Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Enough WuFlu for You? Part I - The State of the Pandemic and Testing

While a wait for a break in the rain to let the dog drag me around the neighborhood, it's time to deal with all the WuFlu links collected since the last major dump. In fact, it's well past time, and I'll have to break the post into a few pieces, yet to to be fully determined.

Despite the media and the Biden campaign's (but I repeat myself) best effort to flog the WuFlu as the issue to take down Donald Trump, the virus is clearly on it's way down in the United States, and is likely to become less and less of campaign issue. UPI, U.S. COVID-19 cases under 35K for first time in 2 months, and that's a little dates.PJ Media, Covid 19 Tracker. For those who would rather see the numbers   A commenter at Althouse has been providing a daily spreadsheet of national WuFly data, available here. Yesterday, the number was 22k. Politico both whines and hopes Falling Covid-19 cases create opportunity and peril for Trump. James G. Robertson at AmThink, The Covid-19 Pandemic is Ending. WSJ, A Virus Progress Report:
We hate to be the bearer of good news, but here goes: The so-called second virus wave is receding and has been far less deadly than the first in the spring thanks to better therapies and government preparation. Nobody is suggesting we should now let it rip, but the progress should give Americans more confidence that schools and businesses can reopen safely.

I&I has Five COVID-19 Charts Democrats Can’t Let You Know About. Express UK, Get on with your lives! Professor says as coronavirus 'not as deadly as first thought' Case fatality rate 0.3%. A bad flu season that disproportionately affects the elderly. At WUWT, Steve McIntyre explains how Covid-19 CFR and IFR Confused. You have to know how many people are infected. We don't. Science Alert, By March, The US Counted 1,500 COVID-19 Cases. Scientists Say We'd Missed 100,000 More. UPI, CDC: Nearly 30% of health workers with COVID-19 didn't know they had it. I'm honestly surprised it's not higher.

New Scientist, Covid-19 is becoming less deadly in Europe but we don't know why. Da Beast, The Mystery of Europe’s Less Deadly Coronavirus Second Wave Younger people with better immune systems, previous exposure to other viruses, better treatment. This is true in the US as well. Don't limit yourself to one reason when several may be in effect. Stump: Mortality with Meep: U.S. Excess Deaths Related to Covid Update to August 27, 2020.
To be nasty, I’m going to take the top 5 geographies in this set by total excess deaths:
 And yet, New York under Cuomo has been lauded as the right way, and Texas and Florida, under Republican governors have been excoriated for doing it the wrong way.
In any case, don’t feel particularly bad if you don’t have a good grasp of the shape of mortality from COVID. You don’t have a good grasp of the shape of mortality in normal times, unless you’re an actuary/demographer/statistician who deals with this stuff a lot.

I happen to enjoy thinking about mortality patterns, but most people do not. You don’t need to feel bad about it. For all this survey blather, this is telling me something I already knew: people have a really bad feel for their own mortality (and longevity) risks.
. . .
Yes, I’m an actuary, but this is a blog post. This is not an actuarial report to a paying client.

Mail Online, Up to 90 per cent of people diagnosed with coronavirus may not be carrying enough of it to infect anyone else, study finds as experts say tests are too sensitive. PCR works by repeatedly unzipping and copying the DNA, doubling it on each sample. Each doubling risks adding error, or amplifying the DNA from remains of asymptomatic infections that have been already been handled by the immune system. WUWT, Covid-19 Testing 1,000-times Too Sensitive? Bronson Stocking at Town Hall, Oops: It Looks Like the Vast Majority of Positive COVID Results Should Have Been Negative. Incidentally, this would raise the CFR, but leave the IFR down at basement rates. But at Hot Air, never-Trumper AllahPundit whined CDC Changes Guidance To Limit Testing Of Asymptomatic COVID Carriers — After Alleged Pressure From “The Top”. And from Sci-Am, ‘Instant Coffee’ COVID-19 Tests Could Be the Answer to Reopening the U.S.
Here’s the key: What is more important than a perfect test is one that turns positive during the time period in which an individual can spread the virus to others—and that’s, purportedly, what these cheap tests do well. Generally, disease transmission in COVID-19 is believed to begin early—several days before one becomes symptomatic. Viral load levels peak early and then they gradually decline, with an individual unlikely to be infectious approximately eight to 10 days after showing symptoms.
Of course, mistakes keep happening, Shelby County woman who passed away 6 months ago gets letter saying she is COVID-19 positive "She died in February but the test supposedly took place in June." Well, nobody knows better than me that data are rarely perfect.

And studies show that only about 6% of WuFlu fatalities occurred in the absence of the know co-morbidities:
Or as Willis at WUWT puts it, CDC Insights  and STUNNING: @CDCgov update on #COVID19 – US Deaths overestimated by 17 times. I rarely disagree with Willis, but I do believe this is an exaggeration, most of the people would not have died at that time without WuFlu, but for many, perhaps most, a long healthy remaining life was not in the cards.

Da Sun, As migrant crab pickers suffered from coronavirus on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, one worried about her future
It wasn’t so much the headache or stuffy nose that worried Martha Olivares Garcia when she joined dozens of other Mexican crab pickers who got COVID-19 this summer while laboring on the Eastern Shore.

Rather — in a job characterized by tedious work — it was the alienation she felt from co-workers and the fear that she might not get invited back next year under a visa program she relies on to sustain her family in Veracruz, Mexico.

“Why me?” asked Garcia, 65, who makes between $10 and $11 an hour helping set up equipment for mask-wearing colleagues as they crack shells with tiny knives and pile the meat into plastic containers. “I didn’t ask to get sick.”
Does anyone?
About 50 crab pickers tested positive in July, Dorchester County Health Department spokesperson Angela Grove said in response to questions from The Baltimore Sun.

There were outbreaks — defined as five or more cases in a two-week period — at two plants, said Grove, who declined to identify the facilities. No one died and one person was treated in a hospital, she said.

But migrant worker advocates remain concerned for the continued safety of the laborers, mostly women, who typically stay in Maryland until November.
I guess I'm not surprised that the crab plants, like the meat packing plant have become hot spots, but I don't see that as an immigrant issue. Sounds more like summer colds.

 Coronavirus: Heart and lung damage 'can repair itself'. Good news, but not surprising.
Coronavirus patients can suffer long-term lung and heart damage but for many this tends to improve over time, a study suggests.

Researchers in the Tyrolean region of Austria recruited coronavirus patients who had been admitted to hospital, and at the European Respiratory Society International Congress today they reported on the first 86 patients enrolled between April 29 and June 9.

The patients were scheduled to return for evaluation six, 12 and 24 weeks after being discharged.

On their first visit, more than half had at least one persistent symptom, predominantly breathlessness and coughing, and CT scans still showed lung damage in 88% of patients.

But by the time of their next visit, 12 weeks after discharge, the symptoms had improved, and lung damage was reduced to 56%.
And this differs from ordinary colds and flus how? I always seem to cough for a few weeks after one.

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