Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Infectious Disease Experts: It’s Time to Lift the COVID-19 Lockdowns

 

This came in my Facebook feed today. The National Post in Canada is basically the Wall Street Journal here, and having them post an article like this is a big deal. You couldn’t post this on YouTube:

In Canada, the individual rate of death from COVID-19 for people under 65 years of age is six per million people, or 0.0006 per cent. This is roughly equivalent to the risk of dying from a motor vehicle accident during the same time period. In other countries where data are available, 0.6-2.6 per cent of deaths in people below age 65 have occurred in people without known underlying health conditions. Although the risk of death is small in this group, ongoing research to discover the critical risk factors for death from COVID-19 in younger age groups must remain a top priority. This will permit us to better protect those at risk, while loosening restrictions for the majority.

It is also time to continue releasing lockdown measures. Remember, the original approach of “flattening the curve” was to relax restrictions if the system was not overwhelmed. That is still the appropriate goal. It is unlikely that zero infections can be achieved for COVID-19, which fundamentally spreads like influenza or the common cold, including from those without symptoms. The virus causes disease so mild in many people that it can circulate without detection, until it is introduced into a vulnerable population. While some advocate waiting for a vaccine, that would mean continuation of a lockdown for an unknown period of time. This approach ignores how complicated and difficult vaccine development can be. It is entirely possible that in two years we will still not have a vaccine, and very probable that a vaccine will not eliminate the virus entirely. Hence, we need to come to terms with the fact that we cannot eliminate this virus. At best, we can continue to slow its spread, and protect the frail and elderly.

The kicker:

Will this approach cost more deaths? Sweden, which allowed for more community transmission, is the measure of this strategy. More deaths per capita did occur than in Canada. On the positive side, Sweden’s number of new cases has peaked and Sweden will be better protected against future waves and the need for future restrictions. In the absence of a vaccine, it is a question of paying now or paying later. While the realistic goal of Canada’s lockdown was to delay deaths, it was never going to avoid them entirely. One year from now, Canada and Sweden may well have the same number of deaths per capita, but Canada may have had significantly more economic and social impacts.

I added the bold for emphasis.

The author:

Dr. Neil Rau is an infectious diseases specialist and medical microbiologist in private practice in Oakville, Ont. He is also an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. Dr. Susan Richardson is a retired infectious diseases physician and medical microbiologist and professor emerita at the University of Toronto. Dr. Martha Fulford is an associate professor at McMaster University and an infectious diseases physician at Hamilton Health Sciences. Dr. Dominik Mertz is an associate professor at McMaster University and an infectious diseases physician and hospital epidemiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences.

 

 

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  1. Boss Mongo Member

    ToryWarWriter: That is still the appropriate goal gaol.

    FIFY.

    Good stuff, thank you TWW.

    • #1
    • May 23, 2020, at 11:37 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Uh yea, that pretty much sums up the situation. It’s really not that complicated.

    • #2
    • May 24, 2020, at 11:15 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    I listen to an emergency medicine livestream broadcast every week or so. It is mostly ER and ICU frontline docs in various cities but the most recent one contained a conversation between two senior American professors of emergency medicine. From a couple of passing comments it was clear the professors were on the Left but they made the following points:

    1. The purpose of the lockdowns was to flatten the curve and prevent overwhelming of critical care facilities, not to eradicate the virus. That had been accomplished.

    2. There is no way to “do no harm” in these circumstances. There are going to be deaths no matter what strategy you follow.

    3. Economic harm, which is falling disproportionately on lower income people, has health consequences just as much, or perhaps more, as direct infection by the virus.

    4. The extent and duration of the lockdowns was an extreme reaction, erring on closing too much, is causing extensive harm, and we need to reverse course, even knowing there will some level of surge in cases when that happens.

    5. One of them said he was shocked this had become a political discussion.

    • #3
    • May 24, 2020, at 2:30 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  4. Bruce Caward Thatcher
    Bruce Caward Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    cdor (View Comment):

    Uh yea, that pretty much sums up the situation. It’s really not that complicated.

    YES!! WE HAVE KNOWN THIS FROM [ehem, sorry to shout. Deep breath. Okay, allow me to continue] the beginning.

    Why do we have to keep saying it over and over and over again?? And why are we tolerating those in power who keep amping up their restrictions, as these truths we have known from the beginning become more and more obvious with each passing day?

    These people need to be locked away in their own Fletcher Memorial Home for Incurable Tyrants and Kings. Let them appear to themselves every day on closed-circuit TV, to make sure they’re still real. The major media figures can join them, they can all talk endlessly to each other. The tar and feathers don’t have to come out unless they start getting bumptious.

    The rest of us can get on with embracing and getting past this thing.

    • #4
    • May 24, 2020, at 3:01 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  5. MiMac Thatcher

    Notably he advocates continued social distancing and banning mass gatherings- which is the policy in Sweden. He does NOT endorse going back to “normal”. [BTW-His math is poor, the death rate under 65 is at least twice what he claims (still low but bad math always bothers me- if 5%of deaths under 60 that is >320 deaths & about 31M Canadians under 65 etc)]. I doubt Sweden will be better protected b/ c they are nowhere near herd immunity either (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-sweden-strategy/swedish-antibody-study-shows-long-road-to-immunity-as-covid-19-toll-mounts-idUSKBN22W2YC). It is still too early to call any particular nation’s policy the best one- time will tell.

    • #5
    • May 24, 2020, at 5:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  6. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    I listen to an emergency medicine livestream broadcast every week or so. It is mostly ER and ICU frontline docs in various cities but the most recent one contained a conversation between two senior American professors of emergency medicine. From a couple of passing comments it was clear the professors were on the Left but they made the following points:

    1. The purpose of the lockdowns was to flatten the curve and prevent overwhelming of critical care facilities, not to eradicate the virus. That had been accomplished.

    2. There is no way to “do no harm” in these circumstances. There are going to be deaths no matter what strategy you follow.

    3. Economic harm, which is falling disproportionately on lower income people, has health consequences just as much, or perhaps more, as direct infection by the virus.

    4. The extent and duration of the lockdowns was an extreme reaction, erring on closing too much, is causing extensive harm, and we need to reverse course, even knowing there will some level of surge in cases when that happens.

    5. One of them said he was shocked this had become a political discussion.

    –Like a lot of lefties, he likely has been paying attention to the world.

    I can say this has not become a political issue in Canada.

    • #6
    • May 25, 2020, at 1:09 PM PDT
    • 1 like