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The Flu (Health)
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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Here’s a pretty good article, outlining the different criteria used when assembling flu and coronavirus death figures:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51979654
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I hate to ask, Chad, but what does it all mean? My early take is that they've used the now nearly known Italian outcome (20,000 deaths) and given it to us. Then patted themselves on the back for it not being 250,000 ("Better make that 500,000, Archibald").
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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Basically, whatever the final death toll, the demographic of the victims means that more than half would have died, within the accounting period anyway. So if the government’s target limit of 20,000 comes to pass, the ‘excess deaths’ would be somewhat less than 10,000.

This compares favourably with the ‘excess deaths’ from flu, which stand at about 17,000 per annum.

Or to put it another way, coronavirus would have to be a factor in about 35,000 deaths in the U.K. to be on a par with flu.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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The thick plottens. The Times item today -

Half of Britain may already have contracted coronavirus since January, researchers from Oxford University said yesterday as they called for urgent testing to discover how many people had acquired immunity.

The researchers believe that the epidemics in the UK and Italy could have started earlier than presumed and by mid-January at the latest. This may "have already led to the accumulation of significant levels of herd immunity in both countries," they write.

The findings are based on assumptions about the most likely characteristics of the disease and are yet to be peer-reviewed or published in a journal.

However, the researchers suggest that the vast majority of people who contract Covid-19 may suffer little or no illness. They believe that as few as one in a thousand could require hospital treatment — an assumption that suggests, according to their model, that half of the country could now be immune.

"Even if it's one in a hundred [who fall seriously ill] you still get to 35 per cent immunity," Sunetra Gupta, a professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford, who led the study, said.

The virus could have been "creeping through" the population for months, which would not be uncommon for a respiratory illness, she said. If the model were confirmed by testing, then restrictions could end much sooner than the government has suggested.

Professor Gupta said large-scale antibody testing was urgently needed to establish how widely the infection had travelled through the population. Her team hopes to begin testing for immunity this week. She also cautioned that better information was needed on what portion of the population is vulnerable.

The tests being used by the NHS at present will only show whether somebody has the disease when a sample is taken. By contrast, serological testing shows whether somebody has acquired antibodies to fight it off, meaning they have had it and recovered.

Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, urged that serological tests begin but said: "This is interesting work, but hampered by the same issues that impact all epidemiological models — they rely on assumptions based on a paucity of fact about how this virus transmits."


https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/professor-half-the-country-may-have-caught-it-already-9m39rpzhc
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Borry, please break up your wodges with some input from you. I gave up long before the end. In fact I didn't start. And, no, it wasn't my fault.
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Mick Harper
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I have heard some excuses in my time but not one to beat the NHS on the day when the death rate actually started to flatten and maybe everyone can start relaxing just a teensy bit. They explained their 24-hour running total of deaths should not be considered definitive because they need relatives' consent before releasing news of the death of their loved one and that can take several days.

"Aunty Gladys? NHS here. Yes, sorry for your loss. Can we include Crispin as a nameless statistic? Hello... Gladys ... are you still there?"
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Grant



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Another interesting tidbit of info from the Internet - so it must be true - is that the Covid 19 tests are very imprecise and struggle to differentiate between the virus and the old fashioned flu bug. In fact one of the antibody tests gives a positive result if you had the flu jab in 2012.
There is the serious possibility that this could be the greatest ever example of mass hysteria. A flu bug strikes Wuhan and the WHO, always up for a scare story (see Zika, SARS, bird flu) has whipped it up by quoting these 5% death rates
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Mick Harper
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There was a fascinating discussion on Newsnight about the best way to boost ventilator numbers quickly. The low tech route (pour in vast resources so that current manufacturers can upscale) versus hi-tec (pour in even vaster resources for Dyson and Maclaren to design new ones). It wasn't so much that low-tech was so obviously superior as that anyone who trusts their lives to anything hi-tec that has been rushed out is just plumb crazee.

Newsnight didn't bother to report that an even lower-tec solution is being used in New York. One ventilator between two. Bor-ing.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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Some thoughts on this discussion.
  1. You skeptics of the coronavirus are strictly amateur. I’m a skeptic of the Spanish Flu! I don’t believe in pandemics. Period.
  2. I’ve also got the minority view that the flu is good for you.
  3. Another point: Human beings transmit immunities as much or more than they transmit illnesses. Human contact is a positive. That’s the primary purpose of sex. Makes sure we get our clothes off regularly and rub around with each other.
  4. Coronavirus didn’t come from bats. Swine flu didn’t come from pigs. These are all “just so” stories made up by soothsayers in white coats. Viruses are designed to jump species. They are information couriers.
  5. I’m surprised no one here has proposed the rather obvious idea that the disease began where it is (apparently) worst: Italy. It spread to Wuhan via Chinese factory workers. The disease showed up in Wuhan first because they have more people there and a world-class virology lab right in the city.
  6. Most of the coronavirus tests are shit and generate false positives. Italian numbers are inflated.
  7. This panic took off because it supported multiple political interests on both the left and right. There wasn’t a single political constituency that didn’t see some benefit from adopting the narrative. That's why we're here.
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Mick Harper
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Some thoughts on your thoughts
You skeptics of the coronavirus are strictly amateur.

Yes, we are a little ahead of you.
I’m a skeptic of the Spanish Flu! I don’t believe in pandemics. Period.

Such a bold claim does not need substantiating.

I’ve also got the minority view that the flu is good for you.

True.

Another point: Human beings transmit immunities as much or more than they transmit illnesses. Human contact is a positive. That’s the primary purpose of sex. Makes sure we get our clothes off regularly and rub around with each other.

You have said this before. Speaking only for myself I have expressed reservations about the germ theory of illness and why everyone doesn't get it.

Coronavirus didn’t come from bats. Swine flu didn’t come from pigs. These are all “just so” stories made up by soothsayers in white coats.

Well, I did say they came from outer space which makes me more radical than thou.

Viruses are designed to jump species. They are information couriers
.
This is practically orthodoxy!

I’m surprised no one here has proposed the rather obvious idea that the disease began where it is (apparently) worst: Italy. It spread to Wuhan via Chinese factory workers.

This is beginning to gain traction. It rests on the (reasonable) assumption that it has been around a long time but only took off when it got named and shamed.

The disease showed up in Wuhan first because they have more people there and a world-class virology lab right in the city.

More people than where? News to me about the virology lab. Good if true.

Most of the coronavirus tests are shit and generate false positives. Italian numbers are inflated.

All numbers are inflated. Just as before they were deflated (in the sense of not existing).

This panic took off because it supported multiple political interests on both the left and right. There wasn’t a single political constituency that didn’t see some benefit from adopting the narrative. That's why we're here.

You'll have to name them, I'm afraid. [That usually sees him off.]
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Mick Harper wrote:
News to me about the virology lab. Good if true.


Keep up at the back. Wuhan has a military-grade virology lab situated 300 metres from the supposed epicentre in the food market. Already well-thrashed as a conspiracy theory in some interweb twylight zones.

That reminds me, whatever you do, don't mention Amesbury and Porton Down.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I still prefer the World Military Games theory and not just because it's all my own. Though I would like to hear if the conspiracy theorists got there first.
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Grant



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The important thing is to ignore the experts who have a vested interest in promoting this scare story. That includes WHO, the chief medical officer, the media. Even the Prime Minister wants to look Churchillian.

Instead look at the facts. Every year in Britain 17,000 people on average die of flu. So far about 500 have died of Wuhan flu. WHO are guilty of shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre.
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Mick Harper
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You've got a vested interest too, Grant, it rather stands out. The Prime Minister has been resolutely trying not to be Churchillian since you mention it. Five hundred so far is five hundred so far. WHO are not guilty of shouting fire in a cinema, though if there is a fire in a cinema I hope somebody shouts, "Fire!" WHO are not 'guilty' of anything, though they may or may not have been incompetent. We don't know yet.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Mick Harper wrote:
Borry, please break up your wodges with some input from you. I gave up long before the end. In fact I didn't start. And, no, it wasn't my fault.


Ah, yes, I recall now that you like big wodges broken up into clay-pigeon sized chunks. All the better to take easy pot-shots at. Sadly the clay-pigeon shooting season has already closed at Château Boreades.

You'll need to use an elephant gun to tackle the elephant in the corner (if you can see it). The clue is in the dates, and extrapolating back to the "minor" outbreaks of "unusual" flu we had in the UK in the Autumn.
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