COVID-19 Updates

Ed Yong writes, “COVID-19 can last for several months. The disease’s ‘long-haulers’ have endured relentless waves of debilitating symptoms—and disbelief from doctors and friends.” Around 80% of infections are asymptomatic, and most of the rest involve recovery in around two weeks, but at least “thousands” of people have sustained problems, Yong writes.

Scott Gottlieb writes, “The Houston, Texas region shows continued Covid spread and rising hospitalization rates.”

Men, especially balding men, may be at greater risk of hospitalization, due to hormones.

Max Roser writes, “I think we are still in the early days of the pandemic and why I’m very pessimistic about the coming months. The number of daily new cases is rising continuously in many large countries,” even as testing remains inadequate. “These countries – like many others – see confirmed cases rise despite being in lockdowns. Lockdowns are very costly, socially and economically, and cannot remain for a very long time; especially in poor countries.”

The number of coronavirus cases tied to meatpacking plants has [topped] 20,400 infections across 216 plants in 33 states.”

Jacob Sullum: “Lockdown Supporters Embraced Wildly Wrong COVID-19 Projections That Fit Their Preconceptions.” I think the basic problem is looking at these models as predictions rather than as simulations. In brief, the models assume that, if people do not independently take mitigating actions, then such and such will happen. Of course the “if” conditional fails.

Viral load data from Germany has been reanalysed, and continues to suggest no meaningful difference between the viral load of children and adults.”

Australia: “We didn’t realise how effective we could be. We’ve actually crushed the curve and now we talking about potentially eliminating the disease locally.” See the write-up by Jill Margo.

Scott Gottlieb: “The expectation should be that this is going to be a seasonal vaccine. You’re going to need this shot regularly, and maybe annually.” The fear is that immunity won’t last very long.

A recent article from the Lancet (lead Nicholas G. Davies) finds that “only lockdown periods were sufficient to bring R0 near or below 1″ in the UK and that “intensive interventions with lockdown periods would need to be in place for a large proportion of the coming year to prevent health-care demand exceeding availability.” But I smell a lot of “if” coming off of these models. One issue is that the study pits lockdowns against “physical distancing,” but the entire point of a lockdown is to achieve greater physical distancing. Thus, the study has to be making some background assumptions here about voluntary versus coerced levels of physical distancing that I doubt reflect reality. Anyway, to me the study entirely misses the point, which is to figure out how to implement a sufficiently robust hygiene-test-trace-isolate capacity to facilitate social interactions while keeping the disease at low levels of spread.

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