It is not the virus vs the economy. That ridiculous idea has guided the USA and UK into the most unnecessary deaths. Italy was hit without any real precedent except China who controlled the virus after trying to suppress information at first, they locked down severely and halted its inexorable exponential climb up graphs. Italy realised what it had to do to deal with its severe outbreak, and although it took time, it managed to “flatten the curve” before it destroyed the Italian economy.
Armed with slogans and incorrect assumptions the UK Government lumbered into terrible mismanagement of the virus, led by a PM who ignored any medical advice and self infected shaking hands of virus victims while his chief advisor flaunted the lockdown (which was called late, with full knowledge of Italy’s plight) after calling for allowing what he called ‘herd immunity’ but is a human culling. The crimes of this government appear to be lapses of thinking but in retrospect you have to assume it is deliberate acts taken to excise care for the weak and frail from the economy, to take this opportunity to destroy the lives of those who were in its care.
The use of slogans acted as euphemisms for causing death. “Flatten the curve” is misleading to most as it refers to the growth curve. If a farmer places a single grain of rice on a chessboard and doubles that number for the second square, proceeding with the same pattern of doubling on every square, how many grains of rice will be required? The sequence is familiar to most computer programmers: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 (that is one row of 8 squares), the rice store has hardly noticed the demand. But by the end of the second row 256, 512, 1024, 2028, 4096, 8192, 16384, 32768 – and the visits to collect the grains of rice are starting to raise eyebrows. But the curve starts to appear on the next two lines: demanding 4 billion grains for the 32nd square bankrupts the country. But before the end of the next row the world does not have enough rice to satisfy. That is the effect of a growth curve and to flatten it means to return to a slower growth in numbers before we return to normality. Except that another growth curve will start and that is the terrible mistake that the idiot in the White House made – when the growth in the curve stopped – the number of new cases was still high but not growing. It did not take long for it to start growing again.
The UK has fared better than the US in terms of flattening the curve, and reducing the number of deaths perhaps, but it has also opened up before the number of new cases had been properly quashed so that controlling the spread of any virus lurking in the community becomes possible (still expensive and requiring stringent measures). The daily new cases got down to one or two hundred and then the government said ‘time to open up’ and now it is back over a thousand. Fortunately the quality of medical care in the UK and the USA reduces the death count.
But the policy of balancing the economy vs the virus is not the best way to manage it.
And now the USA, India and Brazil have become massive virus factories, breeding mutations which have dire potential. The UK, Spain and Italy are similar but the UK had a chance where Italy and Spain were early adopters of the difficult to digest virus control policy demonstrated by South Korea and China. The lax thinking of the UK Government meant we experienced just as much economic damage and death – at least half of which were completely unnecessary. If the government had acted three days earlier. But which chess square did they reach in their gamble? It was about two to three weeks delay between when it became evident that it was possible to control the virus and lockdown steps being taken. With a doubling rate of about 3 days, that is square 6 or 7: meaning they could have been on the ball and reduced the number of infections by 50 times. But they did not. And then they only got new infections down to about 100 – 200 per day before opening up again. Hovering at over 1,000 infections per day may seem manageable but it is always a few days away from 2,000, then 4,000 infections. The death rate has reduced but the number of active and recovered cases is not available. And the statistics are not fully representative of the real scope of the infection and it’s spread.
Trump’s USA is so much worse, alongside India and Brazil – still on square 15 – and with policies that are too little too late to control the virus without halting the economy. A full two month lockdown would remove the virus from the equation. If people respected it, and if the President or the PM and his chief advisor flouts the rules and ridicules the cautious, then there is no possible unity in already badly divided democracies that have evolved into two sides bitterly out to destroy the other.
The disturbing trend is the collapse of liberty in the West and the rise of a more aggressive and controlled culture. It is quite predictable that America sleepwalks into electoral deceit and four more years of Trump seal the deal. America will become a third world superpower. A very dangerous aggressive and capable adversary to freedom. The Constitution is being eroded by this insane criminal pretending to be the best president when he is considered worse than Hitler according to Norm Chomsky. According to the chessboard theory: Trump could destroy America. He is over halfway there.