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Travelling to the UK during this pandemic.

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  1. #111

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    Quote Originally Posted by civil_servant:
    They haven't decoupled. We're just better at testing and have 10-20x the capacity that we had in the spring. Infections are way below what they were in spring.

    Take away lockdown restrictions and soon you will see infections skyrocket and so will deaths.
    It seems we agree in several the fundamental ways (the most important ones I'd say) but disagree in the conclusions one might draw. You clearly understand what is going on from the covid data, unlike many.

    I'd say it's misleading to say that infections have not decoupled from deaths, as they obviously have - in the comparative data.

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    But it's also true to say they haven't entirely decoupled in reality.

    AND it's also true to say that the relationship between cases and deaths has weakened in reality - This is categorically and undeniably the case, due to:
    • More effective treatment
    • Many nursing homes have already been hit - so their residents are now immune/recovering/ or deceased
    • More immunity in the wider population


    However I agree absolutely that the decoupling in the data can be attributed most significantly to testing. I have been a strong and vocal advocate from day 1 that the over-reaction to covid has been based on the literal (and incorrect) way's the data is read by Joe public and so this is proving true.

    So you're totally right that shitty data is responsible for poor conclusions, but the effect is in the opposite direction than people like Hull have been showing to believe.

    The data that is shit is that from the 1st half of the year that has ingrained in some people this idea that if they catch it they'll die or spend weeks in ICU, which simply isn't the case for the vast majority of people. - Though it IS still the case for some people, nobody's denying that (obviously)

    As we know, the rise in deaths trails the rise in new infections by about 3 weeks - this can be seen in both the UK's and Korea's latest data for Aug/Sept - So again, yes, deaths are proportional to cases - but not to the extent that many still believe, which remains my central point.

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    We can see that SK's deaths are going to fall in the next few weeks and the UK's are going to rise. But they're not going to 'skyrocket'. Relative to everyday deaths in the UK (2,200 per day) , they'll still be low, but they will increase relatively..... but with less magnitude as time progresses: Remember those in the higher risk categories are more likely to get infected for the same exposure as those lower risk, and thus the ratio of higher risk to lower risk in the population who haven't had covid will decrease as time progresses.

    Where SK data differs from UK data in terms of predicting the relationship between cases and deaths, is that SK returns a positive rate per test at about 2.5x the rate of the UK. This implies 2 things
    1) Korea has less cases per population (which we know is true)
    2) Korea is more likely to capture a positive test in the population (we're talking about now, Sept 24 not March) than the UK. Which suggests that the UK's testing is still missing a lot of positive cases relative to SK, and of course SK will also be missing positives themselves....

    And of course we have plenty of other indicators that the UK is still missing lot's of cases - sero testing and plain common sense

    So what much of this boils down to, is that we know with very high certainty what daily deaths are (allowing the fearful to fixate on that) but with much less certainty what the daily infection numbers are. What we DO know though is that infection daily rate is way way higher than recorded cases.

    How much higher is it in the UK in September?
    2x? 4x? 8x? One thing is sure, is that there is still significant incentive for people who are low risk (the vast majority) to neither report covid like symptoms nor get tested.

    Obviously the greater the disparity between actual positives and recorded positives, the lower the risk (as perceived by your average Joe on this forum) to each and everyone of us.

    The lower the actual risk vs perceived risk of:
    • A severe case of covid
    • hospitalisation
    • ICU
    • death
    • long-haul symptoms


    So with a new death to new recorded infection rate in the UK of about 1%; once we factor in the multiples of missed infections we are looking at a death rate now of 0.5%? Yes at the absolute maximum. 0.3%? maybe. 0.1%? possibly.

    And if we are getting down to levels of below 0.5% then the death rate is still far worse than that of flu (today), but it's not incomparable to flu.

    I would suggest that in the earlier years of flu's evolution to humans (when it was a new infection, like covid is now) the flu would have been significantly more deadly than covid is now. And logically, in future years, when one catches covid again, the result will be more akin to the common cold than to a serious flu today.

    So whilst covid is not 'the flu', it's also not, 'the spanish flu' nor 'the SARS' nor 'the ebola' nor 'the cancer'

    The longer covid is with us (even before a vaccine), the lower the measured death rate will become. So has it been the case up to now, and so will it continue....

  2. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsianXpat0:
    I haven’t looked at it lately, but while it may be true that improved treatment approaches (among other things) seem to have reduced mortality, it has also been suggested that with the age profile of those affected being younger, it might take longer for the number of fatalities to show up in the numbers. There also remains a high amount of uncertainty as to the sequelae (refer to literature on “long-haulers”) meaning a degree of caution really is warranted around contracting it.

    The problem really is the potential exponential trajectory of any spread. Paradoxically the more seriously and responsibly everyone takes the threat, the less paranoid overall measures need to be.

    To borrow a phrase from a different context, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
    Agree with the central theme, but I think you'll find that the time taken for deaths to show up is the same once it gets amongst those who are high risk - And that is in itself part of the point. You just don't see 'any' deaths until it hits the high risk - The low risk are truely low risk (not just low risk relative to the high risk).

    As for long haul - how about we frame this differently. Recovery time for covid can be way way longer for some people than would be the case for the flu, so yes some degree of caution is undoubtedly required.

  3. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArrynField:
    Garbage in Garbage Out....
    The term 'garbage' however is best applied to the data that was coming out when people were forming their impressions of how dangerous covid was to them, a view they now find difficult to update now that data has greatly improved.
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  4. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by hullexile:
    The 2000 deaths per day (46000/23) that Sage was talking about that I responded to in the comment you quoted. In fact my comment that you responded to in #104 starts with "of the. 2000 deaths a day". So you replied to a comment without bothering to read it first.
    Correction, actually about 2,200 deaths per day 66m/81.16 (UK life expectancy)/ 365

  5. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sage:
    I posted the age breakdown for UK deaths in Sept here and you have ignored it, just like all the other data that doesn't fit your view.
    You asked for a reason for the reduced death rate. I gave one, lower age profile of cases now (which is related to dramatically increased testing).

    You argument as far as I can work out is:

    The earlier data was wrong. No it was the data we had at the time and gives a picture of what was happening then, or have you forgotten the images of the hospitals in Italy and New York?

    Based on this wrong data people made wrong conclusions (that is not the same as yours)
    No, most scientists probably made the right conclusions which is why they strongly recommended lockdowns and travel restrictions. Of course they should have junked their science and gone with your ideas.

    Most people, based on the wrong data, think if you catch it you are going to die or end up in ICU. I don't know anyone who believes this. It is always going to be a small minority who suffer severe illness, but perhaps people differ on how important that is.

    Compared to other causes of death covid19 is insignificant. Not even worth discussing. A million dead is a million dead.
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  6. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by walkup:
    Unfortunately those who argue that risk of infection is low do so based on mathematical equal distribution across the population whereas the actual spread breaks out in clusters. As for 'only' focussing on death there is also an assumption that the infection itself is a non-lasting unpleasant flu-like experience for most people with no damaging after-effects. These are the arguments. The practice is to ignore masks, social distancing and care for others. The result is that the experience in the UK is sufficiently different than in parts of Asia for individuals with a choice to make the decision not to travel to the UK considering it to be less safe for now. I originally had a HKG-LHR flight to the UK back in April. Delayed it to August. Now pushed it back to July 2021. Nobody I know in the UK suggesting I should do otherwise in light of current developments. Next Spring is their earliest forecast for a safe return.
    Errrr yup - so what you are saying is that if you're not in a cluster there is effectively zero risk, but if you are in a cluster you need to be more cautious - yup, I think we all took that for granted, but agreed.

    As for Long haul, nobody is saying their is no risk of a longer recovery time for s.o.m.e, but nobody has any good data on the percentages that might be affected nor the time scale. But what we do know from experience is that every time we get early data on an infection related problem, it always looks (to the untrained eye) to be far more problematic than the longer term data proves. So until we know more, I predict that's the case for 'long haulers' too.

    Perhaps what you don't appreciate is that 'deaths' are used as a proxy for bad outcomes, I use them because they're relatively very accurate (in developed nations). All of the trends suggest that as deaths reduce so do 'all negative outcomes' and thus it's not really necessary to be compared, it's simply understood. But yes, if you need it acknowledged, ICU, Hospitalisation, longer term recovery are also potential outcomes...... As long as you also acknowledge that 'no infection', followed by infection but no symptoms at all, followed by speedy full recovery (in a week or two), are by far the biggest likely outcomes.
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  7. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by walkup:
    Of course one of the advantages of younger people not taking reasonable care and getting asymptomatic infection is that there is a good chance of spreading it to their more elderly parents or even grandparents and thereby standing an improved chance of receiving their inheritance earlier than they would have otherwise done. If this strategy pays off there is the justification that the risks were low, they never intended such a thing to happen and so on.
    I'd say that if you have a chance to spread it to your grandparents you need to act like someone who's high risk, just don't expect me to do the same.

  8. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by HK_Katherine:
    The economist has a very good article this week which tackles that. https://www.economist.com/briefing/2...l-figures-show

    Basically, I think their answer is "the number of actual cases in the first wave was 10-40 x higher than reported; plus treatments are better now".
    Yes an excellent article, the Economist always delivers.

    However, as far the argument now is concerned, the ratio of recorded to actual cases in the UK today (latter half of Sept) is what matters. It's clear that recorded cases in the past where so far behind actual as to be almost meaningless.
    This fact has, and continues to be, a major factor behind people failing to update their view of actual risk and so needs spelling out.

    But how far behind actual are recorded cases in the UK now? I model that it's not 10x, and is more than 2x; could be as high as 5x?
    Last edited by Sage; 27-09-2020 at 02:31 PM.
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  9. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by hullexile:
    You asked for a reason for the reduced death rate. I gave one, lower age profile of cases now (which is related to dramatically increased testing).

    You argument as far as I can work out is:

    The earlier data was wrong. No it was the data we had at the time and gives a picture of what was happening then, or have you forgotten the images of the hospitals in Italy and New York?

    Based on this wrong data people made wrong conclusions (that is not the same as yours)
    No, most scientists probably made the right conclusions which is why they strongly recommended lockdowns and travel restrictions. Of course they should have junked their science and gone with your ideas.

    Most people, based on the wrong data, think if you catch it you are going to die or end up in ICU. I don't know anyone who believes this. It is always going to be a small minority who suffer severe illness, but perhaps people differ on how important that is.

    Compared to other causes of death covid19 is insignificant. Not even worth discussing. A million dead is a million dead.
    No, you haven't worked out my argument well at all (or you're deliberately misrepresenting it), all I can say is go back and read this thread again with an open mind.
    Last edited by Sage; 27-09-2020 at 02:32 PM.

  10. #120

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    So, back onto travelling to/from the UK... I'm curious as to:

    i) Why on earth France and Spain (at least) wouldn't be on the list at the same time
    ii) What ability is there (if any) to know if someone has been through the UK but has flown into HK from France, Germany, Holland, Finland etc.?

    I recall at the start of the pandemic when Italy was being singled out it was just a polite enquiry at the immigration gates... presume it's more or less the same now?

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