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  • https://www.realclearmarkets.com/art...te_577391.html


    “We don’t realistically anticipate that we would be moving to either tier 2 or reopening K-12 schools at least until after the election, in early November.”

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    • Comments? Follow the Science! 1.2 Million COVID deaths edition

      outofthecave.io/articles/follow-the-science-1-2-million-covid-deaths-edition/
      October 26, 2020 This post was originally my comment to a person on Facebook, which somebody then deleted. This person repeatedly throws out the 1.2 M deaths worldwide number and I finally lost it and posted a response to him after he scolded people for “spreading disinformation and not listening to science”. He actually told people disputing the Second Wave Hysteria to “shut up and listen to the government and science”.
      As one of my all-time favourite economists, Thomas Sowell, would say…. “Oh dear, where to begin?”
      1 million or 1.2 million deaths worldwide sounds like a big number and on its own you can use it to club “Covidiots” into silence, that is, until you actually look at it.
      For starters, bandying out a number, any number in isolation is meaningless. For any number to have any relevance, to anything, it has to be part of a data set or otherwise part of some meaningful comparison.
      If we take the 1.2 million COVID deaths worldwide, at it’s face (more on that below), the obvious question then becomes “is that good or bad?”
      The most useful signal we can get from a global COVID death toll is how it compares to what is called the “Absolute Fatality Rates” globally, which is simply the rate of all fatalities from all causes.
      Source https://ourworldindata.org/excess-mortality-covid You can pick different countries. Canada was not an option, but most of the curves look the same.

      From the charts, we can clearly see, there was a lot of excess mortality in March and April, and then, like every other meaningful metric around Coronavirus, it drops off drastically and starts to level out, with a slight seasonal rise as we head into the winter.
      Interestingly, in “no lockdown” Sweden, it turns out their absolute death toll is much lower than one would think:
      Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/...ber-of-deaths/

      It could possibly come in lower by the end of the year, but if not, will come in not that much higher. Not as high as, say, the US or England.
      If reducing fatalities is the goal, there is a much easier way to do that

      Sadly, a lot of people die every day, and I’m sure you’ve seen memes on social media on how many more people die from other causes like Tuberculosis (1.4M in 2019) than COVID-19.
      In the US, where the COVID death toll currently sits at 225K, it is estimated that medical malpractice kills 250K Americans a year.
      But an even bigger number, according to the WHO, is that alcohol abuse kills 3 million people annually, and that number will surely go even higher this year given the massive spike in mental illness, domestic violence, child abuse, depression and suicide caused by the lockdowns.
      If this is about saving lives, we could literally bring those alcohol related deaths to zero, turning it off like the flick of a switch by instituting a global ban on alcohol. We could do it tomorrow. Should we? The lives we save may include your own.
      In fact if we banned alcohol then we could let Coronavirus run and still be ahead nearly 2M preventable deaths annually, provided COVID-19 kept going with the same intensity it was going in March and April, which it clearly isn’t (see below).
      Of course, nobody would seriously entertain that, and they could probably articulate some decent logic around why we shouldn’t.
      But they may dismiss it without considering how closely the lockdown approach toward reducing COVID fatalities is analogous to a worldwide ban on alcohol to eliminate alcohol related deaths would be. Especially since we also know that a large portion of coronavirus fatalities die with COVID-19 and numerous other comorbidities* than of it (however, see my footnote on that at the end of this post).
      In that sense, alcohol related carnage is very similar. Few alcoholics drink themselves to death outright. Far more kill themselves (and others) in car accidents, commit suicide, or generally wreck their livers, hearts, kidneys, brains or generally run themselves down so low nearly anything else will finish them off.
      Second Wave Hysteria

      Case counts are clearly rising again globally, that much is true and we have oodles of data to track it. With it, there come fears of the dreaded “Second Wave” of fatalities.
      In the often cited Spanish Flu of 1918, the bulk of the fatalities came in the second wave. However, the Spanish Flu was a very different pandemic than the one we have today. That one attacked people right in the early years of the prime-of-life age curve:
      Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3734171/

      Scientists believe the nature of that strain caused “cytokine storms”, the phenomenon where the immune system overreacts and attacks itself. In a perverse twist of fate, this made the population with the strongest immune systems more vulnerable to the flu.
      Contrast with COVID-19 where nobody disputes that the most vulnerable members of the population are the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions that render them immuno-compromised. In this sense, comparing 1918 to COVID-19 is not accurate or useful.
      Source: https://www.statista.com/chart/20860...y-rate-by-age/

      So, bear this in mind as I put in the graph below of how the Coronavirus Second Wave is playing out when it comes to case counts vs fatalities:

      If we were in for a 1918-style Second Wave fatality overrun, we would see it in the data. As I pointed out in my previous post, the above data comes from the Province of Ontario, but pretty well all graphs from locales undergoing second waves in case counts, look the same. The fatalities are riding the floor (that “spike” in the fatality count was a data correction where they took previously missed data from the proceeding 90 days, and added them all to 2 data points), but the case counts are going up, as are the number of tests.

      Right now the slope of the case count far exceeds the slope of the fatalities.
      For the fatalities to come in anywhere near the Second Wave of 1918 scenario, the slope of the fatality line needs to blast off in a near vertical line right now. In the Ivor Cummins interview he mentioned Dr. Sunetra Gupta’s work indicating that COVID seems to peter out when it hits 20% of the population (but I can’t find the cite). If true, it is hard to envision a scenario where that is mathematically possible.
      If not true, and we’re about to experience a Second Wave of fatalities, it would be impossible to occur without seeing it in the data and right now, all of the data, everywhere is showing either a moderate rise with seasonality, or an aggregate, overall decrease in fatalities.
      It’s also been pointed out that the rationale behind the lockdowns was to prevent the healthcare system from being overrun. Aside from a few notable exceptions in Phase 1, that didn’t happen. If we look at the data now, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen now, either. When I first started posting about the second wave numbers, I pointed out that even the ICU cases line was diverging from the hospitalizations line (right side, below). Right now it looks like the total hospitalizations are lower in Wave 2, then they were in Wave 1, even against a case count exceeding previous highs.
      Source: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/data

      All of this should be good news, but for some reason, people become very upset when you try to walk them through this. I’m open to all logic, data and science based objections or counter-points to where I am wrong on this, bearing in mind that “SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO THE GOVERNMENT AND SCIENCE” isn’t a logical, scientific or data driven counter-argument.
      What to do next.

      I would close out with two additional reading exercises, one, I would go look at The Great Barrington Declaration and if you think they’re approach of focused protection makes sense, sign it. Number two: have a look at the comparison of The Great Barrington Declaration with what’s called “The John Snow Memorandum“.
      If you want to follow my work, and I seem to be covering more about the lockdowns lately, then sign up for the mailing list here, or follow me on Twitter here.
      Footnote on Comorbidities

      (*The number you see bandied around a lot is 94% of all COVID-19 fatalities had comorbidities. This number largely keys off CDC data that only 6% of fatalities list only COVID-19 as a c.o.d. If you look at the CDC data on what the comorbidities are, the biggest one accounting for close to half of all fatalities, especially in the elderly, is pneumonia and influenza. I think it’s inaccurate to just net-out all of those cases and dismiss them as comorbidities because that is one of the most common ways respiratory viruses manifest. But that said, the data, when you consider comorbidities and the looseness with which COVID gets added to c.o.d’s, what all this means is that the headline number for fatalities is the top boundary. They aren’t higher, and they are probably for all practical purposes, lower).

      Mark E. Jeftovic


      Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

      Comment


      • hospitalization rates are rising sharply, deaths should follow in a few weeks. e.g. patients are being air-evaced from idaho to seattle because the local hospitals are overwhelmed. i think i read something similar is going on with netherlands patients evaced to germany. there will always be a series of delays - first cases rise, then hospitalizations, then deaths.

        the case rate may be affected by how much you're testing, so it's the least reliable comparative measure. hospital admissions, otoh, are quite reliable, as are deaths. when we get back to refrigerator trucks outside hospitals because the morgues can't hold the corpses, we can count those too.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by jk View Post
          hospitalization rates are rising sharply, deaths should follow in a few weeks. e.g. patients are being air-evaced from idaho to seattle because the local hospitals are overwhelmed. i think i read something similar is going on with netherlands patients evaced to germany. there will always be a series of delays - first cases rise, then hospitalizations, then deaths.

          the case rate may be affected by how much you're testing, so it's the least reliable comparative measure. hospital admissions, otoh, are quite reliable, as are deaths. when we get back to refrigerator trucks outside hospitals because the morgues can't hold the corpses, we can count those too.
          I tend to agree.

          Covid-19 hits hardest those who are already in bad health. Is Sweden's low death rate, in spite of the fact that they didn't do lockdowns, a reflection of the general good health of the Swedish population? I can't recall ever seeing an obese Swede in a picture.

          OTOH, the U.S. population has an inordinately high rate of obesity, diabetes, heart disease... exascerbated in communities that suffer from poverty. This should be a wakeup call.

          Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

          Comment


          • the poor health of the american people is largely the result of gov't policies, esp. subsidies to the corn industry. the agriculture bill is really a nutrition bill, and the standard american diet [sad] sucks. the fact that it's cheaper for poor people to eat fast food than buy real food is a travesty. obesity, diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease - dietary, and all risk factors for more severe outcomes with covid.

            also, you're wrong if you thing sweden did well with covid. that's misinformation
            https://www.statista.com/statistics/...n-the-nordics/

            sorry i couldn't find per capita data with a quick search and don't want to put more time into it.
            Last edited by jk; 10-27-20, 10:55 PM.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by jk View Post
              the poor health of the american people is largely the result of gov't policies, esp. subsidies to the corn industry. the agriculture bill is really a nutrition bill, and the standard american diet [sad] sucks. the fact that it's cheaper for poor people to eat fast food than buy real food is a travesty. obesity, diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease - dietary, and all risk factors for more severe outcomes with covid.

              also, you're wrong if you thing sweden did well with covid. that's misinformation
              https://www.statista.com/statistics/...n-the-nordics/

              sorry i couldn't find per capita data with a quick search and don't want to put more time into it.
              Those figures don't distinguish between people who would have otherwise lived a long life if it wasn't for covid, or if they already were ailing and about to kick the bucket, covid or no covid. It'd be much better to look at the total death and compare to previous years (and other countries), which will also take into account deaths caused by policy decision (eg. economic downturn from too rigid lockdowns).
              What's much harder to estimate is the long term health effects of Covid on those who survive an infection... we might not know for many years to come.
              engineer with little (or even no) economic insight

              Comment


              • Originally posted by FrankL View Post

                Those figures don't distinguish between people who would have otherwise lived a long life if it wasn't for covid, or if they already were ailing and about to kick the bucket, covid or no covid. It'd be much better to look at the total death and compare to previous years (and other countries), which will also take into account deaths caused by policy decision (eg. economic downturn from too rigid lockdowns).
                What's much harder to estimate is the long term health effects of Covid on those who survive an infection... we might not know for many years to come.
                The high death rate is Sweden in the first round was almost entirely among their elderly who were already ill with co-morbid conditions. The scientist who recommended the "no lockdown" policy conceded that they didn't do enough to protect their elderly and they would do it differently going forward now that they know better. It looks like during this second wave their case count has gone up but deaths have not risen commensurately.

                In the meantime, this is discouraging. Brave man: Professor, 69, risked his life by deliberately catching COVID-19 to test his immune response

                By The Siberian Times reporter 28 October 2020
                Alexander Chepurnov had already recovered once when he re-infected himself in an experiment.


                The virologist experimented with his own health to check how long the body’s immune response lasted after his first bout of COVID-19.
                A former researcher at the Vector Centre of Virology and Biotechnology who currently works at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Chepurnov was first infected at the end of February 2020.

                ‘I was on my way to a skiing holiday from Siberia to France with a stopover in Moscow,’ he said. ‘After getting to the mountains I felt unwell with a high fever and sharp chest pain. My sense of smell has gone, too.’

                It was impossible back then to do a COVID-19 test in Europe, he told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in Novosibirsk.

                He cut the holiday short, returned home to Novosibirsk, and was promptly diagnosed with double pneumonia.

                A month later in March he did a test which showed antibodies to Covid, confirming that he had been infected with the new virus.

                ‘I was the first in my team who had COVID-19,’ he said. ‘We started to follow the way antibodies ‘behaved’, how strong they were, and how long they stayed in the body.

                ‘The observation showed that they were fast to decrease. By the end of the third month from the moment I felt sick the antibodies were no longer detected.’

                The scientist, 68 when he was first hit by COVID-19, said that he wanted to study the probability of getting re-infected.


                Alexander Chepurnov's conclusion is that there will be no collective immunity to coronavirus despite earlier hopes. Picture: Alexander Chepurnov


                To test the strength of his own immune response, Chepurnov deliberately exposed himself to COVID-19-positive patients wearing no protection.

                ‘My body’s defence fell exactly six months after I got the first infection. The first sign was a sore throat. The nasopharyngeal PCR smear immediately showed a positive reaction to COVID-19 on the 27th cycle, and two days later already on the 17th cycle, which corresponds to a high viral titre’, Chepurnov said of the second bout.

                The second illness was more acute, with Chepurnov needing hospitalisation after his saturation fell below 93.

                ‘For five days, my body temperature remained above 39C,’ he said. ‘I lost the sense of smell, my taste perception changed.

                ‘On the sixth day of the illness, the CT scan of the lungs was clear, and three days after the scan the X-ray showed double pneumonia.

                ‘The virus went away rather quickly - after two weeks it was no longer detected in the nasopharyngeal or in other samples.’

                His conclusion is that there will be no collective immunity to coronavirus despite earlier hopes.

                The virus is here to stay for a long while, and while vaccines may give immunity this is likely to be temporary.

                ‘We need a vaccine that can be used multiple times, a recombinant vaccine will not suit,’ he said.

                ‘Once injected with the adenoviral vector-based vaccine we won’t be able to repeat it because the immunity against the adenoviral carrier will keep interfering.’

                His former employer Vector centre is manufacturing Russia's second vaccine which will require a repeat dose.



                Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

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