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By Diana Diamond

Constantly coping with the virus: We need a total lockdown now

Uploaded: Aug 11, 2020

We can't go on like this. Weeks go by, and then months, and instead of getting better, more and more of us have gotten the coronavirus -- or have died. The nationwide spread of COVID-19 is getting worse -- the U.S is the worst in the world (five-plus million infected, 163,000+ deaths).

I am tired of it, tired of self-confinement, tired of not seeing friends or going to restaurants, meetings or parties. You are tired too, I am sure.

So what can we do? After much thought, I decided we MUST have a national lockdown. We've washed our hands and kept our distances, worn masks and avoided people, but it hasn't stopped the spread. So the only way is to starve this virus, lock ourselves inside, close our businesses, shut down everything except grocery stores, pharmacies and very essential businesses, so this disease can be stopped. This approach has been successful in several other countries.

An op-ed in Monday's NYT (8/10), "Here's How to Crush the Virus Until the Vaccine Arrives" by Michael Osterholm, professor and director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research at the University of Minneapolis, and Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, confirmed my point of view.

"We can continue to allow the virus to spread rapidly throughout our country or we can commit to a more restrictive lockdown, state by state, for up to six weeks to crush the spread of the virus to less than one new case per 100,000 people per day," they wrote.

Of course that creates numerous economic problems, but our nation's economy is dramatically plunging now, unemployment is increasing, small businesses are going bankrupt, and all I see is downward spiral in our economy.

Look at what's happening locally. People at first were great at self-isolation, but we have now relaxed as more businesses have opened up (too early, in my estimation). My friend the other night had dinner for two friends at her backyard table, and they wore masks for the first five minutes. The dinner went on until 8:30 p.m. The county has mandated that only people living in the same home can sit at one table, but they didn't adhere to that regulation. Another couple had 10 people -- all without masks -- outside of their house with music and dancing! I can't think of any dances where a couple stays two yards away from each other. BTW, I was randomly checking out cable channels on Saturday night and a San Jose station had a live onscreen danceathon -- more than 50 people rotating around the room, all without masks. If there was one carrier in that room ...

Palo Alto's coronavirus rate is rapidly increasing. According to the Weekly, in the five weeks "between mid-May and late June, nine new cases were reported — resulting in 86 cumulative cases as of June 23. In the six weeks since then, however, no fewer than eight residents per week. The city's COVID-19 cases totaled 174 as of Aug. 5 — including 20 new ones in the prior week alone.

Nationwide, people have become careless in their coronavirus concerns. With the motorcycle mass gathering in Sturgis, S.D. that occurred last week, or the recent rallies and protests in cities in practically every state, how can we get this entire nation to stay six-feet away from others?

Only with a total rigid lockdown.

I am very concerned about people not having enough money to live on, so this is the time our government must come to the rescue -- all politics aside. It will cost a lot more money if we do nothing. As starters, maybe the government should provide interest-free no payback "loans" to small businesses, as well as $600 checks weekly to all the unemployed -- and comparable amounts to all those in need.

Where do we get the money from?

One way, out of several options, is by halting some military spending. In the current federal budget, there’s $146 billion for a broad laundry list of military hardware, to include $1.87 billion for 98 F-35 aircraft, which is 20 more than the president’s request, and eight F-15EX aircraft to recapitalize the F-15C/D fleet.
The U.S. recently adopted a $738 billion defense budget. Let's use some of that money to help keep Americans alive, and not let them die.

As Osterholm and Kashkari said, "There is no trade-off between health and the economy. Both require aggressively getting control of the virus."

A lockdown will be difficult for all of us. But that's a lot better than having this virus rise daily while we keep constantly coping with it for months to come.