Reagor: Reopening Our Economy

David Reagor

Candidate for Los Alamos County Council

The governor has foolishly painted herself into a corner with the COVID-19 shutdown and, unfortunately, we are trapped in her mess. The shutdown will quickly bankrupt most of our small businesses; even the hospital will have to start layoffs. They say it is a pandemic, but why are hospitals around the state laying off workers? There are simply not enough ill people to make up for the shutdown in normal health services. The whole hysteria is based on media coverage from large urban areas and leaders who look at the world with an urban myopia. They then put policies in place that are very harmful to the rest of us.

When is the governor going to reopen the economy? What are the criteria? If she is waiting for the disease to peak, it is moving so slowly in our county that the peak could be months away. If she is waiting for a vaccination, it could be years away. Unlike decisions made a month ago, we now have factual data. In New York City health authorities published an online summary of the disease as of April 16th. 5548 deaths have occurred with patients that had underlying conditions such as diabetes, cancer, immunodeficiency, hypertension, asthma; or diseases of the lung, heart, kidney, liver and GI tract; but only 152 deaths have occurred with patients that had no underlying illnesses. Only 3% of the deaths occurred in people with otherwise good health! There are approximately 10,000 suspected and confirmed COVID-19 deaths in New York City, but the underlying health conditions are often not reported. The estimated deaths for people with no underlying conditions would be 3% of the overall total or about 300. In New York City a study involving COVID-19 tests given to pregnant women in labor was published on April 13th in The New England Journal of Medicine. This study found that 15% of this relatively healthy group tested positive for COVID-19, while only 2% had symptoms. The implication is that 15% of New York City, over a million people, already had the illness. The fatality rate for people without risk factors is then roughly 300/1,000,000 = 0.03%. Compared to Influenza and other illnesses, COVID-19 is a far lower threat to otherwise healthy people. This rate would be reduced if the elderly were included as a risk group. Rapid advances in treatment will likely reduce this rate even
further in the near future.

The path forward is then clear: We just need to protect high-risk groups with voluntary self-isolation, and the economy can reopen. In fact, that was all we ever needed to do, but the results were not clear until now. Just open everything, stores, recreational facilities, restaurants, and services. Social distancing should still be used, and services that require a personal spacing less than six feet, such as dentists, beauty parlors, and barbers, should require appropriate protective equipment. People with COVID-19 should still be
quarantined to slow the rate of spread and prevent an overwhelming burden on the health care system. This restart is actually good for the high-risk groups, as ending the shutdown will build up immunity in the lower risk population and speed the end of their self-isolation. The whole shutdown was a mistake and now must be immediately ended. If the governor does not act, then the county council should end it themselves.

Would you join me in a Republican Party of Los Alamos Caravan Rally on Friday at 2 p.m. to urge our Governor to open up New Mexico?   Let’s show our support for the small
businesses in our County!   We will meet at the Municipal Building and head down Central Avenue in our cars.