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16 Sep, 9 tweets, 2 min read
It is incredibly frustrating to see people using low death rates from COVID-19 in younger age groups to argue that we can relax all restrictions as long as we protect the elderly without putting forward CONCRETE PROPOSALS about how to do that 1/n
2/n I agree that protecting the elderly will probably reduce the overall death burden. I am a co-author on a study that demonstrates this exact point!

medrxiv.org/content/10.110…
3/n The problem is, what we've seen from around the world is that it is REALLY HARD to protect elderly people while relaxing all restrictions because (unsurprisingly) they are a part of society too
4/n Most of the proposals are limited to some vague hand-waving about aged care, but we demonstrated that even relatively young people were at a pretty high risk from COVID-19
5/n If we really want to reduce the death rate from COVID-19, it's not as important if really large numbers of 20 year olds get infected (although this is still obviously not ideal!) but even a relatively small % of 60 year olds drives up deaths substantially
6/n People who are pushing for re-opening everything on the basis of "protect older populations" should first describe how we can prevent people aged 60+ from having risky contact with the rest of society
7/n Because if the last 6 months have shown us anything, it's that stopping older people from getting COVID-19 is REALLY NOT EASY

Saying "protect the elderly" doesn't cut it
8/n And, of course, this is ignoring any impacts aside from death

If there are substantial chronic impacts in the younger population - a definite possibility - then the situation gets even more complicated
9/n I've written about potential long-term impacts even for young people, they are a real worry and potentially enormously problematic even if the death rate is low theguardian.com/world/commenti…

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More from @GidMK

22 Sep
One of the weirdest parts of the pandemic has been watching economists, who I always assumed could read and understand graphs, fail to read and understand graphs
If nothing else, without limiting the deaths from all causes to countries with active outbreaks this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever
For another, the source appears to be...a climate scientist from France? How did this person get accurate death data for worldwide fatalities with no lag? Or are they using some historical dataset or extrapolation?
Read 4 tweets
22 Sep
As a resident of NSW, have to say this is a remarkable achievement. Well done @NSWHealth!
For context for international followers, the state managed to get down to zero locally acquired cases while RELAXING restrictions through a test/trace approach and some health promotion

Quite remarkable
Worth noting that this is just one day, chances are there's still ~some~ local transmission, but to have the numbers go from doubling within a week to 0 is still quite impressive!
Read 4 tweets
21 Sep
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a blog called "lockdown skeptics", this piece makes basic mathematical and epidemiological mistakes. In fact, very few positive COVID-19 tests are false
The basic error presented here is the assumption that all PCR tests are run on a random population sample of the UK, for which the prevalence is 1/1000

This is inaccurate
Most PCR tests in the UK (and everywhere) are run on the SUSPICION of COVID-19

In other words, it's a SELECTED POPULATION with a HIGHER PREVALENCE
Read 9 tweets
21 Sep
A study recently made massive, international news for reportedly showing that normal glasses may protect against COVID-19

Let's do a brief peer-review on twitter, because this is wild 1/n
2/n The study is here. Altmetric of >2,000, hundreds of news articles about it already

jamanetwork.com/journals/jamao…
3/n The basic idea of the study is simple - we know that COVID-19 can be spread through droplets. Sometimes these droplets might go into eyes. Wearing glasses might prevent this, so do people who wear regular corrective glasses get COVID-19 less than people who don't?
Read 15 tweets
20 Sep
Lots of people have asked the question: why is COVID-19 more fatal in one place than another?

Our paper largely answers this question - it is mostly explained by age! medrxiv.org/content/10.110…
For example, in the US:

Utah has the lowest IFR in the country, with our estimate putting it at exactly 0.5%

Indiana has a much higher IFR, at roughly 1.1%
But this is LARGELY explained by differences in the age breakdown of infections - in Utah ~50% of all infections were in people <45yo when we ran our analysis compared to 40% in Indiana
Read 7 tweets
17 Sep
The CDC estimates that the SYMPTOMATIC CASE-FATALITY RATE (CFR) for influenza is ~0.1%

The estimate of the INFECTION-FATALITY RATE (IFR) is closer to ~0.05%, due to asymptomatic flu cases ImageImage
It's VERY HARD to compare the CFR of influenza to the CFR of COVID-19, because the DENOMINATORS (number of people tested) are very different

But we CAN compare the IFRs
The POPULATION IFR of COVID-19 is (very crudely) 0.5-1%, although this varies enormously with the age breakdown of people infected by the disease

So, about 10-20x higher than seasonal influenza
Read 6 tweets

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