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Herd Immunity? 40 of 60 Blood Donors in One Northern Italian Town Tested Positive
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From La Stampa via Google Translate:

Coronavirus, Castiglione d’Adda is a case study: “70% of blood donors are positive”
All asymptomatic, but have antibodies. From their plasma an experimental cure for the sick

MONICA SERRA
PUBLISHED ON April 02 2020

When Avis volunteers summoned them for blood donation, they were confident that they would find a high number of Covid positives19. Confirmation came from the results of tests and swabs: out of 60 citizens of Castiglione D’Adda, one of the municipalities in the former red area of ​​Lodi, 40 tested positive without knowing it. All asymptomatic, escaped from official statistics: they came into contact with the disease, they did not develop it, but they have

This is different from Vo in Italy where in an earlier test of most everybody in town, only 3% came back positive. Vo suffered the first known coronavirus death in Italy, so it was immediately locked down and then given universal testing, which stopped the infections at about 3%.

Similarly, through two rounds of antibody testing in the Telluride, Colorado area (N=986) as of March 27, they have found 1% positive, 2 % grey area, and 97% negative.

This Italian town in Lombardy was hit hard early, with 18 deaths as of March 6 out of a population of 4,600. It was one of the first 11 towns in Italy quarantined in February. By March 16:

Costantino Pesatori, the mayor of Castiglione D’Adda, one of those formerly quarantined towns, said that 47 people had died there since Feb. 21, compared with about 50 in all of 2019. He said that despite some of his residents having received a diagnosis of pneumonia, hospital officials “sent them home without testing them for coronavirus.”

This would suggest the total death rate in the town was about 10X its average monthly death rate.

By March 21, 62 deaths were officially attributed to the epidemic in this one town. And remember that official counts of coronavirus fatalities in Lombardy are probably understated because they typically haven’t counted those dying untested at home and in nursing facilities.

So if any place is approaching herd immunity, it ought to be these poor bastards in Castiglione D’Adda. They deserve some consolation.

iSteve commenter eugyppius speculates:

(WILD THEORY NOT PART OF TRANSLATION: People are donating blood in this town because it comes with a C19 test, and the “asymptomatics” are actually people who feel a bit sick, but you’re not supposed to donate blood when you’re sick, so they present themselves as not sick, and as surprised when the results come back positive for C19.)

Sounds plausible. That would suggest it’s not so much of a random sample as you might assume, but one tilted toward people who wanted a test and figured out away to get to the head of the testing queue.

There is a lot of excitement over this news article on Twitter, so we should keep in mind eugyppius’s observations before assuming it provides the One True Number for any calculation we might want to do.

 
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  1. Anonymous[279] • Disclaimer says:

    Looks like the Italians have Death Race 2020 all wrapped up–but wait!

    Who’s that the in the distance, and seems to be closing fast?!

    https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/crowded-hasidic-funeral-held-in-brooklyn-despite-social-distancing/

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    Here in Ohio, it's the wedding or funeral can have a lot of people, but not the reception or wake.
    , @Hodag
    https://lostmessiahdotcom.wordpress.com/2020/04/02/rabbi-rottenberg-of-monsey-ny-will-defy-all-edicts-to-close-the-shul-we-say-a-form-of-terrorism/
    , @vhrm
    They're outside, they're fully clothed and, except for the guys carrying the coffin are maintaining some space.

    imo, the risk isn't that high (esp because they're outside).

    Axing funerals also seems particularly "letting the terrorists win". (Worse yet letting people be sick alone and die alone by forbidding their relatives from visiting. it is monstrous and anti-social)

    , @ls0928
    I live in Orange County, NY. According to the NY Times, our rate per 100k is about the same as NYC. The highest rates in the region (and maybe the country?) are Rockland and Westchester (both about double NYC, with Rockland a bit higher). Westchester I get, since that's where the first big cluster started, but I was shocked that Rockland is that high.

    From the website, it's obvious that the same group you've referenced above is driving the numbers both directly (Monsey, and to a lesser degree Pomona) and probably indirectly via interaction with the neighbors - the number of cases in heavily minority and poor Spring Valley is very high. Orange County's rate is also driven up higher than it would otherwise be by Kiryas Joel.

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don't apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    Wish I lived somewhere else.
    , @Mr McKenna

    World News
    April 3, 2020 / 4:16 AM / Updated 13 hours ago
    Israel seals off ultra-Orthodox town hit hard by coronavirus
    Ilan Rosenberg

    BNEI BRAK, Israel (Reuters) - Israel put up roadblocks on Friday to seal off an ultra-Orthodox Jewish town badly affected by the coronavirus, but ordered in soldiers "to support the residents."

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-israel-ultraorthod/israel-seals-off-ultra-orthodox-town-hit-hard-by-coronavirus-idUSKBN21L11B


     

    I added the quotation marks ;)
    , @IHTG
    There will be a lot of sick Ultra-Orthodox Jews, but not so many deaths because they're a young population.
  2. @Anonymous
    Looks like the Italians have Death Race 2020 all wrapped up–but wait!

    Who's that the in the distance, and seems to be closing fast?!

    https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/crowded-hasidic-funeral-held-in-brooklyn-despite-social-distancing/

    Here in Ohio, it’s the wedding or funeral can have a lot of people, but not the reception or wake.

    • Replies: @Charon
    Why not combine weddings and funerals? They could even make a movie out of it! Wait a minute, I'm thinking of a title...it'll come to me...
  3. 70% antibody pos?

    That’s your herd immunity, right there.

    Human society has done stranger things in the face of a viral epidemic.

    Chickenpox parties? In Colonial America, smallpox parties were a thing. There was something about one of your servants got the smallpox who passed it on to another servant, and if it was run through enough servants, the master would expose himself to this version of an “attenuated” live-virus vaccine?

    This sound Strangelovian, but it was General Turgidson, not Strangelove who talked casually about accepting high losses to win an elective nuclear war. How many people did they lose to get to 70 percent antibody response?

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666

    70% antibody pos?

    That’s your herd immunity, right there.
     
    There seem to be two things going on. The first is that a semi-random sample in the area shows 70% antibodies, which does imply herd immunity. The second is that they were asymptomatic, which implies the virus is much less deadly than thought.

    If we knew the death rate for the relevant local "herd" population, one could calculate the fatality rate for the scenario in which the virus "burns out" in a population. (Which might have to happen to a lot of "herds" before this is over).

    Of course, the sample could have been unrepresentative or the test wasn't reliable for some reason.
  4. Again, as I asked a few days ago:

    Why are medics who test positive taken out of commission? Seems like they’d be the perfect people to work on covid patients. And it would surely address the staffing shortages in our hospitals.

    This question seems so obvious to me, yet I can’t find an answer. Anyone?

    • Replies: @Alice
    because it's assumed they're infectious, and would then transmit rhe disease to the sick-with-not-covid and kill them accidentally, or to other healthcare workers who would then become sick and do the same..
    , @reiner Tor
    What the commenter Alice wrote to you, plus being infected is not a totally binary question, there's also viral load, and the issue of getting infected by two or more different strains at the same time. In other words, it would endanger many lives.
    , @James Forrestal

    Why are medics who test positive taken out of commission? Seems like they’d be the perfect people to work on covid patients. And it would surely address the staffing shortages in our hospitals.

    This question seems so obvious to me, yet I can’t find an answer. Anyone?
     
    What do you mean by "test positive?" Serologic testing for antibodies to check immune status (like this study)? Or RT-PCR for active shedding of the virus?

    If the former, it's not routinely done, but certainly could prove useful as the epidemic progresses.

    If the latter, it might (conceivably) work for (mildly ill) staff at dedicated plague hospitals, but would pose a significant risk to uninfected staff (make it impossible to maintain "clean" vs. "dirty" areas). And it would obviously be a bad idea for anyone dealing with the general public (paramedics, etc.), or working at facilities dealing with any uninfected patients.

    The other major practical impediment to your scheme is that, even if they work at facilities that were entirely devoted to the care of Chinese virus patients, unless infected health care workers live at the hospital 24/ 7, they have to get from home to work (and vice versa) somehow -- which kind of defeats the purpose of isolating actively contagious cases.
  5. This is really wonderful news!!!!!!

    It means the death rate is far, far less than Italy reports.

    The 10% death rate is total nonsense. Many times more people got the virus than is being reported. The number in Italy is certainly is surely in the many millions if the 70% of the population got the virus is places.

    If 1 million Italians got the virus, the death rate in Italy is only 1% instead of 10%. If 10 million or 17% of the Italian population got the virus (reasonable if 70% of some places got it) then the death rate is only 0.1%.

    Now that the economy has been drawn and quartered with its head on a pike in the town square can we somehow rescue that severed head before the flies swarm too thickly?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    This town in Italy shows up in reports as being particularly hard hit all the way back in February. Mayor Pesatori's back of an envelope math suggests that the all causes death rate was about 10 times above normal in late February and March.
    , @Elli
    But how were the volunteers chosen? Some definite exposure but no symptoms? Trivial symptoms?

    How old were they?

    Were they a true random sample of asymptomatics?

    What about a sample of symptomatic but not seriously ill?

    What about retesting, to make sure they weren't false positives?
  6. @Redneck farmer
    Here in Ohio, it's the wedding or funeral can have a lot of people, but not the reception or wake.

    Why not combine weddings and funerals? They could even make a movie out of it! Wait a minute, I’m thinking of a title…it’ll come to me…

    • Replies: @BenKenobi
    “Four weddings and a funeral? Now that’s just five of the same thing.”
    - Al Bundy
  7. So test indicates 40 of 60 were infected. None of the 40 had symptoms. As Dr. Henry Lee would say, “something’s wrong.”

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    Yes, I found that fact interesting also. I really want to take an antibody test; I used to take the train from New Rochelle and had a dry cough for a few days last month.
  8. @Anonymous
    Looks like the Italians have Death Race 2020 all wrapped up–but wait!

    Who's that the in the distance, and seems to be closing fast?!

    https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/crowded-hasidic-funeral-held-in-brooklyn-despite-social-distancing/
  9. @DanHessinMD
    This is really wonderful news!!!!!!

    It means the death rate is far, far less than Italy reports.

    The 10% death rate is total nonsense. Many times more people got the virus than is being reported. The number in Italy is certainly is surely in the many millions if the 70% of the population got the virus is places.

    If 1 million Italians got the virus, the death rate in Italy is only 1% instead of 10%. If 10 million or 17% of the Italian population got the virus (reasonable if 70% of some places got it) then the death rate is only 0.1%.

    Now that the economy has been drawn and quartered with its head on a pike in the town square can we somehow rescue that severed head before the flies swarm too thickly?

    This town in Italy shows up in reports as being particularly hard hit all the way back in February. Mayor Pesatori’s back of an envelope math suggests that the all causes death rate was about 10 times above normal in late February and March.

  10. @Charon
    Why not combine weddings and funerals? They could even make a movie out of it! Wait a minute, I'm thinking of a title...it'll come to me...

    “Four weddings and a funeral? Now that’s just five of the same thing.”
    – Al Bundy

    • Agree: Hodag
  11. @DanHessinMD
    This is really wonderful news!!!!!!

    It means the death rate is far, far less than Italy reports.

    The 10% death rate is total nonsense. Many times more people got the virus than is being reported. The number in Italy is certainly is surely in the many millions if the 70% of the population got the virus is places.

    If 1 million Italians got the virus, the death rate in Italy is only 1% instead of 10%. If 10 million or 17% of the Italian population got the virus (reasonable if 70% of some places got it) then the death rate is only 0.1%.

    Now that the economy has been drawn and quartered with its head on a pike in the town square can we somehow rescue that severed head before the flies swarm too thickly?

    But how were the volunteers chosen? Some definite exposure but no symptoms? Trivial symptoms?

    How old were they?

    Were they a true random sample of asymptomatics?

    What about a sample of symptomatic but not seriously ill?

    What about retesting, to make sure they weren’t false positives?

    • Replies: @O'Really
    This study is very hard to interpret - especially through the translation.

    Either way, roughly 1.5% of all residents of the town have died - that would translate to nearly 5 million Americans dead. Unless everyone in this town is over 60 - like an Italian form of The Villages.
    , @Polynikes
    Who’s going to retest all the dead people for false positives? Or will the panic stricken just keep the death toll artificially high to justify their hysteria?
  12. So if any place is approaching herd immunity, it ought to be these poor bastards in Castiglione D’Adda.

    Who you calling a bastard blondie?

  13. @Elli
    But how were the volunteers chosen? Some definite exposure but no symptoms? Trivial symptoms?

    How old were they?

    Were they a true random sample of asymptomatics?

    What about a sample of symptomatic but not seriously ill?

    What about retesting, to make sure they weren't false positives?

    This study is very hard to interpret – especially through the translation.

    Either way, roughly 1.5% of all residents of the town have died – that would translate to nearly 5 million Americans dead. Unless everyone in this town is over 60 – like an Italian form of The Villages.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    The death rate in Italy is about 1.07% per year. Assuming some of the dead now would have died later this year, they might hit 2% overall. That is an increase in excess mortality of 87%. Pretty bad. The Spanish Flu was 172% excess mortality by contrast:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4634693/

    So it could have been worse.
    , @LondonBob
    The young in Italy head to the cities or Northern Europe, so yes you would be surprised how many places in Italy are just old people.
  14. @Anonymous
    Looks like the Italians have Death Race 2020 all wrapped up–but wait!

    Who's that the in the distance, and seems to be closing fast?!

    https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/crowded-hasidic-funeral-held-in-brooklyn-despite-social-distancing/

    They’re outside, they’re fully clothed and, except for the guys carrying the coffin are maintaining some space.

    imo, the risk isn’t that high (esp because they’re outside).

    Axing funerals also seems particularly “letting the terrorists win”. (Worse yet letting people be sick alone and die alone by forbidding their relatives from visiting. it is monstrous and anti-social)

  15. @Anonymous
    Looks like the Italians have Death Race 2020 all wrapped up–but wait!

    Who's that the in the distance, and seems to be closing fast?!

    https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/crowded-hasidic-funeral-held-in-brooklyn-despite-social-distancing/

    I live in Orange County, NY. According to the NY Times, our rate per 100k is about the same as NYC. The highest rates in the region (and maybe the country?) are Rockland and Westchester (both about double NYC, with Rockland a bit higher). Westchester I get, since that’s where the first big cluster started, but I was shocked that Rockland is that high.

    From the website, it’s obvious that the same group you’ve referenced above is driving the numbers both directly (Monsey, and to a lesser degree Pomona) and probably indirectly via interaction with the neighbors – the number of cases in heavily minority and poor Spring Valley is very high. Orange County’s rate is also driven up higher than it would otherwise be by Kiryas Joel.

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don’t apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    Wish I lived somewhere else.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    Last I checked, Westchester had over 10,000 cases but only 25 deaths, making the death rate something like .2%.

    NYC's death rate is 15 times that. Something isn't right.
    , @AnotherDad

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don’t apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.
     
    As i've noted before, these guys are the real Jews. The salient aspect of Judaism was rejection of the larger community's--the goyim, "the nations"--norms in favor of maintaining their own separate tribal norms. Why they still exist as a separate group.

    This is just an example of why that sucked/sucks for the larger community. The situation here with blacks as well--just as we see with crime rates.

    It is good for a community to have only one set of norms.

    I don't have any problem with these orthodox communities doing their own thing. Nor that matter blacks having their own norms about crime. It's just that i should not have to interact with it. I should not be bearing the costs of their norm flouting. I.e. they should be in a separate nation to do it.

    Nothing new here ... diversity sucks.

    Different peoples with different norms ... belong in different nations!
    , @anon
    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don’t apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/coronavirus/lakewood-coronavirus-bust-274813

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/coronavirus/centenarian-collared-107852

    Generally appearing in The Smoking Gun is not a complementary thing.
    , @ben tillman

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don’t apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    Wish I lived somewhere else.
     
    *I* wish *they* lived somewhere else.
    , @Mr McKenna
    Welcome to iSteve and UNZ.COM. Stick around.
  16. @Elli
    But how were the volunteers chosen? Some definite exposure but no symptoms? Trivial symptoms?

    How old were they?

    Were they a true random sample of asymptomatics?

    What about a sample of symptomatic but not seriously ill?

    What about retesting, to make sure they weren't false positives?

    Who’s going to retest all the dead people for false positives? Or will the panic stricken just keep the death toll artificially high to justify their hysteria?

  17. This guy hangs around Italians. Let’s hope he doesn’t get it, as his wife is in the family way.

    Formula 1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone to be a dad again at 89

  18. Death rates had been low over the flu season, 10 times above normal for February and March in February and March, and had there been no lockdown would presumably be going back to below average for the time of year (the low hanging fruit having fallen) by summer. Four out of five over eighty year olds do not even have to go to the hospital when infected by COVID-19.

    Is the objective to keep the lockdown on untill until those ‘saved’ by the lockdown have died gradually of politically expedient causes, meaning those other than COVID-19? Or, is the plan to come off of lockdown in the run up to the new flu season and have the media screaming about a surge in deaths and hospitals overwhelmed by a sudden demand for intensive care for a variety of causes including a COVID-19 bounceback? The UK’s Nudge Unit and Dominic Cummings advocated herd immunity because the current situation and prospect was thought worse. It is begining to seem so. Hospitals are not going to be overwhelmed in advanced European countries by COVID-19, so the rationale has morphed into stopping people dying of it (or anything) even in a flat curve. But those old folk are going to go and they are piling up like tinder on the forest floor.

    Chinese dissimulation has made governments get into a Vietnam type situation in which anyone can see, though no official dares say it, that the all-age lockdown policy was a mistake. There is no exit strategy that is politically doable because it will result in a spike in deaths and short term uproar, ignoring the mortality trough that will necessarily follow. The leaders are not going to end their careers, so it will go on and on.

    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26645

    Why are we scared of what most likely will not kill us? Psychology provides us with an answer. It is called fear of dread risks. This fear is elicited by a situation in which many people die within a short time. Note that the fear is not about dying, but about suddenly dying together with many others at one point of time. When as many—or more—people die distributed over the year, whether from gun violence, motorcycle accidents, or in hospital beds, it is hard to conjure up anxiety

    Humans evolved in small bands of around 60 people, it is instructive to consider the consequences of losing many members from such a group at one time, it might well cease to exist (Gigerenzer Risk Savvy 2014). A related line of reasoning, or primordial algorithm, is if a member of one of the aforementioned bands has a communicable disease, then having immune activation make him feel depressed and keep away from the rest of the group, and the group want to keep away from him, has an obvious benefit from the Darwinian standpoint (Bullmore The Inflamed Mind 2018). Humans–even ones using statistical modeling–are operating with ancient feelings which are telling them there must be a lockdown for everyone until everyone gets better. NO. The non vulnerable need to get back to work to help pay for the distancing, extra help and special precautions for the vulnerable, which should be kept.

    • Agree: TomSchmidt
    • Replies: @Gabe Ruth
    Speaking for myself, the primary reason I don't do things that probably wouldn't kill me that are otherwise convenient is because my wife or M.I.L. has told me they are dangerous and I don't want them to feel smug.
    , @AnotherDad

    Chinese dissimulation has made governments get into a Vietnam type situation in which anyone can see, though no official dares say it, that the all-age lockdown policy was a mistake. There is no exit strategy that is politically doable because it will result in a spike in deaths and short term uproar, ignoring the mortality trough that will necessarily follow. The leaders are not going to end their careers, so it will go on and on.
     
    The lockdown definitely has a "painted into a corner" element to it.

    My take on exit strategy is that politicians are hoping for either
    -- can squash this completely (not going to happen in US) or at least get to the point they can put out flare ups with contact tracing (unlikely)

    -- hold out until there's a vaccine

    -- hold out until decent treatment, then can to whatever level treatment can be managed by health system

    Much less desirable but possible

    -- can determine what measures have reproduction rate right near 1.0 and do a slow burn that doesn't overwhelm

    Or requires some strong verbal gymnastics

    -- announce a regime of strict guidelines for protecting old people that we're all to follow (which can include use of antibody positive folks), then loosen up with young people at level for slow burn


    But yeah, it's a pickle. (An not the tasty kind.) Unless a vaccine rolls out, in which case a brilliant victory can be declared, no good exit options.
    , @ben tillman

    Why are we scared of what most likely will not kill us? Psychology provides us with an answer. It is called fear of dread risks. This fear is elicited by a situation in which many people die within a short time. Note that the fear is not about dying, but about suddenly dying together with many others at one point of time.
     
    I have never felt or seen or heard of anything like that. It sounds utterly preposterous.
    , @reiner Tor

    Vietnam type situation in which anyone can see, though no official dares say it, that the all-age lockdown policy was a mistake.
     
    Then why are they moving in that direction everywhere? It’s not like the first instinct of any government wasn’t to just treat it like the flu. Then most Western governments decided for as little disruption as possible. But as hospitals started to get overwhelmed and doctors dropping dead, they realized they needed to move towards a full lockdown.

    And actually the economic disruption from a six week Chinese style lockdown (with ten or twelve weeks in the worst hit regions, like Wuhan) is probably less severe than a several-month, but not nearly as strict lockdown. Even psychologically it would probably be easier.
  19. @John Achterhof
    So test indicates 40 of 60 were infected. None of the 40 had symptoms. As Dr. Henry Lee would say, "something's wrong."

    Yes, I found that fact interesting also. I really want to take an antibody test; I used to take the train from New Rochelle and had a dry cough for a few days last month.

  20. @O'Really
    This study is very hard to interpret - especially through the translation.

    Either way, roughly 1.5% of all residents of the town have died - that would translate to nearly 5 million Americans dead. Unless everyone in this town is over 60 - like an Italian form of The Villages.

    The death rate in Italy is about 1.07% per year. Assuming some of the dead now would have died later this year, they might hit 2% overall. That is an increase in excess mortality of 87%. Pretty bad. The Spanish Flu was 172% excess mortality by contrast:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4634693/

    So it could have been worse.

    • Thanks: Sean, Mr McKenna
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The Spanish Flu was in an earlier age, and during wartime and then demobilization, when the kind of lockdowns we are implementing right now were impossible. They had no antibiotics against opportunistic bacterial infections, which caused a huge portion of those deaths (I somewhere read that opportunistic bacterial pneumonia might’ve been the proximate cause of death for as much as one third of deaths from the Spanish Flu), and probably no intensive care beds for the more severe cases.

    It’s not impossible that ceteris paribus Covid-19 is worse than the Spanish Flu. Fortunately it’s way better than the Great Pestilence.
  21. @ls0928
    I live in Orange County, NY. According to the NY Times, our rate per 100k is about the same as NYC. The highest rates in the region (and maybe the country?) are Rockland and Westchester (both about double NYC, with Rockland a bit higher). Westchester I get, since that's where the first big cluster started, but I was shocked that Rockland is that high.

    From the website, it's obvious that the same group you've referenced above is driving the numbers both directly (Monsey, and to a lesser degree Pomona) and probably indirectly via interaction with the neighbors - the number of cases in heavily minority and poor Spring Valley is very high. Orange County's rate is also driven up higher than it would otherwise be by Kiryas Joel.

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don't apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    Wish I lived somewhere else.

    Last I checked, Westchester had over 10,000 cases but only 25 deaths, making the death rate something like .2%.

    NYC’s death rate is 15 times that. Something isn’t right.

  22. Costantino Pesatori, the mayor of Castiglione D’Adda, one of those formerly quarantined towns, said that 47 people had died there since Feb. 21, compared with about 50 in all of 2019. He said that despite some of his residents having received a diagnosis of pneumonia, hospital officials “sent them home without testing them for coronavirus.”

    This would suggest the total death rate in the town was about 10X its average monthly death rate.

    By March 21, 62 deaths were officially attributed to the epidemic in this one town. And remember that official counts of coronavirus fatalities in Lombardy are probably understated because they typically haven’t counted those dying untested at home and in nursing facilities.

    Interesting data.

    Since the Diamond Princess i’ve expected the death rate to be <1%, and in my more optimistic moments my guess down toward .2-.3% for the US age structure.

    This unfortunately suggests a rate a bit above 1%.

    For context, while the CFR of being alive is 100%, the death rate for being alive in the US during a given year is about 0.85%.

    It would be interesting to know the age structure of the town, but in some ways it doesn’t matter if we have the previous year's death count, as the virus is doing an age cull that is pretty much the same as ordinary all causes deaths. So if the town was lost 50 in 2019 and lost 46 (or 62?) it sounds like the Covid-19 hit will be in the ballpark of a typical year's cull. It would be interesting to see whether the final total for the year is 100-ish–so double a typical year–or whether a lot of the deaths are early harvest from the same year.

    If this holds up, then what we really see from the epidemic is an extra year's worth of deaths pushed forward into this year. (That would be 2.8 million for the US.) What i'd expect then is that future years would have correspondingly smaller death rates. Next year say 85% of normal, then the next 90% of normal, then 93%, 95% … on out with recovery over 20 years or so.

    But that, of course, assumes the virus doesn't permanently damage people or their immune systems. It could actually make things worse and we're all living with permanently lower life expectancy only recovered in decades with advances in medical science and other technological improvements like self-driving cars, robots doing hazardous work, etc.

    I may well have been over optimistic. But i want to see some real data, an American representative sample, or heck even non-representative–a sample of my people, flyover country white people.

    Is the CDC ever going to doing anything useful during this entire episode?

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna



    Is the CDC ever going to do anything useful during this entire episode?
     
    Outside their remit
  23. @Sean
    Death rates had been low over the flu season, 10 times above normal for February and March in February and March, and had there been no lockdown would presumably be going back to below average for the time of year (the low hanging fruit having fallen) by summer. Four out of five over eighty year olds do not even have to go to the hospital when infected by COVID-19.

    Is the objective to keep the lockdown on untill until those 'saved' by the lockdown have died gradually of politically expedient causes, meaning those other than COVID-19? Or, is the plan to come off of lockdown in the run up to the new flu season and have the media screaming about a surge in deaths and hospitals overwhelmed by a sudden demand for intensive care for a variety of causes including a COVID-19 bounceback? The UK's Nudge Unit and Dominic Cummings advocated herd immunity because the current situation and prospect was thought worse. It is begining to seem so. Hospitals are not going to be overwhelmed in advanced European countries by COVID-19, so the rationale has morphed into stopping people dying of it (or anything) even in a flat curve. But those old folk are going to go and they are piling up like tinder on the forest floor.

    Chinese dissimulation has made governments get into a Vietnam type situation in which anyone can see, though no official dares say it, that the all-age lockdown policy was a mistake. There is no exit strategy that is politically doable because it will result in a spike in deaths and short term uproar, ignoring the mortality trough that will necessarily follow. The leaders are not going to end their careers, so it will go on and on.


    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26645

    Why are we scared of what most likely will not kill us? Psychology provides us with an answer. It is called fear of dread risks. This fear is elicited by a situation in which many people die within a short time. Note that the fear is not about dying, but about suddenly dying together with many others at one point of time. When as many—or more—people die distributed over the year, whether from gun violence, motorcycle accidents, or in hospital beds, it is hard to conjure up anxiety
     

    Humans evolved in small bands of around 60 people, it is instructive to consider the consequences of losing many members from such a group at one time, it might well cease to exist (Gigerenzer Risk Savvy 2014). A related line of reasoning, or primordial algorithm, is if a member of one of the aforementioned bands has a communicable disease, then having immune activation make him feel depressed and keep away from the rest of the group, and the group want to keep away from him, has an obvious benefit from the Darwinian standpoint (Bullmore The Inflamed Mind 2018). Humans--even ones using statistical modeling--are operating with ancient feelings which are telling them there must be a lockdown for everyone until everyone gets better. NO. The non vulnerable need to get back to work to help pay for the distancing, extra help and special precautions for the vulnerable, which should be kept.

    Speaking for myself, the primary reason I don’t do things that probably wouldn’t kill me that are otherwise convenient is because my wife or M.I.L. has told me they are dangerous and I don’t want them to feel smug.

  24. @Sean
    Death rates had been low over the flu season, 10 times above normal for February and March in February and March, and had there been no lockdown would presumably be going back to below average for the time of year (the low hanging fruit having fallen) by summer. Four out of five over eighty year olds do not even have to go to the hospital when infected by COVID-19.

    Is the objective to keep the lockdown on untill until those 'saved' by the lockdown have died gradually of politically expedient causes, meaning those other than COVID-19? Or, is the plan to come off of lockdown in the run up to the new flu season and have the media screaming about a surge in deaths and hospitals overwhelmed by a sudden demand for intensive care for a variety of causes including a COVID-19 bounceback? The UK's Nudge Unit and Dominic Cummings advocated herd immunity because the current situation and prospect was thought worse. It is begining to seem so. Hospitals are not going to be overwhelmed in advanced European countries by COVID-19, so the rationale has morphed into stopping people dying of it (or anything) even in a flat curve. But those old folk are going to go and they are piling up like tinder on the forest floor.

    Chinese dissimulation has made governments get into a Vietnam type situation in which anyone can see, though no official dares say it, that the all-age lockdown policy was a mistake. There is no exit strategy that is politically doable because it will result in a spike in deaths and short term uproar, ignoring the mortality trough that will necessarily follow. The leaders are not going to end their careers, so it will go on and on.


    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26645

    Why are we scared of what most likely will not kill us? Psychology provides us with an answer. It is called fear of dread risks. This fear is elicited by a situation in which many people die within a short time. Note that the fear is not about dying, but about suddenly dying together with many others at one point of time. When as many—or more—people die distributed over the year, whether from gun violence, motorcycle accidents, or in hospital beds, it is hard to conjure up anxiety
     

    Humans evolved in small bands of around 60 people, it is instructive to consider the consequences of losing many members from such a group at one time, it might well cease to exist (Gigerenzer Risk Savvy 2014). A related line of reasoning, or primordial algorithm, is if a member of one of the aforementioned bands has a communicable disease, then having immune activation make him feel depressed and keep away from the rest of the group, and the group want to keep away from him, has an obvious benefit from the Darwinian standpoint (Bullmore The Inflamed Mind 2018). Humans--even ones using statistical modeling--are operating with ancient feelings which are telling them there must be a lockdown for everyone until everyone gets better. NO. The non vulnerable need to get back to work to help pay for the distancing, extra help and special precautions for the vulnerable, which should be kept.

    Chinese dissimulation has made governments get into a Vietnam type situation in which anyone can see, though no official dares say it, that the all-age lockdown policy was a mistake. There is no exit strategy that is politically doable because it will result in a spike in deaths and short term uproar, ignoring the mortality trough that will necessarily follow. The leaders are not going to end their careers, so it will go on and on.

    The lockdown definitely has a “painted into a corner” element to it.

    My take on exit strategy is that politicians are hoping for either
    — can squash this completely (not going to happen in US) or at least get to the point they can put out flare ups with contact tracing (unlikely)

    — hold out until there’s a vaccine

    — hold out until decent treatment, then can to whatever level treatment can be managed by health system

    Much less desirable but possible

    — can determine what measures have reproduction rate right near 1.0 and do a slow burn that doesn’t overwhelm

    Or requires some strong verbal gymnastics

    — announce a regime of strict guidelines for protecting old people that we’re all to follow (which can include use of antibody positive folks), then loosen up with young people at level for slow burn

    But yeah, it’s a pickle. (An not the tasty kind.) Unless a vaccine rolls out, in which case a brilliant victory can be declared, no good exit options.

  25. @Inquiring Mind
    70% antibody pos?

    That's your herd immunity, right there.

    Human society has done stranger things in the face of a viral epidemic.

    Chickenpox parties? In Colonial America, smallpox parties were a thing. There was something about one of your servants got the smallpox who passed it on to another servant, and if it was run through enough servants, the master would expose himself to this version of an "attenuated" live-virus vaccine?

    This sound Strangelovian, but it was General Turgidson, not Strangelove who talked casually about accepting high losses to win an elective nuclear war. How many people did they lose to get to 70 percent antibody response?

    70% antibody pos?

    That’s your herd immunity, right there.

    There seem to be two things going on. The first is that a semi-random sample in the area shows 70% antibodies, which does imply herd immunity. The second is that they were asymptomatic, which implies the virus is much less deadly than thought.

    If we knew the death rate for the relevant local “herd” population, one could calculate the fatality rate for the scenario in which the virus “burns out” in a population. (Which might have to happen to a lot of “herds” before this is over).

    Of course, the sample could have been unrepresentative or the test wasn’t reliable for some reason.

  26. But yeah, it’s a pickle. (An not the tasty kind.) Unless a vaccine rolls out, in which case a brilliant victory can be declared, no good exit options.

    And maybe that was the whole idea.

  27. @ls0928
    I live in Orange County, NY. According to the NY Times, our rate per 100k is about the same as NYC. The highest rates in the region (and maybe the country?) are Rockland and Westchester (both about double NYC, with Rockland a bit higher). Westchester I get, since that's where the first big cluster started, but I was shocked that Rockland is that high.

    From the website, it's obvious that the same group you've referenced above is driving the numbers both directly (Monsey, and to a lesser degree Pomona) and probably indirectly via interaction with the neighbors - the number of cases in heavily minority and poor Spring Valley is very high. Orange County's rate is also driven up higher than it would otherwise be by Kiryas Joel.

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don't apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    Wish I lived somewhere else.

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don’t apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    As i’ve noted before, these guys are the real Jews. The salient aspect of Judaism was rejection of the larger community’s–the goyim, “the nations”–norms in favor of maintaining their own separate tribal norms. Why they still exist as a separate group.

    This is just an example of why that sucked/sucks for the larger community. The situation here with blacks as well–just as we see with crime rates.

    It is good for a community to have only one set of norms.

    I don’t have any problem with these orthodox communities doing their own thing. Nor that matter blacks having their own norms about crime. It’s just that i should not have to interact with it. I should not be bearing the costs of their norm flouting. I.e. they should be in a separate nation to do it.

    Nothing new here … diversity sucks.

    Different peoples with different norms … belong in different nations!

    • Agree: ben tillman, Mr McKenna
  28. @Charon
    Again, as I asked a few days ago:

    Why are medics who test positive taken out of commission? Seems like they’d be the perfect people to work on covid patients. And it would surely address the staffing shortages in our hospitals.
     
    This question seems so obvious to me, yet I can't find an answer. Anyone?

    because it’s assumed they’re infectious, and would then transmit rhe disease to the sick-with-not-covid and kill them accidentally, or to other healthcare workers who would then become sick and do the same..

  29. anon[414] • Disclaimer says:
    @ls0928
    I live in Orange County, NY. According to the NY Times, our rate per 100k is about the same as NYC. The highest rates in the region (and maybe the country?) are Rockland and Westchester (both about double NYC, with Rockland a bit higher). Westchester I get, since that's where the first big cluster started, but I was shocked that Rockland is that high.

    From the website, it's obvious that the same group you've referenced above is driving the numbers both directly (Monsey, and to a lesser degree Pomona) and probably indirectly via interaction with the neighbors - the number of cases in heavily minority and poor Spring Valley is very high. Orange County's rate is also driven up higher than it would otherwise be by Kiryas Joel.

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don't apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    Wish I lived somewhere else.

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don’t apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/coronavirus/lakewood-coronavirus-bust-274813

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/coronavirus/centenarian-collared-107852

    Generally appearing in The Smoking Gun is not a complementary thing.

  30. @ls0928
    I live in Orange County, NY. According to the NY Times, our rate per 100k is about the same as NYC. The highest rates in the region (and maybe the country?) are Rockland and Westchester (both about double NYC, with Rockland a bit higher). Westchester I get, since that's where the first big cluster started, but I was shocked that Rockland is that high.

    From the website, it's obvious that the same group you've referenced above is driving the numbers both directly (Monsey, and to a lesser degree Pomona) and probably indirectly via interaction with the neighbors - the number of cases in heavily minority and poor Spring Valley is very high. Orange County's rate is also driven up higher than it would otherwise be by Kiryas Joel.

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don't apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    Wish I lived somewhere else.

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don’t apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    Wish I lived somewhere else.

    *I* wish *they* lived somewhere else.

    • Replies: @ls0928
    You fixed that for me. Thanks.
  31. @Anonymous
    Looks like the Italians have Death Race 2020 all wrapped up–but wait!

    Who's that the in the distance, and seems to be closing fast?!

    https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/crowded-hasidic-funeral-held-in-brooklyn-despite-social-distancing/

    World News
    April 3, 2020 / 4:16 AM / Updated 13 hours ago
    Israel seals off ultra-Orthodox town hit hard by coronavirus
    Ilan Rosenberg

    BNEI BRAK, Israel (Reuters) – Israel put up roadblocks on Friday to seal off an ultra-Orthodox Jewish town badly affected by the coronavirus, but ordered in soldiers “to support the residents.”

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-israel-ultraorthod/israel-seals-off-ultra-orthodox-town-hit-hard-by-coronavirus-idUSKBN21L11B

    I added the quotation marks 😉

  32. A friend of mine from New York tested positive for Coronavirus about a onth ago and is being called out of her home today for the first time in order to donate blood in the hope of doing?learning? something with the antibodies she carries.

    Also, apparently most diagnosed cases of coronavirus around the world these days are done based on symptoms rather than blood tests – with those being reserved for special situations.

    I don’t know the implications of that but it surprised me to learn this yesterday from a family member with an apparently light but certain case of it that was diagnosed over the phone by the family doctor so I thought I’d share it.

  33. @ls0928
    I live in Orange County, NY. According to the NY Times, our rate per 100k is about the same as NYC. The highest rates in the region (and maybe the country?) are Rockland and Westchester (both about double NYC, with Rockland a bit higher). Westchester I get, since that's where the first big cluster started, but I was shocked that Rockland is that high.

    From the website, it's obvious that the same group you've referenced above is driving the numbers both directly (Monsey, and to a lesser degree Pomona) and probably indirectly via interaction with the neighbors - the number of cases in heavily minority and poor Spring Valley is very high. Orange County's rate is also driven up higher than it would otherwise be by Kiryas Joel.

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don't apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    Wish I lived somewhere else.

    Welcome to iSteve and UNZ.COM. Stick around.

    • Replies: @ls0928
    Thank you, but I've been reading Steve since the end of 2001 if memory serves. Occasional comments under various handles, but I'll keep this one going forward.
  34. @Sean
    Death rates had been low over the flu season, 10 times above normal for February and March in February and March, and had there been no lockdown would presumably be going back to below average for the time of year (the low hanging fruit having fallen) by summer. Four out of five over eighty year olds do not even have to go to the hospital when infected by COVID-19.

    Is the objective to keep the lockdown on untill until those 'saved' by the lockdown have died gradually of politically expedient causes, meaning those other than COVID-19? Or, is the plan to come off of lockdown in the run up to the new flu season and have the media screaming about a surge in deaths and hospitals overwhelmed by a sudden demand for intensive care for a variety of causes including a COVID-19 bounceback? The UK's Nudge Unit and Dominic Cummings advocated herd immunity because the current situation and prospect was thought worse. It is begining to seem so. Hospitals are not going to be overwhelmed in advanced European countries by COVID-19, so the rationale has morphed into stopping people dying of it (or anything) even in a flat curve. But those old folk are going to go and they are piling up like tinder on the forest floor.

    Chinese dissimulation has made governments get into a Vietnam type situation in which anyone can see, though no official dares say it, that the all-age lockdown policy was a mistake. There is no exit strategy that is politically doable because it will result in a spike in deaths and short term uproar, ignoring the mortality trough that will necessarily follow. The leaders are not going to end their careers, so it will go on and on.


    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26645

    Why are we scared of what most likely will not kill us? Psychology provides us with an answer. It is called fear of dread risks. This fear is elicited by a situation in which many people die within a short time. Note that the fear is not about dying, but about suddenly dying together with many others at one point of time. When as many—or more—people die distributed over the year, whether from gun violence, motorcycle accidents, or in hospital beds, it is hard to conjure up anxiety
     

    Humans evolved in small bands of around 60 people, it is instructive to consider the consequences of losing many members from such a group at one time, it might well cease to exist (Gigerenzer Risk Savvy 2014). A related line of reasoning, or primordial algorithm, is if a member of one of the aforementioned bands has a communicable disease, then having immune activation make him feel depressed and keep away from the rest of the group, and the group want to keep away from him, has an obvious benefit from the Darwinian standpoint (Bullmore The Inflamed Mind 2018). Humans--even ones using statistical modeling--are operating with ancient feelings which are telling them there must be a lockdown for everyone until everyone gets better. NO. The non vulnerable need to get back to work to help pay for the distancing, extra help and special precautions for the vulnerable, which should be kept.

    Why are we scared of what most likely will not kill us? Psychology provides us with an answer. It is called fear of dread risks. This fear is elicited by a situation in which many people die within a short time. Note that the fear is not about dying, but about suddenly dying together with many others at one point of time.

    I have never felt or seen or heard of anything like that. It sounds utterly preposterous.

  35. @O'Really
    This study is very hard to interpret - especially through the translation.

    Either way, roughly 1.5% of all residents of the town have died - that would translate to nearly 5 million Americans dead. Unless everyone in this town is over 60 - like an Italian form of The Villages.

    The young in Italy head to the cities or Northern Europe, so yes you would be surprised how many places in Italy are just old people.

    • Agree: Sean
  36. This place is in Lodi, right near Codogno, basically ground zero for the outbreak in northern Italy. Surely they’ve been through hell and it’s not hard to believe they could have very high acquired immunity, but there’s something wrong with this story.

    Here’s an accessible Yahoo finance version:

    https://it.finance.yahoo.com/notizie/coronavirus-castiglione-d-adda-il-065252105.html

    Run it through Google, but my summary/puzzlement is as follows:

    The first paragraph says 40/60 donors tested positive *for the virus*. Not antibodies And then experts are cited, who say that this high proportion is due to “so-called asymptomatics.” Then we are told that the tests were done in the course of screening blood-donors in Castiglione d’Adda. Many tested positive without knowing they had the disease.

    Then a paragraph about protocol for positive swabs with blood donations. If you go to donate blood they also swab you. If the swab comes up positive you get a call within 72 hours with instructions to isolate yourself. (WILD THEORY NOT PART OF TRANSLATION: People are donating blood in this town because it comes with a C19 test, and the “asymptomatics” are actually people who feel a bit sick, but you’re not supposed to donate blood when you’re sick, so they present themselves as not sick, and as surprised when the results come back positive for C19.)

    Then more on the 40/60 result: This is again implied to be positive swab tests. A doctor is quoted to explain that swabs are one thing. But people who test positive for the antibodies are invited to go to Lodi and donate their plasma to treat desperate cases. And he says, this is key, 15 names (of people with antibodies) have come up in testing, more may be on the way. (SO: 15 names, out of who knows how many blood samples, have come up positive for antibodies. 15 of the 60? or 15 of some other set? Probably the latter: he just seems to be speaking generally about how many antibody tests have come up positive in Castiglione.)

    Then another doctor is cited to explain that many “asymptomatics” actually had symptoms, particularly loss of taste and smell, little fevers etc., they just didn’t think they were C19 when in fact they were.

    Then the question is posed: What to do if you have asymptomatics crawling the walls? A doctor recommends the Vò procedure of test everyone, isolate positives.

    • Thanks: John Achterhof, vhrm
    • Replies: @Michael888
    From La Stampa: Coronavirus, Castiglione d'Adda is a case study: "70% of blood donors are positive.
    All asymptomatic, but have antibodies. From their plasma an experimental cure for the sick."

    The people who were asymptomatic still produced antibodies that fought off the COVID-19. There should be large numbers of such people near hotspots, unless the virus is extremely dangerous. COVID-19 is an interesting, extremely contagious flu.

  37. @AnotherDad


    Costantino Pesatori, the mayor of Castiglione D’Adda, one of those formerly quarantined towns, said that 47 people had died there since Feb. 21, compared with about 50 in all of 2019. He said that despite some of his residents having received a diagnosis of pneumonia, hospital officials “sent them home without testing them for coronavirus.”
     
    This would suggest the total death rate in the town was about 10X its average monthly death rate.

    By March 21, 62 deaths were officially attributed to the epidemic in this one town. And remember that official counts of coronavirus fatalities in Lombardy are probably understated because they typically haven’t counted those dying untested at home and in nursing facilities.
     

    Interesting data.

    Since the Diamond Princess i've expected the death rate to be <1%, and in my more optimistic moments my guess down toward .2-.3% for the US age structure.

    This unfortunately suggests a rate a bit above 1%.

    For context, while the CFR of being alive is 100%, the death rate for being alive in the US during a given year is about 0.85%.

    It would be interesting to know the age structure of the town, but in some ways it doesn't matter if we have the previous year's death count, as the virus is doing an age cull that is pretty much the same as ordinary all causes deaths. So if the town was lost 50 in 2019 and lost 46 (or 62?) it sounds like the Covid-19 hit will be in the ballpark of a typical year's cull. It would be interesting to see whether the final total for the year is 100-ish--so double a typical year--or whether a lot of the deaths are early harvest from the same year.

    If this holds up, then what we really see from the epidemic is an extra year's worth of deaths pushed forward into this year. (That would be 2.8 million for the US.) What i'd expect then is that future years would have correspondingly smaller death rates. Next year say 85% of normal, then the next 90% of normal, then 93%, 95% ... on out with recovery over 20 years or so.

    But that, of course, assumes the virus doesn't permanently damage people or their immune systems. It could actually make things worse and we're all living with permanently lower life expectancy only recovered in decades with advances in medical science and other technological improvements like self-driving cars, robots doing hazardous work, etc.

    I may well have been over optimistic. But i want to see some real data, an American representative sample, or heck even non-representative--a sample of my people, flyover country white people.

    Is the CDC ever going to doing anything useful during this entire episode?

    Is the CDC ever going to do anything useful during this entire episode?

    Outside their remit

    • LOL: eugyppius
  38. Castiglione D’Adda = Dislodge a antacid.

  39. Mountaintop town of Zahara de la Sierra in Andalusia cuts itself off from the world, runs tests and finds out: zero infections. It’s almost as though borders can be useful.

    https://english.elpais.com/spanish_news/2020-04-04/the-spanish-villages-raising-barriers-against-the-coronavirus.html

    They’re called ‘white villages’ but naah, not like that.

  40. @TomSchmidt
    The death rate in Italy is about 1.07% per year. Assuming some of the dead now would have died later this year, they might hit 2% overall. That is an increase in excess mortality of 87%. Pretty bad. The Spanish Flu was 172% excess mortality by contrast:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4634693/

    So it could have been worse.

    The Spanish Flu was in an earlier age, and during wartime and then demobilization, when the kind of lockdowns we are implementing right now were impossible. They had no antibiotics against opportunistic bacterial infections, which caused a huge portion of those deaths (I somewhere read that opportunistic bacterial pneumonia might’ve been the proximate cause of death for as much as one third of deaths from the Spanish Flu), and probably no intensive care beds for the more severe cases.

    It’s not impossible that ceteris paribus Covid-19 is worse than the Spanish Flu. Fortunately it’s way better than the Great Pestilence.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    Yes, we won't lose 1/3rd of Europe from this one.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_flu

    The 1968 pandemic might be a comparison. As the article notes, antibiotics helped squelch the opportunistic infections. CDC says 100,000 people died from that in a country of 200MM. So if we exceed 165K deaths from this, we've topped that.
  41. @Sean
    Death rates had been low over the flu season, 10 times above normal for February and March in February and March, and had there been no lockdown would presumably be going back to below average for the time of year (the low hanging fruit having fallen) by summer. Four out of five over eighty year olds do not even have to go to the hospital when infected by COVID-19.

    Is the objective to keep the lockdown on untill until those 'saved' by the lockdown have died gradually of politically expedient causes, meaning those other than COVID-19? Or, is the plan to come off of lockdown in the run up to the new flu season and have the media screaming about a surge in deaths and hospitals overwhelmed by a sudden demand for intensive care for a variety of causes including a COVID-19 bounceback? The UK's Nudge Unit and Dominic Cummings advocated herd immunity because the current situation and prospect was thought worse. It is begining to seem so. Hospitals are not going to be overwhelmed in advanced European countries by COVID-19, so the rationale has morphed into stopping people dying of it (or anything) even in a flat curve. But those old folk are going to go and they are piling up like tinder on the forest floor.

    Chinese dissimulation has made governments get into a Vietnam type situation in which anyone can see, though no official dares say it, that the all-age lockdown policy was a mistake. There is no exit strategy that is politically doable because it will result in a spike in deaths and short term uproar, ignoring the mortality trough that will necessarily follow. The leaders are not going to end their careers, so it will go on and on.


    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26645

    Why are we scared of what most likely will not kill us? Psychology provides us with an answer. It is called fear of dread risks. This fear is elicited by a situation in which many people die within a short time. Note that the fear is not about dying, but about suddenly dying together with many others at one point of time. When as many—or more—people die distributed over the year, whether from gun violence, motorcycle accidents, or in hospital beds, it is hard to conjure up anxiety
     

    Humans evolved in small bands of around 60 people, it is instructive to consider the consequences of losing many members from such a group at one time, it might well cease to exist (Gigerenzer Risk Savvy 2014). A related line of reasoning, or primordial algorithm, is if a member of one of the aforementioned bands has a communicable disease, then having immune activation make him feel depressed and keep away from the rest of the group, and the group want to keep away from him, has an obvious benefit from the Darwinian standpoint (Bullmore The Inflamed Mind 2018). Humans--even ones using statistical modeling--are operating with ancient feelings which are telling them there must be a lockdown for everyone until everyone gets better. NO. The non vulnerable need to get back to work to help pay for the distancing, extra help and special precautions for the vulnerable, which should be kept.

    Vietnam type situation in which anyone can see, though no official dares say it, that the all-age lockdown policy was a mistake.

    Then why are they moving in that direction everywhere? It’s not like the first instinct of any government wasn’t to just treat it like the flu. Then most Western governments decided for as little disruption as possible. But as hospitals started to get overwhelmed and doctors dropping dead, they realized they needed to move towards a full lockdown.

    And actually the economic disruption from a six week Chinese style lockdown (with ten or twelve weeks in the worst hit regions, like Wuhan) is probably less severe than a several-month, but not nearly as strict lockdown. Even psychologically it would probably be easier.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    as hospitals started to get overwhelmed and doctors dropping dead
    I saw the report: Doctors have a minimum age of about 30, so are likely older than the population. 61 doctors in Italy have died from COVID. Shocking:
    https://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-03-30-20-intl-hnk/h_d385acb67991afbdcf4c87aed856f0e6

    Except: the death rate in Italy is 10.7/1000 for 2019. Doctors have a minimum age of about 30, so are likely older than the population. There are about 336,000 Doctors in Italy. That suggests 3595 doctors will die annually, 300 per month. How many doctors have died overall in each of the past three months?

    , @Sean

    It’s not like the first instinct of any government wasn’t to just treat it like the flu.
     
    It is not like endemic flu, which has been taken too lightly, but COVID-19 is like an influenza epidemic, which is long overdue since there has not been one for over 40 years.

    But as hospitals started to get overwhelmed and doctors dropping dead, they realized they needed to move towards a full lockdown.
     
    The Chinese announced on 7 Jan that it was a coronavirus but did not easily spread between people, so their doctors thinking it was like MERS-- a high death rate but not very communicable--didn't know to protect themselves the massive viral load they were getting. They were remarkably slow on the uptake. Not going to happen now. Flattening the curve meant 'do it like the Chinese' apparently. China is a still-backward totalitarian state ruling over a servile population while the West is individualist and advanced with far better and more abundant medical infrastructure.

    Although measures against the spread of COVID-19 required isolation of the elderly and otherwise vulnerable, the real world cost of keeping the all age lockdown on for months are prohibitive. Relative to China, far more dysregulation will result in the West from an all age lockdown, and it is not necessary because the world's most powerful economies can not be overwhelmed by something that only one in a hundred infected 30 year olds and a fifth of infected over 80 year olds will even need to go to hospital for. World War Two was not quixotic, this lockdown as it has evolved into not merely an effort to elongate the statistical death curve of very elderly and sick people but prevent them dying entirely, is. By the time the vaccine is available and the all age lockdown comes off, most of the people who it was intended to save will have died of old age or about to die of endemic influenza.

  42. @Charon
    Again, as I asked a few days ago:

    Why are medics who test positive taken out of commission? Seems like they’d be the perfect people to work on covid patients. And it would surely address the staffing shortages in our hospitals.
     
    This question seems so obvious to me, yet I can't find an answer. Anyone?

    What the commenter Alice wrote to you, plus being infected is not a totally binary question, there’s also viral load, and the issue of getting infected by two or more different strains at the same time. In other words, it would endanger many lives.

  43. @reiner Tor
    The Spanish Flu was in an earlier age, and during wartime and then demobilization, when the kind of lockdowns we are implementing right now were impossible. They had no antibiotics against opportunistic bacterial infections, which caused a huge portion of those deaths (I somewhere read that opportunistic bacterial pneumonia might’ve been the proximate cause of death for as much as one third of deaths from the Spanish Flu), and probably no intensive care beds for the more severe cases.

    It’s not impossible that ceteris paribus Covid-19 is worse than the Spanish Flu. Fortunately it’s way better than the Great Pestilence.

    Yes, we won’t lose 1/3rd of Europe from this one.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_flu

    The 1968 pandemic might be a comparison. As the article notes, antibiotics helped squelch the opportunistic infections. CDC says 100,000 people died from that in a country of 200MM. So if we exceed 165K deaths from this, we’ve topped that.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    If we exceed 165,000 deaths with a lockdown, then Covid-19 must be significantly worse than the 1968 flu.
  44. @TomSchmidt
    Yes, we won't lose 1/3rd of Europe from this one.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_flu

    The 1968 pandemic might be a comparison. As the article notes, antibiotics helped squelch the opportunistic infections. CDC says 100,000 people died from that in a country of 200MM. So if we exceed 165K deaths from this, we've topped that.

    If we exceed 165,000 deaths with a lockdown, then Covid-19 must be significantly worse than the 1968 flu.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    I agree on that score, although we should probably adjust for the fact that the US median age was under 30 in 1968 (the boomers were young then), and is now over 38. This thing likes older folks.

    Maybe go to 200K for the age differential. Over that, unquestionably worse.
    , @Sean

    Covid-19 must be significantly worse than the 1968 flu.
     
    Relatively speaking, but surely there are a lot more of the population hanging on to life by the skin of their teeth who could be finished off by a not terribly lethal epidemic now as compared to 1968. There was a youth bulge in 1968, now there is the opposite and medicine keeping people going until they are in their mid eighties is taken for granted in the West.

    The original rationale for the lockdown was to spread the inevitable falling of 'low hanging fruit' hospitalisation and deaths out, not prevent them entirely. The idea was predicated on existing emergency planning--for something like the pathogen out of the movie Contagion--that China was saying the Wuhan disease was.

    Western government expected this to produce societal breakdown as medical services became essentially unobtainable. Governments are not going to take even the slightest risk of them losing control so they went to total lockdown. I think it is now clear that overwhelming will not happen because COVID-19 has been established to have a low age adjusted death rate, it gives those on the edge a bump. Yes there are a lot of them and they should have been isolated. But everybody?

  45. @reiner Tor
    If we exceed 165,000 deaths with a lockdown, then Covid-19 must be significantly worse than the 1968 flu.

    I agree on that score, although we should probably adjust for the fact that the US median age was under 30 in 1968 (the boomers were young then), and is now over 38. This thing likes older folks.

    Maybe go to 200K for the age differential. Over that, unquestionably worse.

  46. @reiner Tor

    Vietnam type situation in which anyone can see, though no official dares say it, that the all-age lockdown policy was a mistake.
     
    Then why are they moving in that direction everywhere? It’s not like the first instinct of any government wasn’t to just treat it like the flu. Then most Western governments decided for as little disruption as possible. But as hospitals started to get overwhelmed and doctors dropping dead, they realized they needed to move towards a full lockdown.

    And actually the economic disruption from a six week Chinese style lockdown (with ten or twelve weeks in the worst hit regions, like Wuhan) is probably less severe than a several-month, but not nearly as strict lockdown. Even psychologically it would probably be easier.

    as hospitals started to get overwhelmed and doctors dropping dead
    I saw the report: Doctors have a minimum age of about 30, so are likely older than the population. 61 doctors in Italy have died from COVID. Shocking:
    https://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-03-30-20-intl-hnk/h_d385acb67991afbdcf4c87aed856f0e6

    Except: the death rate in Italy is 10.7/1000 for 2019. Doctors have a minimum age of about 30, so are likely older than the population. There are about 336,000 Doctors in Italy. That suggests 3595 doctors will die annually, 300 per month. How many doctors have died overall in each of the past three months?

  47. @Anonymous
    Looks like the Italians have Death Race 2020 all wrapped up–but wait!

    Who's that the in the distance, and seems to be closing fast?!

    https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/crowded-hasidic-funeral-held-in-brooklyn-despite-social-distancing/

    There will be a lot of sick Ultra-Orthodox Jews, but not so many deaths because they’re a young population.

  48. UK says:

    While 70% already infected seems likely (bar people all strangely donating blood while sick in order to get tested for a disease with no cure); the extrapolation of the European IFR from the number of dead and the town’s population needs some questions asked first.

    For example:

    In 2011 there were 331 residents over 80. Making them 6.9%

    Of course, the population has probably also aged considerably since. There were more than twice as many 70 plus to 80 folks as there were over 80, just 9 years ago.

    https://www.citypopulation.de/php/italy-localities-lombardia.php?cityid=09801410001

    By way of comparison, in the UK in 2011, 4.6% were 80+.

    Those looking only at median ages are ignoring tail end effects.

    What percentage of 80 plus people die in Italy in a normal year and what percentage died in this town this year?

  49. @reiner Tor

    Vietnam type situation in which anyone can see, though no official dares say it, that the all-age lockdown policy was a mistake.
     
    Then why are they moving in that direction everywhere? It’s not like the first instinct of any government wasn’t to just treat it like the flu. Then most Western governments decided for as little disruption as possible. But as hospitals started to get overwhelmed and doctors dropping dead, they realized they needed to move towards a full lockdown.

    And actually the economic disruption from a six week Chinese style lockdown (with ten or twelve weeks in the worst hit regions, like Wuhan) is probably less severe than a several-month, but not nearly as strict lockdown. Even psychologically it would probably be easier.

    It’s not like the first instinct of any government wasn’t to just treat it like the flu.

    It is not like endemic flu, which has been taken too lightly, but COVID-19 is like an influenza epidemic, which is long overdue since there has not been one for over 40 years.

    But as hospitals started to get overwhelmed and doctors dropping dead, they realized they needed to move towards a full lockdown.

    The Chinese announced on 7 Jan that it was a coronavirus but did not easily spread between people, so their doctors thinking it was like MERS– a high death rate but not very communicable–didn’t know to protect themselves the massive viral load they were getting. They were remarkably slow on the uptake. Not going to happen now. Flattening the curve meant ‘do it like the Chinese’ apparently. China is a still-backward totalitarian state ruling over a servile population while the West is individualist and advanced with far better and more abundant medical infrastructure.

    Although measures against the spread of COVID-19 required isolation of the elderly and otherwise vulnerable, the real world cost of keeping the all age lockdown on for months are prohibitive. Relative to China, far more dysregulation will result in the West from an all age lockdown, and it is not necessary because the world’s most powerful economies can not be overwhelmed by something that only one in a hundred infected 30 year olds and a fifth of infected over 80 year olds will even need to go to hospital for. World War Two was not quixotic, this lockdown as it has evolved into not merely an effort to elongate the statistical death curve of very elderly and sick people but prevent them dying entirely, is. By the time the vaccine is available and the all age lockdown comes off, most of the people who it was intended to save will have died of old age or about to die of endemic influenza.

    • Replies: @ia

    It is not like endemic flu, which has been taken too lightly, but COVID-19 is like an influenza epidemic, which is long overdue since there has not been one for over 40 years.
     
    Not according to the CDC: https://www.statnews.com/2018/09/26/cdc-us-flu-deaths-winter/

    and https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/2009-h1n1-pandemic.html

    Actually, I think the CDC is having trouble figuring out what's influenza and what is corona-chan:

    Nationwide during week 13, 5.4% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) were due to influenza-like illness (ILI). This percentage is above the national baseline of 2.4%.
     
    - https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm
  50. @reiner Tor
    If we exceed 165,000 deaths with a lockdown, then Covid-19 must be significantly worse than the 1968 flu.

    Covid-19 must be significantly worse than the 1968 flu.

    Relatively speaking, but surely there are a lot more of the population hanging on to life by the skin of their teeth who could be finished off by a not terribly lethal epidemic now as compared to 1968. There was a youth bulge in 1968, now there is the opposite and medicine keeping people going until they are in their mid eighties is taken for granted in the West.

    The original rationale for the lockdown was to spread the inevitable falling of ‘low hanging fruit’ hospitalisation and deaths out, not prevent them entirely. The idea was predicated on existing emergency planning–for something like the pathogen out of the movie Contagion–that China was saying the Wuhan disease was.

    Western government expected this to produce societal breakdown as medical services became essentially unobtainable. Governments are not going to take even the slightest risk of them losing control so they went to total lockdown. I think it is now clear that overwhelming will not happen because COVID-19 has been established to have a low age adjusted death rate, it gives those on the edge a bump. Yes there are a lot of them and they should have been isolated. But everybody?

  51. The Red Cross was suspicious of some people donating blood in South Africa. They wondered if it was a ploy to get a free HIV test.

  52. @Mr McKenna
    Welcome to iSteve and UNZ.COM. Stick around.

    Thank you, but I’ve been reading Steve since the end of 2001 if memory serves. Occasional comments under various handles, but I’ll keep this one going forward.

  53. @ben tillman

    So we have Group A (laws and societal norms don’t apply to us, you nazi anti-semite animal) + Group B (broad ignorance and incompetence) = epic disaster in the making.

    Wish I lived somewhere else.
     
    *I* wish *they* lived somewhere else.

    You fixed that for me. Thanks.

    • Replies: @ben tillman
    You're welcome.
  54. @Charon
    Again, as I asked a few days ago:

    Why are medics who test positive taken out of commission? Seems like they’d be the perfect people to work on covid patients. And it would surely address the staffing shortages in our hospitals.
     
    This question seems so obvious to me, yet I can't find an answer. Anyone?

    Why are medics who test positive taken out of commission? Seems like they’d be the perfect people to work on covid patients. And it would surely address the staffing shortages in our hospitals.

    This question seems so obvious to me, yet I can’t find an answer. Anyone?

    What do you mean by “test positive?” Serologic testing for antibodies to check immune status (like this study)? Or RT-PCR for active shedding of the virus?

    If the former, it’s not routinely done, but certainly could prove useful as the epidemic progresses.

    If the latter, it might (conceivably) work for (mildly ill) staff at dedicated plague hospitals, but would pose a significant risk to uninfected staff (make it impossible to maintain “clean” vs. “dirty” areas). And it would obviously be a bad idea for anyone dealing with the general public (paramedics, etc.), or working at facilities dealing with any uninfected patients.

    The other major practical impediment to your scheme is that, even if they work at facilities that were entirely devoted to the care of Chinese virus patients, unless infected health care workers live at the hospital 24/ 7, they have to get from home to work (and vice versa) somehow — which kind of defeats the purpose of isolating actively contagious cases.

  55. So, if 70% blood donor are pos, then is 70% of people who die also pos?

  56. @ls0928
    You fixed that for me. Thanks.

    You’re welcome.

  57. Interesting thing about Bergamo is the Atalanta against Valencia Champions League game. It was actually held in Milan so forty three thousand from this city of eight hundred odd thousand travelled by coach, and car, experiencing what has now been acknowledged as a rapid mass infection event. Many would have gone home and spread it to their families and coworkers. In theory a large number in Bergamo have been infected.

  58. ia says:
    @Sean

    It’s not like the first instinct of any government wasn’t to just treat it like the flu.
     
    It is not like endemic flu, which has been taken too lightly, but COVID-19 is like an influenza epidemic, which is long overdue since there has not been one for over 40 years.

    But as hospitals started to get overwhelmed and doctors dropping dead, they realized they needed to move towards a full lockdown.
     
    The Chinese announced on 7 Jan that it was a coronavirus but did not easily spread between people, so their doctors thinking it was like MERS-- a high death rate but not very communicable--didn't know to protect themselves the massive viral load they were getting. They were remarkably slow on the uptake. Not going to happen now. Flattening the curve meant 'do it like the Chinese' apparently. China is a still-backward totalitarian state ruling over a servile population while the West is individualist and advanced with far better and more abundant medical infrastructure.

    Although measures against the spread of COVID-19 required isolation of the elderly and otherwise vulnerable, the real world cost of keeping the all age lockdown on for months are prohibitive. Relative to China, far more dysregulation will result in the West from an all age lockdown, and it is not necessary because the world's most powerful economies can not be overwhelmed by something that only one in a hundred infected 30 year olds and a fifth of infected over 80 year olds will even need to go to hospital for. World War Two was not quixotic, this lockdown as it has evolved into not merely an effort to elongate the statistical death curve of very elderly and sick people but prevent them dying entirely, is. By the time the vaccine is available and the all age lockdown comes off, most of the people who it was intended to save will have died of old age or about to die of endemic influenza.

    It is not like endemic flu, which has been taken too lightly, but COVID-19 is like an influenza epidemic, which is long overdue since there has not been one for over 40 years.

    Not according to the CDC: https://www.statnews.com/2018/09/26/cdc-us-flu-deaths-winter/

    and https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/2009-h1n1-pandemic.html

    Actually, I think the CDC is having trouble figuring out what’s influenza and what is corona-chan:

    Nationwide during week 13, 5.4% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) were due to influenza-like illness (ILI). This percentage is above the national baseline of 2.4%.

    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm

  59. Telluride, Colorado was supposedly uninfected when that 1 case was discovered (by RICH people who owned a biotech company and figured both the people and their company benefited from testing in the ski resort area.) They had one case by PCR, “from US travel”, home quarantined with his family. Probably not the same individual.
    Obviously Washington State, California and the NY/NJ area would be best studied for a good idea of the percent who have been infected with minor or no symptoms, and recovered (by the antibody test); those antibody-positive people should be released from quarantine.

  60. @eugyppius
    This place is in Lodi, right near Codogno, basically ground zero for the outbreak in northern Italy. Surely they've been through hell and it's not hard to believe they could have very high acquired immunity, but there's something wrong with this story.

    Here's an accessible Yahoo finance version:

    https://it.finance.yahoo.com/notizie/coronavirus-castiglione-d-adda-il-065252105.html

    Run it through Google, but my summary/puzzlement is as follows:

    The first paragraph says 40/60 donors tested positive *for the virus*. Not antibodies And then experts are cited, who say that this high proportion is due to "so-called asymptomatics." Then we are told that the tests were done in the course of screening blood-donors in Castiglione d'Adda. Many tested positive without knowing they had the disease.

    Then a paragraph about protocol for positive swabs with blood donations. If you go to donate blood they also swab you. If the swab comes up positive you get a call within 72 hours with instructions to isolate yourself. (WILD THEORY NOT PART OF TRANSLATION: People are donating blood in this town because it comes with a C19 test, and the "asymptomatics" are actually people who feel a bit sick, but you're not supposed to donate blood when you're sick, so they present themselves as not sick, and as surprised when the results come back positive for C19.)

    Then more on the 40/60 result: This is again implied to be positive swab tests. A doctor is quoted to explain that swabs are one thing. But people who test positive for the antibodies are invited to go to Lodi and donate their plasma to treat desperate cases. And he says, this is key, 15 names (of people with antibodies) have come up in testing, more may be on the way. (SO: 15 names, out of who knows how many blood samples, have come up positive for antibodies. 15 of the 60? or 15 of some other set? Probably the latter: he just seems to be speaking generally about how many antibody tests have come up positive in Castiglione.)

    Then another doctor is cited to explain that many "asymptomatics" actually had symptoms, particularly loss of taste and smell, little fevers etc., they just didn't think they were C19 when in fact they were.

    Then the question is posed: What to do if you have asymptomatics crawling the walls? A doctor recommends the Vò procedure of test everyone, isolate positives.

    From La Stampa: Coronavirus, Castiglione d’Adda is a case study: “70% of blood donors are positive.
    All asymptomatic, but have antibodies. From their plasma an experimental cure for the sick.”

    The people who were asymptomatic still produced antibodies that fought off the COVID-19. There should be large numbers of such people near hotspots, unless the virus is extremely dangerous. COVID-19 is an interesting, extremely contagious flu.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    So we have 14% in one town, 70% in another. Eugyppius suggested the latter number is likely inflated by selection bias.
  61. @Michael888
    From La Stampa: Coronavirus, Castiglione d'Adda is a case study: "70% of blood donors are positive.
    All asymptomatic, but have antibodies. From their plasma an experimental cure for the sick."

    The people who were asymptomatic still produced antibodies that fought off the COVID-19. There should be large numbers of such people near hotspots, unless the virus is extremely dangerous. COVID-19 is an interesting, extremely contagious flu.

    So we have 14% in one town, 70% in another. Eugyppius suggested the latter number is likely inflated by selection bias.

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