Maajid Nawaz on Coronavirus

Maajid Nawaz on Coronavirus April 14, 2020

This should promote some discussion. Apologies for my absence, I’ve been LEGO piecing together. This is from Maajid Nawaz’s Facebook:

The UK has now surpassed 10,000 #Covid19 deaths in total. Some say that we’re going to be the worst hit country in Europe. This may be premature. I advise waiting till the end of the outbreak before pronouncing such things.

Here’s why:

1) how to get ‘flattening the curve’ right, without also *lengthening* it.
ie: without prolonging period in which infection rate (R0) is above 1? Getting this right impacts when you stop counting your total deaths in the long run.


2) will countries with a stricter lockdown than ours suffer a devastating 2nd wave, after their lockdown is eased. If so, will their public panic, and demand another lockdown? That’s an unsustainable cycle. Would ‘herd immunity’ cause a softer 2nd wave?


3) we can only know our true ‘death rate’ by mass serological testing to see who’s had #Covid19 already. Our tests ordered from China have not worked. It is only through mass testing we know number who have been infected vs number who died (the death rate).


4) Death tolls: are we counting dying ‘with’ and dying ‘of’ #Covid19 as the same thing? There’s an argument for it, but are others following us? Does every country count those who died outside hospital in care homes? Are country methods the same?


5) how do our variables (number of elderly, ethnic minority & male victims, plus capacity etc.. ) differ country to country? By an Israeli epidemiologist (please try to ignore the title).


6) Sweden still has no lockdown. Their chief medical officer Anders Tegnell (an epidemiologist) sets their strategy, and Swedish law prohibits public opinion driven political interference with it. And they’re not doing too badly.


7) Summary: let’s all pause before making over zealous country-by-country comparisons without factoring in all the variables. This sort of approach may cause more long term harm than good. No democratically elected European leader is deliberately trying to kill their own citizens.

8) This helps to explain what the UK was trying to do, before our modelling (understandably) had to pivot in order to factor in human behaviour (and not just the potential for the virus spreading).

Back to me. My final comment concerns the US, where Trump has strongly stated that it will be his choice and not the individual states that have been talking about this (10 have got together to organise a pathway to reopening) in deciding when and how the US reopens the economy.

Which is odd, since all other decisions for which Trump has been pressured has seen his defer to the autonomy of the states… (Trump blames states for lack of supplies, “Trump forced the states to figure out their own coronavirus responses—but thinks he has the “total” authority to get rid of their social distancing guidelines all by himself“, and so on.)

There’s an odd disconnect here.


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