Coronavirus pandemic

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Rich Feldman
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Rich Feldman » Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:03 pm

Thanks for the pointer, Dan. In fact I finally took the bait & paid money for unlimited access to WaPo online.
Been meaning to do that for some media channels with useful content; have never paid a nickel for cable TV or Netflix.

One thing led to another, and I learned that our CDC continues to track regular flu with no loss of attention.
Here is a chart of seasonal flu hospitalizations, to put the horse race with Covid-19 in perspective.
flu.jpg
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from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/pr ... imates.htm

Cranking up the Covid testing rate is certainly a good thing.
Statistically speaking, it has been driving up the infections numbers from New York, and driving down the deaths/infections ratio.
Hard to forecast where the latter will end up, since during exponential growth phase it's so sensitive to how fast you recover or die.

Here are two of several key points from the regular flu summary of Week 11, which ended March 14.
flu2.jpg
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flu3.jpg
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That's a deaths/illnesses ratio of 0.06% (6e-4), based on estimated illnesses, a very different measure from tested infections.
Until the last couple months I never would have considered possibility that CDC science output might be politically influenzed.
All models are wrong; some models are useful. -- George Box

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Frank Sanns
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Frank Sanns » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:50 pm

The vast majority of people do not get tested for flu. Numbers reported are typically only 10%-20% of the total actual cases. Some people have the flu and have only very mild or no systems. Others have mild ones. Then you have the people that run to the doctor at the first sniffle and demand to get tested.

The same is happing with COVID-19 except that more people, out of fear, are getting tested. 90% of all people tested, do not have COVID-19. That in itself says something.

Normally the strategy is to not have a test done. No medical tests UNLESS it changes the treatment plan or to track something that may be happening. In the case of COVID-19, tests are being done prolifically but only in the severe cases is it relevant to treatment.

The extra cases are from fear and for contributing to the data base so the spread and outcomes of this new virus can be tracked.

Dan Knapp
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Dan Knapp » Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:35 am

We need to vastly increase our testing capacity to get a handle on where we are. Areas that appear to be relatively unaffected are likely to have significant infection that just hasn’t manifested itself yet. It was interesting to hear Bill Gates on TV tonight. I was surprised to learn that it was his foundation that showed the self sampling swab would work. This will greatly ease the stress on PPE supplies not to mention making the sampling much less unpleasant. I had just finished watching his 2015 Ted Talk “The next outbreak, Were not ready.” (https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_th ... edcomshare). He was right on. We were indeed not ready. My university hospital has been borrowing equipment and supplies from research labs to get testing up and running. We’re seeing the downside of the “just in time” supply chain, and it has not been in time. It is likely to get much worse before it gets better. On the surface all of this staying at home should make much more time available for fusion work, but it doesn’t seem to be working out that way for me.

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Richard Hull
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Richard Hull » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:33 am

I've really been moving out on my fusor V work. I haven't left the property in 2 weeks now. Been doing lots of stuff. I typically begin my work in the lab on fusor V about 9PM and I just came in to get on the pewter for a bit before a shower and bed time. It's now 4:30 am here. I hope to be in the arms of Morpheus before 6AM. I should have photos for my long running build posting in the construction forum tomorrow.
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Rich Feldman
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Rich Feldman » Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:31 pm

The JHU coronavirus map lost its logarithmic chart option.
Then I found USA-oriented data at CDC website, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nc ... in-us.html
and drew my own chart. The times-10 interval isn't 2 weeks, as we saw in global chart, it's a little less than 10 days. :-(
flu5.jpg
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.
Meanwhile, regular flu follows a familiar course this season, as seen on CDC site I linked to in a previous post.
The cumulative number of hospitalizations grows linearly (starting to round off) so the current number in hospital is flat week to week (starting to drop).
flu4.jpg
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All models are wrong; some models are useful. -- George Box

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Rich Feldman
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Rich Feldman » Sat Mar 28, 2020 5:18 pm

[edit Saturday morning]
Suppose Covid-19 wins this horse race when its death count (in USA) surpasses the upper estimate for regular flu deaths (62K).
At the rate we are going, that will happen when the number of reported Covid infections reaches 4 or 5 million.
But of those 62K deaths chalked up to Covid, 90% would have happened in the last 9 days instead of spread over 6 months.
And there would be a much greater number of sick people going to die in the next week, even if new infections stopped instantly.
All models are wrong; some models are useful. -- George Box

Dan Knapp
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Dan Knapp » Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:48 am

For those interested in the hydroxychloroquine issue, the report of the study in France that prompted it Is available online without a paywall (Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial -
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 7920300996). It was a very preliminary result. They studied 26 patients and 16 controls. Six of the twenty six did not complete the study (three were transferred to the ICU, one died, two were lost for other reasons). There was a small effect observed, but the study was too small to draw a clear conclusion. While this combination certainly warrants further study, it is premature to be touting it as a “game changer,” Unfortunately, the publicity has led to shortages for patients using it for proven effects and even deaths from people self medicating.

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Dennis P Brown » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:13 am

Thank you all for these informative posts as well as this thread on this serious illness!

This country desperately needs testing kits - unbelievable that the most powerful country in the world can't provide everyone who needs it a test - words are beyond me. The lost months were absolutely critical time wasted when we should have been taking so many critical steps. In any case, having the ability to test is the best way to control and reverse this very infectious sars-cov-2 virus.

Until this is controlled do wash one's hands with soap properly, avoid crowds and hope all here remain healthy.

Dan Knapp
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Dan Knapp » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:48 am

I have been giving thought to how we can get a handle on asymptomatic disease penetration into areas that are not yet hot spots. It has been said that officials in hot spots are all saying “we should have done something sooner,” while those in areas not yet hot spots are saying “we don’t need to take action yet because it has not appeared here.” The situation is further complicated by the politics of the various governors. I learned an old saying among docs from my former dean, “if you’re wondering whether you need to do a spinal tap, you need to do a spinal tap.” I think this applies in this case to orders to reduce virus spread.
In exploring how one might get epidemiological information on disease spread without imposing further burden on an already inadequate testing capability, I learned that there is actually a field now called “sewage epidemiology.” Corona virus is known to be present in feces of infected people. If one measured virus at the sewage treatment plant, it would give indication of infection level in that area. Sensitivity would be a real challenge given the dilution, but PCR amplification should be a solution. I know there have been studies of illegal drug use in geographical areas by measuring drug metabolites in sewage. This would seem to be an answer for coronavirus epidemiology at a cost of relatively few test kits.
I’ve been trying to float this idea with people in a position to know if it might have merit. If any forum members have connections with such people, please toss this out to see if it might have wings.
Thanks and stay safe.

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Frank Sanns
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Frank Sanns » Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:34 pm

The preparedness issue can be discussed forever. The key was that it was unexpected.

Stopping travel from China and even trying to stop the people from the cruise ships coming back to the US until they were clear saved many lives and delayed the virus being unleashed on our shores. I have talked to some people in the field and they also thought that the problem was far less and that cutting off China so quickly would prevent more than a few dozen cases in the US. All seemed controlled at the time. The problem was, the EU was already having many cases and that travel was till open. NYC became the ground zero again. Then those spread across our major cities before it was realized that we had a problem. Then the EU travel was cut off but it was too late.

It was unexpected and it was of a form that is not something that you have off of the shelf. There are no test kits for the common cold which COVID-19 is in the RNA replicant family. The common cold mutates and there are something like 300 variants running around. Last I heard there were already multiple COVID variations but immunity to one seems to give immunity in part or in whole to the others, FOR THE MOMENT. As mutations continue, the disease could change again.

It is a complicated and grave situation with no good solutions. Waiting another 18 months for a vaccine seems nearly pointless. The US and and the world medical community have not developed a sure fire vaccine for even the common cold or the flu.

We are not seeing a failure of a government (except China and WHO). We are seeing the failings of globalization and trillions upon trillions of dollars in a medical system that really is not much further along that in was 50 years ago. Even cancer death rates are only better mostly because of early detection equipment development.

If history tells us anything, nothing has changed. The earth will have more pandemics after this one kills millions.

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