WHO: Risk of returning to lockdown ‘very real’ if countries don’t manage coronavirus transitions carefully

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/05/06/who-chief-risk-of-returning-t.html


Only if the governments care about their citizens not dying


When my local feifdom announced its lockdown, I had already been sheltering in place for a couple weeks already, so it took very little interpretation for me to understand what to do.

With the announcement of a phase one reopening of the economy, I now suddenly need to puzzle out what this actually means at my level. Do I follow the orders as written? Do I stay hunkered down? Do I try to interpret the testing protocol myself, without the help of some government mouthpiece?

Thinking of 300 million other people having to make these same decisions for themselves, just makes my head hurt.

The single statistic that seems most telling to me rigjt now, is the ratio of negative tests to positive tests. 80% negative to 20% positive feels like a crap shoot to me, no matter what the government says, it’s not safe to go outside without many caviats and precautions.

When the ratio of positive to negative is more like, .5% to 99.5%, that is a clear indicator that they are doing enough testing to confidently re-open the entire economy.

Since I don’t expect they’ll ever get that much testing capacity together, I am in for a long, confusing stretch ahead. I expect its even worse for those who can’t do simple statistical interpretations.


“If lockdown measures are lifted too quickly, the virus can take off,” Van Kerkhove told the briefing.

What would “too quickly” look like? A situation, say, where the death toll was actually going up just as lockdown was lifted? Something like that? Gosh, what kind of incompetent leaders would put their citizens in that situation?

[/bangs head against floor]


The 80/20 you quote is another example of the terrible information flow we are being subjected to. Who were the 100?

If it was people randomly selected from the entire population it’s really bad. If it’s people being admitted to hospital for respiratory distress it’s really good 'cuz it’s probably been 80/20 the other way for the past two months.

Obviously it’s somewhere in the middle, but if we don’t know how that middle was defined we don’t know what the numbers mean. We never seem to get the entire story with Covid data.

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No, this 80/20 statistic was clearly presented as a direct result of having too few tests. Only those most crucial cases could be prioritized(this was weeks ago) so there was a strong bias toward testing those most likely to have it. Only when the tests are abundant enough so the vast majority are negative, will we be certain where the virus lives.


In other words: U.S., UK, and other countries run by morons should prepare to return to lockdown.


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The head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that the risk of returning to coronavirus lockdowns remains ‘very real’

That’s the kind of crazy talk that has once again kept Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from being the RNC’s candidate for president of the U.S. of A.


When my state hadn’t yet gone into lock down, but the threat was obvious, I read voraciously about strategies and the effectiveness of lockdowns. I kept running into the same theme, which is that lockdowns are really effective, but the highest risk period is when they seem like they are working. Everyone gets sloppy and restrictions are lifted too early. The pent up desire to go out paired with the loosened restrictions means an explosion of cases. If you repeat that a few times it actually becomes hard to reopen things because people have lost all faith that it really is safe, even once it is. We’re following that script perfectly.


My (admittedly, but arguably deservedly) jaundiced impression is that one of the major objectives of lockdown-lifting is to prevent people from making the decision for themselves to the degree possible.

Team Mammon and the usual folks from Welfare Queen Watch have been absolutely loosing their shit about the fact that labor peons are(if they can navigate a deliberately somewhat unhelpful and now overstretched system) able to avoid frontline exposure to COVID, almost like their betters; and collect unemployment because their employers are formally shut down.

If the formal shutdown is ended, all those people either go back to work, regardless of their feelings on the adequacy of workplace protections(not like EH&S is necessarily up to snuff at the best of times; but an additional concern when there has been intense lobbying for legal cover for businesses whose employees get infected, and the Tortoise of Oligarchy himself has taken an interest); or they stay home as in fired/quit rather than unemployed.

There is definitely going to be a lot of individual confusion in terms of whether to go out for recreational and similar purposes(which one also suspects will make the re-opening plans of a fair few businesses much less economically viable than they might otherwise be); but in the context of employment it won’t really be a choice for many. They currently have some, tenuous, ability to stay away because the official lockdown makes them unemployed for benefits purposes; but if the lockdown is lifted that disappears.


Yeah, going back once again to the titanic metaphor, its as if captain Smith were to announce to everybody, “since there clearly arent going to be enough lifeboats to go around, we are going to row all of them half a mile out to sea and make you all swim for it. Anyone who makes it will have earned their place among the survivors. To everyone else, the white star stockholders thank you for your sacrifice!”

I don’t think there’s much chance that we’d be able to re-institute lockdown if/when the current orders expire. The way the GOP and conservative media have stoked the notion that this was all much ado about nothing and real freedom means being able to let a pandemic run unchecked, I don’t think any state can go back without actual armed civil unrest.

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It was hard enough to get most people to take lockdown seriously in the first place. Trying to return to lockdown effectively will be next to impossible short of bodies in the street.


Most of the world: yeah, no shit.
USA: Hold my beer

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If it were selected from the entire population, it would indicate that the vast majority of cases are asymptomatic and nonlethal, which would be terrific news: we’d be about a third of the way to significant herd immunity and facing a disease, which while still horrible; is not nearly the 5% killer that we thought it was.

Instead, of course, it indicates that we’re only testing cases with a very high level of suspicion. It’s a clear indicator that we don’t have nearly enough testing deployed.

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