This is not to say however that the Swedes have done a good job. While their numbers are credible, their magnitude is still unacceptably large: 0.5/1000 Swedes have so far died of the corona virus.
Considering COVID has closed many of life's fun things, there will be an entire generation of people who have effectively "lost" a year of the things they hoped they would do in their lifetime. By stating open, Sweden might decrease life expectancy in years, but increase it in terms of 'things achieved in a lifetime'
Yes, people die. That's true of all countries and all times. What we might call civilized societies have however strived to reduce those numbers as much as possible. This was done by trying to avoid violence, improving lifestyles and developing better medical techniques in order to prevent or repair diseases and injuries.
Containing and minimizing the effects of a pandemic is just one aspect of what we might call a civilized attitude towards human life. Conversely, not doing so is uncivilized and I might add immoral and irresponsible.
> there will be an entire generation of people who have effectively "lost" a year of the things they hoped they would do in their lifetime
This almost doesn't merit a reply. A few months of not going to festivals and the cinema is by no measure a catastrophe. It's not fun, but suggesting that your right to fun should trump others' right to life is, again, uncivilized, immoral and irresponsible.
The reality is that everyone is prepared to allow others to die for their own convenience. I intentionally phrased that harshly, but it is indisputably true. In the US, 70,000 people died from the influenza season of 2018-2019. We could have sharply reduced that through quarantine measures. But no one wants to do that.
Once you accept that everyone is prepared to allow others to die preventable deaths for their own convenience, then all you are talking about is a matter of degree. It can't be immoral to believe 1 death is okay, but 2 is wrong. That's just an opinion. The only difference between believing 70,000 is okay, and 700,000 is not is a gut feeling about how much preventable death is worth it to maintain our living standards.
This occurred in Italy, New York City, etc., and is now being seen in some cities in Texas and Florida. This condition is what incentivizes societies to lock down, not just the mere occurrence of a new disease.
If a society's healthcare system can handle a severe influx of serious Covid cases, then you typically have seen that government's restrictions lift.
Not Florida. An article from yesterday (https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2020/06/18/florida-has-l...) ominously claims that "less than 25%" of ICU beds are available in the state, but actually read it and see that 90% occupancy rates are normal, and only a few of those in the ICU are COVID19 cases.
Texas? Let's look at Houston, where for a month it's been "we'll be running out of ICU beds in two weeks" every week.
Italian and New York hospitals were overwhelmed because a) both places put sick elderly into old age homes. b) Like elsewhere early on, doctors put everyone serious onto ventilators in a mistaken belief that they should treat patients like they do ARDS cases based on blood oxygen levels. This damaged healthy lung sacs and caused long-term dependence on mechanical respiration that doctors found almost impossible to wean patients from, and other side effects like deep vein thrombosis; Nick Cordero is a recent example. This article from three months ago (https://www.statnews.com/2020/04/08/doctors-say-ventilators-...) was completely vindicated in retrospect.
(And even NYC being overwhelmed was thankfully temporary. That's why the military hospital ship sent there was not used.)
The mean time between symptoms and death is 14 days (https://www.statnews.com/2020/04/08/doctors-say-ventilators-...). 99% of cases where people with COVID19 stay in the hospital for months is because of b), and neither a) nor b) is happening now.
I agree that there’s a lot to criticize in how NYC handled their hospitals, and that in a pinch hospitals in Texas and Florida can scrounge up extra beds. But those hospitals are filling up.
There are 306 ICUs in Florida (https://bi.ahca.myflorida.com/t/ABICC/views/Public/ICUBedsHo...). As of today, 16.8% of all ICU beds are available.
As I said, a 90% ICU load is normal; hospitals routinely transfer patients elsewhere to maximize utilization across as many facilities as possible. Again, only a small portion of ICU patients are there for COVID19, and a good chunk of the remainder are people who postponed procedures during the lockdown.
COVID19 patients are not making up a large percentage of ICU patients at the moment; see, for example, the hospital in the aforementioned article with 100 ICU beds. Yes, the 100 beds are full at that moment, but only seven are COVID19 patients; no doubt some other fraction are patients who put off procedures during the lockdown. That hospital is sending new patients it can't handle elsewhere, and will also move some existing patients elsewhere when practical/safe. This is possible because there is no overcapacity on a regional or statewide level.
Anyway, your point stands, but there are people who think covid deaths are no higher than a bad flu, and your numbers seem to mislead in that direction.
Initially lockdown was to "flatten the curve", stop the hospitals an in particular the ICU beds from getting overwhelmed. That worked, and while it got close to breaking point here in Spain we made it through.
I noticed as new data emerged from Sweden - they hadn't spiralled out of control as many, including myself, predicted. Flatten the curve seemed to be forgotten about, and it turned into a pointless competition of who has the least cases, least excess deaths - pointless because this is far from over.
Or maybe we are past the worst of it already - the Diamond Princess cruise ship showed only 20% of the passengers infected - so maybe covid only affects 20% of the population.
Someone here mentioned how Vietnam handled it, they reacted quickly and had steep fines (for their income) and achieved 0 deaths and now it's 80 days since last infection was reported.
There are other countries that handled it really well: Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Finland.
I wouldn't look at any state in the USA for evidence of whether lockdown works or not, because it pretty much wasn't done here.
> Can you explain why the estimates on this page are different from previously published and reported estimates for 2017-2018? (For example, total flu-related deaths during 2017-2018 was previously estimated to be 79,000, but the current estimate is 61,000)?
> The estimates on this page have been updated from an earlier report published in December 2018 based on more recently available information. There is a trade-off between timeliness and accuracy of the burden estimates. To provide timely burden estimates to the public, clinicians, and public health decision-makers, we use preliminary data that may lead to over- or under-estimates of the true burden. However, each season’s estimates will be finalized when data on testing practices and deaths for that season are available.
> The reality is that everyone is prepared to allow others to die for their own convenience.
It may be so. Those people are morally wrong however. This is a deep point that I have insisted on in other comments as well. Casually weighing human life against economic cost is not acceptable in what we might call a civilized society.
> The only difference between believing 70,000 is okay, and 700,000 is not is a gut feeling about how much preventable death is worth it to maintain our living standards.
That is not true. Deaths caused by the regular flu are deeply regrettable and should be prevented as much as possible. If you dig into the data however, you will see that the coronavirus not only kills many more people than the flu, but it also kills people who would otherwise have many more years left to live. Diabetes, a heart condition or age > 65 yrs. shouldn't be death sentences in a modern civilized society.
The reality is quite different. We accept a risk of death to ourselves and others in everything we do. You do it, too. Everything. You even risk death by doing nothing.
You could say "if it cost $1b to save this life, we should do it". But how many lives could be saved at $1b each before we run out of money? Then what? And what about the lives that could have been saved at $1m apiece?
If someone not willing to give up all of his assets to save someone else's life, is he uncivilized and morally wrong?
This a common, yet unrealistic, hypothetical. In reality, of course, death is inevitable regardless of the economic costs. Past a certain point everybody, so far, has died. The amount of things that we can do in order to prevent any given death doesn't scale with the economic cost, past a certain (quite low) point. Spending 1B on a person won't get you 1000 times better 'medical stuff' than spending 1 million; therefore, a trade-off of e.g. one life for 1B vs 1000 lives for 1m is illusory.
In practice all societies have limited resources. My position is, however, that those limited resources, in the case of an acute health crisis, should be focused as much as possible on mitigating that crisis, without having primary concern for the economic costs.
It absolutely isn't; it is complete nonsense.
Firstly, it directly conflicts with right to die; it asserts that if we can intervene in any suicide, then we should. How can stepping on the right to die be elevated to a gold standard?
Some people take risks, and those risks are fatal. Deaths in dangerous sports and other activities are easily preventable: just forcibly take away the right to engage in them. Closing off Mt. Everest to climbers will certainly prevent deaths. By your gold standard, that must be what should be done.
Preventing some deaths may even require lives to to be imperiled; someone has to be asked to risk their own life to save others.
No, no, no; live and let die is the gold standard.
People should be sometimes left to the consequences of their actions and circumstances and that includes dying. Obviously not always, and not as a rule, but sometimes. Often enough that "all preventable deaths should be prevented" is utterly preposterous.
Secondly, most of your post conflates me engangering myself my choice ( i choose a dangerous sport and suffer) vs someone else endangering me (unsafe building collapses on my head).
I'm willing to bet that you have taken many unnecessary car trips in your life. By doing so you have increased the risk to other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians of suffering a fatal accident. Sure, it's a very small increase, but surely that outweighs your selfish desire to visit your friends or go to a movie.
Casually weighing human life against economic cost is not acceptable in what we might call a civilized society.
It's not only acceptable, it's essential in order to make reasonable decisions.
Deaths caused by the regular flu are deeply regrettable and should be prevented as much as possible.
So, quarantines every winter?
Casually? Sure that’s not good. But we weigh human life against cost all the time.
In the U.K. they value 1 QALY (Quality adjusted life year) at $50k. It’s very explicit.
People forget that economic activity is what pays for healthcare, welfare, etc.
You can’t ignore economics.
The collective response has been outsized to the actual risk of death, and I believe this is due to fear rather than sensible policymaking.
If it really was about reducing all cause mortality, most governments could do so much to reduce the primary causes of death, like heart disease and cancer, by banning things like cigarettes and enforcing healthier diets among the populace.
Imagine what banning sugar alone would do to the rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the US. But no one wants to do that.
We abort 600K fetuses in the US every year. By our behavior, life is cheap.
You are just making up some arbitrary standard of "civilized society" that doesnt exist and is meaningless.
Economists have determined that people value their lives at about 100K. The govt through policy values a human life between 8 and 10 million
Right now you could spend $100 to save a life of a child in africa, yet instead you spend that money on frivolous luxuries.
Yes, in reality a lot of people die driving cars all around the world no matter the amount of on board safety devices and yet cars are legal everywhere. There are countless similar examples.
Preventable is what people agree or tolerate to prevent.
Secondly, the flue has quite reason, like year 2000, taken more lifes in Sweden then what Corona has taken this year. And I would be surprised if that would be exceptional to Sweden.
That not even consider there are more people living in Sweden today then 20 years ago. A couple of years earlier, the death rate per 100 000 was higher then Corona this spring.
Source, Swedish statistical agency. http://SCB.se/
And yes, there are some strong indications that there was Corona in Sweden in December, in Svärdsjö, Dalecarlia. A woman that has not been outside of the region got Corona signs on X rays of her lungs.
And that I guess isn't exceptional either. So, we probably hade Covid-19 a lot earlier than we has thought. Which could explain the explosion of the spread.
Human life and economic cost are not separate things. The economy is a comprehensive (if incomplete) description human life. When we shut down the economy we cause millions to lose jobs, to lose incomes, to lose structure, to lose community, to lose activities that give their lives purpose and joy.
The economic shut down is killing people. It's also reducing quality of life and length of life. That's not to say it's not worth it. The effects of lockdown are hard to measure and no one can be sure if it's worth it or not. But this framing of economic cost vs human life as if it's just a little money is wildly inaccurate and damaging.
I agree that it's a reasonable assumption. Ivor Cummings dives into some statistics a bit more, and it isn't so clear that the lockdown had the effect, rather that it might be do to with seasonality and the way the virus spreads. I am interested if anyone has any decent criticism of the numbers he bring up in that video, as they seemed reasonable to me?
That's not true. The flu seasons in 1968, 1957, 1918, and 1889 each killed over a million people worldwide, twice as many as COVID-19 in roughly the same timespan, and that out of a lower total population, and despite lockdowns and quarantines.
(Who is downvoting this simple truth? How is anyone going to discuss this issue if we can't even talk about basic facts?)
But that is corona with social distancing and very widespread working from home, so it isn't really an apples to apples comparison.
And why wouldn't I include 1918 in a list of flu pandemics that killed over a million people?
But even that simple statement of fact is suppressed, even here on HN, because this issue is so heavily politicized.
Youre are going to have the same number of deaths sooner or later as long as the hospitals aren't overwhelmed.
Corona isn't going anywhere.
So I think this proves the argument wrong.
If you consider the other costs you're avoiding, long term issues for sick people, the cost of treating all these people in hospital, the potential for people to get sick with this multiple times (we don't know if you get any immunity by getting sick) then it's even clearer.
Hopefully a vaccine is discovered.
- Virtually no travel in and out of the country (goods still flow though).
- No gatherings > 50 people.
- Keep 2m away from others (except for "bubbles").
- Wash your hands.
- Masks in certain situations (not mandatory for most).
- Various limitations in place as to how businesses operate, e.g. distance between tables in restaurants, physical barriers, cleaning, one way aisles in stores etc etc.
Since I'm not the type or age who goes partying out in crowded bars or to packed concerts that stuff doesn't really bother me personally. Sure, it's no fun, but the alternative seems like a lot less fun. In my (global) company we all switched to wfh when this started and I'm fine with that.
There's lot of room for optimization/improvements. Travel might be ok to locations that have this under control, for example. We might find better solutions for keeping the transmission low. We could decide to clamp down harder and eradicate the virus locally so that we can trade off local restrictions vs. travel restrictions.
It's just between all the bad options here this seems to be the least bad. 2 years of the disease raging through the community until (maybe) there's herd immunity sounds so much worse. I'm pretty sure the Americans who think this is the way to go will change their minds come this fall assuming the current trend continues. Maybe I'm wrong... Let's catch up in December ;)
Even assuming there's never a vaccine or effective cure, this is not true: temporarily reducing the R number (lockdowns, distancing, masks) reduces the overshoot in the total number of people who get the disease (some proportion of which will die). It's the difference between scenario 0 and scenario 1 in the excellent https://ncase.me/covid-19/ playable models.
What I said: "temporarily reducing the R number (lockdowns, distancing, masks) reduces the overshoot in the total number of people who get the disease (some proportion of which will die)."
How are these "completely different"?
It will go back to its normal r value one society returns to normal.
There's no avoiding society returning to normal as people need jobs to pay rent and buy food.
> There's no avoiding society returning to normal as people need jobs to pay rent and buy food.
You've moved the goalposts, but even so, the later sims suggest other things that can be done with less invasive measures like test and trace, wearing masks and social distancing. These don't prevent people doing jobs. They do decrease the number of people who die.
How do you know there's a vaccine on the horizon?
What's a preventable death? Everybody dies eventually, there's no such thing as a preventable death. There's delaying death, but everyone dies. Period.
I will give it my best shot at clarifying:
Preventable refers to what a given society can be expected to manage given its limited resources and given other moral constraints, such as not impinging on people's freedoms unnecessarily. A number of the terms I have used have vague meanings that can't be clarified (not by me at least) within the scope of an HN comment. A good faith interpretation of my statement would be that a society should hold saving lives as its highest priority, as long as this does not cause catastrophic costs or dystopian levels of population control. Some temporary economic costs and some temporary restrictions on certain freedoms should be accepted, I think.
> in this thread people are quite stubborn about interpreting things literally, or misinterpreting them all together.
My complaint is a bit different. I'd say "preventable deaths should be prevented" and people will interpret that as if it said "all". I reply that if I meant "all" I would have said "all".
Your case is a bit different, because you said "all" but did not mean "all".
That's my impression about the Internet as a whole these days...
Cancer is a rather big problem. It taxes society quite a bit, costs a lot of money and in general inconveniences quite a lot of people that need to support or help cancer patients.
Would you agree then that perhaps it's a better idea to let cancer patients die rather than try and find cures or reduce the chances of dying? Why or why not? If you had cancer but of the curable kind, would you accept the state killing you because it inconveniences others?
Rather, my point was that it's hypocritical to argue that anyone that does not want to continue major disruptions is either immoral, uncivilized, or an absolute monster.
Everyone attaches some value X to human life, and some value Z to normal functioning. Not everyone values these things the same. But everyone certainly has a value, and almost everyone is okay with allowing many tens of thousands annually to die a preventable death in order to avoid disruptions to life. That being true, let's stop the moralizing arguments, and focus instead on why coronavirus is worse than other illnesses, and why it's worth it to continue our efforts to disrupt it.
In other words, my argument is really about language and rhetoric, not the coronavirus itself.
For example, being against the treatment of the Uighurs in China would be an example of moralizing if we took your argument to the extreme. The government in China simply places lesser value on their lives and since we all attach different values to human lives it's hypocritical to criticize their treatment.
You're avoiding the actual argument at hand in favor of nitpicking the rhetoric. Basically, tone policing. And I don't think tone arguments solve anything over than diversion.
That's not the argument he was making. And as a society we have to accept some negative externalities and weigh up the benefits, otherwise things like (recreational) road-trips would be banned.
In the past, generations have willingly sacrificed their lives at war, ostensibly fighting for the common good, yet today we can't even stomach a year without pedicures and dining out? That's pretty sad and gross.
Unless you're claiming that no civilised society exists, that's not true at all. A civilisation built around minimising death as much as possible would look very differently to any that currently exists.
Resources are always a trade off. People working at those festivals and cinemas could have went in to medical care pre corona virus. People building festival stages and cinemas could have been building hospitals. If festivals and cinemas didn't exist then that would be less driving and less road deaths.
At some level festivals and cinemas existing is putting some peoples fun over others right to life, corona virus or no.
But this is just a tautology now, as the entire question is what constitutes "reasonable."
>It's not fun, but suggesting that your right to fun should trump others' right to life is, again, uncivilized, immoral and irresponsible.
One death a year vs permanent lockdown? We won't lock down. 99% of society dying vs washing your hands once a day? We'll make hand-washing mandatory. The deaths from Covid-19 and the responses to it are somewhere between those extremes.
The important point here is: it's not a matter of moral principles, it's a matter of where on those scales you put the deaths/counter measures. Pretending that it's a moral argument (as in "you're immoral if you accept any amount of unnecessary deaths for non-essential things like going to festivals or having pineapple delivered to your door") is simply not working unless you (demand to) ban plenty of things.
I would like a argument. Any. Instead there's just a bunch of people treating corona virus as this exception where you're sociopath to consider any other facet of life when deciding how to respond to it.
This is acting under the assumption that something can be done, that the thing done is effective, or for that matter, isn't harmful. There were, of course, many things done. Were all of them effective? Were some of them harmful?
Doing something harmful, like for example forcefully depriving many of a livelihood during a pandemic, can be considered immoral and irresponsible.
These are all measures that a modern state can take to prevent people from suffering economically.
Politicians keep kicking the can down the road and it is not fair to future generations. Nobody seems to be talking about that.
If you let someone go bankrupt, lose their job, house, etc. they are suddenly not contributing to the economy and other people start losing their jobs. And that person then needs welfare payments anyway to avoid starving to death etc.
In the former case the government might borrow to pay for that, but if you borrow money, you have to borrow it off someone. Someone has to buy those bonds; e.g. pension funds.
"The young" will be not will be worse off overall; it has to balance out overall. Some of them will be creditors. The balance won't be evenly distributed, but future governments can decide by how much with tax strategies.
Compare to climate change, a problem we are very definitely kicking down the road to future generations.
I think it's a bad idea to have people with little understanding of economics, but a high sense of moral superiority, fix the problems they create through their incompetence. Politicians are the last people you want doing this.
Freeze evictions? Landlords go bust. Freeze mortgages? Mortgage servicers go bust. Now what? Mortgages when created are aggregated into securities with guaranteed contractual payments. No payments? What happens to the securities and the organizations that own them? Banks, pensions, retirement accounts, etc? What happens to the mortgage market and the young family who needs to buy their first home?
Actions have consequences. It's nice to have ideas over the internet, but reality is a bit more complicated.
Not sure who you're referring to here.
> Freeze evictions? Landlords go bust. Freeze mortgages? Mortgage servicers go bust.
Corporations are legal fictions that do not have a right to life. Let them go bust and save the individuals working for those corporations. Once the crisis passes, they will re-create the legal fictions and continue their work.
> Mortgages when created are aggregated into securities with guaranteed contractual payments.
This should probably not have been allowed to happen in the first place.
In general valid replies to your comments are easily available. Your condescension is, however, tiresome, so I will not pursue this thread any further.
If an economic system can't cope with a relatively minor external stressor - and Covid is not nearly as dangerous or destructive as some stressors - then the problem is with the economic system.
Actions do indeed have consequences - and trying to use the wrong tool for the job because you can't imagine a better tool is possible is not a wise action.
That's like throwing all doctors in jail and saying there is something wrong with our medical system because it not longer works.
What problems? There are no major structural problems yet. There will be major structural problems if OP's ideas are implemented because they're not sound. That's not related to the economic system, that's related to OP's ideas.
I'd argue that a 40% jobless rate is a major structural problem.
The real shame about this is that it's absolutely avoidable to a big degree.
At a cost? Sure, but I'd argue that it's exactly this, which a civilized society makes.
In what country? In the US, the unemployment rate is 11.1% right now?
Do you have any data to support that? For many people their mental health has a great effect on their physical health, and in a country like Sweden where a lot of people have mental issues already (including stress, loneliness, various forms of depression etc.), yes you could make a case that making people even more isolated by sitting at home would increase their stress and loneliness which has an effect on the health.
All so that 75 year olds can have an extra month or two of average life expectancy?
I have octogenarian parents who I love deeply and would prefer to see live forever. I also have a young son. I would grind up my parents and feed them to my child if that's what it took for him to thrive. And I would expect my child to do the same for his children.
Stop moralizing, this isn't "right vs wrong". It's basically picking which demographic bears the brunt of an extremely unfortunate but naturally occurring phenomenon. I'm not at all sure we picked the right one.
One study found the average loss of life per COVID-19 death is 11 years for men and 13 for women.
It's potentially a lot more if you let the virus get out of control. The hospitalisation rate is difficult to pin down, but could be something like 4% for people in their 40s. That proportion starts to get closer to the overall death rate if your health system is overwhelmed.
Among patients dying of COVID-19, there appears to be a considerable burden in terms of years of life lost
I don't think you are deliberately misusing statistics here, but this common confusion massively overstates the risk of infection in the same way that the early focus on Case Fatality Rates did. To be meaningful, those Years Of Life Lost numbers need to be multiplied by the Infection Fatality Rate.
I can't find an IFR for 75+, but the CDC currently has 1.3% for age 65+. The average 65yo has 19.1 years of life remaining (2010 stats, also from the CDC).
1.3% * 19.1 years = ~0.25 years, or about 4 months.
This is probably a conservative estimate - older people have fewer years remaining.
Look, if covid-19 actually reduced the average lifespan of the population by a decade, I'd be in a panic too. Thankfully, it doesn't.
You said "All so that 75 year olds can have an extra month or two of average life expectancy", which gives the impression that the virus is only taking people a couple of months ahead of their natural death; this is not the case if you look at the average. People are dying with years of useful life left.
You might also like to do that calculation for the worst-case scenario of hospitals being overwhelmed, to see the much more serious situation we're trying to avoid.
In a "More or less" episode the insurance industry debunked that "an extra month or two": it's more like 5 years on average in a first world country.
That's some significant grand-parenting time.
Also, "flattening the curve" was not only about trying to save those old people but to not overwhelm hospitals and cemetaries. The system cannot handle so many excess deaths in so little time.
Your argument sounds like we should have let the virus go rampant and in 6 months:
1. let health workers go grazy
2. wipe out all 75+ people from the planet
Maybe the grand-children could give kisses of death to grandparents and problem is solved?
The big difference this time around is that the rich West is confronted with some of their organizational and political failures.
Grinding up your parents if that's what it took for your son to thrive is a false choice, your son will thrive regardless of whether or not your grind up your parents because it isn't the end of the world to lose a year of schooling. Just work a bit harder the next year and you'll be fine.
It's not clear yet whether the schools here will be opened this fall. A lot of it depends on the outcome of discussions like these - and the "save lives at all costs" crowd is pushing strongly for "no". It really doesn't help to throw around terms like "survival of our species" - there is no plausible scenario where the survival of our species is threatened by Covid-19.
Extra years. There's plenty of elderly with additional risk conditions who could manage and live with them for years w/o the extra strain of a poorly understood high-impact novel infectious agent.
But the idea that vulnerability is confined to the retired is wrong. Excess death stats are also up in the 45-65 range. And I'm personally acquainted with cases 45 & under people are already looking at severe lasting health effects and have been informed of COVID attributable deaths in that age range a degree or two out from my circle. This is unsurprising at a certain breadth of infection no matter the relative difference in risks for younger demographics. Very small numbers across very large populations = large absolute impacts. Let it burn through the population without suppression measures and it's not going to look prettier.
And that includes the economic effects. They're bad. But the idea that we could have chosen not to have them is false. Once contact takes on additional risks, some large portion of people stay away from contact underlying many economic activities whether there's civil direction or not, because all transactions are still cost/benefit. The only way to stop that would have been to totally suppress knowledge of the pandemic or have crushed the disease itself from the start. Distancing measures and other civil restrictions we're left with are basically a question of how coordinated activity is, not a difference in the order of the impacts. That kind of reduction happens when people are confident they're safe and they don't present a risk to those they care about.
Also, while everyone whose career has crossed the last crash or two knows it sucks, it isn't clear the impacts move beyond economic:
And while we're considering quality of life issues -- are we really saying that a year of public education is worth the tradeoff of having a parent or grandparent relationship? I think it's interesting that some of the societies that are doing much better than the West seem to have a culture of respect for the contributions elders make to their families and societies in general. I wonder if there's a connection.
And as for whether people should be moralizing: these are moral issues, which usually makes it a good time to do so. Apparently you agree, given that your own comment does. Which might even be appropriate if your moral case were the stronger one.
Probably impossible to estimate how many people died because of this, and how many will have their lives shorter because they didn't get treatment earlier. Here at local cantonal hospital, this has been recognized as a big failure of general directions given to the population, and is a huge problem for old people.
Its far from the trivialization you make out of it about some kids missing some festivals and parties.
What are your thoughts on a state of permanent lockdown in order to eliminate the tens of thousands of worldwide deaths that occur every single year due to the common flu?
Perhaps life to most of the world involves balancing several factors, one of which is risk to personal health.
Total lock-downs might not be necessary. From what I can tell, the working from home-thing pretty much stopped this year's flu epidemic; one of my customers talked about sick-leave being down by over two thirds since the pandemic hit. They've already changed their policies so that anyone with cold or flu symptoms are required to work from home from now on.
> Perhaps life to most of the world involves balancing several factors, one of which is risk to personal health.
No doubt about it. However, this pandemic has shown us that there are plenty of measures that can be taken without major disruptions.
Personally, I'm all for telling people with a sore throat and fever that they should stay the fk away from things like sports events, even if it's just a flu in that specific case. The only reason the flu does go around like it does is because we let it. We don't have to.
Edit: Note that USA is doing much worse since so many are dying there even though you lock down.
All gatherings över 50 persons are forbiden and we are to told to not travel IF not needed.
We still uphold laws, so the government bor riksdag can force lockdown om People. But can close Stores and restaurants that doesn't follow rules.
And about Corona deaths, we are probably have more correct reports of deaths than many countries, like UK. Which probably are under reporting.
That based on all deaths reporter. The exccess deaths compared to previous five years are about the same as the reporter Covid-19 deaths.
And the över deaths in Sweden are in pair with Denmark, higher then Norway but lower that Finland and Scotland (yes, part of UK).
And Finland has Hard lockdown, so Scotland and Denmark.
Even IF you compare Copenhagen area with Skåne area (South part of Sweden) with about same population, the death rate reporter of Covid-19 is higher in Copenhagen. There are areas in Sweden that have lower death rates then Finland, on pair with Finland.
So No, you are basically ignorant of the death rates of Sweden.
And yes, death rates of Covid-19 in Sweden are still lower than some bad influenza years, like in 2000. Even through the population in Sweden was smaller then, total number of deaths in flue was Word. And letting children go to school was a good Choice, as Corona isn't pushed by children, many are better going to school then forced to be at home. And they are not loosing important time in school with their friends and some normalities.
And the all deaths are now down to under normal years. Most thanks to the changed in behaviour has almost erased the flue in Sweden.
Comparing total deaths data, without different rules to define IF deaths are Covid-19 or not, shows that the lockdown in UK, Denmark and Finland did not do much difference. Not compared to Sweden, with moderate and mostly informed population about how to defeat the spread of the Corona virus.
But, that isn't interesting to wrote about, I guess. As it could show that the lockdown is the only solution, that it also cost life and sufferings.
Links on demands.
I sure think not. So the comparisons are a bit moot.
trading 60 years of 30 year olds for 1 year of an 82 year old is a trade that probably no 82 year old would want.
I really don't follow your argument. Do you believe young voters are totally indifferent to the idea of seeing their parents and grandparents die?
It is more about catering to the sort of voter that is easily scared, exposed for the first time to the fact that life is indeed fragile and limited, a voter that looks at someone to protect them.
Old people are the pawns and "protecting" them is the spectacle of demonstrating competence in governing.
But like many diseases, the coronavirus is far more sensitive--the IFR for a 75-year-old is >100x that of a 25-year-old. That's the reason why health care spending is near-universally assessed by cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) saved. To do otherwise would yield absurd results, paying the same to restore a dying child to perfect health as to extend a centenarian's life by another month of agony. Around the usual ~$100k per QALY saved and counting both the deaths and loss of quality in severe but non-fatal cases, I believe that masks, social distancing, remote working where possible, and closure of the highest-risk businesses (theaters, nightclubs, etc.) until a vaccine is available are likely cost-effective, but facility closures beyond that are not (except to any extent required to stop the medical system from getting overrun).
My mother _actually_ passed from cancer in May. I sure wish I could've spent more time with her before that happened despite any risks.
I would most certainly trade the past six months for a normal life even if it meant that I would die six months sooner.
We live in a society, and Covid19 is not just a question of personal choices.
Not to mention, people who have defied quarantine orders and have spread this to their loved ones can become depressed and suicidal, so quality of life for many who would spread this disease will become abysmal.
six months of isolation for a 1/100,000 chance of dying 50 years sooner,
turns out I take that chance of dying each time I climb a mountain, and I get back less value than what is on offer in your trade
would I trade getting out of six months of quarantine if the price was the chance of 1/100,000 of dying. Of course I would.
I contrasted that to the fact that I frequently take on much higher risks of dying (mountaineering) for a lot less payoff (it is fun).
(the 1/100,000 is an estimate based on existing data for my age group)
This is what's really frustrating about this whole "trade-off" argument: it's fine to make trade-offs for yourself, but you do not have the right to implicitly force your choice on others. If you sit within six feet of me not wearing a mask, my risk of falling off a mountain does not increase by any measurable amount. If you have Covid-19 and don't know it yet, the same cannot be said.
also where and in what way did the mask pop into this at all?
we are talking about what a person would trade aka risk vs reward
So this is not just about what is good for you, but instead what is good for the community.
For example, having you out of quarantine early might be good for you, but it will definitely not be good for many others.
A grandparent might accept a 20% chance of dying, if it means regularly taking their grandchild to the park in the last few good years of life they have left. Most of the people at great risk of CORVID only have a few good years left.
Or, look at things like obesity or smoking or drinking (all of which might be getting worse - will people develop bad habits in quarantine?). People are willing to take risks (and overburden the health system) over lots of things, and we accept that the government shouldn't make it illegal.
Actually, why don't we just create quarantine safe old people's homes, and force them all into it? Then we can protect old people in quarantine, and let young people risk CORVID to build up herd immunity, then plunge the country into a brief elimination lockdown. It would be kinda inhumane to the old people we would be locking up (though people seem willing to take extreme measures anyway) but at least it would be quick.
Human wellbeing is not fungible. It is not acceptable to let a significant portion of people suffer to prevent a moderate inconvenience to a larger group of people.
I'm pretty sure that mandating driver's license to be able to drive, and passing laws and regulations to enforce the use and adoption of safety systems such as seat belts, air bags, and helmets, not to mention criminalizing wreck less driving, is a pretty radical change to society.
With covid19 all people is asked to do is wear a mask and practice social distancing.
We could make those things permenant, it would really reduce road traffic deaths if noone could socially drive more than 5 miles, or drive to visit friends.
I mean, Spain had to endure a couple of months of isolation and we don't see Spaniards complaining that it's the end of the world.
And also to avoid panic and shortages of essentials caused by mass avoidable deaths and work absenteeism, both of which would have been the inevitable and predictable outcome of attempting to carry on as normal.
IMO the argument is already over. In fact there shouldn't have been an argument at all. There was never a rational case for trying to avoid lockdown, or failing to test/trace, or setting up other basic mitigation measures - either on humanitarian or on economic grounds.
This is an awful way of thinking.
> There was never a rational case for trying to avoid lockdown
This is untrue. Many virologists and epidemiologists made rational cases against lockdowns. Sweden followed the strategy of Anders Tegnell, who is a renowned epidemiologist. The case for or against lockdowns was ultimately decided by the perception of public opinion, with politicians trading off the risk of "having done too little" versus "having done too much".
The New York times is spinning a narrative that Sweden, because of no lockdown whatsoever, had a really bad outcome. It's just not true. The amount of deaths controlled for population is lower than in Spain, France or the UK, all of which had a total lockdown. Their current fatality cases are near zero. Their economic contraction is half that of the rest of the EU.
This is cherry-picking. You can always tell if somebody is making a bad argument when they pick Norway - a sparsely populated oil-rich welfare state - for a comparison.
> The question boils down was it worth for a modest economical benefit allow 5000 people to die or not. Some people think it is okay, most do not.
No, that's an oversimplification. You are assuming that the lockdowns could've prevented these deaths, yet we have other countries that had strict lockdowns and that had similar death rates.
You also have countries like Germany and Netherlands with modest lockdowns and lower death rates.
There are a lot of factors at play here and the numbers are all over the place, but there is no evidence that lockdowns actually do better in the long run. Part of the problem is that most countries did do some form of lockdown, so Sweden is one of few in the control group.
It doesn't really matter anyway, I already admitted that countries like Germany and Netherlands did have fewer deaths with modest lockdowns. These are samples in favor of a lockdown.
However, there are also countries like France, Spain and UK that had the strictest lockdown, yet they had higher death rates. Those hint at strict lockdowns being no more effective than modest lockdowns when compared against Germany, or even being completely inneffective when compared against Sweden.
There is no clear correlation between having a lockdown and having fewer deaths, so you can't claim that Sweden would've had a far different result with a lockdown. That's just an unknown, there are many more factors at play.
Also, the costs aren't just economic. Lockdowns are a severe restriction of civil rights. There's a great deal of suffering caused by lockdowns. They can destroy livelihoods. They limit medical care. There's more domestic violence, more suicides, more depression.
(And we also have pretty good chances of coming up with a vaccine in about 1 year.) It's not "just the same amount of death, but slower, so the crematoriums don't get overwhelmed".
This is just wishful thinking. We've never had effective vaccines for this sort of virus. (The yearly flu vaccine is like 30% effective.) Sure lots of research groups are working on vaccines, but many of them are academics who have no particular duty to work on research likely to have an immediate payoff. The researchers who do have such a duty, i.e. those who work for private drug firms, are mostly developing treatments like the antiviral remdesivir. Effective treatments of various sorts are closer than any vaccine, for COVID-19. IMHO, the most likely eventual winner will be a scaled-up version of the convalescent plasma therapy, which unlike the current version will be able to produce effective antibodies without drawing blood from humans.
Efficacy is always a question, sure, yet it seems the spike protein is stable (conserved across mutations).
If the mRNA stuff works well then it'll likely work for the flu too. (It be easy to pack one shot full if flu strains.)
So, stability over e.g. a month doesn't guarantee stability over longer terms.
Covid (any vaccine based treatment really) is even more difficult as you need to wait for six months to assess transmission.
Technically, you don't. There are volunteers ready to get infected with SARS-CoV2 and I wouldn't put my money on "ethics" standing in the way in this case.
Everyone keeps forgetting this is a NOVEL virus, between rare severe impacts to children, there have been neurological any circulatory issues so saying it only matters to the people who die I think is ludicrously naive.
There too much unknown to dismiss what this disease can do.
My mother is 77 at risk from COVID - does she expect the neighbors kid not go to school to keep her "safe"?
Or that a 20 year old not have fun at the beach from now on so that she is "safe"?
Of course not, not a least bit, and she told me that herself. I admire her for it. I agree as well. Everyone is responsible for themselves.
someone's mom and people in general only matter if they are scared
if they are not scared then they have no rights, their opinion does not matter and they must do what the scared people want,
being scared and weak gives you more rights than being strong
Actually the current death rate are lower for last month then the mean value of previous 5 years same month.
But I guess that doesn't fit the common view of how it should be in Sweden.
Nor that the total death rate are in pair with Denmark and lower then Finland, with much harder lockdown.
I find it impossible to have a reasonable discussion on the subject, even people in healthcare (I worked in a famous Dutch hospital). People are dug in, evidence-based medicine is a tool to improve statistics first, patient care second, and nobody knows what anything actually costs, despite the national DBC-accounting system which was invented for insurers. Hint: not even the Dutch statistics bureau can tell you what the total cost of Dutch healthcare is. I've heard this is very politicized issue, all behind the scenes of course.
Given how much higher they are over other nations—even taking into account excess deaths—I would say they have failed that metric.
The Swedes are betting that nobody in the world will be spared from COVID and therefore the delta in deaths is temporary. They are front-loading it while attempting to keep the economic impacts as low as possible. They anticipate the rest of the world will be contending with shutdowns, re-openings, shutdowns, re-openings, and when all is said and done, the death rate per capita will be the same the world over.
So far, they the Swedes have bet one way, much of the rest of the world has bet the other way. Time will tell, but it is much too soon to make that judgment today.
Partly because they are export dependant and nobody's buying & partly because enough swedes are staying home (not going to pubs etc.) for the economy to tank but not enough to avoid 10 times as many deaths as their neighbours.
So, yes, time will tell. But for now they are getting the worst of both:
Many dead and no economic benefit.
Do you think Corona is going anywhere?
If you have a look at the current infection rate in a lot of European (and others) countries, even reaching 50% of the population infected would take decades.
So yes, I believe that delaying is not the only possibility.
It's currently mandatory masks in public, keeping distances and washing hands, and no big crowds.
Life feels pretty normal over here.
I'm talking from the perspective of a European country with <100 cases/day.
A lot of places are starting to reinstitute lockdowns.
It's also a bet that medical treatments won't improve and a vaccine won't be developed.
It seems speculatively like this is due to age-linked expression of ACE2.
You could apply this to things like airport security and check how the sum of all the time passenger spend in line compares to the lives saved. My guess is especially in the airport example the lines have taken more human life than terrorists.
Similarly if I died of covid now, it isn't just the 40ish years of life ahead I lose, but the impact on my wife, children and wider family. I've seen friends lose 72 yo grandfathers - who could have provided years ahead of fun and good memories with their grandkids.
This is not how society works. We could drastically curtail the number of deaths by outlawing cars, alcohol, and social interaction indefinitely, regardless of covid, but we don't. Refusing to understand that tradeoffs are involved is not helpful.
> what an acceptable death rate might be
Maybe you just misspoke?
I will try to clarify this once more:
from an high level/abstract point of view, all deaths (I am now specifically referring to the coronavirus, but this works for deaths in general) should be avoided. This is obviously not possible in practice, hence some deaths have to be accepted. What can be considered acceptable is relative, but it helps to look at the countries that have managed to keep their deaths low and take their numbers as a yardstick for other societies.
- Nobody knows if there was some excess mortality here, because there's no monitoring.
- There were thousands of "suspected cases" in the official reports, which remained suspected cases and never progressed to a confirmed case or a confirmed non-case (as they would if they were tested) until they stopped reporting numbers.
- People with confirmed close contact with known cases were told to isolate and were only tested if they showed symptoms (this is also normal practice in many/most Western countries).
- The supposed "large" number of tests carried out in Vietnam represents only 0.2% of the population.
- A significant portion of those tests are of people who had to be tested anyway, rather than community testing (e.g. overseas Vietnamese arriving home; the large number of charter flights that were allowed as exceptions from Korea and other countries, for employees of large firms with factories in Vietnam - e.g. LG - who did not stop during the lockdown).
- The lockdown was largely not enforced, and while streets were much quieter than usual, there were many people outside throughout. Smaller bars and restaurants only closed for a few weeks, and of course nobody wore a mask inside them. Many informal businesses (e.g. street food) never closed.
I think Vietnam's "success" is largely down to some environmental factor (average temperature/humidity, sunlight exposure, the general "outdoor" way most people socialise) keeping the number of infections or the severity of those infections down, and I think the chances that COVID caused exactly zero deaths are almost zero.
- folks that are high-risk and quarantined are monitored (guards posted outside residence)
- if you fail to self isolate, you go to a gov’t camp
- all int’l flight have been stopped; only repatriation flights are happening
- for those foreigners who made it in before the flights stopped, they all went to gov't facilities
- if someone tests positive, they will lock down all the people around them for 24hr, disinfect common areas and test
> if you fail to self isolate, you go to a gov’t camp
There are a few instances of this, which of course the govt made sure were widely reported. It's very unlikely in general that they would know, though.
> all int’l flight have been stopped; only repatriation flights are happening
This is completely false, as you can verify on any public flight tracker website. The number of flights is greatly reduced, but they never stopped. Also, extra charter flights were put on for (at least) Samsung and LG employees to come from Korea, regularly, even in the middle of the lockdown. The "all international flights stopped" line was repeated many times in the local media, and most people here believe it, despite it being untrue.
> for those foreigners who made it in before the flights stopped, they all went to gov't facilities
Not true at all, I know many people who did not have to.
> if someone tests positive, they will lock down all the people around them for 24hr, disinfect common areas and test
They notify the people around them and tell them to self-isolate. They spray some bleach around. They do not test unless symptoms are shown.
Maybe there is a bit of variation across Vietnam? I’m just sharing what my in-laws observed where they live.
When I say “all international flights” stopped, I mean, you can’t just hoop on the next flight to Vietnam. Yes, there are still repatriation flights happening and flight for certain purposes, but “normal” air travel has stopped, no?
So regardless, would you agree that Vietnam is going far beyond a lot of countries in trying to control the spread?
Perhaps. My experience was with HCMC and Hanoi.
> When I say “all international flights” stopped, I mean, you can’t just hop on the next flight to Vietnam. Yes, there are still repatriation flights happening and flight for certain purposes, but “normal” air travel has stopped, no?
Actually, there were normal, scheduled flights throughout the lockdown. There are right now, there were last week, and there were every week before that. You can trivially confirm this on a flight-tracking website (one of the ones that goes on the ADS-B data, so you see actual aircraft tracks, rather than just a flight schedule website which may show you flights that didn't actually operate). Visa waiver, visa-on-arrival, e-visa and visa issuance for tourists completely stopped, so in practice a tourist can't board a flight to Vietnam, but a small number of flights have continued running throughout, indicating sufficient demand from people who are able to fly here (Vietnamese citizens, people with residence permits, people who were able to get issued non-tourist visas in their home country, ...)
> So regardless, would you agree that Vietnam is going far beyond a lot of countries in trying to control the spread?
I'd say they're pretty much on par with any of the places that aren't a massive failure. But I also think the question of which country did it better or worse is not very interesting, and mostly a pointless political distraction from useful questions like which control measures have a meaningful effect and which don't.
I was there in February, for around a month.
As a foreigner, I was regularly receiving SMS updates about covid infections. There was a website which detailed exactly when and where people were testing positive. Hotels and guest houses, if allowed to remain open, were being closed for deep-cleaning.
Buses and trains were stopped and my temperature checked, towns and islands were quarantined where someone tested positive, contact tracing appeared to be in full force and foreigners were requested to register their movements and check in daily(iirc) to a web portal.
Again, this was in mid-February.
Luck and climate seem to be factors, but Vietnam acted when they had a low caseload and handled outbreaks sufficiently well to keep R below 1. It wouldn't be all that surprising to me if there really were no covid deaths there.
I didn't post to score points against you or at all discredit your personal experience.
> I have to disagree with the idea that Vietnam didn't take it particularly seriously
I didn't present that idea, so I'm not sure how you can disagree with it.
Have a nice evening.
"As in wartime, almost every sector, including aviation, healthcare and food production, has been mobilised and dedicated to containing the pandemic."
They fought the virus, not each other. They won.