COVID Update August 5: We are at a place where virtually every death from here is preventable.

Improvement is ahead. But our slow fits & starts must be accelerated. 1/
Why do I see our response improving:
1- science will make the virus less deadly & harder to spread
2- one of our missing ingredients— rapid mass testing— will be here soon
3- we frankly have nowhere to go but up. It will be hard to suck at this repeatedly.
Other countries have gotten this “you actually don’t have to spread the virus” thing better than us.

4x more seriously at a minimum.
Let me be clear. This means we would only have 25% of the deaths now if we had done as well as Germany.

That’s 120,000 preventable deaths. @VincentRK at Mayo thinks that’s accurate, if not higher. 4/
120,000 preventable deaths plus almost all the deaths from here could have been prevented.

Neither an “it ain’t what it is” nor an “it is what it is” posture will get us there. We just need to act on the challenge. 5/
I was struck like I’m sure you were by the sad and horrible news from Beirut. Government neglect responsible for at least 100 deaths.

A sad visceral event that left families shattered and needing a government investigation. 6/
We’ve had the equivalent of one of these explosions every single day for the equivalent of 4 years. Negligence and all.

Our losses from COVID are less dramatic but not less sad, most not less unnecessary, and also not how we want to lose our loved ones.7/
But we have made our losses are invisible.

No cameras in the hospital.
No funerals.
No flags at half staff.

Seldom names spoken. Part of a counter on a TV chyron, like the national debt counter, spinning rapidly. 50 every hour many days. 8/
I think of the people I know that we’ve lost jammed into a pile of numbers. Every time I see the it I remember the horror of the first hundred. And I remember the 3 months the White House took off in May, June & July. 9/
But even as we watch the numbers grow, there is also real hope. Just as things get worse invisibly, our progress is also less visible & have delayed effects. 10/
These things are coming:

Our dependence on a handful of corporate labs will lessen & we should be able to test at scale more rapidly and at low cost.

New treatments like convalescent plasma will reduce deaths.

Mask wearing— state by state if not federally— is being deployed.11
That will mean enough testing to enter schools, colleges & businesses safely. 12/…
The flattening of cases is beginning in certain hot states.

But Arizona, Florida and Texas which failed to learn from the mistakes of NY on the front end must learn from the successes of NY on the backend. 13/
The blue line is the Southwest. The yellow line is the Northeast.

If the governors are opening hot spots too quickly, say “No”. We want to get to the Yellow Line, not drift above it.

Thanks to @JessStrawn for this analysis. 14/
The yellow line is the Kitchen Sink approach in this thread. People on the Yellow Line still live in constant vigilance. They’re still not fully open. But they can catch cases when they happen. And they’re not dying. 15/…
We haven’t always been so good about learning these lessons. Watching the blue line bounce is evidence of this. Failure to test enough & reach hard hit communities is a worry. The president saying “this is nothing to worry about” hurts efforts.

But getting there is do-able. 16/
We will have flare ups. Our case levels are too high and some cities haven’t felt the worst of it yet. Things won’t be better overnight.

But we can change. Mississippi has a mask mandate now. Alabama. Arkansas. Texas. Many states have closed their bars. 17/
Part of the reason it takes us too long is politicians are too worried about a vocal minority rather than what’s better for everyone.

6 in 10 people support a shut down of 2 weeks. 8 out of 10 say they support a mask mandate. We are waiting for our leaders to stop lagging. 18/
All of this progress is to say nothing of a vaccine. Not because there won’t be one, but because we won’t know for some time know how well it works , in whom, and for how long. 19/
Key to all of this is steadfast income and health care support which I talked to @AndrewYang about.

Here again our leaders have an easy job they can’t get right. 20/
This pandemic is more than an inconvenience. It’s a pandemic. It must be managed like a crisis with urgency & focus.

Every day we don’t carries a big price. 21/
But we shouldn’t confuse our frustration & anger over the recent past with hopelessness about the future.

No matter who is in the Oval Office we have no choice but to make whatever progress we can as fast as we can. 22/
And the best way to honor every lost life is by doing what it takes to prevent the next ones. /end

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