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Old 16th July 2020, 10:25 AM   #1
The Don
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Covid-19 and Politics pt 2

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
It's depressing. I only hope there is a vaccine soon. I wonder if Johnson is secretly banking on that to get him out of this.
It's the story of his whole life, relying on everyone else to bail him out by doing all the hard work

Of course if and when a vaccine is available, I expect the rollout to be botched and for a lot of Johnson's friends to find themselves much richer....


Mod InfoThread continued from here.

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Old 16th July 2020, 10:35 AM   #2
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Perhaps fast tracking companies which employ ex Tories ministers isn't the best way to ensure value for money

The Guardian: UK government orders halt to Randox Covid-19 tests over safety issues.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...-safety-issues
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Old 16th July 2020, 10:54 AM   #3
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How the vaccine is "rolled out" depends on availability. Vaccinating vulnerable groups and care workers seems sensible, but this isn't the case if the immunity is short-lived. If it only confers a few months immunity it's vital to use it strategically as part of an eradication strategy. Otherwise you're chasing your own tail.

If there's plenty vaccine, arrange for everyone who'll hold still to get it in a fairly narrow time window. This should reduce transmission to the point where herd immunity kicks in properly, although it would still be sensible to go on contact tracing and isolating during this time. Hopefully there would be no virus left by the time immunity begins to wane.

If vaccine stocks are limited it's better to use them for ring vaccination around identified outbreaks, again in conjunction with contact tracing and isolation. If there is sufficient you could also consider vaccinating front-line care workers, but the ring vaccination should be given priority. Done right, this also should lead to eradication, although on a longer time-scale.

The ideal use of a vaccine is to eradicate the disease and thus render itself obsolete. This is eradicable. It is not acceptable just to use a vaccine as a sticking-plaster to be reapplied every so often.
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Old 16th July 2020, 11:44 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm not sure where to find the full modelling document, but the modellers' estimate of the number of people in Scotland who are infectious with coronavirus right now is estimated at 700. That's not the number of actual people tested and known about, which is considerably smaller, it's the number of people the statisticians believe to be actually infected calculating back from all the data available. That is 0.013% of the population or about one person in every eight thousand.

Correction. I found the modelling. As of tomorrow the number of infectious people in Scotland is estimated to be between 300 and 800, mid estimate 500. That's 0.009% of the population, or one in nearly 11,000 people.

Interestingly, although last week we had a couple of days with unexpectedly high numbers of new cases (18 and 19) the modellers don't seem to be thinking the situation as they're modelling it changes much because of that. The rate of decrease in infection is gradually decreasing from 30% to 26% but there has been no sudden change.

Tomorrow we're also predicted to have around 40 new cases (20 to 70) for real. It's hard to know whether to hope they're finding more of them (there was a specific plea yesterday for people with any symptoms to come forward for testing to help Scotland eliminate the virus) at the expense of the daily figures looking good, or that we'll come in well under the 18 cases found last Friday.

By the end of next week, barring some awful resurgence, we're predicted to have only 400 infectious people (200 to 600) and 30 (20 to 50) new infections per day. I originally thought these estimates were on the pessimistic side, but as they come down they look more realistic and more encouraging. I just hope all the opening-up we did yesterday doesn't fatally jemmy this trend.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 16th July 2020 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 16th July 2020, 12:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Matt Hancock says the govt is "rolling out new cutting-edge predictive technology" to forecast coronavirus hospitalisations.

.
They're paying a party donor with a couple of Non-Exec chairs to fill £15 billion for a Magic 8 Ball?
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Old 16th July 2020, 12:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Then again, yesterday he said face masks would be compulsory in takeaways, while today: Face masks not compulsory in takeaways in England, says Sharma
But that's just because Gove was caught in a sandwich shop without one (after saying wearing masks in shops didn't need to be mandatory because it's simple courtesy).

ETA: Ninja'd by the article. Government by 'making whatever a minister/PM Cummings was caught doing yesterday legal'
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Old 16th July 2020, 01:54 PM   #7
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...P=share_btn_tw


Quote:
Randox was awarded a £133m contract in March to produce the testing kits for England, Wales and Northern Ireland without any other firms being given the opportunity to bid for the work.

Quote:
On Thursday the health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, told MPs: “We’ve identified some swabs that are not up to the usual high standard that we expect, and we’ll be carrying out further testing of this batch as a precautionary measure.

Brilliant as usual
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Old 16th July 2020, 02:14 PM   #8
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Randox don't make swabs as far as I know, they make reagent kits. They're not my favourite supplier and my firm moved away from them in the 1990s, but they're not cowboys.
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Old 16th July 2020, 11:11 PM   #9
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So actually the sort of company one might consider granting an emergency contract to with no competition?


But may not an ideal company.

There does seem to be an almost ideological belief that non experts are somehow better, see Dyson's ventilators. They are not cowboys either, but if the ventilators were needed, they wouldn't have been the best choice.
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Old 16th July 2020, 11:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
So actually the sort of company one might consider granting an emergency contract to with no competition?


But may not an ideal company.

There does seem to be an almost ideological belief that non experts are somehow better, see Dyson's ventilators. They are not cowboys either, but if the ventilators were needed, they wouldn't have been the best choice.
tbh if the "experts" are party supporters and/or donors then they might find themselves with the contract.

Of course it's a much grander, and hence headline grabbing, gesture if a company has to move heaven and Earth to deliver, rather than a better qualified company increasing their output by 17%.
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Old 17th July 2020, 01:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
tbh if the "experts" are party supporters and/or donors then they might find themselves with the contract.

Of course it's a much grander, and hence headline grabbing, gesture if a company has to move heaven and Earth to deliver, rather than a better qualified company increasing their output by 17%.
A digression:

Libertarian science fiction especially (Niven & Pournelle spring to mind) tends to have a sclerotic state that is hamstringing progress by its self-serving regulations. There are often entrenched business interests that are lazily profiting from the status quo, and are using the regulations to squash more agile startups.

The hero tends to be a buccaneering businessman who is wealthy, but not one of the elite. He ends up with a disruptive technology that would make everyone better except that the regulations are hampering him.
Sometimes, it's the antiscientific environmentalists with their belief in the global warming hoax despite the world sinking into an ice age


The only way for the hero to improve the world (and incidentally make him incredibly rich) is to somehow bypass the system and then present the state with a fait accompli.


Dominic Cummings seems to behave like someone who spent too much of his formative years reading such drivel - his vocabulary and initiatives make sense if you think that is how the world works.

After seeing Rolfe's post, I am not sure if that is the case with Randox, but certainly the Dyson ventilator initiative, for example, fits with such a narrative.
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US 16.4% of GDP of which 48.2% is public expenditure - 7.9% of GDP is public spending
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Old 17th July 2020, 02:03 AM   #12
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More good news for those of us living in Wales:

Quote:
The chances of coming into contact with someone with coronavirus in Wales is lower than it has been at any point in the pandemic, the first minister says.

Mark Drakeford said: "A tiny proportion of people tested in Wales are turning out to have coronavirus."

He said 21,000 people were tested last weekend and 0.25% came back as positive.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-53441302

Zero would be better, but this is still good news

The problem is England, which I can see from Don Towers, doesn't have such encouraging numbers but there's complete freedom of movement. I was planning a bike ride into England this morning but I think I'll head off into Wales instead - a shame because it's the only flattish ground anywhere close.
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Old 17th July 2020, 02:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Sorry, I should have thanked you earlier for the graphs on Japan. Where did you take the stats from?

Anyway, Japan's numbers are really on the rise now.

Today, 84 new cases in Osaka, whereas it had been in the twenties and thirties before that.

Cases in Tokyo also soaring.

So what better time...
Quote:
Japan will begin a subsidy campaign on July 22 to boost domestic tourism hit by the coronavirus, the tourism minister said, although concerns remain over a resurgence of infections.

The Go To Travel Campaign will eventually subsidize up to half of expenses, including accommodation and transport fees, with the government initially providing discounts worth 35 percent of total costs.

The remaining 15 percent will be covered by coupons to be issued after September, to be used at travel destinations for food, shopping and other travel activities, according to the tourism ministry.

Link
It's being walked back.

Gov't asks groups of young people, seniors not to use travel subsidy

Quote:
Japan's tourism minister on Friday urged young people and seniors in large group tours not to use the government's travel subsidy campaign, citing the risk they may spread the coronavirus and, in the case of the elderly, develop severe symptoms.

Kazuyoshi Akaba's recommendation adds to confusion over eligibility for the Go To Travel campaign, which will begin Wednesday as scheduled to spur domestic travel. On Thursday, the government excluded Tokyo, the area hardest hit by the virus, from the initiative amid concerns over the spread of infections.

Akaba said specific age groups and size of tours subject to the advisory are still under consideration, but said a group of 50 travelers getting together to socialize at their destination would be an example.

School trips led by teachers, however, will be covered by the discount campaign, the minister said.

Under the 1.35 trillion yen ($12.59 billion) tourism push, the campaign will eventually subsidize up to half of travel expenses, including accommodation and transport fees, with the government initially providing discounts worth 35 percent of total costs.

The remaining 15 percent will be covered by coupons to be issued after September for food, shopping and other travel activities offered at destinations, according to the tourism ministry.

On Thursday, the government decided to exclude trips to and from Tokyo from the controversial initiative amid concern that the planned nationwide campaign would contribute to a resurgence in virus infections.

Akaba said it was a "gut-wrenching" decision to remove Tokyo but that the capital has become "a center of the viral spread."
Raises the following question: If they're going to spend 1.35 trillion yen to prop up the tourism industry, why not simply give the money to tourism related businesses directly instead of this bizarre system of subsidizing tourists. Perhaps because such a system might raise questions of fairness and political favoritism? But when you have cross purposes, you may have to choose one over the other. How do you promote tourism without simultaneously promoting spread of the virus?
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Old 17th July 2020, 02:31 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
but certainly the Dyson ventilator initiative, for example, fits with such a narrative.
Well, other than the actual 'producing something' bit.

It struck me as obvious (and breathtakingly cynical) self promotion.
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Old 17th July 2020, 03:38 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
More good news for those of us living in Wales:



https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-53441302

Zero would be better, but this is still good news

The problem is England, which I can see from Don Towers, doesn't have such encouraging numbers but there's complete freedom of movement. I was planning a bike ride into England this morning but I think I'll head off into Wales instead - a shame because it's the only flattish ground anywhere close.
Seriously, how big do you think the risk is while you’re on your bike in the open air, even at infection levels as high as Leicester?
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Old 17th July 2020, 03:45 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Seriously, how big do you think the risk is while you’re on your bike in the open air, even at infection levels as high as Leicester?
True, but if you fall/get knocked off your bike and taken to A&E....
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Old 17th July 2020, 04:08 AM   #17
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It’ll all be over by Christmas.
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Old 17th July 2020, 04:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Q: Can you scrap the 1 metre rule for grandparents caring for children?

Johnson says grandparents count as a family bubble, so you’d be OK.
.
That’s news to me. Last time I checked, the only way you could join another household bubble was if you lived alone. My ex-wife has joined my daughter’s family bubble, so she can have her children to stay. I can’t do that because I don’t live alone.


Also, what 1 metre rule?
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Old 17th July 2020, 05:28 AM   #19
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Please everyone understand this about government policy, we are given it, they then check to see it it is effective i.e. produces positive headlines in the important papers and media and important people are OK with it i.e. members of local tory party selection committees , if it does that then all is fine, if not it will have to be changed.

Also remember the policy is the act, there should be no assumption that anything bar the announcement will happen.
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Old 17th July 2020, 06:17 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
That’s news to me. Last time I checked, the only way you could join another household bubble was if you lived alone. My ex-wife has joined my daughter’s family bubble, so she can have her children to stay. I can’t do that because I don’t live alone.


Also, what 1 metre rule?
Oops. We in the B household were blithely assuming we'd be able to stay with friends when we return to the UK while we set up our own place. From my reading, overnight stays seem to be allowed now but with strong advice on social distancing, not sharing utensils etc etc. This would see to scupper the idea if both couples want to stick strictly with the advice.

I don't know if any of you UKians can shed any light on this. I'm not wild keen on the idea in the first place, but MrsB is very reluctant to rent an Airbnb for a week or three, for some reason that's beyond my comprehension.
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Old 17th July 2020, 06:20 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
The R number has drifted up a bit, possible over 1 in London now, and that's before the pubs re-opened.



England regions:
RegionR Growth rate % per day
England0.8-0.9 -5 to -2
East of England0.7-0.9 -5 to 0
London0.8-1.1 -4 to +2
Midlands0.8-1.0 -4 to 0
North East and Yorkshire0.8-1.0 -5 to 0
North West0.7-0.9 -4 to 0
South East0.7-1.0 -5 to 0
South West0.7-1.0 -7 to +2
Latest update:
Latest R number range for the UK
0.7-0.9

Latest growth rate range for the UK
-5% to -1%

England regions:
RegionR Growth rate % per day
England0.8-1.0 -4 to 0
East of England0.8-1.0 -5 to +1
London*0.8-1.1 -3 to +2
Midlands0.7-1.0 -5 to -1
North East and Yorkshire*0.7-0.9 -5 to -1
North West*0.7-1.0 -6 to -1
South East*0.8-1.0 -4 to 0
South West*0.7-1.1 -6 to +2
*Low case numbers and/ or a high degree of variability in transmission across the region means these estimates are insufficiently robust to inform policy decisions.
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Old 17th July 2020, 06:30 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Seriously, how big do you think the risk is while you’re on your bike in the open air, even at infection levels as high as Leicester?
You're right, the risk is marginal but why take even a marginal risk if there's no compelling reason to do so ?
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Old 17th July 2020, 06:31 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Oops. We in the B household were blithely assuming we'd be able to stay with friends when we return to the UK while we set up our own place. From my reading, overnight stays seem to be allowed now but with strong advice on social distancing, not sharing utensils etc etc. This would see to scupper the idea if both couples want to stick strictly with the advice.

I don't know if any of you UKians can shed any light on this. I'm not wild keen on the idea in the first place, but MrsB is very reluctant to rent an Airbnb for a week or three, for some reason that's beyond my comprehension.
This is the current advice, as far as I know. I've reviewed it again, and Boris is simply talking out of his arse (no change there).
Quote:
You should only meet people you do not live with in 3 types of groups:
  • you can continue to meet in any outdoor space in a group of up to 6 people from different households
  • single adult households – in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only – can continue to form an exclusive ‘support bubble’ with one other household
  • you can also meet in a group of 2 households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household), in any location ‒ public or private, indoors or outdoors. This does not need to be the same household each time.

It remains the case ‒ even inside someone’s home ‒ that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. Those who have been able to form a support bubble (which is those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in their bubble. This should be exclusive and should not change. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers.
Nothing there which permits grandparents, in general, to have non-social-distanced contact with their grandchildren.

As for your situation, I believe this covers it:
Quote:
Staying overnight with members of another household

You, and members of your household or support bubble, should only stay overnight in groups of up to 2 households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household). This can be in each other’s homes or other accommodation, such as hotels or apartments. You should, wherever possible, socially distance from people you do not normally live with, take particular care to maintain excellent hygiene – washing hands and surfaces – and avoid using shared facilities like bathrooms wherever possible.
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Old 17th July 2020, 06:32 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
You're right, the risk is marginal but why take even a marginal risk if there's no compelling reason to do so ?
In this particular instance, I'd say the risk of injury from the bike ride is greater than that of catching Covid-19, so you'd be better off staying home if you're worried about risks.
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Old 17th July 2020, 06:36 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
In this particular instance, I'd say the risk of injury from the bike ride is greater than that of catching Covid-19, so you'd be better off staying home if you're worried about risks.
I'm going for a ride - a very dangerous pastime I'm led to believe - no sense adding to the risk by going to England.
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Old 17th July 2020, 06:39 AM   #26
zooterkin
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
I'm going for a ride - a very dangerous pastime I'm led to believe - no sense adding to the risk by going to England.
Well, since lockdown started, I have not, as far as I know, caught Covid-19 on a bike ride, but I have fallen off my bike. To be fair, that was in England.

In about an hour, I'm cycling to the pub.
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Old 17th July 2020, 06:48 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Well, since lockdown started, I have not, as far as I know, caught Covid-19 on a bike ride, but I have fallen off my bike. To be fair, that was in England.

In about an hour, I'm cycling to the pub.
Me too.......... today........... in Wales

In my defence I was approaching a cycle path at a roundabout and a car took the exit without signalling at significant speed. I had to stop suddenly, unclipped my left foot and fell to the right. Happily I landed on a grassy verge.
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Old 17th July 2020, 06:59 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
You're right, the risk is marginal but why take even a marginal risk if there's no compelling reason to do so ?

It's a nonexistent risk if you're in the open air and more than 2 metres away from anyone else the whole time.

If you want to know how the particular area you're going to is doing with current/recent infections, this interactive map is really useful. Zoom in to get details at a very local level. Just don't go anywhere near Colwall, Cradley & Wellington Heath, or if you do, don't go near anyone!

https://phe.maps.arcgis.com/apps/web...2c5f6912ed7076
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Old 17th July 2020, 07:03 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
Me too.......... today........... in Wales

In my defence I was approaching a cycle path at a roundabout and a car took the exit without signalling at significant speed. I had to stop suddenly, unclipped my left foot and fell to the right. Happily I landed on a grassy verge.
I hit a speed bump I had forgotten about. Result: bit of road rash and a new helmet was needed. No lasting damage.


To return, somewhat, to the topic: Once again the Germans have the right word for the current political climate: "Fisselig", meaning "flustered to the point of incompetence".
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Old 17th July 2020, 07:35 AM   #30
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Not sure if this is more of a politics or science post, but I'll put it here just for future reference.

Japan is having a second wave but the government doesn't seem to be responding with the same alacrity that it did the first time.



Perhaps because the first wave was rather mild compared to those in other countries. Japan hasn't yet recorded its thousandth death from the disease and new daily deaths remain in the low single digits even as new infections are on the rise again.

In the above, the graph shows new daily infections.
The numbers on the top row are current infected patients, new infections (most recent day) and total infected patients. (Numbers in parentheses are the change from the previous day)
Second row is total deaths and total discharged patients.
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Old 17th July 2020, 08:30 AM   #31
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Matt Hancock is ordering a review of the death rates as it's revealed that deaths may be attributed to covid months after a positive test, thereby inflating the figures
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Old 17th July 2020, 09:05 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Which is dwarfed by the undercounting at the peak of the pandemic.

On Twitter, I kept seeing claims that the 2017-2018 winter was as bad as COVID-19 so I plotted the ONS weekly deaths figures along with the figures for those where COVID-19 was listed on the death certificates for England and Wales

Because of this, I plotted the 2017, 2018 and 2020 deviation from the 2018 5-year average.

Notice the 2000-4000 per week undercounting during the worst part of the epidemic.

This is to week 22 because I'm reusing my images

ONS wk22 2.jpg
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Old 17th July 2020, 09:18 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Has he actually ordered a review now he has got the headlines and the lie out there?
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Old 17th July 2020, 09:28 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
I'm sure it will go as well as when that claim was made back in 1914.

Still, I'm looking forward to the Christmas day truce football against the virus, probably the only English football that will take place over that holiday given the government's competence at handling the pandemic
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Old 17th July 2020, 09:56 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Mid View Post
I'm sure it will go as well as when that claim was made back in 1914.

Still, I'm looking forward to the Christmas day truce football against the virus, probably the only English football that will take place over that holiday given the government's competence at handling the pandemic

We’ll probably lose on penalties.
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Old 17th July 2020, 09:58 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Well, since lockdown started, I have not, as far as I know, caught Covid-19 on a bike ride, but I have fallen off my bike. To be fair, that was in England.

In about an hour, I'm cycling to the pub.

Any connection?
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Old 17th July 2020, 10:14 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
I’ve got one Facebook ‘friend’ posting that story and claiming (again) that it’s all no worse than flu and people are getting hysterical over nothing.
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Old 17th July 2020, 10:22 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
I’ve got one Facebook ‘friend’ posting that story and claiming (again) that it’s all no worse than flu and people are getting hysterical over nothing.
I can't believe people are making this argument but it does seem some are. Even though it completely ignores that the UK had the same death toll as a very bad flu season, at the completely wrong time of year, after shutting down a lot of the economy (admittedly far too late but it doesn't seem like they're arguing for an earlier and therefore less economically damaging shutdown).
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Old 17th July 2020, 10:22 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
I’ve got one Facebook ‘friend’ posting that story and claiming (again) that it’s all no worse than flu and people are getting hysterical over nothing.
You might find my pinned tweet and thread useful:

https://twitter.com/ParkinJim/status...54955778314240

ETA: Oh, someone's asked threadreaderapp to unroll it

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1...778314240.html

ETA: I've also added the dates of full lockdown and the excess deaths vs those listed as COVID-19 up week 27, so that threadreader is a bit out of date

EdJVUJBWkAAAJHN.png
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US 16.4% of GDP of which 48.2% is public expenditure - 7.9% of GDP is public spending

Last edited by jimbob; 17th July 2020 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 17th July 2020, 10:36 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Has he actually ordered a review now he has got the headlines and the lie out there?
I would expect so, because he will want the better figures going forward.
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