The media are outraged that President Trump is talking about re-opening the country, following their previous position that he sure was taking his sweet time at opening up the country.
Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's death forecasts from the Wuhan coronavirus have shrunk from 1.7 million Americans in mid-March; to 100,000 to 200,000 two weeks ago, provided there were massive suppression efforts; to -- most recently -- 60,000.
Every week, it seems, we’re another two weeks away from the “apex.”
According to a model recently published in The New York Times, if Trump had issued social distancing guidelines just two weeks earlier -- on March 2, rather than March 16 -- instead of 60,000 Americans dying from the Chinese coronavirus (projected!), only 6,000 would have died.
If that’s what a two-week quarantine would have done, then how about a four-week quarantine?
By the end of the month, 90% of the country will have been shut down, quarantined and socially distancing for FOUR WEEKS. A majority of Americans have already been under these self-isolation rules for three weeks. (And most of the rest live in rural communities 16 miles from one another.)
Two weeks is the magic number. Test positive for the Wuhan: self-quarantine for two weeks. Come into contact with someone who has it: self-quarantine for two weeks. Traveling from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut: self-quarantine for two weeks.
With cold and flu viruses, people develop symptoms after just five days. But to be extra safe, we’re assuming the Wuhan virus can be transmitted for a full two weeks after contact.
After two weeks, you’re either sick or the infection has passed through you with no symptoms.
Again: It’s been three. Does social distancing work or doesn’t it?
After four weeks of self-isolation, won’t 90% of the country be Wuhan-free? Or are we in a sci-fi movie with a virus that can live forever without a host?
For the tiny percentage of the country not in self-isolation for the past three weeks, either because they are essential workers or because they are screw-offs, let’s add them to the “vulnerable” list. Everyone take special precautions around doctors, nurses, grocery store employees and people who don’t follow orders -- just as we do around the elderly and immunocompromised.
By May 1, even most of the slackers will have worked through the Wuhan. There haven’t been any large gatherings for them to attend, and almost everyone else has been staying 6 feet away from them. They’ve had a month to infect one another and either live or die.
In any event, unless all the claims about social distancing are nonsense, then a ONE-MONTH nationwide quarantine should have killed off the Wuhan in 90% of us, allowing a return to mostly normal life. (It goes without saying that Trump’s travel bans will have to remain in place.)
I notice that the same people telling Americans they must remain at home indefinitely were indignant about closing bathhouses in response to the AIDS epidemic. Back then, the media and all gays except Randy Shilts said: How dare you ask us to shut down the bathhouses! They’re part of gay culture. It would be like asking Catholics to stop visiting the Sistine Chapel!
But putting the entire country under stay-at-home orders? No problem.
Another liberal about-face since the AIDS era gives me an idea for how to re-open the country.
Liberals are furious with Trump for expressing optimism about the experimental drug hydroxychloroquine. When it came to AIDS, the gay community’s successful campaign to compel the FDA to allow “compassionate” use of unapproved drugs was a civil rights milestone on the order of Selma.
In a 1990 editorial, for example, The New York Times praised the “educated and articulate” gay spokesmen for bringing about “changes in the traditional methods of testing drugs,” adding that the new procedures were “a compassionate response to AIDS sufferers.”
By contrast, today the media are absolutely ghoulish in their hope for hydroxychloroquine to fail. The drug is approved for malaria patients, so it’s “safe”; it’s simply not approved specifically to treat the Chinese virus.
The reason for the media’s hostility to hydroxychloroquine is obvious: Trump expressed enthusiasm for the treatment, so liberals are required to take the opposite position.
It’s just like the Democrats’ recent infatuation with open borders. Until Trump, nearly every Democrat was for -- or claimed to be for -- border security, deporting criminal aliens and ending the anchor baby scam.
But as the Times’ Frank Bruni said, Democrats are “defining themselves as antonyms to Trump.” Why else, he wondered, would Democrats push policies like open borders, “which won’t go down well with many of the voters the party needs”?
Perhaps we could use this liberal neurosis to our advantage. To re-open the country, we need Trump to come out against it.