Wired: “Anthony Fauci Explains Why the US Still Hasn’t Beaten Covid”
Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to Anthony Fauci, the USA has not beaten Covid-19 because the USA didn’t lock down hard enough.
Anthony Fauci Explains Why the US Still Hasn’t Beaten Covid
The director of NIAID talks about vaccines, school reopenings, hostility toward science, and the lessons we’ll learn when (yes, when) we recover.
If baseball can’t go on, what about schools?
It’s a much more complicated situation with the schools, and I can’t give you a yes or no answer. As a broad principle, we should try as best as we possibly can to get the kids to return to school, because of the negative unintended consequences of keeping the kids out of school, like the psychological health of the children, the nutrition of kids who get breakfast or lunch at school, to working parents who may not be able to adjust their schedules. So the default position is to try.
However, while you do that, the one thing that you have to underscore—and that’s a big however—is that paramount among this has to be the safety and welfare of the children, of their teachers, and secondarily, of the families of the children. So there has to be some degree of flexibility.
Why do you think the US has done so poorly in suppressing this pandemic compared with other rich countries?
It isn’t just one single factor. Let me give you one or two that I think are important. First of all, other countries, certainly Asian countries, and certainly the European Union, when they so-called locked down—shut down, shelter in place, whatever you want to call it—they did it to about 95 percent of their countries. So they did it in full force. Some countries got hit badly, but once they locked down and turned things around, they came down to a very low baseline—down to tens or hundreds of new cases a day, not thousands. They came down and they stayed down.
Now, in the United States, when we shut down, even though it was a stress and a strain for a lot of people, we only did it to the tune of about 50 percent of the country shutting down. Our curve goes up and starts to come down. But we never came down to a reasonable baseline. We came down to about 20,000 new infections per day, and we stayed at that level for several weeks in a row. Then we started to open up—getting America “back to normal”—and started to see the cases go from 20,000 a day to 30,000, 40,000. We even hit that one point last week of 70,000 new cases a day.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I’m personally a fan of lockdowns, but they are not a panacea.
When President Trump closed the border to China at the start of February, against the advice of the WHO, Joe Biden accused Trump of “Xenophobia”. Nations including the USA are still struggling to find the right balance between economically damaging lockdowns and letting the disease run its course.
Before anyone sneers at worrying about “economic damage” when lives are at risk, the kind of economic damage I’m talking about is the risk of disrupting the food supply chain. Running out of food would kill far more people than Covid-19.
And there is significant evidence lockdowns don’t have a lasting impact – as Europe reaches the limit of their economic lockdown endurance, early evidence is cases are surging. Even hard lockdown Australia is struggling with a surge of cases in the high population density Victoria.
There is no doubt in my mind the Chinese government could have stopped the outbreak in its tracks, if they had thought about other people rather than their own selfish short term interests. But we cannot undo what has been done.
I don’t know the right answer, the right balance between lockdowns and economic activity, and I doubt anyone else does either. What we need to do is continue doing what we are already doing – do our very best to chart a course through the difficulties we all face.
via Watts Up With That?
July 31, 2020 at 08:07AM