15 Days to Slow the Spread: Remembered

On March 16, 2020, the Trump Administration released guidelines in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the corresponding public health emergency. Four years later, much was learned, much was missed, much could have played-out different, and much remains to be reconciled. Today, four years later, we live with economic and societal ramifications from the public health emergency and the varied interventions to combat the COVID pandemic.

As readers/followers know, I typically use a portion my weekend for reading the myriad of articles, press releases and journals that make up my e-inbox. I don’t normally write or post stuff on weekends, instead prioritizing quiet time and family/friends and fellowship for these (weekend) days. The start of the COVID public health emergency four years ago and my weekend reading, caused me to depart, only briefly, from my normal weekend routine.

Yesterday, the official anniversary of 15 Days to Slow the Spread, I ran across two pieces worthy of posting here. I hope folk will take the time to read both and to reflect on what each represents and how these last four years have progressed, and whether we will take experience and knowledge with us, the next time (God forbid) another pandemic arrives.

The first piece is an article from a journal, BIOSECURITY AND BIOTERRORISM: BIODEFENSE STRATEGY, PRACTICE, AND SCIENCE, Volume 4, Number 4, 2006. The authors of this article, particularly Dr. Henderson, were all experts in bio security and bioterrorism. This article (note the date) is a good reference to what we knew about proper disease mitigation steps for a pandemic influenza (e.g., essentially COVID). The article is titled, “Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control
of Pandemic Influenza”. The article is here, and a summary of the content is below: 10115521109_240317_094754

The threat of an influenza pandemic has alarmed countries around the globe and given rise to an intense interest in disease mitigation measures. This article reviews what is known about the effectiveness and practical feasibility of a range of actions that might be taken in attempts to lessen the number of cases and deaths resulting from an influenza pandemic. The article also discusses potential adverse second- and third-order effects of mitigation actions that decision makers must take into account. Finally, the article summarizes the authors’ judgments of the likely effectiveness and likely adverse consequences of the range of disease mitigation measures and suggests priorities and practical actions to be taken.

The second piece is essentially a review or recap of the measures taken to mitigate the pandemic and the spread of COVID-19. As I read it, I compared it to the recommendations from the article above. The parallels in some instances are eye-opening and suggestive that maybe, our responses at the time, should have been structured more along the lines of the recommendations from the first article (above). This piece is titled, “COVID Lessons Learned: A Retrospective After Four Years”. Among its authors is Dr. Scott Atlas. Dr. Atlas served for a period of time as an advisor to the Trump Administration’s COVID task force. The article is here, and summary of the content is below: Lessons-Learned-Covid-Committee_240317_113118

This report reviews the major policy errors and lessons learned during the COVID pandemic from a balanced perspective that includes health, economic, educational, and civil liberty considerations. We outline ten key lessons that must be learned to avoid mistaken policy responses to future pandemics and other crises.

Happy Sunday!

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