TweetTweet wrote:...(sorry) there's something odd about the link...
You mean this article
SARS-CoV-2 is not a pure respiratory virus. The various influenza viruses can only infect cells in the respiratory tract and so are pure respiratory viruses. They can attach to other cells but the other cells do not contain the correct protein to unlock the gateway between the virus and the cell. SARS-CoV-2 is able to infect the vascular system cells and from there cells in every organ supplied by the vascular ssytem because it requires a different protein to unlock the gateway. Influenza largely affects other organs through shock if the fever caused by the infection is bad enough. SAR-CoV-2 affects other organs directly by infecting them and destroying cells in them. That is why some people with COVID-19 are suffering from strokes, heart attacks, renal failure etc even where there is no co-morbidity in those organs. Obviously if it attacks an organ where there is co-morbidity that tends to be worse.
There is certainly scope for debate about the best way to deal with the virus but it is often obfuscated by the language used and by the fact that many people have a defined position and so simply put forward arguments that support that position.
First some simple facts. The virus spreads from person to person through airborne droplets that people breath in and through contact with deposited droplets on surfaces. The closer people mingle together, the more people who mingle together, the longer they mingle together and the more confined the air space the faster the virus will spread. Every measure is designed to reduce one or more of those factors.
No country anywhere in the world has implemented lockdown. Lockdown means that every single person in the country stays in their home and never goes out for any reason until the virus has died out. China came closest to implementing a full lockdown just in Hubei province or at least in the big cities of Hubei. Firstly they are a totalitarian dictatorship so they can and secondly they were only trying to do it in one province so they could bring people in from other provinces to do everything that needed doing. Even there it wasn't total lockdown but it was severe enough that it worked
. Obviously nobody believes China's figures but, while I accept there is scope for doubt, I think they are reasonably accurate. Look at China's GDP growth
. It was bubbling along at around +1.5 % growth per quarter up to the end of 2019. Hard lockdown in Hubei caused a -10 % growth in the first quarter of 2020 followed by a +11.5 growth in the second quarter. Hubei is a high productivity region so this economic performance is exactly what you would expect from the case figures and the severity of the lockdown.
Everywhere else in the world has implemented restrictions on movement to a greater or lesser extent with more or less effectiveness but not really lockdown. Let's take the case of Sweden, the poster boy of the "we should do nothing" crowd. Firstly it didn't do nothing, it pretty much implemented what everybody else did but in a more laissez faire way. People weren't told to stay at home but they were told to observe social distance of 2 m. Cafés, bars and restaurants weren't closed but nobody was allowed to sit/stand at the bar. Everybody had to be seated with limits on the number per table, tables had to have a minimum separation and only waiter service. Public health inspectors toured these establishments and closed any that weren't obeying the rules, i.e there was enforcement. Scandinavians are a highly socially responsible people so a large percentage stopped going out and many cafés, bars and restaurants simply closed down because they had insufficient customers. Norway, Finland and Denmark had stricter rules and they were more formally enforced. So what was the outcome? The "let's do nothing" argument is portrayed as lives against the economy. So look at lives first. In Norway 51 people died per million population, in Finland it was a little worse at 62 per million and in Denmark quite a bit worse at 114. Sweden so far has recorded 582 per million population over 10 times Norway's figure. These are very closely related countries with similar ethnicity, similar culture, similar climate, similar levels of wealth, similar levels of healthcare and similar population densities. There is nothing to explain this huge difference in death rate other than Sweden's lax controls. Obviously Sweden must have done much better economically? I mean that is the whole purpose of removing restrictions. Here are the GDP growth figures for Norway
at -6.8 % over the first 2 quarters of 2020, Finland
at -6.4 %, Denmark
at -8.8 % and Sweden
at -8.1 %. Yes it does really prove that accepting 10 times the number of deaths is worth it to save the economy doesn't it? Sweden is second worst of the four Scandinavian countries with a death rate that outstrips the others by a country mile, or 10 km in our money.
What about the far east? Countries like South Korea and Taiwan imposed much less controls on movement and relied far more heavily on establishing a strong test-trace-isolate system. South Korea suffered 8 deaths per million population and Taiwan 0.3 per million. What about their economies? South Korea
suffered a GDP drop of -4.5 % and Taiwan
a drop of -2.4 %. Also in these countries virtually everybody wears a mask when they are out and about.
So tell me if you were going to copy a country which one would you copy? I know my answer. What the hard figures say is if you want to go down the Sweden route you are stark raving mad.
PS For comparison the UK has so far suffered 625 deaths per million population and the UK GDP
has fallen -22.3 % in the first 2 quarters. A hot bedtime drink springs to mind.