In this 15-minute video (24 Apr 2020) Bill Maher interviews Dr. David Katz, a physician helping in an Emergency Department in the Bronx that is treating COVID-19 patients. Dr. Katz went to the Einstein college of medicine and got his degree from the Yale school of Public Health. He is also the founding director of Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and recently wrote in the New York Times about COVID-19.
In the above video, both of these men mock Trump and Fox News, and yet they propose a moderate solution for our country to come out of lockdown now. I quote two liberals proposing an end to the lockdown not because I trust liberals, but so as to give you an argument a forteriori (so much the more) that we should trust anyone with science—conservative or liberal—instead of falling on a sword by making all of humanity doomed in hypothetical fear-based models that have no support in biostatistics (something I studied at Boston College while pre-med.)
If you have never been to my blog (or don’t trust my writing at all) I highly suggest you watch the above 15 minute video with 1.2M views in its first week up. Otherwise, if you trust me, here are the three ways that Dr. Katz says we can come out of coronavirus lockdown:
1) We can live in total lockdown for 18 months until there is a vaccine.
2) We can be on lockdown literally forever (since viruses do not magically disappear.)
3) We can come out of lockdown now in the hopes that 80% of us get coronavirus, all the while protecting the 20% elderly and co-morbid by asking them to continue social-distancing. We 80% who get coronavirus would effect a pan-herd-immunity that would eventually protect the other 20% of the weaker population.
Let’s look at those three possibilities a little closer:
Option #1: We can live in total lockdown for 18 months until there is a vaccine. Dr. Katz has no problem with a vaccine, except that 18 months will take too long. In fact, on Bill Gates’ blog released six days after the above video, Gates writes in the very first paragraph: “One of the questions I get asked the most these days is when the world will be able to go back to the way things were in December before the coronavirus pandemic. My answer is always the same: when we have an almost perfect drug to treat COVID-19, or when almost every person on the planet has been vaccinated against coronavirus.” Gates knows full well that the only way to vaccinate 7,000,000,000 people on the planet would be to do forced vaccinations upon them. Besides the fact that 10% of the population would physically fight this (like me), Dr. Katz (himself in favor of vaccines) admits in the above video that any vaccine is “optimistically 18 months away, but could be much longer.” He and Bill Maher both agree we can not wait that long to open up our country without serious public health dangers and more economic ruin. Thus, we can not wait for a vaccine to open this country. Scratch number one: waiting for a vaccine to open up the USA.
Before getting to number two, let’s consider the fact that Bill Gates also mentioned “an almost perfect drug to treat COVID-19.” The closest thing to this was hydroxychloroquine, but studies on this have been mysteriously halted. The science journal Wired reports, “On March 9, members of a team of infectious disease researchers based at the University of Minnesota…put together a plan [which was] a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial [of] hydroxychloroquine versus a placebo.” After other research companies jumped on-board, odd debates ensued on various methodologies. The FDA finally jumped to say: “While we are unable to offer more specifics on the small number of cases we have reviewed at this time, we will continue to investigate the risks associated with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19.” In other words, the brakes have been put on studying any viable medicines for the virus besides vaccines. I find this very suspicious, but such a rabbit hole is not the point of this blog post.
Option #2: We can be on lockdown literally forever. Dr. Katz shows that most public health risk models surrounding coronavirus today are designed to “flatten the curve.” Essentially “flatten the curve” means that we stay away from each other and therefore stay away from the virus. But Dr. Katz argues this only prevents our immunity today and delays our exposure to COVID-19 until tomorrow. While Katz admits that going full Swedish-model in the beginning could have overwhelmed our US medical system and endangered the lives of the elderly, he is essentially saying we need to open our country now to save the maximum amount of lives, both by epidemiology models (see previous three sentences) and according his public health expertise (risk factors of poverty being the number one determinant of co-morbidity for any pandemic.) In short, a vaccination or full-exposure is the USA’s only way to beat this virus, and we don’t have 18 months to wait for a vaccine. Thus, we must get most of our population exposed now to COVID-19 to gain immunity and beat this virus. Masks and social distancing will not eradicate this virus. At best, they only delay our immunity. We desperately need immunity now if this is actually a “pandemic.” But the notion of lockdown forever—literally forever—is not an option. Scratch number two: Social-distancing and masks will not help our country to beat coronavirus ASAP.
Option #3: We can come out of lockdown now in the hopes that 80% of us get coronavirus, all the while protecting the 20% elderly and co-morbids by asking them to continue social-distancing. We 80% who get coronavirus would effect a pan-herd-immunity that would eventually protect the other 20% of the weaker population. Dr. Katz in the above video says: “High risk people are protected from exposure. Low risk people go out in the world early…We actually kind of want to get this [virus] and get it over with, and be immune because that is the path to the all-clear that doesn’t require us to wait for a vaccine.”
To summarize the above three options, either we can wait 18 months for Fauci/Gates to vaccinate “almost every person on the planet” –or– we can all live isolated from each other until coronavirus peters out (never, since it’s a virus) –or– we can re-open our country now—including our Churches—in the hopes that everyone gets this virus ASAP, except the elderly. But even the elderly will eventually be helped by this. By process of elimination, I show in the above demonstration that the third option of opening the country now is the best path to saving both lives and the economy.
We now need the leaders (including Trump) who will believe the science, not the hype (the hype that I myself fell for in my first blog post on coronavirus here.)