Israeli response to Covid

Comment to Chris’s facebook posted in full the Israeli
national plan to fight the Delta wave.

[ 30/August/21 ]

Sorry Chris, but his approach does not value life highly – and that is the issue around the world.

There is, always has been, and always will be, only one effective strategy to deal with novel and dangerous pandemic.

Isolation, Lockdown (call it whatever you will).

This has been true throughout history, and will continue to be so. Anyone who denies that is ignorant of both biology and history. Sorry if that offends anyone, but is it as close to fact as anything gets (given that everything in my world is some balance of probabilities).

The difficult issue is often deciding that the evidence is sufficient that this is actually a sufficiently dangerous pandemic to require such a strategic response.

I think anyone who seriously looks at the evidence will conclude that such is the case with Covid-19. It is a virus where the death and disability rate seems to be proportional to the initial virus load someone picks up. So if one gets a low dose, then the probability of death is quite low – about 1% overall, much higher in older people than younger. But if one gets a high load, from multiple sources, then the death rate increases significantly, and can get closer to 5%, and gets a much higher proportion of younger people.

And it is not just the death rate, but a significant number who have long term complications that require ongoing support.

Had the world as a whole accepted this, gone into a 6 week lockdown 15 months ago, we would not now have any issues with covid-19. There would have been an economic cost, certainly, and it would have been tiny compared to what has actually been paid by the various “half-ass” ineffectual efforts that have been tried around the world. And the Israeli one you quote above falls squarely into that category.

I am all for individual life and individual liberty, and life comes first, necessarily, logically. One can only have liberty if one has life.

Having life first imposes a duty of responsibility on any and all expressions of liberty, because liberty without such responsibility will at some point destroy some set of boundary conditions that are actually required for the existence of the level of complex structure that gave rise to the possibility of that liberty in the first instance.

Liberty without such responsibility is necessarily self terminating, the logic of that is beyond any remaining shadow of reasonable doubt.

Exactly what responsibility looks like in any particular instance is always going to have multiple levels of uncertainties at the boundaries, and will always contain the possibility of discussions to reach agreement between affected parties – that too is an eternal part of complex systems (such as we, or any intelligent entity, necessarily are).

So I find the Israeli PM statement above to be dangerously ignorant of biology, dangerously dominated by economic dogma that is unsupported by an in depth understanding of logic or strategy; and far more problem than solution (all levels).

[followed by]

Hi Chris,
What evidence sets do you have that lockdowns, done with appropriate care for all, cost lives?

Is that factual, or simply assumed bias?

What is the “debt” that you refer to, really???

Reality seems to be systems and relationships.

Fundamentally it can be seen as sets of constraints on the flows of materials, energy and information through various levels of “structure” with various sets of “boundaries” required for the existence of every level of “structure” (mostly those boundaries are variously permeable and flexible and uncertain to some degree, necessarily).

The idea of money and debt have been useful myths.

Like all myths, they only work if people believe them.

Can you eat digits stored in a bank computer?

You only get to eat if someone believes that the digits stored in a bank computer will have exchange value in the future, or you are growing food in your own gardens, or you have hunted the food, or otherwise had food delivered by some mechanism that may or may not involve exchange at some level.

The cost of covid could have easily been minimised with world wide lockdown 18 months ago. No shadow of reasonable doubt about that – not even 0.001%.

Why didn’t that happen?
Too much short sighted, short term self interested by too many different sets of minorities is part of the answer; but the major part is because the information ecology of our society is fundamentally broken at multiple levels.

Most of our political and economic systems are based upon lies and deceit at multiple levels. Truth is usually the first casualty where profit or power are concerned (and power is usually related to profit not too far away).

I make the claim that the Israeli PM does not value life highly on the words they released in that press release which you copied above –
Specifically “We will do everything to avoid lockdowns”, which to me, as both logician and biologist, is stating clearly that he refuses to use the only proven effective tool at controlling this or any other pandemic. The unequivocal output from that is that economic activity is valued higher than life. No, ifs, buts, or otherwise.

It is there, in “black and white” (at least on my screen).

From one perspective, reality has goods and services; any service not performed didn’t enter the equation, it was potential only. There is always foregone potential. None of us are using all our tools and toys all the time.

It doesn’t actually take a great deal of activity (with all the automation available today) to ensure that everyone has food, water and shelter, and reasonable means of communicating with others. Some, but not very much – something less than 2% of ordinary activity involving the mixing and interaction of people.

Nothing else really matters to life. Everything else is economic “fluff” in a very real sense. People can do it when appropriate, but not required for survival.

Starve a pandemic of victims, and it ends, quickly. Most people, materials and systems are still present. Anything else is “just numbers” in a very real sense. And of course it is more complex than that, everything is, and it is very close to that simple, at an appropriate level of abstraction.

Economic consequences cost lives every day. It seems very probable to me that the amount of lives lost due to misinformation propagated for the economic benefit of various sets of minority groups is many times that due to covid; and you are (unconsciously I hope) making yourself part of that.

The entire economic system is broken.

Automation broke it.

AI is making it critically unstable.

Unfortunately, only a very tiny fraction of the population have any real understanding of the depths of the systemic underpinnings of any of that – most people are looking for simple explanations that simply do not exist. Sometimes reality is irreducibly complex, we seem to be in one of those times.

If you do really value life and liberty, and I have known you long enough to believe that you do, then we have no other option but fundamental reform of the economic, political and legal systems. And that has to be reform that respects and accepts the diversity that has to result from any real and responsible expression of liberty, not enforcing some “one size fits all” solution on every individual and every context – that is a guarantee of failure.

And everyone needs to accept that liberty without responsibility is necessarily destructive.

So we do find ourselves in “interesting times”.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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