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Filippo

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  1. There are, I think, few people that have as strong an opposition to the Covid repression as me. It doesn’t take a great libertarian to be concerned about political repression around the Covid-19 crisis and I see animosity on the matter as understandable and unavoidable; when the government comes up with imbecile policies such as the “one form of exercise per day for the purpose of protecting the NHS”. And in how many other civilised jurisdictions there have been so many jail sentences for Covid-related offences? At the least in Guernsey they let you off with a fine. Testing on a larger scale is perhaps a way to alleviate the travel restrictions, as the Jersey case shows. I don’t think it can achieve that for the UK, and even less for continental Europe or the US, but on a much smaller island, it can return a payoff. Barking at Ms Glover is going to achieve little; if the IOM government had asked for testing on a much larger scale, it was just a matter of procuring the necessary equipment and she would have known how to deliver that. Furthermore, as a government contractor, she has little choice other than toeing the government line. The buck stops with the IOM government. But, I say this to John Wright: CoMin has done a good job at stifling debate on their Covid-19 policies; and IOM media are pretty much the definition of sycophancy. For those who find the restrictions unbearable, there must be an outlet somewhere. Or shall we organise a terrorist group? At the least in Germany there have been well organised protests assisted by high-profile interventions. I never had any social media presence or interest; I started this thread as an outlet for my anger at what the government was doing; when I heard David Ashford on one of those Manx Radio briefings complaining about social media, then I knew what to do, he gave me the idea, basically he invited it. Precisely, he was complaining and blaming about an absurd story, the NSC being used as a temporary mortuary facility for Covid fatalities in the isle, a proposition so utterly absurd that should not have been given any currency, if he wasn’t so pathetic. He was the one lecturing us on the Covid narrative from the WHO’s web page, as if researching a more independent source, any form of independent thinking actually, was too much effort for him. British people have really been covid-pussies. And there will be a very high price to pay, on the economic side of things. The left is sitting pretty comfortably with that perspective because it thinks that it will bring much heavier taxation to bear on the rich as unavoidably as night follows day (and that whole idea is one of the reasons we have had the lockdown in the first place). Sure, the middle class will pay, which entails slimmer paychecks for many government employees; sorry! It is becoming apparent that the pandemic is accelerating trends, especially on the technological side, that were already firmly in place; there is no evidence that it is acting as an equaliser. In this technological, globalised world, higher taxes on the middle/upper class would only reduce the Gini coefficient if they were to be set at extreme levels; suppressing growth far too much. The left doesn’t seem to understand it. Many lefties don’t really know how the system works. Or they live in fantasy world in which people, they think, can be changed. Unsure what the crisis will bring to the Isle of Man in the longer term. The isle is positioning itself in respect to the UK, and with the UK the bar of governance is going to be set so low that on a relative basis local businesses may even take advantage, if the IOM government allows it. It depends on whether or not the consensus based policies of the island allow to have prosperity as a priority. The economy of the Crown dependencies really took off in the seventies when the UK was going down the drain; in those dark ages of financial repression.
  2. Noting that recent postings to this thread have been mostly focused on the border closure, I am reprising some arguments of a previous posting of mine and interpreting current UK statistics into the IOM context. The Isle of Man is currently having circa 600 incoming travellers per week, or 85.71 per day. Also, current Covid-19 prevalence in the UK is about 1/2,200. The two figures imply that it takes 25.67 days for having one event of incoming Covid-19 carrier turning up to this isle; the result of this simple calculation: 1 / (85.71 / 2,200). Assuming a 10% chance of a Covid-19 carrier escaping detection and restarting community transmission within the island, it would take about 25.67 / 10% = 256 days (8 months and 2 week) for the pandemic to restart in this isle. The 10% chance is a likely overestimation if proper testing and tracing were to be in place, in my opinion. This estimation would explain why we haven’t seen a sole Covid-19 case in months. Another issue is what community transmission within the island would bring about in terms of casualties. In the UK, the seven-day moving average of Covid-19 fatalities has fallen to less than 8. Making the due proportion with the IOM population, the equivalent IOM fatality would be less than 4 deaths per year (85 / 66,650 x 8 x 365.25 = 3.72); or about one premature death per year, since 2/3 of Covid-19 deaths happen among those who are already so frail to have very little life expectancy ahead of them. Thus, the border closure is now sparing us about one premature death per year: keep this in mind next time the IOM government circulates a disingenuous questionnaire bragging about the saving of hundreds of lives! And the Jersey case, which hasn’t had any Covid-19 hospitalisations in a while, shows that the border can be kept open with very little collateral damage. Flu and pneumonia kill many more, and cars accidents kill many more. Here is an excerpt of a recently interview with Oxford University’s Prof. Sunetra Gupta: what she says about New Zealand’s policies (“the self-righteous attitude is completely ridiculous”) is spot on as concerns this smaller island of ours and the pathetic duo of Ashford and Quayle. Unfortunately the popular discourse (media, politicians, WHO etc) on Covid-19 has been reduced to a series of static dichotomies on illness, infectiousness, immunity, fatality, masks etc (I won’t elaborate here on the various misconceptions for the sake of brevity). In reality, Covid-19 exists as a continuum of manifestations. One can turn out “positive” on a test and have no discernible illness of any description on his/her body and pose very little risk of contagion. Covid-19 is mutating and differentiating rapidly; there are already hundreds of different strains. Its impact on human population is also evolving rapidly due to the build up of herd immunity and co-adaptation to the host. My understanding of the current very low fatality rate in the UK, and in the other countries that had significant spread of the virus, is that there is already significant herd immunity and virus-host co-adaptation within those populations, enough to bring the so called pandemic to its natural conclusion. If the popular narrative were to be correct, precisely that 6.2% of UK population (1 in 16 people) have the antibodies and thus have survived the infection, and all the others (15 in 16 people) are still vulnerable to the virus; then, now that restrictions have mostly been lifted (apart from the political necessities such as the stupid masks, which have no effectiveness) the pandemic and its death trail should restart, no? Why people have stopped dying from it? And what the lockdown was for, since so little has changed (1 in 16 people only have been affected so far, apparently) and current restrictions are more than enough to extinguish hospitalisations and deaths? In the end a vaccine of very limited long-term consequence will be given to the common herd for the purpose of restoring confidence, more than any real health benefit. Then, there will still be Covid-19 infections, as with the other cold-inducing coronaviruses we always had, but only few such infections will lead to serious illnesses, and the lockdown enthusiasts will proclaim that it is the vaccine that has done the trick. Quite unsurprisingly the moron-in-chief, a.k.a. the Trump administration, is pushing for approval of antibody-treatments and novel vaccines before any reliable effectiveness can be inferred from the studies in progress. Expect the UK to follow suit; Britons are so scared that something has to be done soon; bring the placebo. Then there is the US stock market, the world’s most liquid and efficient. Since its strong April rebound it has been telling us that the virus is not as bad as initially feared; and with the current historical highs (in the midst of a US second wave killing 1K per day) it is telling us that a V shaped recovery is under way; and a V shaped recovery can only happen if concerns about Covid-19 go away in the near term. I normally keep 50-60% of my liquid assets into US stocks and bonds, and already had plenty of the secular grow stories within technology and health care. Back in March I also saw opportunities into some of the obvious stay-at-home stocks such as online supermarkets, pizza delivery and video game companies; and persuaded my colleagues to keep calm and carry on. Time will tell whether this is the stupidest of bull markets or the right call of the collective judgement of investors (I have been around long enough not to make strong assumptions about what asset prices are going to do). Nevertheless, the message from US equities exuberance is clear: the pandemic is going to end soon, even if only because people have had enough of all that pandemic’s paraphernalia of staying-at-home, social-distancing, quarantine, masks etc.
  3. There is a reason why in the UK such Covid restrictions are left unenforceable, quite deliberately. Top UK politicians and their advisers are smart enough to understand well the criticism of the lockdown and of all the Covid restrictions. They might even think that the lockdown and all the Covid restrictions are dumb; they just went along all that self-inflicted disaster because of crude political necessity. If I were living in England right now, I would go on public transport or shopping without the stupid mask and tell anyone confronting me to call the police. Then, should the police actually turn out (unlikely in most cases) I would tell the police to send me the bill; that I have no problem with paying the fine every day. I would pay the fine every day, if needed. And I wouldn’t give a iota about quarantine rules. Pay that other one-thousand-quids fine as well, since it is all peanuts to me. That is how I would behave in the England; and would get away with it easily. My concern is that on this island, local politicians actually think that they are doing right with the Covid restrictions. That they aren’t that smart and knowledgeable to understand the trade-offs and the other point of view. And then, the authorities that derive from them will be aligned accordingly. That is why I intend to avoid travel off the island until there are quarantine requirements and, if a mask rule were to be introduced in the IOM later on, I am not sure how I would handle it. It would be difficult for me to wear one and difficult not to. I wouldn’t feel that comfortable challenging the authorities here, least because the fines and the other bits of enforcement would be stiffer (as we have seen with the prior version of lockdown where jail terms have been handed out). And it is not only concern about punishment that would put me off from that kind of confrontation; the spirit of community of this place makes one more weary of being ostracised. Even someone as hard-headed as me. Note that there is a whole list of European countries where the authorities saw the masks as doing more harm than good, or very little. Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden of course, all took that position, that masks are not needed or not to be compulsory. In Switzerland they are only obligatory on public transport (only two of the 26 cantons have made them obligatory in shops). Reverting to the Isle of Man, my hope and prayer is that the whole Covid thing with all the damaging policies that it brought are a temporary aberration; that it will be possible to revert to the old normal as soon as sometime next year. Life is actually mostly normal on the island right now; as long as one doesn’t need to travel. The authorities here, helped by the geography, have engineered this kind of temporary equilibrium. At such a huge cost. By the way, below is a place where life isn’t normal right now: that is the corner of Cheapside/Poultry St facing the Bank of England this morning; just saw the pic on the Telegraph and it made me gulp. Have been hanging about there thousands times; during my lunch breaks; as a young, hungry man; at that stage of my life. Normally one of the busiest thoroughfares, it is seems to be all wasteland right now. I could not help attaching it. I hate every bit of the lockdown. Pussy Britain.
  4. I already explained that I linked to Fox News because Youtube had censored the video and I had to google for a replacement, which I happened to find in Fox News. Your argument for rejecting my argument boils down to “I believe what I want to believe”. I had expected it in the end. We are a post-truth specie; people tend to conform to the point of view that best corresponds to their set of beliefs, regardless of objective evidence. I mainly wrote these postings as a provocation, too see how local people would react. If you go to website “www.worldometers.info/coronavirus” you can track the evolution pandemic country by country. You will see that countries that have adopted more liberal forms of social distancing than lockdown Britain are having a better pandemic, so to speak. The indicators I suggest you to look at are the graph of cumulative fatalities on a log-scale and their daily average over the past week. Look at the cases of Sweden, Netherlands and Switzerland. Sweden is the one country (in Europe, Mexico and a list of others across the world are also into it) that has pursued herd immunity as an openly stated aim; by no mean the only country that is mitigating rather than suppressing, since suppression is destructive of the fabric of society and likely doomed to fail in the end. Right now in Switzerland most things (fitness centres, restaurants, bars, hairdressers etc) have already be re-opened or they are scheduled to reopen this week. Sweden never closed those things, and the flattening out of the above mentioned curve shows that their policy is bringing their pandemic to an end sooner and of course they won’t need to worry about lifting of restrictions; there aren't that many restrictions to lift. We, Briton, will be stuck in a dystopian lockdown indefinitely. IOM government will needs to decide what it wants for the island: 1) The island to be a geriatric facility? 2) The island be a place where the young and not-too-old can have a life worth living? 3) To keep those who are here because of the 0% corporation tax? Travel restrictions are a very serious logistic problem for them. As for the absurd curbs on personal freedoms and lifestyle activities… they are the kind of people who take a very dim view of that. They see those outrageous limitations as the harbinger of other policies that are typical of jurisdictions they wouldn’t touch with a bargepole. 4) Does it care for the independence of the island? A serious crisis in public finances risk starting a chain of events that may see bit and pieces of that independence whittled away over the years. There is not a magic money tree growing on the backyard of Tynwald. You can do the nativist/community thing with flags and festivals; but without the flow of money coming through… it would be a pathetic show. In regard to (3), tax can be dodged elsewhere, even if in a less apparent manner than with having a 0% corporation rate. The nominal Swiss corporation tax rate is a little above 10%, in the most tax efficient cantons, however, it is affected by so many loopholes and deductions that for many “strategic” activities the effective rate is little above nil. And if you are a private investor, there are ways to structure a trust so that it is not taxable in Switzerland, for a non-Swiss national, if the trust has been formed before moving in there. I mention this to point out that there is plenty of tax competition from elsewhere and the 0% crowd should not given for granted. I don’t know anyone with a functioning brain who is concerned about the virus itself rather than what the government is doing about it and the kind of society that will emerge from it. Have a look at the following links. Switzerland's gyms can reopen on May 11th (most other things in there had already been reopened): * https://www.thelocal.ch/20200430/update-how-switzerlands-gyms-plan-to-reopen-on-may-11th-after-coronavirus-lockdown Hong Kong is re-opening all gyms, schools, bars and cinemas: * https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-05/coronavirus-update-australia-covid19-china-hong-kong-britain/12213200#hongkong * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSaogOH0y7I * https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/hong-kong-economy/article/3083377/coronavirus-hong-kong-bars-reopen-after-weeks Notably, those Swiss cantons who cater to the 0% crowd (Nidwalden, Obwalden, Zug, Grisons etc and I know because I spent a lot of time in those places over the years) also have plenty of native cranks who like making a display of the national flag (you don’t see that much in Geneve or Zurich). The flag looks a bit different of course, but I would barely see any difference, as a proud citizen of nowhere.
  5. Here is my detailed reply to John Wright posting of Monday the 27th of April, 03:54 pm. But first of all, let me point out again that 18 out of the 22 IOM Covid-19 fatalities have been from the Abbottswood’s assisted living facility; and indeed I would bet that all IOM fatalities have been from elderly over 70 yo with other serious health conditions (cf. attached Manx Radio’s snapshot below, and in the meantime another death has been reported Friday, still Abbottswood’s related). > I am not quoting or responding in full, but you are writing total twaddle. I did not write my postings to this forum in the style of a formal paper authored with my full name. However, all I wrote is factually based. There are plenty of figures and facts which are immediately verifiable if you bother to just google for them. > Abbottswood is a private facility, as are most on island. It was up to their management to have the right PPE or acquire it. It is licensed and regulated by the IOM government. Indeed, my understanding is that their license has now been revoked and IOM government has taken full charge. If IOM authorities had acted sooner, those deaths could have been avoided. It is technically impossible to eradicate a virus such as Covid-19 from the wider community, due to the R0 of an unimpeded transmission being well above 3 and the fact that over 85% of carriers have no symptoms. However, an assisted living facility made of a few buildings is a pretty close kind of environment where anything that goes in and out can be closely monitored. If all nurses and other staff had been monitored for infection, and if the residents had also been monitored for infection, isolated when needed, the outbreak would have been avoided. The whole point I am making is that IOM government has tried to protect me, for instance, for which it is receiving absolutely no gratitude, from me, you can rest assured, since I have low risk of having a serious Covid-19 illness; while it has failed to protect those who most obviously needed to be safeguarded. Covid-19 kills the very old and those suffering from a specific set of illnesses and conditions. There are exceptions to this rule, but exceedingly rare. Some relatively young doctors and nurses are at risk if not provided with adequate PPE because within a health care settings there is the possibility of infection with high viral load; but otherwise, the risk of serious complications for most people is very low. The fatality rate across the whole population is 1-3 times the common flu. > Have you checked death figures in homes in Italy France Spain, they’re bad, with hot spots, multiple deaths, emergency evacuations. If Italy and Spain had adopted a more liberal form of social distancing, on a voluntary basis and following an honest and adult conversation with the public, such as Sweden and the Netherlands and Switzerland have done, Italy’s and Spain’s situation would now be better and more manageable in the longer term. The best strategy to deal with Covid-19 is to focus on isolating those who are more at risk from serious complications. To try to “protect” the wider population from a virus with such low death rate (1-3 times the common flu) is pointless and an absolutely enormous waste of resources. It is also a guarantee fail in the long term, as no immunity is achieved within the wider population and the virus can resume spreading as soon as the lockdown is lifted, and the lockdown cannot continue for ever. > It’s nothing to do with food shopping, relative visiting. They provide food, cook it, to all residents. Visiting stopped weeks ago. It’s come in via staff. Yes, and staff could and should have been monitored closely. > Residents aren’t going to pass it on to anyone, other than other residents or staff. They also should have been monitored closely for infection. > Lockdown stops it’s spread in the community. The IOM lockdown has been spectacularly successful. What IOM’s lockdown has unfortunately achieved is preventing the wide population from acquiring immunity from the damn virus. Thus, we are now stuck into this lockdown indefinitely, possibly for years. IOM government has acted cowardly after it has seen the UK campaign, which was entirely driven by politics, politics, politics. > Your suggestion of what is scientific consensus is clearly wrong. You are factually and documentably wrong. Until it was an epidemiological science issue, the consensus was that a pandemic agent with a profile (reproduction rate and fatality rate) such as Covid-19 could not and should not be suppressed in the wide population. UK pandemic planning was not about how to achieve suppression, but how to achieve a controlled spread limiting damage until the infection had burned itself out by natural course. Indeed, the UK government, following scientific advice, had been into this kind of planning for agents less contagious and with higher fatality rate than Covid-19. The more contagious a pathological agent is, the higher the cost of trying to suppress it; and the less deadly it is, the lower the payoff from any suppression which might be achieved (and in the specific case of Covid-19 suppression is technically impossible). The UK had a pandemic rule-book and it chucked it out as soon as the pandemic became a political issue. It could not stand the way in which the left would have capitalised on it with silly arguments such as “Tories killing grannies for money”... those heartless Tories. Academic advice also immediately turned from logic arguments towards politics, as you would expect considering the obvious left-wing political leanings of 4/5 of them (and the remaining 1/5 has to fall in line not to prejudice their academic career). ================================================================================================ Here are some further events of the past few days: 1) The 277 South Korean Covid-19 “reinfection cases” that originally prompted doubts about acquired immunity were in fact false positives, according to researchers at Seoul University. You can read it by yourself: http://m.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20200429000724 Heard immunity has never been disproved; and it has started to become apparent from the flattening out of the Swedish curve of cumulative deaths. 2) Last Wednesday the WHO hailed Sweden as the “model” for “the new normal”, as there is now mounting evidence that their plan will achieve the intended result. As you can see from the 2nd and 3rd figures below, the Swedish curve of cumulative deaths has started flattening out (considering that it is lagging the UK’s curve by about ten days; it has to be shifted a bit backwards to make the two curves comparable). Since most things (including schools, gyms, bars and restaurants) are open there, such flattening out can only be derived from heard immunity rather than punishing social isolation. By mid-June you will see a sharp fall in their number of daily deaths; their policy will have beaten out the virus, and there won’t be much concern about a second wave when restrictions are lifted, because there won’t be that many restrictions to lift. Two weeks ago a serological study showed that 26% of Stockholm residents had already acquired the antibodies that confer immunity; by now that percentage must be kind of 40%, since two weeks have passed and many don’t get the antibodies because the T-cells of their immune system sort out the infection before any illness, even mild, kicks in. When mid June comes for us fearful Britons, thanks to the demented policy of total suppression of a virus so easily transmissible such as Covid-19, we will be still stuck into this damn lockdown, with closed borders and perhaps even gyms and sport and recreational facilities still closed, with no end in sight. The British covidiots will still be holed into their homes for the imbecile purpose of saving the bullshit institution of the NHS, which must work as a pure form of socialism and be divined too to add insult to injury (just compare its performance with those of the European countries that have decentralised insurance based health care system: Switzerland, Germany, Austria). When those Swedish cumulative deaths flatten out, the covidiots will have the evidence of their failure presented in front of their eyes. This absurd lockdown has brought economic devastation and wreckage to people lives, mental and health problems, and it will have all been for nothing! 3) I am not the only one who is angry and outspoken, Elon Musk for one did not mince his words and characterised it unambiguously as fascist: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/29/elon-musk-slams-coronavirus-shelter-in-place-orders-as-fascist.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHZdAp_Yku Hitler and Stalin could have not come up with a better plan than this virus to impoverish and degrade the population first and then establish authoritarian control. The likes of Orban are enacting the virus plan to the full extent. And of course the Communist Party of China could have not been more diabolic. Britain, as a reaction to this crisis, thought the signs where already there from the need to ramp up support for Brexit, is sliding into a paternalistic right-wingism, which worries me less than the left-wing confiscatory version of it as concerns my own personal finances to be clear, but still it is so pathetic and mediocre. We had just got rid of the European Union parasite; now this other parasite has infected good governance. Can’t we just be free? 4) Eventually, and this is what gives me hope, people will not be able to live under lockdown for much longed and they will start taking matters into their hands. There will be always a few covidiots who won’t venture out for fear of being fulminated; but most people will conclude that years of social distancing imposed through the force of the state is too immensely degrading to our lives to be acceptable. The 4th picture shows a comparison of the M4 on April 30 and the same time on April 10; so pleased to see it. 5) The 5th picture (a Manx Radio’s snapshot) is the exhibit of a Manx covidiot trying to practice surfing in his garage to spread the “stay at home” message. In the interview he is so emphatic about the need of staying at home to be safe. If you go out, you die. Listen how he has been totally brainwashed by the government into submission the poor fella. There is absolutely no way one can catch Covid-19 by surfing in the open sea. But even if he were to venture out in Strand St, or even, horribly, commit the thought crime of having a party with his friends, a brief car journey would present a greater risk to his life than Covid-19, considering his very young age. Take that as a poster picture of the damage the government has done to people’s sanity. It is a particularly poignant example because the sea is symbol of freedom (“bring me that horizon” kind of lifting feeling) and what has historically protected the British islands and forged their collective character and psyche. Unfortunately, in the modern age, it does not protect from a disgraceful government corrupted by power and cowardice.
  6. “The Chief” and “Zarley”: The reason why I linked to Fox News is because Youtube had censored the video from the California scientists and thus I had to google their names to find a replacement copy, which I happened to find in a Fox New’s web page. I am a practical libertarian, not a supporter of Trump or enthusiast follower of Fox News. I would however prefer Trump and Fox News to a crazy authoritarian government trying to impose on me the limitation of “one form of exercise” per day in the outdoors for the purpose of “saving the NHS”. The NHS is nothing else more than institutionalized hypocrisy. There are plenty of opinions on my side of the argument in left-wing or centre-left media outlets (if you prefer those): a) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/opinion/coronavirus-pandemic-social-distancing.html b) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/21/facing-covid-19-reality-national-lockdown-is-no-cure/ c) https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/greater-risk-literacy-can-reduce-coronavirus-fear-by-gerd-gigerenzer-2020-03 The New York Times looks like pretty left-wing to me. The UK government officially adopted the lockdown soon after it saw the mathematical modelling of the Imperial College team headed by professor Neil Ferguson. Those are the same people that in 2001 convinced Tony Blair’s government to slaughter more than six million cattle, sheep and pigs; a policy that in retrospect became to be seen as absurd and an utterly waste of public funds, as you can see from the academic papers below. The US government followed suit as soon as it saw the same Neil Ferguson‘s flawed mathematical modelling and what the UK government was doing. The truth however is that both the UK and US government’s motivations were entirely political; they just used Ferguson’s report as a justification. I know what the papers are going to write ten years from now, but in the meantime here is some food for thought for you: 1) ‘“Carnage by Computer”: The Blackboard Economics of the 2001 Foot and Mouth Epidemic’, David Campbell and Robert Lee 2) ‘Use and abuse of mathematical models: an illustration from the 2001 foot and mouth disease epidemic in the United Kingdom‘, Michael Thrusfield et al, Edinburgh Research Explorer (The University of Edimburg), 2006 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8951/e59ad3931dce8dbfd8cda6cb96f0663afefb.pdf?_ga=2.99657048.730061829.1588217640-822816696.1588217640 3) ‘Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses‘, T Jefferson et al, NCBI, July 2011 4) ‘A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data‘ by John PA Ioannidis, Stat, March 17th 2020 5) ‘Neil Ferguson, the scientist who convinced Boris Johnson of UK coronavirus lockdown, criticised in past for flawed research‘ by Katherine Rushton and Daniel Foggo, The Telegraph, March 28th 2020 6) ‘Complicated Mathematical Models Are Not Substitutes for Common Sense‘ by Philippe Lemoine, National Review, March 30th 2020 7) ‘Dissent over coronavirus research isn’t dangerous – but stifling debate is‘ by Toby Young, The Spectator, April 4th 2020 8) ‘Predictive Mathematical Models of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Underlying Principles and Value of Projections‘, Nicholas P Jewell et al, JAMA Networks, April 16th 2020 9) ‘The Tyranny Of Models‘ by William M Briggs, wmbrigs.com, April 17th 2020 10) ‘After Repeated Failures, It’s Time To Permanently Dump Epidemic Models‘ by Michael Fumento, Issues & Insights, April 18th 2020 11) ‘POLICY IMPLICATIONS OF MODELS OF THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS: PERSPECTIVES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR ECONOMISTS‘, Christopher Avery et al, National Bureau of Economic Research, April 2020 12) ‘How Wrong Were the Models and Why?‘ by Phillip W. Magness, American Institute for Economic Research, April 23rd 2020 13) ‘The Bearer of Good Coronavirus News: an Interview With John Ioannidis‘ by Allysia Finley, Wall St Journal, April 24th 2020 ====================================================================================================== By the way, Sweden is not the only western country following the policy it is following; there are others. The Netherlands and Latvia have been following a similar policy, just more covertly, for the same political reasons. Several US states are exiting their lockdowns (some actually never imposed one). And Switzerland (one of the most affected countries by number of cases per-capita) is also coming down to hearth. Here is an except from the Telegraph yesterday: Switzerland speeds up lifting of virus restrictions (source: The Telegraph) The Swiss government said Wednesday it would speed up easing the restrictions imposed to control the coronavirus pandemic, allowing restaurants to open again on May 11. "We are in a new phase and we must learn to live with the virus," Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga told a press conference in Bern. Switzerland stopped short of imposing full confinement in March but most shops and services closed down. On Monday, hairdressers, garden centres, hardware stores and doctors' surgeries reopened again in the first stage of easing the controls. On May 11 schools can reopen, along with shops and markets in the second stage. Professional and amateur sports clubs can resume training and public transport will operate to normal schedules. The government said it was "relatively easy" to apply physical distancing and hand hygiene rules in such establishments and control the flow of people.
  7. I am sorry Zarley, I did not point out to those Fox News links because I am a supporter of Donald Trump. I am not. Read this thoughtful paper then: https://www.nicholaslewis.org/a-sensible-covid-19-exit-strategy-for-the-uk I expect feedback about my suggestion regarding the title of this thread (cf. my previous posting).
  8. The heading of my thread has been changed without asking me first! The original title was “ReOpen IOM (and hold our pathetic politicians accountable)” I would understand if the bit about politicians is removed, since it gives the thread an unfair advantage. Furthermore, it was not my intention to engage in denigration and attack the system of this island. I understand that the situation is difficult for many people and that there are no easy solutions. I do see the current lockdown arrangements as disproportionate though. The “ReOpen Isle of Man” was actually an appropriate catchphrase. It has been used by likewise movements in the US (ReOpen Maryland, ReOpen Michigan etc) and thus it gives the idea immediately. I would proposed the following heading: ReOpen Isle of Man – Exit from Covid-19 restrictions Let me know your thoughts about it. In the meantime, you may wish to check these two brief videos: https://video.foxnews.com/v/6152462264001#sp=show-clips https://video.foxnews.com/v/6152492933001#sp=show-clips on the same topic as the one I pointed out yesterday. There is always another side to the argument.
  9. I am sorry P.K. I always thought that all those redneck gun right activists of rural America where absolutely nuts. There are nuts, by any mean, I never had interest in guns by myself. But this crisis made me understand the purpose of those nuts: they pose a limit to what the government can do to you. Who is going to live with the imbecility of the restriction to "one form of exercise a day" for the purpose of saving the NHS. It is just too dumb to bear. The point is that the rednecks are nuts but the government can be worse. Two pics below. To protest Gretchen Whitmer's Covid-19 restrictions armed men gathered at the statehouse of Michigan while others protested in their cars: "Live free or day" say the banners. The second pic shows a pig country of Southern Europe (Milan Cathedral in the background) where the population can be submitted to the will of a government so filthy to even ban outdoor physical exercise for no reason at all. I know in which of the two countries I would prefer to live.
  10. P.K. and John Wright: I will revert later with my thoughts regarding the Abbottswood assisted living facility and John Wright’s comments. In the meantime, you may wish to look at an interview with scientists that are following closely the “pandemic” in California, I mean the video just below the heading of this article: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/04/26/doctor_after_doing_5000_coronavirus_tests_its_similar_to_the_flu_and_quarantine_should_end.html They say that Covid-19 may have a fatality rate as low as the common flu, 0.1%, and that the lockdown is pointless. His position is actually more optimistic than mine. I said that it may be 2-3 times more deadly; I did not want to stick my neck out with an outlier. Eventually the risk profile of this virus is going to be understood and the rebellion will gather pace: https://finance.yahoo.com/video/opinion-rebellion-against-coronavirus-lockdown-231559890.html The population will rebel because it can’t keep living like this, it doesn’t make sense. Several US states are already lifting nearly all restrictions and even reopening clubs and gyms. Georgia is one of them: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa/georgia-eateries-welcome-diners-back-as-more-u-s-states-ease-pandemic-shutdowns-idUSKCN2291UR I honestly do think that Covid-19 is both more contagious and potentially deadly than the common flu and that some some mitigation and social distancing measures had to be taken. But there should be a sense of proportion and balance. Imperial College's models applied to the Isle of Man have been proved wrong: they show three curves (depending on the amount of social distancing introduced) that are in excess what has been the pandemic so far in the island. Here is what was stated in IOMToday three weeks ago: "Health Minister David Ashford presented a graph at this afternoon’s press briefing showing a number of scenarios that have been modelled by his department. If the virus is not controlled, as has happened in other parts of the world, daily cases could rise to a peak of just under 120 by April 19, as indicated by the blue line on the graph. But the red line marking the realistic planning assumption by the DHSC shows a peak of about 75 cases a day by May 3 while the orange line illustrates a best case scenario when there is a peak of under 50 cases a day by May 22. Mr Ashford said these latter two would require everyone to follow stringent guidelines on staying at home and social distancing." Where are all those daily cases predicted by Ashford's department now? Furthermore, what is important is not the number of cases, but the number of people who fall seriously ill or even die. There is no point sheltering at home those to whom the coronavirus is little more than a common cold, which is most of us.
  11. In my last posting (Saturday 2:01 pm) I had written that 1/3 of Covid-19 deaths have been in assisted living facilities (cf. point 1). I wrote that because of incomplete information I had gathered from IOMToday days ago. Actually, it is the other way around. Only in Abbotswood care facility there have been 13 of the 18 deaths so far (cf. Manx Radio’s snapshot below). Another member of this forum, “hissingsid”, also pointed out the matter. That is actually strong support of the point I was trying to make. The government of this island could have focused the Covid-19 response on isolating and closely monitoring the assisted living facilities; as well as helping isolating the elderly in those estates that we call retirement homes and those who live elsewhere in the community. Help could have been provided with food deliveries, monitoring and testing of relations etc. The government could have identified the 5,000 people of this island who are more at risk, and see what could be done to keep them safe. If the government had kept that kind focus while frankly leaving in peace to live their lives those who go to the offices, the gyms, the NSC complex etc; wouldn’t we have had less Covid-19 deaths on the island at this stage? Did they have one death, one sole death, that wasn’t from the group of people that are most obviously vulnerable to this coronavirus? Basically the very old and those with the comorbidities mentioned in my previous posting. The Isle of Man TT is much more dangerous to the fit ones; I would rather much take a chance with Covid-19 than with those dangerous drives. Wouldn’t the government finances be in a better state, to do all the other things that a government is meant to do? Why locking up all of us? I rest my case that the typical social structures on this island (as well as most of Britain, in contrast to European countries that have more familistic structures) do make it easier to contains Covid-19 by focusing on vulnerable groups while leaving the others to their own devices. So far the population has been scarred into submission with the fear of this virus: “If you go out, you will die!” What is going to happen when the bulk of the population starts working out the specific risk profile of this virus? There will be many more kinds of rebels than those the police and judges of this island saw fit to arrest and even jail for the awful crime of drinking a bear together. For most of us the risk from this virus is not as serious as to keep our lives on hold for any extended period. Good luck with trying to turn the bulk of the population into meditating monks and nuns self-isolating in perpetuity. It just doesn't make sense for a virus causing an illness only a few times more deadly statistically than the common flu. The daft policy of the indiscriminate lockdown speaks volumes about the problem with government organisations and their heard thinking, rather than with heard immunity. It is truly the wrong kind of immunity that affects them; plus the problem with politics and populism. In reply to P.K.'s posting of Saturday 11:13 pm. All the cases of re-infection documented in South Korea occurred within a few weeks of the original infection and are though to be manifestation of the same illness event. Sometimes the virus is biphasic. The virus also keeps changing and evolving; 30 strains have been identified so far and there will be many more. This is a problem for long lasting acquired immunity from infection, but also for having a workable vaccine. A vaccine will be helpful when available, but it is probably not likely to be the main solution for most of the people in most of the world. Are you going keeping re-vaccinating 7 billion of people every time a new strain of this coronavirus comes along? We don’t all have a flu shot; I never had one. Any vaccine will have its own trade-offs and may not be advisable for everyone. The most likely course is that, as it usually happens with pathogenic agents, over time the less dangerous strains of this virus will crowd out the other ones; and a mix of that and of acquired immunity from previous infection, and maybe even some vaccine for the vulnerable and the most exposed, will see the whole Covid-19 problem fade away over the years. You can also expect that the bulk of the population will loose patience with lockdowns when the actual risk profile of Covid-19 is widely understood; whatever happens on the vaccine front. I know that my assessment is affected by unknowns. But, firstly, my assessment actually reflects the balance of scientific consensus before politics and populism took over. Secondly, considering the enormity of the limitations on basic personal freedoms imposed on us, and the enormity of the financial costs, the burden of proof about the need of a certain policy is squarely with those that support the maintenance of the same draconian measures indefinitely. From a practical perspective, the daily cost of the lockdown for the UK government has been calculated as to what it takes to build six large state-of-the-art hospitals; every day six new hospitals! The lockdown isn’t going to save lives dudes. Allow me a rebuke to “gettafa” with interest in sandwiches, in reference to his posting of Saturday 7:48 pm. I have never been a member of Manx Forums before. I heard that kind of allegation before, that I only care about myself, indeed on the very first day of preschool, and of course many other times by those who are the more social personality kind of type and see themselves as morally superior or pretend to be. Instead of pointing out to perceived personality flaws to discredit the whole of the points I made, maybe you should try using logic arguments to dispute the bits where you disagree with me. And then we can have a civilised discussion and maybe agree to disagree on the issues that can’t be reconciled. If you just say that my arguments are wrong because I am the wrong type of guy (a WTF kind of person) then I can’t help much with that. I appreciate the strong community feeling within the island and that at a certain level it is why I joined the forum and started the thread of re-opening IOM. I would have not joined an UK forum on this topic.
  12. In reply to P.K. (Thursday’s posting of 7:19 am). And also to Roger Mexico (Thursday’s posting of 11:15 am) who says that my original posting (the one at the very top that started the topic of reopening IOM) was too stupid to have been produced by a human... Since the dawn of time new pathogenic agents have emerged, often jumping over from the animal world, and their natural course is to burn out over time, as human population builds up immunity to them. That is how an immune system works. Academics will always come up with the kind of solutions proposed by the radical left, because most of them are avowed socialists, and the few who are not have to fall in line to avoid being ostracised by their community (with obvious consequences for their careers). The truth is that there is not much reliable evidence that draconian restrictions are making a difference with this virus. The photo on the bottom was taken on the 21st of April in Hornstull, Stockholm. The graph below that photo shows the evolution of the pandemic on a per-capita basis in Sweden as well as other countries: you wouldn’t tell much the difference; Sweden has plateaued like the others; now Sweden has not as many worries as us about lifting the restrictions, because there is not much to lift. My estimation of the fatality rate of Covid-19 is 0.2-0.3%; to be compared with the fatality rate of the common flu, which is 0.1%, i.e., the coronavirus is 2-3 times more deadly than the common flu; though it is much more contagious: an R0 above 3 versus 1.3 for the common flu. Various antibodies studies around the world put a cap on that fatality rate at no more than 0.5% (New York’s being the latest, just came up a couple of days ago); but it is an overestimation, because from kids up to teenage years, the virus seems to pass through them as if nothing has happened; and to those in the range, let’s say 15-40 yo, the T-cells of their immune systems deal with the infection before any real illness kicks in, in most cases, and thus don’t produce antibodies; it is only the older ones that need an immune response that turns up later into visible serological antibodies. Thus, whatever figure you see published now in regard to the fatality rate, just treat it as an over-estimation, an absolute cap, and it will be become apparent later that my intuition is right. Please note that the original estimation of the broad population fatality rate was 3%, which was revised to 1%, then to “most surely below 1”...; one can spot a trend there. For most people, the coronavirus is not a matter of particular concern, certainly not as serious as to have repressive long term lifestyle changes imposed upon them. The coronavirus can be dangerous to the very old or those who have conditions that cause inflammation in the body, chiefly diabetes and obesity (those two afflictions are the most consistent predictor of death in the not-too-old). Since those who have had type 2 diabetes and managed to clear it through lifestyle changes can see it restarted with just a couple of weeks of reversion to their sedentary ways, the advice of staying confined to one’s home is particularly cretin, coming from the government; stupid also closing gyms and other sport facilities to the healthy. The most economically repressive countries of Europe (the likes of Spain and Italy) have also banned outdoor physical activities such as running, because running on your own is seen as “selfish”. The filthy stench of socialism. Here are some issues that come to my mind regarding the Covid-19 response on this island: 1) About one third of deaths have been in care homes. The government could have focused on isolating those as well as monitoring closely other places for older people such as retirement homes, which the island has plenty. Indeed the close environment of the island would have made it possible to build a database of elderly and others who are vulnerable to the coronavirus because of their health condition and then concentrating effort on monitoring them for exposure and keeping them safe (tracing and testing their social contacts, food deliveries etc); while leaving the non-vulnerable part of the population free to live their life as they wish. The policy of indiscriminate confinement of those for whom the virus poses little risk is plainly dumb; and you see it from the result. You can’t just sweep under the carpet a death occurrence 100-200 times greater than the other places I pointed out with my original posting (those figures are immediately available from several web-sites that tract the pandemic). The low population density on this island (in respect to the places I had mentioned) should have made things much easier. The fact that here the elderly are living on their own or with other elderly people, rather than within extended family group as typical of other European countries, should have made things much easier. 2) The inconvenience of the border closure should not even need to be explained. Half of the population on this island is British of UK origin, with family ties to UK countries. And business won’t be able to move about personnel. I wonder if air travel links will ever be restored to what they were before. It is a critical issue because many are on this island because they know that they will be able to jump quickly to London or other parts of the UK with a normal commercial aircraft when needed. The closure appears to follow the daft idea of eradicating the coronavirus on the island regardless of what happens in the rest of the world; a fantasy which only an islander could entertain. 3) The island has had in the past a problem with retaining young people. The lockdown impacts disproportionately many run-of-the-mill local business that employ the indigenous population of the island (thanks also to the policy of requiring job permits for those kind of jobs). Closing gyms and ban social events indefinitely also won’t help. London will always offer more attractions to the young and the UK government has much more margin of error to let politics screw up things. Things will always bounce back in London and the South East. 4) Some consensus based policies of this island may end up being strained; as the population is not not uniformly well off. That kind of protest can be easily silenced when unemployment rests below 1% (as it was prior to the crisis) and most people have good living standards; otherwise, I guess, a lot of assumptions end up being challenged. The lack of a confrontational and ideologically charged opposition should have offered the authorities the opportunity to deal with the incident of the pandemic in a more calculated manner. Instead, they acted cowardly and retreated to the obvious comfort zone of politicians. The island does not have a central bank that can just crank up the printing press to cover shortfalls. What it has got is a kind of currency board with limited seigniorage capabilities and then it has to run a more competitive type of economy where people are left to the satisfaction of productive work and making the most of their abilities rather than relying too much on welfare; in particular the government has got to balance the books as a must. In the longer term, the independence of the island may come into question if a different model is pursued or forced by circumstances. There is a price to pay for having that independence, for not having the printing press, but also an opportunity, for allowing an economic model that brings more growth. That growth need to be pursued and the benefit to be visible for the independence to be justified. 5) Normally I have better to do that hanging around the central streets of Douglas, but that is what I have done during the past month sometimes, just because the government was absurdly forbidding it (always on my own and respecting other people private space). The police saw me more than once and must have understood I was there on no business, I even smiled at them to make sure I was noticed, and was never stopped, never asked any question. What the police has done during the past month, running through a list of people known for antisocial behaviour and go and see what they where doing; and when it saw that they were doing the wrong things, lock them up with month-long sentences (just google the names of those who have been jailed, most had a prior record of something). That was class-based enforcement of the coronavirus restrictions by both police and judges.
  13. I thank those of you who have provided feedback to my original posting. In reply to “GD4ELI”, what you are calling "money" I understand as the economy, which is our livelihood and the only sustainable source of all the tax revenue that allows the government to fund a good health care service, fund pensions and other basic welfare services, fund good education, maintain basic infrastructure and so on. If the cure to Covid-19 harms the tax base, all those services provided by the government, including the treatment of the many illnesses other than Covid-19, will be impaired. If your friend is vulnerable to Covid-19, he/she is also unfortunately vulnerable to flu, pneumonia and other conditions that a well funded health care service may be able to treat. “The Chief” said that I am a “clever bot” (I wish I had designed a bot that clever to do things...) and that my claims are based on rubbish ideas. The figures I quoted about the pandemic are immediately available on Worldmeter (web site “www.worldometers.info/coronavirus”) and a lot of other sources. Sweden is having less than half Covid-19 cases and mortality than Britain on a per-capita basis and just a few days ago the scientists there in charge of controlling the pandemic have said that heard immunity will be reached by the end of May. UK newspapers have widely reported that claim, which is in line with my understanding of the profile of this pandemic. There are a few Covid-19 issues specific to this island that I wish to point out; I will write down them later on the same Max Forums’s topic.
  14. The title of the posting makes it clear where I stand; I see the lockdown as a politically motivated act of social and economic vandalism. There is little evidence that the lockdown is achieving much as concerns limiting the direct damage from the pandemic: countries that have introduced social-distancing on a mostly voluntary basis (Sweden, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea) while keeping most of their economies open and afloat are having much lower Covid-19 deaths per-capita than us. It tells about the competence (or lack thereof) of our authorities to achieve anything apart from crashing the economy and depleting public coffers. The evidence of that bonehead failure is staggering (figures as of the 20th of April): Cases Deaths Isle of Man 300 9 Singapore 8,014 11 Hong Kong 1,206 4 The population of Hong Kong is 7.45 million versus 86K on this island. It means that on this island, the per-capita fatality of Covid-19 is 7,450 / 86 x 9 / 4 = 195 times that of Hong Kong. Same virus, but nearly 200 times more deadly on these shores! Hallelujah. Yes, I know that IOM’s population is older on average. But also note these other circumstances. In Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea the pandemic started nearly two months before us; the authorities here had nearly two months to prepare, and did nothing or very little about it. Furthermore, it is enormously more difficult to control a pandemic in such densely populated regions as Hong Kong and Singapore (the land surface of this island is nearly as much as Singapore’s, think). In Singapore, most of the contagion has come from immigrants’ dormitories where ten people sleep in a room; we don’t have here that kind of unmanageable problems on the IOM. It should have been comparably much easier for us. Basically, the authorities here have been good at crashing the economy and stopping us from living our lives; while achieving very little as concerns mitigating the direct damage from the pandemic. They have little to show for the sacrifice imposed on us. Listen to the pathetic speech of our politicians: I protect the island, I protect the island and I protect the island. Brainless. Brainless justification for trashing civil liberties, endangering our economic, physical and mental well-being, imposing on us a busybody police state. The politicians succeeded in positioning themselves such as to deflect or take the least blame for the situation of the pandemic. The police succeeded in jailing for months some low-lifers for having parties (keep reading about those sentences nearly every day now on IOM Today and Manx News and it makes me cringe). Good job.
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