Guest Opinion: We have to temporarily give up some personal freedom to defeat COVID-19
A symptom-based health policy will fail and our economy can’t fully open without the infection rates dropping.
After spending 32 years in healthcare leadership I found myself unemployed this spring due to the resulting economic impact from COVID-19 on my employer. We’ve also had family and friends impacted by this virus, including death, and many more experiencing financial challenges with the downturn of the economy.
Like you, I read the health alerts from many reputable sources and try hard to practice the recommended safety measures but remain troubled that our state and country is failing at containing this virus. The threat to us all is huge for two equally important reasons, without a strong economy and a healthy people, we will collectively decline.
The good news is that the world’s scientists and we as individuals are learning a lot about this novel coronavirus. In my opinion, the solution is repeated mass testing and mandatory isolation for those positive along with renewed masking efforts in public spaces. While this approach may seem extreme, it would take only a few months to curtail the virus and open the economy and get back to normal social interactions with our friends and loved ones.
Since up to half those testing positive have no symptoms, a symptom-based health policy will fail and our economy can’t fully open without the infection rates dropping. Our social, mental and spiritual health will also continue to decline. Humans need face to face interactions to thrive.
While my recommendation may appear drastic, it is worth us collectively giving up some personal freedom for a brief period to bring back real health and prosperity to our community and great nation.
Adam Rees is the former president of Essentia Health’s central market in Brainerd.