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President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Michael Osterholm believe shutting and closing down businesses while paying the people for their lost wages for four to six weeks would help contain the Covid-19 pandemic. This approach will build back the economy in the process just until the right vaccine is approved and distributed and circulated.
Dr. Michael Osterholm is the director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He stated earlier this week that the country is headed down to “COVID hell.”
The number of people infected by the virus is rising while more people are getting tired of wearing their masks and following social distancing protocols. It is said that this behavior is called “pandemic fatigue.” The cold weather is also forcing people to stay indoors, where the coronavirus can spread more quickly.
Issuing a lockdown of four to six weeks would help bring down the number of new cases and hospitalizations to a manageable and workable level while the whole world waits for a vaccine.
“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that. If we did that, then we could lockdown for four to six weeks.”Dr. Michael Osterholm
The doctor cited an op-ed he wrote in August with Neel Kashkari, Minneapolis Federal Reserve president. That said, the two argued for more restrictive, strict, and uniform lockdowns across the United States.
They shared with the New York Times that “the problem with the March to May lockdown was that it was not uniformly stringent across the country. For example, Minnesota deemed 78% of its workers essential. To be effective, the lockdown has to be as comprehensive and strict as possible.”
Osterholm shared that this type of lockdown they are suggesting will help the United States get the virus under control just “as they did in New Zealand and Australia.”
Most epidemiologists continually used New Zealand, Australia, and some parts of Asia as examples of how to bring down the daily number of new cases to at least under ten patients to contain the virus.
Currently, the United States’ trajectory and approach are going toward dark days, even before a vaccine becomes available.
Also, the country’s healthcare systems are already overwhelmed and overpowered, such as places in El Paso, Texas, where officials have closed down businesses while the federal government is sending out resources to handle a rise in Covid-19 deaths.