Test and trace

£37 billion to achieve not very much? Well, OK, par for the course for government we might think.

£300 million on consultants? 1% of the budget? Got away lightly with that one I would think. After all, while we here all understand the uselessness of the big consultancies it is also true that the country had no method or manner of tracking the entire population. We don’t have ID cards, we simply don’t have any one system of this person is here and that’s them.

The argument is going to be that it should have been given to the local councils to do. And you’re going to have to do a bit more than say “government good, private bad” to convince me that would have led to a better system.

My starting point is that it was a massive task, one that wouldn’t be done well or cheaply by anyone. Even if it were worth doing which I’m not wholly sure of.

And?

13 thoughts on “Test and trace”

  1. Harry Haddock's Ghost

    Telewag moaning that some was spent on consultants “earning over £1000 per day” which is about the going rate for a decent project manager. Hardly shocking.

  2. Yep, when the state has utterly wasted £37 billion, complaining that some people who achieved fuck all were ‘overpaid’ is missing the point by a country mile.

    I know a couple of people from a local council in the UK who were assigned to track & trace. Averaged about a call a day.

  3. The unit my partner worked for seemed quite effective to me. She used to average 5 calls per hour and some of the calls lasted about 20 minutes. One was to somebody in a house with 12 occupants, so there were a lot of details to record. Another was to a guy in an old folks’ home who used to drive the Orient Express. His wife was not allowed to visit because of the quarantine regs, so it was a difficult call. On the other hand, there were a lot of people who refused to answer the phone or who hung up as soon as they realised they were being asked about their movements. Just thought I’d throw some real knowledge into the mix. Now get back to pontificating about wasted money

  4. Yes Diogenes, but what did it achieve.

    One of the problems with this kind of application is that it develops its own reason to exist. It gathers information for the sake of information gathering. Analysts can produce some pretty graphs and suggest trends, but the reality is that it is based on anecdotal information which could be a pack of lies.

  5. So you get a call asking you to self isolate. Your first reaction: Who denounced me, why am I imprisoned, my contact was fleeting.
    Test and trace made a lot of enemies of former friends. Some prominent personalities must have been given a free pass because they were said to be contacts by people who wished them ill.
    This was predictable. I predicted it.

  6. It’s all balls. In the early days it would have been intelligent to do some random testing so that there would be decent evidence for how far the infection had spread.

    Once it was clear that it was widespread, mass testing should have been stopped on grounds of futility. (Just as much mass cancer screening is futile – or worse.)

  7. Mass testing hasn’t proved particularly effective in controlling the spread.

    A far cheaper system is to randomly call people and ask if they have symptoms. Over time this can be used to spot spikes, and policy can be adjusted to avoid overloading hospitals.

  8. My thought about trying to trace everyone who might have been in contact with an infected person is that, once we get a couple of steps away from that person, the people who have been in contact with the people who have been in contact with this guy, and so on, you are soon talking about an astronomical number. Out of the thousands of people thus identified hardly any will be infected, as far as I can see, the virus just isn’t that contagious. So the whole thing can’t help but be a total waste of time. I do realise that as a consultant I would have talked myself out of a job.

  9. Even if it were worth doing which I’m not wholly sure of.

    It wasn’t worth doing, which we should have been wholly sure of since early events like Diamond Princess. In the context of deadly pandemics it simply isn’t dangerous enough to warrant the draconian measures governments have imposed.

  10. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)

    The WHO does not recommend tracing once the genie is out of the bottle – it is only effective against small local outbreaks. It becomes exponentially unfeasible with each additional infection. It’s there in black and white in their pandemic guidelines, which were last updated in late 2019, and also advise against masks and international travel restrictions in almost all circumstances.

    Once the thing is established in every major urban centre in the world, which it was by latest December 2019, the world just has to be resigned to its fate. No mitigation, prevention,

    The whole thing was a lot of security theatre which enabled a lot of scam artists to get very rich very quickly.

  11. Flew recently and had to wear mask then they came round with a drink so mask off then a snack so on a 2 hour flight most probably wore mask for 45mins
    If they were really that concerned they wouldn’t serve food and drink especially on shorter flights.
    I did a 1 hour connecting flight and apart from take-off and landing didn’t need to wear a mask as they have a drink and snack

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