- Jun 22, 2016
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SAGE are abject in my opinion, they clearly either do not study international information or don't have anyone suitably qualified in analysis of partial or preliminary data sets. Before Xmas on this thread I was saying ther best case scenario modeling was far too pessimistic (I said max of 500 deaths a day then before New Years revised this down to a max of 350 a day (currently around 270 a day and thankfully unlikely to go much higher)). So my accurate worst case scenario for Omicron has proven lower than SAGE's best case scenario. It is alarming that two years into a pandemic a random Scottish dude on the internet, with no pandemic management experience, can call out SAGE estimates as being worthless, just by looking at early data from SA, Netherlands and the UK.‘Deaths could hit 6,000 a day,’ reported the newspapers on 17 December. A day later documents for the 99th meeting of Sage were released which said that, without restrictions over and above ‘Plan B’, deaths would range from 600 to 6,000 a day. A summary of Sage advice, prepared for the Cabinet...www.spectator.co.uk
Back in early March 2020 (possibly even February before it was entrenched in the UK) we had a knowledge that Covid-19 could be passed on by a host for 10-12 days if you were asymptomatic and that China was estimating a fatality rate of around 2%. We also knew in Korea that 1 infected man, went to three nightclubs in one night and infected over 100 people (i.e. clearly, irrefutably airborne unless Koreans have a culture of opening toilet door cubicles with their mouth). The above is a truly horrifying combination.
Yet in the UK (and many other places) we had muppets in high places telling us masks could do more harm than good and that if we all just kept singing Happy Birthday it would be alright and we should all keep working in our offices. All while refusing to look at evidence from East Asian countries more experienced in pandemic management and ignoring the fact they were all going around with facemasks and being incredibly vigilant at airports (Korea would even provide all recipients with a mobile device so they could monitor and enforce that they were indeed isolating).
The UK (and presumably Ireland), as island states, worked on medical advice that you couldn't keep the infection out and let lots of perfectly healthy people die while Australia, Korea, Japan New Zealand showed this to be a basic error and took appropriate steps to protect their citizens that I consider were blindingly obvious at the time. Even third world countries like Vietnam kept the initial variants under control.
When this was kicking off, I felt so failed by UK and Scottish medical expertise and that they simply didn't care about the health of my elderly relatives and my ability to inadvertently infect them while asymptomatic. Operating on the expert medical advice, my employer continued to ask me to work in an office I could only get to by squeezing through crowds of (predominantly Chinese) students packed into a corridor and queuing all the way out the building. You couldn't make it up. I was fortunate I could take a much longer commute to a different town and work safely in a glorified cupboard with a window and a computer. I could take steps to protect my relatives but others were not so lucky.
So first SAGE were so lax and got every single major call catastrophically wrong and now they show that they couldn't analyse data if our lives depended on it. Plus a few of them get gongs for their services! I'm not sure any lessons will be learnt for any future pandemic (be it Covid-19 related or something new) but I do know I'll be continuing to look out for me and mine based on my own interpretation of events before listening to politicians of any hue and their dullard advisors.