What I currently believe about Covid-19

Here were my thoughts about Covid-19 on 3/28 & 3/30.

I have not yet seen convincing evidence to change my mind, and I think there is some evidence coming out just recently to support some of what I believed then that was ‘out there’.

My second bullet was “it’s probably more widespread than we think.”

Antibody tests, so far, are validating that. Which means it’s not as fatal as originally thought. This is also consistent with early high estimates of H1N1 that were later revised when a better view of total infections became available.

My 7th bullet was that there were C-19 deaths prior to testing.

That has recently proven true. This might be an indication that it spreads at rate more like a typical virus.

My 8th bullet was that I have little faith in the numbers reported by government or media. I have even less now and I think more people, after hearing Dr. Birx explain the loose criteria for classifying COVID deaths, lost faith, too. I’ve noticed that since then, the interest in the daily numbers has waned, considerably.

Generally, most folks seem to be catching onto the reporting tricks the media plays with numbers. A recent trick is to report a high case or death count for a day, to make it look like the trend is turning bad, but then a few paragraphs into the story note those were numbers that occurred on previous days, but weren’t recorded on those days.

I’d like to give the media the benefit of the doubt, but they almost always gravitate to the most dramatic.

Here’s what I would add to those thoughts now:

  • While there are differences in curves from all areas, statistically they look too similar (and/or may be subject to testing/recording criteria) for me to yet be convinced that there is one package of actions that outperforms all others.
    • This means that, likely, basic measures like masks, hand washing, 6 foot spacing, isolating the most vulnerable and canceling big indoor events are likely as good as any.
  • The U.S. leads in most categories for one reason: absolute number of tests. This is what I would expect if the virus is making a wave through the population at 5-10% at a time — the more testing you have, the more cases you will find and the more confirmed deaths you will be able to report. That also means that other nations are likely missing large numbers that have been infected in their confirmed case counts, too.
  • We still do not have good numbers on how Covid-19 has impacted net deaths. I expect there will be an incremental impact (deaths that would not have occurred for years), a timing impact (deaths that were moved up a few days to a few months) and a categorical impact (deaths that would have occurred due to other circumstances, but were coded as Covid). It will take time to peel these apart.



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