Two More Weeks Of Social Distancing…Do The Benefits Outweigh The Risks?

Recently, Governor Baker extended the stay-at-home advisory deadline from May 4, 2020 to May 18, 2020…two more weeks!

The other day, I had the opportunity to watch the controversial, and now removed from, Youtube press conference from Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Arlin Massihi from California on April 22, 2020.  Top medical professionals across the country are either adamantly agreeing or disagreeing with their views.

Since you are now unable to watch it for yourself, I will try my best to share the highlights with you. Luckily, I took copious notes on their discussion because I thought I might use their information in a future blog post.  I never thought the video would be taken down by Youtube for violating “Youtube’s Community Guidelines” and this would be how I would share it with you.  

The screen which appeared on April 29, 2020

Who even knew that Youtube practiced censorship on a press conference?

You be the judge.

The video itself, which is in two parts, runs just about an hour.  The main point that they are hammering home, backed by their own research data, is that we need to begin to lift the quarantine sooner because the benefits are not outweighing the risks.

We hear everyday the multitude of reasons why we are continuing with the stay at home advisory, the main ones being to “flatten the curve” so we do not overburden our healthcare system and to protect our most vulnerable populations from infection. These doctors state that these are absolutely valid benefits to a quarantine for persons at risk, but are questioning…

“Is social isolation warranted for the healthy?”

What are the risks they refer to?  There are several secondary effects that they identified due to the increase in stress related circumstances brought on by this social distancing.

  1. An increase in child abuse/molestation
  2. An increase in spousal abuse
  3. An increase in alcohol use
  4. An increase in anxiety and depression
  5. An increase in suicides
  6. Loss of educational opportunity and academic skills
  7. Economic downturn and personal economic strain due to job loss or furlough
  8. Decrease in medical care to people with chronic conditions 
  9. Loss of revenue to all non-essential businesses, including hospitals because there are no elective surgeries or medical appointments in general

Dr. Erickson and Dr. Massihi compare COVID-19 to the flu and make several references between the two illnesses including a whole bunch of data from studies they have done in their facility, as well as from government reporting agencies such as the CDC. While I do not have any numbers to share with you, they stated that there is little statistical difference in the number of infections when you look at the two diseases.  (I will also let you know that there are several medical professionals who refute their comparisons of flu and COVID with data of their own, citing that COVID is indeed much worse than the flu.)

For every other pandemic that our country has faced, the sick were the ones who were quarantined, not the healthy. They go on to further explain, our bodies need exposure to viruses and bacterias in order to build up antibodies and boost our immune health.  Otherwise, our immune systems will suffer and we will all be more susceptible to illness than we were before.

They go on to discuss the “herd immunity” and “vaccines” as the two ways our bodies will acquire antibodies to COVID-19. Herd immunity, or the number of people who have un-immunized immunity to a given illness, and a vaccine are the ways that most every medical professional is saying we need in order to resume normal activities.  We are about a year away, depending upon who you ask, from the vaccine.  The only way to get herd immunity is by being exposed.  Sounds like a Catch 22 to me!

Edited from: https://www.digitalmomblog.com/corona-memes-about-beer/

They continue on with examples of questioning why it is okay to go into the grocery store or Home Depot with a multitude of random strangers, but it is not fine to go to church or a restaurant for the same amount of time?

One possible answer, they suggest, is fear.  Fear of the unknown.  We know about the flu.  We expect it every year.  This disease is new. We don’t have the same familiarity with it and so we become fearful of what we do not know or understand.  But, they suggest that we should treat this illness in a similar fashion to how we treat the flu.  They recommend widespread testing of workers on an ongoing basis.  Those that are healthy and not at risk, should be allowed to return to work.  Those who are not, should be the ones who should be quarantined.

Highlights from press conference from the Mind Treasury website

Clearly, this topic is hot right now.  Most Americans are experiencing ‘Quarantine Fatigue” and want to return to some sense of normalcy, sooner rather than later.  What do you think?  Do you think the secondary risks, such as child abuse and the economic downturn associated with social isolation outweigh the benefits of maintaining it?  How do you feel about the past practice of only quarantining the sick and leaving the healthy to let nature take its course to develop your own immunities?  Do you think Youtube should be removing a press conference that suggests we think about the implications of harmful societal things other than COVID-19?

I always say, the good thing about opinions is we all have one! Your feelings and opinions are shaped by your experiences. Feel free to share yours here. This is a nonjudgmental forum, because if anyone says anything to personally judge another person’s opinion, I will simply delete it!

Categories: Uncategorized

3 replies »

  1. Great blog post and an interesting take on the situation! Also I love the memes you threw in there! Something to consider about this situation that many have overlooked is if we even develop immunity (we don’t always develop an effective immune response) after infection, and if so for how long? The answer is that we simply don’t know for sure yet. Until we have a better sense of this we do need to be careful but in places where social distancing is manageable, they should be able to slowy reopen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hot topic. I so see it as a damned if you do and a damned if you don’t. Places that can promote and “police” social distancing should be able to open. The first issue is that people will not adhere to the new norm of distance and mask (see beach pictures). If we can not test more or better yet contact those that might be exposed so they can test we can’t get a hold of the virus. Polio did not get cured by us all standing around trying to catch it so we can have a heard immunity.
    I work in a “nonessential” business where social distancing is very easy. I would love to be open. Many people would love for me to be open and wonder why I’m not.
    Trust me as I feel horrible for all of the negatives caused by this virus, I would feel much worse if I found out that people that came to my business caught the virus and brought it home and family members died because of it. As soon as that happens to people they will start to say we opened too soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw that YouTube presentation by the two doctors and it did make a lot of sense to me. I remember as a kid, signs were put on doors when a residence had a disease such as measles, whooping cough, polio, etc., quarantining just the home. These diseases were quite rampant as I recall and extremely contagious. At that time there were no vaccines for these diseases. With the exception of the signs on the doors, life went on as normal.I understand we know nothing about this Covid 19, but Sweden has not done the quarantining like many other countries and their stats fall in line percentage-wise with the countries with the stay-in-place dictate. I worked in the commercial lending area of the bank in past years. I worked on small to moderate loans. When things went south as they did when I worked, I saw personally what it did to the small business owners. It broke my heart actually to see the devastation. But then I am not a scientist or a doctor. They know best so I am pretty much housebound and waiting to get back to a new normal. I must add that I am retired, have a steady income, and did not have a job to lose or children to personally educate during this time. I can’t imagine having a young family, losing my job and income, and dealing with all the ramifications.

    Liked by 1 person

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