With each passing day it becomes more obvious how unlucky we are that one of the worst crises in American history coincides with Donald Trumps presidency. To get out of this crisis with the least loss of life and least damage to our economy, we need a president who can steer a science-based, nonpartisan debate through the hellish ethical, economic and environmental trade-offs we have to make.
We need a president who is a cross between F.D.R., Justice Brandeis and Jonas Salk. We got a president who is a cross between Dr. Phil, Dr. Strangelove and Dr. Seuss.
Sure, Trump isnt the only one sowing division in our society, but as president he has a megaphone like no one else, so when he spews his politics of division, and suggests disinfectants as cures, he is not only eroding our societys physical immunity to the coronavirus but also eroding what futurist Marina Gorbis calls our cognitive immunity our ability to filter out science from quackery and facts from fabrications.
As a result, the Trump daily briefing has itself become a public health hazard.
If we dont have a president who can harmonize our need to protect ourselves from the coronavirus and our need to get back to work as well as harmonize our need to protect the planets ecosystems and our need for economic growth we are doomed.
Because this virus was actually triggered by our polarization from the natural world. And it will destroy us physically and economically if we stay locked in a polarized, binary argument about lives versus livelihoods.
Here is why: When you listen to Trump, one of his consistent themes is that everything was just perfect with our economy until out of nowhere this black swan, called Covid-19, showed up from China and wrecked it all. Its true, this virus did come out of Wuhan, China, but it was anything but a black swan that no one could have expected. It was actually a black elephant.
The term black elephant was coined by environmentalist Adam Sweidan. Its a cross between a black swan an unlikely, unexpected event with enormous ramifications and the elephant in the room a looming disaster that is visible to everyone, yet no one wants to address.
Covid-19 was a black elephant. It is the logical outcome of our increasingly destructive wars against nature.
As Johan Rockstrm, chief scientist at Conservation International, explains: When you simultaneously hunt for wildlife and push development into natural ecosystems destroying natural habitats the natural balance of species collapses due to loss of top predators and other iconic species, leading to an abundance of more generalized species adapted to live in human dominated habitats. These are rats, bats and some primates which together host 75 percent of all known zoonotic viruses to date, and who can survive and multiply in destroyed human dominated habitats.
As we humans have become more numerous and concentrated in cities, and as deforestation has brought these generalized species closer to us and as countries like China, Vietnam and others in central Africa tolerated wet markets where these virus-laden species were mixed with domesticated meats were seeing ever more zoonotic diseases spreading from animals to people. Their names are SARS, MERS, Ebola, bird flu, and swine flu and Covid-19.
China, in particular, has a lot to answer for. It banned wet markets in one province after SARS in 2003, but then allowed them to reopen after SARS passed and that apparently brought us Covid-19 out of Wuhan. (Shamefully, China reportedly still has not shut down wet markets selling wildlife.)
Add globalization to this and you have the perfect ingredients for more pandemics. We need to find a much more harmonious balance between economic growth and our ecosystems.
The same kind of harmonic approach has to be brought to our current debate about reopening the economy. One way to get there was proposed by Graham Allison, a national security expert at Harvard.
Allison wrote that were having this important debate about our health and economic future in an incredibly uncoordinated way. Instead, we should have federal government experts on one team offering their approach and a Team B of independent medical, economic, public health, data and strategic analysts offering an alternative approach. And then go for the best synthesis.
For instance, Allison observed: If we concluded that an identified group of a quarter of the population face an unacceptable risk of death from coronavirus, but that for the other 75 percent, with appropriate precautions like social distancing and masks, face no greater risk than other risks of death we accepted before coronavirus, would it be possible to design a response that protected the most vulnerable while simultaneously reopening most of the economy for others?
Five weeks later and fresh off three days as a volunteer emergency room doctor in the Bronx Katz still believes that is possible. He explained to me why, starting with what he found in the emergency ward.
You might think that health professionals are at one extreme of opinion, concerned only about the virus and favoring locking everything down, but that was not the view I encountered, said Katz. The view was far more centrist: respect for the infection, but equal respect for the high cost of closing down everything to their patients, of course, but also to themselves and their families. Many were acutely concerned about layoffs, unemployment, and real desperation affecting siblings or close friends.
That is why, Katz insists, we have to avoid minimizing the degree to which mass unemployment, poverty, hunger and despair will devastate people if the economy remains virtually shut down. At the same time, we cant just submit to protesters demanding their governors open everything back up indiscriminately, without data or a comprehensive health strategy,
The moment you stop respecting this virus, it will kill someone you love, he said.
The best strategy, argues Katz, starts with what the numbers are telling us: More and more data are telling us that Covid-19 is two completely different diseases in different populations. It is severe and potentially lethal to the old, the chronically ill and those with pre-existing conditions. It is, however, rarely life-threatening, often mild and often even asymptomatic among those under 50 or 60 in generally good health.
We still dont yet have a perfect understanding of how the virus works for instance, if you get it, whether you are immune from getting it again. So, we need to corroborate the patterns were seeing through more random sampling of the U.S. population both for infection and immunity. But if these patterns are confirmed, then the proper strategy, argued Katz, is one of total harm minimization that saves the most lives and health through vertical interdiction.
That means sheltering the vulnerable, while allowing those who can return to the world most safely to do so thereby restoring the economy, supply chains, and services, while cultivating the collective protection of herd immunity that leads to the all clear, said Katz. Thats how we get our lives back without waiting on the long and uncertain timeline of vaccine development.
Of course, well need an army of public health workers to keep doing testing and contact tracing so we can adapt to new data, limit breakouts and protect those most likely to die or be badly harmed from Covid-19.
The bottom line is that Mother Nature has been telling us something huge in this crisis: You let everything get out of balance and go to extremes. You ravaged my ecosystems and unleashed this virus. You let political extremism ravage your body politic. You need to get back into balance, and that starts with using the immune system that I endowed you with.
Herd immunity, which kicks in after about 60 percent of the population is exposed to and recovers from the virus, concluded Katz, has historically been natures way of ending pandemics. We need to bend with her forces, while concentrating our health services and social services on protecting those most vulnerable who need to stay sheltered until there is a vaccine.
See the rest here:
We Need Herd Immunity From Trump and the Coronavirus - The New York Times
- Introducing the Campus Technology Insider Podcast - Campus Technology - June 24th, 2020
- This is What Sunsets on Other Planets Would Look Like - Futurism - June 24th, 2020
- Astronomers May Have Discovered First-Ever Black Neutron Star - Futurism - June 24th, 2020
- NASA: Next Moon Astronauts Will Hike 10 Miles on Lunar Surface - Futurism - June 24th, 2020
- As fashion resets, its algorithms should too - Vogue Business - June 24th, 2020
- China Is Building a Genetic Database of Every Man in the Country - Futurism - June 24th, 2020
- The Death of the Open-Plan Office? Not Quite, but a Revolution is in the Air - Nextgov - June 24th, 2020
- Freestyle Acquires Divos!; Docs The Prison Within & Superhuman Find Homes; Random Media Takes Opus Of An Angel Film Deal Briefs - Deadline - June 24th, 2020
- Nicholas Mallis' Final Station, And More Music News and Gossip | Flagpole - Flagpole Magazine - June 24th, 2020
- Renewal Shows the Possibility of a Better World Post-Covid - Press Release - Digital Journal - June 24th, 2020
- Working from home is missing something that only offices and cities can provide - MarketWatch - June 24th, 2020
- Futurist site: Flamingo Land thanked for 'sticking with us'; remarketing the site 'would not be appropriate' says council's deputy leader - The... - June 20th, 2020
- How a global pandemic is changing the world: Part 1 - SmartBrief - June 20th, 2020
- Step into 2030: Join The Drum's futurist session to hear what the next decade holds - The Drum - June 13th, 2020
- This Flying Car Looks Like the DeLorean From "Back to the Future" - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- Bad News: Another Deadly Virus Is Spreading in the US - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- This Guy Accidentally Took a Photo That Crashes Android Smartphones - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- Coronavirus live updates: Here's what to know in South Florida on June 12 - msnNOW - June 13th, 2020
- Scientists Claim the Universe Is Actually Flat - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- SpaceX Trying to Figure Out How to Land Starship on the Moon - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- Scientists Claim to Have Recreated Earth's First Life - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- Collapsed Star Proves Another of Einstein's Theories - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- Elon Musk: Teslas Semi Truck is Officially Going Into Production - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- This Quasar Warps Itself Into a Ring by Distorting Spacetime - Futurism - June 13th, 2020
- Justice League: Who Is the DC Universe's Tony Stark? | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - June 13th, 2020
- A Futurist's Advice on Navigating through the Technology Valley of Death - CEOWORLD magazine - June 13th, 2020
- A Futurist Explains What Emerging Jobs Will Be Necessary Post-Virus - Hit 107 - June 6th, 2020
- Experts: Protests Unlikely to Cause Huge Wave of COVID Cases - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- After Explosion, SpaceX Still Hoping to Launch Starship This Year - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- NASA InSight Lander Finally Manages to Bury Its Probe Into Mars - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- Evidence Suggests That the Entire Early Universe Was Rotating - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- Elon Musk Just Absolutely Roasted the Russian Space Program - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- Study: More Than 500 Vertebrates Poised To Go Extinct - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- Allison Fine Featured in The New Yorker - Philanthropy Women - June 6th, 2020
- MSN Fires Journalists, Replaces Them With AI - Futurism - June 6th, 2020
- What will design look like in 2030? We asked 3 futurists - Business of Home - June 1st, 2020
- Interstellar Visitor May Be One of Rarest Objects In Universe - Futurism - June 1st, 2020
- Vancouver Island's long road to recovery will have a few bumps - vancouverislandfreedaily.com - June 1st, 2020
- 5G Technology - The Cybersecurity Implications of Widespread - tripwire.com - June 1st, 2020
- Half the Visible Universe Was Missing. Scientists Just Found It. - Futurism - June 1st, 2020
- The New Reality: Future of shopping malls in jeopardy as COVID-19 pandemic pushes shoppers online - cjoy.com - June 1st, 2020
- Only One in Two Americans Say They'd Take a COVID-19 Vaccine - Futurism - June 1st, 2020
- Watch the Astronauts Give Their Kids Virtual Hugs Before Launch - Futurism - June 1st, 2020
- Changing face of Liverpool city centre and the shops we've lost along the way - Liverpool Echo - June 1st, 2020
- Folk's Jason Wilber Examines the World Through a Futurist Lens in 'Time Traveler' (album stream) - PopMatters - May 29th, 2020
- The Conversation: Beware of Unemployment Insurance Scammers - Hawaiipublicradio - May 29th, 2020
- The long road to recovery will have a few bumps Victoria News - Victoria News - May 29th, 2020
- The stakes have never been higher as America reopens. What can a post-coronavirus world look like? - USA TODAY - May 29th, 2020
- On the Futurist Cookbook - Apollo Magazine - May 14th, 2020
- UWO alumnus and renowned futurist: 'There has never been more opportunity to make a difference' - UW Oshkosh Today - May 14th, 2020
- What will the world look like after corona? - ISRAEL21c - May 14th, 2020
- US Officials: Chinese Hackers Are Targeting Vaccine Research - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- Dock a SpaceX Spacecraft to the ISS in This Amazing Simulator - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- WHO: The Coronavirus Might Be Here Forever - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- Documentary Spaceship Earth resurrects stranger-than-fiction story of utopian Biosphere 2 experiment - ABC News - May 14th, 2020
- Scientists Have a Promising New Idea to Defeat the Coronavirus - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- Fauci: Reopening Too Soon Could Lead to "Suffering and Death" - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- Augmented reality giant Magic Leap is closing its Seattle office amid layoffs - GeekWire - May 14th, 2020
- How will you re-introduce your business to customers? - Trinidad Guardian - May 14th, 2020
- There's a Resurgence of Coronavirus Cases in China - Futurism - May 14th, 2020
- Futurism | Definition, Manifesto, Artists, & Facts ... - April 30th, 2020
- 7 Top Futurists Make Some Pretty Surprising Predictions ... - April 30th, 2020
- The White House Is Trying to Shut Down NASA's Last Mars Rover - Futurism - April 30th, 2020
- Free DNA Test Claims to Warn Whether COVID Is Likely to Kill You - Futurism - April 30th, 2020
- New Zealand Claims to Have Eliminated COVID-19 - Futurism - April 30th, 2020
- The Laws of Physics May Break Down at the Edge of the Universe - Futurism - April 30th, 2020
- These Mathematicians Think the Universe May Be Conscious - Futurism - April 30th, 2020
- This COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Ready by September - Futurism - April 30th, 2020
- The Conversation: The Future After the Coronavirus Crisis - Hawaiipublicradio - April 30th, 2020
- Elon Musk Says the Starlink Network Will Go Live in Six Months - Futurism - April 26th, 2020
- Automated Education This Grad Student Used a Neural Network to Write His Papers - Futurism - April 26th, 2020
- NASA: Something Is Off About This Interstellar Comet - Futurism - April 26th, 2020
- This is What Air Travel Could Look Like After the Pandemic - Futurism - April 26th, 2020
- The Coronavirus May Be Doing Something Strange to Your Toes - Futurism - April 26th, 2020
- The revolution will not be memorised - Schools Week - April 26th, 2020
- For the First Time Ever, the Price of Oil is Now Negative - Futurism - April 26th, 2020
- The future of work is here: How 'distance work' is transforming the workplace - Washington Technology - April 26th, 2020
- Living In The City - The Chattanoogan - April 26th, 2020
- New Study Predicts the Ocean Ecosystem Will Collapse This Decade - Futurism - April 11th, 2020
- Terrifying Simulation Shows How Viruses Spread When You Cough - Futurism - April 11th, 2020