Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
La pandemia potrebbe durare due anni. In Italia 28.000 contagi e 2.000 morti

Government 'herd immunity' strategy tipping Britain towards huge death toll | ESSF |

Jeremy Corbyn's latest message says that the government must be pressed to explain more clearly the science behind their strategy. Absolutely pathetic. In this life and death emergency, studied caution is hardly the point. And Labour's response fails to understand that `science' is being used as a cover for a far-right project of authoritarianism and Social Darwinist eugenics.

The Johnson/Cummings Tories have their priorities. They are to protect the rich and big business, to put profit before people, to keep as much of the economy as possible working regardless of the public health risk, and to allow `surplus people' - the old, the poor, the sick - to die in order to achieve `herd immunity'.

Labour - and the trade unions - should be defending health workers, working people generally, and the most vulnerable, who are overwhelmingly working class. It should be opposing top-down Tory diktat, increased police power, and the defence of corporate interests. It should be arguing for - indeed, organising for - a bottom-up, community-based, democratically-structured response to the crisis.

Don't trust the Tories. Don't trust the corporations. Don't trust the police. We need popular action to protect ourselves and our families, friends, and colleagues from a global pandemic created by capitalist agribusiness and fostered by decades of neoliberal attacks on the welfare state.

Budgeting for covid-19: changing the narrative and narrating the change

The UK government's plan for dealing with covid-19 has now moved from the "contain" phase to the "delay" stage. This is just a recognition of reality. The World Health Organization has confirmed that the outbreak is now a pandemic, and the spread of disease is moving as expected. The move to the "delay" phase raises the question of what an effective UK reaction to pandemic covid-19 is going to look like, other than to buy us some preparation time.

ITV's political editor Robert Peston has a close working relationship with sources inside Boris Johnson's government, and his latest blog outlines the government's "herd immunity"strategy.  It is worth quoting: "The strategy of the British government in minimising the impact . . . is to allow the virus to pass through the entire population so that we acquire herd immunity, but at a much delayed speed so that those who suffer the most acute symptoms are able to receive the medical support they need, and such that the health service is not overwhelmed and crushed by the sheer number of cases it has to treat at any one time."

Peston reports that the government's plans are based on scientific advice that covid-19 cannot now be contained and that the draconian measures seen in China are likely only to delay its spread, which will resume once freedom of movement returns.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte parrots the Pentagon, Trump and now Boris Johnson on the scientific advice to control the COVID-19 pandemic ...

Excerpt of Prime Minister Rutte's National Address in English | NL Times |

The reality is that the coronavirus is among us and will remain among us for the time being. There is no easy or quick way out of this very difficult situation. The reality is that in the near future a large part of the Dutch population will be infected with the virus.

That is what the experts are telling us now. And what they also tell us is that, pending a vaccine or medicine, we can slow down the spread of the virus while at the same time building group immunity in a controlled way.

I have to explain that.

Those who have had the virus are usually immune afterwards. Just like in the old days with measles. The larger the group that is immune, the less chance that the virus will jump to vulnerable elderly people and people with poor health. With group immunity you build, as it were, a protective wall around them.

That is the principle. But we have to realize that it can take months or even longer to build up group immunity and during that time we need to shield people who are at greater risk as much as possible.

All in all, there are three possible scenarios. The first scenario is: maximally controlling the virus. This leads to controlled distribution among groups that are least at risk.

That is our scenario of choice. Maximum control means that we try to use measures to level off and smooth the peak in the number of infections and spread it over a longer period.

With this approach in which most people will only get minor complaints, we build immunity and ensure that the healthcare system can handle it. With the aim that nursing homes, in-home care, hospitals, and especially intensive care units are not overloaded. So that there is always sufficient capacity to help the people who are most vulnerable.

Ethical and Legal Considerations in Mitigating Pandemic Disease: Workshop Summary

Given limited supplies of vaccines, antiviral drugs, and ventilators, non-pharmaceutical interventions are likely to dominate the public health response to any pandemic, at least in the near term. The six papers that make up this chapter describe scientific approaches to maximizing the benefits of quarantine and other nonpharmaceutical strategies for containing infectious disease as well as the legal and ethical considerations that should be taken into account when adopting such strategies. The authors of the first three papers raise a variety of legal and ethical concerns associated with behavioral approaches to disease containment and mitigation that must be addressed in the course of pandemic planning, and the last three papers describe the use of computer modeling for crafting disease containment strategies.

More specifically, the chapter's first paper, by Lawrence Gostin and Benjamin Berkman of Georgetown University Law Center, presents an overview of the legal and ethical challenges that must be addressed in preparing for pandemic influenza. The authors observe that even interventions that are effective in a public health sense can have profound adverse consequences for civil liberties and economic status. They go on to identify several ethical and human rights concerns associated with behavioral interventions that would likely be used in a pandemic, and they discuss ways to minimize the social consequences of such interventions.

The next essay argues that although laws give decision makers certain powers in a pandemic, those decision makers must inevitably apply ethical tenets to decide if and how to use those powers because "law cannot anticipate the specifics of each public health emergency." Workshop panelist James LeDuc of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and his co-authors present a set of ethical guidelines that should be employed in pandemic preparation and response. They also identify a range of legal issues relevant to social-distancing measures. If state and local governments are to reach an acceptable level of public health preparedness, the authors say, they must give systematic attention to the ethical and legal issues, and that preparedness should be tested, along with other public health measures, in pandemic preparation exercises.

LeDuc's fellow panelist Victoria Sutton of Texas Tech University also considered the intersection of law and ethics in public health emergencies in general and in the specific case of pandemic influenza. In particular, Sutton identified several "choke points"--particularly thorny ethical and legal issues--that present barriers to pandemic mitigation. In addition to the problem of leadership, which is addressed in the next chapter, these issues include the role of interdisciplinary and intersectoral approaches in decision-making; the tradeoffs between personal freedom and public good that are implicit in social-distancing measures; the global implications of quarantine and travel restrictions; the need for consistency among various disease-control policies; and the definition of appropriate, measurable "triggers" for when to impose each potential countermeasure.

SARS, the First Pandemic of the 21st Century

Related reading ...

Feasibility of controlling COVID-19 outbreaks by isolation of cases and contacts | The Lancet - Feb. 28, 2020 |
Scientists were close to a coronavirus vaccine years ago. Then the money dried up | Texas Galveston Lab - James LeDuc |

Dutch Breaking News: Death toll rises to 43 and a total of 1705 cases, of which 389 people are working in health care | RIVM |

From Mark Rutte yesterday:

    "That is what the experts are telling us now. And what they also tell us is that, pending a vaccine or medicine, we can slow down the spread of the virus while at the same time building group immunity in a controlled way.

    ... it's important, continue to use common sense and listen to the experts."

New Coronavirus Research Shows That The SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Has A Fourth Route Of Attacking Human Host Cells Making It A Real Super Virus | Thailand Medical - March 15, 2020 |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Mar 17th, 2020 at 01:34:12 PM EST

Others have rated this comment as follows:

Display:

Top Diaries

Occasional Series