The science says that in order to prevent deaths, and to get things back to normal, short-term, extreme closures are necessary.
***note – post updated 3/31 to reflect new information
As we enter a new reality of social distancing, shelter in place, lockdowns, and other Covid-19 countermeasures, we are all starting to feel the economic and physiological toll. Many are asking “is this the right thing to do?”
We face three choices:
- Re-open everything.
- Continue with the middle ground of social distancing – with an ever-growing list of “essential service” exceptions.
- Shut down everything but hospitals and emergency services.
10% of transmissions are from “silent carriers” – those that do not display symptoms and do not know they have Covid-19Medical News Today
Science About Each Choice
Option 1: Do Nothing and Re-Open
Models show that approximately 90% of the population will get the virus within 3 months if we do nothing [1,2]. With 10.5M Georgians, that’s 9.4M infected. At a 1% mortality rate (a low estimate) , that’s about 94,500 dead Georgians in three months.
Option 2: Flatten the Curve
We’ve all been told to “flatten the curve” so that the medical system does not get overwhelmed. While this leads to less deaths, 90% of the population will still eventually be infected within 6 months (as opposed to three) [1,2,3]. And in the meantime, we will be in our homes under partial lockdown for approximately 6 months.
Economists are calling this option “Surrender.” It is likely that we we will be in and out of “partial shut-down” for 12 to 18 months .
We have seen firsthand the toll of this on our economy and our psyche.
Option 3: Extreme Closures
According to models, if we reduce contact exposure by 75%, infections will peak within 1 week and decrease significantly after 3 weeks .
If we close everything, we will get through this faster. The government is actively working on economic relief for most Americans – (See the size of your individual check here) .
What about grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas? Shelter in place for 2-3 weeks is difficult to maintain. Just as to curb heavy smog, some places only let even or odd numbered license plates drive, or during droughts you can only water on even or odd days – a similar thing can be done for needed good. For example: You can go to the store on Mon and Thurs if your house address ends in a 1-3, Tues and Fri if it ends in 4-6, and Wed and Sat if it ends in 7-0. It’s not perfect, but it makes sure we are all fed.
According to the data, the current measures are not working.
Georgia is in week 3 of “social distancing” and “non-essential closures.”
As of 12pm on 3/31/2020 Georgia had 3817 confirmed cases and 108 deaths. Most schools shut on 3/13/2020 when there were only 64 cases and 1 death. The data shows no “peak” and a significant increase in the number of cases .The number of cases has tripled in the past week alone.
To prevent deaths, and to get things back to normal, short-term, extreme closures are necessary. Other states are adopting this policy. Georgia must act before it is too late. Contact your representative and tell them your opinion.
- The Lancet. “Early Dynamics of Transmission and Control of Covid-19: a mathematical modeling study” Mar 11.
- Robert Cooper. “To Save the Economy, Hit the Coronavirus Fast and Hit it Hard”
- “Working Paper – Model-Based Estimates of Covid-19 Burden…” Results as of Mar 10.
- “House Leaders look to Expedite $2.2 trillion relief package…” Washington Post, Mar 26.
- Georgia Department of Public Health Daily Status Report.