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Old 10-03-2021, 07:19   #16
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

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I initially had much the same thoughts around ICUs. Many would agree with your assessment that it's been too harsh, but we don't really have the fine-grained control over infection numbers that make it possible to get to "just right". So the choices really were for "too restricted" or "not restricted enough".. . .

Concerning ICU's, here is one more voice agreeing with you that ICU capacity is not rigidly fixed and should not be a fixed determiner of policy. Also agreeing that we don't have fine-grained control.


Sweden doubled ICU capacity in about month and managed to do prevent any shortage of ICU beds despite dealing with a nasty outbreak in April. Italy didn't quite manage it for whatever reasons.
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:38   #17
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

just because the actions being taken have't reduced the spread NUMBERS doesn't mean it didn't reduce the spread that would have been if no actions were taken

We have been wearing masks for a year yet the new cases appear to have changed little. Doesn't mean masks haven't helped reduce the spread.
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:42   #18
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

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just because the actions being taken have't reduced the spread NUMBERS doesn't mean it didn't reduce the spread that would have been if no actions were taken

We have been wearing masks for a year yet the new cases appear to have changed little. Doesn't mean masks haven't helped reduce the spread.
Oh I agree, it could have been much worse. But at the same time wearing masks wasn't all the general public was mandated to do. If only!

Just don't forget/ignore the true costs when assessing the achieved benefits.
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:50   #19
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pirate Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
"What experience and history teach is this - that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it." ~ G. W. F. Hegel

“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” ~ Aldous Huxley

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. In fact, gross ignorance is 144 times worse, than ordinary ignorance.
Would you have us join the church of organised ignorance? After all, why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?
Here we go.. no one is advocating ignorance and I am sick and tired of you lot accusing me of this.. all we have here is a group of holier than thou's calling out what has happened and how it could have been done better.. all over something no one knew anything about and many saw as a varient of the SAR's which appeared and dissappeared in the space of months..
Yet no one calls out Merkel or Macron for the aspersions cast on the AstraZeneca vaccine which has resulted in millions of vaccines lying in storage because populations are refusing to take them up thanks to statements like "Not effectual for +65yr olds" (Merkel) and "Efficacy may be as low as 8%" (Macron) ..
AstraZeneca in the UK has proved effective in all ages groups and is also showing good effecacy with varients as well.. something Phizer and Moderna it seems is not.
The latest is Italy and the EU is blocking 500K AstraZeneca vaccines being shipped to Australia despite having 1.2 million refused vaccines sitting in Italy alone..
The US is now trashing Sputnick V because so many countries are taking it up as along with AstraZeneca it can be stored in an ordinary fridge instead of -70C special containers so profit and dominance of the market has crumbled..
We have a Blame Game going on in a short lived Empire and a Wanna Be one..
That should keep you Googling for a while..
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:52   #20
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
just because the actions being taken have't reduced the spread NUMBERS doesn't mean it didn't reduce the spread that would have been if no actions were taken

We have been wearing masks for a year yet the new cases appear to have changed little. Doesn't mean masks haven't helped reduce the spread.

That's not how they analyzed the effectiveness of measures. You should read the studies.
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:55   #21
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

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. . . Just don't forget/ignore the true costs when assessing the achieved benefits.

Like with any policy decision. That's basically Policymaking 101.
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Old 10-03-2021, 08:01   #22
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

I have some friends in The Hague, a couple, she a piano teacher teaching in a local community centre, he an events organizer. Before covid they were more or less getting by, now they are truly broken, psychologically.


Just a random tiny sample which obviously is repeated world wide in the 100's of millions. I really assure those following this thread, there is no holier than thou intention here, just a suggestion that the costs of containment are so much higher than we can possibly imagine. And I have this niggling feeling that the government(s) know(s) very well what is going on.


Edit: didn't mean to be harping on about this right after DH's post.
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Old 10-03-2021, 08:01   #23
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
How to judge pandemic policies
Dozens of efforts, to track interventions to curb the spread of COVID, have gathered mountains of data. At a workshop last month, and a public conference this week, scientists involved in 50 tracking databases, met, and discussed the mammoth task of compiling and analysing these data. “We still don’t know the best way to plug the data from the tracking systems into mathematical models,” says mathematical physicist Peter Klimek. “But the trackers are a unique treasure trove, that we can use to make epidemiological modelling a data-driven science, and to prepare for the next pandemic.”

“Which are the best pandemic policies? Data trackers are trying to judge” ~ by Quirin Schiermeier
“... When many countries applied various control measures simultaneously, we knew very little about the effects of government interventions. When more data became available, we found that curfews, cancellations of small gatherings and closures of schools, shops and restaurants were among the most effective policies.
But there is less agreement, when analysing different trackers, on how to rank these measures.

For example, it is not certain that highly restrictive measures are automatically more effective, than a smart mix of comparatively modest restrictions, and better timings of their implementation.
It is difficult to untangle the effects of any given measure from those of other policy interventions. ...”
Much more https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00590-2
For those of us who have been following the pandemic closely, and studying epidemiology, thinking about pandemic measures, and discussing on here and elsewhere, I think this is the single most interesting study yet seen, with a very sophisticated (including for the first time I've ever seen analysis of the inter-dependence between different combinations of measures) analysis of the effectiveness of different pandemic measures and different combinations of them.

Some of our discussions have been very contentious; for suggesting circumspection with regard to the strictest NPI's, some of what I have posted has been subjected to really excoriating attacks by people who consider any question about whether or not the strictest measures should be even discussed, to be equivalent to some kind of treason.

But the science more and more, and especially in this study, does support the idea that we should be careful about what measures we choose, and that it is entirely appropriate to question whether some measures might do more harm than good.


I'm glad LakeEffect is participating in this discussion, because I think he was initially one of the ones who was outraged by my questions, although we ended up understanding each other better after long and sometimes difficult discussions, and respecting one another's points of view at least to some extent.

I quote from the study:

"Figure 4 shows an example of the results for a selection of NPIs (see Supplementary Information for a more extensive report on other NPIs). Each curve shows the average change in Rt versus the adoption time of the NPI, averaged over the countries where that NPI has been adopted. Figure 4a refers to the national lockdown (including stay-at-home order implemented in US states). Our results show a moderate effect of this NPI (low change in Rt)
as compared to other, less drastic, measures
."

This means that the science is showing that lockdowns have "low change in Rt", that is, relatively little effect on spread of the virus.

". . . However, such radical measures have adverse consequences. School closure interrupts learning and can lead to poor nutrition, stress and social isolation in children31–33. Home confinement has strongly increased the rate of domestic violence in many countries, with a huge impact on women and children34,35, while it has also limited the access to long-term care such as chemotherapy, with substantial impacts on patients’ health and survival chance36,37.
Governments may have to look towards less stringent measures, encompassing maximum effective prevention but enabling an acceptable balance between benefits and drawbacks
. . . Previous statistical studies on the effectiveness of lockdowns came to mixed conclusions."

I was viciously attacked for saying more or less this same thing; I was even accused at one point of being "incapable of love" But balancing benefits and drawbacks is inherent to all policymaking, even if suggesting doing that with regard to lockdowns was greeted with a furious reaction in some of our discussions.

". . . Indeed, the national lockdown encompasses multiple NPIs (for example, closure of land, sea and air borders, closure of schools, non-essential shops and prohibition of gatherings and visiting nursing homes) that countries may have already adopted in parts. From this perspective, the relatively attenuated impact of the national lockdown is explained as the little delta after other concurrent NPIs have been adopted. This conclusion does not rule out the effectiveness of an early national lockdown, but suggests that a suitable combination (sequence and time of implementation) of a smaller package of such measures can substitute for a full lockdown in terms of effectiveness, while reducing adverse impacts on society, the economy, the humanitarian response system and the environment".

This sounds right to me. First of all, the "relatively attenuated impact of the national lockdown" lines up with the conclusions of the peer-reviewed Stanford University study here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/...1111/eci.13484, where it was stated: "While modest decreases in daily growth (under 30%) cannot be excluded in a few countries, the possibility of large decreases in daily growth due to mrNPIs ["Most Restrictive NPIs" -- lockdown] is incompatible with the accumulated data."

This furthermore lines up with World Health Organization advice, which for some time now has been discouraging countries from implementing lockdowns "except as a last resort".

And lastly lines up with the actual experience of countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Nordic countries, which achieved quite good results without implementing lockdown.

That's a lot of lining up.

Concerning other things in this study:

I was very sorry to read that they found that school closings are more effective than previously thought (and that conversely open schools are more harmful than previously thought). Closing schools causes almost as much harm as lockdown, incalculable and long-lasting harm to young people. Several studies carried out here indicated that schools are not a major vector of contagion, which helped justify the decision in all the Nordic countries which had closed them (in Sweden only high school and unis were closed), to quickly reopen at least primary schools.

If this study is right (and it looks to me like the most sophisticated and best one done to date, so I would tend to believe it), then keeping schools open looks like a harder decision, than it did before
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Old 10-03-2021, 08:08   #24
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

Fear, politics and anger has polarised thinking....

This reminds me of the poem I learned as a Scottish schoolboy
"To a Mouse'

COVID is the plough and we are the field mice.

"The best laid schemes of mice and men Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!"

You just have to roll with it and try to have solidarity with those "at risk" to eradicate COVID rather than just manage it !

https://simple.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_a_Mouse
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Old 10-03-2021, 08:18   #25
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pirate Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

Something to cheer up and inspire the 'Desperate Youths'..
The founder of an online fashion firm who started out working at Burger King is in line to make a £35million fortune.

Adam Frisby, 33, who left school with no qualifications, used £1,000 to set-up the venture from his bedroom in 2013.

Eight years later and In The Style, a celebrity fast fashion website, is set to float on the stock market with a price tag of £105million.

Mr Frisby, who owns more than third of the business, is expected to net £12million from selling some of his stake.

He will still be left with a holding worth £23million at the start of trading.
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Old 10-03-2021, 08:24   #26
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

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Originally Posted by HeinSdL View Post
I have some friends in The Hague, a couple, she a piano teacher teaching in a local community centre, he an events organizer. Before covid they were more or less getting by, now they are truly broken, psychologically.

Just a random tiny sample which obviously is repeated world wide in the 100's of millions. I really assure those following this thread, there is no holier than thou intention here, just a suggestion that the costs of containment are so much higher than we can possibly imagine. And I have this niggling feeling that the government(s) know(s) very well what is going on.. . .
But you are obviously right. I personally know someone who attempted suicide after his business was ruined by lockdown.

The World Health Organization (not exactly a lunatic fringe right-wing organization, right?) says the following:

"Large scale physical distancing measures and movement restrictions, often referred to as ‘lockdowns’, can slow COVID‑19 transmission by limiting contact between people. However, these measures can have a profound negative impact on individuals, communities, and societies by bringing social and economic life to a near stop. Such measures disproportionately affect disadvantaged groups, including people in poverty, migrants, internally displaced people and refugees, who most often live in overcrowded and under resourced settings, and depend on daily labour for subsistence. WHO recognizes that at certain points, some countries have had no choice but to issue stay-at-home orders and other measures, to buy time."

It's easy for educated middle class white guys, and especially retired people who don't even need to work now, to sit back and tell everyone that they must be locked in their homes for months. And God forbid that anyone would suggest doing any cost-benefit analysis on that policy.

If you're young and poor or marginally educated (and 2/3 of the U.S. population does not have even a bachelor's degree), the cost of lockdown looks very, very different, than it does to us.

See here:

Click image for larger version

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https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...ographics.html


I contend that it is exceptionally selfish for people like us, who have not suffered economically from lockdown and who because of our age are 10x or 100x more vulnerable to the virus, than younger people, to insist that younger, poorer, less educated people many of whom are not vulnerable to the virus, should lose their jobs by the millions just to provide some small increment of extra protection for us (and the science shows, more and more, that that small increment is small indeed).
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Old 10-03-2021, 08:26   #27
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

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I'm glad LakeEffect is participating in this discussion, because I think he was initially one of the ones who was outraged by my questions, although we ended up understanding each other better after long and sometimes difficult discussions, and respecting one another's points of view at least to some extent.
Thanks for the shout-out DH.

To me the only no-brainer that has become clearer is that most countries should have hit the pandemic early and hard. But there is also lots of learning about what did and didn't work later on, which is good. Maybe the WHO or similar could take all this in and formulate some future pandemic "prescriptions" that incorporate all this learning.

To regroup a little bit - I don't think we're completely done yet, but we can see the end of the tunnel (vaccination). As well, we are much better at treatment and most countries are no longer experiencing as much stress on their healthcare system. So, with the pandemic itself mostly in-hand, NOW is the time to start addressing the predicted collateral harms that have not yet been realized.
  • a concerted effort to help school-age kids catch up and maintain their educational path
  • enhanced efforts to get young people's careers back on track - more apprenticeships and internships, more help with tuition, some money to support them while retraining. I believe/hope that some companies will themselves step up, but if necessary there should be government inducements - eg any government aid to business (tax breaks, loan guarantees, etc) should carry an obligation to provide more entry level positions and apprenticeships
  • something (eg low-interest or forgivable loans) to help small businesses get up and running again (with added rewards for hiring)
  • help healthcare deal quickly with backlogs of delayed care.
I also believe in the resilience of most people, especially if they feel optimistic about the future and that society isn't just going to leave them to flail about.
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Old 10-03-2021, 08:51   #28
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

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That's not how they analyzed the effectiveness of measures. You should read the studies.
If I do does that then mean all my forum comments move up to "expert" status and allow me to quote and counter others?

I never I never of should never have even looked at this "boating" thread
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Old 10-03-2021, 09:07   #29
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

I think it's OK to have the occasional covid discussion here. Regardless of our interests (in our specific case, sailing/cruising) developing a healthy level of consciousness in relation to our current predicament (meaning an informed opinion, whatever that opinion might be) will pay dividends later on.
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Old 10-03-2021, 09:22   #30
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Re: How to Judge Pandemic Policies

Most sailors on this forum have a feeling for the concept of doing the job right. We didn't do this right. Not even close.



It has been said, and the science and practice in hospitals supports this, that if we have choked down with 100% (not 90%) mask wear and proper hygiene for 2 weeks at any point, an epidemic can be choked out. But we couldn't do it because that's "too restrictive." Yet if I tell people they will wear hardhats and respirators in a work setting all day, they will (or they will leave... and some will be fired).



People don't listen unless the guidance is crystal clear. No mincing words. And then some percentage won't listen anyway, at least not out of the public eye.



And what's with noses sticking out? You might as well wear a pointed hat on your head, because it says "I'm stupid." And what about masks that don't fit? You only had months and months to fix that. Either you didn't care or didn't think, and neither is forgivable in audults.


[Now you know how I feel ]



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