"A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout." – Jonathan Swift, 1729.
While I lack Swift’s talent for satire (he was addressing an Irish famine), the following suggestion for dealing with our exigent urgency may sound like it was written for the Babylon Bee. Remember, “We are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases!” as restrictions on the public lockdown are lifted. Certainly that demands a rapid, energetic response. But unlike all those “sober” suggestions presented by the Quixotic Quislings of Quarantine, what you will read below is actually supported by careful scientific analysis.
Several key facts have been well established:
- If you are under age 60 and are not already sick with something else, COVID-19 is highly unlikely to kill you.
- If you are under age 20, your death risk from COVID-19 approaches zero.
- Over 90 percent of all COVID-19 deaths involve the elderly and infirm, with an average age over 80, and the bulk of those involve people who “sheltered in place” with poor ventilation, such as nursing homes and poorly maintained apartment buildings in high-density areas.
- States that isolated the elderly and infirm from potential infection have seen low death rates (compare my home state of Florida with New York).
- Creating immunity in a large portion of the population is required to protect the rest of society (herd immunity).
- Over half of all infected people never have any symptoms. (We can’t know the actual number, because we haven’t tested everyone.)
Let’s read that last one again. Over half of all people infected with COVID-19 don’t get sick. Just ask Doctor Jeffrey Singer. And the bulk of those who get sick recover without incident. But you wouldn’t know that from listening to the news or Democratic politicians. The Prime Directive of the Newsroom is “If it bleeds, it leads!” But a spike in cases is not blood. It’s a demonstration of the fact that we are moving closer to herd immunity.
That can’t be allowed. “Never let a crisis go to waste” (Rahm Emmanuel) has been transformed into, “If there isn’t a crisis, make it look like there is one, and it’s your opponent’s fault.” So every new case becomes someone who has looked at Medusa and is about to die. It’s the same playbook that was used with Ebola. This highly fatal disease was about to take over the world! We were all going to die. Hours of TV time were spent on a disease that killed a few hundred people and made a handful of Americans sick. It elevated an obscure researcher named Fauci to national prominence as he led the development of a drug that didn’t help (Remdesivir).
Of course, you simply cannot allow other voices to be heard. John Ioannidis and Scott Atlas have to be drowned out by hysteria. Even Nobel Prize-winning scientist Michael Levitt has to be ignored. His careful analysis that shows that COVID-19 was already declining early on is never discussed unless you stumble across him on the UnHerd YouTube channel. So what’s a mother to do?
First, the number of COVID-19 associated deaths is not materially rising. Yes, some are getting in-person medical care. But they aren’t dying. We’ve learned to properly isolate our high-risk members. But they remain at risk until we get enough younger (translation: tiny risk) people infected and immune. There are several very easy ways to do this.
Because the virus is in the wild, it’s basically everywhere. While it’s not terribly easy to get it from someone who isn’t sick, it’s possible. And it’s most likely to happen in a closed space with not so good ventilation. So let’s start with schools. Open them ALL up. Just like the flu and common cold, COVID-19 will get passed around, and all the students will recover. The only likely exceptions are kids with well-known bad diseases already. If the teacher is one of those “fluffy grandmas,” then they can wear a mask or be assigned to a low-risk job in the school. They can practice social distancing. And by all means, open up the playground! It’s outdoors, where sunlight sterilizes everything and disease transmission is rare.
Next, open up the bars. They are closed spaces with lousy ventilation, so barflys will be exposed. If they’re at risk, but too stupid to stay away… you can’t fix stupid. On the other hand, 40 proof alcohol kills viruses in the mouth, making transmission less likely in bars.
Ditto for restaurants, for the same reason. Of course, a restaurant that wished to be “COVID-safe” could spend a few thousand for UV sterilizers in their air conditioners and strategically place far-UVC lights in strategic places to keep the air free of viruses. They’d attract more people, but would defeat herd immunity growth in that location.
The big issue is large gatherings. We’ve already seen that hundreds of people packed in tight spaces outdoors has not led to large numbers of cases. But that’s outdoors. What about NASCAR and the PGA Tour. Wait. They’re outdoors. Open the stands up. Ditto for other open-air sports stadiums. Screen for fevers at the turnstiles? Maybe. That would block superspreaders who would probably make people sick. We want infection without illness.
What about churches, NBA arenas, and domed NFL stadiums? They are enclosed, but if we screened for fevers, we’d have lots of asymptomatic people who could create low-level infection in others. In short, they are the perfect solution! Any high-risk people would have the option to stay away.
The lockdowns have prevented silent spread of the bug. We must have silent spread to make a deadly spread less likely. As Professor Levitt notes, “We must have as much infection as possible for as little death as possible.” Or, as Doctor Ben Carson observes, “It’s time we learned to live with this disease rather than letting it control us.” (This Week with George Stephanopoulos, June 14, 2020)
The fastest way for us to get out from under the cruel thumb of COVID-19 and the draconian restrictions we’ve endured to deal with it is simply to open wide. Now. More people will get infected, and that’s a good thing. Herd immunity will become a bulwark against disaster.
You read that right. It’s time for chickenpox parties. The sooner we get lots of people exposed, the sooner we can get back to normal. We don’t need to eat our children. But we do need to infect them. Social distancing is harming the process of dealing with this illness.
Dr. Ted Noel is a retired physician and freelance writer who focuses on issues related to freedom. Follow Dr. Noel on Twitter @vidzette and Facebook.