[News] Coronavirus

A place to discuss the now-global coronavirus outbreak.

thrawn82 wrote:

Re: Herd Immunity, I can't remember what i was listening to but some doctor on a podcast made a good point about it not being a sure thing (with rigorous vaccination to prop it up) and his example was chicken pox. Chicken pox isn't a newly emerged virus, nor is it a rapidly recombining virus like flu, and yet it has still been present in human population for thousands of years and never reached a state of protective herd immunity.

I heard an interview with an epidemiologist who worked primarily with cattle. She said that the basic epidemic math is the same for human populations and cattle populations, but the reactions of both groups are entirely different. You can get to herd immunity in an actual cattle herd because the herd is typically fenced in, individuals can't leave, and they'll take no measures to protect themselves. Humans don't do that. They violate mandatory quarantine measures, they self-impose protective measures, and they just don't behave in ways that are conducive to actually reaching levels of exposure that create herd immunity. Sweden is (for once) a good example here: despite not having many state-mandated closures, lots of people still stayed home, avoided restaurants, didn't go to movie theaters, and so forth.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Refuting arguments like that is difficult. It reminds me a lot of refuting arguments against climate change. It requires that you pick through a long, dry YouTube argument to spot logical fallacies and misused data that are layered on top of previous logical fallacies and misused data, all in an effort to demonstrate that a random biochemist who bills himself as "The Engineer Who Knows More Than Your Doctor" whose focus has been low-carb and keto dieting for weight loss has somehow discovered the actual truth of the pandemic against the overwhelming weight of evidence and informed professional opinion of epidemiologists, virologists, and other public health experts from around the world. He's previously been a big proponent of the Sweden Model and herd immunity, which empirically failed in the real world and whose engineers have expressed regret about it. There's absolutely no reason to trust this source, but debunking each of his claims is an exhausting and overwhelming exercise.

Damn. That's what I think as well. I was just hoping that one of you brighter minds would go "Ah ha! If you look at the graph at xx:yy, you'll see the incorrect data he uses and his whole theory collapses!"

I think the best rebuttal at this point is something along the lines of:

"Well, while I can't find a flaw in his argument, stepping back it does seem like real life is at variance to his theory. People are dying and people are having long term health consequences from catching this thing. So if you want to increase your risk for catching it, go ahead. I'm not changing my behavior."

The long term health consequences are still largely unknown at this point...
We have what, only seven months of statistics? And it is not like many countries are being as forthcoming as they could be. (If our country decided to lead by example that is.)

Maybe say you can't find a single glaring problem but there are lots of little ones you don't have the time or motivation to track down and refute individually. That at least lets him know you think there's an actual problem with it and not just that your gut tells you it's wrong.

There is also the fact that even if it were a world panic, being immuno-compromised means getting the worst of it: the extreme exception, the statistical insignificance. History will overlook it, but it won't make it any less real.

CDC Director: Masks Are ‘The Most Important, Powerful Public Health Tool We Have’

Robert Redfield speculated that masks may even be more effective than a COVID-19 vaccine, particularly for people who don’t respond to a vaccine.

So .... we could stop the pandemic now but instead we will wait for a year or so because a-holes don't want to wear a mask....

We should put them in ICE detention centers.

thrawn82 wrote:

Re: Herd Immunity, I can't remember what i was listening to but some doctor on a podcast made a good point about it not being a sure thing (with rigorous vaccination to prop it up) and his example was chicken pox. Chicken pox isn't a newly emerged virus, nor is it a rapidly recombining virus like flu, and yet it has still been present in human population for thousands of years and never reached a state of protective herd immunity.

That could be due to the fact that when you get chicken pox, it is in your body for life. It can reactivate as shingles. Someone who had chicken pox 20 years ago and has a reactivation can become contagious again usually through close contact. So a parent could get shingles, give chicken pox to their children and then they spread it like wild fires. In another 50 years we may get chicken pox herd immunity which may eliminate the virus because of vaccines which themselves don't cause shingles. Also, chicken pox is a Type I virus, like herpes. Coronaviruses are a Type IV virus so how herd immunity would work will probably be different.

The scary part with SARS-CoV-2 is it is more closely related to the common cold, which we know you can get reinfected with pretty rapidly which could cause natural herd immunity to be impossible. Hopefully a vaccine could supercharge the length of immunity and get us there.

Trump blames blue states for Covid.

So the next time some Trumpanzee complains about how "divided" the US is, tell him to go f*ck himself.

American woman goes on superspreader pub crawl in Germany. Faces prison time.

sh*t like this is why everyone hates us.

farley3k wrote:

I have such a hard time with this because I find it hard to believe that world health leaders all over are just stupid. I know that is my bias so I try to be open but it is difficult.

Why does Ivor Cummins know so much that everyone else doesn't? His graphs seem logical and clear!

But no one else is saying the same thing so my alarm bells are ringing!

Cummins is a chemical engineer who sidelined that career to sling high fat, low carb diets after a health scare. He most definitely doesn't know more than world health leaders even though he very likely thinks so.

His graphs seem logical and clear because he's trying to tell a specific story and isn't letting the data get in the way. He also hammers you with extraneous sh*t that makes it seem like he knows what he's talking about (and you don't).

Take his opening. He's displaying a graph of a rolling average of daily confirmed COVID-19 deaths and proclaiming that the epidemic is over. If he wants to proclaim the epidemic is over then he should be concentrating on new daily infections, not deaths. With COVID death is something that happens weeks after people get infected.

He then starts talking about Gompertz curves and name dropping Michael Levitt, a biophysicist and a professor of structural biology at Stanford University.

I sure as sh*t didn't know what one was and he certainly never bothered to explain what it was so I looked it up. It's a mathematical model which describes growth as being slowest at the start and end of a given time period and historically has been used to describe things like the growth of cancer cells or populations of bacteria.

I can only assume that he name dropped Michael Levitt because he published a preliminary paper in June--Predicting the Trajectory of Any COVID19 Epidemic From the Best Straight Line--that posits the COVID-19 epidemic grows according to the Gompertz Function and not the Sigmoid Function, meaning it is never exponential, but rather has a growth rate that decreases exponentially from the very first confirmed case because something was interferring with its growth. Levitt didn't know if that was because the virus ran into previously infected, but asymptomatic, people or because people changed how they interacted with other people and that tempered the spread of COVID-19.

Either way, the paper was a preprint and hasn't been peer reviewed. Levitt and the other authors fully acknowledge this, as well as went to great lengths to describe how they had extensively manipulate the data, even "filling in" nonexistent data, to get their models to work.

Cummins doesn't acknowledge any of that. Instead he (over) confidently says that of course COVID-19s following a Gompertz curve "as per influenza epidemics."

Worse, Cummins then claims that--according to the Gompertz curve--COVID infected 20% of the population (no idea where he pulled that statistic from) and then the rest of the population has become "de facto immune through cross immunity, T-cell mucosal immunity from prior coronavirus" outbreaks. Again, no actual proof or evidence of his claim, short of him waving his mouse around on a graph.

Next, he flashes a graph from the paper Time variations in the transmissibility of pandemic influenza in Prussia, Germany, from 1918–19. His claim is that the Spanish Influenza also showed the same Gompertz curve, which means that it also sputtered out because of "de facto" immunity.

However, that's not what the paper said. In fact, in the discussion section the authors specifically noted that "human contact behaviors" greatly influence how and how rapids an epidemic spreads. This essentially refutes Cummins' opening argument.

Time variations in the transmissibility of pandemic influenza wrote:

The second finding of the present study concerns the time variations in secondary transmission. Although it is
commonly assumed that a large epidemic only declines to extinction with depletion of susceptible individuals,
this assumption leads to a monotonic decline in R(t). That is, in a homogeneously mixing population, R(t) is given by R0S(t)/S(0), where S(t) is the number of susceptible individuals at time t [29]. Whereas the decline in R(t) in Prussia probably reflected a decline in susceptible individuals, the observed qualitative pattern (i.e. a non-monotonic decline in R(t)) is likely to have involved other factors not included in usual assumptions of homogeneously mixing models. The non-monotonic decline in R(t) could reflect (i) heterogeneous patterns of transmission and/or (ii) other time-dependent underlying factors. For example, two important factors need to be discussed with regard to heterogeneous transmission. The first, age-related heterogeneity in transmission was ignored in the present study. Whereas the case fatality of pandemic influenza varied with age (exhibiting a W-shaped curve not only for mortality but also for case fatality [3]), the present study assumed fixed and crude case fatality for the entire population. Thus, if the age-related transmission patterns yield time variations in age-specific incidence [30], the decline in R(t) could partly be attributable to age-related heterogeneity. Similarly, the time from onset to death may also vary by age-related factors. The second important factor is social heterogeneity in transmission (e.g. spatial spreading patterns). For example, considering realistic patterns of influenza spread in a location with urban and rural sub-regions, slow decline in incidence could originate from heterogeneous spatial spread between and within rural sub-regions. If some rural areas previously free from influenza are infested by a few cases at some point in time, such local spread could modify the overall epidemic curve. Since the present study assumed a closed population because detailed data were lacking, additional information (e.g. cases with time and place) is needed to elucidate the finer details.

With respect to (ii), other time-dependent underlying factors, it is likely that public health measures as well as human contact behaviors (including human migration) also influence the time course of an epidemic. From a very early study [31], it has been suggested that human behavioral changes (or differing transmission rates due to time-varying contact patterns) are observed during the course of an epidemic. If this is the case, the finding suggests that time-varying transmission potential is not only the case for SARS (i.e. recent epidemics accompanied by considerable media coverage) [15, 32, 33] but also for historical epidemics with a huge magnitude of disaster. Indeed, recent studies on Spanish flu in the US that employed rough assumptions implied that interventions had a considerable impact on the time trend [34, 35]. This also reasonably explains why high estimates of R0 are likely to originate from fitting an autonomous model to the entire epidemic curve. In practical terms, such a result implies that human behaviors could considerably influence transmissibility, and moreover, could potentially be a necessary countermeasure. Understanding the significant impact of human contact behaviors on the time course is therefore of importance [31]. For example, non-pharmaceutical individual countermeasures are crucial for poor resource settings, especially in developing countries [36]. In addition to community-based measures such as social distancing and area quarantine, it is also crucial to suggest what can be done at the individual level. In line with this, the effectiveness of individual countermeasures (e.g. household quarantine and mask wearing) needs to be further explored using additional data (i.e. of seasonal influenza) and models.

Take the graph of excess death from EuroMomo. Cummins story is that the spike in excess deaths in 2020 can be explained not by COVID-19, but by the fact that the 2018-2019 flu season was less severe than previous years and there were simply more old and infirm people around who were ready to die.

First, I'm going to doubt the numbers he "integrated from the curve" because EuroMomo's website doesn't allow you to download the actual data set and I doubt the guy took the time to methodically go through the charts to get the excess deaths by week and age group and then "integrate" them all up. Additionally, he doesn't say when he started counting those deaths, which for his argument to work, would have to only be during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 flu seasons.

Next, while he mentions that the 2018-2019 flu season was relatively mild (a claim he doesn't support or prove in any way), he specifically doesn't mention that the 2017-2018 flu season in Europe was "was exceptionally strong in terms of infection and death rates, exceeding all previous years."

Next, Cummins also doesn't point out that his EuroMomo excess death graph only goes back to 2017 because that's as far back as the website publicly shows. We have no way of knowing if the excess deaths that happened during the 2018-2019 flu season was actually anomalously low, as Cummins claimed, or if they were more typical compared to other years.

Cummins is also making the assumption that all the excess deaths are coming from either the flu or COVID which EuroMomo makes clear isn't the case on its Methods page.

After that Cummins shows another chart, Coronavirus in Sweden. If you look at the chart you couldn't really be blamed for thinking "holy sh*t those coronavirus models were terribly inaccurate and wildly overstated things!"

But I remember reading Imperial College of London's first paper from March and even posting it here. It was made with early data coming out of China and it absolutely was a come-to-Jesus prediction of what a worst case scenario might look like. And the predicted deaths was what got my and the media's attention.

But the paper itself dealt with difference response scenarios that could flatten the curve so that hospitals weren't overwhelmed (and more people die). And, importantly, it only offered predictions for Great Britain and the US.

So where did Cummins get his Imperial College model graph for Sweden? From a page titled "COVID-19 Lethality: How Not to Do It" on the Swiss Policy Research website.

If you're thinking that the article's title is a bit trolly for a policy research institute run by the Swiss you'd be right. From its founding in 2016 to May 2020 it was known as Swiss Propaganda Research, wasn't Swiss, and it mostly focused on spreading conspiracy theories. The unknown people running the site have since latched onto COVID-19, changed the site's name, and continue to spread conspiracy theories (you can read how Wikipedia is just a giant disinformation operation).

The second graph he used on that slide literally came from an Uppsala University paper published in April that used an updated version of the ICL model to see what might happen in Sweden, but he didn't because that would have required effort on his part to make the chart. Or he could have acknowledged that even now scientists don't know what happened in Sweden and that they'll spend years trying to figure it out. Instead he drew the conclusion that the ICL model was wildly inaccurate (it was early and based on very limited data), therefore all COVID models can be ignored.

That's the first five and a half minutes of Cummins' video and about all I can take.

He follows the pretty standard methodology of conservative think tanks and industry groups: you know exactly the conclusion you want people to draw so you methodically present only the things that support that conclusion and ignore or gloss over contradicting data. You can also draw sweeping conclusions from limited data knowing that hardly anyone is going to fact check you.

Cummins also makes heavy use of just throwing terminology and claims at you so you don't have time to process any of it. You're just supposed to accept that since he's confidently using the terminology that he completely understands what he's saying and knows that he's right. But in Cummins case he's not a doctor, biologist, or epidemiologist. He's a (former) chemical engineer who's now slinging diet books and, judging by what shows up on Google, who's getting heavily into COVID-19 conspiracy sh*t.

OG_slinger wrote:


So, can we all report that guy's video as misleading?

my report wrote:

This video makes many unsubstantiated claims, cites studies that do not contain the data claimed in the video, and is overall an attempt to mislead people about the COVID pandemic.

BadKen wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:


So, can we all report that guy's video as misleading?

Please do. I already did.

Honestly, being asked to watch a 30+ minute video with no description is usually a big enough red flag.

It always seems to be another version of the same crap that’s been debunked over and over.

this is exactly what it felt like when I left the house earlier without my mask: LINK

Even if people crave a swift restoration of normalcy, many have come to terms with the fact that they won’t get it. “Wearing a mask is just like making sure you pocket your keys at this point,” says Athul Acharya, a 34-year-old lawyer in Portland, Oregon. The pandemic “has now lasted long enough that I, at least, don’t find myself waiting for the end. Looking forward to it? Yes. But anticipating it as a thing that will happen in the tangible future? Not so much.”

emphasis mine--I was like, "I've checked my keys like four times, but I know I'm missing something"

edit: just realized--both the Epidemic and the Election are things that once seemed like they'd have a definable ending, but now seem more like a process.

I keep the generic medical kind in my car just in case.

that's a good idea! it was just a couple of blocks over so I was walking, but yeah that's smart.

Throwing a box of the cheapo disposables into the car has been handy.

OG_slinger wrote:

Just the kind of thing I was hoping for

I sent my Bro a deep link to your comment, prefaced with

"Doesn't seem right to me. So I asked around and got similar responses from quite a few people. Best response was from a Coronavirus thread on a Gamers website I'm on. Link to the best comment follows:"

So thank you!!

Heck, I keep two masks in my car and just yesterday I was going to the grocery store and it wasn't until I was halfway to the entrance that I realized I didn't have one on I will admit that my routine got a bit thrown off because I was returning bottles, so instead of turning off the car and opening the center console, I popped the trunk and grabbed the bags. Then I just headed to the door

Luckily it was just a short walk back to the car and not having to drive all the way back home.

Yup, I keep a ziploc of masks (adult and kid) in both cars. Which to be honest, doesn't get a lot of use merely out of how infrequently we're leaving the damn house,

I deleted a rant I was typing.
You're welcome.

I'll summarize weeks of frustration, anger, and anxiety into a simple question that I will also delete because I'm exhausted and angry.
You're welcome.

I love you. Wash your hands and wear your mask.

Still love Healthcare Triage - probably because his motto seems to be "to the research!"

Covid-19 and Long-term Recovery

WHO warns of 'very serious situation' in Europe, with 'alarming rates' of virus transmission

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that coronavirus cases are surging alarmingly in Europe, as a "very serious situation" unfolds across the continent.

As Covid-19 infections spike to record numbers, European governments are imposing strict local measures and weighing up further lockdowns in a bid to halt a second wave of the pandemic.
But WHO regional director Hans Kluge said at a Thursday news conference that the increase in cases should serve as a warning of what is to come.
"Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March," Kluge said. "Last week, the region's weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients."
More than half of European nations have reported an increase of more than 10% in new cases in the past two weeks, Kluge added. "Of those, seven countries have seen newly reported cases increase more than two-fold in the same period," he said.

Yep. Danish daily cases are back to april levels now (granted, with way more testing). 400% increase in less than 3 weeks. Hospitalization started to rise rapidly a few days ago (though that is still way way lower than in march/april).

I end up feeling old and grumpy once more, as the issue is seemingly young people who believe that partying and drinking 3 times a week is way more important than other peoples health, and jobs.

I am happy that there are so many smart people contributing to this thread.
Seriously, thank you all.

I've just gone into a local lockdown where I am in the UK - it affects about 2 million people given the geographical area involved. The primary issue is that households - unless you are in a specific family "bubble" - can no longer mix. However the schools are still open, as are all businesses. Pubs and restaurants can still be open but you can only sit at a table in a family group and they have to close at 10pm. And we should avoid public transport "unless necessary".

Although this is speculation on my part, I would think that the rise in cases here in the UK is being primarily driven by a subset of the population who are, and have been for the last couple of weeks behaving as though everything is back to normal. Big house parties have been fairly common, especially among large family groups and some pubs haven't bothered to implement any sort of social distancing regulation once people are in the door.

This is being exacerbated by the shambolic and chaotic "test and trace" system here in the UK which is badly under resourced, both in terms of available test kits and the laboratory capacity available to actually run the test analysis . That's going to take weeks to fix.

Fun times. Again.

Paleocon wrote:

American woman goes on superspreader pub crawl in Germany. Faces prison time.

sh*t like this is why everyone hates us.

Yep, people down there are pretty livid. It's a pretty serious economic impact for a region that basically lives off of tourism.

AUs_TBirD wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

American woman goes on superspreader pub crawl in Germany. Faces prison time.

sh*t like this is why everyone hates us.

Yep, people down there are pretty livid. It's a pretty serious economic impact for a region that basically lives off of tourism.

The level of self-entitlement that this person exhibited is astounding. You're exhibiting symptoms and you couldn't wait 24hrs to find out your results??!?! I hope she is locked up for a very long time.