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Coronavirus… the end of the world? Time to hit the bunker.

I’m in France and as of this morning I am only “allowed” to go out for phsyical activity if I stay within 1km of my home.  I have been reading on some threads here that people want more specifics in what is and is not allowed but really…it isn’t that complicated.  If one keeps a significant distance from others then the risk of spreading the virus is vastly diminished.  Are we really not intelligent enough as individuals to comply with the current guidance and figure out the things that have not been specified for ourselves?  I know the answer to this question, of course…

I had the realisation last night that all of these measures will probably only save the lives of those who would have died as a result of an overload on our healthcare systems.  I don’t believe we will stop people getting the virus in the longer term as we won’t totally remove the virus from our societies and we will have to return to normal life at some point.

Why so?  Unless lockdown is coupled with much more widespread testing and tracing of cases (it may be too late for this given the number of cases already existing) then at the end of any lockdown period there will doubtless still be a few (probably in the thousands) of undetected, mild/asymptomatic carriers of the virus out there, who will then resume normal activity.  Based on the current confirmed case numbers, and even on estimates of “actual” cases, we are a long way from the majority having any acquired immunity, so surely once any lockdown period ends we risk a second “peak”.  Obviously, this ignores the possible effects of warmer weather on limiting the spread of the virus, the potential for vaccines or drug treatments etc (although I personally believe widespread vaccination or other treatments are a long way off IF we go through even minimal testing to ensure safety and efficacy).  Even if we vaccinate everyone in the developed world how about those who might travel from countries that will not have widespread vaccination programmes?

In summary, I think the virus is here to stay and because – in my view – testing and tracing of contacts has been nowhere near widespread enough, many of those who are going to die from this virus will do so anyway.  That is not to say I think we should not try to limit those deaths, or to avoid the overwhelming of our hospitals, but it’s been easy (at least to me) to get sucked into thinking that lockdowns will make all of this go away.  They won’t – they will slow it down and (hopefully) flatten the curve, but there are going to be some cases that slip through the net and even if the warm weather helps supress the virus in Europe it can easily find hosts in the Southern hemisphere during our summer and return in a big way to Europe once we resume large-scale international travel.    I reckon most of us are going to get this virus – if not this year then next year.  

I think the harshness and duration of our lockdowns in Europe will be greater than would have been necessary had we been more agressive with testing and tracing of cases at an earlier stage.  Sure – now the best one can do is to limit or avoid contact with other people – perhaps for an unthinkably long period and perhaps with the need for very strong enforcement (fines in the thousands and threats of prison sentences are already here in France), but we arrive here because we dropped the ball in the early stages.

What do you think?

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