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COVID Update May 6: Like many countries we picked a strategy to beat COVID-19. We just decided not to stick to it. 1/
“It’s a long and difficult road & after we climbed halfway we decided it was too hard and decided to roll back down the Hill.” 2/
#StayHome was a first step to flatten the curve. We reduced the infection rate likely from a number between 2 and 3 to closer to 1.

Given exponential math & limited supplies & resources, this likely saved 10s if not 100s of thousands of lives. 3/
But we only flattened the curve, we didn’t crush it. (And the virus is still there.) And we only flattened on average. In most places, the virus is still growing. Medium summarizes my tweets each night & I put this down a couple days ago. 4/ Text from medium about non-NY growth in cases
A new kind of lazy thinking has made its way into the intellectual and kind-of anti-intellectual dialogue. (I’ve had 4 different news anchors ask me to respond to how @ChrisChristie thinks we should approach pandemic response.)5/
That thinking boils down to: it’s too hard. We’ve got to open up the economy because it’s too hard to get enough testing & contact tracing to make people feel safe.6/
They want a start a food fight of hardened realists who can tolerate death to “get our country back” & the “public health mafia” who are willing to kill the economy for the sake of a few people who will die soon anyway.7/
And if those people say that number is going to be big, they’re just alarmists. 8/
There are is a major fallacy here. There is no plan by Chris Christie or otherwise to bring the economy back without addressing our public health crisis. 9/
The reason is he can’t. Without a credible plan to address the public health crisis, tell me how consumers start buying cars, small businesses sign leases & employers start hiring?

They don’t say. They just complain about the “other” position.10/
This may build into a big food fight to preoccupy & entertain us with something besides dealing with the actual virus. But I don’t need to be invited to debate opportunities on the topic.11/
There is, however, a plan to slowly steadily bring the economy back, but by solving the public health crisis. It was put forward by...the Trump White House all of 3 weeks ago. It had gates & stages & hinged conditions on the ground. But none of them have been met. 12/
Rather than wait, Trump grew impatient. He wants life to go back to the way it was before the pandemic. He wants the economy growing.

I don’t know how to explain it to him but let me try.13/
All this takes work.

He says he disbanded the Task Force midstream because at some point we have to go back to normal. Before the job is done. 15/
Trump acts like keeping Americans safe is a bridge too far. 16/
This is not easy. But it’s not impossible either. Other countries are managing keep people safe & open their economies. (If you think this is because of country size or testing see the 2 tweets that follow)17/
Let’s take a look.

*Hong Kong— oh, but they’re an island. Yes. So is Manhattan. Contagion on a dense island can be a disaster.
*New Zealand— oh, but they’re remote. Well they had a color coded warning system like we announced. But they stuck with it.18/
*Korea— oh but they’re too authoritarian. Actually no. Everything was opt-in/optional.
*Germany— yeah, but she’s a scientist. And where did they get all those tests.
*Greece— we could never show that discipline!
*Czech Republic— but they have to wear these arcane masks!19/
Point is— this can be done. Not perfectly. Not without loss of life. Not with a perfect economy but with testing & tracing & masks, it’s a strategy if you can stick to it. 20/
In case you think I haven’t gone into the details of the strategy:
-masks… 21/
We had a strategy. Trump gave it a few weeks & then decided “liberate!”

Basically, he’s a quitter.22/
Not that the Task Force was a font of straight talk.

But he doesn’t need a task force to hawk fake cures. If anything he’ll have more latitude.

What we will have is even less accountability. And less coordination. And even less visibility. 23/
His strategy will be now to talk about rushing a vaccine by September instead. I am all for that.

But maybe hit a layup or two before you tell me how you’re going to sink a shot from half court. 24/
One thing is clear. Our government has a higher tolerance for unnecessary deaths than other countries. School shootings, shootings in church, at concerts, in night clubs. People in nursing homes. Meat plants. Prisons. 25/
As @davidfrum told me, it’s impossible to get an A in managing a pandemic. There are no silver bullets. But it’s really not hard to get a B.

Listen to experts. Create a plan. Show empathy. Stick with it. It’s the best you can be expected to do. 26/
Our expectations are simple.

The truth, no matter how hard.
To know that our safety matters.
A plan which uses all our tools & best thinking that we stick with.
Candor in discussing the tough trade offs.

We’re not getting that. /end
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