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  • Writer's pictureDavid Bernhart

A Voice of Reason

Amid the turmoil resulting from the coronavirus and COVID-19, I commend to you the first segment of last Friday's Clark Howard podcast. Clark hosts a nationally syndicated personal finance radio show, works as a consumer reporter for television and is one of the most reasonable people I know in media:

In less than 15 minutes, Clark (a) describes how Taiwan learned a decade ago from our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the right way to manage a viral outbreak and has brought that knowledge to bear with great success against COVID-19, while our CDC failed to follow its own teaching when the current virus came on the horizon, (b) tells the story of Vò, a town in the north of Italy that stopped COVID-19 in its tracks without bringing daily life for all residents to a halt and (c) explains why stay-at-home orders and lockdowns of large swaths of the citizenry will be ineffective at minimizing either the number of Americans who die in the pandemic or the economic damage we all face.

Clark acknowledges that, of course, the United States is not a small island nation like Taiwan or one town in Italy. But over the past couple of weeks, my gut was already signaling me that our political leaders, though well-meaning, were taking us in the wrong direction on this matter. As we speak, I've become even more convinced that de-emphasizing universal testing for coronavirus in this country at the beginning of the outbreak was a mistake. I also believe that continuing not to make testing the top priority and instead essentially quarantining the entire population is the opposite of what needs to be done.

All this said, Clark Howard closes the segment on a fairly optimistic note, speculating that the fight against COVID-19 may be years-long, but we will get our act together. I'm taking that to heart. I already look forward to reuniting with friends and family members whose companionship has been interrupted. I'm even eager to see people I don't really like.

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