Effects of US lockdowns v. lifting them

A University of Pennsylvania Wharton School model isn’t encouraging.

Its analysis is world’s apart from what the Trump regime suggests.

Wharton warned that if US lockdowns are lifted nationwide, businesses reopen, and pre-COVID-19 activities resume, eight million cases and 350,000 deaths could occur by end of June—what it called a worst-case scenario.

If partial reopenings occur, the Wharton model estimates around 3.2 million cases by June 30, 2.2 million if lockdowns and social distancing continue.

Through Saturday, the US had 1,334,000 reported COVID-19 cases and over 79,000 deaths nationwide.

Economically, Wharton estimates an 11.6% decline in US GDP through June if lockdowns continue, a 10.7 drop if they’re partially lifted, a 10.1% decline if full reopenings occur nationwide.

Because of Trump regime indifference toward public health, little aid provided to states, inadequate testing, and reports of false diagnoses, it’s unclear how widespread COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths are at this time.

They may be much higher or lower than official numbers, making it hard to assess the true severity of the problem, let alone to what extent it may be long-lasting.

Wharton Professor Kent Smetters warned that if states fully reopen, a worst-case scenario would be likely, “using currently available models.”

The Wharton model predicts around 160,000 US deaths through June if partial reopenings and social distancing continue.

Its best case scenario estimates around 115,000 US deaths by June 30.

It’s clear that the SARS CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus that produces COVID-19 disease is highly contagious.

It disproportionately affects the elderly, obese, and individuals with weakened immune systems.

The Mayo Clinic believes continued social distancing may “become inevitable”—at least during cold weather months because “many respiratory viruses circulat[e]” in winter, notably seasonal flu/influenza.

Contact tracing is more complex, near-impossible if lockdowns end and people resume normal public activities.

According to findings of a study just published in Infection, Genetics and Evolution, scientists discovered around 200 SARS-CoV-2 mutations—meaning a combination of drug therapies may be needed to treat infected patients.

Co-study author Professor Francois Balloux said the following: “So far we cannot say whether SARS-CoV-2 is becoming more or less lethal and contagious” because of its numerous mutations.

“A major challenge to defeat viruses is that (treatments developed) might no longer be effective if the virus has mutated.”

“If we focus our efforts on parts of the virus that are less likely to mutate, we have a better chance of developing drugs that will be effective in the long run.”

Economic collapse is far more devastating to the vast majority of Americans and others abroad than spreading COVID-19 infections.

The effects of the former will be long-lasting. Hundreds of thousands of shut down small business may never reopen, millions of jobs permanently lost.

Many states and cities furloughed large numbers of public employees because of lost income and sales tax revenues that won’t be recouped for some time, maybe years.

Around half of US household members are either unemployed or working fewer hours for poverty wages and few or no benefits.

World’s richest America is a nation of countless millions of food insecure people nationwide, tens of millions without health insurance.

Current dire economic conditions way exceed the worst of Great Depression years for most ordinary Americans at a time when the nation’s ruling authorities and majority of lawmakers are indifferent toward public health and welfare.

The America I grew up in long ago no longer exists.

It’s the wrong time to be young and/or poor and disadvantaged in the United States of I Don’t Care!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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