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Corona / Covid-19 Virus - General Discussion

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

One thing I plan to write more about is the mythical “R0”. People talk about it as though it is an absolute property of the virus, measured and certified by TÜV and stamped on every virus along with the inspector’s number. It’s not like that at all. Sure, the virus has something to do with it – but the R0 you will see in New York or London, with packed subway trains, is very different from what you will see in Idaho or Dingwall. It is very much a function of the environment. Here in CA all the numbers are much lower. Public transport is practically unknown, outside San Francisco, and the general population densities are much lower.

Also the 0 in R0 is significant – it means on day 0, before any immunity builds up. Once immunity builds up what you have is Rn. From my own extensive simulations I can see that Rn decreases very rapidly with immunity of any kind, faster than linear.

KPAO, United States

Airborne_Again wrote:

So apart from closing schools, the VFR ban — both of which, I agree, likely had no effect — and the border closure — which I don’t think had any effect either — Norway seems to have done the same things as Sweden.

So why are Sweden’s figures so much worse? I can think of a couple of reasons. Norway may have imposed measures earlier in their spread of the virus. The care home situation could be better in Norway. Norway didn’t have as many people skiing in the Alps.

But there must be more differences as consumer spending in Sweden has decreased much less than consumer spending in Norway.

Just about all infection came from trips to the Alps, Austria mostly. Going to Austria to ski is a “must” for lots of people. In fact my neighboring county had the largest corona density in the world at one stage due to this. This was very early, before any restrictions. What happened was they closed themselves off and dealt with it. This is the very reason why we acted so quickly. Early on, Norway had more corona than most other places, it was suddenly everywhere (people go to Austria from everywhere). Then people started dying and the restrictions came April 12.

Also, the VFR ban had nothing to do with the virus itself. It had to do with ATC putting themselves in “emergency pandemic mode”. They divided their work force in 3 independent groups in all locations. If one person in one group got infected, then the whole group was put in quarantine. Only one group was at work at any given time. All this is understandable. What is not fully understandable (yet explainable, sort of) is the restrictions in G airspace. I have been thinking about this a lot of course, and so have many others. My final conclusion is that this is the inevitable consequence of the ATC taking us seriously. They feel they have an obligation to give proper service also in G, and also to us private pilots flying for fun. They had to prioritize their work force, and chose to prioritize IFR and all essential flying (ambulance etc). It lasted for a few weeks, and then back to normal. Given a choice, this or UK conditions (with infringements and hell on earth), I chose this every day of the year.

The restrictions are mainly social distance restrictions. At first it was 2m outside, 1m inside and no more than 5 gathering together. This effectively stops all “gathering” activity, and all businesses that needs to gather people, as well as every single “1 to 1” activity (hair dressers etc). This is now 1m and 20 persons, 50 at official gatherings. Hair dressers are open again. Sweden had nothing of this. I remember just before Easter, there where reports from Sweden about all ski resorts (down hill) being open, and people flocking in bars, like nothing had happened. These were the exact thing that started the whole epidemic in Europe (Italy and Austria). The archetypical “won’t happen to me” syndrome. The ski resorts closed eventually, at Easter, not by any restrictions but by the owners.

There are also isolation and quarantine rules.

If you are healthy, there are no restrictions (except social distance), but you should “think twice” if you should go to work for instance (can you work from home? and so on). If you are in the risk group (old and/or frail), you should also “think twice” before shopping. If you got a cold or some other respiratory disease, you are restricted in going to work, taking public transport and meeting friends. Meaning, you should not do it without special precautions. If you have Covid 19, or are in a quarantine, then the law kicks in, and certain stuff becomes illegal and punishable. But even in quarantine, you can take a walk (or run or jog or whatever it is you do outside), and are encouraged to do so. You can take the whole quarantine hiking in the mountains for instance, at the cottage or in your boat for that matter.

From our point of view, it’s like the whole of Sweden is in a sort of mass delusion, and Tegnell being Bagdad Bob reincarnated. Excellent media stuff, but Norwegian politicians and experts toning it down of course: Sweden has a different strategy, it’s not over yet, flock immunity and bla bla. The numbers don’t lie though, Sweden is worse off than Italy now, all in all. Just saying. What exactly is the Swedish strategy?

Isolating certain areas is probably a very important factor IMO. It makes the whole thing manageable, and stops the spreading from high infection to low infection areas. It will become even more important when this thing starts to come back again, and it certainly will. Then we can close down, or shut down the exact spot without closing down whole countries.

The most important thing in all this, is the government has been acting extremely well. The government launched this as a thing we would all do together. We are all in the same boat. No one will be left behind etc. The sort of thing that hits every Norwegian right at heart. Having the world’s largest fund (the oil fund) helps a lot also


LeSving wrote:

he numbers don’t lie though, Sweden is worse off than Italy now, all in all

Not yet, it appears that Sweden is middle-of-the-road at this point.

Taking ‘excess mortality’ as the yardstick, which normalises how Covid deaths are counted, the picture is quite different for different countries.

A few countries have major outbreaks – UK, Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands); some are middle-of-the-road (Sweden, Switzerland; US is too early to tell), some are barely above a mild flu or nothing (Germany, Denmark, Norway, Austria)


Biggin Hill

From my own extensive simulations I can see that Rn decreases very rapidly with immunity of any kind, faster than linear.

A govt statistician was on TV just now. He thinks mortality is just below 1% which with ~30k dead suggests about 3M total infections on the UK. At about 5% of the population, that is nowhere near getting a useful immunity, AFAICS, but as you say the R number varies dramatically with the location, population density, etc, so in a high density area the % who have immunity is likely to be a lot higher simply because there have been far more deaths there. OTOH the virus will be a lot more infectious there so will spread more effectively despite increasing immunity.

Reportedly, property websites are seeing a huge increase in hits from people looking at living in the countryside. Hardly surprising… the benefits are obvious, so long as you aren’t bothered about working in (tongue slightly in the cheek) a highly talented young team on exciting projects, for which you have to be in London, or so everyone tells me.

The trade unions are now lining up to block a return to work. That’s really great, but I suppose was predictable because if you offer everyone 80% of 24k for not going to work, many are gonna love it. Trade unions are all about minimum work for maximum money, and always have been, over here.

Isolating certain areas is probably a very important factor IMO.

Clearly so but politically this is a hot potato. Nobody here wants to discuss that. Probably because it is non PC since the most deprived areas have the most infections and would be the last to be freed up.

The sort of thing that hits every Norwegian right at heart. Having the world’s largest fund (the oil fund) helps a lot also

Yes, and a compliant and generally low density population, probably in reasonably good health (heavily correlates with good education) helps a lot too.


From today’s stats interview it looks like the UK is getting a load of excess mortality which is not CV19 related. Perhaps the NHS is in normal times doing a great job keeping people in poor health (much of the UK, actually) alive, and lately they have been doing less of that.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter – the trouble is you and he are extrapolating from the mortality being “just below 1%”. Again it seems to me this just isnt known. Do we for example know that initially those presenting are the most vunerable in the population for various reasons which would / could skew the numbers? I am getting more and more frustrated by assumptions being made without any scientific evidence to back them up, and I think a lot of intelligent people are beginning to do this more and more. I am of course not suggesting you and he are wrong, but we need a truly randomised sample of the population to be tested, to be done quickly and the results published – why this hasnt happened (I believe such a test is in progress) I simply cant imagine – to me one of the most important elements is to really know the level of infection in the population, and how this is changing, I would suggest, week on week, as it is the only guide that matters to rate of acceleration or decleration within the community.

Every time we see various figures and graphs we need to question the assumptions, and question whether one set of data is comparable with another. The graphs now presented every day are almost useless. Everyone is now contaminated because the sampling basis has changed over the period of the graph, as to make them of no scientific value what so ever. It is embarassing.

As to policy, it seems to me, lets be absolutely honest. Either you gamble on a successful vaccine or treatment or not. If you do, then there is merit in protecting society for some time (maybe 12 months of time) so that some will make it through who might not, or you accept that is either too long or you cant bank on either a vaccine or treatment, in which case the virus will work through the population and the only limiting factor is to prevent the health services becoming overwelmed if the numbers were allowed to get out of hand. The trouble is (and using your numbers of 1%, indicating about 3M), that would mean it is going to take 20 times as long to get to around 65%, at which point it might slow as we approach 75% of the population having been infected. If you beleive the first cases were sometime in February, and setting aside the slow initial spread, that is something like 60 months, or 5 years at the current rate of growth (is that really right, it seems too long?). OK, a higher growth rate could be allowed (maybe around double to stay within current capacity), but that is still a couple of years to get to 65% of the population have been infected. Please can someone check my very quick maths? I feel in reality this period will be shorter, allowing for the time it took initially to build numbers in the population etc, but at the rate of growth over the last few months if Peter’s extrapolation is correct, I cant see hwo we get to herd immunity in any less than another 12 to 18 months?

Last Edited by Fuji_Abound at 10 May 10:18

LeSving wrote:

there where reports from Sweden about all ski resorts (down hill) being open, and people flocking in bars, like nothing had happened.

Yes, “there were reports”. But such reports were on the whole not correct.

In any case, that doesn’t explain why Sweden has been doing better than most European countries with much harsher measures.

The numbers don’t lie though, Sweden is worse off than Italy now, all in all. Just saying.

That’s nowhere near the truth! What are you talking about? Maybe you should recall what you yourself wrote that this is no competition.

Last Edited by Airborne_Again at 10 May 10:43
ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Fuji_Abound, I agree with you; the data currently out is mostly crap.

And frustratingly all the govt and media stuff is patronising crap aimed at a totally thick population

Whether that slant is necessary is another good debate. In the UK, and most other places, it probably is, sadly.

Some immunity data is coming through and more will appear soon. AFAICT all the alternative points of view (the “80% are infected” numbers being posted on FB) are predicated on a far higher infection rate. For example if 80% are or have been infected then the mortality is obviously way below 1% and probably near the 0.1% of a normal flu. But so far I have not seen any antibody study supporting that 80% number. The numbers I have seen were all well below 10%. Well, one exceptional scenario was 20% where a town was infected thoroughly by some visiting football fans.

The problem is the numbers of seriously ill people turning up in hospitals which tell the final, un-arguable, story. Given this, it doesn’t matter whether the mortality is 1% and 3M are / have been infected, or whether it is 0.1% and 30M are / have been infected. It doesn’t really matter.

Sure; it is a “disease primarily of the over-75s” (the govt adviser’s words this morning) which enables the “young” to go ahead with their life without worrying about infecting their grannies.

What I find most frustrating is the lack of data on who is catching it and where and how. Much of this must be known by now, given the huge numbers. The Big Q is why the numbers are decreasing so slowly despite the lockdown. This is the UK

and this is France – a similar slope once you take out the “obviously dodgy counting” peaks and normalise the Y scale

Many on social media are asserting that the lockdown is actually doing nothing at all, but AFAICT there is no supporting data for that. I think much more likely the lockdown is pretty effective but lots of people are still active in a manner which distributes it. Probably supermarkets.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Report says cellphone data suggests October shutdown at Wuhan lab, but experts are skeptical

Conspiracy theory, fake news, or fact? I suppose time will tell, because even socialists can’t conceal truth indefinitely.

And as our friendly and well-meaning socialists squeal in protest, let’s remember the British prime minister who wrote in 1945:

“No socialist government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp or violently worded expressions of public discontent. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance."

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

Fuji_Abound wrote:

I am getting more and more frustrated by assumptions being made without any scientific evidence to back them up

The one key missing element of data is the number of infected, which nobody seems to have a handle on.

Based on a sample of one – so anectodtal at best: I personally know 10 people across three households who, based on their symptoms [2x peneumonia, 3x severe flu-like symptoms, others mild symptoms but lived with one of the others] very likely had Covid-19 but never were officially diagnosed. I know of one death which was definitely Covid-19, a reasonably healthy elderly person. If I count up the number of people to which I am directly connected in a similar fashion (i.e., those where I would definitely hear if they became infected), I estimate around 200 people (immediate coworkers and their immediate family, and close friends).

With such a small sample size, and a biased sample at that, I wold not read much into the ‘fatality rate’ of around 10% of infected; or in the 5% of people being infected, but it is an indication that, in the UK near London (a) the proportion of the population getting infected is perhaps an order of magnitude higher than the reported number, but (b) below 10%.

Neither of which would be great.

Biggin Hill
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