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The U.K.'s Coronavirus `Herd Immunity' Debacle| The Atlantic |

There was a time when it seemed possible for the world to contain COVID-19--the disease caused by the new coronavirus. That time is over. What began as an outbreak in China has become a pandemic, and as a growing number of countries struggle to control the virus, talk of "flattening the curve" is increasing.

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Almost every country is trying to achieve this goal through the standard arsenal of public health--testing people and tracing contacts--and through more restrictive measures that include instituting quarantines, closing public spaces, banning mass gatherings, and issuing strong advice about social distancing.

But on Thursday, at a press conference, Boris Johnson seemingly revealed that the United Kingdom would adopt a different strategy. The government would no longer try to track and trace the contacts of every suspected case, and it would test only people who are admitted to hospitals. In lieu of any major social-distancing measures, Johnson instead offered a suite of soft advice--people with symptoms should stay home; no school trips abroad; people over 70 should avoid cruises.

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To avoid a second peak in the winter, Sir Patrick Vallance said the U.K. would suppress the virus "but not get rid of it completely," while focusing on protecting vulnerable groups, such as the elderly. In the meantime, other people would get sick. But since the virus causes milder illness in younger age groups, most would recover and subsequently be immune to the virus. This "herd immunity" would reduce transmission in the event of a winter resurgence. On Sky News, Vallance said that "probably about 60 percent" of people would need to be infected to achieve herd immunity.

[Read on ...]

In The Netherlands, PM Mark Rutte followed suite .... warned everyone should unite behind his policy and avoid criticism ... the Dutch sheeple were brave and applauded the master. I did not as I have lost trust in the PM for being too right-wing and lacks honesty. I know math and numbers, I didn't buy this policy from the outset. Fortunately, more opposition is coming from across the globe: WHO Europe, Prof. Roberto Burioni from Milan, Italy and in both the US and UK.

I'm an epidemiologist. When I heard about Britain's 'herd immunity' coronavirus plan, I thought it was satire | The Guardian |

by Oui on Tue Mar 17th, 2020 at 11:25:20 PM EST
Britain Drops Its Go-It-Alone Approach to Coronavirus | FP |

On Monday night, that theory collided with the facts. A new analysis by immunologists at Imperial College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine of the impact of the coronavirus in Italy suggested that up to 30 percent of patients hospitalized with the virus would require intensive care treatment. Those numbers, if repeated in the U.K., would quickly overwhelm Britain's state-run National Health Service.

Within hours of the report, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared at a daily briefing at No. 10 Downing St. to reverse the herd immunity policy. Acknowledging that "drastic action" was required, Johnson announced that from now on Britons should try to work from home and voluntarily refrain from unnecessary travel and social contact.

But Johnson's tone, Britain's policy, and indeed the reaction of many Britons remained in strong contrast to the rest of Europe--a striking echo of the prime minister's go-it-alone approach to Brexit earlier in the year. Johnson is now taking an approach closer to that of U.S. President Donald Trump--appealing to the public for voluntary cooperation rather than ordering it--than to that of the European Union.

The 'herd immunity' route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous

by Oui on Tue Mar 17th, 2020 at 11:42:51 PM EST
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He still hasn't closed schools and colleges. Parents can't distance themselves from young kids. All it takes is one infected child to infect the whole school community - and then some.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 18th, 2020 at 01:19:10 AM EST
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In USA they've been closing themselves one by one since last week. k-12 needed the gov OK, because TBTF factors. The latest trend in higher-ed (set by Hahvahd liege) is capitulation  of ahh distance learning goals, 2020 pass/fail grading thus ends "merit" scoring controls in Academia.

An excerpt from "outreach" mssg sent to my associate's inbox today, suggest the college president has a way to go before accept inevitable decision to junk the distance learning solution.

It is hard for me to believe that only two days ago students were packing belongings and moving off campus. In that short time, we have seen major metropolitan areas issue shelter-in-place orders and the U.S. government offer guidance to close schools and many public-meeting places. Here in Waterville, city officials have ordered schools, restaurants, and bars to close immediately. As I write this, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is reporting that there have been 32 positive tests for COVID-19 in the state, one in our county. The state number nearly doubled overnight, and we are expecting many more confirmed cases in the days ahead.

The campus is quiet. By tomorrow there will be approximately 150 students on campus, and that number will be closer to 100 by the end of the week, depending on travel availability. With support from the Center for Teaching and Learning and our information technology team, professors are working from home to place course materials online. The vast majority of our staff members are working remotely, and those who do come to campus are working under strict rules that require social distancing. We have closed the libraries, Museum, and athletic center, and visitors are not allowed on campus. The only dining services available are grab-and-go meals. Each of these changes is designed to limit the spread of infection.
[...]
It is important for you to know that we will be following the directives of our state public health officials and have obligations to protect the medical privacy of members of our community. This might mean that we cannot be as forthcoming about individual circumstances as you might wish. My advice to all of you is the same advice I give to myself: we should recognize that if we have been interacting with friends, colleagues, and the general public over the last few weeks, we could have been exposed to the virus and possibly--unknowingly and unintentionally--shared it with others. In my view, knowing that requires us to be vigilant in employing all reasonable means to halt the spread of the virus, including the most simple habits of heightened hygiene and social distancing. And if we experience symptoms that are consistent with being infected by COVID-19, we should call medical professionals for their guidance on whether testing is appropriate.

I want to close on a more personal note. ...

the significance of sour dough bread this 17 March &tc.
by Cat on Wed Mar 18th, 2020 at 01:56:20 AM EST
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by Oui on Wed Mar 18th, 2020 at 04:27:57 AM EST
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by Oui on Wed Mar 18th, 2020 at 08:21:09 AM EST
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In the most crucial Address to the Nation, PM Mark Rutte defended his "well-founded" herd-immunity to protect future generations of the Dutch people. "Many loved ones will die." Do I hear Boris Johnson speaking ...

Coronavirus: Johnson warns 'many more families are going to lose loved ones'

Cracks In Rutte's Wall of Herd Immunity | De Volkskrant |

Group immunity ("herd immunity") is a classic from medical textbooks, where it ended up in 1923 after experiments by British bacteriologist William Topley.

Rutte said it as if it were a given. "The reality is that a large part of the Dutch population will become infected with the virus in the near future." Let the virus "circulate in a controlled manner among people who are not bothered by it," as RIVM advisor Jaap van Dissel described at Nieuwsuur. "the idea behind this policy."

But in the UK, where science consultant Patrick Vallance unfolded the same philosophy, it sparked a storm of criticism. Young people and young adults are less affected by the disease, but a minority can become seriously ill and in rare cases even die from the virus. "Heartless" and "dangerous" to expose them on purpose, even if controlled, British scientists raged. Large numbers still threaten "Italian scenes", medical microbiologist Roel Coutinho said in de Volkskrant on Tuesday.

Around 60% of NL residents must get Covid-19 for herd immunity: RIVM

Doing the math in a nation of 17.5 million, 60% infected is 10.5 million of which half is older than 50 yrs. Simple numbers would mean 75,000 loved ones will die in a small country of The Netherlands ... health care could NOT cope with the number of patients. Comparison with the Spanish Flu arise ... political leaders?

by Oui on Wed Mar 18th, 2020 at 09:13:53 AM EST
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