NWR new zero tolerance covid thread

A few thoughts:

1) What on earth is happening in Belgium? They have a vaccination rate of c. 75% and yet their daily case rates are triple those in the UK and Germany and increased by another 20% in the last week. Either herd immunity is impossible or the vaccine efficacy has fallen off a cliff there. This is even before Omicron too.
2) Things continue to look pretty ugly in Germany with ICU #s approaching their previous peaks again earlier this year. What set Germany apart before was the lower death rate despite high ICU figures. Hopefully, they can do the same this winter but that's going to be difficult if the ICU #s continue to increase at the current rate.
3) Case rates in France jumped significantly again last week as well. They're still well below the UK and Germany but their ICU #s have begun to spike whereas the UK's have fallen again. Looks like that may be down to lagging behind the UK on booster shots where the UK is now at 25% of the population and France only 10%.
4) Spain and Italy still seem in reasonable shape although there was a worrying increase in case and ICU numbers but from lower levels than the rest of Europe
 
This was the part before the bit @Leon Marks quoted:
The House of Commons report reveals that Ministers and other advisers felt it difficult to challenge the views of their official scientific advisers. The intrinsic uncertainty in scientific knowledge might have been more candidly admitted, along with the lack of scientific training within Whitehall. The Chief Scientific Adviser was dismayed that only 10% of the Civil Service Fast Stream had a science or engineering degree. Such graduates would have been aware of probability, the formal language of uncertainty.
Without a statistical training politicians failed to identify the early signs of exponential growth and the need to act swiftly before evidence was gathered. Evidence led policy doesn’t work in a rapid pandemic, but you need to be aware of your cognitive biases and limitations to understand that.
 
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Am I missing something? Seems like te only really interesting point in that article was that SAGE should include overseas members from eg Asia and Africa in order to avoid some groupthink.
This was kinda my point - the article spoke about cognitive bias, where the real problem is just abject innumeracy. The cognitive bias is just how they ended up making decisions when lacking the capability to think in terms of statistical probabilities. There *are* important studies about the dangers of groupthink in decision making (I enjoyed this little article) however any talk of "cognitive bias" fills me with shivers - not least because of the replication crisis.

Regardless of one's political views, or thoughts about cognitive bias, however, i think that it should be uncontroversial to say that numeracy is a desirable capability in people required to make decisions based on numerical data.
 

Tom Cannavan

Administrator
When I worked for a living (sic) my boss at the University shared his time betwen the Computing Science dept. and Statistics dept. where he was a lecturer, and he really was a statistician at heart. He used to always complain about the fact that people would be terribly embarrassed to admit they were illiterate, but seem to cheerfully boast about being innumerate: "oh, maths is a complete mystery to me!"
 
This was the part before the bit @Leon Marks quoted:

Without a statistical training politicians failed to identify the early signs of exponential growth and the need to act swiftly before evidence was gathered. Evidence led policy doesn’t work in a rapid pandemic, but you need to be aware of your cognitive biases and limitations to understand that.

Isn't Thatcher the only ever British PM with a science degree?

Even some of the people with serious economics/finance backgrounds have been jumbling statistics pretty badly on the news - comparing figures from increasing and decreasing phases of the pandemic where the lags work in opposite directions for instance. Someone suggested to me it is more to do with information and work overload than incomprehension, but still....
 
Checked my vaccination status via the app and my booster shows up even though I only had it a couple of weeks ago. Decided I'd get a paper copy as well which has arrived this morning. Shows my first two jabs but not the booster. What a shambles.
 
Tell me about it...without wanting to encourage thread drift too much, I remember an online article earlier this year, about the relative lack of likelihood of seeing a particular meteor shower because "the moon was waxing gibbons"... I'm not monkeying around here...

Really?! No wonder Elon is so desperate to get up there and have a look around.
 
Tell me about it...without wanting to encourage thread drift too much, I remember an online article earlier this year, about the relative lack of likelihood of seeing a particular meteor shower because "the moon was waxing gibbons"... I'm not monkeying around here...
A craft I'd not previously come across. What an exceptionally shiny gibbon you have there, Sir, which we have concluded merits best in show.
 
Tell me about it...without wanting to encourage thread drift too much, I remember an online article earlier this year, about the relative lack of likelihood of seeing a particular meteor shower because "the moon was waxing gibbons"... I'm not monkeying around here...
I appreciate that the pedantry task is normally the responsibility of another, but gibbons are apes not monkeys.
NB. Yesterday, at a local RSPB reserve whilst walking our spaniel, overheard a lady referring to 'seagulls'. I managed to stop myself from correcting her & pointing out they were gulls.
 
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