The Real COVID Choice

Switzerland, in the meanwhile, is starting to ease lockdown restrictions earlier than planned. “We have to learn to live with this virus,” Swiss authorities say.

This is precisely what everybody will have to do – learn to live with COVID. The only choice right now is whether to do it with a stronger or weaker economy and a more or less neuroticized population.

9 thoughts on “The Real COVID Choice”

  1. Hi Clarissa, I have been reading your blog for a long time and while I don’t always agree with you, I can usually understand your reasoning and your arguments.
    But with COVID-19, I am quite confused about your arguments and your position.
    So could you explain what your strategy would be how to deal with this virus?
    My guess from your posts is that you would 1) have no lockdown whatsoever and let run the virus its course, get it over with? 2) while somehow protecting the elderly / immunocompromised (let them work from home, make retirement homes shut off the outer world etc). Is that correct?
    I disagree with that strategy, but I am not sure if that is really what you propose?
    I think the above strategy would not work because if you let the disease run its natural course, it is impossible to prevent the virus from entering every single hospital and retirement home via workers. And then what would happen is that the ICUs and hospital would get totally overwhelmed and many would die who would otherwise have survived the illness.
    But maybe that is not what you’re proposing? I am asking really sincerely, I’d like to understand your position!

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    1. In the US, in several major cities coronavirus-positive patients were purposefully sent to the nursing homes and nobody was allowed to leave. I’m not sure if you heard about this but this is precisely what caused the high mortality in nursing homes in New York, Chicago, etc.

      So sick people were purposefully placed in locked nursing homes. This caused large mortality of the elderly. But guess what? Hospitals didn’t get “totally overwhelmed” even in this scenario. What is the foundation to believing that they would get “totally overwhelmed” in a massively less risky situation?

      The scenario of “a totally overwhelmed healthcare system” has been disproven by reality so many times that, to be honest, I’m very surprised that anybody can use the expression seriously. There are countries that never had lockdowns yet nothing got “totally overwhelmed.” Totally overwhelmed is an old talking point from back in early March.

      So my reasoning is, let’s look at what’s actually happening. A lot of new information comes in every day. Let’s start noticing and not repeating old talking points.

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      1. “totally overwhelmed is an old talking point from back in early March”

        There were reasons for thinking that could be a danger in early March…. but they are no longer relevant as it hasn’t happened on any wide scale.
        I was as concerned as anyone back in early March but too much has happened (and not happened) to still have those same worries.
        A lot of it is related to ventilators. At one point it was thought that ventilators, which need constant monitoring by medical staff, would be necessary on a massive scale but now they’re mostly regarded as potentially more harmful than good and only useful as a latch ditch effort when there’s nothing left to lose.

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        1. Exactly. I was very worried in early March and lobbied aggressively to have the campus closed. Then a lot of new information came in and now I think it’s a mistake to stay online.

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          1. “it’s a mistake to stay online”

            Absolutely, unless you want your university turned into a skeleton staff of diversity officers and IT people who curate a bunch of canned zoom lessons ( which I’m sure belong to the university which can continue to use them in any way it wants).

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            1. That’s precisely why I’ve never put my material on any of the university platforms. I teach on a password-protected Blogspot blog. I’ve done it this way for 10 years and resisted any exhortations by the administration to move my course to the university platforms.

              But I’m completely alone in this. Nobody else understands the threat here.

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              1. “Nobody else understands the threat here”

                Which means that once they do understand (probably far too late to do any good) they’ll blame you for it.

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      2. So my understanding is that the hospitals did not get overwhelmed because of the lockdowns and other measures, apparently this is the point where we disagree.
        Which countries do you believe did not have lockdowns (or other similar measures) despite an outbreak and did not get overwhelmed? Are you talking about Sweden? I have read that people sort of went into a voluntary lockdown there which had a similar effect like the enforced lockdown in other places. The effect on their economy was as bad as in other places!
        Maybe it is because I’m living very close to the Lombardy, where the healthcare system did actually get overwhelmed, I still take this threat seriously and worry it might still happen here. Also it seems logically clear to me that in the absence of measures to stop the exponential growth, we must run out of hospital beds quickly.
        I agree though that it is likely that the measures we need are less strict than the ones that are still enforced in many places. Here the lockdown was never very strict (e.g. playgrounds still open) and R still fell to 0.7. Two weeks ago hair dressers and flower shops were allowed to open and now it looks like this had no ill effects. Most schools half-opened this Monday.

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        1. I repeat: in several big cities coronavirus patients were purposefully placed in nursing homes with the elderly. Nobody is denying at this point that the elderly are at an incomparably higher risk. Yet they were exposed to the illness through targeted actions. The most dangerous thing that could be done was done. Thousands of people died. And in the meanwhile, groups that are at no risk were kept in lockdown.

          There’s zero evidence that closing down beaches, playgrounds and parks helped anything. But there is a mountain of evidence that this policy killed people.

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