Behind the curve. The mathematics of deaths.

Peter Fairbrother peter at
Thu Mar 12 19:25:37 PDT 2020

On 12/03/2020 23:56, Zig the N.g wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 09:54:54PM +0000, Peter Fairbrother wrote:
>> Please recirculate freely.
>> Behind the curve. The mathematics of deaths.
>> The present United Kingdom strategy on COVID-19 was to initially try to
>> contain the virus with a weak containment policy, and when that failed to move
>> to the "delay phase" we are in now to try to slow its spread. This delay would
>> place a lower maximum load on healthcare, spread heathcare requirements over
>> time, and thereby allow more per-patient care.
>> An underlying assumption and consequential end result of that policy is that
>> practically everybody in the UK will inevitably eventually catch the virus.
> s/assumption/intention/

You might be right.

>> And the Red Death will hold illimitable dominion over all.
> Racist terminology - please re-read the Bee's guide to non-racist terminology.
>> The strategy made sense if, as was believed when it was made, there would be
>> no way of eventually stopping the epidemic by containment, something I myself
>> believed.

>> However, that does not seem to be the case: the disease is not quite as
>> infectious as at first thought,
> Au-contraire, [snip]

Infectiousness has no direct correlation to infected ratio. And 
comparing COVID-19 with Spanish Flu or anything other than a perceived 
measure of COVID-19's infectiousness misses my point - COVID-19 is at 
least a little less infectious than _we thought_ it was.

>> as recent evidence shows that the Chinese have
>> managed to slow it almost to a stop using strong confinement.
>> - whereas if the present UK policy
>> is continued then at some point a majority of people in the UK will catch the
>> disease, and a million people will die unnecessarily [1].
> And you're holding that to be a bad thing, even if it does happen?
>   [Damn!  Did I just ask that?  Talk about effective long term propaganda ...]

Maybe not (and now you may see my true colours, though they were never 
hidden). The UK has a large proportion of older people. Older people who 
need extensive healthcare, expensive pensions, who tie up a lot of 
wealth and property - of the predicted million deaths about 900,000 
would be older types.

This clearing away of unproductive and expensive (and wealthy) 
population would more than balance the budget, would release several 
hundred thousand badly-needed homes (and cause a property price crash; 
the UK needs about 1 million homes, which is why UK property is so 
expensive. I have been trying to work out the price elasticity of 
housing in the UK if several hundred thousand properties became 
available, but it is hard) and would provide a more balanced population 

For the UK as a nation it would not be a bad thing (ignoring the 
deaths), and I fear some politicians think "Hey, it's just the useless 
oldies, who cares?".

But I care. Where there is life there's hope, and the biggest fuck-you 
you can give is to death. Do not go gentle and all that crap.

But even the Chinese didn't do that. Initially they didn't realise, 
later, well, perhaps they revere the old more, perhaps it's just because 
they have less old people.

And yes, that is probably a bit racist, but after Tiananmen and forced 
abortions we westerners have the impression that the Chinese have a 
lower respect for life than we do.

Which is probably nonsense, it's just the Japs who're like that.

>> People should be encouraged to wear masks, not discouraged
> Which masks, exactly, are you suggesting?  Remember, any incorrect answer is a life and death thing for some...

Any masks, even those with only minimal effectiveness - I am not talking 
about protecting yourself but about protecting the population, and any 
reduction in exponential rate is better than none.

Though good masks will obviously help protect you better than bad ones, 
or no masks at all. After all, Medical people use the good masks - if 
they didn't work at least a bit, why would they bother?...

If you want a non-expert opinion I'd recommend 3M 8835+ for a disposable 
[2] respirator, see: 
   figure 3c,

but I use a reuseable respirator (which I bought long before COVID-19) 
with 3M 6035 P3 filters myself. Don't forget the goggles, Bolle ULTIM8 
are not too large and unwieldy. And learn to use them, in this case 
actually do RTFM.

[2] they can in theory be reused, but need sterilisation in between uses 
to protect against viruses - UV or sunlight plus seal wipe should work, 
but don't get the white parts wet.

>> - even a tiny
>> difference in transmission rate can be the straw which will make the
>> difference between the epidemic dying out or growing: that is how the chain
>> reaction of an epidemic works. If each infected person infects more than one
>> other person on average then the epidemic spreads, if on average each infected
>> person infects less than one then the epidemic dies out.
> Bat soup, bruh! The bird bat soup will always bring back the COVID-19.

Ah yes, suppose we do manage to stop the infection in the UK (and people 
in other countries do not).

We will then have a still-vulnerable population, whereas those other 
countries will not, we will have a lot of expensive-to-keep old people; 
comparatively as a country we would be disadvantaged if not to say fucked.

At least until someone develops a vaccine or a cure. Only took ten years 
for AIDS...

>> We should be taking extreme measures to get that figure of new infections per
>> case down to less than 1.
> How extreme?
> I hear a bullet can reduce the areal transmission boundary for an individual...

Yes, sometimes that extreme. If  they are going to kill other people if 
you don't shoot them, and they refuse a reasonable alternative, then you 
may have to shoot them.

But beware, bullets can spread viruses in blood spatter etc.; and they 
don't always kill or even prevent areal spread of infected people.

>> The UK age demographic contains more older people than the Chinese, and older
> Are you sure?  There's a lot of Chinese in (the now multiple) China town(s) across the UK?  You might be right that there are more older people in the UK than the Chinese people in the UK, but your stats might be off on this one...

Chinese people (in China)

  vs UK people (in the UK).

For some reason the data comes from the CIA ...

Peter Fairbrother

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