Category Archives: Public Health/Coronavirus

Wow: “Exposure to common cold coronaviruses can teach the immune system to recognize SARS-CoV-2”

Sounds like we should immediately begin distributing common cold corona viruses as a protective measure, right?

“We have now proven that, in some people, pre-existing T cell memory against common cold coronaviruses can cross-recognize SARS-CoV-2, down to the exact molecular structures,” says LJI Research Assistant Professor Daniela Weiskopf, Ph.D., who co-led the new study with LJI Professor Alessandro Sette, Dr. Biol. Sci. “This could help explain why some people show milder symptoms of disease while others get severely sick.”

Source: Exposure to common cold coronaviruses can teach the immune system to recognize SARS-CoV-2

More good news: “Coronavirus Antibody Testing Shows Lower Fatality Rate For Infection”

An IFR of 0.5 to 1% is  much greater than seasonal influenza and should be compared to the IFR of influenza (not the CFR – CFR and IFR are not the same thing).

Mounting evidence suggests the coronavirus is more common and less deadly than it first appeared.

The evidence comes from tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus in a person’s blood rather than the virus itself.

The tests are finding large numbers of people in the U.S. who were infected but never became seriously ill. And when these mild infections are included in coronavirus statistics, the virus appears less dangerous.

“The current best estimates for the infection fatality risk are between 0.5% and 1%,” says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

That’s in contrast with death rates of 5% or more based on calculations that included only people who got sick enough to be diagnosed with tests that detect the presence of virus in a person’s body.

Source: Coronavirus Antibody Testing Shows Lower Fatality Rate For Infection : Shots – Health News : NPR

The IFR varies by age – ranging from .1% for the young to 10% for older adults. This means the number of deaths may vary quite a bit between states based on age demographics, economics and other factors.

An interesting secret: up to 75% of seasonal influenza may also be asymptomatic. The CDC acknowledges asymptomatic influenza on one of their web pages too. The asymptomatic features of Covid-19 may not be unusual, contrary to the implications of media coverage.

I am an idiot, have no expertise in any of this, and this post is for entertainment purposes only

Good news: “WHO Says Studies Put Coronavirus Mortality Rate at 0.6%”

While 3x to 6x greater than a bad flu year, that is much better than the 2.6%-3.4% range estimated last spring:

Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s top epidemiologist on Covid-19, said several studies estimate the mortality rate of the novel coronavirus at 0.6%. “That may not sound like a lot, but it is quite high,” she said. Van Kerkhove and Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, spoke Monday at a press briefing in Geneva. (Excerpts) (Source: Bloomberg)

Source: WHO Says Studies Put Coronavirus Mortality Rate at 0.6% – Bloomberg

Economically good news: “Coronavirus cases ease in Sun Belt states as nationwide deaths climb”

Called this about 2 weeks ago on my private blog. Officially the drop is said to be due to policy choices but the association between policy choices and outcomes are frequently random.

Across the nation, daily new Covid-19 cases have declined in recent days, driving the seven-day average of new cases down more than 5% compared with a week ago, according to Johns Hopkins data. Health officials have struggled for weeks to halt outbreaks in the American South and West, shuttering businesses and pleading with residents to follow social distancing guidelines and to wear face coverings.

Source: Coronavirus cases ease in Sun Belt states as nationwide deaths climb

I have ideas – supported by published research – why these trends are playing out this way. I suspect the hot spots will migrate to a few other locations too – and each will play out in a similar time line. But I keep these to myself as I am not in health care or biological sciences- therefore it is de facto required that I note that I am an idiot, have no expertise in any of this, and this post is for entertainment purposes only. (Public health people, on the other hand, are allowed to comment on economics, business, policy without any expertise and without disclaimers. Go figure?)

WA State Department of Public Health expects 30-60% of WA’s population to suffer significant mental health issues

Their report. They refer to the pandemic as a “natural disaster” – much of the disaster is the specific (and often based on no evidence) policies put in place and is not “natural”.

They forecast an increase in anxiety, depression, anger, aggression, violence, domestic abuse, suicides (particularly this fall and winter) and more.

it is anticipated that rates of depression are likely to be much higher (potentially 30–60% of the general population, which is equivalent to 2.25 million to 4.5 million people in Washington) due to the chronic and ongoing social and economic disruption in people’s lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a much higher rate than typical after a natural disaster where there is a single impact point in time.

If we are to experience an additional fall peak of illness as a function of this pandemic, significant behavioral health reactions or functional impairments may be experienced by approximately 45% of the population.

….

we can reasonably expect that approximately three million Washingtonians will experience clinically significant behavioral health symptoms over the next two to five months. Symptoms of depression will likely be the most common, followed by anxiety and acute stress. These symptoms will likely be strong enough to cause significant distress or
impairment for most people in this group

Their report implies that by the end of the year, up to 20% of all “pandemic” excess deaths will be due to suicide and drug overdoses.

Covid-19 new Cases in the U.S. trend

Source: Cases in the U.S. | CDC

This CDC chart presents a different perspective than that presented by most news reports. Remember, new cases precede the peak in hospitalizations by 1-3 weeks, and precede the peak in deaths by 1 to 4 weeks, typically. New cases can be going down while hospitalizations and  deaths are still increasing.

The media seems to be aware of this – they’ll initially report on new cases increasing, but when that stops happening, they change their attention to hospitalizations, and then to deaths.

Some interesting developments in my state. The state’s public health office said that a “death due to Covid-19” only means that the decedent had Covid-19 at time of death and may have had other associated factors. In other words, many people die “with” Covid-19 not “because of” but they have no information on how many deaths that affects.

To illustrate, our local news media learned yesterday that 5 of the 7 deaths in my County were of patients who were already in in-patient hospice care at the time they became sick but their death was recorded as a death due to Covid-19 not “with” Covid-19. They were in hospice care because they were already dying of other causes.

Update: As always my disclaimer that I am an idiot. I have no expertise in any of this and these posts are for Entertainment Purposes Only.

I have another blog solely on pandemic issues but it is private and not available for the public – I view it as a historical record and diary. Even though those posts are private, I add the disclaimer that I am an idiot and have no expertise.

Today I noticed others writing about pandemic issues – including university professors and scientists in other fields – also feeling compelled to add these disclaimers.

Why do we have to add these disclaimers? When public health officials make economic and / or political decisions, Orders and pronouncements, they never add a disclaimer that they have no expertise in those subjects.

Why is it necessary that those of us outside health care must add a disclaimer that we are idiots, while those in health care, when commenting on subjects outside their area of specialty, are never expected to make similar disclaimers? Serious question – why is that?

How do you classify a death?

An Oregon man died – his family says due to an obvious heart attack but a post mortem test found coronavirus so the state said he died due to Covid-19. (State officials reported Hermiston man as Oregon’s 226th coronavirus death. His family says they’re wrong – oregonlive.com)

A Florida man died as the result of a motorcycle crash but a Covid-19 test said he had coronavirus so the State said he died of Covid-19 ( FOX 35 INVESTIGATES: Questions raised after fatal motorcycle crash listed as COVID-19 death)

As seen on Facebook: A disease so severe you don’t know if you had it unless you get tested. Hah hah.

The reality is many deaths attributed to Covid-19 are deaths “with Covid-19”. We have no idea how many.

To understand the distinction, consider some one who dies of a stroke but had prostate cancer at time of death. Is this death due to the stroke or prostate cancer? Most guys diagnosed with prostate cancer die with prostate cancer, not because of prostate cancer. That is why the government backed off its prior recommendation that all guys get tested every year with a PSA test. The treatments for very slow growing prostate cancer caused more harm, on average, than doing nothing.

Oregon now admits that “deaths due to Covid-19” do not mean the person actually died of Covid-19.

Philip Schmidt, a spokesman for the state health authority, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the state’s data is not conclusive as to whether someone died as a result of the coronavirus. Rather, it shows only that they died carrying the virus.

Wondering why public health has zero credibility?

“Stay Home. Save Lives. Don’t Kill Grandma.”

which is then reversed by public health “experts” to

Attend First Amendment and Mass Spreader Celebrations. This is more important than fighting a virus.

Public health has descended into unadulterated quackery.