Tuesday, May 26, 2020

WuFlu in the News

A number of interesting item have been piling up in my browser. From Matt Vespa at Town Hall Does This CDC Study Deliver the Knockout Blow in the COVID Lockdown Debate? CDC lowers estimate of US case fatality rate to about 0.3% or less, worse than the annual flu, but not all that much. And we killed the economy for it.
Also, and most importantly, what’s the real mortality rate? That alone is the silver bullet. Forget the masks, standing six feet apart, etc. if it’s just like the flu, open everything back up now, not piecemeal. It’s not necessary. And the Center for Disease Control and Prevention doled out a study (via Conservative Review):
Most people are more likely to wind up six feet under because of almost anything else under the sun other than COVID-19.
The CDC just came out with a report that should be earth-shattering to the narrative of the political class, yet it will go into the thick pile of vital data and information about the virus that is not getting out to the public. For the first time, the CDC has attempted to offer a real estimate of the overall death rate for COVID-19, and under its most likely scenario, the number is 0.26%. Officials estimate a 0.4% fatality rate among those who are symptomatic and project a 35% rate of asymptomatic cases among those infected, which drops the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) to just 0.26% — almost exactly where Stanford researchers pegged it a month ago.
Until now, we have been ridiculed for thinking the death rate was that low, as opposed to the 3.4% estimate of the World Health Organization, which helped drive the panic and the lockdowns. Now the CDC is agreeing to the lower rate in plain ink.
Plus, ultimately we might find out that the IFR is even lower because numerous studies and hard counts of confined populations have shown a much higher percentage of asymptomatic cases. Simply adjusting for a 50% asymptomatic rate would drop their fatality rate to 0.2% – exactly the rate of fatality Dr. John Ionnidis of Stanford University projected.
Some of you have been sharing and voicing skepticism over the numbers and the policies that have been born from them. What can I say? Maybe I overreacted. To those who were right, keep spreading the word. Yet, I‘M also certain that the political class wouldn’t have acted differently. A pandemic going around when registered Democrats are in office is just inviting disaster, as we’ve seen in New York. Actually, that’s not quite fair.
Lack of available people infected with WuFlu limiting testing for British vaccine: Low virus rate leaves Oxford vaccine trial with 'only 50% chance'
An Oxford University vaccine trial has only a 50 per cent chance of success because coronavirus is fading so rapidly in Britain, a project co-leader has warned.

The warning comes as new data reveals that there are now 224 vaccines in development around the world - almost double the total of just a month ago.

Professor Adrian Hill said an upcoming Oxford vaccine trial, involving 10,000 volunteers, threatened to return "no result" because of low transmission of COVID-19 in the community.
. . .
"It is a race, yes. But it's not a race against the other guys. It's a race against the virus disappearing, and against time," he said. "At the moment, there's a 50 per cent chance that we get no result at all."

Hill said that of 10,000 people recruited to test the vaccine in the coming weeks — some of whom will be given a placebo — he expected fewer than 50 people to catch the virus. If fewer than 20 test positive, then the results might be useless, he warned.

"We're in the bizarre position of wanting COVID to stay, at least for a little while. But cases are declining."
Meanwhile, WaPoo continues to wishcast for a surge of the pandemic in rural areas.  A deadly ‘checkerboard’: Covid-19’s new surge across rural America. Sure, there have been a few hot spots in rural areas,  but their own data continue to show that overall, cases are lower in rural area, and not growing  fast.

Click to expand. Note that while large cities (think New York area) and their suburbs are in decline, down to about 0.5 deaths per 100,000 people, small towns and rural area are apparently running steady at half that rate.

And Politico catches Democrats rooting against a quick rebound of the economy: The general election scenario that Democrats are dreading
In early April, Jason Furman, a top economist in the Obama administration and now a professor at Harvard, was speaking via Zoom to a large bipartisan group of top officials from both parties. The economy had just been shut down, unemployment was spiking and some policymakers were predicting an era worse than the Great Depression. The economic carnage seemed likely to doom President Donald Trump’s chances at reelection.

Furman, tapped to give the opening presentation, looked into his screen of poorly lit boxes of frightened wonks and made a startling claim.

“We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he said.

The former Cabinet secretaries and Federal Reserve chairs in the Zoom boxes were confused, though some of the Republicans may have been newly relieved and some of the Democrats suddenly concerned.

“Everyone looked puzzled and thought I had misspoken,” Furman said in an interview. Instead of forecasting a prolonged Depression-level economic catastrophe, Furman laid out a detailed case for why the months preceding the November election could offer Trump the chance to brag — truthfully — about the most explosive monthly employment numbers and gross domestic product growth ever.

Since the Zoom call, Furman has been making the same case to anyone who will listen, especially the close-knit network of Democratic wonks who have traversed the Clinton and Obama administrations together, including top members of the Biden campaign.

Furman’s counterintuitive pitch has caused some Democrats, especially Obama alumni, around Washington to panic. “This is my big worry,” said a former Obama White House official who is still close to the former president. Asked about the level of concern among top party officials, he said, “It’s high — high, high, high, high.”

And top policy officials on the Biden campaign are preparing for a fall economic debate that might look very different than the one predicted at the start of the pandemic in March. “They are very much aware of this,” said an informal adviser.

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