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Sunday, March 29. 2020
Why the stats on Corona keep changing
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The two numbers i think that would be most helpful are excess deaths and active cases. Is the virus killing more people than baseline? How many people have active virus right now and is that going up or down? Total cases tells you nothing about the course since it only goes up and even new cases doesn't tell you how long they are active. Unfortunately the number of fatalities will always be at least somewhat subjective and possibly greatly so depending on local policy and individual discretion.
Florida has a Covid Dashboard which has some of those numbers.
I realize it doesn't give the nationwide numbers but it is helpful.
We have 4,038 cases and 567 people in the hospital. That gives us a 14% hospitalization rate. We have had 56 deaths which gives us a death rate of 1.38. We also have a higher population of over 60 adults, 23%, than most states so our numbers are likely high.
Anyway, my point is that 567 people in the hospitals spread over the whole state probably isn't a particularly unusual load for this time of year. I just read that in Italy only 14% of the CV deaths there had CV has the only issue, all the rest had between 1-3 underlying health problems.
I am interested in only two metrics and nobody seems to report them: number of hospitalizations by locality, and the percentage of hospital beds it represents.
This is, after all, the single point everyone is freaking out about, yet the actual metrics we hear are the ones that drive fear and panic and do little to inform us about the actual issue that we are stopping economic activity to avoid. Hmmm.
This is scope creep on a national scale. Social distancing was sold as a way to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by the initial surge of cases. It's now morphing into the way to 'defeat the bug'. The unspoken expectation is that we won't stop this until cases and deaths attributed to the bug go to zero, which won't happen in any kind of reasonable time frame.
I think there is another explanation for the "scope creep". A lot of the experts and politicians are urging calm and talking about things we can all do to make it better. This is normal for leaders and experts. They want to avoid panic and give hope. So watch more what they do and less of what they say. What they are doing which you describe as scope creep is taking additional actions to limit the spread of this virus. I think that as they learn more about this virus they realize how bad it can/will get. Some ascribe this to the media hype scaring everyone. But by comparison with some other countries our efforts are downright mild and most of those countries don't hear or see our media hype. Take a look at India where the police and authorities are beating people with sticks because they are out on the streets. Is that over reaction or because they know/believe something they haven't shared with the entire population?
Let me say that I do think it is right that our leaders and experts who go on TV everyday to keep us informed try to prevent panic or prevent scaring the crap out of us, so I'm not faulting them. I am merely pointing out the obvious; that if the world were going to end tomorrow and there was nothing we could to to prevent it the leaders would not tell us this and they would try to calm us. Not saying the world will end tomorrow, I'm saying that calming talk is to be expected and does not reflect fact but simply normal human reaction.
There is more evidence coming out that China in their labs combined some DNA from bats with a corona virus strain to create a new and more deadly virus. The speculation is that this new virus escaped the lab somehow and THAT is why we saw such drastic action by the Chinese to control it. And that is also why China MUST lie about the source of the virus and how many were killed. When you think of it in that context it solves so many of the mysteries around this virus.
Our best bet right now is to keep an eye on Italy. A fairly modern and capable health care system and reasonably open government/press so that we will know what is going on. If they get this under control soon that is a good sign. If it continues to cause a high level of deaths, even if it declines from a previous high, that is bad news. Places like NY City, New Orleans and LA are a 10 days to three weeks behind Italy. Italy is the bellwether for the rest of the West. The 3rd world is a totally different environment and is probably not predictive of our outcome or vice versa.
Would you post in a slightly larger font for the benefit of some us who have bad eyes? I love your post and would selfishly like to read it more easily. Thanks!
Press the "CTRL" key and the "+" key at the same time, the font will get bigger.
" the single point everyone is freaking out about"
Nah. It's the latest "freaking" point, as the others haven't quite panned out.
We were supposed to be completely overwhelmed by mid March. Then "late March".
Then "First of April"...
Now it's "weeks"
True disaster is just around the bend! I know we were wrong all those other times but you can trust me on this one!
I don't recall anyone in any sort of responsible position making those predictions. Source those, please.
Sweden death panels:
Sweden's socialized healthcare abandons their citizens and favors their criminal immigrants. Sweden's leaders have been leaders in stupidity for years but with this I think they may just get the Nobel prize for stupidity. But having said this I fear it is actually the Swedish citizens who allowed this and thus deserve it.
P.S. Look for this in our own country. The Swedish model of liberal leadership is alive and well here too.
I too would like to know hospitalizations compared to capacity as well as the disposition of the hospitalized. Thanks for the tip on Florida.
Lies, damned lies and statistics. Often when the story begins by pointing out that lack of good data on how many are infected and it may be more than we think therefore the death rate may be far lower than we believe; it later becomes obvious that they have a dog in the fight and want a specific outcome. Millionaires and billionaires are anxious to end all the quarantines and put everyone back to work AND oh yeah continue to manufacture in China. The young want to end the quarantine and open the bars and bring back the sports. Everyone has a reason to use statistics to make the facts or assumptions look better.
Imagine that thousands of people died suddenly from some identifiable cause and the political leaders and health care workers became concerned, let's say opioids for example. BUT you are a seller of illegal drugs and you don't want your ox gored. So you disparage those who are concerned, pull statistics out of your nether regions that make the numbers not look so bad compared with, say, the Civil War or a nuclear attack. And of course all the drug users dutifully chime in and agree. BUT, it doesn't change the actual numbers one iota.
It's like reporting on the great flood where billions and billions of animals died and saying "yeah, but we saved two of each species". There, that makes it all better.
As of yesterday more people died form the corona virus in two days than the previous 6 weeks. Go ahead; dig out your statistical textbook and make those numbers seem not so bad, I'll wait...
You can't! Because even statistically what it means is we are on an asymptotic curve going up and we don't know yet where it will begin to bend back. I hope it bends back soon. I hope this doesn't mean that we will see another doubling of deaths in a two day period. I hope we can flatten this curve. But my many years of experience and knowledge of math and statistics doesn't encourage me.
The hair on fire journalists are touting the USA as the hot spot since we have the greatest number of confirmed cases. However when considered per capita USA is exceeded in confirmed cases by Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Germany, France and Israel among others. And in exceeded in per capita deaths by Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, UK, Denmark and Sweden, among others. See how you get played? It's as if the size of the population doesn't matter. Data from Worldmeter.
“It’s not the f***ing flu”
So far at least, let’s be glad that it isn’t. How many deaths are attributed to this flu season in the US? 20,000 I believe.
Yes, flu season started sooner. So a better comparison would be coronavirus in March vs flu in say Dec? Anyone know how to find that? I will do some digging...
I just want the truth and an honest discussion about balancing risks, and I’m not seeing much of either that is very helpful.
Some numbers from the CDC for the flu and pneumonia season the last several years: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/weeklyarchives2019-2020/data/NCHSData12.csv
Flu mortality numbers 2017-18 far worse than current combined flu-coronavirus mortality: almost 12,500 deaths from influenza alone in first 12 weeks of 2018 alone. Nobody seemed to care too much back then, about overrunning hospitals or running out of ventilators. Why the difference now?
Final four weeks of 2019: 13,555 deaths from pneumonia, 531 from influenza. Those weeks for the flu timeline seem roughly comparable to March for the conronavirus timeline.
Total deaths from coronavirus nationwide, since January: 784.
I wonder if some of those coronavirus deaths (from worldometers.info) could actually be pneumonia that started with coronavirus, meaning the data is somewhat unreliable and not 100% useful in comparisons.
That’s the whole problem here with coronavirus: noisy statistics. We haven’t done enough testing to know how many people actually have/had this flu — so our estimates on mortality and hospitalization are almost certainly off by a factor of 10 or even 100, to the positive.
Here's the problem with comparing this with annual flu; The flu season begins at the end of Summer and slowly peaks in late Winter. The first Corona virus case in the U.S. was on Jan 20th and it is getting bad quickly and we have no idea when it will peak. It's just getting started. The experts don't expect it to slow down in the Summer. They expect this particular virus to be still with us killing people 18 months from now. And worse this virus mutates easily so they also expect a different version to begin in the next 6-12 months and they will run concurrently. That is you can get covid-19 and survive it but then get the latest mutation of it and the one after that etc.
Experts tell us all kinds of things. You can find experts to tell you anything you want to hear.
My point about the flu was to show the fatality numbers were as bad or worse at a similar point on the timeline. So why the crisis now? It’s a simple question without a good answer.
There is a good answer. It is as simple as this: This virus puts a larger percentage of its victims in the hospital and a larger percentage of them become deathly ill in hours. If we don't self quarantine and flatten the curve the hospitals will be overrun and they will lose all or most of those who become deathly ill because they simply won't be able to give them proper treatment. Additionally the doctors will have to make death panel decisions on who gets the respirator and who gets to die alone in the hallway without treatment. And finally once the hospitals are overrun with covid19 patients they won't be able to take the everyday life threatening patients, like heart attacks, car accidents, etc.
You should read the title of the post again, and pay special attention to the term “denominators” and what that implies for your argument.
As of yesterday more people died form the corona virus in two days than the previous 6 weeks."
Johns Hopkins disagrees, but hey...
the government's top infectious diseases expert warned on Sunday "U.S. deaths from coronavirus could reach 200,000 with millions of cases".
Let me know if Johns Hopkins disagrees with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Is this the same Dr. Anthony Fauci who sent an "I love you" letter to Hillary Clinton? I'm sure he doesn't have any ulterior motives here /sarc
You may have just broken the record for the number of logical fallacies in one sentence.
How to understand — and report — figures for ‘COVID deaths’
It should be noted that there is no international standard method for attributing or recording causes of death. Also, normally, most respiratory deaths never have a specific infective cause recorded, whereas at the moment we can expect all positive COVID-19 results associated with a death to be recorded. Again, this is not splitting hairs. Imagine a population where more and more of us have already had COVID-19, and where every ill and dying patient is tested for the virus. The deaths apparently due to COVID-19, the COVID trajectory, will approach the overall death rate. It would appear that all deaths were caused by COVID-19 — would this be true? No. The severity of the epidemic would be indicated by how many extra deaths (above normal) there were overall.