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Sunday, 22 March 2020


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Hitchens is bold right now just when people need to become bold. "But while I see very little evidence of a pandemic, and much more of a PanicDemic"...
Nice use of language.

Just wait 'til the tracking app and non-anonymous big data analysis system procurement goes through parliament, he'll really cack his pants then! ...

Mind you, having spent the last six months working big data with AI and ML (Machine Learning), there might some moolah in them thar hills for yours truly!

Just call me Loz "Big Brother" Duff, mwah ha-ha (evil laugh)!


Hitchens is just saying, "No one is the boss of me and no one knows better than me." In short, he has a chip on his shoulder and makes up "facts" to feed his own ego. At least he's only a columnist and not, oh, let's say, the president of a large country.

Here's a study by Oxford. It's long and involved and doesn't make for a snappy column, but is worth a look:

There's a lot of variation in the fatality rate by country, no doubt caused by the quality of healthcare and amount of social cooperation. Italians are gregarious and many are still not changing their ways. It hasn't worked out well for them.

Wherever Hitchens got his number, it seems to be fantasy. It's also irresponsible to compare C19 to seasonal flu. I've had bad doctors too, but that doesn't mean none of them know what their doing. I'm very grateful to the one that got me through my recent illness.

There's no real reason to panic over C19, but people need to be sensible and set priorities. In the weeks to come Hitchens will probably look more and more deluded.

I don't understand the resentment towards experts and professionals. I would never try to pack my own parachute because I would very likely end up making a mess somewhere. Specialized knowledge is valuable within the specialty, if no where else.

Hitchens and Bob's Oxford link highlight the interesting closed experiment of the Princess Diamond. The IFR - the real infection fatality rate - which is much more important than the CFR - the case fatality rate - is 0.5% with a 95% probability it's in the 0.2 to 1.2% range ...

Estimating the infection and case fatality ratio for COVID-19 using age-adjusted data from the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Comparing deaths onboard with expected deaths based on naive CFR estimates using China data, they estimated: CFR 1.1% (95% CI: 0.3-2.4%); IFR 0.5% (95% CI: 0.2-1.2%).

So in Blighty, if herd immunity kicks in at 70% we've got: 65m x 70% x 0.5% = 227,500 dead on average with a "do nothing" stance. And the 95% chance spread being 91,000 (0.2%) to 546,000 (1.2%).

That's the calculation that made DomBo and the Medics cack their pants and change strategy. And, I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's an apocalypse, right? WWII sits in that range at 450,000. Compared say to seasonal flu at 17,000.

The Oxford article goes on to propose an IFR figure of 0.19% taking their other stats into consideration ...

Our current best assumption, as of the 22nd March, is the IFR is approximate 0.19% (95% CI, 0.16 to 0.24).*

Which would be 86,450 dead. Americans killed in the Vietnam War were 58,220. So still an Apocalyse Now.

So I don't get what Hitchens is pointing to here? These numbers that he's claiming are much lower than the forecasts when you do the calculations through to the death toll (which he, very noticeably doesn't do, hence my workings above), are actually the forecasts we know about!

The very forecasts we no likee.



Thanks for cranking through the numbers. I'm still not feeling up to that kind of thing. As you point out, the estimates for fatality are still based on either suspect sources (Chinese commies) or limited sample sizes.

There's still a lot we don't know about this particular mutation either. It might become less active during warmer weather like others sharing its general name, but we don't know that yet. It's also not known how much immunity having a dose actually builds. It might be possible to have symptoms after another exposure. There's also some evidence severe cases cause permanent lung damage that could shorten life. This is not going to be pretty.

But politically it's fatal unless the Gov. declares victory very adeptly.
In a few years time the debt piled up to ensure I have flu on my death certificate rather than Covid will still need paying. Don't expect anyone to accept that as a good reason for limiting expenditure though. Everyone wants £300bn borrowed now, but they won't be at all keen on the sacrifices that will be needed to pay it back.

I don't think the situation is as bad as Hitchens makes out. Everything I have read about Boris leads me to believe that despite his many and manifest faults, he believes passionately in the retention of Britain's hard fought for liberties. As did his hero Winston Churchill who was responsible for the following:

"Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilisation."

The following from Hansard is also very reassuring:

"Before I describe how the Bill achieves these objectives, I should like to remind the House how objectionable it would be for all of us to see emergency legislation, originally passed for wartime purp oses, continuing indefinitely in peacetime. Not only does such legislation confer wide and unspecified powers on the Government, but Parliament itself cannot control at all adequately the specific powers which are actually taken under the general powers."

Our ancient and historic liberties are too deeply embedded for any politician to remove. The perfect storm of Corbyn, May and Brussels have seem to have given it their very best shot, and yes, for a while, even I was worried. However, at the end of the day, not only have they have failed, but they have failed dismally.

My Ma took my older brothers and sister to the air raid shelter. It is wise to do certain things to prevent death. I jumped the train intae Glesga today and it is clear people are scared by my City Centre being almost evacuated. However workers are still keeping the system going and dare I say it is proud to be a Glaswegian.

Btw, SoD, it was dull of me not to compliment you on all the associations in your work. Great stuff.

Local Arkansas boy makes good:

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