Alameda County, California Will PAY Those Who Test Positive for Coronavirus $1,250

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A northern California county has approved a trial plan to pay anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus disease $1,250, with the idea that paying them to stay home is the only way to deter them from spreading the disease.

Alameda county supervisors are arguing that it’s the only way to prevent people from spreading the disease. “Many of them just could not afford to lose two weeks’ worth of wages to quarantine and isolate,” said policy director Vanessa Cedeño.

It’s unclear how Alameda County plans to deal with the prospect of individuals intentionally contracting coronavirus with the promise of filing for unemployment and receiving the county’s generous stipend for a positive diagnosis. The trial plan does require documentation of a positive test to receive the payment.

The plan may be geared towards illegal immigrants, as county supervisors are maintaining immigration status may not be taken into account. Recipients of the payment also can’t be receiving unemployment benefits, but it’s unclear how the county government plans to verify this.

The plan could unwitting set off a firestorm of coronavirus within the county, incentivizing hundreds or thousands of young and healthy people to intentionally procure the disease, acquire antibodies to it, and secure a Alameda County check in doing so.

There’s a strong case to be made for renewed unemployment payments, another round of TrumpBux-style payments(possibly recurring), or even more social safety measures in the duration of the coronavirus epidemic, but paying individuals on the mere basis of a coronavirus diagnosis could be a strong contender for induction into the Bad Ideas Hall of Fame.