COVID-19 response?

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  1. Philip Taylor said,

    March 14, 2020 @ 9:15 am

    Just about sums it up, really. I cannot help but feel that "develop herd immunity" is just Newspeak for "reduce the burden on the NHS by ensuring that as many as possible of those who are likely to make the greatest demands on its services are lost through 'natural wastage'".

  2. AntC said,

    March 14, 2020 @ 10:01 am

    "develop herd immunity" is a thing in epidemiology. And has been for decades, long before COVID-19 or SARS [see wikipedia]

    Losing herd immunity is what epidemiologists worry about with the anti-vaccination nutters. And it has come to pass: Western societies now have an incidence of measles that would never have happened if everybody got their jags on time. It's not as if 'natural wastage' avoids demand on health services. Kids with measles need intensive care, whether or not they pull through. Or do you advocate just leaving the really sick ones on the street to die?

    Since there's no vaccination against COVID-19, and not likely to be for over a year, and the Trump administration's incompetence and anti-science ideology has pretty much guaranteed it will be widespread in the USA (if it isn't already), Americans will just have to let it run its course. There will be deaths that could have been avoided, and avoidable demands on the public health infrastructure (avoidable by slowing the spread/levelling the demand). Countries with decent centralised universal healthcare are doing better. They'll probably have to close their borders to Americans for some time (as New Zealand has just done).

    The UK/NHS falls somewhere between the best and the worst.

    The worry is when it spreads from USA to South America, with its poor/already stressed health infrastructure. I suggest building a wall along the USA's Southern border to keep Americans out.

  3. Andrew Usher said,

    March 14, 2020 @ 12:16 pm

    More anti-American garbage. If you think Trump has butchered our response to the virus, and I've heard that many times, why can't you say exactly what he and his people should have done? It's easy to criticise when you aren't faced with the judgements yourself, and if he'd been most strict at trying to prevent its entrance to the country, what would you people be saying then? (I have a good guess.)

    The virus started in China, not America, and theit government is far more to blame than any other for allowing its spread – that is, if any could have prevented it.

    The fact is the 'herd immunity' defence requires almost everyone to have gotten the virus. No one wants to mention that, and it's questionable whether it will happen anyway – it doesn't with the ordinary kind of flu, in spite of not taking any of these special measures against its spread.

    Until and unless someone makes a vaccine – which is more likely to come from America than anywhere else – we're just going to have to deal with this as a long-term danger, as we have no idea when if ever it will stop being one. We will have to get over the short-term panic that is just about making everyone feel that they are absolved of blame, and is causing disruption that in the end will have been pointless.

    k_over_hbarc at

  4. Wally said,

    March 14, 2020 @ 1:07 pm

    Here you go. Not disbanding the pandemic response team two years ago would have been a good start, eh?

  5. Chris C. said,

    March 14, 2020 @ 1:38 pm

    @Andrew I think you'll also find it targets the UK non-response to the virus rather more exactly than the American.

    It's also time you learned it's not anti-American to see Trump's absolutely self-interested incompetence for what it is. What exactly he and his people should have done has been gone over and over again many times.

  6. AntC said,

    March 14, 2020 @ 2:16 pm

    More anti-American garbage.

    No I have nothing against Americans/some of my friends are American/etc. There's plenty of American epidemiologists telling America what should have been done, including even Anthony Fauci, despite Pence trying to corral him.

    I'll note South Korea has been testing tens of thousands of people per day. Most countries in S.E. Asia who knew what was coming, from the SARS experience, have taken judicious measures, which were already well prepared. America used to be better prepared, as @Wally points out.

    I'll delete the rest of what I was about to say, because this is not Politics Log nor Epidemiology Log.

  7. Don said,

    March 15, 2020 @ 12:05 pm

    Not Politics Log? That’s a good one.

  8. Andrew Usher said,

    March 15, 2020 @ 1:26 pm

    Well, I didn't mean it to become politics, either – but some people engage their reflexive anti-Trump comments any time they can, because (in my best estimation) they have some psychological need to see Trump as uniquely evil, incompetent, or corrupt – I can't really understand it.

    Anyway it's a matter of hindsight now, what could have been done, the question is whether it would have changed anything practically. Yes, the experts were saying to do this and that but you can't listen to the experts all the time because they all want more funding for their particular field and someone has to judge between them. It's not unreasonable, though, to say that this virus should make us worry more in that area, because we've now seen how things can get out of control. I think the most effective response has to be international because we can't depend on borders to stop it; with a proper response system it should have been cut off well before it escaped China.

    As for the alleged UK non-response, from what I've heard Boris Johnson seems to be the only leader willing to tell the truth about this matter.

  9. Viseguy said,

    March 15, 2020 @ 3:57 pm

    As one who's relished every episode of both series multiple times over the last 40 years, I highly recommend binge-watching [em]Yes, Minister[/em] and [em]Yes, Prime Minister[/em] pericyclically until such time as we have enough hard information about the the novel C-virus and its spread to form rational judgments about what to do and feel about them. Follow all official directives, of course, but in the meantime the hilarity will reduce stress and bolster your immune system.

  10. John Chew said,

    March 16, 2020 @ 1:47 pm

    Every time I see someone other than a public health official give advice about how people should prevent COVID-19 (so several times an hour), I am reminded that these well intentioned "friends" who are firehosing my social media have fallen victim to what Sir Humphrey Appleby called the Politician's Syllogism:

    Step One: We must do something.
    Step Two: This is something.
    Step Three: Therefore, we must do this.

  11. Philip Taylor said,

    March 18, 2020 @ 10:02 am

    Taking advantage of my voluntary self-isolation, I have just watched series 1, episodes 1 to 6, of "Yes Minister", back-to-back. I cannot thank Visegyy enough for his recommendation, which was (and is) very very much appreciated.

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