A plan going forward

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The United States is in a COVID-19 disaster. As of 10 days ago, we had more confirmed cases than any other country (148,089, next is Italy 101,739, Spain 85,195, China 82,198). This is no time for blame. We need action, now! We must learn from the wise actions of South Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, reinforced by the disastrous choices made by Italy and Iran. We responded too late to prevent large-scale infection of our population, but we must do what we can. 

(1) We need a strict nationwide shutdown of all non-essential activities. We must enforce social-distancing. People can leave their homes only for groceries, exercise, or health-related activities. Those doing essential jobs must continue working. Without a coordinated effort, compliant states will stave off the most severe spikes of sickness, but delinquent states will be hotbeds cultivating millions of infectious people. 

(2) We must have extensive testing to map where the virus is and quarantine those who test positive. Massive production of testing kits is essential. After the shutdown, people who test negative can go back to work. This systematic approach would require sacrifice but only for a limited time. A failure to enact coordinated nationwide measures would prolong the pandemic for many months, causing many unnecessary deaths.

Because the federal government lacks the willpower to undertake this essential nationwide effort, state governors must organize and intervene. We need a nationwide task force to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and coordinate the response. If some ill-informed governors refuse to cooperate, we must block travel from these states. The federal government should pay for testing and treatment. 

The media can help by refusing to air political speeches masquerading as COVID-19 updates, and substitute daily interviews with reports from the task force.

Tom DeCoursey

Oak Park

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Reader Comments

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Tommy McCoy  

Posted: April 11th, 2020 3:12 PM

William Dwyer Jr. I ask you this question because you seem to pay attention do a lot of different things. Everywhere I searched for sanitizing products and even on line at major retailers are out of stock. Do you know if this items are made in the U.S. or outside of the U.S. and if they are outside and the boarders have been closed it would seem we are going to have a long wait for the products to keep the virus down and it seems that if once again we find another area of dependency on other countries may be disinfectants then it certainly has been a waste of 3 years of Making America Great Again which I thought meant bringing back jobs and not relying on other countries. If you do not know the answer, I understand that it is a very complicated situation although if the products are outside the U.S., maybe special flights could bring in products

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: April 11th, 2020 1:37 PM

William Dwyer Jr. I would not dispute those figures. I would not dispute that our intel was already aware and went through the channels and I find it very unlikely that the President was not made aware of the information and played it as nothing more than a flu to keep the economy going. I also think that there has become a tremendous black mart with disinfectant products since they are what can help keep homes cleaned and product brought into the homes although they are not available for purchase and I do not believe it is because of people still hoarding because there are limits places on all products. This is worse than the gas shortage which was created to raise prices. This virus is real and if the economy starts again then the medical staff will not have any reinforcements to relive them over their already over burdened work and the second wave can crash our front line. News will not even track down any company and ask where are the santizing products although two toilet paper companies are running ads so you do not forget them and they can not even deliver product to the consumer. All these was know in 2019 and why was there such a long delay and now a rush to open the economy. You can not even get people to pass a rule to take temperatures of employees each day as they continue to mix with the population unaware if they have a temperature which has been verified by doctors as being 99 percent accurate. The body count keeps adding up and no one in charge is stopping it

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: April 11th, 2020 10:58 AM

Couple facts here. The latest stats I could find (feel free to look yourself) for Coronavirus tests per 1 million people, by country, places the United States 9th. . Germany - 15,730; Italy - 14,114; Australia - 13,269; Canada - 9,812; South Korea - 9,812; Spain - 7,593; Russia - 7,469; Belgium - 7,269; USA - 7,181. . .. Meanwhile, the United States has nearly as many Covid-19 cases as the next four countries combined, and is about to overtake Italy for the most deaths in any country.

Tom Clarkson  

Posted: April 10th, 2020 9:00 PM

Okay Ken but if your going to act the math police then let's come up with a reasonable conclusion. Testing is a wide variable but deaths per population from COVID-19 are more universal since a patient is definitely tested in critical condition. In that category we rank around 10th and considering our high traveling culture/economy that doesn't appear to be an interesting outlier right? And with how big we are I think we consider we have widely variable experiences. (New York area, Detroit, New Orleans but the rest look low per capita). Maybe we stop national political agenda and think global with pockets of concern.

Ken Van Spankerswanson  

Posted: April 10th, 2020 1:57 PM

@neal, Italy has done 853 thousand tests, we have only done 2 million. More test and we will have more cases. Math works best with all the variables and comparisons work better with more data.

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2020 12:27 PM

I don't want to be critical, but your math skills are severely lacking. The U. S. has a lot more people than Spain and Italy. We'll leave China out of this because they are liars. Spain has 1 case for every 552 people. Italy has 1 case for every 559 people. The U. S. has 1 case for every 2,195 people. Either learn basic math skills or move to a country you don't hate.

Michael O'Malley  

Posted: April 9th, 2020 3:10 PM

Dang communists.

Nick Polido  

Posted: April 9th, 2020 10:36 AM

Well said Nick....can't wait for Mr. DeCoursey's next epiphany, maybe on how wonderful Stalin was on population management.

Nick A Binotti  

Posted: April 9th, 2020 9:36 AM

In a pandemic full of naive takes, "We must learn from the wise actions of...China" has got to be the most naive of them all. But I also have an idea how the media can help: By refusing to print political speeches masquerading as COVID-19 advice columns.

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