Nico Metten describes the “casedemic”

Facebook friend and actual friend Nico Metten, on Facebook, puts the case against “cases”:

One very simple thing for everyone to understand. Cases mean nothing. Deaths is what counts. There is no uptick in deaths. There isn’t even an uptick in cases. They are simply testing more. If I sample 1000 random people and count how many are female I might get something like 502. Now I sample 2000 people and I get something like 998. Headline reading “NUMBER OF WOMEN IN SOCIETY DOUBLED ON MONDAY”. No it did not. And that is what is going on with COVID cases. They have increased the number of tests. It is not rocket science, so why are so many people missing this? NUMBER OF CASES ARE MEANINGLESS.

Nico wrote that only for his Facebook friends. Hope he doesn’t mind me copying and pasting it here.

I am not hearing the British government answering this sort of objection, and the longer they seem to be ignoring it, the more I will suspect that they can’t answer it. If they have responded, good, and please tell me about it.

6 thoughts on “Nico Metten describes the “casedemic””

  1. I don’t think the statisticians at the ONS and the King’s College Hospital/Zoe collaboration don’t realise that. They both, using different methodologies, sample and try to estimate from that how cases are increasing across the country. And they both now think R is statistically significantly over 1. This article from BBC three days ago discusses this to some degree.

    However I completely agree that deaths are what matter and given the economic damage that has been wrought so far it would seem on the face of it to be much better to try to protect the elderly and let the virus spread amongst the rest of the population. The problem with that though is how to isolate older people who live with their children. And given that is probably more prevalent amongst poorer and ethnic minority segments of the population such a deliberate policy would be attacked as discriminatory. I can’t see the government setting up temporary care homes.

    Speaking to my son, who is just going back to uni, many young people are sick of their lives being put on hold and I think the authorities will find it very hard to stop the spread amongst younger people.

  2. Rises in death rates do trail rises in case rates by several weeks, for the simple reason that there is a time lag between catching the virus and dying, if you are going to die. It is certainly the case that the percentage of people testing positive who will ultimately die is lower now than it was six months ago, because of a combination of larger amounts of testing, greater knowledge of the disease having led to improvements in treatment, and the average age of infected people apparently being younger. But the number of deaths per day in the UK is going to rise very significantly in the next couple of months.

    As for “it is deaths that matter”, well I don’t know. There is now pretty clear evidence that Covid-19 is doing enormous damage to the cardiovascular systems of some people who have had serious cases of the disease and who haven’t died. There may well be a significant number of younger people who end up permanently disabled because of it. We don’t really know, though. The disease is so new that we don’t have any long term cases to study.

  3. Yes (Michael), I have heard the same about non-death damage also being a problem. It sounds callous, but I think it all hinges on numbers. How widespread is such damage? If only affecting a small number, then the damage of continued lockdown is too much. But if …

    However, the other point the “casedemic” people keep making is that lockdown doesn’t stop the spread, so is pointless anyway. Masks, for instance, just don’t stop the spread of the “cloud” (not droplets) that does the spreading. Which presumably means that stopping the vulnerable becoming infected must also, in their view, be very difficult.

  4. Hospital cases might be a faster indicator than deaths and data for this goes back a long way. I have been tracking it here:

    I might add some charts to that page; suggestions welcome. At the bottom I have made a chart where I just do cases divided by tests to show that it’s not all just more testing.

    It certainly doesn’t look very exponential and steep like it did last time. I am paying attention to people’s predictions. Unlike climate change we get to find out who is right much more quickly.

    I have been looking at people like Ivor Cummins and I have not yet decided about his approach. I will note that even Tim Spector (of the Zoe research app) mentioned that it might well be the case that there are fewer susceptible people about. I suspect Cummins is just more *certain* he is right and I am not sure he is right to be so certain.

    1. A small point, taken from Cummins’s thorough analysis. He uses the term “dry tinder” in connection with “fewer susceptible people about”. He notices the correlation between number of deaths in a year and the year before. Roughly put, if there is an above-average number of respiratory deaths in one year, then the following year is unlikely to have an above-average number. The notion is that in the second year those who would have been susceptible were in fact already taken out in the first year. It’s like forest fires, in which a fire one year makes a fire in the same place next year unlikely, because the dry tinder had been burnt off.

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