Boris Johnson fails the marshmallow test
Time and again, this government fails to take action when needed
There was a bit in the Prime Minister’s address announcing Lockdown 3: Lock Downer which made me do a double-take.
You may wonder why we didn’t announce schools closing earlier, he said, instead of waiting until the day after hundreds of thousands of children had already gone back. And the reason was that “we did everything in our power to keep schools open”, because they know how important school is for parents and so on.
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It made me think of the marshmallow test.
The marshmallow test is a staple of psychology. A child is offered a marshmallow. They can eat it right away, with no penalty. But, says the researcher, if you can wait 15 minutes without eating it, you can have two. It’s supposed to be a test of a child’s ability to defer reward, and is apparently predictive of various life outcomes or whatever.
A couple of months ago, Mike Bird, a WSJ journalist, compared Covid-19 policy responses to an inverted marshmallow test. Instead of a lovely marshmallow, there’s a shit sandwich. Every day you don’t eat it, it doubles in size.
This government refuses to eat the sandwich until it is unavoidable. They like saying that they’ve saved Christmas, but it was obvious weeks beforehand that it was a terrible idea and that it was going to have to change. They couldn’t bring themselves to say that schools might have to stay closed after Christmas, because that’s not a nice thing to have to say. So they pretended that they would definitely reopen — before the holidays they threatened to sue local authorities that were going to close early — right up to the point the primary-school children were literally home from their first day.
They have done this over and over again. They did it before the November lockdown – the “circuit breaker” SAGE and everyone was demanding. They were late with the original lockdown. They have been unwilling to take the decisions early, because they don’t want to be unpopular; so they end up being forced into it, late, leaving schools and parents no time to prepare.
These are difficult decisions. It’s not obvious that the benefits of schools closing outweigh the costs, though I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that they do. But it certainly wasn’t obvious, a week ago, that it wouldn’t happen; it was bizarre that the government couldn’t bring themselves to admit it. They didn’t “do everything in their power” to keep schools open: they just didn’t want to eat the sandwich, so they let it grow and grow.
Now, Johnson says that they hope to have vaccinated the top four most at-risk categories by the middle of February. That is 13.4 million people, and about seven weeks to do it; about two million a week. So far they have vaccinated just over a million, at about 300,000 a week. It would be amazing if they’re up to two million by next week, and the required run rate will go up. But he doesn’t want to eat the sandwich and say it’ll take longer than February, so he leaves it on the plate and tells us that soon it will turn into a marshmallow.
The trouble is – as counterintuitive as you and many people find it – lockdowns don’t seem to work, and so the decision to impose them is not that straight forward. If you look at the data describing the virus trajectory and over lay the introduction or easing of restrictions, there is no visible causal relationship, as should be clear from the UK experience.
Lockdowns are frankly lazy science. Testing a protocol for controlling this thing and, when it doesn’t work, concluding you simply haven’t done enough. Why not revisit the null hypothesis?
Whether a fan of lockdown (or a believer in it) or not, the fact is there is ambiguity around its efficiency in stopping the virus, to say the least. The harm it causes is, however, irrefutable. Therefore, a basic risk assessment would favour not doing it. You don’t save someone from an on coming car by pushing them off a cliff without knowing how fast the car is going or whether or not there is enough room to pull them the other way.
It is not as easy as you suppose.
I have the opinion that the good and great scientists advising lockdown think they’re dealing with a hospital ward with 2 or 3 patients and haven’t yet figured that it doesn’t scale. Maybe an inverse Neil Ferguson ?
There was a time for lockdown and it was Late-February 2020. The fact we then had our first one AFTER the peak in March, when the damage had already been done, was a tragedy. Everything else since then, including this latest lockdown, is a farce.
I agree with the analogy of the shit sandwich but if your not a member of the comfortable middle classes, riding out the pandemic WFH on a guaranteed income, then the same is true of the long term economic damage that lock downs cause.
For the groups least effected financially, lockdowns are the preferable option. The long term effects, the really big shit sandwich, is the debt mountain that’s going to have to be paid off at the end of all of this.
And I get the feeling that those who have lost the least during lockdown, will be taking the smallest bite and leaving the rest for everyone else to finish once this is over.
Indeed. Fattening on furlough (FoF), I beleive it’s called.
Let’s think clearly about this. We know now that lockdowns only save lives in the context of the NHS being able to function, or not. The functionality of the NHS is the trigger for a lockdown, and so the Govt was right to keep schools open until that NHS trigger had been pulled. To put it another way, if the NHS was 4 times larger than it actually is, there would be no reason to have a lockdown at all. Lockdowns merely delay the epidemic, and maybe shift the incidence of infection. The only solution is a vaccine that works.
We have 7K military medical staff. We have 30K veterinary practitioners. We have more than enough ventilators. We have the o2 arena and similar around the country.
Our challenge here is to raise the bar, not flatten the curve. Get on with it.
if the NHS was 4 times larger than it actually is, there would be no reason to have a lockdown at all
this isn’t true
It’s so important to realise this; you could increase the NHS capacity (space + staff) by x10 tomorrow, and you would simply postpone the day at which too many people need medical attention at once, because transmission is happening at an exponential rate. The bit you’re missing is that reducing connectivity stifles transmission at an exponential rate as well. A party of 10 people isn’t twice as bad as a party of 5, it’s worse by an order of magnitude. The weak lockdowns we’ve had were to ‘flatten the curve’ – but it’s no good if superspreader events are still happening, ie public transport, concerts, sports matches, large events, schools and so on.
“Three weeks to flatten the curve…”
The way the narrative changes with you people is astonishing, you’ll be saying we were always at war with East Asia next.
Who said that?
You plonker it was Boris Johnson, it was every newspaper in March! Beyond help, you really are. Memory of a goldfish.
A vaccine that works.
I just got the information leaflet from nhs scotland about the vaccine.
In the same paragraph they say that they will only use a vaccine if it meets the required standards of safety and effectiveness and that the safety of the vaccines continues to be checqued while in use. ????
It also states We do not know wether having the vaccine stops you spreading the virus to others ?????
There is no need for a vaccine, it is endemic.
Great points, but I’m not sure this strategy is the result of weakness. Boris and his team don’t like to deliver bad messages. Continuing to say, “we don’t want to do this,” then swaying public opinion through the media and the numbers, means that by the time lockdown is imposed, they can claim, “it’s what the public wants us to do.”
There are none so wise as a politician or journalist with hindsight.
No! They just refused to take any reasonable risk, which is part of managing government. Lockdown has not worked. The opposite is the actual case. They over reacted and lockeddown, then sanely opened back up, then over reacted and locked down, and sanely opened a hair, then did it again and again.
I have great experience in the world, and a great knowledge of history, and believe the East and West are at a war footing much like Europe in 1929. I believe to let the Western economies fail at this time is an unforgivable mistake (as China’s economy booms off us and covid). To have taken our eye off the rest of the world wile China increases its power and influence around the globe like an ink drop on a wet towel is unforgivable. To allow them to buy up our vital assets at bargain prices is unforgivable. We are behaving just like the French did which led Germany to fully arm and then what we all know now.
And for what? Not really anything useful. The deaths were going to be no matter what. Covid kills 1000 Westerners per million, 4 (FOUR) Chinese per million. 250 times as many deaths! Chinese and the region’s peoples are basically immune, being from a place where these covids have always been endemic. Much like the Europeans decimating the New World Natives with diseases that were not bad to us.
Boris is worse than Quisling for surrendering before the first shot. He sold out UK, and the world. The USA Democrats are craven cowards just like him, but Trump was bold enough to keep USA working outside of the Far Left Metropolitan areas. I think him refusing to wear the mask is the most inspiring act of this whole shocking affair. I never mask, even though everyone else does, I will not as someone needs to show that we must resist hysteria and irrational fear as the world is too dangerous now to let our nations slip in strength. No one has yet tried to stop me for not wearing a mask other from the first time at Walmart when they set a person outside as guard. I gave in then and put on a mask, but never again.
What’s your definition of ‘worked’ here? The function of it has been to limit the severity of case spikes. It has costed billions and ruined livelihoods – which would definitely happen if no lockdowns were imposed. To think otherwise is delusional. An alternative is to rely on people to take cheaper alternatives such as mask wearing, but many people:
I think him refusing to wear the mask is the most inspiring act of this whole shocking affair.
can’t seem to grasp that masks are THE cheap alternative to lockdowns. Plenty of individuals, and countries which have had to deal with many pandemics before, somehow manage to grasp this.
The only alternative left is to simply let the hospitals collapse, and you don’t need a wild imagination to picture how that would end up.
Except we have been wearing masks for months.
And yet, here we are in another lockdown.
Have you considered what things would look like if they weren’t worn at all?
Yes, I have. Much better in fact.
This is the old falsifiability problem. “Lockdown DID work guys!!! Granted cases [not deaths, I note] are still climbing madly, but if we hadn’t done lockdown, it would have been even worse!”
Absurd. Masks do aboslutely nothing to stop the virus – see the Danish study which has been largely censored and removed from public view. Even the WHO said in their official guidance facemasks do nothing and are actually contraindicated for personal health if worn regularly.
Neither lockdown or masks accomplish anything. The tribal thinking around this has become positively clownish.
“Lockdown DOES work, see? The cases aren’t as high as they otherwise would have been!” How do you know? How could you know?
They’re useless. That’ll be why they wear them in hospitals, dentists’ surgeries, etc.
Doctors, dentists etc largely wear masks to protect themselves from bodily fluids of patients.
As with lockdowns, it’s painfully obvious that masks have had not helped.
Intuitively, they should work, but they simply don’t ““ if only people would do their own open minded research on this (and lockdowns) they may enlighten themselves a little!
Well, it stops then dribbling into an open wound. Won’t stop any virus particles though.
What is a “virus particle”?
See comment above re Orr et al.
It’s a habit to wear them but no study that anyone has been able to quote has shown a systematic benefit based on actual (as opposed to modelled) data. Seriously.
Until 2020, doctors typically did not wear them either. Except in operating theatres. And Covid is not the first infectious disease humanity has seen.
There are 0 studies showing that your house will be burgled. Do you lock your doors?
Dentists wear them because patients prefer it (and given my dentist, I definitely want him to).
Use in surgery is to stop splattering of fluids from the patient onto doctor’s faces and to stop hair and what-not from surgeons failing inside patients whose bodies are wide open. The operating theatre itself must effectively used filtered air under a positive pressure system.
Quoting the Bernician: If jeans will not stop a fart a mask will not stop a virus
Cherry-picking one study isn’t science, but chicanery. The overall effect of mask-wearing is well-known and it does reduce the transmission of infection from the wearer to others somewhat.
It depends on the primary method of transmission.
Multiple studies have failed to find a benefit.
The WHO changed it’s long standing previous guidance that did not include community mask wearing to include masks only in mid 2020. That was not based on any specific trigger from science.
Orr et al (1981) even showed no benefit from surgeons wearing masks with respect to incidence of post operative infections on patients. Which is what they were originally worn to prevent – not viruses.
One needs to think it through. How does cloth stop a virus. It goes somewhere when it leaves a human. We also need to exhale and disperse CO. Otherwise, we die. Hard to see how masks help much. But, we like rituals as a species and we like to demonstrate we “care” so it is easy to see why so many people think masks are great. It’s not “science” though.
Multiple studies have failed to find a benefit.
Even if this was true, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Masks are for preventing droplets, not air by the way.
But way more crucially what you’re ignoring is how cheap masks are as a measure. The downside of wearing one is that they’re annoying, the upside could be colossal.
If you’re an elderly person who needs to go and buy some groceries, are you going to wear a slightly irritating thing for an hour or are you going to fanny about reading competing studies about ‘evidence’? I suspect how little you can afford to catch COVID will answer the question for you.
I wear a magic talisman around my wrist to keep me safe from demons 🙂 🙂 🙂
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, right?
Your attempt to sound clever reveals the opposite.
Are you honestly comparing the possible usefulness of a piece of cloth in preventing droplets, and a talisman?
If you’re someone who has no choice but to work, in close contact with others, and cannot afford to catch the virus and pass it on to your relatives, why wouldn’t you take (plausible) cheap precautions in case they help? I suggest to you that most people would do so, rather than ranting into the ether as you’re doing.
There are 0 studies showing that your house will be burgled. But I’m guessing you lock your doors? Do you?
And multiple studies have shown that masking does help. In this situation every little helps (the sliced swiss cheese model).
The latest evidence comes from a population based study in Germany : “Face masks considerably reduce COVID-19 cases in Germany” – Mitze December 22 PNAS
Viruses are transported in droplets and aerosols and it is those that are caught by masks. Nice laser study here showing what happens when you talk with / without a mask : “Visualizing Speech-Generated Oral Fluid Droplets with Laser Light Scattering” Correspondence in the NEJM May 21
Not according to the manufacturer of my mask. It even says on the packaging that it does not offer this level of protection. It also says do not reuse or wash.
Not according to the WHO usage guidance (TAKEN DOWN from the web), a printout of such guidance is in my hand right now.
Not according to the government and BBC (MEMORY_HOLED)
Not according to the laws of physics, time and space.
If the mask doesn’t seal around your face – and cover your eyes, it won’t stop the virus. If you use the damn thing repeatedly and shove it in your pocket before going to the shops, it will not work. If you wash it, it loses fibres and protective ability too.
You sound like a superstitious old maid, “It is known.”
The danish study was unrigorous and severely flawed. It’s been deconstructed and dismantled here
But forget the scientists for a second, just use your own brain. What is the disadvantage of wearing a mask? It’s annoying. What are the advantages if they do work? Enormous.
And time and time again people ignore the compounding effect of two people wearing a mask. Even if the odds of the virus getting through the cloth are 0.25, the odds of it getting through two masks are 0.25^2 = 0.0625. That’s a >93% chance of preventing transmission. Just think for a second how that stacks up. And think for a second how cheap cloth is compared to lockdowns.
But it’s not really about the maths is it? The tantrums about masks are panicked reactions and an inability to accept the enormously delicate and contingent world that we live in.
The Danish mask study is freely available for anyone to read : “Effectiveness of adding a mask recommendation to other public health measures to prevent Sars Cov 2 infection in Danish mask wearers” Annals of Internal Medicine November 18
It is a pretty poorly designed and executed study which is probably why it was rejected for publication by the big 3 journals.
The concerns about the methodology of the study are many. Just three of them are :
1. It was underpowered. The prevalence was about 2% at the time this study was done (during lockdown so social distancing etc. also in operation). In this situation you wouldn’t expect much disease transmission. They were setting themselves up to show “no difference” from the get go.
2. Participants tested their antibody levels at home and at this level of population prevalence (2%) there would have been a big problem with false positives. These would have been randomly distributed between the two groups and therefore would have biased the results towards the null.
3. Only 46% in the intervention group were fully adherent to the mask wearing protocol
Viruses are carried inside droplets and aerosols that we expel from our noses and mouths all the time. Plenty of visualisation studies to show the effectiveness of masks in terms of reducing droplet and aerosol spread.
More important now than in the spring because of the increased transmissability of the latest variant.
Let’s try a little trolling of the Covid hysterics BTL here – because, let’s face it, you’ve got what you wanted anyway – dystopia in the name of ….. something (not sure what).
The truth is if this was about logic, science, precedent or morality the lockdown advocates would have lost, they know this which is why despite the monopoly they have on political and cultural power, they are defensive.
For example, see the widespread censorship of dissent on YouTube, now disgracefully having de-platformed TalkRadio.
Those who genuinely have the high ground (either intellectually or morally) do not need to censor under the guise of preventing misinformation.
Just something to consider.
Johnson is reluctant to turn on the sprinklers to stop a fire because he doesn’t want to ruin the furniture. There’s no good outcome to this, only bad and worse. A fire would start one day, and few people want to invest billions in precautionary measures to save trillions later. It’s a profound and bleak problem.
(BTW The marshmallow test may have tested a child’s appreciation of a deferred award, or it may have simply tested whether the child trusted adults. But I get your point.)
‘I always compare it’ if by ‘it’ you mean locking down, I would compare ‘it’ to chopping off your arm because your finger was broken.
Ah, the terrible analogy Peter Hitchens keeps making. If you want to run with that analogy, it’s more akin to chopping off an arm to halt the rapidly spreading gangrene.
Liar. The analogy is so faulty it just shows how far departed we are from reality as a country. Even if the figures are as bad as stated (they are not, the scandals surrounding this issue and it’s reporting are monstrous), it is still does not remotely jusitfy what we have done these last 9 months.
Throw away all the data then; just talk to actual hospital staff, from literally any of the countries on the planet who are dealing with this same problem, and let us know what to do Aaron. Keep in touch.
I have! Four precisely, among my immediate friends and family and they work at different facilities.They support my view entirely but won’t speak out because:
a) there is no avenue to do so (censored by Facebook, newspapers do NOT want to know)
b) their jobs would be at risk
c) they will be pilloried by true believers for ‘undermining the war effort’, or something.
I also had the privilege of going to hospital in May for the birth of my son – the hospital was largely empty. The ambulances were sitting there outside A&E, doing nothing. I also live near a new cemetery, the number of graves have not grown substantially at all. And to think in April 2020 I was expecting to see mass graves like in that film Contagion!
Keep in touch (with reality). Sometimes the media/politicians really do lie to you, astonishingly.
And yes, you’re right actually, you should suggest to your various contacts at the hospital that they should put the covid patients in the maternity ward. I think this might just save the day you know.
Sometimes the media/politicians really do lie to you, astonishingly.
Oh certainly, no doubt about that. Rumour has it that they sometimes even disagree with each other! The Politicians & The Media being internally divided, each individual and each news outlet having different stances regarding all sorts of issues. Think of that.
Would certainly hope that your local hospital was relatively Covid free by May. Did you get to see their critical care beds or just the general care beds and A&E ? Did you ask what their occupancy was in March ? Maybe you live in an area which wasn’t walloped in the Spring ?
Cemetries – so how many people in your area opt for cremation ?
I too, have four friends working in the NHS right now – one in Cardiff, one in Leeds and the other 2 in London, all approaching retirement age and they all say the same thing too – that they have never experienced anything as horrific in their entire professional lives (they are all hands on clinicians in medicine and surgery)
If you are making the case that Covid outcomes for the UK during autumn and winter are due to bad decisions, then you have to acknowledge that even worse decisions must have been made by the leaders of all of our neighbouring countries.
Yes. China is laughing at us. I don’t think they planned this, but by God it must be funny for them.
1) What is the evidence that lockdowns were known to work? 2) What is the evidence that they have worked?
The answer to both questions is: None.
Do you remember when hospitals in Italy were incapacitated in a matter of weeks, in March? Now try to imagine what would have happened if they hadn’t imposed lockdown measures.
In fairness this is Italy we’re talking about. It wouldn’t take much – memo to those who may travel to Italy in future, don’t ever rely on Italian hospitals if you can avoid it, I mean literally get on a plane with a broken leg if you can.
Alright forget Italy then! The point is not about Italy, the point is about any hospital in any country that becomes full of covid patients.
What, in the name of God, do you think, would happen if they hadn’t imposed restrictions?
We would have a slightly heavy flu season. Every year we have horror stories with hospitals “overwhelmed”, and in a real sense they are, but it ain’t COVID.
If you’re comparing covid to seasonal flu, you’re in deep denial. The fact that it is sows no symptoms for so long while it gets spread about means it spreads at a rate far quicker than seasonal flu – and that is what puts so much stress on hospitals.
Every year we have horror stories with hospitals “overwhelmed”,
Yes, but in those past years, were all surgeries and cancer treatments cancelled? And all units being changed into ICU units to deal with the flu?
In no way is hospitalised Covid anything like hospitalised influenza :
Veterans Health Administration, United States, 2020 October 23
Notably, compared with patients with influenza, patients with COVID-19 had two times the risk for pneumonia, 1.7 times the risk for respiratory failure, 19 times the risk for ARDS, and 3.5 times the risk for pneumothorax, underscoring the severity of COVID-19 respiratory illness relative to that of influenza.”
“The percentage of COVID-19 patients admitted to an ICU (36.5%) was more than twice that of influenza patients (17.6%); the percentage of COVID-19 patients who died while hospitalized (21.0%) was more than five times that of influenza patients (3.8%); and the duration of hospitalization was almost three times longer for COVID-19 patients (median 8.6 days; IQR = 3.9″“18.6 days) than that for influenza patients (3.0 days; 1.8″“6.5 days) (p<0.001 for all).”
The bottom line is that it rapaciously consumes the current ‘lean and mean’ NHS capacity once it is allowed to get out of hand.
We’ve already had significantly more than the equivalent of a “slightly heavy flu season” in terms of covid-related deaths… and that’s despite a number of restrictions, varying in severity, which we wouldn’t normally have when flu is circulating through the population. (Come March 2021, we will actually be able to see the effect that such restrictions have on the flu season so keep your eyes peeled for that, you might be surprised)
We’re all frustrated by the fact that many of our lives have effectively been put on pause for so long, but many of your arguments are not based on any substantial evidence: they’re based on hearsay and the odd study – this leaves you wide open to arrive at false conclusions under the pretense that they are based on reliable sources.
There were lockdowns in China, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand that worked.
In the highly prescient article in The Guardian by Max Hastings published on the 24th June 2019, he wrote about Boris Johnson:
“Yet his graver vice is cowardice, reflected in a willingness to tell any
audience, whatever he thinks most likely to please, heedless of the
inevitability of its contradiction an hour later.”
Absolutely matches what has been described in this article as the behaviour of the Prime Minister in dealing with the pandemic.
It’s not unavoidable. Johnson never had to lockdown at all.
This argument rests on the false assumption that lockdowns reduce covid deaths. They do not. The worldometer and numerous studies show clearly there is no evidence that lockdowns save lives. The only certainty about lockdowns is they kill people and destroy societies.
This article is irresponsible and dangerous. The author should be utterly ashamed of himself.
We’re merely delaying the inevitable. Kill the vulnerable now or save the economy and millions of people long term. What a choice…
Nobody is killing the vulnerable (except through incompetence – prioritising COVID treatment to the detriment of all else, sending the sick to care homes, etc.). People die. Especially the old (80+). Doesn’t mean they were ‘killed’.
It does if there was a reasonable nonlethal alternative that was known about but not chosen.
Armchair critic offers dubious advice, to add to the pile of possibilities that may be right or wrong.
The assumption of the lack of courage is appropriate, yet the direction of it is flawd. The true “shit sandwich” should have been eaten at the start (after a month or 2) by saying to to the population – and stick to it – that the virus isn’t going anywhere, lockdown or not.
The point about vaccination rates is well made. It’s driven the policy of moving to the 12 week gap between jabs, which is contrary to the advice and data coming out of Pfizer in particular.
If speeding vaccination is so important, why not avoid those who’ve had covid? The ‘efficacy’ of infection (using a comparable morbidity measure) is much better than any vaccine, and this group is growing more rapidly than current vaccination levels, although not as well focused on the vulnerable.
Looking at Imperial’s recent report on covid mortality, the critical group to vaccinate is those in care homes as they have an IFR of 30% (!) compared to ~10% for the 80+ group as a separate cohort. And yet there has been a lot of faffing getting to this group and they’re likely to get the less effective jab, which matters at the individual level. Although it’s less significant at the population level.
If the new variant boosts R0 to ~5, will a 70% effective vaccine against morbidity suffice to achieve herd immunity?
It is kind of sad that schools had to close because the general public can’t be trusted not to pass on Sars-Cov-2 to the vulnerable.
It is also kind of sad that after a year, much of society still doesn’t know the difference between Sars-Cov-2 (the virus) which is transmittable and Covid-19 (the disease) which isn’t.
You can’t catch Covid-19 from anybody.
Even the nhs scotland info leaflet calls covid-19 to the virus
Lockdowns don’t work
I love the “shit sandwich” test, by the way. Genius.
Sadly, the same avoidance of grasping the nettle early is on full and florid display in my province of Ontario.
Thank you so much for finally stating the blindingly obvious. Boris needs to find a qualified CoVid tsar who doesn’t need to be popular and loved every minute of every day, isn’t a politician and is willing and able to make hard decisions early, when required, preferably not some Conservative crony. How about someone with actual qualifications making decisions for a change.
The outrageousness, too, of continuing to entrust all our wellbeing to the repeatedly-failing PHE… who, according to the Telegraph, have announced that despite the state of emergency we face, they won’t work Sundays. What will they be doing on Sunday? Studying diversity manuals? Refreshing themselves with self-congratulatory BS from the Guardian about how it is all BJ’s fault, and how neoliberalism gave us the virus?
Call in the f**king army, and Amazon, and Tesco, and have someone competent run the logistics for this thing.
Let all the scum of government, civil service, quangos SAGE, PHE etc eat shit sandwiches every day for the disastrous response they have created to the virus.
D’you know, given the spread of the various forms of Covid, I do wonder what is the main form of transmission. I suspect it is cold food in supermarkets as well as person to person. Given that we transport things all the way across the country we have very little chance of supressing the virus now it is endemic. We can only hope to keep vulnerable people safer by doing their shopping for them, keeping out of supermarkets and washing everything rigorously when it comes into the house. It is a shocking travesty that open air markets have been closed again – these are soooo much safer than supermarkets.
The other place to keep away from, of course, is hospitals. This is where many people catch Covid-19.
The death rate is no higher than an average year, the average age of covid death is higher than by all other means. So of course he has a choice, the same choice he makes every other year. He is playing a political game where he pretends he is reluctant but this is obviously all about big pharma and big hedge funds and great resets so from that point of view he probably doesnt have a choice, tell that to all those needlessly dieing of cancer or all those small businesses that have gone bust.
Of course it could be worse the likes of Starmer and Sturgeon are nakedly loving the pointless authoritarian lockdown malarkey its what they got into politics for to tell people how to live their lives.
What average year ?
As of December 18 67,452 excess deaths (comparing with the years 2015 – 2019 which includes the most recent bad flu years). If you compare with years earlier than that then you have to start taking into account changes in total population / hospital capacity / vaccination uptake etc.
Actauarially (you know – those people who deal with death and destruction every day of the week) 80 – 89 year olds in the UK right now, with 2 long term conditions can expect to soldier on for another 5 years at least.
Where did you get that figure from?
PHE Cumulative deaths since 21 March 2020 by date of registration.
For the final accounting I would go to ONS in maybe February.
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