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New lockdown in England, including school closures, announced by Johnson, 4/1/21

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Domh245

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Ok, but replace case rates with hospitalisation numbers and suddenly it's a much more useful tool.

Indeed, but then they should have put hospitalisation numbers rather than cases! I still think it's a bit too cautious at the bottom end, but it's a starting point at least
 
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duncanp

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If we go off that table, then we will never have a restriction-free life again. COVID cannot be eradicated. No respiratory disease has ever been eradicated. It will just be included in the repertoire of coronavirsues in general circulation that we will call 'the cold'.

But then again I hope the government won't take advice from an organisation named after the man who sold us a pointless war (that killed 400,000+ people) based on dodgy dossiers.... but given the parallels between COVID policy and Iraq policy I'm not so sure.

The problem with Tony Blair's table is that he is using the number of cases per 100k per week as a criteria for easing lockdown or imposing restrictions again.

It takes no account of the effect of vaccination on the number of people who become ill enough to require hospital treatment. If cases rise following the easing of restrictions, does it matter so much if fewer people require hospital treatment, especially if there are drugs available that can help reduce the seriousness of the disease.

Tony Blair also doesn't take account of the effect of vaccines in reducing virus transmission, or the economic impacts of constantly easing restrictions and then reimposing them. But then he couldn't care less about any of that, with the millions of pounds he has in the bank.

So as far as I am concerned, Mr Blair can go and take a long walk off a short pier.
 

kristiang85

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The problem with Tony Blair's table is that he is using the number of cases per 100k per week as a criteria for easing lockdown or imposing restrictions again.

It takes no account of the effect of vaccination on the number of people who become ill enough to require hospital treatment. If cases rise following the easing of restrictions, does it matter so much if fewer people require hospital treatment, especially if there are drugs available that can help reduce the seriousness of the disease.

Tony Blair also doesn't take account of the effect of vaccines in reducing virus transmission, or the economic impacts of constantly easing restrictions and then reimposing them. But then he couldn't care less about any of that, with the millions of pounds he has in the bank.

So as far as I am concerned, Mr Blair can go and take a long walk off a short pier.

Well yes, this most importantly for sure. It's funny how suddenly, as deaths drop, we are back to talking about cases again.

Up to 1/3 of the world has latent TB, but in most people its undetected and harmless. If you PCR'd them using COVID metrics, suddenly everybody would be talking about TB (which has been grossly neglected due to this pandemic, and still kills 4000 people a day worldwide - and a far wider spectrum of people than COVID does).

Continuing this testing for COVID will find loads of 'cases', but most of it is ultimately harmless, yet we could see indefinite restrictions because of it.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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Regional lockdowns aren't an option now, I think at the very least there will be little compliance if some areas of the country return to a semi-normal while others are still under lockdown conditions.
Wasn't suggesting they were my point though is if all areas have to be below some specific figure the majority could be left waiting for many weeks for these areas to reduce case level. Hopefully there thinking will take a more balanced approach and have local local restrictions as a contingency plan.
 

brad465

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I'd argue if there's a spectrum for what strategy is the best one, where the middle ground is sensible, Zero covid is at one end and Covid denying at the other, but being on the extremes they are both dangerous concepts. In other words, I'd liken Zero covid to covid denying in terms of how problematic a concept it is.
 

Bantamzen

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A "faulty metric" that happens to capture the reality pretty well, with 90%+ of deaths by that measure having Covid as the primary cause of death on the death certificate.

Meanwhile, I'm with @WelshBluebird in taking the view that his assumptions are based on the plans for vaccination, not the best case scenarios for vaccination. Given the track record here over the last year, I'd go with an analysis that sees the risk of exponential increase from a high base as worth taking seriously because liable to cause significant illness and death within the remaining non-immune population.
You say "non-immune population", but are you taking into account those outside of the vaccinated group that have been exposed to the virus, and those that may even have pre-existing immunity due to exposure to other coronaviruses? We've already exposed somewhere around 24% of the population to at least one dose of the vaccine, and it is very possible that as many again have at least some immune memory potentially capable of dealing with the virus's many variants. So we could well be on the way to having enough resistance to the virus to prevent similar levels of serious illness.

And that is the point to all this. If you are aiming for low / zero covid, forget it. That boat sailed in the early months of 2020. The virus is now endemic, and is part of the global viral spectrum & is something we cannot keep locking down for.
 

island

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It’s been reported on ITV News (on TV) that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self Employed Income Support Scheme, and the £20 Universal Credit uplift will be extended to October.

Not online yet so no link, but I’m sure it will be before very long.
 

6862

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Deleted - none of what I'm posting is helpful to anyone and I will no longer be posting. Sorry to all.
 
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bramling

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It’s been reported on ITV News (on TV) that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self Employed Income Support Scheme, and the £20 Universal Credit uplift will be extended to October.

Not online yet so no link, but I’m sure it will be before very long.

What on earth are they playing at? This is complete and total madness. We have the flaming vaccines now, goalposts moving yet again. It’s almost like they are scared of normality.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but we are very much getting to the point where we start to be seriously having to ask whether there really is a more sinister objective here.
 

DavidB

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And to all those who say 'we can't afford it' - this hasn't stopped them at any point so far, why would it stop them now.

Because there comes a point where rather than a bad recession, the economy collapses. Hard to believe that even this lot would be that stupid...
 

bramling

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Because there comes a point where rather than a bad recession, the economy collapses. Hard to believe that even this lot would be that stupid...

One has to consider it.

Is BJ now at the point where it’s “I know my political career is now wrecked, so damn it I’m going to take Britain with me”. With the rest of the cabinet being a complete and utter shower it’s not implausible.

We are not going to get out of this without civil disobedience.
 

MikeWM

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Because there comes a point where rather than a bad recession, the economy collapses. Hard to believe that even this lot would be that stupid...

Perhaps they fear that it will happen now whatever they do, and so they may as well try to string it along for a bit longer before the implosion.
 

6862

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Because there comes a point where rather than a bad recession, the economy collapses. Hard to believe that even this lot would be that stupid...

The economy has already collapsed. We have essentially zero spending in a massive chunk of the economy (hospitality, tourism, most independent shops). These parts of the economy are already dead, they won't return.

One has to consider it.

Is BJ now at the point where it’s “I know my political career is now wrecked, so damn it I’m going to take Britain with me”. With the rest of the cabinet being a complete and utter shower it’s not implausible.

We are not going to get out of this without civil disobedience.

Yes, I think you're right on both points.
 

MikeWM

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We are not going to get out of this without civil disobedience.

Once you let an abuser get away with their abuse, even once, they won't stop of their own accord. You have to start standing up for yourself and/or leave the relationship entirely.
 

bramling

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The economy has already collapsed. We have essentially zero spending in a massive chunk of the economy (hospitality, tourism, most independent shops). These parts of the economy are already dead, they won't return.



Yes, I think you're right on both points.

I really can’t see how these sectors are going to avoid mass carnage.

Likewise how we are going to avoid massive inflation over the coming years, which is going to prove ruinous to our economy. Savings dropping in value massively, wages unable to keep up, public finances utterly wrecked.

This is what happens when we have a PM whose life experience is the Bullingdon Club and a career founded upon making people laugh.
 

DavidB

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The economy has already collapsed. We have essentially zero spending in a massive chunk of the economy (hospitality, tourism, most independent shops). These parts of the economy are already dead, they won't return.

Granted, massive damage has been done - but some of it will revive if they roll back the restrictions now. The longer it carries on, the less will remain.

The only "logic" behind this can be at attempt at zero-Covid by stealth (and I don't think it will work whatever they do) - it's imporssible to see any other reason: once all those at particular risk have been given the vaccine (if they want it) the situation is as good as it will ever be while Covid remains in circulation (which probably means always), so what is being gained by dragging this out?
 

Class 33

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What on earth are they playing at? This is complete and total madness. We have the flaming vaccines now, goalposts moving yet again. It’s almost like they are scared of normality.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but we are very much getting to the point where we start to be seriously having to ask whether there really is a more sinister objective here.

Absolutely. The furlough scheme extended until at least October???!!! Why???!!! As you say we've got these vaccines now, and with all the most vulnerable people already vaccinated. And more and more millions getting vaccinated as the weeks go on. Within a few months now the hospital numbers and deaths will be miniscule. So why an earth does it appear that they're going to drag these ridiculous restrictions on for at least another 7 and a half months??!! Absolute madness.

We were told by Johnson and other government ministers such things as "We are on the final stretch now of this pandemic.", "These vaccines are our way out of all these restrictions!", "If everyone can just bear with these restrictions for just a few more months now, then we'll be out of all this." and "We're going to have a great British care-free summer!". This doesn't look like this will be the case, and they're stringing us along with those optimistic comments. This is a disgrace. This country is going to be an absolute wreck if these restrictions drag on even further for much of the year! In fact the country is pretty wrecked as it is now.

I really hope the CRG gains more members and starts kicking up a fuss about this, along with thousands of business leaders.
 

bramling

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Granted, massive damage has been done - but some of it will revive if they roll back the restrictions now. The longer it carries on, the less will remain.

The only "logic" behind this can be at attempt at zero-Covid by stealth (and I don't think it will work whatever they do) - it's imporssible to see any other reason: once all those at particular risk have been given the vaccine (if they want it) the situation is as good as it will ever be while Covid remains in circulation (which probably means always), so what is being gained by dragging this out?

A decent PM would have already ruled out zero COVID. It’s quite clearly non-achievable. We have too many cases, the vaccines aren’t a total solution, and keeping borders closed isn’t going to be viable.

Boris is too weak to expectation-manage in this respect, and is still playing the “follow the science” game. For our part, we all need to challenge this - there needs to be a catchy tag line along the lines of “Boris lead not follow”.
 

6862

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We were told by Johnson and other government ministers such things as "We are on the final stretch now of this pandemic.", "These vaccines are our way out of all these restrictions!", "If everyone can just bear with these restrictions for just a few more months now, then we'll be out of all this." and "We're going to have a great British care-free summer!".

Boris is a chronic liar, this should be evident from the fact that he has broken every one of these promises/claims/predictions.
 

duncanp

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There is now an article on the ITV news website.


The main point of the article is that the £20 uplift to Universal Credit is going to continue for another 6 months.

It says that they may tie this extension in with an extension of the furlough and self employed suppoet schemes, but that this isn't a given.

Later in the article it says that there would be a sharp rise in unemployment if all the support schemes are withdrawn at the end of April Take note of the last sentence in the article about 500,000 people in Scotland on Universal Credit, and how it would be a gift to the SNP if the £20 uplift was withdrawn a week before the election. Similarly with all the other elections in England and Wales.

I think this is the point of the extension, rather than an intention to keep the lockdown going for a long time. By this I mean that they want to give the economy a chance to recover once restrictions are removed, before withdrawing the financial support to the most affected people.

The £20 “temporary” uplift in universal credit, announced at the start of the Covid-19 crisis, will roll on for another six months I understand - subject to a final sign off by the prime minister.

I am told that the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has abandoned his hope of ending the top-up £20 payment once-and-for-all at the budget on 3 March. The Treasury had originally wanted to terminate it by making a single lump sum payment of circa £500, equivalent to six months money, to all current recipients of it.

Instead, the £20 increment will continue to be paid in the normal way for at least another six months.

This has two implications.

First it allows Labour to sustain its attack for months yet that Boris Johnson’s government continues to plan to cut the incomes of millions of the very poorest.

Second, it paradoxically retains the possibility that the £20 increment will never in practice be abolished.

The Treasury has been reluctant to make the top up permanent, because - with its knock on impact on tax credits - it costs £6bn a year.

But many low income families and individuals have come to rely on it. And they are the people who have been hardest hit by the economic impact of the Covid19 crisis.

Unlike those in the richest half of the income spectrum, whose savings have increased, the poorest 20% have fallen more into debt.

The £20 increment will continue to be paid in the normal way for at least another six months.

There have therefore been two arguments for retaining the £20 top up.

First it would be unfair and heartless to remove it.

Second, it would hamper the economic recovery. Every penny of the £6bn a year is spent by its recipients, so abolishing it would at a stroke remove £6bn of demand from the economy, at a time when many businesses are in dire straits.

The six-month extension of the universal credit top up is anticipated by both the Treasury and the Department of Work and Pensions. But it will not be set in stone until formally approved by the prime minister.



The chancellor and Treasury hope they can dovetail the extension of the £20 universal credit top up with an associated extension of the furlough and self-employment income support scheme - and that all will definitively end after six months.

“They think it is a hard stop after six months” said a source.

But the maximum risk of a sharp rise in unemployment will come when furlough and SEISS end. So that is when there will be maximum pressure from both Tory backbenchers and Labour to extend the universal credit top-up beyond six months.
Which is why officials in the DWP and Downing Street have been arguing it would be much better to extend the top-up for at least a year, in the first instance.

Also there are an estimated 500,000 people in Scotland on universal credit. So the prospect of the looming abolition of the £20 increment is likely to play badly for the Tories in May’s elections to the Scottish parliament.
 

NorthOxonian

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There is now an article on the ITV news website.


The main point of the article is that the £20 uplift to Universal Credit is going to continue for another 6 months.

It says that they may tie this extension in with an extension of the furlough and self employed suppoet schemes, but that this isn't a given.

Later in the article it says that there would be a sharp rise in unemployment if all the support schemes are withdrawn at the end of April Take note of the last sentence in the article about 500,000 people in Scotland on Universal Credit, and how it would be a gift to the SNP if the £20 uplift was withdrawn a week before the election. Similarly with all the other elections in England and Wales.

I think this is the point of the extension, rather than an intention to keep the lockdown going for a long time. By this I mean that they want to give the economy a chance to recover once restrictions are removed, before withdrawing the financial support to the most affected people.
Also, this is Robet Peston. Everything he says should be taken with a massive vat of salt.
 

takno

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There is now an article on the ITV news website.


The main point of the article is that the £20 uplift to Universal Credit is going to continue for another 6 months.

It says that they may tie this extension in with an extension of the furlough and self employed suppoet schemes, but that this isn't a given.

Later in the article it says that there would be a sharp rise in unemployment if all the support schemes are withdrawn at the end of April Take note of the last sentence in the article about 500,000 people in Scotland on Universal Credit, and how it would be a gift to the SNP if the £20 uplift was withdrawn a week before the election. Similarly with all the other elections in England and Wales.

I think this is the point of the extension, rather than an intention to keep the lockdown going for a long time. By this I mean that they want to give the economy a chance to recover once restrictions are removed, before withdrawing the financial support to the most affected people.
Keeping the £20 supplement for 6 months after all the restrictions are gone is a no-brainer. You're basically pumping money into a part of the economy where it is almost certain to get spent, most likely within the UK, and you're seen to be doing a good thing. If they didn't keep it up then the opposition would have great material for months.

As regards the furlough scheme, it really needs to run in some form until all the restrictions are removed, and probably for a month after that. It would make a lot of sense to start whittling down the sectors it applies to though, and doing something to make it clear that we are entering the supporting-recovery phase rather than continuing the supporting-lockdown phase.
 

yorksrob

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As regards the furlough scheme, it really needs to run in some form until all the restrictions are removed, and probably for a month after that. It would make a lot of sense to start whittling down the sectors it applies to though, and doing something to make it clear that we are entering the supporting-recovery phase rather than continuing the supporting-lockdown phase.

Definitely agree with this point. Some sectors such as hospitality need stronger help.

By contrast at my employment, we're still experiencing supply chain issues due to large companies who aren't being prevented from operating, putting staff on furlough.
 

chris11256

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Definitely agree with this point. Some sectors such as hospitality need stronger help.

By contrast at my employment, we're still experiencing supply chain issues due to large companies who aren't being prevented from operating, putting staff on furlough.
I Agree, it needs to become much more targeted. So going forward it should only apply to sectors which still have heavy restrictions(travel, hospitality for example).
 

DavidB

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I Agree, it needs to become much more targeted. So going forward it should only apply to sectors which still have heavy restrictions(travel, hospitality for example).

Shouldn't be diffcult to do either - those sectors which are prevented from operating (or have to operate at reduced capacity) are fairly easy to identify.
 

35B

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What it doesn't capture is how many of those were likely to die soon anyway from other conditions. Given how high the average age of a 'with Covid' death is, that is going to be a significant number.

Why would it cause 'significant illness and death' among those demographics which so far have been demonstrated to be the least affected by this virus, with only a small number ending up hospitalised and even fewer dying?
My understanding is a lower number than you might think, as I believe life expectancy at 80 is an average of 10 years. The Shipman argument is never a good look on this.

As for the numbers, I agree that we are talking about the least likely to be affected - but with 25% of recent hospitalisations being under 50, those numbers can still be significant.
So what you seem to be saying is we constantly have to wait and see so people's mental wellbeing and being able to live a normal life can wait indefinitely?
On the balance of harm, yes - following the principle of measure twice, cut once. My objection to the approach of CRG, for example, is not to the dates per se, but to the prioritisation of dates over meaningful measures of success.
 

Richard Scott

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On the balance of harm, yes - following the principle of measure twice, cut once. My objection to the approach of CRG, for example, is not to the dates per se, but to the prioritisation of dates over meaningful measures of success.
But why do we need any restrictions, as I said majority of vulnerable vaccinated and rest isolating until vaccinated so what is the point? Just wrecking everyone else's lives for what is effectively very little gain but with a much bigger loss?
 

35B

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The problem with Tony Blair's table is that he is using the number of cases per 100k per week as a criteria for easing lockdown or imposing restrictions again.

It takes no account of the effect of vaccination on the number of people who become ill enough to require hospital treatment. If cases rise following the easing of restrictions, does it matter so much if fewer people require hospital treatment, especially if there are drugs available that can help reduce the seriousness of the disease.

Tony Blair also doesn't take account of the effect of vaccines in reducing virus transmission, or the economic impacts of constantly easing restrictions and then reimposing them. But then he couldn't care less about any of that, with the millions of pounds he has in the bank.

So as far as I am concerned, Mr Blair can go and take a long walk off a short pier.
So you are dismissing the concept of a model because you believe it's using the wrong measure and from the wrong person.

Personally, and without opining at all on the specific numbers at a rate, I rather like the concept of that model - but would move towards basing it on hospitalisations rather than case rates, recognising that the vaccination programme is changing (currently only just becoming apparent in statistics) the relationship between cases and hospitalisations.
 

duncanp

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So you are dismissing the concept of a model because you believe it's using the wrong measure and from the wrong person.

Personally, and without opining at all on the specific numbers at a rate, I rather like the concept of that model - but would move towards basing it on hospitalisations rather than case rates, recognising that the vaccination programme is changing (currently only just becoming apparent in statistics) the relationship between cases and hospitalisations.

I am dismissing the model because it doesn't take account of all relevant information.

As you say, you need to recognise that the vaccination programme changes the relationship between cases and hospitalisations, and Tony Blair's model doesn't do this.

I do believe in the concept of a model as you suggest, but any model needs to project the figures forward and estimate when we are likely to reach the various thresholds, rather than just say that we need to wait until the figures have got down to a certain level before we can, for example, reopen hospitality.
 

35B

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But why do we need any restrictions, as I said majority of vulnerable vaccinated and rest isolating until vaccinated so what is the point? Just wrecking everyone else's lives for what is effectively very little gain but with a much bigger loss?
Because the law of large numbers - even a low probability amongst a large population leaves a significant number affected. Covid does not only attack "the vulnerable", as can be seen in the statistics at the moment. Getting the total numbers down matters, because it is that which will relieve the pressure on health services being able to deliver more than just Covid care, especially with the backlog that's built up as hospitals have been swamped.
I am dismissing the model because it doesn't take account of all relevant information.

As you say, you need to recognise that the vaccination programme changes the relationship between cases and hospitalisations, and Tony Blair's model doesn't do this.

I do believe in the concept of a model as you suggest, but any model needs to project the figures forward and estimate when we are likely to reach the various thresholds, rather than just say that we need to wait until the figures have got down to a certain level before we can, for example, reopen hospitality.
Ok - I accept the principle of the model, but think it needs to be improved. I do agree that it should include an element of forecasting but that needs to be based on recognition that predictions can sometimes be wrong.
 
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