COVID Early Unlock Texas-Mississippi

Mississippi and Texas have announce opening of all businesses and recension of mandatory mask wearing as of March 6th. I have closed my state simulation files, but just for a rough idea what this means looked at a US model run with that unlock date. In the figure below this is compared to my baseline assumption of May 1 full unlock. Scroll down for discussion.

The heavy blue dots are the baseline prediction. The green line is the baseline unlock degree (unlock on May 1). The small pink dots are a simulation run for a March 6 unlock. Cases are up around 90% in a short period of time. This would likely trigger a re-lock.

Mortality would not be up that much because many high risk persons have been vaccinated.

This simulation includes the new more contagious strains, but they seem to be spreading faster than my assumption which is that they would require 3 months to fully take over.

The full unlock case will not be realized for three reasons. First, not everyone will return to their former activities and remove their masks. Second many people have lost jobs, some businesses are permanently closed, and interstate and international travel is still restrictive. And third, major retailers (so far Starbucks and Target) have announced they will continue to require masks and limit the number of customers in stores. Others are likely to follow suit. Whether Walmart and grocery stores follow suit will be a big factor. If the effectiveness of the unlock is 50%, this produces a 15% increase in total cases (not shown).

While I could have argued a year ago for a less restrictive lockdown resulting in herd immunity during the more easily controlled summer months, I cannot argue for this early unlock now. The damage to the economy is already done and little is gained by it. I suggest most people should continue wearing masks and postpone major activity increases until May.

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