MSU professor predicts eruption of COVID-19 if economy opens up too soon

Professor Leonard Fleck from Michigan State University joined FOX 2 Wednesday to share an important message.

Fleck discussed what could happen by eliminating social distancing too soon as a pandemic wind down.

"The biggest danger is that we would see an eruption again of the COVID virus. If we had another eruption of course that would mean that there would be large numbers of individuals who would be infected, some of whom would require hospitalization - roughly 20 percent would require some level of hospitalization. 

"Then we have to again revisit the issue of a shortage of perhaps Intensive Care Unit beds, and vents and so on. The worst fear of all, is that that there will be an increase in the number of people who would die, who should not have died if we had been a bit more careful in terms of opening up the economy."

FOX 2: Today in Lansing some very loud protests were happening. People were very upset that their civil liberties their constitutional rights are being trampled on right now based on the stay at home shelter. yet balancing it between public safety and civil liberties that's an important one that leaders have to strike right now?"

"The constitutional rights is sort of a legal issue. But our constitution does reflect sort of our fundamental social values. It's important to protect individual liberty but liberty is always restricted by either other rights and other liberties that others have, and by other kinds of fundamental social goods. Individuals, for example who own large factories may feel that their liberty to pollute the air and water shouldn't be infringed on by harsh environmental regulations. But those regulations by and large, are necessary to protect the larger public good. And the same sort of thing is really what's occurring with respect to the COVID virus. we are in effect saying we have to restrain your liberty with meeting anybody you want to meet with, (and the number of people) you want to meet with. We are restraining that for the sake of minimizing the risk of transmission."

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FOX 2: "A lot of people are saying you have to look at the economic harm that's being done and the mental health stress that's a health issue as well?"

"You used the right word there. It's a matter of striking a balance. I was a bit shocked and surprised by this one member of Congress from Indiana yesterday, who was on the news saying that he was perfectly willing to sacrifice some number of lives to COVID-19 for the sake of opening up the economy. And in part, he wanted to argue 'Well, there are lives that are lost as a result of individuals despairing, for example, committing suicide because of horrific economic losses and so on.' But, the concerns that are associated with the harm that's associated with economic loss of the various kinds, those are very speculative kinds of harms. 

"The harms that are associated with the COVID virus are not at all speculative. We have genealogists who can predict with a fairly high degree of accuracy the number of individual lives that will be lost if we were to have a second wave because of prematurely opening the economy that was comparable to say the first wave that seems to be cresting right now."

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