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Johnson will find it hard taking the plaudits for the vaccination success and continuing with a stri

SystemSystem Posts: 8,489
edited February 17 in General
imageJohnson will find it hard taking the plaudits for the vaccination success and continuing with a strict lockdown – politicalbetting.com

A big development overnight in the fight against COVID has been the news that the death rate amongst the over 80s has dropped a massive 62% in a month. This group, of course, was first in line for the jab and this figure really underlines the success of the government’s big gamble last summer to ensure rapid early supplies of vaccines.

Read the full story here

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Comments

  • MikeSmithsonMikeSmithson Posts: 6,497
    First
  • PulpstarPulpstar Posts: 64,268
    Covid can still be very nasty for younger people, I expect people are going to continue with a personal semi lockdown till jabbed up.
  • PulpstarPulpstar Posts: 64,268
    The curbs aren't endless anyway, every other pandemic in history has burnt out
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 29,455
  • TimTTimT Posts: 2,630
    Nigelb said:
    I have a buddy from GW who was involved in the original WHO global vaccination programmes for smallpox and polio. From the outset, he scoffed at testing and contact tracing, saying no pandemic had ever been tamed with contact tracing. I was a little shocked that such a public health authority was so dismissive, but perhaps I should have listened ... NB He was not against testing per se, just not in relation to contact tracing as a means of quashing the pandemic.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 29,455
    Texas’ power infrastructure seems remarkably fragile. Their largest nuclear plant shut down when a pump froze.

  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 29,455
    TimT said:

    Nigelb said:
    I have a buddy from GW who was involved in the original WHO global vaccination programmes for smallpox and polio. From the outset, he scoffed at testing and contact tracing, saying no pandemic had ever been tamed with contact tracing. I was a little shocked that such a public health authority was so dismissive, but perhaps I should have listened ... NB He was not against testing per se, just not in relation to contact tracing as a means of quashing the pandemic.
    Makes sense.
    Contact tracing doesn’t work for such widespread infections - it’s a struggle even with early outbreaks of something like Ebola. And it especially doesn’t work with a virus where individuals are infectious days before they display symptoms (and at least a third don’t show symptoms at all)

    The resources that have been poured into what was always going to be a marginally effective program could have been far better spent. Someone with more knowledge that Harding running the program would have realised that far sooner.

  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 6,859
    Nigelb said:

    Texas’ power infrastructure seems remarkably fragile. Their largest nuclear plant shut down when a pump froze.

    The less used a country is to these kinds of conditions the more likely it is to suffer serious consequences when they occur. This sort of nonsense would be unthinkable in Canada. Southern England threatens to grind to a halt whenever a snowflake falls upon the roads and railways, but things generally slow down rather than falling apart. I'd guess that in Texas (let alone Northern Mexico, for it's reported that the snow has crossed the Rio Grande too) hard Winters are very unusual indeed. Hence the problems. The investment in a robust infrastructure to deal with sub-zero conditions is clearly lacking.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 38,769
    Nigelb said:

    Texas’ power infrastructure seems remarkably fragile. Their largest nuclear plant shut down when a pump froze.

    Welcome to governing, Mister President....
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 29,455

    Nigelb said:

    Texas’ power infrastructure seems remarkably fragile. Their largest nuclear plant shut down when a pump froze.

    The less used a country is to these kinds of conditions the more likely it is to suffer serious consequences when they occur. This sort of nonsense would be unthinkable in Canada. Southern England threatens to grind to a halt whenever a snowflake falls upon the roads and railways, but things generally slow down rather than falling apart. I'd guess that in Texas (let alone Northern Mexico, for it's reported that the snow has crossed the Rio Grande too) hard Winters are very unusual indeed. Hence the problems. The investment in a robust infrastructure to deal with sub-zero conditions is clearly lacking.
    Fair points, but the severity of the weather is highly unusual, and came as a surprise, the fragility of the power system seems to have been known and has been warned about for some time.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 38,769
    Nigelb said:

    TimT said:

    Nigelb said:
    I have a buddy from GW who was involved in the original WHO global vaccination programmes for smallpox and polio. From the outset, he scoffed at testing and contact tracing, saying no pandemic had ever been tamed with contact tracing. I was a little shocked that such a public health authority was so dismissive, but perhaps I should have listened ... NB He was not against testing per se, just not in relation to contact tracing as a means of quashing the pandemic.
    Makes sense.
    Contact tracing doesn’t work for such widespread infections - it’s a struggle even with early outbreaks of something like Ebola. And it especially doesn’t work with a virus where individuals are infectious days before they display symptoms (and at least a third don’t show symptoms at all)

    The resources that have been poured into what was always going to be a marginally effective program could have been far better spent. Someone with more knowledge that Harding running the program would have realised that far sooner.

    But the Government's critics have told us that this made the difference from us in places like South Korea? And why we were so shit compared to them. So if not that reason.....then what tools didn't we implement?

    (Hint: closed borders.....)
  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 6,859
    Nigelb said:
    Somebody had a quiet word with the German Government...
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 35,675
    Pulpstar said:

    Covid can still be very nasty for younger people, I expect people are going to continue with a personal semi lockdown till jabbed up.

    +21 days. It has been the same throughout this crisis. The government has had limitations and regulations but anyone sane has also taken reasonable steps to protect themselves from a pernicious illness that can occasionally be fatal but more often is life changingly unpleasant.

    It will take time for people to get their confidence back and that time will have an economic cost.
  • felixfelix Posts: 12,170

    Nigelb said:
    Somebody had a quiet word with the German Government...
    Hong Kong and Taiwan are pretty much on the same road now and the West seems both unable and/or unwilling to do anything about it. It is desperately sad.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 35,675
    Nigelb said:

    TimT said:

    Nigelb said:
    I have a buddy from GW who was involved in the original WHO global vaccination programmes for smallpox and polio. From the outset, he scoffed at testing and contact tracing, saying no pandemic had ever been tamed with contact tracing. I was a little shocked that such a public health authority was so dismissive, but perhaps I should have listened ... NB He was not against testing per se, just not in relation to contact tracing as a means of quashing the pandemic.
    Makes sense.
    Contact tracing doesn’t work for such widespread infections - it’s a struggle even with early outbreaks of something like Ebola. And it especially doesn’t work with a virus where individuals are infectious days before they display symptoms (and at least a third don’t show symptoms at all)

    The resources that have been poured into what was always going to be a marginally effective program could have been far better spent. Someone with more knowledge that Harding running the program would have realised that far sooner.

    Not sure I agree. It depends on what your objective is. If it is elimination of the disease, sure, its not going to work. There are too many random contacts that you will not trace in the infectious but unaware period. But if it is to find a number of those most likely infected, reduce onward transmission and reduce the R number so that so limited activity could still take place (like keeping schools open) it could help.

    I think that was particularly so with the original variant. The more aggressive variants such as Kent, where much more limited exposure was necessary, were more problematic.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 29,455

    Nigelb said:
    Somebody had a quiet word with the German Government...
    If you read the thread, it’s that Biontech signed a deal for distribution rights in the region with a Chinese pharma, which nixed the deal with Taiwan.
  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 6,859
    Pulpstar said:

    Covid can still be very nasty for younger people, I expect people are going to continue with a personal semi lockdown till jabbed up.

    Some will, some won't. But yes, the speed or otherwise of the vaccination programme might leave more cautious people with difficult decisions to make later in the year.

    For my part, when it's possible to go visiting aged parents again, I shall be thinking about how much of the disease is left in circulation and how long I'm likely to have to keep waiting for a jab. If the virus prevalence is low and it becomes obvious that I'm going to be waiting until God knows when (whilst they do all the first doses for teachers, police and umpteen other special pleaders, and all the second doses for the old,) then I shall chance travelling cross-country on mucky trains: I know I'm at comparatively low risk, I have to go out to work (so it's not as if I have the option of cowering at home even if I wanted to,) and frankly I can't tolerate being incarcerated and not seeing loved ones, who aren't getting any younger, interminably. OTOH if I've a reasonable expectation of getting lanced imminently then I'll sit tight and wait.
  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 6,859
    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:
    Somebody had a quiet word with the German Government...
    If you read the thread, it’s that Biontech signed a deal for distribution rights in the region with a Chinese pharma, which nixed the deal with Taiwan.
    Oh I see. Forgive my boundless cynicism. It usually serves me well.
  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 6,859
    felix said:

    Nigelb said:
    Somebody had a quiet word with the German Government...
    Hong Kong and Taiwan are pretty much on the same road now and the West seems both unable and/or unwilling to do anything about it. It is desperately sad.
    @Nigelb relates that my assumption was incorrect in this case - and yes, Hong Kong has had it, but Taiwan is still very much with us, for now at least.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 29,455

    Nigelb said:

    TimT said:

    Nigelb said:
    I have a buddy from GW who was involved in the original WHO global vaccination programmes for smallpox and polio. From the outset, he scoffed at testing and contact tracing, saying no pandemic had ever been tamed with contact tracing. I was a little shocked that such a public health authority was so dismissive, but perhaps I should have listened ... NB He was not against testing per se, just not in relation to contact tracing as a means of quashing the pandemic.
    Makes sense.
    Contact tracing doesn’t work for such widespread infections - it’s a struggle even with early outbreaks of something like Ebola. And it especially doesn’t work with a virus where individuals are infectious days before they display symptoms (and at least a third don’t show symptoms at all)

    The resources that have been poured into what was always going to be a marginally effective program could have been far better spent. Someone with more knowledge that Harding running the program would have realised that far sooner.

    But the Government's critics have told us that this made the difference from us in places like South Korea? And why we were so shit compared to them. So if not that reason.....then what tools didn't we implement?

    (Hint: closed borders.....)
    It worked to keep relative control in Korea because the numbers were much smaller, and the (far more effective) system already in place. They still had to use lockdowns, though.

    We don’t have their ability to track citizens, didn’t really get the system going until infection was widespread, and for months were days slower in processing tests.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 35,675
    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:
    Somebody had a quiet word with the German Government...
    If you read the thread, it’s that Biontech signed a deal for distribution rights in the region with a Chinese pharma, which nixed the deal with Taiwan.
    Signing a regional distribution agreement with a Chinese pharma outlet that covers Taiwan geographically is either epically stupid or a somewhat cruel indifference. Hopefully an opportunity for Astra Zeneca.
  • rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 35,772
    Nigelb said:

    Texas’ power infrastructure seems remarkably fragile. Their largest nuclear plant shut down when a pump froze.

    Texas's power grid is completely separated from the rest of the US. Natural gas production has also been shut in by sub zero (farenheit) temperatures which have frozen compressors and other gear. Funnily, wind production is above normal levels, but it is fair to say that Texas did not expect these temperatures.
  • rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 35,772
    edited February 17
    Nigelb said:
    Which is a bit strange, because Pfizer is responsible for all sales of the vaccine.

    Edit to add: I guess it's possible that the Pfizer-BioNTech contract carved Taiwan out for BioNTech, but that doesn't seem very likely.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 30,311

    felix said:

    Nigelb said:
    Somebody had a quiet word with the German Government...
    Hong Kong and Taiwan are pretty much on the same road now and the West seems both unable and/or unwilling to do anything about it. It is desperately sad.
    @Nigelb relates that my assumption was incorrect in this case - and yes, Hong Kong has had it, but Taiwan is still very much with us, for now at least.
    China has behaved appallingly in respect of Taiwan - and the WHO shamefully kowtowed.

    From the original refusal to share the pandemic warning in Dec19 to this. It’s unacceptable using public health as a tool of political dominance.

    Taiwan should be at the top of the list for Covax.

    Although they do have their own large scale trial of a phase 2 vaccine (Vaxxity) ongoing.
  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 6,859
    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 29,455
    DavidL said:

    Nigelb said:

    TimT said:

    Nigelb said:
    I have a buddy from GW who was involved in the original WHO global vaccination programmes for smallpox and polio. From the outset, he scoffed at testing and contact tracing, saying no pandemic had ever been tamed with contact tracing. I was a little shocked that such a public health authority was so dismissive, but perhaps I should have listened ... NB He was not against testing per se, just not in relation to contact tracing as a means of quashing the pandemic.
    Makes sense.
    Contact tracing doesn’t work for such widespread infections - it’s a struggle even with early outbreaks of something like Ebola. And it especially doesn’t work with a virus where individuals are infectious days before they display symptoms (and at least a third don’t show symptoms at all)

    The resources that have been poured into what was always going to be a marginally effective program could have been far better spent. Someone with more knowledge that Harding running the program would have realised that far sooner.

    Not sure I agree. It depends on what your objective is. If it is elimination of the disease, sure, its not going to work. There are too many random contacts that you will not trace in the infectious but unaware period. But if it is to find a number of those most likely infected, reduce onward transmission and reduce the R number so that so limited activity could still take place (like keeping schools open) it could help.

    I think that was particularly so with the original variant. The more aggressive variants such as Kent, where much more limited exposure was necessary, were more problematic.
    Read the article - the effect of contact tracing was absolutely minimal.
    And much of the benefit from testing was overestimated, as it compared with a baseline where no one with symptoms self isolated (which is clearly false).
    We’d have achieved better results if we’d done almost no testing at all,and paid anyone with symptoms £2000 a week to self-isolate.
  • rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 35,772

    "In the Commons there’s now even a growing group of Tory MPs who are pressing hard for change"

    Numbers please? Because that is not what I am hearing.

    There is one over-arching aim in Government - never again will there be Covid lockdowns. We will come out of lockdown when it is clear there will never be a need for more. Now, that might be quick, once the confirmation is in that a) the vaccines are as good as is hoped and b) the numbers for deliveries of those vaccines to give the jab to everyone are secured.

    But if it needs an extra month to be completely sure, then the Government will take the extra pain to be able to say to the UK "Covid has been banished as an impediment to getting on with your life within this country* ". That is the political win within reach.

    *Foreign travel for work or holibobs will be the very last thing to get the green light - and that could be quite some time. The UK has the genome testing capacity to know how safe it really is outside our borders. Again, the way the virus has retreated in just the past five weeks around the globe means the scope for mutations is already reducing markedly. If it continues - wonderful. But the win will not be lightly lost.

    The smart money is on booking your holiday in 2021 in Northumberland. Or Scotland. Or Devon. That spend will be a one-off boost to a nation whose residents spent £62.3 billion on visits overseas in 2019, compared to overseas residents spending £28.4 billion on visits to the UK in 2019. Some of that overseas money will still come here, if it is from people with (non-forged) vaccine certificates. We will be opening earlier than most - restaurants, pubs, museums, galleries, the stuff to make a memorable holiday here. An obvious choice to come here (if you can find the accommodation). I have it on very good authority that the Governor of the Bank of England is very chipper about our prospects for coming out of Covid in a most robust fashion. Things are looking up. Prepare for a much, much better year. But only when it is beaten to the point where it isn't wrecking our lives ever again.

    I think that's spot on.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 30,311
    DavidL said:

    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:
    Somebody had a quiet word with the German Government...
    If you read the thread, it’s that Biontech signed a deal for distribution rights in the region with a Chinese pharma, which nixed the deal with Taiwan.
    Signing a regional distribution agreement with a Chinese pharma outlet that covers Taiwan geographically is either epically stupid or a somewhat cruel indifference. Hopefully an opportunity for Astra Zeneca.
    The PRC insists. They take the view that ROC is part of PRC.

    ROC respectfully disagrees.

    But if a commercial organisation has a choice between a deal with pRC&ROC and a deal with just ROC, then most...
  • rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 35,772

    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
    Vitamin D? India's low average age? A slightly less fatal strain of CV19 that went around India?
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 30,311
    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:
    Which is a bit strange, because Pfizer is responsible for all sales of the vaccine.

    Edit to add: I guess it's possible that the Pfizer-BioNTech contract carved Taiwan out for BioNTech, but that doesn't seem very likely.
    Sub licensed to Fosun Pharma in greater China
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 29,455
    edited February 17

    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
    Age effects and under reporting come nowhere near close to accounting for a tenfold differential in deaths. Perhaps 100%, but not 1000%.

    It really needs some thorough scientific investigation.
  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 6,859
    DavidL said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Covid can still be very nasty for younger people, I expect people are going to continue with a personal semi lockdown till jabbed up.

    +21 days. It has been the same throughout this crisis. The government has had limitations and regulations but anyone sane has also taken reasonable steps to protect themselves from a pernicious illness that can occasionally be fatal but more often is life changingly unpleasant.

    It will take time for people to get their confidence back and that time will have an economic cost.
    Confidence, and just about everything else, will return in direct proportion to the number of vaccinations, hence the fact that everyone is so desperate for the program to hurry up, of course.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 30,311
    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
    Vitamin D? India's low average age? A slightly less fatal strain of CV19 that went around India?
    Less obesity?
  • rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 35,772
    Charles said:

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:
    Which is a bit strange, because Pfizer is responsible for all sales of the vaccine.

    Edit to add: I guess it's possible that the Pfizer-BioNTech contract carved Taiwan out for BioNTech, but that doesn't seem very likely.
    Sub licensed to Fosun Pharma in greater China
    But Pfizer has exclusive licensing rights, doesn't it? So the relationship would be Fosun-Pfizer?

    (I read their earnings call, but that's the extent of my knowledge.)
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 30,311
    rcs1000 said:

    Charles said:

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:
    Which is a bit strange, because Pfizer is responsible for all sales of the vaccine.

    Edit to add: I guess it's possible that the Pfizer-BioNTech contract carved Taiwan out for BioNTech, but that doesn't seem very likely.
    Sub licensed to Fosun Pharma in greater China
    But Pfizer has exclusive licensing rights, doesn't it? So the relationship would be Fosun-Pfizer?

    (I read their earnings call, but that's the extent of my knowledge.)
    Yes - if you are just saying the minister misspoke when he referred to BioNTech you are Right
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 29,455
    edited February 17
    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
    Age effects and under reporting come nowhere near close to accounting for a tenfold differential in deaths. Perhaps 100%, but not 1000%.

    It really needs some thorough scientific investigation.
    nb I could be wrong on this, as I haven’t looked closely at the relative age profiles. But it does merit investigation.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 35,675
    Nigelb said:

    DavidL said:

    Nigelb said:

    TimT said:

    Nigelb said:
    I have a buddy from GW who was involved in the original WHO global vaccination programmes for smallpox and polio. From the outset, he scoffed at testing and contact tracing, saying no pandemic had ever been tamed with contact tracing. I was a little shocked that such a public health authority was so dismissive, but perhaps I should have listened ... NB He was not against testing per se, just not in relation to contact tracing as a means of quashing the pandemic.
    Makes sense.
    Contact tracing doesn’t work for such widespread infections - it’s a struggle even with early outbreaks of something like Ebola. And it especially doesn’t work with a virus where individuals are infectious days before they display symptoms (and at least a third don’t show symptoms at all)

    The resources that have been poured into what was always going to be a marginally effective program could have been far better spent. Someone with more knowledge that Harding running the program would have realised that far sooner.

    Not sure I agree. It depends on what your objective is. If it is elimination of the disease, sure, its not going to work. There are too many random contacts that you will not trace in the infectious but unaware period. But if it is to find a number of those most likely infected, reduce onward transmission and reduce the R number so that so limited activity could still take place (like keeping schools open) it could help.

    I think that was particularly so with the original variant. The more aggressive variants such as Kent, where much more limited exposure was necessary, were more problematic.
    Read the article - the effect of contact tracing was absolutely minimal.
    And much of the benefit from testing was overestimated, as it compared with a baseline where no one with symptoms self isolated (which is clearly false).
    We’d have achieved better results if we’d done almost no testing at all,and paid anyone with symptoms £2000 a week to self-isolate.
    That's not the way I read it. Obviously contact tracing does not work on its own, it has to be followed up with action such as self isolation. Taken together this seems to have reduced the R number by between 0.3 and 0.5. That is pretty disappointing compared with what the likes of Taiwan and SK achieved but it is not pointless.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 38,769
    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
    Vitamin D? India's low average age? A slightly less fatal strain of CV19 that went around India?
    More bugs around generally that keep their immune systems on their toes? In contrast we now generally live in such sanitised conditions that our immune systems are flabby and useless, being entirely out of practice at how to cope with a mean old bug...
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 32,160
    OT CNN: Former President Donald Trump went after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday, calling him "a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack" in a broadside attack just days after the Kentucky Republican voted to acquit Trump in his second impeachment trial.

    After that vote, McConnell ripped Trump in a speech from the Senate floor, and the two have been estranged in recent months after working closely together during the former President's four years in office.
    "Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again," Trump said in the statement. "He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership."
  • philiphphiliph Posts: 4,296

    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
    BMI?
  • Scott_xPScott_xP Posts: 12,134

    Welcome to governing, Mister President....

    Except Texas explicitly refused to join Federal power schemes to avoid regulation.

    Bit like Brexit...
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 984
    philiph said:

    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
    BMI?
    Just goes to show we’re not even close to understanding the relative performance of countries with this virus when looking at age adjusted excess death. Still makes no sense to me that the rest of China, Korea, Japan and SE Asia have got off so lightly, when they had by far the most number of direct flights (and trains) from Wuhan over 2020 Chinese New Year.

    The studies on pre exposure to common coronaviruses seen key to me. That, and the much noted factors of UV killing the virus in the air and Vitamin D boosting immunity.
  • Scott_xPScott_xP Posts: 12,134
    It doesn't work...


  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 35,675
    BBC breaking news: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business

    Inflation up in January, probably as a result of Covid restrictions.

    It is actually up 0.1% from 0.6 to 0.7. Maybe a headline of breaking news: inflation edges back towards target but still well short, might have been more appropriate.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 32,160

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
    Vitamin D? India's low average age? A slightly less fatal strain of CV19 that went around India?
    More bugs around generally that keep their immune systems on their toes? In contrast we now generally live in such sanitised conditions that our immune systems are flabby and useless, being entirely out of practice at how to cope with a mean old bug...
    Viruses do best in cold dry conditions. India is hot, and much of it is humid.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 984
    IanB2 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
    Vitamin D? India's low average age? A slightly less fatal strain of CV19 that went around India?
    More bugs around generally that keep their immune systems on their toes? In contrast we now generally live in such sanitised conditions that our immune systems are flabby and useless, being entirely out of practice at how to cope with a mean old bug...
    Viruses do best in cold dry conditions. India is hot, and much of it is humid.
    Whereas Brazil is...?

    There’s more going on than climate, though climate is probably important.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 21,454
    Andy_JS said:
    I must say I was surprised by how much they seemed to be in agreement.

    And Good Morning all. Is it a relief to have no cricket to grumble about or are we looking forward to the pink ball game?
  • DavidL said:

    Nigelb said:

    DavidL said:

    Nigelb said:

    TimT said:

    Nigelb said:
    I have a buddy from GW who was involved in the original WHO global vaccination programmes for smallpox and polio. From the outset, he scoffed at testing and contact tracing, saying no pandemic had ever been tamed with contact tracing. I was a little shocked that such a public health authority was so dismissive, but perhaps I should have listened ... NB He was not against testing per se, just not in relation to contact tracing as a means of quashing the pandemic.
    Makes sense.
    Contact tracing doesn’t work for such widespread infections - it’s a struggle even with early outbreaks of something like Ebola. And it especially doesn’t work with a virus where individuals are infectious days before they display symptoms (and at least a third don’t show symptoms at all)

    The resources that have been poured into what was always going to be a marginally effective program could have been far better spent. Someone with more knowledge that Harding running the program would have realised that far sooner.

    Not sure I agree. It depends on what your objective is. If it is elimination of the disease, sure, its not going to work. There are too many random contacts that you will not trace in the infectious but unaware period. But if it is to find a number of those most likely infected, reduce onward transmission and reduce the R number so that so limited activity could still take place (like keeping schools open) it could help.

    I think that was particularly so with the original variant. The more aggressive variants such as Kent, where much more limited exposure was necessary, were more problematic.
    Read the article - the effect of contact tracing was absolutely minimal.
    And much of the benefit from testing was overestimated, as it compared with a baseline where no one with symptoms self isolated (which is clearly false).
    We’d have achieved better results if we’d done almost no testing at all,and paid anyone with symptoms £2000 a week to self-isolate.
    That's not the way I read it. Obviously contact tracing does not work on its own, it has to be followed up with action such as self isolation. Taken together this seems to have reduced the R number by between 0.3 and 0.5. That is pretty disappointing compared with what the likes of Taiwan and SK achieved but it is not pointless.
    0.3 to 0.5 R is pretty massive isn't it?

    That's about the same impact as the estimated impact of closing schools by comparison surely?
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 21,833
    IanB2 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
    Vitamin D? India's low average age? A slightly less fatal strain of CV19 that went around India?
    More bugs around generally that keep their immune systems on their toes? In contrast we now generally live in such sanitised conditions that our immune systems are flabby and useless, being entirely out of practice at how to cope with a mean old bug...
    Viruses do best in cold dry conditions. India is hot, and much of it is humid.
    I cannot see that protected Brazil or Peru in either wave.

    Most likely there has been a related but less dangerous coronavirus in the past that has induced some immunity. Particularly in urban areas there is lots of obesity, heart disease and badly controlled diabetes in India.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 30,311
    Andy_JS said:
    If they didn’t change what he said that’s an editorial decision

    He was probably rambling
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 35,675

    DavidL said:

    Nigelb said:

    DavidL said:

    Nigelb said:

    TimT said:

    Nigelb said:
    I have a buddy from GW who was involved in the original WHO global vaccination programmes for smallpox and polio. From the outset, he scoffed at testing and contact tracing, saying no pandemic had ever been tamed with contact tracing. I was a little shocked that such a public health authority was so dismissive, but perhaps I should have listened ... NB He was not against testing per se, just not in relation to contact tracing as a means of quashing the pandemic.
    Makes sense.
    Contact tracing doesn’t work for such widespread infections - it’s a struggle even with early outbreaks of something like Ebola. And it especially doesn’t work with a virus where individuals are infectious days before they display symptoms (and at least a third don’t show symptoms at all)

    The resources that have been poured into what was always going to be a marginally effective program could have been far better spent. Someone with more knowledge that Harding running the program would have realised that far sooner.

    Not sure I agree. It depends on what your objective is. If it is elimination of the disease, sure, its not going to work. There are too many random contacts that you will not trace in the infectious but unaware period. But if it is to find a number of those most likely infected, reduce onward transmission and reduce the R number so that so limited activity could still take place (like keeping schools open) it could help.

    I think that was particularly so with the original variant. The more aggressive variants such as Kent, where much more limited exposure was necessary, were more problematic.
    Read the article - the effect of contact tracing was absolutely minimal.
    And much of the benefit from testing was overestimated, as it compared with a baseline where no one with symptoms self isolated (which is clearly false).
    We’d have achieved better results if we’d done almost no testing at all,and paid anyone with symptoms £2000 a week to self-isolate.
    That's not the way I read it. Obviously contact tracing does not work on its own, it has to be followed up with action such as self isolation. Taken together this seems to have reduced the R number by between 0.3 and 0.5. That is pretty disappointing compared with what the likes of Taiwan and SK achieved but it is not pointless.
    0.3 to 0.5 R is pretty massive isn't it?

    That's about the same impact as the estimated impact of closing schools by comparison surely?
    It is but its a bit messy. The money might well have been better spent funding those with symptoms to self isolate better. It is concerning that apparently most applications for the £500 were rejected. Personally, I thought that the Guardian has a bit of a target in Harding and was seeking to present the figures in a way that was the most damaging to the efforts of her organisation but rather overdid it.
  • Andy_JSAndy_JS Posts: 9,331
    "Why are Italians refusing the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine? "

    https://www.itv.com/news/2021-02-16/covid-why-are-italians-refusing-the-oxfordastrazeneca-coronavirus-vaccine
  • ChrisChris Posts: 7,058
    Question for Internet experts: is there any kind of Nigel Farage blocking software that can be used with YouTube?

    I am very happy for him that he has finally found his niche as a high-tech door-to-door salesman. But I don't want to see or hear him.
  • Wulfrun_PhilWulfrun_Phil Posts: 3,506
    Good thread Mike. I agree 100%.

    With the vaccine rollout the situation has now radically changed, yet the goalposts are now being shifted compared to the assurances that were given when MPs voted for lockdown. The idea that this is all down to the need to protect against new variants makes no sense unless the UK is to maintain a NZ style prohibition on travel to and from abroad until Covid has been eliminated worldwide, which means forever and a day.

    In my personal circumstances, what I find particularly onerous is the continued complete prohibition on any form of socially distanced outdoor sport in England. Golf and outdoor tennis are safer than forms of exercise currently allowed, since unlike jogging you don't repeatedly come into close proximity with anyone. Golf has continued in Scotland throughout lockdown, yet is clearly going to be banned here until some weeks after schools go back. Utterly ridiculous. The failure to make any early, small, risk-free changes means that the misery of Covid restrictions is far more intense than it need be. It should not be just about getting schools back before anything else changes.

    If Johnson misjudges the situation, as looks very likely, I hope he pays the political price.
  • AlistairAlistair Posts: 19,391
    Nigelb said:

    Texas’ power infrastructure seems remarkably fragile. Their largest nuclear plant shut down when a pump froze.

    BuT TH3 wind TURbiNs...
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 36,093
    moonshine said:

    philiph said:

    Nigelb said:
    It's fascinating isn't it? Most of the Indian population is still rural poor and the healthcare infrastructure basic, and yet they've not had this tsunami of death. Under-reporting might be at work, and the life expectancy difference probably also has something to do with it - but then again, India's life expectancy is only about nine years below that of the US. There must be important additional factors in play there.
    BMI?
    Just goes to show we’re not even close to understanding the relative performance of countries with this virus when looking at age adjusted excess death. Still makes no sense to me that the rest of China, Korea, Japan and SE Asia have got off so lightly, when they had by far the most number of direct flights (and trains) from Wuhan over 2020 Chinese New Year.

    The studies on pre exposure to common coronaviruses seen key to me. That, and the much noted factors of UV killing the virus in the air and Vitamin D boosting immunity.
    China *says* they have got off lightly.

    Just as they say there is no genocide in Xinjiang and that Tibet and Hong Kong are happy with their governments.
  • NickPalmerNickPalmer Posts: 15,608
    Charles said:

    Andy_JS said:
    If they didn’t change what he said that’s an editorial decision

    He was probably rambling
    Probably - it's a universal experience of people interviewed for TV that they record up to 10 tiumes as much as they actually use. We all moan that they've left out the best bit, and it leads some to repeat the same message in every couple of sentences to try to make sure it gets in (EdM was notorious for one case where he said virtually nothing else).
  • DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    Nigelb said:

    DavidL said:

    Nigelb said:

    TimT said:

    Nigelb said:
    I have a buddy from GW who was involved in the original WHO global vaccination programmes for smallpox and polio. From the outset, he scoffed at testing and contact tracing, saying no pandemic had ever been tamed with contact tracing. I was a little shocked that such a public health authority was so dismissive, but perhaps I should have listened ... NB He was not against testing per se, just not in relation to contact tracing as a means of quashing the pandemic.
    Makes sense.
    Contact tracing doesn’t work for such widespread infections - it’s a struggle even with early outbreaks of something like Ebola. And it especially doesn’t work with a virus where individuals are infectious days before they display symptoms (and at least a third don’t show symptoms at all)

    The resources that have been poured into what was always going to be a marginally effective program could have been far better spent. Someone with more knowledge that Harding running the program would have realised that far sooner.

    Not sure I agree. It depends on what your objective is. If it is elimination of the disease, sure, its not going to work. There are too many random contacts that you will not trace in the infectious but unaware period. But if it is to find a number of those most likely infected, reduce onward transmission and reduce the R number so that so limited activity could still take place (like keeping schools open) it could help.

    I think that was particularly so with the original variant. The more aggressive variants such as Kent, where much more limited exposure was necessary, were more problematic.
    Read the article - the effect of contact tracing was absolutely minimal.
    And much of the benefit from testing was overestimated, as it compared with a baseline where no one with symptoms self isolated (which is clearly false).
    We’d have achieved better results if we’d done almost no testing at all,and paid anyone with symptoms £2000 a week to self-isolate.
    That's not the way I read it. Obviously contact tracing does not work on its own, it has to be followed up with action such as self isolation. Taken together this seems to have reduced the R number by between 0.3 and 0.5. That is pretty disappointing compared with what the likes of Taiwan and SK achieved but it is not pointless.
    0.3 to 0.5 R is pretty massive isn't it?

    That's about the same impact as the estimated impact of closing schools by comparison surely?
    It is but its a bit messy. The money might well have been better spent funding those with symptoms to self isolate better. It is concerning that apparently most applications for the £500 were rejected. Personally, I thought that the Guardian has a bit of a target in Harding and was seeking to present the figures in a way that was the most damaging to the efforts of her organisation but rather overdid it.
    Well indeed. Perhaps other options might be better but that's up to the government.

    Is it appropriate to damage an organisation that is reducing R by as much as school closures are?
  • Good thread Mike. I agree 100%.

    With the vaccine rollout the situation has now radically changed, yet the goalposts are now being shifted compared to the assurances that were given when MPs voted for lockdown. The idea that this is all down to the need to protect against new variants makes no sense unless the UK is to maintain a NZ style prohibition on travel to and from abroad until Covid has been eliminated worldwide, which means forever and a day.

    In my personal circumstances, what I find particularly onerous is the continued complete prohibition on any form of socially distanced outdoor sport in England. Golf and outdoor tennis are safer than forms of exercise currently allowed, since unlike jogging you don't repeatedly come into close proximity with anyone. Golf has continued in Scotland throughout lockdown, yet is clearly going to be banned here until some weeks after schools go back. Utterly ridiculous. The failure to make any early, small, risk-free changes means that the misery of Covid restrictions is far more intense than it need be. It should not be just about getting schools back before anything else changes.

    If Johnson misjudges the situation, as looks very likely, I hope he pays the political price.

    Golf is just walking in a place where there are far far fewer people, crazy it is banned.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 36,093
    Charles said:

    Andy_JS said:
    If they didn’t change what he said that’s an editorial decision

    He was probably undoubtedly rambling
    FTFY :smile:
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 26,999
    An NHS boss today calling for continued restrictions until NHS capacity is under control.

    According to NHS bosses has NHS capacity been under control at any time in the past 40 years?

    @MarqueeMark good post but do you see now how easy it would be for the government to "follow the science" and keep us locked down until further notice (I exaggerate, but only slightly).
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 36,093

    Good thread Mike. I agree 100%.

    With the vaccine rollout the situation has now radically changed, yet the goalposts are now being shifted compared to the assurances that were given when MPs voted for lockdown. The idea that this is all down to the need to protect against new variants makes no sense unless the UK is to maintain a NZ style prohibition on travel to and from abroad until Covid has been eliminated worldwide, which means forever and a day.

    In my personal circumstances, what I find particularly onerous is the continued complete prohibition on any form of socially distanced outdoor sport in England. Golf and outdoor tennis are safer than forms of exercise currently allowed, since unlike jogging you don't repeatedly come into close proximity with anyone. Golf has continued in Scotland throughout lockdown, yet is clearly going to be banned here until some weeks after schools go back. Utterly ridiculous. The failure to make any early, small, risk-free changes means that the misery of Covid restrictions is far more intense than it need be. It should not be just about getting schools back before anything else changes.

    If Johnson misjudges the situation, as looks very likely, I hope he pays the political price.

    Golf is just walking in a place where there are far far fewer people, crazy it is banned.
    Except at Cannock Park, where the public have the right to roam about more or less freely.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 35,675

    Charles said:

    Andy_JS said:
    If they didn’t change what he said that’s an editorial decision

    He was probably rambling
    Probably - it's a universal experience of people interviewed for TV that they record up to 10 tiumes as much as they actually use. We all moan that they've left out the best bit, and it leads some to repeat the same message in every couple of sentences to try to make sure it gets in (EdM was notorious for one case where he said virtually nothing else).
    That was hilarious. It was very obvious what he was trying to do and the soundbite he was trying to get across but his responses then became so repetitious as to be funny. It must be a seriously difficult balancing act for those as aware as he is of how the media works.
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 39,354
    rcs1000 said:

    "In the Commons there’s now even a growing group of Tory MPs who are pressing hard for change"

    Numbers please? Because that is not what I am hearing.

    There is one over-arching aim in Government - never again will there be Covid lockdowns. We will come out of lockdown when it is clear there will never be a need for more. Now, that might be quick, once the confirmation is in that a) the vaccines are as good as is hoped and b) the numbers for deliveries of those vaccines to give the jab to everyone are secured.

    But if it needs an extra month to be completely sure, then the Government will take the extra pain to be able to say to the UK "Covid has been banished as an impediment to getting on with your life within this country* ". That is the political win within reach.

    *Foreign travel for work or holibobs will be the very last thing to get the green light - and that could be quite some time. The UK has the genome testing capacity to know how safe it really is outside our borders. Again, the way the virus has retreated in just the past five weeks around the globe means the scope for mutations is already reducing markedly. If it continues - wonderful. But the win will not be lightly lost.

    The smart money is on booking your holiday in 2021 in Northumberland. Or Scotland. Or Devon. That spend will be a one-off boost to a nation whose residents spent £62.3 billion on visits overseas in 2019, compared to overseas residents spending £28.4 billion on visits to the UK in 2019. Some of that overseas money will still come here, if it is from people with (non-forged) vaccine certificates. We will be opening earlier than most - restaurants, pubs, museums, galleries, the stuff to make a memorable holiday here. An obvious choice to come here (if you can find the accommodation). I have it on very good authority that the Governor of the Bank of England is very chipper about our prospects for coming out of Covid in a most robust fashion. Things are looking up. Prepare for a much, much better year. But only when it is beaten to the point where it isn't wrecking our lives ever again.

    I think that's spot on.
    "We will come out of lockdown when it is clear there will never be a need for more."

    If that is really the thinking in Johnson's government, then given that scientists on SAGE are already speaking to the media "in a personal capacity" to say that we will need restrictions for months and months (even into 2022) to avoid a new surge then you can see why the Hartley-Brewerers of the world are saying we'll never be allowed out again.

    A scientist was telling the media the other day there would be a huge surge in July if we did any unlocking iirc.

    We can't go on like this. Our MPs must resist a silent move to a zero-covid suppression policy.
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 26,999

    rcs1000 said:

    "In the Commons there’s now even a growing group of Tory MPs who are pressing hard for change"

    Numbers please? Because that is not what I am hearing.

    There is one over-arching aim in Government - never again will there be Covid lockdowns. We will come out of lockdown when it is clear there will never be a need for more. Now, that might be quick, once the confirmation is in that a) the vaccines are as good as is hoped and b) the numbers for deliveries of those vaccines to give the jab to everyone are secured.

    But if it needs an extra month to be completely sure, then the Government will take the extra pain to be able to say to the UK "Covid has been banished as an impediment to getting on with your life within this country* ". That is the political win within reach.

    *Foreign travel for work or holibobs will be the very last thing to get the green light - and that could be quite some time. The UK has the genome testing capacity to know how safe it really is outside our borders. Again, the way the virus has retreated in just the past five weeks around the globe means the scope for mutations is already reducing markedly. If it continues - wonderful. But the win will not be lightly lost.

    The smart money is on booking your holiday in 2021 in Northumberland. Or Scotland. Or Devon. That spend will be a one-off boost to a nation whose residents spent £62.3 billion on visits overseas in 2019, compared to overseas residents spending £28.4 billion on visits to the UK in 2019. Some of that overseas money will still come here, if it is from people with (non-forged) vaccine certificates. We will be opening earlier than most - restaurants, pubs, museums, galleries, the stuff to make a memorable holiday here. An obvious choice to come here (if you can find the accommodation). I have it on very good authority that the Governor of the Bank of England is very chipper about our prospects for coming out of Covid in a most robust fashion. Things are looking up. Prepare for a much, much better year. But only when it is beaten to the point where it isn't wrecking our lives ever again.

    I think that's spot on.
    "We will come out of lockdown when it is clear there will never be a need for more."

    If that is really the thinking in Johnson's government, then given that scientists on SAGE are already speaking to the media "in a personal capacity" to say that we will need restrictions for months and months (even into 2022) to avoid a new surge then you can see why the Hartley-Brewerers of the world are saying we'll never be allowed out again.

    A scientist was telling the media the other day there would be a huge surge in July if we did any unlocking iirc.

    We can't go on like this. Our MPs must resist a silent move to a zero-covid suppression policy.
    "Until we have a robust and effective strategy for identifying new variants."

    What the fuck does that mean? Who will audit that?
  • ydoethur said:

    Good thread Mike. I agree 100%.

    With the vaccine rollout the situation has now radically changed, yet the goalposts are now being shifted compared to the assurances that were given when MPs voted for lockdown. The idea that this is all down to the need to protect against new variants makes no sense unless the UK is to maintain a NZ style prohibition on travel to and from abroad until Covid has been eliminated worldwide, which means forever and a day.

    In my personal circumstances, what I find particularly onerous is the continued complete prohibition on any form of socially distanced outdoor sport in England. Golf and outdoor tennis are safer than forms of exercise currently allowed, since unlike jogging you don't repeatedly come into close proximity with anyone. Golf has continued in Scotland throughout lockdown, yet is clearly going to be banned here until some weeks after schools go back. Utterly ridiculous. The failure to make any early, small, risk-free changes means that the misery of Covid restrictions is far more intense than it need be. It should not be just about getting schools back before anything else changes.

    If Johnson misjudges the situation, as looks very likely, I hope he pays the political price.

    Golf is just walking in a place where there are far far fewer people, crazy it is banned.
    Except at Cannock Park, where the public have the right to roam about more or less freely.
    I have no idea how crowded it is, but am pretty sure that if there are as many people walking on the course as there are on city roads no-one would be playing golf there.
  • NerysHughesNerysHughes Posts: 1,613
    TOPPING said:

    An NHS boss today calling for continued restrictions until NHS capacity is under control.

    According to NHS bosses has NHS capacity been under control at any time in the past 40 years?

    @MarqueeMark good post but do you see now how easy it would be for the government to "follow the science" and keep us locked down until further notice (I exaggerate, but only slightly).

    Every winter bed occupancy in the NHS is normally above 100%.

    At the hospital where my wife works the situation is returning to what it was like last summer. Shifts are being cancelled, wards are empty and bank (overtime) work is being stopped.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 36,093
    edited February 17

    DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    Nigelb said:

    DavidL said:

    Nigelb said:

    TimT said:

    Nigelb said:
    I have a buddy from GW who was involved in the original WHO global vaccination programmes for smallpox and polio. From the outset, he scoffed at testing and contact tracing, saying no pandemic had ever been tamed with contact tracing. I was a little shocked that such a public health authority was so dismissive, but perhaps I should have listened ... NB He was not against testing per se, just not in relation to contact tracing as a means of quashing the pandemic.
    Makes sense.
    Contact tracing doesn’t work for such widespread infections - it’s a struggle even with early outbreaks of something like Ebola. And it especially doesn’t work with a virus where individuals are infectious days before they display symptoms (and at least a third don’t show symptoms at all)

    The resources that have been poured into what was always going to be a marginally effective program could have been far better spent. Someone with more knowledge that Harding running the program would have realised that far sooner.

    Not sure I agree. It depends on what your objective is. If it is elimination of the disease, sure, its not going to work. There are too many random contacts that you will not trace in the infectious but unaware period. But if it is to find a number of those most likely infected, reduce onward transmission and reduce the R number so that so limited activity could still take place (like keeping schools open) it could help.

    I think that was particularly so with the original variant. The more aggressive variants such as Kent, where much more limited exposure was necessary, were more problematic.
    Read the article - the effect of contact tracing was absolutely minimal.
    And much of the benefit from testing was overestimated, as it compared with a baseline where no one with symptoms self isolated (which is clearly false).
    We’d have achieved better results if we’d done almost no testing at all,and paid anyone with symptoms £2000 a week to self-isolate.
    That's not the way I read it. Obviously contact tracing does not work on its own, it has to be followed up with action such as self isolation. Taken together this seems to have reduced the R number by between 0.3 and 0.5. That is pretty disappointing compared with what the likes of Taiwan and SK achieved but it is not pointless.
    0.3 to 0.5 R is pretty massive isn't it?

    That's about the same impact as the estimated impact of closing schools by comparison surely?
    It is but its a bit messy. The money might well have been better spent funding those with symptoms to self isolate better. It is concerning that apparently most applications for the £500 were rejected. Personally, I thought that the Guardian has a bit of a target in Harding and was seeking to present the figures in a way that was the most damaging to the efforts of her organisation but rather overdid it.
    Well indeed. Perhaps other options might be better but that's up to the government.

    Is it appropriate to damage an organisation that is reducing R by as much as school closures are?
    Well, it would be fair to criticise it if we had clear evidence it hadn’t helped at all.

    As you say, this doesn’t seem to be the case here.

    Lots of errors were made by track and trace - the shambles over the app springs to mind - but to criticise them for not solving a problem that was basically insoluble (fully controlling an infectious disease that is also contagious and shows no symptoms until up to 72 hours after you become infectious was always going to be impossible without vaccines, and it does seem to have kept matters from getting worse) seems both unfair and ridiculous.

    Moreover, it’s likely to be counterproductive. The boy who cried wolf applies to the media, who have a truly shocking pandemic.
  • WhisperingOracleWhisperingOracle Posts: 3,797
    edited February 17
    There may be issues in Texas beyond lack of winter preparedness. Their determined lack of interconnectedness with the rest of the US power grid looks increasingly odd. Their system of regulation and oversight looks very odd, too ; quelle surprise.

  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 36,093

    ydoethur said:

    Good thread Mike. I agree 100%.

    With the vaccine rollout the situation has now radically changed, yet the goalposts are now being shifted compared to the assurances that were given when MPs voted for lockdown. The idea that this is all down to the need to protect against new variants makes no sense unless the UK is to maintain a NZ style prohibition on travel to and from abroad until Covid has been eliminated worldwide, which means forever and a day.

    In my personal circumstances, what I find particularly onerous is the continued complete prohibition on any form of socially distanced outdoor sport in England. Golf and outdoor tennis are safer than forms of exercise currently allowed, since unlike jogging you don't repeatedly come into close proximity with anyone. Golf has continued in Scotland throughout lockdown, yet is clearly going to be banned here until some weeks after schools go back. Utterly ridiculous. The failure to make any early, small, risk-free changes means that the misery of Covid restrictions is far more intense than it need be. It should not be just about getting schools back before anything else changes.

    If Johnson misjudges the situation, as looks very likely, I hope he pays the political price.

    Golf is just walking in a place where there are far far fewer people, crazy it is banned.
    Except at Cannock Park, where the public have the right to roam about more or less freely.
    I have no idea how crowded it is, but am pretty sure that if there are as many people walking on the course as there are on city roads no-one would be playing golf there.
    Depends *which* road. It is obviously not as crowded as the A34. But you do get more people walking/exercising their dogs than you would on the suburban residential streets around it, e.g. Cemetery Road, Westbourne Avenue. It’s bang next to Cannock Chase and Shoal Hill Common and people just wander off them on their way into the town.
  • StockyStocky Posts: 5,065
    edited February 17
    Good header.

    Note Mike writes, in the second paragraph, that the great vaccine effect makes things "much harder" for Johnson.

    The fact that this doesn`t read "much easier" (as it should) is testament to that the default position of "lockdown over liberties" and testament to the government`s default aim of "must avoid criticism" over growing some balls and taking us out of this nightmare as quickly as possible within NHS capacity.

    We shouldn`t be constrained for a day longer than is necessary and that is legal.
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 29,998

    Charles said:

    Andy_JS said:
    If they didn’t change what he said that’s an editorial decision

    He was probably rambling
    Probably - it's a universal experience of people interviewed for TV that they record up to 10 tiumes as much as they actually use. We all moan that they've left out the best bit, and it leads some to repeat the same message in every couple of sentences to try to make sure it gets in (EdM was notorious for one case where he said virtually nothing else).
    This one?



    It was rather amusing at the time, but as you say that’s generally how TV interviews work, with several minutes of conversation usually being edited down to a soundbite. That one was actually pretty harsh on EM, who just wanted a carefully crafted message to get across.
  • NickPalmerNickPalmer Posts: 15,608
    DavidL said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Covid can still be very nasty for younger people, I expect people are going to continue with a personal semi lockdown till jabbed up.

    +21 days. It has been the same throughout this crisis. The government has had limitations and regulations but anyone sane has also taken reasonable steps to protect themselves from a pernicious illness that can occasionally be fatal but more often is life changingly unpleasant.

    It will take time for people to get their confidence back and that time will have an economic cost.
    Yes, that's right, and not a political point. That's also why public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of erring on the side of caution. Sure, we'd all like to see relatives and move around more easily, but most people will put that off till, say, July, if they feel it will make a real difference in pandemic control.

    What I'm curious about is how far behaviour will change permanently. Most people seem to expect office workers to operate at least 50% from whom, forever. On the last thread someone said that he hated masks and so did most people, and I said I thought most just saw them as a mild nuisance. Might they become commonplace in public interaction, as in urban Japan? Will events where half the point is the crowd (football matches, dance clubs) change in future? Regardless of what we'd like individually, whyat do we actually expect?
  • eekeek Posts: 11,026
    Andy_JS said:

    "Why are Italians refusing the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine? "

    https://www.itv.com/news/2021-02-16/covid-why-are-italians-refusing-the-oxfordastrazeneca-coronavirus-vaccine

    Crap communications and a general dislike of government means that there are a lot of places where not enough people are going to be vaccinated for Covid to disappear.

  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 21,833

    TOPPING said:

    An NHS boss today calling for continued restrictions until NHS capacity is under control.

    According to NHS bosses has NHS capacity been under control at any time in the past 40 years?

    @MarqueeMark good post but do you see now how easy it would be for the government to "follow the science" and keep us locked down until further notice (I exaggerate, but only slightly).

    Every winter bed occupancy in the NHS is normally above 100%.

    At the hospital where my wife works the situation is returning to what it was like last summer. Shifts are being cancelled, wards are empty and bank (overtime) work is being stopped.
    In Leicester we still have over 300 covid inpatients, 50+ on ICU which is running at 150% capacity. This is more than the first wave peak. We have Consultants working as ICU nurses because it is so stretched. I think this will be the case for another month. It is a slow recovery even for those who make it.

    I do think some relaxations are needed, despite all this though.
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 29,998
    eek said:

    Andy_JS said:

    "Why are Italians refusing the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine? "

    https://www.itv.com/news/2021-02-16/covid-why-are-italians-refusing-the-oxfordastrazeneca-coronavirus-vaccine

    Crap communications and a general dislike of government means that there are a lot of places where not enough people are going to be vaccinated for Covid to disappear.

    I wonder if people in Europe will look across to places like the UK, opening up in the summer when they are still under restrictions, and collectively thinking that maybe getting the vaccine might be a good idea after all?
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 30,311

    Charles said:

    Andy_JS said:
    If they didn’t change what he said that’s an editorial decision

    He was probably rambling
    Probably - it's a universal experience of people interviewed for TV that they record up to 10 tiumes as much as they actually use. We all moan that they've left out the best bit, and it leads some to repeat the same message in every couple of sentences to try to make sure it gets in (EdM was notorious for one case where he said virtually nothing else).
    You are making me nostalgic for a simpler, innocent past

  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 39,354
    TOPPING said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "In the Commons there’s now even a growing group of Tory MPs who are pressing hard for change"

    Numbers please? Because that is not what I am hearing.

    There is one over-arching aim in Government - never again will there be Covid lockdowns. We will come out of lockdown when it is clear there will never be a need for more. Now, that might be quick, once the confirmation is in that a) the vaccines are as good as is hoped and b) the numbers for deliveries of those vaccines to give the jab to everyone are secured.

    But if it needs an extra month to be completely sure, then the Government will take the extra pain to be able to say to the UK "Covid has been banished as an impediment to getting on with your life within this country* ". That is the political win within reach.

    *Foreign travel for work or holibobs will be the very last thing to get the green light - and that could be quite some time. The UK has the genome testing capacity to know how safe it really is outside our borders. Again, the way the virus has retreated in just the past five weeks around the globe means the scope for mutations is already reducing markedly. If it continues - wonderful. But the win will not be lightly lost.

    The smart money is on booking your holiday in 2021 in Northumberland. Or Scotland. Or Devon. That spend will be a one-off boost to a nation whose residents spent £62.3 billion on visits overseas in 2019, compared to overseas residents spending £28.4 billion on visits to the UK in 2019. Some of that overseas money will still come here, if it is from people with (non-forged) vaccine certificates. We will be opening earlier than most - restaurants, pubs, museums, galleries, the stuff to make a memorable holiday here. An obvious choice to come here (if you can find the accommodation). I have it on very good authority that the Governor of the Bank of England is very chipper about our prospects for coming out of Covid in a most robust fashion. Things are looking up. Prepare for a much, much better year. But only when it is beaten to the point where it isn't wrecking our lives ever again.

    I think that's spot on.
    "We will come out of lockdown when it is clear there will never be a need for more."

    If that is really the thinking in Johnson's government, then given that scientists on SAGE are already speaking to the media "in a personal capacity" to say that we will need restrictions for months and months (even into 2022) to avoid a new surge then you can see why the Hartley-Brewerers of the world are saying we'll never be allowed out again.

    A scientist was telling the media the other day there would be a huge surge in July if we did any unlocking iirc.

    We can't go on like this. Our MPs must resist a silent move to a zero-covid suppression policy.
    "Until we have a robust and effective strategy for identifying new variants."

    What the fuck does that mean? Who will audit that?
    Professor Ferguson?
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 30,311
    ydoethur said:

    Charles said:

    Andy_JS said:
    If they didn’t change what he said that’s an editorial decision

    He was probably undoubtedly rambling
    FTFY :smile:
    But to do that in good faith you would have had to watch the segment

    I wasn’t willing to do that 😇
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 36,093
    Foxy said:

    TOPPING said:

    An NHS boss today calling for continued restrictions until NHS capacity is under control.

    According to NHS bosses has NHS capacity been under control at any time in the past 40 years?

    @MarqueeMark good post but do you see now how easy it would be for the government to "follow the science" and keep us locked down until further notice (I exaggerate, but only slightly).

    Every winter bed occupancy in the NHS is normally above 100%.

    At the hospital where my wife works the situation is returning to what it was like last summer. Shifts are being cancelled, wards are empty and bank (overtime) work is being stopped.
    In Leicester we still have over 300 covid inpatients, 50+ on ICU which is running at 150% capacity. This is more than the first wave peak. We have Consultants working as ICU nurses because it is so stretched. I think this will be the case for another month. It is a slow recovery even for those who make it.

    I do think some relaxations are needed, despite all this though.
    Let’s hope though that Mrs Hughes’ experience is a harbinger of things to come. You guys thoroughly deserve and clearly very much need some rest.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 21,833

    DavidL said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Covid can still be very nasty for younger people, I expect people are going to continue with a personal semi lockdown till jabbed up.

    +21 days. It has been the same throughout this crisis. The government has had limitations and regulations but anyone sane has also taken reasonable steps to protect themselves from a pernicious illness that can occasionally be fatal but more often is life changingly unpleasant.

    It will take time for people to get their confidence back and that time will have an economic cost.
    Yes, that's right, and not a political point. That's also why public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of erring on the side of caution. Sure, we'd all like to see relatives and move around more easily, but most people will put that off till, say, July, if they feel it will make a real difference in pandemic control.

    What I'm curious about is how far behaviour will change permanently. Most people seem to expect office workers to operate at least 50% from whom, forever. On the last thread someone said that he hated masks and so did most people, and I said I thought most just saw them as a mild nuisance. Might they become commonplace in public interaction, as in urban Japan? Will events where half the point is the crowd (football matches, dance clubs) change in future? Regardless of what we'd like individually, whyat do we actually expect?
    Yes, I think it will be quite a while before it feels safe enough to do some things, and by then habits will have changed. Some places will just seem unbearably crowded.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 36,093
    Trust you to Brynner new dimension to the discussion.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 36,093
    Charles said:

    ydoethur said:

    Charles said:

    Andy_JS said:
    If they didn’t change what he said that’s an editorial decision

    He was probably undoubtedly rambling
    FTFY :smile:
    But to do that in good faith you would have had to watch the segment

    I wasn’t willing to do that 😇
    Would anyone be? I don’t honestly know why anyone listens to Peter Hitchens. He’s as wrong-headed as his brother on most issues, but at least his brother was lively and interesting.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 21,833
    ydoethur said:

    Foxy said:

    TOPPING said:

    An NHS boss today calling for continued restrictions until NHS capacity is under control.

    According to NHS bosses has NHS capacity been under control at any time in the past 40 years?

    @MarqueeMark good post but do you see now how easy it would be for the government to "follow the science" and keep us locked down until further notice (I exaggerate, but only slightly).

    Every winter bed occupancy in the NHS is normally above 100%.

    At the hospital where my wife works the situation is returning to what it was like last summer. Shifts are being cancelled, wards are empty and bank (overtime) work is being stopped.
    In Leicester we still have over 300 covid inpatients, 50+ on ICU which is running at 150% capacity. This is more than the first wave peak. We have Consultants working as ICU nurses because it is so stretched. I think this will be the case for another month. It is a slow recovery even for those who make it.

    I do think some relaxations are needed, despite all this though.
    Let’s hope though that Mrs Hughes’ experience is a harbinger of things to come. You guys thoroughly deserve and clearly very much need some rest.
    Yeah, it is getting to me now, and Mrs Foxy too.
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 26,999
    Foxy said:

    TOPPING said:

    An NHS boss today calling for continued restrictions until NHS capacity is under control.

    According to NHS bosses has NHS capacity been under control at any time in the past 40 years?

    @MarqueeMark good post but do you see now how easy it would be for the government to "follow the science" and keep us locked down until further notice (I exaggerate, but only slightly).

    Every winter bed occupancy in the NHS is normally above 100%.

    At the hospital where my wife works the situation is returning to what it was like last summer. Shifts are being cancelled, wards are empty and bank (overtime) work is being stopped.
    In Leicester we still have over 300 covid inpatients, 50+ on ICU which is running at 150% capacity. This is more than the first wave peak. We have Consultants working as ICU nurses because it is so stretched. I think this will be the case for another month. It is a slow recovery even for those who make it.

    I do think some relaxations are needed, despite all this though.
    Yes but are those Covid patients crowding out other patients as we are being told?
  • eekeek Posts: 11,026
    Sandpit said:

    eek said:

    Andy_JS said:

    "Why are Italians refusing the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine? "

    https://www.itv.com/news/2021-02-16/covid-why-are-italians-refusing-the-oxfordastrazeneca-coronavirus-vaccine

    Crap communications and a general dislike of government means that there are a lot of places where not enough people are going to be vaccinated for Covid to disappear.

    I wonder if people in Europe will look across to places like the UK, opening up in the summer when they are still under restrictions, and collectively thinking that maybe getting the vaccine might be a good idea after all?
    I hope so but the anti-vax rhetoric that is being used is going to make it very hard to convince people to take the available AZN vaccine given all the reasons so far used for restricting access to it.

    No Government is actually going to go and say there were wrong as people would then look at the UK and say - but we are 6 months behind because of your previous announcements.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 35,675

    DavidL said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Covid can still be very nasty for younger people, I expect people are going to continue with a personal semi lockdown till jabbed up.

    +21 days. It has been the same throughout this crisis. The government has had limitations and regulations but anyone sane has also taken reasonable steps to protect themselves from a pernicious illness that can occasionally be fatal but more often is life changingly unpleasant.

    It will take time for people to get their confidence back and that time will have an economic cost.
    Yes, that's right, and not a political point. That's also why public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of erring on the side of caution. Sure, we'd all like to see relatives and move around more easily, but most people will put that off till, say, July, if they feel it will make a real difference in pandemic control.

    What I'm curious about is how far behaviour will change permanently. Most people seem to expect office workers to operate at least 50% from whom, forever. On the last thread someone said that he hated masks and so did most people, and I said I thought most just saw them as a mild nuisance. Might they become commonplace in public interaction, as in urban Japan? Will events where half the point is the crowd (football matches, dance clubs) change in future? Regardless of what we'd like individually, whyat do we actually expect?
    I think that it is inevitable that there will be deep psychological scars from this pandemic. I agree that face masks in high risk situations such as the tube, public buses or airports are likely to be far more common (with a very significant upside in respect of flu infections).

    I can't imagine being particularly comfortable in a large press of people at sporting events such as football or cricket for some time yet. The young at nightclubs etc will get over it fastest I suspect.

    Work is a tricky one. I didn't come to Edinburgh at all in January but found (a) my productivity was very poor and deteriorating and (b) I was becoming depressed (the two being linked of course). In the last couple of weeks I have had several court hearings by webex and have used this as an excuse to come through again for a better connection and quieter facilities than I have at home. In theory I could work at home completely. In reality I just couldn't. We are social animals and screens don't cut it (I of course recognise the irony of making this point on a blogging site).
  • ydoethur said:

    ydoethur said:

    Good thread Mike. I agree 100%.

    With the vaccine rollout the situation has now radically changed, yet the goalposts are now being shifted compared to the assurances that were given when MPs voted for lockdown. The idea that this is all down to the need to protect against new variants makes no sense unless the UK is to maintain a NZ style prohibition on travel to and from abroad until Covid has been eliminated worldwide, which means forever and a day.

    In my personal circumstances, what I find particularly onerous is the continued complete prohibition on any form of socially distanced outdoor sport in England. Golf and outdoor tennis are safer than forms of exercise currently allowed, since unlike jogging you don't repeatedly come into close proximity with anyone. Golf has continued in Scotland throughout lockdown, yet is clearly going to be banned here until some weeks after schools go back. Utterly ridiculous. The failure to make any early, small, risk-free changes means that the misery of Covid restrictions is far more intense than it need be. It should not be just about getting schools back before anything else changes.

    If Johnson misjudges the situation, as looks very likely, I hope he pays the political price.

    Golf is just walking in a place where there are far far fewer people, crazy it is banned.
    Except at Cannock Park, where the public have the right to roam about more or less freely.
    I have no idea how crowded it is, but am pretty sure that if there are as many people walking on the course as there are on city roads no-one would be playing golf there.
    Depends *which* road. It is obviously not as crowded as the A34. But you do get more people walking/exercising their dogs than you would on the suburban residential streets around it, e.g. Cemetery Road, Westbourne Avenue. It’s bang next to Cannock Chase and Shoal Hill Common and people just wander off them on their way into the town.
    Well for those of us who live in urban areas there is no golf course that could be played and have even 10% of the people who are wandering the streets we are allowed to walk in. It is safer for golf courses to be open than to push even more of us onto the same over crowded streets.
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