Another Plan to Ease the Shutdowns

By April 8, 2020 Commentary

It has become apparent to everyone who is concerned about the lives of working Americans that the job losses from extreme economic shutdowns and the downstream consequences of those losses is far more damaging to the country than coronavirus disease.  The cure has truly been far worse than the disease.  So people are trying to figure some way out, one that gets the economy back to normal faster, while doing what we can to minimize risk for vulnerable populations.  One such plan comes from Robert Shuler.   (Shuler Plan)   As is now very clear, and really was from the start of the epidemic, the risk of serious illness and death is extremely low for the vast majority of the population. And it is also clear that not allowing the virus to spread through the general population is extending the time until natural immunities build up.  A vaccine, if one can be made, is too far off in the future for extreme lockdowns to be permitted indefinitely.  So Mr. Shuler’s plan calls for periodic opening of economic and social life, say for three days a week.  His theory is that this allows enough contact for “herd immunity” to build up while some closer semblance to normal business can resume.  He is obviously trying to walk that line that doesn’t see the virus rip through vulnerable populations while also keeping people employed.   It is an interesting approach and the paper at least gives you a lot of detail about their assumptions and their model.  And it is the kind of realistic attempt that we need right now to find some way to balance the harms of various actions.

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