There’s hope yet

A report by the Independent Sage group of scientists criticised the new centralised system for its fundamentally wrong design, which they say sees thousands of operatives sitting at home, many doing almost nothing for weeks on end.

The group said the army of up to 25,000 staff had reached 51,524 close contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus between the end of May and the end of July. That amounts, on average, to two successful contacts each across the period.
With only 91,785 names of close contacts uploaded onto the system, each staff member would, on average, have been required to reach fewer than four people during the eight weeks.
The report comes as test and trace staff told The Telegraph the Government is "delusional" if it thinks the system is working, and that many of the phone numbers given by people who have tested positive for coronavirus appear to be fake.

People are basically telling the government to piss off which is always a good sign for liberty and freedom – even if less so for epidemiology.

The probably best course of action would be to let rip and take the lumps.

Maybe.

52 thoughts on “There’s hope yet”

  1. No need to T&T a damp squib flu. It is an exercise in state snooping and it behoves us all to ensure it fails miserably.

  2. The death rate for the most important demographic (pasty middle class males aged 50 to 60) is still 5%. Therefore the ‘let rip’ plan would be an intolerable breach of the Government’s duty of care.

  3. an intolerable breach of the Government’s duty of care

    Eh? Since when does government have a duty of care, what does it consist of and what would constitute a tolerable breach?

  4. TMB
    In the various human rights acts.
    Prisons and hospitals have an obvious duty of care, for example. So do private companies, regarding their customers and employees.
    OTOH the government could well argue (should argue) that their first duty is to the Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm.
    Creating a police state to track everyone’s casual engagements is in breach of the government’s first duty.

  5. The number of deaths continues to decline, and is now comparable with the number that dies from falls. All cause mortality is below the five year average and likely at a record low.
    Hospital admissions likewise are falling.
    The proportion of tests giving a positive result is falling. Though the increasing number of tests does produce an increasing number of positives.
    Bear in mind that every death that befalls a patient who ever tested positive is recorded as being a death from Covid, even if they were run over by a bus. And little over 1000 have died from Covid alone, all the rest had known co-morbidities.
    Some will say that this is because of the precautions taken, but there is no proof of that. In any case the precautions will have to be abandoned sometime, and since the disease is endemic worldwide it will return if we have not reached herd immunity, which I suspect we have.
    As Tim says, open her up, the disease is now a minor risk.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    We give the experts power in the naive belief they are sensible people who can be trusted. Did they do a cost-benefit analysis of a lock down? Did they stick by the obvious herd-immunity strategy?

    Millions of people will lose their jobs, their homes, their life’s savings, their business they spent decades building up

    All because the experts did not ask if they should before if they could. To paraphrase Jurassic Park.

    Good for people refusing to denounce. I notice that virtually none of this is tried for HIV. There being First class victims and Second Class victims in modern Britain

  7. philip – I’m not really disputing that there is such a thing as a duty of care: for instance parents have a duty of care towards their children but the relationship between individual and government is not (yet) analogous to the parent/child relationship.

    I wouldn’t equate prisons (where people are sent against their will) or hospitals (by force of circumstance) with government and even less so commercial businesses although government controls or constrains the operation of all of these.

  8. Ah, that duty of care. Discharged so notably in Rotherham, Oxford, Telford and so forth. And on a daily basis by the admirable securing of our borders from criminal invaders.

  9. SMFS. “Did they do a cost-benefit analysis of a lock down”?
    Only one person in the COBR A meeting on 23rd March asked that question – Jesse Norman, a treasury minister and the answer was NO.

  10. The death rate for the most important demographic (pasty middle class males aged 50 to 60) is still 5%.

    I bet it isn’t. According to Worldometers the global overall death rate at this stage is only 5% (and fallling)

  11. Also this: The death rate for the most important demographic (pasty middle class males aged 50 to 60) is still 5%.
    is nonsense and only tells us that the writer does not see himself as a pasty, middle class, male, or in his 50s.

  12. Pat: +1

    We can’t sequester the vulnerable for ever, and the disease is endemic, so we have to assume that everyone will eventually be exposed to it. In that case the process is:

    1) suppress the virus action early on – hydroxycloroquine + zinc? Or remesdevir, but the yanks have all that. What else?

    2) damp down the body’s immune reaction that appears to turn into an auto-immune reaction in many cases – steroids? What else?

  13. @James Bayley

    ‘The death rate for the most important demographic (pasty middle class males aged 50 to 60) is still 5%. Therefore the ‘let rip’ plan would be an intolerable breach of the Government’s duty of care.‘

    That claim is not supported by the data.

    It looks like confusing Case Mortality Rate (CMR) with Infection Mortality Rate (IMR). The former being the percentage of deaths among those hospitalised, the latter percentage mortality of those infected. This is the error the Imperial College genius made, using CMR data from China and using it in his computer model to arrive at 500 000 IMR.

    The CMR 45 to 64 is 3,7%. 96% of deaths are in individuals who have at least one serious other medical condition, 70% have more than one. Most deaths occur 70+ age group. Median age for mortality is 81.

    The IMR is >0,2%. We also know that up 50% to 80% have existing immunity to Covid-19 and 50% do not have symptoms.

    The risk to the 50 to 60 age group is substantially less than being struck by a piece of falling space junk from a defunct Chinese satellite.

  14. “We give the experts power in the naive belief they are sensible people who can be trusted.”

    They are indeed sensible people. who can be trusted to act sensibly in their own self interest. All follows from that.

  15. Correction. The IMR is <0,2%… in fact between 0,1% and 0,2% which is about the same as for Winter ‘flu epidemics.

  16. Would it be true to say that one of the over riding factors in the total fuckup that the government response to covid has been is the result of there being far too many people in positions of power who have zero mathematical nous whatsoever? And thus are unable to look at a statement like “The death rate for the most important demographic (pasty middle class males aged 50 to 60) is still 5%” and think ‘Really? That sound like bollocks to me’ and do some basic research and realise it is indeed utter bollocks?

  17. A further point.
    The case mortality rate for the UK is more than twice that of Albania, all other countries have a considerably lower rate than Albania.
    Either the NHS is so bad at treating diseases that the Albanian healthcare system is better than our own. Or the figures are being distorted to ramp up the fear. Or both.

  18. Loadsa troll trash with odd new names this morning. Wonder if any of them are Unit 77 Psyops Squaddie offal.

    Give yourselves a break Trooper Turd. Next door already fucked your missus while you were hiding in Basra Airport. Don’t give him a chance to do it again while you mouth virus-shite for Messers(sic) Hand Cock & Blojob.

  19. The cost of those 25,000 operatives sitting on their butts for a couple of months was probably north of £100m allowing for recruitment , training and sundry overheads.

    Normally a scandal but when you’re p1ssing 12 figure sums of borrowed money against the wall this level of craziness barely registers.

  20. “The case mortality rate for the UK is more than twice that of Albania, all other countries have a considerably lower rate than Albania.
    Either the NHS is so bad at treating diseases that the Albanian healthcare system is better than our own. Or the figures are being distorted to ramp up the fear. Or both.”

    I think its more that the NHS is better than the Albanian healthcare system (whatever it is) in that it manages to keep quite a lot of people alive, just. Chances are the Albanian healthcare system isn’t doing that many triple heart bypasses and the people who need them just die. Whereas in the Uk they get them, but are still very poorly, and if they get Covid may well die. Plus of course one suspects there aren’t that many fatties in Albania as pulling that plough uses up quite a few calories. So not many covid deaths of type 2 diabetics either.

    The Covid crisis has revealed an important thing about the general health of the UK public – its shit. Partly because the NHS is shit at treating people so that they fully recover (its quite good at stopping people dying immediately, but utterly appalling at managing long term health complaints through to a satisfactory conclusion) and partly because the universal free healthcare system has no incentives built in for people to look after their own health. If treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes mean you paid more insurance premiums (or more in doctors appointment fees) then people might take weight loss more seriously. But all the treatment is free so who gives a stuff, its my rights,innit?

  21. Jim: …far too many people in positions of power who have zero mathematical nous whatsoever

    It’s worse than that because you don’t really need mathematical nous (although obviously helpful) you need a sense of curiosity, inquisitiveness, call it what you will and you need to allow yourself the time to enquire and explore.

    It’s the same phenomenon which leads to the billion/million confusion on Tim’s other thread this morning: it’s not that the journalist doesn’t know the difference it’s that he simply isn’t bothered.

    I won’t be happy until Matt Hancock is made to swallow his NHS badge live on television (we had enamelled badges like that at prep school emblazoned with ‘Prefect’ and their wearers were just as self-conscious and smug).

  22. In deaths per million population, we are third in the world behind Belgium and the champion, San Marino. The NHS has much to be proud of. Its death per case is running at 15%, so that’s pretty good too. Where is that duty of care thing in this equation?

    How can this be merely an artifact of fudged numbers, when we are in competition with place (the USA, Australia) which pay cash for admissions and deaths whereas we don’t? Dare one suggest that the NHS is crap?

  23. Rhoda –the death figs are absolutely bogus

    NHS says that total number of people died from C19 alone–no other health problems is 1318.

    65000 supposed dead:

    20000 dead from LD–too scared to go to A&E or left it too late

    20000 dead WITH C19 not FROM it. Old age+ multiple problems + a few virus –maybe given test 40 % out each way and having cold/flu prev = near certain false positive.

    10-15000 died from ordinary winter flu–supposed to be only 4000 this year. Surprise fucking surprise.

    4000 false deaths via PHE proven lying
    4000 more off list when England adopts one month after death C19 time limit as C19 standard as are Scot/Wales already.

    So 65000 deaths less

    20+20+15+4+4= 63000 bogus death counts.

    Which puts us in ballpark territory for REAL C19 deaths= 1318.

  24. Jim (and John B)

    Yes. And saved me replying directly to James Bayley’s nonsense.

    We saw it earlier as well with that ludicrous survey wrt when asked “what percentage of people in the UK have died of Covid”, the average of the responses was 7% (!), rather than a hundred times less. It is extraordinary. We are probably (very roughly) going to have 13 months of deaths this year, instead of the usual 12 or so, and with the same sort of age profile as the usual 12 months (ie mostly very old and/or already ill). And that’s it. And yet, if one simply went by all of the demented hysteria of the last few months, that might be impossible to believe.

  25. Ecks, you may be correct in your numbers, or the true total may lie in between.

    But the NHS is still crap.

  26. @PF Jim (and John B)
    Does no one do reality checks? Do I know 50 people? Or 20 pasty middle class white males between 50>60. Are any of them dead? (In this weather flies are a good indicator) If not, this is bollocks.
    To some extent I blame the fashionableness of conspiracy theories*. (Thankyou the Cat Woman). There are always things they are not telling us & keeping secret. So anything becomes possible.

    *Had this last week whilst the debris from the Beirut explosion were still falling from the sky. A Whatsapp from my usual purveyor of strange ideas. It was Mossad whut dunnit! Fuck knows what imaginary world he lives in. Raging paranoia isn’t the half of it.

  27. A Whatsapp from my usual purveyor of strange ideas. It was Mossad whut dunnit!

    I’m sure “Let’s blame the jews!” was the first thought of many people over there.

    Now, if only MI6 were as effective as Mossad at putting the shits up our enemies without even lifting a finger…

  28. Being part of the “important” demographic and having some other health issues, I am careful of trying to avoid too much human contact, but realise that 4 or 5 feet is enough and don’t buy bread that other people have sneezed upon.. I refuse to wear a mask, because they are designed for bacteria, not viruses and besides should be use once and throw away or boil wash. I do not wish to breathe back in my own Legionnaires Disease or Staph A germs. I have noticed that since I have stopped working in air-conditoned offices I no longer catch the really bad ‘flus that I used to get. I also take zinc tablets, but am not sure if that really helps.

    I have had two uncles perish from Covid: both 80-ish and both had underlying health issues. Why am I not panicking about their deaths ? They both caught the disease in a NHS hospital, they had both been tested already as negative. One of them went in with a bowel complaint which had been solved with antibiotics and the other caught it while visiting him !

    As regards free health care=obesity : not sure about that, there are a lot of fat Germans about.

  29. The pensioners association of my previous employer has nearly 600 members*. So far we’ve had two deaths from Covid, one a grand old lady of 97, and the other an 80yo bloke who was clearly very unwell last time I saw him.

    For a smaller statistical sample, our pub quiz league has about 50 members and only one known case of Covid (quite a few of us have had negative tests) who sadly died from it in his early 60s (very early in the proceedings, to the extent he got a couple of paras obit in The Times). I had thought him perfectly fit and well, but it turns out he had a rare blood disease for which he was receiving experimental treatment at the Churchill in Oxford.

    In my little village of 2,000 souls, there’s been 1 case that I’m aware of, she needed ventilation and is still recovering several months later.

    Pure anecdata, but I think a large enough sample to correct some of the wilder estimates of the effects and extent of the pandemic.

    * average age 75, living all over the country, but concentrated in the SE and Midlands – BAME can be counted on the fingers of one hand

  30. My wife’s uncle (great uncle? long time since I saw him) died of Covid. He was 93. His wife (92) died two weeks later, they had been married ver 70 years. I suppose you could put the wife’s death down as a Covid related death.
    Come to that, all the premature death (hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers, cancers) that will occur due to no treatment during this panic pandemic can be described as Covid related.
    There, Professor, fixed the figures for you.

  31. A village in Somerset, pop circa 600. July’s parish magazine carried two obits, both ladies in 90s; one very active until last year when age started to show —not a covid death, the other discharged from hospital to care home where death attributed to covid.

  32. It’s an approach I’ve used with some panicked friends, how many people do you know who have had it let alone been very ill or died?
    Most get it with some thought, some still have to be prompted as to what it means and some just don’t care and think it’s disaster time

  33. @Pat, SMFS
    Spot on

    @Tractor Gent
    Yes:

    First chart very revealing in final column – again makes clear C-19 not as serious as Gov and media claim
    Second takes some thought, the final column is deaths of infected, not population
    IFR = Infection Fatality Rate

    @Jim
    Very much the case

    @rhoda klapp
    Ecks figures are about sight

  34. ‘A report by the Independent Sage group of scientists criticised the new centralised system for its fundamentally wrong design’

    The system isn’t responsible for its design. The I Sage group is shits, not telling us who is really responsible.

  35. Gamecock: The Independent SAGE group have no official standing. They are a self-appointed group of lefty agitators.

  36. @Tractor Gent

    ‘Politicized’ Hydroxychloroquine Being ‘Discarded Prematurely’ Warns Oxford Professor

    Click the READ MORE link at end – shocking

    “Let people die beccause we hate Trump”

    Gastroenterologist Professor Thomas Borody says the Australian government should allow the clinical trials of a drug he says is “amazingly effective” in treating the deadly coronavirus COVID-19.
    Professor Borody says Ivermectin, used in conjunction with two other drugs, has so-far been extremely successful in treating the deadly pathogen.

    The drug is Federal Drug Agency and World Health Organisation approved; it is widely used for parasitic infections.

    However, Professor Borody told Sky News despite early result showing the drug is a successful COVID-19 treatment, he has been met with a “very negative reaction” by the federal government
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93jI7Gl3yic
    The others in triple dose: zinc and doxycycline

    @PF
    Yep:
    Attack of the Corona Karens who believe hundreds of millions have been killed by C-19
    https://youtu.be/AA6_GuZOyAI?t=187

    @John B & TG
    Mixed up +1 replies. First TG was re John B. Sorry

  37. Bloke in North Dorset

    I see the latest campaign to get you people in après ton to “behave” and curtail their lives is “Don’t kill granny”.

    This is ludicrous. When we were young it was just accepted tat if you’d had a cough or a cold you didn’t visit frail relatives. F course we could be asymptomatic as they could with COVID, but we weren’t all expected to go in to lockdown every ‘flu season.

    I suppose this could be aimed at multi-generational families as they have large Asian and Muslim communities, but if it is be hones pt about it.

  38. Bloke in North Dorset

    As to knowing people who’ve had it:

    My brother, who I’ve mentioned before and one villager I know. She’s in her 60s and overweight. She was treated at home as it was early on and seems fine now. There was a rumour of a family of four in one of the nearby villages just after lockdown, but I haven’t heard anything since.

    I’ve not heard of a single case among our 150+ seniors at the golf club and they’re spread within about a 30 mile radius of Sherborne, including some reasonably sized towns.

    The only other case I’ve heard of was the father of a friend’s son-in-law, and as he as reported to be severely obese, living on a diet of alcohol and fish and fish and chips, apparently nobody was in the least bit surprised, including his son.

  39. Matthew Lesh, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, says the “complete and utter failure” of Public Health England when it came to expanding testing and tracing was what led to the size of the coronavirus outbreak in the first place

    Pubs crammed, raves, BLM riots, organised sport back and the percentage of cases are really low, minimal hospitalisation and almost zero deaths. The virus has run out of people to kill
    What pandemic, below average deaths, Cases, Cases, Cases, no death is no pandemic, never was a pandemic, just push panic.
    Suicides up 600% due to lock down

    May I buy HCQ? NHS/NICE BNF says yes. Pharmacists say no. If I can’t, I don’t want to know if might have it

    Test: say No
    Info: Micky Mouse, 07123456789

    Mike Graham +1 on don’t answer door/phone

  40. BiND,

    “I’ve not heard of a single case among our 150+ seniors at the golf club and they’re spread within about a 30 mile radius of Sherborne, including some reasonably sized towns.”

    saw a chart of the worst US states and countries and one thing I noticed is how much mass transit is a factor. New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, France, UK. They all have a large place with mass transit (underground or city rail). You have a system of transit that shoves 200+ people into a box with little fresh air. One sneeze and you hit a lot of people. Then they travel home crammed in with another 200+ people and sneeze. Do that 5 times and you’ve got a really serious problem.

  41. ‘It was Mossad whut dunnit’.

    BIS: My first reaction was to say ‘The Lebanese and the aid industry dunnit to rob us Westerners because the Lebanese economy’s fucked.’

    But I have to admit that the media claims that it was total incompetence that dunnit are probably right.

  42. Yes, BoM4. High density also makes nice targets for terrorist. They don’t get many terrorist attacks in Murphy, NC. Their schools may be the only point of concentration.

    Hmmm . . . maybe that’s why the U.S. gets more mass school shootings: it’s the only place where people are concentrated in many parts of the country.

  43. @BiND

    As a proud(ish) Blackburnian, I was tickled by the autocorrect of ‘Preston’ to ‘après ton’. If it was deliberate, even better 🙂

  44. Bloke in North Dorset

    Chris,

    I’d like to claim deliberate, but unfortunately it was sloppy/lack of proof reading.

  45. Thank you to those who pointed out that my figures on fatality rates for males aged 50 to 60 where unspecific and out of date. As others have pointed out the Infection Fatality Rate is now thought to be between 0.1 and 0.5% and could be lower. To put this in context, a herd immunity strategy would increase my actatural risk of dying this year by about 10-50%.

  46. JB

    “To put this in context, a herd immunity strategy would increase my actatural risk of dying this year by about 10-50%”

    That’s probably a bucket load nearer the mark. ~13 months instead of 12, with no real evidence (if the comparisons include places such as Sweden) of this looking likely to take off again to any very large scale (unless it’s perhaps a later mutation? or unless regionalised lockdowns did materially suffocate it too early – like we’ve seen elsewhere in Aus), and the % “increase” in possible mortality looking similar across the age spectrum. Ie, an x% increase on ~nil for a younger person is still ~nil.

    And to me it currently looks like 10% could be a lot nearer the mark than 50% (except perhaps at some very much older ages?), unless anyone has some good data to counteract that?

    Also bearing in mind, for yourself (and the rest of us), with regard specifically to “this year”, that this has now happened in the UK (to some large degree or other) and – on this blog at least – we are still posting comments…..

  47. Some 3.4 million people in England have been infected with Covid-19, a figure far higher than previous estimates, a study suggests.

    The results come from the world’s largest home testing programme to find antibodies for the coronavirus, a study involving more than 100,000 volunteers and carried out by Imperial College London.

    … the programme suggested 6 per cent of England’s population had already been infected with Covid-19 by July 13.

    That will be absolute bottom end for anti-bodies. Given all the other information on T-cell immunity (more relevant than anti-bodies), reduced HIT (due to variability in types of spreaders), even Imperial are starting to move their goal posts, step by step. Others (such as Oxford) seem to be well ahead in this evolution…

    The 3.4 million people that represents is many times higher than the tally of known cases for the entire UK … which listed the country’s case numbers at 315,546 … with volunteers testing themselves at home between June 20 and July 13.

    With regard to cases, maybe better to work backwards. We know the deaths more accurately than anything else, whatever the flaws in that methodology. If there is a generic range for IFR, and one discounts for IFR (in the UK) being affected upwards to date by factors such as “disproportionate exposure in care homes” and similar factors, that may then give us a better range for those who “had had it or been suitably exposed”? It’s not a small number. Then factor in a (practical rather than theoretical) HIT of probably lower than 1-1/R0 (for R0 at 2.6), etc…

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