Some interesting results from the ongoing antibody survey work in North Carolina, conducted by Wake Forest University. (NC Survey) The latest data report shows that out of about 18,500 subjects, 12% to 14% are testing positive. The percent positive has risen dramatically in June, suggesting large numbers of infections in April and early May. Without knowing more about the demographics of the patients tested, it is hard to draw conclusions about the level of disease in the overall population of the area, but the data strongly suggests case rates much higher than those reported by infection testing.
More good news about the effect of the lockdowns, not. As predicted, overdose deaths are accelerating. (OD Story) Even without all states reporting, overdoses were up 11.4% in the first four months of the year. Kentucky reported a 25% jump in such deaths and West Virginia a 50% rise. And of course, this increase appears to be hitting minorities worse.
We are still trying to gather conclusive evidence on some aspects of the virus. This study looked at inactivation of it by sunlight. (JID Journal) In essence the researchers sought to evaluate the lasting infectiousness of virus particles in aerosols exposed to sun. They found that the vast majority, over 90%, of virus particles were inactivated by sunlight in a short time. The virus was depleted over ten times faster in summer sunlight conditions than in indoor settings.
And some more details from the study that a retired Minnesotan undertook of death certificates in our state. (Mn. Death Study) The certificates covered 741 deaths. Early on, I wrote a post explaining how death certificates are filled out and what they contain. The certifier is supposed to list the primary cause of death on one line and other contributing causes, if any, on successive lines below. The further down the cause, the less it’s importance in the death. On the Minnesota certificates, 44% of the time coronavirus had the top spot–it was deemed by the certifier to be the primary cause of death. 39% of the time, it was on the next line and 16% of the time on the third line. There were 3 more cases where it was actually on the fourth line. It does raise a question about deaths being attributed to coronavirus.
And finally, my friends at the Powerline blog pointed out that according to the current version of the Minnesota epidemic model, in the last few days we passed a milestone. According to the model at the peak under the current scenario, we had an astounding number of cases, ICU hospitalizations, and deaths. We weren’t close to any of them, for example, 2 million cases or 3397 ICU beds occupied, whereas it is around 150. Only off by a 20 times or so. I have pretty much stopped paying attention to what the model says, it is clearly not close to providing any guidance. It will be fascinating to see how they try to retrofit actual experience into the next version, promised in just a couple of weeks.