Coronavirus Crisis: Main Thread

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Re: Coronavirus Crisis Main Thread

Postby alloneword » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:13 pm

I would say that that's not beyond the realms of possibility. :)
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Re: Manufactured 'Contagion' - Coronavirus Edition

Postby PufPuf93 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:44 pm

Harvey » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:11 am wrote:Love it, thanks Alloneword^

Thanks to Wombat^^ and to Jack, for his long piece half a dozen pages back (both being particularly memorable.) Mack was a bit of a shit (Kos certainly didn't deserve that) but his heart is always in the right place and as usual I don't disagree with much in what he's said. Disaster capitalism, war opportunism, confusionism and propaganda as usual, more so than usual.




Mother Nature has responded to the irritation that is humanity, not the first nor the last time, but apparently CV19 will be a world altering event and we are in uncharted and apparently dire terrain. I doubt if anything will ever be the same.

And yes humanity is infused with evil opportunists in our midst. Call them what you like but they are manipulative and see the crisis as opportunity.

In the middle are mundane human stupid on steroids and fed by unending propaganda.

Kos is more worthwhile to read than mac (by far) in this instance.

BTW is RI's problem cured? Looks to be so from my perspective (cross my fingers so as to not jinx)
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:07 pm

Regarding the Local SQL question: Probably not over.

We've been lazy the last couple of days (that's a sneaky way of saying: I've been lazy, it's all my delay), and as a result the next stage of things we were going to do to solve the SQL Error problem has not yet been tried. As it happens, we've had some better days anyway. Lucky us. (I will try to avoid the predictable-dumb-reckless-stupid jokes about flattening the curve, etc.)
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby alloneword » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:29 pm

Imperial College scientist who predicted 500K coronavirus deaths in UK revises to 20K or fewer
by Andrew Mark Miller
| March 26, 2020 11:59 AM

A scientist who warned that the coronavirus would kill 500,000 people in the United Kingdom has revised the estimate to roughly 20,000 people or fewer.

Scientist and Imperial College author Neil Ferguson said Wednesday that the coronavirus death toll is unlikely to exceed 20,000 and could be much lower, according to New Scientist. He added that he is “reasonably confident” that Britain’s health system can handle the burden of treating coronavirus patients.

“There will be some areas that are extremely stressed, but we are reasonably confident — which is all we can be at the current time — that at the national level we will be within capacity,” Ferguson said.

The Imperial College had previously warned of modeling that suggested over 500,000 would die from the virus.

“This is a remarkable turn from Neil Ferguson, who led the @imperialcollege authors who warned of 500,000 UK deaths - and who has now himself tested positive for #COVID,” former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson wrote on Twitter.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news ... 0k-or-less

Worth watching that Ferguson evidence in full:

https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/2 ... layer-tabs

Also worth putting these figures in context:

uk flu excess mortality.png
uk flu excess mortality.png (14.26 KiB) Viewed 354 times
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby alloneword » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:36 pm

This was interesting:

How much ‘normal’ risk does Covid represent?

Image

[David Spiegelhalter: Statistician, communicator about evidence, risk, probability, chance, uncertainty, etc. Chair, Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, Cambridge].
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby DrEvil » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:11 pm

alloneword » Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:29 am wrote:
Imperial College scientist who predicted 500K coronavirus deaths in UK revises to 20K or fewer
by Andrew Mark Miller
| March 26, 2020 11:59 AM

A scientist who warned that the coronavirus would kill 500,000 people in the United Kingdom has revised the estimate to roughly 20,000 people or fewer.

Scientist and Imperial College author Neil Ferguson said Wednesday that the coronavirus death toll is unlikely to exceed 20,000 and could be much lower, according to New Scientist. He added that he is “reasonably confident” that Britain’s health system can handle the burden of treating coronavirus patients.

“There will be some areas that are extremely stressed, but we are reasonably confident — which is all we can be at the current time — that at the national level we will be within capacity,” Ferguson said.

The Imperial College had previously warned of modeling that suggested over 500,000 would die from the virus.

“This is a remarkable turn from Neil Ferguson, who led the @imperialcollege authors who warned of 500,000 UK deaths - and who has now himself tested positive for #COVID,” former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson wrote on Twitter.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news ... 0k-or-less

...snip...


The half a a million number was for the original "do nothing and build herd immunity" plan. The 20,000 or less number is for the current lockdown. Two different scenarios, two different outcomes.
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby Nordic » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:31 pm

Enough people in money and power took it seriously enough to dump their stock. And anyone with a working brain knew it was coming and took it very seriously way the fuck before Tom fucking Hanks.


This actually made me laugh.

They didn’t dump their stock because of a virus. They dumped their stock because they realized that the word was out that this 10 year sucker rally, pumped up on quadrillions of dollars worth of stupid derivatives, was gonna come crashing down, exactly like in 2008 only far worse.

The virus is the tail wagging this particular dog. In 2008 they knew that there would be blood in the streets and many NY Big Swinging Wall St Dicks actuallly purchased inflatable speedboats to escape because they feared they wouldn’t make it out of Manhattan alive any other way.

How soon people forget.

In 2008 the IMF warned of the crash. In 2020 the IMF warned of the crash.

The “pandemic” is cover for the fact that they destroyed the world’s economy. And benefited greatly from it. The Fed is pumping a trillion dollars a DAY into the economy right now. Where do you think that’s going? It’s goin to pay those who made the winning bets in the last 11 years!

The only real question should be, how real is this pandemic? It could be real, because the people that actually run the world have zero compunction about killing as many people it takes to achieve their goals. Or it could be almost completely fake.

Right now all the evidence AFAIC, is that it’s fictional.

Oh by the way, all the US Senators are now leaving Washington until further notice. They’re running away, probably going into hiding. If the truth comes out, they’re gonna want to stay hidden.
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:34 pm

From Prof. Ferguson:

1/4 - I think it would be helpful if I cleared up some confusion that has emerged in recent days. Some have interpreted my evidence to a UK parliamentary committee as indicating we have substantially revised our assessments of the potential mortality impact of COVID-19.

2/4 -This is not the case. Indeed, if anything, our latest estimates suggest that the virus is slightly more transmissible than we previously thought. Our lethality estimates remain unchanged.

3/4 - My evidence to Parliament referred to the deaths we assess might occur in the UK in the presence of the very intensive social distancing and other public health interventions now in place.

4/4 - Without those controls, our assessment remains that the UK would see the scale of deaths reported in our study (namely, up to approximately 500 thousand).


Really shakes your faith in our free press that the Washington Examiner can't do a better job with science journalism ... aren't these people experts?

Is COVID-19 a global crisis? Certainly for people who can’t add.

I learned some powerful lessons from SARS in 2003. Maybe the most important one was how important it was to focus on what has happened rather than on what might happen. In other words: “Just the facts, ma’am."


Yesterday we broke 400k cases. Today we broke 500k cases. Seems like the issue here might be multiplication, rather than addition. Despite all the noise in the data we know a fair few things: nCoV is highly contagious but not highly fatal, which will likely prove to be a blessing, since this wake-up call could have come at a much steeper cost.

What happened in Wuhan was sufficiently concerning for China to take extreme measures at great cost to their economy; and this, after initially attempting to cover it up. That proved ineffective, as Adam Elkus has observed, nCoV is immune to narratives and politics, It Only Wants Targets.

So extreme measures were taken, and yet despite those measures, nCoV managed to spread around the world and now, we find ourselves on the precipice of dozens of Wuhans, on multiple continents. (And China, after deciding to take the risk of re-opening for business, is now facing their own inevitable second wave.)

"Flu Season" is a globally distributed phenomenon with a perpetual head start, an infectious agent that already exists on every continent when ideal conditions roll back around, year after year, to offer it free reign once again. nCoV started in one city in China in November/December. Expecting influenza and nCoV to rack up identical body counts, especially when influenza started in October and nCoV is just getting established, seems to stem from a failure or inability to understand these facts.

That said, I don't particularly care either way, since your opinions matter every bit as much as mine do in the face of what is to come.
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby Belligerent Savant » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:26 pm

.

Help me understand this, as the variance in numbers are quite stark (comparing flu death toll vs. current coronavirus numbers). I understand some of this has already been reported here in various ways.


https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news ... flu-season


The global furor over the emerging coronavirus pandemic has masked one of the worst influenza seasons on record, government data show, particularly among children and young adults.

With flu season still winding down, at least 144 children younger than 18 have died, a toll topped only by the 2009 H1N1 pandemic since health authorities began tracking flu data in 2004.

So far this season, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded 36 million flu cases in the U.S., with 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths.

As of March 7, CDC reports, "hospitalization rates in children 0-4 years old and adults 18-49 years old are now the highest on record for these age groups, surpassing the rate reported during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic."
Despite the record numbers, influenza has all but been ignored, says Dr. Roger Klein, a molecular pathologist at Yale University. "There's been very little mention of it."

Flu experts say that's not surprising.

"Flu is an old enemy. We're kind of used to it," says Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. "Coronavirus is new, mysterious, unknown. We didn't want it to come here, but it came and [with] a fatality rate among older people that is probably higher than flu. The entire human population is susceptible to this new virus, and it's working its way around the world. Who goes into shelter at home or lockdown for flu?"


and this:

While everyone (most everyone) is in a panic about the coronavirus, there should be a comparison with the annual flu. Statements that coronavirus is worse than the flu are simply not true. The following is from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).While everyone is in a panic about the coronavirus (officially renamed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization), there’s an even deadlier virus many people are forgetting about: the flu.

Flu season is hitting its stride right now in the United States. So far, the CDC has estimated (based on weekly influenza surveillance data) that at least 12,000 people have died from influenza between Oct. 1, 2019, through Feb. 1, 2020.The CDC also estimates that up to 31 million Americans have caught the flu this season, with 210,000 to 370,000 flu sufferers hospitalized because of the virus.

“The current flu season has been difficult but it has not reached epidemic threshold,” infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the John’s Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, said. “In the next couple of weeks, when more data is available, it will become clear just how severe the season was given that we had an initial dominance of influenza B and now dominance of influenza A H1N1.”

So how do these numbers compare to flu deaths in previous years? So far, it looks like the 2019-2020 death toll won’t be as high as it was in the 2017-2018 season, when 61,000 deaths were linked to the virus. However, it could equal or surpass the 2018-2019 season’s 34,200 flu-related deaths. Overall, the CDC estimates that 12,000 and 61,000 deaths annually since 2010 can be blamed on the flu. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people per year.

The fact that people are more concerned about COVID-19 than the flu virus is no surprise, says Dr. Adalja. “Anytime there is a new emerging infectious disease that is shrouded in mystery with a lot of unknowns, it captivates people in a way that a regular virus that people deal with on a yearly basis won’t,” he says.



https://www.sungazette.com/opinion/lett ... us-vs-flu/

Current toll in the U.S. for Coronavirus:

Coronavirus Cases in the U.S.:
85,390
Deaths:
1,295


Compared to the flu this season so far: 36 million flu cases in the U.S., with 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths.

Anyone here think COVID-19 will come close to those flu numbers? They sure as hell aren't remotely close, nor trending in that direction. Yet, prior to March 1 (in the U.S., at least), we've heard nary a word from the media on the deaths caused by the FLU this season (other than local news, perhaps).

EDIT: I understand much of this is reportedly due to the VOLUME of current coronavirus cases within a relatively short timeframe compared to, presumably, a more stretched out timeframe for flu cases over the last several months. BUT, if the media/govts were giving the Coronavirus the SAME minimal press coverage as the FLU, would we still be similarly overwhelmed (in hospitals, in markets, etc)? My wild take is: NO, no we wouldn't.
(and I'm granting that the coronavirus appears to be more severe than the standard flu, at least for the elderly and immunocompromised, but that's not the point I'm attempting to make here.)
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:58 pm

Belligerent Savant » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:26 pm wrote:Anyone here think COVID-19 will come close to those flu numbers? They sure as hell aren't remotely close, nor trending in that direction.


What does "trending" mean to you? COVID-19 deaths in the United States were at zero in October 2019, at zero in January 2020, at zero in February 2020, then hit 1 on March 1st, 2020. Two weeks later, it was at 57. Today, it broke 1000.

What does "trending" mean to you?

Belligerent Savant » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:26 pm wrote:Yet, prior to March 1 (in the U.S., at least), we've heard nary a word from the media on the deaths caused by the FLU this season.


Who is this "we," though? Is that actually true or were you just not paying attention because it didn't interest you? (And really, why should it? You only care now because of nCoV, right?)

September 24th: USA Today warning This flu season could be a nasty one, bud

October 4th: NYT on how Australia's bad flu season was a warning to America

November 15th: CNN on how Flu Season is Getting an Early Start

December 7th: CBS News says Flu season comes early this year due to unexpected virus

December 13th: CNN advises that There have been at least 1,300 flu deaths in the US so far this season, CDC estimates

December 20th: NBC News says Millions sickened with the flu as virus activity picks up across the U.S., adding "Nearly 2,000 people have died, including 19 children."

December 21: Quarts reports Flu Season is Worse Than Last Year

December 31: Even a weather website is now reporting on Why This Years Flu Season is Worse Than Last Year

January 3rd: Bloomberg talking about a record flu season as "boon for hospitals, bane for insurers"

January 3rd: CBS News again - Early flu season prompts hospitals to take extra precautions

January 7th: "2020 on track to be worst US flu season in decades"

And, you know, et cetera 'n' so on. That's five minutes with Google, you know?

If you trawl around for local news you can find tons more coverage because flu season is generally a local story anyway -- it doesn't bleed enough to be a national story until the casualties mount, and by the time that was happening, nCoV was becoming the hot virus story.
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby Belligerent Savant » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:03 pm

.

As a reminder, i started this thread on Feb.1. That was not the first day i was tracking this event, to be clear, but the day i started a topic on it here. It was on my radar in late 2019, as the work I do involves, in part, interaction with people and resources in Asia.

Edit: I realize i used exaggerated language when i indicated, in my prior post, that there was 'nary a word' Re: media reporting on this flu season's higher than average toll on the populace, and you - rightly - pounced on it. But you touch on my point when you type, "...nCoV was becoming the hot virus story."

Yes. The hot story. Inevitable - they (media) know what sells, and they'll turn it up by several orders of magnitude. Fear sells, of course. Taking a legit threat and working alongside govt talking heads to enact their conditioning programs on a populace that appears to be largely well-trained by now.


Let's see how the numbers look in 2 months time.

(numbers that make clear the primary cause of death was covid-19, which may turn out to be a challenge to ascertain, if even attempted).

The numbers may well balloon. Or if they ultimately fall short of this season's seasonal flu figures, it'll be [reportedly] due to social distancing/quarantine measures in place, which helped pace the volume of severe cases and reduce burden to hospitals - a sure win for Trump and Co. By next year, a much larger portion of the populace will be more readily immune to it, which will keep numbers at or around the standard flu range. Perhaps. Until the next new virus hits several years hence, triggering the next cycle of hysterics and panic (if we remain spirited enough to react in such a fashion).
Last edited by Belligerent Savant on Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby Grizzly » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:45 pm

Save us paternal DADDY!

This could very well go in the main US Presidential Election 2020 thread...

It looks like this (see below) is considered essential in NY, State, AND PRETTY EXTENSIVE. Our Governor, here in Montana, Steve Bullock, just issue a Shelter in place starting tomorrow night at midnight until April 10th, here. Montana, just unfortunately got our first alleged/suspected, confirmed? Covid 19 death.

My question is are the proverbial, 'they' going to use this template across the nation to place Big Daddy Andrew M. Cuomo as the hero of the nation to rescue us bad, hapless and helpless children, especially since we have the Cheeto WHO has made such a disaster of it.

The 'New York State on PAUSE' Executive Order looks, AUTHORITATIVE, and that's what the in fear people want is an AUTHORITATIVE, Adult in charge. I can see all kinds of scenario’s and or plots or (get this...) pre-made plans 'already laying around', as Naomi Klein talks about in 'Disaster Capitalism'... As we jockey on into the summer before election. A sustained, stressed out anxiety driven, freaked out populace will be whipped into near desperation for a saviour by then and ready to submit to ANYONE who will look smart and paternal.

Anybody else get my drift?

https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/JOelCNkG9Bh0MPyhmM65t
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby alloneword » Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:26 am

Excuse the long C&P, but this sober piece is worth reading:

In announcing the most far-reaching restrictions on personal freedom in the history of our nation, Boris Johnson resolutely followed the scientific advice that he had been given. The advisers to the government seem calm and collected, with a solid consensus among them. In the face of a new viral threat, with numbers of cases surging daily, I’m not sure that any prime minister would have acted very differently.

But I’d like to raise some perspectives that have hardly been aired in the past weeks, and which point to an interpretation of the figures rather different from that which the government is acting on. I’m a recently-retired Professor of Pathology and NHS consultant pathologist, and have spent most of my adult life in healthcare and science – fields which, all too often, are characterised by doubt rather than certainty. There is room for different interpretations of the current data. If some of these other interpretations are correct, or at least nearer to the truth, then conclusions about the actions required will change correspondingly.

The simplest way to judge whether we have an exceptionally lethal disease is to look at the death rates. Are more people dying than we would expect to die anyway in a given week or month? Statistically, we would expect about 51,000 to die in Britain this month. At the time of writing, 422 deaths are linked to Covid-19 — so 0.8 per cent of that expected total. On a global basis, we’d expect 14 million to die over the first three months of the year. The world’s 18,944 coronavirus deaths represent 0.14 per cent of that total. These figures might shoot up but they are, right now, lower than other infectious diseases that we live with (such as flu). Not figures that would, in and of themselves, cause drastic global reactions.

Initial reported figures from China and Italy suggested a death rate of 5 per cent to 15 per cent, similar to Spanish flu. Given that cases were increasing exponentially, this raised the prospect of death rates that no healthcare system in the world would be able to cope with. The need to avoid this scenario is the justification for measures being implemented: the Spanish flu is believed to have infected about one in four of the world’s population between 1918 and 1920, or roughly 500 million people with 50 million deaths. We developed pandemic emergency plans, ready to snap into action in case this happened again.

At the time of writing, the UK’s 422 deaths and 8,077 known cases give an apparent death rate of 5 per cent. This is often cited as a cause for concern, contrasted with the mortality rate of seasonal flu, which is estimated at about 0.1 per cent. But we ought to look very carefully at the data. Are these figures really comparable?

Most of the UK testing has been in hospitals, where there is a high concentration of patients susceptible to the effects of any infection. As anyone who has worked with sick people will know, any testing regime that is based only in hospitals will over-estimate the virulence of an infection. Also, we’re only dealing with those Covid-19 cases that have made people sick enough or worried enough to get tested. There will be many more unaware that they have the virus, with either no symptoms, or mild ones.

That’s why, when Britain had 590 diagnosed cases, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, suggested that the real figure was probably between 5,000 and 10,000 cases, ten to 20 times higher. If he’s right, the headline death rate due to this virus is likely to be ten to 20 times lower, say 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent. That puts the Covid-19 mortality rate in the range associated with infections like flu.

But there’s another, potentially even more serious problem: the way that deaths are recorded. If someone dies of a respiratory infection in the UK, the specific cause of the infection is not usually recorded, unless the illness is a rare ‘notifiable disease’. So the vast majority of respiratory deaths in the UK are recorded as bronchopneumonia, pneumonia, old age or a similar designation. We don’t really test for flu, or other seasonal infections. If the patient has, say, cancer, motor neurone disease or another serious disease, this will be recorded as the cause of death, even if the final illness was a respiratory infection. This means UK certifications normally under-record deaths due to respiratory infections.

Now look at what has happened since the emergence of Covid-19. The list of notifiable diseases has been updated. This list — as well as containing smallpox (which has been extinct for many years) and conditions such as anthrax, brucellosis, plague and rabies (which most UK doctors will never see in their entire careers) — has now been amended to include Covid-19. But not flu. That means every positive test for Covid-19 must be notified, in a way that it just would not be for flu or most other infections.

In the current climate, anyone with a positive test for Covid-19 will certainly be known to clinical staff looking after them: if any of these patients dies, staff will have to record the Covid-19 designation on the death certificate — contrary to usual practice for most infections of this kind. There is a big difference between Covid-19 causing death, and Covid-19 being found in someone who died of other causes. Making Covid-19 notifiable might give the appearance of it causing increasing numbers of deaths, whether this is true or not. It might appear far more of a killer than flu, simply because of the way deaths are recorded.

If we take drastic measures to reduce the incidence of Covid-19, it follows that the deaths will also go down. We risk being convinced that we have averted something that was never really going to be as severe as we feared. This unusual way of reporting Covid-19 deaths explains the clear finding that most of its victims have underlying conditions — and would normally be susceptible to other seasonal viruses, which are virtually never recorded as a specific cause of death.

Let us also consider the Covid-19 graphs, showing an exponential rise in cases — and deaths. They can look alarming. But if we tracked flu or other seasonal viruses in the same way, we would also see an exponential increase. We would also see some countries behind others, and striking fatality rates. The United States Centers for Disease Control, for example, publishes weekly estimates of flu cases. The latest figures show that since September, flu has infected 38 million Americans, hospitalised 390,000 and killed 23,000. This does not cause public alarm because flu is familiar.

The data on Covid-19 differs wildly from country to country. Look at the figures for Italy and Germany. At the time of writing, Italy has 69,176 recorded cases and 6,820 deaths, a rate of 9.9 per cent. Germany has 32,986 cases and 157 deaths, a rate of 0.5 per cent. Do we think that the strain of virus is so different in these nearby countries as to virtually represent different diseases? Or that the populations are so different in their susceptibility to the virus that the death rate can vary more than twentyfold? If not, we ought to suspect systematic error, that the Covid-19 data we are seeing from different countries is not directly comparable.

Look at other rates: Spain 7.1 per cent, US 1.3 per cent, Switzerland 1.3 per cent, France 4.3 per cent, South Korea 1.3 per cent, Iran 7.8 per cent. We may very well be comparing apples with oranges. Recording cases where there was a positive test for the virus is a very different thing to recording the virus as the main cause of death.

Early evidence from Iceland, a country with a very strong organisation for wide testing within the population, suggests that as many as 50 per cent of infections are almost completely asymptomatic. Most of the rest are relatively minor. In fact, Iceland’s figures, 648 cases and two attributed deaths, give a death rate of 0.3 per cent. As population testing becomes more widespread elsewhere in the world, we will find a greater and greater proportion of cases where infections have already occurred and caused only mild effects. In fact, as time goes on, this will become generally truer too, because most infections tend to decrease in virulence as an epidemic progresses.

One pretty clear indicator is death. If a new infection is causing many extra people to die (as opposed to an infection present in people who would have died anyway) then it will cause an increase in the overall death rate. But we have yet to see any statistical evidence for excess deaths, in any part of the world.

Covid-19 can clearly cause serious respiratory tract compromise in some patients, especially those with chest issues, and in smokers. The elderly are probably more at risk, as they are for infections of any kind. The average age of those dying in Italy is 78.5 years, with almost nine in ten fatalities among the over-70s. The life expectancy in Italy — that is, the number of years you can expect to live to from birth, all things being equal — is 82.5 years. But all things are not equal when a new seasonal virus goes around.

It certainly seems reasonable, now, that a degree of social distancing should be maintained for a while, especially for the elderly and the immune-suppressed. But when drastic measures are introduced, they should be based on clear evidence. In the case of Covid-19, the evidence is not clear. The UK’s lockdown has been informed by modelling of what might happen. More needs to be known about these models. Do they correct for age, pre-existing conditions, changing virulence, the effects of death certification and other factors? Tweak any of these assumptions and the outcome (and predicted death toll) can change radically.

Much of the response to Covid-19 seems explained by the fact that we are watching this virus in a way that no virus has been watched before. The scenes from the Italian hospitals have been shocking, and make for grim television. But television is not science.

Clearly, the various lockdowns will slow the spread of Covid-19 so there will be fewer cases. When we relax the measures, there will be more cases again. But this need not be a reason to keep the lockdown: the spread of cases is only something to fear if we are dealing with an unusually lethal virus. That’s why the way we record data will be hugely important. Unless we tighten criteria for recording death due only to the virus (as opposed to it being present in those who died from other conditions), the official figures may show a lot more deaths apparently caused by the virus than is actually the case. What then? How do we measure the health consequences of taking people’s lives, jobs, leisure and purpose away from them to protect them from an anticipated threat? Which causes least harm?

The moral debate is not lives vs money. It is lives vs lives. It will take months, perhaps years, if ever, before we can assess the wider implications of what we are doing. The damage to children’s education, the excess suicides, the increase in mental health problems, the taking away of resources from other health problems that we were dealing with effectively. Those who need medical help now but won’t seek it, or might not be offered it. And what about the effects on food production and global commerce, that will have unquantifiable consequences for people of all ages, perhaps especially in developing economies?

Governments everywhere say they are responding to the science. The policies in the UK are not the government’s fault. They are trying to act responsibly based on the scientific advice given. But governments must remember that rushed science is almost always bad science. We have decided on policies of extraordinary magnitude without concrete evidence of excess harm already occurring, and without proper scrutiny of the science used to justify them.

In the next few days and weeks, we must continue to look critically and dispassionately at the Covid-19 evidence as it comes in. Above all else, we must keep an open mind — and look for what is, not for what we fear might be.

John Lee is a recently retired professor of pathology and a former NHS consultant pathologist.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/The ... s-we-think
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby Iamwhomiam » Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:17 am

Thanks for that funny video, alloneword.

In announcing the most far-reaching restrictions on personal freedom in the history of our nation, Boris Johnson resolutely followed the scientific advice that he had been given. The advisers to the government seem calm and collected, with a solid consensus among them. In the face of a new viral threat, with numbers of cases surging daily, I’m not sure that any prime minister would have acted very differently.


Boris Johnson announced he has tested positive for COVID-19.

I'm not sure if Rex would agree, but I believe we're at least one month away from its peak in NYS.

As new cases begin to drop off in August, as some expect, we'll be entering a new flu season in September. The big question is will Covid-19 rebound with the coming flu season? If so, will we by then be better prepared to stem the infection rate and prevent another pandemic?
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Re: Coronavirus Crisis: The Main Thread

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:50 am

Iamwhomiam » Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:17 am wrote:I'm not sure if Rex would agree, but I believe we're at least one month away from its peak in NYS.


Absolutely agree, there's no reason it would behave any differently than other outbreaks. NYC, especially, checks off all the major contributing factors that seem to be emerging -- New York state has a very high population of 65+ residents per capita, the air quality downstate is garbage, and the NYC metro area has nine of the ten highest population densities in the US, period.

It's Wuhan, USA, and this is why neighboring states are taking sweeping steps to contain the exodus of people trying to flee Ground Zero 2.0 -- and also why that won't work.

As for Boris Johnson, you have to wonder whether that's even real or part of the UK promotional blitz for "Oh Shit, Lads, We Were Wrong." Once you've convinced your base it's no big deal, how do you pivot to the opposition position in the space of a single week? That's a question Number 10 is uniquely situated to deal with, given the extent of their overt media control. I'm as skeptical of Johnson as I am of Hanks.
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