Monday, April 20, 2020

UPDATED: Make Of This What You Will

You need to plug in a lot of other numbers to prevent this graph from being an apples to oranges thing. For example:

Total Population

Hospitalization Rates

Case Fatality Rates


UPDATE: Also make of THIS what you will--Most Americans Are Not Going To Be Able To Handle What Lies Ahead:

binging on snack foods;

drinking more than ever;

glued to the tube;

gambling like no tomorrow;

aborting the future.


  1. The differences are driven by the criteria used to get the test in the first place. Here in Tennessee, you just have to present symptoms, and maybe even just claim them. Low positity rate of 7%. In New York and New Jersey, you basically have to be sick enough to be considered for hospitalization, have been in contact with a confirmed case.

    In my opinion, if you use the tests correctly and in the most cost-effective way, your positivity rate should be over 30%.

    1. How does one use the tests correctly. BTW, I read last night that the tests they use in CA are Chinese ones with an 87% effectiveness.

    2. Question mark: How does one use the tests correctly?

    3. COVID-19 has now entered the world of postmodern science, where objective truth either doesn't exist or is a casualty of politics.

      Tests in CA? We have seven ways of dismissing them. We have six other was of validating them. It's climate change all over again.

      Disagree with the narrative? You'll be deplatformed. Or canceled.

      The government now says that if a Medicare patient is classified with a "principal or secondary diagnosis of COVID-19" said hospital will get 15% more money. Where do you think that leads?

      We have big classification issues. How in the heck are we going to get accurate numbers? Story yesterday from Detroit about a 5 y/o who died from COVID-19. How? She had meningitis.

      So, something new: COVID-19 causes meningitis. 60 y/o man in GA who mocked COVID-19 as a hoax, dies from it. This is front page news.

      If I see these stories as deliberately manipulative, I'm an evil person?

      As far as I can tell, the virus disproportionately kills older people, many of them in nursing homes (whole other topic) with significant comorbidity issues and the unhealthy (fat) of all ages.

      Does it kill babies? In a world of 7.5 billion? I'm sure I can find one. Give me some time.

      Question: how would our current hysterical reportage differ from an identical reportage applied to the 1957-58 pandemic? Or the 2018 flu that killed an estimated 60,000 Americans?

      Would there be dead children and teens? Dead healthy middle aged men?

      So now it's totally political. Anyone who questions the absurdities of the lock down--beaches closed, golf courses, etc.--is a science "denier." In NY, though, ground zero, they left the airports open, and cut back on subway runs (so the trains would always be crowded).

      I suppose NY is science in action.

      Speaking as a former electrical engineer, I get a kick out of my Corona Karen left wing neighbors with those "science is real" signs on their lawns. On a good day, they can maybe count to ten.

      I recommend folks look at William Briggs for a statistical analysis. Show me where he's wrong and you get my vote. Yes, he's a 'skeptic.'

    4. Who am I to argue with a Thomist statistician? But ...

      He is a bit slippery, with his repeated use of words like "probably" and "likely". That makes it more difficult to to pin him down.

      His characterization of Covid19 as "a cold" is flippant and unscientific.

      He's making the now favored argument that we must count as a "case" anyone who tests positive, even if asymptomatic. That, of course, lowers the case fatality rate and allows deniers to claim that "it's just a cold."

      OTOH, do we apply that standard to any other virus? I ran with an article by some chemists a few weeks ago in which it was argued that "the dose matters." It was an argument for masking up, but the point was that exposure to the virus in a small amount won't necessarily cause the disease.

      Given the above, I say that equating "tested positive" with "a case" is setting up a straw man. It's the usual Platonic fallacy--which a statitician who reads Aquinas should understand--of constructing a pure concept and imposing it on reality, rather than recognizing that concepts are tools for dealing with reality--not the reality itself.

    5. Here is a better argument for you to run with, IMO:

      If Half the Country’s Deaths Were in Montana, Would New York Shut Down?

      "To most New Yorkers, to leave New York is to leave the center of the world; it is leaving relevance for irrelevance."

      I return to my main point. Trump really had no choice in his policies because of a) what was known about SARS as a health threat and the heightened contagiousness of this version, and b) he had no way to know how this would play out demographically and geographically. Now he has a better handle on things, and he's challenging the governors to deal with reality as we have come to know it rather that remaining stuck with a priori conceptual constructs. IMO, Trump has done what's right policy wise on both accounts.

    6. I don't fault Trump one bit in all of this. He has risen to the occasion. Absolutely.

      I'm at the point where I think DJT was sent to us by God (sort of like Rush L).

      I do wish he would corral the thinking out loud side of his being, and maybe elevate that vocabulary above grade 8.

      I agree that Briggs can be glib. But get past the acerbity, he knows what he's talking about.

      I will check out the link. Thanks.

    7. @Titan 28

      Just wanted to say out loud that I enjoyed very much both of your posts today.

    8. Titan 28,

      I agree with Cassander. I liked your posts, too.

      I think that the Wuhan virus and it's threat are to be taken seriously. But, there are bad actors still using it for nefarious purposes; think the Dems and media.

    9. Thank you both kindly. All the commenters on this blog, Cassander & you (Joe) included, are Zen masters. And then there's Mr. Wauck.

      We're in a fix. But I have unbounded hope in Yankee ingenuity and pluck.

    10. I hope to have a new post shortly that I think will interest you very much.

  2. NY is even worse with a 40% positive rate for tests, and they are doing around 20,000 tests a day. CA is 11% positive daily, with around 15,000 tests a day. US overall is at a 20% positive rate. Good news is overall deaths is going down for the US.

    The problem is there is not enough testing. CDC guidelines I understand is you are only tested if you show symptoms. And the problem is you can have Covid 19, and spread it, without showing symptoms.

    Two studies in CA that may show even more people were infected, about 5% of the population in these two more impacted counties, LA and Santa Clara (my calculation was 3% in the state):

    So the actual mortality rate in California may be .02%

    Good news is per
    infection rate in the two counties I really care about in California are on a downward trend.

    I am not sure how much the stay at home order helped. What was strange was the infection rate kept increasing. My guess was masks were truly effective, along with social distancing. I am curious on how Sweden is doing, compared to other countries. And I would like to know more about what Taiwan has done and what we could learn from it. For some reason the information in English is sparse.

    More questions I have is why is the death rate falling? My guess is due to improved treatments, because the infection positives rate is not falling overall in the US, NY, or CA. I have not looked at other states.

    1. If the rule of thumb for infection is 6 ft./10 minutes, it stands to reason that masks and distancing will help. I suspect that not only improved treatment but more testing for the vulnerable is bringing deaths down--in hospitals and nursing facilities.

    2. Unfortunately the overall amount of testing in the US has not been growing recently, and looks like it's actually be going down.

      My guess is due to lack of reagents and other testing supplies. New test methods will probably change this.

    3. @Ray - SoCal

      You wrote: "I am curious on how Sweden is doing, compared to other countries."

      As you know, Sweden is getting a lot of favorable comment (in some quarters) because they didn't go full lockdown and the spin is that they are doing at least as well as we are health-wise while doing less damage to their economy.

      Unlike Sweden, neighboring Norway and Denmark imposed fairly rigorous lockdowns.

      I am no expert so take the following for what it is: no more than a cut and paste job.

      According to the WHO:

      Sweden (with a population of ~10 million) has 14,385 cases and 1540 deaths.

      Norway (with a population of ~5 million) has 7,068 cases and 154 deaths.

      Denmark (with a population of ~5 million) has 7,384 cases and 355 deaths.

      Seems like the Swedish approach has resulted in similar numbers of cases per capita, but much higher mortality rates per case and per capita than Norway and Denmark.

      Even if Swedish mortality rates seem to compare favorably with some other countries, one has to wonder if some lives would have been saved if they had locked down. Then the question would be: at what cost?

      I would submit that while we know (or think we know) that rigorous lockdowns have saved lives where they have been employed, we do not yet know what price we will have paid...

    4. On the other hand, maybe the Swedes have the right idea.


      I should add I do not necessarily endorse Prof Ben Israel's views. I am simply adding them to the mix of information here.

  3. Mark - Good article about NYC.

    For some reason NYC is doing horrible, and much worse than the rest of the US. For a while they were 50% of all the Coronavirus deaths in the US. Now they are down to only 27%. And since the Media has a huge presence in NY, this slants their coverage.

    SWAG - Reasons for NYC Infection Rate:

    1. Subways, and lack of disinfection
    2. Jewish Orthodox Communities that ignored Social Distancing
    3. Lack of PPE for hospitals and preparation for a pandemic
    4. Closure of local hospitals
    5. Problems in Nursing Homes
    6. Lack of trust in some groups in announcements about Coronavirus. I read some place somebody had a theory that African Americans were immune. This may also explain Detroit. With the idea if they are immune, their is no reason to do social distancing, masks, etc. Except, they are not immune.
    7. Lack of Mask Wearing until very recently
    8. Late closing of community events in NYC

  4. Need a per capita comparison.

    1. The numbers are all over the map, from one country to another, within single countries, etc.

    2. I know. That's the issue as you have noted on several threads.

      That said, with the data we have, we need to meaningfully quantify it so as to make reasonable decisions.

      This is why I have no issues with what has occurred to date, but serious have issues if we continue as is or make more stringent.

      People are not stupid. They may go along and they may be shepherded at times, but they will rise up, as is happening now if it is felt they, we, us, are getting swindled, having to be bankrupt with no real reasoning.

      The data to date is extremely suggestive that our current lock downs are not needed and, with the various, nonsensical, application gives to a very dry tinder box.

      As a municipal cop, not civil service so if I eff up on your civil rights, I am doomed, anyway, it has been unusually quiet on all crime. That is, untill just extremely recently.

      Domestics calls, coordinated burglaries of businesses and vehicles, othet thefts, have now come back in force.

      To make it worse, we have had to enforce vague emergency orders that interpretations changed several times in a day.

      These are the other considerations that were not considered or downplayed due to the gravity of the Chinese Virus.

    3. I think Trump does have his pulse on things, and that was probably a factor in putting this back on the governors--who are, after all, presumably closer to the local situation and are the primary responsible executives. TX should be adjusting very soon from what the news is saying.

    4. Constitutional professor, lawyer, Glenn Reynolds has an USA Today opinion piece in this.

      Note, I have clashed with him on his blog, Instapundit, on negative police posts as TexasDude (fyi, I post on Surber's blog and others as such). I am not banned, yeah!

    5. I think I forgot the Reynolds link ...

  5. I will end with this ...

    Texas has independent school districts that cross city and may, cross county lines. All their property is private.

    I routinely check an elementary school in my area. I routinely see 2, nor more than 3, people in the back on their grounds playing basketball or otherwise enjoying themselves. Sometimes it appears to be friends. Other times, it is parent, child. No one else is around. There are no interaction with anyone else.

    Technically, per EO by county and state, I have the fulll right to stop such actions, aside from the trespass issue, ignoring these people pay taxes to the school districts.

    Heck, I have the right to arrest and any crime committed in this time is enhanced one step higher.

    Yet, I do not. Neither does anyone else in my department. Why? We are human and subject to the same EOs, laws, etc and we are part of the community making our authority and validation subject to the same.

    So, for us to be New Jersey cops or California cops is an affront to our mandate as police and an affront to basic human dignity during this.

    1. By the same token, when I'm out for my daily walk in my bucolic suburb and I see someone wearing a mask, I don't ask them what their problem is, I just wave a friendly greeting.