by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
That’s the conclusion of a recent NYT opinion piece by economist Paul Romer. In “Will Our Economy Die From Coronavirus?,” Romer recommends an alternative to our current strategy:
To protect our way of life, we need to shift within a couple of months to a targeted approach that limits the spread of the virus but still lets most people go back to work and resume their daily activities.
This approach uses two complementary strategies. The first relies on tests to target social distancing more precisely. The second relies on protective equipment that prevents the transmission of the virus. Adopting these strategies will require a massive increase in our capacity for coronavirus testing and a surge in the production of personal protective equipment.
I’m no Paul Romer, but it seems to me this proposal is missing two necessary elements: rigorously tracing recent contacts of people who test postivie, and isolating everyone who tests positive–not just from the general community–but from family and the healthcare system as well. Maybe both of those elements are implicit in Romer’s proposal. Regardless, it’s not long and you should read the whole thing.