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We Are Paying For This Shit

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Friday 10 September 2021

A top Covid modeller says New Zealand’s fight against Delta has exceeded expectations – and there are positive signs we will eliminate it in the coming weeks.

“Sometime over the next couple of weeks, we will eliminate it,” says University of Auckland Covid-19 modeler Shaun Hendy.

https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/politics/covid-19-delta-outbreak-pfizer-vaccines-from-spain-mean-no-slowdown-in-rollout/#ath

Wow, how wrong can you get?

Now the bastard gets $6 million from the taxpayer for more modelling

The government has paid $6m to one firm for Covid modelling

Sean Hendy and Siouxie Wiles’s group appears to be acting as the ‘single source of truth’ for this Government.
To put their $6 million of funding in contrast, The Treasury has commissioned its own pandemic modelling from an independent advisory firm, costing a mere $30,000.
It stinks of arrogance by the Prime Minister’s Department to refuse to answer questions posed by the NZ Herald about the procurement rules followed in awarding the TPM contract. That raises very real questions about this contract, and quite what it was for.

The Government has now spent or contracted to spend more than $6 million for Covid-19 modelling from a single group: the University of Auckland’s Te Punaha Matatini (TPM).

The figure appears to eclipse spending for all other government Covid-19 modelling work, and some details of that work suggest a diminishing contest of ideas is informing weighty policy decisions, including when to ease border and lockdown restrictions in light of vaccination levels.

Last month, the Government released TPM modelling (without peer review) that highlighted an “opening up scenario” of close to 7000 deaths a year from Covid-19, even with an 80 per cent vaccination rate for the population over the age of 5.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/analysis-government-has-paid-6m-to-one-firm-for-covid-modelling/IVV7GMBX7Q2MS7Y2TTJMV6LW3Y/

 

What Prof Hendy gets wrong

COMMENTS ON THE VIEWS OF PROFESSOR HENDY

Dr Martin Lally

Director, Capital Financial Consultants Ltd

lallym@xtra.co.nz

Professor Shaun Hendy is another prominent adviser to the New Zealand government on covid-19 issues.  Like Professor Baker, he combines frequent commentary via popular media in support of lockdowns with papers written (with numerous co-authors) in the academic style.  However, unlike Professor Baker, he does not seem to have done any prior research in epidemiology (he is a Professor of Physics).  His epidemiological work starts with his first covid paper, which was posted to a website on 25 March 2020:

https://www.tepunahamatatini.ac.nz/2020/03/26/suppression-and-mitigation-strategies-for-control-of-covid-19-in-new-zealand/

Table 2 of the paper presents predictions of the death tolls in New Zealand from a range of possible control strategies.  No control yields predicted deaths of 83,000 (1.67% of the population).  Case isolation and quarantining of members of their households reduces this to 62,500 (1.25% of the population).  Adding population-wide social distancing reduces this to 3,000 (0.06% of the population), and adding school and university closures reduces it further to 20.  On page 7, they consider a strategy they describe as “mitigation”, with a predicted death toll of 25,000 (0.508% of the population), and involving a combination of periods of low control (case isolation plus household quarantining) with periods of high control (add population-wide social distancing and school and university closures) as required to keep the number of cases within the capacity of the hospital system.  None of these strategies correspond to mitigation as defined in the 23 March published paper by Professors Baker, Wilson and Blakely (isolation of the over 60s). The most interesting features of the Hendy paper are:

1. The worst case scenario (in which no control measures are instituted) was 83,000 dead (1.67% population mortality rate, as per their Table 2).  By contrast, the worst case death toll (with no control measures) in the many papers of Professors Baker and Wilson (who were the most significant advisers to the government at this time) was 30,600 (in the Baker et al paper of 23 March).  Hendy et al do not even cite this paper, which predates theirs, let alone explain why their worst case figure is almost three times that of Baker et al.  The usual practice in academic work is to cite relevant existing work, and explain why your approach is better.  The need for this is amplified by the fact that none of the Hendy et al co-authors is an epidemiologist, while all co-authors of the Baker et al paper are.

2. The set of control strategies examined did not include lockdown (closing down all but essential businesses as well as all the restrictions described by Hendy), and yet Hendy et al concluded that deaths could be limited to 20 in the highest control state examined by them.  The only places of work that are closed down in any of the control states in Hendy’s Table 2 are schools and universities.  Since it took lockdowns on repeated occasions to achieve New Zealand’s covid death toll to date of 27, Hendy’s belief that this could be achieved without lockdowns would seem to have been far too optimistic. Interestingly, in Baker et al’s paper of 23 March, the authors do not define the restrictions involved in their high control scenario (which they call “eradication”) but the lack of specification of the restrictions at least allows for the possibility that it involved lockdowns.

3. None of the control strategies examined by Hendy et al corresponds to Level 3 or Level 4, despite these levels having been defined by the government on 21 March 2020, which was four days before the Hendy paper was released.  So, by the time the paper was released, it was already superseded by the events of 21 March.

4. The costs of adopting different control strategies are not even mentioned, let alone quantified.  Nor was there any conversion of predicted deaths to life years lost, nor valuation of this in accordance with standard methodology in the medical literature.  Again this contrasts with the Baker et al paper.

The next significant paper by Hendy et al was on 21 October 2020 and was concerned with the economic costs of the Level 3 August 2020 Auckland lockdown relative to those of an alternative Level 4 lockdown:

https://www.tepunahamatatini.ac.nz/2020/11/16/economic-comparison-of-the-use-of-alert-levels-3-and-4-for-aucklands-august-outbreak/

The paper assumes adoption of the government’s elimination strategy and is only concerned with the question of whether Level 4 restrictions would have been more or less costly (in lost GDP) than the Level 3 restrictions actually adopted in Auckland (Level 4 restrictions cost more per day than Level 3 restrictions but are likely to end sooner).   They find a modest such advantage to Level 4, because the expected time in lockdown to reach their epidemiological target is shorter in Level 4, which more than compensates for the higher costs per day.  This seems to be the first paper from Hendy et al that considers the costs of competing policies, but none of the co-authors appears to have any expertise in economics. The most interesting features of the paper are:

1. Despite considering the costs of these two options, the paper does not accord with the standard methodology in the medical literature of assessing the comparative deaths of the two options and converting this to a cost per QALY saved.

2. The data in their Tables 1 and 2 does not reconcile.  For example, Table 1 states that the cost per day in Level 3 is $57m, Table 2 gives expected days under Level 3 restrictions as 23, implying a cost of $1.3b, but Table 2 gives a cost of $1.8b instead.  The same problem applies to the Level 4 restrictions.  I raised this point with the lead author (Rachel Binny) on 17 November and received a reply from Professor Hendy but he did not address this issue over the course of several emails (in which I reminded him about the point).  I therefore presume that Table 2 is in error.

3. Page 8 of the paper says “Figure 2B shows the economic cost of the outbreak for a particular probability of elimination in the cases where the elimination was successful.”  This is not correct. The Figure is premised on exiting lockdown when cases have fallen to a level at which the probability of elimination has fallen to a particular level, and shows the economic cost for the expected lockdown period for a particular probability of elimination. Whether elimination was subsequently achieved is irrelevant to this calculation.  I also raised this point with the lead author (Rachel Binny) on 17 November and received a reply from Professor Hendy but he did not address this issue over the course of several emails (in which I reminded him about the point).

4. The authors acknowledge that their analysis does not consider the “..longer term economic costs of the measures..” (Executive Summary) and that “These factors may take the analysis to a different conclusion.” (page 10).  What then is the usefulness of the analysis?

5. Despite limiting themselves to the question examined, they note in passing that cost benefit analyses such as those performed by Heatley (2020) and Lally (2020) “…might be useful for informing a mitigation strategy but are not useful for a decision maker considering or following an elimination strategy” (pp. 4-5).  This seems to be accepting that cost-benefit analysis might be appropriate for choosing between mitigation and elimination strategies, as was the focus of Lally (2020), whilst denying its usefulness in choosing between Level 3 and 4 restrictions.  However, even if one has decided on an elimination strategy, for whatever reasons, there are competing variants of it, as Hendy et al recognises in comparing a Level 3 and Level 4 response to the Auckland outbreak, and cost-benefit analysis should also be used to choose between them, as Heatley does and Hendy et al do not.

6. Hendy et al refer again later to the cost-benefit analyses of Heatley and Lally, and state that “Combining our approach….with these more in-depth economic analyses may be useful in informing future responses.” (page 10). This seems to be accepting that cost-benefit analysis may be useful for choosing between Level 3 and 4 restrictions, thereby undercutting the contrary claim quoted in the previous point.

7. The equivocal comments by Hendy et al quoted in the last two points (“may” or “might”) suggest a lack of confidence on the part of the authors about basic economic issues that anyone offering policy advice ought to be confident about. This is understandable in view of none of the authors having any apparent expertise in economics, but it is harder to understand why they would offer policy advice about matters that they are so uncertain about.

 

Still gets it wrong and is paid millions. What happened to his initial prediction last year that 80,000 would die?

 

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18 COMMENTS

  1. To answer the question as to how do Hendy and Co get $6 Mil?

    Easy; Join the NZ Labour Party, donate to ‘THE CAUSE” and make the right noises in the right ears!.

    ‘Jobs for the boys / girls ‘ come easily after that…

    (BTW: Has anyone noticed that Hendy, Wiles et el all work / comment on matters outside their ‘areas of expertise’ and are ergo, ‘liars’? Says a lot really; the NZLP / Socialists in miniature. ‘Birds of a feather… ‘ come to mind).

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  2. The worst part about giving this dickhead a heap of money is we’re going have to put up with hearing his ludicrous rantings more often. I suppose if he drones on for long enough he may finally get a prediction right.

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  3. Get your Snake Oil here!
    I was cynical of this bunch when the ‘pandemic’ first allegedly hit.
    But after seeing them wade into the Election campaign and tell us who to vote for….They are just another part of Mad Queen Jacinda’s inner circle.
    ‘Only Glorious Socialism can save us from this Virus’ (Wiles made this/or a very similar comment)
    Hmmm- As if a virus would take any notice of what particular political system a Country operates under?
    Sadly the terrified old people (who sit glassy eyed watching the Podium of Truth every day) listened….

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  4. This is a very sad reflection on the population of New Zealanders, I wonder if the thought of open, and fair mindedness is just too much for people to cope with, and they like/enjoy being told what to do. Churches did this for many hundreds of years and people followed blindly the teachings of the many churches for all their lives (in total misery and grief I might add) I wonder if a few of us could get together and write a paper of the effects on New Zealanders who are not thinking people, follow blindly the authority figures who demand they follow (blindly) their leaders and how they are being manipulated over the years by some sort of authority figure whether church, or government and the devastating effects of social isolation. Maybe we could get 6 million to do that? Who knows maybe more, I’d be happy to share the funds///// It would all make as much sense as this group advising the government.

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  5. I can remember when Hendy came out publicly with his 80,000. It was in a Sunday paper and I happened to see it online. ( back in the good on days reading the Sunday papers was part of my weekly ritual ….but that stopped in the 90s !!). When I read it my BS detector went off the scale.
    So on the Monday I wrote Simon Bridges giving my view and said he should insist on getting the background data on which it was based. Of course I doubt Simon got to see my letter, it was probably filtered out by the advisor who checks his parliamentary emails.
    But it is great to see someone is finally ripping into him. But he should not have to rely on academic papers, Hendy should have to put up his data and advice publicly on a regular basis. The public are paying for his “work”.

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  6. How Hendy’s initial modeling could have been taken seriously shows the dearth of real science within the MoH. Along with the points raised by Dr Lally, Hendy’s modelling was basically predicated on:

    *Immune naive population which is ridiculous given at least 40% would have prior immunity from previous viral infection not to mention the robust child/adolescent population which have shown to be almost entirely unaffected by covid.
    *No national health response which is an even more ridiculous notion
    * No input from actual epidemiologists

    This is arguable the greatest scientific fraud perpetuated in NZ’s history and this government has subscribed to it with enthusiasm.

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  7. I am not concerned that Hendy is not qualified in epidemiology, and only a Professor of Physics. Professional analysts and researchers at the top of their game are multidisciplinary, and can often cross science boundaries with ease, exploring new science fields.

    However: Hendy is neither professional, nor is he at the top of his game. He is not even in the game:

    [A] A professional would publish the principles, premises and parameters their modelling is based on. Some parameters, out of hundreds would be:

    (i) The IFR of Covid-19 as it applies to NZ. We are 730 days out from when Covid first arrived in the country and no published IFR. Just lots of scaremongering, more aligned to the Chicken Little fable than actual science.

    (ii) The death rate after hospitalisation by treatment protocol, and treatment compounds, all based on real world data. There are several dozen compounds that can be used to treat Covid-19 but again he has not listed these, provided detail analysis or IFRs. If I was doing the analysis the specifics of the effectiveness Ivermectin, along with 20-30 other compounds would be on that research,

    Real modelling, based on real world data, of something like Covid-19 is a mammoth exercise. The moment Hendy opened his mouth and discredited himself in the first 60 seconds. Because if he had actually carried out the required research he would have arrived at the same inescapable conclusions that eminent Doctors and researchers worldwide and in NZ have arrived at. Note, real Doctors and researchers provide specifics. Waffle monsters like Wiles and Hendy, and indeed Bloomfield and Ardern, are vague and make generalisations, something that we were taught in science from an early age would earn us an E- in our exams.

    Colleagues and I have designed, set up, and carried out hundreds of scientific analysis. I wouldn’t call them modeling because we used actual data. Modelling as used by Hendy is scare mongering by someone too lazy and too biased to actually access any real data or do any real work.

    [B] 99% of good analysts come from the private sector, not the public sector. Private sector analysts have real world experience and deal with real world specifics. 80,000 predicted deaths is not specific. It s made up. Using even media hyped bloated IFR statistics, it would imply that the population of New Zealand is somewhere between 50 – 75 million.

    I have a colleague that by force of circumstances, including fallout from the first lock down, has gone back to public employment in science. Unlike his colleagues, he provides real results and outcomes, while said colleagues are happy to spend most of their time watching Youtube videos, drinking coffee, and preparing hastily written reports on the last day of the month.

    It appears Hendy is like these researchers, more concerned with pleasing those who pay him and having his ego stroked through media exposure, but nothing real to show for his employment. Under the slack creeping socialism that has been infesting our lower and higher education facilities for decades, it is unfortunate that this type of behaviour is more the norm, rather than the exception.

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  8. A bit off topic (sorry for that) but here’s the link to a very interesting article on the supposed effects of the vax on young(-ish) boys:

    https://www.rintrah.nl/too-many-people-are-dying-and-its-starting-to-worry-the-demographers/

    Apparently there’s a bit of a surge in the death rate emerging in that group in highly vaccinated populations. The author offers some very interesting observations on why that might be. If those observations turn out to be correct, then there is very good reason to ban the mRNA vaxes just on this point alone.

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    • MBS42 Pleased you bought that up.
      It is interesting and that guy expresses it reasonably well.
      I found something similiar last night with those charts,,, but could not take it all in, and not up to being able to describe how that phenomenon tallies up.
      So now trying to find the links that I read.
      If more links, and as others explain it, I may then be better able to understand, 🙂

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    • Not the link I was looking for.
      This brings up many links, on the vaccines.
      Seems to by Steve Kirsch
      Executive Director
      COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund
      .
      https://www.skirsch.com/covid/All.pdf
      .
      Looks like a great resource, and the pdf system even at 129 pages, seems to run very well, where you can then branch out to many good links.
      One of them being
      .
      This means that the unvaccinated account for just 22% of Covid-19 deaths during September 2021, whilst the vaccinated account for a disastrous 78%.
      .
      And don’t even attempt to argue that this is normal because the majority of the adult population have allegedly been vaccinated.
      If this were normal then how do you explain the fact that Covid-19 deaths are over twelve times higher than the same period last year when there wasn’t a Covid-19 vaccine available?
      .
      With only a claimed 95% effectiveness (The latest UKHSA data actually shows the vaccines have a negative efficacy as low as MINUS 66 percent), you would of course expect to still see some Covid-19 deaths.
      But not when seasonality should be on our side, just like it was in 2020 when deaths dropped to nearly zero. …..
      .
      ….But as if having a Covid-19 vaccination programme which is proving to not only not work, but also make the recipients of the jabs much worse, wasn’t bad enough, the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty decided that he wouldn’t accept the decision made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, and overruled them because he clearly wants to kill children.
      .
      Just like he helped to kill the elderly and vulnerable with a blanket policy of Do Not Resuscitate orders being used as an excuse to start end of life care which involved starving and dehydrating the patients whilst overdosing them on a drug called Midazolam, that is known to cause the same symptoms as serious disease due to Covid-19.
      .
      It’s too soon to tell if children have already died due to Chris Whitty’s decision to offer them an experimental leaky Covid-19 injection, but official Office for National Statistics data does show us that teens over the age of 15 have already seen a significant rise in deaths since they started to be given the Covid-19 vaccine. ……

      https://theexpose.uk/2021/10/05/uk-has-fallen-81-percent-covid-deaths-vaccinated-teen-deaths-63-percent-higher/
      .
      One can find Pfizer data as well, and compare interpretations.
      .
      The issue is why the creation of fear, and controlling by terror, that has created a “mob rule” psychosis but even worse than that, so that many things can be debated, censored.
      Not even to be able to look at first & treatment protocols
      It is as if everything has to be censored as of to protect the snowflake mad.
      Just like “Erewhon” by Samuel Butler
      .
      Can we in even small slices, just small bits of info, succinct, out to others.

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