[ 26/4/20 ]
Some claims in that article have partial truth, and that is used misleadingly, and other claims are simply false.
If the claim that up to 80% of people can be asymptomatic carriers were true, then we would have seen some of them in the random testing done in NZ. We haven’t. Not one, as far as I am aware.
It does seem to be the case that many people can be contagious before they notice that they have symptoms, or before those symptoms develop to noticeable levels – which is not at all the same thing.
So in that sense – the article is outright false. And in making such a claim (without any sort of fact checking) is seriously mislead – breaking its own rules. So at that point – lost all credibility with me.
It is a complex issue.
I strongly suspect that the death rates are very much a function of how much virus one is exposed to. So if someone only gets it once from one other person, then for most people their immune systems can mount a response in time for it to be not too serious (bad but not lethal).
However, when people are getting multiple infections from multiple sources, then it can overwhelm even young immune systems – thus giving the observed much higher than normal death rate in young frontline healthcare workers in Italy – as one example, and contributing to the high fatality rates we observe in rest homes where people are at quite high density.
Thus it is misleading to extrapolate numbers observed here in NZ to all wider situations (though we do have some of the best numbers in the world on actual infection rates in the community – which are dangerously high).
With the experience of this event, I would definitely change the response next time.
The much deeper question is over economics and the very notion of money.
Money is just numbers.
All that actually exists in reality is goods and the potential for services.
For the most part, the goods and service potential are still present (tourism excluded – which is huge for NZ).
For the most part, what most people do, is entirely optional – very few people are actually involved in essential work.
So economist saying that the distribution of numbers must necessarily lead to recession is false, and either a deliberate lie, or a failure of understanding and imagination.
So yes – we have things to do, and yes mistakes were made, and for the most part I am all for putting the life of people ahead of the needs of money – every time. And sure, that can get extremely complex when longer term consequences of related systems are involved.
And I am in a privileged position of not having lost my job or income.
I see no reason for anyone to come out of this seriously disadvantaged, except for the willingness of some (including the economist responsible for writing that article) to exploit others for personal gain.