Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Covid in NH

The deaths are almost stopped. The number of cases that the state has are down from their maximum, but still pretty high.  My reading of this is that as things open up, the spread of the disease continues or even increases.  Yet this is offset by the vaccination of the most vulnerable populations.  People are still getting the disease in moderately high numbers, but they are people who are much less likely to die from it.

Hopefully, they are also people who are less likely to have long-term or even permanent effects.  That seems likely to me, but I admit is unknown.

Relatedly, the emergence of the variants is why it would not have been a good idea to just go for herd immunity from the start.  I did not know that then.  The Swedish model, even though it looked risky at first, was persuasively a better choice back in March.  Get it over with.  Let the healthy in on the process and get the herd immunity up more quickly. I was not in the least thinking of mutations and variants then.  Greg Cochran over at West Hunter woke me up to the idea that variants might be a big deal, and bsking noted that giving covid a billion chances to mutate might be worse than giving it a hundred million bites at the apple, and certainly worse than a million chances at mutation.  We learn as we go.

I think we should have opened schools long ago, because most children who get C19 are asymptomatic or only mildly so, and teachers are disproportionately young (we burn through those young women in a few years until they decide their education degree was a bad idea, or they think staying home with the children is a better idea because their husband's career is doing better.  Not PC, but reality).  Being generous to older teachers, or those with medical conditions might have been cheaper for the society in the long run.  However, who the society is that is going to pay for that generosity right now is messy to the point of impossible. Still, maybe we could have worked something out. 

Yet even now, letting all those asymptomatic children and 25 y/o women contract the disease would just be giving the virus more chances at a killer variant which is not much affected by our current vaccines. My risk calculation, wrong last March, might be wrong this March too. And I'm one of the cautious ones. Beware those who assert they know what is safe as well as those who assert they know what is dangerous.  The experts may have been wrong, but so were the skeptics who doubted the experts.  We all were mostly wrong. We were both undercautious and overcautious.

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