Interesting biological chemist's critique of Cummins' Data

(Joey) #21

@MarkGossage Fascinating - many thanks for uploading this report.

It’s clearly hard to detect any “excess deaths” above the undulating baseline in the most recent weeks.

This boilerplate disclaimer included in the report may or may not be relevant prior to aggregate population death data settling down…

“Note: The recent weeks’ data are estimates with large registration delay corrections and therefore should be interpreted with caution. These estimates may differ substantially to future reports as the actual number of deaths become known.”

So let’s put aside normal mortality for the moment (better treatment? earlier hospitalization? lag in final COVID-19 outcome?), do you have sense for how hospitalization rates are trending?

I’ve read that UK medical experts are bracing for a tripling in hospitalizations by Xmas. Are they just nuts or are they seeing something real in their data?

(bulkbiker) #22

Nuts… they’re basing everything on models using positive PCR tests as “cases”
Nowhere in the world has there been 4,000 deaths daily even in the worst hit countries which is what their 'worst case scenario" is predicting.
Hospitalisations are going up but nowhere near as much as the models have predicted.And it appears to be peaking already… although early days

The new lockdown has little to no evidence to support it.

(Joey) #23

Thanks for additional interesting data. I’ll reserve judgment on the “nuts” part for the time being.

A net 21% increase in hospital bed patient headcount staying overnight during this last week seems like a meaningful concern.

How this fact compares to the latest forecast seems like a model issue rather than the lack of a public health problem.

Needless to say we agree we’d both love to see you be right and the public health officials be proven wrong. Alas, time will tell.

For my part, the available info I’ve seen thus far leaves me more concerned than not. (Whether I’m nuts is besides the point :wink: )

Let’s keep an eye on this and fingers crossed.

ADDENDUM: Just checked our state’s data on hospitalizations over the past fortnight… 18% increase in hospitalizations and a 34% increase in intensive care unit beds occupied.

Don’t know what our models had predicted back in mid-Oct, but this would not be caused by increased testing or false positives.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #24

(Joey) #25

Just reviewed the two graphs above. Problem solved? :thinking:

(Polly) #26

This is worth watching

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #27

(Joey) #28

Thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing the link.


If only it were this simple! but if this is what you think the anti-shutdown frustration is about, I’m not sure you’re quite listening. This is what many of us are worried about:

  • small business failing by the day (and family livelihoods and hopes along with them). In my city, I see small businesses shuttered and the large chains surviving;

  • in many US cities, no public school since late February, which is widening the achievement gap between rich and poor children (wealthier families are hiring tutors, etc);

  • also because of no public school, extreme pressure on single parents (many of whom are already in a tenuous situation);

  • rising suicide ideation among young adults;

  • rising drug use and drug deaths;

  • less/later treatment of deadly illnesses - cancer and heart disease in particular;

  • absolute gutting of the arts - music, dance, theater. Right now it’s hard to see how they will recover. I know a lot about that and not so much about sports, but I assume they’re in a difficult situation as well;

  • harder to quantify but very worrisome for our young children: exposure to a wide variety of microbes is part of what builds the immune system. There’s some depressing correlation between overly sterilized environments and leukemia, and it’s certainly not good for the gut microbiome and overall health for kids to have every surface wiped with Clorox wipes for months. [to be fair, this isn’t specifically shutdown-related, but I think that we’ve indulged in such a fever pitch of panic that it seems like normal behavior]

I think there are generally figures and statistics for the above, but I’m almost more worried about something that’s harder to put numbers to: we’re raising a generation of children who have dramatically less contact with others than before. That can have pretty bad consequences down the line for our society.

Just to be clear: I really want @ctviggen and everyone else to be safe and well, and I wish that no one had to deal with this f%&ing virus. I just get really frustrated when I see casual dismissal of the concerns of those who are worried about the shutdown. I’m personally doing fine and I’m not worried for me or for my family; I’m worried for our young people.

(Joey) #30

@Madeleine I assure you I’m listening. You’ve offered an excellent list of the downsides to what is happening in trying to battle the virus.

No, I’m definitely not a fan of mindless shutdowns as such. I personally devote much time and energy to helping local small businesses access financial supports and manage through this in my daily volunteer work. As such, I see the economic “carnage” up close.

And as a parent/grandparent/uncle I’m also keenly sensitive to your points about the developmental (and immunological effects) on children. Exposure to other children (and yes,to germs) is how they develop into healthy adults.

Having said this, the never-perfect science presented to us by folks who appear to have expertise in such fields keep telling us that (a) wearing a mask and (b) maintaining reasonable social distance can make a significant difference in transmission. Those are the simple steps that would seem to have minimal cost, manageable economic effects, and apparently can save lives until a vaccine is broadly available.

I’m sure the facts will continue to be better understood as our science evolves in researching this global virus. I’m keeping an open mind to what we learn along the way.


Thank you for such a gracious and thoughtful response!

I think that I keep engaging in COVID conversations on here because I’m reaching for a “yes, and…” conversation rather than a debate, and your post is a beautiful illustration of that basic principle.

Also thank you for your work to help small businesses. In my city I see a level of despair and hopelessness that are new to me.

(Elmo) #32

Either way, that’s no defense of Ivor Cummins.

Here too, there really isn’t an argument. It’s true that Covid deaths went way back down after the big deal in the spring. The UK went to over twice normal mortality for some weeks in the spring, i.e. Covid alone was killing more than everything else put together for a time. So, there should be no pretending that the virus somehow “is not serious.”

Likewise, there should be no pretending that UK Covid deaths didn’t decline massively in the summer - they went into the single digits per day, for some of those days. Now they are going back up again. In April, per Worldometers, the UK had 9 days with more than 1000 deaths. This week there was one day with 492, so a very large increase from the summer lows is being observed.

If there is a real question here, it lies more toward the area that Polly’s video addresses. At the worst, we can say that Mr. Yeadon has not been proven wrong yet. Here too, there is no defense for Ivor’s silly self-contradiction, outright lies and deliberately deceptive presentations.

Perhaps Mr. Yeadon has a point, but it remains to be seen. There is a lag time after increased virus cases before higher hospitalizations and deaths appear. We also know that deaths per case and deaths per hospitalization have gone down quite a bit as the year has progressed. UK Covid hospitalizations were below 500 during some days in August (I believe), but this week have gone above 11,000. So, things are happening and we will see just how much additional immunity is apparent. In the past few weeks, the numbers are really not acting like what Mr. Yeadon says is correct.

(bulkbiker) #33

If only this were true… about 40% of these poor souls have contracted COVID after admission to hospital and were not admitted with it in the first place. From a “serious” UK newspaper.
What the UK desperately needs are quarantine hospitals where those who actually get it can be treated without infecting others. The govt only had the whole summer to get this sorted out.

(Polly) #34

I have read today, that the UK death rate is only now just touching the five year average for this week annually. There are apparently no excess deaths occurring at the moment.

(Polly) #35

This from Ivor Cummins is also pretty persuasive.

(Ideom) #36

Well, it’s nice to see that we’re all in agreement. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Elmo) #37

I can’t see that link to ‘The Telegraph’ - it’s behind a paywall. It makes sense that some people would get infected while in the hospital, but how does this really affect things? The same thing was true all through the summer, even when virus cases and deaths were the lowest. It’s the same conditions and the same comparison.

I do think that segregated hospitals are a good idea. Regardless of the percentages that had Covid prior to entering the hospitals, it points up the need for social distancing and taking other precautions to minimize the virus spread. At this point I think we’re left with speculations like that from Mike Yeadon - and if anything I’d say the rapid increase in cases, hospitalizations, and (with the ever-present time lag) deaths argues that he may be under-estimating the amount of vulnerable people.

I’m not saying that it’s 93% that are vulnerable (this was the figure that Yeadon recently used for the gov’t’s position) - it may be lower than that. But I doubt it is as low as Yeadon thinks, 30 - 40%.

(bulkbiker) #38

Becasue 11,000 people have not been admitted into hospital “with” COVID… they were in hospital already that makes those figures something like 6,000 were admitted due to COVID a significantly lower figure.
Positive test results are not resulting in comparable greater admissions nor so far huge increases in deaths.
Current mortality rates are on or very slightly higher than average at the moment.
There is no need to panic yet our idiotic government are doing exactly that.
The NHS has fewer beds occupied than normal for the time of year.


It affects things because if they die of the malady they were originally admitted with, it will still be counted a COVID death - which means we really don’t know what the COVID death rates are (which isn’t to say that COVID might not have contributed to some of those deaths, but that makes for very muddy waters…).

(Elmo) #40

Sure, but that’s not to say that they couldn’t have become infected had they not gone into the hospital. I grant you that it would probably be less, i.e. there’s more of a chance to be infected in the hospital (…is that really true? :neutral_face:). My point was really that the same conditions were present in the summer - going into the hospital meant a higher chance of virus infection there too. Let’s say that it is only 6000 now in the hospital “because of Covid” directly. Likewise, perhaps it was not just “below 500” Covid hospitalizations on some August days, perhaps it was only 300 or so directly from becoming infected outside of hospitals. Going from 500 to 11000 or going from 300 to 6000 is a very large increase, either way.

Perhaps the UK government is overreacting - it remains to be seen. But there are dramatic increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, regardless of all the above.

I’d say it stands to reason that that would be the case. To some extent, the disease took “the low hanging fruit” early on. There is a lot more testing now, period, so no equal correlation to hospitalizations would be expected. Deaths are lagging just as they’ve done all year, and this should be increased by the demonstrably better treatment now.

However, versus the summer, cases, hospitalizations and deaths have still all turned up a lot, and it’s early in the autumn/winter season.

Indeed - I’ve seen that. On a year-over-year basis, I think the UK is only some thousands of total deaths above normal now, versus the tens of thousands earlier in 2020. This is not to say that “Covid is not longer a thing” - lower all-cause mortality is almost always observed, to begin with, during economic slowdowns, so even within a ‘normal’ number of deaths there’s currently substantial room for Covid deaths.

It’s too early to say - nobody has a crystal ball. Perhaps, with hindsight, most of us will agree that the gov’t was too restrictive - it remains to be seen. Even if they are erring on the side of caution, that would hardly necessarily be “panic.” Most of the ‘panic’ I see - the irrational hysteria, etc., is on the part of people fearing what gov’t action means here. This leads many people to overlook the falsehoods and cherry-picking/intentional deception, as with Ivor Cummins.

Understood - but even with such cases removed, there’s still a big and ongoing change from August, for example. I don’t deny the waters are somewhat muddy, and we really won’t know for a few months what the situation now really is.