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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Did you ever think millions of Americans would consider college students “victims?” That’s what absurd college and community leadership policies have brought us. Michigan State University, my alma mater, closed down face-to-face classes in August while Michigan has had barely any COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths amidst steady “cases” for months now. Doesn’t that tell our leaders anything?

Students from 37 colleges and universities have registered 50,000 “cases” since students returned to campus in August. And how many of the students got sick? Well, maybe a couple. How many have died? Zero.


College leadership has done what most states did since the lockdown: They are locking down everyone without regard and not securing the vulnerable, rather than promoting safety and insulation for the at-risk segments of the population and freeing everyone else up. One size does not fit all. If one has extreme obesity, severe diabetes, severe hypertension or a serious respiratory condition, they should exercise precautions and be very careful. If one is over 75, they, too, should exercise caution. College students? They should be free to be college students.

Dr. Scott Atlas has made some very reasonable assertions about the pandemic. He has suggested we need the people not at risk to be free and be able to catch SARS-CoV-2, allow their bodies to develop immunity so they are no longer transmitters, and eventually, there will not be enough people to spread it, and it will fizzle out. That position has been attacked, but isn’t it reasonable? Look at the data from New York, Sweden, Michigan and Connecticut, just as a sampling. All had their hard-hit moments, and now they are realizing virtually no activity. Is there any logical explanation for their lack of COVID-19 activity other than a population immunity?

Colorado has seen about five daily-average COVID-19 fatalities for months, that with everyone that follows this knowing, up to half of the COVID-19 deaths are not from COVID-19. So, in response to this very positive data, what is Boulder, Colorado, doing? Selectively locking down those least vulnerable.

Boulder is a lovely community. It’s self-contained an hour outside of Denver and offers limitless outdoor activities and a healthy lifestyle. I know, I’ve climbed there many times. Boulder County issued a specific order for 18-22-year-olds to “stop the spread.” It’s hard to imagine even having to analyze and report on such a ridiculous order.

In Boulder County, adults age 18-22 are now prohibited from any gatherings of any size; they may only leave their living space for essential travel; public transportation is banned; in living arrangements of four or more, people may not congregate in common areas and must wear a face-covering in all common areas and social distance.

University of Colorado students who test positive even if asymptomatic, must self-quarantine, isolate from others, use a separate bathroom (or disinfect a common one!), not travel, basically experience solitary confinement. Thank goodness they haven’t taken the kids’ laptops or phones away.

It’s too much to ask to clone Govs. Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Ron DeSantis of Florida for leadership positions all over the country and at K-grad schools, but wouldn’t that be fair for our students? Perhaps the best underground business sprouting up in Boulder will be fake IDs. It’ll be the first time a 21-year-old will pay for an ID that represents they are 17. That’s where we are.

• Michael Betrus is a researcher and the best-selling author of a new book “COVID 19: Lockdowns on Trial.” You can follow Michael on Twitter @betrus_michael.


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