• On Sept. 1, the Trump administration chose to ignore and abandon the World Health Organi- zation—betting we can develop a vaccine alone, and first—and betting most Americans will subject themselves to a version “rushed to market.”

As far as vaccines go, someone in China who had re-

covered from COVID-19 in mid-July was re-infected five weeks later. Otherwise, the fastest-developed vaccine in history (for the mumps) took five years. Then there is the extraordinary disinformation. On Sept. 22, reliable sources have estimated that rough- ly 570,000 children under age 18 have contracted COVID-19. (And this is with few of them attending school!) President Donald Trump claimed the number was “virtually zero.” The fact that most schools have only begun “virtual” classes, and a few which opened in late August (e.g., New York City) have already reclosed, sug- gests that a significant number of children have indeed become infected. And the perception is that many more will if they physically attend school under traditional arrangements. So, while older individuals are acknowl- edged to be more vulnerable, 570,000 of the total 6.93 million Americans found to be infected (again with little testing) is 8.2 percent. That’s a lot of children. And a lot of children—symptomatic or not—to bring this disease home to spread to their families and others. Unless we are naïve, some form of the model pre-

sented here must work. And even if a vaccine that most Americans accept emerges soon, we may need addition- al doses periodically, we may become infected again, and COVID-19 may morph into something different, and possibly worse, in response. Plus, we are facing colder weather and flu season, and the need to spend more time indoors. So even if the magic vaccine materializes and becomes widely available, we should still perform the steps outlined below. Without a model like that pro- posed here, we are taking a dangerous risk. How we got to this point is important to understand if

we are to succeed. Three themes began to set us up for our failure roughly 40 years ago:

1. The maldistribution of wealth (the MOW) began in 1981 with the regressive tax structure of President Reagan. 2. The U.S. Jobs Elimination Program (the JEP) began

as a response to the energy crisis of 1973, when pump jockeys in 49 states almost immediately lost their jobs (New Jersey still requires them). 3. And the lack of competition (the LOC) began

roughly 30 years ago when we began to flagrantly ignore anti-trust violations.

Beyond creating leviathans like Google, Microsoft,

Apple, QuickBooks and Amazon, which own us, these themes were the reason we had no tests, no masks, no PPE, no contact tracing, no ventilators, insufficient hos- pital capacity and too few healthcare workers when the plague arrived on our doorstep. With no remote ability to confront a phenomenon of this type and size, it over- whelmed us. Failed leadership obviously made the consequences of these themes worse. But it is critical that we understand that this leadership was not the cause, even while it ex- aggerated the JEP, the MOW and the LOC these past four years. Our deliberate inability to produce anything close to the needed quantity of much-needed supplies only exaggerated the impact of these themes on our lives, and it illustrates why those measures we do take contin- ue to fail. Dwelling on these failures may be interesting. But we have no reasonable choice but to move forward despite them.

The Structure of School and Transportation Obesity and other health problems notwithstand-

ing, large numbers of children do not get terribly ill, or noticeably ill, from COVID-19. More recent testing and studies have found this observation less true. But illness severity and infection rates are two completely different things. A mid-July testing exercise in Georgia found 31 percent of school-age children infected. In late August, 79 percent of all those tested in Wisconsin tested positive. Even while an early New York Times study found that that children between ages 1 and 18 die from COVID-19 at the rate of only 0.64 per 100,000 (studies since have found these rates to be much higher), the claim that children are “virus stoppers” is a dan- gerous delusion. Still another recent study found that children are 100 times more likely to have COVID-19 infections in their noses and throats than a typical adult. While children die far less often from COVID-19 than do older adults, children carry it home to their families and friends, and they all still spread it to others. The mea- sures outlined below can at least stop infections from spreading further at school and on the bus. To accomplish these two goals, we must fill each

indoor classroom and each school bus with only one- fourth the normal number of students. This distribution translates into holding two full school days per day, six days a week. Every student can attend school physically three days a week and attend “virtually” (via Zoom, etc.) the other three days – both during either a long morning or long afternoon “school day session.” With two school day sessions per day, and students attending school physically only three days a week, class sizes will be half 47

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