The election may still be in dispute but that has not stopped Joe Biden from starting to put together his own COVID-19 task force. Dr. Michael Osterholm is one of the medical personnel who has already been announced. Dr. Osterholm is now suggesting that there needs to be a 4 to 6-week lockdown, with the government footing the bill for all of the lost wages.
He believes that cases are on the rise because people have gotten tired of social distancing and wearing their masks. Dr. Osterholm refers to this as a form of “pandemic fatigue”. Now that the weather is getting colder, more and more people are spending time together indoors. This allows the virus to spread more easily.
He believes that the national lockdown would drive hospitalization levels to something more manageable and keep new infection numbers low. “We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” Osterholm said. “If we did that, then we could lockdown for four-to-six weeks.”
One of Biden’s new coronavirus task force doctors floating the idea of a 4-6 week lockdown:
“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the lost wages for individual workers … if we did that, then we could lockdown for 4 to 6 weeks.”pic.twitter.com/zNmuQvPpIJ
— Zack Guzman (@zGuz) November 11, 2020
If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Dr. Osterholm wrote a piece for the New York Times back in August. “We believe the choice is clear. We can continue to allow the coronavirus to spread rapidly throughout the country or we can commit to a more restrictive lockdown, state by state, for up to six weeks to crush the spread of the virus to less than one new case per 100,000 people per day,” he said at the time.
“To successfully drive down our case rate to less than one per 100,000 people per day, we should mandate sheltering in place for everyone but the truly essential workers. By that, we mean people must stay at home and leave only for essential reasons: food shopping and visits to doctors and pharmacies while wearing masks and washing hands frequently.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, 39 percent of workers in the United States are in essential categories. The problem with the March-to-May lockdown was that it was not uniformly stringent across the country. For example, Minnesota deemed 78 percent of its workers essential. To be effective, the lockdown has to be as comprehensive and strict as possible,” he continued.
At the moment, there is no one who can tell him that this is a bad idea with a straight face. COVID-19 cases are rising dramatically throughout the country. The entire nation is being hit hard and maps indicate that the spread is largely uncontrolled. At the moment, the collective goal should be a simple one: making it to the vaccine without racking up any more deaths.
This seems like a reasonable thing to debate. Of course, there is good news to report. As doctors and medical facilities learn more about how to treat the virus, the death rate decreases. Pfizer’s recent reports about the effectiveness of their experimental shots are also providing the nation with a much-needed boost.
So what’s the problem here? Joe Biden’s silly commentary about shutting down the virus without shutting down the economy. Sure, the American people can be paid for their time but what happens to the businesses that are forced to shut down for four to six weeks? They won’t be able to resume normal business hours without taking a hit. Perhaps this lockdown is completely unavoidable at the moment.
After all, it’s a choice between keeping things open and watching the hospitals become horribly overrun with new COVID-19 patients. The choices here are not great but Biden needs to start being honest about that, instead of acting like a second lockdown is a no brainer. Either way, Americans need to be preparing themselves for the inevitable. If Joe Biden takes office, everyone will be stuck at home for weeks at a time with no plan for the future.