Coronavirus and the Economy, a Third Path

Most countries are using one of two strategies to deal with coronavirus pandemic: lockdown or herd immunity. Because this is a novel (to humans) virus, no one’s immune system has seen in before and has no immunity to except possibly those exposed to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The virus that causes COVID-19 appears to be a mutation of SARS. Its official designation is SARS-Cov2.

Dr. Katz, president of True Health Initiative and the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, has proposed a middle path between those extremes. In an article in the New York Times, “Is Our Fight Against Coronavirus Worse Than the Disease?”, he makes the case that the lockdown approach risks an economic depression, quite possibly worse than the Great Depression in the United States.

The article long and detailed. The short version is to lockdown the United States for 2 weeks and test like mad. Then let the people that tested negative (or don’t show symptoms) and are at low risk of becoming severely ill go back to work.

In China and Europe it was the elderly, 60 and up, who became severely ill and at risk for dying. In the US, nearly half of those hospitalized with severe coronavirus infections are under 65 though they are at less risk of dying than older people. (See “Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S.”) Sorting the low risk from the high is more complicated than first though. Among the elderly, those with diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and high blood pressure are considered most at risk. The hospitalization and deaths for young people need to be sorted according to pre-existing or chronic health conditions.

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