Friday, November 20, 2020

COVID - What Is the Way Forward?

What do we do to stop COVID suffering and economic disruption moving forward?

The scientific evidence is absolutely clear: closing schools is a terrible idea. It is past time we use scientific data -- not politicians CYA'ing -- to make vital decisions. Schoolchildren as a group have suffered the most in this pandemic due to have their crucial educations interrupted. This is particularly insane in places like NYC where schools are closed while restaurants, gyms, et cetera, are still open. The statistics show schoolchildrens' risk is a tiny fraction of older peoples.' 

Closing schools is just one of the many bad decisions. The doubling-down on masks is another (scroll down to postings below). So, what do we do to get us on the right track? I suggest going on offense.

While I am not a physician, there are some common sense things we can do to get us out of this mess sooner rather than later. These suggestions are a combination of my ideas and those of epidemiologist Dr. Michael Mina.

  • For the time being, the high risk people (60+, immune system issues, etc.) would be better off by quarantining. Masks give a false sense of security. Get your groceries brought to your car. If you want restaurant food, use take out. If you want to meet or have lunch with someone in person, do it outdoors. If you are going to visit someone indoors, or they are going to visit you, both should quarantine for a week. If the news reports are correct, we are about two months from having the first doses of the vaccine available, so the quarantine defense and its inconvenience won't have to last that much longer. Yes, this is "defense." 
  • While we are waiting for the vaccine, we need to -- as quickly as possible -- implement use of the new home COVID tests. If you are virus-free you can safely visit the home of people who are also virus free. The airlines could test everyone before boarding (United is already doing this for some flights). This would be going on offense against the disease.
  • Congress should focus much less on micromanaging the economy and more on doing what is necessary to get every safe and effective vaccine (there are apparently three) out to everyone who wants them. Fast! I am a fiscal conservative but we should spend whatever is necessary to get past this. It is vital to put people back to work and resurrect our economy. Offense.
  • The Biden advisor, Zeke Emmanuel, whose advice to Mr. Biden is that the elderly should be the last to get the vaccine is both stupid and immoral. The elderly in group living and care homes have suffered the most and they are most vulnerable. Health care workers should receive it first. Then everyone should receive it on a more or less equal basis with, perhaps, some preference to older people. Why? With two of the three vaccines needing an initial and booster shot, it is much easier to quickly vaccinate people in a group living area than, say, remote areas. The goal is to get to "herd immunity" -- enough of the population has either had COVID or has been vaccinated -- that the coronavirus disappears from the population. The range of the population needs to be between 43 and 60% of the population for herd immunity to take effect. Offense. 
We can have the necessary conversations about the deficit and other issues when we can see light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel. 

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