Coronavirus

Health Care Expert Avik Roy on Saving the Economy From COVID-19

"The more we lock down the economy, the more we harm those individuals who are most vulnerable, who don't have the cash cushions or the white-collar jobs that allow them to keep going."

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How do we reopen American society in a way that keeps people safe but also puts them back to work and school?

One of the most realistic and workable plans comes from a team of policy analysts led by Avik Roy, the president of the Austin, Texas-based Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity. Even without widespread testing, a vaccine, or a cure, they argue that we should reopen schools and allow healthy, younger employees to go back to work because COVID-19 kills mostly older people who can be protected without shutting everything down.

Roy tells Nick Gillespie that the "massive expansion of government creates a further drag on the economy" that is mostly invisible to D.C. bureaucrats and commentators. "The more we lock down the economy, the more we harm those individuals who are most vulnerable, who don't have the cash cushions or the white-collar jobs that allow them to keep going," he says, even as he remains hopeful that many regulations that have been suspended during the pandemic will never return.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Photo credit: Bastiaan Slabbers/ZUMA/Newscom

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  1. Where those jobs even needed in the first place? Why don’t they become migrant crop pickers?

  2. “How do we reopen American society in a way that keeps people safe but also puts them back to work and school?”

    Simple really. Rescind all government issued regulations. rules, and edicts that have been issued alleging they will save us, and let people use their God given freedoms. I suspect we will find the more vulnerable will stay home/further away, and the more healthy will also back off a bit. However, people will also return to silly things like getting haircuts and going to the gym; although with a mask and sanitizer.
    No matter what, this is true; some people will get sick and some will not. Some of those who get sick will die, and some will not.
    So we are choosing between freedom and fascism.
    Choose wisely.

  3. There is ample evidence now as to who is at risk, so both individuals and society know who needs to shelter in place.
    And it need not be kids kept out of school, or parents kept from a job that feeds, clothes, and houses those kids.
    Testing is the key, but not as seems to be generally believed. The person with covid does not benefit from the test, your treatment is the same regardless.
    Testing will allow contact tracing to keep the next unsuspecting schmuck from getting infected. Testing needs to surround vulnerable populations, such as nursing home care staff, and families who need to be allowed to visit their relative in nursing homes(and allow those in nursing homes to receive visitors.)
    Testing will allow colleges to re-open, not because the students are vulnerable, but because contact tracing will allow professors (generally older people) to be protected. and maybe put a sneeze guard at the lectern.

  4. “Even without widespread testing, a vaccine, or a cure, they argue that we should reopen schools and allow healthy, younger employees to go back to work because COVID-19 kills mostly older people who can be protected without shutting everything down.”

    “I don’t want to go on the cart!”
    “Oh, don’t be such a baby.”

  5. ‘”The more we lock down the economy, the more we harm those individuals who are most vulnerable, who don’t have the cash cushions or the white-collar jobs that allow them to keep going,”‘

    but WHY are they economically vulnerable and lacking savings?? does it have anything to do with organized labor being hollowed out completely over the past 40 years? shitty gig economy jobs that don’t pay a living wage or offer benefits? endless tax cuts, deregulation, privitization, shredding of the social safety net??????????? hello??!!? jesus

  6. Social distancing works. California got its first non-contact case first, after Trump brought back infected Americans and put them in nearby Travis AFB. We started restricting contact almost immediately in the Bay Area, closing schools and non-essential activities. Much commerce is still going on carefully. Governor Newsom is putting the homeless in vacant hotels, and sending checks to otherwise bereft undocumented adults.
    I am proud of my state and its citizens who immediately did what best for their society without threats of punitive action. We are together in this, and will get through it.

  7. But, when businesses re-open, will they have customers?

    People are not rational about risk. I’m old enough to remember 9/11, and the drop in air travel post-9/11. It was very hard to get people to travel after the attacks, because they were afraid they too would be flown into tall buildings – even though the risk of that happening after 9/11 was obviously less than it was before, and it was always very, very low. It took 3 years for passenger numbers to return to the levels of August 2001, and a lot of that, especially in the months following the attacks, was simple fear.

    Or consider the more recent 737 MAX crashes. Two crashes – separated by five months – led to passengers all over the world being unwilling to fly on the aircraft. The airlines are still projecting that lots of passengers will be unwilling to board one even after the fixes are approved. And yet it will almost certainly be a safer airplane than its 737 NG predecessor, which has an excellent safety record.

    Let’s postulate that the percentage of people who will die after contracting COVID-19 is around 1%, which seems around the midrange of current estimates. That means that every interaction with someone one you don’t know – and some interactions with people you do know – risks contracting an illness with a 1% mortality rate. Is this a risk that people who wouldn’t fly after 9/11 will take? I wouldn’t – and I was quite happy to fly after 9/11 and, more recently, on the MAX.

    I want to dine out again, and go to concerts and ball games again, and go back to work again. But I’d more rather not die. And, as I afford to skip those things, I will until it’s much safer to do those things than it is now. And I suspect most Americans are thinking like that these days.

  8. He has good points in saving the economy. https://affordableseoservice.org

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