a modest proposal, Covid-19 edition

inspired by reddit post The Case for Scaling Down the Economic Shutdown of Texas

we have not even come close to hitting our ICU bed cap that we increased in preparation and our overflow facilities are still very under utilized

Shower thought from a layman: since hospitalization is a lagging indicator, maybe communiities could tie public covid policy to percentage of bed cap utilization, say 50% for sake of discussion. Publish the bed utilization percentage where everyone can see it in near-real-time. Digital billboards, news, highway signs, included in traffic and weather reports.

If the community could keep bed utilization to 50% of cap by:

  • reducing transmission

  • improving overall health (reducing comorbidity)

  • increasing bed capacity

  • etc

then restrictions ease. Maybe outdoor groups can increase to 20. Maybe every-other-barstool or every-other-table guidelines. Maybe masks are not required.

If utilization goes back over 50% masks go back on and distancing requirements get stronger. Parks get cordoned off again.

It could offer public both the reality and the perception of control over their destiny.