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    • Malaysians are applauding the police and military for still manning their posts to enforce the Movement Control Order despite torrential rain.

    • The government took control of al private hospitals yesterday and will use them in the battle against covid.

      Below is not a criticism of the doctors and nurses who work at the front line. They define the word heroes.

      The health system in Ireland is inefficient, that's all.

      There is a two tier health system in Ireland. Public hospitals are free (or a small fee on admission), but huge waiting lists for surgery, If you want a cat scan for nasal polyps, you would wait 34 months.

      If you pay for private health insurance, you can access private hospitals, no waiting lists, single rooms,prompt surgery.

      I pay for private health insurance. I wish I didn't have to but the waiting lists in the public health system are too long.

      If you get a tumor and need scan followed by surgery, the waiting lists in the public sector would probably kill you, by the time you get to see a surgeon the tumor would be inoperable.

      The NHS in the UK works, you don't need private health insurance there. I wish our health system was as efficient.

    • The NHS in the UK seems to barely work. We've just returned from the UK and although NZ has a reciprocal agreement with the UK, and NHS agents on the phone said any Dr would treat us, none of them would see us as there aren't enough Dr's to service residents, let alone visitors.
      Locals we spoke to said the absolute minimum wait time to see a Dr for any reason is 2 weeks and you likely wouldn't get the same Dr each time. Getting any sort of surgery has a huge wait.

      NZ's health system is heavily subsidised but not completely free. I pay $45 per Dr visit at a premium surgery, some 'supermarket' surgeries charge $17 per visit and low income earners and beneficiaries as low as $5, children under 13 are free at most places. If I ring my Dr first thing in the morning I can usually get in that day or the next.
      I prefer this system as it's accessible to all, but people only go to the DR if they need to.

      Most medications are free or have a small surcharge, maybe $5. My most expensive is Melatonin at $60 per month.
      Surgery at hospitals is free but depending on how serious your surgery is there may be a wait of 6 months or more.
      As with everywhere else we have private hospitals were you can get surgery done very quickly if you have health insurance.

    • The Movement Control Order in Malaysia has been extended by two weeks and will now go on until the 14th of April, at least.

      I think this is the right move. It's not only important for the MCO to contain the spread of the disease in its current state, but it's also vital that we don't uplift it too early and risk a third wave. It's also encouraging that instead of issuing a heavier complete lockdown, the government sees it sufficient to just extend the MCO. Hopefully things will get better as we enter April.

      On a much lighter note, due to the MCO only one member of each household is allowed to do grocery shopping for essentials. Usually it's the husband. But in a classic example of gender roles, many husbands were completely lost at the supermarkets without their wives, so Tesco decided to help out these unfortunate souls by preparing shopping guides which show shoppers what chicken pieces look like, what different species of fish look like, and what different veggies look like as well.

      Apparently, one wife was furious when she asked her husband to buy garlic but was instead given onions 🤣 Hopefully these helpful guides serve their purpose. Here's video showing how husbands have been struggling at the supermarket.

    • Guy came back from pilgrim in Saudi Arabia, upon arrival back to his village he invited whole village for a dinner (local customs) the man died, now 40 plus people in his village are infected and village is cordoned off.

      There is a famous fashion designer whose husband came back from abroad, he had symptoms and infected their chef, instead of informing authorities they hid it and sent their chef to his village, chef changed two public transports before reaching his village., designer's husband is in jail now.

      Many tested people don't show any sign for many days and continue to spread the virus. I am waiting for a miracle. Government claims most infected cases came from Saudi Arabia and Iran and very less local transmission but not sure if thats true and what is going to happen.

    • My sister, a senior economist who spends her days gathering information and distilling it publicly and privately for investors - is reporting that there's a rumour in the financial community that a first (and less virulent) wave passed through back in December/January and that many people have already had this disease without knowing it. And there was a wave of illness that passed through here at the time with very similar symptoms.

      I don't quite know what to make about this and neither does she, but she shared some articles. The first is from the Financial Times and the second from the Wall Street Journal.

      Neither article is suggesting the current measures are too extreme, but they are arguing that we should get on top of figuring out what's really going on.

      For my part, the reported data has never added up to what feels like a true picture, and almost every explanation as to why is still on the table for me.

    • For my part, the reported data has never added up to what feels like a true picture, and almost every explanation as to why is still on the table for me.

      Both articles have a paywall for me. But, let's just say, for the purpose of this topic, if one single person dies in such horrifying ways as it's been reported, would this not suffice to consider it " As Deadly as They Say"? Is the criteria based on volume of deaths?

    • On March 17 the UK said

      Testing is not being carried out on people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms, according to the UK government

      That would certainly skew the UK stats re deaths vs number of cases.

      I did see an article shared online yesterday, though I'm VERY cautious on it's reliability due to it's source, that was referring to the number of current active mobile phone connections in Hubei province being 21 million less than it was pre Covid-19, with insinuation being that the actual death toll in China is far greater than what has been publically documented.

    • I couldn't read the article in the Financial TImes, but I can read the second article in the Wall Street Journal. It discusses what the possible actual infection rate in the US is - assuming the virus arrived in the US via Chinese tourists on or around January 15 and a then spreading throughout most of the USA doubling every three to four days. It states that thousands of visitors from Wuhan were in the US in mid December and early January. It does not give a reference for this statement

      As a result there are people sugesting the death rate is not 1% or 2% or 4%, but possibly as low as 0.01% maybe even less than a severe influeza epidemic. Note Germany's current death rate with agressive contact identification and isolation,

      The argument has been previously raised in Britain also - that we tolerate certain death rates daily - we kill over 33,000 annually so that the rest of us can drive around freely whenever we want. As society, we have jointly accepted that ~33,000 folks die prematurely every year in the USA alone, and over 2 million are seriously injured, so that the rest of us can drive to work, drive to stores, bars, shopping centers, or across the US for vacation. It seems unlikely we are gling to reverse that choice any time in the near future. Maybe we should, but I doubt it will get voter acceptance.

      The Texas Lt Governor was even more discerning - he went so far as to suggest grandparents ought to be willing to volunteer exploring the other side of life ( ie; die) so most folks ( the rest of us ) can continue to work and go about their daily activities and avoid an economic debacle. How genteel! He suggested 98% will survive - why that would only kill about 6.8 million people in the USA alone. ( 2% of 340 million ) Voters might not be pleased by that even if it is only grandma.....

      Politicians are always very fearful of economic debacles - they lead to voter rejections at the voting booth, revolutions, and, sometimes, guillotines, in France. Those sort of things focus politician's attention.

      Interesting, when I search for the economic consequences of the 1918 Spanish flu, I do not sem to find a depression, but a decade of very high economic activity in the 1920s.....WHat happened there??

      Ultimately, the question really does come down to what are the risks, and what are the costs of the pandemic. Unfortunately, RIGHT NOW, we, and our leaders across the world, don't really have a great answer to both of those questions.

      How long will we need stay in place? If you stay in place and do not get infected while hiding, when can you rejoin the outside world safely. Two weeks or 4 months or .... And what will your fate be. You may still meet the Corona virus somewhere.

      There is a lot of hope that warmer sunshine and warmer air, along with the accompanying higher Vitamin D levels will slow this Corona scourge down - but I have my doubts. Ask an Ozzie, perhaps or a Kiwi.

      Unless a cure or a vaccine emerges quckly, we may all, each of us, have to face this virus. Or go bankrupt if we don't have another income source.....

    • I'm not quite sure what you're asking above - maybe @Pathfinder answered it.

      For me personally, the statistic of how many people are dying is not that relevant to our current situation, which is to get through the pandemic.

      Right now, the important thing is not how many are dying, but how many need to be hospitalized, or even if not hospitalized then laid up for 3 weeks home in bed, and can we cope with that number. The overwhelming opinion of doctors right now is that we can't unless drastic measures are taken, hence the lockdowns.

      The idea that there was a previous strain that ran through the population a few months ago is intriguing on many levels. Does that mean half of us already have antibodies and are protected? Does that mean the virus mutated that quickly and came back for a second round that was worse than the first? People are already predicting multiple waves - what if this is a superbug that mutates faster than we can deal with it?

      On the other hand, some are arguing that this might mean we're closer to herd immunity than we think we are. That's tantalizing for the financial sector, and really anyone else whose worried about their economic future, because it means we'll have a swift(er) recovery.

    • From what I have seen on the Web, the virus genome is said to be very stable and not mutating very much at all - which is encouraging from a vaccine possibility in the proximate future. Not sure if that comment was from WHO, or a university virology lab.

      My view is kind of in between - I think the virus is far more widespread than a lot of us thought it was a couple weeks ago, that it has quietly been passing through our neighborhoods below recognition. Remember, the flu was still running around too in February and March.

      There seems to be little doubt, that there are large numbers of people who have been infected and recovered, and are probably now immune, and no real risk to anyone once they cease shedding virus.

      Those folks, and their numbers will grow significantly with every passing day, wiil be eager to go back to work and ask what all the excitement is about. Their potential death sentence was commuted. They are now free to return to life as they remember it a few weeks ago. There are probably over well half a million folks just like that around the world.

      But the fact doesn't change that for most of us, who have not turned positive, that there are real, major potential risks for us - not all of us, but certainly, for some of us.

      How many of us will volunteer to swallow a pill that we know is lethal only 1% of the time??

      Most of us will forego that experiment given an alternative, I submit.

      So how do we balance the needs of those two divergent populations?

    • The quarantine/lockdowns may have to be extended until a vaccine is developed or at least a cure. Some are pushing carelessly against it, and we are not even near yet at a 50% +1 percentage of population being naturally immune. Social distancing would work (as alternative to total lockdown), but not in many places, and it's practically nearly impossible to not make mistakes at all, anyway.

    • The third world countries are going to demonstrate to the world just how bad this pandemic can be. And very soon.

      Yet if everyone stays at home for 6 months, how many will even have a job/economy to return to?

      I really wish I had a reliable crystal ball. But I might not like the future it predicts, either.

      Stay safe and healthy, one and all.

      I sound like Tiny Tim......

    • Big update from Malaysia

      While the rest of the country is still under the Movement Control Order (MCO) which was recently extended to the 14th of April, two districts in the southern state of Johor have been placed under an Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) for 14 days. This after an abnormally high number of COVID-19 cases were detected in these two districts.

      How does the EMCO differ from the ordinary MCO?

      1. Everyone currently in these two areas are not allowed to leave their homes at all. This includes residents and whoever is visiting once the EMCO takes effect (midnight tonight). This EMCO is expected to affect a total of 3570 residents from 650 households.

      2. People who are not in these two districts won't be allowed in for any purpose.

      3. All businesses will be temporarily suspended.

      4. Adequate food supplies will be provided by the Department of Social Welfare.

      5. A medical base of operations will be opened in these two districts.

      6. All roads in and out of the districts will be closed and the area will be patrolled by a combined force of the police, army, and the civil defence force.

      This is the first such EMCO issued in the country, justifying the decision to extend the original MCO which was due to be lifted after the 31st of March. Hopefully Malaysians continue to abide by the MCO/EMCO so we can flatten the curve.

      Otherwise, they'll get an earful like in this clip below.

    • Last night on the news they showed police officers in India beating people with poles for breaking the curfew - or, it what is one of the most surreal moments for me in all this, forcing people to do push-ups or squats like military trainees being disciplined.

    • Think North Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Venzuela, or even Russia - has anyone heard any reliable news of these nation's responses to the pandemic??

    • Actually requiring people to do some exercises (not too many) might be a gentle way to discourage those who break curfew. I don't understand why people think that a year of incarceration is more humane than 10 minutes of mild pain or that 30 years of incarceration is more humane than a day of pain (if medical care is provided to prevent long term health problems.