No covid extremism, please
A stream-of-consciousness monologue on the topic of the day: covid-uptick.
Random, forcible testing of folks doing everyday things in their own neighborhood.
Refusing is a criminal offence.
In an absolute sense, this demeans dignity, violates personal liberty and smothers economy.
In a relative sense, this is more draconian than actions during last covid peak.
So, is situation actually worse than then, to merit worse steps?
Superficially, yes. “Mumbai hits new peak in daily covid cases”, scream headlines.
Truthfully, not really.
Yes, new daily cases have risen sharply from a low of 300 to a new peak of 3000.
Active cases at 21,000 are ~40% below peak.
Critical cases at 486 are ~65% below peak.
Daily deaths at 7-10/day are over 90% below peak.
Maybe some metrics will worsen with a lag. Still, delta to prior peak is huge.
So, why go nuts?
Especially when no one knows shit.
Most basic question: why covid uptick?
Expert answer/guess: Crowding.
But, arthiya-fest and election rallies didn’t lead to spike.
Expert answer/guess: No masking.
But, wearing mask on chin is an Indian thing, not a Mumbai thing. Most of India’s fine.
Expert answer/guess: Low vaccination.
But sero-surveys indicate that over 50% already have antibodies.
Next basic question: why massive disparity between few states and rest of India?
Not even a guess.
We have no coherent explanation for uptick or state-wise disparity in same.
But, data seems to indicate meaningfully lower virulence than before.
So, what do we do?
I don’t know.
But extreme steps require extremely sound basis.
When basis and its soundness seem unclear, why extreme?
Especially when we’re no longer dealing with unknown unknowns, like in March-2020.
And covid isn’t even in top five causes of mortality.
In my experience, a combination of innumeracy, sensationalist fear-mongering and causal ignorance is a recipe for unsound judgment. Combined with a do-something-dammit mindset, a recipe for misguided actions with ruinous consequences that have little to do with original objective.