Coronavirus 2020


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The Taoiseach gets a wee bit of a challenge today finally


Actually, half way through the video, she is asked directly that question and her response was along the lines of being very pro vaccination but only with proven vaccines and to use well proven drugs to treat the condition, which seem to have disappeared from the shelves in recent months.

Conspiracy theory, or simple greed by a small minority who are prepared to allow countless deaths for them to profit from “their” drugs!


The wheels might be about to come off from the Governments perspective.

Some journalists and medical practitioners appear to be beginning to ask questions with regard to testing, nursing homes. Border control and facemasks, all of which may have been handled poorly.

Given that we may be about to experience 1930s style economic fallout, the least many will want to hear is that their sacrifice was meaningful in terms of stopping the spread and saving lives.

As an aside, I find it incredible that internal flights from Dublin to regional airports within the State have not been discontinued. In terms of risk analysis alone, surely requiring people to use private cars to travel from Dublin to Kerry (as opposed to permitting them to travel on an airborne AC-infused tin can) is a no brainer.

Theres also this which has appeared on the IT website in the past hour or so…


Discussion of imperial college modelling code release on GitHub

devit 21 hours ago [-]

Is this thing actually being used for policy decisions?

Given the complexity, poor language/framework choice (should have used either Rust or Tensorflow), bad code design, and unclear determination of the parameters (especially the fact they don’t seem to be estimated from real data with Bayesian inference, or if they are they didn’t release that), as well as the ludicrous CPU and RAM usage making it impossible for most people to run it and thus check it, it doesn’t seem like it has any chance of actually being a good model.

If this is the state of the art for the most important statistical modelling project in the world, we are in the dark ages.

spatulon 21 hours ago [-]

I was part of the GitHub team that helped get the code ready for public release. We fixed a few bugs, reduced memory consumption, made it portable across operating systems, etc., but the code you see is largely what was written by Neil Ferguson and his team.

Given your concerns, I would like to mention two things:

  1. the code was originally a single source file, so I’m not surprised the module boundaries are imperfect - the code is many years old and the module boundaries have existed for only a few weeks.

  2. this was not written by professional software engineers, but epidemiologists, and they were working with limited budget, time, and programming experience.

Read full thread here:


It’s easy for armchair warriors to critique code quality, and the should have used x or y is a matter of taste or opinion, even if Rust or Tensorflow existed when this was written. CPU/Ram requirements are hardly an issue unless it takes days to complete. What matters is validation, which is mentioned at the bottom of the article.

Nothing to see here, genuinely.


I thought this was the salient point.

Is this thing actually being used for policy decisions?

It appears to be so.

It was an Imperial College computer model that forecasted 500K deaths in the UK (and 2.5 million in the US) should policymakers pursue a “herd immunity” approach (a la Sweden), that influenced them to reverse course and go full lockdown instead. The model was produced by a team headed by Neil Ferguson, (who recently resigned his post advising the UK government when it surfaced that he was himself violating lockdown directives by breaking self-isolation for dalliances with a married woman).

The source code behind the model was to be made available to the public, and after numerous delays and excuses in doing so, has finally been posted to GitHub

A code review has been undertaken by an anonymous ex-Google software engineer here, who tells us the GitHub repository code has been heavily massaged by Microsoft engineers, and others, in an effort to whip the code into shape to safely expose it to the pubic. Alas, they seem to have failed and numerous flaws and bugs from the original software persist in the released version. Requests for the unedited version of the original code behind the model have gone unanswered.

What model did Dr. Varadkar base his prediction of 15,000 infected by X date, later acknowledged to be off, but explained that it was “complacency” we should now fear.


How many got through unchecked…

Over 250 people caught at airport in €1million Covid payment scam

Hundreds of workers who left Ireland after the coronavirus outbreak have had their attempts to claim a weekly €350 Covid-19 unemployment payment foiled.

The Irish Daily Mail can reveal that the Exchequer has now saved over €1million after identifying more than 250 people who tried to scam the system.

The vast majority of those detected are Brazilian nationals, according to senior sources.


15k infected without the lockdown was plausible I thought. Also I know from years of experience that bugs inspected are not bugs manifest, that’s not to say we didn’t have a bug manifest in this case but validation is the key here, and mature software has better form than something knocked together in a weekend of glue-ing frameworks together.


Surely only people engaged in “essential” activities would have been moving more than 2km/5km over the past couple of months?

If they dont have a car, surely these essential person’s employers could foot the cost of a rental car or perhaps a taxi given over 99 per cent of the population are confined to barracks?

It is a public health emergency after all and airplanes are clearly high risk environments.


Finland are going for the Swedish option or at least very similar.

Edit - i see the plan is a plan by a minister, not policy yet


I think croquette has a very fair point - I hadn’t thought of it to be honest. For a lot of cancers Dublin is the main place for treatment and people do fly from Kerry for treatment - I’ve met them - it was moderately cheap as it saved not only the drive but also the overnight hotel bill. I’m not sure I’d do it in the current circumstances but some may have no choice - even if you can drive you might well choose not to. Having said that a consultant I know packed all his gear in his car and drove over a hundred miles to see an elderly patient for his regular post-operative appointment.


4 posts were merged into an existing topic: Kung Flu - Gaming the Matrix?


This is now getting beyond a sick joke. The government is slavishly following a model used by the Epi Team, HPSC but there is zero public description I can find of what actual model is being used or what parameters and assumptions are being made. Zilch. Nada. But looking at the R0 graphic produced in some of the daily report it looks suspiciously like the output of a model produced by a bunch of undergrads who just recently broke open a copy of Bioinformatics for Dummies. Real world real time models dont have curves like those published in the HSE COVID reports

Meanwhile over in Norway it took me exactly 4 mins of digging to not only find a full detailed discussion of what the Norwegian Health Ministry Covid model is, its a pretty sophisticated one, but the whole fucking thing is on Github.

Here is the google translate of the main page

Click on the Coronavirus Modeling (

…item to get the full model description.

Here it is on GitHub

Watching the Norwegian TV news on NRK tonight the Covid story was first mentioned about 20 mins in. They have pretty much got over the whole COVID thing. Schools opening. Lots of people on the streets. Life returning to normal. Meanwhile on RTE and in the Irish newspapers its still wall to wall mass hysteria. There has been no actual news reporting or proper journalism on RTE or in the Irish press for the last few months. Simply blind hysterical drivel. There was more Truth in Prava and more News in Izvestia in the Soviet era than you will find in the current Irish media.

The Irish government and the HSE have nt the slightest fucking idea what they are doing and almost everything they say or do has little or not justification in the actual scientific literature. Social distancing, my arse. I cannot find even the most basic research on just what the actual viral density per m3 for IAV (a good proxy for SARs CoV 2) is in typical respiratory aerosols by normal breathing in confined spaces let alone high air flow public spaces. Or even what the threshold 50% infection density is. 10^5 per m3 / 1 min seems to the usual guesstimate. Which is all it is it seems. There is no actual science behind it. The dirty little secret seems to be is that its not coughing, sneezing or formites contact that is the main mode of viral transmission , its being in a badly ventilated space for an extended period of time with an infected person simply breathing. Hence the very low rate of casual transmission of SAR 2 in Taiwan and South Korea.

So SARs CoV 2 has about the same risk factor as H1N1/09. Swine Flu. Thats pretty much the end of the story. At least when it comes t o the actual science.

We may have lambasted Bertie and Cowan and Lenihan here back in 2008 and 2009 but there has not been single day in the last two months when I would not wished that the country was actually governed at the moment by that shower of cute hoors rather than the current bunch of clueless non entities. Who have destroyed a large part of the real economy just so that a few thousand old sick people have their life expectancy extended by 12 or 18 months over the next few years. For reference, 25k of them die every year. The cute hoors would have finessed that problem away (by mostly ignoring it) without doing such huge economic damage to the future of the country.


The following table is from todays HSE report and provides recorded cases and deaths per age segment.

Age Group Cases Deaths
0-4 120
5-9 108
10-14 145
15-19 357 *
20-24 1,226 *
25-29 1,719 *
30-34 1,970 *
35-39 1,944 6
40-44 1,981 *
45-49 2,171 9
50-54 1,949 13
55-59 1,707 30
60-64 1,262 25
65-69 771 69
70-74 910 128
75-79 974 180
80-84 1,241 304
85+ 2,329 652
Unknown 31 *
Total 22,915 1,429


Looks like good news


BBC Newsnight report questioning the science and modelling behind the lock-down…


You need to watch that newsnight clip to the end. She says (in the context of the h1n1 disease)… “We got away with it this time” “dont be under the illusion… Resources needed for worse pandemic” “took their eye off the ball” “resources not there to combat it effectively”.

UK has worst outcome of Europe on this. Modeling, lockdowns and all the rest is noise. The deaths are the real numbers and they don’t compare well to other nations. The reasons for that are complex but the results are unequivocal.


Irish company claims Harris refused offer of testing kits in mid March

-We now know that only 15 people under the age of 50 have died from the virus to Friday last.
-66% of those who have died are over 80
-88% of those who have died are over 70

-The Koreans have not confirmed yet, but expect to be able to do so shortly, that those who have already contracted the virus cannot be reinfected.

-We also know that the Swedes have a similar death rate to ourselves despite not having implemented a lockdown ie they have relied on the common sense of their citizens in the form of practising social distancing etc

Assuming, its confirmed that reinfection is not a possibility, and given the rest of the above information, coupled with the fact that we now have an official unemployment rate of 28%, there seems to be little by way of solid argument against reopening the economy subject to some restrictions being put in place to protect the most vulnerable segments.

Of course this may change again should the data change. But as of now there does not seem to be a coherent argument against.


We do have masks, maximum people per square meter of shop, cleaning hands and wearing gloves obligatory on entrance to shops here in Poland.

Govt. is about to make decision to open restaurants and barbers in second half of May, they think about open/close on regional levels if that would be safer due to recent spikes among the miners in Śląsk.

I feel it was a combination of luck and quick decisions which allowed to avoid big infection rates here so far.