Coronavirus (covid-19) return to work

My response to Should we let people die and open up the economy?

Let’s say you a founder of a startup. If you die because of covid-19 (the 244k people you mentioned) what happens to that company? It will either fold or someone else has to take it over. Multiply this by 244k individuals that are involved in all aspects of the economy. Certainly, certain jobs are easily replaceable (routine, easy to repeat, no brains required). What about the jobs that require a high skill to operate, long time to train, or highly creative work? It is a big brain drain that you can’t recover from until another generation with the abilities can take over. The economic cost will be far greater over time with this multi-generational loss of lives. I think you can look at any war torn country to see how many generations it takes to get the economy back to normal.

No one really knows the true death count of covid-19 if we open up the economy and allow people to work. This mousetrap video about social distancing if most compelling:

If you allow people to work before the pandemic is over, it will be disastrous. You can research 1918 “Spanish” flu pandemic and how different cities handled quarantine:

That should be enough of a case study to show how disastrous opening up early will be.

You take care of the pandemic first, people must feel safe, then you can open up the economy. The economy will perform much better with more people alive and than dead people.

Some thoughts for return to work:

  1. Mandatory digital contact tracing for anyone returning to work. Workers must enable location tracking and Bluetooth announcements with other smartphone users at all times. This is the privacy cost if you want to return to work. Apple & Google are working on a technology for this. Anyone without a smartphone will be given one so their location is tracked. Or perhaps a watch or bracelet that must be worn at all times.
  2. Mandatory covid-19 weekly testing for anyone returning to work. Guess what? We don’t have enough test kits available no matter what President Trump says.
  3. Consider a 28 day on work, off work schedule. So, mandatory shelter in place every 4 weeks for 4 weeks. And the other 4 weeks if people want to work on site, they can. This way, the new cases of covid-19 can be handled by the hospitals. There will be spikes in covid-19 testing, but it will be more manageable then if you have no restrictions.