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22nd February - Roadmap out of the pandemic, lifting of restrictions.

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bramling

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Interesting but they never declared what data thresholds they were using for any of the steps. The only facts we have is that the modelling they used to drive the roadmap have proved to over pessimistic and in some sense a right side failure was better then being behind the curve but there has been no reforecasting based on real data to improve the models. This has always been about the politics once Boris nailed himself to it being irreversible that set the scene. He can afford to play long game and the better the outturn the more he can see the massive political opportunity he can realise from this. Everyone else affected indirectly this be it treatment delays, mental health issues loss of jobs are just collateral damage.

Spot on I think. This could backfire though, as stuff like loss of jobs, missed diagnoses, treatment delays is still quite likely to be a dominant theme for the next year or two.

I already sense a lot of people are getting mightily sick of, for example, being fobbed off when trying to see (or even speak to) a GP.
 
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takno

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I’m genuinely interested where those numbers have come from? A quick canter through a couple of sites hasn’t thrown up any modelled or semi-official data of how many cases have been estimated over and above the official report. Clearly the 4m is a significant underestimate due to the lack of testing in the first few months and asymptomatic carriers who weren’t tested (many were though).
I did a quick run-through with the ONS week-by-week prevalence data for England between early September and late April. Over 32 weeks, the average proportion of the population infected in any given week is 0.8%. If you assume that people on average test positive for around 10 days then that equates to 10 million infections. England has had 75k deaths with Covid in 28days over the period. That gives a fatality rate of around 0.75%. Obviously that might be a little bit low if the average positivity period is longer than 10 days, but it is definitely likely to be an overstatement for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there are plenty of reasonable estimates that something like 20% of the deaths with Covid are not Covid deaths. Secondly, the ONS data set doesn't include people in nursing homes or hospitals, where the prevalence has consistently been quite a lot higher.

Overall there are a lot of unknowns, so drawing conclusions from the back of my fag packet is risky, but I think an IFR of 0.5% in the UK over the last 8 months is pretty believable. That puts the reasonable worst case at somewhere less than 300k deaths.
 

brad465

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This is a really good point which many people gloss over, particularly in respect to the first lockdown;
I vividly remember roads/pubs/shops/public transport being eerily quiet for several weeks before March 23rd
last year and big office-based companies began the switch to working from home in early March too.

So when people say that "we should have locked down a couple of weeks earlier than we did",
I don't think that would have made anywhere near as much difference as people believe as a
large proportion of the population were locking themselves down out of fear of the unknown!
In a way this brings into question whether the Government needed to intervene, I do remember much of what you describe myself, and in particular one stick out was that McDonalds was take out only over a week before the Government mandated it, as well as the Premier League postponing before such sporting activities were. One exception though was Cheltenham, which did get much criticism.

Also, while pub activity was declining in the build-up to lockdown, when Johnson advised against going to them on the 16th March last year, there was a larger rush as people foresaw their proper closure, which may have been counterproductive. There may have been a need for support to business for a couple of months, but if many did what they were already doing without Government intervention, things would have looked good enough from mid-May/June to see activities pick up again.

When I question whether they needed to intervene, I believe they had no intention to initially (see Johnson's "I shook hands with everybody" moment), but peer pressure from the media, other countries and SAGE probably coerced them into interventing.
 

Freightmaster

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Overall there are a lot of unknowns, so drawing conclusions from the back of my fag packet is risky, but I think an IFR of 0.5% in the UK over the last 8 months is pretty believable.
Agreed - last Autumn, the WHO estimated the typical population IFR in 'developed' countries to be around 0.6%

That puts the reasonable worst case at somewhere less than 300k deaths.
Which ironically is not a million miles from the 500k that Neil Ferguson famously predicted last Spring,
although to be fair, that figure was a 'worst case scenario' with no mitigation measures whatsoever and
most importantly did not take into account the fact that with daily deaths in the thousands, people would
(and did!) be so scared that they would lock themselves down, irrespective of official rules/guidance.


So it is particularly encouraging to see that even Neil Ferguson thinks that another UK lockdown is unlikely:






MARK
 

takno

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Agreed - last Autumn, the WHO estimated the typical population IFR in 'developed' countries to be around 0.6%


Which ironically is not a million miles from the 500k that Neil Ferguson famously predicted last Spring,
although to be fair, that figure was a 'worst case scenario' with no mitigation measures whatsoever and
most importantly did not take into account the fact that with daily deaths in the thousands, people would
(and did!) be so scared that they would lock themselves down, irrespective of official rules/guidance.


So it is particularly encouraging to see that even Neil Ferguson thinks that another UK lockdown is unlikely:

worth noting that Ferguson, while he's very fond of predicting imminent catastrophe, has rarely said that anybody *should* be doing anything about it. If I remember rightly the main recommendation off the back of the imperial study was a rolling series of short lockdowns. The seemingly unending lockdowns we've actually had were probably not considered likely enough to bother modelling
 

Freightmaster

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worth noting that Ferguson, while he's very fond of predicting imminent catastrophe, has rarely said that anybody *should* be doing anything about it. If I remember rightly the main recommendation off the back of the imperial study was a rolling series of short lockdowns.
Correct - the infamous "hammer and dance" strategy that (as far as I am aware) no European country
has actually employed...


If anyone is interested (and has at least an hour to spare!), here is the original article from last March:



I have only scanned the article, but the main issue I have with in is the 'do nothing' forecasts are ridiculously pessimistic,
such as "ten million or more" deaths in the USA, which I think would have been impossible in reality because (as I have said
several times already on this thread) if deaths started getting anywhere near that high, a large proportion of people would
voluntarily stay at home, wear masks, social distance, etc, irrespective of any laws or mandates.

In other words, even a hypothetical 'let it rip' approach wouldn't see the rapid, uncontrolled transmission through a population
that reports like this predicted.




MARK
 

yorkie

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It would surely include some (most?) of those infected the first time round, many of whom would have retained detectable levels of antibodies.

It would also have included the 2-3m people who had had the first dose of the vaccine and had time to develop antibodies (4.27m had had a first dose by 18 Jan, it was 2.4m a week earlier).
I strongly disagree.

Your first claim: some, yes, but I think you are underestimating the extent to which antibody levels wane. Our bodies don't need antibodies circulating after the infection has passed. I will add some links and quotes shortly.

The second claim is absolutely false. Very few people had been vaccinated by then and you appear to suggest people would have detectable antibodies straight after vaccination, yet this process takes quite some time. Furthermore, the government site specifically stated "...suggesting they had the infection in the past" which suggests they were looking for antibodies produced by natural infection, not by vaccination.

The body produces many types of antibodies against an antigen, and the antigen presented by vaccine is most definitely not the same as the virus itself; this means it's possible to choose what you are testing for.

It would be absurd to test for antibodies produced as a result of vaccination and then say "suggesting they had the infection in the past"; the logical interpretation is that they were testing for natural infection.

Later studies did indeed look at including vaccine induced antibodies and it has been clearly stated this can take time for detectable levels go build up.

Edit: here are some links

https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/...ort-from-yesterday/?cli_action=1620183931.033
...this proportion will be an underestimate as some people will have already lost antibody especially if they had their infection several months ago....
...it can take a while for older people to develop antibodies to immunisation. I would expect Antibody prevalence to increase substantially in the older age groups over the next few weeks...
Among the participants who tested positive, 156 agreed to re-test, between 50-91 days later.

In this group, 94 percent saw a decline in their antibody levels, with 28 percent not producing enough COVID-19 antibodies to meet a clear threshold that would suggest prior infection.

"These results suggest that serology testing at a single time point is likely to underestimate the number of persons with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, and a negative serologic test result might not reliably exclude prior infection," wrote the authors.
Most people infected with the virus develop antibodies over the next several weeks, but people with milder or asymptomatic infection develop fewer antibodies.

Apart from helping to quantify how many infections seroprevalence studies may be missing, the results "challenge the notion of using serologic testing results at an individual level to designate previous SARS-CoV-2 infection," said the authors.
https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701(20)30575-2/fulltext
...up to one-third of all asymptomatic subjects failing to mount a detectable humoral response with anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG) and thus remaining completely underdiagnosed..
..the progressive, time-dependent decline of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies is another important issue, whereby it could be proven that >50% of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG-seropositive subjects may become seronegative as early as 2 months after initial molecular diagnosis...

So, to wrap up, the seroprevalence is being massively under estimated.
 
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dave87016

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I will most probably get criticism for this , but when Boris set out this roadmap he said “ we will be driven by data and not dates “ well surely the data says that we can get rid of the restrictions and masks now ?? However it seems he’s sticking to dates rather than data , another contradiction in a long line of false claims by Boris
 

yorkie

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I will most probably get criticism for this , but when Boris set out this roadmap he said “ we will be driven by data and not dates “ well surely the data says that we can get rid of the restrictions and masks now ?? However it seems he’s sticking to dates rather than data , another contradiction in a long line of false claims by Boris
Data not dates was only if the data didn't suit them. In other words it's just another lie
 

DustyBin

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I will most probably get criticism for this , but when Boris set out this roadmap he said “ we will be driven by data and not dates “ well surely the data says that we can get rid of the restrictions and masks now ?? However it seems he’s sticking to dates rather than data , another contradiction in a long line of false claims by Boris

No criticism from me, you’re absolutely right it should be a two way street!
 

yorkie

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Fully agree Yorkie just as every other rule , promise etc by the goverment during this pandemic unless it suits them
It's because the Government are listening to the pro lockdown authoritarian hysterical brigade.

Such people are a huge danger to our wider society; they belittle, dismiss or underestimate all problems other than Covid.

It suits their narrative to make false claims; they don't like admitting the infection fatality rate is much lower than the case fatality rate (by a factor of at least four), that vaccines are highly effective against severe symptoms, that the average age of a Sars-CoV-2 death was over 82, and so on, as it doesn't suit their scaremongering narrative.

However I've done my research and when someone points out misinformation is being posted, I will respond robustly.

We are facing what looks like a dangerous cult led by hysterical authoritarian activists such as Eric Feigl Ding, Trisha Greenhaulgh and others, and they cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.
 

Yew

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Have some patience folk. Nobody likes this, but it’s nearly over - 7 more weeks. Personally I trust the plans informed by the epidemiologists rather than Daily Mail columnists and members of the Reform Party.
Around 14 months ago, the epidemiologists were calling for herd immunity, and the papers for lockdown.
 

Smidster

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It does seem that this thread is in danger of going round in circles - Unfortunately it does seem to have descended into yet another issue where we have divided into our respective tribes and are completely unable to see the other perspective.

More positively data still all fine and there is a good chance that we will go under 1k patients in English hospitals either today or tomorrow after the Bank Holiday backlog is cleared.

It will be really interesting to see the announcement next week and I would expect that they will look to bring some things forward / amend numbers as the data is so good.

For example i might expect a higher number for things like Weddings (perhaps 50) or some of the numbers on outdoor events to increase (say lower of 8,000 / 50% instead of 4,000 / 50%)

The thing that worries me about June 21st is that it is the restrictions that will remain in place (e.g. masks / distancing / testing etc) that are actually pretty damaging to business - it all adds friction which makes it far more likely that people will just get a pack of beer in Tesco and have events at home.

We are however on the home straight.
 

duncanp

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It will be really interesting to see the announcement next week and I would expect that they will look to bring some things forward / amend numbers as the data is so good.

For example i might expect a higher number for things like Weddings (perhaps 50) or some of the numbers on outdoor events to increase (say lower of 8,000 / 50% instead of 4,000 / 50%)
I think the Duke Of Edinburgh's funeral, and in particular the picture of The Queen sitting on her own, was responsible for the limit of 30 mourners at funerals being abolished from May 17th rather than June 21st.

Whilst The Queen would always want to be seen to obey the rules in public, it wouldn't surprise me if Her Majesty asked Boris Johnson in private what was the justification for the limit of 30 mourners.

Boris was unable to come up with a coherent reply, so suddenly "..the data.." shows that the limit can be abolished earlier than planned.
 

Purple Orange

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Around 14 months ago, the epidemiologists were calling for herd immunity, and the papers for lockdown.

Not quite true that ol’ Yew.

Taken from the article linked below, SAGE recommended that the country should have locked down March 16th but the government did not implement until March 23rd.
‘The UK's chief scientific adviser has said the government was urged to impose full lockdown measures around a week earlier than they were introduced, as he admitted the country's coronavirus outcome has "not been good".’

 

philosopher

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Correct - the infamous "hammer and dance" strategy that (as far as I am aware) no European country
has actually employed...


If anyone is interested (and has at least an hour to spare!), here is the original article from last March:



I have only scanned the article, but the main issue I have with in is the 'do nothing' forecasts are ridiculously pessimistic,
such as "ten million or more" deaths in the USA, which I think would have been impossible in reality because (as I have said
several times already on this thread) if deaths started getting anywhere near that high, a large proportion of people would
voluntarily stay at home, wear masks, social distance, etc, irrespective of any laws or mandates.

In other words, even a hypothetical 'let it rip' approach wouldn't see the rapid, uncontrolled transmission through a population
that reports like this predicted.




MARK
I would say countries in Europe did employ the ‘hammer and dance’ strategy, hence over last summer there was contact tracing, mass testing, masks, large gathering still being banned, social distancing, etc. The issue is that the dance just did not work. That article made out that the dance bit to be far more easy to achieve than was actually the case.
 

initiation

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Not quite true that ol’ Yew.

Taken from the article linked below, SAGE recommended that the country should have locked down March 16th but the government did not implement until March 23rd.
‘The UK's chief scientific adviser has said the government was urged to impose full lockdown measures around a week earlier than they were introduced, as he admitted the country's coronavirus outcome has "not been good".’


Whitty and the rest of government was clearly not in the lockdown camp until a week or so before lockdown commenced.

It's why he said on the 13th March

Our aim is to try and reduce the peak, broaden the peak, not suppress it completely; also, because the vast majority of people get a mild illness, to build up some kind of herd immunity so more people are immune to this disease and we reduce the transmission, at the same time we protect those who are most vulnerable to it. Those are the key things we need to do.
“If you suppress something very, very hard, when you release those measures it bounces back and it bounces back at the wrong time,” he said. The government is concerned that if not enough people catch the virus now, it will re-emerge in the winter, when the NHS is already overstretched.
 

Yew

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Not quite true that ol’ Yew.

Taken from the article linked below, SAGE recommended that the country should have locked down March 16th but the government did not implement until March 23rd.
‘The UK's chief scientific adviser has said the government was urged to impose full lockdown measures around a week earlier than they were introduced, as he admitted the country's coronavirus outcome has "not been good".’

Go back one more week.
 

DustyBin

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Depends what the reaction of the population would have been without an instruction to stay at home, what other interventions the government would have made and how effective they would have been in interrupting transmission of the virus.

If people had carried on without any change in behaviour then we would have seen an exponential spread until the whole population was infected, and at least half a million, perhaps a million dead due to Covid within a couple of months, and more due to the knock-on effect of a breakdown in the health service.

But I don't think that's realistic. People were already entering self-imposed lockdown prior to 23 March. This would have reduced the rate of growth but probably not below 1, particularly as millions of people would have had to carry on working in non-Covid safe workplaces in the absence of a furlough scheme, so it would have carried on spreading. Result would have been half a million to a million dead but over a longer period. Plus millions more affected by long Covid.

Do we consider the sacrifices over the last year worth it? All I can say is that in a few weeks' time I hope to be able to hug my parents and my 101 year-old Nanna again without the risk of giving them a potentially fatal disease, and I'm glad they're still here for me to do that.

If this is what you really believe it’s not surprising we can’t find common ground.

With the right advice and a small number of restrictions I don’t believe we’d have seen anything like the number of deaths you predict. So called “long covid” is simply post viral fatigue syndrome given a catchy name in order to scare people, younger people in particular who have little to fear from the virus, successfully it would appear.

Genuine question; have your parents and Nanna been vaccinated? If so what will change in a few weeks time?
 

kristiang85

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Whitty and the rest of government was clearly not in the lockdown camp until a week or so before lockdown commenced.

It's why he said on the 13th March




Indeed, and here's John Edmunds of SAGE

By the way, here's some simple but quite effective graphs showing lockdown stringency of US states versus economic performance/recovery and versus outcomes for deaths. Quite clearly the states with less lockdowns had much better economic conditions for their citizens, but a completely non significant outcome on the lives saved.
 

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quantinghome

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Well, the original claim was preposterous and provided without any source; someone who comes out with such a bizarre claim really ought to be backing that claim up.
I did back it up. The data is straight from the coronavirus dashboard. Very easy to check.

Frankly I'm surprised to see this kind of response from a site admin. In all the years I've been on this forum you've come across as very reasoned and well-balanced, yet on this subject you seem to lose all composure when someone in good faith presents an interpretation of data which contradicts your views.

It's trivial to disprove the claim that only 8m people in the UK were exposed to the virus.

As is well known, detectable antibody levels wane over time. Nevertheless, in the 28 days up to 18 Jan, 8 million people in England alone ( 1 in 7 out of 56m) had detectable levels of antibodies:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopula...ctionsurveyantibodydatafortheuk/3february2021
If you look a bit more carefully at my post, you'll see that I'm talking about a timeframe from the end of September (when full scale testing was well underway) to the present. I have deliberately excluded the first 6 months of the outbreak when everyone acknowledges that testing was only picking up a small fraction of cases. While testing from September onwards will still be an underestimate, it won't be massively so.

I very roughly estimated that the testing may be picking up about half the cases. A further look at the data source you provided appears to back this up. The chart below shows the percentage testing positive for antibodies. We can see that there was around a 10% increase from end of September to mid-January. That's 5.6 million people. Over the same time period, according to the coronavirus dashboard the cumulative total number of cases in England went up from 300,000 to 3 million, a net increase of 2.7 million. So the testing appears to be picking up around half of cases, as I estimated.

1620201819201.png
 

Mintona

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It’s all well and good being able to go and see elderly relatives. Some of us don’t have any of those. They all died much younger from various other ailments. So I’d rather not waste another day just existing. I’d rather have died of covid in March last year than spend life tested, masked and distanced.
 

35B

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This is a really good point which many people gloss over, particularly in respect to the first lockdown;
I vividly remember roads/pubs/shops/public transport being eerily quiet for several weeks before March 23rd
last year and big office-based companies began the switch to working from home in early March too.

So when people say that "we should have locked down a couple of weeks earlier than we did",
I don't think that would have made anywhere near as much difference as people believe as a
large proportion of the population were locking themselves down out of fear of the unknown!





MARK
Agreed - but that point works in two ways. Firstly, for those who believe lockdowns have a place, it is a reminder that personal choices enter into the equation and that government policy is not the sole decider. Second, for those opposed to lockdowns and deny their effect, it's a reminder that their purpose is social distancing, and that the trends you highlight were part of how the incidence of Covid was reduced.

I would then go further, and suggest that formalising this as a lockdown mitigated the economic harm, by making the effect on businesses less random.
 

LancasterRed

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https://www.lancs.live/news/lancashire-news/hyndburn-now-highest-infection-rate-20526009
The latest Public Health England figures show that in the space of seven days the east Lancashire boroughs rate has gone from 38.3 cases per 100,000 people to 153.

It is the biggest week-on-week rise of all 315 local authorities in the country, with the spike being largely linked back to an outbreak at Accrington's Mount Carmel RC High School.


This article articulates that an outbreak at a Hyndburn school has skewed the figures in Lancashire. There is a danger that this could lead to a wider outbreak so worth keeping an eye on and should these cases go down we will see big improvement.

It will be interesting to see the effect of centralised outbreaks on the easing of restrictions as the days progress. In any case, the fact that so many cases are centralised is a good thing so those affected can isolate while we return to normality. Everyone associated with this school can do their 2 weeks while the rest of society goes about their daily business.
 
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35B

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I think the Duke Of Edinburgh's funeral, and in particular the picture of The Queen sitting on her own, was responsible for the limit of 30 mourners at funerals being abolished from May 17th rather than June 21st.

Whilst The Queen would always want to be seen to obey the rules in public, it wouldn't surprise me if Her Majesty asked Boris Johnson in private what was the justification for the limit of 30 mourners.

Boris was unable to come up with a coherent reply, so suddenly "..the data.." shows that the limit can be abolished earlier than planned.
There's also the minor matter that it highlighted some inconsistencies in the regulations. I served at a requiem mass for the Duke on the Thursday night, and we had a lot more than 30 in the church - yet only 30 were allowed to attend the funeral.
 

LancasterRed

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Lancs Live have a really disturbing obsession with scaremongering. I suppose it garners clicks to their horrendous ad-filled website.
It's not scaremongering. It's just reporting what they see. It's been useful for finding patterns and other interesting tidbits of data.

That in mind the parent company, Reach, is problematic and no doubt they're mandating quality journalists to overpublish COVID data when other content should take the forefront.

Without deviating too far away from the topic of restrictions, the worst of it is certainly behind us and hopefully outbreaks will be well managed going forward, allowing the maintenance of the roadmap if not overdelivering on it which would be excellent news.
 

yorkie

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I did back it up. The data is straight from the coronavirus dashboard. Very easy to check.
And I've posted data from a Government site which clearly disproves your claim that only 8 million people were infected.

Frankly I'm surprised to see this kind of response from a site admin. In all the years I've been on this forum you've come across as very reasoned and well-balanced, yet on this subject you seem to lose all composure when someone in good faith presents an interpretation of data which contradicts your views.
I could say the feeling is mutual and frankly I'm surprised to see this kind of response from a forum member, but the authoritarian regime we are living in has resulted in many unpleasantries I've become immune to such surprises and disappointment, so I am not really that surprised any more!

Nevertheless, I am well prepared for false claims, having done much research myself. If you keep making false claims, I'll keep debunking them!

If you look a bit more carefully at my post, you'll see that I'm talking about a timeframe from the end of September (when full scale testing was well underway) to the present. I have deliberately excluded the first 6 months of the outbreak when everyone acknowledges that testing was only picking up a small fraction of cases.
I think you are deliberately distorting and cherry picking data in order to back up the absurd 2% infection fatality rate claim, which is massively inflated. I've not seen any reputable source claim that the IFR is anywhere near as high as that.

While testing from September onwards will still be an underestimate, it won't be massively so.
Why not? I know of many people who are reluctant to get tested, and there are many reports of this being even more severe in many parts of the country.

Yes I agree the extent of underestimation will be much lower now than earlier in the pandemic; we may be down from a tiny fraction of cases to perhaps half of cases being picked up.

I've known people tell me know relatives of theirs had very mild or no symptoms and only got tested because they were a contact of someone who had a positive test. There must be a huge quantity of undiagnosed infections.

I very roughly estimated that the testing may be picking up about half the cases.
Yes now it is probably about half, I'd agree with you on that, but earlier it was far, far higher.

A further look at the data source you provided appears to back this up. The chart below shows the percentage testing positive for antibodies. We can see that there was around a 10% increase from end of September to mid-January. That's 5.6 million people. Over the same time period, according to the coronavirus dashboard the cumulative total number of cases in England went up from 300,000 to 3 million, a net increase of 2.7 million. So the testing appears to be picking up around half of cases, as I estimated.
Only in recent weeks would we be picking up as many as that, in my opinion.

There is no way the IFR is anywhere near 2% and no amount of cherry picking of data is going to change that.

I've edited my earlier post to include links to, and quotes from, numerous sources which indicate how a number of compounding factors are massively reducing the seroprevalence estimates.

You are deliberately overestimating the IFR (by a factor of about four at least), which is presumably to justify harsh restrictions and to induce more fear into the population?

Given the IFR is clearly far lower than the 2% you claim it is, this completely undermines your argument, which appears to hinge on vastly inflated IFR estimates.
 
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