Author Topic: The optimistic take on Covid-19  (Read 9823 times)

Aurelius

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
The optimistic take on Covid-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 05:34:21 PM »
There is so much information out there regarding Covid19. It’s hard to distinguish signal from noise. I believe the following information is signal. Hopefully this is useful.

I’d love feedback. Especially if you believe I’m wrong.

Alright… lets go!

Some 20 years ago the Faroe Islands (google it) had severe problems with their salmon industry. The salmon had gotten infected with ILA virus. The Faroe Islands invested in research equipment to do testing for the virus.

Fast forward to the present.

There is no country in the world that has done more tests and tracing per inhabitant than the Faroe Islands. Testing is fast and easy. Thus far 2.482 have been tested. The population of the country is only 52.500. 4,7% of the population have been tested!

Results:
Infected: 132
In hospital: 2       
Intensive care: 0      
https://corona.fo/

Zero critically ill out of 122 infected. Good news! But it would be nice if the sample size was larger.

It gets better… (I believe)

Iceland is, I believe, the country in the world that has done the 2nd most testing per inhabitant - 3,2% of all islanders have been tested.

Results:
Infected: 737
In hospital: 15
Intensive care: 2   
Died: 2
covid.is/data

Mortality rate in Iceland 0,27%.
If we add the numbers of both countries the mortality rate drops to 0,23%.

Note: the true mortality rate should be even lower, as not every person infected will be counted for. In fact you would have to assume the mortality rate probably ought to be way lower, as there is no chance to catch and count all infected people.

The average health of people in Iceland and the Faroe Islands is similar with Scandinavian countries. Age demographics are probably also quite similarly distributed as well.

There’s more good news!

In Iceland they’ve done something very interesting. They have done a large scale screen test of asymptomatic people only:

Results:
Diagnosed tests: 5.571
Positive samples: 48
Indicating that approximately 1% of the general population has the virus.

The populationg in Iceland is 364.000. Extrapolating the findings of the large scale testing there should be approximately 3.640 persons with the virus in Iceland. The mortality rate obviously plummets with these numbers.
https://nordiclifescience.org/covid-19-first-results-of-the-voluntary-screening-on-iceland/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qwhbbzLnPw&list=WL&index=8&t=20s

Another interesting fact they’ve found in the Faroe Islands is that there are two different types of Covid19:
-one type who is more severe, but doesn’t transmit very easily
-and another type who is less severe, but transmits more easily

That seems like good news to me, as it will be easier to not catch the bad Covid19, if you are a person at particular risk and take the recommended precautions.

The obvious problem thus far has been the lack of knowledge about the denominator. Thus wildly exaggerating that statistics on how lethal Covid19 is.

https://www.ft.com/content/5ff6469a-6dd8-11ea-89df-41bea055720b

"The new coronavirus may already have infected far more people in the UK than scientists had previously estimated — perhaps as much as half the population — according to modelling by researchers at the University of Oxford.

If the results are confirmed, they imply that fewer than one in a thousand of those infected with Covid-19 become ill enough to need hospital treatment, said Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology, who led the study. The vast majority develop very mild symptoms or none at all.

“We need immediately to begin large-scale serological surveys — antibody testing — to assess what stage of the epidemic we are in now,” she said.”

Besides we might get the answer “within days”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/25/uk-coronavirus-mass-home-testing-to-be-made-available-within-days

Sweden is and will be an interesting case to look out for. As I understand they’ve done very little to mitigate the spread. Groups shouldn’t gather when over 500! Borders partly closed. Gymnasiums and universities closed. Kindergarten and regular schools still open. As well as public sector and most of the business sector.

Sweden has thus far had 62 people die of Covid19.
Denmark has shutdown almost everything. 34 people have died in Denmark.
Sweden has recorded 82% more deaths than Denmark. Sweden has 74% more people than Denmark.

Quote
Michael Levitt praised Israel for its preventative measures. He said most people are naturally immune, and that since the infection rate in China is slowing down, "the end of the pandemic is near."
https://www.jpost.com/HEALTH-SCIENCE/Israeli-nobel-laureate-Coronavirus-spread-is-slowing-621145

This got longer than I intended. Needless to say I am very optimistic/bullish. This has the potential to be over before we know it!

A lot of people are really bearish people. I get it - it could be very scary.

At this point though I’d be scared shitless sitting on a lot of cash. But that’s just me :-)

Lets see what happens.



Xaston

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: The optimistic take on Covid-19
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2020, 05:59:16 PM »
Nice thread idea.  I read about the Iceland data the other day and it made me feel better.  This is the first I've heard about the Faroe Islands stuff though so thank you for that.

RichardGibbons

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 815
Re: The optimistic take on Covid-19
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2020, 07:17:27 PM »
I'm pretty optimistic about the medium term.

However, the way to look at Iceland is that we're dealing with a disease that has exponential growth and takes 3-4 weeks to kill people.  Few enough people are infected that most of the cases are likely to have happened in the last few weeks, which means that it hasn't had enough time to kill people.  Using the number of deaths as a numerator and the number of infections as the denominator to figure out a mortality rate doesn't make sense early in a pandemic.

Spekulatius

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4771
Re: The optimistic take on Covid-19
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2020, 07:41:38 PM »
I'm pretty optimistic about the medium term.

However, the way to look at Iceland is that we're dealing with a disease that has exponential growth and takes 3-4 weeks to kill people.  Few enough people are infected that most of the cases are likely to have happened in the last few weeks, which means that it hasn't had enough time to kill people.  Using the number of deaths as a numerator and the number of infections as the denominator to figure out a mortality rate doesn't make sense early in a pandemic.

Yeah, the better estaimate would be to calculate how many people were infected 3 weeks ago and use that as the denominator to calculate morbidity. As far as the two strains are concerned, there are report of people who got infected by Covid-19 twice, perhaps by the two differently strains subsequently. Which also implies that getting infected by one strain doesn’t make you immune against the other. This is similar to the Spanish flu, where two strains existed and it was the second wave that killed a lot of people with a more deadly strain.

Also, how do you explain Italy and now Spain?
Life is too short for cheap beer and wine.

no_free_lunch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1707
Re: The optimistic take on Covid-19
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2020, 07:42:15 PM »
You can also look at the cruise ship that had the infection. It was discussed on the corona virus thread but only 0.16% ended up as fatalities. This on a packed cruise ship with no concept of social distancing.

My only concern at this point is government overreaction.  We can be right on the lethality but still wrong on the economy.

The Democrats are so riled up right now, I mean look at some of these threads we have here, I think they will try to tank the economy just to hurt trumps election prospects. 😯

RichardGibbons

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 815
Re: The optimistic take on Covid-19
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2020, 08:00:38 PM »
You can also look at the cruise ship that had the infection. It was discussed on the corona virus thread but only 0.16% ended up as fatalities. This on a packed cruise ship with no concept of social distancing.

I'd agree with you except the real issue is the healthcare system getting overloaded causing the morbidity rate to skyrocket.  I think that's one of the big problems in Italy.  With the cruise ship, everyone who needed access to ventilators got them, because the system wasn't overloaded.

If the healthcare system were infinitely expandable, this pandemic wouldn't be a big deal.

We can be right on the lethality but still wrong on the economy.

Oddly enough, I agree with you on this one.  The government reaction, particularly in the USA, was terrible, and that's going to kill the economy.

The Democrats are so riled up right now, I mean look at some of these threads we have here, I think they will try to tank the economy just to hurt trumps election prospects. 😯

Yeah, this is what I meant when I said on the coronavirus thread that Trump was doing the standard playbook, encouraging his supporters to focus on the "us vs them" and rally around him rather than focus on his incompetence.

samwise

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
Re: The optimistic take on Covid-19
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2020, 08:57:46 PM »
Aurelius, what you are saying is that it is possible things are much better than people fear. It is definitely possible since we know so little yet about this three month old virus. The opposite of Iceland is Italy. It bothers me how little of the reporting ever mentions confidence intervals or any measure of uncertainty around their estimates. Those ranges in terms of total lives lost are enormous, from a few hundred thousand to millions.

Unfortunately decisions are required now (even the decision to wait and watch), before a full study can be done. They will be proved right or wrong with hindsight, after lots of economic and possibly human damage.

cobafdek

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 524
Re: The optimistic take on Covid-19
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2020, 09:24:30 PM »
There is so much information out there regarding Covid19. It’s hard to distinguish signal from noise. I believe the following information is signal. Hopefully this is useful.

I am emotionally sympathetic to this, and I hope it is true.  I have speculated in the main Coronavirus thread that widespread serological testing might bring the CFR way lower. 

But I think we're still in a fog-of-war situation.  With the passage of time, the fog is only starting to lift, and optimistic information is beginning to emerge, which you've summarized nicely. 

I thought this was a good article:
https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/

I thought this was a terrible article, both in the timing of publication and what Ioannidis was missing.  He is an influential academic and has had a distinguished career.  His article was widely circulated among influential people, and it might have done even worse damage if it came earlier.  It was denounced by several of us in the main Coronavirus thread on it's very publication date (March 17).

Like a typical academic, he calls for more data.  This would be appropriate in any other sedate research setting, like a university lab.  It is completely inappropriate in an interconnected, complex, dynamic situation like a pandemic that plays out in real-time in the real world involving real people.

In the beginning of a potentially deadly event, it is natural to hope for the best, but wiser to prepare for the worst.  Ioannidis doesn't seem to get that.  There is no sense of urgency in his writing.  It is as if he is positioning himself for the future when, if things turn out o.k., he can cite his article to point out how prescient he was.  Watch for his media appearances in the future.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2020, 09:34:48 PM by cobafdek »

ERICOPOLY

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7763
Re: The optimistic take on Covid-19
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2020, 09:48:48 PM »
The Democrats are so riled up right now, I mean look at some of these threads we have here, I think they will try to tank the economy just to hurt trumps election prospects. 😯

Yeah, this is what I meant when I said on the coronavirus thread that Trump was doing the standard playbook, encouraging his supporters to focus on the "us vs them" and rally around him rather than focus on his incompetence.

I can't argue with the results.