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1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - The mass testing 'blit... · 0 replies · +1 points

Besides the evidence on the accuracy of the tests cited here, a key assumption behind mass testing is that people who test positive will self-isolate for the recommended period. There is plenty of evidence that this does not happen. I'm pretty sceptical about the whole test and trace strategy and this new venture does not change my view on that.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Stephen McPartland and... · 1 reply · +1 points

Good luck with amendment. I really don't know why the government is treating buildings of any height the same as those over 18m. It's blindingly obvious that someone can get out of the first floor flat of a house conversion much more quickly than from the 10th floor of a skyscraper and the regulatory requirements should reflect this. If the government is going to treat all buildings alike, though, when setting requirements, it is totally unjustifiable for financial assistance to be in place in one case and not the other.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - WATCH: 'A lot of reaso... · 0 replies · +1 points

Any evidence for the latter claim? The herd immunity claims from people like you were more credible last summer, but turned out to be wrong. It's not obvious that they are right now. The virus moves in mysterious ways - that's true. For example, case numbers around me in London have fallen from over 1,000/100k a week in early January to around 100 now. That's obviously NOT the vaccine. But I don't think it's herd immunity either, nice as that would be.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Conservative MPs on wh... · 0 replies · +1 points

Thanks. I know all the stuff in the first paragraph. I meant that the government should have a better picture of the practical implications of what this means for relative risks of different activities. For example, how risky is going to the supermarket for 20 minutes each week, compared with having a face to face chat with someone for 20 minutes (and how does the latter vary between inside and outside)? I'm not expecting answers to two decimal points, but there seems to me to have been very little effort made in this whole area, despite how important it is for decisions on stopping or restricting people's activities.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Conservative MPs on wh... · 1 reply · +1 points

Thanks, Jonathan, for taking the time to reply to people who view this whole sorry saga through the most distorted lens and keep trotting out ridiculous assertions.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Conservative MPs on wh... · 2 replies · +1 points

This whole debate would be much better informed if there was better data on how exactly the virus is transmitted and therefore which activities are more or less risky. For example, there was a study published recently that showed that transmission of the virus via tennis balls was highly unlikely. I hope that has been taken on board by the government and that tennis will be one of the first activities taken out of the restrictions. But it's frustrating that there is not more published government analysis - or much sign that the government is doing some analysis internally and acting on it. I've done my own analysis - a very basic one - of how dangerous it is to go shopping and will post this below. If anyone has any views on it, I'd be interested to hear them.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Andrew Murrison: I vot... · 0 replies · +1 points

I was making the point that I did not think your international comparisons were good ones. The Swedish death rate from covid is roughly ten times that of Finland and Norway, as the Worldometer website shows. In 2020, Finland's GDP fell by 0.5%. Norway seems to have bounced back in Q3 after a big dip in Q2, so also looks like having a small dip overall for the year. Sweden's GDP seems to have done quite a lot worse, although I don't think the final quarter figure has been published yet - it was down nearly 5% on average in the first three quarters. I've added the links for Norway and Sweden below.

So I just don't buy the argument that Sweden is some paragon of the 'road not travelled', with a great combination of low death rates and minimal economic damage through a more very laissez faire policy. I'd have liked that to happen because I am actually right wing, and not someone who instinctively likes statist responses. But in this case I don't think the government had a lot of choice on the basic approach, even if there are a lot of details that I think have been poorly handled.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Andrew Murrison: I vot... · 2 replies · +1 points

I do wonder how useful international comparisons are, as there are so many other complicating factors, including perhaps the genetic composition of different nationalities - it is noticeable that many far eastern countries seem to have been very lightly affected and I wonder if that's all down government policies. In the case of Sweden, the death rates per million on Worldometer show the UK in fifth, Sweden in 23rd, but Norway and Finland at 109 and 102. I know the Swedes often seem to invoke their differences compared with Finland and Norway, but given that these countries are often grouped together when making international comparisons, it's not obvious that Sweden's voluntarist policy has been very effective in tacking the virus.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Andrew Murrison: I vot... · 4 replies · +1 points

It's perfectly fair to ask, as the article does, about the balance between restrictions and the impact these have on people's lives. But to suggest that the various lockdowns have 'not saved any lives' seems to me to be complete nonsense. One problem with lockdown deniers is that they rarely if ever explain their counter-factual. Perhaps you could say what yours is? If it's that everyone continues life completely as normal, with no social distancing, no avoiding crowds, no minimising social contacts etc., then how do you think virus cases would not be hugely higher, along with hospital admissions and deaths, given what we know about transmission of the virus?

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Gimson, Gimson, Gimson... · 0 replies · +1 points

I took your last comment - 'Do you remember 2018?' - as a comparison, which I think it is. My point is they are not comparable. Why pick 2018, not 2019, anyway? I assume it's because you are trying to compare 2020/21 with the last bad flu year.