Public health fiasco – 40% of UK excess deaths may be due to impacts of the lockdown, not coronavirus

The national lockdown may have indirectly caused 16,000 excess deaths in two months, according to government analysts.

The new report says a reluctance to attend A&E and difficulties accessing medical assistance likely meant that for every three deaths from coronavirus itself, a further two occurred because of the wider impact of the lockdown.

Source: Coronavirus: For every three COVID-19 deaths, lockdown may have caused another two | UK News | Sky News

As someone who, in the U.S. had to wait two months to get a broken foot and torn tendon diagnosed, this does not surprise me one bit.

Public health had no plans for anything and had no consideration for the impacts of their policies.

Setting up Thrustmaster Rudder Pedals with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Select “Controls”, then “T-Rudder” (should already appear in the Controls list – may have to scroll to the right)

Set the control options as follows:

Left Brake Axis Joystick L-Axis X
Check Reverse Axis box

Right Brake Axis Joystick L-Axis Y
Check Reverse Axis box

Rudder Axis Joystick L-Axis Z

Took me a long time to find this solution. To turn off Auto rudder coordination, press Shift + Ctrl + U (I did that during flight). You need to turn off Auto rudder coordination in order to use the actual rudder pedals with the simulator.

Covid-19: Everything was working until it wasn’t working

We are seeing in many states and countries that were the “poster child” for how to do everything right, that everything worked great until it no longer worked.

Just two months ago, the island state had the fewest cases per capita in the country at less than two dozen per day. Democratic Gov. David Ige was praised for acting early to close Hawaii’s borders and impose strict quarantines, a painful economic sacrifice for a state heavily dependent on tourism. [Also had inter island travel quarantine requirements and had a face mask mandate since  April!]

But a ten-fold surge in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations over the last month has triggered new shutdown orders and a scramble to bolster the public health measures state officials neglected before reopening. ….

Now the state, once hailed as a Covid-19 success story, has become a cautionary tale for other parts of the country that are preparing to open schools and loosen economic restrictions as infection rates come down. For public health experts and Hawaii officials, the state’s worsening outbreak is a stark reminder that this virus will easily exploit gaps in defenses.

Source: Paradise lost: How Hawaii went from Covid-19 star to cautionary tale – POLITICO

Public health mitigation measures only work to slow the progression of the disease spread. Many measures are not sustainable over long periods of time or over large regions (such as strict lock downs). Other measures do not work well, or do not work at all, due to the realities of real life. Others, which seem like intuitive solutions, have no evidence to support their use. That’s not my opinion – that’s the view of four epidemiologists, one of whom is responsible for eradicating smallpox from the planet in a paper they published in 2006.

Consequently, the reasons that some places do well and some places do not, likely has to do with other issues – such as demographics, population density, and the time dimension. Places that do well for months seem to eventually have bad experiences too (Hawaii now, New Zealand, re-surging cases in EU countries that “did everything right”, S. Korea, Australia).

We make the mistake of comparing region X to region Y, in say, the spring and conclude that X is doing great while Y is doing poorly – and then draw conclusions that Y is doing poorly because of reasons A, B and C. But then three months later, region X, which did everything right finds itself doing badly. Thus, reasons A, B and C had little or nothing to do with region X doing well early on.

The experts have said most of these public health mitigation steps only delay and do not prevent the eventual spread of the disease. Thus, all of these measures may accomplish little but to prolong the pain.

All pandemics eventually end – either via herd effects, vaccinations or because the virus eventually changes to a less virulent strain.

It seems that everyone has mostly done “everything right” and while it did not stop the pandemic, at least it destroyed their economies, so there’s that success.

Note – I am an idiot who has no expertise in any of this and this post is for Entertainment Purposes Only. All persons not in health care are required to post a disclaimer like this, but those in health care never issue a disclaimer when they issue policies concerning business and economics over which they have no expertise.

Up to 90% of positive Covid-19 tests may be of no concern, say experts

Some of the nation’s leading public health experts are raising a new concern in the endless debate over coronavirus testing in the United States: The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus.

Most of these people are not likely to be contagious, and identifying them may contribute to bottlenecks that prevent those who are contagious from being found in time.

Source: Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn’t Be. – The New York Times

Air freight networks tackling the logistics of transporting refrigerated vaccines

A couple of days ago, there was the usual doom and gloom reporting about how it might not be possible to transport vaccines requiring very cold temperature storage. The story was silly since transporting cold stored goods has been around a long time – the only issue is the scale required.

Not surprisingly, all of the air freight companies are building solutions for both storage, transport and distribution.

Logistics providers are lining up equipment and transportation capacity as they gear up for the rapid delivery of millions of doses of potential coronavirus vaccines around the world.

Source: From ‘Freezer Farms’ to Jets, Logistics Operators Prepare for a Covid-19 Vaccine – WSJ

Remember smart phone tracing apps?

Update: This says several U.S. states have rolled out contact tracing apps. Plus, Google and Apple just announced they are now rolling out contact tracing apps to all Android and iPhone phones over the next few weeks. There has been no controlled trial nor randomized controlled trial to judge their effectiveness or side effects. There is no evidence at this time that device-side, Bluetooth contact tracing apps will make a meaningful difference in Covid-19 spread- this is a population wide medical experiment.

The UK Bluetooth-based tracking app was rolled out in trial in May and was going to go nationwide almost immediately. As of August, its still in a trial phase. As I pointed out long ago, these Bluetooth tracking apps have so many problems they were unlikely to ever be used. (Note – some countries use network cell side tracking – and track locations of all phones, smart and dumb, all the time – and analyze the paths to find potential contacts. Many countries, like the U.S. and the EU cannot do this due to privacy laws.)

The app hasn’t been binned, although the government did change direction with their original app to instead use the Google/Apple system.

Source: Viral Facebook post on cost of “binned” test and trace app is wrong – Full Fact

Countries that have used smart phone based apps, including Australia and Iceland, found they uncovered single digit potential contacts nationwide and were not an effective use of public health resources. France, for example, has found the app is largely useless.

Virginia has launched a Bluetooth-based app. But hardly anyone is using it – and the way it works, if 30% of all phone users have the app installed, it can catch up to 9% of potential contacts (not including the false positive and negative problems inherent in the Bluetooth technology).

Northern Ireland has launched an app. The media is impressed that it has had 300,000 downloads. But at that number, it can detect about 2.5% of potential contacts in the country due to … math.

Finally, the supposed privacy safeguards in the Apple-Google technology do not actually work on Android phones. Because of what Google does with Google Play Services, personally identifiable information is being collected.

Basically, Google has been caught red handed, lying once again about their alleged privacy of personal data.

The data shared includes long-term, unchangeable identifiers of the phone users, including their phone’s IP address, WiFi MAC address, International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, SIM serial number, phone number and Gmail address, as well as fine-grained data from other, potentially sensitive apps, such as banking, dating or health apps. This is data which, when considered together, has the potential to draw a very detailed map of our lives and activities.

Federal Reserve to embrace inflation; easy way to inflate our way out of the debt caused by printing trillions of $s

The Federal Reserve announced a significant change in how it manages interest rates by saying it plans to keep rates near zero even after inflation has exceeded the Fed’s 2% target level.

Source: Fed: Rates to Stay Ultra-Low Even After Inflation Picks Up | Business News | US News

Having done the virtual equivalent of printing a few trillion $s to paper over the pandemic policy induced recession, apparently this will be paid off via inflation.

Inflation causes the devaluation of the currency you hold – and in effect, taxes everyone that is holding cash.

This means that today’s debts will be paid off with future cheaper dollars. Inflation is good for those who have debts such as the U.S. government and bad for those holding cash.

During inflation (reducing the value of dollars), holding real assets is preferable to holding cash. Because the value of those assets will rise proportional to the devaluation of the currency, all else being equal.

Honda introduces the Honda e, an electric vehicle targeted at city driving (mostly)

The model will only be sold in Europe and Japan, where it goes on sale in late October. Honda expects annual sales of only around 10,000 in Europe, and 1,000 at home, where it will also introduce the model into its car-sharing fleet.

The automaker said it had no plans to market the car in North America or China, its biggest markets where SUVs dominate.

Source: Honda goes small with first mass-produced all-electric car – Reuters

Car makers have successfully persuaded the U.S. consumers that bigger is better – people only buy huge SUVs and pick up trucks in the U.S.

VW has introduced the ID.3 EV but it will not be available in the U.S., either.

Instead, VW will launch the ID.4 next month – a larger (mini SUV?) electric vehicle.

Too bad for those of us in the U.S. I drive a compact Honda Fit and love it. Would not mine having a future EV that is a similar size. The Bolt EV is nearly a clone of the Honda Fit – but limits its charge rate to about 50-55 kwh, and ratchets down the charging rate after about 50-60% of battery charge is reached. That means taking a Bolt EV on a long distance trip requires twice as much charging time as other options that accept 100 kwh or higher charging power.