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16 hours ago, exile said:

This may not the the worst example, but in general the newspapers and also media generally are doing a very nasty job of spreading confusing messages and/or undermining and/or politicising health messages.

It's one thing for people on social media to be arguing about conspiracy theories and sharing half baked information, or anti-lockdown liberatarians being forever devil's advocate* on The Spectator (at least you know you tread there at your own risk) etc, but when "news"papers go out their way to spread fear and confusion, well, it's almost literally sickening. Maybe the tabloids are incorrigible but the BBC and other supposedly responsible broadcasters shouldn't be giving them the oxygen of publicity.

Talking of oxygen, there are hospitals running out of it, and there are hospital morgues full in Surrey etc. This is all a sadly foreseeable result of giving disproportionate attention to those arguing against effective restrictions and that good old British common sense would be enough.

 

 * Actually typed a typo "devi's advocate" which sounds a much more useful and valuable stance.

 

Yeah it's pretty tame in the grand scheme of things just highlighting it as indicative of certain media.

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As a side note given what's been posted previously I wanted everyone to know that we buried my mum today. There were just four of us at the cemetery, practising social distancing. It was surreal and u

I share your pain mate. 5am this morning I lost my father in law to this awful disease. Fought like a lion to try and hang on but it was a battle he couldn't win. You have my deepest sympathy mate. St

Not as strange as your tedious boring bastard routine 

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There's an interesting case study in how the media are treating this today.

Gordon Brown's think tank released a report today apparently showing that Scotland was doing much worse at track and trace than the other nations of the UK.  Given the source of the report, its objective should be pretty obvious and its not to inform public debate on the pandemic.   Essentially they were suggesting that Scotland manages to trace fewer infected people than the other UK nations.

This came up at the briefing and while Nicola Sturgeon pointed out that the general premise was right - that you don't catch all cases because not every person - in particular asymptomatic cases - are tested, the methodology in analysing the data was fundamentally flawed.    Jason Leitch went on further to explain exactly why the methodology was flawed and pointed out that according to that methodology Northern Ireland were tracing 110% of infections - which is clearly impossible.

This should really kill the story stone dead and it should just wither and die.

However, it will be interesting to see over the next day or so how many outlets report it but with a "the Scottish Government disagree with its findings" caveat.

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1243 deaths in UK today - the second highest ever daily total for reported deaths.

And I hear that churches in Scotland are urging the Scottish Govt to allow them to re-open, as closure (which doesn't apply in England & Wales) is 'unfair'.

But do they really think the virus will be kinder to chuchgoers than any other public mixers? Do they not realise virus transmission and deaths are higher in England and Wales, do they really want Scotland to 'level up'?

 

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On 1/10/2021 at 9:59 PM, Lamia said:

One thing I am bemused by is the Republic of Ireland's death figures. They have been under 20 and often in single figures since the first wave despite infection rates rising to over 1000 a day in  Oct. They are significantly higher now and I know there is a lag but still I don't get how their deaths have to so low. What are they doing right?

This is a good question. Been wondering this for ages, and i don't know the answer.

I had a look at the stats there, and it seems Ireland and Scotland have had roughly the same number of cases (155k and 153k), yet Scotland has had over twice the number of deaths.

A higher rate of testing in Ireland doesn't explain it, as Scotland has completed more tests (3.6m to Ireland's 2.7m).

My guess would be Ireland has better shielded the elderly population somehow?

 

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4 hours ago, aaid said:

There's an interesting case study in how the media are treating this today.

Gordon Brown's think tank released a report today apparently showing that Scotland was doing much worse at track and trace than the other nations of the UK.  Given the source of the report, its objective should be pretty obvious and its not to inform public debate on the pandemic.   Essentially they were suggesting that Scotland manages to trace fewer infected people than the other UK nations.

This came up at the briefing and while Nicola Sturgeon pointed out that the general premise was right - that you don't catch all cases because not every person - in particular asymptomatic cases - are tested, the methodology in analysing the data was fundamentally flawed.    Jason Leitch went on further to explain exactly why the methodology was flawed and pointed out that according to that methodology Northern Ireland were tracing 110% of infections - which is clearly impossible.

This should really kill the story stone dead and it should just wither and die.

However, it will be interesting to see over the next day or so how many outlets report it but with a "the Scottish Government disagree with its findings" caveat.

Nicola Sturgeon and Jason Leitch were hilarious answering these questions. Trying to say the name but either pretending not to know the nam e of the group or maybe didn't 🤨but stumbling over it giving the impression that the group were unimportant - like "who are they anyway". 😆 Then when stumbling over the name of the group Nicola called them Gordon Brown's Think Tank instead. That was surely deliberate just making doubly sure people know who was behind it as obviously many  might not know.

Also noticed Hugh Pennington didn't miss his opportunity to stick his oar in - no doubt after a phonecall from Gordon. 

  

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28 minutes ago, Lamia said:

Nicola Sturgeon and Jason Leitch were hilarious answering these questions. Trying to say the name but either pretending not to know the nam e of the group or maybe didn't 🤨but stumbling over it giving the impression that the group were unimportant - like "who are they anyway". 😆 Then when stumbling over the name of the group Nicola called them Gordon Brown's Think Tank instead. That was surely deliberate just making doubly sure people know who was behind it as obviously many  might not know.

Also noticed Hugh Pennington didn't miss his opportunity to stick his oar in - no doubt after a phonecall from Gordon. 

  

I saw a post on Twitter that said the FM utterly destroyed Pennington's credibility - anyone know what he said and she said?

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2 minutes ago, Alibi said:

I saw a post on Twitter that said the FM utterly destroyed Pennington's credibility - anyone know what he said and she said?

She mentioned that he predicted there wouldn't be a 2nd wave.

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40 minutes ago, Alibi said:

I saw a post on Twitter that said the FM utterly destroyed Pennington's credibility - anyone know what he said and she said?

Pennington's quoted either in the report itself or in the accompanying press release.  No idea what he said but no doubt it was just a case of SNPBad.

James Matthews from Sky asked the question - not a great couple of days for him - and quoted Pennington.  The FM basically stuck the boot in by reminding everyone that Pennington was one of the people in the summer who were saying "the pandemic is over, why do we still have restrictions" - so basically, who'd take that muppet seriously.

They were obviously expecting this to come up and were well prepared and booted it right out of the park.

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41 minutes ago, Alibi said:

I saw a post on Twitter that said the FM utterly destroyed Pennington's credibility - anyone know what he said and she said?

Yeah as Dave78 said she mentioned his claim about the second wave after a journalist ask about Pennington saying we should have e self isolation hotels for travellers arriving. I smirked at that bit too.

God the Press and Journal just love Pennington! 🤨

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Is it really plausible that Wales has such a low prevalence of the new variant given the significant and fast rise they had. It was much more significant that Scotland's. If Wales's increase wasn't due to the new variant what went so wrong there?  I simply don't believe it was a result of the new variant and if it was there is surely no way that the prevalence of the new variant is now the lowest - makes no sense to me.

I found this when try to find the study Our Scotland's future did which I failed to find. I was trying to find the figures Jason Leitch referred to which showed Northern Ireland had picked up over 100% of the cases. 🤨

Screenshot 2021-01-13 at 08.07.12.png

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1 hour ago, Lamia said:

 

I found this when try to find the study Our Scotland's future did which I failed to find. I was trying to find the figures Jason Leitch referred to which showed Northern Ireland had picked up over 100% of the cases. 🤨

 

I doubt they included that in the report - they surely wouldn't be that stupid, but then its Labour, so all bets are off - I suspect that what's happened is that Jason Leitch - or more accurately, someone in the SG - has applied the methodology they used to the figures in NI to demonstrate that the methodology is flawed.

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1 hour ago, Lamia said:

Is it really plausible that Wales has such a low prevalence of the new variant given the significant and fast rise they had. It was much more significant that Scotland's. If Wales's increase wasn't due to the new variant what went so wrong there?  I simply don't believe it was a result of the new variant and if it was there is surely no way that the prevalence of the new variant is now the lowest - makes no sense to me.

I found this when try to find the study Our Scotland's future did which I failed to find. I was trying to find the figures Jason Leitch referred to which showed Northern Ireland had picked up over 100% of the cases. 🤨

Screenshot 2021-01-13 at 08.07.12.png

There are two ways we are currently detecting the new variant. They can map the whole genome and tell the entire structure of the virus molecule. This is how it was detected in the first place. One of the UK Gov, BillyBrit jingo, claims was right in that the UK is one of the world leaders in this area which helped to spot it quickly. Only a small fraction of samples are looked at in this way as it is expensive and time consuming but it provides excellent information on how the virus is spreading and mutating. I don't know how much of that is being done in Wales.

The other way is the standard PCR test. The PRC test looks for three specific segments of the viral RNA. Not all labs look for the same three segments but just by sheer chance a lot of labs have standardised and one of the segments they look for just happens to be this specific mutated segment. For a positive case they need to find at least two of the segments in sufficient quantity. If they find the other two segments but not the old one before it mutated they can get a measure of how many mutated cases they have. Again it could be that some of the labs in Wales didn't look for that segment in the first place.

I'm don't know where that graph comes from but I've read in other places that the new variant could now be the most dominant variant in Wales.

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Some more info here. I'm fairly sure that by now the new variant will be the dominant one when they look at Wales as a whole. There will be some areas where it isn't yet, but that's the same for other countries in the UK as well. 

 

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/19004760.public-health-wales-laboratory-testing-new-variant/

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That's now a week's worth of new cases data which seems to indicate a leveling off in Scotland. Still high numbers though. It's now almost three weeks since the Boxing day lockdown. I'm still very concerned that it could still take off like it did down south. Clearly PHS and the SG share that concern.

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Got a letter through earlier today offering me the flu vaccine.

In two minds whether or not to bother, trying to weigh up the likelihood of getting the flu, given that we're halfway through the winter, locked down and likely to remain that way until Easter versus the risk of catching COVID while attending a facility to get the flu vaccine.

 

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1 hour ago, aaid said:

Got a letter through earlier today offering me the flu vaccine.

In two minds whether or not to bother, trying to weigh up the likelihood of getting the flu, given that we're halfway through the winter, locked down and likely to remain that way until Easter versus the risk of catching COVID while attending a facility to get the flu vaccine.

 

I got the flu jab back in October, honestly it was done with military precision. In one door and out another all in probably under 2 minutes. 

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UK records 1,564 new fatalities to take country past 100,000 coronavirus deaths (Caelainn Barr in Guardian)

Or as BBC have it, 'When all deaths where coronavirus is mentioned on the death certificate are counted, plus deaths known to have occurred more recently, the number of deaths involving Covid in the UK is more than 100,000.'

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8 hours ago, aaid said:

I doubt they included that in the report - they surely wouldn't be that stupid, but then its Labour, so all bets are off - I suspect that what's happened is that Jason Leitch - or more accurately, someone in the SG - has applied the methodology they used to the figures in NI to demonstrate that the methodology is flawed.

Oh I agree that it wouldn't have been in the report and that Jason and co will have used the methodology on other data. I was trying to see if I could find the data sources so I could have a look myself but I can't seem to find the report or reference to sources.

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7 hours ago, Orraloon said:

There are two ways we are currently detecting the new variant. They can map the whole genome and tell the entire structure of the virus molecule. This is how it was detected in the first place. One of the UK Gov, BillyBrit jingo, claims was right in that the UK is one of the world leaders in this area which helped to spot it quickly. Only a small fraction of samples are looked at in this way as it is expensive and time consuming but it provides excellent information on how the virus is spreading and mutating. I don't know how much of that is being done in Wales.

The other way is the standard PCR test. The PRC test looks for three specific segments of the viral RNA. Not all labs look for the same three segments but just by sheer chance a lot of labs have standardised and one of the segments they look for just happens to be this specific mutated segment. For a positive case they need to find at least two of the segments in sufficient quantity. If they find the other two segments but not the old one before it mutated they can get a measure of how many mutated cases they have. Again it could be that some of the labs in Wales didn't look for that segment in the first place.

I'm don't know where that graph comes from but I've read in other places that the new variant could now be the most dominant variant in Wales.

That renders comparisons pointless and misleading so why are the ONS publishing it like that. I thought they ate least would know better? It is clear Wales has been dominated with the new strain for weeks. Probably almost as long as SE England.

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19 minutes ago, Lamia said:

That renders comparisons pointless and misleading so why are the ONS publishing it like that. I thought they ate least would know better? It is clear Wales has been dominated with the new strain for weeks. Probably almost as long as SE England.

We should always be very careful about try to compare stats from different countries, even countries within the UK. Stats are compiled in different ways in different places. Even in Scotland we have three different ways of counting deaths. 

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