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Extremeskins

The "Re-Opening" the Economy Thread


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So we have a Covid-19 thread, which focuses on the virus itself and any efforts to test, develop vaccines, and track virus. We also have a quarantine thread, where people discuss how they are handling their personal situations and how their communities are dealing with the stay-at-home orders. However, duscussions regarding how we would re-open the economy in a responsible, feasible, and practical manner seem to be mixed into these threads, so here's one dedicated to this specific topic.

 

Generally, to "re-open" the economy of any state, I believe the following broad requirements/policies should be in place.  I'll use Maryland as a template.

 

1.   We need detailed data on the characteristics of each of the 630 people who have died after contracting covid-19, particularly the age of each individual, whether the individual had a particular type of underlying health condition, and their sex, race, and other demographic information.

 

2. We also need to determine what percentage of the individuals who have contracted covid-19, but have not died, have suffered some sort of long-term or what you might call permanent damage to their lung tissue.  The same demographic data should be taken for these individuals as well.

 

3.  Once we have determined what the largest risk factors are (Obviously both age and underlying health condition which overlap substantially), we need to perform a different analysis to identify what the risk is of death or serious permanent disability for those who do not fall into the high risk groups identified in #1 and #2 above. I suspect that otherwise healthy individuals under the age of perhaps 60 years old will have a risk of death somewhere between .1 and .5%.  It would also be useful, for example, to determine whether individuals between the age of 70 and 80 who have no specific underlying health risks are more prone to death or disability simply as a result of what you might call age-related weakness or infirmity.  My guess is yes, but we need to know the extent these secondary factors play a role.

 

4.  Those that have been identified as being high risk of suffering death or permanent disability should remain in quarantine.  In addition, to the extent that those individuals were working prior to quarantine, they should be the ones receiving the most economic aid in exchange for being forced to remain sheltered in their residences. Employers should be encouraged to shift job tasks that can be performed remotely to those individuals. The quarantine of this group should be strictly enforced.

 

5.  For the remaining individuals that do not fall into the high-risk groups, those individuals should be encouraged to go back out to their jobs and attempt to live a normal life. However, before doing so as many as possible (or all) should be tested for the covid-19 antibodies. Those who test positive for the antibodies should have no restrictions on their lifestyles, how and where they work, etc. Those that do not test positive for the antibodies should still be required to take standard precautions, for example wearing face masks social distancing, and other common sense measures that are in place now to reduce the chance that they contract the disease.

 

6.  Individuals who are released into the workforce should be tested on a regular basis for antibodies. In addition to continuing testing for covid-19 symptomatic individuals, all these numbers should obviously be tracked.  

 

7.  Once the numbers demonstrate that the incidence of infection has decreased to a certain threshold (as determined by an established board of medical professionals) those who are required to remain in quarantine should also be released into the economy. It would certainly make sense to even have sub-classes of these individuals based on their underlying health risks. For instance, somebody who has asthma may fall into category #5 while someone who has emphysema or chronic heart disease would be a category #1.  Category #5 would be released from quarantine first with the higher risk groups being released based on certain infection benchmarks that are achieved and publicly disclosed. 

 

8. Once a high-risk individual is released back into the economy, they should have the right to go back to work with their former employer for the same salary and under the same conditions as prior to being forced into quarantine. If the employer cannot afford to rehire or retain the employee for a bona fide business reason, that person should get additional financial assistance until they can obtain alternative employment.  I realize this will be much more complicated than it appears, as many employers will simply go out of business or will be struggling, so force "rehiring" is diificult.  Perhaps the business gets assistance for a period of time after doing a rehire.

 

9. While in quarantine, all high-risk individuals should be given some sort of periodic test to determine whether they have covid-19, etc so we can continue to monitor their status and obtain as much information as possible regarding the nuances of the disease and what demographics it tends to harm the most.

 

These are simply some broad suggestions to consider for the near future. The bottom line for me is that if I have a .1% chance of dying after contracting this disease I would rather go into the workforce, keep the economy going, keep my family supported, and prevent a devastating economic collapse which would harm everyone, rich, poor middle class.  I view it as a duty as a healthy young person to do my part, I would hope that those who are forced into quarantine because of their own personal risk conditions would also view it as a duty to remain in quarantine. Those individuals should be compensated and work remotely to the extent possible, and given every opportunity to re-enter the workforce once we have substantially reduced incidence of the disease, we have a vaccine, or we have a viable treatment option for covid-19.

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You mention testing in a couple of your points.  Right now that is one of the biggest issues.  Testing is inadequate so we don't really have a firm grasp on the situation and how many people have or have had COVID-19.

 

The Worldometer website gives data which shows testing for only 13,000 people per million of population.  That's only 1.3% of the population.  So we have no idea what's going on with more than 98% of the population.  That's a big void in our knowledge to make an educated decision about opening things up.

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13 minutes ago, Springfield said:

That’s a nice, long post.  I think that we should be able to be tested at our leisure and have results back immediately.


That’s really the only way we can quickly start getting back to normal. Tests that are effective, fast, and free. And required. Required if want to enter a public building or store. 
 

Technology assisted contact tracing will be critical too. We’ve got to be able to quickly clamp down on new outbreaks that pop up. 
 

Here’s the thing about this whole “reopen” nonsense right now though: we aren’t even close. Our country as a whole is still adding new cases at an accelerating rate (albeit much less quickly than a few weeks ago). The whole idea behind flattening the curve isn’t anywhere close to being accomplished. It’s going to take months. 

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Everything revolves around testing and tracking people. If we started doing temperature checks of people who entered the country in January, followed by a test, we could have gotten well ahead of this.

 

No one should feel comfortable until there are more tests.

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We don’t have the infrastructure for contact tracing and this virus is very difficult to trace to begin with. 
 

I see no way forward but large scale behavior changes until vaccine availability. Don’t congregate in crowded spaces. Do everything else. 
 

Unfortunately this means that businesses like restaurants, event venues, theaters etc will really suffer unless the government enacts sensible short-term policies.

Edited by No Excuses
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54 minutes ago, spjunkies said:

I'm starting to accept that the US is going to blow it and we're going to repeat what happened during the 1918 pandemic, we're screwed. 

 

So will that reduce the later spike they predict during flu season?

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If you're gonna start opening things then do things slowly and open things where you can effectively reduce the number of people grouping up together.

 

So you can open up a few restaurants, but restrict the number of people allowed inside. Everyone else can just pick up orders of food.

 

You can open up movie theaters, but restrict the number of tickets available per show and make it so there are X number of seats between people(most theaters do reserve seating nowadays anyway).

 

And so on and so forth. And of course, everyone going to a public place should have to wear masks/gloves. Businesses will be negatively effected of course, but it beats making nothing.

 

 

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2 hours ago, China said:

You mention testing in a couple of your points.  Right now that is one of the biggest issues.  Testing is inadequate so we don't really have a firm grasp on the situation and how many people have or have had COVID-19.

 

The Worldometer website gives data which shows testing for only 13,000 people per million of population.  That's only 1.3% of the population.  So we have no idea what's going on with more than 98% of the population.  That's a big void in our knowledge to make an educated decision about opening things up.

 

I honestly can see too many folks scared to get back to normal enough to be normal before Flu Season and the second spike. 

 

We can re-open the economy all we want, 2020 is shot, we might as well accept none of what we need to re-open the economy will occur until a new administration is in power.

 

The guy doesn't want mass testing because he's convinced it will impact his poll numbers.  It's only a matter of time until Georgia panics and reverses course like UK did, my states stay at home order will get extended while they figure that out in realtime.

 

It's like watching a bad horror movie...

 

 

 

Edited by Renegade7
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Easy, workable solution on a state level.  Virginia, for example.

 

Maintain the lockdown firmly in urban/high population areas where outbreaks can be devastating.  Relax the laws in rural areas.    Give them masks and stock their hospitals...and see what happens.

 

Lets brightside this.

 

1). There are general economic benefits.  State/local tax revenue...which is gold right now.  Essential services must be funded.

2). We get a lot of data regarding community spread in a rural population.  And we need all the data we can get.  Guinea pigs, more or less.

3).  This is what they want.  GIVE IT TO THEM.  If a couple happy hours a week at the local Bedford honky-tonk keeps the gun-toting clowns from rolling coal all the way to the Capitol...that feels like a win.

 

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To follow up on my earlier point, a quote from an article I posted in the COVID-19 thread:

 

Quote

Republican governors across the Southeast are teaming up to reopen the region’s economy, even as they lack the testing to know how rapidly the coronavirus is spreading.

 

One health expert called the political decision a “perfect storm” for the virus to reassert itself.

 

 

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I have a feeling any grand re-openings are going to wind up being pretty tepid.  20-30% of usual business isn't going to be enough for those employers to hire everyone back.

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6 hours ago, China said:

You mention testing in a couple of your points.  Right now that is one of the biggest issues.  Testing is inadequate so we don't really have a firm grasp on the situation and how many people have or have had COVID-19.

 

The Worldometer website gives data which shows testing for only 13,000 people per million of population.  That's only 1.3% of the population.  So we have no idea what's going on with more than 98% of the population.  That's a big void in our knowledge to make an educated decision about opening things up.

 

Right.  But what about antibody testing?  If you have the antibodies, that means you had the virus.  I have not heard when this test will be widely available.  But if you test positive, perhaps you can get some sort of certification that allows you to work and move around without restriction. 

 

If you believe reports, the number of people who have contracted the virus whether knowingly or unknowingly is perhaps 10 times higher than the number who have been tested for the virus and come back positive. 

 

So there's likely tens of thousands of people in the state of Maryland who are quarantining themselves unnecessarily because they've had the virus but don't realize it because they were asymptomatic.  Those people should be encouraged to return to work immediately.

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20 minutes ago, KAOSkins said:

I have a feeling any grand re-openings are going to wind up being pretty tepid.  20-30% of usual business isn't going to be enough for those employers to hire everyone back.

 

I'd be willing to bet that 20-30% of the workforce in Maryland it's still going into their employment office because they fall under one of the exempted categories in the governor's order. I'd also be willing to bet that another 30 to 40% are working in some manner from home.  It's the people who cannot work that are suffering the most, so it would be best for us to get our asses in gear, figure out who has contracted the disease, and put those people back to work.  If it has to happen gradually then that's better than simply telling them to sit at home when their personal risk of infection is minimal and there are services in demand which are not currently available.

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1 hour ago, kfrankie said:

 

Right.  But what about antibody testing?  If you have the antibodies, that means you had the virus.  I have not heard when this test will be widely available.  But if you test positive, perhaps you can get some sort of certification that allows you to work and move around without restriction. 

 

If you believe reports, the number of people who have contracted the virus whether knowingly or unknowingly is perhaps 10 times higher than the number who have been tested for the virus and come back positive. 

 

So there's likely tens of thousands of people in the state of Maryland who are quarantining themselves unnecessarily because they've had the virus but don't realize it because they were asymptomatic.  Those people should be encouraged to return to work immediately.

 

I wouldn't be in a rush to send people back out into society that have had the virus because people who have recovered from the virus can still transmit it for at least two weeks after symptoms disappear.

 

And, frankly, how can we encourage these people to go back to work if we don't know who they are?  Again, testing (or lack thereof) is a problem.

Edited by China
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We have an online scheduling app for work, and i got the "Bam Fam Telegram" last night that our dining room will remain closed until we can open it safely, takeout & delivery are booming, and shifts are available for the takeout team. 

 

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