If you’re in a boat with a bad leak, you need to start bailing. But bailing without also fixing the leak is ultimately pointless. Are you going to bail forever? Bailing is hard work and you cannot keep it up — but water is still coming in through the leak!
We were amazed to find out yesterday that the UK has not closed its borders with a quarantine. The virus can just waltz right into the UK with visitors. At most, if the visitor comes from a heavily infected country, they have to say they will self isolate for seven days. The US has not closed its borders either, and of course cannot close its southern border.
Here in Australia, incoming visitors are quarantined under police supervision in a hotel or on an island for two weeks. No ifs and buts. Similarly for other countries that are eliminating the virus from their population.
The lockdowns in the US and UK have only flattened the curve:
Here are what successful lockdowns look like — they crush the curve:
Italy and Spain are getting there:
The successful countries closed their borders (you can cross the border, but only after a lengthy quarantine). The US and UK have singularly failed to even talk about closing their borders.
A lockdown for four weeks or so with quarantine cleans the virus out of a region (which might just be part of a country, e.g. Western Australia, or Montana). Then the region can reopen for normal business. Of course the quarantine must be kept in place afterwards, to limit reinfection, which can be mopped up with contact tracing.
So simple, a child can understand it.
But not the overpaid health bureaucrats in the US and UK, apparently. Is this an intellectual shortcoming, or is there something more? It is so massively incompetent that it smacks of malevolence. Let’s look at the politics.
The left are getting what they want out of this disaster. The biggest threat to the globalist left is Trump. Haven’t they gone all out to get rid of him for the last three years, setting new lows in political behavior in their desperation? The biggest factor for Trump’s reelection is “his” strong US economy.
But by mishandling the virus — locking down while failing to close the borders — the swamp has wrecked Trump’s strong economy.
Coincidence? It is certainly politically convenient. The populations of the US and UK are running out of patience and goodwill for continuing lockdown. While physical resources remain sufficient to continue, for most people, the economic cost is huge.
Perpetual lockdown is not feasible, but the virus is still at large and the US and UK keep getting reinfected from outside.
As the graphs above show, the US and UK lockdowns to date have been for almost nothing. Yes, hospital overload has been prevented for now, but the virus levels have not receded. What a waste of time and effort. All because they didn’t close off the source of re-infection.
Who is responsible for the disastrous decision not to close the borders?
In the US, border control has been a massive issue since Trump was elected with a mandate to build a wall. The swamp have denied the President and the people the ability to control the southern border — got to keep those new Democrat voters rolling in. But even apart from the lawless southern border, there is no quarantine at other US borders and no internal borders. Oops, someone “forgot.”
In contrast, Australia has activated state borders to prevent the internal spread of the virus. Some states are apparently now virus free opening back up, while other states are still crushing the last of the cases.
Meanwhile, some parts of the right are wasting their time and our attention by promoting objections to the lockdowns that are based on appealing but false notions, which are now refuted by the accumulating evidence. For example,
- It’s just like the flu. That was the initial Chinese propaganda, and some people still believe it. The Chinese welded people into their apartments, and there are refrigerated trucks for bodies outside New York hospitals. Sure, just a bad flu season. By amazing coincidence, there’s been a large spike in all-cause mortality recently in countries with COVID.
- There are vast numbers of undetected infections out there. No, we now know there aren’t. Studies without selection bias find that only about half of infections are asymptomatic, a quarter have just low-level symptoms that can be shrugged off, and about a quarter become confirmed cases, some of whom go on to die or recover with permanent damage. Total infections are only about four times confirmed cases.
- Herd immunity is close. As if. No country is yet more than 2% infected to date. And anyway, it’s a coronavirus. Immunity to other coronaviruses typically only lasts two or three years, so it’s unlikely there will ever be lasting herd immunity to COVID-19.
Some on the right have been distracted, even while the left gets away with murder.
The left has us just where it wants us. Without any media or political attention shining on the disastrous non-closure of the borders while locking down, the US and UK are now faced with a nasty dilemma: either perpetual lockdown, economic Armageddon, and a large expansion of government power and support, or a health Armageddon.
Trump and Johnson will of course have to choose to continue the lockdown, thereby wrecking their economies and — the left hope — Trump’s re-election chances. (If a Democrat President is elected in November, will the swamp “suddenly” pursue effective policies? We know they can close the borders in an instant if they want to.)
Who made these decisions to lockdown yet not close the borders? The health bureaucracy, the swamp.
The current political leadership in the US and UK — Trump, Johnson, and their political staffs — are mostly clueless about how the physical world works and about epidemics. They rely heavily on advice from the swamp. And there was Dr Fauci at all those press conferences with Trump …
Meanwhile the world desperately awaits a vaccine or some other biotech solution. Large profits will accrue — to someone. Will medical entrepreneurs like Fauci and co. be able to produce their own patented vaccine, while continuing to suppress other solutions and keep the need for a solution at fever-pitch? Will there be a combined flu and COVID vaccine, and will it become compulsory or effectively compulsory? Only time will tell.
In summary, the failure of the US and UK health bureaucracies is threefold:
- They failed to see COVID coming, and did not close the borders in time. Yet Taiwan acted in time, and this blog and a few others were calling for border closures by mid February, so it wasn’t hard to see it coming. The swamp failed to avoid a foreseeable harm, through incompetence and complacency, when time was of the essence.
- They pursued lockdown without closing the borders, which leaves the US and UK needing perpetual lockdown while constantly being reinfected from outside. This unnecessarily kills people and wrecks the economy. Again, they are allowing a foreseeable harm by their inaction. This is so mind-boggling incompetent that malevolence has to be suspected.
- Some, such as Dr Fauci, are up to their necks in patents, financial dealings, and sending millions in public money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. What the heck? This fairly screams “corruption.” Why isn’t the left/media investigating? Hmmm.
Finally, a reminder of the basics of the debate, from a couple of months ago:
There is some confusion between flattening and crushing the curve, because many political establishments initially advocated flattening the curve but then switched to a crushing strategy without acknowledging the change (because then they would have to admit they were initially wrong and had to change their mind). If you’re still in doubt about flattening versus crushing, see the graphs above.
UPDATE: UK ‘to bring in 14-day quarantine’ for air passengers from June 1, by the BBC. Odd this was announced just after the issue was raised in the UK parliament (and by this post). For how long were they planning to sneak along in this sabotaged mode otherwise?
UK airlines say they have been told the government will bring in a 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving in the UK from any country apart from the Republic of Ireland in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new restriction is expected to take effect at the end of this month.
Too late. Why not close the borders right away? Now the lockdown will have to go until four weeks after the borders close, or early July. Is that fair or realistic? How amazingly incompetent.
Oh no, the lockdown will have to go longer because the quarantine will be insufficient:
People arriving in the UK would have to self-isolate at a private residence.
Not serious. The UK Government wants to wreck the economy and the livelihoods of half the nation, but cannot bring itself to inconvenience air travelers? Is this the latest instance of class warfare?
If a quarantine is needed now, some will question why it was not necessary weeks ago.
Tens of thousands of people have flown into the UK during the pandemic, although the government says the vast majority were returning home.