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Covid-19: keep your distance over Easter
A chara, - A university of Washington study has estimated that Covid-19 will cost 150,000 lives in Europe during the first wave of the pandemic, with 66,000 lives to be lost in the UK, 19,000 in Spain, 20,000 in Italy, 15,000 in France, and only 400 in Ireland based on the patterns of infection and fatality to date (Home News, Paul Cullen, April 8th).

I am aware that NPHET officials in Ireland have criticised the research as being unreliable, but it makes for sobering reading even if it is only half way accurate.

Two conclusions seem obvious: First, countries such as Ireland and Germany that have followed the WHO mandated policy of early implementation of social distancing rules and widespread testing and contact tracing have been more successful in suppressing the pandemic. We need to learn from what worked and didn't work in this pandemic and ensure there is a more co-ordinated response within the EU, and hopefully on the whole island of Ireland, in the future.

Second, EU member-states badly need a more centralised and harmonised EU public health policy and response capability so that future pandemics can be suppressed more effectively and consistently throughout the union. Viruses do not respect borders. Public health care, or at least pandemic avoidance and control, complete with the maintenance of strategic reserve stocks of key medicines and equipment, must become an EU competency. - Yours, etc,


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Apr 9th, 2020 at 10:31:34 AM EST
Yer sounding like a federalist...
by asdf on Sat Apr 11th, 2020 at 02:31:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that a dirty word in the US right now?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Apr 11th, 2020 at 05:23:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is in some quarters. But I was thinking of the EU version, where a strong central government is not yet part of the picture. My understanding is that there were a couple of big things that happened in US history that pushed us towards a strong central government.

First, before the current federal system, we had a confederation of strong state governments. Poor cooperation led to the change to the federal system.

Second, the federal government was still not very powerful until it was allowed to collect income tax in 1909. Since then the power of the states has been eroded despite the complaints of the "states' rights" crowd.

It seems to me that the EU is more like a confederation than a US-style federation.

by asdf on Sat Apr 11th, 2020 at 05:54:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely, and any further "transfer of sovereignty" from members to EU institutions requires a new Treaty, to be ratified by all - a most unlikely event in the current climate. Some limited further transfer may happen by "institutional creep" but nothing fundamental. That is why I suggested greater public health (or at least pandemic prevention and management) as possible less controversial area for further integration. There is already a European Medicines agency which coordinates certification of medicines. This could be extended to centralised procurement and distribution of strategic stocks of vaccines, medicines and equipment.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Apr 11th, 2020 at 08:47:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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