Coronavirus Open Thread 2021

And how does this make everything OK? Everyone else is jumping off a cliff so it’s fine if we do it too?

Hiding that 400 billion behind percentages of an already-ludicrous number doesn’t make it go away. Spending that amount of money with nothing to show for it was evil. No other word will do. I know you think money grows on trees, or on printing presses, but back in the real world it is paid for in lives.


My niece is saying the same thing. Hospitals are short-staffed, and have been for some time, so inevitably people aren’t getting treated for routine ailments.

Why do you believe this? You’ve got a set of blue bars on a chart that are all the same height, plus or minus a bit of noise. If you were an alien from the planet yyy, and you looked at that chart with nobody telling you there was a pandemic in 2020, would you really be able to even tell the difference, visually, between 2020 and 2019?

Waiting list are common.
And now they are more short staffed if their staff are sick or haven’t been vaccinated yet or are afraid to go to work or their workload has increased in departments hit hard by covid patients.
But this will be even worse if you let the epidemic run even faster through the population.
The NHS is actually spending a lot of money on innovative diagnostic systems they probably will be well utilised in the future and certainly much better placed to deal rapidly with any future pandemic.
A global pandemic was an inevitability so there was always going to be this very expensive and steep learning curve.

Yeah, look, the point is that there are tradeoffs. There are always tradeoffs. The decision-makers are supposed to optimize the tradeoffs.

What they are doing right now is so far from optimal that ‘optimal’ is just a pale blue dot in a telescope.

You can’t possibly know that. You posted yourself that infection confers quite robust immunity. And we do have a whole bunch of completely empty hospitals to treat those who - in 80% of cases due to their own long-term poor life choices - are at risk of serious complications. It also seems likely that containment measures produced exactly the opposite of the desired effect by putting selection pressure on the virus.

It’s very predictable you can run the numbers. Hospitals overloaded, access to treatment deteriorates at the same time as more people needing treatment. It’s not Rocket science.
While this is happening you won’t have a functioning society or economy either. Every country in the world will block your flights.

Death 85K out of confirmed 3.2M so far. Let’s assume 3x85K ended up in hospital (survival rate after hospitalisation is now about 60-70%), and let’s assume 3.2M is the true number of infected cases (it’s almost certainly only 50, 30, or even 20%). So, we’ll say 10% of infections requiring hospitalisation, worst-case.

70% of the population infected = 50M; let’s spread that over a period of 6 months for the sake of argument. So, on the average, 27,000 serious cases per day. Say 10 days in hospital. That’s roughly 200 ICU beds required per hospital. Absolute worst possible scenario.

And that’s almost certainly on the high end of reality.

Have I got my rocket science wrong?

400 billion is not nearly as dramatic as you make it sound. Britain is not going bankrupt for this.

If there were no lockdowns mitigating the spread, hospitals would be even more overwhelmed than they already are.

You can say the same about September 11th and massive earthquakes or floods, doesn’t mean they are suppposed to be ignored.

The last time Britain had such a large number of casualties was WWII.

And anybody who went near a hospital would have a high chance of getting infected when they are amongst the most at risk of dying from it. Not due to the doctors.
@Charlie_Phillips - help you learn something

The way you calculated it is wrong though . There’s nothing linear or evenly spread out about covid infections.

And having 200 ICU beds per hospital doesn’t mean you have the staff to operate them. I believe that extremely few hospitals , possibly none worldwide, would have 200 ICU beds anyway.

The whole of Ireland , 5 million pop, only has 350 ICU beds maximum now and 250 normally.

So it seems you don’t understand the medical system and it’s capacity as you are out by a factor of 10 or 100. I checked and it seems most hospitals have 10 to 30 ICU beds.

from Imgflip Meme Generator

I realise that. I was trying to come up with some sort of worst-possible-value, as quickly and simply as possible. But you’re right it’s far too simplistic. Let’s try it from a different perspective.

An important factor here is that many people have already had it and either didn’t even know or didn’t care. 3.2 million is the number of people who were deemed worthy of testing - presumably because they had (a) moderate-to-severe symptoms and (b) actually went to see the doctor.

60-70% of people infected are completely or mostly asymptomatic. So we can take a guess that 10M britons have already been infected.

In Liverpool, about 20% of tested individuals tested positive in mass testing. Simplistically, then, that would give us a figure of around 13M across the UK.

If we go with a number somewhere in the middle, about one-sixth of the UK population have been infected - 11 million. Of those, 300,000 ended up in hospital to date. 36,000 are there right now. 3,600 are in a critical-care situation. That’s three in each hospital, on the average - so, a long way from my figure of 200.

Let’s scale that up by a factor of five, such that in a hypothetical 2021 where we did nothing at all, 70% of the population have had the virus, or are currently infected. That would suggest 180,000 people in hospital, and 18,000 in critical care. Bear in mind that when we say “critical care” we’re basically just talking about an oxygen tank and few other bits and bobs, not the full set of life support associated with, say, a car-crash victim fresh out of emergency surgery.

180,000 is a lot. More than the number of beds. The simple solution to that would have been to develop a sensible protocol for home care, and get them out of the hospital. 18,000 critical patients spread over 1200 hospitals is perfectly manageable. Right now, today, that’d mean 15 in each hospital.

My mum was referring scornfully to the modern snowflake nurse the other day. She did many night shifts in the ICU in the 70s : just one senior nurse (her, sometimes), and a doctor on call, for 30 patients. Not ideal, of course, but perhaps medical practitioners were a lot more competent in those days?

You have an exceedingly poor grasp of the numbers here. If your debt exceeded your ability to service the debt, you would be, for all practical purposes, bankrupt. The UK paid about 50bn last year to service a 1.8 trillion debt. That paltry repayment amount - which will clear the debt in, ooh, about 100 years - suggests the UK can’t afford anything more.

Now, that debt was accumulated on the basis of anticipated prosperity. But GDP is projected to contract by ~8%, or 230 billion, ie., the UK will lose five times the amount that it could just barely afford for debt servicing. That “lost” 230bn is on top of the additional 400bn debt burden. So yeah, while not technically bankrupt, I’d say the UK is up shit creek without any form of manual propulsion.

Anyway, I never mentioned bankruptcy: my point was the equivalence between cash and lives. 400 billion, paid back by citizens, is about half a million lifetimes. You still haven’t managed to explain why this equivalence is imaginary.

Never, in the field of human cock-ups, has so much been given to so few, with so little to show for it.

And yet Sweden, which had no lockdowns as such, has been hit less hard than the UK. Their declared COVID-19 deaths, scaled to the UK population size, would be 68000, compared to the UK’s 86000. The simplistic conclusion would be that lockdowns make things worse (I’m not arguing that, by the way - but it’s certainly not obvious that lockdowns help).

An 80-year-old dying is not a “casualty”. 70,000+ old people die every year, a good fraction of them (ultimately) of respiratory infection. A 20-year-old boy dying in a burning plane is a casualty. Please don’t disrespect the people who paid with their lives for your freedom to talk nonsense.

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hmm yeah. Not sure I’d trust anything Chinese media have to say on the subject, TBH.

I’m guessing they’re keen to get their own version onto the international market. They want a slice of that multi-billion-dollar pie.

I will post the original Norwegian link later.

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Covid deaths pass 2 million worldwide.

Europe - 617,998

North America - 576,861

South America - 383,754

Asia - 354,482

Africa - 76,927

Oceania - 1,071

Source, Snowflake?


You could try here, Charlie.

That’s a lot of Clumsy Doctors, don’t you agree?
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Assessing Mandatory Stay‐at‐Home and Business Closure Effects on the Spread of COVID‐19