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In order to get back to normal, we need an actual plan. A plan starts with the following steps:
1: Figure out where you want to get to; the goal.
2: Figure out how you can get there.
Here is my plan.
The Goal is simple enough — we need to get back to normal life, for a huge range of reasons. But in order to get there, we need to achieve what is called “Herd Immunity.” Herd Immunity is achieved when enough people are already immune so that an illness cannot explode in a population. According to the Wall Street Journal Friday, we get to herd immunity with between 40-70% of the population. According to other sources, we might need more than that. Once we have herd immunity, the risks of someone who is “at risk” go down – way down. Normality can be achieved when we have it.
How to Get There: We must find out who is immune. We do not need certainty – this is statistics, after all. If we had a test that showed that a person is 90% certain to be immune, then that is data. It is not perfect data, but it is data we can use, uncertainty and all.
Immunity is known through detection of antibodies. The presence of a certain kind of antibody (IgG) will tell you whether your body has immunity to Coronavirus. (The length of that immunity is not known for sure yet, but according to the same WSJ article, it is between one year and the rest of your life).
In recent days, companies have started offering tests that will tell you whether you have the infection (IgM), and whether you have the antibodies for immunity (IgG). These are fingerprick tests that take 10 minutes and can theoretically be done anywhere. They say they are better than 90% for false results.
Whether from this company or another, everyone – not just medical professionals – should be tested. It is the only way to know whether it is safe to be up and about. It is the only way, for example, for a medical volunteer to know whether they are at risk themselves, or at high risk of infecting others. I strongly urge everyone to ask their doctor or other health care professional to order and use Corona tests. Once we reduce the uncertainty, we reduce the fear. And we increase safety and all the good things that come from a resumption of normal life – the things that come with herd immunity.
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