Thursday, March 26, 2020

Recent op-eds in NYTimes, WPost, focus more on what ordinary people should be expected do to (besides stay home?)

A couple more perspectives on how to manage the coronavirus crisis nationally and regionally, and the impacts on individuals who may be less affected so far.

Ezekiel J. Emmanuel, a provost at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) writes in the New York Times March 23, “FourteenDays: That’s the Most Time We Have to Defeat Coronavirus” with the byline “These decisive measures can prevent a decade of dislocations and extraordinary levels of deaths”.

He wants a complete lockdown and shelter-in-place for the entire nation, because regional variations will undermine local efforts (although that’s not completely the case in Europe;  some countries still have low death rates).

Some of his detailed suggestions are good (such as closing neighborhood streets to reduce activity to an absolute minimum).

At age 76, I am asked to stay home (in a high rise) as much as possible.  I can say I probably haven’t been within 6 feet of anyone for an extended period since maybe March 8.  But I have gone out on limited errands in low-crowd spaces and bought takeout food.

The last part of his essay would seem to try to get people ready for occupation change and joining unusual national volunteer efforts, which couldn’t really be done under social distancing.

The video above discusses volunteering for phone banks from home, and says food banks badly need healthy people to make deliveries.  They also need blood donations.  I made my first donation in 30 years (MSM) in early February, but at my age I don’t know if the Red Cross would want me now. 
There are even calls for people with sewing machines to make masks at home.  Companies with 3-d printers, that makes sense.  Retooling manufacturers to make ventilators makes sense.

The second piece by Marc Fisher in the Washington Post describes the ideas of a 56-year old attorney in California Scott McMillan, who wants to get healthy people back to work and stop helping the “non productive” so much – the elderly.  OK it sounds like Nazism, or maybe the same thing Communist China really does in secret. It sounds offensive.  But I don’t expect anyone to give up their lives to protect me.  But that’s off the target. First, we’re find out younger people are more vulnerable than we had thought. Second, the idea is to protect the health care system, whose collapse is itself a national security threat from foreign enemies (think about North Korea and remember this started in China).  So I am not offended personally, but I just think his idea is dangerous pragmatically.
I won’t get into my own plans and how they would be affected right here.  I would like to stay the course as much as possible and most of my work is at “home alone”.  But it’s more complicated than this.  Infrastructure around me needs to function indefinitely.

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