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

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kristiang85

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I've answered this before: they are either running their PCR testing with a much higher 'threshold',
or are exclusively using Lateral Flow (rapid) tests, which don't have the false positive issue as their
threshold is far higher than PCR testing in the first place.

The UK is currently transitioning from PCR to lateral flow (ratio is currently around 50/50),
so if that trend continues in the coming weeks in combination with falling prevalence in general,
false positives will eventually become background noise, just as they were last Summer.


In other words, if we can get to the point where (say) 80% of tests being conducted each day are lateral flow,
it could be feasible to get below the 'magic' 1000 positive tests per day figure by Easter.



MARK

Just to clarify - do you mean lower thresholds? (unless you're talking about virus particles being present?)

Also I just looked up the estimated FPR of LFTs and it comes up with "the overall false positive rate was 0.32%, although this was lowered to 0.06% in a lab setting." (https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2020-11-1...eral-flow-tests-show-high-specificity-and-are)

The articles say the government want to do 10m tests per day. Even with the lab setting FPR (which isn't going to be the case), that would be 6,000 false positives a day potentially.
 
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joncombe

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The BBC are now reporting that "researchers" want the Government to add the following symptoms as those that should trigger a Covid test.

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
I can't help but wonder if this is a deliberate attempt to keep cases high. Get more people taking tests = more postivies results (even if false positive) = more reason to keep restrictions going.

I mean the above along with the existing symptoms practically means that if you are not feeling 100% then you must have Covid.
 

Hawkwood Junc

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Totally agree. Those are all things that apply to pretty much any minor bug. I've got a 7 month old and a 2 year old. I'd be surprised if I wasn't fatigued a lot of the time!
 

brad465

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The BBC are now reporting that "researchers" want the Government to add the following symptoms as those that should trigger a Covid test.

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
I can't help but wonder if this is a deliberate attempt to keep cases high. Get more people taking tests = more postivies results (even if false positive) = more reason to keep restrictions going.

I mean the above along with the existing symptoms practically means that if you are not feeling 100% then you must have Covid.
I agree, this is essentially now trying to liken every last symptom possible from an infection to being caused by Covid.
 

nlogax

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I can't help but wonder if this is a deliberate attempt to keep cases high. Get more people taking tests = more postivies results (even if false positive) = more reason to keep restrictions going.

I keep asking - why on earth would the government want to maintain restrictions? What would be the benefit of paying out furlough costs and restricting income for the public purse ad infinitum? It's a daft concept.
 

DannyMich2018

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With rumours of 1000 cases or per day for Lockdown to go is completely nonsense. Even now many countries both in Europe or wider world report more than that per day and I'm sure they won't be locked up permanently. Yes cases numbers need to come down but really it doesn't matter how many cases there are-it's not possible to test every person every day so we never really know the true total of cases anyway at any given time-it's hospital admissions and the pressure on the NHS what matters so as long as these stay low I cannot see a problem. It's strange that even with a vaccine that this year is looking likely to end up no better or even worse than last year especially regarding holidays, last year we were allowed to holiday certainly within England by the beginning of July with pubs, hotels etc fully open and most other businesses open by then. We are supposed to be going away at end of May (Bank Hol week) to Somerset but I cannot see this happening. Also an event on at Wicksteed Park late June, again I cannot see this happening.
 

MikeWM

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With rumours of 1000 cases or per day for Lockdown to go is completely nonsense.

It is 'zero-covid' without the benefits of 'zero-covid'. At least with an actual 'zero-covid' strategy you get periods of no restrictions, even if you have to be prepared to be thrown back into very strict lockdowns at the drop of a hat.

It's strange that even with a vaccine that this year is looking likely to end up no better or even worse than last year

It is, isn't it? And why would 2022 then be any different? Or 2032? Or 2072?
 

Richard Scott

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The BBC are now reporting that "researchers" want the Government to add the following symptoms as those that should trigger a Covid test.

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
I can't help but wonder if this is a deliberate attempt to keep cases high. Get more people taking tests = more postivies results (even if false positive) = more reason to keep restrictions going.

I mean the above along with the existing symptoms practically means that if you are not feeling 100% then you must have Covid.
How ridiculous, often have the top three, goes with the job! Recently i.e. past 6 months or so, had more sore throats, put it down to mask wearing. Don't need to wear it for a while sore throat goes away!
 

brad465

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I keep asking - why on earth would the government want to maintain restrictions? What would be the benefit of paying out furlough costs and restricting income for the public purse ad infinitum? It's a daft concept.
Prior to a vaccine becoming available the most likely reason would have been a lack of courage to admit the whole strategy was wrong, which would explain why other countries are doing the same. This may well still apply, but for us I suspect keeping this going despite the vaccine being rolled out suggests it's because our leadership is fundamentally weak and thus scientists with specific expertise (that doesn't consider other factors beyond their remit) can very easily sway our politicians.
 

MikeWM

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Prior to a vaccine becoming available the most likely reason would have been a lack of courage to admit the whole strategy was wrong, which would explain why other countries are doing the same. This may well still apply, but for us I suspect keeping this going despite the vaccine being rolled out suggests it's because our leadership is fundamentally weak and thus scientists with specific expertise (that doesn't consider other factors beyond their remit) can very easily sway our politicians.

In addition, one or other of these things:

- The longer you keep it going, the longer you put off the reckoning that will happen when it ends. Mass unemployment for one.

- The longer you keep it going, the more opportunity you have to introduce permanent society-changing measures, as an increasingly tired and desperate population will grab at anything that will make it end. Domestic vaccine passports, for example.
 

bramling

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I keep asking - why on earth would the government want to maintain restrictions? What would be the benefit of paying out furlough costs and restricting income for the public purse ad infinitum? It's a daft concept.

Because restrictions seem to be popular with a particular subset of people, and Boris is a completely vacuous politician who’s main policy yardstick is whether he can make himself popular?

Popular policies = boosted Boris ego, and that seems to be his sole raison d’etre for being in post. Likewise he can spin a “saved lives” narrative, which he needs to do if he’s any chance of leaving office with a reputation intact, again something which is important to Boris.

As long as he can spin it to a narrative of “we had to do it to save lives”, aided by “we followed the science” then he no doubt thinks he won’t be criticised. Likewise he will no doubt be thinking about stuff like inquiries and legal action to come, again “we followed the science” he will see as a get out of jail free card.

Forget logic, what we are seeing is Boris self-preservation. He doesn’t care if it wrecks the country as long as he isn’t held responsible for the deaths.
 

Class 33

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Watching the 6 nations at the weekend, it struck me a) how much I missed going, b) how odd it seemed without fans in the stadium. For some reason I'm used to football without fans but an international rugby match felt bizarre. and c) just how much not having fans in the stadium impacts so many sectors.

82,000 would've been expected to attend on Saturday in normal times. The multiple millions in ticket money would pay the stewards, the portaloo suppliers etc and go into the RFU where it is allocated to the clubs of all shapes and sizes from the likes of Harlequins, Bath, Exeter, Leicester etc down to the smallest village team. If these places lower down the chain disappear in greater numbers, as they are, that will have further detrimental affects on the health and well being of the users of these clubs. People will lose their chosen place for exercise, socialising and recreation.

The bar and food take. That's many tens of thousands of pints and food not purchased from suppliers, many hundreds of staff not employed (many casual employee, younger people). The outside catering is normally a bunch of medium sized businesses who wouldn't be buying supplies, won't be paying staff. The local pubs and restaurants who normally experience massively increased footfall on matchdays as well as Harlequins themselves who normally take some of the spillover hospitality.

Then, of course to the railway, buses, coach companies, cabbies, car parks etc and all the means for the 82,000 people plus staff to get to the ground for the event.

Multiply that by 3 for the 3 home games in this year's 6 nations plus the 4 lost games in the autumn. Of course, similar will of course be happening at Murrayfield and Cardiff.

So while people think that events etc are an indulgence and should be low down on the list to restar, I feel that it's not just about people enjoying themselves but livelihoods depend on it. Too many people seem to think the economy is 'fat cats', Tesco, HSBC etc when in most cases it's small and medium businesses that play a huge role in a large number of lives, not just, economically but physically and mentally too.

Then we get on to cricket, similar situation. A second summer without supporters could be awful, awful news for the game below international level.

Well said. Yes there's a hell of a lot of damage these social distancing and face mask wearing measures are doing to the sporting events/festivals/general events industry. It's absolutely dreadful, it really is. This really should not be allowed to continue on this year. We've got the most vulnerable people all vaccinated now, and millions more further down the other groups will be vaccinated over the coming months. So All these restrictions need to go pretty soon now.

If you search for this year's festivals on https://www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/ you will see that currently there are still hundreds of festivals that are still intending on going ahead this year, even ones as early as May and June. But if this "roadmap" announced by Johnson is to be as bad as expected and we'll be told that social distancing and face mask wearing will still be required for the forseeable future, then the festivals and events industry will be wiped out again for the second year in a row. Check again on those listings within a couple of days of Johnson's roadmap announcement and there will be an absolute flood of cancellations in those listings. This will be heartbreaking to see. Heartbreaking for those intending to hopefully goto a festival or two this summer, and heartbreaking for the organisers of these festivals.
 

nlogax

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Forget logic, what we are seeing is Boris self-preservation. He doesn’t care if it wrecks the country as long as he isn’t held responsible for the deaths.

I'd love to forget logic, but to me logic suggests that the 'particular subset of people' he's trying to appease with continued restrictions don't amount to a hill of beans when it comes to election time. We need to start looking beyond those who are content to stay at home for evermore - I have a very hard time believing they make up a substantial-enough part of the electorate that anyone needs to care about.
 

kristiang85

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Boris, talking from Wales (essential visit?) on the Telegraph live feed:

The country will reopen in "stages", with hospitality likely to be one of the last will be one of the last, Boris Johnson has said.

Speaking during a visit to Wales, the Prime Minister said the country would leave lockdown "in stages, cautiously", as he stressed the need for progress to be "one way".

Asked about the prospects for bars and restaurants, said: "You have to remember from last year that we opened up hospitality fully as one of the last things that we did because there is obviously an extra risk of transmission from hospitality."

If last year was the definition of hospitality "fully" opening, then I truly worry.
 

Bantamzen

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I've answered this before: they are either running their PCR testing with a much higher 'threshold',
or are exclusively using Lateral Flow (rapid) tests, which don't have the false positive issue as their
threshold is far higher than PCR testing in the first place.

The UK is currently transitioning from PCR to lateral flow (ratio is currently around 50/50),
so if that trend continues in the coming weeks in combination with falling prevalence in general,
false positives will eventually become background noise, just as they were last Summer.


In other words, if we can get to the point where (say) 80% of tests being conducted each day are lateral flow,
it could be feasible to get below the 'magic' 1000 positive tests per day figure by Easter.



MARK
But is the "magic" number 1,000 new cases? I think we all know that this will be another shifting goalpost. So 1,000 new daily infections will become 1,000 active cases in the entire population (effectively zero covid), possibly through a series of increments.
 

bramling

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I'd love to forget logic, but to me logic suggests that the 'particular subset of people' he's trying to appease with continued restrictions don't amount to a hill of beans when it comes to election time. We need to start looking beyond those who are content to stay at home for evermore - I have a very hard time believing they make up a substantial-enough part of the electorate that anyone needs to care about.

Election time isn’t the issue - there’s absolutely no chance Boris will be fighting another general election as PM.
 

initiation

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I'd love to forget logic, but to me logic suggests that the 'particular subset of people' he's trying to appease with continued restrictions don't amount to a hill of beans when it comes to election time. We need to start looking beyond those who are content to stay at home for evermore - I have a very hard time believing they make up a substantial-enough part of the electorate that anyone needs to care about.

When you have Yougov publishing polls that say 2/3rd of people think 10 years in prison as an appropriate punishment for avoiding quarantine or that 69% of people oppose shops re-opening that is difficult to believe.

Of course there are doubts about the true representiveness of these polls but if that is what the Gov are seeing then this is what will inform some of their decisions.
 

brad465

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Because restrictions seem to be popular with a particular subset of people, and Boris is a completely vacuous politician who’s main policy yardstick is whether he can make himself popular?

Popular policies = boosted Boris ego, and that seems to be his sole raison d’etre for being in post. Likewise he can spin a “saved lives” narrative, which he needs to do if he’s any chance of leaving office with a reputation intact, again something which is important to Boris.

As long as he can spin it to a narrative of “we had to do it to save lives”, aided by “we followed the science” then he no doubt thinks he won’t be criticised. Likewise he will no doubt be thinking about stuff like inquiries and legal action to come, again “we followed the science” he will see as a get out of jail free card.

Forget logic, what we are seeing is Boris self-preservation. He doesn’t care if it wrecks the country as long as he isn’t held responsible for the deaths.
Agree with this, but would add on the inquiries matter that the longer it keeps going the longer he can put off starting a public inquiry and the longer it will thus take to reach a conclusion, by which point he would be well gone from it having any effect on him. Chilcot for example only came out 9 years after Blair left office.
I'd love to forget logic, but to me logic suggests that the 'particular subset of people' he's trying to appease with continued restrictions don't amount to a hill of beans when it comes to election time. We need to start looking beyond those who are content to stay at home for evermore - I have a very hard time believing they make up a substantial-enough part of the electorate that anyone needs to care about.
By the end of April if many restrictions are still in place but deaths and hospital admissions are very low, which is likely going by current trajectories and the vaccine rollout could exceed expectations and have groups 5-9 with a first dose and 1-4 getting second doses if supply is maintained, independent candidates and anyone standing on an anti-restrictions platform can gain plenty of traction.
 

nlogax

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Election time isn’t the issue - there’s absolutely no chance Boris will be fighting another general election as PM.

Have to admit I'm missing what the issue is in that case - could you elaborate? I personally think he'll be up for fighting the next election.

But is the "magic" number 1,000 new cases? I think we all know that this will be another shifting goalpost. So 1,000 new daily infections will become 1,000 active cases in the entire population (effectively zero covid), possibly through a series of increments.

Zero covid is an absolute dead duck as concepts go. I'm so utterly bored of people / politicians whom continue to pursue the idea. As per the recent Nature article ( https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00396-2 )

..If other regions, aided by vaccines, aimed for a similar zero-COVID strategy, then could the world hope to rid itself of the virus?
It’s a beautiful dream but most scientists think it’s improbable. In January, Nature asked more than 100 immunologists, infectious-disease researchers and virologists working on the coronavirus whether it could be eradicated. Almost 90% of respondents think that the coronavirus will become endemic — meaning that it will continue to circulate in pockets of the global population for years to come (see 'Endemic future').


When you have Yougov publishing polls that say 2/3rd of people think 10 years in prison as an appropriate punishment for avoiding quarantine or that 69% of people oppose shops re-opening that is difficult to believe.

Of course there are doubts about the true representiveness of these polls but if that is what the Gov are seeing then this is what will inform some of their decisions.

The people whom seem to have the spare time to complete every Yougov survey going...are they mostly on furlough, I wonder?
 

liam456

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Perhaps the appetite for continued restrictions comes from some due to a perverse sense of needing to sacrifice their lives for something that is affecting society like they've been told it has. It feels a little like a war, where you feel the need to sacrifice to make sure you're "doing your bit."

Feeds right into virtue signallers where it sometimes feels like a competition for people say, "I sacrificed more than you for covid!" when it comes to snitching culture, or looking at others with disdain who break the rules (particularly around going to others' houses, like me)
 

Yew

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But is the "magic" number 1,000 new cases? I think we all know that this will be another shifting goalpost. So 1,000 new daily infections will become 1,000 active cases in the entire population (effectively zero covid), possibly through a series of increments.
We're not using arbitrary dates any more, so instead we're using arbitrary case numbers...

Have to admit I'm missing what the issue is in that case - could you elaborate? I personally think he'll be up for fighting the next election.
The man who successfully navigated the UK through the coronavirus crisis will get more bookings as an after-dinner speaker than the man who destroyed the country based on low-quality science and an inability to weigh covid casualties against other harms.
 

Bantamzen

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Perhaps the appetite for continued restrictions comes from some due to a perverse sense of needing to sacrifice their lives for something that is affecting society like they've been told it has. It feels a little like a war, where you feel the need to sacrifice to make sure you're "doing your bit."

Feeds right into virtue signallers where it sometimes feels like a competition for people say, "I sacrificed more than you for covid!" when it comes to snitching culture, or looking at others with disdain who break the rules (particularly around going to others' houses, like me)
This is pretty much spot on, there is a national competition amongst some folk to be the most virtuous. I've been involved in a Twitter argument with on such sort whose best answer to the question "if lockdowns work, why do we need so many" was the usual "because other people" & "I'm staying at home to saves lives". I rate him a good chance of winning the competition, although he did fluff his lines when I mentioned his virtue signalling by saying "You do it your way, I'll do it mine". An interesting response I though, "his way".... :lol:

We're not using arbitrary dates any more, so instead we're using arbitrary case numbers...
Don't worry next week it will be based on an arbitrary Mystic Meg prediction....
 

initiation

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The people whom seem to have the spare time to complete every Yougov survey going...are they mostly on furlough, I wonder?

I think you missed my point. As I said, there are questions over how representative the surveys are but if this is what the government is seeing, they will likely think 'our measures are popular' rather than questioning the polling of a reasonably well respected organisation.
 

35B

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The BBC are now reporting that "researchers" want the Government to add the following symptoms as those that should trigger a Covid test.

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
I can't help but wonder if this is a deliberate attempt to keep cases high. Get more people taking tests = more postivies results (even if false positive) = more reason to keep restrictions going.

I mean the above along with the existing symptoms practically means that if you are not feeling 100% then you must have Covid.
Those "researchers" are the Zoe Covid study, based on the feedback that users of their app have provided, and which correlates positive testing to symptoms experienced.
 

Darandio

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The people whom seem to have the spare time to complete every Yougov survey going...are they mostly on furlough, I wonder?

It's always been my theory. If they are sat at home earning nearly as much as they would normally without having to commute and all the other stresses that go with it, why wouldn't they be in favour of it staying that way for as long as possible?
 

87electric

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I keep asking - why on earth would the government want to maintain restrictions? What would be the benefit of paying out furlough costs and restricting income for the public purse ad infinitum? It's a daft concept.
When all plausible explanations do not give up an answer, where do we look? The rabbit hole might not be ideal for many but it sure does throw up interesting roads. It’s best to be aware of them even if no credence is attached.
The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting a different outcome.
Lateral thinking is needed where politicians are concerned. They lie. And we all know that.
 

philosopher

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I'd add that those people who think everything should stop just so they can continue to work from home are short sighted to say the least; a lot of them may find their jobs aren't as secure as they think. The economic impact of all of this is likely to to be deep and far reaching.
Added to that continuing the advice to work from home which looks like could continue indefinitely, while it does not on paper shut anything down, it does make many sectors of the economy unviable. Think of all those who clean offices, office receptionists and security guards, coffeeshops and takeaways serving office workers, shoe repair shops, etc. These sectors must provide a great many jobs. The longer the working from home advice continues, the more these parts of the economy will be in trouble.

I know there are those who say much greater working from home would have happened anyway, which may indeed have been the case, however it would have happened over a period of 10 to 20 years allowing those sectors to readjust.
 
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