Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, May 17, 2020

Alex Tabarrok and Puja Ahluwalia Ohlhaver: The economy consists of people who have hopes and fears. As long as they are afraid of a lethal virus, they will avoid restaurants, travel and workplaces. The only way to restore the economy is to earn the confidence of both vulnerable industries and vulnerable people through testing, contact tracing and isolation.



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There is already a bipartisan plan to achieve this; we helped write it. The plan relies on frequent testing followed by tracing the contacts of people who test positive (and their contacts) until no new positive cases are found. It also encourages voluntary isolation, at home or in hotel rooms, to prevent further disease spread. Isolated patients would receive a federal stipend, like jurors, to discourage them from returning to workplaces too soon.

But our plan also recognizes that rural towns in Montana should not necessarily have to shut down the way New York City has. To pull off this balancing act, the country should be divided into red, yellow and green zones. The goal is to be a green zone, where fewer than one resident per 36,000 is infected. Here, large gatherings are allowed, and masks aren't required for those who don't interact with the elderly or other vulnerable populations. Green zones require a minimum of one test per day for every 10,000 people and a five-person contact tracing team for every 100,000 people. (These are the levels currently maintained in South Korea, which has suppressed covid-19.) Two weeks ago, a modest 1,900 tests a day could have kept 19 million Americans safely in green zones. Today, there are no green zones in the United States.

Most Americans " about 298 million " live in yellow zones, where disease prevalence is between .002 percent and 1 percent. But even in yellow zones, the economy could safely reopen with aggressive testing and tracing, coupled with safety measures including mandatory masks. ... (Y)ellow zones would require 2,500 tests for every daily death. To contain spread, yellow zones also would ramp up contact tracing until a team is available for every new daily coronavirus case. After one tracer conducts an interview, the team would spend 12 hours identifying all those at risk. Speed matters, because the virus spreads quickly; three days is useless for tracing. (Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., are all yellow zones.)

A disease prevalence greater than 1 percent defines red zones. Today, 30 million Americans live in such hot spots " which include Detroit, New Jersey, New Orleans and New York City. In addition to the yellow-zone interventions, these places require stay-at-home orders. But by strictly following guidelines for testing and tracing, red zones could turn yellow within four weeks, moving steadfastly from lockdown to liberty.

Getting to green nationwide is possible by the end of the summer, but it requires ramping up testing radically.

Gee, it's too bad we don't have leadership in America that would actually follow the scientific recommendations already proven effective in other nations to stop the spread of coronavirus. Instead, we've got a President who says "Open for business - vaccine or no" tacitly condemning thousands upon thousands of American citizens to be needlessly ravaged by disease for the sake of their own financial survival, damn whether or not they themselves manage to survive its onslaught throughout our society.

Sans vaccine, the above is the already-proven way to defeat CV without sacrificing the economy. Until we implement such protocols America will simply keep having flare ups of disease that will devastate localities across the land for no good reason at all.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-05-16 06:21 PM | Reply

We Could Stop CV Pandemic By July 4th By Taking These Steps

Lets do it.

Vegas needs to be open by July 12th not only do I really really really need that vacation but it's already paid for and my trip insurance doesn't cover pandemics (mf'ers).

#2 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2020-05-16 07:07 PM | Reply

"A pandemic is expected to last 18 months or longer and could include multiple waves of illness."

To which I would add, including Tao's illness, if his immunicompromised ass goes to Vegas like a fool.

No offense Tao! You're a big boy now and you get to make your own decisions, and live or die with the consequences.

#3 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-05-16 08:07 PM | Reply

Live and let die! Or rather,Spend and let die!

#4 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2020-05-16 08:15 PM | Reply

There's no way Trump is going to spend $74 billion dollars and not shuffle most of it to his corrupt business cronies.

That's why this plan can't work.

We don't have a leader than can make it work.

#5 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-05-16 08:21 PM | Reply

"A $74 billion investment in testing, tracing and isolation could rescue the economy " quickly."

No one could have predicted.... oh, wait....

"The Infectious Diseases Society of America and its HIV Medicine Association welcome provisions in H.R.6800 that include support for:

Public health infrastructure and testing capacity

With $75 billion in grants to state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments to support testing, contact tracing, and isolation or quarantine;

By requiring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to coordinate with states and public health jurisdictions to establish a coordinated, evidence-based testing system, creating a national reporting of testing capacity, and mandating transparency in state testing plans and availability."

Who knew Jared was a House Dem?

#6 | Posted by Corky at 2020-05-16 08:38 PM | Reply

Can you imagine if there had been a plan in place by mid-February to implement the easily explained and simply-understood "stoplight" concept of pandemic response based upon the protocols outlined above?

The government could have prepared Americans for what inevitably came since a viral spread is never fully predictable. And we could have done it without dividing people by pitting science and math against economic need as though the two can't coexist as they have been doing forever.


Stop, take sensible caution, and go. Test, and immediately respond to positives. Contact trace, isolate, and quarantine.

#7 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-05-16 09:08 PM | Reply

There's seems to be an assumption that the Trump Administration is interested in saving America lives.

That couldn't be further from the truth.

#8 | Posted by ClownShack at 2020-05-16 09:19 PM | Reply


True, maybe the free market should step in. BOA is already selling COVID bonds.. The market cap of the S&P 500 is like 24 trillion so 74 billion is what .3%.

Seems like if the government won't do it they should. The long term gain is certainly worth it.

#9 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2020-05-16 10:05 PM | Reply

So US GDP was 21 trillion in 2019 so 74 billion represents 36 hours of GDP.

How much has the economy lost so far? God we are stupid.

#10 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2020-05-17 10:27 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

God we Trump and those cowed by his ignorance are stupid.

Instead they'd rather cling to the false dichotomy that public safety must be sacrificed for economic activity. Both can and must be accomplished or citizens will needlessly suffer this infection and many of us will die that don't need to.

The answers have been obvious since February, all the US needed to do was follow the lead of other nations like South Korea and New Zealand.

Instead we've got Trump - more worried about his "numbers" than he is about the human lives and stories those numbers represent.

And here we are.

#11 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-05-17 10:42 AM | Reply

Now Trump says we should just open everything up without people wearing masks at events with tens of thousands of people, golf tournaments, etc etc.

You know damned well he just wants two things:

1. Get his golf courses and hotels at 100% operating capacity
2. Pretend that the economy is back to help his reelection

#12 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2020-05-17 08:47 PM | Reply

Until a vaccine that is safe and effective actually exists, NO ONE IS IMMUNE. HERD IMMUNITY IS COMPLETELY UNPROVEN. Make no mistake, Trump and his donor class minions approve of who COVID-19 is killing and until it slaughters some of their own, the arrogant stupidity in the White House will reign.

#13 | Posted by getoffmedz at 2020-05-18 09:15 AM | Reply

If we had a leader instead of a conman this could be done.

#14 | Posted by aborted_monson at 2020-05-18 09:35 AM | Reply

We need to be honest with ourselves. No matter what Trump does, no matter how many people die due to his decisions, his supporters will still support him because, in their minds, they are owning the libs. The only remedy is huge voter turnout in November, we need to start building an army of committed voters. Trump wants us to be warriors, ok let's show him what real warriors do in the face of a lying, cheating, stealing, traitorous, bully. We need an overwhelming majority to effectively destroy the Republican Party. Moscow Mitch is the face we should see whenever we think about Republicans.

#15 | Posted by danni at 2020-05-18 10:18 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Other posters and I have been writing this since this emergency began. This was the Obama administration pandemic playbook. This is how Germany, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan all got a handle on the virus and were able to begin to open their economies. This is how they are staying ahead of the virus. The task is now far more herculean because of Dotard's dithering and the virus has spread to all corners of the country but if Diaper Donnie really wanted to open the economy with confidence rather than just making happy talk while he sentences working class people to death, this is what he would do.

#16 | Posted by _Gunslinger_ at 2020-05-18 11:36 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

nothing will get done...

GOP lacks the will and doesn't care...
Trump doesn't care and never did...
The young of today (at least the majority)
don't care about those older than themselves
(other than mom & dad) because they still pay
the bills...
Any Independent to Republican on the political
dial, couldn't be inconvenienced about having
to hunker down for a few months...
And lastly, many Americans (like 50% +) have
low paying jobs, no nest egg, no retirement to
speak of, and cannot afford to miss more time...
(how's that GIG Economy working out for ya's?)

In short, America no longer cares for the poor,
the elderly, the disadvantaged...

#17 | Posted by earthmuse at 2020-05-18 02:48 PM | Reply

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