Some people need direct evidence before they’ll believe something to be true. Maybe I do, too.
Gov. Kate Brown intends to let Marion County begin a phased reopening on May 22:
The first phase of reopening allows restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, personal services, churches, theaters, health clubs, and county parks to open with spaced seating, physical distancing and sanitation.
When Gov. Kate Brown ordered Oregon shut down March 16-19, the number of daily confirmed cases in Marion County ranged between 1 and 5. In the intervening time, Marion County would see the number of daily confirmed cases go as high as 43 on May 14, less than a week ago. Here’s a handy chart from the Marion County Public Health web site:
As is readily apparent, the number of confirmed cases in Marion is significantly higher than when we went into shutdown. In part, this might be a matter of more testing. But even if it is, the data pattern that emerges is only one of a general flatline to slight increase in cases. This is what we “won” by staying at home. We did not defeat the virus, but we didn’t overload the medical system either. People may be sick of living at home, but it’s hard to visualize from the graph how ending the lockdown now makes sense from a public health perspective. How exactly are we better off than, say, a month ago?
Sure, we have adequate medical capacity, but we had that before. We still have no large scale treatment option, though convalescent plasma may be getting closer if it works. Monoclonal antibodies are at least months away, and we won’t get a vaccine until next year at the earliest. Unless around 80% of the public is prepared to exit this lockdown wearing masks so we can significantly reduce transmission rates, I don’t see how cases won’t spike in Marion County within the next 2-3 weeks.
Maybe that will be what some people need to realize that a continuing lockdown is necessary. This assumes that those people are open to reason, but I’ve not seen much evidence of that. All of which points up the obvious difference: I’m open to changing my mind if such evidence emerges.