Two years ago I was in the ICU on a ventilator at the medical school where I was a professor. I had lymphoma and two other cancers and autoimmune diseases, including one that was destroying the red blood cells. I have survived, but now live in a small town, in a small house on a quite isolated street. I cook, garden, go for walks, but must wear a mask or respirator to go into buildings and keep my distance from others. Now with COVID-19 my wife and I are more isolated, but not a lot more.
We have gotten used to living in a world designed for introverts, but this is very hard for our children and especially grandchildren. So as the virus devastates the country and the world, we all look to a solution and an end.
While isolated at home, I have still followed the medical literature and am working on a book. The end of January I sought scientific articles on the novel coronavirus in Wuhan. My sister had just gotten back from 3 years in Nanjing and a neighbor and friend had a daughter in Shanghai working for IBM. Also, I was participating in a discussion group on US foreign policy in China as part of the Foreign Policy Associations "Great Decisions."
When the Chinese Communist Party closed all the factories, I knew there was going to be serious economic consequences throughout the world. When the virus spread to Italy, I knew we were going to be next. I follow closely what is going on in Europe, as I lived nearly 3 years in Germany and Austria.
I initially wrote a piece on the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2, as I not only taught my specialty, endocrinology, but I gave lectures on epidemiology and biostatistics. My colleagues said I should expand it to be understandable to anyone with a college degree. That did not get published, but did result in a couple of interviews on the local Public Broadcasting Station. Also I am an adviser to the local hospital, the county public health officers and the county commissioner in charge of public health.
I have looked carefully at the economic aspects of COVID-19 and that is now the focus of my paper. It is really an opinion piece, because it suggests a couple of solutions that will literally require an Act of Congress (or two).