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Bordering on madness

by Frank Schnittger Tue Mar 31st, 2020 at 03:00:08 PM EST

Covid-19 seems to be doing what even Brexit could not achieve - reinforcing the border within Ireland. From the get-go Ireland and the UK have been pursuing different strategies to deal with the Pandemic. Ireland has been pursuing the WHO mandated strategy of physical isolation, closing all schools and non-essential workplaces, testing as much as possible and tracing and isolating the contacts of those who test positive.

The UK, on the other hand, flirted with a "herd immunity" strategy, was slow to shut down mass sporting events, schools and non-essential work places, tested only those hospitalised and never attempted contact tracing. When presented with evidence by epidemiologists that this could lead to a quarter of a  million deaths Boris Johnson's government did a U-Turn and belatedly introduced much more comprehensive measures, all the while denying there was ever a change in policy.

However with the number of infections doubling every three days, the two week delay in implementing stricter measures could lead to a 32 fold increase in infections and deaths, and more if the health care system is overwhelmed. Even now, health care professionals in the UK cannot get tested unless hospitalised themselves, no contact tracing is being attempted, and suspect cases are told to self-isolate for 7 not 14 days, as is the case in the Republic of Ireland.

If the Republic succeeds in suppressing the disease while N. Ireland does not, the government may have little option but to close the border to prevent new infections being re-introduced via the north.


Calls by the Irish government to coordinate and harmonise the public health response north and south of the border have fallen on deaf ears with the Unionist health Minister, Robin Swann following UK government policy in lock-step despite health being a devolved responsibility. When Sinn Féin reversed tack to support the closure of schools in line with policy in the south they were accused by the nominally non-sectarian Alliance party of "politicising the pandemic".

Even normally level headed and moderate unionist commentators like Newton Emerson and Alex Kane, writing in the Irish Times, went further and accused Sinn Féin  of engaging in tribalism and sectarianism. On the 22nd. of March I wrote an unpublished letter to the Editor of the Irish Times in response:

A Chara,
Both your unionist commentators, Newton Emerson and Alex Kane, have complained in no uncertain terms about Sinn Fein breaking ranks with other Northern Executive Parties and advocating for the closure of schools before that became official British government policy.


Newton Emerson goes so far as to accuse Sinn Fein of sectarianism while Alex Kane uses the only slightly less pejorative accusation of reverting to tribalism. Both seem to feel that maintaining inter-party unity is more important than public health considerations.

Newton states that the differences between the British and Irish government positions were minor, probably only a matter of timing, and that the pandemic was two weeks more advanced in Ireland than in N. Ireland in any case.

To address those arguments objectively, three points must be made. Firstly the level of fatalities in the UK is, proportionately, much higher than in Ireland. The level of confirmed cases is, proportionately, only lower there because the UK policy is to test only those patients ill enough to require hospital admission whereas the Irish policy is to test anyone showing relevant symptoms.

Secondly the global pattern has been for the level of confirmed cases to increase by an average of 30% per day, leading to a doubling of cases every 3 days. Over 15 days that results in a 32 fold increase in the likely number to cases, and ultimately deaths. There was no time to lose, and even a delay of some hours could have a significant impact on ultimate mortality. This is not some minor policy or timing difference.

Lastly, while not aware of Michelle O'Neill's personal motivation, the overwhelming preponderance of expert advice, from the WHO, from the Chinese doctors with most experience of managing the pandemic, and ultimately, from the Imperial College in London, was that the earlier such measures were adopted, the more lives would be saved.

Newton and Alex claim to have objective science on their side, but it was indeed they who were acting in a sectarian and tribalistic fashion in being unwilling to ascribe any weight to these factors. John Maynard Keynes was once criticised for changing his mind. He is reputed to have retorted "when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?"

Perhaps Newton and Alex should bear that in mind...

Frank Schnittger

But it gets worse.

Gabriel Scally was born and brought up in Belfast. He is President of the Epidemiology and Public Health section of the (British) Royal Society of Medicine, and is Chair of the Soil Association. He was chair of an Inquiry into the CervicalCheck Screening Programme in Ireland which was (rightly) highly critical of the Irish government, so he is no government patsy. He has just written a devastating article in the Irish Times in which he accuses UK scientific advisers of deliberately misleading the UK public as to their true aims:

In the Republic with its network of over 40 community testing facilities, the aim is to reach 100,000 tests per week by the end of April, whereas the North has set a goal of performing just under 8,000 tests per week.


These very different policies get to the heart of the North-South differences. The Republic has watched and learned from the experience of countries, including South Korea and China, that have controlled the disease successfully. Also, the Government has followed advice from the key organisations in outbreak control; the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the EU's European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

In contrast, the UK has ignored both experience elsewhere and the relevant international bodies. Indeed, at a recent press conference, the deputy chief medical officer for England assured journalists that WHO advice was only relevant to low- and middle-income countries. In shades of Orwell's 1984, Whitehall does not want people learning about the views of WHO and the successful efforts to control the virus in other countries in case it undermines their novel and unevidenced approach. The UK government was told on March 4th by their "scientific advisers" that media reports of successful public health strategies in other countries could spark public concern if those interventions were not being applied in the UK.

The approach taken in the North is essentially the one promulgated from Whitehall. So far, devolved governments in Scotland and the North have shown little sign of challenging or deviating from that strategy. The unified approach held firm even when it was revealed by the small coterie of senior officials guiding policy that their actual aim was for the population to actively develop "herd immunity". The concept roughly being that when the proportion of the population that have had the disease is high enough, then there will not be enough uninfected people left for the virus to continue to spread. It is an approach that is regarded by many senior public health physicians as dangerously flawed.

A key aim of the battle against the virus must be to gain precious time for development of an effective vaccine and for trials of antiviral drugs. There is also the hope, fingers crossed, that summer weather in the northern hemisphere might help. These are all reasons why the approach of no community testing and reliance on the development of "herd immunity" is deficient.

If the North and the Republic retain divergent approaches, in the Republic there may be a smaller proportion of the population who are infected with the virus and deaths may be at a lower level. In the North, a larger part of the population may be infected at an earlier stage and pressure on the health service, and deaths per head of the population, may be higher.

The political leaders in the North need, on coronavirus, to decouple themselves from the Whitehall approach

That's bad enough, but the real problems will occur in the future phases. Lifting travel, education and work restrictions will be possible in due course, but without both effective mechanisms to detect and deal with new cases that will inevitably arise north and south, and common restrictions on travel to and from the island, we could find ourselves yet again in the midst of a mass outbreak. Two different approaches to testing and contact tracing are just not compatible with achieving the level of control needed to win the battle. (my bold)

In 2001, at the height of the foot and mouth disease outbreak in the UK Ian Paisley quipped that while N. Ireland might be British, the cows were Irish (and therefore should be kept within an all-Ireland quarantine zone and not subject to export bans to the EU). As recently as last September, Boris Johnson used this to justify N. Ireland remaining effectively in the EU Single Market and Customs Union:

Belfast Telegraph

The late Ian Paisley's 'Irish cows' could hold the "germ" of a solution to the border backstop, Boris Johnson has suggested.

The Prime Minister used the former First Minister's suggestion that people in Northern Ireland were British "but our cows are Irish" to bolster support for an agri-food regulatory regime in Northern Ireland that would see it stay in alignment with the EU.

Northern Ireland's cows were saved from the mass slaughter of Britain's herds, but it seems that what's good enough for cows is too good for people of Ireland. In pursuit of their slavish adherence to British government policies, it seems that today's N. Ireland unionist politicians and commentators are prepared to sacrifice many lives for fear of being seen to be too closely aligned to Irish government policies.

Display:
At a teleconference today between the British and Irish governments and the northern Ireland parties it was agreed to "coordinate" their policies in the future but differences were exposed afterwards when Michelle O'Neill (Sinn Fein) declared she was unhappy with the level of testing in N. Ireland and the provision of much needed personal protection equipment.

Arlene Foster, responding specifically to a question referencing Gabriel Scally's article, said she hoped that commentary would move away from minor differences between the way Ireland and N. Ireland were responding to the crisis.

We will see how significant those "minor differences" turn out to be.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 31st, 2020 at 06:18:55 PM EST
325 new cases
17 more deaths - 13 male, median age 84
Contact tracing has revealed that the average no. of contacts per case has reduced from 20 to 3 since the implementation of social distancing rules

30213 tests performed to date - 15% of those are positive since the tightening of guidelines to at least two clinical indicators.

Analysis of overall cases below:

The data is based on 2,475 confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported up until midnight on Sunday, 28 March.

It shows there are now 111 clusters of infection, involving 428 people.

This includes 21 clusters in hospitals, 24 in private houses, 16 related to travel, one linked to a public house and one linked to a hotel.

The number of Covid-19 cases admitted to intensive care units in Ireland has increased to 103, according to new figures from the HSPC. Over 37% of those in ICU are over 65 years of age.

The NPHET will also review travel measures at airports and ports on the island of Ireland.

Among the key issues for nursing homes, are the availability of sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as oxygen; managing staff and residents who become infected and the movement of staff and others going to and from homes.

To reduce the risk of clusters, or further spread, residents who test positive may be transferred to some of the new facilities for care and isolation.

In relation to travel restrictions, a recommendation to close the border is not expected from the NPHET.

However, some concerns have been expressed by public health experts, such as Dr Gabriel Scally, over the different approaches to managing Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.

Prof Scally called for a harmonisation of measures on the island of Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, self-isolation is for seven days whereas in the Republic, it is for 14 days.

While community testing of defined potential cases continues in the Republic, community testing was halted in Northern Ireland in mid-March.

The NPHET may also recommend increased checks at airports and ports, with measures to ensure people arriving into Ireland follow the self-isolation rules.

This evening, at the planned Department of Health briefing, there will be an update on the latest number of cases.

The briefing will also provide the weekly update on the number of tests conducted and backlogs.

There have been 54 deaths linked to Covid-19 in the country, with 2,910 confirmed cases of the virus.

However, the actual number of cases is likely to be higher as new rules introduced last week mean that testing is focused on priority groups.

Those seeking a test must display two major symptoms and fall into a priority testing category

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 31st, 2020 at 07:02:46 PM EST
Seven days of self-isolation for a virus with a gestation period of up to 14 days.  Seems legit.
by rifek on Wed Apr 1st, 2020 at 05:52:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland now has 3325 cases - considerably less than the 15,000 that were predicted for today had no radical non-pharmaceutical interventions been implemented.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 31st, 2020 at 07:48:01 PM EST
by Cat on Tue Mar 31st, 2020 at 08:05:58 PM EST

< wipes tears >

by Cat on Tue Mar 31st, 2020 at 11:49:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ughh < wipes face >
by Oui on Wed Apr 1st, 2020 at 01:54:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
< wipes nose >
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Apr 1st, 2020 at 08:56:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With a sterile disinfectant wipe, not your hand, I hope!!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Apr 1st, 2020 at 09:46:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A consignment of 4 million masks, made in Sweden, were in transit in Lyon on the 4th of March, destination Spain and Italy.

They were "requisitioned" -- i.e. stolen -- by order of the French government.

Apparently half of them have since been sent on to the original destination. No information has been released about any ransom demand or payment.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 2nd, 2020 at 03:13:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France might have gotten a taste of its own medicine:

Face masks from China intended for France 'hijacked' by US at the last minute - RFI

Coronavirus masks that France ordered from China were bought at the last minute by the United States as they waited to be loaded onto cargo planes, French officials have said.

"Americans pay three or four times the amount we pay, and in cash," said Jean Rottner, head of France's eastern region, one of the areas worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak, according to reports by France Info.

On Thursday, a planeload of Chinese-made face masks were bought up right on the tarmac just as the much needed protective gear was about to set off for France.

"We're working around the clock to ensure these masks arrive," says Rottner, blaming unfair competition for delays.

The United States, which now has the highest number of known cases of coronavirus in the world, is trying to procure any masks available, disrupting deliveries to other nations, another report by French daily Liberation indicated.

by Bernard on Thu Apr 2nd, 2020 at 05:46:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
uh oh

NI, US be, like, RUSSIA! CHINA! SABOTAGE!!!

by Cat on Wed Apr 1st, 2020 at 12:02:25 AM EST
WOW - the NHS is now allowing more health care staff to be tested because some of its testing capacity hasn't been utilised. A bit late in the day...

 

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Apr 1st, 2020 at 03:03:01 PM EST
But as pointed out this morning, the priority NHS tests amount to 2000 out of a suggested requirement of at least 500,000, perhaps nearer 1 million for all staff.

UK is stuggling to achieve 10,000 tests per day consistently. Even if they could achieve that and all were devoted to NHS, it will be mid May before they test (500k) NHS staff. During that time they probably need to start again.

UK Government is pinning its hopes on an Antibody test that shows who has had the infection but not sufficiently badly to require hospitalisation which is the only place currently testing. The aim is to determine who already may have immunity and can return to work.

I have not seen any reference that such a test exists and has been validated as effective and reliable nor that it is been produced in the quantities required. Several behavourial experts have warned that making such a test generally available will open the door to widespread abuse by a public eager to escape confinement.

I foresee we may be heading for a USA sized disaster by relying on pseudo science and future technologies.

Sounds familiar?

by oldremainmer48 on Thu Apr 2nd, 2020 at 09:31:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Somehow I doubt the Irish Times will publish this letter either. They prefer trivial stuff...

A Chara,

Dr. Gabriel Scally is President of the Epidemiology and Public Health section of the Royal Society of Medicine and is thus well qualified to give an opinion on the merits of British and Irish policies on minimising the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. His article "North and Republic must harmonise Covid-19 response" (Opinion,  31st. March) makes for sobering reading.

In particular his allegations that UK government scientists considered WHO advice for managing the pandemic as "relevant only to low- and middle-income countries", and that they should instead follow "a novel and unevidenced approach" known as "herd immunity".

This has resulted in their being significant differences in the substance and timing of measures to control the outbreak between Britain and Ireland, and between N. Ireland and the Republic with the result that even if Ireland's policies of widespread testing and contact tracing and earlier adoption of school and business closures results in the successful suppression of the disease here, we could be subject to continuing re-infections originating in N. Ireland.

In 2001, at the height of the foot and mouth disease outbreak in the UK Ian Paisley quipped that while N. Ireland might be British, the cows were Irish and therefore should be kept within an all-Ireland quarantine zone, and not subject to export bans to the EU. As recently as last September, Boris Johnson used this to justify N. Ireland remaining effectively in the EU Single Market and Customs Union.

Northern Ireland's cows were saved from the mass slaughter of Britain's herds, but it seems that what's good enough for Irish cows is too good for people of Ireland. In pursuit of their slavish adherence to British government policies, it seems that today's N. Ireland unionist politicians and commentators are prepared to sacrifice many lives for fear of being seen to be too closely aligned to Irish government policies.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Apr 1st, 2020 at 03:15:25 PM EST

How does the Wuhan coronavirus compare to seasonal flu? | ITV - Feb. 6, 2020 |

Coronavirus: awaiting the cavalry

But, in fact, it now transpires that the UK government has gone for neither of those options. The clue to this came with last weekend's article which recorded the failure of a pandemic test run carried out three years ago, under the title "Exercise Cygnus".

What emerged from the article is that, even though the system failed, no amendments were made to the strategic roadmap for a future pandemic, with the last update having been carried out in 2014. The actual working model for the current Covid-19 epidemic, therefore, is the Pandemic Influenza Response Plan augmented by the Pandemic Influenza Strategic Framework, both published by Public Health England in August 2014.

And in those pages is the previously "opaque" reason why Public Health England so precipitously abandoned the "test and trace" programme, an action which has attracted so much criticism.

Results Exercise Cygnus Kept Secret

by Oui on Wed Apr 1st, 2020 at 06:01:44 PM EST
an interesting detail about clinical treatment (lagging indicator), assumed to be true for sake of argument

recovery ratios for NE and UK are ... alarming: Given my Robert's rule of thumb of vent efficacy, similarity of NE, UK pathways to hospitalization, I imagine that patients' ICU arrives too late to reverse ARD w/Rx course of treatment.

by Cat on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 12:24:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's really because they are putting people on life support because they can (in UK or NDL), rather than because there's any hope.
You would have to include numbers of patients dying in hospital without getting intensive care, to see this clearly.

It seems clear (from real-life narratives) that there are a lot of people, mostly elderly with pre-existing conditions, who are not going to survive even if they got onto life support much earlier. I suspect that in Norway, even given the small sample, they are making more rational clinical décisions in that respect.

This may change if an effective treatment turns up.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 10:57:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
viral (eg. COVID19) and bacterial pneumonia treatment almost always entails mechanical respiration, regardless of patient age. CPAP, BiPAP indicated if spontaneous breathing in distress; ventilator, if not, indicating advanced tissue damage, regardless of age and comorbid diseased organs. The last complicates Rx chemistry combinations even in optimal clinical settings. "The numbers" are not all that relevant to comprehending the actual limitations of medical "arts" and why, in fact, physicians cannot or should not entertain reflections on indefinite "life support" to salve the consciences of the living.

Suburban Hospital, Bethesda, MD allowed my brother one week to grieve in ICU. A year ago.

So here we are. My understanding is, presses have devoted much interest in honoring the aged, condemning DNRs, and consoling the innocence of bereaved, because time is short, and there is no "effective treatment" for that.

by Cat on Sat Apr 4th, 2020 at 12:30:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
archived comorbid disease, Causes of death statistics (2017)
by Cat on Sun Apr 5th, 2020 at 05:34:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why are alcohol abuse and drug dependence included, but tobacco use not?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Apr 5th, 2020 at 05:38:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Top 3.

I guess, you missed my micro-monograph on CoD, "Classification and its Consequences".

Let's ASSUME the detail drug and alcohol "abuse"/"dependence" is a count of ODs. Otherwise, engrossed; chronic intoxication being the root of pathology to irreversible organ failure, final destination.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Apr 5th, 2020 at 06:42:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like men draw the short straw on everything except breast cancer...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Apr 5th, 2020 at 05:47:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And Alzheimer's, which for some reason is not in the chart.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Apr 5th, 2020 at 05:52:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, look. Organ failure.
January-February 2013 issue of Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics found that difficulty swallowing may in turn increase the risk for "aspiration pneumonia," a common cause of death among people with Alzheimer's, due to food and liquids accidentally getting into the airways in the lungs.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Apr 5th, 2020 at 06:47:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This trend is a troubling indicator. Too many complicating factors arising from experimental Rx + vent utilization >4 days (>2 day VAP risk + COVID) + poor PPE protocols. Hoping there's better "experience-based" knowledge sharing than the trash turned up by MSM.
by Cat on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 11:50:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doctors across NYC share the harrowing reality of caring for oxygen-starved coronavirus patients as equipment runs short
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, in Brooklyn ...The ICU, which typically has 10 beds, has expanded into four additional units.
[...]
Northwell Health System, which operates 23 hospitals in New York, was up to 3,000 COVID patients as of Friday morning, from 1,800 or so a week ago. Already, 500 are on ventilators.
[...]
Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn's Borough Park neighborhood, Dr. Patrick Borgen said the hospital's anticipating needing 400 ICU beds. As of Tuesday, it had 150.
[...]
On Friday, [Cuomo] signed an executive order empowering the National Guard to take ventilators and other protective equipment from private [!] hospitals and other companies and give them to hospitals in need.
[...]
At SUNY Downstate, Daniel said, she's intubating patients at the rate of one per hour. Amid the pandemic, she might do eight [!] in a shift, up from one or two.
plan B: CPAP, BiPAP face masks O2 + aerosol Rx delivery alt to PICC line (IV)
Now, instead of progressing quickly to ventilators, doctors at Maimonides are relying more on high-flow oxygen therapy, with the hope that by keeping patients breathing on their own ["spontaneous respiration"] and able to move, they might be able to keep their lungs functioning better.
Not only that, vent equip and intubated patients need constant surveillance and hygiene (trach suction mucus, saliva) to retard bacterial growth seeping from upper to lower respiratory tract->lungs ("Double pneumonia" as the old folks call it). so yeah, Duplicate these "trade offs" worldwide.

Story further glosses release criteria/orders, ie. self-admin of respiratory Rx, rehabilitation

by Cat on Sat Apr 4th, 2020 at 11:58:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Coronavirus UK: Antibody kit company bans international orders | Sound Health |

Coronavirus antibody tests may finally be on the way to Britain as one manufacturer of the kits has restricted sales to just UK healthcare providers.

Belfast-based Biopanda Reagents posted an alert on its website to say the ban on all international orders was 'effectieve immediately'.

Its kits, which work on just a finger-prick of blood, give results in 10 minutes and can tell if someone has ever had the life-threatening coronavirus.

by Oui on Wed Apr 1st, 2020 at 08:16:51 PM EST
My understanding is that these tests are  most accurately performed 28 days after infection and are of more value in getting people back to work rather than in stemming the tide of infection (and death). A good Tory solution, in other words. Let the weak die off and get everybody else back to work ASAP.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 12:57:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think most physicians would be comfortable proclaiming a diagnosis based upon an examination yielding a definitive combination of symptoms: a high fever, dry cough, and particularly a loss of the sense of smell. The test is fine if it yields quick results, but otherwise is only useful for epidemiological record keeping and work passes.
My wife (a GP) is suited up hazmat style today examing patients with appropriate symptoms. She detests working in the suit as it's hot, uncomfortable, and limiting, but still better than dying.
by Andhakari on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 08:26:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And useless if the actual % of population infected is small, since the false negative rate will overwhelm the positive rate. You'll need test + confirmatory test by different tech.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 06:13:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

ahem
"because more native Irish people have the useful O+ blood type (47 per cent versus 37 per cent), B+ and A- blood types than the British population in general"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Apr 2nd, 2020 at 12:08:07 AM EST
The Irish Independent published an earlier letter to the editor entitled Covid-19 could be the undoing of germophobe US President here.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2020 at 12:16:42 PM EST
Belfast Telegraph:Coronavirus can only be fought on an all-Ireland basis
As Dr Scally and Professor McConkey have stressed, it makes enormous sense to work as one island to keep the effects of this death-dealing plague to an absolute minimum in order to gain precious time for the development of an effective vaccine.

I believe now is the time for Arlene Foster, in particular, to show brave leadership. For the sake of the health and wellbeing of the people of Northern Ireland - and Ireland as a whole - I hope she is able to break out of her unionist straitjacket, admit that the British Government's current strategy is inadequate and ally Northern Ireland with the superior strategy, based on widespread testing and tracing, which has been adopted by the Irish government, the World Health Organisation and the EU's European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2020 at 12:32:59 PM EST
any first-hand knowledge with UK "Jobs Retention Scheme" to share? With or without competitive UC claims? What I'm reading in the presses and at .gov suggests that HRM BoJo's generosity is on cliff-edge, because the 80% offer isn't going to many as touted, now or by April 30.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 12:33:20 AM EST
Whereas in stark contrast 330,000 newly unemployed workers got an enhanced unemployment benefit of €350 (up from normal €203 per week) in Ireland this week. Thousands more got 70% of their wages paid by the government if their employer kept the on the books.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 01:04:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting. I haven't kept up with the usual suspects since the election. But I took Varadker seriously a year ago, that gov had a stash for adverse BREXIT. Won't venture as to how far it will stretch before the borrowing starts up.

I'm totally ignoring Ursula vdL and Lagarde. Do enjoy this recent Baroque portrait tho'. Didn't read the story. Have forgotten the headline, caption.
Took the overview at France24 with a grain of salt. Benefit caps look suspiciously 2009 mileurista.

The odious passed three bills, two of which to bail-out banks and bank borrowers. The third ("FamiliesFirst") repackaged 2009 UI + 1x "stim check" and minor claims adjustments to give P/T and self-employed a crack at it. Business, claiming COVID affectations, immediately dumped labor--6.6M initial UE claims filed this week alone, so US twitterverse is much aroused by NY/SF/DC leisure economists flaunting BoJo's largesse at "£2,500/mo!". 80% being greater than customary 60% in USA. The irony is hysterical. Complaints about web claims processing have commenced with fury. The yanks have no idea what's going on in UK, but some pay close attention to CFR in Italy (read: EU) to confirm it was Chinese infiltrators wut done it.

by Cat on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 03:46:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
btw, MSM is pretentiously tossing "lay off" and "furlough" into UI claims advice. Of course, there's no such employment status as furlough in US private sector (It's a civilian gov and mil term of art) and no bill offers incentive to maintain employment at full or reduced salary. Anyone still employed is encouraged to telecommute, if practicable, in "self-isolation" whether or not infected. Consumer/entertainment traffic is grinding to a halt. So 6.6M is rude indicator of the size of non-transferable service economy yet to collapse. atm, 20M is the magic number including complementary sectors, I suppose. DJT has left states' governors to hedge deadline closures and definition of "essential" commerce while test kits are in short supply.

Dissonance appears in a UK.gov preface to instructions for claimants, dependent on employer application for grants.

What is a 'furloughed worker'?

'Furloughed worker' is not a recognised term in UK employment law, although it is commonly used [!] in the USA. Government guidance says someone is furloughed if they remain employed but are not undertaking work (in the UK [!] the legal term would be 'laid off'). Importantly, this suggests that the scheme does not cover employees who have agreed to work reduced hours.

Employees generally have the right to be paid their full wages if they are willing and able to work, even if their employer cannot provide them with any. Some employers will have a contractual right to lay off workers without pay but this is rare in practice.

As a result, most employers will need the consent of their employees if they are to put them on furlough with reduced pay. To do so unilaterally could be a breach of contract and an unlawful deduction from wages. However, as the alternative will likely be redundancy, obtaining the employee's agreement may not be difficult.

There is some uncertainty as to how this will apply to those on zero-hours contracts, as an employer may seek to simply reduce their hours....

by Cat on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 04:21:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the term 'furloughed' is not commonly used here and doesn't have legal implications like "redundant" or "laid off". It is associated more with USA usage and has connotations of 'leave of absence', paid or unpaid, by mutual agreement, possibly because of a partial temporary shut down in production. Some workers here have been asked to use up some of their annual leave entitlement while remaining on full pay. The point of the government 70% wage subsidy is to reduce the level of formal redundancies and maintain the link between employer and employees in the hope of a rapid reboot post crisis. Total cost of these measures is €3.7 Billion  for the next 12 weeks, more than enough to wipe out originally projected budget surplus for the year. Basically it will have to be borrowed, although the government does have significant cash reserves at the moment.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 01:58:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the continent, some countries have a system which is pretty much the equivalent of furlough in English language: people are still paid 70% of their gross salary and can find other employment meanwhile. Called "chômage partiel" or "chômage technique" in France or "cassa integrazione" in Italy.
by Bernard on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 05:59:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Other euphemisms in English include "gardening leave" = suspension pending disciplinary inquiry and "put out to pasture" = got rid of, possibly with "golden handshake"...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 06:38:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NYT
Two weeks ago, amid the coronavirus pandemic, about 70 students from the University of Texas at Austin partied in Mexico on spring break. The students, all in their 20s, flew on a chartered plane to Cabo San Lucas, and some returned on separate commercial flights to Texas.

Now, 44 of them have tested positive for the virus and are self-isolating. More students were monitored and tested on Wednesday, university officials said, after 28 initial positive tests.

[...]

"I'm not going to judge those students' decision," said Camron I. Goodman, 24, the university's student government president. "A lot of students had to make some tough decisions about their spring break plans."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 11:45:51 AM EST
Although written in response to an Irish Times article, I doubted whether it would be published by the Irish Times. It wasn't, so I sent a slightly amended version to the Irish Independent. It's behind a paywall, but here is the Press Reader version:


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 12:04:37 PM EST

< wipes tears >

by Cat on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 04:37:34 PM EST
Artificial StupidityTM. Because Natural Stupidity is not enough, obviously...
by Bernard on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 06:00:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
o, let's stick with AI. I'm attracted to the probability that this Alexa script is compiled from common wisdom of "social media" txt mssgs in the 30 days prior.
by Cat on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 06:09:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or "Wisdom of the Masses"

Alternative names for argumentum ad populum Informal Logical Fallacy.

When the claim that most or many people in general or of a particular group accept a belief as true is presented as evidence for the claim. Accepting another person's belief, or many people's beliefs, without demanding evidence as to why that person accepts the belief, is lazy thinking and a dangerous way to accept information.

Emphasis added

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Apr 4th, 2020 at 12:45:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
price discovery
Your santayana ideer of the day
epi.org | Why is Trump putting critical protective equipment on layaway at Walmart?
In the next stimulus bill, Congress should require the president to fully invoke the DPA and transfer all authority for its execution to FEMA and the DOD.
Commander-in-Chief, Pres. DJT
That should be tied to the next trillion-dollar relief bill that Trump will desperately need as his last, best hope for reelection. In the meantime, the nation's healthcare workers are suffering because of his layaway strategy.
archived: "'He's doing our work for us, in a certain respect,' said the speaker of the House. "
by Cat on Sat Apr 4th, 2020 at 01:52:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Belfast Telegraph, traditionally a unionist paper, has published a slightly edited version of my letter to the Editor today. Now I'm in big trouble! I attach the press reader image below because for some strange reason they don't publish their letters page online. They also didn't publish my home address - using my title as an editor of the European Tribune instead - they must have checked my home page link on my address line. Hope you guys don't mind being dragged into the mire of N. Ireland politics!


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 6th, 2020 at 08:22:28 PM EST


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