Cases and hospitalizations are rising across the US

And I’m getting asked repeatedly whether we're heading toward lockdowns

Short answer – no – not if we are smart

Long answer? Its complicated

So let’s talk about lockdowns – and how we get through next few months

Lockdowns – shelter in place orders – are extreme

And awful. Super costly and usually not necessary

We locked down in March/April because virus spread across US in Jan/Feb

And we were blind. We had no testing. We had little choice

Situation now different. We know more

First, let’s talk about why everyone is concerned:

Cases rising in most states

Hospitalizations rising in most states

Test + going up too

As weather gets colder, expect things to get worse in much of nation


People will spend more time indoors. But not just that

Colder, drier air spreads SARS-CoV2 more efficiently

And here's the problem:

States across political spectrum too relaxed

Many loosening restrictions on bars, indoor dining

And, lot of spread happening in homes via gatherings

Home unfortunately, not safe from virus spread
Oh – you know where we are NOT seeing a lot of spread?

In K-12 schools

Schools aren't immune but we are likely overestimating their danger.

We really do need to open more schools

BTW private schools across nation largely open, public not. But I digress

Key failure of our pandemic response is we always act while looking in rear view mirror

We consistently act too late

We wait until cases rise, % positivity rises, before we pull back

And we are doing that now

And here’s another problem – the time period we are in

All of our political leaders are focused on the election

Makes sense

But that means we are not hearing much clear communication about the virus

You know the old saying:

Never have a pandemic during a Presidential election year

So here's our job:

Avoid lockdowns, get through next few months without another 100,000 Americans dying


It’s the old boring stuff, with some twists

So let's make a list:

1. Be diligent about masks. Indoors whenever not home. Outdoors when close to people, speaking

2. Avoid indoor bars/restaurants. Outdoors or takeout

3. Stay in as small a bubble as you can tolerate

4. Avoid house parties / gatherings

Want to see friend? Outside

Too cold?

Indoors: wear mask, stay apart, open windows even little (Not year to be energy efficient)

4. Push for more testing

We hear tests coming. Where are the tests??

And if you get called by contact tracer, please respond

5. Push local leaders – mayors, governors – to prioritize schools, not bars/restaurants. Lets provide B/Rs $ so they can survive

There is a light at end of tunnel, I swear

We have zero national leadership so WE need to step up

Election coming – please vote

But don't lose sight of the virus

Lockdowns are awful, fully preventable

But they require that we be smart. And demand more from our leaders

You can follow @ashishkjha.
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