Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Corona - T minus 24 - Our new Best Friend

How a distant disease became our closest friend…

Two months ago Wuhan was a remote place, and nobody was paying all too much attention to Corona / Covid-19. Now, the world is in a near lock-down, and we’re all waiting to see what happens next. Scary.

No cure... yet

What’s more scary is that, unless we find a cure / vaccination, that lock-down isn’t going to help much. The numbers are simply stacked against us.

The numbers

Let’s take the Netherlands. Effectively one month of Covid-19, and we have 13000 confirmed cases, and 1100 death. There is some dispute about the accuracy of the test, and of course only suspected infected are tested, so the numbers take some interpretation.

In the Netherlands there are about 1600 IC (Intensive Care) beds. 1200 of those are currently reserved for Covid-19 cases, and of those 1200 there are currently 1000 in use.

The current methodology against Covid-19 is social distancing and limited isolation. As a result we have occupied a 1000 IC beds. Let’s assume we have reached our capacity, and we have reduced the speed of infection keeping the influx of new patients flat, ie. we’ll have just as many new cases as we have dismissed-plus-dead. (Many people do not realize this, but the goal of social distancing and limited isolation is not to avoid getting sick, but to keep enough capacity in IC beds.)

Let’s say for each confirmed case there are 10 unknowns who carry the virus but who are recovering by themselves. Let’s say about half the population would face some level of risk due to the virus. Now how long would the lock-down have to continue to have 60% of the population become either dead or resistant (creating group immunity)?

Well, if it takes 1 month to immunize 10x13000 =130000 cases, then it will take 71 months to reach 60% of the population. I do not think we can keep a country for 71 months in lock down. Even at a ration of 100 to 1 it would take 7 months continuing the current status quo. This effectively means we are going to let people die because we can no longer afford not to.

That’s a sobering thought, so I wish all of us a good and reliable health.

Dapper 170 / TellTales! 103

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