Let’s Re-Open the Economy

by Colin Berkshire

Harvard has revealed how we can do it.

Let me extrapolate how it would work:

Whenever you go out in public you take a COVID-19 quick test. That test is your 24 hour pass to go to work, to go shopping, and to have a normal unrestricted life. Every day you take a new test, and after a day the old test invalidates itself. When you enter a public space you show your test to gain entry. (For high-value venues a confirming test could be re-taken at the gate.)

Whether it is a buffet or a football game, there is minimal risk of people gathering if they aren’t sick.

The technology to produce these now exists. You will hear that they are “not as accurate” as the stab-to-the-back-of-your-sinus tests. That’s correct. But they error on the side of false positive, which means that they are 100% accurate if you have COVID-19 and they may be too sensitive and not clear you even if you are not ill. This is absolutely perfect for being your “public pass”.

Certainly, it if time to open up all international travel. Every traveler should take a COVID-19 test right at the airport and if they are healthy they should be allowed to travel internationally. Why aren’t we doing this? Are we stupid?

I have a friend who owns a very large buffet restaurant. It seats almost 1,000 persons and has hundreds of entries available. They have been financially devastated because buffets are not allowed to open. He pays over $20,000 a month in rent for a restaurant that isn’t allowed to operate…and for no good reason. He has proposed hiring a server for every steamer table and that all enters could be dished by a server. There is no real risk of passing COVID-19 when operated in this way. But the response he gets from the regulators is that because it is a buffet it is closed.

I don’t think people comprehend the long-term economic damage that is happening to our economy. That’;s because we’re like teenagers that just got issued a credit card. We’re in the buying-spree phase and have yet to get to the “Minimum Payment” part and the realization that it will take 37 years to pay off the debt part.

We need to re-think how were protecting ourselves from COVID-19. And we need perspective. And, speaking of which, it looks like COVID-19 will end up being under 3.5x as lethal as the seasonal flu this year. That’s bad, but it is just a 4% increase in overall mortality…big enough to need managing but not so big as to destroy our future.