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  • JNM
  • The Legend

    • 4951

    • January 19, 2015, 10:16:48 am
    • Cairo, Egypt (formerly Seoul)
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #100 on: August 20, 2021, 01:04:20 am »
40% of deer tested in 2021 had covid-19 antibodies. In Michigan, 60%. Deer arenít dying or suffering any ill effects. Why is that?

Deer are physiologically very different from humans. Not saying that being active and having a good diet are bad things, but bigger factors are likely:

1) Most animals donít typically live beyond childbearing years, so there are no elderly.

2) Viruses impact different species differently.


Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #101 on: August 20, 2021, 10:37:59 am »
I'm not having a go at you or trying to prompt another big argument, but why are you focusing on so specifically on death, as if it's the only factor in decision-making about coronavirus restrictions? You often say, rightly, that many things are more complex than they look on the surface. But you're simplifying this whole situation as a choice about saving the lives of the elderly, when it is actually much more complex. Flights were massively curtailed, for example, because demand plummeted. I described some of the potential consequences of "letting it rip" back on page 3, and deliberately kept it brief, but I could have gone into a lot more detail. You're talking about economic disruption to the lives of younger people, but you don't know that fewer restrictions would prevent that. I know it's tough for, say, a bar or dance studio or gym right now. But widespread COVID outbreaks at those businesses might be equally destructive, in addition to producing more death, hospitalizations and disability. It's NOT a binary choice between "impose the restrictions and save the elderly" and "have a normal life but sacrifice the elderly". The economic disruption caused by unconstrained spread of the virus might well exceed the disruption caused by restrictions.

I'm not saying that would definitely happen, but it's something you have to consider. We don't really know how things would play out, but a combination of epidemiological modeling and historical economic data can tell us quite a bit, and those point to something very different than the binary choice I mentioned above.

Now having said all that, I do want to acknowledge that some COVID rules have been illogical and contradictory, others have been less effective than envisioned and I do have a lot of sympathy for workers and business owners in industries that have been most affected. I also think that prioritizing the least mobile and economically productive segment of society for vaccines was a mistake. Indonesia prioritized young people, and I think that's probably the best path to follow in a future pandemic. https://www.politico.eu/article/the-case-for-vaccinating-the-young-first-coronavirus-covid/
I think that was definitely applicable during the early days of COVID when we were in the "fog of war". However as the data came out and it became clear what the risk was to those under-50 and even under-65, I think it should have forced a reassessment and that an outbreak of COVID amongst that group would be like a salmonella, flu or norovirus outbreak. It could make the headlines but it wouldn't cripple the industry. If there was a flu outbreak at your local bar, it's not going to suffer permanent damage. Cruise ships have outbreaks all the time but people still go.

Now if say, some new variant came out that had disturbing numbers and a later shutdown was advised in response, that would be fine.


  • Liechtenstein
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1717

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #102 on: August 20, 2021, 11:38:28 am »
I think most people probably put a much higher value on their lives and the lives of others than who cares.

True, but that's an emotional argument and while still valid, it is not logical. Virtually no one is important. We are all profoundly temporary. How many people alive on this planet right now are truly important? Not you. Not me. That's for sure. If we were truly important we wouldn't be wasting our time here on Waygook would we? We'd be reading our article about how we have found a cure for cancer in the New England Journal of Medicine and accepting the Nobel Prize.


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 7527

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #103 on: August 20, 2021, 11:48:15 am »
Yeah, you're important to your social circle and family, but 99.99% of people could get hit by a truck and it wouldn't make a lick of difference.

Think of 100 years ago. 1921. Who can you name from that year that was 20yo to 60yo?

I'll wait. No one will remember you. That isn't depressing, it's freeing.


Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #104 on: August 20, 2021, 12:02:49 pm »
Just because someone isn't pulling an oar in SS. Capitalism doesn't mean they are non-productive. This is reductionist thinking with a Nazi twist.

As for the economy, the rich keep getting richer, thus no reason for Rs to worry.
I disagree that just because the rich get richer (which is the case almost always) that justifies massive disruption of the economy. The issue isn't whether rich get richer, it's whether middle class and poor people get poorer.

At some point you have to be real about the fact that people die and when they're old they are not the backbone of your workforce and that the future is more important than the past.

Are old people really that selfish that they think their next 5-10 years are more important than the next 20-40 of the young and early adults?

That's some warped Confucian thinking there.


Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #105 on: August 20, 2021, 02:51:50 pm »
I'm sincerely trying to avoid misrepresenting your view here, so this is a genuine question, not a rhetorical one. Do you think that all mitigation efforts are rooted in trying to avoid emotional distress caused by death? That's how you've been framing it, but you haven't really answered why.
Obviously not. As I said, during the early days of COVID these big lockdowns were sensible given the lack of information. They also can be effective during periodic spikes, especially if targeted.

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Again, serious, long-term disruption to medical infrastructure may have more serious knock-on effects to the wider economy than temporary shut-downs or restrictions on certain types of businesses. That may not be true for every location, or at every stage of a pandemic, but the possibility is real. Local epidemics can have significant impacts on economies, even without the kind of mitigation measures that have been applied to COVID.

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Right, but scale this up to severe flu outbreaks at 50% of bars nationwide, coupled with local awareness of the fact that some bar regulars who contracted the flu were hospitalized or died, and then scale it up even more, so that it's a well-documented international phenomenon, and stretch it out over a long period of time. The bar industry is still going to suffer.

Yes, but those certainly aren't of a scale similar to that of a prolonged lockdown that impacts all sorts of business sectors and in particular, affects small businesses disproportionately. It's one thing if a single sector or related sectors take a hit, it's another if it affects virtually the entire country. Now again, during the early days that was likely a sensible risk, but as information became available, particularly when it came to who is most vulnerable, it started to make less sense.

Either way, lockdown or no, you are going to be dealing with losses. The question is how disruptive and to what extent are those losses compared to each other. If the losses from lockdown substantially exceed the losses that would have taken place with more limited measures, then you have to consider whether it is worth it. In particular, many of the losses from COVID lockdowns will be more long-term. In the case of say Korea, the high-rate of single-business ownership, particularly the sheer number of restaurants, bars and other small business establishments and the impact that will have on their owners, really makes this a situation of concern. It's one thing if large corporations suffer a 20% reduction and this is matched with some deduction in pay, because they have reserves and will be afforded bailouts and their employees will still be gainfully employed vs. such reductions, which often will be more severe, and will result in a total collapse of one's business and income, and the follow-on effects related to housing and purchasing.

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That is some very emotional prognostication. The current US unemployment rate is 5.6%. In the UK it's 4.7%. In South Korea it's like 3.5%. Annual GDP growth is up in more countries than not, including SK and six of the seven NET countries.
Those are very basic statistics- What about people no longer looking for work? Or people whose business folded and are now working low-wage jobs? And GDP is also only a surface-level look at things. You have to look at what sectors are making gains and how much of that is going into the average worker vs. say, investors and executives.

This is why I went with 20-30/100k as my target for "normal". It's roughly double the flu rate and I think that is manageable for "normal" life.


  • L I
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6979

    • October 03, 2011, 01:50:58 pm
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #106 on: August 20, 2021, 02:59:24 pm »
Big government payouts for not working in the US disincentivize looking for work. People pretend they are afraid of coronavirus or that there are few jobs out there because of it when in actuality they want free unemployment money.

Government borrowing is debt that must be paid somewhere down the road.


  • gogators!
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5242

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #107 on: August 20, 2021, 08:44:17 pm »
True, but that's an emotional argument and while still valid, it is not logical. Virtually no one is important. We are all profoundly temporary. How many people alive on this planet right now are truly important? Not you. Not me. That's for sure. If we were truly important we wouldn't be wasting our time here on Waygook would we? We'd be reading our article about how we have found a cure for cancer in the New England Journal of Medicine and accepting the Nobel Prize.
Yes, no one is indispensable. But that humility should also apply to deciding who lives and dies, a process you and martini are engaging in.

In my daily life in SK, I'd say the bus and subway drivers were a lot more important than potential Nobel prize winners. Heck, even the retired dudes working as security guards in the places I lived could be quite helpful when they weren't napping.


  • gogators!
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5242

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #108 on: August 20, 2021, 08:51:21 pm »
Yeah, you're important to your social circle and family, but 99.99% of people could get hit by a truck and it wouldn't make a lick of difference.

Think of 100 years ago. 1921. Who can you name from that year that was 20yo to 60yo?

I'll wait. No one will remember you. That isn't depressing, it's freeing.
I could name plenty of people--parents (closing in on 20), grandparents, aunts. uncles and their friends who I met while growing up. My friends' parents. Coaches and teachers.

And of course most anyone could name scores of famous and infamous persons in that cohort.


Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #109 on: August 21, 2021, 12:36:22 am »
I'm still trying to figure out why you are using death rate as the yardstick, then, when you know it's more complicated than that.
Because I wanted a poll question for discussion and went with that one with just a bit of thought because I thought it fit the board. Things could be expanded upon.

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But in making those determinations, it's important to look beyond the death rate and consider all of the unintended consequences of preserving "normal life", in addition to considering the unintended consequences of restrictive mitigation measures.
I'd agree with that and good job raising it.

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When they announced the Level 4 restrictions for Seoul, I remember reading that bars were supposed to be closed. Well, every bar around here is open. There is a ban on evening group gatherings but shops, restaurants and cafes are otherwise allowed to operate at full capacity. It's just a rearrangement of chairs, not necessarily an overall reduction in numbers. Cinemas are open. Schools are not fully online. Yes, there are some restrictions but I think some care is needed when talking about what is and isn't a lockdown.

Well that's true that defining "lockdown" vs. restrictions is complicated. I guess for purposes of discussion, measures strict enough to put many businesses at risk.

Those businesses are hurting. There's A LOT of dried up income. It's not just a little belt tightening for many of them.

The degree to which restaurants rely on parties of to group dinners is massive. Think about how many hwesiks have not happened? How many tables for 2 and not 4? How much business from 10pm to 4AM? Kareoke bars, clubs, bars, all kinds of places. How many cab rides? School buses not running. Gyms. Entertainment venues.   Convenience stores. How much debt is being accumulated? There are so many sectors that are connected and there is a real danger of a cascade. All those chickens are going to come home to roost some day.

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While the country's marquee players have fared well, the service and hospitality sectors, which were struggling even before COVID, have been hit particularly hard.

A study released this week by the Korea Economic Research Institute found that sales by independent merchants were down 78.5% in the first half of the year from the same period in 2020, with 58% of respondents attributing the decline to COVID.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/South-Korea-s-COVID-surge-hammers-small-businesses-again

That's a catastrophe affecting millions across the country. It is NOT sustainable.


  • gogators!
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5242

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #110 on: August 21, 2021, 12:48:46 am »
"All those chicken are going to come home to roost some day."

Says Chicken Little.

"South Korea's exports jumped 39.7 percent on-year in June to extend their gains to an eighth consecutive month on the back of a recovery in global business activities. In the first six months of 2021, exports advanced 26.1 percent to reach $303.2 billion, setting a new record for any first-half period."


Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #111 on: August 21, 2021, 12:52:33 am »
"All those chicken are going to come home to roost some day."

Says Chicken Little.

"South Korea's exports jumped 39.7 percent on-year in June to extend their gains to an eighth consecutive month on the back of a recovery in global business activities. In the first six months of 2021, exports advanced 26.1 percent to reach $303.2 billion, setting a new record for any first-half period."
Are those small businesses, restaurants, taxis, convenience stores, etc. all linked to the export business?
« Last Edit: August 21, 2021, 01:41:17 am by Mr.DeMartino »


  • gogators!
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5242

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #112 on: August 21, 2021, 02:02:38 am »
Are those small businesses, restaurants, taxis, convenience stores, etc. all linked to the export business?
Indirectly, yes.

What percentage of those workers are you willing to let die chasing their daily won?

A better alternative is to have the government financially support such businesses that can show they are struggling. It seems like a win-win, except of course for the funeral homes.


  • L I
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6979

    • October 03, 2011, 01:50:58 pm
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #113 on: August 21, 2021, 08:27:47 am »
"South Korea's exports jumped

Korea and Japan had been boycotting each other for a while. Nice to see that die down. Globalism and free trade - intercourse between nearby countries - boosts the overall standard of living.


Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #114 on: August 21, 2021, 08:36:30 am »
Indirectly, yes.

What percentage of those workers are you willing to let die chasing their daily won?

A better alternative is to have the government financially support such businesses that can show they are struggling. It seems like a win-win, except of course for the funeral homes.
I already answered number of deaths I'd take for normality- Double those of the flu.

Given corona's death rate amongst the active working population, the numbers of workers saved would likely be around that of the number saved by lowering the speed limit by 10 mph. Or maybe less.

The connections between a local restaurant and the demand for Korean export goods is virtually nonexistant. Can you please explain how these restaurants and pubs are driving Korea's export growth?

How exactly is the government supposed to provide a previous level of income for millions of these stores without accumulating massive debt or cutting other services? Where is this tax revenue coming from? How is that sustainable?
« Last Edit: August 21, 2021, 08:41:35 am by Mr.DeMartino »


  • L I
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6979

    • October 03, 2011, 01:50:58 pm
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #115 on: August 21, 2021, 09:04:29 am »
USA reduced coronavirus restrictions, resulting in an improved economy, resulting in an increased importation of Korean goods. This helps the Korean economy. Similar situation for China, which is why Korea is exporting more to them, too.


  • JNM
  • The Legend

    • 4951

    • January 19, 2015, 10:16:48 am
    • Cairo, Egypt (formerly Seoul)
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #116 on: August 21, 2021, 07:21:47 pm »
A big problem with of our first world lifestyle is that so much of our economy is based on non-essentials.

Back in 2008, I had had a bit of a revelation that if everybody in the USA (300 million at the time) purchased 1 fewer CD a year (~$15) that would be a 4.5 billion USD reduction in direct economic activity and who knows how much indirect economic activity (the spending of those who get a piece that price tag, from the artist to the record store employee).

Our luxury items are somebody else's lunch.


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 2856

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
    more
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #117 on: August 21, 2021, 10:31:03 pm »
I was impressed by Korea's initial quick and strong reaction to the coronovirus in early 2020 (compared to England and America where their leaders poo-poo'd doing anything initially).

But then Korea introduced a new 4-level system where the 4th level was weaker then the measures taken at the beginning of the outbreak!

That said, *sigh* ... COVID19, like the flu, might be here to stay, adapting each year, the booster shots being equivalent to the seasonal flu shots; good for Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies.

The new normal. Masks and social distancing? How about yearly injections?


  • gogators!
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5242

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #118 on: August 22, 2021, 01:58:36 am »
I already answered number of deaths I'd take for normality- Double those of the flu.

Given corona's death rate amongst the active working population, the numbers of workers saved would likely be around that of the number saved by lowering the speed limit by 10 mph. Or maybe less.

The connections between a local restaurant and the demand for Korean export goods is virtually nonexistant. Can you please explain how these restaurants and pubs are driving Korea's export growth?

How exactly is the government supposed to provide a previous level of income for millions of these stores without accumulating massive debt or cutting other services? Where is this tax revenue coming from? How is that sustainable?
You've got it backwards. The export growth feeds the domestic economy.

"would likely be around" is a tell that you don't have proof for your assertions.

As for government funding:
"South Korea posted a current account surplus of US$7.06 billion in January. The Bank of Korea announced on March 9 that South Korea posted a current account surplus of US$7.06 billion in January this year whereas the surplus stood at US$0.58 billion in January 2020."

I think that would keep a lot of small businesses afloat.

Restaurants might also think about introducing the custom of tipping:
 
"A diner left a $10,000 tip for staff at a Florida restaurant on Tuesday.

"He said he appreciated what they've been through," the owner of Wahoo Seafood told Newsweek.

Restaurant staff have faced COVID outbreaks, maskless patrons, and longer hours during the pandemic."

I have a question for you. What's your plan for all the orphans you would create?


  • gogators!
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5242

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #119 on: August 22, 2021, 02:01:15 am »
USA reduced coronavirus restrictions, resulting in an improved economy, resulting in an increased importation of Korean goods. This helps the Korean economy. Similar situation for China, which is why Korea is exporting more to them, too.
Government stimulus helped the US economy more than lifting restrictions.

As for China, the response to any Covid-19 outbreak is to introduce and enforce strict restrictions.