Covid is burning through the South. And the most, right now, that progressives are pushing for is to increase vaccinations and a mask mandate.
That is too little, too late.
When New York imposed it’s shutdown, on March 20, there were 3254 new positive test cases. With a positivity of about 24%. That is, almost certainly an undercount due to undertesting, Trump’s CDC was forcing a bottleneck in testing that hampered any understanding of what was happening.
So things stopped. Completely.
Numbers continued to climb, steeply, for another two weeks. You would expect that, because of the lag between transmission, testing, results, etc.
But then, April 4, things turned around. Numbers began to drop, even as testing continued to very slowly climb, catching a larger proportion of cases. As fast as they had been rising.
Right now, many states in the US have numbers far worse than New York had then.
And vaccines won’t get us out of this. Vaccines are slow. It takes a month for official “full immunity.” And it is clear that that does not mean, with Delta, what it meant at the beginning of this year. Even a shot in everyone’s arm today would take so long to have an effect that there would be tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of deaths that could be prevented by effectively using all of the tools in the public health toolbox.
Right now, public health officials and progressives cannot afford to be timid in demanding effective public health measures. That means using every tool we have, not just the convenient ones.
The only thing that will quickly turn around the bloodbath that is happening is a full shutdown. Break the transmission chains at every possible place.
There would still be at least another two weeks of climbing numbers. But in two or three months, things might be under control enough to contemplate a very gradual lifting of restrictions, if vaccinations continue to increase and be effective.
A shutdown can be alarming. But it also can, if presented properly, be empowering. Everyone, working together, can create the circumstances that will bring things under control.
In life, you rarely get all that you ask for. But by only asking for the most timid actions to control this, we aren’t even getting that.
We need to demand that all tools be used to get things back under control. Loudly and consistently.
And, with luck, enough of these tools may be used to save a few lives.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.