Again, and again, and again: I can’t stress enough that it is not about the number of cases and number of deaths.
First, we have no clue how many cases there are out there. There could be thousands who never had symptoms or had mild symptoms that were diagnosed as something else. There could be yet more thousands who have it now and are either asymptomatic or with mild symptoms that won’t register with them or doctors. That people have died and will die from COVID-19 is, as with all deaths, tragic; however, while it makes for sensational and panic-inducing coverage, the number is currently well below the flu and a number of other causes of death.
Second, the number is meaningless as each country is reporting deaths differently. Some list everyone who had it and has died. Others keep their death count down by not counting anyone with other conditions when they die, listing instead the other condition. Others are not counting anyone who does not die in a hospital. As such, the aggregate numbers are interesting, but essentially garbage as far as generating any meaningful statistical insight.
So keep in mind as we move ahead, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. We knew early that the Chinese were lying and anything out of China did not reflect reality. Right now, we are seeing that this continues. We are also seeing reporting that fails to share comparable information, using per capita for other countries and total figures here for example.
Based on what reliable data we have, we can generate some ideas of transmission rate of COVID-19; we can generate much better estimations of death rates; and, we can monitor spread and have at least some idea of when it will peak in a given area. Given what we do know from data currently in the public domain, the reaction to COVID-19 seems a bit extreme. Which begs the question: what don’t we know? Is there data, based on national intelligence means, that is causing the rather pessimistic outlook and the continuing national lockdown? One wonders.
Meantime, the data you really need to watch are the number of cases that require hospitalization; and, of those, how many require ICU and/or ventilator support. In terms of overwhelming medical resources, those are the only two numbers that are important. Remember, it is the overwhelming of resources that has had such horrendous outcomes in other countries. So much so, that in addition to Italy, England is now rationing health care to those most likely to survive.
The FDA has finally gotten around to granting emergency use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19. There are now multiple studies showing the effectiveness, which continues to track as close to 100 percent as possible. Italy and England are now using it as well. In yet another installment of why the FDA has continued to make the situation worse, read this.
Now, back to statistics and meaningful out comes. There is one other number that is going to be important, perhaps even the single most important number of all: who has had it, fully recovered, and is therefore immune. These are the people that can safely leave lockdown and get our economy going again. Who can expand critical services, and bring less critical back online.
The problem is, we don’t have a clue to that number. The key to getting good data fast lies in the ramping up of testing. American industry is rising to that challenge, even coming up with better and faster tests. As the President noted early on, when finding out the CDC was the bottleneck, widespread testing is crucial to having a better understanding of what has happened, is happening now, and to getting out of lockdown. As Professor Karol Sikora noted on Twitter, this data will be a huge part of fighting COVID-19 and ending the global lockdown.
Since the media isn’t going to say it, once again, COVID-19 is not Capt. Tripps. It is not the flu. Chill, distance, and use good hygiene. STOP THE PANIC!
Also, a reminder once again: if you are sick or think you are sick, DO NOT GO TO WORK OR TO VISIT PEOPLE. Stay the frack home. Don’t be Stupid, go to work/out, and insist on getting up close and personal to everyone you meet. Yes, Stupid is capitalized as I work with Stupid, who did just that. Don’t be Stupid.
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If you suspect you have COVID-19 or have been exposed: call your state health department and work with them so that you can be dealt with in a way that minimizes the chance of spreading the virus to those helping you and to the general public. Can’t get them? Call your local department or see if your health service has online/telemedicine screening set up; or see if one who has will let you use it even if you are not in their network. Do not go out in public, and don’t go to an ER or other facility without calling ahead. Be smart.
Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Yes. Is there need for panic? NO. HELL NO. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never. And good luck finding/getting stuff.
Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, wash them thoroughly every time you use the bathroom, then follow with hand sanitizer after every washing, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash on a regular basis. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Do NOT shake hands with anyone, and avoid touching or being touched by strangers. Or your strange friends.
Avoid travel if at all possible. If you have to travel, or go out for any reason, use lots of hand sanitizer and go to full flu protocols. If you have to use a public restroom, take full precautions including using paper towels and such to handle faucets, doors,etc. Believe it or not, this was highly recommended before now, and major grocery chains have long told employees to use those practices to avoid getting or spreading colds, flu, etc. Not many actually do it, but…
If you own a business, make sure your employees know the above protocols. Have someone who refuses to wash their hands or otherwise follow the protocols? Talk to them, write them up, and if necessary fire them as they now pose a risk of infection to you and your customers. Extreme? Yes, but while the CDC and others are working to slow it down, odds are it is already here and could hit hard and fast. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
I want to reiterate that there is no need for panic, but there is a strong need to be alert, be informed, and be prepared.
Good Sources Of Information On COVID-19
Instapundit (no longer doing roundups, but great articles from Glenn and his team)
South China Morning Post (decent, some salt may be needed)
Business Insider (decent, even if they did fall for some lies about Trump)
More to come
Local Independent Businesses That Need Your Support
More to come
Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles: