We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

A vaccine would be great, a vaccine from ISRAEL would be awesome! Just imagine the lunatic conspiracy theories & of course, if the crazies refuse to use a ‘Jewish’ vaccine, that just means more for the rest of us! Take it away, Charles Darwin!

– Perry de Havilland

36 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    I think that having Japan come up with a cure would be even more awesome! The come-uppance to the Chinese Government would be incredible! Having to thank Japan would be the most convoluted diplomacy of all time! They’d probably give them all disputed islands just to shut them up.

  • George Atkisson

    Credit? Never going to happen. The vaccines were simply shipped through Japan. The Japanese labels? That was just to get them through customs. Our brilliant and caring, most exemplary Chairman Xi ordered the vaccines to be developed in China, but it was better if a small number of extra doses could also come from overseas. Just in case re-infections occur. All praise our tireless Leader!

  • bobby b

    Would we have to listen to a hundred years of “Israel stole our vaccine”?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    If Israel is not the first to find a vaccine, then I hope Hungary is the first. Let Merkel beg Orban for it. On her knees.

  • Ferox

    An Israeli vaccine made from some mysterious combination of testosterone, tobacco, gunpowder, and bacon.

    Make every woke, West-hating proggie in the world “smell the glove” if they want to keep breathing.

    Oh, the justice of it.

  • Mr Ed

    Should this come to pass, to misquote Moses: Give them their dues.

  • Mr Ed

    SM

    Let Merkel beg Orban for it. On her knees.

    Great, now we need a vaccine AND mind bleach.

  • Mudplugger

    Seems like BAT have already come up with a vaccine based on tobacco extract – that should get the fresh-air freaks fuming.

  • NickM

    Written on my laptop with an Intel i5 CPU. Guess where they designed that? Yup, it’s a Jewish conspiracy!!!

  • Snorri Godhi

    A vaccine from Taiwan would also do good.

  • NickM

    Israel, Japan, Taiwan…

    Yeah, all OK but I’ll raise you BAT.

  • John B

    Given that the virus is fast spreading (it is claimed), so harmless that 95% of its victims with symptoms sufficient to report them are mild, an unknown but likely large section of its victims are asymptomatic or with symptoms that don’t bother them, , so that its victims remain mobile, its fast transmission (lockdowns notwithstanding) guaranteed, by the time a vaccine is developed and ready for use, the population will already be sufficiently immunised, naturally.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “so harmless that 95% of its victims with symptoms sufficient to report them are mild”

    Really? Where does that number come from?

    CDC in the US report that 20-30% of the cases reported are hospitalised, and 5-10% end up in intensive care. The European equivalent says 30%. Are you saying these include the ‘mild’ cases? Or something else?

    “an unknown but likely large section of its victims are asymptomatic or with symptoms that don’t bother them”

    18% asymptomatic according to analysis of the Diamond Princess data.

  • plamus

    NiV: 50% reported from Iceland. Definitely not conclusive, but much bigger and more representative sample than Diamond Princess.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “NiV: 50% reported from Iceland.”

    Is that asymptomatic at the time of the test, or people who never develops symptoms?

    Since it takes a week for symptoms to show, and since a large fraction of the infected will have been infected in the last week (because the number infected is increasing so rapidly), it is to be expected that most people infected with the virus will not have developed symptoms *yet*, but many will do so within the next two weeks. The same was true on Diamond Princess – at the time of testing, there were a lot there also that didn’t have any symptoms, but they were able to track their subsequent histories to make the estimate of the truly asymptomatic.

    So we need to follow up those checks to find out how many developed symptoms later, and how many continued to have only mild or no symptoms. Was this done?

    Fox are blocking me because I’m in Europe 🙄 , but I found this:

    Some of the revelations have been stark. Although fewer than 1% of the tests came back positive for the virus, the company’s founder Dr. Kári Stefánsson told CNN that around 50% of those who tested positive said they were asymptomatic, confirming multiple studies that show that asymptomatic, or mildly symptomatic, people have played an important role in spreading the virus.

    What it means in my mind, is that because we are screening the general population, we are catching people early in the infection before they start showing symptoms,” Stefánsson said.

    What do you think? Does it mean what people seem to think it means?

  • plamus

    NiV: I absolutely agree that follow-up testing is very important now that they have a baseline. As to what this means: well, Dr. Stefánsson is probably at least partially correct, but as is most often the case with complex outcomes, there can be more than one driver. I have seen, for example, theories (with some confirming evidence) that close cousins/ancestors may have been circulating in human population for a while at a slow pace, allowing it to mutate into its current virulent form (example). That, however, may also have built at least some immunity into an unknown portion of the general population. TLDR: the Icelandic is likely catching some people before they become symptomatic, but may also be catching people who are reinfected, but have had a similar virus before, have some pre-existing immunity, and are thus unlikely to become symptomatic. I suppose they could also be catching some people who have gotten over the disease with very mild symptoms (“sniffles”), and not recognized them as such, but are still contagious (article with link to paper). Also, let’s not forget that this is self-reported data – they are asking people if they have had symptoms – which is notoriously unreliable (see all economic research on happiness).

  • Nullius in Verba

    I’ve just had a quick look at the figures for Iceland, and by eye it appears the total number of confirmed cases was going up 10-fold every two weeks or so, slowing a little in the last week. (The number of deaths is still too low to make an estimate.) 10-fold in two weeks is roughly 3-fold per week, which would mean (assuming a constant fraction of those infected are being tested) that about 2/3rds of those infected picked it up in the last week. So I find it plausible that this is largely/entirely due to pre-symptom detection.

    You’re right that other contributory effects are certainly possible. All the numbers are uncertain as yet.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @NiV

    18% asymptomatic according to analysis of the Diamond Princess data.

    I’ve just checked and the article you reference says

    a total of 306 and 328 were reported to be symptomatic and asymptomatic, respectively.

    so your 18% is boll*cks. Unless I’m missing something.

    I wouldn’t have been so stroppy but, as a professional statistician with 40 years experience, I’m finding your commentary rather smug.

  • Mr Ed

    Clovis,

    I see no point in engaging with anyone who describes the UK’s 2016 Referendum question as ambiguous. I appreciate your contribution(s).

  • Nullius in Verba

    “a total of 306 and 328 were reported to be symptomatic and asymptomatic, respectively.”

    Yes, as I said above: “The same was true on Diamond Princess – at the time of testing, there were a lot there also that didn’t have any symptoms, but they were able to track their subsequent histories to make the estimate of the truly asymptomatic.”

    As the paper says a little further on:

    The reported asymptomatic cases consists of both true asymptomatic infections and cases who had not yet developed symptoms at the time of data collection but became symptomatic later, i.e. the data are right censored.

    “Unless I’m missing something.”

    The posterior median estimate of the true proportion of asymptomatic individuals among the reported asymptomatic cases is 0.35 (95% credible interval (CrI): 0.30–0.39), with the estimated total number of the true asymptomatic cases at 113.3 (95%CrI: 98.2–128.3) and the estimated asymptomatic proportion (among all infected cases) at 17.9% (95%CrI: 15.5–20.2%).

    “I wouldn’t have been so stroppy but, as a professional statistician with 40 years experience, I’m finding your commentary rather smug.”

    That impression is coming entirely from your end. What you may be sensing is my irritation and frustration at all the wishful thinking going on – lots of confident, definite assertions being made about how the government’s epidemiology is wrong, at the least without any statistical support, and at worst in many cases clearly false. I’ve been banging on for several days about the issue for measurement of time lags between events in the progress of the disease, and I’ve obviously failed to explain it properly, because people are still doing it. I’m not smug, I’m annoyed.

    However, this stuff is complicated and counter-intuitive, the picture still confusing and uncertain, and I’m trying to make allowances and stay polite. And to help other people understand. We can’t make good decisions without accurate knowledge.

    The same goes for me, too. If people have access to figures showing that my current understanding is wrong, I want to see it. So it’s kinda frustrating when I have to guess exactly what they’re talking about and where they got it from. In a lot of cases I can figure it out, but it’s made harder than it needs to be. I’m told it’s “so harmless that 95% of its victims with symptoms sufficient to report them are mild” – but where does that come from? Based on what evidence? Am I missing some vital new bit of data? Why does all the data *I’m* seeing give a completely different result? Do you see what I mean?

    I don’t mind stroppy, if people are as clear about what their problem is with what I say as you are. 🙂

  • Snorri Godhi

    Fox are blocking me because I’m in Europe 🙄

    I thought you Brits aren’t, anymore!

    WRT the percentage of asymptomatic cases, are there stats from Germany?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I thought you Brits aren’t, anymore!”

    Yeah, you’d think so, wouldn’t you? 🙂

    Unfortunately, the GDPR thing still applies! Certainly during the transition period, and the government have announced it’s one EU law they intend to keep, although after the end of the year the potential then exists to ammeliorate some of its stupidities. The problem, of course, is that if we do that we could find ourselves locked out of EU databases and businesses.

    “WRT the percentage of asymptomatic cases, are there stats from Germany?”

    I’m not aware of any, and I have just had a look to see if I can find some.

    I think it would be quite difficult to get any from Germany, though. (At least to answer this particular question.) You ideally need to regularly test a group of people randomly selected from the population starting from before they get infected but with a high risk of being infected, then follow them through the course of the disease individually to count up how many later on get symptoms. Since the estimated proportion infected for Germany is 0.72% (CI 0.28%-1.8% as of 28th March) you would need a pretty hefty sample size to get enough subjects. Italy and Spain would be a better choice for starting such trials, as they’ve got a much bigger (although still poorly estimated) proportion infected. That trial they did in Vo would have been perfect, except that I’ve not heard that they followed up with questions about symptoms. It would be easier in the UK too, at 2.7% – it’s got to the point now where I think it’s definitely worth doing.

    Another opportunity will arise from the screening tests being done on NHS staff. If they test them frequently enough, we’ll be able to identify a large sample when they get infected, and then follow through 14 days later to see how many reported symptoms (and didn’t also have flu, etc.). They’re probably not perfectly representative of the general population, in age, sex, or general fitness. But it would be something.

    I’m expecting/hoping for them to get more data over the next month or so as they start looking for an exit plan, for which tracking progress towards herd immunity becomes vital. So far, I think they’ve been in scramble mode to try to survive the initial hump, for which it’s not such a critical question.

  • Gary

    Orban is a fascist.

  • Mr Ecks

    Still waiting to hear how you get the moral high horse when you belong to a cult with 150 million murders on its bloody hands Gaz.

    When you’ve answered that come back with some more of your crap.

  • Mr Ecks

    Per AP–6.6 million in USA apply for unemployment benefit last week –on top of 3.3 million the week before.

    Fuck the Puny Plague.

    This lock down must end NOW.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @NiV

    The posterior median estimate…

    OK, serves me right for not reading on. I proffer my apologies.

    I think the study is somewhat suspect for several reasons (most of which, with the exception below, the authors carefully acknowledge) and I deeply regret that we don’t seem to have had full follow up on this, the most informative “experiment” to date.

    The exception is that they say

    Among the symptomatic cases, the infection timing appears to have occurred just before or around the start of the quarantine period (Supplementary Figure S1), while the infection timing for asymptomatic cases appears to have occurred well before the start of the quarantine period.

    I think this almost totally explodes their model for the delay of symptom onset (or I’m severely misunderstanding their English), but they don’t seem to acknowledge that at all.

  • APL

    “Per AP–6.6 million in USA apply for unemployment benefit last week –on top of 3.3 million the week before.”

    There is a certain faction around here who think that the state has money. It has two, three instruments at it’s disposal, taxation ( which its just destroyed ), borrowing – which is predicated on the ability of the government to repay it’s loans – that is taxation ( which its just destroyed ) and printing.

    Guess which one it will be forced to use.

    When formerly employed and productive people desperate to pay their bills find they’ve been given toilet paper for the purpose. That should be interesting.

  • Mr Ecks

    APL Which is why this lockdown must end–regardless.

    Blojo Johnson doesn’t seem to have the brains.

    I hope Trump does. He must know that a collapsed economy is just what the Democrats ordered. That they wanted to do far more stupid stuff re the Puny Plague will be forgotten by the lying leftist MSM. Not a problem in normal times. But with millions on their uppers and a large corps of leftist agitators already in place–very bad news.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “OK, serves me right for not reading on. I proffer my apologies.”

    No problem. I’m pleased that someone is paying close enough attention to argue with me. And I’m never bothered by the way it’s expressed.

    “I think the study is somewhat suspect for several reasons (most of which, with the exception below, the authors carefully acknowledge) and I deeply regret that we don’t seem to have had full follow up on this, the most informative “experiment” to date.”

    Agreed. There’s no good quality data on this – the paper makes a decent effort to extract something from the best we’ve got, but it leaves a lot to be desired.

    “I think this almost totally explodes their model for the delay of symptom onset (or I’m severely misunderstanding their English), but they don’t seem to acknowledge that at all.”

    You’re right that it is concerning. (And thanks! I’d not looked closely at that bit!) And I’m unsure about what might be causing it. I also think they might have got the second part the wrong way round, if I’m interpreting figure S2 right. It looks as if most of the density is after the quarantine date. I’m unsure whether the most likely cause is that the assumed symptom delay distribution is wrong, and they’re assuming people are asymptomatic when they just hadn’t yet had time to show symptoms, or that it is due to the change in policy from testing only symptomatic cases to testing everyone, so symptomatic cases would have been picked up earlier, or whether it is inherent to the Bayesian posterior machinery, in that the symptomatic and asymptomatic cases give different amounts of information about the infection date. One sort of observation may be more informative than the other, giving a sharper peak. The data is of worse quality than I thought, on first reading.

    I may have a longer think about it, if I can be bothered. It’s a curious problem. But a far better answer would be to do a proper trial and get some decent data. And I’ve not seen anyone do that yet.

  • GregWA

    Regarding the Israeli claim that they might have a vaccine to market in 90 days (IIRC?), I was impressed with this guy (sorry I don’t know how to paste in a link; the “guy” is Dr. Michael Osterholm; interviewed by Joe Rogan which is where I heard the following) who said he could have a vaccine tomorrow. The trick is ensuring it is safe and effective. If “safe” includes no bad side effect in more than 1 in 1000 people (or pick another number or criterion), then you have to test a lot of people to have good statistics backing the claim of “safe”. The testing takes time. He thought 12-18 months was more realistic…which is more like the time estimates I’ve read elsewhere.

    Do the Israelis have a leg up on this or is there some other reason the 12-18 month estimate is wrong?

    BTW, Osterholm wrote a book in 2017 predicting all of this. Lots of studies and advisory groups for over 10 years warning and advising. No excuse for the lack of preparedness. But who will hang for this failure? No one. Probably the opposite–self congratulations all around to the leaders who lead us out of the desert!

    If we’re smart, we’ll use this to ask ourselves “where else are we similarly fucking up? What should our priorities be going forward to better prepare for biological disasters?” I think the right experts have good answers to this. Osterholm appears to be one such expert.

  • Chester Draws

    50% asymptomatic seems about right to me. My money would be that is on the low side, actually.

    The Diamond Princess lot were old, and therefore more likely to show symptoms. Children, who tend to have almost no symptoms weren’t on the boat in significant numbers.

    What we don’t know is how many of the population test negative because they no longer have it. The tests will give negative to anyone who got rid of it so quickly that it doesn’t show, and may give a false negative if the person has it but only very lightly. These are big unknowns.

    NZ has traced significant numbers of people and how they got it, which is showing very large numbers of asymptomatic people. And that will underestimate because some people who came into contact and got infected will not have had symptoms so won’t test. The people who infect others tend to be the pre-symptomatic, but then their bodies are struggling to cope. Someone who gets it, fights it off almost immediately, won’t go on to infect others and will be lost to the tracking.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Orban is a fascist.

    Maybe, but I’d prefer Orban over Merkel as my leader any day of the week.

    Orban is like Trump, except even larger testicles – if that it’s even possible.

  • just a lurker

    Maybe, but I’d prefer Orban over Merkel as my leader any day of the week.

    Hundreds of thousands of Hungarians think otherwise.

    If Hungary is true Christian paradise on Earth, why are people leaving in masses to GayMuslim Eurohell?

    https://hungarianspectrum.org/2018/06/22/leaving-in-hordes-emigration-from-hungary/

    It turned out that the number of Hungarians who since 2006 have tried their luck in the richer countries of the European Union is much higher than earlier estimated–close to a million. Determining how many subsequently returned home is close to impossible, but according to numbers provided by host countries of immigrants from Hungary, about 600,000 Hungarian citizens might currently be working abroad.

    László Parragh, president of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and an influential adviser of Viktor Orbán, admitted the other day that there are not enough “white Christian” workers who could be enticed to settle in Hungary.

    Orban is like Trump, except even larger testicles – if that it’s even possible.

    Yup, it takes big testicles to lie, steal, cheat, con and defraud everyone – employees, customers, business parners, wives and relatives – for your whole life.

  • just a lurker (April 4, 2020 at 4:42 am), it is quite normal for citizens of a free country to be able to leave it and return to it and leave it again, etc. Actual Fascists, and Communists even more so, turn the countries they rule into prisons from which the citizens wish to flee but dare not – and any who survive trying to flee cannot then safely return. All your comment demonstrates is that, in the period you mention and in the area you address (emigration), Orban was not at all like a fascist and still less like a communist.

    Of course, all that is pre-lockdown. The current lockdown stuff is concerning, but so far Orban shares most of what he has done there with many.

  • Snorri Godhi

    There are also lots of Germans who moved to Hungary after Merkel opened the floodgates, by the way.

    Some Germans left Germany even before then, to avoid the high tax rates. I met one of them (married with children), and he told me that his business partners moved to Singapore.

  • Paul Marks

    Interesting comments – especially the last one from Snorri.

    Good post Perry – good because it is true.

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