This morning the press in Minnesota will get an early reveal of the latest model Minnesota is using for guidance during the epidemic, and the results of runs of that model. It is going to be very interesting to see how they spin the model to show enough deaths to justify the continued destruction of economic and social life in Minnesota. And apparently that is exactly what our Governor intends to do, despite the fact that there are almost no deaths in the general population, no overwhelming of health facilities, but continued growth in unemployment claims, approaching 650,000 jobs now.
The truncated daily briefing yesterday did reveal that we should see the model account for a much higher percent of asymptomatic cases. A reporter mentioned the 100 times more cases than positive test result statistic that the state has been throwing around, and the Commissioner downplayed that but said we should expect to see a higher rate than in the last version of the model. And one minor point I forgot to mention from the briefing the day before is that our head state epidemiologist, other than being a windbag, doesn’t seem too up to speed. She referenced uncertainty about antibody existence when there have been several very strong pieces of research in the last week or so demonstrating that people do in fact develop a strong antibody response. And she gave some gobbledygook answer about as the prevalence of the disease grows the accuracy of testing goes down? I have never heard of such a thing. Whatever accuracy level a test has, whether an infection test or an antibody test, it has regardless of how many people it is used on.
One thing that continues to baffle me is why we don’t have widespread antibody testing yet. For a month people have been screaming about the value of this and we still don’t have access. We need to know–health care workers and first responders need to know, the general population wants to know if they were infected and are fine now. It is disgraceful that you can’t get an antibody test. And it makes me wonder if it is being slow-rolled to keep people from realizing how many infections there have been.
And just a couple of quick notes to remind you how un-dangerous this virus is to the general population. Sweden, which took a more relaxed attitude toward lockdowns, has had a total of 50 deaths of people under age 50, and those undoubtedly largely occurred in people with pre-existing health conditions. Italy, which had a pretty horrendous outbreak, had no deaths in any child aged 9 or under. We all keep saying this, but it is pretty obvious that the general population can very safely go back to work and normal life and we really have to do a better job at long term care facilities and with the frail elderly.
Iceland had an aggressive test and trace contacts program. They have verified that children were much less likely to be infected and they could not find a single case of a child transmitting the infection to an adult. (Iceland Interview)
And Minnesota isn’t the only state by a longshot to discover that it really only has a problem in nursing homes. Illinois has finally started publishing data on nursing home deaths and half of its total are from that source. (ZH Story)