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Yesterday, as the country was engulfed in a conflagration of coronavirus, Donald Trump had this to say:
“We have one of the lowest mortality rates anywhere,” the president said before pivoting to an attack on Barack Obama and Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee.
I went to Worldometer to look at how different countries are doing in their fight against COVID-19. In the table showing statistics for each nation, if you click on the header labelled “Deaths/1M population” it will sort the table by deaths per capita, in either ascending or descending order as you please. Deaths per capita — the total mortality rate — is an important clue who is doing best and who is doing worst.
The facts are in. When it comes to COVID-19, New York did it right.
I have friends who are teachers in Maine and New York state, and family who are teachers in Ohio and Georgia. There’s a great deal of uncertainty about the upcoming school year, and lots of concern over COVID-19. One of the crucial aspects of re-opening schools is the current state of the pandemic. Of course it’s only one factor in the school decision, but it is a crucial one. With that in mind, let’s look at these four states and assess how ready (or not) they are to deal with COVID-19.
In my opinion, in order to loosen restrictions, re-open the economy, and/or consider re-opening schools, a state should be in the “green zone” — no more than 40 cases per day per million population. At that level, cases are few enough that contact tracing can work its magic to best effect, stomping out flare-ups before they get out of hand. Contact tracing, and a mandatory mask order, are how you stay in the green zone.
New York is in excellent shape: the green zone.
In my opinion, schools should not re-open unless the case load (the number of new cases per day per million population) is under 40. I call this the “green zone.” At that level, effective contact tracing really works — that, and a mandatory mask order, is how you stay in the green zone.
The latest 7-day average for the state of Georgia (as of July 10) is 279. That’s in what I call the “red zone” (> 250). It means “red alert.”
As the US plunges into an ever deeper coronavirus morass, setting record new infection rates and the death curve begins to rise again, there’s no prospect of the nightmare ending for months.
Delusion dominates an administration that perversely claims the United States is the world leader in beating this modern day plague. There are only contradictions, obfuscations and confusion from the federal officials who ought to be charting a national course.
The massive integrated testing and tracing effort that could highlight and isolate infection epicenters doesn’t exist. Attempts to reopen schools in a few weeks are already descending into farce amid conflicting messages from Washington.
Amid all of this, the coronavirus task force does not hold daily briefings, and when it does, they are an exercise in dodging difficult questions and self-congratulation.
Months into the worst domestic crisis since World War II, there is no sense that a fractured country is pulling together to confront a common enemy. People are still arguing about wearing masks — a tiny infringement of personal freedoms that represents one of the few hopes of easing the contagion. The one federal official who does seem to have answers, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been banished to the podcast circuit by President Donald Trump, who was on Fox News Thursday night boasting about acing a cognitive test as the US hit another daily record of infections — over 60,000 — on a day on which more than 900 new deaths were reported.