Toward a measured reopening

Brent Orrell of The American Enterprise Institute tells about a study of the 1918 pandemic which found that the cities which locked down early and long, did better economically afterward. This was a bug that spared the young and old, while killing the productive people.

He gives these quotes. “Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, we find that areas that acted early and aggressively with non-pharmaceutical interventions do not perform worse economically, at least in the medium term — if anything, they actually come out of the pandemic stronger,” according to Emil Verner, an MIT assistant professor and co-author of the paper. (“Non-pharmaceutical interventions” are social distancing, hygiene, and wearing masks.)

“Lifting restrictions too early could make the economy worse by leading to a resurgence of the virus in an even more destructive pandemic,” Verner said. “We have to defeat the virus before the economy can go back to normal.” Distancing guidelines need to stay in place long enough for them to work.

The Epoch Times, May 14-20, reports on the safety of economic activity with today’s bug, which afflicts a vulnerable population while largely sparing people of productive ages.

In Georgia, the number of confirmed cases peaked April 20, and the governor permitted partial reopening April 24. As at May 14, three weeks later, the cases are down roughly two-thirds. Measured reopening with social distancing.

In Florida, while allowing most normal activities to continue, the governor focused the state’s response on the vulnerable population.

Dead people, 8/100,000.

While in New York, the governor shut everything down, while sick people were being transported to nursing homes. Dead people, 137/100,000.

It’s still early in today’s pandemic, but it looks like the way forward is to protect the vulnerable while having a measured reopening, eventually allowing most normal activities.

Wiley Hollingsworth

Pullman

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