Our nation is polarized. Some people want to completely reopen the country to save our jobs and the economy, while others do not want to reopen because a few dozen infected Americans in early March has led to 1.5 million becoming infected (and 90,000 deaths), so they worry about what would happen if we reopen with an estimated 17 million currently infected.
But is there a way to reopen our nation safely?
The answer is yes! We should conduct a voluntary nationwide testing so that the 95% of us who are not infected can safely return to work, while the 5% (17 million) who are infected can stay home to recover or get treated.
However, since only 3% of Americans have been tested so far, we really don’t know who the 17 million infected are, and the only way to find out is through a national testing. Finding a pandemic without testing is like fighting a boxing match with our eyes closed.
To do that, we would need to perform 10 million tests per day, a significantly higher number than our current 200,000 a day, which is only 1/50th that target.
But is such high-speed testing even feasible? Yes! There are cities around the world that are testing over one million people a day. So if a single city can do that, our country should be able to test 10 million a day.
National testing clearly offers the safest approach to reopening our nation, so why aren’t we doing it?
That is because our nation is so gridlocked right now with both sides being preoccupied at criticizing each other that the merit of the issue itself has unfortunately been largely ignored! The answer is right in front of us but we can’t see it, like a blind spot.
To truly see the issue, we have to overcome our polarization and find common ground. We need to listen, to see from each other’s perspective, and to aspire to the higher goal of putting our nation’s best interest ahead of our own.
Finding common ground right now will not only help us discover a solution (i.e., national testing), but will also, and even more importantly, inspire all of us to change and become more willing to work together.
We can do it! We are Americans, and we thrive on innovating and overcoming obstacles! We can conduct the necessary testing if we set our minds to it.
Will people choose to get tested if it is voluntary? Yes, as has been proven by the annual flu shot, and like the flu shot, we need to make the testing accessible and convenient.
Speaking of tests, this issue is really a test of our national character. Combating this virus has somehow further polarized us, so it is up to us now to show that when everything is on the line we can in fact work together and find common ground, and that is this: we all care about human lives, and we all care about our jobs and the economy. So let’s do both, namely, reopen, and at the same time, expeditiously test.
If we do this, we will be able to show that we as Americans can indeed overcome our differences and come together as a nation at a most critical time, making this our generation’s finest hour.
Dr. Ming Wang is a Harvard and MIT graduate (MD, magna cum laude) and one of the few cataract and LASIK surgeons in the world today who holds a doctorate degree in laser physics.
Ming grew up during China’s Cultural Revolution – during which millions of innocent youth were deported to remote areas to face a life sentence of poverty and hard labor. Ming had to play the Chinese violin erhu and learn to dance in order to escape labor camps. He eventually made his way to America with only $50 and graduated with the highest honors from Harvard Medical School and MIT.
Dr. Wang founded a 501c(3) non-profit charity, the Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration, which to date has helped patients from over 40 states in the U.S. and 55 countries, with all sight restoration surgeries performed free-of-charge. He was named the Kiwanis Nashvillian of the Year for his lifetime dedication to helping blind orphan children from around the world.
Dr. Wang is the co-founder and president of the Tennessee Immigrant and Minority Business Group, and the co-founder of the Common Ground Network, a 501c(3) non-profit organization that focuses on Dr. Wang’s lifelong mission to help people find common ground and solutions to our society’s problems.
From Darkness to Sight, Dr. Wang’s autobiography, has inspired the upcoming movie Sight.