Great to hear a lot of people agreeing with me, and I’m not surprised to hear a lot of people who believe themselves to be skeptics. I wasn’t aiming to start a flame war and it’s very nice to see people debating politely for the most part. A few points on the policy and politics of this issue:
- Here in Australia, this issue hasn’t been politicized. One of the world’s more conservative governments reluctantly implemented a lockdown and a far-reaching welfare scheme to help people affected by said lockdown. Our government reacted very late – they could have sealed borders in February and/or have locked down a couple of weeks before they did – but when push came to shove this is a public health issue.
- Based on the facts, there were only 3 alternatives: elimination (a la New Zealand’s stated approach), suppression, and “herd immunity.” All of these are basically just different levels of suppression, existing on a spectrum. Here’s the Group of 8 Report that came out in late April, commissioned by the government to advise on the way forward after lockdown.
- Primarily in the US, but also elsewhere, this matter has been politicized. This is unsurprising but deeply unhelpful, and in my view the US will suffer immensely. We will see the sad results in just a few weeks now that many states have opened up from lockdown.
Now to drill down a tiny bit, without getting too much into the weeds, I note that there’s a lot of misinformation being tossed around here. Let me unpack a bit of it:
- The mortality rate: someone in favour of lockdown, above, suggested 10% of infected people might die. Other people, who are against lockdown, argue that the mortality rate is minuscule. Neither of these is solidly grounded in fact, except to say the following: you need to take into account the necessity of a functioning health care system. I think the 10% figure was a hypothetical. See, as I said in my OP, even Sweden has basic suppression measures in place like a ban on large gatherings because they know that if you don’t do anything, you will overwhelm your health care system and then the mortality rate will shoot up. 20% of infected people require hospitalization; in the absence of capacity, who knows what the death rate would be. Unlikely to be all of them, likely to be much more than “the flu.”
- Ah yes, the flu argument, and the argument that we allow driving even though there are road fatalities. Indeed. Well, again, if we knew how rampant infection would affect the health care system, if we could guarantee it wouldn’t cripple our society, then I’d agree with you. But then you have Italy and New York. Italy tried the softly, softly approach and they were forced into lockdown when the virus incapacitated their country. You really want to try that?
- The economy: as if any of us wants a recession! Look, we’re dealing with a bunch of bad option here. The argument’s been made that more people will die from economic fallout than ever would have died from the virus. Poppycock and balderdash. No evidence whatsoever for this claim.
- "Proof" that the mortality rates are low: you can’t point to numbers in your county or your country being low, while you’re under lockdown, and say that this proves the virus isn’t that bad. You’re actually pointing to evidence that lockdown works.
- Conspiracy theories: don’t send me a video by a fascist professor who says that the virus confers “immunity for life” and who states as fact that this virus came out of the Wuhan lab. There’s no evidence for any of this. Wow, so she’s a professor. The low carb “expert” who has been peddling this professor has been hitting back at detractors by saying “well so you know more than a full professor?” This is a classic fallacy called “argument from authority.” Low carb people should know better than to think that “authority” is proof of anything. It also amazes me that they can’t do better than finding an actual fascist; it kind of shows you how desperate these “skeptics” are.
- "Being put on a ventilator is a death sentence": yes, somebody actually said this above. Again, another thing that is not evidence-based. I personally know a man in his 70s who was ventilated and survived. It’s true to say the ventilator isn’t a treatment – all it does is give the body more time to fight the virus. 50% of those who are ventilated survive. What would the numbers be if they weren’t ventilated? Someone else will have to trawl through the Lancet and find that info for us. Suffice to say I’m quite sure the number would be much lower than 50%.
Listen guys, don’t think that because we’ve reached different conclusions that we are any less skeptical than you are. Low carb people are by our nature skeptical. But I am interested in facts. If you deny the moon landing happened, you’re not braver than I am or smarter than I am or “more skeptical” than I am. You just aren’t evidence-based.
There will always be “experts” who will support conspiracy theories. In this case, it seems that the best they can come up with is a nutty professor who also happens to be kind of a Nazi. Please. Do better.