Being a person in the United States who takes the threat of COVID-19 seriously has been a difficult and frustrating position to be in for the last several months. And particularly when even the parts of the country that closed down at the start began to re-open way too soon, it became impossible not to wonder if we would ever get this virus under control.
Andy Slavitt, a former health official under the Obama administration, posted a Twitter thread recently explaining exactly what it’s going to take to manage the coronavirus pandemic and get back to some semblance of our normal lives.
First, the good news: it’s doable.
Other countries have already done it.
The United States has simply chosen not to.
But if we decided to take things seriously, starting now, the whole country could be open by fall. Here’s what it would take:
It sounds tough, but it wouldn’t be all bad.
And the anti-maskers/anti-shut down crowd would undoubtedly push back.
But we would see major changes in just a couple of weeks.
And with fewer cases, coronavirus would become so much easier to isolate and control.
That wouldn’t be the end of it, but we wouldn’t be in the constant state of crisis we’re living in right now.
But instead of doing this thing that would benefit the whole country, our officials are bowing the billionaires and the naysayers.
So right now, we’re essentially just waiting for a vaccine.
But a vaccine won’t be 100% effective, and only 50% of Americans are currently even planning on getting it when it’s available.
And it’s because of this that Andy insists the steps laid out will ultimately be necessary.
A vaccine is not the complete answer. The virus isn’t going to just magically go away, no matter how much President Trump wants that to be true. We are, at some point, going to have to take proactive measures to stomp it out.
It’s a relief to see how it’s completely possible to end this pandemic in the United States. But even more than that, it’s horrifying to know we are, instead, simply choosing not to do it as we become cut off from the rest of the world, the economy fails, and more and more people die alone.