Letter: Hope for successful containment of COVID-19

Published: 5/21/2020 12:01:15 AM

Alternatives were offered this week on NPR and PBS:

1) As long as our hospitals are not in danger of being swamped and our elderly are protected, the economy can and must open. That is “all we can do” until a vaccine is created. Answer: We will have an economy that matches the health of a population with an ongoing epidemic of COVID-19 – sickness and death throughout 2020.

2) In order for our economy to prosper, our country must be healthy. We must test the entire population: 23 million tests per day, equivalent to everyone in the United States every 3 months at a cost of $100 billion. Answer: The World Health Organization, which is coordinating the global strategy against the pandemic.

3) We can defeat the COVID-19 virus only if all countries with imported cases adopt the following testing strategy: “Exhaustive case finding … immediate testing and isolation … painstaking contact tracing … rigorous quarantine of close contacts.” That is, aggressive testing with contact tracing (ATCT). China, Germany and South Korea have successfully used this strategy. So, too, a few governors and mayors in the United States, but there lacks needed national coordination.

Prediction: In the absence of a vaccine or a “miracle” cure, unless we adopt ATCT as a national testing strategy, the United States will stumble and have an estimated 300,000 deaths this year.

Hope: Our democracy will achieve “mission impossible” if it can reach a consensus – solidarity – absent national coordination.


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