Tag Archives: statistics

Are Coronavirus Lockdowns Working?

(Neil’s Note: This was a blog comment I made in response to Christopher Monckton’s article “Are Lockdowns Working?” at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/04/04/are-lockdowns-working/#comment-2956309, about the efficacy of lockdowns at lowering the rate of spread of the currently raging coronavirus epidemic. I made some further comments in replies, too).

The former mathematician in me decided it was about time to use the data we have to make a direct assessment of Christopher Monckton’s hypothesis that the lockdowns are working.

What I did was look, not at comparisons between countries, but at the graphs of total cases and daily new cases which are readily available on worldometers.info. As long as the reporting of cases within a country is done in the same way each day, I should be able to make reasonably reliable comparisons between the numbers of cases in a country at different stages of the epidemic. I simply picked the top 12 European countries in terms of total number of cases, and looked at the graphs for each.

First up was Spain. Something interesting jumped right out of the paper at me when I looked at the total cases graph. The curve comes in two parts; an exponential part, followed by a pretty much linear part. The transition in Spain was quite sharp, around March 24th. The daily new cases graph shows it, too; new cases were increasing exponentially up to about that date, and since then have been increasing far less, or even static. The Spaniards seem to have brought in their lockdown very quickly on March 13th and 14th, so the change in the regime came about 10 days after lockdown. Not at all far from the incubation period of the virus, of which the best estimate I have heard is 6 to 14 days.

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David Davis

A few months ago, we wrote a variant of the old chestnut “How much is a billion?”. My boy ventured an question that demands an extention of the concept. (NOTE: I’m using the generally-accepted definition of a “trillion” as being one million millions, or 1E12, NOT 1E18 as was the original imperial case.)

1E12: A CUBE OF DRIED PEAS…60 metres x 60 x 60. That’s 198 feet or 10,000 peas along each and every edge, or 216,000 cubic metres, or getting on for 200,000 tons I would say. Probably fill a good-sized container ship.

31,711 years is approximately a trillion seconds. As the planet coold as it will,  Al Gore’s house in Tennessee is going to be under several dozen feet of permanently-iced tundra by then. Go and give the lying toad a hard time!

About 2.7 billion years is a trillion days, give or take. No plants (let alone any animals) no sponges even. Possibly the first photosynthetic bacteria, the ancestors of many lines iincluding chloroplasts.

One trillion US Dollars: what Gordon Brown’s stalinists waste in an average year. This is not to say that David Cameron’s less-serious and less-resolute stalinists would waste much less.

The solar wattage (reckoned as Watts per sq metre) arriving at 275 square miles of the earth’s surface at mid-day on the equator. That’s a block of land about 15 by 18 miles. The Amazon Rain Forest fixes less than 2% (2E10 or about 20 GigaWatts, per unit block of 275 sq miles) as biomass.

This 15 x 18-mile block of power (1 TeraWatt) is the same, roughly, as the “mean base load” of electrical energy being used by 340 million Western first-World homes, while 100% of them are cooking Christmas dinner in the Northern Hemisphere midwinter – that’s ALL the houses in Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Turkey and most of the Muddle East.

1E12 watts is also the gross radiated output of 18 square metres, or 21.5 square yards, of the Sun’s surface. In the UK, this is area of a moderately large sitting room, 12 feet by say 16 or 17. (about 56Gw is radiated per square metre, or the total mean amount of generated electric power normally available to the UK on a good day.)

1E12: The number of atoms in a third of a nanogram of Gold (3.27E-10 grams.) It’s about the size of a bacterium, and you MIGHT be able to see it with a good powerful optical microscope. Or maybe not.

1E12: The estimated number of different antibodies (immunoglobulins) which a human immune system is potentially capable of producing.

I may add more!