Well, here we go again. First up, another excellent study on the danger of false positives in a low prevalence environment when you are testing a lot. (JCMI Article) The authors looked at almost 20,000 CV-19 samples tested by PCR. 107 were positive; 52 were first-time positives, the rest must have been re-tests. Out of those 52, a further test confirmed the positive finding only 56% of the time. That is an enormous number of false positives, 44%, far more than the specificity of the test would suggest. The authors note that in the real world of diagnostic testing, there was substantial variability in sample handling and go through the testing process, which likely led to many of the false positives. The authors make the obvious recommendation that positives need to be retested, and this would be especially true of low positives. It seems to me that the best approach would be to split every sample and test it on two different platforms at the same time.
Here is a CDC published article on race, ethnicity and age trends in CV-19 deaths from May to August. (CDC Article) We know CV-19 disproportionately affects minorities, but this is largely due to differences in underlying health conditions. 78% of deaths in this study were of people 65 and over. But here is what really caught my eye in the paper. It says that on 92% of death certificates with CV-19 it was the underlying cause, and in 8% a contributory cause. This section is likely a reaction to the claims that CV-19 was the real cause of death in only a minority of cases. But what is said in this paper is not true. CV-19 is not the underlying cause 92% of the time, it is an underlying cause, of which there can be several, most considered intermediate causes, and even that seems too high based on my examination of one state’s death records.
Read this short article in a medical publication, written before the CV-19 epidemic, about how well masks work against flu. But of course, CV-19 is somehow so different and masks are miraculously effective against that virus. (ME Article)
We occasionally hear from “experts”, yes, I am talking about people like you Scott Gottlieb and Andy Slavitt, that we have to crush the virus before the economy can recover. Apparently the International Monetary Fund and others have data suggesting the opposite is true–efforts to crush the virus destroy a country’s economy. Go to page 67 of this IMF report (which is fascinating in its totality regarding the globe’s economic prospects) and look at the chart. Hmmm, see that negative correlation between lockdown stringency and economic activity. Maybe we should stop trying to crush the virus and everyone’s standard of living would be better. (IMF Report)
The Wall Street Journal has an article to the same effect about different regions in the US. (WSJ Article) The thrust of the article, Scott and Andy, is that the South, with its far less strict mitigation of spread efforts, has economically outperformed the rest of the country. Kind of destroys that facile argument you have been making. Unemployment was lower in those states, and those supposedly fearful consumers spent at a higher pace than in other regions.
And look at this, the Journal of the American Medical Association carries a research letter acknowledging that a lot of excess deaths are not due to the virus but to missed care and other effects from the lockdowns, although they try to trot out the “could be undiagnosed CV-19” line, but what death hasn’t possibly been attributed to CV-19 that could be? They are even testing corpses for CV-19. (JAMA Article) The study is an update of prior work and refers to excess deaths without a CV-19 diagnosis as “deaths caused by disruptions from the pandemic.” They now looked at deaths through August 1, and calculated the “excess” number, which was defined as the number of deaths above those “expected” according to a model. There was a 20% increase of actual deaths over expected deaths, or about 225,500. 67% or about 150,000 were attributed to CV-19. So a third are due to something else. Guess what that is. And it is really more than that because you have to look cause by cause. Deaths due to motor accidents and work accidents are likely down, so other things like Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer are more than making up for those. The whole concept of excess deaths has been warped because of the unprecedented way we attribute deaths to CV-19. These people can’t even come out and talk straight and say “we killed these people by terrorization”, instead saying it was caused by “disruptions”. What were those disruptions and who caused them? I believe that when an actual audit of deaths since the start of the epidemic is done and a consistent and logical clinical analysis applied, the number of CV-19 deaths will decline and those caused by lockdown “disruptions” will rise dramatically.