Most of the United States is still under lockdown, but why? What is the purpose of the policy?
We’ve had the “flatten the curve” meme pounded into our brains for so long, that most people think it’s the objective of the policy, but is it?
Flattening the curve is a worthy goal, but preventing the health care system from being overwhelmed should not be our highest priority. True, it is critical, I don’t dispute that, I just think there are other goals that are more important.
But what would those be?
Saving lives, for one. Naturally, we want to save as many lives as possible, so any responsible policy should aim to do just that. But should saving lives be our top priority?
Many people will say “Yes”, but I disagree. Saving lives should not be our top priority, preserving our American way of life, our culture, our traditions our personal freedom, and, yes, our economy –which sustains us all, provides us with meaningful work, puts food on the table and a roof over our heads– these should be our top priority. Just ask a veteran who served his country whether he places his life above the values and ideals he fought for. He’ll tell you “No”. He’ll tell you those things are worth fighting for and worth dying for. I agree.
So the ultimate goal of our policy should be to get back to normal, to restore the life we had before the masks, the gloves, the daily briefings, the self isolation, the social distancing, the daily death toll, the shutting down of the economy, the deluge of unemployment claims, the destruction of small and mid-sized businesses, the trillions dollars of additional red ink, and the abrupt termination of all normal interaction with our friends, our neighbors and our families. That’s what the aim of our policy should be, to get back to normal.
But that’s the problem, our current (lockdown) policy doesn’t do that. It doesn’t put us on a path for achieving our objectives. Take a look at this article at The Hill and you’ll see what I mean:
“The coronavirus pandemic could continue into 2022 and won’t be under control until a majority of the world’s population becomes immune, a report released by experts Thursday says. The report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota says based on the most recent flu pandemics, the highly transmissible coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will likely keep spreading for as long as two years, and will likely not stop spreading until 60 to 70 percent of the population is immune.
“The length of the pandemic will likely be 18 to 24 months, as herd immunity gradually develops in the human population,” the researchers wrote. …..Researchers recommended that the U.S. prepare for a worst-case scenario, including no vaccine availability or herd immunity.
“Risk communication messaging from government officials should incorporate the concept that this pandemic will not be over soon,” they say, “and that people need to be prepared for possible periodic resurgences of disease over the next 2 years.” (“New report says coronavirus pandemic could last up to two years”, The Hill)
2 years is not an acceptable time-frame. We need a policy that accelerates the process and avoids the depressing scenario the experts now anticipate? So what do we do?
We start to follow Sweden’s lead, because Sweden settled on a policy that actually gets them out of the virus-rut in a timely manner. And that’s exactly what we’re looking for, a path back to normal that doesn’t drag on for two years.
So what do we do?
We start by allowing the younger, low-risk people to go back to work. (Older and infirm people should take the recommended precautions of self isolating as much as possible.) That allows the economy to restart while the virus spreads among a segment of the population that is least likely to die. If you’re under 40, your chances of dying are near zero, so it shouldn’t be a huge concern.
Also, you open up restaurants, primary schools, parks and some retail shops while–at the same time–monitoring the rate of new Covid-positive cases. If it looks like the health care system is going to be overwhelmed, you pull back by implementing new guidelines and restrictions on public activities and get-togethers. You don’t just send everyone back to work on Day 1 announcing “The coast is clear”. The coast is not clear and it’s not going be clear for quite a while, but at least the new policy will get us to where we want to go eventually. And that’s the point, because if we don’t chart a new course, we’re definitely not going to reach our destination.
What we need is immunity, which comes through human interaction. An infected person passes the infection along to a healthy person who develops the antibodies to fight the virus now and in the future. When the majority of the population develop these antibodies, they achieve “herd immunity” which is “a form of protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune through previous infections.”
Sweden’s ‘controlled spread of the virus’ has put them just weeks away from herd immunity, at which point they won’t have to worry as much about future outbreaks. They won’t have to shut down their economy, lay off millions of workers, or run up trillions of dollars of debts. Their people will have the antibodies they need to fight off future infections. They can safely return to normal.
The US needs a similar policy that takes into consideration our demographics, geography and culture. It’ll be a challenge, but can be done, and it MUST be done. The lockdown policy is idiotic, it does not move us in a positive direction. Young people are not going to develop immunity by lying on the sofa watching daytime TV. Nor will they build up antibodies by bolting the door and waiting for Uncle Sam to give them a thumbs-up. It doesn’t work that way. There needs to be a controlled spread of the virus. That’s the only way to achieve herd immunity, and that’s the only way to get out of this mess.
The only alternative is to hang-around for two years waiting for Bill Gates and the vaccine posse to save us after we’ve crashed the economy, devoured the seed corn, and turned the entire country into a gigantic-sprawling homeless camp.
The choice is ours.