Category Archives: Disease

Counting is hard

Because counting is hard, you can’t trust the numbers. How can they screw up the COVID count, you ask? Let me count the ways:

  • False positives (many ways for this one thing alone to happen).
  • Test the same person multiple times, counting each one separately as a new case.
  • Inflating the numbers as they get aggregated and passed up the line.
  • Straight up lying.
  • Counting anyone with one of more of the symptoms, even in the absence of any test results, as positive.
  • Incentivizing assigning COVID as the diagnosis by paying more for it than for any possible alternate diagnosis.
  • Treating any death for any reason as a COVID death entry if they test positive at any time.
  • Count any hospitalization for any reason as primarily a COVID case if they test positive, or have any of the symptoms even if it isn’t confirmed.
  • Once the COVID diagnosis is given, not changing it even if they are later determined to not ever have had it.
  • Changing the definition of what gets counted to be more sweeping.

News stories documenting each and every one of these things can easily be found in any and every month time-period since things started getting weird in late March. In fact, most of them can be found if you dig around in every calendar week. They are often not headline stories for weeks on end because they don’t fit the official narrative, but the cumulative effect isn’t trivial. Meanwhile the death toll is falling, much like it would in the summer months with a seasonal flu.

Wuhan Flu in the family

My parents, who are in their 90s and living in a retirement residence, tested positive for the Wuhan Flu / Covid19. They are in generally good health for their age, physically, particularly my dad. First symptoms earlier this week. I’ll keep this updated as there are more developments.

Update 1: Pop’s doc, claiming studies linked chloroquine to kidney damage (no specifics given, but likely something like the crappy Brazilian or Swedish studies that used high doses of chloroquine, which is known to be toxic (and why we now use hydroxychloroquine instead)), refuses to proscribe HYDROXYchloroquine or z-pax or anything. He’s already taking a multi-vitamin and some extra D3, so they (pop, doc, my sister, who has power of attorney and is heavily involved in parental support and medical things) don’t think that any additional is needed on that front. Treatment plan is “monitor them, if symptoms worsen call 911 and go to the ER.” My dad, who gives great weight to professional / credentialed opinions, agrees. Sigh. Prayers and hopes that generally good underlying health will suffice. If not, I will not be amused.

Update 2: Latest report is that they are improving steadily. Mom in no discomfort, no more coughing, dad back to sounding grumpy rather than just tired and old. General health signs like blood oxygen and temp are good. Basically, a very minor case or strain of it, and good general health, appears to mean that even without any medication intervention things are generally looking good. Once they have recovered, presumably, because they can no longer catch it, they are likely to be out of lock / quarantine.. Continue reading Wuhan Flu in the family

Testing low-rate problems

I’ve seen a number of reports, news stories, and comments in various places that testing a treatment or cure for the Wuhan Flu / Covid19 would be horribly difficult and time consuming, saying in effect that because the fatality rate is so low – something less than 2% (possibly lower than 0.5%  if there are a lot of asymptomatic cases out there) – that you’d have to test a HUGE number of people in order to prove the effectiveness, because in 98%+ of the cases people survive anyway. In a word, NO. Continue reading Testing low-rate problems

Science can happen fast

When life is happening fast, you have to respond fast. I find it interesting that Dr. Fouci (the CDC communicable disease guy on the podium supposedly advising Trump about the Wuhan virus) keeps dismissing the hydroxychloroquine + z-pak + zinc treatment / cure for the disease as “mere anecdote, not rigorous studies showing efficacy.” OK, fair enough. But he’s been saying that for WEEKS. It is claimed to have some effect in 12-24 hours, major improvement in 2-3 days, and perhaps clear it totally in 5. We are now adding more than 10,000 new cases a DAY. How long does it take to put together a study that could test a few thousand people when we’d literally know in a week if it works? I could design a study in a day that would have two or three variables, have a team assemble the med-packs by hand in a day while a couple of web-app geniuses put together a simple data-collection app/website, and in ten days we could have results of a control, five variations of meds, and six thousand or more participants in each treatment groups (control/placebo, hydroxychloroquine only + placebo, hydroxychloroquine + zinc, hydroxychloroquine + zpak, hydroxychloroquine + z-pak + zinc, hydroxychloroquine + z-pak + zinc + vitamins C and D3), somewhat blocked by sex, age, race, and health. Two weeks, tops. Why in the hell can’t these bozos do it in a month with all the money they have to spend?

The normal course of the disease is that it’s a pain for about ten days, then it either starts clearing up, or for about one in five of them  it takes a turn for the worse; it’s at this point folk usually head for the ER or Urgent Care. Have them start taking it as soon as possible, then have everyone report their health status on a daily basis via the web-site. Each person would have basic stats and an approximate guess of how many days they’d been symptomatic when they started taking it. Everyone being tested gets a random treatment packet, and they can be blocked up with similar starting dates and demographics taking the other treatments later. You could gather a large enough dataset very quickly that data size would make up for imperfections in perfect blocking and randomization. Two weeks max you’d know conclusively the proper course. With 20% needing some sort of serious medical attention at around day ten, and most people likely starting their meds around day 5 on average, anything less than 10 % taking that turn would be HUGE. And considering the cost per dose on the whole package is ~$5, there isn’t any reason to not do it.

I’d bet they CAN…. so why don’t they? What do they gain by it? Why are they deliberately slow-walking the science? Whose team are they really on?

Another shelf-report

Got out of the house for a little while today, went to Costco. Outside was a queue, with good “social spacing” being reminded by the team of cart-wranglers who were sanitizing all the carts (particularly the push bar). They were letting people in in groups as people came out. Inside was not at all crowded – easy to keep spaced out, and 2/3 or maybe 3/4 of the people wore masks. Most of the employees didn’t. Continue reading Another shelf-report

Interview with a doc

In this video, Rudy Giuliani interviews Dr. Vladmir Zelenko about his Wuhan Flu treatment regimen. I’m not a big fan of Rudy’s interview style (to much prosecutor-like interruption), but good info. should be qued up to the start of things, the details of his dosage is at about the 30 minute mark.

Related note on the overall mortality rate:

WTF? Why is the overall mortality falling? That is potentially a HUGE question that needs a well-supported answer.

A really short one with the zinc tie-in.

Short e-Shelf Report

In the last couple of days I’ve ordered a couple of different non-medical/food items from Amazon. One of them is now listed as “out for delivery” only a couple of days after ordering it (a better chair for my work-from-home situation). Another item shown as “in stock” is now says I should expect delivery near the end of April. A month or so. Huh. Interesting.

Other internet-only companies like NewEgg are shipping non-food items much faster, because they don’t have to prioritize groceries. Looking at current availability of items at other sites like Midway USA (guns and reloading supplies, mostly) is showing  rather spotty inventory: looking at bullets, they have 800 items in stock, 748 out of stock with no backorder, and 714 “temporarily unavailable.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen the orderable : not-orderable ratio anywhere near that skewed. IIRC, it’s typically more like 3:1 rather than 1:3.  On Ammo they have 694 types “available,” and 1006 as “out of stock no backorder” or “temporarily unavailable,” a 7:10 ratio. Highest I’ve seen it since, I think, the gun-run of Obama’s re-election panic.

OTOH, the news on cures/treatments for the Wuhan Flu continues to be good with respect to various combinations of hydroxychloroquine + other meds, so things should be returning to normal relatively soon.