Cost of Track 'n' Trace

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plodder
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Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by plodder » Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:16 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:06 pm
Some more analysis here https://sluggerotoole.com/2021/02/19/bo ... -than-one/

It's longer and deeper than the channel tunnel, by way of comparison. With a bunch of bombs in the middle.

Also some issues connecting up the train networks, apparently.

But I guess the proposed feasibility study will look into all that stuff.
Perhaps worth reminnding everyone that the Channel Tunnel, in today's money, was cheaper than the track 'n trace app.

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by dyqik » Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:37 pm

plodder wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:16 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:06 pm
Some more analysis here https://sluggerotoole.com/2021/02/19/bo ... -than-one/

It's longer and deeper than the channel tunnel, by way of comparison. With a bunch of bombs in the middle.

Also some issues connecting up the train networks, apparently.

But I guess the proposed feasibility study will look into all that stuff.
Perhaps worth reminnding everyone that the Channel Tunnel, in today's money, was cheaper than the track 'n trace app.
So was the LHC, Diamond Light Source, ALMA, VLT, ELT, and SKA combined.

Or ITER.

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:54 pm

Track and Trace is a pretty low bar to clear (or tunnel under, even). I'm not quite sure what that comparison is meant to tell us.

HS2 has been way more expensive per km than Channel Tunnel, and most of that isn't even in a tunnel. The French do it cheaper apparently though, so maybe there are cost savings available somewhere. I'm sure Chris Grayling will figure it out in his forthcoming role as tunnel tsar.

But yeah if there's a sound case for building a better train link to NI then I'm sure the money can be found, and should be. I just haven't seen anybody be anything other than sceptical about the proposed details of this specific case.
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Re: UK-EU relations and Northern Ireland

Post by dyqik » Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:56 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:54 pm
Track and Trace is a pretty low bar to clear (or tunnel under, even). I'm not quite sure what that comparison is meant to tell us.

HS2 has been way more expensive per km than Channel Tunnel, and most of that isn't even in a tunnel. The French do it cheaper apparently though, so maybe there are cost savings available somewhere. I'm sure Chris Grayling will figure it out in his forthcoming role as tunnel tsar.

But yeah if there's a sound case for building a better train link to NI then I'm sure the money can be found, and should be. I just haven't seen anybody be anything other than sceptical about the proposed details of this specific case.
HS2 might be cheaper in a tunnel, as there wouldn't be all the environmental and nimby concerns. ;)

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:57 pm

plodder wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:16 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:06 pm
Some more analysis here https://sluggerotoole.com/2021/02/19/bo ... -than-one/

It's longer and deeper than the channel tunnel, by way of comparison. With a bunch of bombs in the middle.

Also some issues connecting up the train networks, apparently.

But I guess the proposed feasibility study will look into all that stuff.
Perhaps worth reminnding everyone that the Channel Tunnel, in today's money, was cheaper than the track 'n trace app.
No it wasn’t. The app cost tens of millions, the Channel tunnel over 10 billion.

You’re right about the whole test and trace system. But that too involved a huge investment in infrastructure.

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by plodder » Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:03 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:57 pm
plodder wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:16 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:06 pm
Some more analysis here https://sluggerotoole.com/2021/02/19/bo ... -than-one/

It's longer and deeper than the channel tunnel, by way of comparison. With a bunch of bombs in the middle.

Also some issues connecting up the train networks, apparently.

But I guess the proposed feasibility study will look into all that stuff.
Perhaps worth reminnding everyone that the Channel Tunnel, in today's money, was cheaper than the track 'n trace app.
No it wasn’t. The app cost tens of millions, the Channel tunnel over 10 billion.

You’re right about the whole test and trace system. But that too involved a huge investment in infrastructure.
What greater-than-the-channel-tunnel infrastructure are you referring to? The giga-call centers?

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:22 am

plodder wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:03 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:57 pm
plodder wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:16 pm


Perhaps worth reminnding everyone that the Channel Tunnel, in today's money, was cheaper than the track 'n trace app.
No it wasn’t. The app cost tens of millions, the Channel tunnel over 10 billion.

You’re right about the whole test and trace system. But that too involved a huge investment in infrastructure.
What greater-than-the-channel-tunnel infrastructure are you referring to? The giga-call centers?
Lab capacity for mass testing. ETA obviously not greater in terms of size. But developing the capacity quickly was expensive.

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by lpm » Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:29 am

It is of course nonsense. Dud accounting. Test & Trace used a lot of idle resources which would be chucked away otherwise.

Nobody says the UK pension scheme costs 10 channel tunnel worths a year. It "costs" £100 billion a year but of course this is just a transfer from govt to people. Likewise, the biggest "cost" of Test & Trace is just a transfer from govt to otherwise unemployed people.

Building labs and manufacturing the equipment within them is a real cost, but hard to determine how much of this gets wasted when the pandemic is over, or whether there was an alternative use of those resources during 2020.
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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Mar 09, 2021 9:04 am

lpm wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:29 am
It is of course nonsense. Dud accounting. Test & Trace used a lot of idle resources which would be chucked away otherwise.

Nobody says the UK pension scheme costs 10 channel tunnel worths a year. It "costs" £100 billion a year but of course this is just a transfer from govt to people. Likewise, the biggest "cost" of Test & Trace is just a transfer from govt to otherwise unemployed people.

Building labs and manufacturing the equipment within them is a real cost, but hard to determine how much of this gets wasted when the pandemic is over, or whether there was an alternative use of those resources during 2020.
In addition to building the labs etc there is also the cost of training personnel. Some skills may be transferable but others won’t be.

According to the NAO, of £15.1 billion budgeted for test and trace by October 2020, 12.8 billion was spent on testing. https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploa ... report.pdf (page 36).

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by plodder » Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:48 pm

How many tests did they do?

It's not dud accounting if it's highly inefficient. Because the costs will eventually be made up from efficient things treading water for ages.

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Re: UK-EU relations and Northern Ireland

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:02 pm

plodder wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:48 pm
How many tests did they do?

It's not dud accounting if it's highly inefficient. Because the costs will eventually be made up from efficient things treading water for ages.
They did 23 million tests between 28 May and 4 November 2020 (numbers from the NAO report).

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by plodder » Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:05 pm

so that's like £750 per test, even once economies of scale are built in and they've got the right equipment etc.

I've literally no idea how to unpick that, but in 6 months that's something like 1 million a week. Agreed, it's a big undertaking, but no idea how many a bespoke lab would typically do / cost.

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by lpm » Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:05 pm

The test part worked well? Just far too slow to help with the first wave but then ramped up to huge numbers, plus identifying strains. Soon we will have THE MOONSHOT.

It's the trace part that was a dud. And the app. And the quarantine of international arrivals. And bringing it together with other databases. And the support for isolating people.
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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by lpm » Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:13 pm

plodder wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:05 pm
so that's like £750 per test, even once economies of scale are built in and they've got the right equipment etc.

I've literally no idea how to unpick that, but in 6 months that's something like 1 million a week. Agreed, it's a big undertaking, but no idea how many a bespoke lab would typically do / cost.
Six months ago, for-profit private companies were offering tests for around £150, for international travellers needing them for airlines/destination countries.

This gives an upper limit on the actual cost per test.

Take out the profit margin, marketing expenses, etc and they probably cost private companies around £100? A huge lab with economies of scale maybe half that at £50 per test?

I'd say 23 million tests should cost around £1 billion. Ballpark.

Then there's 20,000 people employed to trace. At £50k salary incl staffing costs, that's another £1 billion. Ballpark.

I can't see where the other £ billions come from.
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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by lpm » Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:14 pm

Lord Woodchopper, can we split "Costs of Test & Trace" out into the pandemic arena, we've strayed a bit from EU/NI...
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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:44 pm

Yep. Wrong nmc though.
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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:54 pm

lpm wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:13 pm
plodder wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:05 pm
so that's like £750 per test, even once economies of scale are built in and they've got the right equipment etc.

I've literally no idea how to unpick that, but in 6 months that's something like 1 million a week. Agreed, it's a big undertaking, but no idea how many a bespoke lab would typically do / cost.
Six months ago, for-profit private companies were offering tests for around £150, for international travellers needing them for airlines/destination countries.

This gives an upper limit on the actual cost per test.

Take out the profit margin, marketing expenses, etc and they probably cost private companies around £100? A huge lab with economies of scale maybe half that at £50 per test?

I'd say 23 million tests should cost around £1 billion. Ballpark.

Then there's 20,000 people employed to trace. At £50k salary incl staffing costs, that's another £1 billion. Ballpark.

I can't see where the other £ billions come from.
I suspect that the UK was looking at massive diseconomies of scale when developing capacity. Equipment would have to be sourced very quickly at the same time that almost every other government was trying to rapidly set up testing capacity. British buyers were going to have to outbid the rest. The same goes with skilled personnel, especially those able to train others. For a period the marginal costs would increase for each improvement in capacity.

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Mar 10, 2021 5:56 am

Public Accounts Committee report on Test and Trace:

https://committees.parliament.uk/public ... 5/default/

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by plodder » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:21 pm

what number are they using now? £37bn?

if they'd have divided that number between all the households in the UK and just bribed people to stay home for a month or two it would have been 10x as effective.

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by plodder » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:22 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Mar 10, 2021 5:56 am
Public Accounts Committee report on Test and Trace:

https://committees.parliament.uk/public ... 5/default/
linky no worky

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:27 pm

plodder wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:22 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Mar 10, 2021 5:56 am
Public Accounts Committee report on Test and Trace:

https://committees.parliament.uk/public ... 5/default/
linky no worky
Try this: https://committees.parliament.uk/commit ... -lockdown/

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by Fishnut » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:31 pm

I've seen people say that most of the money went on the testing part of test and trace and therefore it's not wasted money. But if it didn't make any difference to the outcome then doesn't that make it wasted?
it's okay to say "I don't know"

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by Grumble » Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:29 am

Fishnut wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:31 pm
I've seen people say that most of the money went on the testing part of test and trace and therefore it's not wasted money. But if it didn't make any difference to the outcome then doesn't that make it wasted?
If it makes the difference between people staying isolated or not then I’d say it’s not wasted, also it obviously informs treatment. However I wonder how much of the money was spent on the lateral flow tests, which are so inaccurate. We’re doing them twice a week at work now, one chap had a positive result so is off work, but he went for PCR testing and that came back negative. We’re still treating him as positive but who knows?
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by Fishnut » Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:51 am

Grumble wrote:
Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:29 am
Fishnut wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:31 pm
I've seen people say that most of the money went on the testing part of test and trace and therefore it's not wasted money. But if it didn't make any difference to the outcome then doesn't that make it wasted?
If it makes the difference between people staying isolated or not then I’d say it’s not wasted, also it obviously informs treatment. However I wonder how much of the money was spent on the lateral flow tests, which are so inaccurate. We’re doing them twice a week at work now, one chap had a positive result so is off work, but he went for PCR testing and that came back negative. We’re still treating him as positive but who knows?
How many people self-isolate based solely on a positive covid test? It's been a while since I've paid any attention to the rules but I seem to remember that you were supposed to self-isolate if you had any symptoms, if you'd been exposed to someone with it, or if you'd been told to, regardless of what your test said.

I may well be misremembering.
it's okay to say "I don't know"

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Re: Cost of Track 'n' Trace

Post by Grumble » Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:58 am

Fishnut wrote:
Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:51 am
Grumble wrote:
Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:29 am
Fishnut wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:31 pm
I've seen people say that most of the money went on the testing part of test and trace and therefore it's not wasted money. But if it didn't make any difference to the outcome then doesn't that make it wasted?
If it makes the difference between people staying isolated or not then I’d say it’s not wasted, also it obviously informs treatment. However I wonder how much of the money was spent on the lateral flow tests, which are so inaccurate. We’re doing them twice a week at work now, one chap had a positive result so is off work, but he went for PCR testing and that came back negative. We’re still treating him as positive but who knows?
How many people self-isolate based solely on a positive covid test? It's been a while since I've paid any attention to the rules but I seem to remember that you were supposed to self-isolate if you had any symptoms, if you'd been exposed to someone with it, or if you'd been told to, regardless of what your test said.

I may well be misremembering.
Well, people isolate on symptoms, then get a test and if it’s positive carry on isolating.
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

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