This illustrates a few of the points made by people who, whatever their motivations, should not be really taken seriously when it comes to talking pandemic - not least because these arguments come from the part of epidemiology that deals with *non*infectious disease 1/n
(Firstly anyone who says Covid mania has already revealed that they’ve got what you might call a pre-existing condition when it comes to the science. I don’t think that more than 200,000 and counting deaths is worth joking about. Call me crazy) 2/n
‘May not’ vs ‘may’. Yes it is right to be cautious about these statements. But not to the level of relativism implied here. The ‘may’ formulation is not equivalent to ‘may not’. It implies that we think about its consequences 3/n
I am amused at the way supposedly clever people get obsessed with newspaper articles now about the pandemic, when they were quiet over this … 4/n
‘Emerging evidence’ means roughly the 2nd category here: things I am increasingly certain of based on my expert view of the data and conversations with other experts. That’s worth reporting, especially if it is emerging evidence that keeps emerging… 5/n
the study of chronic disease is different from infectious. For a start, things like lead poisoning do not multiply themselves for everyone poisoned. Under the circumstances of a pandemic, reporting what the experts think as they gather the information is an essential service 6/n
Finally, the message of no evidence so no action is a message of despair. It states we can do nothing because we don’t know what to do. In fact we do. There were pandemic plans torn up only years ago. If a fraction of the advice had been followed we’d be in a better place 7/end

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More from @BillHanage

10 Oct
The first statement is sort of true although a bit misleading - many pathogens are disproportionately dangerous to those who are vulnerable for one reason or other, but Covid is especially so.

But the 2nd statement leaves me at a loss. I can’t think of an example 1/n
We don’t use naturally acquired immunity in this way. Btw have you imagined the stink there would rightly be if a vaccine had the risks associated with Covid-19? 2/n
There are some diseases where the risks of infection vary given the age you first encounter them. Mumps is an eg. Post pubertal males can be rendered sterile. Chickenpox is another where it is milder in younger age cohorts 3/n
Read 6 tweets
6 Oct
Scientists are not "divided". If you want to know what scientists really think, ask them and interpret the results scientifically 1/n…
What do I mean by that? I mean that obviously people have some disagreements about interpretation of the data and the best way forward, but mostly there is more that they agree on than that they do not 2/n
First identify the people who you should take seriously on the subject. That is those with relevant expertise, in this case infectious disease. No matter how much someone knows about say cell cycles, they aren't qualified for this 3/n
Read 7 tweets
6 Oct
A short thread on this new Working Paper "Counting the missteps of the U.S. Federal Government's handling of COVID-19" . This is me w Nancy Krieger @_christiantesta
Jarvis Chen, L Davis, E Pechter and @MauSantillana… 1/n
First of all - we can all learn from the first part of the pandemic. But to do that we have to be honest about the mistakes. The first misstep is letting the virus in, and not even looking for it 2/n
This was eloquently discussed in this from @tomaspueyo et al. (which actually adopts a far wider angle lens and is worth your time) but also illustrates the point. Stopping introductions matters 3/n…
Read 17 tweets
6 Oct
I recently discovered the charming term "sealioning". According to wikipedia it is "a type of trolling or harassment which consists of pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions, while maintaining a pretense of civility and sincerity" 1/n
Apparently it originates from this little piece of genius from @wondermarkfeed. Now I have met my fair share of sealions, and I am sure they know who they are! 2/n
What amuses me is the way that when you finally, with your actual job and family wanting your attention, *use* the word sealioning in front of them the interaction always goes something like 3/n
Read 5 tweets
6 Oct
Herd immunity is back. This article quotes its proponents, and then yours truly and @gregggonsalves on why in the absence of a clear way to protect the vulnerable from a raging storm of infection among the less vulnerable, it is a very dangerous idea 1/n…
Want to note that this latest suggestion has a new tweak. While herd immunity is the point at which the infection starts to infect fewer people because there just aren't many left that aren't immune, the proposal here is to get to endemic transmission. What's the difference? 2/n
Endemic transmission means the virus is always there, transmitting at a prevalence determined by the 'resupply of susceptibles' (either generated by waning immunity or new potential hosts being born) 3/n
Read 8 tweets
5 Oct
This happened. There has been a lot of noise about it and much of it doesn’t reflect reality, but can help understand the pandemic better and how to deal with it 1/n…
If you want to stop the virus transmitting you want people to avoid crowds, close contact and closed spaces without ventilation. Period. That matters for everyone infected or not. This dude knows he is infected 2/n
This is not a crowd but a small group in the car, in a closed space in close contact. Surely this is bad in terms of risking transmission to others in the car? Surely? 3/n
Read 7 tweets

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