Rome, Campidoglio: the Miliarium (milestone), point of departure of the consular roads by Lalupa (from here).

When we are making a plan, what is a milestone?

Definition of milestone

1: a stone serving as a milepost (see MILEPOST sense 1)
2: a significant point in development
//Graduating from college was an important milestone in her life.

Here we will use the term “milestone” in the second sense. What is the context? How do we get our economy back up and running after shutting it down for a month and a half?

First we had 15 day shutdown, and now we have another 30 day shutdown. That was announced at a briefing (See the video below.).

We cannot keep the American economy shut down indefinitely, and the longer the economy is shut down the more damage WE will sustain. WE must work to provide ourselves all kinds of things, including food, clothing and shelter. If WE don’t work? Eventually WE don’t have the things WE need to survive.

Right now only those people those in authority have deemed essential are still working. However, everyone who works does work deemed essential by someone. If nothing else, that person depends upon their own income to provide for their own needs.

Does spendthrift Federal spending like that 2.2 trillion dollar Cares Act solve the problem of shutting down the economy? Not really. When Congress just prints money and spends it, the money supply increases. If the supply of goods and services is going down, then we just have more money chasing fewer goods and services. That means prices will quickly go up, which means our money will quickly become worth less. Do that too many times and no one will want our money. Even those people whose work is supposedly essential have little interest in giving away the fruits of their labors for worthless money. Everyone depends upon their income to provide for their own needs and the needs of their families.

So what can we do to get out of this mess? Instead of being afraid of COVID-19, we need to start thinking about what we can do to get back to work without getting sick from the virus. We need to start planning NOW, and we need to set some concrete milestones.

The Federal Government is in charge of overall planning. That includes developing the transition milestones for each phase of our response to the threat posed by COVID-19.

  1. We are still stuck in phase 1. To increase social distancing, we have shut down much of our economy. To implement the shutdown and radical social distancing, the Federal Government has developed a bunch of guidelines for different organizations and individuals in different situations and for different tasks.  (see Coronavirus (COVID-19)). That includes providing state governments social distancing guidelines. In addition, this guidance supports both developing and distributing the resources we need to fight the virus.
  2. The Federal Government needs to define clear criteria for exiting phase 1 and to develop a strategy for phase 2. In phase 2 we need to lift the quarantine on everyone and just quarantine the people who have the virus. We need to let most people go back to work. To do that we need three pieces of information. That includes guidelines for phase 2 social distancing (including the use of personal protective equipment like face masks), the point at which (definitional criteria) we will have both the equipment and personnel in place to reliably test and identify those people who are carrying the virus, and the point at which we will have both the equipment and personnel in place to reliably test and identify those people who have had the virus and now have immunity. Then we can ascertain (model) how much social distancing is required in phase 2. Then we can determine what businesses should be allowed to reopen and what regulations those businesses have to follow to keep the virus from spreading.
  3. The Federal Government also needs to define exit criteria for phase 2. Current guidance prohibits large gatherings, making it impossible for people to attend live entertainment, churches, restaurants, and so forth. Some states have even prohibited in person voting, use of public playgrounds, shut down schools, and so forth. In phase 3, we need to have achieved enough confidence that we have identified the carriers of the virus and quarantined them. At the same time, we want to maintain sufficient social distancing that someone won’t accidentally take the virus into an elder care facility or a public gathering and kill a bunch of people. We need to get back to the point we are not worried about children spreading a deadly disease.

Since we are federation, state and local governments must take the lead in implementing the guidance provided by the Federal Government at each milestone. Because the United States has over 80,000 local governments, state governments can allow localities to efficiently deal with their own unique problems in the own way. That is, state and local governments need to take the lead in modifying business regulations as they see fit so that they can prepare for phase 2 and phase 3 as soon as possible. Therefore, the Trump administration needs to stop focusing on the shutting down the economy and to start figuring what is needed to restart it NOW!



  1. Doug,

    China makes the majority of N95 masks and 90 percent of medical supplies to the USA including medical ventilators.

    These type masks and medical supplies require specialized machinery which cannot be made in weeks, months, and even years.

    You are certainly right that the USA never prepared for any emergency because it is sheer folly to not have manufacturing capabilities in the USA to supply its own medical supply needs.

    I doubt you can blame Trump for not trying to change this sad situation.

    As for your comments blaming Trump for not reacting soon enough, what was every legislator in Washington and the news media focused on in the later half of 2010 and 2020?


    Regards and goodwill blogging.

  2. Thanks for the link, Tom. If I were in charge, I’d get massive, wide scale testing going on. I think those numbers would show about half of us have already had this virus and had no symptoms at all. That would lower the death rate, the fear mongering. Iceland is doing studies, and our tests on cruise ships have shown that to be true. There is something really fishy about rationing those tests.

    1. @IB

      I am not certain how many caught the virus and remained asymptomatic, but I think the authorities honestly believe that virus is dangerous enough to justify what they are doing.

      They are rationing the tests because they are still building up their capability. Think where we were a couple of weeks ago.

      Give them more time, and be thankful Nancy Pelosi is not president.

      1. LOL! Yep, thankful Nancy is not President, however, it’s nearly as bad! With State jurisdiction we are really all just at the mercy of our Governor’s. Mine happens to be thumping his chest because he’s insecure and he thinks it makes President Trump look bad.

        I remain totally unconvinced there is a shortage of tests. There is a rationing of tests, which is something quite different and rather scandalous. I’m sure the whole story will come to light someday, but there has definitely been some shenanigans going on in that area.

        1. The only shenanigans going on is that the current demand for ingredients for the corona virus tests has depleated stocks and exceeds global production capacity (there are only few producers capable of producing them right now). No shenanigans required.

  3. Thank you for liking to my post Tom. And yes, we desperately need an exit strategy as the negative effects of a shut down economy are enormous and compounding daily. This inevitably will lead to a social catastrophe and civil unrest.

  4. The testing is the problem. For the forseeable future there will not be enough resources to test everyone, be it for current or past infection.

    1. So true marmoewp. Until we know how may people have had or currently has the virus which is estimated to be quite high, we can’t know the true death rate. Too many people are acting like they do.

    2. @marmoewp

      The medical community tends to habitually err towards safety. Our lawyers sue too much. Therefore, when they have protective equipment, for example, they will use it up rapidly and not readily consider reuse.

      1. The medical community over here is taking (despite saner tort laws) a comparable approach to not reusing PPE, the reason simply being how contageous the virus is. Please have a look, at how many doctors and nurses at the hospitals all over the world caught Covid-19 in the end, despite all the precautions taken. Without the “erring towards safety”, the situation would be way worse. Take a look at patient 31 in South Korea, who was tested twice before showing up as positive; in the meantime she had visited two mega church services; over the next two weeks 2900 new cases were observed, most of them members of that congregation. Or have a look, at how the Coronavirus is ploughing through ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel, who do not heed social distancing rules.

        1. @marmoewp

          Sterilization technology has been around for awhile. If the only way to effectively have enough equipment is to sterilize it and reuse it, that surely beats the alternative.

          1. @Tom
            It is a desperate move to avoid the worst outcome, and I think it is the right thing to do. However, it isn’t a panacea either. You can approve sterilisation techniques all you want, if the hospitals do not have the neccessary equipment to sterilise the required volume of PPE, you still don’t have enough.

          2. @marmoewp

            That means manufacturer who got sterilization will have to get his product out quick to maximize profits. So, I expect sterilization will soon be available. Optimism can be profitable.

  5. What’s with all you Trumpian Conservatives wanting to deny this is happening at all?? The road to economic recovery is when the virus is under control and the fears of the country have been reduced. If that doesn’t happen.. then all your economic prognostications are just plain moot. As of this moment there’s like 12 states who’s GOP governors are too busy ignoring what’s going on to declare a lockdown. Trump, the GOP, the right wing death threats against Fauci.. Conservatives are going berserk in science denial… because of the politics. You realize Trump has lost the election, and likely most these governors, if we ever get to that point, right? I mean… you get to losing 100,000 Americans to this virus you start affecting everyone in some way…. and when loved ones die, the survivors are going to want to blame the current leaders. It will have ZERO to do with Hillary’s 30,000 emails, some Comey conspiracy, or dossiers.

    You are truly in a disconnect, Tom.

    1. They’ll find a way to put the blame on somebody else, don’t you worry. After all, who could have known before {text-module:current-date}, that the Corona-virus could cause a problem.

      1. Actually, it’s called preparedness. Over the last decade we’ve had any number of viruses pop up to the point that it was fairly obvious (to me especially) that the threat of some human apocalypse would very likely be nothing to do with nukes, earthquakes, or zombies and entirely all about disease running rampant… originating either in Africa or Asia. Obama administration did indeed use up national stockpiles to handle that last outbreak in 2009, I believe. The Obama folks recently reported that the shortage of medical stockpiles was provided in a transition briefing to the incoming Trump administration…. over three years ago. Apparently Trump sat on it. Add to that the total ill-preparedness of the entire government bureaucracy, and incompetence of Trump thinking beyond his own political skin. Of course Trump never caused this outbreak… but he’s certainly the guy bungling the response to it… and has a role in our not being prepared for it.

      2. @marmoewp

        When are you going to figure out that the news media deliberately misrepresents Trump and his supporters?

        Is Trump a saint? No, but he isn’t the devil either. He has handled COVID-19 as well as anyone might have expected. The Red Chinese hid it.So, our CDC has been doing a lot of guesswork, and they really fouled up the testing initially. However, Trump has been trying to fix problems, not blame.

        1. Noi, Tom. This is a declared national emergency that Trump has bungled from the get-go. He thought it petty in the very beginning.. and so did all the Trump supporters… in lock-step. Then he’s left the response all up to the states.. who are scrambling independently to get supplies… and fighting against the Fed. Trump wanted re-election.. it’s all about himself and blaming others… and this constant hero worship when all these people step before the microphone at those press updates. Trust me on this one, Tom… as the deaths mount up more and more family survivors are going to blame Trump.

          1. @Doug

            We are a Federation. The states are supposed to take the lead in something like this. I would add “you idiot”, but I know too many otherwise intelligent people who are listening to journalists who don’t know what they are talking about. They just think the solution to everything is for everyone to March in lockstep even if it is off a thousand foot cliff.

          2. A national emergency is NOT an “it’s up to the states” situation at all. FDR in WWll if you recall. The ridiculousness in 50 uncoordinated efforts.. bidding on essential equipment against each other and the government. This is totally absurd. The federal government provides for the “common defense” not state governors doing their own thing… especially when there’s a disease pandemic, for God’s sake, when so much depends on controlling the spread… given the virus could care less about the Constitution, state borders… Conservative politics, or Trump.

          3. @Doug

            So the Constitution authorizes the president to declare a “national emergency” and then do whatever he wants?

            The Constitution makes the president the Commander in Chief. It put him in charge of military situations. “Fighting” an epidemic is not a war. It may require the best allocation of scarce resources (things made in China), but it doesn’t require making our president a dictator.

          4. You’ve forgotten history. There are times, Tom, where we actually need to TRUST a leader to lead in order to expedite a response to save the nation. This, of course, does NOT mean the current leader, whomever that might be in time, is qualified to lead in a crisis. Which makes placing your vote for a presidential candidate far more than just voting for a guy who wants the world to be like what you want… but that’s for another day.
            Point being… you cannot run a country like this by separating powers but rather consolidating them… and literally hoping for the best. And while YOU might not think this is a war, does not mean the crisis at hand.. the threat to the nation… does not require a centralized, cooperative response provided by the Commander-in-Chief. Besides, Trump declared himself a wartime president, which he seems to relish.. and why? Because he fashions himself as some president-for-life and only he knows how to save the country. It’s all about him.
            The bad part is that he has his devoted Republican minions who don’t think this crisis is all that bad, driven entirely by a Liberal media wanting Trump to look bad, and GOP governors are so incensed with the Socialism blatherings from the Dem candidates that they want NO echo of any kind of Socialism so they are not favoring the Defense Production Act because it “echoes” Socialism… and they prefer the economy to lives so they can get re-elected.
            Methinks the Trump GOP is gonna be adios amigo in the next election as the body count rises and the finger pointing begins.

          5. @Doug

            What a leader does is lead. Leading involves providing a vision and direction to the people who actually do the work. In a free country, we have lots of leaders. These leaders seek out and perform the tasks they have been called to do. In a tyrannical state there is only one leader, and he prevents more useful activity than he accomplishes. Still, if the only thing that impresses you is watching everyone march in lockstep, I suppose that tyrant can comfort you.

    2. @Doug

      I am not denying anything. I am just pointing out that putting everyone in quarantine is not a good solution. Even “social distancing” is a compromise. If we really wanted no one to spread the virus, we wouldn’t let anyone get within 100 feet of any place anyone else was or had been. But no one can live that way.

      Similarly, we have to work to take care of each other. So, we have to move on to phase 2 sooner rather than later.

  6. Tom,

    Until a cure or vaccine becomes available, coronavirus is a legitimate fear people need to take seriously.

    I believe we seem to know how it is transmitted by infectious vapors and droplets. What is needed are quick means to either determine who is infected and to provide effective ways to protect people mainly inside areas where the infectious vapors can linger in airflows.

    Government main milestone needs to prioritize ways and means to figure out the quickest means to provide protective apparel to prevent the spread, and means to test people from entry into any enclosed areas. And to make certain workers in enclosed areas are not infected until hopefully an effective medicine to cure or a vaccine becomes available.

    Anyone like me who has five strikes already like me should not venture into any congested outside area or enclosed areas.

    Until protective means are available, or the virus life is shortened, without a cure or vaccine, the economy we once had of travel and eating out or working side by side is never going to rebound, in my opinion.

    And as King Solomon prioritized about never ending challenges and fleeting treasures we accumulate over time in life.

    There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!” (Ecclesiastes 9:4)

    Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. (NIV)

    Hope and pray in the meantime for both government and everyone to wise up and help each other best they can, including what is now best show of love, is by staying away from each other vapors and droplets.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

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