Category Archives: Healthcare

Good news: Vaccine timelines

Here’s the vaccine availability timeline, from news reports, sourcing to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Most vaccines are 2 doses, with the 2nd dose coming about 4 weeks after the first.

  • December: 20 to 40 doses, providing the first shot for 20 to 40 million people.
  • January: Up to 60 to 70 million doses, with some being given as the 2nd shot and some given as the 1st shot.
  • February: Not specified, but assume up to 100 million doses.
  • March: 150 million doses and the same number available every month thereafter.

That’s 330 million doses, or assuming 2 per person, that’s about 165 million potentially vaccinated or 50% of the population by around March/April time frame.

Adding 75 million more people, per month, achieves availability to everyone by June.

The major logistic challenge is administration of doses to individuals. We need to target up to over 3 million doses per day, 7 days per week.

Also consider, per the former FDA Commissioner, up to 30% of the U.S. population may have had Covid-19 by end of 2020, and thereby, various forms of immunity. An additional unknown percentage appears to have pre-existing immunity – perhaps due to exposure to common cold viruses or other vaccines (notably TB and MMR) that may offer some exposure.

It seems likely – doesn’t it? – that the pandemic will peak shortly and then drop in early 2021. But remember, I am an idiot who has no health care certification and my comments are for Entertainment Purposes Only.

Additional vaccines from other manufacturers will be forthcoming in early 2021 too. Perhaps as many as ten!

Update

The bottleneck is not going to be vaccine dose availability. The bottleneck is in administering the vaccinations – up to 3 million per day, 7 days per week.

States have formulated priority access plans for vaccine administration.

Without going through the details, many of the near elderly – such as age 60 to 64 – will be among the last 5% eligible for vaccination. That’s just how the vaccine access plans have been written.

IOT, Covid: Smart Watch fitness trackers may help predict Covid-19 infections and outbreaks

Combines self reported data and information such as heart rate, from fitness trackers and smart phones to identify potential Covid-19 infections:
Source: Early results from DETECT study suggest fitness trackers and smartwatches can predict COVID-19 infection | Scripps Research

The smart phone app may be downloaded here. The app works with any smart watch phone app that uses Google Fit or Apple Health interfaces. The study has been underway since spring of 2020 and is expected to run for two years. Not only would this app track potential illness (similar to the Kinsa thermometer) but might also be used to eventually measure effectiveness of vaccines.

Kroger to offer $25 Covid-19 antibody test

This test may be able to tell you have you have already had Covid-19. This is not the test you take if you think you currently have Covid-19. It is neat that this antibody test will be readily available at Kroger pharmacies and priced at about $25.

Source: Kroger to offer 15-minute COVID-19 antibody tests at pharmacies | kgw.com

My doctor tells me I was ill with Covid-like symptoms last March and suggested I get an antibody test late last spring. I skipped that because it was expensive then ($125), the test accuracy was questionable, and the result of the test was not actionable. (At that time, “experts” were saying we didn’t know if you antibodies would be protective.) But at $25 today, I might do that.

Why ObamaCare ACA policies skyrocketed in price

Today, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) made an ass of herself by telling straight up lies about the ACA, affordability and pre-existing conditions.

Here is a link to my 52 page paper that thoroughly explains why the ACA failed to control prices – and how to fix it. I put over 1,000 hours of my life into researching and writing that paper. I encourage reading the first few pages so you can understand what the problems are, why many are harmed by the ACA, and ideas on fixing it. Feinstein revealed she doesn’t understand the ACA or other health care laws and is an outrageous liar, on the level of Trump.

Ultimately I found that my elected representatives did not care. They wanted to retain the problems to use them as a political football – rather than fix them. Their behavior is indistinguishable from sociopaths. I gave up trying to have any impact on fixing the ACA. Our elected representatives do not give a shit and shockingly that is the Democrats who wrote, passed it with their super majority, and then intentionally refuse to fix it so they can use it as political football. Jerks.

FYI – cost of a barebones “Silver” plan for two of us is $2,000 per month, with a $7,000 deductible. ACA policies are not like your corporate ESI benefits. They are effectively catastrophic coverage. When the ACA came out, Democratic promotors called pre-ACA policies “junk policies”, when, in actual fact, the ACA sells junk policies at 4x the price. If we lived in Laramie WY, the cost would be about $4,000 per month with a $5,000 deductible. Affordable? No, those are Democratic party propaganda lies. The subsidy cut off is about $68,000/year in PRE-tax income. If you earn $1 more, you pay the full $4,000 per month and then starve to death since you won’t be able to buy food. Read my linked paper above. Pre-existing conditions? Before the ACA, over 90% of the U.S. population already had pre-existing condition protections (read my paper – that is an easily verifiable fact). Yet this week, the Democrats again trotted out their outright lie that 135 million Americans are at risk of losing their insurance – which does not pass the giggle test. That implies that one third of the U.S. had no health insurance before the ACA, which is easily shown as not true. They tell Trumpian level lies on a daily basis-and the media morons let them get away with it.

Surprise medical billing and “balance billing”

We view our own health care providers as benevolent and altruistic. Unfortunately, many of them work for blood sucking evil accounting offices whose sole focus is to bleed you to death financially:

Too often after a hospital procedure or visit to an emergency room patients get hit with unexpected bills from out-of-network doctors they had no role in choosing. These include assistant surgeons, emergency room doctors and anesthesiologists.

Source: Health insurance premiums could drop 5% if the U.S. banned surprise medical bills – MarketWatch

We just ran into balance billing. The local monopoly accepted a usual and customary reduced payment from a third party group payer. But then turned around and billed us for the entire remaining amount.

This is known as highway robbery by those altruistic health care practitioners.

Continue reading Surprise medical billing and “balance billing”

Car Seats as Contraception 

The unintended consequences of laws – the end of 3 children families.

Abstract

Since 1977, U.S. states have passed laws steadily raising the age for which a child must ride in a car safety seat. These laws significantly raise the cost of having a third child, as many regular-sized cars cannot fit three child seats in the back. Using census data and state-year variation in laws, we estimate that when women have two children of ages requiring mandated car seats, they have a lower annual probability of giving birth by 0.73 percentage points. Consistent with a causal channel, this effect is limited to third child births, is concentrated in households with access to a car, and is larger when a male is present (when both front seats are likely to be occupied). We estimate that these laws prevented only 57 car crash fatalities of children nationwide in 2017. Simultaneously, they led to a permanent reduction of approximately 8,000 births in the same year, and 145,000 fewer births since 1980, with 90% of this decline being since 2000.

Source: Car Seats as Contraception by Jordan Nickerson, David H. Solomon :: SSRN

Covid-19 tracing apps: UK’s tracking app continues to be a mess

3 days after official launch the UK’s contact tracing app is a mess:

  • Users who report symptoms but then get a negative test result still must isolate because there is no way to report a negative test result.
  • About one-third of the positive test results – any done at NHS basically – cannot be reported so that one’s contacts cannot then be alerted.
  • The app logs when you enter a venue – but not when you leave. Thus, you stop by a pub at 8 pm and leave at 8:15 pm. Some who then enters at 9 pm subsequently tests positive – so you are told you were in contact. This would be a “false contact”.

For reasons outlined months ago, I do not believe smart phone contact tracing will prove particularly useful. It has been a virtue signaling endeavor from the tech industry, with up to a 45% false positive rate.

Here’s the summary of the problems, quoted from a UK web site named “Lockdown skeptics”.

It only took three days for the NHS COVID-19 app to acquire a litany of problems.

Users cannot report negative test results because the app asks for a result code and negative tests don’t have a code. If you reported symptoms to the app when booking that test then your self isolation counter continues to count, even though you have a negative test.

How about positive tests? According to the @NHSCOVID19app twitter account responding to complaints: “If your test took place in a Public Health England lab or NHS hospital, or as part of national surveillance testing conducted by the Office for National Statistics, test results cannot currently be linked with the app whether they’re positive or negative.” This shouldn’t be a surprise to the team building the app as they told us about it in their own documentation. But as this tweet from an incredulous user points out: “So if I get symptoms, and as an NHS nurse, get a test through work (because that’s the only way you can get a test these days), then if I am positive the app will not automatically alert my contacts? Same for a patient with a positive test?” That’s right, if you have your test done in an NHS hospital you cannot tell the NHS app about it.

The ludicrous levels of optimism around this app are evident in the twitter stream: “For every 1 to 2 people who download the app, an infection could be prevented.” Really? Could we see “the science” behind that please?

Meanwhile the venue check-in function doesn’t have a way of telling it when you leave a venue. That’s by design apparently: “You do not need to check out of a venue. Your phone will register when you check into somewhere new, and it will automatically check you out of your last venue at midnight.” So if I visit a venue for a few minutes at 9pm, then go home, and someone who later tests positive visits that venue at 10pm, I will be alerted and asked to isolate. No prizes for seeing the problem with that.Presumably this level of incompetence is all part of the new normal?

Source: Latest News – Lockdown Sceptics

This is not going to work right: CDC would like to test “virtually everyone”

The false positives will overwhelm the true positives – how will they detect this?

Testing has so far been used in the United States mostly to diagnose people who are sick or have been exposed to someone with a confirmed Covid-19 case. Screening would test virtually everyone in a given community, looking for potentially infectious people.

Source: CDC is developing new coronavirus testing guidance for screening at schools, businesses

Here’s the problem.

  • We test everyone.
  • The actual prevalence of the disease in the community is 1 in 500 people (as an example).
  • Our screening test is 99% accurate (in reality, the full test process may have a much higher error rate).
  • We test 500 people and find 1 person who actually has Covid-19, plus we find 1% of the 500 or 5 people who are tagged as false positives.
  • We’ve now found six people testing positive but only 1 of the six actually has the disease; the other five are false positives.
  • Public health authorities tell us that six people tested positive and “new coronavirus cases” go up by six.
  • The community, however, has a population of  50,000 people.
  • Our testing “virtually everyone” finds 100 actual new cases (1/500 x 50,000) and 500 false positives (5 for every 500 or 10 for every 1,000, times 50 or 500).
  • Public health tells us there are 600 new cases (100 actual + 500 false positives).
  • 500 people are placed in two week quarantines unnecessarily.
  • Because we are testing everyone and because of this problem, we can never “flatten the epicurve” – we will always have a large number of false positives when we test everyone while the prevalence of the disease is low. Even a high accuracy test – or high specificity – still results in this problem. No test – including lab and handling – is 100% accurate.

And oh, the actual test they are proposing to use has a false positive rate of 3% – three times worse than the 1% I used above.

Continue reading This is not going to work right: CDC would like to test “virtually everyone”