27 Apr 2020

Another NYC Dr Talks About covid-19

All Posts, Coronavirus 40 Comments

This is interesting, especially how he says he felt the specialists were mistreating in the beginning.

40 Responses to “Another NYC Dr Talks About covid-19”

  1. random person says:

    This is also interesting,

    “Vitamin D supplementation could possibly improve clinical outcomes of patients infected with Coronavirus-2019 (Covid-2019)” by Mark Alipio

    https://www.grassrootshealth.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Alipio-Vit-D-COVID-Severity-Preprint-04-22-2020.pdf

    Based on an analysis of 212 COVID-19 patients with various clinical outcomes ranging from mild to critical, and vitamin D statuses ranging from normal to deficient. See Table 1 in particular.

    • random person says:

      Summary here.

      https://www.grassrootshealth.net/blog/first-data-published-covid-19-severity-vitamin-d-levels/

      “49 (23%) cases were categorized as mild, with an average vitamin D level of 31 ng/ml (78 nmol/L)”

      “59 (28%) were categorized as ordinary, with an average vitamin D level of 27 ng/ml (68 nmol/L)”

      “56 (26%) were categorized as severe, with an average vitamin D level of 21 ng/ml (53 nmol/L)”

      “48 (23%) were critical, with an average vitamin D level of 17 ng/ml (43 nmol/L)”

      “86% of all cases among patients with normal vitamin D levels were mild, while 73% of cases among patients with vitamin D deficiency were severe or critical”

      “For each standard deviation increase in vitamin D level, the odds of having a mild case compared to a severe case were 7.94 times more, and the odds of having a mild case compared to a critical case were 19.61 times more”

  2. random person says:

    For an exciting argument about whether hydroxychloroquine helps or harms versus COVID-19, please see this article *and* the comments critiquing it.
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.16.20065920v2.article-metrics

  3. Harold says:

    It was inevitable that we got the treatment “wrong” at the beginning. We learn as we gain experience. Just from media reports, I have come to think that doctors thought ventilators were going to be required in may cases, but ventilators are not now thought to be so important and ventilation is being used much less than was anticipated.

    The “trigger” for ventilator use used to be low blood oxygen. For most conditions, low blood oxygen goes along with difficulty in breathing and distress. Now the thinking is that distress should be the trigger rather than just low oxygen.

    https://www.ajtmh.org/content/journals/10.4269/ajtmh.20-0283

    The video is from April 10th, quite a while a go in the context of this outbreak. I think the message has been received, and this shows the system is working. Practices have been changed in a very short time.

    The title of the video is “Do COVID-19 Vent Protocols Need a Second Look?” The answer is Yes, and we have given them a second look.

    • random person says:

      Harold: “It was inevitable that we got the treatment “wrong” at the beginning. We learn as we gain experience.”

      Of course. Hence the importance of free speech with respect to medicine. So we can critique and argue about all the things which may be wrong, which, given the course of human history, could be anything.

      • guest says:

        “Hence the importance of free speech with respect to medicine.”

        Exactly. And, to your point, here’s Ron Paul – who was an actual doctor (*and* is an Austrian Economist, btw):

        Next In COVID-19 Tyranny: Ron Paul Warns Of Forced Vaccinations & “Digital Certificates”
        [www]https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/next-covid-19-tyranny-ron-paul-warns-forced-vaccinations-digital-certificates

        “In my first week in the House of Representatives in 1976, I cast one of the two votes against legislation appropriating funds for a swine flu vaccination program. A swine flu outbreak was then dominating headlines, so most in DC were frantic to “do something” about the virus.

        Unfortunately, the hastily developed and rushed-into-production swine flu vaccine was not only ineffective, it was dangerous. Approximately 50 people who received the vaccine subsequently contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome, a potentially fatal form of paralysis. According to an expert with the Centers for Disease Control, the incidence of Guillain-Barré was four times higher among those who received the swine flu vaccine than in the general population.”

        • random person says:

          guest: “Unfortunately, the hastily developed and rushed-into-production swine flu vaccine was not only ineffective, it was dangerous.”

          How funny that you should mention that! I was just reading “Pathogenic priming likely contributes to serious and critical illness and mortality in COVID-19 via autoimmunity” by James Lyons-Weiler.

          https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtauto.2020.100051

          “These results could explain in part the high rates of serious illness associated with SARS-CoV-2. They could also explain the lengthy asymptomatic period prior to presentation of symptoms characteristic of COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 could impair the immune response, at first, and then, over time, the immune system could begin to mount an attack on the myriad of proteins. Most of the identified human target proteins had low overall homology but high local homology over short segments of their epitopes. The Protein Atlas results indicated that numerous proteins are expressed in a variety of tissues as noted in Table 1.

          Unintended consequences of pathogenesis from vaccines are not new, nor are they unexpected. They are unanticipated only if those who develop them do not include available knowledge in their formulation plan. For example, the H1N1 influenza vaccine used in Europe led to narcolepsy in some patients, resulting from homology between the human hypocretin (aka, orexin) receptor 2 molecule and proteins present in the vaccine. This was established via the detection of cross-reactive antibodies in the serum of patients who develop narcolepsy following H1N1 vaccination in Europe [5].

          The fact that pathogenic priming may be occurring involving autoimmunity against multiple proteins following CoV vaccination is consistent with other observations observed during autoimmunity, including the release of proinflammatory cytokines and cytokine storm. Similar to the SARS-CoV animal studies [6], found that mice vaccinated against MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) development exaggerated pulmonary immunopathology when challenged with the MERS virus following vaccination. They reported that lung mononuclear infiltrates were observed in all groups after virus challenge, and that increased infiltrates that contained eosinophils and the eosinophil promoting IL-5 and IL-13 cytokines were observed only in the vaccinated animals.

          Pathogenic priming may be more or less severe in vaccine or infection induced immune responses to some proteins than for others due to original antigenic sin; the immunologic reaction against self-antigens may be made less severe as fast-evolving viruses evolve away from the original vaccine type. Thus, the screening of immunogenic epitopes for pathogenic priming potential via homology may be augmented by studies of autoantibodies that cross-react with epitopes included in vaccines.

          SARS-CoV-2 has some unexplained pathogenic features that might be related to the table of putative pathogenic priming peptides. Exposure to these specific peptides – via either infection or vaccination – might prime patients for increased risk of enhanced pathogenicity during future exposure due either to future pandemic or outbreaks or via universal vaccination programs. While the mechanisms pathogenesis of COVID-19 are still poorly understood, the morbidity and mortality of SARS has been extensively studied. Thus, the involvement of pathogenic priming in re-infection by COVID-19 is a theoretical possibility; of course no vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 has yet been tested in animals and therefore we do not yet know if pathogenic priming is in fact expected. Such studies should be undertaken before use of any vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is used in humans.”

  4. Harold says:

    Delingpole for example cites an infectious disease specialist from Germany.

    “The looming worst case scenario that must be prevented according to the authorities is that we would have 1 million cases and maybe 3,000 deaths in 100 days. This would mean 30 deaths a day.”

    That was said to be a “worst case scenario”, what would happen with no measures taken.

    Germany is considered to have taken steps to effectively reduce the spread, and what has happened? They have over 6,000 deaths, with 150 yesterday. That is with the measures taken. We can see that the “worst case scenario” Delingpole uses is way off and very seriously downplays the science, which was understood well enough at the time for his figures to be obviously cherry-picked.

    He makes reasonable points about costs vs benefits, but he destroys his argument by denying the science, lying and misrepresenting to make his case appear unassailable to the gullible. However, his method is very persuasive to those who wish to accept his conclusions. Look – there are some experts that disagree with the consensus, who should we believe?

    He quotes Fauci saying he would rather act strongly and be accused of over-reaction. He claims that Fauci was saying he wanted to over-react. That is not the case. He wanted to take strong measures so the consequences are not too severe, then people will accuse him of over-reacting since “nothing happened.”

    Germany did this and it is still far worse than the so-called “worst case scenario” Delingpole touts.

    He is well practiced at this, having been doing it with the climate for many years.

    He is just cranking the handle – can’t trust experts, can’t trust models, science is sometimes wrong, I can find an expert who agrees with me, so who should we believe?

    It is so sad that this is so effective.

    • guest says:

      “Germany is considered to have taken steps to effectively reduce the spread, and what has happened? They have over 6,000 deaths, with 150 yesterday. That is with the measures taken.”

      Uh huh, sure:

      YouTube Censors Viral Video Of California Doctors Criticizing “Stay-At-Home” Order
      [www]https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/youtube-censors-viral-video-california-doctors-criticizing-stay-home-order

      “During an appearance on Fox News last night, Dr. Erickson pointed to Sweden, which didn’t impose any drastic lockdown measures, but now has achieved herd immunity against coronavirus.”

      And, for the record, in our Republic (specifically founded to *not* be a democracy) the people, through their representatives, are the ones who decide whether or not to listen to the scientists, while the government obeys the restrictions placed on it by the Constitution.

      • random person says:

        guest:

        while the government obeys the restrictions placed on it by the Constitution

        Really? I was under the impression that the US Constitution was para ingles ver.

        Island of Impunity: Puerto Rico’s Outlaw Police Force

        https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/islandofimpunity_20120619.pdf

        “Since 2009, the PRPD also has regularly used excessive force against protesters. Even as police crackdowns on the Occupy movement have brought attention to the problem of police abuse against protesters elsewhere in the United States, the PRPD has failed to address its systematic use of force against protesters. Officers have routinely used excessive force to suppress First Amendment-protected activity, indiscriminately using chemical agents such as pepper spray and a toxic form of tear gas, batons, rubber bullets and rubber stinger rounds, sting ball grenades, bean bag bullets, Tasers, carotid holds, and pressure point techniques on protesters. Police have regularly used excessive force in violation of protesters’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech, expression, and assembly, as well as their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. These police practices also violate protesters’ human rights to free speech, expression, and peaceful assembly, and the strict prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment under international law.

        ,,,

        The ACLU documented numerous instances of police abuse against protesters at locations that are traditionally the site of public protest in Puerto Rico, including outside the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, the Governor’s mansion, and the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, and on the campus of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). Many of these incidents were captured on video and camera. In the cases documented by the ACLU, as a result of the PRPD’s excessive use of force, numerous protesters required and received medical treatment for blunt and penetrating trauma, contusions, head injuries, torn ligaments and sprains, respiratory distress, and second degree burns from chemical agents.

        • guest says:

          “Really? I was under the impression that the US Constitution was para ingles ver.”

          Well, those in government ignore the Constitution, but we either have a Constitution that the government must be bound to or nobody owes them a thing and they should all be treated like the violators of inalienable individual rights that they are.

          There’s a saying: “If the law doesn’t protect us, it doesn’t protect them, either.”

          As for the Occupy movement, it turns out that the stated goal of the Occupy movement – at least for those who originally started it – was to literally cause an economic crisis, so that movement was not grass roots and was very dangerous (not to take away from your point about police overreach).

          Consider:

          Who Is Behind the ‘US Day of Rage’ to ‘Occupy’ Wall Street this September 17th?
          [www]https://www.theblaze.com/news/2011/08/19/seius-stephen-lerner-invokes-bill-ayers-days-of-rage-to-take-down-wall-street-this-september

          “A US Day of Rage is the title given to a day of ostensibly “non-violent” civil disobedience orchestrated by a group of radicals — that reportedly include SEIU’s Stephen Lerner and ACORN founder Wade Rathke (who, coincidentally, formerly served as president of SEIU’s local New Orleans branch) — targeting Wall Street and U.S. capitalism. …”

          “… You may recall that back in March The Blaze exposed Lerner for stating his aspirations to destroy JP Morgan Chase and cause the collapse of the entire stock market. …”

          “… It is also perhaps worth noting that in March, The Blaze reported Rathke and Lerner called for “days of rage in ten cities around JP Morgan Chase.” …”

          “… So it might add up now that Klein Online reported Rathke’s efforts are being organized by Lerner, who, as part of his planned protests, called for “a week of civil disobedience, direct action all over the city:” …”

          “… The aim, according to Lerner, is to “destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement.”

          “How do we bring down the stock market? How do we bring down their bonuses? How do we interfere with their ability to, to be rich?””

          Also see this:

          Guest Post: Tracing the Origins of the Days of Rage Protest
          [www]https://www.theblaze.com/news/2011/09/16/guest-post-tracing-the-origins-of-the-days-of-rage-protest

          • random person says:

            Guest,

            “Well, those in government ignore the Constitution, but we either have a Constitution that the government must be bound to”

            Bound to by what? Honor? That’s very individual. And probably kind of easy for certain parties to be dishonorable when they have enough guns and stuff on their side.

            Guest,

            “or nobody owes them a thing and they should all be treated like the violators of inalienable individual rights that they are”

            Not sure how comfortable I feel talking about this on an online blog where anyone with an internet connection can read what we’re saying.

            Sometimes you can play them against each other, though.

            “A federal judge has ordered an investigation of into how Puerto Rico police responded to a May Day demonstration. The order, issued Friday morning, calls for “an independent evaluation and assessment” of the violent halting of part of Tuesday’s protest.”

            https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/05/after-violent-may-day-protests-a-federal-judge-orders-an-investigation-into-puerto-rican-police/

            Guest,

            There’s a saying: “If the law doesn’t protect us, it doesn’t protect them, either.”

            I don’t imagine a piece of paper protects anyone. There are other things at play besides paper though. I’m guessing if the US didn’t have such overwhelmingly superior military strength, Puerto Rico would be independent by now.

            Guest,

            As for the Occupy movement

            I mean, Puerto Rico has been occupied by the United States since 1898. I doubt that’s the kind of occupation either you or the ACLU was talking about. I believe the ACLU mentioned the Occupy protesters as a temporal reference, i.e. people in mainland US were doing Occupy protests at the same time as other protests were going on in Puerto Rico.

            I could be wrong, but somehow, I doubt most inhabitants of an occupied colony are going to identify with a slogan to Occupy. Generally, protests in Puerto Rico have to do with wanting independence, opposing oppressive laws imposed on them by the United States, such as the Jones Act, and so on.

            Honestly, I didn’t pay all that much attention to the occupy movement. There were other protests going on at the time that interested me more.

            Guest,

            not to take away from your point about police overreach

            Thanks for that.

            • guest says:

              “And probably kind of easy for certain parties to be dishonorable when they have enough guns and stuff on their side. …”

              “… I don’t imagine a piece of paper protects anyone.”

              That’s true as far as it goes, but we don’t have this reaction to the concept of contracts, which also don’t protect anyone and which also permit certain parties to easily be dishonorable when they have enough guns and stuff on their side.

              We recognize that, impotent as they are, contracts at least lay out the rights and/or responsibilities to the signatories. A contract’s function is not to do anything, but to be held up as justification for the actions of one party against the breach of contract on the part of another.

              The same can be said of the Constitution, which was a contract between the several sovereign nation-states who had declared their independence from Great Britain.

              To be sure, contracts require individual consent, and obligations can only be to specific, living individuals, not some state or other collective (which is not a person and therefore can make no claims), and not someone who has passed away (not being alive, they cannot logically be made whole by a contract’s terms being satisfied, and therefore they have no claims on the living).

              So, I actually agree with you that the Constitution is non-binding on individuals, but I would go further and say that the same is true of State governments, being that individual rights are the basis of all just government.

              Here’s something for your Puerto Rico file, just for kicks:

              Glenn Beck -4-28-2010- Puerto Rico_The 51st State- Part 1
              (Part 1 of 4)
              [www]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xutsLShcvNI

              • random person says:

                Guest,

                “Here’s something for your Puerto Rico file, just for kicks”

                Video kind of cut off just when it seemed he was getting to the point. But regarding the differences between the questions, “Do you want to be a state?” and “Do you want to maintain the current status?” that would likely be because a lot of Puerto Ricans want some form of independence from the United States, whether that’s total independence or at least a greater degree of independence than the status quo. Like, people have a range of views on the matter, so I don’t want to oversimplify.

                Regarding him going on about progressives, a lot of people say I am progressive. I was kinda confused what people meant by this, because people keep saying, progressives think this, and progressives want that, where this and that were often things I didn’t think or want. So, I looked up progressive in the dictionary, and I found stuff like “favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters”. (That one is from dictionary.com.)

                Ah, so, I get it. A progressive is anyone who is unhappy with any aspect of the status quo. So I could stand around with a sign saying “End Property Taxes!” or, if I wanted come off a little less radical, “Don’t Enforce Property Taxes with Foreclosures and Evictions!” and tell anyone who will listen just how horribly property taxes worked out in India under British rule. (See for example the great Bengal famine of 1770.) And in response, people could say I am progressive, and it would be totally true!

                If “progressive” means everything, then it means nothing.

                As for democracy, or republic in the Machiavellian sense, if you prefer, a lot of people, such as RJ Rummel, seem to believe that democracies/republics are less likely to commit genocide against their own people. (Note that I didn’t phrase it quite the same way RJ Rummel would.) That’s a start, I guess. Seems like “less likely to commit genocide against its own people” is setting the standards pretty low, but what can we do? I wouldn’t want to accidentally replace an oppressive but non-genocidal democracy/republic with a genocidal regime. (Nor, for that matter, would I want to replace a somewhat genocidal democratic/republican regime with an even more genocidal non democratic/republican regime.) Interesting that Glen Beck first calls Hitler democratically elected and later admits that’s an oversimplification of a more complicated truth.

                Fortunately, there are a lot of tactics for creating a moral revolution that seem to be able to mostly sidestep that question. See, for example, The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen by Kwame Anthony Appiah.

                Guest,

                “That’s true as far as it goes, but we don’t have this reaction to the concept of contracts, which also don’t protect anyone and which also permit certain parties to easily be dishonorable when they have enough guns and stuff on their side.”

                Speak for yourself. Are you sure you want to get into this? I know people on websites like this one often have very strong feelings about contracts. I was mostly here to swap notes regarding the ridiculousness of mandatory lockdowns and other matters related to COVID-19, and then somehow we got distracted talking about unenforced Constitutional laws, police brutality, and Puerto Rico.

                Like, contracts really don’t protect anyone. People can be forced to sign contracts, e.g. given a choice between signing a contract and prison. Their signatures can be forged. If they aren’t literate, or don’t know the language the contract is written in, they can be lied to about what it actually says and thereby tricked into signing it. And all that’s before we even get started talking about enforcing contracts. A contract can be bait that is used to lure someone into a bad situation which is not what was described by the contract, and then they can be held there by force.

                Like, do you really want to get into this? I can start throwing historical and contemporary examples of the uselessness of contracts at you if you like, but it would be a distraction from topics on which we are more likely to agree, such as the disadvantages of mandatory lockdowns.

                Guest,

                being that individual rights are the basis of all just government

                What is this “just government” of which you speak? First, I guess, do you mean “just” in relative or in absolute terms? If you only mean “just” in relative terms, fair enough. But if you mean “just” in absolute terms, then do you have any historical or contemporary examples of a perfectly just government, or is this some utopian ideal that is impossible for us to find within the realm of the known universe?

      • Tel says:

        And, for the record, in our Republic (specifically founded to *not* be a democracy) the people, through their representatives, are the ones who decide whether or not to listen to the scientists, while the government obeys the restrictions placed on it by the Constitution.

        Dunno where that is, but sounds like a nice place.

    • Harold says:

      Guest, you are missing my point. Delingpole is ignoring science and minimising the problem to make his point seem stronger than it is. He said they worst case scenario (with no measures taken) would be 30 deaths a day, when almost everyone else was saying it was much worse than that. The reality is that we had 150 deaths yesterday even with the very restrictive measures taken.

      Delingpole was doing exactly what Bob has been saying not to do – minimise the severity.

    • Tel says:

      He quotes Fauci saying he would rather act strongly and be accused of over-reaction. He claims that Fauci was saying he wanted to over-react. That is not the case. He wanted to take strong measures so the consequences are not too severe, then people will accuse him of over-reacting since “nothing happened.”

      On the 26 January Dr Fauci told the American people not to worry about it, and that’s on record.

      https://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/479939-government-health-agency-official-corona-virus-isnt-something-the

      If you read the comments on that article, the very first comment says that when the “Experts” tall you not to worry, that’s the time you start worrying. Overall the comments give a very good intuitive feel for how people take statements from their officials.

      5 days later on the January 31 there were Travel restrictions imposed by Trump, not with advice from Fauci but because Trump tends to lean somewhat towards closing borders when in doubt. In retrospect, on this occasion Trump was 100% correct.

      Not saying Trump is correct about everything … but border closures were useful, and although somewhat restrictive on individual liberty, not as severely restrictive as locking down an entire country.

  5. Harold says:

    One more example of pure science denial by Delingpole.

    “No offence to the University of Washington but when I read the phrase “modelling by researchers” I know we are operating in the realms of purest fantasy.”

    He us unable to distinguish between science and fantasy. He would rather operate without such things as the SIR model of infection and its offshoots. How can anyone take him seriously?

    • random person says:

      I’ve been watching this website.
      https://goodjudgment.io/covid/dashboard/

      “The predictions below are aggregated from forecasts by professional Superforecasters, who qualified by being in the most accurate 2% of forecasters from a large-scale, government-funded series of forecasting tournaments that ran from 2011-2015 (see Superforecasting) and, since then, by being in the top handful of forecasters from Good Judgment’s public forecasting platform, Good Judgment Open (see here).”

      If people are going to try to predict the future, which when you think about it is a rather presumptuous thing to do, but if people are going to try to do it, then asking people who have a history of being good at predicting the future seems better than trusting a computer model based on assumptions, assumptions which for all I can tell could diverge wildly from reality.

      Granted, the superforecasters may use computer models too, for all I know, but at least, if they do use them, perhaps they are good at knowing which computer models to trust and to what extent.

      • Harold says:

        Interesting site.
        When the poll on total US cases opened (15 March) there were 3,600 cases. Less than 2.3 million was considered over 25% likely until about 27 March, by which time there were 105,000 cases. Now there are 1 million cases and consensus is between 2.3 million and 230 million. I am not sure that is too hard to predict.

        For the deaths, less than 35,000 started quite strong, but dropped off as the evidence came in. Now we have 35,000 to 350,000 as most likely, with up to 3.5 million at a strong second place 36%. The comments are quite scattered – nobody knows how things will change when restrictions are lifted. We can predict the first wave, but what then?

        I think the bins for these are a bit too broad now, although they seemed sensible at the start. Events have narrowed the possibilities much faster than the setters probably anticipated. .

        The vaccine is somewhat depressing, but total odds of before 31 March 2022 is 51%. If this is correct and we don’t get a vaccine before then the higher estimates for the deaths and cases seems likely.

        • random person says:

          I liked this optimistic comment.

          “03 Apr 20 – Comment: Iceland has tested 3% of their population and half of their cases have no symptoms. However, even there they are not testing randomly but people are self-selecting into being tested. Rough guess is that only 10-25% have symptoms. The disease is much more widespread than we have acknowledged but with a lower case fatality rate. This means herd immunity is likely to happen much faster than anticipated and total deaths will be dramatically lower.”

          A Swedish health official believes Sweden is probably only weeks away from herd immunity.
          https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/04/28/coronavirus-covid-19-sweden-anders-tegnell-herd-immunity/3031536001/

    • Tel says:

      Carbon Mike puts his finger on it, listen from approx 55:20 where they talk about models and source code.

      https://ricochet.com/podcast/the-delingpod/re-carbon-carbon-mike-ii/

      Not quite the way I would have explained it … but I like what he is getting at there.

      I my words: the difference between between science and fantasy is that science is universal, reproducible, and has been openly peer reviewed, preferably by a lot of people. In contrast, fantasy is individual, not universal, not reproducible and not something that can accurately be conveyed to other people.

      The modelling that Carbon Mike describes (epidemic modelling rather than climate models, but the principle is the same) has only been done by one person, who has never fully documented and explained what he did, nor has he made it possible for anyone else to double-check what was done.

      The guy Mike is referring to is Neil Ferguson of the Imperial College London, who managed to get the UK government to abandon their initial strategy of simply isolating the older and vulnerable people, and instead use the “social distancing” strategy. Ferguson’s model has never been reproduced or even checked by anyone, anywhere. The inputs to the model were mostly guesswork, and the conclusion was 500,000 deaths unless the UK government did it his way. Well gosh, I suppose they had to do it his way after that … right?

      Thing is, the “social distancing” strategy has never been tested in any epidemic ever before, and now it’s being rolled out worldwide, because the model says so.

      You tell me if that’s fantasy or not?

      • random person says:

        Tel,

        “Thing is, the “social distancing” strategy has never been tested in any epidemic ever before, and now it’s being rolled out worldwide, because the model says so.”

        I mean, there is a history surrounding quarantines, which can be considered a form of social distancing.

        I don’t think quarantines have a particularly good record though. And it’s not just the pure medical perspective, although there is that, when it turns out that a disease doesn’t really spread the way health officials believe it does. (For example, when yellow fever patients were quarantined, mosquitoes could fly past the quarantines, so unless your quarantine is mosquito-proof, it’s going to be leaky for yellow fever. It took a long time health officials to discover that yellow fever was spread by mosquitoes.) But there are also social aspects of quarantine. People can ignore quarantine orders, thus defeating the point. The fear of quarantine can prevent people from seeking treatment, or lead them to cover up the existence of illness, again defeating the point. The rumor or fear of impending quarantine may cause people to flee, again, defeating the point. And quarantines often involve keeping well people and sick people in close quarters with each other, thus increasing the risk that said well people will become sick, which means that, even to the extent that such quarantines may sometimes be effective at reducing overall deaths, they do so by means of sacrificing some people to save others, which is morally problematic.

        The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic That Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby contains a number of examples about the failures of quarantines with respect to yellow fever.

        In my opinion, sanitation and human-rights-based approaches to disease control tend to produce better results.

        For example, organizations focusing human rights based approaches to AIDS point out that rape prevents “women and girls from being able to adequately protect themselves from HIV.” (The same would apply if a man or boy were raped… it could prevent him from being able to adequately protect himself from HIV.)
        https://www.avert.org/human-rights-and-hiv

        A common sense sort of thing, for an STD, but maybe one that people thinking about pure epidemiology and not about human rights could forget about.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          random person wrote: “I don’t think quarantines have a particularly good record though. And it’s not just the pure medical perspective, although there is that, when it turns out that a disease doesn’t really spread the way health officials believe it does. (For example, when yellow fever patients were quarantined, mosquitoes could fly past the quarantines, so unless your quarantine is mosquito-proof, it’s going to be leaky for yellow fever. It took a long time health officials to discover that yellow fever was spread by mosquitoes.)”

          Interesting! Our knowledge keeps evolving, best to always stay humble.

          • random person says:

            You may be interested to read this.

            https://zenodo.org/record/2126701/files/article.pdf?download=1

            Louis-Daniel Beauperthuy figured out that mosquitoes spread yellow fever by 1853, if I recall, but was considered a crank by many of his contemporaries. It wasn’t until 1900 that a U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission, headed by Walter Reed, offered convincing experimental proof of the spread of yellow fever via mosquito. And even that didn’t convince everyone. William C. Gorgas, who engaged in anti-mosquito campaigns to fight yellow fever, was still faced with skeptics.

            Note that although William C. Gorgas’s campaigns were successful in terms of fighting mosquitoes and yellow fever, there are still human rights concerns even with a sanitation campaign, such as when “Gorgas sent his men into every home and dwelling in Havana for inspection” to make sure mosquito breeding grounds were adequately dealt with. This is still arguably a significant improvement relative to shoddy quarantines, and one hopes that it would at least have been possible to persuade people to fight the mosquitoes without these inspections, if Gorgas had relied more on a public information campaign rather than on inspections and fines.

      • Harold says:

        “The modelling that Carbon Mike describes (epidemic modelling rather than climate models, but the principle is the same) has only been done by one person,”

        Tel, you have got to be joking here. Do you seriously think Ferguson is the only person to model the spread if this disease?

        Carbon Mike is an idiot. The basis for this sort of model is very well established and there are thousands of published studies using them.

        Just because Carbon Mile only talks about one person does not mean only that one person has done it.

        Delingpole had an argument with Ferguson’s model as well. Instread of pointing out any problems, he just lied about what Ferguson said. The prediction was something like 500,000 with no measures and 20,000 with measures. Delingpole lied about this and said Ferguson had changed his prediction.

        • Anonymous says:

          Tel, you have got to be joking here. Do you seriously think Ferguson is the only person to model the spread if this disease?

          By all means post a list of the different models that the UK government used as basis for their policy decisions. I would like the report on each model (how to reproduce their results) and also the people who independently checked each of those models.

          Off you go … look forward to seeing what you come up with.

        • Tel says:

          I think I mistyped something in my previous post, and it vanished.

          Please post up the list of models used by the UK government for their “lockdown” policy decisions this year, and include the people who independently checked each model, as well as the place where those are available for open public inspection.

          • Harold says:

            It is fascinating really. Prof. Ferguson has over 250 peer reviewed publications in the field of epidemiology. His report had 32 authors, all of whom are also experts. Not only that, but Ferguson’s work is in line with widely accepted epidemiological methodology and the results consistent with all other studies.

            Delingpole somehow knows that everything he does is fantasy, and Tel believes him.

            Ferguson predicted 20,000 deaths if social distancing was implemented. Up to 500,000 if everything carried on as before. Ferguson said this was based on incomplete information and would be subject to change as more was learned. So what actually happened?

            We can literally count the bodies. What has happened is clearly consistent with what Ferguson said. UK has implemented social distancing policies and we have 26,000 deaths so far and still going up.

            Tel still believes this is fantasy. It is science denial. Not only were there never good reasons to doubt the science, we can see that the predictions were broadly correct. Yet still the science must be fantasy because it is based on models.

            Delingpole is not prepared to argue his case based on science. He could say lets have limited measures and limit deaths to 100,000 or 200,000, or have no limits at all- it would still be worth it. For some reason he is not prepared to make this case.

            Instead he dismisses the science as fantasy. We can now all see that Delingpole is talking out of his ass. He works by distraction, mis-representation, lies and obfuscation in order to persuade people do do what he wants. We can all see that the fantasy was not the science, it was his “worst case scenario” of 30 deaths a day.

            He does this with climate science too, where he is very successful. In climate science the timelines are over decades, so he simply switches to a new argument when he is proved wrong about one. One of his central arguments is that climate models are inherently useless. Therefore he has a problem with epidemiological models. After all, if they are useful, why not climate models?

            His problem with Covid is that the timescales are in weeks rather than decades. The results are already in and we can see how wrong Delingpole is. We know the science is broadly correct because we can count the bodies, but Delingpole does not care.

            He is still dismissing it as fantasy, throwing around distractions about source code and lying about what the reports said.

            How can someone refuse to see what is in front of their face? It is confirmation bias on a grand scale. Delingpole needs to dismiss scientific models as fantasy and will only see evidence that allows him to maintain his delusion.

            At least now we can see what a charlatan he is and maybe discerning readers will view all his material with a little more skepticism in future.

            As to your question above, it is just more distraction. You can see the models were about right, so why continue to deny it?

            • random person says:

              What about Cambodia, though?

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

              (known) Coronavirus Cases:
              122
              Deaths:
              0
              Recovered:
              119

              Cambodia has significant trade relations with China. Not much of a lockdown there, at least not as compared to many other countries with more cases and fatalities. Apparently, they recommended that people celebrate Labor Day at home. Can’t see anything in their news about contact tracing. Testing spotty.

              If the bodies were piling up there, I should expect there to be something in the news about it, even if they didn’t have the testing capacity to say if the deaths were from COVID-19 or not.

            • Tel says:

              Seems that we started with the question of how to separate science from fantasy … a totally valid question. I put down the requirement for independently reproducible results and models that had been openly reviewed. As an example relevant to Delingpole we would be interested in the UK situation specifically.

              You have come up with one model which was not reviewed and is not open to inspection and has not been reproduced. But you like that one, so it must be OK … except for the slight problem that even for this one case … you have not linked to the actual report.

              Perhaps this explains why people like Delingpole get a bit skeptical.

              Prof. Ferguson has over 250 peer reviewed publications in the field of epidemiology.

              Oh that’s interesting … science is now defined by credentialism and journal publishers. Bit different to the idea of reproducible results, universality and open review, isn’t it?

              Out of curiosity, who gets to decide on those credentials? I could find some people to give me some credentials, would that make my opinion worth more?

              Ferguson predicted 20,000 deaths if social distancing was implemented. Up to 500,000 if everything carried on as before. Ferguson said this was based on incomplete information and would be subject to change as more was learned.

              Hmmm … to help you out with this, I dug around and finally got the link to the actual original by Neil M Ferguson: Report 9: Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand which is a 20 page report dated 16 March 2020.

              https://spiral.imperial.ac.uk:8443/bitstream/10044/1/77482/14/2020-03-16-COVID19-Report-9.pdf

              See Table 2 for the list of suggested policy options:

              CI: Case isolation in the home
              Symptomatic cases stay at home for 7 days, reducing non-household contacts by 75% for this period. Household contacts remain unchanged. Assume 70% of household comply with the policy.

              HQ: Voluntary home
              quarantine

              Following identification of a symptomatic case in the household, all household members remain at home for 14 days. Household contact rates double during this quarantine period, contacts in the community reduce by 75%. Assume 50% of household comply with the policy. SDO Social distancing of those over 70 years of age. Reduce contacts by 50% in workplaces, increase household contacts by 25% and reduce other contacts by 75%. Assume 75% compliance with policy.

              SD: Social distancing of entire
              population

              All households reduce contact outside household, school or workplace by 75%. School contact rates unchanged, workplace contact rates reduced by 25%. Household contact rates assumed to increase by 25%.

              PC: Closure of schools and
              universities

              Closure of all schools, 25% of universities remain open. Household contact rates for student families increase by 50% during closure. Contacts in the community increase by 25% during closure.

              So, I can see in Table 4 where the worst case scenario is 550,000 deaths. But there’s only one number in that table predicting 20,000 deaths and that is “PC_CI_SD” on trigger 60 with r0 of 2.6 but that’s not mentioning any “lockdown” situation. Come to think of it, none of the modelled scenarios involve any “lockdown” … hmmm that’s weird.

              As it turns out, I can’t find anywhere that this report makes the 20,000 prediction based on a “lockdown” scenario, nor even where they model that lockdown scenario at all. Here is a relevant quote:

              Combining all four interventions (social distancing of the entire population, case isolation, household quarantine and school and university closure) is predicted to have the largest impact, short of a complete lockdown which additionally prevents people going to work.

              Oh wait! They never modelled the lockdown at all, and specifically said they would pull up short of that … ahhh … so where did that 20,000 number come from???

              Any ideas?

              Must be more Delingpole lies, huh?

              • Harold says:

                “I put down the requirement for independently reproducible results and models that had been openly reviewed. As an example relevant to Delingpole we would be interested in the UK situation specifically”

                How about reality? Look at what has actually happened in the UK. That is the best validation for any model.

                “so where did that 20,000 number come from???”

                Look at p13 (Table 4). It has estimates for deaths for different Ro and suppression triggers. For the most restrictive the figures go from about 5,000 to 50,000. 20,000 is about the middle of this range.

                “Must be more Delingpole lies, huh?”

                Yes, absolutely. The actual figure came from a later interview where Ferguson said he thought deaths would be less than 20,000. This is consistent with his report, not a revision of his estimate as Delingpole said.

                “Oh wait! They never modelled the lockdown at all, and specifically said they would pull up short of that ”

                Ok, so the Govt was not acting on the report, but chose to go further. Yet still we have 26,000 deaths so far.

                “I could find some people to give me some credentials, would that make my opinion worth more?”
                If you publish some peer reviewed papers in reputable journals in a particular field, sure I would respect your opinions in that field more. I would not just believed everything you said, but it would lend you some credibility.

                The big thing here is that distractions about code and transparency and checking of work are all irrelevant to the point about whether models = fantasy. They are important points and could improve things further, but reality has to a large extent validated the model. We know for a fact it was not fantasy.

              • Tel says:

                If you are going to use Table 4 then in order to be fair and evenhanded about it you would use the entirety of Table 4 rather than picking out the numbers you are happy with.

                That means a low estimate of 5,600 ranging up to a high estimate of 550,000 and this is a span of two orders of magnitude.

                Your story seems to have changed … just scroll up and see there was this supposed 20,000 estimate … but on close inspection the actual report came out with a very broad range from quite small right up to surprisingly large and that 20,000 number lands somewhere in the given range … but then again most other plausible numbers would also land in that range. Hardly takes a genius to give such an open ended estimate.

                How is this somehow a great prediction of “reality”? Even stranger when in fact the response of the UK government did things that were never even modelled in the report, but anyway would not matter what they did, the range given was so broad it covered anything and everything.

                In summary:
                * There was one report, and only one report that provided the “expert” input to UK government policy making.
                * It was based on a computer model.
                * It produced a wide span of potential answers covering two orders of magnitude, based on a whole bunch of guessed inputs.
                * It was never subject to open review.
                * It still cannot be reviewed because the computer code is not available.
                * Later on a “20,000” estimate turned up even though the report never specifically put forward this number.
                * The UK government policy was based on a moment of panic looking at the computer model “worst case” outcome, and no one has any idea how realistic that is.
                * The UK government then went and did different things, not even modelled by that report.

                All things put together I’m still on the side of Delingpole and Mike … this is an awful way to make policy and a disgrace to the UK and their tradition of the Magna Carta and parliamentary democracy.

              • Harold says:

                Tel, you said:

                “Seems that we started with the question of how to separate science from fantasy”

                Now you have shifted to how should Govt formulate policy.

                Try to stick to a point for once and stop shifting the goalposts.

                The model has been broadly validated and was not fantasy. It was science.

  6. Harold says:

    538 explains the difficulties in modeling in cartoon form.
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/a-comic-strip-tour-of-the-wild-world-of-pandemic-modeling/

    We do not know all the answers and it is a very difficult thing to do. That does not mean it is fantasy.

  7. random person says:

    “Dr. Fauci Called For Health Emergency Fund Back in 2017, Warned U.S. Would Face a ‘Surprise Outbreak'” by James Walker

    https://www.newsweek.com/trump-coronavirus-doctor-predicted-outbreak-called-emergency-health-fund-2017-1491901

  8. Tel says:

    Code review of some partly rewritten code based of Ferguson’s model code.

    https://lockdownsceptics.org/code-review-of-fergusons-model/

    The original model code is apparently not available to the public, but the Microsoft rewrite version is available and still broken. I agree with most of the technical points in that review, maybe a few details we could quibble over but the gist of it is all correct.

    She gives a nod to the insurance companies right at the end, so Bob will be happy. We could discuss the trade-off between open publication (allowing quality verification and review) vs proprietary know-how which can give a market advantage to some private operators. I support the concept that if the public paid for it with tax money then it must be openly published, and secret models must never be used for policy making. Private companies should be encouraged to publish their research, but it is of course wrong to force them.

    The long comment threads are interesting too.

    • Harold says:

      “On a personal level, I’d go further and suggest that all academic epidemiology be defunded.”

      Yes, I guess that tells us enough about their agenda. Leave it to the guys who brought us the 2008 crash.

      Don’t get me wrong, scrutiny of the code is likely to lead to long term improvements and transparency will ultimately lead to better modelling. However, the idea that leaving this to the private sector is laughable. We saw how ratings agencies and banks were all hooked into a fantasy situation from which nobody could extract them. Theoretically ratings agencies were independent, but in fact their revenue depended on pleasing their clients. We absolutely need independant researchers to be looking into this sort of stuff.

      The nod to insurance industries is interesting. How do we expect this industry to help? From KPMG:

      “Starting with non-life or general insurance first, I expect the impact on claims to be relatively manageable. Most insurers learned the lessons from the SARS outbreak of 2003 and introduced exclusion clauses for communicable diseases and epidemics/pandemics into most non-life products such as business interruption and travel insurance.”

      OK, they spot a potential problem and refuse to cover it. Once they have exclude it, why would we think they would be useful in providing projections of epidemic spread?

      Insurance industry has its own concerns and is not interested in how epidemics spread, apart from how it affects the insurance industry. It is stupid to expect the insurance industry to be our information source for the pandemic.

      • guest says:

        “However, the idea that leaving this to the private sector is laughable. We saw how ratings agencies and banks were all hooked into a fantasy situation from which nobody could extract them. Theoretically ratings agencies were independent, but in fact their revenue depended on pleasing their clients. We absolutely need independant researchers to be looking into this sort of stuff.”

        Response:

        The Big Short Misleads on Ratings Agencies
        by Robert P. Murphy
        [www]https://fee.org/articles/the-big-short-and-the-ratings-agencies/

        “The Big Short leads viewers to believe that shortsighted greed is the ultimate explanation for why the ratings agencies gave their blessing to dangerous products. …”

        “… This can’t be the full story. After all, why doesn’t every financial product get a triple-A rating? Why doesn’t every company bring its corporate bonds to, say, Moody’s, and demand a triple-A rating or else they’ll walk down the street to Fitch?

        If the ratings agencies were completely off base, making ridiculous announcements that had no relationship to the underlying facts (about the solvency of the debt issuer, etc.), then the financial community would stop taking their evaluations seriously. So the reality can’t be quite as crude as the movie suggests. …”

        “… Finally, consider the role of government financial regulation. There are various rules specifying minimum levels of safety for assets satisfying capital requirements of depository institutions. Yet, the government rules can’t specify merely the rating; they must also specify the acceptable issuers of such ratings. …”

        “… But what if the president of the commercial bank hired his cousin Fred to type up, on official letterhead, “These cryo bonds are all AAA rated”? Would that make a difference?

        The answer, of course, is no. The government and Fed’s financial regulations force firms to give their business to the industry leaders in the credit rating business. In other words, it’s not enough for the federal government to say, “A bank must satisfy certain capital requirements relating its equity to risk-weighted assets.” No, the government must go further and specify which agencies are allowed to provide the ratings that are used when calculating “risk-weighted assets.” This crucial fact is a large part of why, even after the Big Three performed miserably during the housing bubble years, they are still in business.

        In contrast, in a free society, there would be no coercive regulations imposed top-down on the financial sector. If a bank wanted to attract depositors, it would need to convince them that its assets were sound. There would still be a role for ratings agencies, so that investors could buy bonds more knowledgeably, but if there were a huge screw-up — where a particular ratings agency gave horrible guidance on an entire class of assets — then that company would be heavily punished. The rest of the market could quickly adapt and no longer treat that agency’s pronouncements as authoritative, because there would be no regulatory code declaring them so.

        • Harold says:

          Yes, it is fine to say that if the system were all freedom based with no Govt. restrictions then all would be well. We have nothing but theoretical basis for this, since there has never been such an economy. Nevertheless I am happy to discuss such systems.

          However, suggesting that academic epidemiology be de-funded is not suggesting such a thing. It is saying given our current sytstem relying on private insurance companies for our infomation would be preferable. This is nonsense. Academia is the most self correcting and independant thing we have. Sure, some ideas get over promoted and accepted for a little while, but ultimately wrong ideas are doomed to failure. Give me an example where this has not hapened if you can.

          On the banking crisis, I do reccommend reading Fool’s Gold by Gillian Tett. It describes how things got out of hand. It is a few years since I read it, but one take-away I had was that extremely low risk was effectivey classed as zero risk. This allowed th very low risk to expand to a much greater volume than it should have, given that the very low risk would expand with the scale. J P Morgan understood this and did not get over involved, but they found their profits reduced and merged with Chase in 2000. There were many other factors involved as well. It is obvious with hindsight that isolating the issuer of a mortage from any risk from default is a recipe for disaster. But the probem went way beyond bad mortgages in the USA.

          It is not quite as simple as the ratings agencies simply giving the banks the raings they wanted or they woud go to the agency down the road. That is a vast over-simplification. The ratings agencies were caught up in a massive group-think. Part of the problem was that if one ratings agency saw the light and downgraded investments, the other agencies would rate it higher because they were caught up in the group-think. They were not deliberately lying about it, but they were allowing themelves to be carried by the stream.

          All this is impossible to understand if we view the world as being made up of individual actors who do not interfere with the desires of other people. As though intentions spring fully formed from within each individual with no refrerence to the wider world. Such a simplistic view is of course always going to lead to huge errors. Unless your model can incorporate that what I want is in part dictated by what you want, your model will always fail because it ignores real factors in the world.

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