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-   -   Covid-19 and Politics (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=342577)

sir drinks-a-lot 30th April 2020 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Planigale (Post 13073879)
(FWIW I do not have a positive view of politicians, many are creeps, and many self serving; but I think the 'herd immunity' concept is not one to be ignored, it may be the outcome we end up with, though I think more likely as I have previously posted is an effective vaccine will be rolled out before year end.

I've got a couple of questions:

First of all, as a layman I keep hearing pessimistic views about the likelihood of a vaccine in that timeframe or even any vaccine at all. Do you think your view is a minority view among your peers? And why do you think a vaccine is more likely than herd immunity?

And secondly, do you ever plan on closing that first parenthesis? The lack of resolution is getting to me.

Captain_Swoop 30th April 2020 12:16 PM

Johnson claimed that UK locked down earlier in the curve than Italy, Spain & France!
Plus the "we did the right thing at the right time" rubbish.
Lies, lies, damned lies.

Darat 30th April 2020 12:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sir drinks-a-lot (Post 13073945)
I've got a couple of questions:

First of all, as a layman I keep hearing pessimistic views about the likelihood of a vaccine in that timeframe or even any vaccine at all. Do you think your view is a minority view among your peers? And why do you think a vaccine is more likely than herd immunity?

And secondly, do you ever plan on closing that first parenthesis? The lack of resolution is getting to me.


Probably best to take that question to the Science thread, that’s where a lot of the brainy folk are to be found.

Darat 30th April 2020 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13074018)
Johnson claimed that UK locked down earlier in the curve than Italy, Spain & France!
Plus the "we did the right thing at the right time" rubbish.
Lies, lies, damned lies.


Wouldn’t be surprised that it is “technically” true, if you count when they first suggested we don’t go to pubs etc.

The Atheist 30th April 2020 09:01 PM

One thing Covid-19 has emphasised to me - the fact that New Zealand is the best country in the world.

Our government may have acted a touch late, but it acted swiftly and decisively, both on the disease and the economy. The disease seems to be well controlled, with only two cases in all of April that can't be easily linked to an existing cluster, or overseas travel, and the strong likelihood is that life will return to normal in a few weeks, barring only overseas travel.

Economically, in spite of the odd complaint, the government has been very free with its cash, delivering it to the right places to preserve jobs and the wider economy. Today, a range of interest-free loans was announced to help SMEs stay in business.

But the thing which stands out above all others is the fact that saint or sinner, you get the same treatment from the government. Hookers and sex workers in most other countries are forced to resort to risky behaviour to stay alive - in NZ, they're earning the same as every other person unable to work.

We win!

a_unique_person 30th April 2020 09:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13073787)
We are past the peak according to Boris.

He looks like he's past his peak, too.

The Don 30th April 2020 11:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13074018)
Johnson claimed that UK locked down earlier in the curve than Italy, Spain & France!
Plus the "we did the right thing at the right time" rubbish.
Lies, lies, damned lies.

Johnson and Cummings have learned from President Trump. If reality is inconvenient, simply proclaim another version and rely on the right wing media foghorn to spew it until sufficient people believe it to be true. :rolleyes:

Planigale 1st May 2020 12:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sir drinks-a-lot (Post 13073945)
I've got a couple of questions:

First of all, as a layman I keep hearing pessimistic views about the likelihood of a vaccine in that timeframe or even any vaccine at all. Do you think your view is a minority view among your peers? And why do you think a vaccine is more likely than herd immunity?

And secondly, do you ever plan on closing that first parenthesis? The lack of resolution is getting to me.

Disaster a hanging parenthesis, the program will crash! I've run it now, damn, I think the virus has been released! No one will ever notice. Too late to do anything now unless a nice board administrator tidies it up.

Yes, given the large number of different approaches I think an effective vaccine will become available. The first trials are being run, I think an effective vaccine will be identified before year end. Manufacturing and distribution will be more challenging. So I am not arguing that the world is vaccinated by then. I think health workers and high risk groups will be the first groups.

I think social distancing, and testing, and quarantining will keep numbers below those needed for herd immunity for all of this year. Recognising that in the Northern hemisphere control will be challenging over winter, but social distancing and an aggressive flu vaccination campaign may keep winter respiratory infections low that would otherwise confuse contact tracing and control measures.

Planigale 1st May 2020 01:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13074018)
Johnson claimed that UK locked down earlier in the curve than Italy, Spain & France!
Plus the "we did the right thing at the right time" rubbish.
Lies, lies, damned lies.

How would you define the curve to decide which was earlier or later? It is irrelevant to some extent, since what has happened has happened and we can't re-run the experiment to see what effect a different approach would have.

Many of your posts are based on very dubious facts, when asked to validate your assertions you are unable to do so. Since this is a skeptics site I am going to ask you to provide evidence for the fact that the UK did not 'lock down' earlier than Italy, Spain or France? At what point should the decision be made on what information?

To help date of lock down, cumulative deaths day before lock down total and per 100,000 population.
Italy lock down 10 March Cumulative deaths 9/3 463 = 0.8
Spain lock down 16 March Cumulative deaths 15/3 289 = 0.7
France lock down 17 March Cumulative deaths 16/3 149 = 0.2
Germany lock down 22 March Cumulative deaths 21/3 84 = 0.1
UK lock down 23 March Cumulative deaths 22/3 286 = 0.4

People may have other definitions, but I think on an earlier to later lock down on the data in each country you could argue the order is Germany, France, UK, Spain, Italy.

Squeegee Beckenheim 1st May 2020 01:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Planigale (Post 13073879)
I had gone through the documents last month (which is a long time in covid-19 terms), perhaps you should admit you had not read the letter, and that it was misdirected since the politicians denied following a herd immunity policy so the entire impetus of the letter was misdirected. (FWIW I do not have a positive view of politicians, many are creeps, and many self serving; but I think the 'herd immunity' concept is not one to be ignored, it may be the outcome we end up with, though I think more likely as I have previously posted is an effective vaccine will be rolled out before year end.

(As any scientist I make predictions, if my predictions are falsified then I am happy to be called out on this.)

This doesn't address anything that I said to you.

As for me "admitting" that I didn't read the letter, it's hard to work out what exactly you're asking for. My first post on the subject outright said that I couldn't find the letter. Surely it's implied in that that I didn't read the letter? A couple of posts later someone else posted a link to it, and of course I read it at that point. So if I were to "admit" that I didn't read it then I would be lying.

You, OTOH, still haven't indicated on what evidence that government's thinking about not implementing the lockdown earlier because of "behavioural fatigue" is based. Is it safe to assume that the link that you provided doesn't contain that evidence?

Squeegee Beckenheim 1st May 2020 01:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Planigale (Post 13073919)
I cannot find this graph on this link, can you link to the source of the graph?

In your quote you literally snipped out the part of my post where I said that it was compiled from the data on that page. So that's my answer to you - the graph is compiled from the data on that page, as I said, and as you chose to excise from your quote for whatever reason.

Squeegee Beckenheim 1st May 2020 01:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Planigale (Post 13073909)
To be explicit the key criticism is this,

That's one of the criticisms.

Squeegee Beckenheim 1st May 2020 01:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Planigale (Post 13073929)
If we want to save lives we need to look to the future not the past.

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

How do you expect better to be done in the future if we don't examine what went wrong this time round?

Captain_Swoop 1st May 2020 02:12 AM

The government is "likely" to meet or "come close" to its target of 100,000 daily UK coronavirus tests, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has said.

ceptimus 1st May 2020 02:19 AM

Arbitrary targets are arbitrary. We all set ourselves targets that we often fail to meet.

If you excessively punish politicians who fail to attain their targets, then you ensure that future politicians will only set unambitious targets that are easily achieved, or vague targets so that no one can be sure whether they've been achieved or not. Is that what you want?

In general, we should fail to achieve our targets about half the time. If we regularly achieve most of our targets, then we're not setting our targets with sufficient ambition.

GlennB 1st May 2020 02:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim (Post 13074788)
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

How do you expect better to be done in the future if we don't examine what went wrong this time round?

Edited by zooterkin:  <SNIP>
Edited for rule 0 and rule 12.

Captain_Swoop 1st May 2020 02:52 AM

ONS data shows that you're considerably more likely to die from coronavirus if you're poor.

The UK's most deprived areas showed 55.1 deaths per 100,000 population, compared with 25.3 deaths per 100,000 population in the least deprived areas.

Captain_Swoop 1st May 2020 02:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ceptimus (Post 13074796)
Arbitrary targets are arbitrary. We all set ourselves targets that we often fail to meet.

If you excessively punish politicians who fail to attain their targets, then you ensure that future politicians will only set unambitious targets that are easily achieved, or vague targets so that no one can be sure whether they've been achieved or not. Is that what you want?

In general, we should fail to achieve our targets about half the time. If we regularly achieve most of our targets, then we're not setting our targets with sufficient ambition.

Then they shouldn't set targets they know they aren't going to achieve.
What's wrong with saying the testing is being increased as quickly as possible?
They aren't used to having their announcements questioned, they count on it being forgotten when something new comes along or a distraction is thrown to the papers..
This time the diversions of Churchillian speeches, babies and old men being given an RAF flypast isn't working.

Planigale 1st May 2020 02:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim (Post 13074785)
This doesn't address anything that I said to you.

As for me "admitting" that I didn't read the letter, it's hard to work out what exactly you're asking for. My first post on the subject outright said that I couldn't find the letter. Surely it's implied in that that I didn't read the letter? A couple of posts later someone else posted a link to it, and of course I read it at that point. So if I were to "admit" that I didn't read it then I would be lying.

You, OTOH, still haven't indicated on what evidence that government's thinking about not implementing the lockdown earlier because of "behavioural fatigue" is based. Is it safe to assume that the link that you provided doesn't contain that evidence?

Except that there is no evidence that the government actually thought this, (assuming governments think), nor is that what the letter asked. The letter asked for the evidence that the government used to base their policy (assumed by authors to be herd immunity) on, this web site provided the evidence the government used to base their policy on (which was not herd immunity). Some of the non-government advisers may have thought about behavioural fatigue, it may have coloured the advice they gave to the government, but the question would then be one for the advisers not the government. At the end of the day the letter asks for the evidence for a policy that the government did not follow. There cannot be evidence for something that did not exist.

Planigale 1st May 2020 02:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GlennB (Post 13074803)
Edited by zooterkin:  <SNIP>
Edited for rule 0 and rule 12.

This is an ad hominem comment please address the argument.

Planigale 1st May 2020 03:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim (Post 13074788)
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

How do you expect better to be done in the future if we don't examine what went wrong this time round?

One of the things that went wrong this time round was policy was too based on what happened in previous pandemics. Another aphorism? is about planning to fight the last war.

Planigale 1st May 2020 03:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13074808)
ONS data shows that you're considerably more likely to die from coronavirus if you're poor.

The UK's most deprived areas showed 55.1 deaths per 100,000 population, compared with 25.3 deaths per 100,000 population in the least deprived areas.

I had wondered to what extent this might explain the variation in ethnicity and mortality. However this still seems to be true looking at doctors who are unlikely to be deprived.

Planigale 1st May 2020 03:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13074808)
ONS data shows that you're considerably more likely to die from coronavirus if you're poor.

The UK's most deprived areas showed 55.1 deaths per 100,000 population, compared with 25.3 deaths per 100,000 population in the least deprived areas.

Apart from the likelier higher density of people in homes, co-morbities are much higher in deprived populations e.g. diabetes.

There is no doubt the single best public health intervention across the board is addressing poverty. I remember an interview with Sir Richard Doll, when he was asked what his tip for how to live a long and healthy life; his answer, "have wealthy parents". The most important health interventions aren't medical but political, addressing poverty and education have more of an impact than childhood vaccinations. Early years interventions like Sure Start are great but it would be much better to lift the whole family out of poverty.

Squeegee Beckenheim 1st May 2020 04:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ceptimus (Post 13074796)
If you excessively punish politicians who fail to attain their targets, then you ensure that future politicians will only set unambitious targets that are easily achieved, or vague targets so that no one can be sure whether they've been achieved or not. Is that what you want?

I want politicians to set realistic targets that they believe they can achieve, rather than saying things they think will sound impressive and that they won't get called on in the future.

zooterkin 1st May 2020 04:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13057282)
Hancock praised 99-year-old Captain Tom Moore for raising £7m for the NHS by walking round his garden. That £7m is roughly what the Conservative government has taken out of the NHS daily for10 years.

Yesterday was his 100th birthday, and he got a fly-past from a Spitfire and a Hurricane, got an honorary promotion to Colonel, and Royal Mail had a commemorative postmark on letters. He's raised £32m so far. Of course, if the NHS was being properly funded, he wouldn't have had to.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...tar-fundraiser

Oh, he's also number 1 in the singles charts.

Squeegee Beckenheim 1st May 2020 04:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Planigale (Post 13074812)
Some of the non-government advisers may have thought about behavioural fatigue, it may have coloured the advice they gave to the government, but the question would then be one for the advisers not the government.

David Halpern talked about both behavioural fatigue and herd immunity.

Quote:

At the end of the day the letter asks for the evidence for a policy that the government did not follow.
What evidence do you have of this? The government's actions are what you would expect if that's what they were doing. Are you claiming that them acting as they would if they were following the advice of their advisers while claiming to be following the advice of their advisers is pure coincidence?

Squeegee Beckenheim 1st May 2020 04:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Planigale (Post 13074816)
One of the things that went wrong this time round was policy was too based on what happened in previous pandemics.

One of them, yes. There were many others. And of course I'm not suggesting that the only thing that is done for the future is to plan for another coronavirus outbreak like this one.

But it's a false dichotomy to suggest that the only two options are modelling this outbreak exactly and not examining what went wrong this time.

Captain_Swoop 1st May 2020 05:11 AM

Coronavirus Testing Firm Forced To Furlough Staff As Government 'Ignores' Offer To Help NHS
Quote:

A Cumbrian firm says it has been forced to put staff on government-paid leave as its offers to supply Covid-19 test kits were ignored.

Cumbrian-based medical diagnostics company Better2Know says it could provide at least 2,000 coronavirus test kits a week but has been stonewalled despite its persistent attempts to offer its support to government.

The company provides Covid-19 home testing kits and has already delivered a large order for one NHS trust in early April.

But since then the firm has had to furlough seven of its 16 staff, with the government paying 80% of their wages, because there is not enough testing work to keep them employed.
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ent...b62459a92f15e7

Tolls 1st May 2020 05:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim (Post 13074872)
David Halpern talked about both behavioural fatigue and herd immunity.

Indeed.
I remember the discussion at work from certain pro-Boris individuals around this very thing the day after that press conference (had to look it up, it was the 12th March). Can't bring in the lockdown too early because of the likelihood of fatigue. I think that was also the one with Valance talking about herd immunity.

I do sense a re-writing of history going on here...

zooterkin 1st May 2020 05:16 AM

Allegations of profiteering.

Quote:

A head of procurement for the NHS has set up a business to profit from the private sale of huge quantities of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, an undercover investigation by the Guardian can reveal.

David Singleton, 42, a senior NHS official in London who has been working at the capital’s Covid-19 Nightingale hospital, launched the business two weeks ago to trade in visors, masks and gowns.

ceptimus 1st May 2020 07:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim (Post 13074867)
I want politicians to set realistic targets that they believe they can achieve, rather than saying things they think will sound impressive and that they won't get called on in the future.

You must be pleased with Hancock then - he did exactly what you want. Didn't stop the left wing media repeatedly calling him on it though.

The Don 1st May 2020 08:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13074808)
ONS data shows that you're considerably more likely to die from coronavirus if you're poor.

The UK's most deprived areas showed 55.1 deaths per 100,000 population, compared with 25.3 deaths per 100,000 population in the least deprived areas.

tbh the poor are more likely to die of everything except a "surfeit of lampreys".

Isn't there about a 20-year difference in life expectancy in parts of Glasgow and in leafy Surrey.

Darat 1st May 2020 08:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Don (Post 13075093)
tbh the poor are more likely to die of everything except a "surfeit of lampreys".

Isn't there about a 20-year difference in life expectancy in parts of Glasgow and in leafy Surrey.

Always a good resource: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publica...-expectancy-uk

Quote:

...snip...

People living in more affluent areas live significantly longer than people living in deprived areas. In 2015–17, males living in the least deprived 10 per cent of areas in England could expect to live almost a decade (9.3 years) longer than males living in the 10 per cent most deprived areas, and for females the gap was 7.5 years. Much of this inequality is caused by higher mortality from heart and respiratory disease, and lung cancer, in more deprived areas.

..snip...

wobs 1st May 2020 08:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zooterkin (Post 13074869)
Yesterday was his 100th birthday, and he got a fly-past from a Spitfire and a Hurricane, got an honorary promotion to Colonel, and Royal Mail had a commemorative postmark on letters. He's raised £32m so far. Of course, if the NHS was being properly funded, he wouldn't have had to.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...tar-fundraiser

Oh, he's also number 1 in the singles charts.

Must be an anti-climax after winning a Blankety-Blank cheque book & pen all those years ago.

Squeegee Beckenheim 1st May 2020 08:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ceptimus (Post 13075015)
You must be pleased with Hancock then - he did exactly what you want.

I have no problem giving credit to anybody if they've done something right.

Although how sound his reasoning was is an open question, given that the figure appears to have been arbitrary.

Quote:

Didn't stop the left wing media repeatedly calling him on it though.
I am not the left wing media. Or the right wing media. Or any media at all.

But it does seem like a good thing to me for the media to hold politicians accountable for the things they say and the promises they make. Seems to me like that is a vital part of the job of an independent media.

Captain_Swoop 1st May 2020 10:24 AM

So Matt Hancock's target of doing 100,000 tests by the end of April also includes tests that haven't been done by the end of April?

Have I got that right.

Sounds a bit fishy to me!

All the home test kits are counted when they are sent out not when they are returned and processed.

Captain_Swoop 1st May 2020 10:28 AM

Previously, a test would be counted once the sample had been processed in laboratories. But this definition has been changed in the last few days, a senior source told HSJ.

The Department of Health and Social Care is now including tests that have been posted or delivered to people’s homes in its figures. This means tests which are sent to people are counted before the recipient has provided and returned their sample to a laboratory.

Speaking at today’s press conference, health secretary Matt Hancock said the government had reached its target yesterday after carrying out more than 122,000 tests.

HSJ understands that up to 50,000 of those tests include the dispatch of tests sent to individuals at home.

The number of tests carried out have increased dramatically in the last week. On 23 April just 23,560 tests were carried out.

https://www.hsj.co.uk/story.aspx?storyCode=7027544

Ulf Nereng 1st May 2020 11:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13075273)
Previously, a test would be counted once the sample had been processed in laboratories. But this definition has been changed in the last few days, a senior source told HSJ.

The Department of Health and Social Care is now including tests that have been posted or delivered to people’s homes in its figures. This means tests which are sent to people are counted before the recipient has provided and returned their sample to a laboratory.

Speaking at today’s press conference, health secretary Matt Hancock said the government had reached its target yesterday after carrying out more than 122,000 tests.

HSJ understands that up to 50,000 of those tests include the dispatch of tests sent to individuals at home.

The number of tests carried out have increased dramatically in the last week. On 23 April just 23,560 tests were carried out.

https://www.hsj.co.uk/story.aspx?storyCode=7027544

Ah, so "carrying out" an action now means starting an action. Good to know.

P.J. Denyer 1st May 2020 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer (Post 13050523)
My wife volunteered for the NHS when the government announced the scheme, she was quickly accepted (not too old, former managing director, current clean police background check certificate) and she applied saying she'd do any job, at any time, at any local hospital, apparently a LOT of the applicants were very choosy. She's had five calls in the last 48 hours, and several more over the previous week since being accepted, repeatedly arranging work placements for her, then cancelling them. I get the feeling this was sprung on the NHS with no consideration of what the volunteers would actually be used for leaving NHS administrators will potential workers but no clear idea of what they can be given to do that won't put them, the patients or the NHS at risk (physical or legal). I could very well be wrong, no really, but I really get the imprssion this was an under thought out political soundbite that unexpectedly took off.

FWIW: She never has actually had any opportunity to do anything.

Captain_Swoop 1st May 2020 04:00 PM

He hasn't done over 100,000 tests per day, he has sent out 50,000 and they're probably still in the post boxes.
It's a crude bit of Enron style accounting that is designed to get a result by shifting the goalposts.


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