Fatigue, frustration reveal limits of pandemic response

Fatigue, frustration reveal limits of pandemic response, by Chip Le Grand.

For the first time in this pandemic, the Victorian government has nowhere to go.

It can see its response to Melbourne’s second wave epidemic is not working but fears the next available steps may do more harm than good.

The government knows how and why the virus is spreading but cannot convince enough people to follow rules to contain it. …

One of the government’s simplest and most consistent messages since Victoria recorded its first COVID-19 case is that anyone who feels sick should stay home. Health Department surveys of 3810 people who this month tested positive to the virus show that in nine out of 10 cases this advice was either not understood or ignored.

In 90 per cent of cases, people who had runny noses or sore throats or low-grade infections went to work, went to school or popped out to the shops. They were, in the words of Premier Daniel Andrews, at the “height of infectivity”, yet they went out anyway and in some cases, spread the disease to others. …

“The very beginning of that runny nose or sore throat or cough or low-grade fever is when you are most infectious,” Professor Sutton said. “You are probably not that infectious after seven days.”

They’re not serious enough, yet.

The main thing we’ve learned about the virus in the six months so far is that lockdowns do work to eliminate it locally, but the two main causes of failure are (a) porous borders, and (b) not taking it seriously enough (which is not necessarily the same as not locking down hard enough).

Lockdowns to the point of banning all work or welding people into their apartments are not required, and most essential aspects of life can go on with little interruption. But it does require everyone to do the right thing.

The European countries all managed to bring covid under control, because they eventually took it seriously. The uber-serious Germans led the pack, while the humor-prone British brought up the rear (thought they pretty much have it subdued now).

Get a move on Victoria.

hat-tip Stephen Harper