The pandemic: The view after 5 months

jeff1234

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Today the Guardian took a look at where we are with the pandemic and what the future looks like. The authors are an infectious diseases professor and a writer/documentary film maker.
Their assessment of the pandemic to date has (IMHO) the ring of truth so I've quoted it below.
However their prescriptions don't ring true. They don't consider the impact of the lockdowns that they recommend, on families, businesses, schools.
And while they say that the virus will always be with us and that we must accept the fact that an effective vaccine may not be available for awhile or ever, they recommend an intense lockdown until a strong system of rapid testing and contact tracing are available even though the chances of this ever happening maybe more remote than a vaccine.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/04/coronavirus-pandemic-wave-wildfire

  • These pandemics are often described in terms of “waves” and “troughs”. We have now seen enough to replace the ocean analogy with a better one: wildfire.
  • Like a wildfire, the virus relentlessly seeks out fuel (human hosts), devastating some areas while sparing others. It will continue spreading until we achieve sufficient herd immunity – when 50 to 70% of the population has developed protective antibodies. No amount of official happy talk will change that
  • We now have compelling evidence that Sars-CoV-2 is not affected by seasonality or regional weather; it spreads by the human contact and mixing that occurs in areas of high population density. .
  • We don’t yet know whether immunity is permanent or short-lived. We also don’t know if a vaccine, if and when we develop one, will be a bull’s-eye success like the vaccines for polio or measles, or more of a hope-for-the-best agent like seasonal flu vaccine. We hope vaccine development efforts will prove effective, but hope is not a strategy.
  • Like HIV, Sars-Cov-2 is here to stay, and realism must inform our strategic response.
  • Studies of previous pandemics, wars and other times of intense national stress show that people react most calmly and effectively when leadership tells them the truth, even if that truth is frightening. If you don’t have answers, say so; tell the public what you’re doing to learn more. So far, the United States has largely seen the opposite approach: moving-target messaging that is often scientifically erroneous, irrationally optimistic and leaves the public in desperate confusion over who and what to believe, with science the first casualty.
  • In the coming months, US morbidity and mortality will largely depend on how much fuel the Covid-19 wildfire has access to. While a full, Wuhan-style lockdown is impractical, we need to get as close as we can in hotspots of dangerously increasing case counts, suspending all but strictly essential services, to get transmission down to a manageable level. This is an extremely delicate balancing act, since so many functions are necessary to keep society going. Yet areas that observed tight shelter-in-place constraints, like New York and some countries in Asia and Europe, showed that we can bring the deadly numbers down and bring back the economy in a safer public environment.
  • Unfortunately, the US has often been far too optimistic and cavalier: at the first signs of effectiveness against Covid-19, we exhaled and concluded that we were “over the hump”, even when the case count exceeded 20,000 a day. We told ourselves that the curve had been flattened and business as usual could resume. The grim statistics, however, speak for themselves. We must bring the infection rate down to a level where testing results are rapid enough that follow-up tracing can actually identify contacts in time to halt further transmission. Since the virus made landfall we have failed to do so.
  • We know that strategic lockdown causes great economic and social pain, and we must be prepared to continue taking care of those who suffer as a result, whatever the price. There are no foolproof or easy answers, and even nations that were initially successful in containment are facing renewed spread as their economies reopen.But of one thing we can be certain: the cost of not acting will far exceed the cost of our second chance to get this right. And we may not have the luxury of a third.

 

Alby

Registered
Precisely.

None of this is actually rocket science. If we have been reading serious (written) journalism (as opposed to social media and videos from so-called thought leaders) all of this has been evident since the disaster first really came to attention in March.

We now have all the information we need to plan the next two or three years of our lives based on the reality of a virus that is going to keep spreading, and an economy that is going to be unable to recover.
 

EL_TIGRE_de_Tigre

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SILLINESS!

Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, most people are cowering in fear from something that statistically will not end their lives.

I had a lot more to say than this, but I cut it out of my post so as not to upset anyone beyond what I have just shared.
 

FrankPintor

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SILLINESS!

Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, most people are cowering in fear from something that statistically will not end their lives.

I had a lot more to say than this, but I cut it out of my post so as not to upset anyone beyond what I have just shared.
Ah, so you subscribe to utilitarianism. As everyone else will say, "after you, then".
 

antipodean

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Extreme countries like Argentina do not want to adapt to the fact that we need to find a way to live with the virus for a long time to come.
Extreme countries like the USA and Brazil do not want to adapt to the fact that there is a virus living amongst them for a long time to come.
Like anything in life, extremes are rarely sustainable or without massive costs involved. Yet there are places in the world getting on with adaptation, which as the word suggests is an ongoing process of trial and error but at least it is an action that involves change.
 

Pensador

Registered
The most important thing is just to do the right thing protocols and they are not hard. Sadly too many fools in the world for that. Keeping medical infrastructure intact these are the people we should be protecting with easy to follow effective protocols. In the end it is just respect not much of that around either.
 

antipodean

Registered
https://www.infobae.com/america/the-new-york-times/2020/08/05/un-monstruo-aun-peor-se-esta-propagando-otra-pandemia-y-no-es-el-coronavirus/

This is an interesting take on the unintended consequences of devoting so much effort and resources to fighting COVID which so far this year has killed 700,000 worldwide.

Over 80% of treatment programs for tuberculosis have been interrupted. TB is the world's deadliest infectious disease which already kills about 1,5 million people every year. The interruption and barriers to treatment as a result of the fight against COVID are increasing the transmission of the disease and risking more drug resistant strains taking hold. For centuries TB used to account for 20-25% of all deaths in Europe until the use of antibiotics and other treatments in the early 20th century, while now days deaths are overwhelmingly focused in the poorest corners of the world.
Other diseases such as HIV and Malaria are also in the spotlight.

"According to one calculation, a three-month closure in different parts of the world and a gradual return to normal over ten months could result in an increase of 6.3 million cases of tuberculosis and 1.4 million of deaths from this disease.

"A six-month interruption of antiretroviral therapy could lead to more than 500,000 additional deaths from HIV-related illness, according to the WHO. Another WHO model predicted that, in the worst case, deaths from malaria could double to 770,000 per year ."


It is also interesting to look at the effect of COVID on societies in developing countries in Africa or places like Afghanistan where a third of the population are estimated to have been infected, but the reported death rates don't appear to be extraordinary (e.g. 1,200 in Afghanistan) perhaps due to the pre-existing prevalence of other equally or more deadly infectious diseases masking the true impact... raising the questions of perspective and perhaps even first-world shock at having to deal with a rampant infectious disease in first-world communities again, where rich lives are worth infinitely more than poor lives.
 

gracielle

Registered
The statistical data pertains to the US. According to the article, how coronavirus numbers should be viewed can be applied to ARG.
 
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