End the coronavirus lockdown for those who’ve recovered
President Trump is growing so worried about the economic impact of covid-19 that he’s talking about drastic action, including ending the lockdown in states that haven’t seen lots of infections. He’s right to be worried and right to be looking for dramatic solutions. He may even be well-served in this case by his skepticism about giving government public health experts the last word on fateful economic decisions, for reasons I’ll discuss. But ending the lockdown in states with low infection numbers is the wrong answer when we haven’t tested widely; many of these states almost certainly have an underground contagion that will explode as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
There are, however, responsible alternatives that might address the underlying concern.Instead of easing the lockdown state by state, we could do it person by person. Specifically, we could end the lockdown for people who have already recovered from COVID-19. These people offer something we badly need right now: A workforce that probably can’t get infected and probably can’t infect others. I say probably because there is plenty we don’t know. But there is reason to believe that people who recover from the coronavirus pose much less risk of infecting others and face less risk of being reinfected themselves. There’s still much uncertainty on both counts, but that’s the way to bet.
Which means that recovered coronavirus patients could be a vital resource for public health and for the economy. They can work directly with people still fighting for their lives in hosp
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