Author Topic: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?  (Read 2099 times)

Offline Fjell

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2020, 09:58:28 pm »
Russia isn't in Europe in my book. It's not in most peoples definition of Eastern Europe for sure. Possibly I'm biased having worked east of the Urals, and that is very long way away I can tell you.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #26 on: July 01, 2020, 10:04:20 pm »
It's a fact that has to be faced and soon, but international travel, in the way that the west (and east) has been accustomed to, is going to have to slow down if we want to avoid future repercussions, as it's clearly the primary case of transmission on a macro scale, and has pretty much enabled the entire planet to become infected in a month. That's serious. Obviously there are many factors driving this travel apart from cheap flights, which allow lots of people from very average incomes to travel abroad at least once a year and often many, many times a year. The number of Euro-based stag or hen weekends, for example shows it's as easy to go to Prague to get shitfaced as it is to go to Leeds - and it won't take you that much longer to get home either and cheaper than a black cab.

I haven't travelled abroad much recently thanks to caving, but it was a joy to be able to go to California 'regularly' 25 years ago at an easily-affordable price, even for a peasant like me. I'd really like to go to Europe for a trip soon, but with 14 days quarantine it's hardly practical if the trip is only 7 days. Those endless EU-country business trips for one short meeting where you 'may as well' stay over for a night and have some fun in a city that won't remember you. Like a bat out of hell...

But also the wealthier, older group - pensioners, who have all the time in the world, and plenty of money, to travel around the globe on planes quickly, but also for weeks or months at a time on cruise ships. These can export and import viruses in slow-motion, as we've seen, where gradually the whole ship gets infected and no-one can get off, hundreds of miles from dry land, with ports where the locals definitely don't want them now. It was ironic that a vessel designed to be so comfortable that the passengers never want to leave it then became some dystopian prison that the passengers couldn't leave, even if they wanted to. It's all going to have to be re-thought - until we have a vaccine or everyone who's going to die from it has died, leaving the immune to have a big party - after the funerals of course, not before.

My dad's old company pension scheme is groaning under the strain of all their ex-employees not dying yet. He earns more than I do a month and he's 83. Many are on endless holidays at sea, but I doubt they spend much money on their brief trips on land. What does an 83 year-old cruiser need to take home as a souvenir? Only themselves now.

In the UK, as in the other countries badly affected, we have shocking states of unfitness in the adult population, with obesity being the most obvious. What's less obvious about obesity in particular, is that lungs don't grow larger as the rest of the body grows larger. So for a guy who should weigh 11 stones but now weighs 15 stones, his lungs are now severely undersized, as all the extra body mass still has to be fed oxygen - from an also-too-small heart, and in blood vessels that will be struggling to cope with the pressure needed to get all the blood around this extra volume and back to his struggling heart. That's before you factor in the poor muscle development from no exercise, ever, and the ever-increasing alcohol consumption, which doesn't help anything really.

The really sad aspect to all this is that many people have died who had underlying illnesses, but that weren't remotely life-threatening to them, thanks to advances in treatments and better care, support and awareness of disability, infirmity or just old age. But add Covid-19 and they just folded, including one of my friends now. Knowing that the lockdown was deliberately delayed (and is now being deliberately prematurely relaxed) to afford political capital to these revolting people is making my blood boil on a daily basis, but that's for the judges to decide eventually. I hope it's a long one.

So that's my answer to the question. Though I may think of more later ;)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 10:12:54 pm by pwhole »

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2020, 10:16:11 pm »
Yes. The EU has being monitoring it itself.

And did the EU independently gather that information, or did it rely on the Governments concerned to report it?
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Offline Fjell

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2020, 10:19:31 pm »
I think it is not true that lockdown was delayed for any sort of purely political reason. I remember it being delayed for 3-4 days just to get it through parliament. But it was already happening anyway. It's pretty tough to make 10 million people unemployed based on almost no data, but they did. I also think Johnson, for all his other manifest faults, is basically a liberal and does not want to lock people up. I didn't vote for him, but i do think that what happened in March was pretty much a perfect storm. There was no slow increase from a single point. Hundreds, probably thousands arrived infected already. If they weren't infected when they left places like Spain, they were by the time the plane landed.

Offline Fjell

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2020, 10:24:59 pm »
Yes. The EU has being monitoring it itself.

And did the EU independently gather that information, or did it rely on the Governments concerned to report it?
I really don't think countries like Austria are lying, and they have 700 deaths reported. There is a massive gradient from west to east in deaths within the EU. it's just how it is, and will no doubt spawn a thousand thesis's.

Offline RobinGriffiths

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2020, 10:47:14 pm »
I remember opening the 10 or so doors between the car park and my place of work with my foot, knee, elbow, or by cunningly using the 'soft close' mechanism at the top of the door (which could amputate a finger if due care was not applied) since January.  It was obvious this was coming. And yet, it was 2 months later that lockdown came. We're now three months in. Surely that initial 2 months could have been put to better use.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #31 on: July 02, 2020, 01:10:19 am »
I was working in London from the 22nd Feb to the day before lockdown, coming back to Sheffield for two days a week, and from the second week we were there, the difference was palpable - the flood of people out of Liverpool station onto Bishopsgate every morning just dried up in a few days - and a guy working in an office in the building we're working on near Moorgate got Covid-19 and left in a hurry, and then the building emptied rather quickly. There was no-one left by about the 12th. I met an old friend for a drink on The Strand on the 9th March and the place was deserted - Piccadilly Circus the same. We walked across the river on the Charing Cross footbridge and were the only people on it, there and back. It was kind of romantic with the skyline and all, but only in the sense of some light relief midway through a zombie movie.

The Whitechapel area, where we were staying, gradually got quieter and all the shops and food stalls on Brick Lane started closing down. We spent the last two weeks pretty much working on our own on the roof of an empty building in an empty city with no people anywhere. So it was clearly being imposed by the public on themselves, rather than imposed by government. Every time I would come back to Sheffield it seemed as though coronavirus didn't exist on my street apart from most of the shops being shut. By the time 'official lockdown' came we'd already packed up and left town - being in London meant we were operating ahead of the curve and so the office knew what was going on and we'd planned our escape the week before.

Having just spent the last week in London on the same restarted job - it's exactly the same. Almost deserted. Still no tenants in the building and not many people about. I took the Tube yesterday from Farringdon to Baker Street (via Kings Cross/St. Pancras, hardly an insignificant stop) at 5pm and was the only person in my carriage - the same coming back. Walked down the South Bank on Monday evening at 9pm and apart from a few skateboarders and snogging couples, it was just me and the river.

Obviously a lot of this is just caused by no tourists, as most Londoners have no need to hang out in these places, and just do it in their local area instead. It shows just how many tourists are normally  in London if it's this empty without them. But I get the feeling that most people, certainly all my friends that I've contacted, are still observing 'proper' lockdown, and haven't used public transport, are working from home (they're not rich executives, just have laptops), not travelling far etc. Everyone's doing 2m queues where they have to that I've seen. As a result it's now got one of the lowest infection rates in the country. I'm back in Sheffield now and it looks like coronavirus doesn't exist again on my street.

We go back on Saturday just in time for the pubs to re-open - I don't really drink booze so it's not something I should really comment on, but suffice to say I won't be going near one, and neither will any of my friends, as I made sure to ask them all.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 01:20:00 am by pwhole »

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2020, 01:30:37 am »
Yes. The EU has being monitoring it itself.

And did the EU independently gather that information, or did it rely on the Governments concerned to report it?
I really don't think countries like Austria are lying, and they have 700 deaths reported. There is a massive gradient from west to east in deaths within the EU. it's just how it is, and will no doubt spawn a thousand thesis's.

Is that a 'yes' or a 'no' to my question?
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Offline Fjell

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2020, 07:16:43 am »
Yes. The EU has being monitoring it itself.

And did the EU independently gather that information, or did it rely on the Governments concerned to report it?
I really don't think countries like Austria are lying, and they have 700 deaths reported. There is a massive gradient from west to east in deaths within the EU. it's just how it is, and will no doubt spawn a thousand thesis's.

Is that a 'yes' or a 'no' to my question?

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/cases-2019-ncov-eueea

Ring them up and ask them.

Offline Duck ditch

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #34 on: July 02, 2020, 07:23:11 am »
I think, we as a species hadn’t the patience or will power that was needed.  Success on a country level came with how strictly they enforced the lockdown.
We in the UK may well have gone into lockdown a week or two too slow.  A proper shut down would still have done it.  The vast majority of us did.  Not all of us. We also had tens of thousands coming into the country, getting on public transport, going to the supermarket before locking down.
What was and is needed is global cooperation. It’s the same with the environmental crisis.
Of course it doesn’t help that all the big (population) countries of the world are currently run by selfish xenophobic governments.  Most of which were voted for. 
Great timing by the virus.
Will we as a species learn anything and work together on such big issues?
I would like to ditch the flag waving for a start. 

Online Fulk

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2020, 08:33:15 am »
Morning pwhole, when you said:
Quote
But also the wealthier, older group - pensioners, who have all the time in the world, and plenty of money, to travel around the globe on planes quickly,

Did you mean
Quote
But also the wealthier, older group - all pensioners, who have all the time in the world, and plenty of money, to travel around the globe on planes quickly,

or

Quote
But also the wealthier, older group - some pensioners who have all the time in the world, and plenty of money, to travel around the globe on planes quickly,
?

Online JoshW

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #36 on: July 02, 2020, 09:22:43 am »
I think it is not true that lockdown was delayed for any sort of purely political reason. I remember it being delayed for 3-4 days just to get it through parliament. But it was already happening anyway. It's pretty tough to make 10 million people unemployed based on almost no data, but they did. I also think Johnson, for all his other manifest faults, is basically a liberal and does not want to lock people up. I didn't vote for him, but i do think that what happened in March was pretty much a perfect storm. There was no slow increase from a single point. Hundreds, probably thousands arrived infected already. If they weren't infected when they left places like Spain, they were by the time the plane landed.

I was in Vietnam prior to lockdown, could see lockdown occurring in other places and deaths escalating in the UK, had time to book flights, get back and still have a few days back in the country before lockdown kicked in. So I don't buy the it was only a few days whilst they got it through gov.

The UK Gov had all the same information available to the rest of us to see how quickly the virus was escalating in other countries, and had the opportunity to lock down at least a couple of weeks earlier.

You come back to a lack of preparedness for something like this happening, and before someone says it unprecedented is not the same as unpredictable. Things like this had been predicted. The government even had their own pandemic workforce that they disbanded..

Offline Speleotron

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #37 on: July 02, 2020, 09:46:29 am »
The herd immunity plan was actually put in place long before Boris or the Tories got into power, it was our standard pandemic plan which was formulated under Blair I think. The problem was it assumed it would be a flu pandemic and didn't account for the fact that Covid seems to hospitalise people more than flu.
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Offline Fjell

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #38 on: July 02, 2020, 09:59:57 am »
I think what will come out is that the UK was over-prepared for a pandemic, with a spiffing plan ready to roll. And indeed it was put in motion. For what turned out to be the wrong disease. There was an audible grinding of gears in early March as paradigms were shifted.
In my experience it is extremely hard to get the Civil Service to change it’s mind quickly. A few weeks is how long it takes to order the tea and biscuits for a meeting to discuss a meeting. Took me two years to insert a new shipping lane in the North Sea even after they agreed it was a good idea for all concerned. Tea and biscuits were a notable feature of my life for a while.

Online JoshW

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2020, 10:11:22 am »
In my experience it is extremely hard to get the Civil Service to change it’s mind quickly. A few weeks is how long it takes to order the tea and biscuits for a meeting to discuss a meeting. Took me two years to insert a new shipping lane in the North Sea even after they agreed it was a good idea for all concerned. Tea and biscuits were a notable feature of my life for a while.

Which I totally get, people don't like change so are obstructive to it (sound familiar anyone), but, and this is no disrespect to you Fjell, you're not the prime minister, and I'd hope if things needed to change for the safety of the public, they would.

Offline Fjell

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #40 on: July 02, 2020, 10:27:08 am »
Have you ever watched “Yes Minister”? My Dad, who was a technical guy at Director level in the Civil Service, used to roll around laughing. It’s all true. Ministers are lambs to the slaughter, and that includes PM’s if they are not highly experienced. Theresa May would have locked everyone up and machine gunned violators in the street. It would have ended badly still I suspect.

The whole thing about Cummings is he wants to rip it all up. People have no idea how radical he is. Him and his acolytes there were all once so Marxist they thought the Communist Party of Great Britain were a bunch of sell outs. It’s why he was never going anywhere, house moves or not. The new Thomas Cromwell in his mind. Second Reformation etc.

Offline ChrisJC

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #41 on: July 02, 2020, 11:21:13 am »
I would just like to observe that it's far too early in this pandemic to have any meaningful assessment of 'success'.
Until either we have a vaccine or the virus has been through the entire population, then all this talk of lockdown timing just changes when people die. It does not change who dies.

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #42 on: July 02, 2020, 11:31:58 am »
I would just like to observe that it's far too early in this pandemic to have any meaningful assessment of 'success'.
Until either we have a vaccine or the virus has been through the entire population, then all this talk of lockdown timing just changes when people die. It does not change who dies.

Chris.

Theoretically (and I'm not a biologist by any stretch) if you could prevent the spread of it, then those that get it either die or get the anti-bodies to kill it, then the virus would die out? By the time a decent proportion of the population has it, it's much harder to prevent the spread and the test track and trace type systems become defunct.

Early action is key, and I'm not saying that early action by the UK gov would definitely have done this by any stretch, there are other factors, such as time of reporting of the existence of it, which is entirely out of the UK Gov's control.

Offline Speleotron

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2020, 11:38:00 am »
I would just like to observe that it's far too early in this pandemic to have any meaningful assessment of 'success'.
Until either we have a vaccine or the virus has been through the entire population, then all this talk of lockdown timing just changes when people die. It does not change who dies.

Chris.

It does change who dies though, the case fatality rate of the virus depends strongly on how full your hospitals are. If you can keep infections at a steady drip then you can give each serious patient a hospital bed and keep death rates well down, like in Korea. If, like Lombardy, serious patients come in a huge wave and you are reduced to putting them on camp-beds in warehouses, then you have a much higher case fatality rate.

P.S. case fatality rare and R0 are not intrinsic properties of the virus, they also depend on the situation the virus and the population find themselves in, which is the point of all these measures taken around the world. If R0 was 2.5 and CFR was 1% and you couldn't change that then you might as well go to the pub and no need to wear an annoying paper mask.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 11:50:23 am by Speleotron »
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Offline aardgoose

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2020, 11:48:42 am »
... and treatment is improving as we gain greater knowledge of the disease, again changing who dies.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2020, 12:44:32 pm »

Quote
But also the wealthier, older group - some pensioners who have all the time in the world, and plenty of money, to travel around the globe on planes quickly,
?


I agree, 'some' is probably better, though I wasn't implying 'all' in my statement, just late and tired and trying to get it all in before I fell asleep. Though it's not just pensioners who do cruises either, obviously. Rob Brydon's always on one.

An interesting exercise is to watch the adverts on Sky News in the mornings, as they're nearly all aimed at pensioners with savings - it's so obvious and so one-sided that it's frankly bizarre. Several different companies selling gold, Carol Vorderman, Alan Titchmarsh and others selling equity release, funeral plans, incontinence remedies etc. etc. The cruise ads aren't on now, but there's plenty starting up in the papers, alongside ads for elevators to the bathroom instead of stairlifts. It's an awkward situation, as folks worked all their lives and were encouraged to save for the future - but now the future's here, for many the savings are getting spent abroad as their mortgages were paid off decades ago. If the companies they spend their money with are UK-based then fine, but I doubt they are.

I know not all pensioners are well-off, but there is an imbalance here between existing pension settlements and future ones, and in many countries between the relative ages of the populations and the spread of earnable income - and if world travel is going to increase for this older age group, I can only see more trouble ahead for all age groups. There aren't enough young people here, frankly, and not enough of them are having babies, so our average age is getting older and older and older.

I'm not crowing as I'm getting older and don't have much in the way of savings so I definitely won't be going a cruise anytime soon.

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Online Fulk

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2020, 12:50:07 pm »
Thanks for replying, pwhole, and clarifying what you said.

(Now for the pedant's bit: if one said, for example, ' . . .cavers, who like a drink after a trip . .. ' it does, indeed, imply all cavers; if you said ' . . .cavers whos like a drink after a trip . . . ' it implies ony those cavers who like a drink after a trip.)

Offline ChrisJC

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2020, 01:13:07 pm »
It does change who dies though, the case fatality rate of the virus depends strongly on how full your hospitals are. If you can keep infections at a steady drip then you can give each serious patient a hospital bed and keep death rates well down, like in Korea. If, like Lombardy, serious patients come in a huge wave and you are reduced to putting them on camp-beds in warehouses, then you have a much higher case fatality rate.

I am working on the basis that in the UK at least, everybody has had access to the best care available. There were sufficient ICU spaces available for everybody who needed them.

 I will concede that delaying people catching it is that treatment prospects may improve. But I have not read any evidence suggesting that is the case...


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Offline Speleotron

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #48 on: July 02, 2020, 02:23:04 pm »
We only had ICU capacity because we did a lockdown and flattened the curve (and sent older patients into care homes as a sacrifice, not commenting on whether that was right or wrong).

In other countries like Italy, and in cities such as Wuhan, the curve wasn't flattened enough so the CFR spiked.

You can't just say that the preventative measures don't change who dies on the assumption that everyone will get treatment if they need it, when this assumption is only valid if you take measures to ensure that the curve is flattened, thus allowing people to get treatment if they need it. It's kind of circular.
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Offline mikem

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Re: Why Did the UK Have Such a Bad Covid-19 Epidemic?
« Reply #49 on: July 02, 2020, 02:24:34 pm »

 

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