CATEGORY / blog

COVID-19: Can We Test Our Way Out Of This?

by Raywat Deonandan, PhD
Epidemiologist & Associate Professor
University of Ottawa
(I add my credentials to these COVID-19 blog posts in case they get shared. I want readers to know that my opinion is supposedly an educated and informed one)

 

Slovakia did an amazing thing this month. They tested two thirds of their population over a couple of weekends to find close to 58,000 active cases. The UK was so inspired by what they saw, that they did a similar thing in Liverpool, as well.

That got my spouse (a family doctor) and I talking this morning about whether mass testing could be a tolerable way out of the COVID mess for parts of Canada. So this blog post is a real-time thought experiment in which I take a stab at describing how such a strategy might work in some Canadian provinces.

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COVID19: Elimination, Suppression, or Mitigation? (Podcast Episode)

COVID-19: Eradication vs Elimination vs Suppression vs Mitigation

by Raywat Deonandan, PhD
Epidemiologist & Associate Professor
University of Ottawa
(I add my credentials to these COVID-19 blog posts in case they get shared. I want readers to know that my opinion is supposedly an educated and informed one)

Earlier this week, Dr Andrew Morris tweeted, “We need a national debate on COVID strategy,” and tagged many national leaders.

He’s not wrong. Early on in the pandemic, it was assumed by many epidemiologists that we were pursuing the “hammer and dance” made famous by Thomas Pueyo, and that I had written about back in March. The idea back then was that we would endure harsh economic restrictions to buy time to deploy more public health tools and to enact our long term strategy for enduring the pandemic. (more…)

COVID-19: Focused Protection Is Not A Thing

by Raywat Deonandan, PhD
Epidemiologist & Associate Professor
University of Ottawa
(I add my credentials to these COVID-19 blog posts in case they get shared. I want readers to know that my opinion is supposedly an educated and informed one)

This is a post I really didn’t want to write. I thought we were done with this topic. And I am loathe to give it more airtime. But people keep asking me about it. So here we are.

There is something called “The Great Barrington Declaration” (GBD), which is a proposal put forth by a handful of scientists who disagree with how COVID-19 is being handled in most countries. (You know, people opposed to economic restrictions, masks, distancing, etc.)

You can read the details yourself, but in essence the GBD signatories propose two things: (1) shield the vulnerable, i.e. those most likely to die of this disease. They call this “focused protection”. And (2) let the disease run rampant throughout the rest of the population in order to achieve herd immunity.

First, I talked about herd immunity and why “locking up the old folks” is not a viable strategy way back in April.

Second, scientists adhering to the orthodox view have created a response document, the John Snow Memorandum, advocating strongly against a herd immunity strategy. Full disclosure: I have signed the John Snow Memorandum in my capacity as a Global Health Epidemiologist. So you already know where I stand on this issue.

Third, disagreement is fine. Debate is welcome. We can address our opposing points civilly. So I will attempt to do so now. I hope you remember to do so if you choose to leave a comment.

Better scientists than I have already put forth strong scientific oppositions to the GBD proposal. My goal today is to explain in plain language why I personally think it’s a bad idea. Deep breath. Here we go.

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