Tuesday July 14, 2020
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A Recession, Protests and a Pandemic: Trying to Reconcile the IrreconcilableRalph E. Stone, Salem-News.com Commentary
The University of Washington model projects 145,000 deaths from COVID-19 by August 2020.
(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) - On May 8, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom started reopening the California economy. On May 25, after the Memorial Day weekend, California had its highest one-day total of 2,565 new positive COVID-19 cases.
There were similar spikes in many other states due to re-openings and the disregard of social distancing and wearing of masks over the long holiday weekend.
In addition, there are now continuing nationwide protests of George Floyd’s in-custody death by Minneapolis police, where masks are not always worn and social distancing is not always observed.
It takes up to fourteen days after exposure to the virus for respiratory symptoms to appear. Soon then, California and other states can expect more significant spikes of infections as a result of the protests.
According to a University of California, Berkeley study such preventive measures as shelter-in-place orders and social distancing saved 500 million lives from COVID-19 infections in the six states studied — including 60 million in the U.S.
And according to new estimates from Columbia University disease modelers, if the U.S. had enacted social-distancing measures a week earlier than it did — in early March rather than mid-March — about 36,000 fewer Americans would have died.
If enacted two weeks earlier, 54,000 fewer Americans would have died of the illness. So yes, such preventive measures do work.
The University of Washington model projects 145,000 deaths from COVID-19 by August 2020. Now that we are loosening these preventive restriction or just ignoring them, what will the death rate be before a vaccine is discovered and administered — 250,000? 500,000?
Under present federal leadership, or lack thereof, we may not be able to adequately address a recession with a May unemployment rate of 13.3%; nationwide protests; and a COVID-19 pandemic with 2.0+ million cases and 115,000+ deaths in the U.S.
With abundant evidence to the contrary, Trump has declared, “we are largely through” the pandemic, and he is leading the charge for a large-scale reopening of the economy.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on the other hand, warned that the pandemic is far from over. Dr. Fauci is an expert worried about the public’s health whereas Trump is worried about his reelection.
COVID-19 doesn’t care about George Floyd’s death or our shattered economy. The virus is gonna do what viruses do.
Because there seems to be little or no interest in another lockdown of non-essential businesses or renewed shelter-in-place orders, I suspect we will stumble along as we are now until there is a vaccine — probably sometime in 2021 or even later.
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