In coronavirus response, we only get two strikes

The massive mobilization of equipment, test capacity, and people required to achieve a state-by-state, county-by-county risk weighted approach cannot start soon enough. To do it right will be the challenge of our lifetimes, and it will involve virtual armies of volunteers and experts, hopefully aided by technology and testing, and maybe even techniques we have developed in special forces warfare — like rapid responses to new intelligence. As former Navy SEAL Chris Fussell wrote in The Atlantic, “This war is being fought by governors, mayors, and hospitals, and they need a network that links them directly to one another, and moves as fast as the virus they are working to defeat.”

This virus spreads directly during respiration and person-to-person contact and it spreads indirectly through contact with objects or materials that carry infection, such as clothes, utensils, and furniture. We can handle indirect transmission with cleanliness. To limit direct transmission, however, will require detective work.

On May 1, the virus will still be among us, living invisibly on surfaces and in people, like a minefield. On that day, we will not want to run blindly out of our homes into that minefield, lest we detonate a second wave of outbreak. There will be three kinds of people starting on May 1, and our job will be to sort them out, carefully and respectfully. There will be the susceptible, the infectious, and the already recovered.

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