Thursday, April 2, 2020

UPDATED: Correlations: We're Learning More

It's not just that we're learning more. It's that, armed with knowledge, we may have a better idea of what to expect from this pandemic.

The top correlation appears to be obesity--and here Michael Osterholm gets another Hearty Handshake and Pat on the Back. When Covid19 was just beginning to be a thing in the US Osterholm did a long interview with Joe Rogan, which I linked. One of the things that jumped out at me was that when Rogan pointed out that the very high smoking rate among Chinese men appeared to be a factor in Wuhan, Osterholm demurred. He agreed that smoking was a major contributory factor to mortality for Covid19, and he noted the big discrepancy in mortality among Chinese men and women (who tend very much not to smoke). However, he maintained that the obesity problem in the US would have much the same effect when Covid19 started to spread, because the effects of obesity tend to mimic those of smoking. Obesity leads to a compromised immune system through the diseases that it fosters. So here we are. This is a sadly chopped up interview, but you'll get the main points. Good news: Chloroquine+ therapy works. Bad news: Don't be fat. [I've swapped out the earlier short version of this Youtube video for the full length one, in which we learn that doctors have been using Hydroxychloroquine prophylactically since mid-March, and the infectious disease who has been using it on patients with super success finishes by telling Laura: This is the beginning of the end of the pandemic.]

This new information gets to the heart of what interested me in the NYC stats. Those stats tended strongly to show that Black and Hispanic neighborhoods were getting hit very hard. Not exclusively, because Williamsburg and two zipcodes on Staten Island were also heavily hit. Williamsburg, of course, is heavily Satmar Hasidic and the Staten Island neighborhoods are heavily Italian--ethnicities known for 'closeness.'

The reason I focused on Black and Hispanic neighborhoods had to do with these two sets of numbers that I assembled this morning:

The rates of diagnosed diabetes in adults by race/ethnic background are:
  • 7.5% of non-Hispanic whites
  • 9.2% of Asian Americans
  • 12.5% of Hispanics
  • 11.7% of non-Hispanic blacks
  • 14.7% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives
Generally speaking, diabetes can be considered a proxy for obesity. That's a generalization, yes, but it does work, as the next set of numbers on obesity tends to show:

Combined data for 2015 through 2017 allowed for assessment by major racial/ethnic categories and found that
non-Hispanic black adults (38.4%) 
Hispanic adults (32.6%)
non-Hispanic white adults (28.6%).

You can see from this why yesterday there were officially expressed concerns about the spread to Middle American urban areas. Detroit and Chicago have been near the top of the lists from early on, but now there are signs that places like Cleveland and St. Louis may have outbreaks.

Now, for you Californians, Steve Sailer has a must read blog today about the Los Angeles area--again using zipcodes to lead to neighborhoods and thus to ethnicities: CV Stats by Los Angeles County Neighborhood: Elites Hardest Hit. While Sailer leads with the elites, he doesn't stop there. The numbers don't entirely reflect New York, but there are similarities. Here are some highlights:

The basic pattern is that the rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 correlates positively with real estate prices.
These are largely white neighborhoods in the general vicinity of the Hollywood Hills. The residents probably get invited to an above average number of parties, premiers, and meet and greets ...

I noted a few days ago the surprising number of cases in my area in the most affluent suburbs.

At the bottom of the list are a bunch of dumpy Latino neighborhoods, ...
Black neighborhoods like Ladera Heights, Leimert Park, and Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw appear to be rather hard hit. ... 
Affluent Chinese suburbs like Arcadia, San Marino, and Monterey Park are below the median rate. The small Chinatown in downtown L.A. has only 2 cases and ranks only 118th out of 189th worst. Also mostly passed over is Koreatown, which is just east of hard-hit Hancock Park. Koreatown is 145th worst of 189. 
The gayest neighborhood, West Hollywood, ranks #7. 

Can you say: Immuno-compromised?

Most of the top of the list neighborhoods are fairly Jewish. Los Angeles doesn’t have a lot of ultra-orthodox Jews, a group that has been hard hit in the New York area. ...

There are some similarities to NYC--Black neighborhoods are hard hit, but Asian and Chinese neighborhoods not that much.

Sailer concludes with these pertinent observations, especially re social customs and testing in California. Testing is an area that Ray - SoCal has been all over:

A horrible pattern has been that this disease tends to get spread by each group’s more admirable and sociable customs: Italians go visit their grandparents, Germanics go skiing, Presbyterians go to choir practice, Jews go out to lunch with old friends. In contrast, the nationality with the worst trend toward loneliness and holing up in their rooms, the Japanese, seem to be doing the best in this crisis. 
The table below suggests that so far this has largely been a disease spread by elites. 
Keep in mind that California is lagging almost every other state in the union in percentage of population tested, so who knows whether these stats reflect actual infection rates or ability to pull strings to get tested.

UPDATE: More correlations and confirmations--Why is New Orleans' coronavirus death rate seven times New York's? Obesity is a factor.

New Orleans residents suffer from obesity, diabetes and hypertension at rates higher than the national average, conditions that doctors and public health officials say can make patients more vulnerable to COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. 
Some 97% of those killed by COVID-19 in Louisiana had a preexisting condition, according to the state health department. Diabetes was seen in 40% of the deaths, obesity in 25%, chronic kidney disease in 23% and cardiac problems in 21%. 

These health problems are heavily diet related.

New Orleans, which so far has reported more than 270 coronavirus deaths, could be a harbinger for the potential toll the pandemic could take in other parts of the South and Midwest that also have high rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

We've all heard that Covid19 tends to spread in families, intimate groupings? Read this:

Hospitals are reporting cases across the generations -mothers and daughters, fathers and sons - being intubated and cared for in the same intensive care units (ICUs), ... The prevalence of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease in New Orleans and Louisiana plays into that, she said.
Those family members often suffered from the same medical conditions before becoming sick, leaving them similarly vulnerable to the coronavirus despite their age gaps.


  1. Great post - Now I need to find time to read the links..

    Another article that may explain why NYC is in such bad shape:

    1. From that link:
      "New York City’s dense grid, its cramped public transportation, and large foreign population put it at risk, but it was an ideological contempt for objective science by identity politics radicals that left it naked."

      Yet bet. And this contrasts NYC with Singapore, which has only a fraction of NYC's cases, and zero deaths, probably largely because it lacks NYC's PC culture.

  2. Masks actually help! It's more about helping other people, by stopping the spread.

    It was stupid for the US Government and so called Experts to lecture the US on masks not working. So short sited, even if done with good intentions due to the mask shortage.

    Lots of Links:

    Czech Republic used DIY Masks, and have flattened the curve.
    They went from a 65% daily increase, to 6%

    LA Mayor is now Pro Mask:
    LA mayor urges Angelenos to wear homemade masks while coronavirus outbreak continues Daily News

    Washington Post:
    Masks for all could help stop coronavirus

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb On Masks - Great Chart!

    Website that has more information:
    Masks 4 All/

    Interesting that WHO and the US Surgeon General said stop buying masks... The reason in the US was a shortage of Masks. Bad decision, they should have gone with pushing home made masks. Think of how much this would have helped the US economy, sigh.

    "Stop Buying Masks"..? Oh Wait! CDC Considers Asking Public To Wear Face Masks - Zero Hedge

    I live in Rowland Heights, a Chinese Suburb in LA County, so I see a lot of Masks being worn. It's been interesting to see the spread of mask wearing, by non Asians.

  3. Smoking is more prevalent in lower incomes in the US:

    Be interesting to get a map of smoking % by NY Borough.

    Reminds me of Eric Garner, 400 lbs, asthma, diabetes, sleep apnea, was selling Loosies (single Cigarettes) in NYC when he died during an arrest.

  4. It has just been announced that as soon as today the Trump administration may recommend the wearing of cloth masks (not N95s) when Americans go to such places as the grocery store and drug store, per the CDC’s changed recommendation. This is based upon the finding that many persons seem to be carrying the disease but displaying no symptoms.

    When we drove in a while ago, after a brief errand that did not involve public contact, our nice young Chinese neighbor was corraling her youngest child and called out to us, asking if we needed masks. A sweet gesture, it also told us that the Chinese in our community, who now represent 60% of our population and many of whom have been seen wearing masks for ages when they hit the shops, must keep a supply of them…

    1. I can't find the quote now but somebody said that when all is said and done about this pandemic, the biggest mistake that will become apparent was telling people not to wear masks. That was simply unscientific twaddle.

      My wife and I mask up when we go to the store--maybe 3x a week. And we wear nitrile gloves at the same time. Why would the idiot bureaucrats tell people not to protect themselves and others, as all the science shows these simple measures do. Might not stop the virus in its tracks, but would surely have helped.

    2. Why are people still allowed to fly out of NY?

    3. Because it's only the rich people in NYC who have someplace to fly out to? Just guesssing.