Hi Eric,

Hi Eric,

I appreciate your response and I can agree with you on a few points, but there are nuances.

I agree with you that sitting at home for a year is not a viable option. No one is saying that the lockdown will last this long. However, I do not agree that staying home is useless. Here is why: if less people are out circulating at any given time, the rate at which new people get contaminated will be slower. Therefore, it is more likely that those who do get infected, and who do need ventilators and such, will be able to get the care they need. If everyone just goes out, then the healthcare system will quickly be overwhelmed like it is in New York, and there will be more preventable deaths that are simply due to lack of hospital beds/equipment. This “flattening the curve” also gives us time to create/import more PPE to protect those who, as you say, do not have the choice to stay home and have to work. Does that make sense?

If all the states had gone on lockdown at the same time, then we would not have had as many cases as we do now.

I am also looking forward to re-opening, but I still would not go out (even if I can) unless I have to. Even though I’m unlikely to experience severe symptoms, or even have any symptoms at all, I could be a carrier and infect my loved ones. I would never want to risk their life unnecessarily, just because I felt like going to a crowded beach. I don’t think any country is planning to just reopen everything at once, that would be chaos. I think a staggered approach would make sense, when the data suggests that the curve has been flattened, and the risk of re-opening part of it is not going to get us right on a logarithmic growth path.

If you believe that comparing Mauritius to the U.S. and Canada is unfair, then you should also concede that comparing the U.S. (340 million) to Belgium (11 million) is unreasonable.

Right now, the death rate per million in the U.S. is lower. But the U.S. was a few weeks behind Europe and hasn’t peaked yet. It takes a while before people who are contaminated actually die from the disease. The picture might look very different in a few weeks. I’m sadly quite confident that by the end of it, we might be #1…

Also, it is work asking whether “death rate per million” is the right metric to use here. You can slice and dice numbers in different ways based on what insight you are looking for:

If you want to know the difference between universal vs private healthcare, perhaps it would be more useful to compare the ratio of deaths to confirmed positive cases, because people who don’t have coverage are more likely to die if they can’t have access to ventilators when they need one.

If you look at today’s numbers for the U.S., that’s 40,478 deaths and 762,496 positive cases, giving us a death rate of 5.3%, which is higher than the estimate from WHO.

But even that is not quite accurate, since the people who die today, are a proportion of the number of people who were positive at the time when they got infected. For every person who dies today, there’s a bunch more people who are getting infected today, that we won’t know about until a week or two later. Here’s more on that: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/why-are-covid-19-death-rates-so-hard-to-calculate-experts-weigh-in#Why-calculating-the-death-rate-is-so-tricky

The reason those countries in Europe are struggling is partly due to the healthcare system being overwhelmed with so many patients reaching critical condition at the same time. It has nothing to do with universal healthcare.

Europe definitely got caught like a deer in the headlights with the surge of cases. Europeans might look like they’re in worse shape right now but there is a nuance that is fundamental to the discussion here:

They might not get care because the hospital is completely full, but they will not be denied care because they don’t have money to pay for it. That is something you do not seem to get, or care about. If your family were to fall on hard times and have no insurance, I would not want you to die because you couldn’t pay for hospitalization! That sounds criminal to me! You deserve treatment, just like the rich people.

We are “lucky” that the U.S. is not at that point yet, except on the East Coast. We should use that to our advantage and improve our healthcare system, and improve access to care before the next epidemic/pandemic. Because it will happen, that’s just life. But we can prepare for it and be more fair to our citizens who are less financially secure.

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