Have you seen the coronavirus numbers today from the CDC? Over 800,000 infections (that we know about) and 46,000 deaths. Not to mention the myriad and oft overlooked other afflictions that sufferers endure including everything from ‘covid-toes’ to strokes.
Those numbers are huge and getting huger (is that a word?). Especially compared to 0 where were last year at this time, and every other year before that. So when I hear about a gradual easing of restrictions and politicians speaking about “opening things up”, I wonder to myself, “in what universe?”. Let’s stop kidding ourselves. In order to open back up we need to have the following things at a minimum:
- Universally available testing for both antibodies and the virus itself so we know who’s got and has had what.
- Universally available personal protective equipment so we can feel safe out in public.
- A vaccine, or at the very least, an effective drug therapy to fight the infection.
- A solid understanding of the virus’ true penetration numbers in our society.
- An executive branch that works better with, and with less acrimony towards our state and local governments.
- A sustained negative trend in known infections – we’re not even flat at this point.
Right now, we don’t have any of that stuff. And it’s unlikely, given the flat-footed nature of our national response, that we’ll have it any time soon. Plus, some of these things on our wish list take time. Vaccines need to be developed, tested, augmented, tested again, etc. Many versions fail, and some make things worse. We also have no idea if there’s any immunity for those with antibodies, and if there is, we don’t know how long that will last. We don’t know if the virus will mutate next flu season. We don’t know lots of important things at this point.
When I hear politicians talking about “opening things up” it reminds me of the person who buys low and sells high. We’re not better off than we were 6 weeks ago. About the only thing we’ve managed to do is educate the public, who routinely wear masks and form socially distant lines at the grocery store – at least near where I live. But elements of the public are still lax in their observance. Right now, many states have conservative groups protesting and blatantly ignoring distancing guidelines. Others are fighting for the right to congregate at churches and other venues, public health be damned.
Can anyone here say “second wave” or “latest hot-spot” or “this might last a while”? Because I don’t see anything that would prevent it, do you?