A 91 page study was published by WHO in October 2019, just as the pandemic got underway:
“Non-Pharmaceutical Public Health Measures for Mitigating the Risk and Impact of Epidemic and Pandemic Influenza,” World Health Organization, 2019, https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/329438/9789241516839-eng.pdf
Here is a short summary from the Introduction about what WHO concluded regarding public health mitigation for a pandemic:
- Insufficient evidence for public hand washing
- Insufficient evidence for use of face masks in community settings
- Sufficient evidence that entry/exit screening does not work
- Weak evidence that travel restrictions only delay introduction for a short period, if done at beginning
- Border closures may work for smaller island nations only
The following items were found to not work and WHO recommended they not be used:
- UV light sanitization
- Contact tracing
- Entry and exit screening
- Border closures
- Quarantine of persons who may have been exposed: “Home quarantine of exposed individuals to reduce transmission is not recommended because there is no obvious rationale for this measure, and there would be considerable difficulties in implementing it.” (Their analysis has to do with costs exceeding benefits – eg. lost work hours -and ethical concerns about quarantining the healthy.)
But they did go ahead and recommend
- sanitization as a routine activity (unrelated to pandemics)
- Faces masks for SYMPTOMATIC individuals only
- Isolation of sick individuals
- Social distancing, avoid crowding people together
- Only in a Spanish Flu level pandemic did they say to consider school closures (Covid-19 is less than the level of Spanish flu)
- Only in a pandemic worse than the Spanish Flu did they suggest internal nation travel restrictions. (The U.S. currently has internal travel restrictions with numerous states mandating 2 week quarantines upon arrival from another U.S. state.)
SO WHAT HAVE WE DONE IN 2020? PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING WHO SAID IN 2019 SHOULD NOT BE DONE IN A PANDEMIC.
I may review this in more depth later – putting this here as a placeholder.
I’ve been reading The Price of Panic which spends a chapter on disease models – all of them are mostly worthless. Yet policy makers used these as the basis for lock downs. And where did the idea for lock downs come from? A 14 year old’s high school science fair project in 2006. Her Dad was a systems modeler at Sandia National Laboratories. He and colleagues wrote a computer simulation of this and concluded that closing schools would mitigate pandemics. There was no real world data. It was a model. This then morphed into public policy – all of us are non-voluntary, non-consenting participants in a massive health care experiment that is costing trillions of dollars.
Public health for pandemic response is modern day astrology, standing upon a stack of very flimsy playing cards.