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Asking the Taboo Question: Is America Overreacting to Coronavirus?

DannyTS

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On a positive note, the doomsday modelers in the UK, at least, are walking back their predictions -- by A LOT.

500,000 predicted deaths in the UK to 20,000, and by extension to the US, 2.2 million down to 85,000, which is in the range for an seasonal flu -- and the flu has a vaccine.

This is from today's Corona virus Task Force briefing at the White House (emphasis added):

Dr. Deborah Birx: (51:35)

I’m sure many of you saw the recent report out of the UK about them adjusting completely their needs. This is really quite important. If you remember, that was the report that said there would be 500,000 deaths in the UK, and 2.2 million deaths in the United States. They have adjusted that number in the UK to 20,000, so half a million to 20,000. We are looking at this in great detail to understand that adjustment.

I am going to say something that is a little complicated, but I am going to say it in a way we can all understand it together. In the model, either you have to have a large group who are asymptomatic, who have never presented for any test in order to have the kind of numbers that were predicted, to get to 60 million people infected or have six million people infected, you have to have a large group of asymptomatics. Because in no country to date have we seen an attack rate over one in a thousand. So either we’re only measuring the tip of the iceberg of the symptomatic cases, and underneath it are a large group of people.

So we’re working very hard to get that antibody test because that’s a good way to figure out who are all these people under here and do they exist? Or we have the transmission completely wrong. So these are the things we’re looking at because the predictions of the models don’t match the reality on the ground in either China, South Korea or Italy. We are about five times the size of Italy (in population).


So if we were Italy and you did all those divisions, Italy should have close to 400,000 deaths. They’re not close to achieving that. So these are the kinds of things we’re trying to understand. Models are models. We’re adapting now to the react… There’s enough data now of the real experience with the coronavirus on the ground to really make these predictions much more sound. So when people start talking about 20% of a population getting infected, it’s very scary. But we don’t have data that matches that based on the experience.
Incredible how they could come with those "predictions" and 2 trillion dollars later it is like, woops, never mind
 

CO skier

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Incredible how they could come with those "predictions" and 2 trillion dollars later it is like, woops, never mind
The worst part is 2 trillion dollars in additional national debt is nowhere near what will be needed to repair the economic damage. Shutting down the economy is one whopper of an "oops."
 

DannyTS

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The worst part is 2 trillion dollars in additional national debt is nowhere near what will be needed to repair the economic damage. Shutting down the economy is one whopper of an "oops."
the biggest problem is that many businesses especially small will still be wiped out but because of the loans it will just be a slower death
 

bluehende

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On a positive note, the doomsday modelers in the UK, at least, are walking back their predictions -- by A LOT.

500,000 predicted deaths in the UK to 20,000, and by extension to the US, 2.2 million down to 85,000, which is in the range for an seasonal flu -- and the flu has a vaccine.

This is from today's Corona virus Task Force briefing at the White House (emphasis added):

Dr. Deborah Birx: (51:35)

I’m sure many of you saw the recent report out of the UK about them adjusting completely their needs. This is really quite important. If you remember, that was the report that said there would be 500,000 deaths in the UK, and 2.2 million deaths in the United States. They have adjusted that number in the UK to 20,000, so half a million to 20,000. We are looking at this in great detail to understand that adjustment.

I am going to say something that is a little complicated, but I am going to say it in a way we can all understand it together. In the model, either you have to have a large group who are asymptomatic, who have never presented for any test in order to have the kind of numbers that were predicted, to get to 60 million people infected or have six million people infected, you have to have a large group of asymptomatics. Because in no country to date have we seen an attack rate over one in a thousand. So either we’re only measuring the tip of the iceberg of the symptomatic cases, and underneath it are a large group of people.

So we’re working very hard to get that antibody test because that’s a good way to figure out who are all these people under here and do they exist? Or we have the transmission completely wrong. So these are the things we’re looking at because the predictions of the models don’t match the reality on the ground in either China, South Korea or Italy. We are about five times the size of Italy (in population).


So if we were Italy and you did all those divisions, Italy should have close to 400,000 deaths. They’re not close to achieving that. So these are the kinds of things we’re trying to understand. Models are models. We’re adapting now to the react… There’s enough data now of the real experience with the coronavirus on the ground to really make these predictions much more sound. So when people start talking about 20% of a population getting infected, it’s very scary. But we don’t have data that matches that based on the experience.
Here is the study that was quoted

That number of deaths is modeled when the population goes to maximum mitigation with a death number of 0.2 deaths per 100,000 per week. Of course they imply that the rate is down from 2.2 million. Of course there is a big difference between the worst prediction then and the best prediction now. You cannot compare the no mitigation number from about a week ago with the most optimistic scenario today. And the number is many areas of our country are well above that death rate now. Also a footnote is that those lockdowns must last 300 days for this model. The other model run was for mitigation at 1.6 deaths per 100,000 per week. That gives a death rate of 520,000. This model predicts that we will be somewhere in between depending on when these severe mitigation conditions are applied. The take home from these models is that reducing contact saves lives. Below is the exact quote form the study that does not seem to line up with what she said.

The accompanying Excel spreadsheet gives these results for individual countries. Our estimated impact of an unmitigated scenario in the UK and the USA for a reproduction number, R0, of 2.4 (490,000 deaths and 2,180,000 deaths respectively) closely matches theequivalent scenarios using more sophisticated microsimulations (510,000 and 2,200,000 deaths respectively)8.


I wish we were told the whole truth just once.
 

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I don't know if the government is leveling with the American people or not. What I do know is there are two articles addressing this issue in the news this morning. I'm taking this seriously.

In 2011, my 32 year old extremely healthy daughter contracted H1N1. She went from healthy to being placed in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator because she could no longer breath on her own within 24 hours. She was in ICU for 11 days on life support and 7 additional days in a regular room. She recovered only through the grace of God and the many, many prayers said on her behalf, including prayers from so many here on TUG (I will FOREVER be grateful to those of you who prayed so fervently for her). I will never, ever forget the horror I felt as I watched 3 other families grapple with the deaths of their loved ones from the same virus - a 26 year old, a 40 year old, and a 55 year old. My own precious daughter fought for her life. She did recover and has had no further illness but her doctors then told her if she ever even got so much as a sniffle that she is to get herself into a doctor immediately and inform them of what happened to her and to get started on a course of antibiotics. I am really scared for her with this current virus. She is taking precautions, of course but she works in the public and I pray every day that she won't be infected.

I hope that others will take this situation seriously and recognize that even if they aren't sick, they might be carriers and someone as vulnerable as my daughter could become sick if they come in contact with her. We shouldn't panic but we have to take this seriously.


JanT my heart goes out to you and your daughter, thank God she recovered. Stay safe.
 

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Everyone wants the Federal Government to pay for everything and do it now. Where do people, local Governments, State Governments, etc think this money is going to come? Oh who cares if the Federal Government goes zillions of dollars in debt. I personally think we should let the Airlines, Cruise Companies, etc sink. They (and many other large companies) raked in Billions since the recession. They then used this cash to buy back their own shares and pay ridiculous amounts of money to their Executives and BOD. Time to Pay the Piper.
Except, they employ thousands of people, some are your neighbors. Also are you going to hitchhike, swim to you timeshare vacation in the Caribbean, Hawaii or Europe?
 

Talent312

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Hey, let's keep this non-political.
You'd hope that those to whom we look for leadership would be a cut-above, but generally, they have the same head-in-the-sand attitude of the great unwashed.

.
 

x3 skier

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I sense something of an echo chamber in here.
Is anyone saying, "Whoops, let's let another 85K die?"
... Do we have any volunteers for the front lines?
.
Raises hand.

I posted someplace else in the vast numbers of threads on COVID-19 that if I came down with the bug even after following all the recommended procedures, needed a ventilator and someone with a longer life expectancy than I (approaching 80 and in good health) needed one they could have it rather than I and I’ll take my chances. That’s why I have had a DNR, living will and medical POA for many years. I’ve had a great life so far, expect more but if it comes to that, let others benefit.

Just me but I know some friends of my vintage who feel the same.

Cheers
 

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MrockStar,

Thank you so much. She is healthy today but I can't say I'm not worried right now. I wonder if she is more susceptible to Coronavirus and check with her every day to make sure she is taking good care of herself and being extra cautious. Every morning I thank God for saving her so many years ago and I tell Him if He needs to take someone and is thinking of her to please take me instead. She is 41 with a lot of life before her and I want her to be able to live it. I love that girl with all my heart and would gladly give my life if it meant saving her. Again, thank you and please take care of yourself and your family!!

JanT my heart goes out to you and your daughter, thank God she recovered. Stay safe.
 

bluehende

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Raises hand.

I posted someplace else in the vast numbers of threads on COVID-19 that if I came down with the bug even after following all the recommended procedures, needed a ventilator and someone with a longer life expectancy than I (approaching 80 and in good health) needed one they could have it rather than I and I’ll take my chances. That’s why I have had a DNR, living will and medical POA for many years. I’ve had a great life so far, expect more but if it comes to that, let others benefit

Just me but I know some friends of my vintage who feel the same.

Cheers
I think intellectually we all know this. I know I feel exactly the same as you, but (there always is a but) I would be damn miffed if everything reasonable was not done before hand to make sure this choice is not needed. I am not willing to take my chances so an airline has a higher occupancy rate or so Biff and Buffy can have spring break.
 

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Raises hand.

I posted someplace else in the vast numbers of threads on COVID-19 that if I came down with the bug even after following all the recommended procedures, needed a ventilator and someone with a longer life expectancy than I (approaching 80 and in good health) needed one they could have it rather than I and I’ll take my chances. That’s why I have had a DNR, living will and medical POA for many years. I’ve had a great life so far, expect more but if it comes to that, let others benefit.

Just me but I know some friends of my vintage who feel the same.

Cheers
But when it comes down to it, and we are struggling to breathe, would do anything for a breath of air, would we really give it up? Maybe in theory, but I think the survival instinct might take over in this instance.
 

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I sense something of an echo chamber in here.
Is anyone saying, "Whoops, let's let another 85K die?"
... Do we have any volunteers for the front lines?
.
so not reciting what we are being told 24/7 on TV is an echo chamber, right? US is spending 2 trillion dollars on the Corona virus and this is probably just the down payment. Do you know how many people die annually in the United States and around the world due to inadequate health care? Do we know how many lives can be saved with 2 trillion dollars that otherwise die from poor or complete lack of health care?

In Britain by the way:

As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.

 

x3 skier

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In Britain by the way:

As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.

I’ve sort of felt that way since this first hit the scene. Thanks for the info.

Cheers
 

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In the order of things, the percentage of peep seriously ill and related-deaths may be relatively low... It's certainly not going wipe out a major portion of the population... but try telling that to the peep who are afflicted or families of those who died, and would've been fine, otherwise.

Sure, it's being hyped way out of proportion. OTOH, that we were unprepared to deal with even a minor pandemic reveals the "what me worry" attitude of this generation as shallow and naive.
.
 

heathpack

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so not reciting what we are being told 24/7 on TV is an echo chamber, right? US is spending 2 trillion dollars on the Corona virus and this is probably just the down payment. Do you know how many people die annually in the United States and around the world due to inadequate health care? Do we know how many lives can be saved with 2 trillion dollars that otherwise die from poor or complete lack of health care?

In Britain by the way:

As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.

This is very misleading.

First: The British epidemiologist who did the initial modeling has not suggested that COVID19 is less of a threat. Instead, it appears the infection is MORE CONTAGIOUS than their original models assume. This means MORE PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED TO BECOME INFECTED. This means that observing their current rate of death from this disease, the think a lesser percentage of people die than they previously thought. This results in a recalculation of the case fatality rate to be lower. But it does NOT MEAN LESS DEATHS. If 200 million people become infected with a CF rate of 1%, that’s 200,000 deaths. If 750,000 people become infected with a CF rate of 2%, that’s only (???) 150,000 deaths.

Second: A High Consequence Infectious Disease is a disease that by definition has X% lethality. It’s a public health term. If you figure out that more people have/get the disease than you thought, and therefore you figure out that the percentage of people who die is lower (even if the absolute number of projected deaths become higher as a result of this new understanding of higher contagiousness), then you move this disease out of the HCID category. But this does not mean that the threat to society is reduced.

This is a bad nasty virus. I know it’s appealing to downplay it because it’s more comfortable to believe it’s being overhyped. But: it’s not being overhyped.

Stay the course everyone. The high degree of contagiousness with this virus screams loudly: stay home, the hospital systems will get overwhelmed. Do your part. Stay strong.

And TUGGERS always stay well.
 

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In the order of things, the percentage of peep seriously ill and related-deaths may be relatively low... It's certainly not going wipe out a major portion of the population... but try telling that to the peep who are afflicted or families of those who died, and would've been fine, otherwise.

Sure, it's being hyped way out of proportion. OTOH, that we were unprepared to deal with even a minor pandemic reveals the "what me worry" attitude of this generation as shallow and naive.
.
I agree with much of what you said but not sure which generation you’re referring to? The generation (mostly baby boomers) that wasn’t prepared to deal with it, denied that it was serious and reacted very slowly? Or, the generation (mostly teenagers and twenty somethings) of beach-goers and partiers that refuse to take it seriously even now?
 

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This is very misleading.

First: The British epidemiologist who did the initial modeling has not suggested that COVID19 is less of a threat. Instead, it appears the infection is MORE CONTAGIOUS than their original models assume. This means MORE PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED TO BECOME INFECTED. This means that observing their current rate of death from this disease, the think a lesser percentage of people die than they previously thought. This results in a recalculation of the case fatality rate to be lower. But it does NOT MEAN LESS DEATHS. If 200 million people become infected with a CF rate of 1%, that’s 200,000 deaths. If 750,000 people become infected with a CF rate of 2%, that’s only (???) 150,000 deaths.

Second: A High Consequence Infectious Disease is a disease that by definition has X% lethality. It’s a public health term. If you figure out that more people have/get the disease than you thought, and therefore you figure out that the percentage of people who die is lower (even if the absolute number of projected deaths become higher as a result of this new understanding of higher contagiousness), then you move this disease out of the HCID category. But this does not mean that the threat to society is reduced.

This is a bad nasty virus. I know it’s appealing to downplay it because it’s more comfortable to believe it’s being overhyped. But: it’s not being overhyped.

Stay the course everyone. The high degree of contagiousness with this virus screams loudly: stay home, the hospital systems will get overwhelmed. Do your part. Stay strong.

And TUGGERS always stay well.
The mortality rate in Britain is 0.5% and it is probably grossly overstated because those with mild symptoms or with no symptoms do not get tested. That may put us well within the range of the normal influenza if not lower.

Let's ignore COVID19 completely for a second? If you were given a budget of 2 trillion dollars to save lives in the United States what would you do with the money to yield the highest number of saved lives?
 

bbodb1

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I would not put it anywhere near the current health care system as most of it would likely end up as bonuses in executive pockets..
 

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I would not put it anywhere near the current health care system as most of it would likely end up as bonuses in executive pockets..
So 2 trillion dollars would end up as bonuses in executive pockets. Hmm, I had to repeat that.

But let me play along with you, say 200 billion dollars would indeed end up as bonuses. How would you spend the rest of 1800 billion dollars to save the most lives?
 

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The mortality rate in Britain is 0.5% and it is probably grossly overstated because those with mild symptoms or with no symptoms do not get tested. That may put us well within the range of the normal influenza if not lower.

Let's ignore COVID19 completely for a second? If you were given a budget of 2 trillion dollars to save lives in the United States what would you do with the money to yield the highest number of saved lives?
Early in an epidemic you can’t understand much from preliminary numbers. The U.K. right now has incomplete information.

Probably the best information on “true” mortality rate has come out of South Korea, where they tested widely and implemented a solid public health plan early on. If you test a lot of people and do all the right things to mitigate deaths, you’ll probably see a 1% mortality rate like South Korea did.

But remember: doing it right means you have a lower mortality rate because once the hospitals become overwhelmed, more people die just because that can’t receive optimal care. So the US mortality rate is likely to be higher. Just like in the UK, though, it’s too early to say.

However if we say that we expect an 80% infection rate in the US (realistic), that 80% of 300 million people infected. That’s 240 million people infected and with a 1% mortality rate (rosy for the US), that’s 240,000 deaths, not to mention collateral deaths from people not receiving care for other conditions due to a collapsed healthcare system. Even with a 0.5% mortality rate, that’s still 120,000 American lives.

The cost of all this is a disaster, no matter how you cut it. Not being prepared was a hugely expensive mistake. But that is water under the bridge now. We’ve got to move forward.

If this is all overblown like you feel, Danny, it will be an expensive blip because we’ll all be back to work soon enough and most of that stimulus package won’t be needed. If it IS as bad as the people who have made careers of understanding this say, then the only way out is serious lockdown now, and implement widespread testing and targeted quarantines a la South Korea so that we can get back to work to the extent that we can.
 

bbodb1

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So 2 trillion dollars would end up as bonuses in executive pockets. Hmm, I had to repeat that.

But let me play along with you, say 200 billion dollars would indeed end up as bonuses. How would you spend the rest of 1800 billion dollars to save the most lives?
You don't think executives wouldn't find a way to try and do that? Okay, maybe not all 2 trillion....but a lot of it.

Seriously now.

I think any solution to our current health care system needs to have three outcomes:
1) The innovation aspect of developing medicines, vaccines, procedures, etc must have a system in which these things can still be done.
2) The current delivery of health care needs to change (perhaps a better term is evolve).
3) Separating health care insurance from the workplace.

If these three outcomes could be implemented, I think the health care system could be reformed.
 

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If this is all overblown like you feel, Danny, it will be an expensive blip because we’ll all be back to work soon enough and most of that stimulus package won’t be needed. If it IS as bad as the people who have made careers of understanding this say, then the only way out is serious lockdown now, and implement widespread testing and targeted quarantines a la South Korea so that we can get back to work to the extent that we can.
On March 16 when the 2 week self isolation recommendation started, there were 1905 new cases reported in the United States. Say we continue the containment measures at the same level (or higher in many places) and after peaking in 3 weeks,the number of new cases will start to go down and in 2 months from now we will have 1905 new cases per day. What makes you think that those new cases will not lead to an exponential growth from that moment if the measures are relaxed? And can the measures be kept in place indefinitely until the number of new cases is zero?
 

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On March 16 when the 2 week self isolation recommendation started, there were 1905 new cases reported in the United States. Say we continue the containment measures at the same level (or higher in many places) and after peaking in 3 weeks,the number of new cases will start to go down and in 2 months from now we will have 1905 new cases per day. What makes you think that those new cases will not lead to an exponential growth from that moment if the measures are relaxed? And can the measures be kept in place indefinitely until the number of new cases is zero?
Danny, South Korea has contained this disease with widespread testing and contact tracing, with quarantine of infected individuals and their contacts. They did not have to lock their society down and business has continued throughout.

We have not done any of that (or at least only a tiny sliver of a percent of what it would take to be effective) so we are in a mess. The new case rate we are seeing in the US is the result of managing it badly from a public health perspective, but it does not need to (and I would argue from an economic perspective cannot) continue to unfold in the manner in which it is. That is the whole point of the stringent lockdown now- to buy us time to get the appropriate response in place. Sadly you are not hearing this discussed in the public sphere, because I think that would indeed help the general population understand what is happening now and to buy into it a little better. And yes, it worries me too that I don't hear this message coming from the federal government. BUT if smart people are kept on the job, this is what the epidemiologists and public health experts will do even if that is not the message that we're hearing.

The only way out of this is by being smart and looking at the science. The science really does need to be evaluated by the people with the expertise to understand it (ie public health professionals, epidemiologists and so on) and the rest of us have to listen and comply. There is a way out of this for sure, but people have to give it a minute.

BTW, what are my qualifications for discussing this? I'm not a public health official or an epidemiologist. I'm a veterinarian. We spend a boatload of time on epidemiology, population medicine, infectious diseases, and public health- perhaps 15-20% of a 4 year curriculum. I spend two months in my clinical year just learning about "herd and flock" medicine. Then I went on after vet school and pursued residency training in neurology and neurosurgery, which in vet med is a subspecialty of internal medicine. So on a post-graduate level, I had to pass very challenging advance internal medicine tests before I could even try to pass my neurology and neurosurgery test. I've participated for 25 years now in a regular intellectual exercise called 'journal club," in which a group gets together to critique the validity of the conclusions drawn in peer-reviewed publications- is the article has already been vetted by smart people but we still sit down to discuss what the data 'really' supports. At work, 75% of what I do is urgent and emergency things. In short, I have extensive education in population medicine (more than an MD would get) and individual medicine, plus lots of experience in reading medical information and understanding it/critiquing it.

So I'm confident when I state this is not hype, its not overblown and there is an exit strategy if we don't let politics get in the way.
 
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