COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:49 pm

David Williams wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:24 pm
I think it's valid.

Suppose it was established that having a meal in a restaurant with an infected person gave you a 50% chance of being infected. Sheer chance, different immune systems, whatever. How many people would you expect to be infected if that person spent the same amount of time at a speed-dating event, sitting across a table from 20 different people? It could be as many as ten, if it takes only minimal contact. It could be none, if there's threshold that has to be exceeded.

When it comes to relaxing lockdown it matters a lot. On one scenario restaurants remain shut. One infected waiter is likely to infect half the customers. On the other it's perfectly safe to open restaurants to groups comprising members of the same household, so long as the tables are 2 metres apart (which is virtually impossible, but you get my point).
Your second post doesn't seem to match up with the weird riddle that is your first post though.

There was an article in New Scientist discussing whether your amount of exposure to the virus affects how badly you get the disease - they weren't sure. Though in the sample size of one, that Chinese doctor who died was quite young and it was suggested that he might have got it worse because he'd been more exposed to it.

But anyway, I think it does take a certain number of the viruses for it to take hold at all, so prolonged exposure might be necessary unless they actually cough in your face - which would contrast with something like radioactive decay, where the "event" can just happen at any time with a certain half life.

Based on this, I'd guess that if you have a 50/50 chance of infecting someone at a meal, then out of 20 people that all spend 1/20 of that time with you, you'd infect an average of less than 10. I don't really know though. And an accidental cough or sneeze could mess this right up (though you'd probably cover your mouth).

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:55 pm

This article from the BBC is slightly more balanced than we normally get. There's very little of it, but there is at least some discussion of what is the right level of lockdown rather than "The government have said this, so this must be exactly the right balance." A couple of bits of discussion:
Prof John Edmunds, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, explained that there were three ways that the virus may be transmitted:

Touching an infected surface and then your face with unwashed hands
From tiny particles that stay suspended in the air (aerosols)
From larger droplets that quickly fall to the ground - the particles in both cases coming from coughing and sneezing, for example
"The first two of these routes would be reduced to virtually zero out of doors," he said. "You are much less likely to touch an infected surface, and suspended particles will be massively diluted by the fresh air."

That means that the remaining danger is droplet infection. To try to avoid that people should stay at least the recommended 2m (6ft) distance from others. However, a US study has suggested that coughs can reach 6m and sneezes 8m.

The government's current concern is that crowded parks and people sitting on benches could mean that people are not staying far enough apart, and so there is a danger of infection.
Basically it's saying that in reality, parks are safe for hanging around in as long as you stay away from other people. The government is overreacting about this.
If outdoor exercise was stopped, it would be a particular problem for people without access to a garden.

Labour's new deputy leader Angela Rayner said it was "all right for people who have got big houses and huge back gardens" to tell people sunbathing while observing social distancing to stop doing so.

And Linda Bauld, professor of public health at University of Edinburgh, said: "The health implications of the lockdown that we anticipate - increased alcohol consumption, domestic violence, anxiety and depression, poor diet and decreased physical activity - will get worse if we confine more of us to our homes, without the hugely important respite that outdoor exercise provides."

"If the rationale is virus transmission outdoors, then far stronger evidence is needed to justify it."
This "far stronger evidence" should really apply to people sitting in parks as well.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Fiona T » Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:12 pm

Interesting about the 'droplets' - I was volunteering at the last parkrun before lockdown - the first and second guys through the finish tunnel bumped elbows, then one spat. I can't imagine how many people must have then trodden where he spat. I also saw at least two other runners spitting while running. Given that it can remain on shoes for several days, this really needs to be an absolute no-no for those exercising.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by David Williams » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:31 pm

At least in those long-distant days the chances of any individual actually having the virus was probably (literally) a million to one.

Frequent hand-washing seemed a good idea when it was first advised. It's a sobering thought that any random individual who crosses your path today is maybe a hundred times more likely to infect you than at that time.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:18 pm

I would hope that people would refrain from spitting in public now. I don't spit while running anyway but I wonder if it's some biological difference between people where some people get more of a yucky phlegmmy build-up than others.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Fiona T » Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:21 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:18 pm
I would hope that people would refrain from spitting in public now. I don't spit while running anyway but I wonder if it's some biological difference between people where some people get more of a yucky phlegmmy build-up than others.
Well at our parkrun at least it appears to be a biological difference that mainly affects the men. I'm sure some women do spit when running, but definitely far less prevalent.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:31 pm

Fiona T wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:21 am
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:18 pm
I would hope that people would refrain from spitting in public now. I don't spit while running anyway but I wonder if it's some biological difference between people where some people get more of a yucky phlegmmy build-up than others.
Well at our parkrun at least it appears to be a biological difference that mainly affects the men. I'm sure some women do spit when running, but definitely far less prevalent.
Haha. I've mainly noticed from men as well actually. I think it's still a minority though. I would only ever spit out an insect. But nowadays, I'd be even more careful where it went.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:42 pm

Apparently school closures only have a small impact.
Recent modelling studies of Covid-19 predict that school closures alone would prevent only 2%-4% of deaths, many fewer than other social distancing interventions
It seems that the mixing of all these people would hardly have any effect at all, whereas making sure you don't sit in the park on your own or go out to exercise twice a day will stop this thing in its tracks.

But actually the key in that quote is the word "alone". From the article:
They modelled a scenario in which all schools and 25% of universities were closed and where the effect on non-school social contacts was an increase of 50% in household contact rates for families with children and a 25% increase in community contacts during the closure. They concluded that school closure as an isolated measure was predicted to reduce total deaths by around 2–4% during a COVID-19 outbreak in the UK
In their model, social contact outside school is going up. But given that we're supposed not to be doing that (it shouldn't just not be going up - it should be going down), it's a weird assumption to make, and really it invalidates the whole thing.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Mark James » Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:06 pm


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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Mark James » Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:21 pm

https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/ ... ssion=true

There's also this though. Apologies if I jumped the gun.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:33 pm

You jumped the gun, and now I'm stuck in your slipstream.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri May 01, 2020 9:23 am

After weeks of gaslighting by the government , is it true to suggest that the majority of people are not ready to move on from the lockdown phase anytime soon
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri May 01, 2020 9:26 am

Facemasks , yes or no ?

I think if it means people will start going out again , when the government wants us to , facemasks will be actively encouraged on the premise that if everyone wears one then the risks will genuinely drop
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu May 28, 2020 5:42 pm

A lot of this lockdown easing stuff is stuff that wouldn't make any difference anyway and never needed to be restricted. Like meeting up with people as long as you're outside and stay two metres away, or sitting in a park - not even exercising! :o

So I do wonder whether they overdid the lockdown just so they could give us some easing "free of charge" to make it look like things are getting better.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Thu May 28, 2020 9:53 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 5:42 pm
A lot of this lockdown easing stuff is stuff that wouldn't make any difference anyway and never needed to be restricted. Like meeting up with people as long as you're outside and stay two metres away, or sitting in a park - not even exercising! :o

So I do wonder whether they overdid the lockdown just so they could give us some easing "free of charge" to make it look like things are getting better.
Well, given the media narrative of "people will get confused" when the lockdown was changed to "stay alert", I'm guessing somewhere in between. It's better to overdo something than underdo it. Indeed, many said it was underdone to begin with... :roll:
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu May 28, 2020 10:05 pm

It was underdone in some ways, overdone in others. The government acted far too late (underdone) but most of the stuff relating to outdoor activities was overdone.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat May 30, 2020 8:18 pm

I met up with someone at a park today (staying two metres away from each other except to test our eyes). This is the first time I've done something like this since lockdown. This is allowed now isn't it? But I was saying how stupid it was that I've encountered people that I know when I've e.g. gone out on a run and stopped to talk to them before any restrictions were lifted. But was that OK because it wasn't planned? There is/was so much illogical stuff in the lockdown restrictions.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat May 30, 2020 8:44 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 8:18 pm
I met up with someone at a park today (staying two metres away from each other except to test our eyes). This is the first time I've done something like this since lockdown. This is allowed now isn't it? But I was saying how stupid it was that I've encountered people that I know when I've e.g. gone out on a run and stopped to talk to them before any restrictions were lifted. But was that OK because it wasn't planned? There is/was so much illogical stuff in the lockdown restrictions.
There's a risk attached to meeting someone. If you go outdoors with the intention of meeting up with someone, you're much more likely to meet someone than if you go outdoors with no intention of meeting up with someone. So it used to be against the rules to go out intending to meet someone. Seems reasonable to me.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat May 30, 2020 9:30 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 8:44 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 8:18 pm
I met up with someone at a park today (staying two metres away from each other except to test our eyes). This is the first time I've done something like this since lockdown. This is allowed now isn't it? But I was saying how stupid it was that I've encountered people that I know when I've e.g. gone out on a run and stopped to talk to them before any restrictions were lifted. But was that OK because it wasn't planned? There is/was so much illogical stuff in the lockdown restrictions.
There's a risk attached to meeting someone. If you go outdoors with the intention of meeting up with someone, you're much more likely to meet someone than if you go outdoors with no intention of meeting up with someone. So it used to be against the rules to go out intending to meet someone. Seems reasonable to me.
But what even counts as intending to meet someone? You might meet someone entirely by coincidence, or you might know each other's patterns and decide to go out when you're likely to encounter them but with no discussion between you. There's a whole continuum there. And are the thought police a real thing now?

Plus as I've said before, all the outside risk when you're staying two metres apart is negligible and was a completely unnecessary part of the lockdown. Nothing's really changed now anyway (there's no vaccine etc.) and while we might be on a downward part of the curve, that's only because of lockdown, so if we lift lockdown we just go back upwards again. The only reason they can lift the outdoors measures is that they weren't necessary in the first place. You're allowed outside, but as long as you're moving. If you're stationary it's illegal. Such nonsense. And as I said up the thread somewhere, if you were being cynical, you might think that they made the rules harsher than they needed to be just so that they could lift some of them with no effect and make it look like things are getting better.

Another thing is that "shielders" are going to be "allowed" out again on Monday. Now, I'm only 99% sure about this, but I don't think they were barred by law from going out - just advised not to. Being told to shield might seem reasonable advice, but if I was in that position, I'd weigh up the odds myself, not wait for Boris Johnson to do so. Given the government's general record when it comes to this pandemic, I see this as pretty irrelevant.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sun May 31, 2020 1:52 am

Well Boris has made it clear he's prepared to increase lockdown back to where it was if things get worse again. The theories are that the virus doesn't like hot weather which is why third-world countries have been largely spared, and so what we really need is a huge, 40-degree heatwave across Europe, I guess.

I blame the media, since for six weeks all they were saying is "when are you going to ease restrictions", which was a difficult question to answer since the man in charge was in ICU.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Ian Volante » Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:56 am

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 1:52 am
Well Boris has made it clear he's prepared to increase lockdown back to where it was if things get worse again. The theories are that the virus doesn't like hot weather which is why third-world countries have been largely spared, and so what we really need is a huge, 40-degree heatwave across Europe, I guess.

I blame the media, since for six weeks all they were saying is "when are you going to ease restrictions", which was a difficult question to answer since the man in charge was in ICU.
Can you prove that developing countries don't just have poor or non-existent testing regimes? If the virus didn't like hot places, I'm pretty sure Brazil wouldn't be struggling so much.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:28 am

What about cold countries
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:50 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 1:52 am
Well Boris has made it clear he's prepared to increase lockdown back to where it was if things get worse again. The theories are that the virus doesn't like hot weather which is why third-world countries have been largely spared, and so what we really need is a huge, 40-degree heatwave across Europe, I guess.
I think this is more wishful thinking than a theory. It's been pointed out that Singapore (a hot country) wasn't spared the virus.
I blame the media, since for six weeks all they were saying is "when are you going to ease restrictions", which was a difficult question to answer since the man in charge was in ICU.
What are you exactly blaming the media for though? But anyway, if the prime minister is for any reason not able to perform his duties, the government should still be able to operate without this one person, or it's a poor government. We don't live in a dictatorship, and Johnson catching the illness should have had absolutely no effect on the running of the country. If anything it should have made it better because he's a useless waste of space, which surely even you can't deny.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:17 pm

I don't think you can take Prime Ministerial decisions without the Prime Minister. And Boris is so much better than some members of the cabinet, so I feel much better with him in charge than I did with May, or would with Patel.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:36 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:17 pm
I don't think you can take Prime Ministerial decisions without the Prime Minister. And Boris is so much better than some members of the cabinet, so I feel much better with him in charge than I did with May, or would with Patel.
You have someone to deputise when he's not available. What if he was ill for months? What if he died? Would you need to wait for a new leadership election before anything could happen? Of course not. Or if so, it's a real failure of the system. You should never put too much importance into one person. Really basic stuff.

And yes, a lot of Tories are awful.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Mark Deeks » Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:41 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:50 pm
Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 1:52 am
Well Boris has made it clear he's prepared to increase lockdown back to where it was if things get worse again. The theories are that the virus doesn't like hot weather which is why third-world countries have been largely spared, and so what we really need is a huge, 40-degree heatwave across Europe, I guess.
I think this is more wishful thinking than a theory. It's been pointed out that Singapore (a hot country) wasn't spared the virus.
I had the unexpected pleasure of chatting with an actual epidemiologist for an hour on Thursday, who explained at great length the link between high vitamin D levels and favourable coronavirus outcomes. To the point that I, a ginger who works indoors and who rarely goes out, immediately bought some vitamin D supplements. So science backs up the "warm weather helps" thing. But the warm weather will fade, at which point, it will come back stronger.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:58 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:41 pm
I had the unexpected pleasure of chatting with an actual epidemiologist for an hour on Thursday, who explained at great length the link between high vitamin D levels and favourable coronavirus outcomes. To the point that I, a ginger who works indoors and who rarely goes out, immediately bought some vitamin D supplements. So science backs up the "warm weather helps" thing. But the warm weather will fade, at which point, it will come back stronger.
I was under the impression that the vitamin D thing was unproven, but I've now also just read this, which says at one point:
A growing body of circumstantial evidence now also specifically links outcomes of COVID-19 and vitamin D status.
So I think it's seen as a likely connection although still not an entirely proven thing. But it should also be pointed out that it's not warm weather per se, but sunshine, and specifically being outside when the sun is shining, while also not completely covered up. Or just take vitamin D supplements.

And although you might burn more easily being ginger, you probably don't need to be outside for as long to get the vitamin D you need. People with darker skin are better protected against the sun but are more likely to be vitamin D deficient.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:47 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:36 pm
Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:17 pm
I don't think you can take Prime Ministerial decisions without the Prime Minister. And Boris is so much better than some members of the cabinet, so I feel much better with him in charge than I did with May, or would with Patel.
You have someone to deputise when he's not available. What if he was ill for months? What if he died? Would you need to wait for a new leadership election before anything could happen? Of course not. Or if so, it's a real failure of the system. You should never put too much importance into one person. Really basic stuff.
Imagine the situation if Boris emerged from hospital and was updated by Raab on what had happened, and Boris may well have gone "YOU DID WHAT!?". And he'd be right to.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:29 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:47 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:36 pm
Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:17 pm
I don't think you can take Prime Ministerial decisions without the Prime Minister. And Boris is so much better than some members of the cabinet, so I feel much better with him in charge than I did with May, or would with Patel.
You have someone to deputise when he's not available. What if he was ill for months? What if he died? Would you need to wait for a new leadership election before anything could happen? Of course not. Or if so, it's a real failure of the system. You should never put too much importance into one person. Really basic stuff.
Imagine the situation if Boris emerged from hospital and was updated by Raab on what had happened, and Boris may well have gone "YOU DID WHAT!?". And he'd be right to.
Well if he did something ridiculous, then yes, because all politicians should be accountable for their actions. But on the other hand if Boris Johnson is incapacitated, the country needs to still be governed. And we, as the electorate, have the right to expect this. And it goes back to what I said about not having a dictator - the crucial point is that it's our country, not Boris Johnson's. He's only there because we allow him to be (well, sort of - our electoral system isn't exactly great though), but if he's not there then he's not there, but we are, and we expect action!

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:44 pm

Just on the warm weather thing again, there are viruses that don't thrive as well in higher temperatures, and the wishful thinking thing is that this coronavirus is one of them. The vitamin D thing is related but not exactly the same thing.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Marc Meakin » Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:56 am

Fuming.
So wearing face coverings in shops are to be compulsory
from 24th , although ,strangely , not for shop floor staff (I e. me ). Although I am sure staff will have to to set an example which makes my job far more difficult , mainly because of my spectacles constantly steaming up and my inability to lip read staff as I'm partially deaf
Still it's not all bad as if I want to go to the pub or restaurant after work I don't need to wear a face covering as Covid 19 isn't an issue in these establishments.
A cynical bastard , like myself , realise the government has done so well to get people to stay at home , they are still too scared to go out and this is a drastic measure to try and boost the economy.

On the plus side , I can finally suppliment my income with a ventriloquist act 🙂
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Elliott Mellor » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:00 am

Marc Meakin wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:56 am
Although I am sure staff will have to to set an example which makes my job far more difficult , mainly because of my spectacles constantly steaming up and my inability to lip read staff as I'm partially death.
Does this mean you walk around with a scythe as well as a face mask?

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Marc Meakin » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:11 am

Elliott Mellor wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:00 am
Marc Meakin wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:56 am
Although I am sure staff will have to to set an example which makes my job far more difficult , mainly because of my spectacles constantly steaming up and my inability to lip read staff as I'm partially death.
Does this mean you walk around with a scythe as well as a face mask?
That made me chuckle .
I am also partially dyslexic 🙂.
I can't even blame spell check since I turned it off
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:37 am

You know the Eat Out to Help Out thing? Well:
"When are we going to get this opportunity again?" says Danielle Hughes, from Livingston in West Lothian. She estimates that she's saved £150 on eating out this month - money that's been stumped up by the taxpayer.
Danielle, 24, has eaten out every day that the scheme has been going, and sometimes twice a day. She plans to continue until the offer ends on 31 August.
Now, mathematicians amongst you, do you think Danielle has saved money by doing this? Is she £150 richer as a result?

Actually, I'm supposed to be meeting a friend for a curry this evening. The first time I will have eaten out since this coronavirus thing. Is this OK? They have social distancing measures in place, right?

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Fiona T » Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:36 pm

So with all the tax stuff in the news, who should pick up the covid bill?

Jono - any wisdom on this? :)
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:56 pm

Fiona T wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:36 pm
So with all the tax stuff in the news, who should pick up the covid bill?

Jono - ? :)
I'm happy with Jono paying.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Fiona T » Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:13 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:56 pm
Fiona T wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:36 pm
So with all the tax stuff in the news, who should pick up the covid bill?

Jono - ? :)
I'm happy with Jono paying.
Sounds fair :)
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:03 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:37 am

Actually, I'm supposed to be meeting a friend for a curry this evening. The first time I will have eaten out since this coronavirus thing. Is this OK? They have social distancing measures in place, right?
As a follow-up to this, all the staff were wearing masks, and they'd put up temporary walls between all the tables. It was quite well done I thought.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:24 pm

I have to say the entire thing, particularly at the moment, is being whipped up by the media into a huge frenzy. In the month of August, despite the situation generally improving Sky News tweeted 4 times as much bad news about COVID than good news.

We're seeing it now with "NO ONE CAN GET TESTED WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE", which, given the UK is testing more than any European country is not true at all. Indeed, the positivity rate (% of tests that returned positive) is still very low which is a good thing: at the peak it was 40%. Now, I don't have the figure in front of me, but it's about 1%.

https://twitter.com/Coronavirusgoo1 is good for optimism.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:38 pm

Well, the first part is arguably your fault for following Sky News on Twitter. Secondly, there have been a lot of reports about people not being able to get tested, and that problem doesn't go away by pointing to other countries and what they're doing or not doing. What you say might not be accurate anyway. And I'm not sure there's any point following a Twitter feed that specifically deals in good news if you want a balanced view of what's actually going on.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:21 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:38 pm
Well, the first part is arguably your fault for following Sky News on Twitter. Secondly, there have been a lot of reports about people not being able to get tested, and that problem doesn't go away by pointing to other countries and what they're doing or not doing. What you say might not be accurate anyway. And I'm not sure there's any point following a Twitter feed that specifically deals in good news if you want a balanced view of what's actually going on.
That article is deliberately conflating tests per capita, and testing outright, in order to try and have a pop at Boris, when of course he clearly meant the latter.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:30 pm

At some point, the goalposts were moved from "lockdown to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed" to "lockdown until there's a cure" which may never happen and indeed is years off at the earliest. That is simply untenable. I don't understand why politicians, particularly those on the left, want lockdown indefinitely (Sadiq Khan is calling for one in London now which is not even the third-worst affected region). Or Keir Starmer wanting furlough until the end of time. No one from a news organisation or a politician is prepared to offer anyone any hope. No one has stopped to think about mental health. No one has even considered the fact that there are 20,000 lockdown deaths not down to COVID directly - almost half as many as COVID itself. Lockdown must be a weapon of last resort, not first resort.

Edit: and I'm not a COVID denier or anything like that. We just can't go on waiting for it to be eliminated outright especially when the WHO says that won't be until 2022.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:23 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:21 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:38 pm
Well, the first part is arguably your fault for following Sky News on Twitter. Secondly, there have been a lot of reports about people not being able to get tested, and that problem doesn't go away by pointing to other countries and what they're doing or not doing. What you say might not be accurate anyway. And I'm not sure there's any point following a Twitter feed that specifically deals in good news if you want a balanced view of what's actually going on.
That article is deliberately conflating tests per capita, and testing outright, in order to try and have a pop at Boris, when of course he clearly meant the latter.
It's intellectual dishonesty in the first place to respond to concerns that not enough testing is being done by saying we are doing more tests than anywhere in Europe when we're behind only Russia and Germany in terms of population. Johnson should have been using the per capita figure for it to have any relevance. Absolute numbers mean pretty much nothing.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Fiona T » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:59 am

If anyone likes graphs, this is my new favourite CV website

https://www.travellingtabby.com/uk-coronavirus-tracker/
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:04 am

Fiona T wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:59 am
If anyone likes graphs, this is my new favourite CV website

https://www.travellingtabby.com/uk-coronavirus-tracker/
Interesting!
Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:30 pm
At some point, the goalposts were moved from "lockdown to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed" to "lockdown until there's a cure" which may never happen and indeed is years off at the earliest. That is simply untenable. I don't understand why politicians, particularly those on the left, want lockdown indefinitely (Sadiq Khan is calling for one in London now which is not even the third-worst affected region). Or Keir Starmer wanting furlough until the end of time. No one from a news organisation or a politician is prepared to offer anyone any hope. No one has stopped to think about mental health. No one has even considered the fact that there are 20,000 lockdown deaths not down to COVID directly - almost half as many as COVID itself. Lockdown must be a weapon of last resort, not first resort.

Edit: and I'm not a COVID denier or anything like that. We just can't go on waiting for it to be eliminated outright especially when the WHO says that won't be until 2022.
Regarding lockdown, it partly depends on how restricted things need to be for it to be called lockdown. At what point is it lockdown? Personally, I think that the government acted too late in introducing restrictions in March, but when it did, some of them went too far. Being in contact with other people spreads the virus - being out on your own does not. So if they increase restrictions again, I'll be very disappointed if they say that we can only go out once to exercise or that we can't just go out to not exercise - e.g. sit alone in a park. The cynical part of me thinks they only introduced those bits so that they could lift them again later without any risk and make it look like things were improving.

But anyway, it is complicated, and you have to take into account things like mental health as you say. But now that people are more used to wearing face masks etc. and keeping their distance, I don't think it will ever go back to the most restricted it was at the start.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Marc Meakin » Sun Sep 20, 2020 4:10 pm

We need the daily update to return.
Although I don't think this government wants to it is putting the lockdown onus on local authorities to prevent a second national lock down which economically the country can't cope with
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Phil H » Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:39 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:30 pm
No one has stopped to think about mental health. No one has even considered the fact that there are 20,000 lockdown deaths not down to COVID directly - almost half as many as COVID itself.
I knew we had different political sympathies but I don't usually disagree with you quite so often or so strongly in the space of one paragraph.

The first sentence above is barely any more true than saying there's never any football on TV, or something. The second implies that these additional deaths wouldn't have happened with no lockdown or a less strict lockdown, which I'd suggest is nonsense. If you mean people dying from other conditions because of resources being concentrated on COVID, there'd been more of that without lockdown, not less. If you mean things like deaths from suicide or deaths related to domestic abuse, then your figure simply beggars belief.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Paul Worsley » Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:26 pm

Phil H wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:39 pm

The second implies that these additional deaths wouldn't have happened with no lockdown or a less strict lockdown, which I'd suggest is nonsense.
https://www.hdruk.ac.uk/news/the-big-c- ... ts-cancer/

From the article.
The show featured work by researchers from the University College London Institute of Health Informatics and DATA-CAN: The Health Data Research Hub for Cancer, who used health data to predict that there could potentially be an additional 18,000 additional deaths in people with cancer, as a result of the pandemic.
Note: This is just an estimate of additional deaths from cancer. It doesn't include extra deaths from heart disease, asthma, diabetes, COPD and on and on and on.

I would say the figure of 20,000 from Rhys is conservative.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by David Williams » Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:53 pm

Forgive me if I'm missing the point here, because I haven't studied all of this, but when coronavirus was growing at a high exponential rate back in the spring, wasn't the estimate that there could be 500,000 deaths unless we were locked down? So if lockdown has saved over 450,000 deaths from coronavirus, but caused 20,000 deaths from other reasons, that's still a considerable saving.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:02 pm

Here are some questions for ye:

Q1. How much of the "new normal" would you be prepared to live with for the rest of your life?
  • 2m social distancing.
  • 1m social distancing.
  • Occasional travel bans.
  • Restriction of movement to a 2km or 5km or 10km radius.
  • Hand sanitizing on entering / leaving a premises.
  • Reduced capacity crowds at concerts and in sporting arenas.
  • Restricted numbers (6 or so) at informal indoor gatherings.
  • Caps on numbers allowed at weddings funerals etc.
  • No Grindr / Tinder hook-ups!
  • Mask-wearing.
Q2. For how long are you willing to tolerate Covid safety measures?
(P.S. "Until there is a vaccine" is a cop-out answer, and counts as "forever".)

Q3. If this goes on long enough that a sizeable proportion of the population are no longer willing to live restricted lives, what is your suggested solution for how that scenario should be dealt with?
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:06 pm

What I would suggest is that we don't have to decide right now what we should do in a year or two years or whatever if things haven't changed. It would obviously be a big problem if no vaccine proves effective and we can't keep the virus under control without big restrictions on our lives. And I think most people would not want to agree to these restrictions for the rest of their lives.

However, what specific restrictions to adopt to keep the R number below 1 and keep the infection rate as low as possible will depend on many factors including the specific priorities at the time. And public mood has to be gauged, but we don't have to predict in advance what restrictions would be the best move.

Also, if things go on and on, there will be general elections, and parties will have their own manifestos detailing what measures they would take, so ultimately the public will get their say if the end never seems to come.

Maybe you think that's a cop out, and obviously plans for the short term need to be made (such as the current restrictions that have been announced), but I think it's right that nothing concrete needs to be in place right now for the next move. We have to play this as it comes.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:12 pm

David Williams wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:53 pm
Forgive me if I'm missing the point here, because I haven't studied all of this, but when coronavirus was growing at a high exponential rate back in the spring, wasn't the estimate that there could be 500,000 deaths unless we were locked down? So if lockdown has saved over 450,000 deaths from coronavirus, but caused 20,000 deaths from other reasons, that's still a considerable saving.
The Spectator's interview with Anders Tegnell, who established Sweden's unique no-lockdown approach, heavily criticises the model produced by Imperial (the same model which gives the 500,000 figure for the UK), which claimed that Sweden's decision not to lockdown would cause 85,000 deaths - the number was actually 6,000. Given that track record the "predictions" and "projections" can't be taken as gospel. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/why ... rs-tegnell

Uncut interview here (length 23mins): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C99MtK4ogM
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:03 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:06 pm
Maybe you think that's a cop out...
Well, aside from the bit where two of the questions were ignored entirely, nope! ;)

I agree about the election manifestos being pivotal if it goes on too long.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Conor » Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:58 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:06 pm
What I would suggest is that we don't have to decide right now what we should do in a year or two years or whatever if things haven't changed. It would obviously be a big problem if no vaccine proves effective and we can't keep the virus under control without big restrictions on our lives. And I think most people would not want to agree to these restrictions for the rest of their lives.
While I don't think we need to decide right now what we must necessarily do in the future, we should still think ahead for a few scenarios and plan accordingly. And these scenarios are, for me, inextricably linked to the likelihood of finding a vaccine since it looks to be the only way of eradicating the virus. While we're still in the early promising stages of testing vaccines I think most of the restrictions are abidable*, but should some of them falter and the horizon stretches, I'd (acting unilaterally) gradually lift restrictions just because the alternative seems more likely is just abiding by them for not much reward.

You do make an interesting point r.e. the politics if this virus is around for a long time. You should look at the data and listen to some of the experts, but the choice of how to proceed and balancing people's safety yet preserving the economy, individuality and people's quality of life is a deep and personal one. So you could well have the political landscape being completely redrawn by their stance on the coronavirus.

* I think part of the problem is also as a society and also as individuals are so bad at policing ourselves. Abiding to some of these restrictions 100% of the time is just unreasonable, and perhaps not far off psychological torture. E.g. no mixing of households, hooking up, fully enforced social distancing. The virus isn't that bad, but I do get why these restrictions are implemented, because so many people would ignore them willfully otherwise.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:22 pm

By the way, one thing that could be implemented, and I think whose time has come generally anyway, is a universal basic income. We have this problem that "the economy" can't function properly with the restrictions and lots of people are now out of work and the furlough scheme is ending etc.

People might argue that with less work being done and being taken in tax it might not be affordable, but I don't really see this. it just takes a bit of a shift in our thinking about the economy, wealth etc. It's been the case for a very long time that we can produce everything we need to survive and live in this country with only a small number of people dedicated to the work of producing it. That's why people don't all produce their own food and most people work in jobs that wouldn't cause civilisation to collapse if they stopped existing.

Given that the basics are easily taken care of and are taken out of our hands anyway (e.g. you couldn't be a hunter-gatherer in the UK even if you wanted to be), it would be quite simple for everyone to be given enough money to be able to afford the basics. Any work you do would then be on top of that so that you could live in more luxury etc., rather than worrying about living from one day to the next.

The existence of pubs, restaurants, expensive fashion items etc. are not at all required for us to be able to live our lives in a fairly reasonable way. But because of the way things work, everyone has to have a job at all times in order to get by and to justify their existence to other people. But this is only because of the way the system is set up, not because it is a necessity.

Anyway, I'm going a bit off topic there, but I do think things like global pandemics would be made a bit easier if we had a basic income. It's time to introduce it.

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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:11 pm

People need to stop arguing from hindsight, because it's ridiculous.

"We should have locked down sooner" - when exactly did you call for lockdown, and why would you do so so early on? Do you not realise it's a weapon of last resort, because evidently you don't.

"Stay alert is pants, stay safe is fine" - they're practically the same thing.

"We shouldn't have released restrictions" - maybe tell that to the entire media who was badgering Boris for an end to lockdown from day one.

Anthony Endsor said in aptochat that lockdown should have started on 7 March, i.e. two weeks prior. That is bollocks because covid was not even a topic of conversation in my day-to-day life then. You cannot lockdown every 2 minutes when another country has a pandemic. That's nuts.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Fiona T » Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:07 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:11 pm
People need to stop arguing from hindsight, because it's ridiculous.

"We should have locked down sooner" - when exactly did you call for lockdown, and why would you do so so early on? Do you not realise it's a weapon of last resort, because evidently you don't.

"Stay alert is pants, stay safe is fine" - they're practically the same thing.

"We shouldn't have released restrictions" - maybe tell that to the entire media who was badgering Boris for an end to lockdown from day one.

Anthony Endsor said in aptochat that lockdown should have started on 7 March, i.e. two weeks prior. That is bollocks because covid was not even a topic of conversation in my day-to-day life then. You cannot lockdown every 2 minutes when another country has a pandemic. That's nuts.
Do you think the government have made any mistakes Rhys?
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Ian Volante » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:36 am

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:11 pm
You cannot lockdown every 2 minutes when another country has a pandemic. That's nuts.
Ignoring the hyperbole here, we knew it was extremely likely to be a big problem in late January, and we had the advantage of seeing the numbers in other countries before we followed a similar trajectory.

Also, I think you need to look up the definition of 'pandemic'.
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:10 pm

Fiona T wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:07 pm
Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:11 pm
People need to stop arguing from hindsight, because it's ridiculous.

"We should have locked down sooner" - when exactly did you call for lockdown, and why would you do so so early on? Do you not realise it's a weapon of last resort, because evidently you don't.

"Stay alert is pants, stay safe is fine" - they're practically the same thing.

"We shouldn't have released restrictions" - maybe tell that to the entire media who was badgering Boris for an end to lockdown from day one.

Anthony Endsor said in aptochat that lockdown should have started on 7 March, i.e. two weeks prior. That is bollocks because covid was not even a topic of conversation in my day-to-day life then. You cannot lockdown every 2 minutes when another country has a pandemic. That's nuts.
Do you think the government have made any mistakes Rhys?
In hindsight you can say "they should have done this" and "they should have done that". At the time, however, I'm not sure what I would have done differently, if anything. If anything the mistakes they have made have been pandering to the SW1 media (who were shouting "when are you going to end lockdown" for weeks) and not arresting BLM and (particularly, given the data) XR. It's a bit hypocritical to insist on a rule of 6 and axe pilot sporting crowds (twice) whilst refusing to fine the organisers of large-scale, non-socially-distanced protests. The first lockdown was correct, because it was the only option left on the table having exhausted all others. It needs to be deployed as infrequently as possible, like a nuclear weapon, because it really does nuke the economy.

There are a couple of things that have been announced where I think "why hadn't they done this before" (but not in a "I-told-you-so" way) such as the overseas quarantines and fines for refusing self-isolation. Indeed, the fines for refusing self-isolation that come in today are, I think, going to make a real effect, with a study today showing that 82% of people who had symptoms did not self-isolate, and 89% of people "contact traced" did not either. That's odd considering the public apparently support tougher measures.

The contract tracing app fiasco... when was the last time a British public sector IT project didn't cock up? I think you have to go back to the Cones hotline under Major? I think that says the Civil Service is not fit for purpose at the moment, personally. It should have been outsourced to Apple/Google from the word go. Same goes for the "I-have-to-drive-hundreds-of-miles-for-a-test" complaints. But I do struggle to reconcile that anecdotal evidence with the data that says that the amount of tests being done per day is now nearly 250,000.

The overall strategy of testing, self-isolation, and contract tracing is how you beat this thing, it would seem. And, if a leaked Whitehall document is anything to go by, by next March hopefully we'll have testing-on-entry to places with a processing time of a few minutes (to the tune of 15m per day) which is the right ambition for sure.

Then there is, of course, the Swedish argument that lockdown was not necessary at all...
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Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:13 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:10 pm
Then there is, of course, the Swedish argument that lockdown was not necessary at all...
Sweden has a much lower population density than the UK and also the guy behind the policy admitted that too many people died.

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