Who is InProportion2 ?
I am a concerned citizen from the UK who has had a varied career in a number of occupations, most recently in information technology, working with data and numbers. I am neither a scientist nor medic.
Why did you make this web site?
From the start of the current COVID-19 crisis it seemed to me that the media was sensationalising the issues. Headlines like "Death tolls soar" featured in wall-to-wall coverage that failed to put data in an appropriate context. Graphics with dangerous looking blobs advancing across maps, and sinister curves accelerating skywards, seemed to be designed to frighten rather than inform. Fear of course does sell and stimulate.
This media irresponsibility was combined with a lot of basic confusion or lack of awareness around:
Testing: Who is being tested? Who is not? How reliable are the tests? Have people died because of the virus or with it? How different is this from a "normal" coronavirus or a "normal" year?
The computer models that have so influenced government policy and especially their limitations
Economic, health and social costs - and deaths that will result from the quarantines and shutdowns
Risks to civil liberties as authorities see it their job to control and coordinate all of us
The data on the spread of the virus and its lethality is complex and often unreliable. Interpretation is difficult and subject to controversy and confusion. On the other hand, we have very good and uncontroversial data on how many people die in the UK, including how many die from flu or pneumonia. By comparing these statistics with the number of deaths associated with COVID-19 we can get an objective, simple and reliable indication on the overall seriousness of the problem.
This approach is very focussed and ignores many aspects of the problem, but it should be viewed as a useful part of the overall puzzle. Despite this, the media rarely places COVID-19 data in the context of the normal mortality data for a typical year. So here is my contribution.
Since I started this site, many others have joined in a huge effort to make sense of what is going on in 2020. Collaboration has been facilitated by twitter and has involved amateurs such as myself, as well as experts and professionals and I know may will agree it has been an enormous learning process. Many different people with different backgrounds, abilities and interests have had had useful contributions to make in what can be considered an unprecedented example of "open source" research and journalism.
Why should I trust your information?
You shouldn't. Be sceptical and think for yourself - check information and calculations yourself, when you can. Before Covid came along, I had no particular knowledge about viruses and the way they spread, so it was a great honour when Michael Levitt, a nobel prize winning Professor from Stanford University who is a leading Covid researcher, described one of my articles as a must read.
Follow the links on the right of this page and check the data yourself. Make sure to read beyond the mainstream news outlets to get a balanced view. I recommend OffGuardian for alternative views and analysis, and "A Swiss Doctor on COVID-19" for the science; both have onward links to many other good information sources.
For mainstream news in the UK, the Daily Telegraph is doing far better coverage of covid than any of its rivals.
How can I contact you?
DM me on Twitter
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds;
it will be seen that they go mad in herds,
while they only recover their senses slowly,
and one by one."