The Coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread across the globe with new cases being reported almost hourly. But the good news is that interventions are under way on a large scale in the United States and all other effected countries. Further, there is clear evidence that aggressive interventions actually work. China implemented Draconian measures to interfere with the cycle of the virus and they have clearly been effective. The Chinese government has reported a dramatic reduction in Coronavirus cases. They have also initiated the deactivation and dismantling of temporary medical facilities erected to deal with the overflow of patients.
Mitigation Efforts In The United States
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have encouraged people to stay home. Doctors have recommended that we avoid participating in large gatherings and limit social contact. As a result, the NBA became the first major sports league to suspend operation. The NHL soon followed. In New York, Broadway shows delayed performances until further notice. Schools across the country have extended the March break by several weeks. Further, to heed the CDC’s recommendation, many State and local school boards have left the door open to extending the closings to eight weeks. New York and other cities have limited the hours restaurants and bars can remain open as well. Local and State governments have also banned large gathering, with a limit of 250 people per event being common. We also expect to see an expansion of these COVID-19 interventions over the next several weeks.
As is usual in our country, we, the people of the United States, have begun to take personal responsibility for our actions too. Neighbors, friends and business associates are greeting each other with elbow taps instead of handshakes. They are washing or disinfecting their hands frequently. People are venturing out only when necessary and seeking medical advice quickly when suspicious symptoms develop.
The Federal Government’s Response to COVID-19
While our Federal Government has been slow to respond, test kits are finally becoming more readily available. State governments have requested and received permission to authorize local labs to develop and administer their own tests as well. The CDC offers frequent status reports and advice as to how to limit the impact of the virus. Also the first tests of a Coronavirus vaccine will start this week.
The most dire predictions as to the impact of the virus have assumed that no intervention will take place. But clearly governments, the business community and the people of our great country, are participating in a massive intervention effort. Therefore, the worst may not come to pass. However, we must continue to be vigilant, act responsibly and pray that we will succeed in mitigating the dire effects described in the most negative prognostications.