The virus

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List and archive of articles published or linked to, and discussion thereupon. No article is closed for discussion.

The costs of the shutdown are overestimated – they’re outweighed by its $1 trillion benefit

by Richard Holden and Bruce Preston, The Conversation, 16 May 2020 link

As Australia begins to relax its COVID-19 restrictions there is understandable debate about how quickly that should proceed, and whether lockdowns even made sense in Australia in the first place.

The sceptics arguing for more rapid relaxation of containment measures point to the economic costs of lockdowns and appeal to the cold calculus of cost-benefit analysis to conclude that the lives saved by lockdowns don’t justify the economic costs incurred to do so...

Discussion on this opinion piece is closed in The Conversation but can continue in Brunswick News.

Trump's Wuhan lab leak theory

by Clive Hamilton, The Age | 9 May 2020 link

... On February 6, a short paper by two scientists from Wuhan universities and titled "The possible origins of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus" appeared. Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao noted that the habitat of the bats carrying the suspected virus is 900 kilometres from the seafood market, that the bats are not eaten by Wuhan residents, and that "no bat was traded in the market".

Nor is there any evidence of an intermediate host (speculation has centred on pangolins). They point out that there are two research centres that experiment on bat viruses in Wuhan, one less than 300 metres from the seafood market and the other, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, around 12 kilometres. They concluded that "the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan". The article was quickly removed...

Discussion on this opinion piece is closed in the Age but can continue in Brunswick News.

Did cars cause coronavirus?

Can bikes fix it?

by Brunswick News | 4 May 2020 link

Tim Read and the BRN both come up with a story that the coronavirus pandemic is something good for bikes in the ongoing struggle against the car. They find stories (different ones each) from media around the world, where various cities are temporarily reserving extra road space for bicycles...

The Greens are big boosters of bikes as we know but they also favour public transport. Unfortunately bikes are getting used in these places in preference to public transport, that being the riskiest way to travel in the epidemic...

Covid Elimination? What then?

by Tim Read, MP | 17 Apr, 2020 link

... State and federal governments, following health advice, have triggered a serious economic depression. The government decisions that caused this have wide support, but the toughest decisions lie ahead. And these decisions should be made publicly, not behind closed doors...