Strategies, national and personal

So here is what I understand…

China, South Korea, Singapore have actually managed to contain Coronavirus, through either really stringent lockdowns and/or painstaking contact tracing and extensive testing. (I suppose the populations remain vulnerable, but any further outbreaks will be contained in the same ways.)

In Europe we either haven’t taken these strategies as seriously or haven’t had the means to do it, so we’re left with trying to manage the spread; we’ve been hearing rhetoric around “delaying the peak” and “flattening the curve” to avoid overwhelming healthcare systems… which is basically an admission that it will have to sweep through the population and infect the majority of people in time. It also implicitly assumes there will be immunity post-infection, as otherwise there would be nothing to make infection rates reach a peak and go down. (Experts seem to think such immunity is likely – let’s hope so.)

Countries differ on what measures they think are needed; countries change their minds; all modelling is provisional and uncertain; but the goal everywhere is really the same, and the problem is no-one really knows what strategies are best once it starts to get out of hand. UK government decided it would be best to allow a (manageable) level of infection to happen, to produce some immunity and reduce the size of a second peak later. Then they appear to have been advised that the infection rate wasn’t going to be manageable after all and we’ve suddenly moved rapidly into a lockdown, from which state we are now waiting to see how right or wrong we have been. It’s hard to find any reason to believe our fate will be different from that of Italy or Spain.

It’s also hard to decide on a personal strategy when you (or someone in your household) is trying to avoid the infection altogether. It might be possible in some cases to put life on hold and hide away from the worst of a single peak, but we seem to be looking at the prospect of a series of peaks and intermittent lockdowns over a very long time. What do you do?

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1 Response to Strategies, national and personal

  1. Helen Watt says:

    If only we could go back to the beginning and start again – this time with the will and ability to test, test, test! It seems to be the one thing that’s made a real differences to countries like Germany, Korea and Singapore, in keeping their death tolls relatively light.

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