UPLINK: 2020-05-05 The Failure of R0

Talk about moving the goal posts. This is how the narrative went:

  1. This is no threat carry on
  2. We need herd immunity
  3. Protect the NHS by flattening the curve
  4. R0 value needs to be ?

""Keeping the R down is going to be absolutely vital to our recovery. And we can only do it by our collective discipline and working together." - Boris

What a load of tosh. They are literally just throwing new excuses to keep us locked in our homes. People are waking up to the fact that the mortality rate is just slightly higher than the Flu. So what does the government do? They pick a new metric to scare the people into consent. They even have a dumbed down video to explain the R number to the masses.

This paper highlights some of the challenges of R0

If R 0 is to be used, it must be accompanied by caveats about the method of calculation, underlying model assumptions and evidence that it is actually a threshold. Otherwise, the concept is meaningless.

Furthermore, there are many diseases that can persist with R 0 < 1, while diseases with R 0 > 1 can die out, reducing the utility of the concept as a threshold. R 0 is also used as a measure of eradication for a disease that is endemic, but issues such as backward bifurcations, stochastic effects, and networks of spatial spread mean that an invasion threshold does not necessarily coincide with a persistence threshold. This results in a reduction of the usefulness of R 0. For example, it is possible that a disease can persist in a population when already present but would not be strong enough to invade. Finally, the threshold value that is usually calculated is rarely the average number of secondary infections, diluting the usefulness of this concept even further.

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