- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Wednesday described the expanding coronavirus outbreak as “this generation’s 9/11,” while also warning against overreacting in trying to respond to it.

“This is this generation’s 9/11, without a doubt,” Mr. Johnson said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “When you’re in the chair, first reactions when you’re dealing with a lethal virus, the spread of a lethal virus, are not always the best reactions. We can have an overreaction.”

He said, for example, that he had some “real concerns” about the feasibility of a “shelter in place” order in a city the size of New York City.

“By the time you think through all the exceptions you would need to impose to a ‘shelter in place’ order to keep this city running, the exceptions would absorb the rule and you’d quickly become consumed by the complexity of it all,” Mr. Johnson said. “So first reactions are not the best.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned the public that such an order could be coming, though Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a patchwork of city-by-city rules isn’t going to work.

Several counties in California have adopted strict restrictions where residents are generally limited only to going out for necessities.

Mr. Johnson said leaders have to fight the urge to come up with a “one size fits all” solution.

“I think this has to be state by state, community by community, depending upon the nature of the demographics, the population, the workforce,” he said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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