NOBODY expected Spanish ‘Flu, yet just over 100 years ago, it burst onto the world and killed around 50 million.
Spanish ‘Flu actually came from America, (probably Kansas), and it built up huge momentum, because the US government covered it up.
With no warning of what was coming the world took no precautions, and the resultant pandemic killed more people than World War 1 or World War 2. It may even have killed more than the combined total!
Today, we are again suffering ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ – and once again, a lot of the blame can be laid upon a government cover-up. This time it was the Chinese.
China initially denied there was a new disease stalking its cities. Then it denied there was human-to-human transmission.
Then they allowed millions of people to leave Wuhan for the Chinese New Year celebrations. (Those travellers seeded the disease around the entire World and ensured the epidemic would become a worldwide pandemic.)
In the UK, we calibrated our statistical models using data from China. They gave us a completely false picture of the behaviour of the disease. It was only when we received trustworthy data from outside China that we were able to recalibrate our models.
We suddenly realised that the disease was spreading exponentially. At that point, it was concluded that without a lockdown, the death toll would be monstrous.
An exponentially spreading disease is the stuff of nightmares. Death tolls go up by doubling: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16384, 32768, etc. If the doubling interval is four days, it means that 60 days after the first death, the daily rate would be over 30,000 deaths EACH day, and still growing!
So, a lockdown was essential to break the chain of transmission. The damage to the economy will be immense, but what other choice did we have?