bookmark_borderEr der en plan?

Der er mange mulige måder at håndtere coronakrisen på, blandt andet:

  1. Vi kan prøve på at opnå flokimmunitet (“herd immunity”) ved at lade mindst 60% af befolkningen blive smittet – og helst i et tempo, hvor sundhedsvæsenet kan følge med.
  2. Vi kan gå i skjul (via hjemsendelse, social distancering og så videre) og vente på en af to ting:
    1. Der udvikles en vaccine.
    2. Coronavirusset dør ud, fordi ingen smitter hinanden.
  3. Vi kan lade dem, som har haft covid-19, opføre sig normalt (altså gå på arbejde, i skole og på besøg), mens alle andre skal holde sig hjemme.
  4. Vi kan isolere alle, som er smittefarlige (ved at teste alle med symptomer), samt alle, de har været i kontakt med.
  5. Vi kan teste alle mindst en gang om ugen, og isolere alle, som er syge.
  6. Vi kan bare lade stå til og acceptere, at sundhedsvæsenet ikke kan hjælpe alle.

corona photoProblemet – som jeg ser det – er, at vi ikke er enige om, hvad planen er, og vi går så rundt med vores egne formodninger og antagelser. Jeg har på sociale medier set folk, der antog den danske plan var nr. 1, andre 2.1, og andre igen 2.2; WHO har anbefalet nr. 4 (men de danske myndigheder har afvist denne plan), og plan 3, 5 og 6 er blevet diskuteret i andre lande.

Men alle planerne kan jo ikke være den officielle strategi på samme tid. Der har været rygter om, at planen egentlig er nr. 1, men at de ikke tør sige det højt. Det er problematisk, da vi jo så ikke kan drøfte, om vi er enige eller ej. Og der er bestemt fagfolk, som bestemt ikke mener, det er en god strategi, fx;

Man skal heller ikke glemme, plan 1 oprindeligt var den britiske strategi, men at de blev tvunget til at opgive den, da det blev klart, det var for svært at måle, hvor hurtigt virusset bredte sig ud, og at der derfor var en stor fare for, at sundhedsvæsenet ville bukke under.

Måske er plan 1 den bedste, vi har. Men det skal i hvert fald siges højt og klart, så vi drøfte fordele og ulemper. Jeg håber, Mette Frederiksen giver os et svar senere i dag.

bookmark_borderNationalisér Sygeforsikringen “danmark”!

dentist photoDanmark er på mange måde et meget egalitært samfund med en udpræget retfærdighedssans, så for folk, der flytter hertil fra udlandet, kan det virke underligt, at flere ikke er forargede over de høje priser på tandlægebesøg, receptpligtig medicin og briller.

Jeg spekulerer på, om det mon skyldes, at næsten halvdelen af befolkningen (2,5 mio. mennesker) er medlem af Sygeforsikringen “danmark”, der som bekendt giver tilskud til netop tandlægebesøg, medicin og briller.

Desværre kan man ikke melde sig ind, hvis man allerede er syg, hvilket vel rammer kronisk syge, fattige og udlændinge uforholdsmæssigt hårdt – de fattige, fordi kontingentet er oplagt at spare bort, hvis man ikke bruger det meget, og udlændinge, fordi mange af dem først flyttede til Danmark, da de allerede havde en kronisk sygdom.

Hvis betydeligt færre borgere var medlem af “danmark”, ville presset på politikerne for at øge tilskuddet til tandlæger, medicin og briller sandsynligvis blive så stort, at de ville handle, men som situationen er, betyder det, at et flertal er tilfredse med status quo.

Jeg synes derfor, man skal overveje at nationalisere “danmark”. Man kunne gøre det obligatorisk at være medlem, hvor staten så dækkede meromkostningerne ved at lukke kronisk syge ind og i øvrigt betalte kontingentet for folk på overførselsindkomster, men ellers lod sygeforsikringen køre videre uden større indblanding. Det ville i praksis bringe Danmark på linie med mange andre EU-lande, hvor det er obligatorisk at betale kontingent til en sygekasse. Det ville med et snuptag gøre tandlægebesøg, medicin og briller meget billigere i Danmark, og omkostningerne ville vel være overskuelige.

bookmark_borderIndividual retirement ages

Young & Old, Let's Get it On!
Young & Old, Let’s Get it On!, a photo by AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker on Flickr.

I read the following about rising life expectancy in a Danish newspaper (in Danish, translation follows):

»De [ældre] vil være stærkere både mentalt og fysisk. De vil kunne rejse jorden rundt også flere år efter, de har rundet 90 år, og benytte sig flittigt af samfundets tilbud. Vi ser det allerede mere og mere i dag, men det er en tendens, der vil blive forstærket«, siger Peter K.A. Jensen.

[…]

Systemet er bygget op, så pensionsalderen nogenlunde flugter med udviklingen i middellevealderen, hvilket medfører, at pensionen altid starter cirka 19 år tidligere end middellevetiden.

Det betyder, at danskerne ifølge prognosen vil have en pensionsalder på omkring 80 år, når middellevealderen runder de 100 år ved år 2090.


“The [elderly] will be stronger both mentally and physically. They will be able to travel around the world even several years after they have reached 90 and will make frequent use of what society offers. We already see it more and more today, but it is a trend that will be reinforced,” said Peter K. A. Jensen.

[…]

The system is designed so that the retirement age is roughly aligned with the increase in life expectancy, which means that the retirement age will always start about 19 ??years earlier than average life expectancy.

This means that Danes are forecast to have a retirement age of about 80 years when life expectancy reaches 100 years in the year 2090.

Although this quote is from a Danish newspaper, we see similar ideas in most countries these days.

However, two of my aunts died at the age of 50, my mum’s dad at 66, my father-in-law at 69, and nobody has ever reached 90 in my family. Also, the ones that don’t drop dead often start to suffer debilitating diseases in their sixties or seventies.

At the same time, some of my friends have family where everybody seems to live to at least ninety, and they are all sprightly until their late eighties.

I’ve therefore started wondering whether the rising life expectancy is due to some families growing older and older (because the diseases that used to kill them have been eradicated), while other families haven’t seen much improvement at all.

It’s also well-known that your life expectancy varies wildly depending on where you live. For instance, in the Calton ward in Glasgow, men can expect to live to the ripe old age of 53.9 (compared to 75.9 for the UK as a whole).

The huge variation in life expectancy makes it dubious whether it’s really such a good idea just to increase the retirement age across the board. If I’m right and the increasing average is due to some individuals living much longer while others still die in the fifties and sixties, the effect will be that some people will get wonderfully long retirements while other have to work till they drop.

Would it not be better to get actuaries to calculate individual retirement ages, based on family history, genetic profile, employment history, etc.? They could for instance work out each individual’s life expectancy and then set the retirement age to 19 years before this. (They could exclude some lifestyle choices from their calculations, so that you don’t get an earlier retirement age by taking up smoking.)

Of course they would get it really wrong at times, but it would give everybody a decent chance of enjoying a reasonable length of retirement.

bookmark_borderMovember



Hideous moustache day!
Originally uploaded by viralbus

Nearly a month ago, I wrote on Facebook: “I’ve decided to try a variation on Movember: Instead of starting with a clean-shaven face and then growing a moustache, I’m starting with a normal one (after removing the bottom half of my goatee) and will try to make a beautiful Dalí-style one out of it during November.”

It’s St. Andrew’s Day today, which marks the end of Movember, so my moustache will disappear at bedtime tonight.

At least I managed to make it curly, but I’m afraid it’s not nearly as impressive as Dalí’s — I guess that takes much longer to achieve. I could probably have made it longer if I had known exactly how to grow it, though — I erroneously trimmed it too much in the middle and too little on the sides. At least I’ll know next time! 🙂

Anyway, the amount of bonding that happens amongst Mo Brothers is amazing, so if you’ve never tried it, please do so next year.

bookmark_borderHomœopathic A&E

When I first watched this great sketch by Mitchell & Webb, I thought it was just a fun way to demonstrate how ludicrous homœopathy is:

However, now that David Cameron has appointed Jeremy Hunt — who believes in homœopathy — to Health Secretary for England, I’m somewhat worried that a typical England A&E will look like this soon.

I must say I’m delighted the Scottish NHS is completely separate, and that the Scottish reshuffle put a safe pair of hands in charge of the Scottish NHS.

bookmark_borderFree open-air gyms



Paris
Originally uploaded by PhylB

Gyms are generally priced in a way that makes sense if you visit them several times a week, but if you like me just want to do fifteen minutes once a week, they’re horribly overpriced.

I spent the past week in Paris (or rather, Champs sur Marne) with Phyllis, Marcel, Charlotte, Léon, Anna and Amaia; I was working the entire week at a local company while Phyllis dragged the kids round Paris.

One day we noticed a tiny open-air gym on our way to the RER station.

It was tiny — just four machines — and made in cast iron painted yellow and green (see the photo).

For real gym aficionados, it would be useless, but I wish East Renfrewshire would put up equipment like this in our parks — I’m sure it’d be good for the general health and well-being!

bookmark_borderColourblindness

For somebody who’s not colourblind, it can be a bit hard to understand how the world looks if you are.

However, I’ve just discovered there are now sites that can help.

For instance, here is the same photo of Anna processed in three different ways by Colour Blindness Simulator:

From left to right, that’s the original, then the way it’s seen by people with protanopia, then deuteranopia, and finally tritanopia.

This is of course really useful if you’re designing user interfaces so that you don’t unintentionally create designs that are confusing or unreadable to colourblind people.