Coronavirus: More than 80% of patients have mild disease and will recover

Started by dsanchez, February 23, 2020, 23:47:08

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Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on December 03, 2020, 09:48:14Yes, and how short-sighted of them. 

Well, it's not easy. I would guess it's better to treat the sick instead of just testing the healthy. (It's all a matter of time and effort - and manpower requirements.)

Quote from: SueC on December 03, 2020, 09:48:14So while tourism across the board is reduced, small operators like us haven't really felt it.

German government and banks are just about to put millions into a travel agency (TUI) to "save" them. (See, that's how much the Germans travel...)

For your reassurance, I can tell you that travelling into Austria now requires a 10-day-quarantine (that's to avoid Germans a.o. to come ski-ing).

Quote from: SueC on December 03, 2020, 09:48:14Effective contact tracing, and isolation of contacts of known cases, is nearly impossible if community transmission isn't low.

Yeah, that's the trouble many countries have (incl. us and the UK and the US)!

Quote from: SueC on December 03, 2020, 09:48:14"You can't do that!  The world will end!"

And it might indeed. At least it looks to me like the rich will get richer and the poor stay poor (or just die, which means the end of their world).

Quote from: SueC on December 03, 2020, 09:48:14Many people obviously have lost their jobs and/or businesses, but last week, we technically came out of the recession that we were plunged into by COVID-19, and if we can keep the virus suppressed, we're going to have a reasonable recovery.

Meaning the economy will have to grow again, i.e. "back to the old rules", in favour of big companies and (mostly ) to the loss of "the small people".

Quote from: SueC on December 03, 2020, 09:48:14Normal for what?

I wouldn't know. "Normal" for this time of year I guess.
(A few years ago tens of thousands died of flu here and nobody asked for a lockdown or anything...)

Here's some current info for you (c/o the renowned RKI):

QuoteDie Gesundheitsämter seien zusehends erschöpft und schafften es nicht mehr zu ermitteln, wo sich Betroffene angesteckt haben. Es gebe mehr Ausbrüche in Alten- und Pflegeheimen, "in einigen Regionen stoßen Krankenhäuser an ihre Belastungsgrenzen", sagte Wieler. Die Zahl der schweren Verläufe und Todesfälle steige von Woche zu Woche, es sei mit vielen weiteren Fällen zu rechnen.

Trotz allem erkennt der RKI-Präsident aber einen Trend, der ihm Hoffnung macht und aus seiner Sicht "in die richtige Richtung geht": "In allen Altersgruppen außer den Hochaltrigen sinkt die Inzidenz", sagte Wieler auf Nachfrage unserer Redaktion. Er sehe eine leichte, wenn auch langsame Erholung.

Zugleich appellierte Wieler an die Menschen in Deutschland, die Krankheit ernst zu nehmen: "Die Reduktion der Kontakte ist der Schlüssel zum Erfolg." Er rief erneut eindringlich dazu auf, Regeln zu Abstand, Hygiene und Alltagsmasken "immer und überall" zu beherzigen.
https://www.gmx.net/magazine/news/coronavirus/rki-chef-lothar-wieler-trend-hoffnung-35320362
It's never enough...

SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on December 03, 2020, 13:41:47Well, it's not easy. I would guess it's better to treat the sick instead of just testing the healthy. (It's all a matter of time and effort - and manpower requirements.)

Like the US government, the UK government botched it up comprehensively. Both countries have a great deal of scientific expertise and resources, but have come out looking like Third World nations in this - particularly the US, which has less than 5% of the world population, but over 20% of COVID deaths currently. There was no reason that either of those countries should have performed at below-average level - but Boris Johnson and his cronies were umming and aahhing and ignoring scientific advice on this matter, instead of doing what a government is supposed to do - not to mention violating the belated public health measures they expected their citizens to adhere to (Dominic Cummings et al) - ditto the outgoing US president.

The UK has the same advantages as Taiwan, NZ and Australia in being an island, but didn't even shut down borders properly.

Time and effort become a huge issue if you delay your response and let an outbreak go out of control.  Early-responding countries chose to start combating the pandemic before they had a huge problem - I remember the impassioned letter written by an Italian citizen to citizens of the UK early this year saying, "Don't make the mistakes we made!" ...because it was really clear what was going to happen in the UK (and the US) with the lack of timely and effective official response.

And re treating the sick versus testing the healthy - it's not an either-or proposition, you have to do both.  Testing people without overt symptoms is important because asymptomatic carriers can spread the disease to others - that was pretty clear from early on in the piece (and you can't tell a shedding carrier from a "healthy person" - they look the same - so you have to test).  But if you look at the article Claire Moodie wrote after visiting the UK recently, she couldn't even get tested when she had a sore throat after international transit - and nobody asked her even to self-isolate.

The countries which have done well at suppressing this pandemic have done so with timely closing of borders, effective quarantine, social distancing and other protocols, timely lockdowns when necessary, massive population testing, effective contact tracing - and of course, with citizens who overwhelmingly supported taking action, instead of sabotaging efforts to deal with this.


Quote from: Ulrich on December 03, 2020, 13:41:47German government and banks are just about to put millions into a travel agency (TUI) to "save" them. (See, that's how much the Germans travel...)

Australians love to travel too, and do a lot of it.  The point is, during a pandemic it's not necessary to travel outside of your own country, or state, just to go on holidays - that's an easy concession to make, to holiday close to home for once - and it supports the local operators who would normally be taking people from further abroad.

Here in WA, once community transmission was under control, we were encouraged to discover our own backyards, and holiday in our own state.  We got a lot of people staying at our place who said, "Well, we've been overseas a dozen times but for some reason we never went down to the South Coast of WA before - and now we're glad we did, and we feel silly we've not done it before..."

When I was in London on a working holiday a long time ago, my three housemates were originally from Jersey, and none of them had been to any of the museums or art galleries in London even though they'd lived there for years.  They said it had never occurred to them to go!  It's funny how a lot of people ignore their own cities and hinterland... We don't, you don't, but so many people do!

Money is tighter since the pandemic obviously, but travelling close to home can be much more budget-friendly than flying somewhere else.



Quote from: Ulrich on December 03, 2020, 13:41:47
Quote from: SueC on December 03, 2020, 09:48:14"You can't do that!  The world will end!"

And it might indeed. At least it looks to me like the rich will get richer and the poor stay poor (or just die, which means the end of their world).

Quote from: SueC on December 03, 2020, 09:48:14Many people obviously have lost their jobs and/or businesses, but last week, we technically came out of the recession that we were plunged into by COVID-19, and if we can keep the virus suppressed, we're going to have a reasonable recovery.

Meaning the economy will have to grow again, i.e. "back to the old rules", in favour of big companies and (mostly ) to the loss of "the small people".

And this is the big one, isn't it.  It's terrible that the pandemic has been so hard on small business in particular, and has enriched corporations.  On the other hand, that was already the pattern before - corporations increasingly crowding out small business - and the pandemic has really brought that to public awareness, and I'm optimistic because many people aren't as apathetic about all of that as they were before.  People have done a lot of talking about stuff they would never have done if it wasn't for the pandemic, and a lot of networking and organising, and that's not just going to disappear - I think people have a better sense of being able to change things now, than before the pandemic.

I don't think things will ever go back to pre-pandemic "normal" in lots of ways, such as there will be increased flexibility about people working from home, and some return to proper full-time jobs in things like aged care instead of piecemeal work that's been the defining characteristic of the precariat which you are probably part of or at least have significant features in common with, and I was part of when I was working professionally, because of the neoliberal trend for making all workers work contracts or casual (even in universities and schools, which used to be sources of secure employment) instead of offering solid employment.  ...the casualisation of aged care workers in Australia was identified as one of the main reasons for the severe COVID outbreaks in Australian aged care; ditto with quarantine workers, who were moonlighting several jobs at the same time and then accidentally spreading the virus to other workplaces.

Also, COVID really highlighted that casual workers were likely to go to work when feeling ill, because they have no official sick leave and often can't afford to stay home - and this was one of the reasons there was unnecessary spreading of disease in the community (and not just COVID).  So paid pandemic leave was introduced in Australia for casual workers, and they are looking at reversing the trend of casualisation - well, the right-wingers aren't, but the Greens and the Labor politicians are, and they happen to be in power in several states of Australia, and in the current position to change these things, with widespread public support.

Lots of stuff like that, which is putting a lot of things back on the table.

And then there's Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements, which really got a lot more support this year - and the much-belated resumption of taking anthropogenic climate change more seriously now it's got us by the proverbial short and curlies (as was long predicted), and - gasp - actually phasing out fossil fuels, which the people getting rich off it (and this includes many politicians) really don't want to do - but there's increasing grass roots movements for change, because many ordinary people aren't going to take this lying down anymore.

I guess the lesson our household learnt a long time ago is that in Australia at least, you can't expect politicians to create a just and fair society - you have to push for that yourself, including by how you choose to live and how you spend the money you have, and what you will and will not support, and how good a friend and fellow human you can be to other people etc etc.

And the public does have a huge case to answer too - not just the politicians.  I'll take the example of trashy magazines with paparazzi photographs and made-up stories about celebrities.  These would disappear tomorrow if the general public point blank refused to buy them, but instead, so many people will happily pay the wages of photographers who incessantly pursue people in the public eye, and of so-called journalists who make up trash about them.  That is a personal choice, and a personal choice which creates injustice in our society, and the public has total control over whether or not to support that.  This is a case of needing to sweep your own doorstep before complaining about the actions of others.

Ditto with the enrichment of corporations and billionaires at the expense of smaller players.  Yes, the unfair rules favouring the big end of town are a big problem, but:  If people stopped flocking to chain stores and trashy multinational department stores and McDonalds, these places couldn't survive, at least not at the behemoth scale they've reached.  If people didn't order from Amazon or other Internet giants, smaller retailers wouldn't go broke.  What people support with their dollars is what grows.  Of course, the "big players" are often cheaper, but ordinary people can make the decision that price isn't going to be the main factor behind their purchasing, and look at paying more in order to get a better quality product that's going to last longer, and one that's not been made by slave labour overseas, and one that supports local industry and employment, and good environmental standards etc.  They can support "slow food" and farmers' markets and small greengrocers and butchers etc etc etc.

It means going out of your way more, and usually spending a bit more on individual items, but despite all the crying poor a lot of average-income people do, when you look at their budgets, there's so much that could be done differently in order to spend that income in ways that would result in a more just and fair society for everyone - and I think everyone needs to seriously audit that at regular intervals, rather than just complaining about the ills of politicians.  (In other words:  Yes, dear people complaining, you're right to complain, but also do what you can in your own life, and take responsibility for your own choices, which also have such a huge effect on the kind of world we live in.)

We could get creative and make lists of can-do things that are good for our communities and the world!  :)
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on December 04, 2020, 10:59:49And re treating the sick versus testing the healthy - it's not an either-or proposition, you have to do both.

Yes, but they don't always have the personnel to do both, at least not in unlimited numbers (also depending on how many tests are available). Which is why in Germany you only are supposed to get tested when you feel like you might have "symptoms".

Quote from: SueC on December 04, 2020, 10:59:49Australians love to travel too, and do a lot of it.  The point is, during a pandemic it's not necessary to travel outside of your own country, or state, just to go on holidays - that's an easy concession to make, to holiday close to home for once

Well I did exactly that, but it's not too "unusual" for me, as I didn't travel far these last few years anyway (however this year, even Frankonia seemed too far for me)!

Quote from: SueC on December 04, 2020, 10:59:49Money is tighter since the pandemic obviously, but travelling close to home can be much more budget-friendly than flying somewhere else.

Sadly not, due to cheap flights and all that. With the money I spent in Frankonia for hotel & food in just a few days, I could've flown to some island for a week or more...

Quote from: SueC on December 04, 2020, 10:59:49People have done a lot of talking about stuff they would never have done if it wasn't for the pandemic, and a lot of networking and organising, and that's not just going to disappear

I would hope so, but have doubts still. People talk a lot, but when it comes to actually doing something...

(It's like when they do a survey and ask people about "organic food" or something, the majority will say "yes, I'm willing to pay more for good food", but then when they go to the supermarket, they will choose the cheaper stuff.)

Quote from: SueC on December 04, 2020, 10:59:49Lots of stuff like that, which is putting a lot of things back on the table.

Thanks for the details about Australia.

In Germany, travelling does not seem to be the main problem right now (example Saxonia):

Quote from: undefinedDas ostdeutsche Bundesland weist am Freitag laut Daten des Robert-Koch-Instituts die mit weitem Abstand höchste Sieben-Tage-Inzidenz pro 100.000 Einwohnern auf: 276 - mehr als doppelt so viel wie der deutschlandweite Schnitt.

Der Marburger Bund übt derweil scharfe Kritik, sowohl an jenen Menschen im Freistaat, die sich nicht an die Schutzverordnung halten, als auch an den Behörden, die nicht entschieden handelten. Es sei "unverständlich", dass die "politisch Verantwortlichen in den Landkreisen so zögerlich konsequent die bestehenden Infektionsschutzregeln umsetzen und damit eine weitere Verschärfung der Maßnahmen provozieren", heißt es in einer Pressemitteilung von Donnerstag.

Aufgrund der hohen Fallzahlen sah sich Sachsens Ministerpräsident Michael Kretschmer (CDU) zum Handeln gezwungen: Im gesamten Freistaat - bis auf die drei großen Städte Dresden, Leipzig und Chemnitz, die ein anderes Infektionsgeschehen haben - gelte eine Ausgangsbeschränkung, sagte er am Mittwoch im ZDF-Morgenmagazin. Menschen dürften das Haus demnach nur aus wichtigen Gründen verlassen. Bereits am Dienstag waren die Maßnahmen für Landkreise mit einer Inzidenz höher als 200 verschärft worden.

Kretschmer zufolge befördert nachlässiges Verhalten die weitere Ausbreitung des Coronavirus trotz des geltenden Teil-Lockdowns im Freistaat. "Es liegt daran, dass wir zu viele Kontakte haben und zu viel Unachtsamkeit insgesamt", sagte er.
https://www.gmx.net/magazine/news/coronavirus/sachsen-pandemie-ausbreitet-35321606

Quote from: SueC on December 04, 2020, 10:59:49Ditto with the enrichment of corporations and billionaires at the expense of smaller players.  Yes, the unfair rules favouring the big end of town are a big problem, but:  If people stopped flocking to chain stores and trashy multinational department stores and McDonalds, these places couldn't survive, at least not at the behemoth scale they've reached.  If people didn't order from Amazon or other Internet giants, smaller retailers wouldn't go broke. 

That's part of the "problem" here, thanks to the pandemic and lockdowns and people being scared to go to a shop, amazon & co. are becoming even bigger as they were!

Which is why I support those who do question the endless "lockdown" and "stop & go" strategy, because it kills off small businesses.

In my humble opinion, it was "confused" (to say the least) to ask restaurants and cinemas to delevop "hygiene concepts" and then close them down with short notice!

And it goes on like this. Last week, they had a (video) conference, it was said that the Xmas holidays for schools should be longer, but in our federal state they can't really decide how and when...
(There's big elections coming next year, here in our federal state in spring and also the "parliament" in Berlin in autumn.)
It's never enough...

SueC

An Australian epidemiologist visits the US:

QuoteI should have realised when I transferred to a domestic flight in Los Angeles that I had just walked through the looking glass. Congestion at security screening explained the Covid clusters among airport security staff. On arrival in New York no one stopped me to take my temperature, or to register me, and there was no information about coronavirus exposure, let alone quarantine. The usual madness at ground transport prevailed as passengers arriving from all across the globe hailed taxis or Ubers, or shouted to waiting family - perfect conditions for spreading coronavirus.

Meanwhile, in Melbourne, millions of people were struggling under 11 weeks of lockdown, the price that society as a whole paid to suppress the virus, and suppress it they did: as I write no new locally transmitted cases have been recorded in more than a month. But over in America, it seemed to be a riff on "Live free or die", the actual state motto of New Hampshire. To me it looked more like live free and die. Continue congregating secretly or publicly in groups exceeding 10,000 for prayer, weddings and other celebrations? Check. Cover only your mouth, free your nose? Check. Social distancing? You gotta be kidding.

Once my week of hanging out with my mom was over, I prepared to leave the US just as the rate of positive coronavirus tests was skyrocketing there.

As I write the hospital systems of dozens of US states are staggering under the surge of new patients. Deaths have surpassed the numbers seen at the peak earlier this year, with worse to come after Thanksgiving family get-togethers. One pathetic legacy of President Donald Trump's dismantling of the public health reporting system is that the best publicly available, accurate and current coronavirus tracking system in the US can be found by anyone for free in the New York Times. I feel immensely sad that it's been left to the fourth estate to do this job. Without it Americans might not have known how rapidly this crisis is intensifying.

Flying back to Sydney on US election day was momentous. It also felt like whiplash. The Australian governments swung into action even before we stepped off the plane in Sydney. Once in the terminal it was full-on with precise coordination across jurisdictions and levels of government - immigration, biosecurity, state health authorities, police, army, air force. It embarrassed me that an air force officer was pushing my baggage trolley as he escorted me to my room. Of course this wasn't a courtesy: he was there to make sure that I was securely locked in my room without a key, open window or balcony for escape.

Both the US and Australia are responding to the same pandemic but you would hardly know it. In the US magical thinking and the elevation of individual freedom above the public good has squandered precious time. The number of deaths each day in the US quadrupled in just the four weeks after I landed in New York. Today it is up 30% in the past 14 days. Hospitals are reaching capacity and beyond. In a little more than two months my mother will have completed an entire year in self-quarantine, isolated from loved ones except for outdoor visits while the weather permitted. She'll probably turn 107 before both of us are vaccinated and can once again embrace. She has never met her first and only great-grandchild, born during the pandemic, and probably never will.

I studied with scholars and scientists of Lassa fever and other deadly diseases, I taught Yale's first course on global health, and I have worked on malaria policy myself. I have never doubted the justification for strict public health measures. But in my calls with my US friends and family they are still incredulous needless death and impoverishment could have been controlled with a strict and coordinated campaign of evidence-based public health measures, including quarantine.

Australia has shown that the response to a pandemic needs to be strict. Lives and a nation's economy hang in the balance. The response needs to be evidence-based. Precise. Coordinated. Thorough. Caring. Impartial. Transparent. Legally enacted and enforced. Strongly led and clearly communicated. Tough. Really tough. Because that's what it takes to control a pandemic.

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/07/arriving-in-the-us-from-australia-during-covid-was-like-walking-through-the-looking-glass
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Currently politicians sugggest a lockdown between Xmas and January 10th in Germany. (I have a vague feeling it might come earlier, e.g. from Dec 19th...)

(Edit; it looks like it:)

QuoteNun macht sich auch Innenminister Horst Seehofer für härtere Corona-Maßnahmen stark. Laut Seehofer müssten diese aber unmittelbar umgesetzt werden, nicht erst nach Weihnachten. "Die einzige Chance, wieder Herr der Lage zu werden, ist ein Lockdown, der aber sofort erfolgen muss", sagt er dem "Spiegel".

"Warten wir bis Weihnachten, werden wir noch Monate mit den hohen Zahlen zu kämpfen haben", warnt der Innenminister weiter.

Am Sonntag wollen Bund und Länder über weitere Corona-Verschärfungen diskutieren. Mehrere Bundesländer kündigten bereits einen harten Lockdown nach Weihnachten an.
https://www.gmx.net/magazine/news/coronavirus/corona-live-ticker-seehofer-sofortigen-lockdown-35329938
It's never enough...

Ulrich

The town of Tuebingen (not very far from me) has its own way of dealing with the pandemic (and should be considered nationwide):

https://www.t-online.de/gesundheit/krankheiten-symptome/id_89125842/tuebingens-corona-konzept-wir-koennen-nicht-staendig-einen-massiven-lockdown-durchfuehren-.html

Quote from: undefinedDie Notärztin Lisa Federle hat in Tübingen eine viel beachtete Aktion initiiert. Hier spricht sie über wirkungsvolle Maßnahmen bis zum Start der Impfungen und die Herausforderungen zu Weihnachten.

Ihre neue Initiative ist die jetzige kostenlose Corona-Schnelltestaktion für Bürger mit 25.000 Tests um die Weihnachtszeit. "Mein Team und ich stehen an fünf Tagen in der Woche mit unserem Arztmobil in der Tübinger Innenstadt und testen Bürgerinnen und Bürger", sagt die ehrenamtliche Präsidentin des Deutschen Roten Kreuzes in Tübingen.

"Damit möchten wir es ermöglichen, dass sich Familien im kleinen Kreis treffen können. Und wir möchten verhindern, dass infizierte Personen unerkannt bleiben und andere anstecken." Für die Hilfsaktion ist das Deutsche Rote Kreuz finanziell in Vorleistung getreten, Federle ist für die Rückzahlung auf Spenden angewiesen.

Als am 15. Oktober die Schnelltests offiziell freigegeben wurden, begann die Pandemie-Beauftragte des Landkreises in Altenpflegeheimen Schnelltests zu verteilen und das Personal zu schulen. "Viele ältere Menschen sprachen mit mir über ihre Angst, an Weihnachten - möglicherweise ihr letztes Weihnachtsfest - alleine zu sein. Das hat mich sehr berührt."

Durch die kostenlose Corona-Schnelltestaktion hofft Federle, möglichst vielen Menschen ein Weihnachtsfest im engsten Kreis ihrer Lieben zu ermöglichen. "Isolation ist schlimm. Wir dürfen nicht zulassen, dass Menschen an Weihnachten alleine sind."

Um ältere Menschen vor Covid-19 zu schützen, setzt die Stadt Tübingen auf verschiedene Schutzmaßnahmen. So dürfen Menschen über 60 Jahre Taxis zum Preis von Busfahrkarten nutzen. Bürger über 65 Jahre bekommen kostenlos FFP2-Masken zur Verfügung gestellt. Die Zeit zwischen 9 und 11 Uhr soll besonders Senioren für ihren Einkauf zur Verfügung stehen.

"Dennoch wären wir um einen weiteren Lockdown nicht herumgekommen. Umso wichtiger ist es, dass wenigstens die Weihnachtstage in kleinstem Kreise gemeinsam verbracht werden können", so Federle. "Neunzig Prozent der alten Menschen leben zu Hause. Machen die Angehörigen einen Schnelltest und fällt dieser negativ aus, ist ein Besuch möglich - natürlich unter Einhaltung der AHA-Regeln."

Federle hofft, dass irgendwann genügend Corona-Schnelltests auf dem Markt sind, sodass sich jeder testen lassen kann.
It's never enough...

Ulrich

That's what I'd been saying for months:
Quote from: undefinedDie deutsche Politik fährt nach eigener Aussage in der Pandemie "auf Sicht". Seit Monaten fährt sie schon so. Dabei wäre es dringend geboten, wenn man wüsste, wohin sie fährt. Dass Berlin bei Ausbruch der unbekannten Krankheit spontan einen umfassenden Lockdown anordnete, war legitim und für alle nachvollziehbar. Man wusste nicht genau, womit man es mit COVID-19 wirklich zu tun hatte.

Doch spätestens im Sommer, als man das Virus, die Verläufe, die Mortalitäten und Risikogruppen genau kannte, hätte eine Strategie entwickelt werden müssen, wie Deutschland langfristig zu neuer Normalität mit dem Virus finden kann. Doch die blieb aus.
https://www.gmx.net/magazine/news/coronavirus/fehler-deutschen-corona-politik-35369276

Similar in Austria, the country now goes into a 3rd lockdown...
It's never enough...

SueC

We've been watching Sydney's community outbreak unfold here for a couple of days and we both think they're dawdling the lockdown and will end up with a second wave like Victoria because of this.  When NZ had just one new case of unknown origin, they locked down the whole country again immediately, and got on top of it quickly without having to spend months in lockdown.  South Australia also jumped quickly on its recent developing community outbreak and got it back under control that way.  NSW is much, much too slow - there will have been cases all over Sydney days ago that aren't discovered yet, and it's pointless just locking down the Northern Beaches if there's undiscovered spot fires elsewhere already.  You have to lock down immediately and hard if you want to avoid long periods of lockdown and huge second waves... and Sydney isn't doing this, and even if they start tomorrow the virus will have spread further because of the delay.

Our WA premier has done the right thing and immediately re-introduced a hard border with NSW - no people from that state entering until this is over, except with a special permit and two weeks of supervised hotel quarantine.

Speaking of, at present the source of the current outbreak remains a mystery, but it brings to mind that recently, an aircrew of a dozen people from South America, who had brought back repatriating Australians from that continent, breached self-isolation protocols for airline crews and instead of staying in their hotels, went out on the town in Sydney, to various venues.   :1f635:   As a result, NSW have tightened aircrew procedures and all aircrew will now be staying in hotel quarantine supervised by police.  (And this was so predictable - I wonder why they weren't doing this months ago.  :mad:)

Civil rights people harp on about the loss of personal freedom, but this is why we need police and army around quarantine facilities - because again and again, it's shown that there is a minority who can't be trusted with this and who are willing to put our whole community, and the chance to run our businesses, at risk just so they can go travelling and partying when they should be isolating.
SueC is time travelling

SueC

QuoteGENEVA - The coronavirus pandemic has not deterred the Swiss from sending yodels echoing across their mountain valleys, but a concert attended by 600 people is believed to have made one canton a European virus hot spot.

At the late September yodeling event in the rural Schwyz canton, people in the audience were asked to maintain social distancing, but mask-wearing was not required.

"We can't do anything about what happened with this yodeling group. We found out nine days after the performances that several people from the group were infected," event organizer Beat Hegner told RTS public television.

Now the pandemic has spread through the region, with 1,238 cases compared with just 500 in mid-September.

On Wednesday alone, 94 people tested positive, twice as many as the day before.

The overloaded cantonal hospital has asked people to begin wearing masks and avoiding gatherings.

from https://www.voanews.com/covid-19-pandemic/finger-pointed-swiss-yodeling-concert-covid-superspreader-event
SueC is time travelling

SueC

A really top article from last year, pre-Victoria's second wave:

QuoteThe virus could well be a stage in human history rather than a one-off crisis

BY: GUY RUNDLE

We need to stop pretending this virus is a once-in-a-lifetime event, writes Guy Rundle.

Governments start to talk about being able to lift some restrictions in the weeks ahead, and we all breathe a sigh of relief. Not merely for the possibility that work may start up again for some of those laid-off, that a wider range of shops might open, that at some point we might be able to sit in a cafe for 10 minutes -- but also, in Australia, because we are approaching it from a place of less than a hundred deaths, a hospital system which never became overloaded, and a government which, though it has used this crisis for political advantage, has at least responded rationally to the threat.

I was in the US as the lockdowns began across the world, and as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson strutted across the stage, blowing their populist thought-bubbles, releasing the bats from right-wing wonks' belfries, and the feeling was alarming.

So I'm grateful that, for the moment, we have a rational government, whatever its political stripe, though I'm not going to gush over it, like some on the left have, because it's obvious that the crisis is also being used for a political-culture war.

But praising the basic rationality of the government (much of which, I have no doubt, is the product of Labor premiers in the national cabinet locking in Morrison, as the Attlee and the Labour members of Britain's wartime national government locked in Churchill during WWII) is simply a prelude to the question we need to ask: what is going to come out of this crisis that will lay solid foundations for a system ready for the next crisis?

The corporate and ideological right want to construct this as a once-in-a-century event, you know, like the once-in-a-century fires we're getting every five years, or the once-in-a-century drying up of eastern Australia's major river system that we're told to get used to.

The latest signups to this dingbat death-squad are Pru Goward and, of course, Elizabeth Farrelly (rule-proving exception to the [John] Quiggin principle that not all right wingers are death-cult capitalists, but all of the latter are from the right).

They're not only in denial about the dilemma we face in reviving full social life; they, and many others, are in denial about what this virus portends and what may come next.

After all, COVID-19 isn't anything new, as the virus' full name -- SARS-CoV-2  -- makes clear. Perhaps calling it SARS-COVID-19 would have been better to establish continuity with the SARS outbreak of 2003.

Since that time, we have had two flu outbreaks, an ebola outbreak, and another coronavirus MERS (Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome). The circulation of coronavirus roughly coincides with globalisation going to a new level in 2001, when China joined the WTO, and India abandoned the last vestiges of nationalist economic and social policy, and went for full neoliberalisation.

Globalisation, in the developing world, had been a preserve of a tiny elite, travelling, doing business, etc. Now it began to reach into the hinterland of these vast populations -- and into an Africa emerged from Cold War dominance by client dictators. The world was now really on the move.

Remember how weird the idea of Chinese international students was? And then Chinese tourists? How Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, were suddenly a destination for corporate careerists in the way only Hong Kong had been? First-stage neoliberalism -- the '80s and '90s -- hadn't been a real globalisation at all. Now it was here.

Now it is here and part of the package is a virus, with an exponentially widened field of mutation and recombination to develop in.

It's a measure of how frightening this is that large sections of the elite are regressing to the mythical and childish act of finding concrete baddies to blame for the trashing of our lovely lives. "If only China had..." "If only the WHO had..."

Magical solutions are proposed: "Let's close down the wet markets!" people say, without bothering to find out what a wet market is. "China must change its animal eating culture" -- ignoring that MERS, a far more lethal coronavirus, emerged from the Middle East, and was briefly called "camel flu" or "camel virus", because bats had transferred it to camels.

Bats, the epidemiologists tell us, are sources of such viruses because they have very strong immune systems, so viruses develop in a super-efficient manner to get around them. A nasty cold for a bat is lethal to us. This has presumably been occurring for centuries or longer, limited only by the non-mobility of very large sections of humanity.

Which means humanity has a dilemma for which there is no easy solution -- especially not the bumper-sticker slogan "herd immunity" which the death-cult dingbats like to 'eave about.

Not only is there strong evidence that SARS-COVID-19 can reinfect those whom it has passed through once or more, there is the possibility of the global virus -- what is really a singular organism, now omnipresent -- developing until it hits on a new combination of effects.

The lethality of a virus is a byproduct of its mechanism of spread. Ebola uses only body fluids, so it turns the body into a rotating sprinkler of everything inside of them, until the sufferer dies, having soaked someone else in blood, vomit or shit along the way.

There's an obvious trade-off between infectiousness and lethality, as the common cold (rhinovirus) demonstrates. But what if coronavirus hits on a modified mechanism of spread -- say, a form of coughing so unstoppable and so projective that sufferers' lungs break apart faster than now? What if such a disease had a 3%, 5% mortality rate and did not spare children?

At that point, it should be obvious that the modified form of everyday life we have now -- even in lockdown, a lot of us probably circulate more than a lot of women and older people did in the 1950s and before -- could not continue.

The distribution of food and other essentials would have to be managed by the state to minimise risk, health care would have to be brutally and cruelly triaged, and mobility would have to be subject, effectively, to military control.

As a society we need to have a plan for that, and to regard SARS-COVID-19 as a prelude and rehearsal to a viral event that would mark a categorical historical change in human life.

Should the state be unwilling to do this, out of the deep denial that still permeates a state devoted to the preservation of capitalism at all costs, then a coalition of public epidemiologists, economists, political scientists and disaster experts should form, create such a plan and make it public.

The only responsible act, for those who believe that the "human project" is worth continuing, is to make such a plan, with a clear-eyed view of nature's indifference to our desires.

The world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for, to quote Papa Hemingway, but the fight you face is never the one you thought it would be.

Yes, we should look to the possibility -- and no more -- of some very gradual, very limited and very reflexive opening up of the lockdowns. But only if such a measure does not serve as a host-body for the hubris of imagining that this viral event is an exceptional historical moment.

It may simply be that "the viral" is an inevitable stage of history for any mammalian species that develops a mobility beyond its pre-cultural evolved habitats. We need to recognise the potential epochal character: the moment when we lose our aeons-long status as this planet's apex predator, and must learn the caution and humility that guarantees the survival of all the rest of the animals.

Emailed to us by Crikey as a retrospective; original article here: https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/04/20/virus-stage-human-history/
SueC is time travelling