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Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Deaths - all causes stats

The deaths - all causes stats are the ones to watch today. Looking at the shape of pandemic death curves, those that include all excess deaths at a time of pandemic, they seem to have a longer tail. Thus when the first 6k figure was released, I speculated a rough path would be a 6 - 15 - 8 - 4 shape, giving some 33k excess deaths for the first wave of the Wuhan virus. So far we've had 6 - 18. If my initial guess at the shape was right, we could be on a 6 - 18 - 10 - 5 trajectory.

The shape of the first wave is important as it can give us a clue as to the likely outcome of a second, enhanced wave. It seems we're going to have to take the hit, whatever happens. Neither the economy nor public order will survive an indefinite total lockdown, and people are voting with their feet.

The first wave of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic caused a fatality peak in mid-July, the second a fatality peak in mid-November, some four months later. The second peak was much bigger in 1918 - if 18k is the Wuhan first peak, the second would be 90k in the highest week if un-modified. That, of course, is what the government is desperate to avoid.

I think we'll need to keep those empty Nightingale hospitals open for the foreseeable future, in any event. 

Last week's excess deaths for all UK wasn't 18k but 17k. This week's (week 16) gives 11,854 excess deaths in E&W above 5 year average, 844 in Scotland and 134 in NI. 12,832 in total. So the pattern so far is 6 - 17 - 13, as far as I can see. 


JPM said...

I don't think that Australia, New Zealand, S. Korea etc. are expecting any "second peak".

I get the feeling that posters here hope that they will get one, however, such is their slavish dedication to the cause of excusing this what-passes-for-a-government, for which they voted.

Raedwald said...

Of course the alternative is test and trace. However, I am dubious that this can be implemented at all in Europe - or that it can be sustained is small, sparsely populated countries that are far from being transport hubs.

However, like everything to do with the Wuhan virus, I really don't claim to know the answers and will happily be proven wrong.

Unlike you, however, JPM, I do realise that this is a time to work together under our nation's leaders without damaging partisan point scoring. It seems Keir Starmer is also ready to follow this protocol.

DeeDee99 said...

I am interested to see how the UK, the USA and the EU-nations (collectively or individually) deal with China.

3 years ago, Russia sent a couple of comic-assassins to the UK. They killed the wrong person and severely damaged the health of 3 others. The result was outrage: dozens of Russian "diplomats" were swiftly expelled from the UK and her allies.

China through negligence to protect her own selfish interests, allows a lethal virus to circulate around the world, killing hundreds of thousands, and so far the reaction of the West's Governments appears to be that their people "must just suck it up and then pay for it."

Personally, I don't think China's actions were any less deliberate than Russia's.

Anonymous said...

Keir has appointed Doreen Lawrence to investigate why black people are allegedly dying more than whites. That shows nothing has changed with that party. Let's hope it doesn't affect LBGT people more or Eddie Izzard will be getting a phone call very soon.

jim said...

All gone on long enough, boring now, trouble is that death is a bit longer.

Now Sicily is offering a holiday discount but we can't get there. As things stand us oldies will be the last to be let out and if there is some kind of 'CV certificate' the last to get one. So the Germans will already have their towels out - as usual.

As said, pandemics usually have a second wave. But this one is worse, herd immunity seems a bit weak. That has implications. Joy in yesterdays Daily Snail that some outfit had a test kit ready to go. Turns out not. False hope trying to bounce HMG into premature release. But today we hear some monkeys don't get CV after a vaccine - so a bit of hope. So we go on, up and down whilst time ticks along.

Amusing to see The Five Eyes being rounded up into a bit of China Bashing. Why, because the Yanks have the satellites and we don't. Pompeo claps and we dance. Realistically this is strictly for the birds and tabloids. Maybe those satellites are not tuned in to 5G.

The US numbers still look suspiciously low. Maybe they are lucky but the chaotic view from here does not bode well. Already there are rumblings about food supply and the newspapers strangely uninformative. Could be wrong but I smell trouble.

Anonymous said...

Is there any sign of a cure for the JPM virus?

Continual self-loathing must be a terrible way to live.

Dave_G said...

How does the current CV19 scam compare to the old Hong Kong flu (1968) in terms of infections/deaths etc. There's not much point in speculating the future of a second wave etc as the same issues will apply as are crippling the economy now ie do we keep in lock down 'just in case' or do we get some semblance of return to normality and simply deal with it IF it happens? We've already illustrated the uselessness of Nightingales (cue the 'but what-if' cries) and seen how exaggerations and scaremongering have crippled us as a country.

But AGAIN little is said (ie nothing) of the under currents of Government/banking about the future. When are people going to realise that deaths from CV19 are insignificant compared to potential deaths from suicide due to economic worries? Don't think that this isn't going to happen either.

Boris is now invoking not only the NHS (puke) but now the old guy walking his garden as methods to emotionally control/convince people to keep the faith and OBEY diktat. Boris sounds 'desperate' even to keep us under wraps and it's not for a 'flu' no matter what you think.

But as ever, if you don't want to discuss a problem then that 'problem' doesn't (seem) to exists - does it?

Raedwald said...

Jim -I have the same gut instinct that the worst is still to come, including food shortages. This is not a good time to be old, or chronically ill, or poor.

Graeme said...

The problem for New Zealand is what do they do now? Seal the borders forever? Quarantine all visitors for 14 days?

Span Ows said...

Jim, the food problem (well in the US) is mainly (so far) down to the bottleneck at slaughter. Many slaughter houses have closed (staff infected/unions telling memebers not to work). This s/will lead to euthanising od stock, dumping of milk (already laods) cracking and freezing/disposing of eggs and ploughing crops and vegetables (destined for animal feeds) into the fields. Non restocking etc. So yes, all countries reserves will de diminshed/used up entirely.

Anonymous said...

DP writes..


Coming back to your analysis of first and second waves.

Assuming a similar curve for the second wave, then one is looking at 150k deaths approximately. This is terrible.

Are there factors that might prevent a second wave, or the second wave so small, its insignificant.

What are factors now that are different to 1918

1. In 1918, the population had just come out from a very debilitating war
2. The standard of health was much poorer
3. Nutrition generally, and food quality and quantity was poorer in 1918.
4. Warm and dry homes with clean air now, rather then cold and sooty air in 1918(bad for lungs).
5. Over crowded houses, people sharing rooms. Unlike now.
5. Antibiotics now that will prevent infections that take advantage of bodies weakened by covid 19 now or in the second wave.

All in all, I feel that the second wave will not occur, or if it does, will be weak.

I hope and pray that a killer second wave does not occur, for it might lead to loss of freedoms. Unlike America, we don't have a written constitution that guards against people who would love to bully a subject population.

Pat said...

Lockdowns have no significant effect in any case (with the benefit of hindsight). Population density is the most important factor.
The requirements for herd immunity depend on the rate of spread, the faster the spread the more people need to develop immunity.
Flu spreads much more quickly in winter than in summer. Hence a level of herd immunity which stops the disease in summer will be insufficient to prevent a second wave in November. We don't know whether this applies to Covid but it looks like the way to bet.
Whether the second wave, if it comes, will be more or less severe than the first will depend on how close to winter levels of herd immunity we are at the start of winter.
The results will be nothing like he 1918 flu, we are better fed, clothed and housed than ever. We had vastly better treatments even for the first cases of Covid than were available for 1918 flu, and treatment has greatly improved with experience of the actual disease.

David said...

The Spectator has had a couple of articles in the last two days suggesting we could be close to finding better treatments.

If we can successfully lower the death rate, then presumably a second wave could be significantly smaller than you suggest?

johnthebridge said...

Perhaps an additional factor might be life expectancy that, in 1918, was around 55 for men and 60 for women?

Anonymous said...

JPM said @ 07:33

'I get the feeling that posters here hope that they will get one..'

So you think that folk who comment here, 'hope' folk on the other side of the world will get sick and die later on this year?


jim said...

Our government is scratching round for some path out of lockdown. The trouble is that if all you have is a management consultant's manual then everything looks like a written down process. Already we have some idiot proposing that when/if pubs reopen the limit is three pints. We need to handle getting out of lockdown carefully but more rules and regulations are not the answer.

This illustrates the problem, rules got us into this lockdown but I doubt rules will get us out. We were free to do more or less as we pleased before and I think it essential we go back to that situation. The very act of asking the question 'can we do that?' or 'is this OK?' begs some official to look it up in the rule book. Of course 'this' or 'that' is not in the rule book, it never was. The danger is that some official will invent a rule or a 'guideline'. Seems to me that would be disastrous both for us the people and eventually for our government.

Boris is not my favourite person but I hope he has the brain and cunning to see that more rules are as dangerous for him as for us. Let us hope he steers a course away from the scribblers and to declare, 'you can now do all that you did before'.

Anonymous said...

Nightingale hospitals are only of use if the Govt. decides to equip and staff them to handle all but a narrow class of patients. News reports indicate that it is the wrong kind of spare capacity.

Sceptical Steve said...

Anonymous @15:46. A lot of the negativity towards the Nightingales seems to owe a lot to the entrenched attitudes of the medics in their lovely and very expensively built general hospitals. The fundamental design principle of the Nightingales is the need to ensure that infected patients should be treated in wards designed to give plenty of separation, to reduce the risk of cross-infection. My wife and my sister in law both work in modern general hospitals where it's impossible to pass a trolley in the corridors without breaking the 2 metre separation rule. The Nightingales are a far better option.

Dave_G said...

For any given person suffering the Corona Virus and having a secondary debilitating illness (heart defect, diabetes etc) we should be trying to determine what their outcome would have been had they suffered, instead, from SARS, MERS Hong Kong flu or any other 'different' annual flu-like infectious disease.

Then we can compare their outcome to their Corona Virus outcome and determine precise how much worse (if anything) their C-V illness is compared to the 'other' illnesses.

I suspect their outcome would be little different (potentially no different) however if it was worse by any extent then we can surmise that C-V is x% more deadly than the other examples and decide whether the PANIC that has been instilled in us was deserved and whether the (in my opinion DELIBERATE) destruction of the economy was worth it.

Not surprisingly we now actually have the 'what about the children' scenario being built.....

Anonymous said...

As I was saying the other day:

Analysis: Population Density ‘More Important’ in Combating Coronavirus than Lockdowns


Nessimmersion said...

If population density is that important, logically Canada & Russia will be the least affected.
New York is the worst affected state in the US as it has the most reliance on public transport.
The best methods of infection transfer are things like subways and buses.
US states with greater isolation by individual car use have built in protection in their transport preferences.