Achieving Victory from a Dismal Start — A Pearl Harbor Redux

Opening the economy has to begin with the “low hanging fruit” of the safest places and safest industries to begin.  This essay suggests that notwithstanding that most business having the most GDP value is in the urban areas; it is also the least safe place to begin opening the economies.  The economic activities in rural areas do not have scale, but they have all the variety of nearly all industrial output.  Thus, the proposition below is based on starting there, and only when additional technology is in place to conquer the cities will the final victory be culminated. The correct standpoint at this junction must be the safest; we can’t risk having an upsurge in Covid-19 infections among the reopening-places in the nation.  

As I write this essay, no state has achieved a current-day decrease of cases of infection over the previous-day’s number.  Therefor the coronavirus is still winning everywhere!  Every state is supposed to have a pandemic-infrastructure in place. To refresh:  Social distancing being practiced by the people; high rates of effective testing, Continuing, or, in most states, beginning contact tracing of all positive-testing persons; testing the traced persons; and having an effective public health database containing statewide public health information – especially contract-tracing information.  I believe that at this moment, no state is ready for opening any part of its economy because no state currently has a sound statewide pandemic infrastructure in place.  It is not too late to establish it or improve it.  There are few states, if any that have established contact tracing with a centralized database containing the necessary information, or should I say “knowledge” obtained from contact tracing.  This process provides the beginning of knowledge to thwart the coronavirus.  It is labor intensive, but there are plenty of unemployed persons who could learn what is necessary to be efficient.  It can be work-from-home employment with the necessary tools being a telephone, computer and technique.  The White House team should pick up this refrain and pound the desk for contact tracing, and encourage governors of states to implement it.  

With the similarity of fighting a land war, not with bullets, but with telephones and computers, the war should concentrate on rural areas to permit the economy to open in those areas made safe and to continue increasing the conquered area until everywhere except the urban centers are in the hands of the allies, ready to encircle and starve out the enemy in its city strongholds.  

It is possible to introduce technology to wage the city-wide effort when the rural areas have been freed.  The most successful countries have used applications in smart phones that most everyone carries.  The smartphone app can tell persons when they have come in contact with someone infected with the coronavirus.  This is an app that will cause some concerns about privacy rights, but social distancing, mandatory business closings, sheltering in place, quarantines, and more are already greatly intrusive.  We can‘t afford to give up victory on this issue.  The EU has already backed this capability to be implemented there.   

There is a limited role for the White House to play, but it is important, and suitable to President Trump’s personality.  That is to outline “the plan” as above as containing two steps, and it is capable of being explained and then tracked among the states with cheerleading for those out in front and encouraging the laggards. April 20, 2020