NYT Columnist: “A Plan to Get America Back to Work”

NYT Columnist: “A Plan to Get America Back to Work”

As U.S. Congress works on a nearly $2 trillion dollar relief package, NYT opinion columnist, Thomas L. Friedman asks the question many are thinking: “What the hell are we doing to ourselves? To our economy? To our next generation?” With rising unemployment numbers, Friedman says now is the time to “think afresh about the coronavirus challenge. In drawing from health experts around the country, Friedman suggests in his March 22 NY Times piece entitled, “A Plan to Get America Back to Work,” that those least vulnerable to the coronavirus must return to work while those most vulnerable must isolate.

The Reality of a Low Fatality Rate

Friedman says that one reason those least vulnerable should return to work is because the coronavirus’s fatality rate is actually low, less than 1 percent. Friedman cites Dr. John P.A. Ioannidis, co-director of Stanford’s Met-Research Innovation Center, who found that ““A look at some of the best available evidence today, though, indicates it [fatality rate] may be 1 percent and could even be lower.” For Dr. Ioannidis, this means that ““Locking down the world with potentially tremendous social and financial consequences may be totally irrational.”

Current Solutions May be Worse than the Cure

Friedman also states that those least vulnerable should return to work because the current solutions, which do not differentiate for region and vulnerability predictions, cause problems far worse than the spread of the virus (recall low fatality rates). Friedman cites Dr. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, who says: “Society’s response to Covid-19, such as closing businesses and locking down communities, may be necessary to curb the community spread but could harm health in other ways, costing lives. Imagine a patient with chest pain or developing a stroke, where speed is essential to save lives, hesitating to call 911 for fear of catching the coronavirus.” Woolf also points out, “Lost wages and job layoffs are leaving many workers without health insurance and forcing many families to forgo health care and medications to pay for food, housing, and other basic needs.”

A Common Sense Answer

According to Friedman, the low fatality rate combined with the economic consequences from current solutions, which do not account for economic consequences, point to a common sense solution: those least vulnerable to the coronavirus must return to work while those most vulnerable must isolate.But this is not just Friedman’s opinion: Friedman cites Dr. David L. Katz, the founding director of Yale University’s C.D.C. – funded Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and an expert in public health and preventive medicine, who says, “We need to pivot from the ‘horizontal interdiction’ strategy we’re now deploying – restricting the movement and commerce of the entire population, without consideration of varying risks for severe infection – to a more ‘surgical’ or ‘vertical interdiction’ strategy.” Katz suggests. “The most vulnerable are carefully shielded until the infection has run its course through the rest of us – and the tiny fraction of those of us at low risk who do develop severe infection nonetheless get expert medical care from a system not overwhelmed.”

The full article can be found here.

6 Responses to "NYT Columnist: “A Plan to Get America Back to Work”"

  1. It’s not much of a plan without widescale testing, and we aren’t anywhere close to that yet. If you are asymptomatic, do you still go work at a senior home, or run the register at Wal Mart? How do you know if you are an asymptomatic carrier without being tested? As it stands now, hordes of people *showing symptoms* are unable to get a test.


    If a young person lives with their parents or grandparents, how do they safely protect their older and elderly relatives?

    Also, the person who came up with this plan hasn’t been paying a lot of attention to the realities on the ground; i.e,.

    “Imagine a patient with chest pain or developing a stroke, where speed is essential to save lives, hesitating to call 911 for fear of catching the coronavirus.”

    If that person lives in New York, or New Orleans, or Atlanta, the hospitals are all full of people who have COVID. The beds are all taken. All of the medical workers are exhausted, and many have COVID. So yeah, having a heart attack is going to be a problem no matter what. That is why we should have had a lockdown a long time ago. If you think this is only a big city problem, think again.


    This is a good long term goal, but the messy details seem to have been left for someone else to work out.

  2. The real question is, are they going to print more money three months from now, six months? This thing could be around for well over a year. Did we just fire the last bullet in the chamber? Do we think we have infinite ammo or does it matter what the debt looks like a decade from now? This isn’t meant to be insensitive to people out of work, but just shoring up unemployment could have mostly solved that. Why are they sending any money to families still making over six figures? It’s really true now, both sides like to print money. Our grandchildren are doomed, and ironically, not from the virus.

  3. You can see what the Dem-Socialists truly are at their core from this recent bill: McConnell and R’s try to financially help out-of-work Americans and stalled corporations to help the economy get through this mess.

    But the DS’s, rather than HELP with those goals, instead grab the chance to FORCE their Liberal Wishlist and Green New Deal policies into the bill, skyrocketing the bill’s cost with Leftist garbage that has NOTHING to do with the virus, the economy, or helping out-of-work Americans and their families.

    Remember that in the voting booth. When America’s economy and people were reeling from the virus economic damage, DS’s ignored them and went directly to their own selfish wish list . DS’s turned their backs on America’s plight, taking advantage of a crisis to pass things Americans refuse to vote for.
    DS’s TRUE nature: They care nothing about Americans or their well-being. They care only about seizing power, power, and more power – by whatever means necessary, and no matter how much it damages America.

    1. A lot of common sense in your words Mike. What you say is gonna initiate a massive #walkaway of traditional democratic voters.
      We all know the ones who have somehow rationalized abortion with God and over the years voted straight “D” down the ballot.
      It’s gonna be a little harder for them to rationalize Nancy P’s current disrespect for living breathing fellow Americans at the voting booth this time around.
      Brace yourselves for a huge #walkaway…its gonna manifest itself in a landslide Trump term II victory.

  4. “Current Solutions May be Worse than the Cure” …………………. With the Democrats that we have in Office NOW, Truer Words have never been spoken. They passed a $2 TRILLION Dollar Bill when LESS THAN $1 Trillion would have done it.

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