Friday, April 24, 2020

Corona - T Minus Zero - T Day

We survived so far. It's T-day, the world is still turning, and Trump is still in power. (I don't like the guy much, to be honest.) There's still Corona, and there's still no solution.

Things could have been worse though...


Control

The measures taken by the Dutch government (closure of schools and lightly enforced social distancing) have kept the number of cases under control.

And control is what it is all about. By controlling the number of infections the survival chance of the sick increases (see here).

The good news? The number of hospitalized and dead people, in the growth of infected people all seem to decline... a little.


Complete isolation

Would complete isolation and extreme measures work better? Some countries appear to have a firm grip and everything under control. (New Zealand, for example.)

Well... perhaps. But their solution might not work everywhere, and it might not be the right solution at all...


Population density

In countries with low population density it's easier to fence of areas, separate groups of people. What most people do not realize is that the Netherlands, in spite of the images of endless horizons and green fields alternating with colorful bands of tulips, is very densely populated.

In fact, with 488 people per km2 and 17 million citizens the Netherlands is the most densely populated country of the European Union, and one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

How do you control that? Some totalitarian states can do it, but the average blunt and stubborn Dutchman would blow a blood vessel. It's a miracle social distancing works as well as it has done thus far.


Second wave (third wave, fourth wave, fifth...)

Assuming you could isolate all cases, and once everything is under control you open your borders, relax the rules, let everything get back to the ol' days...

If one, just one single case would slip through the net you'd be back at square one. And as we don't have a cure or vaccination, our starting position would be more or less the same. Perhaps we'd be a little better prepared, but that's about it.

So, yes, New Zealand may be on the ball, but one infected visitor slipping through would turn the country into turmoil. Perhaps not in the case of New Zealand (low population density) but try the same thing in the Netherlands, Hong Kong, New York...


Endless and relentless monitoring

Again totalitarian states have the advantage. Their citizens won't mind being monitored every second of the day. (Well, perhaps they would mind, but who would care?)

Countries whose governments have absolute power, and who do have a sufficient level of control, supported by a sufficient level of technology, those countries will absolutely love an epidemic like Covid 19. Every time there's an outbreak it would only allow their governments a finer level of control over their citizens.

(A more cynical person than me would suggest to combine those controls with a social scoring system, and you would have created the kind of perfect slavery Orwell could only have dreamed about.)

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