The weather is getting warmer and as we slide from the confinement of April, the temptation is only human. We want to be outside and we want to connect. But before we let our collective guard down, please read the post below from Andy Slavitt, the former Obama administration health official who dispenses spot-on advice everyday. This is a compilation of tweets from his Twitter account, posted Saturday.
“Welcome to 30 days of bliss. The type of bliss that often comes from ignorance.
“Many of the politicians in the country believe it would not be possible to keep strict social distancing rules in May. They feel pressure from a small minority to make adjustments— get people haircuts, gather on beaches, go to church in person, visit malls.
“Elon Musk and others want a broader opening. Some of those things done the right way may be safe. Some of them are not. And many people will not just stop being careful just because they can. Many unsafe things are legal. In MN you can ride a motorcycle without a helmet but many people don’t.
“Not that there won’t be any economic opportunity to opening up, but for the economy to really move— we would need people to buy cars, get on planes, and start spending money. That’s just not going to happen but let me get back to that.
“The blissful part of the 30 days is people won’t pay the price for May’s experiment until June. But if people believe we are opening during a time when the curve is flat, they are wrong.
“But first the bliss. If you get infected today, with 5 infectious days without symptoms at minimum— 28 infectious days without symptoms for those who never show them— & without tests or contact tracing, you can infect many people before you know it, if you ever know it.
“if you get sick, and the people you infect get sick, if you get sicker, it’s another week or two before you are hospitalized, then more time before in the ICU and then weeks until people start to die.
“On Memorial Day, we could still be looking at what could appear to be positive data that doesn’t account for this lag. We might even view Memorial Day as an opportunity to celebrate together at beaches & BBQs. I know I would like that.
“And while most people will likely remain cautious, there’s an increasing number of people who think to themselves, if someone dies, it probably won’t be me. I’m healthy & young. A new analysis today shows people dying of COVID-19 do so on average 10 years prematurely.
“We are continually going to be looking at lagging data. Today we are seeing the results of early to mid-April. But if you are hearing our curve has flattened, it’s likely not true. Don’t get me wrong— if you look across the country from April 25 to May 1, new cases have dropped from 34875 to 32379. That sounds flat to down right?
“But that’s misleading. If you’re in NY; the numbers are way down. If you don’t it’s a different story. To see what’s going on, pretend like NY is its own country and look at the rest of the country.
“If you look at the country minus NY, from April 25 to May 1, cases have GROWN from 24322 to 28437. So outside of NY, positive cases are increasing by 17%/week. EVEN IF CASE GROWTH DOESN’T GO UP, that would put us over 50,000 new cases every day outside of NY by Memorial Day.
“This difference isn’t a result of testing. During that time, testing has gone up by 30% in NY vs 12% in the rest of the country. When you take out NY, pay attention to your trends. Below are cases, hospitalizations, and death rates in NY and the rest of the country is not flattening out.
“In fact, if you look at death rates in the top 10 major metro cities, NY is the only one falling. And the top 10 hot spots in the country are rural towns, only 1 in NY.
“COVID-19 hasn’t stopped being infectious just because we’ve socially isolated. Nothing magic happened while we were home.
“Pick a part of the country that hasn’t done social distancing in April. Prisons. The Bureau of Prisons just tested 2000 prisoners & found 70% tested positive. In addition to being ashamed, we should be warned. The virus has gone nowhere. It is waiting us out.
“The Birx White House plan called for declining cases & testing & tracing, but Trump and many governors of both parties don’t want to wait. They don’t want to be the bad guys, don’t want to deliver an uncomfortable message.
“And there are things we can be more relaxed about. Many outdoor activities. Small gatherings with masks. But every time we don’t socially distance without testing & tracing is a risk we are taking. And we take each risk on behalf of our families.
“The benefit of opening up in May would likely be more social than economic. Consumer spending, hiring, opening small businesses, investing in equipment— the things that power our economy— won’t happen just because Trump or governors want them to.
“Governors like Cuomo and Inslee aren’t letting their guards down or planning to anytime soon. They have tasted what this feels like. And they’re not losing popularity because they keep the public with them.
“The point here isn’t that May will be bad. That’s up to us not our politicians. The point is we won’t really know until June. “