For people who really want to return to normal pre-COVID living, I highly recommend reading this Lancet research. The authors find that five countries that chose a rapid elimination strategy with full lockdowns (Australia, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea) have fared much better than advanced countries that have attempted mitigation (the United States, Israel, the UK, France, Germany, etc.) They then write about getting this pandemic under control internationally as we move ahead.
From the study on mortality:
COVID-19 deaths per 1 million population in OECD countries that opted for elimination (Australia, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea) have been about 25 times lower than in other OECD countries that favoured mitigation. Mortality is a proxy for a country’s broader disease burden. For example, decision makers should also consider the increasing evidence of long-term morbidities after SARS-CoV-2 infection.
What about economic performance?
There is also increasing consensus that elimination is preferable to mitigation in relation to a country’s economic performance. One study quantified the optimal basic reproduction number so that elimination is achieved at minimal economic cost. To this end, consider weekly GDP growth with respect to 2019 for the OECD countries that opted for elimination or mitigation. Elimination is superior to mitigation for GDP growth on average and at almost all time periods. GDP growth returned to pre-pandemic levels in early 2021 in the five countries that opted for elimination, whereas growth is still negative for the other 32 OECD countries.
Oh and then there is freedom?
Among OECD countries, liberties were most severely impacted in those that chose mitigation, whereas swift lockdown measures—in line with elimination—were less strict and of shorter duration. Importantly, elimination has been framed as a civic solidarity approach that will restore civil liberties the soonest; this focus on common purpose is frequently neglected in the political debate.
National action alone is insufficient and a clear global plan to exit the pandemic is necessary. Countries that opt to live with the virus will likely pose a threat to other countries, notably those that have less access to COVID-19 vaccines. The uncertainty of lockdown timing, duration, and severity will stifle economic growth as businesses withhold investments and consumer confidence deteriorates. Global trade and travel will continue to be affected. Political indecisiveness and partisan policy decisions reduce trust in government. This does not bode well in those countries that have seen a retraction of democracy. Meanwhile, countries opting for elimination are likely to return to near normal: they can restart their economies, allow travel between green zones, and support other countries in their vaccination campaigns and beyond. The consequences of varying government COVID-19 responses will be long-lasting and extend beyond the end of the pandemic. Early economic and political gains made by countries aiming to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 will probably pay off in the long run.
Green zones and vaccine passports look like they are going to be an issue as we move forward.
NY is definitely trending positive with COVID-19 as more and more of us are vaccinated but we are still in an orange zone with the virus continuing to spread in the community.
Educators of NYC has a survey out that thousands of educators, parents, and community activists have responded to so far. I am somewhat surprised that preliminary results show overwhelming majorities support mandatory vaccinations for students and educators. This is not a scientific poll but the numbers are fascinating.
You can take the survey by clicking here.