Things are relatively restriction-free here at the moment.
However Archbishop Holohan [he of the High Church of Health] has decreed that we have to go into another lockdown ASAP. So once again my poor coffee shop will have to close and Penny will have to forgo her chicken for some indefinite period.
My big question is why do we have to close everything again?
I have been looking at the figures, and I can understand the reason he is having a panic attack –
You can clearly see the first and second waves. You can also see that in the last few days the indications are that we are heading into a third peak, hence the alarm in the High Church.
However, we all remember the catchphrase that was so popular in the early part of the year – “We have to fight to flatten the curve“. They were worried that hospitals would be overwhelmed and repeatedly showed us images from Italy, China and a few other places showing people in HazMat suits wandering through a maze of tents set up to deal with casualties. There was a certain logic to this edict so people complied and the curve was flattened.
Summer arrived and things were quiet, but then the second wave arrived. That is clear from the graph.
The strange thing though is the lower red line – the number of deaths. There is a distinct rise during the first wave but nothing of note after. The second wave was twice as bad as the first but there was no corresponding large increase in deaths. Why?
There are a few possible reasons for this. You could argue the the vulnerable had all succumbed? Maybe the medicos had become better at treating the symptoms? Maybe they had just increased their testing and were catching far more asymptomatic cases? Or maybe the Virus had just lost its sting and had become no worse that a bad cold?
And so we come to the second graph – the number of hospital admissions –
This is supposed to be the critical information. You can see how there was a huge number at the beginning, reaching a peak of 881. However, the second wave only achieved a mere 354 before declining again. This is hardly an overwhelming of hospital services when they had coped with well over twice that number before?
So they can hardly quote the old “flattening the curve” line again. They have twice the number of reported cases, but less than half the number of hospitalisations? Every indication says that hospitals can cope. So why shut down the country again?
The only answer I can think of is that they are concentrating on numbers and only numbers. They see their precious R number rising or the number of cases per 100,000 going up and they panic. They keep droning that “today we have X cases whereas last week we only had Y cases” or similar portents of doom. Any increase in a number is accompanied by furrowed brows and gloomy predictions.
Maybe they should stop worrying about the numbers on the screens and sit back and think about what these numbers actually mean in the real world? They should look at their figures in context.
Let’s cut the crap and leave my coffee shop alone.
And let Penny enjoy her chicken