Pestilence Update

Coronavirus: Why Britain could be only weeks away from an Italian-style lockdown

Blog note. Jesus indicated that ‘fearful sights’ (various natural disasters) would occur leading up to the time known as the Tribulation and Great Tribulation (a combined seven year period of great destruction on earth). Although these types of things have occurred in the past for centuries and thousands of years, they could be identified as the ‘season of the times’ due to the ferociousness of these events. They would be occurring in greater intensity, severity, frequency, size, duration, scope … just like the pains that a woman experiences in labor the farther along she is in the labor process. We are in the ‘season of the times’ that comes just before the seven (7) year Tribulation/Great Tribulation period

… And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (Luke 21:11).

… And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (Luke 21:25)

… Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken; (Luke 21:26)

… This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2 Timothy 3:1)
Jesus is giving a series of prophecies about what to look for as the age of grace comes to a close. These verses are several of many such prophecies from throughout the Bible. 2017 was the worst year in recorded history for the intensity, frequency, severity, duration and occurrence of a large number of severe natural disasters worldwide. Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, torrential flooding, unprecedented wildfires in unusual places, devastating droughts, excessive/scorching heat setting records everywhere, record snowfalls in Europe and Russia. Snow in the Arabia. This list can go on. Most studied Eschatologists believe these ‘fearful sights’ and massive natural disasters are all part of the ‘CONVERGENCE’ of signs that this Biblical and prophetic age is closing. Most people who study prophecy are familiar with the routine reference(s) made that these things will be like a woman having labor.

Coronavirus: Why Britain could be only weeks away from an Italian-style lockdown

Experts fear we are on the same epidemic trajectory as the Italians and say the government will have to act quickly

ByPaul Nuki, GLOBAL HEALTH SECURITY EDITOR, LONDON and Nick Squires ROME9 March 2020 The Telegraph.

We know, or we think we know, Italy as one of the most irrepressibly social and free-spirited nations on Earth. Yet on Sunday morning 16 million Italians in the north of the country woke to find themselves under a quarantine not dissimilar to those put in place in central China in January. By Monday evening, that had been extended to 60 million across the whole country.

With confirmed cases climbing by 2,000 a daytravel has been restricted across the nation. Public gatherings including weddings, funerals and sports matches have been banned, and while bars and restaurants can open during daylight hours, customers must sit at least a metre apart. Cinemas, theatres, libraries, museums, schools and universities are closed across the country.

Even Pope Francis had to abandon his weekly appearance on the balcony overlooking St Peter’s Square this weekend and deliver his message by video. He felt “caged” but “I see you and I am close to you,” he said.

As we watch events unfold in Italy, obvious questions arise: is Britain on the same epidemic trajectory, or did Italy make mistakes early on that we might avoid? And if we are on the same track, perhaps lagging by just a few weeks, can we expect to see a similar lockdown occur here in Britain?

There is not much evidence, despite stereotypes of Italian officialdom, that Italy got anything badly wrong.

The country reported its first cases on Jan 30 when two Chinese tourists in the country tested positive. Its health officials, supported by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization (WHO) quickly swung into action, implementing the same measures the UK and all EU countries are following – most notably contact tracing.

However, “an Italian citizen with Chinese origins” who had recently visited China is thought to have gone undetected. He came into contact with someone who then visited Codogno, in Lombardy. It is that second contact who is thought to have spread the virus widely, sparking the cluster in the north of the country.

Susan Levenstein, an American doctor based in Rome, wrote last week that in her view “the authorities got their act together surprisingly fast”.

The WHO agrees. “The government and the people of Italy are taking bold, courageous steps aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus and protecting their country and the world,” its director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The Italians have been doing more testing for the virus than others. In the early days, they were testing all suspected cases, not just those who were symptomatic. In the UK and most other countries, by contrast, only people with symptoms have been checked because it is not clear if asymptomatic cases can spread the virus.

Some politicians in Italy are furious about the approach, saying it has exaggerated the problem and damaged the country’s reputation. But others are unapologetic. 

“Either you hide problems under a carpet, or you lift the carpet and you clean the floor,” Attilio Fontana, Lombardy’s president, said in an interview last week.

So will we follow Italy’s path?

Francois Balloux, professor of computational systems biology at University College London, said he thought it likely the UK would follow the same trajectory as Italy over the coming weeks.

“The trajectory of the epidemic in the UK is so far roughly comparable to the one in Northern Italy, but with the epidemic in Northern Italy two to three weeks ahead of the situation in the UK”, he said.

“It is [also] possible that a lockdown strategy similar to the one imposed in Northern Italy may be adopted by the UK and other countries at some point in the future.”

The above graphic shows the speed at which cases increased in Italy. While lagging in total numbers, confirmed cases in the UK have doubled roughly once every three days in the last week, suggesting we are on much the same track.

But things can change; interventions do make a difference. 

The reproductive number for the virus in Italy – the average number of people each new case infects – is now said to be slowing as its social measures bite. And in Singapore and China, both countries which were fast to put in place so-called “social distancing” measures, the graphs suggest they are slowing the outbreak too.

But will Britain bear such measures if they are needed? And are they appropriate?

Professor Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine at the University of East Anglia, said the pattern of infection appeared to be different in the UK.

“Personally, I do not think that such a large-scale lockdown would be appropriate in the UK. Compared to Italy and indeed China, cases in the UK seem to be spread throughout the country with no real concentration in one or two areas, so banning movement from one area to another would not necessarily achieve anything useful in the UK,” he said.

Nevertheless, the Government here will not be taking chances. It has seen hospitals overwhelmed in the north of Italy and knows the same could happen here.

Italian doctors warned colleagues across Europe last week to “get ready” for coronavirus. In a letter they said up to 10 per cent of all those infected would require admission to an intensive care unit (ICU). 

 “Increase your total ICU capacity. Identify early hospitals that can manage the initial surge in a safe way. Get ready to prepare ICU areas … in every hospital if necessary.”

It’s important to note that even in China, those implementing isolation measures appear to be carrying the great bulk of their populations along with them. This is vital because all the academic evidence suggests no amount of coercion will work in preventing an epidemic if the people to which it is subject are not bought in.

So will it work in Britain? Or might it go the way of Jamie Oliver’s famous healthy school meals experiment where parents in some parts of the country rebelled and started handing burgers and chips through the school railings?

My own guess is that, like the Italians, we will comply – and sensibly so. We are a law abiding nation and one which values the lives of others, especially the elderly who are by far and away at the greatest risk.

The Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, warned on Monday that anyone with just mild cold symptoms would soon be asked to self-isolate for seven days.

“We are now very close to the time, probably in the next 10 to 14 days, where we should say everybody who has even minor respiratory tract infections or a fever should be self isolating for seven days afterwards,” he said.

In a few weeks’ time he may be adding the words used by Italy’s foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio: “We must change our habits, the measures must be taken seriously and faced with responsibility. Let’s stay at home as much as we can.”

Categories: Pestilence Update

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