David Paton Profile picture
Professor of Industrial Economics Nottingham University Business School (views expressed are my own)
BLACKHAT WOMAN / women won't wheesht!! Profile picture Sharah Kasny Profile picture Anthony Profile picture Chris Profile picture david Christoph Profile picture 6 subscribed
Jan 14 6 tweets 2 min read
The reaction to @DrAseemMalhotra measured questions about risks of Covid-19 vaccines is telling.

Instead of looking at the evidence & debating, prominent scientists plus media like @Guardian & @theTimes have focused on complaining about Dr Malhotra being given a voice at all.
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These scientists & journalists are repeating the same mistakes of past 2 years and which have contributed to a huge loss of public trust in vaccination & broader public health messaging.
Jan 4 5 tweets 3 min read
This morning on @BBC5live, @trishgreenhalgh stated:
“when we first introduced mask mandates in July 2020 cases were going up very, very rapidly & then the mask mandate brought them under control within weeks”

This is flat out wrong.
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Here is the trend in Covid-19 cases in England before & after the 24 July mask mandate.
Cases were not going up “very, very fast” when the mandate came in. However, they did start going up fast a few weeks after the mandate!
Similar trend with ONS infection survey data.
Nov 8, 2022 9 tweets 3 min read
Many people worry that Covid-19 vaccines have a worse safety record than other common vaccines.

ONS mortality statistics suggest these concerns may be justified.
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ONS report deaths where vaccination was listed on the death certificate as the underlying cause. These are from death registration data which means there can be quite a long delay especially where there is a coroner’s investigation.
Nov 7, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
New paper in Vaccine finds:
“paradoxically, despite the success of Covid-19 vaccination campaigns, vaccine confidence has significantly declined since the pandemic.”

No surprise, but let’s be clear, the decline is not *despite* but *because* of the Covid-19 vaccine campaign.
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If you bully, harass and coerce people to get a vaccine (especially a new one), we shouldn’t be surprised that they become more sceptical about whether vaccination is really in their best interest.
Sep 6, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
Good @spectator debate recently on Lockdown 1.
@FraserNelson asks if pre-23 March measures were *sufficient* to stop infections increasing.

That seems to me a leading q. That LD was unnecessary does not in itself mean earlier measures were effective.

A better question is were even pre-LD restrictions necessary to stop infections increasing exponentially?

The answer is no: slowdown in infection growth started early March, before even school closures & guidance for pubs to shut.
More detail⬇️
Sep 6, 2022 16 tweets 4 min read
Frustratingly, some are still trying to claim English Lockdown 1 was necessary as infections increasing *exponentially* until 23 March. In fact:
• strong evidence infections were decreasing by then
• certainty infections were not increasing exponentially.

More detail⬇️
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Prof Simon Wood has already shown how, backtracking from deaths (which peaked on 8 April) infections were almost certainly decreasing before 23 March (see: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.11…).

But we can get the same result by looking at ICU data …
Aug 31, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
The Spanish pre-print study on facemasks in School has now been published in peer-reviewed BMJ Archives Diseases in Childhood. Conclusion:
"We found no significant differences in SARS-CoV-2 transmission due to face-covering mask mandates in schools."
adc.bmj.com/content/early/… ...
Note this is not an RCT but uses next best thing: "quasi-experimental design" comparing top pre-school year group (P5) with 1st school year group (Yr 1). Both groups share the same buildings & only Covid-19 policy difference between them was the mandate.
Aug 19, 2022 16 tweets 7 min read
This @FraserNelson article is a good reminder that throughout the pandemic we had journalists prepared to ask questions & hold politicians to account.
@thelucyjohnston @AllisonPearson @JuliaHB1 @IsabelOakeshott @danwootton & others did the same ...
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for most journalists, especially those who were prominent at Covid-19 press conferences.
Almost without exception, questions were “why not earlier & more restrictions?” & hardly ever “where is the evidence this restriction works?”
Aug 9, 2022 9 tweets 2 min read
A lot of Covid-19 policy around the world (no longer in the UK thank goodness) continues to be predicated on the basis that unvaccinated people are more likely to have Covid than those vaccinated. All the evidence we have currently suggests that is not the case.
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This is different to saying vaccination reduces risk of infection which is what Vaccine Effectiveness (VE) studies estimate: latest UKHSA evidence summary suggests still some risk reduction against infection, albeit modest & doesn’t last long.
Aug 1, 2022 7 tweets 3 min read
This article by @tomhcalver is excellent in setting out the huge cost of lockdown for so many people.
However, the evidence is just not there to support the assertion in the article that "Lockdowns saved tens of thousands of lives".
Only a few studies have examined the impact of lockdowns on excess deaths (i.e. including Covid + non-Covid), but these generally conclude that if anything, lockdowns contributed to an *increase* in mortality.
See tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.10…
and nber.org/papers/w28930
May 23, 2022 8 tweets 3 min read
This paper in Frontiers in Public Health is the most recent & comprehensive study of Covid restrictions (NPIs). They look at 10 NPIs in 169 countries. Conclusion:
‘None of the NPIs had a substantial & consistent effect on Covid-19 deaths over time’

Some more detail.

On their graphs:
• Dots/dashes: alternative estimates of what would’ve happened if no NPI.
• If bold line below these, indicates NPI reduced deaths.
• Grey area: 95% CIs. i.e. if dotted/dashed lines within this, effect not statistically significant.
May 16, 2022 9 tweets 2 min read
Putting ethics to one side, a key assumption in this argument for taxing the vaccinated is that "it is reasonable to believe" deciding against Covid-19 vaccination causes very significant harm.

But is that actually a reasonable belief?
The authors point to two possible harms.

Potential harm 1: “externality”, i.e. increased risk of infecting others.

There's not much evidence for this now. E.g. latest ONS analysis shows *no* significant protection against infection from 2 doses: ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulati…
Apr 19, 2022 10 tweets 3 min read
There’s been quite a bit of interest in this paper claiming that if social distancing rules and lockdown had come in earlier in March 2020, thousands of Covid-19 deaths would have been avoided.

So what does the paper actually show?

The paper uses Pillar 1 positive tests to model trends in infections in the first wave.
It assumes that reductions in modelled infection growth rates can only be caused by exogenous (i.e. Govt induced) changes to social distancing and then by the lockdown.
Apr 13, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
Latest ONS analysis indicate boosters provide no protection against infection after 90 days, relative to being unvaccinated.

In fact point estimates suggest that, if anything, after 90 days boosters may provide *lower* protection compared to many 1- & 2-dose categories …
Previous infection still provides significant protection, even if 18+ months ago (i.e. pre-alpha period).

In fact previous infection in delta period looks to give significantly greater protection even than a booster in past 3 months (95% confidence intervals don’t overlap) …
Mar 31, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
Stanford students: "get boosted or face deportation"

Latest data for 18-29s in England indicates infection rate after 3 doses is nearly 80% higher than after 2.

Unlikely that US data will be drastically different.

"irrational" does not begin to cover this. Image newsweek.com/stanford-inter…
Mar 9, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
Quite a few European countries are a new rise in Covid cases, starting early March. For example, England, Scotland, Germany, Netherlands & Austria.

All of these have had very different levels of restrictions & very different timing for ending rules ... …
England: no event limits since last July, masks & vaccine passports ended 27 Jan.
Scotland: event limits allowed from 17 Jan, vaccine passports ended 28 Feb, mask rules still in place.
Mar 5, 2022 7 tweets 2 min read
UKHSA reported infections by vax status continue to be striking, esp for younger ages.

Remember debates over unvaxed population: UKHSA use NIMS but some worry this underestimates unvaxed rates for most ages. Alternative (ONS) may overestimate. True values probably in between
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Here are the rates including both NIMS & ONS by age group for the most recent 4 weeks.
You can see impact of choice of population denominator, but boosted rates now > unvaccinated for 18-59s even if ONS population is used.
Feb 25, 2022 15 tweets 4 min read
Today is the final daily indicators update from me.
Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. I will still do an indicators update once a week (most likely on Fridays) & I’ll continue analysis on selected data. And opinions too of course!

However, time for a bit of a recap … …
I started posting Covid updates on 23 March 2020 focusing on Sweden & then daily updates of English deaths from 7 April.

My motivation was frustration at daily press conferences & media focusing on scary headlines based on deaths by report day rather than date of death.
Feb 10, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
Apparently a decision on vaccinating 5-11s is imminent.
Remember for 12-15s, JCVI did not recommend vaccination based on health costs vs benefits. However, Govt offered 1 dose anyway on grounds it would lower infection rates & reduce school time lost.

How did that work out?
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The Govt modelling underlying the decision for 12-15s assumed one-dose vaccine effectiveness (VE) of 55% for 6 months & concluded that could save an average of about 15 minutes of school per child. I looked at that modelling at the time:
Jan 21, 2022 10 tweets 3 min read
I offered to consider a piece submitted to the Journal, I didn't suggest that was the only way to critique.
To reiterate, I don’t think resorting to insults against fellow academics is good way of furthering debate. However, happy to give my view on @ikashnitsky 's thread ...
First, I would not dream of giving any credence to the argument that the Journal somehow needs to defend publishing Prof Allen's article. The article, from a very respected academic, went through the usual peer review process. Like all research …
Jan 21, 2022 13 tweets 3 min read
Time to review the SPI-M-O consensus statement of 15th Dec pushing for more restrictions in England.

1. Infections:
SPI-M best case peak = 600k infections/day
Worst case = 1.2m
Mid-point = 900k

Actual peak (from today's ONS infection survey): 416k
... ...
2. Hospitalisations:
SPI-M best case peak = 3,000 admissions/day
Worst case = 10,000.
Mid-point = 6,500.

Actual peak (7-day ave): 2,014