UKC

Friday Night Covid Plotting #53

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 wintertree 20 Nov 2021

Post 1 - The Point of Maximum Uncertainty

Sorry, verbose waffle alert, it takes me more time to write less,  and I’ve run out of self-allotted time….  I'm making the most of the clement weather whilst it lasts...

It’s five weeks since I posted a plot showing that many of our neighbouring nations were staring to get exponential growth in cases.  The news on Europe has been pretty unceasing in recent days as that translates through in to rising deaths, and has escalated now to the point that lockdowns are emerging Europe and liberal democracies are discussing or announcing mandatory vaccination. 

Well, that escalated quickly.

Where the population level immunity isn’t there to allow sub-lockdown control measures to stand up to the effects of autumn, then the only alternatives look like severe healthcare overload or lockdown.   Parts of Europe are already having to face up to this grim reality, and many of the rest are only a few more doubling times away with no signs of their growth abating.

The UK has continued to stand more or less alone over the last five weeks in resisting that trend to exponential growth.  I don’t think there’s anything difficult to grok about what differentiates the UK’s position here - better uptake of the vaccine seen through a demographic lens, a lot of infection granted and boosted immunity, particularly post-Delta and particularly in younger ages, and perhaps some gains from our 12-week gap between the first two doses.

So, the big question: Does the UK stand far enough apart to make it through winter without lockdown?  Rather uncomfortably, I haven't the foggiest.  I sure as heck hope we have, but my plans for the next couple of months are thought out to include a timeline where we haven't.  Maximum uncertainty. 

For all of 2021, we've seen the weather push the rate constant for cases up and down, I'm comfortable that this is a solid relationship scientifically provable to a high standard.  Lately as we’ve been so close to the dividing line between growth and decay, cold spells have been repeatedly tipping things over the line in to blips of growth.

Most older adult age bands remained in decay during the last weather wobble, with growth being squeezed in to younger ages.   The mental picture I have is that when we're in  cold/growth periods we’re seeing increasingly rapid growth within an ever shrinking pool.  

Still, if that growth in that shrinking pool is sustained for long enough it can start to force growth in more vulnerable age ranges.  The signal has only ever come through clearly in the demographic data over school and parental/household ages.  But the growth and decay periods that make these links visible in the data have always been pretty brief.  Until now...

The first real spell of winter weather is coming to the UK, landing around Nov 22nd, and it looks like a doozy - at least two weeks of cold days and cold nights with snow forecast at low levels in the north of England.  Is that going to push us over in to sustained exponential growth in cases and then hospital admissions as has already happened to almost all of Europe?  Or have we built our population-wide immunity levels to the point cases may rise, especially in the younger, but hospital admissions won’t?   We’ve had about 4 million booster doses pass through the pipeline (some going in to arms, others already in and now achieving their full effect) in the mean time, and up to 1 million live infections.  Fewer live infections, but they're perhaps more concentrated in those routinely being exposed to Covid risk.  There's nothing great about this, but it is what it is. 

Is that enough difference?

We’ll find out very soon.

By the pestilent gods themselves I hope it's enough for England, I really do.  I really don't want to see another lockdown, and despite being entirely pro-vaccination and livid at the anti-vaccination propaganda and messaging that's gone on,  I really really don't want to see it becoming fully mandatory.  Whilst I recognise the pragmatism of a lockdown for unvaccinated adults, I really don't want to see that either.   

If it doesn’t go well and we have a return to rapidly rising cases and hospital admissions, there’s precious little time to react given how difficult the situation in healthcare is; on the flip side our apparently better immune levels than much of Europe mean that it’s going to take fewer control measures to push us over in to decay (which has only ever been a warm few days away for months now); so at the first sign of sustained exponential growth I’d be reaching for a lot of long hanging fruit in control measures like masks, WFH and so on.  Also, I’d have welders fixing open every single ventilator window on every single bus in the country.  Now.  If anywhere in Europe can make it through winter measures far short of lockdown, it's the UK.  To benefit from that we need to jump on those measures the very moment we see signs of exponential growth returning to infection and cases, and not allow that to play out like we're seeing across the ocean.  But we also can't keep pretending that hammering down spread of the virus to minimal levels is sustainable, the awful developments across Europe playing out now make that clear.  

May the gods be kind to us all.

Link to previous thread: https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/friday_night_covid_plotting_52-741150

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 wintertree 20 Nov 2021

Post 2 - European Comparator Plots

These are made with the daily download from Our World in Data (OWiD).

I’ve tried to simplify and tidy up this plot with arrows indicating the direction of travel for the actual and extrapolated “locked in” death rates.  I've added a high water mark for actual death rates over the last 60 days where they fall above the actual and the centre of the predicted ranges.  Two currently fall about the pre-vaccination peak for the UK, let us hope that no more do so.   

Lockdown-level control measures have some nations in clear decay.  It's reassuring that even with lower vaccine uptake and the shift to late autumn, practicable lockdown level measures are still sending the Delta variant in to decay.  

  • Latvia: The rise in actual deaths is almost stalled, and extrapolated deaths are lower tha  this and falling.  This is presumably effects their lockdown from four weeks ago [1] showing through now.  This lockdown should now have ended and recent reporting is that they’re not planning another lockdown [2].  I think we know how that is going to go - and their trajectory on the “phase space” trail and their raw data (final post, below) looks to be heading for growth again.   This underlines the point that a lockdown stalls for time but doesn't by itself improve the situation markedly - that was absolutely essential before we had vaccination but it’s hard to see what it’s going to achieve now, other than preserving healthcare before the next round of rising cases and subsequent lockdown.  A brutal way to exit the pandemic phase.
  • Romania is also seeing their death rate turn the corner to decay and the extrapolated one indicating more decay is hopefully “locked in”.  This comes 3.5 weeks after significant restrictions short of lockdown were introduced [3]
  • Both countries look to have seen a reasonable increase in vaccine take-up since their reintroduction of control measures, but are still far, far from the saturation levels needed to move on..

Some comments on other nations:

  • Greece:  The rise in extrapolated deaths has almost ceased; this reflects cases apparently stabilising.  Hopefully that in turn reflects infections stabilising and will be reflected in actuals soon.  I don't know what the cause is there, but looking at deaths, not cases, things have been running hot in Greece for a long time. I haven't integrated the curves in the OWiD data on this [4] but they look to have a similar area under them to the UK in the Delta area but with very different timing, and their top-level vaccine uptake is similar.  There may be demographic differences in the vaccine uptake, I haven't seen data on this.  If cases are levelling off without any significant recent increase in restrictions, that's worth a moment's pause for thought.
  • Hungary: An extrapolation for their locked-in death rate is now 2.5x that of the UK from our pre-vaccination peak last winter.  And rising, rapidly.
  • United Kingdom - hanging in there at a pretty fixed top level rate whilst sliding down the ranked plot.  The home nations are all doing somewhat different things, this is the aggregate.
  • Near neighbours - extrapolations for locked in death rates now exceed ours in many neighbours, and whilst our cases and deaths are falling, theirs are generally doubling pretty quickly right now.  Current ratios to the UK -  Denmark (1.1x), Ireland (1.4x), Norway (1.6x), Netherlands (1.9x), Germany (2.5x), Belgium (3.0x), Austria (4.9x).
  • Austria - perhaps the lockdown of the unvaccinated in Austria is starting to show as a moderate decrease in their exponential growth.  Austria have just announced a 20 day lockdown [5] - as with Lativa I expect we’ll see things returning to rising shortly after it ends, so stalling for time - but for what?  They’ve taken the exceptional step of announcing a legal requirement to be vaccinated by 1st February 2022, if they’re hoping this leads to a surge in vaccination before then, those vaccines given won’t reach the effectiveness to change their trajectory by the end of this lockdown.
  • Netherlands - a week ago they had the same number of cases as us, and a similarly low CFR.   Cases have doubled since then and a level of lockdown measures have been introduced.  This looks a lot more pro-active than some other nations above, and gives them a chance to reign things in before levels of hospitalisation are locked in that the UK has never seen and would never have been able to sustain are locked in.  I'm really surprised at the way several other countries seem to be approaching that point.
    • Rioting is kicking off again over this, and this is one of my big worries about the failure of Europe to get Covid reigned in for this winter - the far right are going to have a field day off the back of any response forced by the rock/hard-place situation.  They rarely seem to have been far away from the misinformation pushing people against vaccination over the last year and now they seem poised to capitalise on the inevitable consequences.  I would suggest what’s happening now drives home my point that the organised misinformation campaigns over Covid should be treated as the clear and present threats to national security that IMO they are.

With the loss of control happening across Europe, we all loose.  Having uncontrolled infection and chronic illness at scale butting up against vaccinated people is almost an ideal way of breeding a vaccine escape variant.  It’s the societal equivalent of taking a half-dose of antibiotics for some bacterial infection.

[1] https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/latvia-announces-four-weeks-lockdown-covid-19-cases-spike-2021-10-18/
[2] https://www.baltictimes.com/government_not_planning_to_place_latvia_on_lockdown_again_-_pavluts/
[3] https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/romania-tightens-restrictions-stem-covid-19-surge-2021-10-23/
[4] https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&time=2020-03-01..latest&facet=none&pickerSort=asc&pickerMetric=location&Metric=Confirmed+deaths&Interval=7-day+rolling+average&Relative+to+Population=true&Align+outbreaks=false&country=GRC~GBR
[5] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-59343650

Post edited at 19:29

 wintertree 20 Nov 2021

Post 3 - Four Nations

  • England - all measures falling
  • Wales - all measures falling
  • Northern Ireland - cases rising, all other measures falling.  The rising cases is recent, likely the same weather wobble as England but on a baseline behaviour shifted more to growth; without seeing the demographics of that rise it’s hard to say if the other measures should continue falling or not.
  • Scotland - Looks like their 7-week long tendency to growth in cases is finally breaking.   Doubt that’ll hold against the cold without more control measures; all other measures have been falling if you squint over what’s probably some  noise, that this fall is happening despite rising cases perhaps comes down to the shifting demographics in Scotland.

So if we do see winter related exponential growth return in cases ahead, perhaps we’ll see Scotland and NI tip over first, then England and Wales.


 wintertree 20 Nov 2021

Post 4 - England I

Top level cases have turned back to decay after the last weather wobble.  Hospital admissions, occupancy and deaths all continue to fall; hopefully the last round of growth in cases won’t be so strong in admissions due to its younger demographic.  Hospital occupancy has been falling for two weeks and has just seen the two largest falls by a week-on-week method for 46 days - it doesn’t look that impressive on the log-y axes but it’s a large fall; occupancy is down by about 15% in the last two weeks or so.


 wintertree 20 Nov 2021

Post 5 - England 2

The week-on-week method rate constant plot shows the latest weather wobble has turned back to decay in the PCR-only data.  The demographic splits version shows how that growth was way stronger in school aged children and how for the whole of age 60+ analysed as one block, it never turned to growth.  Plot D1.c is really interesting - we can see that growth from the last cold spell landed very briefly in the very oldest adults (90+), never landed in ages 65 to 85, and was pretty moderate in ages 15 to 65; tentatively good news for hospitalisation but it would be better if the growth had stopped around age 55; ongoing roll out of the boosters should help with that.  The barycentre of the child-age peak seems to be shifting from secondary to primary age; one interpretation of this is that we’re seeing even more growth in an even smaller pool, with immunity levels in the higher end of the sub-adult ranges now lifting the spread there.  I could be grasping at straws here…. There are always more interpretations than there are data points, so it’s not possible to prove any one of them.

Plot 18 shows that the English regions are still really quite in-sync compared to earlier times, the only exception is the North East where it looks like the cold spell slowed the decay of cases but never actually took them to growth.  If we imagine some dispersion in immune levels across the regions is the hints at how tantalisingly close everywhere is to being proof against a moderate cold spell.  

Plot 22 is back after a long break.  This shows hospital and ITU occupancy; these went in to decline around mid-September when the spread of delta ran out of steam; the return to growth looks to me like the eventual effect of reopening schools - it took a while for school based transmission to grow to significant levels, and then to spread via households to those susceptible to worse illness, and then to convert to hospitalisation.  Now, we see that even with these additional transmission mechanisms, the spread is out of steam again.  The second most important reason that the decay should continue is so I can call this plot “Sticking two fingers up at Covid”.


 wintertree 20 Nov 2021

Post 6 - Scotland 1

Covered in the four nations post.  


 wintertree 20 Nov 2021

Post 7 - Scotland 2

For reasons beyond my ken, NHS Scotland only use two age bins for ages 25 to 64 where England uses 8, despite Scotland having smaller bins at older ages.   Frustrates much analysis when you look at where and how interesting features fall in the English data.

Anyhoo, this shows a broadly similar trend to England - the oldest ages were more resistant to  growth during the most recent weather wobble, and the centre of infection looks to be shifting down the ages.  Presumably again the 3rd doses taking hold. 

Lots of school age rise - presumably driving household transmission as in the English D1.c, but the resolution isn’t there to see it in the Scottish data.  Probably a better idea to have had this happen further away from winter if it’s going to happen one way or the other.

Whilst the trend in Scotland is similar to that in England, this is so with more low levels control measures already in place, and with perhaps a bit more of a tendency to growth.  So, as the cold weather hits there’s less space between where they are and lockdown.  I hope its enough.


 wintertree 20 Nov 2021

Post 7- Wrap Up

This was a bitterly disappointing set up updates to produce this week.

A point I wanted to make - that sometimes seems to get lost in translation - is that we are where we are, and that recognising every aspect of how we got here doesn’t mean endorsing every aspect of what got us here (far from it).

For a couple of months I’ve held the line that the higher case rate in the UK wasn’t as one-sidedly bad as some were taking it to be, and that there are arguments for and against the different strategies seen on both sides of the channel.

Still, it’s bitterly disappointing to see the outcomes across Europe aligning with this as it becomes clear the area under some critical curves for now ± 3 months isn’t going to be as one-sided as some wishful thinking applied to the last few months of data suggested to some.  To be clear, our demographic vaccination uptake is also a critical pillar of the difference and one the importance of which could, until recently, be hidden away by mild control measures in other nations.

It’s not clear to me that the UK is in a robust enough position to carry on as things are without getting rapidly to healthcare quaking exponential growth.  We’re arguably in the best position in Europe for that specific question, but is it good enough?

Plan B and recommendations to SAGE effectively spelling out Plan C exist.  If we need them, there will be very little time to recognise this and activate them.   Get it wrong and we could be in lockdown in 5 weeks time, get it right and we’re going to go through winter with relatively mild restrictions.  Well, I say that; we’ll see what happens over influenza.

Something that seems like it could make a material difference for the UK and that wouldn’t be very controversial, immunologically speaking, is to move the requirement for a 3rd dose down from 6 months to 5 months and to start getting those extra eligible people through the doors ASAP.

One thing that’s become increasingly clear is that a 3rd dose goes far beyond restoring “waning” losses for most people to granting much stronger protection - including against transmission of the Delta variant which opens up indirect more benefits of their role..

Re: wanning, the look to Europe here was prompted by some discussion five weeks ago from some linked tweets by John Burn-Murdoch about how much wanning might drive the return to growth; it’s instructive to look at the two-doses received vs time curve [1] for a few comparator nations that are all far in to exponential growth with cases and their extrapolated “locked-in” death rates, and so are likely enduring true infection rates greater than the UK.   To me, the critical feature in the vaccine plots is that the main rising phase happened about a month sooner for the UK, so if wanning were a key feature driving the return to rise, we’d expect to be a month ahead of these comparator nations in terms of a return to exponential growth, not five weeks behind and counting.  So, I think the data is coming down firmly on the side of the key driver of growth being seasonality, and the key barriers to that growth being sufficient population level immunity - with unfortunate demographic differences in vaccination hiding behind top level curves until recently.  Something else hiding behind the top-level curve is the stronger immunological response to the 12-week gap used in the UK vaccine roll out; looking back it’s odd that as the (not unexpected) evidence of this firmed up, nowhere else seems to have changed their regime going forward from that point.

Finally, one of the rants aimed at me last week was that I don’t look at the raw data enough.  I’ll share a bit of my philosophy on analysing and communicating data that I’ve carried over to the Covid posts.   Almost any graph I produce comes towards the end of a “Jupyter notebook” using the Python language and the matplotlib plotting library.  At the start I load my data sources, and more or less the first thing I do is plot them as raw as possible.  I then check the plots against other visualisations closer to the source (where possible, so OWiD or the UK dashboard for these posts) or against numerical raw data (where it’s a system of mine with some hardware making the data, not someone else's dashboard)  to validate the import process.  I then take any interpretation or quantified finding (those being more common in other work) and test it against the raw data by seeing if it fits or seems apparently contradictory as an additional way of looking for something going south in the analysis or any weird, complex effects.  I’ve put the a plot I use for this with the OWiD data set below, it might be particularly helpful to anyone looking to create some bias by cherry picking against the various day-of-week effects in the dataset.

[1] https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&time=2020-03-01..latest&facet=none&pickerSort=asc&pickerMetric=location&Metric=People+fully+vaccinated&Interval=7-day+rolling+average&Relative+to+Population=true&Align+outbreaks=false&country=GBR~DEU~AUT~NLD


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 Si dH 20 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

A bit ironic that I'm writing this in the week you've discussed your pipeline (sorry) but I really think you need to check it for the leading edge of your plots for England cases. Your charts show cases have turned to decay but they definitely haven't to my eyes whether you were to look at it conceptually as a rate constant or a week on week effect, there is some pretty obvious continued growth in the dashboard graphs. This applies for total cases and PCR only...

Sorry if I've missed something obvious but I don't think so. Is it possible you are dragging in yesterday's data rather than today's and therefore missing the most recently added day's worth of cases? I think that would explain it...

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases?areaType=nation&areaName=Englan

Post edited at 20:17
In reply to Si dH:

On a less scientific note I’ve just had a 91 year old relative survive Covid (albeit triple jabbed, but still what are the odds?).

She doesn’t remember the last week, but she’s out of the woods.

Strong genes us VS’s have.

 wintertree 20 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

> A bit ironic that I'm writing this in the week you've discussed your pipeline (sorry) but I really think you need to check it for the leading edge of your plots for England cases

No need to say "sorry" - I appreciate all genuine scrutiny of the plots and the interpretation, always have. 

Since half-way through last week I've got a bit uneasy at the divergence in how some of these pllots are developing and my instincts when eyeballing the dashboard cases date.  I've checked it through a couple of times and for now I'm sticking to my guns; I should probably have said that I've had pause for thought however!  

> Your charts show cases have turned to decay but they definitely haven't to my eyes whether you were to look at it conceptually as a rate constant or a week on week effect, there is some pretty obvious continued growth in the dashboard graphs. This applies for total cases and PCR only...

I'm always cautious of eyeballing just the raw data for the very leading edge of cases in particular, as the day-of-week effects lead to a strong and false impression of growth at times of the week and decay at others.   When the turn to decay falls around a Tuesday it's maximally deceptive - with the momentum in the rate constant, growth will have been greater over the weekend, but a lot of that is lopped off and put in the Monday data with a bit more put in the Tuesday data; this puts a massive visual bias on the plot that's quite misleading.  

Wednesday Nov 17th is the day both measures turn to week-on-week decay, I don't think the top level curve will survive as decay on the 17th as the drabs of lagged data are due out tomorrow but I reckon the PCR one will.  Again, with the typical momentum in the rate constant, as the decay fades with lagged data, larger decay appears ahead of it and it all works out. 

The charts show what they show, which is the de-weekended data with a 3rd order filter applied; these are more sensitive to change at the leading edge - but also more noise prone - than the 7-day moving average etc.  I've generally found they don't mislead on cases; I would have qualified my post more - and perhaps still should have - but a bit of faith in how it tends to turn out and the momentum in the week-on-week plot mean I reckon it's on the ball.  I'll revise my interpretation to "Cases in England are probably falling"!  I should probably do something Bayesian instead to try and interpret the leading edge despite the mega day-of-week effects...

 I don't think the trendline is going to change a lot on Plot 6e, but I'll update it over the next couple of days and we'll see.   Perhaps I'm going to be wrong again...

> Sorry if I've missed something obvious but I don't think so. Is it possible you are dragging in yesterday's data rather than today's and therefore missing the most recently added day's worth of cases? I think that would explain it...

Good suggestion, I went and checked the .CSV files but it is today's download (sometimes the dashboard gives the previous day's for a while after the web pages update...).

It's probably not surprising that LFT data (which this boils down to I think) is slower at turning to decay than PCR data, as the centroid of cases moves down the demographic; one to keep an eye on though.  I wouldn't put it beyond the realms of possible that we're not going to see school aged cases remain in slight growth.

Post edited at 20:57
 Si dH 20 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

Oops, sorry for the duff 'Englan' link, too late to edit. I think you know how to find it though!

 wintertree 20 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

> Oops, sorry for the duff 'Englan' link, too late to edit. I think you know how to find it though!

I was a bit slow but I got there, thrown because the Dashboard just sits there empty like a puppy eager to please rather than throwing an error and I'm not great at spotting typos...  This kind of suggests they're not sanitising their inputs however, tut tut.  I wonder what the case rates are in the MSOA "Booby Tables"? - https://xkcd.com/327/

 kirsten 20 Nov 2021

40-49 booster booking is available now. Still says it isn’t, but carry on and put your details in. 

 Misha 20 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Thanks as always.

> Well, that escalated quickly.

Such is the way of Covid…

As you say, very hard to say whether we going to see similar growth. Should be in a better position to answer that in about a month’s time, once the impact of the cold spell feeds through.

As you say, the time window for action is very narrow. This is why I’ve agreed with Offwidth on previous threads that plan B should be implemented now. Even if ‘Freedom Day’ is part of the reason we are now in a better situation than our neighbours, there will come a point where it will start to work against us. I think now is the time to reintroduce some control measures, even if this causes a ripple in the medium term, because the priority is to avoid a wave in the short term. Experience has shown that most governments have done too little too late and then had to go further later on.

On the plus side, the BBC monthly outlook is suggesting that the the extra cold spell won’t last beyond the next two weeks. Of course there’s a big behavioural factor about to come into play - the splurge of work and family socialising up to and over Xmas. All those elderly relatives and all those office Xmas parties (which will certainly be indoors). It seems there’s massive demand for Xmas parties this year and as a result our ones are being held earlier than usual (one is on 2nd Dec). Not that I’d be going… 

3
 wintertree 20 Nov 2021
In reply to Misha:

> On the plus side, the BBC monthly outlook is suggesting that the the extra cold spell won’t last beyond the next two weeks. 

It always does at the start of a blocking high in mid-November.  Two weeks is about the limit of detailed long range forecasting, don’t forget.  I’ll be watching to see if the end of the cold spell firms up or recedes at one-day-per-day in the ensembles as time moves on.  The general set up reminds me of November 2010, perhaps coincidentally the last winter at the tail end of a solar cycle.  What a winter that was - this cuts back to your comment last week that at some point it’s so bad people don’t go out and colder weather reduces the rate constant.  See the photo below; at this point most people just gave up driving and the roads were amazing…

> As you say, the time window for action is very narrow. This is why I’ve agreed with Offwidth on previous threads that plan B should be implemented now. Even if ‘Freedom Day’ is part of the reason we are now in a better situation than our neighbours, there will come a point where it will start to work against us. 

I would say “there may” rather than “there will”.  I think the optimum point in time to switch to more aggressive control measure is very short, and it’s probably around the day after tomorrow…. Too soon or too late is sub-optimal for two opposing reasons.


 Misha 20 Nov 2021
In reply to kirsten:

Thanks! Just booked for 3 weeks’ time, 6m after the second dose. The GP isn’t doing them so it’s a 20 min walk to a pharmacy instead of a 5 min walk to the GP. Seems to be a reasonable number of places available within a couple of miles though, including a mosque. 

 Misha 20 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Yeah 2010 was great for winter climbing. There have been good winter spells since then every few years but nothing as consistently cold. Of course on the whole a cold winter just brings problems for most people, even without COVID… Edit - the winter tyres aren’t on yet. Perhaps they should be. 

Post edited at 23:45
 Misha 21 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> With the loss of control happening across Europe, we all loose.  Having uncontrolled infection and chronic illness at scale butting up against vaccinated people is almost an ideal way of breeding a vaccine escape variant.  It’s the societal equivalent of taking a half-dose of antibiotics for some bacterial infection.

That’s a very good point. Let’s hope Covid has largely exhausted its box of tricks. The ‘Delta+’ variant for example doesn’t seem to be much more infectious.

I’m not making any specific plans for climbing / skiing abroad this winter / early spring. Earlier I thought that an alpine trip would be feasible around March time. Now I’m not so sure but time will tell. I’ve long since given up making any plans beyond a few weeks. Hopefully summer alpine will be feasible but if I have (or choose) to climb in the UK again next summer, this would be fine and it would be nice to tick off some more Hard and Extreme Rock classics…

In reply to wintertree:

> Finally, one of the rants aimed at me last week was that I don’t look at the raw data enough.  I’ll share a bit of my philosophy on analysing and communicating data that I’ve carried over to the Covid posts.   Almost any graph I produce comes towards the end of a “Jupyter notebook” using the Python language and the matplotlib plotting library.  

OK but your so called 'sanity checking' plots from Python at the end of your post are no use for sanity checking.  Look at the actual raw data from OWID and then your plots.  Your plots are shifted in Y and probably scaled so all the space in the plot is filled with curve. If you put all the plots on the same axis the overview looks completely different.  For example NZ on your graphs looks like a squiggly line doing roughly the same as the other countries but actually its squiggling about way down near zero where the UK/England is squiggling about miles up the Y axis. The absolute value on the Y axis is at least as important than the squiggling.

If you make the comparison based on who is squiggling up a bit and who is squiggling down a bit the country which has an absolute value so high it is starting to limit out will look better.

In addition comparing the whole of England/UK against a small country in the EU like Ireland or Latvia over a short time period is like comparing the whole of England against a region of England and cherry-picking the region which currently has the worst numbers.  You can see a couple of big spikes in the Irish data earlier in the pandemic, but they got them under control and down again fairly fast. The problem with the UK is we are just running high indefinitely.

Another possible reason England will have a relatively low death rate now compared to e.g. Germany is pretty much 2 x as many people/million have already died.  When you've already decimated your care home population, there aren't as many frail people left.

https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&time=2020-03-01..latest&facet=none&pickerSort=asc&pickerMetric=location&Metric=Confirmed+cases&Interval=7-day+rolling+average&Relative+to+Population=true&Align+outbreaks=false&country=USA~GBR~CAN~DEU~ITA~IRL~NZL

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 Misha 21 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Another possible reason England will have a relatively low death rate now compared to e.g. Germany is pretty much 2 x as many people/million have already died. 

I don’t think anyone  would argue with that.

 David Alcock 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Misha:

> I don’t think anyone  would argue with that.

Yes, indeed, as many of us were rightfully furious as it happened. Yet we are where we are.

I appreciated the presentation of the raw data comparison - the lack of scale forces the eye only to the slope of the tail. Which looks less worrying than I'd feared.

On a political note, Plan B, etc. Johnson had to cancel Christmas last time. Will he play it safe this time, or double or quits? I presume we can guess the likely answer to that.

Anyway, thanks as ever WT. Night all. 

Post edited at 02:50
 AJM 21 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> OK but your so called 'sanity checking' plots from Python at the end of your post are no use for sanity checking.  Look at the actual raw data from OWID and then your plots.  Your plots are shifted in Y and probably scaled so all the space in the plot is filled with curve. If you put all the plots on the same axis the overview looks completely different.  For example NZ on your graphs looks like a squiggly line doing roughly the same as the other countries but actually its squiggling about way down near zero where the UK/England is squiggling about miles up the Y axis. The absolute value on the Y axis is at least as important than the squiggling.

If you're checking the curve isn't being pulled off line by a rogue data point, you need to plot the curve at a scale you can see it.

They're not intended to be used for comparison, that's what the main plots are for.

> In addition comparing the whole of England/UK against a small country in the EU like Ireland or Latvia over a short time period is like comparing the whole of England against a region of England and cherry-picking the region which currently has the worst numbers.  You can see a couple of big spikes in the Irish data earlier in the pandemic, but they got them under control and down again fairly fast. The problem with the UK is we are just running high indefinitely.

So, those single day comparisons you made then ...? This is so ironic it's practically painful.....

> Another possible reason England will have a relatively low death rate now compared to e.g. Germany is pretty much 2 x as many people/million have already died.  When you've already decimated your care home population, there aren't as many frail people left.

I tried to find numbers and I found a few which tied together could have suggested something like a literal decimation (50k excess deaths in care homes, out of a care home population I saw quoted variously as about 400-500k, so 1:8-1:10).

That's horrendous. But to your last point, there are still a lot of frail people left who need our protection, we certainly don't have a lower death rate now because they're all gone.

 Si dH 21 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> Wednesday Nov 17th is the day both measures turn to week-on-week decay, I don't think the top level curve will survive as decay on the 17th as the drabs of lagged data are due out tomorrow but I reckon the PCR one will.  Again, with the typical momentum in the rate constant, as the decay fades with lagged data, larger decay appears ahead of it and it all works out. 

Thanks for the explanation. I do understand the day of week and testing lag effects. Tbh I'm 90% sure that the 17th will show week on week growth in PCRs only as well as in top level cases by this evening. The more delayed results tend to be the PCRs rather than the LFTs. I'm 80% sure that the same will be true for the 18th in two days time (but also that if you present a data point for the 18th today, that will still show week-on-week decay...) The only way the data shows decay rather than growth at the moment is if you use specimen-date data that isn't sufficiently complete yet. The best way to judge this is using the "Daily change in reported cases by specimen date" graph. But I recognise you like to look at the rate constant momentum and I admire your optimism! Personally I suspect that if we are turning towards decay then it will probably be another couple of days before we're actually in it - and that if the cold spell has the effect that your work suggests it will then we may never get to decay at all, or only very briefly.

A slightly wider concern for me is that it seems young adult cases (20s) have been gradually rising again. Hopefully they are not primed to lead a big wave through winter.

It'll be interesting to look back next week

 kirsten 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Misha:

yup, the local centres have closed and the pharmacies seemed short on availability so travelling a bit further this time. Just happy to be able to get it in time to be cooked before we head to E Europe 

 wintertree 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

> Tbh I'm 90% sure that the 17th will show week on week growth in PCRs only as well as in top level cases by this evening. 

Interesting, I’d have said 80% it won’t for the PCRs; it’s week-on-week ratio is below the threshold I’d normally expect to see cross with lagged data on day +4 - at least in a falling not rising phase.  As always it’s reassuring to be splitting this particular hair because it means it’s definitely not growing lots…

>  But I recognise you like to look at the rate constant momentum and I admire your optimism! 

I think the 3rd order 17-day trend-line effectively shares that optimism by fitting to the curvature in the data; I think that’s why it rarely lets me down but it also means it’s *not* any independent confirmation of the week on week view.

> and that if the cold spell has the effect that your work suggests it will then we may never get to decay at all, or only very briefly.

A cold turn lands in the week-on-week measurement for two points about 3.5 days before and after it’s onset.  The cold has landed today so the rise should show in by specimen date week on week measurements  for Tuesday or Wednesday’s numbers, which will be resolving through reporting lag by next Sunday, so I’d hope to see a solid week of decay in the top level data - and much longer in the older demographic part.

> A slightly wider concern for me is that it seems young adult cases (20s) have been gradually rising again. Hopefully they are not primed to lead a big wave through winter.

I gather something of an edict has gone out to Scottish universities recently over not increasing face-to-face teaching…

The lack of university outbreaks has for me been a very reassuring point; given the typical crammed, mould laden (so pooorly ventilated), “highly social” ahem accommodation, they could well be the canary in the coal mine for a return to growth.  Friends still lecturing report large numbers of students coughing away unmasked in lecture theatres much like pre pandemic…

> It'll be interesting to look back next week 

Yup.  I reckon by about Dec 5th we’ll have a pretty good idea if it’s going to be a mid winter lockdown this time round.

 wintertree 21 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> If you make the comparison based on who is squiggling up a bit and who is squiggling down a bit the country which has an absolute value so high it is starting to limit out will look better.

To try and mis frame the current situation in Europe as a bit of squiggling is so bad I actually feel sorry for the twisted place you’ve taken yourself.

The extrapolated fatalities plot makes it clear many countries have a much higher absolute value than the UK and that they still retain the potential for exponential growth.  Your odd idea about low (in absolute terms, almost nobody I meet will have covid) infection levels becoming rate limiting never held up to some first principles thought, now it’s demolished by case rates as contextualised by CFR, but you’re not going to recognise that.  Want to borrow a spade?

> In addition comparing the whole of England/UK against a small country in the EU like Ireland or Latvia over a short time

What are you yammering about now?  I haven’t done that.  I’ve been looking at a long list of countries for a growing period of time, and looking at their trajectories as well as their histories.  You appear to have cherry picked two that have small populations to argue against a case I’m not making.  Is this trolling?

Latvia: go read some newspapers.  No small region of the UK has shown that growth potential *yet*.  Take nations around Latvia and it’s behaviour is highly comparable - a pseudo nation of comparable population to the UK suggests Latvia is not a local outlier due to its low population.

> period is like comparing the whole of England against a region of England and cherry-picking the region which currently has the worst numbers.  

I just laughed so hard my old broken rib hurts.  You were only too happy to cherry pick numbers from different days to exploit reporting artefacts to get a 5x distortion.  Here I’ve been looking at the trajectory of 20 or so nations over the last five weeks, carefully checking filtering against day of week effects and carefully contextualising case rates with carefully measured CFRs and, to no great surprise, the trends in this data have been pretty consistent and comprehensible over the last 5 weeks. 

> Another possible reason England will have a relatively low death rate now compared to e.g. Germany is pretty much 2 x as many people/million have already died. 

Yes.  I’m not here to play Tom’s Top Trumps over outcomes to date.  I understand what has happened.  I’m not happy about much of it, not happy at all.  Here I am trying to understand where we are and where we are going - the same as I always have.  Your constant insistence on wilfully misunderstanding this as a gave of TTT is wearing mighty thin.  

> When you've already decimated your care home population, there aren't as many frail people left.

The early wave of care home deaths was awful, no doubt.  But it is nowhere near a large enough effect to explain the difference in death rates developing and it clearly doesn’t explain the different “pandemic potential” levels in children and young adults that drive the spread of the virus from which older folks - who alone couldn’t sustain transmission - suffer.

In reply to Si dH:

You'd like Mainwood's reporting lag compensator thing. He takes into account the typical reporting lag by day of week and tries to infer where the case count will end up from that and the leading edge. Sounds very similar to your train of thought. Anyway, it's currently showing a leveling out.

 wintertree 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

Mainwood’s had some great plots lately; good rants on the media and data as well, and it looks like he’s calling some people out on over egging the strength of evidence over masks….  

 ranger*goy 21 Nov 2021
In reply to kirsten:

> 40-49 booster booking is available now. Still says it isn’t, but carry on and put your details in. 

Yeh did mine last night too.

In reply to wintertree:

> > If you make the comparison based on who is squiggling up a bit and who is squiggling down a bit the country which has an absolute value so high it is starting to limit out will look better.

> To try and mis frame the current situation in Europe as a bit of squiggling is so bad I actually feel sorry for the twisted place you’ve taken yourself.

My point is your 'sanity checking' graphs of the different countries are misleading.

They make it look like New Zealand is in deep sh*t and England is fairly OK because you can't see the Y offset.

It is obvious Europe has a spike, it is equally obvious that they are doing something about it. England just lets it run on for months at a high level.

14
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Still not grasping them exponentials, eh Tom?

> it is equally obvious that they are doing something about it

Is it?? Not to me. Plenty countries are on a really bad path. If you can't see it from the plain numbers, the baked-in plot makes it pretty clear it's way too late to be beginning preliminary talks about bringing in half-assed measures. The next few weeks will probably show that Austria has blinked too late, Germany likely has too, and France doesn't have long to respond. That's not even addressing the countries that you claim are too small to interpret.

Post edited at 10:21
 wintertree 21 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> My point is your 'sanity checking' graphs of the different countries are misleading.

> They make it look like New Zealand is in deep sh*t and England is fairly OK

Jesus Christ Tom.  This is so embarrassing I feel sorry for you, I actually do.

  • The plots in this headlining post are carefully controlled plots meant for a fair comparison.  Have you looked at them?  It’s pretty clear NZ is in a great place in terms of immediate consequences. - https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/friday_night_covid_plotting_53-741346?v=1#x9549132
  • The plots you are wilfully misconstruing as an unfair comparison are down at the bottom following a bunch of words explaining this is how I check I’m loading the data right and how I check that artefacts in the data aren’t perverting the trend lines used as a basis for fair comparison.  I have deliberately set each country on it’s own axis to get good dynamic range to facilitate the task of giving a human once over to the trendliens etc.  It hadn’t occurred to me anyone would be so confused and lacking in understanding as to try and interpret them as a basis for comparison.

You seem keen to dig in over this. Several other posters have noted the way you’re seriously misusing these posts.  Honestly their intent was so staggeringly obvious I didn’t feel the need to thoroughly idiot proof them with labels, disclaimers and big warnings against that sort of thing.  Once again you redefine my expectations…

> because you can't see the Y offset.

There is no y offset in these plots. Y=0 is at the origin.  I have said this before.

> It is obvious Europe has a spike, it is equally obvious that they are doing something about it.

In many cases “doing something about it” looks like doing very little until death rates far in excess of England are potentially locked in.  Holland stands out to me as being pro-active, and some other nations still have time to make their decisions.  Others are having some very hard and unenviable choices forced on them.

> England just lets it run on for months at a high level.

Yes.  We’re all very clear on that.  No disagreement from me.

1
 wintertree 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

> Still not grasping them exponentials, eh Tom?

Squiggles, LSRH, we’re calling them “squiggles” now.

In reply to wintertree:

> Jesus Christ Tom.  This is so embarrassing I feel sorry for you, I actually do.

The situation here is like conducting a debate on Intel vs AMD processors with somebody who works for Intel marketing. You are going to lose because that guy spends a big chunk of his life rehearsing arguments for Intel's side of the case and will spend hours 'refuting' any point you make. It doesn't mean he is right. If he was arguing with the guy from AMD marketing or ARM marketing with the same job he'd lose.

Neither the Intel or the AMD marketing guy is an actual processor architect or design engineer.  Just like you aren't a professional Covid scientist. You are way off the international consensus in your fanboy attitude to AZ and in your increasingly fanboy attitude to the Tory policy of running high levels of infection.

England is the outlier in the response to Covid in advanced countries. You can score points on a climbing website by putting in 10x as much time as anybody else but it is pretty easy to see which countries are handling this best, have the best science advice and are most likely to be correct in their current policies.  It's the ones with the lowest death rates per million. That's not England.

21
 wintertree 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

> Tbh I'm 90% sure that the 17th will show week on week growth in PCRs only as well as in top level cases by this evening.

You called it.

I was surprised as this means more lagged cases were released for the 17th on day +4 than for the 16th on +4 which goes against the falling trend and the day-of-week distributions.  

So, cases are still falling, but that fall is retreating at just under one-day-per-day; not the first time we've seen that.  

The 18th is now showing decay week-on-week in both the PCR data and the top level data; the top level almost certainly won't hold up with the +4 data out tomorrow, the PCR might...?

Notable that ages 60+ are turning back to pretty signifiant decay rates in the more lagged demographic data.  Hopeful.

It was mighty cold today with showers marching in from the North Sea that felt like they could turn to the white stuff at any moment...  I was wondering if we get much stronger growth the from previous cold spells if it'll end up showing through in the data a bit sooner.


 AJM 21 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases#card-cases_by_area_last_7_days
 

I think you might mean the U.K. is an outlier - England on 409 per 100k and Scotland on 384 per 100k isn’t exactly a startling difference in outcomes. If cases that high are bad, why isn’t Scotland tightening restrictions further? I thought you trusted Sturgeons judgement?

 wintertree 21 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Nice job there entirely deflecting from the discussion we were having where you were making an utter, abject fool out of yourself by wilfully misinterpreting something astoundingly clear.  You've swung it round in to a general attack on me.  Classy.  I think other reads will spot your swerve of direction you know.

> The situation here is like conducting a debate on Intel vs AMD processors with somebody who works for Intel marketing. 

I have no idea what you're jabbering about to be honest.  

> You are going to lose because that guy spends a big chunk of his life rehearsing arguments for Intel's side of the case and will spend hours 'refuting' any point you make. It doesn't mean he is right. If he was arguing with the guy from AMD marketing or ARM marketing with the same job he'd lose.

I have no idea what you're jabbering about to be honest.

> Neither the Intel or the AMD marketing guy is an actual processor architect or design engineer. 

I have no idea what you're jabbering about to be honest.

> Just like you aren't a professional Covid scientist.

No, I am not. There is such a thing as a "professional Covid scientist" you know.

I'm just some noise on an Internet forum, and I never call to any authority in my background or training (I could to some moderate degree - less than several other occasionally voices on these threads - but if you have to call to it, it's worthless)

I present what I do, talk people through it and leave them to make their own conclusions.  My view is a view, one of many, and people can ignore it or listen to it as they see fit.

Seeing as you're gong to call to authority, you might reflect that you're an engineer and not a scientist, and that it seems that your understanding of many scientific methods is often quite limited.  I don't like bringing it down to this level, but you are - as usual - being one sided in everything you do, and I don't like rank hypocrisy.

> You are way off the international consensus in your fanboy attitude to AZ

I am not a fanboy of AZ.  The fact that you are reduced to writing someone off with words like "fanboy" instead of any sort of reasoned, evidence based argument shows how far you've fallen towards being a troll, Tom.

I have defended the scientific method and the Yellow Card Scheme against your demented, detrimental, disgusting and deceitful attempts to abuse the data in exactly the same way hardcore anti-vax propagandists do, but in your case done in order to present a distorted view of side effect risk against one vaccine.   You tried dismissing the people arguing against you on grounds of Englishness, but Scots and other non-Brits called out your crap.  It was shameful Tom.

You got a sound kicking from several dozen posters not invested in AZ vs Pfizer, but determined to hold you to some standard of behaviour over gross abuse of the YCS data.  Here it is https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/vaccine_side_effects_ctd-737935

> and in your increasingly fanboy attitude to the Tory policy of running high levels of infection.

I'm not a fan of what's happened over the last three months.  That doesn't stop me recognising that the situation is not as one sided as you have dementedly tried to present it.

We are where we are.  It's been facile of you throughout to interpret the situation as only possibly being one sided.  The developing situation makes that more clear, and your response is to turn this into outright trolling and personal comments.  Classy. 

It's not a Tory policy, Tom.  The devolved nations have been doing much the same thing as far as I can tell.  Scotland included.   I've never voted for team blue, and what I've had to say about the current government's decisions on Covid are on record for all to read.

You're recent attempts to deny the unfolding tragedy in Europe by reducing it to "squiggles", outright denialism over the situation in Latvia, gross cherry picking of data to give 5x distortions against the UK, beyond-a-joke attempts to misrepresent the "sanity checking" plots whilst ignoring the interpretation focused plots, it's all appalling.

Ever since your data interpretation meltdown where you determinedly tried to blame schools returning for the giant spike in young adult cases after nightclubs returned in Scotland you've been completely off the rails in terms of objectivity.  None what so ever.  Having seen some of your other xenophobic anti-English bile on other topics (the Southend city one and the renewable energy thread stand out, the later in particular) I just can't get my head in to where you must be.

Edit:

> You can score points on a climbing website by putting in 10x as much time as anybody else

You're one of the biggest contributors to these threads lately Tom.

> but it is pretty easy to see which countries are handling this best

The ones across the channel locking in death rates in excess of ours with cases still rising, or the ones with things devolving to nightly riots with people attacking ambulances and police shooting the citizens, or the ones that are going to mandate vaccination of everyone?

> have the best science advice and are most likely to be correct in their current policies.  It's the ones with the lowest death rates per million. That's not England.

I can only assume you're living inside a bubble and not reading the news.

I am not trying to retro-actively justify what has happened in all of the UK.  Good gods, you can go and read what I've had to say.  I am not happy about it.  

But, we are where we are.  You insist on taking my view on where we are as me having a Tory fanboy attitude towards where we have been.  You couldn't be more wrong, seriously you couldn't.

Post edited at 16:54
1
 Si dH 21 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> > Tbh I'm 90% sure that the 17th will show week on week growth in PCRs only as well as in top level cases by this evening.

> You called it.

Looking at other peoples' data and then deciding whether I agree with their interpretation of it is a large part of my job And I've spent far too long now (like you) looking at all these graphs...

> The 18th is now showing decay week-on-week in both the PCR data and the top level data; the top level almost certainly won't hold up with the +4 data out tomorrow, the PCR might...?

My bet is it won't. Total (edit: PCR) cases for the 18th are already within ~1000 of those on the 11th and ~2000 new cases were added to the 17th today, so we should expect similar to be added to the 18th tomorrow. The vast majority of those added will be PCRs - the total LFT bar rarely grows significantly after more than 2 days from the specimen date for obvious reasons.

Bigger picture though, I agree what your data shows (and that I hadn't picked up from the dashboard) is that we are currently heading in the right direction, ie of reducing growth and very soon, hopefully decay. It sounds like Mainwood's Twitter feed says similar. That's a good thing - much better to hit the cold spell with cases flat or reducing than with them already going up!

Post edited at 17:03

 wintertree 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

> Looking at other peoples' data and then deciding whether I agree with their interpretation of it is a large part of my job And I've spent far too long now (like you) looking at all these graphs...

We'll hopefully both have to find a new hobby around April 2022.

> My bet is it won't. Total cases for the 18th are already within ~1000 of those on the 11th and ~2000 new cases were added to the 17th today, so we should expect similar to be added to the 18th tomorrow.

It looks like provisionality is up a bit; I kind of wish I'd set up a daily download of the data on a server somewhere to let me build a time-varying model of provisionality in the data, but I set some pretty strict ground rules on time and focusing only on a few measures of the actual situation and ways of looking at it that aren't elsewhere (no point duplicating excellent plots elsewhere)

>  That's a good thing - much better to hit the cold spell with cases flat or reducing than with them already going up!

Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully.

 Si dH 21 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:.

> It looks like provisionality is up a bit; 

Maybe they're doing some QA now.

In reply to wintertree:

> I can only assume you're living inside a bubble and not reading the news.

Germany has had roughly 2x fewer deaths than England over the course of the pandemic.

Right now it has a spike and is already reacting to take it down. I'm not that worried about the figures for last week because it's transient. Germany is still slightly below UK on cases per million even though its in the middle of a spike.

9
 wintertree 21 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Germany has had roughly 2x fewer deaths than England over the course of the pandemic.

You insist on framing everything I say as about the history of the pandemic.  I am looking at where we are now, and where we may be going.  I'm not spending my time here talking about past mistakes.  There's been plenty of that - including from me - on other threads.

I can't be any clearer.  Perhaps you can explain to me where you're struggling to understand my position so I can try and use simpler ways of explaining it?

I don't think anyone disagrees with you over deaths to date, and I think anyone (short of the pop up posters) who has ever ventured an opinion wishes we'd been more like Germany when it comes to controlling cases in the first year at least.  You'll find no disagreement here.  I expect people who've looked in to the demographic makeup of vaccination would want the roll out of vaccines to be less like Germany mind you.

But, we are where we are.

> Right now it has a spike

Right now the entirety of continental Europe is losing control of cases and have estimates of "locked in" deaths rising towards crazy high levels for a post-vaccination era.  Two countries have seen worse rates than the UK ever has, two more have probably locked worse in, Austria is dangerously close to locking worse in, and many more look to have potentially locked worse death rates than the current UK one, with their cases still rising rapidly.

You say Germany "has a spike".

> and is already reacting to take it down. I'm not that worried about the figures for last week because it's transient. Germany is still slightly below UK on cases per million even though its in the middle of a spike.

Are you being deliberately slow Tom?  Answer these questions about the CFR:

  • What are reasonable bounds for the recent deaths in Germany as a fraction of recent cases?  
  • What are reasonable bonds for the recent deaths in England as a fraction of recent cases?

Look - I've coloured in the relevant parts of my plot on this to help you understand.  Germany has a CFR about 2.5x that of the UK - so their "slightly lower [...] cases per million" probably translates to more than twice the death rate being locked in, and their cases are still rising exponentially, doubling every two weeks or so, so whatever measures they go on to take, it's likely a higher death rate yet is going to be locked in.

You say you're not worried about the figures for Europe, as I said I can only assume you're living in a bubble.  The news is degenerating daily, more nations are turning to lockdowns and other measures, and protests are turning to riots, more by the night.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-59363256

Perhaps you missed it two weeks ago (I know you've claimed not to read most of what I write, which might explain a few things) but as I said then, your head is so far up your ass I'm surprised you can see.  

Right now this situation is a f*cking tragedy across Europe - including the UK.  The effects of the mistakes to date are a f*cking tragedy.  The deaths and illness to date are a f*cking tragedy.  The stress levels in workers in many sectors picking up from this are a f*cking tragedy.  Seeing Europe fall so soon to lockdowns a year after vaccines came along is a f*cking tragedy.  Seeing the far right move in to capitalise on the riots is beyond words.

All this context, and all you can do is play Tom's Top Trumps with your unique perspective.

It's a disgrace.

Post edited at 22:11

1
 wintertree 21 Nov 2021
In reply to AJM:

> I think you might mean the U.K. is an outlier 

I'm disappointed; I'd made a bet with myself about which semiconductor marketing department TiE was going to analogy you to, and whose mast he was going to nail your "fanboy" colours to.

I take his refusal to answer your point to mean that he capitulates to it.

1
In reply to wintertree:

> I can't be any clearer.  Perhaps you can explain to me where you're struggling to understand my position so I can try and use simpler ways of explaining it?

You seem to think that I'm spending my time trying to understand your position rather than stating my own. I found your graphs helpful earlier in the pandemic. I don't think they are as useful now so I've stopped looking at them and am looking at raw cases data instead. It looks to me that the UK is out of the exponential part of the S curve and reached the flat bit at the top. No matter what sh*t the Tories pull they aren't provoking exponential growth, it has limited out, but at an unacceptably high level.

> Right now the entirety of continental Europe is losing control of cases and have estimates of "locked in" deaths rising towards crazy high levels for a post-vaccination era.  Two countries have seen worse rates than the UK ever has, two more have probably locked worse in, Austria is dangerously close to locking worse in, and many more look to have potentially locked worse death rates than the current UK one, with their cases still rising rapidly.

This is the UK vs Germany without all the signal processing.

It is pretty clear that the UK spiked up in July, Germany didn't and now its doing pretty much the same as the UK did except a few months later.  I can see other places on the plot for Germany where they managed to pull the case rate down pretty fast and from what I hear from family in Germany they toughened up a lot about a week ago. 

My guess is they'll get the same results as they got in the past and the case rate will go down again pretty fast and this will look like a spike.  They've done pretty much as much vaccination as the UK and they've been using Pfizer and Moderna, so they've got an edge on vaccine choice compared to the UK with the AZ so if anything they should get better results than before.

https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&time=2020-03-01..latest&facet=none&pickerSort=asc&pickerMetric=location&Metric=Confirmed+cases&Interval=7-day+rolling+average&Relative+to+Population=true&Align+outbreaks=false&country=GBR~DEU

> You say Germany "has a spike".

> Are you being deliberately slow Tom?  Answer these questions about the CFR:

I have no idea about the CFR.  I suspect if you put enough effort into understanding it you'd find some confounding factor.  It might be that more of the people in the category where death is likely if infected by Covid have already died in the UK.  It might be that the NHS have seen so much Covid they've got good at treating it.

I can tell you that the German healthcare system is not nearly as f*cked by Covid as the UK one.

> Right now this situation is a f*cking tragedy across Europe - including the UK. 

The London news media put a huge distortion on news from the EU and from Scotland for that matter because they are in the pocket of Brexiteers and they know their readers enjoy stories about how sh*t the EU is.    I have family in Germany and I can read German, I don't need the English media to tell me about Germany.

13
 Maggot 22 Nov 2021
 AJM 22 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> You seem to think that I'm spending my time trying to understand your position rather than stating my own. I found your graphs helpful earlier in the pandemic. I don't think they are as useful now so I've stopped looking at them and am looking at raw cases data instead. 

If you're not really interested in WTs graphs, then certainly from my perspective it would be great if you could go stare at case numbers in a quiet corner or go shout about your thoughts into the twittersphere somewhere rather than vomiting them all over a thread trying to understand something slightly more detailed.....

1
 Wire Shark 22 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> I'm disappointed; I'd made a bet with myself about which semiconductor marketing department TiE was going to analogy you to, and whose mast he was going to nail your "fanboy" colours to.

More childishness.  You absolutely can't bear any disagreement can you?  If there's any "fanboy" colors around here, it's your followers who are almost cultist.

> I take his refusal to answer your point to mean that he capitulates to it.

For someone who claims to be a scientist, this is quite poor reasoning.

Post edited at 07:16
17
 Wire Shark 22 Nov 2021
In reply to AJM:

> If you're not really interested in WTs graphs, then certainly from my perspective it would be great if you could go stare at case numbers in a quiet corner or go shout about your thoughts into the twittersphere somewhere rather than vomiting them all over a thread trying to understand something slightly more detailed.....

This is the sort of bile filled post that discourages any sort of sensible discussion.  Is WT some sort of prophet at who's feet we must worship?  It's really starting to feel that way.

14
 AJM 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Wire Shark:

I don't have to agree with the conclusions to find the graphs and the actual informed discussion useful. I get frustrated by the fact it gets derailed most weeks by Tom shouting some variant on "English cases are bad!"

In reply to Wire Shark:

There's sensible discussion, but it always gets interrupted by Tom misunderstanding, refusing to give any attention to details, and shouting "BUT THIS LINE'S HIGHER SO YOU'RE WRONG" like a village idiot, despite long, bespoke, detailed, individualised, and repeated explanations.

In reply to AJM:

> If you're not really interested in WTs graphs, then certainly from my perspective it would be great if you could go stare at case numbers in a quiet corner or go shout about your thoughts into the twittersphere somewhere rather than vomiting them all over a thread trying to understand something slightly more detailed.....

Discussing Covid is not the same as discussing wintertree's meta-analysis of Covid.

More detailed doesn't mean more useful or more likely to be correct. You can build a lot of detail on top of a flaky foundation.

10
 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Wire Shark:

> More childishness. 

Well there’s no point what so ever bringing any sort of reasoned debate to TiE as they make a point out of refusing to read it, or of replying to it with something entirely unrelated.

> You absolutely can't bear any disagreement can you?  

Informed disagreement is great.  You’ll find some on most threads.

> If there's any "fanboy" colors around here, it's your followers who are almost cultist. 

You’ve been having an increasing number of outburst on random threads about the Friday night covid ones.  I made a suggestion.

> For someone who claims to be a scientist, this is quite poor reasoning.

Blow it out your ass.

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> More detailed doesn't mean more useful or more likely to be correct. You can build a lot of detail on top of a flaky foundation.

Looking at the CFR isn’t a “flaky foundation” it’s an essential part of comparing case rates in any meaningful way.

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> You seem to think that I'm spending my time trying to understand your position rather than stating my own. 

No, I think you’re wasting everyone’s time - yours included - by playing a fool who endlessly states their own position without making any attempt to understand the data.

You’ve stated your position; job done.

> I found your graphs helpful earlier in the pandemic. I don't think they are as useful now so I've stopped looking at them and am looking at raw cases data instead. 

Then you’re a bloody fool who is wilfully cherry picking only one measure out of many to suit their agenda and your view has nothing to offer anyone..

> This is the UK vs Germany without all the signal processing.

No, you are looking at one signal.  Cases.

There is another signal.  Deaths.

Look at one in isolation and that’s outright denialism.

What I’m doing is not really signal processing, it’s building the most trivially basic of models using two inputs and looking at what it says.  It says anyone who only looks at cases data is a damned bloody fool.

> My guess is they'll get the same results as they got in the past and the case rate will go down again pretty fast and this will look like a spike.  

Why are you once again focusing on Germany when I’ve been talking about over a dozen nations?  

Yes, they can put control measures in and cases can drop; I’ve led my interpretation with two nations doing exactly that.  What’s happening in the one that’s now relaxed those measures?  What’s the response to control measures in some other countries?  Not going down well.

Big picture - different nations have different remaining “pandemic potentials” and that’s bad news.

> They've done pretty much as much vaccination as the UK and they've been using Pfizer and Moderna, so they've got an edge on vaccine choice compared to the UK with the AZ so if anything they should get better results than before.

You’re so full of it I’m surprised you don’t see in shades of brown.  

De-mo-gra-phics.  

You’re obsessed with vaccine choice, and yet here we are four weeks ahead on the waning curve and with more AZ and five weeks behind many other nations in turning to growth.

It’s almost as if there’s more than one factor in play here…

> I have no idea about the CFR.     

Pro Tip.  Educate yourself and STFU until you do, as yammering on in-spite of your self imposed ignorance makes you look like a fool.

 > I suspect if you put enough effort into understanding it you'd find some confounding factor.  

I seem to have put a lot more effort in to it than you, Tom, and all you do is deride it.

Is that the same confounding factor for another dozen nations?

> It might be that more of the people in the category where death is likely if infected by Covid have already died in the UK.  

That’s a bullshit denialism argument repurposed to your ends that doesn’t hold up against reality.   Not the first time you’ve ended up grasping at the same straws as denialists, is it?

> It might be that the NHS have seen so much Covid they've got good at treating it. 

A factor of 2.5 difference isn’t going to change that you blithering fool.  You’re just embarrassing yourself again.  Clinical practice is shared through these things called “medical journals.

To be clear your denialism is now so bad you’re saying German medical staff are 2.5x worse at treating covid patients than English ones.  Madness.

This is broken thinking. “I don’t like something so I’m going to ignore it and assume there is some explanation.  Here are some random ideas I pulled out of my arse”.

The UK has a stand out low rolling case fatality rate for now.  I can understand why this has broken your brain, but it remains easily provable fact and utterly critical context to interpreting comparative case rates.

> The London news media put a huge distortion on news from the EU and from Scotland for that matter because they are in the pocket of Brexiteers and they know their readers enjoy stories about how sh*t the EU is.    I have family in Germany and I can read German, I don't need the English media to tell me about Germany.

What is this obsession with mis applying my comments to Germany?  I’ve bloody clearly been talking about other places, and the article I gave was about other places.

I’ve given plenty of foreign news links in this thread too, can I just check how you’re writing them off?

Finally, I noticed your post is timestamped 02:45.  That’s not a healthy time to be posting. I don’t think you’re doing yourself any favours here Tom, and I don’t just mean to your credibility.

Post edited at 07:58
 Stichtplate 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Wire Shark:

> More childishness.  You absolutely can't bear any disagreement can you?  If there's any "fanboy" colors around here, it's your followers who are almost cultist.

If you bother reading the threads you'll see he's pretty good with disagreement, he engages and explains and often holds his hand up when he's got something wrong. What he can't bear is persistent and blatant agenda pushing in the face of reason and data.

> For someone who claims to be a scientist, this is quite poor reasoning.

Not poor reasoning when Tom's standard MO (over several years of debate on here) is to ignore stuff that he hasn't a hope in Hell of arguing against. 

 AJM 22 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Discussing Covid is not the same as discussing wintertree's meta-analysis of Covid.

> More detailed doesn't mean more useful or more likely to be correct. You can build a lot of detail on top of a flaky foundation.

Yes, you can. But what you're providing isn't an informed level of critique that improves the quality of the overall, it's basically just noise.

I think the main problem I find is that as far as I can see you don't look at the data and draw inferences from it - you draw from your existing prejudices and find something in the data that supports them. Broadly speaking, whatever the English are doing are bad, the Germans are bound to be doing it better, Scotland is either taking a better approach or is hampered by Westminster from doing so, high cases are bad. Your view of the actual data can be predicted more accurately from that than from anything happening in the data itself. 

Many of those things were true a year or even 6 months ago, but that's a long time in a pandemic and some sort of robust engagement with the data would involve retesting those hypotheses to ensure they are still true in the data today.

In reply to AJM, Wintertree et al,

Can I suggest TiE is simply ignored on these threads? Engagement just derails everything.

 Offwidth 22 Nov 2021
In reply to MG:

That's the solution I prefer for a few posters who just keep going on about stuff in the face of facts. We just need the occasional generic post to collectively pick up on where the misinformation is.

I don't know how wintertree finds the time but sometimes I do think "wow!" as I did regularly during the latest covid thread:   https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/vaccine_passports_-_is_there_any_longer_a_justification-741343

In the meantime hospitals continue to struggle...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/21/icu-is-full-of-the-unvaccinated-my-patience-with-them-is-wearing-thin

I'm just back from Kendal Mountain Film Festival... a microcosm of our UK situation where covid precautions often seemed to the reverse of what they should be...  maskless late evening bar scrums.... compared to a reasonably high mask use in an outdoor food area. Most of the older regulars seemed to be sensibly giving the festival a miss, so it was a young demographic for the first time ever. There was lots of joy in seeing long missed friends. 

2
 Stichtplate 22 Nov 2021
In reply to MG:

> In reply to AJM, Wintertree et al,

> Can I suggest TiE is simply ignored on these threads? Engagement just derails everything.

 I totally get where you're coming from, but I'm not in favour. Dissent from the received wisdom/ sound reasoning is almost always valuable, whether that's to test that reasoning or simply to flesh out the argument being put forward. And while Tom's input on these threads have often been tediously influenced by his political agenda, in other areas he's an interesting voice on here of many years standing.

2
 Offwidth 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Stichtplate:

I don't see this idea as stopping dissent and certainly not about restriction of posting. There is just no need to repeatedly reply to variations on the same misunderstanding and misinformation.

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

Interesting point in the Guardian article about the £2000 / treatment MABs being poured in to some of the unvaccinated in intensive care. 

I'd expected the current wave of rising deaths across Europe to be blunted somewhat by the range of anti-viral and MAB therapeutics that's coming out of the pipeline, but there aren't many (any?) obvious top level signs of this.  

If ever there was a time for a therapeutic deus ex machina to bring things back under some semblance of control in various places...

> maskless late evening bar scrums.

Like I've said before, I think for many, their willingness to go back to stricter measures is fading along with their risk.  Much of the increasingly violent protests across the water seem to be from the anti-control measure side, but I can't imagine those who've sucked up control measures for 18 months and gone and got their vaccine are feeling very charitable any longer, either. 

I really don't want to find out how another lock down would be received here.  No.  Nop.

>  a microcosm of our UK situation where covid precautions often seemed to the reverse of what they should be... 

I had a chortle when using some facilities in a local university on a visit; there was hand sanitiser by the door and a sign asking people to close the lid before flushing.  Meanwhile, former colleagues and friends are standing in front of 200 to 300 people in old lecture theatres, with many people maskless and coughing, spluttering and sneezing away unyieldingly as with most winters passed, whilst the lecturer can't wear a mask if the newly mandated AV capture system is going to get anything legible for those watching recordings and for the newly mandated auto-captioning system, which itself is so bad staff need to spend an extra hour per lecture (not in their workload model...) fixing it's results.

Still, I shut the lid on the toilet before flushing.  Would have done anyway, quite the curry the night before...

Post edited at 10:57
In reply to Stichtplate:

>  I totally get where you're coming from, but I'm not in favour. Dissent from the received wisdom/ sound reasoning is almost always valuable,

Indeed, but only when it is done in good faith.  When it is simply trolling or political propaganda it prevents discussion.

Post edited at 11:03
 Stichtplate 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

> I don't see this idea as stopping dissent and certainly not about restriction of posting. There is just no need to repeatedly reply to variations on the same misunderstanding and misinformation.

Everything about covid has proved to be remarkably contentious and far more so in the wider world than on UKC, where such guff tends to get shot down pretty quickly.

While often tedious and derailing, Tom's covid input serves the purpose of forcing others to flesh out the science, ad nauseam, and answer any niggling doubts of thread lurkers or other posters too timid to question for fear of being jumped on.

6
 Stichtplate 22 Nov 2021
In reply to MG:

> Indeed, but only when it is done in good faith.  When it is simply trolling or political propaganda it prevents discussion.

I'm not even sure it's trolling. Tom genuinely seems to view every single issue through the filter of Scottish Nationalism. A baffling but hugely impressive example of true monomania

 Offwidth 22 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

I was talking to quite a few of those people about how surreal it was, mostly well educated middle class types (one was a German friend we saw for the first time in a couple of years who said the contrast with back home was huge). I really saw no obvious major reluctance to face restrictions again, even beyond plan B, if that was what was needed (hopefully it won't be).

On the University front, I do miss it a bit but I think I would find trying to deal with clear management Health and Safety idiocy, especially around ventilation (putting students and employees at risk unnecessarily), way more stressful than any covid risk to me. Other academics do that soul destroying role now on top of all their other teaching and research work.

Post edited at 11:31
2
 Offwidth 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Stichtplate:

I think less can be more when dealing with the alternative pantomime style ding dong arguments, where one side is obviously wrong, and which then risk burying other interesting discussion and information.

In reply to Offwidth:

Former East German areas maybe  be different though.  
 

There is a natural reluctance in former Eastern European countries to believe anything a government tells you to do. 
 

Difficult.  

 Offwidth 22 Nov 2021
In reply to neilh:

I'm not denying deniers will deny and protest anywhere but they can't get past clear rules so easily, especially so in Germany.

2
In reply to Offwidth:

As I understand it a lot depends on the individual State accepting the rules. It’s a bit like the USA in that regards. 

And they are still in negotiations following the elections.

Very politically complicated. 
 

In reply to wintertree:

>   Germany has a CFR about 2.5x that of the UK - so their "slightly lower [...] cases per million" probably translates to more than twice the death rate being locked in, and their cases are still rising exponentially, doubling every two weeks or so, so whatever measures they go on to take, it's likely a higher death rate yet is going to be locked in.

Looking at your CFR bounds graph it's interesting that Italy's is so high - what's their vaccination rate like?  Theoretically they should be in a similar boat to the UK in terms of 'killed loads of people off in the first wave' so the only big difference will be vaccination uptake / policy / type.

In terms of Austria's lockdown prolonging the inevitable, I suspect it could be a 'save Christmas' thing - locking down now so they don't have to lockdown over xmas.  If Austrians are like Germans a family Xmas is massively important to them.  I would also be cautious about the UK's current failure to grow its cases - we're currently in the 'pre-xmas socialising lull'; once the party, shopping & carol service season kicks off things will inevitably ramp up, and ramp up they will given that people will look at UK stats and decide everything is OK.

Post edited at 12:16
 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to neilh:

> Very politically complicated. 

Turns out it's very scientifically complicated as well.

Kudos to the German health minister for not mincing his words:

"Probably by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said, pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead," Spahn says.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-59371347

Germany is in the enviable position of having a lot more healthcare capacity to process those who are not going to take the vaccination option.  They're going to need it.  They certainly aren't shying away from locking in case rates that are going to come close to saturating their extensive ITUs.   Perhaps there are hints in the data that the novel therapeutics are softening the blow in the last week of data for Germany, or it could be a demographic shift; I haven't dug in to the details and the leading edge may deceive.

Harsh language, but that's what this winter is shaping up to look like for many nations - processing unvaccinated people through intensive care as fast as they sustainably can.

A thoroughly depressing and tragic result despite the monumental effort that's gone in to the development of a stable of highly safe and effective vaccines.  One that seems to concentrate the risk of a vaccine escape variant in to the next few months.  Using a narrow band vaccine with a large number of people holding out is giving me real heebie-jeebies.  It's the societal version of using a half-course of antibiotics against a nasty bacterial infection.

With estimates of Delta's R value, the pandemic phase only ends when basically everyone has a high level of immunity.  

Post edited at 12:31
 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Toerag:

> Looking at your CFR bounds graph it's interesting that Italy's is so high - what's their vaccination rate like? 

Top level is a few percentage points higher than the UK and they're a month better of than us along a wanning curve due to a later start.  If they've used a 4-week gap not a 12-week one like the UK that counts a bit the other way.   There may be demographic differences in the uptake with the UK that make a big difference. 

> Theoretically they should be in a similar boat to the UK in terms of 'killed loads of people off in the first wave' so the only big difference will be vaccination uptake / policy / type.

Don't forget this is the detected case fatality rate.  If they're detecting a lower fraction of infections, this CFR will be higher.  This drops out of the "extrapolated locked in" plots.

The CFR plot is not meant to be used to infer actual fatality of the virus; it's just not suitable for that.  It's meant to contextualise the case rates for which it's entirely suitable.

> In terms of Austria's lockdown prolonging the inevitable, I suspect it could be a 'save Christmas' thing - locking down now so they don't have to lockdown over xmas. 

Yes, the timing does look about right to have pre- and pos- Christmas lockdowns.  With a big spreading period in between.

> I would also be cautious about the UK's current failure to grow its cases - we're currently in the 'pre-xmas socialising lull'; once the party, shopping & carol service season kicks off things will inevitably ramp up, and ramp up they will given that people will look at UK stats and decide everything is OK.

For sure.  Lots more immunity to be generated in the mean time, but both the seasonality and the party season is against us.  Going to be some "making up for lost time" parties I reckon this year, and the gods alone know how the NHS is going to survive Black Eye Friday; I think pre-midnight closing on venues in that week could go a long way to helping healthcare out - not just due to Covid by any means.

Another reason to be cautious is the Sword of Damocles that is Influenza.

The UK is going in to winter in a very different position to its neighbours - in some ways better off, in others worse.  We need a sharp, responsive, clearly communicated, cogent and not ministerially-undermined policy to thread the needle through this winter.  Good thing there's been so much learning towards that over the last 18 months.

 elsewhere 22 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> "Probably by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said, pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead," Spahn says.

Nice clear language, but not what I want to hear as I have a couple of unvaxxed in-laws in Germany, both in their 50's.

 Offwidth 22 Nov 2021
In reply to elsewhere:

I think it is politicised foolishness that could well build the anger of the anti-vax groups and worse still swing some more vaccine hesitant their way. I've said before here that there are sub-groups of the unvaccinated being very careful, and some are sheilding. A minority in black, muslim and catholic populations in particular. Most of them won't be risking death by spring.

Changing the subject, the latest BBC news on a Red Cross survey shows changes can be made to reduce pressure on emergency services and emergency medicine.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-59351050

Post edited at 13:17
In reply to wintertree:

> We need a sharp, responsive, clearly communicated, cogent and not ministerially-undermined policy to thread the needle through this winter.  Good thing there's been so much learning towards that over the last 18 months.

I thought you said you had trouble with sarcasm...

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I thought you said you had trouble with sarcasm...

I think my problems start when subtly comes in to the equation...

In reply to MG:

> In reply to AJM, Wintertree et al,

> Can I suggest TiE is simply ignored on these threads? Engagement just derails everything.

I wouldn't want to disturb the English group think.

Here's a classic from the BBC.

"Hilde said the measure was needed because the vaccination rate in Austria was too low. About 65% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated - one of the lowest rates in Western Europe."

That's giving the impression that Austria is doing a lot worse than the UK and by implication that the English government is doing a good job.

What they don't say is 67.63% of the population in the UK are fully vaccinated. So there is only 2% in it and with laws designed to push people to get vaccinated Austria will close a 2% gap fast.

You guys are drinking the KoolAid.  The newspapers are owned by rich Tories and the BBC board is stuffed with Tory donors. They are selling a Tory Brexiteer narrative of English exceptionalism, UK government success and EU failure.

As for the CFR rates varying across countries, I can see three possible mechanisms that aren't being discussed:

1. A lot more of the people who would die if they caught Covid have already died in the UK.  2x the deaths per million of Germany.

2. The UK NHS is reconfigured as a result of Covid to a higher degree than the health services in countries with insurance funded systems and more ICU capacity.  Maybe the UK system is more effective for treating Covid or provides less opportunity for hospital acquired Covid in non Covid patients. This may be at the expense of not doing a lot of necessary work on other illnesses which will itself increase deaths, which wouldn't be booked as Covid deaths.

3. There may be different criteria for counting deaths as Covid deaths.

9
 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

You continue to ignore the most basic aspects off the data needed to understand this.

  • Vaccination differences - it's not about the top level number, it's about the de-mo-gra-phics. 
  • CFR - fraction of cases detected as infections varies wildly between different nations

> As for the CFR rates varying across countries, I can see three possible mechanisms that aren't being discussed:

  1. I've answered you on that several times in recent threads including this one.  You might wither read what I write or not make false claims about what's not being discussed.  I think this point is absolute tosh more commonly found in some mid-2020 era "Covid isn't real" denialism about why there were no more deaths to come; it's no more valid now than it was then.  A bit of first order thinking with known numbers shows you that.  Unless of course you deny the extensive literature on fatality rates etc. 
  2. Absolute bunch of tosh, do you really think German hospitals are 2.5x worse at saving lives from Covid?  They'd have to unlearn everything found since the start of the pandemic and probably slash their staffing and facilities levels to match the woeful state of the UK, and they'd still not do that badly.  
  3. With a 10x difference?

> You guys are drinking the KoolAid.

Back to the usual insults against everyone else rather than any sort of credible insight, rebuttal or other contribution?  Check.  

>  The newspapers are owned by rich Tories and the BBC board is stuffed with Tory donors. They are selling a Tory Brexiteer narrative of English exceptionalism, UK government success and EU failure.

I started heralding that parts of Europe were switching to exponential growth about 5.5 weeks ago, some time before the media picked it up.  So, before anyone sold me a narrative - I saw something in the data, I illustrated it, I tried to find interpretations for the differences that held up against the data, I shared them.

That's what I've always done.  It's not the first time this has triggered a credibility meltdown from yourself, but this is by far the most transparent and embarrassing.

Post edited at 16:36
2
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

I did not know that Tanni Grey Thompson was a stooge!!

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

The turn to decay is still receding at just less than 1 day/day with provisional data.  I may need to pull the leading edge of my plots back by a day with this increased provisionality and reign in my optimism a bit more...

The way its behaving feels a bit like there's a return to growth in store with the wings just landing; certainly not a tendency towards more rapid fall.

Looking at the demographic splits:

  • Cases in adults aged over 60 are moving to ever faster exponential decay (good).  There aren't so many of these cases, so they don't contribute that much to the top level rate constant.
  • Cases in school ages maxed out their rate constant a bit later than other ages, and so might go on to hit decay later - assuming they do hit decay of course.
  • Cases in ages 15-59 are not in decay yet, and may become a limiting factor

Looking at Plot D1.c the barycentre in children seems to be shifting down - which would fit with conditions more favourable to growth but more immunity in older children cancelling that out.  Perhaps the barycentre of the parental age infection is also moving down in age in tandem with this- easier to see from the red/blue colour distinction on the left side plot.  This is kind of born out by the plot showing the change in the normalised demographic probability distribution of cases.  Most of the change is in chid ages where it won't affect hospitalisation rates, but the change in adult ages is all good news in that respect.  But, tweaking at the edges for now.

The mental image I keep having for what I think is happening (rising transmissive pressure, shrinking susceptible pool) is a droplet of liquid nitrogen evaporating off under the Leidenfrost effect.  Not strictly compatible in terms of the mechanics mind you.

(*) - the turn to decay looks just under 2 days later in ages 0-14 than 15-59; tentatively this might suggest that the dominant transmissive route (not the only one) linking different households is currently not schools.   I'm straining the digital tea leaves pretty thin here (!), but it suggests some plan B measures like WFH and masking for appropriate venues could have a pretty potent effect right now.

Post edited at 17:00

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I wouldn't want to disturb the English group think.

> Here's a classic from the BBC.

> "Hilde said the measure was needed because the vaccination rate in Austria was too low. About 65% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated - one of the lowest rates in Western Europe."

> That's giving the impression that Austria is doing a lot worse than the UK and by implication that the English government is doing a good job.

> What they don't say is 67.63% of the population in the UK are fully vaccinated. So there is only 2% in it and with laws designed to push people to get vaccinated Austria will close a 2% gap fast.

Here’s a thought experiment for you Tom. There’s two countries, A and B. Both have 50% vaccination rates.

Country A has vaccinated the the most vulnerable 50% of the population. Country B has given doses out at random.

Which country would do better? Clue - the result wouldn’t be the same.

> As for the CFR rates varying across countries, I can see three possible mechanisms that aren't being discussed:

> 1. A lot more of the people who would die if they caught Covid have already died in the UK.  2x the deaths per million of Germany.

> 2. The UK NHS is reconfigured as a result of Covid to a higher degree than the health services in countries with insurance funded systems and more ICU capacity.  Maybe the UK system is more effective for treating Covid or provides less opportunity for hospital acquired Covid in non Covid patients. This may be at the expense of not doing a lot of necessary work on other illnesses which will itself increase deaths, which wouldn't be booked as Covid deaths.

> 3. There may be different criteria for counting deaths as Covid deaths.

Or the blindingly obvious one. Different countries test different amount of people…

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/daily-tests-per-thousand-people-smoothed-7-day
 

We’re testing about 3 times as much as Germany. Surprise surprise our CFR is about 3 times lower than Germany.

The elephant in the room is tooting it’s trumpet at you and you’re still looking for alternatives.

1
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> You guys are drinking the KoolAid.

You're drinking the Irn Bru...

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> You're drinking the Irn Bru...

I'm thinking of drinking some of the nut coffee I made last winter; I wish I'd put that thread in Off Belay now and not The Pub, some great responses. 

It's made using roast acorns.  Acorns from some English oak trees.  English oak trees that are growing in what (amazingly) is a Tory constituency.  

Suddenly everything becomes clear.  Tab Clear.

Edit:  I'm sat here singing Jerusalem and listening to my Tory mind control slug.  It's just suggested I post this article.  The rational corner of my brain that's holding out against the mind control slug is wondering why Zahawi is so confident, and if this comes down to scientific advice or hopeful thinking; enquiring minds want to know. 

Less flippantly - being the first across this particularly finishing line is by no means an uncontested measure of success; as I've said a few times - more haste and less speed.  Hare vs Tortoise and all that.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-59371347

Widespread adoption of vaccines could allow the UK to become the first country to exit the coronavirus pandemic, a senior government minister has said. 

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi tells LBC that a combination of natural immunity and the UK's high vaccination rate could allow the country to transition into a post coronavirus world before other countries. 

"Our four-step plan meant that we were able to open up the economy in the summer. Some said it was a mistake - I think it was absolutely the right thing to do," former vaccines minister Zahawi says. 

“We will probably, I hope, without being complacent, be the first major economy in the world to demonstrate how you transition [from] pandemic to endemic using vaccines."

A disease like Covid-19 becomes endemic when the virus becomes ever-present, but does not pose a societal threat.

Post edited at 17:11
 AJM 22 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> A lot more of the people who would die if they caught Covid have already died in the UK. 2x the deaths per million of Germany.

As I noted somewhere further up, looking specifically at care homes excess deaths make up something like 10-15% of the total care home population. So if one could for the sake of a simpler point ignore all the other turnover in care home population, you have about 85-90% of those most vulnerable people remaining.

If Germany had done twice as well in this specific sub sector, those numbers might look like 5-7.5% died and therefore 92.5-95% remaining.

That could justify a difference, perhaps, where German mortality in that subset now was 95/90 versus UK or 92.5/85 if you use the other end of the range, so let's say something like 5-10% heavier?

There's a huge amount of simplification in the example above but the more general point is that twice as many deaths then doesn't equate to half as many deaths now, because the exposure to deaths now is  driven by the probability of survival in the first wave which is 1-p(death). You would only get that relationship if the actual mortality rate is a lot higher than has been observed.

To get to half as many deaths now in the simple example, you would need 2/3rd of the vulnerable population to have died first time round, i think - UK would have 1/3 left, Germany would have 2/3 left and so would now be seeing twice as many deaths. 

In reply to wintertree:

> "Our four-step plan

They had a plan? With as many as four steps? Was this a plan before summer, or after?

Was point one of the plan 'drop the defensive shields'...?

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> They had a plan? With as many as four steps? Was this a plan before summer, or after?

After much confusion, I think this refers to their staged timetable for the release of control measures.  At the time it had the much more reasonable descriptions like "Roadmap out of lockdown" and "Four step roadmap".

ttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary

> Was point one of the plan 'drop the defensive shields'...?

Only once the enemy weapons fire had exhausted itself to the point the hull plating could survive the weapons fire for 9 months or so.  Only that hull plating is immunological and self-learning, in that sense it's more Borg than Federation.   Just think how much the Borg gained by allowing the Enterprise boarding party to beam on board.  Well, until side channel information leaks revealed their weakness and bit them in the arse.  Who knew that Star Trek was such a prescient lens for the immunology of a pandemic?

Two things really surprised me about Zahawi's comments:

  • There's no real question that the UK is further down the road to an immunological exit than many other nations - plenty of scope to argue that some of the reasons we came to be here make this a bad thing - but the situation itself seems pretty undeniable.
    • Calling this isn't particularly bold in isolation, but if it turns out we're about to go in to massive growth from the cold weather, he's going to look very foolish and this guy is no fool.  
    • So, does he have privileged information that makes him confident we're going to be fine over the next month, or is he just winging it?
  • His press comment recognises both natural and vaccine granted immunity, as per the bold in my re-posting of it.  His comment does this immediately before stating that he things re-opening the economy was "absolutely the right thing to do".
    • Unless I've missed it, this is the closest a senior minister has come to actually spelling out the plan (the actual plan, not the four-step roadmap into the plan).

I feel the need to repeat that I am horrified at the early scale of infection and deaths in the UK despite clear scientific evidence, and likewise at what transpired around October/December 2020.  I think the UK has been a stand-out failure for its people in terms of European democracies in that period.  I think a lot of the important infection granted immunity has probably landed post vaccination and post-Delta however, and that this was clearly only possible because of the stand-out success of the UK in engaging older people with vaccination, as well as the early vaccination progress and the immunogenic benefits of moving to a 12-week dose gap.  Even now, the messaging hasn't been very clear to more vulnerable people for some months, and I think (no proof) that this could have been handled better through better messaging and stronger legal support in a way that allowed the more vulnerable to better protect themselves through this transition.  

Edit: There's definitely some bug where some boldface text goes missing when posting...

Post edited at 18:05
In reply to wintertree:

> Only once the enemy weapons fire

I was thinking more 'an excellent suggestion, sir; with just two small problems...'

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I was thinking more 'an excellent suggestion, sir; with just two small problems...'

Ah, but you see, following advice from a thoughtful poster I am trying to show more respect for the United States and less for England.

What's maddening is that those two small problems were an entirely and trivially predictable consequence of this plan, and it doesn't seem to me like we've tried anything like hard enough to mitigate against them.

In reply to AJM:

I suspect prior infection is probably having a massive effect in the case of the UK. We can use the example of here in Guernsey - 93% of adults are double jabbed, 80% of 16&17yr olds and 50% of 12-15 yr olds single jabbed, 50% of >50s boosted.  I think it's something like 83%+ of total population is double jabbed, so our vaccinated demographic will be identical to the UK (JVCI recommendations were followed), but with higher penetration. However, we've had hardly any cases of infection compared to anywhere else due to eliminating the virus from the community (twice) - 3,245 cases out of 65k people since the start with a testing regime similar to mainland UK (and that's nearly doubled since September).  Our cases are rising more or less exponentially, but slower than Europe - the doubling period was about a week with a completely unrestricted society. We now have recommended but voluntary mask wearing and compulsory mask wearing in government buildings for adults. No sign of any lockdowns.

Edit - I think we've done a 6-10 week dose gap - because we'd done well with our vaccination programme we didn't need to extend the dose gap like the UK did to get first doses in. Most people down to 40 got AZ, <40s got Pfizer.  Boosters are virtually all Pfizer with a bit of Modena for those who can't have/don't want Pfizer. This is mainly because the Pfizer was ordered at the start but didn't arrive due to manufacturing issues, now it's here.

Post edited at 18:22
 FactorXXX 22 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> Edit: There's definitely some bug where some boldface text goes missing when posting...

Might be because you're viewing in 'Night Mode'.
I use 'Night Mode' and can't see any bold text in your post.  However, if I switch to 'Day Mode', then the bold text becomes more noticeable.

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Toerag:

> I suspect prior infection is probably having a massive effect in the case of the UK

When it comes to under 50s, the demographic breakdown of rate constants vs time seems utterly compelling to me.

But there's a clear distinction between

  • Immunogenic effects of prior infection - I think likely significantly reducing the engagement of younger people in catching and transmitting Covid and so lowering overall R and therefore overall exposure and death rate of older people.
  • Population culling effects as alluded to by TiE, meaning that sufficient vulnerable people are now dead, leading to a lower death rate.  This is absolutely not supported, and I thought AJMs take was a good way of expressing why.  

An interesting time on the Balliwick, your reports in previous interesting times have always I found been illuminating.  One of these days I'm going to go and visit the Channel Islands, I've long wanted to visit Sark in particular, and I rather like the idea of staging a one-man invasion of Jethou to restore the rabbit population - as so lovingly hand drawn by previous residents in this map - https://stampaday.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/isle-of-jethou-bf-10-1961/

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Might be because you're viewing in 'Night Mode'.

> I use 'Night Mode' and can't see any bold text in your post.  However, if I switch to 'Day Mode', then the bold text becomes more noticeable.

Interesting, and thanks for the suggestion.

This is slightly different though, some bold text in my post makes it through, and some doesn't. 

I've never got the hang of this "night mode" trend.  I'm increasingly worried that I'm loosing any ability to adapt to change and am going to be shouting "get off my lawn" before much longer...

 AJM 22 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

>  but if it turns out we're about to go in to massive growth from the cold weather, he's going to look very foolish and this guy is no fool

In the interests of proving this isn't some sort of wild English pro-Tory group think, I feel the need to call for further evidence before I can buy into those last five words! Occam's razor for me is still saying optimistic boosterism!

In reply to AJM:

> As I noted somewhere further up, looking specifically at care homes excess deaths make up something like 10-15% of the total care home population. So if one could for the sake of a simpler point ignore all the other turnover in care home population, you have about 85-90% of those most vulnerable people remaining.

That's what you said but I don't think it is correct.

Even in care homes it's only a fraction of residents who are specifically vulnerable to Covid to the point they will die if they catch it.  Far more residents caught it than died from it. 

So because we let Covid run riot in care homes a lot of the residents most vulnerable to Covid died and many of the rest caught it and now have post infection immunity as well as any vaccination immunity. We probably also learned a fair bit about how to control Covid in care homes.  There's multiple reasons why after that experience the UK may have lower fatalities in that population than countries which didn't go through it.

In reply to wintertree:

> An interesting time on the Balliwick, your reports in previous interesting times have always I found been illuminating.  One of these days I'm going to go and visit the Channel Islands, I've long wanted to visit Sark in particular, and I rather like the idea of staging a one-man invasion of Jethou to restore the rabbit population - as so lovingly hand drawn by previous residents in this map - https://stampaday.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/isle-of-jethou-bf-10-1961/

I'd not seen that! I'm not sure if Jethou currently has rabbits or not, I'll ask. It does have some of our few remaining Puffins, and it's regularly used to release poorly seals back into the wild once they're back up to strength.  Happy to help when you get round to visiting

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to AJM:

> In the interests of proving this isn't some sort of wild English pro-Tory group think, I feel the need to call for further evidence before I can buy into those last five words! Occam's razor for me is still saying optimistic boosterism!

Come within range and my mind control slug will explain all.

As the minister in charge of the vaccine program he's overseen one of the most stand out successful parts of the UK response and one of the most sucesful vaccine roll outs internationally.  

In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> We’re testing about 3 times as much as Germany. Surprise surprise our CFR is about 3 times lower than Germany.

Just as well the Tories have a plan to fix that - shutting down test and trace.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/test-trace-set-scrapheap-thousands-25507875

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Toerag:

> I'd not seen that! I'm not sure if Jethou currently has rabbits or not, I'll ask. 

(Dark mode activated)

It used to.  

> It does have some of our few remaining Puffins

Oh no, what's happening to your puffins?

 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Even in care homes it's only a fraction of residents who are specifically vulnerable to Covid to the point they will die if they catch it.  Far more residents caught it than died from it. 

Do you have any proof that the risk factor is primarily longitudinal (i.e. that it is associated with an individual, supports your view) or that it is primarily random (pot luck, supports AJM's view)?

Any serious infection has a reasonable chance of killing a care home resident.  It could be their viral load at exposure that determines lethality, not their medical history, for example.  On balance of probabilities I think your interpretation is rather unlikely, but I don't actually know so I'm keeping an open mind.

Put up or shut up.  There's no place for baseless, one-sided speculation here.  If I give an interpretation that I can't evidence, I think long and hard about the alternative and give that too if there's no proof.  You reach in to the grab bag and pull out only those aligned with your pre-concieved bias as AJM so eloquently noted up thread.

In reply to AJM:

He seems pretty switched on to me to be honest.

Plus as wintertree pointed out he does have access to all/ any information that he could possible want with unlimited scientific analysis on tap.

”Natural Immunity” has started to creep into discussions in the UK now. I keep banging the drum for it, but people keep shouting back “vaccines, vaccines, vaccines”. I suspect they’ll change their tunes soon.

If we survive the next cold snap without clear exponential growth, I’m going to call it and say the pandemic is over in the UK.

2
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

As I’ve said before, test and trace is our remaining control measure and it will have a significant impact on the R rate.

It has to go eventually for Covid to become truest endemic. To be honest that timeline looks sensible to me as long as there’s background testing going on to identify variants of concern.

I suspect they’re just flying the kite at the moment (as I linked a few weeks ago the testing contracts run to next summer).

1
In reply to wintertree:

> Absolute bunch of tosh, do you really think German hospitals are 2.5x worse at saving lives from Covid?  They'd have to unlearn everything found since the start of the pandemic and probably slash their staffing and facilities levels to match the woeful state of the UK, and they'd still not do that badly.  

That is not what I said. What I said was the UK has shut down a lot of normal hospital work which is still going on in Germany. That could mean excess non-covid deaths in the UK but also, because  sick people with other conditions are still getting into hospital where they could potentially catch Covid more Covid deaths in Germany.

I don't understand the CFR, there are many possible factors, I think the English are being lazy and assuming an explanation which lets them believe their 'just let everyone catch it policy' is working.

3
In reply to wintertree:

> Put up or shut up.  There's no place for baseless, one-sided speculation here. 

We are both speculating. You have no proof of what is causing the CFR difference either. All I am doing is chucking some more theories into the mix to point out that the 'we've only got more cases because we do more testing' theory isn't the only way to explain the CFR.

5
 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> ”Natural Immunity” has started to creep into discussions in the UK now. I keep banging the drum for it, but people keep shouting back “vaccines, vaccines, vaccines”. I suspect they’ll change their tunes soon.

Inseparable.

The only reason we've been able to get sufficient of the former is by having almost enough of the later.  Gaps in the latter are absolutely hammering intensive care by many accounts.  The quote from the German health minister is brutal in terms of where they are with vaccines (demographically speaking) and it's not clear to me that they'll actually be able to do it the hard way this winter.  They need more vaccine up take - both on individual and societal grounds.

> If we survive the next cold snap without clear exponential growth, I’m going to call it and say the pandemic is over in the UK.

Yes, I think this is the critical moment.  The tension rises by the day.  Which leads me on to...

In reply to tom_in_edinbrugh:

> Just as well the Tories have a plan to fix that - shutting down test and trace.

One day, the pandemic is going to end and things will move on.  We all have to accept that.  

I actually want to see the capacity preservde but expanded to a broader screening platform (more pathogens, lower throughput ) to do better disease surveillance across the country to get a better handle on things.  I don't think the scientific body is anywhere close to mining all the value in the data this pandemic has given us, that will go on to provide so much insight in to improving public health for the next generation.  There's probably a decade ahead of us working through this data; it seems a great shame to shut it all down now.  If we'd had a 12-month instrumentation of flu or RSV prevalence at this level before Covid hit and had done the epidemiology to figure out causal mechanisms, the things it would have told us about what to prioritise...

It's like my contact working in Planetary Defence - we need a lot more horizon scanning for Great Filter events, and the infrastructure that has been built has immense potential; as with inert threats (i.e. rocks, not aliens) to planetary security, we're at the point with the life sciences where we are not masters of our own destiny, but where we have the means and the motivation to fix problems, for which horizon scanning is a big boost.

2
 wintertree 22 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> We are both speculating. You have no proof of what is causing the CFR difference either. All I am doing is chucking some more theories into the mix to point out that the 'we've only got more cases because we do more testing' theory isn't the only way to explain the CFR.

Put up or shut up.

You are endlessly giving one-sided speculation in support of your fixed, pre-conceived world view.  

> All I am doing is chucking some more theories into the mix to point out that the 'we've only got more cases because we do more testing' theory isn't the only way to explain the CFR.

You're pulling theories out of magic bag that don't stand up to even the most basic tests.  For example...

> That could mean excess non-covid deaths in the UK but also, because  sick people with other conditions are still getting into hospital where they could potentially catch Covid more Covid deaths in Germany.

Some of the worst grasping at straws yet.  It doesn't take much effort looking at the data at all to understand that hospital transmitted Covid is not a key driver of this pandemic at this point.

So, now you're claiming German hospitals are killing 2.5x as many people as English ones because they're worse at infection control?  I don't know if I should laugh or cry.  I really don't.

You might claim it's only a small effect, but then you're reduced to cherry picking a dozen or so small effects to explain away the rather more obvious differences.

1
 AJM 22 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

I never had any doubt you wouldn't think it correct, because it doesn't support your view!

Unless the Germans are dealing with covid worse in their care homes than us, which violates your "the Germans are doing it better" principle, they should also have picked up anything worth knowing on how to manage covid in care homes and regardless of prior infection residents in both countries should be more or less fully vaccinated anyway, so those are unlikely to be particularly dramatic reasons for difference. And none of those are related to your point about people being already dead - quoted below to remind you what your initial argument was as it inevitably morphs to justify the same conclusion.

> A lot more of the people who would die if they caught Covid have already died in the UK. 2x the deaths per million of Germany.

I'm not sure it's helpful or accurate (well, it isn't) to think of a "they will die if they catch it" binary cutoff. It will always kill a proportion of the people it infects. Either way, sure, there might be a bias in who dies, but half the point of the example was to demonstrate how big such effects would have to be to drive a significant difference now.

1
 mondite 22 Nov 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> ”Natural Immunity” has started to creep into discussions in the UK now. I keep banging the drum for it, but people keep shouting back “vaccines, vaccines, vaccines”.

I do like the "natural immunity" vs "catch it at least once". Sounds so much more optimistic and skips over those who just get "natural death" rather than "natural immunity".

1
In reply to mondite:

If you want to critique natural immunity as being key to exiting the pandemic you really ought to explain why we don’t have exponential growth at the moment, but all of Europe does.

Covid isn’t going away. Unless you have sufficiently high immunity you will catch it eventually.

1
 mondite 22 Nov 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> Covid isn’t going away. Unless you have sufficiently high immunity you will catch it eventually.

Hmm so how can we reduce the chances of it killing me when I do catch it? Possibly by taking a vaccine to prep my immune system to respond quicker than it would with something novel?

Which is the entire problem of people ranting about "natural immunity" and attacking vaccination. You dont have the latter then you are going to have a serious bodycount achieving your "natural immunity".

1
In reply to mondite:

So obviously everyone should get vaccinated. I hope that’s very very obvious to anyone reading what I’m saying. I am in no way arguing against vaccination.

My point is that vaccination based immunity bolstered by natural immunity is the way out of the pandemic. Vaccines alone look unlikely to be enough.

To me this is the key differences between the UK and the rest of Europe and why we’re in a different place right now.

2
 mondite 22 Nov 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> My point is that vaccination based immunity bolstered by natural immunity is the way out of the pandemic.

So when you say natural immunity exactly what are you meaning? Since if it is on top of vaccination then it aint natural immunity but a hybrid.

4
 Misha 22 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

May be just ignore TIE. It worked with other pesky posters. 

1
In reply to wintertree:

> In reply to tom_in_edinbrugh:

> > Just as well the Tories have a plan to fix that - shutting down test and trace.

> One day, the pandemic is going to end and things will move on.  We all have to accept that.  

That's true, but we clearly are not there at the moment and we may not be there for quite a long time. 

I agree with you that the thing to do is repurpose test and trace rather than shut it down. As long as you have all that kit why not use it for other diseases and get some benefit while maintaining an organisation so you don't need to start from scratch if there is a new Covid variant.

The Tories want rid of it for three reasons:

a. if you aren't counting it's easier to pretend there isn't a problem

b. they are run by bankers who only care about short term costs

c. and this is the most important factor IMHO. If they scrap it and the people are gone, offices shut and computers sold off or scrapped it's easy to lose all the records which would be of interest to investigators.  Shutting it down covers their tracks on the tens of billions they spent.

3
 Misha 23 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> Kudos to the German health minister for not mincing his words:

I saw that earlier and thought - wish our government had the guts and honesty to say that. With some stats on how many apparently healthy 42 year olds end up in hospital…

I’ve had a cold for the past few days and have effectively been isolating. After some reflection, got a PCR on Sunday, not had it back yet (“after reflection” because I figured it was just a cold and didn’t really tick the boxes on the narrow range of official symptoms for getting a PCR but in the end figured I’d better find out, partly because I’d like to get to the wall once recovered and partly because I’d need to defer the booster if positive). There must be plenty of people in that situation with more colds going round and I wonder if more cases (at least in absolute terms) are getting missed as a result.

This effectively wrote off my weekend as there was no point going to the wall or outdoors even if I wanted to - nothing worse than exercise when ill. This has made thing that I really don’t want to catch Covid, even if it’s mild… though your earlier point about regularly topping up immunity with mild illnesses does make sense. This is probably the first cold I’ve had for 18 months and it’s been no worse than usual, which is to say annoying…

It also made me think that I’m not in a hurry to go to a pub again as I probably caught it in a pub after going there for the first time in 4 months. Or else it was at the wall but that’s more important than the pub!

Post edited at 00:07
1
In reply to wintertree:

> You might claim it's only a small effect, but then you're reduced to cherry picking a dozen or so small effects to explain away the rather more obvious differences.

There are many differences between the countries and it doesn't need to be a single factor which explains the CFR. 

Here's another one: it's a fair bit colder in Berlin and Salzburg than London.

UK case numbers being higher because there is actually more Covid is a more reasonable explanation than UK case numbers being higher because of more testing. My daughter lives in Berlin, she is double jagged, she's been asked to work from home wherever possible and to do a test every time she goes to the office.  They've got proper mask rules and vaccine/test checks to get into shops.  In England nobody gives a f*ck any more I wouldn't be surprised if the number of tests being done properly was a lot lower than the number of results reported.  The English government are encouraging people not to take it seriously.

10
 Misha 23 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Good summary of this thread / more Tory propaganda here. Interesting point about behaviour and availability of LFDs. Perhaps not really Freedom Day after all…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-59378849

2
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

If you wanted to understand the situation, you could look at the ONS surveillance reports, and then the testing rates, positivity rates, deaths, hospitalisations and case counts, all available on owid for both countries. Give it a moment's thought and you'll have trouble rationalising this opinion.

If you didn't want to understand, you could respond with one of your excellent and insightful "I'm not looking at that I'm only looking at this and it shows what I want it to show blaarrrrrrghnarr the tories fnarrrgghhh" monologues.

1
 Si dH 23 Nov 2021
In reply to Misha:

> Good summary of this thread / more Tory propaganda here. Interesting point about behaviour and availability of LFDs. Perhaps not really Freedom Day after all…

I thought the article was spot on, it's definitely not Tory propaganda?

Also found the linked LSHTM pre print very interesting:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.11.10.21266166v1

"We estimate the potential remaining COVID-19 burden in 19 European countries by estimating the proportion of each country’s population that has acquired immunity to severe disease through infection or vaccination...."

What's interesting is that they did this without using case data (and therefore without testing biases). They instead inferred IFR and past infection rates in each country from death rates, vaccination rates and published efficacy data, all in an age-stratified way as a function of time.

 wintertree 23 Nov 2021
In reply to Misha:

That’s an excellent write up from Triggle, if he keeps this up I’ll have nothing to add.   Except Tory propaganda, obviously.

You can see the deaths dropping to a lower exponential than cases for Germany on his plots too; demographic shift or new therapeutics?  I may have to go hunting for demographic data.

That plot from LSHTM is stark, an 8x difference in the estimate size of the susceptible pool (normalised to population) between England and Germany/Netherlands. Also, taken with cases, perhaps suggests Hungary may be the first nation to exit the pandemic phase the hard way.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

What about former East German areas?

In reply to Si dH:

> I thought the article was spot on, it's definitely not Tory propaganda?

It's subtle Tory propaganda, it frames everything in a positive way for England and the Tories without out and out lying.  It mentions the negatives but spends less words and buries it in part of the article that gets less attention.  The old 'spin it positive, mention the negative, spin it positive again' selling strategy.

They are basically saying England is less f*cked because the Tories cleverly decided to get f*cked already.  They don't mention that Germany is only 0.3% behind the UK on 2nd jabs and they don't give enough attention to it not needing 3rd jabs yet because it did the 2nd ones less than 6 months ago and used a more effective vaccine.   

They definitely don't point out there have been 2x the deaths per million in the UK compared to Germany because that would f*ck up all their positive spin.  They don't talk about nearly 1 million cases of long covid due to the let's all just catch it wheeze.

And they don't mention that with new therapeutics becoming available the nations which delay going through this may well have much lower death rates.

14
In reply to neilh:

> What about former East German areas?

Obviously some of them are deprived compared to the West and have more right wing idiots.  Some of them have had a ton of money spent and are quite nice now. My daughter is living in what was the East German part of Berlin.  From everything I hear she's safer from Covid there than she would be in the UK.  She gets healthcare appointments quickly, she got jagged faster than she would have been in the UK and the Covid precautions are at a higher level than in Scotland.

1
 wintertree 23 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

It’s a factual recognition of where we are presented with compelling evidence.

Bias would be making a case that the way we got here was good / bad.  The article makes no such case either way.  You in your post claiming bias make a judgement in one particular direction; one that more here agree with than disagree with I suspect.  

You have a serious inability to separate recognising an evidenced position from endorsing or opposing how we got to that position.

1
 Si dH 23 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> It's subtle Tory propaganda, it frames everything in a positive way for England and the Tories without out and out lying.  It mentions the negatives but spends less words and buries it in part of the article that gets less attention.  The old 'spin it positive, mention the negative, spin it positive again' selling strategy.

I think you have to be paranoid to see it that way. There isn't even a political side to the article. Certainly no spin. It simply poses the question of whether we are likely to see a big wave of infections and then goes through the data and logic available to answer it.

> They are basically saying England is less f*cked because the Tories cleverly decided to get f*cked already.  They don't mention that Germany is only 0.3% behind the UK on 2nd jabs

It isn't a comparison of who is doing 'better' in any way. The article doesn't present comparisons of second jab rates. If it *had* mentioned that figure, you would undoubtedly have criticised it for only presenting data that makes England look good and complained that it didn't show how many people we have already killed.

> and they don't give enough attention to it not needing 3rd jabs yet because it did the 2nd ones less than 6 months ago

The article mentions precisely that factor. However I assume you have sufficient understanding to realise that waning immunity is a continuum, not a cliff edge. So by circumstance it does mean our vaccinated older population are now on average less likely to be hospitalised than those in Europe.

> They definitely don't point out there have been 2x the deaths per million in the UK compared to Germany because that would f*ck up all their positive spin.

Oh, I see you did mention that anyway. Predictable. It's completely irrelevant to the question the article is posing. It's not a political article and it's not trying to work out what country is doing 'better', it's just trying to help people understand whether we are likely to see another big wave of infection that could put us back into lockdown this winter. For normal people, that's what matters most at this point in time. When it comes to the inquiry or the election, by all means make your point.

> They don't talk about nearly 1 million cases of long covid due to the let's all just catch it wheeze.

See above.

> And they don't mention that with new therapeutics becoming available the nations which delay going through this may well have much lower death rates.

I think the article is predicated on everything happening in the next couple of months due to winter. And again, it doesn't actually affect the answer to the question posed.

Overall, once again you are ignoring what the purpose of the article actually is and trying to frame it as something else just to make a political point.

Post edited at 09:42
1
In reply to Si dH:

> I think you have to be paranoid to see it that way. There isn't even a political side to the article. Certainly no spin. It simply poses the question of whether we are likely to see a big wave of infections and then goes through the data and logic available to answer it.

No, you have to be realistic of how the BBC works. It does things subtly, it's about what it doesn't say, what it says in the prominent parts of the article it expects to get read and how it frames things.

So many English media outlets are making comments like 'Germany and Austria have some of the worst vaccination rates in Western Europe' - BBC, Guardian, even Channel 4 - and not saying the fully vaccinated rate in Germany is only 0.3% lower than the UK.  It's subtle bias, saying what the government and owners want to hear and also what most English people want to believe.

10
 Si dH 23 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Some people on the left like to complain the BBC are Tory cronies.

Some people on the right like to complain the BBC are Labour-supporting socialists.

I've always considered myself left-of-centre and have always thought the BBC does a good overall job of presenting a neutral picture. Occasionally they make mistakes but in general they are by far the least biased news source available in the UK. I also read the Guardian fairly regularly but recognise that much of what it writes has a strong political undercurrent, that's not the case in BBC articles at all.

 wintertree 23 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

> I think the article is predicated on everything happening in the next couple of months due to winter.

Somewhat reinforced by the German minister’s quote elsewhere.

Wiith one of the two “big news” antivirals still being under EMA review and the other not even submitted yet, that sense of urgency doesn’t really come through on all fronts.

https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/human-regulatory/overview/public-health-threats/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/treatments-vaccines/covid-19-treatments

 wintertree 23 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

 and not saying the fully vaccinated rate in Germany is only 0.3% lower than the UK.

De-mo-gra-phics

1
 jimtitt 23 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> It’s a factual recognition of where we are presented with compelling evidence.

> Bias would be making a case that the way we got here was good / bad.  The article makes no such case either way.  You in your post claiming bias make a judgement in one particular direction; one that more here agree with than disagree with I suspect.  

> You have a serious inability to separate recognising an evidenced position from endorsing or opposing how we got to that position.

Hmm, well bias is one thing, positive messaging another. One could well rewrite the article by pointing out that countries that kept restrictions in place through the summer relieved the pressure on the health system and ICU's leaving both the health system and the general population in a better place for the winter. That the Covid death rate in the UK since 1st June has been nearly double that of Germany for example is only vaguely mentioned.

6
 wintertree 23 Nov 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> That the Covid death rate in the UK since 1st June has been nearly double that of Germany for example is only vaguely mentioned.

This looks astoundingly clear to me as recognising the UK has had it worse:

But Dr Chapman also points out this has come at a price - the high rates of infection have resulted in a greater amount of serious illness and death in recent months than many of our Western European neighbours.

As does the second graph in the article.

No, they don’t give numerical “2x” comparisons to specific countries; I shy away from those too.  The plots in there make it astounding clear that it’s the area under the eventual curves that’s important, and that the situations are rapidly - and diverging - different in a way that makes a comparison right now basically meaningless.  Now is a spectacularly inappropriate time - statistically speaking - for “mine is bigger than yours” games over the numbers. 

> One could well rewrite the article by pointing out that countries that kept restrictions in place through the summer relieved the pressure on the health system and ICU's leaving both the health system and the general population in a better place for the winter. 

The article is talking about where we are going.  Plenty of other articles have covered how we have got here.

1
 Si dH 23 Nov 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> Hmm, well bias is one thing, positive messaging another. One could well rewrite the article by pointing out that countries that kept restrictions in place through the summer relieved the pressure on the health system and ICU's leaving both the health system and the general population in a better place for the winter. That the Covid death rate in the UK since 1st June has been nearly double that of Germany for example is only vaguely mentioned.

You just made the same mistake as Tom. The point of the article was to answer the question "is the UK likely to see a big wave of infection leading to lockdown over winter, given what is happening in Europe?" not "is the UK doing a good job in the pandemic?" The hospital occupancy has some relevance and perhaps could have been mentioned because it will influence decisions about lockdown* if we do indeed see a big wave, but the past death rate is completely irrelevant.

* edit - Off the topic of the article, but if your health minister genuinely thinks everyone in Germany will be either vaccinated or infected in the coming 2-3 months, then that's essentially a tacit admission that the low level restrictions in recent months have been a bad idea, despite the benefit to current occupancy levels. Vaccination coverage hasn't moved very much in the last 2-3 months and spreading of the infections pre winter is definitely preferable to putting it all in November-February if you think the total infection load is essentially pre-ordained (which is what he implies.)

Post edited at 10:22
1
 aksys 23 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

This free online talk might be of interest to posters on this thread.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/data-deaths-and-covid-19-tickets-198312266327

Why delays in UK Government action led to unnecessary deaths at the start of the pandemic, CDAS in conversation with Dr Kit Yates*

Date and time

Thu, Nov 25, 2021, 7:00 PM 

*Dr Kit Yates is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and co-director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Bath. Alongside his academic position, Kit is also an author and science communicator. His first book, The Maths of Life and Death, is about the places where maths can have an impact on our everyday lives without us even realising it.

 wintertree 23 Nov 2021
In reply to aksys:

> This free online talk might be of interest to posters on this thread.

Nobody disagrees that that UK has had a lot of deaths at the start of the pandemic that are widely viewed as unnecessary.  As far as I can tell almost everyone to have expressed any comment on this ever has been scathingly critical of deaths at the start of the pandemic and the government's role. I think everyone is in total agreement that the early pandemic was a train wreck for the UK.

It's always good to see credible scientists in directly relevant fields pushing this message publicly.  I hope it comes through with equal clarity and weight of responsibility at the eventual public inquiry.

This is all however very different to the situation of post-vaccination spread of the Delta variant.  It's the last few months where big differences have been getting baked in under the surface, and this is now boiling up in to a maelstrom.

Post edited at 10:45
1
 Duncan Bourne 23 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

re-boosters: I had mine today and I am pleased to say it was a much more organised affair than the clusterf*ck I took my father to a month ago. Well organised. A thumbs up

 aksys 23 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> > This free online talk might be of interest to posters on this thread.

> Nobody disagrees that that UK has had a lot of deaths at the start of the pandemic that are widely viewed as unnecessary.  As far as I can tell almost everyone to have expressed any comment on this ever has been scathingly critical of deaths at the start of the pandemic and the government's role. I think everyone is in total agreement that the early pandemic was a train wreck for the UK.

> It's always good to see credible scientists in directly relevant fields pushing this message publicly.  I hope it comes through with equal clarity and weight of responsibility at the eventual public inquiry.

Agreed, but I suspect the discussion may lead on to the current situation in the UK as well.

> This is all however very different to the situation of post-vaccination spread of the Delta variant.  It's the last few months where big differences have been getting baked in under the surface, and this is now boiling up in to a maelstrom.

Indeed, one thing that seems to have escaped comment in the latest posts on this thread is the demographic data on groups with low levels of vaccination. Looking at cumulative cases for England, ‘Cases by age and sex’ and ‘Cases rates by age and sex’ are now higher in the 10-14 and 15-19 age groups than in any other group.

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases?areaType=nation&areaName=England

I’m not sure how this compares with other European counties and how this will affect how things will pan out over the rest of the winter. 

Personally, I think the UK should have acted earlier to vaccinate secondary age children to prevent them getting infected now and in the future to reduce the chance of unforeseen consequences.

2
 Si dH 23 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> The situation here is like conducting a debate on Intel vs AMD processors with somebody who works for Intel marketing. You are going to lose because that guy spends a big chunk of his life rehearsing arguments for Intel's side of the case and will spend hours 'refuting' any point you make. It doesn't mean he is right. If he was arguing with the guy from AMD marketing or ARM marketing with the same job he'd lose.

Hi Tom, here is some AZ marketing in the news for you to chew on. Thought you might like it.

"The boss of pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca says its coronavirus vaccine - developed with Oxford University - may have played a key role in reducing Covid-related hospitalisations in the UK.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Pascal Soriot says that while the UK - where there was widespread use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine - saw a big peak of Covid infections, there were "not so many [Covid-related] hospitalisations relative to Europe" where other coronavirus vaccines were more widely used.

He claims that while more data is needed for analysis, AstraZeneca's jab has "been shown to stimulate T-cells [part of the immune system which defends the body against specific infections] to a higher degree in older people" and so Covid hospitalisations in the UK have been limited.

The AstraZeneca chief executive was speaking as the firm unveils a £1bn research facility in Cambridge today - a project Soriot says he hopes will break new boundaries in medicine.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca jab is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) from chimpanzees.

It has been modified to contain genetic material shared by the coronavirus - although it can't cause the illness.

Once injected, it teaches the body's immune system how to fight the real virus."

1
 wintertree 23 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

Interesting; thanks. 

From a noddy perspective, we perhaps shouldn't be so surprised that a vaccine that looks and acts more like a "real" virus evokes additional responses - for example from the T-cells - than something that is a greatly simplified construct.

There's a lot of voodoo involved in triggering the signalling pathways that initiate various different immune responses.  That I think is what sets Valneva apart from other inactivated-whole virus vaccines for example; the adjuvant is is almost as important a part as the antigen, and one thing about a live viral host that doesn't engage in immune suppression is that it's its own adjuvant...

I look forwards to reading the eventual detailed analysis and publication.

In reply to Aksys:

> Indeed, one thing that seems to have escaped comment in the latest posts on this thread is the demographic data on groups with low levels of vaccination. Looking at cumulative cases for England, ‘Cases by age and sex’ and ‘Cases rates by age and sex’ are now higher in the 10-14 and 15-19 age groups than in any other group.

I've commented on the demographic shift within that age range, and there's been discussion over publications on the strength of natural immunity induced, and discussions over the pros/cons of JCVIs more cautious approach.  There's been I think a brief mention of RSV - looking in to the annual hospitalisation and death rates for children - infants in particular - from RSV is worthwhile for context I think.

> I’m not sure how this compares with other European counties and how this will affect how things will pan out over the rest of the winter. 

It's been discussed; any attempt at nuance becomes polarised and triggers pages of guff...

Post edited at 13:00
 AJM 23 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

> Broadly speaking, whatever the English are doing are bad, the Germans are bound to be doing it better, Scotland is either taking a better approach or is hampered by Westminster from doing so, high cases are bad.

Seeing your excerpt above Si I realise I missed the fifth key principle from my list above, which is that AZ is a second rate vaccine (probably interaction here with principle 1 and 2, given AZ vaccine has roots in Oxford and Pfizer is German. I think it stands alone as a separate principle though, not just a variation).

Your excerpt appears to violate principle 1 and principle 5 simultaneously, and perhaps principle 2 too by inference. I predict a strong response!

1
 wintertree 23 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> >  and not saying the fully vaccinated rate in Germany is only 0.3% lower than the UK.

> De-mo-gra-phics

I made it in to a song to help people remember it.  I could do with some help on line 3 from any more proficient linguists out there.

Demo-grahpic, Demo-graphic,
Où es-tu, Où es-tu?
diabolique dans les détails, diabolique dans les détails
Din, don, din. Din, don, din.

1
 jimtitt 23 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

> You just made the same mistake as Tom. The point of the article was to answer the question "is the UK likely to see a big wave of infection leading to lockdown over winter, given what is happening in Europe?" not "is the UK doing a good job in the pandemic?" The hospital occupancy has some relevance and perhaps could have been mentioned because it will influence decisions about lockdown* if we do indeed see a big wave, but the past death rate is completely irrelevant.

The positivity is what importance one applies to avoiding a lockdown or around 10,000 deaths. Whether the UK avoids restrictions or the death toll in Germany catches up is pure speculation, even the article says so. The winter is long ( infact not even started) and there's plenty of time for another wave in both countries.

4
In reply to wintertree:

No sign of anything like new rules. But today there's new messaging in England - take a test if going somewhere crowded - and slightly stronger messaging in NI - wfh, meet outdoors. Some softening up going on ready for plan B?  I doubt if the message will have any effect in England, at any rate.

In reply to jimtitt:

Whatever happens I have learnt to be a bit humble about Covid.

I had my booster today, the centre was fully booked and no "none" shows. Alot of people are taking it seriously.

 Offwidth 23 Nov 2021
In reply to BusyLizzie:

Indeed! Another example is I saw a government public health announcement on the BBC on the importance of ventilation to prevent covid infection...thought I was dreaming for a while...

Post edited at 17:11
 kirsten 23 Nov 2021
In reply to BusyLizzie:

> No sign of anything like new rules. But today there's new messaging in England - take a test if going somewhere crowded - and slightly stronger messaging in NI - wfh, meet outdoors. Some softening up going on ready for plan B?  I doubt if the message will have any effect in England, at any rate.

Remember a few months back when that was absolutely not how we were meant to be using the home tests?  - false sense of security and all that.

 girlymonkey 23 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Just flagging up another potential sock puppet account who might suddenly migrate here with some superior knowledge about why you are very wrong!

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/destinations/moving_to_france_in_order_to_climb_more_what_is_the_ideal_location-741408

1
In reply to wintertree:

> I made it in to a song to help people remember it.  I could do with some help on line 3 from any more proficient linguists out there.

> Demo-grahpic, Demo-graphic,

Whether or not your point on demographics is correct it is irrelevant to my point about the bias of the BBC and the UK media.  Demographics is your thing, the UK media are talking about headline vaccination numbers.

They are saying Germany has one of the worst fully vaccinated rates in Western Europe.  Germany's fully vaccinated rate is only 0.3% lower than the UK's.  The UK press are intentionally creating a misleading impression and they are doing it as part of a narrative that the UK is doing things better than the EU.  

6
In reply to Si dH:

> Some people on the left like to complain the BBC are Tory cronies.

> Some people on the right like to complain the BBC are Labour-supporting socialists.

The BBC's 'we should be somewhere between Conservatives and Labour and closer to whichever party is in power because they control our board and our money' is biased as f*ck.  It's basically saying there is a two party duopoly and if the Tories and Labour agree on something e.g. Brexit or Scottish Independence the BBC should be overtly in that corner.

The 'we did vaccination better than the EU' thing has become part of the national narrative and the BBC has no interest in being sceptical.

8
In reply to Si dH:

> Hi Tom, here is some AZ marketing in the news for you to chew on. Thought you might like it.

LOL, this will be why the UK needs to rush the third jags because immunity is fading so fast.

8
 Snyggapa 23 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> LOL, this will be why the UK needs to rush the third jags because immunity is fading so fast.

may nor may not be true, but please start your own "this is where we are and why we got here" thread rather than jump in on a "this is where we are and where we might be going" thread - it would make for much better and focused discussion rather than interrupting this one

1
In reply to girlymonkey:

It’s been a Bumper Few Days for newbies. Bring ‘em on !!

1
In reply to wintertree:

> > It does have some of our few remaining Puffins

> Oh no, what's happening to your puffins?

Nothing in particular, but their numbers are very slowly dwindling and we don't have that many anyway - 20-odd pairs?  I suspect much of the issue is a) disturbance from boats in the areas they like to raft up in, b) possibly climate change c) more frequent bad weather. Their main food source sandeels are still reasonably plentiful as we've never had industrial fishing for them here.

 Misha 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

I was joking about Tory propaganda. Just alluding to how a certain poster might interpret it. Edit - and how he did interpret it. 

Post edited at 00:45
 Misha 24 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Back to the numbers. The headline numbers seem to be ticking up despite the recent unseasonally warm weather. Doesn’t bode well for the cold spell. I wonder why this is, given the strong correlation previously. I know there’s a lot under the surface in terms of demographics. Perhaps the reason is that it’s increasingly school kids driving the headline numbers and obviously they’re hanging out together regardless of the weather. 

 Misha 24 Nov 2021
In reply to kirsten:

I thought the messaging was always to use LFDs for regular checks while asymptomatic. Tweaking that to suggest using them before attending events, just as a load of events are about to hit people’s calendars, doesn’t seem to be that much of a change. I may be misremembering the previous messaging. Hard to remember all the twists and turns.  

In reply to AJM:

I'll do it for you:

1. Whatever the English are doing is almost certainly bad, because they are governed by incompetent and corrupt scum who have already caught Covid themselves and are quite happy to let everyone else get it too.

2. Scientific advice from people who get appointed under the nepotistic and Oxbridge and London biased UK system and who are willing to work for the Tories is probably much worse than the advice governments of larger countries with stronger science bases get.  For example Germany,  the US and China.

3. The Germans and, now that Trump is gone, the Americans, the Chinese, the Irish and in fact pretty much every developed country which doesn't have right wing arseholes in power are likely to be doing it better than the Tories.

4. Scotland has consistently taken a better approach except when prevented directly or indirectly by Westminster

5. Astra Zeneca vaccine is pretty OK but not as good as Pfizer and Moderna.  Anyone who says different is grasping at straws, even the UK government has dropped it.

6. It is unethical to allow or facilitate a potentially lethal pandemic disease to spread unchecked among a civilian population when you know how to control it.  You don't get to make the decision that everybody is going to catch the damn thing now rather than later for the same reason you don't get to identify a category of patients who's treatment is extremely expensive and who's prognosis is extremely bleak and euthanise them immediately.

7. This is relatively new, we should expect knowledge and technical solutions to continue to improve fairly rapidly over the next year. Rushing into allowing everybody to get infected is stupid.

8. Long covid and other long term negative outcomes of catching Covid or hospital treatment for Covid are important, developing strategy as if everybody who didn't die within 28 days is as healthy as they were before is simplistic and wrong.

11
 AJM 24 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

I'll make a note of those for reference!

Out of interest, how does the Scottish decision not to extent vaccine passports fit with principles 4 versus 1/3/6/7/8?

Scottish case rates are basically the same as English ones, so obviously the current level of restrictions can't be the correct course of action because it's generating high and flat case rates and is therefore generating the same outcome as the English. Usually that would therefore lead to a conclusion based on principle 4 immediately.

But everyone was expecting the passport scheme to be extended, so it certainly isn't something that Westminster is holding them back from doing.

1
 Stichtplate 24 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> 1. Whatever the English are doing is almost certainly bad, because.

You could have just stopped there Tom as it sums up your entire position. On everything.

 kirsten 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Misha:

it was something along the lines of use them as a red light if you had to go out to work or school  but not a green light to go out enjoying yourself. Always used them myself before / after meeting people or going out 

In reply to wintertree:

https://12ft.io/proxy?q=https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/11/23/astrazeneca-vaccine-could-key-reason-britain-weathering-new

Eleanor Riley, professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh, said: "It seems that the Oxford/AZ vaccine initially induces higher levels of T-cells than the mRNA vaccines.

Since the AZ vaccine is slightly better at inducing these T-cells, the implication is that it may provide longer-term protection against hospitalisation and death. "

Despite being hundreds of miles away, I have no doubt that I'll hear the implosion when Tom reads this.

 wintertree 24 Nov 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

3,6,7 - Quote form German health minister up thread - how does this square off against 1,2?

5 - T-cells, posts from Si dH & LSRH; cross-vaccine booster is potent either way but demographics combined with very low risk AZ side effect mean little scope for it to be used; gov happy to use it here were a specific personal risk factor precluded Pfizer.  You often confuse me holding you to the evidence over all vaccines as me being an “AZ fanboy”.  Your cognition failure not mine.  If you’d been misinterpreting YCS scheme against Pfizer not AZ I’d have had the same things to say.  (And it’s certainly possibly to misinterpret in either direction).

8. Nobody is developing policy based on those measures alone.

 wintertree 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Misha:

> Back to the numbers. The headline numbers seem to be ticking up

Yes; the week-on-week rate constant is still dropping, but it's having a Zeno's Paradox sort of relationship with actually hitting decay; closer by the day...

Looks like I was wrong (as Si dH correctly noted) to call it as a shift for decay to England, and there's a reason for my confidence failing me... 

> despite the recent unseasonally warm weather. [...].

The plot I use for this is showing the last few days of data has their week-on-week rate constant rising as the time-matched temperature is rising, in violation of the usual relationship.

> I wonder why this is, given the strong correlation previously.

There's quite a few short periods where their are violations, normally the reason is some external event (e.g. football) having change that falls within the passband.  Unless there's a new variant on the loose with a lot of parallel entry points, I can't think of an obvious candidate for an external event, but...

> I know there’s a lot under the surface in terms of demographics. Perhaps the reason is that it’s increasingly school kids driving the headline numbers and obviously they’re hanging out together regardless of the weather. 

That's my tentative impression; I'm waiting for another day of demographic data before posting.   The demographic shift to ages 5-15 is continuing to build, and it looks like the weather link is much weakened in this specific age band [1] so the shift could be causing the odd behaviour; but it also looks like their is an anchoring effect on parental aged cases emerging which might spread the violation.

> Doesn’t bode well for the cold spell

Yes and no; the failure of decay in line with the worm spell is not across all ages, and decay in older ages is picking up.  The uncertainty with what the cold spell is going to do is not being reduced...  

Not unrelated, the latest "ONS Insights" is out on vaccines [2].  Some notable points...

  • During the Delta period, two vaccination doses were more effective than one dose at preventing symptomatic infection
  • Natural immunity:  "Not vaccinated, previously COVID-19 positive" shows no statistically significant difference to "vaccinated second dose 14 days or more previously" for efficacy in reducing risk ratios for both symptomatic and non-symptomatic infection.
    • So, no benefit here to "infection first" as proposed by a strict minority of voices.  Get the first round of protection from vaccines people.  Also reassuring that the infection going on is just as immunogenic by this measure - although efficacy against severe illness and decay of efficacies aren't covered.
  • Also, the effect of booster doses is now clearly visible in the ONS antibody survey data for older adults where wanning in antibody levels (not the same as wanning in immune protection, because of other immune responses) had been showing; I saw this flagged on the BBC Live page, I haven’t seen an ONS write up of it yet, but the data is here [3].
    • I put antibody in italics because - as the paper LSRH linked up-thread shows - T-cell response and anti-body response are not the same thing and both contribute in different ways, with different endurances, to the protections of a vaccine ...

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/friday_night_covid_plotting_52-741150?v=1#x9547360

[2] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/coronaviruscovid19latestinsights/vaccines

[3] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/datasets/coronaviruscovid19antibodydatafortheuk

 Fat Bumbly2 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

Near ground zero. All quiet so far

 wintertree 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Wire Shark:

>  it's your followers who are almost cultist.

Funny choice of words their Wire Shark.  I've noticed your frustration at these threads bubbling up in random places for a couple of weeks.  It seems you've been the one to inspire a cult, rather than me, because there was a sudden rash of sequentially enumerated sock-puppets arguing against these threads a few days ago, and they adopted your "cult" mantra - looks like you're quite the trend setter.

Funny, the last time a certain poster went overboard and got a thorough holding to the evidence from many different posters, a pair of sequentially enumerated sock puppets appeared to jump to their defence as well...

I'm not very good at spotting trends, but something is dimly hoovering just out of my mental grasp here...

1
 wintertree 24 Nov 2021
In reply to thread:

Another rather functional plot from the middle of the OWiD plotting pipeline.   This one shows raw cases/day (left) and a measures of rate constants (right), with the average characteristic time over the last week of data printed out.  It's quite interesting to look at I thought.

France has a big reporting hole on the leading edge of its data so it's a bit messed up in the right side plot.

Remember that the UK has a very low rolling (i.e. now, not cumulative) CFR, so the consequences of this case data are worse for almost everywhere else on the plot assuming the rolling CFRs hold going forwards.   See the second plot for context.

A lot of the rate constants are now starting to slack off - but are being applied to larger absolute numbers - so control measures are starting to bite in more places.  

Interesting to look at Finland and Norway in particular; they've been almost uniquely successful at holding cases down whilst also having less control measures than elsewhere; Norway is finally starting to see cases grow to a comparable level to the UK , and I think given their equally low CFR they really are comparable in terms of underlying measures.

Interesting that their top level vaccine uptake is very similar to ours, their naturally induced immunity will be much lower than ours, their control measures are lower than ours and they're still not redlining anything.    Something of a "third way" compared to the way of the UK and to the way of most of the rest of Europe.

I'm putting my hope in Norway and Finland to continue to manage this stand-out well for their people over the next few months; it's good to have an exemplar to put all of the rest of us in to context that can't be dismissed on as many "unique/different" grounds as New Zealand.  They face a very similar challenge to New Zealand over the lack of naturally immunity apparently needed by many places in the face of Delta, but they're facing winter not summer.

Post edited at 09:42

 Offwidth 24 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

ONS tweet from the latest ONS survey: 1 in 4 don't fully follow self isolation advice after testing positive. One of the early responses is from someone who says they couldn't afford to if they tested positive.

https://mobile.twitter.com/ons/status/1463448808403226628/photo/1

2
 wintertree 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

Every new report like this makes me more positive about our situation - the fraction of people not isolating after a +ve test has increased by about 1.7x from previous waves and still we haven't seen sustained exponential growth in any measure.

The more evidence that emerges that control measures are shouldering less of the burden, the more we can infer that immunity is shouldering more of the burden - meaning the immunological situation is better still than we thought before this report came out.

It also shows that there are more control measures available than we previously thought should they need them - the effectiveness of isolation orders should increase if the situation becomes much more serious and people change their priorities.  

It's been discussed before and bears reputation that people have to be able to afford to isolate, and I've said before there should be mandatory legal protection for people self isolating in terms of their employment, thinking of people with less secure jobs.

The single biggest factor keeping me cautious about catching Covid now is the quantity of disruption isolation orders would bring to our household etc.  It's nice to see another creep in the data towards eventually being able to move beyond isolation orders; next spring doesn't seem like an unreasonable target for that - subject to whatever unexpected madness happens in the mean time, obviously...

I still hope workplaces and institutions tighten up their policies on highly infectious people creating weapons-grade viral loads.  

 Offwidth 24 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Sure.... fingers crossed. X

 wintertree 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

I mean, it’s the kind of “that’s reassuring” i imaging people feel when the hammer lands on an empty chamber in Russian Roulette, but I’ll take what I can get…

 minimike 24 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

New variant.. B.1.1.529.. might be nothing. Might not be. See any overreacting news outlet of your choice!

next chamber. You have to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?

Post edited at 21:19
 Misha 24 Nov 2021
In reply to kirsten:

I see. A subtle distinction but it makes sense. 

 Misha 24 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Sorry I wa ps talking about headline numbers but your correlation plot is of course based on rate constants, though it seems there’s a violation of the ‘principle’ either way. The school focused spread could be the reason but it begs the question why this hasn’t been reflected previously. Presumably that was due to other things going on at the time. 

1
 Misha 24 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> Yes and no; the failure of decay in line with the worm spell

This surprises me because I would have expected a worm spell to accelerate decay. 

 Misha 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

I’d say 1 in 4 is pretty good compared to what I’d expect (more like 1 in 2). Besides, some of that would be relatively minor breaches such as going for a walk.

Finally got my negative PCR today after nearly 3 days. I was ok with staying at home but I can imagine some people giving up waiting if their symptoms are mild. I don’t know how common 3 days is and I did it on Sunday which no doubt adds some time into the process.

 elsewhere 25 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

In the news today.

Novavax expected to be approved as fourth Covid vaccine in UK.

 wintertree 25 Nov 2021
In reply to Misha:

> The school focused spread could be the reason but it begs the question why this hasn’t been reflected previously. Presumably that was due to other things going on at the time. 

Here's my take...

  • We've got more potential for the virus to spread than ever before - the Delta variant is going in to winter for the first time.
  • But, we're also seeing more immunity blunt that potential than ever before.
    • Without that immunity, if younger ages were at this level, working aged adults would be through the roof, but the immunity takes a massive chunk out of them.  
    • With immunity in older child ages, the whole thing can be run hotter still in terms of transmission potential, but with rises confined to the ever smaller areas not yet at very high immunity.
  • Rather than relaxing control measures as that immunity builds, we're letting the seasonality do an equivalent job for us.

It's a devil in the details of the demographics thing; what's reassuring about this is that there's no place for such nuance in a pandemic phase where everything just rockets up... 

There's a lot going on in plot D1.c...

I'm also wondering if for adults around parent age there are two different behaviours in the rate constant right now,  - one is the rate constant going in to decay during the warm spell for some adults, and the other is a lagged rate constant peak following their children by about 4 days from household infections;  lumping those together gives something like the overall value for that group right now.   Or I'm massively over-reaching or on the wrong track entirely...

Post edited at 08:48

 wintertree 25 Nov 2021
In reply to minimike:

> New variant.. B.1.1.529.. might be nothing. Might not be. See any overreacting news outlet of your choice!

Ah, Vir, you moonfaced assassin of joy.

Hyped as this particular variant may or may not turn out to be, this is very much why I'd been hoping for something like Valneva for my next vaccine dose...

> next chamber. You have to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?

Not today, no.  We've got two days of snow and sub-zero temperatures forecast and I don't want to jinx it.   So far the cold spell has underwhelmed - I ended up splitting logs in a t-shirt yesterday afternoon.  Next week looks a lot grottier though.

 Misha 25 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Sorry what I meant was why didn’t we see this divergence from the ‘correlation’ earlier this autumn. Or perhaps we did with the return from school. 

 wintertree 25 Nov 2021
In reply to Misha:

> Sorry what I meant was why didn’t we see this divergence from the ‘correlation’ earlier this autumn. Or perhaps we did with the return from school. 

The big spike from the school return landed around 09-11  - a bit after the return as it took a while for top level cases associated with schools to rise to prominence I think.  I've got an internal plot that I use to look at the passband temperature vs rate constant relationship; I've put it in below.   The grey band fills between the rate constant and temperature (inverted-in-y) curves and if the relationship was linear, would appear to be mirrored about the x-axis; it's clear it's way more complex than linear. Small deviations from the relationship distort the mirror image, big ones end up with cases moving in the "wrong" direction for the temperature relationship.  Red shading from the x=0 axis shows where cases are rising when the temperature relationship says it should be falling, and blue shading for the opposite.  We're in a "red" period at the moment, and a similar one fell around the last time schools returned.  I'm kind of flabbergasted by how little red and blue there is on this plot.

So, strong hints some fast-acting event (so it falls in the passband) is going on that we've not understood.  Today's top level cases update apparently shows big week-on-week decay but there's been a lot more provisionality in the data recently.

All this talk cases detracts from the bigger news - there's very little sign of the rising cases showing in hospital admissions which continue to fall, and deaths continue to fall faster still.  Which is the sort of thing we'd expect with increasing immunity from all sources.  I've put a CFR plot in below for today's data release; the CFRs are falling in every age.  Some of this is undoubtably due to demographic shifts within each age band but it feels like good news.  Doing this plot in particular annoys me - perhaps I've missed it, but if not, why-oh-why are the longitudinal medical records not analysed to produce this without any of the uncertainty that comes over lag times when using the top-level data?  This would produce a higher resolution (in age) CFR plot with much less uncertainty to show the change over time.  


In reply to wintertree:

CFR graph really interesting

(I still hate dates that way round.)

 wintertree 25 Nov 2021
In reply to MG:

> CFR graph really interesting

I've got a feeling we're about to see the death rate drop quite a lot; hunch could be wrong or we could have a lot more reporting lag than normal corrupting the leading edge (seems to be the cases in cases, so to speak.)

The great news likely in relation to this is that 3rd dose rollout continues at pace.

> (I still hate dates that way round.)

I even put the year in specifically on your behalf!  Just be grateful I'm not posting from the USA.  I'd put sorting themselves out over dates as a higher priority than going metric...  

Edit: international media write up on Europe - the headline sums it up “Get ready for an endless coronavirus winter”.   Hopefully the emerging therapeutics can prove the headline wrong.  One item of note is that testing capacity is saturating in several nations - yet another reason to put little heed in comparing case rates internationally; it’s easy to forget how exceptional the UK’s brand new mass diagnostic industry is.

https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-winter-vaccines-lockdown-restrictions-policy/amp/

Post edited at 19:59
1
In reply to wintertree:

> > CFR graph really interesting

> I've got a feeling we're about to see the death rate drop quite a lot; hunch could be wrong or we could have a lot more reporting lag than normal corrupting the leading edge (seems to be the cases in cases, so to speak.)

Should do if this is any indication (yet another Mainwood plot):

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FFDNOwiXEAMiE76?format=png&name=small

Edit: and reproduced, amongst a bunch of other info that confirms a lot of this thread, here https://12ft.io/proxy?q=https://www.ft.com/content/974487ab-54be-4b43-945c-597277aa1292

Post edited at 20:39
 wintertree 25 Nov 2021
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

> Should do if this is any indication (yet another Mainwood plot):

Great stuff.  Lots more doses already given will be coming in to full force and lots more to go…

I’d still be considering offering a 5-month gap to all over 40s, haven’t seen that discussed anywhere.

Europe may have been slow to start third doses but they’re really going for it now.

https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&time=2021-08-10..latest&facet=none&pickerSort=asc&pickerMetric=location&Metric=Vaccine+booster+doses&Interval=7-day+rolling+average&Relative+to+Population=true&Align+outbreaks=false&country=GBR~DEU~ITA~FRA~AUT~ESP

Edit to your edit: Some really interesting quotes in the FT article…  Interesting to see some EU scientists now recognising the up side of the UK’s recent approach.  JBM’s demographic hospital admissions plot is informative.  Whilst 3rd dose is working like magic here, I’m not sure it’ll do the same for counties where the big problem is the size of the older pool not engaging with vaccination.  

Post edited at 20:48
1
In reply to wintertree:

> Great stuff.  Lots more doses already given will be coming in to full force and lots more to go…

> I’d still be considering offering a 5-month gap to all over 40s, haven’t seen that discussed anywhere.

Might be moot; how long ago were 40+ eligible for dose 2? I struggle to remember, but I know next to nobody in their high 30s will be 5 months out until mid Dec. This is why I suspect JCVI will poke out from behind the curtain in the next few weeks with some new recommendations.

> Whilst 3rd dose is working like magic here, I’m not sure it’ll do the same for counties where the big problem is the size of the older pool not engaging with vaccination.  

Sad that you feel the need to tiptoe around how you phrased that. It clearly cannot.

 wintertree 25 Nov 2021
In reply to MG:

> This is looking ominous now

I’d just put the box of coloured light bulbs away as well.

Going to be absolutely impossible to contain a worse variant with the high true infection rates in the UK, let alone the higher and exponentially rising ones across the water.  Not been mentioned for a while but a concern from a few here is that sequencing looses its sentinel power when cases are high. At least prioritising breakthrough infections for sequencing in the UK is a meaningful step, and 3rd dose breakthroughs should go to the front of the queue…

If only there was a highly potent vaccine effective against other viral proteins that don’t have such rapid mutation rates.  We could place an advance order and use it when the time came.

We’re near the end of the journey in England; I wouldn’t mind slamming the borders down for a few months.  I know I’m generally on one extreme end of the spectrum here, but if we end up with 2000 importation events of another break-everything variant I think I’m going to go and live in Moking Hurth as a hermit.

In reply to longsufferingropeholder:

> It clearly cannot.

Well, quite.  

R is somewhat stratified with age so they will reduce the level of control measures needed to keep R<1 for the vulnerable age bands, which is going to be important with all those elections coming up er sorry with the need to preserve universal healthcare whilst minimally breaking the lives of everyone who supported vaccination.  Almost got a bit politicised there….

 minimike 25 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Guardian reporting 90% of cases in Gauteng  (jo’burg) are b.1.1.529, after only a few weeks of transmission. That’s impressive against delta. I’m going for dark orange in the bulb box.

we’ll never keep it out, but we might delay it a bit and get some more boosters in arms.

 wintertree 25 Nov 2021
In reply to minimike:

> we’ll never keep it out, but we might delay it a bit and get some more boosters in arms.

Yup, and every week we keep it delayed on its growth curve, the number of people going to hospital reduces, meaning that if/when a bad escape variant lands, we can make better use of sequencing capacity to buy more time again, by allowing some focused contact tracing.  Also, we’ll have more space in hospitals.

I reckon strict vs relaxed international travel is probably worth about 6 doubling times along the growth curve, which is significant time that can be used well to prepare.

Back to the old peril sensitive sunglasses it seems…

Edit: increased ACE2 efficiency?  FFS.  Just yesterday I was discussing offline the issue of having vaccines producing most effective neutralising antibodies pegged against the RBD when that’s also the part varying most intensely under rapid host adaption, and when improvements there increase the effective viral load during an infection event, and given the likely links between viral load and health outcome….  If this is a “sum of all fears” type mutation, one would expect nations that have had recent, large scale spread of post-vaccination, delta era infections to have a better immunological picture.  Perhaps.  Could be a silver lining for some European nations…  Decisions well above my pay grade and ones that if discussed aren’t well minuted.

Post edited at 22:23
1
 mik82 25 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Well at least this time around they've banned flights and red listed quickly, probably as there's no trade deal meeting for Boris Johnson to attend. Should buy a bit of time to work out whether it is a problem or not. 

 Misha 25 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Thanks. Yeah that’s a pretty neat plot. The unexplained decay in August might be due to people being away on holiday.

No doubt the boosters are having an effect on deaths and hospitalisations. Cases are still important of course as the first indicator of where things are going, though I suspect increasingly the headline numbers are less relevant than the demographic composition.

2
 Yanis Nayu 25 Nov 2021
In reply to minimike:

There are way too many cases at the minute to contact trace effectively enough to contain the new variant when it arrives, or sequence quickly enough. The whole system is overwhelmed at the minute. More to the point the controls aren’t there either - contacts would need to self-isolate whether vaccinated/under 18 or not. I’m very pessimistic about the situation. 

Post edited at 23:52
2
 Misha 26 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Re the variant - that’s the other reason cases are important as you say. Running cases high in a highly vaccinated country increases the risk of a vaccine resistant variant popping up here, though as the latest development shows it can be anywhere. You have a good point about borders but it would cost money which Rishi won’t want to spend (furlough for the aviation industry) and of course people have their God given right for a skiing holiday. I’d like to get to the Alps in March but who knows what the situation will be like then. It might not be a sensible thing to do but time will tell.

4
 Misha 26 Nov 2021
In reply to minimike:

> Guardian reporting 90% of cases in Gauteng  (jo’burg) are b.1.1.529, after only a few weeks of transmission. That’s impressive against delta. I’m going for dark orange in the bulb box.

Given SA’s low vaccination rate (28% of the population single dosed per OWID, albeit Jburg could be higher), that suggests very high R rather than vaccine resistance. Bad news for low vaccine uptake places. This is of course an entirely unscientific observation. 

 wintertree 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Misha:

> Running cases high in a highly vaccinated country increases the risk of a vaccine resistant variant popping up here, 

I think the big variant generation risk is running hot in a country with medium levels of vaccination; mutation happens upon replication, and the most replication happens in the chronically Ill - much more common in the unvaccinated.  If these butt up against the vaccinated, you create the optimum system to generate lots of random variants and to then select and amplify the few that escape vaccines.  It’s like the societal version of taking a half dose of antibiotics.  With a narrow spectrum vaccine it’s possible that a low engagement rollout raises the risk of an escape mutant…?

The problem for the UK is that with everything so high, testing, tracing and sequencing loose their edge as control measures.  

In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> More to the point the controls aren’t there either - contacts would need to self-isolate whether vaccinated/under 18 or not.

Now that is something we have the power to change, and the media storm over this variant sets up the background for an edict here.

Unrelated - I hope Jr had a better time at uni this year; the lack of university outbreaks this September/October was really informative…

 Misha 26 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Hadn’t thought of it that way. I was thinking that with high levels of vaccination the virus will be under pressure and natural selection will do its thing. Then again, there were suggestions it came from a chronically ill immune deficient HIV+ person and unfortunately there are many such people in SA.

In reply to wintertree:

Have I misread/misinterpreted, or is .529 also the first time we've seen steps down the recombinant road?

 mik82 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Fortunately this has that "S-gene dropout" on PCR that the alpha variant had so it should be picked up without sequencing. 

In reply to mik82:

Depends on the primers chosen doesn't it? Which might not be the same everywhere?? (Anyone know for sure?)

In reply to wintertree:

Surprise, surprise, there are flights landing from the South African province with the new variant and the passengers are just walking out of the airport. 

https://twitter.com/AdamJSchwarz/status/1464150235714932742

 Si dH 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

S-gene dropout can definitely be detected by the labs that do most of the testing in the UK, but not all of them (when alpha was around, I seem to remember most of the gap was in Eastern England).

Susan Hopkins has also mentioned this obliquely in an interview this morning (from BBC "She adds that one of the mutations in the variant is very similar to one of the mutations in Alpha, which means it can be detected quite easily with many of our PCR tests.") That's pretty much confirmation it has s-gene dropout.

Edit: hopefully the tests done on incoming passengers will all now be sent to one of the labs that can detect s gene dropout. I wouldn't put it past them to send it to a lab that can't though...

Post edited at 09:56
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Well you didn’t think we’d scramble the RAF to shoot them down did you?

3
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

I imagine he was more expecting at least testing of the passengers.  And I can't see reason why "red" requirements aren't put in  place instantly, rather than waiting until lunchtime.

 Yanis Nayu 26 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Hi, thanks for remembering! Yes, she’s had a much better time this year so far. The universities have been really interesting - one of the ones I deal with with work had a case rate of about 40 per 100k a few weeks ago when the community rate was about 600. High vaccine uptake, recently done in young people the key I think!

 Yanis Nayu 26 Nov 2021
In reply to mik82:

Good point, yes, I’d read that. 

In reply to MG:

> I imagine he was more expecting at least testing of the passengers.  And I can't see reason why "red" requirements aren't put in  place instantly, rather than waiting until lunchtime.

Apparently current arrivals will have to self isolate at home - not that that will do much given the poor attitude towards it and even poorer policing of it.

In reply to MG:

Outside possibility - maybe there is some form of legal procedure to follow involving international flights ( international protocols etc with IATA  ) and this ties your hand.

It does seem strange that they are not doing it straight away.

In reply to minimike:

> Guardian reporting 90% of cases in Gauteng  (jo’burg) are b.1.1.529, after only a few weeks of transmission. That’s impressive against delta. I’m going for dark orange in the bulb box.

Info from the horse's mouth https://twitter.com/Tuliodna

Key points:-

1) media was reporting yesterday that only a handful of cases had been identified (10-60) - the reality is that Gauteng are seeing 1000 new cases a day and sequencing predicts 80%+ of those will be the new variant - it is well-established already.

2) it's outcompeting Delta and has monopolised the sequencing chart within about 2 weeks

> we’ll never keep it out, but we might delay it a bit and get some more boosters in arms.

Any delay in infection anyone can muster is worth having to increase their chances of better treatments or vaccines too.

In reply to MG:

Well hypothetically let’s say the decision to put them on the red list was made at 5pm last night.

How are they supposed to set up quarantine hotels, arrange staff, arrange shuttles overnight when everyone has switched off their laptop and gone home for the day?

Lunchtime seems quick if you ask me.

1
In reply to Toerag:

> Any delay in infection anyone can muster is worth having to increase their chances of better treatments or vaccines too.

Closing all airports back to the level of Jan 20 is the solution, only tomorrow, not in 2 weeks time.

Only closing direct flights is pointless, we know from the last 2 years folk will stage it through multiple airheads to work around flight plans and quarantine measures. Plus, we've proven all flight is non essential. 

1
 wintertree 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Toerag:

> 2) it's outcompeting Delta and has monopolised the sequencing chart within about 2 weeks

That figure in the Tweet stream.  Holy crap.  Pucker Factor: Maximum.    Close all the borders.  Now.   Fasten all seat belts, seal all entrances and exits, close all shops in the mall! Cancel the three ring circus! Secure all animals in the zoo...

I could tell myself a fairy tale that it's priority driven sequencing I suppose...  Might hold out for a few days with that.

> Any delay in infection anyone can muster is worth having to increase their chances of better treatments or vaccines too.

Agreed.

In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> Well hypothetically let’s say the decision to put them on the red list was made at 5pm last night.

> How are they supposed to set up quarantine hotels, arrange staff, arrange shuttles overnight when everyone has switched off their laptop and gone home for the day?

Better to just stop flights altogether for 2 weeks. It buys time. It's tough, but we are still in a covid era and folk should have been prepared to accept that risk if they travelled. 

In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> Well hypothetically let’s say the decision to put them on the red list was made at 5pm last night.

> How are they supposed to set up quarantine hotels, arrange staff, arrange shuttles overnight when everyone has switched off their laptop and gone home for the day?

Believe it or not hotels, buses drivers, police, border staff etc are on duty 24hrs a day.  Also you may have missed it, but we have been in a global pandemic for nearly two years now.  Such facilities are a well-established requirement for preventing rapid spread of new variants, so I think having them planned by government for rapid deployment is a fairly minimal expectation.  Even more minimal, would be facilities to test people arriving from high risk countries at airports.

1
In reply to MG:

Travellers should also always be prepared to extend to their stay where ever they've travelled to. If you tested positive on your pre flight covid test, you'd be stuck in country X for 1-2 weeks. So cancelling all flights now to buy time, say a week, shouldn't catch people totally out. 

In reply to MG:

Believe it or not the civil service still work 9-5.

The people aren’t what makes it slow, it’s the bureaucracy behind it. 

 wintertree 26 Nov 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> Believe it or not the civil service still work 9-5.

We've had almost 24 months to put together a rapid response team for this sort of thing.

It could even get contracted out to someone with the right, er, background...

1
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

You are being a bit ridiculous.  The idea nothing state organised can happen between 5pm Friday and 9am Monday is obvious nonsense.

 Offwidth 26 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

I wonder how quite a few leading scientists who said a few months back that there wasn't so much risk of a variant worse than delta, are feeling about that now?

Unless this new variant turns out to have a significantly lower IFR  this sadly looks really bad.

Latest ONS infection numbers similar to last week (slightly worse) so the infection decline stopped. Good news is antibody levels are increased in the old.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/coronaviruscovid19/latestinsights

Post edited at 13:29
5
 wintertree 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

> I wonder how quite a few leading scientists who said a few months back that there wasn't so much risk of a variant worse than delta, are feeling about that now?

Probably busy trying to recollect what possible justification they had to say that...

> Unless this new variant turns out to have a significantly lower IFR  this sadly looks really bad.

Given the nexus around RBD efficacy, vaccine evasion, viral load and severity of outcome, I wouldn't bet on a lower IFR.

Taking (effective viral load on exposure) = (viral load) x (RBD efficacy) x (1-vaccine sterilising efficacy)...

A change to the RBD that raises its attack efficacy also reduces the match to the sterilising antibodies and so in a really noddy model, it's quadratically bad.  You'd have to be really sure that the RBD was already optimal to call it as done changing...

Edit to your edit:

> Latest ONS infection numbers similar to last week (slightly worse) so the infection decline stopped.

Yes and no - top level decline is relatively level but one of the most dramatic demographic shifts is going on.  So those infection numbers are being squeezed into an ever decreasing pool without high immunity; and the demographic shift makes that pool ever less susceptible - so I'm not sure about the "worse" descriptor.  Think of an LN2 bubble evaporating under the Leidenfrost effect...  That's my mental picture that's been building the last few weeks; I was looking forwards to the drop being gone pretty soon but now we wait and see what the new variant brings.

Post edited at 13:38
1
 Si dH 26 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> > 2) it's outcompeting Delta and has monopolised the sequencing chart within about 2 weeks

> That figure in the Tweet stream.  Holy crap.  Pucker Factor: Maximum.    Close all the borders.  Now.   Fasten all seat belts, seal all entrances and exits, close all shops in the mall! Cancel the three ring circus! Secure all animals in the zoo...

> I could tell myself a fairy tale that it's priority driven sequencing I suppose...  Might hold out for a few days with that.

It is worth noting that the absolute numbers of positive cases on that graph are very low - about 50 a day. It's not necessarily valid to extrapolate the blue curve out to the wider population. And that guy is clearly using the whole thing as a lever to call for more international monetary support so has an incentive to present his data in a stark light. Think we need to see a few more days of data

In reply to Si dH:

Now reported in Belgium...

 Offwidth 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

Wouldn't you be asking for urgent international help facing the data he has?

2
 wintertree 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

I like your fairy tale more.  It's nearly Christmas and fairy tale's can come true.  Here's hoping...

> Think we need to see a few more days of data 

Yes, very early days.

In reply to MG:

> Now reported in Belgium...

Regardless of if this variant is bad news or not, now seems like a good time to slam a red-list wall down on Europe.  

The level to which they're loosing control (*) combined with their vaccine situation (pretty high levels but large pools of older, unvaccinated patients more prone to chronic infection) makes them a clear risk of producing an escape variant IMO. 

(*) I didn't expect them to be quite so enthusiastic about maxing out the natural immunity option; if that it turns out was the plan all along, delaying it until winter seems a bit counter-productive.  

Post edited at 13:47
1
In reply to MG:

> You are being a bit ridiculous.  The idea nothing state organised can happen between 5pm Friday and 9am Monday is obvious nonsense.

It's really from mid afternoon tea break on Thursday because nobody wants to start anything on a Friday?

1
In reply to MG:

> Now reported in Belgium...

It'll be in Amsterdam too, lots of southern African flights go through Schiphol. 

 Si dH 26 Nov 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> I like your fairy tale more.  It's nearly Christmas and fairy tale's can come true.  Here's hoping...

> Yes, very early days.

> In reply to MG:

> Regardless of if this variant is bad news or not, now seems like a good time to slam a red-list wall down on Europe.  

I don't think that would be proportionate today. However now does seem like a very good time to warn the public that pretty much anywhere should be considered to be at risk of going 'red' over the next few days and weeks with no notice, so to be very circumspect about travel plans. I doubt it will happen.

 Offwidth 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

The guy was just on the BBC news channel (just before 1:00pm) cases in the last two days were 1000 and 2400.  Positivity rates up from below 1%  six days ago to 7% now. All 100 initial S gene drop-outs sequenced were the new variant.

No need to wait in my view, it looks way too serious.

The normally highly calm Openshaw looked visibly flustered while saying the same thing you did.  Later emphasised in the BBC news 1:40 covid Q & A no need to panic.

5
In reply to Si dH:

In the last two years no country has said they were too hasty and shut their borders or airheads down too quickly, if a country thinks it might need to, then that's the time it should. If you wait until you have evidence, then it's already too late. 

Post edited at 14:22
 Si dH 26 Nov 2021
In reply to summo:

> In the last two years no country has said they were too hasty and shut their borders or airheads down too quickly, if a country thinks it might need to, then that's the time it should. If you wait until you have evidence, then it's already too late. 

No, but you need to target it.

It would not be appropriate or proportionate to shut down all our borders. What shutting borders would do is buy us some time. It wouldn't prevent the thing eventually getting here, if it is more transmissible then that will inevitably happen and can't be prevented with the point the disease has now got to. So, in shutting borders, we need to draw a balance between the time benefit to be gained by shutting a given border (and the importance of that to healthcare) and the downsides of shutting that border. The balance is obviously very different when considering Europe and Southern Africa.

Post edited at 14:29
In reply to Si dH:

Target... there was a women on r2 this afternoon saying her daughter had managed to get a flight home, by going to Cairo first. I'm sure there are many many more. Better to just shut everything down for 2 weeks then evaluate. 

Edit. Buying time is good, less spread, more vaccinated folk and better quarantine measures in place.

Post edited at 14:34
1
 Si dH 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

> Wouldn't you be asking for urgent international help facing the data he has?

I wasn't one of the dislikes. Of course I would - I'm not criticising what the guy is asking for - or his transparency. He's right to ask. However the whole point of that particular Twitter thread is to ask for cash from Musk, Gates et al - the formal communication of data has been done through other means - so of course he will present the data is a way that supports his request and, yes, that particular graph showing %SGTF is obviously presented with that in mind. 

Pagel did a thread in which she used all of the above same data from SA last night. She basically said: look, there is lots we don't know, but what we do know looks bad, and in her opinion the red list should be opened up again for these countries. The Government then did exactly that. She always takes a conservative/cautious view of the pandemic a la indie sage in general.

I see as I'm typing that the EU are recommending that member states do the same as the UK re travel. I expect there will be a back door in to France via Reunion but hopefully low numbers of people.

Post edited at 14:37
In reply to Si dH:

Many European hospitals aren't in a position to cope with even a modest increase in cases, how much do we risk it for the sake of non essential travel. 

1
 Si dH 26 Nov 2021
In reply to summo:

> Edit. Buying time is good, less spread, more vaccinated folk and better quarantine measures in place.

Yes of course, but it's a balance.

Shutting borders with southern Africa - likely to make a big difference right now, relatively little downside. No brainer.

Shutting borders with the EU - unlikely to make much difference in the immediate future, massive downsides. Better to wait for more information.

Post edited at 14:40
1
 Offwidth 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Si dH:

The Belgium confirmed case was a traveller from Egypt, one of the Israel cases was from Malawi. We only know about the seriousness in SA because they have very good testing and sequencing for an African country. It's likely in many other African countries already.

If we had a world class track and trace system, good compliance with sensible restrictions (delta hit us in lockdown don't forget), plenty of spare hospital capacity and were approaching summer rather than winter I might be more relaxed.

Pagel was a lot more worried in her IndieSAGE presentation this lunchtime.

Post edited at 14:50
2
In reply to Offwidth:

Javid looked the same last night on the telly, very subdued.

In reply to Offwidth:

>

> Pagel was a lot more worried in her IndieSAGE presentation this lunchtime.

Unfortunately she and it have cried wolf too often. Could be right, or not, this time.

 wintertree 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

> Pagel was a lot more worried in her IndieSAGE presentation this lunchtime.

I'm looking pretty worried, but that's because the sky is freaking me out, and I'm ten minutes from the border of the red weather warning.  Time to pack up and hit the road I think...

Always interesting to see the different views on travel restrictions; it's the tangible vs the intangible and that's always hard to balance.  

Pfizer are quoted on the BBC as saying "two weeks max" to come back with lab data on their vaccine's efficacy against this variant.  

> good compliance with sensible restrictions (delta hit us in lockdown don't forget)

Yes, and even NZ apparently couldn't contain Delta with lockdown and, like us, they've decided to let delta spread once vaccination to two doses was essentially run out.

Which, looking at much of Europe right now, doesn't seem like the one-sidedly bad idea some have held it to be for some months now.  We're about at the tipping point where a lot of European nations have probably committed to more delta-wave deaths than the UK - assuming delta plays out unaffected by any new variants, of course... 

If this variant is a bad vaccine escape variant that is also more lethal than Delta, then there is probably some considerable benefit in having a lot of people with broad T-cell responses against many viral proteins.  Which a lot of people in the UK will now have (almost everyone I know as of a few weeks ago, somehow I haven't had it - symptomatically at least... Did I win or loose?  Pertinent question).

Back to weighing intangibles.  

In reply to MG:

> Unfortunately she and it have cried wolf too often. Could be right, or not, this time.

A lot of people are having their broken clock moments at different stages of the pandemic.  IndieSAGE all too often to my view have let what is effectively their political axe grinding colour their interpretation and advice, which is a shame because they're a bunch of smart cookies who should be a voice of consistent reason.

Post edited at 15:08
1
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> Well you didn’t think we’d scramble the RAF to shoot them down did you?

No, I was expecting they'd do what they did because they are prats.

What they should have done is the full quarantine hotel thing instantly and compensated the passengers.  They are worrying about trivial bullsh*t like who's going to pay for the hotel rooms and people getting their plans disrupted.   

If quarantine hotels are a good idea in a couple of days they are a good idea immediately.

In reply to Si dH:

> Shutting borders with the EU - unlikely to make much difference in the immediate future, massive downsides. Better to wait for more information.

The information you're waiting for is either "shit, we really should have shut the borders" or "shit, that was lucky".
We've spent the last 2 years learning the hard way that we should have been quicker to close borders first and ask questions later.

In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> Believe it or not the civil service still work 9-5.

> The people aren’t what makes it slow, it’s the bureaucracy behind it. 

After two years of pandemic and two variants of Covid getting established in the UK because we didn't close borders fast enough there is zero excuse for not having a plan and facilities all set up to deal with this situation.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

In the near future, it's better to just not have any passengers arriving to quarantine in the first place. 

 jimtitt 26 Nov 2021
In reply to MG:

> You are being a bit ridiculous.  The idea nothing state organised can happen between 5pm Friday and 9am Monday is obvious nonsense.

Optimist! NATO famously wanted to "invade" Switzerland as part of an exercise and phoned up to organise an airspace incursion. They were firmly told the Swiss defence force were off for the weekend between 16.30 Friday and 0830 Monday, NATO were free to invade and on Monday they would surrender when the minister came into his office.

 jimtitt 26 Nov 2021
In reply to summo:

> In the near future, it's better to just not have any passengers arriving to quarantine in the first place. 

Easy to say, I haven't seen my surviving near family since Covid started as they are in their 70's. It may be that I would balance the risk to benefit differently to you.

 elsewhere 26 Nov 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> Believe it or not the civil service still work 9-5.

That's just incorrect. There are small teams operating on shifts to support ministers.

> The people aren’t what makes it slow, it’s the bureaucracy behind it. 

No. It's a spineless innumerate classicist  making the slow decisions. The buck stops at the top, not with the civil service.


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