- Good News on Spread of Coronavirus - May 31, 2020
- Pritzker Scrubs Hands and Crucial COVID Testing Data - May 5, 2020
- Will COVID-19 Contact Tracing Endanger More Precious Liberties? - April 30, 2020
When the nation was closed for business on Monday, March 16, it was because otherwise the number of COVID patients would surpass the capacity of hospitals. By “flattening the curve” we could keep that number below the available beds and ventilators. Within two weeks we were told that New York City alone would need 40,000 ventilators, more than existed in the known universe at the time.
Many believed the statistics they heard, but that’s what the models were predicting, and facts were sparse. “We need more ICU beds too,” and within days the Army Corps of Engineers had built 2000 more hospital rooms in the Javits Center, New York, and 2500 in McCormick Place, Chicago. Two weeks hence, California is shipping unused ventilators to Chicago and New York has fewer than 4000 in use with the number going down daily.
Why the model discrepancy?
Much of the problem with models is there are not the facts to support the conclusions. In lieu of data, we must rely on assumptions and guesswork. The models tell us that the number of persons infected by a single source increases exponentially, therefore they are the best candidate for control, but only in a qualitative manner. Unknown is what that rate is, nor the timeline it takes. Based on assumptions, the number of persons infected by a single case range from 2.5 to 5.7 over a time from 3 days to two weeks. Nor do we know how many are infectious but asymptomatic.
Also unknown is how many individuals are cured and immune (not just those discharged from ICU). This information derives from tests for antibodies, which are yet to be administered in any quantity.
Randomized, representative samples are needed, but existing data is biased and inconclusive. True statistical sampling has been done in Iceland and Germany but is only now paid lip service among the talking heads in the US. We still need wide-spread tests for diagnostic purposes, but even more we need scientific testing to make better predictions. Early this week, the “models” were adjusted downward, to values still more than 4x that of actual observations.
This change, which was simply an adjustment of assumptions, was quickly hailed as evidence that the shutdown and “personal separation” were working. The number of new infections peaked about three days ago and is heading downward. While calmer heads see this as an opportunity to restart the economy, these efforts are met with accusations of “wanting to kill people.” The new goal, enunciated by the same experts who set the reasons for shutdown, now want to see the infection rate to fall to zero, which will take many more months to happen, if ever.
President Trump announced that he has assembled a new “recovery” task force which will meet Tuesday for the first time. They will look for ways in which this can be done while managing the risks to the public. One way to do this is to know what works and what doesn’t (or is superfluous). From the example set by Sweden and several states, we know that voluntary self-isolation works as well as more draconian measures.
We were told that the tents erected in temporary hospitals are under “positive pressure” to minimize the chance for infection. This is confirmed by the fact that the tent cities are ballooned outward. There is one problem, though. Positive pressure is used to keep things OUT, whereas in COVID cases, the object should be to keep things IN. Consequently, all the space outside these tents, where medical personnel work and breath, would be contaminated. It is only through blind luck and misadventure that these facilities will go unused.
Early testing in Chicago reveals that 30-50% of individuals have antibodies, indicating they have contracted and survived COVID infection and have immunity. These values are at the lower end of “herd immunity” and may be a significant factor in the observed drop in new infections. The data also suggests that many more people were infected than previously thought, which increases the denominator and decreases the mortality rates. If fewer people remain susceptible than thought, the need for continuing the lock-down is diminished as well.
Taking down license numbers in church parking lots is more an exercise in tyranny, not public health. Keeping the spread of COVID-19 under control may prove easier than wrestling assumed authority away from state and local officials.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday, April 10, 2020 he plans to sign an executive order next week outlining guidelines for how businesses in the state can start to reopen after being shut down over coronavirus.
The greatest influence in current policy resides in unelected technocrats. While they may mean well, they are taking a one-sided view regarding the welfare of the nation. The “exponential” phase of the COVID infection has come and gone, but exponential damage to the economy and well-being of the nation is just beginning.
Trump must instead use his own common sense to do what is right for this nation to recover from its current troubling and severe economic slump.
Trump must also have a plan for a May 1st business opening of this nation, realizing that he will face a battle royal.