Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Biden advisor Dr. Michael Osterholm wants a US nationwide lockdown of 4-6 weeks, to achieve the same level of control over Covid-19 as Australia and New Zealand achieved. But this faith in lockdowns ignores a few natural advantages which helped Australia and New Zealand gain control of the virus.
Joe Biden Coronavirus Adviser Urges National Lockdown for ‘4 to 6 Weeks’
11 Nov 2020
An adviser to Joe Biden on coronavirus has floated the idea of a nationwide lockdown for “four to six weeks.”
Dr. Michael Osterholm was appointed to Biden’s 12-person Covid advisory board on Monday.
On Wednesday, he appeared on CNBC and attempted to rationalize a national lockdown order.
“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies, to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” he said.
“If we did that, then we could lock down for four-to-six weeks.”
Osterholm claimed that would help get the virus under control, “like they did in New Zealand and Australia.”
The problem with this idea is it implies the USA’s Covid rate is America’s fault; it ignores a few natural advantages which worked very strongly in Australia and New Zealand’s favour.
The biggest advantage we had is when Covid first struck, it was the middle of our Summer. Covid-19 is a winter disease, it thrives best in cold dry conditions. Even a small increase in heat and humidity severely retards the transmission of Covid.
Australian Summers are extremely hot and, especially in the tropical North, are also very humid.
The second advantage Australia and New Zealand enjoyed is low population density. We got off very lightly in most of Australia. Apart from Victoria, with its relatively high population density and cold climate, and a premier whose apparent mismanagement of the outbreak has left a lot of questions, the risk throughout most of Australia and New Zealand has been low since the start of the pandemic, even before the lockdowns.
The third advantage is our politicians didn’t abuse the lockdowns, at least not to the extent some politicians in the USA apparently did. From what I can see some politicians in the USA shattered social trust by only applying lockdown rules to their political opponents, giving their own supporters free license to breach the rules, while imposing dire sanctions against their political opponents and persecuting religious groups. There was some comparable political misbehaviour in Australia in the early stages of the lockdowns, but it attracted so much negative attention our politicians mostly started behaving themselves, before the idea of a lockdown in Australia was completed discredited.
Would a lockdown imposed right now work in the USA? Possibly – but the economic cost would be horrendous, because infection is widespread, because the timing is bad, and because political misbehaviour has created a lot of hostility towards the idea of a lockdown. Fall to winter is likely the worst possible time to attempt to contain Covid-19 with a lockdown, because this is the time the virus is at its most infectious.
I think the USA’s best chance for immediate relief is something like the Pfizer vaccine, which was miraculously announced just after the Presidential election.
via Watts Up With That?
November 12, 2020 at 04:17AM