Friday, April 3, 2020

Quarantine works. Stay home!

Art by Grace Harrington
At last check, Australia has only 28 deaths from coronavirus. A friend down under told me that on WhatsApp today, and I had to check it before I believed it. The United States topped 7,000 deaths today. There are geographic, cultural, and quantitative-relative explanations for this differential, but they cannot account for it fully without considering differences in social and legal policy responses.

And then I read this, about the 1918 flu, from my friend Dan Harrington in the March 28 Providence Journal: "Australia enacted strict quarantine measures early on in the crises. It ... was spared."

Dan's op-ed is well worth reading.  It draws on the 1918 experience to conclude, "The lessons are all too simple. If governments had adopted quarantine measures and communicated them effectively, the reduction in death would have been significant."

Observe quarantine and, to the extent possible, stay home!

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