PM Boris Johnson Announces UK Lockdown

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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16 Responses

  1. Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    And his country is gonna pay people to stay home. Unlike the US.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Philip H
      Ignored
      says:

      How confident are we that lockdowns work?Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        Pretty much. Everywhere in the US, we clamp down on gatherings and mask compliance, two weeks later cases decline. A week after that hospitalizations decline. Another week, deaths decline. We hit a holiday and there’s a surge in exposures? Two weeks later there’s a spike in cases, another week and a spike in hospitalizations, another week and a spike in deaths. Over and over and over again. Yes, there are people who get exposed like crazy and don’t get sick (you and your boys, IIRC). Tell it to the millions whose parents died.

        All you have to do is point to a single case where the authorities said, “F*ck it all, no masks, businesses open,” and it wasn’t followed by a spike in cases, hospitalizations, deaths. Reasonable statistical analysis, of course. I live in a county within 3.5 miles of another county, many of whose residents get their medical care in our county. We have been pretty damned stringent. But every time the neighboring county decides they don’t need to be tough, two weeks later our hospitals have the spike.

        I am normally a guy that says, let’s try Keynesianism for real: pump money in the tough times, jack taxes in the good times and pay off the debt. Now, clearly, the way to minimize deaths is for everyone possible to stay home. Pay them, so they can pay the landlords, who will pay the banks. Worry about taking the printed money out of the economy later.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Michael Cain
          Ignored
          says:

          Is the issue compliance than?

          Compare California to the Dakotas. The former has had some of the tightest lockdowns and they’re surging. The Dakotas were blasted for their lack of lockdowns but they’re seeing declines even across the holiday period.

          I’m not saying lockdowns make it worse… only that at least a casual look at the data doesn’t seem to show much of a relationship to lockdown orders. It’s possible my glance is TOO casual or that lockdown orders =\= actual locking down. I just hear so many folks saying, “Well, obviously if we just do THIS, everything will get better…” but every THIS that is mentioned is being done in many places and the numbers remain all over the place.

          Which, again, doesn’t mean those measures don’t help. I just haven’t seen much to give ME confidence in any particular measure. And I’ve been pretty good about complying with all rules and regs, so I’m not looking for a reason to ignore them or justify already ignoring them. I would just hope that measures as extreme as lockdowns are demonstrable to be effective… you never want the cure to be worse than the disease.

          If compliance is an issue, we run into real problems if non-compliance starts at the top. There is ample evidence of politicians who enact lockdown orders, but my anecdotal observations tell me the first/worst noncompliance is among the wealthy and the privileged… which A) undermines the effectiveness of lockdowns and B) pressures or encourages others to non-comply. Which ultimately leaves the less wealthy and less privileged to feel the sting of both ongoing spread (we’ve all seen the data on which communities are being hit hardest in terms of cases and mortality) AND lockdown orders’ effects on the economy.

          I won’t pretend to have a solution to that. But if lockdowns are only as helpful as they are complied with and compliance is iffy, especially among the better off, then I do question their use even if they are shown to be effective in a vacuum. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a vacuum.

          It’s become cliche to a degree, but a “Do what I say, not what I do” attitude is both real and problematic. A host of one onmy fave podcasts really pissed me off recently when he A) took a break from recording to go film a show/movie and B) in the breath after happily talking about the work, blasted folks for not staying home. It’s like, dude, YOU aren’t staying home. Now, will that change my behavior? No. I’ll continue to comply with whatever rules we have. But would others here that and say, “Ah, fuck it…”? I’m sure some.

          So, I suppose a better question and the one I should have asked… Is there evidence that lockdown orders as currently practiced in much of the USA — odd definitions of “essential”, voluntary compliance, unenforced quarantine rules — shown to help with virus spread in a way that justified the economic damage?

          And if a follow up to that is we need to pay people to stay home, I’d again point to my anecdotal observations: the folks who basically are being paid to stay home — the better off among us — are the worst at staying home.Report

          • Philip H in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            So, I suppose a better question and the one I should have asked… Is there evidence that lockdown orders as currently practiced in much of the USA — odd definitions of “essential”, voluntary compliance, unenforced quarantine rules — shown to help with virus spread in a way that justified the economic damage?

            Despite the flagging and logging of certain right wing nuts job, we don’t have lockdowns in the US. Nearly 2/3rds of Mississippi’s counties have mask wearing and social distancing mandates at the moment, but there’s no enforcement so people keep doing what they have been doing for months. which means our curves are no where near going down or flattening.

            And if a follow up to that is we need to pay people to stay home, I’d again point to my anecdotal observations: the folks who basically are being paid to stay home — the better off among us — are the worst at staying home.

            Only because we have allowed places for them to go to reopen. Close the restaurants, bars, hotels, resorts, and beaches again (while paying their workers) and people will stay home.Report

            • fillyjonk in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              This. We had a few weeks of “nonessential” business closures, but little support for them, so a lot of businesses scrambled to get re-classified as essential. It’s a catch-22: if you close down, you’re gonna get “scooped” by someone with fewer scruples than you, but if you stay wide open, the pandemic just keeps on going.

              And there are politicians (one in my state but not my district) actively working to BAN municipalities from on their own setting up mask mandates. I am not sure why someone, especially someone in favor of small and decentralized government, would want to do that. If you’re opposed, sure, speak out against them, but don’t hamstring mayors of towns that might experience a surge from doing the few things they can to limit it.

              Here, mask compliance is piss-poor. Which means people who have concerns (my asthmatic ass) wind up staying home more strictly than we might otherwise. Then again: I wouldn’t want to make the teenager working for minimum wage wiping down carts at the grocery store have to be the person to tell some one who is going to be a jerk about it to mask up.

              There is no good solution.

              Also, in re: California. I would 100% be not-surprised to learn the new, more-infectious mutant strain identified in the UK was there, and was a driving factor behind the spikes.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to fillyjonk
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                says:

                The UK variant has been confirmed in Colorado, California, and Florida. Colorado may provide everyone with a teachable moment. About the same time the more contagious version was confirmed, the state started a program that allows businesses that implement additional safeguards in counties that have shown sufficient improvement to reopen. My county is one of those that qualified. Restaurants are lining up to get their added safeguards approved so they can have limited indoor dining.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                Do you know what the additional safeguards are? NJ (statewide) has allowed indoor dining with certain regs and whatnot.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              Phillip,

              I say more below to Michael Cain, but I would agree with both these points:
              1.) We never locked down.
              2.) Locking down would severely cut down (though probably not eliminate) folks not staying home. In my little neck of the woods, you had folks bouncing around among their own homes or, in some places, high priced rentals. I’m not sure you could cut down on the former unless you actually setup roadside stops or something. And cutting down on the latter would be a challenge though probably possible. The Hamptons’ local leaders begged Manhattanites to stay away but couldn’t really do anything since they’re all part of the same state.

              But, yea, a true lockdown (I’m thinking of what Italy did early on… closing everything save for grocery stores and pharmacies) would be very different — and likely far more effective — than anything we’ve done thus far.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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            says:

            The Swiss Cheese Model relies on people doing multiple things. Pointing to any one slice of cheese can result in you looking and saying “this defense model has a lot of holes!”

            Do masks work?

            Well… they’re intended to be part of a bunch of things. Like, if you’re playing D&D and you find a “Ring Of Disease Resistance” that gives +4 to saving rolls against Disease, and you’re facing off against an Otyugh and the Otyugh bites you and the DM says “Roll a Constitution Save”.

            “Wait, I have this ring that gives me +4. That applies.”
            “Yes, that applies.”

            And you roll the dice.

            Does the ring “work”? You can’t really say “it depends on what I roll” because if you roll a 14 that gives you an 18 (plus whatever constitution bonuses you might have) but if you roll a 3 that gives you a 7 (plus whatever constitution bonuses you might have).

            Like, if you roll a 3, you might be tempted to say “this ring sucks!”

            But it doesn’t. It gave you a +4!

            But you were fighting an Otyugh.

            So here: we’ve got masks that can give bonuses to your rolls against disease.
            There are other items that give bonuses to disease… Cloths of Wiping, Ventilators of Filtration… but the biggest one is “don’t go down in the underground trash heaps to fight against Otyughs.”

            And saying “Well, do Lysol wipes work?” is like asking “Do masks work?”

            They give a bonus. It’s not a +20 bonus. And you probably don’t want to roll a natural 1. Best to avoid being asked to roll in the first place.

            “But doesn’t that mean that the enthusiastic outdoor gatherings that took place all summer might have helped keep the Covid going? Even with the masks, there were a lot of people being asked to roll the dice and with that number, there were likely to be a bunch of 4s, 3s, and 2s rolled and that’s without getting into the natural 1s!”
            “How dare you? Don’t you care about police violence?”Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            Compare California to the Dakotas. The former has had some of the tightest lockdowns and they’re surging. The Dakotas were blasted for their lack of lockdowns but they’re seeing declines even across the holiday period.

            Measured per capita (well, per 100,000) California’s current surge is still below half the level where the Dakotas peaked. On totals to date, California’s case and death rates are about a third of the Dakotas. There’s no way to claim that the Dakotas have had better, or even comparable, experience compared to California. I’ll entertain arguments that something other than ignoring precautions resulted in the Dakotas terrible results if you’d like to suggest some.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Michael Cain
              Ignored
              says:

              I was comparing the Dakotas today to California today. It was said above that the holidays are causing the current surge. But the Dakotas are experiencing a decline.

              Per CovidActNow, Cali has 2nd highest rate per 100K currently at 95.9. ND is 48th at 31.5 and SD is 35th at 48.2.

              Now, I realize there are lots of differences between those places so I’m not trying to make an apples to apples comparison. But if the argument above was “Lockdowns work, look at the data, the current surge is about the holidays,” well, that doesn’t hold water.

              As others have pointed to above, we haven’t ever really locked down so trying to understand the effectiveness of lockdowns in the USA is futile because no where ever really tried it. I’m okay with that.

              And to clarify, I’m not arguing for how the Dakotas handled things. Or against what California has done. But there is the narrative (“These places are doing it wrong! These places are doing it right!”) but when I glance at the easily available data, I struggle to see how any notions of handling this right or wrong can really be supported.

              There was another post here about how any attempt to moralize this is majorly problematic and I agree with that.

              So, to come full circle, it would seem like we have no data from the US to tell us whether or not lock downs and paying people to stay home works because we never truly did either. So if the argument is that we ought to lock down like other places locked down (Is that what the UK is proposing?), I’m open to that. If the argument is that we should do more of the “lock downs” we did here in the states, I’m not on board with that. Though I don’t think that is what others are arguing for.Report

  2. Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    Remember. It was “two weeks to flatten the curve”. That two weeks is now approaching 52 weeks.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Damon
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      says:

      I see where you’re going but they did flatten the curve, actually. Compare the rate of new cases in March and April to those in May and June. The problem was that everyone figured by October there’d be a vaccine, or a cure, or at least a decent test so we know who’s got it (and acceptance of that fact that if you’ve got it you need to stay home for two weeks) and that didn’t happen, so everything exploded again.Report

      • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        The problem was that everyone figured by October there’d be a vaccine, or a cure, or at least a decent test so we know who’s got it (and acceptance of that fact that if you’ve got it you need to stay home for two weeks) and that didn’t happen, so everything exploded again.

        No, a lot of people engaged in motivated reasoning that this would happen based on political ideologies. Most notably the President and his political party. Most anyone with scientific and or statistical training knew that was folly . . . . .Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          nah

          All but the “Mad Max Future” zealots assumed things would be done with in the fall, most suggesting before Thanksgiving. Even the worst-case predictors drew the line tapering off to nothing in the winter. Everybody was making plans for this to be a 2020 Summer phenomenon, it wasn’t just Trump.

          You’re welcome to post comments from March 2020 showing that you knew better, of course. (Only true scotsmen though, please.)Report

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