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Governor Little’s Decision to keep Idaho Closed is Misguided

“Bad decisions yield bad results”

I disagree today with the Governors extension. I agreed with him on round 1. Type 2 mitigation strategy—”stay in place” and selective quarantine is appropriate for lag and exponential phases of pandemics. Type 3 mitigation—isolating at-risk populations is appropriate for plateau and log phases of the pandemic. People, families, and businesses are very much hurting. In Idaho, we have people who care about each other and are not selfish when applying common sense side rails and good manners when dealing with their friends and clients in public.

Methods used to mitigate today in NY City may be very different than what is needed in Idaho, and mitigation in Ada and Blaine Counties may be very different than in the 13 counties where no Covid-19 cases have been identified. Allowing for an earlier return to normalcy doesn’t mean a return to stricter government-imposed limitations on public interactions in the future should outbreaks and hotspots come to light. Unfortunately, government seems to paint with broad strokes and this as always only hurts those the most who are living at the margins.

I was proud of my vote for Governor Little. In phase 1 he proceeded cautiously and in a sober contemplative fashion. Today in taking what he perceived to be a conservative approach and one that was the least risky, he exposed Idahoans to a far greater downside risk, while availing citizens little gain on the’ upside.

As of last Saturday night with 1,790,000 citizens, there were 1,170 confirmed cases of COVID-19 for an incidence of .0654%. There were13 deaths .000727%. In two weeks, unemployment is expected to be over 10%, when in mid-March it was 3.3%. Only 14 Ventilators and 24 ICU beds are currently being used by Covod-9 patients not all with a positive diagnosis, in the whole State. That is less than 1/3 the total number of available vents and beds in Ada County at Al’s/Luke’s/TVH.

This would be understood better by our decision makers if an RN preferably one that works in an ICU or an ER, and an infectious doctor who is currently working in the hospital were on the Governor’s advisory team. Context and perspective are just as important as statistics and that I believe is what is missing today from our Governor’s decision.

The asymptote of both incidence and deaths will be reached within the next 4 days in Idaho according to the IPHP at the University of Washington. The time to begin to return to normalcy is today not 14 days from now. In Idaho, we are dealing with small enough numbers, and numbers and models that change rapidly, that adjusting to what is going on in the field quickly should be appropriate. I love General Eisenhower’s comments about plans and planning prior to any military engagement: “Once the campaign begins plans are worthless, planning is indispensable”

Adjusting to risk immediately and in real time will be the most efficacious way to proceed moving forward—in my humble opinion. Boxing ourselves into a “two-week plan” will hurt many people and families.

4 replies on “Governor Little’s Decision to keep Idaho Closed is Misguided”

While I totally agree with the sentiment and have deep concerns about the constitutionality of the situation; I do know that if this fails and another lockdown occurs we will not survive the economic collapse that ensues. With Idaho data indicating an 8% death rate (recovered vs. deaths) this is nothing to play with. The article is correct in pointing out that most of Idaho can be treated differently than the situations in Ada and Blaine, we cannot overlook the fact that summer time tourism will bring large crowds from outside into the rural counties. We cannot afford to get this wrong. We have to break the infection chain.

Thank you for your kind reply. I disagree with the death rate being 8% It will be more like 0.5-0.8%. As testing increases and the denominator gets bigger the rate will be lower. Adjusting on the fly is important. As we move along and as hot spots declare themselves we can adjust—-just like South Korea. Hong Kong and Singapore. We now know the COVID-19 is more infective than we thought—Ro originally thought to be 2.5 now known to be 4-5, and less virulent than we thought—more like flue.

im sympathic to gov.little’s reasoning ! however even our state is diverse as is the country at large so i would be in favor of a region by region ,possibly county by county opening .surely a more difficult but precision mitigation against the virus …that being said as a compromise may 1 seems reasonable to me …………..stay safe ,keep informed on who you cast your vote for DONT VOTE [D] OR [R] IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE CANDIDATE STANDS FOR !!!!! no more apathy!

Today the death rate from Covid-19 in Idaho will be about 104 patients by Aug 4th. This is less than half the number of patients who will die in automobile accidents in our State. Time to quarantine cars? 95% of auto accidents occur with drivers under the age of 90, so our Governor should issue an executive order allowing only those older than 90 the “right’ to drive.

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