Covid-19GovernmentHealthHealth fascism

Open thread

I hope to write a post on Neil Ferguson tonight. In the meantime, here’s an open thread for discussion of Covid-19, computer modelling, the #CovidStasi, foot and mouth, and anything else you fancy.

I know that quite a few of my readers don’t like social media (and I don’t blame them, I’m vainly trying to keep the superior blogosphere going), but there’s a lot of useful action happening on my Twitter account (as well as with people like James Delingpole and Ben Pile). If you use Twitter, check it out. (This, along with the research I’ve been doing, has been keeping me extremely busy.)

If you’ve been sensible enough stay off Twitter until now, though, well done, keep away.

P.S. If you want something light-but-smart, and humorous, to while away the lockdown hours, you could always try my novel.

Update: I’m sorry I can’t respond more to the comments, I’m reading them but I’m totally swamped in everything that’s going on, I have become like a focal point for Covid scepticism. Lots of journalists wanting to talk to me, so far I’ve only talked to one and that’s because he came through David Rose, who I greatly admire.

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25 thoughts on “Open thread

  1. What is the significance of the number of Italian medical professionals who are reported to have died during the Covid19 outbreak? Thanks

  2. Neil Ferguson has publicly stated that the model is code he wrote 13+ years ago, and comprises of thousands of lines of undocumented C code. This is his reason for not releasing the code immediately for scrutiny… So the report has not been peer reviewed, and neither has the code. That is pretty shocking but not surprising. The last academic model I had to review, genetic algorithm models written commercially by experts from a university’s Mathematics department, was undocumented code, poorly written, no unit or functional tests, and worse, the inputs to the model had been frigged in order to give the appearance of it being a useful model. We had to redo it from scratch. Now that was just a commercial problem, but in cases like these were it’s life and death decisions, it’s inexcusable that the models used and the underlying code are not peer reviewed and tested for errors.

  3. I read somewhere (I’ll try and find the links) that many were retired, none serving doctors. Others weren’t working on the ‘front line’ when they contracted the virus, most were ‘elderly’.

  4. The biggest question right now IMO: how many days/weeks of lockdown – with Normies glued to the MSM’s death counter – before the dissonance between “OMG Apocalypse!” and “Wait, there’s only been THREE deaths in my county in the past MONTH?” is untenable to the critical mass of Karens who seem to set policy in every western country?

  5. (i) Given that only 5% of patients put onto ventilators survived in Wuhan, is the fuss about ventilators a distraction? Or will an ample supply do the world of good to less ill people than the Wuhan sample?

    (ii) If the government insists on being draconian couldn’t it at least shoot the NHS and Public Health England people responsible for the lack of working tests? We seem to be witnessing CDC/FDA levels of incompetence.

    (iii) The NHS medical people are key both because (a) we need them to tend the sick, and (b) they and their hospitals are (probably? possibly?) major spreaders of the disease. The lack of separate infectious disease “pavilions” – such as existed for TB and other infectious diseases – and the absence of a proper sensible arrangement to stop the staff spreading the disease to their families and the wider public, is scandalous. If these people weren’t officially angels might something be done about it?

    (iv) Why has there been no properly thought out scheme for protecting the ancients in nursing homes and care homes? They are going to be abattoirs, aren’t they?

    (vi) Why can’t Sainsbury’s and Waitrose do better? Locally there are better reports of Tesco and Asda. Hell, our local greengrocer is wildly outperforming Sainsbury’s. Maybe Asda should do a reverse takeover of Sainsbury’s.

  6. Regarding (iii) Karl Denninger is also suggesting that its in fact the medical system that is propagating the virus, through its lack of rigorous hygiene controls.

  7. Hector
    Whatever you do, don’t talk to the media. They are lying liars who will stitch you up like a mummy. Really. They have an agenda and it could seriously mess up your life.

    I really admire what you are doing here, and I’m glad that people are finally coming to know about your excellent blog, and work. But please, don’t!

    With very best wishes

  8. I agree, Andrew. Gave this bloke a go because he came through David Rose.

    Years in academia taught me (and plenty of academics I know) to be very distrustful of journalists and TV/radio researchers. They used to ring me up about all sorts of crap and they always had an agenda, or else they would promise all sorts of things purely so they could get some free background info.

    It was okay for left-wing academics who would just talk to their old left-wing friends from Uni who were now working for the Guardian.

  9. “this conclusion has only been reached in the last few days, with the refinement of estimates of likely ICU demand due to COVID-19 based on experience in Italy and the UK…” was how Ferguson explained the prediction of 500k U.K deaths and peak ICU care over 30 times demand in the report on the 16th March which caused Boris et al to shit the bed. You would think when Ferguson testified before the Parliamentary Select Committee on the 25th someone might have asked him how the model corrects for age, pre-existing conditions, death certification ? The same model is also predicting a rebound in transmission if house arrest is lifted.

  10. “Fauci has announced that lockdown will continue in the US ‘until there are no new cases’”

    I think Trump is going to rue allowing this guy to lead this.

  11. Scott, I can’t remember if I said this here or on Twitter only, but I’ve also been reading those Committee notes, and I thought the same sort of things.

    >The same model is also predicting a rebound in transmission if house arrest is lifted.

    Yes, true.

  12. I need a team as big as Ferguson’s to keep up with everything that’s going on, including the comments here, but thanks to everyone who has commented, especially David Moore and Robert Watson for doing the graphs, Gavin for early sensible scepticism, and any of my regular commentators who don’t agree with me, you are still welcome here, please stay onboard.

    Twitter: endless moronic, incoherent, comments from people who can’t understand the simplest points, and #FBPE creeps. If you don’t what #FBPE means, I envy you. (Although I do have one amazing Twitter commentator who is the absolute bees’ knees.)

    Blogs (mine, Tim Newman’s, Samizdata, David Thompson, Worstall, etc): Mostly well-crafted, intelligent, witty comments. No comparison. It’s a losing battle, but let’s keep waving the flag for blogging.

  13. Keep up the good work, Mr. Drummond.

    Since it is an open thread, can we tread lightly into the area of religion & philosophy? It is something I have been wondering about since Madame Rodham-Clinton’s unsuccessful foray into “Health Care”. The distinguishing characteristic of her failed effort was that it was not really about Health Care at all, it was all about bureaucracy. There was never an acceptance that medicine does not save lives (because we all die); medicine can extend life and improve its quality.

    One of the Ancient Greek Stoic philosophers is reputed to have said, on being informed of the untimely death of his son: “I did not think I had fathered an Immortal”. For all the flaws of most of the world’s organized religions, they did at least tend to remind people that life is transient, and we all die. That is a self-evident truth which it seems that modern Lefties in particular have a hard time accepting.

    Many of us have seen the sadly diminished quality of life which grandparents, parents, older friends have had to go through before death thankfully ended their suffering. Yet Big Medicine seems to focus on quantifiable length of life instead of the more meaningful, but less quantifiable, quality of life.

    Not so many decades ago, pneumonia was known as the “Old Man’s Friend”, because it ended their suffering. Now we hear stories of elderly ladies going to tattoo parlors to have “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” inscribed indelibly on their chests, in the hope that the medical profession will let them slip away quietly.

    There is a moral issue about how much resources (other people’s labor) should be devoted to extending the life of an elderly person with multiple medical problems — a moral issue that it is not Politically Correct even to mention. The panicked over-reaction to Covid-19 comes about because, as societies, we refuse even to admit there is an issue.

    Thus, we end up doing incalculable economic harm to millions of healthy people in order to extend the lives of mainly sick elderly people by a few miserable months. Even Imperial’s Ferguson states that 2/3 of those who die with Covid-19 in their systems would probably have died within a few months anyway. For those few unhappy months, we are prepared to let our societies crumble.

  14. Following up on your comments about using twitter, I would like to point out that I was, indeed, posting your views on twitter and they banned me for it : )

    “Contradicting the official health authorities views” is how they put it.

    So Yay for Bloggosphere.

  15. Very well put and excellent sentiments Mr. Longmuir.
    And that comes from an overweight 73 year old with asthma, albeit one who remains relatively “healthy”, probably from consuming a bottle of red every night, with added Bowmore at weekends.

    Keep up the excellent work Mr. Drummond. One hopes that, preferably sooner rather than later, the message does penetrate the mass hysteria and panic that sweeps our isles. (and aisles)

  16. Watched the testimony – just soft questioning and gushing praise. The Imperial model’s prediction on transmission rates has been disputed [1]. Flatten the curve! flatten the curve!. Its a model ffs if you stick in data from the exponential growth phase of the epidemic, then there will be huge uncertainties in the middle and maximum of the curve. Ferguson will no doubt get a knighthood for his work to go with the O.B.E for his efforts on foot and mouth.

    1. Chen Shen, Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Yaneer Bar-Yam, Review of Ferguson et al “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions…”, New England Complex Systems Institute (March 17, 2020).

  17. I’ve been saying for ages now that the decline of organised religion in the West (or at least a decline within the natives of the West) has resulted in an absolute fear of death that manifests itself in so many ways throughout society. The whole ‘if I eat the right things I won’t die’ attitude of the middle classes is one, the desire to throw ever increasing amount of resources at prolonging pretty sh*tty lives via medical means is another, the obsession with exercise and fitness is a third. All of these are propounded by people who cannot come to grips with their own mortality, and have no faith to fall back on. So the Covid scenario is a perfect storm for such people – they are incapable of having a rational conversation on the matter, its just a case of ‘No-one must be allowed die!!!! We must do anything to stop it!!!’

  18. Spot on, Jim.
    Last year I had a heart attack. It didn’t hurt that bad (I walked to the emergency) and I felt just about normal after the nerdy craftsmen who do heart surgery fed a thin metal wire up through my arm and inflated a wire mesh inside my heart ( I could watch it in real time on a big screen and ask questions to the surgeons during the procedure). Let me tell you what my idiot state-employed (social services) brother had to say on the phone when I told him : ” Aye… they don’t let people die here in Norway, they don’t let people die here.” Utter moron but symptomatic of the disonnect.

  19. May I add my thanks Hector. I’m a regular reader of your blog and the others you mention above, although I seldom comment.
    I don’t really do twitter, confining my input to calling Peston a c*nt.

  20. Also (and this has only just occurred to me) the mawkishness about death that has infested the UK ever since the death of St Diana (or rather saw its first mass outing at her passing) is probably linked to decline in religious belief as well. Previously a faith in God and the hereafter provided comfort and solace at a time of great emotional stress, now there is no safety blanket and everything just wells out for all to see.

  21. Does anyone know anything more about Exercise Cygnus, more specifically, exactly what the recommendations were and the extent to which they have been acted upon, if at all?

    According to Wikipedia, it was a UK government simulation done in October 2016 to estimate the impact of a hypothetical influenza pandemic on the UK. As of March 2020, the full results of the exercise remain classified. (The note to that last sentence: (LBC 30 March 2020) In typical Nick Ferrari style, he pulls no punches, basically querying why virtually nothing had subsequently been done to fill the “holes all over the place” in the UK’s readiness for a pandemic.

    HT DeeDee99 at Raedwald’s:

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