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COBOL-coding volunteers sought as creaking mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response

The Register - 10 hours 46 min ago
Huge surge in applications for financial assistance show Governor Phil Murphy the ugly side of technical debt

The governor of New Jersey has asked COBOL-capable coders to volunteer their skills as the State’s mainframe computers have struggled to cope with a surge of requests for benefits to help citizens through the coronavirus crisis.…

Categories: Technology News

Covid Policy recommendation from Europe to my friends in the USA

Martin Varsavsky Blog - 11 hours 47 min ago

Lessons from Covid in Europe for my friends in the USA

Policy recommendation:

Lockdown only for those over age 45, then slowly lift the lockdown for those aged 45 to 65. Keep those over 65 in lockdown until treatment or vaccine is developed or most of the population is immunised.

The reasoning:

The first and most relevant data on Covid that my friends in the USA seem to be unaware of is the age group with the highest death rate:  91% of those who died in Europe from Coronavirus were over the age of 65 and 87% were over 70. People under 40, on the other hand, have a mortality rate of less than 1% and are therefore much less likely to die from Coronavirus. In fact, people under 40 have the same chance of dying from Covid than they do of dying from the regular flu.

Secondly, Covid is extremely contagious and one would need to live a life of tremendous isolation in order not to get Covid. The official European data on how many people have been diagnosed with Covid are not accurate and the reality is probably 50 times greater. This would mean that Italy and Spain do not have a combined amount of 250k people who have been been infected with the virus, they actually have millions each. Imperial College estimates that in Spain, a country with as many people as California, 7 million people are infected.

Thirdly, Covid is nowhere near as lethal as people think. When people read published figures, namely that Spain has 125K infected and 12K dead, they conclude that around 10% of those infected die and thus panic over this high mortality rate. However, if the real numbers follow Imperial College predictions, then Covid actually kills 17 people in one thousand or as many people as a bad flu would. The difference being that bad flus kill children too, whereas Covid in Spain has killed just 2 people under the age of 20 and 10 under the age of 30.

So what should the USA do to fight Covid? It should gradually lift the lockdown according to age groups. First, lift the lockdown for those under 45 years of age (without any pre-existing medical conditions). Though those under 45 do get infected, it is extremely rare that someone without pre-existing conditions die from Covid. Especially with the caveat that the very few under 45 who might develop severe cases of Covid would have access to medical care. In order for the health system to be able to provide medical care to this age group not in lockdown, a complete lockdown with food and medical deliveries to all other age groups over 45 (who represent 99% of the fatalities) must be ensured. Younger people who live with people over 45 will have to be homeschooled for another month until the lockdown for those aged 45 to 65 is lifted.

Achieving herd immunity for those under 45 makes sense because of the incredibly low death rates in that group. Next, the question would be, what to do with those aged 45 to 65? These individuals are a key engine to the economy and an age group that does die more frequently from Covid than from the regular flu. In my view, they would have to wait for those younger than them to obtain herd immunity. This 45 to 65 age group would continue lockdown for another month after those under 45 have become immunised. Once this group’s lockdown is lifted, they will find themselves among two groups of people: older ones, who are still in total lockdown, and unable to infect others, and young ones who have become immunised. This 45 to 65 age group will also find an unburdened health care system as those over 65 have not required it for Covid and those under 45 have already been through the worst.

And what should be done with people over 65? This is an unresolved issue. In Spain, the average age of mortal victims is 80. Therefore, a month after those under 65 have been exposed to coronavirus, the lockdown of those between 65 and 75 should also be lifted. Having said this, I don’t see a way for those over 65 to safely leave lockdown until we have a vaccine or effective treatment. In Europe, it is very rare for Covid to kill a healthy, young person. Even though it has happened, it is extremely rare. We don’t know why this occurs: some speculate it is because of certain genetic predispositions, or because of viral load. What we do know is that once infected with Covid, the chance of dying for this age group is the same as your chance of dying in the next 2 years. So for example, if you are 30, the chances of dying from Covid are the same in the weeks after the exposure as the probability of dying between the ages of 30 and 32 for any medical reasons. And that probability is very low. However, if you are 80, the chances of you dying between the ages of 80 and 82 are quite high, and are similar to the ones that Covid patients of that age have. Therefore, there is no safe way to recommend that a 75 year old come into contact with the rest of society openly. Though this same 75 year old could lead a life where an App based system puts her in contact with those who are already immunised. If my recommendation is followed, there will be plenty of immunised people by the time 75 year olds leave lockdown.

Given the lethality of Covid, if our objective is to save the most lives, why not just keep everyone on lockdown indefinitely? Because the economic devastation of staying indefinitely in lockdown will kill many more people than Covid. Health does not only mean not getting Covid, it is also means not dying from everything else that could occur during lockdown: cancer, heart disease, suicides, murders. The only reason to keep everyone in lockdown would be if we believe that a vaccine is around the corner. But that is not the case. We don’t have a vaccine nor do we have an effective treatment for Covid.

I would like to end with some data on the Covid mortality rate, mixing Imperial College estimates of those infected of Covid with data obtained from the Spanish national Health system, Sanidad, regarding Covid deaths by age group. Imperial College estimates that in a country like Spain for every diagnosed case, there are 50 undiagnosed cases of people who have are asymptomatic or whose symptoms were not severe  enough to get tested. This is reasonable because in Spain or Italy your symptom have to be very severe to be tested. In Germany testing is more common and that is why the mortality rate is much lower. Around 10 times more people are diagnosed in Germany than in Italy and Spain, hence the mortality rate of these Southern neighbours is 10%  that of Germany. We can therefore estimate that the mortality of Covid in Spain is insignificant for people under 45 (with a total of 47 dead of that age group which is much less mortality rate than a regular flu). It is also very low for those under 65 (a total of 800 deaths for 7 million infected). And it is quite lethal for those 65 or over (a total of 11,200 deaths out of 7 million).

I imagine that when you read that the USA should now consider a lockdown only of those over 45 and the rest should lead mostly normal lives treating Covid as a normal flu (staying home if they are sick, going to the hospital if needed but otherwise taking their children to schools and going to work) you will think that I am exposing that younger population subgroup to tremendous danger. I do hope that after you read this data, you will agree with me.

https://www.mscbs.gob.es/…/do…/Actualizacion_65_COVID-19.pdf Comments

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Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

Categories: Technology News

Watch: Rare Second World War footage of Bletchley Park-linked MI6 intelligence heroes emerges, shared online

The Register - Sat, 2020-04-04 07:04
A glimpse of life at Whaddon Hall

Vid An astonishingly rare film documenting British intelligence personnel, linked to the code-breakers at Bletchley Park, has been released by the park's trust, offering a glimpse of unsung heroes who helped win the Second World War.…

Categories: Technology News

Not only is Zoom's strong end-to-end encryption not actually end-to-end, its encryption isn't even that strong

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 23:11
Another damning probe into vid-conf software emerges

Zoom has faced increased scrutiny and criticism as its usage soared from 10 million users a day to 200 million in a matter of months, all thanks to coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.…

Categories: Technology News

NSO Group: Facebook tried to license our spyware to snoop on its own addicts – the same spyware it's suing us over

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 21:37
Antisocial network sought surveillance tech to boost its creepy Onavo Protect app, it is claimed

NSO Group – sued by Facebook for developing Pegasus spyware that targeted WhatsApp users – this week claimed Facebook tried to license the very same surveillance software to snoop on its own social-media addicts.…

Categories: Technology News

Oracle teases prospect of playing nicely with open-source Java in update to WebLogic application server

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 21:20
'Low cost of ownership'? This must be an April Fools

Oracle has chosen this week of all weeks to foist on the world an update of its application server WebLogic, festooned with new features addressing Java EE 8, Kubernetes and JSON.…

Categories: Technology News

Things that go crump in the night: Watch Musk's mighty missile go foom

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 20:04
Testing times for SpaceX as another Starship prototype implodes

Video Yet another of SpaceX's Starship prototypes, SN3, was left in pieces last night following tank testing.…

Categories: Technology News

Microsoft brings Mixed Reality toys and other improvements to 'citizen developers' using low-code Power Apps platform

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 19:14
Mobile compatibility issue fixed and working with data in grids made easier

Microsoft has updated its "citizen developer" platform, Power Apps, adding Mixed Reality support, fixing a compatibility issue with the mobile app, and improving options for working with data in grids.…

Categories: Technology News

Where's the best place to add Mentos to Diet Coke for the most foam? How big are the individual bubbles? Has science gone too far?

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 18:02
Science-teaching pair trek high and low to uncover cola geyser secrets

Did you know that the popular Diet Coke and Mentos soda geyser experiment works better at higher altitudes? Or that the average size of the bubbles formed on the scotch mints is about 6μm? Now you do, thanks to the wonders of science and those with a bubbling passion for it.…

Categories: Technology News

ESA missions back doing science after precautionary pandemic plug pull: We talk to space boffins about Mars Express emergency command line

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 16:59
Meanwhile, three-quarters of NASA staff now staying at home

ESA's mission operations centre in Germany has got back to doing interplanetary science after a short stand-down due to COVID-19.…

Categories: Technology News

Motorola casually trots out third UK release in as many months: This time it's a 'Lite' take on the Moto G8 Power

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 15:05
No MWC, no problem

Hello again, Moto. In the past month, the Lenovo-owned mobile maker has announced three new smartphones for the UK market. The latest is the Moto G8 Power Lite, which retails at £149.99, and offers a surprising amount of battery life for your buck.…

Categories: Technology News

Biz software pusher IFS goes a bit Minority Report with augmented-reality repair suite

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 14:15
But it's still playing catch-up with big boys SAP and Oracle

ERP flinger IFS is inflicting more augmented reality on the unsuspecting world of repair and maintenance as it strives to catch up with Oracle and SAP.…

Categories: Technology News

Cabinet Office dangles £15m for help ditching its Single Operating Platform for cloud-based ERP system

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 13:07
Project 'SOP2SaaS'... it just rolls off the tongue

The Cabinet Office is offering a £15m contract for a consultancy to help it shift central government enterprise applications to an as software-as-a-service delivery model, part of an ambitious refresh programme.…

Categories: Technology News

UK judge gives Google a choice: Either let SEO expert read your ranking algos or withdraw High Court evidence

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 11:56
Tough choice for adtech monolith in Foundem case

Google must either show its "crown jewels" to a man it described to the High Court as a search engine optimisation expert or give up parts of its defence in a long-running competition lawsuit, the UK High Court has ruled.…

Categories: Technology News

On the lookout for IT jobs? Hunting for new staffers? <i>Reg</i> readers list vacancies across the globe here

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 11:01
Keep on working

Job Alert Welcome to this week's jobs list, a run down of the vacancies that El Reg is advertising for free to help keep tech people in work.…

Categories: Technology News

Tech services biz Allvotec furloughing staff, asking remainder – including top brass – to take pay cut

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 09:10
CEO talks of measures to combat expected sales slide due to pandemic

Allvotec – the rebranded Daisy Partner Services business – is responding to the coronavirus crisis by furloughing a number of staff and asking all that remain to take a pay cut to avoid potential redundancies.…

Categories: Technology News

Windows spotted flashing its unmentionables in a Chicago clothier

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 08:15
This season's colours are blue, white and bork

Bork!Bork!Bork! Chicago! A town famed for what some might regard as a jumped-up quiche masquerading as pizza and home of the first skyscraper. Could there be a better venue for today's bork?…

Categories: Technology News

Zoom vows to spend next 90 days thinking hard about its security and privacy after rough week, meeting ID war-dialing tool emerges

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 07:42
Passwords-by-default feature may be faulty. But hey, who else just went from 10 to 200 million daily users?

Video-conferencing app maker Zoom has promised to do better at security after a bruising week in which it was found to be unpleasantly leaky in several ways.…

Categories: Technology News

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 07:15
Saving Sales from a self-inflicted dirty deed

On Call Phew, March is over. Everything will be OK now, right? Right? Oh well... join us in nervously welcoming April with another tale from that special breed tasked with answering the phone, even when the subject matter is perhaps less than savoury.…

Categories: Technology News

Cricket’s average-busting mathematician Tony Lewis pulls up stumps

The Register - Fri, 2020-04-03 06:41
University lecturer and half of Duckworth/Lewis passes, aged 78

Eminent British mathematician Tony Lewis has died, aged 78.…

Categories: Technology News


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