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May 6, 2020

The reopen fanatics

Opinion

May 6, 2020

Roughly 1,264,000 US soldiers have died in all the wars this country has ever fought. A new simulation by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School predicts that if all the states completely reopened today and all Americans ceased all social distancing measures, a million people would die in this country by June 30. That is, almost as many would die in the next two months as soldiers died in all of US wars in all of US history.

That is the outcome being demanded by the “reopen” protesters who menaced Michigan’s state capitol with confederate flags, Nazi paraphernalia, and assault weapons. They are a tiny group and should not be given too much attention, especially since some of the protests are astroturfed by the super wealthy, such as the DeVos’s in Michigan. Gov Gretchen Whitmer denounced the racism and Nazism. What she should really have denounced is the willful ignorance.

Wharton says that even if we just keep things the way they are, with most states at lease partially closed and individuals practicing social distancing, we would still lose 116,000 by June 30.

The reason a complete and immediate reopening would kill so many is that Americans don’t have immunity to the novel coronavirus and it is extremely contagious. At a transmission rate or Ro of 3, I figured everybody in the country could get it in a month if no mitigation was done.

If you just let it run wild you’d get 24 million cases in the next two months, and a million deaths. Note that the mortality rate would go way up if you let it run wild because there would be no intensive care units for many of those who needed them and they would just die at home or stacked up on gurneys at the hospital waiting for some oxygen.

Wharton also shows that if we let the one million grandmas and grandpas die (most deaths come in people over 60 like me), the hit to the economy would be much less than if we continued mitigation.

The Wharton model is right about some things. For instance, if we are already at 70,000 deaths (an undercount because of people who die at home undiagnosed or who are wrongly classed as having died of pneumonia) in early May, we are certainly going to have more than 116,000 dead by August, which a previous model had suggested.

Why the United States is the biggest coronavirus catastrophe in the world is a little bit of a mystery.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine rescinded a requirement that all Ohioans wear a face mask when they go out, after he got tremendous feedback from, he said, people who didn’t want the government telling them what to do.

Ohioans are apparently not as smart as people in Hong Kong, who have a not very good government that was not very pro-active about the coronavirus threat, and who just volunteered as a population to wear face masks.

Excerpted from: 'Right-Wing "Reopen" Fanatics Would Kill Nearly as Many Americans as Died in All US Wars'. Commondreams.org