Prepare now so U.S. economy never has to shut down again
The plan simply isn't working. We have crippled the economy and watched tens of thousands die.
COVID-19 for many is terrifying. The elderly and the immune-compromised have been relegated to an existence of confinement and desolation as they nervously watch the number of corona-virus fatalities soar. People with underlying health conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory issues, or diabetes, are at a higher risk of dying when infected. Even though the statistics prove healthy or young people rarely get sick to the point of hospitalization, medical and governmental safeguards; self-quarantine, wear a mask, keep social distance rules pertain to everyone.
"Stay at home and stay safe — stay alive"
But has any of this worked?
In a country where it's become inconceivable for rival political parties to agree on the most rudimentary aspects of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we all need to recognize the United States is losing this fight versus COVID-19. In less than five months this country has 1.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases with about 100,000 dead.
Paralleling the growing body count, we have front-row seats to the greatest economic self-inflicted disaster ever. Depression-era level unemployment with over 20 million jobs vanishing seemingly overnight. Hungry middle-class families wait for hours for food donations while once-proud hard-working households can only pay their bills with a government handout.
This is a catastrophic failure on all fronts.
Political gaffes, including absurdities from the Oval Office, combine with misinformation and miscommunication to create skepticism and public doubt. Politicians randomly selecting arbitrary return dates is asinine, continuously moving the goalpost is absurd and insulting to the business community. Heavy-handed governors stepping all over constitutional rights have unleashed firestorms of resentment and hostilities. Somehow, it’s been deemed too dangerous to get a haircut but thirsty patrons, stressed by the pandemic, can visit nearby liquor stores for their daily influx of libations.
Doctors are driven to save lives, and most of the medical community has been heroic despite being placed in an impossible situation. There are still more questions surrounding the coronavirus than answers. Models have been worked and re-worked and have consistently missed their mark. One week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says not to wear masks and the next week makes it mandatory.
Keep in mind, there is still no vaccine against AIDS or even a sure-fire inoculation against the flu. Continuous mutations in the virus may hinder development of a viable, coveted COVID-19 vaccine. By the time they get a breakthrough, the world might be looking at a completely new version of the virus. Home confinement for 100 percent of the population is an overreach and overreaction. Public health experts seemingly never factored in the psychological devastation of isolation or the stress and anxiety associated with long-term economic destruction.
On top of the financial meltdown, a variety of unintended consequences may surface resulting in a future spike in detectable cancers, heart-related issues, or toxic substance abuse. Hospitals have made a concerted effort to fix this problem of late, but for over three months regular examinations have been put on hold by doctors’ offices or canceled by fearful patients, potentially condemning those individuals to an array of undiscovered illnesses. Couple that with a strong belief that a second wave is coming in the fall, add in a seasonal flu, and our hospitals may be faced with an unwinnable front-line medical Armageddon.
And, according to the World Health Organization, these lockdown measures have kept nearly 80 million children worldwide from receiving preventative vaccines.
Hindsight is 20/20 but the political objective moving forward should focus on:
1. Restock PPEs and produce an abundant number of ventilators. Make sure every hospital and health care professional has more than they need.
2. Like the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, implement a massive construction project building or converting structures as highly infectious disease treatment centers, placed in strategic locations around the country. If someone tests positive for an infectious disease they are segregated in these centers for treatment.
3. Have reliable tests mass-produced and ready for everyone.
4. Recognize immediately who is in danger and isolate those individuals. In the case of COVID-19, quarantine immune-compromised and the elderly.
5. Drastically limit travel from other nations until the virus is extinguished.
6. And lastly, keep the economy open. Develop set rules providing guidance helping maintain safety within communities, but companies and employees should be given the choice to work. Individual freedoms should never be repudiated or abandoned.
The high death rate, the economic damage, are a collective failure from all facets of leadership. No one faced this before. In a way, the failure to better handle this unprecedented disaster leaves everyone to blame, but nobody to fault.
Wait, one correction: it's still China's fault.
Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.
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