Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; (D&C 98:10)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Handling the Novel Coronavirus

Update 2020-09-02

“Governments love pandemics. They love pandemics for the same reason they love war. Because it gives them the ability to impose controls on the population that the population would otherwise never accept. Their institutions and mechanisms are orchestrated, imposing obedience…the only thing a government needs to make people into slaves is fear.”  (Robert F. Kennedy Jr., "Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Spoke to Hundreds of Thousands of People in Berlin Protest against “COVID scam”", 1 Sep 2020)


Data from "Weekly Number of Deaths by Age" at cdc.gov, image from my FB Post

See also "Tracking covid-19 excess deaths across countries" from economist.com 15 Jul 2020.

Update 2020-08-05

I think the key point is that lockdowns don't work. There is absolutely no correlation between lockdowns and controlling the virus worldwide. Belgium has the most deaths per capita and also the harshest lockdown. The virus will get to people one way or another. The best way to control deaths is to isolate the elderly who are most at risk.

Update 2020-07-15

From "Why Sweden Succeeded in “Flattening the Curve” and New York Failed", July 15, 2020, Jon Miltimore, Foundation for Economic Education.
The reason New York failed and Sweden succeeded probably has relatively little to do with the fact that bars and restaurants were open in Sweden. Or that New York’s schools were closed while Sweden’s were open. As Weiss explains, the difference probably isn’t related to lockdowns at all. It probably has much more to do with the fact that New York failed to protect the most at-risk populations: the elderly and infirm.
Without Sweden and a few similar outliers, it would be far easier for central planners to say, Sure, lockdowns were harsh and destructive. But we had no choice.

Update 2020-06-09
I think the deaths per day will show some conclusive results in the next month or so.



Update 2020-05-07

This is very important. From a FB Post of my friend Dima Korolev
I feel the urge to go on record and say that it pleases me dearly to see how Americans are reacting to the current events.
~ ~ ~
We may disagree on whether the lockdown is necessary.
We may disagree on how dangerous the virus is.
We may disagree whether it's essential to wait until we flatten some metrics and/or until we have some medications stocked up.
We may disagree whether particular orders are constitutional or no.
We may disagree whether the USA as the country was prepared well or terribly.
~ ~ ~
But, I believe, we must agree that people protesting the lockdown in the quantities that are so huge that even the most pro-stay-home media outlets have to give the credit due — that's the true American spirit that is to be cherished and preserved.
~ ~ ~
One of the largest, if not The Largest Lesson of the events of early 2020 is that in quite a few cultures people are surprisingly "comfortable" obeying the order as unprecedented as "stay home until further notice". 
Again, we may disagree whether those unwilling to follow those orders are the heroes or the traitors, and we may disagree on whether they are saving our lives and our economy or whether they are costing us lives and economy. 
To me these considerations are second-order. 
The first order consideration is that the people's natural reaction is to loudly resist the governments' attempt to slice and dice and herd us one way or another. 
We shall overcome and grow stronger "thanks to" these events. Other nations, who chickened out — well, I'm not so sure about it.

From my friend who is a doctor,
"At least 300 people have send me this "Plandemic" link, the the conspiracy documentary with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Judy Mikovits.  Please stop!
First, There are always two sides to the story.  This is apparently another one of her attempts to share her side.  I don't fault her for it. However, she is clearly lying during part of it. Her body language clearly demonstrates that not everything she is saying is truthful.
Second, the director has an apparent agenda as well (as an anti-vaxer) . . . and, to sell her book.
Third, she is disgruntled because her paper on vaccine risk got pulled and retracted from publication for bad science and shotty experimentation, but the documentary isn't clear about this at all and insinuates that she was arrested for writing the paper.
Fourth, they use a chiropractor's viral rant as a source of legitimacy.  And, they use other physician's comments out of context.
Who knows what the real reason is for her arrest, but to be absolutely frank, I don't really care.
So, please stop sending it to me."

From a FB Post of a friend.
Here is a partial list of the freedoms that have been violated by state, local and in some cases the federal government during the lockdown:
--Freedom to worship:  various governments have prevented people from going to church or even listening to sermons in their own cars.
--Freedom of assembly:  governments have sent the police to break up peaceful groups of people either assembling at parks or to protest.
--Freedom of movement:  governments have insisted that people stay under house arrest except for "essential" trips in which governments get to decide what is essential and what is not.
--Freedom of commerce:  governments have capriciously decided which businesses may open and which may not.
--Freedom to work:  people who want to work have been prevented from making a living.
--Freedom of the press:  articles that government officials deem unacceptable are suppressed for "misinformation."

Update 2020-05-06

Here is a refreshing thread speaking on standard deviations and such. I look forward to having more data.

"When the State prevents you from buying cucumber seeds because it's dangerous, but allows in person lottery ticket sales and When the State tells you it's dangerous to go golf or fish alone but they can get make up and hair done for 5 TV appearances, it's not about your health." -  Kevin Sorbo

Common sense from a doctor.
  - Flattening the curve does not change the area of the curve. We are just spreading out the cases over time to not overwhelm hospitals.
  - Vaccines are not a magic wand. "The flu vaccine is usually 40% to 60% effective" https://www.insider.com/how-effective-is-the-flu-shot
'Doctor: "There's No Evidence to Keep People Inside and Lockdown Parks and Beaches"'. interview by Ben Shapiro https://youtu.be/t8kzTSVTxVQ

"Right now Medicare is determining that if you have a COVID-19 admission to the hospital you get $13,000. If that COVID-19 patient goes on a ventilator you get $39,000, three times as much. Nobody can tell me after 35 years in the world of medicine that sometimes those kinds of things impact on what we do." (US Hospitals Getting Paid More to Label Cause of Death as ‘Coronavirus’ by Wayne Dupree, Global Research, May 02, 2020, https://www.globalresearch.ca/hospitals-getting-paid-more-label-cause-death-coronavirus/5709720)

Update 2020-05-02

"This has gotten to where people are divided"

I liked that the host here voiced the concern that we cannot just stay locked down. We do have significant cost benefit analysis to do. One one side, we should not unduly put those at risk that are elderly and/or in densely populated areas. On the other hand, we should not cause an undue depression worse that what happened after 1929. Somewhere in the middle will be the best policy.
"Elon Musk's calls to end lockdown reflect a 'growing sentiment' in the U.S.: Dr. Scott Gottlieb"

“I would call it forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights ... breaking people's freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why people came to America,” Musk said during a public call with analysts and investors after reporting first-quarter earnings results Wednesday afternoon, adding an expletive. “It will cause great harm, not just to Tesla, but to any company. And while Tesla will weather the storm, there are many small companies that will not.” 
“If somebody wants to stay in their house, that's great,” Musk added. “They should be allowed to stay in the house, and they should not be compelled to leave. But to say that they cannot leave their house, and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist. This is not democratic. This is not freedom.”
("Tesla CEO Elon Musk lambasts 'fascist' coronavirus stay-in-place orders" Yahoo! Money, 29 Apr 2020, https://money.yahoo.com/tesla-ceo-elon-musk-lambasts-fascist-coronavirus-stayinplace-orders-000243948.htmlhttps://youtu.be/LXFoZfFTzro, FB Video https://www.facebook.com/richalger/posts/10221131341300873?comment_id=10221131447743534 ) 

"Dave Rubin and Ben Shapiro Discuss COVID-19 Lockdowns and Big Tech Censorship" https://youtu.be/1npyj792w_c
Particularly interesting is Ben's questions to Dave about his transition from the left to a classic liberal or libertarian. How the left treated him as a gay, married man and how they treat him now. Also how those on the "right" treat him.

My response to a FB friend.
It seems clear that we have over reacted to Covid-19. I am pretty sure that if we had the data then that we do now, that we would not shut-down economies all over the world to the extent that we have. 
It certainly is a concern for certain segments of societies and in densely populated areas. That is the benefit of a federal, state and local system. Let the most local government's decide what is best in each locale. 
You seem to be focusing on the worst parts of the health crisis and not saying much about the economic crisis. Both are important. 
In my comment, I mentioned the extremes on a spectrum of possible public policies. Somewhere in the middle is the best policy. The fact that choosing that is not immediately evidence to policy maker is not excuse to move forward. 
The pendulum is easily on the side of panic from the pandemic. Certainly we have been taken measures that are historically unprecedented to protect our collective health and lives. There is a cost to this. It comes at the economic health and lives of those most at risk. Unemployment has spiked to incredible levels. If we do not adjust our policies to take in the data that we have gotten, we could easily pass the Great Depression in the consequences. 
Do you care more about the lives of those dying from Covid-19 than those that will die because charitable contributions to third world communities are dropping like a brick? Those that commit suicide? Those, whose families are put into poverty because their family businesses are gone and cannot reasonably be re-opened for a generation or two. 
It is time to re-open the economies in measured and incremental ways.

"Federal government says all COVID-19 testing, treatment will be free", Medical Economics, 13 Apr 2020, https://www.medicaleconomics.com/news/federal-government-says-all-covid-19-testing-treatment-will-be-free

Update 2020-04-30
The FB Post of Adam Nally.
There is NO science to prove that quarantine of the healthy prevents significantly greater numbers of disease.   literature searches do not demonstrate this is scientifically effective.  And, in fact, quarantine of the healthy for longer periods of time are psychologically and ethically inappropriate. (https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/163/5/479/61137) (https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2820%2930460-8)
Update 2020-04-15
"South Korea or Taiwan's model of battling against COVID-19 may not work in India or West as culture shapes largely battle against pandemic"

“The city has added more than 3,700 additional people who were presumed to have died of the coronavirus but had never tested positive.”

Update 2020-04-12
What I wrote as a comment to a post a couple friends shared.
This certainly is a great time to reflect on what is important. Certainly businesses will try to sell us feeling better. Feeling sorry for ourselves does not seem like a solution either. We certainly do not save enough; are not generous enough; do not love our neighbor as we could. 
Getting back to work is a salve that many would love to do right now. We have to balance the risk of life from disease with the risk of life from businesses never coming back. From dreams being shattered.  
I do not see easy answers. We need data and we need to learn from what we have not done well so that we can react as South Korea and others did.
"Leadership Means Reopening America Now" by  Christian Whiton

Another comment to a friend.
I think that we can begin to take steps to return to economic normality. If we can determine who has had and likely will not contract Covid-19 again, we can let those people back to work.  
We need to balance two opposing needs: protect those vulnerable to Covid-19 and those vulnerable to a severe economic depression.  
We can do both, it will take leadership and data and agility to thread this needle. 

Video 'Trump: "We Built The Greatest Economy In The World, I'll Do It A Second Time"' by Ian Schwartz

Update 2020-04-04
I am hopeful that Antibody tests will be available and widely used soon. This will allow those who have had the virus and have successfully fought it to return to work without the risk of spreading it.


Following from 2020-03-24 or before
"Tracking the Spread of the
Coronavirus Outbreak in the U.S."
- 2,798 Confirmed cases in U.S.  59 Deaths in U.S.  As of March 14, 2020, 8:56 PM MST

"See How Coronavirus Compares To Other Pandemics Through History"

From an interesting post of  Dima Korolev

"Okay, given my prediction about the US economy restart is taking place way before I expected, let me share more.
note how carefully was this idea of possibly re-starting the US economy sooner than expected thrown out to the public. It was first phrased as a weak hypothesis, by very few people with not much voice. People reacted positively, and this idea took shape. Ultimately, even though it took just a few days, there were several waves of testing its acceptance. And only when it was clear that the people are not going to unanimously "boo" over it, was it phrased on the top level, by the President, in the ever-persistent sixth-grade English
being able to gather people's opinion at scale, quickly, and then react to it, quickly, is actually a great thing. That's how democracy should work. Had we not had this large-scale highly sensitive and highly adaptive machine functioning so well in the US by today, this epidemic may well have ended with the US either losing to China, or turning itself into a totalitarian state. So, whether you like this informational noise or no, and whether it makes you anxious or no, let's just agree that, rationally speaking, what we are living through is democracy in action.
The United States is most certainly making a large bet when it comes to openly speaking up about restarting the economy so soon, pretty much in the middle of the pandemic.
You could call it a solid bet, or you could call it a reckless gamble. Haters gonna hate, and I've explained this in detail above.
But keep in mind that every single life-changing decision was looking reckless to the vast majority of the population when it was first voiced. And yet it's those decisions, cumulatively, that keep pushing the world forward.
I believe it's the system that is better at telling the right big decisions from the wrong big decisions that prevails. And I believe the US is acting out what such a system should look like today.
Regardless of whether the economy does or does not get restarted soon, by the way. It's down to the will of us, The People. Personally, however, I believe it's better to begin gradually re-opening businesses as opposed to keeping everyone and everything locked down, and, since I believe most people think the same, I still am comfortable betting on this."
(Full post is at

Data is at https://bit.ly/COVID19-DATA

There have been many urging us to take measures to flatten the curve (#flattenthecurve) of those getting infected so that our health care system has the capacity to take care of those who get sick.

"This 18 seconds is probably the best single piece of advice I’ve heard about the #coronavirus"
So most people have a fear of acquiring the virus. I think a good way of doing it is to imagine that you _do_ have the virus and change your behavior so that you're not transmitting it. Don't think about changing your behavior so that you won't get it. Think about changing your behavior so that you don't give it to somebody else. 
Graham Medley - Professor of Infectious Disease Modeling, London School of Hygience and Tropical Medicine.

This resonates with me.


Matt Walsh says "I was wrong" about the Coronavirus

"Wake Up Call: Yes, Young People Can Also Get Seriously Ill From Coronavirus"
Guy Benson

Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now
https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99caCoronavirus: Why You Must Act Now

From above article

In this theoretical model that resembles loosely Hubei, waiting one more day creates 40% more cases! So, maybe, if the Hubei authorities had declared the lockdown on 1/22 instead of 1/23, they might have reduced the number of cases by a staggering 20k. 
And remember, these are just cases. Mortality would be much higher, because not only would there be directly 40% more deaths. There would also be a much higher collapse of the healthcare system, leading to a mortality rate up to 10x higher as we saw before. So a one-day difference in social distancing measures can end exploding the number of deaths in your community by multiplying more cases and higher fatality rate. (Emphasis added)

From https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

"Number of cumulative cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States from January 22 to March 13, 2020, by day"
Statistic: Number of cumulative cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States from January 22 to March 13, 2020, by day | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista
From https://www.statista.com/statistics/1103185/cumulative-coronavirus-covid19-cases-number-us-by-day/

"Number of cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States from January 11 to March 10, 2020, by day*"
Statistic: Number of cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States from January 11 to March 10, 2020, by day* | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista
From https://www.statista.com/statistics/1102816/coronavirus-covid19-cases-number-us-americans-by-day/
"Supplementary notes
* Date of illness onset. Illnesses that began between March 4 and March 11 may not yet be reported. Does not include cases among persons repatriated to the United States from Wuhan, China and Japan; does not include U.S.-identified cases where the date of illness onset has not yet been reported."

Why did we not react the way we are today when the 2009 H1N1 pandemic happened? FB Post of a friend discussing it. My FB Post trying to find out.
"Global deaths: over 284,000; 12,469 in the United States; death rate was .02 percent"
Jan 2009 - Aug 2010

5,375 deaths so far for covid-19 in 3 months
compared to 284,000 deaths in 20 months for 2009 H1N1

If we take the average from Jan 2009 - Aug 2010, that is 20 months or 600 days. That makes it an average of 473 deaths per day.

Where can I find stats for the first 3-4 months for the 2009 H1N1?

Here is a source with data from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE)

"Our focus should be on slowing the spread of this disease."("What an epidemiologist tells friends about COVID-19" Arizona Republic, Friday, 13 March 2020, http://arizonarepublic.az.newsmemory.com/?publink=167b2f4e6)

SARS did not result in nearly as many deaths.(https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-in-charts-covid-19-symptoms-spread-deaths-warnings-2020-2#this-chart-shows-the-rate-at-which-the-coronavirus-case-total-has-shot-up-worldwide-5)

"Why new diseases keep appearing in China" video from Vox. https://youtu.be/TPpoJGYlW54

I just watched these two TV shows. In one of them it said that we got lucky with SARS in that it did not last very long. Somehow the virus did not continue it is mutated form.
"The Next Pandemic", Season 2 Episode 7 of "Explained" series on Netflix. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11244670/https://www.netflix.com/title/80216752
"Pandemic Is Now" Season 1 Episode 2 of "Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak" series on Netflix. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11652668/https://www.netflix.com/title/81026143
zoonotic - "A zoonosis (plural zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that spread from non-human animals (usually vertebrates) to humans. Major modern diseases such as Ebola virus disease and salmonellosis are zoonoses."

Current Statistics
-  138,274 confirmed cases and 5,082 deaths from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak as of March 13, 2020, 12:25 GMT.

"Number of confirmed coronavirus cases, by days since 100th case"
 - From https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/3/13/21178289/confirmed-coronavirus-cases-us-countries-italy-iran-singapore-hong-kong

Total Confirmed COVID-19 cases 2020-03-13
2020-03-13 https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/19805339/total_cases_covid_19_who.png
From "9 charts that explain the coronavirus pandemic" https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/3/12/21172040/coronavirus-covid-19-virus-charts


Sunday, March 15, 2020

Oldest Presidents

Joe Biden would be the oldest President by 8 years if he were to be elected.