Being sick and alone is miserable. Being sick at home with your family might be dangerous.
The standard prescription from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the mildly ill to self-isolate at home is something doctors and nurses in coronavirus hot spots repeat hundreds of times each day. But there’s a devastating cost to the public policy decision: multiple families with multiple deaths.An 86-year-old matriarch and her three adult sons in New Orleans.High school sweethearts married for 57 years in Grove City, Ohio, and their son.Sisters in Chicago. A mother and daughter in Baltimore.All dead within days of each other because of the coronavirus.Amid the family tragedies come increasing calls for U.S. officials to isolate the mildly ill and infectious away from their homes — in convention centers, school gyms, anywhere else.It’s not just a public health issue but an economic one.Focusing restrictions more narrowly on the infected and their contacts, so that others can be freed from lockdown, has become a vital pillar of proposals to reopen the country.The issue is especially critical in light of research that suggests genetics may partly explain the wide disparity in how people react to covid-19, with some shrugging off the virus without even knowing they are infected and others facing death.On March 30, the World Health