5-week COVID crush: MIT-trained physicist has plan to control virus

Posted at 8:51 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 11:04:47-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Ask anyone, and they'll probably tell you they're going through "COVID Fatigue."

It's a thing. In fact, UC Davis Health defines it in a study as tired of being cooped up, tired of being careful, and scared.

But what if we told you we could end this pandemic in just five weeks? An MIT-trained physicist claims he has a theory that can do just that.

"I am a physicist and complexity scientist, and I've been working on pandemics for 15 years," said Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam from his Massachusetts home.

Dr. Bar-Yam is president of the New England Complex Systems Institute. He's a data scientist who studies pandemics and is an expert in controlling infectious diseases. His recommendations were partly responsible for stopping Ebola in 2014, and he claims his complex theory could do the same to stop COVID-19 before a vaccine arrives.

"The crazy thing is we're always just about five weeks away from getting rid of this disease," said Dr. Bar-Yam.

Sounds promising, but his theory takes discipline.

"What we really need to do is implement a set of very strong actions," added Dr. Bar-Yam.

Those actions are on his website There are nine specific measures to crush COVID-19 in just five weeks and fully reopen our economy, our schools, and our lives.

"The most important thing locally is staying away from other people because the way the disease transmits is by breathing the same air or touching the same surfaces," said Dr. Bar-Yam.

One of those measures is a lockdown. But not what you might envision, by being cooped up and unable to leave your house.

Dr. Bar-Yam uses a theory called Green Zones, something we could even do at the county level. The goal is to go from neighborhood to neighborhood, on a micro-community level, getting coronavirus cases down to zero.

"You don't want to travel to other neighborhoods or other areas because that's how you transmit the disease from area to area," said Dr. Bar-Yam.

The first two weeks are used to isolate cases and stop transmission for 14 consecutive days. If you're not in a green zone, you can't travel outside your neighborhood.

Then, the next two to three weeks are used to effectively test, trace, and isolate anyone capable of transmitting the virus until your community is down to zero cases.

Dr. Bar-Yam describes what we're doing now as fighting a house fire by attacking the fire in only one room.

"That's right, it's all over the place, and we're constantly trying to deal with it. And we have to take super aggressive actions if the fire is burning all of the time," he said.

If you don't think it can work, know this: his method was practiced in Ireland, Iceland, and numerous other countries, including New Zealand, where less than five cases a day have been reported since May 3.

And yes, it even worked for the most part in China with it's 1.4 billion people.

But here's the catch: one of the nine measures to crush COVID is "getting everyone on board." As we've seen recently in Ocean Beach or the religious gathering in Cardiff with people packed together without masks, that's a hard thing to do.

"Everyone has to say, 'Yes, we're going to do this together. And it's our responsibility,'" said Dr. Bar-Yam. "You can't wait for the government. You can't wait for the mayor, or the county, or the state. It has to be a community decision to do this."