Incunabulan

Incunabulan

99p

2,061 comments posted · 3 followers · following 0

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - O'Brien and his critic... · 0 replies · +1 points

My note was really a response to itdoesnotaddup, with whom I have corresponded in the past.

My gripe with using the term ‘exponential growth’ in relation to infections is that it decays very quickly. I first noticed this when dealing with outbreaks of infectious animal disease (my background is insurance) where early notifications showed exponential growth but fell away fast as the numbers became bigger. It was failure to appreciate this that led to the wholesale culling of animals in 2001 (Ferguson and Imperial College) and was criticised in a report in 2011 from the Pirbright Laboratory at the Institute for Animal Health. I discovered the same with human infections when I first became interested in the Covid issue and approached some medical statisticians.

If you look on Worldometer at UK infections and select log scale you will see that one could fit an exponential curve to the growth rate in the early days (March) but since then it has been pretty flat. Interestingly back in the Spring the Spanish newspaper El País produced a log graph of various major European countries’ infection rates and superimposed exponential curves at two days, four days and six days doubling. Several of the countries hewed quite close to one or other exponent but soon fell away. So what annoys me is when someone starts saying ‘we are seeing exponential growth’ and implies that it will continue.

I don’t know why this happens. I suspect that it is that the ‘energy’ required to keep doubling cannot be sustained. One day I am going to produce a study entitled ‘the law of small numbers’ which will deal with this and also why scientific studies involving small numbers of people become irrelevant when big numbers become available. This currently happens with masks where the experience of billions shows that their introduction does nothing to reduce infections no matter what a plethora of scientific studies might say.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - O'Brien and his critic... · 0 replies · +1 points

Sweden has been under a lot of pressure to conform so this legislation looks like a knee-jerk. Actually their infections peaked (7 day moving average) on 23/12 at 7,135 and are now (05/02) at 2,413, so not much chance of a Lockdown there, which must come as a great disappointment. All data courtesy of Worldometer.

They were not the only country to react too soon. We locked down, yet again, on 04/01 and infections peaked on 08/01 in absolute numbers at 68,052 and on a 7 day M/A on 09/01 at 59,660 and have been falling since (source ONS). A bit quick for the Lockdown effect and not the first time that this has happened; the first Lockdown was similar as Whitty finally admitted. . I see today that France has rejected a third Lockdown despite their being much further behind with inoculations. Wait long enough and reality will intervene.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - O'Brien and his critic... · 0 replies · +1 points

I had a look at this article that says that 'ultimately' (it does not indicate when) we may be able to produce a vaccine that will apply to all possible variants of Covid. Well maybe that is right and maybe not. But currently we are where we are and the vaccines available might not work as well as hoped or may not address new variants.

My second paragraph starts with a statement not a conclusion (unless you think that Lockdown can be maintained indefinitely). Even the most ardent Friends of Lockdown see it only as a short-term management tool (like rolling power cuts) that does not address the underlying problem; this is the role of the vaccine. The potential difficulty for the government is that, by refusing to consider any policy other than Lockdown, it has nowhere to go if the vaccine fails to work as hoped. And that is not a good position to be in. It needs a fallback position.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - O'Brien and his critic... · 2 replies · +1 points

Like you I have been staggered at the lack of understanding of basic statistics both among politicians and others. The constant repetition of 'exponential' is enough to make one cringe. I suppose that it sounds a scary word so why does one need to understand it?

For me it all started with the Imperial report. A worse piece of work I have never seen and hope never to again. And that put is into Lockdown.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - O'Brien and his critic... · 0 replies · +1 points

I agree with your point that name-calling adds nothing to a debate. Not on either side. I think that WHS was trying to criticise O'B for that but fell into the trap himself.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - O'Brien and his critic... · 0 replies · +1 points

The latest Lockdown was introduced on 04/01 and infections on a daily basis peaked on 08/01at 68,053. On a 7day rolling average they peaked on 08/01 at 59,344 and since then have been falling (source: ONS). That was a bit quick for Lockdown, so maybe Toby Young has a point.

World-Wide 7 day rolling average infections peaked on 13/01 at 733,258 and have been falling since. Maybe it was Britain's Lockdown that influenced the world numbers or maybe infections were going to fall anyway.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - O'Brien and his critic... · 2 replies · +1 points

But never enforced.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - O'Brien and his critic... · 0 replies · +1 points

Absolutely.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - O'Brien and his critic... · 0 replies · +1 points

Your comment about masks reminds me of the aphorism: 'logic can only applied to logic'. The issue of masks is one of emotion; people want to believe that masks will save them. Imagine Richard Dawkins turning up in medieval times and saying that carrying around the relics of saints offered no protection. Off to the pyre with him!

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - O'Brien and his critic... · 2 replies · +1 points

If I may just add a view of my own (I am sure that DC can speak for himself) we do not need evidence that vaccines might not deliver on their promise to be aware of this possibility. Anything, no matter how well engineered, may fail which is why one always needs a back up position. It is not a question of not wanting the vaccines to work but only a fool discounts the possibility of failure.

Now in consequence of its pursuit of a dysfunctional policy (Lockdown) and the subsequent damage that it has caused, the government knows that it must remove restrictions before the position becomes irretrievable. But it has left itself with only one option: a successful vaccine. If this fails, whether because its efficacy is not what is hoped or because a new strain renders it ineffective, where will the government go then? What is its fallback position? Eternal Lockdown? These questions need to be addressed. O'Brien will maybe receive recognition for being a toady but he is not much else.