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Coronavirus (merged threads)

Nov 15, 2011
1,847
221
KeithB":9nh2w78x said:
Genuine question... what are YOU doing to change things?
Are you lobbying your political party to show some opposition?
If there is no effective opposition, nothing will ever change.

Unfortunately Keith my party, the Monster Raving Loony Party, no longer seem radical enough or relevant in today's politics
 

MickyD

Pasoti Donor
Dec 30, 2004
3,255
44
Brighton
themightykeithfear":2h3ze47q said:
KeithB":2h3ze47q said:
Genuine question... what are YOU doing to change things?
Are you lobbying your political party to show some opposition?
If there is no effective opposition, nothing will ever change.

Unfortunately Keith my party, the Monster Raving Loony Party, no longer seem radical enough or relevant in today's politics
I shook hands with Screaming Lord Sutch once!

Sadly I never got to meet the Silly Party's legendary Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel, though.
 
Apr 15, 2004
2,873
137
East Devon
Frank_Butcher":2wcynb1f said:
Actually i think the government has tried very hard not to blame the scientists, certainly at that time. They repeatedly used 'following the science' in their briefings and this was never contradicted by any of the top 5 or 6 CSO/CMO staff who were representing theor community.

You say that the science wasn't cast in tablets of stone. Of course it wasn't, we'd never done this before. As for being locked away making decisions, this was a moment of emergency - needing a response that was - indeed - in total contrast to the way that science works, and in any walk of life there will be difference of opinion. Reading your occasional anecdotes about your work, I'm sure like me you have had to lead projects. You don't always include absolutely everyone in that process, otherwise the committee becomes unwieldy and ultimately damaging. Inclusivity is good, but damaging beyond a point - key to most projects is getting that balance right. When you're faced with the criticality of time that is even more important. So who did the government turn to? SAGE and the leadership of the CMO and CSO. I think that's entirely right, and God forbid what would have been said had they not done so ("what's the point in having SAGE at all?", "who do these people think they are?" ....blah, blah).

At the risk of repeating examples:

1. This is an extract from the minutes of the SAGE meeting on March 5th, just before Cheltenham, Liverpool etc.. Vallance, Whitty, Powis and van Tam were among those in attendance:

“SAGE agreed there is no evidence to suggest that banning very large gatherings would reduce transmission.

“Preventing all social interaction in public spaces, including restaurants and bars, would have an effect, but would be very difficult to implement.”


2. As quoted in your fave rag The Guardian, Vallance said on 13th March:

“What we don’t want is everybody to end up getting it in a short period of time so we swamp and overwhelm NHS services – that’s the flattening of the peak,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “Our aim is to try and reduce the peak, broaden the peak, not suppress it completely; also, because the vast majority of people get a mild illness, to build up some kind of herd immunity so more people are immune to this disease and we reduce the transmission, at the same time we protect those who are most vulnerable to it. Those are the key things we need to do.”

He later backtracked when criticised by others in his community but I suggest the statement above is pretty much unequivocal in relation to his thinking (at the time). They were following the science and the stupid denials of late don't wash with me - being charitable, perhaps though they were in some way trying to protect the people who were advocating as such? They certainly haven't come right out and laid it at their door have they?

As I said, I do believe they digressed from the advice in September and made mistakes - bad ones. But in those first 6 or 7 months I think they did what they could and followed the senior elected officers' advice - under extreme pressure as well.
It doesn’t take much effort to Google accounts of the tensions that quickly developed between scientists and the government with ministers automatically trotting out the line “ we were only following the science” when challenged about why we had such a disastrous first wave compared to our neighbours. As for them not blaming the scientists it’s hard to square that with a government minister (Therese Coffrey) saying in May 2020 “ If the science was wrong, advice at the time was wrong, I’m not surprised if people will then think we then made a wrong decision”. Nobody else in the government contradicted her or slapped her down for that remark that made headlines at the time.

You keep referring to what Vallance said but there is nothing inherently flawed in the quote that you use. It was the aim of not just this country but virtually everywhere to 'flatten the peak' not eliminate all cases completely (which couldn’t have been done then as it can’t be done now). Yes it was very clumsy the way he put it but then he’s a scientist not a politician and the very phrase ‘herd immunity’ has a bad connotations as if we’re animals or livestock . I refer back to the article I cited written in March 2020 ‘ “ People have misinterpreted the phrase herd immunity as meaning that we’re going to have an epidemic to get people infected,” says Graham Medley at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

To be fair to Matt Hancock (it's difficult but we should try ;) ) as that article points out he did say in March 2020 after Vallance's comments “Herd immunity is not our goal or policy.” ….. So if the science advice from Sage was to simply ‘flatten the curve’ then fair enough .....but it was government that took away the main tool to follow that advice by effectively abandoning track and trace for reasons still unexplained.

The other quote from the Sage advice on March 5th is much harder to understand now let alone defend – although the second sentence somewhat contradicts the first :-
“SAGE agreed there is no evidence to suggest that banning very large gatherings would reduce transmission. Preventing all social interaction in public spaces, including restaurants and bars, would have an effect, but would be very difficult to implement.”
How can there be “no evidence” banning large gatherings would reduce transmission but preventing social interactions in bars “would have an effect”? ….

But that aside it then leads on to the point about their how they were gathering this advice, how they were running the meetings, who they were listening to and why they were so secretive about it. There were many, many voices of scientists and non-scientists alike at the time who were horrified at allowing Cheltenham, Liverpool etc. I remember one expert (can’t remember who now) on Question Time absolutely incensed about it. Yes, I quite take your point of course that you can’t run any kind of project by having a massive unwieldy group all wanting to have their say. You do have to limit the number to a core group especially when time is of the essence. But if I want advice on a highly technical matter and I then become aware that the expert I’ve just listened to is being flatly contradicted by many others apparently equally qualified then the very least I would do would be to challenge him/her and seek out the alternative view and also think through the possible consequences if ‘my’ guy is wrong. There is a real danger that such closed groups develop an ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ mindset, and the scientists need to ‘stay onside’ once policy is developed – which is the complete antithesis of how the scientific method should work i.e. any view or opinion should be held lightly and dispassionately, all information on which it’s based should be made freely available and challenge and alternative views actively sought. What I think clearly happened here is that the scientists got sucked into the typical politicians' world of a bunker-mentality, paranoid about security and criticism...and with Dominic Cummings helping to run the show and part of Sage (I still find that simply UN-BE-LIE-VABLE ) then is it any wonder?

The buck has to stop squarely with the government. It's beyond dispute (surely?) they made a mess of the tests and trace, were criminally negligent in releasing of covid patients into care homes, cocked up the September/ Christmas easing of restrictions and most recently made a massive mistake in allowing free arrivals from India for weeks after denying access from Bangladesh and Pakistan (but don't you dare suggest that was because Boris was planning a high profile trip to Mumbai! ...Oh No!.No!.No!). You can't blame scientists for any of that and my contention is that even the first wave was fraught with incompetence and muddle that can't simply be waved away by saying "we were only following the science advice".
 
Nov 15, 2011
1,847
221
it was Rory Stewart at the very start of the pandemic in March 2020 who said :

“We’re going to shut schools. The Government doesn’t want to shut schools but we are going to shut schools and the Easter holiday is coming so why wait two weeks - why not shut them now? Number two, gatherings need to stop. Number three, people need to start self-isolating. They need to start working from home.

This is literally the most serious epidemic that we have faced since the end of the First World War and ultimately you can use the police to enforce that and you can call in the military to support in this kind of emergency.”

Just imagine what the death toll would be if he'd won the leadership race. And he was actually a Conservative unlike the cultists running the clown show now.
 
May 16, 2016
3,864
205
Ave_IT":whj4tn2t said:
Martyn":whj4tn2t said:
Would it be a good idea, to follow, what China, Singapore and South Korea, has done, in combat his virus.

Their figures, are now falling ‘slowly’, as they recover, ‘slowly’, it will be a bit draconian, but in the long run, it might be better.
God knows I can't stand this government (Boris Johnson in particular...and Patel....and Gove....and well all of 'em really) - but TBH I think they have done quite well (so far) to follow the scientific advice and behave in a proportionate way based on the evidence. So No I don't think it does make sense to just blindly follow what others have done in different circumstances and possibly for unscientific & political reasons.

The virus cannot be stopped from spreading anywhere in the world now. So it has to be a judgement as to the best way the outbreak can be managed so it spreads in a way that avoids an overwhelming strain on the health service and allows the most vulnerable to be protected from getting it until a vaccine has been developed (which could be at least 18 months) and be treated in hospitals that can cope. All this talk about Taiwan etc. taking massive draconian actions and 'successfully' stopping the spread misses the point. As soon as they lift the restrictions which cannot be sustained indefinitely there will be a 'bounce' in infection rates that could well be worse. The concept of 'herd immunity' is quite valid - the more people that get Corona virus then recover, the more people there are that then cannot then pass it on and so block transmission. When we reach the point where 95% of people are naturally immune it cannot circulate in the general population - but at the moment nobody is immune apart from the relative handful who have now recovered. Pretending you can keep it out and make it disappear by closing borders, schools, football matches etc. is a nonsense.

So let's just LISTEN carefully to the experts - let them enter all the data they have into their mathematical models and act in a rational way. Anyway - I've heard it's actually all caused by the 5G network that Huawei rolled out in China in the first place :whistle:

But back then, we all probably thought differently to how we do now with the gift of hindsight.
 

Frank Butcher

Foodbank Donor
Oct 9, 2003
3,590
48
Gairloch
@Ave_IT, I would contest that the whole point of a organisation like SAGE is to be representative of that bigger, unwieldy group. That is surely their role, If they weren't expressing the naysayers of the day (who one might consider to be right or otherwise), then what exactly is the point? I simply do not believe that any scientist or medical officer would stand beside a politician day after day predominantly towing the same line if they did not agree with policy. It is beyond their ethical boundaries, or at least it should be.

As I've said, I don't present my arguments to defend the government per se and have illustrated where I think they made serious errors. But some of the utter drivel and uninformed nonsense that is touted on here (especially recently) deserves a retort. You BTW do not belong in that bracket - we won't often agree, but I always enjoy our spats.
 
Apr 15, 2004
2,873
137
East Devon
Guiri Green":1qlkt4lz said:
Ave_IT":1qlkt4lz said:
Martyn":1qlkt4lz said:
Would it be a good idea, to follow, what China, Singapore and South Korea, has done, in combat his virus.

Their figures, are now falling ‘slowly’, as they recover, ‘slowly’, it will be a bit draconian, but in the long run, it might be better.
God knows I can't stand this government (Boris Johnson in particular...and Patel....and Gove....and well all of 'em really) - but TBH I think they have done quite well (so far) to follow the scientific advice and behave in a proportionate way based on the evidence. So No I don't think it does make sense to just blindly follow what others have done in different circumstances and possibly for unscientific & political reasons.

The virus cannot be stopped from spreading anywhere in the world now. So it has to be a judgement as to the best way the outbreak can be managed so it spreads in a way that avoids an overwhelming strain on the health service and allows the most vulnerable to be protected from getting it until a vaccine has been developed (which could be at least 18 months) and be treated in hospitals that can cope. All this talk about Taiwan etc. taking massive draconian actions and 'successfully' stopping the spread misses the point. As soon as they lift the restrictions which cannot be sustained indefinitely there will be a 'bounce' in infection rates that could well be worse. The concept of 'herd immunity' is quite valid - the more people that get Corona virus then recover, the more people there are that then cannot then pass it on and so block transmission. When we reach the point where 95% of people are naturally immune it cannot circulate in the general population - but at the moment nobody is immune apart from the relative handful who have now recovered. Pretending you can keep it out and make it disappear by closing borders, schools, football matches etc. is a nonsense.

So let's just LISTEN carefully to the experts - let them enter all the data they have into their mathematical models and act in a rational way. Anyway - I've heard it's actually all caused by the 5G network that Huawei rolled out in China in the first place :whistle:

But back then, we all probably thought differently to how we do now with the gift of hindsight.
Absolutely GG - but I wrote that in March 2020 at the outbreak when the first cases were being found. Remember the pub that was immediately closed down when the first cases appeared and everyone who was in there was immediately traced, tested, isolated etc.? The government didn't announce the end to that blindingly obvious track-and-trace policy they just took the decision (March 12th) and as said you should listen carefully to the experts. The experts didn't tell them to do that - and I wasn't selecting the scientists, locking them away, refusing them direct access to the media and controlling the information that was released. The first I clearly remember an expert going nuts about the slow response was the guy on Question Time talking about the Liverpool-Madrid game - but government ministers must have known. The models about the 'bounce' in infections when the restrictions are released came from the government citing their experts ..... but no other experts had access to those models - hence the mass letter of complaint about the lack of transparency from other scientists. I was fully on-board and supporting the government (thru' gritted teeth) because they gave the appearance of calmly following scientific advice ..... with the benefit of hindsight that was a quite misleading.
 

Frank Butcher

Foodbank Donor
Oct 9, 2003
3,590
48
Gairloch
The big question of course is whether the vaccines have broken the link between transmission and serious illness/death. Early days, but cases started to rise in the last week of May so you would expect to see a corresponding slight rise by now. While hospitalisations do seem to be following the trend, deaths are down week on week. Cases showing signs of plateauing in the last week or so as well. The next 2-3 weeks will be all revealing. Fingers crossed.
 
Apr 15, 2004
2,873
137
East Devon
Frank_Butcher":jjq34ina said:
- we won't often agree, but I always enjoy our spats.
Touche mon ami :D ...... The thing is for all the spats (that rarely get heated) we're not often a long way apart. That makes it all the more frustrating . .. I feel like a missionary trying to save a basically Godly soul but one who has strayed from the path of righteousness.... yet you stubbornly refuse to follow me into the light Frank. But I will continue to work for your redemption brother :wink:

(Have I really only had one glass?) :oops:
 

Frank Butcher

Foodbank Donor
Oct 9, 2003
3,590
48
Gairloch
Ave_IT":1xjck3bz said:
Frank_Butcher":1xjck3bz said:
- we won't often agree, but I always enjoy our spats.
Touche mon ami :D ...... The thing is for all the spats (that rarely get heated) we're not often a long way apart. That makes it all the more frustrating . .. I feel like a missionary trying to save a basically Godly soul but one who has strayed from the path of righteousness.... yet you stubbornly refuse to follow me into the light Frank. But I will continue to work for your redemption brother :wink:

That genuinely made me :lol:
 
Nov 15, 2011
1,847
221
signalspast":255ynw96 said:
I hear there is a EU variant of it. First signs is lots of stabbing back pains.

The only new variant in Europe is the Johnson one he waved in from India. Yesterday there were more new cases in the UK than the whole of the EU combined, Forget your European holiday this year Johnson's seen to that. While the Germans are sunning themselves in Majorca we'll have to make do with Margate.
 

signalspast

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Aug 17, 2005
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themightykeithfear":29jinjg9 said:
signalspast":29jinjg9 said:
I hear there is a EU variant of it. First signs is lots of stabbing back pains.

The only new variant in Europe is the Johnson one he waved in from India. Yesterday there were more new cases in the UK than the whole of the EU combined, Forget your European holiday this year Johnson's seen to that. While the Germans are sunning themselves in Majorca we'll have to make do with Margate.

Oh dear it was meant to be just a light hearted quip in an attempt to relax some of the seriousness on here at times. However anybody who reads what I have said in the past knows my destinations is out in Asia not European countries. Whilst I lost two holidays where the country was just locked down on its outbreak I do agree that the country should have done likewise.