A few European countries are attempting to assess their response to the epidemic. Norway’s Premier admitted that it was probably a panicked over-reaction. Emails leaked in Denmark suggest that the political leaders encouraged the public health experts to be extreme in their advice and project extremely dire outcomes. (Danish Email)
A study from Portugal examines factors related to hospitalization, ICU use and deaths. (Medrxiv Paper) Over 20,000 cases were examined for clinical and demographic characteristics. Being age 80 to 89 was the highest risk factor for hospitalization. Being age 70 to 79 was the highest risk factor for ICU use. Being age 90 and over was the highest risk factor was death. Being male gave you higher risks for each, but I doubt that is independent of health status. The main comorbidities leading to these events included immunodeficiency, cardiac disease, kidney disease and neurologic conditions (i.e., dementia).
This paper is the formal reporting related to antibody testing in New York state. (Medrxiv Paper) You may recall that the state of New York has engaged in a pretty extensive antibody testing regimen. It found many multiples of cases beyond infection testing. Over 15,000 people were tested, with a 14% positive rate across the state. It was higher in NYC. The authors concluded that there had been over 2 million cases in the state, but it was not at population immunity. I think that may be a hasty conclusion. Should also test for pre-existing immune defenses against coronavirus.
This study is related to disease prevalence in a Spanish hospital in Madrid. (Medrxiv Paper) About 2900 workers were tested and 31.6% were positive, and half had had no symptoms at all. Some had previously tested positive by infection testing.
And more research on antibody prevalence in Brazil. (Medrxiv Paper) This research is a continuation/writeup of the earlier report on Brazil’s ongoing random antibody testing. 25000 people were tested around the country. There was substantial variation in prevalence, with rates as high as 25%. Overall, about 7 times more cases were found than shown by infection testing alone.
National Public Radio is reporting that antibody tests are demonstrating that there are far more cases than infection testing suggests and most are asymptomatic or mild, as you would expect. They referenced a study in Indiana finding about 11 times more cases than shown by testing. (NPR Story)
Finally, it is not fun to be right about bad things. The shutdowns and fear-mongering among the population are increasing heart deaths because people are afraid to seek needed care. These researchers looked at statistics from nine hospitals about common heart procedures. (JACC Article) One of the hospitals is in Minneapolis. There was a 38% decline in procedures.
And if you want to watch an interesting video on the prior immune defense issues, see this one. (YouTube Video)