We Can Beat This

We Can Beat This
The aftermath
If we commit to social distancing
at some point in the next few months
the rate of spread will slow
We’ll be able to catch our breath
The temptation then will be to think we have
made it past the worst
We cannot give in to that temptation
If we choose the third course
when fall arrives
we will be ahead of a resurgence of the infection
We can keep schools and businesses open as
much as possible
closing them quickly when suppression fails
then opening them back up again
once the infected are identified and isolated
Instead of playing defense,
we could play more offense
We need to keep time on the clock
time to find a treatment or a vaccine
The current Situation
If we do nothing
and just let the virus run its course
we could see three times as many deaths as
we see from cardiovascular disease each year
it estimated that infections would peak in
midJune
We could expect to see about 55,000 deaths,
in just one day
Suppression Rate
what experts call R0 (Rnaught)
to less than one
Unchecked
the R0 of COVID19 is between 2 and 3
meaning that every infected person infects
on average, two to three others
An R0 less than 1 indicates that
each infected person results in fewer than
one new infection
When this happens, the outbreak will slowly
grind to a halt
Flu in 1918
The spring was bad
Over the summer, the numbers of sick dwindled
and created a false sense of security
all hell broke loose
In late 1918, tens of millions of people
died
Social Distancing
We’re closing schools and businesses
and committing to social (really, physical)
distancing
so the outcome mentioned above is unlikely
to occur
But this isn’t enough
Even after we do these things
significant number of infections will occur
more people will need care than we can possibly provide in our
hospitals
asking people to stay away from one another
closing schools, restaurants, and bars
asking people to work from home
and not meet in groups of 10 or more
But these efforts won’t help those who are
already infected
It will take up to two weeks for those infected today to show any
symptoms
and some people won’t show symptoms at all
Buy us Time
We will need to massively strengthen our
medical infrastructure
We will need to build ventilators and add
hospital beds
We will need to focus our factories on turning out the protective
equipment
masks, gloves, gowns, and so forth
to ensure we keep our healthcare workforce
safe
difficult actions we are taking now
to flatten the curve aren’t just intended to slow the rate of
infection to levels
They’re also meant to buy us time
They give us the space to create what we
need to make a real difference
There will likely be more seriously ill people
than we have resources to care for
meaning that providers will have to make
decisions
about whom to treat, and whom not to
We can create a third path
We can decide to meet this challenge headon
It is absolutely within our capacity to do
so
If we screen everyone
and do so regularly
we can let most people return to a more normal
life
If we can be assured that the people who
congregate aren’t infectious
they can socialize
We can build healthcare facilities
that do rapid screening and care for people,
who are infected
apart from those who are not
These steps alone still won’t be enough
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