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CORONAVIRUS
Neil Morris Ferguson OBE FMedSci
Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College (or “professor lock-down” as he is now known) has had the code he used to form the basis of “the Boris science” described as “deeply riddled” with bugs, “a fairly arbitrary Heath Robinson machine”, with “huge blocks of ‘bad practice code’ “.. quite possibly the worst production code I have ever seen”. Not only that, but the model’s software is a 13-year-old, 15,000-line program that simulates homes, offices, schools, people and movements which, according to a team at Edinburgh University which ran the model, gives different outputs (results) if it is run on different machines, and even if it is run on the same machine using different numbers of central-processing units. Worse, the code does not allow for large variations among groups of people with respect to their susceptibility to the virus and their social connections. Still, such disparities will come as nothing new to “professor lockdown” .. his previous ‘guesstimates’ include .. the culling of 6 million livestock (2001) – which was criticised by epidemiological experts as “severely flawed” the prediction of up to 136,000 deaths from mad cow disease 200 million deaths from bird flu 65,000 deaths from swine flu. The final death toll in each case was in the hundreds. Swedish experience of the modified model that Imperial put into the public domain predicted 40,000 deaths by May 1. Just 15 times too high. The proper use of models is to test theories of complex systems against facts. The use of models for forecasting and policy requires that they are accurate. People are losing confidence with the Imperial College model. At the time of the lockdown, the model had not been released to the scientific community; then, when Ferguson finally released his code - last week - it was a reorganised program - quite different from the version he used on March 16th. So .. changed methodologies, no peer review, hardly any disclosure .. hardly ‘science’ .. more “Weird Science” Almost two centuries ago Thomas Huxley described the “great tragedy of science is the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.” Have we based one of the biggest peacetime policy decisions on crude mathematical guesswork? With thanks to Matt Ridley .. 'How Innovation Works' (published in June) & David Davis MP (Con) ____________________________________________________________________________

Statistics can also be casualties

The UK virus ‘casualty’ figures (now) include deaths outside of hospital – which makes the UK appear to be worse-performing than other European countries – and which some biased politicians are exaggerating the importance of. Italy. “Because Lombardy’s intensive care units were already filling up within days of Italy’s first cases, many primary care physicians tried to treat and monitor patients at home, putting patients on supplemental oxygen (commonly used for home cases in Italy) but which strategy proved deadly. These home deaths are unrecorded in the nationally published figures.” [Associated Press] Spain 57 per cent of the country’s Covid-19 death toll is care-home-related [Spanish government report] and, once again, such figures are not published alongside the hospital statistics. Data reveals that the majority of Spain's death tolls came in their care-homes and, like Italy, investigations are being launched into their “care-homes massacre” (their description). Last month, a leaked estimate was considered so devastating that the public prosecutor in Milan is now formally investigating what the WHO has described as a care-homes ‘massacre’. The Milan prosecutor regards official mortality totals as representing “.. a staggering underestimate of the true death toll.” So when “politicians” (and certain “newspaper reporters”) pontificate about the situation in British care homes, be sure that we are comparing like statistics with like. ___________________________________________________________________________

“Weird Science” ?

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Where’s our ‘R’ ?

Sir Patrick held a virtual briefing with journalists on Friday, (05/06/2020), during which he confirmed the rate was between 0.7 and 1 for England - and 0.9 for the Midlands. It remains between 0.7 and 0.9 for the UK as a whole. He said the prevalence of Covid-19 was on a "downward trajectory" in the UK, adding: "The prevalence of coronavirus, according to the ONS, is at 0.1%, with 53,000 people with Covid-19 in the past two weeks.