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article imageOp-Ed: Pandemic getting worse globally and what it means

By Paul Wallis     May 29, 2020 in World
Sydney - For all the meaningless drivel about “reopening”, the net infection rate keeps climbing. According to Johns Hopkins, an all-time official high of 117.2K infections were recorded on 28 May.
That’s not exactly encouraging. The spread of this virus is relentless. The Johns Hopkins figures are showing a solid mass of daily infections around 80K minimum per day. There are local variations, but it’s not looking good.
For instance:
• The US is slowly getting the infection rate down, but there are continuing spikes. A rough consistent average of around 18K infections per day is the statistical baseline.
• The UK profile is an odd, now downward arc, but there are occasional spikes in infection numbers, perhaps due to delayed reporting or other factors.
• Brazil’s rate seems unclear to put it mildly, but there are sudden big spikes, notably an all-time peak of 26.4K yesterday, far above the previous high of around 20K
It’s best to check out the Johns Hopkins figures individually and see the daily cases graphs. These numbers are the confirmed numbers, and they’re painting a pretty gruesome picture for epidemiology.
What it means – The basics
This damn thing isn’t going away. Quite the opposite. It’s becoming entrenched. That means that more infectious people are being found every day, each able to infect anything from 2 people rising to 200 people over a month, as infections spread from the original vector(s).
Some points:
• We are now only half way through the first yearly infection cycle.
• Now we can find out whether the disease is seasonal like the flu, or just continuous.
• Infections in areas previously hit by the virus haven’t stopped. They’re at lower levels, sometimes much lower, but the disease is still obviously present.
• Whether it’s seasonal or continuous, defence measures like vaccines and “area defences” like UVC lights need to be developed to minimise risk. We’re nowhere near this degree of general safety yet.
• A disease able to kill and cause chronic medical conditions which is active year round is a new, dangerous, ball game.
Diseases don’t have ideologies
The data means that reopening countries could backfire, badly. That’s particularly the case where there are a lot of infections.
The virus can restart a pandemic simply by infecting more people, repeating the current cycle. Competent governments which have successfully shut down the virus in their countries say that if it restarts, the lockdowns restart. The reason is simple enough – There’s no choice.
The economic effects of a second wave will be worse, and cumulative. Putting economies like the United States on life support is expensive, and the economic future is uncertain. A more severe second wave would definitely be disastrous.
Lose the politics
There are no ideologies here. The pandemic is dictating the responses. (At least the rational responses.) This is life or death, common sense vs ignorance. The fact that the global rate of infection is climbing means that the risk is increasing.
Now is not the time to get distracted from this risk. Never mind the politics and related tantrums from the obviously senile. Politics has done more damage to the global pandemic response than any other factor.
The US break with the WHO is a case in point. This incredibly stupid, truly insane, move will do serious damage, and, not at all coincidentally, make the problems much worse. Lose the politics, or lose the war against the virus.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Johns Hopkins stats COVID19, reopening America pandemic 2020, Who, US break from WHO, lockdown economics
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