Thursday, May 21, 2020

The lockdowns postponed some deaths

Here is the top NY Times story:
If the United States had begun imposing social distancing measures one week earlier than it did in March, about 36,000 fewer people would have died in the coronavirus outbreak, according to new estimates from Columbia University disease modelers.

And if the country had begun locking down cities and limiting social contact on March 1, two weeks earlier than most people started staying home, the vast majority of the nation’s deaths — about 83 percent — would have been avoided, the researchers estimated.

Under that scenario, about 54,000 fewer people would have died by early May.
Sounds impressive, right? Not really.

When it says deaths "would have been avoided", it only means that according to the model, those deaths would not have occurred before May 3. All they really show is that earlier social distancing would have postponed 1000s of deaths until after May 3.

Nobody thought that the social distancing would stop the Wuhan virus. It was only going to slow the spread, and postpone the deaths.

Many argued that delaying the spread would ultimately reduce deaths because the hospital ventilators would not be overwhelmed, but no such reduction happened.

It is an open question whether the social distancing has done any good at all.

Another NY Times article notes:
“We now know that geography played a large role. 54 percent of all U.S. deaths were in the 100 counties in or within 100 miles of NYC.”

Covid-19 deaths — more than 90,000 so far — are “concentrated among the elderly,” Horowitz continues, and the “virus lopsidedly targets people with particular underlying conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.”

The death rate, Horowitz claims, “doesn’t even climb above .1% until you reach over 70, with a steep and dangerous growth of risk over 75 and 80.”
While the death toll is more than I expected, the disease impact on most of the population is far less that what anyone was predicting.

The article goes on to wonder why there might be a correlation between skepticism about policies against climate change, and against COVID-19.

I don't think it is so hard to understand. Some people, such as redpillers, accept that there are forces of nature that may be impossible or impractical to change. Climate and coronavirus disease may be among them. Sure, a cure would be great, and everyone is in favor of that, but most of the policies are ineffective and expensive, and should be treated with skepticism.

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