World Waits For Boris and Whitty

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Dow has plunged another 10% at opening in what is now one of its worst month in history with footsie down 7%.

Half a trillion here, half a trillion there, 0% interest rates, money for everyone and everywhere, and still all these measures have apparently calmed no one.

Not least because they have been met with alarming measures, like New York and Los Angeles announcing a lockdown.

It appears as if overnight, plenty are willing to rip up the magna carta. Borders closed, flights shut, and no restaurant for you in this beautiful sunny March. In other countries that is, in Britain you can still have that Winchester pint.

Media Hysteria

Where geopolitics is concerned, there is probably none, for the Chinese people and the Chinese economy has suffered, now Europe, America too, and the whole world.

So if there is any base geopolitics, you’d think it would be only between earth and martians, which there is no evidence they exist as it stands.

There is however politics, and a fairly terrible one, which could potentially explain some of the actions we are seeing.

The old of course must be very worried, and these are our mothers and father so everyone is worried, but it is probably to the old that some of the mainstream media hysteria is playing, with screeching demands to shut down everything.

The lefty Guardian for example arguably irresponsibly published an article stating nearly 8 million could be hospitalized, with such statement presumably published to push for an hysteric lock it all down kneejerk reaction.

Irresponsible because that is the very worst potential case scenario of: it could be that 15% of infected need treatment based on the fact that around 15% of those tested needed treatment.

However we know it is not quite possible to test everyone, with testing not being some app, it has to go to laboratory, looked at, etc.

There are only so many nurses and doctors and specialists that can do such testing, and they are needed in the front line caring for those that require treatment rather than out there testing fit young men or women.

Even if you could test everyone there are asymptomatic cases, so lets diverge a bit and lets do some napkin numbers on what might be a better estimate of the number of people infected globally, starting with the most conservative assumption first of one case on December 1st 2019 in Wuhan, then doubling every 5 days as suggested by evidence.

dec 1 – 1, dec 5, 2 – 10 – 4 -15 – 8 – 20 – 16 -25 – 32 – 30 – 64 

jan 5 128 – 10 – 256 – 15 – 512 – 20 – 1024 – 25 – 2048 – 30 – 4096

feb 5 ~8,000. 10 – 16,000 – 15 – 32,000 – 20 – 64,000 – 25 – 120,000  – 29 – 240,000.

March 5 – 480,000 – 10 – 1 million – 15 – 2m – 20 – 4m…

Change December first to 2 people – as you’d expect at minimum, it would be 8 million today. Change it to 10 people, still not even reasonable, it would be 40 million. At the beginning there were probably, and still underestimating, maybe around 100 people. 

So lets take seven more steps.

4m, 8, 16, 32, 64, 120, 240, half a billion.

That’s the number of infections with different levels of concentration giving a minuscule departed rate. 

Now you can move those numbers based on different estimates of how many were infected on day 1, but it is probable 40-100 million, maybe 200 million, are currently infected globally.

That gives a very different fatality rate of around 0.01%, and a hospitalization rate of just 0.15%.

That might sound small but for UK this is still 90,000 people who might need treatment. Quite something, but the good news is that based on the evidence only certain people need treatment. Hence with smart measures, hopefully it will be far less.

Economy And Health

The measures that have been taken so far have been very damaging to the economy, and although these are our fathers and mothers, these are our sons and daughters too.

Nor is it clear the lockdown measures are actually effective. Correlation is not causation. As such although you can argue the rate of infections correlate with the lockdowns, it also correlates with the weather.

The latter has good reasons why it would affect such rates, while it isn’t too clear why lockdowns would so fully, presuming people still have to go out and make bread, where thus they spread it, bring it home, and so on.

Logically you’d think it would slow it down a bit, but there is no conclusive evidence it would drastically stop it as no one can show it wasn’t the weather, but the lockdowns instead.

Hopefully that is the British government’s approach with Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty (pictured above) to address the nation later today.

Mr Whitty has grabbed the heart of all mothers has spent decades researching Ebola, AIDS and even the plague, leading UK’s fight against Ebola back when after shaping up the World Health Organization which was not handling it well at all, and has a long list of experiences and accomplishments specifically where it concerns pandemics.

We will hear from him soon, but he certainly understands very well what is going on and it does look like he understands very well how best to address this.

The Man with the Plan

Whitty qualified that 8 million number saying it’s worse case scenario while the reasonable estimate is far less, but he did not qualify the suggestion that this is expected to go on for 12 months.

We obviously can’t shut down everything for a year, unless it was absolutely necessary that there is no other choice, but based on the facts as they are, and if this is to go on for months, you obviously need both the young and the old to back you.

Because this shouldn’t be a choice between the young – who of course need bread, with young here being anyone under 70 – and the old who of course need health.

That’s unless there absolutely must be such choice, but here it does not appear to be the case that this stark distinction has to be made between a healthy economy and a healthy population, with the former usually making the latter far more likely and the latter the former.

There doesn’t have to be such choice because there are only certain demographics affected and thus if there has to be a lockdown it can be for only those demographics.

The old thus can stay at home for four months is the suggestion, but apparently this won’t be a 100% lockdown even for them as they can walk the dog and the like.

“It is the case that people will be able to go out and walk the dog. It’s about being sensible, but not mixing in crowds,” the health secretary said.

That’s presumably because even for the elderly this isn’t something that if you get it, you’re gone. Even there most go through it, but they are more likely to need hospitalization so they need to take more care.

While for the young this doesn’t seem to be much more than a common cold in general, so according to the stated measures they can get on as normal. The exception being if they have symptoms, in which case they need to stay at home and soon their household too at the threat of a fine or prison, but apparently they can walk the dog so it’s more about not clubbing or not going to work.

Hold the Line Whitty Wit

If that’s the approach of the government where there are targeted measures that allow for both a healthy economy and a healthy country, then Britain should hopefully get through this more easily and with full support.

There is however screeching pressure to just lockdown everything because this is what everyone is doing, but that might lead to even a depression. So we would save few mothers and fathers now, but last time there was a depression not many were saved at all.

So if the judgment based on science is this targeted approach, then Boris Johnson has a landslide and thus considerable political capital. Meaning hopefully he keeps to the plan and listens only to the advice of those that have dedicated their life to this thing, rather than media outlets feeding on people’s worries.

And although the Guardian might find some Harvard guy with experience in this field, we have our Whitty and that’s enough for all of Harvard.

Because there are potential political elements to this in as far as left leaning media would lose nothing by criticizing for not locking down everything now, or for the same media criticizing for crashing the economy later on.

While some right leaning media has older readership so they probably playing to everyone’s fears, but the highly educated British public will of course hold Boris to account not the media as he has been entrusted, not the media, with making the tough decisions of balancing things and handling matters.

Because while now those in lockdown are not saying much, when they have no bread later on and they forget about all this, they might say something.

Especially if it becomes evident this can be handled without crashing the economy, as arguably has become evident in Italy where the average age of death is just a few months lower than the life expectancy there.

So hopefully Brits will take a more considerate approach and so show the way to our trading partners too so that hopefully they don’t crash their economies either because we need to sell them stuff and buy things from them.

Thankfully the British government is now to give a conferences when we might hopefully get some clarity on whether this targeted approach is the plan or whether general lockdowns might be expected here too.

Daily conferences then are to follow to keep the public informed as there is an information war going on and people might be unsure who to trust, but they trust their boy Whitty.

And if this boy manages to save both our economy and our parents, then may his name long live.


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