• Glenn Wilson
    Updated in comments.

    The spike in Ireland appears to be from a combination of relaxing restrictions and the new B117 strain of coronavirus (now in Mexico).

    If you want to see what happens when B.1.1.7 becomes the dominant strain, you can look at Ireland, now the highest new cases per capita globally.

    New strain of COVID-19 in Mexico.
    On Sun., Jan. 10, the Tamaulipas government reported the first patient in Mexico with a new strain of COVID-19 called B117.
    Atención San Miguel

    What's happening in Ireland should give US policymakers pause. In the space of 3 weeks, Ireland's infection rate increased 10-fold, and the proportion of cases accounted for by the B117 variant increased from <10% to 45%

    'Reckless' Christmas easing of rules blamed for Ireland Covid surge
    Ireland emerged from a six-week lockdown in early December with the European Union’s lowest coronavirus infection rate.

    It eased restrictions in belief it could contain a rise in the virus over Christmas unlike, say, Germany and the UK, countries that had more than four times the level of infection. Then all hell broke loose.

    From mid-December, the virus started ripping across Ireland, gaining a speed unimagined in the worst-case scenarios and forming an almost vertical line that rushed up, up and up to give Ireland, on Monday, the world’s highest rate of Covid-19 infection.
    The Guardian

    More in the category Health and Medical.

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  • Glenn Wilson
    We may have only weeks to act before a variant coronavirus dominates the US

    (GW: This article is written from a US perspective but would seem to also apply to Mexico.)

    If the variant strain, first spotted in the United Kingdom, is as infectious as some suspect, it could dominate US case numbers by March, send covid-19 deaths to unprecedented levels, and collide with the rollout of vaccines, research suggests. ...

    That appearance of the variant has already led the US to require British visitors to test negative before flying. Some scientific leaders say the US should now consider a coordinated national lockdown period. “I think we have to aggressively consider the upsides, and the downsides, of another lockdown to crush the curve,” says Ali Nouri, president of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). “We are hitting record numbers of cases and deaths, and on top of it we are dealing with a situation where we may be confronted with a highly transmissible variant. It’s going to exacerbate a situation that is already stretching hospitals to the breaking point in some areas. It’s a really bad situation.” ...

    In addition, Nouri thinks the US may need to consider going further, with measures such as coordinated restrictions on indoor gatherings. “I think the conversation is going to shift if and when this variant gets a greater hold. It could be a game-changer,” he says. “We can’t afford to do the same thing when our enemy is adapting, changing tactics, and becoming more transmissible. We have to have those conversations immediately, because our enemy is getting better and we are not.”
    MIT Technology Review

    Stay safe!
  • Jonathan Brown
    There are a couple of issues here. First, stay safe and do things which make sense - Social Distance, Wear a Mask in Public, become a hand washing Nazi; but don't obsess. A recent peer reviewed study brings into question whether the one size fits all strategies would be effective - the reason they call this a "novel" virus is because it is new but don't think beyond reasonable standard of prudence that one size does not fit all. (see the preprint here - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/eci.13484) We need to be creative here not paranoid.
  • Glenn Wilson
    The paper you mention uses South Korea as one of its two baselines for less restrictive measures: "Its strategy relied on intensive investments in testing, contact tracing, and isolation of infected cases and close contacts." And, that does seem to have been especially effective. It also seems unlikely to happen in a similar manner in the US or Mexico.

    Its other baseline is Sweden: "Unlike most of its neighbors that implemented mandatory stay-at-home and business closures, Sweden’s approach in the early stages of the pandemic relied entirely on lrNPIs (GW: Less Restrictive Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions), including social distancing guidelines, discouraging of international and domestic travel, and a ban on large gatherings."

    How is Sweden doing versus "its neighbors"?
    Link to live graph.

    Conclusions: While small benefits cannot be excluded, we do not find significant benefits on case growth of more restrictive NPIs. Similar reductions in case growth may be achievable with less restrictive interventions.

    I do not find their conclusion to be persuasive. But I agree with you that one size does not fit all. Different cultures, different health care systems and different economic realities are significant constraints on what is possible and what works.
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