The next frontier in coronavirus testing: Identifying the full scope of the pandemic, not just individual infections

From StatNews

By Andrew Joseph @DrewQJoseph

March 27, 2020

Scientists are starting to roll out new blood tests for the coronavirus, a key development that, unlike the current diagnostic tests, will help pinpoint people who are immune and reveal the full scope of the pandemic.

The “serological” tests — which rely on drawn blood, not a nasal or throat swab — can identify people who were infected and have already recovered from Covid-19, including those who were never diagnosed, either because they didn’t feel particularly sick or they couldn’t get an initial test. Scientists expect those individuals will be safe from another infection for at least some time — so the tests could signal who could be prioritized to return to work or serve as a frontline health worker.

The serological tests, which are being deployed in some countries in Asia and are starting to be used at one New York hospital, could also eventually help scientists answer outstanding epidemiological questions about the spread of the virus and might even steer an inoculation strategy should a vaccine make it to market.


“We need to identify all those people here who not only knew they had the coronavirus but maybe weren’t sure because they didn’t get tested or because they had minimal symptoms,” said Christopher Kirchhoff, a former White House aide who wrote a 2016 review of the U.S. government’s response to the West African Ebola crisis. “You can imagine asking them to take the key roles in our economy to keep things moving, whether that’s manning a checkout aisle at a supermarket or taking the lead for caring for someone else in their family who comes down with the coronavirus.”

Serological tests sniff out antibodies in the blood — molecules made by the immune system in response to a pathogen’s attack.

Right now, the main diagnostic tests for Covid-19 rely on a technology called PCR and search for evidence of the virus’ RNA genome. But as people recover, they vanquish the virus from their system, so PCR isn’t helpful much beyond the infection period.

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Antibodies made in response to a virus, however, persist in the blood, acting like sentinels and rallying an immediate response should the virus try to invade again. The antibodies are unique signatures — different protectors modeled after encountering different viruses — so finding them is a signal of past contact with a particular virus.

It’s the difference between catching an invader red-handed versus going back to the crime scene and dusting for prints.

“It seems very easy to be able to say yes or no, somebody was infected or wasn’t infected,” said Florian Krammer, a virologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Earlier this month, Krammer and colleagues posted on a preprint server a paper describing the serological assays they had developed to detect previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the name of the coronavirus. (Preprints are scientific papers that have not been through the peer-review process yet.) They’ve also started a website where labs can order the ingredients they need to get tests up and running themselves.

And this week, Mount Sinai announced that antibodies detected in blood from recovered patients would be used to treat current patients. It’s hoped that injecting patients with these antibodies — a type of therapy sometimes called convalescent plasma — might provide an initial layer of protection as their own immune system kicks into gear.

Companies and academic researchers are also trying to develop plasma therapies and are scrambling to obtain blood from survivors. Serological tests could help expand the supply.

Other tests are being built as well. Researchers in the Netherlands have unveiled assays, the United Kingdom is preparing to roll out its own antibody tests, and scientists in Singapore have used them to trace chains of transmission. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Congress this month that the agency was developing two serological tests; a CDC spokeswoman did not respond to messages asking for more details about the agency’s tests or its plans.

Companies have also started to sell antibody tests, though some are being framed as another tool to diagnose acute infections. Some experts are skeptical about this approach because it can take the body a few days to ramp up production of the antibodies, meaning a serological test would miss an infection if it was in its early stages.

“It takes you five, seven, 10 days — usually more than one week to develop a robust antibody response,” said Isabella Eckerle, a virologist at Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases. “And the first week is the week when people shed the virus in the highest concentrations.”

Serological tests are also critical, experts said, for painting a full picture of the virus’s spread, even if not immediately.

In other countries, researchers have started to launch “serosurveys” — testing the blood of a sample of the population to estimate just how widely the virus spread. It’s through these types of retrospective initiatives that the full number of cases can be approximated, which can help explain how common asymptomatic infections may be and calculate a better estimate for the mortality rate of a virus….

Full Article Here.

221 thoughts on “The next frontier in coronavirus testing: Identifying the full scope of the pandemic, not just individual infections

  1. I am astonished that any “expert” was able to model the pandemic without essential data but lack of solid data hasn’t stopped other “experts” in other fields….

    • Welcome to the New World…where anyone can claim to be an expert, toss it on social media and watch the fallout from their uninformed Chicken Little opinion.


      Why are you astonished? It happens every single day in the news, in the media, in movies, tv shows, and on commentary from the general public that has no direct knowledge but several million slightly informed opinions they ‘need’ to share with everyone. One motive for sharing is inclusion. None of this is new (unless of course you are being factious–in that case, I wholeheartedly agree with you and though you can’t see it under my mask, I’m smiling)

      • An expert is someone able to spell correctly the questioned subjects, i.e. Corona, pandemic, virus, SARS, CoVid

        • Unless of course they make a grammatical error, then they sink lower than whale poop. For shame to not double check the use of their, they’re, and there. And let us not debate the misuse of regardless to morph to irregardless, nor punctuation, nor the fretted inconsistency of the Oxford comma!


        • I’ve always heard that an expert is a drip under pressure. That seems to cover most ‘experts’, especially the ones calling themselves experts in climate change. It doesn’t seem to take very much, these days, to claim ‘expertise’ in many so-called scientific fields. Just sayin…

          • My high school electronics teacher always said “ex” as in a has been and spert as a drip under pressure….

          • Ever notice how the experts never point to a successful track record? For example the annual hurricane forecasts are never accompanied by a track record of their earlier predictions or data that tells you their “forecast” spread covers 80% of the average seasons.

        • Per one of my graduate instructors an expert is: “anyone 75 miles from home with a briefcase that can convince a jury of their peers they are the smartest in the group”

          I’ve always liked that definition.

          • or:
            “someone who can avoid the obvious potholes while driving down the wrong road..”

        • Are they? How does bad spelling make you a non-expert? And in reality much of “bad spelling” is a badly trained auto correct.

      • According to the British legal system an expert is the person in the room who is accepted as having the most knowledge on a subject. So I am the expert on Dentistry unless there is another person present who has dental knowledge that is better than mine.

        So in all cases we are all experts when the people present have no knowledge of our subject.

          • An expert is someone who gets paid for his opinion and is more than 100 miles from home.

            At the ISO an expert is anyone who shows up, appointed to any committee or working group or task Force. It is an honorific not a testament of quality or qualification.

          • ..According to NPR, and expert is anyone who has a British accent…

            Reply: that’s about the only observation from NPR with which I concur…but then I’m bi-lingual speaking both English and American.

          • You have to add in that once you are considered to be an ‘expert’ you then gain ‘prestige’ which allows you spout even more drivel especially to the easily impressed such as politicians and journalists.

      • One of the joys of extrapolating exponential is that you can get whatever result you like. Any exponential will have to break at some stage else it will go infinite which is physically impossible. Extrapolation is based “all else being equal” when you know it won’t be.

        That is why wise people do not extrapolate far, especially with exponential. Only idiots and liars project a century ahead.

        So far French deaths are running at half the detected cases with a 14d lag.

        They have authorised doctors to test hydroxychloroquine and other treatments in hospitals, so hopefully we will a break before the current 300-4000 new cases a day turn into new fatalities in 14 days time.

        Italy has a much more favourable scaling factor of 8 but the previous lag of 3 days is now zero.

        Deaths and admissions on the same day going up and down in sync seems to mean you have a 1 in 8 chance of dying if you go to hospital. That maybe because you only go to A&E in Italy now if you are literally choking to death.

        Pretty grim stats.

        • Greg
          The epidemiological models for disease spread are well known and can be quite accurate.
          I think where Ferguson fell over may be that he is a good Doctor but a poor statistician and really, should have kept his gub shut.
          He now says 20,000 deaths. What does this mean? If you excuse the pun. What is the mean? What is the standard deviation? Is the distribution normal? What data is he using? What epidemiological model is he using? Where is his code? What assumptions did he make? How reliable is the data? how did he asses the probabilities. And believe it or not. That is the most important question.
          The list goes on. There are a lot of people out there far brighter than this eejit. Have a look at the kaggle challenge on covid19.
          What worries me is the numbers.
          155_000 cases ‘confirmed’ in the UK. How? A nose or throat swab? Aye right!
          But it is better than nothing.
          I think that Mosher (even though he is the most inarticulate of commentators) is correct. Isolate the individual. Not the society.

          • re: “The epidemiological models for disease spread are well known and can be quite accurate.”

            Post hoc (after the fact), everything can be made (to look) 20/20 (in focus and “accurate”) in hindsight; going forward Yogi Berra nails it: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

            For those that missed it, eminent common sense disbursed by prof. Richard Epstein in “Don’t Expect Millions To Die From Coronavirus” nails it:

            Mar 18, 2020

          • Any epidemic is an exponential growth which at some point gets over power by other factors and turns to exponential decline.

            The problem is you never know the strength of the initial gowth, the weight and changes of the counter tendencies until you are way past peak.

            The idea that any model can be fitted usefully, based just on the initial part of the initial rise bunkum.

            so far US looks closest to Spain, the fastest growth in Europe. Numbers are about 3.3 time bigger and lagging by about 5 days behind. If you want short term numbers watch Spain.


        • I’m with Willis on Italy, that it’s going to hospital that gets you the virus.

          But I’m sure the total number infected in Italy is well over a million, and it’s been circulating there since early January or earlier.

    • I did hear someone, maybe Dr. Fauci, say that the data wasn’t matching up with the models, so they are going to re-evaluate the models.

      I thought, wow, that’s a novel idea. Wonder why no one thought of that in the climate change arena?

    • Its fair enough to model it, but are the experts caveating their models sufficiently? I think the UK modelers the government are listening to are far too confident in their outcomes, given the total lack of confidence they should have in their inputs.

  2. ..but Trump was wrong…

    “Based on these and other results physicians and governments around the world are now using these medications to claimed great effect. Even in the state of Michigan, prominent hospitals such as the Henry Ford Hospital and the University of Michigan have added hydroxychloroquine to their treatment protocols for hospitalized patients with COVID-19.”


    ..but Trump was wrong…

    Clinical trials for coronavirus treatments begin in New York

    The state acquired 70,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine, 10,000 doses of zithromax and 750,000 doses of chloroquine in the last few days, according to a news release by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

    • On the Ingraham Angle last night she claimed that in a current NY test group of 80 that 78 patients improved in 2 days. Only one man in his mid 80s did not respond. She also had other current positive anecdotal claims made. By the middle of this next week we should get some good news from the ongoing trials in NY which started on Tuesday. It is said that it only takes 6 days for the drug to work, if it is going to work for the patient. Let’s all hope for encouraging news.

      • ” It is said that it only takes 6 days for the drug to work, if it is going to work for the patient. Let’s all hope for encouraging news.”

        no the “endpoint” for the french “study” was 6 days

    • Appreciate sarc tags if they apply.

      Following these links to read more I find these stories are all co-opted by pop-up ads and intervening reports. By the time I find the story, I’ve forgotten what I was looking for.

      The media chaos out there is getting worse than the virus.

  3. One issue is the test has to be very specific to the virus tested. That is there are multiple coronaviruses and your body will produce a different response to each one, so you are looking for just one of possibly many. And the virus can mutate which brings another set of issues.

    Mt Sinai already had a program like this going on with other viruses so it wasn’t much of a leap to get something on CV19. Kudos for all these very smart and dedicated people. The labs in the US and all the other countries are also working hard and most of all, sharing the data they find which expedites the process immensely. It can be a nasty disease and obviously the best thing is not get it. But sooner or later we are all going to have to get back to normal so the sooner they can get effective testing, treatments and hopefully vaccines, the better.

    • “Kudos for all these very smart and dedicated people.”

      Yes, absolutely! It’s amazing to watch what human beings are capable of sometimes, on the good side of the ledger.

      • Like I tell people this isn’t 1918. We have many more tools now and necessity is the mother of invention. And, the father of getting the government out of the way.(just made that last one up)

      • True but if I succeed in not contracting it over the next couple of months, I won’t be immune. When I or anyone else in my predicament go back into society the virus will still be there and without a vaccine, there is a good chance I will get it putting me right back to square one.

        That’s the big dilemma here. The whole point of the “lockdowns” is to slow the spread of the disease and “flatten the curve” to allow the health care system to handle the caseload. A vaccine would help immensely going forward. Also effective treatments would also help, even if it only decreases the severity of each instance. Changing the chance of dying from this thing from 3% to .1% would be a really big deal.

      • A test for a natural immunity would be great, but we don’t know how to do it .. except for a sickle cell anemia.

        • Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder. If you don’t have the gene for it, you won’t get it.

        • Sure. Let me enlighten your ignorance:
          There are all sorts of immunity tests. They exempt you from mandatory vaccinations.
          So, for instance when I entered school (in another country) I didn’t need TB vaccine because the test showed I had already had it. (Some in the US will remember it. There were scratches done on your arm and it was examined in a few days.)
          This week, a friend taking a job in health care had a batch of tests for antibodies, which if he doesn’t have them, require a vaccine. I don’t remember the exact illnesses, but they’re a bunch of the normal vaccinations.
          More: when I got pregnant, because I own cats, I was tested to anti-bodies for toxaplasmosis. If I’d had it, I’d have been fine handling the litter box during the pregnancy (when the disease can cause horrible birth defects.) Weirdly, in a lifetime with cats, I’d never contracted the disease and therefore husband got kitty litter duty for the duration.

          See, the problem George is that in the way of most people who think they know “science” you’re confusing apples with oranges.
          Natural immunity to something is conferred by say the same gene that causes sickle cell anemia, or by a bunch of other things. For instance blood type B might confer some immunity to the Black Death (Bubonic plague). That’s one type of resistance.

          The other type of resistance is individual. You see, your immune system learns. The reason people freaked out about Covid-19 is that they thought it was a high lethality virgin-field epidemic, meaning an epidemic to which no one had any resistance. (BTW when they talk about Native Americans being wiped out by Europeans, most of this happened because Native Americans had no resistance to diseases that were endemic in agriculturalist populations. So, for instance, smallpox wiped them out because they’d never had its lighter form known as cowpox.)

          Anyway, your immune system remembers when you catch something. If you catch, say, whooping cough, or TB and survive, you’re never going to catch it again. This is the principle behind vaccination.

          The exception to this are things like the Flu because they’re not a disease as such but a group of diseases, and they mutate so fast you need a new vaccine every year.

          COVID-19 so far doesn’t exhibit the same tendency to mutate really fast. This means there’s a good chance that if you had it you’re safe from it at least for a few years.

          And since we now know that China was hiding it since October and we didn’t close flights since January, and since we now know something like 80% of infections are asymptomatic and some others are very, very light (like mild cold) there’s a good chance most of the US has already had it, which is what I’m betting this antibodies test reveals.

          Meanwhile, people who don’t know what anti-bodies are, don’t understand the process of immunity, and act like they are subnormal should refrain from commenting on such things. They should also refrain from voting, since that’s an activity reserved for adults.

          • We do not “know” China was hiding the disease in October.
            There is no evidence of a single infection prior to November, and the rate of transmission seems to preclude anyone having and spread it as long ago as October.
            China likely only acquired the ability to have any idea what was going on sometime in late December.
            Knowing a disease is going around does not automatically mean they knew everything that would eventually become apparent.
            No one has that sort of insight…not even Chinese epidemiologists, or virologists.

            Also, evidence indicates that as many as slightly over half of cases are asymptomatic…so obviously we do not “know” that 80% are. Some people might suspect this, but there are wild ass guesses and then there is evidence and science.
            Some percentage have relatively mild symptoms, and most people would not have any reason to suspect it was anything new even if they had a bad cold, let alone a mild one.
            But last time I checked there is still a such thing as a common cold, 1/3 of which are caused by corona viruses. And there is still seasonal flu, and about a dozen other illnesses caused by various viruses and bacteria…and so far none of them has taken a leave of absence while we deal with this new one.
            As for a good chance most of the US has already had it, I would say that is categorically false.
            Antibody testing has not shown anything like that, although what we do not know is big compared to what we do know about the virus and the disease.

            If you are going to tell everyone who has incorrect information to shut up, maybe you ought to make sure to only say things that can be supported with evidence, and avoid making sweeping statements based on opinion, rumors, fake news, or outright lies… and call them knowledge.

          • China has lied repeatedly about all of this, nothing they say can be trusted when it comes to Chinese virus, or anything else for that matter.

      • Not only people with immunity won’t need a vaccine, but these people should not even be subjected to vaccination… 🙂


      • The existence of a vaccine means that millions won’t have to get the disease in order to get immunity. For those in the at risk categories, that can be a life saver.

        • MarkW
          March 28, 2020 at 9:55 am

          For those in the at risk categories, that can be a life saver.

          Yes, if those in the risk categories have not got yet the “disease”, the infection of COVID-19. 😉


    • So far the reports are that COVID-19 is quite stable. Not that it won’t mutate over time, but the longer it stays stable, the better.

        • Probably escaped from the nice new Franco-chinese biotech P4 lab in Wuhan just behind the market. Any links to bat virus is probably because that is where they get the source material.

          So maybe we should be saying Franco-chinese virus.

          • Oh, I pick on the French enough! By the way, got a nice MAS 36, only dropped once, make ya a deal on it!(do I really have to put a sarc tag on this?)

          • “Probably escaped from the nice new Franco-chinese biotech P4 lab…”

            If by “probably”, you mean there is an internet rumor that it is so…I agree with you.

      • The mutation clause.
        The immunity response, to mutation, in the natural proposition, it will upgrade successfully accordingly,
        if not messed around with heavy handling of vaccination shit…


  4. My daughter was in Toronto for a conference late February where her company’s retail products were on display. She had contact with multiple Asians during her conference and at the airport. She is convinced she had been exposed so she self isolated. On Day 4 she lost her sense of smell. Day 5 she developed a fever, dry cough and headache. The “flu” wiped her right out leaving her miserable and she also got a sinus infection that required antibiotics. She was not eligible for COVID19 testing because of the very narrow criteria our province uses. She had not traveled overseas to a hot spot and she had not had contact with a known COVID19 sufferer. She is convinced she had the disease. She would like to volunteer at the hospital or donate plasma. The sooner that antibody test can be done, the better.

    • Yes, today is Day Four of the hydroxychloroquine/zithromax clinical trials in New York.

      The French study that just came out had 10 of its patients on ventilators when the study started and the doctors said all the people on ventilators were off the ventilators three days after starting the medication.

      One very old, infirm patient died in this study. I assume this patient was also on a ventilator but I believe they said he was too far gone for the medicine to help. The other 82 or so patients all recovered.

      I wonder if any New York patients have gotten off their ventilators yet?

      Governor Cuomo may not need as many ventilators as he has been estimating. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

      • How long would study take ? I imagine after just 10 days they would have very good data. Would they release the partial results earlier if drug made a dramatic difference?

        • If there are negative results in any way, expect those to be released as soon as possible by Cuomo and the MSM.

        • “How long would study take ? I imagine after just 10 days they would have very good data.”

          The study the French doctor did first, was of a group of patients who he said were all cleared of the Wuhan virus within six days of beginning treatment. I’m not sure how ill this first group was.

          The second group of about 80 people were all age groups and all hospitlized with 10 of them on ventilators, so all these patients were very ill, and I believe he said this group took nine days to clear the virus after the treatment started. I suppose sicker patients have more of the virus to clear, so the longer it takes to start the medicine, the longer it takes to clear the virus.

          One thing about the Wuhan virus is it hangs on for a very long time causing people to have to remain on ventilators for a long time. If this malaria medicine can get them off ventilators in three or four days, that’s practically a miracle. A very welcome miracle. We can only hope. We ought to have an answer soon.

        • Great news on the Ingraham Angle regarding the test trials in NY. It is only supposed to take 6 days for the drug to work. Today is the 6th day from when they started. Hope to hear good news early in the week.

          • @ Tom ….I had that mixed up with what was done in France. You are right on the 1,100 number but it got started several days later on Thursday, just heard that. So 6 days will be Wednesday before any news will come out.

      • Is there a second French study then? Because the first one had 30 patients and they were not on ventilators, but the combination of the two drugs cleared the virus from their systems in just a few days.

        From what I’ve read, hydroxychloroquine might be a better first line treatment than a last resort treatment. Do you have a link to a French study where they got off ventilators?

        • Yes, I thought that Pr Didier Raoul from Marseilles only had a sample of 22 patients. It definitely had promising results but the group was too small and the method too lose to draw any scientific conclusions from.

          I think his conclusion was that it was better given early since by the time you were on a ventilator the virus was no longer your main health problem.

          • Greg:

            Yes, I thought that Pr Didier Raoul from Marseilles only had a sample of 22 patients. It definitely had promising results but the group was too small and the method too lose to draw any scientific conclusions from. I think his conclusion was that it was better given early since by the time you were […]

            SM in response to Greg:

            his study was junk

            You weren’t there; you were neither patient nor doctor nor part of hospital staff. ALL you have to go on are what – press reports?

            You appraisal is … junk.

            Treatment (ideally) PROBABLY starts before the (damn) patient begins to ‘look terminal’ (ya think?), so the SOONER the treatment regimen starts, the better off the patient is and the sooner recovery is seen.

            I don’t think Mosher can think in terms of multi-variant (multi-variable) problems sometimes, nor in terms of ‘time’ as a variable (as a differentiating factor gearing toward a particular result); this is one of those times.

        • “Is there a second French study then?”

          Yes, it was just made public yesterday. A little over 80 patients, all serious enough to be hospitalized and 10 of them were on ventilators. All but one survived and I assume they were cleared of the virus, although I have not seen very many details of the study.

          We will probably be getting the details very soon.

      • This study is meaningless. With a death rate of less than 1%, you would normally expect 0 to 2 deaths in a group of 83. It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat this, the study won’t get any better.

        • Good Steven. You can refuse the drug.

          I know two people who were in severe distress, both took it and within 12 hours both were out of bed feeling much better. Do what you want.

          • People are dying from the virus and its effects on other medical issues, if a drug can help then it should be administered to those who consent. Those who don’t? Here is a box of theraflu, good luck.

          • I would not refuse the drug.
            what makes you think I would?

            I would take it now if I could.

            Nothing you said contradicts the fact that the study was flawed

            my behavior ( taking the drug or refusing it) is NOT evidence about the effectiveness

        • Apparently, the second study did not include any comparison with patients on placebo. Now, that is some scientific research!

          • The doctor says it is against the Hippocratic oath to give a placebo if he believes the placebo is not effective and will increase the risk of patient death. He refuses to not use the medication on all patients.

          • “The doctor says it is against the Hippocratic oath to give a placebo if he believes the placebo is not effective and will increase the risk of patient death. He refuses to not use the medication on all patients.”

            I like that doctor! Yes, I can’t imagine setting a group of patients aside without any medicine and just watch them die, as a test.

          • re: “Apparently, the second study did not include any comparison with patients on placebo. Now, that is some scientific research!”

            Ya – nothing like the Tuskegee Experiment: “The Infamous Syphilis Study”. I object.

            In order to track the disease’s full progression, researchers provided no effective care as the men died, went blind or insane or experienced other severe health problems due to their untreated syphilis.


        • Even when taking the studies flaws into account the findings are significant. Dismissing the study because it wasn’t perfect is in denial of an effective treatment.

        • Look at the data. It is clear on inspection, regardless of the lower testing of the control group, that the Neg to Positive ratio is dramatically affected by continued use of the hydroxycholorquine. Also, the best predictor that you will be negative is that you tested negative and the best predictor that you will be positive is that you tested positive. Given that, note that most of the patients in the control group who weren’t tested during the study tested positive on the last two days. It really isn’t a stretch to suggest that they would have tested positive in between. OK, there may be better ways to treat the data, but I don’t object to their interpretation, but go ahead and remove the untested. There is still a huge response. I’ll run some stats later, but it is really obvious on inspection.

        • Looking at this data some more – the objection is about counting the untested? Look at the last day (which is what really counts – is the therapy working?) On this day the control group had 2 tested negatives for the virus, 9 tested positive, and 5 that were not tested. However, ALL of those 5 tested positive in all preceding tests as well as testing positive in the preceding 2 days prior. Looking at all the data in the control goup, the odds are exceedingly small that more than 1 of these untested 5 would have tested negative. So 2 or maybe 3 negatives out of 16 in the control group. Compare that to 14 tested negative in the HQ group on the last day, 6 tested positive, and 1 untested. This untested patient had tested negatively his last 3 tests, and looking at the HQ data, it is exceedingly unlikely he/she would have reverted to positive.

          The data are so overwhelmingly clear that niggling over the untested patients in this case is very troubling. Who made this video? It seems to try to cast doubt where none is warranted.

          • Sorry should have tied it all together. Remember negative is good – no virus. On the last day:
            Control group:
            2 negative, 9 positive, 5 untested but likely positive, so <20% success

            HQ group:
            14 negative, 6 positive, 1 untested but almost certainly negative, so ~ 70% success.

            This video is propoganda.

    • “She is convinced she had the disease. She would like to volunteer at the hospital or donate plasma. The sooner that antibody test can be done, the better.”

      This new testing is very important for this part of the puzzle. It will allow immune health care people to get on the front lines and do their job without being afraid of their patients. And this will help in getting society and the economy in general, moving again.

      There may be a *lot* of immune people out there considering how easily the Wuhan virus spreads. Oklahoma had two cases 10 days ago, both traveling in from Italy, and now we have about 400 cases.

      • My son has friends in OU’s study abroad program in Italy. They were in Milan/Venice days before the lockdown. They said everyone on the train back to Tuscany was sick. They were feeling better after a week and were going to stay until May, but OU shut it down and brought everyone home…probably people with active infections.

    • I was rerouted through the Toronto airport in Feb, the place looked like a warzone. People camped out everywhere because the flights to Asia had been cancelled.

      I observed my personal PPE plan when in suspect places or groups — kept hands in pockets.

  5. But here’s the thing, if you put a heated wire in the blood sample will it react to it?

  6. Wow who would have thought the Ferguson model that started a panic was faulty.

    The terrifying model shows that as many as 2.2 million Americans could perish from the virus if no action is taken, peaking in June.

    However, that model is likely highly flawed, Oxford epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta argues.

    Professor Gupta lead a team of researchers at Oxford University in a modeling study which suggests that the virus has been invisibly spreading for at least a month earlier than suspected, concluding that as many as half of the people in the United Kingdom have already been infected by COVID-19.

    Now new ways of combatting the disease are being proposed despite the Ferguson model.

    • This is important as the original Richard Hatchett 2007 study on the use of NPI (Nonpharmaceutical Interventions) concluded that you need to take action as soon as possible in a pandemic.

      But it helps if:
      It is a new infection
      Other places have it before you so you can prepare.

      If you don’t act quickly then your measures have significantly diminishing medical returns.

      So if the virus appears to have been around much longer then you’ve missed your window. But conversely it means that more people have had it.
      Then you look at why cases are going up if what appears to be a new virus is declared? Why was it not declared before?
      Is it due to a change in reporting and behaviour i.e. public perception of symptoms leading to flooding of ER rooms. Things like that. Is it because it has not been definitely detected i.e. vague data.

      Link here for NPI effects:
      Public health interventions and epidemic intensity during the 1918 influenza pandemic

      In short the only way to combat a disease already prevalent is to focus your health care resources.

  7. Now THIS is work government needs to pour money into, not the Kennedy Center or any other politically driven bullsh*t.

  8. At Christmastime I was laid out for a week with something between a cold and influenza. The symptoms match. I don’t normally get that sick. I remember the cough and complete lack of energy. I would love to get the anti-body test to find out.

    • Here in western PA many people were sick with a recurring flu-like illness during December and January, I had it for three weeks. Many people I have been speaking with wonder if it was the Chinese virus.

      • Scissor I respectfully disagree with ANYTHING reported from China. I guess I am a Tin Foil Madhatter but that is an authoritarian government as worse as any we have seen in recent memories.

        My hat is off to them for bringing their people out of abject poverty through the use of fossil fuels I might add, but they will do and say anything to stay in power. They own a lot of media and Hollywood.

        Be good,

      • A lot of people travel during the holidays. And air travel was one of the ways it was spreading. If you look at a map showing locations and number of cases in the US many of the worst hit areas have major airpots. You can also make on some major free ways. This virus was circulating in November but wasn’t noticed until december. So plenty of time for one to fly to china on a business trip and then return in time for the chrisms holiday.

        • “This virus was circulating in November but wasn’t noticed until december. So plenty of time for one to fly to china on a business trip and then return in time for the chrisms holiday.”

          That is probably true. The Chinese leadership locked down all the military units around Wuhan on Dec. 1, 2019, which is a sign that this is when the Chinese discovered they had a virus problem, and no doubt, the virus had been circulating before that time, and air travel being what it is, the virus could easily have been in the United States since that time.

          We definitely need a test that will target the Wuhan virus antibodies, and we will be getting them soon. There are lots of people working on all these things. It’s a thing of beauty.

      • A doctor there described her illness as “ruthless” and told her several other people from the same market had already come in with similar symptoms.

        So not really the “patient zero” then. NYT also seems to think that “wet market” means seafood market. Shrimps … wet … yeah that’s it.

        2bit journalism at its best.

        • That’s true, especially if what she thinks is the case that she caught it in a restroom, unless they were slaughtering animals in the restroom.

      • In the area I live we have several refineries, 3 people from one of them were in central China during November and December so the slim possibility does exist here. Pretty much everyone I know was sick with persistent flu like symptoms, I had it for 3 weeks. Asked my Ortho doc about getting tested last week and she laughed and said get in line, its long and not moving.

      • I am in western Canada, but there are a lot of mainland Chinese that go back and forth here. I have an in-law whose sister works at the university hospital lab. She says it is been in the wild since December. The only difference now is that we are testing for it.

      • A confirmed case of the novel coronavirus emerged on 17 November 2019, according to 13 March 2020 reports of official Chinese government sources,[8] but was not recognized at that time. There may have been earlier patients; the search for them continues

    • I am going to jump on this “I was sick” band wagon. It is very unusual for me to be sick and just last September I ran a pretty good 10K, but on January 1 I traveled to Morgan Town, WVa and afterward became sick with an URI. It was an emergency travel situation with a family illness and I took an indirect flight to Seattle, Wa where I spent 95 minutes in the airport. I returned and was already coughing and not feeling well. By Monday the 13th of January I was so debilitated that I had my wife take me to the doctor as I could not physically do it myself. I was quickly diagnosed with pneumonia (community acquired) and given antibiotics. I had to go back for even more treatments, which I need not detail. During the first week of February my grandson, who lives with us, was hospitalized for bronchiolitis which required intensive care and oxygen. Other family members were also sick with relatively slight illness. I have two operating theories: either I had it, or there was another “ass kicking” virus already going around. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out after thorough investigations are completed.

      • There will probably be a readily available antibody test for the Wuhan virus out soon. You can get yourself and your relatives tested and find out if you had it.

        Having immunity to the Wuhan virus will be valuable in our society going forward. They will be the first to go back to work. Employers will be seeking them out.

        • I have never heard of such a test that can be self administered.
          Antibody tests involved getting blood drawn and sent to a lab.
          For diseases like any of the viral hepatitis ones, or HIV, or any other chronic infectious disease, the first test one gets, called a screening, is an antibody test.
          If one comes back positive, it means that person has been exposed.
          Then a viral RNA PCR test is done, involving another blood sample, to see if that person has a chronic infection, and if so what their viral load (also called a viral count, as it estimates the number of virions per ml of blood) is at that time. For diseases where several clades of the virus exist, such as hepatitis C, they also define which one is present. This can be very important regarding treatment options. It is well known with hep c that some clades are very resistant and some are very easily cured with anti-virals.

          I have never heard of any at home self administered tests for an antibody.
          I am also wondering if the FDA is approving things which would have never been approved, or would have been only after much more testing over a longer period of time.
          This seems like a bad time to throw standards out the window.
          The reason for these standards is so that when one gets a result back, there is a very high certainty that the result is valid.
          In cases where the result is extremely significant, like for a drug test done by an employer, or an HIV or other venereal disease test…there is an automatic protocol in place that a positive result is confirm by retesting that same blood sample before the patient is informed.
          False positives and negatives can be hugely consequential.

          I just did some checking to confirm what I had already written above, and I see there are home test kits for STDs and for thyroid antibody, but basically what they are is home collection tests kits, wherein you puncture a finger and squeeze a test tube full of blood into a sample collection tube, and mail it to the lab.
          These kits are not cheap.
          I also see there is a HIV quick test that you actually get the results immediately, so apparently there have been advances in the technology.
          The HIV ones claim you can just rub in on the gums and that they are 99% accurate.
          I am surprised HIV antibodies can be found in large quantity on the surface of the gum, but I was aware that about 98% of our immune cells are not in the blood but in tissues of the body and in lymph.
          After all, how would infections in cells or tissue be attacked by the immune system if immune cells and antibodies were only in blood.

          There is a company that claims to have such a test for Corona virus, but it has not been tested yet.
          And if it is not quantitative, and is not also done at the same time as a viral RNA test, how will anyone know if they are immune, or if they are infected but asymptomatic, or recently infected and not yet showing symptoms that will appear in a few days, or what?
          Just knowing one has antibodies is not enough information, and what is a layperson to do with such information anyway?
          And then there is the question of accuracy again.
          IMO…such a test must be very near 100 accurate…no false positives or false negatives.
          There is a lot that can go wrong here, and a lot of opportunity for mistakes to be made in haste with very little time to have thought of all that might go wrong.
          This is not how such things are done.
          When the stakes are high does not seem like a good time to throw caution to the wind.

    • Would not surprised if we’ll over 100k have been infected in UK. They have done 120k tests in UK, but USA has done 660k tests. About 30pct of NYC tests are positive.

      • In the UK they test hospitalised patients only with exception of handful of ‘ more important’ (/sarc) people. General rule is multiply by 10-15 times, i.e.
        the UK may have around 200,000 infected giving mortality of 0.5%, while the the winter flu overall mortality is assumed to be 0.1% of all infected.

        • with exception of handful of ‘ more important’ (/sarc) people

          Did you come back positive or negative? 🙂

        • Like I’ve probably said before, I don’t even bother plotting UK cases ( tests ). I’m not even sure how seriously to take the death count, since without testing even that is not properly attributed. It has be a symptomatic diagnosis. Same with declared cases. The stats massively under estimate the cases since they are not testing enough and I’m sure many of the cases attributed could be seasonal flu anyway.

          If you plot them you are going to try to read something into them. There are some data sets which you should not even plot for that reason.

    • Vuk, thank you for your reports . With you , Willis and worldometer the UK resident is supplied with more information than is available from our media such as the BBC, which is mainly concerned with scoring political points, and our politicians who have become reduced to gibbering idiots, threatening to shoot people out for walk. (Just rubbr bullets they say , but we know from Northern Ireland that rubber bullets can inflict serious injuries ).
      Allthough the mortality rate looks bad, presumably you can’t die of CoVid unless you were first a “case”. So the rate of new cases should be the figure that will determine the future mortality results . From your chart that “case” trend appears to be deviating away from the initial exponential, so hopefully in a few days time one should see the mortality trend drop off (after all there is only a limited number of we oldies ).

      • According to Worldometers only 135 people in the UK have recovered from a coronavirus infection. A number I find totally unbelievable, which throws doubt on any numbers from the UK. Either that or the worst place in the world to become infected with Coronavirus is the UK

        • First UK death was on 5th of March, 23 days ago with 115 hospitalised, to have someone cleared it might take two to three weeks, to confirm full recovery needs a second test. I would assume a recovery numbers would trail hospitalisation numbers by anything up to 20 days, since average hospital stay is 16 days. Many patients may be released before they are fully recovered in order to free places for more serious patients.

          • global figure fr deaths is 18%;
            Corresponding UK figure is about 88%
            UK figures – per Greg above – are probably not worth plotting on even an envelope’s back!


          • Hi Auto
            There is a mixed pattern of global and individual countries (including the UK) data with a reason of the range of employed variables in the methodology of enumeration giving rise to questioning the credibility of the officially published results.

        • There continues to be a note at the foot of the data page that is in a scroll box until you click on it that reads

          A new process for collecting numbers of recovered patients is in development: the figure shown is for 22/03/2020.

          My guess is they are waiting for antibody testing to be available.

          • Antibody test is a blood test.
            What are the odds of even one in 30 people in the US getting an antibody test anytime soon?
            For it to tell us much it would have to be a large number of people who do not know they have been exposed.
            So far we are not even doing swabs on healthy people with no risk factors, AFAIK.

          • The statistics make no attempt to record anyone who may have had the illness in a mild version at home as yet. Realistically, that can only even be estimated by antibody testing of a random sample of the population when the general prevalence is much higher. At the level of the individual, relying on testing alone is not really adequate either.

          • It is a big mess.
            If we need to know who is infected and who has immunity, won’t we be needing 330 million antibody tests?
            What we need is a pill.
            And we are unlikely to get one anytime soon.
            It is likely the treatments being tested will have some value for some people, but mostly in people who just got the virus or just started showing symptoms.
            Remdesivir is 5 days of an IV drip.
            Not gonna be passing that around to millions and millions of people anytime soon either.
            For the whole world it will take a lot of doses.

      • Hi MW
        Apparently large proportion of people who died from the Covid-19 complications would have died within next 6-12 months anyway, so the Covid-19 is an accelerator than a primary agent of the high mortality.

        • So far that is unknown Vuk.
          For one thing, the people in the US who have died seem likely to have been the most frail, but very few of the active cases have been chalked up in the “recovered” side of the ledger, so until the whole thing is over with, such evaluations are tentative and may only be a case of “so far”.

          Like if there are 1000 people dumped into the ocean in the middle of no where.
          Some will drown quickly.
          Others will drown relatively quickly.
          Some may survive for a lot longer…weeks even.
          Some people have survived months in small boats with few or no resources to start with.
          Not a perfect analogy, but of course the weakest will always die first.
          But we are also seeing a significant number of people who would not have died anyway being killed by this virus.
          A healthy middle aged adult has about zero chance of dying of the flu.
          Same for a young adult, 30s to 40s.
          But some of them have died from this.
          Even a person who is healthy but takes a pill for elevated blood pressure has almost no chance of dying from a respiratory infection from most causes.
          The past month is the first time I ever heard well controlled hypertension or prehypertension called a “comorbidity”.
          Most doctors consider a person who takes a pill to control blood pressure, but no other health problems, to be “healthy”.

  9. More thoughts on Covid-19 and its timeline – it’s called 19 for a reason – it means 2019.

    Start 31Dec2019 –this is when the “pneumonia” was allegedly first reported to the WHO, with cases dating back to 12Dec2019.

    Start 17Nov2019 – this is a more credible start date to me – but it could be earlier, especially if it was a man-made virus as some allege, deliberately released.

    Canadian data is at

    These Provincial Trends plots just show when provinces in Canada started testing circa 15Mar2020 – lots of earlier data was missed, including illnesses and deaths.

    I cancelled my SE Asia trip on 28Jan2020 – and I consider myself poorly informed at that time in this coronavirus subject. Our useless dolts in Canada did not start testing until three months after the first cases appeared in China and did not quarantine travellers from overseas until 16Mar2020. The USA initiated quarantines from overseas six weeks earlier, on 31Jan2020. All our Canadian dolts had to do was read the newspaper and copy the USA – but they thought they were smarter, or more likely they were just asleep-on-the-job.

    To top it off, the Trudeau Liberals shipped 16 tonnes of our reserve protective medical supplies to China and now we are severely short of protective gear and our hospitals are running out. You have to ask the question – are the Trudeau Liberals really this stupid, or are they deliberately putting Canadians at risk and sabotaging Canada?

    • Here’s another possibility Allan, the Canadian cowards weren’t going to follow suit while D. Trump could be called ‘racist’ for cancelling China-originated flights so they could join in on that castigation while it lasted. They wouldn’t want to break ranks with the media who were calling that tune. His early move is going to spare the health care system a considerable portion of the flood of patients that could have overwhelmed them and in the end he will emerge from this crisis smelling like a rose for it instead. You know, like a responsible leader and actual public servant and not just a place-holding celebrity. Not that he’ll be saluted any time soon by a once again frustrated contrary media who will also not hint to you that it took 12,000 U.S. H1N1 Swine Flu fatalities to engage his predecessor in a response in 2009.

      • Thank you Chuck – an interesting observation.

        Leftist imbeciles like Obama and Trudeau don’t like to make hard-and-fast decisions – they stand there in an emergency looking like grinning idiots and issue worthless politically-correct sound bytes. When they do make decisions, like promoting worthless green energy schemes, they do so because it serves their self-interest, not the interests of the country and its people.

        It could take decades to undo the full damage done to date by the extreme left in the USA – unless Trump brings forth an omnibus bill that hits the “Undo” button on every piece of leftist legislation passed since about 1970 – fifty years of leftist sabotage of the economy. A good start would be to quash the idiotic and destructive CO2 Endangerment Finding.

        In Canada, the Eastern majority has become so corrupted by leftist “bread-and-circus” politics that the country is lost. Alberta, our oil-rich province of only four million people, has since 1961 “donated” about one trillion dollars to the rest-of-Canada to support our bloated government-and-social-system – that is about one million dollars per Alberta family-of-four – and we are tapped out. After sixty years of socialist failure, Canada is finished – if we hard work, we might be able to save Alberta.

        • Not at’all sir. Thank you for illuminating the shadowy background of what once resembled the scientific enterprise before some figured out how to drain all the living juice out of it for themselves! For wielding a club so as to dare to call a spade — a spade — instead of rolling over for some flashy public relations diamond, you da man!

          In retrospect I’m even half ready to blame our old high school class election campaigns with their catchy slogans to so surely claim the office as that witless template for so much that would follow in adult polity.

    • This article provides a more detailed timeline of Covid-19 events, and lays bare the incredible corruption/incompetence of the Trudeau Liberals in failing to properly manage this situation.

      It still does not explain why these Ottawa scoundrels/imbeciles shipped 16 tonnes of our reserve protective medical supplies to China, such that our own hospitals are running out.

      I suggest that nobody could be that stupid, not even Trudeau – he is deliberately sabotaging Canada.


      Part 1, January: “It’s going to be rare,” predicts Dr. Theresa Tam


      Part 2, February: Trudeau and federal officials argue border controls might stigmatize some Canadians and upset China


      Part 3, March: Trudeau attacks calls to close borders: “There is a lot of knee-jerk reaction that isn’t keeping people safe”

      See also:

      Monika Chansoria March 25, 2020 5:47 am

      Independent Chinese media outlet Caixin Global revealed that Chinese laboratories had in fact identified a mystery virus — later identified as COVID-19 — to be a highly infectious new pathogen by late December 2019. But they were ordered to stop further testing, destroy samples, and suppress the news to the fullest extent possible.

      The regional health official in Wuhan City, the epicenter of the pandemic, demanded the destruction of the lab samples, which established the cause of an unexplained viral pneumonia since January 1, 2020. China didn’t acknowledge that there was human-to-human transmission until more than three weeks later.

      Caixin Global provides the clearest evidence yet of the scale of this fatal cover-up in the very crucial early weeks, when the opportunity was lost to control the outbreak — a contagion that spread throughout the world thereafter, and has caused a global shutdown, literally.


      It is only apposite to go back and trace the many notable military research writings that have advocated for more than two decades that China should prepare itself to wage warfare beyond rules put in place by the Western powers.

      In 1996, two Chinese military officers (colonels in the People’s Liberation Air Force (PLAAF), Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, took part in military exercises conducted by China for the purpose of coercing the island nation of Taiwan. This was the period when Taipei was getting ready for its presidential elections. Soon enough, East Asia witnessed the return of great power rivalry to the region when the United States dispatched two aircraft carrier groups to the area.

      This became the backdrop in which these two colonels met in a small town in southeastern China’s Fujian province and began their research. The end product was a co-authored book, Chao Xian Zhan: Dui Quanqiu Hua Shidai Zhanzheng yu Zhanfa de Xiangding (Warfare Beyond Rules: Judgment of War and Methods of War in the Era of Globalization), published by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Art Press.

      The central premise of Warfare Beyond Rules is that China should be prepared to conduct “warfare beyond all boundaries and limitations to defend itself.”

      In the book, Qiao and Wang argue that the existing rules of war, international laws, and agreements were developed by the Western powers, and that the United States leads the race in new-age military technologies and weapon platforms. Writing more than two decades ago, Qiao and Wang stated that, because of higher costs, cutting-edge weapons’ platforms could trigger a national economic collapse.


    • I read about this before. It could point to higher mortality rates in Italy as I have read Italy had flights direct from Wuhan. Italy might have been more infected with the deadlier strain. If the deadlier strain makes people sick faster then it would not spread as easily.

      • There were direct flights on China Southern from Wuhan to SFO and JFK. The one to SFO was twice weekly, and three times/week for JFK.

  10. I have a qustion for the medical people who populate this blog. The Red Cross has posted the following statement :

    There is no test to screen blood donations for the coronavirus and other respiratory viruses. It’s important to emphasize that there are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusions, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide.

    How is it that thes viruses can have effects on different parts of the body, and anti-bodies can circulate after the event, but the virus itself does not appear in the blood?

    • I really dislike when these government agencies say “we have no evidence of …”. The WHO said early we have no evidence person to person transmission of covid 19, and look where that got us. It gives people a false sense of security.

      • It only gives that impression because you read something other than what is written.

        Absence of proof is not proof of absence.

    • Actually, there is ample evidence that no coronavirus transmission by blood transfusions occurred before 2019. Are we supposed to take these clowns seriously?

    • That’s bureaucratic lie speak for

      “there’s no test we have had the time and money to develop and integrate into our blood supply chain, but this will change in the future and we are going to lie to you right now in order to reassure you.”

      Although I fall on the side of currently minimizing the threat until we know more, I despise bureaucratic lie speak. It does nothing but destroy trust in institutions.

    • It’s a 1minute read … less time than to post

      So likely the multiple organ damage is other bacteria and other virus attacking thru the penetration the virus creates.

      They say they have no evidence because they have no evidence. If they said it attacked multiple organs and it didn’t then it is misleading and you would be condemming them anyhow. Talk about a no win with you people.

  11. “It takes you five, seven, 10 days — usually more than one week to develop a robust antibody response,” said Isabella Eckerle, a virologist at Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases. “And the first week is the week when people shed the virus in the highest concentrations.”

  12. Here in BC you only qualify to get tested if you are sick enough to be hospitalized, so obviously the numbers are way too low.

    Othwise stay home and self-medicate. Forget about hydrochloriquine, the doctors are no longer allowed to prescribe this off label. The medical college in BC has been given its marching orders by the left loonies running BC.

    • You can bet “the left loonies running BC.” have all the hydrochloriquine they want and are reselling it at a tidy profit.

  13. Here is a North Carolina company which is offering an approved 15 minute Covid19 antibody test.
    Negative results need to be followed up using PCR molecular diagnostics. It is not approved for home testing, only testing in laboratories or by healthcare workers at the point-of-care.

    In order to test the detection sensitivity and specificity of the COVID-19 IgG-IgM combined antibody test, blood samples were collected from COVID-19 patients from multiple hospitals and Chinese CDC laboratories. The tests were done separately at each site. A total of 525 cases were tested: 397 (positive) clinically confirmed (including PCR test) SARS-CoV-2-infected patients and 128 non- SARS-CoV-2-infected patients (128 negative). The testing results of vein blood without viral inactivation were summarized in the Table 1. Of the 397 blood sample from SARS-CoV-2-infected patients, 352 tested positive, resulting in a sensitivity of 88.66%. Twelve of the blood samples from the 128 non-SARS-CoV-2 infection patients tested positive, generating a specificity of 90.63%.

    The test strip contains a colloidal gold-labeled recombinant novel coronavirus antigen and quality control antibody colloidal gold marker, two detection lines (G and M lines) and one quality control line (C) fixed on a nitrocellulose membrane. M is fixed with monoclonal anti-human IgM antibody for detecting the novel coronavirus IgM antibody. G is fixed with monoclonal antihuman IgG antibody for detecting the novel coronavirus IgG antibody. The quality control antibody is fixed on the C line.

    • Is that good enough? At about 10% failures with false positives and with false negatives it will I suspect need to be improved upon until we have something approaching herd immunity in populations. Re-testing may help improve the statistics. Obviously PCR testing forms a backstop on negative cases, but only where they have the virus but haven’t developed antibodies. But releasing false positives back into the population on the assumption they are immune once not apparently ill will leave them and other susceptible people they mix with at risk – enhanced risk if they regard themselves as virus proof.

      It’s going to throw up many more false positives until prevalence is quite high. It will overestimate actual prevalence. It will be better at estimating susceptibility as a proportion of the population. But testing positive is only a 50% chance of being positive at a prevalence of 10%, and just 8.3% at a prevalence of 1%.


    “Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. surpassed 100,000 Friday, doubling in just three days as the pandemic accelerates and the U.S. rolls out broader testing measures.

    “Confirmed U.S. cases passed 50,000 on Tuesday, up from 5,000 last week.

    “At the beginning of the month, there were roughly 100 confirmed cases in the U.S.”

    If the above is correct, and if the doubling period continues to be 3 days, then in about 5 weeks the pandemic will have infected everyone in the US (~330 million).

    The body count will continue to mount for two weeks after that. Mother’s Day (5/10) is the beginning of week 7.

  15. One of the mistakes people seem to be making is that they look at current tested totals and current deaths as parts of the same equation. Most of those dying today were getting sick 2-3 weeks ago. Even those feeling ill and being tested were likely infected 5 days ago. You can see the effect in Italy that went into ‘lock down’ 3 weeks ago and the effects are only just appearing in the stats. So yes, there are many silent cases of this disease but you have to back date the figure.

    Also, at the moment patients are getting decent care. If the numbers of patients rise too high then a lot more start to die because there is no more care left. Hospitals will start to triage so that groups become automatically excluded from care. Give or take how much money someone can throw at the care supplier.

    • This is more than counterbalanced by the extremely limited testing. We know, from countries which have done the best, most consistent testing over time (South Korea), that the mortality rate we see from current estimates is several times too high.

      • “This is more than counterbalanced by the extremely limited testing”, true but the number of silent cases 2-3 weeks ago was a lot smaller than there are now. ‘several times too high’ compared to the numbers tested positive 2 weeks ago is still a small number. eg the current Italian death figures (mostly northern Italy) is over 9000. For the fatality to be 1% there would have had to be 900000 infected 3 weeks ago and there would still be about 59 million people to go.

        We can’t use South Korea or even China as a bench mark because they locked down in a way Western countries won’t.

        • “We can’t use South Korea or even China as a bench mark because they locked down in a way Western countries won’t.”

          there was no lock down in Korea.

          in china yes. I was there. Saw it.
          in Korea, no I was here. no lock down.
          Social DISTANCING? yes.
          Lock down? nope

        • Those places also have everyone wearing masks.
          In the US, we are being told not to wear one…a huge mistake.
          I’ll bet anyone dollars to donuts that this will be recognized as a huge mistake eventually.
          We have had at least a month since it became obvious to even the blindest that we have a problem (Ok…I should only say most…some people still deny anything serious is going around), and yet still hospitals do not even have the masks they need.
          If masks are such a waste of time and do no good…why do people in hospitals start to quit when they run out? I have never heard of doctors and nurses quitting because of a disease…but we have it happening now…because they KNOW it is beyond imbecilic to not have a mask on when one cough will send droplets into a cloud which will hover for minutes to possibly hours, and breathing it means you are infected.
          I do not think all of the people getting this virus had someone spit in their mouth.

          • Most masks I see people wearing here in Australia are totally useless at providing any kind of protection against this kind of virus as they are NOT medical grade and do NOT fully cover mouth and nose. Completely useless. Even the ones I do see that do cover the mouth and nose are NOT medical grade. Again, completely useless.

          • When all else fails use bandanas, washable and can cover pretty much the whole face. Wash in a hot water/clorox mix. Pretty sure Chinese virus can’t survive chlorine cleaning. A decent pair of safety glasses should be added.

      • Josh, the important figure is the numbers who have died. Which as of today is 10023. With a case fatality rate of 1% that gives a million infected people – but not today. The cfr is for 2-3 weeks ago (median time from infection to death is 22 days). 22 days ago there were about 3900 tested positive in Italy. There is a big gap between 3900 and a million people. The silent cases would have to be 256 times the tested figures. Does that sound right?

        We can’t use China or South Korea as templates because they managed the system in a way the West is very reluctant to do. Their cfrs are due to their actions, not the real cfr.

      • Testing is not a cure for the disease. It only informs the need for quarantine and treatment, not necessarily accurately – but it does provide the excuse to enforce quarantine around positive test cases to prevent further spread.

    • The first para is bourne out in France where there is a 14 day lag between admissions and fatalities. Ratio of 2:1, not good. Unless that ratio is busted by better treatment ( they have just authorised use of hydroxycholroquine and other patented antivirals ) the current daily cases of around 3000 with become daily deaths in 14 days.

      Second para is what is happening in Italy now. They only had a lag of three days between rise is cases and rise in deaths but a ratio of 8:1 . Probably much more testing being done. But that lag is now zero days. Cases and fatalities going up and down in synch. There may be different ways to read that but none of them look too good.

  16. The crucial problem for the serologic test is Specificity to SARS-CoV-2 virus and not another related corona virus that circulates as a seasonal cold virus which many-most of us already have been exposed to. That means very careful work that can take some time to check. And cross-reactivity to related corona viruses within each of us is a leading hypothesis on why many people, 5 out of 6 by one study, have few or no symptoms when infected with SARS-CoV-2.

    • So you think they never bothered to verify that other corona viruses would not give a positive result in these tests?
      If that is true, obviously it means none of what is believed to be the case is on a solid foundation.
      Could it really be the case that the people in charge of such things do not even take obvious confounding factors into account?
      Again, if true…this would be very troubling

  17. Does anyone else find it surprising that the death rate from Covid is going up while the Total Mortality rate seems to be static or going down? And that Total Mortality is very low in any case?

    There are several useful sites which give Total Mortality. The European Mortality Monitor (Euro MoMo) is a good one. That has been showing a very low mortality rate across all of Europe, and not rising at all except for Italy in the last week.

    The most obvious explanation of this is that the patients dying OF Covid are in fact dying WITH Covid. They are overwhelmingly people who are dying anyway, and the ones who are going from lung conditions are testing for Covid when they might as well be testing for standard Influenza.

    In the UK I estimate that around 2000 people die from all causes per day in the Winter. Guess at 1/4 from Cancer, 1/4 from circulatory issues, 1/4 from respiration issues and 1/4 from various. That suggests that 500 people will be dying with Covid-like symptoms on any normal given day.

    Until testing shows more than, say, 1000 people per day dying of Covid in the UK, the situation does not appear to be very out of the ordinary. Data so far shows that we have a disease which is normally milder than ‘flu, but occasionally precipitates a severe condition. At what point is it worth closing the Western World’s economy down?

      • Without an autopsy finding I’m not going to accept a newspaper report that two cops died of Covid. But I know that you have an average of around 40,000 deaths per year from flu in the US. Are you going to tell me that there are no cops or docs amongst them?

        Why not look at your local Total Mortality figures and see if you can see any signal of an external deadly infection? I have for Europe, and found no signal as yet. Much like Climate Change.

      • I know of one don’t remember it my grand parents did it called Spanish Flu, it a big reason WWI ended. As to the last three pandemic that been in my life time who would have know, they did no day to day tracking on them. In fact by the time they figured out they had a pandemic on the first two my guess it would have been at it peak, not just starting.

    • The numbers dying today were infected 2-3 weeks ago. The median time from infection to symptoms is 5 days. The time from infection to death is 22 days. 22 days ago, we’d (UK) just had out first death. Today alone 260 passed away. We’re still in the foothills. Italy is more than 2 weeks ahead of us. Their lock down hasn’t stopped the upward numbers of daily fatalities yet, let alone started a reversal.

      The numbers of dying both in Italy and the UK are not evenly distributed but in hot spots based on early infections. Whereas normal fatalities are acroass the board (even if they’re delayed by better healthcare in cities). Until we have a vaccine or reliable cures, we will see infections and deaths spreading from area to area until we have herd immunity. That’s 80%. The fatality rate at the moment in the UK and broadly in Italy is based on good medical intervention. If too many arrive at once, that will break down and fatality rates will go up. Actions now are to slow things down to help the hospitals cope, create more capacity and develop cures/vaccines.

      • The antivirals and other medicines have certainly not halted all deaths.
        But we do not know how many they might have prevented.
        We only know it is not all of them.

        • Can’t prevent all deaths. People die, it is just how life is, no one gets out of it alive. If we had some honesty and openness we would have a much better idea how many people infected are dying from the Chinese virus and how many are dying from underlying/pre-existing conditions. Funny how the powers that be just keep screaming coronavirus.

    • Well, since the most common reasons people die are age dependent, it needs to be broken down.
      But in general, if no one is going outside, we would surely see far less car accidents, and any other type of accidental deaths that occur outside the home.
      Which is a lot of deaths.
      They same thing happens during snow storms. In a snow storm, every accident is blamed on the storm, even if there are far more accidents on days with no snow storm.
      Go figure.
      Also, we might expect some other causes of death will decline…like communicable diseases that do not have long periods of time between exposure and death…like bacterial pneumonia, or regular flu.
      Nosocomial infections are a leading cause of death, and except for COVID ones, these are likely a lot lower since people are avoiding hospitals except for severe illnesses, and all elective procedures have not been put on hold.
      In fact it may be that everyone staying inside and taking vitamin pills and such things may lower all cause mortality by quite a bit…and may have a long lasting effect.
      If we all quarantine for a month or more, the chain of transmission of ALL communicable diseases will be interrupted, at least somewhat.
      It may even be enough to eliminate certain fast moving ones.
      Imagine that…and I just thought of it from your comment Dodgy Geezer.

      We may unintentionally do a lot more good than we intended, in the long run, regarding disease transmission.
      Flu Manchu may be one of the ones least affected due to the long period of time the virus seems to remain in the body and able to be shed.

      • Misspoke here:
        “…all elective procedures have not been put on hold.”
        Should be “…HAVE been put on hold.”

      • With few people venturing outside, will crime related deaths decrease?
        How about drug related overdose caused by illegal narcotics?
        I think I recall reading that when people have real things to worry about, like a war for instance, suicides are much lower.
        So maybe suicides will decrease for a time.
        There could be all sorts of things that happen differently in what is literally an unprecedented situation such as we are in.

    • The biggest drop is usually car deaths and work accidents for very obvious reasons … see if you can isolate those figures. There are a number of studies on what happens in a recession and depression.

  18. I haven’t seen much discussion of the data out of Iceland on here. As of today Iceland has tested 14,635 people out of a population of 364,000. They have tests being done by their version of the CDC and by a private firm decode genetics with 6 percent (963) of those tested confirmed positive and ~ half of those being asymptomatic. This translates to ~2,700 infected people per million. If we assume the same in the US then we already have 864K people with this virus in the US. I’m not sure what to make of this data other than that it appears to me to the best data set in the world by a significant margin especially as they appear to be doing some random testing not just symptomatic or contact tracing testing.

      • Korea 0.7% of population tested…..Iceland 4% of population tested and ~50% asymptomatic. Genuinely curious why the huge difference.

        • How many Chinese nationals traveled to Iceland during October-December 2019? How many Icelanders traveled to mainland China in same time frame? The source of Chinese virus is China, so that is the point at which sorting this out should begin.

          • “How many Chinese nationals traveled to Iceland during October-December 2019? How many Icelanders traveled to mainland China in same time frame? The source of Chinese virus is China, so that is the point at which sorting this out should begin.”

            Why would the rate of asymptomatic cases be affected by any of that?

          • Because it comes FROM China, hence the name Chinese virus, Wuhan virus, kung flu, the Xi Jinping trots, whatever it is called at any given time it CAME FROM China. Get it? If Iceland has an outbreak you have to find HOW it came from China to Iceland.

          • Who cares? The people tracking this, thats who. You really this dense? Don’t answer that, self incrimination and what not.

        • Oh, and yes, if Iceland has cases of Chinese virus it CAME FROM China. Tracing who brought it to Iceland will tell a lot about how it is spreading.

  19. All of Canada in lock down, quarantine or social and self isolation. This comes from all authorities. How does this happen in our biggest city?

    Since my gym is closed I have been walking 4 mi. every day by the bay. I see lots of people walking of all ages. Many smile and say hello at appropriate separation. I feel good just getting outside, very therapeutic. I just wish I had a dog to walk, they seem to be having a ball!

  20. Thanks for the article! Better testing is much needed. The current tests have way too many false negatives. A local woman hospitalized with all the Corona symptoms got 4 negatives in a row before the 5th test confirmed she had it.

  21. Since the antibody theory for vaccines has long been dead in the water, although the vaccine industry still clings to it like a lifeboat, just how much meaning is there in any antibody theory?

    People with high Titers get diseases for which they were vaccinated and people with none do not. It means just about nothing. Unless of course the entire vaccine mythology is deeply flawed and naturally acquired disease is a different matter entirely.

  22. The talk is all about testing and test, test, test according to the WHO but here’s a glimpse of reality on the ground-
    and that’s what I found going on the Oz Healthdirect website’s symptom checker when I had some symptoms of what could be pharyngitis, flu, some coronavirus or the Covid 19 perhaps-

    Now that checker has got more involed with questioning now but at the time it was simply dismissing me as not coming from OS or being in contact with same and not having breathing difficulties. I did have a bad headache felt weak and had a throat that was on fire with a cough at its worst. But in hindsight it was mainly an URTI type affliction that subsided into an occasional cough bringing up phlegm until it cleared although it seemed to clear after a few days but the sore throat did come back again for a second try before finally clearing.

    So essentially I had to rely on the symptom checker but now you can see the problem with the SH coming into our winter flu season. Like the doc triaging and turning those young people away you can see how infections like that and flu pharyngitis etc could easily overrun any medical system mixed in with Covid19 as people worry about their like symptoms. We wouldn’t want a bad flu season with ramping in ambulances at hospitals you can get at their peak.

    With the PM announcing landlords can’t terminate domestic tenants who can’t pay for the next 6 months and commercial landlords and tenants having to negotiate on that the question arises how long can we smash economic activity with quarantining measures and staying home? Well the answer is it may have to be ongoing for 18months to 2 years before a vaccine is safe and ready to go into the arms first of our precious medicos and carers-
    As fast as the experts can produce what they think will nail it you simply can’t afford to stick it into medicos until you’re absolutely sure it won’t be to their detriment.

    That’s the reality but then are we really starving the hosts to get rid of the virus here? Risk averse govt everywhere will naturally try anything before having to face up to that. Flattening the curve means flattening everyone’s economic wellbeing bankrupting many and that’s some tradeoff they’re messing with in order to appear to be in control with their printing press. Will their stagflation recipe cure be worse than the disease? It certainly will be if all they achieve is a rerun of the Great Depression. China is the litmus test on that score now as they return to productivity and real income from it while we print IOUs. What’s the correct call right now eh? Economic or medical?

    • Here’s the problem again and note she can’t even tell you what her temperature was. London to a brick she had what I had but I knew my temp was OK and apart from the swollen glands and fiery throat and cough my breathing was OK-
      The tattoo is fine irony.

    • With the PM announcing landlords can’t terminate domestic tenants who can’t pay for the next 6 months

      I guess you mean they can’t terminate the lease. Terminating the tenant would be a bit extreme.

      • I live in a place where the owner/agent doesn’t give a toss about tenants and tenancy laws. He draws up his own contracts, gets people to sign them under duress. I didn’t sign a contract because any form of agreement in NSW, be it written, verbal or in electronic form, is legal and all the rules/laws apply equally. However, this particular “owner”, who goes by two names “Alicia” and “Jay”, does not play by the rules and has withheld the bond on at least 3 people who really need the money. I very much suspect I won’t get my bond back either.

      • No more extreme Greg than lots of small investors or retirees relying on the rental income but still having to pay mortgages, council rates, water and sewer rates, land tax, insurances, strata fees, RE agent fees although I guess they can forget about the maintenance. With most States requiring bonds of 4-6 weeks max to be held in escrow by Govt Residential Tenancies funds at least they should release those so landlords can have some income. Even if they can’t pay their bills and have to capitalise their mortgages for however long it takes as what’s a bond worth now if a tenant goes rogue?

        • All investments have risk. And what’s a bond/rent when a landlord goes rouge? Yeah! If you dredge the records you will find many more rogue landlords. It is why the laws and rules changed 23rd March 2020 to stop these kinds of people!

          • With all due respect Patrick the risk is very one sided with the cost of housing vs a few weeks rent and landlords cannot go rogue with the rent in NSW because it must be lodged and any disputes over it arbitrated as anyone can see here-

            However if you choose to engage in shonky practices and cash in hand or whatever with particular dodgy landlords with no formal lease and bond lodgment then what do you expect? For the vast majority it’s a win win partnership and it won’t help tenants if their landlords go broke with all costs and no income for however long the brains trust deem appropriate.

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