I was watching “Meet the Press” Sunday when I heard for the first time a clear evaluation of what lies ahead in our struggle with COVID-19. Dr. Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota laid out the following: Until a vaccine is developed, the number of cases will continue to increase and spread until we reach between 60-70 percent of all citizens, at which point we will reach “herd protection.”
The virus cannot be controlled in any meaningful way. What we have to do is learn to live with it as we go about our daily lives. I take this to mean that those who are at higher risk of serious side effects should be taking reasonable precautions while less vulnerable citizens should be going about their daily lives much as they would during the flu season.
I am 78 and will wear a mask in public, do social-distancing, use hand sanitizers and wash my hands regularly. I will not stop socializing with close friends and family and will go to public events on a selected basis.
In retrospect, closing down much of our economy was not necessary in much of the United States. It was necessary for New York City and other large metropolitan areas to close down to blunt the effect on their medical capacity. However, even in those areas draconian measures no longer seem necessary.
I understand the dilemma that governors are facing: Open up the economy and every death from the coronavirus falls at your feet. Keep the state locked down and every bankruptcy and unemployed person becomes your cross to bear.
What I contend is that, short of a vaccine being developed, our only protection is herd protection. Tell our citizens the truth and move forward with opening.
Patrick McLaughlin, Aberdeen
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