We need to open the country back up and do it soon.

Since about 85% of people who contract COVID-19 have few or no symptoms, we need to let the healthy and willing back out into the world. Those with serious underlying conditions or serious fears about getting the novel coronavirus can stay home with support from the government and/or their employer.

Instead of continuing to throw trillions out to everyone, set up a "pandemic leave of absence fund" for those most vulnerable or living with those high at risk. Continue and expand some of the good work already being done: Make use of groups like the Medical Reserve Corps, a network of medical professionals and other volunteers who can be deployed in the event of disasters or emergencies. Have Army Corps of Engineers teams ready to deploy at a moment's notice.

Also, restock and reorder every medicinal treatment that has shown great results, and there are a few. Limit large gatherings like sporting events and concerts for the time being.

If we can achieve herd immunity through contact in low-risk patients, the vulnerable stay safe and we don't commit societal suicide by continuing the current course. Sweden is one of the very few countries trying a different approach, and it's working. They have had fatalities but certainly no more per capita and in some cases many fewer that some of the "lockdown" countries.

We are much bigger that Sweden and it's a different demographic makeup, for sure. But they were smart, strong and courageous about their approach. We've acted like 9 year-old girls listening to scary stories around the fire on our first night a sleep away camp. What we are doing to ourselves and others in our country is far worse than battling this disease in a pragmatic measured way. This will go down in history as the dumbest thing America ever did to itself, and hopefully doesn't begin a decline we can't recover from.


FIRST RESPONDERS AND THE PANDEMIC: Thursday at 7 p.m., New Jersey 101.5 takes a special live look at the plight of first-responders on the front lines of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the resources available to help them through an extraordinary time. Listen Live on the 101.5 FM or the New Jersey 101.5 app. Join the conversation and ask your questions in a live chat at Facebook.com/NJ1015.


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