Today researchers at the University of Miami released the preliminary results of serology (antibodies) testing in Miami-Dade County. They estimate that 6% of the population – or 165,000 residents – have been exposed to the disease. According to this write-up: “The researchers say they are 95% certain that the true amount of infection lies between 4.4% and 7.9% of the population, with 6% representing the best estimate.” The methodology for the sample appears to have been more robust than that applied in the Stanford group’s studies in California. Researchers say they used data from electrical utility Florida Power and Light to generate phone numbers in targeted demographic areas who were then contacted asked to voluntarily provide samples. Read More
If you haven’t had a chance I hope you’ll take a moment to read Josh Kovensky’s exclusive on federal government confiscations of masks and other PPE during the COVID19 Crisis. It’s the kind of piece we’re very proud to publish and the kind of weeks’ long effort your memberships and contributions to the TPM Journalism Fund make possible. Explicit partisan politics or political motivation did not turn out to be an issue in that particular story. But this story from NBCNews brings the broader story into focus. At every level, the White House is using access to PPE, medical supplies and testing as patronage. Friends get help; enemies can talk to the hand.
Let’s go back to Wisconsin after the April 7th in-person election. We have a couple more days of data since we discussed this last. Did it lead to a bump in COVID19 infections?
Let me show you the data with first a seven day and then a three day moving average.
Gov. Cuomo released some very important data today from New York State’s first COVID19 serology (antibodies) testing. They’re preliminary. So keep that in mind as more than just fine print. (Details on that in a moment.) The key data: 21.2% of New York City residents tested positive for COVID19 antibodies. 16.7% for Long Island; 11.7% for Rockland and Westchester (the suburbs just to the north of the city); and 3.6% in the rest of the state.
One of the many things Donald Trump has done badly for the country in recent months is focus this debate – largely around himself – about whether to ‘open up’ or not. This argument is good for generating intractable arguments. But it’s not terribly productive. Jeremy Konyndyk, a former Obama administration official involved in the US ebola response and other international aid efforts, suggests this analogy. Your house is on fire. You can shut the windows to deprive the fire of oxygen. That will slow it down. But eventually you’ll suffocate. We’ve now got a public debate which amounts to whether to be incinerated or suffocate. What we need is the fire brigade to show up and hose down the house. The fire brigade, as Konyndyk explains, is a system of widespread testing, contact tracing, isolation for the infected and beefed up hospital capacity to make an interim new normal possible.
This is very hard work to do.
One of the enduring features of the early Obama administration and the 2008/2009 global financial crisis was how quickly the Republican party pivoted to being the chief critic of efforts to clean up the mess their incumbent President and party had in many respects created. Suddenly the GOP barely knew George W. Bush and the 43rd President was retrospectively rebranded as the exponent of something called ‘big government conservatism’ that the GOP absolutely had nothing to do with and had never truly supported. Months into office Barack Obama was the spendthrift leading the country toward hyperinflation, decadence and ruin.
Since the first reports in January of a novel coronavirus spreading out of control in China, people around the globe have been trying to figure out just how lethal the disease is. As the pandemic has ravaged the United States and shuttered large sections of the national economy the question has only become more controversial and politicized. An infected individual’s chances of dying or becoming gravely ill from COVID19 are not only important in themselves. They directly inform what costs society should be willing to incur to slow or halt the spread of the disease.
That question is now engaged again in the furious public debate over when or how quickly to restart economic life in the country. We’ve seen the crazy talk and denial on Fox News and other pro-Trump media. But I want to discuss a version of this debate being carried on by real doctors and public health scientists, with very direct impacts on what Americans do next as they combat COVID19.
It’s still an initial study, not the kind of double blind controlled study that is the gold standard of drug studies. But the largest study to date, based on data from the VA, shows that hydroxychloroquine, the purported miracle drug repeatedly touted by President Trump, showed slightly MORE deaths from COVID19 among those who were treated with the drug. Read More
There’s been a lot of discussion about how deadly COVID19 is. It’s always seemed highly unlikely that the number of fatalities per lab-confirmed cases is at all representative of the true percentage of people who die from being infected with COVID19. That number was over 3% in China, about 5.4% in the US currently and has ranged as high as 10% in Italy. Far too many cases are escaping lab confirmed detection for those to be close to accurate.