Author Topic: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."  (Read 1434 times)

Offline Speleotron

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #50 on: May 09, 2020, 12:15:20 pm »
You didn't upset me (not that I think the apology was for me) I'm just posting out of boredom, sorry if I came across as ranting I just have a bee in my bonnet about stats. I don't think the prediction of 500 k was that far out. If we're on 30-40 k with lockdown then 500 k without seems reasonable.
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Offline alastairgott

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #51 on: May 09, 2020, 12:26:56 pm »
It is a really difficult one to resolve, with almost everyone in the UK affected in some way by the crises. I think what OR is saying (and forgive me for putting words into your mouth), is "should it have ever needed saving".

The wake up calls were there when people were bussed from the airports straight to the Wirral back in, was it February?

The softly softly approach that we saw at the start, oh there's one case over there another over there, you could already see that the web was far too big for it to be a handful of cases and a handful of deaths.

I believe there should have been a pause button pressed far earlier. Food Rationed, and a ban on all financial transactions with the stock market closing.

But those are just my strange ideals, a far better strategy is to have an autocratic democracy where you tell the rest of the world everything is back to normal and send everyone back to work in Hubei.

It's an awful situation and the only way to make it better is Hindsight. I don't think I know anyone who has died from Covid, but then it's never too far away, and I may not even know yet if anyone I know has died from it. At the moment i'm in a bubble of disconnection from the rolling headlines of Covid.

Offline Speleotron

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #52 on: May 09, 2020, 12:32:34 pm »
I mostly agree apart from closing the stock market! This would mean that people on defined contribute pensions can't retire until all this is over. Imagine what would happen when you re-open the market, everyone would be in a mad rush to sell as many indexes were near all-time-highs just before what is possibly a massive recession kicked in during a market pause. Those people waiting to retire would then be wiped out in a few seconds.

In an ideal world the stock market is for efficient allocation of capital, and anyone with a pension benefits from it. You can't say that we shouldn't be thinking about which companies will do well and which will do badly during a massive event like this. Even morally dubious things like short selling are often done to hedge your pension pot against other risks. Anyway I'm probably derailing things a bit.
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Online Fjell

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #53 on: May 09, 2020, 01:02:12 pm »
Doing nothing was never an option, but isolating those at risk was and is an option. There has been considerable failure to achieve that. No-one in my Dads care home has been tested yet, and it’s certainly not a money issue. The hospital tried to send untested patients to his home, but they were refused and is probably why they are still heads above water. Many others are not. Most care homes do not have the capability to do rigorous infection isolation for long periods with the accommodation, kit and staff they have. I’m assuming everyone in a care home will be exposed to it eventually this year, and they either die or they don’t. I’ve send my Dad some some baccy for his pipe. He might as well die from that instead, and apparently pre-screwed lungs might actually keep you alive. The irony is not lost on me after decades of trying to get him to stop.

We are heading for many millions being unemployed before this year is out. It is currently hidden. The US has rocked past 20% in weeks. It’s a disaster and the consequences will dwarf the virus if it is not checked. That’s just in rich countries. In poorer countries millions are going to die of poverty. Something has to give. It would be nice if it was a treatment, but still.

Offline Speleotron

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #54 on: May 09, 2020, 01:06:33 pm »
I completely agree with you Fjell even though I am pro-lockdown.

The decision to send un-tested people to care homes can only be described as psychopathic. I also agree that we are looking at the biggest recession for hundreds of years and this will kill millions around the world. The thought terrifies me. My only point is that this is because of the virus and not because of the lockdown: this damage would happen anyway. Our economy, supply chains and civilisation itself is a house of cards, sooner or later a not-so-black swan (pandemics are bound to happen sooner or later) was going to bring it tumbling down. Less strict lockdowns wouldn't change the economic carnage as consumer spending would dry up if we were digging mass burial pits as other countries have been doing. It doesn't matter if the CFR is only 0.2 % or whatever it's enough to bring the machine to a halt however you respond to it. This could have been stopped in Wuhan for the cost of a few million dollars.

A partial lockdown of the most vulnerable is probably what we will try and do but it will be very hard as the vulnerable will have to interact with the non-vulnerable. Also, if you were 75 and had to stay indoors, would you do that if your 74 year old friend could go caving?

Rather than debating lockdown etc our politicians and business leaders should have been aware that pandemics do happen and should have designed the system to be more robust.
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Online PeteHall

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #55 on: May 09, 2020, 01:19:57 pm »
I believe there should have been a pause button pressed far earlier. Food Rationed, and a ban on all financial transactions with the stock market closing.

For any "pause" to be effective it needs public support. If the road outside my house (in the south west) or my brother's house (in London) is anything to go by, public support for the lockdown is already dwindling.

Had these, or more draconian measures as you suggest above, been introduced too early, I can't imagine the same level of public support as there has been so far and I can't imagine it would have lasted so long either. Ultimately this could have lead to more deaths, not fewer, but this is pure speculation.

Regarding deaths from the inevitable recession, it's very hard to speculate what measures could be put in place now to reduce that. The furlough scheme is clearly helping out some people who can't work, but how long can it be kept up for? What next? The economy, as it has been built, relies on consumer confidence and spending. If people are out of work, or worried about work, they don't spend, therefore they don't create jobs and the cycle continues.  I can't see this being over any time soon :down:
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Online mikem

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #56 on: May 09, 2020, 01:33:25 pm »
Unfortunately the politicians are perfectly aware of the danger of pandemics (despite their denials), but our 4/5 year turn over of government doesn't encourage them to do anything about it, as chances of being "on their watch" were thought to be minimal.

Offline Speleotron

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #57 on: May 09, 2020, 01:35:50 pm »
Unfortunately the politicians are perfectly aware of the danger of pandemics (despite their denials), but our 4/5 year turn over of government doesn't encourage them to do anything about it, as chances of being "on their watch" were thought to be minimal.

That seems to be true for most of the western world where the past 75 years of nothing really bad happening to most of us has resulted in some serious normalcy bias!
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Online JoshW

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #58 on: May 09, 2020, 01:47:45 pm »
I believe there should have been a pause button pressed far earlier. Food Rationed, and a ban on all financial transactions with the stock market closing.

For any "pause" to be effective it needs public support. If the road outside my house (in the south west) or my brother's house (in London) is anything to go by, public support for the lockdown is already dwindling.

Had these, or more draconian measures as you suggest above, been introduced too early, I can't imagine the same level of public support as there has been so far and I can't imagine it would have lasted so long either. Ultimately this could have lead to more deaths, not fewer, but this is pure speculation.

Regarding deaths from the inevitable recession, it's very hard to speculate what measures could be put in place now to reduce that. The furlough scheme is clearly helping out some people who can't work, but how long can it be kept up for? What next? The economy, as it has been built, relies on consumer confidence and spending. If people are out of work, or worried about work, they don't spend, therefore they don't create jobs and the cycle continues.  I can't see this being over any time soon :down:

There is of course other things the government could have put in place that aren’t ‘draconian measures’. Things like a mandatory self isolation for those travelling into the UK from abroad. Things like testing those who would be working with the vulnerable. I wouldn’t consider either of these draconian

Offline Speleotron

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #59 on: May 09, 2020, 01:52:01 pm »
You're being unfair Josh, we did all we could: when travellers landed from infected areas we gave them a leaflet!  :down:
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Online Fjell

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #60 on: May 09, 2020, 02:05:49 pm »
I believe there should have been a pause button pressed far earlier. Food Rationed, and a ban on all financial transactions with the stock market closing.

For any "pause" to be effective it needs public support. If the road outside my house (in the south west) or my brother's house (in London) is anything to go by, public support for the lockdown is already dwindling.

Had these, or more draconian measures as you suggest above, been introduced too early, I can't imagine the same level of public support as there has been so far and I can't imagine it would have lasted so long either. Ultimately this could have lead to more deaths, not fewer, but this is pure speculation.

Regarding deaths from the inevitable recession, it's very hard to speculate what measures could be put in place now to reduce that. The furlough scheme is clearly helping out some people who can't work, but how long can it be kept up for? What next? The economy, as it has been built, relies on consumer confidence and spending. If people are out of work, or worried about work, they don't spend, therefore they don't create jobs and the cycle continues.  I can't see this being over any time soon :down:

There is of course other things the government could have put in place that aren’t ‘draconian measures’. Things like a mandatory self isolation for those travelling into the UK from abroad. Things like testing those who would be working with the vulnerable. I wouldn’t consider either of these draconian

The problem is the logic would suggest you would be better isolating any randomly selected person to isolate for 2 weeks rather than someone from abroad.

Online JoshW

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #61 on: May 09, 2020, 02:07:46 pm »
You're being unfair Josh, we did all we could: when travellers landed from infected areas we gave them a leaflet!  :down:

I landed from abroad 2 days before official ‘lockdown’ and you wouldn’t have even known there was something going on, except for the fact it was a little quieter!

Online JoshW

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #62 on: May 09, 2020, 02:10:54 pm »
I believe there should have been a pause button pressed far earlier. Food Rationed, and a ban on all financial transactions with the stock market closing.

For any "pause" to be effective it needs public support. If the road outside my house (in the south west) or my brother's house (in London) is anything to go by, public support for the lockdown is already dwindling.

Had these, or more draconian measures as you suggest above, been introduced too early, I can't imagine the same level of public support as there has been so far and I can't imagine it would have lasted so long either. Ultimately this could have lead to more deaths, not fewer, but this is pure speculation.

Regarding deaths from the inevitable recession, it's very hard to speculate what measures could be put in place now to reduce that. The furlough scheme is clearly helping out some people who can't work, but how long can it be kept up for? What next? The economy, as it has been built, relies on consumer confidence and spending. If people are out of work, or worried about work, they don't spend, therefore they don't create jobs and the cycle continues.  I can't see this being over any time soon :down:

There is of course other things the government could have put in place that aren’t ‘draconian measures’. Things like a mandatory self isolation for those travelling into the UK from abroad. Things like testing those who would be working with the vulnerable. I wouldn’t consider either of these draconian

The problem is the logic would suggest you would be better isolating any randomly selected person to isolate for 2 weeks rather than someone from abroad.

What logic is that? The whole point of lockdown is containment and restricting the further spread.

Ideally the UK (and all other countries) would have grounded all flights, and stopped internal travel to prevent the spread

Online PeteHall

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #63 on: May 09, 2020, 02:12:12 pm »
There is of course other things the government could have put in place that aren’t ‘draconian measures’. Things like a mandatory self isolation for those travelling into the UK from abroad. Things like testing those who would be working with the vulnerable. I wouldn’t consider either of these draconian

"Self isolation" by it's very definition would appear to suggest that people isolate themselves, rather than being put into a quarantine facility. Making it "mandatory" would only be as effective as either public buy-in or monitoring and enforcement. I'm not sure we have the available kit to radio-tag everyone entering the country, therefore, you would again be relying on public buy-in...

Initially, tests weren't available as it is a new disease, so the vulnerable should have received no care until tests were available?

Not saying the government got it right, but I don't think there was (or is) such a simple answer.
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Online PeteHall

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #64 on: May 09, 2020, 02:13:48 pm »

The problem is the logic would suggest you would be better isolating any randomly selected person to isolate for 2 weeks rather than someone from abroad.

What logic is that? The whole point of lockdown is containment and restricting the further spread.

Ideally the UK (and all other countries) would have grounded all flights, and stopped internal travel to prevent the spread

The logic that anyone in this country is just as likely to have it as someone landing from overseas perhaps?
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Offline alastairgott

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #65 on: May 09, 2020, 02:18:45 pm »
Ah fjell, partial lockdown of the economy, like it!

1/3 of workforce allowed to work and the other 2/3 isolating. Work 2weeks in every 6. It is crazy though, the official line is still work from home unless you can’t. Ergo, my internet is rubbish at home for having several screens open at the same time. So I’ve been in the office since the 1st of April.

Online JoshW

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #66 on: May 09, 2020, 02:21:07 pm »

The problem is the logic would suggest you would be better isolating any randomly selected person to isolate for 2 weeks rather than someone from abroad.

What logic is that? The whole point of lockdown is containment and restricting the further spread.

Ideally the UK (and all other countries) would have grounded all flights, and stopped internal travel to prevent the spread

The logic that anyone in this country is just as likely to have it as someone landing from overseas perhaps?

That depends on how early you decide to implement it surely?

If somebody flew into Vietnam and tested positive, they would trace everybody who was on their flight, and people who had been in contact with them and quarantine them. Now whilst I don’t entirely believe the figures that have come out from Vietnam, undeniably their hands on approach has restricted the spread of the virus

Online pwhole

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #67 on: May 09, 2020, 03:06:04 pm »
I was working in London for most of the week from 29th Feb to 22nd March, the day before the lockdown, on a listed office building in the City near Moorgate station, and staying in Air BnBs around Whitechapel as it's close. The first week was relatively 'normal' in terms of pedestrians and traffic - after that it dropped rapidly. On 9th March I met my oldest friend for a drink on The Strand - it was literally deserted. The bar was empty, we sat well apart and didn't hug or anything like that, even though we hadn't seen each other for five years. We went to another bar near the river which was also mostly empty and then walked across Charing Cross footbridge, also empty. I've never seen London remotely close to being empty in the past - it really was like a movie, as only a film company could afford to close off streets like that.

After that, we pretty much observed social distancing wherever we could - in the building we worked in, on the streets, and in the remaining flats we had over rest of the month - none of which we could obviously know had been 'deep cleaned'. Brick Lane food market disappeared and many of the shops and stall on Whitechapel Road closed voluntarily. The building gradually emptied of tenants leaving only us on the roof in a totally silent city. Eventually the company pulled us out and brought us home the day before lockdown.

My point here is that in some areas, lockdown began quite early as a self-determined action, long before the government plucked up courage to ask people to do it. I think it was obvious to many (it certainly was to me) that they didn't have a clue what they were doing on this problem, as is the case with all their other problems. And that was in what you'd call 'busy' areas of London, and both rich and poor, and with very varied cultures - in particularly close proximity in this part of town.

Whether the office rental company who own the building stay in business long enough to re-open is a moot point at the moment - also the Air BnBs and cheap hotels workers like me would rely on to work away from home. But if we all go back to work and catch it either from a toilet door handle on the job, or from a kitchen surface in the flat we stay in, we'll all be off work for weeks at best, and they'll all have to shut again. It could be argued that staying shut at the moment is the least worst of those options, despite the lack of income for all. Endless fresh outbreaks will surely be worse for the economy than one slow managed outbreak? And knowing how many people have actually died from what specific illness (whether Covid-19 or their 'other' pre-existing illnesses) will be much easier with one long dataset that spans a year or so.

I'm not a medical expert, but neither is Bojo the Clown, and my feeling is that I might be smarter than him, despite his posh waffle and the easy-riding lickspittle culture he's been able to grease his way along so far.

Online royfellows

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #68 on: May 09, 2020, 05:11:05 pm »
Ergo, my internet is rubbish at home for having several screens open at the same time. So I’ve been in the office since the 1st of April.

Off topic but mines a greased ferret whatever is open, hardwired you see. Sorry if yours is as well and I am second guessing you.
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Offline kay

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #69 on: May 09, 2020, 05:31:14 pm »


A partial lockdown of the most vulnerable is probably what we will try and do but it will be very hard as the vulnerable will have to interact with the non-vulnerable. Also, if you were 75 and had to stay indoors, would you do that if your 74 year old friend could go caving?


The temptation is to think of the "extremely vulnerable" as elderly. But they're not. Many of them are young, many are people who in normal times are supporting the non-vulnerable. You can identify places where nearly everyone will be "vulnerable" or "extremely Vulnerable" - care homes for example. But to try to lock down all the "vulnerable" on age rounds will not work, and a prolonged isolation of the "extremely vulnerable - ie those of all ages who have received an NHS letter - will be challenging - house arrest (no being allowed out to shop or for exercise) for people who may well be perfectly fit in their day-to-day life. It's  not just "do not leave your home", it's not having anyone able to come to your home, not having access to any services. manageable for a few weeks, really difficult for 18 months or two years

The question is not just "Also, if you were 75 and had to stay indoors, would you do that if your 74 year old friend could go caving? " but also "If you were 45 and had to stay indoors, would you do that if your 45 year old friend could go caving"

Online mikem

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #70 on: May 09, 2020, 06:22:06 pm »
The problem is that your whole life should be a risk management job, but it's becoming more & more risk avoidance. Not that I think the current virus isn't worth avoiding, but it may not prove to be possible - depends what happens in the coming months.

Offline Jenny P

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #71 on: May 09, 2020, 07:38:11 pm »
Re: Kay's comment:
"But to try to lock down all the "vulnerable" on age grounds will not work, and a prolonged isolation of the "extremely vulnerable - ie those of all ages who have received an NHS letter - will be challenging - house arrest (no being allowed out to shop or for exercise) for people who may well be perfectly fit in their day-to-day life."

For what it's worth, I received an NHS letter.  It was addressed to my late husband, who died in September 2017, telling him that he had been identified as vulnerable.  I was very angry and upset and returned it to the sender as URGENT, with a note scrawled across it that it was addressed to a person who had been dead for two and a half years. 

But what sort of confidence does it give me that "they" have the slightest clue?

Online mikem

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Re: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
« Reply #72 on: May 09, 2020, 08:05:23 pm »
I'm afraid they are making it up as they go along, just like the rest of us. They have a choice of sending letters out, or waiting to check data is up to date, as it's still not fully centralised.

 

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