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  1. I just read https://www.economist.com/united-states/2020/05/23/how-the-worlds-premier-public-health-agency-was-handcuffed which provides a nice comparison of CDC actions in 2014 (Ebola crisis) and now and then tries to explain what happened. In the last pandemic to affect the US before coronavirus, the head of CDC appeared almost daily to provide information for the public. Now, the CDC has not had a public briefing since mid March. The article reports that the director of trad policy, a senior White House official, said the CDC “really let the country down”. Meanwhile, the Center for Global Development, a think-tank, said the CDC had been muzzled, citing the administration’s gutting of the CDC guidelines for reopening. “How was the agency brought so low? On February 5th, the cdc sent to state laboratories a testing kit for covid-19 that it had been working on at headquarters. Something was wrong with one of the reagents and state labs could not get the test to work. The Food and Drug Administration (fda), which regulates medical devices, including tests, then dithered for three weeks before allowing private and university laboratories to work on the problem, which they soon fixed. But when tests did become available, the cdc restricted them to a handful of Americans. By the time the rules were relaxed, the cdc had missed the vital first stages of the epidemic; community transmission was rife.” “Public health is chronically under-funded. In 2018 America spent less than $300 per person on it, compared with over $10,000 on all health care, according to the Trust for America’s Health (tfah), a not-for-profit group. In the decade to 2017, jobs in public health fell by 50,000. Mr Trump has proposed cutting the cdc’s budget each year by between 10% and 20%, but Congress has protected the agency. The cdc’s budget has been flat since 2016, and this year emergency-spending bills will provide an extra $6bn over the next five years. However, the two main programmes for helping state and local health-care systems prepare for emergencies, Public Health Emergency Preparedness and the Hospital Preparedness Programme, have been cut by over 50% in real terms since 2003. This has forced states to scale back emergency preparation and left the cdc bearing more of that burden.” The article gives me a strong feeling that in six years we’ve gone from having a world leading medical facility to buying (https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11532113/russia-putin-bills-trump-coronavirus-aid-faulty-ventilators/) fire-prone (https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/05/13/our-equipment-is-dangerous-russian-doctors-expected-ventilators-tragedy-a70253) Russian ventilators.
  2. This one questions if the US is testing the right people:
  3. Fact checkers looked at this claim: Mortality in the U.S. noticeably increased during the first months of 2020 compared to previous years https://healthfeedback.org/claimreview/mortality-in-the-u-s-noticeably-increased-during-the-first-months-of-2020-compared-to-previous-years/ and found it Misleading: The author calculated the number of deaths that occurred during a time window in 2020 that was inappropriate for assessing whether the COVID-19 epidemic impacted overall U.S. mortality (70% of the time period is prior to the onset of COVID-19). Lacks context : The post author neglected to explain that the CDC collects and reports death count data in a manner that results in underestimates in initial reports followed by rapid increases as new data becomes available. KEY TAKE AWAY A comparison of the number of deaths from all causes in the U.S. during the first 17 weeks of 2020 reveals a higher mortality than for the same period in any of the previous five years. While the death count was comparable to previous years in the first two months of 2020, it increased rapidly in March and April. Comparisons of mortality are highly sensitive to how the data are gathered and presented, therefore any claims based on the data must always be presented in the appropriate context. Since its outbreak in the U.S., COVID-19 has claimed more lives than diabetes, suicide, or stroke.
  4. Interesting that some of the organizations that have pushed hard against losing their freedom have resume closures. Reminds me of the old song "When will they ever learn?" TWO SOUTHERN CHURCHES RECLOSE INDEFINITELY AFTER PASTOR DIES AND LEADERS, CHURCHGOERS CATCH CORONAVIRUS https://www.newsweek.com/two-southern-churches-reclose-indefinitely-after-pastor-dies-leaders-churchgoers-catch-coronavirus-1505291
  5. What if no treatment (other than injecting disinfectants) are developed this year, it could be grim COVID-19: Study reports 'staggering' death rate in US among those infected who show symptoms https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-covid-staggering-death-infected-symptoms.html Is COVID-19 more deadly than the flu? It's a lot more deadly, concludes a new study by the University of Washington published May 7 in the journal Health Affairs. The study's results also project a grim future if the U.S. doesn't put up a strong fight against the spread of the virus. [Sometimes grim extrapolations are published to motivate people to take evasive action. CB] The national rate of death among people infected with the novel coronavirus—SARS-CoV-2—that causes COVID-19 and who show symptoms is 1.3%, the study found. The comparable rate of death for the seasonal flu is 0.1%. The School of Pharmacy and Basu have developed a website that explores the infection and fatality rates by U.S. counties for people with symptoms. Basu stresses that this website is not a forecasting tool—it does not predict what will happen in the future. Rather, it uses the estimated death rate among symptomatic COVID-19 cases to project what is happening currently in these communities, such as what are the likely numbers for total infections and symptomatic cases. The COVID-19 death rate, the study adds, means that if the same number of people in the U.S. are infected by the end of the year as were infected with the influenza virus—roughly 35.5 million in 2018-2019—then nearly 500,000 people will die of COVID-19. However, the novel coronavirus is more infectious than the influenza virus, Basu noted. So, a conservative estimate of 20% of the U.S. population becoming infected by the end of the year—with the current trends in social distancing and health care supply continuing, while accounting for those infected who will recover asymptomatically—could result in the number of deaths climbing to between 350,000 and 1.2 million.
  6. Perhaps a ray of hope. Scientists in China believe new drug can stop pandemic 'without vaccine' https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-scientists-china-drug-pandemic-vaccine.html A drug being tested by scientists at China's prestigious Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the virus, researchers say Sunney Xie, director of the university's Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, told AFP that the drug has been successful at the animal testing stage. "When we injected neutralising antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500," said Xie. "That means this potential drug has (a) therapeutic effect." The drug uses neutralising antibodies—produced by the human immune system to prevent the virus infecting cells—which Xie's team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients. He added that the drug should be ready for use later this year and in time for any potential winter outbreak of the virus, which has infected 4.8 million people around the world and killed more than 315,000. The new drug could even offer short-term protection against the virus. The study showed that if the neutralising antibody was injected before the mice were infected with the virus, the mice stayed free of infection and no virus was detected. This may offer temporary protection for medical workers for a few weeks, which Xie said they are hoping to "extend to a few months". Cory
  7. https://amp.ft.com/content/97dc7de6-940b-11ea-abcd-371e24b679ed?__twitter_impression=true "For the time being, Trump has been persuaded to cease his daily briefings. White House internal polling shows that his once double-digit lead over Biden among Americans over 65 has been wiped out. It turns out retirees are no fans of herd immunity." 😉 Cory
  8. Apparently meeting the current Navy criteria to be free of the virus does not ensure that you’ve fully recovered and completely purged the virus. Five Theodore Roosevelt sailors re-test positive for Covid-19 https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2020/05/15/five-theodore-roosevelt-sailors-re-test-positive-for-covid-19/ Five sailors from the embattled aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 retested positive this week, officials confirmed Friday. The sailors had previously returned to the ship, which has been sidelined in Guam as leadership works to get the crew free of the novel coronavirus and back to work. Like the rest of the crew who had come back onboard, the five had been self-monitoring and following social distancing protocols before they tested positive, Navy spokesman Cmdr. Clayton Doss said in a statement. “These five Sailors developed influenza-like illness symptoms and did the right things reporting to medical for evaluation,” Doss said. “The Sailors were immediately removed from the ship and placed back in isolation, their close contacts were mapped, and they are receiving the required medical care.” Whether the five afflicted sailors were reinfected or still had the virus after multiple negative tests remains under investigation. Cory
  9. Back on topic, two articles of interest from the NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/14/opinion/coronavirus-young-people.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage The day before I got sick, I ran three miles, walked 10 more, then raced up the stairs to my fifth-floor apartment as always, slinging laundry with me as I went. The second day I was sick, I woke up to what felt like hot tar buried deep in my chest. I could not get a deep breath unless I was on all fours. I’m healthy. I’m a runner. I’m 33 years old. Here’s what I’m telling my family and my friends: If you can, get an oximeter, a magical little device that measures your pulse and blood oxygen level from your fingertip. If you become sick and your oxygen dips below 95 or you have trouble breathing, go to the emergency room. Don’t wait. I am one of the lucky ones. I never needed a ventilator. I survived. But 27 days later, I still have lingering pneumonia. I use two inhalers, twice a day. I can’t walk more than a few blocks without stopping. I want Americans to understand that this virus is making otherwise young, healthy people very, very sick. I want them to know, this is no flu. I’ve read the above many times now from other victims. I have yet to read anyone who’s had say it’s just like the flu. CB The second article https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/13/opinion/antibody-test-accuracy.html?searchResultPosition=1 Just Because You Test Positive for Antibodies Doesn’t Mean You Have Them In a population whose infection rate is 5 percent, a test that is 90 percent accurate could deliver a false positive nearly 70 percent of the time. it means that we’re all at risk of getting infected and spreading the virus, even if we’ve had a positive antibody test.
  10. If " It was Wecht who first discovered that Kennedy's brain, and all related data in the killing, had gone missing.", what was his disagreement based on?
  11. Gordo, Following your tangent 🙂 and having recently watched The Great Hack, I’ll venture a view on the agitation of the anti-government lockdown protestors. The movie was about Cambridge Analytica and the last election but one very interesting point was that the Russian trolls would fire up *BOTH* sides. Fx, if there were going to be a black lives matter or a whites’ rights meeting, they would make sure everyone on both sides were urged to attend. Their goal was not the cause espoused by either side but rather internal conflict here.
  12. Using https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 I was curious about country diffferences in Deaths/Cases and Recoveries/Deaths. I realize both ratios would be affected by how long the corona virus has been rampaging in a country *AND* how accurate a country's statistics are. Nonetheless here's what if found: Cases Deaths Recovered Deaths/Cases Recovered/Deaths World 4,371,611 297,682 1,562,673 0.068094 5.249471 US 1,390,764 84,136 243,430 0.060496 2.893292 China 84,025 4,637 79,252 0.055186 17.091223 Russia 252,245 2,305 53,530 0.009138 23.223427 UK 230,985 33,264 1,032 0.144009 0.031025 Italy 222,104 31,106 112,541 0.140052 3.617984 Germany 174,098 7,861 1,503,000 0.045153 191.197049 Sweden 28,582 3,529 4,971 0.123469 1.408614 Germany is a real standout in the ratio of recovered/deaths. Btw, MedicalXpress reported another reason to be skeptical of test results: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-coronavirus-touted-trump-false-negatives.html Coronavirus test touted by Trump produces many false negatives: study A rapid coronavirus test touted by President Donald Trump and used to test White House officials produces false negatives in almost half of all cases, according to new study by researchers at NYU Langone Health. The manufacturer disputes the study results: "Abbott has distributed more than 1.8 million ID NOW tests and the reported rate of false negatives to Abbott is at 0.02 percent," Scott Stoffel, a spokesman for the company said.
  13. The death count may be going down soon: https://www.thedailybeast.com/team-trump-pushes-cdc-to-dial-down-covid-death-counts Team Trump Pushes CDC to Revise Down Its COVID Death Counts Though he has previously publicly attested to the accuracy of the COVID-19 death count, the president in recent weeks has privately raised suspicion about the number of fatalities in the United State Officials inside the CDC, five of whom spoke to The Daily Beast, said they are pushing back against that request, claiming it could falsely skew the mortality rate at a time when state and local governments are already struggling to ensure that every person who dies as a result of the coronavirus is counted. Scientists and doctors working with the task force, including Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have said the U.S. death-toll count is likely higher than is being reflected in government data sets. And several local officials in hot spot areas said they’ve seen hundreds if not thousands more deaths over the last two months than in the same time period over the last several years. Personally, I wonder if there's anywhere in the world where reliable counts are available. Indeed, a century ago it was called the Spainish Flu because other countries concealed how bad it was.
  14. Social distancing seems to have helped. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-coronavirus-deaths-hours-tracker.html The United States recorded 776 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 79,522, according to the real-time tally by Johns Hopkins University at 8:30 pm Sunday (0030 GMT Monday). The figure was the lowest daily tally since March, with 24-hour totals in recent weeks ranging from 1,000 to 2,500.
  15. MedicalXpress reports on some adjacent state comparisons which shows a benefit to the lock down. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-lockdown-spike-total-covid-cases.html