Today I’m going to discuss the JP Morgan study on transmission (among other things), how the Moral Matrix effects how people see the fight against the virus, and the boom stage in many Southern Hemisphere countries.
JP Morgan has produced a study suggesting among other things that lockdowns are ineffective in fighting Coronavirus (see also a summary from Daily Mail). The reasoning for this is primarily that transmission is most common in households if a member becomes infected.
Frankly, when I think about anti-coronavirus efforts, I have tended to lump lockdowns and social distancing together, especially since many use these terms interchangeably. Notably, the study separates these 2 concepts and suggests that will social distancing (staying a distance away from people in public) may be valuable, lockdowns (staying in your home) is not.
You might say there have been 2 primary models for dealing with the pandemic in the last month after we’ve flattened the curve, but have not brought the numbers down, at least not in the US. I’ll call those models the Lockdown and the Re-opening models. Some want to continue the lockdowns to keep everyone safe from the virus, others want to re-open right away without restrictions. For several weeks, I have been gravitating toward a third Adaptive model. Of course, there can be many flavors of this model. Personally, I think masks, even bad ones, are far better than nothing, especially when worn by everyone, and can help us get back out of our houses and help us re-start the economy with reasonable safety. So I’m very open to the idea that the lockdowns have not been beneficial. Some of you will disagree.
The JP Morgan study is at odds with the endcoronavirus.org study, which recommends brief, very strict lockdowns. It could actually be that these 2 studies actually agree, depending on the time frame you’re talking about. I do think the lockdown was very helpful in the initial “boom” stage of the epidemic here in the US, but may have lost its usefulness later.
The Moral Matrix: ZDoggMD is a physician and medical YouTuber with a very silly screen name, but who posted VERY interesting video on how different people see the pandemic we are all facing. Using Jonathan Haidt’s work on the Moral Matrix, he talks about how different people’s moral framework shapes how we are viewing different efforts to address the issue. I was aware of Haidt’s work, but not had yet applied it to the pandemic in my mind. As someone who is sometimes exasperated with people who disagree with me (as they are with me I’m sure), this video is helping me remember to see their point of view. If you’re exasperated with your friends or family, I HIGHLY recommend you watch this video.
Upsurge in the Southern Hemisphere: Lastly, I just want to mention that many countries which have been relatively little effected until now, are now experiencing a big upsurge in cases. These countries include Russia, Brazil, and Mexico, and many are in the Southern Hemisphere, which is in the late Autumn months right now. Let’s hope they are able to get things under control quickly.
Don’t fear, but be smart!
PS. We went hiking in nearby Calaveras Park today for the first time in months, without our masks. There were a lot of people on the trail, and most were well behaved. When I can’t avoid someone on a narrow trail, I use an old SCUBA diving trick for ascending without getting the bends. Just close your mouth and blow slowly out of your nose as you pass someone. You’ll gently move any virus away from your nose! To maintain my friendliness, I greet people early, with plenty of time to start this little maneuver!