At some point, the country is going to have to redouble the protective segregation of the immune-challenged population and everyone else will have to take their chances with the coronavirus to some extent. On what we have seen, the survival rate, among the whole population, if the vulnerable elderly and infirm groups are exempted, is over 99.5 percent. __ Source
Almost 15,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 as of this writing. The rate of new infections in much of Europe and North America appears to be starting to plateau. Since about 8,000 Americans die on a typical day, the American deaths from novel coronavirus so far in 2020 amount to roughly two days of typical all cause mortality. But thanks to a hysterical media/political overreaction to the epidemic — the almost total shutdown of the economy with an inevitably deadly recession — the total pain from this China-leaked virus will be orders of magnitude greater than it needed to be.
… deaths from COVID-19 are now 1.7 percent of the annual fatalities from the flu and accidents. Although COVID-19 is a new disease and took its first reported life in the US during late February, this comparison may substantially overstate the relative deadliness of COVID-19 because fatalities from accidents and the flu occur in droves every year, and this is unlikely for COVID-19.
The primary reason why the flu takes tens of thousands of lives every year is because the viruses that cause it mutate in ways that prevent people from becoming immune to them. Per the Journal of Infectious Diseases, “All viruses mutate, but influenza remains highly unusual among infectious diseases” because it mutates very rapidly, and thus, “new vaccines are needed almost every year” to protect against it. While much remains to be seen about the mutations of the virus that causes COVID-19, the early indications are that it will not mutate rapidly and become an ongoing scourge.
… Initial media reports of a 2–3 percent mortality rate for COVID-19 are inflated, and the actual figure may be closer to that of the flu, which has averaged about 0.15 percent over the past nine years in the United States. A large degree of uncertainty surrounds this issue due to the same factor that prevents accurate counts of infections: unreported cases.
As explained by Dr. Brett Giroir—who has authored nearly 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications and serves as the Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services—the COVID-19 death rate is “lower than you heard probably in many reports” because the bulk of people who contract coronavirus don’t get seriously ill, and thus, many of them never get tested.
Giroir calls this a “denominator problem” because if you’re “not very ill, as most people are not, they do not get tested. They do not get counted in the denominator.” Giroir’s best estimate is that the mortality rate is probably “somewhere between 0.1% and 1%.” This “is likely more severe in its mortality rate than the typical flu” rate of 0.1% to 0.15%, “but it’s certainly within the range.” __ https://fee.org/articles/crucial-facts-about-covid-19-transmissibility-death-rates-and-raw-numbers/
Convalescent Plasma Scores Victories
More treatments are being made available to treat this newest Chinese virus. One of the most promising early treatments is inducing passive immunity via convalescent blood plasma, which is loaded with anti Wuhan CoV-19 antibodies.
The first trials looking at whether antibodies of people who have successfully fought the virus can help others do the same found that all 10 severely ill patients made a speedy recovery.
The treatment, known as convalescent plasma (CP) therapy, was used during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic before vaccines or antivirals were available.
It relies on the fact that the blood of people who have recovered contains powerful antibodies trained to fight the virus.
There is currently no treatment for coronavirus, and vaccines are unlikely to be available until the end of the year at the earliest…. __ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2020/04/07/blood-recovered-coronavirus-victims-helps-patient-come-ventilator/
Another Rapid PCR Coronavirus Test is Released
Besides the 15 minute Abbott confirmatory test for novel coronavirus, a rapid 45 minute PCR test is now being made available from Cepheid.
While Cepheid’s test for COVID-19 was the first approved in the U.S., Abbott has also received FDA approval for a five-minute test that runs on its ID Now analyzers. Roughly 18,000 of those are installed in U.S. healthcare facilities. According to a recent study on flu virus identification that compared the Cepheid and Abbott systems along with a similar technology from Roche, “the Cepheid test showed the best performance,” and was generally more sensitive. Such comparisons with respect to identifying COVID-19 are not yet available.
… The automated modules—5000 of which are already installed in U.S. health facilities, while 18,000 are in operation in other countries—don’t require a lab facility or special training to operate. What’s more, they generate accurate results in about 45 minutes. The modules use disposable cartridges, pre-filled with the required chemicals that are channeled around test chambers using microfluidics. __ Spectrum IEEE
It is now a matter of cranking up production of the test modules, which represent a marvelous example of a micro-laboratory on a chip. Abbott has reportedly managed to produce almost 50,000 tests per day. We will see if Cepheid can better that rate.
The Sad Story of Captain Brett Crozier
Here are more details on why USN Cpt. Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt was removed from his command of the ship, anchored at Guam.
The Roosevelt docked at Da Nang, Vietnam, in a historic show-the-flag visit from March 4th-9th, just the second carrier to visit Vietnam since relations were restored in 1995. While Navy operations planners are scanning the world in following the coronavirus outbreak and proceeding with caution, Vietnam had only around 20 reported cases then. The visit proceeded, as it was considered important as a signal to China, North Korea, and Russia of growing American-Vietnamese rapprochement and friendship. Several of the Roosevelt’s crew stayed on shore in various Da Nang hotels, including one where two British tourists were found to have become infected with the virus; there were also visits to the Roosevelt from other nations’ naval air crews in early March. In any case, regardless of contact point, by mid-March, while cruising in the Philippine Sea, Roosevelt crew members began to test positive for COVID-19; a decision was made to put into Guam a week early, with the ship arriving there on Friday, March 27th, with 30 coronavirus infectees already identified. Secretary Modly briefed the media that morning and announced there were 800 testing kits aboard the carrier, and more were being flown to Guam that day. By then, two sailors aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, docked at Yokosuka, Japan, had also tested positive, leading to a lockdown of the entire base there, and the Navy’s concern about the combat readiness of naval airpower in the western Pacific had become heightened – especially with North Korea again test-firing missiles, and China trading insults with the United States over the virus and trade disputes, while menacing Taiwan as well. By Sunday, March 29th, Roosevelt CO Brett Crozier had become increasingly alarmed about the threat of a rampant outbreak aboard the ship, with the entirety of the crew all on board in close quarters while docked at the Apra Harbor naval base. In an email interchange with Secretary Modly’s chief of staff Bob Love that day, though, Mr. Love asked Crozier what he needed: Love detected “no alarm bells, no hair on fire,” Secretary Modly relayed to David Ignatius of the Washington Post. Captain Crozier merely answered “just speed,” when pressed for specific critical needs, and to “get people off the ship as fast as we could.” Following orders from Mr. Modly, Love gave Crozier the acting secretary’s personal cellphone number and told him to call 24/7 if he needed anything more. Yet the next day, Monday, March 30, an exasperated and deeply-worried Crozier sent his 4-page letter to approximately 20 recipients via unsecured email, bypassing the carrier strike group commander, Rear Admiral Stuart Baker, berthed just 15 feet down his passageway on the Roosevelt. Additionally, the Roosevelt CO chose to ignore the carrier’s hyper-secure communications facilities with instantaneous access to Pearl Harbor, San Diego, and Washington, and also disregarded the personal cellphone number of Acting SECNAV Modly, given him the day before, for immediate direct access to the top of his chain of command. That same day, Modly’s chief of staff, Mr. Love, called Captain Crozier a second time, as follow-up, but heard no new requests or concerns, nor any notice of the frantic letter which appeared the next day, Tuesday, March 31, in the San Francisco Chronicle (which happens to be Crozier’s hometown newspaper).
Crozier’s actions were not only unacceptable, they were in my opinion inexcusable. He apparently made no effort to work within the chain of command to resolve the problem of a spreading infection on board his ship. Instead he sent out a distress signal flare to the nation’s enemies over an unsecured channel of communication. Unless Crozier is a total idiot, he knew his primal scream would be published for friends and enemies around the world. He must know that the families of his “beloved crew” would be panicked out of their minds. For nothing. Prima donna.
Perils of Overreaction
If the government overreacts, there is the toll on the economy from unnecessary precaution. Beyond that, overprediction feeds anxiety disorders, and also leads to asymptomatic people or people with minor symptoms demanding testing, going to the emergency room, etc., which not only helps overwhelm the medical system, but may itself increase the spread of the virus when these people leave their homes to seek medical attention. At the very least, we should recognize that exaggerated projections reported without caveat have significant potential costs. __ Reason
President Trump is Flawed, But Better Him Than Anyone Else
They tried to spook everyone, first with predictions of 2 million Americans dead. Next they tried to spook everyone with predictions of over 200,000 Americans dead. The latest prediction is for 60,000 americans to have died with coronavirus by August 2020. Remember, about 15,000 have died with coronavirus — not necessarily from coronavirus — as of now. In a bad flu year, 90,000 Americans may die of the influenza virus.
The economic argument will be irresistible and [Trump] will have to start the normalization period, perhaps in stages and preferably with the agreement of his scientific and epidemiologic panel. Since the Democrats want a shutdown for months, for evidently discernible motives, they will have difficulty claiming Trump should never have shut the country down to begin with. There is no reason to believe that the death rate will skyrocket, even though it will not be possible to contain the number of infections as they are now. The Fauci-Birx formula of flattening the curve will have been followed and achieved and will have reached the point of diminishing returns.
In the meantime, the president may be able to get his infrastructure bill through, keeping the last of his main campaign promises. (These were building a southern border, lowering taxes, deregulation, new trade agreements, a constitutionalist judiciary, building up the military and pushing the NATO allies into paying their way, reducing poverty and violent crime, eliminating unemployment and oil imports, and delivering the country from the oppressive inanities of the Green Terror.) It will be a considerable record if the economy comes back quickly, and with the antiviral stimulus package, it will be on steroids.
If Trump can also believably present himself as the man who balanced boldness with economic realism and extracted the best possible result from this very difficult public health crisis, the Democrats will be storming his barricades very forcefully. Joe Biden’s task then, will not really be getting to the White House, it will be internal Democratic damage control. __ Imagine Biden as President Now
Fear is the Mind Killer
The media along with left-wing political factions are attempting to generate panic among the public. Some leftists have declared their intention to spread coronavirus deliberately in order to rev up fear and disorder. Much of this is a cynical political ploy intended to cause maximum pain and destruction.
… panic can fuel suicides, which snuff out about 47,000 lives per year in the US at an average age of 46 years old. Over a lifetime, that amounts to 132 million lost years of life—or 46 times the loss from COVID-19 if it ultimately kills 240,000 people.
The implications of overreacting to COVID-19 or any other potential hazard are aptly summarized in a teaching guide published by the American Society for Microbiology. This book explains why “the factors driving your concept of risk—emotion or fact—may or may not seem particularly important to you, yet they are” because “there are risks in misperceiving risks.” __ Crucial Facts
- go to work
- stay away from crowds
- maintain a 2 meter distance
- wash your hands
- wear a mask in public
- don’t touch your face
- don’t shake hands
- keep public surfaces clean/disinfected
- wear cotton gloves in public
In the grocery store: