101 Comments
May 7, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Just thanks - I am so happy to read your analyzes. They are important, and written so everybody that wants to will understand. Looking forward to read more from your hand.

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May 6, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Excellent work, as usual. Just a contribution: in the second chart, the bottom left is messed up (several countries with the same numbers). Probably just a table error, but it's worth making it right.

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author

Corrected in the web version, thanks!

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May 6, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

I always enjoy your analysis, Tomas. Being from the US Upper Midwest, I lived through some of the hottest infection rates in the world. I got the virus along with everyone else in my family (five months of ick), and can easily name over 100 friends who tested positive. Know why we didn't lock down or enthusiastically participate in contact tracing? Not deadly enough. In the worst phases I kept asking people if they were afraid and they always said they were not. We all knew maybe two or three people who died (and of course MANY friends of friends, grandparents of old acquaintances) and these stories were heartbreaking, but it didn't scare us. My 78-YO mother took her chances and rode out the virus (but seems to have permanently lost smell and taste). I'm in a very red area and my democrat-voting friends were the ones who masked up and stayed home. The rest of us didn't. Just reporting what I saw- local heterogeneous behavior and high infection rates because of fearless Christian stoicism. You can't apply those beautiful boxes to both North Dakota and California- two different worlds.

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Yes, this speaks to a theory I have of the Scary Virus Paradox

https://twitter.com/tomaspueyo/status/1355214343714058244?lang=en

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(Banned)May 7, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

The problem is that this is all under the assumption that you catch it once and then you're immune for life. While the reality with COVID is much closer to catching it 5-6 times within a decade and by the Nth reinfection (it remains to be seen what the value of N is exactly) it will have wrecked you to the point of being as deadly as smallpox.

But this reality was not communicated to people, exactly the opposite in fact. And it was not just deniers responsible for that -- respected prominent scientists were giving deliberately misleading information too, which is just criminal.

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author

I agree.

I don't think the virus will mutate enough to be caught several times in a decade though.

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There are multiple people who have already caught it 3 times in about a year.

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author

Yes, extreme cases. Nothing statistically relevant.

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???

How many people do you expect to catch it 3 times in less than year?

That is extremely rare for common cold coronaviruses too.

For those immunity lasts 6-12 months at least.

Reinfections were extremely rare within 3-4 months too, now we have millions of them worldwide.

Because the ones within 3-4 months were the left-hand outliers, but as time went along, we started climbing the mountain of the distribution, and we still are.

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May 6, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

I'm afraid you are right as you were right way back March 2020. I've been tweeting anyone I could since then about tti. I can forgive the mistakes in March but not later.

Even science got it wrong on masks. Why does the West not have the balls to make tti work? In June we were so close?

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author

It's such a catastrophe...

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Science didn't get it wrong. Every scientist in public health in East Asia screamed to ask people to put on face masks, including my colleagues at National Taiwan University. UCSF publicized well-designed Canadian clinical trials of hospital nurses during previous flu seasons, which reported how N95 and surgical masks made a huge difference. Hong Kong University scientists made a laboratory video to issue public warnings to American media, telling them that the U.S. attitude towards face masks amounts to suicide. Chinese papers on aerosol transmission started to appear in February 2020. What went wrong were American scientists who played politics. Plus a case of sheer negligence and sheer arrogance of western scientists who ignored the large number of empirical studies conducted by the East Asian scientists from their rich experience fighting SARS and MERS years ago.

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I totally agree. In UK we were told that masks were not needed because there were none available. But now it's still not compulsory to wear masks, unbelievable.

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Masterful. Very clear and insightful.

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author

Thanks!

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Aug 1, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

This was a really interesting read. I noticed there was not much mention of Eastern/Central European countries. Is this due to a lack of accessible data? Living in Hungary, I can imagine it is hard to obtain.

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author

Hi Jill, unfortunately it's impossible to follow all countries. I do my best. I haven't heard of a dramatically different mgmt from Hungary vs. other countries, so the value of analyzing it is not high compared to the cost.

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May 13, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Hi Tomas. Thanks again for your great articles, always very well written and documented.

This last one I didn't like so much. Facts are facts, I agree with all the data, but philosophically, I would like to defend some "freedom" approaches some western countries allow to the population (either because of laziness, incompetence, constitution rights, freedom approach, idiosyncrasy, etc.).

If the health care system of a country isn't overwhelmed, then each indivual retain the choice of behaving "free and recklessly", OR perhaps keep away from danger by isolating or wearing good gear. But personal choice remains.

Before COVID there were a lot of dangers too: from drinking toilet water to jump in wingsuit from every mountain. And every time it was, and still is, personal choice. I believe this point has to be mentioned and is missing from the debate.

I'm from Chile and I must say, I agree on the approach that was taken here: government played with the restrictions according to the level of saturation of the health care system. And there was little to do otherwise: people here are hard to lockdown: we want to go out, we believe no one has the power take away our freedom of movement, just to name one.

If the healthcare-system situation is manageable, freedom and personal accountability should still remain.

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Hey Christian, thanks for your comment and dissent.

I'm not sure exactly what piece you disagree with, though.

My argument is that the Hammer should have been extremely limited to the early stage of the pandemic, and after that you didn't need that kind of lockdown. My proposal of test-trace-isolate limits the freedom of a very small fraction of the population, much less than the lockdowns needed to keep the healthcare system from saturation.

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You're right, maybe I didn't express it well (english is not my first language). And test-trace-isolate is indeed not that much restrictive, agreed.

My concern on the article is about the philosophy around what constitutes failure. Not saying deaths don't matter, but if any death occured due to the informed action of that particular individual, then I'm not so sure it was "a failed west". We could have done it better? Of course. We should do better? Yes. But I'm not sure about calling it failure.

Italy, Spain, UK and the likes of course failed: healthcare systems colapsed. I'm just not sure about the countries were it didn't.

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Oh I agree with that point! If you're informed and get exposure anyway and die, that's on you.

But this is only valid if the consequences are on you. If there are consequences on others (which this has, because you can infect others), then it's not just an individual freedom issue. It's a social coordination issue.

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May 8, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Thomas, This article is again proof of your in-depth research. Pandemics have followed the same script for 5000 years. Looking into history could have prevented lots of damage. Sure the circumstances and the tools are different, but this is just a variation to the same theme. We would love to subscribe "Premium" with our think tank to your new adventure. Is there a way to communicate before we do so ?

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Of course! If you subscribe for free, you can answer the newsletter email and I'll receive that answer.

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May 7, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Lo han hecho tan mal los gobiernos europeos que la gran duda es si les importaban o les sobraban las vidas perdidas. Se ha "limpiado" la población de personas mayores y enfermas y, aunque es muy duro, creo que les ha convenido o al menos no importado demasiado; sino es así, es que son torpes y descerebrados porque no tomaron medidas cuando se sabía lo que había que hacer y qué no hacer. La OMS ha sido terriblemente lenta en aceptar la trasmisión aérea. No he oído que nadie haya dimitido por ineficaz y torpe. Esto es y ha sido una guerra mundial donde se han muerto los débiles y se han enriquecido muchos y lo seguiran haciendo mientras la mentes claras y los científicos de verdad sufren viendo lo que ocurre con las manos semiatadas...

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May 6, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

The problem in the UK and the US was similar: a political party in control that does not fundamentally believe in its responsibility to protect the people (that being too socialist/communist and therefore dangerous). The isolation part of test/trace/isolate requires paying people to stay home or do nothing and not be available to work (except work online) and this is the antithesis of what these parties stand for in the case of the Conservatives in the UK who are consistently cutting unemployment benefits etc. Similarly, the Republicans in the US suffer from the idea of government control is always bad - which it certainly isn't in the case of dealing with pandemics.

They took the wrong approach but this was because of ideological reasons (stupidity).

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May 6, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Interesting article. How did you select this subset of countries, and why make Hawaii and the Canadian Atlantic Provinces countries?

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author

Not countries, but regions. Sometimes I mixed the labels. I meant geographic areas.

Hawaii are good because they are examples within fail countries that could nevertheless succeed fighting the pandemic.

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May 6, 2021Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Succinct and to the point. Of course, there is also (in the case of the U.S.) the psychological and political mindsets that heavily impacted pandemic response. I'm glad you called out Hawaii separate from the mainland U.S.

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The chart is great! I love charts for the density of information. But there are some inconsistencies with the colors vs. numbers, especially in the border flow column where countries with the same numerical value have different colors. In addition, the urbanization values were confusing. Low urbanization is better, and the key says completely rural is 100%, so high numbers should be blue and low numbers are red... but instead low numbers are blue and high numbers are read.

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author

Corrected in the web version, thanks!

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Nice read.

The chart looks wrong.

1. All of US, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Belgium and Chile have identical deaths/million and economic stringency.#

2. is your "low flow borders" coloured correctly? Should high-level of tourists not be red (bad)?

3. is your "urbanization" coloured correctly? Should high-level of urbanisation not be red (bad)?

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Corrected in the web version, thanks!

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Yes, he needed top do some proofreading, didn't he?

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So did I. "To do", not "Top do!".

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Thank you Tomas- your rational approach is appreciated I'm sure by many of us.

However it seems that rational thought in present times does not win votes or power, make money, win hearts etc etc... In fact rather the opposite.

So what are your thoughts on how to build the 'popularity' of rational thought itself?

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author

I think we need a new tool for coordination. I've been thinking about one for some time...

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Is the data in the bottom left of the top chart accurate? How do all of the countries US through Chile have the same number of deaths per million (1,744)?

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author

Corrected in the web version, thanks!

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