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.

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The Great Unfollowing…

A man in Minneapolis was asphyxiated by a policeman, all the while with bystanders pleading with said cop to let the man breathe. Yes, I know the victim had past convictions and was being arrested as a suspect in another crime, but so what? He was effectively tortured to death in a street, slowly over nine minutes, whilst intermittently begging for his life when he could actually speak. The whole ghastly incident was captured on video by bystanders; an open and shut case of grotesque police brutality, no doubt about that.

This incident soon leads to riots and looting, ‘Antifa’ & other assorted political scavengers and opportunist thugs using this egregious crime as an excuse, and it all kicks off nationwide. At the time of writing, many American neighbourhoods are in the process of being trashed, including many largely black ones (not that it should make any difference whose neighbourhood is being looted and burned). This is an American tragedy, the whole thing, no doubt about that either.

Now we all have differing interests and it is unreasonable to expect everyone else to share our own particular obsessions. I am British, and for all the problems we have in Britain, the police here very rarely kill people. And whilst race relation can be fraught at times, UK lacks the all consuming obsession with race that poisons discourse in the USA, despite constant attempts by advocate of identity politics to import such sensibilities here.

And so, whilst I found this crime appalling, I saw no reason for the death of one man somewhere in the USA to dominate the headlines in Britain, particularly as widespread police brutality in France scarcely gets reported at all. Likewise, police violence in Hong Kong is also greatly underreported (albeit a bit better than official thuggery France). But if all you watch is the BBC, you might be forgiven for thinking the only places violence happens is in America and Palestine.

Being British, goings on in France are of concern to me, what with them being the place I get my claret from and our nearest major neighbour (sorry Ireland, it’s a size thing). Likewise, Britain has long historical links to Hong Kong, given ours was the nation that signed the treaty with China, turning the place over to Peking under the ‘One Nation Two Systems’ doctrine.

Those are my interests. And if you do not share them, well okay.

Then I turn on the stupid screen and behold a large pustule of iPhone wielding bourgeoise leftists gathering in Britain to protest what happened in America (the murder, not the riots, naturally). Do they march on the US Embassy? No, of course not, they assemble in Trafalgar Square and then shamble past Downing Street to scream at the Metropolitan Police, as if the local Plod are culpable for some psycho cop strangling George Floyd to death on the other side of the fuckin’ Atlantic.

Okay, I get it now. This is not really about police brutality in another country, it is a certain sociopolitical ilk of people, tearful that Dom Cummings and Boris don’t give a damn what they want, and bored by the Wuhan coronavirus lockdown. This is about having a nice day out in the sun, emoting their virtue and then posting it on Instagram. Were they chanting for the battered, crippled and dead students in Hong Kong? Do they give a flying fuck about some Gilets Jaunes getting the living shit beaten out of them in France? How about Spanish riot cops putting the boot in to separatists in Barcelona? Nah.

Fine, like I said, we all have our own obsessions, but I hope such folk marching in London, Berlin and Amsterdam understand why I think their public concern for what a man’s murder in Minneapolis represents is daft posturing, basically cosplay.

Then I scroll through Instagram, which for me at least is for pictures of food, cocktails, holiday snaps, cats and fit babes-in-bikinis. How odd, I see a hitherto non-political photographer in France has posted a solid black graphic, a blackout in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter. Sigh. Unfollow.

And a rather fetching model in Prague has done the same, along with an incoherent something something racism platitude. Unfollow. Trendy furniture designer in Dublin whose work I quite like, they have just posted a black square. Unfollow. Italian actress, black square. Unfollow. Unfollow. Unfollow. Unfollow. I have probably unfollowed a hundred people today thus far, not kidding, and the day is still young. Seriously, just fuck off.

Perhaps ironically (or perhaps not), I have not unfollowed a number of commentators on both ‘left’ and ‘right’ who frequently discuss such topics, even though they felt the need to post black squares. It is not the topic itself that annoys me, I have written rather a lot about civil rights myself over the years, it is the sheer fashionable vacuous insincerity of it all.

The Great Unfollowing continues 😐

77 comments to The Great Unfollowing…

  • Jacob

    It’s a mad, mad, mad world. Really insane.

  • John B

    Just for perspective.

    2015 to 2019

    Percentage of killings by police by race:

    White 50,3%
    Black 26,4%
    Hispanic 18,7%

    2019: Police shot to death 457 Whites; 209 Blacks.

    On average Blacks kill twice as many Whites as Whites kill Blacks.

    Where are the White riots?

  • John

    “UK lacks the all consuming obsession with race……despite constant attempts by advocates of identity politics to import such sensibilities here”.

    I look at our media, teachers, politicians, doctors, police, judiciary, clergy etc etc and find it difficult to accept that such sensiblilities about race (and it’s close cousin in this respect, religion) aren’t already in place.

  • Not convinced that is quite as profound a perspective as you think, John B, once you adjust for relative size of the two demographics.

    Plus, that is not what this article is about.

  • …and find it difficult to accept that such sensiblilities about race (and it’s close cousin in this respect, religion) aren’t already in place.

    Those are the people pushing modern American style identity politics into the UK, for sure, alongs with the SNP’s rather different approach that harks back more to the 1930s really. Yet out in the pubs (remember them?), clubs and salons, those are still not the prevailing sensibilities. The Identitarians make noise out of all proportion to their size, but I am convinced there is more to British culture than that once you get outside the bubble.

  • Patrick

    There is a lefty, PC, woke mindset that either knowingly or unknowingly seeks to destroy our civilisation and replace it. Replace it with something very dark and ugly. These people are more often than not the useful idiots of more openly hostile cultures. And they fluff themselves and their poisonous agenda up as nice or progressive or tolerant because these are precisely the things they are not. The BBC is their Ministry of Truth. These people are the enemy of all who value freedom and individual rights and we should treat them as such.

    They come out to play from time to time when they think they can get away with the violence and repression they love so much (in the name of stopping violence and repression – natch!). We need to fight their agenda just as we have fought other cultures of control in the past.

    Fuck them all – and the horse they rode in on.

  • bobby b

    Black squares, huh? Nothing like that here.

    Listened to an old black woman last night in Minneapolis, yelling “all you commies go home!” She was speaking of BLM and Antifa, both now rather generally despised in the black community here.

  • You clearly don’t spend much time on Instagram, bobby

  • John B

    ‘ Not convinced that is quite as profound a perspective as you think, John B, once you adjust for relative size of the two demographics.’

    That being so, one would expect the number of fatalities among Hispanics, 15% of pop to be about the same as Blacks 16%, yet there is an 8% difference. That only works if each racial group commits crime proportionate to its proportion of the total population. If you allow that Blacks proportionately commit more crime, particularly violent crime, the perspective holds.

    The article, I thought, was (in part) about reaction/over-reaction in the UK to a US police killing of a person… you say, ‘ I saw no reason for the death of one man somewhere in the USA to dominate the headlines in Britain.’

    It wasn’t about one ‘man’ it was about a Black man, as if only Black people get killed by US police.

  • bobby b

    Instawho? Naw, I’d rather converse.

  • Conversing is vastly overrated, plus there tends to be less fit babes-in-bikinis in the average British pub.

  • mila s

    I follow many people on instagram (photographers, models and designers mainly) and the large majority of them have also posted the same black square. Whether they did so as an exercise in vacuous ‘virtue signalling’ or out of genuine anger/disgust at the various videos of police brutality circulating online I do not know. But to ‘Unfollow’ people on the basis of a single possibly misguided post or incorrect thought seems to me to be the epitome of snowflakery.

  • You are entitled to your views, maybe you don’t value your time the way I do. But I am increasingly intolerant of posturing & I fucking *hate* social waves like Clap For The NHS & this latest drivel. If that strikes you are snowflakery, I really don’t agree or care that much.

  • William H. Stoddard

    Yeah, C last night unfollowed someone who proclaimed “I am Antifa.” I’m not in a position to unfollow, never having Facebooked, but I thought it was a sound decision.

  • bobby b

    Take the 5% of society least likely to ever change their minds about anything and give them an electronic platform on which they can throw slogans and bumper stickers up into the air to show to each other.

    That was my three-month experiment with Twitter. Wireless masturbation.

  • Lee Moore

    Okay, I get it now. This is not really about police brutality in another country, it is a certain sociopolitical ilk of people, tearful that Dom Cummings and Boris don’t give a damn what they want, and bored by the Wuhan coronavirus lockdown.

    I suspect there’s even less to it than that. These people are sheep. The Great Left Wing Conspiracy is totalitarian in spirit, and for totalitarians, silence means dissent. Consequently in a social group with say a hundred people, comprising ten lefty wolves and ninety sheep, the sheep will tweet and instagram up a storm simply to avoid wolfy nipping at their heels. Sheepies are not deep thinkers, but they have their moments. In non totalitarian societies, silence is a good sheepie option. You know nothing, you keep quiet, you make no enemies.

    That doesn’t work in a totalitarian milieu where silence is seen as dissent. Best option for sheep – baa out “four legs good, two legs bad” as a matter of rote.

    If the wolves happened to be keen that dark skinned folk should be shouted at and humiliated, that’s what the sheep would be baa-ing. Never mind the content, all they’re saying is “baaaaaa.”

  • neonsnake

    Those are my interests. And if you do not share them, well okay.

    Perhaps ironically (or perhaps not), I have not unfollowed a number of commentators on both ‘left’ and ‘right’ who frequently discuss such topics, even though they felt the need to post black squares. It is not the topic itself that annoys me, I have written rather a lot about civil rights myself over the years, it is the sheer fashionable vacuous insincerity of it all.

    A thoughtful and thought provoking post, Perry.

    I understand the second paragraph to be an indictment of virtue signalling, if I’ve understood correctly? As in, if someone is consistently discussing such topics, it is not outrageous for them to continue to discuss them. And I’ve read enough of your comments to believe that you are firmly against racism in whatever way it rears its head.

    I suggest that at some point in the past, you’d never written previously about civil rights, and wrote your first “piece” (in whatever format). Would that, in the very instance, have been seen as virtue signalling, shorn of context and any knowledge that you’d continue to do so? Everyone has to take their first step, no…? At “some point”, it hit your radar to enough that you wrote about it. Maybe this is the first time it has hit their radar?

    As for everyone’s interests, everyone has skin in different games. The Hong Kong and China situation is of interest to me, I have close friends and close ties in both places. I certainly don’t expect people whose only contact is a “Made In” sticker to pay as much attention to the average citizen as I do. I have black friends in the US, and white friends in Minnesota, so the current situation is “on my radar”, as it were.

    I have no personal ties to France, on the other hand, so it’s more abstract. I can sympathise, and if asked, I could probably form an opinion, but it doesn’t rev my motor on a day to day basis. It’s not on my radar in the same way, and I wonder if the same is true for many people.

    (I, of course, drink more manly Argentinian reds, not yer French nonsense 😉 )

  • I understand the second paragraph to be an indictment of virtue signalling, if I’ve understood correctly?

    You have indeed understood me. I think this, a ‘black out’ by people who could not find Minneapolis, or indeed Minnesota on a map, coming on top of the weekly “Clap for the NHS” just popped my steam valve. I’ll get over it 😉

    I don’t think I have unfollowed any actual Americans, come to think of it 😆

  • Tim the Coder

    It is reported (if that means anything these days) that the cop involved knew the dead man, because they both worked as security guards at a nightclub.
    So this would suggest a deep look is needed for a personal motive: it is also claimed the cop had a second home in Florida.

    So this might not even be a case of cop brutality, just one crook silencing another, with an on-the-spur-of-the-moment improvisation.
    That would make the hysterical overreaction even more ridiculous.
    If there was any fear that the case would be hushed up, that’s long gone. No need for any further protest. Let the case be brought to trial. Lynch mobs is what they are supposed to be objecting to.

    Nope. This looks like a deliberate provocation on the first matching trigger. And lots of luvvies suffering from attention-deficit-syndrome because of the lockdown have clambered aboard (yes, that’d be you, Lewis).

    As you say, a primary filter to remove the gullible.

  • neonsnake

    “Clap for the NHS” just popped my steam valve. I’ll get over it 😉

    My valve too.

    We can approach this from different angles, and still come to the same conclusion.

    (also, drink South American red, for the love of god)

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The clapping for the NHS really did grind my gears. A bit “North Korea.”

    Sentimentality is a weakness for us Brits: a quality I don’t share, which explains why Charles Dickens’ writings never appealed.

  • Demonstrations are almost never about the alleged reason. I can only remember two generic types that were: union picket lines, and Vietnam war protests. Occasionally they flare into violence too — take the Symbionese Liberation Army as an example. And the Pinkertons were, at one time, hired (and violent) strikebreakers.

    When the second building goes up in flames, you know agitators are busily at work. The first building, well, there you have to investigate the circumstances. If the Third Precinct police station was the only building burnt, that would have been an understandable target. When blocks and blocks go up in flames, it’s enemy action rather than grievances.

  • neonsnake

    The clapping for the NHS really did grind my gears. A bit “North Korea.”

    One of the more heartening things was how much people are actually, in practice, libertarian.

    People organised. We worked out, pretty much immediately, who had a bread machine, or a sewing machine, or a pressure cooker. Who could go out, and who was elderly and couldn’t. It took a couple of days, at most. We worked it all out, with no government interference, and we’re still doing it now, however many weeks on. No-one’s being a dick about it. Those of us who fancy our (masked) chances are still going out and buying food for our elderly neighbours.

    It certainty warms my cockles.

  • neonsnake

    When blocks and blocks go up in flames, it’s enemy action rather than grievances.

    Maybe. But when you start to ascribe “bad apple” motives to an entire, unrelated, movement, all of whom are protesting for very different reasons, and aren’t related to one another, then you need to ascribe “bad apple” motives to the police, and admit that the entire police (unrelated) are all bad, and bring them down as one.

  • Living in Minneapolis, I do not have high opinions of the police. And where did I “ascribe “bad apple” motives to an entire, unrelated, movement?” I said “…agitators are busily at work.” They may be stampeding actual demonstrators, but that’s a different matter.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Sentimentality is a weakness for us Brits

    It is now, but there was a time when the Brits did not have any time for maudlin sentimentalism.
    I miss the stiff upper lip.

  • Phil B

    Perry,

    Not convinced that is quite as profound a perspective as you think, John B, once you adjust for relative size of the two demographics.

    Take a look at the headlines on this blog:

    https://www.unz.com/sbpdl/

    Where you get headlines such as this:

    In 54% White/29% Black Raleigh, North Carolina, Between 2015 and 2017, 94% of Gun Violence Was Committed by Blacks

    His blog posting are seasonal in that during the warmer weather, he will report crimes, murders and riots perpetrated (as this is the “season” and warm enough for outdoor activities). During the colder weather when such activities are less due to the perpetrators staying indoors, he trawls through police and FBI crime statistics to come up with headlines like that one quoted with links to the source data. So it is NOT just “well, I think …” type of argument.

    America does not have a crime problem but a black crime problem.

  • Myno

    Speaking of a “bad apple”, I just tried to get on Apple Music to download this week’s “new” songs they recommend for me… and the screen offers me only a radio station playing black lives matter music, whatever that is. Virtue in place of value. Yuk. Here’s the statement…

    In steadfast support of the Black voices
    that define music, creativity and
    culture, we use ours.

    This moment calls upon us all the speak
    and act against racism and injustice of
    all kinds. We stand in solidarity with
    Black communities everywhere.

    #TheShowMustBePaused
    #BlackLivesMatter

    …with a button that only offers, “Listen Together”. Lovely collectivist notions, I’m sure.

  • Alex DeWynter

    American here. I’ve lived all my life near Los Angeles, home of the LAPD infamous for things like the Rampart CRASH scandal and the Rodney King beating, the latter of which was the flashpoint setting off the King Riots in ’92. The County Sheriffs Department is also not comprised entirely of saints. Police brutality/corruption are a serious issue here, just as I’m sure they are to some degree in any arrangement where people get to put on uniforms, carry weapons, and demand other people obey. Not all (or even most) cops are bad, but bad ones do exist and should be identified and rooted out. Likewise with bad department policies, be they official or unspoken.

    That said, the main problems with BLM are twofold.

    One, they’re explicitly and intrinsically racist. They take loud and vitriolic exception to the term ‘ALL lives matter.’ They also make a lot of noise about how they oppose police brutality, but unless the victim is black and the cop white, they are nowhere to be found. Justine Damond, not even a suspect nevermind armed, killed by a black officer? Crickets. Dillon Taylor, an unarmed young white man killed by a black officer? Crickets. Had George Floyd been killed by one of the other three officers on the scene, none of whom was white, BLM wouldn’t have even known his name.

    Two, they’re utter flaming hypocrites. For all their claims that they’re about protecting ‘black lives,’ they ignore what is by a factor of twenty the greatest threat to those lives — other black people, particularly young black men. Instead they spend all their time inveighing against police and white people.

    As far as BLM’s complaints that their peaceful protests have been hijacked by outside actors, I have very little sympathy. This is not their first protest rodeo, nor is it the first time one of said rodeos has degenerated into looting, assault, and arson. It’s not the second or even third time, come to that. They knew it could, and almost certainly would, happen. Maybe they wanted it to, maybe they didn’t care, maybe some combination of both. Regardless, you put a mob of people on the street and fire them up, whatever happens is _on you_, so you damn well better do what you have to to keep them on message and not blazing out of control. I’ve participated in some quite passionate protests that came off smoothly and with zero carnage. It can be done, but you’ve got to establish from the get-go what behavior hurts the cause and will not be tolerated, and you need to expel anyone who gets up to it. Day 5 and at least one protest group seems to’ve twigged to that (there’s a video floating around of several protesters grabbing a guy smashing up a sidewalk and pretty much throwing him to the cops), but too little too late at this point.

  • Flubber

    Scott Adam’s did a periscope where he expresses very eloquently his frustration with the idiocy of the BLM leadership.

    https://youtu.be/13Ek-aZQksU

    I suspect a lot of ordinary folk feel much the same.

  • Eric

    Fine, like I said, we all have our own obsessions, but I hope such folk marching in London, Berlin and Amsterdam understand why I think their public concern for what a man’s murder in Minneapolis represents is daft posturing, basically cosplay.

    I suspect it’s a bit more sinister than that. Leftists the world over are treating this as the opening bell to signal The Revolution. They don’t give a tinker’s damn about George Floyd. It’s a question of coordination.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Alex DeWynter
    Although I agree with what you are saying for the most part, I think you are letting the cops off the hook a bit too much. For sure the large majority of cops are good people doing a very difficult job. But there really are problems within the police. Probably the most important one is the wall of silence — the idea that cops have each other’s back and don’t rat on each other. Now, for sure, cops need to trust each other, but there is a limit to that. I read an article from a graduate of West Point, and he was talking about the honor code there “A cadet does not lie, steal or cheat, or tolerate those who do.” This last part is crucial. The police are supposed to enforce the law, and the individual policemen should be just as subject to those laws and the enforcement efforts of their fellow police as any of the rest of us. No policeman should tolerate significant law breaking in his fellow officers. And the system should reward that not punish it.

    And it is simply a fact that the police do have a bias against people of color. Partly that is something the black community brings on themselves because of the higher level of crime in their communities, but the police need to specifically be color blind, even if it seems a foolish thing to do in terms of identifying patterns. They are not civilians but professionals imbued with terrifying powers, and so should be held to, hold themselves to, and hold each other to a much higher standard.

    I think police forces have tried to improve these things. But the black people I know do have a fear of the police, and, certainly in some parts of the country, their fear, or at least uneasiness, is not unwarranted.

    I am a libertarian and so the police always make me queasy. They are the force of the government and represent the pointy end of the spear, the people with guns that politicians control, and, much as that force might sometimes be necessary, we should always be extremely wary of it. People of a darker complexion have good reason to be more wary of them than this lily white Scot boy.

    My main question about all this is given the seething crowds of people, can we all agree that the lockdowns should stop immediately? Even if one were to accept they were not a joke initially they are surely a complete joke now. That way we can get back to work and actually fix some of the destruction that the thugs and thieves have inflicted on us.

  • Eric

    America does not have a crime problem but a black crime problem.

    Pretty much, yeah. Blacks are roughly 13% of the US population and commit half the violent crime. You can debate the reason this should be so, but those are the numbers. The central complaint of groups like BLM is black men are shot by the cops far out of proportion to their prevalence in the general population, which is true if taken by itself, but since you’re actually slightly more likely to be killed as a white guy if you’ve committed a violent felony it’s more an indication of black criminality than any sort of fundamental unfairness.

    None of which excuses the treatment of George Floyd, of course. But there’s an entire industry of race hustlers dripping poison into the American black ear, from extortionists like Jesse Jackson to politicians like Barack Obama to media like the New York Times with its laughably historically false “1619 project”. The tensions leading to this riot have been deliberately inflamed over time by people with their own interests at heart.

  • Barry Sheridan

    Once more the world appears to be demanding that we share in the view that ‘Black Lives Matter.’ This idea makes no sense, because quite clearly young black men do not agree. As has been pointed out repeatedly, young black men constitute about 3 percent of the total US population of 330 million, yet they commit about half of all murders in the United States. The targets of this mayhem being predominately other black people. It would be good to hear from a young black man why I should be concerned that ‘Black Lives Matter’ when they themselves cannot be bothered to do so.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit has put up a long set of videos of the riots, here.

    The vast majority of the people I see in these clips are young, probably in their late teens, early 20s. Many are white, and they look like gawky college students, out for a bit of mayhem and maybe to steal some stuff. They are the sort of morons who get called – not always correctly – as “snowflakes” – the ones beating up people they dislike on university campuses, etc. There are a few women in here too, nearly all young.

    Because nearly all are wearing masks, video ID recognition tech will not pick them up, but they may find they still get identified at some point, and I hope – naively perhaps – that some of these idiots are hit with the full force of the law.

    Obviously some of them are angry for a host of reasons, and such is the wreckage of our culture and education system that they lack the intellectual tools to know what to do other than strike out in rage. Ayn Rand wrote about this phenomenon 50 years ago in her book about the New Left and the Anti-Industrial Revolution. When she contrasted people rolling around in the mud at Woodstock with Aldrin, Collins and Armstrong walking on the Moon, people laughed at her simplistic views. Now they will know better. In the end you need to choose a side: are for values grounded on reason, independence and liberty, or are you a nihilist who wants to blank out your brain with trash?

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @Snorri

    there was a time when the Brits did not have any time for maudlin sentimentalism

    Name me when. The only time I can think of is WWII and even then …
    You might read The Age of Scandal for a take on a different age (when noblemen and others were unashamed to cry in public).

    OTOH, I half agree with your sentiment (see what I did there?) It is a casual, maudlin, unthought-out and very partial (as against impartial) sentimentalism, which shall only be applied to approved objects.
    Contrarily, part of Dicken’s genius was that he identified objects for sentimentality that others had not (and yes, I do know the Wilde quote about Little Nell).
    I would add that it was on the docks in New York that a vast crowd gathered to receive the final installment of The Old Curiosity Shop, and it was Daniel O’Connell who

    famously burst into tears at the finale, and threw the book out of the window of the train in which he was travelling,

    so it’s not just the English.

  • /applause for this post

  • jmc

    You lost the argument at the first line. The City Coroner found no evidence of strangulation or asphyxiation. The guy was totally wasted on fentyl and recent meth use. The perp had a history serious heart disease.

    He was a club bouncer with a long rap sheet of violent crime. Brits may not be familiar with the type but people like him are a fairly common sight in the bad parts of US big cities. Big nasty, belligerent and wasted on drugs. And you watch them very carefully as you make a wide berth moving away as quickly as possible. These people have a history of sucker punching older whites and asians. A dear friend, in his late 70’s was sucker punched at random by one of these thugs in downtown San Francisco a few years ago. Very lucky not to be serious injured. I know of at least three other cases in the last few years. One died.

    Watch the rest of the cam videos of the incident. At least 15 mins plus worth out there. The guy was a typical big mo’ fo’ street thug who was belligerent and very sketchy from the get go. Who died after resisting arrest from prior health problems and the large amounts of drugs he was on.

    I also knew LA in the 80’s and remember well the riots in ’92. Whats going on now is trivial compared to that. Which was just an echo of the 1960’s. What is happening now is very deliberate orchestrated political theater. Nothing more.

    As for BLM, just this generations racist, anti-semitic black race baiting hucksters. I’ll start believing Black Lives Matter when blacks start acting like they matter and stop murdering each other in very large numbers. Ten to fifteen times the rate of other races. Nothing new there. Sign of a failed culture. Funny how immigrant blacks, more than 10% of the population, seem to get along just fine. Low murder rate, low crime rate, kids do very well in school. The problem is not American Whites, the problem is American Blacks, and their toxic culture of failure. Deliberately cultivated by the Democratic Party.

  • You lost the argument at the first line. The City Coroner found no evidence of strangulation of asphyxiation. The guy was totally wasted on fentyl and recent meth use. The perp had a history serious heart disease.

    Wrong, you just don’t understand what the article was about. Hint: it isn’t about race or crime. But I did watch the video, the cop is literally standing on his neck. So fuck off.

  • Sentimentality is a weakness for us Brits: a quality I don’t share, which explains why Charles Dickens’ writings never appealed.

    Not convinced the Brits are particularly more sentimental than others, apart from the occasional fit of mass hysteria, such as in 1997. This is the nation that gave the world the Goons, Black Adder & Boaty McBoatface. I also loath Dickens :mrgreen:

  • Paul Marks

    Mr George Floyd should NOT have been choked.

    And policeman (black and white) have choked other people to death – mostly white people (not that skin colour matters.

    This is nothing to do with “racism” (there is no evidence that black police officers are more peaceful white ones – or that black people are specially targeted), it is bad training (the choke hold is actually taught – because it is is EASY) and an aggressive policing culture.

    Do the “Social Justice” types in Britain and elsewhere protest when a white person is joked to death by a black police officer? No they do not.

    Do they protest when black people (such as 77 year old David Dorn) are murdered by “Social Justice” gangs? No they do not.

    Black people (and white people) are murdered by “Social Justice” (i.e. STEALING) gangs almost every day – but no one seems to care.

    And it is not just the Marxists who do not care.

    I remember Richard Wellings (most certainly NOT a Marxist) blaming the choke hold killing in Minneapolis on the “abuses of the U.S. government” (which, supposedly, disqualify it from opposing the deeds of the Communist Party Dictatorship in China and Hong Kong.

    So President Trump “Orange Man Bad” is in charge of the Minneapolis Police Department – a city that has been under the control of the left for 40 years in one of the most leftist States in the Union – Minnesota (which has been a leftist State since the 1930s).

    This is ROTHBARDIANISM – the habit of the late Murray Rothbard of allying with whoever the enemy of the United States happened to be (it did not matter to Rothbard who the enemy was – if they were against America he was on their side).

    Supposedly the Marxists are looting, burning and killing as a “protest” against the “exploitation” of black people by the state which is working for “Crony Capitalists”.

    No one despises the Credit Bubble bankers (and so on) more than I do – but this looting, burning and killing is nothing to with fighting for a free market. This movement is MARXIST.

    I would love Richard Wellings to be correct (that this is a pro freedom revolt against an oppressive government), but (sadly) he is utterly mistaken.

    In reality it is the supposedly evil “Orange Man” who should be supported – and the “protesters” (i.e. the Marxist looters and burners) who are the enemy.

    If someone refuses to understand that – then one has to “block” and walk away.

    As for Enterprise Zones, tax cuts, deregulation, Criminal Justice Reform (letting people out of jail) – all this has been done already, as much as it can be (without action by Congress).

    I was done BEFORE the riots – by President Trump.

    Everything the “Orange Man” could do – he had ALREADY DONE, and BEFORE the riots.

  • Paul Marks

    Of course I stand ready to be refuted.

    If people organise a big protest in Britain against the murder of 77 year old black man David Dorn, and denounce “Social Justice”, then I will happily eat my previous comment.

    I will accept the rice paper version of my last comment and eat it – in public.

    So over to you Richard Wellings – get me to admit, in pubic, how wrong I was.

  • APL

    Alex DeWynter: “Rodney King beating, the latter of which was the flashpoint setting off the King Riots in ’92.”

    With out too much effort, I can think of a couple of white people who were ( in my opinion ) gratuitously murdered by Police. But it seems, it just isn’t in the nature of White people to off and tear their town up because somebody got murdered by the police. Perhaps, that’s because not so deep down, white people know they’ll end up paying to clean up the mess. Or, perhaps Black people know from experience, that it doesn’t matter how much damage the black mob does, the Race baiters in the local government will make good at no expense to any member of the mob. For a year or so they may even be marginally better off.

    For example, No riots, No riots. And in the UK, No riots

    PdH: “Not convinced the Brits are particularly more sentimental than others,”

    Have you not noticed the upsurge in flower tributes? Or a think I despise, photographs etched on grave stones. Mawkish sentimentality.

  • Snorri Godhi

    WRT sentimentality: it might be of interest that for a while i was confused by the contrast between Italian commies and English self-defined “socialists”.

    Italian commies (when they were a thing) sneered at “saccharine-sweet sentimentality” (to quote Lenin). In fact, Italian fascists seemed to have more time for the passions (some of them violent) than commies did.

    English “socialists” by contrast, at least in my time, seemed to define themselves by their empathy for the “oppressed”, rather than by any well-defined political theory.

    Americans seem to be more complicated: on the one hand, American “leftists” fancy themselves to be intellectually above average; otoh they tend to reject rationality and embrace postmodernism. That is inconsistent, but once you adopt postmodernism, who cares about consistency?

  • APL (June 3, 2020 at 2:47 pm), the Justine Damond case (your first link) was particularly informative. The PC narrative that the Trumpish US burns with islamophobic race hatred had to be a lie indeed for that one to provoke no riots – or else some groups’ strong feelings co-exist with much more self-discipline than others.

  • James Hargrave

    The British media’s obsession with the domestic affairs of the USA is entirely beyond my understanding – not just this matter but generally. Of course, most of the obsession is not with, shall we say, Columbus, Ohio, etc., etc. Are most Britons outwith the metropolitan bubble interested? I doubt it – though some would probably be more interested in Hong Kong.

  • Indeed James. The French cops crush riot after riot, hardly a peep on the BBC. Hong Kong got a bit more coverage, at least for a while (but still not much), & unlike Minneapolis, UK at least has direct legacy treaty interest in Hong Kong.

    The obsession with US affairs really is bizarre.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Perry de Havilland (London)
    The obsession with US affairs really is bizarre.

    Do you think that is what it is? Or is it more an obsession with Trump? Of course US affairs are far more important in most ways than Hong Kong, and the French are the right kind of Europeans, so the Beeb must overlook their flaws.

    But the focus seems to be particularly about Trump. He represents something not dissimilar to Boris. Something that is deeply offensive to the world view of many people. And most of those people are people who think about the government way too much. I mean for people like you and me we want to improve our lives and the lives of those we love by working hard and doing cool stuff. But for this “hate” constituency the only way to improve things is via government action. So, to undermine their idea of what government action is is to undermine their very souls.

    As an observer here in the US, it is interesting to see the press try to pin this whole mess on Trump. There are few things in American politics that are less about Trump. A horrible murder in a state with very few Republicans, and riots and looting in cities and states nation wide. Murder, looting, theft, assault and battery, all of these are completely state matters and have basically nothing to do with the federal government. So how can they pin it on him? They will try, and the fact that Trump can’t keep his big yap shut doesn’t help matters.

  • The obsession with US affairs really is bizarre. (Perry de Havilland (London), June 3, 2020 at 9:01 pm)

    In terms of the ostensible purpose – news – it would be excessive. In terms of the narrative, it makes sense. UK media launder partisan commentary for their US friends, and serve their domestic politics in doing so.

    the focus seems to be particularly about Trump. (Fraser Orr, June 4, 2020 at 1:13 am)

    Trump has made them worse (so more obvious, so in a sense better) but MSM (mis)representation of the US according to the crudest US ‘liberal’ viewpoint, exploiting the UK public’s ignorance (e.g. of federalism), long predates Trump.

  • Penseivat

    I don’t suppose there’s any chance of future articles about these ‘oh, so important to humanity’ celebrities, courting publicity from these riots, having their photos covered by a big, black, square?

  • bobby b

    Perry de Havilland (London)
    June 2, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    “You clearly don’t spend much time on Instagram, bobby.”

    Having been properly shamed by PdH for my ignorance of what is becoming common, I went on this Instagram for a bit to see what I’ve been missing.

    Good lord.

    Just to limit myself to one comment: As a general rule, people of a certain age – okay, MY age – should resist the urge to post “flattering” self-pics on the internet. They’re not.

    Fit babes in bikinis. Right.

  • Fit babes in bikinis. Right.

    Indeed. And cats.

  • APL

    Today, three of the authors of the paper, “Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis”, have retracted their study. They were unable to complete an independent audit of the data underpinning their analysis. As a result, they have concluded that they “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.” The Lancet takes issues of scientific integrity extremely seriously, and there are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study.

    Interesting.

  • APL

    Professor Simon Wood of Bristol University proposes maximum infection had occurred up to twenty three days before the lockdown was declared.

    Professor Simon Wood believes most of these patients were infected between March 18 and 19 – 23 days earlier – and five days before the country locked down“.

    So, the lock-down, and concomitant economic havoc was utterly unnecessary.

    Of course the spineless shrimp we have as a prime minister can’t possibly admit either that he panicked or that he was wrong.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Professor Simon Wood of Bristol University proposes maximum infection had occurred up to twenty three days before the lockdown was declared.”

    Nope. He actually said 2-3 days (which was for his test example later in the paper, he doesn’t say for the actual reconstruction but it looks like about 5 days), and he himself correctly identified over-smoothing of a highly asymmetric peak with a step discontinuity as the cause, but his method was unable to compensate for it without introducing exactly the sort of structural assumptions he was hoping to avoid. When he tried a partial fix, it did indeed move the spike closer to lockdown, starting to drop 1 day before rather than 2-3 days.

    Essentially, what he’s trying to do is “de-blur” the death numbers to estimate the infection numbers, using data on the distribution of times between infection and death measured by Verity et al. It’s remarkable how well it works, considering the uncertainties around the inputs, but this process is inherently sensitive to noise. For the mathematicians around here, the death rate time series is the infection rate time series convolved with the infection-to-death-time-delay distribution, which means if you take the Fourier transforms, the frequency spectrum of the infection rate can be determined by dividing the frequency spectrum of the deaths by the frequency spectrum of the delays. (He uses Bayesian inversion, but it’s mathematically equivalent to Fourier deconvolution.)

    The problem is, if the frequency spectrum of the delays drops to zero at high frequencies (which it does), you get a divide-by-zero error in this part of the spectrum. Random noise gets magnified hugely. Essentially, this bit of the data got zeroed out, so you have to guess what goes here. So the usual approach is to cut off high frequencies (i.e. guess zero), which leads to heavy smoothing of the result. Sharp corners and step changes get dropped. If you assume a possible discontinuity at the lockdown date, the missing bit of the spectrum can be filled in accordingly, but then you’d be assuming exactly what he’s trying to disprove.

    You can find his paper here. See the top-left panel in figure 2 for his initial estimate, and figure 3 for the partial fix. See here for Imperial’s version, allowing discontinuities.

    You can hardly blame the Daily Mail for not spotting this one, though! It does take some mathematical knowledge to see what went wrong!

  • APL

    Back to our old friend the ONS for the mortality figures to the 29th May 2020.

    Over the years, the mortality rate where underlying cause ‘respiratory disease’ has been in the 1300 – 2500 per week rate, depending on the season. These are the figures since the government started identifying COVID-19 as a cause of death in week[11].

    [11]1508 (5), [12]1546 (103), [13]1539 (539), [14] 1968 (3,475), [15] 1777 (6,213), [16] 1794 (8758), [17] 1597 (8237), [18] 1228 (6035), [19] 930 (3930), [20] 1144 (3810), [21] 946 (2589), [22] 788 (1822).

    Suddenly, people have decided to stop dying of ‘respiratory disease’, and elected instead the fashionable end, and die of COVID-19 instead.

  • APL

    NB: “Deaths could possibly be counted in both causes presented. If a death had an underlying respiratory cause and a mention of COVID-19 then it would appear in both counts”.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Suddenly, people have decided to stop dying of ‘respiratory disease’, and elected instead the fashionable end, and die of COVID-19 instead.”

    The values vary week to week. In January/February/March, the numbers drop from 2477 to 1508, a drop of nearly a thousand. They then bump up to 1968 at the start of the pandemic, so *up* around 500, and then drop to 788, a little over a thousand down.

    We can speculate endlessly with “just so” stories to explain all this, but it looks rather like the normal colds and flu declined in January/February around a thousand deaths. When the epidemic started, initially about 500 deaths a week from Covid-19 were not diagnosed and ascribed to general pneumonia. As testing improved, this 500/week bump faded. And then with everyone locked down from week 13, there was also a drop of a further 500/week in the transmission of colds and flu.

    Or it could just be random noise. The figures in previous years bounce up and down in a range of around 500/week, anyway. This year it just happened to bounce up at one end of the period and bounce down at the other.

    Meanwhile, Covid-19 deaths soared to over 8000 per week. Were 8000 of those “1300 – 2500 per week” deaths somehow mis-ascribed to Covid-19?

  • APL

    NiV: “Meanwhile, Covid-19 deaths soared to over 8000 per week.”

    In order to ‘save the NHS’ many elderly COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals into ‘Care homes’ where they acted as vectors of infection leading to the death of loads more of their cohort.

    Completely unnecessary, and entirely attributable to negligence/incompetence/malice (Take your pick) by the responsible Health authority.

  • Nullius in Verba

    So the Labour activists and left-wing media keep saying.

  • APL

    NiV: “So the Labour activists and left-wing media keep saying.”

    Question is, did lots of older COVID-19 patients get discharged into care homes or not? Should be easy enough to refute if false.

  • Nullius in Verba

    The harder questions to answer are did they act as vectors of infection? For how long after recovering are people still infectious? How much of the resulting infection was due to hospital discharges, and how much due to visitors from outside, care staff, catering staff, deliveries, doctors’ visits, etc.?

    But I was mainly thinking about what purpose such questioning serves. For Labour activists and the left-wing media, it’s clear enough. They don’t care about NHS incompetence – they want to erode the popularity and reputation of the Tories so that they can get their shiny new Corbynite administration in to start the revolution. What sort of person would want to help them do it?

    The NHS routinely kills thousands of people a year through medical errors. It’s not news. All humans make mistakes. Demanding perfection and punishing error only results in them making greater efforts to hide it when it happens. If your aim in bringing it up is to stop them doing it any more, then fair enough. Mission acomplished. But mostly, people bring these things up long after they’ve been fixed to use as a political weapon. As the left are doing now. Is this being brought up in hopes of replacing the Tory government? With Labour?

  • neonsnake

    it looks rather like the normal colds and flu declined in January/February around a thousand deaths

    Idle speculation: maybe all that furious hand-washing and sanitising had some effect on colds and flu? I think I’ve mentioned before, but in early March, the mother’s I know were reporting lower instances of their little tykes coming home with runny noses from nursery.

    Not sure I totally believe it myself, but worth throwing out there. I guess next winter might be interesting, if we’re all still remembering to wash our hands regularly?

  • APL

    Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove (WHO): “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,”

    Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove (WHO): “It’s very rare.”

    neosnake: “maybe all that furious hand-washing and sanitising had some effect on colds and flu?”

    Certainly, if it the mode of transmission is faecal – oral. Rather than airborne.

    And such a mode of transmission might go some way to account for the rampant transmission rate in ‘Care homes’ where many of the ‘residents’ suffer from dementia, incontinence and standards of cleanliness may often leave something to be desired.

    But it that is correct, the lock-down, social distancing and all that bollocks, has been utterly futile.

  • APL

    UK economy contracts by 20% in April.

    Poof! One fifth of the UK economy down the crapper.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “UK economy contracts by 20% in April.”

    Well, that’s good. They were predicting 30%! 🙂

    The difference is, unlike most things dropped down the crapper, the economy is expected to come back.

  • APL

    NiV: “They were predicting 30%!”

    Was that a prediction based on a model, or did the 30% figure just fall out of someone’s arse?

    I’d have more confidence if the latter.

    Meanwhile, a significant fraction of the population not susceptible to COVID-19.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I’d have more confidence if the latter.”

    That does explain a lot about the links you pick… 😉

    “Meanwhile, a significant fraction of the population not susceptible to COVID-19.”

    Are you sure you linked to the right paper? I don’t see that result there.

  • APL

    Somepeople were suggesting COVID-19 was in the UK well before February 2020 and thus had probably spread through the population to a much greater extent than the crappy models used, suggested.

    Well, the BBC is now trying to cover its tracks, by leaking out tidbits of information. COVID-19 was in Europe well before January 2020 and is now known to have been in Italy in December 2019.

    It’s looking more and more like a particularly virulent seasonal flu. But unfortunately, the response to it was particularly hysterical. Costing the UK one fifth of its economy.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Somepeople were suggesting COVID-19 was in the UK well before February 2020 and thus had probably spread through the population to a much greater extent than the crappy models used, suggested.”

    You’ve got that the wrong way round. Observations only picked up the first case on the 31st January, but the models would imply that it would have been here around a month earlier, since there’s up to two weeks incubation, many cases are mild, and not every severe case gets picked up. People with the mild form would have just dismissed it as flu and not reported it. Had they gone to the doctors, the doctor would often have done likewise. You have to build up a few hundred to a thousand cases to get enough severe cases for there to be a good chance of some doctor testing for it, even assuming they can, or are aware of the possibility. Since the UK only developed the test around the 10th January, and only started to roll it out to other laboratories around early February, it’s not particularly surprising that confirmed cases only came at the end of January. The models know this. They help us fill in the gaps in our observations.

    The issue with a very early starting date is not the models, but the observed initial exponential expansion rate in deaths. UK deaths started around the start of March, and were quickly rising 10-fold per week. Since around 1% of those who catch it die, it would take two weeks to get the 100 cases to see one death, and you have to add 4-6 weeks for the incubation period, illness turning to serious illness, serious illness leading to death. So we ought to expect that the first infections occurred around 2 months before the first death, i.e. early January.

    That said, the R rate is often patchy and variable, so in the first stages you might get lucky and have the first infections drop into patches with a low R. There was a notable case of a choir getting it in late December (only spotted much later) after the partner of one of the members came back from China around mid-December. It’s possible this patchiness gave us an extra couple of weeks, with a slow start, that sped up in mid to late January to give us the observed initial rate of rise in deaths.

    And that would imply that in the early days it was spreading more slowly than we thought, not faster, and had infected far fewer people than we thought, not more.

    None of that helps very much with the most important numbers, which again come from observation, not models. Antibody test surveys in the UK indicate around 7% of the population so far have caught it. 7% of the population is 4.6 million. And 1% of 4.6 million is 46,000, which is ballpark the number who have died. Thus, if 50% of the population catch it, you can expect around 7 times as many deaths or 320,000. If 80% of the population catch it, half a million deaths. It’s not seasonal flu.

    It’s not models telling us this. It never was the models. It’s pure wishful thinking to believe we can escape the clear and obvious conclusions of the data by dismissing the real-world observations as the nonsense outputs of bad models.

  • APL

    NiV: “Observations only picked up the first case on the 31st January, “

    Because no one was looking for a new strain of influenza virus, and until the BBC hype would have treated it just as a new strain of influenza virus.

    NiV: “but the models would imply that it would have been here around a month earlier, since there’s up to two weeks incubation, many cases are mild, and not every severe case gets picked up.”

    And you are ignoring the fact that COVID-19 was only a ‘thing’ in late January ( after the lock-down news from China ) as the BBC hyped the hysteria and fastened on to Ferguson’s model and the need for thousands more ventilators and extra hospital capacity. Both turned out to be false. Maybe there is one thing worse that big government bureaucracy, government bureaucracy led by Media luvvies.

    If it wasn’t for the hysterical coverage by the BBC and its ‘running dogs’ on the troll farms, it would have been treated as a seasonal flu just like every other year.

    And if you look at the mortality rates at the beginning of the year, January is a little elevated ( not especially higher than any other January ) but it tails ( just like any other flu epidemic ) off until peak BBC hysteria in April. Where anyone that died with COVID-19 is categorised as dying of COVID-19.

    The ONS itself breaks out COVID-19 as a distinct category of itself ( a publicity stunt ) and starts massaging the figures for political consumption. With a nod to double counting of both categories.

    All stage managed by gullible autocrats.

    NiV: “It’s pure wishful thinking to believe we can escape the clear and obvious conclusions of the data by dismissing the real-world observations as the nonsense outputs of bad models.”

    It’s not even that the models were wrong, its that they were completely unrelated from real world data. The health board responsible for producing facts and figure were too busy jetting off on bondoogles to Spain and France, to put in place the monitoring and feedback from the real world that might have informed the models in an intelligent fashon.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Because no one was looking for a new strain of influenza virus, and until the BBC hype would have treated it just as a new strain of influenza virus.”

    We’re always looking for new influenza viruses, but this isn’t influenza. It’s a different sort of virus.

    “And you are ignoring the fact that COVID-19 was only a ‘thing’ in late January ( after the lock-down news from China ) as the BBC hyped the hysteria and fastened on to Ferguson’s model and the need for thousands more ventilators and extra hospital capacity.”

    Only if the BBC had a time machine, and were able to panic about a report published on the 16th of March back in January!

    “Both turned out to be false. Maybe there is one thing worse that big government bureaucracy, government bureaucracy led by Media luvvies.”

    Is that worse than illiterate/innumerate members of the public who are unable to understand conditional predictions with large uncertainties? I suppose it’s the government’s fault, in that it’s partly the fault of the state-run education system. But not entirely.

    As I’ve explained *repeatedly*, the concerns did *not* arise from Ferguson’s model. They arose from the *observed* severe illness and death rates. If the epidemic continued on its current trajectory, they would overwhelm the NHS, raising the death rate, and likely kill multiples of the 1% baseline figure of half a million people over two or three months – a death toll at least matching and likely far exceeding the entire five years of World War II, but packed into a fraction of the time. Survivable as a civilisation, sure, but not survivable politically.

    The prediction was *conditional* on the nation not taking sufficient action to prevent it, which at the time there was no sign of it doing spontaneously. So the government *did* take action, which *prevented* the outcome predicted only on the basis of no action.

    The predictions of what would happen if drastic action was taken to cut the transmission rate *did* come from the model, and were far more uncertain, and stated to be so. (That was why they boosted NHS capacity in such a panic, because they feared that with such broad uncertainy bounds they could easily be underestimating.) It would mean something more like twenty to fifty thousand deaths, instead of ten times that number. They were hoping to keep it down to twenty thousand, but were well aware that was hugely optimistic and very uncertain. As it turns out it was closer to fifty thousand. Given the uncertainties, not so bad.

    But it’s not over yet. We slammed the brakes on and brought the bus to a halt, but we are now balanced half over the precipice. Only 7% of the population have antibodies to it (observation, not model) and might be immune. And getting there likely killed fifty thousand people. It’s easy to see what getting to 70% and ‘herd immunity’ will do.

    We can now see that even with the full rigor of lockdown we have only just barely got R below 1. If there was a lot of background immunity, if we were anywhere close to herd immunity, then drastically cutting contact rates between people with lockdown ought to kill the epidemic stone dead. It would vanish in a few weeks. But no, it’s drifting down slowly over many months.

    So lets take the brakes off and hit the accelerator, eh?

    “The ONS itself breaks out COVID-19 as a distinct category of itself ( a publicity stunt ) and starts massaging the figures for political consumption. With a nod to double counting of both categories.”

    You never did explain how they could miscount 8000 of the 2000 deaths we typically get as COVID-19!

    Because lots of people get it but aren’t tested, the official figures tend to undercount the number of deaths. The best option available is to count excess deaths. The UK total excess deaths over the period of the first peak is about 62,000, so we’re missing about a third of the cases in the official COVID-19 statistics.

    But I was amused by your idea of avoiding alarm over COVID-19 by choosing not to break out the identified cases as a distinct category! Perhaps a trifle too obvious, but you’re not bad at “massaging the figures for political consumption” yourself! 🙂

  • I note FWIW that this data, from North Carolina, seems more on the APL side of the above discussion.

    To recap, here are the graph features — and where we are as of June 18:

    Dark black line: Hospital bed capacity, “approximately 25,000”

    Red peak: The “minimal action” projection: hospitals overwhelmed by an order of magnitude, approximately 225,000 hospitalizations by the peak in late April

    Orange peak: The “social distancing” projection: hospitals overwhelmed by a much smaller magnitude, approximately 90,000 hospitalizations by the peak in mid-May

    Blue peak: The “stay-at-home” projection: hospitals never overwhelmed, approximately 12,000 hospitalizations by the peak in early July

    June 18: Real-time data as of June 18, after recording the 10th record number of hospitalizations this month: 857 hospitalizations

    As instapundit comments:

    Covid-19 has underperformed. To be fair, so has our political/journalistic class.

    I don’t think our epidemiological modelling ‘expert’ class has that much to crow about either – some crow to eat, perhaps.

  • APL

    World health Organisation estimates annual influenza carries off kills between 290,000 to 650,000 per year.

    “Hospitalization and death occur mainly among high risk groups. Worldwide, these annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 290 000 to 650 000 respiratory deaths.”

    Now, what is the death toll worldwide from COVID-19? Well as at the time of posting 464,020. To me that makes COVID-19 by itself, look like an underachieving influenza virus.

    NiV: “As I’ve explained *repeatedly*, the concerns did *not* arise from Ferguson’s model.”

    No, the model was crappy, but that wasn’t it primary failure. There was no accurate data feed from the real world into the model.

    NiV: “Is that worse than illiterate/innumerate members of the public .. “

    I understand you hold yourself in high esteem. And, I have noticed you can roll out theories of this or that and back them up with some sophisticated arithmetic. Kudos.

    It doesn’t matter what clever arithmetic you put forward, if the inputs of your calculations are guesstimates ( which at the time they were ) then the results of the calculations are going to be misleading nonsense too.

    I might have been a little more sympathetic to your point of view, but that you and people like you have used the scare tactic of ‘millions dead world wide, drowned in their own fluids!!’, in an attempt to ruin our society.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I note FWIW that this data, from North Carolina, seems more on the APL side of the above discussion.”

    How so? The first diagnosed case in North Carolina appeared on March 3rd. The Governor declared a state of emergency on March 10th, closed schools on March 14th, closed restaurants and bars March 17th, bans mass gatherings March 27th, and issues a statewide stay-at-home order on March 27th. On March 25th they had the first reported COVID-19 death.

    So it’s more akin to what would have happened in the UK if Boris had ordered the lockdown mid-to-late February rather than the end of March. The number of deaths at the start of April ramped up about 20-fold in two weeks and then stopped at that level from the 16th April on. Hence R was probably a bit lower than in the UK initially, and then dropped to 1 very rapidly, but didn’t fall below 1 for a month. The deaths only started dropping around the start of June.

    As for the graph, it shows three scenarios: the ‘no action’ in red, the ‘social distancing’ in orange, and the lockdown/’shelter in place’ in green, which you can barely see along the bottom of the graph. Since the actual policy selected was ‘shelter in place’ as of March 27th (the day after the presentation), we should expect something like the green line, and that’s exactly what we see. The modelled interventions were applied for 3 months, and then released, which is why it starts going up in July (and where the 12,000 is presumably predicted).

    I’m not quite sure what the author’s point is, but I think he’s trying to say that the headlines blaring “record number of hospitalisations” of 857 are nothing compared to the sort of numbers people were worried about in March, and the reason they imposed the lockdown. The bit about this July peak being “planned” I think is a bit of a misunderstanding. The modellers used a three month lockdown and then release to make the point that the problem has not gone away – if you release the lockdown, the epidemic comes back. You’re suppressing it, not getting rid of it. But apart from that, I’ve got no argument with the article, and don’t think it contradicts anything I’m saying.

    Can you clarify?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “To me that makes COVID-19 by itself, look like an underachieving influenza virus.”

    Only if you’re willing to compare a couple of months to a year, and use what happened *as a result of* taking action rather than *what would have happened* if we didn’t take action. Sure.

    “No, the model was crappy, but that wasn’t it primary failure. There was no accurate data feed from the real world into the model.”

    Well, as I’ve said previously, I think people would have a far better chance of having a point if they criticised the observational data rather than the model. But then, you still have to say what specifically is wrong with the data.

    “I understand you hold yourself in high esteem. And, I have noticed you can roll out theories of this or that and back them up with some sophisticated arithmetic. Kudos.”

    Thank you! And I appreciate having someone to argue with. Having to check and dig out statistics to answer your points keeps me honest, forces me to *check* my assumptions rather than remaining blind to them. It’s useful, so I hope you’ll keep on doing it.

    “It doesn’t matter what clever arithmetic you put forward, if the inputs of your calculations are guesstimates ( which at the time they were ) then the results of the calculations are going to be misleading nonsense too.”

    The inputs are highly uncertain, I agree, but considerably better than nothing. My question would be what we propose to put in their place? If you’ve got uncertain data on the one hand, and no data at all on the other, but the latter is closer to what we *want* to be true, how are we any better than the enemy?

  • APL

    NiV: “Only if you’re willing to compare a couple of months to a year, and use what happened “

    Nope, its been more than a couple of months, as the BBC article cited earlier confirms. As I said right back at the beginning of this discussion, given that we had Chinese Students in every university city in the UK, and Europe, and given that China was the epicentre of the outbreak, it’s almost impossible the virus wasn’t in the UK in December, probably November last year. That makes it at least half a year more if was here in November.

    NiV: “and use what happened *as a result of* taking action “

    Nope. If by ‘taking action’ you mean the lock-down or ‘social distancing’, we have indications that the lock-down was at best ineffective in its stated goal.

    Then there is Sweden, which didn’t lock-down to the extent we have, but its death toll is not dramatically greater than our own. Here Sweden with a more relaxed voluntary social isolation has COVID-19 mortality rate of 500/1,000,000 where as the UK with its full lock-down has a mortality rate of 627/1,000,000.

    By that token, the UK lock-down has been rather an expensive failure costing as it has 20% of the economy.

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