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Reckoning with Risk 2020
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With a few weeks to go till the end of 2020 it seems clear that, despite all the other things that have happened, the year will be remembered for the pandemic. Never have so many lives been interrupted for so long. Very roughly, 55 million people across the world die every year. Assume that the 1.45 million Covid deaths so far rise to 1.65 million by the end of the year, and that all those are entirely excess deaths, then that will be a 3% increase in global deaths: significant to be sure, but not insurmountable. Say deaths rise to 2 million, then it would be 3.6%. The number would have been higher had no precautions been taken. Lockdown and isolation reduce transmission by 98%, but that is achieved at a cost, and sustaining those gains is hard. Hard choices for any government.

Governments and citizens are doing risk calculations. Governments tend to look at worst case scenarios: their survival depends on the management of blame. Citizens tend to use a pragmatic heuristic: how many people I know have died of Covid? In my case: none. How many people do I know who caught the virus? Here we come to the problem of multiple reference groups. In the defined group of my school class (n=30, all aged 75) one got it for sure, sometime between 6th to 12th March, and suffered badly for a month, but recovered without going to hospital. Once recovered, she gave us an account of the progress of her illness, just so that we should know what it was like. Pretty bad, but she consoled herself that it was just a bad case of flu. The other classmates who attended an open-air barbecue on 10 March for several hours, and came back in a bus with her, did not catch it. Since then only one other member of the group was confirmed as a case in November, but had no symptoms of any significance. (His wife, not in the reference group, had a harder time, but has since recovered).

To take another reference group, in my London street of roughly 35 houses, I do not know of a case. In the next street with about 15 houses and flats, possibly one case, not confirmed. In the next street, with about 60 houses and flats, two confirmed cases in the same flat, but with nil symptoms. There may have been other cases in that street I do not know of.

One convenient way of looking at the risk of getting Covid is to study vaccination trials. They always have a placebo group, so the rate at which positive tests occur is a reasonable indicator of community risk. However, trial results are currently being revealed by Press Releases, not detailed reports,so much of the analysis is guesswork. I have assumed that 50% of the volunteers were in the placebo group. I have assumed that volunteers were a normal selection of the public for this calculation, but they very probably were younger, healthier, and of higher socio-economic status. Taking Pfizer, Modena and Astra Zenica trials together (trials of 6 to 9 months duration?) the placebo group got infected at the rate of 7,278 per million. If so, that would suggest 56 million infected world-wide, as opposed to the 64.7 million confirmed so far. This calculation based on placebo groups is not too far out, given that the volunteers were probably taking more precautions than average.

Another approach is to ask: how many people I know have died of Covid restrictions? In my case, probably one, a cousin with a longstanding condition who was not able to meet his therapist as usual, and probably because of that discontinued necessary medication. All precautions have costs.

In the UK all risk calculations were upturned today by the adoption of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for immediate use. The United Kingdom had put its chips down on 7 vaccines, paying up front for options on all of them. Confetti money has its uses. Now there will be a race to vaccinate, starting in care homes and care staff, then the over 80s and hospital and social worker staff, and then working on down the age pyramid.

Finally, my favourite material, silica aerogel, has come into the news again. It will insulate the packaging in which the vaccines and dry ice will be transported to distribution/vaccination centres. The BBC reporters wrote of the company producing the packaging: “His firm uses aerogel as insulation, rather than dry ice – which could be handy if a global carbon dioxide shortage from earlier this year continues to affect the availability of related products, such as dry ice.” This is silly. Dry ice is the coolant, rigid plastic foams the usual insulators.

All that aside, the low risk of getting Covid, and the low chance of getting ill or dying of it, may soon be reduced by a further 95%. This is good news for older people, and for those who already have additional medical conditions. Scientists will be held in high regard, for a while at least.

The public have already had their say, in the sense of an instant poll of 5351 adults conducted by YouGov on 2 December.

Just over a quarter (27%) of people are very confident it will be safe, while 43% are somewhat confident it will be

In comparison, 11% are not very confident, and 9% are not confident at all that the vaccine will be safe to take

Confidence in the vaccine’s safety is higher among Britons from ABC1 backgrounds (32% very confident) than those from C2DE backgrounds (22% very confident)

If this is representative of UK opinion, then the possibility of getting the vaccine quickly is speeded up for those who trust that the appropriate safeguards have been met. 20 to 30 percent of the population may stay away from it, at least initially, thus becoming more likely to get and transmit it. Boccaccio would not be surprised.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Britain, Coronavirus, Disease 
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  1. Anyone that has confidence in a completely new type of vaccine that is being rushed to market by some of the largest corporations in the pharmaceutical cartel which can’t be sued for any damage they do, needs his head examined.

    • Agree: Realist, Ann Nonny Mouse
    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  2. @RoatanBill

    Anyone that has confidence in a completely new type of vaccine that is being rushed to market by some of the largest corporations in the pharmaceutical cartel which can’t be sued for any damage they do, needs his head examined.

    Can’t be sued by whom? In the US. individuals who got it for sure, we’d have a different compensation system for them for a very long time due to our out of control legal system. States I would assume as well, since AG stands for Aspiring Governor. But the Federal government? Plus you’re forgetting about criminal law.

    If you understand the science behind mRNA vaccines, compared to previous ones, “somewhat confident” with the two months of safety data so far does not reach the “needs his head examined” level, but I wonder if any of us are even eligible at this emergency stage of development and approval. AZ/Oxford, you would be insane to take it, currently a clown show, worse if as I’ve unreliably read Oxford’s Strong Women didn’t use a stabilized spike protein. Sputnik V, still needs first results from its Phase III trial, which started a month after it was approved and boasted about in Russia. Others are still in Phase III or earlier.

    • Replies: @Anon
  3. botazefa says:

    Say deaths rise to 2 million, then it would be 3.6%. The number would have been higher had no precautions been taken. Lockdown and isolation reduce transmission by 98%

    Dr Thompson, with respect, how do you come to the conclusion that lockdowns have decreased transmission by 98%? It looks to me that lockdowns and masking, as implemented in the real world, are doing little to reduce transmission.

    If people were physically prevented from leaving their houses, ever, I believe transmission could be reduced by 98%. But that’s not what is happening in the US. And not in the UK either. Maybe, just maybe China pulled off something close to that level of lockdown, but did they reduce transmission by 98%?

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  4. Anon[383] • Disclaimer says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    You are a lying disinformation troll.

    No human could be so misinformed and stupid.

    • Agree: LondonBob
  5. @botazefa

    I should have provided a link, but I think that the 98% was a calculation based on the Wuhan lockdown, which was the most severe ever achieved.

    • Replies: @botazefa
  6. botazefa says:
    @James Thompson

    Thanks doc. I’m still inclined to call BS but I think I’ll try to find that link before making a fool of myself.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  7. dearieme says:

    I suggest that the greatest common mistake made by people pontificating about The Virus is assuming that all differences in performance between countries( or States or Provinces or Cities) can be entirely explained by the policies and competence of their governments.

    I’ve thought so for many a month and at last I’ve found something consistent with my suspicions.
    https://www.aier.org/article/viruses-lockdowns-and-biomic-learning/

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  8. Factorize says:

    Wow! The UK has authorized a COVID use for immediate distribution? I was not aware that this had happened.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  9. @Factorize

    For once, good pre-planning. Paid up front for the best scientific options, and also made contracts with the most likely mass producers. On the other hand, our General Practice (family doctor NHS service) told us they had absolutely no idea if and when they would be contacting us about offering us the vaccine.

  10. @dearieme

    Interesting paper. “Wealth is knowledge, growth is learning, and money is time”. I think that national policies are only weakly linked to outcomes, because the pandemic was intimately linked to aircraft movements, and super-spreader events. If you had direct flights landing from Wuhan you were very likely to get it early. If you had religious folk attending mass choirs in church you got it in droves. If you shut down very early and very harshly you missed the worst of it (for a good while anyway) and if you used social distancing and masks and open air interactions you did better than usual. Also, if you had SARS beforehand you had cultural warning, as well as some immunity. Then there are genetic differences, which is this case seem to have protected Africa.

  11. @botazefa

    Have a look at https://ncov2019.live/data
    China declares 3 deaths per million. They may be lying, and they have certainly been devious and obstructive, but I have seen no claims that they have cases now, which is either very strange/doubtful or impressive. A Spanish woman living in China gave an account of what it was like to fly back to resume her teaching duties. At every stage she was very closely monitored, isolated, and controlled. Totalitarian states are fearsome. She can now go about without restrictions and without being forced to wear a mask.

    Uruguay did well with voluntary restrictions, and only 23 per million deaths.

    Sweden 692 deaths per million hardly a paragon of virtue, worse than neighbouring countries, but better than other European countries like UK at 884 per million.

    • Replies: @botazefa
  12. LondonBob says:

    Interesting, I also live in London and know many who have had it, I know only one person who had any issues, mid thirties Indian woman who still hasn’t regained her taste after catching it in the spring. All of the people I know who caught it did so in the spring.

    • Replies: @MarkU
  13. botazefa says:
    @James Thompson

    I’m not able to make much out of the ncovid19 link. What I see right away is China reporting 87k cases and 4.5k deaths. I’m not seeing where China declares 3 deaths/million but I’m using mobile Safari browser and may not be seeing the same home page as you.

    One cool thing on that site is it has a survival prediction tool. An 80 year old male with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, hypertension, and cancer apparently has a 14% chance of dying if infected with the SARS-CoV2. Curious.

    Thanks for providing the link!

  14. @botazefa

    One cool thing on that site is it has a survival prediction tool. An 80 year old male with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, hypertension, and cancer apparently has a 14% chance of dying if infected with the SARS-CoV2. Curious.

    Indeed, and I’ve heard many often local anecdotes about people like that sample 80 year old male who’ve survived just fine, or well enough, whereas more than a few below 65 types with few or no known comorbidities have died nasty deaths. There’s a great deal we don’t know about COVID-19 the disease, or at least hasn’t filtered up to the popular media level, which in the US is so dreadful the Daily Mail is better (!).

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @botazefa
  15. dearieme says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    I agree: there’s still lots that matters that isn’t yet known.

    A thirties couple has told me that they expect not to take the vaccine because (i) they think they were infected months ago, and (ii) they expect a pregnancy in the next eighteen months.

  16. MarkU says:
    @LondonBob

    I too live in the UK and I had a nasty respiratory affliction in the spring round about the time of the ferocious rain storms that we had. At the time Covid-19 wasn’t even officially in the country so it didn’t really occur to me as a possibility, now we know differently. I had a persistent cough for about a month afterwards, I visited a walk-in centre to get antibiotics for what I presumed was a chest infection, not so apparently. Several other people I know had (milder) symptoms at about that time, including one who lost her sense of smell for a while. I might have had Covid-19 but there are apparently no tests available capable of confirming it one way or another.

  17. botazefa says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    Mea culpa. I actually read the web form wrong. That form is reporting an 80 year old guy with those comorbidities has a 94% chance of dying if infected with covid.

    I think I’d stated 15% previously.

    I’m sorry.

    • Thanks: That Would Be Telling
  18. one got it for sure, sometime between 6th to 12th March…suffered badly for a month

    How do you know for sure? What are the clinical symptoms of “suffering?”

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  19. @botazefa

    An 80 year old male with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, hypertension, and cancer apparently has a 14% chance of dying if infected

    What are the odds of an 80 year old male with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, hypertension, and cancer dying if not infected with anything?

  20. dux.ie says:

    The Original Orange African cult (as they firmly believe in the origin and not later mutations and branching, and modern human originated from Africa) asserts that increasing testings increase the COVID confirmed discovery rate. Australia Victoria state has been carrying on large number of testing and for 35 days straight has not found any new cases. AU.Vic also claimed to have enforced the longest lockdown duration of more than 3 months. However due to the SJWonk-ers there were many exceptions/loopholes, e.g. those not on quarantine can have 1 hour per day outdoor exercise, as well as additional 1 hour for walking the dogs.

    A rough comparison of the AU.Vic lockdown can be compare to that for HongKong as the second wave of both areas started on about the same per capita active SARS2 pool size. I used the active pool size metric as it gives more info. New cases per day metric does not say much. The active pool size gives some measure for the risk of community spread as it is the consequence of the leakage from the active pool.

    Before the AU.Vic lockdown the leakage was estimated to be 9.43% and during the lockdown about 4.87% and that could have been better. The poor results are mainly due to the central government EconWonk-ers blasted Vic about the job lost that the Vic state government felt obligated to outsource the monitoring of the quarantined people in hotels by private contractors which were largely not well trained, had no authority to stop the quarantined people from breaking the quarantine rules, they were there just to inform the police when people breaking the rules. They were there to observe if the people were following the social distancing rules but instead of that some of them were sleeping with the quarantined people.

    Anyway from the data it can be seen that AU.Vic lockdown stretched out while those for HK could went back to the preferred level in short duration. The very hard lockdowns of Vietnam and Beijing were even shorter. Compare AU.Vic to Taiwan and Beijing there seems to be little seasonality effects. A very rough calculation ignoring other factors except time has shown that the per capita delta fatality rate for Vic was 10x (additional 121.8 fatal PMC) than that for HK. Thus between the SJWonk-ers and the EconWonk-ers there could be additional 718 covid fatality in real terms for Vic even with lockdown. I dont think there were more than 718 suicides during the lockdown. Current US fatality per million capita is over 15K. Nevertheless HK also has some lenient rules like allowing indoor gym and hair dressing, yes, Victorians bitterly complained about no hair cuts for 3 months. The HKers were also getting more complacent and that seems to have led to HK’s third wave.

    Much have claimed about Sweden has reached herd immunity. From JHU data SE has no recovery data. What are they hiding?? Anyway if SE has reached herd immunity, even without the recovery data the current active pool should decline with no new cases and the deaths vanishing from the active pool, like the curve for Vic although that was from COVID elimination. So the claim that SE has reached herd immunity is just bull-dust.

    • Replies: @dux.ie
    , @dux.ie
  21. @Hippopotamusdrome

    The person who brought in the virus to Uruguay is known by name, went to a 500 person wedding on 5 March and infected 44 people by dancing energetically in a room with many other guests. A young woman known by name got infected that way and went back to her office where she infected a male coworker in her office, and he passed on the infection to his mother during his usual weekly lunchtime visit. She then suffered a range of Covid symptoms which she described to us over the next few weeks. In isolation had testes which confirmed her infection. In short, a detailed and validated case.

    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome
  22. The one person in my world who caught Covid was an 83 year old Russian in good health who seems to have caught it when attending an appointment at a hospital clinic in Russia.

    By the way, early on, the UK orered a lot of does of Sputnik V from Russia. Have they been quietly forgotten in the propaganda war against Sputnik V? S V has successfully completed a full set of protocols for under 60’s. It is being used on under 60’s. Testing on over 60’s is not complete. It is not being used on over 60’s. Our media are deliberately distorting this.

    69, heart disease, diabetes 2, overweight, not obese. Calculators say I have a 14% chance of dying. i’ll take the vaccine. I’d prefer Astra Zeneca’s protein spike to the RNA approach which doesn’t actually prevent Covid-19, just moderates the effects.

    Much to say about AZ using one adenovirus carrier, thus provoking immune reactions in the 2nd dose compared to Sputnik V using two different carriers to avoid this problem. Was AZs “accident” an accident or late realization that they had messed up?

  23. dux.ie says:
    @dux.ie

    I have to change the description of leakage to multiplier as leakage gives the sense of zero sum game whereas the new confirmed data are also dependent on the virus reproduction rate. Also this a very simplified explanation of the effects of the lockdown rather than the very complicated differetial equations model for predicting future trajectory which most people will not understand. Anyway both the equations pre and post lockdown are statistically very significant, and the difference in slopes is the rough estimate of the effects of the lockdown.

    A finer grain table of the SARS2 clade distribution has given further insight into the spreads. Hidden in the Nextstrain data is the 19A/13730T (SingFlu) subclade which is very dominant in Singapore and Malaysia at over 60% which might suggest the present of a differnt intermediate host source. Previously Malaysia was the source of a different bat origin Nipah virus disease. Given that Singapore has one of the lowest fatality rate this is a very important results. Subclade 19A/13730T branches off clade 19A with additional 2 new mutations of G13730T and G11083T.

    Since June I have been asserted that clade 19’s can moderate or partially immunized the population against SARS2. The formal proof now came from the paper,

    https://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c02765?ref=pdf
    Decoding Asymptomatic COVID-19 Infection and Transmission

    On the basis of the genotyping of 75775 SARS-CoV-2 genome isolates, we reveal that asymptomatic infection is linked to SARS-CoV-2 11083G>T mutation (i.e., L37F at nonstructure protein 6(NSP6)). By analyzing the distribution of 11083G>T in various countries, we unveil that 11083G>T may correlate with the hypotoxicity of SARS-CoV-2.

    Note I found out the Nextstrain subclade 19A/13730T on Nov 8. The version of the above paper I got was dated Nov 13. Prior to that there was an Indian study which identified G13730T mutation as one of the significant cluster but at about 30% which was over shadowed by other mutations in India.

    • Replies: @dux.ie
  24. dux.ie says:
    @dux.ie

    For once it is not the story from China,

    https://www.vox.com/2020/12/4/22151242/melbourne-victoria-australia-covid-19-cases-lockdown

    “How Melbourne eradicated Covid-19”

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  25. dux.ie says:
    @dux.ie

    Ha. It is more dramatic if the dots are joined to show the time sequences during the lockdown.
    Early post lockdown still followed the trend of the pre lockdown. Then when the momentum was gone the points swang back with much lower slope. The multipliers are distinctly different for the two phases when more of the population implicitly followed the lockdown rules. The change in mindset was sudden.

  26. LondonBob says:

    Interesting the HCQ is still being recommended in medical circles in the NY area. It is clear treatment has improved as well as potential mutation to a mild form.

  27. @dux.ie

    But it’s summer in Victoria now. The virus almost vanished in Northern Europe during the summer. In the US South , they kept the airconditioning on so there wasn’t the same seasonality.

    • Replies: @dux.ie
  28. dux.ie says:
    @Philip Owen

    The effects of seasonality is small compare to the surge. Just compare the trends for HK and SKorea, time for HK’s max was SKorea’s min. HK’s max was in summer.

    The surge is more on which of the clade is imported. HK’s surge was more to do with the more infectious clade 20’s from Europ and USA almost totally replacing the milder clade 19’s that are dominant in other Asian regions.

    The current SKorea surge is almost totally due to the importation of clade 20C YankFlu from Korean Americans fleeing USA or from the US military stationed there. The White House cluster is shown to b clade 20C, so most probably is also the strain infecting Trump.

    UK has flight restriction to/from USA and so is spared from the clade 20C.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
    , @LondonBob
  29. @dux.ie

    Can these variants be ranked by lethality, and also by their “distance” from the original which has been used as a template for the vaccines?

    • Replies: @dux.ie
    , @dux.ie
  30. LondonBob says:
    @dux.ie

    HK uses a lot of air conditioning too though. Clear air conditioning in some ways flips seasonality.

    The Dr Niman fella always emphasised that Asia had a milder strain whereas the European strain was nastier. Surprised how little this was discussed in the MSM.

  31. dux.ie says:
    @James Thompson

    The SARS2 raw genetic data (currently over 75K strains) can only be accessed by uni or research institutions and they are too large to be processed on a desk top computer anyway. I only rely on aggregating the meta data from Nextstrain and even for nextstrain they seem to be able to process about 4K strains per run, roughly 1K new data and 3K sampled from the old data. I only look at the Nextstrain emergence clade data on Nov 08 and the subclade data are from that particular run but I mixed them with the other older aggragated data to produce the table. So the subclade data are the lower limits which I hope over time might update the rest of the old data. Even that the percentages of subclade 19A/13730T are already so high for Singapore, Malaysia and India. Thus with uncertainty about the estimated clade percentage I did not try to determine the fatality rate for the subclade. The Michigan State Uni research has access to the super computer cluster from NVDIA and they can process the 75K strain data directly, and they did have more subclade 19A/13730T data from China.

    The connections of Singapore, Malaysia and India intrique me as they were the three countries previously with the other type of bat based Nipah virus disease,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nipah_virus#Outbreaks_of_disease

    “Nipah virus infection outbreaks have been reported in Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and India.”

    Another common link between them is the large consumption of palm sap/wine (collected in open jar) in the three countries as well as other SouthEastAsian and Oceania countries,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_wine#Consumption_by_region

    and “Megabats have been known to drink from containers of harvested palm sap and then urinate (and defecate) into the containers, leading to the transmission of the Nipah virus.

    The other animal also known to feed on the palm sap,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_palm_civet#Feeding_and_diet

    “The Asian palm civet … also feeds on palm flower sap, which when fermented becomes palm wine”
    “Asian palm civets are claimed to be the carrier that transmitted (the previous) SARS(1) from horseshoe bats to humans.”

    So millions of people might have been directly drinking bat and civet urine and faeces contaminated palm sap/wine for a long time. It is funny that the lying main stream media never cover this but they fabricated the fake Wuhan “bat soup” story which actually was from Oceania.

  32. dux.ie says:
    @James Thompson

    > ‘their “distance” from the original’

    If the “distance” you mean the number of mutations/generations from the reference and for that the raw fully sequenced SARS2 RNA data are needed. The Nextstrain data have a metric called “Age” which is actually a representation of the number of mutations from the reference. The Nextstrain actually also has the phylogeny-time tree diagram branching out the data by genetic and time.

    The “MaxAge” strain in the Nextstrain data published is so “old” and so different that the ancestry cannot be determined (Untyped) and no known descendant,

    Age | CladeOld | Collection | Country | Strain
    102 | U | 2020-04-01 | Singapore | Singapore/40/2020

    Recently there was official reports from NZ and Australia that a strain was found from Philipine mariners that the strain ancentry could not be determined. Given the current political climate no researcher will be investigating that in case that might contradict current offical narratives.

    A more direct information about the vaccines and genetics can be get from the recent MIT paper,

    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cels.2020.11.010

    “Predicted Cellular Immunity Population Coverage Gaps for SARS-CoV-2 Subunit Vaccines and their Augmentation by Compact Peptide Sets”

    which confirmed that because Asians are less subceptable to the SARS2 virus they are also less sensitive to the vaccines which are fragments of the virus proteins or the mRNA’s that produces them. I think if the paper distinguishes sub-continent Indians and East Asians the East Asians might come out even worse. The paper is on tuning the number of virus peptides in the vaccines for a given population type.

    “For an MHC class II redundant sampling we predict SARS-CoV-2 will have 5180 (White), 3871 (Black), and 2070 (Asian) peptide-MHC hits.”

    “We note that the uncovered population of RBD with no predicted display of MHC class II peptides ranges from 0.811% for the population self-reporting as White, to a high of 37.287% for the population self-reporting as Asian. The high uncovered population in the Asian population is caused by the HLA haplotype frequencies in the Asian population. Thus, clinical trials need to carefully consider ancestry in their study designs to ensure that efficacy is measured across an appropriate population.”

    Sadly the current available vaccine fine tuned for East Asians are from China and it seems that no western countries will accept that. The one from Singapore is not yet ready. The one from Japan is also not yet ready but there are significant difference in the genetics of Japanese and other East Asians (as shown by the percentage with type A blood, an important factors in COVID succeptablility) and also the development with a US university that it might not be optimal for East Asians other than Japanese.

    Those Africans that denied racial differences might want to know that most of the current vaccines are also not that optimal for them, though less severe than for East Asians.

  33. dearieme says:

    O/T perhaps. Last night I caught up with the Beeb documentary Lockdown 1.0: Following the Science? . (Worth watching, I’d say.)

    Four thoughts.

    (i) I had a feeling I’ve encountered once before – when I first read some of the early papers on Global Warming – to wit “these buggers aren’t very bright.” I saw no sign of the sort of lively, inquisitive minds I often encountered in my career.

    (ii) There seemed to be a ludicrous vacuum in the work of the epidemiologists. They knew that the pandemic in Italy and Spain was running a few weeks in advance of ours. But they seem to have made no attempt to test their models by using them to “predict” what had already happened there. As a retired mathematical modeller I have to say that that seemed gormless to me. But then I was not a charlatan, and these chaps – or at least some of them – gave me the impression that they are.

    (iii) One striking little episode was a conversation with a chap at the University of Bristol. He was, he said, the only expert in Britain on coronaviruses that damage human health. Wistfully, he remarked that he’d expected to be consulted but he wasn’t.

    (iv) I must, however, compliment some of the participants for their frankness about some of their mistakes. That takes balls.

  34. Thanks. Predicting the past is the first step to test a model.
    History always repeats itself, as Hegel first claimed. Most people forget Marx was quoting Hegel, and only then making his addendum

  35. res says:
    @botazefa

    One cool thing on that site is it has a survival prediction tool. An 80 year old male with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, hypertension, and cancer apparently has a 14% chance of dying if infected with the SARS-CoV2. Curious.

    Thanks for that, but don’t you mean without those conditions? If I add just hypertension the risk goes to 89.70%.

    Looking at some other cases, that calculator appears to consider hypertension an extremely serious condition for COVID-19 survival.

    Any idea how trustworthy that calculator is, or more details about the calculation and its basis? Because those numbers don’t pass the smell test for me.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
    , @botazefa
  36. @res

    They may be based on UK figures for intensive care unit survival. I commented on these under the rubric of “The critical care of fatness”.

    • Replies: @Clyde
  37. botazefa says:
    @res

    Thanks for that, but don’t you mean without those conditions? If I add just hypertension the risk goes to 89.70%

    .

    Yeah res I totally blew that one. Mea culpa!

  38. Factorize says:

    What do the mathematical models suggest the response will be to introduction of the vaccine in the UK? What is the expected function between percentage of population vaccinated and mortality and hospitalizations?

    The current pandemic wave is greatly stressing health resources. Watching the wave pulling back and then retreating from the shore will be very exciting to watch! Mass vaccination could rapidly halt and reverse this epidemic. Vaccinating even the few per cent of the population with the most health risk could be a highly effective intervention.

  39. @James Thompson

    In isolation had testes which confirmed her infection.

    Ok. We just have to trust the test.

  40. Clyde says:

    With a few weeks to go till the end of 2020 it seems clear that, despite all the other things that have happened, the year will be remembered for the pandemic. Never have so many lives been interrupted for so long.

    Not interrupted at all for those getting payments from state and federal governments. They are doing just fine, thank you very much. And this includes most of academia in America. This includes all alleged “educators” in K-12 in the US. There are also many private sector employees who were pre-Covid positioned just right to Zoom from home and keep their money coming in.

    No more lockdowns? (Van Morrison) The above categories have never been locked down. They are managing just fine. This is a battle of the Gov’t sponsored shirking class vs the working class and small business owners who lets face it, are working class equivalent and starving these days. These owners believed in US capitalism and many are immigrants seeing their life’s work/investment ruined by……….

    Once more, this is the Gov’t managerial class getting assured paychecks and pensions and pontificating to us. (what maggots and parasites!) Versus the small biz private sector owners and their employees.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  41. Clyde says:
    @James Thompson

    They may be based on UK figures for intensive care unit survival. I commented on these under the rubric of “The critical care of fatness”.

    My sister is a l0w carb fanatic. 4 years ago she went down from 180 pounds to 110 at 5-6 tall. And she has not regained. She is at 110 or lower today.
    https://www.unz.com/jthompson/critical-care-of-fatness/

  42. @Clyde

    There has certainly been “differential impact”. Those whose work depends on taxation have been insulated, those in free market service jobs only partially supported. Worst of all, many are now used to wages for nothing, so the way out of this calamity is strewn with difficulties.

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