By Doug Badger & Grace-Marie Turner – June 11, 2020 – RealClearHealth |
States like New York and New Jersey with the strictest lockdown policies are relaxing some restrictions, but they must accelerate their reopenings and focus on targeting resources to hotspots and to protecting the most vulnerable.
Months of confinement have taken an enormous toll in physical and mental health deterioration, loss of education, and joblessness, with more than 43 million unemployment claims filed since the pandemic began. Former White House chief economist Casey Mulligan estimated the cost of the shutdowns to be nearly $11,000 per household—even before the demonstrations.
States can help release the pressure valve on society by allowing businesses to rebuild and reopen so people can get back to work and patients can once again get medical care from struggling doctors and hospitals.
The evidence now allows these officials to make much more informed decisions about protecting their citizens: Protect those at most risk from the disease—the elderly—especially those in congregate settings—nursing homes—and in the 1% of counties with most of the infections and deaths.
Half of all counties in the U.S. didn’t have a single death from the virus as of mid-May, and nearly two-thirds had only one, according to a paper by co-author Doug Badger and Norbert Michel of Heritage. More than 53% of COVID-19 deaths are concentrated in just 30 of the more than 3,000 counties in the U.S.
A separate analysis shows deaths are concentrated in nursing home facilities that house just 0.62% of the population.
We know where the problem is and where officials should be concentrating their efforts.
Locking people in their homes didn’t help anyway. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported that 66% of COVID-19 patients admitted to 100 hospitals were people who had sheltered at home. “Shocking,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Florida got it right by taking a smarter, more targeted approach…