A Head Full of Coronavirus Research, Part 73

By December 5, 2020Commentary

As usual, an observation or two first.  I don’t know what happened somewhere around the start of October, but the state really accelerated its CV-19 death reporting.  There is now very little lag between the state’s reporting and it showing up on the CDC site.  And deaths are not being added more than three weeks back at the CDC site.  This is a dramatic change especially from late spring and summer, when deaths were routinely being added months back.  Why the change?  Maybe a desire to keep deaths looking as high as possible before the election.  Maybe a desire to get them cleared now, so they aren’t reporting a large backlog when they claim success from their wonderful responses to the epidemic.   Don’t want to be paranoid, but with the messaging mentality of this administration, have to think those are possible explanations.  And meanwhile, as the answers to Scott Johnson indicated, they are slowing processing of other death certificates.

The active case analysis continues to show turnaround was in the November 7 to 10 area.  If you look at the active case curve, and I will have an update in the next couple of days, taking out the sawtooth weekend effect, it is a purely classical unmitigated epidemic curve.  Go back to the Minnesota model and you will see this curve in the version with no attempts to slow spread.  CV-19 doesn’t care what we do to slow transmission when we are in that narrow environmental niche it seems to thrive in.  I am going to wait another week or and give myself a gentle pat on the back for oh-so-tentatively calling the peak.  Very courageous of me.

And go to the table of cases by specimen collection date and look at Thanksgiving, the 26th.  Couldn’t have a clearer demonstration of the effect of testing on cases.  Somehow, no one got sick or felt sick on Thanksgiving.  Look at that, over a week out now and less than 200 cases.

More and more evidence coming out on the health harms caused by the media and political campaign of CV-19 terror.  The media should be held liable for these damages.  Here is a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association finding that children’s appendicitis treatment has been delayed, causing far more serious consequences than if treatment were sought promptly.  The primary reason for the delays was fear of coming to the hospital during the epidemic.  (JAMA Article)

More good news that Governor Walz, other Governors and the media can take responsibility for.  Cardiac arrests for drug overdoses were up very substantially, from 50% to 100% more, during the epidemic, according to data from emergency services activations.   (JAMA Article)

A very interesting study from Korea, sent to me by a reader, regarding indoor transmission in a restaurant.  (Korea Study)   The authors supposedly traced transmission from an index case sitting about 15 and 20 feet, respectively, from two infectees, one who had only a five minute exposure and one about a 20 minute exposure.  The air flow in the restaurant was in the direction from infector to infectees.  It is unlikely this was large or medium size droplet transmission, it almost certainly had to be aerosolized, although the authors leave open the possibility of larger droplets.

A paper written largely by CEBM authors again covers the extent to which PCR tests actually reveal viable virus and indicate that a person may be infectious.  (CID Article)   The researchers reviewed 29 studies, which collectively led to the conclusion that there is a strong inverse relationship between PCR test cycle number and likelihood of presence of actual viable virus.  Higher cycle numbers rarely find viable virus.  In addition, viable virus is rarely found is specimens beyond 8 days from symptom onset.  The authors strongly suggest that anyone doing PCR testing must validate the correlation between cycle number and viable virus for the test.

And thanks to an answer to a Scott Johnson question, I found this very illuminating article on hospitalizations in Minnesota.  (MM Article)  The research covered medical review of 3751 hospitalizations in the spring and early summer.  A number of things will catch your eye.  30% ended up in a ICU, probably because of excess use of mechanical ventilation, which would not occur now.  30% came from congregate care settings, very disproportionate to cases overall.  78% had at least one underlying health condition.  Median length of stay was 5 days.  Median length of stay in the ICU was 29 days, which is astounding.  Median days from symptom onset to hospitalization was 6 days.  11% of cases had no symptoms on admission, which means they weren’t admitted for CV-19 but tested positive on admission.  The largest subset of these was pregnant women.  The state has to give us the data on patients who either are first tested and are positive for CV-19 when admitted for another reason and those who acquire CV-19 in the hospital.   13% died while hospitalized.  The median age of those who died was 74.  As the article notes, this number would have been even higher except for the presence of advance directives in very old persons.

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Rob says:

    That Korea study sure seems like rather flimsy evidence. Doesn’t even qualify as science.

  • Chris Foley MD says:

    Again, the risk of CV19 causing severe morbidity requiring intensive care falls 900% if one has a vitamin D level above 20! Where is the commentary and reporting??? Almost a cure from morbidity yet ignored everywhere…it’s jaw-dropping in it’s absurdity. All these stats become moot with a public health initiative about D and Zn intake at the health food store.

  • Christopher Myles Foley MD says:

    Again, critical information suggesting – pretty much proving – that vitamin D nutrition given appropriately and easily and cheaply – causes the morbidity and mortality to plummet by 900% if even raising the 25 hydroxy vitamin D level above 20. Above 36, morbidity is compressed even more strongly suggesting that intensive care almost disappears. Today, December 6, in the Pioneer Press, a “medical expert” suggest that masks are necessary even after recovering from coronavirus because “there are still too many unknowns”. This is the kind of disinformation that the mainstream media promotes that is not only ridiculous but dangerous because of the fear it instills in the population.

  • Mike Timmer says:

    On Dec 3rd Florida issued mandatory reporting of PCR cycles in reporting Covid infections from all sources submitting to the Florida Dept. of Health. This should be very interesting.

  • John Liljegren says:

    Regarding the last cite, the Minnesota study “Epidemiology of hospitalized patients April through June 2020.”

    I could not figure out whether any [and if so, how many] of the 3,571 hospitalized patients who (a) had none of the listed underlying conditions and (b) were under, let’s say 65 years old, were admitted soley because of COVID-like symptoms.

    Table 3 on page 4 says the number [all ages] admitted with no underlying conditions was 792. Of those, 197 went to ICU and 26 died. But we don’t know their ages or reason for admission [e.g. injury, accident, surgery, or COVID symptoms].

    The article admits at page 5, right column, that “Some patients may have been hospitalized for non-COVID-19 reasons we could not distinguish. In June, CDC expanded the case report form to include questions regarding reason for admission and chief complaint . . . .”

    The billion dollar question is whether a single person under 65 with no underlying conditions was admitted solely due to COVID-like symptoms and became sick enough to go to ICU or die.

  • Kevin Roche says:

    yes, be interesting to know also if any of the asymptomatic admissions actually had any CV-19 treatment. I am guessing most didn’t. So why should the hospital get paid an extra 20%.

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