Phil Boas, Arizona Republic - Published 7:07 a.m. MT Feb. 12, 2020 | Updated 6:48 a.m. MT March 17, 2020
A NEW PAPER BY LEADING EXPERTS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC REPORTS THAT TODAY'S INTERVENTIONS WILL LIKELY BE IN PLACE OFF AND ON FOR 12-18 MONTHS.
What is going on out there? Editorial page editor Phil Boas offers regular insights, ideas and must-reads that help explain it all – from a conservative point of view.
WE’RE IN FOR A LONG SLOG
The academic paper carries a headline that wants to be forgotten: “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand.”
But it should not be ignored.
It represents the work of leading minds on communicable disease at one of the world’s most distinguished universities – Imperial College London. It’s based on modeling of the novel coronavirus that now informs policy in the United Kingdom and other nations.
And it endeavors to answer the question everyone is asking:
What the hell is going on?
Why are we shutting down our daily lives, our economies, our human interaction?
As almost all of us retreat to our homes for a long period of social separation from others in our communities, we’re asking another important question:
Just how long is this going to last?
The paper with the interminable name, whose lead researcher, Neil M. Ferguson, is an epidemiologist at Imperial College and professor of mathematical biology who specializes in infectious disease spread in humans and animals, has an answer.
We’re in for a long slog.
“The global impact of COVID-19 has been profound,” writes Ferguson and 29 others, “and the public health threat it represents is the most serious seen in a respiratory virus since the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic.”
Here's the problem:
A new virus, unleashed on the world in Wuhan, China, is now spreading across the globe. Its destructive power is such that it very rapidly sickens people, particularly the elderly, to the point that large percentages require critical care at hospitals to save their lives.
The numbers of patients have been so large in some regions of the world that they have completely overwhelmed health-care systems and forced war-time like triage decisions of life and death.
In Italy some patients can’t even get into the hospitals and die at home.
In dealing with this problem, there are two fundamental strategies to employ: “mitigation” and “suppression,” write the authors.
Mitigation works to slow, not stop, the spread of disease, by encouraging home isolation of those believed infected, home quarantine for those living in the same home with them and social distancing of the elderly and other at-risk populations.
Suppression requires social distancing of the entire population, home isolation of infected patients and quarantine of their family members. It can require closing schools and universities.
“Each policy has major challenges,” write the authors.
According to their U.K. and U.S. modeling, mitigation would reduce health care demand by two-thirds and deaths by half. It would still result in “hundreds of thousands of deaths” and would still overwhelm the intensive care units in our hospitals “many times over.”
Suppression would require strict adherence until a vaccine is developed and scaled up for the larger public. That could take “potentially 18 months or more.” If relaxed before that time, “transmission will quickly rebound.”
“We conclude that the effectiveness of any one intervention in isolation is likely to be limited, requiring multiple interventions to be combined to have a substantial impact on transmission.”
If social distancing is effective, it “may allow interventions to be relaxed temporarily in relative short time windows, but measures will need to be reintroduced if or when case numbers rebound,” the authors write.
“… while experience in China and now South Korea show that suppression is possible in the short term, it remains to be seen whether it is possible long-term, and whether the social and economic costs of the interventions adopted thus far can be reduced.”
On Sunday, The (U.K.) Guardian newspaper reported that secret briefing papers delivered to National Health Service officials project the epidemic will infect 80% percent of all Britons and last until the spring of 2021.
“The document, seen by the Guardian, is the first time health chiefs tackling the virus have admitted that they expect it to circulate for 12 more months and lead to huge extra strain on an already overstretched NHS.
It also suggests that health chiefs are braced for widespread infection. Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told The Guardian:
“For the public to hear that it could last for 12 months, people are going to be really upset about that and pretty worried about that. … A year is entirely plausible. But that figure isn’t well appreciated or understood.
“I think it will dip in the summer, towards the end of June, and come back in November, in the way that usual seasonal flu does. I think it will be around forever, but become less severe over time, as immunity builds up.”
THE VIRUS DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YOUR POLITICS
We are in the middle of both a global health-care crisis and a presidential election. It would have been impossible to keep politics out of the decision-making as we ramp up to confront the novel coronavirus.
But we have to try to keep it out, writes Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former commissioner of the New York City Health Department.
Frieden’s observations are noteworthy because they are published on the VOX news and opinion website that is generally projecting a liberal slant – a slant that more than not agrees with the Democratic Party.
The Republican White House has made a number of missteps on testing, and the president as erred repeatedly with some of his public comments, notably his criticism of the U.S. Centers for Disease controls, notes Frieden.
But the White House has also done good, he argues:
“Whatever your view of the current administration, some of its actions have saved lives. The ban on travel from China undoubtedly reduced the number of Americans who became infected with Covid-19. The new ban on travel from the EU could have some benefit — but only if we understand that this delays disease spread and does not prevent it, and is justified only if we use the time it buys ...”
The administration has made key mistakes on testing. It failed to quickly recognize and break through the bureaucratic labyrinth at the CDC and Food and Drug Administration that was blocking rapid development and deployment of COVID-19 tests.
But a lot of the criticism, while legitimate, has overlooked the limitations of testing, Frieden explains.
“A surge in people being tested could actually spread disease, because people can become infected by someone else waiting to be tested. Getting tested today is no guarantee you won’t get infected tomorrow — and may give you a false sense of security. Furthermore, emerging data suggests that testing of throat swabs may miss as many as two-thirds of infections.”
Testing is vital in many scenarios, particularly used in places where there are few confirmed infections, Frieden explains. In such cases, testing can inform containment and isolation strategies. Seattle, in fact, might have avoided full-fledged breakout had the federal government provided them the testing authority or test kits they needed.
The American health-care system is facing an enormous challenge. It will need the help of all of the American people to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the overload of emergency rooms and hospital wards.
Both sides have been guilty of playing politics with this issue. Given the stakes, Frieden writes, we need to put down our swords.
“Partisanship has no place when lives are at stake. Covid-19 might even help all of us realize that we are all connected, and although we need to increase social distance, we also need to increase solidarity to help each other get through what has quickly become a national and global crisis.”
MEXICO TALKS OF TIGHTENED U.S. BORDER
Mexico’s Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told a news conference Friday that novel coronavirus in the United States more likely poses a threat to Mexico than Mexico poses to the United States, reports Yahoo News:
"If it were technically necessary to consider mechanisms of restriction or stronger surveillance we would have to take into account not that Mexico would bring the virus to the United States, rather that the United States could bring it here."
The Mexicans are likely responding to U.S. President Donald Trump’s foolish assertion that a wall is needed “more than ever” because of coronavirus.
To this point, and because we have had a very strong border policy, we have had 40 deaths related to CoronaVirus. If we had weak or open borders, that number would be many times higher!159K11:52 AM - Mar 13, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy63.6K people are talking about this
CORONAVIRUS MORE LIKE 1957 PANDEMIC
Nicholas A. Christakis, physician and Sterling Professor of Social & Natural Science at Yale, who was famously caught in the maelstrom of identity politics at Yale in 2015 (you can see it here and here), argues in a Twitter thread that our more relevant parallel to the past is not the Spanish Flu of 1918 but the 1957 Influenza-A (H2N2) pandemic.
That outbreak killed 1.1 million people globally and 115,700 in the United States.
You can read his thread here.
BRITAIN PUTS MANUFACTURERS ON WARTIME FOOTING
The British government is calling on carmakers and other manufactures to shift to producing medical ventilators now in short supply with the global outbreak of COVID-19. Ventilators are necessary to assist breathing and save lives of many, especially elderly, infected patients, reports The (U.K.) Times.
Matt Hancock, the U.K. secretary for health and social care, explained the situation:
“We start with around 5,000 ventilators, we think we need many times more than that, and we are saying if you produce a ventilator then we will buy it. No number is too high.
“They are relatively complicated pieces of kit, I couldn’t make one, but they’re not so complicated that the advanced manufacturing that this country is so good at now can’t be able to turn its production lines over to.”
“HOW MUCH WORSE THE CORONAVIRUS COULD GET”
The New York Times demonstrates through adaptive graphics how the novel coronavirus might evolve in the United States given the various strategies we might employ. This modeling was developed by Nicholas Kristof (mentioned above) and Stuart A. Thompson, head of The Times Opinions visual journalism department.
On current track we’re headed for 100 million Americans (one-third) infected and one-million deaths, according to the graphic simulation. See it here.
“WE NEED TO STOP ASSUMING WE ARE DIFFERENT”
It is still the lull before the storm, but the United States and a number of European nations, including Spain, France and Germany, should expect “very serious outbreaks” of COVID-19 soon, writes Helen Jenkins, assistant professor at Boston University School of Public Health, whose research focuses on the epidemiology of infectious diseases.
In an article on the Medium online site, Jenkins warns:
“Wuhan was caught unawares, and Italy was unlucky to have the first big outbreak in Europe, although it is unclear why. The United States and European countries must learn from this very quickly. We need to stop assuming we are different and start introducing measures to protect our communities.”
“How? The countries not yet seriously affected must start testing seriously. It’s not enough to test those returning from an ‘affected area.’ We have to realize that the virus is already present and we ourselves are an ‘affected area.’ Another essential measure is social distancing, which could include things like stopping all large (and some small) gatherings, closing schools, working from home, limiting not only international but also domestic travel, even isolating specific cities or regions.”
Jenkins argues that South Korea is the model to follow with its “widespread” testing, contact tracing and aggressive quarantine protocols.
“All countries and localities need to throw as much effort as they can at this thing. Individuals and governments need to show decisive leadership and break their paralysis by indecision. Speed is everything — and we are all in this together.”
She offers this last bit of advice: “Wash your hands like your life or someone else’s depends on it.”
* * *
Despite barren shelves in grocery stores and all the shutdowns in workplaces and sports and entertainment venues, many young Americans are still socializing as if nothing has changed. Journalist and author Rod Dreher has been tweeting the observations of an unnamed doctor who is dealing with the viral outbreak in this country.
The bottom line is for the people to regain their original, moral principles, which have intentionally been watered out over the past generations by our press, TV, and other media owned by the Illuminati/Bilderberger Group, corrupting our morals by making misbehavior acceptable to our society. Only in this way shall we conquer this oncoming wave of evil.
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