Are you sure you can eliminate the virus with lockdowns?
Meanwhile I bring up Australia again (because I used to live in Sydney 20 years ago and I still have friends from then that I keep in touch with) - the city of Brisbane, in Queenland, has gone into a three day lockdown for ONE case. ONE!! They take it serious. I guess if you've kept it out for the past 10 months and have been able to enjoy a relatively normal life, with normal crowds at shops, sporting events and not having to worry about taking the virus home to your parents or grandparents, you're willing to accept extreme measures to keep it out.
Greater Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown
By Lucy Stone
Greater Brisbane will enter a three-day lockdown, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced.
It follows the discovery of a Queensland hotel quarantine cleaner who tested positive with the UK variant of coronavirus.
"We are going to go early and go hard," Ms Palaszczuk said.
The lockdown will cover Metro North, Metro South and West Moreton Hospital and Health Services - the council areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Moreton Bay, Logan and Redlands.
It will start at 6pm AEST tonight, Friday, and last until 6pm AEST Monday.
All residents living in those areas will be required to stay at home, the Premier says. "Think of it as a long weekend at home," she says.
Queensland recorded nine positive cases in hotel quarantine today and 13,000 tests were conducted in the latest reporting period.
Also Hoop, on your post above, it's a minor quibble but I think @gouki88 and other Australians, not to mention a number of New Zealanders on this forum, might be surprised to realize that their countries are not considered part of the Western world, when for the most part they were colonized by Europeans, have a predominantly European culture which virtually destroyed the indigenous culture that was initially there (Aus more so than NZ) and share Western values and heritage. Certainly they have been influenced by their location in Oceania on the globe but having lived in Australia for a number of years 20 years ago I think they're certainly part of the Western world, even if they are geographically not located there. But I don't want to take away from the main focus of the thread, just wanted to voice my opinion. I do agree that Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are not part of the West, due to value systems and just cultural origins, and I also agree that all five countries are technologically advanced democracies, which I think was the original point you were trying to make.
Yes, and that they have substantial populations and reliable Covid-19 data. If you only look at the US, Italy, Spain, and the UK, you might conclude that our response to the virus might, sadly, be about as good as could be expected. I wanted to include those comparable countries to make the point that an effective response was possible for us; we have done so badly because of a failure in leadership.
You sometimes hear that we cannot afford 'lockdowns'; but an inability to contain the virus will wreck the economy - it's a false choice.
It's a completely false choice and one that keeps being brought up for political reasons. Australia and NZ went into lockdowns early, as soon as they started to get cases that were in the 20s...they made sure all local transmission was eliminated and as a result their economies were able to open up quicker. The people had more confidence in being out and about and so the impact of the fear factor on the economy was reduced. Certainly there was an economic impact but it's been nothing like the prolonged drag that we've seen on our economy in the US and in Europe.
Those governments had the political will to carry out the lockdowns, they had a clear and coherent message to their population as to why and how long it would be, and they enforced it. As a result they are in much better shape. The US response vs the response of say a country like Australia or NZ, which is most similar to the US in terms of culture and values like democracy, liberty and freedom, will be an interesting case study in the future.
As I said, itís a false choice. A wide range of measures is available to isolate the virus and stop its spread. The response has to be specific to the conditions of a specific community. If there is unchecked spread in a community, then more drastic measures are called for until you get the numbers down. In all of 2020, we never got ahead of the virus in this country; not surprisingly, we had our worst week of the pandemic last week.
In order to get ahead of the virus you have to do surveillance testing and contact tracing. This is not rocket science, but it does require cooperation from the population at large, a coordinated response (i.e., Federal), and an army of contact tracers.
Almost a year into this plague, only a very few states have sufficient contact tracing capability. We are a highly mobile nation; that should be handled at the Federal level. In any case, community spread is so high in most states that contract tracing is doomed to be ineffective.
Our testing has been undermined by slow results and continued insufficiency of numbers; tests that have a turnaround of more than 24 hours are less useful; eight-day turnarounds have not been uncommon, even as weíve paid ungodly sums to deliver them. Those are worse than useless.
In any case, weíve mostly only been testing people who are likely to be infected, which keeps us in a fog of uncertainty; itís a game of whack-a-mole. To contain the virus, you have to do surveillance testing so you can isolate it. This is especially critical with Covid-19, which has a high % of asymptomatic cases.
The virus is still out there in the animal kingdom spreading .
And other viruses as well. But of course the main issue is that itís spreading rapidly among human beings.
A universal coronavirus vaccine is possible, as is a universal influenza vaccine. One bright spot of this dark year has been the startling advancement in vaccine technology; perhaps now we can invest in the next step, ahead of any coming pandemic.
Can you lock down every other week when news of the virus break out?
You need to respond to the conditions in a specific community. But first you need to know what the data are. In most parts of this country, weíve been behind the data curve for a year. A year! This is a failure of leadership, specifically of presidential leadership, although governors, in many cases, are equally at fault. Thank God
we elected Joe Biden.
Contact tracing begins to be difficult when test positivity rises above 3%. We now have 29 states with test positivity above 10%, meaning that contact tracing is impossible; we have six states above 30%!
The states that are utterly failing in their Covid response: