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'Viruses do not respond well to tantrums'

Author Michael Lewis in the book, “The Premonition: A Pandemic Story,” reports that one of the keys to controlling pandemics is to control spread via primary schools because they are both quality incubators and silent spreaders. Kids are crammed together in hallways, classrooms, on buses and during sporting events (see sports page picture of wrestlers — is this acceptable activity during a high-intensity wave?). And kids make great stealth spreaders because of their more robust immune system and pension for going symptomless.

In Lewis’s book, experts report that the most effective tool at the beginning of an outbreak is to reduce student contact by at least 60 percent to keep transmission rates from achieving exponential growth. Yet we persist in sending kids to school even during resurgence even when given ample warning.

We cry ‘enough! I’m tired of this’ and demand a return to normalcy. But viruses do not respond well to tantrums.

Some epidemiologists are promoting ‘circuit breaker’ limited timeouts to a starve the disease of bodies and allow health care workers time and resources to deal with the sick. Why can’t we institute planned breaks and adjust work and school schedules accordingly.

Peter Storms




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