Protests and Policing Will Worsen the Coronavirus Pandemic from The Atlantic mirrors my sentiments exactly. We are relying now on luck rather than science:
But as the pandemic persists, more and more states are pulling back on the measures they’d instituted to slow the virus. The Trump administration’s Coronavirus Task Force is winding down its activities. Its testing czar is returning to his day job at the Department of Health and Human Services. As the long, hot summer of 2020 begins, the facts suggest that the U.S. is not going to beat the coronavirus. Collectively, we slowly seem to be giving up. It is a bitter and unmistakably American cruelty that the people who might suffer most are also fighting for justice in a way that almost certainly increases their risk of being infected.
We have collectively decided that the Swedish “do nothing” model of fighting the pandemic is the correct response. It’s not understating it to say that thousands more will likely die as a result.
The protests have led to unusually agonized public-health communication. They have not been met with the stern admonition to stay home that has greeted earlier mass gatherings. Given the long-standing health inequities that black Americans have experienced, hundreds of public-health professionals signed a letter this week declining to oppose the protests “as risky for COVID-19 transmission”: “We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States,” they wrote. Yet the protests are indisputably risky, and officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned the gatherings might “seed” new outbreaks.
Any scientist who declined to oppose the protests on the grounds of public health is, frankly, a bad scientist. Science is a shared pursuit about the truth of this reality we all share. We can’t afford to have truth cast aside when it inconveniently clashes with our political opinions.
Even before factoring in the results of the protests, the United States was throwing in the towel. Trump’s incompetence (which has ranged from calling the virus “a hoax” to saying that we have it “under control” to handicapping the CDC) never gave the US much chance of keeping the numbers low. But America is apparently done with things:
Few people believe that the U.S. is doing all it can to contain the virus. A brief glance at Covid Exit Strategy, a site that tracks state-by-state progress, reveals that most states are not actually hitting the reopening marks suggested by public-health experts. Yet state leaders have not stuck with the kinds of lockdowns that suppressed the virus in other countries; nobody has suggested that cases must be brought to negligible levels before normal activity can resume. No federal official has shared a plan for preventing transmission among states that have outbreaks of varying intensity. The Trump administration did not use the eight weeks of intense social distancing to significantly expand our suppression capacity.
My hopes now rest on convalescent plasma therapy, mono clonal antibody therapy, and finding a vaccine. In short, science. It’s clear that any solution which relies on a behavioral change by the American public is unsustainable.