Preparing for COVID-19

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Luftmensch

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The dusty Victorian notion that science is a world of 'truths' to be collected is easy to take for granted. What happens when you break one of these truths? You have to reinvent your models and understanding. Welcome to quantum physics in the early 1900's. Newtonian physics was such a successful model at explaining the universe, it may have appeared to be a fundamental truth. Not only did quantum physics change science, it also changed philosophical thought. Philosophers such as Popper started putting a modern framework around what the 'truth' is - giving rise to fields like verisimilitude.

Science is still being taught at schools as a collection of 'facts'. I have sympathy for this simplification. As a civilisation we have only had 50-70 years of data that extend well and truly beyond human intuition and senses. 'Science' is really a process for handling this. Not a textbook. As such science is constantly striving to generate the most accurate/powerful explanation of the data - with no shame of being wrong should better data be produced. This is part of the process.

Scientists know a lot in their areas, but often times they don’t realize how the world works and what the implications of their ”perfect” solutions are.
Science has no agenda (other than to build knowledge). People do.

Science, as a process, is the best tool for understanding how the world works. It is the best form for organising thought to predict the implications of any solution. But scientists are human. Just like any other occupation! One of the main functions of science is to flush personal biases and opinions from the 'record'. For this reason, publications are usually fairly sterile environments. This breaks down when scientists are asked about their opinions outside of the processes. It also does not stop some scientists entering a field to reinforce a personal belief. The sterile side of science tends not to prescribe anything beyond a current best understanding. Corporations use this knowledge to make profit. Policy makers use this knowledge to regulate and set policy. But don't confuse this with science misunderstanding how the world works or prescribing a solution.

With the pandemic... epidemiologists are looking at epidemiology. Virologists are looking at SARS-CoV-2. The economy isn't their primary concern. Nor should it be. Doctors have science training but they aren't really scientists. Their concern is the health of their patients. Some are looking at effective treatment methods. Economists arent scientists :)p); they arent doctors. They are looking at the economy. Historians are none of these - but they illuminate lessons from the past. That anyone of these professions should only be concerned about their area of expertise is unsurprising. Politicians might draw on all of this information to generate policy that attempts to balance all the competing information and requirements. Or they might generate policy that get them elected in the next cycle.... or they might generate policy for the highest bidder...

So in reality, do we

"just listen to the scientists"
?

:)
 

Barmoley

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It is not either or, it is a complicated problem. For example, I thought masks should've been worn from the very beginning while "scientists", (sorry @ian no disrespect meant, just some scientists are doctors, or political or economic scientists, that's why I put them in quotes in the first place) were saying that masks don't do anything, didn't make any sense. Listen to whomever you want just apply critical thinking, if something doesn't make sense or seems impossible look for more expert opinions. One of our local experts said a few weeks back that lock down can't be lifted until a cure or vaccine is available and until we can test and trace everyone. How is that possible to actually accomplish? The statement was retracted and they said she meant something else, but I heard what she said. Some of these things are just not possible, take too long, too expensive, etc. Lives are precious and we should save as many as possible, but we live in the real world some things just can't be done.

Oh and I never said anything about science, love it. Scientists are people they can be wrong, they can have agendas, they can be anything else any other human can.
 
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jacko9

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Yeah I heard one of our politicians say that this was a hoax, the a politician said that this would never go past 15 people dead, then a politician said that this would be all over by 3/15, etc. The number of things said that were proven wrong by politicians are way too numerous to reprint here. Early on one politician pushed a "snake oil" remedy as a cure and directed those under him to direct all of the money available toward buy that fake cure over personal protective equipment. When it was very evident that the federal government wasn't going to help the hospitals in need some tried to limit the availability of masks to doctors or other front line medical emergency workers so at that time another politician said see you don't need masks. The scientists have been correct from the start and some politicians have been wrong every time and over 100,000 people are already dead and most likely many more not counted. Politicians have been told to stop testing to minimize the danger and get people back to work - time will show how bad those decisions have been. If the governors of coastal states didn't shut things down while some politicians were calling this pandemic a hoax the number of dead would be much higher. There is no cure, no vaccine and the reoccurrence of this virus will happen despite some politicians telling us they have heard some very good things. Too long too expensive well how many more death cycles do we have to go through to make it worth while? We are currently spending a trillion dollars a year on defense do we actually have an enemy invading us? The US military is being used as a police force for the US Chamber of Commerce can we continue to afford that? On and on it goes but facts are facts and some bumbling politician lying to us telling us the every thing is going to be ok is pretty dense.
 

WildBoar

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I would be surprised if we were not still fighting it in a year. And by 'we', I mean the whole world.
 

HRC_64

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I would be surprised if we were not still fighting it in a year. And by 'we', I mean the whole world.
yep no precedent for a cure for ANY corona virus yet, so .... need to be glad SARS and MERSs got stopped

Imagine IFRs of 10-20% not 0.2%
 

jacko9

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We (the world) has a serious problem with COVID19 and the pandemic needs to be treated seriously because this is going to keep multiplying year after year and we need a plan at a National Level to deal with it.
 

Michi

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It is great that Australia and New Zealand faired so well, but you keep on ignoring unique geographic attributes that these countries enjoy. Being basically islands and having relatively tiny populations and very few initial cases has a lot to do with what worked.
I disagree with that. There are a number of reasons why Australia did so well, and they don't have anything to do with unique geographic attributes:
  • Australia paid attention to what was going on overseas.
  • Politicians here sought the advice of experts early and heeded it.
  • Australia started screening arrivals from Wuhan starting 23 January.
  • Starting 31 January, Chinese travellers were no longer allowed into the country unless they had spent the prior two weeks in a country other than China.
  • Travel bans applied to people from Iran (1 March), South Korea (5 March), Italy (11 March).
  • On 13 March, all states, territories, and the federal government formed a national cabinet, so there would be a nation-wide and co-ordinated response to the crisis.
  • Starting 15 March, gatherings of more than 500 people were banned. Starting the same day, all travellers arriving in Australia had to self-isolate for 14 days, with heavy fines for non-compliance.
  • On 20 March, Australia instituted a general travel ban and closed its borders. The same day, a social distancing rule requiring 4 square meters per person was introduced.
  • On 22 March, Victoria and New South Wales closed all non-essential services.
  • On 23 March, all places of social gathering, clubs, hotels, entertainment venues, cinemas, places of worship, night clubs, and a bunch of similar businesses were shut.
  • Between 24 March and 11 April, all states closed their borders and applied movement restrictions within the state. In Queensland, gatherings were limited to two persons. People were required by law to stay at home except when on essential business. Heavy fines were imposed Australia-wide for violations of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.
And so on, and so on…

None of this has anything to do with special geography. It has everything to do with listening to scientists and taking their advice.

The single most important factor: all political bickering and partisanship disappeared. States with governments from opposite sides co-operated with each other. The federal opposition supported the government.

Australian citizens received a consistent message from all levels of government to abide by the restrictions. Local, state, and federal politicians all pulled on the same rope. The public did not receive mixed messages, did not see one level of government trying to undermine another and, consequently, bought into the distancing rules. Everyone, government and citizens, worked together to beat this thing.

What made the outbreak so much less severe here than elsewhere was consistent messaging, early and decisive action, paying attention to the science, and keeping ideology out of the decision making process.

Yes, Australia trashed its economy in the process. As did pretty much every other country in the world. But, at least, Australia has something to show for it, with 103 deaths nationwide, a death rate of 4 per million, 92% of all cases having recovered, new daily cases in the teens, and only about 30 people still hospitalised.

I'll take Australia's approach over just about any other country's any day…
 
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madelinez

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You only have to look at the countries with the best outcomes, their governments had consistent early responses nationwide. The US was always going to have a hard time in the face of a pandemic, it's the central hub of global trade, it sees huge numbers of travelers passing through it. But this time around it wasted 3-6 weeks and politicized the issue instead of mitigating it.

I'm not trying to make this political but countries responding with the most recent scientific evidence are faring better, science isn't religion, it's never completely correct, instead it corrects itself as new evidence emerges.

All lives matter, discounting over 50's isn't something I understand.
 

WildBoar

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Seeing as how it appears there were already cases in the US in January, chances are locking down borders would have had limited effectiveness. We already had it, but did not know it.
 

Luftmensch

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I disagree with that. There are a number of reasons why Australia did so well, and they don't have anything to do with unique geographic attributes:
  • Australia paid attention to what was going on overseas.
  • Politicians here sought the advice of experts early and heeded it.
  • Australia started screening arrivals from Wuhan starting 23 January.
  • Starting 31 January, Chinese travellers were no longer allowed into the country unless they had spent the prior two weeks in a country other than China.
  • Travel bans applied to people from Iran (1 March), South Korea (5 March), Italy (11 March).
  • On 13 March, all states, territories, and the federal government formed a national cabinet, so there would be a nation-wide and co-ordinated response to the crisis.
  • Starting 15 March, gatherings of more than 500 people were banned. Starting the same day, all travellers arriving in Australia had to self-isolate for 14 days, with heavy fines for non-compliance.
  • On 20 March, Australia instituted a general travel ban and closed its borders. The same day, a social distancing rule requiring 4 square meters per person was introduced.
  • On 22 March, Victoria and New South Wales closed all non-essential services.
  • On 23 March, all places of social gathering, clubs, hotels, entertainment venues, cinemas, places of worship, night clubs, and a bunch of similar businesses were shut.
  • Between 24 March and 11 April, all states closed their borders and applied movement restrictions within the state. In Queensland, gatherings were limited to two persons. People were required by law to stay at home except when on essential business. Heavy fines were imposed Australia-wide for violations of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.
And so on, and so on…

None of this has anything to do with special geography. It has everything to do with listening to scientists and taking their advice.

The single most important factor: all political bickering and partisanship disappeared. States with governments from opposite sides co-operated with each other. The federal opposition supported the government.

Australian citizens received a consistent message from all levels of government to abide by the restrictions. Local, state, and federal politicians all pulled on the same rope. The public did not receive mixed messages, did not see one level of government trying to undermine another and, consequently, bought into the distancing rules. Everyone, government and citizens, worked together to beat this thing.

What made the outbreak so much less severe here than elsewhere was consistent messaging, early and decisive action, paying attention to the science, and keeping ideology out of the decision making process.

Yes, Australia trashed its economy in the process. As did pretty much every other country in the world. But, at least, Australia has something to show for it, with 104 deaths nationwide, a death rate of 4 per million, 92% of all cases having recovered, new daily cases in the teens, and only about 30 people still hospitalised.

I'll take Australia's approach over just about any other country's any day…
I agree with everything you have said... but there is some truth to the claim that our unique geography/population attributes helped.

Perhaps the most advantageous is that we are on the road to nowhere. You don't move through Australia to get anywhere but Australia (.... and NZ. Hey NZ! Love ya!). I think this helped us a lot. As 'crowded' as our city centres might seem - they aren't nearly as as dense as badly hit cities. For comparison, the urban area of Sydney is estimated to have a density of 1,171 people per square kilometre. New York is 10,715, Bergamo is 3,072 and London is 5,666. Combined, this means we were likely to start with a lower number of infected entering the country and less rapid spreading due to a lower density.

While you are absolutely right, all the measures you listed kept us safe, i think our irrelevance :p allowed us to start with a slight advantage.
 

jacko9

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Seeing as how it appears there were already cases in the US in January, chances are locking down borders would have had limited effectiveness. We already had it, but did not know it.
Intelligence Agencies started monitoring events in China in November 2019 and briefed the president early while he was calling it a Hoax,

 

inferno

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With little or no testing we don't have any reported cases in some counties. How many deaths are acceptable to you 100,000 , 200,000, 300,000 or more? We have no plan and the virus is spreading slowly but surely. Dare I say it again we have no plan and the politicians are not listening to the scientists.
turkmenistan actually outlawed the word coronavirus several months ago. its illegal to both print and say it. and therefor corona ceased to exist in turkmistan. easy as that. genious people there.
 

jacko9

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turkmenistan actually outlawed the word coronavirus several months ago. its illegal to both print and say it. and therefor corona ceased to exist in turkmistan. easy as that. genious people there.
Thats like the GOP in Florida outlawing the term global warming in all of their official publications like that is going to stop the state from flooding. Same difference as the current administration telling us that coronavirus is all done and lets get back to work.
 

jacko9

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To your last point I'm sure the cure will be announced by Fox News any moment now. It's all over and you can go hug your buddies.
 

inferno

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I am not challenging scientific process I am challenging the statement "just listen to the scientists"
scientists = scientologists
astronomy = astrology
cosmology = cosmetology

i have suspiscion that almost all of our current "scientists" did infact qualify as such by being on list of actors from the movie "idiocracy". but thats just me.
 

inferno

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To your last point I'm sure the cure will be announced by Fox News any moment now. It's all over and you can go hug your buddies.
the vaccine is coming any day now. just like fusion power.
 

inferno

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i heard the good folks over at purdue pharma invented a time traveling machine and traveled 10 years into the future and simply stole the vaccine from themselves (carefully not to mess with mundane retrocausulalities such as the grandfather paradox of course).
 

Michi

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CiderBear

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I've been avoiding commenting on this thread, but I feel like the information in this article deserves to be shared


Haven't read anything that concise and easy to understand until now.
 
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