Thoughts on economics and liberty

Category: Science

Do you know of an expert mathematician who can volunteer to help?

Sharing this email I sent out to a moment ago one of the best mathematicians in the world, with copy to those who are well connected to both the UK and US administrations. If anyone of you know of expert mathematicians who can volunteer to form part of a modelling team, that would be appreciated. We want to give the world a chance to succeed.
Currently, we are seeing the worst possible option being adopted globally (with the exception of Taiwan, Malta and possibly Singapore and Hong Kong).
Write to me at if you know anyone capable of drilling into the pandemic models.

Dear Steve

This is an urgent request to seek the application of your immense mathematical prowess to pandemic models.
From what I have gathered (see these models do not distinguish between the individuals who are at the “receiving end” of a virus.

I also don’t think anyone in the pandemic modelling industry has the slightest clue about the costs and benefits of various options. They have therefore uniformly recommended the option that will decimate the entire world. ( )

I have asked Neil Fergusen the following – but there’s no guarantee he’ll either see this or act on it:
I have written three articles on this issue already:
When thinking of those with the skillset to test these pandemic models I thought of you, given your superb work on the hockey stick. I, too, have the mathematical training (although slightly rusty now) to get my hands dirty, but have no time to spare at present. I’m not sure how you are placed with time, but if you could spare a few days for this, that would be immensely helpful.
In this regard I requested India’s senior-most bureaucrat (my “batchmate” from the Indian civil service) to get Indian modellers on the job, but he has not responded. I don’t think they have anyone sensible in India, else they’d not have imposed the total lockdown.

I’m also copying a few others in the hope that they may have some thoughts on how someone can assemble a strong mathematical team to look at whether these models can be relied upon.

Ideally, the Trump administration should get involved in this – given Trump is the only man who has expressed reservations about an endless lockdown.

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What lies behind the pandemic models that are being used to inform policy?

I’m persuaded that the underlying modelling of pandemics is massively defective. A number of sensible options are not considered. I’ll comment more on that later. But for now, a few links to what these models actually do.

These are essentially S-I-R models, as explained below. This is a placeholder post.


COVID-19 dynamics with SIR model

Modeling Disease Spread and Control

The Scientist Whose Doomsday Pandemic Model Predicted Armageddon Just Walked Back The Apocalyptic Predictions

Prudent public health intervention strategies to control the coronavirus disease 2019 transmission in India: A mathematical model-based approach
COVID-19: Impact on health of people & wealth of nations


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Proof that masks work against coronavirus

Compiling the knowledge I’ve acquired so far:

Yes, N95 masks DO minimise the chance of getting the virus. Taiwan had planned and got itself fully prepared even as the virus had barely started. They were on the front foot and started mass production. By end February they were producing 4 million masks per day. Now 10 million per day. Plus 120 other actions.

ADDENDUM It remains true that “if people don’t wash their hands before taking off a mask, “you could increase your risk”. Washing hands before putting it on is important, and likewise after washing, since some virus might transmit from the mask to the hands. Hand sanitisers are therefore a crucial part of the mask toolkit.


Claim: ‘Face masks don’t work’

Wearing a face mask is certainly not an iron-clad guarantee that you won’t get sick – viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks. However, masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is a main transmission route of coronavirus, and some studies have estimated a roughly fivefold protection versus no barrier alone (although others have found lower levels of effectiveness).

If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others. So masks are crucial for health and social care workers looking after patients and are also recommended for family members who need to care for someone who is ill – ideally both the patient and carer should have a mask.

However, masks will probably make little difference if you’re just walking around town or taking a bus so there is no need to bulk-buy a huge supply.


The high rate of infection may be blamed, in part, on inadequate hand disinfection and sparse use of N95 respirators, which are designed to filter out virus particles, according to a study posted Feb. 19 on the preprint server medRxiv.


“commonly worn surgical masks are not effective protection”. “A heavy-duty mask, called an N95 respirator, is considerably better protection, but it is uncomfortable and can make breathing more difficult, the radio network said.”


“Masks known as N95 respirators guard against the virus, but only if used properly. Other masks don’t filter out small particles harboring the bug.”


N95 masks offer more protection. But they only work if they fit properly, and aren’t suitable for children or people with facial hair


“Doctors at the largest public hospital in New York say equipment shortages have resulted in them wearing the same masks for as long as a week. [This means that despite concerns, they can be re-used in emergency situations]



Guess what? Life is normal in Taiwan and everyone, including toddlers, are wearing masks."the government banned the…

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, 25 March 2020


This is official Taiwan advice on prevention. See under the "prevention of disease" tab at

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, 25 March 2020

From Containing coronavirus: lessons from Asia – Financial Times 16 March 2020

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, 25 March 2020


MASKS WORK"In late January, shortly after Japan’s first infection of a person who had not been to China, hand…

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, 25 March 2020

And Japan has the same requirement to wear masksFrom Containing coronavirus: lessons from Asia – Financial Times 16…

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, 25 March 2020


Koreans also wear masks.From Containing coronavirus: lessons from Asia – Financial Times 16 March…

Posted by Sanjeev Sabhlok on Wednesday, 25 March 2020


Jo Nova’s Masks do help, even (maybe) stopping 75% of influenza, and you can make them





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