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.

The course of the disease is fairly well established by now. There is a variable time between infection and when first symptoms show up, but after that it’s predictable – roughly ten days of whatever your symptoms are going to be, then either a turn for the better and a recovery period of 3 days to a week, depending on the severity of previous symptoms, or a turn for the worse where more serious support or relief is sought. Roughly 20% of patients who show symptoms take the “turn for the worse” route, and something like 20% of those require hospitalization (seems to vary a lot between nations / population groups). So, though it is true that the mortality is maybe 2% overall, that doesn’t mean that you have to treat tens of thousands and see hundreds not die to have a statistically significant result.

Many people taking Hydroxychloroquine + zinc + Z-pak report dramatic improvement and lessening of symptoms within a day, even mere hours, and clearing the virus (testing negative) in five days. If you can reduce the severity of symptoms and start significant improvement that fast, and dramatically reduce the numbers who take the “20% rough turn for the worse” path (which you’d know by about day twelve from symptom onset), then that is a huge savings in terms of $$ cost and human suffering. When you are talking about an improvement that fast, and reducing the “need serious / hospital help in ten days” from 20% to even five percent, and recovery time from weeks to days, that is easily measured in a double-blind study with just a few hundred participants.

Example: with 10 participants taking the treatment, you’d expect 2 of them to take a turn for the worse at about day 10. If the medicine has no effect, you’d only have only 0.8^10 = ~11% chance that NONE of them develop the turn for the worse path. With 100 people, the odds are 0.8^100 = about 2/10,000,000 of having none of them take the worse path. The chances of a simple majority of them taking a dramatic improvement in symptom severity before the ten day initial course is essentially zero, because that pretty much doesn’t happen in the natural course of the disease from what I’ve read so far (please correct me if you have other information).

With tens of thousands of new patients every day, there are only two reasons we don’t have very good, irrefutable data already: utter incompetence on a wide-spread basis by high level health officials, or evil / politically motivated and deliberate intent to slow-walk or hide effective treatment. Or both.

Anyone in a position of power, like Fouci or Birx or the CDC or WHO, who still claim it’s “just anecdotal” and “we don’t know yet” when Hydroxychloroquine was first noted as useful way back when SARS was a thing, is not on the side of humanity in this war on the disease and it’s source: they are a maleficent part of the problem, and they need to be exposed and dealt with, either with firing and public shaming, or fire and public impalement depending on the underlying cause for the problem.

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