Steph, I am appalled with the dross that the UK government has served up; I’m furious about it. We have had all summer to restructure; they have come up with nothing, and as a consequence we’re going to need lockdown again.
The correct way to counter covid-19 is to compartmentalise into communities, and to provide proper quarantine facilities, not voluntary self-isolation which pushes responsibility onto individuals. Quarantine is of course mandatory, but it also requires the authorities to care for people until they’re no longer infectious, not tell them to look after themselves as best they can and try not to infect their housemates. And as SA points out, October 4 at 06:15 above, central government has spent decades progressively trashing all local capability and robbing local government of the necessary legal powers.
Lockdown is the last defence before hospital overload, with consequent death and suffering on a scale unimaginable from our privileged, pampered normality. Anything between half a million and two million deaths over the course of maybe two months. True, most of these would be elderly people, but with so many ill less than a tenth could be hospitalised, so they would die struggling for breath, suffocated by fluid in their lungs, each of them over the course of a week or two. That is no way for people to end their lives, with no medical support, no drugs for the pain and anxiety, and an acute lack of care provision; this must not be permitted to happen. Think I’m exaggerating? In the first UK wave, around 50,000 people died but only one in twenty of the population were infected (as found by antibody tests), so had the entire population been exposed that works out at around a million.
But as I said, lockdown is the last resort. The very fact that we need it is due to gross negligence.
Back in February, when the WHO sent out the warning, the borders should have been all but closed, with entry permitted only with strict quarantine. Local outbreaks should have been suppressed with local lockdowns. There simply weren’t enough test facilities to deal with it any more gently. The point of such measures is to buy time in which to (1) greatly increase test facilities and (2) compartmentalise society.
The point of compartmentalising is to establish zones; Green, Amber and Red. A zone is graded Green when it has had no community transmission for two weeks. Amber is no community transmission for two weeks, but new cases have been detected through contact tracing, OR travel is possible with a Red zone. Green zones don’t need restrictions, and people can travel between them. The whole of New Zealand achieved Green status throughout our entire summer, which is New Zealand’s winter! The concept is explained here:
We must not treat covid-19 like the flu, because we don’t even know its long term effects yet. We have less than a year’s experience with this virus. Have you heard of ADE, Antibody Dependent Enhancement? It is possible that getting infected for a second time could be far worse than the first time, for a proportion of those infected or even for all. Or getting infected again but with a certain variant could be far worse. ADE could mean that vaccines actually increase people’s risk on becoming infected, because vaccines work by stimulating antibody production. All this is just not known yet, but the covid-19 virus SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense betacoronavirus, and these can display ADE:
Covid-19 is nothing like flu. True, both are contracted through the respiratory system, but as well as lungs, covid-19 can attack blood, internal organs, nerves and brain. Stat News:
And what if it turns out that covid-19 does not impart immunity, or immunity wears off after a year or two? Should we just let this virus roll on, wave after wave, killing say 2% of the population each time? Should we have not bothered wiping out smallpox?
The problem isn’t lockdown, it’s TINA, “There Is No Alternative”, the incessant mantra of neoliberalism we’ve all had drummed into us for forty years. What if the world had been wedded to TINA in 1939 like it is now? The UK was completely transformed to fight Nazism. Rationing was imposed or people would have starved. Conscription was imposed or the Nazis would have gone unresisted. Bomb shelters were dug into every garden or the Blitz would have killed far more, and manufacturing was converted into war production. This wasn’t done to trash the British way of life, it was done to save it from the Nazis. Think my comparison is exaggerated? Remember that the 1918 to 1920 Spanish flu killed more people than did WWI, and its second wave was seven or eight times more deadly than its first.
The government has abdicated its responsibility in the social contract, and lockdown is the result. The objective should be to restrict the least number of people as effectively as possible, which requires providing them with care. But through neglect the government defaults to restricting the greatest number of people almost as ineffectively as possible, thereby trashing both the population and the economy – for ultimately, the two are the same.