Friday, April 10, 2020


We're seeing some success in the fight against covid-19, but The Washington Post reports, unsurprisingly, that the president is making big plans to destroy all our good work.
The Trump administration is pushing to reopen much of the country next month, raising concerns among health experts and economists of a possible covid-19 resurgence if Americans return to their normal lives before the virus is truly stamped out.

Behind closed doors, President Trump — concerned with the sagging economy — has sought a strategy for resuming business activity by May 1, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Wait, it gets worse.
In phone calls with outside advisers, Trump has even floated trying to reopen much of the country before the end of this month....

Trump said at his daily briefing Thursday that the United States was at the “top of the hill” and added, “Hopefully, we’re going to be opening up — you could call it opening — very, very, very, very soon, I hope.”
We're all looking at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model, which now projects peak hospital resource use tomorrow and a peak death toll on Sunday, and anticipates 60,415 covid-19 deaths by August 4.

But this model is "assuming full social distancing through May 2020."

We need a supplementary model right now -- you could call it a Trump model. We need to see what happens if the country opens up a month earlier than the IHME model anticipates, or opens up everywhere but in hot spots.
White House advisers have contemplated scenarios in which some “hot spot” states will not be ready to reopen as quickly, the people familiar with the matter said....

Stephen Moore, a conservative economist who advises the administration informally and has pushed for the country to reopen more quickly, said he believed the task force was a good idea to help expedite that process.

“You have to figure out: How do you do it? Where do you it? When do you it? What areas of the country? What industry?” Moore said.
William Barr, who inexplicably has become a Trump surrogate on this issue despite having no relevant qualifications (well, that's the Trump M.O., isn't it?), told Laura Ingraham on Fox this week that, sure, there'll still be some efforts to stop the virus from spreading in the reopened regions.
“When this period of time, at the end of April, expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed, but allow them to use other ways — social distancing and other means — to protect themselves,” Barr said.
But this won't be Folks, you're free to go, but be extremely careful. Trump is the king of happy talk, so people will be encouraged to resume a life that's as close to normal as possible. In particular, I guarantee that churches in the heartland will be filled, or at least right-leaning white churches. (We know that, from France to Chicago, church gatherings have been breeding grounds for the virus, as have other social gatherings.)

So we need a model that assumes at least a partial end to the current measures in most of the country in three weeks. What does that look like? Where does the virus spread? How many more people die? To what extent does the relaxation of restrictions outside hot spots worsen the spread in those hot spots?

Please, someone, model this, and tell us what you find.

No comments: