Let’s get back to work!

Let’s get back to work!

The CDC’s weekly report, the MMWR, published on 4/17/20 reported  that only 2.5% of ages 18-49 were hospitalized for COVID-19. Arguments have been made that the morbidity risk of the young and healthy is so low that they should be able to return to work. Return to work and they will voluntarily isolate themselves from those at risk. Further arguments have been made that those who live in sparsely populated states, where social isolation is the norm, should also be allowed to go back to work.

Reasonable arguments, but is that how things are progressing in real time? Well, let’s take a look, shall we?

New York City has a population density of 10,194/km2. Sioux Falls, SD has a population density of 814/km2.  NYC has 13 times the population density of Sioux Falls, yet NYC’s COVID-19 rate of infection is declining while Sioux Falls is the nation’s leading hot spot for coronavirus.  We know that NYC implemented social distancing practices in early March. Sioux Falls has none, other than closing schools mid-March.

Let’s just suppose… Suppose you are a first generation immigrant family who immigrated to Sioux Falls, SD to find work in the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant. You are living the American dream by sending your first born to college. An opportunity never afforded you growing up in El Salvador. Your first born just enjoyed Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He then came home for a few days to spend time with the family before returning to school… I think you all know the rest of the story. Voilà, Sioux Falls is now the nation’s hot spot for coronavirus.

With relaxing coronavirus restrictions the IHME now estimates 134,475 projected deaths by August.  This is a significant change from the 60,308 deaths projected two weeks ago when social distancing measures were in place.

Models will continue to fluctuate, contingent on how government manages the pandemic. The thing unlikely to change is the recommendations of the CDC to continue with social distancing.