Michigan doctor PalMD has a heart-felt plea for residents of his state–one that, unfortunately, applies to too many states (boldface mine):
We have a pretty good idea what is driving this surge: bars, restaurants, schools, and other social gatherings. Which means solutions aren’t complicated.
- Cancel all extracurricular and athletic activities — ALL of them. We can’t count on testing and on careful behavior. We’ve failed.
- Redouble efforts to keep schools free of covid, including enforcing masking. Enforce distancing by keeping kids from gathering in public areas/cafeterias.
- Get vaccinations into the schools. Kids 16 and up qualify for one of the available shots. Set up mobile public health vaccination units and get the kids while they’re at school. Now, not tomorrow, not next week. Divert vaccine resources to schools.
- Stop asking people to voluntarily do the impossible. Close restaurants and bars to in-person service. Close gyms and hair salons. These businesses will need immediate assistance, so be prepared to call and write your representatives to tell them to help support business owners during any shut down. Given that this isn’t actually likely, don’t go to these places and tell your friends and family not to. Be firm and loving, but tell them to stop. This isn’t a game.
- Get your shot, if you can, as quickly as possible.
- Stop behaving foolishly and tell the people you know to be careful. IF YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE IN QUARANTINE OR ISOLATION, DO IT. If you’ve been diagnosed with covid or exposed to it, you should be staying home for at least 10 days. That doesn’t mean go to your condo in Florida, or go see friends outside. It means stay home and away from others.
This is going to piss off a lot of people, and a lot of this probably won’t get done, but people need to understand that when they go to a bar or restaurant now, they are helping spread the virus and they are actually contributing to making other people sick, or worse.
We can make very good arguments that vaccinated people can go out, but how would that work? Do we stamp their foreheads? And when numbers are this high, even vaccinated people are at risk of getting covid, as we’ve discussed before.
One of the surreal and horrifying things about the response in the U.S. is the extent to which many governments–and not just the really ‘bad’ ones–gave up trying to stop the spread of the virus. That left it to individual people, and preventing the spread of infectious disease requires coordinated effort.
I hope people listen to PalMD, but we needed more. This is why I keep saying that most elected officials should not be re-elected.