The Hill: The data is in — stop the panic and end the total isolation

A Stanford medical doctor recommends a reconsideration of our public policy approach to containment of Covid-19 based on “five key facts.” Here’s the list. He elaborates on each at the link:

Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19.

Fact 2: Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding.

Fact 3: Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem.

Fact 4: People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections.

Fact 5: We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures.

The observations are consistent with others we have been exploring here in the Forum and lead at the end of the article to a “more focused strategy” in dealing with Covid-19: “Strictly protect the known vulnerable, self-isolate the mildly sick and open most workplaces and small businesses with some prudent large-group precautions. This would allow the essential socializing to generate immunity among those with minimal risk of serious consequence, while saving lives, preventing overcrowding of hospitals and limiting the enormous harms compounded by continued total isolation.”

The strategy sounds reasonable to me, and I hope we’ll see some relaxing of absolutist group think in the near future.

13 thoughts on “The Hill: The data is in — stop the panic and end the total isolation

  1. But what do you do when one person in a household is vulnerable?

    For example, a healthy shipyard worker who is required to go to work to keep his job but whose wife is currently being treated for cancer on an outpatient basis and is immunosuppressed?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good question. It appears the answer is a big shrug.

      The suggestion in the article is TBD based on information we are currently acquiring to protect at risk (old) individuals.

      I think we all know how that will work out, particularly given the clown in charge.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. RE: But what do you do when one person in a household is vulnerable?”

      I don’t know. Maybe we need public-funded sanatoria for people like the wife in your example.


      1. We are talking about 10’s of millions over the age of 65, ill health, obese, diabetic, etc.

        Right now, the nursing homes are hotbeds, literally, for mass deaths. How would we expect quarantine places to work any better?

        These place are staffed with the lowest paid workers, too. As well as immigrant, legal and illegal.

        I think Don has a good point. It sounds good to separate the vulnerable until one tries to implement that concept.


      2. RE: “I think Don has a good point.”

        I do, too. He proposes that risk mitigation in some home settings may not be feasible. So here’s a hypothetical: Suppose 8 in 10 homes can mitigate infection risk to the most vulnerable in the household, do we “lock down” every home to protect the 2 in 10 that can’t, or do we seek alternatives?


        1. I guess it depends on whether we think we can revive the economy or reincarnate the dead.

          Which brings up a conundrum with respect to the value of every life.

          Is an abortion for economic reasons such as not being able to afford to have and raise a child any different than starting the economy with the assumption that people will die.

          Both cases sacrifice life for economic reasons.


  2. Saw this yesterday and almost posted it, but wanted to think about what I believe to be missing from the assessment.

    We need testing and contact tracing to pick up a lot more than what it is now. States are working on getting the ball rolling on that. Once that is in place, then I believe it would be prudent to start opening things up.

    The White House guidance for re-opening parts of the country were actually one of the best things to come out lately. These guidelines should be followed, unlike Georgia, who is just itching for a “happy ending” (opening massage parlors? Seriously?).

    Yes, we need to get the economy started up as quickly as possible. But prudence is also needed. We need to see downward trends in infections and deaths. We need ramped up testing and true contact tracing to ensure we do not end up with any spikes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Identify who HAS the virus. Identify who HAD the virus and can provide potential life saving treatments. Identify those that were potentially exposed to the virus so that they can self quarantine as needed.

        For someone who is as smart as you are, you sure have an apparent lack of common sense. In the Navy, we called those folks Nukes. New a lot of stuff, but had little to no ability to use their knowledge in a sensible manner.


      2. RE: “For someone who is as smart as you are, you sure have an apparent lack of common sense.”

        Could common sense tell me what you think, which is what I asked?

        I’m all for testing, but we don’t need a lot of it for public policy purposes. The diagnostic testing that hospitals do is probably sufficient to determine the progress of the disease on a macro level. Research testing, like the serology testing done in New York (announced yesterday; 14% immunity) and the Stanford study in California (announced a week or so ago) certainly helps, but doesn’t need to be universal.

        As for contact tracing, there are reasonable approaches, and unreasonable ones. I would oppose the unreasonable approaches. Examples would be cell-phone surveillance, standing up a new federal bureaucracy to track infected persons, and anything else that threatens civil liberties.


        1. OK, let’s just let it run it’s course. We’ll bury the unnecessarily dead bodies at your’s and Don’s houses.

          I disagree and think you are blinded by your ideology to the benefits of testing as a public policy. You are entitled to your opinion, but I am just as entitled to throw the bullshit flag at it.

          As far as reasonableness on contact tracing, I DO agree with you on that. But I think it is terrible public policy to not do anything.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. RE: “I disagree and think you are blinded by your ideology to the benefits of testing as a public policy.”

          You seem to think the diagnostic testing hospitals already do is not sufficient. What do you recommend, and what would you hope to gain?


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