Suppress and Lift: Hong Kong and Singapore Fight Coronavirus

I trust Dr. Leung in Hong Kong who I have followed since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic in January. Every country in the world isn’t as utterly dysfunctional as ours.

Science Mag:

“Despite setbacks, Hong Kong’s and Singapore’s targeted strategies for fighting COVID-19 may yet succeed—and provide a model for other countries emerging from their first wave of cases. Until recently, the two cities had managed to keep their case numbers remarkably low while avoiding the extreme lockdowns implemented in China and many other countries. Both fought outbreaks through aggressive testing, isolating infected people, and tracing and quarantining their contacts. For everyone else, it was almost business as usual, with a bit of social distancing.

But case numbers spiked in the second half of March, and some observers feared the strategy had failed. Hong Kong had just 149 confirmed cases on 15 March; the tally reached 1005 yesterday. Singapore’s number grew from 226 on 15 March to 2532 yesterday. Neither city is seeing the explosive growth Italy, Spain, and many areas of the United States have witnessed. Their health care systems have not been overwhelmed. But both ramped up their responses. Hong Kong recently imposed restrictions on restaurants and closed bars entirely. Singapore has closed schools and nonessential businesses and instructed residents to stay home—a dramatic escalation.

In Hong Kong, the rate of new cases has already slowed. University of Hong Kong public health specialist Gabriel Leung, who advises the city’s government, says if the trend continues, “we might be able to breathe a little bit easier” and relax the new regulations. He thinks what Hong Kong and Singapore are practicing may become the new normal in many countries: a “suppression and lift” strategy in which governments aim to alternately drive down new infections to a low level, then loosen the reins while watching for any resurgence.

When the pandemic first emerged, both Hong Kong and Singapore had certain advantages. After suffering major outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003, they had built up response capabilities and laid preparedness plans. …”

New York Times:

“HONG KONG — Lockdowns, quarantines and extreme forms of physical distancing work: They are curbing the spread of Covid-19. But they cannot last indefinitely, at least not without causing enormous damage to economies and compromising peoples’ good will and emotional well-being.

When governments decide to close schools (or not), for example, they are implicitly trying to balance these various interests. One major problem, though: Their calculus about the underlying trade-offs typically is unclear, and the criteria for their policy adjustments are unknown.

A formal framework is needed, with an explicit rationale grounded in science, for determining when and how and based on what factors to relax restrictions — and how to reapply some or all of them should another epidemic wave hit again. …”

No country on earth has lost Round 1 as badly as the United States and that is because our political class was exposed as arrogant, complacent and grossly incompetent.

Note: Coronavirus is going to be a marathon.

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  1. For whatever it’s worth–and maybe not much–I’m going to state, Mr. W., a thesis that struck me maybe two weeks ago:

    There are no “superbugs.”

    I keep thinking that a belief in the possibility of that sort of sci-fi thing–a “superbug”–underlies much of the reaction to this virus; but that belief is a relic, of the pre-scientific age. Nature just isn’t that creative. Yes, there are pathogens, which, in the millennia before the rise of scientific medicine, could be scourges; but the basics of them have been figured out. No new pathogen, far more powerful than any pathogen we’ve encountered heretofore, is going to appear in the world, any more than some new chemical element is going to be discovered someday by space voyagers. The Periodic Table won’t be overturned.

    Of the two literary passages that came almost immediately to my mind when that thought struck me, the first is the following:

    “The old habit … of associating a goal with every event and a guiding, creative God with the world, is so powerful that it requires an effort for a thinker not to fall into thinking of the very aimlessness of the world as intended. This notion—that the world intentionally avoids a goal and even knows artifices for keeping itself from entering into a circular course—must occur to all those who would like to force on the world the ability for eternal novelty, i.e., on a finite, definite, unchangeable force of constant size, such as the world is, the miraculous power of infinite novelty in its forms and states. The world, even if it is no longer a god, is still supposed to be capable of the divine power of creation, the power of infinite transformations; it is supposed to consciously prevent itself from returning to any of its old forms; it is supposed to possess not only the intention but the means of avoiding any repetition; to that end, it is supposed to control every one of its movements at every moment so as to escape goals, final states, repetitions—and whatever else may follow from such an unforgivably insane way of thinking and desiring. It is still the old religious way of thinking and desiring, a kind of longing to believe that in some way the world is after all like the old beloved, infinite, boundlessly creative God-that in some way “the old God still lives”—that longing of Spinoza which was expressed in the words “deus sive natura” (he even felt “natura sive deus”).

    “What, then, is the law and belief with which the decisive change, the recently attained preponderance of the scientific spirit over the religious, God-inventing spirit, is most clearly formulated? Is it not: the world, as force, may not be thought of as unlimited, for it cannot be so thought of; we forbid ourselves the concept of an infinite force as incompatible with the concept “force.” Thus—the world also lacks the capacity for eternal novelty.”
    — Nietzsche, The Will to Power
    (See Section 1062, pages 546-7, at )

    The second is this:

    “With the use of copper the Neolithic fades to its end and the Bronze Age commences soon thereafter. This next step in advance was made apparently about 4000 B.C. when some unknown genius discovered that an amalgam of nine parts of copper to one part of tin would produce the metal we now call bronze, which has a texture and strength suitable for weapons and tools. The discovery revolutionized the world. The new knowledge was a long time spreading and weapons of this material were of fabulous value, especially in countries where there were no native mines and where spears and swords could only be obtained through trade or conquest. The esteem in which these bronze weapons, and still more the later weapons of iron, were held, is indicated by the innumerable legends and myths concerning magic swords and armor, the possession of which made the owner well-nigh invulnerable and invincible.”
    — Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race, 1918
    ( See page 126 at )

    Grant’s probably right there, though I don’t know whether that was an insight of his own. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we saw the equivalent: Fanciful tales of atomic radiation that turned mortals into The Incredible Hulk or Spiderman or disfigured ghouls. Is there any evidence that radiation has had such an effect anywhere in the real world? Not to my knowledge, though it’s killed some persons.

    Behind a paywall at is an Economist article that was linked in a Breitbart article that was linked at the Daily Stormer. Although I myself haven’t read the Economist article–or the scientific report it treats–my sense, from one or two remarks at the Daily Stormer and Breitbart, is that the scientific article says, in effect, that COVID-19 isn’t a superbug and that efforts to control its spread might increase the number of its fatalities.

    So–provisionally–the good news: The world isn’t as scary as a sci-fi movie
    The bad news: It’s not as much fun as one either.

    • . “Is there any evidence that radiation has had such an effect anywhere in the real world? Not to my knowledge, though it’s killed some persons.”

      Mr B., The only things that radiation does is kill, main, cripple, ruin your health, or shorten your life. Pretty mundane. The only real magic in the world, is what you make for yourself, by wondering at it. And by taking time to appreciate it.

      • I’m in sympathy with your final two sentences, James; and in fact, the final sentence of my comment was one I included half-reluctantly. I didn’t want to express dissatisfaction with existence–but in its context, it was something I could endorse.

        As to your first two sentences, well, really, they went without being said.

    • And ignoring the reality that God- the Creator of the Universe, and the potter who can do with y’all as He darn well pleases (as HE can with me, never fear…. I am not immune, either) is the ONE scenario the terminally stupid generation will not deal with.

      I read the “Easter Sunday” comments. The vast number of unregenerate individuals on this site, alone, are astounding to read. Very often literate, intelligent, and to the point, y’all become/became positively unhinged, and like wild beasts, when it came to acknowledging your existence to YHWH and His Son, Jesus Christ.

      Don’t worry. The Lord will use this plague to cause the world to acknowledge Him, and He alone, as the source for your life… and death.

      “Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy…” – Is. 54;16

    • @Il Signore Bonaccorsi …

      ‘…The old habit … of associating a goal with every event and a guiding, creative God with the world, is so powerful that it requires an effort for a thinker not to fall into thinking of the very aimlessness of the world as intended…’

      ‘Aimless’ is a pointed semantic which expresses that God has left this world for us to experience without His overarching presence, and the feeling of frustration with the seeming pointlessness of that.

      Something my fellow Christians seem to forget is that, when Eve opted out of Eden, God responded by removing as much of Himself as he could, so that we would have much more responsibility, vulnerability, and choice.

      For all of that to occur, this realm had to be chocked full of vagaries and seemingly unconnected vicissitudes.

      Though my inclination is to regard this epidemic as having a celestial connection, it might not have. Certainly history is full of events that have nothing of God in it, other than the fact He created the actors and the stage.

      In any case, thank you, Dear John, as always, for the excellent substance and depth and well-articulated of your commentary.

      • You’re welcome, Ivan. I’m glad you thought something was of value there.

        Your remark about Nietzsche’s use of “aimlessness” (assuming that that was a reasonable translation of whatever was the German word he used) struck me–because I wondered whether anyone would zero in on it, as you did. Although I’m not sure Nietzsche would agree that the word has the overtone that you–and I, too, to an extent–heard in it, I’m pretty sure he would say that such an overtone, if it’s there, is unimportant, that it simply reflects a psychological adjustment Western man is having to make in the process of returning to a pre-Christian mentality. It’s something like the adjustment that Westerners circa 1900 had to make when they saw carriages moving unpulled: How’s that happening, they wondered, as they dubbed them “horseless carriages.”

        Anyway–I’ll say again that I’m glad you saw something of worth there.

  2. ‘Flaws in Pasteur’s theories were shown long ago in the first half of the 20’h century by experiments in which animals were kept completely germ-free. Their birth even took place by Cesarean section; after that, they were locked in microbe free cages and given sterile food and water-after a few days, all the animals were dead. This made it apparent that “contamination” by exogenous bacteria is absolutely essential to their lives.10’
    Virus Mania. How the Medical Industry Continually Invents Epidemics, Making Billion-Dollar Profits at Our Expense, Torsten Engelbrecht and Claus Köhnlein

    • I’m glad you quoted that book, of which I’d never heard. I’ve now taken a look at a few pages of it at

  3. No country on earth has lost Round 1 as badly as the United States and that is because our political class was exposed as arrogant, complacent and grossly incompetent.

    Most of the numbers are being fudged around the world. Europe and US are probably the more reliable numbers.

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