Climate Science meets Coronascience

A paywalled article from the UK Independent is available at MSN: “Tube ‘low risk’ for catching Covid, study finds”. The authors followed people who rode London’s mass transit system and compared them to those who didn’t, testing the study and control groups periodically for COVID-19? Not exactly.

The joint study by Leeds University, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and Manchester University found that the risk of commuters contracting the virus on underground train carriages – previously feared to be a “super spreader” environment – was “likely to be quite low”.

A team of science and engineering researchers built a computer-generated simulator based on a Tube-like carriage to demonstrate how the virus might spread from passenger to passenger.

The Transmission of Virus in Carriages model (TVC) simulated the risk of catching the virus from airborne particles, when standing two metres from other passengers, and after touching contaminated surfaces.

Using the tool to track the journey of the virus, researchers found that there was a “small chance of transmission” from ”touching a contaminated surface” and that this could be mitigated by frequent handwashing and passengers avoiding touching their face – validating the government’s “hands, face, space” messaging from 2020.

The government-funded and government-employed researchers validated the government’s action…


7 thoughts on “Climate Science meets Coronascience

  1. Interesting that I can smell a smoker not only 10 meters away in the same carriage, but often in the next carriage with the door closed (this was in the dark ages when smoking was still allowed).

    But I suppose that COVID particles are some form of a hybrid between droplets (Science 2020) and aerosols (Science 2022) that have special behavior.

    The climate-science-by-computer-modeling comparison is funny. It is easy to find hate speech by the Washington Post that denies accurate predictions more than 10 days in the future:

    • Anon: The original post was supposed to be fun, but of course the deepest problem with using climate models to say what the Earth’s temperature will be in 2040 or 2050 is that there is no way for anyone to know what technologies will be available in 2040 or 2050, e.g., to vacuum CO2 out of the atmosphere or to shade the Earth from the Sun. See for 2016 thinking on the latter scheme. Note that the 2016 numbers are already obsolete due to technological improvements. The BBC in 2016 said that it cost $10,000 per kg to launch into orbit. shows that the Falcon Heavy is at about $1,500 and the forthcoming SpaceX Starship will be closer to $200 per kg. (can that be maintained when $200 is the price of a Diet Coke?)

      Note that Blue Origin was supposedly going to be even cheaper since its engines can run on LNG. But maybe SpaceX’s evolutionary approach will end up winning, in the same way that battery-electric cars have beaten the hydrogen-powered vehicles that were supposedly a better idea from an engineering point of view.

  2. I think what is going on in the UK with rules relaxation has a simple explanation: BJ is trying to keep his job.

    • I have no doubt that phone calls have been exchanged with “leaders” in the US as well.

      “We’ve gone too far and people are losing their fear. Now they’ll turn on us, so we have to spin this around and declare victory ASAP.”

    • “It’s a shame we couldn’t carry it on a little longer and drive it farther…”

      “Yes but now we know a great deal more. We always knew about the virus, the masks and the vaccines. We had the best information about those things from the beginning.”

      “Right, but we didn’t know how much we could do to leverage them.”

      “Agreed. Who are going to reframe this? We’ve got several really good people. Let us know if you need some help. Osterholm is fantastic from a technocratic point of view but he’s not very telegenic. He explains too much. You need someone a little slicker….”

    • “Have we agreed that the truckers are Nazis?”

      “I think we have to, don’t you?”

      “Well, everyone knows Nazis are Evil. And White Supremacists too, so let’s make sure MSNBC underscores that. Just a fringe group of truckers, too. Extremists. Not the vaccinated majority of them.”

      “Of course. They’re terrorizing people with Nazism and spreading the plague while damaging commerce and trade.”

      “We can take that in a lot of directions….”

      “I’m glad we agree. I’ll call you in the morning, I have two calls from NPR and one from Germany coming in.”

  3. > The government-funded and government-employed researchers validated the government’s action…

    It’s becoming more and more difficult to do independent science, just as it’s becoming harder to get an independent used car inspection. And if you do get one – watch out! – you might have to turn around and call them a fringe group and a bunch of Great Barringtors! If you agree with the study results, a great deal depends on the *time you choose* to cite them. For example, they may have been right 14 months ago, but at that time they were dangerous, incompetent interlopers. The good thing is that most people don’t have very good memories for this kind of thing – practically none at all, truth to tell – so at some point those findings might be useful! The #Science has to match the #Frame and the #Narrative at the right TIME of your choosing, not theirs.

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