The COVID-19 lockdown is responsible for both the loss of economic activity and human lives. Two independent groups of researchers concluded that the lockdown may be costing more lives than it saves.
Somewhere along the way, our goal of "flattening the curve" for COVID-19 (an achievable goal) has mutated into "finding a cure" (perhaps an impossible goal). Public health and economic policy must be based on reality, not starry-eyed wishmaking. Otherwise, people's lives and livelihoods are in grave danger.
If the spread of COVID-19 is unstoppable, infectious disease epidemiologist Dr. Johan Giesecke says that we must shift our public health strategy away from a futile attempt to prevent its spread and toward providing optimal care for the sickest patients.
Media headlines are almost exclusively about the coronavirus death toll and the debate over whether it's too early to begin lifting lockdown restrictions. However, there are several other observations about COVID-19 that are important, but are getting very little attention.
How would we respond differently if another outbreak happened?
Much remains unknown about the coronavirus. A new paper published in The Lancet estimates that roughly 60% of the population needs to be immune to COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity.
Many politicians insist that they will "follow the science" in regard to reopening the economy. But the COVID-19 pandemic has placed us in uncharted territory with few relevant precedents to guide policymaking. Therefore, "Follow the science," is indistinguishable from, "Do what I say." This doesn't prevent activist websites like Undark from smearing reputable scientists who speak out in disagreement.
Should we open up the economy immediately or remain on lockdown indefinitely until a vaccine is made? Believe it or not, there are other options. It's too bad that society isn't smart enough to understand that.