Thursday, May 21, 2020

Questions Izabella Is Asking: "Is Covid-19 a nosocomial infection?"

Very smart and on point.
From the editor of the Financial Times' FT Alphaville property:
FT Alphaville has, like many others, been questioning the often confusing and sometimes contradictory approach the UK government has been taking to battling coronavirus.

There’s a lot of stuff that simply does not make sense. For instance, introducing quarantine measures at the end of the lockdown rather at the beginning. Or allowing mass events like Cheltenham to go ahead back in March, when the famous “R” number was higher than it is currently, when no such events are allowed to take place now.

We had hoped that perhaps the government knew something we didn’t, which might explain their nonsensical approach. Recently released minutes of the government’s SAGE scientific advisory meetings suggest otherwise.

It may be that the government’s contradictory approach is more easily explained by its desire to be everything to all people so as to maintain its popularity and electability: both appealing to the utterly petrified, who want lockdown to continue for as long as possible, but also to sceptics who want to keep the economy going to ensure the cure doesn’t become worse than the disease and are prepared to take some risks.

The care home crisis, however, has been hard to defend, whatever one’s stance on lockdown is. For lockdown sceptics, it has undermined the notion that a herd immunity plan was secretly being pursued regardless of the government’s insistence on the contrary. Such a strategy, if it were following the same lines as the the government’s pandemic flu plan from 2011, would have focused on letting the disease rip among the resistant population while protecting the vulnerable at all costs (ie, shielding). Its infiltration into care homes seems to suggest the government did the exact opposite thing.

For lockdown enthusiasts, meanwhile, it confirms that the government did not take the action needed to protect the vulnerable early enough, and that it should therefore be heavily criticised.
And yet, some evidence is emerging that the spread of the disease in both care homes and hospitals may be a critical factor in its morbidity and virulence. As Toby Young, a dedicated sceptic, has pointed out on his Lockdown Sceptics blog, SAGE meeting minutes from March 20, just before the lockdown (meeting no. 18) reference the fact that Covid-19 may be something known as a nosocomial disease. This is a category of disease that spreads predominantly within hospitals (and can thus pass into care homes because the elderly visit hospitals a lot), the most famous of which is probably MRSA.

The SAGE meeting minutes noted that:....

This is a point that is critical to our understanding of what happened and what society should do going forward.