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COVID news update


(1) Josh Marshall has been tracking stats that he argues, convincingly in my view, strongly suggest COVID-19 deaths or related deaths are probably about double the official numbers. The evidence for this is quite straightforward: comparing total deaths in various places to the total deaths in those places over the same time frame last year reveals that official COVID deaths account for only about half the increase. The rest, it seems, are made up by unrecorded COVID deaths, and deaths from other causes that were caused indirectly by COVID, such as for instance by overwhelmed health care systems, or people avoiding treatment they otherwise would have gotten because of fear of the virus, etc. (There’s also a possibility that some of the difference might be accounted for by what Case and Deaton have famously labeled “deaths of despair,” aka suicide, and drug and alcohol overdoses. Case and Deaton also include deaths caused by long-term alcohol abuse in the category, but that wouldn’t be relevant in this context).

(2) Dutch researchers used serology tests from blood donations to estimate the prevalence of coronavirus among the nation’s population. Their initial estimate suggests that 3% of the population has contracted the virus, which is approximately 20 times greater than the number of confirmed cases in that country.

Extrapolating this onto US test data — obviously a tricky extrapolation for all sorts of reasons — would suggest that around 13 million Americans have already contracted the virus, which in turn would suggest that a very large percentage of cases have been largely or completely asymptomatic, and also that a lot of people with symptoms were simply never tested (This has certainly been the case in Colorado, where tests have been largely limited to people who required hospitalization). It would also reduce the case fatality ratio to about 0.6%, which is still six times higher than seasonal flu, but much lower than the official figures. ETA II: Dammit Janet: If there have been 13 million cases and 60,000 deaths in the US — doubling the official total per Marshall’s hypothesis — that’s a CFR of .46%).

(3) NIH is putting together a 10,000-subject randomized pool for serology testing, in order to estimate prevalence in the US population as a whole.

(4) “Opening up the economy” — which apparently is something that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, people inside and circling around the Trump administration believe can be done by presidential ukase — is going to be the rallying cry of the right wing in this country over the next several weeks. When these attempts inevitably flop, the blame will go where it belongs: to George Soros and Bill Gates, who created the virus and are now manufacturing the microchips that will go along with the “vaccine” that will depopulate the planet as part of (((their))) plan to establish total world domination. If you think I’m making this up, you need to get out more.

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