Article Recommendation: “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance”

Yesterday I read an excellent article by Tomas Pueyo titled, “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance.” It is pretty long, but it is the best single thought piece I have seen on what to do about the coronavirus problem. Pueyo is the author of an alarmist article on the severity of the coronavirus a week ago that went viral and gained him a large audience. I hope this article gets as many reads as the previous one.

The main thrust of the piece is an outline of a plan for dealing with the problem, one that is similar to what I have argued in some comments here. (That, of course, is what makes him so wise.) His basic strategy, indicated by his title “The Hammer and the Dance,” is to implement immediately a lockdown (the Hammer) in the short term, to last only a few weeks, followed by some more relaxed strategy (the Dance) modeled after the efforts of countries like South Korea and Singapore. The short term lockdown, similar to what California has recently imposed, would be implemented not because it is a good idea in itself (he thinks it is not), but because we are at present so woefully unprepared to do anything more moderate, such as widespread testing, and quarantining and tracing the social contacts of identified cases. Exactly what the “Dance” would consist of is something we would have to figure out; he is necessarily vague about this, since we as yet know so little about what we’re fighting. Still, I find his strategy hopeful, and it is the most sensible program I have yet seen.

3 thoughts on “Article Recommendation: “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance”

  1. I’ve only had time to skim this article, but if I understand it, I agree with it. As I see it, the “hammer” part corresponds to the policies enacted by states like New York and New Jersey. The “dance” is something that laypersons like me can only hope for. But there’s the need for a third, short-term, micro-level strategy, simultaneous with and consistent with the hammer: immediate logistical support of hospitals, and moral and logistical support of health care workers across the breadth of the system. At some level, this is very much en route:

    https://www.nj.com/opinion/2020/03/at-hospitals-coming-crush-raises-an-ugly-question-who-lives-and-who-dies-moran.html

    No matter how we employ the macro-level hammer/dance strategy, we court the danger of this at the micro-level, and if iterated across the board, no strategy will work:

    In other words, it’s not just a matter of stopping the spread of infection, but of literally hunting down supplies (gloves, masks, footwear, etc.) and getting them to hospitals. There are a lot of other tiny matters of detail that need attention, that can only be dealt with by a kind of large-scale civic effort consistent with social distancing.

    https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/03/20/coronavirus-new-jersey-hospital-crocs-donations/

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-jersey-scrambles-to-expand-hospital-capacity-before-expected-coronavirus-surge-11584896400

    https://whyy.org/articles/haunted-by-italy-scenario-n-j-rushes-to-add-hospital-beds/

    Like

  2. Pingback: Coronavirus Diary (36): “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance” | Policy of Truth

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