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“Shut everything down, but not travel” — 2 Comments

  1. The tomaspueyo article gets excited about testing for the coronavirus — but nowhere even mentions the critical issue of False Positives and False Negatives which are associated with any real-world testing.

    As far as that article’s focus on lockdowns — Get Real! The West cannot do what China did, simply because of differing housing patterns. Politicians can (and have) announced shut-downs, but the effects will be different from what they expect.

    I have been hearing from a business acquaintance I made during a trip to China last year — living in one of those Chinese cities with populations larger than London that none of us have ever heard of.

    Today’s China is a surprise to most of us from the West because much of the infrastructure & housing was built in the last 15 years — airports that make Terminal 5 seem tacky; real High Speed Trains, even MagLevs; excellent motorways & toll roads; underground train systems which leave the Tube in the shade.

    Most urban Chinese live in 30 story high apartment blocks built around well-maintained pedestrian precincts or parks. The apartments range from UK-style bedsits to palatial multi-level affairs with stunning roof gardens. (In China, as elsewhere, it is good to be rich!). Maybe a thousand people in each apartment block, with several supermarkets only steps away in the pedestrian precinct.

    The lockdown process in my correspondent’s case involved each apartment being given a schedule — one family member could leave the building every two days to walk to the supermarkets and stock up. There were guards posted at the doors of each apartment block. On leaving and returning, the resident’s temperature was taken — if it was elevated, action would be taken. Similarly, temperatures were taken before people were allowed into the supermarkets. High schoolers attended class by internet — no escape!

    With the much lower population densities in many Western cities and (especially) suburbs, that kind of lockdown is simply not possible. Teenagers released from school attendance will be running wild — there simply are not enough police or military to control them.

    Much better for us to focus our limited resources on helping the at risk old & sick to self-isolate.

  2. My (very) cynical mate in the pub reckons there’s a government department working out how many millions of Pounds will be saved by not having to pay state pensions and benefits to the elderly who pop their clogs from this virus. Perhaps, for once, he’s on to something?

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