Very informative @jimalkhalili #TheLifeScientific with @neil_ferguson. A thread disputing his conclusion that we face "a trade off between saving lives and saving the economy and jobs". It is so much broader than that ..…
1/n “lives vs economy” is unhelpful, it is not primarily the economy and jobs that are diminished by full or partial lockdowns, rather the almost unimaginable richness of life in all its domains suffers. We are social beings, and a major part of that sociality is stripped from us
2/n Thus we must not think of lives vs the economy, we should frame this as lives vs lives, as Ramesh Thakur wrote with respect to covid in India in April…
3/n Think of the grandparents not seeing their grandkids in person for months, the number of new relationships not started, the number of friendships that have naturally become distanced - and for each of these multiply up by the vast number of those so affected
4/n Think of the current and long term futures of kids whose education has been thrown – irreversibly for many – into chaos. Think of what you enjoy that has been reduced or disappeared, the banter over last night’s match, or how unbelievable that plotline has become ...
5/n Think of the cafes, music venues, small businesses of all kinds, pubs, independent record and bookshops, restaurants, sports shops – whatever it is you value – that you see permanently closed as you walk thru your local town.
6/n Think of the people dying alone (and compulsorily so, before that inhumane prohibition was relaxed) and the time now spent in aching regret by those excluded from these passings
7/n Think of your worst experience of loneliness and imagine it spread backwards and forwards in time, until it simply becomes how time passes.
8/n But most of all think about what it is that you value and enjoy most that has been constrained by full or partial lockdown, and share it by quote tweeting here, so we can have a rich compendium of what we need to put on the debit side of the “lives vs lives” calculus
9/n Adverse consequences fall particularly heavily on those with fewest resources. Conversely, those housed with more rooms and space per resident, with gardens or other outdoor space, with financial resources that can cushion against adversity, in conditions in which home ..
10/n schooling their children is possible, who can work – and work comfortably – from home, who are not reliant on public transport and who are not constrained by arduous caring responsibilities will generally find it considerably easier to adapt to full or partial lockdown.
11/n Hedonics is not an exact science - what aspects of life matter most is highly individual - and thus weighing up whether risk reduction is preferable to the constraints on life will differ between individuals and groups. Policy influencers are largely drawn from those ..
12/n with privileged backgrounds, who have weathered lockdown conditions in more favourable circumstances, which will be reflected in what they decide to tell us about how we all should - indeed have to - behave
13/n We hear of "saving lives or saving the economy”, but in the end you don’t “save lives” - we all die – you delay deaths. Given most people don’t make it to 90 it’s striking that for women the age category with the largest number of covid deaths in the UK is 90+
14/n We need to evaluate the full range of adverse consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection – we should indeed #CountLongCovid and all adverse outcomes, not merely years of lives lost due to covid deaths. But we *must* also count the every increasing burden of collateral ..
15/n non-covid related health damage consequent on the imposed restrictions, and we must also consider the whole range and massive volume of the loses to the lives of the living. For many the goal of life is more than simply years lived and risks averted
16/n As Bernard-Henri Lévy reminds us “a life is not a life if it is merely life”. Let’s hear no more of the endless riffing on “lives vs the economy” – this is much more serious than that: what we face is the weighing up of lives vs lives
17/17 Finally, we should not be in the situation we are in - public health interventions should never be implemented without first considering the full range of their potential consequences

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More from @mendel_random

1 Oct
Covid cases are lowest in places that at the peak had the fewest or the most covid deaths. @dannydorling Tony Brookes and I considered reasons for this… Image
1/n The pattern could be a chance quirk, or could reflect testing regimens being related to previous severity of the epidemic, or safer behavioural patterns in areas badly affected, or more homeworking being possible in such places (or a mix of the above)
2/n 2/n It could be that enough people in such areas have already come into contact with the virus that the population is now less susceptible to the disease. Overall, this would imply that the levels of some forms of immunity in those particular neighbourhoods are higher
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23 Sep
1/n As usual several emails offering “acceptance within a week” for my submitted papers. I want the 24 hr European Journal of Clinical Investigation (Editor: John Ioannidis) service for a 27 page paper, senior author: John Ioannidis… Image
2/n The paper was a method for identifying "highly influential biomedical researchers". This approach suggested John Ioannidis was amongst the very most influential Image
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12 Aug
Great to see @klarawanelik @Zen_of_Science paper on how ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and social background create barriers to academic career progression has now been published. Social origins under-represented in research and policies (.. cont/)…
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23 Jun
Below is the start of a thread by a geneticist on discovering that the most extreme single genetic variant he can find in @GWASCatalog actually tells you about the huge importance of the environment in causing disease
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In East Asian populations where traditionally women drink very little, the effect of the allele on blood pressure is only seen in men (among whom many drink). The lack of an effect in women and the (statistically extremely) interaction with sex provides a "negative control"..
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3 Jun
Some surprise that @NEJM and @TheLancet both duped into publishing highly dubious hydroxychloroquine papers, but should we be surprised? .. (continued)…
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Walking hand in hand @TheLancet & @NEJM published highly dubious papers on the Mediterranean diet, hey, everyone loves papers saying eating a Mediterranean diet makes you live forever!……
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3 May
Must read piece on cholera and COVID by @NeilSinghHQ A brief thread on whether it's true that in Broad Street John Snow “had the handle of the pump removed which led to a sharp decline in cholera cases in Soho”.…
1/n When Snow had the Broad Street Pump handle removed the outbreak was almost over.… Image
2/n The data were published after Snow was dead by his friend the Reverend Henry Whitehead, who accompanied him on his visits to Soho and speculated (with no strong basis) that there may have been a resurgence of the outbreak if the handle had not been removed
Read 9 tweets

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