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Shifting towards Zero January 28, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Intriguing to see a few straws in the wind from within the current Coalition articulating a pro-Zero Covid approach.

Government TDs have urged Ministers to look at adopting a “zero-Covid” strategy in response to the pandemic. The remarks by Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan and Fianna Fáil’s Christopher O’Sullivan come in the wake of the latest Government announcement on Covid-19 restrictions. Mr O’Sullivan also said he is “disappointed” that the Cabinet stopped short of the kind of mandatory quarantine measures in place in Australia and New Zealand for people travelling to those countries. 

And in the Seanad:

Minister of State at the Department of Health Anne Rabbitte…warned the Green Party, Fianna Fáil’s partners in government, of the need for the need to avoid “mixed messaging” on Covid-19. Green Party Senator Vincent P Martin said the current strategy to combat the virus was not working but the Government would not give “proper and due consideration” to a realistic proposal by the Independent Scientific Advisory Group of academics and experts calling for a zero-Covid strategy. The group he said described the strategy as “simply doing what is possible to suppress this virus towards elimination”. 

Mentioned before that even something short of Zero-Covid would in and of itself be worth the effort – that being an approach that sought to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level even in the current context. One wonders why there’s such hesitation, such aversion, to this approach given the lamentable track record of the status quo?

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1. Klassenkampf Treehugger - January 28, 2021

That’s kind of hopeful and reflects the way political elite opinion is shifting in Germany towards the majority support for harder measures, providing people’s incomes and housing are not threatened.

Full vaccination is going to take a while and in the mean time we can’t go through another opening up for business – cases deaths and disablement increase exponentially – softish lockdown – cases decrease slowly cycle again.

There is a better way.

BTW Belgian data shows conclusively that children up to nine have just as much Covid as adults, you just have to test for it. Can we please consign the ‘children are less infectious’ meme to a decent burial.

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alanmyler - January 28, 2021

KT, do you have a link to that Belgian analysis? Thanks.

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Klassenkampf Treehugger - January 28, 2021

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-01/27/c_139699661.htm

Saw it on my twitter feed from a German frontline doctor. Here’s a chinese report.

Once you start actually testing younger children their rates shoot up. In this case by 84% in one week.

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2. CL - January 28, 2021

” an idea is taking hold that is opening up deep and somewhat ideological divisions around that overall policy approach. ….

What was once dismissed as a fringe concept has now gone mainstream. An unexpected third wave that has tested the ability of hospitals to cope has spooked the public.

That, coupled with the slow realisation that the vaccine does not offer the quick and easy exit that we once might have hoped, has made the awards of Zero Covid look tempting to many….

Sinn Féin now says it agrees with most of the premise of the Zero Covid approach, but does not believe it is possible without the political will to pursue the same strategy in Northern Ireland….

Since the issue first entered the arena of political debate, the Government has been staunchly opposed to the idea, the main reason being around the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic and our relationship with the EU….
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the Dáil just last Thursday that a Zero Covid policy “might make sense in a country that can control its borders”, but “we cannot do the same here because of the open land border with Northern Ireland that we do not want to close”…

The obvious solution to the objections they raise is to introduce either an all-island approach – something resisted by the DUP, which opposes any measures that would treat arrivals from Britain as international travellers – or a two-island approach, which the Government favours but requires much more detailed discussion with British counterparts (and is still unlikely to be enough to satisfy Zero Covid proponents).”
https://www.rte.ie/news/analysis-and-comment/2021/0127/1193477-zero-covid-politics/

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3. benmadigan - January 28, 2021

“The obvious solution to the objections SF and FG raise is to introduce either an all-island approach – something resisted by the DUP,”

Since when did the DUP hold a veto over a national health issue? I thought their veto referred to seceding from the Union

Just because the DUP imagines steps to implement a Zero Covid policy island-wide damages their precious Union, does not make it so in real life (IRL)

Time the FF/FG government stood up to the DUP. Otherwise people might think they share DUP delusions about the unlimited power of their veto

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4. CL - January 28, 2021

” Stephen Donnelly appeared to make a series of blunders in a Dáil session today, claiming he could not remember what he said on Tuesday and giving out the wrong figures on vaccines.

RISE TD Paul Murphy asked the minister: “Earlier this week you quite unbelievably claimed one of the reasons we could not pursue a zero-Covid strategy was that we don’t know for sure that another Covid variant wouldn’t arrive that would make the vaccine ineffective. What on earth did you mean by that?”
https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40215989.html

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5. CL - January 28, 2021

” In relation to a ‘Zero Covid’ strategy, the Chief Medical Officer said that some of the advocacy around it would be very difficult to apply in Ireland. …
Dr Holohan said that we are fully embedded in the EU, economically, socially, politically and culturally and we are a small economy dependant on the links we have built over many years.
“We simply couldn’t realistically seal the borders of this country and stop movement of people in and out,” he said.

Prof Nolan said he felt the notion of Zero Covid was “a false promise”.
https://www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2021/0128/1193732-coronavirus-health-briefings/

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