The Pandemic: Cardinal Numbers No One Talks About

Reposted from The Savvy Street

By Vinay Kolhatkar

April 20, 2020

It’s plausible that somewhere between 100 million and 500 million people on earth have had, or are having, the coronavirus infection.

That is a staggering statement when, as at April 19, 2020, the confirmed cases numbered 2.35 million. And we are projecting that somewhere between 40 to 200 times that, is the real number, which is between 1.3% and 6.5% of the world population.

What’s the reasoning behind how we may have gotten there? And what’s the evidence?

Let’s go through the reasoning first.

The Presence of a Virus Is Not a Presence of Sickness

SARS-CoV-2, aka coronavirus, aka SARS-2, is not the same as COVID-19, aka C-19. The former is the virus, the latter is the disease that one may get from it.

Human beings have an immune system that resists or controls viruses that invade or reside in their bodies. Writing in The Scientist, Professor Eric Delwart, who investigates human and animal viromes, says [emphasis mine]:

Most viruses are neither consistently pathogenic nor always harmless, but rather can result in different outcomes depending on the health and immunological status of their hosts. The less pathogenic a virus is—the lower the percentage of infected people who become sick—the larger such case-control studies need to be to detect a difference between the groups.

Given the large number of viruses detected in healthy hosts, it is likely that some of the viruses initially found in sick hosts are simply harmless coincidental infections.

“Viral load” is the term virologists use to denote the strength of the virus—is it an army of thousands, or an army of millions? Higher the load, greater the chance the virus may win the battle. Then the immune system must bring in the artillery—for example, by increasing body temperature, so as not to lose the war (death).

Even a small viral load may be detected in a diagnostic test. But the host may never get sick.

On April 15, Boston25News said this of the tests carried out in a homeless shelter:

Of the 397 people tested, 146 people tested positive. Not a single one had any symptoms.

“It was like a double knockout punch. The number of positives was shocking, but the fact that 100 percent of the positives had no symptoms was equally shocking,” said Dr. Jim O’Connell, president of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.

Exponential Testing

The global “confirmed cases” daily number had been growing until April 11. On March 1, there were 1823 new cases confirmed, and on April 1, 74,407—40 times as many.

The media told us that this is an exponential growth in infection.

But that increase in detection (confirmed cases) from March, 2020 is positively correlated to the number of tests performed. See the plot of tests per confirmed case in Our World in Data—most countries were not testing much, if at all, before March 2020.

But detection is not the same as occurrence. When did the virus contagion begin? Not when tests began—that’s when the media started lecturing us 24/7 on the stats.

Not when tests began—that’s when the media started lecturing us 24/7 on the stats. The virus commenced its worldwide spread at least as far back as December (possibly November) 2019. But the late-2002 SARS-1 China was not the same as the late-2019 SARS-2 China, in terms of its booming middle class traveling overseas, the 50 million overseas Chinese citizens making home visits, and the ugly coincidence of the Lunar New Year celebrations in January 2020.

One recently published study asserts that SARS-2 (coronavirus) is contagious even when the host is largely or wholly asymptomatic.

Surely, SARS-2 must have spread like wildfire during those heady, wintry days when no one was practicing social distancing—we even had Christmas and football and concerts and parties before March 2020, and we also had packed subways, sweaty nightclubs, and smoky bars, all filled with bodies without face masks. This period—the three northern winter months, must have been when the exponential growth in infection actually occurred.

But the hospitals were not overwhelmed back then, except in Italy (refer our Coronavirus Special Edition for why Italy is an outlier). Could it be because a vast majority of cases had nil to mild symptoms? Perhaps the symptomatic thought they had the flu. Deaths may have been attributed to respiratory illness. Maybe a large majority never knew they had the SARS-2 virus.

But hosts produce antibodies after a few days of infection—some (IgM) suggest an infection is ongoing, while some of them (IgG) stay long after the infection is resolved. Such antibodies can be detected by serological tests—lab analyses of a blood sample.

Antibodies that stay long may lead to some level of immunity. Evidence suggests that the immunity to SARS-1 and MERS after an infection was around three years, although for SARS-1, the antibodies may persist for twelve years.

To date, reinfection cases of SARS-2 are so low that they could be attributed to false tests. What’s unknown is how long the SARS-2 term antibodies last, and to what extent they provide a defense against a new infection—do they make it impossible? Or highly unlikely?

Read More

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
April 22, 2020 6:19 am

There’s more to covid morbidity/mortality than just the virus.

Doctors say the ventilators are overused for Covid-19

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 6:36 am

This from a distinguished professor of Pulmonary/critical care exactly validates what
@cameronks had to take to Youtube so others would listen.

Tobin: “The surest way to increase #COVID19 mortality is liberal use of intubation and mechanical ventilation.”

1 less ventilator/ICU day is an enormous win. Less invasive therapies (ie. HFNC, Nitric Oxide, Convalescent Plasma, etc) need to be considered 1st. Im NOT saying intubation ki!lled Halo but fear of them suddenly crashing should not be driving this decision

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 7:44 am

The UK’s Covid-19 today’s (Wednesday) update:

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 8:25 am

April 22, 2020 at 6:19 am

I am not trying a say that you are wrong,
But ventilators and such direct engagements, are not the main problem.

In consideration of homeless, it is staggering simple;
The most vulnerable to infections, but still the most head scratching when it comes to the disease.

These guys, this group is the main and only one, that is not subject to flu vaccinations platforms.
Simple as that, where this group has being not subjected artificially to the exclusion from the seasonal prevalence of COVID-19, even when this group far much more subjected to the infection in the first place.

Many suffering severity and fatality there, simply due to have being off the seasonal prevalence of COVID-19.
Artificially subjected to such as condition… due to flu vaccination.

The poor countries there, that too do not have flu vaccination platforms, still have neither their hospitals or graveyards overloading… actually having less problems with COVID-19 itself… than rich and powerful countries.

The most beautiful potent modern medical healthcare procedure, the vaccines and vaccination.
Amazingly so, but still very very dangerous, due to the moronic cowboy attitude of treating such as,
like a candy business, with no regard and responsibility of it’s extraordinary potential.


Reply to  whiten
April 22, 2020 8:48 am

FWIW, Italy rolled out the new VIQCC flu vaccine just before this thing hit.

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  whiten
April 22, 2020 8:52 am

I would never get a flu vaccination, I don’t think it is required and I have a natural distrust of the government offering anything for free. If the government is involved there is an ulterior motive.😨

Reply to  Matthew Bergin
April 22, 2020 9:25 am

If you considering a flu, due to traveling somewhere where the prevailing seasonal influenza
is clearly different from the one in the area you live, than you should consider the corresponding vaccine to that influenza.
For as long as that will not be a part of a cocktail flu shot.


Bill Powers
Reply to  whiten
April 22, 2020 11:09 am

Every year the flu shot is a best guess for the healthcare “Experts” and an after the fact, head scratching decision for the bureaucrats, who record the numbers. It all amounts to Sophisticated Wild AR$e guessing for the Centralized Government Authoritarians.

In 2017 the manufacturers of the vaccine apparently got is very badly wrong. But the vaccine might have been effective somewhere else on the globe. The record keeping SWAGers just pull numbers out of the air so we will never really know how accurate historical numbers are nor statistical analysis on a mad mix of actual vs estimated COD.

in the final analysis a “cocktail” of Cold and Flu viruses in the air, in 2020, 2017, 2009, 2003… hastened a lot of already compromised people to their final resting place. Hmm.

For a realist. It seems like a bad idea to, for the 1st time, set a precedent to economically murder the economy and millions of otherwise healthy people.

Reply to  Matthew Bergin
April 23, 2020 10:21 am

I have gotten a flu shot every year for 27 years. Never had a problem. Only had a bad case of the flu a few times in those years. Seems like I have not had any cold or flu uncomfortable enough for me to remember for 18-24 months. Hope Covid-19 doesn’t kill me! 🙂

Reply to  whiten
April 22, 2020 9:09 am


Can you form a complete thought?
I cannot understand the point on any of your sentences.

Reply to  Billy
April 22, 2020 9:19 am

April 22, 2020 at 9:09 am

vaccines are no candies.

You treat vaccines like candies, you elevate the risk, very very much so.

The homeless and the poor nations can not afford such candies… flue vaccines.

There is very little room and scope for flu vaccines.

Vaccines are good and very potential, but also very dangerous if treated like candies.

simple., the rest is only data.


Reply to  whiten
April 22, 2020 10:25 am

Isn’t life like a box of chocolates?

Reply to  whiten
April 22, 2020 7:30 pm

… the good ones are already gone & the creme filled ones have been poked to verify that they are not worth dealing with.

Reply to  Billy
April 22, 2020 11:45 am

The thoughts are all there, just not very clearly expressed.

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 8:31 am

And just in now, the first confirmed deaths caused by CV19 in the US occurred back in February in California weeks before any government quarantine orders, which supports this publication’s and their source’s claims.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Robert W. Turner
April 22, 2020 10:45 am

I know of a case in Minnesota were some died of an unknown pneumonia.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Robert W. Turner
April 22, 2020 8:34 pm

Out-done by the West coast: post mortems on people who died in January are COV+. An Italian doctor said when he came back from Christmas break, he had 11 strange flu cases with dry cough etc. It means they were exposed about mid-December or before – multiple of them, meaning multiple sources in late Nov (or earlier) locally or in China. Patient Zero had to be in October or earlier at the very least.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
April 22, 2020 9:37 pm

I hear quite a lot of people say “yes I recall having a strange and mild flu, but still felt weak for a some time” around me (Paris).

(It could be recall bias, as people have all sorts of “flu” all the time, with various seriousness.)

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
April 23, 2020 12:31 am

Thank you for that information, Robert, Mark, and Crispin.

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 8:56 am

Every one. Go to this link and absorb the rational this treatment in critical care PDF.

The WHO/CDC/ PLUS others screwed up big time in initial treatment of covid

I submitted an article on this but have not heard back yet

Reply to  terry
April 22, 2020 10:34 am

From that Eastern Virginia Medical School pdf. The last sentence is the treatment recommended by China, that was unquestioned and practiced throughout the world until some doctors in Italy and the US (maybe other places too) sensed something was wrong. No telling how many people have died because of it.

It is important to recognize that “COVID-19 pneumonia” does not cause ARDS. These patients have normal lung compliance with near normal lung water (as measured by transpulmonary thermodilution).
Treating them with early intubation and the ARDNSnet treatment protocol will cause the disease you
are trying to prevent i.e. ARDS

Reply to  terry
April 22, 2020 12:04 pm

TMI. Can you reference the exact material that is “screwed up?”

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 22, 2020 12:55 pm

I was read the prevent treatment in EVMS by my Dr. over a telehealth call in Mar. I did not know where it came from at time. I have three version over time as this progressed. Everyone should see prevent protocol and the following conclusion. I submitted a short blog but have not heard back. Read following carefully…

Page 9
The above pathologies are not novel, although the combined severity in COVID-19 disease is
considerable. Our long-standing and more recent experiences show consistently successful treatment if
traditional therapeutic principles of early and aggressive intervention is achieved, before the onset of
advanced organ failure. It is our collective opinion that the historically high levels of morbidity and
mortality from COVID-19 is due to a single factor: the widespread and inappropriate reluctance amongst
intensivists to employ anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant treatments, including corticosteroid therapy
early in the course of a patient’s hospitalization. It is essential to recognize that it is not the virus that is
killing the patient, rather it is the patient’s overactive immune system. The flames of the “cytokine fire”
are out of control and need to be extinguished. Providing supportive care (with ventilators that
themselves stoke the fire) and waiting for the cytokine fire to burn itself out simply does not work… this
approach has FAILED and has led to the death of tens of thousands of patients.

The systematic failure of critical care systems to adopt corticosteroid therapy resulted from the
published recommendations against corticosteroids use by the World Health Organization (WHO), the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Thoracic Society (ATS) amongst
others. A very recent publication by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and authored one of the
members of our group (UM), identified the errors made by these organizations in their analyses of
corticosteroid studies based on the findings of the SARS and H1N1 pandemics. Their erroneous
recommendation to avoid corticosteroids in the treatment of COVID-19 has led to the development of
myriad organ failures which have overwhelmed critical care systems across the world.

Our treatment protocol targeting these key pathologies has achieved near uniform success, if
begun within 6 hours of a COVID19 patient presenting with shortness of breath or needing ≥
4L/min of oxygen. If such early initiation of treatment could be systematically achieved, the
need for mechanical ventilators and ICU beds will decrease dramatically.

It is important to recognize that “COVID-19 pneumonia” does not cause ARDS. These patients have
normal lung compliance with near normal lung water (as measured by transpulmonary thermodilution).
Treating them with early intubation and the ARDNSnet treatment protocol will cause the disease you
are trying to prevent i.e. ARDS. These patients tolerate hypoxia remarkable well, without an increase in
blood lactate concentration nor a fall in central venous oxygen saturation. We therefore suggest the
liberal us of HFNC, with frequent patient repositioning (proning) and the acceptance of “permissive
hypoxemia”. However, this approach entails close patient observation.

page 10

Further, it is important to recognize that COVID-19 present with a variety of phenotypes, likely
dependent on genetic heterogeneity, age, and co-morbidities (these are illustrated in Figure 5). COVID-
19 patients may develop a “thrombophilic phenotype” presenting with severe thrombo-embolic disease
with little evidence of lung parenchymal involvement. This suggests that mildly symptomatic patients
may benefit from anticoagulation.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge that there is no known drug/treatment that has been proven
unequivocally to improve the outcome of COVID-19. This, however, does not mean we should adopt a
nihilist approach and limit treatment to “supportive care”. Furthermore, it is likely that there will not be
a single “magic bullet” to cure COVID-19. Rather, we should be using multiple drugs/interventions that
have synergistic and overlapping biological effects that are safe, cheap and “readily” available. The
impact of COVID-19 on middle- and low-income countries will be enormous; these countries will not be
able to afford expensive designer molecules.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 22, 2020 5:51 pm

I am also reading EVMS – protocol by Paul Marik.
Maybe behind the scenes of politics and MSM there are several protocols and cocktails for COVID 19.
I found this from Australia’s AMA
It appears to provide a précis for the different drugs but doesn’t appear to recommend them.
I am heathy and eating well taking recommended vitamins zinc, orange juice, and bananas and sleeping a lot.
BUT if I get COVID 19 I will assume my symptoms start on day 5. If am not approving by day 8 I will go to gp to get cocktails as described by AMA or EVMS.
I will NOT wait to day 12 when I’m really sick to go to hospital

Reply to  Waza
April 22, 2020 6:22 pm

I looked at this source, on a side they are still advising against steroids.

The story from EVMS that no one latches onto. The who/CDC et all screwed up the original treatment.

Notice how all of a sudden there are enough ventalators and hospitals, reread EVMS justification for new tac on treating

George S Ellis
April 22, 2020 6:24 am

Not mentioned that I see was the possibility that the positives were false positives and the test themselves may be flawed?

Charles Higley
Reply to  George S Ellis
April 22, 2020 6:56 am

“Preliminary results of some serological studies are in.”

In addition, what were the serological tests based on? What is the basis material, since they have no pure viral culture? As covis are ubiquitous and we all have different mixture of antibodies to the covis we have had, what did they use to select for in the serological tests? Again, poor science and little verification.

As covis also look like exosomes and both have the same size and location, both contain RNA, and they have surface proteins for the same angiotensin enzyme, what is their standard?

With such crappy tests, it is no wonder that we will find positive results everywhere we look. I bet blood samples from last summer would likely show a lot of positives. That would be an interesting question to pursue.

Reply to  Charles Higley
April 22, 2020 9:43 am

Charles Higley
April 22, 2020 at 6:56 am

But still, the main parameters are, specific address, and length of active time, plus overall size and mass.
Things that make these guys treated differently, by different antibody response… even when they look pretty similar to you… or the same.

The nature reads and writes it’s own language, far far far much better than any expert dude there could.
And that happens to be a four based double helix code format.


Geoff Sherringon
Reply to  Charles Higley
April 23, 2020 4:24 am

… Interesting question to pursue.
Yes, it would.
That is what a good scientist would do.
Come to grips with the baseline and what the tests might really test. Geoff S

April 22, 2020 6:29 am

We need to be aware of mutations.

As others have pointed out, there are at least 3 main strains. Initially it was said that the virus was mutating at a slow rate. But that might not be the case. Some are suggesting that Italy, Spain and New York have been infected mainly by a deadlier strain.

Reply to  Scissor
April 22, 2020 6:39 am

This is how virus mythology is born.

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 6:41 am

What mythology?

Reply to  Scissor
April 22, 2020 7:03 am

The myth that disparate morbidities/deaths among various countries are necessarily due to viral mutations. It could be, and most likely is, a number of non-viral factors that cause such disparities.

Another myth goes like this:

* Patient is intubated, but suffers organ damage from the low oxygen and toxic drugs used to keep patient in coma.
* Patient survives and is discharged, but later dies from organ failure.
* Virologists ascribe organ failure to virus.

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 7:29 am

There are even disparate death rates within countries. I’m not disputing any kind or any number of factors, I’m just pointing out the reality of the existence of different strains and the need to understand whether these are important or not.

The following piece summarizes and ties together some research in this area.

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 7:49 am

And another myth goes like this:

* A layperson “reads something somewhere”, such as that the virus mutates frequently
* They never do the additional research to ask, Compared to what? What are the implications? Is that normal or unusual?
* Instead of investing the time, they make assumptions that sound, superficially at least, plausible and post their opinions online
* A myth is born, which ironically spreads like a virus

Not picking on Scissor specifically, since I’m sure we’re all guilty of this at times, myself included.

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 8:13 am

SteveB that isn’t a myth that is a law of anything remotely controversial.

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 8:17 am

I believe the myth originated with this study from Zhejiang University………..

The novel coronavirus has mutated into at least 30 different genetic variations, according to a new study in China.

The results showed that medical officials have vastly underestimated the overall ability of the virus to mutate, in finding that different strains have affected different parts of the world, leading to potential difficulties in finding an overall cure.

The study, which was carried out by professor Li Lanjuan and colleagues from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, was published in a non-peer-reviewed paper released on Sunday.

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 8:34 am

Yeah we discuss it below be careful with that it has Stokes effect it is all in the definition of strain … the paper defines strain as sequencing differences.

George S. Ellis
Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 3:03 pm

Well, the Spanish Flu’s second year kind of makes the myth.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 8:46 pm

There are now over 30 variants.

Reply to  Scissor
April 22, 2020 6:58 am

aus media say CSIRO reckons more strains
but locked behind pay to read(so far)
curious how hotspot and other govvy created info can be with held BY media sources paywalls?
and our aussie ABC omits mention or publication too??

Reply to  ozspeaksup
April 22, 2020 8:18 am

Chinese research places the strain count at 31 if you use sequencing, you just have to do a Nick Stokes and define that as strain. Other sciences like medicine would call BS on that because you need a physiological difference to have a strain. I think we can affectionately call it the Stokes Effect.

Reply to  ozspeaksup
April 22, 2020 9:34 am

This article deals with the topic and presents a picture that is at odds with the piece that I linked above.

Do differences in the viruses circulated on the East Coast vs West Coast impact severity of the cases? It seems plausible considering that NY virus came from Italy and both have high case fatality rates.

jim hogg
Reply to  Scissor
April 22, 2020 6:15 pm

The Daily Mail is not a reliable source . . .

Reply to  Scissor
April 22, 2020 7:05 pm

I think the thing is Scissor there is a great deal of conflicting reports believe none and question everything.

David Joyce
Reply to  Scissor
April 22, 2020 7:10 am

Say all of this hype was about an asteroid heading for earth, and we are all in hiding. It turns out the calculations were wrong, the asteroid is only going to have small pieces land randomly, very small risk.

“We need to be aware of (giant asteroids that are invisible/space dragons/whatever)”

Why should we be any more ‘aware’ of unknown potential mutations now than at any other time?

*Well this pandemic proves…*

This pandemic proves that we should be aware of the dangers of media overhyping what is perhaps not even a particularly bad flu season. And, unfortunately, not much else, though there many instapundits explaining why this huge unneccessary over-response must have long term implications for how we do everything…

This pandemic proves nothing. Sorry if I sound bitter. I am looking at not retiring for 10 more years – just another first world casualty of this insanity.

Reply to  David Joyce
April 22, 2020 12:09 pm

We can trust the media . . .

. . . as far as you can throw a live bull up a silo.

Reply to  David Joyce
April 22, 2020 1:55 pm

“Well this pandemic proves…’

…that most people’s idea of science is really shamanism. Whatever the witch doctor says, even if it’s the opposite of yesterday’s pronouncement, is unassailable by the ordinary layman.

…that government will take any excuse, and without any concern for God, law, morality, you, your children or grandchildren, seize more power for itself.

…that we are far better off, when faced with an IMMEDIATE EXISTENTIAL CRISIS, to calmly finish our beers and wait for the pants-wetters to tire themselves out.

Dr Deanster
April 22, 2020 6:32 am

Good article. First to come out and admit that SARS2 risk is associated with its contagiousness due to the majority of its subjects being asymptomatic, as opposed to SARS2 being some kind of super lethal virus.

Reply to  Dr Deanster
April 23, 2020 12:33 am

Thank you, Dr. Deanster.

April 22, 2020 6:33 am

Herd immunity level of 10-15% ?…..these doctors should stick to plaster casts on broken bones…..epidemiology is not their forte.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
April 22, 2020 7:31 am

That’s the lowest number I’ve seen for herd immunity. Wishing it to be true.

Leo Smith
Reply to  DMacKenzie
April 22, 2020 7:34 am

Indeed. 60-75% is the level required for herd immunity

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 22, 2020 8:04 am

Depends on the disease….could just as easily be 40%

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 22, 2020 9:15 am

whoever told you that is lying or ignorant of the real world … the flu dies every year to herd immunity … and the bad year of 2017-2018 we had about 60mm total infected (according to CDC estimates) for entire season … which means at the 3 month point (when herd immunity kicked in to peak the virus) we had about 30mm infected with maybe 20mm vaccinated … for a total of 50mm available for herd immunity … 50/330 = 15% …
reaching herd immunity also has a geographic component as the virus doesn’t have wings …

Reply to  The Dark Lord
April 22, 2020 10:57 am

You are just not understanding how preadaptive immunity against the flu with its waves over centuries works and why it is different from a molecular very different virus that has no related strains endemic in the population.

Reply to  Ron
April 22, 2020 3:10 pm

You do know that there are 4 strains of corona virus that are endemic in the population and cause in the range of 25% of common colds.

There is a discussion farther up the thread that touches on this when discussing antibody testing.

Reply to  Ron
April 22, 2020 4:33 pm

One problem with interdisciplinary discussions is that the same term might mean something very different in each discipline. For instance what “related” or “highly conserved” means.

Just one change in amino acid sequence can decide if an antibody still binds a similar peptide or not. Completely random. So one needs homology of at least 8 consecutive amino acids to be on the save side and then the luck that exactly this fragment of the virus was used by chance to generate an antibody.

So even a high overall amino acid homology is not sufficient to generate a high probability if there are lot of one amino acid exchanges that disturb sequences that are at least 8 better 14 amino acids long wit 100% homology. But that is even not true for SARS-CoV-2 and the beta corona viruses that cause common cold.

E.g. the similarity between the external subdomain of Spike’s receptor binding domain shares only 40% amino acid identity of SARS-CoV-2 and other closely related corona viruses(1) but to be immune against an infection you need antibodies against the spike protein. Even antibodies against one the very closely related alpha corona viruses HCoV-229E and HCoV-NL63 are not protective vice versa.

Some people argue antibodies against replication-associated proteins of corona viruses could play a big role in immunity as well as they are “highly conserved” but the use of a phrase such as “highly conserved” in the context of e.g. RNA-dependent-RNA polymerase (RDRP) might be misleading for people not familiar with the field (2, Fig.3).

Actually, the RDRP seems to be very distinct from other corona viruses of the subclass sarbecovirus arguing for a new and unique virus transmitted to humans (3, Fig. S1). Not even talking how distinct it is from the two cold strains which belongs to the subclass of embevovirus (3, Fig.3 & Fig. S1).

When it comes down to its phylogeny SARS-CoV-2 is quite distinct to other beta corona viruses ever detected in humans (HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1, yes it’s only two without SARS and MERS) and more closely related to some found in bats (4, Ext.Fig. 2).

The SARS viruses are even encoding for eight proteins where none homology could be found in other corona viruses described so far (5). Interestingly, one particular protein could at least partly explain the high lethality (5) and why innate immunity could be very important.

So it might be that somebody developed an antibody from a corona virus but the chances are very low.


Reply to  Ron
April 22, 2020 5:10 pm

“So it might be that somebody developed an antibody from a corona virus but the chances are very low.”

Should be read as

So it might be that somebody developed an antibody that works against SARS-CoV-2 from another corona virus but the chances are very low.
There are even results that sera from patients with SARS are not very efficiently neutralizing SARS-CoV-2. (1, Fig.5; 2, Fig.6) And that is as closely related and as high chances as you can get for preadaptive immunity.


Reply to  Leo Smith
April 23, 2020 12:35 am

The claim is that certain sections of the population “may” have reached a herd immunity level of 10-15%. The required level remains above 60%.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
April 22, 2020 8:28 am

Just going to drop this here on herd immunity since its a very misunderstood concept. Herd immunity occurs when the effective R (not to be confused with R0) drops below 1 and stays there. R0 is extremely variable. In lock downs its 0.5 – but can’t stay there. In NYC its 4.5 when no one knows about it. In rural Wyoming is 1.5. One you are aware of a virus your habits change (lockdowns are irrelevant) to this. You wash hands more, avoid large gatherings, public transportation, wear masks, etc… These all reduce R0.

Once 1-1/R0 <1 you are roughly herd immune. By changing basic behavior but living totally normal lives you can reduce R0 to 1.2 or 1.4 for COVID-19. Like Sweden. This means herd immunity is 10%-25% not 70% (which is a crazy number reserved for NYC only).

Reply to  Guest
April 22, 2020 9:23 am

Thanks for this explanation.

Reply to  Guest
April 22, 2020 11:02 am

1-1/R0 = 0.

The correct equation is 1-1/R0 < P, where P = N(immune)/N(pop), the proportion of immune people in the population.

Reply to  coaldust
April 22, 2020 11:06 am

Looks like that post got hammered by some interesting HTML coding. Here is what is meant:
1-1/R0 < 1 for all R0 greater than or equal to 0.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
April 22, 2020 8:29 am

I don’t believe they were saying 10-15% is effective herd immunity.
I believe they were saying on the herd immunity scale we may be at a 10-15% level.

Reply to  BrianB
April 22, 2020 1:37 pm

R0 for the virus is estimated to be 2 to 3……meaning an infected person gives it to 2 or 3 others. If the “herd“ is only 10 or 15% immune, that means 7 out of 8 of the people that infected person meets are NOT immune, and still at risk of being 7/8 of those 2 or 3 infections. Simple math.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
April 23, 2020 12:43 pm

And obviously “flattening the curve” involves restrictions that hinder the infected person from meeting the 7 or 8 people who aren’t immune…..

Charles Higley
April 22, 2020 6:44 am

As the faster tests simply cannot be selective for the RNA sequence of C-19, they must be testing for something else. Perhaps something more general to covis than the RNA sequence?

Why are not at least a large fraction of all these asymptomatic positives considered to be false positives? And none of these people who have the virus get sick later on? If a third of the population have detectable levels of the virus, some of them should end up having symptoms and/or getting sick. It makes no sense.

PCR is a delicate and time-consuming method that can easily be messed up, even with automation. Better yet, or not better, the original Chinese PCR test was designed based on the clear-liquid lung perfusate RNA from seven patients “presumed” to have the virus. They did NOT fractionate the RNA before going ahead. This is not good science. At no time did they isolate the virus and use it as a Gold Standard for the test.

In addition, a large proportion of tests produced by the CDC have been found to be contaminated with, wait for it, C-19, as was a whole batch of tests produced in the Netherlands and sent to France or Spain—the latter were recalled.

Reply to  Charles Higley
April 22, 2020 6:55 am

They abandoned using PCR in Wuhan for a while because of problems you mention and used CT scans for diagnosis.

TC in the OC
Reply to  Charles Higley
April 22, 2020 8:57 am

The link is to an article addressing how the tests were performed. Stanford did further analysis of the USC Keck results to help check the accuracy of the tests. Having a daughter who is an ER doctor and has been on rotations to both USC Keck and Stanford I am confident that they did not release these findings without through checking just because they wanted to be the first out the shoot with the results. If needed I can google the actual papers if that would help but you could too.

April 22, 2020 6:59 am

“But detection is not the same as occurrence. When did the virus contagion begin? Not when tests began—that’s when the media started lecturing us 24/7 on the stats.
The above text is printed twice.

Reply to  RobH
April 22, 2020 7:03 am

Sorry for the formatting c0ckup. No edit function so stuck with it.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  RobH
April 22, 2020 7:32 am

The article uses repetition repeatedly, apparently for emphasis.


Reply to  Steve Reddish
April 23, 2020 12:40 am

Hello, Steve and RobH, the original uses breakout text (see source:

WUWT has accidentally repeated the breakout text. Have asked Charles to fix this.

Terry R Bixler
April 22, 2020 7:12 am

Lockdown driven by blindfolded blimp pilots who have been told they are in a sports car. Of course they have closed the barn doors after the virus escaped. Now the train wreck of the economy must be survived.

April 22, 2020 7:18 am

Meh, it still sounds like this is just another normal flu season to me.

I can’t help but wonder, of the 24,000 Americans who have died from the seasonal flu this year, how many of them actually died from colds?

I think we’re going to discover that the CDC has been combining flu and cold data together for decades. Give it time.

Reply to  Klem
April 22, 2020 3:19 pm

CDC calls it Influenza Like Illnesses or ILI and yes a certain percentage of common colds can become lower respiratory tract infections with pneumonia.

April 22, 2020 7:20 am

It’s not staggering numbers at all. If you obsess over something and place undue importance on it to create fear………

You could do the same thing with the common cold, or the flu every single year.

And even find a handful of young fit people (I’ve known some) who will go on to develop pneumonia and perhaps die, but mostly the old and otherwise infirm are the victims.

Why is every man and his dog so intent on creating a frenzy of fear, determined that this should be the ‘bad one’ that has been so long predicted. It isn’t, nowhere near.

Steven Mosher
April 22, 2020 7:24 am

“Initial findings of one study indicate that between 48,000 and 81,000 residents in Santa Clara County, California, had antibodies as of April 1, 2020, back when the official count was 956. The infection number is extrapolated from a sample of 3,300 residents tested. The results had to be adjusted for the sample’s demographic not being reflective of the county. Hence the wide range—50 to 85 times the official count. Nevertheless, the gap is phenomenal.”

bad test
bad stats
bad test design

Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 22, 2020 7:41 am

That’s what happens in the response to crises. Shortcuts are taken for the sake of speed and often lack of funds. Tests are developed on the fly without proper verification or validation. So, decisions made are based on a lot of guess work. Eventually, things get into control and the reasons why are often not clear.

Another sad thing is that lessons learned after the crises are over are forgotten and loose ends that should have been tied up are not. Hopefully, this doesn’t happen in this case.

David Joyce
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 22, 2020 7:54 am

You have the time to write. Why not take the time to make your argument. I read the paper. Didn’t like how they stretched the numbers to account for unsampled people, but just look at the raw numbers. What supports the hypothesis that they are so badly skewed from the population at whole to be unuseful?

David Joyce
Reply to  David Joyce
April 22, 2020 7:55 am

Sorry meant to respond to Steven Mosher.

Reply to  David Joyce
April 22, 2020 8:21 am

In this instance I have to support Mosher, he has covered it in detail before and not worth the repeat. If you wish to argue it different to his summation simply place a counter argument.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 22, 2020 8:53 am

I’ve looked closely at the 12 global serology tests out there and parsed through them all. Stats are fine – they make all the relevant adjustments for Santa Clara. The test is lacking but that doesn’t mean the results or conclusions are incorrect (you assume that Facebook applicants wanted their test result biases the outcome but that only an assumption). There isn’t much evidence Covid infects different age group disproportionately. Only that it harms disproportionately.

Other tests including the Swedish and Danish blood donor ones) have similar results and would be biased the other way – i.e. only healthy asymptomatic cases.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 22, 2020 9:18 am

new tests
real stats
perfectly fine test design

better than
bad models

Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 22, 2020 9:37 am

Care to elaborate? Inquiring minds want to know…

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 22, 2020 10:07 am

Steve Mosher
We keep being told how contagious this thing is, doesn’t that make it likely that the number of infected is really much higher than the official stats that are only positive tests for the virus? It is all around the world, isn’t it likely that it has spread so much further?
It seems reasonable that the real numbers of infected are closer to those in this study than what official government stats show.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 22, 2020 5:09 pm

Says you. But then you were okay with this:

Don’t you contradict yourself?

Nick Schroeder
April 22, 2020 7:32 am

If somebody had surveyed 1,000 GP’s they would have heard, “Oh, yeah we’ve seen that before.”

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
April 22, 2020 8:25 am

In a sense, yes, but this one has a twist that no one has seen before. Patients many times show up at hospitals with hypoxemia (low O2) and hypocapnia (low CO2), which is very unusual in acute conditions. Doctors are used to seeing hypoxemia with hypercapnia (high CO2) due to stiffened lung tissue and low gas diffusion for both O2 and CO2 (ARDS). This doctor thinks they’re treating the wrong disease.

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 1:52 pm

Yes, icisil, there were reports back in January that this virus was hiding a tuberculosis co-infection.
By the end of January, I had seen indications similar to the thrust of this article which led me to the conclusion that COVID-19 is probably less serious than an average year’s flu. Many reports cast doubt on that conclusion, but many others confirm it.
I have seen a number of alarming reports suggesting that something truly serious is really happening, and the only way all the data can be reconciled is if tuberculosis or something bacterial was the real problem.
Well, MOST of the data can be resolved. There are clearly some false reports and flat-out lies out there. For example, the Chinese sequenced this virus in early January and published it. Within a couple of days, a peer-reviewed journal found a gene-insertion sequence in it–total proof of lab creation. But two days later, that was retracted. France also sequenced the virus, and I have seen several reports that there is no evidence of a bioweapon nor lab creation. Somebody is lying–but who? I cannot find out, but the sequence is readily available and there are whole catalogs with these insertion tools. There are computer programs that compare sequences and there may well be a reader here with access to the tools to find out.
More importantly, the strong indication of a bacterial agent should be checked into. Then we may have an answer, and solutions.

April 22, 2020 7:34 am

In Europe, Total Deaths from All Causes peaked in week 14, the week of March 30,2020.

Dr. Malcolm McKendrick, a Scottish physician, wrote:
“Unfortunately, it seems that COVID-19 has infected everyone involved in healthcare management and turned their brains into useless mush.

[In my view, if we had any sense, we would lockdown/protect the elderly, and let everyone else get on with their lives].

However, the hospitals themselves have another policy. Which is to discharge the elderly unwell patients with COVID directly back into the community, and care homes. Where they can spread the virus widely amongst the most vulnerable.

This, believe it or not, is NHS policy. Still.”

Dr. McKendrick is obviously brilliant, in that he agrees with me. 🙂
As I wrote in March:
[excerpt- posted 21Mar2020]

“This full-lockdown scenario is especially hurting service sector businesses and their minimum-wage employees – young people are telling me they are “financially under the bus”. The young are being destroyed to protect us over-65’s. A far better solution is to get them back to work and let us oldies keep our distance, and get “herd immunity” established ASAP – in months not years. Then we will all be safe again.”

Have we wasted many trillions, harmed billions of young people and trashed our economies for nothing? Seems so. We should end this unnecessary lockdown now!

Here in Alberta, many/most of our Covid-19 deaths are among the elderly in nursing homes – if we had a deliberate strategy to kill them off, we could not do much better.

The global Covid-19 lock-down strategy appears to be “overprotect the healthy majority, who will get little or no symptoms of the virus, kill the economy and do ruinous harm to young people and small businesses, and fail to protect the elderly and the unwell, and kill them off as expeditiously as possible. Attaboys all around.

April 22, 2020 7:39 am

We need to know the false positive rate of the tests.

Test used in Stanford. 0-2%

Test developed in China and re-evaluated in Sweden 0-9.8%

Result in Stanford 1.5%

Result in Sweden 11%

Conclusion: Totally useless to use for an estimate how widespread the virus might be. High probability that even ALL the people positively tested are false positive.

John Bell
April 22, 2020 7:39 am

One nice thing about covid19 is that no one is dying any more of other things like heart disease and obesity and cancer and the other normal killers.

Reply to  John Bell
April 22, 2020 8:26 am

A friend of mine accepted delivery of a new refrigerator at his home, and the delivery crew left it on his front yard because of social distancing/no contact delivery. With difficulty, he successfully wrestled the refrigerator into his home with the help of his son.

Now if that bulky appliance had crushed one or both of them, would that be considered death by covid19? I’m just kidding… I think.

Ian W
Reply to  PaulH
April 22, 2020 1:03 pm

In New York it would have.
The recent jump in COVID-19 deaths was due to reclassifying deaths as COVID-19 deaths if they occurred because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Of course this jump due to reclassification not because anyone new died OF COVID-19 was immediately leapt upon by the modelers shortly followed by the media as evidence of a resurgence of COVID-19 in New York

Leo Smith
April 22, 2020 7:43 am

Regardless of the depth of penetration to the population or how severe this disease is people are dying from it in large numbers.

Politicians cannot appear to be utterly callous and say ‘well they are going to die anyway’ . We do not live in Stalin’s Russia…

Neither do we live an a world of black and white simple minded thinking where of everybody who catches this, 0.1% will die . In reality the more exposure you get the more likely you are to die, and politicians must hold lockdown together in those areas with the highest death rates – and presumably the highest populations densities.

So you cannot say that ‘these people will die anyway’.
That is absolutely false logic once you take security and viral load as correlated variables.
Less exposure=less death.
Even if it doesn’t mean less infection.

The ideals state if we do have the ability to acquire immunity,,is slow gradual infection with little or no symptoms. Social distancing and hygiene should enable that to happen in all but the worst black spots

Leo Smith
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 22, 2020 7:44 am

For security read severity…

David Joyce
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 22, 2020 8:01 am

Leo SmitH:..
“..Less exposure=less death.
Even if it doesn’t mean less infection”

And the proof of this assertion? Considering Sweden has not done this lockdown and has the same *death* rate that we do? And Japan, (no lockdown) is ~ 100x lower death rate than either of us?

Show me the data that supports your assertion.

Ian W
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 22, 2020 8:04 am

Regardless of the depth of penetration to the population or how severe this disease is people are dying from it in large numbers.

Politicians cannot appear to be utterly callous and say ‘well they are going to die anyway’ . We do not live in Stalin’s Russia…

On the contrary the politicians routinely ignore ‘excess winter deaths’ often caused directly by their policies – the media similarly disregard these deaths unless the politicians they least favor are in power. There is no panic for a ‘severe flu season’ either from the politicians or the media; only complaints that the vaccine this year was not effective.

The entire reason for the lockdown this year was the wild forecasts of the modelers of millions of deaths that allowed the clickbait media to scare the politicians into action. It is very probable that there were millions of ‘unsuccessful infections’, but the modelers do not have ‘natural immunity’ nor asymptomatic non-infectious in their models. So like climate modelers they continually regression correct their models and claim that this new model is right –until that too needs correction.

Reply to  Ian W
April 22, 2020 11:17 am

Ian, you are correct. You wrote:
“On the contrary the politicians routinely ignore ‘excess winter deaths’ often caused directly by their policies…”

Excess Winter Deaths in the USA average about 100,000 per year from all causes, including influenza. When Joe D’Aleo and I wrote our paper about Excess Winter Deaths in 2015, nobody cared.
Now, we are supposed to be terrified by 582 deaths to date in the USA caused by the corona virus.

In the UK in just England and Wales, Excess Winter Deaths (“EWD”) totaled 50,100 souls in Winter 2017-2018. That is THREE TIMES the average per capita EWD rate of the USA and Canada, in part due to excessively high energy costs in the UK, where fracking of shales is banned for no good reason. When we reported this startling statistic, nobody cared.
Now, we are supposed to be terrified by 335 deaths to date in the UK caused by the corona virus.

In 2016 I reported an extremely dangerous situation at a sour gas project close to Calgary that almost killed 300,000 people. When it was mentioned in the news media, nobody cared.
Now, we are supposed to be terrified by 24 deaths to date in Canada caused by the corona virus.


by Joseph D’Aleo and Allan MacRae


In May 2016, Allan MacRae, as an uninvolved citizen, became aware of unsafe operating procedures at the Mazeppa critical sour gas project near Calgary. At some personal risk, he investigated, consulted with trusted colleagues, and following the Code of Conduct of Alberta’s Professional Engineers (APEGA), he reported his concerns to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), and followed up to ensure proper compliance.

The AER quickly shut down the Mazeppa project, and canceled all 1600 operating licenses of the parent company, which was placed in receivership and bankruptcy. The Managing Director was fined and sanctioned. This was the most severe reprimand of a company in the history of the Alberta energy industry. A 2005 analysis of Mazeppa wells by the Alberta ERCB concluded that an uncontrolled sour gas release would affect an area within a 15km radius and could kill 250,000 people. By 2016 that total increased to 300,000 people.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 22, 2020 9:21 am

“In reality the more exposure you get the more likely you are to die” …
false, false, false … unless you are in the at risk cohort that is not even close to being true …

Paul Penrose
Reply to  The Dark Lord
April 22, 2020 10:04 am

Actually what you quoted is kind of true (but very misleading). The more exposure you have, the more likely you are to get infected. And even if the mortality rate is as high as .2%, that’s still non-zero (although for healthy people under the age of 60 the mortality rate is likely to be much lower).

April 22, 2020 7:57 am

I think our family has had this. Right after Christmas, hubby gets a cough (and had already been home from work for 7 or 8 days) and fever. Then it spreads through the family. One kid runs a fever for 3 days and is in bed. The other two don’t run quite as high a fever. I never had a fever. Felt like we were getting better, and then suddenly we all got worse again. I said to my husband, “it’s like this virus mutated just enough so our bodies aren’t recognizing it and it’s making us sick again.” Another round of fever for the one kid, in bed again for 3 days, and all of us feeling exhausted and coughing. Finally, I asked a friend who had survived cancer treatment and had used astragalus root to keep her immune system operating at optimal levels if she had any recommendations. She suggested Kyolic formula 103. After 3 days on that, we were finally better. Could be a coincidence and we could have been on the mend anyway, but it seemed to help. We finished this at the end of February, right before COVID stuff started hitting the news. We haven’t been sick since. I think this virus has been in the US since last fall, and people thought it was the flu.

Reply to  WouldRatherNotSay
April 22, 2020 9:40 am

The mid to end of February is one thing, last Fall is quite another and does not seem likely.

Fred Jones
Reply to  Scissor
April 22, 2020 12:03 pm

Hi Scissor:
“last Fall …. does not seem likely.”

except the Military Games were held in Wuhan, Oct 2019. US military planes flew, via Washington State.

the Military Games (World Event) were held in Wuhan, China last October. The US participants left in military planes,. all from Seattle airport; Washington State had those curious cluster of coronas.

“An analysis of CDC data shows a dramatic uptick in “Influenza like Illness” or ILI beginning the week of November 9, and rapidly intensifying across key southern states, and one outlier- Washington.”

“China began forward facing measures to “control” the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus in December, with the first case now being traced back as early as November 17. However, given the nature of the CCP, we know that the virus was likely in circulation earlier. Using November 17th as a baseline, and moving backwards to track when likely infection occurred, we get a range between October 22, to November 2.”

Alan Jones
Reply to  Scissor
April 22, 2020 12:08 pm

the Military Games (World Event) were held in Wuhan, China last October. The US participants left in military planes,. all from Seattle airport; Washington State had those curious cluster of coronas.

“An analysis of CDC data shows a dramatic uptick in “Influenza like Illness” or ILI beginning the week of November 9, and rapidly intensifying across key southern states, and one outlier- Washington.”

“China began forward facing measures to “control” the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus in December, with the first case now being traced back as early as November 17. However, given the nature of the CCP, we know that the virus was likely in circulation earlier. Using November 17th as a baseline, and moving backwards to track when likely infection occurred, we get a range between October 22, to November 2.”

April 22, 2020 8:00 am

I don’t know what the death rate is – but using that California data to arrive at 0.1% is a mistake, unless all 20 million residents of suburban NYC have the virus. But they don’t…because plenty of tests are negative.

To support New York’s ongoing rate of death (500 a day or more, the past 20 days) – 1 million more people are being infected every two days (18 days ago, average…). On top of the 20 million. Where are they coming from? NY and NJ combined have 30 million people. A few more days, we’ll be past that number.

Meantime: We are approaching 40 thousand dead (USA) in 21 days – with most folks self-isolating. The “regular old flu” has never done that. (1918 should not be your benchmark for “bad.”)

David Joyce
Reply to  terrinot
April 22, 2020 8:24 am

The real question is “What effect is the lockdown having?”

Well obviously it must be saving many many lives….

I don’t think we know enough about the transmission of this virus to know that. Again, Sweden no lockdown, same death rate as U.S.

Another question: Are there better ways to respond to this right now? Focus on protecting nursing homes, and the elderly with co-morbidities. Put trailers around every nursing home and pay caregivers combat pay to stay onsite and isolated from the community. Take heroic measures to disinfect anything going in and out of hospitals. There are many things we can be doing that are far less costly than the lockdown – which has not been shown to work. And get back to work so we can pay for all this.

Reply to  terrinot
April 22, 2020 8:31 am

I think that is what one of the reviews posted as a response, that if you take the result and apply it to most US cities what you get is a a result that is impossible. The alternative answer is homeless people don’t report symptoms as a problem because they have larger issues in their life.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  terrinot
April 22, 2020 9:28 am

40 k dead in 35 days … 1957-1958 Asian flu killed 116,000 in US (the peak month easily killed more than 40k) … the regular old flu … ignorance is easy to fix with Google and the CDC …

Reply to  terrinot
April 22, 2020 10:10 am

NYC’s mortality data are fake. They increased the figure by 3700 simply by assuming patients died of covid without them having tested positive.

Reply to  icisil
April 22, 2020 10:45 am

Let’s do a simple calculation for New York City:

For March roughly 5,000 deaths/year (and that is a generously high estimate). From March 4th to April 4th 9,780 deaths (this number is without the ominous 3,700 which was added later) meaning an excess mortality of 4,780. Let’s assume 50% could be attributed to SARS-CoV-2 makes 2,390 like for Bergamo, Italy. Population of NYC 8,399,000. 100% assumed positive gives a CFR of 0.028%

For a CFR of 0.1% already 28% of all people in New York City must have been infected with the virus at April 4th. With these outdated numbers.

Excess mortality for New York State is not easy to get but let’s make the assumption of the 20,167 deaths by COVID-19 on worldometer only half are really due to the disease and attributed correctly. That leaves us with a CFR of 0.1% if 100% of the population is already infected and nobody else dies of COVID-19 from now on. Very. Much. Unlikely.

For a CFR of 0.5% already 20% of all New York state must have been infected. And you are attributing al lot of the excess mortality to other reasons.

Reply to  terrinot
April 22, 2020 11:17 am

Calling what we are doing a lockdown is a joke. I or one of my 4 family members have been in an least 1 store pretty close to everyday of the 5 weeks we have been in lockdown. I see neighbors coming and going from each others houses every day. Teenagers congregating in groups everyday. We order out food 1-2 a week and plenty of others are doing the same. Social Distancing yes…lockdown (whatever that means) no. Is what we are doing slowing the spread? Probably. What is the goal of the “lockdowns”? It appears to be to kill the economy. Still trying to figure out how Washington state deaths and cases peaked before their stay at home order went in place.

Robert W. Turner
April 22, 2020 8:07 am

Cutting your head off guarantees you will not die from CV19.

Reply to  Robert W. Turner
April 22, 2020 9:31 am

Yeah, but they’ll code it that way anyhow! 🙂

Reply to  Robert W. Turner
April 22, 2020 9:44 am

Not really, the brain appears to be also infected and affected in patients with covid-19 … So the doctor could rule that your action was induced by the virus … Presto covid-19 on the death certificate …

David Joyce
April 22, 2020 8:14 am

There is no hypothesis that is so obviously true that it does not need to be tested, and if any hypothesis fails in its predictions it needs to be re-evaluated. When people persist in believing in the truth of a hypothesis when it does so fail, because they are so sure that is how the world works, they are blinding themselves to learning deeper truths about the world. Such hypotheses relevant to these discussions include:

“Anthropogenic CO2 emissions will lead to catastrophic climate change.”
“Lockdown saves lives.”

Both of these could cause enormous destruction if they were true, and ignored. Neither of these have been shown to be true.

April 22, 2020 8:15 am

If tests with 100% specificity are finally available like this article suggest we could at least get a precise lower estimate of how many people really got the virus.

Even if the sensitivity would be only 80% there would only be an underestimation of all cases of 20%. That’s way better than all data that is available right now.

April 22, 2020 8:26 am
Reply to  Ron
April 22, 2020 9:16 am

As you say, the false positive rate of the test is crucial. An antibody test used on a population where the background true positive rate is 2-4% would need to have an extremely low false positive rate, and you would have to know very precisely what it is. It’s such elementary Bayesian analysis that it’s seems impossible that Bhattacharya et al wouldn’t take it into account. Hopefully, he has a good elucidation coming in his appendix.

Reply to  MPassey
April 22, 2020 9:42 pm

“need to have an extremely low false positive rate”

That, or you should test everybody multiple times?

Reply to  niceguy
April 23, 2020 5:41 am

Might probably not work. Usually sample outliers stay like this even after re-performing the assay except for crude technical errors.

Reply to  Ron
April 22, 2020 9:43 am

Again, there are some good studies on IgG antibody testing. After the first week of infection, these are mostly close to perfect. There is an extremely small amount of false positives. For people in the first week from initial infection its less clear. They don’t perform as well as swab tests in the first week but vastly outperform them after 7 days.

These antibody results tend to actually UNDERCOUNT positives depending on the results in the first 7 days as antibodies are present but no high enough to trigger a positive. This red-herring of serology overcounting is mysterious to me. It seems like a reason to ignore good news. I guess no one wants to hear the lockdowns add no value after 2 weeks best case and we destroyed the economy for nothing. Fortunately (and surprisingly!) saner minds have prevailed across Europe.

Reply to  Guest
April 22, 2020 10:19 am

The paper you link to does not address the false positive rate of any individual commercial test (specificity). The false negative rate (sensitivity) is a separate issue.

It’s not a red herring. If you have a population where 2% truly have antibodies, but your test for those antibodies has a false positive rate of 2%, about half of your positive tests will be false.

Reply to  MPassey
April 22, 2020 12:00 pm

No that’s not correct, false positives don’t work that way.

If you test 1mm people and have 20,000 positives, 400 of those may be false (assuming no false negatives). Regardless IgG antibody testing after a week is extremely accurate. False positives are extremely low – the paper shows that. Its much, much more accurate than swab testing.

Reply to  MPassey
April 22, 2020 5:24 pm

“False positives are extremely low – the paper shows that. Its much, much more accurate than swab testing.”

The paper does not all shows such a thing. There is absolutely NO data about healthy patients used as a negative control and no estimate is given how many would be detected falsely as positive.

“If you test 1mm people and have 20,000 positives, 400 of those may be false (assuming no false negatives).”

That is also not how false positives work. The rate is not calculated from your positive results but from ALL samples.
So with 2% false positive rate all of the 20,000 could be false negative. Actually, it would be expected that most of them are.

April 22, 2020 9:10 am

So on top of the mutations of the virus-
We also have dormant carriers if you can call them that-
although unless you test the whole population you won’t know how many particularly if word gets around authorities want to quarantine you for as long as it takes until you test all clear.

That’s not a good look at all for the ‘lockdown/distancing until we get 1,2,3… vaccine/s plan’ which appears to be starve the young fit and productive to save the retirees and unhealthy. Decisions…decisions…and has Trump got it right despite the natural tendency for the taxeaters to believe they can control anything and everything that goes bump in the night? The other nuance is did the vaccinate for everything skeptics have a point?

Reply to  observa
April 22, 2020 9:39 am

Is the wrecked economy, increased debt caused by covid19 lockdowns the final parting gift from boomers to next generation?

Reply to  Stevek
April 22, 2020 9:45 am

Funeral expenses.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Stevek
April 22, 2020 10:11 am

No, you get modern electronics, aviation, medicine, space exploration, cell phones, the Internet, and everything else we invented. You also get all our left over money when we die. You are welcome you ungrateful clown. What has your generation made? Social media. Yeah, what a crap show that is. Show me you can do better.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
April 22, 2020 10:56 am

What has your generation made?

Easy, they made a generation of entitlement.

April 22, 2020 9:22 am

Charles Rotter:

+22 Million!!!

Reply to  Michael Moon
April 22, 2020 11:24 am

We are in different times matey…
millions are yesterday’s pennies. We are in Trillions now.

Reply to  astonerii
April 22, 2020 5:28 pm

22 Million is USA Unemployment Assistance applications in the last month, with more coming. I see the numbers…

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  Michael Moon
April 22, 2020 1:35 pm

All this argument about when an epidemic started and how dangerous it is is beside the point.

The only figure that matters is total mortality. That can’t lie. If there are excess deaths then something started causing them at that point.

Note that that deaths could be as much due to administrative panic as to a new disease….

April 22, 2020 10:23 am

I think I read/heard that there’s several pounds of bacteria & viruses in everyone.

April 22, 2020 10:25 am

Ignorance is indeed easy to fix – 1957-58 Pandemic – most sources now say 70K dead (USA) over a six month span. Covid has killed 35,000 in 21 days. No period of 1957-1958 matched that.

Sweden does NOT have the same “death rate” as the USA.

It’s just – there are SO many smart people on this forum – even when I disagree with them – but I just can’t understand the giant demonstration of NOT SMART people “in the wild” right now. This isn’t bigfoot. Or Flat Earth. This isn’t even AGW. I don’t understand the reluctance – the failure to take a moment, do some reading, and learn something, before making newspaper headlines.

Reply to  terrinot
April 22, 2020 12:17 pm

The population of the U.S. then would have been about half of today’s so, one would need to adjust for that, along with differences in demographics, etc. Hopefully, we’re about half through this episode, so perhaps the numbers will not be so different when normalized in the end.

Reply to  terrinot
April 22, 2020 7:46 pm

THE ASIAN FLU; 1957-1958 (not to be confused with the “1957-1958 pandenmic”):

Approximately 1.1 million people died worldwide, according to the CDC; of those deaths, 116,000 were in the US. Most of the cases affected young children, the elderly and pregnant women. While deadly, the death rate in this pandemic was relatively contained because a vaccine was rapidly developed and made available. There were also antibiotics available to treat secondary infections.

THE HONG KONG FLU; 1968: According to the CDC, approximately 1 million people around the world died from this pandemic, and 100,000 of those deaths occurred in the United States.

Adjust for world population … ignorance may be easy to fix, but it generally is not (fixed).

Mike From Au
April 22, 2020 10:42 am

This might well represent a few of those cardinal numbers no one talks about.

“Coronavirus Update with Kiran Krishnan, Virology and Molecular Medicine Scientist”
•Mar 31, 2020

“Join Dr. Tyna on the Pain-Free & Strong Podcast as she sits down with Kiran Krishnan, virology and “molecular medicine expert & CSO of Microbiome Labs, to discuss how this virus works, how it binds, the “ACE2 receptor, “and why those with chronic inflammation may be at higher risk.

“You don’t want to miss this one! You won’t hear this anywhere else, and it will truly blow your mind!
“Science & Technology”

John F. Hultquist
April 22, 2020 10:49 am

Panic 2020

The media told us that this is an exponential growth in infection.
But that increase in detection (confirmed cases) from March, 2020 is positively correlated to the number of tests performed.

Our politicians, looking at the exponential growth (detection), focused on the worst of the scenarios produced by the models (simulations). With their future political campaigns guiding the choices – they panicked. See: Jay Inslee and Life Care Center of Kirkland.
Thus, we have all the problems of lockdown.
Examples: hospitals are going bankrupt;
folks are washing masks with Chlorine bleach, and
washing produce with hand sanitizer – then calling the poison hot line.
– – – And being arrested for common and benign behavior.

Panic 2020

Mark Negovan
April 22, 2020 11:00 am

Here we have a mortality rate number of 0.1% of all COVID-19 infections. According to Worldometer data, the mortality rate for working age men and women with no underlying health issues is 2%. So, the mortality rate for healthy working age men and women is only 2% of the .1% of the infected population that dies. That would equate to 2,000 healthy deaths per 1,000,000 infections. That is not even one work/commuting related fatality per country per day for the shutdown period. And that number is without advances in treatment. The actual mortality figure is probably around .02% to .05% of infections. Time will tell.

THAT IS NOT WORTH THE COST OF THE SHUTDOWN. It is far easier to quarantine those with health issues and the elderly. Simple hygienic protocols will work.

Izaak Walton
April 22, 2020 11:06 am

The idea that between 20 and 50 times as many people are infected does not appear to
be valid in countries like NZ and Australia. Both have small enough numbers of cases
that they can do contact tracing and establish how someone got the virus. In NZ’s case
out of about 1400 cases they can identify the transmission route in all but about 10 cases.
If the virus was widespread the new cases would be turning up around the country with
no links to other cases and that just isn’t happening. In addition the NZ government has
started doing random testing and have found zero additional cases. All of which suggest
that in NZ at least the virus is not widespread in the community with the majority of cases
being asymptomatic.

Alan Jones
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 22, 2020 12:21 pm

This is the official line Izaak;

There were 20-25 planes a day flying into NZ from China, each day, Dec-Feb; 20×300 = 6000/day=180,000visitors per month from China: Dec-Feb: and none were carrying corona? that so?

All they have done in NZ seemingly is PCR testing for ACUTE cases. No serology for antibodies.

There are many anecdotes seemingly of flu/pneumonia issues there in Jan/Feb; how could it not have arrived from Dec, given visitor numbers? Pop of NZ is seemingly about 5 million.

Reply to  Alan Jones
April 22, 2020 1:00 pm

There are many in NZ who hold the same view as you Alan .After all , those are the facts of the mechanism available to move the virus to NZ.
And doctors were among those who experienced “symptoms” in December -January.
Colds and “flu” are not common at that time in NZ ; it’s the height of the summer sun, and we’re all at the beach getting our daily saline nasal irrigation while feeding on zinc-rich sea food.
To suggest that there was no virus here, is really pushing the limits of credibility.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Alan Jones
April 22, 2020 2:13 pm

NZ stopped flights from China at about the start of February. At that stage there were
about 10000 reported cases in China out of a population of about 1 billion and so you
would expect about 2 cases of COVID 19 in the 180 000 visitors coming from China
each month (in fact less since the disease was increasing exponentially and so the number
of cases at the start of the month would be substantially less). So you can quite easily
argue that NZ got lucky and just by chance those 2 people who might have had COVID19 either decided not to travel or stuck in their own tourist groups and didn’t infect anyone else.

Of course if the virus was widespread and the number of cases was higher by a factor of
50 as the Stanford study suggests then it would be very surprising if there were more cases
in NZ and you would have expected that the first case would have shown up in January
or February and would have occurred as a result of travel to China rather than Europe as
was the case.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 22, 2020 2:40 pm

yes , NZ did stop flights from China but arrivals from other infected countries continued, and arrival of NZers from infected countries continues today.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  farmerbraun
April 22, 2020 3:11 pm

Anyone currently arriving into NZ has to go into quarantine at a government approved
location for 2 weeks. Which should stop the virus from spreading within the wider

Reply to  farmerbraun
April 22, 2020 4:37 pm

But for eight weeks the border was wide open , no compulsory quarantine, and cruise ships landing passengers.
So by all means prevent new infections from abroad but one cannot rule out that it has been here and spreading in the community for some months . To rule that out would require the anti-body testing to show that only known detected positives have anti-bodies.
assuming our trace-back and trace -forward capability is good , as it appears to be.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  farmerbraun
April 22, 2020 4:58 pm

If the virus was present and spreading in the community there would be
a lot more cases popping up that were unexplained. Yet the government is
confident that it knows the source of infection for the overwhelming majority
of cases.

Do not get me wrong. The best case scenario would be that the virus is widespread
in the community and so the lockdown measures can be eased quickly avoiding more
job losses etc. But in NZ at least that just doesn’t seem to fit the evidence in terms of
case numbers etc.

Reply to  farmerbraun
April 22, 2020 6:31 pm

” there would be a lot more cases popping up that were unexplained.”.

Agreed. Myself for example , but I will not be tested for the presence of anti-bodies.
The government will not survey the population of NZers who have had a “flu” in the last three months. So there will be no evidence that could eliminate the possibility that the virus was here sooner, appeared as a mild cold in summertime, and did not come to the attention of the testers because there was no known contact.
My first possible contact arrived from Hong Kong early January. Then my neighbour arrived back from China unexpectedly just before Chinese New Year .
Doctor Daughter and kids had a cold in February and were already out of school before the closure. My other neighbour revealed , just before lock-down , that he was recovering from viral pneumonia.
In mid January I hosted a group from France, and the tour leader had a very bad coughing fit standing next to me. I jokingly enquired ” Coronavirus?”.
By early March I had a bout of illness which is nearly gone now, so a good 6-7 weeks but I continued working my usual 80 hours/week throughout.
It all makes sense to me 🙂

But without the anti-body testing we can’t do any science.

Alan Jones
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 23, 2020 5:29 pm

You must be working for the NZ Govt Izaak: the public relations department?

Don’t for goodness sake listen to what people are saying: ordinary people; who don’t get counted or listened to as house arrest is imposed by a so-called left-wing group;

you shall do vat we zay;

ordinary people are saying they have had corona; they know people have had it;

explain how a lady died in Westport; an isolated town; from corona contracted in early March; come on; it was all around NZ way back in Jan at least:

if you aren’t from the PR dept of the Govt, why do you struggle so hard at not listening?

Alan Jones
Reply to  Alan Jones
April 23, 2020 9:41 pm

From all accounts Izaak, this thing has been doing the rounds since December;

“there would be a lot more cases popping up that were unexplained”

…. that may suit the logic of your masters in the NZ Govt Izaak, but if you don’t really understand the spread of things, (and who does?) then you are just floundering; and blustering; trying to push the party line that house arrest should continue unchallenged.

Accounts we have had from various contacts and friends in NZ narrate numerous anecdotes about corona-like illnesses, in what was seemingly a very hot summer with much sun in NZ. Ordinary people describe these things Izaak. Far below your vaulted masters in government Izaak, ordinary folks struggle with unemployment and shattered businesses it seems.

April 22, 2020 11:28 am

This is why I recommend that each state tests small samples of the population for the coronavirus and antibodies to it, and continues doing that regularly.

This is an inexpensive way to get the true picture of COVID-19 spread, and to monitor it dynamically.

April 22, 2020 2:00 pm

All, have you noticed how all of a sudden the massive need for ventalators and hospital beds have dropped.

The original treatment was to blame and has changed. Again from earlier posts see

Read rational for treatment on page 9/10 of detailed protocol. Dated 20 Apr

This is the story no one is seeing

April 22, 2020 2:10 pm

The mortality rate is not 0.1%. That conclusion is wrong. Whatever the rate is – it’s painful to watch.

The curves that are exponential – they weren’t based on tests (well, maybe at first) but on the pile of dead bodies. Italy’s dead-count was indeed exponential – right up until they couldn’t count them that fast. The curve stopped at that moment – but the dying did not. Models based on Italy’s curve aren’t really off base (in their assumptions). The data didn’t veer significantly away from the model until the lockdowns – or until any place hit their “dead count speed limit.”

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  terrinot
April 22, 2020 5:24 pm

Both Washington State and Italy produced hot-spots that should not be used in models.

In Washington State, a facility for elderly – Life Care Center of Kirkland – had a large Mardi Gras party the day before officials realized residents had been dying because of the virus. The activity included elderly residents, staff, family, and friends crowding into a big room and throughout the facility. Medical responders had been coming and going for weeks. Staff often worked in several different such places. The virus was not on anyone’s radar even though people were dying from it.
In Italy a Champions League soccer match (Atalanta and Valencia; Feb. 19th) was held in San Siro stadium in Milan. Many thousands gathered in Milan. You can look up the details, but two weeks after the match there was an explosion of cases. After returning to Spain, 35% of the Valencia traveling squad eventually tested positive. Beside the match happening, the Lombardy area had other issues.

These are both sad cases, but are not representative of what can be expected.

In the small population county where we live (100 miles east of Seattle) there have been just a few with symptoms (under 20) and Zero deaths.

April 22, 2020 4:08 pm

Jo nova site pushing the coronavirus scam lockdown causing misery to millions of Australians for a nothing burger virus by Christ Ms NOVA you will be sued by millions of Australians for pushing shit which you nothing about look up Sweden and German epidiomologists who actually know something about corona and influenza viruses you know nothing you may be held responsible. Refer to Willis Essenbach on this site for actual virus verified data. You were totally incorrect just like your pompous way back pompous british git lord living in the past Mockton of long gone British idiocy (Nature publishes Michael Mann articles???). I will never ever look at anything you or the british pompous git publishes about climate or anything related/ Your site will suffer after after this is finished. Viva Bolsonaro Brasil, Viva Sweden who got it right Australia has become a first class Nanny state dictartorship Stupid country glad I rescinded my citizenship long time ago

Reply to  Eliza
April 22, 2020 9:39 pm

Jo nova is probably an anti “antivax”.

April 22, 2020 4:34 pm

Interesting tidbit from the study that argues that the world is not counting enough deaths towards Covid-19
“SWEDEN – 60 fewer deaths than official total

Sweden is an anomaly among the countries examined, because it actually reported more coronavirus deaths than it had excess deaths.

Between March 9 and April 12, the country logged 1,100 deaths above the seasonal average but reported 1,160 coronavirus deaths.”

Matt Dalby
April 22, 2020 4:50 pm

Some other numbers that no-one (certainly here in the U.K.) are talking about.
7 U.S. states currently have a death rate (per million of population) that is above the national average. 6 of these states have a Democratic governor, plus D.C. is above the national average and has a Democrat mayor. I’m not sure what, if anything, this means, but large sections of the U.K. media love to criticize Trump for his handling of the outbreak, (including some T.V. news programs, especially Channel 4, despite the fact that broadcast media in the U.K. is not allowed to express an opinion). These numbers, plus the fact that the U.S. has a lower death rate than Italy, Spain, France, Britain, etc. who all have more centrist governments could well mean that criticizing Trump is not justified, maybe he handled this better than a lot of other Western governments.
Perhaps more importantly of the 7 states with high death rates 6 are in the north (the other one is Louisiana). This seems to suggest that coronavirus is similar to seasonal flu, in that rates of transmission are much lower in warmer weather. Supporting evidence comes from Australia and New Zealand, which have much lower death rates than a lot of European countries. Therefore it seems reasonable to assume that the number of new cases will decrease as we approach summer, although how this could be shown to be due to lower transmission in warm weather as opposed to lockdowns working is beyond me.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Matt Dalby
April 22, 2020 11:43 pm

“Matt Dalby April 22, 2020 at 4:50 pm”

Don’t forget your hemispheres and seasons when comparing weather. When COVID-19 broke, Aus and NZ were in mid-summer, the EU mid-winter.

What intrigues me is how quickly a case appeared in Chad, slap bang in the middle of Africa.

April 22, 2020 5:25 pm

It sounds like everyone that was a climate expert last Decemeber is now an expert virologist this year.

Reply to  dp
April 22, 2020 6:42 pm

No, just a lot of smart people worried about there families health.

They have seen thru the world wide Harvard centric media spin network….

Reply to  dp
April 22, 2020 6:56 pm

But you do not have to be an expert to spot pseudo-science ; you just need to know how science works.
It’s a process of elimination.

Reply to  dp
April 22, 2020 7:10 pm

Are you an astrology expert?
Do you believe in astrology?

Reply to  dp
April 22, 2020 10:46 pm

I’m sorry that flu death is such a bitch – but you can count on it happening every year. WuFlu just the latest.

April 22, 2020 9:14 pm

Is it even a pandemic at that point?

Earl Rodd
April 23, 2020 5:59 am

This is a bit off-topic here, but I wish someone would do a quality analysis of Australia’s low numbers. They have done a lot of testing and found very few cases – single digits new cases per day. Why? We hear a lot of talk about Italy as an outlier. But how about Australia in the other direction?

I’ve heard glib comments about “social distancing”, but Australia had some cases really early, and started social distancing in the same time frame as US states. Something else was done differently. Or is it the air? The climate? The culture?

Reply to  Earl Rodd
April 23, 2020 10:17 am

When cases were originally found in the US the CDC managed to trace most of them back to their sources.

However that quickly changed, when NYC blew up after fashion week flying in from Milan, all bets were off as far as tracing went. NY pretty much blew up the entire east coast and through travel managed to cause first known cases in many other states. . . my point is, we had it controlled until we did not have it controlled and it took no time at all to happen.

I too believe it has been on the west coast of the US longer than thought. It is rather silly to expect that at least one or two cases didnt sneak through before travel restrictions were put on China. We also did not know of asymptomatic transfer, why it didn’t spread like wildfire.. unknown.

Richard Mann
April 25, 2020 9:32 pm

Why is no one mentioning Dr Judy Mikovits? Here is one of here many interviews, discussing her latest book. Plague of Corruption.
Raises more questions than it answers.

Verified by MonsterInsights