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28 November 2021

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Lies, damned lies and statistics. Take note!
Adrian Leopard 236

Lies, damned lies and statistics. Take note!

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Experts tend to speak the truth but we don’t always get to hear them. Some hard hitting facts today though

As the full expression goes – “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”

Whether you believe that statistics are used to support weak cases and promote lies is a matter for each individual to contemplate. However when the country’s top statistician goes on prime time tv on two channels, it may be time to listen.

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter appeared on television this morning and gave some extremely interesting statistics. The pedigree of this gentleman is certainly not to be under-estimated and can be found here:

https://www.csap.cam.ac.uk/network/david-spiegelhalter/

It will not surprise you to learn that he was talking today about covid-19 and he made certain simple statements based on the statistical studies he is working on and these are potentially very worrying, especially for older people.

Firstly he said that a 67 year old who is double-vaxxed has a higher risk of dying of covid-19 than a 30 year old who has not been vaccinated.

Think about that and perhaps just read it again. What he said was clear – those dying today are still older people, many of whom have been vaccinated and a further statistic – more vaxxed over-fifties are dying than un-vaxxed under-fifties.

Read that again!

And the coup de grâce is that un-vaxxed older people are at an extremely high risk of dying from covid and there are still many around.

What does this mean generally? Well it must mean that for those over 50 the battle is far from won and every care needs to be taken to avoid this terrible disease.

For those under 50 and particularly the much younger there is a different message. Getting vaccinated is not really about ensuring you do not die from covid-19 – the chances of that statistically are very low. But, and there are buts here, there are two particular reasons why you should get vaccinated. The first is the avoidance of long covid. Again the statistics show that as many as 1 in 5 25 year olds are developing symptoms of long covid three months after they have had the virus. Again that is horrendous and we have seen the damage that long covid has done to some individuals. The vaccinations have shown that the risk of getting long covid is greatly reduced.

The other reason for young people to get vaccinated is quite simply to reduce transmission of the virus generally and therefore as much for their fellow man as for themselves.

As the rate of new cases rises and especially when restrictions are lifted, the professor agreed that a rate of 100000 a day was not impossible and new cases at that level would be likely to bring about hospitalisations of 2500 a day and the NHS has said that it will not be able to cope with an inflow of patients at that level. That suggests to us that lifting the restrictions is coming too early.

As we look at the overall vaccination statistics at the moment, we are informed that 87% of the adult population have had a first dose and 66% have had a second dose. Sounds good? Well that is the glass half full way of looking at it. The glass half empty way is that as many as 13% of the adult population have had no vaccination protection yet and 34% yet have to have their second dose.

But these are just statistics, aren’t they? Are they lies or do they reflect what is still a high risk to society generally of this disease? Already so many individuals are being pinged on the track and trace system that some businesses are having to close because they do not have enough staff left able to continue to work.

But the BBC news site carries a fascinating article showing the Swiss Cheese Model. It really is a must watch! And you can find it here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-40ac92b1-1750-4e86-9936-2cda6b0acb3f

and our photo of the day shows where they make it! Stay safe.

Adrian Leopard 11-07-21

Photo Claudio Schwarz

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