MORE Bad Math and progress on COVID-19

This is a followup to the original bad math being used for the modelling of COVID-19. As noted by Dr. Fauci we could not predict with any certainty (or compare to the flu) due to a “denominator problem.” Since then, Dr. Fauci (the same one) has compared COVID-19 to the flu (stating it was 10x worse) and quoting additionally from data models that predict 250k-500k dead in the U.S.

I will give him a modicum of credit, in that, he was trying to move down from the 10% mortality rate and the original models of 2.5 million dead in the United States alone. But in quoting the revision of faulty math based on a new “denominator problem.”, is like revising your business model because you realized most men do not wear women’s clothing. The original model should have been laughed out of the room, and revising it to remove pure lunacy, does not make it right. We (I dare say he) should have avoided using second grade math to replace pre-school finger counting.

The two items that we needed to create an effective model, still do not exist. We have not tested an entire confined population to understand the rate of infection and severity of symptoms. We also have not conducted a anti-body (seroprevalence) test to understand how many people may have already built an immunity to this form of COVID-19. The only right answer is “We do not have enough information to create ANY mortality model that compares with the flu. We will continue to put the full force of government and the American healthcare system against this epidemic to drive towards the most successful outcomes.” As I noted prior, this is half true, based on hospitalization and symptomatic presentation you can compare with those like populations of the flu, but that is “conspiracy theory” and may downplay the response.

I am all for ‘safety first’ and ‘prevention is worth a pound of cure’ but may patience for 100% government control of the economy (is there a word for that…Social Distancing… no that isn’t it…Commun..ity; no not that either). In any case, we are all willing to help our fellow Americans and do our part. But 15 million unemployed, mounting personal debt, unrestricted government spending and zero freedom of movement is not a permanent form of government that works [take note for November].

Closing with some good news, some non-politicians are trying to get us the numbers we need. They are also starting to indicate the cracks in the current models. Stanford is conducting a population test for anti-bodies in Silicon Valley. There are other such test going on in the UK, though they have indicated issues with the test kits. Unfortunately, these tests will likely have to be double tested, cross-checked and documented. But they are moving in the right direction.

Questioning the to the 2-4% mortality rate the researchers stated “If the number of actual infections is much larger than the number of cases – orders of magnitude larger – then the true fatality rate is much lower as well. That’s not only plausible but likely based on what we know so far” For those still working on math at the second grade level, “orders of magnitude” usually means off by a factor of 10, 100, 1000 etc. Which one remaines to be seen. The statement “likely based on what we know so far” is interesting. But unlike the 2-4% model, or the 500K dead revised down to 250K dead, down to 80K dead, down to 60K dead. They are holding on to their results until they have enough data to make a definitive claim. Both frustrating and appreciated.


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