2021-01-12

Coronavirus days: how's my vaccinating?

1610023068469-16cf3c99-8fe2-4404-bc75-a2d3df9758f4 Vaccine rollout begins, but I notice a curious lack of numeracy, or so it seems. Sometimes numbers are reported, sometimes vague deadlines like "spring" or "autumn". I wonder, how does it stack up?

The UK govt plan says we have already vaccinated over 2 million people, and are on track to deliver on our commitment to offer a first vaccine to everyone in the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February. Later, "mid" becomes clearly "15th"1, and the four groups are those in care homes; 80+ and frontline health and social; 75+; 70+ and clinically extremely vulnerable1.

Update: (thx AS): note that "offer", above, is weaselly. If they offer appointments for three days in advance, then on the 15th they can claim to have "offered" everyone an appointment. Furthermore, are they factoring in the proportion who will decline, when offered?

And the numbers are then 0.3 + 0.5 + 3.3 + 2.4 + 1.4 + 2.3 + 3.2 + 1.2 = 14.6 million, unless I've miscounted (ah, but they says that total priority cohorts 1-4 is ~15 million). Since we're currently on ~2.4 million vaccinated (we claim 2.4 million, OurWorldInData says 4.2% which I make about 2.8 million; and I'm accepting first-dose-only as good enough for now), that's an additional 12.2 million in 34 days, or  375 k / day. Our current best rate looks to be a shade under 200 k / day, so... we're not going to make it. The plan says By late January we aim to have the capacity to vaccinate at least 2 million people each week, but that is somewhat under 300 k / day, so even if we hit that target, it won't be enough. And that's assuming working seven days a week, which I think we currently aren't.

So even on their own terms, they won't hit their target, and yet they claim to be "on track". And, here I return to my point about numeracy, they carefully avoid calculating the rates they need and seeing if they are indeed on track.

Did I get my numbers right? I find this (sorry, it's the Sun) which talks about 13 million by mid-Feb, so I think my 14.6 is about right. This, from Sky, says 14 million in six weeks, and agrees with my calculation of ~400 k / day (although the "conclusions" section seems rather muddled to me).

FWIW I think that, in retrospect, we were far too slow at approving the vaccine, and should have accepted greater risk.; and wasted our opportunities when the infection rates were low However, I didn't say that at the time so can't really complain at other's lack of prescience; and doubtless there would have been endless hand-wringing from the usual suspects if the vaccine had been "rushed".

My picture shows a French snail-collector, somewhere near Verdun, who I met one misty morning in 1989, on my way to Nis.

Updates


Vaccination rates do seem to be going reasonably well: 324k on the 15th, and just under 300k on the 16th, a Sunday 277k on the 16th, a Saturday. I say reasonably well, but they aren't good enough to hit the targets, so hopefully they will improve (update: they didn't: down to only just above 200k on the 18th). There seems to be some nonsense about doses being wasted - see, e.g. this, where the bureaucracy discovers that it needs to give permission not to waste them - but I suspect this is a minor effect.
export
2020/02/05. Still going well, the 7-day average is over 400k.

Triumphal conclusion


It would appear - quite to my surprise - that we have indeed met our target. Unlike those useless furriners in the EU, who have resorted to lying about it; happily for them the Graun is happy to publish their lies.

But as of this morning we're claiming 15,062,189 and I see no particular reason to doubt those numbers. Everyone is sounding happy, the govt is rolling in credit, and pressure for ending lockdown is starting to grow. Could people - gasp - be allowed to go on self-catering holidays?

Incidentally, there's a strong weekly pattern in the vaccination rates; I haven't seen anyone explain them.

Notes


1. There is some possible scope for ambiguity in these groups. I believe that by "four groups" they mean everyone in one of the first four (numbered 1-4) priority cohorts, of which there are eight different groups (for example, care home residents and residential care staff are two separate groups in cohort 1).

Refs


* Reflections on the President’s Conduct by Robert A. Levy - Cato: In short, President Trump’s conduct has been unacceptable. To be sure, the nation needs time to heal. So, the decision – urged by some observers – to impeach the President a second time, or remove him from office by invoking the 25th Amendment, may well hinge on prudential rather than legal assessments. Still, at a minimum, a congressional censure – joined in particular by Trump’s Republican enablers – would be both welcome and warranted.
* They were good questions then and they remain good ones today. From The rediscovery of character: private virtue and public policy by James Q. Wilson in the Fall of 1985 - TF.
* Walter Williams; The State Against Blacks: on the racial effect of the minimum wage laws.
Fidelity to the Rule of Law demands not only that a government abide by its verbalized and publicized rules, but also that it respect the justified expectations created by its treatment of situations not controlled by explicitly announced rules - Lon Fuller.
* And by bizarre co-incidence from that last quote, the EU's mask slips; see-also Marina Hyde taking the piss.
* In Praise of CVS by David Henderson
* The COVID confidence man by Scott Sumner - one shot or two? Not everyone is happy with that nice Dr Fauci.
* Covid-19: UK rejects 'false' vaccine export ban claim by EU - those funny furriners are still flailing around for someone other than themselves to blame for their incompetence.

Notes


2021-01-07

All this fuss over one dickhead

IMG_20210101_211331_410 I think the DailyMash called this right: All this fuss over one dickhead: THE world cannot believe that all this fuss is being caused over one mumbling, egotistical, incoherent dickhead. Of course, that means I too have fallen into the trap, for which I apologise. But! I have my own iconoclastic take on this, which few others are saying, so my words are so worth it.

The reaction is all overblown. In some vague sense this was indeed a coup attempt, but in such a pathetic weak disorganised and always utterly hopeless way that it doesn't really deserve the name. Better said, it was a riot, with (as many have commented) laughably weak policing in stark contrast to how BLM was handled. But - as is evident from the pix and vidz - the rioters had no plan, and no idea what to do when they got in. And they could not have had a plan, because what could it have been? Seize the building and hold it? Why: what use would that be: none at all. The only plan that would make sense would be: seize-and-hold and then wait for the national insurrection, which you've just inspired. But, there was none, and their could not have been, cos all the nutters they could dredge up were in the riot.

This brings me to part B, the twilight of the Trump. Various folks have said that Trump will remain dominating the Repubs; might even run in 2024, and so on. I don't believe it. He has not the patience, or the staying power. He will just fuck off and ghost-write his memoirs, or retreat to playing golf, or some other stupid thing.

Other commentary

Which I'll update as interesting things come in. Do I agree with "Don’t exaggerate the threat of the Capitol rioters" from Spiked? Mostly. Certainly the initial stuff. But he disappoints with his But I’m more worried about the anti-democratic elites - which he mostly targets at fb and Twatter for blocking the Mango Mussolini. I think fb and Twatter are being reasonable; even restrained. But I do hope this small episode isn't used to push for yet more securitisation of pols.

Update: impeach?

Effort to impeach Trump again gathers pace after 'attempted coup' at Capitol says the Graun, and plenty of others (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would move forward with impeachment if Mr Trump did not resign immediately). Mostly this is rather unattractive you-lost-we-won-now-we're-going-to-grind-your-face-in-the-dust kind of stuff, which is the antithesis of democracy. Remember, part of making transitions violence-free is the assurance that the losers will not be punished - just look at all those African (or Syria) strongmen hanging grimly onto power because if they lose it, they'll be strung up.

At this stage, impeachment seems symbolic, perhaps even nakedly political: there seems little prospect of it going through in time, and perhaps the only real Dem aim is to be able to say later "but Repub X refused to join in". The Dems are spinning the symbolism as "no bad deed should go unpunished" but I don't agree. Lots of bad deed should go unpunished. The best thing to do with Trump is to forget him, not martyr him.

Update: there is unclarity on this. For example, Mitch McConnell: Senate can’t consider Trump impeachment until after term is up would make the impeachment moot; and I think the Dems know this, but they still want to go ahead. So all the twatting about nuclear codes is so much drivel. Is it even possible to impeach someone once they've left office? This tells me that “shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” which makes me doubtful that it is possible (though the linked article convinces itself otherwise).

Update: Twatter and Free Speech

Twitter permanently suspends Trump's account says Aunty. I have mixed feelings about this. As so often happens (I've seen this on wiki too) after a long period of trouble the actual words cited as outrageous appear rather if not totally innocuous then as rather thin grounds for a ban. The hyperbolic responses that this is the death of free speech are foolish, with proponents of that view unable to see the contradiction in Trump's widely-reported comments on the attempt to silence him.

The first amendment says "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" and that is good; but that says nothing about the decisions privately made by private entities. Wiki's FoS page says Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. and the only difficult word there, for these purposes, is "censorship", which it defines as the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient." Censorship can be conducted by governments, private institutions, and other controlling bodies. I consider the inclusion of private entities dubious.

Anyway, my mixed feelings: shutting Trump's account may calm things down, at a time when some calm would be valuable; it also sends a signal concerning what are the limits of tolerable behaviour. But it seems terribly late to be doing this, and in not-very-long it will be irrelevant. This kind of political censorship should only be done if necessary, and I am very doubtful that it was necessary.

Refs

* It was all a waste of time: Congress confirms Joe Biden's victory - Beeb.
* Editorial: Another call for the justices to speak to the country - SCOTUS blog: an examle of the kind of thing that won't happen.
* IS TRUMP READING BREITBART OR THE GUARDIAN? - though I preferred the original title.
* Capitol riot: Recriminations and arrests after Washington violence - Beeb - for all those saying "why hasn't X been arrested?"
* Social Censorship: The First Offender Model - SSC
* Quotation of the Day… nationalism, socialism, liberalism.
* SCOTUSblog: Justices issue more orders from Friday’s conference, decline to fast-track election-related cases. The Supreme Court on Monday morning issued more orders from the justices’ private conference last week. After adding 14 new cases to their docket for the term on Friday afternoon, the justices were not expected to grant review in additional cases on Monday – and they did not. Monday’s order list was nonetheless noteworthy because the justices turned down a group of requests to expedite the consideration of petitions for review in cases seeking to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election. The denial confirms that the justices will not consider the petitions until after the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, effectively rendering the disputes moot.
* Parler sues Amazon for kicking it off the internet.
* The Economist explains: Can the Senate hold an impeachment trial after a president leaves office? The constitution does not forbid it, but it is uncharted territory.
* Sedition Charges Are Almost Always a Terrible Idea: Laws against sedition have historically been used by insecure officials to punish critics. J.D. TUCCILLE 

YouTube suspends Donald Trump's channel - Beeb. It kinda looks like his power is ebbing away.

Biden's Endearing but Collectivist Speech

* [2021/04] Justices throw out Trump Twitter case.

Mantic Monday: Grading My Trump Predictions - SSC / ACT

Sirsly? Tax On Perks?

2021-01-04

In many Congressional districts, the primary is more important than the general election?

PXL_20210101_192041129~2 It is a commonplace that

In many Congressional districts, the primary is more important than the general election. In those districts, extreme partisan politics is rewarded and centrist politics is punished. This makes bipartisan legislation impossible, because a representative who votes for such legislation will be branded a traitor and voted out of office in the next primary.

But why is this so? In a simple model of politics (the real election, not the primary) voters are sprinkled left-to-right, and each of two candidates wins all the electors "closest to them"; which is to say, all the electors on the side away from the other candidate, and all the ones in-between that are closer to them. This model tends to push candidates towards the middle of the spectrum.

Now consider the primary. Exactly the same applies, except the electorate is different - most points are now either to left, or to right, of the center. So why do we see quotes such as the above (that do seem to have some basis in reality). I'm thinking of primaries in districts where one side is almost certain to win, so the primary is effectively the real election - but nonetheless, the same logic would appear to apply: you should get candidates pushed half-way out, not to extremes.

2021-01-01

Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet?

50735769393_7be4a73eb1_o Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet? wonder Ken Caldeira and Ted Nordhaus. There's all of $2k at stake, with KC taking "no" and TN "yes". TN's argument is that it would have peaked mid-20's, but the Covid-decline of ~7% means the peak is now past. KC is more optimistic about the South's econ dev, and more skeptical of new tech.

I'm not sure; it's an interesting question. I'm inclined to believe in a rapid recovery from Covid, looking somewhat on the bright side by hoping for a not-too-badly-fucked-up-vaccination, but a recovery probably accompanied by much more homeworking, which will help suppress emissions. And I'm more optimistic than KC about new solar+wind+tech-in-general, and China and India's adoption of it, and decline in their usage of coal.

Nordhaus expands on his reasoning.

 My pic is of Christmas Unikitty who, let me remind you, will tolerate No Negativity At All (as seen as a full-size model in the local Grand Arcade).

Betting

Per comments, we have our own betting ring running:

* Anteros: offers £150 (to my £100) of KC's side, up to 2023.

* rustneversleeps: $100 of KC's side, up to 2022.

* Tom: $50 of KC's side, up to 2022 (I presume).

All bets in your preferred currency. I'm not sure exactly what we use as CO2 emissions data... we'll have to be gentlemanly about it; probably (per comments Global Carbon Project). I propose that if it is "close" - defined in some sensible way, possibly as in different data sets give different answers - then the bets are void; they only pay if the answer is "clear".

Refs


* And at ATTP.

BATTER my heart, three person’d God

IMG_20200803_120259 Aka the year in Stoats, 2020. Once again, top posts ordered by comments by month. This year I've gone through and reviewed all my drafts, and either discarded them entirely or posted them, fragmentary as they are, as valuable evidences of the evolution of my deeply interesting thought processes.

Jan: Socrates, himself, is particularly missed; A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed (42) - Australian wildfires. Bonus: reviewing drafts, I decided to publish the fragment 0.5°C makes a big difference for mitigation?

Feb: Tasting the whole worm; or; "Pielke shumps the jark?" (13).

Mar: Coronavirus days: policy? (30).

Apr: Coronavirus days: masks (16). Bonus: I used to think that climate change denial was built on some logical argument...

May: Coronavirus days: regionalism, modelling, hypocrisy, global warming (27).

Jun: Legislation: BOSTOCK v. CLAYTON COUNTY, GEORGIA (72).

Jul: Into the distance disappear the mounds of human heads (26).

Aug: Coronavirus days: France (7) Bonus: The Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis: report.

Sep: Russell on Aristotle's Politics (61). Bonus: Kant on Morality.

Oct: Me on USAnian politics (51).

Nov: The dim and distant history of Global Warming on Usenet (14).

Dec: A warning on climate and the risk of societal collapse? (61).

The theme for the year is clear enough, but the winner is the more abstract legislation of June. And so another year has slipped by... Happy new Year to all and my thanks for your continued readership.

Note: this isn't the post reviewing what the Coronavirus year has been like, I'm still turning that over in my mind.

Pic

Me, D and E on top of Point Louise, Ecrins on a cloudy day. Follow the link for more pix. And any resemblance between the title and the picture is, I swear, entirely accidental and only noticed in arrears.

Books

Exciting new feature: books of the year (prompted by someone else doing it properly). Except it isn't really that, it's just the books I have reviewed. I do these partly to record what I have read, but it's an incomplete list. And, a couple of films.

Dec: Look to Windward

Nov: Howard Zinn: A People's History of the United States (incomplete)

Sep: Space, Time and Nathaniel

Aug: Bastiat: The Law

Jul: Consider Phlebas

Jun: For Whom the Bell TollsThe Undercover Aliens

May: The White Mountains, Big Planet, The Mirror and the Light

Apr: Emphyrio

Mar: The Brightness Reef trilogyMusical review: Hamilton

Feb: Starship TroopersThe Guermantes WayFilm review: Starship TroopersBring up the Bodies

Jan: Family film night: the Matrix

Ergs

New Year's Day 10k: 40:50.2. A minute slower than last year. HR max 167, 4 lower.

Brexit

We've finally left. In one sense I think "thank goodness the endless chatter and speculation is finally over"; but I very much doubt it is. My initial view - which you're doubtless interested in - is that the "deal" looks not totally insane, in that it roughly mimics EU membership whilst regrettably losing things like free movement; but really it looks like "why would you bother" - the nominal sovereignty gains appear weak enough to be not worth it, except to fanatics.

But I hope to think about this more carefully in future.

And, well, I suppose the promoters of "Singapore-on-Thames" will get their chance to show they mean it. Ho ho.

Refs

You ain't ever gonna burn my heart out (2019)

* The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lerne (2018)

* Donne via Time considered as a helix of semi precious stones via Goe, and catche a falling starr.

2020: A year in review - ATTP

* My Top 12 Blog Posts of 2020 by David Henderson

* When May We Be Happy? by Bryan Caplan

Christmas Trilogy 2020 Part 3: The peregrinations of Johannes KCharles not Ada, Charles not Charles and Ada, just Charles…