The General Discussion Thread

[Publish Date updated to restore to front page]

Okay as an experiment here it is. Discuss your favourite generals here!

Well perhaps… Really this is simply the place to post news-items, fun-items or whatever takes your fancy. In short just post what you want here.

It’s just another wee experiment – comments welcome.


[Image: General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett (Stephen Fry)]

17,284 thoughts on “The General Discussion Thread

  1. Node, freedom can’t be lost in a day because it isn’t a condition granted by “the Elite”, it’s a state of mind, shared to varying extents among the people. The British have been losing freedom since Thatcher’s Public Order Act.

    Anyway, good to know you’ve changed sides and henceforth will be constructing pink octopuses, giving away vegan food in the middle of the night and sitting in roads until you get arrested. Welcome! “We welcome everyone, and every part of everyone”, including conspiracy theorists; XR Principle 6.

  2. “Anyway, good to know you’ve changed sides”

    I don’t think someone suddenly supporting Borris Johnson and his policies has the right to be accusing anyone of changing sides.

  3. Node, freedom can’t be lost in a day …

    Yesterday you could walk into town and meet a couple of mates. Try that today. Let us know how it goes.

  4. I just don’t understand this total concern with having enough beds for those with the virus when there is almost practice in not contracting it in the first place like wearing a mask when one is in a social environment, and staying home voluntarily if you don’t have one, and are using it.

    Healthy people are constantly feeding the pandemic.

  5. So Node, you have a sense of powerlessness, helplessness. But this isn’t because human society suddenly looks very frail in the light of this new virus. No, it’s because you’re certain that some super-secret cabal whose members and objectives you can’t even identify have tricked everyone but you into utter delusion, and you’re desperate to “wake us up” for our own good but we’re all just too stupid. Yes, I can see how that could be frustrating.

  6. What about the freedom to live for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, in the UK?

    If they were to stop pushing the death rates when full healthcare is available and say what the deaths rate are without care people would understand more.

    Yes “most” people would still get relatively “mild” symptoms but in Wuhan 18% of cases ended up as fatalities once overwhelmed.

    You’re done for if you progress to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome stage, at any age, without ICU. And it’s a horrible way to die.

  7. “What about the freedom to live for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, in the UK?”

    Yes but we must be vigilant no one manipulates people’s fears of corona virus to take away civil liberties, just as we must be vigilant no one manipulates people’s fears of climate change to further their own agenda. We must ensure all legislation has a sunset clause.

    I spent much of my life not being able to get a drink so that we didn’t lose the first world war.

  8. There are some strange features about the origin of Covid 19, for example a seemingly different strain in Wuhan, but many of the projections about its future effects are based on Italy’s coronavirus mortality rate. Apparently those figures are highly inflated.

    The way in which we code deaths in our country [Italy] is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus […] On re-evaluation by the [Italian] National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many had two or three,”
    Has this factor been discussed here? I couldn’t find it.

  9. The UK Influenza and respiratory illness report has appeared again after going missing for a week. For the first time it has clear evidence of SARS-Cov-2

    PHE National Influenza Report Summary of UK surveillance of influenza and other seasonal respiratory illnesses 19 March 2020 –Week 12 report (up to week 11 data

    Outbreak Reporting

    144 new acute respiratory outbreaks have been reported in the past 14 days(Figure 2).

    109 outbreaks were from care homes where seven tested positive for SARS-COV2, three for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), 2 for influenza A(not subtyped) and one for rhinovirus.

    15 outbreaks were from schools where one tested positive forSARS-COV2 and another for influenza A(not subtyped).

    Seven outbreaks were from hospitals where two tested positive for SARS-COV2, one for influenza A(not subtyped) and another for influenza B.

    13 outbreaks were from the Other Settings category where four tested positive for SARS-COV2, one for influenza A(not subtyped) and one for influenza B

  10. Node,

    It doesn’t matter at the end of the day whether individual countries classify deaths with co-morbidities as pneumonia, heart failure or covid-19. No matter what the paperwork says the hospitals still end up flooded. Italy’s case fatality rates will start to come down if they can get back to having enough ventilators for everyone.

    Germany has by far the most ventilators per population and can keep more sick people alive longer. They’ve placed an emergency order for at least another ten thousand ventilators from a domestic supplier.

    The SARS and ventilator issue is what makes this so different from seasonal flu. Flu while bad enough generally doesn’t require this level of support. Well not unless bird flu suddenly learns to spread easily between humans…

  11. I am observing my own experience here with paralytic polio by not discussing it.

  12. Node – HIV/AIDS didn’t actually kill people back in the day, it was usually pneumonia that finally did them in. So what should go on the death certificate? Would it be perpetrating some massive hoax to say that there was an AIDS epidemic, despite people actually dying of something it caused?

  13. It makes a huge difference to how the virus is perceived if a generous weighting is given to covid 19 as primary cause of death over co-mobidities.

    The NHS was already on its knees, not coping, it hasn’t for years. Any spike in seasonal deaths for whatever the reasons were going to cause further problems for the NHS, that has been known for a very long time.

    Regular winter death spikes are normal, we were due for one, it was known the NHS would not cope, coincidentally covid 19 was thrown into the pot this year.

    Flu has regularly caused massive spikes but the economy didn’t have to be shut down or the entire population put under house arrest.

    Those measures have been brought in because the known crisis in the NHS was not dealt with, not because of coronavirus.

    Covid 19 is part of this years spike, the imposition of the police state as a response is not a consequence or Covid 19, the government knew the next spike was due and did nothing. I say nothing they actually made the NHS less efficient and less able to deal with any such inevitable eventuality.

    Covid 19 has been demonised as something it is not and that has been done for political purposes, mis-clasifying primary cause of death against other co-morbidities is part of the propaganda. When that con is realised by more it will be too late, it already is.

    Look at Japan’s population and Covid figures and look at how their society is coping with the fake global fear mongering, they are treating it as normal, like we should be doing but because of goverment’s failings we now all have are liberties curtailed.

    Warehousing ventilators and planning for this (and future) spikes with extra ICU beds and staff would have obviated the need for panic but the situation has proved extremely useful to justify the implementation of totalitarianism, it’s not covid’s fault, any spike would have done, this resetting of society has been well rehearsed and planned.

    We’ve been had!

  14. It is not just immunity and resistance here though. Younger people had no immunity/resistance to swine flu but it rarely did the dangerous deep lung thing which it was generally one known mutation away from achieving. Luckily also people in their 60s and older generally had resistance to swine flu as the immune system recognised it as a relative of the 1918 pandemic which periodically circulated for decades before disappearing.

    Astonishingly people who were alive in 1918 generally had an immediate and robust antibody response to swine flu even in their 90s.

    However the 1918 pandemic did circulate with both upper and lower respiratory adaptive modifications – pandemic H1N1 swine flu only did these mutations occasionally – notably in Ukraine where it almost got out of control.

    This SARS-Cov-2 virus, although via different mechanisms, has good ability to infect upper and lower respiratory built in from the start. Not to mention multiple other critical organs including the brain if it really gets going.

  15. Look at Japan’s population and Covid figures and look at how their society is coping with the fake global fear mongering, they are treating it as normal,

    Japan closed schools and implemented other measures including local lockdowns ages ago. They have managed just to keep the numbers from getting out of control until the worldwide viral tsunami wave hits.

    As virus cases surge, Tokyo governor says lockdown may be only way to stem rise

    Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Monday that a citywide lockdown may become “the only option left” if various measures fail to prevent an explosive rise in the novel coronavirus in the capital.

    “Cities around the world are in lockdown,” Koike said during a news conference Monday. “In Tokyo there is serious concern that clusters of infected individuals will lead to an explosive increase in the number of cases in the city. If that were to happen, we may have no choice but to impose strict isolation measures — a so-called lockdown — to prevent further spread.”

    Despite ongoing measures to promote social distancing, as well as school closures and the cancellation of major public events, Tokyo was described as a region “at significant risk of further outbreaks” during a meeting of the government’s expert panel last week. According to an estimate by the health ministry, Tokyo could see upwards of 530 positive cases by April 8.

    An additional 17 individuals were confirmed on Tuesday to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the largest number of cases the city has seen in a single day — breaking the record set just a day earlier.

    EDIT: I’m now deleting comments which I consider to be dangerous nonsense. Or I am part of some massive conspiracy involving the entire world, if you prefer to see it that way.

  16. Pb,

    I well know of the previous pandemics. I don’t see what in your link is supposed to support you.

    Anyway Japan used aggressive measures way before we did. Take Hokkaido

    Japan shut down an entire island’s schools, restaurants, and stadiums after an uptick in coronavirus cases. Here’s what it looks like.

    Japan’s second-largest island and popular tourist destination, Hokkaido, has become a hotbed for the novel coronavirus after authorities recorded 77 cases there alone.

    Amid fears that the virus will spread further, the island’s governor, Naomichi Suzuki, declared a state of emergency on February 28, prompting schools, malls, restaurants, and entire stadiums to shut down.

    On February 28, Hokkaido’s governor, Naomichi Suzuki, declared a state of emergency and asked residents and tourists to remain indoors.

  17. I am not willing to die to save the economy, as a lieutenant governor is suggesting here.

    It was tried 90 years ago with people jumping out of window in droves, and didn’t accomplish much.

    Little wonder we are experiencing a similar problem now.

  18. If you can’t see how past flu epidemics proportions and how the UK coped is relevant to the current situation then there is not a great deal I can do about that.

    The situation that has led to the relatively small number of UK deaths from Covid 19 have crippled our hospitals already.

    The UK coped in the 50’s & 60’s but for some reason 60 and 70 years later we have fallen at the first fence. They didn’t have to close down Britain then, they don’t now.

    Hong Kong Flu in 1968/9 (80,000 deaths) and Asian Flu in 1957/8 (33,000 deaths)

    That Britain is so ill prepared of a spike in viral deaths in 2020 is unfathomable unless the reason is it is deliberate for political purposes.

    Re Japan, they have not closed down there entire economy and have no plans to do so. Restrictions in some movements have been put in place and contingency for more if necessary but the UK has closed the whole country down before a clearer picture of the extent of the problem is allowed to emerge.

    Even if the death toll reached the 80,000 deaths number as Hong Kong flu, the damage being done by the lock-down, curtailment of civil liberties and transfer of private wealth is going to be massive compared with doing nothing.

    The UK got through Hong Kong flu, we will never get back what has been taken from us this week, ever.

  19. Squonk

    You posted a chart that showed schools were a major breeding ground of the virus, why then would the government order the corralling of essential workers children in a high risk environment when allowing non essential workers children to shelter in a less risk environment?

    If it is to speed up the infection of key workers I suppose it makes sense

  20. Models say the NHS could cope with Hong Kong Flu or Asian Flu pandemics today. In fact the death toll would be much lower if they happened today due to modern medicine.

    The problem with SARS-Cov-2 is it, at best, is comparable to 1918 Spanish Flu death rates, but only using 2020 levels of medical care. At worst (no modern healthcare available due to overload) it could be five times as bad as 1918. Maybe even worse.

    That’s what the science says. That’s what the panic shutdowns are about – stopping the nightmare scenario.

  21. “It was tried 90 years ago with people jumping out of window in droves, and didn’t accomplish much. ”

    It didn’t happen Trow, it’s an urban myth.

  22. “Models say the NHS could cope with Hong Kong Flu or Asian Flu pandemics today.”

    The real experiences in the NHS now, at current low virus levels, show that the models are useless.

    Please link me to those models

  23. On what basis do you claim that covid-19 would stop short of killing millions in the UK, or hundreds of thousands?

    Can you show me anywhere without social restrictions where the number of cases is steady or falling?

  24. Pb,

    I guess they are balancing the loss to the health service etc. of personnel who are forced to stay at home with kids against the risk of spread among a much reduced school population with distancing measures. It is certainly not ideal I agree!

  25. Pb,

    The NHS war-games pandemics. In fact there is a great set of documents on war-gaming swine flu if it mutated to the deep lung form like 1918 did. They were on a few years ago and probably still are and I likely have local copies somewhere.

    Modern Flu anti-virals work very well though so if available in sufficient quantity and administered early enough there will be relatively few cases requiring ventilation. You could have a thousand people get infected and none need a ventilator so they can be at home, in a general ward or in the corridor at worst. Even without anti-virals the percentage of people needing ventilators would be much lower than with SARS-Cov-2.

    With SARS-Cov-2 unlike Flu we do not have an anti-viral specifically designed and known safe to target it. There are some things that have some effect and testing is already taking place. A mass produced and safe antiviral treatment would definitely help.

  26. The bad news: The NHS were not coping before the virus

    The good new: The seasonal mortality rates are lower than average (up to w/e 13 March)

    Squonk if I were the parent of a school child that had no homecare because of essential duties then I wouldn’t be looking to the school to take them in I would look for a family member or friend or parent of one of their school mates, unfortunately Boris has explicitly ruled out that option.

  27. Back to Japan.

    What is so hard to understand? Every country or region has a “point of no return” based on local infection levels. The models show that without lockdown by a certain projected date you are locked on course to massively exceed hospital maximum surge capacity and it is by then so entrenched in the community that people just die at home.

    Japan is now warning its citizens in Tokyo to prepare for a lockdown and I expect them to lockdown nationwide as well in the not too distant future.

    The reasons options have been removed from people is because there is no other moral course of action right now. They will likely fine tune advice and hopefully some of the restrictions can be eased down the line but we have to see the numbers respond first and get the trajectory back under some level of control.

    No more debate on this particular point. If you still think this is just the Flu, play that elsewhere.

  28. There have been 5209 fewer deaths in the UK, in the 9 week period between w/e 17th Jan and w/e 13 March on average for the corresponding periods over 5 years.

    We were due a clear out

  29. Final point about flu deaths. Thing is with seasonal influenza it really is the case that almost all of these deaths are in very elderly or seriously compromised individuals – they could just as easily go down as pneumonia, heart-failure etc. – the argument used against death rates for SARS-Cov-2. The vast majority die at home or care homes and were never seen by a hospital.

    How often do you hear of doctors, nurses, paramedic etc. dropping dead in considerable number during Flu season? But that’s already what Italy is seeing (as did China, Iran) and they are still in the foothills of the epidemic peak looming overhead, from which they are trying to retreat.

  30. Just wait a few days. Consistently, case and death rates have been increasing, all over the world, for weeks. Well under 1% of the population has been exposed so far; the rest, over a hundred times as many, are still vulnerable. If, ignoring the scenes from the hospitals, this is no more than a usual blip in the seasonal illness curve, it has to fall back rapidly in the next few days, panic over. But if case and death rates continue to increase, taking covid-19 seriously was the right thing to do.

    I can assure you that our leaders are impatient to get their neoliberal meatgrinder back up to full productivity.

  31. Sorry everyone.

    I don’t care how much you personally think you are right. if I think you are deluded about SARS-Cov-2 then it is going.

    I personally came to certain conclusions months ago and I am extremely sad to see it playing out as was projected by the earliest models, what seems like an age ago now.

  32. I agree more time and numbers were required before such unprecedented measures were taken. Waiting a week or two would not make much difference to the eventual outcome.

  33. Pb,

    The current doubling time prior to extreme measures is about 5 days. 15 days (just over your 2 weeks) delay would mean you are now about 8 times the infection rates before starting.

    Don’t think all the politicians didn’t leave it until the last minute to suddenly spring this on us. They themselves didn’t want to believe and like everyone else were hoping for a miracle as milestones passed and deadlines loomed. Boris has known the approximate date he would have to make last night’s speech for months.

  34. Squonk you deleted the up to date China figures and charts, why?

    What do they say to you?

    They say to me that the virus has run its course

  35. That’s wrong. The science says start sooner rather than later. There is widespread and copious evidence that covid-19 can be much worse than seasonal flu, overwhelming hospital facilities by a factor. I’ll accept social restrictions for now, to mitigate that.

    If I was going to make a fuss I’d do it in a couple of weeks to be sure it was really just a scare.

  36. No argument, Squonk, this is your blog to run as you please, but let me put in a plea for tolerance. Back in the old wild west days on Craig’s blog, there were often demands to the mods to ban Kempe, Resident Dissident, Fred and others because they were supposedly trolls or whatever, but I would always speak up in favour of allowing them their say …

    (1) because I could see that there was no way of banning any reasonably savvy person without introducing a login
    (2) because everybody should be allowed their say unless they’re being deliberately disruptive.
    (3) because people with an open mind will learn more from a debate between opposing views than listening to a lecture.
    (4) I want my views to be challenged. Contrary to the fantasy claims on this blog, Fred and I have had some serious run-ins on Craig’s blog but I’ve always valued his input. On more than one occasion I have told Fred (partly to exasperate him) how much work he saves me by being my IndyScot fact-checker. If someone posted a pro-Indy claim and it got past Fred, I could be reasonably confident it was reliable.

    Surely this little odd-ball corner of the internet is the better for some contrary views …

    (1) to avoid the echo chamber effect.
    (2) to broaden the scope of topics.
    (3) to keep the protagonists on their toes
    (4) to liven it up

    But of course it’s your call, maybe you see this blog as primarily a way of documenting stuff like the current coronavirus outbreak, rather than discussing/debating it. Fair enough, I’d respect that, though probably visit it less often (cease that cheering at the back!)

  37. China’s figures – I don’t trust them, they’re much too low. But even if they have got the new case rate and the death rate down, it’s apparently by keeping everyone locked in their apartments. What happens when the restrictions stop?

  38. No it hasn’t run its course in China. The vast majority of their population is still unexposed at this point. That said.

    1) China lies like fuck as it is a dictatorship. Death and infection rates they have given out are pure fantasy. If you believe China has had fewer deaths than Italy I have a bridge to sell you.

    2) Of course taking extreme measures up to and including welding people inside their apartment buildings and preventing travel out of Wuhan for months reduced the spread rate in China as a whole but what it did not stop is the seeding cases started by the millions who left Wuhan before lockdown. They are now coming back to bite China in the butt just like is happening everywhere else, however much they try to hide it as only foreign imported cases.

    Seems every day they announce removing restrictions in Wuhan but so far it has never happened.

  39. Node, you don’t like your views challenged at all – you are deceiving yourself, nobody else there.

    You have had plenty of points and refutations put in direct reply, and you simply ignore it and carry on.

    Is your mate called Pb because s/he’s particularly dense, btw?

  40. Node,

    I’ve seen virtually every argument that seeks to minimise this. So when they come up here it is not a matter for debate for me as I have already driven myself up the wall looking for the way out or some mistake myself – but there never is one. Clark can tell you I gave him rough timetable projections, based on my understanding, starting a considerable time ago.


    Coronavirus: Giuseppe Berardelli among 50 priests killed

    An Italian priest who gave a respirator to a younger coronavirus patient he did not know has died of the disease.

    Father Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, died in hospital in Lovere, Bergamo – one of the worst-hit cities in Italy.

    At least 50 priests have reportedly been killed by coronavirus in Italy.

    …According to the hospital, he refused to use a respirator his parishioners had bought for him – choosing to give it to a younger patient, instead.


    Chaos and calm as Jordanians queue for bread

    Yolande Knell

    BBC Middle East correspondent

    Jordan’s government has started delivering basic goods, medicines and fuel to its population of 10 million, after announcing an indefinite curfew to deal with the coronavirus.

    …“It’s trial and error at a very critical time,” says Amman resident Lubna Wardeh, as she waited for a bus with supplies to arrive on her street so she can buy bread and water.

    “Those people who went crazy put our quarantine back at zero,” she said.

  43. South America

    Opinion: I’m An American Stuck In Peru — Glad To Be On Lockdown To Avoid COVID-19

    Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra had just declared a total quarantine for 15 days, halting all air and land transportation, even taxis. With fewer than 150 cases of coronavirus identified at the time, the Andean country was immediately going into lockdown to stem the spread of the virus. (As of Tuesday, Peru — with about 32 million people — has identified 395 infection cases and five deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.)

    …The next morning there were soldiers with masks outside and police cars patrolling with loudspeakers that repeated, “This is an emergency, please stay in your homes.”

    …Some neighboring nations followed the cue: Colombia and Argentina went into total quarantine when they each had fewer than 200 identified cases of coronavirus at the time. (As of Tuesday, Argentina has identified 301 cases and four deaths and Colombia reports 306 cases and three deaths.)

  44. Squonk,

    Let me put it another way then. You must agree that Britain has effectively become a police state overnight. You seem to think this is a good thing and justified by the circumstances. Fair enough, that’s your opinion.

    But do you support my right to oppose that view – that this level of state control is unjustified by the circumstances? I said last night that questioning the need for these draconian powers would soon be made punishable, that such views will soon be censored. Does that start here on this blog? Last night the most severe civilian restrictions in British history were imposed. Are you going to be the first to censor criticism of those measures?

    Think about it.

  45. S: I’ve seen virtually every argument that seeks to minimise this.

    Such as when South Korea had about 500 cases inside that rather secretive church. They managed to do contact tracing on 210,000 people, isolated and treated them. We gave up bothering to do contact tracing long since, and the Yanks never really tried at all.

    This allows denialists to point to SK and claim their cases have really flattened off. Isn’t that proof it’s all a hoax? Of course – high-fives and smugness all round.

    Denialists won’t bother seeing how extreme that country’s response was to the initial outbreaks, and how that differs to our own. They don’t care about the dubiousness with which their denialist cult leaders pick and choose certain very unrepresentative examples, and how it most definitely does not apply to us.

    The denialists – and their leaders – certainly won’t be accepting responsibility for the death their actions are going to cause. It will encourage people to take it less seriously than it deserves, and contagion will result.

    Apparently, there is no such thing as lethal infection. The Black Death never happened, and smallpox was ‘fake news’.

  46. I highly doubt Capitalists would be willing to sacrifice four quarters of profitability in exchange for limiting the Herd clearing and population reduction.

    Silliness is no substitute for black ink on a ledger and those four quarters are lost forever..

  47. Node,

    I don’t mind if you have an opposing view but I have told you clearly that I think it is wrong though and I either waste all day responding to you and Pb’s nonsense or just start deleting.

    If a miraculous escape route appears I’ll be elated though.

  48. Oh give it a rest warrior Node. Within a week or two it will be inconceivable that this was a blip in the seasonal figures. It’s not like you’re going to do anything but crow on the Internet anyway, but yes, flaunting the restrictions right now would be antisocial and irresponsible.

  49. So to be clear, are you saying you will not allow criticism of the government’s measures to control coronvavirus on this blog?

  50. Node, I’m sure if you have valid criticism it’ll be fine. But “covid-19 is part scientific hysteria, part media hoax” is not valid criticism.

  51. You cant exile an entire Nation. Well, you can try with small nations and enjoy some success, but it ends the same way.

    China could be declared incompetent by other Nations but the psychosis of isolation would exacerbate their distance in all realms of sociability.

    Psychotic behavior would only increase.

  52. Survival isnt the question…

    The Form and Features of survival are the question.

    It’s a Fiscal Asteroid Strike and you’d best prepare for likely scenarios.

    Will paper money still be used in transactions?

    What inherent value would currency have?

    Bartering and trade goods seem likely heirs of the banking game.

    Pawn shop style business will flourish.

    Victory gardens will return

    Older vehicles than 1980 will become scarce but desirable means of transportation along with post 1980 cars towed by beasts of burden.

    Marijuana/Hemp will become the farmers choice leading to food shortages.

    You wont need sunglasses because the future is not bright.

  53. Pb,

    Two of these so called experts have already had their demented ravings splashed in the comments here. That’s enough. I’m not wasting time on going through all the rest telling you where most of them get facts wrong but just a quick scan shows mostly repeating the same fallacies. Many are retired, commenting out of specialist area, or just not up on latest research or, in at least one case, quoting figures from a paper that failed peer review as it was total shite.

    EDIT: And why would I want to take virus news from something called “Swiss Propaganda Research” I am fed up deleting.


  54. Don’t take it from the Swiss if that offends, what about HMG?

    Convid 19 has been downgraded, before the lock-down, because of its low mortality rate.

    For goodness sake if you don’t accept evidence that conflicts with your view you are depriving yourself of the opportunity to critically analyse the subject. Your conclusions will be lacking rigor and test.

    NB SARS remains on the HCID list

  55. I was waiting for someone to post that. I do know it has caused shock among the medical community. The general thinking seems to be Boris and advisors pushed for the change when he was still on herd immunity fuckwit plan. Later altered course but the change justifying the old plan was still in motion.

  56. Dueling with Semantics..

    COVID19 is doubts about it. But the economic side effects dwarf the fatality of this new bug which was devastating enough as a biologic threat.

    Far worse is our retarded and ill-prepared viral response in both game plan and materials.

  57. I always said the previous plan was just a recipe for maximum deaths. I am perfectly consistent even if Boris was caught with his pants down. Metaphorically for a change.

    Ben, fully agree. The experts have said for years that no country has spent enough preparing for a major pandemic. We sail submarines full of nuclear warheads around the planet constantly but don’t even have enough basic masks in stock, let alone the more complex stuff.

  58. AA: The blame game has its limits but I’m wagering that the Republican/Tory insistence on miserly budgets to protect their own People has much to do with these shortages.

  59. Look

    I know for everyone it’s like we’ve all entered this movie and it is crap. I definitely want my money back.

    Love you all.


    It is NOT the end.

    Yet anyway 🙂

  60. Think that the hysteria about human losses of the pandemic have reached absurd predictions since the Republicans, especially their looney President, agreeing to a $2,000.000.000,000 deal.

    Who would have thought that those right-wingers would have agreed to risking the bankruptcy of the government? I didn’t.

    Will be amazed if 50,000 die instead of the 2,200, 000 predicted.

    It’s enough to hate Trump et al., but not to the point of seeing them stay in office.

  61. You should have been banned awhile ago with your absurd claims and bets.

  62. My ‘absurd claims’ are exactly the same as yours – that far fewer people will die than predicted. We should both be banned.

  63. The entire idea of the lockdowns is to reduce the deaths to the lowest end of the range.

    The high end numbers only happen if we fuck up and get huge numbers infected at the same time.

  64. … and by the way, I put that prediction in the form of a bet because, unlike everybody else on this blog who is absolutely CERTAIN about everything, I’m not. I weigh up the information available to me and make my best guess. I have previously stated on this blog that anybody who is certain about anything they haven’t experienced first hand is naive – ie they just do not understand the extent of modern information control.

  65. Evidence of my making the claim that the pandemic is a government hoax or of any similar claim like the CIA’s William KIng Harvey’s Plumbers didn’t assassinate JFK, MLK, RFK or LBJ?

  66. Yeah, as if Node has experience of modern information control.

    Node: “unlike everybody else on this blog who is absolutely CERTAIN about everything…”

    Me, here: “If, and I stress if that trend continues…”

    Node, do you know much about bias in the scientific literature? For instance, do you know the extent to which it has been studied? Can you tell us about the use of funnel plots to reveal publication bias, for instance? Do please teach us what you know, and how you learned it. Equally, some of us may know things which you don’t, in which case I suggest you ask about them.

  67. The only things I’m certain of is things I’m unsure of.

    Decades of living does that to you.

    Still not seeing definitive answers why some succumb and others survive. It seems random like a fingerprint as though the genetic marker were lambs blood marking the fallen.

  68. The downgrading of the Covid-19 threat by HMG was done before Johnson introduced the lock-down and home arrest.

    Covid-19 was reduced from a threat level 4 to threat level 3 HCID because it had such a low mortality rate and medications were known to exist that can effectively fight it.

    SARS remains at HCID threat level 4 to the UK despite there being no reports of it since 2004. SARS in the UK did not cause any of the panic and hysteria that Covid-19 has done but more importantly there were only 4 reported cases in the UK and no deaths.

    Worldwide there were reported a total of 8000+ cases and 774 deaths due to SARS, today the Coronavirus stats published today say there are to date 446,042 cases and 19,795 deaths attributed.

    Can someone here explain (1) why HMG downgraded the Covid-19 threat level and state “As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.” and (2) why they did not downgrade SARS accordingly?

    I’m not asking for hysterical defences of entrenched positions or inviting abuse I just would like to know what you may think the logic is.

    Squonk has already suggested it might have something to do with Boris may have changed his mind on the herd immunity issue but that does not explain;

    “The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) is also of the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID.”

    Why would those guys think Covid-19 is less dangerous now after they have had time to study it and make more informed judgements

  69. Russia now.

    Putin Postpones Constitutional Vote As Coronavirus Spreads

    Russia’s April 22 public vote on a package of constitutional amendments will be postponed until after the coronavirus outbreak is under control, President Vladimir Putin said in a surprise televised address to the nation Wednesday.

    Putin said the vote would be postponed indefinitely.

    He added that next week would be a nationwide paid holiday to encourage Russians to stay home and slow the spread of the virus.

    “We managed to restrain the spread of the disease, but it is impossible to completely block the infiltration of the coronavirus,” he said.

    Don’t think that ‘This can’t happen to me.’ It can happen to anyone. … The most important thing is to stay home,” he added.

  70. Pb,

    The timing to me seems bizarre. I suppose that they came to the conclusion that the mortality rate was relatively high but not high enough to meet their definition of an HCID. I went to read the minutes of the meeting, which they are supposed to publish for transparency, but they are not there. Seems they just stopped uploading the minutes a few years ago.

    It is a strange mixed message, I agree though, to downgrade and then almost immediately lock us all down.

    But hopefully the measures taken will work well enough that once we have extensive experience in our hospitals etc. we can see what can be relaxed while still keeping things “manageable”.

  71. Thinking about it I’m fairly sure I saw somewhere that certain parties intended to go to court over the original government plan involving herd immunity. A key point being that it was classed as an HCID. I can’t immediately find a reference again though.

    Even if technically it didn’t meet the high bar, the timing of the decision looks rushed. Would be interesting also to know of what other legal ramifications might have been swept aside by the sudden change.

  72. “The only things I’m certain of is things I’m unsure of.”

    Yes, that was my starting point when deprogramming myself from childhood indoctrination by the Jehovah’s Witlesses. I gradually came to accept that everything I believed, my entire world view was false, essentially arbitrary, shaped less by reality than by relentless repetition and unanimous unthinking peer approval, and exclusion of others and their perspectives through isolationism, fear and threats.

    But what information could I trust now I’d slipped the Witlesses’ leash? So much we are expected to take on trust from the authorities, or as the media’s urban legends, but all claims have sources and sources have agendas.

    So I suppose “the only thing I can be certain of is that everything is uncertain” became the kernel of my scepticism. After an excursion through hippydom and decades later I finally accepted that, since science is the product of organised scepticism, acceptance of science and committent to non-duality had to become my spiritual discipline. I am glad of that choice; it has rewarded me ever better ever since.
    . . . . . . . .
    But wait; who or what was wondering this? I seemed to have accidentally found my first certainty; there is an entity that can be curious, and it is me! Is this similar to “I think, therefore I am”? Then the big hurdle – how to deal fairly with others.

  73. Equally, some of us may know things which you don’t, in which case I suggest you ask about them.

    Well, I could read Ben Goldacre’s book and then I’d know as much as you, but no need, you’ve quoted it all at one time or another. I bet that’s where your 5 minute expert knowledge of funnel plots came from. Am I right? Have you ever read any other books? “The Art of Condescension” perhaps?

  74. Ben,

    Basically some host has two different viruses get into the same cell at about the same time. As each virus tries to hijack the cells replication mechanism to make copies of itself, it can get mixed up so you have a new virus created which has bits of each virus. If this is fit and transmissible (especially if more than the parent viruses) it can then become a new spreading virus.

    Yes nature does this unpredictably but it can be done to order in a lab. For example a few years ago a lab experimented with various bird flu strains and then engineering them to be highly transmissable in humans. In other words they intentionally created a highly lethal pathogen. They were widely criticised.

  75. Trump is hoping the Easter Bunny brings Wall Street back from the precipice. Truly, conservatives are more favorable to property rights than civil rights.

  76. Ben,

    No, the two sequences have been known for a month or two since China suddenly “found” the old Pangolin virus sample at the back of a cupboard or something and uploaded it to public database.

  77. Pb: “Covid-19 was reduced from a threat level 4 to threat level 3 HCID because it had such a low mortality rate and medications were known to exist that can effectively fight it.”

    Really? Which medications are these?

  78. Glenn

    There’s the combination Trump keeps talking about Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin and there is Camostat which has been used in trials in Japan.

    Neither of these have obviously undergone proper tests for this new use but controlled testing is taking place right now on patients worldwide. Trump is trying to pressure to skip testing and just use it on everyone. With any of these things though we need to be sure they work effectively and don’t cause other patient issues or selection pressure on the virus to find a way around the anti-viral and end up with a bigger calamity.

    Seems strange that a ruling in the UK could say there were known medications when none of them have been through proper testing yet.

    Exactly what quantities of these drugs exist worldwide and can they be produced rapidly in large quantities, I do not know.

    But definitely effective mass produced safe anti-viral treatments are something I am hoping for and another reason to delay getting the population infected. If a 1918 lethality flu virus came along now we’d just use Relenza which handily is made by Glaxo Smith Kline in Scotland.

  79. Ben, I have learned that my genes are better than most, have survived polio, cancer and pneumonia without permanent damage.

    The polio scare was in 1940 when there was an epidemic of it. My sister’s boy friend, Dutch Hefner, a Cadet football player, and I can down with the disease..We both had the same symptoms, and were put in quarantine.

    After a couple of days, he got much worse, put in an iron lung while I had no serious problem. He never got out of the iron lung. dying fifteen years later while I had to stay in the hospital for three months, driving its other patients to despair, running around its wards like crazy.

    And I know that JFK was killed by a CIA’false flag’ operation to blame the commies, and LBJ prevented from bowing up into a world war by appointing the Warren Commission cover up.


    The Italian village left devastated after coronavirus claims 36 lives in 23 days

    The village of Vertova – with its ancient stone houses northeast of Milan – has 4,600 inhabitants and usually sees around 60 deaths the entire year. But the coronavirus epidemic has claimed the lives of 36 villagers in just 23 days.

    The obituaries posted on a board where the newspapers might otherwise hang tell the story of an Italian village living through a disaster the mayor calls “worse than the war“.

    The war Vertova mayor Orlando Gualdi refers to is World War II — a cataclysmic event more and more Italians cite while describing the damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

    … “No one deserves such a horrible death,” the mayor said.

    “It is absurd to think that there could be such a pandemic in 2020.”

  81. In London they are going to transform the Excel Centre into 4.000 bed hospital by next week.

    Our SNP government can’t even transform a hospital into a hospital.

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