Yes we know we’ve used it before but we like it
Yes we know we’ve used it before but we like it
Yesterday we reported that a Canadian outfit, CitizensLab had carried out a forensic data analysis of China’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak and concluded that while politicians (anvious perhaps of the way authoritarian governments like China’s can trample on human rights and civil liberties and silence critics by simply shooting them,) and academics (aka “scientists” or “experts”) are heaping praise on the way the communist regime in Beijing has contained and controlled its Coronavirus epidemic, the Chinese have actually being lying, the epidemc is still raging and real numbers of infections by, and deaths from COVID – 19 to use its technical name are far higher than are being reported,
SHOCK! HORROR! A socialist government lying to cover up its failures, incompetence and illegal activities in developing biological weapons. How could any reasonable person have suspected such a thing?
Well it seems the governments of the liberal democracies are not avese to playing the same game. The extreme measures introduced in the UK to tackle coronavirus by virtually putting the entire nation in lockdown have been justified because of the need to save lives, but if we look a little way below the surface, these measures are based on some very dubious evidence.
Mathematical Modelling (yes that old demon again) carried out by Imperial College London has been used by “scientists” and “experts” to inform government that unless new powers were enacted and used to curtail freedom of movement, social interaction and necessary activities like food shopping as many as 500,000 could die in our epidemic. That is a worst case scenario of course, but the best case scenario, that for the majority of people who are healthy, well nourished and living in a reasonably good environment, Coronavirus will be a relatively minor infection, in fact many of us will be unaware we have been infected with the virus.
The 500,000 dead being quoted as if it is the most likely outcome, although it is a worst case scenario, has the sticky fingerprints of the deep state (i.e. the civil, military and security services all over it, these agencies have a long track record of using fear and panic to reassert their authority when they feel control is slipping away from them. Even the government’s previous, more gentle strategy to slow the spread was likely to lead to 250,000 deaths, the research suggested. But where did these figures come from?
The warnings based on output from mathematical models remember, prompted ministers to announce on Monday the biggest assault on personal freedom in the UK since World War 2, with the public being told to stay in their homes as much as possible, not reduce shopping trips to a minimum, not to go to pubs, clubs or theatres, and to work from home if possible. Sporting events had been shut down the previous wee
The move has hit the economy, putting jobs at risk and prompting schools to be closed and exams cancelled. In other words chaos rules, but then as author Terry Pratchett said, “In any conflict between order and chaos, chaos will win because it’s better organised.”
But is there any substance in those figures or are they plucked out of the air as previous estimates of the threat of pandemic diseases were. It was predicted millions would die, in reality a few people here ad there felt a bit poorly. Professor Neil Ferguson, a senior academic involved in modelling the course of the epidemic told the BBC’s Today Programme earlier this week there was “no alternative” to the curtailment of personal liberty if 250,000 lives were not to be risked. Not the weasel words there, if lives were not to be put at risk. Everything we do carries some degree of risk, whether we drive to work, take a bus or walk there is always the risk of us being involved in an accident. If we eat at a restaurant there is a risk of food poisoning and if we cok at home there could be a house fire or an electrical fault could kill us. Lives being put at risk is a universe away from lives being put in danger.
Another expert, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program he had advised The House Of Commons Health Select Committee, the parliamentary overseer of health issues, that the hope was to keep the death toll below 20,000 by suppressing the virus.
That would still be worse than those killed by flu, he said, giving a number of 8,000 per year. But again there is no evidence to suggest this figure is in any way accurate. In fact there is strong evidence, when we analyse the modelling techniques, that the figures they produce are not only unreliable but are simply made up to grab headlines. The question the “scientits” and “experts” don’t want us to ask is
Would these people be dying anyway?The quoted figures for likely deaths from coronavirus are astounding but what is not clear because to put it bluntly, the modellers deliberately avoided factoring into the alogrithms is, to what extent the deaths predicted would occur without coronavirus?
The answer to that question can never truly be known or predicted with any degree of accuracy until the pandemic is over, which is why modelling is pointless unless qualified by numerous caveats. Given that the old and chronically ill are most vulnerable, would these people be dying anyway, of seasonal ‘flu, common colds, breathing problems brought on by extremes of cold or hot weather? My wife’s final illness was triggered by a very cold spell in the winter of 2019 although she survived some months. There was no infection; scoliosis – a lifelong condition – put pressure on her lungs, the cold spell exacerbated that and … well several months later we are still waiting for the hospital to tell us exactly what happened. But whatever it was, it was neither the cold itself nor a cold weather infection, our home is well heated and Teri did not have to go outside.
Every year over 500,000 people die in England and Wales: inclide Scotland and Northern Ireland, and that goes up to over 600,000. The models being used to predict coronavirus deaths are not on top of this but included in the figure. Many of those deaths assigned to “The Corona Virus pandemic would be within this “normal” number of expected deaths. In short, they would have died anyway.
It was a point conceded by Sir Patrick at a press conference on Thursday when he said there would be “some overlap” between coronavirus deaths and expected deaths – he just did not know how much of an overlap. To put it another way the numbers of deaths likely to occur because of Coronavirus infection are expected quite small, but in a time of pandemic almost every death can be described as coronavirus related as most of us will have been in contact with someone carrying the virus, or in a public building that infected people of people who have been in contact with others carrying the virus have passed through.
As the 19th century British Prime Minister George Canning said: “I can make statistics tell me anything except the truth.
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