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BUILD IMMUNITY AND LIMIT TRANSMISSION

People want to avoid risk of infection and they avoid crowds, cancel travel, distance socially and mask up on public transport. To be safer, they want others to do the same and expect governments to regulate it. 

Following this path, free living and going happily where you want disappear. Living is transformed to a shambling half-existence, withdrawn from nature and without clean air. Such risk aversion weakens a person’s immune system with stress, anger, anxiety, depression and learned helplessness. These de-activate the immune response.

The increased risk of infection offsets the risk reduction sought by limiting transmission. Conversely, although social pursuits can cause transmission, they boost morale and promote robust good health, by fending off infections.

Reduced transmission possibilities and strengthening of immune response can both be pursued independently, but can act opposed or together to maintain physical, mental and spiritual good health, as for example by going to work or playing team sport.

Health should not be sacrificed to limit disease transmission.

In summary, infection risk can be reduced by limiting transmission possibilities and by building up immune responses. Public restrictions may be significantly counter-productive and should be withdrawn at the earliest opportunity of good population immunity.

My other writing about Covid-19 is at: https://martinknox.com

HOW MUCH COVID RISK SHOULD WE COVER?

Governments are restricting peoples’ activities and paying to mitigate the effects of Covid 19. Suppose that these measures halve the infection rate, so that admittance to ICU and dying there is reduced from 0.02 % of the population to 0.01%. These numbers are guesstimates. At this stage of the analysis the aim is present a framework for comparison.

In the restricted situation, individuals could be quarantined at a personal cost of $10,000.

Unrestricted, there could be voluntary quarantine with no additional cost.

Loss of earnings would be the same in both situations, with double the frequency unrestricted.

ICU treatment cost until death of $100,000 would incur double the frequency unrestricted.

The government role under restriction would be much more active and expensive. Keeping the population from workplaces and amenities would be expensive, especially when the total cost is divided by the low number of ICU cases.

These numbers show that a strategy of restrictions imposes a much higher cost to government, while withholding restrictions probably increases the risk to individuals, here shown as doubling their hospital ICU admittances. The expected value of costs to individuals could be somewhat higher without restrictions, but the community would benefit greatly by relinquishing pandemic relief restrictions. Individuals could volunteer to be unrestricted with higher earnings (not shown here). 

Financial outcomes should be considered for these and other strategy alternatives. Including economic outcomes is essential when the amounts are large and government debt will have to be paid off. An accusation of callousness in making economic estimates of life or death is easily rebutted: it is more callous to make not estimates. 

Ayn Rand, a philosopher, said: 

Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter

Cynically, restriction is an expensive strategy that provides employment and welfare benefits to many people, far exceeding the cost of unrestriction.

It is time to count the cost of restriction.

My other writing on Covid-19 is at https://martinknox.com

COSTS OF COVID RESTRICTION STRATEGIES RESTRICTEDUNRESTRICTED
Hospital ICU admittance probability death0.0100.020
Victim discomfort loss of amenity, quarantine$10,000 x 0.01Nil
Victim loss of earnings, assuming death$500,000 x 0.01$500,000 x 0.02
ICU treatment cost$100,000 x 0.01$100,000 x 0.02
Pandemic regulatory scheme admin and police per ICU case$50,000 x 1.00Nil
Loss of community earnings and amenity, plus earnings support, per ICU case.$200,000 x 1.00Nil
Expected value of costs (Subtotal X probability)$256,100$12,000

COVID INFECTION NOT JUST A GERM

Covid testing measures the presence of pathogens, omitting the absence of immunity. It is more difficult to test immune resistance but it is, arguably as much a cause of infection as is transmission of the pathogen. Immunity and immune defences are insufficiently recognised in controlling the Covid pandemic.

Husserl’s revolution (1859-1938) in discovering phenomenology was to pull back the focus of objectivity, from the material out there in the environment, to the psychological perception of the observer. It was a new perspective of reality, called existential phenomenology and it is still popular today in understanding ‘being’. Virology seems to be stuck with focus on germs but could have its own Husserl who would give more emphasis to a person’s immune system. 

Objectivity in traditional health’s description of infection is preoccupied with pathogens and pays little attention to immune defences. Pasteur’s germ theory focussed on pathogen transmission (objective). Bechamp (1816-1908), a contemporary of Pasteur, extolled the virtues of immunity (subjective) but for some reason his theory has been overlooked in a controversy from which germs emerged victorious. Bechamp argued that the underlying condition of our body determines the risk of disease, not just the germs itself.  In his “terrain theory” he postulated that a weak body attracted disease, while a healthy body resisted it, Rumor has it that Louis Pasteur himself admitted on his death bed that there was more merit to the terrain theory, but modern medicine had set out on a new course by then.Essential nutrients, clean whole foods, reducing toxic exposures, supporting gut bacteria, etc go a long way towards creating a healthy terrain.

If immunity was considered more important, public restrictions would less severely constrain exercise, healthy eating, social gatherings, fresh air, relaxation, morale, jobs, school attendance and economic activities. These are more than places for pathogens to invade: they are places we use to strengthen our immune systems. I ask authorities to un-restrict them pronto. We may not be able to rely on vaccines to provide all our immunity!

These comments need validation before action.

My writing on Covid is at https://martinknox.com

GOVERNING PANDEMIC BY OBJECTIVISM

What would philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982) have said about our governments’ COVID-19 policies?

Invisible laws create guilt.

There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted and you can create a nation of law-breakers and then you cash in on guilt.

Sacrifice is wrong.

‘An individualist is a man who says” ‘I will not run anyone’s life – nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone – nor sacrifice anyone to myself.’

It is time to count the cost of restriction.

Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. 

What should we be doing differently?

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