It is understandable that people in WNC, and across the country, are concerned about the economy and anxious to get back to work. But how do we do that? We are working right now to ‘flatten the curve’ and slow the rate of infection. The minute we try to go back to what we perceive as normal, the curve will spike upwards again. This is very basic mathematics.
We are going to see that upward spike in some states starting right now, as right-leaning governors cave in to business interests and ignore scientific realities. There is a historical precedent. It happened in 1918-1919, during the Spanish Flu pandemic. In the US, there were three distinct spikes in infection, with the second one being so bad that it crippled basic services of state and national government.
So what is the answer? We have to take control, go on offense, and aggressively eliminate the virus. It will take money and dedication, and we have to start now. We must begin widespread testing, finding the people who are infected. We must find out who those people have been with, get in touch with those individuals, and test them. We must quarantine people who might have the virus and hospitalize those who were sick. We must also invest in scaling up our health-care system.
This strategy involves five elements, five weapons: social distancing, contact tracing, testing, isolation, and treatment.
We can beat this, but not by simply reopening for business as usual. That has been tried before; it’s ignorant, and it leads to widespread suffering and death.