Why no seasonal lockdown for the flu?

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Cave Bear
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CDC estimates* for this flu season in America to date:

Hospitalizations: 390,000 - 710,000
Deaths: 23,000 - 59,000

Infections: 38,000,000 - 54,000,000
Medical visits: 17,000,000 - 25,000,000

These numbers are fairly typical for seasonal (October - April) influenza. Since influenza and coronavirus are spread through very similar modes, any lockdown should have about the same effectiveness in suppressing the transmission of influenza as it does coronavirus, meaning a two-month lockdown starting before season peak (typically in February) figures to save many thousands of lives (not to mention hospitalizations). This being the case, why are the annual victims of influenza not given the same protection as the people we are attempting to safeguard from coronavirus?

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

*Estimates are so wide because the vast majority of influenza cases are never confirmed by testing, often even when death occurs.
golden sloth
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Fast forward to the 57 second mark to see how this post will age.

Bobodeluxe
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NPR from last week

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

Pine Huang

The fact that the novel coronavirus appeared in the middle of flu season has prompted inevitable comparisons. Is COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, pretty much similar to the flu or does it pose a far greater threat?
Although there are still many unknowns about COVID-19, there is some solid information from researchers that sheds light on some of the similarities and differences at this time.
Symptoms
Fever, dry cough, fatigue and shortness of breath. These are the most frequent symptoms of COVID-19. Some patients might develop aches and pains; just 5% get the sniffles, according to data from China indicating that COVID-19 is not usually an upper respiratory infection.
These are all symptoms that overlap with flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that anyone who is experiencing these symptoms and who has been in direct contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient, or who lives in an area where cases are circulating, should call their doctor for advice.
Transmission
Flu and the coronavirus are both thought to be spread primarily through close contact with droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of a sick person. You can become infected by direct contact such as kissing but also by close talking with someone who's infected. The CDC recommends keeping a physical distance of about 6 feet from others. You can also pick up flu or the coronavirus if you touch a tabletop or phone that was coughed on, but not disinfected, in the past few hours or days, then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
Data from China show that each coronavirus case seems to infect about 2 to 2.5 additional people. That's higher than the flu. The average patient spreads the flu virus to about 1.3 others.
New research suggests that the higher number of infections per coronavirus patient may be related to the frequency of presymptomatic transmission when people who have been infected are not yet showing symptoms but in fact could be contagious. An analysis of data from China found that 13% of cases were likely caused by people spreading the coronavirus before they started coughing and feeling achy.
By contrast, flu is most contagious in the three or four days after symptoms begin, according to the CDC, and presymptomatic transmission doesn't seem to be a major driver of new cases.
It's also possible that the coronavirus can be transmitted by other methods. Researchers are trying to determine, for example, whether tiny droplets can stay suspended in the air in contagious doses, or if fecal matter can be a source of infection.
Degree of mild vs. severe cases
About 80% of coronavirus cases are mild to moderate, which ranges from having a fever and a cough to low-grade pneumonia. It might still be miserable, but you can heal up on your couch at home.
Data from China show that 20% of COVID-19 patients, though, are serious enough to get sent to the hospital. That's about 10 times more often than flu. Even though a great many people are hospitalized for the flu the preliminary data for the 2018-19 flu season is nearly half a million the rate of hospitalization is far lower: 1%-2% of cases, according to the CDC.
For the coronavirus, "what's particularly concerning are the number of people who are progressing to need hospital level care and then eventually critical care and who are dying, especially at the extremes of [older] age," says Dr. Parker Hudson, an epidemiologist at University of Texas at Austin's Dell Medical School.
People who are over 60 and who have other health problems are more at risk of severe illness and hospitalization for both COVID-19 and flu.
Length of hospitalization
Once a patient with a serious case of the coronavirus is hospitalized, the average stay is 11 days, according to a study based on January data from Wuhan about twice as long as the five- to six-day average stay for flu.
The additional days mean additional stresses on the health care system. "To take care of intensive, really unwell people can often require two to three medical staff at one time, all in protective gear, for hours and hours," says Michael Ryan, director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Program.
That's a big strain on our nurses and doctors and hospitals, and it's overlapping with flu season, which generally ends by May. From early October through the beginning of March, the CDC estimates that between 370,000 and 670,000 people were hospitalized with flu.
What percentage of the population will get each virus?
There are years of data that can answer that question for influenza. In the U.S., for example, in recent years about 8.3% of the total population get sick from flu each season, a CDC study found; including people who carry the flu virus but show no symptoms, that estimate ranges to up to 20%.
Nobody knows what percentage of the population will eventually contract the coronavirus., but there are some educated guesses. Since this is a new disease and there's no vaccine and no established immunity from past cycles, experts believe everyone is susceptible.
A March 19 letter from researchers at the University of Hong Kong and Harvard, published in Nature Medicine, predicted that globally, "at least one-quarter to one-half of the population will very likely become infected, absent drastic control measures or a vaccine."
An influential modeling analysis released March 16 from Imperial College of London predicted a worse-case scenario in which 81% of the U.S. population could get infected over the next few months, if no actions were taken to slow or contain the spread of the virus. Predictions from models like this appear to have spurred U.S. officials to implement social distancing measures to combat the virus's spread.
To come up with better data for COVID-19 infection rates, researchers are doing blood tests in China to see how many people have been infected in a place where the epidemic appears to have been successfully suppressed through efforts such as lockdowns, contact tracing and an increase in hospital capacity.
Death rate
Initial data show that the coronavirus is deadlier. In the U.S., seasonal flu kills 1 in a thousand people (0.1%) who get sick from it the death toll last season was more than 34,000. Worldwide, an estimated 300,000 to 650,000 people die from flu each year.
By contrast, COVID-19 is currently estimated to kill at least 10 people per thousand infected (1%). "It's about 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, in congressional testimony on March 11.
More data is needed to assess the COVID-19 death rate, including detailed figures on how many cases present with mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. So far, COVID-19 has killed about 10,000 people worldwide and about 200 in the U.S. But infectious disease specialists warn that, if the coronavirus spreads widely in the U.S., the numbers could rise quickly.
"It does have the potential to be just as bad, if not worse, in terms of the overall number of deaths and severe cases as seasonal flu," says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University.
Treatment
Rest and supportive care are the common treatments for both flu and for coronavirus cases that don't require hospitalization.
For flu, which has been studied intensively, doctors have some additional tools to fight it, says Dr. Meghan Freeman, an infectious disease fellow at the UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. A drug called Tamiflu aims to stop the flu virus from replicating in the body and can lessen the severity of symptoms. Other treatments that prime the body's immune system are in development.
There are no approved treatments for COVID-19 yet, though researchers are racing to see if pills for other ailments could work against the coronavirus, and to develop specific therapies that would lessen symptoms and hasten recovery.
Existing medications are being evaluated in the U.S., China and other countries. "It is likely that we will know if they work in the next several months," said Fauci, director of the NIAID, in congressional testimony on March 11. Drugs under consideration include remdesevir, an experimental drug originally developed for Ebola, and an anti-malarial called chloroquine, according to WHO.
Vaccines
For vaccines that could prevent COVID-19, Fauci said it will take at least a year to a year and a half for a vaccine to be available to the public. Vaccine development requires a multistage process of human trials. "It will take three or four months to determine if [a vaccine option] is safe," he said, and at least another eight months to gauge whether it's effective. The first U.S. vaccine clinical trials started on Monday, the National Institutes of Health announced.
Modern flu vaccines were first developed in the 1930s and protected U.S. troops against the flu during World War II. A new vaccine is developed each year to combat the latest flu strains. This flu season, the CDC says that about 160 million to 170 million flu shots were shipped out enough to cover about half the U.S. population.
Impact of seasonal weather
While flu cases are found year-round, the flu does wane when the weather gets warm. In the U.S., each flu season varies, but the number of new flu cases tends to peakbetween December and February and tail off by the month of May.
Researchers think it has to do with how people spend more time outside when it's warmer, and how higher heat and humidity can cause some viruses to decay more quickly. They're also studying how the immune system may fluctuate with the seasonsand exposure to sunlight.
But Dr. Bruce Aylward, an adviser to WHO, says don't count on a similar pattern for COVID-19, which is thriving in warm, tropical places: "It's roaring in Singapore. It's not flu season in Singapore. It's roaring in the southern part of China. It's not flu season."
Researchers will only know whether the coronavirus follows flu patterns by seeing whether infections decline as the seasons change. There's the possibility that it won't, so in the meantime, Aylward thinks hospitals should prepare as though COVID-19 is here to stay as a year-round health threat.
Cave Bear
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Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?

Take all of the uncertainties out for a moment and assume we did know within a reasonable margin of error how many people would die under lockdown vs non-lockdown scenarios. How many lives would need to be saved from COVID to justify the lockdown? Naturally it would have to be far greater than the flu deaths that would be prevented through a lockdown, since we do not lockdown to save any of the 36,000 people who die in the U.S. annually from flu.


Ironically, embedded in the wall of quoted text above is a curious line from a medical expert that suggests the threat from COVID is not beyond the magnitude of seasonal influenza.
Quote:

"It does have the potential to be just as bad, if not worse, in terms of the overall number of deaths and severe cases as seasonal flu," says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University.
Anarchistbear
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Because this is a political experiment as much as it is a scientific one.
OaktownBear
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Cave Bear said:

Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?

Take all of the uncertainties out for a moment and assume we did know within a reasonable margin of error how many people would die under lockdown vs non-lockdown scenarios. How many lives would need to be saved from COVID to justify the lockdown? Naturally it would have to be far greater than the flu deaths that would be prevented through a lockdown, since we do not lockdown to save any of the 36,000 people who die in the U.S. annually from flu.


Ironically, embedded in the wall of quoted text above is a curious line from a medical expert that suggests the threat from COVID is not beyond the magnitude of seasonal influenza.
Quote:

"It does have the potential to be just as bad, if not worse, in terms of the overall number of deaths and severe cases as seasonal flu," says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University.

Because while you are sitting there with your thumb up your butt pondering one freaking number, Lombardy's death rate is 80% higher than normal and thousands are dying horribly with no medical care because the healthcare system is overwhelmed. Spain is throwing bodies in an ice rink and is right behind. Our health care system is overwhelmed in places and we are just on the cusp. We don't have a vaccine for people to protect themselves nor a treatment. Hospitalizations are much higher and longer. The death rate is higher and it skyrockets in every location when the health care system is overwhelmed. All of that is happening while we are taking extreme measures. Every place has responded with extreme measures eventually. This is not the result that happens if we do nothing. The why is patently obvious all around you in the real world if you lift your head up from your effing moronic thought problem.

When they say there are no stupid questions, they are being nice. There are. But, go ahead. Keep making arguments to undermine the health departments all around the world.
sycasey
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Cave Bear said:

Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?
Only we're not just talking about possibilities, we're talking about real-world examples that have already happened (Italy). Seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system than the flu.
LMK5
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Cave Bear said:

CDC estimates* for this flu season in America to date:

Hospitalizations: 390,000 - 710,000
Deaths: 23,000 - 59,000

Infections: 38,000,000 - 54,000,000
Medical visits: 17,000,000 - 25,000,000

These numbers are fairly typical for seasonal (October - April) influenza. Since influenza and coronavirus are spread through very similar modes, any lockdown should have about the same effectiveness in suppressing the transmission of influenza as it does coronavirus, meaning a two-month lockdown starting before season peak (typically in February) figures to save many thousands of lives (not to mention hospitalizations). This being the case, why are the annual victims of influenza not given the same protection as the people we are attempting to safeguard from coronavirus?

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

*Estimates are so wide because the vast majority of influenza cases are never confirmed by testing, often even when death occurs.
The difference is in what we're seeing play out, namely health systems getting overwhelmed. That's enough to ascertain it's very different than the flu. The flu is a known, albeit a grisly one. Our health systems are geared for it. Coronavirus is a new animal.
LMK5
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LMK5 said:

Cave Bear said:

CDC estimates* for this flu season in America to date:

Hospitalizations: 390,000 - 710,000
Deaths: 23,000 - 59,000

Infections: 38,000,000 - 54,000,000
Medical visits: 17,000,000 - 25,000,000

These numbers are fairly typical for seasonal (October - April) influenza. Since influenza and coronavirus are spread through very similar modes, any lockdown should have about the same effectiveness in suppressing the transmission of influenza as it does coronavirus, meaning a two-month lockdown starting before season peak (typically in February) figures to save many thousands of lives (not to mention hospitalizations). This being the case, why are the annual victims of influenza not given the same protection as the people we are attempting to safeguard from coronavirus?

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

*Estimates are so wide because the vast majority of influenza cases are never confirmed by testing, often even when death occurs.

The difference is in what we're seeing play out, namely health systems getting overwhelmed. That's enough to ascertain it's very different than the flu. The flu is a known, albeit a grisly one. Our health systems are geared for it. Coronavirus is a new animal. It's analogous to flood controls designed for a 100-year flood, but trying to hold back a 300-year flood.
LMK5
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Cave Bear
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sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?
Only we're not just talking about possibilities, we're talking about real-world examples that have already happened (Italy). Seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system than the flu.
It seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system in Italy than in the vast majority of places. I think everyone can agree the reasons for that are very unclear at the moment. For every Italy, Iran or Spain that is getting hit hard there's a Germany, Turkey or Canada where the impact is comparatively tiny. It is not obvious at all what kind of impact COVID-19 will have on us. What is obvious is that our strategy is being guided by worst-case assumptions, particularly where mortality is concerned.

None of that is what I'm really asking. It is how many lives saved must be expected in order for this kind of extreme public health protocol to be instituted? We can save thousands of lives from the flu with lockdowns like this at peak flu season but we don't, so obviously the number of lives saved must be higher than that to warrant action. How many is it? 50,000? 100,000? Less or more?
Cave Bear
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LMK5 said:

Cave Bear said:

CDC estimates* for this flu season in America to date:

Hospitalizations: 390,000 - 710,000
Deaths: 23,000 - 59,000

Infections: 38,000,000 - 54,000,000
Medical visits: 17,000,000 - 25,000,000

These numbers are fairly typical for seasonal (October - April) influenza. Since influenza and coronavirus are spread through very similar modes, any lockdown should have about the same effectiveness in suppressing the transmission of influenza as it does coronavirus, meaning a two-month lockdown starting before season peak (typically in February) figures to save many thousands of lives (not to mention hospitalizations). This being the case, why are the annual victims of influenza not given the same protection as the people we are attempting to safeguard from coronavirus?

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

*Estimates are so wide because the vast majority of influenza cases are never confirmed by testing, often even when death occurs.
The difference is in what we're seeing play out, namely health systems getting overwhelmed. That's enough to ascertain it's very different than the flu. The flu is a known, albeit a grisly one. Our health systems are geared for it. Coronavirus is a new animal.
We're seeing some health systems getting overwhelmed while others are faring much better. The factors that determine the difference are still up in the air, as is practically everything else about the course of the pandemic. All over the internet I see arguments about the threat being made very strongly based on what everyone acknowledges to be profoundly uncertain information. The number of actual cases may be tens of times the number of confirmed cases. How much different would the pandemic look -- how much less threatening -- if it was discovered that the 1,100 deaths to date in the US come not from 75,000 cases but from 750,000?

But as in my reply to sycasey, I'd like to refocus this on what I'd really like to know: how many lives must the lockdown be expected to save for it to be "worth it"?
LMK5
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Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?
Only we're not just talking about possibilities, we're talking about real-world examples that have already happened (Italy). Seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system than the flu.
It seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system in Italy than in the vast majority of places. I think everyone can agree the reasons for that are very unclear at the moment. For every Italy, Iran or Spain that is getting hit hard there's a Germany, Turkey or Canada where the impact is comparatively tiny. It is not obvious at all what kind of impact COVID-19 will have on us. What is obvious is that our strategy is being guided by worst-case assumptions, particularly where mortality is concerned.

None of that is what I'm really asking. It is how many lives saved must be expected in order for this kind of extreme public health protocol to be instituted? We can save thousands of lives from the flu with lockdowns like this at peak flu season but we don't, so obviously the number of lives saved must be higher than that to warrant action. How many is it? 50,000? 100,000? Less or more?
I understand what you're asking and it's a fair question. I think the bulk of the answer has to do with human psychology. Because, as you said, we know what the outcome of the flu will be in terms of deaths, we're "comfortable" with it. It's similar to the comfort we have with alcohol-related deaths on the road. We can prevent a huge number of them by strictly controlling alcohol and making DUI and DWI sentences far more harsh, but we don't. We're "comfortable" because the yearly results meets our expectation. It's a "known."

With Coronavirus, we don't know what the outcome will be, so we don't have that comfort, in fact we have fear bordering on panic. Humans like to feel we are in control. You see what our behaviors are when we feel a loss of control as demonstrated by lining up to buy toilet paper, stock market slides, etc. We all know the stories of 1918 and other plagues and it creates a certain kind of fear that we may be in for a sequel. Until that fear is dispelled and we have a final tally, Coronavirus will be treated differently than the flu. When we feel we know what the outcome will be, the next time it hits our behaviors will be dramatically more relaxed.
sycasey
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LMK5 said:

Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?
Only we're not just talking about possibilities, we're talking about real-world examples that have already happened (Italy). Seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system than the flu.
It seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system in Italy than in the vast majority of places. I think everyone can agree the reasons for that are very unclear at the moment. For every Italy, Iran or Spain that is getting hit hard there's a Germany, Turkey or Canada where the impact is comparatively tiny. It is not obvious at all what kind of impact COVID-19 will have on us. What is obvious is that our strategy is being guided by worst-case assumptions, particularly where mortality is concerned.

None of that is what I'm really asking. It is how many lives saved must be expected in order for this kind of extreme public health protocol to be instituted? We can save thousands of lives from the flu with lockdowns like this at peak flu season but we don't, so obviously the number of lives saved must be higher than that to warrant action. How many is it? 50,000? 100,000? Less or more?
I understand what you're asking and it's a fair question. I think the bulk of the answer has to do with human psychology. Because, as you said, we know what the outcome of the flu will be in terms of deaths, we're "comfortable" with it. It's similar to the comfort we have with alcohol-related deaths on the road. We can prevent a huge number of them by strictly controlling alcohol and making DUI and DWI sentences far more harsh, but we don't. We're "comfortable" because the yearly results meets our expectation. It's a "known."

With Coronavirus, we don't know what the outcome will be, so we don't have that comfort, in fact we have fear bordering on panic. Humans like to feel we are in control. You see what our behaviors are when we feel a loss of control as demonstrated by lining up to buy toilet paper, stock market slides, etc. We all know the stories of 1918 and other plagues and it creates a certain kind of fear that we may be in for a sequel. Until that fear is dispelled and we have a final tally, Coronavirus will be treated differently than the flu. When we feel we know what the outcome will be, the next time it hits our behaviors will be dramatically more relaxed.
It's the unknown aspects of it. As we learn more about the disease we may be able to control it in such a way that its effects are roughly similar to the flu. But for now the available examples indicate that it spreads much more quickly and is deadlier than the flu and thus extreme measures are warranted.

So yeah, if more treatments emerge that can control COVID-19 to the level of the seasonal flu then it wouldn't be worth locking down the rest of society just to stop the remaining deaths that would still occur. We just don't know what that looks like yet.
golden sloth
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sycasey said:

LMK5 said:

Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?
Only we're not just talking about possibilities, we're talking about real-world examples that have already happened (Italy). Seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system than the flu.
It seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system in Italy than in the vast majority of places. I think everyone can agree the reasons for that are very unclear at the moment. For every Italy, Iran or Spain that is getting hit hard there's a Germany, Turkey or Canada where the impact is comparatively tiny. It is not obvious at all what kind of impact COVID-19 will have on us. What is obvious is that our strategy is being guided by worst-case assumptions, particularly where mortality is concerned.

None of that is what I'm really asking. It is how many lives saved must be expected in order for this kind of extreme public health protocol to be instituted? We can save thousands of lives from the flu with lockdowns like this at peak flu season but we don't, so obviously the number of lives saved must be higher than that to warrant action. How many is it? 50,000? 100,000? Less or more?
I understand what you're asking and it's a fair question. I think the bulk of the answer has to do with human psychology. Because, as you said, we know what the outcome of the flu will be in terms of deaths, we're "comfortable" with it. It's similar to the comfort we have with alcohol-related deaths on the road. We can prevent a huge number of them by strictly controlling alcohol and making DUI and DWI sentences far more harsh, but we don't. We're "comfortable" because the yearly results meets our expectation. It's a "known."

With Coronavirus, we don't know what the outcome will be, so we don't have that comfort, in fact we have fear bordering on panic. Humans like to feel we are in control. You see what our behaviors are when we feel a loss of control as demonstrated by lining up to buy toilet paper, stock market slides, etc. We all know the stories of 1918 and other plagues and it creates a certain kind of fear that we may be in for a sequel. Until that fear is dispelled and we have a final tally, Coronavirus will be treated differently than the flu. When we feel we know what the outcome will be, the next time it hits our behaviors will be dramatically more relaxed.
It's the unknown aspects of it. As we learn more about the disease we may be able to control it in such a way that its effects are roughly similar to the flu. But for now the available examples indicate that it spreads much more quickly and is deadlier than the flu and thus extreme measures are warranted.

So yeah, if more treatments emerge that can control COVID-19 to the level of the seasonal flu then it wouldn't be worth locking down the rest of society just to stop the remaining deaths that would still occur. We just don't know what that looks like yet.


I would also like to say, that if the mortality rate does end up being similar to that of the flu, it does not mean that the actions taken at the time were incorrect.

You cant pass judgment on decisions made, when you have full knowledge of the impacts, and the decision makers had incomplete or partial knowledge. You make the best decision you can at the time with the best information you have at the time. And delaying a decision while waiting for more information can be worse than making a less than perfect decision and committing to it.
OaktownBear
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Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?
Only we're not just talking about possibilities, we're talking about real-world examples that have already happened (Italy). Seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system than the flu.
It seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system in Italy than in the vast majority of places. I think everyone can agree the reasons for that are very unclear at the moment. For every Italy, Iran or Spain that is getting hit hard there's a Germany, Turkey or Canada where the impact is comparatively tiny. It is not obvious at all what kind of impact COVID-19 will have on us. What is obvious is that our strategy is being guided by worst-case assumptions, particularly where mortality is concerned.

None of that is what I'm really asking. It is how many lives saved must be expected in order for this kind of extreme public health protocol to be instituted? We can save thousands of lives from the flu with lockdowns like this at peak flu season but we don't, so obviously the number of lives saved must be higher than that to warrant action. How many is it? 50,000? 100,000? Less or more?
1. Do you even look at the data curves? Italy was first. Many are on the exact same curve. The response isn't based on speculated worst case scenarios. It is based on everyone seeing numbers that are lie early Wuhan or early Italy and trying to prevent themselves from following the same track. Everyone is taking measures against COVID.

2. Your assumption about the flu is extremely faulty. Flu is widespread. It is everywhere. You are not going to have a major impact on the flu by going into seasonal lockdown. People are going to get the flu. We already have a major program to limit death by flu. It is called vaccination. That is why every year they are available and there are major campaigns to get people to get vaccinated. When we have a vaccination for coronavirus, our strategy will shift to vaccination.

Nobody is going to traffic in how many death's is worth preserving the value of Cavebear's 401K
Cave Bear
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golden sloth said:

sycasey said:

LMK5 said:

Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?
Only we're not just talking about possibilities, we're talking about real-world examples that have already happened (Italy). Seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system than the flu.
It seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system in Italy than in the vast majority of places. I think everyone can agree the reasons for that are very unclear at the moment. For every Italy, Iran or Spain that is getting hit hard there's a Germany, Turkey or Canada where the impact is comparatively tiny. It is not obvious at all what kind of impact COVID-19 will have on us. What is obvious is that our strategy is being guided by worst-case assumptions, particularly where mortality is concerned.

None of that is what I'm really asking. It is how many lives saved must be expected in order for this kind of extreme public health protocol to be instituted? We can save thousands of lives from the flu with lockdowns like this at peak flu season but we don't, so obviously the number of lives saved must be higher than that to warrant action. How many is it? 50,000? 100,000? Less or more?
I understand what you're asking and it's a fair question. I think the bulk of the answer has to do with human psychology. Because, as you said, we know what the outcome of the flu will be in terms of deaths, we're "comfortable" with it. It's similar to the comfort we have with alcohol-related deaths on the road. We can prevent a huge number of them by strictly controlling alcohol and making DUI and DWI sentences far more harsh, but we don't. We're "comfortable" because the yearly results meets our expectation. It's a "known."

With Coronavirus, we don't know what the outcome will be, so we don't have that comfort, in fact we have fear bordering on panic. Humans like to feel we are in control. You see what our behaviors are when we feel a loss of control as demonstrated by lining up to buy toilet paper, stock market slides, etc. We all know the stories of 1918 and other plagues and it creates a certain kind of fear that we may be in for a sequel. Until that fear is dispelled and we have a final tally, Coronavirus will be treated differently than the flu. When we feel we know what the outcome will be, the next time it hits our behaviors will be dramatically more relaxed.
It's the unknown aspects of it. As we learn more about the disease we may be able to control it in such a way that its effects are roughly similar to the flu. But for now the available examples indicate that it spreads much more quickly and is deadlier than the flu and thus extreme measures are warranted.

So yeah, if more treatments emerge that can control COVID-19 to the level of the seasonal flu then it wouldn't be worth locking down the rest of society just to stop the remaining deaths that would still occur. We just don't know what that looks like yet.
I would also like to say, that if the mortality rate does end up being similar to that of the flu, it does not mean that the actions taken at the time were incorrect.

You cant pass judgment on decisions made, when you have full knowledge of the impacts, and the decision makers had incomplete or partial knowledge. You make the best decision you can at the time with the best information you have at the time. And delaying a decision while waiting for more information can be worse than making a less than perfect decision and committing to it.
I agree completely, but the decision-making process you describe still requires a determination to be made (explicitly or not) over where the threshold should be on the number of savable lives before action (lockdown) is mandated. None of the uncertainties around COVID prevent or even affect such a determination. So, how many lives must a lockdown be expected to save before it is warranted?
LMK5
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golden sloth said:

sycasey said:

LMK5 said:

Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?
Only we're not just talking about possibilities, we're talking about real-world examples that have already happened (Italy). Seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system than the flu.
It seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system in Italy than in the vast majority of places. I think everyone can agree the reasons for that are very unclear at the moment. For every Italy, Iran or Spain that is getting hit hard there's a Germany, Turkey or Canada where the impact is comparatively tiny. It is not obvious at all what kind of impact COVID-19 will have on us. What is obvious is that our strategy is being guided by worst-case assumptions, particularly where mortality is concerned.

None of that is what I'm really asking. It is how many lives saved must be expected in order for this kind of extreme public health protocol to be instituted? We can save thousands of lives from the flu with lockdowns like this at peak flu season but we don't, so obviously the number of lives saved must be higher than that to warrant action. How many is it? 50,000? 100,000? Less or more?
I understand what you're asking and it's a fair question. I think the bulk of the answer has to do with human psychology. Because, as you said, we know what the outcome of the flu will be in terms of deaths, we're "comfortable" with it. It's similar to the comfort we have with alcohol-related deaths on the road. We can prevent a huge number of them by strictly controlling alcohol and making DUI and DWI sentences far more harsh, but we don't. We're "comfortable" because the yearly results meets our expectation. It's a "known."

With Coronavirus, we don't know what the outcome will be, so we don't have that comfort, in fact we have fear bordering on panic. Humans like to feel we are in control. You see what our behaviors are when we feel a loss of control as demonstrated by lining up to buy toilet paper, stock market slides, etc. We all know the stories of 1918 and other plagues and it creates a certain kind of fear that we may be in for a sequel. Until that fear is dispelled and we have a final tally, Coronavirus will be treated differently than the flu. When we feel we know what the outcome will be, the next time it hits our behaviors will be dramatically more relaxed.
It's the unknown aspects of it. As we learn more about the disease we may be able to control it in such a way that its effects are roughly similar to the flu. But for now the available examples indicate that it spreads much more quickly and is deadlier than the flu and thus extreme measures are warranted.

So yeah, if more treatments emerge that can control COVID-19 to the level of the seasonal flu then it wouldn't be worth locking down the rest of society just to stop the remaining deaths that would still occur. We just don't know what that looks like yet.


I would also like to say, that if the mortality rate does end up being similar to that of the flu, it does not mean that the actions taken at the time were incorrect.

You cant pass judgment on decisions made, when you have full knowledge of the impacts, and the decision makers had incomplete or partial knowledge. You make the best decision you can at the time with the best information you have at the time. And delaying a decision while waiting for more information can be worse than making a less than perfect decision and committing to it.
Absolutely
LMK5
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Cave Bear said:

golden sloth said:

sycasey said:

LMK5 said:

Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?
Only we're not just talking about possibilities, we're talking about real-world examples that have already happened (Italy). Seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system than the flu.
It seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system in Italy than in the vast majority of places. I think everyone can agree the reasons for that are very unclear at the moment. For every Italy, Iran or Spain that is getting hit hard there's a Germany, Turkey or Canada where the impact is comparatively tiny. It is not obvious at all what kind of impact COVID-19 will have on us. What is obvious is that our strategy is being guided by worst-case assumptions, particularly where mortality is concerned.

None of that is what I'm really asking. It is how many lives saved must be expected in order for this kind of extreme public health protocol to be instituted? We can save thousands of lives from the flu with lockdowns like this at peak flu season but we don't, so obviously the number of lives saved must be higher than that to warrant action. How many is it? 50,000? 100,000? Less or more?
I understand what you're asking and it's a fair question. I think the bulk of the answer has to do with human psychology. Because, as you said, we know what the outcome of the flu will be in terms of deaths, we're "comfortable" with it. It's similar to the comfort we have with alcohol-related deaths on the road. We can prevent a huge number of them by strictly controlling alcohol and making DUI and DWI sentences far more harsh, but we don't. We're "comfortable" because the yearly results meets our expectation. It's a "known."

With Coronavirus, we don't know what the outcome will be, so we don't have that comfort, in fact we have fear bordering on panic. Humans like to feel we are in control. You see what our behaviors are when we feel a loss of control as demonstrated by lining up to buy toilet paper, stock market slides, etc. We all know the stories of 1918 and other plagues and it creates a certain kind of fear that we may be in for a sequel. Until that fear is dispelled and we have a final tally, Coronavirus will be treated differently than the flu. When we feel we know what the outcome will be, the next time it hits our behaviors will be dramatically more relaxed.
It's the unknown aspects of it. As we learn more about the disease we may be able to control it in such a way that its effects are roughly similar to the flu. But for now the available examples indicate that it spreads much more quickly and is deadlier than the flu and thus extreme measures are warranted.

So yeah, if more treatments emerge that can control COVID-19 to the level of the seasonal flu then it wouldn't be worth locking down the rest of society just to stop the remaining deaths that would still occur. We just don't know what that looks like yet.
I would also like to say, that if the mortality rate does end up being similar to that of the flu, it does not mean that the actions taken at the time were incorrect.

You cant pass judgment on decisions made, when you have full knowledge of the impacts, and the decision makers had incomplete or partial knowledge. You make the best decision you can at the time with the best information you have at the time. And delaying a decision while waiting for more information can be worse than making a less than perfect decision and committing to it.
I agree completely, but the decision-making process you describe still requires a determination to be made (explicitly or not) over where the threshold should be on the number of savable lives before action (lockdown) is mandated. None of the uncertainties around COVID prevent or even affect such a determination. So, how many lives must a lockdown be expected to save before it is warranted?
That calculation will come later, tacitly, as it does for everything else. People first need to have an idea of its predicted effects; they need to put a label on it that displays the expected toll. We have lots of examples of this in our society. We have 88,000 alcohol-related deaths in this country every year, yet, not only do we not strictly control alcohol, but in fact we glorify its use in American culture. Tobacco still causes more deaths than even alcohol does, yet, even with everyone complaining about health care costs, we still have not banned it. Same with nonsensical wars. We know thousands will die and the benefits are very suspect, but we do it anyway because we have the necessary scar tissue to absorb the blow.

Our reaction to Coronavirus, in Act 1, is the same as in those B-movies when Martians land on the Earth and we realize that conventional weapons are useless against them. But in the future, we'll react the same way that we do now as we weave around people sprawled out in our public spaces. Humans are funny that way.
sycasey
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golden sloth said:

sycasey said:

LMK5 said:

Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Bobodeluxe said:

As far as the medical establishment is concerned, roughly 2x2x10x2, or 80 times the impact is possible compared to the flu, if we all just go merrily along.

...
So it's just the possible impact -- i.e. the impact under worst-case assumptions while all variables, especially the death rate, remain highly uncertain -- that justifies the extreme response?
Only we're not just talking about possibilities, we're talking about real-world examples that have already happened (Italy). Seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system than the flu.
It seems blatantly obvious that COVID-19 has a much greater impact on the health care system in Italy than in the vast majority of places. I think everyone can agree the reasons for that are very unclear at the moment. For every Italy, Iran or Spain that is getting hit hard there's a Germany, Turkey or Canada where the impact is comparatively tiny. It is not obvious at all what kind of impact COVID-19 will have on us. What is obvious is that our strategy is being guided by worst-case assumptions, particularly where mortality is concerned.

None of that is what I'm really asking. It is how many lives saved must be expected in order for this kind of extreme public health protocol to be instituted? We can save thousands of lives from the flu with lockdowns like this at peak flu season but we don't, so obviously the number of lives saved must be higher than that to warrant action. How many is it? 50,000? 100,000? Less or more?
I understand what you're asking and it's a fair question. I think the bulk of the answer has to do with human psychology. Because, as you said, we know what the outcome of the flu will be in terms of deaths, we're "comfortable" with it. It's similar to the comfort we have with alcohol-related deaths on the road. We can prevent a huge number of them by strictly controlling alcohol and making DUI and DWI sentences far more harsh, but we don't. We're "comfortable" because the yearly results meets our expectation. It's a "known."

With Coronavirus, we don't know what the outcome will be, so we don't have that comfort, in fact we have fear bordering on panic. Humans like to feel we are in control. You see what our behaviors are when we feel a loss of control as demonstrated by lining up to buy toilet paper, stock market slides, etc. We all know the stories of 1918 and other plagues and it creates a certain kind of fear that we may be in for a sequel. Until that fear is dispelled and we have a final tally, Coronavirus will be treated differently than the flu. When we feel we know what the outcome will be, the next time it hits our behaviors will be dramatically more relaxed.
It's the unknown aspects of it. As we learn more about the disease we may be able to control it in such a way that its effects are roughly similar to the flu. But for now the available examples indicate that it spreads much more quickly and is deadlier than the flu and thus extreme measures are warranted.

So yeah, if more treatments emerge that can control COVID-19 to the level of the seasonal flu then it wouldn't be worth locking down the rest of society just to stop the remaining deaths that would still occur. We just don't know what that looks like yet.


I would also like to say, that if the mortality rate does end up being similar to that of the flu, it does not mean that the actions taken at the time were incorrect.

You cant pass judgment on decisions made, when you have full knowledge of the impacts, and the decision makers had incomplete or partial knowledge. You make the best decision you can at the time with the best information you have at the time. And delaying a decision while waiting for more information can be worse than making a less than perfect decision and committing to it.
And the mortality rate becoming like the flu is entirely dependent on new treatments, medicines, vaccines, etc., being developed to deal with COVID-19. We don't have any of that yet like we do for the flu, so that's why the lockdowns are needed to buy time and allow medicine to catch up.

So you definitely can't criticize decisions made before better treatments became available (which I expect they eventually will).
Big C
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Cave Bear, you are asking a fair question and one that we should be able to answer, quantifiably, to the extent possible. But I have to say, you're sounding like the people that argue against taking action to fight climate change.
Cave Bear
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Big C said:

Cave Bear, you are asking a fair question and one that we should be able to answer, quantifiably, to the extent possible. But I have to say, you're sounding like the people that argue against taking action to fight climate change.
I can see why, since I am in the skeptic's position regarding the lockdown recommendation from public health experts (and am also obviously flying in the face of a majority here who don't feel as I do). The critical difference in my mind is the state of knowledge being claimed. With climate change, the experts are overwhelmingly saying they have more than enough data to draw their conclusions, whereas with COVID even the experts acknowledge -- often in the fashion of disclaimers -- that the data is currently insufficient to establish critical properties like the all-important mortality rate.
sycasey
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Cave Bear said:

Big C said:

Cave Bear, you are asking a fair question and one that we should be able to answer, quantifiably, to the extent possible. But I have to say, you're sounding like the people that argue against taking action to fight climate change.
I can see why, since I am in the skeptic's position regarding the lockdown recommendation from public health experts (and am also obviously flying in the face of a majority here who don't feel as I do). The critical difference in my mind is the state of knowledge being claimed. With climate change, the experts are overwhelmingly saying they have more than enough data to draw their conclusions, whereas with COVID even the experts acknowledge -- often in the fashion of disclaimers -- that the data is currently insufficient to establish critical properties like the all-important mortality rate.
Again, it's not so much the mortality rate they are dealing with here so much as a spike in COVID related illnesses overwhelming the hospitals as has happened in other places. Even if it turns out the mortality rate is acceptably low (similar to the flu), preventing that problem is worth it IMO.
Cave Bear
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sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Big C said:

Cave Bear, you are asking a fair question and one that we should be able to answer, quantifiably, to the extent possible. But I have to say, you're sounding like the people that argue against taking action to fight climate change.
I can see why, since I am in the skeptic's position regarding the lockdown recommendation from public health experts (and am also obviously flying in the face of a majority here who don't feel as I do). The critical difference in my mind is the state of knowledge being claimed. With climate change, the experts are overwhelmingly saying they have more than enough data to draw their conclusions, whereas with COVID even the experts acknowledge -- often in the fashion of disclaimers -- that the data is currently insufficient to establish critical properties like the all-important mortality rate.
Again, it's not so much the mortality rate they are dealing with here so much as a spike in COVID related illnesses overwhelming the hospitals as has happened in other places. Even if it turns out the mortality rate is acceptably low (similar to the flu), preventing that problem is worth it IMO.
Sure, slowing the spread of the disease will relieve some pressure on the healthcare system which will improve the quality of care and reduce the deadliness of the disease. How much the lockdown will help in this regard -- e.g. how many people will be saved -- is still highly uncertain. What is the minimum number of lives the lockdown must save to be worth it?
Cal88
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Quote:

Vaccines
For vaccines that could prevent COVID-19, Fauci said it will take at least a year to a year and a half for a vaccine to be available to the public. Vaccine development requires a multistage process of human trials. "It will take three or four months to determine if [a vaccine option] is safe," he said, and at least another eight months to gauge whether it's effective. The first U.S. vaccine clinical trials started on Monday, the National Institutes of Health announced.
Modern flu vaccines were first developed in the 1930s and protected U.S. troops against the flu during World War II. A new vaccine is developed each year to combat the latest flu strains. This flu season, the CDC says that about 160 million to 170 million flu shots were shipped out enough to cover about half the U.S. population.

One important piece of information that came out from a recent scientific study conducted by the US Army is that the flu shot actually makes you significantly more vulnerable to coming down with a coronavirus and other pulmonary infection. The study was done with a large sample size, and the exact percentage of increased risk of contracting CV from the flu shot was found to be 36%.

The flu shot is primarily aimed at the influenza class of viruses (and perhaps the rhinovirus class), which are a different class than the coronavirus.



I wouldn't personally advise anyone from taking the flu shot at this point, especially since we're already well past the normal seasonal peak. In fact it would probably be a good idea to shut the program down at this point.





https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31607599
OaktownBear
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Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Big C said:

Cave Bear, you are asking a fair question and one that we should be able to answer, quantifiably, to the extent possible. But I have to say, you're sounding like the people that argue against taking action to fight climate change.
I can see why, since I am in the skeptic's position regarding the lockdown recommendation from public health experts (and am also obviously flying in the face of a majority here who don't feel as I do). The critical difference in my mind is the state of knowledge being claimed. With climate change, the experts are overwhelmingly saying they have more than enough data to draw their conclusions, whereas with COVID even the experts acknowledge -- often in the fashion of disclaimers -- that the data is currently insufficient to establish critical properties like the all-important mortality rate.
Again, it's not so much the mortality rate they are dealing with here so much as a spike in COVID related illnesses overwhelming the hospitals as has happened in other places. Even if it turns out the mortality rate is acceptably low (similar to the flu), preventing that problem is worth it IMO.
Sure, slowing the spread of the disease will relieve some pressure on the healthcare system which will improve the quality of care and reduce the deadliness of the disease. How much the lockdown will help in this regard -- e.g. how many people will be saved -- is still highly uncertain. What is the minimum number of lives the lockdown must save to be worth it?

It's a false question because you are assuming the damage to the economy is entirely from the lockdown vs. the impact of the illness itself.

Also, you reference countries like Germany having a tiny impact. But Germany's cases are going up faster than Italy did at the same point in the curve.
sycasey
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Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Big C said:

Cave Bear, you are asking a fair question and one that we should be able to answer, quantifiably, to the extent possible. But I have to say, you're sounding like the people that argue against taking action to fight climate change.
I can see why, since I am in the skeptic's position regarding the lockdown recommendation from public health experts (and am also obviously flying in the face of a majority here who don't feel as I do). The critical difference in my mind is the state of knowledge being claimed. With climate change, the experts are overwhelmingly saying they have more than enough data to draw their conclusions, whereas with COVID even the experts acknowledge -- often in the fashion of disclaimers -- that the data is currently insufficient to establish critical properties like the all-important mortality rate.
Again, it's not so much the mortality rate they are dealing with here so much as a spike in COVID related illnesses overwhelming the hospitals as has happened in other places. Even if it turns out the mortality rate is acceptably low (similar to the flu), preventing that problem is worth it IMO.
Sure, slowing the spread of the disease will relieve some pressure on the healthcare system which will improve the quality of care and reduce the deadliness of the disease. How much the lockdown will help in this regard -- e.g. how many people will be saved -- is still highly uncertain. What is the minimum number of lives the lockdown must save to be worth it?
I'm not going to answer that question because I don't think it's the right question. It's about more than lives lost directly to the disease. I'm not sure it's even possible to quantify how much overrun hospitals and a huge spike in illnesses costs us either in terms of mortality or our economy.
OaktownBear
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Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Big C said:

Cave Bear, you are asking a fair question and one that we should be able to answer, quantifiably, to the extent possible. But I have to say, you're sounding like the people that argue against taking action to fight climate change.
I can see why, since I am in the skeptic's position regarding the lockdown recommendation from public health experts (and am also obviously flying in the face of a majority here who don't feel as I do). The critical difference in my mind is the state of knowledge being claimed. With climate change, the experts are overwhelmingly saying they have more than enough data to draw their conclusions, whereas with COVID even the experts acknowledge -- often in the fashion of disclaimers -- that the data is currently insufficient to establish critical properties like the all-important mortality rate.
Again, it's not so much the mortality rate they are dealing with here so much as a spike in COVID related illnesses overwhelming the hospitals as has happened in other places. Even if it turns out the mortality rate is acceptably low (similar to the flu), preventing that problem is worth it IMO.
Sure, slowing the spread of the disease will relieve some pressure on the healthcare system which will improve the quality of care and reduce the deadliness of the disease. How much the lockdown will help in this regard -- e.g. how many people will be saved -- is still highly uncertain. What is the minimum number of lives the lockdown must save to be worth it?



And, I'm curious. You keep repeating the question. Why don't you start us off and answer it. Maybe if you throw a number out there people will be willing to debate it
Cal88
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It's actually a very good question, one that countries like Korea, China and Japan have implicitly asked in implementing successful test-and-track programs with relaxed lockdowns. They have made that calculus in moving away from a strict lockdown. For instance Shanghai and Tokyo right now are functional cities, nowhere near a shutdown. Hopefully that's where we can be by late April.



Also, going towards CaveBear's point, the casualty numbers should be viewed with the regular flu season numbers as a baseline. If for instance the peak number of deaths in Italy during flu season is say, around 200-300, this puts the current numbers in perspective.

Furthermore, there is an issue with the attribution of fatalities and the classification methodologies used in different countries. You have two extremes in Europe, Italy attributing all deaths to covid19 to patients who test positive, while Germany will tend to attribute the underlying comorbidity as the primary cause. This accounts for the large discrepency in the numbers between both countries (that and the fact that Germany is a week or two behind Italy in the pandemic course).



OaktownBear
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Cal88 said:

It's actually a very good question, one that countries like Korea, China and Japan have implicitly asked in implementing successful test-and-track programs with relaxed lockdowns. Shanghai and Tokyo right now are functional cities, nowhere near a shutdown. Hopefully that's where we can be by late April.

Also, going towards CaveBear's point, the casualty numbers should be viewed with the regular flu season numbers as a baseline. If for instance the peak number of deaths in Italy during flu season is say, around 200-300, this puts the current numbers in perspective.

Furthermore, there is an issue with the attribution of fatalities and the classification methodologies used in different countries. You have two extremes in Europe, Italy attributing all deaths to covid19 to patients who test positive, while Germany will attribute the underlying comorbidity as the primary cause. This accounts for the large discrepency in the numbers between both countries (that and the fact that Germany is a week or two behind Italy in the pandemic course).




How does Germany's method of attributing mortality make sense? A person with high blood pressure getting Covid and dying 18 days later is not dying of high blood pressure.
Cal88
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I think it might boil down to the doctor's call OB, maybe made based on the profile of the patient, hard to say, especially with Germany still being early on the pandemic curve.

Generally speaking the Germans seem more inclined to believe that covid19 is closer to a normal flu pandemic than a Spanish Flu-like devastation, that was also the attitude of the Merkel cabinet. There was an official government tweet about month ago that stated that theyfully expected the majority of their population to come down with covid19.

There could be a small cultural bias as well, Germans are generally more stoic, while Italians tend to venerate their elders...

I think the Germans are also better prepared, with a high number of ventilators and a good national tracking system (after all Merkel herself is a Stasi almunae... )
Anarchistbear
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Confirmed cases in Germany are more skewed to a younger age group. This just may reflect more comprehensive testing and isolation.

Young germans don't live with their parents like Italians
dimitrig
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Cave Bear said:

sycasey said:

Cave Bear said:

Big C said:

Cave Bear, you are asking a fair question and one that we should be able to answer, quantifiably, to the extent possible. But I have to say, you're sounding like the people that argue against taking action to fight climate change.
I can see why, since I am in the skeptic's position regarding the lockdown recommendation from public health experts (and am also obviously flying in the face of a majority here who don't feel as I do). The critical difference in my mind is the state of knowledge being claimed. With climate change, the experts are overwhelmingly saying they have more than enough data to draw their conclusions, whereas with COVID even the experts acknowledge -- often in the fashion of disclaimers -- that the data is currently insufficient to establish critical properties like the all-important mortality rate.
Again, it's not so much the mortality rate they are dealing with here so much as a spike in COVID related illnesses overwhelming the hospitals as has happened in other places. Even if it turns out the mortality rate is acceptably low (similar to the flu), preventing that problem is worth it IMO.
Sure, slowing the spread of the disease will relieve some pressure on the healthcare system which will improve the quality of care and reduce the deadliness of the disease. How much the lockdown will help in this regard -- e.g. how many people will be saved -- is still highly uncertain. What is the minimum number of lives the lockdown must save to be worth it?


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