Corona Diary – Day 79

It’s been a bit of a controversial day today. Lockdown is letting up a lot. Many people are going back to work, those shielded are allowed out, schools are going back, we’re allowed to meet up to six people. But the infection rate is still running at 8000 a day and the testing and follow up is woeful. They keep saying they are following the science but the scientists are saying it’s too early.

Are we going too early?

Is the decision economic rather than medical?

Only time will tell, but following the Cummings fiasco people seem to have chucked social distancing out the window.

Testing is still too slow and only picking up between 10% and 20% of cases. That’s not good enough – hardly world class.

I’m expecting a second wave. I hope it doesn’t put a stop to the premiership reopening! I don’t think Johnson is on top of it at all!! I really think we should stop thinking nationally and look more at what is happening in our region. Some areas might well be able to relax the regs – others not.

Meanwhile Brexit goes on in the background, vegetables are going to be rotting in the fields (because the British can’t be asked) and we are still being hostile to foreigners.

Today I’ve been playing Loudon Wainwright to cheer myself up. I went for a walk up my hill in glorious sunshine, read a bit of Woody Guthrie, did some gardening, wrote a little and cleared up the shed.

The good news is that we are not ill yet!!

Stay safe!!

4 thoughts on “Corona Diary – Day 79

  1. Opher, in my “data junkie” hat, I’ll make some specific points about what you said here.

    “The infection rate is still running at 8000 a day.” Yesterday’s new UK cases count was 1,570. The daily count has only once hit 8,000, back on 10th April, and a lot of that was due to a big adjustment (aka, oops we missed a load of cases in care homes). Weekly averages of new cases are now down to a third of their peak. That, surely, must be enough to warrant relaxation of restrictions?

    “And the testing and follow up is woeful.” If by that you mean the overall performance of the NHS is woeful, I couldn’t agree more. It has the worst record on dealing with this virus among all the major Western European countries, except perhaps Belgium.

    “Testing is … only picking up between 10% and 20% of cases. That’s not good enough – hardly world class.” Actually, you’re correct, but not in the way you think. The cumulative total of positive cases per test in the UK peaked on 21st April at over 30% – one of the highest in the world. The last report I have (22nd May) has it down to under 12%. At that point, the daily cases to daily tests ratio had gone down to about 4%. As testing has expanded, it has found a lower and lower proportion of new positives. That suggests to me that the herd is, at last, starting to beat the virus. How this can be so with a confirmed case rate around 4 per 1,000, where simple models predict that herd immunity needs 70% (and even more nuanced models need 20%+), I don’t know. Some level of pre-immunity seems most likely.

    “Some areas might well be able to relax the regs – others not.” Yes! But do you remember the argument – which came from your side, the alarmists – that the result would be city people going out to the countryside, and infecting the people there? Now, it seems to me that major spreads of this virus come about in one of two ways – crowds, and highly social super-spreaders. So, for me, that argument is hokum; and therefore, I agree with you on this point. (As would Dominic Cummings; but that’s another matter). But don’t hold your breath for any politician, at any level, to cede power to anyone at a more local level.

    “The good news is that we are not ill yet!!” And good for you. Myself, I think I probably had the damned thing (very mildly) way back in late January – before it was even known to be in the UK. And now, I’m itching (literally) to get my beard barbered. Not to mention to get back into the pub.

    1. Lol Neil – I think you will find it is all a question of where you source your data for the figures. A lot of it, without adequate testing, is guesswork I reckon.
      Thanks for the input. I’ll put out a Norwegian report for you. That’s interesting.
      I reckon you’ll be a while yet before you can get back in a pub – but you might get back into the garden of a pub!

      1. Opher, the daily cases data comes from, whose data is collected by Johns Hopkins University in the USA. The more comprehensive data comes from Our World in Data, from Oxford and Oxford Brookes universities. Our World in Data is pretty reliable, in my experience. If you have any Excel skills, you should download their full spreadsheet and then you can answer whatever questions you care to pose.

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