Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Quentin Tarantino Coronavirus Public Information Broadcast

Get a life.
  (+1, -8)(+1, -8)
(+1, -8)
  [vote for,

Mr. Tarantino speaks directly into the camera.

"I'm talkin'. Now let me ask you a question, Jules. When you drove in here, did you notice a sign out front that said, 'Dead latino storage?'"

<Voice off> "Jimmie ... "

"Answer the question. Did you see a sign out in front of my house that said, "Dead latino storage?"

<Voice off> "Naw man, I didn't."

"You know why ? I'll tell you why. 'Cos there ain't no fuckin' dead latinos here. There ain't no dead fuckin' niggers, or whites, or chinks, or any other fuckers. A total absence of dead fuckers lyin' in the yard, or in the street, or anywhere. So why you got your head up your ass on this Coronavirus shit ? Where are all these dead fuckin' bodies ? Nary a one. Ain't none in the streets, ain't none in the parks, sure as fuck ain't none in my yard. You see Mr. Wolf here ? Do ya ? No ya don't. That's 'cos Mr. Wolf ain't here. Mr. Wolf's on holiday, 'cos there ain't no shit for him to clean up. Now you quit whining, and stop drinking my fucking premium coffee, and you get out there and do whatever shit Marcellus got you on today. Jesus !"

8th of 7, Mar 20 2020

Coronavirus: US death toll passes 2,000 in a single day https://www.bbc.co....-us-canada-52249963
Now that dead fuckers are building up in drifts, maybe Mr. Tarantinof7 should shut the fuck up. [Loris, Apr 15 2020]

Covid-19: Behind the death toll https://fullfact.or...ind-the-death-toll/
includes life-years lost estimate [Loris, Apr 04 2021]

An imperfect vaccine reduces pathogen virulence https://www.nature....s/s41579-020-0358-3
scientific paper - in Nature Reviews Microbiology [Loris, Apr 04 2021]

FullFact on misquoting Kary B. Mullis https://fullfact.or...ne/pcr-test-mullis/
The inventor of PCR never said it wasn’t designed to detect infectious diseases [Loris, Apr 04 2021]

BMJ article: "Vitamin D and covid-19" https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n544
Benefits are possible but evidence is sparse, indirect, and inconclusive [Loris, Apr 06 2021]

Covid: The London bus trip that saved maybe a million lives https://www.bbc.co....ews/health-56508369
The Recovery trial was set up in March 2020 to test existing drugs on Covid patients, to see if they had an effect on the disease. [Loris, Apr 08 2021]


       I'm not a fan of Tarantino.   

       He presents himself as creative and progressive, but really he's just pandering to sadism.   

       His USP is that he's good at judging which particular kinds of sadism he can get away with in contemporary Hollywood.
pertinax, Mar 21 2020

       // I'm not a fan of Tarantino. //   

       Don't worry, he's enough of a fan of himself to easily make up the deficit.
8th of 7, Mar 21 2020

       What information does this convey to the public?
notexactly, Mar 22 2020

       "There are no dead people. Coronavirus is a con. Get on with your life".
8th of 7, Mar 22 2020

       Oh, for fuck's sake.
nomocrow, Mar 23 2020

       [marked-for-deletion] false information   

       Death rate of fuckers from covid19 isn't statistically distinct from that of the general population.
Loris, Mar 23 2020

       // VAXINE//   

       "Vaccine" ?   

       There will never be one for coronavirus- like rhinovirus and influenza, due to the propensity for mutation - changing the antigen profile - a vaccine only works against one very specific strain. Even this one is already self-modifying as it propagates.
8th of 7, Mar 24 2020

       //already self-modifying //   

       Mmm. Could we have source with that?
pertinax, Mar 24 2020

       Dr Francois Renault, a research scientist on infectious diseases. We will provide a link, but essentially the virus samples from Strasbourg and Grenoble are identified as Covid-19 by antigen reaction, but their RNA sequences are different. A vaccine fully effective against one sub-strain will only be partially effective against the other. Just like influenza.
8th of 7, Mar 24 2020

       Thank you, (but sp. "Grenoble").
pertinax, Mar 24 2020

       Sp. fixed (cut-and-paste from email sent by a microbiologist working for Big Pharma, so not our fault).
8th of 7, Mar 24 2020

       That's normal here. You'll be doing it yourself before long.   

       Then you can apply to join the Pedantry Police. You start as a Lance-Constable, but you can work your way up the ranks over time.
8th of 7, Mar 24 2020

       Ed, mate, your postfix superscript has slipped .. should be "don’t*", not "*don’t" ...   

       <Obligatory "Badges ? Hwe doan' need no steenkin' badges !" quote/>
8th of 7, Mar 24 2020

       It does indeed; sadly, Albert Uderzo passed away only a few dys ago.
8th of 7, Mar 25 2020

       //sadly, Albert Uderzo passed away//   


       I have just taken a photo of [8th] properly and respectfully lamenting the death of a great Frenchman. I shall keep it on file to embarrass him later.   

       You're going soft, [8th], and it's a great improvement.
pertinax, Mar 25 2020

       I wonder where [Edie] went. I hope she's OK.
pertinax, Mar 26 2020

       Likewise. An interesting contributor.   

       // You're going soft, [8th], and it's a great improvement //   

       You think so ? Gooood ..... gooooood .....   

       <Looks gloatingly at wall poster of Emperor Palpatine/>   

       Just lulling you into a false sense of security....
8th of 7, Mar 26 2020

       This idea seems to lack the decorum I look for here. I hesitate to recommend anyone to consider the loosely moderated forums at "8kun.top", but in this case I suspect this idea would be well received over there.   

       Now if this idea had instead referenced "The Hitchhiker's Guide" by claiming that everyone in a telephone sanitizing or advertising executive type of job was staying indoors to avoid being eaten by "space coronavirus goats", because now that robots can do all jobs there's really not a need for population anymore, and that soon homes would run out of supplies and have to use leaves as currency to remain rich despite staying indoors not working, then I would upvote, because it would be funny and topical. I'm afraid this idea gets a [-] from me since I'm not laughing and the only innovation I see here is MFD gross-out meets MFD WINBI truthy news.
sninctown, Mar 27 2020

       // I'm not laughing //   

       That's OK, because you're meant to cringe. It's meant to make you feel really embarrassed and uncomfortable.
8th of 7, Apr 15 2020

       Well, this didn't hold up very well. It looks like there have been a great many dead fuckers.
nomocrow, Mar 31 2021

       I hope he didn't get covid-19 in the end; he'd have died of embarrassment.
pertinax, Mar 31 2021

       Nah. If he had, it wouldn't have been so sudden.   

       Never got over his ego, though. Wouldn't be surprised if that was a contributing factor.
RayfordSteele, Apr 01 2021

       On the one hand, yes, government agencies do seem to enjoy accruing powers during emergencies, and seem a bit forgetful about giving them back afterwards.   

       On the other hand, that doesn't mean that emergencies aren't real, or that infectious diseases can be contained by laissez- faire.   

       I have an old friend who's a clergyman in England. Funerals are part of his job, and always have been. But he's a bit over all the extra burials he's had to do from COVID, and he says it's a lot worse in poorer parishes. That's only anecdotal, admittedly, but, if you don't believe official statistics, then maybe anecdotes are all you're left with.   

       In Australia, we've had a vigorous response to the pandemic - so vigorous that some people have called it fascist (it isn't). But the result of that has been a total death toll which remains stubbornly under one thousand people, in total, since the beginning of the pandemic. That would be the equivalent of under three thousand deaths in the UK, or under fourteen thousand in the US. That outcome is well worth a bit of regulatory nuisance, in my opinion.
pertinax, Apr 03 2021

       //Why 'vigorous' and not scientific ?//   

       Is it not possible to be both?   

       *If* you believe the published statistics, then it seems that the response has been highly effective. If you don't believe the published statistics, then you may be right, but the anecdotal evidence available to me seems to confirm rather than undermine those statistics. If you have different evidence, please share, because new information is always welcome.   

       Now, the exercise of working out the number of life- years lost would be an interesting one, but methodologically quite complex. In particular, you'd have to overcome those challenges arising from assumptions about causal mechanisms, which are common to all forms of counterfactual history, from wargames to opportunity-cost accounting. If you have a calculation that you've done about this, then please share it, and I'll give it my attention.
pertinax, Apr 03 2021

       Thinking ...
pertinax, Apr 03 2021

       Why are you being such an ass?   

       I'll let the actual pandemic experts make these calls.   

       Brazil has a psychotic nutcase for a leader who would rather ignore the whole thing and wish it away. Guess where the number one hotspot is?   

       Here in Jesustan, we had over half a million die from one illness. Keep in mind that that was far fewer than what would have died had we taken no steps. Also keep in mind that other respiratory illnesses were largely kept at bay because so many people went nowhere most of the time.   

       In any given year, we don't normally experience shortages of hospital beds or nursing staff or ventilators.   

       Australia did rather better. Look at their individual nations' statistics rather than lumping them in with the world for a clearer picture. Some places made up for others quite tellingly.
RayfordSteele, Apr 03 2021

       Play nice, guys.   

       //I think its about time people confronted the statistics. Look at the death stats for the last decade particularly the numbers from respiratory viruses.//   

I found a nice dataset on nomisweb.co.uk "Mortality statistics - underlying cause, sex and age" for England and Wales 2013-2019

       //Spoiler: 25% of all people who die, die of respiratory viruses. You get good years and bad years. 2003 and 2020 are bad years.//   

       Doesn't seem to be the case.
J00-J99 X Diseases of the respiratory system is consistently about 14% (high 14.7, low 13.7)
Right, so the data doesn't include 2003... but I think that people might have noticed if it had spiked enough to make up for all those 'low' years.

       //I would think Loris knows this. 25% of all people who die, die of respiratory viruses. The rest are lack of daily care, infection, circulation problems, etc etc. So in the UK 600,000 people die every year of old age, 150,000 of respiratory viruses (historic). So 2000 to 3000 per week from flu etc per year.//   

       Average total deaths in England and Wales (over the 7 years ending 2019) are 520,000 /from all causes/, while all respiratory diseases (not just viruses) are 73,000.   

       So what fraction of the uk's population does that represent?
Population mid-2019
United Kingdom 66,796,807
England 56,286,961
Wales 3,152,879
Scotland 5,463,300
Northern Ireland 1,893,667

       I make England and Wales about 89% of total population. Scotland might be a bit unhealthier, but it's not going to make that much difference to the numbers.   

       So I thought I'd look at the respiratory diseases codings in more detail. J09-J18 Influenza and pneumonia is something like 27,500 per year (England and Wales only)... maybe 600 per week on average (accounting for Scotland and NI by scaling up).   

       So no, you're way off with your values there.   

       Covid deaths (that is, deaths within 28 days of a positive test) in the UK have a total now of about 126,800. Disregarding who this might miss, or falsely include, these have occurred over about a year. That's 2400 per week on average, or about four times the typical flu rate.   

       You might say, well, that's not so bad.
But that's with every measure taken to mitigate it!
The reason we've been going into 'lockdown' etc is that once the healthcare capacity is exceeded, there would be a much higher death rate. Some places it has been.

       //I'm thinking Loris has no idea about healthcare, because the statistics for decades are of "dead fuckers building up in drifts". Its called life. And those who want to carry health passports and wear masks for the rest of their lives might well be disconnected from life and the usual death tolls.//   

       I'm pretty happy to admit I'm not an expert. I might know a little.
However, when I wrote the 'drifts' comment, New York was storing cadavers in refrigerated vehicles because it couldn't process them fast enough. That's the context.

       I understand if you don't like some of the measures. I worry about authoritarian creep as much as anyone.
Maybe you're concerned about the economic cost. Fair enough. I don't like how some people get basically everything paid and others get nothing. But then, I've been living off my savings for the last year, so I might be biased on that.
Loris, Apr 04 2021

       //Even accepting the totally exaggerated figure of 126,800//   

       Why exaggerated? Because you don't agree with it? The reason better be good, and not just "uh, I've heard PCR doesn't work" antivaxxer bullshit.   

       //Now these extra 7.2% are mostly old people dying up to a year before their time. When flu seasons are mild, the next severe season reaps more than the average.//   

       I agree with the concept that after a few mild years the next event will appear heavier. And it's one of the few good things about this pandemic that it's bad for older people, rather than everyone. However, I'll link to an article (from a source I think highly reliable) suggesting that the average loss of life is something like 10 years. That's not even the only issue, since there's significant morbidity in a fraction of cases.
Also, since you haven't acknowledged it, I refer you back to the point about the excess being in spite of protective measures taken. It could have been far worse.

       //And that is if you believe the numbers generated from dodgy PCR testing.//   

       Saying things like that means you're deeply into the antivaxx way of thinking. PCR is highly reliable as a testing method, (given good methodology, as with all lab tests).   

       //Now if you want to some real toe-curling news. Try reading the leaky vaccine link. All coronavirus vaccines are non-sterilising i.e. leaky, and vaccinating everyone can lead to very lethal strains of Covid19.//   

       Well, I've seen a little bit about that before, in a rebuttal.
It's probably a bad idea to generalise too much on the basis of one paper.
Firstly, I'm not sure it's applicable, for a variety of reasons.

       from your link:
::Culling is a more expensive process than using a leaky vaccine, he said. But it’s safer.::

       I think it's fair to say that even if true, that's probably not /directly/ transferable knowledge.   

       What even is a leaky vaccine? It probably isn't what you think. It's not vaccines which have less than 100% effectiveness (complete protection from infection), because that would be basically all vaccines. I found a paper - which I will link, because it has the opposite conclusion, and the first line is "Leaky vaccines prevent the development of disease symptoms, but do not protect against infection and the onwards transmission of pathogens".   

       Something to bear in mind is that no vaccine can prevent any cell in the body from being infected by a virus. There's always going to be an infection on some level before the immune system can detect it and mount a response.
Not being an expert in immunology I don't want to get too far or deep into this sub-topic, but my impression is that the various covid vaccines which have been certified all provide significant protection against infection, so are in fact not 'leaky'.

       The counter-argument to the general claim that vaccines cause mutations is that viruses mutate at a constant rate (for a particular virus, in practice), so the more people carrying an infection, the more chance there is of a dangerous strain arising. Vaccinating people reduces the number of people infected, potentially very significantly ('herd immunity' - by reducing 'R'), and hence reduces the risk of new variants arising.
Loris, Apr 04 2021

       So I'm watching the "The truth about PCR Tests" video you've posted, bigsleep. I know a little bit about that, so let's see how it goes.   

       Bit generic so far.   

       3:04 : Is technically an error, but not a significant one for our purposes.   

       3:48 Ah yes, let's misquote Kary B Mullis.   

       3:58 Protocol of a covid test stating "for research use only". I guess the inference is that all PCR tests are so labelled.
Of course, in the real world, companies put that on their products so they won't be sued, not because they're not potentially useful as a diagnostic test. If you're using a diagnostic test, it won't say that.

       "They are non-specific" - Bullshit!   

       "The nature of the biological samples is problematic. When a biological specimen, for example a nasal swab is taken from a living host, it contains all sorts of things, including genetic material from all kinds of microorganisms". Well, hell. I guess that absolutely all medical samples are worthless then.   

       "Humans are covered in billions of microorganisms". Yeah. And a covid test would pick them up then? Well, actually no, because they're designed not to.   

       4:43 More blather, trying to impress how important these other microoganisms are.   

       4:55 Invoke Kary B Mullis with random things he didn't say again. He actually just didn't like 'real-time' PCR for determining the amount of source DNA. There's a fullfact rebuttal kicking around somewhere.   

       5:10 concern about leftover DNA from pathogens which your immune system has already destroyed.
All tests have their weaknesses, but this isn't usually going to be a big deal in practice. If there's DNA of a pathogen in a swab, it's going to be either significant recent contamination (which obviously ought be be a concern regardless), or an infection. Free DNA won't usually hang around for weeks just inside your nose.

       5:17 It also needs to be established that a DNA sequence is absolutely specific to a certain organism. [...] Yes of course it does. That's why we have dedicated PCR tests for diagnosing covid you muppet. The primers have been designed to be specific, tested and confirmed in experiments.   

       5:54 Concern about purifying the virus.
Um, what? Wern't we talking about PCR?

       6:18 Oh, she's claiming that means PCR tests wern't designed against the virus. Well, that's just wrong. There's this thing called DNA sequencing, you see.   

       6:21 Barabra Mcclintock. I have to say I didn't see that coming. Oh my god. This is hilarious!   

       7:13 Oh, now we're looking for extra reasons why PCR tests arn't valid. "Even if a PCR test was known to be reliably correlated to a particular organism, something more is required"
Oh, is it?
"to prove [...] we need to do a blinded experiment and you guessed it, it hasn't happened to date."
So she's got proof that noone has ever tested a diagnostic PCR test in a scientifically rigorous manner?
Oh, apparently she doesn't, she's moving on.

       8:30 Qualitive or quantitive tests. But why?
Oh, it seems like it's a semantic argument, based on use of a letter before 'PCR'. Because that's never happened before. Oh, wait.

       9:40 reverse transcription. Again, why?
It seems like she's worrying about false negatives? That's an interesting change of pace.

       10:48 Oh, huge profits. Big Pharma! Scarey!   

       11:18 Whining about someone saying her articles are garbage.   

       11:45 attempting to rebut the rebuttal. How meta.   

       12:00 Oh, we'd need to sequence all genomes to know the test is specific.
For practical purposes, no. Even just the prior metagenome of people's noses would be enough to get pretty good specificity.

       ~13:00 more semantic waffle. Doesn't seem to take into account how processes develop over time.   

       13:10 "There can be no estimate of false-positive rates as there is nothing to compare it to". Literally a few seconds before, she was acting all confused about why talking about negative results in new zealand had any relevance.   

       13:22 Oh, lab results arn't applicable because they're not clinical. (Well, she says 'real world').
She wants to disallow them /because/ they have control samples?!
I think she means because the samples tested were standardised, but I can't be arsed to look into it further.
She's spouting garbage at this point, because a badly taken sample or processing isn't likely to create a false positive (barring cross-contamination, of course).

       13:40 Many negative results in new zeland again. Apparently this tells us nothing about the status of the people being tested.   

       14:22 Oh dear, New Zealand spent almost 15 (new zealand somethings, presumably) per person on testing over 6 weeks. That's almost 7 pounds fifty!   

       14:50 positive pcr test doesn't relate to illness.
So we have a disease that makes some people dead, while others are asymptomatic. Any test for such a disease- causing organism is going to be the same.

       15:26 Oh, occasional wierdness in europe. Well this changes everything!   

       15:30 Worrying about false positives. I'm not sure anyone said there wouldn't be /any/.   

       15:43 random quote time!   

       16:58 Reprise on the virus purification and isolation schtick.   

       17:18 Arse covering time. PCR tests are useful, the end.   

       I hope you appreciate this, because it took ages. Anyway, tl;dr: She's full of shit.   


       (I'm having issues getting my comments to post on the HB at the moment... anyone else getting Internal Server Errors?)
Loris, Apr 04 2021

       Yes. Happens to me too. I have to copy what I've written in my buffer, logout, login again, and then paste it back in. Started on my windows 10 laptop on chrome but now does the same thing on my phone.
RayfordSteele, Apr 04 2021

       //I think Sam Bailey's video is highlighting some big concerns and that is very much like the frequently posted clip of Kary Mullis. When he says PCR can find one molecule of anything in anybody, that's the real worry, that CT values greater than 25 will be used.//   

       I've not actually seen the clip, and it's kind of important what the statement is exactly. As you write it, it's false.
It is true that if you do enough PCR cycles on basically arbitrary template you can eventually generate a "PCR product". However, although it would have terminii matching either or both of the input primers, the sequence in the middle wouldn't match. This would be blindingly obvious if it was sequenced - this makes for an excellent and very easy test for false-positives generated in this manner, so I would be ... flabbergasted ... if the PCR-based screening programs were running their machines at levels which generated these at a significant level.

       I looked at the FOI response you mentioned. It points at a paper evaluating the "Thermo Fisher TaqPath RT-PCR COVID-19 Kit" [1]. The paper is concerned with using the number of PCR cycles needed to give a signal in real-time PCR, and how that relates to viral load. It looks pretty good at first glance, but I'm not particularly inclined to spend the time to read and digest it thoroughly. It's complicated a little by their looking at three different genes, but they consider a single-gene detection at Ct<34 to be 'moderate' evidence of infection - they support that by saying full viral genomes have been sequenced from individuals with such level of evidence, and I think it's hard to argue that.
I don't think the FOI response says what the cutoffs the testing labs are actually using to score results of drop-in tests. If that was what it was intended to determine then maybe the requester should have worded the question more carefully.

       In practice of trying to create PCR DNA fragments to clone in the lab, 25 cycles would be the bare minimum used. If I remember correctly, 35 cycles or more were/are sometimes used by some people and they presumably didn't get false products all that often or they'd have changed their ways. (For the sort of work we were doing, often even a single base difference would mean 'redo from start', which could be pretty painful.)
However, there are /many/ parameters in PCR, and RT-PCR is different again, so this doesn't map across directly. I'm just saying not to obsess over any particular cycle count - provided the process has been verified and is occasionally monitored, it really should be okay.

       If the BMJ article you mention here is the link above "Poor, biased reporting of daily covid death statistics", I should have said before that I read it and didn't disagree.   

       [1] Incidentally, I looked this up, and confirmed that it's for diagnostic use, and doesn't say "not for diagnostic use" on the instructions. I think this alone really should be a red flag on the reliability of Dr. Sam Bailey's video.
Loris, Apr 04 2021

       //Any legit questions ?//   

       I have a question, [bigsleep]. You can decide for yourself whether you think it's legit. My question is, have I understood your argument correctly?   

       To clarify, your argument seems to be as follows:   

       1. Numbers of deaths in 2020, whether from respiratory illness or other causes, are not widely different from numbers of deaths in other years. The degree of difference should take into account default life- expectancy as at certain ages (so that the excess death of a 75 year old is less significant than the excess death of a 50 year old, for example).   

       2. From #1, we should conclude that COVID-19 does not justify the governmental measures taken against it.   

       3. From #2, we should seek ulterior motives for the introduction of those measures, on the assumption that they originated in the agenda of an international cabal of plutocrats.   

       If I have misunderstood your argument, please say so, because I don't want to find I've been debating with a straw man.   

       NB: I'm setting aside for now the question of whether or not your numbers are right; I'm just trying to understand the argument you're making from them.
pertinax, Apr 05 2021

       Thank you for the response, [bigs]. It sounds as though I have understood you correctly, or near enough, on points #2 and #3, but I made a mistake on #1.   

       As you know, it's all too easy to get a misleading answer from statistics if there's any ambiguity about what question you're asking.   

       So, let me try again; you were arguing that the years of life lost to COVID are not very many, in the wider scheme of things, and when I referenced the relationship between age and remaining life expectancy, you corrected me by pointing out that pre- existing health problems must also be factored in.   

       I have no problem with factoring pre- existing health problems into a calculation of life expectancy. What I'm looking for clarity on is this: it looks as if you have compared two numbers, where one number is a sum of years of life actually lost and the other number is the sum of years of life which would have been lost in some counterfactual case, and have observed that the difference is small. Is this what you are doing?
pertinax, Apr 05 2021

       All I have to say is never prescribe to conspiracy theory that which the commonplace will suffice to explain.
RayfordSteele, Apr 05 2021

       //The FOI paper linked earlier tends to imply that 10% of tests are driven hard into the region of >30 cycles where traces of active virus are harder to find. The 3 genome (different proteins) technique is interesting as it gives a clear indicator of where genetic material is very broken or not present. Having only one genome left after 25 cycles says that not enough active virus is present. You could say 3 genomes = Alive virus, 1 genome = dead virus regardless of count.//   

       This looks a little garbled, and I think you're reasonably okay with PCR now, but I'll just give a quick overview of my take on it:
The paper reports their findings when they were trialling the test to see how accurate it was at detecting the coronavirus, and where they could put breakpoints to minimise false positives and negatives. Both are bad in different ways, and ideally they'd both be 0%.

       So the virus genome contains several genes in one chain of about 30,000 bases of RNA (its genome). Scientists had already designed 'primers' (short sequences of maybe 20 bases or so) defining the ends of small ranges of DNA they thought would make good diagnostic tests. These comprised regions of the virus which can't change (because then the virus wouldn't work), ideally are quite different to all other sequences which might be present, and have some other technical requirements. The goal is to get a reaction which produces DNA in the presence of the virus sequence, but not otherwise.
The PCR they're doing is parallelised to run many reactions (probably all of the same type) at the same time (probably 96, in wells of a small rectangular plastic 'plate'. The 'real-time' part is that in each cycle they can detect progress of the reaction using fluorescence. So the plate is run for some maximum number of cycles, but each reaction can produce a detectable 'positive' signal starting at a different cycle (or just never go positive).

       In a broader context, each PCR reaction type (regarding template DNA, primer sequence, reaction conditions...) is in some ways a unique snowflake, and to get a reliable diagnostic result (template present/not present) might need some optimising of conditions. Not doing that would be insane, so it's reasonable to assume it's been done on some level. Indeed, I remember from early in the outbreak there was concern that some of the initial tests wern't very reliable, so it's clear there was a process. (Speculating - perhaps the primers were in positions which changed in some variants; don't know.)   

       So basically any PCR reaction on complex DNA template may give a false positive, perhaps with a very low likelihood. Some sort of random primer extension on poorly-matching sequence occurs by chance, then a second one occurs on that template in a subsequent cycle. The more cycles you run it, the more that can happen, but it can happen even with fairly low cycle numbers. But if you run multiple screens (i.e. search for different genes) then you can evaluate that and eliminate them, or at least record the result as inconclusive. Which it looks like they're doing, so all is well. (This also gives protection against a new variant happening to avoid detection under a single test.)   


       Regarding the cost of lockdown vs no lockdown. I feel like the vulcanologists said "the vulcano might brew up, everybody needs to leave". But some people are like "nah, it's fine, I live on a hill, I'm going to ignore it" and go about their business of driving large trucks along narrow roads, blocking vital evacuation routes and generally making things much harder. But anyway most of the population eventually evacuates, and of course some people die in car crashes and other accidents you get during a mass evacuation.
Then the volcano erupts, spews toxic gas over large areas including the city, and kills a few of the people who didn't leave.
Eventually the vulcanologists say people can go back, if they're cautious. Some people immediately go and throw stones into the volcano, and there are a few more minor outbursts which mostly kill people in susceptible areas downwind.

       Then people say - well some people died in the evacuation, let's compare that to how many were killed by the volcano. And also let's revise the count of people killed by the volcano downwards because we don't like the numbers.   

       I'm not sure that's very fair, and the analogy is a little strained, but that's how I feel.
Loris, Apr 05 2021

       //If they'd stuck to 'flatten the curve' I'm sure less than half the people would have died.//   

       You're sure, are you?
So the infection rate was increasing exponentially, the death rate was following with maybe a 2-week lag, hospitals were approaching max ventilator capacity, someone pointed out that when ventilators ran out the deathrate would increase... but maybe if we'd just done basically nothing everything would have just resolved by itself?
Loris, Apr 05 2021

       //No the R rate did not increase exponentially.//   

       I meant the number of infections was increasing exponentially; I wasn't implying that R was changing[1].
However, R /was/ significantly above one and case counts were going up quickly.
Testing wasn't catching everyone at that stage, so the confirmed COVID case counts arn't all that useful.

       Regarding ventilators, your link doesn't suggest a safe margin at all, it looks like a close-run thing! The implication is that some parts of the country were further along than others, and were already maxed out and probably exporting cases.
From your link:
"52 (30%) hospitals across England reached 100% saturation at some point during the first wave of the pandemic. It suggests that while national figures always showed spare bed capacity, the unequal distribution of demand meant that despite this capacity lots of hospitals reached unsafe occupancy levels."

       If /cases/ are going up quickly and exponentially, having 37% capacity remaining isn't a large safety margin.
It's like that question about the magic pondweed - if a pondweed doubles in surface area each day, and one day it covers the pond, how much of the pond did it cover the previous day?

       //When I got Covid last June, over the course of 4 days my breathing became worse and worse until just standing sent me into hyperventilation. I was just about to call for help when I was offered an old asthma inhaler to try. Instantly breathing was much better. Took a few hits over the next few days and that was that.//   

       I'm glad it worked for you. I'd not heard of asthma inhalers as a treatment of covid, but a quick search reveals that they may help with the symptoms, and are being investigated. Other cheap and easy treatments have been found which reduce the mortality rate significantly, too. That doesn't mean it's a solved problem and we're all in the clear, though.   

       //[...] but still I didn't want young people to be locked up.//   

       What are you referring to? Lockdown, or something else?
If lockdown, then I agree it could have been handled better. Much better. But I'd say earlier and harder would have been preferable; places that did that generally seemed to do much better. Getting the case numbers down to very low means track and trace can work much more efficiently, then after a while everyone can mostly go about almost as normal.
It does seem like getting reliable information to people about what they should and shouldn't do was not very effectively performed... and still isn't.
This looks to me now like a pretty hard problem, and it seems like it wasn't given much attention by those in power.

       //What kind of future is it when you can't see peoples smiles and have to show papers to get a pint ? All it would have taken would be good advice *[Vitamin D link] and letting people be responsible for their own healthcare.//   

       The vitamin D thing isn't definite. It won't hurt to take what you ought to be taking anyway, but it's not a panacea. Link.   

       I'm not sure I care that much about needing to prove I've been recently tested for some things in the short term. The prime minister seems pretty eager to minimise that anyway. I don't like the masks either, but I'd rather wear one than infect someone with a disease which kills them. I'd rather still everyone get vaccinated so eventually they're mostly not required.   


       [1] I think my usage is technically correct; you can look up "infection rate" on wikipedia: "An infection rate (or incident rate) is the probability or risk of an infection in a population."
Loris, Apr 06 2021

       //Crazy person. Young people are virtually unaffected, and they could have kept the economy and companies afloat. Big messages on TV not to go and kill granny was all that was required.//   

       But many old people need young people to look after them.
Old people need to get stuff, and it's not easy to isolate them, particularly not when we didn't have enough testing capacity
Same goes for everyone with a preexisting condition.

       //Anyway, going back to last March there were a small number of people on the HB who saw the 99% survival rate, saw it was comparable to a bad flu and were amazed when the gaslighting started to be rolled out in the media.//   

       If what you really want to say is that everybody should just fend for themselves, maybe you should just own it.
What would that look like?

       Taking the UK population as 66 million. 1% would be 660,000, so that's a base-line if everyone was exposed.
I think for a rough approximation we could double that, since as has previously mentioned the death rate goes up when medical capacity is exceeded. So we're talking something like 1.32 million deaths in the UK.

       And after you've culled the old and sick, society will be more efficient. Win-win!
Loris, Apr 06 2021

       //That's exactly what I'm saying, or at least responsible for their own health. Take risks if you want, stay indoors if you want.//   

       The problem is, if you take risks you're effectively risking other people's health.   

       //One of the ideas I had at the time was to offer shielded accommodation to anyone with pre-existing conditions e.g. in managed hotel spaces like they use in some countries. That way they get care and everything they need with minimal risk.//   

       The problem with that is it's very hard to get that to work, and/or very expensive. If you can't do it easily in care homes, you probably can't do it at all. And we failed care homes miserably.   

       One of the ideas I had was to put the young healthy party-animals up all together in large groups in shared accommodation, give them lots of subsidised drink, contraception etc.
Groupings would be a rolling thing - people come in, stay for a few weeks, then can leave when they've had the disease and cleared it (i.e. a state of negative PCR, positive for antibodies). Probably with a couple of weeks quarantine in very small groups for those who persistently don't seem to get infected.

       //I take it you are starting throw your toys around because what I've presented is starting to make a lot of sense.//   

       1) Ooooh! Handbag raised up against chest.
2) No, I object to a lot of you said because you were eating up and repeating the random/malevolent bullshit.

       //I'll just ignore the muck slinging because ...//   

       Because everybody else is mostly being quite polite? Someone did ask you to stop being an ass at some point.
Maybe just check yourself?

       ::I'm thinking Loris has no idea about healthcare,::   

       ::It really disappoints me that the intellect of the average halfbaker [...]::   

       ::Please engage in reality.::   

       ::Crazy person.::   

       You also lay into Bill Gates pretty heavily for antivaxxer conspiracy reasons. He's not my favourite person, but he doesn't deserve that.   

       //..you know in any scenario I've discussed, those are not the outcomes. Obviously what I'm talking about is early herd immunity from the young and healthy. That's like getting an easy win of 20 million free jabs with a working economy as well.//   

       I don't know about the starting to make sense. The problem with repeatedly giving what you now concede were 'weak' points, and links which were /exhaustively/ rebutted is that maybe people start to think that maybe it's not worth following up on any of your claims.   

       As you can see above I'm not against getting herd immunity primarily through the healthy young. The trick is in not having infection spread to scythe through those you're trying to protect.   

       //Keeping the oldies and infirm cooped wouldn't have been fair but neither is giving salaried employees 80% and the self employed 0%.//   

       Don't disagree with the sentiment. Do disagree with many of your proposals.   

       //The public swallowed the inflated numbers and the fear, have all been conditioned to clap like seals and point and wail at anyone sitting on a park bench.//   

       I'm not sure where you're getting this from.   

       //Again, I'm surprised the intellects on the HB can't look at some of the science and go hmm, "that's interesting ... connection between skin colour and immune system you say."//   

       Is this the vitamin D thing again?
I don't think anyone here has a problem with research on it, but it's clearly not sticking out like Dexamethasone.

       //... or even see just how plausible it might have been one massive con.//   

       //I'll leave you with the EU roadmap for vaccinations.//   

       Why are you so bothered by that?
Because the EU is doing so badly with their vaccinations now?

       I'm pretty happy to criticise the UK government on many things, but the early investment and consistent endorsement of covid vaccines was something they got right, and the EU is still spectacularly failing at.
Loris, Apr 06 2021

       //Did I ? //   

       Yes. Yes you did.   

       ::There's also the "Bill Gates is responsible for everything" narrative which certainly has some credence when you look at the money trails. For example Tony Blair receiving donations from Gates is practically his puppet when he talks above vaccine passports.::   

       ::I'll see if I can dig up that early Gates video. Its chilling. Especially he and Melinda smirk over a potentially more deadly second virus. Its 'Utopia on Amazon Prime' levels of dark.::   

       For those of you who don't get the reference, "Utopia" is an enormously unsettling and psychologically violent TV series about a conspiracy to reduce the world's population, involving a 'vaccine' to a made-up disease intended to instead sterilise its recipients.
I'm not sure if the Amazon Prime version is more, or less dark than the original, shown on UK's Channel 4, but assume it covers more-or-less the same ground.

       //I think vaccines are great, but they shouldn't be given out like cheap candy. They always have adverse reactions, some mild and some horrendous or fatal ones. If they give the vaccines to kids, well, it won't be long before the outrage begins and the kiddie vaccine programs are cancelled.//   

       It's just as well we don't already give vaccines to kids.
Apart from, well...
6-in-1 vaccine (3 doses) - diphtheria, hepatitis B, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b), polio, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis)
Rotavirus vaccine (2 doses) - Rotavirus
MenB (3 doses) - meningococcal group B bacteria
Pneumococcal (PCV) vaccine (2 doses) - Streptococcus pneumoniae
Hib/MenC - Haemophilus influenzae type b, meningitis C
MMR (2 doses) - measles, mumps and rubella
Flu vaccine (every year from 2 to 10 years)
4-in-1 pre-school booster - diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio
HPV vaccine - human papillomavirus
3-in-1 teenage booster - tetanus, diphtheria and polio
MenACWY - meningitis/septicaemia
and additional vaccines for at-risk babies and children
Loris, Apr 06 2021

       // I'm done with this. //   


       Plenty of vitamin D in Florida. Also a hot mess of COVID cases and the source of so many that spread around the US last spring break.
RayfordSteele, Apr 06 2021

       Can I just add the observation that big-name politicians being main characters in the conspiracy narrative is kind of pantomime quality storytelling. Nothing wrong with that, it lends a simplistic sense of straight forwardness. But for me, I don't buy the idea of big movers and shakers being the type to get out and act their desires out in public. Yes, there are politicians, but in my own personal imaginings, they are often the more venal type who will do and say things for money, other people's money. It's the other people who pull the strings - and largely from a comfortable position of discrete anonymity.   

       My preferred paranoid "who rules the world" narrative isn't bankers, politicians, lawyers or bureaucrats. Yes all those professions attract their interest, but the real people who pull the strings are the already exceedingly wealthy with significant interests in remaining so though avoidance of taxation or government interference. They're likely to operate out of locations where their wealth isn't investigated, taxed or otherwise interfered with - largely offshore, though occasionally in choice cities in the west, so as to take advantage of capital markets, property transactions and conducting other business. To this end, the media mogul, politician and financier are all useful tools, which if organised appropriately can help maintain a liquid cloak of financial transparency. For these people, disasters such as Covid aren't always a planned strategy so much as an opportunity to convert surplus funds into chances to legitimise and generate long-term income streams as rental opportunities are picked up for cheap. The smokescreen of mass lockdowns is a helpful diversion when you're effectively isolated on your own personal island, the legal and financial regulatory hiatus a welcome breathing space for thoughtful repositioning of funds and assets for the next 20-30 years. It's boom time, and the more people buy in to these grand overarching storylines of organised, deliberate schemes to enslave the world, the better - all great and useful distractions keeping people's eyes off what's really going on.   

       That's my private imaginary conspiracy theory anyway, any Panama papers, revealed dark-money paper-trails, and other documentary evidence is of course only coincidental - and possibly planted by Big Governemt and the CIA to lead us off the scent. Because if there's one thing we all know, it's Governments across the world are competent and capable of keeping big secrets. They just don't suffer from the same organisational limits in terms of size and effective organisation as are so well documented in the private sector.   

       Similarly, Bill Gates - obvious super-villain, having become the richest man on earth would naturally fiddle about with vaccines to further his hitherto unexpressed secret agenda. We might have thought he'd have greater chance of doing that heading up the (still) largest software company on earth, perhaps implanting secret spy technology into all of our computers and manipulating us from afar - but no, that would be too obvious. Instead, he's turned to fiddling about with vaccinations, mostly in Africa, which somehow will do something, using some method we're not entirely privy to but which is definitely tricky. That tricky old so-and-so.   

       I do think the march towards authoritarianism is a sad and tragic thing - but sadly most people have decided to vote for parties and agendas that promote greater government control and greater social coherence in all our lives. That nationalist agenda though has been going on since 2016, nothing to do with Corona virus. Referring to my outline of my own personal conspiracy theories, I think this is more to do with advancing the security of the internationally rich - since in a cooperative, transparent world, it's a great deal harder to evade tax, law and scrutiny. While in a tightly nationalistic environment, it's easy for governments to close the borders to the general public, raise the barriers of obscurity, while leaving the very wealthy to continue to pass unhindered. Additionally, more international barriers means better ability to extract payments from people able and willing to move unhindered across those barriers - it's a business opportunity.   

       Economically, Corona virus is yet to bite - holders of commercial real-estate, in a world that's suddenly learned to work remotely is going to get a thorough battering. Which will be interesting since there's a great deal of international investment in our cities' central business districts. As that money flees to safer pastures, it will undoubtedly generate bow- waves.These, might be soaked up with additional government borrowing, but only for as long as the entire world's governments choose to do so. As soon as some governments somewhere start returning to fiscal responsibility, pressure will mount on those who've been able to borrow indiscriminately until now. Interestingly, that's likely to be in Asia and surrounding Southern neighbours who seem to have generally handled Covid with less profligacy as more laissez-faire, or populist European governments and the Americas (thinking USA/Brazil particularly here).   

       The winners wont be governments, which all will feel pressure from increased poverty and income disparity - governing will become harder, and more prone to problems, and as such, with the nationalist march, even more prone to corruption and influence from alternate sources. The winners will be those who can ride out the consequences from afar, maintaining and increasing their independence through their financial shenanigans of the more general *demos* (in the Greek sense) around the world, i.e. the ordinary and common people. For me, if I were to be looking for conspiracies, it would be from this general direction, albeit less from a command- and-conquer perspective, rather than a seize-the- opportunity kind of outlook.
zen_tom, Apr 07 2021

       bigsleep, you keep on insinuating things, trying to needle people, and making outrageous statements. And when incontrovertible evidence is given you just ignore it, or mention a supporting section and pretend you've covered the whole thing.   

       So I asked myself - what sort of explanation is there for that sort of behavour?
And the answer came back - an internet troll.

       So, you know- well done and all, you had me there. But I don't particularly feel an inclination to continue this and I'll remember next time.
Loris, Apr 07 2021

       There's an argument here that 'science' and 'technology' are quite separate, and that diet and medicine are part of technology rather than science. Technology draws on lots of different things, including science, but also including economics, irrational behaviour of Humans, biases, economic vested interests, and inherited craft traditions.   

       //Can you point to my worst omission ?//   

       Probably some punctuation howler. The space between "n" and "?" is pretty egregious but technically is not an "omission", so more research in this field is clearly required.
pocmloc, Apr 07 2021

       ::I'll see if I can dig up that early Gates video. Its chilling. Especially he and Melinda smirk over a potentially more deadly second virus. Its 'Utopia on Amazon Prime' levels of dark.::   

       The link's title is: "Bill And Melinda Gates smirking over a new more deadly virus"   

       See my prior commentary on that. I could go into more detail about what I think about the video, and exactly what I think about Bill Gates... but no, explain how you don't believe this and it's not you associating him with a fictional plot to sterilise the bulk of the human population through pseudo-vaccines in an antivaxxer-style conspiracy.
Loris, Apr 07 2021

       //Is that explained well enough ?//   

       Along with the additional material you provided later I now see where you're coming from.
I haven't seen the longer video of the Gates, but I'm not good at evaluating faces anyway.. To me it looked like they were glad to have answered a question to their own satisfaction, or something. I still feel like I was justified in calling your initial comments "antivaxxer conspiracy reasons", because of how you couched them, and they /are/ typical antivaxxer conspiracies.

       //Ok. *Now* I've found the Tetanus vaccine stuff. An old WHO sterilisation program going back decades with Gates adding an extra 10 billion funding in 2010. Normally a single tetanus shot gives 10 years protection but these programs required an additional 2 booster shots which doctors cannot explain.//   

       I looked at the link "HCG Found in WHO Tetanus Vaccine in Kenya Raises Concern" and yes, at first glance it looks like it might be legit and this would be concerning. At a very cursory glance the journal checks out.
A search with the paper title found links with statements like "For the second time, researchers retract — then republish — a vaccine paper" But it's there, so maybe it stuck the third time. I don't think this is a particularly big or 'prestigious' journal either, so I don't know that it should be given enormous weight.

       I also utilised my prior effort and determined that there are 5 anti-tetanus doses administered to children in the UK, which is the same /number/ as the schedule mentioned in the paper. I think this is your misunderstanding of their argument, which is that the schedule for the vaccine of concern is over a much shorter time-period, and implying that it's not actually an anti-tetanus vaccine. Not being an expert in the field, I can't judge the significance of that very well.
The paper does contain a number of claims which if true are very suspicious.

       To be clear, there's nothing wrong with a treatment to regulate fertility in general. It's called family planning. The ethical concerns arise if there isn't informed consent - which the paper says doctors in the catholic church in africa have concerns about.
The nature of making such claims is really up the the claimant, and a (very, very brief) perusal of the paper doesn't make it look particularly great. A lot of it is concerned with associating a research program with Bill Gates, and includes quotes like:
::"The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion [here he is almost quoting Bryant et al.]. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines [our italics], health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent..."::

       Now the thing is, I don't really have a problem with Gates spending a significant fraction of his ill-gotten fortune on vaccines, improving healthcare, reproductive health etc. Honestly I think it's a good use for it. And it's widely recognised that as a higher proportion of children survive, people actively want to have fewer, and the overall population growth rate can decrease.   

       So although if you're so inclined you can see it as malevolent, it's not the only explanation. And... just why? What is the payoff meant to be for him?   

       If we're allowed idle speculation, my Top Trump Conspiracy card beats yours.
Remember that the concerns were raised by the Catholic church? I would say that Catholics are not neutral players in this. I'm not proposing that the catholic church as a whole is conspiring to do something underhand. I don't have to. I've previously looked at something related (spread of HIV in Africa), and indications are that individual catholic nurses etc. in Africa will take it on themselves to destroy shipments of condoms, for example. It's not much of a stretch to imagine that they might see the WHO - with it's active support of condom distribution - as the enemy, and a small group might attempt to sabotage them through other means. This has the advantage of a clear ideological justification and goals for the participants. Let me be clear - I have no evidence for this; it's just something which occurred to me, and significantly reduces my trust in the paper's findings.

       Overall I think this isn't something I have the dedication or resources to get to the bottom of... but that's the same conclusion as you had. To my mind this should preclude making seemingly definitive claims about it.   

       //You're really not helping quash these rumours.//   

       What? What do you think my involvement in this is?
I'm not going to be coming round your house with a tank of gas and a re-breather.

       My overall take on the Bill Gates conspiracies is basically like zen_tom's. The claims just don't seem like a sensible plan to do anything nefarious. To me his charity work looks like an attempt to salvage his reputation from the disreputable practices he used to make the money in the first place. Just like many historical philanthropists.
Loris, Apr 07 2021

       You seem to have a bit of a double standard, bigsleep.   

       Have you considered that you're really concerned about vaccines, even though they go through a full trial process before use (and are continually tracked for rare effects), but perfectly happy to big-up other drugs on the basis of extremely limited trials and retracted papers?

       There's a way to do it right. The BBC news article I'm linking to (..the bus trip one) maybe overemphasises the role of the bus, but it does give an overview of why the "Recovery" programme it describes worked so well. Not only did that find dexamethasone (and tocilizumab) were very beneficial, it also rejected hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and azithromycin.
Loris, Apr 08 2021


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