Firstly, someone who understands stats is looking at the epidemiological models we have. They are based on very simple math — the number of people each person infects will decrease as there are more survivors from an epidemic, and herd immunity occurs, at which any new cases cannot infect another.
The naive model, which I have been consistently warning us under-predicts until we get to the peak, on 9 March guessed 6,200 worldwide total deaths. Completely blown. Off by an order of magnitude. By the 17th, the model said 14,000—with the same caution given about under-predictions.
By the 24th, 39,000. Last week: 80,000. Now (see below): 130,000.
If you followed the naive model on a daily basis, you would have seen the same steady upward projection like in the week by week totals. But over the last week the numbers actually started decreasing, but only by a fraction. Because it appears we are at the peak, the point at which I said the model would start doing a better job.
Recall that this is only a naive model whose only assumption is that the reported numbers—and not necessarily actual numbers—follow a standard shape. That’s it. We started with it because so many people were going on and on about exponential increases and doubling times—everybody forgetting it is impossible for these increases to be sustained. The exponential shape is wrong.
Our shape is right (though for about a month the slope was off), and if I were to do it all over I’d certainly not estimate the model raw, and instead use prior estimates for the parameters—as a good Bayesian would—from an outbreak that looked like it might be similar. Like from Swine flu (see below). Ah well, I leave this as a class exercise.
The estimation of the infection rate is generally sorted out post hoc by careful consideration of contact tracing and infection rates. This is part of the standard public health toolkit, along with quarantine and distancing.
Until you get brain dead fascistic politicians running the system. From the USA — note that Pennsylvania is run by the global progressive party (D), not the nationalists (R).
Mike Rowe: “We’re told to fall in line, trust the experts, and wait patiently for the all clear. Okay, fine. But for how long? What are the criteria for turning the country back on?” Many conservatives have become gun-shy about the COVID-19 outbreak. They don’t want to seem dismissive of the threat, or to undermine the message about the importance of “social distancing,” and I get that, completely. We must consider the influence of our words, but at the same time, I am beginning to hear, in the “social distancing” amen chorus, a creepy tone that reminds me of the rah-rah cheerleading for the Iraq War. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania:
A York County woman this week was the first person in Pennsylvania to be cited for violating Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order, according to state police.
The 19-year-old woman was given a nontraffic citation for allegedly “going for a drive,” according to the citation obtained by Pennlive.
State police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski said Friday the woman initially was pulled over because of a vehicle code violation. Warnings have been issued by troopers in Troop A, which includes Westmoreland County, and Troop E in the Erie area, he said.
Troopers can use their discretion to decide if a citation is warranted, but they have been encouraged to use contacts with the public as a way to promote voluntary compliance, Tarkowski said.
She was alone in her car, but if this “going for a drive” business gets out of hand, people might start “going for a walk,” and next thing you know, they might peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances, or something. The state police can’t allow that.
The Other McCain
New Zealand is not exempt. This is a summary from Muriel Newman, who has commented on social welfare leading to dependency and disability since the early 1990s. The government has not used offered extra capacity, stopped routine work (including in health care), and is now bringing out a mental health programme on the assumption we cannot cope, as if being angered by a move to reward those who snitch is abnormal to the nannies wanting a maternal socialist state, and who are not afraid to use fascist techniques to get there.
The effects of the lockdown are evident in a new survey of 1,000 Auckland businesses. Over a third believe they will not survive the four week lockdown and will be forced to close permanently. Not only will there be massive job losses, but the impact on those who’ve spent years struggling to build their businesses, only to find them being destroyed by Government policy, will be devastating. Economists warn there will be “higher rates of suicide, heart attacks, strokes and long-term health problems as a consequence of the pressure being faced now” – not to mention when “the Government eventually tightens the reins, to repay the costs of the current rescue package”.
And what about the impact of the shutdown on those who are seriously ill, whose hospital treatment has been cancelled? Will the Government’s obsession with being seen to be saving the country from this disease end up killing New Zealanders who could otherwise have been saved?
There’re also concerns about the potential for COVID-19 to spread through public hospitals. It’s why countries that have successfully contained the disease, treat those infected in isolation hospitals, allowing public hospitals to continue treating their other patients.
The offer of help from the private hospital sector should have been accepted from the beginning. The thankfully small number of COVID-19 patients that have so far needed hospital care could have been accommodated in their facilities. That would have avoided the present situation where front line public hospital staff and patients have already had to go into isolation as a result of cross-infection with COVID-19 patients.
The lockdown provisions that have effectively put us all under house arrest, are quite extraordinary for an outdoors loving nation.
While most New Zealanders have accepted the situation without question, the Prime Minister’s call for people to ‘dob in’ their neighbours on one hand, while telling us “be kind” to each other on the other, is of particular concern. Turning the population on itself during a crisis is fundamentally damaging Kiwi democracy.
This article is about ten days old. Since then, Mike Bush has resigned as the Police Commissioner to concentrate on COVID 19 and the minister of health has been pinged flouting the rules. But the dynamic remains.
These are unprecedented times and the government on 25 March made a State of National Emergency declaration – only the second time in New Zealand history that this has been done.
Authorities now have the power to close roads and public places; regulate land, water and air traffic; evacuate any premises; and bar people or vehicles from any premises or places.
It is hard to get our heads around the extent of these powers. They are not something most New Zealanders have ever imagined.
Despite that, most Kiwis understand and accept the decisions the government has made. An overwhelming majority of the population has accepted massive restrictions on daily life and the sweeping away of civil liberties and freedoms.
You, the New Zealand police, will be the most visible figures exercising and enforcing the new emergency powers. Police Commissioner Mike Bush explained this by saying that people would be greeted by the “friendly face” of the police during the four-week lockdown.
But, already, there is cause for concern.
A number of instances of what appears to have been heavy-handedness on your part have been reported and there also appears to be a lack of consistency in the way you are exercising your powers.
New Zealanders realise that it is extremely frustrating for you to deal with numerous people who are flouting the lockdown and refusing to comply. But it is not legal for you to come down hard on people simply because you are annoyed that enforcing the lockdown places your own health at risk.
Similarly, it is understandable that Bush said it would pay for essential workers to carry work identity cards or letters from their employers.
That makes it quick and easy for the police to see that someone should be out and about. However, you need to remember that there is no legal obligation for any New Zealander to carry such information. That means that people cannot be forced to carry such documents and it is not an offence to fail to do so.
You and other agencies need to swiftly standardise your advice about the fine detail of when people can and cannot leave their homes. Your bosses must then ensure that all staff on the ground are clear about the rules.
You need to remember that you can only police the country effectively with the consent of the public.
Contradictory messages and over-the-top enforcement will rapidly erode public goodwill and result in increasing failure to comply.
Catrionella McClean, Radio New Zealand
It is not that we are without our own bunch of politically correct narks. They infest HR, and they think they can now do good by making us all fear, when we should be looking at minimizing damage in this season.
In the land of the wrong white crowd, we like our fascism casual. We prefer to burn books over a backyard BBQ with beers rather than goose-steps and uniforms. This new narc line dobbing in those who are breaching the rules is the exact sort of passive aggressive suburban authoritarianism that ZB listeners, Listener readers and TVNZ viewers love. A nation of petty ‘Ok Karens’ weaponised with smug self righteousness.
The Daily Blog
Smug self righteousness is not only a sin, in causes a sin in reaction. Wrath.
I note that that other bunch of Fascists, the greens, are trying to morph a plan to deal with a long lockdown into something green. This should not be the issue. Minimizing the restrictions on people in what is supposed to be a free country should be the issue, nod doubling down on micromanagement.
Around the world, climate activists have come to see the fiscal response to Covid-19 as the climate’s last hope. If governments don’t gear their stimulus packages towards decarbonising economies and investing in a sustainable future, these activists say, the next opportunity they’ll have will be too late.
This dire prognosis has prompted a flurry of activity as organisations like Greenpeace New Zealand cobble together draft stimulus packages to respond to the crisis. Shaw says he is personally agitating for a climate-friendly stimulus package.
“In my lifetime, there hasn’t been a moment like this where we’ve seen governments putting billions of dollars on the table for new infrastructure,” Amanda Larsson, Greenpeace New Zealand’s climate and energy campaigner, told Newsroom.
“This is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset.”
Larsson points to the reaction to the global financial crisis as an example of the risks that the situation poses.
“The only corollary that I can point to in my generation is 2008, during the financial crisis. At that time we saw things going in the wrong direction with money going to society’s wealthiest and austerity measures being put in place, not so much here in New Zealand but elsewhere. Also money flowing disproportionately to oil, gas and coal production,” she said.
Similarly, Shaw believes there’s a danger that governments and industries could reinvest in a business-as-usual scenario or even double down on dirty investments.
“Quite understandably people generally say, look we just want things to go back to the way they were before the crisis,” he said.
“So then what we do is we restore things to the way they were. It takes maybe three years before people start feeling confident, then you get a few years of growth and people go, ‘Yeah we should probably pay some attention to the environment.’ And then the cycle repeats because there’s a new crisis. We can’t do that again this time.”
If you push too far — and NZ is a fortnight in, with the official figures showing a decrease in the number of new cases — there will be a payback. You don’t want payback. A period of social distancing, contact tracing, and quarantine (bought in at last in NZ today) would help. But you cannot keep this going for months.
Not if you want to keep the globalist, neo-liberal progressive project going. If you want a counter revolution and a nations being based on the peoples, then keep on going. But God help the current elite if that happens