This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
The message boards have been upgraded. Please log in to your existing account by clicking here. It will ask twice, so that it can properly update your password and login information. If it has trouble recognizing your password, click the 'Forgot your password?' link to reset it with a new password sent to your email address on file.
The RPGPundit's Own Forum Rules
This part of the site is controlled by the RPGPundit. This is where he discusses topics that he finds interesting. You may post here, but understand that there are limits. The RPGPundit can shut down any thread, topic of discussion, or user in a thread at his pleasure. This part of the site is essentially his house, so keep that in mind. Note that this is the only part of the site where political discussion is permitted, but is regulated by the RPGPundit.

Author Topic: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.  (Read 9216 times)

KingCheops

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • K
  • Posts: 888
    • View Profile
Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« Reply #585 on: September 28, 2020, 11:08:47 AM »
Well and with Covid being "novel" and all the science is hardly settled.  So anyone accusing someone of "not following the science" is a fucking cultist.

Ratman_tf

  • Alt-Reich Shitlord
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5435
    • View Profile
Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« Reply #586 on: September 28, 2020, 11:23:21 AM »
(you could also add, how many people have died from the lockdowns, due to losing their jobs, depression, or people going nuts?)


The UN is prediciting millions of deaths due to the economic impact of the shutdowns and disruption of economies.


https://unglobalcompact.org/take-action/20th-anniversary-campaign/covid-related%20hunger-could-kill-more-people-than-the-virus



The notion of an exclusionary and hostile RPG community is a fever dream of zealots who view all social dynamics through a narrow keyhole of structural oppression.
-Haffrung

Ratman_tf

  • Alt-Reich Shitlord
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5435
    • View Profile
The notion of an exclusionary and hostile RPG community is a fever dream of zealots who view all social dynamics through a narrow keyhole of structural oppression.
-Haffrung

Kiero

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • K
  • Posts: 2068
    • View Profile
Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« Reply #588 on: September 28, 2020, 06:07:38 PM »
Covid-19 reporting is often sensationalist, but that's what the news does about everything from terrorist attacks to fires. It's not like it's a peculiarity of U.S. reporting or politics - countries ranging from Israel to South Korea have all treated considered this an extremely dangerous disease.

Do you have a source about the top 10 claim? From what I see, the average deaths per day is still around 800-900 per day in August, which puts it at #3 or #4. For the year, it's the #2 or #3 leading cause of death. For it to not be in the top ten, the death rate would have to be less than 130 deaths per day.

Treatment and the death rate getting better, but there's still a ton of cases. I just found out this week that my ex-mother-in-law in Houston had a fever and tested positive, which made my son very worried for his grandmother. She seems to be recovering well, but she described it as very scary. I agree that it's not a threat to the majority, but there's millions of people at risk for it still.
I'm in the UK, I'm talking about the UK, where more people died from influenza in August than covid. Our daily deaths are in the single figures lately. The uptick in "cases" isn't matched with a proportionate uptick in hospitalisations or deaths. Because the virus already killed all the most vulnerable people, and ultimately isn't all that deadly.

Didn't stop 12 million muppets downloading the track and trace app that doesn't work and breaches GDPR and who knows how many other data protection laws, though.

I think one of the spooky things about Covid-19 is how unpredictable it is. Still, to me, there is something that does not quite ring true when people claim that certain attitudes are "unscientific", e.g. I have seen some old folks who refuse to wear masks unless they have to, people saying things like "they don't believe in science". To me, it is actually about values rather than data. It is clearly not the black death, nor even the Spanish flu. We make potentially decisions like driving every day. How much do we value the freedom to move about and breathe freely vs. the potential for catching or transmitting this disease? How many deaths are "acceptable"? (you could also add, how many people have died from the lockdowns, due to losing their jobs, depression, or people going nuts?) Clearly the old folks should be careful, but the conclusion you draw is actually pretty arbitrary. Different European countries have had wildly differing rules for handling it, and who's to say that they are wrong?

I'll tell you what isn't acceptable: to put millions out of work (causing tens of thousands of deaths from suicides alone, never mind all the misery that flows from that level of unemployment) just to give a few thousand of the oldest and sickest people a few extra months of life.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 06:09:48 PM by Kiero »
Currently running: Tyche's Favourites, a historical ACKS campaign set around Massalia in 300BC.

Our podcast site, In Sanity We Trust Productions.

Ratman_tf

  • Alt-Reich Shitlord
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5435
    • View Profile
Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« Reply #589 on: September 28, 2020, 06:19:55 PM »
I'll tell you what isn't acceptable: to put millions out of work (causing tens of thousands of deaths from suicides alone, never mind all the misery that flows from that level of unemployment) just to give a few thousand of the oldest and sickest people a few extra months of life.


We don't even have to take that tradeoff. We know now that age is one of the big factors, so be careful visiting your grandparents.



The notion of an exclusionary and hostile RPG community is a fever dream of zealots who view all social dynamics through a narrow keyhole of structural oppression.
-Haffrung

Pat

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • P
  • Posts: 1733
    • View Profile
Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« Reply #590 on: September 28, 2020, 08:18:22 PM »
Lockdowns also don't seem to work. Not only are the states and countries that didn't lock down doing better economically, but the locations that lifted their lockdowns saw a drop in the transmission rate.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.24.20078717v1
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53664354
https://fee.org/articles/sweden-now-has-a-lower-covid-19-death-rate-than-the-us-here-s-why-it-matters/
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8347635/Lockdowns-failed-alter-course-pandemic-JP-Morgan-study-claims.html
https://www.jpmorgan.com/country/US/en/research/covid-19-across-markets

Some of the effects of public policy were predictable (like the devastating effects due to the economic lockdowns or shoving sick people into nursing homes), but some of it was not. This is a very weird virus, and hasn't been behaving as expected. The drop in R0 after lockdowns were lifted, for instance. Or how death rates in Italy are correlated not with tight family groupings with multiple generations living in close proximity, as originally reported, but by the fragmentation of those tight family groupings -- the number of nursing home beds is a strong correlate. There's even some speculation that the hospitals are making the outbreak worse (though it's worth emphasizing that the latter is just speculation).

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200521151904.htm
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233329
https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/covids-metamorphosis-has-lockdown-made-the-virus-more-deadly
« Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 08:23:37 PM by Pat »

Shasarak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1923
    • View Profile
Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« Reply #591 on: September 28, 2020, 09:45:38 PM »
I do not want anyone to call me a science denier which is why I personally follow the WHO recommendation to not wear a mask.
The science is settled people.
Life is Hard; Play Short

Ghostmaker

  • Chlorine trifluoride
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 663
    • View Profile
Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« Reply #592 on: September 28, 2020, 09:46:23 PM »
I do not want anyone to call me a science denier which is why I personally follow the WHO recommendation to not wear a mask.
The science is settled people.
There's a call for you from someone named 'Karen'... :D

Shasarak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1923
    • View Profile
Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« Reply #593 on: September 28, 2020, 11:02:14 PM »
I do not want anyone to call me a science denier which is why I personally follow the WHO recommendation to not wear a mask.
The science is settled people.
There's a call for you from someone named 'Karen'... :D
Just got an email from Karan wanting to sell me 3000kg of Chloroquine Phosphate.  Must have been sorted to my junk mail by accident cause seems totally legit.
Life is Hard; Play Short

jhkim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8211
    • View Profile
Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« Reply #594 on: September 29, 2020, 02:19:03 AM »
Covid-19 reporting is often sensationalist, but that's what the news does about everything from terrorist attacks to fires. It's not like it's a peculiarity of U.S. reporting or politics - countries ranging from Israel to South Korea have all treated considered this an extremely dangerous disease.

Do you have a source about the top 10 claim? From what I see, the average deaths per day is still around 800-900 per day in August, which puts it at #3 or #4.
I'm in the UK, I'm talking about the UK, where more people died from influenza in August than covid. Our daily deaths are in the single figures lately. The uptick in "cases" isn't matched with a proportionate uptick in hospitalisations or deaths. Because the virus already killed all the most vulnerable people, and ultimately isn't all that deadly.
Sorry, Kiero. I missed what country you were from. Yes, after a huge peak in April, it seems like covid-19 deaths in the UK have now tapered off. Policy should be different based on what is going on in that country or area.

I'll tell you what isn't acceptable: to put millions out of work (causing tens of thousands of deaths from suicides alone, never mind all the misery that flows from that level of unemployment) just to give a few thousand of the oldest and sickest people a few extra months of life.
Within First World countries, economic recession does mean an uptick in suicides -- but it also means a downtick in many other causes of death, from traffic accidents to heart disease.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00210-0
https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/04/recessions-dont-lead-to-an-overall-increase-in-deaths/

It's different for Third World countries, though, where many people are on the edge of starvation. There, economic downturn often means an uptick in the mortality rate. One can still argue for prioritizing the economy in First World countries - but the specific argument that it means saving lives should be based on actual death rates.

Lockdowns also don't seem to work. Not only are the states and countries that didn't lock down doing better economically, but the locations that lifted their lockdowns saw a drop in the transmission rate.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.24.20078717v1
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53664354
https://fee.org/articles/sweden-now-has-a-lower-covid-19-death-rate-than-the-us-here-s-why-it-matters/
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8347635/Lockdowns-failed-alter-course-pandemic-JP-Morgan-study-claims.html
https://www.jpmorgan.com/country/US/en/research/covid-19-across-markets
Comparisons between different countries are always problematic - because their rates of infection and death differ due to differing populations and behavior. More crucially, whether government enacts a lockdown is not random. Countries are unlikely to institute lockdowns unless the covid-19 death rate is high. In order to compare between countries, you need to address this correlation. It's like concluding that hospitals don't make people healthy, because if you go in them, you see lots of sick and dying people -- and people outside of hospitals are less sick. But that's because people mostly go to the hospital *because* they are sick.

The paper from the first link does not have any discussion about the inherent correlation of lockdowns and death rate. Further, it has a single author whose field is oceanography. It has not yet been peer reviewed. I don't inherently dismiss it, but I don't think it should be taken as the final word. The lack of any approach to the systematics seems like a major missing piece.

I think Sweden's approach isn't crazy and I can understand advocating for it - but I think there are arguments both ways, which come down to rationally comparing evidence. Sweden has still had a huge economic recession, and it has a higher infection and death rate than it's neighboring countries Norway and Finland. Comparing it to Italy and Spain is more like apples and oranges.


Some of the effects of public policy were predictable (like the devastating effects due to the economic lockdowns or shoving sick people into nursing homes), but some of it was not. This is a very weird virus, and hasn't been behaving as expected. The drop in R0 after lockdowns were lifted, for instance. Or how death rates in Italy are correlated not with tight family groupings with multiple generations living in close proximity, as originally reported, but by the fragmentation of those tight family groupings -- the number of nursing home beds is a strong correlate. There's even some speculation that the hospitals are making the outbreak worse (though it's worth emphasizing that the latter is just speculation).

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200521151904.htm
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233329
https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/covids-metamorphosis-has-lockdown-made-the-virus-more-deadly
It is peculiar in many ways, and I appreciate the links to actual studies. I hadn't seen the study on Italy before - but it makes sense to me that nursing homes would be particularly vulnerable.

Tanin Wulf

  • .
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • T
  • Posts: 738
    • View Profile
Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« Reply #595 on: September 30, 2020, 09:57:00 PM »
I see my learned colleague jhkim beat  me to  the punch here, but just to add to it...

Lockdowns also don't seem to work. Not only are the states and countries that didn't lock down doing better economically, but the locations that lifted their lockdowns saw a drop in the transmission rate.

So just so we're on the same page here, your sources for this claim are, in order:

(1) A paper that was submitted for publication but never actually peer review AND was conducted SO EARLY in the pandemic as to be functionally useless. Plus, it was written by... an Oceanographer? I'll grant you he also does quite a lot of statistical analysis... but even the responses in that Article show flaws in his basic research when it comes to medical, pandemic, or virology issues.

(2) An article comparing Sweden's economy to the rest of the EU when Sweden objectively saw a larger fall in its economy and higher deaths than its neighbors? (Note: comparing Sweden to the entire rest of the EU is like comparing New York to Montana and saying that because traffic is terrible in New York, Montana should buy fewer cars.)

(3) An article that is going off of wildly exaggerated figures (i.e. lying through statistics) instead of, again, comparing apples-to-apples. They're comparing Sweden to all of the US. Again... traffic in New York doesn't mean people in Montana should buy fewer cars.

(4) An article from May, before the major US waves starting striking the South and parts of the Midwest, and published by a man (Dr. Kolonovac, PHD) and a company (JP Morgan) who have a literal economic interest in avoiding lockdowns and no medical interest in the same (outside of a vaccine).

and

(5) An article by the same company that's just a metadata trend and makes no judgement calls one way or another but is all about how to maximize your profitability here. (Nothing wrong with that, mind you.)


And, interestingly, not a single source from experts who actually specialize in infectious disease transmission.


Now, if you wanted to make an economic claim, these were mostly OK sources (the last 3 more than the first 2). If you wanted to make claims about the transmissible curb and the lockdowns, these sources seem weak, at best.

Pat

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • P
  • Posts: 1733
    • View Profile
Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« Reply #596 on: Today at 01:33:32 AM »
Comparisons between different countries are always problematic - because their rates of infection and death differ due to differing populations and behavior. More crucially, whether government enacts a lockdown is not random. Countries are unlikely to institute lockdowns unless the covid-19 death rate is high. In order to compare between countries, you need to address this correlation. 
That's true, but it's an inherent problem with the field. Once we start talking about spread in the wider population and government policy, we've moved beyond biology to the macro social sciences and collective human behavior, where it's almost impossible to run controlled experiments with controls and predictions that are made and then tested. Instead, we have to rely on historical data, and not only does knowing how it works out beforehand make predictions suspect, but cherry picking and biases mean people looking at the same events come to completely opposite conclusions (this happens all the time -- look at how many different things are blamed for causing the Great Depression, for instance), building models and theories to fit historical patterns is rarely predictive in useful ways, and there are always excuses when they fail. Nonetheless, in this time of the coronavirus, places like Sweden, Japan, Belarus and so on are the closest we'll find to a control group. I have less faith than you in controlling for all relevant factors, because that decision itself is so highly subjective and can lead to almost all the problems with historical data.

The paper from the first link does not have any discussion about the inherent correlation of lockdowns and death rate. Further, it has a single author whose field is oceanography. It has not yet been peer reviewed. I don't inherently dismiss it, but I don't think it should be taken as the final word. The lack of any approach to the systematics seems like a major missing piece.

I think Sweden's approach isn't crazy and I can understand advocating for it - but I think there are arguments both ways, which come down to rationally comparing evidence. Sweden has still had a huge economic recession, and it has a higher infection and death rate than it's neighboring countries Norway and Finland. Comparing it to Italy and Spain is more like apples and oranges.

Now, if you wanted to make an economic claim, these were mostly OK sources (the last 3 more than the first 2). If you wanted to make claims about the transmissible curb and the lockdowns, these sources seem weak, at best.
I never said it was the final word, I just provided a source. I find it entertaining how many people with disparate backgrounds are publishing papers on sars2 -- which isn't completely inappropriate. A lot of researchers with medical backgrounds lack the statistical skills needed for these kinds of analyses, and we've been overvaluing people with M.D.s next to their names and undervaluing people with other skills. A virologist is an expert on diseases, but a masters or Ph.D. in some statistical field is often better at this kind of analysis, especially if it's combined with epidemiology. The area where it really became criminal, though, is economics. The public health lead in one state -- who has zero background in economics and never even worked in the private sector in her life -- kept talking about how the pandemic would affects the economy, how the lockdowns and other measures they took were to "save the economy", and how not locking down would be so much worse. Her statements were taken as the Word of Science!, when she literally has less background in the area than the average person on the street.

It also reflects more generally on the state of the science around COVID-19. Have you seen the retractions at the Lancet and the NEJM? I provided links many pages back on how weak most of the research on the topic has been, when measured against the standards of evidence-based medicine. Many highly influential studies that had a great impact on public policy were based on a tiny number of completely non-representative cases. Much of this is inevitable when it comes to a new disease, because massive randomized double-blind studies require a huge investment in time, money, and human resources. But we needed better messaging, that explains to the public not just what the latest study said, but the degree of certainty. Which is of course anathema to politicians, who want to be able to present clear easy solutions. They also lost the clinical judgment side; doctors make judgment calls in uncertain conditions all the time, but large organizations like the CDC and WHO want to wait for all the evidence to come in, so are bad at that; and as a result they were slow on some common sense measures like supporting masks. The data has gotten better, and stronger consensuses have emerged, but we're still in the early days. The weirdness of the disease certainly hasn't helped.

That's why I have been focusing more on the economic side lately. A disease is a public health issue, but lockdowns are an economic issue, so we should be hearing from both types of experts. But there's never been an economics Fauci -- and no, the Secretary of the Treasury doesn't count. He's an executive who came up through IT; he has no real economics training at all. The government and the news have almost entirely focused on public health officials, and taken their statements on economic matters as holy writ, which is nonsense. It's sheer ignorance on display when people like Cuomo proclaim that it's about saving lives, and that any life lost is too much, while they completely ignore all the people who will die or suffer serious effects because of the shutdowns. I mentioned earlier in the thread the UN report stating that hundreds of thousands of children were expected to die due to the lockdowns, to the report from Well Being Trust that they expected as many as 75,000 suicides attributable to the disease in the US alone, not to mention all the news coverage from places like India or Mexico on the horrendous effect the shutdowns have been having on the extremely poor.

Some new sources. Let's start with NPR, who yesterday ran a bit comparing Denmark and Sweden. They pointed out that the number who died in Sweden was a lot higher (6000ish compared to 700ish, IIRC; adjust for Sweden having almost twice as many people), but that Sweden's current death rate was about half Denmark's. They expect the death totals in the two countries to eventually converge (relative to population size), but that Sweden is and will be far better off economically. The guy they interviewed from Denmark talked about how it wasn't just the shutdowns, but how they varied erratically and kept getting turned on and off, that hurt business and drove away all their patrons. He went on to say he now thinks they should have done what Sweden did. I'm mostly mentioning this because I never expected a piece from NPR of all places to praise Sweden's response, which suggests it's getting wide traction.

Remember the Imperial College of London report, which early on on the pandemic used highly faulty models to predict over 2 million deaths in the US, and was the basis of a lot of policy? Even that report considered the lockdowns to be a short-term, temporary measures to flatten the curve. The whole purpose of that argument is to suppress the number of cases at any one time, in order not to overwhelm the hospital system, not to reduce the overall number of cases. In other words, Sweden front-loaded their deaths, but the rest of the world is catching up, and will eventually reach comparable numbers. Just at a much higher economic cost. I haven't seen any good explanation for the indefinite months-long lockdowns that ensued, except for political fear of high numbers now. There was a hammer and dance argument of intermittent lockdowns to keep the caseload relatively stable, but as the man from Denmark that NPR interviewed explained, an erratic series of lockdowns is really terrible for the economy, because businesses require predictability and it makes it hard for customers to plan or develop habits; and I don't think the actual curves we've seen in infection patterns vis-a-vis lockdowns match that plan. The rest of the arguments typically involve contract tracing or vaccines, but combine a lot of wishful thinking with a lack of specifics.

A few interesting links
https://accadandkoka.com/episodes/episode126/ non-MD epidemiologist (on kidney disease) on covid data
https://accadandkoka.com/captivate-podcast/episode140/ it's a minority view, but she makes a strong argument that we've reached herd immunity
https://accadandkoka.com/captivate-podcast/episode143-2/ difficulties with observational trials (gets a bit abstruse)
https://accadandkoka.com/captivate-podcast/episode131/ NJEM/Lancetgate
https://swprs.org/facts-about-covid-19/#latest tries to summarize the latest news/science (new source to me, familiar with some of the stuff like cross-immunity, but others I'm not so sure about -- links are great, tho)
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31035-7/fulltext#%20 hard lockdowns don't protect the vulnerable
https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/499394-the-covid-19-shutdown-will-cost-americans-millions-of-years-of-life one of the few attempts at an economic cost/benefit analysis of the shutdowns
https://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/insight/2020/economic-impact/ estimate of economic damage
https://bfi.uchicago.edu/working-paper/covid-19-is-also-a-reallocation-shock/ 32-42% of jobs lost are permanently gone
https://bfi.uchicago.edu/working-paper/how-are-small-businesses-adjusting-to-covid-19-early-evidence-from-a-survey/ small businesses dying
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2677445 mortality increases based on the economic shock
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/5/2/21241261/coronavirus-modeling-us-deaths-ihme-pandemic the models suck
« Last Edit: Today at 09:26:00 AM by Pat »