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Europe under Covid-19

by epochepoque Mon Nov 16th, 2020 at 02:50:15 PM EST

As we are living through the massive second wave of Covid in the darker months of the year, it's time to wonder what has gone wrong with the response to the plague in Europe.

Back at the beginning the of the year countries in Europe were simply unprepared. Most countries in the world that have managed better had been burned by SARS in 2003. Pain is a powerful teacher and fear can reliably chase away complacency. Therefore Taiwan (No. 1!), Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand, etc. acted decisively and quickly. Measures included strict quarantine, contract tracing (the thorough kind), border control, mask wearing, sometimes lockdowns, all of which the population bought into. It's not just Asia. West Africa (burned by Ebola) is doing so much better than Europe with daily case counts we can only dream of.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

From Eastern Europe to Greece, who had been doing really well, from best-in-class Finland to Southern Europe, the wrecking ball of Covid is following the same general trajectory. An initial wave of new cases in the spring, low numbers in the summer and now an eruptive second wave.

It's certainly better to be Finland than Belgium. I'll keep such differences aside for the moment to discuss matters of principle.

Though we may laugh at the comical record of wrong predictions by the Swedish authorities, the curve is not that different.

The only explanation I have for that is that no matter what the different strategies, it all comes down to similar practical circumstances in the European sphere. The public health infrastructure sprang into action (with varying performances). People mostly followed the rules. Then came the summer of relaxation, of ill-advised travel across Europe and parties. The virus was not eliminated, community spread went on. Low numbers engendered a false sense of security. Exponential growth was forgotten and thus we find ourselves with another explosion.

The initial difference in strategy and perceptions of them can be explained by a difference in philosophy. The people in charge in Sweden reportedly had their practical training by fighting HIV/AIDS where the war has been going on for more than a generation. Thus, the received school of thought is that illnesses are eliminated over a long slog if ever. Having managed to keep the healthcare system from buckling (until recently) would seem to be a vindication.

On the other hand: even if other EU countries implicitly wanted to drive cases to zero - they couldn't. Because of practical inability/incompetence and lack of coordination between EU members. Sweden never had that intention and just wanted to 'manage' the virus, only to find now that the virus can take over management in a hostile bid. The facade of success cracked in most places, no matter what the purported strategy.

'Living with the virus'

'Managing the virus' (inadvertently or not) may be epidemiologically legitimate but to a political decisionmaker who has to weigh in the economy and social matters, it should be unacceptable in an acute crisis like this one. I wouldn't want this to go on long term. I want this over as quickly as possible. Yes, people may be able to stay the course for months or years with all those social distancing measures - voluntary or not. (Can they really?). But why should they have to? Why should they take the economic damage? All those early deaths? As a politician, I'd want to go back to normality post haste.

Just managing the crisis by trying to keep the numbers low doesn't seem to work for an affluent society that is highly mobile and connected. It is an illusion of control to extinguish a fire only halfway.

It means diffusing the virus more broadly over time through community spread. That's a setup for truly wild exponential growth later on. First the fireworks (superspreaders), then the glimmering expanded fire, and then the firestorm.

When the virus is not really eliminated, societies run the danger of wanting to be too smart or too differentiated. Comprehensive 'hygiene concepts' are introduced, elaborate scientific studies are conducted to see for example how dangerous choir practice is or how to hold corona-safe concerts. Discussions about the merits of PCR tests abound. All those high concepts are for the bin if the plague explodes in the background.

Also, we obviously don't want recurring lockdowns. We can't afford 5%-10% recessions that go on for years. If the virus is not suppressed the damage will come anyway even if there aren't any lockdowns. Because freedom goes both ways. You can't force people to stay at home for months on end but you can't force people to go out, be merry and spend money, either. Additionally, the social dislocations from delayed education are significant. A prolonged state of crisis is turning some normal people meshugge with denialism. Wild conspiracy theories are gaining traction.

The old temptress: 'Letting it go'

The concept of natural herd immunity is even worse. It implies a triple illusion of control. Just the right kind of people have to get infected at just the right rate per day for a prolonged period of time. Exponential growth -which would wreak havoc even in the younger population- somehow doesn't exist in that scenario. Meanwhile the vulnerable parts of the population are somehow perfectly protected from the raging plague. And it's not just 80 year old grandmas in nursing homes. It's younger people with preexisting conditions. Altogether those were found to comprise up to 20 million people in Germany alone. How do you isolate them from the rest? No dice.

The future

In the end, that leaves only one strategy that truly controls and manages the crisis: elimination. Which is what all those successful industrialized countries have been doing. Be alert, act quickly, be consistent with your control measures, and lockdowns may not be needed. Then you can enjoy the benefits in the economy, society, and culture.

Use historical insights instead of waiting for evidence in ten scientific studies with n>1000. Reinventing the wheel costs precious time. By the time you have decided that, yes, masks do indeed work, that the virus spreads through aerosols, that asymptomatic spread is real, that strict quarantine control is necessary to protect whatever success you have, it is too late to eliminate the virus [without traumatic measures]. Simple common sense in place of scientific evidence can save lives. We need battle-hardened practice instead of thousands of pages of 'pandemic preparedness plans'.

This needs to become the EU's standard for pandemic response because the time after this pandemic will be the time before the next pandemic. It requires a bit more competence and determination in concert with all EU countries. E.g. cross-border contract tracing, strict quarantine measures at the EU's external borders and so on. And please don't waffle about some magical AI technology (yet to be invented) that will serve as an early warning system.

For these are the things that have historically ended civilizations: wars, resource depletion, natural catastrophes, climate change, and plagues. Next time the virus may be deadlier, a vaccine may not be coming to the rescue. Be proactive not reactive. In light of uncertainty it is best to get out the hammer and eradicate the disease. Instead of treating it as some kind of live research project.

Lessons learned from SARS in 2003

Overview on SARS in Asia and the World

Of the 10 countries or regions heading the cumulated numbers of cases, seven are in Asia (the mainland of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand). The Mainland of China (5327 cases with 349 deaths) and Hong Kong (1755 cases with 299 deaths) together already accounted for 87% of all cases and 84% of all deaths.

The SARS CoV-2 pandemic was underestimated by most countries except in Asia. Germany had the chance fundamental research performed on SARS in 2003 and a single Institute was the first to perform tests to detect the coronavirus on Jan. 16, 2020.

German researchers develop 1st test for new virus from China | AP News |

Dr. Christian Drosten, the director of the Institute for Virology at Berlin's Charite hospital, said the test developed by his team will allow labs to reliably diagnose the so-called novel coronavirus "in a very short period of time."

The US was preoccupied with impeachment trial of Trump and the battle between Red and Blue representatives in Congress.

Best performance by Laos, Cambodja, Thailand and Taiwan.

Good performance by nations includes China, Hong Kong and Japan. Germany certainly should receive an honorable mention.

Worst performers next to the US, Brazil and the UK  are the modern EU nations Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. For some the common denominator was indecision on following herd immunity. Most did not register all corona deaths and had poor performance protecting elderly in nursing homes. Culling the non-productieve members of society.

by Oui on Mon Nov 16th, 2020 at 06:43:25 PM EST
Best performance by Laos, Cambodja, Thailand and Taiwan

What about Mongolia?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Nov 16th, 2020 at 06:49:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US is a gargantuan pile of ignorant Evangelical hicks, e.g., 66% of Americans reject the Theory of Evolution, so the Covid-19 public policy failures follow as a matter of course.

Stemming from whatever naïveté is left remaining in my cynically skeptical nous, I suppose, I expected Europe to do better.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Nov 16th, 2020 at 07:18:33 PM EST
Spelling error?

".. as a matter of curse" 😉🤣

by Oui on Mon Nov 16th, 2020 at 07:37:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too many USAmericans may not believe in the theory of evolution but we have unanimous agreement on the total misunderstanding of Darwin's ideas on "survival of the fittest."*

So there's that.

*Social Darwinists take "survival of the fittest" to mean the one with the most muscles, brains, or greed but Darwin actually meant it more as adaptability and resilience, the one who can react most quickly and accurately to changes in the biome is the one who survives.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 06:41:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Survival of the Fittest" is one of those phrases that break down into absurdity as soon as it is questioned:

How do we know they are the Fittest?

They survived.

Therefore what it is really saying: the Survival of the Survivors, which is pretty damn obvious.

But it did fit in nicely with the British upper classes wandering around the world, Maxim gun in hand, stealing everything they could, and slaughtering the natives if they objected.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 08:55:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Countries/states with sparser population density have a huge natural advantage (which they have not always exploited). Countries with a culture of a lot of effusive hugging and kissing on greeting and good-bye have a huge natural disadvantage. Countries with a liberal culture probably could have successful implemented a Wuhan style total lock-down.

I don't know if a Zero Covid strategy was ever going to be possible in relatively densely populated central/western Europe but it was certainly possible in Ireland last June - had not the Unionists in N. Ireland followed Boris' "strategy" instead. Now N. Ireland has twice the rate of infection and death as the south.

In general scientist and policy makers made some v. mistaken assumptions. They under-estimated how infectious the virus was, asymptomatic transmission, and transmission by aerosols. There has been almost no emphasis on ultra-low energy plasma technology which kills 99.9% of viruses in the air as part of air conditioning solutions on planes, building and enclosed spaces.

Hopefully widespread vaccination can suppress future outbreaks more successfully. But will it stop transmission? There is so much we still don't know. And every week costs a lot more lives. Best case scenario? Virus suppressed by next summer, with cross border travel only allowed with current vaccination cert.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 16th, 2020 at 08:31:18 PM EST
" Countries with a liberal culture probably could NOT have successful implemented a Wuhan style total lock-down"

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 16th, 2020 at 09:57:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Calling it a liberal culture may be giving it too much credit. After all, our cultures are quite willing to inflict quite impressive amounts of suffering on individuals for much worse reasons. Getting involved with the wrong chemicals or drawing the Mouse™ without leave. Yet at the mere suggestion that there are powers beyond them, the blind idiot gods of commerce scream in incoherent rage. The tabloids tell us how the cure can't be worse than the disease, the serious moderates on TV tell us we just can't yet know if this virus is incubated in schools like all the others, politicians are self-flagellating over their sins and declare loudly that there shall be no more lock downs. The face mask becomes a symbol of blasphemy. It's not even about the inability of dealing with short term pain. All the same people who now tell us we can't close the schools and the economy can't stand another lock down were hooting and hollering at the idea of expansionary austerity. Our culture is a weird death cult.
by generic on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 01:07:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah yes, but a liberal gives people a choice of death...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 01:36:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How do explain New Zealand's success in dealing with COVID19 then?

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 06:42:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland had a similar opportunity last June, but were stymied by N. Ireland refusing to coordinate policies. Islands have a massive advantage provided they institute robust border controls and enforce quarantines on travellers.  NZ did. We didn't because it was politically unacceptable (and probably impossible) to close the border with N. I. Even so we were down to a handful of cases last June.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 07:11:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Never mind New-Zealand, Australia, Taiwan or South Korea: they are island states (yes, SK is an "island" from the human travel POV). But the four Atlantic provinces in Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador) have also managed to keep the virus down to almost non-existent. The cost was extremely strict border controls with the other Canadian provinces and stringent quarantine requirements for arriving visitors, plus a lot of criticism from the rest of the country. Not an island (well, not all of them), not an authoritarian country, but it worked.

Of course, the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic means that the whole island is depending of the sectarian politics of the North...

by Bernard on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 09:20:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with your conclusions, but some nitpicks.

  • Sweden's top epidomologists have their main experience from Ebola in Western Africa, or at least that is true for state epidemlogist Tegnell.

  • Sweden's original plan was to copy the Korean plan with track and trace. It failed early on, because of to little testing capacity. Then - mid-March - it became to decrease the spread without lockdowns - mainly by paying people to stay home. In large part it is because Sweden doesn't have legislation that really allows for a lockdown outside of war, and constitutional safeguards against fast-tracking such legislation. Such legislation is in the works but not expected until next year.

Otherwise, Sweden's experience is similar to other West European nations that was hard hit during the spring. Likely Sweden had already in mid-March a much larger spread then surrounding countries, so the Swedish strategy is better compared to France, Netherlands etc then surrounding countries. And the main difference against these other hard hit Western European countries so far is getting the second wave later, but it is clearly here now.
by fjallstrom on Mon Nov 16th, 2020 at 09:23:52 PM EST
Your second point gives me pause because it makes it seem like they stumbled into a set of measures due to outside constraints and then they called it a strategy. The reasonings were delivered afterwards. At least the technical constraints could have been overcome. Was there any interest to do so?

The style of communication is weird and makes things more difficult than they have to be. They said public contacts are limited to eight. Tegnell says you can go to cinemas but the interior ministry says no. Then the health authority sends in their lawyers?!

From FOIA requests and public pronouncements it seems like herd immunity vacillates from the center of the strategy to 'nice side effect'. Then there is this weird aversion to using masks. Finally, why do they have to go out on a limb and make those very bold and very wrong predictions? While coming up with excuses why their direct neighbors have much fewer deaths and infections. From the outside looking in it's very confusing.

I'd prefer the politicians to stay mostly out of it but the technocracy is not unpolitical. Politicians at least have to legislate to provide the resources that have been sorely lacking. And they can't escape the responsibility of setting the objectives of the civil service. If the civil service says "we just want to ride this out" then that is an inherently political decision.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Wed Nov 18th, 2020 at 02:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There has been a tendency everywhere to allow technical/political constraints to dictate "strategy".  In Ireland these were:

  1. Lack of testing capacity early on, particularly shortage of reagent
  2. Inability/unwillingness to close N. Ireland border
  3. Lack of quick testing facilities at ports/airports
  4. Mistaken belief that aerosol infection wasn't significant and reluctance to mandate facemasks early on because of fear people wouldn't change/dispose of them safely
  5. Need to keep "essential services" open
  6. Track and trace too slow
  7. Lockdown fatigue
  8. Hospitality and travel industry lobbying

All of these factors made a "Zero Covid" strategy difficult, and so they settled for a "manage covid within hospital and intensive care capacity" strategy instead - which has ended up being no less difficult.


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 18th, 2020 at 04:50:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just found this:

The Long Shadow Of The Future

The progression of the initial outbreak in different countries followed three main patterns. Countries like Singapore and Taiwan represented Pattern A, where (despite many connections to the original source of the outbreak in China) vigilant government action effectively cut off community transmission, keeping total cases and deaths low. China and South Korea represented Pattern B: an initial uncontrolled outbreak followed by draconian government interventions that succeeded in getting at least the first wave of the outbreak under control.

Pattern C is represented by countries like Italy and Iran, where waiting too long to lock down populations led to a short-term exponential growth of new cases that overwhelmed the healthcare system and resulted in a large number of deaths.

A Tale Of Two Pandemics - The Nordic response to COVID-19 reveals a dark side of consensus politics.

This tale of these two Nordic approaches to COVID-19 shows how similar countries can make dramatically different choices about how to balance the tradeoff between liberty and security. In a paradoxical way, however, the radically different approaches taken by the Swedish and Danish governments reflect a deeper underlying similarity: These are countries whose populations are among the most trusting in the world. They display an unusual confidence in the state and its institutions. Social cohesion and trust run so deep that the Swedish and Danish governments might well have swapped their very different COVID strategies and still retained public support.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Wed Nov 18th, 2020 at 06:35:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Social cohesion and trust run so deep that the Swedish and Danish governments might well have swapped their very different COVID strategies and still retained public support."

This is very true. Or as a friend put it: If we have experts who model these strategies, then we expect to follow those stratgies at crunch time. And if different experts come to different conclusions we expect our expert authority to come down on a strategy and then we follow that one.

by fjallstrom on Thu Nov 19th, 2020 at 02:46:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To a certain extent, yes strategy was determined in part by outside measures. Or rather, any response to a pandemic is determined by the structures you have going in. Which underlines your point about the importance now to set the EU-structures for the next pandemic.

Another part of the Swedish government structure is somewhat independent government authorities. The legislature legislates the laws they follow, the cabinet details the tasks in fomral letters and appoints the head of the authority. That is it. The minister of health is forbidden to issue any another orders to the authority, that would be ministerstyre, which is grounds for impeachment.

So on the press conference where the eight person rule was announced, the prime minister and the health mininster were (if you speak Swedish legalese) very clear that in all rules the cabinet can directly decide it will be eight people. And they expect all relevant authorities to come to the same conclusion. In effect, there are a lot of rules where the cabinet does not have power, and it would take to long to change the rules, in particular when you are a minority government. However, Sweden has a heavy layer of consensus culture on top of the structures so usually people go along.

Why make faulty predictions? Well, most predicitions turn out wrong, but there still needs to be predictions. There was a large and hidden spread in early March, which created a lot of faulty inputs. The actions taken mid-March did break the growth in spread, ICU admittances peaked two weeks later and deaths four weeks later, but at much higher levels then expected due to the hidden nature of the early spread. When the main crisis was over for the hospitals, testing was expanded in June, creating a false impression of an increase. That increase in tested cases was the tail end of the first wave.

Comparing Sweden with neighbouring countries is in my opinion not illuminating. Sweden had much more cases then Finland, and Finland had a lockdown. But France had also much more cases then Finland and they both had lockdowns. Is Sweden better compared with Finland then France? My view is, that if effective measures are taken, the main factor is the amounts of real cases when action is taken. And since that was largely hidden there was a fair amount of bad luck involved.

To demonstrate the importance of luck: Sweden's densest populated county - Stockholm - had half the deaths in Sweden during the spring, while the second densest populated county - Skåne - had a fraction of that. Under the same rules. I think it is obvious that Stockholm had a much larger outbreak before action was taken. If the rest of Sweden had looked like Skåne the story would be about how the Nordic countries managed to avoid the pandemic (until they didn't). My personal theory on why Stockholm had such a large outbreak is the Swedish sport break. That break is in different weeks in different locations, and Stockholm probably managed to hit the worst week and probably had more people going skiing in the Alps.

by fjallstrom on Thu Nov 19th, 2020 at 02:07:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unified political leadership that has the good sense to avoid politicizing the issue can, I imagine, make a difference. It's harder to denialism to take root if everybody on all sides of the political spectrum works hard to shame and denounce it in every situation.

But if one side takes up virus denialism, then any sort of effective response becomes impossible. People don't like social distancing, and they really don't like lockdowns. They don't like closed schools. If one side tells them that they can have all the candy with no consequences ... well ... a lot of people are going to believe what they want to believe.

by Zwackus on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 07:42:28 AM EST
And some even take their Covid denial up to their dying breath - literally.

by Bernard on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 08:50:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I first saw this report, I was skeptical.  Then I saw an interview with the writer and other reports from other healthcare workers confirming the monumental stupidity that the Trmpists have perpetrated where people dying of COVID19 continue to deny that they have the disease.

It is infuriating to know that doctors, nurses, and all healthcare workers are risking their lives for people who refuse adamantly to recognize the reality of the situation even while they are sick and dying from it.  I suspect that before Christmas, if this continues, the USA health system will be in almost complete collapse.

And we have only ourselves to blame.  (But we'll figure out how to blame someone else I'm sure.)

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 06:47:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like you need some Swiss economists
"Corona rebels" should be dealt with more toughly, for example hefty  fines for not wearing a mask, says Willy Oggier, a Swiss health economist.

"I also propose that Covid sceptics be entered into a register and forfeit their right to an emergency bed or place in an intensive care unit in the event of a shortage," Oggier said in an interview with Tamedia newspapers on Tuesday. "Anyone charged with wilfully disregarding social distancing and hygiene rules should bear responsibility for their actions."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 07:51:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Epidemiologists have been warning about the certainty of a global pandemic since the 1970s.

The fact the incompetent clowns running the places have completely blown the response is a direct refutation of the Neo-Liberal "Technologist" pretensions.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 09:03:27 PM EST
U.S., China and the Covid-19 Vaccine Race - Bloomberg
There is one other factor that people are loathe to discuss (with one exception). Yes, the U.S. has botched its response to Covid-19. At the same time, its experience shows that America as a nation can in fact tolerate casualties, too many in fact. It had long been standard Chinese doctrine that Americans are "soft" and unwilling to take on much risk. If you were a Chinese war game planner, might you now reconsider that assumption?
by generic on Thu Nov 19th, 2020 at 10:43:19 AM EST
The US isn't tolerant of casualties, it's indifferent to them. Especially when they're some combination of poor, non-white, and old.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 19th, 2020 at 11:22:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct. Compare the reaction to regular gun violence with the Boston "massacre".
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Nov 19th, 2020 at 11:40:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Europe under Covid-19
Meanwhile the vulnerable parts of the population are somehow perfectly protected from the raging plague. And it's not just 80 year old grandmas in nursing homes.

A quibble with this. The proponents of herd immunity seemed quite giddy at the prospect of reforming the pension system, if you know what I mean.

by generic on Thu Nov 19th, 2020 at 01:02:12 PM EST
Well, the highest administrative court in my part of Germany has ruled that we can't force people to quarantine after they come back from their island-hopping vacation in Spain. Reasoning: since the incidence is lower on those islands, the returnee would face a higher risk coming back here, hence it's not an 'suitable means' to combat the disease. Legally, whatever... but practically it's completely stupid. What the fuck does the court know about 'suitable means' for fighting disease? The decree is about preventing new introductions of infections. Unless the incidence over there is zero I can't guarantee that viruses won't be introduced and make things worse here when that tourist comes back. Doesn't matter what my incidence rate is. So can we reintroduce mandatory quarantine if the outside incidence is 0.1 higher? Only if it's higher? What a load of bollocks.

If the legal principle is to just allow proportionate measures as a reaction then we will always be behind the curve in combating the disease. Those kinds of rulings against tougher preventative measures ensure that we will run into lockdowns again and again. But when the fire is burning brightly enough those are ok!? How about we prevent lockdowns to begin with? Those idiots are gonna kill us all. The state government should just put the decree into a law with the condition of non-zero incidence (which would be everywhere).

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Fri Nov 20th, 2020 at 08:31:48 PM EST
Also the problem may not be so much the incidence on the island as the incidence on a plane with re-dirculating air, no plasma screen air filters to kill viruses, and people packed tightly together.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 20th, 2020 at 08:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another reason this ruling is so stupid.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Nov 20th, 2020 at 08:42:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I must say I have a problem with the Judiciary making (or unmaking) rather than interpreting law. They are not the ones with the expertise or democratic accountability for the decisions they make. SCOTUS is probably the most egregious example.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 20th, 2020 at 08:58:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the reasonable policy set up if we look ahead to the next pandemic would be an EU level authority (probably constituted of national agency directors, under EP oversight) that can declare a state of international pandemic once it starts spreading in China or Mexico or wherever, and institute quarantine for the appropriate amount of days at EUs borders. If it starts spreading within the EU then that authority can declare a state of pandemic within the EU and institute quarantine for the appropriate amount of days at borders within the EU. And yes, the appropriate level is that spreading is going on at all.

The cost of quarantine should be handled by the EU, as it is the currency issuer in most EU countries.

A year ago, this would have looked extreme, but after this year I think one can safely say it is less extreme then what we have gone through. If quarantine had been put in place as soon as it was clear how serioulsy China handled it, spread to the EU would have been minimised. And if it had already spread to the EU, quarantine within would have minimised the spread as it moved on. And people wouldn't have gone skiing in the Alps if they had to sit through two weeks of quarantine coming home.

by fjallstrom on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 11:09:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
institute quarantine for the appropriate amount of days at borders within the EU

Including the border inside Ireland?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 02:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have heard that the Irish Sea is a better place to place a border, but making contingency plans and figuring out the details in advance is what pandemic authorities does between pandemics.
by fjallstrom on Wed Dec 9th, 2020 at 08:44:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
making contingency plans and figuring out the details in advance

I thought we were talking about the UK

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Dec 9th, 2020 at 01:58:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I sure hope that during the next pandemic we will no longer be talking about Brexit.
by fjallstrom on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 10:41:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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