A sensible plan to reopen the economy with less deaths during the lockdown.
President Trump has said that he faces the biggest decision of his life to reopen the country on May 1st. For hundreds of millions of America who are suffering and many hanging by a thread this has to happen. The uncertainty of when we open and if we can stay open is the most difficult part to deal with.
Working with the doctors from Stanford University and other experts I have developed a plan to not only come out on May 1st (only when the requirements listed below have been met), save more lives and stay open.
First the brutal facts. This coronavirus is extremely contagious. It ripped around the world in a matter of weeks. It is not going away this summer, until we reach hurd immunity, find a treatment or get a vaccine. It is here to stay. Once we all leave isolation the cases will rise again. We have to quit kidding ourselves that it will go away this summer. The only thing causing the number to decline is we shut down the economy.
Now the good news. Several studies have shown that up to 50% of those that get the virus are asymptomatic and 85% have mild symptoms, which understates the number of those who already have the antibodies by an order of magnitude or much more.
Thankfully we now have serological (antibody tests) where we can determine the actual denominator or true number of those infected by taking a random sample of the population. A just released Danish study estimates that the actual denominator is off by 30 to 80 times. A German study also just released showed that 15% of those in the town surveyed had the antibodies, when the official number in Germany is less than .015%. Drs Bhattacharya and Eran Bendavid from Stanford University just finished there study of 3,000 residents Santa Clara County. The results will be published this week There are many other serological tests underway. All the tests have confirmed that the infection is closer to that if the seasonal flu than than the numbers we have today. If the test reveals that millions of Americans already have the antibodies, it will make contact tracing impossible especially when 50% of those who have the antibodies never knew they had been exposed to the virus.
We are also finally getting important data on who is being hospitalized and dying. According to the CDC 90% of those who are being hospitalized have at least one underlying health issue and recently released study by Dr Ioannidis at Stanford University shows that 99.3% of those that died in Italy and 98.3% of those that died in New York had at least one underlying heath issue. The average number of underlying heath issues of those who died in Italy is 2.7 on a March 17th. According to an NYT article yesterday, shockingly 25% of all New York and New Jersey deaths were in nursing homes. The article said: “New York, nursing home administrators said they had been overwhelmed by an outbreak that quickly spun beyond their control. They were unable, they said, to have residents tested to isolate the virus or to get protective equipment to keep workers from getting sick or transmitting the virus to residents.”
Dr Ioannidis’s research also found that a person under 65 with no underlying heath issues is as likely to die driving to work than die of the coronavirus.
The bottom line is that our economy is shut down and many public heath officials believe it needs to remain shut down until we get a vaccine because we have not figured out how to protect those who account for 98^ of all the deaths.
There is a science based plan using data to reopen a economy with a bang as is the desire of President Trump. The data tells us there is no doubt if done properly, we can keep the curve flat and save more lives than we did during the shutdown and save the economy.
1) Using the actual data from those who have died, instruct the states to identify those who have more than one morbidity that are accounting for the majority of the deaths starting with nursing homes. Once identified, require the states to use the federal money they have been given to make absolutely certain this population is not exposed to the virus. Don’t let what happened in New York happen again. With this group it is not enough to wash hands and stay 6 feet away. They must not come in contact with aerosol droplets from anyone. This will require a mask for them and those attending them if anyone is required to come within 20 feet.
2) All others with a underlying health conditions described by the CDC as being at risk and those over the age of 70 are required to wear a mask in public places. All others are required to stay at least 6 feet away from anyone wearing a mask. If we do this, we can reduce deaths by rigorously protecting those that are accounting for 98% of the deaths and take the pressure off our hospitals.
3) Continuous random sampling using antibody testing of the population to determine how the increase in those with antibodies is effecting hospitalizations and when it is safe to relax the restrictions on those with underlying health issues.
4)Pool all the unused and new ventilators being manufactured and protective medical gear in federal distribution centers that can quickly be sent to a state if the need arises. Make absolutely certain that there is enough of a stockpile so that there is never a threat that anyone who needs a ventilator can get one and medical personnel have to required equipment. We must never shut down the economy again for lack of ventilators or protective gear for our medical personal.
With those at risk of hospitalizations and dying better protected than they were during the shutdown, we can reopen the economy and save more lives. We will never eradicate this virus. It is here to stay, but we can learn to live with it until the chain of the spread it broken or have a vaccine.
I would love to be involved with this solution and participate in the economic task force. I am working hard to save the jobs of my 30,000 employees. I will be in Steve Hilton’s show on Fox News sharing my ideas. Please watch if you can.
Please post your thoughts. We can do this!!