The key policy taken by governments to control the pandemic is lockdowns and travel bans. This wrong course of action has caused the worst recession since the Great Depression in 1929 and has resulted in hundreds of millions becoming unemployed world-wide. This type of deep recession increases poverty, starvation and is the cause of widespread deaths.
According to the UN World Food Programme, the combination of the disruption to the food supply chain and increased poverty will result in a doubling of the already 9 million people dying annual because of famine and malnutrition. In addition, millions will die from the deterioration of the medical system, postponement of urgent medical tests and the avoidance of required treatments.
The cost of the international lockdown to the world economy is $20 trillion and continues to grow weekly 1 trillion dollars. How many millions of lives could be saved by investing only one trillion dollars in the existing weak healthcare systems? How many millions of lives would be saved by investing one trillion dollars into the supply of food for the poor people?
The lockdown measures potentially reduce the spread of the Covid-19, however it does not eliminate it. When these closures are removed, there will most likely be a second outbreak. If we continuously open and close economies, the society will lose confidence in markets, thereby causing the recession to get deeper and deeper.
Medical experts agree that due to lockdown measures, more people are dying from non-related coronavirus diseases, while society in its entirety are suffering the collateral damage of higher death tolls.
The international problem plaguing society is the lockdown, and not the covid-19 virus. The quarantine restrictions are far more deadly than the coronavirus, which subsequently has proven to be less deadly than anticipated just a few months ago.
Aside from removing all lockdown and travel restrictions, Yakir Gabay advocates the following become global government policy:
- Recruit Medical Workers -. Recruit and train additional medical teams to support the hospitals in case a new wave of patients arrive in a second outbreak.
- Medical Equipment. Governments should focus on establishing mass production lines for treatment solutions such as ventilators and other needed supporting medical equipment.
- Covid-19 Antibody Testing: Antibody tests should be conducted immediately on most of the population. Several virologists report a high percentage of the victims contracting the virus have minor symptoms. This is supported by a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, reporting 78% of the cases testing positive for Covid-19 revealed no symptoms. In a mass survey in NYC it was assessed that 20% of its population has already been infected which is 10 times of the official infected numbers. The people who tested positive (which means they are immune already) can go back to work. This can release to normal activity large part of the population which is now unnecessarily isolated.
- Virus Testing Kits: Government to fund mass production of the kits for the early detection of people who are infected. Positive, infectious people would have to go into full isolation. Monitoring the infected is critical to avoid spreading the virus. By employing “contact tracing” apps responsible for tracking the infected movements, the virus can be contained.
- High-risk People: Voluntary self-isolation for people that are 70 years or older, or with other health risks for the next coming months. This will reduce the risk to the most vulnerable population. The low risk younger population has light symptoms and low deaths ratio which is much less than the common flu. Once most of the low risk population will be infected by the virus it will create herd immunity and enable the high-risk population to be protected in few months.
- Isolation Facilities: Hotels can be converted into isolation facilities for quarantined patients. This will solve the occupancy capacity shortage of hospitals and prevent home isolation that has so far failed to prove effectiveness.
- Temperature Checking: Public places (restaurants, offices, hospitals, hotels, elderly homes, shops) should be required to check temperature at the entry point.
- Disinfection: Hand gel dispensers readily available at shops, bank branches, cash machines, hotels, elevators, restaurants, residential and office buildings.
- Face masks: Require that face masks be worn in all public areas.
- Back to school: Reopen schools and universities. Guidance to the public about hygiene, sports activity, and healthy nutrition to strengthen the immune system to overcome the virus. Obesity is a main contributor to higher death rate from the virus. The long unnecessary lockdown increased the average weight of the population, which causes more deaths from the virus and other unrelated diseases.
- Vaccine/medicine Research Budget: This should be done with a global cooperation and on a knowledge sharing basis.
- Back to Normality: Immediate stop of the lockdown, fully opening international travel and return to normal life. The 15% high-risk population will remain isolated and protected while the 85% low-risks population will create the needed herd immunity. The infected people will recover from the virus by receiving the required treatment in a suitable facility, without concern about shortages of staff or medical equipment.
According to Yakir Gabay, unless global economies are immediately fully re-opened, poverty and famine will further increase. Policy makers need to understand that the current lockdown causes significantly more deaths than the virus itself. The wish to prevent deaths through lockdown and travel ban creates the opposite result and significantly increases the mortality rate in the mid to long term.
Erika White is a graduate of Parsons School of Design. Erika is based in Manhattan but travels much of the year. Erika has written for NPR, Motherboard, MSN Money, and the Huffington Post. Here at Morning News Ledger, Erika covers entertainment stories, focusing on performance arts and culture.