COVID-19

Covid-19 discussion, bring your own statistics
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shpalman
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Re: COVID-19

Post by shpalman » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:18 am

Italy seems to be getting it right because of... (checks notes)... strong compliance with the rules?
Three experts who spoke to the Guardian put this down to good surveillance and contact-tracing, as well as most of the population diligently following safety rules, with many people wearing face masks outside even though it is not mandatory.
Well, we do have a contact-tracing app, but only a few million have downloaded it and I do know some people who have demonstrated a limitation in their mental capacity by getting all tinfoil-hat about the update to Android which implemented the relevant API.

I've actually been following the stats for Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto, with Veneto showing a bit of a bump recently which already seems to be coming down again while Emilia-Romagna is steadily increasing albeit from a very low level. This while Lombardy is steadily decreasing. Overall nationwide it adds up to a slight increase over the past couple of weeks.

I think people in Lombardy are aware of how bad things really were and therefore mostly take these things seriously; I remember masks being worn even before they became mandatory, while the "civil protection" agency (in Rome) was saying that they were unnecessary or akshually counter-productive (but when the Chinese specialists arrived to help out, their first comment was "why isn't everyone wearing masks?")

It's possible that other regions of Italy, which avoided the same levels of contagion because the got locked down the day after Lombardy did just like the UK should have done, are taking it less seriously now.

My reason for following Emilia-Romagna is that it recently had more cases in a day than Lombardy did; I want to see if there's any effect of everyone going to the beach (and the associated nightlife). Also because a couple of weeks ago there were people here who hadn't actually read the regional ordinances assuming that Rimini was basically completely back to normal regarding dancing (to which people from there said, no it f.cking is not).

(My reason for following Veneto was that it had the first outbreak at roughly the same time as Lombardy did, if not before, but they dealt with it properly because the scientists ignored the WHO and managed to eventually convince the governor so things worked out much better for them.)
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Re: COVID-19

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:43 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:54 am
Evolutionary origins of the SARS-CoV-2 sarbecovirus lineage responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-020-0771-4

tldr it’s been circulating among bats for decades.
Wildlife biologists have been warning about this threat for decades. There are likely loads of potential COVID-level zoonotic pandemics in wildlife reservoirs that so far have not come into contact with globalised society.

As long as stuff like deforestation and unsustainable levels of wildlife harvesting (be it for food, medicine or exotic pets) is allowed to continue, this is going to keep happening.
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Bird on a Fire
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Re: COVID-19

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:46 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:43 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:41 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:58 pm
Does that suggest that a lot of the excess mortality was indeed people who "would have died soon anyway", as it's charmingly put sometimes?
Some of them, if so the numbers are much lower than excess mortality since March. The lockdown may also have reduced overall mortality through things like lower air pollution and to a lesser extent fewer accidents. Though there have been worrying reports of delayed treatment for cancer and other illnesses which may increase mortality later.
On the lockdown reducing non-Covid mortality, this is interesting:
https://syndromictrends.com/metric/pane ... anism/main

Big drop in infections by other respiratory diseases. Not surprising given that they are spread in similar ways to Covid.
That is interesting! Thanks.
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Woodchopper
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Re: COVID-19

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:23 pm

Risk assessment of airborne transmission of COVID-19 by asymptomatic individuals under different practical settings
https://arxiv.org/pdf/2007.03645.pdf

tl;dr indoor ventilation systems aren’t going to cut it as a means to prevent the spread of droplets containing the virus, and may help to spread them further.

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Re: COVID-19

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:51 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:23 pm
Risk assessment of airborne transmission of COVID-19 by asymptomatic individuals under different practical settings
https://arxiv.org/pdf/2007.03645.pdf

tl;dr indoor ventilation systems aren’t going to cut it as a means to prevent the spread of droplets containing the virus, and may help to spread them further.
IIRC this is believed to be one of the factors behind the outbreaks in meatpacking plants.
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Re: COVID-19

Post by jimbob » Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:40 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:51 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:23 pm
Risk assessment of airborne transmission of COVID-19 by asymptomatic individuals under different practical settings
https://arxiv.org/pdf/2007.03645.pdf

tl;dr indoor ventilation systems aren’t going to cut it as a means to prevent the spread of droplets containing the virus, and may help to spread them further.
IIRC this is believed to be one of the factors behind the outbreaks in meatpacking plants.
There was quite strong evidence in one of the German
meat packing plant outbreaks... I think the link is upthread
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: COVID-19

Post by jimbob » Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:43 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:45 am
SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in German meat processing plant: Transmissions took place over long distances in air-conditioned working areas
https://www.helmholtz-hzi.de/en/news-events/news/view/
This one
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Woodchopper
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Re: COVID-19

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:27 am

Thanks for that.

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Re: COVID-19

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:03 am

Good thread summarizing a BBC program.
https://twitter.com/lewis_goodall/statu ... 6959069188

Two points

Apparently the belief in lockdown fatigue came from the nudge unit (and not the SAGE behavioral scientists as previously stated). I believe the nudge unit is Cummings’ territory.

Also Britain’s scientific expertise led to over confidence. People believed they could manage the infection whereas states without the experience did better by using the precautionary principle and locked down hard and early.

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Re: COVID-19

Post by shpalman » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:25 am

I thought the idea of lockdown fatigue just came from wot Whitty reckoned:
shpalman wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 9:41 am
Oh and was it SPI-B who insisted that you couldn't actually have a lockdown anyway "because people" or was that just Whitty reckoning that people would get bored of it because his patients can't always be bothered to finish their prescriptions?

At the time: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51892402
In a separate letter to the government, more than 200 behavioural scientists have questioned the government's argument that starting tougher measures too soon would lead to people not sticking to them just at the point that the epidemic is at its height...

... The scientists said "radical behaviour change" could have a "much better" effect and could "save very large numbers of lives"...

... The second letter called on the government to reconsider its stance on "behavioural fatigue" and to share the evidence on which it based this stance.
More recent: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... rus-crisis
The Guardian understands that Halpern’s Behavioural Insights Team, or “nudge unit”, was also opposed to this view that people would tire of restrictive measures. One senior Whitehall source said Whitty himself was the main advocate of the “fatigue” notion, based partly on his own experience of patients in medical practice who do not see drug prescriptions through to their completion.
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Re: COVID-19

Post by shpalman » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:29 am

In this thread, at the time:
shpalman wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 5:57 pm
164 behavioural scientists urge the government to share an adequate evidence base in support of “behavioural fatigue”

While one letter comes from 198 academics in the field of maths and science and calls for urgent measures of social distancing across the UK,
Another letter has been signed by 164 behavioural scientists. It raises concerns about the idea of “behavioural fatigue” – the idea that if the public are instructed to take preventative measures too early, they’ll eventually revert back to prior behaviour.

The letter suggests that this has been a cornerstone of British government policy on coronavirus and sheds doubt on the evidence behind this.

“While we fully support an evidence-based approach to policy that draws on behavioural science, we are not convinced that enough is known about ‘behavioural fatigue’ or to what extent these insights apply to the current exceptional circumstances,” it says.

“If ‘behavioural fatigue’ truly represents a key factor in the government’s decision to delay high-visibility interventions, we urge the government to share an adequate evidence base in support of that decision. If one is lacking, we urge the government to reconsider these decisions,” it ends.
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Woodchopper
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Re: COVID-19

Post by Woodchopper » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:02 am

shpalman, I expect there is a lot of buck passing going on. Though there is some consistency in the claim that it didn’t originate in the SAGE behavioural scientists.

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Re: COVID-19

Post by sTeamTraen » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:22 pm

"Behavioural fatigue" sounds like something that Cummings could be keen on, but the Nudge Unit Behavioural Insights Team has been around ever since the early days of Cameron, presumably after he read Thaler and Sunstein's book on holiday somewhere back in the halcyon days of the 'oughts, when every second non-fiction book sold to Men In Airports Who Like To Read Serious Stuff was based on the kind of gee-whiz social psychology that hardly anybody takes remotely seriously any more. Cummings is, for all his faults, fairly intelligent, and he may well have understood even though he is a Fan Of Science, not everything that The Boffins(tm) say is right.
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Re: COVID-19

Post by Gfamily » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:02 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:22 pm
"Behavioural fatigue" sounds like something that Cummings could be keen on, but the Nudge Unit Behavioural Insights Team has been around ever since the early days of Cameron, presumably after he read Thaler and Sunstein's book on holiday somewhere back in the halcyon days of the 'oughts, when every second non-fiction book sold to Men In Airports Who Like To Read Serious Stuff was based on the kind of gee-whiz social psychology that hardly anybody takes remotely seriously any more. Cummings is, for all his faults, fairly intelligent, and he may well have understood even though he is a Fan Of Science, not everything that The Boffins(tm) say is right.
I thought I'd read that it was Chris Whitty who brought up the idea of behavioural fatigue, and that it was because of his experience in medical practice of people failing to complete courses of prescription drugs.
I can't remember where I read it though.
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Re: COVID-19

Post by shpalman » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:06 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:02 pm
sTeamTraen wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:22 pm
"Behavioural fatigue" sounds like something that Cummings could be keen on, but the Nudge Unit Behavioural Insights Team has been around ever since the early days of Cameron, presumably after he read Thaler and Sunstein's book on holiday somewhere back in the halcyon days of the 'oughts, when every second non-fiction book sold to Men In Airports Who Like To Read Serious Stuff was based on the kind of gee-whiz social psychology that hardly anybody takes remotely seriously any more. Cummings is, for all his faults, fairly intelligent, and he may well have understood even though he is a Fan Of Science, not everything that The Boffins(tm) say is right.
I thought I'd read that it was Chris Whitty who brought up the idea of behavioural fatigue, and that it was because of his experience in medical practice of people failing to complete courses of prescription drugs.
I can't remember where I read it though.
About five posts above this one and/or the Guardian piece I linked to?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... rus-crisis
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Re: COVID-19

Post by Gfamily » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:21 pm

shpalman wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:06 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:02 pm
sTeamTraen wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:22 pm
"Behavioural fatigue" sounds like something that Cummings could be keen on, but the Nudge Unit Behavioural Insights Team has been around ever since the early days of Cameron, presumably after he read Thaler and Sunstein's book on holiday somewhere back in the halcyon days of the 'oughts, when every second non-fiction book sold to Men In Airports Who Like To Read Serious Stuff was based on the kind of gee-whiz social psychology that hardly anybody takes remotely seriously any more. Cummings is, for all his faults, fairly intelligent, and he may well have understood even though he is a Fan Of Science, not everything that The Boffins(tm) say is right.
I thought I'd read that it was Chris Whitty who brought up the idea of behavioural fatigue, and that it was because of his experience in medical practice of people failing to complete courses of prescription drugs.
I can't remember where I read it though.
About five posts above this one and/or the Guardian piece I linked to?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... rus-crisis
Very likely.
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
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Re: COVID-19

Post by jimbob » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:09 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:22 pm
"Behavioural fatigue" sounds like something that Cummings could be keen on, but the Nudge Unit Behavioural Insights Team has been around ever since the early days of Cameron, presumably after he read Thaler and Sunstein's book on holiday somewhere back in the halcyon days of the 'oughts, when every second non-fiction book sold to Men In Airports Who Like To Read Serious Stuff was based on the kind of gee-whiz social psychology that hardly anybody takes remotely seriously any more. Cummings is, for all his faults, fairly intelligent, and he may well have understood even though he is a Fan Of Science, not everything that The Boffins(tm) say is right.
Ah, I thought along similar but diverging lines - that Cummings seems to be a sucker for such ideas - and that he probably should be banned from airport bookshops. And that if you were inspired by a mix of airport books and libertarian science fiction, with a bit of Dune and Second Foundation - your ideas might look similar to those of Cummings.

A lot of Californian tech entrepreneurs are highly intelligent, but subscribe to quite barking ideas/beliefs/ideologies
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: COVID-19

Post by shpalman » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:42 pm

Germany has had one of the lowest death rates but some people are disappointed with this and wish it were higher.
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Re: COVID-19

Post by Little waster » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:07 pm

jimbob wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:09 pm
And that if you were inspired by a mix of airport books and libertarian science fiction, with a bit of Dune and Second Foundation - your ideas might look similar to those of Cummings.
That explains Chris Grayling, he’s clearly a failed kwisatz haderach.

Gove is obviously a ghola face-dancer of the Bene Tleilax caught in mid-transformation.
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Re: COVID-19

Post by jimbob » Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:41 am


Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/07 ... o-thin-air
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: COVID-19

Post by jimbob » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:16 am

In news that's not remotely surprising except for the fact it's been discovered, it looks like Iran has official figures for public consumption and official internal figures that are three times worse.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-53598965
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: COVID-19

Post by Martin Y » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:06 am

Skimming that article I had assumed it would be an excess deaths vs recorded Covid deaths thing, but it looks more like a coverup than lack of testing data.

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Re: COVID-19

Post by shpalman » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:31 am

shpalman wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:57 pm
lpm wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:45 pm
f.ck. Iran. f.ck. This says 2 million cases is not an unreasonable estimate. f.ck.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... ms/607663/
If COVID-19 is so rare—fewer than 400 cases had been reported in Iran by the day she announced her diagnosis—what are the chances that one of the afflicted would be a famous politician?
Something which could of course never happen somewhere civilized like the UK, with only 590 cases.
I was of course referring to Nadine Dorries at that point.
jimbob wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:16 am
In news that's not remotely surprising except for the fact it's been discovered, it looks like Iran has official figures for public consumption and official internal figures that are three times worse.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-53598965
The government's own records appear to show almost 42,000 people died with Covid-19 symptoms up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry.

The number of people known to be infected is also almost double official figures: 451,024 as opposed to 278,827.
Iran's population is about 82 million.

The UK, population 67 million, had nearly 300,000 official cases and 45,000 deaths as of the same date.

So even the Iranian government's own figures give the country a much lower CFR and total death rate than the UK.

Either there's still a level of cover-up/denial going on, or the UK is worse than f.cking Iran for f.ck's sake.
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Re: COVID-19

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:01 am

sTeamTraen wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:22 pm
"Behavioural fatigue" sounds like something that Cummings could be keen on, but the Nudge Unit Behavioural Insights Team has been around ever since the early days of Cameron, presumably after he read Thaler and Sunstein's book on holiday somewhere back in the halcyon days of the 'oughts, when every second non-fiction book sold to Men In Airports Who Like To Read Serious Stuff was based on the kind of gee-whiz social psychology that hardly anybody takes remotely seriously any more. Cummings is, for all his faults, fairly intelligent, and he may well have understood even though he is a Fan Of Science, not everything that The Boffins(tm) say is right.
Yes, you're right about the Behavioural Insights Team being already well established and separate from Cummings.

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Re: COVID-19

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:03 am

shpalman wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:31 am
shpalman wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:57 pm
lpm wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:45 pm
f.ck. Iran. f.ck. This says 2 million cases is not an unreasonable estimate. f.ck.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... ms/607663/
If COVID-19 is so rare—fewer than 400 cases had been reported in Iran by the day she announced her diagnosis—what are the chances that one of the afflicted would be a famous politician?
Something which could of course never happen somewhere civilized like the UK, with only 590 cases.
I was of course referring to Nadine Dorries at that point.
jimbob wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:16 am
In news that's not remotely surprising except for the fact it's been discovered, it looks like Iran has official figures for public consumption and official internal figures that are three times worse.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-53598965
The government's own records appear to show almost 42,000 people died with Covid-19 symptoms up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry.

The number of people known to be infected is also almost double official figures: 451,024 as opposed to 278,827.
Iran's population is about 82 million.

The UK, population 67 million, had nearly 300,000 official cases and 45,000 deaths as of the same date.

So even the Iranian government's own figures give the country a much lower CFR and total death rate than the UK.

Either there's still a level of cover-up/denial going on, or the UK is worse than f.cking Iran for f.ck's sake.
Median age in Iran is 30, whereas in the UK its 50. Given those demographics I'd expect the UK would have higher mortality.

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