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15 minutes ago, Curious layman said:

That's not what Scotland says. ūüôā

Well neither does the US. There are reports of at least attempts to manipulate data and one data scientist was allegedly removed for refusing to do so. But that is not the only issue. Whether you trust info from a particular region or not, global collaboration is absolutely needed to have any chance of combating outbreaks. Dictatorship are of course suspect but it does not mean that we can ignore them in the face of global threats. Again, it is based on the erroneous assumption that catastrophe somehow care for political borders. 

 

4 hours ago, Area54 said:

A quarter of the African nations.

I will add that many African nations seem to be coping surprisingly well. Not fantastic in some cases, but at least most took serious efforts and until recently they outperformed expectations. A part of it is actually having some pan-African responses and plans, which curbed the first wave but has shown to become brittle during the sustained onslaught.

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Catastrophe doesn't care for borders, but the virus can't cross them unless a person does. If China doesn't clean up their act, why can't other countries co-ordinate on quarantining travellers from there before letting them into the country, as a precaution against any other new contagions China's unique blend of secrecy and censorship allows to fester? Doesn't everyone else's right to survive take priority over their desire to travel?

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12 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Well neither does the US

Just to clarify, I was referring to Scottish independence not disagreements over Covid. I'm on your side in this discussion. 

My fault.

Edited by Curious layman
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16 minutes ago, Curious layman said:

Just to clarify, I was referring to Scottish independence not disagreements over Covid. I'm on your side in this thread. 

My fault.

Yes sorry, I understood it as such, but I also wanted to comment on the fact on accountability which is also vulnerable in democracies. I kind of conflated the issues in my mind, sorry for the confusion.

 

20 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Catastrophe doesn't care for borders, but the virus can't cross them unless a person does.

Or animals (birds, for example) or food. And considering how connected the world has become it is silly to assume that we can effectively control outbreaks, especially those with long incubation periods via border control. Unless of course you can see a way to lock borders the moment someone on the planet sneezes.

I mean for Christ sake, most infections from the US came from Europe. Your arguments are basically undoing all the lessons we learned from this very ongoing pandemic. What chance do we have in a few years from now if the next one hit?

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1 minute ago, CharonY said:

Or animals (birds) for food. And considering how connected the world has become it is silly to assume that we can effectively control outbreaks, especially those with long incubation periods via border control. Unless of course you can see a way to lock borders the moment someone on the planet sneezes.

I mean for Christ sake, most infections from the US came from Europe. Your arguments are basically undoing all the lessons we learned from this very ongoing pandemic. What chance do we have in a few years from now if the next one hit?

If Europe also had mandatory quarantine on travellers from China, the disease wouldn't have gotten into Europe either, and all of this could have been prevented.

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3 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

If Europe also had mandatory quarantine on travellers from China, the disease wouldn't have gotten into Europe either, and all of this could have been prevented.

But what about people who aren't from China but have had contact with someone who is? You can't quarantine everyone, far too many people.You'd do more damage than good.

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58 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

If Europe also had mandatory quarantine on travellers from China, the disease wouldn't have gotten into Europe either, and all of this could have been prevented.

And did you mention the fact that the virus may have circulated before anyone (including China) realized that there was a new respiratory disease going around? In France there is some evidence based on stored blood analyses that positive cases might have been present around as early as November. Of course tests did not exist at that point and no one knew that there was a risk for asymptomatic spread. The first confirmed cases in France were two months later- in January. In Spain and Italy wastewater analysis indicated presence of the virus early December and January. Over a month before the first case was detected. In other words, even in those countries there was a significant delay before Covid-19 was diagnosed and there are good reasons for that. Symptoms are not specific and can be easily confused with other forms of pneumonia and we have got many asymptomatic or mild conditions that could spread but would not ring any bells. China reacted too late after clusters have formed. A part of it was because their monitoring system was too rigid. They had literally a form that included testing results for SARS. If that had been activated the full pandemic system would have reacted. But since folks were not flexible enough to account for diseases that need new testing methods, officials decided that it could not be something real (and as we learned elsewhere, once idiots in power decide on something stupid, a lot of people have to suffer, just so that those in power are proven right).

While quarantine and contact might have worked (but if the study is right there would have been two months of potential community transmission already), most Western countries did a sloppy job with that. They either did not have a pandemic plan or it just never kicked into high gear in time (again, as opposed to several other countries who did just that). 

I mean, we are a year in and some countries only now start to levy fines for breaking self-quarantine. In Canada last year snowbirds came back from the US and straight waltzed into the nearest Wal-Mart. So yeah, no the response has not inspired me with a lot of confidence.

Just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with having additional institutions and collaborations (and frankly, the  US CDC always has been something of a reference point for EU responses). But none of those will be able replace a global platform. if anything, those should be strengthened.

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On 2/19/2021 at 1:50 PM, CharonY said:

And did you mention the fact that the virus may have circulated before anyone (including China) realized that there was a new respiratory disease going around?

Which is why I suggested the travel restrictions be indefinite. This isn't the first new contagion coming out of China, and most likely, it won't be the last.

 

Testing and tracing is the ideal, but there are questions around how enforceable that is, especially among a nationality as worshipping of capitalism as Americans. As well, even if it turns out it's more enforceable than we thought, if the virus was already spreading before it was detected, doesn't that mean some sufferers will already have been sentenced to death by its presence in their bodies long before testing and tracing policies were implemented? Why should THEIR lives matter less than the convenience of some traveller from China who doesn't want to be quarantined?

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It is stupid to assume that outbreaks will only happen in China.

In fact, the assumption that outbreaks are limited to elsewhere is one of the reason we are in this mess. While most pandemic in recent times had low death tolls (well, H1N1 is estimated to have killed between 100 and over 500k people, which is not precisely low...) , it is a matter of chance until a more deadly one (like COVID-19) arises, with just the right combination of traits that also make them difficult to detect, especially in the early phase. The only effective strategy would be to restrict all travel. You'd be using the same logic. Why should convenience of, say, US travelers be more important than anyone's safety? 

Also it was lack of a pandemic plan and lack of political will, not capitalism that led to poor results. You should read up on how other countries responded. Also I reiterate that looking outward as the main or sole preparation for disease outbreaks and pandemic preparedness is a special type of short-sighted and annoys me to no end. Everyone with a little bit of background in infectious diseases observing the situation could tell where things were going early last year. Sure, there were a lot of uncertainties (the risk of asymptomatic spread being one important bit), but a lot of professionals in the field raised alarm (the early timeline could have been shifted by maybe few weeks at best). And then, while some countries activated their plans, plenty others did not (I am sparing you the details less MigL gets annoyed by reading it over and over again). There were plenty of measures to take and saying that it is capitalism, individualism, desire for freedom or culture (I have heard it all at this point) are just a piss-poor excuses for not taking the right measures. Most economists at this point agree that even hard lockdowns at the beginning would have been less costly then the reactive responses that were eventually implemented.

Travel restrictions can slow things down but then you have to take measures in your own friggen country just as others have done in order to control spread. Yes it is annoying, but if you are unwillingly to be inconvenienced in a deadly pandemic then I do not know what to tell you.

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7 hours ago, CharonY said:

It is stupid to assume that outbreaks will only happen in China.

That's not what I was saying. At all. (And if that's how you interpreted it, why didn't you say so the previous time?)

 

But two of the deadliest new contagions of the 21st century both came out of China. You mention swine flu and that it killed relatively fewer people. As well, wasn't it compared to ordinary influenza in its tendency to finish off the elderly while sparing the young? Coronavirus was deadlier for the elderly but claimed young lives as well.

 

It's almost as if a secretive government not accountable to its citizens has less incentive to crack down on unhygenic practices that create especially-deadly new diseases.

 

Funny you should mention restricting all travel. You ever notice overlap between the same kind of "global citizens" who make the 40% who say they've never left the USA out to be some kind of philistines compared to everyone else were the same people who balked at travel bans? How did that work out? The decision they made out to be an uncultural one was the more responsible one, it turns out.

 

But no, restricting all travel altogether would be a little too drastic. I do think travel plays a legitimate purpose, not just in leisure, but in allowing people to go overseas to use a skill their home country no longer needs but some other country still does, and hopefully bring back some of the money they earned. I've always had much more respect for travel for work than travel for leisure. And a 2-week quarantine is a smaller fraction of a 1-year work trip than a 4-week vacation.

 

But it's not "all or nothing." We had embargoes against Cuba for less than this. There is precedent.

 

You mentioned previously, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and New Zealand. What the first three have in common is experience seeing through China's other lies, as China's been pissing off its neighbours for a lot of reasons since before the pandemic. But what distinguishes the latter is that it's not quite as worshipping of the market fairy as the USA is, on issues ranging from healthcare to education.

 

Belief that China is at fault and that Trump is at fault are not mutually exclusive. Even if blame were a conserved quantity (not sure how you could quantify that) it needs to be assigned on a "Xi Jinping for maintaining a system that allows unhygenic wetmarket conditions to fester and prioritizes saving face over saving lives" and a "Trump for doing worse at handling this than other first world leaders."

 

 

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Travel restrictions can slow things down but then you have to take measures in your own friggen country just as others have done in order to control spread. Yes it is annoying, but if you are unwillingly to be inconvenienced in a deadly pandemic then I do not know what to tell you.

Again, another strawman. One can support travel restrictions AND "test and trace" strategies. You act as if enacting travel restrictions would somehow cause people to refrain from doing all else that is necessary.


But how effective has DELAYING travel restrictions been at making people do all else that is necessary?

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101
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1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

But two of the deadliest new contagions of the 21st century both came out of China.

SARS (if that is what you referring to) killed much fewer folks than H1N1 (less than 1000). It should also be noted that spread (as in pandemic) does not equal to lethality. Seasonal influenza for example claims a lot of deaths each year, and it is annoying (to put it mildly) that folks just assume that it is fine. In addition, how folks deal with a disease (i.e. the medical system) highly influences how deadly a disease ultimately is. More as a side note "new" is quite a bit of an issue with diseases. The issue being that many have been around for quite a long time. However, many viruses (but also bacteria) can exchange genetic material and merge to various degrees resulting in pathogens that are either originally non-infectious to humans or are unable to spread between humans, suddenly become able to do so. These recombinations as well as regular mutations can happen anywhere with a disease reservoir (e.g. human populations, wildlife and/or farm animals). In fact, human reservoirs are where new SARS-CoV-2 strains are emerging in the UK, South Africa, Brazil, USA and so on. I.e. areas where the virus is circulating.

There is no good reason to assume that any place on Earth is safe from the rise or development of new diseases.

1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

As well, wasn't it compared to ordinary influenza in its tendency to finish off the elderly while sparing the young?

No, most influenza deaths are among the elderly. H1N1 had an uncharacteristic high level of deaths among younger folks.

 

1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

You mentioned previously, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and New Zealand. What the first three have in common is experience seeing through China's other lies, as China's been pissing off its neighbours for a lot of reasons since before the pandemic. But what distinguishes the latter is that it's not quite as worshipping of the market fairy as the USA is, on issues ranging from healthcare to education.

Silly me, of course it is just because of ideology and attitudes and not the fact that all had a friggen pandemic plan in place and acted on it, which mitigated issues.  It also is news to me that the listed countries don't have capitalism. So it appears that only countries which are antagonistic to China can implement measures within their own borders, such as aggressive contact tracing programs or ramping up on critical supplies (and note, Taiwan never enacted a blanket ban on travel from China, they restricted travel from affected provinces, such as Hubei instead). Seriously, read up on it, there is not a lot of reason to wildly speculate. China did not even play a seriously role in their respective mitigation strategies.

 

1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Again, another strawman.

Of course it is all yours then, after all you promoted indefinite travel restriction while at the same time claiming that, contrary to all evidence, contact tracing won't work.

Or how else should one interpret:

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Testing and tracing is the ideal, but there are questions around how enforceable that is, especially among a nationality as worshipping of capitalism as Americans.

 And it does not really explain why it failed in Europe, either. Also, the argument does not seem to be internally consistent. Assuming that free marker and/or capitalist concerns are overriding pandemic plans, one would assume that travel restrictions would be less likely to be enforced than, say contact tracing. The former could disrupt a range of business, whereas the latter (if successful, as we have seen elsewhere) can keep businesses open. 

Let me summarize. On the one hand there are numerous studies tackling the pandemic from perspectives ranging from health services, policy and economy. There is almost an universal consensus that the most effective measures are strong, ideally centralized eradications strategies (see e.g. Baker et al. Med J Aust 2020). We have empirical evidence that the outcome were much better than in other countries, regardless of their economic system. Likewise, travel restrictions have shown to have a moderate effect at best (see Russell et al. Lancet 2021 6:1)

Meanwhile, do you have any evidence that what you propose would have any effect beyond hand waving? Do you think Europe and the US have a very different economic system than Taiwan or South Korea that would impact responses? If so, how? If you cannot substantiate any of your claims, I can only assume that you just want to peddle your personal hypotheses without critically dealing with the matter at hand. And rather obviously, any conclusion based on evidence-free assumptions are unlikely to be useful.

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