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More Fun With Numbers in Minnesota

By November 15, 2020Commentary

There could be extensive ranting in this post, but also lots of data.

First a few comments on the CV-19 press briefing on Friday, attended by the Governor with special guest Dr. Michael Osterholm.  I will say that I believe the Governor is attempting to recover from coronamonomania.  He seems to be making some attempt, despite the case surge, and despite the undoubted urging of Dr. Osterholm to adopt the Osterheimlich Maneuver, to actually exercise some thoughtful balance here in the response.  I also hope he is getting realistic about the futility of most mitigation attempts.  It really is the case that this virus has an ability to spread in favorable conditions that no one really understands yet.  We got the usual political crap about no national strategy and it will all be better when we get that in a new administration.  It is simply not true that the US has done worse than other countries.  Dr. O revealed his lack of math ability as well by referring to spread as exponential.  We have a lot of cases, we do not have exponential spread.  No where are hospitals being literally overrun, including North Dakota.

Contrary to the Governor’s statement, neither he nor Dr. O have been correct on the trajectory.  The Minnesota model fiasco in the spring is all you need to know about that.  I will say that Dr. O has been an excellent source for looking to the peak of a surge.  When his terrorization goes up, cases will shortly begin to go down.  Dr. O is the classic lifetime academic, sucking off the government tit without a care in the world, and he bleats about feeling for all the people whose lives are being ruined as a result of his recommendations, but he doesn’t have a clue about what that really means to them.  And he imagines that somehow there is an infinite pot of money that we just magically call into being and pay everyone to sit at home from.  Again only if you have been a government and government academic employee for your whole life could you indulge in this fantasy version of the world.  And it is disappointing, no that isn’t quite the right word, how about disgraceful for anyone who thinks they are a public health expert to completely and I mean completely ignore the massive health harm being inflicted on the public in the name of stopping CV-19, which causes relatively minor amounts of serious illness in the general public.

A lot of other nonsense from the Governor that you have heard before.  Apparently we are in for even more “mitigation” measure adjustments, which will be targeted toward where spread is occurring and at the age groups where spread is occurring.  They don’t know where transmission is, so I can’t imagine how they are going to target something they can’t identify.  You can tell I am a little hot under the collar because once again these bozoos are shutting down schools, shutting down businesses, shutting down health care, destroying lives with their coronamonomania.

Look at the weekly report, these people can’t even read their own data.  Look at page 23.  See the brown line, cases under the age of 40 as a percent of all cases has declined since June, yet this surge is all the fault of the 18 to 35 group?  Look at page 30, likely exposure.  I know contact tracing takes a while, especially when conducted by thousands of semi-competent, at best, government employees.  But look at the GD percents of unknown.  The fastest growing categories are community unknown and general unknown.  Look at page 29, the percent of cases with unknown transmission is over 50%.  But by all means let’s ramp up testing even more and hire even more contact tracers.  These idiots try to tell us they know where transmission is occurring.  I believe they have their heads in a very dark body cavity and can’t see sh*t.  Oh wait maybe they can see that.

Just a quick update on the effectiveness of the mask mandate, which I only bring up because it was and is continuing to be sold as a guaranteed solution to slow transmission.  This week we were told that the state thinks it takes two full incubation cycles to see the effect of a mitigation measure, or 28 days.  I don’t agree but I will accept their statement for my analysis.  Mask mandate took effect July 25.  Based on the state weekly reports we would then see the effect beginning in the report for the week of August 20, August 27 at the latest.  So I did a simple thing, starting with the first weekly report from July, I took the weekly cases up to the week of August 20 and the weekly cases for the weeks after that up to November 5 (November 12 likely isn’t complete yet) and averaged those.  The average was 4148 cases per week before full effectiveness of the mask mandate, according to the state.  In the weeks since, the average number of cases has been 8860, more than double.  And in recent weeks we have really surged, so I will cut the state some slack and look at the weeks when conditions were somewhat similar, the first four weeks after the mandate supposedly was showing effectiveness.  That is 4853 cases per week, including the Labor Day week, which had very low testing and cases.  I don’t see any indication that the mandate made one bit of difference.  And since Minnesotans’ mask wearing behavior has increased during the period, if you used that more relevant measure you would see the same thing.  More clueless posturing.

So to summarize, before mandate 4148 cases per week, after mandate 8860 cases per week.

The extreme bifurcation of the epidemic by age and by community dwelling versus congregate living continues.  We have 2905 deaths (still closing rapidly on Sweden in the per capita race), almost exactly 2000 have occurred in congregate care settings–nursing homes, assisted living, group behavioral health homes.  69% of all deaths have occurred among residents in those LTC facilities.  It would be more but we are thinning the population very effectively and people are afraid to go to or stay in nursing homes now.  There are about 80,000 residents in the facilities and 5,610,000 in the rest of the population.  The battle plan is working great, for the CV-19 side, as we have killed 2.5% of all our LTC residents.  We have seen a death rate of .016% of the rest of the population.  So the risk to LTC residents is 156 times greater than that to the community dwelling population, so maybe we actually should come up with an effective plan for that LTC group, since we clearly don’t have one at this time.

But wait, a lot of very frail elderly people live in the community as well.  Let’s look at deaths by age.  706,000 Minnesotans are 70 and over.  There have been 2361 deaths in this group, or .32% of the population.  Not terribly high, but concerning.  There are 3,549,000 Minnesotans aged 49 and under.  There have been 68 deaths in this whole group.  Guess what that percent is?  .0019%.  Truly miniscule.  The risk of death for people 70 and over is 168 times that of the group aged 49 and under.  And for this we shut the whole state down in the spring and still keep our children out of school and our people from working.  If you change the groups to those over 80 compared to those 39 and under, the relative risk leaps to over 700 times greater.  Less than 1 in 100,000 Minnesotans under the age of 40 has died due to CV-19, and that is with the state’s goofball death attribution method.

We have simply lost our everloving minds.  And the IB tells us he is following the data and science.  We definitely know where his head is and you won’t find any data or science in there.



Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Harley says:

    I believe the IB is exercising some “thoughtful balance” is because he has likely had a sneak peak at the next MN budget update coming after Thanksgiving. I believe the size of the shortfall might be giving him some pause. He might be slowly learning his edicts don’t operate in a vacuum.

  • Mike Barber says:

    Aaagh. And your sending Dr. Osterholm to DC to help save us all.

    Based on your analysis we just need to lock up all us folks around 70 and above. Let the rest of the population live there lives. So many experts are blinded by the power they wield.

  • Mike M. says:

    I really like this blog. Especially the research summaries, which point me to interesting papers without my having to do the work of finding them,

    I have been wondering about the testing. PCR looks for short segments of the virus, typically 1 to 3 segments. Looking for just one segment has the great advantage of never giving an ambiguous result, but it is subject to false positives, especially from the seasonal coronaviruses. Are the number of segments used published? If so, how many segments? Is it possible that part of the latest surge is due to seasonal coronavirus? I would hope that the answers are “yes”, “three”, and “no”, but I don’t think we can just assume that.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      Yes, you have to look in the technical supplements but the testing studies typically identify the segments used as PCR primers, and the FDA material on approved tests also has it. It is not frequent, but there have been studies finding that occasionally the CV-19 PCR tests pick up seasonal coronavirus. I doubt that the latest surge is due to that, I do wish the states would do constant small tests to assess the level of false and low positives, and false negatives. Seems like very important and relevant info and no one seems to be doing that.

  • Kate Craig says:

    Arizona only breaks out “over 65” CV-19 deaths, which seems exceptionally broad and useless. Based on data from other states, it would seem to be very enlightening if we could know what percentage of all CV-19 deaths are over age 80. Also, Arizona doesn’t say WHICH comorbidities CV-19 victims had when they died–do any states provide that? Is it a violation of privacy to provide this data on an anonymized basis? Finally, has there been any research into the effect of smoking and vaping on CV-19 deaths or long-term effects?

  • Ellen says:

    Listen to testimonies of teachers, parents, students… in a school board meeting. You can count on it: they will be ignored. Starts at 55 minutes.

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