From experts to deniers – Victoria edition

Experts must be listened to.  The science is settled.  Except when the views of the experts conflict with the narrative and then they transition from experts to deniers.

For those in Victoria or who might have access to Premier Andrews, consider the following conclusion from research conducted by the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government:

there’s little correlation between the severity of a nation’s restrictions and whether it managed to curb excess fatalities — a measure that looks at the overall number of deaths compared with normal trends.

Before getting to the essence of the conclusion, note the magic words of excess fatalities.  And to repeat the definition of excess fatalities – a measure that looks at the overall number of deaths compared with normal trends.

This suggests, and please pay attention Australia’s health technocrats, the issue is not to stop all deaths (an impossible task) but rather to limit the number of deaths compared with what might normally be the case.  For example, from flu and from which the death numbers in Australia this season have been remarkably low.

Hang on, before moving on.  The Blavatnik School of Government is at Oxford University.  Isn’t there a statue of Cecil Rhodes somewhere at Oxford?  Should not this research be deemed racist and imperial and this ignored?

But a bid of modesty from the researchers.  How quaint that they aren’t absolutely positive and await further data to analyse and thus refine their research:

The economic data for the lockdown period are only just appearing, and they may be revised substantially in the future given the obvious difficulties of collecting data during a pandemic.

But based on what they have seen thus far:

Regardless, what the past few months suggest is that the economic cost is not the only downside to a draconian lockdown. The Covid-19 experience has taught us that it’s far better to respond quickly and smartly, with the right technology and mass testing and tracing, rather than only relying on the crudest of shutdowns.

The final suggestion of the experts:

If there are second waves of the virus, we shouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the first.

TAFKAS can only wonder what the response would be if the remuneration of the politicians and bureaucrats was directly linked to the combined economic and health outcome measures.  You know, skin in the game.

But as Nassim Taleb describes out political and bureaucratic systems – they are designed to insulate decision makers from the consequences of their decisions.

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25 Responses to From experts to deniers – Victoria edition

  1. Rob

    Perspective nowhere to be seen.
    Just listen to Neil Mitchell on Melbourne radio 693.
    It’s all about scaring the beejezus out of the audience.
    Don’t you know that if you catch Covid-19 you will die?

  2. Rob

    Has anybody here had the dratted virus?

  3. Tim Neilson

    Has anybody here had the dratted virus?

    Probably. Most people who get it don’t even realise.

  4. Megan

    If there are second waves of the virus, we shouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the first.

    Insert Einstein’s quote on insanity here.

  5. pbw

    If any of the Cats have access to this journal, it would be useful to have more details about the contents of this article: Swine flu and hype: a systematic review of media dramatization of the H1N1 influenza pandemic

    Here’s the abstract.

    Highly disconcerting at the time, in retrospective, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic looks like much ado about nothing. As a consequence, many accused the media of having created an artificial hype or hysteria around the new virus, thus contributing to unwarranted public fear. The current paper set out to examine the validity of such accusations. We integrated empirical findings on whether the media dramatized H1N1 on a global scale through systematically reviewing prior content-analytic studies. We developed a coding scheme specifying three indicators of dramatized media coverage that – together – inform about how mass media coverage about H1N1 may amplify risk perceptions in the public: (a) the volume of media coverage, (b) the media content presented, particularly an overemphasis of threat while neglecting measures of self-protection and (c) the tone of coverage. Results show that media attention was immense, that news content stressed threat over precautionary measures, while the pattern of coverage tonality remained nebulous due to conflicting findings. The present review also revealed a critical gap in existing knowledge about the tone of media coverage on H1N1, and discusses implications for future research on dramatization of public health risks by the media.

  6. Salvatore, Social Distance Martyr

    Rob #3508320, posted on July 9, 2020 at 3:20 pm
    Has anybody here had the dratted virus?

    Dunno, I haven’t been tested.

  7. stevem

    You’re woefully behind the time, TAFKAS. Oxford has been purged of its guilt by agreeing to pull down the Rhodes statue – you know BLM and all that.

  8. Professor Fred Lenin

    They were supposed to test the residents in the retiremet village I live in ,it was an absolute shambles ,some people were not informed ,management offered the use of the village hall ,didnt happen ,contacted some residents but not others . Management offered the use of the village hall ,people went there ,testers didnt turn up ,some residents were contacted personally but no follow up,. So in thetrue tradition of the Andrews gang ,all talk and seeming no actual action .
    With a shambolic mob like this would you trust them mot be actually spreading the virus while testing? Whos to say they are not carruying the infection on their PPE ?
    Watching Andrews mob it wouldnt surprise me .

  9. Roger W

    Regarding media dramatization, I timed SBS news last night. The first 32 minutes, of a 1 hour broadcast, was exclusively on Covid 19. The sport section was also mainly about virus effects. This has been normal now for months. The same sort of emphasis on all stations. It is amazing that so many of us are still reasonably rational about this and that we are not all cowering under the bedclothes waiting for the end to come.

  10. Rohan

    Rob #3508320, posted on July 9, 2020 at 3:20 pm
    Has anybody here had the dratted virus?

    Haven’t been tested, but I may have but before it was a thing in Australia. Back around New Years. Had 3-4 days where I felt aweful. No energy, ached all over, no apetite, BP was also high, but none of the other symptoms so maybe something else.

    But a coleague got tested today. No result yet. So Maybe I will in the next few weeks.

    My cousin who lives in the UK has had it. Appart from it being like the flu for her, she also lost her sense of taste and smell. It’s returning but slowly.

  11. Rohan

    I hope he’s negative. I don’t want to go into quaranteen for 2 weeks.

  12. Justinian the Great

    Few problems with the research methodology I would think given that China is rated as one of the least repressive in terms of its lockdown response despite welding apartment buildings shut and disposing of the bodies later, in fact less repressive than Australia (maybe not Victoria given the housing commission towers), which is considered less repressive than the US despite them having substantially reopened their economy despite second wave outbreaks, while we have shredded the constitution and shut Victoria off from the rest of the nation, while practically every developing world (being generous) country is considered to have implemented a fail safe tough lockdown . Still I suspect the basic point is pretty true if for no other reason than Japan, South Korea and Taiwan (reliable countries) are such massive outliers in terms of minimal lockdowns for maximum gain. However, what the case of Victoria shows the illusion of “tough” lockdowns versus actually effective lockdowns, or actually effective viral infection minimisation strategies, are very different things.

  13. sfw

    In the UK a few people with money are looking to see if they can bring a charge of misfeasance against Boris and his fools, just wondering if a similar case could be made against Dear Leader Dan Andrews and his incompetent team. Any ideas?
    http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/MelbULawRw/2011/1.html

  14. Squirrel

    Science schmience – anything that goes wrong in Victoriastan is the fault of Covid-denying conspiracy theorists who think that it’s spread by 5G technology.

    That’s the line which was being pushed by the usual suspects earlier this week when inconvenient details started to emerge – just in case ICU numbers and deaths (excess or otherwise) increased.

  15. stackja

    Public housing residents in a tower that has at least 53 coronavirus cases will remain in hard lockdown, while residents in the remaining towers will be eased to stage three restrictions. It comes as Victoria recorded 165 new coronavirus cases on day one of strict new rules across the city.

    Sophie Welsh, Alex White, Brianna Travers, Lucy Callander and Ashley Argoon, Herald Sun
    July 9, 2020 6:15pm

    Residents of public housing towers at 33 Alfred St, North Melbourne will be confined to lockdown for a further nine days after testing revealed at least 53 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday.

    After 2515 tower residents were tested in five days, one tower had a substantially high number of cases.

    33 Alfred St, North Melbourne has the highest cases of all towers, with at least 53 confirmed cases.

    All residents of the affected tower must now isolate for 14 days, while some other towers can ease back to Stage Three restrictions too.

    Towers at 12 Sutton Street, 76 Canning Street, 12 Holland Court, 120 Racecourse Rd, 126 and 130 Racecourse Rd will reopen from 11.59pm on Thursday night.

    There were 158 positive cases in the towers, which equals about 11 per cent of residents.

  16. Judge Dredd

    Notice that the media and government agencies only talk about infection rates, never deaths. There’s a reason why, and it’s obvious when you look at the numbers.
    Anyone who thinks this is all necessary at this stage is so heavily indoctrinated they are beyond saving.

  17. hzhousewife

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Chairman Dictator Dan was invited by the Chinese to attend Beijing in person, and then they kept him there?
    Lunched today with a Vic/NSW border based friend, she got her permit to cross to work very easily online and has had no issues, apparently there’s a 50k radius or so she can travel. She said the police cars are cruising with number plate scanners ++

  18. nb

    Judge Dredd, #3508563, says: ‘Anyone who thinks this is all necessary at this stage is so heavily indoctrinated they are beyond saving.’
    So many people believe it all. The last four years have been eye-opening, let alone the last four months.
    I used to say ‘the left lies’ but that has now extended to the media almost completely. We are surrounded by liars and the gullible. I guess we always have been, but now even the purpose of the lies is a terrible, frightening lie. People are sleepwalking into devastation.

  19. Judge Dredd

    I used to say ‘the left lies’ but that has now extended to the media almost completely. We are surrounded by liars and the gullible.

    I agree. The last few years have been a big awakening. As a matter of fact, so much so it has strengthened my faith considerably. You can’t help but wonder that this is the age old battle of good versus evil, and it’s not just on the plane of existence we see.

  20. Alan

    I tend to wonder if there is something more sinister being planned: The Great Reset?

    pbw: fixed = copy-paste the (any) heading into “Google Scholar

  21. Judge Dredd

    Alan – yes I would not be surprised.

  22. Kneel

    “I used to say ‘the left lies’ but that has now extended to the media almost completely. ”

    The change for the media isn’t in the content so much, but rather that now we are seeing contradictions that even a goldfish would pick up on. It used to be that when they got something wrong, they’d apologise in a month or so and say “We got it wrong, but thought it was more important to get the info out there”. Now, they just double- and triple-down, or dump previous “facts” down the memory hole and even those not really paying attention can notice it.
    The odd part of all this is that it’s even easier these days to find that stuff they want to dump down the memory hole – they are all on the ‘net and the ‘net never forgets, although Google is certainly trying to make sure it can and will for most people.

  23. Lee

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Chairman Dictator Dan was invited by the Chinese to attend Beijing in person, and then they kept him there?

    As a Victorian, one can live in hope.

  24. John A

    Tim Neilson #3508328, posted on July 9, 2020, at 3:36 pm

    Has anybody here had the dratted virus?

    Probably. Most people who get it don’t even realise.

    Here is a site run by volunteers (accepting donations) which reports more details especially by state/territory.

    The page on Deaths (under More in the menu) is most illustrative of just how NON-lethal this virus is – virulent it is definitely not.

    Most of the fatalities occurred BEFORE the lockdown, especially in the PDR of Viktoriastan.

    And the charts of Testing show the direct correlation between Viktoriastan’s “second wave” and the drastically ramped-up testing but, of course, we have only had four fatalities since April.

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