I was reminded today that I once had much more detailed plans to help mitigate coronavirus. I had to fight so hard for just the basics that I guess I forgot. Someone reminded me today so I wanted to just brainstorm ideas for no or limited lockdown mitigation measures.
I still think a short 2-4 week lockdown as a circuit breaker to get the HUGE out of control infections in the US down to a manageable level is a good idea but in this entry I will be focusing on other things we can do either in it's place or after it's done. We failed last time because we did not use the time we bought to get a real system up and running. Lockdown is pointless if you just go back to doing what you did before.
1) First on the list is to get every person in the US rapid antigen tests for covid-19. If a person gets a positive they isolate for 2 weeks. This won't catch everything but it should catch a lot of infections.
2) Use the defense production act to get N95 or higher to every person in the US. Enough with just the cloth masks. We HAVE the technology to protect people in a real way. To hell with the early concerns that people wouldn't use them right. So we teach them! If we are going to mandate masks people should have the best at their disposal. We originally discouraged it because we were short and healthcare workers needed them. But we didn't have to stay like that. We CAN make enough and we should!
3) REALLY push healthy diet and exercise. One of the biggest risks for serious infection is obesity. I know this and that is why I have lost 40lbs since March. Being overweight puts a strain on the heart and lungs. Plus aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and lungs to make it easier to breath if infected with a respiratory illness. Exercise also increases circulation and covid-19 damages the circulatory system.
4) Get respiratory therapists to teach the public lung exercises to strengthen and increase lung capacity. Every severe asthmatic knows the power of those exercises! They can make the difference between life and death.
5) Get a tablet with internet into the hands of every person who is elderly or has to isolate due to being high risk for long periods of time. People need interaction. If they don't get it their mental health suffers and they might go out to see people out of pure desperation. If we want to shield people we have to help them maintain sanity.
6) Get a digital pen pal project up and running where people can interact with those who might not have anyone to talk to. This will not only reduce risk of psychological harm but will build connections and cooperation between people. We desperately need unity and this would help.
7) Get another stimulus bill passed where everyone gets 1200-$2000 that also has UI relief and small business relief. People are desperate and high risk people are being forced to give up shielding and go back to work. This will stimulate the economy, help those out of work, and protect our high risk people from going back out there to get infected and die.
8) Get a true national testing and tracing program up and running. It needs to be the same in every state so no one gets left behind. We have got to identify infections quicker and get people into quarantine as fast as possible. This, combined with the rapid tests would allow us to control the pandemic with virtually no big restrictions.
9) Get a large federal program up and running to help create more at home jobs so people who have to shield can actually work and not sit on UI. I would LOVE to be earning money but there is so little work available for home that is legitimate. Getting more remote workers is great for the economy too! It lowers businesses overhead costs and gets more money into the hands of people who might not otherwise be able to work. It needs at least 2 parts. One for employers and one for workers. A grant so that workers can get the right computer and landline to get up and running. And for employers to hire the managers and extra people they need for software to make it work.
10) Put and END to the politicization of public health and pandemic response. As i said before the only way we can beat this is if we all work together. It's the politics that drove us apart. Ending them in regards to coronavirus is the only way we can bring everyone back together again. I can't stress this enough. If we don't have the majority of people cooperating then NONE of this will work!
11) Hire healthcare workers to educate the public on advanced infection control. Most people have no idea of how to prevent infection. We need them taught about all the ways a person can become infected and what to do to help prevent it. People need to understand the reasons behind infection control measures and if they do I believe more people will cooperate. They need to know how to care for high risk family members and set up clean areas of the home. Most people have no idea how to decontaminate to protect those they are shielding. We can teach them that.
12) Change the tone used to address the public. They need calm confidence and not denial or panic. Just give out data that is needed in a realistically hopeful light and explain complex ideas in easy to understand and positive ways. Don't give anyone reason to think you are trying to create fear. Fear IS the mind killer. People who aren't afraid don't go into denial. We need everyone in media and politics to get on the same page about how they address the people. And what we have been doing isn't it.
I'm sure I will think of more as time goes on and I will come back here and write them when I do. I feel a lot of pain that I somehow gave up on any of this. I know how it happened but it breaks my heart. It became such a struggle to get people to just wash their hands and stand 6 feet apart at the grocery store that I got tangled up. I am going to move forward with this lesson in my mind and try not to allow myself to get boxed in again. You reading this deserve better from me and I intend to give it.