Scotland C-19, 9 more weeks?

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 Graeme G 23 Feb 2021

Am I right in saying we still have a minimum of 9 weeks before cross boundary LA changes might change?

Looks like I can right off most of this winter 😢

 Ken Applegate 23 Feb 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

Winter looks like it's written itself off.

 Graeme G 23 Feb 2021
In reply to Ken Applegate:

Not sure whether that’s an optimistic or pessimistic assessment. But you’re probably right.

 girlymonkey 23 Feb 2021
In reply to Ken Applegate:

It was fun while it lasted. I am always sad to see winter go but at least this year we have had a winter! Some years at this point we are still waiting for it to start!

At least this time there is a greater chance of things staying unlocked once it does happen. It's not guaranteed, but I am optimistic 🙂 

In reply to Graeme G:

> Am I right in saying we still have a minimum of 9 weeks before cross boundary LA changes might change?

Yes, assuming level rules are the same as before. And after the 9 weeks in level 4, there will presumably be an indeterminate period in level 3 stuck in council areas. 

 Ken Applegate 23 Feb 2021
In reply to Graeme G: Who knows! A lot can still change, but it does look like we'll see quite a settled start to March, as high-pressure takes over.

 Eric9Points 23 Feb 2021
In reply to Ken Applegate:

Trouble is a lot of us will only be experiencing winter through the various pages on climbing conditions on Facebook.

 Flinticus 23 Feb 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

Yeah. A minority of us could fully experience the winter. Another write off to join the others. Being Glasgow based, I've been limited since start of November, so six months now at a minimum.

 ScraggyGoat 23 Feb 2021
In reply to Flinticus:

I don't think the population will tolerate it once the weather improves, most folks now realise that outside transmission is very very low, so the sensible ones will get out and about, minimising their interactions but essentially low key ignoring the rules.  Then there will be a cohort that just want out, or to meet up and won't care.

Suspect Chief mammy will want to be seen to be over achieving and will change things early, or will progress quicker in order to stave off a revolt and loss of face / control (choose whichever you prefer depending on political outlook).

Post edited at 19:42
 Graeme G 23 Feb 2021
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> I don't think the population will tolerate it once the weather improves

Pure conjecture based on......

> Suspect Chief mammy

.......your obvious disdain for the FM.

Enjoy your bitterness.

 scratcher 23 Feb 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

> .......your obvious disdain for the FM.

She deserves nothing less, for so many reasons

 girlymonkey 23 Feb 2021
In reply to scratcher:

The polls would say otherwise! I know a lot of people who have been saying that they were never a fan of Sturgeon but have been very impressed with her handling of this. Johnson's popularity, on the other hand.....

 Eric9Points 23 Feb 2021
In reply to girlymonkey:

> The polls would say otherwise! I know a lot of people who have been saying that they were never a fan of Sturgeon but have been very impressed with her handling of this. Johnson's popularity, on the other hand.....

Her PR has been outstanding, no doubt about it. She talks a great game.

In reply to Eric9Points:

> Her PR has been outstanding, 

When good communication is vital, good PR is half the battle...

In reply to girlymonkey:

> Johnson's popularity, on the other hand.....

....is noticeably increasing and has been for the past three months. I see no reason why this will slow, possibly even increase as restrictions are eased and vaccination programme can be manipulated into EU = bad, plucky Brit Johnson = good. 

 Graeme G 23 Feb 2021
In reply to mick taylor:

> ....is noticeably increasing and has been for the past three months. I see no reason why this will slow, possibly even increase as restrictions are eased

Whats quite funny is that whilst his popularity is increasing, up 7% from November 2020, NS is more popular in England. 

Strange times indeed.

 Eric9Points 23 Feb 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > Her PR has been outstanding, 

> When good communication is vital, good PR is half the battle...

Has it? certainly good electorally but in terms of the body count Scotland has performed about the same as SW England which has a similar population density and one large city, Bristol. Are the Scottish population any more or less compliant than anywhere else? I don't think so. They're just as smart as anyone else in the UK and most know what's good for them.

In comparison to Johnson she has appeared to perform better but that's not much of a benchmark really. I'd have been more impressed if there hadn't been the almighty track and trace phuq up and cover up at the start of it all in Embra and she hadn't sent elderly patients with Covid back into care homes, she hadn't been late get testing up and running and hadn't been late in getting vaccinations up to the speed of the rest of the country.

Anyway none of this gets me out of Embra and up a hill.

 Flinticus 23 Feb 2021
In reply to girlymonkey:

I would think her popularity will suffer scross the Central Belt this Spring. 

 Fat Bumbly2 23 Feb 2021
In reply to Flinticus: There is always the possibility that she will pull a rabbit out of the hat during the election campaign. Expectation management and political skulduggery 

 Graeme G 23 Feb 2021
In reply to Flinticus:

> I would think her popularity will suffer scross the Central Belt this Spring. 

Why? Salmond? Lockdown?

I’m doubtful her management of the virus will affect her popularity but I’m definitely interested in how the Salmond affair pans out.

 finneyles 23 Feb 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

i don't really get why its 9 weeks! no new deaths and 715 new cases in the last 24 hours.. a few weeks to see what happens with schools going back but 9 seems a bit much

In reply to mick taylor:

> ....is noticeably increasing and has been for the past three months

It's utterly baffling to me. His handling of the pandemic has been appalling at almost every stage. It's depressing that people apparently can't see this.

 Graeme G 23 Feb 2021
In reply to finneyles:

That was my thinking. Particularly given it’s a minimum. So given the right circumstances it could be longer.

In reply to finneyles:

> i don't really get why its 9 weeks! no new deaths....

.... There are a good few ways of measuring deaths, but in one measure 56 just reported, proportionately much higher than England (and I know some Scottish data not collated over the weekend, but to say ‘no deaths’ is clearly way out).


In reply to captain paranoia:

Things like this don’t baffle me anymore. Whilst things like Brexit, Trump etc started to make me think hard about why people think and vote the way they do, the fact that the town I grew up in (Leigh nr Wigan) voted for a Tory MP was a massive shock. Posted on here months ago and said: ‘I chat to loads of people who say ‘What else could he have done? I don’t believe those other countries have done much better - they aren’t as honest as us and are probably fudging the death figures.’’

What does my nut in is: like everyone else I am praying for a good outcome on Covid and this will play straight into his hands. We (at a societal level) have short memories. 

 finneyles 23 Feb 2021
In reply to mick taylor:

yeah fair enough just me being slack with google. but even so 56 is pretty minimal.. 

In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> Suspect Chief mammy will want to be seen to be over achieving and will change things early, or will progress quicker in order to stave off a revolt and loss of face / control (choose whichever you prefer depending on political outlook).

She is just being rational.

Yes, the case numbers are clearly much lower now than at the peak of the second wave but they are still much higher than they were over summer.

Yes,, maybe 25% of people have had one dose of vaccine but because we did old and vulnerable first it is the 25% who get out and mingle the least so it isn't going to have as much effect on infection rate.

We are also dealing with a far more infectious strain of Covid than last year.  We saw just how fast things got bad as a result of mixing over Christmas.   They could get bad that fast again.   We know that the level of lockdown we have now is enough to get infections under control and falling but we don't know how far we can open and keep it that way.  It isn't as simple as going back to what worked last year because the strain of Covid is far more infectious than what we were dealing with last year.

Therefore, we need to keep the vaccination going and we need to incrementally open up and at each step wait and collect data to see if we got away with it before taking the next step.  Sturgeon has been consistent that opening schools is the most important thing, she took the first step there and now she's waiting to see how it affects the infection rate before doing the next step.  It's an incremental strategy which has an excellent chance of working without kicking off a third huge spike.

 Flinticus 24 Feb 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

How much of the current wave could be linked to Christmas / NY mixing? 

Looking at the charts, possibly a lot. That was a foreseeable disaster. Like a lot of folk , I did no mixing at all over the period, but a lot of folk too were like my neighbours, with family over (another neighbour informed the police on one such small but still illegal gathering).  

 DaveHK 24 Feb 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

>   It isn't as simple as going back to what worked last year because the strain of Covid is far more infectious than what we were dealing with last year.

I spent a dull hour reading the docs about the changes for schools post half term. They could be summarised in a single sentence: 'tighten up your practice because of the more infectious new variants'.

Post edited at 07:13
 StuPoo2 24 Feb 2021
In reply to Flinticus:

> How much of the current wave could be linked to Christmas / NY mixing? Looking at the charts, possibly a lot. That was a foreseeable disaster. 

Are you sure Flinticus? 

Unfortunately, I believe the trends were firmly in place before Christmas and largely continued their pre-christmas trajectory unabated by the relaxation.

None of the above/below to be mistaken for the impression that I thought the Christmas relaxation was a good idea.  Only pointing out the fact that the statistically, it appears challenging to suggest that it had "distaster" status impacts on infection rates.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/55669736

"Research into social contact across the UK, conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) [1], suggests there was a decline in contact to mid-November levels over the Christmas period, driven by closed schools and workplaces.

Across the UK, cases continued to rise over and after the Christmas period.  However, whether this was influenced at all by the Christmas bubbles is very difficult to say.

Looking at the data, we might expect to start seeing the impact of a Christmas spike in the first week of the New Year. This is because the typical incubation period - the time for symptoms of the virus to appear - is, on average, about five days.  That means the sharp increases seen between the 20 and 30 December cannot be attributed to the holiday.

In the first few days of 2021, cases continued to rise at the same pace as before Christmas and, in early January, appear to have peaked, although it is too early to tell if the decrease will be sustained.

"I actually can't see any convincing evidence that Christmas actually did anything to make things worse at all, but trying to prove it definitely, one way or another, is not necessarily that easy," says Paul Hunter, a professor at the University of East Anglia's medical school.

His mathematical modelling suggests cases have increased in line with trends that were happening before households starting mixing over Christmas."

"I am sure that there were some additional cases as a result of contact over Christmas," says Prof Edmunds. "That is almost inevitable with the very high levels of infection that we have at the moment.

"However, the major spike that we saw [around Christmas] was most likely due to the new strain not increases in contacts."

[1] https://cmmid.github.io/topics/covid19/reports/comix/Comix%20Weekly%20Report%2041.pdf

 Richard Horn 24 Feb 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> It's utterly baffling to me. His handling of the pandemic has been appalling at almost every stage. It's depressing that people apparently can't see this.

People can see it, but I am not sitting here on the south coast of England thinking wow if we had Nicola Sturgeon the situation would be so much better - case rates/deaths are pretty much the same... When you look at the stats its baffling to me that people on one hand lay into Boris, then next minute are gushing with praise for NS's "brilliant" handling....

In reply to StuPoo2:

It’s interesting that the professor reckons there was no evidence to say social mixing over Christmas was a factor, yet can say ‘it was probably the new strain’.  Where is his evidence for this?  Genuine question btw - I think many scientists and policy makers live life in a sheltered middle class bubble and appear to ignore human behaviour. Xmas is a month long celebration - increased social mixing may well have started earlier than it was ‘allowed’. 

 Flinticus 24 Feb 2021
In reply to mick taylor:

> I Xmas is a month long celebration - increased social mixing may well have started earlier than it was ‘allowed’. 

I was going to say this but you have said it for me. Anocdotally, I saw (and still see) a lot of dubious groups (I'm walking my dog in the park every day) and what are probably overlapping and multiple bubbles. 

 ScraggyGoat 24 Feb 2021
In reply to Richard Horn:

Both Bojo and NS have handled the pandemic badly in their own ways, however once embedded in the population the only realistic solution was a vaccine, unless we sat around hoping for a mutation that was more infectious but less dangerous.

As a result of being quicker off the mark the UK have developed and are at the front of the que for multiple vaccines.  Its cost a huge amount of cash, Bojo's input was probably very minimal, but it can't be denied the strategy has put the UK in a better position than most of the world and a lot of our European neighbours.

If this had been left to the parliament of puppy dog tails, baby boxes, defunct airports, declining education, league toppers in suicide, unlaunched ferries, unopened hospitals, arguing about trans-rights while conducting multiple cover ups we wouldn't have any light at the end of the tunnel at the moment...........

I hate Borris as much as NS, but on vaccine procurement the Tory's performed. On being more cautious about unlocking NS was more careful, but was it really science led?

They both have failed in the management, due to socio-economic, demographic, population density, housing styles and health factors poorer cities were going to be hit hard.  That was obvious from the start.  SNP called squirrel with 'protect our rural communities' epitomised by Blackford's F*ck off message (whom were going to be resilient).  Neither have taken on board lessons learned at the turn of the last century Flu and TB epidemics about isolating the infectious out of the community, or helping them self-isolate .  They both ignored the WHO playbook of test, test, test.  Neither have any strategy after 12 month other than lock-downs......the Scot. Gov. have not attempted to address how they could help Glasgow ect., they still have/had no good plan for day to day management........unforgiveable

Post edited at 10:47
In reply to Richard Horn:

> People can see it, but I am not sitting here on the south coast of England thinking wow if we had Nicola Sturgeon the situation would be so much better - case rates/deaths are pretty much the same... When you look at the stats its baffling to me that people on one hand lay into Boris, then next minute are gushing with praise for NS's "brilliant" handling....


Which stats are you looking at?

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/europe/united-kingdom-coronavirus-cases.html

Taking a snapshot of how things are right now, it may not look that different, but Scotland has been fairly successful at keeping levels lower most of the time, and as a result has had far fewer deaths per capita.

I don't think NS's handling has been "brilliant", I think it has been alright - but it's been streets ahead of BJ's. Scotland almost eliminated Covid in the summer, before it was imported again from abroad and elsewhere in the UK: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-55246112


In reply to StuPoo2:

Wasn't there a feeling that a Christmas mixing surge had been pretty much cancelled out by people not mixing at work?

 ScraggyGoat 24 Feb 2021
In reply to skog:

It wasn't eliminated and anyone who suggested that obviously didn't understand the science (though there could be other reasons for making such statement (cough)), it had been suppressed to a very low prevalence in society.  Once interactions were permitted it flared up, the rate of increase was probably affected by imports both by Scots leaving and coming back, and others coming in.  Even if we had locked borders without an effective targeted mass testing regime as recommended by the WHO and never developed in Scotland, we couldn't have capitalised on post-lock down rate.  It still would have come back (as it has in places in China despite very hard lockdowns).  Without that mass testing the borders closed/problem solved is just fantasy.

Post edited at 10:55
In reply to skog:

It should also be remembered that Scotland has only had two national lockdowns.

The main difference between Sturgeon and Johnson has been that her communication has been much better. The overall picture has perhaps not been all that much better in Scotland, but I think, at least initially, Sturgeon felt tied to a UK wide approach and, given that Westminster holds the purse strings, really radical divergence is problematical. We shall never know whether an independent Scotland would have done very much better.

In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> It wasn't eliminated and anyone who suggested that obviously didn't understand the science

Of course it wasn't eliminated, and nobody said it was! We'd have needed a NZ approach for that and that isn't possible for a devolved region. (I don't know whether a hypothetical independant Scotland would have done it either, of course.)

> the rate of increase was probably affected by imports both by Scots leaving and coming back, and others coming in

That's pretty much what both Leitch and Sturgeon are quoted as saying in the linked BBC article.

In reply to ScraggyGoat:

I agree that we'd have needed much more effective testing (and contact tracing) to keep it suppressed.

I suspect that track and trace could only really work when prevalence was low; failing to get that going properly, when the opportunity was there, has probably been the biggest failing in Scotland.

 StuPoo2 24 Feb 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yup - correct.  

I get 100% where Flinticus is coming from, the fact that the Christmas relaxation had apparently negligible impact on the rate of infection trend was still not a reason for why the Christmas relaxation should have gone ahead.  If it were my decision - I would not have had the country relax for Christmas

My only point was that the Christmas relaxation itself was not the reason for the massive spike.  The massive spike was already on its way pre-Christmas relaxation.

Cheers

 Flinticus 24 Feb 2021
In reply to skog:

Maybe but also allowing international travel to ressume too prematurely as well as 1 m distancing within pubs / cafes. Really that was crazy. From https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-54432006

'The evidence paper says that pubs and restaurant settings are difficult places to maintain physical distancing and other factors, such as poor ventilation and noise, make them places that could spread the virus.

"Generally this setting involves people of different ages with different individual risk profiles mixing with other households, or being seated in close proximity to other households, for more than 15 minutes," it says.

The paper also mentions the "disinhibiting impact of alcohol", which may make people less inclined to strictly follow the rules'

What part of the above was not obvious beforehand? I'll bet everyone here can recall walking past pubs etc. and looking in with shock at the numbers inside and the lack of spacing etc. I've not been in a pub since March.

Post edited at 11:09
 girlymonkey 24 Feb 2021
In reply to Flinticus:

Yes, I was appalled at that decision and I see there is pressure again from the industry. At least this time we are starting with schools!

In reply to Flinticus:

> What part of the above was not obvious beforehand? I'll bet everyone here can recall walking past pubs etc. and looking in with shock at the numbers inside and the lack of spacing etc. I've not been in a pub since March.

Yep, reopening pubs always seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.

There was the argument that closing them would just result in people drinking with friends at home instead, and they'd be even more relaxed about distancing there; I think there may be some truth in that, but I doubt it would added up to as much as the pubs. Maybe people should have been encouraged more to do their drinking in their gardens and in the parks, to at least keep it outdoors?

I did have one pub visit in late summer - after scrambling on Beinn a'Chrulaiste with a friend, my kids, and theirs. The King's House seemed set up well, with controls on numbers inside for ordering and using the loo, and all drinking to be done outside. It helped a lot that the weather was good, of course.

In reply to skog:

> I don't think NS's handling has been "brilliant", I think it has been alright - but it's been streets ahead of BJ's. Scotland almost eliminated Covid in the summer, before it was imported again from abroad and elsewhere in the UK: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-55246112

In the context of other countries within Europe NS handling of Covid has been alright, but in the context of a government with very limited powers and an open border with England I'd say it has been brilliant. 

The numbers you posted say it all: 107,000 deaths in England, 7,000 in Scotland.  Scotland's population is pretty much 1/10 of England's so if we were governed by Boris instead of Nicola Sturgeon we would have had 10,700 deaths instead of 7,000. 

If we looked at infections the numbers would be even better for NS vs Boris.

 Flinticus 24 Feb 2021
In reply to skog:

Outside drinking, when there's enough space to distance, as I imagine there is at the King's House, is a different story to the pubs I walked by in Shawlands area of Glasgow, for example. Even the out door areas of those pubs that had them (not many) were severely limited by the roads & keeping the footpaths in use!

 Fat Bumbly2 24 Feb 2021
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

I remember it hanging on, 5 or so cases a day in Glasgow and the two Lanarkshire authorities throughout the quiet spell.  Enough to flare up when folk were back indoors.

Genome analysis suggests that there was importation. Can imagine what was going on in the Med resorts - Austrian skiing repeated.

Post edited at 11:33
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> The numbers you posted say it all: 107,000 deaths in England, 7,000 in Scotland.  Scotland's population is pretty much 1/10 of England's so if we were governed by Boris instead of Nicola Sturgeon we would have had 10,700 deaths instead of 7,000. 

Luck might have come in to it too; if the new variant had emerged in Glasgow rather than Kent, the picture might have been somewhat different.

In reply to Robert Durran:

>  We shall never know whether an independent Scotland would have done very much better.

We can't know for sure but we can look at similar small EU nations like Ireland or Denmark and we know from her track record what kind of approach NS would have favoured if she'd been FM of an independent Scotland.

I think if she had border control powers she'd have shut them faster than Johnson at the start of wave 1 and if there was a formal border with England there'd have been controls on it at times when the infection rate in England was much higher than in Scotland.

She'd probably have spent a bit more supporting people and business through lockdown and a bit less on contracts with Tory cronies.   We'd probably be in the same position as small EU nations with regard to vaccine and be using more Pfizer and less AZ but a bit behind where we are now in terms of jabs in arms.

Overall I think if we were independent in the EU, there'd have been less deaths and less lockdown days.  We'd be getting our jags a bit later, but infection rates would be low enough it wouldn't be a disaster and we'd be getting a larger proportion of the more effective Pfizer jags.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Overall I think if we were independent in the EU, there'd have been less deaths and less lockdown days.  We'd be getting our jags a bit later, but infection rates would be low enough it wouldn't be a disaster and we'd be getting a larger proportion of the more effective Pfizer jags.

Isn't healthcare devolved already? 

 S Ramsay 24 Feb 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Overall I think if we were independent in the EU, there'd have been less deaths and less lockdown days.  We'd be getting our jags a bit later, but infection rates would be low enough it wouldn't be a disaster and we'd be getting a larger proportion of the more effective Pfizer jags.

Fewer* deaths and fewer lock down days!? Isn't that just called wishful thinking? And by the way, the Astra Zeneca vaccine by some measures has greater efficacy than the Pfizer one, 94% from one shot against hospitalization versus 85% from one shot of Pfizer, and as that research is from a group of Scottish universities and Public Health Scotland I trust that you will not just dismiss that study as unionist propaganda.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/22/one-vaccine-protection-severe-covid-evidence

*Less is used for non-discrete items

 Graeme G 24 Feb 2021
In reply to summo:

> Isn't healthcare devolved already? 

Not as completely as you might think. Eg couldn’t furlough until got go ahead from Rishi.

In reply to Graeme G:

> Not as completely as you might think. Eg couldn’t furlough until got go ahead from Rishi.

Uk furlough kicked in pretty quick? It's as comprehensive if not better than anywhere else in Europe? Plus it's not really related to saving lives directly, more economies and jobs, although you can infer that furloughed staff aren't under pressure to work and potentially catch it. 

Either way, healthcare is devolved. 

In reply to Richard Horn:

> then next minute are gushing with praise for NS's "brilliant" handling....

I don't think I've done that. I merely said her communication has been clearer throughout.

Better presented. No wiff-waff or piffle. No daft allusions. No gung-ho, wartime spirit. No taking it on the chin. No shaking hands with everybody. Just clearly spoken, clearly worded messages.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Luck might have come in to it too; if the new variant had emerged in Glasgow rather than Kent, the picture might have been somewhat different.


This is certainly true - although variants are more likely to arise when there's simply more virus about, so keeping levels generally lower also makes it less likely they'll emerge, so it isn't all luck.

It's hard to compare devolved regions as they have limited power, so when it's claimed they'd have done better with more powers it can't be proven either way. I am convinced that Sturgeon would have started the initial lockdown sooner if she could have (and she did manage to start it slightly sooner), but the devolved regions needed furlough put in place before they could do that.

I note that all three devolved regions have had significantly fewer deaths per capita than England (see article linked above), which seems consistent with them at least having had some success at using their powers to reduce Johnson's screw-ups.

In reply to summo:

> Uk furlough kicked in pretty quick?

It could easily have started a fortnight earlier, we had plenty of warning from Italy and did little.

> It's as comprehensive if not better than anywhere else in Europe?

Yep, it's pretty good.

> Plus it's not really related to saving lives directly, more economies and jobs, although you can infer that furloughed staff aren't under pressure to work and potentially catch it. 

It also enables restrictions or lockdown, which is a huge thing. I think Tom's probably right when suggesting that earlier lockdown could have reduced both deaths and lockdown days, as the spread of the disease was exponential.

> Either way, healthcare is devolved. 

Yes, although I don't see why that's relevant to the post of Tom's you replied to. Vaccine acquisition was done at the UK level (and yes, does seem to have gone very well).

 Graeme G 24 Feb 2021
In reply to summo:

> Uk furlough kicked in pretty quick? 

Clearly not quick enough. We could’ve locked down earlier, reduced transmission and saved lives. My understanding is that NS wanted to go 2 weeks earlier but had to wait for the funding.

> Either way, healthcare is devolved. 

It is. Just not as much as you might think.

 rogerwebb 24 Feb 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> >  We shall never know whether an independent Scotland would have done very much bette

> I think if she had border control powers she'd have shut them faster than Johnson at the start of wave 1 and if there was a formal border with England there'd have been controls on it at times when the infection rate in England was much higher than in Scotland.

Whilst I agree with you that Nicola Sturgeon has been rather more effective than Boris Johnson the idea that she has no control over borders is incorrect. Within the context of public health the Scottish Government has and had the power to control international travel, internal travel and travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK. SG has of course used all these powers recently. The powers are set out in the Public Health (Scotland) Act 2008. Powers over international travel are set out in Part 7.

Presumably these powers weren't used earlier, or as comprehensivley as they might be owing to competing priorities. Hindsight may say they should have been used last year but that they weren't is because of choices made not a lack of power to control borders.

Post edited at 13:00
 Graeme G 24 Feb 2021
In reply to rogerwebb:

> The powers are set out in the Public Health (Scotland) Act 2008. Powers over international travel are set out in Part 7.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2008/5/section/94

Suggests she could have closed borders, but not exactly clear cut. I’d always understood closing airports wasn’t within her power. Wonder if it was just a political decision? Can you imagine the headlines if she’d closed the border???

 Le Sapeur 24 Feb 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> >   We'd probably be in the same position as small EU nations with regard to vaccine and be using more Pfizer and less AZ but a bit behind where we are now in terms of jabs in arms.

We'd probably be in the same position as small EU nations with regard to vaccine and be using more Pfizer and less AZ but WAY behind where we are now in terms of jabs in arms.

 Flinticus 24 Feb 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

If you look at Ireland, wave 1 deaths was very similar to the UK, though the current wave is less  (yet Ireland has about the same cases per head population as the UK)

https://worldhealthorg.shinyapps.io/covid/

 rogerwebb 24 Feb 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

> Suggests she could have closed borders, but not exactly clear cut. I’d always understood closing airports wasn’t within her power. Wonder if it was just a political decision? Can you imagine the headlines if she’d closed the border???

You may not be able to close an airport with those powers but you can stop people coming into the country or at least quarantine them as is currently the case.

The Welsh shut the border with England considerably sooner than Scotland did, there was a fuss but nothing they couldn't manage.

I would imagine that the decisions were made on a balance of benefits. If you remember last summer there was a big push for tourists to come to Scotland from the rest of the UK and for Scots to allowed to travel for holidays . Perhaps  decisions that don't look so good in retrospect especially the international travel bit. 

In reply to Le Sapeur:

> We'd probably be in the same position as small EU nations with regard to vaccine and be using more Pfizer and less AZ but WAY behind where we are now in terms of jabs in arms.

Many many over 80s are still waiting in Scandinavia to be even offered their first jab. 

In reply to Graeme G:

> It is. Just not as much as you might think.

Which bit of healthcare isn't devolved? 

 Graeme G 24 Feb 2021
In reply to summo:

I’ve already agreed that it is devolved. You know fine well what I’m alluding to.

In reply to Graeme G:

> I’ve already agreed that it is devolved. You know fine well what I’m alluding to.

thanks for agreeing Scotland has full control of it's healthcare. 

In reply to Graeme G:

> You really are a tw*t, sometimes. Grow up.

Oh please. You said Scottish healthcare wasn't as devolved as I thought(1244), I just asked how. Hardly ridiculous questioning is it? I know the snp isn't challenged in holyrood, but if you make a claim, at least expect a query on it. 

Post edited at 14:09
 Graeme G 24 Feb 2021
In reply to summo:

> Oh please. You said Scottish healthcare wasn't as devolved as I thought(1244)

You’re quite correct. I can’t possibly know what you think. I try to avoid assumptions but I’ve clearly made one here. Please accept my apologies.

In reply to Graeme G:

> You’re quite correct. I can’t possibly know what you think. I try to avoid assumptions but I’ve clearly made one here. Please accept my apologies.

Happily accepted. 

In reply to Graeme G:

You could argue vaccine procurement wasn't devolved. But that's definitely gone in Scotlands favour. It was announced yesterday that the Apr-jun eu vaccine delivery will also be 50% less than predicted. 

Post edited at 14:18
In reply to finneyles:

> yeah fair enough just me being slack with google. but even so 56 is pretty minimal.. 

47 Scottish hospital deaths just reported - another ‘pretty minimal’ figure ?

In reply to captain paranoia:

> It's utterly baffling to me. His handling of the pandemic has been appalling at almost every stage. It's depressing that people apparently can't see this.

Many people are blinded by the Daily Mail effect. See also the Telegraph, Express, The Spectator, the news output of the BBC...

The majority of the British media are more than capable of weaponising people's opinions and votes in favour of the whims of media owners and their wealthy mates. The malign lies that cleverly nurture it, mimic Johnson's own modus operandi. He used to be a journalist after all (It says here).

A typical argument against media regulation is that it would ruin 'freedom of the press'. I would counter that simply by pointing at Rupert Murdoch and his ilk and asking "who is actually doing the regulating right now, and for what aim?"

 Richard Horn 24 Feb 2021
In reply to AllanMac:

I do get a giggle every time I read this sort of post - "if only the stupid masses could see what I can see..."

In reply to AllanMac:

> Many people are blinded by the Daily Mail effect. See also the Telegraph, Express, The Spectator, the news output of the BBC...

The BBC may not be perfect but to lump it in with those unashamedly partisan news sources is simply ridiculous.

 ScraggyGoat 24 Feb 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Agree, though they appear to have given up investigative journalism, partly as they have a very fine line to tread. If all sides are criticising they are probably broadly serving us well. 

Credit to the Spectator for trying to get the Sturgeon/Salmond/Harassment submissions into the public domain so the population can be informed (if they so wish) ahead of the May election. Wouldn't normally even glance at in a news-rack for free (not that doing so is a good idea nowadays............might actually catch something!).

In reply to summo:

> Isn't healthcare devolved already? 

Responding to a pandemic is about far more than healthcare.   An independent Scotland would have the ability to borrow money and spend significantly differently from what England decides, it would have control of its borders and it would be able to engage with EU programs.

Tougher and earlier border controls which couldn't be easily circumvented by travelling via England would have had a huge effect on mitigating Covid in Scotland.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Responding to a pandemic is about far more than healthcare.   An independent Scotland would have the ability to borrow money and spend significantly differently from what England decides

are you suggesting uk furlough isn't sufficient? 

>  it would have control of its borders

Haven't the devolved nations exercised that option already? 

> and it would be able to engage with EU programs.

vaccine? 

> Tougher and earlier border controls which couldn't be easily circumvented by travelling via England would have had a huge effect on mitigating Covid in Scotland.

Couldn't folk go via England to an independent Scotland? 

 Mr Lopez 24 Feb 2021
In reply to summo:

> Many many over 80s are still alive in Scandinavia and waiting to be offered their first jab. 

FIFY.

In reply to Mr Lopez:

> FIFY.

That's true, it's a cunning plan of Ursulas, the longer they wait before getting the vaccine supplied to each country, the less folk there will be alive to need it, thus their meagre rations will vaccinate a higher proportion of the population. 

There's around 1 million over 75s in sweden. Combining the old, vulnerable, carers etc in total they've vaccinated 400,000 so far. The kind of numbers the uk is almost doing daily. 

 Mr Lopez 24 Feb 2021
In reply to summo:

Doing a "pro-rata" calculation, there's around 45,000 UK citizens who if asked, would have preferred the UK to have dealt with the pandemic like a 'small EU nation',  like Sweden for example, or even better Denmark (90,000 people) or Norway (110,000 people) which you allude to with your 'Scandivanian' countires, and be in the same position those nation's citizens are.

That is, siting at home watching TV still waiting to receive their vaccine, instead of 6 feet under or in the form of ashes inside a shoebox. We can't ask them anymore unfortunately, neither can we give them jabs.

If asked, i wonder in which position would those 600,000 over 75s in Sweden prefer to be in and how they'd fancy their chances? Alive today with no vaccine as they are? Or a 1 in 13 chance of being dead, but vaccinated if being 1 of the lucky 12? 1 out of 7 if you are Danish? 1 out of 5 if you are Norwegian?

I can guess what Scottish people would have preferred...

Post edited at 20:46
In reply to summo:

> There's around 1 million over 75s in sweden. Combining the old, vulnerable, carers etc in total they've vaccinated 400,000 so far. The kind of numbers the uk is almost doing daily. 

Sweden's population is 10.23 million UK 66 million.  It makes no sense to compare absolute numbers of vaccinations.

 finneyles 24 Feb 2021
In reply to mick taylor:

yes? do we wait for zero deaths and zero cases. what numbers are acceptable in your eyes? i know in a perfect world its none and i would love for that to be, but that's not really an option

Post edited at 20:55
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> Credit to the Spectator for trying to get the Sturgeon/Salmond/Harassment submissions into the public domain so the population can be informed (if they so wish) ahead of the May election. 

The Spectator - which Boris used to edit - is acting as a Tory mouthpiece to bolster the Tory/unionist/UK government narrative.  

The whole Sturgeon/Salmond thing is trivial bullshit.

Six people made complaints of sexual assault against a former SNP leader who was pretty much retired from politics and pursuing other interests.   This was at the height of #metoo with all kinds of historic sex allegations emerging.  Sturgeon refused to bury the allegations - which would have been the obvious move and the move in her political interest - instead she made sure they were thoroughly investigated.   

There was a not guilty verdict.  Salmond is naturally p*ssed off - like pretty much anyone who's been criminally prosecuted - and wants to get even.   There is a clear cut law about not disclosing information which might reveal the identities of complainers in a sex assault case.  The judge was asked by the Spectator to vary her ruling and she was very clear she thought the original ruling spoke for itself but agreed to make a minor change to the wording which did not affect its scope at all. The parliament can't publish Salmond's testimony because of the law about revealing victims identities, it was never going to be able to, the law hasn't changed and the interpretation of the law hasn't changed.

When the allegations were made the unionist press tried to crucify Salmond.  Since he got off they are now trying to crucify Sturgeon.  They don't give a sh*t about the facts of the case.  They want a distraction from the true issues of the election - Brexit and Covid - because they think they are going to lose so badly in May that independence is a real possibility.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Sweden's population is 10.23 million UK 66 million.  It makes no sense to compare absolute numbers of vaccinations.

But it does if you say less than half the over 75s are vaccinated? Or around 4% of total population, compared to the uk 20+%. With little hope of any increased supply of the eu procured vaccine this side of summer. Sweden will be lucky to have all pensioners done by June. 

In reply to Mr Lopez:

There is growing opinion that sweden should have gone it alone with the vaccine, given that the Astra bit was originally swedish and Sweden has many pharma company plant, offices, labs of several companies. Their loyalty to the  eu is costing them. 

 Mr Lopez 24 Feb 2021
In reply to summo:

Wouldn't have made any difference, since Hancock only gave the contract to AZ 'cause they agreed to give the bulk of the production to the UK. The Swedish government would have been promised 100 million vaccines by January and AZ would use those to fullfil the UK order instead.

In reply to summo:

> But it does if you say less than half the over 75s are vaccinated? Or around 4% of total population, compared to the uk 20+%. With little hope of any increased supply of the eu procured vaccine this side of summer. Sweden will be lucky to have all pensioners done by June. 

There's no question the UK initially moved faster on vaccination than EU countries.   The UK has also bought a crazy amount of vaccine relative to its population size and it has been willing to cut short the approval process and step outside qualified protocols.   It was also in a far more desperate situation than most EU countries with regard to infection and deaths and that is one reason why people are happy for it to take short cuts.

My guess is that the EU will catch up fairly fast, it takes a while to get going but when it does it gets things done.  Pfizer is scaling up its manufacturing, the AZ plant in the EU will solve its production problems, other vaccines will come on line.  Nations like Germany are perfectly capable of rolling out a mass vaccination program.

 Cog 24 Feb 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Six people made complaints of sexual assault. Sturgeon refused to bury the allegations.

You expect her to give out pardons like Trump.

Post edited at 22:41
In reply to finneyles:

> yes? do we wait for zero deaths and zero cases. what numbers are acceptable in your eyes? i know in a perfect world its none and i would love for that to be, but that's not really an option

50 hospital deaths usually equates to say about 70 total deaths, so that would be about 500 deaths a week in Scotland or about 5,000 deaths a week in the UK. So about quarter of a million a year. If you think this is pretty minimal then our views are so polarised I’m not sure it’s worth carrying on the discussion. 
 

But, for the record: “acceptable” would be a combo of not overloading the NHS and what is morally/ethically acceptable. A normal flu year might be 7k, 20k in a bad year. Problem with Covid is, once you are at a rate heading for 20k a year you’ve blown it - it will already be totally out of control and you’d hit 50k deaths before you can blink. Total fag packet guess-maths but a hundred deaths a week, with this correlated backwards into infection rates three weeks prior, would be “acceptable” and allow time for proper measures to be shoved into place once we reached the trigger infection rate.  This is for the UK. Scotland = 10 deaths a week. Others could do my maths better - feel free anyone. 

In reply to Cog:

> You expect her to give out pardons like Trump.

WTF are you on about?

How does making sure that allegations against Salmond were investigated equate to giving out a pardon?

In reply to rogerwebb:

>  Powers over international travel are set out in Part 7.

Powers over international travel under health rules are pretty much theoretical when the international border is controlled by UK government agencies and any rules you make can easily be circumvented by going to England first.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> My guess is that the EU will catch up fairly fast, it takes a while to get going but when it does it gets things done.  Pfizer is scaling up its manufacturing, the AZ plant in the EU will solve its production problems, other vaccines will come on line.  Nations like Germany are perfectly capable of rolling out a mass vaccination program.

Nope, AZ said 2 days ago it will now only be able to deliver 50% of its vaccine order to the eu by June.

Luckily for the Germans who were telling everyone to follow the eu programme, they went off and ordered 30m separately for themselves. EU all in it together. 

 rogerwebb 08:33 Thu
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> >  Powers over international travel are set out in Part 7.

> Powers over international travel under health rules are pretty much theoretical when the international border is controlled by UK government agencies and any rules you make can easily be circumvented by going to England first.

Which bit of the Public Health Scotland Act 2008 is theoretical? If it is theoretical under what powers are international travellers required to quarantine upon arrival?

If the Scottish government doesn't have the power to prevent a person entering Scotland from England on what basis are they currently doing so unless that person has 'reasonable excuse'?

Post edited at 08:37
In reply to rogerwebb:

> Which bit of the Public Health Scotland Act 2008 is theoretical? If it is theoretical under what powers are international travellers required to quarantine upon arrival?

Its theoretical.  You can fly through England and nobody in the Scottish Government has a clue you entered or left the country.

In practical terms nobody is going to spend the best part of 2,000 quid to quarantine at an airport hotel in Scotland when they can avoid it by flying to an English airport first.   Even if they wanted to fly into Scotland and quarantine at the airport they couldn't do it because the airlines aren't going to fly empty planes to Scotland - they'll have no choice but to fly through England.

> If the Scottish government doesn't have the power to prevent a person entering Scotland from England on what basis are they currently doing so unless that person has 'reasonable excuse'?

They aren't actually preventing them.  There is no infrastructure to do so. 

In reply to summo:

> Luckily for the Germans who were telling everyone to follow the eu programme, they went off and ordered 30m separately for themselves. EU all in it together. 

In other news Brexit had f*ck all to do with the UK getting more vaccine because we could have bought vaccine outside the program if we'd chosen to anyway.

Seems like the EU states have the best of both worlds.  

 jkarran 10:30 Thu
In reply to Flinticus:

> How much of the current wave could be linked to Christmas / NY mixing? 

Most of it. I think it was a nasty combo of pre-Christmas activity quietly ramping up the caseload, particularly spreading the new variant around as people travelled to shop and eat out (escaping their tiers) then Christmas day detonated that timebomb.

If it wasn't Christmas more rational choices would have been made earlier.

jk

 S Ramsay 10:46 Thu
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> In other news Brexit had f*ck all to do with the UK getting more vaccine because we could have bought vaccine outside the program if we'd chosen to anyway.

> Seems like the EU states have the best of both worlds.  

If the UK had been in the EU then it could have chosen to part of the EU vaccine programme or done its own thing. By trying to do both Germany has probably broken the terms of the EU agreement.

"The only framework we are negotiating in is as 27. We do this together, and no member state on this legal-binding basis is allowed to negotiate in parallel or to have a contract in parallel," the president of the EU executive, Germany's Ursula von der Leyen, told reporters on Friday (8 January).

https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/150554

The UK funded the Astra Zeneca development up front with UK taxpayers money in the hope of bringing a vaccine to the UK population as quickly as possible. Maybe if a theoretically independent Scotland had chosen to join the UK programme rather than the EU programme it would be in the same position as it is now but it seems hard to imagine an independent Scotland doing that. In all likelihood if Scotland had voted how you wished in 2016 then approx 6% of Scots would be vaccinated by now and elderly Scots would be needlessly dying. Sure, it could have gone have gone the other way and the AstraZeneca vaccine could have failed and the EU states vaccine progamme be doing better but on this occasion Scotland has benefited massively from the Union and to claim otherwise is cognitive dissonance.

Post edited at 10:49
 rogerwebb 11:26 Thu
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Its theoretical.  You can fly through England and nobody in the Scottish Government has a clue you entered or left the country

It isn't theoretical any more than any other law is theoretical. How the Scottish Government chooses to enforce that law and what procedures  and resources it puts in place are for it to consider. 

> In practical terms nobody is going to spend the best part of 2,000 quid to quarantine at an airport hotel in Scotland when they can avoid it by flying to an English airport first.   Even if they wanted to fly into Scotland and quarantine at the airport they couldn't do it because the airlines aren't going to fly empty planes to Scotland - they'll have no choice but to fly through England.

Then if the Scottish Government is sufficiently concerned by this behaviour (and entry from Northern Ireland and the Republic) it has the power to take measures to control it. That the SG hasn't suggests that in practical terms it isn't a major issue. 

> They aren't actually preventing them.  There is no infrastructure to do so. 

That is through choice not lack of power. There is also no one preventing you from leaving your council area but most people comply with the law.  

Personally I would prefer it if the UK government adopted the Scottish approach but that it hasn't doesn't prevent the SG taking further measures to control entry if it wishes.

The reality is probably that incoming international travel is now so limited it isn't worth the effort and political grief. That may change of course. 

Post edited at 11:29
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> In other news Brexit had f*ck all to do with the UK getting more vaccine because we could have bought vaccine outside the program if we'd chosen to anyway.

Westminster appointing the right staff to head up the procurement is what got the vaccine. They had a science and finance background. They didn't follow sentiment, or nationalism when placing orders. They didn't just place their order and forget it, they committed funding early at the lab stage, and considered production too.

> Seems like the EU states have the best of both worlds.  

Currently the worst of both. They are funding an organisation that is failing to deliver when it's needed most. But it's always been the case, the eu looks great on paper, but give it something to deal with; covid, debt crisis, balkans, crimea, refugees etc it's always slow and inadequate.

When the eu publicly admits they've failed, you know they really have as politicians of any nationality don't admit they screwed up lightly. Granted Ursula has a track record of failure, so she's probably getting good at apologies by now.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> The BBC may not be perfect but to lump it in with those unashamedly partisan news sources is simply ridiculous.

Sorry to disagree, but the BBC's News output has been partisan towards the tories at crucial points, notably the run-up to the Leave vote and also the 2019 election. Admittedly the electoral disaster of Corbyn detracted from impartial reporting - but coverage was biased, nonetheless. A study by the LSE around that time suggested as much.

Also, Glasgow University’s series of Bad News studies suggest that BBC news and current affairs coverage is, at the least, skewed in favour of the status quo, and indeed sometimes leans distinctly to the Right.

Maybe not as ridiculous as you might think? 

In reply to Richard Horn:

> I do get a giggle every time I read this sort of post - "if only the stupid masses could see what I can see..."

Forgive me for failing to giggle when Johnson wins another term as Prime Minister.

In reply to AllanMac:

> Forgive me for failing to giggle when Johnson wins another term as Prime Minister.

I was not particularly enamoured by the prospect either, but it was a case of least worst choice. Its kind of ironic though that there is so much arrogance from the left, the assumption that people only do not vote for them because either they are stupid/selfish or brainwashed by the media, yet the left cannot themselves figure out how to win an election and get into power against what is a disorganised mess of a government... 

 Fat Bumbly2 18:53 Thu
In reply to Richard Horn: The thought of anything worse leaves me in a cold sweat. Bozo the Clown and the thinly disguised National Front is a serious low to beat... not sure if even Magic Grandpa could have managed that

In reply to S Ramsay:

> The UK funded the Astra Zeneca development up front with UK taxpayers money in the hope of bringing a vaccine to the UK population as quickly as possible. Maybe if a theoretically independent Scotland had chosen to join the UK programme rather than the EU programme it would be in the same position as it is now but it seems hard to imagine an independent Scotland doing that. In all likelihood if Scotland had voted how you wished in 2016 then approx 6% of Scots would be vaccinated by now and elderly Scots would be needlessly dying. 

We can easily estimate what would have happened of Scotland had voted YES in 2014 and was a small independent state in the EU from the actual death rates.  Three scenarios:

Scotland in the UK:  7,084 deaths (actual)

Without a devolved government i.e. Scotland has the same death rate as England: 5.4M x (107k/56m) = 10,317

Scotland as independent state in the EU - same death rate as Ireland:

5.4M x (4237/4.9m) = 4,669

So the devolved government has saved about 3,000 lives but full independence could have saved about 6,000.   Any argument that we are better off because England bought lots of vaccine is nonsense. It is a small effect compared with getting the virus properly suppressed.

 S Ramsay 22:05 Thu
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Or maybe Scotland would have been a small EU member state like Czechia, Belgium or Slovenia and had a higher death toll per million than the UK. There is as much evidence for that as there is that it would be have been like Ireland, i.e. none. As has been pointed out previously, health care is fully devolved including the ability to close the border, ok, assuming that Scotland hadn't defaulted in the recent past it could have tweaked furlough slightly, so quite why you believe that the death toll would be significantly different is beyond me

In reply to S Ramsay:

> Or maybe Scotland would have been a small EU member state like Czechia, Belgium or Slovenia and had a higher death toll per million than the UK. There is as much evidence for that as there is that it would be have been like Ireland, i.e. none.

Ireland is clearly the EU state most like Scotland.  It is a close geographic neighbour with a similar population, history and politics. 

> As has been pointed out previously, health care is fully devolved including the ability to close the border, ok, assuming that Scotland hadn't defaulted in the recent past it could have tweaked furlough slightly, so quite why you believe that the death toll would be significantly different is beyond me

The outlier here is how badly Covid was handled in England and how high the death rate has been.  It is perfectly reasonable to think independent Scotland could do much better than England because pretty much everyone has done much better than England.

 ScraggyGoat 22:44 Thu
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

There was a not guilty verdict.  Salmond is naturally p*ssed off - like pretty much anyone who's been criminally prosecuted - and wants to get even.  

Salmond was tactically very astute as a politician.  I don't see him as the sort of foolhardy person who would voluntarily instigate a fight to the death, with another seasoned performer as Nicola Sturgeon, without having very carefully weighed up not only his evidence, but also the field of battle and likely success.   Would he really take this on with a poor hand on the off chance of getting even, and  greater odds of been seen as a delusional; on top what his defence lawyer informed the court of his character.  That is not the Salmond whom we saw win multiple elections, and got within a whisker of independence.

Particularly he knew he wouldn't have equality of arms against NS due to her position, nor could control the timing, or press narrative, yet this tactician still threw down the gauntlet and mounted the challenge.

Coupled with the Scot Gov. attempts to repeatedly thwart the committee, numerous longstanding SNP insiders crying foul and various dubious testimonies and clarifications before the committee; its hard on the evidence available to come to the conclusion of a simple narrative of an aggrieved man wildly lashing out......

I could be wrong and a flaw in his character is blindly compelling him to his doom in a Greek style tragedy, but past performance suggest this is very unlikely, particularly as this revenge is being served cold after plenty of time to reflect, and not in the heat of the moment.

Post edited at 22:50
 finneyles 22:46 Thu
In reply to mick taylor:

> 50 hospital deaths usually equates to say about 70 total deaths, so that would be about 500 deaths a week in Scotland or about 5,000 deaths a week in the UK. So about quarter of a million a year. If you think this is pretty minimal then our views are so polarised I’m not sure it’s worth carrying on the discussion. 

> But, for the record: “acceptable” would be a combo of not overloading the NHS and what is morally/ethically acceptable. A normal flu year might be 7k, 20k in a bad year. Problem with Covid is, once you are at a rate heading for 20k a year you’ve blown it - it will already be totally out of control and you’d hit 50k deaths before you can blink. Total fag packet guess-maths but a hundred deaths a week, with this correlated backwards into infection rates three weeks prior, would be “acceptable” and allow time for proper measures to be shoved into place once we reached the trigger infection rate.  This is for the UK. Scotland = 10 deaths a week. Others could do my maths better - feel free anyone. 

but its not a constant is it? 290 last week and a decrease of 35 on the week prior taking into account non hospital deaths.. so well of your 500 and going the right way for sure. https://data.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/detail.html 

In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> Salmond was tactically very astute as a politician.  I don't see him as the sort of foolhardy person who would voluntarily instigate a fight to the death, with another seasoned performer as Nicola Sturgeon, without having very carefully weighed up not only his evidence,

He was very astute and he's made some clever tactical moves to win this case.  But he is also older, not as healthy and has been under stress.  Everybody is pretty messed up by Covid and lockdown and behaving a bit differently from usual but he's also had the court case, risk of prison and vilification in the press to deal with.  He has made some spectacularly bad decisions in his time: e.g. working for Russian TV.

> Coupled with the Scot Gov. attempts to repeatedly thwart the committee, numerous longstanding SNP insiders crying foul and various dubious testimonies and clarifications before the committee; its hard on the evidence available to come to the conclusion of a simple narrative of an aggrieved man wildly lashing out......

The enquiry was politicised from the start  the unionists are out to get Salmond and/or Sturgeon with this.  Many of them are forecast to lose their seat in May, this is their roll of the dice and they are going to inquire and inquire and inquire so as to keep Salmond in the press forever. 

The unionists have flipped from 'Salmond is a sex criminal and the Crown Office has to protect the identities of the victims' to 'Salmond is innocent, Sturgeon criminally conspired against him and we need to publish evidence which would identify the complainers': but the Crown Office has remained consistent.

> I could be wrong and a flaw in his character is blindly compelling him to his doom in a Greek style tragedy, but past performance suggest this is very unlikely, particularly as this revenge is being served cold after plenty of time to reflect, and not in the heat of the moment.

He's a risk taker.  Maybe he is crazy enough to try and get back into politics or maybe he's got a book coming and it is about money or maybe he needs complete vindication on the sex charges for the sake of personal relationships with his family.  

The other key thing is that so far we have only heard from Salmond.  Sturgeon is keeping her mouth shut and her powder dry and she gets to speak last.  The most obvious reason for her actions is she thought the allegations might well be true.  She had no reason to conspire against Salmond, he was long gone.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

What if a key uk factor is general health of the population, obesity, diabetic, pre diabetic and so on? Those factors wouldn't change, Scotlands health and longevity records over the last few decades are not startling better than England? 

 Blunderbuss 06:42 Fri
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

So anything good in relation to COVID-19 in Scotland is all down to the SNP and everything bad is down to the Tories.....does that sum it up? 

 DaveHK 07:05 Fri
In reply to Richard Horn:

>Its kind of ironic though that there is so much arrogance from the left, 

It's ironic to accuse the left of arrogance when you consider the arrogance of those on the right in power.

In reply to Blunderbuss:

> So anything good in relation to COVID-19 in Scotland is all down to the SNP and everything bad is down to the Tories.....does that sum it up? 

The Tories f*cked up terribly on Covid and even worse on Brexit.    That's just a fact.  

The only thing they have done right is buy a f*ckton of vaccine, and that's because Matt Hancock saw a disaster movie where people were fighting for vaccine and the hedge fund guys in the cabinet figured its always a good idea to hoard commodities that everyone wants.

 S Ramsay 13:48 Fri
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

If you look at this graph you will see that in England Covid deaths/hundred thousand were heavily concentrated in urban areas:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/visualisations/dvc811/multimap/index.html

It would not be unreasonable to assume that there was a similar pattern in Scotland and Ireland too. 36.6% of Ireland is defined as living rurally (1) whereas less than half of that, 17% (2) is defined as living rurally in Scotland. Therefore, it seems pretty plausible that all other things being equal, Scotland would have had a higher death toll per head than Ireland. Obviously rural/urban is not the only correlating factor and indeed England is classed as having a higher percentage living rurally than Scotland. It is likely, but I am speculating here, that really, urban living is just a proxy for multi generational households and overcrowded accommodation which would have a clear affect on transmission even in a lockdown scenario and with housing in Scotland being cheaper than in England it is possible that there is less overcrowding and therefore lockdowns take effect faster.

On a final note, being like Ireland is not necessarily a great panacea for Coronavirus, before Chistmas they went from having the least new infections per head in Europe to the most in a matter of weeks and they appear relatively keen to repeat this. A poll for the Irish times found that 68% of the Irish want to go back to normal as soon as the elderly and vulnerable have been vaccinated. Even the libertarian wing of the Tory party has stopped pushing for this for now viewing it as too risky a strategy. The UK has arguably vaccinated the elderly and the vulnerable already but the earliest that life will return to normal in England is the 21st of June. With pressures such as that and a relatively fragile political situation the Irish will do well to keep their restrictions strong enough to prevent a further wave of Coronavirus.

(1) https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/IRL/ireland/rural-population#:~:text=Ireland%20rural%20population%20for%202019,a%200.52%25%20increase%20from%202016.

(2) https://www.gov.scot/publications/rural-scotland-key-facts-2018/

(3) https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/irish-times-poll-strong-support-for-reopening-society-as-soon-as-possible-1.4495298

In reply to girlymonkey:

I have to say my experience of speaking to dedicated life long SNP supporters is totally the opposite as of the last few months. 

 Graeme G 08:42 Sat
In reply to Samuel Wainwright:

I’m unclear as to what point your replying to? Can you elaborate?

In reply to Richard Horn:

> I was not particularly enamoured by the prospect either, but it was a case of least worst choice. Its kind of ironic though that there is so much arrogance from the left, the assumption that people only do not vote for them because either they are stupid/selfish or brainwashed by the media, yet the left cannot themselves figure out how to win an election and get into power against what is a disorganised mess of a government... 

If you want an object lesson in arrogance, look no further than the talentless morons sitting on an 80 seat passport to impunity. 

The anti-Corbyn vote was a significant factor, but there's also good evidence to suggest that both Brexit and the landslide election majority were both won on the basis of misinformation and outright lies.

How do you think misinformation and lies get conveyed to the voting public?

 Roadrunner6 12:20 Sat
In reply to mick taylor:

> ....is noticeably increasing and has been for the past three months. I see no reason why this will slow, possibly even increase as restrictions are eased and vaccination programme can be manipulated into EU = bad, plucky Brit Johnson = good. 

People have short memories too. They'll forget his incompetence early on but will remember the vaccine told out success..

In reply to mick taylor:

It’s pretty clear the home, workplace and other social confined spaces ( supermarkets, schools,cruise ships, prisons, OAP homes) etc is where it spreads. Variously shut /lockdown to slow spread protect nhs from overburden, buying time,  but not really stoping infection. 

Post edited at 21:16
 wintertree 21:46 Sun
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> The outlier here is how badly Covid was handled in England and how high the death rate has been.

It’s almost as if we waited over two weeks to lock down from the point when we had conclusive evidence of uncontrolled community transmission of a virus with an evidenced doubling time of ~4 days and an IFR of about 1%, despite having seen what it did to Wuhan Province and then Northern Italy.  

“Waiting for the right time to lockdown” as I recall.  A year later I’m none the wiser about what that means.

 wintertree 21:54 Sun
In reply to mick taylor:

> It’s interesting that the professor reckons there was no evidence to say social mixing over Christmas was a factor, yet can say ‘it was probably the new strain’.  Where is his evidence for this?

In both England and Scotland, the exponential growth rate was falling by Christmas Day - it had just started to fall in Scotland and had been falling for some time in England.  To my eye this doesn’t support additional transmission at the Christmas weekend beyond the “usual”.  There also seemed to be a surge of brief, faster exponential growth as the new strain broke lockdown in area after area before some factor controlled it; I’m leaning towards local behavioural response to locally rising visible consequences.

Edit:  Reading up thread to the source of this, I agree with the quotes StuPoo2 posted and I’d suggest Prof Hunter is a sharp cookie.

Post edited at 21:57
In reply to wintertree:

At the time it was pretty clear 'the right time' was the point at which delaying any longer would lead to the NHS being overwhelmed.

They appeared to get the timing of that bang on.

What is unlcear is why that was the target for initiating lockdown.

 wintertree 22:18 Sun
In reply to Dr.S at work:

Even more unclear is why that was also apparently the timing for the most recent lockdown.

By the skin of their teeth, twice.


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