Moving the Coronavirus Goalposts

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Since I can’t escape the ‘rona news, even on vacation, two major common sense thoughts on the ridiculous moving goal posts around the country and people wearing masks.

Regarding the moving goal posts, let’s start with 5 key facts. These are not my opinions.

  1. Coronavirus spreads easier than the flu. Why? No pre-existing immunity in population, airborne spreading, longer incubation period, large number of asymptomatic carriers. Assumption based on that fact: more people will end up with COVID-19 than seasonal flu.
  2. Goal of flattening the curve was NOT to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Goal was to slow the spread so health systems werent overwhelmed, insuring better care and improving survival rates.
  3. High risk populations are at wildly disproportionate risk from COVID-19 compared to people in low risk populations, high risk groups being people over 60 and people with a variety of chronic conditions.
  4. Without a vaccine or herd immunity, the spread of COVID-19 will continue. Summer heat may help, but it won’t kill off the virus for good. This reality has always been in place.
  5. The initial models, on which most public policy and mandated closures were justified, turned out to be horribly inaccurate, especially the projected mortality rate.

With these 5 facts in mind, some thoughts…

Just because I am opposed to the one-size fits all lock downs does NOT mean I don’t take the virus seriously. COVID-19 is far more deadly in high risk groups than the flu. There will be more deaths from COVID-19 than the flu. This is no joke.

But this does NOT mean every person has a higher risk of death from COVID-19. If you are under 60 and relatively healthy (no chronic health conditions), your risk is extremely low.

So, the raw number of deaths and even mortality rate can go up in high risk groups, while the overall mortality rate and risk to those in low risk groups remains quite small. This is an extremely important concept.

The key for me has always been and remains, what are the right personal decisions for each high-risk individual and what are the right decisions for low risk people?

High risk people should be exercising extreme caution, and practicing self-quarantine when possible. They never want to get the disease. That’s their goal.

But almost like the mirror opposite, we should want the greatest exposure at the highest rate possible in the low risk population. That’s a totally different goal.

Public health recommendations should focus on protecting the highest risk people, not actually stopping the spread as that’s nearly impossible. Without that increased number of cases in the low risk population, the danger to high risk people remains even longer.

The one size fits all lockdowns only delay the inevitable and will result in waves of additional lockdowns and a longer timeline to that goal of herd immunity, and that’s not good for anyone.

Sooo…the goal is NOT stopping the spread (never has been), and lockdowns were never predicated on that idea, nor intended to wait for a vaccine.

Elected officials and talking heads need to stop moving the goalposts. Its disingenuous, and actually harmful to the overall goal of good public health.

Regarding people wearing masks:

Stop mocking people who choose to wear masks, or businesses that choose to require customers to wear masks. Average masks can’t offer 100% protection from the virus, everyone gets that. But they can reduce viral load and spread. For people in high risk groups (or those living with someone in a high risk group), this is important for them.

As for businesses, its a private business on private property, so they have the right to ask whatever they want of customers. They could ask everyone to wear purple polkadot hats before shopping. Totally their call. Absolutely their right to do this.

Its your right to determine where you shop. If you don’t like one store’s requirements don’t shop there. This is how the free market in a voluntary and mutually beneficial society is supposed to work.