How To Save the Economy From COVID-19

Health care expert Avik Roy says that even without widespread testing, it's time to reopen schools and allow healthy, younger employees to go back to work.


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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 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. 

Edited by John Osterhoudt

Photo Credit: Pool/TNS/Newscom; Joe Burbank/TNS/Newscom; Richard B. Levine/Newscom; Alcir N. da Silva/Polaris/Newscom; Samuel Rigelhaupt / Sipa USA/Newscom; Jason Ryan/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Dominik Bindl/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Lannis Waters/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Maria Khrenova/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Karen Focht/ZUMA Press/Newscom 

NEXT: Will New York Ever Recover From COVID-19?

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  1. Please end the shut down! I’m getting severe cabin fever and the voices in my head are telling me to sacrifice my son to God. I don’t even have a son!

    1. Dear Abraham … sorry, Harvey,

      You touch upon one of the ancillary, damaging consequences of the self-destructive policies by power-hungry, panic-stricken politicians and self-serving bureaucrats in response to COVID-19. The USA suffer from two plagues … one viral, the other governmental. The latter is the more threatening.

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    2. Nope, we need to do this until people stop dying! This is actually what someone I know said of Facebook. As thick as a brick as Jethro Tull sang.

  2. //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 mostly older people who can be protected without shutting everything down.//


    Many people, including many commenters here, have been saying exactly this for quite some time now.

    While we should always strive to obtain more data, the absence of complete data in the interim should not be seen as a precondition to reopening the economy. Even with the limited data we did have a month ago, it was evident that the virus was nowhere near as deadly as it was being portrayed. We did not have to shut down the economy in the first place.

    At the end of the day, we were hoodwinked. On the bright side, it finally seems like the authoritarians are losing control of the narrative. For that, I suppose, we can be thankful, which should not be taken to mean that we do not hold the policymakers to account for their irrational hysteria.

    1. While we should always strive to obtain more data

      Look at that! The flip flopper himself. You and Romney should go hang out.

      1. There is nothing inconsistent about my position. I always opposed widespread testing (or, “testing everyone”) both as wildly impractical and as a precondition to re-opening the economy, whereas many writers and commenters here insisted doggedly for the past month that it was strictly necessary to prevent a wave of mass death.

        They were wrong.

    2. We were more than hoodwinked, we were the victims of the greatest criminal fraud ever perpetrated upon the world by the Global Medical-Pharmaceutical-Govt. Complex & all its tentacles, such as the Bill Gates of Hell!!!….Things will never be the same again!

      1. You forgot George Soros. Step up your troll game, please. You’re not the only one that wants to play.

  3. Charlie Baker is one of the few sensible and smart governors here in the United States who’s doing the safest thing. It’s painful, but sometimes, that’s how it has to be sometimes.

    1. “I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn’t wanna do it but felt I owed it to them” – Judge Smails

  4. Step one: rescind all laws, rules, requirements, suggestions, nudges, and totalitarian dictates promulgated by any level of government.
    Step two: politely ask people to continue to practice good hygiene and anti-social distancing.
    Step three: explicitly tell every cop in the nation to leave people the hell alone if they happen to drift within five feet eleven inches of each other; especially those who sleep together.
    Step four: adjourn the federal legislature for six weeks.
    Step five: shut down social media for the same six weeks to prevent the spread of idiocy.
    Done; all better now.

    1. > shut down social media
      It is might right as an American to be an idiot and do so publicly.

      1. You’re not free if you’re not free to be wrong.

  5. Is there any consensus yet on how communicable the ChiComVirus is or how lethal it is if you get it? In my township of 11,000 people, there are only 13 cases BUT 3 of them have died. (No news yet on the ages or pre-existing conditions of those who died.)

    1. LOL!!! It’s a darn deep chest cold & the numbers & figures & death certificates have been manipulated to make it seem like the Spanish Flu or Bubonic Plague!…STOP WORRYING!!!

    2. Only 13 cases who sought treatment. The other 10,987 of you already had it but just walked it off.

      1. They were permitted to walk it off and infect literally millions of other people?? I’ve seen some serious lapses of judgment in my day, but never anything even remotely close to this type of mass murder. Despicable.

        1. Infecting millions in a township of 11,000 is pretty impressive

          1. This is an interdimensional virus. Me walking in NYC is going to kill someone in Seattle.

  6. good for Avik. did they burn his twitter account to the ground yet?

    >>”massive expansion of government creates a further drag on the economy” that is mostly invisible to D.C. bureaucrats and commentators

    the bureaucrats and commentators gain from the drag.

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

    First, define “keeps people safe”.

    1. First, define “keeps people safe”.

      Let’s see: “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. Nothing about safety. There is the part about promote the general Welfare, which sounds like doing the best thing for the most people, and the part about securing the blessings of liberty, both of which are violated by general ‘stay-at-home’ orders.

      ‘Quarantine powers’ are supposed to be applied only to the sick, not those who are well.

  8. Dr. Won Hung Lo Beaksnoot
    Board Certified Infectious Disease
    Specialist, Expert Meat Cutter
    and Auto Mechanic


    Q: Doctor, I’ve heard that you are an expert on the Smith-Corona virus. Is that true?
    A: Oh, yes. During my lifetime I have repaired 17,457,283 cases of Smith-Corona virus.
    Q: What was your success rate?
    A: What a dumb question. They all died.
    Q: Is it possible to get the Smith-Corona disease and live?
    A: I think so, but it would be rare.
    Q: What is the best way to protect yourself so that you won’t get it?
    A: Are you stupid? You can’t get away from it.
    Q: Well, how come you didn’t get it?
    A: I locked myself in my closet for 23 days. By that time the virus decided to go elsewhere.
    Q: Why did you come out after 23 days?
    A: You aren’t thinking. The smell. The smell.
    Q: What does the Smith-Corona virus do to you?
    A: You really are stupid! It turns you into a typewriter!
    Q: Is it possible to survive the last stage of the disease?
    A: Only if no one hits your carriage return.

  9. “Healthcare expert”
    And we’re done here

  10. This static perspective of the economy is nonsense. That economy is dead and gone, and every intervention to “save” it is both futile and damaging to the real and dynamic economy. That what appears worse is really better is a tough sell to the economically illiterate and to statists whose interests built that dead and gone economy, but the inescapable fact is that creative destruction requires destruction to create.

  11. Fuck Covid19. How do we save the economy from the government? This is not a natural disaster.

    1. Thank you!!!

      It chafes my ass thst every writer in America puts it like that.

    2. The people pulling for the lockdowns are generally people who are fine with eating ketchup sandwiches and so should you.

  12. thank you, Sir, for sharing this informative content

  13. This squib doesn’t do justice to the more careful analysis Roy & colleagues offer. They note the need for “the proper precautions, and the deployment of tools like contact tracing, self-quarantines, and telemedicine”. Returns to school would be restricted for students living with vulnerable adults – we all know what an efficient means schools are for the spread of germs. We would continue to restrict large gatherings such as sporting events and festivals. And this is all caveated by placing it in the context of failure to develop good tests and vaccines.

    Yes, we need to develop a range of plans for re-opening to meet different contingencies. No, we don’t just overturn the public health restrictions willy-nilly. “Your freedom ends where my nose begins”; with the virus and a chain of transmission from A to B to C to D, my nose is threatened by actions at a substantial distance.

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