17 March 2020 • 18:00 — The New Dark Age
This is a work-in-progress, I’ll add/take away as the ideas/events emerge. What the government is doing is monstrous beyond words, dressed up with slick slogans – ‘Wash often for 20 seconds’, to hide the essentially benign neglect approach to the nation’s health. This is a national emergency. Banks should be nationalised, private healthcare taken over, the people mobilised. Those forced to cease work must be paid, but it’s clear, from the very beginning that business comes first (even if they’ll be no business left). The government hasn’t made it an official emergency, hence businesses can’t claim insurance (apparently, this has just changed, though the details escape me).
It’s also clear that the government is using us, the people, in a vast experiment called ‘Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs)’, because the NHS simply doesn’t have the capacity, having been starved to death for the past ten years. The fancy graphs they show us, actually hide the reality, that the only way the NHS can cope, is to slow the spread of the disease, one ‘stage ‘at a time. So you ‘suppress it’ for awhile using for example, ‘social distancing’ then you let the disease rip for awhile (more old and sick die), then suppress it again, and so on, until their ‘herd immunity’ kicks in and we can go back to being cattle once more. Nobody has ever tried to do this before, anywhere, that’s why I call it a gigantic, whole society experiment. So not only are we being treated as cattle, we are also being used as guinea pigs. Quite a menagerie this tory goverment has made for us.
Something else also changed today; the government, probably under pressure from the medical profession, is restarting the testing of people for the virus. This is vital. What I find odd though, is why is there no App available so that the infected can be tracked (voluntary of course)? This is something that epidemiologists do all the time when tracking the progress of a disease.
The following extracts are from the government’s raison d’etre that supports the government’s (non) handling of the crisis. Although dated 16 March 2020, clearly its major proposals were articulated well before Boris Johnson’s press conference last week with his two government lackeys, sorry scientists, who articulated the ‘herd immunity’ concept of disease control [sic], that is to say, sacrifice the old and the sick so that the survivors (hopefully the majority) acquire immunity.
Essentially, the report articulates the Eugenicist approach to ‘dealing’ with the crisis; sacrifice the old and the sick so that the young and healthy survive. (You can download the full report at the end of the article).
All quotes are from the report.
Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID- 19 mortality and healthcare demand
The aim of mitigation is to reduce the impact of an epidemic by flattening the curve, reducing peak incidence and overall deaths (Figure 2). Since the aim of mitigation is to minimise mortality, the interventions need to remain in place for as much of the epidemic period as possible. Introducing such interventions too early risks allowing transmission to return once they are lifted (if insufficient herd immunity has developed); it is therefore necessary to balance the timing of introduction with the scale of disruption imposed and the likely period over which the interventions can be maintained. In this scenario, interventions can limit transmission to the extent that little herd immunity is acquired – leading to the possibility that a second wave of infection is seen once interventions are lifted. (my emph. WB]
What the report acknowledges is the simple fact that the NHS has been deliberately underfunded for the past 10 years and is incapable of handling the 100s of 1000s of people requiring advanced medical support in order to stay alive.
From the Summary:
Two fundamental strategies are possible: (a) mitigation, which focuses on slowing but not necessarily stopping epidemic spread – reducing peak healthcare demand while protecting those most at risk of severe disease from infection, and (b) suppression, which aims to reverse epidemic growth, reducing case numbers to low levels and maintaining that situation indefinitely. Each policy has major challenges. We find that that optimal mitigation policies (combining home isolation of suspect cases, home quarantine of those living in the same household as suspect cases, and social distancing of the elderly and others at most risk of severe disease) might reduce peak healthcare demand by 2/3 and deaths by half. However, the resulting mitigated epidemic would still likely result in hundreds of thousands of deaths and health systems (most notably intensive care units) being overwhelmed many times over. For countries able to achieve it, this leaves suppression as the preferred policy option.
We show that in the UK and US context, suppression will minimally require a combination of social distancing of the entire population, home isolation of cases and household quarantine of their family members. This may need to be supplemented by school and university closures, though it should be recognised that such closures may have negative impacts on health systems due to increased absenteeism. The major challenge of suppression is that this type of intensive intervention package – or something equivalently effective at reducing transmission – will need to be maintained until a vaccine becomes available (potentially 18 months or more) – given that we predict that transmission will quickly rebound if interventions are relaxed. We show that intermittent social distancing – triggered by trends in disease surveillance – 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. Last, 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. (my emph. WB]