The only thing more mind boggling than the fact this is happening, is the idea that it is a “test” that will provide useful data. It isn’t, period.
It is happening at a time of low prevalence, in this age group due to few contacts offer the last few months, which makes any findings of questionable relevance to circumstances with higher prevalence
Negative test before entry is good, but ‘urging’ people to get tests after (or before for that matter) is not follow up. It’s not even an adequate study.
Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of things I like about the idea of this, done well. I don’t think this is done well
How about required follow up with pcr testing 2 and 5 days after the festival, comparing with a matched cohort of similar age, who don’t have the benefit of the rapid testing going in?
It’s not hard to do this right. Assuming your actual goal is science and not a performative PR exercise with a desirable result baked in. I’m really into getting people back onto dance floors. This is not a way to help that happen responsibly

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More from @BillHanage

26 Apr
I am seeing a lot of anxiety around partial immunity through vaccination producing selection for escape variants. Here @colinrussell and I explain why we *don't* think that's likely 1/n…
It depends on the supply of the mutations that enable immune evasion. If we assume this happens during breakthrough cases in vaccinated people, there's not much time for it to make a difference, because transmission tends to happen early on in infection 2/n
And if breakthrough cases are less likely to transmit in general (as seems so in at least some cases) that makes it even more difficult 3/n…
Read 10 tweets
6 Apr
The UK is going to be making free rapid tests available to everyone. As you might imagine, I approve. However it should be remembered rapid tests are most effective when combined with other things. Short thread 1/n…
For a start, for tests to be useful they have to be used! It is not obvious to me that there is any incentive for that in the proposal. If people suspect they are infected, but don't want the risk of having to isolate, they're not likely to take a test 2/n
Then there's the perennial question of what happens in the event of a +ve test? If people actually isolate that's great, but that's not been universally the case in the pandemic so far, putting it mildly. Hopefully their behavior would change enough to make a difference 3/n
Read 9 tweets
26 Mar
Getting immunity from a vaccine is vastly safer than from infection, both as an individual because it avoids the negative consequences of infection AND for the community because unlike the virus, these vaccines don’t transmit
So I am quite pleased that a decent fraction of Fla residents have received at least one shot, the more the merrier
I predicted a few months ago that Fla would be quieter than other places over the winter because of larger number of contacts outside. I don’t know if that *was* the reason but the relative quietness did materialize even as variants have grown to a large proportion of cases
Read 6 tweets
18 Mar
Reading this, which looks like a pretty definitive take on the origins of the pandemic. Important conclusion: most zoonoses of this kind would go extinct of their own accord.…
That actually makes a lot of sense if you consider everything we know about the clustered nature of transmission. Like they say, we should do better at detecting zoonoses early on
Nice illustration of how a transmission chain could sputter along a bit before making it big. Note that what this means is that while the pandemic descends from the market in Wuhan, that's not necessarily where the index case occurred
Read 7 tweets
16 Mar
Absolutely right. The various aspects of the failure need more thorough unpacking in a medium that is probably not twitter, but it is actually striking to me how *much* we (meaning epidemiologists) knew a year ago about what this virus is capable of, and how little it has changed
Just as a for instance, the varying severity by age has been known pretty much since Jan 2020. And so has the potential for presymptomatic transmission, which is absolutely essential to the effort needed for control, and the importance of rapid testing
I was very aware of the potential for minimally symptomatic transmission because of my involvement in this (true story - I wrote my draft on an overnight flight at the end of feb. Then we all got slammed and it wasn't submitted for months)…
Read 9 tweets
13 Mar
There are a lot of think pieces going around about the pandemic one year on. This is one of the best, from @jameshamblin, because it is upfront about the difficulties we face handling uncertainty. That's relevant to then, and now. A short 🧵commenting on the issues raised
The first thing to remember is that uncertainty about precise numbers is not an excuse to avoid action. This is a common misunderstanding about how mathematical modeling results should be interpreted. Depending on your inputs, you can get all sorts of results...
The goal is not to forecast exact outcomes, because you hope you never experience the world in which nobody intervenes *at all*, but to understand how seriously to take the threat. Qualitatively right is not the same as exactly quantitatively right.
Read 16 tweets

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