Covid-19GovernmentHealthHealth fascism

Open thread / Rescued some comments

I found a few genuine comments in the spam filter and have rescued them. Sorry if yours was in there. My spam settings are very mild, but sometimes the filter decides it doesn’t like something completely normal.

Also, open thread for anything current and not already covered by earlier posts. In particular, there are some extraordinary claims made in this blog post from Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, I haven’t had time to check them out, perhaps some readers would like to. (It’s not a very well-written piece, though, it’s almost as confusing as what it’s complaining about.)

P.S. Anyone having trouble with my RSS feed? This is not something I’ve ever delved into, but someone e-mailed me saying they couldn’t get it working.

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30 thoughts on “Open thread / Rescued some comments

  1. I could translate it with Google. The upshot is that in the Heinsberg region of Northern Rhine Westphalia they have had a strict lockdown coupled with rigorous testing. That testing has found 15% of the population must have had the virus as they found with antibodies.
    When the number with antibodies reaches 60% the epidemic is over.
    What is interesting is that in one district (Gangelt) the numbers dying of/with (it doesn’t say) is 0.37 that’s FIVE times lower than the rest of Germany. They think they can ease the lockdown with provisos – strict hygiene and distancing.

  2. I see Peston has been briefed by ministers (keep your comments clean please) – apparently the latest prediction is 30k deaths which is comfortably above a bad Flu year he says.

    Well of course it 1600 more than died of the Flu 2014/15. That’s convenient isn’t it?

    Do they massage the figures to keep it going?

    Is 30k likely?

    Apparently the government is quite shocked by the damage they have done to the country so far – but they might as well finish the job?

  3. Interesting to claim that when 60% of the population has anti-bodies then the epidemic is over. If say R0 is 2.5 this would only be true if 60% of the population who could be infected actually had anti-bodies, then the epidemic peters out gradually.
    A key datum is the proportion of the population that could be infected but won’t. There are always some people whether because of some combination of genes, nasal pathway interventions, lung lining interventions, or cells with the right geometry and electron deficit or surplus are just not gonna let this virus in and affect them. Lucky them of course. But the proportion of such people in the general population could be high ( eg Black Death in Eyam, Diamond Princess incubator, where many who were exposed didn’t get it ). We don’t know, but I’ll take guesses in the 35-55% range as reasonable.
    So when anti-bodies are present in 60% of the remainder ( say 35% of all in round numbers ) then CV-19 is in retreat, yippee. If true then China has completely fucked this up, as they will get a 2nd wave of this thing.

  4. “If true then China has completely fucked this up, as they will get a 2nd wave of this thing.”

    I think you will find China started it’s lockdown long after the virus was widespread. There process was ignore, deny, then massively overreact.

    The massive overreaction was timed with the natural decline of the virus and has now become the template that the west has adopted with spades.

  5. Current deaths in Italy stand at something like 19,000. Where is anyone showing this is in anyway different to a flu season? That is significantly less than experienced in many ‘normal’ flu seasons….


    In the winter seasons from 2013/14 to 2016/17, an estimated average of 5,290,000 ILI cases occurred in Italy, corresponding to an incidence of 9%.

    More than 68,000 deaths attributable to flu epidemics were estimated in the study period.

    Italy showed a higher influenza attributable excess mortality compared to other European countries. especially in the elderly.

  6. Looking at the NHS England statistics referenced in the Oxford Center blog post, something really sticks out about those 6,483 deaths from/with C-19:
    52% of the deceased were 80+ years old.
    92% were over 60 years old.

    No mention of how many of the remaining younger 8% were medically compromised in some way.

    The observation that this virus attacks the elderly is not new. The data screams that the right thing to do is to protect the old & medically-compromised from infection, and to let the rest of the population take their chances (if they so choose). Instead, the police are out there threatening working-age families taking a walk on a windy beach.

    Why are our Betters ignoring the evidence that their own bureaucracies are collecting?

  7. Here is may halting effort to reconcile some of the different death numbers referred to in the Oxford Center blog.

    For the week ending 13 March, total registered deaths (ONS) were 11,019. Per NHS England (ignoring Wales) 40 of those deaths were C-19 related.

    Jump forward two weeks. For the week ending 27 March, total registered deaths (ONS) were 11,141. Of those, 1,314 were C-19 related (NHS).

    So between those snapshots, C-19 deaths increased by 1,274. However, total deaths increased by only 122.

    When C-19 deaths are jumping by 10 times as much as total deaths, it suggests that many of the deaths ascribed to C-19 would have occurred anyway. No surprise that a virus would opportunistically attack people on their death beds. Only surprise is that our Betters are apparently not looking at their own data.

    But the models say growth is exponential. Exponential, man! The models say we need to be very afraid.

  8. “The observation that this virus attacks the elderly is not new. The data screams that the right thing to do is to protect the old & medically-compromised from infection, and to let the rest of the population take their chances (if they so choose).”

    Yes, but no one is listening. Fear has it’s grip on the whole of the western world.

    “Why are our Betters ignoring the evidence that their own bureaucracies are collecting?”

    Game theory.

  9. It’s worth having a look at this site too:

    Effectively they’re finding about the same thing; on 1st april 1.9 million probable symptomatic CORVID-19 cases. Depending on your assumptions on asymptomatic % and the R0 that gives anywhere between 10% of the UK has had it and 30% of the UK has had it, with sensible assumptions. 15% would be quite believable.

    If that’s the case then I reckon about 30k people will die of it without intervention. (assuming 1/4 of reported cases are of rather than with).

  10. Its odd that the models always say we need to be afraid. They never say ‘Do as you please, it’ll be fine!’ I wonder why that could possibly be……..

  11. @Gavin Longmuir on Friday 10th April 2020 at 03:01:

    The observation that this virus attacks the elderly is not new. The data screams that the right thing to do is to protect the old & medically-compromised from infection…

    Could it be that the virus isn’t attacking the elderly per se, just that the elderly are more likely to have accumulated pre-existing conditions that make them vulnerable?

    I guess that there’s no way to do it, but it would be interesting to see the mortality figures for disgustingly-fit-and-well 80 year-olds.

  12. Yes David – Prof. Wittkowski points this out in this video

    The lockdown in China and S Korea came after the peak and was not the cause of the “flattening”.

    I believe that Prof.Ferguson stated that it was the success of the strategy in China and S Korea that lead him to advise the lockdown here. Several other epidemiologists saying that is a misread of the data (or not bothering to analyse the data when you know the answer (well think you do)

  13. No problem with the RSS feed here, Hector. (I’ve never understood why RSS is considered old tech these days. I assume it’s because it can’t be used to track your activity, steal your data, and interrupt what you’re doing with annoying “notifications” on all your devices every three minutes. I mean, what use is that, eh?)

  14. I wonder if some of the few cases of younger people dying who had no known medical condition correspond to someone who had a nasty medical condition without knowing it. I don’t suppose there’s much labour free to try a few autopsies to find out.

    Anyway if the poor bugger would otherwise have had twenty years of OK life, then his early death would still be a rather nasty event.

    As it happens, we have known of two cases of fit young men suddenly dying of cardiac arrest. One died on springing up from the dinner table to fetch his mother something she’d forgotten. The other died before dinner, climbing onto the dinner table to reach up and change a light bulb. The result was two heart-broken families.

    It’s all fragile, chaps. Count your blessings.

  15. The German study ties in with other ‘closed population’ studies, namely the village of Vo, in Italy, the cruise ship the Diamond Princess (both 100% tested) and to a lesser extent, Iceland.
    Around 15% of the population test positive and, of those, between 48% (the Diamond Princess’ relatively elderly population) and 78% will be asymptomatic.

  16. The ONS have a table showing where the COVID-19 deaths occurred, as at week 13: 93% in hospital, the rest divided between home 3%, and care home 4%. So not a vast number of deaths outside hospital. ONS COVID-19 includes WITH and OF. I would think the OF cases were serious enough to have been taken to hospital rather than left in a care home.

    The NHS releases a daily figure which is actually a number for deaths reported, not deaths on that day. The same appears to be the case for PHE. It is necessary to dig deeper in all these stats to get actual date of death. But because of the time taken to receive all the reports that date of death data will be subject to revision. At least the ONS data is subject to a well defined timetable for reporting, compilation and publication.

  17. 2014/15 had 43,850 excess winter deaths in England and Wales alone: add say 10% for Scotland and NI – perhaps more as it’s colder there. 30,000 still well under that.

  18. They probably divided by “zero” somewhere Jim. I don’t know how many lines of code these models have, but the idea that there will be no errors is fanciful. Especially as when asked for the model and data to be looked at by other scientists Prof.Ferguson said that the model was 13 years in the making and some parts were not documented!!!!!!! Amazing!

    I thought he had said he would release it by now? has anyone heard?

  19. I’m not saying it’s enormously important, or urgent, but there’s a real-world concept of “dirty data”, that you either try to “cleanse”, or just put up with. Data can be duplicated, incorrect, inconsistent, untrustworthy, misleading, etc etc. With respect to covid stuff, there is a proposal here: .

    Does anyone have any idea of the “cleanest” source for covid-19 data, currently?

  20. Is there any possibility the low infection rate on the cruise ship is a result of this virus not being novel, and a significant proportion having immunity courtesy of having had the other Corona viruses, similar to small pox and cow pox?

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