Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri May 22, 2020 3:40 pm

Total failure of leadership, coupled with what sounds like super dodgy scientific advice.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by dyqik » Fri May 22, 2020 4:36 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 2:13 pm
Martin Y wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:32 am
Blackcountryboy wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:11 am
… Could panic buying have been stopped at that time?
Reduced, I suppose, by "only x per customer" rules being introduced sooner, but some stuff would still disappear. It doesn't take the imagined obvious panic buyers with a teetering mountain of loo roll in their trolley to cause a shortage, just for everyone to cautiously buy a spare pack each time when they normally only buy a pack every ten visits to the shops.
Panic buying seems have been largely restricted to the UK and USA. I'm not 100% what's wrong with the national culture in those two places, but it can't just be blamed on "human nature".
The toilet roll panic buying started in Japan, spread from there to Australia, and then to the UK, with the US at least a week behind the UK on that.

Obviously, panic buying is likely to follow language barriers, as media pick up and translate foreign stories.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri May 22, 2020 5:40 pm

Fair enough, I stand corrected. From talking with friends it seemed not to have happened much in continental Europe, despite stricter lockdowns in a lot of places. So there do seem to be cultural factors at play - perhaps Japan and the Anglo-Saxon diaspora are uniquely preoccupied with wiping their arses?

I thought they all had squirty robotoilets in Japan anyway, which shows how much I know.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by dyqik » Fri May 22, 2020 6:30 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 5:40 pm
Fair enough, I stand corrected. From talking with friends it seemed not to have happened much in continental Europe, despite stricter lockdowns in a lot of places. So there do seem to be cultural factors at play - perhaps Japan and the Anglo-Saxon diaspora are uniquely preoccupied with wiping their arses?

I thought they all had squirty robotoilets in Japan anyway, which shows how much I know.
The Japanese panic buying reportedly* started with reports in Japan about how their toilet paper supplies were from China, and likely to be disrupted.

I've flown through Japan half a dozen times, and visited once, and never once used a squirty toilet.

*Do not ask me where it was reported

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Herainestold » Fri May 22, 2020 7:33 pm

dyqik wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 6:30 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 5:40 pm
Fair enough, I stand corrected. From talking with friends it seemed not to have happened much in continental Europe, despite stricter lockdowns in a lot of places. So there do seem to be cultural factors at play - perhaps Japan and the Anglo-Saxon diaspora are uniquely preoccupied with wiping their arses?

I thought they all had squirty robotoilets in Japan anyway, which shows how much I know.
The Japanese panic buying reportedly* started with reports in Japan about how their toilet paper supplies were from China, and likely to be disrupted.

I've flown through Japan half a dozen times, and visited once, and never once used a squirty toilet.

*Do not ask me where it was reported
Squirty toilets are everywhere in Japan, with a control console with undecipherable icons and special music. It freaks me out, I prefer paper.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Woodchopper » Fri May 22, 2020 7:35 pm

dyqik wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 6:30 pm
I've flown through Japan half a dozen times, and visited once, and never once used a squirty toilet.
Gosh, I’ve visited them twice and found them to be ubiquitous.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri May 22, 2020 8:14 pm

I just asked my sister, who had a two week holiday there a few weeks back. She says:
Hells yeah they did! And ones that play a song so no one can hear you poop

Charlie's bro had one in the flat that had like a remote control thing be used to take outside the toilet and press random things while his mates were inside
So that's interesting. Like, when would you ever need a remote control toilet? Seems like one way you really can't use a toilet is remotely.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by dyqik » Fri May 22, 2020 8:24 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 7:35 pm
dyqik wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 6:30 pm
I've flown through Japan half a dozen times, and visited once, and never once used a squirty toilet.
Gosh, I’ve visited them twice and found them to be ubiquitous.
Oh, they're there. I just didn't use them/those features, due to fear of not understanding the pictograms.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri May 22, 2020 8:37 pm

dyqik wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:24 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 7:35 pm
dyqik wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 6:30 pm
I've flown through Japan half a dozen times, and visited once, and never once used a squirty toilet.
Gosh, I’ve visited them twice and found them to be ubiquitous.
Oh, they're there. I just didn't use them/those features, due to fear of not understanding the pictograms.
Fortune favours the bold, dyqik-san.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by shpalman » Fri May 22, 2020 8:42 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 5:40 pm
Fair enough, I stand corrected. From talking with friends it seemed not to have happened much in continental Europe, despite stricter lockdowns in a lot of places...
Can confirm that I didn't notice widespread panic buying here. It may have happened in a few isolated cases. My preferred supermarket chain was making adverts which said not to worry because the shops were being stocked as normal, to try to discourage it. I've been able to buy just about everything I've wanted to in there, apart from once when the own-brand frozen peas weren't there, and the fresh fruit selection is maybe not quite as rich as usual.
molto tricky

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri May 22, 2020 8:47 pm

Yeah there was a bit of a shortage of fresh meat and vegetables here for a few days but nothing bonkers.

People who'd seen the news were asking me what was going on with English people and bog rolls, as if I had the slightest f.cking idea. It's just such an odd thing to hoard.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by dyqik » Fri May 22, 2020 10:07 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:47 pm
Yeah there was a bit of a shortage of fresh meat and vegetables here for a few days but nothing bonkers.

People who'd seen the news were asking me what was going on with English people and bog rolls, as if I had the slightest f.cking idea. It's just such an odd thing to hoard.
That is still going on in the US. And the US (and Canada) produces pretty much all its own toilet roll..

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri May 22, 2020 10:13 pm

It has really shown up how vulnerable the whole economy and society in the USA is. A quarter of workers unemployed, with a lot of the market resting on rent-backed securities. They've managed to find a genuinely unsustainable level of exploiting people. (Well, another one)

Capitalism has been in crisis pretty much constantly since I started shaving. I'm going to be 30 this year. Thank heck I don't take my career too seriously or care much about owning a house.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Woodchopper » Sat May 23, 2020 4:54 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 10:13 pm
It has really shown up how vulnerable the whole economy and society in the USA is. A quarter of workers unemployed, with a lot of the market resting on rent-backed securities. They've managed to find a genuinely unsustainable level of exploiting people. (Well, another one)

Capitalism has been in crisis pretty much constantly since I started shaving. I'm going to be 30 this year. Thank heck I don't take my career too seriously or care much about owning a house.
Capitalism has been in crisis for the last 300 years or so.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by FlammableFlower » Sat May 23, 2020 7:54 am

There were definitely toilet roll shortages in Hong Kong. I can't find it (on my phone), but there was a news article on panic buying and a toilet roll delivery bring hijacked by a criminal gang to sell on the black market. And that was before definitely pre-lockdown and panic buying in this country.

It seems to have been a ripple-like effect and once enough people are in it then spreads rapidly. Also the waves of different products getting sold out. First toilet roll, then pasta, rice and tinned goods. Then flour. I can remember going out each week to shop and one week thinking, "oh there's loads of x" and the next week, it'd all be empty.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Herainestold » Sat May 23, 2020 2:28 pm

FlammableFlower wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:54 am
There were definitely toilet roll shortages in Hong Kong. I can't find it (on my phone), but there was a news article on panic buying and a toilet roll delivery bring hijacked by a criminal gang to sell on the black market. And that was before definitely pre-lockdown and panic buying in this country.

It seems to have been a ripple-like effect and once enough people are in it then spreads rapidly. Also the waves of different products getting sold out. First toilet roll, then pasta, rice and tinned goods. Then flour. I can remember going out each week to shop and one week thinking, "oh there's loads of x" and the next week, it'd all be empty.
Mate in HK, said he was lucky he bought TP before the pandemic, but since has complained of various shortages including liquid soap. He says life is going on pretty much normally since then as long as you wear a mask.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat May 23, 2020 7:41 pm

Some posts moved from here to the "Fascist China" thread in Weighty Matters.

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1267&p=33527#p33527

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Millennie Al » Sun May 24, 2020 2:07 am

Blackcountryboy wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:11 am
... 16 March ... Could panic buying have been stopped at that time?
Probably not. I suspect that the apparent panic buying is a result of the common agent fallacy. This is the tendency of people to see a deliberate agent as the cause of things rather than there being no cause, the cause being diffuse, or being an emergent property of a system. In the case of covid-19 panic buying, I have read that the normal pattern of buying in British supermarkets indicates that very many people shop several times a week for small amounts rather than in one or two big amounts. As soon as the general public realised that:
  1. if they were infected they would have to stay at home for a week
  2. if they were exposed to infection they would have to stay at home for 14 days
then they came to the perfectly rational conclusion that they needed to buy enough stuff to allow them to stay at home for an extended period. The alternative would have been for them to be reckless and assume that they would not be affected so they could continue to shop frequently (or intend to shop regardless of whether they got infected). They would further assess that the UK is not the sort of country where an order to stay at home would be accompanied by state support to do so (e.g. deliveries of esssential supplies such as loo rolls, food, or indeed prepared meals) and therefore they needed to be personally prepared. If they were feeling particularly public-spirited, they might have thought of neighbours or relatives who might be unable to make such preparations for themselves and bought more expecting to use it in helping others.

If this is indeed the cause, then it's easy to see what would have been needed to avoid it and that that was impossible. To avoid it, the people buying would have to have believed that any rules introduced would have been practical and well planned, incorporating whatever was needed to support everyone affected. Given that everyone could see the progress of the disease internationally, and then found out on 16th March that the government's response was hopelessly inadequate, very few would have had enough faith in future measures and would have felt the need to fend for themselves.

In this case the malicious agent fallacy is particularly tempting as it has the usual attraction of making the solution fairly simple, but also means we can believe that we were not part of the problem.
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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Millennie Al » Sun May 24, 2020 2:09 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:54 am
Capitalism has been in crisis for the last 300 years or so.
While alternatives can only dream of that level of success.
Covid-19 - Don't catch it: don't spread it.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Martin_B » Sun May 24, 2020 4:03 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 2:09 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:54 am
Capitalism has been in crisis for the last 300 years or so.
While alternatives can only dream of that level of success.
Feudalism managed a good 6-7 centuries until the Black Death, and even after that hung around in pockets for another 300 years until completely abolished by the Industrial Revolution; which is what largely allowed Capitalism to become the predominant economic mechanism.

With the thought that workers might be forced back onto the land picking crops, might we see a new Capitalist Feudalism? (I mean probably not, but I'm sure that could be a half-decent A-level economics question!)
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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by AMS » Sun May 24, 2020 8:35 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 2:07 am
Blackcountryboy wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:11 am
... 16 March ... Could panic buying have been stopped at that time?
Probably not. I suspect that the apparent panic buying is a result of the common agent fallacy. This is the tendency of people to see a deliberate agent as the cause of things rather than there being no cause, the cause being diffuse, or being an emergent property of a system. In the case of covid-19 panic buying, I have read that the normal pattern of buying in British supermarkets indicates that very many people shop several times a week for small amounts rather than in one or two big amounts. As soon as the general public realised that:
  1. if they were infected they would have to stay at home for a week
  2. if they were exposed to infection they would have to stay at home for 14 days
then they came to the perfectly rational conclusion that they needed to buy enough stuff to allow them to stay at home for an extended period. The alternative would have been for them to be reckless and assume that they would not be affected so they could continue to shop frequently (or intend to shop regardless of whether they got infected). They would further assess that the UK is not the sort of country where an order to stay at home would be accompanied by state support to do so (e.g. deliveries of esssential supplies such as loo rolls, food, or indeed prepared meals) and therefore they needed to be personally prepared. If they were feeling particularly public-spirited, they might have thought of neighbours or relatives who might be unable to make such preparations for themselves and bought more expecting to use it in helping others.

If this is indeed the cause, then it's easy to see what would have been needed to avoid it and that that was impossible. To avoid it, the people buying would have to have believed that any rules introduced would have been practical and well planned, incorporating whatever was needed to support everyone affected. Given that everyone could see the progress of the disease internationally, and then found out on 16th March that the government's response was hopelessly inadequate, very few would have had enough faith in future measures and would have felt the need to fend for themselves.

In this case the malicious agent fallacy is particularly tempting as it has the usual attraction of making the solution fairly simple, but also means we can believe that we were not part of the problem.
Add to this the fact that everyone staying at home all the time means more of our total food and our loo roll supplies are coming through the supermarkets, and less through the wholesale suppliers that restaurants or office cleaning teams use. I think someone mentioned earlier that wholesale goods are not packaged correctly for them to be easily swapped onto supermarket shelves.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun May 24, 2020 3:53 pm

Millennie Al makes a fair point - just-in-time supply chains are obviously vulnerable to a sudden change in when people demand a particular resource, rather than how much. Under this model, running out of toilet roll is a bit like a run on a bank - everyone wants what they normally could get anyway, but their wanting it simultaneously causes problems. (We should also maybe think about whether we want a poorly-regulated financial sector just-in-timing the economy)

Then again, there are photos of people with trolleys full of toilet roll, videos of people fighting over the last packs, etc.

Loads of countries had rules, many of them far stricter than the UK's, limiting the amount of shopping people could do, and I haven't heard of any countries in Europe distributing bog rolls to people as a matter of policy. Nevertheless, anecdotally, few countries saw the same level of empty shelves as the UK and USA have, which suggests cultural factors.

It could simply be down to drastic differences in supermarkets' stocking practices but I'd be surprised. My local one in Portugal is always running out of random stuff, but like plain yoghurt or a specific brand of gherkins; I've never seen the whole toilet paper aisle denuded.

Why might UK and USA people have less trust in society's toilet-paper system?

I'm not 100% convinced by the null model, yet.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by nekomatic » Sun May 24, 2020 10:10 pm

Is it not just that toilet paper was said to be one of the things that would run out first if supply chains were disrupted by a no-deal Brexit, and the concept of stockpiling it lodged somewhere in the national subconscious? Or was that only a liberal hand-wringing elite thing?

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Martin Y » Sun May 24, 2020 10:59 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 3:53 pm
Then again, there are photos of people with trolleys full of toilet roll, videos of people fighting over the last packs, etc.
The pic I was invited to tut at on Facebook (by someone I don't quietly defriend because I feel it probably helps to see other bubbles than one's own) was a middle aged Pakistani* man pushing a trolley heaped with toilet roll. Except it clearly wasn't a supermarket. It was a cash-and-carry. So he was a shopkeeper.

* Immigrant bonus. Extra tutting points.

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Re: Could an earlier lockdown have saved 30,000?

Post by Woodchopper » Mon May 25, 2020 7:49 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 3:53 pm
Then again, there are photos of people with trolleys full of toilet roll, videos of people fighting over the last packs, etc.

Loads of countries had rules, many of them far stricter than the UK's, limiting the amount of shopping people could do, and I haven't heard of any countries in Europe distributing bog rolls to people as a matter of policy. Nevertheless, anecdotally, few countries saw the same level of empty shelves as the UK and USA have, which suggests cultural factors.
Possibly too sophisticated an explanation. But at the time in the UK there was talk of a herd immunity strategy. If the majority of the population is to be infected and have to quarantine for two weeks then its not completely unreasonable for households to assume that they'll need to stock up with two weeks worth of essential supplies.

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