Friday 27 November 2020

An alternative to lockdown strategy for 2021

The current lockdown strategy in the UK is not working and leaves me enervated. The virus has become more widespread than before it started a month ago, lots of places that were Tier 1 before lockdown are now in tier 2 or 3. 

There is no acknowledgement of this in Government, becuase there is no acknowledgement of this from their scientific advisers. The advisers are obsessed with their forecasting, which has been both broadly right and specifically wrong for the entirety of pandemic. I am tempted to almost to say I have had enough of experts...

Worse, there is not real calculation of the real hrm being done by cancelling other types of care and impoverishing millions through killing jobs. Any work done on this has been buried deep under Whitehall. 

In general, I am supporitive of the Government, the crisis awful to deal with and has hit a cold Europe very hard, even Germany is more or less at the same levels as the UK now - Italy, Spain and France too, if not relatively worse. There are no easy answers. 

However, for me it is time to try something new in the new year. Free everyone, restore liberty to travel and work to most. But, make the wearing of masks and even gloves more or less compulsory. no bleating about asthama or some other excuse. Just behave in public, full social distancing too of course. Shops caught not enforcing can be find as can any other service, public or private. 

Yes, the draconian enforcement is still a breach of habeas corpus, but there is a virus to defeat for antoehr six months. The up side is a recovering economy, the only places to keep closed in bad areas are pubs and nightclubs - no compliance from drunk people is to be expected. The rest of life can continue in a freer way. 


Graeme said...

Still the stuff about masks and gloves? Why not just carry a magic puppet around? It might be just as effective

E-K said...

It hasn't 'become more widespread'.

It's just being looked for with testing a lot more.

It's looking like this virus is a 1 in 1300 killer with most of those killed being near death already.

E-K said...

The only masks that work are N95s

They must be worn tightly, changed frequently and men must shave off their beards to create a proper seal.

A cloth face mask or snoog does not work at all, but this complies with the law. The government know they don't work. They are political, not functional it seems.

DJK said...

With proper medical care, the death rate from C-19 is pretty low for most ages. But if numbers spiral out of control, the 20% of infections that require hospitalization could overwhelm the health service. At that point, care gets rationed, the percentage who die shoots up and we see people dying in hospital corridors, or at home before an ambulance can reach them. This is the government's nightmare: it happened in Italy and NYC, it's happening now in North/South Dakota.

As you say, shutting down the economy is only barely working to keep the numbers down. I'd go further than compulsory masks and actually enforce quarantine on people who test positive or people in contact with those who test positive.

Some people have said we should just isolate the elderly and vulnerable. What would be better and actually works in Asian countries is to forcibly isolate the sick.

BlokeInBrum said...

It's funny how despite all the lockdowns, all the ppe gear, hand washing, bubbles, social distancing, the virus simply does its own thing anyway.
Most Western countries seem to be converging on similar outcomes, despite differing strategies.
And yet, all we keep hearing is that we must pursue the same, failing strategies but with more intensity.
The evidence (not that anyone cares about evidence ) showed that very few outbreaks were caused by pubs and restaurants. Yet an entire sector has been killed off on the say so of a few 'scientists' whose modelling of the crisis has been suspect at best.
At least the illusion that we are free people, having free speech, and living in a liberal democracy has been exposed for the sham that it is.

decnine said...

Of course the new restrictions (same as the old restrictions) are over the top. Their purpose is to ensure that Boris can don his Santa costume some time in December and declare Victory!

Anonymous said...

Masks - no, they're not a 100% effective, but they stop a varying percentage of viral particles, which helps.

Anything that stops 50% of something is better than nothing than stops 0%.

With the lockdowns, the government has massively screwed up. The first one should have been all about giving them time to sort out test/track/trace across the nation and setting things up so that it could be handled locally and reported nationally.

That way further lockdowns could have been handled at a more granular level, rather than pissing pretty much everyone off as they are doing.

For a government so keen on Brexit, they certainly take a Brusselesque view on centralising things.

Then there was "everyone back to uni." So ensuring that people were crossing the country, all so uni's could charge for accommodation and there's be no bail outs of the university sector. I'd suggest bailing them out is a lot cheaper than heavily tiered areas.

And the hires... Dido Harding has little in the way of a track record of successfully delivering important solutions, and is mostly noted for screwing up at Talk Talk. Being married to a Tory MP and being of the horsey set should not be acceptable criteria for a role central to tackling a pandemic.

Add to that the abject mishandling of PPE.

No one should expect a perfect response for these times, but the actual response has been something of a national embarrassment.

It's hard a find a more damning indictment than "could be worse, could be France." Let us set that bar nice and low!

Sobers said...

"make the wearing of masks and even gloves more or less compulsory. no bleating about asthama or some other excuse."

You can f*ck right off.

DJK said...

Test 'n trace is no use if the tracees don't actually bother isolating themselves, and that I think is where it falls down.

DJK said...

Sobers: You don't want to wear a mask but I'm curious as to what you think the correct response to the virus is?

jim said...

We know what to do, the problem is getting elected again afterwards.

In essence we taxpayers (those that are left) are buying the electoral prospects of the next government. A form of electoral funding that is off balance sheet. The electoral regulators won't be whining about this cost.

Sure, we could let it rip but ice rinks full of corpses and drone views of mass graves would not make good newsreel come 2024. Same goes for Macron and Merkel. Cheaper for us (that survive) but not for politicians. Fortunately an EU wide agreement would be needed for this horrible idea to work - ain't going to happen - so spend spend spend it is.

So I don't see the point of 'anything new'. Just roll out vaccines asap. History tells us it is impossible to keep people cooped up much longer. Although China et al have many attractive ideas on government we might yet have to adopt.

TBF I feel some sympathy for Boris et al. They drew the short straw. Even if we had had a decent pandemic strategy I doubt any affordable plan would have stood the heat of this battle. Imagine standing in front of a flipchart in say 2018 recommending more hospitals and warehouses full of gowns and the prospect of 18 months worth of economic shutdown - you would be laughed out the room. All for a highly unlikely flu variant.

The intriguing sight is watching Labour. Starmer is in a waiting game and so are the Corbynites. Neither has a winning hand or much to offer the country. But Boris may screw up and hand them a bone to fight over. Developing nicely so far.

Anyway, I'll go back to chopping wood for winter 2021. Only hope I get to burn it.

david morris said...

This ain't about a virus, Bro

Disgusted Grange over Sands said...

I half agree I am sickened by the clowns that have masks not covering noses. The behavior in some shops particularly I see ALDI appall me . Often obese women having social meeting in isles and barging round .

I have no sympathy with the pathetic politicians how many people did 'iron Brew on expenses Burnham kill with his posturing/

How has the Scottish woman been allowed to dominate the airwaves with her incessant prattle.

The BBC interviewers with their continuous attempt at 'got you' rude interviewing.

Of course in an emergency there will be cock ups no sane person would expect otherwise but any reasonable leader will own up PDQ.

To think we once ruled half the world !!!!

Jan said...

I don't know about anyone else but I'm sooooooo booored with it all!

The news on all staions is pandemic/testing/vaccines/tiers etc etc or inane questions about pandemic/testing /vaccines/tiers blah blah blah. THere must be something else to discuss happening in the world.

I'm past caring about which tier I'm in/what Im allowed/not allowed to do etc etc. I felt like this about the endless Brexit drivel and didn't think anything else could be worse and here we are.

dearieme said...

"I am tempted to almost to say I experts..."

When the "experts" are a group of charlatans and incompetents it would be right to have had enough of

dearieme said...

I fear that test-and-trace is a panacea: we have no idea what the false positive rate is for the tests. It may well be very high.

Empty-um months have passed and we are still desperately short of facts.

Sobers said...

" I'm curious as to what you think the correct response to the virus is?"

Protect the vulnerable (the aged and otherwise infirm), let everyone else get about their normal business, they are at as close to zero risk from this thing as its possible to be in life. If all the money thats been hosed at furloughs and business support, track and trace and all the other pointless sh*t had been targeted at the nursing homes and the elderly, and making sure that hospitals don't become the main vector of the disease (which they now are) then we'd be far better off.

For the money we've spent we could have made every nursing home in the country bio-secure, paid the staff far more to keep them tied to one workplace, provided generous support to those who needed to self isolate, and built a new covid treatment unit in every town. Instead we've paid perfectly healthy people to stay at home, destroyed millions of people's livelihoods and all the while presiding over one of the worst death rates in the world.

Of course we'd also be far better off if we didn't have a healthcare system designed in 1940 when Stalinism looked like a good idea.

Oli said...

What Sobers said.

"Oh but covid affects some otherwise-healthy people too" will come the replies. Yes but only in tiny proportions, and before 2020 those were numbers we just never worried about. Why do we now?

iOpener said...

What Sobers said.

Thud said...

I like most people I know have tried to do what we consider the right thing, disinfect etc. i wear mask when collecting kids and thats about it as i will not enter anywhere that requires me to wear one. Most of my friends are builders/subies and they have carried on this year when possible pretty much like always...smoking and abusing all and sundry. I will get vaccine and as I have said before will try to carry on my life pretty much as before for the lockdown etc has not caused any great changes in what passes for my world view....I'm a happy fucker!

Nessimmersion said...

Thoroughly agree with what Sobers said.
( Basically the Great Barrington Declaration)

E-K said...

Anon @ 10.24

"Anything that stops 50% is better than 0%" (masks)

16% at best using paper surgical masks.

Except we're not told to wear masks but face coverings of no specified standard at all. And there is a reason for this.

The one test we have on the efficacy of surgical masks appeared a few weeks ago from Denmark showed that face masks prevent 16% of infections.

This means I am going to get infected by CV-19 100% as I wear one every day for up to 5 hours in my work.

Let's put it this way.

Would you go out in an Ebola pandemic with a mask that gave you an 84% chance of infection ?

No. You wouldn't.

A) This is not a pandemic. It is a syndemic. You already know this intuitively.

B) There is very little chance of you dying from it. You already know this intuitively.

The face coverings are based on an "I protect you. You protect me." principle.

You have an 84% chance of being infected by a person wearing such a face covering.

It is the wrong approach and the Government well know it.

A closer to zero infection risk is produced by a properly sealed N95 mask worn on an "I protect me. You protect you." basis.

Presently I can wear a near useless tubular scarf and there is precious little you can do to stop me as it is perfectly legal.

E-K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E-K said...

"Sure, we could let it rip but ice rinks full of corpses and drone views of mass graves would not make good newsreel come 2024. Same goes for Macron and Merkel."


Nobody has ever said 'let it rip'

Sunetra Gupta has expressed her anger at this defamation. And the scenes you describe are grossly exaggerated.

Focused Shielding is what is proposed.

It is between 'let it rip' and 'destroy the economy' but you wouldn't think that from the lies being told.

It IS the middle ground.

The same lie that has got us 'Medium Risk' as the starting point for CV-19 management.

'Low Risk' is denied completely. Unachievable apparently.

(I recall from junior school maths that one had to have a minimum and a maximum to work out a medium.)

Graeme said...

Totally right! My partner is working on T&T and the number of people who don't pick up the phone or are obviously not quarantining suggests we do not live in a caring society

Graeme said...

Take your own precautions according to your assessment of risk. Just wearing a contaminated mask and trusting it to keep you safe is the attitude of a helot

Anonymous said...

Shove your masks, and your vaccine, and your un-social distancing. (Re: Cloth masks)

dearieme said...

"the number of people who don't pick up the phone ...": naturally - the majority of calls we get on our landline are from scammers.

E-K said...

Anon @ 10.58

I note that all of your links seem to refute the efficacy of mask wearing in the general public - including the N95s "which should be reserved for medical staff."

When I mentioned the N95 mask it wasn't as a suggestion that we should wear those either... my point was that if we're going to do it then let's do it properly or not at all.

So what else is SAGE and our Government bullshitting us about ?

Wag said...

E-K @ 11.37
They can't lie straight in bed.

Anonymous said...

"So what else is SAGE and our Government bullshitting us about ?"

The severity of this virus to >99% of the population.

It is a nasty illness for people with underlying medical issues. As are any number of "Normal" respiratory illnesses.

We didn't implode the economy and remove people's rights for SARS-COV-1...

Suff said...

As you guys on here are far smarter than me I need some help. I’m trying to find the name of a virus that has FLU like symptoms but isn’t Covid 19. One that would typically kill lots of older people in these darker months (let’s call it a season). Seriously even the WHO website says there’s a lack of information on influenza this year due to Covid.
Alternative to lock down- get out and exercise. Let’s not target trying to stop the spread but rather try and reduce the risk when you get it by strengthening the immune system. Sunlight exercise and we actually need some contact with others to keep it functioning properly. Locking people in their homes to eat and drink themselves into oblivion is the worst thing we can do.
There’s a few long dark months until the flu season subsides and mental health is going to be a real issue. Shut down the BBC and it’s relentless negativity.
The government needs to take a step back and tell the people it’s their responsibility.I live in Sweden I know some on hear think that’s hell on earth but there is nowhere I would rather be during this situation. We didn’t have lock down but that doesn’t mean mean life hasn’t changed. On the first wave we messed up badly like everyone else with old people’s homes and we have a specific holiday for skiing right at the time the virus was exploding in Italy ( this might sound like an excuse but the second largest early outbreak was in the ski resorts in the north of Sweden. People told that they were closing the borders in Italy rushed back to continue their skiing holiday in Sweden.) On those rising numbers the Government gave advise for social distancing and WFH where possible. New limits were put venues, the only thing to be closed were nightclubs. The first few weeks the towns and cities were empty as well as the offices.
As spring came there was a slow return to normality as fear and the numbers dropped but we maintained SD. The offices started to fill with younger people and those at risk stayed away. By September after months of low numbers there was talk that it was all over but the virus had been quietly spreading out from the urban centers. As flu season is with us again we see a surge in the case numbers but remember the orders of magnitude increase in testing. So the government released new “advice” guidelines not laws or rules, saying to minimise your use of indoor places with lots of people. The only rule change was in two weeks the bars and restaurants had a ten o’clock curfew from 22nov. Once again the people obliged and the case numbers are currently reducing. Not from the 22nd but from the date of the advice announcement. So we have had a lockdown of sorts ( so far two in fact) but by collective decision on personal health not by Government order.
The virus is now in my area but I still go out to the bars regularly and some may say that is irresponsible but as I live on my own and generally WFH, I need the social contact from a mental health perspective. I’d much rather take my chances with the virus than the depression of isolation until March. The bars are quieter than most supermarkets and I doubt many will make it through the winter.

CityUnslicker said...

Interesting Suff.

Sobers et al - this may well be an alternative. What is not working is the Tiered stay at home rubbish. The challenge with protecting the elderly is that means cutting them off and somehow keeping the virus out of all hospitals and care homes. The key piece would be how efficiently we could do that. Plus, many more younger people are in hospital in this second wave, loads more 50-60 year olds. They may not die so much but many end up with long-term conditions and damage.