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COVID: lies, damn lies, and statistics

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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 08:22   #76
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
It's being reported that a French doctor is claiming that one of his patients who was previously diagnosed with pneumonia in DECEMBER, has retrospectively, tested positive for the Covid virus.

The patient had not been out of France.
No, but their wife worked on a sushi stall right next to a bunch of ethnic Chinese, who (AFAIK) have not yet been traced and their movements scrutinised. Somebody obviously had contact with, or had been to China if this really is patient zero - which the French are not definitely claiming, saying instead this situation is probably replicated elsewhere in France.

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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 08:33   #77
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A thought provoking snippet

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...yside-52498893

This caught my attention today - I'm unsure as to what to make of it really. The persons are evacuated at no cost to them from a dangerous site, for their safety from COVID - 19. No one forced them to leave China. They have been isolated and in lockdown (like most of us) and now it seems they regret this action......... well, see what you make of it.

The dialogue, as reported, makes me feel the guy is ungrateful and wishes to return but only when it suits him and his family.
The evacuees have been housed, fed and screened healthwise by the UK state. Is all this right and proper to report this? It just leaves me puzzled.
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 09:37   #78
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... but what do you think is worse: temporary restrictions on personal freedoms to avert a public health disaster, leaving people fully cognizant of their rights and with some degree of trust left in democratic institutions, or an out-of-control epidemic that's going to leave a frightened population clamoring for authoritarian leadership? I'm much more concerned about the second option
My thoughts exactly. Especially the last sentence.
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 09:56   #79
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Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...yside-52498893

This caught my attention today - I'm unsure as to what to make of it really. The persons are evacuated at no cost to them from a dangerous site, for their safety from COVID - 19. No one forced them to leave China. They have been isolated and in lockdown (like most of us) and now it seems they regret this action......... well, see what you make of it.

The dialogue, as reported, makes me feel the guy is ungrateful and wishes to return but only when it suits him and his family.
The evacuees have been housed, fed and screened healthwise by the UK state. Is all this right and proper to report this? It just leaves me puzzled.

If he's a full time resident in China, I don't know how he got evacuated even with UK passport? It's one thing being a tourist who gets caught out but he lives there!
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 10:29   #80
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Despite some painting it as a black and white issue (lockdown/not lockdown)
I may have been a little too black-and-white myself in my responses to étudiant's posts, as I would not argue for a blanket lockdown approach in all cases. Of course demographics and economics need to be taken into account: there are certainly places in the U.S. - in states like Montana or Wyoming - where population densities are so low that a much more relaxed approach probably makes more sense, perhaps closing only those facilities in which large numbers of people work in close proximity (like say meat-packing plants). And there are many developing countries where the economic costs of lockdown for the poorest, who need to make ends meet on a daily basis, would be extremely high, and perhaps the younger average age of populations there could help mitigate the death rate.

But for most of the U.S. and Europe, where most of the people posting on this thread live, failure to adopt strict measures would inevitably lead to NYC/Lombardy/Madrid type of situation, with deaths getting out of hand and the risk of overwhelming public health systems. You would then have overwhelming public demand for lockdows - the vast majority of Italians still support strict measures, despite cries for 'liberty!' that mostly come from the authoritarian, neo-fascist right - and you would achieve a worst-of-both-worlds situation, with lockdowns enacted too late to stave off the health emergency, but the same economic damage.
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 12:14   #81
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Well, it is quite polarising isn't it?!

This is an apex predator and needs to be taken seriously - it's virgin territory. Comparable to a third world war, or on a local scale a famine - except, relatively speaking no-one really cares about a localised famine, much. Everyone is playing blind, but there is information out there and best guesses. There is really no excuse for Western Governments being caught on the hop though with a pandemic, the poor equipment failures etc. They had warning.

If it's humanity you're worried about, then poorer parts of the world as S America, India, some African nations are even more of an issue wrt lockdowns etc.


But it shouldn't even be about 'poorer' per se - it's about wealth distribution and organization too. 'Lockdown' doesn't have to be economically debilitating. But obviously cannot carry on indefinitely ... !!!

Despite some painting it as a black and white issue (lockdown/not lockdown), there will have to be compromises and ways around whilst this big bad predator is still out there. All countries (economies/population density/government style etc) are different.
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I may have been a little too black-and-white myself in my responses to étudiant's posts, as I would not argue for a blanket lockdown approach in all cases. Of course demographics and economics need to be taken into account: there are certainly places in the U.S. - in states like Montana or Wyoming - where population densities are so low that a much more relaxed approach probably makes more sense, perhaps closing only those facilities in which large numbers of people work in close proximity (like say meat-packing plants). And there are many developing countries where the economic costs of lockdown for the poorest, who need to make ends meet on a daily basis, would be extremely high, and perhaps the younger average age of populations there could help mitigate the death rate.

But for most of the U.S. and Europe, where most of the people posting on this thread live, failure to adopt strict measures would inevitably lead to NYC/Lombardy/Madrid type of situation, with deaths getting out of hand and the risk of overwhelming public health systems. You would then have overwhelming public demand for lockdows - the vast majority of Italians still support strict measures, despite cries for 'liberty!' that mostly come from the authoritarian, neo-fascist right - and you would achieve a worst-of-both-worlds situation, with lockdowns enacted too late to stave off the health emergency, but the same economic damage.
But is it the big bad Apex predator ?
I'm sure any accounting over the period would have seen far more nature/animals destroyed than humans ....
By far the vast majority of people have, and will survive.

I absolutely believe a 'third' or different way would have proved far more effective and resulted in not only a lower death rate, but less deaths overall. If any professional approached a business investment or large scale engineering project in the way that this 'crisis' has been, they'd be crucified. The biggest problems are not being dealt with adequately.

This is not an either /or polarized choice. That is the point Etudiant is making and I haven't heard any arguments that would invalidate it.

I absolutely agree that the response must be nuanced to the demographics /geography. Societies with ingrained intergenerational living seem to be some of the most difficult to tackle.

We can't keep bringing up Sweden without recognising that like the UK they have changed strategies along the way. Even then the hands off the wheel approach did nothing at all to address the most vulnerable. Up to half of deaths in Europe have occurred in aged care, etc according to an article quoting Dr Kluge.

Not only do we not have sufficient data about the virus and it's effects, but we don't have sufficient wider societal data. The increases in alcohol sales, domestic violence, homelessness, and deleterious effects for those who rely on charity, unfunded impacts on those in the casualised /contract workforce, the 'under'employed, and the arts etc who have slipped through the social security cracks, etc. Anyone tracking suicide rates due to all this oppression ?

I have heard disturbing things about what health professionals are forced to record ....

As to longer term effects on health of the virus is there:-
* Any hard data? Likewise is there hard data on:-
* Age ranges?, condition?, and comorbidity ?
What about the paper Xenospiza posted - any comment ?

I agree we don't want to see a full on zombie apocalypse, but the governance on this has been woeful, and I am really puzzled why people aren't yelling from the rooftops demanding change. (I won't say take up arms, since we see seeds of that in the US and nothing pretty can come of that). People's vapid compliance is stupefying ...

Is there any other country that has had 'democracy' shut down ?
Anyone else with a quasi Junta installed ?
What about demands (through social shaming and coercion - threats that society can ONLY open up with people 'volunteering' to download tracking apps)
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.the...id-19-response
https://www.google.com/amp/s/theaimn...-covid-19/amp/

Why do people think it's ok for the capitalist machine to roll on accruing debts, when people's businesses and jobs have been shut down by government decree (government's that have abdicated parliament even) ..... ?

Why is essential medical equipment and PPE being subjected to 'free' market forces ? Why do we have virtual 'martial' law, and yet no effective, globally co-ordinated equipment logistics ?





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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 12:36   #82
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
But is it the big bad Apex predator ?
I'm sure any accounting over the period would have seen far more nature/animals destroyed than humans ....
By far the vast majority of people have, and will survive.

I absolutely believe a 'third' or different way would have proved far more effective and resulted in not only a lower death rate, but less deaths overall. If any professional approached a business investment or large scale engineering project in the way that this 'crisis' has been, they'd be crucified. The biggest problems are not being dealt with adequately.

This is not an either /or polarized choice. That is the point Etudiant is making and I haven't heard any arguments that would invalidate it.

I absolutely agree that the response must be nuanced to the demographics /geography. Societies with ingrained intergenerational living seem to be some of the most difficult to tackle.

We can't keep bringing up Sweden without recognising that like the UK they have changed strategies along the way. Even then the hands off the wheel approach did nothing at all to address the most vulnerable. Up to half of deaths in Europe have occurred in aged care, etc according to an article quoting Dr Kluge.

Not only do we not have sufficient data about the virus and it's effects, but we don't have sufficient wider societal data. The increases in alcohol sales, domestic violence, homelessness, and deleterious effects for those who rely on charity, unfunded impacts on those in the casualised /contract workforce, the 'under'employed, and the arts etc who have slipped through the social security cracks, etc. Anyone tracking suicide rates due to all this oppression ?

I have heard disturbing things about what health professionals are forced to record ....

As to longer term effects on health of the virus is there:-
* Any hard data? Likewise is there hard data on:-
* Age ranges?, condition?, and comorbidity ?
What about the paper Xenospiza posted - any comment ?

I agree we don't want to see a full on zombie apocalypse, but the governance on this has been woeful, and I am really puzzled why people aren't yelling from the rooftops demanding change. (I won't say take up arms, since we see seeds of that in the US and nothing pretty can come of that). People's vapid compliance is stupefying ...

Is there any other country that has had 'democracy' shut down ?
Anyone else with a quasi Junta installed ?
What about demands (through social shaming and coercion - threats that society can ONLY open up with people 'volunteering' to download tracking apps)
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.the...id-19-response
https://www.google.com/amp/s/theaimn...-covid-19/amp/

Why do people think it's ok for the capitalist machine to roll on accruing debts, when people's businesses and jobs have been shut down by government decree (government's that have abdicated parliament even) ..... ?

Why is essential medical equipment and PPE being subjected to 'free' market forces ? Why do we have virtual 'martial' law, and yet no effective, globally co-ordinated equipment logistics ?





Chosun
It's not vapid compliance. We've all heard the nonsense "wake up sheeple" from anti-science bullshit merchants before. We aren't blind, or incapable of understanding or whatever other delusion you place yourself under. We just all think you and those like you are morons.

Genuinely. I read your posts, and those of others on these threads and I think you're morons.

And many of us know how to read data. How to read a graph. And anyone who has even a basic understanding of maths knows that had we stayed on the trajectory marked in red here it would have been a tragedy, and getting things to the trajectory marked in blue is a success that must be maintained.

And no amount of conspiracy theory horseshit, or pointing at Sweden's failure and pretending it's a success (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnb...of-europe.html), or whinging about "but muh liberties" is going to convince people who can see those results, and put saving lives first.

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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 12:44   #83
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
But is it the big bad Apex predator ?
I'm sure any accounting over the period would have seen far more nature/animals destroyed than humans ....
By far the vast majority of people have, and will survive.

I absolutely believe a 'third' or different way would have proved far more effective and resulted in not only a lower death rate, but less deaths overall. If any professional approached a business investment or large scale engineering project in the way that this 'crisis' has been, they'd be crucified. The biggest problems are not being dealt with adequately.

...


Why is essential medical equipment and PPE being subjected to 'free' market forces ? Why do we have virtual 'martial' law, and yet no effective, globally co-ordinated equipment logistics ?
Apex predator in that if absolutely nothing was done it would take out c3% or whatever of the whole global population. Agree that in perspective ... but no-one really cares about local wars and famines tbh. Or at least we accept them (and they don't affect most of us in this first world forum much anyway). We will only really know in hindsight) compared to eg cancer and other causes of death in the very elderly) and whether it is just culling the weak and elderly who 80 years ago would have had other causes of death to worry about (life expectancy goes up ... life expectancy goes down ... ) Doesn't stop it being important though, along with the unknown other health effects mentioned upthread

Your last point - that is so wrong agreed athough there are a few good news stories on that (probably far outweighed by the bad).
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 12:57   #84
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Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...yside-52498893

This caught my attention today - I'm unsure as to what to make of it really. The persons are evacuated at no cost to them from a dangerous site, for their safety from COVID - 19. No one forced them to leave China. They have been isolated and in lockdown (like most of us) and now it seems they regret this action......... well, see what you make of it.

The dialogue, as reported, makes me feel the guy is ungrateful and wishes to return but only when it suits him and his family.
The evacuees have been housed, fed and screened healthwise by the UK state. Is all this right and proper to report this? It just leaves me puzzled.
To me this reads as good old envy. Not sure how religious people are here, but it's supposedly a big sin or something...

The amount of money expended to repatriate people is absolute peanuts compared to any other fallout from this, is it really a reason to get upset? Furthermore if you help someone, asking them to be grateful is bad form. Just be happy that you could (through your government) help some people.

This is an extremely shitty situation for anyone who doesn't fit in the category of "living in one country forever" - it's not so much due to the virus itself, but due to the unhinged xenophobia it caused, with stupid border closures between equally affected countries that serve no other real purpose than playing people's primal instincts for political points. No action to ease it a bit for people is "too much" and this constant research of "haven't we helped someone who may not deserve it" is the biggest obstacle that prevents actual good will actions.
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 13:19   #85
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Opisska,

I'm afraid you are incorrect if you feel I'm envious of these people and the situation. I do not practice or follow any religion, additionally I was born in Asia but raised and educated in England. I have no wish to live in my birth country.

A lot of us thank and are very grateful to our NHS staff by showing this gratitude and recognition by a show of solidarity on Thursday at 8pm. There is no sin involved by doing so, just overwhelming spirit in these difficult times.

There is no xenophobia on my part, I would feel the same if a dear Caucasian family friend ( now retired to Thailand ) made the same comments or acted similarly.

I personally dont feel your reply was criticising me, but I may be wrong. I openly declared I was unsure of how I felt and why I remain so.

Regards.
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 13:26   #86
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Oh yeah sorry, the comments about xenophobia were meant as a comment to how this situation with closed borders occured, I did not meant to imply it on your side as your post gives really no such vibes. I was only "criticising" (not sure if it's the right term) your comment of the guy seeming ungrateful, as I feel this is just not fair to request from someone in a complicated life situation.
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 14:26   #87
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I was only "criticising" (not sure if it's the right term) your comment of the guy seeming ungrateful, as I feel this is just not fair to request from someone in a complicated life situation.
This could well be due to the content of the report, in as he could be very grateful but this was maybe purposefully left out to give the article a bit more "punch" and therefore proving unbalanced. Thus promoting the piece to a juicy headline - clickbait.

Another thought though and then I will move on, " Why fly back to the UK, rather than another province in China? Was China then in lockdown or maybe he felt it would be safer for his family to flee the country."

So many different scenarios.
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 14:50   #88
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It's not vapid compliance. We've all heard the nonsense "wake up sheeple" from anti-science bullshit merchants before. We aren't blind, or incapable of understanding or whatever other delusion you place yourself under. We just all think you and those like you are morons.

Genuinely. I read your posts, and those of others on these threads and I think you're morons.

And many of us know how to read data. How to read a graph. And anyone who has even a basic understanding of maths knows that had we stayed on the trajectory marked in red here it would have been a tragedy, and getting things to the trajectory marked in blue is a success that must be maintained.

And no amount of conspiracy theory horseshit, or pointing at Sweden's failure and pretending it's a success (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnb...of-europe.html), or whinging about "but muh liberties" is going to convince people who can see those results, and put saving lives first.

Owen
Okay, goodonya as we say.

I didn't know they'd managed to cross sheep with people yet. Is that out of the same lab that 'may' have released this virus ?

Perhaps English is not your first language, and perhaps comprehension is not your strong suit (civility certainly isn't). Perhaps you are fine with the 'indefinite' suspension of democracy? (what did you make of the reports and articles I linked?)

I'm afraid the ability to read data, graphs, with a basic understanding of maths (a level we would expect of any school child - no?) doesn't impress me if it is unaccompanied by the ability to navigate even first order logic.

I don't know why you've raised Sweden (perhaps you didn't read my post).

The rate and level of death anywhere is completely unacceptable - under any strategy officially adopted anywhere in the world, despite the destructive shut /lockdowns. I really don't know what is so difficult to understand about that .....




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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 19:54   #89
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Thank you, I appreciate your dismissal of me, I wouldn't like to be seen positively by a person of your opinions.
My pleasure!.... and just as I surmised, zero criticism of Creepy Joe.
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 20:00   #90
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@Chosun: I don't know what you really said wrong in this particular post.

In the (non-locked-down) state where I live, people got €250 fines for picknicking in a park. Eating something they had bought at a food stall would have been allowed!
Also, 85% of Germans thinks they have no influence on what the government decides in the Covid-19 crisis. This despite some 75% being happy with the way it is being handled. Even during the refugee crisis in 2015, people felt less devoid of power.
I think the "intelligent" lockdowns in some countries were as effecive as the complete lockdowns in others. Compare the Netherlands and Belgium (both quite badly hit), or Northrhine-Westphalia and Austria (both reasonably lightly hit).
There are some issues with incomplete lockdowns (like birders not taking any responsibility at all), but I prefer some people misbehaving and me having my (self-imposed & limited) freedom over everyone being locked up indoors.
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 20:50   #91
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My pleasure!.... and just as I surmised, zero criticism of Creepy Joe.
What an absurd direction of argumentation, should I be required to name all sex offenders in the history of humanity any time I take a shot at one of them?

For the record, If I lived in the US, I would be really pissed at the choice of two creepy old men (don't forget that Trump grabbed them by the pussy and was friends with Epstein). Bernie would have been obvious choice, but what would I do now? Probably think about finally emigrating to Europe, but shit, corona ....
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 22:15   #92
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Perhaps English is not your first language....


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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 22:25   #93
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Chosun, would you be able to succinctly explain what measures you think should have been enacted?

This isn't a rhetorical question or a gotcha trap. I am genuinely confused at what you think would have been an appropriate measure to minimize loss of life. You seem to be pro-no restrictions, but then other comments suggest that you are coming at this from a completely different perspective.

I am fully comfortable admitting there is zero perfect solution. Nearly everything I can imagine is going to put a burden of the healthcare situation, economy, personal freedoms, and just the overall health of the population.
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 22:43   #94
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No, but their wife worked on a sushi stall right next to a bunch of ethnic Chinese, who (AFAIK) have not yet been traced and their movements scrutinised.

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Think that is actually pretty important, is there a reference for that?
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Old Wednesday 6th May 2020, 00:55   #95
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For the record, If I lived in the US, I would be really pissed at the choice of two creepy old men (don't forget that Trump grabbed them by the pussy and was friends with Epstein). Bernie would have been obvious choice, but what would I do now? Probably think about finally emigrating to Europe, but shit, corona ....
C'mon, there's nothing "creepy" about Biden. I should have thought someone from your part of the world would see through politically motivated smears of that kind. As for Trump, he's not "creepy", he's an out-and-out sexual predator (or was, at least, in his "prime").

If I had my druthers, Warren would be the nominee with Sanders as my second choice. Both, of course, are "old people" in the same age bracket as Biden and Trump.
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Old Wednesday 6th May 2020, 02:29   #96
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Chosun, would you be able to succinctly explain what measures you think should have been enacted?

This isn't a rhetorical question or a gotcha trap. I am genuinely confused at what you think would have been an appropriate measure to minimize loss of life. You seem to be pro-no restrictions, but then other comments suggest that you are coming at this from a completely different perspective.

I am fully comfortable admitting there is zero perfect solution. Nearly everything I can imagine is going to put a burden of the healthcare situation, economy, personal freedoms, and just the overall health of the population.
Yep, happy to do that when I get back tonight.

In the meantime, I will post a link detailing individual deaths in this country. Much of it has been cruise ship sourced and in aged care homes (where the recovered 96yo I posted about was) - I think at latest there are 15 deaths in that one cluster but I will have to check.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.the...ian-death-toll

The other thing to look at is Vietnam (a population ~4x ours) which has 271 cases and recorded no deaths. Friends who were in Vietnam at the time told of temperature scans/ other symptom checks at every point of movement, and strict segregation/ quarantine for 'positive' results/ symptoms.





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Old Wednesday 6th May 2020, 05:06   #97
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Originally Posted by Mysticete View Post
Note that the part in bold was bold in the figure caption....I am guessing that Tenex posted this to argue that their has been a severe drop this week in cases, when that is almost certainly an artifact of the data collection process.
No, it's the overall difference in the impression of the two graphs that I wanted to convey. The last week of data is obviously incomplete, but the divergence is not limited to that period, as you can easily see. And obviously it's much more meaningful to present the actual chronology than just tabulate by date of reporting, as I thought of pointing out but didn't. My real point was how hard it is to have any idea at all what's really going on with this virus, with lockdown or not, from one place to another... and the lengths some people are willing to go to despite that.

I had started to reply to a number of other posts, but I've waited too long and the thread has pretty well covered things by now. We know who we agree with and who we don't, and how that goes. We are not "all in this together", as officials keep trying to tell us. It will just come apart, being unsustainable in so many ways, long before any better understanding emerges, and end as messily as it began.
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Old Wednesday 6th May 2020, 11:53   #98
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Originally Posted by tenex View Post
No, it's the overall difference in the impression of the two graphs that I wanted to convey. The last week of data is obviously incomplete, but the divergence is not limited to that period, as you can easily see. And obviously it's much more meaningful to present the actual chronology than just tabulate by date of reporting, as I thought of pointing out but didn't. My real point was how hard it is to have any idea at all what's really going on with this virus, with lockdown or not, from one place to another... and the lengths some people are willing to go to despite that.

I had started to reply to a number of other posts, but I've waited too long and the thread has pretty well covered things by now. We know who we agree with and who we don't, and how that goes. We are not "all in this together", as officials keep trying to tell us. It will just come apart, being unsustainable in so many ways, long before any better understanding emerges, and end as messily as it began.
I see a plateau of cases, not a decline. That's better than a continued upward trajectory, but suggests a long road ahead, and as social distancing measures are relaxed, a potential increase again.

I will agree with you wholeheartedly on your final paragraph. looking at our country's response and the preceding events of the last few years, it's hard to not come to the conclusion that our country and society is completely broken, and I don't see how we fix it. I just hope for now a managed collapse of our nation, rather than an apocalyptic degeneration or a turn towards authoritarianism.
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Old Wednesday 6th May 2020, 19:57   #99
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Required reading

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Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
Perhaps an indication that we all are really flying blind while trying to deal with this virus:

https://flutrackers.com/forum/forum/...mic#post856818

The punch line from the abstract of the paper is ' Comparing the trajectory of the epidemic before and after the lockdown, we find no evidence of any discontinuity in the growth rate, doubling time, and reproduction number trends.'
Your comments throughout this thread have agreed entirely with my thinking, but with this citation you've really made the effort worthwhile. This is the first useful technical paper I've read about COVID because it's not a prediction based on doubtful assumptions, but a mathematical description of what we've (unfortunately) already been through. The paper is here:
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1....full.pdf+html
Everyone should read it; the actual math can be skimmed, while the following explanation is readable if a bit dry. But I'll simplify it here for the disinclined or math-averse, those who believe R0 is some fixed constant, or think it obvious that lockdown "worked" in Italy, etc:

Epidemics grow exponentially over time and then decay, following a specific equation or curve with considerable momentum to it. The turning point where they hit some limit to further growth is not the peak, but the earlier point where the curve stops climbing ever more steeply and begins to level off instead: not where the death trend itself finally reverses, but where its rate of growth first begins to decline. (The inflection point determined by the time derivative, in the language of calculus.) This paper demonstrates that this point where the epidemic hit a limit in each country of Western Europe does not coincide with the imposition of lockdowns. (There's only minimal treatment of USA where policies and timing varied across 50 states, though the overall curve is similar to Europe's.) In fact, deaths somehow reached a higher number than the pre-lockdown trend (already in decay) would have predicted! The pattern is the same in each country: although deaths continued to rise for a while, the epidemic had already begun to decay several weeks before lockdowns were implemented, and therefore for some other reason instead.

Only in the final paragraph does the author address what that reason might be, as it's beyond the scope of the paper. But it's pretty simple: if not seasonal factors like temperature or humidity (as with flu), which don't seem to affect the behavior of COVID flourishing in both hemispheres, then simply running out of susceptible hosts due to growing immunity. And this must have already happened weeks before lockdowns took effect, so the virus must have spread far more widely (and be far less lethal) than expected, as has already been indicated any number of times. (The recent news that it might have been in France by December could fit in here.) Various earlier estimates must all simply have missed large numbers of asymptomatic infections. But in any case, based on the data, the author concludes: "it should be pointed out that, since the full lockdown strategies are shown to have no impact on the epidemic's slowdown, one should consider their potentially high inherent death toll as a net loss of human lives." (End of summary.)

The paper doesn't address testing and contact tracking, an approach that could actually have been effective, but these countries were in no position to take. (NB: Jan/opisska has pointed out that it's hard to explain how S.Korea, which did that, could have missed so many asymptomatic cases without experiencing further spread of the epidemic. I agree, that remains among many things yet to be understood...)

The paper doesn't address China, where everyone somehow got the idea that "lockdown works", because the author very rightly doesn't trust the data. The principle is the same though: the epidemic may just have run its course inside the quarantine of Wuhan despite (or aggravated by) lockdown measures, and that's why the actual mortality was higher than ever admitted (or possibly even recorded).

The paper doesn't speculate as to why lockdowns would have the perverse effect of increasing the eventual number of COVID deaths beyond the extrapolation from the initial trajectory. My first guess would be that they generate more severe infections within the home environment.

Simply put, we don't really understand the transmission of this virus or know how to stop it (except by rigorous testing and tracking), but fortunately it has occurred remarkably quickly and is already in decline. So the question I posed at the start of this thread, how to know whether it's time to reopen yet, is irrelevant. One would only fear further disastrous "waves" of infection if shutdown had actually been responsible for the decline of the first one, which it wasn't.

And meanwhile, in the state of Oregon people are wearing T-shirts printed with the government's COVID slogan, asking whether you've killed anyone today by not following orders. It will take some time to crawl back from that level of vicious stupidity.
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Old Thursday 7th May 2020, 03:05   #100
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Originally Posted by tenex View Post
Your comments throughout this thread have agreed entirely with my thinking, but with this citation you've really made the effort worthwhile. This is the first useful technical paper I've read about COVID because it's not a prediction based on doubtful assumptions, but a mathematical description of what we've (unfortunately) already been through. The paper is here:
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1....full.pdf+html
Everyone should read it; the actual math can be skimmed, while the following explanation is readable if a bit dry. But I'll simplify it here for the disinclined or math-averse, those who believe R0 is some fixed constant, or think it obvious that lockdown "worked" in Italy, etc:

Epidemics grow exponentially over time and then decay, following a specific equation or curve with considerable momentum to it. The turning point where they hit some limit to further growth is not the peak, but the earlier point where the curve stops climbing ever more steeply and begins to level off instead: not where the death trend itself finally reverses, but where its rate of growth first begins to decline. (The inflection point determined by the time derivative, in the language of calculus.) This paper demonstrates that this point where the epidemic hit a limit in each country of Western Europe does not coincide with the imposition of lockdowns. (There's only minimal treatment of USA where policies and timing varied across 50 states, though the overall curve is similar to Europe's.) In fact, deaths somehow reached a higher number than the pre-lockdown trend (already in decay) would have predicted! The pattern is the same in each country: although deaths continued to rise for a while, the epidemic had already begun to decay several weeks before lockdowns were implemented, and therefore for some other reason instead.

Only in the final paragraph does the author address what that reason might be, as it's beyond the scope of the paper. But it's pretty simple: if not seasonal factors like temperature or humidity (as with flu), which don't seem to affect the behavior of COVID flourishing in both hemispheres, then simply running out of susceptible hosts due to growing immunity. And this must have already happened weeks before lockdowns took effect, so the virus must have spread far more widely (and be far less lethal) than expected, as has already been indicated any number of times. (The recent news that it might have been in France by December could fit in here.) Various earlier estimates must all simply have missed large numbers of asymptomatic infections. But in any case, based on the data, the author concludes: "it should be pointed out that, since the full lockdown strategies are shown to have no impact on the epidemic's slowdown, one should consider their potentially high inherent death toll as a net loss of human lives." (End of summary.)

The paper doesn't address testing and contact tracking, an approach that could actually have been effective, but these countries were in no position to take. (NB: Jan/opisska has pointed out that it's hard to explain how S.Korea, which did that, could have missed so many asymptomatic cases without experiencing further spread of the epidemic. I agree, that remains among many things yet to be understood...)

The paper doesn't address China, where everyone somehow got the idea that "lockdown works", because the author very rightly doesn't trust the data. The principle is the same though: the epidemic may just have run its course inside the quarantine of Wuhan despite (or aggravated by) lockdown measures, and that's why the actual mortality was higher than ever admitted (or possibly even recorded).

The paper doesn't speculate as to why lockdowns would have the perverse effect of increasing the eventual number of COVID deaths beyond the extrapolation from the initial trajectory. My first guess would be that they generate more severe infections within the home environment.

Simply put, we don't really understand the transmission of this virus or know how to stop it (except by rigorous testing and tracking), but fortunately it has occurred remarkably quickly and is already in decline. So the question I posed at the start of this thread, how to know whether it's time to reopen yet, is irrelevant. One would only fear further disastrous "waves" of infection if shutdown had actually been responsible for the decline of the first one, which it wasn't.

And meanwhile, in the state of Oregon people are wearing T-shirts printed with the government's COVID slogan, asking whether you've killed anyone today by not following orders. It will take some time to crawl back from that level of vicious stupidity.
The author is an oceanographer.

It's very easy to get a paper into the pre-pub stage on this subject right now, without peer review, as the thirst for information is so high.

I won't comment on the validity of his assessment, (I see some things which raise eyebrows in a negative sense), but when you see someone rushing to publish on a topic outside their field like this....

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