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Coronavirus Pandemic Pre-Internet and Devolution

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Butts

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If the pandemic had occurred say 25 Years ago before the rise of the internet and it's associated sidekicks Social Media and Mobile Phones would it have been handled in a more efficient manner ?

With no devolved powers everyone would have been singing off the same hymn sheet and there would have been more central control.

How would this have effected the outcome ? - better or worse than the current predicament we face.
 
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philosopher

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If the pandemic had occurred say 25 Years ago before the rise of the internet and it's associated sidekicks Social Media and Mobile Phones would it have been handled in a more efficient manner ?

With no devolved powers everyone would have been singing off the same hymn sheet and there would have been more central control.

How would this have effected the outcome ? - better or worse than the current predicament we face.
Pre-internet, lockdowns either would have not been possible or would been significantly diluted for the following reasons:
1) Working from home would probably not have been feasible for the the majority of office jobs, or if it was, it would have drastically lowered productivity.
2) Lack of on line entertainments would have meant people would have been even more bored if they were forced to stay at home so compliance with lockdowns could well have been significantly worse
3) No online shopping would have meant closing non essential shops for months at a time would have meant people would have had no way of buying things like clothes, electrical goods, etc. Imagine if watching TV was your main form of home entertainment and it broke two weeks into lockdown and you could not buy a new one for three months.
 

Ianno87

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Pre-internet, lockdowns either would have not been possible or would been significantly diluted for the following reasons:
1) Working from home would probably not have been feasible for the the majority of office jobs, or if it was, it would have drastically lowered productivity.
2) Lack of on line entertainments would have meant people would have been even more bored if they were forced to stay at home so compliance with lockdowns could well have been significantly worse
3) No online shopping would have meant closing non essential shops for months at a time would have meant people would have had no way of buying things like clothes, electrical goods, etc. Imagine if watching TV was your main form of home entertainment and it broke two weeks into lockdown and you could not buy a new one for three months.

4) People wouldn't have been downloading every single epidologist report going, skim reading it, and picking out the bits that suit their agenda.
 
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If we had covid pandemic pre-Internet days then it would have been a totally different story. Imagine Covid-89 Pandemic in 1990, when we had no internet back then.

Imagine we had no internet, social media, online chat and online shopping (this would mean no non-essential shopping at all), and everyone being told to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

We’d all miss our friends completely and we would be unable to buy TVs, music players, clothes, etc. for several months. We’d all crack up!
 

Ianno87

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In more seriousness, having the likes of YouTube and Netflix to keep the kids entertained for hours on end has been a true blessing!
 

initiation

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We had an influenza epidemic at the end of the last millenium - nearly 60k died in one year so comparable to 2020 death tolls. It barely featured on anyone's radar.

Could a Covid-1989 lockdown have arisen?

1. The chance of THE covid-19 virus spreading from China to the rest of the world would be much lower as China was a much less globally interconnected country back then. Of course a similar virus may have arisen elsewhere.

2. There would be no social media scare mongering, no videos of people supposedly dropping dead in the street. As no one had a HD video camera in their pocket there was limited chance of videos of Italian overflowing hospitals unless official camera crews were let in.

3. Because of point 2, lockdowns would never have been considered. We would have had one or two winter seasons of increased death tolls. Instead we would have continued to use long established health principles; there may have been some government campaigns around "coughs and sneezes spread diseases" etc... but no mass testing, no business closures, no school cancellation.

Would the death toll have been higher? Difficult to tell but if I was a gambling man and had an alternate universe time travel machine I would bet lower.
+ globally there is 0 correlation between those countries with lockdowns and reduced deaths
- treatments 20+ years ago would have been less sophisticated
+ 20-30 years ago the NHS had 50-100,000 more beds than we do now
+ the population back then was on average younger, less obese, and had fewer complicating diseases such as diabetes.
 

PR1Berske

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One of the more recent pandemics to hit the UK in a pre-digital age was HIV/AIDS. The misinformation, rumours, prejudice, and lack of government urgency seem to ring very true today (what was that much mis-remembered Twain quote about history never repeating though it does echo?)


It's worth going back over how the general population reacted to HIV/Aids to see what happens when communication from government struggles to deal with a population initially unwilling to change their behaviour, or unwilling to accept that their actions could spread a disease for which there was, at the time, no known medication.


Scientific advice was, I dare say, heeded without quite so much scepticism then. The Internet has not been the best place to have a reasoned discussion about the necessity to follow science, not scare stories or conspiracy theories.

In more seriousness, having the likes of YouTube and Netflix to keep the kids entertained for hours on end has been a true blessing!

Oh I think if COVID-89 had been a thing, only having Blockbuster video and four channels would have resulted in a very different attitudes towards staying inside to restrict the spread of a respiratory disease. BUT saying that, with fewer distractions and longer concentration spans, following scientific advice to stay inside wouldn't have perhaps been so hard to follow.

One for the fiction writers, perhaps, or alternative history websites. Can anyone here answer "What would Thatcher have done?"
 

duncanp

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If we had covid pandemic pre-Internet days then it would have been a totally different story. Imagine Covid-89 Pandemic in 1990, when we had no internet back then.

Imagine we had no internet, social media, online chat and online shopping (this would mean no non-essential shopping at all), and everyone being told to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

We’d all miss our friends completely and we would be unable to buy TVs, music players, clothes, etc. for several months. We’d all crack up!

If there had been COVID-89, we would still have had Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister.

As she had a science degree, she would have not have been taken in by people like Professor Pantsdown with his scary predictions of the NHS being "overwhelmed". She would have asked him what assumptions were used in making his predictions, and what the likelihood of each scenario taking place.
At the moment we have "SAGE scientists" trying present the worst possible outcome of lockdown easing as the most likely outcome, and Mrs Thatcher would not have allowed these "scientists" to speak to the media and criticise government policy.

As 1989 was pre devolution, we would also not have had the devolved governments using the COVID-89 pandemic to score political points of the Westminster government.
 

cuccir

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I was thinking about this in relation to university life. I can imagine that 10 years ago we'd have been posting out a lot of USBs/CDs! And perhaps leaving printed material for students to collect if you go before the early 2000s. Earlier than that and I guess the restriction would be library opening times. Of course, this would have been in a no-fees world so I wonder if teaching staff at unis would have been furloughed and everything just paused for one academic year. With fewer students prior to the mid-90s, universities could have more easily coped with a double year coming in for 21-22.
 
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