I so hope this is true! Thanks for sharing.
Excellent article. I hope he is right
He fears the public health measures that have shut down large swaths of the economy could cause their own health catastrophe, as lost jobs lead to poverty and hopelessness. Time and again, researchers have seen that suicide rates go up when the economy spirals down.
This is a very important point he makes. I think many people calling for total lockdowns everywhere overlook the negative health consequences of their proposed measures. People’s lives depend on the economy. Domestic violence goes up when people are locked up in their homes. Mental health problems likely increase. So we should be careful with these measures and try to limit the duration of such policies as much as possible.
Also, there was a good article by a public health scientist in the UK that says we are going about this the wrong way. We should divide into three groups A. (anyone >60), B. Anyone who care-takes or is involved daily with group A, and everyone else Group C. Group A quarantines for 120 days, Group B goes about life very carefully i.e. 6 feet distance, minimal trips etc. Group C. goes about their lives, gets the virus and lets it run its course. Once Group C has run its course, they swap with Group B folks until that group has immunity then let Group C out. That way you limit the likelihood of using up your hospital resources and develop immunity in the population while protecting the most vulnerable and the economy. Wish we weren’t so quick to jump to the most difficult to manage approach. Also, the discussions need to be had in the wake of this virus so we are prepared for the next one.
Thanks for that article…interesting and hopeful. Sounds like the way out of this is for the experts to review data from Italy, assuming they get on a better trend in the near future, and start looking ahead at plans for the US region by region. It seems pretty clear that different regions are on different timetables, and cross-contamination between regions when we are on the way out of this would be a setback.
The public won’t accept such an approach. Here the prime minister caused a stir by mentioning herd immunity. People thought he was deliberately going to put their lives at risk. Many think vaccination is the only acceptable way to achieve immunity.
Unfortunately I fear you are correct, which is so ■■■■■■■ stupid I want to scream. All of the tools in the toolbox ought to be available.
Journalists are very stupid too. I don’t know about the US, but here journalists ask really silly questions at press conferences. They ask questions that have been answered already. They can’t comprehend any nuances, but think completely binary. Are they deliberately trying to obfuscate things? ‘But (prime) minister, that’s confuuuuusing!’ No, it’s not.
A while ago in the US there was a great trend to turn scientists or physicians with the proper education into journalists on difficult to understand science and health topics. Unfortunately much of that has been undone by the click-bait culture that is required to survive today in the media space. And yes, it seems that many of the journalists today are driving at an agenda rather than trying to uncover more information on a topc.
Exactly, the scientific knowledge of journalists is really lacking.
I think the current state of the salaries for journalists is also an issue, I don’t know about in your country but here, you usually (not always) get what you pay for and we don’t pay journalists very well until you get up to the tippy top where they are really entertainers rather than journalists.
True, I guess the wages in my country aren’t high either.
This might work if we didn’t have hoarding of key products!!!
the problem is we are not all just billiard balls who are infinitely exchangeable. Another infectious disease specialist, Amesh Adalja, has been telling us for weeks that the fatality rate is likely lower than the apparent one, by a lot, due to under-diagnosis and insufficient testing, and as a result, it’s already everywhere. And he really seems to be against long-term (18 months!!) mass shutdowns because they can have collateral damage that is potentially worse, in terms of lives lost, than the disease itself.
He suggests a “cocooning” strategy for the most vulnerable groups – keeping them sheltered and isolated from the rest of the populace, while people at lower risk go about their business with some more moderate social distancing in place. The problem is that when you start to think about it, how do you do that? Do we have enough tests for every caregiver, to make sure they are not sickened before they interact with vulnerable people? Many caregivers can’t cocoon (they’re caregivers for, say, children), and then you have to start radically rearranging social arrangements to make sure all the safe people are truly safe. Even though shutting everything down is incredibly damaging long-term, I think logistically it’s a lot less challenging than reassigning people en masse to truly cocoon our most vulnerable populations. Not to mention that 60% of the US qualifies as “high-risk” right now, when you factor in preexisting conditions and age. So cocooning the majority of the population might be tricky…
But that really goes back to the bigger problem, there are tons of ways to solve the problems in smart ways that can reduce harms to people (that includes not just medically vulnerable but the people who work at restaurants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, piano teachers, massage therapists, nail salons, etc. etc. etc. that I see sending me GoFundMes to keep their doors open after this.) But I do not have confidence that our systems will settle on those smart solutions. Looking at our testing fiasco just gives me very little confidence.
Great article @Chris. But too many people seem to relish quarantine and other draconian measures.
I posted sentiments contained in this article on another unrelated board and I was roundly ridiculed. People don’t realize that sometimes the “cure” is worse than the disease.
I’m a journalist, I don’t think I’m dumb, haha. But I think the issue is that political reporters are all about horse races and generally have limited understanding of math or epidemiology. But they’re usually the ones attending press conferences. Health reporters are probably holed up in their apartments, calling all the experts…
I also think we will need to look hard at how information is getting disseminated, because the learned opinions and valid options are being drowned out by click bait bull crap. It must be 1:100 i.e. actually useful articles vs the crap. I am also amazed at how fast the online marketing has pivoted, people sure do love the money more than the cure.
I think right now, a shut down is necessary for at least a few weeks to slow spread – we’re just too far behind the eight-ball. But I think the incredible damage to our society will be all for nought if we don’t immediately start ramping up the next steps we need to contain this when we reopen society. We need way more tests, we need to rapidly scale up the capacity of our healthcare system for ICU patients, and we need a plan for how to do incredibly aggressive contact tracing, and we need a place for getting enough masks for ordinary people that we can lower the baseline transmission rate in the general population. We need plans for how to protect the most vulnerable. All those efforts so far seem to be in disarray and just not being scaled up very quickly.
7 posts were split to a new topic: COVID-19: Masks