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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

In the middle of the Covid pandemic “now is the winter of our discontent”

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In the northern hemisphere anyway, winter is on the way, a dangerous time for authorities trying to mitigate the sudden surge of new cases and deaths from Covid-19 in parts of Europe, the UK and the US. With a vaccine timeline still ‘flexible’, the only cushioning to a further spread of the pandemic is more social distancing, face-masks, attention to hygiene. And lockdowns.

Whilst there is no evidence that the ambient temperature has much effect on the direct spread or strength of the coronavirus, medical officials say the colder weather brings people indoors where there is more direct interaction of people, accelerating the spread of Covid-19. Th virus continues to rage in South America as well, though it’s heading into its summer instead.

In the US, still without a declared winner in the presidential elections, Joe Biden has spent his early days as President-elect pleading with Americans to pay greater attention to the relentless North American surge of Covid-19. President Donald Trump continues to mostly ignore the deepening health crisis and still touts a vaccine as his fix. Yesterday new cases reported in the US added another 138,249 to the total of 11,366,379 people in the US, with 251,832 people having succumbed to the virus.

The US also surpassed 11 million coronavirus cases yesterday as states across the country moved to enact further restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus. The milestone was reached just six days after the US recorded 10 million cases. At least 45 states have reported more new infections this past week compared to the previous week, according to figures from worldometers.info.

In the UK, a record 314,000 workers were made redundant in Q3 2020, 181,000 more than in the previous quarter, highlighting the devastating economic damage caused by government-imposed restrictions over the pandemic. Figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate the unemployment rate rose to 4.8%, up from 4.5% in the 3 months to August.

There are now an estimated 1.62 million people out of work across the country, 318,000 more than there were a year ago.The UK, with one of the highest death rates in the developed world, is still facing around 25,000 new cases a day, with no immediate signs of relief as the air starts to cool. Meanwhile, the death rate has been rising to 400-500 per day over the last week, and the trend will continue on an upward trajectory as the new daily case reports continue to rise.

France is now into its second major lockdown after daily Covid-related deaths reached their highest levels since April. At least, over the past week, the peak of case numbers appears to have been reached as the new cases are now subsiding in number. People are allowed to leave home only for essential work and medical reasons.Restaurants and bars have to close but schools and factories can remain open.

Non-essential travel is banned and the country’s external borders are closed, but journeys are still permitted inside the EU. Travellers must be tested on arrival at a new border.

Austria is also under lockdown in efforts to bring a surge in Covid-19 cases under control in time for Christmas.Austria now has one of Europe’s highest infection rates per capita. Both the new infection rate, and the death rate, continue to surge in Austria.

Non-essential shops will close, as will service providers such as hairdressers. Secondary schools have already switched to distance learning; primary schools and kindergartens will continue to provide childcare.

Germany is now displaying ‘Masks required for protection’ signs, pointing out social distancing rules in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district.Germany is now in its “circuit-breaker” national lockdown to try to stop a sharp rise in cases. Restaurants, bars, cinemas and gyms are closed, and there’s a general ban on leisure travel. Schools remain open, protests are still allowed and churches are open.

Portugal is also in the middle of a second wave that is statistically much worse than its first, and in response has brought in one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. There’s a nightly curfew and weekend shutdowns in nearly 200 municipalities, home to more than 75% of the population. Schools, shops and restaurants are still open but people are being urged to work from home. In affected areas, people must stay at home from 11pm to 5am, or from 1pm at weekends.

Sweden has opted to avoid full lockdowns from the start of the pandemic. There were hopes that this would mitigate a second wave by producing a higher level of immunity. But studies so far show that the national health agency has been over-optimistic about levels of antibodies in the population and has failed to reach anywhere near a herd-immunity level.In recent weeks the new infection rate has surged, way faster than in the first wave.

But the death rate, so far, has been much lower this time.In the past week there have been 4,000 – 5,000 new infections detected each day. But, overall, Sweden’s death rate per capita is far higher than that of its Nordic neighbours, but lower than in countries such as Spain.

Russia’s coronavirus case tally grew by 22,572 in the past 24 hours to 1,925,825, the anti-coronavirus crisis centre told reporters on Sunday. A day earlier, 22,702 Covid-19 cases were reported, a new high during the pandemic. The Russian coronavirus death toll rose by 352 in the past day to 33,186. The death rate, along with reported new cases, continues to rise. The total number of infections will surpass 2 million later this week.

In Asia, India, Indonesia and The Philippines appear to be the worst affected countries as the winter seasons approach. But, excepting India, the rest of Asia’s infection rates are much lower than much of the rest of the world. This video might explain much of the reason a country like Thailand has been a beacon of light in a modern Covid world.

As the world approaches the end of 2020, nearly a full year of tracking a new coronavirus, it’s becoming apparent that, far from nearing the end of this world pandemic, the world is actually somewhere in the middle, or even the early days, of the full covid-19 story. Historically, these sorts of virus outbreaks have lasted years, not months.

A successful vaccine candidate seems perpetually on the horizon, with weekly updates on some of the world’s leading candidates as they enter the latter phases of their testing regimes. But some commentators worry that the announcements may be spurred on by investors boosting their stocks, rather than posting realistic timelines for the world release of a successful vaccine for Covid-19.

But, with Christmas approaching, the thermometers dropping, and no vaccine currently released, the winter of our discontent may be upon us.

(“Now is the winter of our discontent”, the first line from Shakespeare’s Richard III, spoken by Gloucester)

In the middle of the Covid pandemic "now is the winter of our discontent" | News by Thaiger

SOURCES: Worldometers.info

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jason

    Monday, November 16, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    No tests…no cases…simple…or is it?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, November 16, 2020 at 6:45 pm

      Very simple …

      If there were cases there would be excess deaths. There aren’t – the death rate actually went down by close to 10% during the lockdown here.

      If there were cases there would be symptoms, even if only in up to 20% of cases. There aren’t – if there were they’d be seen in the mass but basic temperature testing, and there would be mass queues at the hospitals as treatment is free, until very recently it was low season in the agricultural industry, and those salaried get sick pay while off work.

      If there were cases there would be tests showing them, as all applying for or renewing work permits are tested as are all hospital in-patients. There aren’t – that’s only happened once.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, November 16, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Excellent article, BTW, Thaiger.

  3. Avatar

    JIM KELLY

    Monday, November 16, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    LETS JUST LIVE WITH IT, GET ON AND RETURN THE WORLD ECONOMY…OR ELSE THERE WON’T BE A WORLD LEFT WORTH SAVING. PEOPLE DIE ALL THE TIME.. THAT’S LIFE!!!!

    • Avatar

      Kristof

      Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 11:33 am

      Or let’s get this thing under control first, or else there wont be a functioning world economy.

  4. Avatar

    Don R

    Monday, November 16, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    135 million face malnutrition
    30 million face starvation (333% increase)
    Over 200 million face extreme poverty (first increase since 1990)
    872 million children unable to return to school
    Child mortality to increase by millions due to disruptions in healthcare systems
    $19 trillion increase in govt debt
    $12 trillion in economic loss
    $3.5 trillion in lost wages
    245 million jobs lost

    The objective reality is that these draconian measures haven’t stopped the virus. From this observation we can go two directions: destroy hundreds of millions more lives, or accept that old people die.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 3:49 pm

      Or maybe the “draconian measures” haven’t “stopped the virus” because they’ve been applied so badly and so incompetently by the West, and been resisted by Westerners, while far simpler measures have controlled the virus infinitely more effectively in SEA and been pretty well universally accepted and supported by those in SEA.

      The unavoidable reality is that if the West had reacted to the virus in the same way as SEA (Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia), and their governments had taken the same measures, and people had also reacted in the same way, then although there would have been a recession and an economic downturn it could have been a small fraction of the one the world has now with a small fraction of the issues you list.

      But the West didn’t, either as governments or as people.

      … and, unfortunately, accepting that “old people die” will make no difference to any return to normality even if you accept a reduction of a few years in life exectancy worldwide.

      It’s far from that simple.

      While the virus kills old people far more than young, the simple fact is that it affects all age groups equally in relation to their age / mortality rate – so if, just for example, “old people” are now twice as likely to die as before then so are all other age groups so you also need to accept that.

      You also need to accept that the only reason that the fatality rate is as low as it is is because the transmission / infection rate has been kept artificially low by the “draconian measures” you referred to.

      Remove those “draconian measures” and the infection rate will unavoidably climb exponentially – there’s no way of avoiding or preventing it.

      With an infection rate (‘r’ rate) of one, so only one person gets infected by another person, after ten cycles (estimated at around two to four months months) the rate is still one. That’s what the West had after the first lockdown.

      Remove some of those “draconian measures” and the rate climbs to two – after only ten cycles that isn’t twice as bad, but it’s over one thousand times as bad.

      Remove all of those measures and allow the virus to reach its natural infection rate (without “super spreaders”) and it nears three, which after only ten cycles isn’t three times as bad but is just under 60,000 times as bad.

      The maths is pretty simple …

      • Avatar

        Don R

        Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 9:03 pm

        Sorry, I don’t have time to read 2 pages of your screed, but basically I reject it all.

        SEA don’t wash hands, bro.

        But hay, great job demonstrating how little you care about the…. HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF LIVES that have been destroyed. Keep screeching irrational fear about a virus that has a 0.3% fatality rate (and falling).

        Old people are so unlucky to live through the most prosperous era in history (and squnader it) only to have to face a slightly increased risk of death from a new type of flu virus. It’s not like–oh wait, this is what literally awaits EVERYONE. EVERYONE GETS OLD. EVERYONE DIES. It doesn’t make you special. However, most young people today will just so happen to die even YOUNGER as a result of this selfish overreaction.

        • Avatar

          Kristof

          Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 11:27 am

          I dont think Issan John is speaking like he doesnt care at all; in fact i think the opposite. The sacrifices Thailand has had to make (particularly in tourism industry) have allowed for a safe ongoing functioning of the overall economy while most other nations face ongoing fluctuations somewhere between restriction and lockdown. We dont even know the long-term, but looking at the data does imply uncontrolled spread of Covid means years of economic crippling. I saw both the western response and SEA response as i came here specifically due to what i saw lacking in the West. The overall unified understanding and reaction here compared to there was on an entirely different level. Much of this is because Asian nations have had better prior experience with these outbreaks, but from a scientific perspective Issan J is correct and not being uncompassionate. He is also correct to encourage folks to look at this mathematically given the hyper-high R-nought rate (transmission rate) of this particular virus if allowed free-range without preventive measures.

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