Coronavirus Open Thread 2021

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The most common diagnosis was anxiety, found in 17% of those treated for Covid-19, followed by mood disorders, found in 14% of patients.


I wonder if anyone considered the possibility that, after a year’s worth of dealing with stress, isolation, unemployment, uncertainty, and “COVID-19 is going to kill us all!” memes, people are going to be somewhat disturbed when they contract COVID-19?


If this pandemic is so dangerous perhaps after a year these people would have seen these deadly consequences of ignoring for themselves by now and be hiding away terrified in their basements, instead needing to rely on internet experts to remind them how stupid and selfish they are

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There’s no way they could have had that Rangers game packed to capacity without it.
It is literally…a game changer.

Without the vaccine getting wide take up you’d be looking at a public health disaster , a lot of people singing and talking and shouting with no masks on in close proximity for a few hours.

I don’t get people who don’t wear masks to ’ make a point’ but I guess that is democracy in action there. I agree with your post pretty much (makes a change :grin:).

It seems we agree on something for once!

Either the vaccine works or it doesn’t. If it works, and if you have widespread vaccine coverage, then there’s really no valid reason not to let people attend a ball game without masks. Particularly if local statutes say that they can.

For those that are terrified, The University of Oxford Covid Risk Assessment is a tool for calculating your chance of hospitalisation and death.


Same odds as being struck by lightening I think. But there are those that think this thing crawls on walls looking for humans to infect:

Many of those same covidiots have seen relatives and friends die…yet they “take their chances”. Check their testimonies. So nope, seeing is believing is not working here because it clashed with previous info by internet psychos: the pandemic is a lie, it is nothing but a cold…

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If I lived in the UK my 90-day COVID-19 risk would (apparently) be 0.01%, which is about the same as my all-cause 90-day mortality risk. In other words, it’s so small as to be meaningless.

The hilarious part is that, apparently, that’s 67th percentile - which suggests that the average risk is even less than that. My additional risk is a consequence of not being white.

If I had heart disease and T2D - in other words, if I were the average 50-year-old American - my risk of death would be 7 times higher. You would think that fact would be shouted from the rooftops, but nobody wants to know.

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It’s a fact that overall, unhealthy people are more likely to die than healthy people, but do unhealthy people want to cross to the other side of the road or instead rely on a shot to hopefully better their chances?

I wrongly thought the deaths would make a dent on opinions, I grossly underestimated the power of groupthink.

Go and type your details into the Oxford modelling thingy. Of course you have to take these things with a large grain of salt, but it does give you a ballpark idea (based on statistics to date) of your actual risk of hospitalization and/or death. Then compare that risk with your baseline risk of death (all-cause risk).

Hard numbers can be a powerful antidote to groupthink. Unfortunately, I suspect a lot of people here will completely ignore cake’s link purely on the basis that cake posted it.

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Book review follows. I was going to post this in the ‘what are you reading’ thread, but perhaps here is more appropriate.

I don’t normally read this sort of thing, and only bothered with these because they popped up in my Kindle Unlimited recommendations.

COVID: Why most of what you know is wrong (Dr Sebastian Rushworth).

Most books with a title like that are tinfoil-hat stuff, and doctors are not immune to tinfoil-hattery. However Rushworth kicks off his book with some clear explanations about how science works, how scientific papers are written (and how they can obfuscate unwanted results), and the bare bones of statistics. He encourages the reader to get out there and read stuff, as opposed to taking his (Rushworth’s) word for anything. Good start.

He then attempts to trawl through the published data on COVID-19 itself, government responses, and the vaccine trials. This is particularly interesting because:

(a) the book was published around January 2021, when a great deal was known about COVID, a shocking amount of important aspects hadn’t even been investigated, vaccines were being rolled out to the public, and the whole crisis was grinding to a halt, and
(b) he’s writing from the Swedish perspective, which I’m pretty sure most people don’t know about.

Except in the conclusion, Rushworth doesn’t get shouty or political. This is one of the most dispassionately-argued essays on the subject that I’ve come across, as one might expect from a Swede. He lays out the numbers and describes the possible conclusions that might be drawn. He is broadly neutral on the subject of vaccines, suggesting that the Moderna vaccine at least appears safe so far, but doesn’t want one himself on the basis that he is at no apparent risk from COVID-19.

I have to say, I liked his conclusion a lot because it’s almost identical to mine. Conveniently, those few paragraphs are available online here: Why Did the World React So Hysterically to COVID? | LaptrinhX / News

Blinded by Corona (Dr John Ashton)

Ashton is clearly a highly-qualified and experienced public-health official, so although his stance (as is made clear in the first paragraph) is diametrically opposed to mine, I was keen to know what he has to say. Ashton is a True Believer, lumping COVID-19 in with such terrifying diseases as the black plague and ebola, and he is clearly a fan of Lockdowns™. Nevertheless, the book starts off well, reviewing some general principles of public health and digging into the political structures that make it work. All very interesting stuff.

It sort of goes downhill from there, descending into a very personal polemic against the buffoons running the show in the UK. While much of it may be justified, it gets a little tiresome, especially since the rational arguments become fewer and thinner as Ashton gets into his stride. I was particularly irritated by this bit of nonsense (on the subject of masks):

“Part of the explanation [for the dismissal of masks] may lie in a flawed approach to science by advisers who seemed to imply that no evidence of effect is evidence of none, or of negative effect.”

Well, look, Dr Ashton, that is exactly how science works. No evidence of effect, if your study is sufficiently powered, is indeed evidence of no effect. This simple logical fact is the rock upon which science stands. Of course, you might be looking at the wrong questions (for example, are you trying to find out if a mask helps the wearer, or helps others?), but if the answer to your question is “no”, then it’s case closed.

The book hits a low point as he flags up the appalling impacts of lockdowns and hints that they were largely a panic-driven measure rather than an epidemiologically-sound intervention, while simultaneously arguing that the government eased lockdowns too soon - that is, in July, which easing was followed by several months of low caseloads.

He gets mightily upset about people (particularly his least-favourite members of the cabinet) flouting the multitude of confusing rules without really addressing whether those rules had any value.

Interspersed with his attacks on Dennis the Menace is a slew of self-congratulatory arse-licking directed at the Bahrain ruling clan (for whom he apparently consulted in Feb-March 2020) which leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Apparently, they did everything right (as recommended by Ashton himself). He particularly likes the fact that feudal rulers can do things that are illegal in democracies. Hmm.



Bearing in mind that Bahrain is a closed society generally rated as “not free”, it’s hard to tell if the information being published by the State is even trustworthy, but assuming it is, they appear not to have performed notably better or worse than anyone else.

The book’s conclusion is both tragic and an amusing example of how highly-qualified people can be horribly wrong. The book was published just prior to the “second wave” of infections in Europe and the UK, and therefore just prior to the more-or-less complete adoption of the “Independent SAGE” recommendations by the government in the face of rising cases. The book ends its narrative, as far as I can tell, around August, by reiterating those recommendations (quoted below) with the goal of “zero COVID”, which as every country has now found out the hard way, was never realistic even with a highly-competent administration, and certainly wouldn’t have been realistic as of mid-2020 in the UK:

  • Fully develop … Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support programmes.
  • Keep lockdown measures in place “until control of the outbreak has been achieved”
  • Put in place plans to localise, contain, and suppress completely flare-ups in COVID-19 infections.
  • Restrict incoming and outgoing travel [Ashton points out elsewhere that this was completely pointless in view of the fact that the UK has/had more cases than anywhere else]
  • Combine these measures with a systematic PR campaign stressing that things are not ‘back to normal’.

In other words, his recommendation (as of July 2020) was to keep people afraid and locked up in their homes, violating the law where deemed necessary, while the government fights a war of attrition against an enemy it cannot see. In April 2021, we know how that panned out for the countries that attempted it. With the possible exception of Taiwan, they achieved at best a Pyrrhic victory; at worst, they caused misery, hardship and premature death with no apparent upside.

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That’s a useful/interesting link, actually (no sarcasm).

Happy to have been here for this auspicious day in Forumosa history (sarcasm).

Can you show the stats on that.
As you are well aware the major risk factors is age not metabolic status.

So a 50 year old with metabolic disease has a similar risk profile to a 60 year old who is healthy.

Of course in each ten year age group (over 50 years old ) the metabolic status and having other chronic diseases does make a Significant difference. 7 seems a bit higher than I have seen though. I recall it being more like 1.3x times.

It’s just the number the webpage spits out. Try it yourself.

I’m not arguing it’s accurate, but it’s definitely within the ballpark. Funnily enough it doesn’t appear to think obesity per se is a risk factor (that is, if I type in healthy-me vs. 90kg-me, it doesn’t change the risk much).

You keep banging on about age, but the fact remains that age is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, so of course it’s also a risk factor for COVID-19 mortality. COVID-19 risk precisely tracks all-cause risk. It would be bloody surprising if it didn’t. I’ve shown you the stats on that.

You said it precisely tracks CVD mortality.but personally I think it’s just a game of ‘select the data you like to fit’ and reject the data outside those parameters . I actually looked into the CVD death stats and they vary very widely from region to region in the UK.

Anyway you don’t die from covid unless you get covid.
That’s it. And it’s pretty easy to see who died from it.
And if it was just knocking off all the people about to die anyway how come the numbers kept going up over a year at least ! How come Spring deaths were still going up in the UK and US until vaccinations went into overdrive ?

Surely it would have gone down when it killed all the people in the nursing homes for instance…

Somebody with heart disease has on average another five years if a man over 50. 8 years if a woman.

Are we saying those extra years arent important ?

Yes. It does. Why do you think one statement falsifies the other? In fact COVID-19 deaths vs. heart deaths were almost identical.

It has. Nearly all of the nursing-home deaths occurred in early 2020. Very few happened after that. Those account for about one-quarter of the deaths to date, IIRC.

Nursing homes are actually a good crucible for the age-related issue. It’s well-known that average life expectancy in a nursing home is about 1-2 years. That those people who died might have lived longer than that is a logical impossibility.

Where,when , what CVD level… There’s not much to work with there.