Tuesday, September 7, 2021

CoViD-19. Through the Looking Glass or Through a Magnifying Glass?


For the context in which this post was created please go here and read the comments.


In case you'd like to use facts in any argument with anyone over Ivermection (IVM)... if they said, for example, "There have been clinical trials of ivermectin. All but one have failed to show any benefit, and that one outlier had a huge number of problems." Say this: 

1. Cite your sources. 
2. I disagree because... 

I did a Google search on "Ivermectin (IVM) and CoViD-19". I found only negative papers. Or more precisely, I didn't find any positive ones on the first page of the results (as I'd expected). I kept looking into the later pages, mostly because I consider it a given that Google ("Be Evil"™) will be 'protecting' me from what they consider 'misinformation' (a.k.a. anything that does not line up with the official woke/left beliefs). Anyways, the difference between me and a person who would make a statement such as the above is that I distrust all of the media, while they seem to trust the media that tells them are smarter than everyone else. (Why does that sound familiar?) 

It wasn't hard to find two studies that are positive (and I stopped after the first two because my intent was to READ them so I could make up my own mind and hey, two, and specifically the first two from Google, disproved the statement that there is only one, and they seem like as good a good place to start as any). 

The first paper is the one that I suspect would be the "outlier" referred to as having "a huge number of problems" - if I'm wrong, see response 1. This paper is available here. From here on in I will call this T+ve (short for the treatment paper indicating a positive result). In the interest of full disclosure I believe the claims of that paper having 'huge problems' is based on this study. This paper was on the first page of Google results, and I will refer to it a T-ve (Treatment negative). The other positive paper is available here

So now I have to read 3 papers. Oh well.  It took me a couple days, but I've read them all.   Here my takes.

The Two Conflicting Papers - Huge Problems or Science in Progress?

The two conflicting papers are both "meta-analysis" reports. In both cases the authors have done a literature search and then tried to analyze the combined data from all of the reports. By far the most interesting things I found are: 

1) The T-ve paper is based on 10 papers covering 1,131 trial subjects (they listed the papers and the number of subjects for each study). That's pretty impressive. 
2) The T+ve paper is based on 22 papers covering 3,428 trial subjects (they also listed the papers and the number of subjects for each study). That's even more impressive.
3)  The far and away most interesting thing is that the sheer numbers pale in light of the fact that the larger set of studies (paper T+ve) includes every one of the 10 papers of the studies from the T-ve paper. 

Now I'm no expert on meta-analysis, nor would I claim to understand the details of the analyses, but I do understand statistics well enough to know that a study with 1,131 subjects may well be too small to be confident that they see an effect, while 3,428 might be big enough. I also note that the effect in the T+ve paper is given as "ivermectin reduced risk of death compared with no ivermectin (average risk ratio 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.19–0.73)".  Note that a 95% confidence level (a.k.a. a p-value of 0.05) means they are reporting a 2σ error bound. That means if you want to go to the 99% confidence level (3σ), the result would not differ from the null hypothesis. It also means that a sample only 1/3 the size would almost certainly not report a result different from the null hypothesis (as σ would be bigger by roughly a factor of √3). 

Conclusions: In any case, while I'm not yet willing to say that IVM is clearly an effective treatment, I would insist that at the barest minimum the book is still open as to that possibility, I see no reason to claim huge problems with the larger study (as the difference may be nothing more than the march of science), and that further studies are absolutely necessary and should be underway NOW!   

The Third Paper (Second Positive Result)

This paper differs from the first two in that it is not a paper about treatment of those having CoViD-19, but rather a study of IVM as a prophylactic medicine. My comments are as follows: 

1 - just pre-print, but has been up since 15 FEB 2021 and has not been removed, presumably it is still out for review. 
2 - The study is not double blind, the participants either chose to take or not take the ivermectin. The size of two classes were sufficiently large to produce decent statistics (3532 total, 1147 no dose, 188 one dose, & 2197 two doses). 
3 - The study was only one month long and no extra treatments were applied if they became infected. 

A) For those who showed symptoms during the month: 6% of those who took the drug and 15% of those that didn't. Those with symptoms were then tested for CoViD-19. 
B) The positive rates (as a percentage of the total sub-populations not of the 'showed symptoms' subsets) were 2% and 11.7% (took drug, did not, respectively). 
C) They then analyzed only those who had not gotten the disease previously. In this case the probability of getting the disease was 85% lower (or about 1/6th as many). This enables them to compare the estimated probabilities for disease in samples of people with no antibodies against CoViD-19 (the study was before the availability of the vaccine and none of this subgroup had previously tested positive hence they could not have any antibodies), given treatment/no treatment: <p|t> ± σ|t = 0.002 ± 0.003 and <p|nt> ± σ|nt = 0.117 ± 0.009. The rates differ by approximately 12σ.

Would this constitute proof for IVM's effectiveness as a prophylactic treatment? Proof is a very strong word (note that Nobel Prizes in Physics, such as for particle discoveries and gravity wave discovery only require 6σ). For now, I would consider it as very strong evidence in the affirmative and that further studies are absolutely necessary and should be underway NOW! 

The Upshot

Anyways, having done this background work I think it is fair to say the following (in the interest of full disclosure). I am fully vaccinated and have no personal interest in IVM as a preventive, a treatment, or in any other way. However, I have told Mrs. Ohioan that should I contract CoViD-19, I will be demanding "compassionate/Right-to-Try" use for human IVM. 

I would ask if the CDC or FDA have asked for or approved any trials of IVM for use as an early treatment or possible preventative. I have not been able to find any such (although I concede that I am completely unfamiliar with how those get started). If they haven't perhaps we should lose faith in them, (perhaps their credibility is suffering?). 

Lastly, and slightly off topic, I'm baffled by those who are calling for mandatory vaccination. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated. But I also concede that the vaccine (despite its recent - and very hurried - full approval) has not been demonstrated to have no significant long term consequences. As such, for those healthy individuals (particular for healthy individuals under 50 or so), they may yet to be convinced that the vaccine is sufficiently tested over the long haul, so that taking their chances with the disease (which would be quite small) may well be a reasonable choice. Also, the real goal of mass vaccination is to reach herd immunity (which would effectively make all of us safe from the disease). But the simple fact is that the vaccine does not STOP the disease. Yes, it reduces the chance of getting the disease, it also reduces the risk of serious consequences to the disease, but it does not prevent an infection nor does it make infected individuals unable to communicate the disease to others. It is known that typical evolutionary pressure leads to more contagious and generally less virulent variants.  However, it has been shown that vaccines, particularly less than completely effective vaccines can (paradoxically) lead to more virulent strains (see this1 and this for example), so pushing an ineffective vaccine may bite us on our collective butts. Finally, even the CDC (who may or may not be losing their credibility in this fiasco) and the UK's equivalent have conceded that CoViD-19 will become, if it isn't already, endemic in the human population, and therefore will never go away (even the New York Times has reported such).  Given such it is time to learn to live with the disease.


1- A quote from the Abstract of this paper "... We go on to show that host immunity can exacerbate selection for virulence and therefore that vaccines that reduce pathogen replication may select for more virulent pathogens, ..."

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

I Just Realized That Our Governor Isn't Moving the Goalposts...

...he's just playing a version of Calvinball (I have to believe that that name is either Trademarked, Copyrighted, or both, but I couldn't find it.  In any case kudos to Bill Watterson for being able to foretell our future over 20 years ago!).

Wikipedia (here) has two quotes describing Calvinball, which perfectly describe our Goober and his actions.

The only consistent rules of the game are that Calvinball may never be played with the same rules twice and that each participant must wear a mask. 


It's pretty simple: you make up the rules as you go.

If those aren't enough to convince you, here are two links to online images of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips offered as proof: Link 1, and Link 2.  

See it is like this, I was thinking about why the Goober keeps changing the rules.  My first thought was that he's doing it because 1) he knows that it is all bull s**t but it makes it look like he's doing something, 2) by changing it regularly we all are confused for a few days to reduce the backlash, and 3) by the time any lawsuits get to be actually heard and ruled on, he's made it all moot by saying those rules don't matter anymore... but then I realized that all that was ascribing way too much cleverness and deep thought to our Goober and it is really just that he's playing Gavinball.  Anyways, henceforth I shall refer to our Goober as playing Gavinball. With that now out of the way here are the latest changes to the game. 

First, yes cases are rising through out CA and only slightly less so here in San Diego.  Taking action to reduce interactions (and hopefully the spread of the disease) makes sense.  So what to do?  Well, new rule number 1:  California is now divided into 5 Zones.   Are the Zones divided up such that the population within the Zones is reasonably consistent?  Not at all.  For example Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino (the five most populated counties in the state) are all in the same Zone.  But even that wasn't enough for the Goober, he continued and added 6 more counties to Zone 5.  The final population total for the Zone is 22,993,074 of the CA total of 39,502,223 (or 58% of the entire state!).  One poor county that got lumped in with LA is tiny Mono County.  For those of you who don't know, let me say that Mono county is up north against the Nevada stateline, on the other side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  The county has a total population of 14,444 (that's 1/700th of LA county).  It's population is round-off error in LA.  It is also a 5 hour drive from LA City Hall to Lee Vining.  I drove through Lee Vining once (in the summer time).  If you go left off US 395 (northbound) on to CA 120 (westbound) you go up to 9,943 feet where you enter Yosemite National Park's East entrance.  It's closed most years from late October to late May due to snow.  How'd you like to live there and get all your stuff closed because LA has a problem?  For now at least the Goober isn't doing everything by the Zones.  For example, yesterday a wildfire broke out in Ventura County - also Zone 5.  At least he didn't make San Diego County under go evacuation (although when my phone got an emergency alert in the middle day I had a brief thought that he was, turned out to be a notice about the CoViD lockdown that happened more than 24 hours earlier).  Seriously, given that the Zones are crazy, how did the Goober decide how to divide up the state?  Turns out that the Goober decided to divide the counties so that each Zone had about the same number of counties in them.  Sure.  Why not? It is Gavinball after all.

So what are some other new rules?  New rule number 2:  All restaurants, gyms, barbershops, and beauty salons must close.  This includes the outdoor seating and outside exercise areas despite the facts that the businesses spent some hefty change setting those up to comply with the previous set of rules and that no one has any data suggesting these are significant sources of spread.  Oh Well.  It's Gavinball!  New rule number 3: If your kid's school is already doing in person teaching, they can continue, but if they are not doing in person teaching they can't switch to in person.  Surprise!  The Goober's kids go to a private school doing in person teaching.  New rule number 4: Retail is limited to 20% of capacity.  But wait! It's Gavinball! New rule number 4 gets replaced by new rule number C after 24 hours: Retail is now limited to 35% (apparently CoViD just got less contagious in that 24 hours).  New rule number 5: Playgrounds are now closed.  Gavinball! After 72 hours CoViD just got less contagious again and new rule number 5 gets replaced by new rule number D: Playgrounds are open again.  New rule number 6: Although restaurants, gyms, hotels, and etc. are closed, ski resorts are not.  Wanna bet on what our Goober likes to do when he's not going to the French Laundry for an indoor dinner with 22 people for a lobbyists birthday?

An update on another topic I've opined about

Since we are all so worried about anyone dying here are two points to ponder, one serious, and one not so much.  The CDC has updated their weekly deaths by age through about November 18 (I suspect that the last week is pretty incomplete, but I included it anyways).  The total number of excess deaths for 2020 (that is the total deaths for 2020 minus the average totals for the same time periods for the years 2015 - 2019) works out to 388,323.  The reported CoViD deaths through November 18 was 249,670.   That means there are 138,653 excess excess deaths (i.e., deaths not due to the CoViD-19 disease, but still in excess of a 'usual' year).  I strongly believe that these deaths are due to the actions of our, and I use this word loosely, leaders.  Yet, these leaders continue to ignore these deaths.  Will the closures of our latest round of Gavinball (technically the re-re-closures) exacerbate these excess excess deaths?  I fear so.  For the not so serious point see this Babylon Bee article.  I wish they wouldn't give him any ideas...


† - I should trademark/copyright this, but I'm too lazy and cheap.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

And Our Goober Extends His Hand To Destroy San Diego County... For No Reason

The inevitable happened today and our Goober has made San Diego County 'purple'.  This means he has announced the re-re-re-closing of many of our business, most especially indoor seating for restaurants.  And why did he do that?  Because our adjusted CASE rate is above 7.0 for the second consecutive week.

I have ranted ad nauseum about how crazy this is.  So this time, no rant just SCIENCE.  Also an apology for the quality (or lack thereof) for the resolution of the plots.

Below you can find the plots of daily reported positive tests (total cases), daily hospitalization, daily ICU admissions, daily reported deaths, and daily reported tests for the time periods April 7 to November 7.  Each are shown as weekly running averages to reduce the noise.  The plots for Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and tests are included mostly for completeness sake.  I've also shown the weekly running average of the daily reported positive case numbers for the age groups 0 to 30 and 70 and up, but only for the time period June 9 to November 7 (as I don't have the age breakdown of cases prior to June 9). 

I now invite you to compare the shape of the deaths to that of the total cases.  Are they the same?  Should we be using cases as our warning bell for increasing deaths?  Now compare the deaths to the cases for those 70 and older.  Do they seem to match?  Is this what we should be worrying about?  It is also interesting to compare the shapes of the total cases and the cases for those 0 to 30 (and I note that since the beginning of the outbreak the total deaths in San Diego county for those aged 0 to 30 is four).

So I ask you dear reader, if our goal is to reduce deaths (a noble and reasonable goal), should we be worried about total cases?  Or is there a clearly superior alternate?  And if so, how should that impact our actions?  Should we be closing down our restaurants?  Should we be very concerned with protecting the elderly?  Is there anything here we didn't know MONTHS ago (see my post of April 19)?

Plot of cases for those age groups 0 to 30 (blue) and 70 and up (red).

Plot of total cases over time.

Plot of deaths over time.

Plot of Hospitalizations over time.

Plot of ICU admissions over time.

Plot of tests over time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Goober Nuisance and Burgermeister Meisterburger, Separated at Birth?

Today our Goober published the latest of his Burgermeister rules, in this case those pertaining to Holiday Gatherings.  Just like his predecessor Burgermeister Meisterburger (see the historical documentary Santa Claus is Comin to Town), Burgermeister Goober Nuisance has promulgated his latest stupidity.  In this case his "mandatory guidance for private gatherings during the Holiday season" (or as local TV station KUSI calls it on their website: California releases crazy mandatory guidance for private gatherings this Holiday season).

They really are crazy.  Here are my nominees for his top (bottom?) ten rules:

#10: Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited. This includes everyone present, including hosts and guests.  

#9: A gathering of no more than three households is permitted in a public park or other outdoor space, even if unrelated gatherings of other groups up to three households are also occurring in the same park or other outdoor space.  If multiple such gatherings are occurring, mixing between group gatherings is not allowed.

#8: The host should collect names of all attendees and contact information in case contact tracing is needed later.

#7: All gatherings must be held outside. 

#6: Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized.

#5: Seating must provide at least 6 feet of distance (in all directions—front-to-back and side-to-side) between different households.

#4: People at gatherings may remove their face coverings briefly to eat or drink as long as they stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside their own household, and put their face covering back on as soon as they are done with the activity.

#3: Gatherings should be two hours or less.

#2: As much as possible, any food or beverages at outdoor gatherings must be in single-serve disposable containers.


#1: singing, chanting, and shouting are strongly discouraged, but if they occur, People who are singing or chanting are strongly encouraged to do so quietly (at or below the volume of a normal speaking voice).

Mrs Ohioan and I were talking about these and she said it all reminded her of the Burgermeister Meisterburger rules in the aforementioned story.  First Burgermeister Meisterburger outlaws toys, then the children of Sombertown are given toys by Kris Kringle, then we see him...

Burgermeister: Ah, a perfect day.  Everybody is glum.  Ah, see? All the little children are playing with their toys. [Sputters] Playing with their toys?! Stop... in the name of the law! You brats are under arrest! Take them away.

That's our Goober.  I wish I could say that's a parody of our Goober, but read the rules.  He IS the Burgermeister Meisterburger come to life. But he should be careful.  Remember how the story ends...

They kind of died off and fell out of power. And by and by, the good people realized how silly the Meisterburger laws were.  Well, everybody had a wonderful laugh and then forgot all about them.

That is the hoped for future here in California.  The day our Goober is long forgotten and we can laugh about it. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

This is the Ultimate Proof That Our Goober is a Lying Liar

I've always suggested that our Goober is a liar (since he's a politician, and a San Francisco politician on top of that, it's hardly a surprise that he would be).  Yesterday I added that he's unscientific as well.  The ultimate proof of these claims came late yesterday.

Yesterday San Diego County released our weekly Tuesday update to our case rate per 100,000 as 7.9.  Then the state did their voodoo and reported our county's adjusted case rate per 100,000 as 7.1.  Now I can't say exactly how they do that voodoo (see my previous explanation/rant here), but I can say that I can not figure it out and I'm really pretty good at simple (even not-so-simple) math.  

Well yesterday our lying liar of a Goober topped himself.  Seems that even they can't compute it 'right'.  Why do I claim this?  Because I looked up the data from the state CoViD website (go to here, then scroll to the bottom and click on San Diego county on the map).  But you won't see the 7.1 for San Diego County I saw yesterday at about 2 PM.  Nope.  Late yesterday they 'recalculated' the number and now it's 7.0.  That leaves San Diego in the 'red' tier instead of taking our first step towards the 'purple' tier.

I assume they have some spreadsheet somewhere where they just put the raw numbers in and it automatically updates the final adjusted numbers (that's sure what I would do).  Seriously, are they really trying to tell us that they are unable to calculate the adjustment?  But they want us to believe that we should base our entire economy on it?  I think the phrase is "C'mon man".  Well I for one don't believe it.  I believe that Goober Nuisance had them adjust the adjustment to get us back to red, because he knows that San Diego County has become a hot bed for flat out defiance (and the law suits that would accompany it).  This he does not want to face.

As a complete aside, but worth noting the state website, in a moment of biblical irony, has been named as "The Blueprint for a Safer Economy".  Speechless.  I'm simply freaking speechless.  

One other mildly terrifying thing worth noting. If you go the state website and click on San Diego County you might also not that below the adjusted adjusted case rate per 100,000, they report not only San Diego's positivity rate of 3.3%, but they also report "Health equity quartile positivity rate" of 5.5%.  This I had never heard of.  Guess what, there are tier implications of this number too!  They are sufficiently byzantine that I won't even try to explain it here, just go the website and read it for yourself.  I'm sure our oh-so-woke Goober is using this as a tool to force additional SJW actions on our state.  Heck the website says 

"The purpose of this metric is to ensure California reopens its economy safely by reducing disease transmission in all communities."
Seems clear to me that it will be just another way to keep strangling the economy.

Oh, and speaking of strangling the economy, yesterday the Goober finally announced how we go about opening all the theme parks and attractions that Southern California is known for (Disneyland, California Adventure, Knotts Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood, Sea World, Lego Land, bus/tram rides at the San Diego Zoo/Safari Park, etc., etc., etc.).  It's easy.  All we have to do is get to the yellow tier, which is completely impossible for just about any realistic future in a county the size of San Diego (or Orange, or LA, or really any county with a theme park) without a vaccine.  But once we do those parks can all open at 25% capacity.  Yay!  25% capacity!  Any bets on how long it will take for those parks to 1) layoff every employee, and 2) file for Chapter 11 (or equivalent)? I want before the end of 2020 in the pool.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Some Thoughts On the CoViD-19 Situation and the Associated Science

Item 1: A Fairly Useless Study From the CDC

A recent scholarly article was pointed out to me (Thanks KT!) in which a small (but reasonably random) sample of people were observed to determine what kinds of activities, if any, correlated with increased likelihood of contracting CoViD-19, all cases and studies done over the period June 1 - June 29).  To cut to the rather dull chase, of the 10 activities studied, only going to a restaurant had a clearly higher correlation to disease contraction.  I would point out that given the time frame of the study and the known likely correlation between going to a restaurant and participating in the protests/riots (which was NOT included as an activity in the study), it remains impossible to directly claim that restaurants are an actual source of spread, but I would still accept their conclusion that

Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking, might be important risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Implementing safe practices to reduce exposures to SARS-CoV-2 during on-site eating and drinking should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities
If, as you read that, you uttered a silent "Well, Duh!", you are not alone.

Item 2: Our Goober Remains an Unscientific Petty Tyrant  

First, I will simply update the ongoing shut-out as now being Goober Nuisance: 0, Me: 15 (data at bottom of post).  That's the short way of saying that despite the ups and downs of the various actual and 'adjusted' (i.e., imaginary) case rates and the test positivity rates, there is simply no increase in deaths, here in San Diego County.  Note that nonetheless today our Case Rate number was declared as 7.1, so we are now over the number-of-doom (7.0) for a first week, and if we get assigned another number-of-doom above 7.0 next Tuesday, they will, at least attempt to, re-re-close San Diego County (although it is clear that there will be lawsuits and many peaceful protests in the guise of businesses and citizens - NOT subjects - defying the tyrant - it may well be the impetus for me to actually go to a restaurant for other than take-out).

Second, I recently realized that there is a crazy mismatch between the two metrics our Goober is using.  First a quick review to establish context.  The "Tier" a county ends up being assigned to is determined by where their metrics for "ADJUSTED Case Rate per 100,000" and "Testing Positivity Percentage" fall.  Each metrics establishes a Tier, and the overall Tier is the lower (worse) of the two.  Now I had originally thought that the two would be constructed so that each would produce a number such that, in general, they should put a county into the same Tier.  In fact San Diego County has been in the very top end of the Tier 2 numbers (flirting with Tier 1) for at least the last 5 weeks.  Meanwhile our positivity rate has been declining fairly steadily (with noise of course, but the trend is there) and is now down to 3.3%, making it below the mid-point of Tier 3.  (Note that number is the one reported for SDC by the state - the county numbers (which are a 14 day average) have been below 3.15 for every one of the last 21 consecutive days, so don't ask me how they calculate it).  I decided to look up the metrics for each and every county as reported by the state.  I can safely say that while there are 12 counties in the state's most restrictive Tier 1, there is not a single county that is in Tier 1 for the positivity rate.  Also, I see our Goober still has yet to allow anyone to be in the non-existent Green Tier 5, this despite the fact that two of the counties have case rates and positivity rates of zero (yes, 0).

Oh, and if you still might think our Goober is scientific, be sure to read Items 3 and 4, below.

Item 3: The Ignored 86,000 Has Become the Ignored 115,000

A quick recap of my post of Sept 20: The CDC has a webpage that currently reports the number of deaths, by age and week, for each week from week 1 of 2015 through week 42 of 2020 (approximately Oct 6), although as of my post of Sep 20, the data was only through about Aug 11.  Starting on week 13 (last week of March) and through Aug 11, there were 251,257 more deaths in 2020 than for the average of those weeks during 2015-2019, but the total of the CoViD deaths during that time was only 165,148, meaning that there 86,000 unaccounted for deaths.  Now with the data available through Oct 6, there are almost 115,000 more unaccounted for deaths (325,230 total - 210,232 CoViD = 114,998 unaccounted for).

I really don't understand it.  How can that many more deaths occur, and no one ask why?  Well, other than me, apparently.  Again, I just don't get it.

Item 4: The Great Barrington Declaration

Following a recent conference (in Great Barrington, MA - hence the name), the assembled infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists released this declaration. I will not summarize it.  You should read it for yourself (it isn't long).  This is one of those things that the MSM has simply ignored (except to quote others dismissing it as 'a dangerous fallacy').  It is something that everyone should read, and consider carefully (particularly in the context of Item 3 above) before they simply decide that we need to continue our current use of the blunt hammer of 'lockdowns' to try to control CoViD spread, while ignoring all other considerations.


Table 1.  Predictions and results for San Diego COunty CoViD-19 deaths through last week (week ending  10/17/2020) and my prediction for this week.

Week Ending Prediction  Observed 

Monday, September 21, 2020

There is Always Something New, at the Zoo

Shortly after moving to San Diego, Mrs Ohioan and I joined, have remained, members of the San Diego Zoological Society.  We've gone to the 'World Famous San Diego Zoo' (and the Safari Park) more times than we can count.  First we went there with our kids.  Then just the two of us.  Now its back to with the kids, but with the bonus of going and with their kids, too.  I can't tell you how often we've turned to each other at the Zoo and said, "I've never seen THAT before.  Well, there's always something new to see at the Zoo."  Today was no exception, except that it wasn't so much something new to see, as it was something new to hear.


Llamas vocalizing

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Ignored 86,000 - RIP

It would be an understatement to say that I've been watching the CoViD-19 case and death data, it's more like obsessing over it.  But this past Friday (in order to write a comment over on KT's blog), I actually did a quick analysis of then current CDC data for 'excess deaths' during the CoViD-19 epidemic.   To be blunt I was shocked to find out the excess deaths added up to 251,257 (for the time period March 25 - August 11).  I was shocked because the total deaths attributed to CoViD-19 (again by CDC) on the last day covered by that data was only 165,148 [NOTE: I actually quoted 201,000 over on KT's blog, but I had not taken into account that the excess death data wasn't through September 16, but more than 5 weeks sooner on Aug 11!].  That's why I'm saying that there are over 86,000 excess deaths that are unaccounted for.  That my friends is more than 34% of the total excess.

What has caused all these deaths, and why is no one talking about them?

In my comment I suggested that the causes might be 

"the unintended consequence of the lockdowns/economic strangulation (suicide, domestic abuse, or maybe even people not being able/willing to get proper medical care for other conditions jump to my mind as possibilities)."

So over the last couple of days I have searched obsessively for any data to try to figure out if any or all of these causes might explain such a large number of deaths.  Let's take them one at a time.

For suicides the latest data I could find on the CDC site was through 2017 (worthless!).  I did manage to find a couple of data points.  In an online article they state that

"The spike in suicides in Cook County is especially pronounced in the Black community, which has already seen 58 suicides this year, according to the medical examiner’s office. That outpaces 56 from all of 2019 and 33 during the same time period last year."


"In June, Fresno reported 17 suicide deaths in one month, the highest number in almost three years and up from 10 in June 2019."

Those work out to 'excesses'  of 75% and 70%, respectively.  Of course they are ridiculously small to be used for any kind of extrapolation, but if we do, we'd expect a rise of something like 0.75*47,000*0.5 (the 47,000 is suicides last year, and the 0.5 is to account for the data only covering about a half year), which works out to about 17,600.  While that's a big number, it would only explain about 20% of the excess deaths.

For domestic abuse I could not find any hard numbers of fatalities.  There have been numbers for increases in things like calls reporting domestic abuse, inquiries to safe homes, and the like that range from 20% to 50%, with a almost unbelievable 150% rise in "visits to the refuge website" (see here).  Although these are despicable results, it turns out that the estimate of annual deaths is only 1,000 - 1,600.  So unless the numbers have grown far more than any reasonable estimate this simply can't account for more than 3,000 'excess' deaths.

Trying to assign a number of current deaths from the third possible cause, deferred medical care, is hopeless.  There was a nice study in the Lancet which attempted to figure out haw many people would die prematurely over the next five years and the total years of life lost (YLL) would be in England.  The data are distressing to say the least.  Bottom line, they think that a good estimate of total YLL is about 60,000.  That's for England (population 56 million).  We can (completely without justification) say that projects to 350 million years of life lost here in the US.

So it is currently impossible for me to explain the 86,000 excess deaths reported by the CDC which are over and above the CoViD-19 excess deaths.  Nonetheless I do believe that there truly are nearly 86,000 people who have died in the US, who should not have died, and whose deaths must be attributed to the pernicious unintended consequence of the lockdowns.  Further, the lockdowns have been held on so long (in blue states), that truly long lasting economic consequences are going to cause these unintended consequences to last far beyond whenever the lockdowns finally end (if they end?).  

It is my belief that the 'cure' has become worse than the disease, and that the time is past to end the lockdowns.