COVID-19 personal update

Our daughter and her two boys have been stuck for five months living with us, since they were visiting from Burma (Myanmar) when the NZ lockdown began on 26 March. Her partner has been trying to get out of Burma, where they’ve lived for a few years, and now hopes to connect with a direct NZ flight due to depart Seoul next month.

Burma has apparently been spared a crisis from COVID-19 but just reported a five-fold surge in cases, from 376 to 1899. No coronavirus deaths occurred for over three months from May to mid-August, but in just 3½ weeks there have been 6, taking the total to 12 — still surprisingly low for a nation of 54.4 million with a mostly uncontrolled, 1000-mile border with China. Time will tell whether the generals have been reporting infections and deaths accurately.

Most of the country’s largest city, Yangon (population about 5 million), has just been shut down, with everyone on house arrest. Air travel is now banned.

 

2 Thoughts on “COVID-19 personal update

  1. Sorry to hear that, Richard. It must be a worrying time for your family, as it is for many others too, of course. I hope the air travel restrictions in Myanmar will soon be eased and your daughter’s partner can get out of the country COVID-free next month as planned.

    You say: “Time will tell whether the generals have been reporting infections and deaths accurately.”

    Well, if the official Myanmar reports of infections and deaths are anything like the UK government’s reports, I think it’s almost a stone cold certainty that they will be highly inaccurate. I’ve been downloading and analysing the UK government’s COVID virus statistics daily since the pandemic was declared and I have been struck by their similarity to the global climate records, especially those that were the subject of the ‘Harry readme’-file of Climategate fame. If I try to find words to describe what the UK’s official COVID data-records are like, the phrase “dog’s dinner” springs to mind. They are sporadic, irregular, have large chunks of data missing at odd intervals, combine data from different sources at different times and are subject to being retrospectively ‘adjusted’ to accommodate new data-sources that had been left out previously. It is fundamentally impossible to extract any reliable information about the UK’s COVID epidemic from them by any kind of statistical analysis, no matter how advanced and sophisticated it might be, because there is no reliable information contained in the primary data to begin with. The GIGO principle applies with force here.

    In spite of the irreducible uncertainty which characterises these records – or perhaps, because of it – our politicians, bureaucrats and MSM appear to love them, because they refer back to them at every opportunity whenever they are announcing some new twist or turn in the government’s strategy for dealing with the virus. Clearly, though, they cannot be basing any strategic decisions at all on these essentially meaningless numbers, any more than they could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, so to speak. So, if they are presenting us with a fine ‘silk purse’ composed of eye-catching graphs and mystical R-numbers, we can be sure that they have not derived it from the ‘sow’s ear’ of the official COVID records. As to which undisclosed source is really informing the UK government’s COVID strategy decisions, your guess is probably as good as mine.

  2. Richard Treadgold on September 16, 2020 at 10:53 am said:

    Rick,

    I appreciate your good wishes.

    What a catalogue of incompetence and complacency you describe. And here we were, imagining Boris Johnson was about to heal all hurts, avenge all wrongs and return the world to tranquil reason! Seems we’ll have to do it ourselves.

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