Not only has the coronavirus pandemic been compared to war, it is being treated as one. The problem: That’s not only inaccurate, it’s also detrimental to the public health, safety, and response.

On April 17, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order creating the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas. The term strike force, most commonly used in reference to a military force equipped and organized for sudden attack, embodies the state government’s response — brazenly forging ahead in an attempt to reinvigorate the Texas economy. Days earlier, state Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt stated, “This fight against COVID-19 has been compared to war, and just like a war, you don’t stop fighting until you know peace is in hand.” It is no surprise that Abbott, Hellerstedt and other Texas leaders are equating the crisis to war — President Donald Trump went as far as to label himself a “wartime president.”

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