Covid-19GovernmentHealthHealth fascism

Covid-19 lockdown scepticism: bullet points

Lots of journalists are chasing me for a ‘chat’ at the moment. I learned from my time in academia that this is not an efficient use of time, so I thought I’d put up a list of soundbites instead that they can use if they want.

Just to make clear, scepticism about Covid-19 is only scepticism about the horror stories that are supposedly just around the corner. Clearly the Covid-19 virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2) is real, it’s nasty, and it kills people, and you don’t want to get it. The question is, is it really a once-in-a-century mass killer, or just another another bad winter virus like influenza? I’m not saying that it definitely, 100% guaranteed, isn’t World War 3, but it looks pretty unlikely that it is, and I want better evidence to justify such an enormously damaging governmental response.

Anyway, here are the soundbites/bullet points.

 


1. ‘Better safe than sorry’ applies to the economy as much as health. In fact more so, as the economic damage is certain, whereas the health scare is hypothetical, and low-probability.

2. The onus of proof is very much on those who would impose such a drastic and damaging lockdown upon British society. It is not upon those who are not convinced by the necessity for it.

3. We have no way of checking Ferguson’s models for reliability, and the track record of his past predictions and models seems to be poor.

4. The data Ferguson is using to justify his figures (as described in his paper) is extremely flimsy. There is, as yet, no quality data on Covid-19 which entitles us to make any good predictions, let alone recommending one of the most economically-damaging courses any Western government has ever undertaken outside of wartime.

5. Ferguson’s mathematical-computational model is a black box, which, despite promises, he has not released the code for, or at least the details of what it is doing. Why has the government not demanded he make it available for public release, and then let loose a swarm of experts all over it? ‘Open Science’ is becoming standard practice in UK research, why is Ferguson not participating? [HD: Ferguson has now released a completely rewritten version of his model. There is no sign yet that the government has assigned a team of experts to look at it.]

https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/research-policy/open-science

6. Most of those who say Covid-19 is an extreme threat also claim that it is relatively infectious. However, it has been around at least since mid-November in China (and probably earlier). Large numbers of Chinese tourists, and many others who would have caught the virus elsewhere, have been coming into Britain since mid-November (note that Britain still has not closed its borders), and we know that it has been spreading around Britain over winter.Yet it has taken until April before deaths from it were even visible in the ONS stats. This suggests that either it is not as infectious as feared, or it is relatively infectious, but many of the people who have caught it have been asymptomatic, in which case the fatality rate is lower than these people claim.

7. Bear in mind that over 600 000 people die every year in the UK. Italy has similar figures. Over 57 million people die around the world every year. The total number of Covid-19 cases still remains a tiny proportion of these deaths.

8. If the situation is so uniquely horrendous that the British people must remain under house arrest for an indefinite period then why have the borders remained open all this time? Why haven’t we at least shut off travel for visitors from China and Italy?

9. How is that a virus can be a once-in-a-century mass killer, yet be almost totally incapable of killing children? Why is it that the vast majority of the deaths are in vulnerable elderly people, the sort of people who normally die in flu epidemics?

10. Why was Neil Ferguson so supremely confident of the success of the lockdown in saving hundreds of thousands of lives a mere three days into it, when the view he expressed in his paper was that it may well last up to 18 months? On what basis is he so confident so soon?

11. When is the government going to run the models with the latest numbers?

This one’s not exactly a soundbite, but it’s important:
12. Ferguson told the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee that he has revised his estimate of R0, that is, the average transmission rate of Covid-19, up to 3.0, which is relatively high. However, as far as I am aware he has not said anything about how this affects his estimates of the fatality rate. But in this situation, where neither figure is known with any reliability, a revision of one almost certainly requires a revision of the other. A virus with a higher transmission rate would result in a much larger spread amongst the population in the same time as a virus with a lower transmission rate, but that means that we are dividing the deaths by a higher figure, resulting in a lower fatality rate.

Select Committee transcript here.


 

Feel free to discuss in the comments. Corrections, suggestions for better wording, or other points that could be added (although I don’t want it to get too long), are welcome, as is dissent and disagreement.

P.S. I am ignoring the latest Chinese figures because I agree they are untrustworthy. My views are not in any way dependent on what the Chinese are saying.

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67 thoughts on “Covid-19 lockdown scepticism: bullet points

  1. Hector, very interesting perspectives as always.

    If, as increasingly appears to be the case, the Chinese have massively understated the impact, would that change your views on the risk impact of CV19?

  2. Nick, it may change my mind, depends on what their real numbers are. I expect that they are lying, but we don’t know by how much, which is why I’m just completely ignoring their latest stats. What I say does not depend in any way on their figures.

    This cover-up (assuming it is one) is as bad as their original cover-up.

  3. Could you please provide evidence that the ONS have changed their method of counting Covid19 related death rates? I have clicked on the links you’ve provided and can find info on what they are doing NOW. However nowhere does it say that this is a changed method. I think it would be really key to compare death rates before and after the date of this change, if it has happened.

    I really appreciate your quality research on this.

  4. The data you present looks convincing, but The NHS staff on the frontline I see on tv seem to think something unusual is going on. Is this just a perception shaped by the media? I usually would trust what people at the sharp end are reporting rather than the generals behind the lines. Here they both seem to agree that it is the serious once in a generation thing?

  5. Great info and analysis.

    Any idea of the total daily deaths in the UK.Seems that they are a couple of weeks behind on the official gov. reports.Only then will we be able to see what is really happening.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Covid-19: Not so highly infectious after all? – I Agree

    The consistency of these findings from a variety of contexts is remarkable and suggests Covid-19 may turn out to be symptom-free in around half of infections

    We might also note that the UK government appears, oddly, to agree with this mortality rate since, despite the extraordinarily costly, illiberal and harmful lengths it has gone to in its efforts to suppress Covid-19, it has just removed it from the official list of High Consequence Infectious Diseases (HCID), stating that mortality rates are ‘low overall’

    If this emerging picture turns out to be in any way close to the mark (and we will know by comparing the outcomes in different countries that have taken different approaches, such as Sweden) the most important lesson to take away from this debacle will be never again to do something as monumentally disproportionate as lock down the country and crash the economy over something comparable to a bad epidemic of the seasonal flu

    Interesting and informative with good stats

    The WHO has failed us again

    This isn’t the first time the World Health Organisation has let politics get in the way of saving lives

    Like other UN bodies, it is bloated, bureaucratic, suffers from organisational dysfunction and is stuffed with political stooges

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing…
    Lancet Editor Slams Government for Listening to his Advice
    https://order-order.com/2020/03/27/lancet-editor-slams-government-for-listening-to-his-advice/

  7. All-Cause Mortality Surveillance 02 April 2020 – Week 14 report (up to week 13 data)

    In week 13 2020, statistically significant excess all-cause mortality by week of death was observed overall and in the 65+ year olds in England, through the EuroMOMO algorithm.

    In the devolved administrations, no statistically significant excess all-cause mortality for all ages was observed for Northern Ireland and Wales in week 13 and for Scotland in week 11 2020

    All-cause death registrations (ONS), England and Wales – In week 12 2020, an estimated 10,645 all-cause deaths were registered in England and Wales (source: Office for National Statistics). This is a decrease compared to the 11,019 estimated death registrations in week 11 2020.
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877621/Weekly_all_cause_mortality_surveillance_week_14_2020_report.pdf

    As Ferguson admitted a few days ago “they’d have died in next nine months anyway” – imo excess this week (no numbers) of over 65 probably delayed from prev week and some brought forward and will balance out by EoY

    FFS: C4 News Covid Special – interviewees infested with diversity >50% NHS etc non-white. They’ve chosen by skin colour, not by ability – C4 is being racist

  8. Point 16. I believe your fraction is downside up. If I am correct, “… dividing the deaths into a higher figure…” is better stated as “… dividing the deaths by a higher figure …”.

  9. Oh dear! The UK government just screwed up and published the truth. In the “Weekly All Cause Mortality” report linked above by Pcar, someone accidentally admitted a horrifying fact:
    “Seasonal mortality is seen each year in England and Wales, with a higher number of deaths in winter months compared to the summer. Additionally, peaks of mortality above this expected higher level typically occur in winter, most commonly the result of factors such as cold snaps …”

    So everyone who is fighting against Global Warming is condemning her fellow citizens to death! Hang your head in shame, Greta!

    There is no time to waste. Before any more people needlessly die of the cold, we need to reopen smokestack industries and get all those SUVs running as hard as they can. The Precautionary Principle requires us to produce as much CO2 as we can! Save lives, regardless of the cost!!!

  10. a key one that should be added is the first rule of medicine is ‘do no harm’ All treatments must be shown to be worthwhile and not be worse than the condition being treated. Where is the government’s evidence that this total shutdown is going to be effective in any way, and where is the evidence it’s not going to be far, far worse?

    Treatment without any evidence or suitable clinical review is quackery.

  11. Comment by the financial blogger who writes as Ermine: before he retired he was an electronics engineer or perhaps a physicist.

    “Of course my head tells me that there is now no effective medical assistance in the UK as it goes into the high-water mark of the pandemic. It’s not a criticism of the NHS and it’s not a criticism of political action or a lack of it. You can’t outrun an exponential, and throwing twice as much twice as fast buys you a lot less than you think.”

  12. Pcar, I wonder if the world is discovering that the leaders of all the relevant medical institutions across the world are run and staffed entirely by political operatives and not competent medical professionals?

  13. This is the great flaw in the approach used on all the epidemics. There are no, none, nada, examples of being successful containing a highly infectious disease. NZ currently has a policy of ‘eradication’, which is an act of insanity.

    mycoplasma bovis is a cow disease that was detected in NZ in 2017. It has a low rate of transmission and is limited to cows, which are a population that is easy to contain. Efforts at ‘eradication’ have been a total failure despite hundreds of millions. Given that model, how does anyone hope for success?

  14. “You’re an absolute hero! Everyone thinks you’re a hero for what you’re doing. The whole country is amazed by how bravely you’re dealing this horrible situation. This situation IS horrible, right?”

    (Sorry to be so cynical, but…)

  15. >NZ currently has a policy of ‘eradication’, which is an act of insanity.

    David, what does the NZ government think will happen once they open the borders? Are they hoping that by then it will be around in such small numbers in the tourists that even if it gets into NZ again it won’t spread much?

    Also, do you know how long they are panning to close the borders for? Tourism is a pretty big industry for NZ.

  16. Hector, I don’t think for one second they have thought it through. Even a half assed look at show the complete futility of the idea. The government is entirely staffed with children.

  17. Quotes from Ardern;

    “Now that doesn’t mean that we’ll have a situation that because Covid will be with us for a number of months, where if we have a case in the future that’s failure, it just means as soon as that happens we again have to stamp it out.

    Every time a case comes up we all pile in, we stamp it out, we contact trace, we self-isolate. We keep going through that process for as long as we need to.”

    Note the ‘stamp it out” as a goal.

  18. Where is the evidence that Covid 19 will be unlike other flu viruses and not be seasonal?
    Here are some current Southern Hemisphere stats of Covid 19 deaths:
    Australia: 28
    New Zealand: 1
    South Africa: 5
    Argentina: 36
    Chile: 22
    That’s less than 100 deaths in a collective population of 150 million.
    We need a vaccine and we need a better-resourced health service, but it’s actually not unreasonable to suppose that the warmer weather that is forecast will mark the beginning of the end of this whole sorry episode. I hope so.

  19. Hector, NZ is currently in “lockdown”, we are a reasonably compliant society so will probably survive the next 2.5 weeks. My expectation is that we will then reduce our restrictions but are unlikely to open our borders until other countries prove their infection rates are low.
    I agree with your opinions on the over reaction to Covid19, NZ has 900 cases, 10 in hospital, 1 in ICU and 1 death. Hardly catoclysmic.
    As a small country the safest political course for any government is to go full lockdown on the precautionary principle, if we have low deaths government was right, if we have heaps, they did their best.
    Jacinda Adern has high approval ratings and the daily government briefings are super professional, she does the same things as Boris and ScoMo and gets wild approval.
    I doubt we will ever get an impartial analysis of the Western governments stupid overreaction to this and IMHO we totally fucked up.

    Richard

  20. “….. Covid-19 virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2) is real, it’s nasty, and it kills people, and you don’t want to get it. The question is, is it really a once-in-a-century mass killer, or just another another bad winter virus like influenza?…”

    Er..BOTH of the above. Influenza is real, nasty and kills people most years. And it’s quite capable of killing young people – at the same rate as Covid. It’s just that we have ignored Influenza for so long that we treat it as something to be brushed under the carpet.

    I suspect that after this experience, Western countries will pay more attention to regular winter flus, and might encourage mask wearing during an epidemic…

    “….P.S. I am ignoring the latest Chinese figures because I agree they are untrustworthy…..”

    I am ignoring ALL figures which have the word COVID in them. Because we are unable to determine if the virus is really present, and if it really caused a death.

    I am working off Total Mortality figures. These may be in arrears, but at least they give unequivocal evidence of the progress of an epidemic. Note that at the moment they show a very mild increase in just a few countries in Europe, with most countries showing no increase.

  21. 84% of NZ cases are people returning from overseas or contact with a known infected person. Only 1% are “community transmission” with 17% still being investigated

  22. An interesting metric from David Spiegelhalter:

    “Yeah, I did this and I was amazed, and it’s helped me enormously in dealing with my own feelings about this. I was using the mortality rates, the infection mortality rates, published by Imperial College, which may be a bit high, but I used those. And they rise incredibly steeply with age – exponentially with age. And then I thought, you know, what else rises exponentially with age? Well, our normal risk of dying rises exponentially with age! And it’s amazing – if you draw a graph of the average risk dying at each age in the country (you can get that from government life tables), and you plot these Covid 19 risks on top of it, they go almost along the line. It’s staggering. And what this means is that, essentially if you get Covid 19, the risk of dying is very roughly equivalent to the risk you’d normally have over the whole year: it packs a year’s worth of risk into the few weeks that you’ve got the disease. And that kind of puts it in perspective, what it shows is that this is a relative risk, whatever risk you’ve got, at the moment, it ups it enormously for that short period, if it’s three or four weeks, then maybe that’s 15 times your normal risk. And so we can really understand why frail, vulnerable people are at such high risk, why it’s so dangerous for them because they’re at risk anyway and suddenly it shoots up, they get a whole year’s worth, you know, in less than a month.”

    My interpretation: so your total risk of death in the next year about doubles – the old risk plus the new one. So if you’re young and fit – few worries. If you’re old and frail, potentially Goodnight, Vienna.

    The whole thing’s worth a dekko.

    https://riskytalk.libsyn.com/transcript-of-coronavirus-understanding-the-numbers

  23. 15: “Why is it that the vast majority of the deaths are in vulnerable elderly people, the sort of people who normally die in flu epidemics?”

    Are there any numbers for hospital/care home acquired covid-19 infections? This would represent a large population of vulnerable and elderly people.

    *If* a significant proportion of infections were acquired inside hospitals and care homes would that skew the assumptions and estimates of transmission and fatality rates?

    I’d hate to think that, for all the effort NHS and care home staff are putting in to care for patients and residents, their procedures and buildings/equipment might be contributing to the toll.

  24. “she does the same things as Boris and ScoMo and gets wild approval.”

    Isn’t that entirely down to the media being totally onside with her?

  25. “…2. The onus of proof is very much on those who would impose such a drastic and damaging lockdown upon British society. It is not upon those who are not convinced by the necessity for it….”

    Tricky. What do you do if you see the signs of a possible major and lethal epidemic approaching? You will have NO proof at that point, but making some preparations should save many lives.

    The answer is, of course, that you make the preparations that you can, but try to retain flexibility so that you can increase or decrease the impact depending on the latest figures. This is how we went into a lockdown.

    What we need to be doing is monitoring the impact of the lockdown, both positive and negative, and dropping it as soon as it is shown to be more damaging than life-saving. Such a decision demands access to a continuous flow of data, which the general public has no got…

  26. I agree and have tried to think that through. I also have a few friends in their early 60s, previously well, either currently on or were on a ventilator until recently. That would not seem to be normal.

    On the other hand…if you have a virus which spreads 3 times as fast as flu then obviously the peak case presentation frequency will be correspondingly higher. If, also, it causes say 3 times as much serious illness (requiring hospitalisation) per infection, then you have 9 x the usual flu in terms of hospiltalisation. Take an NHS at 80% ICU capacity and…..

  27. Dodgy, the ‘onus of proof’ in this context doesn’t mean that you must ‘prove’ a theory in the sense that you prove a theorem in maths, 100%, or even show that we have 95% confidence in it, etc. It just means that the theory must have a high probability of being true (exactly how high is not easy to decide, of course. But better than Neil Ferguson’s models). After all, we know the probability of a great deal of economic damage being inflicted is virtually certain.

    The greater the damage done to social and economic life the more evidence we require to justify a lockdown.

    Basically, what we need to do is standard risk-benefit analysis, rather than ‘better safe than sorry’ precautionary principle stuff. The basic precautionary principle is easily shown to be irrational. When people try to finesse it to make it less crazy, they just end moving closer and closer towards standard risk-benefit analysis.

  28. The logical flaw there is that each individual can die only once. The old fart who is at high risk of dying … dies. Was C-19 the straw that broke the back of his poor health? Or was C-19 merely a fellow traveler, opportunistically taking advantage of an already compromised body?

    Bottom line — if a person is in the At Risk population, then take all reasonable precautions. And the person who is not in the At Risk population should be allowed to get back to work before the whole economy implodes, causing incomparably more damage than any virus.

  29. The number of people dying with C-19 in their systems needs to be put into perspective. Depending on when one wants to start the clock, approximately 100,000 total UK deaths occurred over the same period as those 3,294. And that 100,000 increases with every passing day!

    The real measure is — are total All Causes deaths increasing above normal?

    In a real pandemic, total daily deaths would be doubling or tripling or more. That has not happened yet — not anywhere in the world.

  30. I think Gavin is struggling here with some gross misunderstanding.

    The 3,294 is the deaths in 2020 Week 14, which is a period of 7 days. Those 7 days actually start at 1700hours on Friday 27th March (total UK COVID-19 deaths to then 1,019) and finish at 1700hours on Friday 3rd April (total UK COVID-19 deaths to then 4,313). These figures are now available on Wikipedia. [Aside: note that these figures are for the UK; and IIUC as reported by NHS hospitals and not including deaths at own home or in a residential care facility.]

    Weekly total deaths in England and Wales (so different to the whole UK) can be found on the Office of National Statistics website, as referenced by Hector in his blog post of a few days ago. The ONS figures are published around 1.5 weeks after the event, to allow for later death reports to come in and be properly processed(so currently only to 2020 Week 12, IIUC to midnight at the end of Friday 20th March). Typical weekly deaths recorded by the ONS are, for the latest few weeks, in the range 10,654 to 14,058.

    Gavin writes: “The real measure is — are total All Causes deaths increasing above normal?” Yes, and on that we must wait for ONS figures (all deaths) for another week or two. However, I do note that the ONS figures have included, for some longish period, all deaths where the underlying cause was respiratory disease. Typical weekly figures are 1,488 to 2,188. For Week 14, the Wikipedia figure is well above this (even allowing for E&W versus UK). Whilst I accept total deaths is a better comparison with background levels, it is surely much much less likely that deaths from all causes are being mislabelled as COVID-19 than that only respiratory ones are being so mislabelled. And you cannot mislabel 3,000 deaths with only 1,500 slots.

    Best regards

  31. I am very sceptical of NHS interviewees on TV – BBC and Sky clearly want to project fear and ‘heroes’, and to put pressure on the government – maybe even bring it down.

    The ‘PPE issue’ is a point in case. The people responsible for not having sufficient, are the NHS managers NOT the PM and Health Secretary.

    From what I have read outside London, the NHS is not under pressure or strain at all.

    Another thing – this clamour for ‘more ventilators’ is a joke…….only 10% of people are helped by them.

  32. Good article by Lionel Shriver
    https://spectator.us/longer-lockdown-continues-imperiled/
    Audio version
    https://audioboom.com/posts/7547583-audio-reads-matthew-parris-lionel-shriver-and-isabel-hardman

    Trump: CDC advising Americans to wear cloth masks in public
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j13yNZISkec

    Trump seems very reluctant to be announcing this CDC ‘advice’ – says “I won’t wear one”
    Mr Trump, Well done for opposing the health nazis who never consider where their taxpayer money comes from

  33. @Dodgy

    I’ve been saying since start of this scare Gov & Media should be concentrating on daily, weekly all-cause mortality figures (UK avg is ~1,685pd) and reporting them

    So far there hasn’t been any significant increase in all-cause mortality figures and that’s despite lack of ventilators and PPE products

    Japan and Sweden have carried on as usual with no ill effects

    This economy destroying ‘panic-models’ lockdown needs to end now

    @Gareth on Saturday 4th April 2020 at 13:50

    Care home in Scotland in news today
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-52165397

  34. Around half the deaths in my locality are all from one single long term care facility, they have also announced that to free up hospital capacity they will be moving more patients to long term care facilities.
    Joined up thinking seems to have gone out of the window.

  35. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ now has data on tests conducted per country and per million population. I found it informative to copy the data to spreadsheet and do scatter plots of

    1) cases per million population vs tests per million population
    2) deaths per million population vs tests per million population

    It helps to use logarithmic x and y axes. It immediately emerges that 1) produces a clear correlation, albeit with a range of scatter. Test more, and you find more mostly mild cases. Scatter will be caused by a range of factors, including testing criteria such as whether you have tests for people who are asymptomatic and at little risk or not, etc.

    2) does not produce a nice correlation at all. There is a broad triangular scatter of points, with both very low (e.g. Iceland, UAE) and very high (e.g. San Marino) death rates associated with high levels of testing. Although there are cases of very low death rates and very low testing rates (e.g. Japan), there are no cases of very high death rates and very low testing rates.

    It rather undermines the theory (based on what logic eludes me – it is surely reducing the potential for transmission that is key to that) that testing is key to controlling virus spread. It also suggests that a lot of testing is basically wasteful. Even the Germans are beginning to realise that.

    https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/corona-challenge-germany-reaching-the-upper-limit-of-testing-capacity-a-4d75e7bd-dd0e-41e3-9f09-eb4364c43f2e

    It is also notable that those countries that have decided to keep their economies functioning while only isolating the infected and the most vulnerable (Israel, Sweden, Japan, Korea – I exclude China because we cannot trust its data) do not seem to be experiencing a runaway epidemic.

  36. The essence of the comment was that it is interesting to plot cases/million population and deaths/million population against tests/million population – as now published on worldometers coronavirus site. There is a broad correlation for cases and tests. There is no correlation for deaths and tests. Testing for infection is not how to control the epidemic.

    Also note that countries with no lockdowns (Sweden, Israel, Japan, Korea) other that for the most vulnerable and infected are not suffering raging epidemics.

  37. Thank you, Mr. Sedgwick — I stand corrected.

    No source is given for the tabulation in Wikipedia, but let’s assume it is accurate. C-19 ascribed deaths are currently running around 700 per day in the UK. Historically, daily total deaths are in the range of 1,700 per day.

    With those kinds of numbers, it should quickly become clear whether we are seeing actual increased numbers of UK residents dying, or if we are seeing increased testing for C-19 among those dying from other causes.

  38. I stumbled across the following two studies through following this chap – https://twitter.com/LourencoJML – he seems to be affiliated with the Oxford EEID group that released that study last week:

    1) https://twitter.com/Alex_Washburne/status/1245740159653384192
    The PDF is accessible through the github link.

    “Here, we show how publicly available CDC influenza-like illness
    15 (ILI) outpatient surveillance data can be repurposed to estimate the detection rate of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections. We find a surge of non-influenza ILI above the seasonal
    average and show that this surge is correlated with COVID case counts across states. By
    quantifying the number of excess ILI patients in March relative to previous years and comparing excess ILI to confirmed COVID case counts, we estimate the symptomatic case detection
    20 rate of SARS-CoV-2 in the US to be 1/100 to 1/1000”

    Implication – it’s much more widespread then thought and therefore much less dangerous than expected.

    2) https://twitter.com/LourencoJML/status/1246486141488021507
    Just the abstract available so far but it is interesting -False negative rate for current PCR approach is significant and we are missing cases (depending upon stage of the infection).

    Implication – ditto

  39. Found testing data for British Columbia, only testing known contact, showing symptoms etc. And yet the rate of positive cases is 2.5% of those tested.
    So either this is not that virulent as 97.5% of exposed/ill seem to have not caught it, or a lot of people have already had it and are immune. My money is increasingly on the it’s been around longer than thought and lots have already had it side.

  40. It is worth noting that the measures in place would have depressed all-cause mortality figures absent CoViD-19; fewer RTAs, industrial accidents &c as well as reduction of the spread of non SARS-Cov-2 viruses. Therefore, the baseline against which we need to compare is lower than the previous average all-cause mortality rate.

  41. But the Winter Excess Mortality remains, Old people die in winter, often by respiratory disease on top of other health problems. If not so many have died of other respiratory diseases this year then that creates a bigger pool of potential mortality from WuFlu.

  42. Thanks for that Pcar.

    In case it is of interest to anyone the weekly national flu reports for weeks 12 and 14 include some figures for hospital, school and care home covid-19 outbreaks. It doesn’t give details on numbers of people, just numbers of outbreaks but there is a summary of UK coronavirus numbers right at the end of each report.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/weekly-national-flu-reports-2019-to-2020-season

    19th March 2020 Week 12 (up to Week 11 data):

    109 care home outbreaks with 7 tested positive for SARS-COV2.
    15 school outbreaks with 1 tested positive for SARS-COV2.
    7 hospital outbreaks with 2 tested positive for SARS-COV2.
    13 Other Category outbreaks with 4 tested positive for SARS-COV2.

    2nd April 2020 Week 14 (up to Week 13 data):

    512 care home outbreaks with 230 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
    3 school outbreaks with 1 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
    33 hospital outbreaks with 23 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
    63 Other Category outbreaks with 24 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

    The weekly flu reports have been reduced to twice-weekly as flu numbers are so low.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/announcements/weekly-national-flu-report-week-ending-22-march-2020

  43. Your point 5 about Ferguson’s reluctance to publish code is a mirror of Mann. He also refuses to publish his ‘workings out’, for probably a similar reason. Not that I am capable of following, but so many are

  44. It does seem that they are contradicting themselves with the numbers. I think that they have now got into cover up territory with the extreme reaction they have taken and the numbers will get more and more dodgy until we start to look at the Chinese for clarity.

  45. “If, as increasingly appears to be the case, the Chinese have massively understated the impact,

    First they ignored it. Then they denied it. Then they massively overreacted.

    Which bit caused the impact? The virus, or the Chinese reaction in welding people into their apartments and generally behaving, well, fill in the gap….

    Note the big show of hospitals being built in ’10 days’, but not a single photo of a finished one in operation. Where’s our truth seeking media in this?

  46. @Gareth

    Scratching my head here

    109 care home outbreaks with 7 tested positive for SARS-COV
    15 school outbreaks with 1 tested positive for SARS-COV2…

    How can there be CV outbreaks with zero positive for SARS-COV2?

    @Dennis Clark

    Ferguson has said he will publish code ‘this week’ – I can imagine he’s busy modifying and obfuscating it

    Covid-19 Global Deaths: 73,831

    UK All Cause Annual Deaths: ~615,025

  47. Sorry, I could have been clearer. The figures are for total acute respiratory outbreaks reported that week and the number of outbreaks that tested positive for SARS-COV-2.

    The reports go into greater detail about what illnesses have been detected eg different types of flu, and I’ve just summarised the SARS-COV-2 figures. The figures for each type of illness don’t add up to the totals so I’m guessing test results weren’t back at the time of writing the report or no tests were done.

  48. at last someone who says it how it is I feel desperately sorry for all affected by this, Neil Ferguson should never be taken seriously ever again

  49. COPIED & PASTED EMAIL: Thank you for your email. The ONS began reporting the number of death registrations mentioning covid-19 from week ending 20th March onwards. The first publication of weekly deaths to include the reporting of covid-19 deaths was last week and the second week of reporting was today. In order to achieve the greatest accuracy we are reporting the number of deaths that mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate, either as the underlying cause of death or as a contributory factor. The blog published by ONS last week explains more: Counting deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19)

    Latest figures are available here: Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 27 March 2020

    I hope this helps.

  50. Dude dont forget the rules, you dont just believe what china says. Remember that china hide for 3o years a damn that broke and killed 170,000 and 50,000 from the epidemics. You should be careful when looking at china numbers.

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