He said older people would be “shielded for their own protection” and that the plan would be announced, with further details, when the time was right.
Don’t wait for the government to get around to this “big ask” in a few weeks. The danger of infection is doubling every few days and the number of Intensive Care Units cannot do so.
Here’s the introduction to the first of two references attached to a statement signed by over 400 scientists demanding immediate “social distancing”.
With everything that’s happening about the Coronavirus, it might be very hard to make a decision of what to do today. Should you wait for more information? Do something today? What?
Here’s what I’m going to cover in this article, with lots of charts, data and models with plenty of sources:
- How many cases of coronavirus will there be in your area?
- What will happen when these cases materialize?
- What should you do?
When you’re done reading the article, this is what you’ll take away:
The coronavirus is coming to you.
It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.
It’s a matter of days. Maybe a week or two.
When it does, your healthcare system will be overwhelmed.
Your fellow citizens will be treated in the hallways.
Exhausted healthcare workers will break down. Some will die.
They will have to decide which patient gets the oxygen and which one dies.
The only way to prevent this is social distancing today. Not tomorrow. Today.
That means keeping as many people home as possible, starting now.
The second link is a:
Warning from Italy
Covid_19: Open letter from Italy to the international scientific community
As you surely know, Italy is suffering a dramatic spreading of the coronavirus.
In just 3 weeks from the beginning of the outbreak, the virus has reached more than 10.000 infected people.
From our data, about 10% of patients require ICU (Intensive Care Unit) or sub ICU assistance and about 5% of patients die.
We are now in the tragic situation that the most efficient health system of the richest area of the country (Lombardy) is almost at its full capacity and will soon be difficult to assist more people with Covid-19.
This is the reason why an almost complete lockdown of the country has been ordered: to slow down and hopefully stop the contagion as soon as possible.
The virus is spreading at maximum speed, doubling the number of infected people in just 2,4 days.
As it emerges without a doubt from the data available, all the European countries are in fact experiencing the same rate of contagion speed and that they are just a few days behind on where it is Italy now .
The beginning of the outbreak had the exact same number of infections in China, Italy, and other countries. The difference is that China strongly and quickly locked down Wuhan and all of the Hubei region 8 days before Italy .
Just 8 days of delay for the Italy lockdown will result in an enormous increase in the number of total deaths in Italy with respect to China.
This exact same initial dynamic in the number of new cases can also be observed in every country outbreak.
It’s hard for non-specialists to intuitively grasp the way an exponential rate increase can get out of control.
So it’s very difficult to realize the tragic consequences that an exponential growth can have in a contagion like this one.
As a scientist, you surely do understand it. You do also understand that, as long as the rate of increase is exponential, no linear solution to contrast it will work (I.e. increasing x times the number of ICU machines, etc.)
Similarly, just imposing a limitation on people from staying together in large groups is not a sufficient solution.
This is an appeal to you, as a member of the scientific community, to urge your government to act now for actively stopping the virus!
In most EU countries you have enough time to make a lockdown similar to China or South Korea to quickly slow down and stop the contagion with much less effort and cost of what is now needed in Italy.
If Italy had strongly acted just 10 days ago, and that is more or less where you are now, there would have been much fewer deaths and economic tumble.
South Korea and China should be taken as the example to follow to stop this epidemic.
There is no other way.
So please, make your best effort to urge your government to act now! Time is our common enemy as the virus is very fast and really lethal.
Every minute is exceptionally important as it means saving lives. Don’t waste it!
Here’s the statement from scientists:
Click to access UK_scientists_statement_on_coronavirus_measures.pdf
Linked from BBC report:
Here’s a sympathetic account of the UK government’s case for delay:
I’m not competent to comment on the optimal time for “social distancing”.
The scientists statement is clearly initiated from mathematicians expert at modelling. But the expertise required for these decisions is in epidemiology.
However it seems bloody obvious that whenever the peak should be, or will be, older people (and others with severe health problems) need to avoid infection until AFTER the peak, when there are again intensive care units available. That may be a lot longer than 4 months and many may not be able to do it. But the “time is right” to be told now.
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