The Science of Covid

Most readers are probably like me when faced with long reports, complicated words and a few percentages thrown in, they zone out.

But because I have no productive activity that is legally permitted at the moment I decided to read all the reports that the Government has published which justify this massively expensive lockdown.

I know, I must be really really bored and have no life!

So I’ve decided to express the reports in words that can be understood. Most of what I am referring to is the report “Worse case health impacts etc 24.3.20” written by 5 academics at Otago university.

The basis of the report starts with some statistics which are really only guestimates because of the lack of data. It then carries out some simple mathematics on those statistics. Not really complicated at all really.

Here’s the statistics they use: Expected Worst case

NZ Population                                                                 5,000,000     5,000,000               

% who get symptoms                                                      66.6667%    66.6667%                  

Those with symptoms who need Hospital care                     1% 4.4%                     

Those in hospital who need ICU                                           25%  25%           

Those needing ICU who die due to overload of ICU  75% 75%

% of total deaths  being over 60  years old             89% 89%        

The maths is quite simple:

Worst case deaths is 5,000,000 *66.66667% *4.4% *25% *75% = 27,500

They rounded this up to 27,600 because 4.4% * 25% * 75% = 0.825% death rate but they rounded this up to 0.83.

Expected deaths are  5,000,000 *66.66667% * 1% * 25% *75% = 6250

There are other underlying assumptions in the report, these include:

  • How fast the disease spreads which affects how many people are on ICU at any time
  • There is a maximum of 442 ICU beds in NZ
  • Control measures similar to level 2 will be implemented

There are various other factors not considered by the report at all, these include:

  • What would happen if 4 weeks of level 4 lockdown was imposed?
  • What are the other health consequences of a 4 week lockdown such as alcoholism, depression etc?
  • What are the economic consequences of a 4 week lockdown and how do these economic consequences effect health consequences after the lockdown such as long term child poverty?

I am not saying that the Government has not considered these questions and I certainly hope that they have. I am simply concerned that they publish this as a “scientific” report to justify mass isolation but have not published any reports which attempt to predict the economic outcome or the future health outcomes which might result from an adverse economic outcome.

The public are being kept blissfully unaware in a bubble of ignorance. They think they are saving lives but have no idea what the cost is in respect of their future lives, and their children’s and grandchildren’s.

When I read the report it did not seem to me to indicate that a level 4 spec lockdown was called for, rather it indicated that the level 2 lockdown should continue with 3 things added to dramatically reduce the covid effect:

  1. – Urgently build ICU Rooms and ventilators. Instead of construction workers sitting at home going crazy, let them solve the problem. If they doubled the ICU capacity deaths would drop by half. If tripled deaths could drop to a third of the expected 6250 (Just over 2000)
  2. –  Very carefully isolate the sick and over 60. A great proportion of the 89% would be saved, lets say 70% (That brings expected deaths down to about 600)
  3. – Lock up quarantine for inbound travellers and test that they are clear before release into the community. The report provides for between 1 and 10 infected people arriving from overseas each day. As the main source of infection a reduction to zero would surely stop most of the deaths.

These 3 simple steps would have dramatically reduced the death rate without bringing the economy to its knees. The level 4 lockdown will not eliminate the virus, its out there in the world and complete border closure for months is just not feasible. The lockdown is just delaying the virus and as the report points out it is likely to cause more deaths if the peak is in winter than if it was in summer.

As an economist pointed out this week “we need an adult in the room”.  What we urgently need is some treasury predictions, some builders on site (ICU Project) and support structures to get supplies to elderly in isolation. Instead where all sitting at home doing nothing (by law).

This was originally written on 5 April. The treasury has finally issued some predictions which indicate the massive financial and social cost of the lockdown. The Director General of Health has ordered some ventilators but refuses to say how many or when they will be ready to use. The borders have finally been locked down but after the horse has bolted.

New evidence suggests that many of the elderly who die of covid would have died anyway, or at least in a short time frame. Further new evidence suggests that ventilators may not be that effective at saving lives.

One thing remains certain, and that is that the financial loss is massive

NZ has been conned into wasting $50 billion or so of our grandchildren’s money to save no more lives than what would have been saved by implementing these 3 suggestions. Lets make sure the lockdown stops 23 April so we don’t waste more billions.

Published by Billy

Stubborn as a Goat and trying to liberate the sheep

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