Saturday 23 May 2020

Some Authoritative Covid Stuff

Well there's been a lot of tripe and premature stuff to contend with, n'est-ce pas?  Today I attended a (virtual) lecture by this fine chap and (to the extent I've understood them aright), here are some of the things he had to say.
  • For a very long time, progress on anti-viral medecine lagged many miles behind anti-bacterial.  Then HIV came along,followed by some serious effort, the resuts of which are impressive.  HIV has broadly been tamed, and one of the hepatitis family (I forget which) can be cured easily now.  They've really got the bit between the teeth, and he's confident something will soon be available by way of treatment for the various types of corona virus: there are several promising angles of attack
  • When it is, it will be generic, able to be stockpiled, and probably good against any of the corona family.  He even went so far as to say:  this could be the last coronavirus pandemic ever.  (Brave man ... but I only report what I heard)
  • One of the problems researchers face is ... shortage of experimental human subjects!  Last month you could step into any European or US hospital and have as many as you needed.  Now, the number of new cases coming forward is very small (!)   They think they may need to ... (wait for it) ask for volunteers to be infected.  Some would die
  • The UK testing regime is now excellent (you hear that, Starmer?) - the expertly delivered tests, that is: home testing is not much use
  • The idea of of a 'passive' herd immunity strategy was utterly bonkers.  In no part of Europe has more than 4% of the population had the virus, and you need >>20%.  Any health service would be overwhelmed along the way, long before that % could be reached
  • It's entirely possible, indeed likely, there could have been corona virus outbreaks in Victorian times (this stuff has been around in animals for yonks).  It's just that nobody would have noticed it, in amongst all the other illness and death in crowded areas.  He suggested the Tudor-era sleeping sickness (made famous by Mantel) might have been a corona virus.  Like the 1918-19 'flu, these things can just burn themselves out
Finally, another fine speaker at the same event (to whom I will return in another post) said that it's wrong to claim (as some do these days) that the current generation of youngsters is the first that will have a lower life expectancy than their parents.  They'll live longer, she said, because medics and pharma will continue keeping horribly unwell oldies alive for ever increasing amounts of time.  They'll just have an unhappier time of it than their elders - unless they sort out their lifestyles (= over-eating).



RS said...

I don't suppose the lecture was recorded?

Thud said...

I believed since the beginning that this would be pretty much gone or under control by nov give or take.

E-K said...

So all done by Christmas ?

Still too late to have averted the most crushing economic depression to hit us in 300 years.

The news I've heard from BBC doctors is next Summer at the earliest.

As of herd immunity being madness... that's how mankind has always survived viruses. Effective virologists have only existed for 50 years or so. Viruses are what made us.

The report I read said herd immunity was madness too. He said it was madness because "...even if you lock away all vulnerable people then you would have 70% of the population seriously ill, unable to work and the NHS overwhelmed."

I would have loved to have countered thus:

You're wrong. 70% don't get *seriously* ill because those that do have already been isolated - and they certainly don't all get ill at the same time as you've proposed.

Jeesus !

Virologists are meant to be advisers, not Prime Ministers.

Let's just ship Boris out and put a virologist on the centre lectern - in fact get rid of the lectern either side.

Even if it comes in September. Too late. The economy is cratered and there is no-one except Trump with the balls to hold China to account on this but he is #1 villain in this whole episode according to MSM.

E-K said...

Vaccine by Sept.

Highly unethical to inject people on a compulsory basis who are fit and young and low risk with a vaccine which has been rushed through. No one should be forced to have it.

Isn't it enough that we've saddled them with crippling unemployment and debt for the next 50 years ?

E-K said...

"The idea of of a 'passive' herd immunity strategy was utterly bonkers. In no part of Europe has more than 4% of the population had the virus, "

So not as contagious as we were given to believe.

Thud said...

EK, the worst of the virus by year end, the economy well more resilient than many believe but a fuckin disaster all the same.

E-K said...

Get to bed, Thud.

You need your beauty sleep.

night night !

Nick Drew said...

Recorded? Almost certainly by the organisers but not posted yet (and not by me either), I'll keep a lookout

Raedwald said...

fascinating that the level of infections for herd immunity is ">>20%" - this is not inconsistent with new evidence that a level of 10% - 20% infections could give herd immunity in places such as London, provided the right people get infected.

These estimates are a long way from the discredited Imperial mathematical model. Orthodox emidemiology suggests the HIT (Herd Immunity Threshold) is a function of the R number - an ipidemic with an R of 2.3 - 2.9 would require 60% - 65% to be infected. Of course these are simple linear projections, which are now being refined by the new 'chaos' maths.

Mathematicians and risk managers also have a role in formulating our national response. A simple risk matrix plotting degree of risk and scale of consequences may help us refine even further the safest way out of lockdown. Two lighthouse keepers in close confinement may each score high on risk of contacting the Wuhan virus from eachother, but the consequences to others will be very low. And so on. Medical professionals in aerosol generating environments are both at very high risk and the consequences of their infection are at the red end of the matrix. Perhaps therefore it's the medical professionals and carers that should be restricted from wider movement - accommodated for shifts of several months at a time inside sealed hospitals?

The old models formulated solely by doctors and health professionals - actually the most dangerous transmitters of the disease - always avoids intruding on their own freedoms. A movement to an advanced risk-based model would not make this assumption.

E-K said...

That was meant in the nicest way to Thud, btw. I was turning in too. Late one. Too many beers.

E-K said...

"They'll live longer, she said, because medics and pharma will continue keeping horribly unwell oldies alive for ever increasing amounts of time."

Presuming we continue as an NHS with an over leveraged economy attached to it and are allowed to do so by emerging superpowers.

This is the Goldilocks disease. Not too hot, not too cold and the promise of a possibly viable cure on an undetermined horizon to keep us nicely in economy destroying lockdown - and puts the Government at the mercy of public sector Unions who can say "If only you'd just waited another month."

Did we elect a virologist to be Prime Minister and make decisions for us ? I don't recall it.

Thud said...

EK, after all this time Kev it would be hard to ever take offence.

Anonymous said...

Never let a crisis go to waste. Even if you have to create one. Or the narrative of one.

Nick Drew said...

Kev, I understand the logic behind your 11:09. If I follow it all the way, one strategic conclusion of para 3 must surely be - hand it over to Starmer now

the conclusion of para 2, unfortunately, is: whomever we hand it over to, we're f****d

(incidentally, exactly who is buying up all that new UK government debt they are issuing so easily at negative interest rates ..?)

E-K said...

Nick - the comment linked couldn't possibly put it better for me. Whilst we're using 1984 as a blueprint in this crisis someone wiser is using The Art of War.

Thud - appreciated.

Jeremy Poynton said...

Query from a simple soul.

Born in 1951, we have had a number such viruses sweep the world since then.

Covid-19 is the only one I can recall which occasioned such extreme measures.


andrew said...

How about ebola in africa about 18 months ago

YDG said...

"How about ebola in africa about 18 months ago"

Without wishing to confuse the issue with facts, according to Wikipedia the average risk of death for those infected with Ebola is 50%. The jury is still out on Covid 19 but the equivalent number is at most 1% and probably nearer 0.25% ie somewhat worse than most flu pandemics but significantly less than for the 1918 Spanish flu.