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If it sounds too good to be true… April 8, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…albeit ‘good’ in this context is a variable term. Yesterday the IT flagged up a report published by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in the US.

The research looks at the predicted spread and impact of coronavirus in 29 European countries and assumes social distancing measures will remain in place until August.
It predicts there will be more than 150,000 deaths in Europe during the “first wave” of the pandemic.

And:

Ireland has passed its peak of Covid-19 infections but can expect more than 400 deaths by August [that was a typo, later amended to May], according to forecasts based on new international modelling data published on Tuesday

At the evening press conference Dr Tony Holohan and Dr Cillian de Gascun poured cold water on that:

And as noted in the IT:

It doesn’t look likely we will be recommending a lifting of restrictions on April 12th, Dr Holohan says. He said a new risk assessment from the European Centre for Disease Control will come this week and will hep inform assessment.

The Guardian also covered the assessment by the US based team of the situation there, and met with similar pushback from health authorities in the UK, in part because the figures are distressingly high.

That said the US modellers did have one key area of agreement with ROI health authorities in particular:

“It is unequivocally evident that social distancing can, when well implemented and maintained, control the epidemic, leading to declining death rates. Those nations hit hard early on implemented social distancing orders and may have the worst behind them as they are seeing important progress in reducing their death rates. Each nation’s trajectory will change – and dramatically for the worse – if people ease up on social distancing or relax other precautions.”

Murray cautioned that easing these precautions too soon during the first wave of the pandemic could lead to new rounds of infections, hospitalisations and deaths. He defined the end of this “wave” as a ratio of 0.3 deaths per 1 million people.

“To decrease the risk of a second wave in places where the first wave is controlled by robust social distancing, governments would need to consider mass testing, contact tracing and quarantines for those infected until a vaccination is available, mass-produced and distributed widely,” Murray said.

Difficult to argue with that. Indeed:

Increasing Covid-19 restrictions for the next week or two would bring down transmissions, and might shorten the time that our economy has to stop, Professor Sam McConkey, has said.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime, Prof McConkey, the head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, suggested that by “going hell for leather” in terms of restrictions for the next two weeks would eradicate community transmission of Covid-19.

His view being:

He said “as long as there are unexplained community transmissions of the virus, that’s the real worry.”

If there are community transmissions, “at any time that can explode in to another outbreak”, he said.

And he notes there’s no guarantee that even if someone has had the virus they therefore are immune to a recurrence. But just on further restrictions, presumably that would mean a near complete lockdown with only medical, utilities and food/pharmacies open? It does seem to make sense to quell the outbreak further.

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