Why Are We Using Case Numbers To Make Decisions On Restrictions?

at | 61 Replies

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar

This morning.

Via The Currency:

…It has prompted the Fine Gael leader to ask a simple yet profound question: are we using the right criteria to make far-reaching decisions around restrictions and economic lockdowns?

“What I see other countries doing – Belgium is the most recent example – is that they are no longer using case numbers to make their decisions on restrictions and on policy,” said Varadkar.

“They are looking at hospitalisations, ICU capacity and deaths. It is a job for us as politicians to say to the public health people that maybe we should be focusing on that.

“The objective was to make sure our health service did not get overwhelmed, not to lock down the country and the economy until there was no Covid at all. That is not realistic.”

Better late than never, spose.

Leo Varadkar on keeping businesses alive, pushing back on public health advice and rebuilding relations with the UK (The Currency)

Yesterday: The Dam Breaks

Rollingnews

61 thoughts on “Why Are We Using Case Numbers To Make Decisions On Restrictions?

  1. GiggidyGoo

    As usual, Varadkar waits until he sees which way the wind is blowing. and then rides in on his trusty white steed to try give the impression that he’s up to speed with everything.

    Reply
    1. Just Sayin

      At least now there is a change in the wind.

      All of our politicians have been useless, it will be interesting to watch the stampede as they change direction.

      I will never again give any vote preference to FF or FG, Solidarity / PBP have also eliminated themselves from any consideration.

      The Greens too need to be punished.

      Labour, Soc. Dems & SF havn’t behaved well either, but I suppose I’ll have to let them off to have someone to vote for next time round.

      The FF & FG parties need to be exterminated at the next election, that should send a strong enough signal to the rest of them that we will never put up with that kind of behaviour again.

      RANT OVER

      Reply
      1. GiggidyGoo

        That was your line, was it not, during the abortion referendum when he wouldn’t disclose his views until he saw which the way the wind was blowing, and even at that he chose to disclose his views….on BBC. At that stage, his silent TD’s all suddenly became microphone-friendly again, towing the line.
        Shock-horror – a politician who hasn’t a mind of his own. Will he reduce taxes if it is ‘the will of the people’?

        Reply
        1. Cian

          Do actually you understand what politicians actually do?
          They are supposed to represent us. And that means that they should listen to what the people want.
          All politicians and Political parties do this.

          Will he reduce taxes if it is ‘the will of the people’? d’uh – yes, FG consistently reduced taxes from about 2010 on wards.

          Reply
          1. GiggidyGoo

            Will he remove all taxes then if that’s the peoples’ wish?
            God, Cian how bad you are.

            I presume that you’ll be retracting some (snide) comments you posted in reply to people like SOQ here who have been ahead of the FG posse in pointing out what Varadkar now suddenly realises?

          2. Nigel

            How on earth did you manage to work yourself round to using a reducto ad absurdum to argue against the proposition that politicians are supposed to represent the will of the people who elect them?

            On the other hand you and SOQ and the rest are suddenly having to cope with being in the position of agreeing with Leo Varadkar, so we can’t say the pandemic has been entirely without tentertainment value.

          3. GiggidyGoo

            “On the other hand you and SOQ and the rest are suddenly having to cope with being in the position of agreeing with Leo Varadkar, so we can’t say the pandemic has been entirely without tentertainment value.”

            Erm – It’s Leo suddenly agreeing with us. We don’t have to ‘cope’ with that. It’s yourself and Cian, Rob_G and the rest having to cope with the realization that Varadkar is a follower, not a leader and the admission that folks like SOQ and others on here have been correct all along.

            So, same question to you then. If the people wanted all taxes removed (if it was the will of the people) would Varadkar remove them?

          4. Nigel

            No, no it’s great that you and Leo are suddenly best pals and ideological bedfellows.

            As for your hypotheitcal, then if a huge majority demanded it then, probably? I don’t think you’d ever get the necessary majority to demand it, it sounds disastrous, but weirder things have happened.

          5. GiggidyGoo

            ‘Bedfellows’ – ROFL, as they say. Varadkar – Ideological? Where do you get these ideas?

            As regards my question about taxes – no, he wouldn’t remove them – no ‘probably’ about it.

            Just admit it – what yourself, Cian and Rob_G have been parading here as some sort of knowledge suddenly has been swept from underneath you – you’ve been quick enough to demonize a few people here. Man up now and admit you were wrong.

          6. Cian

            “Will he remove all taxes then if that’s the peoples’ wish?”
            This is a very unlikely wish since it would mean the state would have no income and be unable to provide any services. Only a total moron (or independantly weathy person) would hold such a view.

          7. Nigel

            Leo and Giggy up a tree
            A-G-R-E-E-I-N-G

            Yes, Giggy, your hypothetical has completely destroyed the very foundation of representational democracy! Well done!

            Since I have never done anything remotely like, eg, accused someone of working for an ‘fraperoom’ I like to think I haven’t actually demonised anyone. We still need to treat the virus cautiously, no matter how much political point-scoring you get to indulge in.

          8. GiggidyGoo

            You are two gas men. One informs us that “They are supposed to represent us. And that means that they should listen to what the people want.
            All politicians and Political parties do this.” And then informs us that, well, they don’t.
            Only a moron would write that type of tripe.

            The other tries to make out that it’s people coming around to Varadkars way of thinking and agreeing with him. No – it’s Varadkar’s about turn.

            Both tried the Varadkar-type bullying attempts on a few posters here that had been saying exactly what Varadkar farted out today and both ain’t man enough to admit it.

            And both then try to divert, distract and muddy the waters. Clever boys. Not.

        1. Cian

          me?

          I’ve been concentrating on hospitalizations (122) and ICU admittance (20) and deaths as signs that Covid is getting worse for almost a month now.

          Reply
  2. Jim

    Wow, the people that want to hang and shoot students for meeting their friends aren’t going to be happy with the sensible approach to society. They’ll want Leo’s head now on a spike.

    Reply
  3. Nigel

    The obvious and sensible answer is that we’re being cautuious, and if numbers of cases rises but numbers of hospitalisations remains low, then we can breathe a sigh of relief. But I’m a layman and that approach only seems sensible to me and an epedimiologist might say it’s a disastrous attitiude, I don’t know.

    Reply
  4. george

    Belgium? The same Belgium that has had 10,000 deaths?
    One of the reasons is if the amount of Covid-19 gets to a certain level it will be virtually impossible to prevent it spreading through our hospitals during the winter.

    Another is Long Covid which is not yet fully understood.

    Reply
  5. Vanessanelle

    more Leo’isms for the internet

    And as much as I’d like to say fair play n’ about time
    all I ask is how long is it going to be before they backtrack and double down into another lockdown, while this mess with LC students goes even further

    ’cause it will
    +pubs, hotels, travel lists and whatever you’re having yourselves in the HSE’s wasted top ups

    Reply
    1. george

      There’ll be no backtrack because the government hasn’t changed position. This is just Leo up to his usual rubbish of talking out of both sides of his mouth and undermining the government that Micheal Martin leads.

      Reply
  6. Joe

    I expect Leo and his FFGP cronies are happy to override public health advice and are trying to prep the public to allow a vile “acceptable level of deaths” to keep his business sponsors happy. Exactly as his Tory friends and the person he emulates the most, Maggie Thatcher, did during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. That he still holds the title of doctor is a warped disgrace

    Reply
    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      It’s not just business looking for “acceptable level of deaths”. anti mask donkeys are happy for people to die, especially if they’re old and were due to die sometime anyway or had an underlying condition that would have killed them off eventually. Remember, only 100 died from Covid19. The other 1700 don’t count.

      Reply
  7. Just Sayin

    At least now there is a change in the wind.

    All of our politicians have been useless, it will be interesting to watch the stampede as they change direction.

    I will never again give any vote preference to FF or FG, Solidarity / PBP have also eliminated themselves from any consideration.

    The Greens too need to be punished.

    Labour, Soc. Dems & SF havn’t behaved well either, but I suppose I’ll have to let them off to have someone to vote for next time round.

    The FF & FG parties need to be exterminated at the next election, that should send a strong enough signal to the rest of them that we will never put up with that kind of behaviour again.

    RANT OVER

    Reply
  8. Kim The Cardassian

    Dear Leo

    You are not Michael McNamara nor will you ever match a person of his calibre. Stop faking it.

    Yours sincerely etc

    Reply
      1. Micko

        I’d say when they put Michael in charge of the Oireachtas committee they probably thought he wouldn’t make any noise.

        Boy, they were wrong

        Reply
    1. GiggidyGoo

      If they’re coming off the Grimaldi boat – Grimaldi service the Mediterranean. Why they’re coming into Ireland is a conundrum. Maybe Varadkar has offered the Blue Helmets storage in return for membership of the UN.
      But it’s a strange one.

      Reply
        1. Daisy Chainsaw

          They’ll be manning all M50 junctions to stop the millions marching in the bigot-led donkey derby this Saturday.

          Reply
  9. Zaccone

    He hates the poor but hes not wrong on this. Numbers in the ICU are the only numbers that matter in terms of controlling this, we’re never going to be able to control case numbers through the winter. It’d do the country a world of good if we stopped releasing daily case numbers and just moved to a weekly ICU status update.

    Leo’s playing a very skillful game of gradually undermining FF and making sure they get the blame for continued lockdowns as the public slowly turns against the idea.

    Reply
    1. george

      Numbers in ICU aren’t the only numbers that matter. This shows a basic lack of knowledge. Most people who have died were not in ICU.

      If we don’t release the number of cases they will rise higher and higher until the ICU number do go up and Covid-19 starts ripping through overcrowded hospitals and gets back into Nursing homes.

      Reply
      1. Zaccone

        They’re the only thing that matters because the ICUs getting overwhelmed is the only scenario in which additional lockdowns are justified. At that point short sharp lockdowns become justified.

        Otherwise we’re going to be living in permanent lockdown for the next 18 months, which is going to result in way way more lives lost to other causes.

        Reply
        1. Nigel

          ‘at that point’

          Which point? Before? During? After? Not trying to gat at you, it’s just that someone has to make the judgment call, preferably without getting crucified for it.

          Reply
          1. Zaccone

            Establishing at which point is something that could be very easily defined, and would actually provide a clear line that says when its time to lockdown. Say when ICU capacity hits 85%. That would get rid of all this uncertainty and grey area decision making thats resulting in so many problems at present. It would make lockdown decisions purely mathematical and logic based.

            Though you’d expect the government to be rapidly expanding ICU capacity at the same time, both to try to avoid future lockdowns and to try to save lives. But given we’ve added all of 25~ ICU beds since March they seem to be failing completely on this front.

          2. Nigel

            You don’t think lockdown at 85% of ICU capacity taken up by covid cases is a bit bolting the barn door after the horse has flown? And while ICU capacity should most definitely be expanded, I think even with expansion you;d want to keep the cut-off a lot lower or it’s going to be running through the hospitals long before 85%.

        2. george

          Right so, you think your qualified to pull some percentage of ICU beds out of the air and decide that is acceptable.

          85% of ICU beds is 236 which leaves 41 available in the entire country. You have no idea how long it would take for those 4 beds to fill up with a much higher level of Covid-19 present in the population. There is a period of up to two weeks between infection and symptoms and there is a typical period of approximately 2 weeks between symptoms and ICU being required. Therefore when you are down to 41 beds and introduce a lockdown the people who will require ICU beds in 3-4 weeks time have already been infected.

          Reply
          1. Zaccone

            @George Ireland had 411 ICU beds available in mid-April. [1] 85% capacity would leave 61 beds free of that, and if we had a government that was actively trying to expand our ICU capacity we’d be adding new beds every week. And prior patients continually leave the ICU. So short of absolutely runaway growth (which doesn’t happen overnight) we’d be unlikely to require 100~ extra ICU beds instantly.

            Our ICU capacity per capita was about half of Germany or Italy’s pre-corona, and reports had already indicated it would need to be expanded drastically. So a massive expansion of ICU facilities in Ireland isn’t even something that should be done only for corona – its of long term benefit to the country.

            https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/ireland-s-icu-facilities-can-deal-with-just-411-patients-warn-critical-care-specialists-1.4232655

            @Nigel it depends entirely on how fast ICU usage is growing, and how fast ICU capacity is growing alongside it. 85% could well be too high, or it could be too low. We’d need to base it on how long lockdowns take to have effect (2-3 weeks) vs ICU usage growth.

            That figure could turn out to be 70%, or it could be 85%, or 90%. But either way it would be a figure based on actual hospital capacity. Not the impossibly vague/useless “cases” count number which lockdown decisions are now being based upon.

          2. Nigel

            So we’d need to keep monitoring the situation, track the numbers, take expert medical and epidemiological advice, and respond with the health and safety of the general pubic in mind.

          3. SOQ

            How could Sweden double its ICU capacity in a number of weeks and yet Ireland could only manage an increase of less than 25?

          4. george

            “We should have the beds” butters no parsnips.

            The demand for 100 ICU beds will come much quicker than we can can provide them if we allow the level of infection to get out of control.

            The resource issue isn’t just about ICU beds either. Every year we have shorter of hospital beds in the Winter. Overcrowded hospitals with sick and older people on trollies will an ideal environment for Covid-19 to do maximum damage.

          5. GiggidyGoo

            Citywest, Goodman’s, O’Briens could open many ICU’s at the sound of a drop of a €5 note and a sniff of another contract for millions.

          6. george

            In Sweden any bed with a ventilator is classed as an ICU bed. We could massively increase our number of ICU beds overnight by adopting their definition. We had 1350 in April. In March we were adding 100 ventilators a week.

          7. SOQ

            In Sweden any bed with a ventilator is classed as an ICU bed.

            Where are you getting that from please?

          8. Cian

            Sweden doubled its “intensive care” beds during the crisis. However there are caveats

            1. what is intensive care?
            It is difficult to compare intensive care capacity between countries, because the exact definition varies even between individual hospitals.

            Some distinguish between intensive care and intermediate care, some do not. The Swedish Intensive Care Register describes it as “a level of care that involves close monitoring and advanced treatment of critically ill patients”. The patients often need machines to keep their organs from failing; some hospitals in Sweden classified coronavirus care as intensive if a ventilator was involved.*

            2. where did these beds come from?
            Karolinska hospital [no of intensive care beds went from 38 to 200] increased the number of intensive care beds in existing units and opened up postoperative wards, where patients normally recover after surgery, to corona patients. *

            3. have they remained as intensive care beds? or are they back as post-op beds?

            * https://www.thelocal.com/20200623/how-sweden-doubled-intensive-care-capacity-to-treat-coronavirus-patients

          9. Cian

            @SOQ
            Ironically from a link you provided yesterday:


            It is difficult to compare intensive care capacity between countries, because the exact definition varies even between individual hospitals.

            Some distinguish between intensive care and intermediate care, some do not. The Swedish Intensive Care Register describes it as “a level of care that involves close monitoring and advanced treatment of critically ill patients”. The patients often need machines to keep their organs from failing; some hospitals in Sweden classified coronavirus care as intensive if a ventilator was involved.

            https://www.thelocal.com/20200623/how-sweden-doubled-intensive-care-capacity-to-treat-coronavirus-patients

  10. Dr.Fart

    stop asking this bubble-headed moron about anything. and when he says stuff unprompted, stop reporting it. he’s an idiot.

    Reply

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