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Interview with Prof Ferguson

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 neilh 28 Jun 2020

Interview with Prof Ferguson for those interested 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08j3kcg

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 Offwidth 28 Jun 2020
In reply to neilh:

Cheers ...nothing unexpected but interesting all the same.

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 pec 28 Jun 2020
In reply to neilh:

I don't suppose many on here will be very interested because he doesn't use the interview as an excuse to slag off the government, quite the opposite really.

Very revealing for those actually interested in why things panned out as they did.

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 freeflyer 29 Jun 2020
In reply to neilh:

Piers Morgan would have done a better job

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 neilh 29 Jun 2020
In reply to pec:

One point that did come across was how the advice is structured to be independent of govt thinking and influence ( despite what others believe).

I was also surprised that this was his first interview for some time.

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 Blunderbuss 29 Jun 2020
In reply to neilh:

Was he asked why it took until the 16th of March for the government to realise that without a lockdown our health system would collapse?

Previous interviews with him have suggested the government knew this in the first week of March...

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 neilh 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Blunderbuss:

You need to ask the Gov. That is a political decision.

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 neilh 29 Jun 2020
 Blunderbuss 29 Jun 2020
In reply to neilh:

> You need to ask the Gov. That is a political decision.

No, the information is not a political decision...

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 neilh 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Blunderbuss:

The choice on lockdown is a political one and the Gov could have decided earlier just to lockdown even if the science was not there because of lack of data.

On the other hand there is no legal or statutory requirement to follow scientific advice.Although there is some for infectious diseases.

SAGE does not look at the  economic impacts for example.

It is portrayed often as a simple easy win decision.I would suggest it is far from it.Even defining what a lockdown means is wrought with issues.

Post edited at 11:24
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 Postmanpat 29 Jun 2020
In reply to neilh:

  Interesting interview. Robinson and his colleagues have spent the past 4 months trying to create a simple minded narrative that Boris and Hancock were responsible for all the failures (but seldom the successes) of the covid response and now, lo and behold, they tell us it was more complex than that. Who'd have thought?

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 Blunderbuss 29 Jun 2020
In reply to neilh:

> The choice on lockdown is a political one and the Gov could have decided earlier just to lockdown even if the science was not there because of lack of data.

> On the other hand there is no legal or statutory requirement to follow scientific advice.Although there is some for infectious diseases.

> SAGE does not look at the  economic impacts for example.

> It is portrayed often as a simple easy win decision.I would suggest it is far from it.Even defining what a lockdown means is wrought with issues.

You are completely misunderstanding my point.

The point is why did it take until the 16th March for the government to realise the NHS would not cope unless we locked down....

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 mondite 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

>   Who'd have thought?

Speaking of a simple minded narrative good to see you trotting one out.

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 Offwidth 29 Jun 2020
In reply to neilh:

"despite what others believe"

What 'others' Neil? I can't think of anyone who thinks the UK government were not in charge. SAGE called their advice on timing earlier than they expected, when it was obvious the models were not working, but the government made the decision. You could argue the country forced the government hand to a large extent as they had already taken action from organisations to individual levels.

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 Postmanpat 29 Jun 2020
In reply to mondite:

> Speaking of a simple minded narrative good to see you trotting one out.


And one that Robinson pretty much acknowledges himself.

We've had three months+ of the media telling us that Boris ignored scientific advice to lockdown and we now know that the precise opposite was true. So then we get the new narrative that the scientists were nobbled by the politicos. Now Ferguson tells us that wasn't true either.

Post edited at 11:44
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 Blunderbuss 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

>   Interesting interview. Robinson and his colleagues have spent the past 4 months trying to create a simple minded narrative that Boris and Hancock were responsible for all the failures (but seldom the successes) of the covid response and now, lo and behold, they tell us it was more complex than that. Who'd have thought?

Success? Can you list them please....

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 Offwidth 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

All of which, in terms of who did what when, was perfectly obvious from the famous Times article that looked at lockdown timing..a fairly long time ago now. This didn't stop the government repeatedly lying about following the science, rather than the truth of being informed by the science. It's legitimate for Robinson (a tory minded chap) and co to look at this. Also the small issue that Ferguson (rightly) rather undermined the government position when he went public about herd immunity etc.

Post edited at 12:16
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 Offwidth 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Blunderbuss:

The initial financial support responses were very good by any measure.

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 Postmanpat 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

 You mean the Times article that said that started ordering extra ppe in late January, which detail the media also totally ignored ?

  

Post edited at 11:59
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 Offwidth 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

Ordering is not the same as having enough supply early is it? The government fiascos on PPE were entirely predictable.

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 LeeWood 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Blunderbuss:

> Was he asked why it took until the 16th of March for the government to realise that without a lockdown our health system would collapse?

Apart from the need to avoid overloading hospitals, its interesting that he later recanted on the overall benefits of lockdown:

Q: Neil Ferguson whose grim warnings prompted Boris Johnson to order TOTAL LOCKDOWN admits Sweden may have suppressed Covid-19 to the same level but WITHOUT draconian measures

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8379769/Professor-Lockdown-Neil-Ferguson-admits-greatest-respect-Sweden.html

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 Timmd 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

> And one that Robinson pretty much acknowledges himself.

> We've had three months+ of the media telling us that Boris ignored scientific advice to lockdown and we now know that the precise opposite was true. So then we get the new narrative that the scientists were nobbled by the politicos. Now Ferguson tells us that wasn't true either.

I was struck by how careful Ferguson was not to speak ill of anybody at all, I generally follow the same rule in any setting where I might one day encounter the person I might want to speak ill of (or somebody linked to them who word has got to), so it doesn't make life any trickier to navigate. It's been said that 'Tim likes everybody', while I look for the best in most people I don't quite, I just don't speak ill of people except to those closest to me.

In his position I wouldn't have been critical of anybody either, I thought he was very diplomatic.

What he said won't have affected his career at all - any chances of future roles.

Post edited at 13:38
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In reply to LeeWood:

> Apart from the need to avoid overloading hospitals, its interesting that he later recanted on the overall benefits of lockdown:

> Q: Neil Ferguson whose grim warnings prompted Boris Johnson to order TOTAL LOCKDOWN admits Sweden may have suppressed Covid-19 to the same level but WITHOUT draconian measures

Events have rather overtaken the Sweden argument, with Anders Tagnell conceding that their strategy resulted in too many deaths, and Sweden being excluded from both the Nordic travel bubble and Eurpoean travel.

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 Postmanpat 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> Ordering is not the same as having enough supply early is it? The government fiascos on PPE were entirely predictable.


  The government being who? PHE? NHS? NHS providers? SAGE? Carehomes,? NHS Trusts? Hancock? Johnson? The guy driving the forklifts?

  Who was responsible for designing and auditing the stockpile? Who was informed at what stage of what was required and was this information reliable? What was ordered on Jan 30th and who or rather what organsation and at what level was responsible for executing the order? Why was insufficient equipment obtained? Was it actually feasible either to stockpile or, when the time came, to obtain sufficient quantities of appropriate equipment? If not, why not?

  Why wasn't the meeja asking these questions instead of playing gotcha every fXXking day?

  

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 neilh 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

I have a totally different view on the lockdown date to you. For me personally it would have been a nightmare with an early locdown as my urgent NHS operation would have been postponed. It was done bang on time.So as far as I am concerned they got the timing spot on ( along with all those other people who managed to get their urgent treatment done and are not now faced with long waits).

So I have naturally bias aginst this early lockdown call.

You will just have to put up with this personal view ...

Post edited at 13:25
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 Offwidth 29 Jun 2020
In reply to neilh:

My opinion was based the best public scientific views at the time (by definition outside SAGE), especilly the mid March letter. Ferguson said with the benefit of hindsight twice as many people died as a result of the actual timing. If you seriously with that hindsight put your inconvenience above that many deaths I am very surprised with that, and I'm sure others would use four letter words to describe you.

Post edited at 13:31
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 Postmanpat 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> My opinion was based the best public scientific views at the time (by definition outside SAGE),

>

   Meaning "scientific views that I agree with". The Director of public health Norway (which has come away relatively well) says that lockdowns may be pointless. What is it that makes you wiser and more knowledgeable than her?

  And actually Ferguson isn't as clear cut as you suggest on the topic.

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 Ian W 29 Jun 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

> Apart from the need to avoid overloading hospitals, its interesting that he later recanted on the overall benefits of lockdown:

> Q: Neil Ferguson whose grim warnings prompted Boris Johnson to order TOTAL LOCKDOWN admits Sweden may have suppressed Covid-19 to the same level but WITHOUT draconian measures

this TOTAL LOCKDOWN of which you speak - where exactly was this? I would suggest our lockdown in the UK was somewhat less than total when compared to many other places (France, Italy, Spain spring readily to mind...).

Maybe the Swedes are more disciplined than us..........

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 Alyson30 29 Jun 2020
In reply to neilh:

> One point that did come across was how the advice is structured to be independent of govt thinking and influence ( despite what others believe).

The issue was never with the impartiality of the scientific advice, it was with the decision making.

Post edited at 13:48
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 Offwidth 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

Yes, like climate change, you can find the odd exceptional scientists who deny the commonly held and well evidenced position. Guess which one of us is picking the line of the small minority. Sweden don't look too great to me right now... infections higher than ever before this week and deaths level, the Swedish public support for the government rapidly declining and what looks like blocks on things like air bridges and other economic damaging factors not faced by the other Scandinavian countries.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/26/swedish-exceptionalism-coronavirus-covid19-death-toll

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/sweden/

On Ferguson, he is clear that deaths would have halved with lockdown a week earlier. He has said this several times now in different interviews.

Post edited at 13:51
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 Alyson30 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

>    Meaning "scientific views that I agree with". The Director of public health Norway (which has come away relatively well) says that lockdowns may be pointless. What is it that makes you wiser and more knowledgeable than her?

What she said is that is not that lockdown didn't work as a mean of controlling the virus, what she meant is that enforced lockdown didn't make much of a difference in Norway, presumably because people didn't wait for the government to start social distancing anyway.

It is simply wrong to claim that lockdown doesn't work. They do. Not only it's obvious in the data but a virus can't spread if we don't' interact we know that much for sure.

Post edited at 13:55
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 Postmanpat 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> Yes, like climate change, you can find the odd exceptional scientists who deny the commonly held and well evidenced position.

>

  You seem to be confusing Norway and Sweden but she's not "denying" anything except the false assertion of people like you that we "know" things that we don't She implemented lockdown FFS. People who actually "know" things like her, and Ferguson, actually acknowledge that we didn't have the data or understanding then, and still don't now, to make the optimal decisions.

https://unherd.com/thepost/norwegian-health-chief-we-advised-against-closing-schools/

Post edited at 13:59
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 Postmanpat 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Alyson30:

> It is simply wrong to claim that lockdown doesn't work. >

  Which is probably why nobody has said that, not her, not me, not anyone on this thread.

  I see nothing changes with your style Rom.

Post edited at 14:04
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 Offwidth 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

Yes I mistook what you were saying, for which I apologise but the same arguments about science apply and you are spinning what was actually said from the Norwegian position. Norway maybe could have had a lighter lockdown as scandanivians do seem to behave better in the face of public health messages than citizens of other European countries but more people would have died. I do agree it is a legitimate political position to balance economic factors with public health factors, but so is accountability for that.

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In reply to Postmanpat:

> And one that Robinson pretty much acknowledges himself.

> We've had three months+ of the media telling us that Boris ignored scientific advice to lockdown and we now know that the precise opposite was true. 

Have you a link to a report on this? It seems a big claim to make given there hasn't been an inquiry yet.

The day after the PM was briefed on the 2nd March SPI-M report he said “We should all basically just go about our normal daily lives.” Same press conference he told he'd been shaking as many hands as possible. He seems to be off message when you actually read the inconclusive SPI-M and sage meeting reports (which were clear this was very serious).

Post edited at 15:03
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 Timmd 29 Jun 2020
In reply to pec:

> I don't suppose many on here will be very interested because he doesn't use the interview as an excuse to slag off the government, quite the opposite really.

> Very revealing for those actually interested in why things panned out as they did.

I was struck by how careful Ferguson was not to speak ill of anybody at all, I generally follow the same rule in any setting where I might one day encounter the person I might want to speak ill of (or somebody linked to them who word has got to), so it doesn't make life any trickier to navigate. It's been said that 'Tim likes everybody', while I look for the best in most people I don't quite, I just don't speak ill of people except to those closest to me.

In his position I wouldn't have been critical of anybody either, I thought he was very diplomatic. What he said won't have affected his career at all - any chances of future roles.

I'm not saying that he wanted to slag off the government, more that different things can be read into him not doing.

Post edited at 14:51
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 Postmanpat 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Mike Stretford:

> Have you a link to a report on this? It seems a big claim to make given there's hasn't been an inquiry yet.

>

It's in the SAGE minutes which you can find here:

https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?organisations%5B%5D=scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies&page=2&parent=scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies

or a summary here:

https://www.paulchaplin.life/blog-original/lockdown-boris-violated-sage-advice

Contrary to the Sunday Times narrative , and that of most of the media, Johnson didn't delay lockdown in the face of SAGE advice.

He introduced lockdown in the absence of SAGE advice to do so.

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In reply to Postmanpat:

> It's in the SAGE minutes which you can find here:

Yeah I've been looking through those, but I don't draw the same conclusion

eg school closures announced on the 18th

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888785/S0385_Seventeenth_SAGE_meeting_on_Covid-19_.pdf

I prefer to avoid hysterical blogs.

I don't think it is a as black an white as you make out, but do agree that sage as well as the government made some decisions that have't stood the test of time. I suspect British exceptionalism played a part in both. 

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 Offwidth 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Postmanpat:

Thanks very much for that Paul Chaplin blog... it is very entertaining but crucially it does miss the context of what organisations and many of the public were doing (based on scientific concerns), what Ferguson said in public and the public expert group letter begging for lockdown in mid March (and news from Italy and what WHO said all along).. The decision didn't happen in an information vacuum. My argument since the Times article has always been Boris did not delay a lockdown advised earlier by SAGE (as implied or accused many times), SAGE members and the government clearly realised the problems at the same time.  What Paul argues is just from the minutes: that SAGE was not involved at all. However, an absence of this involvement in the minutes (and a missing meeting) doesn't mean the UK scientific leads were not involved or other members of SAGE were not involved at all (although  Paul's questions on what happened and why, to fill the gap in the minutes, are valid). Paul's concerns do not make the Times article untrue (but make it even more serious for the government and chief scientists if the article is still true, as is likely). The Times narrative was Boris and the SAGE scientists advice tallied on 'lockdown' timing, not as you say that Boris tried to delay.  I've also said (to many dislikes) that some of the leading scientific advisors should have resigned by now given their part in the actions caused tens of thousands of extra UK deaths and the evidence against PHE seemed to be the worst of all.

We have a Leicester 'lockdown' announced today on the news. What does this mean? Where is the data?? Will Leicester get extra financial help from the government or extra support from PHE???.

Post edited at 15:46
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 LeeWood 29 Jun 2020
In reply to planetmarshall:

> Events have rather overtaken the Sweden argument, with Anders Tagnell conceding that their strategy resulted in too many deaths

Nevertheless arguable that their strategy - better respected human dignity. Have they caught up with us deaths/million ? 

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In reply to LeeWood:

> Nevertheless arguable that their strategy - better respected human dignity. Have they caught up with us deaths/million ? 

No, but they are well ahead of comparable nations.

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 Alyson30 16:23 Mon
In reply to Postmanpat:

>   Which is probably why nobody has said that, not her, not me, not anyone on this thread.

I quote : « The Director of public health Norway [...] says that lockdowns may be pointless »

It’s pretty clear to anybody who looks at the data that they haven’t been pointless pretty much everywhere.

I am merely pointing out that her statement was very specific to Norway and isn’t applicable to the U.K. or other countries.

Post edited at 16:38
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 Alyson30 16:36 Mon
In reply to Offwidth:

The elephant in the room is that you didn’t need any SAGE advice to implement lockdown anyway, you just needed to look at what was going on elsewhere and realise that there was a small downside in implementing too early and a massive downside to do it too late.

Instead the decided they were going to be more intelligent than everybody else and rely on models...

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 Alyson30 16:39 Mon
In reply to Postmanpat:

> He introduced lockdown in the absence of SAGE advice to do so.

I guess the penny must have dropped at some point...

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In reply to Postmanpat:

> Contrary to the Sunday Times narrative , and that of most of the media, Johnson didn't delay lockdown in the face of SAGE advice.

> He introduced lockdown in the absence of SAGE advice to do so. 

Those two sentences imply different kinds of advice.  The first is any “SAGE advice”, the second is specific advise from SAGE to enact lockdown.  

SAGE’s role never was to advise lockdown, it was to give the best possible predictions for the course of the pandemic under different scenarios such as different sectors being closed or full lockdown.  This is what SAGE did.  Johnson did not enact lockdown when in presence of advice from SAGE on a wide range of issues including predictions on the virus.

Scrutinising what government did and did not do with regards lockdown involves looking at the evidence they had - from other countries, from our medical data, from SAGE, from the WHO etc.   That evidence from SAGE should no under any circumstances include advice to lock down, that is not in their remit and balances other things outside their remit with the predictions and understanding they and particularly SPI-M provide.

To start proclaiming that it’s newsworthy that SAGE didn’t recommend lockdown looks awfully like a deliberate attempt to mislead people about SAGE’s role in order to shift blame away from government.  

This is not to say they I agree with all the advice from SAGE especially their high reliance on modelling but this is a totally different issue to what you seek to portray.

Post edited at 16:45
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 Postmanpat 18:11 Mon
In reply to wintertree:

> > Contrary to the Sunday Times narrative , and that of most of the media, Johnson didn't delay lockdown in the face of SAGE advice.

>

> To start proclaiming that it’s newsworthy that SAGE didn’t recommend lockdown looks awfully like a deliberate attempt to mislead people about SAGE’s role in order to shift blame away from government.  

>

  Crap. All the way through SAGE was providing "advice" on the appropriate measures based on their analysis of the science eg.social distancing, protecting the vulnerable etc There is no reason why they couldn't have included lockdown amongst those measures should they have so wished. Since their minutes repeatedly refer to their "advice" that is presumably what they thought they were giving.

  It was then the cabinet/Boris's responsibility to decide on which measures to actually  implement in context of other criteria, most notably the impacts on the economy and civil liberties.

  Boris didn't ignore SAGE advice. He took it on board and then decided to get ahead of them on March 23rd.

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In reply to Postmanpat:

> Crap

No.

> All the way through SAGE was providing "advice" on the appropriate measures based on their analysis of the science eg.social distancing, protecting the vulnerable etc

To my ski’ reading their advice was what effect these measures would have, not that they should be enacted.  Perhaps I’m wrong and you’re going to come back with some clear, well referenced examples to correct me.

Post edited at 18:17
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 elsewhere 18:17 Mon
In reply to wintertree:

We were seeing daily numbers at the time grow from 5ish cases per day to 50ish cases per day in a week.

Date, UK total cases, log10(total cases), R**2 for straight line fit on log10 vs date graph

29/02/2020, 23, 1.362
01/03/2020, 35, 1.544
02/03/2020, 40, 1.602, 0.92
03/03/2020, 51, 1.708, 0.953
04/03/2020, 85, 1.929, 0.957
05/03/2020, 114, 2.057, 0.976
06/03/2020, 160, 2.204, 0.985

Can't remember which website we got exact numbers from but they closely match numbers published on those days. For example see https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/06/coronavirus-latest-at-a-glance-6-march

When you get a good straight line fit on a log graph the unconstrained growth of an infectious disease becomes clear. That became clear in the numbers published at the time on 4th March or 6th March at latest. By 4th-6th march it's only time or the introduction of a lockdown between us and mass infection with 1% ish fatalities.

Unfortunately the UK chose not to "go early and go hard" resulting in a longer lockdown.

Post edited at 18:31
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 Postmanpat 18:27 Mon
In reply to wintertree:

> > All the way through SAGE was providing "advice" on the appropriate measures based on their analysis of the science eg.social distancing, protecting the vulnerable etc

> To my ski’ reading their advice was what effect these measures would have, not that they should be enacted.  Perhaps I’m wrong and you’re going to come back with some clear, well referenced examples to correct me.

March 10th

"Summary
1. SAGE agreed that social distancing measures for the elderly should apply to those aged
70+. Modelling using 65+ and 70+ deliver comparable results, but there is a large drop
off in efficacy if the measures are confined to 80+.
2. SAGE advised that these social distancing interventions should consider 2 distinct
groups: a) those aged 70+ who are generally well and b) vulnerable groups of all ages
(including those aged 70+).
3. Limited evidence suggests that children can be at risk of Covid-19 and will mostly
experience mild illness, though they probably transmit the virus.
4. SAGE will revisit its advice on the risks posed by different kinds of social
gatherings/meetings and the impacts of restricting them on the epidemic curve at its
next meeting (12 March). This will include consideration of the effects of physical
distancing among individuals and duration of exposure on infectivity and transmissibility
of Covid-19."
 

And please, please don't pretend that these are just are just for informational purposes. SAGE clearly thinks that it has given advice on the scientific desirability or otherwise of specific measure.

Post edited at 18:29
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 Alyson30 18:28 Mon
In reply to wintertree:

> To start proclaiming that it’s newsworthy that SAGE didn’t recommend lockdown looks awfully like a deliberate attempt to mislead people about SAGE’s role in order to shift blame away from government.  

^ This

They constantly try to shift blame and avoid any responsibility. That is a telltale sign of poor leadership.

Post edited at 18:28
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In reply to Postmanpat:

Point 4 directly supports my view - they present data on the risks associated with different social interactions in order for government to form policy.  They don’t say “do them”.

Point 1 is not SAGE recommending social distancing to the government, it is SAGE telling the government what they think is the best threshold for social distancing measures based on the medical/epidemiology.  The week before they noted that there are scientific grounds for this in terms of the level of effect it is expected to have.   This is not advising the government to do it, it’s telling the government what effect they expect it to have, and if it’s justified from a medica/epidemiological viewpoint.  That is not the same as advising the government what to do, as gov have to consider many factors outside of SAGE’s remit.

It may be that SAGE didn’t deliver accurate and timely predictions on the role of lockdown - I haven’t trawled through it all yet - but that’s very different to saying “they didn’t advise lockdown”.

Have a look at some outputs - discussion but no recommendation, eg this one - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/891935/S0047_Annex_to_SPIMO_Consensus_statement_on_public_gatherings.pdf - there are many outputs like this showing modelling on different options for reducing one form of contact or another presenting government data but not recommendations.

Post edited at 18:49
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In reply to wintertree:

Yes advice as in "if you do this a xyz will happen, but if you do that abc will happen" is very different from advice of the "you should do this". Conveniently for government tribalists conflating the two means anything bad is not the government's fault, while anything good is because of their wise decisions.

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In reply to Postmanpat:

> March 10th

March 18th

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888785/S0385_Seventeenth_SAGE_meeting_on_Covid-19_.pdf

"2. SAGE advises that available evidence now supports implementing school closures on a national level as soon as practicable to prevent NHS intensive care capacity being exceeded."

Later on that day Boris announces school closures.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-on-coronavirus-18-march-2020

March 23rd

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888787/S0386_Eighteenth_SAGE_meeting_on_Covid-19_.pdf

"UK case accumulation to date suggests a higher reproduction number than previously anticipated. Higher rates of compliance for social distancing will be required to bring the reproduction rate below one and to bring cases within NHS capacity"

It was always up to government to bring in the final stage to lockdown, but the SAGE advice clearly prompts that. Boris makes his announcement later that day.

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 Postmanpat 19:37 Mon
In reply to Mike Stretford:

> "UK case accumulation to date suggests a higher reproduction number than previously anticipated. Higher rates of compliance for social distancing will be required to bring the reproduction rate below one and to bring cases within NHS capacity"

> It was always up to government to bring in the final stage to lockdown, but the SAGE advice clearly prompts that. Boris makes his announcement later that day.

>

   I don't think that the March 23rd excerpt necessarily reads as advice to lockdown. But if you believe so, fine. We can then agree that Johnson followed the science just as he claimed at the time.

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In reply to Postmanpat:

>    I don't think that the March 23rd excerpt necessarily reads as advice to lockdown. But if you believe so, fine. We can then agree that Johnson followed the science just as he claimed at the time.

That’s because it isn’t advice to lock down.  It’s saying that the evidence says more needs to be done to get the transmission rate under control.   They present the data, government makes the decisions.

Post edited at 19:48
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 Blunderbuss 19:43 Mon
In reply to neilh:

> I have a totally different view on the lockdown date to you. For me personally it would have been a nightmare with an early locdown as my urgent NHS operation would have been postponed. It was done bang on time.So as far as I am concerned they got the timing spot on ( along with all those other people who managed to get their urgent treatment done and are not now faced with long waits).

> So I have naturally bias aginst this early lockdown call.

> You will just have to put up with this personal view ...

Words fail me, the lack of logic in this post is stunning....

We have suffered 65k excess deaths and face the biggest economic hit in Europe but you got your op done so the timing was correct... 

Post edited at 19:58
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 Postmanpat 20:03 Mon
In reply to wintertree:

> >    I don't think that the March 23rd excerpt necessarily reads as advice to lockdown. But if you believe so, fine. We can then agree that Johnson followed the science just as he claimed at the time.

> That’s because it isn’t advice to lock down.  It’s saying that the evidence says more needs to be done to get the transmission rate under control.   They present the data, government makes the decisions.


I agree on that and that's what I have been saying. But that doesn't mean that they couldn't give advice. In other cases they did.

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 LeeWood 08:26 Tue
In reply to Postmanpat:

> I agree on that and that's what I have been saying. But that doesn't mean that they couldn't give advice. In other cases they did.

This whole UK analysis is a morass of confusion - both in the media and here on UKC. No clear evidence who was responsible.

An alternative avenue of research would be to ask how New Zealand made it's decisions - on the basis of which/what intelligence. Was it really just one woman acting from intuition ??

Q: New Zealand rejected WHO advice not to close it's borders and slammed them shut as soon as cases of covid-19 emerged . It then imposed the severest of lockdowns.

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-herald-magazine/20200620/281998969712695

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 neilh 09:17 Tue
In reply to Blunderbuss:

Along with thousands of others who were in the same situation as me having urgent operations. ( how many people across the UK were in the same position as me leading upto lockdown- I would suggest far more than the deaths- not difficult to estimate).

It illustrates how difficult it was for anybody to decide on the lockdown.

And if you want to widen it a bit, maybe consider the unit that I was having my operation in. I saw on the day of the operation a unit ( with theatre) being repurposed to deal with Covid. Protocols being rewritten and it being wound down and restructured.They needed time to do that.They were on the 3 or 4 th day of doing that, realignment. They still had a couple more days to go from what I saw and heard.

That was just one small area within the NHS. Multiply that across the country and you get an idea of the scale of realigning the nhs model.

And the result-- the NHS was resilient enough nationally.

So there is more than one side to this " lockdown early and we would have been ok".

Does not mean of course that things like PPE planning or the crises in social care or the lack of pandemic respiratory planning are more  fundemental  failures.

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 neilh 09:35 Tue
In reply to LeeWood:

Germany is a far better comprsion than a couple of islands with a small population in the middle of the Pacific Ocean miles from anywhere ( if you get my drift)

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In reply to Postmanpat:

> > "UK case accumulation to date suggests a higher reproduction number than previously anticipated. Higher rates of compliance for social distancing will be required to bring the reproduction rate below one and to bring cases within NHS capacity"

>    I don't think that the March 23rd excerpt necessarily reads as advice to lockdown.

Given where we were.... schools closed, people told not to go to pubs ect, it could only be read as that. There'd obviously have been political pressure to 'formalise' it. It wasn't realistic to expect pubs ect to shut voluntarily with no compensation

> But if you believe so, fine. We can then agree that Johnson followed the science just as he claimed at the time.

We can agree that he followed SAGE, a committee Cummings was attending, that doesn't mean he followed the science. They weren't following WHO advice, and there were plenty of scientists here who disagreed with them.

To what extent government influenced SAGE and vice versa might be established by a public enquiry in time, but we just don't know at the moment. I hope SAGE does come under scrutiny, they made some claims and conclusions at the time that were out of step with international opinion, and clearly wrong, while seemingly getting side tracked by behavioural science.

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In reply to Mike Stretford:

> hope SAGE does come under scrutiny, they made some claims and conclusions at the time that were out of step with international opinion, and clearly wrong, while seemingly getting side tracked by behavioural science.

They also gave government a lot of predictions comparing the effects of different measures, that were all based on modelling.  Given how little was known about the virus back in March I see very little robust scientific basis to the models yet they were being used to make what were believed to be highly finessed changes to guidance and policy on an almost daily basis.  It’s totally bonkers.

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In reply to wintertree:

> They also gave government a lot of predictions comparing the effects of different measures, that were all based on modelling.  Given how little was known about the virus back in March I see very little robust scientific basis to the models yet they were being used to make what were believed to be highly finessed changes to guidance and policy on an almost daily basis.  It’s totally bonkers.

Yes, I agree.

This statement got me, 'SAGE agreed there is no evidence to suggest that banning very large gatherings would reduce transmission.' It's a new virus, there's not much evidence at all, and no evidence that banning very large gatherings would not reduce transmission.

Post edited at 10:43
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