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From the Associated Press:

Provincial mayors are sounding an alarm that the virus-related toll fails to reflect a spike in deaths in the general population among those who have not been tested. Last week alone, 400 people died in Bergamo and 12 neighboring towns — four times the number who died the same week the previous year, according to the Bergamo mayor’s office. Only 91 of those had tested positive for the virus.

Bergamo is northeast of Milan at the base of the Alps.

 
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  1. 128 says:

    I have looked at the numbers, and they seem to be looking better at everywhere, with the numbers stabilizing except Lombardy.

    • Replies: @S. Anonyia
  2. JosephB says:

    It would be interesting to see some statistics on years of life lost. Those most affected by Corona are some combination of elderly or fairly sick. It reminds me of a heat wave in Europe a few years back. The death rate went up, but it was lower in following weeks. Effectively the heat wave nudged people who were close to death over the edge, and didn’t cost that many years of people’s lives.

    The effect for Corona is more dramatic in that it shoves people rather than nudging them, so looking at the following weeks death rates won’t say much. That said, I suspect the years of life lost is far far lower than for traffic accidents, and much lower than the death count (and our societal reaction) warrants.

  3. More on golf course architecture, please!

    • Agree: Adam Smith
  4. Deaths above baseline are more troubling than raw numbers, although I wonder if one gets clusters even during the normal flu season. What’s the rate for Italy overall-higher than normal, and if so, how much higher? Are the numbers cited an artifact of the testing protocols or is there more than one pathogen involved? I’m certainly not competent to analyze the data but I hope epidemiologists are looking at those numbers.

  5. vhrm says:

    From those articles it sounds like the excess deaths were also of elderly people.

    It’s quite possible that some or many had coronavirus, but there’s also a concept of indirect disaster related mortality especially among the older people. The Japanese have been thinking about this mostly around earthquake related evacuations that they’ve done over the years.

    This paper focuses on some continued deaths years later in the Fukushima area, but they mention most happen in the first month.
    ( https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0146645316666707 )

    It’s not exactly applicable to this case, but at some point the extended stress of this disaster event and unprecedented lockdown is going to show up in these numbers and confound things.
    I wonder if that’s causing excess mortality anywhere/everywhere else?

  6. Bill P says:

    In the meanwhile, from the same news source:

    https://globalnews.ca/news/6714217/mountains-canmore-covid-19-coronavirus/

    This is exactly the sort of behavior I’ve been seeing at work (which is now halted until further notice), and I can guarantee that the people crowding these popular destinations are disproportionately well-heeled oldsters — not callous youngsters frolicking at the beach or in the park while sick seniors languish.

    As for the extra deaths in Lombardy, it’s to be expected. Undercounting is unavoidable in times of pestilence. But at least it looks as though the infection has already spread thoroughly there, so the death count should start to decline soon.

    People have started dying where I live now, and the first death of someone I knew personally occurred in Seattle yesterday. I’m pessimistic in that I don’t expect to be spared infection, so I’m trying to be healthy, although it’s tempting to reach for the bottle in times like this. Oh well, at least my blood pressure is in good order and presumably my heart and lungs, too. Maybe the liver is not so important…

    • Replies: @vhrm
    , @Cortes
    , @HA
  7. @JosephB

    How many weeks will it take for your following week fall off to even up when the ratio of dying this week and last week and next week compared to last year’s is 4 : 1?

    Disparities this large suggest that this is not a “normal” process. This is not a flu or a heat wave. This will not and cannot be made to conform to a graph showing historical averages. This is a plague. Maybe not of Biblical proportions, but it is a non-aggregatable event.

    The only way it can be averaged is to see it from such a distant historical perspective as to blur the personal suffering component of it, as though flying over in an airplane–not a bad analogy for the perspective of today’s globalists and one they use themselves when they refer to us as “flyover country”. The only comparisons are to other plagues, not to normal events such as automobile or smoking deaths per year. Bergamo did not and will never experience 400 deaths due to automobile accidents in any week.

    There’s something very disingenuous about the arguments certain people are putting forth. I don’t know why they’re doing it and my discomfort has nothing to do with my age or susceptibility.

  8. So, it’s a bad year for Northern Italy in general? Need more data and context.

    There are roughly 10 million people in Lombardy, (66k are Chinese BTW), so there’s a lot at play here.

  9. @Achmed E. Newman

    Given the post’s title, I naturally figured it was about golf.

    Incidentally, I agree with Mr 128 upthread. With careful co-ordination and a bit of consideration among a critical mass of the citizenry, we can turn this around. And I think we will. It would help if we had better leadership, but you fight the war with the army you have. For that matter, it would help immensely if we had the citizenry we had in 1960, but…

  10. Italy may turn out to be an outlier:

  11. According to the Financial Times, 2,857 people were in intensive care in Lombardy on Saturday, up from 2,655 on Friday. Does this mean they’ve located (or created) some new ICU beds? Word was they were full up last week, and I’ve no reason to doubt that.

    https://www.ft.com/content/d184a0af-3fcd-3e94-8779-575379b8116d

  12. vhrm says:
    @Bill P

    I think you’re reading too much into that article from Colorado.

    People going out hiking is generally fine even if the parking lot is crowded with cars as long as they keep their distance from other people. Out on the trail they won’t be near anyone. The risk isn’t 0, but it’s way way less then packing 100 people into a bar or club or even office.

    Even the skiing would probably be fine if people just drove to the mountain, stayed away from the lodge, rode the chairs solo and then drove home.

  13. Personally, I think the Italians are over-counting rather than under-counting. After all, if their official numbers are to be believed, Italy has now lost more people to the virus in absolute terms than even China did–and China is twenty-four times the size of Italy by population! Kinda hard to swallow …

    • Replies: @HA
  14. Cortes says:
    @Bill P

    I believe that the “well-heeled oldsters” represent also a good proportion of those flowing out of the conurbations and into the scenic rural areas full of holiday homes. And mobile homes:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-51990534

    The potential strain on small, local health care systems has been noted across the UK and beyond. The online Spanish paper I get featured a similar article on Friday on the exodus from all major conurbations. What’s disturbing is that around three weeks ago local authorities in Norway had already been reported in the UK media as having placed bans on people occupying their cabins and second homes in rural areas to avoid just such strains. Have authorities elsewhere been too timid about taking measures for fear of alienating the well-heeled?

  15. dearieme says:

    We were looking forward to attractive walks on the flat, in the open air: Cambridge Botanic Garden had announced that it would be open, free, from 11:00 – 15:oo starting yesterday.

    Today it’s announced that instead it’s closing to everyone.

  16. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:

    How many are 70-100 years old and dying from their other pre-existing conditions they couldn’t properly treat because they were afraid to leave their homes? The knock-off effects if this virus are wide.

  17. George says:

    ” four times the number who died ”

    The final numbers might be very different.

    Policy makers that threw society into chaos will not easily admit their mistakes. If the numbers are true it is possible the very old people died from dehydration, starvation, or exposure as people who would have made sure they drank enough water each did could not visit them. Or the old people, now completely miserable, just gave up. I personally would have difficulty fessing up to that if I was responsible for it.

    Italy’s mortality rate has been one of the highest in the world and has been increasing for years. An interesting web page my preconceived notions of death rates were incorrect.

    https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/ITA/italy/death-rate

    I personally would not be surprised of the deaths from pneumonia and chronic lung disease are unchanged when compared to previous years.

    I predict that 2020 numbers will be similar to 2017, although I can imagine a huge increase in suicides and deaths from drugs and alcohol.

    In the US people were dying as late as 2017:
    Number of deaths: 2,813,503
    Life expectancy: 78.6 years
    Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201

    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

  18. I guess absence of evidence is evidence of presence, at least where corona is concerned. Is there nothing this virus can’t do?

    • LOL: Twodees Partain
  19. Thatgirl says:

    A study from last year, pre-COVID19, reported on Italy’s high rate of death among its elderly over the past 4-5 winter seasons. The study attributed it to a high mortality amongst Italy’s old to the flu. Italy’s current high death rate to COVID19 is already seeming to be an aberration amongst European countries. Each of UK, Germany, and Italy had their first COVID19 patient on approximately same day, January 27. Yet UK and Germany have the merest fraction of the death rate.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1201971219303285

    “Italy showed a higher influenza attributable excess mortality compared to other European countries. especially in the elderly.”

    “In recent years, Italy has been registering peaks in death rates, particularly among the elderly during the winter season. A mortality rate of 10.7 per 1,000 inhabitants was observed in the winter season 2014/2015 (more than 375,000 deaths in absolute terms), corresponding to an estimated 54,000 excess deaths (+9.1%) as compared to 2014, representing the highest reported mortality rate since the Second World War in Italy.”

  20. Coag says:
    @JosephB

    The effect for Corona is more dramatic in that it shoves people rather than nudging them, so looking at the following weeks death rates won’t say much. That said, I suspect the years of life lost is far far lower than for traffic accidents, and much lower than the death count (and our societal reaction) warrants.

    I think we can only draw that conclusion if we see the true statistics of what happened in Iran, the only country to (initially)practice proactive spreading of disease (encouraging people to go to the elections and to go to the mosques to pray the disease away)

    Part of the reason corona has not hit other countries as hard so far is *because* of the strong societal reactions.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  21. Richard S says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Mr Sailer’s brain is a clearing house for all sorts of seemingly random data points that he manages to synthesise and use to analyse (and accurately predict) public affairs. The fact is that on this current upheaval he has once again been far ahead of the curve. So when a man as intelligent and extraordinarily well informed as he is worried, it’s brown pants time for us normies…

    That having been said, I could use a witty deconstruction of new Star Trek or something, to lighten the mood!

  22. Random sample testing of the population would seem to be in order to get a handle on the epidemiological parameters. I understand that test kits are at a premium but then so is information.

  23. HA says:
    @Bill P

    “In the meanwhile, from the same news source:”

    Note the original story comes from AP. As noted earlier, “globalnews.ca” is actually a Chinese-run news agency in the business trying to shift the blame around and away from China. That doesn’t mean the articles it reprints are wrong, but let’s not be fooled about what’s happening here.

  24. Neil says:
    @HA

    The link in your post refers to globalresearch.ca, not globalnews.ca (which is not Chinese-run).

    • Agree: UK
    • Replies: @HA
  25. UK says:

    George Carlin has some medical advice:

  26. @HA

    With all due respect, you’re way off base.

    Global is a private Canadian network, not Chinese. That may not make a difference to you, but Global is not run by the Chinese.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Television_Network

  27. To put it rudely, maybe northern Italy is overdue for a culling? Throughout history, we tend to get nasty disease outbreaks every 10-20 years. Maybe things are returning to normal, like the weather.

    • Replies: @Smithsonian_6
  28. @HA

    No, Global News (ie. globalnews.ca) is a TV network out of Toronto. It’s been around for decades.

  29. @Achmed E. Newman

    More on golf course architecture, please!

    Golf appears ideal for social distancing. Until the 19th hole, that is.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  30. Anon7 says:

    Some of these deaths might not have occurred if their health system hadn’t been overwhelmed.

    Also, wealthy Western nations have spent a lot of money and effort keeping older and older people alive, and they’re kind of like the fuel load on the floor of a forest in which fires are suppressed for decades. Sooner or later, the conditions are right, and the whole forest goes up all in one go.

    Is this a unique situation for the West? That we have so many people with marginal health kept alive with modern medicine? Not that we wouldn’t prefer to be kept alive, mind you.

  31. @HA

    Global is a large, well known media network in Canada.

  32. Bobby No says:
    @HA

    Global News is a division of Corus Entertainment which is a Canadian company deeply linked to Shaw communications and the shaw family. They are not chinese. I’ve seen them.

  33. JosephB says:
    @JosephB

    As a back of the envelope for reducing the cost since corona mostly affects older folks, consider the model discussed at https://www.unz.com/isteve/arguably-wrong-models-costs-of-different-strategies/

    The rightmost part of the graph (https://arguablywronghome.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/image-3.png) describes the costs of a “do nothing” strategy assuming lives are worth $5 million. If we discount that to $1 million (a value used in some scenarios) that value would be cut by 5, and be competitive with the optimal strategy. If you use a lower value such as $250k, as corona victims would have had on average fewer quality life years remaining, the do nothing strategy would cost 1/20 as much. That puts its cost at $750 billion — still a huge cost, but lower than the alternatives.

    Are we locking down the economy for no good reason?

  34. Still fake.
    Remember, the response is the real virus; the virus is merely the excuse.

  35. LondonBob says:

    So 21st was supposed to be the peak. Cases on the 22nd down to 5560 from 6557, deaths 651 from 793.

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/italy/

  36. Here’s some unexpected good news….

  37. @HA

    But the blame belongs on the US, you typical propagandized fool.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/947867908642430/permalink/2855048134591055/

    This will be censored shortly. So read it quick.

    • Replies: @Sam Haysom
  38. utu says:

    Italy high mortality rate explained?

    Israeli doctor in Italy: We no longer help those over 60
    https://www.jpost.com/International/Israeli-doctor-in-Italy-We-no-longer-help-those-over-60-621856

    Peleg said that, from what he sees and hears in the hospital, the instructions are not to offer access to artificial respiratory machines to patients over 60 as such machines are limited in number.

  39. Sean says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Italy is continuing with its policy of always testing at postmortems. How very reassuring.

    In Germany meetings of two (2) or more people are now officially verboten.

    German in Italy? RUN! GET TO THE CHOPPER!

  40. danand says:

    San Jose, California is getting a bit more serious. Marshall law could be just around the corner, though I’m not expecting it. In my observation most people here seem to be in compliance.

    • Replies: @S. Anonyia
    , @vhrm
    , @dfordoom
  41. @128

    Is it possible that once it reaches a critical mass of infections, the virus becomes airborne and isolating oneself in an apartment doesn’t do much good?

    On a side note, everyone watch Louisiana. It’s not being talked about nationally but the infection rate is ridiculous given the relatively small, spread-out population. Thanks to foreign tourists at Mardi Gras, cultural love of social gatherings, and lax hygiene standards. The entire city of New Orleans needs to be scrubbed with Lysol at this point, and they should probably consider evacuating high-risk people out of apartments to another location, no joke. No shelter in place orders yet, just a soft lockdown. Death rate will be very high, perhaps approaching Northern Italy, given the high percentage of obese people and smokers.

    • Replies: @bruce county
    , @Federalist
  42. J1234 says:

    I think it was last week that the governor of Ohio caught hell because he said he thought the number of actual infected at the time in Ohio might be 100,000. Yes, that was speculation, but it’s one of those rare moments when speculation probably reflects a more accurate reality than statements like “200 people have tested positive for the disease in Ohio.” Does anyone really doubt that the infection rate globally isn’t well into the millions by now?

  43. UK says:

    Germany’s mortality rate continues to be 0.3% with no explanation other than other countries are not testing properly. Even then, of course, Germany are missing many assymptomatic cases.

    This is a new flu and has turned into a bizarre global case study of panic.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/22/germany-low-coronavirus-mortality-rate-puzzles-experts

  44. that sucks for Italy, but it’s not that important in the bigger scheme of things. we don’t live in Italy. the US is a lot more advanced in almost every way. it’s time to stop acting like Italy is the future of everywhere.

    i don’t care that much what happens in Italy or any one nation, for purposes of virus estimation. i’m looking at all the nations in aggregate. Italy is only a moderately important country, and could be shut off from the rest of the world for 2 months with only minimal disruption to the rest of the planet, while they work thru the virus issue.

    it also looks like socialized medicine is not working so well. what now, Democrats? private medicine is doing a much better job in the US. also, weren’t Democrats arguing there wouldn’t be health care rationing under socialized medicine? the so called ‘death panels’. but that’s exactly what’s happening in Italy under overwhelmed system conditions. the oldest people just gotta go without treatment.

    then again like most things it seems to be largely related to intelligence. the northern countries with socialized medicine are doing a lot better than the southern countries with socialized medicine.

    it’s also amusing that Democrats are calling for all health care to be nationalized, when the first thing the government, the CDC, did, was stumble bureaucratically out of the gate. so making the medical system MORE government run would make things work better? seems like the opposite. private companies had good Covid-19 tests in 2 or 3 weeks, working behind the scenes against CDC orders.

  45. Western says:
    @JosephB

    Chicago had a ton on heatwave deaths one year in the ’90s too.

  46. @Redneck farmer

    To put it rudely, maybe northern Italy is overdue for a culling? Throughout history, we tend to get nasty disease outbreaks every 10-20 years. Maybe things are returning to normal, like the weather.

    Probably, but the history of mankind is taking a long hard look at nature and then punching it in the face.

    • Agree: Mr McKenna
  47. Western says:
    @JosephB

    There were 739 heatwave deaths in Chicago in 1995 over a 5-day period

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1995_Chicago_heat_wave

    Mortality displacement refers to the deaths that occur during a heat wave that would have occurred anyway in a near future, but which were precipitated by the heat wave itself. In other words, people who are already very ill and close to death (expected to die, for instance, within days or a few weeks) might die sooner than they might have otherwise, because of the impact of the heat wave on their health. However, because their deaths have been hastened by the heat wave, in the months that follow the number of deaths becomes lower than average. This is also called a harvesting effect

  48. @danand

    Martial.

    • Thanks: danand
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  49. HA says:
    @Digital Samizdat

    “Italy has now lost more people to the virus in absolute terms than even China did–and China is twenty-four times the size of Italy by population!”

    It could also be that China has undercounted — for example, classified a bunch of dead as “pneumonia” victims, even though coronavirus is what caused that. Given the accuracy of Chinese reports on this thing in general, that doesn’t seem a stretch.

    Russia is likewise seeing few coronavirus cases, but rather, a spike in pneumonia. Make of that what you will.

  50. HA says:
    @Neil

    Thank you for that, and the others who pointed that out.

  51. @JosephB

    There is one thing that more: the horror of dying from suffocation. When you see those people gasping for breath, writhing in agony with their lungs almost literally torn apart… this is horrible.

    Death is nothing. In many cases, a very welcome event. But protracted agonizing dying is something entirely different.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  52. vhrm says:
    @danand

    That video, the thumbnail anyway, is misleading. Those police cars in the thumbnail are responding to an assault, not doing anything covid related.

    A line later on from mayor Sam Liccardo San Josein that video about asking neighbors to report stores still open is pretty funny though:

    “and no it’s not snitching, it’s informing authorities so we can all be safe.”

  53. @Coag

    Part of the reason corona has not hit other countries as hard so far is *because* of the strong societal reactions.

    Nonsense.

    First, an example of how silly it is to think that way – proper data discussion is in the second bit of this comment (indicated by a bold “KEK”).

    If you believe in post hoc ergo propter hoc (or even cum hoc erge propter hoc), you should buy my 1992 student ID card.

    It will protect everyone in your family from cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

    I’ve had it since new, and nobody in my family has had any form of any of those things.

    By contrast, in families one degree of separation from me, there have been 6 serious cancer cases (and 5 fatalities, including the death of The Lovely‘s brother at the age of 17).

    Seriously: if you love your family and don’t want them to die – in agony, from cancer – you really need to buy my old ID card.

    I can let it go for as low as $10k. (I can offer such cheap prices for such powerful totems because I have other things with similar ‘proven’ track records: all my 1990s student gym cards; my staff card; expired passports – all proven to protect families from harm).

    KEK

    OK, so let’s be serious.

    The primary reason for the disproportionate death count in Italy was (and is) that the system there reports any death of a person infected with the virus, as ‘virus-related’. Maybe not any death: I’m assuming they’re not doing post-mortem tests on suicides or car accidents, but you never know.

    As the evidence mounts it’s becoming clearer and clearer that a very large proportion of infectees are asymptomatic[1] and shed virus[2] in epidemiologically-meaningful quantities.

    Furthermore, there is a significantly shorter incubation period for the usual suspects: the aged-and-infirm, and the immunc-compromised.

    By the time the first symptomatic person is tested positive, there will have been several other individuals wandering around who have few or no symptoms. Those people will have been infecting others since well before the propaganda buzz-phrases and hashtags were invented (#flattenthecurve; #socialdistancing #ZOMFG!!!Exponential!!!!).

    In Australia, after ~81,000 tests there are only 1,089 confirmed cases – giving a ‘selective prevalence’ rate of 1.3%.

    I’m using the term ‘selective prevalence’ to indicate that the sample tested was non-random – and therefore overestimates the actual population prevalence.

    So for those 81,000 people who were determined as ‘worth’ testing (either self-determined by symptoms or hypochondria, or through some formal risk-assessment process), 1.3% tested positive… using a test that generates upwards of 50% false positives (point estimate of false-positive rate: 80%; 25th percentile: 47% – see Zhuang et al (2020 lol)).

    There have been 7 deaths to date – which sucks for those who are close to the victims, but does not warrant turning off the lights on the whole economy.

    There was no ‘social distancing’ bullshit until a couple of weeks ago.

    That means that since January 1 any low-symptom infectees were going about their normal lives – touching stuff, hawking loogies into the streets, using public dunnies, and coughing/sneezing/breathing into the air of the Australian people. The horror!

    There is a very high probability (so close to 1 that it’s not worth calculating precisely) that all of the politically-motivated theatrics would be too late even if they were well-intentioned.

    With normal patterns of behaviour, within a month of the first asymptomatic infectee getting off the plane from China, there would be newly-infected people living in parts of Australia that have no mobile reception (in fairness: that’s anywhere more than 25km from the edge of major conurbations – Australia’s tech infrastructure is shitful).

    The other thing that’s worth mentioning is that of the 1.3% of people tested, we can expect that

    • a minimum of 30-40% will be symptom-free;
    • 30-40% will have low-level symptoms (similar to a nasty cold or a mild dose of ‘flu);
    • ~10-15% will get symptoms similar to a nasty dose of the ‘flu (a 2-week bedrest level for a healthy individual – which would require hospitalisation for old and infirm people);
    • only ~5% can be expected to develop symptoms to an extent that requires an ICU;
    • ~1% will die.
    • 80% of deaths will be in the over-65 age group, and the vast majority (>90%) of all deaths will have significant, chronic comorbidities.

    Bear in mind that the “~1% will die” is not 1% of the population: it’s 1% of the 1.3% of people who test positive – so if the prevalence stays where it is, that would be 0.013% of the population – with the deaths massively concentrated in the elderly-and-already-chronically-sick.

    Expanding everything out, that seems to amount to ~325,000 deaths.

    That sounds like an awful lot – in fact it’s way too high.

    The brutal fact is that Australia would run out of old, sick people before it got to anywhere near that (remember: less than 1% of deaths have no comorbidities).

    Those guesstimates are based on the CDC’s breakdown of US numbers, however:
    • the Australian population is healthier than the US (only by a small amount);
    • the Australian population pyramid skews slightly younger;
    • the Australian healthcare system has significantly better metrics than the US (the most expensive and worst-outcome system in the Western world).

    So in all likelihood Australia’s numbers will be lower across the serious bits of the board.

    .

    Lastly – it’s always fun to put the cat among the pigeons.

    Let’s do some elementary arithmetic. (I’ve included the answers so that journalists and Americans can read along without being left behind).

    We all know the formula for PPV (‘positive predictive value’), i.e., 1 – the false-positive rate.

    We know it depends on sensitivity and specificity of the test, and the prevalence of the pathogen… right?

    We’ve all read that 1994 note in BMJ, surely?

    OK, cool.

    And we know that Zhuang et al got a false positive rate of ~80%, with 75% of the probability mass being above 47%.

    Now…

    Go back to that note in the BMJ (or back to Wikipedia), and look at the formula for NPV (‘Negative Predictive Value’) – i.e., 1 – the false negative rate.

    Plug in the numbers from Zhuang (once it’s released in fulltext in Chinglish), or use the approximate values for clinical sensitivity from 2003/04 research on SARS ( which found clinical sensitivities in the 30% range – see the copious references).

    Let’s give the test the benefit of the doubt and assume that clinical specificity is 99%, and we’ll use 1.3% as a (high-end) estimate of prevalence.

    Well, that generates a point estimate of a false-negative rate of … 51%. Worse than a coin toss.

    That estimate may be a squootch too high, but is in the right ballpark. The numbers used for sensitivity and specificity give a false positive rate of 72%, which is higher than my conservative estimate (60%, a month ago) but lower than Zhuang et al (80.3%, three days ago).

    Now ask yourself…

    Should a ‘negative’ test mean that the person ought to be left free to roam around?.

    References

    Richardson, S. E., Tellier, R., & Mahony, J. (2004), The laboratory diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome: emerging laboratory tests for an emerging pathogen. The Clinical Biochemistry Review, 25(2), 133–141.

    Peiris JS, Lai ST, Poon LL, Guan Y, Yam LY, Lim W, Nicholls J, Yee WK, Yan WW, Cheung MT, Cheng VC, Chan KH, Tsang DN, Yung RW, Ng TK, Yuen KY, SARS study group, Coronavirus as a possible cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Lancet 2003 Apr 19; 361(9366):1319-25.

    Ruan YJ, Wei CL, Ee AL, Vega VB, Thoreau H, Su ST, Chia JM, Ng P, Chiu KP, Lim L, Zhang T, Peng CK, Lin EO, Lee NM, Yee SL, Ng LF, Chee RE, Stanton LW, Long PM, Liu ET, “Comparative full-length genome sequence analysis of 14 SARS coronavirus isolates and common mutations associated with putative origins of infection“, Lancet. 2003 May 24; 361(9371):1779-85.

    Zhuang et al (too many co-authors to bother with), “Potential false-positive rate among the ‘asymptomatic infected individuals’ in close contacts of COVID-19 patients” (link is to English abstract)

    [1] ‘asymptomatic’ should be taken to include zero symptoms plus symptoms that are not severe enough for a normal grown-ass man to take himself to the doctor (particularly relevant in January, when most grown-ass people would have written it off as a cold)..

    [2] it isn’t yet clear precisely how much shedding happens, but upwards of 20% of Australian cases cannot be directly traced to an existing ‘confirmed’ case.

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian
    • Thanks: LondonBob
    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  54. dfordoom says: • Website
    @danand

    San Jose, California is getting a bit more serious. Marshall law could be just around the corner, though I’m not expecting it. In my observation most people here seem to be in compliance.

    Americans know what their cops do to people who aren’t compliant. They shoot them. How long before the cops start shooting people for committing serious crimes, like trying to leave their houses?

  55. @Kratoklastes

    FFS… see how easy it is to fuck up numbers when you do stuff in your head before you take your armodafinil? Sheesh – I must be getting dementia.

    0.013% of Australia’s population is 3,250, not 325,000 (that’s 1.3% of the population duuuh percentages are hard herr derr). It’s still an overestimate for the same reasons.

    I attribute the slip to Grolsch-virus (or perhaps Carlsberg-virus) – which are both like Corona-virus, but less pissweak.

    (Isn’t it a lovely synchronicity that the beer equivalent ‘works’? Corona beer is weak, piss-tasting watery half-assed shit that you wouldn’t even use to try and get a girl drunk; corona virus has a hard time killing people who are so nearly dead that a decent fart would blow their gaskets)

    KEK

  56. The UK took pandemic advice from Italy in the past:

    There are a surprising number of small companies still making these get-ups. This mask was available last year:

    What are Plague Doctor Masks?

    Unfortunately, they are likely all made in China.

    • Replies: @Manfred Arcane
  57. JMcG says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Pneumonia used to be called “The old man’s friend” for the ease of dying from it. Wonder why this is different?

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  58. MEH 0910 says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

  59. @S. Anonyia

    Marshall law could be just around the corner…

    Martial.

    We should be so lucky.

  60. @James Bowery

    Right. Doubleplusgood right.

    We need statistically valid random virus AND serological testing on an ongoing basis to get (1) accurate infection rates; (2) accurate CFR; and (c) accurate antibody development in the population.

    Without that, we are using numbers with skewed selection bias, whether our own or from China, South Korea, or Italy.

    For crissakes, we can find out the percentage of the electorate that’s going to vote for Biden in some godforsaken Democrat primary, why can’t we apply the same stat techniques??

    But we WON’T do that because that would mean giving “precious my precious” test kits to people other than those who are clamoring to get tested, or have shown symptoms.

    Look, this thing could be the next coming of the Bubonic plague or a really bad flu that when all is said and done kills some 50,000 extra folks over and above some “normal” flu season.

    But we’re could be — and I emphasize COULD be — making really stupid societal and economic decisions based on very flawed data.

    • Agree: Smithsonian_6
  61. MEH 0910 says:
    @Reg Cæsar

  62. CCZ says:

    Florida has, from what I have seen, one of the best COVID-19 data and surveillance maps, with data by country and various layers (tabbed at the bottom of the map) that take you to county level data on number of total cases, of persons under medical surveillance for the virus (being or been tested), number of positive and negative test results, age distribution of the infected, number of hospitalizations and deaths.

    https://fdoh.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/8d0de33f260d444c852a615dc7837c86

  63. @S. Anonyia

    Louisiana . . . infection rate is ridiculous given the relatively small, spread-out population.

    The cases are heavily concentrated in New Orleans. So, the population is not all that spread out.

    Thanks to foreign tourists at Mardi Gras, cultural love of social gatherings, and lax hygiene standards.

    With huge numbers of people from everywhere congregating, Mardi Gras probably had a lot to do with it.
    “Lax hygiene standards” is a product of your imagination or stupidity.

    Death rate will be very high, perhaps approaching Northern Italy.

    Maybe. But so far it’s 20 deaths in a population of over 4 million. 6 of those deaths were at a single nursing home.

  64. @JMcG

    I know about that (btw, my old folks died from pneumonia).

    CoChan seems to have more drastic effects on lungs. This all is more similar to WW1 & gas attack than to “regular” pneumonia.

  65. @Another Canadian

    Canadian, Chinese… these days, what’s the difference?

    • LOL: Charon
  66. @Reg Cæsar

    I wouldn’t mind some Marshall Crenshaw Law. Or even some James Marshall Hendricks Law.

  67. @anonymous

    Maryland’s initial cases were folks who’d been cruising the Nile.

  68. I wouldn’t mind some Marshall Crenshaw Law.

    I was the first Crenshaw fan on my block, in 1981. There was a long run of Marshalls on the music scene back then– Crenshaw, Tucker, Chapman, and others I forget. Marshall Chapman wrote in her memoir that her mother tried to get all four of her kids to donate $5000 to a Jesse Helms campaign, to get around the limits. They were hesitant, except for the gay brother, whose reaction you can imagine.

    Then there was Marshall Mathers III, who, realizing that his name wasn’t so special anymore in his business, turned into Eminem.

    Or even some James Marshall Hendricks Law.

    The Supreme Court operates under John Marshall law. Justice John Marshall Harlan was the only one on his court to vote against both Plessy and Wong Kim Ark. Five of his colleagues voted for both. Funny how one is held up as the worst decision ever, and the other, as among the best.

    Grandson John Marshall Harlan II served on a later court, and just missed being there for Brown.

  69. LondonBob says:

    Levitt seeing more signs of peaking.

    https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-03-22/coronavirus-outbreak-nobel-laureate

    It’s the bell curve, exponential on the way up, but not forever in a straight line.

    • Replies: @Jane Plain
  70. @Reg Cæsar

    That looks like Toucan Sam disguised as the Green Hornet.

  71. @obwandiyag

    Censored by whom? you and Ron are cashing checks with the same signature on them.

  72. epebble says:

    Two data points today:

    1. Spain crosses over Iran in having most deaths (2311 total deaths to 1812)

    Total deaths ranking: Italy, China, Spain, Iran, France, USA

    2. Nations ranked by rate of deaths:

    Italy – 601 deaths/day
    Spain – 539 deaths/day
    France – 186 deaths/day
    USA – 140 deaths/day

    They all seem to be in lockstep, if accounted for time lag.

  73. @LondonBob

    Wasn’t Levitt saying that most people have a natural immunity?

    Still, he makes a good point about population density and Rnaught, something I haven’t seen anyone bang on about, except Andrew Cuomo. It really matters.

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