There are too many commentators pontificating about what we should or shouldn’t be doing with Corona-chan. These are much smarter people than I am, but unfortunately they don’t agree with each other.
If I didn’t know better, I’d conclude that no one knows nuffin.
A mid-wit like me should stay out of the debate. Rather, here are some issues I’ve been pondering that I haven’t seen any clear answers to. Perhaps these might help focus the debate between you clever people:
1. Sure, North Asian countries like Taiwan and South Korea seem to be limiting infections very well. Corona’s just about wiped out in Australia and New Zealand. However, my question is: what next?
These countries can’t close their borders forever. Won’t they just get infected in a year or two after other countries have buried their dead and become immune?
2. Perhaps the ‘exterminationist’ countries are waiting for herd immunity to be achieved everywhere else, kind of like how Bill Gates allegedly doesn’t get his own kids immunized* while encouraging everyone else to do so. But how can herd immunity happen, with so many countries locked down?
3. If the goal were eventual herd immunity without overwhelming hospitals, shouldn’t young, healthy people be deliberately taking one for the team? Shouldn’t fit people of a healthy weight under age 60 or so be encouraged to go out to bars, restaurants, barbershops, cafes and nightclubs, while simultaneously avoiding the elderly and those with preexisting conditions? Kind of like the old chicken pox parties that were popular when I was a kid, before the vaccine. Wouldn’t that be a safe way to let it rip? And anyone not wanting to form such a human shield for society’s more vulnerable members would be free to stay home.
And if herd immunity were the goal, shouldn’t we be requiring masks for everyone around the at-risk, i.e. in nursing homes and hospitals, while banning their use in nightclubs and so on where the young and the beautiful are gathering to share bodily fluids?
I’d be happy to go out and take my chances, mainly for the selfish reason of getting this stupid pandemic over with so I can get on with my life. My chances of dying might be one in a thousand or something (figure pulled from my arse). I’ve taken bigger risks than that.
4. Might it be easier to just lock down the most vulnerable 10% or so of the population, plus their carers if required? If that totalled 20% of the population, the other 80% could keep the economy chugging along and ensure those stuck at home were delivered groceries and other essentials. It might also be cheaper, overall. It would cost a lot for governments to pay bonuses to nursing home staff etc. to stay home and get deliveries, or live on-site, but that would be a lot cheaper than paying out the huge unemployment benefits currently required. In addition, it would be much less disruptive to lock down 20% of the population than the current 100%, wouldn’t it?
With this approach, the lockdown might also be over more quickly, because herd immunity would arrive faster.
5. Is it really possible to develop a vaccine? I know the correct answer to this: nobody knows. We haven’t invented a vaccine for any other coronavirus. Maybe the bastards mutate too quickly. Whatever the problem, it seems like a lot of our policies are aimed at circling the airport until the vaccine arrives. Our polices should probably be designed to make sense whether the vaccine comes or not, because it might not.
6. Was the lockdown policy currently being instituted all over the world actually developed and game-planned anywhere before being implemented, or was it just thunk up on the spot by panicked governments that copied China? I notice with interest that China’s neighbours who have experience with SARS did not lock down, and don’t seem to be suffering for it. Yet.
7. For that matter, did China initially panic and overreact because the virus escaped from a lab, and they thought they might be facing a deadly bioweapon that their own idiot scientists had invented?
8. Does China even know how the outbreak started? I can imagine a scenario where the virus leaked from a lab and then the lab covered it up, and next the local government found out and covered it up, then the central government found out and covered it up, and now Pooh Bear is nervous about an international inquiry into the cause because he himself is not sure what it might find, the many layers of bum-covering having long since hidden the truth even, or especially, from him.
If this is how it happened, that initial, blind panic in China might then have been mimicked by other countries, who took China’s overreaction as a sign the virus must be something terrible, when in fact China didn’t really know.
I can imagine a parallel scenario where the virus jumped naturally to humans from animals, but all the coverups along the way mean that Beijing is not sure if this is what happened, and doesn’t want to find out in case the truth makes them look bad some other way, i.e. by proving they did not really crack down on the wild animal trade after pretending to do so following the SARS outbreak.
9. Is the growing escaped-from-lab noise just Neocon grasping? I’m suspicious about Pompeo’s sabre rattling on this. He’s a reptile who’d smile calmly as he watched the brave men of the USS Liberty get strafed. Maybe the Military-Industrial Complex have no idea where the bloody thing came from, but don’t want to let a good crisis go to waste. They’re seeding Fox and other normiecon media with stories, but Australian intelligence officials are less convinced.
In addition, I’ve been reading more about how Western countries have been supporting and funding some of this dangerous, gain-of-function virus research. Might the West encourage China to participate in an independent investigation into the origin if they begin with a public mea culpa, accepting that they’ll need to share some of the blame? Obviously politics will stand in the way of this, but it’s something to think about. China is no doubt to blame, but it might not be alone.
10. How bad is this recession going to be? Everyone except me seems to think they know the answer. On one hand, the current problem is the virus and accompanying lockdown. It must end some day, and that should mean a recovery. On the other hand, the economy was overdue for a crash anyway. It hasn’t yet crashed hard enough, to my mind – everything’s still overpriced.
Also, if governments are not going to allow a full opening up of the economy until Corona-chan is well and truly done, won’t that take YEARS? The lockdown seems so effective at limiting the spread of the virus, it is keeping us from reaching herd immunity. The spread is glacial. Without a vaccine, we could be locked down for 4.7 years. That figure is pulled from my arse.
11. Can we really shut restaurants, bars, international travel, swimming pools, gyms and all the rest for years?
Surely there will be a point where money printing must cause runaway inflation. Surely the so-far obedient masses will finally rebel. Surely we’ll run out of funny memes and high art, Stephen King teleseries to keep us sane.
Take myself as an example. I’m the most mild-mannered fellow you’ll ever meet. I hate confrontation. I am complying with stupid quarantine restrictions that limit shopping times, which crowd us all together. And the no-swimming rule, even though the sunny beach is the safest place to be. I’m not trying to sneak out of the province to get to an international airport because I am a law-abiding chap.
But now I’m starting to think, how the hell long do I have to stay here? A few more months and I’ll be going nuts, especially if I’m not allowed to work or go to the beach. I do not consider this virus deadly enough to merit keeping the whole world under house arrest. If a nasty strain of Ebola breaks out, fine, lock us up. A disease with a fatality rate well under 1%? Let my people go!
12. Why is everyone so sure they know everything about this disease, including where it came from, how it should be managed, and how we should deal with China and the WHO from now on? It seems the blogosphere is populated only by experts, despite low barriers to entry.
This know-it-all-ism is especially amazing considering the contradictory research. Every day we read conflicting reports about whether children can pass it on, whether being infected makes you immune, whether the tests work, the fatality rate, the infection rate, how well it can transfer indoors or outdoors, etc. etc.
No one knows shit. The official experts at the national and international level are LARPing their expertise as much as ZeroHedge hacks are.
* Politifact, the ultra-reliable and neutral fact checking site, says it’s fake. However, the article lacks a simple denial by Bill and Melinda Gates, so I’m gunna say ‘unconfirmed’. Bill is welcome to publish a rebuttal here, so long as he first admits that Windows ME was an attempt to destroy civilization.