All Topics / Opinionated! / Covid19 – the next steps?

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  • Profile photo of BennyBenny
    Moderator
    @benny
    Join Date: 2002
    Post Count: 1,416

    Hi all,
    We’ve all done pretty well here in Australia and NZ – I do think we both have a major advantage being island nations, making it easier to close our borders.

    I’m a bit mixed about this whole “isolation” thing. I see some benefits as we all slow down and think more of “family things” and even re-learn how to live together. I also think the keeping our distance (just 1.5 metres) is not a bad thing either – especially while we learn more about this virus and a possible vaccine. But just how far should we go with the “shutting down of things – beaches, non-essential businesses, gatherings of groups larger than two, don’t sit on park benches (even with no-one else around???), etc.

    This whole issue around shutting down our economies is worth a second look. I heard this morning that, if we measure “deaths vs economical damage” the figure looks like this:-

    For every death, we have around 10,000 people out of work.  If our leaders knew that would be how things would work out, would they have chosen to shut down the whole joint in the first place?   And, now that they do know, does it make sense to continue to isolate everyone and risk even further economic damage? Hmmmm…..

    Further to that, it seems many die WITH Covid, but do all of these die OF Covid? Are these all counted as Covid deaths anyway? Like, was it Covid that brought on their deaths, or were they about to die anyway? The largest percentage of deaths ARE in the over 70’s age group.

    Should we be following the Sweden model instead – keep your distance (1.5m) but business pretty much as usual. They have some milder restrictions, but aren’t shutting down the whole joint as we are. And their death rate is not much more than our own.

    One thing that is galling me is where businesses take their own advice, ignoring recommendations from the Govts – one case in particular is that of “Rest homes” where we have old friends who are almost imprisoned by their care providers. i.e. The management allow NO visitors, not even family. The Govt (Australia) say “Allow 2 visits per day, with no more than 2 visitors at one time”.

    My thoughts are – older folk need daily interaction so they don’t feel forgotten. And via phone calls we learn from one friend that “even the staff don’t stay long – just in and out again” – and “We must stay in our rooms except at meal time”.  So our old friends feel quite isolated. Even phone calls are a poor substitute for sitting face-to-face. And not just older folk anyway – we are all gregarious, aren’t we?

    With our Covid figures looking pretty good (i.e. we HAVE flattened the curve) isn’t it high time we RELAXED our guard somewhat and allowed more latitude? Let’s have BBQ’s again with a few friends. Even risk allowing most/all businesses to re-open? Maybe remain with closed borders until we have better/faster screening of incoming visitors – but do look to opening them up too, in the not-too-distant future.

    What do YOU think? Isn’t it time to get back to more normal living?

    Benny

    Profile photo of BennyBenny
    Moderator
    @benny
    Join Date: 2002
    Post Count: 1,416

    Well, with a little more time having passed, in Qld the State Govt has begun re-introducing some activities that had been locked down.  i.e. We are now allowed to visit a beach or a park, can take a trip up to 50Km from home (rather than just “stay home” as has been the message).  Re the Rest Home that we like to visit, they are now allowing family members to visit their loved ones in the home (they had previously been locked out – how stupid!).

    Schools are starting to “allow” students to come back for face-to-face education once more.  Is sanity returning?  Hope so.  But let me share with you something I heard on radio this morning:-

    A microbiologist with some 40 years experience was saying “We shouldn’t have wrapped everyone in cottonwool and hid them in their homes.  Humankind does its best by sharing viruses and bacterii among ourselves and we should be returning to this way of life.”  He asserts that  “the longer we stay in our homes and, when venturing out to buy goods, we meet only sanitised surfaces and we don’t shake hands or touch things, our personal immunity becomes weaker.   We should be out in the Sun, and should still be shaking hands, having normal interactions with others, and just living.”

    Now, I think I know the reasoning behind the Fed Govt’s initial “lockdown” – the fear was that this virus was moving so quickly that it would overwhelm our hospital services, including beds, medical supplies, and even staffing numbers.  So, fair enough, the decision to lockdown was made with all good intentions initially.  And yes, this virus has indeed moved quickly.  So, top marks for the initial “lockdown” – closed borders, limiting travel and human interactions as much as possible.

    The closing down of so many businesses – well, the jury is still out on that one.  Comes back to my previous comment (went something like “For every one death we have had from covid, 10,000 workers have lost their job”).  Since Govt now knows that parameter, I would think the re-opening of businesses should be put on the fast track now.  Yes, I know it has risk attached, but there is risk in not re-opening them too.  Mental health is a big subject that hasn’t been widely considered in all this – but, as gregarious animals, us being out of touch with others is not such a good thing.  It may be somewhat OK for those with families perhaps – but some just don’t have family nearby, or at all.

    Time to re-open restaurants, etc? Is it time to chance our arm once more, risk getting crook, and going out to rebuild our personal immunity systems?  I say Yes – how about you?

    Benny

     

    Profile photo of Steve McKnightSteve McKnight
    Keymaster
    @stevemcknight
    Join Date: 2001
    Post Count: 1,763

    I think we’ve created a ‘success problem’, namely that while we might have low cases, the rest of the world more or less doesn’t.

    Can we live in isolation? Yes. Can our economy and pre-COVID-19 standard of living survive isolation? No.

    The question I keep coming back to is this… what happens when we open the borders?

    It seems to me that the lockdown was a very expensive way of getting the necessary stockpiles of PPE and ventilators to manage post-lockdown.

    – Steve

     

    Steve McKnight | PropertyInvesting.com Pty Ltd | CEO
    https://www.propertyinvesting.com

    Success comes from doing things differently

    Profile photo of Pascoe2Pascoe2
    Participant
    @pascoe2
    Join Date: 2016
    Post Count: 2

    “It seems to me that the lockdown was a very expensive way of getting the necessary stockpiles of PPE and ventilators to manage post-lockdown.”

    This is probably one of the most sad and true comments I have read all year………….

     

    Profile photo of StevenSteven
    Participant
    @steven1982
    Join Date: 2017
    Post Count: 189

    It seems to me that the lockdown was a very expensive way of getting the necessary stockpiles of PPE and ventilators to manage post-lockdown

    To me, it looked like the government was initially unwilling to proceed to a full lockdown in the beginning. I have been reading news and comments online for a few weeks, and I can see right at the beginning, when comments on The Age or News.com.au were calling for government to proceed with quarantine, the government still insisted on “there is no need to lockdown”.

    However, then come a few incidents where both the government and local people decide to be morons (eg: Bondi Beach, also Ruby Princesses, St Kilda beach, etc…), which prompted a much harsher response from authorities.

    In that sense, some people may say we were given a chance to go with Sweden Model, but we ruined it ourselves. (Only a day or two after Bondi Beach, NSW infection rate spiked and most of them happened to be related to people who went to Bondi Beach)

    At the moment, while we have done a good job and restrictions are definitely softening now, but they are being softened gradually….

    We need to be careful that all it takes is 1 person to be an moronic antic to un-do all of the efforts made by everybody.

    Just look at South Korea… they re-opened and then now they are shutting down again because 1 person who went around a few pubs and bars and spread to some 40 people in a matter of 1 or 2 days.

     

    Profile photo of BennyBenny
    Moderator
    @benny
    Join Date: 2002
    Post Count: 1,416

    Another thing that tends to be overlooked/ignored by reporting media is the relevance of the Covid death rates.  Aussie’s death rate is WAY low compared to other nations – thus we should be able to get back to business sooner.

    Instead, let’s look at a nation who is currently seeing a really high death rate – the USA.  From what I’ve learned, their death rate is like 3% of all those who get Covid – quite high compared to most.  Their current total deaths from Covid are said to be 85,000 in about 3 months.  On the other hand, their yearly death rate in 2018 (latest “numbers” available) was 2.8 million people, or about 240,000 per month.  Covid is less than 30,000 a month on average.  OK, that’s an extra 12% – or IS IT?  Do we even know it is “extra”?  Couldn’t it be that these were folk who were likely to pass away anyway due to other health issues, or age?

    Did the 30,000/month die OF Covid, or WITH Covid?   Is anyone looking at that?  Should our economies continue to be shut down over what could be “just another flu” in reality?   What about Aussie’s case?

    The deaths from Covid in Aussie are still below 100 in total (say 30 per month).  The Australian death rate per year (also 2018 for consistency) is seen to be 165,000 or 13,750 per month.

    Say wha’ ?   We have stalled our economy for 30 deaths (extra?  Who says?) on a total of 13,750 ????

    Back to work folks.  State Govts – are you listening?

    Benny

    Profile photo of StevenSteven
    Participant
    @steven1982
    Join Date: 2017
    Post Count: 189

    We have stalled our economy for 30 deaths

    I think the problem now is nobody in the government wants to risk running into the scenario where death rates going high. So better to be blamed for slowing down economy rather than to be blamed for high level of death.

    I come from a Chinese background and there is a proverb in my language that says “好死不如烂活”… which means something like “better to have a chance to live a harder life than risk dying”. If you get the chance to live, even though life can be hard, but you have a chance to go on with life and eventually turn things around… but if you die, then it is all for nothing.

    All it really takes is for a few irresponsible people to make the virus to spread around. Especially considering most Asian regions where population levels are high while land is limited (think Japan, China, Korea, etc… all places where people literally squash each other on the roads)…, which make the virus spread even easier compare to say Australia. So we are lucky here at Australia, where land is big and population is very low compare to most of the world.  — This probably explains why we take so many things for granted here in Australia. Things which rest of the world have to learn to live with and yet we are lucky to be able to just take them for granted…. and it also explains why a lot of my friends frequently comment to me that here in Australia, we “are too laid back and not take things seriously enough”… but I guess that’s a different topic for another time.

    The thing about virus (especially the ones that spread at a super fast level) is that you either have very high level of infection or extreme low level of infection. There really is no “somewhere in between”. As soon as you try to be some where in between, you end up with the higher end in a matter of days.

     

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