ANDERSON — No one is happy about this. Least of all newspapers. With businesses closed, advertising revenues have plummeted, and many newspapers have been forced to make some difficult choices. Some have closed. So, no, newspapers are not peddling stories of gloom and doom just to make a buck.

No one really wants to read stories of misery and death. No one wants to write them. Not a single person delights in the news that millions of Americans have lost their jobs. No one cheers when another business files for bankruptcy protection or shuts its doors. No one celebrates as fellow citizens struggle to put food on the table or keep a roof over their heads.

COVID-19 has slashed a wound in our economy that might take years to heal. Some of the jobs the virus has taken will never come back. Lots of us are getting grumpy about being stuck at home. Working in your pajamas might have some appeal for a little while, but the attraction begins to fade after weeks on end.

And those Zoom meetings have helped businesses and families stay connected, but will anyone really be disappointed when we can go back to meeting face to face?

How about a handshake or a high five or even a hug? Will we ever again have a chance to go back to that?

We all want to return to some version of normal. We want to get a much-delayed haircut and grab breakfast at our favorite diner. We want to catch a ballgame and have a hot dog. We want to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow fans and cheer on our favorite team.

We’d love to put social distancing behind us. We want to take off our masks and shout from the rooftops that the novel coronavirus is gone.

Except it’s not. And that’s the problem. Lots of us cheered when Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a plan to begin lifting social-distancing restrictions. Hospitals were not overwhelmed, and cases were beginning to plateau.

Businesses across the state were suffering, and with every passing day, more of them failed. It was time, many thought, to begin the process of ending the shutdown. It was time to begin putting Hoosiers back to work.

But not everyone was convinced.

Public health experts say the governor’s action might be premature. They know most of the deaths from the 1918 pandemic came in the second wave. They worry that all the progress we’ve made in slowing the spread of this virus might be lost if we move too quickly toward the way things used to be.

The state had just topped 1,000 deaths when the governor made his announcement. A model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington now projects that number might exceed 6,000 by early August.

State officials acknowledge that as Hoosiers venture out more, more of them are likely to become infected. Some will die.

The governor’s team of experts pledges to monitor the situation closely and to reverse course if necessary to prevent that second wave. Those same experts say there’s a reason Indiana has a higher death count than other states that have begun reopening. We have higher rates of smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, they say, and those are the same risk factors that lead to bad outcomes for patients infected by COVID-19.

With that in mind, wouldn’t it make sense to be cautious?

We all hope this experiment works out. Some of us are just a little bit worried it won’t. 

Kelly Hawes is a columnist for CNHI News Indiana. He can be reached at kelly.hawes@indianamediagroup.com. Find him on Twitter @Kelly_Hawes.