An aspiring computer scientist's musings on technology and society.

Chaos and Epidemics

Australian conservative politician Craig Kelly's tweet seem to have gone semi-viral in certain online spaces. He cites higher COVID case numbers after the vaccination program began to denounce the efficacy of vaccination.

We are Being Conned

The disparity is so obviously caused by changes in the availability of COVID tests in UK over time. That being said, even if the 100% of the population was tested every week with a perfect test, large oscillations are normal. From the book Chaos: Making a New Science written in 1991:

In epidemiology, for example, it was well known that epidemics tend to come in cycles, regular or irregular......[May] wondered what would happen if such a system received a sudden kick—a perturbation of the kind that might correspond to a program of inoculation. Naïve intuition suggests that the system will change smoothly in the desired direction. But actually, May found, huge oscillations are likely to begin. Even if the long-term trend was turned solidly downward, the path to a new equilibrium would be interrupted by surprising peaks. In fact, in data from real programs, such as a campaign to wipe out rubella in Britain, doctors had seen oscillations just like those predicted by May’s model. Yet any health official, seeing a sharp short-term rise in rubella or gonorrhea, would assume that the inoculation program had failed.

In short, large fluctuations in case numbers is a fully expected result of inoculation (vaccination) programs. This phenomenon is both predicted by mathematical models and demonstrated with real-world data.

You'd wish career politicians who had 30 years to read a classic book on modeling complex systems like societies should have read it already.