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Everything posted by JoshD

  1. This should be achievable, with compromise on both sides: * Society agrees not to make vaccines mandatory (directly or indirectly) * Non-invasive mitigations to be retained: ventilation as part of building codes, opening windows if it’s not too cold, social distancing where not inconvenient, table spacing in restaurants when not full, hand sanitiser to remain available, etc. Not just for Covid but for all illnesses. * People are educated about the benefits to the wearer of high efficacy masks * Airlines and travel providers offer ”masks required” and ”masks optional” products so people can choose the services they prefer * Investments are made in healthcare to further reduce the chances of healthcare becoming overloaded in the event of future waves * Isolation requirements are dropped, and replaced with strong guidance to minimise contacts and wear high efficacy masks in the event of all infectious illnesses (not just Covid) * Lateral Flow (LFD) Testing to be retained and become more available to reduce risks to the anxious or vulnerable, but a nominal fee is applied [to be borne by employers if they require it]. Free PCR testing to be scrapped because it costs more than a vaccine and in 90% of cases tells someone something they can already find out from an LFD for £1.
  2. So promising. I think Gina Coladangelo did us all a huge favour!
  3. Avoidable deaths are acceptable as a price to pay for normality. Example given: flu deaths in winter, which we know we can restrict our way into nearly eliminating.
  4. Very impressive, but they’re now in the position of opening jabs to anyone, your choice of vaccine. That’s actually bad news as it means supply is outstripping demand and they are approaching the limit of voluntary uptake. Even if it takes us a month or so longer I’d be happier with our track where uptake is well above 90%. More people wanting doses than we can supply despite being among the earliest and fastest in the world is the “right problem to have” as they say.
  5. I don't understand the above argument. You both agree Sturgeon fucked up. You both agree she said the right things afterwards. I don't recall @LJS saying Sturgeon was perfect. What gives?
  6. So places that didn’t lock down were lucky? Had exceptional government? What are you saying here exactly. There are a lot of places that didn’t lock down for second waves now. Brazil handled the pandemic about as irresponsibly as a country could have, and yet they are surpassed in deaths/million by countries that were praised for having locked down extremely hard. I accept that luck plays a bit of a role but I put it to you that the difference (if the forecasts were accurate) should have been an order of magnitude. FTFY. Many of the no-second-lockdown countries and states had rates that were forecast to overwhelm the health service. One way or another they coped. That’s not how it works, we don’t decide a cut-off in advance. We have existing systems for dealing with healthcare capacity being exceeded. Emotive argument, but yes, if she was one of a relatively small number of people, then yes, I would. Equally I would support a lock-down if very large numbers of people are dying, but I’d like to see us reach that point first given how many countries have been projected to reach that point and yet didn’t. If we reached that point I expect there would be a large amount of voluntary locking down anyway.
  7. So places that didn’t lock down - and yet didn’t have corpses piling up in an apocalyptic manner - implemented successful measures? Are you sure you want to say that? 🙂 If I truly believed that apocalyptic scenes across all demographics would unfold, I’d be demanding schools closed, nonessential work stopped and no exercise. But I don’t - and I don’t think others do either, otherwise they would be. We’ve just chosen a few massively expensive minor measures. Lockdowns are a political choice to preserve the lives of the old at the expense of the livelihoods of the young. As for healthcare being overloaded - we choose who to treat. We could choose to prioritise the young or non Covid. Yes, people will die who didn’t need to die. But the QALYs lost from those surplus deaths would be lower than the QALYs lost from lockdown. If you attempt to estimate cost per life saved, do you reach a figure that you’re satisfied with? Honestly? Or would you accept any figure no matter how high not to have to make tough decisions about who to treat?
  8. I assume the assertion that not locking down leads to people dying in the street can be backed up with concrete examples of that happening in countries that didn’t lock down but instead adopted controlled measures?
  9. Correction - whether or not governments take action the population will alter their behaviour. A model that assumes people live in a vacuum is worthless. The economy would have been massively fucked either way, but at least we wouldn’t have borrowed hundreds of billions to be paid for by future generations - the people being asked to endure the most hardship and at the least direct risk of the disease. The rich won’t pay. Even though they should. The burden will fall on the poorest who pay twice. Once in insufficient support and once in later austerity or later squeezes. Given the imposition of lockdowns (complete ones), I’d argue the rates need to be inarguable. As in, this graph is measured in units of hundreds and this graph is measured in units 10,000s. The only places that apply to where lockdowns can be credited are NZ/Oz, and the ship unfortunately sailed a long time ago to copy them. The real differences among those governments can control (so excluding climate/demographics), I would put to you, are in things like track and trace effectiveness. Lock down to improve track and trace is an argument I have time for, but do you have confidence our government will? If this is the route we’re going down, I’d prefer to see T&T improved first, and once everyone agrees it’s up to snuff but for the capacity issue, then I’d accept broad controls to get the numbers down. The other factor btw is whether or not they fucked up with hospitals and care homes. And remember that the reason many governments fucked up with care homes, btw, is because they were shit scared of Covid. Sturgeon admitted that. No, but equally the medical demands of Covid are also not unlimited. The sad truth is that many of those who get it and die from it don’t stick around for that long. We might have had to turn away non-Covid patients for a while, but... we did that anyway. The best we can do is compare against other places. Many of those with far less robust healthcare systems to our own, plus nonexistent (as opposed to not-great) T&T. Remember many of the things we were panicking about in March turned out to be less important than we thought. Eg ventilators. This peer reviewed paper puts the mortality rate at 0.2% and that’s across a range of medical treatment and healthcare systems. In some areas that’s slightly higher but with the right interventions to protect the vulnerable it could equally be lower. Why not - we had a “refuse treatment for everything else unless it will kill you in the next 5 minutes” pledge during April when Covid outranked everything else. That wasn’t a pledge anyone signed up to either, and it disproportionately harmed those below the average age of Covid death. The only people I hear saying we should truly “let it rip” are the conspiracy lot going on about 5G and Bill Gates. In the cases of many of those I’d suggest there may be mental health issues at play and I wouldn’t treat their refusal pledge as being worth the paper it’s written on. That leaves those who have reached a different conclusion having considered all the trade-offs, and part of their calculations are rightly the availability of care. A similar argument would be that car drivers should be denied care because they increase risks for everyone and know what they’re getting into.
  10. That might have held water when Sweden was the only country doing the opposite but there are now loads of countries (and much of the US) who have chosen to tough it out with precautions instead. Staying open isn’t the massive gamble now that it was in March. We now have a clear sense of the trade-offs involved and a reasonable worst case in terms of deaths based on real world data. People who argue that deaths will be apocalyptic should surely now be discredited, that scenario having failed to materialise anywhere in the world. That leaves those who believe the deaths involved will be unacceptably high having taken into account all the trade-offs, which I’m happy to listen to but those people need to show their working. if you sort Worldometers by deaths per capita for countries and US states, do you think you could honestly say what degree of lockdown each country experienced? Btw, I see “Sweden is headed for disaster, aren’t Sweden‘s terrible” has morphed into “Sweden is fundamentally different which explains its better than estimated outcome so far”.
  11. This is hardly new information, we could see the comparative death tolls back in June. At least deaths due to Covid may have gained something in reducing future deaths, deaths due to lock-down (estimated at 66% on top of Covid deaths) or economic depression gain nothing other than postponing some Covid deaths and are biassed toward the young in comparison to Covid deaths meaning they killed more remaining years of life. Have a look at Tables 24-26 (pages 88-90) of the Direct & Indirect Excess Morbidity report which is the only place I've seen a really thorough analysis of all morbidity impacts of lock-down many of which are quite insidious. While many may not have resulted in direct deaths they are responsible for wiping years of people's lives. When you net off these lost years against the real saved Covid life years, it's hard to say. Even harder in the UK's case where we delayed lock-down to the point that Covid was endemic at the point we started it anyway (back-calculations suggest voluntary social distancing measures in early March were working to reduce speed of infection) and so where all we may have gained was a sharper drop. The difference in area between those two triangles would have to be massive to have justified the U-Turn in strategy pursued in the UK. Let’s wait and see. 5x the deaths of its nearest neighbors isn’t pretty but it is still a far cry from what was predicted by the modelling that justified lock-downs. I’m happy to eat humble pie if an effective vaccine is out quickly or if Sweden experiences a large second wave. Hopefully you’ll consider the same if the opposite happens
  12. @LJS - Out of curiosity, since I saw you mentioned going to a restaurant, do you think you'd have done the same if you lived in England? (You know where I personally stand risk/safety wise, but I'm interested in the argument of perceived extra caution -> increased perceived safety -> stronger demand -> stronger economic recovery).
  13. Despite my post above, Sturgeon is right on this one. Opening pubs with a bang on a Saturday is a stupid move. Far better to open them on a Monday and let those desperate to return do so when they are naturally quieter. This is a bigger difference than you give credit for (admittedly one of pretty few!)
  14. I give Sturgeon a lot of credit for being a good communicator and it’s clearly good political strategy to appear more careful than Johnson. But I don’t think you can fit a fag paper between the two policies in actuality. Remember all the derision at changes to the two metre rule, which Sturgeon ended up abolishing entirely for schools in Scotland when it met with reality. At the very least, the areas where Scotland is being more cautious are pretty marginal. Eg many people already wearing masks indoors in England, lock-down easing in both England and Scotland has been reactive to the public mood not leading it, etc. I do agree that there’s a little more caution but I think there’s a lot more presentation of caution. That in itself might mean Scots are being more vigilant, though my instinct is that other factors like demographics outweigh all of this.
  15. If Cummings destroyed faith in lockdown, then I’d expect to see significantly greater compliance in Scotland than in the U.K. I know we’re not comparing apples with apples but even so, I’m not sure that’s the case. I’d suggest that Cummings was an excuse for people who wanted to break it anyway.
  16. I take it you don’t have many right wing friends! Starmer was quick enough to jump on the bandwagon in supporting the protests unequivocally. That’s admirable but now ugly elements have surfaced he’s suddenly nowhere to be seen - and others he has aligned himself with are actively defending it. I can assure you people have noticed that. Weren’t you arguing only a few weeks ago that personal value judgments have no place in deciding whether or not to comply with a lock-down? As it happens, I agree with you now - just a shame you didn’t agree with me then 🙂
  17. The point of protests is not to convince people who are already convinced (and who rightly view these incidents as isolated), but to convince people who need to change their view. The reason this is important is that - if the population don’t change their view on racism - then progressive parties has have choice of trying not to be a turnoff to racists, or not getting elected. We’ve gone from a point where everyone - even the far right - would have to agree that significant elements of policing are racist and rotten, to undoing much of that progress in the space of a couple of days. So yes, it annoys me when elements of these protests don’t behave peacefully. But that will always happen - if they were shunned by other activists it wouldn’t detract; the real issue is when people in the media or politicians try to defend it or are conspicuously silent on criticising it, which does real damage.
  18. I read that in terms of supporting a voluntary lock-down rather than having rules imposed. Remember that the argument of many lock-downers is the authoritarian line that the population is stupid and can't be trusted to behave sensibly unless rules are in place. Individuals bragging about "breaking lock-down" because Cummings is perceived to have done so are either doing safe things, or they're doing reckless things, that they wouldn't have done before. Either way, it speaks to a mindset that places rule from authority above common sense and that's not a mindset I have ever understood.
  19. I saw that, along with the increasing note that there is not enough COVID out there to make vaccine trials reliable. Also: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/23/lockdown-saved-no-lives-may-have-cost-nobel-prize-winner-believes/?WT.mc_id=tmgliveapp_androidshare_AvW7Wqq7Hb2M I guess the real proof will be when we compare countries that didn’t lock down to those that did in the event of a second wave.
  20. As I said above, 100% compliance isn’t necessary. ICL suggested 70% but I think there’s reason to assume it’s quite a bit lower. For example, by the start of March, even if volume of public transport hadn’t decreased, people were distributing themselves to try and avoid sitting near other people. By the 7th March tube ridership was significantly down. There were instances of people crowding onto tubes (as there still are) but they were and are the minority. Remember that one person distancing is by definition making that decision for at least one other person. As for the lockdown having popular support, the key was the media highlighting the (exceptional) examples. Doing so preemptively would have led to accusations of a police state.
  21. By the point some of public were agitating for lock-down, many people were distancing voluntarily. (Distancing by definition doesn’t require 100% compliance). Restaurants that should have been full were half empty, people were working from home well before the government instruction, people were uneasy about attending events, etc. I’m not sure I’d agree 1/10 deaths because that assumes lockdown was flicking a switch from “normal” to “locked”. I’d speculate that to really make a difference we’d have had to lock down in February. Do you think the public would have stood for that?
  22. So with community spread currently believed to be very low (nobody tested and found to be positive in London on Monday...), my understanding is that social distancing is not that important from the perspective of reducing immediate personal risks (which are very low) but from reducing the risks posed to society as a whole from infection which grows exponentially. That is a very important consideration for society but I don’t see how it is really the concern of teachers (or any other group of employees). I would genuinely like to see it from their perspective.
  23. Did you read the Dagens Nyheter article? It’s behind a paywall, so I couldn’t. I personally don’t like to rely on others’ interpretations. As for the overall death stats, I’m only really interested in Sweden as a comparative for whether lock-down was worth it (with all the caveats about hindsight etc - fully supported it at the time). There’s a tendency to merge the numbers together and many countries have had varyingly dismal situations in care homes. But it’s hard to see how those situations could have been significantly improved in Sweden by a more or less extreme attitude to lock-down on the general population unless it were implemented very early on (which has the same caveat about hindsight). Most of our deaths have been concentrated in healthcare settings too, so there’s a parallel there. I’m still not at the point of calling lock-down a mistake and freely admit that Sweden took a huge gamble I wouldn’t have been comfortable with the U.K. taking two months ago based on the modelling. But the more time that passes, the less extreme the gamble looks... and similarly, the more time that passes the more damaging lock-down becomes. The final comparatives need to be an order of magnitude worse for Sweden - as per the original modelling - for their approach to be a mistake surpassing all other considerations. Unless/until it is, the debate about other (non-death) effects of shutting down society - loss of freedom, unemployment, depression, decreased future tax revenue for healthcare, impact on the poorest people in the poorest countries through reduced western consumer demand - remains up for discussion and must be factored into the analysis. These things are hard to quantify. The question I can’t get out of my mind is - in a few months time - where would I rather be: the UK or Sweden?
  24. This. I have been amazed (or perhaps not...) at the speed with which the far-left and far-right - both very keen on oversimplification - have adopted polar opposite positions in relation to shutting down society (or more accurately, keeping society shut down). I honestly thought this would turn out to be another 'Brexit' (for which there is even less of a left-wing case!), and for some time near the start it actually seemed fairly split. A far-left case can easily be constructed to support reopening and a far-right case can easily be constructed to support shutting down through the cherry-picking of data. Many components of shutting down (such as anti-immigration or "police state" enforcement) have more in common with the far-right than the far-left. I don't remember hearing my left-wing friends loudly arguing for greater curbs on society back in February - when with hindsight it would have been the right move, but we were taking a calculated risk - but I do remember my right-wing friends asking why we haven't closed the borders already. When the likes of Momentum mysteriously find themselves on the same side as Piers Morgan, a person generally renowned for spouting populist drivel, you'd think it would be cause for reflection on the above point. I thought Simon Jenkins' article in the Guardian was fascinating - not because it said anything groundbreaking, but because it is a rare example of a left-of-centre publication questioning what has arguably become the rallying cry for the left. (For what it's worth, I have respect for LJS' and Neil's position - even though I am not sure I come to the same conclusion - because at least there is an articulation of what would be necessary to restore society; it's amazing how many people ranting on this topic (on either side!) refuse to do so).
  25. I think one factor here is that the damage done by putting society on hold increases dramatically with time passed. What that means is the risk on the other side (of people in permanent unemployment, deaths from despair, business collapse, etc) isn’t flat. As time passes, the amount of risk society is willing to tolerate should increase to compensate for this. I’ve seen a few people asking the question - what’s changed since 12 weeks ago to make it safe now. I think this is a (the?) key reason.
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