containment, like those pursued by South Korea, have a realistic chance of success. And calls for voluntary social distancing have had mixed results, as the photos of spring breakers crammed together on the Florida beaches last week made clear.
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