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Peter Mills
1 Posted 28/04/2020 at 22:43:35
“The goose is not the Premier League itself. It has long since lost its appeal as an institution by most football fans. We love our individual clubs, we love the game, we all want to be League Champions, but the institution itself has no value to most. The geese are the clubs themselves”.

Paul, thanks for writing something I’ve been trying to express for some time, and have never quite managed to.

Karl Masters
2 Posted 29/04/2020 at 00:21:00
I so agree with just about every single word of that, I could have written it mysel!

Forget this season. Nobody cares anymore. Yes, it's harsh for Liverpool, Leeds, Coventry etc and would be a bloody lucky escape for the likes of Norwich, but that's just the way it goes.

Watching two teams play in an empty stadium is like watching a porn film where the participants stay fully clothed!

Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 29/04/2020 at 01:05:44
Paul, my neck is killing me from reading this.

I nodded so much and so enthusiastically that I gave myself whiplash.

Well done, sir.

Derek Thomas
4 Posted 29/04/2020 at 01:30:42
According to the BBC, The French have given up (no change there then – sorry couldn't resist it) and have abandoned their top 2 leagues. The Dutch have too.

Peter @1; you didn't struggle at all, mate, I thought you nailed it.

Null and void, asterisk, *, never happened, the season that never was. Reduced to a trivia quiz question etc, etc.

Then there's the other TW headline about Uefa wanting to make the Champions League a virtual closed shop.

If our new 'local derby'... as defined by distance, becomes Everton vs Burnley, well bring it on.

Talk about out of touch with reality...

Karl Masters
5 Posted 29/04/2020 at 06:40:00
On another note: 42 years ago today, that big Bob Latchford banged in the 2 goals to take him to 30 league goals for the season in a 6-0 win vs Chelsea!
Eddie Dunn
6 Posted 29/04/2020 at 07:38:49
Whilst I agree with most of the above, imagine if we were top of the league with 9 games left and almost certain to collect the trophy for the first time in eons. I am afraid that the tone on here would be very different. Now I would love them to be denied the title and it really couldn't happen to a more deserving group of tossers.

Obviously there are more important things than football but there always will be. In fact, there always are. We all suffer personal tragedies and nationally we have banking crashes, austerity for years, some countries have civil unrest or even wars.

I would just get it done. It is ridiculous to throw away all of the games played. If the season was only 9 games in, it would be different... but at this three-quarter stage it really should be played-out.< If not, and the whole thing is abandoned, I can foresee our Red neighbours claiming the title and unofficially the Red-loving media and establishment will mention the injustice of the thing at every opportunity.

More "legends" will be created, songs will be sung by the glory-hunters, scarves held high above their heads. How they "won" the league only to be unfairly robbed by fate... the potato famine would be nothing in comparison to their bad fortune!

Let them complete the season... the momentum is gone, the results will be strange, with unfit teams, the pointlessness of the stage-managed fiasco will devalue the Reds victory. Any over-celebration will be frowned upon by right-thinking people.

Victory parades will be socially distanced and many of their fans won't be allowed to travel. Let's just get it over with and then look ahead to a future when it can all start again properly.

Ray Roche
7 Posted 29/04/2020 at 09:33:24
I have read that “behind closed doors” doesn't necessarily mean Goodison Park, Anfield etc. England's football centre at St George's Park is one venue mentioned. There are several pitches so numerous games can take place in one day at one venue. It would be like watching a televised Zingari game. No stands, no fans, no atmosphere.

Sorry Eddie, I don't care how few or how many games there are to play, this season is finished. Ruined by VAR and now by this enforced cessation, it's just bad (and deserved) luck for the RS to miss out. They can suck it up like we've had to since Heysel. I still get RS mates gloating over our poor European record despite their part in it. So, fuck'em.

Null and void. Now.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 29/04/2020 at 09:36:24
Eddie (6), Liverpool won the league in February, as far as I'm concerned, so the title is theirs. I can't see it any other way.

Unfortunately for them, Eddie, I don't think it is going to be physically possible to complete the fixtures. To try and do so will take us closer to the second wave of the epidemic and God knows what will create... even plenty of Red fans realise that.

Giving Liverpool the title solves one problem but creates plenty of others regarding the rest of the placings, but I think those deciding these things will have to give up on playing this season out.

Christine Foster
9 Posted 29/04/2020 at 09:42:23
Have to agree with Dave on this, to a point. I think there are two viable options at the moment.

1. Give them their title, so what... it will always be tainted. But have play-offs to decide relegation and promotion. That's all; no other games.

2. Just bring in the Pools Panel and they can assess all the games and total up the points at the end for who gets what... it was good enough in the freeze, it should work now and no risk to anyone.

Sadly, the puppet masters want a pound of flesh. Shame them... let the government make an order to finish the season and let option 2 happen.

Patrick McFarlane
10 Posted 29/04/2020 at 09:49:22
Eddie #6,

I suggest that, had it been any other club apart from maybe Man Utd, the season would have been scrapped weeks ago.

The behaviour of the football authorities during this pandemic and the threat of even more restricted competitiveness as outlined by Uefa will be enough for many fans to ditch the game.

Fans voted with their feet in the late 70s and early 80s when faced with personal financial hardship – half-empty stadiums may become the norm rather than the exception.

The money-men are gambling on fans returning to normal behaviour after the pandemic has passed... but they are likely relying on the same behavioural experts who believed a lockdown was impossible to impose on the UK public.

Sam Hoare
11 Posted 29/04/2020 at 09:56:31
I care far more about the fates of Norwich, Leeds, West Brom, Bournemouth etc than the RS. How will they decide the multi millions decisions of promotion and relegation is beyond me. Expect arbitration galore whatever happens.

As much as I miss football, I see no valid reason for its premature return, behind closed doors or not. France, Belgium and Holland have shown the way. And our situation is behind and under worse control than theirs to my knowledge. Can it.

Charles Barrow
12 Posted 29/04/2020 at 10:01:09
I think it's wrong to just give them the title. We can't allocate titles based on who deserves it. It's like saying Bayern Munich are clearly the best team in the Champions League therefore they win that. Man City are clearly the best team left in the FA Cup so they win that etc etc.

Yes they are 25 points ahead or whatever but the history of sport is full of amazing turn arounds. Yes they are 99% certain to win, but they haven't! And in future what is the yardstick by which we declare teams winners - 10 points ahead; 5 points; 20 points?

I think either they win fair and square by playing behind closed doors or they are 'champions elect' in the history books; not 'champions' per se.

Clive Rogers
13 Posted 29/04/2020 at 10:03:50
Whichever way you look at it, this season is now a write-off. The big danger now is that trying to complete it will push the start of next season back by months and that will also become a write-off, a shambles and a lottery.
John Cook
14 Posted 29/04/2020 at 10:14:58
When Liverpool came back from a 3-0 half-time thrashing in Istanbul, their supporters were saying "It's not over till it's over, believe, anything is possible" etc, etc,

If the positions were reversed and Man City had this advantage, the red gobshites would still believe they could be caught and would not support giving Man City the title. They would want the league stopped rather than anyone but themselves wining it.

I agree with Ray above. Scrap the season and fuck them!

Ajay Gopal
15 Posted 29/04/2020 at 10:19:18
And now we have the Chief Doctor of Fifa calling for the season to be ended now.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/52462233

“My proposal is, if it is possible, avoid playing competitive football in the coming weeks. Try to be prepared for the start of good competition next season."

Lorcan Walsh
16 Posted 29/04/2020 at 10:59:16
Good man, Paul – you nailed it again. Now is not the time to be starting up football again.

Eddie – off the mark here, pal. Fail to see where the potato famine comes into this.

Looking ahead, I suspect the club is vulnerable financially... we'll be gracing the Old Lady for some time to come.

Hopefully this will have an effect on the crazy wages going forward.

I may have missed it but the PFA have been very quiet during all of this... do they have any regard for the health of their members in the case of a resumption?

Paul [The Esk]
17 Posted 29/04/2020 at 11:06:30
The lack of leadership in football is oh so apparent.

The Premier League could have been very decisive. Made the decision to leave the season incomplete in the interests of the nation, in the interests of health, care and front line workers, and – most importantly – as a memorial to those who tragically have had their lives cut short.

They could act as a power for good. Gathering their massive commercial sponsors and supporting either existing charities or schemes or creating a new entity to support those affected.

Not only would that benefit those less fortunate, but it would be an enormously positive PR exercise.

Led by donkeys though...

Jeff Spiers
18 Posted 29/04/2020 at 11:47:48
Money, money, money. That's all that matters.
Brian Harrison
19 Posted 29/04/2020 at 12:02:17
Paul,

Another well-written piece although did you really expect the corrupt Premier League to be the first to make a definite decision? Sadly, like our government, they are always behind the curve in making decisions, and any decisions they do make are always influenced by money.

They will eventually come round to the fact this season cannot be finished, and it will have to be cancelled. The only decision to be made is how do they finish the season?

Only 2 options: declare the season null and void, which is the fairest solution of all, or base it on average points gained against games left. This was the system the Scottish Premier League have adopted and, as Steven Gerrard said, it was a complete shambles to finish it this way.

But, if that is the route the Premier League decide, then you can't award titles without also awarding relegation either. So someone has to make the decision on who gets relegated. So how – with 9 games left – is that fair???

Brian Harrison
20 Posted 29/04/2020 at 12:11:49
Christine @9,

Surely you didn't think through your idea of clubs in the play-off places playing to decide who comes up and who goes down? I hope the Premier League are more mindful of players' health than to go down that route.

I heard today that the Juventus player Dybala, although showing no symptoms, has tested positive for Coronavirus 3 times. There will be other players maybe like Dybala so, if that was the case, then players who test positive obviously couldn't play.

So, if we went down your route, maybe a side in the playoffs have 2 of their best players test positive so they would be precluded from playing. So how is that fair?

Patrick McFarlane
21 Posted 29/04/2020 at 12:20:02
It would seem that general public opinion is beginning to impact the narrative of the mainstream media as Simon Jordan in a recent interview warns Premier League club owners that they might be charged with corporate manslaughter should the league be restarted prematurely.

“I think we are in a situation where the best case scenario in my view is that we lose the season,” Jordan told talkSPORT.

“Liverpool aren't champions, Leeds aren't promoted, Aston Villa aren't relegated, Norwich aren't relegated. We are really into that territory now.

“As much as I don't want to be a doomsday merchant, we have got a disease we don't have a vaccine for, while this isn't a problem in everyone's workplace, everyone isn't spitting and kicking each other as footballers do.

“You cannot have a situation where a global sport of this magnitude has a player who becomes infected, which is an absolute inevitability because they are going to get infected until we find a vaccine.

“And what happens then, corporate manslaughter?”

Add to that the Mirror's assistant sports editor's piece:

Rushing football return would do nothing for Premier League in its battle with morality

Andrew Clare
22 Posted 29/04/2020 at 13:06:21
Jeff #18 & Brian #19 (1st paragraph),

You are absolutely correct. It's all about money and our government's and football's slow response to Covid-19.

Capitalism has brought us to this dead-end where money is more important than people.

Jerome Shields
23 Posted 29/04/2020 at 13:06:23
I agree totally about the sediments expressed in this article. The Premier League need to be concentrating on the coming season. This season is a write-off.

But the Premier League has shown itself as an organisation governed by special interest groups, with weak inept leadership or a complete lack of it. They will continue to try to flog a dead cat, as regards this season, with no planning for the coming season, which sets enormous challenges anyway.

John Keating
25 Posted 29/04/2020 at 13:07:13
Sadly, Paul, the Premier League, like many other industries, is "short term, money is all that matters".

It really is about time that the Government stepped in and told everyone in no uncertain terms that "This is the way it will be" and call off all public gatherings and sports until this virus is under complete control.

Then let the football hierarchy decide how the actual league finishes. Either forget the season, give them the title... whatever, it doesn't really matter. The only thing that counts is protecting the NHS and the general public. Footy and other sports though missed, are, at present, totally irrelevant.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

26 Posted 29/04/2020 at 13:42:02
I recall in the week that Liverpool played Atletico Madrid, when the government was advocating a policy of herd immunity and stated there were no plans to suspend spectator sport, when the Premier League was uhming and ahhing what to do, I lamented on these pages:

"Please! Somebody! Anybody! Take the lead on this."

The Esk neatly lays out multiple reasons of the folly – the immorality, even – of them still considering concluding this season in any form.

Politicians and career administrators enter the fields they do to gain power and influence. To be leaders and decision- and policy-makers. The caliber of the overwhelming majority in such positions show them to be ill-suited to the job.

The clue to what is required to be a decision-maker is it's very name: you need to be decisive. Most are paralysed by indecision. The fear of the consequences of any decision. Not least in all that are two factors:

1) The threat of litagation by 'wronged' parties;

2) The loss of popularity in their target audience, be that the electorate or consumers.

All invested parties remain seated around the table, cards clutched closely to their chests, waiting for the other players to fold rather than 'call'.

Who is going to be the first person, or governing body, to 'call'?

Mike Hughes
27 Posted 29/04/2020 at 14:08:57
Clearly the sensible thing is to NOT play any more football this season. Why not then make an award for the Premier League Title to Man City as lineal champions? They were not de-throned. Seems reasonable to me.

In fact, I'd love to make that announcement live to the nation on the telly. Doubt I could keep a straight face though! (Snigger).

Either way, this will always be remembered as the tainted season. The 19-20 season will always, forever to my memory, have been dipped in shit.

More important things... So who cares?

Jay Harris
28 Posted 29/04/2020 at 14:24:48
Paul,

Once again, an excellent prognosis but I do feel more emphasis should be put on the potential extra demands this might put on the NHS.

There can be no doubt football is a contact sport and as such there can be no doubt of the risks of spreading Covid-19 into administrators, police, medical staff, coaching staff etc could have a major impact on extending the pandemic and putting extra unnecessary burden on the already overworked NHS staff.

Any consideration of not abandoning the season stinks of greed and self-interest, neither of which are appropriate at this time.

Abandon this season; plan for a hopeful start to the new season in a few months time, depending on prevailing circumstances. It may be unfair on the RS and Leeds but who said a pandemic is fair to anyone – especially the dying and the dead?

George Carroll
29 Posted 29/04/2020 at 15:29:19
Can I suggest, Paul, you send this article to the Premier League and Everton FC. You never know it could, but unlikely, make them sit up and show the leadership we all expect but never seem to get.

How sad that, when people are losing their lives because of this horrible, deadly virus, people should be worrying about a triviality like football. I miss it as much as the rest but I, as a vulnerable person, worry about staying free of the virus along with my wife. Let's look forward to next season and forget this.

Eddie Dunn
30 Posted 29/04/2020 at 15:31:29
Nobody answered my question as to how we would feel if we were 25 points clear at the top. I detest Liverpool FC but just, because it is them at the top, many on here want it all voided.

We should wait until football can be played safely again and finish off this season so that the title can be won properly, the other teams can qualify for Europe, and the promotion and relegation issues can be resolved. Nine games to sort it all out before the next season begins. What's the problem? If as season has to start in November and end in July, then so be it.

Lorcan Walsh @16... my reference to the Irish potato famine was in reference to the red's singing their "Version" of the Fields of Athenry, changing it to the Fields of Anfield Road. The song was set during the famine. Most of them have no idea what the original was all about.

I don't want them moaning forever about how they were robbed. The thing will be a joyless chore for all but the top teams, but surely it is better to rightfully give Champions League football to Leicester rather than Tottenham.

Leeds and West Brom have invested hugely and may never recover from the effort. And Liverpool, though I hate them, deserve to win it.


Lenny Jameson
31 Posted 29/04/2020 at 15:53:05
Mr Dunn (30),

Not to put too fine a point on it, but fuck them!

Can you imagine if the boot was on the other foot and we were 20 points clear? There would be petitions from here to Downing Street calling for the league to be cancelled. "You'll never walk alone" banners plastered all over the Royal hospital.

The kopite mafia that overrun the media would be demanding all records of the season be wiped from history immediately.

You say you hate them. Well, I hate them with a passion and can think of nothing I'd like more than this season to be cancelled. That would only partially make up for them destroying the best years of my football supporting life. A fact that they still rejoice over.

Fuck them!!

Tony Abrahams
32 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:01:13
If the season isn't finished, then I think Everton should be awarded a Champions League place, to make up for when they were robbed in 1985.

I don't really, I think it would have to go to the teams who are currently in the top 4 now, but if the league came up with any other alternative, then I would expect Everton to have something to say, and also to remind everyone that other clubs have also suffered major injustices in the past.

Liverpool deserve the league, it must be one of the widest gaps ever created by a team, with a quarter of the games still to go, but who's really bothered about football returning at the minute, other than the money-men?

Michael Lynch
33 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:04:16
Eddie – some fair points but do you really want the fag end of a dull season to be played out over the summer and autumn? I mean, apart from RS and a couple of the teams at the top of the Championship, who gives a flying fuck about the 19-20 season?

It's hardly been a classic, and if the nation is really desperate for some competitive football, I reckon 90% would rather it wasn't two mid-table teams playing for nothing in front of an empty stadium or, even worse, the RS reserves playing a team in the relegation zone once the RS have sewn up the title in the first game back.

Hardly worth breaking lockdown for is it? Fuck this season off, and prepare to start 20-21, with the understanding that even that will probably have to be deferred. In my opinion, until professional football can be played at every stadium in front of paying fans, forget it.

Logically, the players can take a huge pay cut and Sky can pay a much-reduced fee, and the two things cancel each other out so no teams go bust. I'm sure Everton will be happy to receive half the Sky money owed, if they are allowed to cut Schneiderlin's pay to a mere two million quid a year for a season.

Ray Roche
34 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:05:58
Eddie,

I'll answer your question, 'How we would feel if we were 25 points clear at the top?'

I would be seriously pissed off. My anger, frustration and disappointment would be stratospheric. I would go so far as to say it would be as bad as the aftermath of Heysel, when my 'anger, frustration and disappointment' was beyond stratospheric.

Yet, here I am, years later, able to laugh and smile, to enjoy my football, my golf, my family and loved ones... are you getting it yet? Life goes on.

Eventually the RS would, albeit unlikely, realise that there are things that are more important than football, despite Shankly's offering. Maybe the smug, self-serving bastards would finally acknowledge that our sufferings in the aftermath of Heysel are not something to snigger and laugh about, but something that cut right to the bone. It's our poor European record that they take the piss about is, largely, beyond our control. We missed the boat, with a little help from our friends. We got by, with no help from our friends.

We've never come close since then to enjoying any semblance of football dominance. Possibly, they would realise that shit happens. It did to us, because of them, not because of some act of God that is not selective in its choice of victims.

Give them the title? FFS, grow a fuckin' pair and see that shower for what they are. Give them fuck-all.

Bitter and Blue, and proud of it.

Ken Kneale
35 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:28:41
Eddie,

I have to take a contrary view and Ray's post (#34) has much merit. Liverpool should not be given the title not because they are Liverpool but because that is against the very nature of competitive sport.

No individual or team wins until the final whistle and no arbitrary judgement can take place until that point – there are countless examples of last-minute collapse in every sport you can name for decades where if time had been called at some point earlier in the contest, the result would look different.

However, most of all, I am against such awarding as in the current climate, life is more important – the season should be scrapped to take away all the uncertainty and football resume as as when it is safe to do so without any time pressure on when that is for all our sake.

Rob Halligan
36 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:33:24
Well, it looks like Lenny @31, and Ray @34, have answered Eddie's question in the best possible way. Exactly what I was going to say. Karma has taken 35 years to strike, but it looks like he is finally sailing up the Royal Blue Mersey!

We were denied a chance at the European Cup in 1986 through no fault of our own. Pretty good chance we could have won it more than once in the period we were banned from Europe.

As Lenny says, there would have been banners, petitions and marches planned by them bastards to get this season cancelled, null and void, if it were us or Man Utd strolling away with the league.

As for giving them the title should the league finish early? Not a cat in hell's chance. There is still a quarter of the season to play, anything could happen (albeit a very slim, and next to no chance). But, while it's still mathematically possible for them to be caught, then fuck them. It's not won until the fat lady sings... and it seems she has disappeared!

Dave Ganley
37 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:45:34
Good article, Paul the Esk, I agree totally.

Ray #7 took the words right out of my mouth. 😁

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

38 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:57:02
Eddie @ 30.

I'm guessing nobody answered your original question @ 6 - how would we feel about it if we were in the 'bours position - because possibly like me other posters assumed you were posting a rhetorical question, with fanciful consequences if the season is not completed.

As you've posed the question a 2nd time, here is my take.

Any truly passionate supporter of any club would be seriously pissed off if the team they followed was in fingertip reach of the title only to have the season voided, as Ray mentions.

You canvas to 'just get it done', to complete the season. Your prime justification for doing so is that if the season isn't concluded, 'the Red-loving media and establishment will mention the injustice of the thing at every opportunity.'

Seriously? That is why we should play this season out to its conclusion?

These are completely unprecedented times. Only the 1st and 2nd World Wars have halted and voided entire seasons previously. (And who were the reigning national champions each time, Eddie..?).

I've stated before on TW, you get no argument from me that 'they' thoroughly deserve the title. But, they haven't yet won it. Nor has any other team – throughout pretty much the whole of Europe – secured divisional titles, gained promotion or been relegated.

The spotlight when this exhausted discussion is raised yet again is always on one club: Liverpool FC. I will therefore repeat again what I have previously said:

You cannot have a rule of one – giving Liverpool the title 'cos they 'deserve' it. In the top four English leagues alone, there are 91 other clubs. That represents a considerable majority.

If justice is to be applied evenly and fairly; if the season cannot be completed (and we must be rapidly reaching a tipping point with each lost day whereby it is completely impractical for multiple reasons to do so)... then there should be no jiggery-pokery of saying current positions stand and titles, promotions and relegations are based on them, nor having some pools panel equivalent predicting the results of the remaining games.

It's tough on the neighbours. Arguably, it's even tougher on those teams down the divisions in prime position to gain promotion.

So Liverpool don't get to be crowned as Premier League champions? Tough titty.

That is an infinitely small and microscopically insignificant detail of this global pandemic, Eddie.

Roberto Birquet
39 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:58:02
I imagine there will be an appetite for games behind closed doors once fans realise that empty stadium games are gonna be the only permitted games for probably the next two years.
Ray Roche
40 Posted 29/04/2020 at 17:00:45
And while I'm on a roll, I'd love it, just love it, if the season is declared null and void, to see the kipper on the U-Boat Captain and – and this is more important – what their tee shirts would say.
Martin Reppion
41 Posted 29/04/2020 at 17:03:54
Is this article being distributed in other media? It is a rare beacon of good sense in a time of total stupidity.

Anyone reading this who thinks the football season can be completed must be blind or wearing the thickest of red (or white in Leeds, Sky Blue in Coventry etc) glasses.

Publish it where the FA can't miss it. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance for them to stand up and be counted instead of hiding behind their stacks of money.

It falls in the "I wish I'd said that" category.

Paul [The Esk]
42 Posted 29/04/2020 at 17:08:13
It has been widely distributed, Martin, to media, clubs and the Premier League.
Ray Roche
43 Posted 29/04/2020 at 17:16:21
Roberto @39,

Like I have already said, “empty stadiums” might well include St George's Park, the England setup where several games can take place at the same time with fewer ambulances required. No fans... a bit like Walton Hall Park but with grass and no dog shit.

Jay Harris
44 Posted 29/04/2020 at 17:18:08
Eddie,

Others have already answered the question but, for all the refereeing decisions, VAR and media blessings they have had, they are due an upset and this would level the field a little bit.

If they are that good, then they can do it next season.

Why should we consider their emotions when thousands of people are dying by the day and some fools out of greed and self-interest want to restart a contact sport???

Ray Roche
45 Posted 29/04/2020 at 17:25:45
I've just read that Britain has passed Spain in the number of deaths attributed to Coronavirus. Football's not important.
Lenny Jameson
46 Posted 29/04/2020 at 17:31:48
Ray (40),

I know what my tee-shirt will say:

"Fuck Them!"

With a picture of the kopites hanging, one by one...

Paul Tran
48 Posted 29/04/2020 at 17:45:03
The big issue here is that nobody wants to make the first move that gets them sued. Are Sky going to pay millions for non-contact games behind closed doors? I think all parties are waiting for it to be 'impossible' to have matches take place. Then, regrettably, reluctantly, etc.

If I was running a football club right now, I'd be thinking about how to survive until the 2021-22 season starts next August.

Tom Bowers
50 Posted 29/04/2020 at 18:11:14
I said a while back that the season should be held over until a proper ''all clear'' is given.

Next year may seem a bit drastic but, based on what is still happening in many countries this thing isn't going away quickly.

All walks of life are being disrupted, not just sports and entertainment, so we just have to sit tight until a real vaccine is found and tested.

Playing games behind closed doors is not the way to go and also may encourage many people to congregate at friends' houses who have TV coverage which may contravene safety measure.

Dennis Stevens
51 Posted 29/04/2020 at 18:17:50
Hear! Hear! Tom. What does it matter if the League doesn't finish until the Autumn, or even next year?

Whenever it seems safe to proceed, these last few matches of this season would be a good testing ground before we get a whole new season under way.

If the knock-on effect is that next season is pushed back, so what? it might be a chance to realign in readiness for the next World Cup in the middle of Winter. That might end up being between seasons rather than in the middle of one.

Brian Wilkinson
52 Posted 29/04/2020 at 18:22:59
Have to say, Paul, I have always followed your posts; some have given me headaches, trying to take it all in.

However, I would say this is by far the best post you have written – not that the others were less interesting; each post has gone into a detailed account, no stone left unturned and very interesting.

What you have achieved here is what all us posters have thought, but we have not got the talent to write such a brilliant post.

Well done, Paul.

Michael Lynch
54 Posted 29/04/2020 at 18:35:11
Roberto @39 – can't see that happening myself but, if it does, I'd still not want to watch the Premier League on TV from empty stadia. Maybe some kind of series of cup competitions would be fun, The FA Corona Vase or whatever, but not serious leagues.

Still, if stadiums don't open for another two years, then I guess that would also mean two years of no pubs, no restaurants, no theatres, no cinemas, no nightclubs, no bowling alleys, no cricket, no tennis, no live music of any form etc etc.

Not sure that under-40-year-olds will put up with that, as statistically they have more chance of dying from choking on a peanut than from Covid-19.

Ian Pilkington
56 Posted 29/04/2020 at 18:48:26
Our ‘84-85 and ‘86-87 teams were denied the opportunity to play in as English Champions in the European Cup and our ‘14-15 and ‘38-39 teams were unable to defend their respective titles due to two world wars, so it is unsurprising that we can have no appetite whatsoever for playing out the season behind closed doors to ensure LFC collect the Premier League trophy.

The unpalatable fact, though, is that LFC are the only team throughout the four senior divisions certain to win a title.

Surely the fairest way to decide it is, rather than declare the season null and void, suspend it but allow the matches played to remain in the records.

All teams would start the new season in the same division as this one; prize money (and European places) would be handed out based on the standings at lockdown, and LFC would be awarded the Premier League title, but it would be forever tainted with an asterisk denoting “season suspended”.

The Premier League could then get on with the serious business of when and how to kick off next season and, equally importantly, find a way to make VAR work properly. The latter may prove to be the more difficult problem to solve.

Robert Williams
57 Posted 29/04/2020 at 18:49:28
Thanks, Paul, for yet another interesting article (I'm sure). I say that because I had no need to read any further than your first paragraph – which said it all.
Cheers, keep safe.
Paul Birmingham
58 Posted 29/04/2020 at 19:10:36
Paul, spot on. Superb well-written andbalanced article.

How the hell the Premier League can even consider any form of return at this time is ridiculous, with society and all it entails stretched to the limits.

Fifa, Uefa should call time on this nonsense. Time, and well over time to call this season null and void.

Brian Wilkinson
59 Posted 29/04/2020 at 19:24:19
If it is null and void, Ian, be interesting to see if the Kop fly their Steau 86 banner next season.
Len Gowing
60 Posted 29/04/2020 at 20:09:41
I might be talking out my backside here and haven't really thought it through, but wouldn't this be an opportunity for global football to align the next 2 seasons to the 2022 World Cup? We already know that the 22-23 season will be broken by the tournament and, in all likelihood, and I really hope I'm wrong, another lockdown but stricter than this, will happen as we get into Autumn.

I can't see any continuity to any football for the next 18 months until the virus is controlled by whatever means. I also cannot see any government allowing mass crowd gatherings and, as alluded to on another thread, would fans of a certain age want to put themselves at even a slight risk? I heard an analogy that made it simple – if you were given a bowl of a hundred sweets but told three would kill you, would you try any of them? Same as going to a stadium with 40,000 others, would you want to take the risk?

If the season was to be allowed to continue in August, which should hopefully be a low point in the horrendous statistics, until end of September and plan to restart in December, that would give enough slack for further lockdown restrictions over the following 20 months and to complete 2 seasons prior to the World Cup.

A bit of a rambling post but just looking at things from a different angle.

Eddie Dunn
61 Posted 29/04/2020 at 20:10:50
Phew! Quite shocked at the reaction to my view that the season should be continued when it is safe to do so.

Just to clarify my position on this issue: I do not advocate playing any football (behind closed doors or otherwise) until the authorities decide it is safe to do so.

My point is simply that, when it is deemed safe to play, we might as well finish the current season. It could be wrapped up in a month and then we could have a 2-week break and start the next one. Who knows when any of this would be? Obviously, if a long time passes an abandonment of the current season could be advocated.

When the World Wars broke out, no-one knew how long they would last. WW1 "will be over by Christmas" was a common belief. If this pandemic shows signs of abating, then the powers that be will decide for us when it can resume.

The likelihood is that, to truly get on top of it, we need a vaccine. This is most likely going to take a year or two, by the time it is tested and distributed. By then, the pressure on the Premier League and other leagues is most likely to be on starting a new season, as interest will have waned from the sponsors and most fans.

If, however, a lifting of the lockdown is achieved by July (for example), there might be some chance of completing the season. I'm not advocating it. (I don't miss football at all in this situation – and I normally play twice a week.)

As others have said, it is the greedy TV people and others with vested interests who are most keen to resume. The Premier League will have to decide on how long the season can be left on ice before it is declared null and void.

The argument that (as Jay Wood @38 states ) "that is an infinitely small and microscopically insignificant detail of this global pandemic, Eddie" is also the argument not to let rivalries muddy the waters. The "global pandemic – football isn't important" argument hasn't stopped you all venting your spleens on here. It is precisely the opposite.

The global pandemic is enough for me to see past my blue specs and see that it is right that this season is concluded for all of the teams to secure their positions, and get promoted, relegated, etc, and that those that end up in the top positions get their just rewards. But, only if it can be done safely.

Time will tell if it is possible or not.

Dennis Stevens
62 Posted 29/04/2020 at 20:21:27
Hear! Hear! Len & Eddie.

Interesting point there, Eddie, regarding WWI. If they'd really appreciated the scale of the conflict the 1914-15 season would have been abandoned, as the 1939-40 season was... and Everton wouldn't have been Champions in 1915.

Eddie Dunn
63 Posted 29/04/2020 at 20:38:55
Dennis, here is a link to a resume of that season...

Football and the First World War
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

64 Posted 29/04/2020 at 21:20:30
I'm sorry, Eddie, but your latest post, together with your earlier submissions, have left me completely confused as to what exactly you are advocating.

You would hate seeing 'them' crowned as Champions but, in fairness, you believe the season should be played out so that happens.

No fair-minded person, whatever their hue, could seriously deny they would be champions on merit. That has been acknowledged by some even here on TW.

You don't advocate playing football at this time, but insist that, when it is, we should finish the current season. You even say yourself 'Who knows when this would be?'

You further acknowledge 'that to truly get on top of it, we need a vaccine that is most likely going to take a year or two to be tested and distributed.'

You conclude that 'Time will tell if it is possible or not.'

Eddie, each passing day makes it increasingly unlikely that the integrity of any league and its fixtures can be maintained.

The simplistic notion that this season should be re-commenced in June-July-August-September, or even sometime in 2021, and concluded heaven-only-knows when, totally ignores many associated issues – not least, manager and player contracts.

The transfer window for the 2019-20 season officially closed on 31 January. Many players' contracts expire on 31 May, a day ahead of the opening of the summer transfer window.

If you want to follow through your notion to an absurd conclusion, that the current season should be completed ahead of starting a new season, what do you advocate?

That the summer transfer window is voided as new players cannot compete for their new teams in the interrupted 2019-20 season?

That out-of-contract players cannot be recruited or played or paid because we all remain checked in to football's equivalent of Hotel California?

And what of the knock-on effect on the footballing calendar going forward? The start of the 2020-21 season? The rearranged Euros and Tokyo Olympics? Or projecting even further, the 2022 World Cup?

In England's top four divisions alone there are 92 clubs, all with their own venue. In the Premier League alone, there are 92 fixtures still to complete. In the other 3 divisions, a further 341 games to complete. 433 games in total.

Even if the games were played in closed stadiums, every single one of those 433 games by football's own legislation would require taking resources away from the emergency services.

It would expose all attendees to greater risk. It potentially would do likewise to inhabitants living close to each stadium.

As I said earlier, and as Paul Tran @ 48 also references, nobody is taking the lead on this. Nobody wants to 'fold' and show their hand for the fear of litigation and being made the scapegoat for cancelling this season.

It is rapidly reaching the point – as other national federations have been bold enough to do – to do an Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong number:

'Let's call the whole thing off.'

John Keating
65 Posted 29/04/2020 at 22:05:21
Over 26,000 dead – so far, thousands with no work or money coming in, business going down the tubes, and the arseholes in their ivory towers only interested in starting the Premier League back up. If it wasn't such a sad time, you'd laugh!

Eddie, you asked what some would do if we were top of the league? Well, I would be writing the exact same post.

Try to envisage this. In another week or so, you could fill Goodison with the dead! The scale of misery is horrific and we're talking about football.

We've got tight-arsed players who don't give a shit about their communities and Clubs, administrators in the Premier League, Uefa and Fifa who are only interested in their high life and kick-backs... but hey, let's get the footy back on to make more dosh.

We've had loads of NHS staff who have died and thousands more putting themselves on the line for us, they get paid a pittance but would do it for nowt. Flip side, we have hundreds of greedy bastard players doing nothing and their bosses looking to continue their fine lives.

Eric Paul
66 Posted 29/04/2020 at 22:14:35
Eddie,

It will only be safe to play when it's safe to watch.

Rob Halligan
67 Posted 29/04/2020 at 22:16:51
Jay # 64. You say "There are a total of 433 games left in the Premier League and EFL." Now I don't know how many people in total there would be in a stadium when a game would be played behind closed doors, but let's say, for argument sake, there would be 500. Times those 500 people by 433 games, and it comes to over 216k people!

Bearing in mind that, for every game, people entering the stadium would have to be tested for the virus, then that is an awful lot of testing kits required. Can the government afford that many testing kits when they could be used elsewhere?

Danny Baily
68 Posted 29/04/2020 at 22:18:11
The effect on teams lower down the Football League has gone under the radar. Lincoln City joined a raft of clubs as it furloughed it's entire playing staff today. Players' contracts won't be renewed. Loans won't be extended.

The cumulative effect of this will be to make it impossible for Leagues One & Two to be concluded satisfactorily. Coupled with the abandonment of the national leagues, the picture is of a football pyramid whose base has crumbled.

Time to declare the Premier League null and void and wait until it's safe to resume football, even if this means that next season doesn't go ahead as planned.

Andy Crooks
69 Posted 29/04/2020 at 22:31:21
Brian Hughes is National Hunt Champion Jockey. He had a good lead over Richard Johnson and was unlikely to be caught. He might have been, he could have got an injury. However, he is the Champion and a worthy one.

I suspect that, in years to come, his win will be marked with an asterisk. It will not diminish his achievement but people will look twice.

Just do it with Liverpool. End the season and let people judge in the future. To finish the season in June would be ubiquitous.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

70 Posted 29/04/2020 at 22:42:51
Exactly, Rob.

With my missus a nurse and on the frontline of all this I'm seeing and hearing about it first hand the strains it puts on the system and the very people we are relying on to keep us alive.

In my city, the health system has collapsed under the strain. There are literally – no exaggeration, no flannel – people dying at the doors of hospitals with their family members banging at the locked doors with hospital staff refusing to open the doors to them because they cannot accommodate or treat them.

In the last week, four work colleagues of my wife have tested positive for Covid-19. All four had to pay for their own test as their own public hospital doesn't have enough to test their own staff. A parent of two other work colleagues have died.

How is it, I ask, that private clinics have testing kits and are charging the equivalent of 50% of most people's monthly salary for the pleasure?

One of the 4 work colleagues with Covid-19 is my wife's doppelganger, her back-to-back. In other words, when one of them isn't on duty, the other is. Such is the roll of the dice, the complete lottery, in who catches this and when. It could have been my wife.

Spooked by the rapidly moving events, yesterday my wife went in search of a Coovid-19 test. Late afternoon I got a tearful call from her that they had just run out of testing kits and the earliest they are likely to have new stock in is 4 May.

In the meantime, with each passing day, Brazil keeps breaking the previous day's mortality rate. And in the midst of all this last night I had the stomach-churning spectacle of the nation's President when asked about the rising death toll (he ridicules the lockdown and social distancing) reply:

"So what? Sorry. What do you want me to do? I'm the Messiah [his followers call him 'Mito' - Myth], but I don't do miracles".

I wish I could say I've just made that up. I haven't. Someone was heard laughing when he said that.

I'll close by saying I won't be one of those claiming they are ready to turn their back on footy. I love the game and the emotions it gives me to ever contemplate that possibility.

But, right now, there are just one or two other things that need prioritising before advocating the closed or mass gatherings of professional sport.

Martin Reppion
71 Posted 29/04/2020 at 23:35:36
I had my say earlier, but reading the comments since has hardened my resolve.

Fifa should instruct Uefa to tell its leagues to announce an end to the 2019-20 season once it is clear they can't be finished by the end of May. (That time has already passed.) If this comes from the top, then Sky and the FA will not be holding each other to ransom for the money.

If it becomes likely a new season can start in the late summer or Autumn, then a 4-week pre-season and transfer window can be opened. Until then, football is closed.

Anything else is simply immoral. So let the RS be crowned champions* and we can all argue the merit of that in the pub with the smug sods.

Jerome Shields
72 Posted 29/04/2020 at 23:51:04
Eddie #30,

Sure, I would be pissed off – as I have been for years after Everton won the European Cup-Winners Cup against Rapid Vienna in 1985, only to find that they were banned from the European Cup the following year – because of you know who, which they would have had a good chance of winning.

''Everton were just too good for us. It's been a long time since we played against anyone of their class. They are possibly the best side in the whole of Europe, " said Krankl after the game finished. Rapid Vienna had Antonin Panenka, Czech International, of Panenka penalty fame, playing for them.

Peter Warren
73 Posted 30/04/2020 at 00:26:03
Great article and reality check for people like me trying to think what to do to be fair to Liverpool, relegation candidates and promotion hopefuls. It all simply doesn't matter what's fair and of course the season must end. Lives are literally at risk.

The Red Shite deserve the title but, if they don't win it, they don't get the trophy and are not crowned winners. Unfair, yes, but that's life.

I remember a derby when their keeper kicked the ball at the back of Don Hutchinson's head (I think) and ref, Graham Poll (I think) blew up and denied us a win despite sky replays showing the ball crossed the line before he did so. We were robbed of a win but that's life and the history books will show the game as a draw, just like 2019-20 season will be shown as null and void.

Mike Hughes
74 Posted 30/04/2020 at 00:39:40
Sorry, but where does fairness come into this?

Life is unfair. Especially right now.

Screw the RS.

Whatever happens, this season is tainted – so they can stick their asterisk as far up their bitter arses as it will go.

Brian Murray
75 Posted 30/04/2020 at 01:15:38
Peter Warren, I see your Don Hutchison and raise your about 7 more robberies in no particular order:

Clive Thomas,
Wayne Clarke – clear headed winner at Anfield,
Hanson – handball on the line at Wembley,
Twattenberg – total disgrace of a performance as a ref,
Mick Lyons – disallowed goal in Waddle derby...

And, to top it all the landscape mover, 1985, on the verge of greatness... until Heysel.

Nothing bitter about l that, just facts as a certain waiter once said. So welcome to our world, Mr Klopp.

Derek Thomas
76 Posted 30/04/2020 at 01:40:49
Eric @ 66; spot on in a dozen words. Bravo.
Paul [The Esk]
77 Posted 30/04/2020 at 04:32:25
Jeez, Jay, I pray for you and your wife and all around you.

I hope you all stay safe in the most testing of times.

Paul [The Esk]
78 Posted 30/04/2020 at 04:34:30
ps: Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments.
Eddie Dunn
79 Posted 30/04/2020 at 07:42:09
Jay @70, the scenario in Brazil sounds horrendous — I haven't heard anything about it on our UK news. I hope your wife stays healthy through this awful pandemic.

I know two poor souls who lost their lives to this thing and of course it puts football and other matters way down the list of priorities. I also have a daughter-in-law on the front line. As Eric says, it will only be safe to play when it's safe to watch.

You wanted clarification on where I stood on all this, and I still think that, once it is safe to play and watch, that the previous business should be resumed. Just my opinion.

Obviously the time factor must be considered, regarding international tournaments and the ability to condense the following season into the time available. The longer the delay, the more likely the season will be written-off for the sake of the following one. Even that one is looking at risk.

This is where organisers will have to make the decision as to when the season cannot be concluded.

Sport has to take a back seat.

Alan J Thompson
80 Posted 30/04/2020 at 08:45:57
If the decision was made to defer any actions until an effective vaccine is developed, issued and the Government had given an all clear, then I could agree with completing the season if it coincided with this time next year.

That is, sometime in the first 3 months next year, so that a full season, 2020-21, is missed. Unfortunately, I don't think it fits into their financial thinking.

Tony Abrahams
81 Posted 30/04/2020 at 09:40:13
I watched a clip of a young Brazilian girl going around the favellas trying to help people with little food packages, and giving out leaflets, trying to educate people, and just trying to do everything she possibly can.

I've been very worried about Brazil since Jay first brought the situation up about what it's like in his adopted country, and I'm absolutely terrified for the people in this country now.

I read what this bastardo was saying about himself, he's not the messiah, (using a play on words with his surname) and repeat what I said a few weeks ago, and hope that someone from the favellas can get close enough to this horrible human being to take him out.

Alex Carew
82 Posted 30/04/2020 at 10:21:30
High five to Lenny @31. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Fuck em!!!!!
Brian Harrison
83 Posted 30/04/2020 at 10:39:14
Jay,

I read those comments by Bolsonaro this morning, what a heartless bastard he is. I think this virus is highlighting those who should be in control of a country and those who should be nowhere near being a leader of a country.

Like many on here, I can only pray that you and your wife stay safe. How brave is your wife to do the work that she does? By what you say, your healthcare workers are in an even worse position than our care workers.
I always thought with the likes of Brazil and India because of the living conditions of many people in those countries, I do fear how a very contagious virus like this could spread rapidly.

I think the plight of your wife and yourself shows us very starkly that discussing the merits of whether the season should end or play behind closed doors is irrelevant. I would love it if what you posted the other day about the precautions your wife goes through everyday, changing footwear, changing clothes, marking cutlery separately, could be sent to the Premier League before their meeting tomorrow – it would put so much into perspective.

Dave Abrahams
84 Posted 30/04/2020 at 11:30:47
Jay (70), reading your post and recalling your post last week describing what your wife does, before going to work, at work, then when she comes home, as well as looking after her elderly parents, plus worrying about them, I honestly feel guilty about writing and thinking of football never mind watching it in these terrible times.

I can only reiterate what I've said to you in previous posts, my prayers are said every night for angels like your wife and the families they live with. Best wishes, Jay, to you and your family.

Brian Harrison
85 Posted 30/04/2020 at 12:47:08
I see the French league have crowned PSG as Champions – no surprise there, and of course it brought an immediate response from all the red supporting journalists. First out the blocks was Oliver Holt who said this now kills the idea of making our league null and void.

I would like Everton to make a stand at tomorrow's Premier League meeting, by saying they will not put players or officials in danger and will refuse to play in any games behind closed doors.

A leading virologist has slammed the idea, saying the problem with playing 2 games a week is that this virus can be in the system for a minimum of 3 days before any test can say whether someone has the virus or not. So you could test on the Friday and everyone is clear, then test 3 days later and someone may have contracted the virus and spread it to his team mates in training.

Also, Everton being the community club they are, can also say there is no way between 500-600 players, staff and officials should be tested twice a week when front line NHS workers and carers are still not getting tests.

I believe if Everton did make that stand and make it known publicly, then I couldn't see too many clubs not backing their stance. I don't care what decision the Premier League make as to naming Champions or teams to be relegated, they have shown themselves to be a bunch of greedy money-grabbing bastards.

Harry Wallace
86 Posted 30/04/2020 at 12:52:02
I argued on here for games behind closed doors so we could complete the season but now I feel all leagues must be void. Next season should be our focus and we can push that to September if needed. Liverpool have a lot of influence in the media and football hierarchy, so expect them to side with them.
Rob Halligan
87 Posted 30/04/2020 at 13:30:52
Joe Anderson, the Liverpool mayor, has called for the season to be cancelled as of now, but the RS to be declared champions. He fears that, if games are played behind closed doors, then the shite fans will gather at Anfield anyway, even if games are played at neutral venues.

Simple answer is, arrest them, throw them in a cell for a few days, fine the bastards heavily, make them realise that what they would be doing is totally wrong. FFS, I know they are a deluded bunch of thick bastards, but do they not realise the possible consequences if they do gather at that dump?

John Keating
88 Posted 30/04/2020 at 13:45:36
Brian 85, spot on mate. The Club should take a lead and force the issue.

However, I said exactly the same weeks ago about our players and since then sweet fuck-all.

I am afraid our lot, both Club and players, are just sheep in this, waiting to be led and dictated to by vested interests.

I will always love my Club but I am afraid after this it will never be the same.

Kim Vivian
89 Posted 30/04/2020 at 13:48:28
This article and the ensuing thread reasserts my conviction that we have by a country mile the best fan's forum in the country, if not the World. Great articles, measured argument for the most part respectful, often amusing, good grammar and literacy, and even when it does lapse into well-lubricated ale-house type argument remains pretty entertaining. Keep up the good work everyone, and best wishes/prayers to everyone connected with the front line, or affected medically.

I can empathise because my partner is a private care home carer caring for special needs adults (try keeping those characters socially distanced!), in a high-risk age group herself and there is inevitably a permanent anxiety about her well being.

I'd just say that my opinion is with the main weight opinion on here and football should just shut up shop and re-start the season from scratch when it's safe and sensible to do so. There is far too much risk in trying to accelerate the return to normality when we are trying to deal with a pandemic for which there is currently no known medical remedy. Sure, there will be a multitude of logistical, legal, ethical and moral issues to address but it has to be done.

The fact that it means the RS are fucked over is just the silver lining. Sweet.

Peter Mills
90 Posted 30/04/2020 at 15:48:50
Rob #87, if I didn't know you, I might think you had some underlying negative feelings towards our neighbours.
Rob Halligan
91 Posted 30/04/2020 at 16:10:42
Peter, don't know what ever gives you that impression? 😁😁😁
Eric Paul
92 Posted 30/04/2020 at 16:18:39
Brian,

I thought the French had a rule to declare the league with champions and relegation by going by the league standings at the last full fixture which I think is game week 27 as week 28 fixtures are incomplete. We don't have the same rule.

Michael Lynch
93 Posted 30/04/2020 at 16:55:27
Mayor Joe says no:

Premier League restart: Liverpool mayor fears 'farcical' situation

He does say give the Shite the title though, but as we all know it wouldn't be a real win, so he knows exactly what he's saying there – "Here's a plastic trophy for you plastic football fans".

Gerard McKean
94 Posted 30/04/2020 at 17:08:15
Excellent article, Paul, and many heartfelt responses, not least Jay #70.

The situation in Bolsonaro''s Brazil is even worse than here, and that's saying something because I want to flag up another angle that I don't think has been discussed yet (apologies if it has).

I think there is another equally powerful motivation besides money to restart the football season here: it is despicable how the Johnson government will use any device to distract attention away from its sheer ineptitude in the face of this crisis. We clap the NHS and care workers, we stand silent for the nurses and bus drivers and other key workers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who reacted so slowly to the threat because they had “more important” matters on their agenda, those who ignored two clear warnings to prepare for this eventuality, those who slashed funding to our health and care services are relieved at such deflection.

There will be considerable pressure from Johnson and his cabinet of incompetents, particularly on the Premier League to provide a little more ‘opium of the people' to dull people's senses and take minds off their criminal failures.

Dave Abrahams
95 Posted 30/04/2020 at 17:17:21
Gerard (94), great last paragraph. I hope the questions that must be asked of this motley crew of a cabinet, led by this chancer of a Prime Minister, will be asked when this plague comes to an end.
Dean Barton
96 Posted 30/04/2020 at 17:39:56
Sorry, Gerard (94), but you are letting your blatant political bias cloud your thinking. The government has done an adequate job. They have ensured that people and business are sorted financially. They could've been harder with the lockdown and closed everything but then you'd accuse them of being authoritarian.

Governments cannot win in these situations. They are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't. No matter what they did, you would still criticise because of your obvious dislike for them in the first place. I am no Tory voter but your bias is clear for everyone to see.

David Thomas
97 Posted 30/04/2020 at 17:46:50
Dean @96,

I think you're wasting your time, mate. A clear majority on here just want to slate the government at all costs due to their political bias.

Tony Abrahams
98 Posted 30/04/2020 at 18:00:32
Great Britain, “an island” that might end up having the most deaths in Mainland Europe, and a prime minister, who ended up in intensive care, quite possibly because of how blasé he was, going round shaking everyone's hand?

I'm not slating the government either, one thing that I've just mentioned is a fact; let's hope and pray that the other one doesn't end up being one to.

Brian Williams
99 Posted 30/04/2020 at 18:11:23
Good post, Dean @96.

I can't be doing with the Tories either but I agree with you and actually posted "damned if they do etc" a while ago.

No, they haven't been perfect and, no matter who had been in charge, mistakes would have been made.

We should concentrate on pulling together and getting through this (IMHO) rather than apportioning blame at this time.

Get yerself a copy of Billy the Spaceman to cheer yerself up!

Gerard McKean
100 Posted 30/04/2020 at 18:21:05
Dean, David, let's just re-wind for a moment; this was a fine article by The Esk, the main thrust of which was that the custodians of the game should not be pressured into re-starting the Premier League because the deaths of 26,000 people on this country (and counting) and the mortal threat to the rest of us are more important than money.

I agree totally with that view and what I said in my post was that there will be a pressure on them as powerful as money, namely political. The clue was in the phrase I borrowed, “opium of the people”. Given the constant attempts by ministers to avoid criticism by being less than truthful with us, eg, flights full of PPE from Turkey that did not materialise, or that herd immunity was not part of the plan when it clearly was, I am entitled to arrive at the opinion I have expressed in support of Paul's article.

This does not constitute bias. However, this is not the forum to go too deeply into political arguments. I doubt we'd agree on much apart from our support of Everton. My two Evertonian mates whose businesses have collapsed because they could not get government loans immediately or the many thousands of self-employed who have fallen between the cracks might not agree much with you either.

Jay Harris
101 Posted 30/04/2020 at 18:22:42
I don't understand the point of talking about lawsuits.

Surely "Force Majeure" comes into play and it is an Act of God.

Perhaps those in the legal community can clarify this for us.

Tony Abrahams
102 Posted 30/04/2020 at 18:34:10
I agree with your last sentence, Brian, especially because the circumstances are so difficult for everyone, mate.

Taking it back to football though, I do feel that our leadership changed their minds, just as they were running up to take a penalty kick, which is the biggest problem they are going to have to face, especially if the scientists were right all along.

I've read reports criticising Boris Johnson today, saying he obviously wanted to go with herd immunity, instead of listening to the scientists, which is something that he eventually did. So "damned if you do and damned if you don't" might not be the whole story in the end. Who really knows, in these very critical times?

Paul [The Esk]
103 Posted 30/04/2020 at 18:35:17
Jay #101 it will depend upon the specifics of the contracts between the Premier League and the various broadcasters. In English (and Scottish) Law Force Majeure is a creature of contract and not of the general common law.

So it will be down to the wordings of the Force Majeure clause in each contract.

Gavin McGarvey
104 Posted 30/04/2020 at 18:40:52
I think whether the games get played depends very much on the TV companies. If there's not enough money in it versus the risk it won't happen. If there is...

Regarding the title, who cares? If they give it to Liverpool, it won't be legitimate, and if they don't, they'll complain about the injustice of it forever. Either way, I can't overly concern myself.

The only way I could care about the rest of the season is if Everton stood a chance of winning something. Selfish, I know but there you go...

The real debate is about next season. If there's no vaccine or effective treatment, then the situation might not be so different. Does anyone want to watch games played behind closed doors then?

Brian Williams
105 Posted 30/04/2020 at 18:42:23
Tony, I think "they" were certainly caught unawares and were probably ill-prepared to handle this horrible thing.

But I think, in any big institution (if you can call 'em that), there will be advice coming from all angles and the fear of fucking it up and making a huge mistake had certainly had an effect.

The most important thing after we get through it, again IMHO, is that we've (they've) learned lessons that'll never be forgotten so that, in the future, they are better prepared and better equipped to deal with something of this magnitude.

Seems a long long time ago since all we had to worry about was whether Calvert-Lewin was or wasn't a Premier League standard striker. This puts the problems we thought we had into perspective, mate – that's for sure, eh!

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

106 Posted 30/04/2020 at 19:00:09
With respect Dean and David, without wishing to politicise things and putting aside accusations and presumptions of political leanings, there is a legitimate need to question governments on their past and present performance. There should also be a day of reckoning for them at future ballots.

All nations, all governments are fully aware that the threat of a global pandemic is not a question of 'if', but 'when'.

Covid-19 is not a 'bolt-out-of-the-blue' unanticipated event. All governments run pandemic models on infection levels and how it impacts on every aspect of life. Governments maintain warehouses stocked with the like of essential PPE.

The mortality and contagion rates clearly indicate which nations were well prepared for this pandemic and those which were not.

The gold standard has been set by the likes of South Korea, Germany and Finland. They maintained their stockpiles in readiness for an event such as this. They had a well-practised emergency plan to immediately trigger when things took a turn for the worse.

The US and the UK are 1st and 3rd respectively for the number of Covid-19 deaths. It is highly likely the UK will surpass Italy before much longer to claim 2nd place. Brazil, closing in on 6,000 deaths, is head and shoulders the poorest performing nation in the planet's entire southern hemisphere. Contrast their numbers with better performing nations.

Germany has the same number of reported cases as the UK – 160,000+ – but only a quarter of the number of deaths – UK: 26,000, Germany: 6,500. Germany has tested, tracked and isolated Covid-19 victims. It has one of the highest ratios of ventilators per population in the world. Indeed, it has sent ventilators to the UK, Italy and Spain. The UK has been pitiful in achieving promised targets of testing and tracking and is still scrambling around to cover its shortage of needed ventilators.

South Korea and the US announced their first Covid-19 cases on exactly the same date, 15 February. South Korea learnt from the Sars virus of the early 2000s, kept a stockpile of necessary resources, and developed a very aggressive plan of testing and tracking which shames all western nations.

The US death toll of 62,000 (and rising) constitutes 25% of all global deaths. They have suffered 15 days of 2,000+ daily deaths in the last 3 weeks. The US is the only nation with more than 1 million cases – a third of all global cases, 5 times more than the 2nd highest.

South Korea, by contrast, in the same time since both countries recorded their first Covid-19 case, has less than 11,000 cases and just 247 deaths. Total. Their highest number of deaths from Covid-19 in a single day was 9.

They achieved all this with very little disruption to daily life in a much more densely populated country than the US or the UK (South Korea is the 23rd most densely populated country in the world. The UK 49th. The US 174th.

Both the UK and the US governments in recent years made deliberate policy choices to cut budgets, staff levels and resources to the public health and social welfare programs. Both took the short-term cost-saving option of neglecting pandemic preparation plans and not maintaining the necessary stocks and resources.

You say, Dean, that the UK government has done an 'adequate job'. That reads as damning them with very faint praise.

You plaintively say that 'Governments cannot win in these situations. They are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't.'

They are, and should be damned, for what they did, as I describe above, to ensure that this pandemic has ravaged every facet of daily life.

It does not, or at least should not, excuse them now that the likes of the UK and the US governments are being reactive when they should have been proactive to prevent the death and disruption both nationally and globally.

Andrew Ellams
107 Posted 30/04/2020 at 19:03:01
Even a global catastrophe becomes about them. Well, even in footballing terms, it really isn't. I don't care how many points clear they are because it's totally irrelevant to the 30 promotion, relegation and European places that remain a long way from being decided. We can't award them the title and say sod all of the rest.

Non-league football have voided the 2019-20 season with several clubs already mathematically guaranteed promotion or even their respective titles, what happens to them?

Jerome Shields
108 Posted 30/04/2020 at 19:23:58
Jay #70 and 106,

Sorry to hear of the situation you and wife are having to deal with in Brazil. Hope things improve for you.

I agree with your assessment regarding government. Both USA and UK had a lassez faire attitude, even policy, and got badly caught out as a result.

The attitude to the NHS was that staff were the same as soldiers going to war, under-equipped and even expendable. Of course there was a lot of PR mouth-piecing, but actions were slow.

The next stage looks like it is going to be driven by economic considerations, rather than health, but there is a fear of a relapse.

Some governments will forge ahead regardless, and walk into political upheaval.


Simon Dalzell
109 Posted 30/04/2020 at 19:56:32
Spot on, Jay.

I watched a documentary a year ago, suggesting this scenario was on the cards. The graph showing the rise of theses zoonotic viruses was on a steep incline. Obviously the MERS and SARS viruses were a big pointer to what was possible.

Surely, stockpiles of PPE and adequate numbers of ventilators should have been the minimum the government had in place?

Harry Wallace
110 Posted 30/04/2020 at 20:36:52
Gerard McKean, stay away from politics, pal, and stick to footy. You know fuck all. Your hatred clouds your brain cells.
Harry Wallace
111 Posted 30/04/2020 at 20:47:42
I wouldn't mind a poll on ToffeeWeb to guess how the season will end. It would be interesting to see the opinions.
John Keating
112 Posted 30/04/2020 at 20:56:22
I see the dickheads at the Spirit of Shankly and the Club itself are slagging Joe Anderson off – there's a surprise!

They really believe that the dimwits won't celebrate at Anfield, regardless of where they play, when/if they get the league title.

Short memories, it seems...

Michael Lynch
113 Posted 30/04/2020 at 21:01:55
I know this is just a couple of players, and who knows what words were put into their mouths, but they do seem reluctant to go back to training and playing:

Sergio Aguero: Players 'scared' about Premier League return

Unless they are threatened with legal action to stop their pay, I wonder how many Premier League footballers are going to take a lot of convincing to re-start the season any time soon.

Jerome Shields
114 Posted 30/04/2020 at 22:31:01
I came across this adjusted Country comparison of Coronavirus impacts:

Population Adjusted Coronavirus Cases: Top 10 Countries Compared

[Link Fixed]

Bobby Mallon
115 Posted 30/04/2020 at 22:56:43
Gerard McKean
116 Posted 01/05/2020 at 07:11:46
Harry #110, I’m both honoured and puzzled why an intellectual giant would take the time to tell me I know nothing of politics. I’m eager to learn; what do you recommend I read? The Telegraph? The Mail? The Sun?

In the meantime, Harry, read Jay at 106 who has expressed more eloquently than I could the reasons why we have a duty in a democracy to question our government. My whole point is that, as you yourself advise, this government right now would like nothing more than for us to “stick to footy”. Stops anyone asking awkward questions.

Bobby Mallon
117 Posted 01/05/2020 at 08:02:41
Senior Bristol Rovers players and club management are understood to be furious after a voice note containing sensitive information regarding the future of the 2019-20 season was leaked to fans and rival players.

The 4mins 13secs recording, which Bristol Live has heard, is of Rovers winger Alex Rodman – the club's PFA representative – outlining the main points from a recent meeting between the EFL, owners, fellow professionals and Gary Neville, who has been acting as a bridge between the PFA and league bosses.

[I have the voice transcript on WhatsApp but don’t know how to put it on here.]

Stuart McKeown
118 Posted 01/05/2020 at 08:09:30
Jay Wood. Absolutely spot on, mate. Governments have a massive role in how the current situation is managed.

Some people have been stating that the FA and Premier League should look at what the French and Dutch have done. Yes, the FA and Premier League could take a lead in this, but what some people are forgetting is the fact that the Dutch and French FAs ultimately had no choice other than to suspend the league competitions, because the Government's of both countries have banned all mass gathering events until September!

This is now up to the UK Government to take a lead and avoid any further unnecessary deaths and strain on the NHS.

Season null & void now!

Rob Halligan
119 Posted 01/05/2020 at 11:25:11
We'd all love to see the season null and void, but we know that won't happen. If the Premier League is cancelled, current positions will stand as they are and the shite will be given the title. I say 'given' because they won't have won it.
Eric Paul
120 Posted 01/05/2020 at 13:36:32
I don’t see how they can do that Rob as some teams have a game in hand
Rob Halligan
121 Posted 01/05/2020 at 14:22:37
Eric, there will probably be no relegation, and, as many have said, two promoted from the Championship to make a 22 team Premier League next season. Only problem then, the likes of Fulham will kick up a stink because they will feel they have a real chance of promotion. There's too many twists and turns to consider, and the only fairest way if the season can't restart is null and void, thus leaving only one club to kick up a stink, but fuck them anyway.

By the way, I now see the RS hierarchy are kicking up a stink about what Joe Anderson has said, about cancelling the season but giving the shite the title, as big Joe feels their gobshite fans will gather at Anfield on the day they win the league. Big Joe is right. I can't believe anyone would think otherwise. I'd love to be proved wrong, but can't see it.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

122 Posted 01/05/2020 at 14:49:34
Gerard @ 116.

I think it was very generous of you to even acknowledge Harry and his crass and trite comment, fellah.

As you correctly state, it is a duty of each and every one of us to question and challenge those in power on their decisions and policies that impact directly on every aspect of our lives.

Unfortunately, as can be seen by the words and deeds of the three Bozos I take particular interest in in this pandemic, Bozo UK, Bozo US and Bozo BR, all three appeal to a particular demographic that lap up their vision of nationalism and protectionism.

As the following video shows for some people there is nothing - absolutely NOTHING - that any of those 3 national leaders can say or do that will cause a certain type of supporter to question or turn against them.

Link

You will simultaneously laugh out loud and be left incredulous at some of the observations made.

Linking this video which engages with Trump supporters at a rally is not intended to slight or label anyone in this thread, or to ridicule 'mericans in particular.

You could conduct a similar exercise at a Boris or Bolsonaro rally and get the same results.

What it highlights is that there exists an incredibly ignorant demographic in all electorates whose understanding of the issues is extremely superficial and easily influenced and manipulated by 3-word soundbites.

Their source of all knowledge is social media. It was largely thanks to social media and the dark arts that all 3 Bozos employed that helped them get elected.

It is a trait that sadly isn't likely to change any time soon I fancy.

James Flynn
123 Posted 01/05/2020 at 14:52:58
Bobby (117) - Go to the very last line at the bottom of this page. Click on: "Contact and Feedback". That will take you to the Contact page.

At the top, you see: "Send us a message". 2 lines below that is the email addy: contact@ToffeeWeb.com.

Send your questions on posting there. Lyndon or Michael will answer you.

Eric Paul
124 Posted 01/05/2020 at 15:00:42
I think it would have to be all or nothing, Rob. What about European qualification which for me is the biggest sticking point based on our late charge for the Champions League. Null and void it which would be a big disappointment. I was looking forward to some big European games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
John Keating
125 Posted 01/05/2020 at 15:10:22
Jay,

First let me wish you and the family, especially the missus, well. I pray for her and her colleagues' safety.

I have no issue whatsoever in your posts regarding questions that need to be asked, and not only of the Tory government. As mentioned previously on other thread, I am really pissed off on a more local level. Our local council and authorities really do have a lot to answer for, now and going back years.

How the fuck the Atletico game went ahead is a disgrace that will live long locally. I appreciate it will be difficult and we may never get an answer but how many Covid-19 cases and deaths can be attributed to the horrendous decision to play that game?

I have no doubt they will blame government advice but to me that is bollocks. The game could have been called off by the Clubs or local authorities. An absolute disgrace.

Brian Harrison
126 Posted 01/05/2020 at 15:22:54
Jay,

Good to see you are still posting despite the difficult time you and your good lady are going through at present.

You are absolutely right about the 3 Bozos, I am amazed how these people can get elected to power. Certainly Johnson/Cummings love a 3-word catch phrase to influence voters, they used "Take Back Control" to secure a Brexit victory. Then it was "Get Brexit Done" to secure a victory in the General Election.

You can see how a similar narrative was used by Hitler his mantra was the "Jews are stealing our jobs". They say you get what you deserve, although no Country surely deserves Hitler or the 3 Bozos.

Seems Trump has shown Johnson and Bolsonaro just lie and lie and lie in the end people will believe the lies are true. Johnson is now peddling the line that other Countries are looking how successful we have been in combating the virus. Well certainly not 99% of the rest of the world seeing only USA tops our death poll.

Even the medical and Scientific people at the briefings seem to be complicit in some of the utterings from the Bozos, which was apparent when Trump said injecting yourself with disinfectant could kill the virus in a minute and looked at his medical officer for approval, of course she said nothing. Then obviously when he went back to his office somebody must have told him to stop making disastrous statements so he then says he can't believe anybody took his comments seriously.

I am sure when this is finished many, many questions will be asked but any criticsm towards Trump will be met with his usual "Fake News" quote.

Johnson will no doubt take his maternity leave and let his underlings take the flack. We know he doesn't like to face tough questions as he was the only major candidate to duck out of the Andrew Neil interviews.

I would love Eddie Mair to do the interview when this is over, he took over the Andrew Marr show and Johnson happened to be on and he started the interview with "You're not a very nice man, are you?" and went on to say "You are also a compulsive liar". Johnson had no answer to either question.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

127 Posted 01/05/2020 at 15:31:26
Thanks, Brian (and others) for the continued goodwill and kind words towards my missus.

May 1st has given her a much needed day off.

She turned in early last night around 9:30. 15 hours later and the middle of the next day, she has not moved a muscle and is still there.

She needed this break, all the more so that she returned home last night reporting that a 5th colleague in a week has tested positive for Covid-19.

All a roll of the dice.

Rob Halligan
128 Posted 01/05/2020 at 15:35:59
I think we are too far behind 4th place to think about finishing top four, Eric, but while it's still mathematically possible to catch Chelsea, then we don't give up hope. Realistically finishing in a position to make the Europa League will be seen as a good season, considering the position we were in at the beginning of December.

I've got loads of good memories of European aways in the Europa League, and would certainly fancy a few more next season, while we make a big push for Champions League. That is, of course, if Uefa would do us the honour of letting us in!!

Rob Halligan
129 Posted 01/05/2020 at 15:43:35
Jay, glad your missus is safe. I was watching the ITV News at Ten last night, and it had a report from Brazil (can't remember the name of the place though), with the report starting off by saying the President, or whoever runs your country, called this virus "no more than a flu bug". Unreal!!

The report also showed pictures of the dead being buried in rows and rows of graves. It really was a harrowing report to watch.

Dave Abrahams
130 Posted 01/05/2020 at 15:58:20
Jay (127), glad your wife is getting a much needed rest and the dice keep coming up sevens and elevens, best wishes to both of you.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

131 Posted 01/05/2020 at 16:06:52
Thanks Rob. The scene you describe was probably Manaus in the heart of the Amazon.

Officially, they have had 360 Covid-19 deaths, but then the city mayor and state governor came out this week desperately pleading for federal government help as they were burying 120-140 a DAY. It is widely believed that the 6,000+ total deaths in Brazil are a serious underestimation and that there is a 2-week lag in the true numbers.

And like the UK, deaths outside hospital like in care homes or even domestic deaths are not being included in official figures.

As for Bolsonaro, if all this wasn't so serious he is a gift that just keeps giving.

Yesterday he 'pulled' one of his own Facebook posts after it drew the ridicule it deserved. You will appreciate my choice of the word 'pulled' when I tell you he whined:

'Why should I follow WHO when they encourage us to teach our children as young as four to...MASTURBATE?'

I kid you note. Here's a link to the story.

Link

Typical of the three Bozos and their like, he has taken something out of context - published ten years ago - and got completely the wrong end of the stick, so to speak.

But like his fellow Bozos he knows this will play well with his core support - white nationalists, fundamentalists, evangelical in their politics and religions.

It won't matter to any of them - least of all Bozo BR himself - that it has been both riducled and withdrawn. It has achieved its purpose and deflected attention on his failings and demonised the commi-supporting WHO.

Mad times.

Mike Gaynes
132 Posted 01/05/2020 at 21:38:03
Jay #106, spot on except for one fact -- both South Korea and the US confirmed their first cases on January 20, not February 15.

That indicts the US "leadership" even more deeply for its contemptible response.

Delighted your wife remains healthy. Continued best wishes to her.

Tony Hill
133 Posted 01/05/2020 at 22:53:51
Do we have reliable data for the percentage of people under 60 who have died from the virus? I read somewhere that it is very small, but surely that can't be true if we're all locked down?

The other thing that's interesting is that a high-density population like Japan seems to have a very low number of deaths and some people say they didn't really lock down like us. Is that right?

I find it all very confusing and there doesn't seem to be a consistent pattern. Perhaps we can't really draw any conclusions yet? I do worry that we seem to be drifting along with not the slightest notion of when, how or why it's going to end. Meantime, the economy is dying. Or is that too simplistic?

I'm 72 so I know I'm at risk but I am very troubled that my grandchildren's future is going to be one of debt repayment and living a shadow life.

Michael Lynch
134 Posted 01/05/2020 at 23:13:52
Tony, you're right, there isn't any consistent pattern and we can't draw any conclusions yet. That's what the UK's Chief Medical Officer, the Chief Scientific Officer, and any number of scientists and health professionals worldwide say. Though of course, why listen to them when you can read what the real experts have to say all over Twitter and Facebook?

You're also right about Japan – almost no lockdown and a tiny amount of testing, yet they have a death rate per million which is a fraction of even Germany's. It's impossible to draw any real conclusions yet, and equally futile to compare different countries yet, but some people want to turn this into a Covid-19 version of the Eurovision Song Contest.


Andy Crooks
135 Posted 01/05/2020 at 23:54:23
Jay Wood, best wishes to you and your family. I would guess Brazil is, with it's fascist president, a tough place to be in.

I know this is a bit stupid but get you and your missus back to Liverpool!!

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

136 Posted 02/05/2020 at 19:59:32
Mike @ 132.

Thanks for the correction, moving the 1st cases of Covid-19 back a full month for both the US and South Korea.

As you say, it indicts the US presidency even more.

And thanks to you (and others) for their kind messages of support for my missus.

What about your own wife, Mike? Have you both taken the decision, what with the improving situation in Wuhan and China as opposed to events in the States, together with the logistical nightmare of flying from China to the US, that perversely it is now safer she stays in Wuhan rather than return to the States?

To repeat an earlier comment, Mad Times we live in.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

137 Posted 02/05/2020 at 20:21:09
Back to the core subject of The Esk's opening post, this comment in the Echo echoes my own hopes about getting Bramley-Moore Dock built, regarding its importance as a provider of jobs when we emerge from the pandemic and its wider benefits to the city and region:

Link

Plus another story taking an upbeat look on the positive impact a new stadium can make to Everton's finances:

Link

Conor McCourt
138 Posted 02/05/2020 at 20:24:05
Tony @133,

Yes, the rates for under 65 are much lower than even influenza. This was a brilliant interview I watched today from Michael Levitt though not for the faint-hearted as he is clearly a scientist who has no regard for political correctness or media hype.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bl-sZdfLcEk

Mike Gaynes
139 Posted 02/05/2020 at 20:37:05
Jay #136, actually Wuhan is safe and our part of Oregon is currently safe, but with no direct flights from China to the US West Coast, she'd have to take multiple flights, first within China and then through a third country as well as an additional US airport to get home. That's where she'd be at risk of contacting the virus and then exposing me.

And because I was previously treated with long-term immunotherapy, I'm in the very highest mortality risk category. So she won't chance it until she can fly nonstop (July? August?). Me, I'd risk it in a second.

Condolences to you on living under the only worse president on earth than our own Bleach Boy.

Peter Mills
140 Posted 02/05/2020 at 21:09:27
Jay,

May I add my own best wishes to you and your family.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

141 Posted 02/05/2020 at 21:12:55
Mike, that's good to hear that Wuhan is now regarded as safe, as is your home state (relatively).

What is it now? Four months and counting since you were last together? That's tough.

As for Bozo BR, this is a video of his supporters confronting frontline healthcare workers in front of the Brazilian senate in Brasilia just yesterday.

You'll recognize the type from Trump rallies, I'm sure. Wrapping yourself in a national flag makes you a greater patriot, shouting the loudest makes you 'right' and being angrier makes you just and fair.

Link

Of course they are speaking in Portuguese, but let me give you the gist of the scene.

This was yesterday, May 1 - International Labour Day - which is a national holiday in Brazil. Nurses stood - socially distanced, wearing masks, carrying black crosses - gathered in front of the senate in statue-still, silent protest.

The protests intended to draw attention to national nursing with three central objectives:

1) to defend social isolation on a scientific basis
2) to honour nursing workers from all over Brazil who have died fighting Covid-19
3) to highlight the importance of the nursing profession

As you can see, the Bolsonaro supporters do not wear masks and get right in the faces of the passively protesting nurses. This is some of the shite they spouted:

"You are not going to destroy this nation. You are robbing Brasil of the fruits I created with my sweat. You are all functional illiterates, left-leaning socialists. We are going to sweep the Communists out of this nation" says the man (a known agitator).

The woman is just as crazed. "You are all sheep. Do you want to be like Venezuela? Like Cuba? Earning just $50 a month for your work? My own children are doctors and nurses and they are not spoiling the nation."

She gets really personal in front of one nurse:

"When we smell someone who hasn't smelled perfume, we understand the type of person you are!"

You can also hear people asking the professionals not to react to the aggressions.

Imbeciles such as this are encouraged in their words, actions and attitudes by a denialist President.

Mad, bad times.

Tony Hill
142 Posted 02/05/2020 at 21:25:02
Conor @138, very interesting indeed, and very sobering. Some intelligent courage, perhaps, would be a good thing; courage above all.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

143 Posted 02/05/2020 at 22:28:07
I've also just watched your link Conor. Very informative.

As Prof. Levitt says, the world would have benefitted more with a 'smart lockdown' policy. One that strikes a happy balance between allowing maximum infection (herd immunisation) with minimum deaths (adequately caring for the chronically sick), by keeping hospitals 'full' but not 'overflowing' (not so sure about this point. It appears a contradiction in terms to me).

This way there would not have been the social and economic impact we are facing now and for some good time into the future.

He also acknowledges this is a very difficult balancing act, all the more so in 'democratic' countries where decisions are made that are politically expedient for the governing party. All the more so in an election year (cough!).

And there is the rub. Politics get mixed up in policy decisions with regard to Covid-19, but a nation's social and culture habits also differ enormously and go a long way in determining what is acceptable to the populace.

As the good Professor mentions, in China they are used to wearing face masks when venturing outside, such are the levels of pollution and likelihood of infection. That greatly aided the ruling party in containing the spread beyond Wuhan.

Then there is the discipline of the Chinese people themselves and their (largely) obedient nature in obeying government edicts. Beyond that, the Chinese are not a 'touchy-feely' nation.

Now contrast that to my own host nation, Brazil, and the political and social infrastructure is almost the polar opposite.

Touching, embracing, kissing, hand-holding is the order of the day. I know people whose sole dress-attire every day is shorts and flip-flops. They are overdressed if they slip on a tee-shirt. To flip a switch and to say you can no longer do that is a hard sell.

Then there is Brazilian 'jeito' - a way of getting around the system. Meek obedience to state or federal edicts ain't the Brazilian way. Even where 'total lockdown' is meant to be in place, nowhere is consistently achieving anywhere near the desired 70% compliance levels.

Originally, like the good Professor, I also thought that because Covid-19 placed the elderly with underlying health problems in the highest risk group, that this was the group that required greater isolation and medical care.

I understand the numbers are comparable to the common flu epidemic in a bad year. But here's the rub. The yearly flu every nation experiences is a 'known'. It has a vaccine (albeit one that needs to be fine-tuned every year) and it has its place in the calendar, so it is 'known'. The resources it requires to deal with it are anticipated.

A pandemic such as Covid-19 is not known, has no vaccine, and health systems around the world are not prepared for it and very quickly get overwhelmed. I see this first hand with my wife working on the front line on the public health system in Brazil.

There are 28 members working in her particular sector in her public hospital. Five of them have Covid-19. Without testing (unless they pay for it themselves), the remaining 23 have no idea if they are already carriers.

How many more the five positive cases have unknowingly infected, who knows? Because Brazil has no adequate testing, tracking, informing or selected isolation and treatment system in place.

For sure, it is too early to definitively say who has 'got this right'. Maybe we will never have a definitive answer. Nor are we likely to ever get the true numbers on fatalities as for sure many will never be reported.

But whatever policy different nations are following, some are clearly doing better than others in the here and now.

Tony Hill
144 Posted 02/05/2020 at 22:52:12
What we must not surrender to is pessimism. I am by nature just such a person, I catastrophise and am inclined to think we are all doomed. But, of course, we are not.

Human love and ingenuity are the way out of this shit and I agree very much with Jay @137, Everton has a leading role to play in taking our city to new heights. This sort of project is going to be critical around the world, but the specific potential for development of our northern dock areas and the consequential social and economic benefits (equitably distributed) are immense.

Michael Lynch
145 Posted 02/05/2020 at 23:20:03
UnHerd has some decent interviews. This one with Prof Johan Giesecke is also worth watching, if you're interested in the Swedish perspective:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfN2JWifLCY

Mike Gaynes
146 Posted 03/05/2020 at 01:26:25
Jay #141, at least the looney-tune nutballs in Brazil aren't armed.

This was the Michigan State House on Thursday:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52496514

Steve Brown
147 Posted 03/05/2020 at 04:26:40
Jay @122, here is an interesting column by Nic Coen on UK Bozo that sets out why his pathetic jingoism has been well and truly found out.

Link

It is the world's ill-fortune that when faced with such a global catastrophe that we have messers Putin, Erdogan, Johnson, Trump and Bolsanaro it charge.

Steve Brown
148 Posted 03/05/2020 at 04:52:52
The UK's latest claim is that they reached their 100,000 tests target, simply because they posted them out. Not that they have processed the tests and used that for tracing contacts of confirmed cases – just that they put them in an envelope.

They haven't put a proper testing regime in place.

But surely they have initiated nationwide contact tracing? – No.

But, they must have equipped the NHS and care homes with all the PPE they need? – No.

Naturally they have launched a tracing app already? – No.

But then they will have banned short-term visitors from travelling to the UK? – No.

Well, surely they have initiated a 14-day enforced quarantine for those who arrived or for confirmed cases in the UK? – No.

Right, well they will have introduced temperature screening at airports? – No.

Anything that required competency and capability the UK government have failed at completely.

All the measures above have allowed countries like Korea, Singapore and, dare I say it, China to get control of the pandemic while the UK flounders. But it is contrary to post-Brexit orthodoxy to believe we can learn anything from foreigners. Let's fight Covid-19 on the beaches, eh? I am sure parroting Churchillian sound-bites from 75 years ago will scare the virus into submission.

Conor McCourt
149 Posted 03/05/2020 at 10:16:06
Jay 143, some interesting points you've made and I think what most agree is that success of any model requires better protection of those who are most vulnerable. For some inexplicable reason even after learning from China and Italy, many countries failed horribly in the protection of the high-risk category.

It also makes my blood boil that key workers get treated so abysmally whether it's protection, pay or even time to look after their own health. It's like they are guinea pigs who should be content with a clap at 8.00 to be happy with their lot. I can't imagine the worries you would have and I don't envy the position your family and many others are continually put in. It's disgraceful and all the best to your family.

What I took from the Prof is the sense of hope, that many of the worst-hit are close to 'saturation point' and that the fearmongering perpetuated by the media and government that our lives will never be the same is getting exposed by many doctors and scientists alike. We now have had studies in Germany, California and others that show the death rate is nowhere near where previously stated, we've had Doctors like Erickson and Massihi rise above the parapet and explain their own findings and the political agenda they face, and guys like Wittkowski and Levitt bring a sense of balance, reassurance, debate and perspective to these crazy times.

Michael 145, There is much attention placed on Sweden with many seeing it as a success or a failure depending on perception. But something which hasn't been discussed is that the Swedes are actually a shocking role model for Herd Immunity. The success of this strategy is dependent on the population becoming infected and the vulnerable being protected.

In Sweden, they suffered largely in Stockholm Care Homes due to terrible neglect by their government. These facilities rely heavily on immigration to provide the staff and there was little to no vetting. They had free movement, next to no testing and little equipment or precautions so it's no wonder these Care Homes got riddled.

Michael Lynch
150 Posted 03/05/2020 at 11:10:42
Conor - that's right, and as Prof Giesecke says in the interview, it appears we started off with a very similar policy to Sweden until we went into full lockdown after Ferguson's modelling said half a million would die.

We seem to have similar problems to Sweden with our care homes, and it's possible the mistake we made there was to keep infected patients in the care homes rather than hospitalise them. Our hospitals were already riddled with the virus, so it might have protected the care homes better.

But, like the Swedes, our initial plan seemed to be protecting the vulnerable, and allowing the virus to run slowly through those who were at little risk by encouraging social distancing without shutting down the entire economy. How well Sweden have done that is another matter.

For those who want an unbiased article about the difficulties in rushing to judgement about outcomes, this is good:
https://fullfact.org/health/covid-deaths/

This paragraph is a decent summary: "It is true that the death toll will vary according to how well the disease is managed and treated from place to place, but also according to the quality and methods of the local data, the age and health of the populations, perhaps their genetic susceptibility, perhaps the weather, cultural and lifestyle factors, population densities, levels of air pollution, maybe even local differences that emerge in the virus itself".

Take Ireland as an example. While the UK overall has a much higher death rate per million than the Republic of Ireland, when you break down the figures Northern Ireland and the Republic have very similar rates, despite having different governments with slightly different approaches to managing the outbreak.

What they do have is similar population densities, similar demographics, similar genetic profile, similar culture and lifestyle. And maybe even a similar form of the virus? Perhaps government interventions are making less difference to outcomes than has been assumed?


Brian Harrison
151 Posted 03/05/2020 at 11:20:29
It seems from my layman's view that the countries who have dealt with the pandemic the best have either closed entrance and exits early, like New Zealand did, I think their death rate is under 25. Or like South Korea, where they had a massive test and track system and by a smartphone system which identified areas of high risk. This is a system we are now following after 26,000 deaths and counting.

Thankfully so far there doesn't seem to be a 2nd spike in these countries yet, which can also be a hopeful sign. Most in China and South Korea wear face masks outside and have done for a while, at first because of the air pollution but now to stop any spread of the virus.

Tony Hill
152 Posted 03/05/2020 at 12:28:25
Yes, Michael, @150, complex factors. The virus may also, as I understand it, have a self-limiting trajectory.

The one point that seems to be clear enough is that the younger population has a very low risk, but our planning has not been directed accordingly - especially in the care of older people. Mind you, care for the old and the weak has been awful for a long time in our whizzy new societies.

Steve Carse
153 Posted 03/05/2020 at 12:32:09
Tony (133), I couldn't readily find the cumulative data, but the figures for March alone show no Covid-19 deaths in the under-15s age group, less than 1% for all ages below 40, and 7% across all ages below 60.
The lack of critical statistical analysis on the data has been a major media failing in the current situation.

So, we see comparisons of Covid-19 deaths figures between countries regularly being quoted but rarely with any recognition of the differences in how the figures are being compiled, particularly in regard to the cause of death.

And we still get daily figures of the number of additional known Covid-19 cases when, given the increase in the number of tests being conducted, the ratio of positive cases to tests conducted would surely be the more relevant indicator for assessing matters such as the rate of contagion (even though there would still remain the problem that those being tested would not be an unbiased or consistent cross-section of the population).

Basically most of the existing data help us little in determining where the country is in regard to virus cases and contagion, and hence the need for ongoing caution.

It's a pity that a study was not initiated early on to measure contagion rates. This could have taken the form of interval testing of an initial group of households, selected as representative of the country as a whole (in age, location etc), and by now would have provided much more fact-based analysis (as opposed to forecast modelling) than we've seen to date.

Michael Kenrick
154 Posted 03/05/2020 at 12:52:40
We are all struggling to grapple with a myriad of statistics, masquerading as 'facts' about this pandemic, that we are trying to embrace and understand to perhaps give us stability, a path forward, a way to deal with what the future holds.

Sorry to pick on you, Tony @152 but "the younger population has a very low risk" – I think that one's true... but then why on earth did our knee-jerk reaction involve closing all the schools and universities?

Yet "care for the old and the weak has been awful for a long time" – wow! Awful?!? I'm standing a long ways behind you, Tony, when you have the guts to tell all those wonderful people staffing care homes across the land what a lousy awful terrible job they are doing.

Tony Hill
155 Posted 03/05/2020 at 12:53:31
Thanks, Steve, @153, those figures are very telling.
Tony Hill
156 Posted 03/05/2020 at 13:31:05
Sorry, Michael @154, I haven’t expressed myself clearly enough. I meant funding for care has not been good enough nor has care for the elderly been a sufficient priority for government, certainly not in the UK.

My point here is that the risk to the elderly is greater with Covid but that the targeting of measures has not reflected that - including proper testing and PPE for carers of the elderly.

I think deaths in care homes account for a significant proportion of mortality, particularly in Europe.

Michael Kenrick
157 Posted 03/05/2020 at 13:38:08
Great job on your post at #50, Michael Lynch. I've been thinking along those lines for a while. I am certain the country-to-country comparisons spouted on here repeatedly are far too simplistic.

I understand people's desire to comprehend the numbers and the pattern-seeker genes in all of us demand an explanation – the simpler the better, of course.

The FullFacts article you cited was a good factual read but it tries to make too much of a numerical discrepancy that is surely only too easy to explain. The conclusion I draw, that we should really be looking at excess mortality rates if we want a better idea of where we are with the contagion. But who wants to be 2 weeks behind with their numbers???

Chris Williams
158 Posted 03/05/2020 at 13:48:19
Tony and Michael,

The neglect by those governing us towards Care Homes, and those workers is scandalous. There has been ample evidence from Europe that about 50% of all deaths have occurred in Care Homes, for weeks now, but there seems scant evidence of Government even asking about them until the press started making a fuss.

It appears that deaths in these homes could still be on the increase and the ONS figures on Tuesday will be instructive.

Overwhelmingly, those dying in these homes seem to be elderly men.

The weaker sex, my arse!

Chris Williams
159 Posted 03/05/2020 at 14:03:37
Steve (153)

ONS figures for w/e 17/4, the latest figures, bear out the impact on younger age groups. Pretty negligible up to age 44.

The biggest number of deaths was 85 plus followed by 65-74. This is also where most total deaths also occurred as you might expect. C-19 accounted for about 85% of total deaths in these age groups. A massive proportion.

Paul Tran
160 Posted 03/05/2020 at 14:04:31
Sweden is an interesting case, but comparing it to UK is apples and pears.

Almost half the Swedish population live alone. It is much less densely populated than UK. Their govt made the initial point there no-one over 80 would receive ICU. They made it clear why they were pursuing their policy and stated their view that regardless of policy death rates would be 'around the same' across Europe. They made it clear that they trusted people to socially distance and run their lives relatively normally. They provided the clarity our government didn't.

Right now it's flawed to compare death rates, though it is worrying that ours are as relatively high as they are.

No doubt in the future the economists will be all over the comparative stats between the Swedish and more locked down economies.

In the meantime it's about washing hands, staying home and keeping distance – and continuing to ask relevant questions of those leading us.

Michael Lynch
161 Posted 03/05/2020 at 14:17:35
Michael @157 yes, the time lag is frustrating with the excess mortality stats, but it will be a long while before we get a complete picture anyway.

In the meantime, although there is a link to a Financial Times article in the FullFacts piece, there is a better FT link here (not behind a paywall, which is good):

https://www.ft.com/coronavirus-latest

It's being updated as new stats come in, and I do find some interest in seeing the excess mortality rates not just country-by-country, but also city-by-city, particularly as I live in London.

Eric Myles
162 Posted 03/05/2020 at 14:34:58
Michael #157, accurate information 2 weeks old is surely better than a wild guess at numbers right now?

And the historical 2 week data gives a trend analysis and can be compared to the wild guesses of 2 weeks previous.

Chris Williams
163 Posted 03/05/2020 at 15:18:25
Right on cue, NHS England has just announced that, of deaths in hospital to date, 52% are accounted for by people 80+ and 39% by 60 to 79.

91% in total.

Michael Kenrick
164 Posted 03/05/2020 at 15:30:54
Agree, Eric. I think it's just the realism of the situation. But I get the impression on here that many want it to be different, and blame the government at every turn, regardless.

Take this one from Chris: "The neglect by those governing us towards Care Homes, and those workers is scandalous." What does that even mean? What's the evidence for it?

Is that based on the number of people dying in care homes, or a conviction that the government must be doing something more for the workers in Care Homes? What exactly are they supposed to be doing that makes it 'scandalous'?

Perhaps turning them all into makeshift NHS hospitals and providing them with PPE? Aren't they mostly privately owned ventures anyway? Perhaps it's the owners of these facilities who are making a profit from the old people they house (god forbid), and only paying the going market rate for the wonderful care workers who are, I feel pretty sure, doing a wonderful job in very difficult circumstances. And so the beef then just comes down to reporting numbers? From the context, it seems that is what is 'scandalous'.

Everyone knows the demographic of the death toll from this virus... it's unfortunate but that's what it's doing. Most of the deaths are among the very oldest groups. Yet we must all lockdown, not travel anywhere while countless businesses hit the skids, wrecking the economy and destroying people's hard-earned savings.

Yes, I think I've had enough of the lockdown!

Tony Hill
165 Posted 03/05/2020 at 15:58:46
We didn't go for what Michael Levitt calls "smart lockdown" which would have tried to protect and advise the highest risk groups. Had we done so, would we have needed to close down the rest of society and the economy? Presumably not, or not to the same extent.

Eric Myles
166 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:03:09
What I'd like to know is how are the 27,000 deaths now impacting the NHS more than the 50,000 deaths from the 'flu just 2 years ago when the whole country was not in lockdown?
Michael Kenrick
167 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:05:16
That's the impression you get after listening to Prof Levitt, I agree, Tony. Thanks for your clarification above, by the way.

Seems it may be an unpopular thing to question the "Stay home, save the NHS" mantra but the groundswell is increasing I suspect. At least it is in my own little bubble!

Chris Williams
168 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:11:45
Michael,

It's a matter of record that the public sector has been starved of cash since 2010, as a matter of policy. Public spending has been hacked back by successive governments and public sector workers have been paid way under the rate of inflation until very recently. Capped at 1% max for several years. Only relaxed by May last year to show ‘that austerity is over'.

This hits directly NHS and The Care sector, among others, both in terms of infrastructure, staffing and wages. There has been a massive shortfall in numbers of Nurses and Doctors that has been widely reported, aggravated by Home Office restrictions on immigration. Again widely reported if you care to look for it.

Add to that shortages of PPE, first in hospitals, and still now, with 48% of doctors reported today, having to buy their own PPE, and now Care workers suffering the same problems.

Add to that the problems with testing. Add the fact that on ONS recent reports people are dying at twice the rate in poorer parts of the country than in the better-off parts. ONS spokesman said that was usually the pattern but these results are exceptional.

You'll need to forgive me Michael, but you've had one party in power all that time, who chose to follow those policies and what you're seeing now, caused by Covid-19, is massively affected by those policies. It is wilful neglect, and in my view scandalous.

Chris Williams
169 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:22:53
Eric,

The Covid-19 deaths have been greatly affected by the lockdown. If you look at the curve, it is nothing like the flu a couple of years ago which was pretty flat over about 15 or 16 weeks, like every year. This one went up like a sky rocket and absolutely no comparison. Check it out on ONS site. It's still going up.

People can disagree about the effectiveness of lockdown and the degree of reduction of infection and deaths, but one thing is clear, here and elsewhere, deaths would have been an awful lot higher without it.

Just as a comparison, the FT reckons the Deaths are actually nearer 45,000, when you take out the delay in ONS stats. Time will tell on that one.

Eric Myles
170 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:26:17
Chris #168, the most telling word in your post is "austerity".

The government is by far the biggest creator of jobs and economic wellbeing in an economy but they don't have endless amounts of money to spend unless you want 99% income tax and VAT rates.

So when faced with having to implement austerity measures, as most of the world has had to do recently, the government's first step is to reduce their own spending.

Hence the cutbacks. Essential, although in hindsight now, 'scandalous' due to the present circumstances.

Eric Myles
171 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:32:11
Chris #169, I don't beleive that people were dying in a consistently linear rate 2 years ago. It just doesn't happen like that.

If the FT's wild guess is that 45,000 have died to date, we'll be able to compare that to the ONS figures in 2 weeks time to get a true picture, which was my point in #162.

Chris Williams
172 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:34:48
Eric,

Let’s not get into economic theory again. Austerity is one choice from a menu of choices. The fact that Free Market Economics happens currently to be the policy of choice in many economies, doesn’t mean it’s the only choice.

Mike Gaynes
173 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:35:04
Eric #166:

"What I'd like to know is how are the 27,000 deaths now impacting the NHS more than the 50,000 deaths from the 'flu just 2 years ago when the whole country was not in lockdown?"

You're joking, right?

Because those 50,000 deaths from the flu were an annual figure.

The now-28,000 Covid-19 deaths have occurred in just two months.

Do you really, truly not see the difference?

Eric Myles
174 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:40:04
Mike #173, those 50,000 deaths were not annual figures, they happened over one winter of four months from December through March.

Excess deaths actually is the phrase they use, so not even the total number.

Chris Williams
175 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:40:09
Eric,

According to the graphics on ONS, it was pretty flat, mate. Same as every year. The graph scale is pretty narrow which maybe flattens it a bit, but have a look for yourself. And look at Covid-19. No comparison, and suppressed by lockdown.

Eric Myles
176 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:44:30
Chris #172, and it also doesn't mean it's not the best choice.
Mike Gaynes
177 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:47:03
Eric #174, not according to the UK government website that compiles those statisitics: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/annual-flu-reports

Their seasonal numbers don't remotely approach your quoted statistic.

Eric Myles
178 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:55:00
Mike #177, I can't open the document to read it but the telling parts of the page you link to are:

Public Health England publishes overviews each year of influenza surveillance results from the winter period.

And the title of the document

Flu annual report: winter 2018 to 2019.

So it looks like a report, published annually, that only covers the winter months.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

179 Posted 03/05/2020 at 17:35:38
A flurry of interesting posts here.

On the question about the legitimacy of reported cases and deaths by country, I suggest a look at Michael Lynch's link @ 150 to fullfact.org - Link - makes for an interesting read.

Within that is a further link to a Financial Time article which expands on the question of what IS the true number of Covid-19 deaths - detailing why reported numbers could in fact be 60% higher than reported.

Link

Then for those questioning the bashing of central government, take a look at Steve Brown's checklist of what could - perhaps SHOULD have been done in the UK - but wasn't.

I consider it is a very insular and possibly partisan view if you deny that year-on-year budget cuts to national health and social welfare systems and similar budget 'savings' on stockpiling essential material for an inevitable pandemic such as this has not contributed to the crisis, contagion and mortality rates.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

180 Posted 03/05/2020 at 17:50:31
Also, as a way to demonstrate the difficulty in accurately reporting any numbers due to the efficiency or very culture of each nation, let me share with you the tale of one family from my own city and state in Brazil to highlight just how chaotic things are here.

Family members are not being asked to identify bodies - just informed someone has died. Yesterday, in yet another hastily-prepared funeral ceremony at which restricted number of family members are allowed to attend and the burial is hastened to be completed within an hour, a family insisted on seeing their 69-year-old grandmother one last time.

Reluctantly, the coffin lid was removed... and they stared into the face of a total stranger.

Hysteria, screaming and weeping followed. The family rushed to the hospital where grannie 'died' and they went through the exceedingly harrowing process of looking at 30 corpses. None of them were grannie.

Now desperate and totally bemused, the family insisted the hospital checked through every living Covid-19 patients on their wards. Amazingly, they found grannie alive – not well, still seriously ill – but still alive.

How the hell does anyone begin to get their head around something like that..?

Brent Stephens
181 Posted 03/05/2020 at 18:07:15
Eric, how much flu is there outside of the winter months?!

We're dealing with different at-risk periods for flu versus Covid-19 (winter versus all year).

Eric Paul
182 Posted 03/05/2020 at 18:09:45
Jay,

What a nightmare, what about the relatives of the person who was in the coffin, were they aware their loved one had passed away?

Eric,

What is your obsession with the 50,000 deaths from flu in 2018? If there was no lockdown, we would be looking at a figure many times that in 2 months – not a full flu season.

Michael Lynch
183 Posted 03/05/2020 at 18:10:40
I'm not going to get drawn into a partisan political debate, for the very reasons mentioned in the FullFact article and by countless scientists and academics around the world - ie that we have to be careful with the whole correlation implying causation thing. At the end of all this there will be a debate about the whys and wherefores, but the one of the base statistics used will probably be excess deaths over a period of at least one year and possibly two compared to an average over about five years.

One of the reasons for this is that, and this sounds callous but I'm making no personal judgement, a lot of the people who die are elderly with several co-morbidities, and would probably have died anyway within that two year period, particularly if there was a flu epidemic. So, for example, it might be that there are 65,000 excess deaths in the UK this year, but 65,000 less deaths next year, meaning no net excess mortality over a period of two years.

Even if that is the case, of course, that won't be much comfort to people who have lost loved ones a year before they might otherwise have died, or for anyone who loses any relative for that matter. But it is part of the reckoning nevertheless.

Tony Hill
184 Posted 03/05/2020 at 18:49:13
Yes, its the excess annual mortality that will be interesting though obviously it cannot yet be calculated. It appears that 1999-2000 in the UK had a particularly bad excess winter mortality of 48,500 due to flu and 2014-15 had 44,000 excess winter deaths.

If the peak of mortality with Covid19 was reached on 8th April and is in consistent decline, as suggested, then I assume we won't match/exceed those figures for this virus over the year, which is obviously good news. The second spike is mentioned quite often but that is an unknown and, without herd immunity or a vaccine, how can it ever be excluded?

Jeff Spiers
185 Posted 03/05/2020 at 19:08:29
Michael @183. Well said, mate. The truth will out on this one day. We will be shocked to the core, as to what the real enemy is.
Mike Gaynes
186 Posted 03/05/2020 at 19:45:18
Eric #178, and the numbers were far smaller than the one you quoted.

When has the flu ever killed 300 people in one day in the UK?

That's what happened today with COVID-19: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Jay Harris
187 Posted 03/05/2020 at 20:05:42
No matter what facts and figures tell us, I am in no doubt that there has been a total lack of leadership and cooperation around the world.

It is only at "troop" level we have seen any initiatives and planning.

The world leaders should be ashamed of themselves and no finger-pointing or sabre-rattling will get them off the hook.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

188 Posted 03/05/2020 at 20:25:56
Jay @ 187.

"There has been a total lack of leadership and cooperation around the world. It is only at "troop" level we have seen any initiatives and planning."

As an example of that, here in Brazil under Covid-19 denialist Bolsonaro sending out mixed contradictory messages that completely undermine the Health Ministry, favela drug barons and their gangs are taking the lead in the densely populated slums.

They have imposed curfews and to all intents and purposes, martial law. Anyone caught breaking the curfew gets beaten up.

How condemning is that, that criminal gangs are displaying greater awareness and imposing severe isolation rules in the absence of genuine leadership from the President of the 6th most populous nation on the planet?

Eric Myles
189 Posted 03/05/2020 at 23:50:41
Mike #186, look at the figures quoted in Michael's post #183, the average daily deaths are in excess of 300 per day.
Eric Myles
190 Posted 03/05/2020 at 23:56:03
Eric #182, there's no way of knowing if there would be more deaths without lockdown.

And the "obsession" as you put it is, if the NHS is swamped with the sick and dying now when the figure is 28,000, then why wasn't there a lockdown when 50,000 were dying PLUS all the other normal cases that doctors and hospitals have to deal with on a daily basis?

Eric Myles
191 Posted 03/05/2020 at 23:58:16
Brent #181, Covid-19 has not been around for a whole year, just 4 months, which equates to the winter 'flu season.
Eric Myles
192 Posted 04/05/2020 at 00:23:54
Re#189, Mike, that reference should be to Tony's post of #184.
Eric Paul
193 Posted 04/05/2020 at 09:39:39
Eric @190,

With an infection rate of R0 = 2.6 before lockdown, I think it's safe to say there would have been a lot more deaths without a lockdown.

Eric Myles
194 Posted 04/05/2020 at 10:09:19
Eric #190, it may have slowed down the initial infection rate but the long term question is, will the overall death rate be lower?

That's the important number, and cannot be measured.

So I ask again the question, why was there no lockdown 2 years ago, and 4 years ago, and 20 years ago when deaths were much higher than now, even with a vaccine available?

Rob Halligan
195 Posted 04/05/2020 at 10:17:27
Yet another Premier League played flouts the lockdown rules. Marcus Rojo, currently at home in Argentina, has been pictured playing poker and smoking with his brother and some friends. Man Utd to speak to the player, I assume on his return to this country.
Brian Harrison
196 Posted 04/05/2020 at 10:50:05
Greg Clarke, the Chairman of the FA, thinks it will be a long time before fans return to grounds to watch football. I think he is right.

So all these clubs moaning about they will run out of money if the game doesn't restart, well next season will start with behind closed door games. So they'd better start getting their houses in order, or many will not see out next season.

How they persuade players to agree to a wage cut, well good luck with that one. As players have already shown, they have no appetite for a wage cut, it looks like after next year we may have a Premier League of as little as 12 teams.

So either these players and their agents have a complete rethink or the Premier League will not exist in its present format. Despite Sky suggesting they will add crowd noises to games behind closed doors, I can't see that being an appealing watch.

Eric Myles
197 Posted 04/05/2020 at 11:27:40
Brian #196, a lot of businesses will run out of money; why should football clubs consider themselves any more deserving than your local chippy or butchers when it comes to survival??
Steve Pugh
198 Posted 04/05/2020 at 11:37:55
Eric #197 they aren't. But they are as deserving as the banks and the airlines and all the other Government Pals that are constantly getting bailed out.

As long as we have a Tory Government (or a pseudo Tory Government, like the last Labour one) the little guy will always get trodden on.

Ray Robinson
199 Posted 04/05/2020 at 11:41:24
Eric #197 because a football club has other customers than the direct paying ones (fans) and it can at least attempt do something about the situation. Faced with extinction, you can't entirely blame some clubs for trying to survive when they have an option. Whether or not they should be allowed to is an entirely different matter.
Mike Benjamin
200 Posted 04/05/2020 at 11:53:44
Wow, it's incredible that this a forum of probably the best football fan sites in the world. Thought for a moment I had entered the wrong url and was on the WHO site.

Sad times indeed and hopefully we can all stay safe and enjoy the banter exchange on these pages. We'll soon be back to the usual slaying off Pickford, Schneiderlin. Take care, everyone, wherever in the world you are.

John Keating
201 Posted 04/05/2020 at 12:06:40
Strange that the latest buzzword being used by football authorities, players and pundits is "integrity". Footy is about winners and losers.

So it seems the latest scam is that we will play meaningless games behind neutral closed door stadiums to get winners but no losers?

Seems to me that is far from "integrity".

Chris Williams
202 Posted 04/05/2020 at 12:16:51
Eric (194),

The main difference with flu is that you've had nearly 30,000 recorded deaths within about 5 weeks, and it's still going up. If it had been higher, without lockdown you can only speculate what it might have been. But I suspect not lower!

Latest ONS figures tomorrow morning.

Brian Harrison
203 Posted 04/05/2020 at 12:56:03
Eric @194,

So your argument is the deaths from Covid-19 are just above what we get from flu? Well, if you really believe that nonsense, then just start the league programme on June 1st and all other sports, and those that want to go and watch can do. No behind closed doors, no social distancing.

Now how many do you think would go along and watch, Eric? Mind, I might be completely wrong and you and Trump and Bolsonaro might be right. And as long as they are selling disinfectant at the ground, then no problem.

Patrick McFarlane
204 Posted 04/05/2020 at 12:56:50
As I am one of the circa 20% of the population – 12 million people in the UK that is over the age of 60 – I'm glad that there has been a lockdown, as this is the group which, according to official figures, is the most likely to succumb to Covid-19.

If every one of those 12 million was infected by Covid-19, and taking a conservative estimate, that ½%, or 1/200 of them didn't recover, then that would mean circa 60,000 would perish – not to mention the over-burdening of the health service which would lead to an even higher number of fatalities and without including the deaths of others who fall outside of this age group.


Dave Abrahams
205 Posted 04/05/2020 at 13:18:34
Lyndon and Michael, I don't know where to put this sad but nice story, so I'll put it on this thread.

Last Friday, John Cuthbert, an ex seaman and a life long Evertonian, aged 85, was sitting in his house, alone because of the lockdown, when he gets a phone call off a fella with a Scottish accent and he soon recognised the voice, so he asks him, “Is this Graeme Sharp who is phoning me?”

Yes, it was, and the two of them had a long chat about mostly football, but Graeme asked John if he needed anything? If he did, shopping etc, Everton would sort it out.

John told Graeme everything was being sorted for him by his family and friends but thanked him very much. They had a good gab and finished it by Graeme repeating, if John needed anything, not to be afraid to ask and it would fixed.

John was delighted with the call and couldn't believe it. Anyway, it was John's birthday the next day so it was a lovely surprise for this avid Bluenose.

Sadly, John passed away on Sunday, so Everton left him with that lovely surprise. John will be well missed by his ex-shipmates and everyone who knew him, a good, genuine, generous gentleman.

Christine Foster
206 Posted 04/05/2020 at 13:27:04
Christ, I didn't realise the earth was flat after all... that Dominic Cummins was advising the independent group of scientists regarding strategy, that there are so many advocating throwing over-60s under a bus so they can have a pint, that so many have been hoodwinked into believing that the figures given daily are true? When the excess, unaccounted deaths are in thousands?

Next thing you will be telling me is that Hancock half-hour hit his 100k target with 22k to spare! It's not the sodding flu... but it's okay to be infected if you are under 60 as you probably won't die, just be seriously ill, and spread it to others who will most likely pass to others (over 60) who will die?? Just for the sake of economics?? Wow... I mean wow... Tough shit if your over 60, survival of the fittest, mate, I don't care, it's not me..

Lies, dammed lies and statistics... There is only only true number that you can look at. The dead. The rest is just speculation and a blame game. Excess deaths are but an indicator. With lockdown, you should remember that the average deaths should fall as no-one is working, driving etc.. Therefore excess deaths are probably more than stated... but we are splitting hairs.

People die. All the time, but there is no bigger crime in humanity than letting it happen or accepting it as an inconvenience.

Do you remember when Aids started? When people where arrested for infecting others with a possibly fatal infection? Have we come so far that we agree with those who say it's an economic necessity and sorry about the consequences? I will not be a consequence.

Eric Myles
207 Posted 04/05/2020 at 13:44:51
No Brian #203, what I'm saying is that, if on average 400 people a day were dying of 'flu two years ago (and mostly old people, the same demographic as now) then why wasn't a lockdown necessary then?

Did football stop? Did life? Sure the NHS were stressed, when aren't they? But they were dealing with a shed load of 'flu deaths and patients and their daily intake of accidents and emergencies, including footballers' broken legs.

Brian Harrison
208 Posted 04/05/2020 at 14:06:01
Absolutely devastated. I just heard that they have cancelled Love Island. Couldn't they have just tested all the contestants before the show and then tested them every couple of days?

Couldn't they have been flown to an isolated island where there is no Covid-19? How will they maintain the integrity of the show if they cancel it?

What about the contestants who have been selected, their one shot at fame just snatched away???

Patrick McFarlane
209 Posted 04/05/2020 at 15:31:34
Incredibly, The Times is reporting that Liverpool and Chelsea want Women's Super League season abandoned over player safety concerns.

Liverpool and Chelsea are among a number of Women's Super League teams who do not want the season to resume over fears that it would endanger player safety. Their club representatives will relay this information to the Football Association this week.

Chelsea sit second in the table, a point behind Manchester City but with a game in hand. Liverpool are bottom of the league, with six points from 14 games. If the season were decided on points per game, and with the one usual relegation spot, Chelsea would win the title, while Liverpool would be relegated.

Why have we had lockdown for everybody when apparently it's only females who are affected?

Mike Hughes
210 Posted 04/05/2020 at 16:15:49
Patrick #210

Yes, incredible just how glaring the double standards are.

Liverpool Women bottom of the league so they want it cancelled on safety grounds.

I don't get how some Blues want the Premier League season to play out due to fairness.

As I stated earlier, screw fairness and so-called integrity.
The RS are a horrible club with vile fans. Hope this ends up being their worst nightmare.

More important things than footy.
Null and void.

Tony Abrahams
211 Posted 04/05/2020 at 16:21:32
Seriously Mike, What more did you expect? Liverpool and their great fans have always stood for double standards.

No money in the woman’s game, and who’s interested in watching it anyway!

Rob Halligan
212 Posted 04/05/2020 at 16:22:35
Mike # 211

The RS are a horrible club with vile fans. Hope this ends up being their worst nightmare.

Couldn't have put it better myself. 👍👍

Andy Crooks
213 Posted 04/05/2020 at 17:12:43
Dave @ 205. Not for the first time, you have made my day. Hope you, June and family are all well.
Mike Hughes
214 Posted 04/05/2020 at 17:24:23
Actually, Rob 213 / Tony, this must be very close to their worst nightmare anyway when you weigh everything up.

Earlier in the year, everywhere I turned, I could see their horrible, smug faces. When I was out on a run, out walking Dixie, out in the shops etc.

At the turn of the year, they were in the running for unbeaten season, FA Cup, Champions League and Premier League.

(I'm struggling to type now due to the laughter)

Then Villa, Watford, Athletico.

(Hang on, need to have a break for a minute as my ribs are starting to hurt!)

Now, fuck me but we could be looking at the greatest pub quiz question of all time: Which Premier League team were 25 points clear in March and still managed to win bugger all?

It's even funnier than the Lorius "YNWA" Karius incident and the Slippy G thing.

(Sorry, I'll have to have a lie down now.)


Ray Roche
215 Posted 04/05/2020 at 17:26:54
Brian @208

Please tell me that your comments are tongue-in-cheek.

Or are you a contestant?

😁

Tony Hill
216 Posted 04/05/2020 at 17:32:47
Yes, wonderful that Mr Cuthbert enjoyed that time with Sharpy, Dave @205. RIP.
Tony Abrahams
217 Posted 04/05/2020 at 17:49:38
Even if the league is finished and they win it, it will be so much easier to ignore them, Mike. The women are finishing because it's the right thing to do, but maybe this new test, which they reckon is accurate, could start to turn the tide, and help us start to return to a much more normal way of life, which is definitely so much more important than thinking about footy right now.

They say scousers have a sense-of-humour, and if this is true, then I'm sure our neighbours, “who always want it both ways”, might just find this very hard to prove!

Lenny Jameson
218 Posted 04/05/2020 at 18:04:26
This latest episode in the tawdry dealings of that lot should surprise no-one. They have never shown any sense of shame or embarrassment in anything they've ever done.

It doesn't matter who runs them or who their owners are, their double standards of "Everything for them and sod everyone else," has raised its head again.

I said earlier in this thread to give them nothing. My view will never change.

Fuck them!

Brian Williams
219 Posted 04/05/2020 at 18:11:13
C'mon Ray! *Lol*
Dave Abrahams
220 Posted 04/05/2020 at 19:38:45
Andy (214), yes we are fine, I hope the same goes for you and yours.

Tony (217), Thanks for that. Yes, John told his partner how much he appreciated the call and she knew how happy that telephone had made him. John was an easy-going uncomplicated man who enjoyed giving rather than receiving but was always grateful for the smallest favour.

Mike Gaynes
221 Posted 04/05/2020 at 19:49:10
Dave #205, deepest condolences on the passing of your old friend John, and thanks for sharing that wonderful story of Everton's (and Sharp's) gesture. That they made his final day one of his best is a rare and special gift.

You've made me smile too!

Peter Mills
222 Posted 04/05/2020 at 20:22:22
Dave #205, sincere condolences on the loss of your pal, thank you for posting that great story.

On a much more mundane note, I have been teasing an rs pal (yep, he doesn't go to the game) that the League will be declared null and void, but they will be awarded the Title. And, given that LFC are shameless, they will accept it.

His reply? “Shame is for losers”.

John McFarlane Snr
223 Posted 04/05/2020 at 20:34:29
Hi Dave [205], I've read most of the recent posts but have shied away from responding as much as I could. However, the sad but heartwarming tale of your friend and the telephone call from Graeme Sharp has compelled me to respond to your post. It's incidents of this nature that make me proud of Everton Football Club.

They may fall short on the field of play, but I think that their off-field activities show a compassion that is laudable, and I believe that sometimes clubs should be judged not only by League points gained and trophies won. If that was the case I believe that Everton would be in the forefront.

Tony Abrahams
224 Posted 04/05/2020 at 21:52:34
Peter @233, imagine the screams if the Premier League really was null and void? Many a true word said in jest? Hopefully!
Andy Crooks
225 Posted 04/05/2020 at 22:16:36
John, good to hear from you. This will pass and we will be back in the Excelsior again with Mike Gaynes talking nonsense together. Hope you are well, John.
Paul Birmingham
226 Posted 04/05/2020 at 22:33:31
Deepest Condolences, Dave, for your dear friend. Very sad time, but the Evertonian spirit will carry us all through our journeys and this Covid-19 pandemic.

John @209, if you get a chance, can you please post the email address for the government website, as I'd like to email them about the lunacy bringing football back when the nation is in lockdown with no vaccine forecast for 12 months minimum, and no social events until 2021.

I think the more people provide feedback may make the government consider the bigger picture than prioritising money over people lives and broadcasting revenues.

Thank you, all stay safe and well.

Chris Hockenhull
227 Posted 05/05/2020 at 00:28:13
My good friend Tony Brown... late 70s confined alone... Bullens Road season ticket holder – got a similar call about 2 weeks ago. Whilst he has family checking on him and delivering him essentials, he was very touched. Indeed, nice touch EFC.
Dave Abrahams
228 Posted 05/05/2020 at 08:53:53
John (224), nice to hear from you. I hope you are doing okay in this unique time, for everyone. I echo what Andy says (226) about a future date in The Excelsior, see you then.
Conor McCourt
229 Posted 05/05/2020 at 09:50:25
Michael 183- your post about your worries of appearing callous when your intentions are positive is exactly how I've felt since Lockdown was introduced and especially what I've observed as the divide as to what many of the scientists are saying on one hand and what the politicians/media are telling us on the other.

The jury on whether the govt failed us by not governing promptly enough or learning lessons from China/Italy or keeping borders open or not adopting Lockdown initially, or conversely if you think that once it hit Europe the govt are blameless, is a conversation for down the line. Even the U-turn in policy as a result of a totally incompetent report is not crucial to the discussion right now. Those poor souls are lost to us. History will judge all decisions made and the role of the major players taking them.

What is important now is the question should we remain in Lockdown? Michael the fullfact website shows us nearly a third of the extra deaths during three weeks of Lockdown were for non Covid reasons i.e. Not of, with or suspected. Surely at least some if not the majority of these deaths will be because of the effects of Lockdown?

We already know isolation is the number one factor in preventing longevity. Suicides, unemployment, alcohol consumption and domestic violence will all increase. Many have been put on the back burner with important surgeries, while others will be paralysed by fear to get critical medical care. Some won't want to overwhelm already stretched resources while others will be neglected because they are so.

If the likes of Wittkowski, Giesecke and Levitt are correct and they seem to have been in the right ballpark from day one, then the 'x' amount we may lose extra by opening up will be the same number spared for an extra few months i.e. 0 net lives saved. Meanwhile the deaths we are suffering and will suffer in the future because of Lockdown are ones we will never get back and these maybe people with cancer or suicide or poverty that have potentially fifty years ahead of them.

It's really tough to have this debate because of the emotions involved; our society will have lost loved ones to this nightmare or have loved ones in the firing line but it's a conversation the govt needs to have. There are no easy answers but the question must be asked ; is lockdown showing the desired outcomes? what is the end game?

Christine 206- On another thread I felt you were wrong to promote the perception 'one life saved is better than any amount of money' and now you compound things with 'one life saved is better than a drink in the pub'. Both are too simplistic and have no place in reality. Just because the BBC aren't all over the deaths/suffering caused by Lockdown and killing the economy doesn't make them any less real and the ones who have yet to happen in the next few years due to the economic impact.

What is your plan? Close your eyes and hope for the best? Have everyone locked up for 18 months until a vaccine is found? People will inevitably die when the infection rate increases when lifted so should we just never open up?

Incidentally not all who disagree with Lockdown are self serving, it's not just about liberty but the best outcome for all of society and are we really protecting the ones we think we are?


Tony Abrahams
230 Posted 05/05/2020 at 14:47:42
Who do you think we are protecting, Conor?
Conor McCourt
231 Posted 05/05/2020 at 15:01:38
Tony, they say lockdown is saving lives by protecting the most at risk but there was an independent report done just recently suggesting that it is having no effect.

So, if there's no data suggesting proof we are even protecting the most at risk, and if we are, it's only temporary, then we really should reconsider the policy.

Tony Abrahams
232 Posted 05/05/2020 at 15:19:25
If that's the case, Conor, it means we are not only protecting nobody, but slowly killing everything we need to prosper?
Conor McCourt
233 Posted 05/05/2020 at 15:28:58
Exactly, Tony, if the report is accurate. Even if it is not we are in all likelihood just slowing expected deaths down, not preventing any.
Brian Williams
234 Posted 05/05/2020 at 15:35:26
Surely if lockdown reduces (R), and continues to do that, wouldn't cases continue to drop and the spread continue to drop until such a time as the cases are at a manageable level that tracking etc can be used efficiently to prevent spread and therefore stop people contracting the virus altogether?
Dave Brierley
235 Posted 05/05/2020 at 15:57:58
As you say, sad but lovely story Dave.

RIP John Cuthbert.

Mike Gaynes
236 Posted 05/05/2020 at 17:10:32
This is the most stunning thing I have read since the pandemic began... it's a collection of brief first-person accounts from health professionals around the world.

Don't try to read it all at once -- it'll overwhelm you as it did me. Just take it in small bites.

You'll never look at doctors, nurses and EMTs quite the same way again.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/coronavirus-health-care-workers.html#item-stephanie-benjamin

Conor McCourt
237 Posted 05/05/2020 at 20:03:14
Brian 234- if I've understood Levitt correctly expected growth doesn't solely depend on R0 but time infectious is the other half of the equation.

This means that even if the R is 1 and it's day 4 of the infection then you have a growth rate of 0.25. The next day, R is up to 1.1, it's now day 5 ,so you have a growth rate of 0.22. The curve is still going in the right direction despite the R0 number rising.

He studied China, South Korea, Iran and Italy and noticed that the graphs were all similar in each country where they hit a ceiling roughly half-way through the cycle then diminished naturally despite different approaches.

The UK, for example, according to Meunièr (not the Belgian Right Back we want, lol) did not find any evidence in the deviation in growth rate or reproduction trends pre-Lockdown and post-Lockdown. If Levitt is correct it will just come to a natural conclusion and if we have enough 'saturation' we could be protected in future.

Brian, he thinks some of the so-called successes are actually more vulnerable because they are susceptible to further waves and could be more susceptible in different climates plus further economic restrictions.

Eric Paul
238 Posted 05/05/2020 at 21:56:22
So aggressive testing (Germany), lockdown (New Zealand), or contact tracing (South Korea) were useless as the mortality rate would have been the same eventually.
Vijay Nair
239 Posted 05/05/2020 at 23:39:27
Eric (238) - Germany, New Zealand and South Korea have all been very successful at curtailing the spread of the virus using the different methods. They were not useless at all.

Ahead of the curve: five other countries winning the battle against coronavirus

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

240 Posted 05/05/2020 at 23:53:01
Vijay, my reading of Eric's post is that he is being gently mocking and ironic towards others in this thread positing that none of those policies made much or any difference 'cos the victims would've died over the course of the year anyway.
Brian Williams
241 Posted 06/05/2020 at 00:14:29
Jay, I think Eric is actually questioning Conor's, or rather Levitt's, opinion with regard to the "successes".
Kevin Prytherch
242 Posted 06/05/2020 at 00:26:49
What is important now is the question should we remain in Lockdown? Michael, the FullFact website shows us nearly a third of the extra deaths during three weeks of lockdown were for non-Covid-19 reasons, ie, not of, with or suspected. Surely at least some if not the majority of these deaths will be because of the effects of lockdown?

Just to clarify the above...

Week ending 13 March, there were approximately 11,000 deaths
Week ending 17 April, there were approximately 22,000 deaths, with 9,000 reported to be from Covid-19 complications.

11,000 extra approximately with 2,000 approximately not Covid-19 related. Just under 20%, not a third. That figure is fairly consistent. (There are disparity's amongst websites.)

20% extra deaths not Covid-19 related is bad, but 9,000 extra deaths that were Covid-19 related is worse. Spin numbers all you want, this has been a botched effort from an incompetent government who had from January to sort this out.

The only issue with lockdown is that it didn't go far enough. There are still estimated to be 300,000 people displaying symptoms, that's 300,000 who have contracted it since lockdown began. (This is down considerably from the 1.3million thought to have been infected at the end of March.) That figure alone shows that it hasn't been strict enough.

We've had half-measures right the way through this and it will inevitably start to climb again. To argue that lockdown has done nothing is probably a poor one in my opinion. 9,000 people dying of Covid-19 symptoms compared to 2,000 from non-Covid-19' symptoms is hardly comparable, especially when the infection rate has dropped by so much during lockdown. This figure would (and I don't think there can be much doubting this) have been far higher without lockdown. Yes, there might have been 2,000 lives per week saved, but there would have been far more dying through Covid-19 without it.

Sorry, Conor and others opposing, I think the raw statistics speak for themselves on this matter ahead of some theorists trying to make a name for themselves.

Eric Myles
244 Posted 06/05/2020 at 01:27:36
Conor #229 and others, I fully agree.

Kevin #242, the lockdown has decreased the initial rate of spread of the virus, not necessarily the total deaths. When lockdown is released, those 300,000 you mention with symptoms will be out and about spreading the virus again unless everyone is tested in their homes beforehand and those people treated. Is that likely to happen?

And doesn't the difference between 1.3M and 300k show you that the 'experts' are just guessing at numbers.

Derek Thomas
245 Posted 06/05/2020 at 01:53:18
Look at the state of us, discussing death and statistics like we're Stalin putting his infamous quote together.
Steve Brown
246 Posted 06/05/2020 at 04:12:24
An update on the first city in the world to go into lockdown.

"Hubei reports no increase in COVID-19 cases for 29 days

No new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were reported in Central China's Hubei province on Saturday, this marks that Hubei, the once hardest hit Chinese province, has had no new confirmed COVID-19 cases for 29 consecutive days."

The lockdown succeeded in both slowing the rate the virus spread and prevented new cases.

Christine Foster
247 Posted 06/05/2020 at 04:19:41
Conor *229 just read your comments, I think you have quoted me out of context but that's okay.

What I would say is that lockdown, anywhere, is hitting the pause button. It's done in the hope of finding a vaccine, not in the hope of herd immunity which you and others now seem to be promoting. The problem with either of the above is we don't know.

Will a vaccine be found soon? Possibly... Will herd immunity happen? You have to have 60% caught it for such to be effective, that's a long, long way to go, besides which there is no guarantee that such immunity is given or long-lasting, all may well be in vain... good luck Sweden on that one.

The UK has a population of 66M, some 16M are over 60, plus those of other ages but at risk (want to guess that one?) that equates to probably at least 25% of the country either over 60 or at risk because of other health conditions too numerous to mention.

Cut it anyway you like but how do you propose keeping all them safe so that others can still enjoy life for the next few years until herd immunity? (It still won't help those at risk as their only hope is a vaccine!) The UK has an underfunded NHS, has a decimated Social care structure that was handed to local councils to manage whilst cutting the means to do it, and not the trained people to cope with looking after the at risk people in society.

The point of the whole exercise is buying time, keeping as many people alive as possible. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, In 10 years time, we will know what worked and what didn't. Right now coming out of lockdown is risky to a quarter of the population at least. (Never mind the significantly increased impact of the virus on the poor and BAME.)

My view is lockdown was and is necessary to stop the spread and reduce death. To that end, it has worked but it's only a stop-gap. It buys time to find a solution.

You are right to highlight the impact of lockdown, highlighting mental health, violence and suicides... but in the UK the suicide rate latest figures to the end of last year were approx 500 a month, or 16 a day. Awful as it is, it's not anywhere like the numbers that are occurring with the virus or other.

The fact is the virus response is impacting lives, is costing lives but the virus is deadly to 20% of the population and debilitating to others not in that spectrum.

So, bottom line... as a society, what price do you put on human life? Who are any of us to decide who is cared for or dies? Surely to god we are better than this...

A solution / vaccine needs to be found – otherwise you condemn 20% of the population to waiting for the inevitable whilst the rest carry on regardless.

It's a moral, not just an economic question.

Tony Hill
248 Posted 06/05/2020 at 07:16:20
If the death rate peaked on April 8th and has been falling since, which I think is correct in the UK, then working backwards with the average periods between infection and symptoms and symptoms and death, what does that tell us about the effectiveness of the lockdown? I have no idea of the answer but it should give us a fair idea, shouldn’t it? Perhaps nobody has a clue.

What continues to worry me much more is that mortality below 60 is very low - something which I see now was known by scientists quite early on - and yet no account of that seems to have been taken in our planning.

Tony Hill
249 Posted 06/05/2020 at 07:26:49
What's very interesting too is that deaths in Africa look to be very low. What's that due to? I've read that the population on that continent is very young, so maybe that's it. Or it could be the weather perhaps. Japan is the one that baffles me with 500 deaths and a population of 127M.

Kevin Prytherch
250 Posted 06/05/2020 at 08:08:29
Eric 244 - sorry, I wasn't clear enough about the 1.3million symptomatic down to 300,000. I even misquoted my own research.

It was 2.1million people that were estimated to be symptomatic at the peak on 1 April. This is down to under 300,000 today. So there has been a dramatic decrease. However, those who are symptomatic today would have caught it while in lockdown – which would suggest the lockdown hasn't been strict enough.

Eric Myles
251 Posted 06/05/2020 at 08:23:33
Kevin #250, so what you're saying is that their guess wasn't out by a factor of 4, it was even worse than that and out by a factor of 7!!!!

And people are putting their faith in these guessers?

Eric Myles
252 Posted 06/05/2020 at 08:31:48
Christine #247, I agree with you that lockdown hits the pause button, but as the 'experts' say that a vaccine is what? 18 months away? Is everyone to stay in their homes for that long?

And don't put your faith in a vaccine being the universal panacea, the pharmaceutical companies will want their pound of flesh so only those that can afford it will get it. And for sure, that won't be the at risk groups that need it.

Eric Myles
253 Posted 06/05/2020 at 08:42:16
And Christine, 25% of the population, using your figures, are at risk of dying every year from the 'flu, even with a vaccine available, but do we have a lockdown every year to protect them? Even though we know there have been 3 years in the last 10 years when deaths have been higher than we are currently experiencing (UK figures).
Michael Lynch
254 Posted 06/05/2020 at 08:43:18
Kevin @242 and 250 – Nobody is doubting that the figures are falling, but nobody yet knows whether a country like Sweden which has had a lighter lockdown – therefore possibly allowing more people to become immune – will fare better in the long run.

Nobody knows why Japan, with a very light lockdown and hardly any testing, has one of the lowest deaths per million in the world, a rate lower even than New Zealand. Or why Northern Ireland, part of the UK, has a similar death rate to the Republic of Ireland rather than to England, with whom it shares lockdown policies.

Certainly nobody knows yet whether "this has been a botched effort from an incompetent government". Sure, it's an opinion, but Belgium has the highest death rate per million in Europe – is that because they have the most incompetent government? Is that all there is to it? Or is it that the raw stats are exactly that – raw.

Kevin Prytherch
255 Posted 06/05/2020 at 08:47:36
Eric - you're completely misinterpreting this.

On 1 April (1 month ago) there were an estimated 2.1million symptomatic.

On 6 May (today and 36 days later) there are less than 300,000 estimated to be symptomatic.

That's a reduction in the number of people estimated to be infected 36 days apart, not figures being out by an factor of 7.

Since the infection period is around 7-14 days (unless it gets serious), that's 2.1 million who have likely recovered since 1 April, but around 300,000 new infections that are still displaying symptoms today.

Tony Abrahams
256 Posted 06/05/2020 at 08:58:36
Tony @248, I agree it's all guesswork, but with the government changing strategy so late, it's maybe even possible that having an underfunded NHS, for the last so many years, might have actually saved lives?

It's going to happen anyway, seems to be the approach taken by our own government, and only when they feared hospitals being totally overrun, did they change tack.

The change worked, temporary hospitals were not even needed that much thankfully, but it's come at a massive cost, because it's stagnated the economy, and because “most deaths” occur in people who have reached the age of retirement, then maybe they would have been better implementing herd-immunity, like they planned from the off, until the bastard scientists got involved!

Eric Myles
257 Posted 06/05/2020 at 09:24:26
Kevin #255, the operative word is 'estimated'... ie, they were guessing, and still are.

They don't have access to those people to determine the numbers.

Eric Myles
258 Posted 06/05/2020 at 09:27:27
Michael #254 and Tony #256, very sensible posts in what is becoming an overly emotive topic.
Brian Harrison
259 Posted 06/05/2020 at 10:49:09
Just for those spouting about the old people that died might have died anyway, well Newsnight took the average number of deaths that have happened on average over the last 5 years in care homes at this time of year.

They then took how many have died in the same period since the virus occurred and the deaths in care homes are up by a staggering 280%.

I can only imagine that those calling for a herd immunity policy would quite happily walk into Goodison Park as soon as they restart the season in a few weeks time (if it happens).

Stan Collymore highlighted a player playing for Montpellier aged 24 has caught Covid-19 and has had 6 blood transfusions to try and keep him alive. But hey some on here have the attitude a bit like Dominic Cummings quoted many months before the pandemic: his response was to get a herd immunity; if some over-60s die, it is a price worth paying.

Michael Kenrick
260 Posted 06/05/2020 at 13:00:38
Christine, I'm sorry you're so freaked out by this, but that's what saturation and social media will do to you.

Look at China. No vaccine. No herd immunity. No new cases for a month. How is that possible if even a fraction of what you say is true?

Perhaps this thing will pass after all.

Christine Foster
261 Posted 06/05/2020 at 13:45:44
Sorry, Michael, don't do social media other than ToffeeWeb! Frankly who do you believe? The other day I get slated because I gave a positive view of New Zealand prime minister and how as a people they have responded..

Then I read arguments that promote putting others at risk by ending lockdowns prematurely whilst people are still dying in their hundreds daily... suggesting that all that is needed is the management of those at risk.
Exactly how would that be done and until when? Till herd immunity. But wait... The old and infirm won't get herd immunity will they? They will be kept in isolation to protect them.

Oh bugger it, Michael, I don't know, it's above my pay grade... but there is a warped morality in play because all those people who are young and healthy may not die if they get the virus, but those same young and healthy will pass it on to those who will die. Which is exactly what's happened.

We don't know enough to make judgements; hindsight will tell us if we are right, but some of us won't be around to debate it then.

Conor McCourt
262 Posted 06/05/2020 at 13:58:14
Kevin @242, you seem to be doing a lot of misquoting today. Why are you accusing me of botching numbers when you are talking about those from 13 March when lockdown hadn't even been in place? My point was clearly on the effects of lockdown. Totally Bizarre!!

I took the numbers from weeks 14-16, the first full 3 weeks since lockdown began ie weeks ending 3,10,17 April from the full facts website Michael presented which – though they are only based on the average yearly extra, they may be representative, or they may not. In the spirit of accuracy, I said 'nearly a third' when more accurately it's 'two-sevenths' from those particular figures.

The key point I was making was that there will be an extra cost, and it's real. It may only be as little as 1% or it maybe a lot higher, time will tell how lockdown has impacted. Phillip Thomas, who is a risk specialist, calculates economic decline into mortality by use of the J-Value and says we need a decline in the GDP of 6.4% per person to come out worse in deaths than Coronavirus itself. What a horrible job he has!!

I am not debating whether Government strategy has had a key role or not, the only strong view I have is that we have no conclusive evidence that lockdown, since introduced, is giving us any rewards and we are paying a huge price to find out.

If Wittkowski and Henegen are correct, lockdown was brought in too late to have any real effect (assuming it does slow down the spread and may impact lives) because it was well past the peak in terms of cases (not deaths) for the virus. We now have data in many countries showing that a lot more people have been infected than estimated, so we may not be too far off herd immunity, and now an independent study shows no significant differences since lockdown in the UK.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.24.20078717v1

The official stats to the public are over a week or so behind so the fact govts are making plans to come out suggest that the private figures are continuing to fall as the natural cycle implied they would.

Don't forget the UK went into Lockdown only on the basis of a flawed report which I haven't heard one scientist defend,then or now,and was a disgrace that it took such prominence.

The question of whether Lockdown or various other policies should have been initially adopted is a much more valid debate because of the unknown. It's my opinion however the Johnson Govt now know what they are dealing with and have the data to make a better informed decision.

Brian Harrison
263 Posted 06/05/2020 at 14:15:49
Michael

When I described what they did in China, you said I was cherry picking to beat this government. Then you ask Christine how come China had no vaccine and no herd immunity and no new cases for a month. To repeat myself again, there are 2 ways to get the virus under control 1) total early lockdown, and quarantine people with the virus or 2) not a total lockdown but have massive test track and trace available. But with both cases social distancing.

I doubt you or many posters on here would be happy with the aggressive approach that China took. They didn't let anybody in or out of Wuhan, and pulled people out of their houses if they suspected someone had the virus. But it worked for them. With a population of over one and a half billion people, yet China's death rate was much lower than most European countries. They were aggressive in hospitalizing people who had the virus, they didn't say "If you have the virus, stay indoors for 7 days; if you are no better, get in touch with the 111 helpline."

I did give you other alternatives of countries that have dealt much better with the virus than us, but you seem more upset that this argument is to beat this government. It's not; I have very little time for many politicians, but this set of politicians have presided over the most recorded deaths in the world other than USA, they are absolutely clueless.

Kevin Prytherch
264 Posted 06/05/2020 at 14:26:15
Conor @262 – on the contrary.

I took figures from 13 March when any deaths from Covid-19 were minuscule. These were total deaths for the week. I then took figures from towards the end of April when there were significant Covid-19 deaths.

These figures showed an increase in deaths, of which Covid-19 was documented on over 80% of the increase, not the 66% that you quoted. It's hardly misquoting is it?

I do agree that the lockdown came too late; however, I dispute that it has not had an effect as it obviously has, especially if the estimated (they aren't number plucked out of thin air as your later “estimated” post may care to suggest – they are data taken from a percentage of the population and scaled up. Not 100% accurate, but probably not wildly out) number of symptomatic people had dropped by over 1.8 million since lockdown.

If we want to build a herd immunity, we are going the wrong way about it. If we want to try and get the infected number to a traceable amount – it's going the right way. As I've said though, everyone symptomatic now, is likely to have caught it since lockdown, so you could make a valid argument that the lockdown hasn't been implemented as well as we would have liked.

Martin Nicholls
265 Posted 06/05/2020 at 14:30:55
I thought it was generally accepted that "news" coming out of China is questionable to say the least!

As for those advocating pursuit of "herd immunity" it's yet to be proved that a person who has recovered from the virus is immune, let alone will remain so.

Steve Brown
266 Posted 06/05/2020 at 14:52:10
Martin @ 265, news that comes out of China is questionable for sure but news out of Downing Street is also not to be believed – 100,000 tests? – my backside!

The information I posted on my comment @ 246 didn't come from social media. I work for a shipping company in Singapore and receive a weekly factual update from our manning agent in Wuhan where we hire our Chinese crew. More broadly, Chinese ports are beginning to open to crew changes... but not to foreign crew ironically as they are not allowed to enter the country.

We are a long way away from understanding which measures contributed the most to the success of certain countries in eradicating the virus. But the actions that China took were:

a) Lockdown in all cities (including a complete lockdown of Wuhan with travel into/out of the city banned;

b) A ban on short term visitors entering China and temperature screening of all travellers in airports, railway stations and bus stations;

c) Mass testing and contact tracing;

d) Introduction of a mandatory contract tracing app that uses your GPS to track your movements;

e) The app gives you a green e-certificate if you have not been in contact with locations and dates linked to confirmed cases. Only those with green status are allowed to move anywhere.

Mike Gaynes will know far more about the situation in Wuhan than me as his wife is still there; however, those are the measures China introduced that collectively resulted in them being able to open the city and the country.

Tony Hill
267 Posted 06/05/2020 at 15:03:26
I’ve just read, with astonishment, that there was a pandemic in 1968 (Hong Kong flu, apparently) which killed 80,000 in the UK. I can’t even remember it, though I was 20 years of age and I certainly can’t remember any disruption to life. Mind you, my memory isn’t too reliable now. Can anyone else remember it?
Tony Hill
268 Posted 06/05/2020 at 15:13:23
That virus is still in circulation too!
Ray Robinson
269 Posted 06/05/2020 at 15:18:02
Tony, the phrase Hong Kong flu certainly rings a bell but I don't remember the epidemic in this country and certainly not the fact that 80,000 died. I don't recall it preventing me from attending matches.

I was only 15 at the time but it was a favourite era in my time supporting Everton. The thing that most inconvenienced people in Liverpool was an 8-week long bus strike. It was around about then. I remember gangs of lads arriving at the ground jumping off the back of open "cattle trucks". Perhaps they were trying to build up herd immunity!

Tony Hill
270 Posted 06/05/2020 at 15:22:13
God, I can remember the strike and those trucks now you’ve mentioned them, Ray.
Tony Abrahams
271 Posted 06/05/2020 at 15:35:47
With Britain being criticised around the world for the way they have handled the crisis, it's already in the news that the scientist was meeting his “married lover” so no cover-up for this fella, I wonder why?
Ray Robinson
272 Posted 06/05/2020 at 15:41:10
Tony, just looked it up. It lasted from March 1968 to May 1968 for 11 weeks not eight! Don't think I missed a match during that time!
Tony Hill
273 Posted 06/05/2020 at 15:44:47
Yes, that was a fine time for the club, of course, Ray, as you say. I’m just gobsmacked that I can’t remember that flu outbreak.
Eric Paul
274 Posted 06/05/2020 at 15:49:13
In 57 years living on this planet, I've only had flu once when I was in primary school. I've never had a flu jab and I've never known of anyone who died from it. Since the lockdown, I know 2 people who have died from Covid-19.
Tony Hill
275 Posted 06/05/2020 at 15:55:33
But it killed 1 million worldwide, Eric. I’ve just checked again and those figures are right for the UK. Extraordinary.
Michael Lynch
276 Posted 06/05/2020 at 16:04:56
Eric @274 even by the lowest WHO estimate, over 17,000,000 people around the world have died from influenza during your lifetime, whether you've had it or not. Covid-19 has some way to go to beat those statistics.
Eric Paul
277 Posted 06/05/2020 at 16:06:00
Even 2 years ago, Tony, it wasn't widely reported. I remember reading about an ineffective vaccine but not a lot more.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

278 Posted 06/05/2020 at 16:07:18
Eric @ 258, re: your comment that this is 'becoming an overly emotive topic.'

1) With 260,000 deaths (and rising) globally, billions prevented from going about daily life, Covid-19 rather merits being an 'emotive topic', don't you think?

2) Across all TW threads I see very, VERY little evidence of emotive hysteria or name calling between posters, no matter what their differing positions are, but rather a lot of civility and healthy exchange of opinions.

To touch on just one or two of multiple sub-themes on the subject, first I would like to address the efficacy of different solutions different nations have adopted. It is not ‘cherry picking’, as Michael Kenrick describes it, to notice in the here and now, not 1-2-3 years down the line, that some nations have clearly done far, FAR better than others in keeping their citizens alive.

I think it needs to be clearly understood that ALL nations are aware that a pandemic such as this could devastate and overwhelm local and global infrastructures – employment, health, education, transport, the economy, etc – in an instant. It is not a question of ‘IF’ but ‘WHEN’.

Most nations have a plan in place and many stockpile essential material in government warehouses in preparation for such an event. This is clearly demonstrated in an excellent BBC documentary of two years ago, ‘Contagion’.

It is also very easy to find hard evidence (I have provided such links myself on TW) that, for example, the likes of the UK and the US have progressively down the years cut funding and resources to both its public health and social welfare systems which has depleted both the human and material resources the health service desperately needs. They have also failed to maintain the necessary stockpiling levels in the event of a pandemic outbreak AND cut funding budgets. This has greatly contributed to both nations playing ‘catch up’ and placing them in 1st and 2nd place in the global mortality rates for Covid-19.

It is not unreasonable to state that the UK and US governments have been, and continue to be, reactive rather than proactive in their response to Covid-19, unlike other countries.

I totally accept, ‘live’, in the field, on a daily basis, it is very difficult to make assertive claims on the reported numbers. Some may be falsely counted as dying from Covid-19. But I fancy the greater likelihood is that many more Covid-19 deaths are going unreported than they are being wrongly registered as such. To that number it is not unreasonable to assume there are also people dying from non-related Covid-19 illnesses because they cannot access the treatment they need due to health services being overwhelmed. They too are indirectly victims of Covid-19.

I’m also not so naïve to believe that, for whatever reasons – poor infrastructure and bureaucracy, political expediency – that some of the reported numbers are being wrongly reported.

Take Brazil as an example. If you believed the numbers, Covid-19 takes the weekends off! EVERY weekend over Saturday and Sunday, the mortality rates drop 2-300, then bounce again on the Monday. This weekend, with Friday May 1st being a national holiday, that fall extended to the Friday to such an extent that Bozo BR declared just yesterday: ‘See? It’s going away! The deaths have dropped for 3 consecutive days’. Unfortunately for him, within an hour the day’s fatalities were returned as close to 700 – a single day record for Brazil.

For sure, once this is all over, a mini-industry will emerge and 1,000s of medical and pandemic modelling papers will follow. For sure, they will look at the success stories and the failures. For sure, many different factors need to be taken into consideration, including:

* Geographical location. It is easier to isolate the likes of New Zealand and Finland – two success stories – than it is a country like Italy at the hub of the Mediterranean between Europe and North Africa
* Population and density - how many people on average occupy per square Km. Again, Finland and NZ benefit from a low population and ratio, as does another ‘success’ story, Australia
* Political will and civil obedience. The authoritarian Chinese and the highly educated and co-operative South Koreans – two more success stories – fall into this category. Contrast that to my own host country, Brazil, and the US, and you have the Presidents of the respective nations largely in denial and sending out mixed messages to their disgruntled populations
* Climate, seasons, local sanitary conditions
* Cultural differences. Some nations are more touchy-feely than others. It’s a big ask expecting them to ‘socially distance’ and change the habits of a life-time overnight

There are many more factors that can be added, I’m sure.

Now, you have different models that have arrested the spread of the contagion. In Finland, the habit and hangover of stockpiling essential materials in the event of an emergency dating back to Cold War times has lent itself to registering just 5,600 cases and 250 total deaths as I write.

Germany’s preparedness that ensured it has one of the highest ventilation per people ratios in the world, together with a combination of testing, tracking and social isolation has enabled it to have a similar number of cases to the UK, but just 25% of mortalities – 7,000 for Germany, 30,000 for the UK.

In South Korea, a much more densely populated nation (they rank 23rd in the world) than the UK (ranked 49th) and the US (ranked 174th) learnt from the SARS outbreak of the early 2000s and had everything in place with all modern technology to aid them. Drive-in testing, tracking, an app sending alerts of who in your neighbourhood was Covid-19 positive.

All of this merits study, but as I say the world is occupied with simply keeping as many people alive as it can. That is not to say that there is insufficient evidence in the here and now that we cannot learn from and possibly, just possibly, acknowledge that some methods seem to work better than others.

Only at a future date can the mountain of evidence that is accumulating be studied in depth. But possibly, just possibly, when that does happen the conclusion may be that we take a little bit of this – ensure like Finland pandemic stockpiles are maintained at levels that means the emergency services can protect the populace from day one; a little bit of that – have sufficient ventilators available like Germany; and a little bit more of this and that – test and track rigorously like Germany and South Korea and use modern technology like a simple app to help keep the population safe.

Each one of those ‘this and thats’ has helped save lives. How many more lives could have been saved, how much less disruption could there have been, if all nations took the very best of the success stories and followed a coherent global plan?

Finally, sorry Eric, but I must conclude by returning to your comments in this thread.

You keep repeating the fallacy and comparing the current Covid-19 pandemic to the occasional high flu mortality rates every country periodically gets hit with, asking why countries didn’t go into lockdown then.

This has been debunked several times for several reasons, including it’s seasonal, factored into national health systems, it has a vaccine (albeit one that needs to be fine-tuned every year) an annual vaccine program, year-to-year most people carry immunity to common influenza, etc.

Mike Gaynes @ 177 gave you a link to the official UK government report which very, very clearly, in an extremely detailed 57-page document debunks your claims, but comically, @ 177, you acknowledge that you ‘can't open the document to read it’ but continue to claim that ‘it looks like a report, published annually, that only covers the winter months.’

WRONG! Every single graph and accompanying information in the official report (that you make pronouncements on without having opened or read it) covers all 52 weeks of the year.

The known annual flu endemic is largely an irrelevance to the discussion on Covid-19. Biologically, the two act very differently. It takes 1-14 days for people with Covid-19 to show symptoms - 5 days the average. For the flu, it’s just two days.

This is an importance difference, because potentially it gives people more time to spread the illness asymptomatically before they know they are sick. For a virulent flu strain, let’s not forget, with no known cure or vaccine.

The hospitalization rate for annual flu is 2%. For Covid-19 it is nearly 10 times that – 19%. THAT is why health services the world over are being overwhelmed. Here in Brazil we are anticipating a triple whammy as Covid-19 remains far from being contained and – unlike Europe, Asia or North America when it emerged at the end of winter, the start of spring – we are into our ‘autumn’ and ‘winter’ months here. This is when we also have our peak flu and dengue seasons. Again, that is factored into the Brazilian health system, but this year, because of Covid-19, all bets are off as to the likely impact because the health system is already broken.

Finally, take a look people at the link Mike Gaynes put up yesterday with mug shots and first-hand stories from health workers around the world.

In Harms Way

Please seek out one health worker in particular, Amanda Ramalho, a nurse in Pelotas, Brazil. Look long and hard at her face, marked as it is by the pinch marks of wearing PPE masks hours, days, weeks, MONTHS on end. My own nursing wife is not as bad, but she too has a permanent superficial wound on the bridge of her nose from doing the same.

THAT is the reality we are dealing with in the here and now.

Michael Lynch
279 Posted 06/05/2020 at 16:28:47
Jay, sorry your post is so long that I can't really discuss too many points with you, but just a couple of things:

Firstly, ventilators haven't been an issue in Germany or the UK – both countries ended up with more than they needed.

Secondly, Germany has tested more than the UK so will have an inflated number of cases as a comparison.

Finally, the UK was rated as one of the best prepared for a pandemic by the The Global Health Security Index, ironically just behind the USA: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/02/these-are-the-countries-best-prepared-for-health-emergencies/.

Problem is, it looks like we were prepared for the wrong pandemic.

Basically, you have no evidence for the reasons Germany has such a low number of deaths per million. Nobody does. Not even them. At the moment, it's all correlation and no causation. And that's why it's foolish to rush to judgement now rather than a lot further down the line.

Until we can properly analyse what's gone before, the important things are what happens next.

Eric Paul
280 Posted 06/05/2020 at 16:31:50
Michael,

If Covid-19 started when I was born, at the current rate there would have been approximately 10,000,000 more deaths from Covid-19 than flu worldwide.

Michael Lynch
281 Posted 06/05/2020 at 16:33:04
Eric - ha! good point. I hope you live long enough to make the comparison.
Eric Paul
282 Posted 06/05/2020 at 16:56:51
Long enough to see us win the league will do, Michael!
Michael Lynch
283 Posted 06/05/2020 at 17:07:14
I'm afraid you might need more than another 57 years in that case. mate.
Eric Paul
284 Posted 06/05/2020 at 17:26:44
Win-win then, Michael.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

285 Posted 06/05/2020 at 17:38:05
Michael @ 279.

I understand the point you wish to make as to why, in your example, nobody can categorically say at this time why Germany has less deaths than the UK.

I acknowledge the same in my own post, listing a number of possible determining factors as to why some nations are doing better than others.

But equally, nor can you deny that some countries with similar demographics, societies, geography, politics, economics, health systems etc have done better than others.

As for your claim that 'ventilators haven't been an issue in Germany OR the UK', that doesn't quite tally with this widely reported story of less than a month ago on April 9th:

German Army Donates Ventilators To UK NHS

As for your link rating the UK and the US as the two best prepared nations for a pandemic by the The Global Health Security Index, all it shows is a simple line graph without listing the criteria by which marks were rewarded.

Curious to learn more, I clicked a link within that article to the index source. It tells a very different story to the superficial one you presented.

Global Health Security Index Finds No Country Is Prepared for Epidemics or Pandemics

Some snippets from its inaugural meeting in October last year, quoting the chair:

"The results are alarming. All countries, at all income levels, have major gaps in their capabilities, and they aren’t sufficiently investing in biological preparedness.

"The bottom line is that global biological risks are growing, in many cases faster than health systems, security, science, and governments can keep up. We need to ensure that all countries are prepared to respond to these risks.

"Whether naturally occurring, intentional, or accidental, outbreaks in any country pose risks to global health, international security, and the worldwide economy.

“This index is a powerful tool for citizens and civil society to hold their government officials accountable for health preparedness."

In addition to its overall finding that national health security is fundamentally weak around the world and no country is fully prepared for epidemics and pandemics, the GHS Index finds:

* Countries are not prepared for a globally catastrophic biological event, including those that could be caused by the international spread of a new or emerging pathogen.

* Most countries have not tested important health security capacities or shown that they would be functional in a crisis.

* Fewer than 5% show a requirement to test their emergency operations centers at least annually.

* Most countries have not allocated funding from national budgets to fill preparedness gaps.

* Only 10% show evidence of senior leaders’ commitment to improve local or global health capacity

* Most countries lack foundational health systems capacities vital for epidemic and pandemic response.

* Only 3% show a public commitment to prioritizing healthcare services for healthcare workers who become sick as a result of participating in a public health response.

* Coordination and training are inadequate among veterinary, wildlife, and public health professionals and policymakers.

I suggest you visit the link for a deeper look at the index and its concluding recommendations. My guess is that the likes of the US and UK ranked highly on the index, based on six categories, 34 indicators, and 140 questions (none of them listed or detailed in the link I offer), because their core health system is more sophisticated than most.

However, as the chair reports, ALL countries have gaps in their preparedness for a pandemic.

Oh! As for this throwaway line seemingly defending either or both the UK and the US in the handling of the crisis - 'Problem is, it looks like we were prepared for the wrong pandemic.'

You're joking, right, Michael..?

Jeff Spiers
286 Posted 06/05/2020 at 18:48:31
Front page headlines of the Red Echo, anyone??
Brian Harrison
287 Posted 06/05/2020 at 19:31:29
Jay

Delighted that you and your good lady are well, I can't begin to think the thoughts that must go through your head every time your wife leaves and comes home from work. Her scrupulous systems for both getting ready for work and for returning from work, would impress anyone.

You are quite right about the UK being short of ventilators as I think in one of the early Downing Street press conferences, it was said that on occasions doctors would have to make the decision as to who got a ventilator and who didn't. We were told these are the decisions doctors have to make every day of their lives. Thankfully it would seem as there are enough ventilators in the system.

What baffles me is that, when the pandemic started, the government and the medical and scientific advisors said if you have symptoms, self-isolate for 7 days; then, if the symptoms persist, contact 111. Now I can understand that they didn't want the NHS overrun with people turning up at hospitals like they did in Italy, so built in this 7-day isolation from the onset of any symptoms.

But, seeing as some of the Nightingale hospitals have been massively underused and in fact the one in London has only 20 patients, and the government tell us everyday, even without the Nightingale hospitals, they have unused 3,000 plus ICU beds. Then why ask people to wait 7 days after the symptoms appear before ringing 111, as they reckon it takes 3-5 days for the symptoms to become apparent?

So, in effect, if you wait the 7 days after the symptoms first start, you may have had this virus for 12 days before being tested. I would have thought the quicker you get somebody who is displaying symptoms in for testing the quicker you can treat them.

Ian Pilkington
288 Posted 06/05/2020 at 21:32:46
Michael (Kenrick)

Thank you for contributing some much needed common sense on this thread with your reflections on Covid-19.

Neil Ferguson, the scientist whose advice prompted Boris to impose the lockdown had to resign last night for bonking his mistress whilst breaking his own lockdown rules. Successive UK governments since 2001 have followed this man's wildly inaccurate scientific predictions, from the disastrously mismanaged foot-and-mouth epidemic through to mad cow disease and swine ‘flu.

The lockdown is costing us £2.7 billion per day, wrecking the economy for years to come, despite the fact that Covid-19 will kill far, far fewer people than the 80,000 who died during Hong Kong ‘flu epidemic of 1968-69.

To quote Benjamin Franklin:

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty.”

Christine Foster
289 Posted 06/05/2020 at 21:50:11
Jay, thank you for your last two, well researched and accurate posts.

Far from being emotive, they are stark in their findings and set the reality of the understanding of such pandemics and the lack of preparedness for such events by country. The future will determine the relative successes of individual strategies but, at this particular point globally, we have to take the hit economically and collectively because of that lack of preparedness. Next time, god forbid, there will be a next time, we may be able to have structures and resources in place to counter it before it becomes a pandemic in the first place.

I have the utmost admiration for you and your lady, how you both can manage in such a pressure cooker of fear is beyond my ken, but goodness you both have my utmost thanks for all you do. Your clarity and distinctive understanding cut through the baseless comments like a hot knife through butter. Thank you.

Conor McCourt
290 Posted 06/05/2020 at 21:51:50
Kevin 264,

If you would have just only understood that I was replying to Michael's link and was just pointing out the higher extra deaths in his article and even said that some if not the majority were because of lockdown. That statement alone falls into your findings and the time frame was clear (3 weeks) in that original post as was the less than a third.

You took exception to what you've seen as false information and offered the correct percentages since lockdown. I point out that you are correcting inaccurate data (which I'm happy to admit) with more inaccurate data so why bother?

You now protest that your percentages aren't affected by those 10 days or ideally much longer to see how lockdown took effect. The numbers were minuscule according to you so they won't vary even though logic suggests each death is going to skew the figures to lower than 80% thereby rendering you data and indeed this debate pointless.

In answer to my statement that we have no conclusive evidence to the lockdown's success, you are at it again. Do you produce scientific papers or any clear data showing its impact? No – you produce a guesstimate of symptomatic people, which is declining like it is all over Europe, as 'obvious' evidence.

Someone call Boris quickly and tell him not to open the doors!!!

Tony Abrahams
291 Posted 06/05/2020 at 21:57:33
No cover up on Ferguson's misdemeanours. Shagging his mistress during lockdown, hopefully this complete transparency is a sign of things to come?

A little temporary safety might have been locking down sooner, especially when everyone could see the devastation in Italy.

We closed too late, probably because they didn't want to destroy the economy, so let's hope we don't open too early, because a second wave would be catastrophic for everyone, especially this back-to-front government, who came to deliver Brexit but never had the experience to deal with a crisis, which has hopefully but also doubtfully reached the peak of its power.

He won't listen, Conor, the stupid bastard probably never even listened to the scientists, unless they were telling him it was safe to go around shaking people's hands!

Dave Abrahams
292 Posted 06/05/2020 at 22:16:05
Jay (278),

I've just finished reading your link “In Harm's Way”, it just confirms my belief that the medical profession really are Angels of mercy, especially now, at this unique time.

I, like many people, feel unhappy at the necessary lockdown... but not after reading that link. I didn't realise how lucky I am in relation to the thousands all over the world who are suffering unbelievable hardships and would gladly swap their lives with mine.

Strangely, I feel envious of all the medical people putting their lives at risk every day but doing something really good and not wanting anything in return, except that the people they are looking after survive. I don't think you could do any better than that.

I've never, ever, been envious of people with wealth, that never ever bothered me in the slightest, but these wonderful health workers, well that's something I could aspire to be, if I was younger. Like one young teenage boy, after giving all his father's details, a virus victim, to the doctor over the phone, said to him “God bless you”. God bless all of these medical people.

Mike Gaynes
293 Posted 06/05/2020 at 22:32:11
Amen, Dave.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

294 Posted 06/05/2020 at 22:39:55
Dave, it's two days on and I haven't been able to read through all those personal stories by health workers around the world. It's too harrowing.

I manage 5-6 at a time than back off, overwhelmed by their real life stories, each with a common theme of personal sacrifice, mixed with fear and trepidation of what they face each day.

I look at my wife in awe each day. I simply don't know how she does it. I am convinced that she, like hundreds of thousands of others, have a switch they flick on every day to face up to what they do. It helps them suspend reality and not think about the extreme risk they face in simply doing their poorly rewarded work.

Probably neurologists or psychologists can explain it. I certainly can't.

And Christine, thank you for your kind words. You picked a helluva time to uproot and resettle (again!) on the other side of the world, gal!

Are you out of quarentine yourself yet and getting back to any sense of 'normality'? Whatever the hell that is these days...

On the issues I raised in my earlier two posts today, I had to have a little smile at the breaking news story in the last hour.

Last week David Spiegelhalter, a statistician and professor of the public understanding of risk, penned this piece in The Guardian:

Coronavirus deaths: how does Britain compare with other countries?

In today's UK Prime Minister's Questions, Boris Johnson (like others across different threads on TW) said the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK should not be compared with those in other European countries, quoting Spiegelhalter 's article as supporting evidence.

Spiegelhalter very quickly took to Twitter and made the following statement:

"Polite request to PM and others: please stop using my Guardian article to claim we cannot make any international comparisons yet. I refer only to detailed league tables-of course we should now use other countries to try and learn why our numbers are high."

Opps!

John Pierce
295 Posted 06/05/2020 at 23:00:54
Well over here in the US, rural and urban curves are diverging. The urban curves; high metro areas (extreme population density) are flattening out giving the impression of progress, as these represent a huge percentage of cases. Takeaway those areas and of the rest of the US, cases are still increasing. That ‘peeing section’ in the pool is starting to migrate.

With many of those areas of the US already believing the hump was broken they are easing (rushing) out of lockdown and preparing to open up. I despair 😩. Many more rural areas have one big hospital, with much fewer ICU beds, and are often considerable distances from the affected. The rural populations are often stacked with older people too.

If there are local outbreaks in these areas it will be extremely hard to support. How on earth can they cope? Would they request help from metro areas or ask to be transferred to them, could that even happen?

The numbers are suggesting a sting in the tail. The clues are there, the Smithfield pork plant (SD), and several other meat packing facilities in rural areas suffering breakouts, often a common scene as many work in one place, that could easily infect a locality.

With zero leadership at federal level, things could get very nasty.

John McFarlane Snr
296 Posted 06/05/2020 at 23:07:10
Hi Christine [289], Dave [292], and Jay [294]

I've just watched a programme on the sterling work of the NHS at every level during this Coronavirus disaster, and I can honestly say that it wouldn't bother me if I never saw a football match again.

I have often said that there are more important things in life than football, but I never envisaged the situation we now face. It beggars belief that anyone who viewed this programme could contemplate the resumption of the Premier League season.

Tony Hill
297 Posted 06/05/2020 at 23:16:19
I've tried to answer my own question @248, though without confidence. It seems that the likely time for onset of symptoms from infection is about 5 days; death follows around 14 days after that, on average, in the saddest cases, though with wider variation.

That would take us, on average, back to 20th March, working retrospectively from the peak of deaths on April 8th - a date which looks as though it is accepted (subject to correction).

Our lockdown started on 23rd March. How then can it be credibly said that the lockdown caused the decline in deaths? It might, perhaps, have increased the rate of decline in deaths by an unknown quantity but must not something else have been at work here?

Is it possible that this virus just follows a classic bell curve with relatively minor local fluctuations? The mode/criteria of counting may also turn out to be a particularly important consideration(s) in the fullness of time.

Maybe we shall find out. Maybe not.

Don Alexander
298 Posted 06/05/2020 at 23:32:32
There's a few very big issues for us in the First World to seriously consider. First, I suggest, is the significant drop in environmental pollution that in the UK has gone hand-in-hand with the lockdown. It would be cretinous to ignore it as and when Covid-19 has a vaccine. Saving the planet from human contamination is in every living thing's interests.

Second, the worth of a fabulous, yet impoverished NHS. Yes, it will be fabulously expensive to fund it so well as to stymy the next pandemic (and it's coming folks, relatively soon) but how can we not fund it? And, importantly, why is the UK government now in trade talks with the USA with the NHS still up for grabs?

Third, the accountability of governments, even in times of crisis. Yes, they have a duty not to scare their people but they cannot spout lies to do so. That is the way to chaos, on personal, national and global levels.

And, with respect, it's brilliant to read of the insight and compassion so many of us Toffee wrinklies display on this thread.

Derek Thomas
299 Posted 07/05/2020 at 01:39:45
John @295; I've worked in a meat plant and the average temperature is about 6-8 C in the red meat preparation area and 2-3 C for the chicken room which is kept (or should be kept) cooler and physically seperate.

The short- to medium-term storage – before it gets shipped out to the supermarkets – is about -1 C.

The virus is airborne on droplets. At these sorts of temperatures and conditions, the dew point is the key, like when you see your breath in the air... sometimes you don't see it – but its still there. It comes as no surprise that there are hot spots in these places. There is one going on in Victoria now and no doubt elsewhere.

Derek Thomas
300 Posted 07/05/2020 at 01:51:10
Tony @ 291;

Get real mate, he's been thrown to the wolves to divert attention, nothing to do with transparency. It's all PR to do with St BoJo and his new Madonna and Child and the complete bollock- up starting with 'herd immunity'.

The next thing is he'll be calling for a 'Blame China inquiry'... not saying he's wrong though, but 'you gotta manage that message'.

Christine Foster
301 Posted 07/05/2020 at 04:05:05
Jay, I would have given a Down Under perspective part 3, but in honesty, I was put off doing so by a very jaundiced sarcastic response by one or two. The fact remains that New Zealand today announced it is lifting its lockdown even further in the next few days, 'normality' is not the correct term but small steps are being taken bit by bit.

Timing in life is everything. I had made the call to leave France after selling up in December, returned back to Liverpool and started to look for a place to settle once more. It was mid-January that I met up with my sister who has worked as a health correspondent for many years at the BBC. Over a Sunday pub lunch, she told me about China and that something bad was on its way... she had read the comments coming out of Wuhan, saw the signs (new hospital in two weeks) and she was spot on.

As a consequence of that pub lunch, I reconsidered life in the near future and decided to take the opportunity of a Kiwi passport and go for it. I didn't have a plan.

I got out literally by the skin of my teeth, had self-isolation on route in Australia, then again in New Zealand followed by lockdown for a month.

I left family in Liverpool and New Brighton and I wish they could have come with me. It may be sometime before we see each other again. Having said all that, it was the right call. New Zealand is fortunate to have a tyranny of distance and a Prime Minister who, despite what some (National supporters I would guess) think, has marshalled a country, lead by example and yes, done the business.

My hat goes off to her and every Kiwi for their achievement. Yes, it's pressing the pause button but it's prevented the carnage seen elsewhere in countries so badly led, such as Brazil. I don't know how you and your wife cope, Jay; my best wishes to you both and all the health workers in having to cope with a nutcase of a leader and his followers.

Whilst the UK is not as bad, they have been so lucky, if you can call it that. Badly led, for years I may add, for it has been down to the care given by individuals in the NHS and care workers who have done so well despite the lack of support, PPE and testing.

There has to be a go-forward plan in every country, and each will be different depending on its circumstances. But this is not a flu epidemic, it's not seasonal and it's hitting across all ages. But what has become clear is that, the older you are, the less able you are to fight it off. Also, the less affluent you are, leaving you at greater risk as deprived areas suffer more.

Lockdowns depend on common sense and getting the right messages out... sadly dreadful in the US, perfect clarity in New Zealand and Australia. Not a clue in the UK... the world needs a plan not just for today but next week, next year, next time.

I have long believed that, in times of such crisis, it is the responsibility of parliament as a whole to work together to formulate joint planning: Brexit a case in point; Pandemic another... Alas, we have despotic ultra-right leaders spouting drivel and bullshit. I fear for the people.

We have a responsibility to our selves, our family, our friends and neighbours and to each other. As they said here, be kind to each other. It's a good objective. God Bless and take care out there. (I still remember Hill Street Blues! :-)

Christine Foster
302 Posted 07/05/2020 at 04:11:12
John, I couldn't agree with you more. I love my club but right now it's right down the pecking order of life. I would rather miss another season than focus on the irrelevancy of certain players in such a time.

It's called putting things into perspective. Life is more important than work (over here we had examples of a Virgin Australia pilot picking onions in fields after being made redundant).

Stay well, John. Hopefully, I will catch up with you at the opening of Bramley-Moore Dock!

Eric Myles
303 Posted 07/05/2020 at 05:08:21
Jay #278, so what you are saying is that it's not C-19 that is responsible for so many deaths in many countries, but the governments of those countries?

The figures I quoted that you think are debunked come from the ONS official site, I quote (emphasis added):

"In the 2018 to 2019 winter period (December to March), there were an estimated 23,200 EWD in England and Wales (Figure 1). This was substantially lower than the 49,410 EWD observed in the 2017 to 2018 winter and lower than all recent years since 2013 to 2014 when there were 17,280 EWD."

So I rounded up the number by 510, hardly 'significantly different' and you will note the words 'winter period which specifically does not mean, annual figure. And Mike asked the question: "When has 'flu ever killed 300 people a day in UK? Well those figures show AT LEAST 350 a day on average! So that's EVERY SINGLE DAY over a 4 month period.

Debunked?????

I think the fact that historically we have had more significant death tolls (see also Tony at #184 & #267) over a short period of time means we should compare the actions of then and now. If the NHS had to deal with those higher instances of infections, and those that had 'flu and recovered, and its normal patients, and A&E, and possible footballers broken legs — and the country was not shut down then — why?

Eric Myles
304 Posted 07/05/2020 at 05:22:17
Brian #287, so you are saying that the NHS has spare capacity to deal with Covid-19 patients without the additional provisions made?
Christine Foster
305 Posted 07/05/2020 at 06:24:11
Eric, flu is a virus that kills the old and infirm in winter months, it is a known virus, there are vaccines for it, remedies blah blah... point being it is a "known" virus.

Covid-19 from the Sars stable was most certainly not and the indications were that it killed across the board (still does); it was an unknown. That's the problem with pandemics of an unknown nature – if you under-react, you end up with an awful lot of dead people. Overreact and you get blamed for, well, overreacting.

In this case, most under-reacted in the time frames of contagion, and ended up chasing the tail of the tiger. Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't.

One has to ask therefore if there was no action, exactly what would the mortality rate be? Well, substantially higher is my guess and that would be on top of the normal flu and car crashes, etc that make up the normal mortality rate.

Even now, the true death toll from Covid-19 associated infections is under-reported and likely to be far higher by the end of May. Let's just say 50k over and above the average level of deaths for the period of March to end of May...

What you end up with is conjecture; when faced with the unknown, you make a choice – every government has. Some have fared better than others, but it's ridiculous to suggest that the lockdown has been unwarranted... as some are making out and continue to do so. But then my view is exactly that, conjecture!

Alan J Thompson
306 Posted 07/05/2020 at 07:38:48
I think some of you may be being rather harsh on Neil Ferguson. Is it not possible he was working on a cure or prevention and does anybody know if he and the lady in question have suffered with this virus, the Covid-19 one?

Further proof might lie in the fact that it seems to strike the over-70s hardest (should that be more severely?) and one has to ask: Are they getting a fair share?

Isolation at home with the family also seems to be a deterrent and that can't just be put down to Scrabble and Monopoly. And Boris and his lady seem to have gotten over it despite something less than immaculate conception.

I, for one, am quite willing to volunteer for any pioneer programme but it has to be said that quite a lot on ToffeeWeb spending their time pouring over statistics, seem to have been on the placebo already.

This will, of course, be a behind closed doors trial.

Brent Stephens
307 Posted 07/05/2020 at 07:45:52
Eric, why do you think flu deaths are typically presented as deaths for each winter?

Conversely, why do you think cancer deaths, for example, are typically presented as deaths per year?

Chris Williams
308 Posted 07/05/2020 at 07:56:28
Eric,

Re Covid-19. The figures for deaths, whether you believe it's 30,000, 35000, or 45,000, whether you believe it should include excess deaths (which ONS uses to calculate flu deaths), the vast majority of those deaths have occurred in 5 weeks, on an increasing curve. Not 5 months. And it is still increasing.

This is despite a lockdown in place, which has reduced the transmission rates and consequently the deaths. Let's not argue about how much it has reduced it by; let's accept that, without it, whichever death number you might agree to would not have been lower.

Unlike flu, there is no vaccine. The absolute figures of 50,000 and whatever figure you think is the true figure for Covid-19, say 35,000, is not the issue here. What is the issue, is the relative rates of death and infection, over a time period, which is clearly demonstrated, and of the ability of the NHS to cope. 50,000 in 5 months, or 35,000 in 5 weeks (with a large number of unidentified excess deaths also taking place in the same 5 weeks).

The other issue is that the cause of the deaths is Covid-19. Whether those deaths have been aggravated by government activity, or lack of it, remains to be seen. Patrick Vallance told a Parliamentary committee this week that it would have been better if we'd ramped up testing sooner, but lacked the capacity and maybe lockdown could have started a few days earlier. So perhaps he has doubts, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Everybody, not just on here, is arguing about absolutes, certainties, opinions etc. But this race is far from run. Nobody knows all the facts, so everyone should have doubts, to some degree.

Morality and placing a value on a life also has a part in this. Trump is quoted as saying something along the lines of "deaths are the price we have to pay to get the country moving" – or words to that effect.

That's not something I could subscribe to, I'm afraid.

Conor McCourt
309 Posted 07/05/2020 at 08:05:45
Christine 301,

"I was put off doing so by a very jaundiced sarcastic response by one or two."

Christine, if it was my sarcastic line on this thread that annoyed you, please take no notice of my nonsense. I really enjoy your posts and only took exception to what I'd seen as great intentions but not being applicable to the real world.

I think others would much rather listen to your wise offerings, keep posting what you wish!!

Kevin Prytherch
310 Posted 07/05/2020 at 08:42:23
Conor (can't remember which post)...

I obviously hit a nerve challenging your statement about the effect of lockdown.

Personally – I don't think the effectiveness of it in terms of stopping the spread of transmission can be realistically challenged; however, if you differ, then that's your opinion.

As for someone's statement saying the rate of infection would have fallen regardless, the two days in which the biggest number of deaths occurred were around April 10th and 21st. There was a gradual decline between these dates, however nothing significant.

The English reporting of the deaths day by day is so poor that it is often difficult to work out an actual peak. For example, Mondays always see a massive drop, whilst Wednesdays always see a massive rise due to the weekend reporting. Either way, the peak would coincide with the getting infected in the few days before lockdown, so would point to it having an effect.

Also, the comparisons to flu are a bit off. Covid-19 currently has a higher infection rate, a higher mortality rate, and a longer period for people to display symptoms. You might as well compare it to old age.

Len Hawkins
311 Posted 07/05/2020 at 09:12:00
John #296,

My thoughts exactly, my priority is being able to put my wife in the car and take her to see our son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren again. Since lockdown, our granddaughter, aged 16 months, has started to walk; by the time we see her again, she'll be roller skating or riding a bike, the way things are going.

The Government says "starting football behind closed doors in neutral grounds (neutral to who) will give the country a lift"... No it won't!! I, like a lot of others, cancelled Sky Sports due to there being no sport... so do they think I am going to about-turn to watch irrelevant matches played in empty stadiums, just so the RS can crow for the next 30 years about winning something Leicester, Blackburn, did years ago?

In the grand scheme, football is the last thing on my mind; being able to live a normal life again, being able to take my wife out of the house, and seeing our family are my priorities.

Eric Myles
312 Posted 07/05/2020 at 09:14:58
Christine #305, the figures I saw posted on here (so don't blame me if they are wrong) is that 91% of those dying from Covid-19 are over 60. Much the same as 'flu?

'Flu is a coronavirus, as is the common cold, so basically from the same stable as SARS, MERS and the current Covid-19. This is just a different strain, as was the 'flu that caught out the NHS historically when the vaccines were ineffective.

If there was no action, what would the results be? Well there are a couple of posts on this thread Link #157 and #163, that 'experts' suggest, the outcome would be no different.

Conjecture!! What I've been saying all along. It's just total guessing.

Tony Abrahams
313 Posted 07/05/2020 at 09:15:30
That's the thing, Derek@300, I don't think a key scientific advisor breaking lockdown, has been thrown to the wolves, although I might be wrong because I'm not that big on keeping up with the news lately.

It's bad enough now, more than bad enough, but it's quite possible they are completely distorting the figures, so “take your medicine and keep quiet”, is maybe along the lines of what I'm thinking.

Conor, that's a good post imo, mate.

Eric Myles
314 Posted 07/05/2020 at 09:19:47
Brent #307, if you can't figure out the answers to those questions yourself without my help, then I really despair for you!

But let me ask you a question: How long has this Covid-19 virus been around? Has it been a year? Can you compare it to a similar virus that has been around for a complete year?

Sorry, that was 3 questions.

Eric Myles
315 Posted 07/05/2020 at 09:35:29
Chris #308, with the first Covid-19 case being reported in UK on 28 February, it's more than 5 weeks that it's been around, so let's see after 4 months (the winter 'flu season as defined by the ONS) what the situation is.

As to the inability of the NHS to cope, see Brian #287, which seems to be suggesting that there is spare capacity. Indeed I read something about 3 Nightingale hospitals having no patients!

I agree with you that we should have doubts about the guesses that we are being fed, and should actively question those guesses.

Dave Abrahams
316 Posted 07/05/2020 at 09:37:33
Jay (294), I understand, because of your personal circumstances, why you could only read a couple of sections of the medical staff's stories of their work during this ongoing virus.

Harrowing indeed, but also, without seeking praise, heroic, moving, very very moving, how they cried over a loss, then cheered every survival, quite a lot volunteered to go these cities and towns overrun by the virus, working 14-hour shifts, and only being able to breathe properly when their shifts had finished and they were out of their PPE clothing.

I couldn't stop reading about them because their stories absolutely deserved to be read by everyone, more especially by leaders and politicians of every nation involved.

Steve Carse
317 Posted 07/05/2020 at 09:44:28
"Covid-19 has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. But it may also be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco. We are making decisions without reliable data."

A statement by eminent Professor in medicine, epidemiology and biomedical data science and statistics, at Stanford University in the United States.

No-one who looks closely at the data in question, particularly in respect of how deaths are being classified and how outdated and poorly performing forecasting models typically are, can but agree. The changes in policy exemplified in U-turns on matters such as 'stay at home' to now something more like 'go outside and keep fit and healthy (and get back to work)' give further support to the Professor's opinion.

Of course, to say that the data deficiencies can only result in overstatement of the risks from the virus is to ignore the possibilities of understatement also, particularly should there be a second wave imminent. But, as a first step, it might be best for Government to start looking more widely and more critically at the bases on which the analyses and forecasts of various institutions and individuals are being made.

Brent Stephens
318 Posted 07/05/2020 at 09:48:53
Eric, they were rhetorical questions! To spell it out...

Q: Why do you think flu deaths are typically presented as deaths for each winter? A: flu is a winter phenomenon, so you can't extrapolate from a seasonal rate to an annual rate.

Q: Conversely, why do you think cancer deaths, for example, are typically presented as deaths per year? A: Deaths from, say, internal cancers are largely non-seasonal.

We can't yet work out an annual rate for Covid-19 (infections, deaths etc), not until at least a year has passed. Ditto re seasonal variations in Covid-19. So, to compare Covid-19 annual rates with flu annual rates is premature. Ditto seasonal comparisons.


Chris Williams
319 Posted 07/05/2020 at 10:00:09
Eric,

I did say the vast majority. That's the point. If you look at the stats, flu and pneumonia this year has accounted for more deaths than Covid-19 has. It's spread over a far longer time. There are still flu deaths being reported now, as there is every year. The ONS flu stats are for 2017-18, so don't forget about November & December as well.

But it's a nonsensical discussion to be having. If you cannot see that a massive peak of deaths crammed into a 5-week period, which will continue at a huge rate for the next several weeks, suppressed to whatever degree by lockdown, and accompanied by about 9,000 unexplained excess deaths in the same period, is quite different from flu, then good luck to you, mate.

Eric Myles
320 Posted 07/05/2020 at 10:03:44
Brent #318, I haven't extrapolated any seasonal rates to annual rates.

And I haven't quoted any annual rates for either 'flu or Covid-19.

All I've said is 'flu is a 4-month phenomenon, Covid-19 has not been with us for 4 months. So we can't yet say that Covd-19 has killed more than the worse recent 'flu epidemics.


Eric Myles
321 Posted 07/05/2020 at 10:15:59
So, Steve #317, you're saying that an eminent professor at the prestigious Stanford University agrees with me – that governments are just guessing?
Michael Kenrick
322 Posted 07/05/2020 at 10:18:10
Wow, lots of good discussion on here since I last checked in. Where to start?

Jay (#278), re 'emotive topic' – there is genuine fear that seeps through a number of posts. Christine's especially. I wonder how much of this is driven by irrational fear? And how much of that fear leads to misinformation? Just asking at this juncture, but I believe that was Eric's point.

I think the "cherry-picking" problem is very real unless you can provide causation on measures taken (and whatever other local factors are in play) to explain the vast diversity of the numbers across many many (perhaps all) countries. The articles I've found don't even come close on that score. But you will ascribe that causation in claiming that "some nations have clearly done far, FAR better than others in keeping their citizens alive". Maybe... maybe not. As you say, there are many many factors to embrace... we may have to wait a long time for that one to be sorted.

Then you say: "that a pandemic such as this could devastate and overwhelm local and global infrastructures ... in an instant. It is not a question of ‘IF' but ‘WHEN'." Fear-mongering again. The evidence is very clear that the incidence of this pandemic will vary massively across the world, with very different outcomes. It is certainly not a question ‘WHEN' for many who will avoid the catastrophe of which you speak. Yet very little of the panic-and-fear mantra is embracing this reality.

You say "people dying from non-related Covid-19 illnesses because they cannot access the treatment they need due to health services being overwhelmed." I don't think this is true in the UK. I've seen nothing about the NHS being overwhelmed... in fact, it's the exact opposite (Nightingale hospitals empty???). Because of the Draconian UK lockdown, far fewer people who should be using the NHS services are doing so. And that is a large factor in why they are dying. Again, why are you promoting this false fear and panic?

Eric Myles
323 Posted 07/05/2020 at 10:34:56
Michael #322, exactly what I meant when saying the subject is overly emotive, and I was especially thinking of your post #260 to Christine when I used that phrase.
Tony Abrahams
324 Posted 07/05/2020 at 10:38:50
I was reading that they have cancelled everything to do with the treatment of TB for 3/6 months, Michael, and such a decision might cause another 1.5 million deaths over the next so many years because of this decision.

If they're not overwhelmed, it just shows how much failing to prepare bites you, because everything was cancelled because of Covid-19. (Sorry, it's just a song my 6-year-olds keep singing) and god help anyone who has had their cancer treatment stopped, or major operations cancelled, especially considering we were not overwhelmed during this crisis.

I haven't been out much, but when I do, I'd argue that the measure's are definitely not draconian, which just shows how we all see things differently at times?

Brian Williams
325 Posted 07/05/2020 at 10:48:01
Spend a little time away from Covid-19 and all that goes with it. This'll bring a tear to your eye for very different reasons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Kzp6k15Syk

Brian Harrison
326 Posted 07/05/2020 at 10:55:57
I think those posters trying to compare this to seasonal flu, must be what its like trying to tell the flat earth brigade we have pictures to dispel your silly theory.
Christine Foster
327 Posted 07/05/2020 at 10:58:38
Conor, no it wasn't your comments! No problem there.
Michael, fear seeps through my posts? I hope so because, from where I sit, I see a solution that worked and many that haven't.

My fear comes from a rational perspective, not an irrational one. When promoting the protection of the vulnerable, it's a meaningless sentence that comforts those who actually don't care that much anyway, much like you are witnessing in the States.

Where New Zealand succeeded was getting the population on board to make it happen. In other countries, US, UK, Brazil, that leadership has been absent, sown division for political purposes, and pitched old against young, left against right.

Yes, there needs to be a plan, and yes, every country needs to have one that fits their needs, but this is a global emergency, it knows no borders. There is a global responsibility for others, unless those who are vulnerable are protected, although just how that could be achieved with so many is frankly impossible.

It's worth noting too that many younger people who catch the virus live but are very, very ill, and can be left with consequences. So Michael, I am afraid not just for myself, but family and friends... and as yet I have seen nothing to set my mind at ease.

Michael Kenrick
328 Posted 07/05/2020 at 11:04:15
Dave @292, I know I shouldn't but I've gotta ask about this "God bless" business. Whenever I think about it, I just can't get this old Monty Python classic out of my head:

Eric Myles
329 Posted 07/05/2020 at 11:10:40
Brian #326, I think it's a very valid comparison. What else have we got to measure the it against?
Patrick McFarlane
330 Posted 07/05/2020 at 11:13:17
Side-stepping the issue of what should have been done and when and whether the scientific evidence was educated guesswork or rigorously collated, the simple fact is that, as individuals, we are unable to make an informed decision about what we should do.

If it was simply a matter of choosing our own pathway, and if that choice only affected our own life, it would be far easier to decide whether to 'gamble' or not. As it stands, we risk the lives of those closest to us should we decide on the cavalier option and who wants to have that on their conscience?

It is nigh-on impossible to corral those who are most likely to succumb to the virus and therein lies the dilemma: the vulnerable have to rely on those less vulnerable for their health and well-being. But the economy also has to be kept afloat and that will inevitably lead to more suffering. On the other hand, an extended lockdown will cause economic damage and could and probably will lead to more suffering and non-related Covid-19 deaths.

I suppose all we can do is hope and pray that a vaccine or drug can be found to alleviate this problem.

Eric Myles
331 Posted 07/05/2020 at 11:22:28
Patrick #330, I disagree that it is not possible to corral those that are susceptible to the virus, after all, isn't the lockdown corralling the whole country, those susceptible, AND those not?

Tell the high risk groups, stay home, don't see family, etc. and let those that want to go out and about do so. Old and young.

Patrick McFarlane
332 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:02:59
Eric #331 I suppose that informing the vulnerable to remain in lockdown would be possible and asking them to have no contact with family or friends is also possible but who is going to provide the money for their food and essentials, their rent etc?

Would the state continue to subsidise those who are healthy but vulnerable to the virus? How would the state decide on who is elligible? Those high-risk groups who are on furlough now, could, if their employer so wishes, lose their employment because they are not available for work; would the DWP allow them to claim benefits?

It's not impossible to do as you suggest Eric but how practical would it be? What about those households that have mixed age ranges? How about a married couple who are from different generations?

The less vulnerable could indeed take their chances but how many of those would be hospitalised should they contract the virus?

I don't have any solutions or answers to any of this. As I originally said, if it only affected me personally, I could do what I felt is right for me without that nagging doubt that I could harm someone else.

Michael Kenrick
333 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:06:03
Tony @313...

It's quite possible they are completely distorting the figures, so “take your medicine and keep quiet”.

I try hard to ignore most of your rambling posts but... What The Fuck???

Does that mean in your head either nobody is dying and the whole thing is an invention? Or that millions are dying and it's the end of the world???

Oh sorry, I skipped over your oh so helpful disclaimer: "I'm not that big on keeping up with the news lately." Head.. wall...

Christine Foster
334 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:11:16
Eric, the purpose of lockdown is to stop the spread. It's containment until community transmission stops. Until such point, the threat to all is minimised (that's all, btw) and it's safe to all.

Keep the old in lockdown until the rest have herd immunity? The last I heard, 60% of the population would need that (if it worked and actually gave immunity). That would probably take a year or two, wouldn't it?

People would still die but not those locked up at home. How long before they get out? Let them go out and take the risk? Up to them? We are in it TOGETHER!

Christine Foster
335 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:15:32
There is no good solution just the best of the poor ones.
Eric Myles
336 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:20:17
Patrick, what are the old and vunerable doing now with regard to their food, rent, etc. in total lockdown??

If there is no furlough because people are working, who is going to lose their jobs?

The high risk groups are those over 60. If currently the government can make arrangements to pay EVERYONE on furlough, surely they could arrange to pay a much lower number of over 60 to 65 year olds?

As for mixed age marriages, well surely they can decide what's best for themselves, without a government locking them up?

If you feel you could harm your family, then surely it's YOUR responsibility to avoid harming them, not the governments?

Tony Abrahams
337 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:22:43
It means that they have sacked Ferguson, put it in the press about his adulterous affair, and then told him to go away quietly. The next few weeks might tell us a bit more, but only if I could go rambling for real... but not whilst we have got these “draconian measures” in place, Michael!

What does it matter what’s in my head Michael, but it’s patently obvious that thousands of people are dying, which is why I’m not that interested in watching the news at the minute, head...wall...skip, which is hopefully what you’ve done with my next post!

Dave Abrahams
338 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:28:52
Michael (292), “ God Bless” ... it's just a simple Catholic, Christian phrase I grew up with, if you left someone at the end of the night you, or I would anyway, always say to them “Goodnight, God bless you” meaning, to me, may God watch over you and keep you safe.

I say it to all my mates at the end of our Monday night's drinking sessions, I'm the only one who goes to church among us, but I never preach and at the back of my mind I know that just because you go to church it doesn't make you a good person and I can smile when someone takes the piss out of me and my religion. Each to his own.

Oh I forgot “Goodnight, God bless, Michael.”

Tom Bowers
339 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:39:19
The question is what happens if Germany starts up again along with other countries and finish their seasons.
Would the Champions league start up again without those who didn't finish their seasons etc.

I don't really care about anything unless the vaccine is available and the ''all clear '' sign goes up.

There is so much more to lose besides what has been lost already.

I think restraint would be the best thing for everyone in all sports but too many are willing to take a big risk on their's and other people's lives unnecessarily.

Chris Williams
340 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:40:10
Dave,

For what it’s worth, I say the same to my son and my wife, every night before going to bed.have throughout my life. It’s a nice habit at the very least, but better if you mean it as well. My Dad always said goodnight and God bless you, may the angels undress you!

God bless Dave

Dave Abrahams
341 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:42:45
Michael (292),

I enjoyed that hymn by Monty Python, in fact, I enjoyed most things by them.

Brent Stephens
342 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:43:37
Eric:

"Brent #318, I haven't extrapolated any seasonal rates to annual rates. And I haven't quoted any annual rates for either 'flu or Covid-19. All I've said is 'flu is a 4-month phenomenon, Covid-19 has not been with us for 4 months. So we can't yet say that Covid-19 has killed more than the worse recent 'flu epidemics".

So you're saying you can't yet compare flu rates with Covid-19 rates. Excellent!

Michael Kenrick
343 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:44:39
The supreme irony, though, Dave, is you're praying and asking that blessings be bestowed by the very creator of this virus and all the ensuing mayhem.

Doesn't that kinda stick in your craw?

Dave Abrahams
344 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:47:55
Chris (340), yes, it's a nice habit and no harm in it at all. Oh and I always mean it, even to my Liverpudlian mates, who wouldn't know what number bus to get to go to Anfield.
Patrick McFarlane
345 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:48:51
Eric, You're correct; it is my decision, but I am most fortunate that I am able to make that decision without any detriment to my own lifestyle. I used to think that Maggie was wrong about her 'no such thing as society' soundbite, but it appears that she was spot-on and it seems that the sentiment is even more entrenched today than it was in her pomp.

Actually, I'm very big on personal responsibilty and I don't want the government or any other body to dictate to me how I should live my life but sometimes a once-in-a-century event happens and we all need sound advice and help to navigate the uncertain waters.

Chris Williams
346 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:51:58
Virgin Media and O2 have announced a UK merger to challenge Sky and BT in the UK. Might prove interesting in the future.
Dave Abrahams
347 Posted 07/05/2020 at 12:54:30
Michael (343), Shurrup Michael, or I'll get someone for you!!

Yes I do think about that at times, and think hard and long, to be honest, but always keep my faith in him.

Eric Myles
348 Posted 07/05/2020 at 13:16:45
No Brent #352, I'm saying YOU can't say that Covid-19 death rates are worse than a bad year of 'flu rates.
Eric Myles
349 Posted 07/05/2020 at 13:21:15
Patrick #145 "but sometimes a once-in-a-century event happens and we all need sound advice and help to navigate the uncertain waters."

Let me know when you get some sound advice about this Covid-19, 'cos so far I'm not hearing any.

Brent Stephens
350 Posted 07/05/2020 at 13:26:30
Eric “No Brent #352, I'm saying YOU can't say that Covid-19 death rates are worse than a bad year of 'flu rates“.

That's fine, Eric, as I've never said that. So we seem agreed.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

351 Posted 07/05/2020 at 13:37:57
Christine @ 301.

My advice to you on the Kiwi that signed up to TW just to post on (interesting) aspects of the global financial system, but heavily laced with totally unnecessary gratuitous personal insults to your good self, is to ignore him and his words.

A temporary carbuncle, now removed, probably never to return.

The wider TW community knows the considerable worth of your wit, intelligence and insight.

I also have huge admiration for people such as yourself who, no matter what their age, take big and bold decisions in their lives in search of happiness, fulfilment and well-being.

For those with the courage to take their leave of the comfortable and familiar, leaving loved ones behind, to travel and look beyond the horizon. And then the next one. And the next one after that.

A simple philosophy I have long lived by is based on the words of Krishnamurti:

'Dive... and know the depth. Eat... and know the taste'.

I'm guessing you embrace a similar attitude to life and all its wonders.

Keep reaching, then going beyond, each and every horizon, Christine.

Steve Brown
352 Posted 07/05/2020 at 14:00:11
Eric @ 349, for goodness sake, please go for a walk or something.
Chris Williams
353 Posted 07/05/2020 at 14:44:20
Dave,

Michael needs to brush up on his Aquinas, that’ll sort him out.

Eric Myles
354 Posted 07/05/2020 at 14:47:30
Steve #352, is that the extent of your sound Covid-19 advice?

I go for an 8-km walk on the beach every morning, meeting old friends and neighbours and sometimes making new friends.

And sometimes in the afternoon I go for a local walk, only about 3 km.

But I did that pre-Covid-19, and wiil do so long after everyone has forgotten Covid-19 ever existed.

So I don't see how your advice benefits me?

Eric Myles
355 Posted 07/05/2020 at 14:55:44
Brent #350, I'm glad we agree then.
Chris Williams
356 Posted 07/05/2020 at 14:56:28
Exercise Cygnus Report on the 2017 exercise to see if UK was ready for a Pandemic (apparently we weren't), that the government refused to publish has just been published by the Guardian.

Apparently a number of specific recommendations about action were made.

It makes interesting reading, if you find such things interesting...

Revealed: the secret report that gave ministers warning of care home coronavirus crisis

Dave Abrahams
357 Posted 07/05/2020 at 15:01:14
Chris (353),

Aquinas? As in St Thomas Aquinas?

Yes, Tommy would have wrapped Michael around his little finger and sent him packing, no bother!!

Peter Gorman
358 Posted 07/05/2020 at 15:10:22
For what my own insight is worth, in our particular NHS trust, patients receiving treatment for cancer and other illnesses continue to receive treatment in a segregated ward. Elective surgery is non-existent. The remaining 2/3rds of wards are full of Covid patients.

It could be that patients developing issues are dissuaded to seek medical treatment during the current crisis but they really should. Nobody will turn them away but the initial assessment may be over the phone. I suppose there is a risk of human error at this point. But people can still seek treatment for all sorts and should not hesitate if they think they need it.

And my last point about the flu comparison. I think the death rate is a steady 20% of all 'resolved' cases but will obviously be significantly lower when we account for a yet unknown number of people with symptoms who required no hospitalisation and a probably unknowable number of people who were asymptomatic.

There is no fair comparison based on such lack of data but if anybody could see what extraordinary lengths the nurses have to go to in order to keep Covid patients alive then I doubt they'd be so flippant about catching it. I'm resigned at this point that a shockingly large percentage of people clearly don't give a shit about spreading it.

Tony Abrahams
359 Posted 07/05/2020 at 15:38:01
It looks like Hancock should have checked that report for himself, instead of getting others to do it for him, Chris? Out of one's depth, or just the ramblings of yet more government bashing? Surely they could have picked a much better time to produce such a damming report?
Steve Brown
360 Posted 07/05/2020 at 15:47:10
Eric @ 354, great news! Keep walking as you'll find the fresh air helps calm you down.
Eric Myles
361 Posted 07/05/2020 at 15:59:45
Steve #360, I'm as calm as a sloth, any calmer and I'd be like Lazarus.
Chris Williams
362 Posted 07/05/2020 at 16:01:21
Tony,

The government could have published it themselves in 2018, but chose not to. Why? Did they act on it? We don't know. It would have been less embarrassing had they published it back then.

It depends on what you see as the role of the press in a democracy, I guess. Cheerleaders or actually holding the government to account.

The Guardian published it and it contains 26 recommendations, many about Care Homes sector. That sector's reaction is quite interesting at least so far.

At least it may now get an airing.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

363 Posted 07/05/2020 at 16:06:06
Eric @ 303 ‘so what you are saying is that it's not C-19 that is responsible for so many deaths in many countries, but the governments of those countries?’

I feel a Rex Harrison-Audrey Hepburn, Pygmalion/My Fair Lady epiphany coming on:

‘I think he’s got it! By George he’s got!’

All together now:

‘Covid-19
‘Kills unseen
‘in Spain
‘while gov-er-ments
‘Mess and muddle (mess and muddle)’

[And the above is why I’ll never make it as a songwriter.]

If I’m being pedantic on the headline paragraph in your post Eric, it is of course Covid-19 doing the killing. However, the policies implemented by governments can go a long way in diminishing death tolls or exacerbating them. I look forward to anyone who can put up a rational response to argue otherwise.

Today you quote an unnamed document without (once again, unlike other posters) any link for others to know what you are referring to. This is in stark contrast to a post you made yesterday in response to an offered link provided by Mike Gaynes, to which you replied that you couldn’t open or read it, but (wrongly) concluded it was based on only the winter months of 2018-19 (the period YOU yourself chose to reference) when in fact it covers a 12-month period with a mountain of detail in a 57-page report, available here at the official gov.uk site:

NHS Annual Flu Reports

Now I could quote reference upon reference throughout that document on Intensive Care Unit (ICU) occupancy which, with some highs, were all within manageable boundaries without ever overwhelming the entire NHS or compromising its other services. I can, and will quote, the settings of ‘flu outbreaks (England only, not the whole of the UK):

“The majority of outbreaks were from care home settings (73.3%) similar to the previous season. School outbreaks accounted for 12.1% of all outbreaks compared to 8.2% in the 2017 to 2018 season. Hospital outbreaks accounted for 10.5% of outbreaks; slightly higher than in 2017 to 2018 (9.0%). An increase in the Other settings category of 4.0% of all outbreaks compared to 2.9% in 2017 to 2018 was also noted. Regionally, the majority of outbreaks occurred in the South West region (16.4%) followed by the South East and North West regions (15.2% and 14.6% respectively).”

A simple table on page 12 and a bar graph on page 13 further emphasize care homes as the primary source of ‘flu outbreaks.

By your own logic Eric – ‘Covid-19 is like normal winter ‘flu. Why are we putting people in lockdown? Why are people beating up on the government?’ – if normal winter ‘flu outbreaks in care homes constitute nigh on 75% of the total number, why did the UK government not take into consideration this known and contemporary data and not do more earlier to protect and contain such viral epicentres?

I would like to provide you with current ICU occupancy rates for the NHS in the UK as a way of comparison to the current Covid-19 crisis, but – guess what? This is the message at the top of the NHS website on a page that usually displays information across the entire NHS on critical care bed capacity:

Critical Care Bed Capacity and Urgent Operations Cancelled: Due to the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) and the need to release capacity across the NHS to support the response, we are pausing the collection and publication of these and some of our official statistics.

NHS Critical Care Capacity

Eric, originally I thought like you. ‘This virus attacks and kills the elderly with particular existing health issues. It is similar to the winter ‘flu. There is no need to overreact.’

I have been forced to change that position with the news roll for each passing day, locally, nationally and globally.

I can only presume that those of you questioning the need for lock downs and the like simply are not experiencing or exposed to the chaos that results when your frontline health system is overwhelmed and completely collapses under the weight of it all.

I am. First hand.

Yesterday I offered what I believe were a number of fair and balanced posts, with links and summaries of the content on sites such as the Global Health Security Index which concluded as recently as October 2019 that no country is prepared for epidemics or pandemics.

Quite frankly, I am a tad bemused by those seemingly wishing to:

* exonerate individual politicians and their ruling parties whilst resenting those who question their performance and motives
* promote the idea that there is nothing to learn in the here and now of the pandemic

If the world electorate has anything about them at all, how their leaders and national governments performed during the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic will very much determine the future of all nations when we emerge from all this.

Whatever form that takes, I really hope it isn’t something along the lines of your vision offered @ 170 in this thread Eric when you justified ‘austerity measures’ as to why some nations health systems have been exposed by the pandemic due to deliberate government policies to cut health and social welfare budgets, thus reducing its human and material resources. Your words:

‘The government is by far the biggest creator of jobs and economic wellbeing in an economy but they don't have endless amounts of money to spend unless you want 99% income tax and VAT rates.

‘So when faced with having to implement austerity measures, as most of the world has had to do recently, the government's first step is to reduce their own spending.

‘Hence the cutbacks. Essential, although in hindsight now, 'scandalous' due to the present circumstances.’

Ke sera, sera. The future is going to be an interesting watch. For those who survive the present, that is.

Michael Lynch
364 Posted 07/05/2020 at 16:15:53
I'm going to refrain from commenting any more about Covid-19, it's getting a bit painful going over the same ground again and again.

But I think I get it – the worse the current stats, the more incompetent and corrupt the government. Which of course is bad news for the leaders of Belgium, Spain, Italy, the UK, France, the Netherlands, the USA, Sweden, Ireland and little old Andorra, but good news for the leaders of Iraq, Iran, Myanmar, Syria, El Salvador and Vatican City who are all doing a splendid job, it seems. Or, it's all a nonsense and we should man up and start hugging and shaking hands again. After all, it's only a little head cold. Take your pick.

Anyway, no more comment from me, but I am happy to post more links for those who remain open-minded. A few of us have been watching UnHerd videos, but I don't know if you've seen this latest one. Again, I think the interviewer asks simple but excellent questions that allow the interviewee to clearly state his position and lay out his research. I did have a few thoughts about what he said, but I'll keep them to myself.

German virologist: Covid-19 is less deadly than feared.

Chris Williams
365 Posted 07/05/2020 at 16:19:48
Tony,

On a related issue, a new Imperial College Report has come out. (I know, I'm a sad bugger.) It covers Italy, and shows over the next 8 weeks the impact of relaxing the lockdown.

It shows three scenarios. Not relaxing it, going back to 20% of the mobility/contact before lockdown, and going back to 40% of pre lockdown mobility, and the possible impact of both on transmission and deaths.

It also makes no allowance for more testing or tracing, or resuming lockdown, so admits it is pessimistic.

It says that the possibility of a second spike is high.

Okay, it's a model so it is wrong and it is pessimistic. There must be other inputs into any decision-making as well, but it may explain the extreme caution being expressed by the government today, particularly in light of the euphoria and headlines on the cheerleaders' front pages this morning.

You would need a lot of faith in the testing programme currently, and a tracing infrastructure that is not there yet and a new app, currently being trialled, and under fire for breaching data protection rules etc.

So it will be interesting to see how it is managed.

Eric Myles
366 Posted 07/05/2020 at 16:42:03
Jay #363, I 'chose' to reference only the winter months because those were the only months on the ONS website that referred to the 50,000 deaths. (Or 49,490 if you want the significantly lower figure)

As quoted in my post #303,

In the 2018 to 2019 winter period (December to March)

I couldn't refer to any other months as they are not mentioned. So, not really MY choice.

AND the documents that Mike referred to that I couldn't open are entitled "Flu annual report: Winter 2018 to 2019" so forgive me for not thinking that Winter 2018 to 2019 means 12 months, not the 4 months, ie, December through March, that the winter 'flu season covers, which is the significant period.

There's no need to provide me with ICU capacity as a previous post has indicated it's 3,000 beds, PLUS all those empty beds in the unused Nightingale hospitals, the number of which wasn't posted.

As for economic theory, that's for another discussion, suffice to say, hindsight is always 20-20.


Eric Myles
367 Posted 07/05/2020 at 16:49:24
Michael #364, it's good to hear that some country leaders are doing a splendid job rather than lambasting those that are doing their best in these unprecedented circumstances. ;-)
Eric Myles
368 Posted 07/05/2020 at 17:04:54
Interesting article Michael (I didn't watch the video), and I understand why you are saying nothing.

Comparative to the German 15% infection rate, I read something about testing done on a US naval ship (seem to think it was an aircraft carrier) and they came up with a 25% infection rate.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

369 Posted 07/05/2020 at 17:11:20
Your turn Michael Kenrick!

To follow on from my closing comments to Eric @ 363 about the government blame game you first highlighted in your post @ 165:

‘I get the impression on here that many want it to be different, and blame the government at every turn, regardless.’

Whilst there are some grizzly partisan comments about the various political incumbents around the globe, alongside them are perfectly valid questions and challenges made about their performances during the pandemic. Why is that an issue for you and Eric?

You, and others, wish to insist that it is a fallacy to state ‘some nations have clearly done far, FAR better than others in keeping their citizens alive’.

‘Maybe... maybe not’ you respond.

Michael, there is no ‘maybe’ about it. I myself, as you fairly mention, acknowledged and listed many variable determining factors that complicate the calculation; that it is difficult to absolutely ratify or have total confidence in reported cases or mortality rates from all nations for a variety of reasons.

Still, I would very much hope there is an army of boffins – in the here and NOW - sifting through goodness knows how much contemporary data, trying to identity patterns and success stories that help contain or arrest the spread of Covid-19, rather than wait 2-3 years before leisurely undertaking the academic work as you and others seem to be suggesting.

This is very much the position of David Spiegelhalter, a statistician and professor of the public understanding of risk, quoted just yesterday by Boris Johnson in Parliament. BoJo said the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK should not be compared with those in other European countries, quoting Spiegelhalter 's article in The Guardian as supporting evidence.

Spiegelhalter very quickly took to Twitter and made the following statement:

"Polite request to PM and others: please stop using my Guardian article to claim we cannot make any international comparisons yet. I refer only to detailed league tables-of course we should now use other countries to try and learn why our numbers are high."

As for your ridiculous charges that my opinions amount to ‘fear-mongering and panic spreading’, don’t be so daft, Michael. A ‘fruity loop’ I’m not.

Other than private exchanges with family and friends, TW is the only platform on which I share my views on Covid-19. I’m not an ‘influencer’ with zillions of followers on any media, social or otherwise. TW itself has – what? – a few thousand passive viewers. Just a few score active, regular contributors. Some reach that then.

I also credit the TW readership with being a bit smarter than being taken in by some ‘Chicken Little’ character squawking that the sky is about to fall on our heads. Nor is that my approach to life, or even this pandemic.

Take this (abbreviated) quote you highlight as an example of my ‘fear-mongering’, "that a pandemic such as this could devastate and overwhelm local and global infrastructures. in an instant. It is not a question of ‘IF' but ‘WHEN'."

It’s happening in the NOW, Michael! On every continent. It’s hard, undeniable fact!

Just how cocooned are you that you don’t see evidence of all that I listed in my full original sentence?

I’ll compliment both you and Lyndon again, as I have many times in recent weeks, for allowing posters so much liberty to post so much non-football related content.

But clearly, judged on your posts in recent days, I ain’t gonna agree with you on many aspects of this global pandemic.

Eric Myles
370 Posted 07/05/2020 at 17:21:20
Jay #369, I am questioning the political incumbents on their performance, I'm just asking different questions that you don't seem to like.

But what I am not doing, is focussing on the past performances such as budget cuts which cannot be undone now. Lambasting previous governments for their actions won't solve the current problem.

Seems I've hit a 40-post limit now, goodnight all (I won't say god bless!)

Mike Gaynes
371 Posted 07/05/2020 at 18:00:41
Has anybody over there heard anything about NHS use of remdesivir, the first drug proven to successfully treat Covid-19?

The US FDA approved it last week and Japan followed suit today, but the only thing I've heard about the UK was five weeks ago, the launch of two studies covering 15 sites in England and Scotland, overseen by a doctor in Manchester. The trials were supposedly fast-tracked by the Chief Medical Office, but that was April 2 and I've heard/read nothing since.

Manufacture of the drug is rapidly gearing up over here – one of my clients will be involved – and the target is to have the capability of treating one million US patients by the end of the year.

Thomas Lennon
372 Posted 07/05/2020 at 18:10:07
Yes Mike, initial results are encouraging in reducing the time of recovery as I understand it. First paper is under review.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

373 Posted 07/05/2020 at 18:35:47
Michael @ 364.

Thank you for another good watch with the German virologist on Lockdown TV. I enjoyed that.

I am reassured that as I expressed hope for in my earlier posts that boffins are indeed already busy at work analysing data from around the world to get a better understanding of how best to combat Covid-19, rather than wait 1-2-3 years as some seemingly advocated before 'legitimate' data can be drawn from comparative studies.

Some takeaways from the interview were:

* We cannot assume a vaccine will be discovered to combat it to diminish its threat to humans. In which case...

* We simply have to learn to live with the virus, which in turn may require us to radically change our social habits (continue social distancing, regular hand washing and hand sanitation);

* This in turn could have consequences for certain business and entertainment types: closed environments like night clubs with people packed in tight, people speaking loudly (and unintentionally spitting) in close proximity over the beating music increases risk; open-air activities with greater distancing less so;

* That herd immunity, or allowing or deliberately infecting some of the population with even small doses in the hope of improving overall immunity, is fraught with risk;

* That those who have caught Covid-19 but now recovered have a natural higher immunity to the virus should they catch it again in the next year or two, but still a vaccine is required to ensure greater protection even for this demographic;

* That whilst Germany possibly went into lockdown too early for virologists to gain any meaningful data as to what restraint measures worked best (due to Covid-19's long incubation period of 5-14 days before someone possibly discovers they have it), if they are controlled and careful in exiting lockdown, this offers them a chance to measure what to best liberate and what to keep under restraint without experiencing a second wave of cases.

Ian Pilkington
374 Posted 07/05/2020 at 18:43:04
Several contributors on here are determined to blame their respective governments for this crisis (with one exception, who loves her adopted country but hates the democratically elected government in her country of birth).

They seem to have forgotten that the undemocratic socialist paradise of China is solely to blame for the origin of Covid-19 and for the deliberate suppression of initial information which could have prevented it from spreading outside its own borders.

The undemocratic socialist paradise of China is solely to blame for the origin of Covid-19. Whether it originated in a wet market or a laboratory...

John McFarlane Snr
375 Posted 07/05/2020 at 19:04:17
Hi Len [311],

Like yourself, I long for the chance to embrace the younger members of my family. I have five grandchildren ranging from 6 to 17 and, as I didn't become a granddad until I was 64, I treasure every moment that I spend with them.

Unfortunately nearing 82 with underlying health issues, I'm destined to spend a further five weeks confined to barracks. I'm quite sure that every contributor to this site has suffered a bereavement in their lives and will recognise that there are more important things in life, and how anyone can say that resuming football will 'give the Country a lift' beggars belief, hugging my grandchildren is the lift I'm looking forward to.

Mike Gaynes
376 Posted 07/05/2020 at 19:18:54
John #375, amen. I'm a hugger by nature (ask Pete Mills and Rob Halligan here), and I haven't had a hug from anybody in four months. Feels like starvation.

Thomas #372, cheers.

Tony Abrahams
377 Posted 07/05/2020 at 19:37:36
Chris @362, the government are all over the place, most of the world is all over the place, people are dying and the world economy is on its knees.

90% of the press are cheerleaders, so I'm surprised that some are turning right now, because more than anything we need a united country. The blame game should never come until much later and especially not whilst we are in the middle of a crisis, which never does anyone any good.

Keep posting this stuff though, Chris, not everyone likes it, but you're definitely on the ball with regards many things happening right now imo. But maybe I need to get back to the music, and away from the fear-mongerers? (Imagine your wife being on the front line, in a country where the president has no fear!) Especially if we are facing the worst recession in 300 years.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

378 Posted 07/05/2020 at 19:50:52
Tony:

20 April 2014
Everton 2 Manchester United 0

David Moyes's final game as United manager before being dismissed in less than a year

I was there.

I'm surprised you didn't recognize me:

Goodison's Grimm Reaper

Chris Williams
379 Posted 07/05/2020 at 19:54:20
Hi Tony,

I honestly try to keep out of this as much as I can. It can get you down a bit can't it? On top of a horrendous situation for the world, which narrows down to you and yours, as well as some of the people who write on here.

I've looked into it as much as I can, because I've got little else to do, really to try and understand this stuff as much as it's possible to do. I'm not sure it is, and there are not many absolutes but an awful lot of opinions.

This race is not yet run by a long chalk.

Music is a great release. The best fun I've had in a while is the Reasons to be Cheerful thread. Very uplifting.

Mike Gaynes
380 Posted 07/05/2020 at 19:57:50
Ian #374, China is wholly responsible for the initial SPREAD of the virus. Not the origin.

The virus emerged from a natural process that happens over and over again in nature. Over 400 coronaviruses have been discovered in bats. Some jump from one species to another. Not one scientist who has examined the DNA of the virus thinks it originated in a laboratory. Their verdict has been unanimous that it emerged naturally as thousands of others have before.

The pandemic could theoretically have been triggered by the accidental escape of the virus from a lab where it was being studied, but it's far more likely to have been a natural process -- thousands of people catch bats without protection in China.

China isn't the least bit socialist (don't know where you got that idea), and the fact that it's undemocratic is irrelevant to the spread of the virus, which has been equally virulent in democracies. There is no debate as to the criminal idiocy of the Chinese government in allowing wet markets and squelching the first news of the virus, but I consider the idiocy of my own country's openly corrupt leadership to be at least equivalent.

Tony Abrahams
381 Posted 07/05/2020 at 20:04:17
“Not many absolutes, but an awful lot of opinions” – the beauty of this website in a nutshell, Chris. 👍

Just saw that picture, Jay, not scary enough mate, but I didn't know Alcaraz played in that game, surprised me that.

Tony Hill
382 Posted 07/05/2020 at 20:39:28
Chris @353 and Dave @357, only on this site could we have Thomas Aquinas lined up against Monty Python. Beautiful, truly beautiful.
Conor McCourt
383 Posted 07/05/2020 at 20:41:52
Knut Wittkowski – "Politicians say there is a lot of evidence for prohibition to work, well the other prohibition 100 years ago, it didn't work either. We now have evidence in China and South Korea the lockdowns started after the peak in the number of cases meaning the number of new infections was already going down substantially so it had no effect whatsoever."

He produced a paper with a lot of great information of his statistics on Covid-19 in many countries where he suggests controversially in China that the Lockdown policy with which most based their execution on had no effect on the quelling of the virus.

According to Knut the turning point in China came on 31 January due to its natural cycle. While borders were closed previously and had clear effect in internalising, outdoor restrictions only came in on 2 February, businesses only shutdown on 13 February and schools on 20 February. He argues the latter two closures came after two weeks or so when interventions were too late to have any effect.

Wittkowski is equally confrontational when he argues in China, South Korea and Iran (first wave), incidence peaked after 2 weeks and declined which was normal behaviour for a Coronavirus. He believes, contrary to popular belief, that Europe and America's prolonged 4-week cycle was due to premature interventions such as social distancing and lockdown aimed at flattening the curve but had the effect of actually prolonging the epidemic.

He also praised Washington State's approach as the elderly are kept isolated in nursing homes while the young are encouraged to build herd immunity asap. He argues the longer the vulnerable are kept isolated will also impact their risk of death.

A fascinating read with so much more info I barely touched on;

The first three months of the COVID-19 epidemic:
Epidemiological evidence for two separate strains of SARSCoV-2 viruses spreading and implications for prevention
strategies

Michael Kenrick @328, The genius part of that sketch was a picture of Gary Neville came up on mine taking me to a link on Sky Sports at the end of the clip under the title 'All Things Dull and Ugly'. It was funnier than the sketch itself. God Bless you, Michael!!

Andy Crooks
384 Posted 07/05/2020 at 20:42:49
This is a fascinating, educational, moving thread. I don't know enough to add anything to the debate.

However, I have noticed a few saying this could hamper our chance of a new stadium. Down the line, though, might a project such as this be very much what Liverpool will require?

Eric Paul
385 Posted 07/05/2020 at 20:55:16
Mike,

Didn't you have the best chicken killed and cleaned in front of you at such a market?

Dave Abrahams
386 Posted 07/05/2020 at 21:02:45
Jay (378), that wasn't you, mate, because when he was asked to move and go out, he just accepted it, never argued at all, not even one syllable!!!
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

387 Posted 07/05/2020 at 21:26:00
DANG! Pretence blown!

Yer got me, Dave!

Christine Foster
388 Posted 07/05/2020 at 22:33:03
Ian, *374,

How this contagion started in China has nothing to do with the political persuasion of a particular government. How it spread most certainly has.

As for your veiled reference to myself, it's okay, you are right: I have little truck with the Conservative Pary, but hate? That's a different animal.

No, I despise the ideology that is selfish in nature, discriminatory in the application, and based on personal greed, and that's NOT to say any political party (including Labour) is without zealots but it is the formulation of solutions and the application of such, based on an ideology that benefits some more than others, that is the problem.

I have said several times in the past that, in times of national crisis or one of far-reaching impact, that there is a need for a non-politically based solution. Brexit, a case in point, driven and delivered by an ideology, should have been a consensus approach, as should the management of this contagion. Otherwise, political capital will be made and focus on the best outcome lost in the more of how it will look to the electorate.

So, Ian, I disagree with you, but that's okay. But I hope I explained why... for this is not the forum for political debate despite its current latitude. I can be sarcastic too, but that's just point-scoring in a pointless game.

Democratically elected? Please... clearly social manipulation by the likes of Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, Dominic Cummings... of course, that had no impact on US or UK, or European elections, or the Brexit vote. Targeted manipulation that feeds into the fears of the unaware. Hopefully, in the coming elections, social media will ban all political or politically inspired socially targeted posts of any persuasion once an election is announced.

Love my adopted country? Yes, I do. Love my own country? Yes, I do. I am privileged to come from an unprivileged city, one where the vast majority still believe in doing the right thing by someone. Not for gain, but because it's the right thing to do. I am proud to be a scouser. Always will be.

Christine Foster
389 Posted 07/05/2020 at 22:43:34
Peter Gorman #358,

Excellent post...

if anybody could see what extraordinary lengths the nurses have to go to in order to keep Covid-19 patients alive, then I doubt they'd be so flippant about catching it. I'm resigned at this point that a shockingly large percentage of people clearly don't give a shit about spreading it.

So am I.

Mike Gaynes
390 Posted 08/05/2020 at 02:02:12
I did, Eric, a couple of times in Shanghai.

Never in Wuhan, although I have actually been through the same seafood wet market where the first cases popped up. It's not far from my in-laws' home.

Michael Kenrick
391 Posted 08/05/2020 at 09:24:38
Christine, one line in your reply to Ian caught my eye.

European elections I know nothing about (although I thought proportional representation arguably made them more democratic than most); US elections can be very strange animals, with rampant gerrymandering and their bizarre Electoral College system that seems to defy the very core democracy. But I had retained this feint hope that the relatively simple UK electoral system would score pretty highly under any 'democratic' analysis.

Now I know you're actually blaming social manipulation by the likes of Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, Dominic Cummings etc... but honestly, do you really believe, in the case of BoJo's sweeping victory over the marvellously idealistic Corbynistas, that social manipulation really was a factor sufficient to steal a massive and embarrassing Labour defeat from the jaws of victory?

So many of your posts mention Brexit, so it must hurt a lot, but Corbyn was utterly useless on that topic, while Boris at least provided a clear path forward that a majority of voters who bothered to turn out democratically approved of. To suggest that this clear result was 'undemocratic' and wrought by social manipulation... well, methinks thou dust protest too much.

Christine Foster
392 Posted 08/05/2020 at 10:13:39
Michael, you are right on several levels, the appalling hopeless Labour Party, led by an unelectable leader, didn't deserve to win. But, at the same time, the unelected BoJo had a plan, never mind the lies, he was and is the front man with a three-word slogan backed by media, money and social network manipulation.

Labour didn't deserve to win, but the country deserved better than what they got. But you are right: they got elected because of smart targeting in the first election and hopeless leadership in the second.

Michael, I lived with the Brexit result in France where the British government threw every single European Brit under a bus. After promising their rights would be protected, they were used as a negotiations pawn as were Europeans in the UK. Enough... it's done but the crassness and lies linger, never to be trusted again. It's an established fact that the leave campaign broke the financial rules on spending, the electoral commissions own findings, but nothing was done was it?

The fact is, Michael, too many people look no further than themselves, ie, Not my problem, is it? Won't affect me, will it? What's better for me and stuff the consequences. You could see it in Brexit, you can see it in the virus conversations. Where is the social responsibility? It exists in the NHS... but to the average 35-year-old who is told it's only like flu?

Peter Gorman in his post said it the way it is: how many people just don't care about who they might infect? That's what bugs me, Michael – not irrational fear, but callousness of some.

Michael Lynch
394 Posted 08/05/2020 at 10:33:28
"Get Brexit Done" "Stay Home, Save Lives, Protect the NHS"

Campaigns in the UK are often won by simple slogans, rather than cunning social media campaigns or detailed policies. We're not really that bright.

I remember when Princess Diana died, all anyone seemed to say was "She was the People's Princess", and that's where Moyes got the People's Club idea from. (I'm just making that up, by the way.) But slogans are very powerful things: reduce a million pages of explanation to three or four words and you're away.

"For the Many, Not the Few" was a good one on the surface – nice and catchy. But it wasn't a call to action, and it sounded divisive to me. "For The Many, Not Just the Few" might have been a better message, suggesting we were all in it together, instead of drawing battle lines.

Chris Williams
395 Posted 08/05/2020 at 10:56:13
Michael,

Can I just add to Christine's comments and concerns.

If media manipulation is not impactful, why is it done? Social media has had an influence to whatever degree in many elections in recent years. But also mainstream media is having an effect, not just newspapers but their websites, twitter accounts etc. It's probably happening right now with Murdoch and his empire, using Chinese labs as an opportunity to get Trump re-elected.

Corbyn was no sort of leader, possibly none too bright, he was lousy and carried too much baggage from the 70s and beyond that would only ever play out one way. And it did in spades. I guess there were many Labour insiders who were happy to lose that election to see the back of him and his mates too.

But many of his policies had people's welfare at their heart. They were rejected, in favour of Get Brexit Done basically and on the basis of his demonisation, and because of a divided opposition.

There is a callousness abroad now which is disturbing. Facts matter less than opinions and prejudices, all across many countries and across the political spectrum.

We are where we are. We need to deal with this now. How we fare and manage the aftermath will be instructive on many levels. Already, a head of steam is building for Brexit to happen with any economic and other issues being buried under the impact of this pandemic.

Len Hawkins
396 Posted 08/05/2020 at 11:04:04
John #375,

I became a grandad at 65; the eldest is only 5 this October and the youngest was 12 months old last January. Since the lockdown, little Maia has started walking; we have seen it on video but it's not like being there. By the time we see them again, she'll probably be break dancing.

On the political front, this Government got in on TWO points:

1. Brexit

2. Corbyn

The fallback statement of the Tory Party that got them elected in 2010 was "the mess Labour left us in 2008". No mention that if Labour had let the Banks fail, the suicide rate of penniless people would eclipse the Covid-19 death rate.

We are in a much worse financial state now than when Labour left office in 2010. A lot of firms will not come out of this, especially the pub/restaurant sector and small one-man businesses. Town centre shopping areas are already like ghost towns with shop after shop empty how many more are not going to re-open.

Kevin Prytherch
397 Posted 08/05/2020 at 11:07:08
It’s interesting that some posters are quoting theorists who are writing papers based on pure speculation about what might have happened if we hadn’t have implemented social distancing, then ridicule our own country’s estimated statistics because they are educated estimates and not facts...

The same theorists then quote Chinese figures for their papers, who magically invented 50% more cases 4 weeks later just to try and make their figures look comparable and make anyone who speaks otherwise disappear.

Perhaps a good comparison would be the Nordic region, where Sweden’s deaths are significantly more than Denmark’s and Norway’s combined.

Brian Harrison
398 Posted 08/05/2020 at 11:22:03
Mike Gaynes 371

Mike they have looked at the drug remdesivir in this country and there findings are that it helps recovery by about 4/5 days. But so far they don't know if it just helps the people who would have recovered and not those that didnt. But I think they are still testing and monitoring to see if it can help people who might not have recovered.

Michael Lynch 394

I think you can add the brexit rally cry " take back control" seems this country loves a 3 line catchy slogan as does Cummings. But I think in Keir Starmer they have a very different animal to contend with, than Corbyn was. Johnson looked rattled at PMQs they other day, when Starmer asked why we had done so badly. But Johnson had no answers and kept looking behind for the benches behind to cheer every word, but because of the restrictions in Parliament they werent there. So bamboozled and having no answers he decided out of the blue that on Sunday he will announce plans to ease the lockdown which will come into place the following day.
Since that announcement all his ministers have been rowing back on that idea saying there will only be minimal changes in the lockdown.

I would suggest that people watch PMQs every Wednesday at 12.00, which is covered on BBC2 and watch Johnson being asked questions that the country deserves answers too. Remember this was the man who only a couple of months back was telling everyone that he had been to a hospital with patients with Covid 19 and shook everybodys hand.

Chris Williams
399 Posted 08/05/2020 at 11:55:33
Kevin

Agree mate

The interesting country for me is Belgium who is declaring deaths completely differently from other countries. Their figures look very high.

They always declared CV related deaths in all settings, Care homes etc unlike UK. They also include deaths where they suspect CV may have been involved. So completely open and honest and have got stick for it..

It would be interesting if all countries took that approach, and we included some or all of the 9000 excess deaths with no explanation as to what caused them. They’ve accrued in the last 5 or 6 weeks according to ONS.

Michael Kenrick
400 Posted 08/05/2020 at 11:59:09
I'm not a great fan of social media, maybe because I've never given any of it the investment in time to figure out how to separate the wheat from the chaff. (You'll like that one, Dave!)

But I'm discomforted by the inherent arrogance that says: "Myself, I'm smart enough to read/avoid social media and not be influenced by it. But all our ills in this world are down to those idiots who spend far too long on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok – you name it – allowing social manipulators and 'influencers' [vomit] to dictate the outcome of our elections."

Really? Is everyone else really that stoopid?

Unfortunately, I detect an extension of this in your missive, Christine... to paraphrase: "I'm doing my bit to stay safe (by relocating 12,000 miles away from the epicentre) but how many people just don't care about who they might infect?"

Really? Whenever I go out, everyone, without exception is doing the social distancing. Yes, I'm sure there are some who don't care. But the vast majority do care, Christine. I suspect they also care about our freedoms, our economy and our livelihoods.

I can only interpret the following stinging rebuke from Peter Gorman in the context of this thread, as no-one else has actually posted to claim such irresponsibility:

"I'm resigned at this point that a shockingly large percentage of people clearly don't give a shit about spreading it."

What percentage is that, Peter? Starting with those of us who dare to question "The Science" that the government claims to be following in its lockdown requirements, perhaps?

Dave Abrahams
401 Posted 08/05/2020 at 12:25:12
Michael (400), stay with the wheat Michael, you know where the chaff are going!!!
Conor McCourt
402 Posted 08/05/2020 at 12:25:45
Kevin, you are a terrible man for assumptions. I introduced Wittkowski's report because I had just read it and thought it was an explosive read so I gave a summary of some very bold claims. He is the first I've heard to question the success of China's lockdown success so I thought it important to the discussion. The likes of Levitt who I've quoted (from London which is in the UK I think) believes China's success was because of lockdown, technology and masks (a contrary view).

I personally would have a lot of questions myself about the data; the reliability of China's reporting and his conviction that he could be sure about the turning point, his opinion about the influence of tracking and tracing in South Korea, if Sweden weren't exemplary with social distancing – yes, they had a spike – but surely their case rate would be shorter than the rest of Europe? I would also question that he is someone who is an advocate of herd immunity based on 35 years experience and are we looking at skewed data to reflect his bias?

As for not looking internally, I don't know if Heneghan's name is too foreign for you but his data from Oxford suggests lockdown came too late as infections peaked mid-March and dropped 50% just due to the initial policy you blame for everything. He too is staunchly against lockdown being dragged on.

You also really should look at the thread where I've ridiculed Sweden for not looking after their care homes. They have the same failings as many European Countries. If you look outside of Stockholm their deaths rates are comparable per capita to their Nordic equivalents. They didn't close borders, are reliant on immigration to provide care home staff and had problems putting in protective measures. They are also closer geographically to countries who really struggled than those mentioned. Belgium whose government put in all the measures you so desire and were early doing so haven't seemed to reap the benefits even if they are honest like Sweden who have no political interference. Incidentally Denmark are not as transparent, though Norway I'm not sure.

As I've said previously the only strong view I have is that we should not be in lockdown now.

Chris Williams
403 Posted 08/05/2020 at 12:48:24
Michael

I don’t use social media either. I’m on LinkedIn but that’s different as far as I can see, although there is a bit more latitude allowed currently, not unlike your goodself.

I’ve always thought that social media is not for the likes of me (old fart in an age group now considered vulnerable and enfeebled) and so never bothered. I think the clue lies in the title, social media, that was what it was meant for, and like many other things, the internet basically, it is used for other things.

I don’t think users are stupid, it’s what happens these days, just like things that became popular over the course of my life happened. Could do with better regulation probably.

I’ve met selfish people, cynical people, ruthless people, dishonest people, greedy people ambitious people and criminals as well as people who I’ve liked respected admired and disagreed with over many years, but I cant honestly remember too many I’ve put in a box labelled stupid. At least not since I was a whole lot younger and more arrogant.

If I was to pass judgement on social media, it would be on the people and organisations who have perverted it for whatever reason, who would probably fall into the first 7 categories I list above.

But then I don’t use it so I’m probably wrong.

Michael Lynch
404 Posted 08/05/2020 at 13:01:44
Chris @399 Is it unfair for me to point out that when you see very high death rates in Belgium you look for mitigating factors, but when you see them in the UK you look for someone to blame?
Alan J Thompson
405 Posted 08/05/2020 at 13:32:22
"For the many, not for the few."

I always thought that was a line said by a Vulcan in Star Trek.

I'm always amazed how people will vote for somebody who looks and talks differently from those already in office but, once elected, turns out to be no different.

Chris Williams
406 Posted 08/05/2020 at 13:33:22
Michael (404),

I look at all the countries Michael, on the Imperial College website, which is updated daily, and Belgium stood out as very high, so I found out why. There's been several articles on the subject and I read them. So I wasn't looking for mitigating circumstances, just an explanation. That's the main reason why I spend so much time looking at this, to try and understand it.

I'm not looking for people to blame in the UK. I've said repeatedly that the time for judgement on that is for the future when there is an enquiry.

Do I believe that this whole process has been badly managed? Yes, I do. As it continues to be. Could they have been done better or earlier? Well, the Government adviser seems to think so. Has this cost lives, probably, but that will no doubt come out in the enquiry in the future.

But looking at the situation in Belgium is quite distinct from looking at the UK situation. But you connect them if you wish.

Peter Gorman
407 Posted 08/05/2020 at 13:40:39
Michael, my 'large percentage' comment was clearly hyperbolic and I don't want to get caught in some cross-fire between you and other posters.

It was a comment based on my observations. Perhaps I live in a worse neighbourhood than you. About half the people are currently ignoring social distancing when food shopping and the traffic on the street has increased tenfold. So many essential journeys!

Similarly, neighbours on my street have slid down the slope of having relatives drive over to wave at them from the car, to popping into the house a quick minute to actually staying over. The lockdown may be called off this Sunday but from where I stand it seems to have stopped a while ago.

Revarding the science behind the lockdown that people love to challenge, I have nothing to say, I haven't read any. I have only anecdotes based on what my missus tells me. She is currently working the Covid ward and has three years experience in respiratory ward during many a seasonal flu.

This is different, unpleasant and extremely hard to treat. It is a bit of a lottery whether you live or die, should you be unfortunate to require respiration (with sedation). Some patients have been semi-conscious on ventilation (as in, machine-controlled breathing, not just oxygen) for over a month with little sign of improvement. Flu it is not.

That's all I chose to contribute. My humble observations. You can read what you like into them.

Dave Brierley
409 Posted 08/05/2020 at 13:50:39
Christine @392:

"It's an established fact that the leave campaign broke the financial rules on spending, the electoral commissions own findings, but nothing was done was it?"

Think that's more than a tad unfair Christine.

You failed to mention the Electoral Commission's refusal to investigate the wealth of evidence that the Remain campaign colluded on a much greater scale.

What is certain is that many pro-Remain campaigns relied on one donor – former Labour science minister and supermarket heir Lord (David) Sainsbury. Not only did Sainsbury donate over £2.6 million to the official Remain campaign, he donated over £2 million pounds each to the Remain campaigns of both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties.

Political parties had their own spending limits depending on the vote they achieved in the previous election – though it is itself a rather unusual move to make donations to two separate parties in one campaign. He also donated to other pro-Remain participants including the European Movement, Scientists for the EU, We are Europe, Better for Our Future, DDB UK Ltd and Michelle Ovens Ltd.

Perhaps the oddest donation from Sainsbury was £210,000 to Virgin Media Ltd, which helped to pay for newspaper ads featuring a letter from Virgin supremo Sir Richard Branson calling for a Remain vote. There is no evidence that there was collusion between the different campaigns backed by Sainsbury – but it is clear that both sides of the referendum were looking for ways to spend as much on their cause without breaching the spending limits.

Even if all that is alleged against Vote Leave is true, it is clear that this did not create an unfair playing field. Both sides in the Referendum exploited loopholes to maximise how much they could spend. The Remain side had the advantage of having the government machine – and £9.3 million of public funds on clear campaign literature – on its side.

If the referendum was unbalanced, the advantage was with Remain – and yet it still lost.

Chris Williams
410 Posted 08/05/2020 at 14:23:02
A new Dylan album announced for release mid-June. All new original tracks, first time in years. Called Rough and Ready Ways.

A couple of tracks already released and now a new one on YouTube. It's called False Prophet. It's pretty good.

Christine Foster
411 Posted 08/05/2020 at 14:25:23
Dave, sadly my response to Michael was not intended to reopen the debate on Brexit, merely to answer his comment on the subject. My perspective was taken from a point outside the UK as a Brit in France. So forgive me if I don't get into a tit-for-tat response on this, perhaps another day when the present crap is over.

Michael, sorry but that wasn't my point. I was in isolation in Australia, in isolation in New Zealand, then in lockdown, still am... I am still trying to stay safe. Is New Zealand safer than UK? absolutely, because of less density of population and different political decisions taken. As I said before, personal behaviour of citizens in lockdown here has been very good, but when you see television news in US protests against lockdown, armed militia in court houses in Michigan people not observing self distance... what other conclusion can you come to about safety?

You have your view, Michael, and so far on this thread you have labelled my fear as irrational, my views as condescending at best, ridiculing at worst. At the end of the day, we form our own opinion from the things we hear and see.

A great deal of people never look beyond the slogans. Are they stupid? No... lazy? Yes. They believe the lie if it's told often enough... side of a bus.

Gary Willock
412 Posted 08/05/2020 at 14:41:41
Christine showing typical remainer attitude “not getting into it, after I have a final say”, “slogans”, “the bus told them to do it”, etc. Four years ago. People voted to *leave* in 2016. Again in 2017 (backing Theresa May ffs), again in the MEP elections last year, and again in the last General Election. Get the fuck over it. The world does not revolve around you. Stop whinging about it. Get over it.
Paul Tran
413 Posted 08/05/2020 at 14:44:21
Dave's right about that campaign's funding – it was dreadfully murky on both sides.

There is one issue that links Brexit and this crisis – the ability to form and carry out policy. The Brexit campaign had some superb slogans and a committed, creative media and data team that it employed brilliantly to win against the odds.

I kept asking how are you going to do it? The story kept changing. The blame kept being apportioned. There was a policy, but they 'couldn't' say what it was. Then the ERG group trailed their policy paper, which they didn't publish. In the absence of policy, the policy became blaming anyone who asked questions. That's not a policy.

Fair play, they did the same at the election and got a thumping majority, but answers to the How? question are still thin on the ground.

This crisis has seen a similar pattern. Glib, flippant announcements instead of clear policy. A similar reluctance to accept scrutiny or culpability.

The best governments, of all shades, craft, enact and sustain policy. They all do it against a backdrop of civil servants who ask questions (that's part of their job) and a media that is often hostile and sometimes over-supportive, as much of it was earlier this week.

Johnson is a glib, flippant, positive politician who lacks gravitas and detail while being desperate to please everyone. On that basis, he needs to fill his cabinet with people able to work in a detailed way to get policy on the statute book. Only Sunak does this and, interestingly, he wasn't one of the original ministers.

Running winning campaigns requires a different skill set to making policy and running a country. This government is very good at the first and very poor at the second, which, in my view, is one of the main reasons why it is performing poorly at the moment.

Gary Willock
414 Posted 08/05/2020 at 14:52:29
Dave @ 409 - spot on. Excluding the one-sided government leaflet that cost millions, and Remain still spent more. They've been fined for rule-bending too.

We've voted four times since. It's crystal clear that, with the exception of Scotland, London and a few pockets elsewhere, this country overwhelmingly showed it doesn't want to be part of Macron and Verhofstadt authoritarian cult.

Remain would be the first crying to respect democracy if they ever won a vote. I think that's called either hypocrisy or selfishness. Get over it, accept the UK wants to join 86% of the world outside the EU, and move on.

Chris Hockenhull
415 Posted 08/05/2020 at 14:53:41
Chris (410),

I was told last week that a third track was imminent to be previewed today. Oddly enough, I woke up this morning just before 5 am (midnight NY time) and it came through minutes later with the album news.

By 5:20 am, I'd ordered deluxe CD and vinyl double from Badlands. Don't want to hear any more until it arrives in June. Something to brighten these days up. All sounds promising.

Christine Foster
416 Posted 08/05/2020 at 15:05:52
As I said in my previous post to David, my comments were in response to Michael's and that's it. The 'side of a bus' comment was an illustration of a case in point about people believing slogans. But then again some people still do.
Tony Abrahams
417 Posted 08/05/2020 at 15:59:34
Last paragraph makes a lot of sense to me Paul T. I've heard today that a lad who I know, a good Evertonian, has lost his father to Covid-19, but they were trying to write 'cancer' as the cause of death. Maybe this is a way to keep the numbers down?

Unbelievably sad if this is the case, and surely something like this would only happen if the orders have came from up above, from people who must be feeling the pressure.

We definitely shouldn't be comparing deaths with other countries, if this is what it's leading to though, especially with people who have got enough on their plates, having just lost a family member.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

418 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:12:06
Me, I'm fascinated by language, particularly how it is used in manipulating and positioning people. On that score, Norman Fairclough's 'Language and Power' is an excellent read.

On the question of political rhetoric and the use of 3-word slogans, it has a very, very long history dating back to ancient Greece (Aristotle) and Rome (Cicero).

There is something that resonates with us cognitively with the number three, be it delivering a 3-word slogan or reeling off 3 'facts'.

Rhetoric is the art of persuasion and increasingly marketing and political rhetoric have become so enmeshed you can barely separate them.

Social media is such a big player in people's lives these days that, during elections, which party 'performs' best across all platforms will go a helluva long of way in determining the result.

By some calculations, if the average internet user dedicated the same amount of time they spend surfing the net to reading books, they could read 200 books a year.

As it is, it is also calculated that most voters spend just 4 minutes a week thinking about politics, so online – like good TV ads and brand slogans – political parties know the importance of endlessly repeating easily memorised 3-word slogans.

Of course, some will choose to investigate and read more on the issues of the day, but the fast majority won't. Indeed, social media has gone a long way in a very short time to completely changing our reading habits.

There are basically 3 reading styles - skim, scan and intensive. We randomly skim through a text to get a general gist of it. We scan a data-dense bus timetable and hone in on the route and best departure time. We read intensely when we want a deeper understanding of every word of a text.

The finger-swipe scrolling of touch screens now means many people just skim read. The habit extends to offline reading, not just online. That lends itself to being less informed on subjects that (possibly) it would serve their best interests to be more informed on.

Oh! Cicero's much-acclaimed rhetoric didn't do him much good in the end. In the purge that followed the 'Ides of March' and Julio Cesar's assassination in the Roman senate, Antony had Cicero murdered, his head and hands were severed and were nailed to the Forum Rostra where orators spoke. For good measure, Antony's missus pushed a pin through Cicero's tongue.

Sounds a fate worthy of a few present-day politicians to me.

[Jokkkiiinnnggg people, just joking!].

Tony Abrahams
419 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:20:30
Stalin's censorship is how one UK scientist is describing the government's latest manoeuvre, Jay, as the pressures mount on the inexperienced leadership of the day.
Chris Williams
420 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:22:28
Chris (415),

That's a nice way to look at it. If the rest of it is as good as this track, we're all in for a treat!

Paul Turner
421 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:32:33
Chris (415) – living only a few miles from Cheltenham, I often call in to Badlands. Looking forward to doing so again when possible, though managing to get my music fix from various online outlets at present. Stay safe, Chris – and everyone else!
Dave Brierley
422 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:33:28
Jay @418,

Great shame Anthony's missus wasn't around today to push a pin through your typing finger and stop you copying and pasting all this shite.

Paul Tran
423 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:33:34
Yes Jay #418. These days people often mention 'the power of 3' when talking about presentations.

Glad you weren't too serious in your last paragraph, otherwise it could get interesting when we get the Zoom version of ToffeeWeb!

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

424 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:45:28
Dang! Those apostrophes still giving you trouble I see, Dave.

Bless!

Patrick McFarlane
425 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:46:33
Social or mainstream media usually reflects what many individuals, groups and societies want to hear. Of course, each individual outlet has an agenda of its own but it will only impact on voters if there is a large enough appetite for that agenda.

Brexit and the election result happened because enough people voted for them than not.

Perhaps those that were against either or both of these outcomes didn't work hard enough on their argument? Perhaps the mainstream media did help to swing the vote – it's likely always been the case – but it was actual people who went to the polls.

I wanted the UK to remain and I didn't vote Conservative, but I accept the outcome of both polls.

We are where we are and there's little point in raking over the coals, except to remember when something as important comes along in the future, like-minded people should be more pro-active in convincing the undecided, if they want to see their preferred outcome.


Gary Willock
426 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:46:54
Christine – slogans like Nick Clegg's “There will be no EU army”? Obama's “You'll be at the back of the queue”, Carney's and Osbourne's “Everyone will be thousands worse off” ... or were they all ‘Okay, coz they are helping my cause'?

Add up VAT/excise duties. fisheries, and trade deficits and the side of the bus just becomes your own slogan for trying to force your cult on people who don't want it.

Dave Brierley
427 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:48:01
Congrats, Jay.

That must be the shortest piece you've ever typed.

Gary Willock
428 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:53:10
That's my last word on Brexit. Not because I want the last word, but because: a) the last few years have shown there is simply no reasoning with people who can't even accept democratic votes and b) politics should have no place on an Everton forum.
Kevin Prytherch
429 Posted 08/05/2020 at 17:37:44
Conor 402. I do apologise, when you mentioned that paper in your post I couldn't resist pointing out the irony!!

I do agree with you on some points, I do think the government have been incompetent and that there is little point to the heavy-handed lockdown continuing. I believe that the majority of people will be sensible now.

I'm not going to agree that the lockdown was pointless, because it did slow the rate of transmission, and I will still challenge the 3rd of extra deaths being because of lockdown; however, we all have our own opinions.

I apologise again for carrying it in, it was a childish opportunity not to be missed!!!

Conor McCourt
430 Posted 08/05/2020 at 17:59:19
Good man, Kevin!
Conor McCourt
431 Posted 08/05/2020 at 19:24:51
Kevin 430, I've just read the other thread and remembered the "still challenge the 3rd of extra deaths being because of lockdown".

I just wondered was that a little stinger thrown in there like Jonjoe Kenny to get me going, lol!! I bet your loved ones don't share your views on lockdown, living with your wind-ups!!

Eric Paul
432 Posted 08/05/2020 at 20:30:11
Jay @418,

Firstly, I hope you and your angel good lady are safe and well.

Secondly, if all TW posters who are experts on everything by virtue of the internet spent their time reading the written word instead of surfing the web to try and gain the upper hand in a non-face-to-face debate, there would be a shortage of books. So many experts... so little knowledge.

Conor McCourt
433 Posted 08/05/2020 at 20:31:18
Mike G @370, I thought you would find this interview interesting. Hope your french is good though (English subtitles)

Dr Raoult – Hydroxychloroquine + Azithromycin – latest update of his treatment of 2600 patients

Chris Williams
434 Posted 09/05/2020 at 10:35:37
Jay,

If and when you see this, there is a new detailed report in Imperial College website specific to Brazil, which might be of interest to you. It's Report 21.

It's easy to find under COVID 19 Reports. It's a model so needs cautious reading, but may give insights, especially the forecasts.

I'd attach it myself but I've no idea how to, using an iPad

Keep safe, mate.

Steve Carse
435 Posted 09/05/2020 at 11:52:24
For anyone interested on the multiplicity of issues on the validity of the data bandied about in COVID19 discussions, and the flaws in the Imperial College modelling (seemingly uncorrected given IC's notoriously bad record on the accuracy of its forecasts over the years) take a look at an article released last month by the UK Administrative Justice Institute, entitled 'The Emperor Has No Clothes'.
Michael Lynch
436 Posted 09/05/2020 at 12:47:54
My daughter keeps asking me when I think bars and clubs will be reopening. She's a student and she's out at least three nights a week usually. I try to change the subject, because of reports like this:

"South Korean authorities are scrambling to contain an outbreak of new coronavirus cases linked to people who visited bars and clubs in the capital Seoul.

The country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 18 new cases on Saturday.

Of those new cases, 17 were linked to a 29-year-old man who went for a night out in the capital Seoul's Itaewon district last weekend"

If you watched the link I posted the other day - a video interview with a German virologist – there's early evidence that indoor events with people in close proximity to each other, shouting, kissing, singing along to music, are the worst for spreading. He even reckoned that a barman walking through the crowd at an indoor festival, blowing a whistle, led to a lot of the cases in a German hot-spot. Not surprising, obviously, but also has ramifications for football crowds – which might not be indoors, but loads of shouting and singing (not so much kissing though) and therefore lots of droplets of virus potentially being shot out into the air.

Anyway, I don't think my daughter will be going clubbing for a long while. Gutted for her to be honest – you only get that student life once, don't you?

Chris Williams
437 Posted 09/05/2020 at 13:08:30
Steve,

Thanks for that. It's very interesting.

Conor McCourt
438 Posted 09/05/2020 at 13:09:38
Steve, that is an incredible piece with the key lines:

"The problems I have raised here include the use of generalised CFRs infused with selection bias and flawed, unaccountable coding projections based on nations with considerably disparate socio-economic conditions. These issues have been compounded by government policies across the world which systematised post hoc fallacies. This is in defiance of well-established scientific, epidemiological and statistical best practice. Together these have contributed to creating a perfect sensationalist storm of error".

The Emperor has no clothes: A sober analysis of the Government response to Covid-19

Michael @436,

Thankfully Gary Neville has retired so the threat from kissing by players has greatly diminished.

Steve Carse
439 Posted 09/05/2020 at 15:47:00
Michael (436),

I agree with your thinking, that it's very close proximity of people which facilitates contagion, and that the denser the numbers in close proximity the wider the spread of the virus. Most other possibilities, such as touching infected surfaces, seem to have been downgraded as explanatory factors in the last few weeks, presumably on the back of empirical evidence.

Commiserations to your daughter. Maybe she should consider taking a year or so out and returning to her studies when matters have subsided – assuming she'd still be of clubbing age by then!

Mike Gaynes
440 Posted 09/05/2020 at 16:33:29
Conor #433, thanks, but I have long ago lost interest in the somewhat cracked Dr Raoult and his crusading "studies" on behalf of hydroxychloroquine. The drug became a rallying cry of the Trumpie cult here until the FDA warned about its cardiac hazards, at which point Trump stopped promoting it.

Novartis is now running the kind of scientific study of hydroxychloroquine that Raoult disdains – randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials where you can't fudge the results. So within a month or so we should have actual scientific evidence of whether, and how well, HCQ works against Covid-19.

Michael Kenrick
441 Posted 09/05/2020 at 16:53:53
Conor @438,

I started reading the link you posted and just realized I stopped at the very paragraph you quoted already! Powerful stuff. Pity there's probably only a few diehards left reading this thread... This short paper should be compulsory reading for everyone.

But I await being put straight by Jay, who will no doubt give him short shrift while challenging the gullibility of our confirmation bias!


Alan J Thompson
442 Posted 09/05/2020 at 16:59:44
I've followed a lot on this thread about the latest set of figures and who has just released what which tells us that we may have been looking at the wrong ones for the wrong reason and even a few who say to hell with it all while others are at real danger.

The State government where I live is talking about gradually lifting restrictions over the next month. It's been 8 or 9 weeks, may be more, now and when first introduced I thought I'd go on the wagon for the duration. There are times when I think a nice glass of red would have complimented a meal but it passes in a few minutes. I venture out about every 3 or 4 days mostly for the TV guide (aka the Sunday paper), milk and may be some fruit and veggies. I've started staying up later until 1AM or so and rise a lot nearer midday than I would like, winter is setting in, but it is more my sleeping patterns due to the remnants from cancer treatment some years ago.

I can't wait until I can go to the pub for a few pints, a bet and to find out what everyone has been doing for the last few months but there is a nagging doubt in my mind about whether I should be among the first to the bar or if it would be more prudent to maintain my routine a little longer. I most certainly don't want to be among the last to catch this virus but I think I would find it devastating if I passed it on to somebody else.
Each to their own? I'm not so sure.

Live long but prosper in safety.

Brent Stephens
443 Posted 09/05/2020 at 17:42:19
Raoult, the guy who carries out a study without a control group?
Chris Williams
444 Posted 09/05/2020 at 17:50:42
Michael (438)

I’ve read it too, along with several other articles, and this one has the benefit of being on what you could call a trustworthy source, and it is based on a sound basis as far as I can see and understand, which maybe not much. But I can see the logic at least.

However I must make the point again, that whatever method you use, it is a model and as a model it is guaranteed to be wrong. Whether it would be less wrong than Imperial I’ve no idea.

What is beyond dispute is that Imperial were initially modelling on completely the wrong basis, a flu like infection on a model that was 13 years old. And that was informing the initial response, including herd immunity, but Prof Vallance has claimed he was misunderstood on that.

The report that informed the initial response to distance people and perhaps don’t go to the pub was Report 12 which in turn was informed by the European data from Italy in particular, and the sudden awareness that this wasn’t flu or anything like in its transmission rate and therefore the likely outcome was 250,000 deaths (from memory)if no action was taken. It also modelled the effect of all the things we now know and love, as mitigation’s and then full lockdown, which would result in 20,000 deaths. Now clearly a massive understatement, against all the estimates of actual deaths between 35,000 to 50,000. Take your pick, but it certainly hasn’t overestimated them.

Report 13 appeared 3 days later and was the results from a poll conducted after Boris announcing the change of approach. This showed that over half of the population didn’t intend to distance themselves at all. This led to the announcement on the Friday night of that week, that pubs and restaurants etc etc were to close forthwith and lockdown was effectively imposed.

The timings are important as effectively the government has gone from one scenario to another alarming scenario to finding that half the population was not responding to the ‘nudge’ approach adopted to full lock down in about a week.

So was it panic? Was it erring on the side of caution? We ended up with Nightingale hospitals that remained unused. Panic or erring on the side of caution?

I’ve used the term ‘informed’ in the use of the model in reaching the decisions taken. I would be amazed if only the models were used. We’re told that there are 27 or more specialists on SAGE and many subcommittees as well, so you might expect a lot of input. But who knows? Without doubt Reports 12 and 13 were hugely influential.

None of us know for sure of the discussions that took place or in COBRA which will also must have had an input.

I’m not defending Imperial, because models are always wrong. This one is clearly wrong but decisions should not be completely based on models, wherever they come from and however they are constructed. I doubt this decision was but I don’t know. This new source of information that Steve alerted us to will hopefully inform whatever debate takes place in due course.

But I find it hard to criticise the government if they did err on the side of caution.

There, I’ve said it!

They’ve pretty well rowed back on the much trumpeted relaxation of lockdown earlier in the week. Why? What informed that decision? Erring on the side of caution?

Report 20 on the Imperial website appeared earlier this week and modelled what could happen in Italy over an 8 week period if lockdown is relaxed to various degrees. It forecast a pretty poor outcome.

Was it this or was it something else?

Mike Gaynes
445 Posted 09/05/2020 at 19:11:27
Brent #443, yes, and also doesn't get patient consent, illegally includes young children in his studies, and deleted the data on the patients who died in his original 24-patient "study".

Unfortunately, the hydroxychloroquine mania also produced a run on the drug and created shortages in the US patients who use HCQ to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis – its proven indications – couldn't get it for weeks.

Brent Stephens
446 Posted 09/05/2020 at 19:35:29
Mike, we have a nut over here called David Icke. Puts out crazy stuff on all sorts of things. So he couldn't miss a chance with Covid-19. Linking it with the 5G mobile phone network. You then end up with phone engineers being attacked while working on the masts.
Kieran Kinsella
447 Posted 09/05/2020 at 19:51:30
Brent Stephens 446

“Nut”? May I remind you David Icke was a BBC snooker commentator, who revealed himself to be the Son of God in the Wigan talkshow, and exposer the Queen as an alien reptilian. Who exactly is better qualified than him to unravel covid? With his skill set I only hope he succeeds Jurgen Klopp when he makes his next big career switch

Tony Abrahams
448 Posted 09/05/2020 at 20:56:10
That report says that it used China and Italy, which was flawed because of the disparities between countries, and yet we have had more deaths than both of these countries?
Brent Stephens
449 Posted 09/05/2020 at 20:56:50
Kieran, we'll all drink to that! Icke at Anfield! The proper messiah.
Ken Kneale
450 Posted 09/05/2020 at 21:17:18
Keiran – you has stumbled on a perfect partnership – deluded, self believing, erroneous and phoney – I have to say David Icke is little better.
Mike Gaynes
451 Posted 09/05/2020 at 21:28:25
Brent #446, yes, and I read they're burning cell towers too.

The renowned American genius Woody Harrelson has been among those spreading this garbage.

Conor McCourt
452 Posted 09/05/2020 at 22:01:31
Ah well, Eric @432, that's the second unprovoked pop you have had at me on this thread.

The knowledge you have so clearly garnered from your mastery of the written word has surely led to a sophisticated and deep assessment of the current pandemic that an uneducated internet trolling lout like me could only dream of articulating.

Nope; 2 snide digs and having the flu once in 57 years and knowing no-one that died from it was about the sum of your total contribution.

ToffeeWeb thanks you, oh wise one.

Andy Crooks
453 Posted 09/05/2020 at 22:07:20
Steve Carse, that is a fascinating paper.
Tony Hill
454 Posted 09/05/2020 at 22:18:12
This is the spirit we need, from the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on VE Day. Grace and courage.

https://t.co/iKM6exdeCk?amp=1

Brian Williams
455 Posted 09/05/2020 at 23:28:32
That link brings you back to ToffeeWeb?
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

456 Posted 10/05/2020 at 00:17:03
The missus got 24 hours off from Friday, so I've been giving her some TLC, so only reading the latest posts on this thread now.

Chris @ 434 and Steve @ 435, thanks both for two fascinating reports.

It is very interesting that both stress the importance of the infection fertility rate (IFR) in making informed decisions as opposed to the headline catching case fatality rate (CFR). The former is a number I've been trying to keep tabs on for Brazil since having it pointed out to me a couple of weeks ago as a good predictor of the real state of affairs for my host country in the absence of trustworthy and accurate data.

The Brazil numbers in the Imperial College link Chris put up don't make for happy reading. But then, in Steve's UKAIJ link it says Ferguson and Imperial College use their own mathematical coding and modelling for estimating IFR. And of course their original model, 13 years old, was wildly exaggerated in its expected death rates.

Furthermore, the UKAIJ reports states that part of the problem is that the Imperial College model used projections from China and Italy to predict the rates of infection in the UK, but that both countries have significantly disparate social conditions to the UK, concluding that the original model was a flawed standard to start with.

But as Chris says, every model is just that: a model. Nonetheless, many a health worker from around the world could tell you, Covid-19 was different in its behaviour to any Sars-based virus previously encountered, rapidly manifesting and displaying a wide range of critical symptoms.

For me (and my wife, friends and family) here in Brazil, I'm trying to make sense of where we are at in comparison to the rest of the world. And I don't think it's a very good place. Brazil's profile doesn't fit with any of the other countries worst hit by this.

As I said way back @ 278, there are many different factors to be considered:

• Geo location
• Population, size and density
• Political will and civil obedience
• Climate and season
• Local sanitation
• Cultural differences

In Asia, Europe, North America and Oceanic region (not hearing a lot about Africa), in the main citizens have been compliant with very few transgressions.

Brazil, I fear, is a different animal to them all. Take the US v Brazil. Whilst similar in area (the 4th and 5th largest countries in the world and 3rd and 6th respectively on population) and both ‘democracies', the US is blessed in ways that Brazil is not.

In Brazil, Covid-19 has arrived with the annual flu and dengue endemics which, like European winter flu, are factored in to expected workloads for the health system, including an extensive flu vaccination program. So now the system is facing a triple whammy.

Brazilians are (charmingly!) unruly and ill-disciplined when it comes to authority. Passive, mass obedience to requests to stay at home, or stronger full-blown lockdown, are largely going ignored.

Less charmingly, there is little empathy or social awareness beyond the self. Basic hygiene, avoiding littering, recycling, are all largely alien concepts. One result is that – yes – people are wearing masks. But then, they are just dumping them on the street, public transport, wherever, without any regard to transmission and risk to others.

The overwhelming majority of families live in close proximity under one roof, in tightly-packed favelas (slums), many without clean running water or sewerage. Many Brazilians are ‘diarists' – day workers, street vendors, selling chewing gum, bottled water, homemade cakes, whatever. What they sell in a day represents their entire funds. Without this money, they have nowt.

Yes, the government has ensured 30 million Brazilians will receive Rs.600 a MONTH – barely $100 on today's rates. But then, the majority of these people don't have a smart phone or internet, the issuing bank's app has failed any way, and every day in every city, people are sleeping out overnight in front of banks to have a SLIM chance of being one of the few to get inside the bank to claim their money. Social distancing and self-isolation sabotaged by the government's own inadequate system.

The public health system is overwhelmed already – 90%-95%-100% hospital bed occupancy in some epicentres. There is STILL lots of inter-state movement across the country. Ambulances, where available, drive around for hours searching for a hospital bed. Every day in front of morgues there is a line of funeral service cars which takes 3-4 hours to clear, taking away the dead.

It's also starting to hit remote rural areas from where it is a few 100kms drive, or 2-3 day boat ride, to the nearest doctor.

And this is all being overseen by the extremely dangerous denialist Bolsonaro who – no exaggeration – is pushing the boundaries of the Brazilian constitution. He has fired his extremely popular health minister and replaced him with a puppet. His Justice minister – a cult hero in the country across the political board for his anti-corruption campaign – walked out on a point of principle. Bozo BR's downplaying of the virus sends out mixed messages, incites his more extreme followers, which in turn is fuelling a movement to return to martial law under a Military Government.

Taken all together, it's a shit-fest unlike any other country that has suffered under Covid-19 to date. What is about to happen to Brazil could well be a defining moment in just which ‘Covid-19 model' and measures best work. Or not.

Keep your eye on Brazil in the next few weeks. I worry the true numbers are about to get very scary.

Peter Gorman
457 Posted 10/05/2020 at 00:31:49
Tony – if the UK has more Covid-19 deaths than China, it is either because China is lying through its teeth or it has some funny way of enforcing a total lockdown, no exceptions.
Steve Brown
458 Posted 10/05/2020 at 05:33:07
Peter @ 257, China probably has underestimated the number of deaths attributed to Covid-19. However, the reason their lockdown was successful was because they adopted an integrated strategy. Unlike, the shambolic, bumbling incompetence of the UK government.
Jeff Spiers
459 Posted 10/05/2020 at 06:58:31
Hello again, Blue friends. Have any of you read H.R.6666? Google it. TRACE. Apparently we can forcibly be removed from our homes if Covid-19 is positive and put in secure isolation!! Tell this old man I'm losing it. I trust your input. Thank you.
Tony Abrahams
460 Posted 10/05/2020 at 08:24:53
Peter, I got a text with all Boris Johnson's failings since it was first noted that Covid-19 could become a major problem, and it's scandalous, sickening and astounding.

If Boris had a plan to win the election, it must have exhausted his brain because he missed five cobra meetings and even found time to go on holiday before deciding to go around shaking everyone's hand.

I wouldn't trust China's death rate, Peter, but other than no football, no pubs or restaurants and no school for the kids, I don't see that many changes, mate.

It's obviously hard not being able to go in my parents' house, especially when I take the kids to say hello, and it's killing my mother, who is in the higher risk category. It's a lockdown with quite a lot of freedom, and nothing like the one described by Mike G, which happened in China, to stem the flow.

Chris Williams
461 Posted 10/05/2020 at 08:26:47
Jay,

Yes, the reports are both interesting. But I must say that my ‘interest’ is more abstract than the terrible experiences you and your wife are having along with the people of Brazil. I’m pretty sure I would be coping a lot worse than you seem to be.

I did consider whether to alert you to it or not, because it doesn’t make for happy reading, but sometimes it’s best to have some insight, even if you need to be cautious and selective.

There are a couple of other things on Imperial website which may help you. Under Covid-19 tools. These are two forecasting tools, one is updated weekly and one is updated daily. They cover many countries. One of them, the first I think includes Brazil, as well as all South American countries and Africa..

They may at least give some information if not much comfort, currently.

Take care Jay and keep safe

Brent Stephens
462 Posted 10/05/2020 at 11:40:28
Jeff #459 - You're losing it! Seriously, I had a quick look and can't see any reference to forcible removal in H.R 6666. Help me.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

463 Posted 10/05/2020 at 13:26:57
Chris @ 461.

Thanks again for your good wishes. As for this comment:

'I did consider whether to alert you to it or not, because it doesn’t make for happy reading.'

Don't fret on that score matey. Unlike some I don't shy away from knowledge, even that which challenges my own beliefs or makes for unsavory reading.

I'll check out the tools when I get time. It's Mother's Day in Brazil today, so we will be making a stringently controlled visit to the in-laws today.

Some recent comments from our more senior TWers about missing family hugs very much resonated with me Friday.

That day I checked on the in-laws and came away extremely perturbed at the state of mum. She was half lying, half sitting on the sofa, head resting on a cushion.

Both are normally extremely animated, but Friday there was no spark. No words spoken. Just tired little shakes of the head.

Later that evening after the missus had completed her cleansing ritual and dinner consumed, I asked her to do me a favour this weekend:

Hug her mother.

She burst into tears.

As a health care worker she is fully aware that doesn't represent best practice, but as a daughter used to being physically blessed, kissed and hugged by her parents every day of her life, she is keenly aware of a spiritual shortcoming and disconnect under this 'new normal'.

On Saturday my wife duly met with my request and the transformation in her and her parents, in exchanging hugs and kisses was electrifying.

Sometimes you just have to follow your heart, not your head.

Chris Williams
464 Posted 10/05/2020 at 13:36:15
Enjoy your Day, Jay.
Conor McCourt
465 Posted 10/05/2020 at 13:57:11
This a great follow-on from UKAJI's report, though to some will be less credible. There are really interesting thoughts by Simon Thornley, an epidemiologist in Auckland, where he explains the importance of serology to the Infection Mortality/Fatality Rate (IMR/IFR).

His findings also back Wittkowski's claims on the negligible impact of lockdown in China while more interestingly he shows two very comparable studies with similar cultural and geographical entities where hard lockdowns had little effect (USA and Australasia). Of course, he could be cherry-picking also but very interesting nonetheless from those two applicable entities.


Michael K 441- When the real differences were presented in terms of influenza and Covid-19 deaths in the UKAJI report and Thornley's claim that the IMR/IFR is way less than in influenza (all bar Imperial College – surprise, surprise – seem to agree that it's at least similar or indeed much lower depending on variability of findings), I couldn't help thinking of Eric Myles.

The poor bugger has been hammered for his musings from all quarters and has hit his thread limit just as he is seemingly vindicated.

Serves him right... lol. If you see a John Smith new ToffeeWeb account today, you will know who it is!!!

Dr Simon Thornley - 'An epidemiologist's take on Covid-19'

Jeff Spiers
466 Posted 10/05/2020 at 15:29:34
Brent 462. Cheers. It is an article by a Dr Rashid Buttar on YouTube. He explains in detail more than me. Mind, might be a wind-up. There are quite a few comments on this subject.
Brent Stephens
467 Posted 10/05/2020 at 15:39:10
Jeff, yes I've just come across his piece on BitChute. This is an alt-right website - anti-government etc. I noticed he never gave any direct evidence of what he claims. In fact, all he says is "I heard that"!

I've looked at H.R. 6666 and I see no reference whatever to forcible removal of people who test positive for Covid-19.

Jeff Spiers
468 Posted 10/05/2020 at 16:01:03
Brent, Thanks for that
Tony Abrahams
469 Posted 10/05/2020 at 16:45:58
I’m sure there has been a few plants on T/W recently Conor, mate!
Kevin Prytherch
471 Posted 10/05/2020 at 18:53:49
I've read through this report and, although I agree with some, there are other parts that kind of contradict themselves...

The main one... the peak of the infections is reported to have been just before the enforced lockdown (another poster claimed that 50% of people weren't following social distancing in the week before lockdown.) Social distancing didn't begin with lockdown, it began earlier. If we take the arbitrary 50% suggested by another poster, and an R value of between 2 and 2.5... then the 50% of the population who did implement social distancing measures would effectively half the R value to between 1 and 1.25 and would therefore reach the peak of the infections. So social distancing (enforced or not enforced) would clearly have had an effect as the peak of infections was around the time that social distancing was being taken more seriously. That alone kind of debunks the article's suggestions that lockdown wasn't necessary. (Not sure how old the article is, but it quotes Sweden who have, in comparison to similarly populated bordering countries, seen significantly more deaths).

The other main point is where Covid-19 isn't the main cause of death and therefore shouldn't be included in the figures if I have an underlying health condition, and my contracting of Covid-19 weakens my immune system to the point where my underlying health condition takes my life, well then, Covid-19 was the cause of death. It doesn't matter that my heart might have failed, it wouldn't have failed prior to contracting it. We might as well say that AIDS was never a problem because the sufferers died from other causes such, as pneumonia, when their immune systems gave up.

I do agree that the enforced lockdown in this state is becoming a bit pointless now and scientific advice has been poor. Personally (not in the article) but I don't think the lockdown was harsh enough. It is estimated that around 18,000 people contracted Covid-19 today. If that's the case (and this number has been falling) then it points to too much interaction still. This should have been down to something negligible within 3 to 4 weeks, however, the advice was poor, often changing and too many people were allowed to continue in work in fear of the economy. 3 weeks of complete lockdown (barring actual key workers and not just anyone who vaguely categorises as one) would have been less harmful to the economy than this prolonged misery.

Lockdown worked – it reduced the rate of transmission of a virus that is completely different to flu (notice as well in the article that comparisons are made to suit the argument) to something that will be more manageable and traceable. But it has been done poorly and will have lasting consequences.

Eric Paul
472 Posted 10/05/2020 at 20:27:13
Conor,

Don't flatter yourself, I'm not having a “pop” at you. I don't care what you think because it's not you thinking it. The reason I mentioned my experience with flu is because it's a fact. Covid-19 is a lot more sinister than flu; if you want to walk with the blind man, be my guest.

Conor McCourt
473 Posted 10/05/2020 at 21:02:15
Eric 472- Sincere apologies, I thought that was aimed at me. Perhaps being locked in has me overly tetchy. Genuinely sorry.

Tony Abrahams
474 Posted 10/05/2020 at 21:09:40
Those estimated figures for people contracting Covid-19 today, are absolutely huge Kevin, and shows how things could still go badly wrong, anytime in the near future, because that’s still an enormous amount of people catching this virus every single day.

Mike Gaynes
475 Posted 10/05/2020 at 23:16:22
NEWS BULLETIN: Our old boy Joel Robles is one of five players in La Liga announced today to have tested positive for Covid-19. Real Betis has three.

Wishing him nothing but the best.

Derek Thomas
476 Posted 11/05/2020 at 02:12:38
Jay @ 463; There is definitely a place for heart over head. Spot on mate.

I can read this report or that report and still be none the wiser. It will all come out in the wash down the track, maybe not all of it, as Governments will sit on things that show them in a bad light, especially if an election is looming...and they always are.

There will be enough leaks to give you a good idea what worked and what didn't.

Until all the reports eventually come in or leak out 'the view from my seat' where I am is.

In a large Country with relatively few people we have built in 'Social Distancing' based on lots of space...we have actual 'distance distancing'.

I'll give you the numbers; an area similar to the mainland United States; 25M pop, 6941 cases, 97 deaths. We stopped, literally stopped getting in other peoples faces early, we stopped incoming flights...(it does help being the next to last stop on the line)

Our hot spots are in the close together (for here) districts, cities and states...not withstanding the built in high fuckwittery quotient that seems to lurk in Sydney, Melbourne and other big cities.

In simple terms, short of a vaccine, if you can't cough on people you can't pass it on to them...obviously that is very simple.
Which is why cruise ships and old peoples homes, closed, close environments are petrie dishes for the virus.

Bit of a ramble there, but short of stopping these things at the source...another thorny topic, not passing it on is the key to stopping it.

Jeff Spiers
477 Posted 11/05/2020 at 08:56:54
Derek @476. Your post was excellent, not a ramble at all. I live in hope of a fully qualified medical person to put his or her exact skilled, trained knowledge as to what really is happening. I do not trust the media of any sort. Left or Right. One source conteracts the other. You can email me if you fear ridicule.
Michael Lynch
479 Posted 11/05/2020 at 12:59:28
I thought all the government did last night was play catch up with what a large number of people are already doing. I mean, everyone I know who can work IS working - certainly most building sites round here have reopened as the suppliers have reopened, and any manufacturers who still have customers are working - most people are meeting friends in the park for a socially distanced walk occasionally, I'm going out for exercise more than once a day, I see families playing ball games with their kids on the rec, and I will sometimes drive to another part of town for a change of scenery when I go walking.

Apart from telling people they can play golf and go fishing, I'm not sure we've moved forward that much in reality.

What I'd really like to know is more local stats. I googled around and if Wiki is correct, new infections in London are down to around 100 a day as against 1000 a day at the peak - and that's with ten times as much testing I would assume. Don't know what the situation is in Liverpool though?

Chris Williams
480 Posted 11/05/2020 at 13:16:48
Michael,

If you’re looking for local stats, try the C-19 COVID symptom tracker. They’ve got an interactive map which might help at local level.

Tony,

I’ve just been out collecting vegetables from the local farm shop. They put it in the boot, so no contact. Nice vegetables too.

I listened to the radio, not something I tend to do usually,And the criticism was very strong, from many quarters, not just about understanding it, but just practical issues like how can primary schools actually do anything like a decent job with protecting kids, teachers etc. Because many are open now with the kids of key workers. They were being told by their association that there was no panic, nothing was happening, on Wednesday. Last night it’s happening in June.

Last night he was telling people to go back to work this morning. It’s not practically possible for many places. Apparently it can now be Wednesday.

Why the sudden decision?

For what it’s worth, and I’m probably wrong, I accept that, it occurred to me that he is probably at odds with a significant part of his party right now, who want to Get Unlockdown Done, to paraphrase a slogan or two, so it may just be a bit of a fudge to appease them.

But who knows and I’m probably completely wrong, and it’s just Boris being incompetent.

Chris Williams
481 Posted 11/05/2020 at 13:25:51
On a sadder note I see Jerry Stiller has died. Bens Dad and brilliant in Seinfeld, playing George Costanzas Dad.

The man behind Festivus!

Phil Greenough
482 Posted 11/05/2020 at 13:54:56
Hi guys. I must be a divvy, because I don't understand why the risk has been minimised to the point where people can go back to work and kids can go back to school.

Until a vaccine is invented and globally distributed, the threat will always be there of catching it. Consequently, my understanding is, the threat is no different from yesterday.

With that in mind, there will be never be an optimum date to return to "normal" existence. Can anyone educate me to better understand the Government's policy please?

I know money should not come in to it, but how long can the country continue in its present state? I know the simple solution would be to get the billionaire and millionaires of the country to contribute, but there's more chance of finding rocking horse shi*e, than that happening.

Michael Kenrick
483 Posted 11/05/2020 at 14:49:24
Phil,

I'm going to try and answer this to see if I have any better understanding. My take on this is it comes down to the much-maligned concept of 'herd immunity'.

The contagion is not expected to increase at an exponential rate until everyone is dead, as many people and the mainstream media seem to want us to believe. In fact, it typically follows a bell-curve where infections peak and then fall. This is herd immunity in action.

A vaccine is not necessary for this to happen, but would speed up this process and possibly limit the peak, mutations notwithstanding. The difficult thing to comprehend is the large proportion of the population who never become part of the bell curve. Is it because they have never been exposed to the virus? Or because they have become asymptomatic carriers or are simply unaffected by the virus?

Pleased to accept any critique of this short description. I'm not a virologist or epidemiologist.

Tony Abrahams
484 Posted 11/05/2020 at 15:06:52
That sarcastic sentence could have been written by Boris Johnson himself Michael. Before the doctors were preparing notes to tell the world he was dead. Obviously.
Chris Williams
485 Posted 11/05/2020 at 15:18:16
Michael,,

Me neither.

I think an issue might be that there is no evidence that I’ve seen that once you get this thing you are actually immune and will stay immune.

I’m pretty much resigned to spending a long time in some form of lockdown/ distancing scenario until we actually get an answer on immunity, a vaccine and find the bloody thing doesn’t become a seasonal event.

I’m reading they’ve discovered a mutation but don’t yet know if it is more or less dangerous, or dangerous at all.

I’m not sure anybody knows anything.

Alan J Thompson
486 Posted 11/05/2020 at 15:59:12
Chris (#485); It is also being said that there are long-term problems with lung scarring and heart problems but yet again, it doesn't say in how many cases that they find it but intimate that it is not all.

All we do know is that nobody knows it all.

Chris Williams
487 Posted 11/05/2020 at 16:15:17
Alan J,

Yes, and that guy who's posted a couple of powerful posts who works on the hospital front line, Peter Gorman? Some of his stories about the struggles and grief people are going through to keep alive with this bastard thing are harrowing. Even if they ultimately recover that's not the end of it.

It's one thing to say that it's okay, get the country going and a few old people might die but the economy needs it, doesn't recognise that this is a virulent horrible thing and it doesn't sound like something I'd wish on anybody or catch myself.

Nobody knows enough, Alan, you're right, to make that sort of judgement call.

Dave Abrahams
488 Posted 11/05/2020 at 16:19:11
Phil (482), it seems to me, another divvy, that Johnson, with these new proposals, is inviting a second wave of this virus to attack us quicker than if he had left the situation as it was.
Tony Abrahams
489 Posted 11/05/2020 at 16:31:27
That’s the thing though Chris, you might be one of the lucky ones who gets it very mildly, but you also might also be one of the unlucky ones, who dies.

That’s the whole top and bottom of this virus, it’s why I stopped watching or reading about it really, because even the so called experts can’t always agree.

Chris Williams
490 Posted 11/05/2020 at 16:38:57
It seems that this new Stay Alert stuff and change of message was done without the input of the experts.

Does that matter?

Chris Williams
491 Posted 11/05/2020 at 16:52:25
Yes I know Tony. It can get you down. But Jesus you’d be seriously weird if you were actually enjoying it!

It’s roulette, but I don’t want someone else spinning the wheel on my behalf.

It’s being reported that after one of those rallies in US a couple of weeks ago, in Wisconsin, where 1500 people protested against lockdown , saying it was a hoax amongst other things,72 have now tested positive.

I don’t know if the original source for the story is kosher, but it’s picked up in the Guardian.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

492 Posted 11/05/2020 at 17:03:18
In my search for knowledge and understanding of what the world is currently passing through, in this thread alone I have expressed gratitude and engaged civilly with the likes of Michael Lynch, Conor McCourt and Steve Carse for putting up links to videos, interviews, articles and PDFs, even though their content challenges my view.

My post @ 278 takes an even-handed stance, listing the many variables which may impact on contagion and death rates across the globe.

I have to say then I find it mildly amusing that Michael Kenrick @ 441 gushes in awe about Steve Carse's (informative) link @ 438, but then trips over himself in hypocrisy by falsely claiming I have questioned others 'gullibility and confirmation bias!'

Ehrm, no Michael. They are YOUR words and YOUR presumptions. Not mine.

I'm guessing the irony of that submission is totally lost on you, Michael.

Similarly, it's a wee bit generous Conor @ 465 to claim as you do that Eric Myles' view has been 'vindicated' on the back of Steve Carse's link.

Eric has basically posited two positions:

1) why have a disruptive lockdown when Covid-19 is akin to the annual flu virus?
2) why are people being critical of governments and their performance during this crisis?

Eric has shared ZERO links to the very limited information he has written in support of his position. By comparison, he has shown no inclination to open or view material that possibly challenges his view.

And as interesting as Steve Carse's link is, the reported timeline of events - the peak, social distancing and lockdown - are not entirely accurate. The true contagion and death rates from different countries from different geo-locations and different cultures are also problematical, but nonetheless informative.

Then there is Eric's apparent resentment that some question governments' performance in the crisis. This strikes me as an extremely naive view. A view evidently shared by Michael Kenrick @ 164 who said 'many on here want to blame the government at every turn.'

Sorry gentleman, whilst very much a secondary issue, it is a completely legitimate position to express, with lots of supporting evidence as many have provided, to hold governments to account for their performance.

From some posters in this thread there has been a distinct lack of consistency in their position. On the one hand they advocate it is too simplistic to compare country contagion and fatality rates and that it will only be 2-3 years down the line before patterns and sense can be made of it all.

But then as soon as some evidence emerges in the here and now in support of their particular view - lo! - they trumpet it (whilst dissing others for their falsely presumed confirmation bias position).

Convenient, eh?

Thankfully, a hope I expressed in an earlier post is the case. That boffins are indeed already hard at work trying to make sense of and find patterns in the considerable body of data already available.

And for those of you still struggling to understand - deny, even - that Covid-19 is not like annual flu and that public health systems and frontline workers are NOT being overwhelmed by the numbers, I'll post again Mike Gayne's link of testimonials from health workers around the world.

It paints a rather different picture to the one some are trying to propogate.

In Harm's Way

Tony Abrahams
493 Posted 11/05/2020 at 17:09:18
That’s one in twenty people if it’s true Chris, but too much information isn’t always good for the brain though mate.

Red wine and music, Chris, go and find a better place, but don’t drift to much though, just keep remembering the new slogan!

Chris Williams
494 Posted 11/05/2020 at 17:18:24
Cheers Tony,

I've always liked Lerts

Once a Lert, stay a Lert!

Red, Red Wine – all together now.

Dennis Stevens
495 Posted 11/05/2020 at 17:48:01
Aye, Chris. STAY ALERT YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS LERTS!
Phil Greenough
496 Posted 11/05/2020 at 18:03:03
Thanks for the explanation, Mike.
Tony Abrahams
497 Posted 11/05/2020 at 18:24:20
Great band Chris, although I was disappointed the last time I saw them live without Ali Campbell.

Kingston town is a cracker, but try King, “chained and pacified”

Chris Williams
498 Posted 11/05/2020 at 19:09:56
Tony,

I’ve just uncorked the red!

Great song alright. I’ve got a version by a Cajun band and I can’t remember the name. Mike G might know. I don’t know King at all. I’ll look it up.

Wasn’t Ali Campbell the son of Alex Campbell leader of one of the great Scottish Folk Bands from the 60s? I saw them at Kent University at Canterbury in 1967.

Still paying the drinks bill!

Dave Abrahams
499 Posted 11/05/2020 at 19:26:29
Jay (492), I'd urge anyone who hasn't read that link “In Harm's Way” to read it, especially if they think this Coronavirus is remotely like a flu epidemic.
Tony Abrahams
500 Posted 11/05/2020 at 19:53:57
I've just had a look, Chris, and you definitely know your music mate. I was surprised, because Ali and his two brothers are all Brummies, but you are correct though.

Remember one in ten, Thatchers Britain, and a statistical reminder of a world that doesn't care?

Chris Williams
501 Posted 11/05/2020 at 21:52:41
Tony,

I guess Ali was named for his Dad. Alex was a great live musician with a great band. His talent was passed down. That was the only time I saw him live, in Canterbury. Superb.

I do remember that song. I reckon that time was the last time we heard protest songs regularly on the radio. Ghost Town for example. She was a monster.

There’s a good book about Liverpool in that time, called There She Goes, written by a kopite but a good and angering book.

I remembered that Cajun Band, The Charles Mann Band. It’s on a vinyl LP! It may be a bit of a collectors item by now.

Conor McCourt
502 Posted 12/05/2020 at 14:09:13
Tony 500- Just as you were beginning to sound a little chirpier with Chris reminiscing about music and wine, you had to put yourself in bad form again by mentioning those tories.

Jay 492- Agreed. My use of the word vindication was generous. My point was exactly that, Eric had little credibility because he hadn't backed up his claims. He had fought like a lion with many Twebbers and I thought it ironic that just as he got some validation (better word) of his bold claims that Coronavirus could perhaps be classified in terms of mortality like a horrific flu season (2017-18), he ran out of credits.

I also agree that there is a question about the bias of the report, as being from a justice standpoint, Lockdown is a violation of everything they would stand for. Nonetheless having a 'credible' outlet questioning the status quo at a time when all other 'credible' sources have acted with anything but credibility is a big plus to help us making informed decisions on all available evidence.

You have clearly found this debate productive as have I and one of the beauties about it is the divergence of viewpoints. Brian and Yourself brought tracking, early intervention and govt background (NHS etc) as arguments, the two Michaels feel govts culpability maybe diluted, Chris and Kevin feel the UK Govt weren't tough enough and I have advocated against the merits of Lockdown and specifically it's timing and effectiveness to the Uk. Steve Carse well imo his posts have been just a class apart.

Have we seen this level of freedom of speech or addressing all angles in the mainstream media? Have we fuck!! For example BBC favourites such as Lord Sumption and Peter Hitchens have been sidelined for contrary views, Investigative Journalism has disappeared, those championing established scientific principles are portrayed as outliers and even wild predictions like the ICL report and preconceptions that Sweden would lose 40000 people have not been revisited. Indeed the revision is now look at Denmark so Sweden has been a disaster.

I also agree with Kevin and Yourself that the timeline is contentious though I feel Kevin's analysis is problematic as he excludes the impact of other scientifically validated approaches like hand washing has had moreover to even social distancing. Oxfords analysis is the most interesting as it compiles their data on the actual days of death rather than reported so perhaps gives a more clearer timeline.

In addition the figures for Coronavirus may suggest that Lockdown while may help with the slowdown of transmission it may conversely also make it more potent by providing a breeding ground to wreck havoc hence possibly a net neutral effect?

What I think was an excellent point and insight you brought is that countries that have really struggled in terms of mortality are those which had similar health care issues and I wouldn't be surprised at all if that turns out more significant than even the respective models used in terms of death counts.

I don't think anyone here is arguing with the aggressiveness of or how devastating Covid 19 has been especially to those that have sadly lost loved ones.
I do think however we are all someway to being truly enlightened and as others have said it will probably be history that best judges.

Eric Myles
503 Posted 13/05/2020 at 02:09:39
Conor #465, it's okay, I'm used to being the only one right and having my views vindicated, it's a main part of my job in the real world. And as far as TW goes, remember the Fellaini transfer!!

But to address Jay at #492,

Eric has basically posited two positions:

1) Why have a disruptive lockdown when Covid-19 is akin to the annual flu virus?

2) Why are people being critical of governments and their performance during this crisis?

And

Then there is Eric's apparent resentment that some question governments' performance in the crisis. 

Isn't there a contradiction in there? Isn't questioning the need to have a lockdown questioning the government's performance??

As I said in #370, I AM questioning the government's performance, I am just not asking questions that Jay likes. Jay prefers to focus on historical questions of why there were no stocks of PPE? Well, we already know the answer to that, and it doesn't help us in moving forward to solve this pandemic.

And continually lambasting the government for listening to the advice of so-called 'experts' who, as I have said all along are just guessing, does that help solve the problem? They are going to be wrong whatever they do or say. They can never win but are doing their best in unprecedented times.

So resentment of criticising the government? No, I'd be first to encourage it. But just don't be surprised when your questions are questioned.

Now, as to this pandemic being akin to a 'flu virus – no less an authority than the World Health Organisation says it's similar. The differences being that 'flu is spread more by children, and the fractions of severe and critical infection is higher in Covid-19 than in 'flu. They do mention higher mortality rate and that it can't yet be accurately determined for Covid-19. Oh, and 'flu is transmitted at a faster rate than Covid-19.

And I find it comical (to use Jay's words) that Jay and others cannot use Google and find on the ONS website their official figures for 'flu deaths for three recent years (quoted by myself, and Tony Hill #184) in the last 10 years, when the winter 'flu deaths were higher than the current Covid-19 deaths. Yet, at the drop of a hat, can find overly emotive links to websites that add nothing to the scientific facts of the issue.

Come on. was that really so hard??

Maybe it's just that they don't want to validate a view that's different from their own, as I am being accused of, merely because I don't have an app on my 'phone that opens .pdf files?

Note the paragraph that states "49,410 EWD observed in the 2017 to 2018 winter" that was apparently "significantly lower" than the 50,000 I quoted. Which in turn also answered the question: "When have 300 people died in the UK in one day?" Well, 2 years ago, when, on average, for 121 days, 408 PEOPLE DIED EVERY SINGLE DAY. (A peak of 1,500+ I think?)

As I said before, debunked?

So now to the overwhelmed NHS, and let's face it, when aren't they? They do a sterling job and are underpaid for their efforts, everyone knows that.

BUT, if there are, as reported, excess ICU beds available (3,000) and only twenty patients in FOUR Nightingale hospitals, then why the "Save the NHS" slogans, and has this unnecessarily led to deaths of people who have not gone to hospital because of a "slogan"? (Another question as to the government's performance.) And AGAIN, if there have been greater crises than we are facing up to now, why have no greater measures been taken beforehand?

This whole lockdown has been completely mismanaged (there I go again, questioning the government). I could go on, and I usually would, but in a web of guessing, disinformation and just blatant fearmongering among the press, social media and TWebbers, nobody wants to listen.

Thank you, Michael and Lyndon for the right to reply.

Conor McCourt
504 Posted 13/05/2020 at 09:16:02
Great post, Eric!! Jay "can find overly emotive links to websites that add nothing to the scientific facts of the issue".

Yes, I agree that this was like something out of the BBC playbook and goes back to Michael's point about the level of fearmongering being generated.

Michael Kenrick
505 Posted 13/05/2020 at 09:17:24
And thank you, Eric. That's a really good response that I could not fault.

The lockdown was the wrong measure after the government had failed to take much more difficult action at the borders, locking down airports, seaports and the Chunnel to prevent, or at least drastically limit and control, the entrance of the virus into this country in the first place. That would have targetted the specific issue and the danger, rather than the total knee-jerk reaction of locking down everyone once it was already here, and doing it way too late.

Slamming this government for PPE, ICU, ventilator and testing limitations that their predecessors were responsible for seemed misplaced hindsight in the circumstances.

Going forward, the efforts need to be targeted understanding the stage at which the contagion is at now and the risks — while Piers Morgan and pals on Good Morning Britain are continuing to rant and rave as if we were still on that early and exponential upward curve.

Dave Abrahams
506 Posted 13/05/2020 at 09:47:18
Eric (403), re your last paragraph, are you telling me that I shouldn’t be worrying too much about this virus, that it is not as serious as it is being made out to be? Or have I misunderstood you.
Brent Stephens
507 Posted 13/05/2020 at 10:39:15
Michael #505 "Slamming this government for PPE, ICU, ventilator and testing limitations that their predecessors were responsible for seemed misplaced hindsight in the circumstances".

In the UK, this current government has had 10 years to get stocks of PPE etc right. It was this government that ran Exercise Cygnus in 2016, which exposed (to this government - not to the public as its findings were kept secret) issues such as PPE stock levels and quality. I think it's entirely appropriate for this government to look at the mistakes it made so that this government can avoid them in future. The probability in fact is that there will be a public inquiry into this issue among others.

Conor McCourt
508 Posted 13/05/2020 at 10:51:38
Michael I don't think those issues are where countries like the UK fell down but more so in terms of preparation, staffing and especially the link between care homes and hospital. During December there was a crisis which many have forgotten.

If you look at the countries like Italy, Spain, France, UK and US (New York especially, most of US didn't suffer) they accounted for most of the deaths in the world. I listened to a whistleblower speak about how they all aim to prolong life (and not quality) so the sickest people are constantly in a yo-yo state in between the homes and hospital whereby they get stabilised and then sent back and the process begins again.

Not only are the hospitals under-staffed and under-funded but as soon as any type of extra pressure comes they are in trouble as happened in winter. This is why Boris totally shit himself after Ferguson's bullshit. Unfortunately, it was the nursing homes who suffered, moreover than the hospitals, because they weren't provided with healthcare access and during this crisis many workers have refused to work etc explaining the high deaths in this sector. Covid-19 becomes the fall guy for the whole system.

You can see the pattern of events with how many deaths came after lockdown – both related and unrelated to Covid-19.

Chris Williams
509 Posted 13/05/2020 at 11:59:27
Conor,

There's a report from LSE today which touches on some of the care home issues you mention. Apparently the academics there have been making a major study of it. It reckons that the Covid-19 care home deaths as declared by ONS could be understated by as much as 50%. ONS are making a more detailed study themselves.

ONS update shows UK Covid-19 deaths at 40,000 up to 1/5, preponderantly in 6 weeks. A further 11,000 unidentified excess deaths in the same timeframe, by my rough count. These do not include the deaths for flu and pneumonia which they show as a comparison. This is despite lockdown.

The figures have dropped for the last two weeks, which is some relief.

Quarantine has now been introduced in airports, after 18M people entered the country in the first 3 months of this year, with less than 300 quarantined. Not an issue, according to Government Adviser. Not seen any figures for April as yet.

Mike Benjamin
510 Posted 13/05/2020 at 12:43:24
Chris, the quarantine does not come in until the end of May and it excludes travel to and from Ireland and France. Ireland I can understand due to the land border with NI but France defies logic apart from it being a political decision rather than to with health. The government realise they made a massive mistake with regards care home and are now trying to rewrite history regarding PPE and testing.
Michael Lynch
511 Posted 13/05/2020 at 15:29:39
Here's a good example of why you should take everything you see and read in the media with a pinch of salt. There have been so many headlines about how the London Underground is rammed with people returning to work today, and photos of packed carriages telling us that it's chaos... But here's the facts from the BBC:

"Transport for London says that as of 10:00 BST today, tube ridership was about 7.3% higher than the same time last Wednesday.

That equates to about 5,700 extra journeys. In total, there were 83,293 journeys.

However, it is still a fraction of normal ridership. On the same day last year there had been nearly 1.2 million journeys by 10:00."

So basically, journeys at rush hour are still down 93% from normal, and last week they were down 94% from normal. No real difference at all; the tubes were empty last week and they're empty this week.

I'm seeing this kind of nonsense all the time, in broadsheets as well as tabloids, and on news websites. Personally, I'm stressed enough without them trying to whip us into total hysteria. Just tell us the facts, let us form our own opinions – but that's not what the media does, is it?

Tony Abrahams
512 Posted 13/05/2020 at 16:39:46
Introducing Quarantine now is like someone getting told they've got cancer, and suddenly deciding to quit smoking.

The care home situation is tragic, and speaking for myself, that's even before Covid-19 found itself inside so many of these homes.

They are still talking about football returning though, and although it's not something I agree with, I can't wait to see how the tackler and his opponent learn how to both turn their faces, which is going to require a level of skill I've never come across on a football pitch before!

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

513 Posted 13/05/2020 at 17:02:57
What an astonishingly bizarre response, Eric.

Having vainly and arrogantly positioned yourself as the ‘only one right’ in the room (without specifying your field of expertise in ‘the real world’), you go long on rhetoric, deflection and invention and short on fact supporting your position.

I feel humbled to be in the virtual presence of such an authority that doesn’t have to submit to peer review ‘cos you are always right.

I’m confident more discerning readers who have followed this thread carefully can identify those who are open-minded enough to consider any evidence on the subject, actually access it, read it, view it, listen to it, engage with it. As opposed to those who…well…don’t.

I’m equally confident that discerning TWers can recognize those who offer links supporting the information they share, leaving it to each individual to make up their own minds. As opposed to those who… well…again…do neither.

You falsely portray me Eric as someone that resents questions that don’t confer with my own world views. On the contrary, as evidenced within this very thread, I welcome them.

Your latest post is more concerned with semantics and gainsay than details. One of the many slight-of-hands you attempt is falsely accusing me as someone who (with regard to governments’ performance in this crisis) ‘prefers to focus on historical questions of why there were no stocks of PPE.’

Wrong. The implication of your allegation is that government neglect is rooted in a distant historical past. Putting aside that we are into the 10th year of the current Tory administration, government decisions in contemporary time, in the here and now, have very much hindered the UK’s (and other governments) efforts in combatting this crisis.

You yourself acknowledge ‘the authority’ of WHO. One of their most repeated mantras throughout this pandemic to governments has been to ‘test-test-test’ as a means to get on top of things. How has the UK and US performed on that metric?

This report shows how tardy and patchy the UK has been in achieving its stated daily testing target of 100,000 and how poorly they rank by comparison to other nations who were more prepared.

Coronavirus: Why did the UK need 100,000 tests a day?

This video report about the US situation tells a similar tale.

Coronavirus: The lost six weeks when US failed to contain outbreak

To continue to blithely say as you do ‘why beat up on governments for not stocking up on PPE’ (amongst other things) strikes me as both callous in the extreme given the number of fatalities suffered by frontline health care workers, as well as a continued failing on your part to acknowledge the fact that many governments WORLD WIDE are aware a pandemic can happen at any time and for DECADES they have had a contingency plan and maintained warehouses rammed full with essential material in readiness for the inevitable pandemic.

The recently revealed UK Exercise Cygnus of 2016 (suppressed by the government as it exposed shortcomings in preparedness) is one example of deliberate government policy and budget cutting. The US under Trump is another. This is very much a contributory factor to the collective and personal tragedies of the Covid-19 pandemic which you (and others) wish to exclude from the debate.

Another slight of hand you attempt is to somehow make me responsible for your failure to put up any links supporting your position.

Thankfully, I don’t have David Icke reptilian-like mind-reading powers to know what the hell is going on inside your head, or what you are basing your opinions on. The little information you have hinted at, I researched and came back with my own questions which you either ignored or misconstrued.

By your own admission you have put up more than 40 posts in this thread. In all your posts you have offered but two links. One linking to a different TW thread, and another in your latest post that basically reveals you to be a bit of an arse, Eric.

And in the same breath you have the gall to claim others who don’t subscribe to your extremely shallow, largely unsubstantiated view, only put up ‘overly emotive links to websites that add nothing to the scientific facts of the issue?’

Dee-licious!

You clearly have not followed this debate with an open mind or very attentively if you believe that.

Now evidently, as demonstrated by Michael K’s response @ 505 – ‘thank you, Eric. That's a really good response that I could not fault’ – you have sympathisers on TW. And again, I love the delicious irony that Michael – the man who falsely accused me @ 441 of applying ‘confirmation bias’ – steps right into his own cow pat. Because contrary to Michael’s view, pretty much every submission you have made Eric, there is plenty to contest and ‘fault’.

In conclusion, a gag.

There was a magician who worked cruise liners. Part of his act he had a parrot, but the parrot was a right bugger who would constantly sabotage the magician. When the magico performed a disappearing trick, the parrot would squawk to the audience: ‘It’s up his sleeve! It’s under his hat! It’s in his back pocket!’

In the dead of night one evening, the cruise ship hit an iceberg and sunk. The magician and the parrot managed to clamber aboard a life raft, just the two of them. Day one, the parrot perched on the prow of the life raft, staring intently but silently at the magician.

Days passed without a word between them, but the parrot’s stare never wavered. Days became weeks. Until finally the parrot broke the silence and addressed the magician.

‘OK. I give up. Where did you hide the cruiser?’

The ship has gone from underneath you Eric. Your feet are wet and the waves crashing over your head. But happy for you to keep up the illusion that you are the only one ‘right in the room’.

Kim Vivian
514 Posted 13/05/2020 at 17:21:39
If nothing else good (and I can't think of anything) this virus has provided one of the most insightful, informative, well constructed and well mannered debate threads ever. My thanks to Paul the Esk for being the catalyst, the ed's and all you contributors (to many to name) who continue to enlighten and entertain us daily.

Would that I could scribe so eloquently and knowledgeably.

Thanks, people.

Tony Abrahams
515 Posted 13/05/2020 at 17:38:11
Little to gain... lots to lose, the perfect title for different views!
John McFarlane Snr
516 Posted 13/05/2020 at 20:02:15
Hi Jay [BRZ] I know that you and I have crossed swords on Everton issues, but I would like you to read the post I intended to put to Eric Myles [numerous posts] I held back because I didn't want to risk further controversy.

Hi Eric [numerous posts] With a medical knowledge of absolute zero, I bow to your superior knowledge. You stated in post [370] "It seems I've hit a 40 point limit, goodnight all [I won't say God bless"] Now here you are on post [503] which you begin with, "It's okay, I'm used to being the only one right and having my views vindicated. It's a main part of my job in the real world."

You may be good company sharing a pint or two in a pub, but the impression I have of you, is one of a conceited arrogant individual "King Eric" in a one man kingdom. Because I don't wish to engage in a war of words, this is likely to be the last communication between us.

Eric Myles
517 Posted 14/05/2020 at 01:50:30
Again Jay #513, another overly emotive, and longwinded, post that really doesn't say anything.
Eric Myles
518 Posted 14/05/2020 at 01:52:13
John #516, I'm sorry that you have formed a completely wrong impression of me.
Alan J Thompson
519 Posted 14/05/2020 at 06:14:35
This is becoming worrying, I might catch this virus, I don't think I've read enough links and websites. But not to worry, somebody who has is bound to come up with a cure, any day now, if only they'd read faster.

If you think your life's worth it then you do whatever you want but I think I might wait until after a prolonged period that there are no new cases, no deaths and a steady stream of people recovering. Oh, and wait until the second wave of vaccinations just in case it's discovery and workings have been omitted from the web.

Just give thanks that the truly needed and committed choose to overlook that choice.

Chris Williams
520 Posted 14/05/2020 at 10:49:35
Jay,

Another 2 items now on Imperial website, for Lower and Middle Income countries

One is another tool, which forecasts amongst other things the possible impacts of changing distancing policies, and not changing them.

The other is a report for the same countries showing the impacts on the poorer more deprived members of society, amongst other things.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised!

Keep safe.

Chris Williams
521 Posted 14/05/2020 at 15:36:17
Latest ONS report.

148000 infected in England in last 2 weeks. It’s part of its first national snapshot. It’s only an estimate of course. Based on testing 5000 households, so not hospitals or care homes and across all age groups.

Just as well we’ve got a robust testing and tracing system in place!

Eric Myles
522 Posted 14/05/2020 at 16:06:42
So Chris, #521, they tested 5,000 people and found that 148,000 people are infected.

Isn't there something odd in those figures?

Brent Stephens
523 Posted 14/05/2020 at 16:47:38
Eric, do you think it's possible the ONS is extrapolating from a sample to the wider population?!
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

524 Posted 14/05/2020 at 16:48:15
Chris @ 520. Thanks again for the share.

No surprise, as you say. Just last night on Brazil TV news there were some really stark numbers along similar lines about the disparity in infection and mortality rates along social status and income levels.

Not surprisingly, lower income communities are suffering disproportionally due to poor sanitation, population density and poor access to adequate health care.

Ethnicity and colour also comes into play.

What is hugely uplifting is the strong community spirit in the poorest favelas in the absence of proper leadership at the federal or state level, or direct aid in the form of material and personel. They are smart, organized, compassionate and because they live in the community know EXACTLY what the needs of many families are. Future political leaders are evolving from this crisis here at least in Brazil, I feel sure.

I'm sure studies are already under way, but the ethnicity factor in infection, severity and fatality rates could be interesting.

As I've noted previously, because of the different political regimes and their capacity to accurately register all cases, it is very difficult to have full confidence in the reported numbers.

Superficially, the numbers in the continent of the origin of the virus - Asia - look incredibly low in comparison to other continents. As of today, around 734,000 total cases and 'only' 23,431 deaths. Individual countries have higher numbers than that.

By continent, it reads:
Europe 1.75 million cases, 158,343 deaths.
North America 1.57 million cases, 96,000 deaths (the overwhelming bulk of those numbers being the US).
South America 358,400 cases, 19,157 deaths (again, Brazil accounting for the bulk of those numbers).
Africa 75,000 cases, 2,500 deaths.
Oceania barely a ripple - 8,590 cases and 119 deaths.

In Brazil, black males, as is also being reported in the US, seem to represent a disproportionate number of the infected and fatalities.

Now of course many factors come into play, but I'm sure it will all eventually emerge whether ethnicity increased or decreased your likelihood of falling victim to Covid-19.

On the continental numbers shared, do Asians have a greater immunity to SARS-like viruses due to more prolonged exposure to them compared to caucasian Europeans? Do native Africans have greater immunity to the same than blacks 'x' generations removed from Africa raised in other continents?

It's interesting the scientists in Brazil have been able to identify the 'source' of different strains of Covid-19 thanks to international database sharing. And China is not the main source. The primary sources of Covid-19 infection in Brazil originates from Italy, France, Switzerland and...not the UK as such, but more specifically, País de Gales...WALES!!!

Figure that one out.

Brent Stephens
525 Posted 14/05/2020 at 16:54:23
Eric, have a look at this. Useful to cite a source (section on Measuring the Data).
Link
That's why Chris says it's only an estimate - a clue to it being a sampling technique. Nothing odd in the figures, then?
Eric Myles
526 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:04:36
Brent #523, yes, I think it's possible they are guessing.

In fact, I'm pretty sure they are.

Brent Stephens
527 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:05:58
What are the ONS guessing, Eric?
Eric Myles
528 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:13:38
Brent #527 "What are the ONS guessing, Eric?"

They are guessing from testing 5,000 people, that 148,000 people are infected.

That's pretty obvious from the disparity of numbers isn't it?

If they had said how many of those 5,000 tested are infected, and how many are critical, and how many dead, and how many recovered. Then we'd have some useful information, rather than further scaremongering.

Chris Williams
529 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:21:38
Brent,

This is the first in a series of ongoing national snapshots, that the ONS are going to issue. This one is based on actual testing data, and I think will probably be repeated. It’s one of the things ONS is for, but normally we tend not to see their work.

They tend to understand statistics, the clue is in their name, and tend not to have apolitical axe to grind

For me it’s one more input into understanding what’s happening, and I suspect the government will be paying attention. Or maybe not.

Eric Myles
530 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:25:17
Jay #524, "What is hugely uplifting is the strong community spirit in the poorest favelas in the absence of proper leadership at the federal or state level, or direct aid in the form of material and personel. They are smart, organized, compassionate and because they live in the community know EXACTLY what the needs of many families are."

In previous posts I'm sure you said that the local drug dealers are enforcing lockdown in the favelas, and people are staying indoors for fear of being beaten?

But now they have a huge community spirit?

Chris Williams
531 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:26:29
Jay,

That’s ok mate, if it helps your understanding. I found the forecasts interesting and the impact of different mitigations.

In the Uk BAME folk are twice as likely to die from this thing too.

Brent Stephens
532 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:26:50
Chris, I'm being rhetorical with Eric as he doesn't seem to understand the solidity of the source (ONS) and the (sampling) basis of the estimate. It's all clear to me.
Chris Williams
533 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:28:28
I know Brent.
Brent Stephens
534 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:29:51
Eric "If they had said how many of those 5,000 tested are infected..."

They did say how many. Have a look.

Brent Stephens
535 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:30:37
Sorry Chris!! Misunderstood ur post.
Eric Myles
536 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:33:56
Brent #532, I understand the importance of ONS accurate data, after all wasn't it me that quoted the ONS figure of 50,000 deaths in the winter of 2017/2018. A figure that was apparently debunked and disputed on this thread??
Brent Stephens
537 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:41:33
Eric, I don't remember what that debate was about (50,000 deaths 2017/18). I'm not going to trawl back.

The ONS is a widely trusted source (not only the government but numerous professional and academic organisations cite them). What is your more trustworthy source?

And what's wrong with their current study?

Eric Myles
538 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:45:21
Brent #525, sorry but your link only directs to a portion of the report, I see from the rest of it they are guessing only 0.3% of those not already in hospital actually test positive, and don't give any indication of criticality or otherwise.
Eric Myles
539 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:51:39
Brent #537, basically, I posted the ONS figures of 50,000 dead, someone said it was significantly lower.

Someone else posted that my numbers were debunked, but nevertheless the ONS website still says 50,000 dead.

So I do know what the ONS is.

Brent Stephens
540 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:57:27
Eric, so you agreed with the ONS. That's fine. You seem to trust them!

I can't see you've presented any methodological limitations (not already acknowledged by ONS) in their study I linked to.

Eric Myles
541 Posted 14/05/2020 at 18:09:08
Brent #540, as you say, the ONS have already listed guesses that they are making.

My only questions would be:-

The communities they are testing in?

The numbers in a household tested? And how to extrapolate that among a population?

The population density of the tested households and how they adjust the figures to take account of the differences.

I'm sure there's some others can come up with also.

Brent Stephens
542 Posted 14/05/2020 at 18:21:18
You use the term "guesses". I think what they are doing is not what is usually called guessing. It's using a sample to generalise about a wider population. Widely used in natural and social sciences.
Eric Paul
543 Posted 14/05/2020 at 18:21:23
Eric
What is your angle? Why do you keep playing down the severity of covid 19.
Also what do you do for a living where you are always right,are there any positions as my wife is highly qualified
Michael Lynch
544 Posted 14/05/2020 at 18:37:55
My understanding is that the ONS figure is taken from a sample group of 5,000 who have all been tested daily over a two week period. Using the figure that tested positive, they have extrapolated that to predict that 148,000 people across the country would have tested positive across the period. so around 10,500 people a day are being infected. But the sample group didn't include residents of care homes or patients in hospital, which would raise the figure slightly.

Am I reading that right? It's an interesting stat. Under lockdown it would take ten years for herd immunity to kick in ;-)

edit: ah no, hold on, it's just England, so that means only 8 years for herd immunity I think

Brent Stephens
545 Posted 14/05/2020 at 18:49:26
Michael, I read it (p3) that they tested 10,705 people in 5,276 households.
Tony Abrahams
546 Posted 14/05/2020 at 19:07:25
Eric@530, do you think the gangs would give the people a beating like maybe the police would? I think they would be telling the people breaking lockdown, to get their fucking heads together, and maybe also educating them, which is something that the lunatic in charge is not doing.

Maybe a few degenerates might get more of a slap, for carrying out the prime minister’s orders, but I wonder if he’d have them in his house for tea?

I’d bet the gang leaders are probably helping to feed people, because to become a criminal in places without real education, freedom of choice, or decent employment chances, surely doesn’t make someone a bad person?

Chris Williams
547 Posted 14/05/2020 at 19:13:17
Brent (545)

Spot on, mate. They’re pretty clear about their methodology, and the fact that this is now an ongoing series of snapshots.

And confident enough to publish it. I’m not sure it’ll generate this much debate in Westminster!

Tony Abrahams
548 Posted 14/05/2020 at 19:46:14
Anyone got time to go on the guardian website and read about the lady they are calling the coronavirus slayer, from Kerala in India.

Brilliant read, such a poor country in comparison to Europe or the USA, but they were prepared, because this educated lady was ahead of the game.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

549 Posted 14/05/2020 at 20:00:51
Eric @ 530.

Giving your posting history in this thread, I perfectly understand how if may be difficult for you to comprehend that what you attribute to me represents two different stories and scenarios;

That there are thousands of different favelas in Rio alone;

That there are tens of thousands of favelas throughout the whole of Brazil;

That I was describing actual events when I reported drug gangs are enforcing an iron rule in some favelas in the absence of intervention by state or federal government;

That by doing so I was not endorsing the practice;

That I didn't describe it as evidence of 'huge community spirit';

That scores of 'huge community spirit' examples in the favelas by its occupants, untainted by the practices of drug bands, also abound in Brazil during this crisis.

Best for you not to venture too far outside the 'single issue' real world you inhabit where you are always right into parallel universes with multiple issues you are not familiar with, Eric.

It appears beyond your ken.

Brent Stephens
550 Posted 14/05/2020 at 20:01:38
Tony thanks. That’s absolutely brilliant. I’d encourage all to read it. A staggeringly low infection rate for such a big population. Only 4 dead out of 35 million. The speed of action in January and the way she mobilised professionals at all levels is amazing. And as you say part of such a poor country.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

551 Posted 14/05/2020 at 20:24:13
Tony @ 548.

Thanks for flagging that up. I'll put up the link here for others to find:

The Coronavirus Slayer

I did know of this success story as in December and January as my Welsh git of a best man to my good wife and I flew out to Kerala to revisit the state he last visited about 30 years ago. Here's going to love this story.

Kerala has long been a shining beacon in India. Socially, religiously (extremely tolerant and diverse), culturally, educationally and politically.

For example, it might be anathema for some on TW to learn that Kerela has long had a democratically elected Communist state government.

I love the tale that when in the 15th century during the time of Portugal's golden era of naval exploration, Vasco da Gama washed up in Kerela he was astonished to find Christianity already established there...nearly 1500 years earlier by St Thomas the Apostle!

A great uplifting tale, Tony. Thanks again.

Dave Abrahams
552 Posted 14/05/2020 at 20:39:07
Tony (548), good post Tony, amazing what can be done when some one has a good idea of what they are doing, especially when they have prepared for such a virus to happen.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

553 Posted 14/05/2020 at 20:52:42
As anticipated, my Welsh mate really enjoyed the Guardian story Tony.

The 1st case in Kerala he tells me was detected 2 days before he and his missus left. They had an Indian friend who returned to Kerala on 25 February who was automatically isolated for 14 days.

As Dave says, amazing what clear thinking and quick implementation can achieve. As the good lady herself asks in the article:

A Covid-19 test produces a result within 48 hours. “In the Gulf, as in the US and UK – all technologically fit countries – they are having to wait seven days,” she says. “What is happening there?”

What is happening indeed...or not, as the case may be.

Chris Williams
554 Posted 14/05/2020 at 21:06:58
Jay,

We had a priest from Kerala. He revered St. Thomas. Whenever the Gospel about Doubting Thomas came around, he went off on one about it should be Intelligent Thomas, Discerning Thomas, etc etc. Then it was did we know he was called Didymus, in the Gospel and that meant the Twin.

Whose Twin he would ask, and tap his nose knowingly.

A bit unconventional.

Tony Abrahams
555 Posted 14/05/2020 at 23:12:48
Simple Jay, it's all about the money, and all about growth, nothing else really matters, because money is the most powerful tool, and the only true religion in this world unfortunately.

Mike Gaynes
556 Posted 15/05/2020 at 03:21:13
Tony #548, great catch on that article.

That one official is a brilliant example of what can be done when leadership, planning, education and a scientific approach trump (irony intended) idiocy, dishonesty and political paralysis.

Eric Myles
557 Posted 15/05/2020 at 08:18:26
Tony #546 " to become a criminal in places without real education, freedom of choice, or decent employment chances, surely doesn’t make someone a bad person?"

Pol Pot was a thoroughly decent chap by all accounts.

Tony Abrahams
558 Posted 15/05/2020 at 08:25:25
Nay problem, Eric, but I bet you he wasn't as good as Robin Hood.
Tony Abrahams
559 Posted 15/05/2020 at 08:36:15
I've just googled Pol Pot, Eric, and my only conclusion is that the man who is always right has a very narrow-minded way of thinking!
Eric Myles
560 Posted 15/05/2020 at 08:55:19
You had to google Pol Pot, Tony???

I had considered using the Krays as an example but thought that some of our overseas readers wouldn't know of them or the levels of deprivation in London's East End in the '50s & '60s.

Conor McCourt
561 Posted 15/05/2020 at 09:06:54
India and its neighbouring countries.

Country. Deaths per million population

India 2
Pakistan. 4
Sri Lanka. 0.4
Bangladesh. 2
Bhutan. 0
Nepal. 0

In the whole of Asia only Iran and those closest to Europe like Turkey and Israel had more than 21 deaths per million. Note that Pakistan is the highest on the list and borders Iran so no surprise there. India is a success story no doubt but making a cause and effect link is difficult especially when they are where you would expect them to be considering the geographical perspective.

Dave Abrahams
562 Posted 15/05/2020 at 09:46:02
Chris (554), thanks for that reference to Doubting Thomas, one of my favourite apostles. I looked him up on google, glad I did, well worth a read, oh and he did have a twin sister who died when she was nine which had an affect on his life.

Sorry for that little post Michael, God bless!!

Martin Nicholls
563 Posted 15/05/2020 at 10:02:00
Tony #548 – thanks for that. It just shows what can and could have been done if we and others were properly prepared.

Jay – thanks for the direct link. Very helpful for a luddite like me!

Michael Kenrick
564 Posted 15/05/2020 at 11:14:29
Jay @ 551,

There's a few interesting things that pop out of that article for me:

1) First, and of the utmost importance, is the indictment of travel and the immediate isolation of travellers. It is the obvious way the virus gets anywhere. Controlling travel and isolating travellers is the prime way to interdict its spread.

2) Second is the Nipah virus – I had to look that one up! Fruit bats this time... there is no vaccine or specific treatment. Prevention is by avoiding exposure to bats and sick pigs – and not drinking raw date palm sap! [As if... a salute to BoJo's 'common sense'!] But the point is: these folks have been through it already and learned all the lessons of God's munificence in having such plagues reigned down upon them.

3) Third is The Communist Party of India (Marxist). That has to be a key factor in assuring the successful obedience to whatever dictates are imposed by government. Only through such Godless autocracy can the infectious members of the populace be so closely controlled.

It remains to be seen if the Christian countries of the West – who seem to be hardest hit by this blessing from Our Lord and 'Saviour' – will learn the lessons. So much misinformation and false conclusions still abound, with very little recognition of the true nature of the infection and the importance of natural immunity, which is the way the virus will ultimately be contained (but not 'defeated').

This from Bill Maher hits a lot of the high notes for me: You can't keep all the pathogens out:

“I worry that the past two months of quarantine have given people the idea that way for humans to win our million-year war with microbes is to avoid them completely. And I'm here to tell you you can't.

“The key to beating Covid-19 isn't dining through glass or never going to a concert or a ball game again. It's your immune system. You hear people say, "Covid-19 is a new virus so the immune system doesn't know how to handle it." Bullshit, of course it does. That's why the vast majority of people who have had it have either recovered or didn't even know they had it.

“What do you think did that? The human immune system. There are people with immune systems that can't do the job and we should make it a priority to protect those people. But compulsively washing, being scared of your own hands? That can't become the new normal.

“You can keep discovering new places to scare people into buying protection for, but we're solving the problem from the wrong end. This is a health problem; we can't sanitize the universe. Governors should declare keeping our bodies in good health an essential job because that is the only way we are going to win this.

“What's the point of life if you can't live it? Have you ever had sex in a hotel? Did you wash your hands first? Well the last couple didn't either. And yet, you're still alive. Because your immune system said we got this.

“This weekend, do something nice for your immune system. Go outside. That mysterious land beyond your curtains where the GrubHub drivers live and get some fresh air and Vitamin D.

“And break a sweat doing something besides eating hot chicken. Because at the end of the day, you can't keep all the pathogens out. It would be as silly as thinking you can stop immigration by building a wall.”

But then he's an avowed godless heathen atheist so can thankfully be ignored.

Yea, God Bless You Too!!!

Tony Abrahams
565 Posted 15/05/2020 at 11:37:15
Pol Pot, sounded like the devil Eric, so every criminal is a devil? (Come on Eric, you can't genuinely believe that?)

It's funny how I agree with loads of that post Michael, and how I also agree with nearly everything Jay, is also saying.

This thread has made me realise it's time for a new political party, a cross between the two would make loads of sense to me, but sometimes in life the hardest thing to find is some middle ground.

Eric Myles
566 Posted 15/05/2020 at 12:19:54
Tony, I cited Pol Pot to show the absurdity of your statement that criminals are not necessarily bad people. You countered with a mythical figure.

But isn't the legal definition of a criminal, someone who has done something bad (according to the Laws of the land)?

Eric Myles
567 Posted 15/05/2020 at 12:28:56
Michael #564, thankfully some are starting to question the conventional "wisdom".
Chris Williams
568 Posted 15/05/2020 at 12:42:47
Michael,

There may be some truth in Bill Maher’s view about the immune system.

There may be some truth in some people’s belief in the fact that it is climate change that is the root cause of all this.

There maybe some truth in some people’s belief that it’s all caused by ill treating animals.

There are some people who believe that pollution allows this virus to spread, and that may also be true.

Some people believe because we haven’t had any severe bloodletting in a big war for 75 years this is nature’s way of compensating.

It may be that all these things contribute to the cause and spread of the virus, and I believe some of them are being actively investigated. All of them have plausibility to whatever degree.

But I don’t know. Nobody does yet sadly. This race is not yet run.

But until I see something to convince me that I’m safe ignoring it you won’t see me out frolicking in the sunshine. But of course that is my choice and people can always follow their own choices and I’m sure they will.

The first point in your post is about travel. Since lockdown 97000 entered the UK without quarantine and of course still are. The government advisers say this carries a risk of 0.5% of increasing infection. The rest of the world disagrees seemingly.

That’s on top of the 1.8M who came in January to March, before flying was curtailed.

Eric Myles
569 Posted 15/05/2020 at 13:07:37
Chris #568, none of those four 'some truths' you cite are the reason for this virus.
Martin Nicholls
570 Posted 15/05/2020 at 13:25:29
Chris #568 - best post on this thread.. No-one knows all the facts or the solutions although there are quite a few who pontificate as if they do!
Tony Hill
571 Posted 15/05/2020 at 14:15:50
Encouragingly, the number of new infections in London is reported as having gone down dramatically. I think it was in double digits yesterday. Other areas of the country are higher but I assume London was first and worst hit.

Without drawing any hasty conclusions, perhaps this is the first bit of proper good news we’ve had for some while.

Michael Lynch
572 Posted 15/05/2020 at 14:23:14
Chris, the government advisors actually said that once the virus was in the community there was no point in restricting inward travel. That does beg the question why they didn't restrict travel when we were still in the track and trace stage, but even Germany is about to drop travel restrictions for anyone entering from the EU and the UK (just as we introduce them... go figure).

Meanwhile, talking about travel, it seems odd to me that they are not just reintroducing the congestion charge in London, but extending it to seven days a week, 7am to 10pm, and increasing the charge by 30% just as they tell us not to use public transport. Not exactly joined up thinking is it?

Michael Lynch
573 Posted 15/05/2020 at 14:26:51
Tony @571 I've been noticing this for a while now. The infection rates in London seem to be down to below pre-lockdown numbers. My worry is how quickly they can go up again if people don't "stay alert". Maybe it would have been worth waiting til the end of May before softening the message from "stay the fuck at home" (I think that was the slogan wasn't it?).
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

574 Posted 15/05/2020 at 14:50:02
..."stay the fuck at home" (I think that was the slogan wasn't it?).

I'm guessing you never saw the video campaign Michael?

Stay The Fuck at Home

Michael Lynch
575 Posted 15/05/2020 at 14:58:05
Jay

Totally brilliant!

Chris Williams
576 Posted 15/05/2020 at 15:08:13
Tony and Michael,

Yes it's coming down in London. They peaked early, and are coming out a bit earlier, so good news for them and hopefully for everyone.

Who knows if lack of quarantine at Heathrow and Gatwick had an impact on that. Maybe God?

Charges going back on Mersey Tunnels too.

For me, easing lockdown is a risk when there's a far from robust testing regime and the tracing app is having its teething troubles to say the least. We're supposed to have a tracing team of 18000 in place next week, and we've recruited 1500 so far. So expect the same efforts to frig the figures as happened with testing.

It's interesting that members of SAGE are starting to break ranks now on condition of anonymity, so maybe ‘following the science' may start to fray at the seams.

Chris Williams
577 Posted 15/05/2020 at 15:14:03
Jay,

I love that. He sounds like my older son Dan, who has mutated into Warden Hodges.

The child is father to the man!

Michael Lynch
578 Posted 15/05/2020 at 15:24:25
Chris - I did wonder when that would happen (SAGE members breaking rank). You put a couple of dozen scientists and academics in a room and I would imagine you get at least a dozen different views for the politicians to ignore.

I'm in London and we did seem to start social distancing etc earlier than the rest of the country. I remember ringing friends in Liverpool and they were shocked when I told them people had started wearing masks and avoiding public transport. The last time I went to the pub was about ten days before they shut and I don't know anybody who was still going by the time even Tim Martin threw in the towel. There's a suggestion that the R rate was dropping here even before lockdown, then went into a steep downward curve over the next few weeks.

I had a look at the recruitment for the tracing team, cos my business is on hiatus for the forseeable future, but you need to have Windows 10 on a PC, and I'm on a Mac.

Chris Williams
579 Posted 15/05/2020 at 15:38:39
Michael,

I've done work with a couple of universities and the academics can be ruthless with each other. Always polite but with a stiletto rather than a claymore. Bitchy too.

The ONS reports can have some local stuff, and the Covid-19 symptom tracker app has a lot of interactive local mapping moving over time. Doing the government's job for it basically, but worth a look.

At one stage, London was accounting for 50% of infections and deaths. A lot in the more deprived areas. It's been overtaken now by the NW and also NE I think.

Tony Abrahams
580 Posted 15/05/2020 at 15:39:35
Only thing I could reply to that, Eric, is fuck the law of the land, especially whilst we have got an incompetent twat, in charge!

Chris Williams
581 Posted 15/05/2020 at 16:05:23
Tony,

The Law is an Ass.

Tony Abrahams
582 Posted 15/05/2020 at 16:26:50
The legal definition is, Chris, but these gang members are controlling a very “bad” situation and trying to make things better for everyone, which is surely anything but bad?

Eric, I find you interesting. sometimes it's hard getting your point cross. I suffer from this myself, but I think you're bored now though, which must at least put you in the same boat as everyone else for once!


Chris Williams
583 Posted 15/05/2020 at 16:31:33
Tony,

You don't need to explain mate, I understand and agree with the point you're trying to make.

In a crazy situation, someone has to take charge. If their motives are good, there is no problem. I think Jay would know best in this situation.

Tony Abrahams
584 Posted 15/05/2020 at 16:54:54
Have been listening to Gnarls Barclay today, Chris. The song crazy, reminds me of being at the World Cup in 2006 with my good mates and my then two youngest kids.

There is a line in the song that says, “It wasn't because I didn't know enough – I just knew too much”!

Eric Myles
585 Posted 15/05/2020 at 17:01:35
Tony #580, problem is, we always have an incompetent twat in charge.

So fuck the law of the land? That implies you don't think that criminal activity is bad.

Chris Williams
586 Posted 15/05/2020 at 17:49:27
Tony,

He’s someone I don’t know, but I reckon I know that one, for some reason.

I’ve been listening to Alex Campbell. Brilliant and a good guitarist.

I’ve also listening to Ian Campbell. He had Dave Swarbrick in his band before he played with Fairport, and invented English Folk Rock. Listen to A Sailors Life. Unbelievable improvised instrumental break between Swarbs and Richard Thompson. Recorded in one take!

If you want to hear the start of a new music, that’s the track.

I’ve also come to believe it was Ian Campbell Folk Group I saw in Canterbury in 1967, not Alex Campbell. I was 19 then and 72 now, and that’s my excuse!

If I know enough I’m happy but I try to keep trying to understand more if I can.

I have less absolutes the older I get. I don’t know if that’s good or bad!

Tony Abrahams
587 Posted 15/05/2020 at 18:25:43
I think the world is built on crime, Eric. Certain crimes are disgusting, but are probably not committed by what most people would describe as real criminals. Crime is in a lot of things and definitely on both sides of society.

Pol Pot was probably the worst example you could have given me, so I gave you a mythical figure back, simply because I thought/hoped you was being sarcastic, mate.

Less absolutes makes a lot of sense to me, Chris, simply because you come across as an educated fella who has his own views but has had enough experience of life to be non-judgemental on a lot of things.

Chris Williams
588 Posted 15/05/2020 at 18:32:14
Tony,

I’m just older these days, and less stroppy. My sons are worse, and so they need to be. Especially these days maybe?

Eric Myles
589 Posted 15/05/2020 at 19:23:23
Tony, I was being sarcastic.
Tony Hill
590 Posted 15/05/2020 at 19:58:02
Chris @586, Richard Thompson is a stunningly gifted guitarist and writer, isn't he? Him and Dave Swarbrick soloing on Sloth too. Dave has gone now, alas, as I'm sure you know. There's a golden piece on YouTube of Fairport Convention doing Now Be Thankful at a festival in 1970 or so. A golden summer and a thousand years ago.
Chris Williams
591 Posted 15/05/2020 at 20:15:47
Tony,

Yes I’m a big fan. He issued a couple of albums with acoustic versions of some of his best known songs quite recently. Superb.

I’ll seek that track out mate

I saw Dave live in a little club in Chester, Telfords Warehouse, with Martin Carthy, a fair few years ago now. He was in a wheelchair and on oxygen. But they played really well. Smoking wasn’t allowed.

I read he’d read his own obituary when it was published a long way prematurely in the Telegraph.

I blame Boris

Tony Abrahams
592 Posted 15/05/2020 at 20:41:21
I thought so, Eric, I definitely prefer you when you're being serious, mate!

Must be hard for anyone who is angry by nature at the minute, Chris, because even the calmest people are losing their heads at the minute.

Michael Lynch
593 Posted 15/05/2020 at 20:44:21
If we're talking Richard Thompson, it's the RIchard and Linda Thompson stuff for me; his songwriting, her voice, just amazing. Then probably his Fairports era - Liege and Lief particularly. Mind you, anything with Sandy Denny on it works for me.

Chris Williams
594 Posted 15/05/2020 at 21:13:10
Michael,

You’re talking my language. Linda suffered from stage fright seemingly but she had a lovely voice.

I read a biography of Sandy recently. Linda was very supportive of her, real friend. She sounds a lovely person.

Sandy was all over the place. A real shame. When you think someone with a voice like that, who was a good songwriter, never had anything like a hit.

Probably she and Dusty were our best female singers of the period, and beyond. Neither of them achieved anything like what they should have done.

Michael Lynch
595 Posted 15/05/2020 at 21:22:06
True Chris. I read the Sandy Denny biography and what was shocking was how little she actually left behind considering how huge her talent. I never get tired of listening to her because she didn't just have a stunning voice, but her phrasing was incredible.

Do you know the Fotheringay album? Much under-rated in my opinion, and worth a listen. She might never have had a hit as such, but Who Knows Where The Time Goes is in so many people's top ten (and funeral list). Certainly is in mine.

Tony Hill
596 Posted 15/05/2020 at 21:33:52
They were all so young and blessed with talent, Michael. Sandy Denny wrote Who Knows Where The Time Goes when she was about 20 I think. Dimming of The Day sung by Linda after they'd split is heartbreaking.

Another one to dig out on Youtube is Richard's song, Beeswing, done live in California in 2005. It's a magnificent performance. Also, he's just done an acoustic lockdown thing in aid of the Royal Albert Hall (called "Royal Albert Home") in which, even at his quite advanced age and in an odd environment, he casually throws out his technical brilliance.

Michael Lynch
597 Posted 15/05/2020 at 21:52:50
I'll check those out, Chris, plenty of time to catch up on music now anyway.
Chris Williams
598 Posted 15/05/2020 at 22:01:27
Michael and Tony,

That is surely a great song, beautifully sung, and one of my favourites. I saw Fairport live in Liverpool, must have been mid 90s, and they closed with that, with some lovely bass by Dave Pegg. It was at the Epstein Theatre, once the Crane back in the day.

Fotheringay was very underrated, but was never properly looked after. By then she was in a pretty lousy state. Poor taste in men didn’t help

Beeswing was about Anne Briggs, at least in part. She was absolutely gorgeous, and an item with Bert Jansch for a spell. She appeared in a film called Accoustic Routes I think, which featured Jansch Billy Connolly and a whole bunch of folkies. Worth finding on DVD

One of the songs on my funeral list is I’m Not Strange I’m Just Like You, by Jerry Jeff Walker.

Tony Hill
599 Posted 15/05/2020 at 22:40:38
The Crane, Chris, my word, there'll be a few on here who'll remember that.
Andy Crooks
600 Posted 15/05/2020 at 23:08:50
I think the death of Florian Schneider this week is worth a mention. One of the most innovative and influential musicians of the last 50 years.
Michael Lynch
601 Posted 15/05/2020 at 23:35:17
Sorry, I meant to say Tony @ 597 not Chris.

Chris, though, Anne Briggs was a trailblazer for sure. I don't find her voice particularly easy on the ear, but she was ahead of her time. She disappeared up to Scotland and jacked in music to be a farmer, if I remember correctly. That whole sixties folk scene in London produced some great artists. Not least John Martyn.

Chris Williams
602 Posted 16/05/2020 at 08:21:53
Tony,

The Crane was pretty old. I remember my sister when she was a young girl, appeared in a concert there, given by her ballet school. She turned 70 in March.

Michael, like you, her music wasn't to my taste. She mined a seam of older traditional songs that the purists lapped up, like Blackwaterside. Jansch learned it from her, and Jimmy Page borrowed it and called it Black Mountainside. Did that a couple of times. Mind you so did Dylan, Masters of War being one example.

I think at one stage she was living in a Croft with no power etc. It was a life choice, and she was a one-off to be sure.

I prefer John Martyn's earlier stuff, before he turned his voice into a trombone, but even there there's some gems.

That London scene is covered pretty extensively in Accoustic Routes. It ends up in the States with Bert playing with Brownie McGhee, his great idol.

Alan McGuffog
603 Posted 16/05/2020 at 08:39:11
Chris... you referenced Sandy Denny and Dusty, a bit earlier. That minded me of a wonderful singer, and writer, who along with Madeleine Bell backed Dusty.

Do you recall Lesley Duncan? She also sang with Elton John... long before he became the Elton John we know now

Chris Williams
604 Posted 16/05/2020 at 11:41:26
Alan,

Yes Madeline had a great voice. Melting Pot was one of my Mums favourite songs. I liked it too! Did a lot of session work later on I think.

Lesley passed me by for some reason. I’ve just had a look at google, and don’t recognise the songs, but I’d need to listen. Which tracks do you recommend?

I see her brother wrote the first single for The Pretty Things. Phil May died yesterday sadly

Michael Lynch
605 Posted 16/05/2020 at 14:27:40
Chris - John Martyn from Bless The Weather up to One World is one of the best sequences of albums from anyone, ever, in my opinion. There's a few decent tracks on Stormbringer, with his missus Beverley, too. Actually, I love Glorious Fool as well, even if it does sound a bit Phil Collins (for obvious reasons).

I've found Acoustic Routes on YouTube, so that's me sorted for the next 90 minutes.

Alan McGuffog
606 Posted 16/05/2020 at 14:39:38
Chris, I'm sure you'd recognise Love Song. Think she co-wrote it with Elton.

Couple of crackers on Earth Mother album... my favourite is Fortieth Floor. Sort of chills you (in the shivering sense). She too retreated to the Western Isles where she passed away a few years back.

Chris Williams
607 Posted 16/05/2020 at 16:59:29
Michael and Alan,

Many thanks guys. I'll have a listen to those tracks. Always keen to find something I've missed.

Enjoy the show, Michael. I need to dig out my copy. Actually I think they may have released a CD, but could be wrong.

Christine Foster
608 Posted 17/05/2020 at 12:45:25
Interesting how this thread has moved to music, long lost stuff too..so I thought I would add mine.. The Humblebums, aka Gerry Rafferty, Billy Conolly and Joe Egan:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Z9ROW9oAG4

1969 if my memory serves, made 3 LPs, I have them all... some wonderful tracks including Shoeshine Boy.

Listen and enjoy... Brighten up your day.

Christine Foster
609 Posted 17/05/2020 at 12:55:11
Oh and Tam Harvey, I think. Blues guitarist of a bit of quality. I think Joe Egan went on to Stealers Wheel with Gerry Rafferty.
Brian Hennessy
610 Posted 17/05/2020 at 14:30:00
Lots of great music suggestions above.

Have found myself listening a lot this week to Jim Croce. What a great voice and such a shame that he died so young (30) just when he was making his breakthrough.

Tony McNulty
611 Posted 17/05/2020 at 15:32:54
Some of you mentioning Bert Jansch. The real technical genius of Pentangle was of course John Renbourn.

Just under a year before he died I was lucky enough to spend a week on a guitar course on Crete run by him.

People say don't meet your heroes but it was decidedly weird trying to play something written by someone who you had last seen in the 1970s playing at the Festival Hall, with him sitting in front of you watching. And then over coffee and meals hearing him tell tales about all the people he had met in the music business.

Alan McGuffog
612 Posted 17/05/2020 at 16:15:08
Tony... that sounds like paradise on so many levels.

Please, please, tell us that John was a closet blue as well.

Michael Lynch
613 Posted 17/05/2020 at 16:30:32
Tony - that must have been something else. I saw Pentangle at the Royal Festival Hall in 2008 (I think? It was the 40th anniversary gig). I'd never really listened to much of their stuff, but they were fantastic. Jazzy, folky, and floaty. Main reason I went was because I love the bass playing of Danny Thompson, but the whole gig was brilliant.

Since this is turning into a music thread, can I add Judee Sill to the list of amazing voices and songwriters? She only made two albums before she disappeared and subsequently died, but they were total genius. Some of her songs are deceptively simple, almost country-light but with a twist. And when she goes for the epic, she really goes for it - like on The Donor, or The Kiss.

Tony McNulty
614 Posted 17/05/2020 at 17:05:43
Alan - funny you should use that phrase. We had a day devoted to open G tuning, and he suddenly launched into Kokomo Blues, to which the whole room joined in. And I remember thinking, "if you must, take me now."

Michael - I saw her live, I think at the Albert Hall. She was on a bill supporting Roy Harper in the 1970s. "Jesus was a crossmaker" was the one I remember. I had bought her album a few months before. Look her up on the web - had a rather tragic life. She was rather a talented pianist as well as composer.

Michael Lynch
615 Posted 17/05/2020 at 17:15:51
Tony - you're the first person I've ever known to have seen her live. I'm gobsmacked. Yes, her backstory is pretty incredible - I'm a bit of a Judee Sill obsessive - and I'm surprised nobody's ever made a film of her life.

Jesus Was A Crossmaker was produced by Graham Nash, who rated her very highly. She was the first signing by David Geffen for his Asylum label, and rumour is he killed her career after she made a snarky comment about his shoes, outing him as gay when he was still in the closet. By all accounts, she wasn't the easiest of people, but her voice is one of the purest I've ever heard - a bit like Karen Carpenter on acid.

Paul Tran
616 Posted 17/05/2020 at 18:03:39
Second consecutive day of no new cases here in the Highlands and the number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 has dropped again. Excellent news.
Tony Hill
617 Posted 17/05/2020 at 18:35:28
Yes, I think it's broadly encouraging, Paul. There will be blips, no doubt, but the overall trend looks like it is steadily downwards.
Tony McNulty
618 Posted 17/05/2020 at 18:44:53
Michael - I don't want to annoy the TW community by going into all sorts of non-Everton stuff. But a couple of things which happened at that concert might interest you.

If you want, email me and I'll update you. I can be found on Linked-In (I am the one with the Dr title).

Andy Crooks
619 Posted 17/05/2020 at 19:05:15
BBC 4 tonight 11:45... "Tales from a cracked juke box" – a profile of Tom Waits.
Tony Hill
620 Posted 17/05/2020 at 19:09:31
The BBC4 that they are disgracefully trying to abolish. I urge people to sign the petition against that act of cultural vandalism.
Paul Tran
621 Posted 17/05/2020 at 19:33:46
Yes, Tony, let's keep it that way.

And I agree with you on BBC4.

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