The reply to the ‘fat emperor’

Of the previous post – rather longer this time (with thanks to Samuel Johnson):

To make it clear I agree with this criticism and have never accepted high rate of false positive statistics at face value. But I especially rate the criticism because it is based on what is happening inside hospitals. If intensive care units are overwhelmed we are indeed back to square one – simply because we have run them so hot during the years of austerity there is now very little slack in the system.

What I do find difficult is that there are currently no excess deaths and haven’t been for some months. So people are not dying from Covid-19 (or anything else) on any greater scale than normal for the time of year. There are similar trends on mainland Europe.

I’m not suggesting we are out of danger for the future, particularly with the horrors of ‘long covid’ but as I tried to point out in Local is actually best we need a properly and promptly functioning test and trace system and to finance the period of personal isolation required in order to get back to some sort of greater normality.

Indeed as Mariana Mazzucato suggests, we should be setting up a ‘mission oriented purpose for government to increase local testing all over the country, so that any outbreak can be tightly controlled.

When the same article points out

The number of tests needed globally over a year to supply a weekly testing regimen would be equivalent to less than half the number of cans of [soft drink] consumed annually.

I am reminded that we need to double down on discouraging soft drink and prepared food sales, when we now know beyond doubt that metabolic syndrome and obesity are so dangerous in increasing the dangers of covid-19.

Indeed, I think it is worth restating the words of the Dimbleby ‘National Food Strategy’ report:

At the same time, the virus has shown with terrible clarity the damage being done to our health by the modern food system. Diet-related illness is one of the top three risk factors for dying of COVID-19. This has given a new urgency to the slow-motion disaster of the British diet. Even before the pandemic, poor diet was responsible for one in seven deaths in the UK (90,000 a year). That is vastly more than the death toll from traffic accidents (1,780 a year) and almost as fatal as smoking (95,000). This is a medical emergency we can no longer afford to ignore.

That is another mission we need to undertake…


Michael G sent in a graph to show his hypothesis outlined in the comments here:

The correlation is remarkable…