In a press release issued Monday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that the early results of its highly anticipated joint study with USC on COVID-19 infections rates in the county suggest that “infections from the new coronavirus are far more widespread — and the fatality rate much lower — in L.A. County than previously thought.”
“Based on results of the first round of testing, the research team estimates that approximately 4.1% of the county’s adult population has antibody to the virus,” the press release states. “Adjusting this estimate for statistical margin of error implies about 2.8% to 5.6% of the county’s adult population has antibody to the virus — which translates to approximately 221,000 to 442,000 adults in the county who have had the infection. That estimate is 28 to 55 times higher than the 7,994 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported to the county by the time of the study in early April. The number of COVID-related deaths in the county has now surpassed 600.”
The study’s lead researcher, USC Public Policy Professor Neeraj Sood, said in a statement that their study’s early estimates suggest that “we might have to recalibrate disease prediction models and rethink public health strategies.”
“We haven’t known the true extent of COVID-19 infections in our community because we have only tested people with symptoms, and the availability of tests has been limited,” said Sood, who is also a senior fellow at USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics.
Tissue samples taken during autopsies of two individuals who died at home in Santa Clara County, Calif., tested positive for the virus, local health officials said in a statement. The victims died on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17, respectively.
The Santa Clara County fatalities push the earliest coronavirus-related fatality back by weeks, with the new findings potentially altering the timeline of the U.S. outbreak.
“The fact that there were deaths related to covid back in early February is very significant because it means the virus was around for a lot longer than was initially realized,” Jeff Smith, a physician and the county executive in Santa Clara, told The Washington Post. “It’s been around for a while and it’s probably been spreading in the community for quite some time.”
I know that people tend to exaggerate when speaking on things they're not experts in (check out my twitter feed!), but I really wish that people who are not epidemiologists or virologists would stop using the qualifier "a lot" when talking about about how long this has been in the population.
"A lot" can mean a lot of things ( ) to different people. The last article I read that used language claiming that it had been here "a lot longer" than we first thought (i.e., February), was guesstimating that it had been here since January. The person was also a non-expert.
Two or three weeks is significant but it is not "a lot." Non-experts who keep saying that really need to rein in the hyperbole or...I don't know...let the experts speak instead?
"That is a very significant finding," Dr. Ashish K. Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told CNN's "New Day" on Wednesday.
"Somebody who died on February 6, they probably contracted that virus early to mid-January. It takes at least two to three weeks from the time you contract the virus and you die from it."
If they did not contract coronavirus through travel abroad, that also is significant, Jha said.
"That means there was community spread happening in California as early as mid-January, if not earlier than that," Jha said. "We really need to now go back, look at a lot more cases from January -- even December -- and try to sort out when did we first really encounter this virus in the United States," Jha said.
I know this may seem like a minor quibble on my part, but the hyperbole of non-experts serves only to feed into some of the loony conspiracy theories that are out there, and the fewer conspiracy loons out there, the better. We may very well eventually find out that the virus was in the US significantly sooner than first thought (e.g., December), but until we have that data, and the data is solid, it's irresponsible (not to mention intellectually lazy) to make such presumptive claims as if they were facts.
Last Edit: Apr 22, 2020 10:25:59 GMT -5 by Optimus
On the opposite end of that spectrum, you have "Lt. Dan" Patrick demonstrating what it's like to literally have shit for brains by saying that old people should just go ahead and volunteer to die for the greater good of 'Murica and that social distancing is (somehow) worse than death:
Appearing on Fox News, Patrick told Tucker Carlson, “No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’” But if they had? “If that is the exchange, I’m all in,” Patrick said. He continued: “That doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that. I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country, like me, I have six grandchildren, that what we all care about and what we love more than anything are those children. And I want to live smart and see through this, but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed…I’ve talked to hundreds of people, Tucker, and just in the last week, making calls all the time, and everyone says pretty much the same thing. That we can’t lose our whole country, we’re having an economic collapse. I’m also a small businessman, I understand it. And I talk with business people all the time, Tucker. My heart is lifted tonight by what I heard the president say because we can do more than one thing at a time, we can do two things. So my message is let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country, don’t do that, don’t ruin this great America.”
“What I said when I was with you that night is there are more important things than living. And that’s saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us,” Patrick said. “I don’t want to die, nobody wants to die, but man we’ve got to take some risks and get back in the game and get this country back up and running.”
Last Edit: Apr 22, 2020 17:57:21 GMT -5 by Optimus
I'm so proud to have him as my Lt. Governor. He's awesome.
It amazes me how stupid these people are -- what do you think will happen when everyone starts going back to work and getting together socially? I don't understand why these fools won't trust the scientists who, so far, have done a demonstrably better job than the politicians.
I don't disagree. But at the same time, there has to be a middle ground. The people protesting the lockdowns are being stupid; they're willfully subjecting themselves and others to--imo--too much risk. But at the same time, the people chastising anyone who dares suggest any sort of easing of restrictions are also being stupid. They've got their outrage machines dialed up to 11 and--despite their own assumed campassion--are effectively insisting that people need to endure hardship, while most of them are comfortably working from home and/or are financially secure enough to ride all of this out for months. That's just not realistic.
It's true that easing restrictions will increase risk, but then again allowing people to simply step outside their house adds risk. Allowing them to shop for groceries--or go to a hospital, for that matter--adds risk, both to themselves and others. We're going to have to accept some added risk, as a matter of course. There's no way around it, unless we want to see the economy tank completely.
Because the other reality here is that Covid-19 simply isn't the most deadly disease, ever. Another study in LA showed a much higher infection rate, as did one in NYC. This means the mortality rate of Covid-19 is probably lower than current number indicate, though it also means we need to keep wearing masks and social distancing. But a lot more businesses can start up again with such restrictions, imo.
So why on earth did his health commissioner, Howard Zucker, force nursing homes to take in virus-positive patients starting March 25?
States that have taken better precautions have seen far fewer nursing-home deaths. With a nursing-home population of about 70 percent of New York’s, Florida has seen about 10 percent as many nursing-home deaths — albeit with far fewer COVID-19 deaths overall.
Florida opted for a less-stringent lockdown than New York — but Gov. Ron DeSantis focused attention on nursing homes from the start, and has strengthened those protections as the state begins to reopen.
Not all that long ago, Cuomo was being treated as the Golden Child because of how well he handled the Covid-19 pandemic in NY, while DeSantis--along with the State of Florida in general (search for hashtags like #floridamorons)--was being mocked for his handling of the same. But the numbers are what they are. NY has a death rate of almost 1300/1 million residents, while florida has a death rate of only about 70/1 million residents. There are a number of factors involved here, to be sure, but the nursing home angle is a huge one, when it comes to the spread of the virus among the most vulnerable people. In contrast, Florida's localized decisions to have limited openings of some beaches and parks*--which it was catching massive heat for a couple of weeks ago--now seems almost inconsequential.
* Contrary to what many of the outragey social media posts on this suggested, the beaches in Jacksonville weren't opened haphazardly; the hours were limited, people weren't allowed to bring towels or coolers, and they weren't allowed to congregate in large groups. It was more about providing some open air that wasn't a sidewalk. Ditto for the parks in South Florida. I took my daughter to one down here on Sunday for a tennis lesson. It's a huge park and it wasn't crowded at all; people were following the rules quite well and there were plenty of Parks Department people there to make sure such was the case.
As hospitals were overrun by coronavirus patients in other parts of the world, the Army Corps of Engineers mobilized in the U.S., hiring private contractors to build emergency field hospitals around the country.
The endeavor cost more than $660 million, according to an NPR analysis of federal spending records.
But nearly four months into the pandemic, most of these facilities haven't treated a single patient.
The costs for some of these projects are simply astounding. A 1000-bed temporary hospital in Stony Brook leads the pack at a cost of $155 million.
The original Stony Brook contract, with Manhattan-based Turner Construction Co., was initially for an amount not to exceed $101 million. The number was increased on April 8 to an amount not to exceed $136 million once it became clear that more money was needed, he said.
So, they only went over budget by $19 million, for a facility that will likely need to be torn down (how much will that cost, I wonder?). I suppose Turner Construction will be popping champagne for the next decade...
Hmmm. In this case, I don't think the context is what the critics are claiming. Here's a more complete quote:
In my administration, we believe in two beautiful rules: Buy American and hire American. This afternoon, I also have great news on testing. You know, we’ve been doing testing at a level that nobody has ever done it before. We cannot get any, and we cannot get the press to write about it or write fairly about it. And nobody has ever done. We’ve done double what anyone else — if you add up all of the countries in the world, we’ve done more testing than all of the countries in the world added up together. Nobody has ever done anything like that. And we have the best tests.
We have tests that, two months ago, didn’t even exist. Our great companies came up with things — Abbott Laboratories and so many others. They came up with things that — Roche — they came up with things that nobody even believes. So we have the best testing in the world. It could be that testing is, frankly, overrated. Maybe it is overrated. But whatever they start yelling, “We want more. We want more.” You know, they always say, “We want more. We want more” — because they don’t want to give you credit. Then we do more and they say, “We want more.”
But we have the greatest testing in the world. But what we want is we want to get rid of this thing. That’s what we want. We want to get rid of this thing.
This afternoon, I also have great news on that testing. America has now conducted its 10 millionth test. That’s as of yesterday afternoon. Ten million tests we gave. Ten million. And CVS has just committed to establish up to 1,000 new coronavirus testing sites by the end of this month. And the 10 millionth will go up very, very rapidly.
And don’t forget: We have more cases than anybody in the world. But why? Because we do more testing. When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases. They don’t want to write that. It’s common sense. So we test much more many, many times.
By my reading, Trump is responding to the current social media and mainstream media bits about how the US has so many more cases than the rest of the world, as a function of population. Here's an example:
ETA: oops, that's not the one I was looking for. There was another heavily shared tweet about number of cases, but I can't find it right now.
So Trump's point--albeit one delivered in Trump's typical self-congratulatory and ham-handed way--is that such comparisons don't make sense, unless one accounts for the numbers of tests done. Look at Scarborough's reply:
That's clearly not what Trump is suggesting, at all. And I gotta say that it bugs me how people like him--the hate-on-Trump-no-matter-what crowd--are touting such numbers without any reference to China's likely phony numbers or with an acknowledgement that a huge chunk of deaths in the US are attributable to the boneheads in the Northeast, like Cuomo. After months of people shitting on Florida's response (and that of some other States), it pisses me off that none of the shitters are willing to step up and admit that it was the response of New York (and some other States) that was really the problem, that was the reason for the high number of deaths in the US. And still, deaths in the US as a function of population are still much lower than a number of European nations. And it would be much lower without NY, NJ, Mass, and Conn. Hell, Florida's death rate per capita is lower than Germany's and Canada's.