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Corona Virus

A series of write ups on the virus

R stands for Rubbish

01/02/2021

I have always wondered how the government calculated the R number.  It is a measure of how many people a single person will infect. I thought it was calculated mathematically. But this article by Ed Conway of the times reveals all.

Numbers influence social policy, says Ed Conway, but none have had such a huge impact on our lives as the “R number”. We know it’s a measure of how many people, on average, someone with Covid is likely to infect. We know it determines whether lockdown can be lifted. Yet few know how it’s calculated.

Far from deriving from some data-crunching formula, it’s the product of negotiation. Every week a group of academics from 11 different institutions meet online, each making a case for what he or she suspects the reproduction rate to be. These judgment calls, which often differ wildly, are then combined into a kind of average... and hey presto. R is effectively an educated guess.

Experts are baffled that ministers set such store by it: “no other leading nation” has let it dictate policy in this way. But having been slated at the start of the pandemic for failing to follow the science, the Government overcompensated: it thought that fixating on a “scientific” metric like R would silence the critics. Yet there’s nothing scientific about investing a single data point with more relevance than it deserves.

Back in May 2020 i assumed they government had some super algorithm that they did not publish.  I was unaware that it was educated guesswork.  This means that the figure is prone to the biases, probably well meaning, of the academics, who will massage the figures in what they consider is the best public interest.
I reality it is fake news, disinformation or lies.

My advice is to simply ignore these pontifications and instead look at the data.

The government's estimate of the national R Rate is between 0.7 and 1. So maybe the cases are coming down or maybe not, but they are not going up. So maybe the lockdown is working a bit??

The government's own site helpfully tells us the change in cases and deaths (as well as hospital admissions and vaccinations).  Today, 1st Feb 2021, cases have fallen 32% in the last week.  This is a hard cold fact. Cases have gone down by 32%.  This is faster than the first lockdown. The lockdown is working. 

A comparison with other countries

cases world

UK cases have been falling since week ending 10th Jan. After Ireland's disastrous Christmas spike cases have fallen rapidly.  It also seems that the last week as seen a fall in cases in Portugal

covid deaths

Two weeks after the cases begin to fall we see deaths beginning to fall, but we still have the highest rate in the world after Portugal.  The latter's death rate should be due to plateau soon.
Ireland's death rate is coming down. The relaxation of restrictions at Christmas has raised Ireland's total number of deaths since the pandemic began by 50% - which is 1000 deaths and the spike is not over.

So really have to continue to lockdown to finally get out of this mess of our governments making.

 


Covid Articles

29/03/2021
Mortality

15/03/2021
Are we doing well now?

22/02/2021
Are we doing well?

1/02/2021
R is for Rubbish

30/01/2021
UK Lockdowns

27/01/2021
Dithering

24/01/2021
Good News and Bad

17/01/2021
Worst in Class

15/01/2021
There is light

11/01/2021
A new year begins

02/01/2021
A good thing?

31/12/2020
The Year ends in Tiers

21/12/2020
A worrying Trend

13/12/2020
Two weeks of Tiers

30/11/2020
Ending Lockdown

16/11/2020
Mid lock down

26/10/2020
October

8/10/2020
Long Covid

28/9/2020
September3

0/8/2020
August roundup

10/08/2020
Englands data

31/07/2020
July roundup

29/07/2020
Spain Data Manipulation II

20/07/2020
How far are we behind

12/07/2020
It progresses

04/07/2020
The flood gates open  

27/06/2020
State of the Nations

21/06/2020
Exit and Testing1

4/06/2020
Hindsight and Foresight#

07/06/2020
Tracking and general comment

05/06/2020
Spain Data Manipulation

5/06/2020
UK Data Manipulation

24/05/2020
Tracking, school opening and care homes.

17/05/2020
Tracking and comparison with Germany

10/05/2020
Tracking and comparison with other countries

7/05/2020
Tracking

7/05/2020
Clarification

03/5/2020
Exiting Part 1

01/05/2020
Statistics

01/04/2020
First Thoughts

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