Coronavirus Open Thread 2021

So sad when someone resorts to childish personal insults.

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That’s not what you wrote though.

There are far too many other factors at play to say the higher death rate was due to Covid 19.

There were a lot however the count data has already been shown to be unreliable, how unreliable is not yet clear.

People are still debating about excess death?

That’s about 5000 more deaths in 2020 in a country of 10 million people, which is a lot.

In absolute terms:

Average deaths (2010-2019) = 90655, SD = 1135

2020 was four standard deviations above the average. That does seem like “a lot”. However, the population of Sweden has been growing. Here are deaths, population, and death rate:

deaths pop rate
2010 90487 9341000 9.7
2011 89938 9416000 9.6
2012 91938 9483000 9.7
2013 90402 9556000 9.5
2014 88976 9645000 9.2
2015 90907 9749000 9.3
2016 90982 9851000 9.2
2017 91972 9995000 9.2
2018 92185 10120000 9.1
2019 88766 10230000 8.7
2020 95022 10099000 9.4

Average death rate 2010-2019 : 9.32. Standard deviation : 0.296

2020 was one quarter of a standard deviation above the average. In other words, buggerall worth talking about: the death rate was higher that 2020 for four years running in 2010-2013. Yet one more factoid nailing down the “we have to lockdown hard or we’ll die!” coffin.

Cue the “oh but but every life is valuable etc” handwringing. And no, 2013 is not ancient history that doesn’t stand up to comparison.

I don’t get why are you so adamant on insisting that covid is no big deal.

Sweden’s population is one of the fastest growing in Europe because they accepted a very large number of refugees during the refugee crisis, and that also boosted their birth rate to become one of the highest in Europe, both age groups (migrants and their children) aren’t particularly vulnerable to covid, but older native Swedes are, and they are the ones that died.

I feel like your argument is basically that it’s ok for old people to die.

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There is clearly a trend in that data. Standard deviation is a measure of a random process (typically Gaussian) with a fixed mean, so is not suitable to use on this data.

Why not use a linear approximation for the rate over time from 2010 to 2019. Extrapolate the expected rate to 2020. Then measure the error to the linear approximation and get the standard deviation of this error, then see how many sigma the actual 2020 numbers are above the estimated.

ETA: I did it for you. I used a linear regression using the data from 2010 to 2019, and then extrapolated this estimation to 2020. I show the error to the linear approximation and the error measured as ‘sigma’:

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Because governements have needlessly disrupted the lives of all ordinary citizens in an obsessive attempt to control the virus. No-one wants people to die. But the young and healthy have to be allowed to live a meaningful life. The current worldwide lockdowns and restrictions are grossly out of proportion to the threat being faced.

We need more perspective and better judgement on this issue.


You’re right that my underlying assumption was a stochastic process. Since the Swedes haven’t done anything dramatic (intentionally) to improve life expectancy over the last decade, and in the absence of any known model for a given dataset, I think that’s a fairly reasonable starting point. Also worth pointing out that all national agencies are doing the exact same thing with their comparisons against historical data.

The problem with your “let’s do a linear extrapolation” model is that you’ve gone completely the other direction. You’ve picked a pattern out of the data because you want to see a pattern. Look! A straight line downwards! As I’ve said before, this is the same thing stock-pickers do. But it’s wrong, because once civilisation reaches a certain point, variations in deaths from year-to-year basically are random.

But let’s say you’re right. Where do you go from there? Does national policy have to be geared to ironing out every little kink in the death rate - which, as you said, isn’t as straightforward a metric as it might appear? Do we have to ensure that future numbers always match the predicted value? I assume you at least appreciate the mathematical absurdity of doing that.

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That’s not exactly what I’m saying. I’m suggesting that the reaction to it is out of all proportion to the bigness of the deal. Never in living memory has the UK spent half a trillion pounds on anything important.

Again, this is not quite what I’m saying. Merely that the value of a life is not infinite. What do you think: is the life of a 20-year-old worth more than an 80-year-old? Given finite resources, should we put more into saving 20-year-olds that 80-year-olds? “All lives are equally valuable” isn’t enlightened. That sort of cowardly avoidance of important issues in the halls of power is what’s got us into this mess.

The answer matters, particularly when you have a socialized-medicine system. If the life of an 80-year-old is very valuable, then perhaps their families would be interested in paying the cost of saving said lives?

There are 3 million 80-year-olds in the UK. Average lifespan in the UK is 82(ish). Let’s say that “lockdowns” and all the accompanying nonsense have saved the lives of (or will save the lives of) 15% of 3 million people, 15% being the risk of dying in that agegroup. Well, that means we’ve saved about a million life-years. We spent 500 billion to do it. So that’s 500,000 pounds per life-year. And let’s face it, these are lives that largely revolve around watching daytime TV, possibly with no actual consciousness that daytime TV is being watched (one in six people in that group have dementia).

As I’ve pointed out before, 500,000 pounds is equivalent to roughly half of a person’s working life. For each old-person-year that was saved, then, we’ve effectively enslaved one young person for 20 years to pay for it. Or, if you prefer, an entire lifetime thrown away in exchange for two years of daytime TV.

Fagpacket calculations, I know. But handwaving can often get you within spitting distance of the truth. So: was it worth it? Be honest. Was it worth it?

No. The governments of Britain, Europe at large, and the US announced a bunch of half-assed lockdowns that not only disrupted many people’s lives, but also didn’t contain the pandemic at all. REAL lockdowns are short, strict, and they do work as evidenced by China. If you don’t buy China’s numbers, it did work in Australia.

For some reason European and US governments completely fucked that up and made it a choice between people in their 20s and people in their 80s when it was never about that.

You can’t monetise a life. That’s appalling and makes you sound like a nazi.

My grandparents are in their 80s and I definitely would want to save them if that means I can’t go out and about for months.

Even from a purely clinical standpoint, I would rather save a bunch of kind 80 year-olds than 20 year-old drug abusing shitheads which Britain has a ton.

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In other words the vulnerable should pay the price for other peoples selfishness!
That’s a good point. I have not looked at it this way.

What really bothers and that was said earlier many times, is this navigating between pissing people off, numbers of infections, covid deaths and hospital capacities.
All the politicians care about is staying in power, getting reelected.
First lying about the usefulness of masks because they failed holding them in storage.
Then playing the disease down, to make their failure appear less severe. Over and over wrong comparisons with the cold and flue.
Then forcing a lockdown light destroying a lot of businesses and burning enough money to give each Chinese 1500Euros.
Then still not producing enough masks throughout the summer.
One FFP2 masks costs 8 Euros. A surgical mask costs about 1 Euro.
They haven’t solved the big nose problem ether. How difficult can it be to design a mask that is comfortable to wear and closes up tight without fogging the glasses?
Last week I got my contract extended and possible changed to a non ending.
However during my tryout phase I called the health department on them because of the way they handled covid. Covid is all a lie haha ha.
I took the liberty to take a car that was not needed from the premises and had to explain this to the boss cause non of my coworkers had the balls telling them that we had the car.
So I made the call risking to get laid off since I could get fired any time without a reason.
So when extending my contract the Company owner asked me how they are doing in Taiwan with corona.
Anyhow during the yearly schooling on Monday we were told that everyone has to wear a masks while in a car or entering the office.
That we will be provided with FFP2 masks. That when there are unused cars, workers should just take them.
We are no longer aloud to close contact with other companies we work for. etc.
But how long did this take? A full year!
And the shit hit the fan. Anybody claiming anything else is a sociopath who does not care about other people.

Since the virus is now out of control they keep talking about increased lockdown measures to be taken in england.

Will we finally get security guards only allowing people wearing a mask in to supermarkets?? i’m not holding my breath…

I have English coworkers! Forget holding your breath and get a scuba diving gear instead.

OK. Let’s do the Nazi thing. Since you don’t like the monetary perspective (which is completely valid, and I’m appalled that you, a well-educated individual, don’t even know what money is or how it works) let’s do the Nazi version.

To save an old person, we must take one young person at random, lock him in a camp, chain him to a treadmill, and ensure that he stays there for the next 40 years.

Are you OK with that? Don’t tell me that’s nonsense : if you think it is, you haven’t understood the meaning of “400 billion pounds”, which is the low end estimate of the amount spent directly, and lost indirectly, on COVID-19 mitigation.

Both you and Gain seem to be deliberately ignoring the reality, which, as I tried to illustrate with hard numbers, is this: to save one old person’s life (two or three years, at most), we must sacrifice the entirety of a young person’s life. Not by killing them (so that’s all right then, isn’t it) but by destroying and/or siphoning off the entire economic output of his/her career.

Now, perhaps you’re thinking this:

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13)

So, if Gain wants to save (one of) his grandparents, perhaps he should be that young person (IIRC, he’s in his early 30s) to dedicate the rest of his working life to providing the necessary funding.

Expecting someone else to do it, under force of law, doesn’t seem to fall under the “greater love” admonition proposed by Christ.

Gain rejects the “monetization of life” argument because it presents this uncomfortable fact in a very direct way. Objecting to this terrible tradeoff is not “selfishness”. It’s a rational act of self-preservation.

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That is absolutely ridiculous. A few months = entire economic output of one’s career or rest of one’s working life.

Why do you always employ the most logically false analogy?

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So you really don’t have any understanding of the economic equivalence of money and life-hours/global resources. Fair enough.

My calculation might be off by a factor of two or even five. Not by a factor of 100.

Because you figured calling me a Nazi was a better argument than debating the facts at hand.

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I said your way of thinking is the Nazi way of thinking.

Funnily enough, I have about the same opinion regarding the current approach to “managing” COVID-19. Which is why I attempt to post numbers rather than arguments.

Please, delete the cookies on your PC, or better reinstall your OS cause you are trapped in some kind of Russian propaganda loop.