I am not going to jump into this as you guys are doing a great job debating and covering the issues. The only thing I will say is that if this virus is not as deadly as some are suggesting then why did the smartest people and people of power see the need to isolate “all over the world”? These are the finest brains the human population has to offer and it seems all agree that these measures need to be taken. Doesn’t that speak volumes in its own right?
Michael, that article doesn’t say anything about staying-at-home or not, nor does it give any alternate method or propose any better way, specifically.
With the information that Ferguson et al had at the time - it was still fairly sketchy, given China’s reporting - the model didn’t do all that badly - it came up with a mortality rate of 0.67% for the U.S. and 0.75% for the U.K. Can you really fault that?
These guys know more than we do, so they must be right! Excellent example of the fallacy of an appeal to authority.
And who do you suggest that the general population appeal to instead? Or just no appeal at all?
Thing is, all the links you are posting as credible are those same people so your in the same boat my friend.
No, but it says lots about the deficiencies of the model itself. For example:
Non-deterministic outputs. Due to bugs, the code can produce very different results given identical inputs.
To me that says: this is garbage. If 2+2 can = 4 or 5 or 6 or anything else, it’s useless.
Why is it that in one of the richest nations in the world you are unable to provide adequate, timely healthcare and reliably feed your children? Your systems are weak and vulnerable and neither the virus or the lockdown have caused that, they simply revealed it. Do better.
Data. My bet is that as more data comes in about the overall infection rate, the severe illness and death rates will continue to drop. COVID-19 might eventually prove to be about as infectious and fatal as seasonal flu, or not, or somewhat more so, or not. We don’t know yet. Nonetheless with no inkling either way, governments of the world have jumped into the deep end. I think because primarily spooked by Ferguson’s faulty model. Whether draconian measures affect the progression of the virus or not remains to be determined. There is already much evidence to suggest that the virus runs its course regardless of whatever counter measures are imposed.
I’m guessing that the Diamond Princess and the USS Theodore Roosevelt give us examples of real data from two exposed populations: one at higher risk and the other at lower risk. And it further suggests to me that it would probably be more effective to take measures to protect the higher risk group and let the lower risk group continue their lives.
While I agree with your hypothesis, I am going to give the worldly decisions as airing on the side of caution in an effort to save lives vs the alternative.
That’s silly, as of course it is far from that simple, nor is it even like that, from the start. The author’s point is poorly taken - because there is necessarily going to be some randomness here. There was no guarantee that different runs would produce the same result, nor is that even the intent, to begin with. This has nothing to do with being skeptical about lockdowns, this is just silly posturing by a blog writer that misses the point.
These kinds of models normally give a vast number of potential outcomes, even if “perfect.” There will be a range that goes from the maximum to the minimum. An example, for the state of Georgia:
Is Georgia going to have <2000 deaths, or 5000+ in 3 months or so?
Given the variability of the data available at the time, Feguson’s model did pretty well, even if the computer code had its failings. Again, I don’t think you can rationally argue with what was Ferguson’s “worst case” number.
The mortality of Covid-19 deaths in New York City, against the city population, is 0.24%. For New York State as a whole, it’s 0.135%. These deaths occurred in just less than 2 months. Ferguson’s “worst case” number was 0.67% for the U.S.
So, after only 2 months, New York State is 1/5 of the way to Ferguson’s “worst case number.” For all we know, a different computer program (presumably meeting with the approval of that blog piece writer) would produce similar results, or a range that’s even wider than Ferguson’s initial one (especially now - when we’ve seen what a huge range of possibility there is, based on the degree of gov’t intervention).
Honestly, I have checked in with the forum here and there, but largely have started avoiding it for just the reasons you mention. I felt compelled to reply, just to let you know that I hear what you are saying and it resonates with me also.
I have been shocked at some of the opinions expressed here. I acknowledge that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the lack of scientific or even logical basis for many of these opinions has left me feeling…I am not really sure…alarmed, dismayed?
In the early days of the crisis, I sometimes wondered whether the media we see in my country (Australia) about what is going on in the US can possibly be true, but then I would log on here and see those sentiments and ideas so clearly echoed by more than just a small section of forum members.
Some of my Aussie mates were “lockdown skeptics” in the month of March. They have seen the light now, mostly - can’t argue with the success of Australia and New Zealand. Enviable numbers.
Thanks for this comment, Jules. Yeah, a lot of the comments around here remind me of the “debate” over climate change. Non-epidemiologists debating epidemiology, just as non-climate scientists like to debate climate science. PhD be damned!
Frankly, the balls it requires to “debate” epidemiology, to argue that the science and health authorities are wrong about this, is simply breathtaking. It is conspiracy theory, ultimately, and this is what Ron @mtncntrykid was saying before they jumped down his throat: he’s saying, look, all these health experts are saying X, doesn’t that count for anything?
That’s not an argument from authority. He’s not saying “look at what Professor Y says, therefore it must be right.” That’s an argument from authority. He’s saying, “It is going to require next-level evidence if I’m going to discount the advice of health authorities around the world who all agree with each other.”
On a related note, I’d be willing to wager that a big majority of these covid skeptics are also climate skeptics. Basically flat-earthers and evolution-deniers, or only an inch or two away from that.
It is definitely a stressful time here in the US with all the rebellious attitudes that are selfishly being displayed here. It is sad to see it infecting all the good people who are trying to do the right thing.
A global pandemic is such a huge situation to deal with, even without any additional tensions and stressors.
I can’t even imagine the stress and frustration you must be experiencing Ron. I am flabbergasted just watching the events in the US play out on my TV, but to be living it would be something else entirely.
@JulesyMcJulesface, the people that are rebelling have not yet been affected directly by the virus and the ones that do quickly change their attitude. I have lost my mother, an uncle and a nephew in the last 2 months so I have seen what effects this virus can cause. It is not worth the risk to me. The US is starting to open up to try and revive the economy gradually and so many people are taking advantage of it so carelessly that I foresee a resurgence of the virus in this country and the damage that will cause will be even more devastating to the economy that recovery will be pushed back for years to come. Life in the US as we knew it is gone.
100% and thank you for saying this! It’s so disgusting how this has been politicized and people are ignoring the science. I quit several low-carb youtube channels because of the nonsense they were promoting around this issue. For me, the most disgusting thing I heard was, “If you’re keto/carnivore, just trust your immune system!” I’m thinking ok… maybe I’ll be ok with that advice but I could still pass this thing to someone who would NOT be ok… and do people who aren’t keto/carnivore somehow deserve a death sentence FFS??? Not to mention, despite being keto for 99.9% of the time over the past year, I’m still pretty metabolically damaged… so… do I deserve to die??? Yeesh the stupidity and the selfishness of these people!!!
Rant over but thank you so much for raising these issues. I didn’t read the other responses yet but I’m hoping they are in agreement with you
I am so sorry for your losses! How tragic!
Testing here in the US is abysmal. The graph is meaningless because only symptomatic people can get tested in most places and even then, it frequently isn’t happening because this country has been incredibly negligent about getting the tests out. It makes complete logical sense that if you have a disease where even asymptomatic people can spread the virus, keeping people away from each other will keep the disease from spreading and KILLING people. I’m not sure what is difficult to understand about that.
That’s actually about ten times as many car deaths per year as we have. The flu is really 12000 - 61000 per year, according to the CDC, looking back over ten years. In essentially just two months, the virus is well past both of those. The rate of Covid-19 deaths in New York state (already), if extended to the U.S., becomes almost half a million. The CDC ended up predicting 100,000 - 240,000 U.S. deaths with social distancing. That estimate/model is obviously credible, at this time, and they made it a good while ago. President Trump was talking about it at the end of March.
Man, I hear ya on taking stuff from the gov’t with a grain of salt, etc. But we do know that the virus is more contagious and lethal than the normal flu.
There is so much wrong with that one… Does that come with a side order of “5G is a plot to give us all cancer?” You’re correct about anti-science.
I can’t dismiss the Vitamin D deal. There really is some correlation, maybe not causation, but I think it bears more investigating. Not sure of the direction of causation, but check it out:
Yo, Vic - that’s interesting! It’s kind of like those meat plants with a lot of infected workers with no symptoms. Chelsea is the worst area in Massachusetts for the virus, but still - 30% is way higher than the state’s total positives of around 5%. Possible perils: only 200 test subjects, antibody testing - what is the rate of false positives, and how good is that BioMedomics device? Still, you wonder.
I’ve got relatives in Sweden who’ve been staying home for two months, almost never going out. It’s all slow-motion there now. Virus going slow out into the low density population areas. No change in government policy, almost everybody obeying government suggestions. There’s a whole thread about it:
All along I’ve seen people pretend that the virus is far less serious than it really is because the outbreak had not gone far yet. There were those who were pounding the table and stomping their feet and yelling that there would only be thousands dead in the U.S., or even mere hundreds, etc. They are all nowhere to be seen now, certainly not admitting they were wrong.
That’s not true at all. In the US the Centers for Disease Control projected first up to 1.7 million US deaths, then revised it to as many as 2.5 million, bracketing the Imperial College’s “top number” of 2.2 million. This is hardly a secret, nor are they bad estimates for what could happen were nothing done. What were your predictions, back in mid-March? Given what they had to work with, their numbers are holding up well, much less than an order of magnitude of maximum possible error.
With social distancing, the CDC forecasted 100,000 to 240,000 deaths. That is currently certainly in play. The numbers can be refined now - we know much more about the differing population segments’ vulnerability by age, obesity, pre-existing conditions, etc. But would we even change those numbers? For the UK it’s much the same. A comparable (by population) range makes sense, I’m guessing they would just be a little higher in the range or perhaps even exceeding it.
The “Code Review of Ferguson’s Model” has nothing to do with “lockdown or not.” After the fact, one could likely complain about ‘thousands of lines of years-old code,’ but worrying about “different results given identical inputs” is largely senseless, in this case. Inputs would not be identical anyway, plus there is considerable uncertainty about the probabilities that such models use, and the output range would be so large as to render such concerns meaningless. A lack of exact reproducibility does not mean the model is any less correct - it’s a stochastic model. We are talking about varying outcomes under different conditions. As one commenter noted:
“As a stochastic modelling expert who has written many a ‘rat’s nest’, it is obvious to me that the seed bug which she makes a meal of is not an issue at all for this particular code as it depends on an ensemble of results.”
Let us assume the writer of the “review” could/would rewrite the code that Ferguson’s group used. It likely could be written more efficiently and made more computer-friendly, given the differences between modern computers (multi-cored, multi-threaded) and “back then” computers. Would it give such a different result that governments would have acted differently? No - there is no reasonable expectation that it would.
" Lockdown Fail In One Easy Graph" is just laughable. You’d have to correct for different virus breakout timing as well as population density, to start with, and also get the causation straight - that greater population density itself tends to bring stricter lockdowns.
Often it’s nowadays that somebody on YouTube can overrule many PhDs backed by impeccable logic.
Much is still on the behavior of the individual. To the extent they need to stay away from other people, and to the extent they are able to do so… I feel worst for those who don’t have that control, those who, for various reasons, simply cannot avoid others even though they’re in the vulnerable group.
I think we will adapt fairly quickly. I sure don’t know how different things will be, but I don’t think it’s as bad as “gone.” One big wildcard is virus mutation. It’s not impossible that worse strains will appear, but it’s most likely that mutations will be favorable to us - there is plenty of precedent for this. Here’s hoping it attenuates itself as many have done before.