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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/3/20

If We Want to Return to Normal, We Have to Fix the Policy

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Most of the United States is still under lockdown, but why? What is the purpose of the policy?

We've had the "flatten the curve" meme pounded into our brains for so long, that most people think it's the objective of the policy, but is it?

Flattening the curve is a worthy goal, but preventing the health care system from being overwhelmed should not be our highest priority. True, it is critical, I don't dispute that, I just think there are other goals that are more important.

But what would those be?

Saving lives, for one. Naturally, we want to save as many lives as possible, so any responsible policy should aim to do just that. But should saving lives be our top priority?

Many people will say "Yes," but I disagree. Saving lives should not be our top priority, preserving our American way of life, our culture, our traditions our personal freedom, and, yes, our economy which sustains us all, provides us with meaningful work, puts food on the table and a roof over our heads -- these should be our top priority. Just ask a veteran who served his country whether he places his life above the values and ideals he fought for. He'll tell you "No." He'll tell you those things are worth fighting for and worth dying for. I agree.

So the ultimate goal of our policy should be to get back to normal, to restore the life we had before the masks, the gloves, the daily briefings, the self isolation, the social distancing, the daily death toll, the shutting down of the economy, the deluge of unemployment claims, the destruction of small and mid-sized businesses, the trillions dollars of additional red ink, and the abrupt termination of all normal interaction with our friends, our neighbors and our families. That's what the aim of our policy should be, to get back to normal.

But that's the problem, our current (lock-down) policy doesn't do that. It doesn't put us on a path for achieving our objectives. Take a look at this article at The Hill and you'll see what I mean:

"The coronavirus pandemic could continue into 2022 and won't be under control until a majority of the world's population becomes immune, a report released by experts Thursday says. The report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota says based on the most recent flu pandemics, the highly transmissible coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will likely keep spreading for as long as two years, and will likely not stop spreading until 60 to 70 percent of the population is immune.

"The length of the pandemic will likely be 18 to 24 months, as herd immunity gradually develops in the human population," the researchers wrote. ...Researchers recommended that the U.S. prepare for a worst-case scenario, including no vaccine availability or herd immunity.

"Risk communication messaging from government officials should incorporate the concept that this pandemic will not be over soon," they say, "and that people need to be prepared for possible periodic resurgences of disease over the next two years." ("New report says coronavirus pandemic could last up to two years," The Hill)

"Two years"???

Two years is not an acceptable time-frame. We need a policy that accelerates the process and avoids the depressing scenario the experts now anticipate? So what do we do?

We start to follow Sweden's lead, because Sweden settled on a policy that actually gets them out of the virus-rut in a timely manner. And that's exactly what we're looking for, a path back to normal that doesn't drag on for two years.

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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