@SlowRain Australia seems to be a police state right now, very destopian, too destopian for my taste.
Seriously? Aren't you living behind the Great Firewall, in the country that's throwing Hongkongers in jail, controls the press, & tramples any & all dissent?
@SlowRain it wasn't a comparison, so don't treat it as such. The fact that one entity does something wrong, doesn't mean that everyone else is right. Plus, I'm in Poland at the moment 🙃
It's just that I'm struggling to reconcile Australia as a police state & destopian. They're more Americanized now than they are British, & they're no New Zealand, but they have more positives than negatives.
@SlowRain I'm specifically talking about the lockdowns and hardcore crackdown on demonstrations. It's very scary if you're not allowed to get out of your own house for weeks on end. It's also scary not to be able to speak your mind or go against official policies/opinions (and again, it's not a comparison to any other country/entity).
The lockdowns & not allowing demonstrations are not to suppress opposition & keep the ruling party in power. It's for the very real protection of the people. The only countries beating Covid are the ones taking it seriously as a threat. The ones failing to beat it are the ones with uninformed governments & citizens. Australia is losing the battle right now because of their citizens.
So it’s necessary to balance the likely suffering any lockdown can avert against the suffering it is likely to cause. I’m not saying this is easy, but there’s no way around it.
No, most countries can't put it back in the bag, but we can certainly limit its reach much more than we're currently doing, & without anything as onerous as a hard lockdown. But people would protest that too. Resilience & determination among the general populace are sorely lacking in the 21st century.
Lockdowns just need to be long enough to break the chain of infection, get the symptomatic quarantined & treated, trace & test their contacts, & implement safety protocols for when the lockdown slowly eases.
Developing countries will have to implement a system that allows for work amid whatever precautions they can reasonably take--but at a higher human cost.
It's pretty hard to put food on the table when one is sick & wheezing in bed or when one is dead.
We went through a soft lockdown here, but I was prepared for-- would have supported--a hard lockdown. My earnings are down, & I've had to spend more money getting equipment for online teaching. I've had to stay indoors when I would've liked to have gone out. I didn't mind making those sacrifices because it was the right thing to do. But we went semi-hard for a short period of time, & now it's better.
The difference is this, though. I'm actually not overly concerned about my own safety (or finances, for that matter). I make my decisions based on the safety of the people around me--principally my students. I'll let you decide if that's "ish" or "less" following "self".
Even so, don't completely close yourself off to adopting a more selfless mindset in the future. You may not be open to it at this point, but if you do some reading about how this virus is spreading & talk with other knowledgeable people, you may come to a different point of view.
Because of going semi-hard for a short period of time, the outbreak here is almost under control, & things are mostly open again. Now, that could change quite quickly, so we all have to take inconvenient precautions & make sacrifices when we go out, but it has proven to be very worth it. We have a population of 23M, & we had 4 local cases today. There are still unknown cases out there, so the people here continue to take precautions to protect each other.
Nothing will be postponed. It has been contained & vaccinations are finally starting to catch up a bit. The cost has been 900 lives, though, & I assume a number of bankruptcies.
It was unsettling for 2 months, but people here are really grateful that it's at least better now & there's a path--not to normalcy--but at least to manageable.
@SlowRain I've spent 7 months in lockdown in Colombia, so I've seen first hand what lockdowns did to some communities there. I haven't seen any grateful faces.
But it might work for the first world.
I don't know anything about Columbia's Covid situation, their outbreak, nor their pandemic response, but I can assure you that a 7-month lockdown is entirely a mismanagement by the gov't & the people.
We probably agree on a lot more than you think (other than that issue of personal safety trumping the safety of others). The thing is, you haven't seen how a pandemic is supposed to be handled. After SARS in 2003, Taiwan put into place a damn good response (Vietnam, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia, etc did too). When Covid hit, these countries put it into practice while Western countries sat on their thumbs & complained about their human rights.
These countries are all doing relatively well compared to the West. Australia is breaking down right now, but i think the others are holding steady. (Oh, yeah, Singapore, too.)
After this is over in a couple more years, the world is going to rewrite their response to pandemics, & it's going to look an awful lot like the tactics used here.
Don't measure a swift, hard response by what you saw in Columbia. That most certainly is not what's being done here--nor in New Zealand or Australia for that matter. Australia will succumb if they don't get their act together soon, & then the maximum prediction of deaths will come to pass unless their vaccination drive can save them.
Vietnam is in the midst of an outbreak now, too, so watch carefully to see if they can contain it.
@SlowRain @nomadbynature It looks as if Vietnam is struggling now: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/hcmc-to-ban-people-from-going-out-starting-august-23-4343577.html
I guess the differences between Poland and Australia make the comparisons baseless, because there costs and gains from lockdowns would be widely different too.
The case mortality from Covid, judging on Iceland data (where they tested the most people, so presumably it didn't miss a lot of cases) is 0.3%. Why I use Iceland: because if you do not test enough people, only the severe cases, then obviously it would inflate the mortality. But let's say it's half of percent, not 0.3%. On Diamond Princess 9 out of 700 died (i.e. almost 1.3%), but those were people, I've heard and read, who were not representative of general population (significantly older, or so I've read: "The median age of the crew was 36 while the median age of the passengers was 69").
38 millions citizens in Poland * 0.005 is 190.000. Obviously, this is impossible that everyone in Poland would catch Covid, so this is theoretical maximum mortality. With Iceland numbers (0.003 instead of 0.005), and assuming herd immunity would be achieved at 80%, the expected mortality would be 91.000.
The current mortality is 75.000. We had hard lockdown initially, then it was relaxed and well... We have almost 40% of maximum theoretical mortality, or 82% of reasonable expected mortality.
This numbers could be attacked by pointing out, that Iceland mortality could be much worse with hospitals overwhelmed, which would be a reasonable objection. However, the point is, with hard lockdown, mask mandates, vaccination campaign etc we nevertheless have almost as many deaths as without them and it seems new hard measures would have reduced gains relative to costs.
Unless you believe reinfection is much more common that reported.
For Australia, I guess, it's really different. Theoretical maximum mortality would be 120.000 (assuming case mortality of 0.005), and official death count is below thousand. Obviously, to keep that number low, you would have to put permanent border restrictions to prevent travel from countries where CV will become more or less endemic, plus probably you would have introduce a new, annual tradition of lockdowns. No political demonstrations, no large gathering. And shoot all wild animals with possibility of become reservoirs for CV. I guess it's possible and saving max 120.000 people is a worthy goal, even at the cost of giving the government a precedence for restricting essential democratic freedoms, potentially forever.
OTOH, before CV pandemic each year flu, related viruses and post-flu complications were killing 10.000 people in Poland annually (flu alone much less, this is a statistical issue), and were killing estimated 3500 in Australia yearly (oficially less, again, this is artifact of deaths counting). The lockdowns, border restrictions etc would surely save some fraction of those people. Obviously most people (@SlowRain included) pre-CV pandemic were willing to endure those thousands deaths without lockdowns.
NOW, all of this are just ramblings of bored men :D Do not take me too serious.
What the hell happened here... Seriously... what am I reading.
Because I'm sick and tired of these discussions, I'll reply to only one short thing nomad said:
"I for one, prefer to make my own decisions about my own safety"
--> this is a great thing when we're talking about deciding/being forced to eat a toxic mushroom. You can decide. If someone else forces you to - that's a problem.
But in the case of covid we're not talking about our safety but about safety in general. All the people around us. So what you're doing by not staying home, not wearing a mask, choosing to meet people or shooting tiktoks licking door handles is, in fact, deciding about others' safety.
@teetotaller @nomadbynature @SlowRain Well, to be clear: I am vaccinated (I got vaccine as soon as I could), I stayed home, I wore mask and I kept social distance before it was even mandated (i shared #mask4all on facebook as soon as it was started). I treated CV19 _very_ seriously, though not as seriously as some people who were quite seriously preparing for the end of the world scenario (though at the same time it seems I was too optimistic - the worst scenario I initially assumed mortality on the level on 1968 Hong Kong flu). I still think CV19 is a serious issue.
Moreover, I think initial decision to lockdown was sound, because we were dealing with something unknown.
However, in all things there is always a trade-off. We all are making trade-offs all days. In fact, @teetotaller, you were and probably are making those tradeoff's too (were you wearing masks pre-2020 during flu season, for example?). The question now is not whether hard lockdowns helps, but how much it helps at what cost, and whether we are willing to endure the costs in order to gain some safety. There are not just two options: do nothing or hard lockdowns, there are many in-betweens, and it seems to me now that, as with so many other things in the world, there are less and less gains from each additional measure.
Which is why I stated that I am happy that I do not have any influence on public policy, because there are too damn many unknowns so even trying to estimate what the tradeoffs is a fruitless activity. At the same time, I am mildly irritated by people who think that those trade-offs are non-existing or that even talking about possible trade-offs is immoral or stupid.
(A digression: staying home and keeping social distance is no sacrifise to me, at all. I just love keeping social distance and staying as far away from crowds as possible.)
Agreed on most cases. However, I react very badly to statements that even slightly hint that someone treats staying at home for several weeks as an attack on their freedom or their well-being. This is what bothers me the most. Treating not being able to leave home as if it was more dangerous than the disease itself. That's what drives me nuts and when I see some people saying 'oh but the mental health', 'we are free and we're gonna do what we damn please', or calling democratic countries police states... I just see red.
When did the first world population become so entitled, so... I don't even know how to call it, snowflake-y?
Obviously, the situation is unlike anything we have ever experienced. But I just think often if such people would say the same things and protest in the same way if it was... I don't know, Ebola for example. Or something similarly aggressive and shocking to all the witnesses around.
To answer your question to some extent - no, I did not wear face masks before - I don't think flu is even comparable to covid. However, I did envy the far East their culture of mask-wearing. This is a good thing and as far as I know every existing statistics source shows that thanks to masks and social distancing we've had a fraction of the usual flu or simple cold cases.
"I don't think flu is even comparable to covid" If you mean that flu is less dangerous, agreed completely. With hard lockdown, masks etc we still had 75.000 deaths, compared to 10.000 all flu-related deaths (I know official count is low hundreds, but this is because how we count flu-related death). My questions was just to show that we all think there is some point where the risk becomes acceptable.
"we've had a fraction of the usual flu or simple cold cases."
Yup. The first study of this kind was from Hong Kong at the very begining of the pandemics (march 2020):
"There is another piece of good news amid the outbreak that has caused many sleepless nights. The four Covid-19 preventive measures implemented — wearing masks, washing hands, preventing the spread in toilets, insisting on long-distance interactions — have at the same time greatly reduced the number of infections in Hong Kong’s winter influenza season, and shortened the peak period to 34 days. This is one-third of the 98.7 days on average over the past seven years.
Dr Ho Pak Leung, president of the Carol Yu Centre for Infection at The University of Hong Kong, pointed out that positive test results of all respiratory viruses have largely decreased, and in terms of statistics, Hong Kongers are doing better than the 2003 SARS pandemic."
Which shows that hard lockdown, masks introduced before CV19 etc would save some significant fraction of flu-related deaths.
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