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SAGE ignored by turkeys

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SAGE advice from last month has been made public: 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/13/covid-jenrick-defends-decision-to-ignore-sages-lockdown-advice?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
 

the committee warned that the country faced a “very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences” unless ministers took immediate action.
 

of the five recommendations SAGE made, only one was adopted (“work from home where you can”), and the messaging around this one has been conspicuous by its absence 

Today’s defender of the indefensible, taking a break from “you fill my pork barrel, I’ll fill yours” games with his junior ministers, was Robert Jenrick. Through Olympic-class mental gymnastics he was able to confidently pronounce that ignoring nearly everything the government’s own scientific advisory committee had said was still consistent with “being led by the science”

how was this absurd situation explained by Jenrick? Let’s see:

“Similarly, some scientific opinion says we should be going much further. Others say that we should not be going as far as we are.”
 

ah, I understand now... he’s “following the science that says what he wants to hear, so he can do what he planned to do anyway and claim a veneer of justification”

but what is this other science, which is so much better than that offered by the committee of scientists the government tasked with advising them? who knows. Mr Jenrick didn’t share that with us. 

Let’s be clear: the Government took an explicit decision to ignore their own scientific experts when given the starkest of warnings. We are already past the level of hospital admissions when lockdown was instigated in March, and around 50000 died in that wave. It is likely that tens of thousands are going to die in the coming weeks as a result of this, and there will be catastrophic damage to the mental health of healthcare workers who are going to be in the front line as the cases pour in and services struggle to avoid being overwhelmed.
 

and the length of time it will take to get transmission down to safe levels will be massively extended, since the curve comes down much more slowly that it goes up. Any economic gains from keeping businesses open for 4 weeks longer will be completely overwhelmed by the increased length of lockdown when it comes.

Is this the most despicable decision taken by a government in living memory? 

Post edited at 13:08
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 john arran 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

In your quote: “Similarly, some scientific opinion says we should be going much further. Others say that we should not be going as far as we are.” it is not at all clear that the "others" being referred to are part of the scientific community at all, more likely simply Cummings and associated sycophants.

Sleight of mouth at its finest.

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 wintertree 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Any economic gains from keeping businesses open for 4 weeks longer will be completely overwhelmed by the increased length of lockdown when it comes.

March 2.0

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 kedvenc72 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

couldn't have said it any better

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 jkarran 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Is this the most despicable decision taken by a government in living memory? 

I've given up thinking of them as malign, they are malign of course but it gets me nowhere. This isn't, it's just weak. It's morally weak. It's intellectually weak. It demonstrates a clear unwillingness to learn, to take responsibility and to lead.

Let us never forget, hunted sausage and part time prime minister Boris Johnson personally took 'direct control' of the covid response on the 2nd June. The only way he gets to re-write his history is by changing our future for the better.

jk

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 Jim Hamilton 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

>but what is this other science, which is so much better than that offered by the committee of scientists the government tasked with advising them? who knows. Mr Jenrick didn’t share that with us. 

David Nabarro/WHO ? 

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In reply to Jim Hamilton:

> >but what is this other science, which is so much better than that offered by the committee of scientists the government tasked with advising them? who knows. Mr Jenrick didn’t share that with us. 

> David Nabarro/WHO ? 

WHO knows... 

unlikely, as this refers to decisions taken around 21 sept, and I think it’s more recently that Nabarro has made his comments 

and, even if not- SAGE had access to and a mandate to scrutinise the latest UK data, and made its recommendations based on these and the specific UK context. The WHO don’t have the data nor the instructions to analyse and advise based on it. Taking a generic position statement over detailed and specific context dependent recommendations would not be “following the science”. 

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In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

A slightly unhinged rant. Whilst most countries are experiencing a second wave, many af the level of the UK, no other country in the world other than Israel has gone into a second lockdown. Why do you think the UK should?

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In reply to Wanderer100:

> A slightly unhinged rant.

 

nice. Still, maybe you need the ad hom to distract from your comment-

Whilst most countries are experiencing a second wave, many af the level of the UK, no other country in the world other than Israel has gone into a second lockdown. Why do you think the UK should?

The people the government pay to advise them based on their expertise in the relevant scientific disciplines couldn’t have been any clearer that we needed to go into lockdown to avoid ‘catastrophic consequences’. What makes you think that watching the news and posting on UKC makes you better placed to understand this than SAGE are? 

Anyway, my main point was the pretence that this was being “guided by the science”. Politicians are free to take or reject advice, and indeed that’s what they are paid for, to make the final decision. Thatcher ignored senior military advisers on the Falklands, and was proved right. If Boris had come out and said something along the lines of “there are times when a leader has to use their judgement, and after hearing all the evidence, do what they think is right- and be judged by it”, I’d still think he was wrong, but I’d respect him for taking responsibility for what is a horrendous decision to have to make. But of course he is too much of a coward, and taking responsibility isn’t something he does- he sends a brass necked  junior minister in his stead, with instructions to misrepresent the truth of the situation. 

Post edited at 15:19
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In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

It's easy for the sage professors to suggest total lockdown, their wages, jobs and mortgages aren't at risk. For many average joes it could be disaster. There is more to running a country than a virus which kills a very small percentage of those infected. 

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In reply to summo:

Our local ITUs are nearly full. The Nightingale hospitals are on standby- they were before and weren’t used, but that was because we peaked at exactly the point they were about to be called into use. this time, we haven’t even properly started to flatten the curve. 

the economy vs old people with one foot in the grave already lie refuses to die. When ITU capacity is exceeded, and there’s not enough healthy staff left at work  to keep critical care services running safely much less any other parts of the health service, people are going to be panic buying pasta and putting angry signs round National parks telling people to stay away again, not sipping lattes during a break from their shopping spree. 
 

this way, we’re screwed harder, for longer. And we already know this because we did it all just 6 months ago. 

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In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

You said:"Is this the most despicable decision taken by a government in living memory"?  

I assume you mean the decision to avoid a second lolockdown? Ad hom or not that sounds a bit unhinged to me.

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In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Life is a balance..  I bet the uks cancer survival rates for 2021/22/23 will be dreadful too. Their current plan of leaping from lock down on, to off, to on again, is the worst of all worlds and the best of none. 

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 wintertree 13 Oct 2020
In reply to summo:

> It's easy for the sage professors to suggest total lockdown, their wages, jobs and mortgages aren't at risk. For many average joes it could be disaster.

What some people are suggesting is that by missing out a relatively mild, brief lockdown a few weeks ago, we are likely consigning ourselves to a longer, harder lockdown soon enough, because cases are growing faster than our ability to manage them (that is to reduce their rate of growth through relatively light measures including through test/trace/isolate), or to manage the hospitalisations they produce.   For many people including your "averages joes" this could be a worse disaster.

The more we defer in to the future dealing with exponentially rising cases, the longer the restrictions must last because the exponential doubling time is significantly shorter than the exponential halving time under "march" style lockdown measures. 

This is a point that was made clearly by the OP.

Post edited at 15:24
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In reply to Wanderer100:

The decision to delay the second lockdown to a point where it will lead to tens of thousands of deaths above what we would have had had we acted when advised is a bad one

to pretend that someone else is responsible for it (‘all we did was follow the science’) is despicable. 
 

this one is the government’s call- they need to zip up their man suits and own it.

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 mattmurphy 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Remind me again how many economists sit on SAGE?

Its the duty of the government to act in the best interests of everyone, not just the elderly and the vulnerable.

It’s very easy to call for more lockdown measures when you have a cushy public sector job.

Overall harm must be considered and that harm includes job losses, lower tax take, people mental health ect.

It was the right decision to avoid locking down where possible. The aim should be to prevent hospital capacity from being breached, not ensuring that 80+ year old OAPs live to see their next birthday.

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In reply to wintertree:

I don't think it would have made much difference unless the lock down was so much more severe than the UK has ever had. Going back to March, April, may it took time for the numbers to come down, 2 weeks would slow it but as soon as you unlocked it would be off again. The UK is stuck, it relaxed too much in July and August. The public won't stand for a genuine lockdown, they thought they had one before it was really lock down lite. 

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In reply to mattmurphy:

what do you think SAGE meant when they referred to “catastrophic consequences”? I don’t think that refers to a few dispensable old biddies dying. Perhaps they had thought about stopping the collapse of the healthcare system as an aim too? Maybe that’s why they are giving their recommendations in such lurid language?

Post edited at 15:35
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In reply to wintertree:

Neither you or NMSE have answered my original question which is why, when many countries are experiencing a second wave, have none of them entered a full second lockdown? Indeed, the UK seems to be following the same systems being used in most other European countries where a local response seems to be more appropriate. 

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In reply to Wanderer100:

1/ perhaps their equivalents of SAGE aren’t looking at graphs showing doubling times and dwindling ITU beds like ours? 
 

2/ perhaps their leaders are caught in the same bind, delaying because of populations whose willingness to accept restrictions have been undermined by ambiguous communication strategies and vested interests pushing disinformation, and are making exactly the same mistake.

3/ perhaps their leaders are psychopaths?

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In reply to Wanderer100:

> Neither you or NMSE have answered my original question which is why, when many countries are experiencing a second wave, have none of them entered a full second lockdown? Indeed, the UK seems to be following the same systems being used in most other European countries where a local response seems to be more appropriate. 

The government paid this committee to advise them.  They have access to the test and trace data and computer modelling as well as published research.  They gave some very clear advice and were totally ignored.   What in the name of f*ck is the point of employing experts and collecting data if you ignore it when it doesn't suit your agenda.

The strategy was gradual opening and control with test and trace but then the data said the strategy wasn't working.  And the data was ignored.

The worst thing about this is not unqualified polticians ignoring scientific advice it is that they also suppressed publication of the advice so as to mislead the public about the severity of the danger and be able to pursue their agenda without being questioned about why they were ignoring the advice.

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 mattmurphy 13 Oct 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

SAGE are paid to advise on public health and public health only.

There are non-health related consequences of lockdowns and it’s right for the government to consider these.

The slogan “follow the science” should have been scrapped in the first place as the real goal is to “minimise the harm”.

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In reply to mattmurphy:

And what do you think SAGE meant when they referred to “catastrophic consequences”? 

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In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> And what do you think SAGE meant when they referred to “catastrophic consequences”? 

It is really staggering that people are still trotting out this idea, that we can let Covid get out of control and the only consequence will be a few more pensioners dying, rather than a huge spike in deaths and a catastrophic impact on the economy, far worse than the impact of control measures.

I've got to admit, I think we have missed our last chance to avoid catastrophic consequences, or at least time is fast running out and the government have shown that they have neither the will or the competence to do anything significant about it.

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 mattmurphy 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

We don’t know.

I suspect that it could be hospital capacity being breached, but I’m not sure.

We got a long winter ahead of us. Probably another 6 months until Covid eases back off with the arrival of spring. A circuit breaker lockdown won’t work, cases will just spike when it’s finished.

We need the fewest measure we can get away with to ensure that hospital capacity doesn’t breach and nothing more.

If the government were shown evidence that hospitals would be overflowing and they ignored advice on further measures then I agree with you, but I’ve seen no evidence of that so far.

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In reply to mattmurphy:

> We don’t know.

> A circuit breaker lockdown won’t work, cases will just spike when it’s finished.

Can you explain your rationale behind this hypothesis.

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 jkarran 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

> A slightly unhinged rant. Whilst most countries are experiencing a second wave, many af the level of the UK, no other country in the world other than Israel has gone into a second lockdown. Why do you think the UK should?

The answer to that rather hinges on whether you believe the re-branded local lock-downs will suddenly start working much much better for their name change and minor tweaks.

If you don't then you see a pretty hard national or very broad regional 'lockdown' looming in the near future because despite the protestations of the libertarians and trolls there is no real alternative. If you believe that is our near future then it's a short hop to getting on with it asap since we know from past experience the virus prevalence decays much much slower than it grows, every week we delay adds several weeks to the 'lockdown' to achieve the same effect. Viewed another way, for the same length 'lockdown' we get a better effect now than we will in a week or a months time then longer to the next one.

Of course with each week we delay the nearly inevitable we also lock in hundreds then quickly thousands of excess and preventable deaths.

jk

Post edited at 16:14
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 Stichtplate 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

I may well be wrong, but from a personal perspective, I think we're in the shit. NHS staffing levels are being hit hard by self isolation and vulnerable staff being told to shield long term. Lots of burn out on the front line, lots of people reducing their usual overtime because they just can't face it. Knowing that there aren't nearly enough crews out there, knowing that if you shout for back up it may well not be there, knowing that more of your jobs will be seriously ill cat 1s... it all takes it's toll. We're in mid October, weeks away from normal Winter peak season for the NHS and already we're seeing capacity being stretched...and this is not going to be a normal Winter.

I'm currently more apprehensive than I have been at any point since this crisis started.

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In reply to mattmurphy:

> We don’t know.

> I suspect that it could be hospital capacity being breached, but I’m not sure.

> We got a long winter ahead of us. Probably another 6 months until Covid eases back off with the arrival of spring. A circuit breaker lockdown won’t work, cases will just spike when it’s finished.

> We need the fewest measure we can get away with to ensure that hospital capacity doesn’t breach and nothing more.

> If the government were shown evidence that hospitals would be overflowing and they ignored advice on further measures then I agree with you, but I’ve seen no evidence of that so far.

From the SAGE report, linked in the Guardian story- you need to register for Scribd to read it but I think it’s worthwhile:

“not acting now to reduce cases will result in a very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences in terms of direct COVID related deaths and the ability of the health service to meet needs.“
 

the government were told that the “catastrophic consequences” included the impact on the health service to meet needs. It also mentions data in appendices to expand on this but these are not part of the document available to view. The government will have seen them though.
 

the report is also clear it does acknowledge the harms of the action, including economic, and directs to a parallel report examining this- but concludes the harms of not acting clearly outweigh the harms of acting.

Post edited at 16:23
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 mattmurphy 13 Oct 2020
In reply to The New NickB:

> > A circuit breaker lockdown won’t work, cases will just spike when it’s finished.

> Can you explain your rationale behind this hypothesis.

Most countries in the Northern hemisphere are seeing cases rise at the moment and most countries were pretty successful at controlling covid over the summer months.

It took months back in March to drive cases down  and the R rate barely dropped below 1.

What happens if the R rate can’t be pushed below 1 without school closures, or alternatively even with school closures the R rate doesn’t go below 1 because of lower levels of compliance?

This is why I don’t think circuit breaker lockdowns will work. All they will do is create cash flow shocks for businesses which cause job losses and business failures.

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 jkarran 13 Oct 2020
In reply to summo:

> Life is a balance..  I bet the uks cancer survival rates for 2021/22/23 will be dreadful too. Their current plan of leaping from lock down on, to off, to on again, is the worst of all worlds and the best of none. 

You're no fool, you know full well that is the case if the virus runs riot too. The only way to re-normalise preventative screening and cancer services is to effectively suppress the covid. The halfway house where face-to-face primary care is still significantly curtailed because of the virus doesn't help cancer suffers either.

jk

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In reply to mattmurphy:

From the report- R0 during lockdown could have been as low as 0.5 

SAGE think circuit breaker could have had a useful role in realising clearly specified  goals, even when the negative impacts were taken into account. They had access to more data, modelling and expertise than you. What makes you think you are right and they are wrong?

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 Rob Parsons 13 Oct 2020
In reply to mattmurphy:

> This is why I don’t think circuit breaker lockdowns will work.

Local lockdowns (in places like Bolton for example) do not seem to have been effective in controlling infection rates. Is there any understanding why?

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 Jon Read 13 Oct 2020
In reply to mattmurphy:

SAGE don't get paid by the government.

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In reply to mattmurphy:

In comparison with March / April, use of the IFR to calculation daily infection numbers at the point of lockdown would suggest 240,000 daily infections based on an IFR of 0.5% and deaths peaking in mid April at around 1,200 a day. Whilst there is good reason to believe that the effective IFR was higher at that time (rapid transmission between vulnerable people primarily in care homes), we are still looking at numbers that are much higher than they are currently, although the distribution is somewhat inverted North / South compared to March.

Let's say the IFR was 1% in March and April, this is still giving around 5 times as many cases as we are currently dealing with. With fewer cases in the community than March, the time needed to reduce them to a more managable level is less. Even less if we had done it three weeks ago. More than anything it buys time.

In terms of the economic impact. Short term measures are much easier to provide support for as apposed to the long term consequences of inaction.

Post edited at 17:02
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In reply to Rob Parsons:

> Local lockdowns (in places like Bolton for example) do not seem to have been effective in controlling infection rates. Is there any understanding why?

They weren't really lockdowns, certainly compared to what the country as a whole experienced in March, April and May. However, there is evidence that whilst the measures didn't reduce infection, they significantly slowed increase. I looked at figures for Bolton and neighbouring Wigan a few weeks ago and the week on week figure for Bolton was 107%, whereas for Wigan with no additional restrictions at the time was something like 192%.

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 JoeBlow 13 Oct 2020
In reply to jkarran:

But what about instances where COVID cases are low and hospitals are running well below capacity but people are still fearful of visiting with symptoms not COVID related? Cases in the S.W. are low and have been through out I believe.  A Doctor friend of mine was telling me only the other day that his hospital has been eerily quite since the full lock down started. It seems to me that in those areas the cure is proving to be more detrimental than the disease. Or am I missing something?

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In reply to JoeBlow:
 

cornwall definitely bucking the trend. The difficulty is keeping it that way when neighbouring areas are seeing rapid growth in cases. 
 

if services are quiet at present, that is also not typical of the broader experience. And it’s not due to any restrictions; no one is telling them not to get help. 
 

roadblocks on the A30, and then keep calm and carry on in Cornwall...? ;-)

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 wercat 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

I had to switch off the radio this morning when I heard the nice cosy reception given the crook Jenrick by TODAY.  And the rubbish he spouted and his dishonest manner brought on Covid like stomach symptoms.

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In reply to mattmurphy:

> We don’t know.

We do know.  60k people have died and the NHS is getting funded to treat 100k cases of long term Covid.

We also know how to stop it.

And it looks like we are going to let it happen again.

The thing that has to move in this situation is the money.  Money isn't a god or a physical constant it is a not particularly well designed human technology.  We need to change the rules for six months to a year to get through this without the deaths and illness and preserving existing businesses in a state they can continue operation.   Preserving passive wealth on the form of financial assets or land is far less important. 

What they've actually done is that central banks have quietly made sure the stock markets did not crash which is a straightforward subsidy to those with the most invested in the stock market.  Many of the other responses have involved useful business and people taking on debt with guarantees from the state - that's a subsidy to bankers and savers.    They get more business and the state makes sure they can't lose money.

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In reply to jkarran:

The consequences of another nationwide lockdown are unthinkable. Let's say there is a circuit break national lockdown. 2 to 3 weeks. The lockdown ends, its coming up to Christmas. People want to socialise, go shopping,  be entertained. The R number goes up, this time in mid winter. What then? Another lockdown? Where does it end? 

Mass unemployment, excessive waiting lists for hospital treatment. Excessive deaths due to untreated and undiagnosed illnesses. Mental health issues at an unprecedented scale. An economic system that will be close to collapse. This is what the future holds if we go down the lockdown route again. Of course I'm speculating but I can't see any sensible way of holding the virus at bay without causing untold damage to the country and the population. Either way we're stuffed until we get a vaccine. 

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In reply to Wanderer100:

Well we can agree on the last point. There are no good answers to this, any course of action has massive costs which we will be paying for a generation. There still seems to be belief that we can just go back to business as usual, that this was a temporary blip that will go away and we can go on as before. It’s not. The grim, shitty reality is even with the optimal choices this is going to blight lives for a long time, in health and economic terms.

the consequences of a second lockdown are indeed unthinkable; but the only thing worse than that us the effect on society of perhaps a quarter of a million people dying over the course of a few weeks, and half a million or more being left with permanent disability. And it’s not even just the people dying- it’s watching society being overwhelmed, watching the dead piling up and the services we depend on collapsing. The scars of that will live as long as the memories of those that witnessed it. And knowing it was preventable... 

we are where we are. We have a course of action we have to take, difficult as it it. I take consolation from this thought - it’s been a racing certainty there was going to be a massively disruptive pandemic in my lifetime. Compared to what it might have been , we’ve got really really lucky. Imagine an airborne virus with an IFR of 20% rather than 0.5%. The first SARS, and MERS, were warnings, and we’ve got our fingers burned with this one . I really hope we’ve learned the right lessons before the next one burns the house down.

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In reply to jkarran:

> You're no fool, you know full well that is the case if the virus runs riot too. The only way to re-normalise preventative screening and cancer services is to effectively suppress the covid. The halfway house where face-to-face primary care is still significantly curtailed because of the virus doesn't help cancer suffers either.

I'd agree but I don't think it's the place of sage people to keep coming out 'off the record' saying x and y, they should stick to the advice and not blame the government for policy. The public are in part to blame for the spread, blaming the rules as too complex is lame. The government giving them too much freedom in July and August should shoulder the rest of the blame. 

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 richardhopton 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Our local ITUs are nearly full. The Nightingale hospitals are on standby

I don’t know where you get your wrong information from about all of the UK’s ITU’s but they definitely are not nearly full, no where near capacity and the larger Nightingales are starting to be broken down.  
 

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In reply to richardhopton:

You are wrong

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/health-54506494

This isn’t where I’m getting my information from, but it’s not exactly classified information that the Nightingales are on standby 


And  not all ITUs, read back to what I actually wrote.

Post edited at 19:39
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 minimike 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Turkeys who ignore sage should be given a good stuffing, preferably by someone who knows their onions.

Post edited at 19:42
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 Blunderbuss 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

> The consequences of another nationwide lockdown are unthinkable. Let's say there is a circuit break national lockdown. 2 to 3 weeks. The lockdown ends, its coming up to Christmas. People want to socialise, go shopping,  be entertained. The R number goes up, this time in mid winter. What then? Another lockdown? Where does it end? 

> Mass unemployment, excessive waiting lists for hospital treatment. Excessive deaths due to untreated and undiagnosed illnesses. Mental health issues at an unprecedented scale. An economic system that will be close to collapse. This is what the future holds if we go down the lockdown route again. Of course I'm speculating but I can't see any sensible way of holding the virus at bay without causing untold damage to the country and the population. Either way we're stuffed until we get a vaccine. 

The health system collapsing will have economic, social and health consequences that will make even the most ardent anti-lockdowner wish we had locked down.....a worrying number of people can't see this. 

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 mattmurphy 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Blunderbuss:

> The health system collapsing will have economic, social and health consequences that will make even the most ardent anti-lockdowner wish we had locked down.....a worrying number of people can't see this. 


I can’t see the point about the economic impact. Can you enlighten me?

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 Blunderbuss 13 Oct 2020
In reply to mattmurphy:

> I can’t see the point about the economic impact. Can you enlighten me?

When people can't get even basic health care their behaviour will change...do you honestly think if our hospitals are overflowing and cannot accept any more patients through both lack of beds and staff burnout, that people will still be out working and consuming like nothing is wrong?

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In reply to mattmurphy:

The news is running stories of people being triaged to die, ambulances queueing up with critically ill people with no beds to move them into and aircraft hangers being converted into Nightingale morgues. Do people:

a) head off to the high street for a bit of retail therapy, and a meal in Nando’s 

b) strip the supermarket shelves of toilet paper and pasta and hide at home because they realise if they get ill, no one is coming to help

what do you think that does to GDP figures?

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 Blunderbuss 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

The number of people who think a) is staggering......it would be funny if the situation we are in was not so serious.

The massive concern is that this view feeds into their behaviour which fuels the spread of the virus. 

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 wintertree 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Blunderbuss:

> The number of people who think a) is staggering......it would be funny if the situation we are in was not so serious.

I don’t get it.  I just don’t get it.  Did they live through a different March/April to us?  Do they think medical staff just go home, grab a beer and say “tough day at the office” after that sort of thing?  Did they miss the warning signs over possible links between viral loads and outcomes for younger, healthier people?  Did they miss the bit where employers and people alike were in effect locking down a week before the government did?  People react all on their own...

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 richardhopton 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

I’m sorry mate, your wrong.

Birmingham NEC has already been broken down...weeks ago. I’m sorry to burst your COVID bubble. The others are being stripped. Manx and Harrogate have already been decommissioned and need a lot more than the power flicked back on. 
i re read your comment and still stand by my comment ref your comment.

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In reply to wintertree & Blunderbuss

exactly this. It was only 6 months ago. It’s just baffling. 

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 Ridge 13 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> In reply to wintertree & Blunderbuss

> exactly this. It was only 6 months ago. It’s just baffling. 

Its the way a lot of people think. If it doesn't personally affect them or their immediate family it's just something on the news that happens to other people somewhere else.

If the worst case scenario is averted due to an expensive lockdown then it was obviously a lot of fuss about nothing and a waste of money, just like they knew all along. They were right and those experts were wrong, because those experts don't have any proper common sense like they do. That's true because everyone says so on facebook.

Bad things only happen to other people, and probably because they're old or feeble or snowflakes or something, or it's not even real and is just a fake like those really clever people on that website say.

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 Jim Hamilton 14 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Happened to see another "expert" saying circuit breaker "doomed to failure"

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-54527400

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 jkarran 14 Oct 2020
In reply to summo:

> I'd agree but I don't think it's the place of sage people to keep coming out 'off the record' saying x and y, they should stick to the advice and not blame the government for policy. The public are in part to blame for the spread, blaming the rules as too complex is lame. The government giving them too much freedom in July and August should shoulder the rest of the blame. 

I spent the better part of half an hour googling last night. I couldn't find a definitive set of 'rules' for my time and place. Now I'm no genius but I am familiar with IT, a digital native if you must, If I can't do it there must be at least a significant minority of others who are more than a little confused. Perhaps you can't tell from Sweden just how shit and contradictory the messaging is in the UK, you don't hear the ministers sent out to bat on Today without a brief or a clue inevitably followed by the tweeted contradictory 'clarification' of their batshit waffle later. Nor I suppose do you see the corrosive effect that has on social cohesion and with it compliance when we're asked to do difficult things for the greater good.

jk

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In reply to jkarran:

If you have a group of friends or relatives from different households, perhaps not so young and you have to even consider if you can or can't mix, then the answer must be don't. Regardless of what Boris says. Sometimes it's just a matter of doing the right thing. 

Post edited at 11:09
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 mcdougal 14 Oct 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> I don’t get it.  I just don’t get it.  Did they live through a different March/April to us? 

The news media directs the national conversation and the the media agenda has changed. This time the argument has been narrowed to talking about the balance between Covid precautions and the interests of business. In March and April the narrative was more focused on concern over the NHS being overwhelmed.

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 jkarran 14 Oct 2020
In reply to JoeBlow:

> Cases in the S.W. are low and have been through out I believe.  A Doctor friend of mine was telling me only the other day that his hospital has been eerily quite since the full lock down started. It seems to me that in those areas the cure is proving to be more detrimental than the disease. Or am I missing something?

Only that that situation can change fast.

I'm not arguing the government has got the messaging right, they haven't, it's been shit, we could have done a lot of things quite a bit better were control not so heavily centralised in the hands of inadequate populists.

It is of course possible your friend's hospital is running under capacity for good reasons: the usual sport and drinking injuries being down, the worried well and lonely frequent flyers staying away, less social mixing leading to less transmission of infection and fewer fights, summer, last winter's blocked beds ruthlessly cleared in the March panic not yet refilling, more vulnerable patients being treated in their homes or discharged faster to minimise hospital borne infection risk.

I'm not wearing rose tinted glasses here, I know there's a backlog of people with potentially life threatening, certainly quality of life limiting conditions building up but there is a balance to strike, part of keeping covid hospitalisations low is ensuring healthcare providers aren't the vector into vulnerable communities. Practically that does mean them doing a bit less because they're doing it differently. Is the balance struck perfectly everywhere? Only a fool would assume the answer is yes. Can it be practically given how fast the situation evolves and that we're still flying half blind? I don't think so. I don't have to like that to recognise it.

jk

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 JoeBlow 14 Oct 2020
In reply to jkarran:

I agree regarding balance, but if more people are dying from cancer, heart disease, dare I even say flu doesn't that suggest that we may have the balance wrong. I'm sure people suffering and dying from things other than COVID as a consequence of the measures being taken would say yes. We don't seem to hear much from them in the main stream media it's all COVID, COVID, COVID.

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 jkarran 14 Oct 2020
In reply to summo:

> If you have a group of friends or relatives from different households, perhaps not so young and you have to even consider if you can or can't mix, then the answer must be don't. Regardless of what Boris says. Sometimes it's just a matter of doing the right thing. 

Nonsense. Stopping thinking because I needed to start thinking is possibly the stupidest suggestion yet for how to handle this. We are in a mess where we are certainly currently unwilling, possibly unable to effectively eliminate it locally. Likewise letting it rip isn't an option for reasons I'm sure you understand so we're faced with a middle ground, living with it for a while until we see whether the vaccines will deliver, balancing a measure of social and economic normality against transmission rate. That requires receiving and following clear guidance. In the unfortunate absence of clear guidance we require adequate information and clear thought.

jk

Post edited at 13:24
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 jkarran 14 Oct 2020
In reply to JoeBlow:

> I agree regarding balance, but if more people are dying from cancer, heart disease, dare I even say flu doesn't that suggest that we may have the balance wrong.

If. And here we're talking excess cancer deaths, not total, cancer is sadly the normal end for a big chunk of us. Convince me of your if.

> I'm sure people suffering and dying from things other than COVID as a consequence of the measures being taken would say yes.

It shouldn't come as much surprise that people very close to something can lack a bit of wider perspective. That's not meant to be critical of people suffering, they have my sympathy and that's totally understandable but unlike you I don't believe they're being forgotten or neglected, they are falling victim to covid as surely as those coughing their lungs out. Some of them anyway, the picture isn't universally awful, I know one person whose initially very bleak February cancer prognosis was turned around at the height of the spring crisis.

> We don't seem to hear much from them in the main stream media it's all COVID, COVID, COVID.

Perhaps because we already do as well as we are willing to pay to do with those other diseases, we've adjusted to the costs. This one is new, potentially very deadly and already socially and economically disruptive. Propose an alternative to taking covid very seriously that credibly delivers better outcomes for more people.

jk

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 JoeBlow 14 Oct 2020
In reply to jkarran:

Perhaps I'm reading it wrong but this article from the ONS seems to suggest that the "excess death rate" from things other than COVID is higher than would normally be expected during the period recorded in the report.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/analysisofdeathregistrationsnotinvolvingcoronaviruscovid19englandandwales28december2019to1may2020/technicalannex

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 jkarran 14 Oct 2020
In reply to JoeBlow:

It says right there in the first couple of paragraphs, covid to non-covid coded excess deaths ran at about 3:1 (72.2% covid coded to 27.8% not). It also speculates, not unreasonably IMO, from the age and comorbidity distribution and the lack of credible mass killer alternatives that many of the non-covid coded excess deaths were probably actually undiagnosed covid anyway.

How is that supposed to convince me the non-covid excess deaths during that pandemic are a bigger problem than the covid excess deaths? They're notable but dwarfed by covid and while one could try to make the crass emotional argument they are not occurring in the aged and infirm, that they somehow matter more, we can see that actually most of them were from the same age and comorbidity groups that covid targets so that doesn't hold much water.

I'm not saying this isn't a problem, it is, but you're still a million miles away from convincing me it's a bigger problem than covid, one which would be improved by letting covid run riot.

jk

Post edited at 15:30
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 JoeBlow 14 Oct 2020
In reply to jkarran:

But the counter argument is that in the early days many deaths reported as Covid were not.  Indeed I read somewhere that under the system at the time if you tested positive and then got run over by a bus you would be counted as a covid related death if it happened within a certain time frame. Hyperbole possibly but a grain of truth perhaps?

I don't recall saying "let it run riot" nor even coming anywhere close to suggesting that.

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 jkarran 14 Oct 2020
In reply to JoeBlow:

> But the counter argument is that in the early days many deaths reported as Covid were not.  Indeed I read somewhere that under the system at the time if you tested positive and then got run over by a bus you would be counted as a covid related death if it happened within a certain time frame. Hyperbole possibly but a grain of truth perhaps?

Of course you read about that. Ask where and why.

A death certificate, the document the report you linked me to draws on requires a Dr to certify that covid was the cause or a contributory cause of death. The covid-bus myth relates to how PHE were collating the statistics used to guide the near real time response, these were necessarily less rigorous in order to keep pace with the fast changing picture and required only a consistency of approach (which we failed to achieve because of the response to that slanted bus story and the public straw grasping it was designed to provoke) to be of value. Find me one example of someone who died under a bus then had covid irrelevantly put on their death certificate.

> I don't recall saying "let it run riot" nor even coming anywhere close to suggesting that.

Ok, my bad, sorry. What exactly are you suggesting?

jk

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In reply to JoeBlow:

More or less on r4 did a piece on this (i think this show should be mandatory listening to anybody posting on covid stats here) and concluded that the increase in percentage due to the 'run over by a bus' factor was tiny and not really worth considering.

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 JoeBlow 14 Oct 2020
In reply to jkarran:

Not sure why I need to provide any evidence for something that I specifically stated was probably hyperbole? I do however know about someone in her 80's dying from a long term heart condition during lock down,  who did not have any contact with anyone during lockdown but still had covid recorded on her death certificate according to her very angry daughter.

I'm not suggesting anything, I'm not qualified to suggest anything, but that should not deny me the right to question. Did you not detect the questioning tone in my comments? And I am questioning if too much effort is going into covid issues at the expense of cancer, heart, mental health and economic issues.

Thank you by the way for providing information where I may be lacking.

Post edited at 16:47
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 jkarran 14 Oct 2020
In reply to JoeBlow:

> Not sure why I need to provide any evidence for something that I specifically stated was probably hyperbole?

Because by repeating it you give it new power, a new audience. It isn't unreasonable for me to challenge you to stand the claim up. It's like when Trump says: "I'm not sure I believe it but some people are saying <outrageous bullshit>, who knows, maybe!". It looks knowing. Sorry if it's not and you're unfairly catching flack because I'm as sick of all this as everyone else.

> I do however know about someone in her 80's dying from a long term heart condition during lock down,  who did not have any contact with anyone during lockdown but still had covid recorded on her death certificate according to her very angry daughter.

Sorry. Are you absolutely sure she couldn't have had covid?

> I'm not suggesting anything, I'm not qualified to suggest anything, but that should not deny me the right to question. Did you not detect the questioning tone in my comments?

I'm not trying to deny you the right to do anything but if you genuinely feel I am then please do report me to the moderators, let them deal with it. The Report button is right under the relevant post(s).

Sorry, I have rapidly diminishing tolerance for dangerous ideas presented as seemingly innocent questions especially when the ready answers don't seem to cut through.  

> Thank you by the way for providing information where I may be lacking.

I'm not sure I have, I've merely asked you to look again at what you linked for me and provided a different perspective on some other ideas. Is it challenging how you view our options, their costs and merits?

I'm still not clear what you think we should do, you don't have to be qualified to have thoughts and opinions.

jk

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 JoeBlow 14 Oct 2020
In reply to jkarran:

I can't be sure what she died from, it just seems very unlikely that it was covid under the circumstances. It's an opinion not a fact but seems like common sense to me unless it has found a new way of spreading.

I prefer local measures to national ones.  We should protect the vulnerable.  I agree with self isolation if infected, the hygiene and social distancing guidelines etc. I'm less sure about the loss of civil liberties and the 10pm curfew but can appreciate why they may be necessary. The problem is that a lot of the measures are contrary to what I would see as common sense.  So, at it's worst, my daughter who lives on her own is not allowed to visit us despite our both living in a very low infection rate area and keeping ourselves to ourselves in line with the recommendations. I see that as VERY low risk and to me an acceptable risk so I resent being dictated to in that regard.

Post edited at 17:48
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In reply to JoeBlow:

Doubting what is on a death certificate doesn't sound much like common sense!

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In reply to jkarran:

No. It's seems UK mentality is if the government doesn't distinctly ban it then it must be ok to do it, because then if I catch covid it's the government's fault. Everyone seems to think they are a special case, but the viruses doesn't give a $hit. 

It could be folk hitting the pubs and getting smashed the day before more lock downs or 30 students at a crag. There are countless examples just on the forums here. 

Common sense, having a year off from normal social activities etc seems to be a lost concept. 

Edit. I just don't get what folk find so hard. Go to work, school and shop, distance and mix the absolute bare minimum. Then do nothing else that evolves relatively close contact with anyone else, sports, hobbies, anything, just cancel them all if you can't be a few metres apart and ideally outside.

Even for a horse racing nation the uk must be running out of stable doors to close. 

Post edited at 19:50
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 JoeBlow 14 Oct 2020
In reply to John Stainforth:

I know it's all a bit conspiracy theory isn't it? But Doctors aren't infallible and some may even have different agenda's.

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In reply to summo:

I pretty much agree Summo. It’s not great, but compared to other times we could be living through, or places we could be right now (Yemen, anyone? Thought not) it could be worse. 
 

as a matter of interest, how are people approaching this in Sweden now? Have people taken your suggested approach and written 2020 off? Is there a greater acceptance that people just have to do what needs to be done without the state demanding it?

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In reply to JoeBlow:

> I know it's all a bit conspiracy theory isn't it? But Doctors aren't infallible and some may even have different agenda's.

That last bit certainly is.

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In reply to ebdon:

> More or less on r4 did a piece on this (i think this show should be mandatory listening to anybody posting on covid stats here) and concluded that the increase in percentage due to the 'run over by a bus' factor was tiny and not really worth considering.


Then you also had the people who died after the 28 day cut-off too. In essence it's swings and roundabouts with no net difference.

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 wintertree 14 Oct 2020
In reply to JoeBlow:

>  Indeed I read somewhere that under the system at the time if you tested positive and then got run over by a bus you would be counted as a covid related death if it happened within a certain time frame

It's true.  If 12,000 people or so have been run over by a bus in March-May this year, that could explain it.  

The key sanity check to me is that the ONS data on deaths where the death certificate includes Covid in the reasons is a significantly larger number than the "died within 28 days of a covid diagnosis" numbers.

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In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> as a matter of interest, how are people approaching this in Sweden now? Have people taken your suggested approach and written 2020 off? Is there a greater acceptance that people just have to do what needs to be done without the state demanding it?

There is still lots of adherence, but the young aren't so much, at universities etc.. still too many tourists from Germany touring around the country as well, which likely isn't helping.

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In reply to summo:

> I don't think it would have made much difference unless the lock down was so much more severe than the UK has ever had. Going back to March, April, may it took time for the numbers to come down, 2 weeks would slow it but as soon as you unlocked it would be off again. The UK is stuck, it relaxed too much in July and August. The public won't stand for a genuine lockdown, they thought they had one before it was really lock down lite. 

Agreed. Unless there's a proper lockdown it won't reduce cases enough to have a worthwhile effect.  What the government should do is work out what they need to achieve then lockdown as necessary. What level of prevalence do they need to get down to for T&T to work properly?  How long can the population go until the next lockdown? When coming out of lockdown what level of restriction do they intend to stop at?  The unpleasant thing is that at no point when coming out of lockdown before did cases stop rising i.e. the restrictions were never enough to contain the virus. I believe the level of restriction required to contain the virus at a certain prevalence level are too high for the economy to bear for a sustained period of time.  It would be better to aim for elimination and hard borders, especially at this time of year when people don't really want to go on holiday or have enough money to do so.

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In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> cornwall definitely bucking the trend. The difficulty is keeping it that way when neighbouring areas are seeing rapid growth in cases. 

> if services are quiet at present, that is also not typical of the broader experience. And it’s not due to any restrictions; no one is telling them not to get help. 

> roadblocks on the A30, and then keep calm and carry on in Cornwall...? ;-)


This is exactly what the Government should do. If there's wildly differing prevalence levels which are easily geographically separable then they should start isolating parts of the country. When people in covid-hellhole Liverpool see people in virus-free Cornwall enjoying life as normal it's a massive incentive to do something about it. Speaking as someone in somewhere that's eliminated the virus and now has had no restrictions since the start of the summer other than relatively hard borders I can tell you it's great. The economy is running at about 97% with only tourism under the cosh due to a lack of tourists, but there's been a lot of staycation business to prop that up. The hospital is running at 100% capacity.  Pubs and nightclubs are as busy as ever. All sports, clubs and societies are running unrestricted. Weddings and funerals go on as normal. No-one is being sent home from school because someone in their class or year tested positive. The only negative is the need to self-isolate for 2 weeks on return from travel, but that's only because other places (UK, France) haven't got things under control. We've had a restriction-free 'airbridge' with the Isle of Man all summer.

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In reply to Toerag:

Lucky sods... 

what’s the climbing like...?

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 jkarran 15 Oct 2020
In reply to JoeBlow:

> I can't be sure what she died from, it just seems very unlikely that it was covid under the circumstances. It's an opinion not a fact but seems like common sense to me unless it has found a new way of spreading.

Well we know it can spread via surfaces so it's possible assuming she was taking deliveries. Either way, sorry for your loss.

> I prefer local measures to national ones.  We should protect the vulnerable.  I agree with self isolation if infected, the hygiene and social distancing guidelines etc. I'm less sure about the loss of civil liberties and the 10pm curfew but can appreciate why they may be necessary.

That's all fine but we're doing it already and we're still on course for a healthcare overload disaster in just a few weeks. We need to do something different or more to avert (or at least delay) that disaster.

Edit: where is there a 10pm curfew?

> The problem is that a lot of the measures are contrary to what I would see as common sense.  So, at it's worst, my daughter who lives on her own is not allowed to visit us despite our both living in a very low infection rate area and keeping ourselves to ourselves in line with the recommendations. I see that as VERY low risk and to me an acceptable risk so I resent being dictated to in that regard.

If your daughter lives alone then as I understand it she would be legally allowed to form a 'support bubble' with you and your partner, effectively combining your households. I hope this helps https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-support-bubble-with-another-household

For what it's worth I agree some of the restrictions and interventions are pretty pointless, sometimes worse but it's mostly done with the best of intentions and limited authoritative guidance. Pointless one way systems really get my goat, I resent being made to do something pointless but I'll just have to deal with it for now.

jk

Post edited at 11:03
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In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Thank God for Marina Hyde. No one else comes close to capturing the dismay, disbelief, contempt and fury I feel about Johnson’s abject and lethal mishandling of the Covid crisis. And even makes me laugh...

It can, however, find close to £7,000 per day per consultant working on its calamitous test-and-trace programme. Alas, we have seen nor heard nothing for a month from test-and-trace mastermind Dido Harding, who is assumed to be living under this administration’s vast Shitness Protection Programme. 
 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/16/conservatives-party-boris-johnson?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

the leech analogy it closes with is the best analysis of the government strategy I’ve read so far...

Post edited at 11:07
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 Bob Kemp 17 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Wickedly funny!

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In reply to Bob Kemp:

If it weren't so tragic.

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 Bob Kemp 18 Oct 2020
In reply to captain paranoia:

I mean the article’s funny, not the situation. Humour like this is a panacea in bad times. 

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In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Lucky sods... 

> what’s the climbing like...?

>

Not bad if you're competent on seacliffs. Plenty of info in the crag database.

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 Martin Hore 20 Oct 2020
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

SAGE-stuffing seems appropriate for turkeys

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