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The title to this post is a reprise of Day 104: COVID-19 It’s Over, But How Do You Convince People That It’s Over? posted on May 3. The key graphs in that post for my purposes today is:
[T]he epidemic has definitely slowed in this country.
But do people really see that? Yes, a lot of people are anxious to get back to life. But are they feeling confident that doing so is the right decision? How do you persuade those that remain fearful that the “quarantine breakers” are actually common-sense individuals not just recklessly selfish?
This is going to be tough. The public has been fed a lot of data where the numbers rise steeply. As the body count mounts, and it will continue to do so, how do you get people to realize that things are winding down?
The main technique that governments and media have used to continue to stoke fear are rising rates of “confirmed cases.” The problem with this data as I have pointed out before is data aggregation when data disaggregation is called for. That is, the way cases are confirmed is through testing. There are a variety of testing protocols: testing symptomatic and others in close contact with symptomatic persons, testing hospital admissions or other patients undergoing procedures for which there are no COVID-19 symptoms. There are a variety of tests even though they only fall into two categories: PCR and antibody. PCR tests directly look for an active virus, but there have been reports that some testing methods identify RNA fragments of viruses that are not active and may reflect that someone has recovered from COVID-19 rather than being actively ill. Antibody tests have a variety of sensitivities and may also respond to coronavirus more generally than SARS-CoV-2 specifically. All of this calls into question whether confirmed cases truly reflects a level of current disease-specific to active SARS-CoV-2 or is simply an echo of a seasonal illness that is already past for 2019-2020. It is the latter possibility that Professor Dolores Cahill from Ireland discusses starting at about 3:30:00 in the video at this link. (The entire video is fascinating for the international resistance to government actions being taken in response to the epidemic. The video is one of a series of live stream recordings made by the German Stiftung Corona-Ausschuss (Corona Committee Foundation). The video moves back and forth between German and English to ensure that the expected audiences in Germany and elsewhwere can follow the discussion (if you are hearing them speaking German just wait a few minutes and they will talk in English).
That could be easily verified if positive tests are going up but hospitalizations and deaths specific to symptomatic COVID-19 are going down. But our official data is not tracking it in that way. And thus we are deprived of key knowledge that should be informing our local health policies and government action.
Speaking of key knowledge that should be informing our local health policies and government action, let me give a hat tip to @misterbitcoin for reminding us of the Gompertz curve and Professor Michael Levitt, Nobel prize winner for “the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems” and professor at Stanford University. According to Professor Levitt, the US epidemic should essentially be over on August 25. As of this writing, the deaths attributed to COVID-19 are 162,423. Professor Levitt is calculating less than 170,000 reported deaths as of August 25, but for reasons stated above the count is likely to be higher whether that is real or not.
Is Professor Levitt right? Well, he is more right than Governor Cuomo, Governor Newsom, Governor Whitmer, Governor Inslee or any of the other Blue State executives. On June 2 Professor Levitt predicted that Sweden would have around 5,000 deaths before their new deaths dropped to zero. They recorded 5,763 total deaths before reaching zero new deaths. Certainly within the order of magnitude that Professor Levitt predicted.
Notice the Gompertz curve?
Although this narrative is not favored by the media and centralized government proponents, voices are starting to assert themselves. As discussed by Professor Cahill (and others) in the aforementioned video this is a time to take back control of our lives.
One by one, we emerge into the light.
[Note: Links to all my COVID-19 posts can be found here.]Published in