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COVID Maths and Covid 19

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Kathar1na

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I'm truly not pointing fingers at anyone, but this thread is beginning to remind me of why discussing politics and religion is not allowed on this forum.
Really???

I learnt a bunch of useful and interesting things, even from the comments I don't agree with 100%. I'd even go so far as to say in particular from those comments.
 

Camino Chrissy

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Really???

I learnt a bunch of useful and interesting things, even from the comments I don't agree with 100%. I'd even go so far as to say in particular from those comments.
Yes, really, but I only speak for myself and what I seem to be observing as of late.
I appreciate all the research many of you do, and respect the input many of you share from your research. I am not critical of that and admit I do not absorb much of it as I am not analytical by nature.
I adhere to the basics that are known to do as an individual and wait for a vaccine. I suppose this thread is really not for one such as me. I think I should probably stick to threads about backpacks, shoes and humor.
 

VNwalking

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"Pandemics are not like hurricanes. You don’t hunker down, weather the storm".
This was an eye-opener, because that is exactly how I'm relating to this.
But, really, the dynamic nature of the system is what defines it.

I appreciate the background about Ferguson's model, @Doughnut NZ .
I distinctly remember that my friends and I had stopped our habit of hugging and kissing on cheeks twice or three times at the beginning and end of every meeting at a point in time at least one week before the severe national lockdown was declared, and maybe we had already modified our behaviour even earlier.
So I have not read the paper in Nature,, so am asking from a place of complete ignorance.
The compliance may have been a hallmark of the first few months, but now many places are facing a second iteration with less compliance and more active resistance to restraint. So I would not expect the behaviour of the system to be the same as the first time around through. On top of that there are potential second-order interactions, not the least because of feedback resulting in amplification. Is anyone modelling this?
 
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Camino(s) past & future
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Well yes...maybe ..be careful

One of our own very eminent Epidemologists from Imperial college in London ...no names mentioned

2001 ......Foot and mouth ......150,000 will die in the Uk!
200 died and thousands of animals slaughtered.....

.....PS....I got most of the statistics ..well all really from Google and Wikipedia!!!

Best wishes
Annette

(I edited the above quote but the sense is not altered.)

This statement is recognisably wrong in that humans very, very rarely contract "foot and mouth disease" and do not die from it.


"Rarely, the infection crosses to humans and produces a mild viremia, with blistering. The last reported human case in Great Britain occurred in 1966."

However, is it possible that the good professor did (in ignorance) actually make an erroneous statement in 2001?

After much labour at the keyboard, I may have tracked down the source :


"Editor’s Note: This post originally claimed that Ferguson had predicted that 150,000 people could die from foot-and-mouth disease. In fact, that figure was Ferguson’s upper-bound estimate of deaths for mad-cow disease by 2080. It has been corrected and we regret the error."

This was published in May 2020 though the correction is undated. These two diseases are completely different but have been conflated previously on this Forum...

Now, does any of this matter? Yes, because it illustrates the worrying capability of some members to post material which they do not recognise is demonstrably wrong but which may be accepted by the unwary and perpetuated. Others will recognise that I have a habit of correcting factual medical errors which I see as a duty incumbent upon any medical practitioner, albeit retired as I am.

Time now to go out for a run...
 

Kathar1na

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I adhere to the basics that are known to do as an individual and wait for a vaccine.
That is your individual choice. But aren't you curious to know why decisions are taken on a wider level that affect you individually? Why some people support these decisions (support them; not the same as comply ☺) while others oppose them and engage in having them changed?

I'm highly critical of the video that initiated this part of the "maths" thread, yet there is a lot in it that makes me think ... and I find the exchange with others about it useful.
 

VNwalking

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Time now to go out for a run...
And a walkhere.... :cool:

Thank you, @mjal, for the context of this whole kerfuffle, and for bringing those corrections to light. It is very easy to quote an erroneous story without noticing the correction, and it is incumbent on all of us to join in the collective task of fact-checking, and to point out misleading pieces when we see them. It is tiring but essential.
 
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This was an eye-opener, because that is exactly how I'm relating to this.
But, really, the dynamic nature of the system is what defines it.

I appreciate the background about Ferguson's model, @Doughnut NZ .

So I have not read the paper in Nature,, so am asking from a place of complete ignorance.
The compliance may have been a hallmark of the first few months, but now many places are facing a second iteration with less compliance and more active resistance to restraint. So I would not expect the behaviour of the system to be the same as the first time around through. On top of that there are potential second-order interactions, not the least because of feedback resulting in amplification. Is anyone modelling this?
I'm sorry but I don't know what factors various research teams are modeling and just for the avoidance of doubt, the Nature paper that peer reviewed the Ferguson model code did not evaluate the factors that influence the model.

In the normal course of events I would expect the original peer reviewers to have done that but because the deliberations of the SAGE Committee are confidential I am unable to find that information. However, given the calibre of the participants and their fields of expertise I would be astonished if this wasn't done.

@Kathar1na may be able to shed some light on this, she had an earlier comment about household compliance being set at 50%.

As further clarification, my own model building work is non-medical and does not include Covid-19 in any form. I build machine learning models that recognise various, short, non-rythmic human movement. This is done within a sports coaching environment. The closest easily recognisable equivalent is the algorithms within the various smart watches that automatically recognise when you are walking or running and count your steps. Excepting that these smart watches only recognise rythmic movement like walking, running, cycling etc whereas my models are designed for non-rythmic movement.
 
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peregrina2000

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I read somewhere (I can't find the source right now) that one thing that was underestimated in the Ferguson models as to the input data that they used was the compliance of households during a lockdown. They used a figure of only 50% but the actual compliance turned out to be much higher.

I very much like the Box quote — essentially all models are wrong, but some are useful. It seems to me that government leaders are in the totally uncomfortable position of having to make policy decisions based on models that they know will be wrong. So it’s the old veil of ignorance problem.

Kathar1na’s elaboration on the flaws in the Ferguson models reminded me that the modelers at my university made predictions based on the opposite assumption, and they were wrong as well!

At the University of Illinois, the policy about re-opening was based on a model. And based on twice a week testing with a rapid saliva test. No access to university buildings without being able to show that your last covid test was negative. Well-organized quaranting housing on campus. Vastly reduced density in the in-person classes and labs. A good chunk of classes on line. So why are the current numbers of infected students so much higher than they predicted? Because of errors in the model. The modelers predicted student partying, they predicted that 7,000 students would be unprotected and in large gatherings three times a week. But then they made the assumption that once a student tested positive, there would be no wilfull endangerment of fellow students or faculty and staff — in essence that the students would comply with the rules AFTER diagnosis. They did not predict that students would try to hack the app so that they could get into classes with a positive test, that they would refuse to cooperate with contact tracing, that they would host covid parties....


When it comes to models, it seems to me that the policy makers have three choices — just open up and say, covid be damned and see what happens; do a total lockdown and produce all the negative economic and psychological consequences that come from that; or try to make a reasoned response in the middle taking into account the best information available. And it seems to me that models, for all their flaws, have got to be the best information available, at least until we can get a crystal ball that works.
 

C clearly

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try to make a reasoned response in the middle taking into account the best information available. And it seems to me that models, for all their flaws, have got to be the best information available
I totally agree.
Because of errors in the model.
Perhaps @DoughnutNZ can confirm my understanding (maybe I am just arguing semantics), but isn't it the case that @Peregrina's example showed a flawed assumption for one variable, but not a flaw in the model itself. That is important because it is too easy to dismiss the validity of a mathematical model, when the problem actually lies in the decision of the social scientists on what assumptions to make and examine.
 

peregrina2000

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Perhaps @DoughnutNZ can confirm my understanding (maybe I am just arguing semantics), but isn't it the case that @Peregrina's example showed a flawed assumption for one variable, but not a flaw in the model itself. That is important because it is too easy to dismiss the validity of a mathematical model, when the problem actually lies in the decision of the social scientists on what assumptions to make and examine.

This is absolutely what I meant — that the flaw was in the assumptions, that going back and re-doing the assumptions, the model would have predicted what wound up happening. If that makes sense. Thanks for clarifying, @C clearly.
 

JabbaPapa

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Again, if I remember correctly, this is actually one of the fallacies/misleading comments in the earlier video. Provided I remember correctly, the whole course of Covid-19 epidemics is described as something immutable predestined

No.

He explicitly makes clear that future incidences of serious cases and deaths are not predictable.

Certainly nothing like "immutable predestined", which sounds like nothing that he actually said, and in fact sounds a lot like an instance of semantic overinterpretation.
 

JabbaPapa

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@JabbaPapa, you react to the last post instead of looking at the whole exchange that lead to it. I find such reactions (from anyone, I hasten to add, and I've probably done it myself) sometimes frustrating because the whole exchange becomes pointless and I regret that I engaged at all - but then it would look like I agreed with a reply when I don't. This is exactly why the quote says: "Pandemics are not like hurricanes. You don’t hunker down, weather the storm". Isn't it obvious that this covers measures to protect oneself? And that these measures don't change the storm? That it's an essential difference between storms and epidemics because in the latter case protective measures do influence the course of the epidemic???

Honestly, I think that this is just an artefact from points of view converging from 180° opposite directions.

The point I was trying to make is that active and reactive elements affect each other, including in incidences of hurricane landfall, and BTW implicitly agreeing with the point that viral epidemics are also dynamic events.

And human activities do in fact affect the relative strength of hurricanes versus humans -- because when communities have built dikes against tidal surges, have made sure that the flood plains of their rivers have been kept free of vulnerable housing and infrastructures, have ensured that woodlands are located between their dwellings and the typical direction that the hurricanes come from, and maybe have built their towns behind the hard protection of topography, then yes hurricanes will hit them less hard than otherwise.

But I'm a bit surprised that you failed to spot the metaphor -- measures taken for community protection against hurricanes are not dissimilar in purpose nor intent to measures undertaken for community protection against viral epidemics, or other oncoming natural disasters, despite all of the detail differences, in that in all cases people seek to protect each other howsoever they can.
 

JabbaPapa

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I simply don't see a very low death rate preceding Covid for the whole time period inside the oval shape.

What do you see?
View attachment 83037
View attachment 83039

The ordinary range is the area between the two dotted lines.

And it's not "the death rate was lower than average prior to Covid19" -- it's that in these and those specific territories it was.

He is very clear that in Norway and Finland the death rate was as expected, and that in some other territories it was only marginally lower than average.

And it is a clear misrepresentation to suggest that he's trying to fob off the blatantly huge Covid19 spike in deaths as being purely from low death rates in 2019. His very clear position is that the massive Covid19 spike is primarily caused by people dying from the disease epidemic.

But that those countries without those lower death rates in 2019 have a somewhat mitigated Covid19 spike of deaths.
 
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JabbaPapa

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I'm truly not pointing fingers at anyone, but this thread is beginning to remind me of why discussing politics and religion is not allowed on this forum.

I very much agree -- but the whole point of this thread originally was to keep this more speculative stuff well well away from the main Covid19 thread, where speculation and counter-speculation is definitely to be avoided, because those looking into that main thread need reliable information, not guesswork.
 

Kathar1na

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For this pandemic: "Flatten the curve!"

What's the equivalent for hurricanes?
 

Kathar1na

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an earlier comment about household compliance being set at 50%.
I couldn't remember where I had read it but in the meantime I have found it again: It was the article on Neil Ferguson in Wikipedia 🤭. The source given was a reference to Hendrik Streeck. He is the leader of the "Heinsberg" study, a study of one of the first large Covid-19 clusters in Germany. In an interview in early April (!) 2020, there is this exchange [Translated with DeepL.com]:

Zeit Online: There is a public debate about whether politicians listen too much to individual experts. Where do you place yourself in this respect?​
Streeck: At present, people rely too much on model calculations. But these models are full of assumptions that nobody has tested. And often, only one assumption has to be wrong or one thing has to be ignored, and the whole model collapses.​
Zeit Online: Do you have an example?​
Streeck: In the - really good - model studies of the Imperial College on the progression of the epidemic, the authors assume, for example, that 50 percent of the households in which there is a case do not comply with voluntary quarantine. Where does such an assumption come from? I think we should establish more facts.​
I have now also found the reference in the report that started it all. It is on page 6 of Report 9: Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand, published in March 2020 where it says: Voluntary home quarantine - Following identification of a symptomatic case in the household, all household members remain at home for 14 days. [...]. Assume 50% of household comply with the policy.

PS: Just noticed that 50% of the households [interview] and 50% of household [report] is presumably not the same but I don't know whether it matters.
 
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Was it yesterday that I posted the youtube video? No matter. At that time I thought that I might post another video from the same creator but it didn't look like it would be interesting to the posters on this thread. This morning I watched it and changed my mind. It is about how N95 masks don't work the way you think they do.

 
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Frances (2019)
I totally agree.

Perhaps @DoughnutNZ can confirm my understanding (maybe I am just arguing semantics), but isn't it the case that @Peregrina's example showed a flawed assumption for one variable, but not a flaw in the model itself. That is important because it is too easy to dismiss the validity of a mathematical model, when the problem actually lies in the decision of the social scientists on what assumptions to make and examine.
Yes, your understanding is correct. However this sensitivity to input variables is a known issue and so in my own work, for example, I "tune" the variable settings until my models match my reality as closely as possible.

In my own work this is feasible because I go out and collect real case data that I can use for the comparison. This is one of the reasons why companies like Google can get such extraordinary results, they have access to such large amounts of real data.

In an epidemiological model this is much harder because you don't usually have a good understanding of human behaviour in the future but I would expect the model builders to tune their input parameters as they gain insight into more likely human behaviour. In this sense I would expect that epidemiological models would improve their accuracy with time. This is also why many models are published with wide ranging input parameter ranges, this is done to try to cover differing possible human behaviours.

This is also why cherry picking high and low predictions out of context for criticism is specious.
 
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JabbaPapa

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OK, definitely for "the other thread" then ...

This very recent review paper in Nature explicitly assumes immunity is stable:

There's actually a difference between "immunity" and "antibodies protection".

Immunity as such involves a permanent cellular acquisition of resistance to a disease (or group of diseases) at a molecular level.

This is a rather poorly understood area of micro-evolution.

But it should not be surprising that permanent cellular acquisition of resistance to a disease does not occur in every single recovery from that particular disease -- which in turn should help understand why the % of the population having some innate immunity to this novel coronavirus, from immunity acquired from similar infections in the past -- (including some possibly inherited from parents or even forebears, but this point is extremely speculative and belongs to a very, very poorly understood area of genetic biology) -- is such a speculative and unknown.
 

VNwalking

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So here from that other thread is a partial answer to the qiestion I posed earlier.

This very recent review paper in Nature explicitly assumes immunity is durable.

But there are cracks in that assumption:


(The first is a news summary, lightly technical, of the content and context of the second, which is a paper describing one of the few well-documented cases of re-infection.)

And here is something I have not read except for the abstact - and won't tonight as it's late. It has not been peer-reviewed, so take it with a big grain of salt;
 

JabbaPapa

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There's an extra data point in regard to the graphs video that I linked to :


Now, this doesn't so far contradict the models that the guy presented, and I think one has to be as careful with the opinions expressed in the above article as with the interpretations of the YouTuber.

Nevertheless, that YouTuber did point out that if there were an actual second wave as such rather than something more resembling the typical Autumn reflux, then this is what it would look like at start ; then it's anyone's guess how it will continue from now on.

But one more thing occurs to me -- the Spanish Authorities are well used, as those graphs evidence, to viral epidemics abating in the Summer then reappearing in the Autumn ; which goes quite a long way to explaining why the Spanish have instituted those Covid19 measures rather than others, in comparison to the more temperate France and Italy, which have very different histories of viral epidemics.
 
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Covid-19: Do many people have pre-existing immunity?


Published yesterday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). It is accessible to all without subscription.

It is a review article (with references) so the information is not new but a lot of topics are pulled together, quite usefully, in my opinion. The author covers the problem of antibody levels not being as informative as once thought thus leading on to T-cell responses etc.

"“As we have learned more about this challenging infection, it is time to admit that we really need the T cell data too.”"

Yes, so is the answer contained in this news story (which I seem to have missed...)?


Reported on 16 August. Sounds good ("results from a single tube of blood in 24 hrs, carried out in almost any lab") but my further research seems to suggest that the test is still very much under development as opposed to being close to "roll-out". My understanding of T-cell assessment (by normal methods) is that it is laborious and expensive so unsuitable for mass screening. The rapid test is viewed as being useful for assessing response to immunisation but clearly might be helpful at a personal level though there will, inevitably, be some degree of inaccuracy.
 
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Frances (2019)
Covid-19: Do many people have pre-existing immunity?


Published yesterday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). It is accessible to all without subscription.

It is a review article (with references) so the information is not new but a lot of topics are pulled together, quite usefully, in my opinion. The author covers the problem of antibody levels not being as informative as once thought thus leading on to T-cell responses etc.

"“As we have learned more about this challenging infection, it is time to admit that we really need the T cell data too.”"

Yes, so is the answer contained in this news story (which I seem to have missed...)?


Reported on 16 August. Sounds good ("results from a single tube of blood in 24 hrs, carried out in almost any lab") but my further research seems to suggest that the test is still very much under development as opposed to being close to "roll-out". My understanding of T-cell assessment (by normal methods) is that it is laborious and expensive so unsuitable for mass screening. The rapid test is viewed as being useful for assessing response to immunisation but clearly might be helpful at a personal level though there will, inevitably, be some degree of inaccuracy.
Thank you, the BMJ review of T Cell incidence is indeed interesting. However, and this is very important, the idea that T Cell "memory" is significant is a theory not a proven fact. This paper emphasises strongly that additional research is needed to prove this one way or another.

In addition, and this is one of the weaknesses of reviews, the information is out of date. For example, they used the absence of a increase in infections in London to support their theory but the most recent data shows that there is a massive increase in infections in London, to such an extent that the Lord Mayor of London has just yesterday advocated for another lockdown in London because the London hospitals are getting close to crisis point with the number of Covid-19 patients needing treatment.

I also note another article from yesterday where the Mayor of Madrid has asked for areas of Madrid to be locked down because current infections are over 1,200 per 100,000 per day in some suburbs.

I also note that they seem to have only looked at Europe and parts of Asia where there have been social distancing interventions but they have not looked at countries like Brazil where there has been almost no interventions. This may well have been because there hasn't been any research within Brazil that they can review.
 
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JabbaPapa

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However, and this is very important, the idea that T Cell "memory" is significant is a theory not a proven fact. This paper emphasises strongly that additional research is needed to prove this one way or another.

Well, I'd say that's why it belongs in the thread.

But well, T Cell protection itself is pretty much established as existing in human immune systems (IIRC it was one of the outcomes of AIDS research), so the doubt here is about the extent to which it operates in relation to Covid19 particularly.

In addition, and this is one of the weaknesses of reviews, the information is out of date.

That this kind of scientific research takes time and lags behind data discovery is inevitable.
 

VNwalking

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Thank you @mjal.
@Doughnut NZ, fair enough. But I'd posit that 'proof' in natural science is actually impossible, so validating precise and accurate hypotheses is the best we can hope for.

In this case, we throw the word 'immunity' around, but this review is a reminder that cell-mediated and humoral immunity are both distinct and interelated in mind-bendingly complicated ways that are unique to each pathogen.

SARS-Cov-2 is a new pathogen, so right now every viral immunologist on the planet is scrambling - and a bit on the back foot - to tease out the important components of our immunity to it, all within the context of an unfolding pandemic. So it's to be expected that the reporting of results are not perfectly in sync with current conditions.

The review paper is very useful in summarizing many of the moving parts of this whole picture, and describing what needs more work. Where this is pertinent to models of herd immunity is neatly summarized in Box 2 of the paper:
When a population has people with pre-existing immunity, as the T cell studies may be indicating is the case, the herd immunity threshold based on an R0 of 2.5 can be reduced from 60% of a population getting infected right down to 10%,

The strength or weakness of a model is predicated on the assumptions it assumes at the outset, and whether these are accurate in the real world. In this case, assuming a lack of pre-existing immunity may not be such an accurate assumption.

Meanwhile policies are being put in place.
Decisions have to be made, even with partial knowledge, so we do the best we can. But the complexity of all this, and the sophisticated understanding it requires, is why lawmakers need to listen to experts. And real experts, not the instant kind.
 
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Frances (2019)
Thank you @mjal.
@Doughnut NZ, fair enough. But I'd posit that 'proof' in natural science is actually impossible, so validating precise and accurate hypotheses is the best we can hope for.

In this case, we throw the word 'immunity' around, but this review is a reminder that cell-mediated and humoral immunity are both distinct and interelated in mind-bendingly complicated ways that are unique to each pathogen.

SARS-Cov-2 is a new pathogen, so right now every viral immunologist on the planet is scrambling - and a bit on the back foot - to tease out the important components of our immunity to it, all within the context of an unfolding pandemic. So it's to be expected that the reporting of results are not perfectly in sync with current conditions.

The review paper is very useful in summarizing many of the moving parts of this whole picture, and describing what needs more work. Where this is pertinent to models of herd immunity is neatly summarized in Box 2 of the paper:


The strength or weakness of a model is predicated on the assumptions it assumes at the outset, and whether these are accurate in the real world. In this case, assuming a lack of pre-existing immunity may not be such an accurate assumption.

Meanwhile policies are being put in place.
Decisions have to be made, even with partial understanding.
We do the best we can...
Hmm, no proof possible in natural science? I guess that you are referring to the conundrum of logic that requires researchers to prove the null hypothesis in order to show a high probability of a causal correlation. If so I apologise for my sloppy wording.

In this case the researchers who did the review have an idea. It is an interesting idea and it may even be plausible but, as they say themselves, it requires further research before it can be accepted as being supported by scientific evidence.

The passage that you quoted should be read carefully because they have chosen their words very carefully. It starts with the word "When". It is a conditional statement. What follows only makes sense "when" it is true, the reviewers aren't saying it is true only that it might possibly be true but they don't know yet.

Then within the quoted passage they go on to say "may be indicating". They don't say it does indicate, because there isn't yet enough evidence to support that.

Please note that they are not saying "models should be changed as a result of their review", instead they are saying "more research is required to see if there is scientific evidence to support this idea". Until the research is done the concept of "evidence based medicine" requires that this idea and all other "good" ideas that are not supported by scientific evidence are ignored except for remote case scenarios. There are lots of good ideas out there but fortunately, modern medicine is founded on scientific evidence.

Edited first paragraph to make my wording more precise.
 
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VNwalking

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Until the research is done the concept of "evidence based medicine" requires that this idea and all other "good" ideas that are not supported by scientific evidence are ignored except for remote case scenarios.
Yes, but I would substitute 'considered' for 'ignored.' And I mean considered scientifically, not considered by the commentariat and peanut gallery of instant experts. Real expertse needs to chew and digest all the evidence and ideas at hand, not ignore that which is not yet fully understood.

The ideas in this paper point the way to that clarity that needs to be acheived in order to make decisions about what evidence counts as evidence in policy terms. Deciding what to do in the middle of an unfolding pandemic is very different than deciding the standard of care for (say) cancer, heart disease, or a well-studied bacterial disease.

Hmm, no proof possible in natural science?
No - although of course there is debate. I follow Popper in this regard. Biology is not mathematics, but even Einstein was said to have opined that the best you get from nature is a 'maybe.' Even nailing down causality is incredibly difficult, so hypotheses can be falsified decisively but not 'proven.'
 
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Frances (2019)
The ideas in this paper point the way to that clarity that needs to be acheived in order to make decisions about what evidence counts as evidence in policy terms.

It looks like we are saying the same thing with different words.

More research is required in order to determine if these ideas should be taken into consideration and the authors of the paper have suggested how that research could be done.
 
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Thank you, the BMJ review of T Cell incidence is indeed interesting. However, and this is very important, the idea that T Cell "memory" is significant is a theory not a proven fact. This paper emphasises strongly that additional research is needed to prove this one way or another.

In addition, and this is one of the weaknesses of reviews, the information is out of date. For example, they used the absence of a increase in infections in London to support their theory but the most recent data shows that there is a massive increase in infections in London, to such an extent that the Lord Mayor of London has just yesterday advocated for another lockdown in London because the London hospitals are getting close to crisis point with the number of Covid-19 patients needing treatment.

I also note another article from yesterday where the Mayor of Madrid has asked for areas of Madrid to be locked down because current infections are over 1,200 per 100,000 per day in some suburbs.

I also note that they seem to have only looked at Europe and parts of Asia where there have been social distancing interventions but they have not looked at countries like Brazil where there has been almost no interventions. This may well have been because there hasn't been any research within Brazil that they can review.

Thanks for this reply.

I was about to add my own commentary re the BMJ paper but the post was becoming longer and longer...and it was almost midnight.


Resurgence in London etc : agreed as far as the number of cases is concerned but what is being counted? Testing was extended to the community near the end of May and has expanded greatly since then. It is generally agreed that in March/April cases were underestimated by at least a factor of 10 and possibly as much as 50 whereas now we are seeing the "real" rate. Deaths have remained very low so far despite marked rises in case numbers for 4-6 weeks. Perhaps it is just a little early to assume that deaths will remain low...Spain is not so good but deaths are still quite low despite huge case numbers since mid-August ; this applies even more so to France.

T-cell "memory" : I was startled by your statement that this was "theory" rather than "fact" but then realised that you probably meant "in relation to Covid-19". Was this your intention?
I am no expert but it would, I think, be surprising if this system were NOT important in Covid-19 when it certainly is in other viral diseases. The downside here is that the T-cell system tends to be involved in controlling/eliminating virus-infected cells once infection has occurred so not, strictly speaking, preventing infection.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
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We had these arguments before, but I did not know these charts (you can choose with the radio button on the top e. g. between confirmed cases, confirmed deaths and tests):
https://ourworldindata.org/coronavi...g=7&pickerMetric=total_deaths&pickerSort=desc

There are more new covid-19 cases (confirmed cases) in Spain than in the first wave...
but many more tests as well and much fewer deaths (confirmed deaths). So it is less bad than the new cases seem.

The overall death rate in Spain is still close to normal in Spain in the current wave (weekly data, so a little bit lagging data):
 

ChristianSdeM

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I stick to our government's advice and guidelines. This is because my community does and I don't want to upset people. However I read this some time ago:

I am not a specialist but find it interesting that it was written in 2006. The last paragraph seems very logical in view of what works and doesn't work.

Secondly, I think we should prepare for becoming infected - there is plenty of evidence that strengthening one's immunity is a successful strategy. Furthermore, there is evidence that safe and cheap drugs available on the market also reduce symptoms, e.g. https://hcqtrial.com/#top

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that Sweden is doing as well as anyone in this 'second phase'.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
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... Furthermore, there is evidence that safe and cheap drugs available on the market also reduce symptoms, e.g. https://hcqtrial.com/#top
...
I am not an statistician with medial background... but the results I found for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in a short search are mixed. I think that a country - study needs to be done very carefully because the difference between e. g. USA and e. g. Greece may be not only the hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) - treatment but other differences as well... e. g. the interventions including masks, social distancing, lockdowns, quarantine, and border restrictions.
 

VNwalking

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Kathar1na

Member
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I stick to our government's advice and guidelines. This is because my community does and I don't want to upset people.
Excellent approach. Stick to your own government's advice and guidelines, and when in France or in Spain or any other "camino" country, also stick to the advice, guidelines and rules of the national, regional or local administrations in that country.
Yes, "however" indeed. We could discuss the 3 propositions that you raised, namely that "lockdowns don't work", that "hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)" is a wonderful drug both for prevention and treatment of the Covid-19 disease and that "Sweden" is the model to follow. Papers have been written about it, blogs have expanded about it, YouTube videos have been made about it. Is much gained when we on this forum add to this output? I am doubtful.

Besides, Spain, the major destination for forum members, currently does make use of local lockdowns, you cannot buy HCQ nilly-willy in a Spanish pharmacy as far as I know or get it from a Spanish GP who you meet today for the first time and then you walk on to the next village, and they don't follow Sweden's example. I tend to think that we may benefit when we focus more on learning and understanding what Spain is actually doing and what is actually happening in Spain instead of discussing what they should be doing according to the opinion of people who don't have a say in this.
 
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Kathar1na

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I am not an statistician with medial background... but the results I found for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in a short search are mixed.
The website that the poster has given us as a reference is https://hcqtrial.com/#top. The site looks super scientific and well made. Maybe it is. There is no way to find out on the website who the people are who run it and provide the content.

Dig a bit deeper and you will find this: COVID Analysis network. A network of websites that have cherry-picked and misrepresented research to promote hydroxychloroquine as a proven treatment for COVID-19, despite clinical trials finding that it is not effective. Proceed with caution: This website severely violates basic journalistic standards. Score: 39.5/100. Ownership and Financing: The COVIDAnalysis network, which includes C19Study.com, C19HCQ.com, and HCQTrial.com, does not disclose its ownership on the sites and would not disclose it to NewsGuard, nor could NewsGuard independently determine who owns the network.

Now I could ask the poster or the moderators to remove this doubtful link from this thread. However, I won't. I find it important to show and to understand how to distinguish between reliable sources of scientific information and others.
 

VNwalking

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About https://hcqtrial.com/#top ~
This study has more flaws than substance, both in terms of methodology and in terms of content.

Thank you @Katar1na - I was wondering who wrote this. Obviously no one has peer-reviewed it, because if they had it would have been taken apart and not accepted for any reputable publication.

Every real scientific publication has all this upfront: What journal was this, who wrote the paper, when was it submitted, reviewed, and accepted, what's their affiliation, and what are their potential conflicts of interest? This has none of that.
Just because it looks legitimate to the casual eye doesn't mean it is.
 
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Kathar1na

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In contrast to the anonymous content producers of https://hcqtrial.com/#top, the people who wrote the following do reveal theirs names: David Gorski wrote on August 10, 2020: Late last week, a “study” published on HCQTrial.com by an anonymous source claiming to be a group of PhD scientists went viral. It claimed that countries that used hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 had a 79% lower fatality rate than those who didn’t. It was horrible science and quickly debunked on Twitter by several epidemiologists. That didn’t stop it from going viral. Disinformation like this during a pandemic is one of the most dangerous challenges we face.
 
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The website that the poster has given us as a reference is https://hcqtrial.com/#top. The site looks super scientific and well made. Maybe it is. There is no way to find out on the website who the people are who run it and provide the content.

Dig a bit deeper and you will find this: COVID Analysis network. A network of websites that have cherry-picked and misrepresented research to promote hydroxychloroquine as a proven treatment for COVID-19, despite clinical trials finding that it is not effective. Proceed with caution: This website severely violates basic journalistic standards. Score: 39.5/100. Ownership and Financing: The COVIDAnalysis network, which includes C19Study.com, C19HCQ.com, and HCQTrial.com, does not disclose its ownership on the sites and would not disclose it to NewsGuard, nor could NewsGuard independently determine who owns the network.

Now I could ask the poster or the moderators to remove this doubtful link from this thread. However, I won't. I find it important to show and to understand how to distinguish between reliable sources of scientific information and others.
I respect your measured and serious application to topics posted on the forum. If you consider it worthwhile, please do act if the link is doubtful. We cannot support disinformation, misinformation, false information.
 

ChristianSdeM

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I am not an statistician with medial background... but the results I found for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in a short search are mixed. I think that a country - study needs to be done very carefully because the difference between e. g. USA and e. g. Greece may be not only the hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) - treatment but other differences as well... e. g. the interventions including masks, social distancing, lockdowns, quarantine, and border restrictions.
Correct - this is dealt with in the study, which is ongoing and continually updated.
 

Kathar1na

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I respect your measured and serious application to topics posted on the forum. If you consider it worthwhile, please do act if the link is doubtful. We cannot support disinformation, misinformation, false information.
Thank you. To be honest, I don't know how best to deal with this viral stuff. One can provide information to bring about a bit of clarity about the origin and raise attention/attentiveness or ask for cautiousness but such efforts are often simply ignored. People just forward and post stuff without questioning it in the least. Maybe we need a different approach than deletion. Slapping a warning label on such posts, perhaps?

Refuting such doubtful material in greater detail just elevates it to a higher status of being taken seriously or even lending it the appearance of being credible that it simply doesn't deserve.
 
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ChristianSdeM

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I understand everyone's concern about disinformation on the internet. This is a huge problem and as well as that, the politicisation of science has become a problem. This is not a topic for here nor will I go into the problems with the affects on my own science speciality. My purpose is to point out that there is no harm in looking at problems from other angles, knowing that we are obliged to follow the advice we each receive in each country. A simple illustration of uncertainty on the pandemic is masks: Early on, the WHO was against; now it is for. I have even seen it written that WHO never said the first.

The discussion on this topic here has been really helpful to me, because it is open and clearly supported by well-informed folk. Ad hominem dismissals are avoided and ideas are researched and checked.

"Nullius in Verba!"
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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I am not an statistician with medial background... but the results I found for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in a short search are mixed.

My understanding is that it's a fast delivery stem for zinc into people's cells -- but honestly, I can't see why a better preventative measure should not be : eat lots of red meat, and also chicken and eggs (maybe here in the form of tortilla de patatas).
 

Kathar1na

Member
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I was thinking this morning about how our talks about Covid-19 and additional reading in relation to them has expanded my vocabulary both in Spanish and in English. Today I learnt the word astroturfing: Astroturfing, for those not familiar with the term, means the promotion of a message as though it’s coming from the grassroots when in reality it’s coming from a company, political party, political group, or ideological group.

Now I am going to try and find out why and how this term was coined. Astroturfing. What an odd kind of word. 🤔🤭
 
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CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
Secondly, I think we should prepare for becoming infected - there is plenty of evidence that strengthening one's immunity is a successful strategy.
What precisely "strengthens one's immunity"?


"The idea of boosting your immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so has proved elusive for several reasons. The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still much that researchers don't know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. For now, there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function."

In fairness, the article does go on to mention various strategies but these are really very obvious and will be carried out already by most forum members ; do not smoke, get adequate sleep, eat plenty of fruit and veg, drink alcohol only in moderation except when on Camino... (I made up the last phrase).
 

VNwalking

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What precisely "strengthens one's immunity"?
One of the things that happens in severe cases a covid-19 is that the immune system gets too strong and over-reactive— you get a severe cytokine storm, and that's what kills people. So I'm not sure strengthening one's immune system, even were that possible, would be the best idea. As you say common sense precautions like getting enough rest and adequate nutrition — not to mention keeping your weight down and keeping blood sugar and blood pressure within normal range — are far more useful.
 

Kathar1na

Member
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An amazing article in Der Spiegel this morning. It's in German and behind a paywall so the link is probably not of much use but here it is anyway: link. Not directly related to Covid-19 pseudoscientific nonsense but to pseudoscientific nonsense in general and how easy it is to publish it and thus become "quotable". Enlightening. A highly qualified and competent dermatologist publishes about stuff like "The emergence of Magnet Field, Gravitational Wave and High Temperature of Earth's Core by a DNA Black Brane". It's not known what motivates him. Dermatology is his area of professional expertise. And he is not alone.

It is important to fine-tune one's BS detectors when accepting and forwarding information about Covid-19. Not everything that seems to look like science, seems to talk like science and seems to walk like science is science. Much of it is pseudoscience. Or worse: deliberate attempts at manipulating public opinion.

Quotes:

Dresden professor publishes pseudo-studies like on an assembly line. Uwe Wollina is chief physician in Dresden and one of the most active German scientists. He has contributed to almost 2500 publications. Much of it is pseudo-scientific nonsense. Prof. Dr. med. Uwe Wollina is a hard-working man. He has been working at the Städtisches Klinikum Dresden, an academic teaching hospital, for almost 20 years as head physician of dermatology. Wollina, born in 1956, gives lectures, is editor-in-chief of two specialist publications and chairs an examination committee of the Saxon State Medical Association. He also does research - and how: On paper, he must be considered one of the most distinguished scientists in Germany, if not the whole world.
According to the "Researchgate" database, Wollina's list of publications includes around 2500 titles. Seven publications in which he was involved appeared in July 2020, 14 in June and 18 in May. Even a Christian Drosten [leading German virologist] can only dream of such a run.
But anyone who takes the trouble to read publications by this luminary is in for an irritating experience. Wollina, after all also a medical instructor and academic examiner, is not really at home in the world of quality journals like "Nature", "Science" or the "British Medical Journal", in which top researchers announce top results. The clinician, on the other hand, provides an example of how serious science is infiltrated by people who like to produce junk and nonsense according to the principle of "mass instead of class".
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
 
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ChristianSdeM

Member
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Camino Ingles '17, Portugués '18-'19
The attached paper which I think is mainstream :) regarding Vitamin D.

 

VNwalking

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The attached paper which I think is mainstream :) regarding Vitamin D.
It says "pre-print, not peer reviewed. That's a flashing red light alerting you to read what follows with a good dose of healthy skepticism. And when I read it (admittedly not carefully), I come to the conclusion that there may be correlation - but correlation and causality are two very different things. Correlation is never by itself evidence of causality - this is basic statistics.

As this is a maths thread, here is some red meat about that, for fans of statistics, maths included ;) :
 

Kathar1na

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correlation and causality are two very different things
Thanks for this reminder, @VNwalking! I had seen the recent headlines about Vitamin D and Covid-19 and this recent meta study. As I am of the age where a Vitamin D deficiency is often diagnosed, I had been advised by my GP to take it, based on my regular blood test results. Of course I tend to become non-compliant, especially during the summer. But seeing these headlines and being in Covid-19 risk groups for more than one reason, I started to take it more regularly again.

It's so easy to fall for the wrong conclusions when you just read the headlines. Yes, I do it, too. 😁
 

Kathar1na

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I may be wrong, but it seems to me that Sweden is doing as well as anyone in this 'second phase'.
It's way too early to say how Sweden is doing in this "second phase". But a genuine question to the No Lockdown/Sweden fans, the country without compulsory lockdown and often touted by some as a great example due to their approach. What exactly makes you believe that Sweden is such a virtuous example? The excess death rate (ie the number of deaths during a specific period of time exceeding the 5 year average number of deaths during the same time) is often taken as a measure of how badly a country was hit by the pandemic in the spring/how well or how badly it dealt with it.

Since this is the maths thread 😁 ... I copied current excess death graphs from the Economist's tracker page. These are standardised graphs (number of deaths per 100,000 persons per week) which allows a comparison between countries. The only thing I changed: Sweden is shown twice but it's the same numbers each time. In the first line, Sweden is compared to one selection of countries, in the second line it is compared to another selection of countries. SAME NUMBERS each time. I don't see that Sweden is special in any way. Sweden compares unfavourably with a number of "lockdown countries" such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark and Norway.

The graphs also illustrate how badly Spain was hit during a very short period of time, compared to other "camino countries" such as Italy, France and Portugal.

Edited to add: Note that the red line show deaths of all causes (whether Covid-19 was not present, was not known to be present but present, was suspected due to symptoms or was diagnosed due to a test)

Sweden.jpg
 
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Kathar1na

Member
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Also, Sweden does not compare favourably with Portugal during the spring, as the graphs on the Economist's tracker page show. Both countries have a population of 10 million btw. Portugal, says the Economist tracker page, locked down comparatively early, given the number of positive tests at the time, and suffered fewer deaths. Now that I read this, I remember: Portugal's pilgrim albergues closed down early, we read about the very first one on this forum ... and quite a few posters thought then that the town council in question was exaggerating and that it had nothing to do with Covid-19, just with local politicking about albergue management ...
 

ChristianSdeM

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It says "pre-print, not peer reviewed. That's a flashing red light alerting you to read what follows with a good dose of healthy skepticism. And when I read it (admittedly not carefully), I come to the conclusion that there may be correlation - but correlation and causality are two very different things. Correlation is never by itself evidence of causality - this is basic statistics.

As this is a maths thread, here is some red meat about that, for fans of statistics, maths included ;) :
As someone who uses statistics in my work, I'm well aware of this fact. However I picked one simple reference at random amongst many. To protect myself and my family, I went to the trouble of looking into reducing risk if we should become infected. We can do no more until there is a vaccine.
Here are a few more research examples:
Pre-Covid-19
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
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Here is an article by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) giving an analysis of Covid statistics for Canada. I don't think there is anything you don't already know about how Covid hits the populations, but this seemed like a good summary of the medical outcomes. Management and mitigation strategies are a different matter.
 

alexwalker

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(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Thanks for this reminder, @VNwalking! I had seen the recent headlines about Vitamin D and Covid-19 and this recent meta study. As I am of the age where a Vitamin D deficiency is often diagnosed, I had been advised by my GP to take it, based on my regular blood test results. Of course I tend to become non-compliant, especially during the summer. But seeing these headlines and being in Covid-19 risk groups for more than one reason, I started to take it more regularly again.
Ditto. It is also usual for Norwegians, also pre-CovID, to take Vit. C and Omega3 during autumn/winter (lack of sun). I do.
 
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Kathar1na

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Just to clarify for myself: the results of my regular blood tests show my GP that I am vitamin D deficient and my GP tells me that my body is unlikely to be able to produce enough through being in the sun and eating the right food. A question of age, apparently, and latitude. I would hate to say old age. 😎

I am not taking vitamin D because someone peddles it on the internet or because medical laypersons claim or imply on the internet that it is a cure or a means of prevention for Covid-19. Which is how vitamin D got into the maths thread it seems to me. 🤓

Too high doses of vitamin D can be dangerous and toxic to the body.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Correlation is not causation is often a good point, but thank you for going a step beyond that to mention association.
 

alexwalker

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(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Just to clarify for myself: the results of my regular blood tests show my GP that I am vitamin D deficient and my GP tells me that my body is unlikely to be able to produce enough through being in the sun and eating the right food. A question of age, apparently, and latitude. I would hate to say old age. 😎

I am not taking vitamin D because someone peddles it on the internet or because medical laypersons claim or imply on the internet that it is a cure or a means of prevention for Covid-19. Which is how vitamin D got into the maths thread it seems to me. 🤓
Same here. My GP's order.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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I am not taking vitamin D because someone peddles it on the internet or because medical laypersons claim or imply on the internet that it is a cure or a means of prevention for Covid-19. Which is how vitamin D got into the maths thread it seems to me. 🤓

OK, but you could still consider a short treatment of supplements IF your GP (who knows you a lot better than anyone out here in these silly interwebs) thinks it might be a good idea, and IF you agree with that assessment.

Personally, I have only ever recommended natural sources of vitamins C, D, K and the mineral zinc. Lemons & kiwis ; sunshine ; spinach ; red meat, chicken, and eggs.

This is because I am not anyone's doctor. And because sunshine and food are generally good for people regardless this annoying disease.
 

Kathar1na

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Some of the recent Ivor Cummins content has been far too political to even try to refer to in here --though it's interesting to see that he is starting to become a lot more mainstream.
I've managed to refrain from replying for more than 12 hours and slept over it 😇. You have this kind of voices and groups in every single country. They think that they've seen the light and their government or their administrations just don't get it. That's fine, public discourse is a good thing. But posting this stuff here?

In the few countries that I follow a bit more closely, the policy is nearly identical: we don't want to have another lockdown as we had in March/April. They are all watching Covid-19 developments. They have adapted and refined their methods of monitoring and containing community spread. And nearly all still adhere to an often not so clearly formulated underlying principle: we will not just sit around twiddling our thumbs and looking the other way while old and/or vulnerable people needlessly die and others get seriously ill.

I always giggle when I hear the claim that "Sweden is the gold standard", as is claimed here. Why not Germany, that's the thought that crosses my mind. Sweden with around 600 deaths/1 million pop and 10,000 infections/1 million pop vs Germany with only around 100 deaths resp. 4,000 infections per 1M pop? A country with 10 million inhabitants and around 6,000 deaths so far in total versus a country more than eight times larger in population with 80 million inhabitants, more densely populated, with numerous large cities and not just one, but only around 10,000 deaths in total so far?

But then I don't try to blend out all the structural differences between seemingly very similar countries.

In this kind of videos, they pick the data to suit their preferred theories and not the other way round.
 
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Kathar1na

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A Great Barrington Declaration appeared in my news feed this morning. This is essentially the same thing again as in the video, except that it has not been created by an autodidactic amateur but by a bunch of people with a lot more scientific oomph. And you can sign it, too.

What I want to defend, however, is not the pros and cons but mathematics. This is not maths. It's anti-lockdown lobbying and it is not modelling of the sort that approximately describes a common or characteristic growth event. It's modelling of the sort that tries to predict the future, and these models are only as good as their input and we here cannot judge the quality and extend of these inputs or even know what these inputs are.

So I suggest a forum moratorium on these kind of posts. At least don't post it under a "maths" banner. Just because it has diagrams and curves in it, doesn't make it maths. 🤓
 
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VNwalking

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This is not maths. It's anti-lockdown lobbying and it's modelling of the sort that does not approximately describe a common growth event. It's modelling that tries to predict the future, and these models are only as good as their input and we here cannot judge the quality and extend of these inputs or even know what these inputs are.
IOW, it's politics.
And potentially misleading, but as you say @Kathar1na, without knowing the input who knows?
I second the motion.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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So I suggest a forum moratorium on these kind of posts.

Well, I think the point has been made anyway -- in here in any case.

And whilst these analyses as they first appeared had a great deal to do with the maths, I did myself point out (somewhat implicitly, granted) that over the past two weeks it's started becoming more mainstream and so it's becoming a lot more political.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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an autodidactic amateur

Doctor Ivor Cummins isn't one -- he is an experienced biohazard risk assessment professional.

There are few "autodidactic amateurs" who are experienced professionals with a doctorate in the field of objective diseases risk assessment.

That he is an autodidactic amateur in matters of personal health and dieting etc is completely irrelevant.

This is not maths. It's anti-lockdown lobbying

... except when it is entirely centred in hard statistics and the actual data.

This has become a LOT more actively political in the past weeks ; but then so does everything whenever it challenges any statu quo.

Also, anti-lockdown lobbying is not "wrong" simply from your personal dislike of it ; even though this Camino forum is clearly not a good home for it.

But then why should pro-lockdown lobbying be any better ?

and it is not modelling of the sort that approximately describes a common or characteristic growth event. It's modelling of the sort that tries to predict the future, and these models are only as good as their input

Cummins is using no other data set than the ones officially published by various State agencies.

And where is the validity of "data" sets predicting hundreds of thousands, even millions, of deaths in several countries ?

Cummins' data projections are not only centred on the existing & officially established data (irrespective of potential flaws), but also on clear analysis of statistical patterns -- with a mind to the obvious divergences from those patterns by the Covid19 epidemic.

Maths-wise, to claim that these factual divergences in any way invalidate any analyses that take those very divergences into consideration, is unconvincing.

Just because it has diagrams and curves in it, doesn't make it maths. 🤓

Sorry, but he's just posted another very maths-centric one.

Whether you accept the maths or not is in any case not my problem -- but I am uncomfortable with any suggestion that statistical analyses that some members might disagree with for whatever reason should not be posted for such reason.

Disagree with the stats by maths, not by politics nor ideology.

Bearing in mind that applied maths are a very different beast to the pure.

[Edited by moderator to remove controversial video]
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
Doctor Ivor Cummins isn't one -- he is an experienced biohazard risk assessment professional.

There are few "autodidactic amateurs" who are experienced professionals with a doctorate in the field of objective diseases risk assessment.

Are we talking about the Irish engineer?

Does he have a doctorate in any field far less one in "objective diseases risk assessment", whatever that is.


The link refers to an event in March 2020 so I assume that his details are current.

I may comment further when I have digested the remainder of your post and perhaps watched the video...
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
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He specialised in biochemical, in his professional life mostly it seems -- he is not a medical doctor of any description.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
This is a dizzying thread for some, but I try to check in every now and then to make sure it’s still on the rails. I confess I had never heard of Ivor Cummins before this. Using the standard web searches with his name, I did not find any mainstream press or scientific article that referred to him in a positive light. I did find that he has made many youtubes and blog posts on weight loss (his twitter name is FatEmperor). But finally I found an article in the New York Times from a few weeks ago, in which Cummins was quoted. I think I now understand that Cummins’ claim is that 80% of the population is already immune from covid, because we have T-cell immunity, which we developed from having contracted many common colds (also in the coronavirus category) over the years. He also stated that the virus had “largely ended by June in Europe.”

From the article I linked to:
Mr. Cummins, a chemical engineer who typically posts videos about diet and heart disease, used numerous slides of cases and deaths to argue that the epidemic had “largely ended” by June in Europe and by late summer in the United States.

The virus, he said, harmed the 20 percent who were vulnerable, whereas “80 percent are already de facto immune through cross-immunity, T-cell mucosal immunity from prior coronaviruses.” Masks and lockdowns had little impact, he claimed, despite abundant evidence from conventional scientists. “Sorry, guys” he added, with a note of disdain. “Science is tough that way.”


I think I will cast my vote in favor of the assessment of a former head of the CDC (in the days when it was not beseiged with political manipulations)

“Immunity in 2020 is no closer to being just around the corner than prosperity was in 1930,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The route to immunity without a vaccine would be through graveyards filled with hundreds of thousands of Americans who did not have to die.”​
I really appreciate the insights of people with more training and scientific understanding and greater ability to evaluate the claims.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
he is not a medical doctor of any description.
He seems not to be a "Doctor" of any description.
He specialised in biochemical, in his professional life mostly it seems
According to this website, he has 25 years of "corporate technical leadership and management positions" and 8 weeks (yes, weeks) of intense biochemical study.

Edited to add/correct: The 8 weeks were the time it took him to figure out his own metabolism through intense study. Maybe his biochemical "studies" went on for years, but it seems to have been self-taught and combined with a life of professional speaking engagements
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
He seems not to be a "Doctor" of any description.

According to this website, he has 25 years of "corporate technical leadership and management positions" and 8 weeks (yes, weeks) of intense biochemical study.

Edited to add/correct: The 8 weeks were the time it took him to figure out his own metabolism through intense study. Maybe his biochemical "studies" went on for years, but it seems to have been self-taught and combined with a life of professional speaking engagements
The eight weeks of intense study led him to the earth-shattering discovery that...

"When I took out most of the carbohydrate in a knife edge switch, within six to eight weeks I lost over 30 pounds in weight and my bloods essentially all resolved"

Apologies ; I posted this about 3 weeks ago when this person first surfaced on the forum.

Edited to remove a description of the non-doctor ; it might have caused offence.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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When I took out most of the carbohydrate in a knife edge switch, within six to eight weeks I lost over 30 pounds in weight and my bloods essentially all resolved

In what way is this unrelated quote relevant to mathematics or Covid19 ?

It is an ad hominem "argument", providing no information nor insight as to the validity or otherwise of the claims that have been made about this epidemic.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Since we have no scientifically credentialled moderator, who is going to determine what is pseudo-science and what is real science? I say that, Doughnut and Kathar1na, not as a challenge to your reasonable request, but to highlight the difficulty of implementing it.

FWIW I am well aware of the difficulty here for the mods, and I certainly sympathise with them (you) -- though in retrospect it's a good thing that this sort of speculation and discussion of the statistical evidence and what it means is mainly confined in this thread with the "scary" Maths word in the title.

It's the only reason why I did not feel uncomfortable posting this in here in the first place ; but I certainly was uncomfortable with the idea of posting it on the main Covid and the Camino thread.

An actual full-on "Covid19 Speculation" thread would be extremely counterproductive ; but this thread focusing specifically on the maths and the stats remains useful, including potentially for pilgrims to help them determine the impact of this epidemic on their future Camino plans, particularly their 2021 plans, which by definition requires some speculative considerations.

A broader "Covid19 Speculation" thread OTOH would be of no immediate interest for pilgrims as such, and those interested in such speculation on a personal level should IMO seek such discussions elsewhere.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
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Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Would it be possible to stop the political lobbying by Youtube psuedo-experts from being posted on this forum please?
Thank you.
Second that.

Since we have no scientifically credentialled moderator, who is going to determine what is pseudo-science and what is real science?
The forum has a wealth of member expertise to draw on. Some of us are MDs, some are PhDs, some work in Public Health and epidemiology. Just ask and I bet someone could suss it out for you.

But you may not even need to do that.
If there's a YouTube video that raises some eyebrows here, look at the author's credentials, list of publications, and affiliation. As you've done:
8 weeks (yes, weeks) of intense biochemical study.
I did not find any mainstream press or scientific article that referred to him in a positive light. I did find that he has made many youtubes and blog posts on weight loss (his twitter name is FatEmperor).
QED
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Doctor Ivor Cummins isn't one -- he is an experienced biohazard risk assessment professional
I have a PhD in Bioscience, and have had training in histology, pathology, and physiology/cell biology. But I'm absolutely sure that I would not be able to claim any understanding of virology or epidemiology without a whole lot more than 8 weeks of "intense study." My Dad was a cancer epidemiologist with close to 50 years of experience and many accolades. We were talking about the epidemiology of Ebola, and while he had an opinion — we all have that — even he said his experience was not enough to have any expertise.

What my training gives me, though, are the skills to understand some basic statistics and a keen nose for BS.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Francés ('14/'15)
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Even if he had a PhD in engineering, it wouldn't matter.

My point is more general than this specific case. Virology, epidemiology, and public health are incredibly complex fields of study. In order to have credible expertise in these realms it's necessary to have years of both study and practical experience.

Unfortunately, with the power of the internet the world has exploded with 'instant experts,' and it's a dangerous thing. YouTube is full of fake science, and all of us without relevant expertise are suckers for getting the wool pulled over eyes, especially if the videos happen to agree with our personal opinion. Experts are in the world for a reason, and we get into real trouble when we think our online 'research' is just as valid and ignore what they are saying.

I'm very happy to stick with maths here, but agree with those who have said YouTube videos pushing an agenda need to be pruned from the thread altogether.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
In what way is this unrelated quote relevant to mathematics or Covid19 ?

It is an ad hominem "argument", providing no information nor insight as to the validity or otherwise of the claims that have been made about this epidemic.
It was a perfectly reasonable extension of the (sidebar) debate regarding Cummins' qualifications (which were misrepresented in your post).


Have a look at his remarks on this blog. He has abnormal blood results (including high cholesterol)...

" So, after going to two more doctors including a very senior person and still not getting answers...
Within a matter of weeks of obsessive study I essentially had my answer: that excessive carbohydrate in my diet was a primary root cause."

My original quote re the "magical cure" of weight loss then follows.

Now, in my opinion, this is not an ad hominem attack at all, merely an illustration of this man's egotistical way of thinking i.e. he represents a standard medical approach as his new discovery.

Does this vignette bid us to be wary of his views re Covid-19 and its transmission? I submit that it does and is therefore of relevance in this thread.
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
I do hope the links to the original Ivor Cummings Youtube piece can remain intact on this thread. It’s a well argued piece, drawing on available current science from reputable sources.
Whether he has selected the most relevant data and whether the linkages between the various research papers he draws on can be asserted and, those conclusions drawn in a valid manner … well that’s up to you to decide, by applying your own analysis. After which you may choose to express your view and perhaps delineate the various fallacies that you can draw out from his arguments.

To argue that his opinion is somehow dangerous and should be removed because he is not a top epidemiologist is missing the point. Science and Medicine are a myriad of extremely narrow specialist areas. C-19 doesn’t conveniently sit in just one of these. It spills across virology, epidemiology, biology, chemistry, psychology, public health etc etc and thence over into politics.
We actually rely on armchair summarisers to make sense of the interrelationship of all these often disparate and competing perspectives and simplify the key points for us; particularly at a time when what we understand about the world around us is changing so rapidly and open to so many contestable interpretations.

No-one anywhere receives their understanding of the world by just reading the journals of the published works of the most decorated researchers in each discipline. It’s just not feasible and it wouldn’t provide a complete and fully contextualised picture anyway.
Typically we build our understanding from a mix of sources - some specialist authors, friends and families’ own histories and notions, but more often than not it’s the media we select - media which reflects our tastes, views and beliefs and that we rely on to summarise world/scientific developments for us.
It’s really important to appreciate that we are self-selecting. There’s a very small amount of objective scientific fact out there and that everything else is inferential and subsequently hypothesised into competing world views and ‘truths'.
As a case in point, here in the UK we have a panel of scientists, the great and the good, called SAGE, advising our Government. But other scientists who weren't happy with the output from this group have set up ‘alternative SAGE’. Second rate malcontents? No, they include the former UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser.

It’s also interesting to see Ivor Cummings’ arguments belittled here because he is a self-publicised food faddist. This is classic Ad Hominem, undermining what the speaker says by picking holes in their character. OK so in his personal life he’s a bit odd, but that isn’t of itself sufficient reason for removing links to his videos from this thread. Lots of academics lead weird lives, they just don’t publicise it. That’s the social media age for you.

I think we have heated assertions here because none of us can actually say what is actually going on right now with Covid-19. We are learning new angles and aspects every week. As such this is a contested theatre - contested at all levels of academia, society and government. And critical because the perspective that dominates stands to influence the Government's regulation of our lives.
So my request is please - be cognisant of this, live and let live. We don’t need to censor well-presented arguments because they challenge our own knowledge sets - we can unpick the arguments and argue back if we want, actually quite calmly!
Best wishes, tom
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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It spills across virology, epidemiology, biology, chemistry, psychology, public health etc etc and thence over into politics.
We actually rely on armchair summarisers to make sense of the interrelationship of all these often disparate and competing perspectives and simplify the key points for us
Fair enough, Tom, assuming the person doing the summarizing both knows what they're talking about and (this is essential) does not have an axe to grind. Which definitely does not apply in this case.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing - especially when it's hitched to an agenda.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I do hope the links to the original Ivor Cummings Youtube piece can remain intact on this thread.
[...] We don’t need to censor well-presented arguments because they challenge our own knowledge sets - we can unpick the arguments and argue back if we want, actually quite calmly!
Best wishes, tom
The first Cummins video is still there in this thread. His name is mentioned often enough in this thread that it will be no problem for any reader here to find his output on his YouTube channel, on his website, on his Twitter account, on his Facebook page, and also in news media.

As far as I am concerned, I have decided that I will no longer react to any of his output posted here on the forum or to closely related output. I hope I can find enough restraint to stick with my resolution. I will certainly not try to "unpick" anything or "argue back" at anything that is presented in those videos.

I had a look at Cummins' Twitter output within the last hour. Quotes:

"Lockdowns are wrong, cruel and unscientific."
"Key Update on actual [name of a country; not Spain] impacts of this viral thing [Covid-19] - a two minute video to grasp it. Retweet for our [name of country; not Spain] friends so that they can see. In my first reply to this tweet below, see the reality of the damage being wrought on [name of country; not Spain] - for near-nothing [near-nothing refers, I suppose, to a bunch of old people who would have died anyway if the last flu season had not been so mild and who are either still alive thanks to lockdown measures and related measures or died this spring in larger numbers than usual during the Northern hemisphere's spring-time]. It's pure vandalism at this stage."

"Yep - not surprising, even though it's just cold hard data from Johns Hopkins..."
I particularly like his claim that all his output is just "cold hard data". NOT. But I can find some common ground: I can live with his claim that "lockdowns are unscientific". 🤣

What exactly is the added value of the Cummins videos to this forum and at this point in time where members are mainly interested in learning about and understanding what is going on in Spain, and to a lesser extent in Portugal and France, with a view to planning their next camino when they are not reminiscing about their past caminos?

 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
The time has come,' the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships walks — and sealing-wax sello stamps


Apologies to Lewis Carroll, and to the passionate and learnèd contributors to the discussion, but after almost 300 posts, this thread is being put out of its misery.
 
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