By Christopher Harper
The world economy is set to undergo a significant and perhaps unnecessary restructuring based on new standards, such as social distancing, that have little or contradictory scientific underpinning.
For example, take the six-foot rule. Because the virus can travel on liquid droplets breathed or coughed out by infected people, health authorities recommend staying away from crowds and maintaining physical separation from others. That’s why restaurants, bars, and other locales where people mingle closely have faced such economically devastating restrictions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically recommends the six-foot buffer.
But it’s difficult to find where the six-foot rule actually comes from. The basic outline comes from a 1930s study and a more recent one after SARS. But the studies do not specify four feet, six feet, or 20 feet. In fact, the World Health Organization recommended until recently that three feet were enough.
More important, these studies did not look at the use of masks together with social distancing. Therefore, masks might eliminate the need for social distancing for the most part.
Think about all the money being spent and the money lost for restaurants, bars, sporting events, places of worship, and other venues where people gather.
Moreover, there are no specific guidelines for interior versus exterior locations. WHO recently recommended, for example, that masks should ONLY be used INDOORS when helping or being exposed to someone with Covid-19.
Remember that it wasn’t too long ago that nearly all scientists said masks were unnecessary? Remember when the scientists told us that 2.2 million people would die in the United States alone?
It’s been a difficult time, but we know a lot more about who’s in grave danger from Covid-19, and social distancing and masks may do little for these groups.
It is evident from the mounting statistics about the pandemic that older people, minorities, and a few other groups, particularly with underlying conditions, such as diabetes, must be the focus in the coming weeks of the pandemic before a vaccine.
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities became breeding grounds for the virus, amounting to more than half the deaths in my home state of Pennsylvania.
A Wall Street Journal tally of state data from around the U.S. shows more than 42,000 Covid-19-associated deaths in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted-living sites, along with more than 200,000 cases. This tally probably undercounts the full impact of the outbreak because of incomplete information from some states.
That’s nearly half of all deaths in the United States.
Perhaps it’s time to take a harder look at the economic and social changes being planned as a result of the unverified “science” before creating unnecessary burdens and costs that will transform the way we live and work.