The debate – Covid theme

This is the transcript of a real conversation that happened (sometime in 2020)

Hilde, 8:22 AM
Good morning!
I have an ethical dilemma to discuss

Victor, 8:25 AM
Then it is a good morning indeed!

Hilde, 8:34 AM
I had a chat with my sister yesterday, she told me a story…
A friend of my sister was taken to the hospital for an emergency cesarean section.
Both the mother and the child survived the operation, no big problems.
The mother has tested positive for covid-19
The child tested negative
The hospital keeps them separated
This has been going on for two weeks
The mother is furious and desperate, and would want to kill to have her child in her arms
What is the ethical thing to do here?

Victor, 8:40 AM
I’m allowing myself some time to pass before I answer

Victor, 8:48 AM
No, sorry, 10 min have passed and my reaction is still the same
This is madness beyond belief
It’s criminal. I think it’s grounds enough to be suing the hospital

Hilde, 8:59 AM
So, no ethical dilemma, it is a straightforward choice

Victor, 9:00 AM
for me, it is
it would have been a dilemma if covid was more deadly
right now the mortality is around 0.2%
and there is practically no risk for kids whatsoever

Hilde, 9:02 AM

Victor, 9:02 AM
Plus, the first few weeks are among the most important for a baby to spend with their mother
it’s critical in so many ways

Victor, 9:20 AM
On that topic:
This is an open letter started by doctors in several countries that are criticizing the current measures and the fact that there is no open discussion
I watched their video a few days ago in Bulgaria. Ironically, it is no censored in Youtube:

it is now* censored
I am extremely curious what part of the Terms and Conditions they violated
having see the video myself

Hilde, 9:29 AM
this topic, censored?

Victor, 9:30 AM
and believe me, there was nothing dangerous in that video
15 doctors gathered in a room, each one saying they want an open debate
that was the whole video – less than 10 min

Michael, 9:39 AM
For me this is not such a simple case
There is the risk of the mother infecting the child
and even if the risk is very low, there is still a risk
Besides, the nurses/doctors can claim that the ward is not prepared to handle a baby with the virus
this could endanger other babies
maybe even babies in risk groups

Victor, 9:43 AM
I’m not sure if you are being sarcastic or if that’s a real opinion

Michael, 9:43 AM
it’s a real opinion

Victor, 9:43 AM
(not trying to be smart, real question)

Michael, 9:53 AM
As for that open letter – I’m a bit suspicious of a letter that proposes hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment

Victor, 9:53 AM
Would you censor it?

Michael, 9:56 AM
I didn’t see the video and I don’t know why it was censored
As a principle I wouldn’t censor anything – even flat earthers have the right not to be censored
From a quick glance I only saw one virologist in those 600 doctors that signed that open letter
so for me, this open letter is like an economist saying that we need to open up
we may have to – but it’s not that the disease is not dangerous
it’s that the alternative is even worse

Victor, 9:58 AM
Well, apparently respectable doctors disagreeing with the mass hysteria governing our policies right now don’t have that right

Michael, 9:58 AM
then you are in the right place to complain about that
I don’t know why the video was removed – do you know?

Victor, 9:59 AM
and I’ll get fired

Michael, 9:59 AM
That’s not necessarily the case

Victor, 10:00 AM
I do believe it’s mass hysteria right now. In mass hysteria there is no logic

Michael, 10:01 AM
why do you think that? The number of cases is rising sharply

Victor, 10:02 AM – Berlin 10102020 Better Normal, not New Normal – – World Doctors Alliance

found the video

Michael, 10:08 AM
it’s pretty uninteresting if you ask me

Victor, 10:08 AM
I agree

Michael, 10:08 AM
no – I don’t see anything there that should be censored

Victor, 10:08 AM
I didn’t share the video back then, because I didn’t think it’s worth sharing
I share it now, because I find its censoring very disturbing

Michael, 10:10 AM
this is an extreme reaction to an extreme situation

Victor, 10:10 AM
no, sorry, no
censoring doctors is not a reaction
censoring those that claim it is not an extreme situation at all only feeds the mass hysteria

Michael, 10:13 AM
there is a story behind all of this – a political one

Victor, 10:14 AM
I agree

Michael, 10:14 AM
would you say youtube should have censored stella immanuel’s video?

Victor, 10:15 AM
no, I wouldn’t

Michael, 10:15 AM
well – the moment they censored that, it would be hypocritical to not censure this one

Victor, 10:16 AM
that is a horrendous argument

Michael, 10:16 AM
a line must be drawn – and it’s not clear where. Apparently youtube decided that this video was still too much
I’m not defending – I don’t believe in censorship
I’m trying to understand what is happening here

Victor, 10:16 AM
I’ve killed before, it would be hypocritical to stop killing now
I do think it’s political, as you say
corona has become a tool both of the left and the right
there is no science involved in here anymore

Michael, 10:18 AM
I would say that is true mostly in the US
I don’t see the virus being used as a political weapon in my country

Victor, 10:19 AM
the fact is, I am not scared of the virus, I am scared of the new world
I have the feeling we live in a dystopian novel right now
if doctors are being censored
and, btw, the virus has a mortality rate of 0.2% now
it’s like a normal flu now

Michael, 10:20 AM
I don’t know why it took you so long to realize that. In the states this has been happening for quite some time

Victor, 10:21 AM
so, introducing further restrictions now seems ridiculous to me
and silencing people that disagree with you

Michael, 10:22 AM
on the other hand, youtube is a private company
can’t they (we) do whatever we want?

Victor, 10:23 AM
sure, but then you are editor, not publisher
and then other laws should apply to you

Michael, 10:23 AM
what other laws?

Victor, 10:23 AM
then you should be liable for what you publish and what you censor
if you publish something wrong, people should be able to sue you
the whole business model relies on the fact that the AUTHOR is responsible for the content, youtube is just a platform
if youtube starts picking the content – they are now responsible
like a newspaper

Michael, 10:25 AM
you can’t sue a newspaper for not publishing some news

Victor, 10:25 AM
you can sue them for publishing wrong ones
you can’t sue Youtube for that now

Michael, 10:26 AM
but this is not what we are discussing – we are discussing censorship
censorship would not be solved like that

Victor, 10:26 AM
we were discussing exactly that
you said youtube is a private company

Michael, 10:26 AM
in fact, censorship would likely increase because youtube would have an incentive to not publish the wrong news

Victor, 10:26 AM
and should be allowed to do whatever they want
so, we started discussing just that

Michael, 10:28 AM
well – let’s focus on censorship then, since that’s what’s involved in this case
would you force youtube to publish something?

Victor, 10:28 AM
let’s focus on censorship then, if you say
would you say removing that video is censorship?

Michael, 10:29 AM
it is a form of censorship, yes

Victor, 10:29 AM
would you say that conversation needs to be had
especially now
especially if doctors want to have it

Michael, 10:30 AM

Victor, 10:30 AM
how does that not scare you?

Michael, 10:30 AM
and economists
I am scared – but I have been scared for a while now

Victor, 10:31 AM
you seem to be scared of the virus more

Michael, 10:31 AM
in fact, I remember a conversation about social media that we had 1.5 years ago

Victor, 10:31 AM
of a virus with a mortality rate of 0.2%

Michael, 10:31 AM
I’m ALSO scared about the virus
I’m much more scared about US politics

Hilde, 10:32 AM, Edited
Woooow, what’s going on here?

Victor, 10:32 AM
welcome, Hilde

Michael, 10:32 AM
hello Hilde – you are losing the debate!
we’re almost solving world hunger!

Victor, 10:32 AM
are we changing the topic to US politics now?

Hilde, 10:32 AM
yeah, sorry, I was having a perf conversation

Victor, 10:32 AM
I thought you wanted to stay on censorship

Hilde, 10:32 AM
but world hunger is more important, I agree

Victor, 10:33 AM
I got my perf this morning
I am very satisfied

Michael, 10:33 AM
superbly satisfied?

Victor, 10:33 AM
strongly satisfied, let’s say

Michael, 10:34 AM
I don’t think censorship is the solution

Victor, 10:34 AM
no one is saying that
I am saying it’s a problem

Michael, 10:34 AM
but I like what twitter is doing with saying “this goes against the scientifically prevalent idea”

Victor, 10:35 AM
Galileo was against the scientifically prevalent idea once upon a time
that’s the whole point of science

Michael, 10:35 AM
that’s why he shouldn’t be censored

Victor, 10:36 AM
it looks like you are finding new ways to say I’m right
I like that

Michael, 10:36 AM
we always agreed on censorship
what we disagree on is if Hilde’s sister’s friend’s has the right to indignation

Victor, 10:36 AM
let’s give Hilde a chance to catch up
I’m saying that given the current state of corona
and especially given the mortality rate in KIDS

Michael, 10:38 AM
what about the argument that the baby could infect the whole ward?

Victor, 10:38 AM
btw, corona accounts for 0.001 of deaths in kids <1 year old
source: CDC

Michael, 10:38 AM
and then the other babies would infect their parents
would you find it wrong if that was done because the mother had the common flu?

Victor, 10:38 AM
I would isolate the baby together with the mother
I would find it extremely wrong

Michael, 10:39 AM

Victor, 10:39 AM
cause flu accounts for 0.0002 of deaths in kids <1 years old
source: again CDC

Michael, 10:40 AM
what if there are not enough rooms to isolate the kid and the mother?

Victor, 10:40 AM
sorry, non-corona related flu
0.0002 Michael
there are enough rooms

Michael, 10:40 AM
besides, nurses have to take care of the baby. Having a sick baby is a risk for them

Victor, 10:40 AM
there are enough rooms for one mother and her kid

Michael, 10:40 AM
this forces nurses to wear special equipment to handle the baby
they have to spend extra time dressing and undressing

Victor, 10:41 AM
are you listening to yourself? Nurses need to take care of the mother either way

Michael, 10:41 AM
the level of care for the mother and the baby is very different
nurses need to clean the baby frequently
they don’t have to do that with the mother

Victor, 10:42 AM
are you really complaining that nurses need to take care of sick people

Michael, 10:42 AM
I’m saying they have the right to minimize risks for themselves

Victor, 10:42 AM
“being a programmer would have been so much fun if it wasn’t for all the clients”

Michael, 10:43 AM
why force medical stuff into unnecessary risks?

Victor, 10:43 AM
cause it’s their job

Michael, 10:43 AM
and brings to the “is it necessary for the baby to be with the mother?”

Victor, 10:43 AM
it is critical for the baby to be with its mother
it is absolutely critical

Michael, 10:43 AM
babies frequently have to stay for some days in incubators

Victor, 10:43 AM
no, sorry

Michael, 10:43 AM
and they survive quite well
we’re talking about 15 days of quarantine
where the mother can still see the baby

Victor, 10:44 AM
this is the worst possible form of grasping for straws
and making an “ethical dilemma” where there is none

Michael, 10:45 AM
well – maybe there isn’t an ethical dilemma for you
but there is one for me
in fact, I’m not done yet

Victor, 10:45 AM
go on
(I’m saying this with an affectionate smile, btw)

Michael, 10:45 AM
I find it odd that a mother would want to have a 0.% risk of their baby getting an infectious disease

Victor, 10:45 AM
(not a condescending one)

Michael, 10:46 AM
I remember when I went to do the prenatal tests for my kids

Hilde, 10:46 AM
(I caught up with reading. And I will not say a thing, just watch… This is like the finals at Roland Garros.)

Michael, 10:46 AM
The risk of them having down syndrome was very low: 0.%

Victor, 10:46 AM

Michael, 10:47 AM
and yet I was scared shitless about the prospect

Victor, 10:47 AM
(this is an affectionate laugh as well, Hilde)

Michael, 10:47 AM
I would put this on par with: “only 0.% of people die on automobile accidents”

Victor, 10:47 AM
sorry for interrupting, Michael, go on

Michael, 10:47 AM
“so you don’t have to wear a seat belt, my son”

Victor, 10:48 AM
would you say a mother has the right to choose whether they give their kids foods high on sugar?
high sugar consumption is tied to cancer, which kills way more people than corona

Michael, 10:49 AM
they do – but they can’t ask the nurses to do that for them

Victor, 10:50 AM
they actually are
who do you think takes care of cancer patients

Michael, 10:50 AM
I was saying: forcing the nurses to give dangerous substances to the kid
I believe that the mother should be able to say “I’m going home with my baby then”

Victor, 10:50 AM
that’s not what the nurses are doing in the corona case either

Michael, 10:51 AM
but she could not say “I want us to stay in the hospital together”

Victor, 10:51 AM
the nurses would be giving the sugar, if they were sick of corona themselves and were coughing in the baby’s face
apart from that, they are just tending the sick, which is their job

Michael, 10:52 AM
so – nurses and doctors don’t get a say in their working conditions/safety?

Victor, 10:53 AM
of course they do
that’s why they are wearing masks
they are free to wear hazmat suits, if they decide so

Michael, 10:54 AM
but they are not free to decide on hospital policy about infectious disease?

Victor, 10:54 AM
who decides that policy

Michael, 10:55 AM
doctors, I would expect
maybe some hospital management

Victor, 10:55 AM
like the censored ones?
those doctors?

Michael, 10:56 AM
no – those doctors you are talking about are psychiatrists
I would expect to have virologists deciding on this one

Victor, 10:56 AM
the censored virologists too?

Michael, 10:57 AM
Depends – I only saw two virologists in that list

Victor, 10:57 AM
in that list, yes
does it look to you like the climate where people are giving freedom of expression to doctors
there has been enough talk that the PCR test is not suitable for diagnosis

Michael, 10:58 AM
I would expect that hospital policies are less affected by youtube videos

Victor, 10:58 AM
from the founder of the PCR test, say
and still that’s what we are basing policies on nowadays

Michael, 10:59 AM
I don’t know what test was performed in that case – I’m assuming that the mother does have covid, and that everybody agrees with that

Victor, 10:59 AM
and people that disagree with the measures and the “science” are labelled conspiracy theorists

Michael, 10:59 AM
I’m talking about the hospital policy for this particular case

Victor, 10:59 AM
my point is, if doctors are supposed to make the policies, you should not silence doctors
that’s for your question if the hospital staff is allowed to set policies
and now I have a meeting

Michael, 11:00 AM
and I’m saying that there is a difference between politics and policies and that I would expect that the hospital policy was not influenced by social media
…and we didn’t hear Hilde’s opinion…

Hilde, 11:02 AM
I am still here
being quiet and listening

Michael, 11:02 AM
so – what do you think?

Hilde, 11:02 AM
When I heard the story, my first reaction was: it is up to the hospital’s leadership to decide on the policies. And if they thought it is right to separate the mother from the child, despite the psychological pain and damage, they probably had a really good reason, and we should accept it.
That was my first thought.
I think I have a good assessment of the risks of the virus
But I don’t think I had a good assessment of the psychological pain and damage to the mother and the child
So I thought about it more
I think an average mother would rather have two of her fingers cut down, than to be separated from her newborn child for two weeks
I had this thought, and I shifted my position immediately

Michael, 11:08 AM
so – the mother should decide based on her feelings?
could she have gone home with the child?

Hilde, 11:08 AM
I would not go that far

Michael, 11:09 AM
does it matter the risks to the hospital staff and other babies/mothers?

Hilde, 11:09 AM
I don’t think those who made the policies have a deep enough understanding of the psychological aspects here. I would advocate for the policies to be reconsidered, and if needed more resources to be allocated – e.g. more isolation rooms, more equipment, option for asking for more care in exchange for compensation.
Of course the risk to the hospital staff and other babies matters
This is like a war situation – there is no solution without damage

Michael, 11:11 AM – Should Infants Be Separated from Mothers with COVID-19? First, Do No Harm

and here is cdc’s guideline,remains%20in%20the%20mother’s%20room – Caring for Newborns | COVID-19 | CDC

I would say that the medical opinion is that there are advantages in keeping mother and child together
but there are enough reasons to at least consider it
so – I would say this IS a dilemma – not a clear case

Victor, 11:53 AM
Reading the articles, I wouldn’t phrase it as “there are advantages” to keeping mother and child together
I would (and have) phrase it as “critical” to keep them together