Sunday, July 04, 2021

Coronavirus 55 Two Approaches

Approach 1

Zero Covid: Suppression, Elimination, Eradication.

Understand that if nobody goes near anybody else the virus dies out in a very few weeks. For a modern society to survive some people have to meet, to work in, for example, the health services, energy, farming and food and telecommunications industries. Recognition that SARS-CoV-2 is essentially an airborne spread virus, personal protection, distancing, ventilation,
 hygiene, and the rest minimises transmission amongst these whose work is life-critical to society. Testing finds those who are infected, isolation with sufficient support prevents further community transmission. Minimising travel into an area and effective quarantining of those that must travel stops community re-infection.

This approach is led by governments putting minimising deaths as the top priority over everything else.

Examples with their covid deaths per million population.

Laos 0.4
Vietnam 0.9
China 3
New Zealand 5
Singapore 6

Approach 2

'Herd Immunity'

Assume that the virus cannot be stopped, will have to be 'lived with' and accept that a great many people will die and a vastly greater number will suffer long-term and even permanent ill health. ("Take it on the chin; let the bodies pile high" in Mr Johnson's words.)

A minimum of restrictions are applied, not to suppress and eliminate the virus but to manage the spread of the disease such that the health services are not totally overwhelmed. 'Flattening the curve'. Vaccination is used as a tool, almost of first resort, for the more vulnerable sections of the population while leaving children to catch the disease and develop natural immunity, at least in those who survive.

This approach is led by governments with a laissez-faire attitude, putting  popularism ahead of leadership that informs its population about scientific understanding with honesty and integrity. 

Examples, again with covid deaths per million population:

USA 1866
UK 1879
Brazil 2446
Hungary 3113
Peru 5775

Several of th
e poorest performing countries have suffered a thousand times worse than several of the best. It's not about political system, or size, or wealth, or physical geography. Success has been about governments that put lives first, and governments whose populations trust them to act for the common good. 

We in the UK are now at a critical moment, the government intent on relaxing restrictions further and, having raised public expectation by promising to do so, have left themselves, deliberately it seems, with little room for political manoeuvre. New cases are rising exponentially, doubling about every nine days.  There is no plan for children to be vaccinated. The case tracing and isolating system is still dysfunctional. Long-covid is consistently ignored by government despite affecting a significant proportion of young people, and with unknown consequences for lives in the long term.

Thanks to the vaccine, infection fatality rate is a small fraction of that experienced earlier in the pandemic, but most of the world's population remain unvaccinated, as do younger adults and children in the UK. Every new case is a further opportunity for the vaccine to mutate to a variant that escapes the vaccine, jeopardising progress made to date.

Until R approaches zero and there is no community prevalence, restrictions should remain; the more effective the restrictions the quicker the pandemic will be over. Perversely, the UK government seems determined to prolong the pandemic, using our children to pursue their despicable so-called 'herd immunity' policy.

Numbers from Worldometers 04/07/2021

The data displayed on these graphs are not what should be described as 'very promising'.


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