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Thursday, 23 April 2020

What could happen to countries run by virologists?

Essentially, virologists - and doctors - are technicians. Their main focus is the quality of their service. The current coronavirus situation reminds me of a famous quote from the 1944 western movie Call of the Rockies (IMDb): "The operation was a success, but the patient died." Countries run by virologists face this dilemma: a successful containment but a dead economy.

Every profession will focus on its own angle: (i) accountants and economists will focus on profits, in view of companies' sustainability, and psychologists will focus on our wellbeing. A combination of doctors and virologists (health), economists (money) and psychologists (fear, wellbeing) should provide elected politicians with the outcome of a necessary debate.

The ongoing health vs economy debate has ignored human psychology. Slowly, people are getting angry about being locked up in their own houses for almost 24/7. Nevertheless, only a few riots have been reported to date: Brussels (eg, Politico), Paris (eg, IT, Times), Ukraine following fake news (eg, Buzzfeed, DW), and in Wuhan after its lockdown ended (eg, Telegraph).

Citizens (must) know that a lockdown violates their civil liberties and/or human rights, like freedom of assembly and freedom of movement. The reason that people still comply with these constitutional violations is empathy towards the main victims of this pandemic: elderly people with existing health issues. Another reason might be the hefty fines (eg, France, Italy).

The urgency of cooperation between doctors, virologists, economists and psychologists is clear from recent virologists' research: "Harvard Researchers Say Some Social Distancing May Be Needed Into 2022" (eg, Bloomberg). If governments want domestic riots, they should continue listening to virologists, who will strive for 100% contamination of the pandemic - at all cost.

A (very) disturbing issue is that the WHO urged Sweden to get in line with the global lockdown approach (eg, CNN). Fortunately, Sweden did not. This will allow (future) governments to review which approach was more/most successful. To date, it appears that countries that have a severe lockdown, also have the most corona fatalities (eg, Trouw).

Late March 2020, the WHO warned that the danger of corona contaminations was now higher at home than outside (eg, Telegraaf). National Review, April 15: "A new study from four Chinese scientists currently awaiting peer review suggests that the coronavirus could be much more likely to spread indoors than outdoors." Also see El Pais on April 14 for a similar observation.

My recent blog, coronavirus anomalies, identified that the amount of virus exposure is a risk in and of itself. By definition, a lockdown brings close confinement and an increase in (potential) exposure at home. Hence, (i) countries with a severe lockdown report high fatalities, and (ii) continuing living outdoors in Sweden did not result in a virus explosion.

The Winner Takes It All (1980) by ABBA


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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