Coronavirus Open Thread 2021

How did you get hold of that, cake? Do you have mole planted in HandCock’s office?


Anyway, interesting stuff. I’ve only read the summary and scanned through the rest, but the highlights seem to be:

  • We don’t expect the vaccines to work for long, if at all.
  • We don’t intend to give up any of the emergency powers we’ve assumed.
  • We don’t intend to fix any of the inherent problems with the NHS or with the health of the nation that results in “unsustainable pressure”.
  • We’ll carry on producing completely stupid forecasts to keep everyone terrified, even though the models that produced those numbers have been shown to be worse than useless by the events of 2020.

They might as well have just written “lockdowns will continue until morale improves”.

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Sorry to hear of that, Icon.

The problem with the vaccine situation is that when governments decide to spread fear and hysteria, it’s hard to switch off the tap when you want people to stop being fearful and hysterical. People are now afraid of absolutely everything, including the vaccines.

If governments had taken a more measured approach in the first place, similar to the way flu epidemics are announced (“There’s a new virus out in the wild, it doesn’t appear to be terribly dangerous but we’ve identified that some people are very vulnerable, and we suggest that you do this and this and in order to reduce your chances of infection or serious consequences”) it would have been a lot easier to subsequently sell the vaccine to those for whom the risk-benefit tradeoff is firmly on the ‘benefit’ side.

But we are where we are. And cake’s paper suggests that the UK government at least wish to keep the fear factor cranked up to 11 and the rationality factor at zero, for reasons best known to themselves.

Health store in Canada:

From the UK, the behaviour specialists hard at work. Targeting the young next. They aim to blame those not jabbed as spreaders it seems:

Anyone remember the videos from early last year where Chinese people were dropping like flies in the street from the virus?
I have been in the UK 7 months and have yet to see anyone drop like a fly or hear of anyone dropping like a fly in the street (I’ve asked many people if they know of anyone or have seen it themselves) - which you would expect in a ‘pandemic’.
I would hedge a bet those videos were not what they appeared to be.

I was wondering the same thing a few months ago, and we were discussing it on here at some point too - IIRC, there was some suggestion that those videos were sponsored/spread by the Falun Gong/China Uncensored lot to promote anti-China sentiment.

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Book a vacation to Alaska on or after June 1 and get a Pfizer first dose for free:

Alaska will give tourism a shot in the arm.

The state will make free COVID vaccines available to visitors arriving at key airports starting on June 1, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced Friday, part of the Republican’s effort to boost the state’s beleaguered tourism industry.

“What we’re saying to our tourists is if you come to Alaska … you get a free vaccination, if you want one,” Dunleavy said. “You come in you want a shot, you come to visit Alaska you get a shot. You don’t have to pay for it. We’ll have things set up at the airport and we’ll help you out.”

The vaccinations will be available at both the Anchorage and Fairbanks international airports and “we’re having conversations with a couple other airports” the governor said.


My niece just just decided a couple of weeks ago to leave the NHS. The COVID-19 thing wasn’t the reason, but it was the last straw. She reckons it’s corrupt to the core.

The death figures aren’t faked as such. It’s just that, if you dig into the numbers, you’ll realise how very few deaths it actually boils down to in the average hospital, or even the average town.

Statistical noise. magnified by not starting the X-axis at 0.

There’s very little incentive, it seems to me, for governments to improve math education for the general population.

You only believe in stats you want to believe in.


It’s not a matter of “belief”. Stats are what they are. About 1% of the population has the academic background to interpret what they mean.

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Your interpretation is basically that covid is fake though.

My interpretation of what? The graph you posted means nothing. It contains no information about COVID or anything else. As I said, it’s noise (in the technical sense).

I’m not arguing COVID is fake, and I never have. My position is that it’s a relatively minor tragedy which has been magnified by government actions into a major tragedy (deliberately so, IMO).

Life expectancy decrease means nothing? In this day and age no country has decreasing life expectancy except during war. If it weren’t for covid how is it possible that life expectancy would decrease in these peaceful, wealthy countries?

Fine. You did not argue that covid was fake. You argued that old people dying is fine as if we lived in 19th century Japan.

Look, this is why governments can so easily whip people into a frenzy. You don’t have to fake any numbers. All you have to do is show them a little sparkline (showing real numbers) and put a fake title on the top.

I didn’t say a “life expectancy decrease” means nothing. I’m saying that that graph doesn’t show what you believe it shows. The concept of “life expectancy” is a predictor of the future, and it is therefore inherently ‘noisy’: it doesn’t have a single value, but a range of possible values. In other words, you can only describe ‘life expectancy’ in the language of probability, and a very small upward (or downward) trend across two values is not statistically meaningful.

Your own life expectancy hasn’t been altered by the fact of more old people than usual dying in 2020. The article explains this:

" This means that the values estimated above for the life expectancies in the year 2020 would apply if the mortality conditions observed in 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic, will last for all the following years until the extinction of the cohort born in 2020."

It’s hard to tell exactly how those sparklines were computed, but I’m guessing the correct title for that chart would be something like “average age at death in 2020”.

As I pointed out earlier, you only have to go back to 2010 to find the same death rate as 2020. Accusing other people of lying, and then following that up with an hyperbolically false comparison, doesn’t help your case.

And yes, old people dying is fine. It’s what old people do. It’ll happen to me and it’ll happen to you. Getting all bent out of shape about it distracts people from the important business of living.

The one notable counter-example has been US white males, presumably affected by the opioid crisis and other economic troubles.

But that is not relevant to, and does not help to explain, the declining life expectancy in the EU. Presumably that too is a state-led conspiracy.

/sarcasm off


Well War on drugs is technically a war as well.


There is no “decline in life expectancy” in the EU. It’s not possible to say definitively whether there is or is not, at least not just by fiddling with some numbers. Looking at the fundamentals - eg., a massive increase in stress, a general reduction in exercise, and the dismantling of mainstream healthcare - one would expect that it might decrease. But it’s not possible to say that based on how many people died in 2020.

The whole bleedin lot of you ought to be forced to attend remedial maths classes.

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Yeah I remember. Could have been pics of anything.

I think what was happening was that hospitals weren’t letting people in. So a lot of people died at home and in hotels (I’ve read interviews with relatives if the deceased, you don’t see them being allowed to speak freely now either). Whether they died on the street who knows. The prevelance was high or at least is was spreading very rapidly .

Covid is not dangerous to under 50s but if you are elderly and have chronic diseases it’s a real killer.

You’ve made some serious errors in your estimates here too over the last year. I remember a few howlers.

Also you’ve cherry picked data with the best of them.

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