Thursday, April 9, 2020

The lockdown will have to continue. There is no choice anymore.

Thinking about the inevitability of the lockdown being extended, I vaguely remembered a line from Kafka's Investigations of a Dog - Dogdom went down a path, feeling that they could always turn back.

Searched on and the part I recalled :

I can understand the hesitation of my generation, indeed it is no longer mere hesitation; it is the thousandth forgetting of a dream dreamt a thousand times and forgotten a thousand times; and who can damn us merely for forgetting for the thousandth time? But I fancy I understand the hesitation of our forefathers too, we would probably have acted just as they did; indeed I could almost say: well for us that it was not we who had to take the guilt upon us, that instead we can hasten in almost guiltless silence toward death in a world darkened by others. When our first fathers strayed they had doubtless scarcely any notion that their aberration was to be an endless one, they could still literally see the crossroads, it seemed an easy matter to turn back whenever they pleased, and if they hesitated to turn back it was merely because they wanted to enjoy a dog's life for a little while longer; it was not yet a genuine dog's life, and already it seemed intoxicatingly beautiful to them, so what must it become in a little while, a very little while, and so they strayed farther. They did not know what we can now guess at, contemplating the course of history: that change begins in the soul before it appears in ordinary existence,

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Exponential Growth and Lockdown

The lecture by Prof Albert Bartlett had made an immense impact on me. I vividly remember the discussion on running out of oil based on Hubert peak. While shale oil may have delayed the disaster and alternate sources of energy may prevent a collapse, but had we reduced our growth, we may have avoided the climate change issue!

The main lesson though is:
"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."

What worries me about the current strategy is the same as in this article from Israel. I am not even sure if they have the parameters for the models right, in which case the predictions over the weeks can be way off.

Worse, it may create the illusion of having avoided the catastrophe which was never going to happen!

Applying a blanket lockdown over all the country implies that the authorities have no information about the potential spreaders, which is clearly unreasonable while claiming that there is no evidence of community transmission!

I am surprised at how scared people seem to be of even the shadow of Coronavirus, No wonder, the workers in farms are scared of working in the fields!

Meanwhile, the normal, routine illnesses are untreated.

The new normal?

Monday, April 6, 2020

What are the possible exit conditions of the Coronavirus Lockdown loop?

Being locked in is not pleasant. There is also a little guilt of going out of the house, especially for walks, even if there is virtually no one around. Could we be increasing the duration of the lockdown by being careless? Uncertainty about the duration of the lockdown is stressful.

So, I thought that if I were writing a program for the lockdown, what are the conditions which would determine the exit condition for the lockdown loop for a particular region with no person entering or leaving the region:

  1. There are no new cases emerging.
    1. The virus stopped spreading for no known reason. This is the way The Plague by Albert Camus ends.
    2. The virus has disappeared from the community thanks to the lockdown.
  2. The community has developed a herd immunity.
    1. If the lockdown is perfect, how can the community ever develop herd immunity?
If the region has not developed herd immunity and the borders of the region are opened, we will need to make sure that no infected or potentially infected person enters the community. Hence, testing and quarantine of each visitor will be mandatory.

If in spite of all efforts, an infected person enters the community, the lockdown will need to be imposed again.