Healthy Skeptic Law I: In a collision of beliefs with facts, belief will always win. One of the consequences of that axiom is that humans will constantly make bad decisions based upon belief, not facts.
I just want to make a special note today of how abysmally bad Minnesota’s data reporting actually is and how completely non-responsive the state is to those issues, which I believe reflects an intentional effort to make it impossible for people to put out information that is at odds with their desired messaging. What is infuriating me right now is the extreme difficulty in understanding the state’s death reporting, but also some oddities in case reporting. A couple of readers have been working on trying to do such basic things as understand excess deaths, look at the effect of vaccinations on long-term care deaths, and on case trends by age group. It is nearly impossible because of things like the state refusing to use date of death reporting, and using inconsistent methods of reporting cases. Driving me and the readers crazy.
The CDC updated its modeling parameters for the last time. (CDC Update) Various parameters relating to proportion of asymptomatic cases, time from symptom onset to hospitalization and time to death were tinkered with. The most notable thing that caught my eye was that the IFRs appear higher, which seems bizarre. For example, they have a 9% IFR on the 65 year old plus group. At the same time, their mean ratio of undetected to detected cases is 11. The CDC is currently saying there are 30 million reported cases. So that would be basically everyone in the country is infected. The low estimate is 6 times. That would be 180 million cases. So the IFRs cannot be what they say they are if that undetected to reported ratio is right.
Even the New York Times has noticed that the terror campaign that was the primary part of governments’ epidemic response has untoward health effects. It carries a story noting that because people were frightened into avoiding health care, including cancer screenings, physicians are seeing more advanced cancers, which are obviously harder to treat and more likely to lead to death. The effects of the terror campaign will be felt for years. Screenings declined by an estimated 25% or more. Nice work, IB, and all you other governors and public health officials who so effectively lead the terrorization of the public. (NYTimes Story)
In other good news from terror campaigns and associated isolation, suicides among young people have risen, including very young children. It literally is heart-breaking and I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I would trade a huge number of CV-19 deaths among old people to save the life of one of these children. Unspeakably tragic and unspeakably despicable that the IB and others not once considered these consequences of closing schools, athletic activities and social interactions. (FEE Article)
Two great reviews from people associated with the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine, one on surface transmission and one on aerosol transmission of CV-19. The fomite or surface transmission review identified a number of studies, but found them to generally be of low or moderate quality. While CV-19 has been found on a variety of surfaces, viable virus is almost never cultured, suggesting a limited possible role in transmission. (Fomite Review) The airborne transmission review similar found a number of studies, judged to be of low quality. While CV was frequently found floating in the air, recovery of viable virus was inconsistent. (Airborne Review)
I have an enduring fascination with the seasonal/geographic pattern of CV-19 infections. Respiratory viruses frequently have a seasonal pattern and that pattern tends to vary by geography, primarily latitude, but some association with typical climatic patterns. The researcher Hope-Simpson noticed these a century ago in regard to influenza. This article explores seasonality for a number of respiratory viruses. (Nature Article) The study was done pre-pandemic, so for some bizarre reason it doesn’t include coronavirus, although including the other common cold viruses. But the discussion of factors leading to seasonality, especially for enveloped viruses, is useful.