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Drowning in Coronavirus Research Part 31, Including the Dictator’s Press Conference

By June 29, 2020July 2nd, 2020Commentary

While the media and some political leaders spreading all the panic they can about the epidemic, particularly in regard to almost exclusively asymptomatic and mild cases, they ignore the fact that hospitalization and death rates are continually declining.  This article details the decline in deaths.  (CV Article)   But here is the interesting thing in the article.  A Minnesotan did an analysis of our state’s deaths by looking at each death certificate.  Of 740 supposed coronavirus deaths only 41% listed coronavirus as the primary cause of death.  Apparently this is a common issue.  The CDC says that only 7% of death certificates listed coronavirus as the only cause of death.  For the rest there were on average 2.5 additional causes listed.  The article notes that hospitals and doctors have a financial incentive to list coronavirus as a cause of death.  So again, a lot of coronavirus deaths are to patients who were very sick and were likely to die soon of some other cause.  Very few are to healthy people.

This article has a detailed examination of the values of parameters commonly used in the epidemic models.  (LS Article)   A basic point is that contrary to predictions of dreadful consequences if lockdowns were lifted, nothing has really changed.  The models really are generally worthless.

Another school study from France.  (Medrxiv Paper)   This was a case study tracing contacts and doing an antibody survey among pupils, parents, relatives and staff.  About 10% were found to be positive.  Among 3 students were were positive and attended school, there were no cases of positive transmission.  There was household clustering of cases, with transmission from adults to children.  There were few cases among children altogether and over 40% were asymptomatic.

Finally, the Dictator gave a press conference today, largely to pat himself on the back for building up testing capacity.  As is usually the case lately, he was somewhat incoherent.  He mentioned needing to have 10% of the population tested to “bend the curve”.  I have no idea what testing has to do with the shape of the epidemic, and I don’t think the Dictator does either.  The next non sequitur was that testing can level off racial and other disparities.  I don’t think testing has anything to do with either a person getting infected or the seriousness of their illness.  There are disparities, but they are largely due to variation in presence of pre-existing conditions and variation in housing situations, use of public transportation and job type.

Once again he talks about how he wants the economy open.  Just so everyone knows, Minnesota has the highest unemployment rate and worst business climate among all neighboring states, and that is by a fair margin.  This is a direct result of his policies.  He lied about business activity in Georgia and in regard to other comparisons with other states.  He lied about the effectiveness of masks and the science behind masks.  The Dictator talks a lot but the stuff coming out of his mouth is worth about as much as what comes out the other end.

One interesting tidbit, if I understood the answer correctly, was that for at least one provider, antibody test results were revealing a 4% to 5% positive rate.  Without knowing the characteristics of the group tested to be able to adjust the rate for the population of the state, that could imply 200,000 to 300,000 infections.

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