Recommended #CovidZero speech for President Joe Biden

by Yaneer Bar-Yam, New England Complex Systems Institute, endcoronavirus.org, covidzero.us, covidactiongroup.net

My fellow Americans

There is nothing we can’t do together. Today I am presenting to you a science-based plan to eliminate the coronavirus from the United States. We can meet this challenge as we have met challenges before.

We are not only facing the original coronavirus, we are facing new faster transmitting and potentially vaccination evading mutants. Some of them are already here, some may be here soon, or start here. We have to stop accepting defeat and get ahead of the virus and stop it.

We have talked about our plan for vaccination. We will vaccinate 100 million in our first 100 days.

But today we must recognize what scientists who are pandemic outbreak experts know, and manifest experience shows, as long as we are reactive the virus grows, causing severe disease and death, our hearts are torn by its affect on elderly, those with other illnesses, workers, blacks, browns and vulnerable. And even young and healthy may get severely sick and end up with long term disability. Everyone loses dear loved ones.

The vaccine will not solve this problem for months. We need an exit strategy now and there is only one that has been shown to be effective in countries around the world including Australia. Some say Australia is an island but look again, it is larger than the continental US.

Many have argued that we can’t do this or that, but we can stop the coronavirus, no we must stop it. This will not be easy but we do not only take on easy tasks, we do what is hard because short term pain will be long term gain.

We can save lives and we can save the economy by taking a short 5-week pause of any unnecessary activity that would bring people into contact. And by rapidly identifying cases and isolating them, protecting their family and friends, and, crucially, providing support for those who need it.

We have the money and the compassion to help anyone who needs it and to emerge after 5-weeks with almost no transmission around the country.

We need to carefully track transmission with contact tracing investigations so that we know which communities are without transmission. We can safely open municipalities as soon as they have no transmission. And get them back to near normal in a few weeks whenever they reach that goal. Their main limitation will be on non-essential travel until other areas are without transmission too. At the same time we will focus attention and financial support on areas that still need it.

Then we can rapidly contract the areas that still have transmission and states and the country can get back to normal so we can share family occasions, go to restaurants and sports events, and reopen our economy fully rather than have overwhelmed hospitals and a mostly shut down economy.

For those who will respond that we are asking them to give up on freedom, they are not allowed to park in handicapped spots or run red lights either.

Any community or state that doesn’t go all out to defeat the virus will lag and others will surge ahead to normal. The proof will be in the doing and the freedom it will bring.

It is time to come together as a country and defeat this virus and we will.

Complex systems scientist studying social and economic systems, president of the New England Complex Systems Institute. Author of Making Things Work