Saturday, 14 November 2020

E&W - weekly deaths up to Week 44

Data from the ONS:

What "second wave?", you might ask.

Week 46 will be a special week, as that week's deaths will include the bastard who terrorised West Yorkshire for half a decade and ruined countless lives. May he rot in Hell.


Bayard said...

Why is there a dip at the end of August?

Dinero said...

Is there data showing that the anti covid practices have reduced the number of common cold cases . Info here -

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, dunno.

D, dunno.

Span Ows said...

I think the dip may just be holidaying means fewer people dying in UK? Or number lag due to holidays...just as week 1 is high peak in all years due to Christmas New Year lag and flu/pheumonia.

L fairfax said...

Is there a big jump in deaths in March 2018 or is it 2020?
Sorry I am colour blind and both years look very similar.

Mark Wadsworth said...

SO, yes, I believe it is down to late registrations rather than an underlying change.

LF, the top line is 2020 = red. The lines for 2018 and 2019 are so similar as makes no difference.

L fairfax said...

Thanks for that. I suppose this could be used to either a) prove 2nd lockdown is brilliant and has saved lives or b) totally uneeded.

Mark Wadsworth said...

LF, yes. Both.

Everything about this disease reminds us that we will never even know what it is that we don't know. The numbers are all over the place. It is hotly disputed whether face masks are effective or not; whether lockdowns are effective or not. Doctors are only slowly working out which treatments are most effective. Why did epidemic die down so quickly in PR China?

Lola said...

MW.13:14. Eggsaktly. A perfect example of the Hayekian 'pretence of knowledge' axiom. The idea that we always have An Answer is fantasy. It is, of course, a feature of 'socialists of all parties' (Hayek again) to think that there is some, one, answer or plan to have or to make that will solve all issues. Perfectly.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, my point being that the "libertarians" might be just as wrong, just in the other direction.

If face masks reduce the risk of spreading, then it seems like a reasonable imposition. Like punishing HIV positive people who don't tell their partner or wear a rubber johnny, that is quite rightly treated as a crime.

Shutting pubs at 10 o'clock on the other hand is definitely just puritan nonsense.

George Carty said...

Mark Wadsworth: "Why did epidemic die down so quickly in PR China?"

It's not that difficult for a government so suppress the virus, when they're willing to forcibly detain and quarantine anyone within three degrees of separation of a positive case...

Mark Wadsworth said...

GC, OK, so why are the death rates so low in all far east countries, whether relatively liberal or autocratic*?

For every explanation for one particular stat, there is always an equal and opposite counter example of another stat, and I have given up trying to make sense of any of it?

* I suspect natural immunity due to regular exposure to similar viruses, but that explanation might also be bollocks.

Lola said...

I cross posted just the chart to Facebook. The first comment - "We've not finished the first wave". I have not replied yet. Really. What can one do?

George Carty said...


Taiwan and South Korea (the democratic East Asian countries most often quoted as Covid success stories) are in fact special cases. Both countries are officially at war, and their test/trace/isolate systems had been built and were run by the military under wartime emergency powers in response to specific threats of biological attack from their enemies (the PRC and North Korea respectively).

This state of emergency meant that contact tracing units had automatic access to all CCTV cameras and cell phone activity (allowing the entire population to be tracked in real time), as well as full power to detain anyone without warrant or legal oversight for as long as deemed necessary.

What about other East Asian countries, like Japan? It isn't doing as well as Taiwan or South Korea, but it's still doing far better than (say) Germany. I suspect this may be more down to better general health: there is very little obesity in East Asia generally (Malaysia is worst, perhaps because it has the strongest car culture in the region due to the predelictions of one of its British colonial governors) and Japan in particular has a fish-heavy diet abundant in vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency makes people far more vulnerable to respiratory viruses like Covid, which is why elderly people (especially in nursing homes) are dying disproportionately, as well as black people living at northerly latitudes.

L fairfax said...

@Mark Wadworth
I read that no one can explain why African death rates are so low. You do also wonder why some Latin American countries are so high. Colombia and Peru have had much stricter lockdowns than us.
I doubt that they have lack of vitamin D there.

George Carty said...

L fairfax,

I'm guessing that Africa's low death count has four causes:

1. Although Africa is poor, what wealth they do have is spent disproportionately on public health because of nasties like ebola
2. The vast majority of Africans (like East Asians) are thin
3. Africa is very early in its demographic transition, which means both that there are a lot fewer old people for Covid to kill, and a lot more younger family members to care for them (so they don't need to be dumped in nursing homes)
4. A lot of Africans are still subsistence farmers, which means that they both have very little contact with the outside world, and spend much of the day outdoors (= lots of vitamin D).

L fairfax said...

@George Carty,

Wouldn't you think that 2-4 is true for South America as well?
(Not all Africans are thin though a lot of their politicians like Zuma etc aren't)
Also I am pretty sure that for some African countries like Zimbabwe the health system is rubbish.

George Carty said...

L fairfax,

Actually, South Americans are about as fat as Europeans.

It also caught my eye how fat Saudi Arabia is: I suppose the scorching hot climate (which makes you want to drive from the door of one air-conditioned building to another air-conditioned building) must have a lot to do with it.

I remember reading a blog (can't place it now unfortunately) by an American convert to Islam who moved to Saudi Arabia, and was absolutely appalled by the wasteful suburban sprawl and gas-guzzling vehicles there (even worse than in the US apparently, probably because of the super-cheap petrol).

That reaction doesn't surprise me since AFAIK Western converts to Islam tend to be mostly lefty "woke" types.

L fairfax said...

@George but Peru and Ecuador are thinner than Libya or Algeria but have suffered a lot more.
I am not sure that proves it

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, sigh and move on.

LF "I read that no one can explain why African death rates are so low. You do also wonder why some Latin American countries are so high."

Exactly. Everybody is just guessing. Brazil had no hard lockdown, deaths per million about the same as UK.

LF and GC, it's easy to look at one country and think up some possible reasons. But, however plausible and reasonable those explanations seem, for every example is a counter example. I've given up guessing, even the experts don't have any sensible answers.

Bayard said...

Lola, spot on, except it's not just socialists. Everyone wants to feel that there is someone who is a) in charge and c) knows what's going on and c) has a plan to solve all problems. That someone used to be called God, but, now that so many people no longer believe in God, they have to look for omnipotence and omniscience elsewhere.

Robin Smith said...

Since when did a virus ever have more than a first wave?

And have you seen the actual numbers on false positives for Pillar 2 testing. Quite astonishing and numbers being right up your street I'm sure you'll be staggered by them: