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That world is gone… April 10, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I was reading this in the IT from Cliff Taylor about ways out of the shutdown. His sense is, and I think it’s reasonable, that only when health is clearly not going to be impacted is a serious opening up likely. And he argues:

As workplace start to reopen, significant responsibility will fall on employers. Social distancing will need to be a factor in all workplaces – and this may be difficult on some construction sites or less-automated production lines.
There may be some difficult employee issues – for example in relation to who can and who cannot return to work in the first wave – both for economic and health reasons. Will you be asked to return home if you have an elevated temperature?
Public-facing businesses will also be expected to control numbers and queues to ensure social distancing, as food stores are doing now.
Rigorous cleaning will be needed in all workplaces and in some cases protective clothing may be needed for those undertaking this.

And he continues that certain sectors, those where large crowds gather, or even medium sized and smaller ones, pubs and so forth, etc, are likely to be very heavily curtailed for quite some time to come.

Almost predictably below the line there’s a chorus of outrage. Samples being ‘Until we accept people will die, possibly even myself , we will only dig a bigger hole, especially economically’ or ‘We cannot continue in lockdown, borrowing billions to pay people to stay away from work. The policy was for 2 weeks, longer is utterly nuts. We must open some shops and business premises after Easter. The fact is that the median age of death has been 80 all week’ and similar.

What’s fascinating to me is that the economics, or if one prefers the practicalities, underpinning those comments are so wide of the mark. Because it only takes a few seconds thought to realise that the situation has changed completely.

How could workers be persuaded to return to workplaces where the potential for dire outcomes was very real? The example of bus drivers is educative, and they are absolutely right to demand very high protections. Are teachers going to want to go back into classrooms when the risk of infection is high? Likewise with health workers and medical facilities. I know people working in ordinary everyday private sector employments who are taking huge precautions. They’re not going to accept anything less than that a fortnight or a month from now if matters stand as they do. How on earth can international travel start up in that context either? Even if the former were achievable, that shops and so on opened up, we would still face basic realities that our international tourism sector was going to be dormant. And that’s to put to one side entirely the question of how the virus, presumably still sweeping through the society if we opened up any time soon, would impact on medical resources. Or the political impact of same.

But for those writing those comments it is as if everything can be reset to, well, December 2019. That’s not going to happen. Not now, not soon and possibly not ever.


1. CL - April 10, 2020

Difficult to see a safe return to work, in Ireland or anywhere else, without widespread testing.

“During the 1918 flu epidemic, premature lifting of social distancing restrictions caused second waves of illness in several major cities of the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere…
The idea is to get those who’ve already had the disease, and developed some immunity, into roles needed for society to function. To varying degrees, it can work in all countries….
when a blood test to detect antibodies — not the same as the test to detect the virus itself — becomes available, we will be able to identify this immune group. Once we have the antibody test, able-bodied adults in this cadre could reenter the workforce without risk to themselves, and with minimal risk to others”

“When we attempt to get back to normal, we have to have in place the ability, when it starts to try and rear its ugly head, we can absolutely suppress it by identification, isolation, contact tracing….
Various companies are now developing antibody tests, which are blood tests that will help determine how many people were previously infected with COVID-19 but were asymptomatic. They will also help show whether those who were infected are protected from contracting the virus again. Fauci said that companies have said these tests will be made available in large quantities in a matter of days or weeks. Officials have been saying the tests could be used to decide when to reopen things and allow people back to work.”

Fauci is in a constant state of push-back against Trump’s crackpot notions.


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