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It's tempting to go straight conspiracy theory with some of these stats, but I'm not sure there is true malfeasance behind it.  The very nature of the situation provides a lot of opportunity for sloppiness and numbers that aren't necessarily in their proper context.  Add to that a certain tendency for media to put the most alarming face on things generally and match it with some people's growing distrust of the media and it all gets pretty damn confusing. 

Probably the most salient number we have and what ought to be concentrated on is availability of hospital beds. That actually ought to be one that can be figured with a high degree of accuracy.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, mcanadiens said:

Probably the most salient number we have and what ought to be concentrated on is availability of hospital beds. That actually ought to be one that can be figured with a high degree of accuracy.

And also how many hospital beds could be cleared if there's a real spike -- if someone's in the hospital for an elective procedure, and you (I don't mean you, I mean generic you) want to make the situation sound worse, you cite that as a lot more people are hospitalized, letting readers infer that it's all Covid related.  I believe several news outlets did this when some hospitals started allowing non-Covid related elective procedures.

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Regarding the news saying that it's taking up to 8 days for some people to get their tests results back, my thought was the daily numbers can't go higher than the overall throughput of the testing.  If that's the case the increase or decreases will be due to % tested positive numbers.

Conspiracy theories?  No point in arguing with crazy.

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2 hours ago, TN94z said:

I have also heard that places like nursing homes have to test their residents every few weeks or so to monitor their status. Even though its the same case every time, they are counted as new positive cases with each test a resident takes.

I got to think that most of these type situations are fake news from people with a slanted point of view. Not saying the reporting is perfect, but I don't think this is happening on a regular basis. Plus some of the reporting requirements are confusing, so that leads to less than perfect reporting / data. We truly live in strange times.

One thing that is happening, though, if you were to go to a hospital right now for any reason, covid or not, you would be tested for Covid and a positive results makes you a case. So for crazy example, if you show no symptons and fall and break your leg, but then test positive while getting your leg set, you are now a covid statistic.  There have been some similar issues with deaths in some states - a person with Covid who dies of a heart attack might be listed as a Covid death.

I think the issue is that in these situations there can always be problems with the absolute accuracy of the numbers. The general macro trend, however, cannot be manipulated by such factors. The general statistical trend is going the wrong way.

 

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1 hour ago, Shindig said:

And also how many hospital beds could be cleared if there's a real spike -- if someone's in the hospital for an elective procedure, and you (I don't mean you, I mean generic you) want to make the situation sound worse, you cite that as a lot more people are hospitalized, letting readers infer that it's all Covid related.  I believe several news outlets did this when some hospitals started allowing non-Covid related elective procedures.

Good point. 

I guess that isn't as easy a statistic as I was thinking. 

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3 hours ago, TN94z said:

I have also heard that places like nursing homes have to test their residents every few weeks or so to monitor their status. Even though its the same case every time, they are counted as new positive cases with each test a resident takes.

 

It’s not really that relevant. What’s hard for people to get is the importance of the percent positive dramatically increasing. For instance in the April surge the percent positive hovered around 4% , with this surge , at least in our area, the % positive is 29%. That implies many things. One of which is that we are not testing enough and that because of the delays in a national plan, contact tracing will likely not be as productive.
the double count your talking about is negligible if it occurs at all. Remember it’s a percentage so would only affect the denominator. Even 50 extra cases in the numerator don’t change the percentage much. Also, the expectation is after a couple of weeks that they should not be positive if they were to begin with. The very few cases in which you’re catching people on the cusp doesn’t effect the numbers. Many other countries got way ahead of this thing. Germany one example among others. Here we still have leaders arguing over the only two things we know work; masks and social distancing.

 

10 minutes ago, mcanadiens said:

Good point. 

' I guess that isn't as easy a statistic as I was thinking. 

in many ways just the opposite. the doctors, and mostly the hospitals doing elective procedures desperately want to open up to do these. that's the main moneymaker. our entire health system is set up for procedural reimbursement. they absolutely need to get back in and do them. for instance while there may be a reimbursement under medicare of about 90-140$ to the doctor for a procedure. epidural injection for instance. there is up to a $2500 'facility fee' for hospitals and same day clinics. that's where the money is. that's why given the system we have, most groups try to buy into a same day surgery center and do the very same procedure there that they would do in the office but at a generous premium. 

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15 minutes ago, nicolas wieder said:

 

It’s not really that relevant. What’s hard for people to get is the importance of the percent positive dramatically increasing. For instance in the April surge the percent positive hovered around 4% , with this surge , at least in our area, the % positive is 29%. That implies many things. One of which is that we are not testing enough and that because of the delays in a national plan, contact tracing will likely not be as productive.
the double count your talking about is negligible if it occurs at all. Remember it’s a percentage so would only affect the denominator. Even 50 extra cases in the numerator don’t change the percentage much. Also, the expectation is after a couple of weeks that they should not be positive if they were to begin with. The very few cases in which you’re catching people on the cusp doesn’t effect the numbers. Many other countries got way ahead of this thing. Germany one example among others. Here we still have leaders arguing over the only two things we know work; masks and social distancing.

I understand what you are saying.  I was just thinking that if you take 50 in a nursing home (just using it as an example) that have their count double every 2 weeks because of the continued testing of the same individuals that continue to test positive and are being reported as new every test, then multiply that by the hundreds of nursing homes in the state, that has to change the numbers.  That is all hypothetical obviously. And this info came from a nurse that works at a nursing home, but I cannot confirm with my own eyes.

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3 hours ago, mcanadiens said:

It's tempting to go straight conspiracy theory with some of these stats, but I'm not sure there is true malfeasance behind it.  The very nature of the situation provides a lot of opportunity for sloppiness and numbers that aren't necessarily in their proper context.  Add to that a certain tendency for media to put the most alarming face on things generally and match it with some people's growing distrust of the media and it all gets pretty damn confusing. 

Probably the most salient number we have and what ought to be concentrated on is availability of hospital beds. That actually ought to be one that can be figured with a high degree of accuracy.

 

 

 

i guess. but some never find it tempting to go to conspiracy theories, though i guess some do. not sure why. maybe it takes work to look at data first instead of always going hmmm as if it's some well thought out doubt.

it's true that hospital beds would be a good data point. what do you do though when states like florida refuse to release their number in certain cities. perhaps the conspiracy sometimes goes the other direction? why don't people who believe in conspiracies go both ways with them?

40 minutes ago, gbogey said:

I got to think that most of these type situations are fake news from people with a slanted point of view. Not saying the reporting is perfect, but I don't think this is happening on a regular basis. Plus some of the reporting requirements are confusing, so that leads to less than perfect reporting / data. We truly live in strange times.

One thing that is happening, though, if you were to go to a hospital right now for any reason, covid or not, you would be tested for Covid and a positive results makes you a case. So for crazy example, if you show no symptons and fall and break your leg, but then test positive while getting your leg set, you are now a covid statistic.  There have been some similar issues with deaths in some states - a person with Covid who dies of a heart attack might be listed as a Covid death.

I think the issue is that in these situations there can always be problems with the absolute accuracy of the numbers. The general macro trend, however, cannot be manipulated by such factors. The general statistical trend is going the wrong way.

 

 

1 minute ago, TN94z said:

I understand what you are saying.  I was just thinking that if you take 50 in a nursing home (just using it as an example) that have their count double every 2 weeks because of the continued testing of the same individuals that continue to test positive and are being reported as new every test, then multiply that by the hundreds of nursing homes in the state, that has to change the numbers.  That is all hypothetical obviously. And this info came from a nurse that works at a nursing home, but I cannot confirm with my own eyes.

i agree. that data is missing. it's messy. sometimes we are left with looking at the forest when we can't rely on the number of trees. right now the forest looks pretty bad.

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One thing that's an unknown right now is how many people have longer-term complications from COVID. There are more and more stories about this, a lot of which are pretty scary. I asked my doctor this week if we know how prevalent these long-term complication are, and she said we really have no idea right now. This article says it may be 1 in 10 or 1 in 20.

_113238643_family_pic_jul2020-1.jpg

Thousands of people with Covid-19 report recurring symptoms for far longer than 14 days.

And some of these complications are pretty bad:

5018.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=8

UK neurologists publish details of mildly affected or recovering patients with serious or potentially fatal brain conditions

If you look up the long-term complications of people who were infected with and survived the original SARS, it doesn't paint a pretty picture. If COVID is like that, the repercussions on society are going to last a long time.

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10 minutes ago, nicolas wieder said:

i agree. that data is missing. it's messy. sometimes we are left with looking at the forest when we can't rely on the number of trees. right now the forest looks pretty bad.

Great analogy.

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1 hour ago, nicolas wieder said:

It’s not really that relevant. What’s hard for people to get is the importance of the percent positive dramatically increasing. For instance in the April surge the percent positive hovered around 4% , with this surge , at least in our area, the % positive is 29%. That implies many things. One of which is that we are not testing enough and that because of the delays in a national plan, contact tracing will likely not be as productive. the double count your talking about is negligible if it occurs at all. Remember it’s a percentage so would only affect the denominator. Even 50 extra cases in the numerator don’t change the percentage much.

You don't get to pick and choose what "stats" matter or what stats are relevant.

If they say "206 new cases this week" and 50 of them are duplicates from the week before… then it's 156 new cases. that's a significant change, and some counties are deciding whether to go "green" or "yellow" by the number of new cases per week.

And 29%… 206 cases = 710 cases, so if 50 are duplicates, then that's 156/660, which reduces the % to 23.6%.

FWIW, I think "percent positive tests" is a nearly completely useless stat. You could get it to nearly 100% if you test only people who almost surely have COVID-19, and get it to nearly 0% if you test people who almost surely don't have it.

Right now positive tests are higher because testing is more widely available, and people who are showing symptoms are being tested, as well as people who have come into contact with them. I haven't been tested, nor has anyone in my family or almost any of my friends. Were they, they'd be negatives, and would lower the % positives.

1 hour ago, nicolas wieder said:

Many other countries got way ahead of this thing. Germany one example among others.

The U.S. is not Germany.

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I'm just bitter that our lives are going to suck for SO much longer than people who live in pretty much every other rich country in the world because we have the worst leadership in the world.

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38 minutes ago, iacas said:

The U.S. is not Germany.

This exactly.

It looks like the strain of the virus matters as well. Also, it seems that Vitamin D plays a big roll in severity of the illness. 

I would think hospitalizations are what matters the most. 

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Gov. DeWhine has declared that it is a criminal misdemeanor to not wear a mask in "red" counties of Ohio. Many police departments have released statements that they do not intend to enforce this. Since when can a Governor declare a law without the support of the legislature?

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38 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Also, it seems that Vitamin D plays a big roll in severity of the illness. 

If this is the case, we should all be playing more golf, not less.

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17 minutes ago, CarlSpackler said:

Since when can a Governor declare a law without the support of the legislature?

I would think this would depend on your state’s constitution. Your governor may or may not have that authority to impose something like this. If he or she does, then law enforcement should comply. If not, legislators need to step up and discuss fully with the governor and come to an agreement.
 

I just can’t see how people can whine so much about wearing a mask in a store. It is not hard at all. They act like 3 year olds having a tantrum. Just wear it and move on.

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16 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

I would think this would depend on your state’s constitution. Your governor may or may not have that authority to impose something like this. If he or she does, then law enforcement should comply. If not, legislators need to step up and discuss fully with the governor and come to an agreement.
 

I just can’t see how people can whine so much about wearing a mask in a store. It is not hard at all. They act like 3 year olds having a tantrum. Just wear it and move on.

Yeah. And I have glasses that fog up. I wear them.

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35 minutes ago, CarlSpackler said:

Since when can a Governor declare a law without the support of the legislature?

Depends on the state, but Governors generally have a wide scope of authority to deal with health and safety in the state. This includes things like quarantining, and making it a crime to break quarantine. A Governor's order to mask can be enforced with criminal penalties.

At the federal level, there are thousands of criminal offenses that are not laws passed by Congress.

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