COVID Stats - can you make sense of this?

graywings123

There is an article in the Wall Street Journal written by a Johns Hopkins doctor. He feels we are closer to herd immunity than the CDC and others are saying, and he projects Covid will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life. But he writes this below, which I don't understand:


Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. would also suggest much broader immunity than recognized. About 1 in 600 Americans has died of Covid-19, which translates to a population fatality rate of about 0.15%. The Covid-19 infection fatality rate is about 0.23%. These numbers indicate that roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population has had the infection.


How is he computing that?


https://www.wsj.com/articles/well-have-herd-immunity-by-april-11613669731?mod=hp_opin_pos_1

(may be behind a pay wall)



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Raye Smith

The first rate is the death rate by Covid thought the entire population. The second rate is the death rate for those with known Covid infections. There are a large number of people that have been infected, show little to no symptoms and now carry immunity. That immunity contributes to herd immunity. Herd immunity is the total of those immune after infection and those immune due to vaccination.

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Lukki Irish

These articles are really just space fillers because the data collected in the US is not nearly thorough enough to calculate any herd immunity time frames yet. It’s all just speculation. Plus, we don’t know if the vaccine keeps someone who’s vaccinated from spreading still. There are still too many unknowns about it.

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nickel_kg

It would be lovely if he were correct, but no I don't follow his math.

Intuitively, I think of my street, my neighborhood, my community and I don't think 2/3's of us have had it yet.

Time will tell.

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Elmer J Fudd

It's an interesting article. I was able to read it and don't have a WSJ subscription.

He's explaining his hypothesis of one possible construct for what's gone on and what to expect. It's what researchers and scientists do as they try to understand something new. They conceptualize, argue with one another, accept or disagree with proposals and update their views as new data comes along before a tentative consensus can be reached.

This seems like early stage speculation. I suspect it won't be until we're much further along and the experts can look back in hindsight before the real story can be understood. His thoughts at this stage could be right, partially right, or dead wrong. Lots of experts have lots of views.

It's like a forest fire. We're still in the fire fighting stage, infection rates remain high. I find experts like Michael Osterholm at U Minnesota most interesting. He's well respected and focusing on the fight and has been active and prominent over the past year in that regard. Here's a recent piece about him

Osterholm

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terezosa / terriks

This seems like early stage speculation. I suspect it won't be until we're much further along and the experts can look back in hindsight before the real story can be understood. His thoughts at this stage could be right, partially right, or dead wrong. Lots of experts have lots of views.

I agree with this. We will know which experts were correct after it's over. Until then it's plan for the worst, hope for the best.

I listen to Dr. Osterholm's Covid podcast every week. Yesterday's episode was about this very topic.

https://www.osterholmupdate.com/

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althea_gw

That's interesting. The infection rate has dropped dramatically at about the same rate all over the world. The best explanation I have seen is that extroverts have reached herd immunity. :)

Anyway, his prediction sounds reasonable based whether the t-cell data is accurate. From the article:

"Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute found that the percentage of people mounting a T-cell response after mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infection consistently exceeded the percentage with detectable antibodies. T-cell immunity was even present in people who were exposed to infected family members but never developed symptoms. A group of U.K. scientists in September pointed out that the medical community may be under-appreciating the prevalence of immunity from activated T-cells."

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maifleur03

Currently I am more interested in the newer strains and how infective they are. There is some suggestion that for people who have had the disease or have had the existing vaccine the resulting infection may not be as bad. While the "may not be as bad" sounds great it discounts what having a second infection in a body that is already damaged by the first will do. Not enough is known about the long term affect of the first infection but a second infection on top of that should do additional damage. Doctors have known for a long time some of the life long changes that occur when a virus damages the heart. Scar tissue seldom ever beats as well as healthy tissue.


People will eventually return to a normal but it will not be what that normal was before the virus started.

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graywings123

But how does he mathematically extrapolate from 1/600, 0.15% and 0.23% to arrive at 2/3 of the population?

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bragu_DSM 5

For the fourth time since the pandemic began, our state [Iowa] has changed the way it is counting cases. We all know the more you test, the more you are going to find [doh]. The number of confirmed cases, however, pales in comparison to when tests were slowly rolling out.

In the meantime, we get gene therapy to trigger immune responses. Where's my GMO crowd of naysayers now?

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socalgal_gw Zone USDA 10b Sunset 24

Graywings123, I like math puzzles.

Very roughly half a million people have died of COVID, out of about 300 million US population, or about 1 per 600.

1 per 600 is 0.15%: (1/600) x 100 = 0.15%

Number dead has to stay the same so it is = 0.15% of total population = 0.23% of infected population.

Solve for the fraction of the population that is infected to get 0.65 times the total population, or two thirds.

What I don’t know is where he gets that infection fatality rate. I’ve heard much higher.

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colleenoz

"The infection rate has dropped dramatically at about the same rate all
over the world. The best explanation I have seen is that extroverts have
reached herd immunity."

One of our Australian experts was speaking about this on the radio yesterday morning. His explanation was that it was the expected drop off as winter progresses.

I think herd immunity is still very much an iffy prospect as I have heard of too many people who have had Covid more than once, so clearly getting it does not always confer immunity.

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joyfulguy

The U.S. death numbers are still about a fifth of the world total, according to their best evaluation, isn't it?

One wonders what level of protection against later variations may be provided by either earlier Covid illness or vaccination.

ole joyful

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Embothrium

Michael Osterholm was just on Margaret Hoover. Said government needs to stop focusing self protection recommendations on large droplets at close quarters and shift the guidelines to the real danger. Which is tiny droplets that host viable virus for hours while floating around for some distance.

Also said this virus is probably the new AIDS and not an influenza analog. As in a permanent fixture rather than something that rages for a time and then dies down, in the manner of the many flu pandemics over the years.

And that the new strains pose a threat of a much more serious general situation soon developing.

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arcy_gw

Most of the "news" is really editorial. The bottom line is all we know about this virus is too NEW to draw conclusions. We will have to look back to know what's really what. The science can only take us so far. Where medical and science are concerned especially when it pertains to the human body we need TIME. Reports of deaths are HIGHLY exaggerated because they officially attributed all deaths in nursing homes as "covid related" for MONTHS. Testing is inaccurate. The vaccine roll out is dependent on factors like WEATHER as we saw this past week. My son is a Data Scientist and given the numbers he can find about rates of vaccines he says it will be a minimum of two years until 'herd immunity' can possibly be a thing and by then--well mutations will wipe any chance of that away. That's just working the NUMBERS at the rate vaccines are getting administered now. Politics/newspaper sorry they LIE they spin the truth ALL THE TIME and if you aren't suspect of anything they say you are wearing rose colored glasses.

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Raye Smith

The vaccines are NOT gene therapy. Gene therapy involves inserting genes into the current genes of an organism via direct manipulation. The mRNA in the vaccine is NOT incorporated into your genes.

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chisue

It's not journalism. It's Murdoch's version of the WSJ, once respected for more than 'happy economics news'.

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terezosa / terriks

^^^Also, the article was on the Opinion page.

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chloebud

I saw Marty Makary interviewed this week. Agree it would be great if he's right. Also agree his is just another opinion and only more time will tell. I can say that in our own circle of family and friends, at least 2/3 of them have tested positive. All with mild symptoms, fortunately.

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Elmer J Fudd

"in our own circle of family and friends, at least 2/3 of them have tested positive."


That's interesting/surprising to hear, certainly far above the mean in most communities. Are these folks front line/essential workers with unavoidable exposure at work to many people?

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terezosa / terriks

I personally know one person who has had Covid, and a few people whose relatives have had it. A very small percentage of people I know.

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maifleur03

I should not be surprised at the it is not **** comments. Any projections of what will happen right now are only opinions. Writing down or broadcasting those opinions is Journalism. No one has a crystal ball as to what will happen next they can suggest but they do not know.


My opinion is the crisis is far from over and the movement among various government's federal, state, local to relax the precautions right now will turn out to be very wrong. With the new strains apparently being similar to the older strains but people can be infected after having the old strain there is no protection. AIDS is different from this virus because people do not have to have physical body contact.


Similar comments about about the tiny droplets is why when I have returned from going places I wash my face and any part of my body that has been exposed. I garden and while I do not have the problem I have known of people who have developed poison ivy from just being in the area of a pile of brush containing it being burned with heavy snow on the ground.

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blfenton

Among my friends and family 0% have tested positive. So either we're very careful and are following the rules (which we are) or we're just lucky.

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rob333 (zone 7a)

I looked it up. Of the 1,249,000 people who live in Nashville, 86,000 have tested positive. What is that, 7%? is the population? That's our math.


No one in my family has tested positive. That I know of. I suspect my oldest rogue sister probably has. She and her husband eschew masks, travel, go to the gym...


My friends' children have had it. Adult children. But not my friends. Two of the children are in Mississippi and healthcare workers. Two of the children are Nashvilleans.

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Embothrium

Is rogue a French term for foolish?

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bragu_DSM 5

Writing down or broadcasting those opinions is Journalism.



no, it is not. opinions are NOT journalism. presenting information with research, real facts and comments from experts is journalism. or else I have been doing it wrong for 47 years.

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rob333 (zone 7a)

Embo: It's far more polite term than I really want to use!

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ci_lantro

I tend to agree with the doctor in the article in that we're much closer to herd immunity than generally thought.

Both of my sons have had it, DSI's SO had it, her mother had it. Many of both sons co-workers have had it. My youngest brother had it but did not go get a test so he may be among the uncounted. Brother donates plasma on a regular basis. He donated plasma just before he came down with Covid and then donated after he had recovered. At or after that donation, he was told that he had Covid antibodies. The state sent him a letter asking for him to donate convalescent plasma which he has been doing.

DH & I have sat out three isolation periods after being exposed via the kids. We never developed symptoms of Covid, did not get tested but I wouldn't be surprised if we have (had) detectable antibodies. We both got our second vax yesterday so there is no way to know for sure now.

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Elmer J Fudd

"I tend to agree with the doctor in the article"

It's always important to consider the source. Dr. Markary is very active in the media, something most experts other than those in governmental leadership roles don't have time to do.


More importantly, he's a surgical oncologist. Not a specialist of public health, not an immunologist, not a specialist of infectious diseases. He's welcome to his opinion and he has an audience for it because of his media presence, not because of being a subject matter expert. Because he's not one.

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maifleur03

Interesting idea about what journalism is since all books, newspapers, some types of flyers to inform the public have all been considered journalistic endeavors in the past. Apparently that is no longer true. Only something which perhaps was written in part or totally or perhaps not even written by a person is apparently considered journalism.

I still go by the old definition of Journalism,

NOUN

  1. the activity or profession of writing for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or preparing news to be broadcast.synonyms:the newspaper business · the newspaper world · the press · the print media · the fourth estate · radio journalism · television journalism · Fleet Street · reporting · writing ·[more]the product of the activity of journalism
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Embothrium

Another related term in use is broadcast journalism.

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olliesmom

Elmer, you don't have to be an immunologist to read medical journals with studies performed. There are some very smart doctors out there who read them and understand them fully. I read most medical journals they refer to and I understand quite a bit of the studies, so I do my research. And, look at the mistakes our country's so-called head immunologist has made. I don't see how anyone can trust anything that man says. They want to keep you scared, so they can control you. Period.

As far as the Covid vaccine or if you were infected with Covid, you get immunity from your T-cells, which means long-term immunity, and a high probability of permanent immunity. And you don't spread it. This DATA came from Pfizer at the end trials.

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althea_gw

Journalists writing a news story are supposed to have at least 2 sources whose "facts" are in agreement. An opinion, op/ed submission doesn't have that requirement. The text centered on the top of the page that has Marty Makary's article clearly says "Opinion" so it doesn't have the same sort of requirements as a news piece. He presents a thoughtful ananlysis of the statistics he has run.

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ci_lantro

November 27, 2020

WSJ Some 53 million people in the U.S. likely had had Covid-19 by the end of September, according to a modeling estimate from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly 6.9 million infections had been confirmed within that time period, suggesting that roughly one in every eight cases was identified.

January 15, 2021

The CDC estimated 83.1 million total infections or about 25% of the population.

We're in the third week of February and the doses per 100 people is somewhere between 18 & 19. Given that some % of those doses are second doses, let's say that something around 12% of the population has been vaccinated.

Which puts us somewhere around 37% of the population with immunity to Covid. We are currently vaxxing at a rate of almost 1.5 million people per day. So, roughly, every 3 days, we are adding 1-1.5% of the population to the immunized status. Over the next 37 days (April 1), we will add another est. 12% of the population to the immunized category (at the rate of 1% every three days). 37 + 12 = 49% of population. Plus however many people get immunity via infection between now & then. At that point we will have put a major dent in the ability of the virus to spread because of increased immunity in the population and broken chains of transmission. Which should make it easier to contact & trace. Theoretically.

Add in the upcoming availability of the one dose J & J vax, we may be able to ramp up the # of people immunized per day. The bad news is that J&J won't be able to deliver a huge amount of doses.

Last week, Jeffrey Zients, the White House's Coronavirus Response Coordinator, said only a "few million" doses will be available upon FDA authorization and that the government is working with the company to speed deliveries.

We have good news & reasons to be cautiously optimistic.

We also have reasons to be pessimistic. People like Jenny McCarthy, RFKennedy and his anti-vaxxer organization--Children's Health Defense organization and a host of other 'celebrities'. I tried to find out how many members CHD has, unsuccessfully. Who knows how many there are and if their action/ non action will be sufficient to derail ever reaching true herd immunity. Then toss in the ultra left wing & ultra right wing nutcases who think the vaccine is going to cause them to go blind or sterile or result in their offspring resembling Martians... Plus the just plain stupid. Add 'em up & that's going to be a lot of people.

Heaven help us!

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ci_lantro

Just read that as of this afternoon, 13.3% of US citizens have had at least one dose of the vax.

Lots more doses coming this week from both Moderna & Pfizer.

Both companies have hit production snags but say those are now solved, allowing them to speed and expand manufacturing

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