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Thursday, May 21. 2020
Was the COVID-19 event the biggest medical blunder of modern times? Maybe it was.
What if Dr. Fauci was correct in the beginning, when he declared a nasty flu?
The Personalization of Disease
Yesterday, a post by a fellow commentator addressed whether anyone would listen to epidemiologists again. This, in itself, is not a controversial question. There is a range of opinions, even among epidemiologists, on how to deal with viral outbreaks
Weblog: Maggie's Farm
Tracked: May 22, 13:15
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Here at Maggie's we considered it to be a media- socio-political event from the beginning.
We may turn out to have been correct.
By the end of today or tomorrow, 100,000 Americans will have died from the virus since March 4. It's just a number right?
I'd like to hear you explain to someone who lost a family member to the virus what constitutes a "media- socio-political event."
Start with me.
One thing is for sure: whatever happens in NYC should no longer be considered a style guide for the rest of the U.S.
71K deaths up to this point, per the CDC . A lower limit, of course.
The genuine tragedy of folks losing their lives to the virus does not change the fact that the models were inaccurate to the point of being worthless: They predicted things that did not happen. And significant actions were taken based on those predictions, actions whose consequences were far easier to predict. There's no "participation trophy" for mathematical modeling.
Actually the epidemiologists were totally right. The lockdown efforts across the U.S. "flattened the curve" and suppressed the virus by a significant amount, which was the hope of the epidemiologists in recommending them. The question is how big the second spike will be now that those efforts are being largely abandoned in a number of places.
The article's claims about Sweden are false. The virus has been raging in Sweden, Its own medical advisers who advised to go with the "herd immunity" approach now call the situation "horrifying."
Sweden's Coronavirus Death Toll 'Horrifying' Says Scientist Behind Country's Anti-Lockdown Strategy
We're only at the beginning of this.
And we too lost someone to this, in our case my wife's aunt in New York City when the pandemic was at its peak there.
Initial predictions, if I remember correctly, of 240,000 dead were based on a do-nothing response model where hospital resources were overrun by the rapid spread of the disease. This fear was fueled in part by news reports out of Italy and Spain where hospitals were triaging patients and the entire health care system were reported as near collapse.
Correct me if I'm wrong on the numbers.
The fact is that whether or not the models were accurate or not, I suspect the measures taken based on the best advice available at the time will be found to be both effective in some instances and excessive in others. And by excessive I mean in a cost/benefit economic analysis, not as the ridiculous constitutional claims being made recently.
Scott Adams's column about risk assessment quoted here a day or two ago is a very good read. Response to this pandemic is medical, political, economic and personal all at the same time and no one group should be crafting the response. As world renown epidemiologist JRR Tolkien said,"[a]dvice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill."
But ... describing a situation where 100,000 have died in a matter of months as a "media- socio-political event" is grossly callous.
Would it be better if that family member died of the flu? Pneumonia? An automobile accident?
What makes the coronavirus so special?
Approximately 8,000 Americans die every day. Multiply that by your three months and it's approximately 720,000 people. Last I checked, that's considerably more than 100,000.
Again - if the coronavirus isn't a media- socio-politicial event - what exactly is it?
And the fact you consider legitimate Constitutional concerns 'ridiculous' says a lot about you. And none of it good.
" The lockdown efforts across the U.S. "flattened the curve" and suppressed the virus by a significant amount"
No. It didn't. It simply delayed it. Why people like you continue to insist the numbers were accurate - and the responses proper - when you've repeatedly been shown to be wrong is a mystery to me.
And you're going to have to do a helluva lot better than linking to Newsweek to make your argument.
You haven't been to a funeral lately, have you?
Go ahead, keep digging your shit hole deeper. People like you are unfucking believable.
Initial predictions, if I remember correctly, of 240,000 dead
Initial projections for COVID deaths if nothing was done was 2.2M (https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf).
But ... describing a situation where 100,000 have died in a matter of months as a "media- socio-political event" is grossly callous.
IMHO, the press and politicians are what made it a "media- socio-political event." In spite of early and sustained action by Trump to provide hospital beds, ventilators, and PPE, the Democrats and press (one arm of the other) claimed he did nothing. What the virus was called became a political/social issue where for the first time in my memory. Up till now, it was common to name a disease after the area it came from but for some reason this, became racist and xenophobic. Prospective treatments became political footballs. Andrew Cuomo alternately blamed Trump for inaction and praised him for swift action and now blames Trump and the CDC for his decision to put COVID patients back into nursing homes in spite of the fact there were plenty of beds for them.
While the initial lockdown may have been in good faith, reopening up the economy is politically controversial along Republican/Democratic lines. First we were "flattening the curve" and now some governors say that life can't go back to normal without a cure.
Virtually every aspect of this situation was politicized.
Comparing the political/social/medical response to the Wuhan virus and the Hong Kong flu (which in 1968 killed a similar number) would be an interesting experiment. Why don't you try it and let us know if one was treated more as a "media- socio-political event" than the other.
Actually - some of us have been to funerals lately. One was for a 50 year old female friend who died from cancer; another of a 96 year old relative who died of something in the car on the way to the emergency room; another was a friend’s mother who died from COPd if anything at 86 over night. Grief is difficult for any death. Sanctimony gets in the way of sharing it tho..... Do you ever consider that you might be wrong?
According to worldometer, Sweden, which remained largely open, has smaller per capita death count than the UK, Spain, Italy, and Belgium, all of which locked down. It also had fewer deaths per capita than the states, NY, NJ, Conn, Mass, DC, LA, RI, Del, MD.
Also, in NY 66% of the COVID deaths came from people who were following stay-at-home orders.
I'd evidence that lockdowns are effective are at best inconclusive.
You're on to us! Yes, everyone here wants your grandparents to die! /sarc
Here is what is wrong with articles like this:
"New York City reached over a 25% infection rate and yet 99.98% of all people in the city under 45 survived,"
The virus hasn't finished with NY City yet. It hasn't finished with any city, any state, any country yet. And we read a statement like this that implies we know the final result and it ain't so bad. We don't know yet how bad it will be. It most certainly will be a lot worse than the 99.98% wishful thinking guess. It is going to continue to kill people. AND it is now known that even the survivors suffer serious long term effects from it. At the least from a story that pretends to provide facts I would expect "facts" and not propaganda.
Humans have short attention spans. It is difficult for them to deal with things that happen over a long period of time. This problem is made worse by confirmation bias. This virus is a slow motion disaster.
The Imperial model was hot garbage that couldn't put out the same answer twice with the same starting conditions.
So they averaged the outputs of multiple runs instead of figuring out where the problem was.
Computers aren't magic. The old phrase 'garbage in, garbage out' still applies, no matter how much the 'experts' want to pretend otherwise.
Will anyone ever listen to epidemiologists again? Some will but substantially fewer than before.
The group of elites who stepped on a rake in public recently just grew bigger.
The credibility of our expert class is being torched right in front of our eyes and I’m over here popping popcorn.
“couldn't put out the same answer twice with the same starting conditions”
Can’t you just smell the science? Mmm mmm good.
Faulty computer medical modeling=bad and fearful policy prescriptions = great sacrifice by many people=disillusionment as goal posts shifted=more sacrifice by many people= more disillusionment and mistrust of fearful politicians and fearful medical directors= Never Believe them again.
Thank you for this. Conservatives have lost their minds, over-reacting to the shutdown at least as much as there has been over-reaction to the illness. I have been in favor of more opening up for a long time, but the arguments people put forward here have been, and continue to be ridiculous.
These are additional deaths, jimg, this is not over, there is likelihood of a resurgence or re-emergence, there is already evidence of mutations, all adding to the total. If it becomes yearly we will just have to deal with extra death every year, but that doesn't make it a media-social-political event. It's still death, plus disability for an unknown but clearly not insignificant additional group of people who recovered, but are damaged. Sweden is not doing well, it is 6th-worst in the world (although the countries like China that are lying may be worse) and will soon become 5th-worst, far worse than all its comparable Scandinavian neighbors. But somehow waving one's hands and saying "herd immunity," which few here actually understand, makes that go away.
When disagreed with, people here have quickly become insulting, accusing others of being cowards, of being timid, of being sheep, and of being fascists. I have expressed little opinion about the virus or what we should do throughout, confining myself to pointing out errors in logic, misreporting of facts, and unnecessary insult and motive-reading. Commenters and posters have nonetheless gotten worse, not better on those three points. It's getting worse here. People are digging in harder and listening less.
Inaccurate reports about previous illnesses have also been popular. People believe what they want, apparently. Contrary information is simply ignored, not answered.
One-off flawed studies are held out as proofs, shot down, and held aloft again by the next man up, completely unfazed. It's like whack-a-mole. Yes, liberals have been terrible and insulting, and some governments have gone overboard and overreacted - to a disease we knew nothing about, had killed many in other countries, and was arriving with little warning. Even people here were shocked at Trump's initial shutdown, because they didn't see it coming, hadn't paid attention, and didn't know what might be best. I know. I was here. People are already misremembering what they knew and when they knew it. It's like watching Ionesco's "Rhinoceros."
I admit, coming from sensibly -run place like New Hampshire may
In short, conservatives have adopted the arguing tactics of liberals on this topic. People here are angrier at other Americans than they are at China - or at least, that is where all their emotional energy is going these days. Must be fun. This is why I left liberalism in the 1980's.
I have yet to read one person here back off one iota and say "okay, maybe I shouldn't have said it that way," or "You're right, that particular study wasn't as strong as it looked at first." There may be some, but i haven't seen them.
Finishing that paragraph on NH
I admit, coming from sensibly -run place like New Hampshire may bias me. If I came from Michigan I might be more tolerant of people losing their senses over this. There are very good points to be made that safety rather than essentiality should have been more prominent in decision-making. Democrats have been posturing, unfair, and made things worse. Granted.
It's not just people in nursing homes. Health workers are dying and becoming disabled. If you can't even remember to politely mention that, then you aren't thinking clearly.
An unusually acrimonious debate on Maggie's Farm. Healthy, I think. If the draconian, to the economy, measures to flatten the curve, indeed flattened the curve, the number of deaths and illnesses (under the curve) would not necessarily change, except perhaps there would be fewer deaths (because medical personnel, equipment and facilities would be less overwhelmed). So, if we flattened the curve successfully, as it seems we have, let's then move to the next step; get back to work, and recover from this morass of confusion. There's no reason to stop a second wave, at the continued expense of livelihoods, when we so well endured the first wave. This is a pandemic, people will die, people have died, that's inevitable. The question is, how much do we want to sacrifice our children and grandchildren's well being because someone might get sick? It seems we're very cowardly and thinking only of our welfare (not that much at risk), and not of those living on the margins, who will never recover. Bottom line: this event is trivial compared to the Spanish Flu. Once you understand that life is fatal, it's easier to buckle up and move on with dispatch. "Let's roll."
"It hasn't finished with any city, any state, any country yet."
But according to Worldometer, yesterday there were 67 countries/territories with no new cases to report and 133 with no new deaths.
I can't embed a link to Worldometer for some reason
But tell me why you believe all these deaths are a joke or the virus is a political stunt. I'm really curious about the way you people (don't) think.
I'm not defending the Imperial model. I only state that the original estimate was not 240,000 dead but 2.2M.
It's worse than "garbage in garbage out" since the computer model makes assumptions about variables that it can't accurately consider so those assumptions would have to be correct - and many of them probably weren't. In addition, since there were certainly lots of assumptions and simplifications, those can compound creating an even more inaccurate result.
So do you believe people WON'T get this virus as long as we keep the country shut down. I don't think that is true. The virus will spread and anyone who by chance/luck avoided getting it because of the shutdown will eventually get it. The actual opportunity to effectively quarantine in a way that would stop the virus was probably some time in December. If China had been honest from the get go we maybe could have done that. Maybe not too.
But on the other side of this coin people are in deep shit right now. Business owners are going belly up. Jobs are going away. Mortgages and rents won't be paid. And all of these things will multiply over time like a snowball going down hill. It may already be too late to stop the country from sliding into a depression. What about that side of the argument? Doesn't that matter to you, especially since most everyone is going to get it anyway and those who are most at risk may well die anyway. It's not as though the shut down is going to STOP it.
I am expecting violence... soon. It may be small things at first but with the long hot summer coming and food shortages and all the other crap associated with the shutdown I think we will see riots. I think that the police departments that went around arresting and fining people will suffer a long term loss of faith/confidence. The acted improperly to honest citizens and they did it eagerly and quickly almost as though they were enjoying it. Some of our citizens in some cities have had Hong Kong like confrontations with the police. Why? Because some governor was drunk on power???
This isn't going to end well and our best hope for it to end as merely a disaster is to open up the country without limitations. Those who are worried can stay home. Everyone else can try to salvage their life if that is even possible. Frankly if I read in the news tomorrow that half a dozen governors were dragged out of their mansions and hung I think I would just shrug and mutter "karma"...
You don't know shit about constitutional issues and couldn't frame one if your life depended it.
ProTip: you don't have an inalienable rig, even under your version of Muh Constitushon, to infect anyone. Space commies from mars making you wear a mask? Grow up.
What model(s) will you follow, assuming you're in an executive position charged with control of an epidemic, when the next novel xVirus appear?
Some countries are flat out lying to cover their ass. China still reports no new deaths.
Some countries have no idea what people are dying from, African countries for example. Half of the South American countries are hiding their death rates and the other half may be reporting what they know but they know little. Most of the Muslim countries still believe that this is Allah's will and he is only killing non-muslims.
Take a snapshot of the world meter page today and check it again in 30 days. I'm telling you this is moving along, stuttering in some places and going faster in others but sooner or later it will hit every location on earth and it will take it's toll.
As an aside, Sweden is also following the pattern of having the vast majority of deaths occurring in the elderly population.
According to the numbers at Statista, a full 95% of the deaths are among those 60 and over, 88% 70 and over, 65% 80 and over and 25% 90 and over.
Certainly no doubt that China has been lying about this since the beginning and their numbers are absolutely not to be trusted. Countries like Bermuda, Monaco, Iceland, Jamaica, Lichtenstein, Japan, New Zealand, Austria and Slovenia, to name a few, are probably more reliable in their reporting. You're the one making the claim that this is "moving along", so get back to us in 30 days with a report.
I'd like to say that I wouldn't pay attention to any model because they are all terribly flawed, but the truth is that if I were the president and two esteemed epidemiologists came into my office waving the results of a model that said 2.2 M Americans could be expected to die unless we did something drastic, I'd probably do just what Trump and a lot of governors did.
However, after the smoke started to clear and we were assured that the disease was only a factor in a well defined population (the compromised and/or elderly), that overall it wasn't as deadly as expected, and that our hospitals were not getting overrun that I would call for governors to concentrate their efforts on saving the elderly and compromised and open up the rest of the private sector.
Keeping communities and economies locked down it counter productive. We're going to end up with the carnage of the Wuhan virus AND poverty. If it continues too long, it will have a worse effect on the economy than the sub-prime mortgage crisis did. In addition, the hollowing out of the middle class will accelerate and that will have political consequences that will probably not be pleasant. The longer this goes on the harder it will be to recover from it
Epidemiologists have the exact same problem now that climate scientists have: unvetted and unverifiable computer models. The whole concept is flawed, these are computer games, essentially.
Believing them is an act of faith, not science.
Not that it matters, I think it'll be at least 2 more days before 100,000 is broken.
I guess humility must come hard for you when you never have to worry about being wrong.
Maybe this will help: Where did anybody say the virus was a political stunt or a joke?
People dying is never a joke and nobody said it was a political stunt, but the reaction from the media and the Democrats (is there really a difference?) to the virus was certainly political. Trump was a racist and a xenophobe when he shut down travel between China and the US (now worry about potential deaths there!). Trump was a racist again for calling it the Chinese virus but the people calling him a racist had nothing to say about the fact that while China shut down travel to and from Wuhan within China, they allowed international travel to and from Wuhan (is that racist?). And then when it was clear that it was serious and Trump was trying to supply governors with medical equipment and PPE that they should have stockpiled and extra hospital beds, the same people who called him a racist said he wasn't doing enough. That's for starters.
I don't think many, if any, people think the coronavirus itself is a "media- socio-political event". It would probably be better phrased and more defensible to say "The reaction to the coronavirus is a media- socio-political event".
Does that number include the "suspected" Covid deaths that are being counted...with no testing or other evidence...along with the verified Covid deaths?
Once the started to inflate the numbers with phony ones their accuracy went bye-bye.
So in other words, because Republicans want to reduce federal spending and decrease the bureaucracy, they therefor hate children and want them to starve to death.
We have heard this argument before. It's been applied to almost every subject of public discourse for generations.
Yup and everyone that can should be getting outside and encouraged to do so.
There was a coordinated push by many to make us believe that there was false reporting. I do not know if there was inflated Covid numbers but I do know there was inflated pushing to make us believe that there were inflated covid numbers. Makes me doubt their story. I also know that states decided not to report Covid deaths so perhaps it is worse than the stats claim. Either way, time will tell.
And now there's the coordinated push to make us believe that the doctors admitting that was what they were doing was just a coordinated push...
I'm really sorry you lost someone to this disease. But you're not making an argument, you're lashing out in pain. I don't even know what you want to convince us of.
It is difficult for me to understand what your point is. You keep stating this data and implying that we should be doing something about it. But you don't actually make an argument for any course of action. Do you have a point to this statement or are you just complaining?
You have our sympathy for your loss. No one has said the coronavirus deaths are a joke. What is concerning many of us are stories like this:
Suicides outnumber Corona deaths in Bay Area
We are also concerned about the long-term effect the lockdown has on our healthcare system and the inevitable deaths caused by lack of access to a healthcare provider.
UW Medicine, the source of the widely-used disease model, has been forced to furlough 1500 staff members because of the ongoing lockdown in Seattle.
There's a good rundown here on the effect of the lockdown on our healthcare system: Wuhan Coronavirus Lockdowns Continue to Decimate U.S. Healthcare System
This has to be taken into account when considering our response to this pandemic.
Happy too since I already did it. On March 3rd when the U.S. deaths were 5927 I predicted right here on MF that by August they would have passed 150,000 deaths. No one believed that, (I think you stuck your foot in your mouth then too). At this moment the total Covid deaths in the U.S. is 97,184. We still have the rest of May all of June and July to get through. Looks like the naysayers were wrong.
Actually, I don't think you get to claim you were correct about predicting an event that hasn't happened yet. And right now Worldometer has projected 142,000 total deaths as of Aug 1. We can all hope that Worldometer predictions are as pessimistic and overstated as they have always been.
Next time, we need to ask the profession that knows most about viral epidemics- the veterinary profession, particularly the branch that deals with farm animals which are often kept in very crowded conditions. Call COVID-19 a virus? Now, African Swine Fever-that's a virus! (I have to confess my professional bias!)
ASF is a clear example of how it is impossible to prevent a highly contagious virus that effects a large, dense population from running its course. ASF is so extreme in its mortality and morbidity (a real case of the living envying the dead) that the only way to stop it is to slaughter all the potential hosts that have even a remote possibility of being infected. The alternative to this radical programme is effective porcine extinction. What would the experts say in the face of a similarly deadly human virus? It wouldn't surprise me if they started a slaughter policy-Cuomo seems to be experimenting on a proto-type.
This virus is going to run its course no matter what. Those criticising the figures in Sweden aren't taking into account that the Swedes have sped up their epidemic and are effectively running their first, second and perhaps third waves together. They'll be laughing at everyone else in a year's time.