Day 62: COVID-19 “Shelter-in-Place”

 

Today’s Worldometer.com screengrab is sorted by active cases. I think active cases rather than total cases is a better sort because total cases do not reflect the current and future challenge. And it is the current and future challenge that we need to be focused on. And we cannot assess our current strategies without context and perspective. How are we like Italy and Spain that bookend the USA on the list? How are we different? Are our critical cases fewer only based on time? Is our capacity to handle the number of critical cases seen in Italy and Spain better, worse or about the same?

The President is pulling out pretty much all the stops to deploy medical supplies and therapies to the problem. The Defense Production Act is an awesome power (and expensive) to command commercial entities to work on critical supplies and materials. The Air Force has been flying in test kits and other materials from anywhere in the world they are available.

At the same time, the Governors are closing down states for business. And it is this latter strategy that is now the focus of question of whether the “cure is worse than the disease?”

Both @drbastiat and I posted a link yesterday to Aaron Ginn’s article Evidence Over Hysteria. The website where it originally appeared, Medium, has taken it down. ZeroHedge has now published it. There is controversy over the accuracy of Ginn’s claims. But there is no controversy, in my view, over the questions he raises. As is typical, some of the most interesting information related to any post is found in the comments by Ricochet members. I encourage you to go to that post and read the commentary: Evidence over hysteria — COVID-19 [Updated][More Update].

I should also point out a second article (brought to my attention by @staugustine): A Doctor’s Assessment of the COVID-19 Outbreak. It is authored by Dr. Joel M. Zinberg, an associate clinical professor of surgery at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York. Dr. Zinberg raises similar issues to those by Aaron Ginn: Are we doing more harm than good? Politicians are amateur sociologists, not research scientists. They react to the moods of the people and their own private predilections. The moods of the people are stirred by media reports that sensationalize threats. Certain politicians never let a crisis go to waste. Is it coincidental that the states taking the most extreme and authoritarian measures are led by progressives?

@jameslileks in a comment on the Ginn article summed it up pretty well:

The disconnect between “it’s going to kill fast swaths of the population and crash the health care system” and “it’s not the Satan Bug and the stats give us good reason to hope” is so wide and profound you do not know what to think. We’re all Jack Nicholson slapping Faye Dunaway here.

I do not get a gut-grip over the number of cases increasing, if that’s a result of increased testing. I watch the mortality stats. Likelihood of contraction from asymptomatic carriers, length of time between infection and manifestation of symptoms, and likelihood of how many infected will have anything other than a crappy fortnight of aches and weariness – that’s what I want to know.

Just so.

(Yes, I know that quoting James likely makes this post ineligible for “post of the day.” He is too self-effacing to designate it thus and make quoting him appear to be a strategy to gain that honor.)

[Note: Links to all my COVID-19 posts can be found here.]

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 47 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    What I find very alarming is that 2/3rds of the resolutions so far have been in fatalities. There are twice as many dead than there are recovered. This has to be a statistical glitch of some sort right? I keep hearing that the mortality rate is going down but is this true? It takes 2 weeks to die from this. Of the folks that were diagnosed more than a week ago, most of those have died. I think the number that folks seem to be ignoring is the “recovered” column. Are we just not keeping that number up to date? I guess we’ll know soon enough. If the 2/3rds trend continues, we’ll see hundreds die tomorrow and the next few days and thousands per day by the end of the week.

    • #31
  2. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    What I find very alarming is that 2/3rds of the resolutions so far have been in fatalities. There are twice as many dead than there are recovered. This has to be a statistical glitch of some sort right? I keep hearing that the mortality rate is going down but is this true? It takes 2 weeks to die from this. Of the folks that were diagnosed more than a week ago, most of those have died. I think the number that folks seem to be ignoring is the “recovered” column. Are we just not keeping that number up to date? I guess we’ll know soon enough. If the 2/3rds trend continues, we’ll see hundreds die tomorrow and the next few days and thousands per day by the end of the week.

    Ryan,

    I don’t think it’s that bleak.

    I’m not at all convinced that we have a reliable methodology for reporting recovered cases. And, as I’ve posted elsewhere, the death rate is a trailing indicator of old, out-of-date practices: it’s almost certainly not reflective of current standards of social separation.

    I will be surprised if the death rate is not beginning to slow by the end of this week.

    • #32
  3. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    What I find very alarming is that 2/3rds of the resolutions so far have been in fatalities. There are twice as many dead than there are recovered. This has to be a statistical glitch of some sort right? I keep hearing that the mortality rate is going down but is this true? It takes 2 weeks to die from this. Of the folks that were diagnosed more than a week ago, most of those have died. I think the number that folks seem to be ignoring is the “recovered” column. Are we just not keeping that number up to date? I guess we’ll know soon enough. If the 2/3rds trend continues, we’ll see hundreds die tomorrow and the next few days and thousands per day by the end of the week.

    Ryan,

    I don’t think it’s that bleak.

    I’m not at all convinced that we have a reliable methodology for reporting recovered cases. And, as I’ve posted elsewhere, the death rate is a trailing indicator of old, out-of-date practices: it’s almost certainly not reflective of current standards of social separation.

    I will be surprised if the death rate is not beginning to slow by the end of this week.

    I suspect a couple of things are happening. First, when a patient dies, that is the end of that case, and it isn’t like the patient would have been pronounced recovered that day, except for the death, it may have taken a week or more to recover. Second, if a negative test is needed to claim recovery, after those with no symptoms and no risk factors, someone with the disease is not the place you would want to use a limited resource. 

    • #33
  4. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    What I find very alarming is that 2/3rds of the resolutions so far have been in fatalities. There are twice as many dead than there are recovered. This has to be a statistical glitch of some sort right? I keep hearing that the mortality rate is going down but is this true? It takes 2 weeks to die from this. Of the folks that were diagnosed more than a week ago, most of those have died. I think the number that folks seem to be ignoring is the “recovered” column. Are we just not keeping that number up to date? I guess we’ll know soon enough. If the 2/3rds trend continues, we’ll see hundreds die tomorrow and the next few days and thousands per day by the end of the week.

    Ryan,

    I don’t think it’s that bleak.

    I’m not at all convinced that we have a reliable methodology for reporting recovered cases. And, as I’ve posted elsewhere, the death rate is a trailing indicator of old, out-of-date practices: it’s almost certainly not reflective of current standards of social separation.

    I will be surprised if the death rate is not beginning to slow by the end of this week.

    I suspect a couple of things are happening. First, when a patient dies, that is the end of that case, and it isn’t like the patient would have been pronounced recovered that day, except for the death, it may have taken a week or more to recover. Second, if a negative test is needed to claim recovery, after those with no symptoms and no risk factors, someone with the disease is not the place you would want to use a limited resource.

    Skinner, I’d be surprised if an explicit test were required to claim recovery. I would think some simple metric based on cessation of certain symptoms — fever and lung congestion. If an explicit test really were required, I’d expect very low compliance.

    I’m hoping someone in the medical community can tell us how the count of recovered patients is made, for the majority who are never hospitalized.

    • #34
  5. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    There’s no “shelter in place” order in HK. Never was. And no nonsense about shutting down the economy altogether.

    But masks are universal, and shelter as much as possible is still a thing.

    Big upswing in cases lately. Mostly stemming from international arrivals, but I think there’s been local spread as a result. The government is closing its offices again. MTR this morning is a bit more crowded than I expected. My Zoom lecture on Mencius is in 2.5 hours.

    • #35
  6. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    I’m hoping someone in the medical community can tell us how the count of recovered patients is made, for the majority who are never hospitalized.

    It’s possible if a majority are not hospitalized that many are not seeing a doctor after their initial diagnosis if they feel they have somewhat recovered, and that they never inform authorities that they have recovered  which would then not  affect the tally of those “recovered” even if there is a recovery. I don’t think health care professionals are focusing that much on those kind of cases.   It also may a case that minor symptoms linger for a while so the idea of a full “recovery” may be illusive. Flus can linger for a month, and so may this coronavirus.

    The other question is  whether those in the asymptomatic category are that way because they most likely have  a light case and recover before showing significant symptoms.  I know there are cases where the disease has gone to the lungs but the person is still not showing symptoms, but again how often is that? We just don’t know.

    Since testing is just now getting in full swing, it may also be that the spike in infections may be a result of simple testing of people who could not get a test not too long ago.

    • #36
  7. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    Re Gin article.
    I found it interesting. I believe in critical thinking and want to read different points of view. Opinions are all over the place so I need to see more to start refining my views. There were some interesting points in the article.

    The dissenting, self anointed expert provided too much snark and a mean sort of condescension for my taste. In his mind, we only need to be exposed to his opinion and knowledge and not one he disagreed with. Who is he to decide what I read and ponder? First the site took down his article. Then it reappeared and Twitter blocked it with a warning box. Our betters have decided what we are allowed to read. This offends me.

    The dissenting science guy is not an economist and not qualified to addressed economic issues. I am looking for the cost benefit analysis. The biologist needs to stay in his lane.

    • #37
  8. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl…
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Skinner, I’d be surprised if an explicit test were required to claim recovery. I would think some simple metric based on cessation of certain symptoms — fever and lung congestion. If an explicit test really were required, I’d expect very low compliance.

    I’m hoping someone in the medical community can tell us how the count of recovered patients is made, for the majority who are never hospitalized.

    I think I read (here on Ricochet?) that you have to test negative a couple times before you’re really considered recovered. I have no idea how they’re measuring it, because as suggested above, it would seem one would want to save those tests for people who are showing symptoms.

    So I suspect that, as with “critical cases,” the recoveries also are not accurate, and that there are a lot more than this data would suggest. 

    • #38
  9. MISTER BITCOIN Member
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    Italy is one of the least vaccinated countries in Europe

     

    • #39
  10. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This is all over the news tonight:

    During today’s White House coronavirus task force press conference, President Trump announced the launch of a new public/private consortium to “unleash the power of American supercomputing resources.” The members of this consortium are the White House, the Department of Energy and IBM. Other companies, including Google, Amazon and Microsoft, as well as a number of academic institutions, are also “contributing lots of different things,” the president said.

    While Trump’s comments were characteristically unclear, IBM provided more details, noting that it is working with a number of national labs and other institutions to offer a total of 330 petaflops of compute to various projects in epidemiology, bioinformatics and molecular modeling. Amazon, Google and Microsoft are also part of the consortium, which is being led by IBM, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Department of Energy.

    IBM and its partners will coordinate the efforts to evaluate proposals and provide access to high-performance computing resources to those that are most likely to have an immediate impact.

    “How can supercomputers help us fight this virus? These high-performance computing systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling. These experiments would take years to complete if worked by hand, or months if handled on slower, traditional computing platforms,” writes Dario Gil, IBM’s Director of Research.

    AWS has already dedicated $20 million to support COVID-19 research while Microsoft has already announced a number of different initiatives, though mostly around helping businesses cope with the fallout of this crisis. Google has now launched its own coronavirus website (though it’s very different from the one Trump once promised) and Alphabet’s Verily is helping Bay Area residents find testing sites if needed.

    After today’s announcement, the White House shared statements from Microsoft, Google and other partners. “We know that high performance computing can reduce the time it takes to process massive data sets and perform complex simulations from days to hours,” said Mike Daniels, Vice President, Global Public Sector at Google Cloud, in his statement. “We look forward to participating in this initiative alongside leaders in technology, academia, and the public sector to make more resources available to COVID-19 researchers and to apply Google Cloud computing capabilities toward the development of potential treatments and vaccines.”

    I’ve been reading business leadership books about these companies for twenty years, and I admire them very much (except for Amazon some days, :-)  ). I am thrilled to see this working group come together to tackle this awful virus. I have complete confidence that working together, they will come up with some good solutions to some of the problems this virus is causing both to human health and the world economy. I think this new consortium is truly great news. :-)

    • #40
  11. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Petaflops?

    I’m thinking shoes for pets.

    • #41
  12. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Petaflops?

    I’m thinking shoes for pets.

    :-)

    MIT will be involved in this project as well. That’s great. I read a wonderful book years ago about the MIT Media Lab. It really is a creative hub. It’s got an invention and innovation mindset and purpose that is just unstoppable. The innovations this group developed in prosthetic improvements in the wake of the Boston bombing is an inspiring story too. 

    People want to help people. That drives everything good. 

    • #42
  13. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I was thinking today that as bad as the cost of globalization has been in so many ways, watching the world countries respond together to this virus threat to save lives in all of the countries is inspiring. It’s such a big problem that it can’t be solved unless we all work together. Compared to the indifference of the western world during the Stalin and Mao democides, this is a welcome change. The Internet, travel, business, and education have created friendships and working relationships that span the globe. It’s really wonderful to see so many countries sharing information with each other and humanitarian concern for one another.  

    • #43
  14. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Petaflops?

    I’m thinking shoes for pets.

    Flops means floating-point (think math with decimal points) operations (adding, dividing, squaring, etc) per second

    Peta, in this case, means a million billion.  (kilo = 1,000 mega = 1,000,000 giga = 1,000,000,000 tera = 1,000,000,000,000 peta = 1,000,000,000,000,000 )  If Bernie wins, expect the petadollar to be used for the deficit.

    This is an insane amount of processing power – imagine the massive jump in power between an original Macintosh and a Pentium III.  A petaflop system is that much more advanced than a modern top-end gaming / CGI computer. 

    • #44
  15. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Good news. Just keep the climate modelers out of the process.

    • #45
  16. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Good news. Just keep the climate modelers out of the process.

    You know what you will get if you involve the climate modelers: “We’re all gone die!”

    • #46
  17. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Good news. Just keep the climate modelers out of the process.

    You know what you will get if you involve the climate modelers: “We’re all gone die!”

    “How dare you!”

    • #47
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.