New York Times: "Fourteen Days. Most Time We Have To Defeat COVID-19"

The following story titled “Fourteen Days. That’s the Most Time We Have to Defeat Coronavirus” was written by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel for The New York Times. It is hard-hitting, but definitely worth a read. Dr. Emanuel is vice provost of global initiatives and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

A virtually empty Times Square on Monday.Credit…Carlo Allegri/Reuters.

America is losing the war against Covid-19, but we can win it with decisive and extraordinary actions now.

Health experts have not been overreacting. Models from Imperial College London and others suggest that up to 2.2 million Americans could die within a year without sufficient efforts to “flatten the curve.”

At the same time, it is right to worry about how Covid-19 will wreck the economy. Projections already suggest that the American economy could contract by more than 15 percent in the second quarter and that the unemployment rate could surpass 20 percent.

But the economy cannot be fixed without solving the pandemic. Only after the virus is contained can we reopen restaurants, bars, gyms and stores; allow people to travel, attend conferences and visit museums; and persuade them to buy cars and houses.

The window to win this war is about seven to 14 days.

If the United States intervenes immediately on the scale that China did, our death toll could be under 100,000. Within three to four months we might be able to begin a return to more normal lives.

There are five top priority areas for action:

Public Health Measures

Many seriously affected states have led the way by closing schools, bars, restaurants and nonessential businesses and by issuing shelter-in-place orders. Unfortunately, because this is not uniform across the country, states that do so are experiencing economic distress while still facing threats from neighbors that are slower to put restrictions in place. States that have so far had relatively low levels of Covid-19 could pre-empt stress on their health systems by acting now.

President Trump needs to immediately order the closing of all schools and nonessential businesses and impose a shelter-in-place policy for the entire country. The majority of the population is already experiencing some version of this protocol or feeling the effects economically; we need to standardize these protocols for the full public health impact.

If these measures are complied with fully, then we may be able to lift them slowly in two to three months, when the percentage of people infected has plateaued and the number of new infections is near zero…

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