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He wants to open at Easter. He’ll be celebrating the death but not the resurrection of his political hopes. (A short rant.)

2020-03-25

(cartoon courtesy of pixabay)

Open at Easter?

Can’t be done. He will reverse himself at the last minute, as he has done before under intense public pressure. Public health experts say at least eight to twelve weeks of effective quarantine are needed to “flatten the curve.”

If he says “open” on Easter, first, many people won’t follow his advice; second, those who do follow him will spread more infection. It won’t restart the economy if people are still afraid to go out and fly and stay in hotels or go to Disneyland.

There is a company that has been producing thermometers with smartphone apps that report their temperature and location; they have been in business for some eight years.

Their data were shown last night on Rachel Maddow’s show and they indicate that quarantines almost immediately reduce the rates of fevers. Their maps show hot spots in New York and other places that are reporting high rates of COVID-19 positive test results. One surprise is that Florida is an even hotter spot than NYC, even though positive tests haven’t yet spiked there. It seems that spring break has led to increases in fevers.

The data showed school closures and stay at home orders resulted in declines of fever within two or three days. These data probably are the result of lowered infections with much shorter incubation periods than COVID-19: influenza, cold coronaviruses, and the like. The same data, however, will probably show reductions in novel coronavirus transmission with a lag time of five to fourteen days if they are continued effectively.

A nationwide stay at home order still has not been implemented; only eighteen states are under state-wide orders. Thus, more is needed, including a nationwide order that lasts eight to twelve weeks— just as was done in China (if you believe their reports, which is another subject entirely).

The effects on the economy are already baked-in: fear of the virus has shut down the dine-out, stay-out, and travel economy. Prolonging the quarantine won’t make things any worse than they already are.

The right thing to do is to really use the Defense Production Act to mandate that manufacturers produce the equipment we need to treat infected patients without all the healthcare providers becoming ill. The right thing to do is to issue a nationwide stay at home order. Two trillion dollars in economic stimulus may only be the beginning of the federal government support that is needed.

Easter is too soon. Let’s intensify the quarantine and shoot for Independence Day as a target for re-opening. By then, we’ll know just how bad it is.

(This rant was also posted on Quora in answer to the question, “How will [redacted] reopen the country by Easter?”)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Eric permalink
    2020-03-26 12:12 PM

    You’re not posting frequently enough, my brother. This crisis is precisely when you should be posting more, given your knowledge and experience — not less.

    Like

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