But perhaps his scientific judgement was correct. Of course in the fervid atmosphere of the UK that is no proof against charges of hypocrisy, as should have been bleedin' obvious to him. Which leads me on to regionalism. Or, that the current one-size-fits-all policy is, errm, how about "non-optimal from a theoretical point of view". The rates of infection in the country vary wildly by region, with the general pattern being that outside the plague-pits of large cities things are fairly OK. And using hand-waving density arguments, that would likely be true with less lockdown. Unfortunately the centralised response we have appears to be unable to think about this; R4 this morning were desperately worried that even the smallest divergence between England and Wales might be confusing. Perhaps it might confuse their tiny minds but I think people could cope. The USA gets to experience this more directly I think, since the States are responsible for themselves, and this is good. Closer to home, we're going to see changes in Europe as an example - for either good or ill - to us.
One Adam Kucharski sticks up for NBF Twatting There seem to have been some misconceptions about how COVID science is done and how it helps inform decision making. As we clarify here, it's a large collaborative effort... and linking to their doc (arch). Which includes inter alia In early March 2020, the emerging consensus amongst scientists involved in this country-wide consultation was that SARS-CoV-2 was circulating widely in the UK, it was capable of causing substantial hospitalisations and fatalities, and that in the absence of drastic social distancing measures, the healthcare system would rapidly become overwhelmed in the same way that it had been in Northern Italy at the time. Although new studies and data have since emerged, this consensus has not changed. But there are problems there. Firstly the idea that little has changed revises away rather large changes in doubling time, as JA noted. And secondly, if the govt is "following the science" and the science in early March was such, why did we lock down so late? The answer of course is that rather important things did change, most obviously their belated revision of the doubling time.
Incidentally, SM points to the list of meetings which contains lots of interesting but frustrating minutes; it would be good to pore over those some time - but even better for someone else to do it and synthesise their timeline. Having browsed a couple I found myself frustrated because there are raw statements not backed by any references.
Moving now onto models, consider the Imperial model. Obviously at a superficial level, because I know little about it, but I did find We modified an individual-based simulation model developed to support pandemic influenza planning to explore scenarios for COVID-19 in GB. The basic structure of the model remains as previously published. In brief, individuals reside in areas defined by high-resolution population density data. Contacts with other individuals in the population are made within the household, at school, in the workplace and in the wider community. Census data were used to define the age and household distribution size... This model has been a bit crap overall, because as JA has so elegantly demonstrated, they fucked up the calibration by not doing any. Indeed this seems almost a textbook illustration of how useless it is to have an elaborate model capable of simulating fine-grained detail when important controlling parameters aren't know. As a country-aggregated simulation it appears almost comically inappropriate. And yet for what I want them to do - modelling regionally-varying degrees of lockdown / isolation - it could be quite appropriate; but the little buggers aren't doing that.
Richard-the-Betts Twit “Like in the Covid pandemic, timing [of climate action] is critical to prevent devastation. If you wait until you already have a serious problem, then it is too late. Unlike with corona, sea-level rise cannot be stopped for many centuries", riffing on Sea levels could rise more than a metre by 2100, experts say. I disagreed, on the grounds that there's no exponential growth of temperature. In a thrilling continuation, RAB hit back with But there is a very long lag in sea level response. If we wait until we've seen (say) a 50cm rise before doing anything, we'll be committing future generations to substantially more, but so far he has no response to Well that's part of the point: the lag really is very long indeed. There is some limit beyond which it is not worth planning: Should we care about the world after 2100?
Ah, my picture: a swarm from one of my hives. They flew off not very far and collected themselves on the muddy bank of a local brook. We collected them into a large cardboard box and tookthem away; Mac reported that they swarmed again this morning, but he seems to have re-collected them again.