I have been dithering about what I think about the stringent measures taken across the world - but after another day of research, I am going to come out and take a stand.
We are making a terrible and tragic mistake.
I warned people early about the Wuhan virus. Clearly if China was stressed about loss of life, and their people and goods were flying all over the world, massive travel bans were required. Russia did this. They have only three deaths as they come out of winter - with an aged population.
But the stats of a massive pandemic are now just not there. We were too late for the travel ban. And now we are simply trying to do something, anything, whilst we fly blind without any answers in the data.
There is not enough evidence to lock down a country which quite simply cannot be locked down, and the attempt of which may destroy millions of livelihoods.
So what am I talking about? What stats?
Let’s start with the US: they have had over a thousand deaths - coming out of winter. And the CDC had predicted up to 59 000 deaths from normal influenza anyway this year.
Look at what this Stanford professor of epidemiology has to say:
If the level of the epidemic does overwhelm the health system and extreme measures have only modest effectiveness, then flattening the curve may make things worse: Instead of being overwhelmed during a short, acute phase, the health system will remain overwhelmed for a more protracted period. That’s another reason we need data about the exact level of the epidemic activity.
Situation in South Africa? Two people in ICU. Only that. Yes, I understand Ramaphosa’s concern about the vulnerable - but can we even lock down the hot spots of HIV and TB? I doubt it.
What about Italy? Could it be there are other underlying factors causing their death rate spike - which has happened despite a lockdown.
Their northern territories had Chinese visitors who were not quarantined and they have high pollution levels.
Yet they still only have 7000 or so deaths - after a winter in which, as per usual, millions were reported as to having the flu. Italy usually averages over 30 000 deaths per year from flu. Check the facts.
And here’s what the scientific advisor to Italy’s Health Minister has recently reported:
The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus […] On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many had two or three.
Could it be that people flocking to hospitals are infecting each other, getting intubated, then dying of bacterial infections? Seems likely.
Britain? As noted yesterday, it was an influential study by Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College that precipitated the draconian measures undertaken by governments around the world. He now believes - after a half-hearted lockdown in UK - that only some 20 000 will die in the UK and two-thirds would have died anyway.
Go back to the Oxford study I cited yesterday which says half of Britain probably already has the virus and has not become sick.
Does this kind of data sound convincing to any sane person not getting their facts from News24, CNN, and Facebook?
To make matters even more mysterious, the British government recently downgraded their estimate of the Wuhan virus:
As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.
What the hell is going on?
Take a look at this study from International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.
SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus from China, is spreading around the world, causing a huge reaction despite its current low incidence outside China and the Far East. Four common coronaviruses are in current circulation and cause millions of cases worldwide. This article compares the incidence and mortality rates of these four common coronaviruses with those of SARS-COV-2 in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. It is concluded that the problem of SARS-CoV-2 is probably being overestimated, as 2.6 million people die of respiratory infections each year compared with less than 4000 deaths for SARS-CoV-2 at the time of writing.
A Japanese official who gave an off-the-record briefing to Asia Times suggested that a “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy, based on minimal testing and buttressed by information massage, has been quietly emplaced.
That may sound opaque – even inhuman. But it has ensured national calm and continued economic activity. It has kept the medical system from being overwhelmed and rests on a strong foundation: world-class treatment of the disease’s main symptomatic killer, pneumonia.
On top of all of this, I came across this list of scientists who vehemently disagree with the lockdown strategy. Read here.
Something has gone very wrong.
There is some darkness at the heart of all of this. I cannot begin to fathom it.
Not only can SA not lock down. We shouldn’t be doing it. Stop this before it is too late. The risk factor now outweighs the slim chance of health benefits.
Mr President, stop this lockdown. The economic, social and psychological results will be disastrous.
IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING - WE MUST OBEY THE LAW DURING THIS TIME AND FOLLOW GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS.