This study looked at intensive testing in 11 long-term care facilities in Maryland. (JAMA Article) Every resident was tested. Symptom-based testing had found 153 cases. The universal testing found 354 cases more out of 893 residents. Of these new cases over half, 55% were asymptomatic. The notable thing is that so many cases even in these settings of older residents are asymptomatic.
This was an interesting paper in which people were intentionally infected with influenza virus and then others were exposed to them in a controlled environment with temperature and humidity designed to maximize likelihood of transmission. (Trans. Studies) Some of the test subjects wore masks and other protective equipment and another group didn’t. Basically no difference in transmission rates. In fact, even in this environment designed to be favorable to transmission, the secondary attack rate was very low. Again, the benefit of masks compared to not wearing a mask in preventing respiratory disease transmission are likely being oversold.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons issued a statement saying lockdowns are the worst way to handle the epidemic. (AAPS Statement)
I reported on this study before and it has been more formally published. (NIH Study) Among a number of positive cases, 455 family contacts were tested and none were positive. The authors concluded that there was no evidence of any significant transmission by asymptomatic cases.
This is an interesting research letter looking at admissions in Veterans’ Affairs hospitals during the epidemic. (JAMA Letter) Trends were examined for six common conditions leading to emergency admissions, comparing 2019 to 2020. Compared to weeks before the lockdowns started, such admissions declined by an astounding 42%, with very high reductions for stroke, heart attack, heart failure and the other conditions. Not minor issues. No similar decline occurred in 2019. Excluding coronavirus diagnoses, admissions for pneumonia were down 46%, again suggesting a substitution of disease. As the authors note, this reduction of admissions unfortunately suggests that patients were avoiding the hospital. Deaths almost certainly resulted.
And once again, I have the misfortune of reporting on the daily coronavirus briefing. We got a stern lecture at the start about how we all need to do more to stop the spread. There is no spread in Minnesota. The number of cases is extremely minor and they are with rare exceptions resulting in mild or no disease. As others do, the officials talked about the US handling the epidemic worse than other countries. That is pure BS. Other countries had much worse epidemics earlier on, which is reflected in higher per capita death rates. They have not done the amount of testing we have, and if they had, they would have much higher number of cases. And almost every country that tried an extreme lockdown has seen cases resurge periodically. That is a reflection of a dumb strategy to try to suppress what can’t really be suppressed. I encourage you again to look at the chart in the post comparing New York and Sweden. Which location actually flattened the curve?
I am really tired of the statements about younger people spreading to older ones. Prove that with your contact tracing results. And one of the officials flat out lied about hospitalizations increasing and expecting deaths to increase. Hospitalizations haven’t increased and deaths have dwindled to a very low level. There are no indications that there will be any significant rise in serious cases in the next few days or weeks. A question was asked about death rates, and the precise percents by age group were given and now everyone should be aware of just how stark the divide is between the young and those over 70.