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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday March 17 2020, @11:52AM   Printer-friendly
from the sudden-impact dept.

A lot has already happened this year. SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) which can cause COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease 2019) has been making headlines shortly after it was first reported. The first cases were reported to WHO (World Health Organization) on 2019-12-31. The virus spread. It began as an epidemic in China . The world watched apprehensively. Reports surfaced of cases in other countries and the the apprehension grew. For many folk, it turned to fear when it was upgraded to a pandemic: WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 11 March 2020: "We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic."

We have seen increasing efforts to stem the spread of the disease. Efforts have run the gamut. Closing of borders. Cancellation of sporting events. Conferences cancelled. Churches and other places of worship also closed. Schools closed. Panic buying of household goods and supplies. Supply chain disruptions affecting manufacturers. Restaurant, bars, and other such establishments closed. Work-from-home policies established and enacted.

The changes have been many, widespread, and continuing.

Reading about all the ways that "other people" have been affected is one thing. It seems different, somehow, when it hits closer to home and affects us directly. With many of our usual social activities curtailed or cancelled, it is easy to begin isolating and lose perspective. SoylentNews arose from a troubled period (the SlashCott) and a community has formed from that challenging period.

How have you been affected? Have you been infected? Had a family member or friend who was? Helped neighbors who are struggling? Hunkering down and isolating? (In a basement is optional.) Are you suddenly working from home and finding it challenging to manage your time? Still working on site, but now have a faster commute due to all the other people staying home? Catching up on watching TV shows? Reading more SoylentNews? How has your life changed?

From a somewhat different perspective, how have others helped you to cope... and how have you been able to help others? One of the potential impacts of social distancing is isolation and depression. I count myself fortunate, indeed, to have served this site for over 6 years and for all the people I have gotten to know, here. For those who may not be aware, SoylentNews has its own IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server. Feel free to drop in to #Soylent and just say "Hi!"

Social distancing is permanent when you're dead. So, practice good hygiene and stay safe.

Previously (oldest first):
China Battles Coronavirus Outbreak: All the Latest Updates
2019-nCoV Coronavirus Story Roundup
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Roundup
Coronavirus Roundup
Coronavirus Roundup (Feb. 17)
Roundup of Stories about the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus and COVID-19 Disease
COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 - CoronaVirus) Roundup
CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) Roundup 2020-03-12
Working from Home: Lessons Learned Over 20 Years


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  • (Score: 2, Disagree) by janrinok on Tuesday March 17 2020, @06:09PM (16 children)

    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 17 2020, @06:09PM (#972378) Journal

    You figures are good, but they do not address the spread by age. The majority of those are over 70 years old, and many also have pre-existing medical conditions i.e. COVID-19 might not have been the cause of death but was a contributory factor [worldometers.info]. Still bad numbers but not all caused solely by COVID-19.

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  • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday March 17 2020, @06:32PM (15 children)

    by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 17 2020, @06:32PM (#972393) Journal

    That's not true...

    Here is an example distribution chart, happens to be from a study of data from 44,672 mainland China cases.

    https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/covid-19-2.001-1280x960.jpeg [arstechnica.net]

    So, in that particular sample set, 80+ year olds accounted for less than 5% of the cases, yet over 15% of the deaths.
    Sure.
    And the 70-79 year olds also had a high mortality rate close to 10%, but they represented under 10% of the cases.

    Less than 15% of the cases in that study were people over 70.

    Yes, the mortality rate will be higher in the elderly, but that doesn't mean that there aren't 20 and 30-something year olds that had no existing underlying medical conditions laying in a hospital right now on ventilators. Some of them are going to die too.

    Half of of the confirmed cases of infections in that data set were people under 50.

    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday March 17 2020, @06:49PM (14 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 17 2020, @06:49PM (#972401) Journal

      We could be comparing apples and oranges - your data is China only, mine is world figures. China has some very advanced hospitals but it also has a lot of less capable ones too.

      The figures I used indicate that for 10-19 year olds the death rate is 0.2% and no group under 50 years old had a rate of higher than 0.4%. My figures show the risk of dying, not the actual percentage of that age group in the number of total deaths. So the number of deaths of those diagnosed with COVID-19 might show 50% were under 50 years old, but their risk of dying was about 0.25%.

      I'm far less interested in how many contract the virus and recover, it is the loss of life that will be significant.

      • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday March 17 2020, @07:18PM (11 children)

        by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 17 2020, @07:18PM (#972418) Journal

        I'm far less interested in how many contract the virus and recover, it is the loss of life that will be significant.

        Indeed.

        The current number is 7865 / 88705 = 8.9%

        There are currently 106168 other confirmed cases without outcomes yet.
        How many of that next 100k outcomes do you expect to be deaths?

        Please show your work. :)

        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday March 17 2020, @07:46PM (10 children)

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 17 2020, @07:46PM (#972433) Journal

          Please show your work. :)

          https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?noupdate=1&sid=36598&page=1&cid=972378#commentwrap [soylentnews.org] - as posted in my first comment. It breaks down data by age, sex and pre-existing conditions.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by drussell on Tuesday March 17 2020, @07:59PM (9 children)

            by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 17 2020, @07:59PM (#972439) Journal

            Yes, and all those numbers in your provided charts are based on deaths / total cases. Not deaths / known outcomes.

            Using total cases as the denominator in a rapidly exploding phenomenon like a pandemic is disingenuous, at best.

            • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday March 18 2020, @07:12AM (8 children)

              by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 18 2020, @07:12AM (#972666) Journal

              And your data does not account for those who have no symptoms or only mild symptoms and are never diagnosed. THERE IS NO GOOD DATA YET. We are all learning as we go along and the bottom line is how many people will die. I don't care if people who survive were never diagnosed as long as they survive. I understand your calculations and acknowledged that fact in my first response.

              If members of my family die, whether diagnosed with COVID or not, I am concerned. Until we have a test that identifies those who have had the disease and have recovered - possibly without even knowing it - then we cannot have accurate figures.

              • (Score: 2) by drussell on Wednesday March 18 2020, @07:54AM (7 children)

                by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 18 2020, @07:54AM (#972676) Journal

                And your data does not account for those who have no symptoms or only mild symptoms and are never diagnosed. THERE IS NO GOOD DATA YET.

                Indeed, the preliminary data is sketchy, at best.

                What is your reaction, though, to the 320,000 tested in Guangdong which was a sampling of a much wider cross-section of the general public? Their testing showed much less spread among the general population than some believe has already occurred.

                • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday March 18 2020, @08:19AM (5 children)

                  by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 18 2020, @08:19AM (#972681) Journal

                  To be honest, I'm not sure what I would make of it. Until I read something that is authoritative about how the data was collected, how the calculations were made, the error bands, and then have the assessment of an expert epidemiologist on what it actually indicates, it is interesting but I do not have enough expertise to make an assessment that is any better than anyone else's.

                  In Europe, I am pleased that most decisions seem to be science based and there is relatively little politicising, and in some cases no politicising whatsoever, of the steps being taken to combat this pandemic. I assume that the situation is the same for you in Canada. It also seems that our US cousins seem to be slowly realising that political bullshit is not going to save lives and may indeed endanger many people needlessly. As the scientists keep reminding us on the TV, they are working with the best data that they have and they are sharing knowledge and expertise with each other all around the world - but that data is incomplete and there are still many holes in our knowledge.

                  The UK government made some very good announcements yesterday about financial, business and medical support. There is still much more to be done but at least action is being taken to mitigate the potential problems before they are too great to manage or it is too late to take action.

                  I live in France and, over the last 7 days or so, my life has changed considerably as I have discussed elsewhere in this thread. I'll read what I can find, and I have the TV news on in the background all day in case of major or significant developments. But I cannot spend as much time as I would like staying on top of the subject. I'll keep reading your posts though - so please continue with them!

                  • (Score: 2) by drussell on Wednesday March 18 2020, @08:26AM

                    by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 18 2020, @08:26AM (#972685) Journal

                    Indeed.

                  • (Score: 2) by drussell on Wednesday March 18 2020, @09:05AM (1 child)

                    by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 18 2020, @09:05AM (#972688) Journal

                    As an aside, the current numbers from JHU are:

                    7954 / 89915 = 8.85%

                    ... and now 108264 remaining confirmed cases with no known outcomes.

                    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday March 18 2020, @10:45AM

                      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 18 2020, @10:45AM (#972701) Journal

                      FYI - The youngest person to die from COVID-19 in the UK is a 45 year old male who had motor-neurone disease. He died over the weekend.

                      As far as I can ascertain, all UK deaths so far had additional health concerns before infection, but I cannot be certain of that as there is incomplete reporting in the public domain.

                  • (Score: 2) by drussell on Friday March 20 2020, @03:33AM

                    by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @03:33AM (#973400) Journal

                    9867 / (9867 + 84972) = 10.4%

                    147875 active cases with no known outcome

                  • (Score: 2) by drussell on Sunday March 22 2020, @08:40AM

                    by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2020, @08:40AM (#974062) Journal

                    One additional data point as to general spread in the community...

                    Here in Alberta we have still been conducting more tests per capita than anywhere else in North America (though thankfully not raw number of tests anymore!). As of Friday we had tested 20360 people, anyone who has shown any possible symptoms or has been exposed to someone known to have the virus has been tested. Thus far, that is one test for every 215 residents. Only 195 cases were found, so less than 1% of those tested have actually been found to be infected.

                    This mirrors what was found in Guangdong, where it looks like no, it has probably not already spread as widely among the general population asymptomatically as some people are thinking. Now, of course, we haven't tested everyone but if we've tested a whole bunch of likely-to-be-infected people and found less than 1%, it doesn't seem to show there already being a huge undetected infected group that will eventually be found to push the death rate down by an order of magnitude.

                • (Score: 2) by drussell on Wednesday March 18 2020, @08:24AM

                  by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 18 2020, @08:24AM (#972684) Journal

                  I should be more specific...

                  The testing in Guangdong showed less spread amongst the general population there, but it was more aggressively contained, seemingly earlier "on the curve" than the data suggests that subsequent outbreaks in some other countries have been.

                  I expect that future after-tests of areas harder hit than China, (like Italy and the US are likely to be for example,) will of course show that a wider cross-section of the population was infected when all is said and done. Does my gut feeling after watching the trends and crunching the numbers tell me that the final numbers will be a real, true, final CFR of 10%? No, not really, (or at least I certainly hope not, :) ) but I think it will be a lot closer to 5% than the 0.5% that some wish.

                  Unfortunately, though, there is also a decent chance that the distribution is already wide enough that barring a vaccine (and, of course, hoping for no mutations) it will unfortunately quite possibly become a permanently circulated virus, essentially just knocking our average age we can all expect to live to back by at least a few years, especially since most coronaviruses do not generally cause permanent immunity, rather typically 3-6 months to something specific at best, which is why we tend to keep getting those same viral "colds" over and over...

                  Only time will tell, I suppose. :)

                  Be safe, and try to stay healthy, all! :)

      • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday March 17 2020, @08:17PM (1 child)

        by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 17 2020, @08:17PM (#972452) Journal

        We could be comparing apples and oranges - your data is China only, mine is world figures.

        Citation, please?

        The information you referenced on the worldometer site is based on data from China, from two sources:

        A paper by the Chinese CCDC released on Feb. 17, which is based on 72,314 confirmed, suspected, and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in China as of Feb. 11, and was published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology

        The Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission published on Feb. 28 by WHO, [2] which is based on 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases. The report notes that "The Joint Mission acknowledges the known challenges and biases of reporting crude CFR early in an epidemic"

        While the latter IS a WHO report, it is analyzing and reporting on Chinese cases.

        The death rates in most places have thus far actually been higher than those in mainland China.

        Only time will tell what the actual numbers are in the end...

        • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday March 17 2020, @08:30PM

          by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 17 2020, @08:30PM (#972462) Journal

          Oops, forgot the link to the WHO report:

          https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf [who.int]

          Also, see:

          https://smw.ch/article/doi/smw.2020.20203 [smw.ch]

          At present, it is tempting to estimate the case fatality rate by dividing the number of known deaths by the number of confirmed cases. The resulting number, however, does not represent the true case fatality rate and might be off by orders of magnitude [...]

          A precise estimate of the case fatality rate is therefore impossible at present.

          and this might help if you would like to take a stab at predicting the next 100k outcomes:
          https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/162/5/479/82647 [oup.com]

          The case fatality rate (CFR) represents the proportion of cases who eventually die from a disease.
          Once an epidemic has ended, it can simply be calculated with the formula: deaths / cases.

          While an epidemic is still ongoing, as it is the case with the current novel coronavirus outbreak, this formula is, at the very least, "naïve" and can be "misleading if, at the time of analysis, the outcome is unknown for a non negligible proportion of patients."

          In other words, current deaths belong to a total case figure of the past, not to the current case figure in which the outcome (recovery or death) of a proportion (the most recent cases) hasn't yet been determined.

          The correct formula, therefore, would appear to be:

          CFR = deaths at day.x / cases at day.x-{T}
          (where T = average time period from case confirmation to death)

          This would constitute a fair attempt to use values for cases and deaths belonging to the same group of patients.

          One issue can be that of determining whether there is enough data to estimate T with any precision, but it is certainly not T = 0 (what is implicitly used when applying the formula current deaths / current cases to determine CFR during an ongoing outbreak).

          ...or, you can use the known outcomes like I did for rough current calculations, knowing that accuracy will improve as more outcomes are known, etc. by just using the CFR = deaths / (deaths + recovered)

          In any case, simply using deaths / total cases is essentially currently meaningless given the high rate of daily new infections and the lengthy time period before there is a known outcome.