The answer seems to be yes.
For some time I’ve been following the news about the Corona virus. Since a efficient vaccin, and not even that, since flu vaccins generally have below 60% efficiencey, is far far away (or at least 1-2 years.), my conclusion is that there is on two (2) tools that can be used.
- Herd immunity to reduce threat of future equally devastating waves of infection and bring lives around the world back to normal and thereby limiting the negative consequences of the lockdown and restrictions.
- Isolation of the risk groups. This is crucial since this is the ONLY way to bring the mortality rate down. A simple example; in Sweden 64% of the deaths are poeple of ages 80+. At the same time these only account for 5% of the population. If diseases and prior medications are added it will be easy to pinpoint risk groups efficiently and act accordingly. By isolating only parts of risk groups the riskiest groups we can with limited efforts probably bring down mortality by 70%.
There are a couple of serious mistakes that have been made. One of those is general lockdowns and restrictions. These are counter productive since they are only stretching out the economic and mental suffering and at the same time increases the likelihood of the risk groups being infected, without contributing anything – at least not anymore.
Thy ONLY reason for these actions was to prevent overload the health care system. But since the speed of transmission was vastly underestimated and the mortality was vastly overestimated initially due to incompetence, lack of relevant data or maybe weird and somewhat evil/political agendas, these actions are NOT relevant. The health care system is OK. And anyhow – reducing the need of the health care system is best taken care of by isoloating risk groups to start with,
There is also a misunderstanding (or if it is a manufactured understanding) that the lockdowns/restrictions are essential and efficient. The best way to show that this is NOT the case is to look at Google mobility data. Comparing some european countries it is easy to see that is NOT the countries with the most draconian measures that are doing the best; like Spain, Belgium, Italy etc.
Countries like Germany and Denmark have pretty close to the same mobility reduction as Sweden and they are doing the best. So clearly it is not restrictions and/or lockdowns for the general population that is doing the trick. These are ONLY political initiatives to show and increase power and hopefully gain votes in future elections since the people at this time seems to LIKE being told what to do. Remember …. This is exactly how democracy turns into fascism. It only happens because people wants it… And right now – a lot of people seems to do exactly that… 🙁
On a positive note; I have to ad that in my whole life I have never been as impressed and thankful of anything that our Swedish, otherwise pretty lame government, are doing. Because in this case doing as little as possible is absolutely the right thing.
Unfortunately our system has failed to take care of the risk groups in certain areas, which has resulted in many more deaths than necessary. In these areas Denmark and Germany (and I guess Norway/Finland, but the infection levels are to low yet, so they need to come out of lockdown before we know) are doing much better which.
I’ve made a model that shows how the tools “risk group protection” and “removal of restrictions” affects the infection rate, death rate and herd immunity in a possibly optimal way from the point we are standing right now.
Of course some assumptions have to be made:
I’ve assumed that the R = 5,6 according to a study made by CDC [link] (this indicates that a infection rate of 82% is needed for herd immunity). I’ve assumed the initial transmission speed is doubling in 2 to 2,5 days, since this is what happened in Spain and some other areas in the beginning. I’ve assumed that the general death rate is 0,15% if limited isolation of risk groups are done. It does not look like this is the case anywhere yet. Stockholm area and Spain being closest at about 0,05% at the moment and the infection rate, at least in Stockholm, is considered to be at least 50% at the moment even by other sources [link].
To get an idea of what is needed to make a clean EXIT I’ve been modelling infection rates and death rates to the tools available (mobility restriction and risk group isolation). I’ve assumed risk group isolation is linear and mobility restrictions is logarithmic (ie. mobility restriction from 0-20% is more efficient than 60-80%). Doing some curve fitting from these assumptions is not that hard.
These restrictions simply have to end.
Basically we can see that at the moment we have about a ~35% infection rate in Sweden with 60-70% mobility restriction efficiency and a 70-75% isolation of the 5% worst affected. This is not bad at all.
But if we do nothing now we will stop the virus from further spreading and we will get a next equally bad wave of infections within a couple of weeks/months depending on when we reduce restrictions.
It is therefore ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to reduce restrictions AT THE SAME TIME as we INCREASE ISOLATION of risk groups. If we do this efficiently we can get out of this by end of June – and then not worry about this particular virus anymore. And as a consequence reduce unemployment and economic suffering immensely.
Finally, if you have not read Mats Lewans blog in this do that now. He’s been tracking the same data.