American Enterprise Institute Plan to Reopen the Economy

The American Enterprise Institute has produced a plan to reopen the economy, with the lead author Scott Gottlieb, former FDA administrator. While I am generally negative about this very conservative organization, this is a serious plan which deserves consideration.

One point of disagreement I have is the plan’s view that social gatherings should be limited to no more than 50 people; I think this number is much too high–maybe 10 is a reasonable number.

So any thoughts about the specifics of this plan? [Straight Dope already has other threads on generalities of reopening, so please keep discussion here to this specific plan]

I’ve only read the Executive Summary at this point, but my thoughts are: 1) you’re right, 50 is too high, 2) it seems to rely on a level of testing we don’t currently have. Perhaps this is addressed later in the paper, but we need a serious plan to ramp up testing capability. And 3) I think any plan that expects over-60s and other vulnerable folks to continue to quarantine themselves while everyone else goes back to (semi-)normal is deeply unfair and unrealistic. Hiding out here in my house protects me, sure, but it also protects all the vulnerable people in the population who I might otherwise come into contact with, even indirectly. For example, say I am or become an asymptomatic carrier. I pass the virus on to Joe at the park as we pass each other on the walking trail. Joe is an orderly at assisted-care facilities, but is also asymptomatic. He passes the virus on to elderly folks who he tends to, but also to his mom, Betsy, age 75, while having Sunday dinner. Now maybe they shouldn’t have been having Sunday dinner with his elderly mom, but we can’t expect vulnerable people to shut off all in-person contact with their families while everyone else goes back to normal.

Now eventually, the CDC catches up with me, and I get tested, and show up positive. I go into quarantine, but guess what - it’s too late.