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To think the word "peak" is misleading in this context?

(16 Posts)
nanbread Wed 15-Apr-20 09:57:14

If we've reached the "peak" it makes me think of conquering a mountain and the only way after that is back down.

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this just the first controlled - and probably not the biggest - peak of many, rather than the peak of infection? The way people are talking about it makes it sound like there's only one peak, that we'll hit next week.

And the curve we're flattening is just the first curve of many too.

I'd estimate not even 10% of the UK population has had it yet, and experts have suggested 80% of us could get it.

What am I missing?

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iVampire Wed 15-Apr-20 10:02:56

You are correct.

This is the first peak

There may well be subsequent ones, which is why the term is used.

Think of a mountain range, not a single freestanding one. And that makes it a very good metaphor

nanbread Wed 15-Apr-20 10:09:20

Thanks, the way it's being reported doesn't reflect that at all IMO. The rhetoric is all, "let's defeat this and get past the peak so we can everything going again" with little recognition of this being one of many.

(I also cannot stand the "battle" language the govt is using. So fucking transparent)

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Cabinfever10 Wed 15-Apr-20 10:15:03

Very true and why I have to suppress a laugh when people say things like school will be back after Easter, may ect and lockdown will end in days or weeks and can't accept that there will be a rolling lockdown for months where it is relaxed and then tightened back up as we let another wave of infection takes hold

Gammeldragz Wed 15-Apr-20 10:19:38

Agreed. Especially so many people assuming these measures will mean fewer people catching it. That isn't what flattening the curve means, at all. Yes, fewer people die this way because we aren't overwhelming the health service, but it doesn't mean fewer people getting it in the end. Just over a longer period of time.
We are slowing it down, but we aren't stopping it.

BogRollBOGOF Wed 15-Apr-20 10:35:51

The problem is no one knows how long Covid 19 will be an acute threat to health for. Vaccines are highly unlikely to occur within a year.

China's cases are rising again now lockdown is easing. China coped with the Wuhan peak by diverting resources from across the country. It now faces a choice of destroying the economy and social consequences of continued lock downs or managing the virus nationwide.

Telling people that life will be like this (or some variation of) for months/ a year is overwhelming. Easier to focus on the first few weeks and to see how we manage and gradually extend and adjust as needed.

Managing the peaks will be an issue of timing and NHS capacity. People still haven't processed that there is acceptance that the virus will continue to spread in the community.
Hopefully managing Covid 19 will also manage other seasonal illnesses like flu and norovirus and not substantially exacerbate beyond normal winter peak demand.
The greater issue is the sacrifice of less urgent NHS care and deterioration of existing conditions.

Atleastthedoglovesme Wed 15-Apr-20 10:46:08

How I understand it is the first peak will be the biggest as the virus is new and absolutely nobody had immunity. As hundreds of thousands now have immunity when the next wave hits it'll be much smaller, and then many more will build immunity, until the effects of COVID on society and the illness and death it causes are no worse than a winter flu.

Eventually it will barely exist at all because everywhere the virus turns it will be blocked by someone who has immunity so will not travel very far.

We need to slow the waves so the NHS can cope, but stopping the eventual spread to everyone is impossible.

Reginabambina Wed 15-Apr-20 11:33:07

Many countries are aiming for one peak with a very very long curve. The Australian prime minister already said to expect at least a further six months of SD. Realistically, without a vaccine it will be much longer in some states. My impression was the U.K. was aiming for similar. A big peak with gradual relaxation of SD measures in order to avoid a second peak.

nanbread Wed 15-Apr-20 13:29:16

I understand the rationale about focusing on the here and now, but I think the language used by those in charge is misleading and possibly dangerous.

Interesting idea about immunity. Even if we assume we can build long lasting resistance to the virus, and it doesn't mutate like the flu does, surely most people won't have had it come relaxing of this first lockdown... So even with immune "blockers" in society there's still a huge % of people to infect, as in theory at least only a small % of the population was infected before lockdown?

I've not seen any scientific extrapolation for this and how it would mean smaller peaks. Anyone got a nice graph?

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secretllama Wed 15-Apr-20 14:29:51

Yep!! The only reason it will be a peak is because social distancing has made it the peak. So its artificially low. When restrictions are lifted we'll start to see another rise and another peak to create/flatten.

Lillyhatesjaz Wed 15-Apr-20 16:07:27

Once the first peak is over, would it make most sense to ease lock down in the areas where the most people had already had it first? So you get a gradual spread of heard immunity moving outwards from say London. Also these areas are some of the most important for the economy.
If you relax the lock down every where new infections would be more random and harder to keep track of.
If you relax the lock down in an area like the south west with less cases, people from other areas are going to travel there spread it and then take it back home to the rest of the country especially as the main industry is tourism so at the moment less economically relevant.

nanbread Thu 16-Apr-20 15:05:40

Lilly I would say no, one of the reasons it's affected so many in London for example is that it's highly populated and high density with lots of people using public transport, eating out and travelling in from suburbs - everyday life there makes social distancing difficult, and if lockdown was relaxed it would gather pace much quicker there than a place with a lower density population, low travel / public transport rate etc. Imagine it's the same in most large cities. However it's a good point you make about economy there being central so wouldn't be surprised if govt makes London "take one for the team" to use the language of Stanley Johnson...

Whereas the south west is a weird one as they have low numbers of hospitals and ICU beds, but also it would be much harder to spread it there as quickly. And people wouldn't be able to travel there, if they're on lockdown in other areas, surely? I think there may be a longer term travel ban anyway.

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nanbread Thu 16-Apr-20 15:06:38

Interesting article relevant to this:

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nanbread Thu 16-Apr-20 15:07:56

A quote from article above:

what is happening right now could be just one peak – not the peak. And the reason for this is that despite all those positive signs from antibody testing, the huge majority of the population is not immune.

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nanbread Thu 23-Apr-20 18:47:59

Great article about how a second peak could be much much bigger

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SoupDragon Thu 23-Apr-20 18:50:36

What am I missing?

That there is a Coronavirus topic....?

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