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25 June 2020

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Bobo

The recent growth in Covid-19 cases has a lot to do with the re-opening of the country and hitting the younger people more than the older people presently. Now one would expect a re-opening would bring on more cases and there is a cost to that versus the larger cost of shutting down the economy. Hospitalization rates are up but not dramatically and certainly not in proportion to prior percentages of positive cases.
Locally I know the testing has changed from a test saying you either have it or you do not to a test that says you have it, you had it or you do not have it. Thus are we now are seeing higher test positives of individuals who have it or had it which makes the increased numbers not something to be radically concerned about though I will still wear the mask for the benefit of others.

Deap

Anyone who has experienced visiting a full range of "long term care facilities" understands in some/many cases they are warehouses for the drying - and historically such places are not an unknown cultural phenomenon.

In some/many such cases a flu death is a merciful option. A flu death has often been called an "old man's friend". Do we have a national schizophrenia about the very elderly and frail actually dying?

BTW: I sat on a hospital bioethics committee for 20 years. My comments are more than fanciful speculation. California now has officially recognized the potential "dual effect" when administering pain control medications. This was previously only whispered among physicians and families, when used as an informal, but unsanctioned, option to ease and/or accelerate the dying passage.

Now Calif health care directives (living wills) allow the signer to consent to the "dual effect", when upfront pain control medications are requested: admitting the signer understands "their use can hasten the act of dying".

Master Slacker

Well, there is also the case being made that now over half the cases are 35 or so. The American lack of response will thereby have a generation suffering the consequences of long term debility. It's understandable that the US Army will not accept any enlistees that have tested positive for Covid-19. The Virus does not care!

turcopolier

master Slacker

There is debility and then there is serious debility. I have had half a dozen debilitating tropical diseases and somehow managed to serve a full career. Do you have a citation on the army thing?

turcopolier

All

I will say it again! What matters is how many unimpaired people actually DIE of the disease. The media idiots confuse cases with deaths. I just heard some self appointed hero say in Texas that they are now testing everyone in sight in great numbers. Since this virus is widespread and largely or totally asymptomatic why would there not be a great number of identified infections? As for grandma's vulnerability I hope she had a good life. We did.

Fred

Master slacker,

"the consequences of long term debility."

I think we really need to look at the consequences of all those panicked women on depression meds who are driving a great deal of this panic.
"One of the more startling statistics in the report, which analyzed prescription claims data from 2.5 million insured Americans from 2001 to 2010, is that one in four women is dispensed medication for a mental health condition,... "
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/women-and-prescription-drug-use_n_1098023

Deap

Chuba, you need to compare PIC rates to all cause death rates, simply because of the intentionally corrupted and financially beneficial designation of a "with covid" death, suddently becoming a "from covid" death.

That could explain your "jump" in PIC numbers. In other words, what other all cause death rates in fact went down during this same time period.

If there as a major strategic error, albeit initiated in good faith, it was putting a cash bounty on anything labeled a "covid death". This fraud has been exposed now for a long time. Put money on the table, and someone will pick it up.

Yeah, Right

"Since this virus is widespread and largely or totally asymptomatic why would there not be a great number of identified infections?"

It's not just that the total number of tests has gone up - and with it the total number of people infected. It is also a fact that the rate of positive results per tests administered is also going up.

CDC: "The overall percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 increased from week 24 (6.5%) to week 25 (7.6%) nationally, driven by increases in seven regions."

That shouldn't be happening, as during the time that the tests were in short supply then people were only being tested if there was a suspicion that they had come into contact with the virus.

The rate of infection is accelerating, which indicates that the USA is going into a "second wave" without ever fully coming out of the "first wave".

Everyone can shrug their shoulders and say that it doesn't matter, fine, that's your prerogative, but don't pretend that it isn't happening.

Because it most definitely is.

turcopolier

Yeah, right

My WAG is that the population is already widely and deeply infected and that massive testing now being done is merely revealing that.

EEngineer

"My WAG is that the population is already widely and deeply infected and that massive testing now being done is merely revealing that."

Exactly! I'm pretty sure I had CV-19 from 2/26-2/28 (wed-fri). Three days in bed sleeping. It was a mild flu. Just to play it safe I went to the doctor's on March 2nd (mon) to get cleared to go back to work. No test, but I did get a chest xray. Funny, no follow up from them...

Now I did my own back tracking and figure I probably got it at my ex-BIL's place a few weeks before. It slowly worked it's way through his extended family that runs a jeweler store. Only the last case in April was verified with a test. The first was the grandfather way back in December...

Bottom line: Pretty much everyone is going to get it. Most will never know it, some will get sick, a few will die WITH it, and an insignificant number will actually die FROM it.

I spent most of the 2000's designing the electronics for "bio-particle" detectors and I can say with certainty that the only positive effect a mask might have against a virus particle is if it keeps you from chewing your fingernails...

Ken Robert

re: PL: "My WAG is that the population is already widely and deeply infected and that massive testing now being done is merely revealing that."

I tend to agree. JJackson's estimate of 10-20 pct infections is probably right, as he has the expertise. If so, then epidemic is likely not yet at the threshold of 70-85 pct exposed and (temporarily?) immune which will cause natural decline of infections. So there may be a ways to go. The key factor is. if peaking seen, to slow down the arrivals of new serious cases -- ie hospitalization required -- to not overwhelm facilities, staffing, and resources. Selective localized methods of reducing transmission - masks to protect others, hand washing to protect oneself, distancing, vitamins, whatever.

On the stats -- it will be hard times, but not catastrophic. Whether one can take comfort in that outlook (terrible losses but not catastrophe) or not is a matter of personality, I guess. Disputes over attribution of causes of death, is a non-issue. I read recently, in a short history of the Guadalcanal campaign, that combat deaths of US troops were about the same as deaths due to malaria and other jungle factors. One might attribute all deaths to the combat as that was the reason soldiers went there. In the end it does not matter. Best practice is the same -- ensure safety from active threats, and general health via medical and nutrition and so on.

What can we (direct) non-participants do, if no health-care skills? Stay sane, stay disciplined, don't spread gloom, don't spread crazy ideas, and provide support in local individual ways as feasible.

Best wishes,
kr

Mark Logan

I suspect what out politicians are mostly reacting to is what their local ERs and ICUs tell them. Saw in the "news" today the Govs of Texas and Florida reacting, and that their ICUs were filling up. I recall Trump's big turn after seeing the body bags in NYC.

The stats of infection are mostly estimates and extrapolations from the small number of tests available. They are easily, and somewhat correctly, dismissable.

Our for-profit "news" has a habit: Scaring people. Scared people are less likely to channel surf away during commercials. This is how they make their bread and butter in normal times, so much so it's probably fair to say nearly all of the positions have been filled by people who demonstrate strong and reflexive ability in the art. Unfortunate.

Yeah, Right

"My WAG is that the population is already widely and deeply infected and that massive testing now being done is merely revealing that."

And I agree with the statement that massive testing is boosting the number of people who are testing positive, as you would expect.

But that doesn't account for why the rate of infection per test administered is going up.

Remember, you are in a situation *now* where the testing being administered on a more indiscriminate basis versus *earlier* then the only people tested were those who were either already showing symptoms or had been in contact with people who were showing symptoms i.e. authorities already had some inkling that the person may test positive.

I would expect the NUMBER of infections to go way up, but the RATIO of positive results per test administered to go down.

That is not what the testing is showing.

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