Coronavirus

Mass Antibody Testing in This Rural Colorado County Sheds Light on COVID-19's Prevalence and Lethality

The number of Americans who have been infected by the virus, which seems to be much higher than the official tally suggests, is crucial to understanding how deadly it is.

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Mass antibody testing is crucial to getting a handle on the scope and severity of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, since it reveals who has been exposed to the virus that causes the disease, including people who never had noticeable symptoms and people who have recovered and are presumably now immune. But nearly three months after the first confirmed U.S. case was recorded, no jurisdiction in this country has attempted such testing—except for San Miguel County, a rural area of southwestern Colorado where ongoing antibody tests will provide important clues about the prevalence of infection and immunity.

United Biomedical, a company based in Hauppage, New York, is collaborating with the local Department of Health and Environment to test all 8,000 or so residents of the county, whose seat and largest city is Telluride, with a population of about 2,500. So far the company has drawn 6,000 blood samples, although analysis has been delayed because of limited laboratory capacity.

Of the 986 samples that had been processed as of last week, the health department reports, 955 were negative, eight were positive, and 23 were ambiguous. "An indeterminate or borderline result on the first test indicates that the result produced a 'high-signal flash' which is not enough to produce a positive result," the department explains. "It means that the individual may have been recently exposed to COVID-19 and/or may be in the early stage of producing antibodies."

Counting only the positive results, and assuming this initial sample is representative of the county, these findings suggest that something like 0.8 percent of the local population has been infected by the virus. Including the indeterminate results raises the rate to about 3 percent.

San Miguel County is sparsely populated, with just 5.7 residents per square mile, and the prevalence of infection is likely to be a lot higher in areas of the country where people are more closely packed together. The population density in Denver, for example, is more than 700 times as high. Compared to San Miguel County, population density is 2,000 times as high in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Miami; 2,300 as high in Boston; 3,000 times as high in San Francisco; and nearly 5,000 times as high in New York City, which by itself accounts for a quarter of the COVID-19 deaths reported in the United States so far. The average population density for the entire country is 94 people per square mile, 16 times the rate in San Miguel County.

Applying the low prevalence estimate for San Miguel County to the national population implies something like 2.6 million infections. Applying the high estimate raises that number to nearly 10 million, compared to 418,000 confirmed cases at last count. And whatever the actual prevalence is in San Miguel County, the national average is apt to be substantially higher.

Such a wide divergence between the official tallies and the actual number of infections has a dramatic impact on estimates of COVID-19's lethality. If those numbers are off by a factor of six, as suggested by the low estimate for San Miguel County, the crude case fatality rate (CFR) for the United States, currently 3.4 percent, drops to something like 0.5 percent, which would make COVID-19 about five times as deadly as the seasonal flu. If the official count is off by a factor of more than 20, as suggested by the high estimate, the actual fatality rate would be only slightly higher than 0.1 percent, the estimated CFR for the flu.

Given the incubation period for COVID-19, which ranges from two to 14 days, some people who are currently infected will die in the coming weeks, raising the number of fatalities. Furthermore, some deaths caused by COVID-19 may go unnoticed, especially if they happen at home and involve people with serious pre-existing medical conditions. But there is also a possibility that deaths are overcounted, since in the current state of heightened awareness people who die after testing positive for COVID-19 are apt to be included in the official numbers, even if they would have died anyway from other ailments.

Even allowing for delayed and undocumented deaths, it obviously makes a huge difference whether the overall prevalence of infection in the United States is 0.1 percent, as the official tally improbably suggests; close to 1 percent, as the initial tests indicate for San Miguel County; or several times that figure, as we might surmise based on relative population densities. The fact that we have to speculate about such a vitally important fact based on early results from a single rural county reflects the sad state of our knowledge about COVID-19, which is largely due to a government-engineered testing fiasco.

NEXT: Did the $50 Billion Coronavirus Bailouts Effectively Nationalize America's Commercial Airlines?

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  1. And the light it sheds is that the study is totally unrelated to the rest of the country. One county even more rural than the Rev’s hyperbole does not provide any meaningful data for anywhere else. We already know the sticks could safely ignore the federal and state level panics.

    1. Nope, not totally unrelated and not totally meaningless. Your hyperbole discredits your arguments.

      1. The fact that you eat your own feces discredits yours Hihn.

    2. its a dumb choice in both directions. the county has alot of mormom households which have an aberrant maount of family members living in 1 home and they don’t mix much with non-mormons.

      they could not have picked a less representative county. why?

      1. I’m gonna guess it is because
        a)they knew there would be enough positives to get a meaningful result,
        b)a small enough county so it doesn’t cost much,
        c)a county that is both rural and young to see impact of asymptomatics (San Miguel has only 3.5% of peeps over 65 and median age is 34),
        d)a local govt (and maybe some moneybags residents) that is willing to pay or ‘do what it takes’ to see whether it will be able to have its summer festival tourist season (unlike the other mountain counties which are now dead for this year)

        1. If you choose a random sample then you really don’t need to test that many people no matter how big the county.

          1. But they are trying to test everybody

          2. I would not agree that random testing equates to not many. You need to have enough of a sample to get meaning full results. I am not a statistician and I can not tell you how many people would have to be tested. The importance of getting meaningful results suggest you would need a higher percentage to get higher confidence.
            One problem here is that random testing require an excess of tests and we are still working to get basic level of testing. IF you can not yet test all the suspected cases you really don’t have enough for a random test.

            1. Well, it is possible to get the answer you want. If you know the population size that you are projecting to (I presume 330MM), and you know how much error you can live with (10%, 5%, 3%, or 1%) – a stats book will tell you what you want to know.

              Personally, I don’t think you intend a random sample at this stage. You want to start with a stratified sample; meaning a sample actually representative of the population demographics. That kills two birds with one stone….until you can get rapid, mass testing into place.

            2. If you have a population of 1M and you want to be 99% sure (confidence level) that you find the correct percentage of infected within +/-2%(confidence interval) you would need a random sample of 4,159 people. That’s a pretty small number of people. Try out your numbers here. https://surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm

          3. If you are just looking for percentage numbers then yes, you can get statistically meaningful data from a small testing group.
            However, if you want to understand how it spreads, or how accurate your tests are or what ambiguous results really mean, you need to be able to retest the same population. By limiting the testing to a small, remote town, you effectively created a small universe (everything you care about is inside the borders – ignore the outside).
            If you build your model using statistical data, you will get statistical results (learn nothing).

      2. “They” didn’t pick that county, the county Department of Health and Environment chose to implement county wide testing early on instead of going with this lockdown bullshit.

        The better question is why didn’t more counties do the same or similar. Counties with larger, more dense populations could have implemented randomized testing with sufficiently large sample sizes to get meaningful data, but of course if they did that then how would they get their authority boners off?

        1. “they” didn’t decide. They accepted an offer from residents who own a biosampling firm. The firm realized the advantage of having a comprehensive look at a whole population rather than the limited testing, done mainly on symptomatic people.

          “population density” figures in this article are pretty useless, as they don’t recognize that “Of the 1,287 square miles of land within San Miguel County, about 66% are public lands and are controlled by agencies like the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Colorado State Land Board or Division of Wildlife.” Few people are allowed to reside on those lands.

          1. Not to mention that population density itself is rather meaningless unless you’re talking something that is as contagious as measles or as airborne dispersable as mustard gas or something.

            For something like this what is far more meaningful is the number of different social interactions on a daily basis. There may well still be a difference that is not just purely age/family status based – but. Do they go to the grocery store less often than people in Denver or NYC? Maybe. Do they go there 700x or 5000x less often than people in Denver or NYC? Of course not. And the chances are when they do go there they are far more ‘social’ than in Denver or NYC. The notion that everyone in the city is swapping spit with all their neighbors is silly. As is the notion that no one in rural areas ever talks to anyone because they never leave their house.

      3. Who said Mormons don’t interact with non-Mormons. Growing up in Idaho that has never been my experience. Mormons aren’t Mennonites, Amish or Hueterites.

        1. I do. I’m ex Mormon and we did not hang out with non mormons – I guarantee in a crisis like this it would be doubly so.

          We played basketball all the time with whoever, but actual hanging out was universally Mormon only. That’s goes for all kids and adults, the only ones who hang out regularly with non mormons are not considered true blue, they probably don’t attend service that often and didn’t go on a mission. Idaho is 27% Mormon ~ 500,000 of em. Half my family is from where Napoleon dynamite was filmed.

          1. Thanks, Granite. I have relatives who are rather “lapsed Mormon,” and they’ll hang out with anyone, but I’ve wondered if they’re at all representative of LDS people in general.

          2. Then my family must not be true blue or my best friend or any of the Mormons I hung out with in North Idaho.

            1. The Mormons I knew in Montana and North Idaho were more apt to interact outside the religion. But I’d say that was because they were sparsely populated places, and you just didn’t have much choice.

              The Mormons around me in Arizona were much more insular.

          3. A lot may depend on where you live. Here in Oklahoma, Mormons, even very religious ones, hang out with their non-Mormon friends all the time (I’m speaking pre-virus-panic here). But the Mormon population here is not huge (though it’s bigger than some other states). It might be different in places where the Mormons are numerous enough to have a society entirely of their own.
            Also, it might make a difference depending on what the non-Mormon population is like. Around here we have lots of Baptists and other Protestants who won’t drink or smoke or wear skimpy clothing, and only watch wholesome family movies and TV shows and such. If they only engage in the same types of fun activities as the Mormons, and shun the ones the Mormons object to, then there’s no reason for Mormons not to hang out with them.

      4. The county picked itself, didn’t it?

      5. Telluride isn’t far from the UT border, so a higher prevalence of LDS would make sense. While the county itself is rural and extremely mountainous, its definitely not back-water. A lot of more money than sense people own vacation homes there: Oprah, Tom Cruise, Ford (motorcars) family, Ret. Gen Schwarzkopf, Ralph Lauren, etc.

        1. Yeah, it’s a prince’s playground.

          Sure wish they had done this in someplace like Pueblo.

      6. You’re not actually as illiterate as you pretend to be. It’s obviously a shtick, and annoying one at that.

      7. Learn to spell then check your “facts”.

    3. Imagine if Obama was the president now. You fuckers would have gone nuts… Would have claimed that he deliberately did this.

      1. And if he had taken exactly the same actions as Trump, the bulk of the media would be gushing over how deftly he was handling the crisis.

    4. I left a comment already that San Miguel County is not rural but a mecca to the elite jet-setters just like Aspen Colorado.

  2. Yay, serological data! No matter how flawed, this is now officially the best available data on infections in the US.

    And it’s definitely flawed. The county is too rural to be close to representative, but at least the statistical bias is predictable. Argument’s from these numbers are necessarily a fortiori on arguing worst case scenarios. That they paint current ‘worst case’ scenarios as patently ridiculous fearmongering was both predictable and reveals how inexcusably irresponsible government and the media have been.

    1. Yep! This is a step in the right direction but it’s a very very very small step.

      1. In fact, I’d like too see things like “X High school students”. High positives would mean they’d been spreading it around while they were going to school without knowing. So many opportunities here, but I’m sure we’ll keep stonewalling to keep data out of the hands of people that need it.

        1. When “no you can’t waste time testing in a wasted attempt to justify your panic” becomes “stonewalling”

        2. I’d like to see more data like that too. That’s what we need to make an informed decision how worried we should be. I want to know, how many are really infected, what the age distribution is, how many infections lead to serious illness (broken down by age an risk factors) and how many people who die had pneumonia already before they sought treatment. Numbers of how many sick people are in hospitals are not useful.

          1. They’re not useful to the vast majority of people, but they’re exceptionally useful to those trying to stroke their authority wang.

            The numbers we keep hearing aren’t science at all. It’s what’s been filtered by governments so they can do what’s best for government.

            1. It has seemed for that for (at least) the last couple weeks, the authorities are much more interested in gathering scary data rather than useful data.

              1. Colorado Pubic Radio had a story today with the headline: “Colorado seeing Corona deaths in people under 40”

                Byline: “Colorado has now seen COVID-19-related deaths of two people under the age of 40.”

                My local news yesterday had a doomer feature about a couple in their 40s that caught it. They’re definitely chasing after marginal cases to keep the fear stoked.

                1. The only thing that these sob stories can accomplish is to make people think things are worse than they are. It’s just disgusting how much of the coverage has been like that. I don’t even think it’s consciously about propping up government power. I think they believe their job is to “humanize” the story or some such crap.

                2. Note the media splash: AN INFANT IN ILLINOIS. Another one: A PREGNANT WOMAN..”.

  3. The fact that we have to speculate about such a vitally important fact based on early results from a single rural county reflects the sad state of our knowledge about COVID-19, which is largely due to a government-engineered testing fiasco.

    And yet that won’t stop the government from making decisions that will effect almost every person in the country in some way and completely wreck our economy without any useful data to inform those decisions. This should be looked at as a stark illustration of the knowledge problem but unfortunately it won’t be.

    1. This should be looked at as a stark illustration of the knowledge problem but unfortunately it won’t be.

      “How DARE you speak of a ‘knowledge problem’ when a person’s life is at stake?!”

      1. This is how the Nanny State responds (controls the response) to a highly infectious, rarely fatal virus. Irrationally.

    2. I don’t believe it. They made the test, they did it in secret and classified the result, even the existence of the test. It may be that the CDC screwed the pouch with the U.S. test, but how much do, say, 1000 South Korean test kits cost? Especially since South Korea is totally dependent on the U.S. for its survival. Compare that cost with the trillions being spent on the economy shutdown. You can say the government is stupid, but this stupid beggars belief.

  4. the prevalence of infection is likely to be a lot higher in areas of the country where people are more closely packed together.

    Not likely at all. San Miguel County is ski country. Those were the first places in Colorado to get covid19 and they still have extremely high infection rates. The counties with the highest per capita case rates in CO are: Eagle (Vail), Gunnison (Crested Butte), Baca (an old low-pop Dust Bowl ag county that I believe has a nursing home outbreak), Pitkin (Aspen), Summit (Breckenridge), Weld (another ag county with nursing home outbreaks), Routt (Steamboat), Denver, San Miguel (Telluride).

    The population in all of them is second-home owners from the coasts who may have ‘moved there’ to ‘escape’ even though they are all, almost by definition, the jet-setting group that was the earliest to get infected here in the US. They brought the infection with them – and are now in the process of infecting their low-paid servants. These are not even remotely your typical rural county.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if NYC has a higher overall infection rate – but not most cities – including obviously Denver. The death rates are relatively low in those counties but that is because they are quite young – ski bums, maids, and second-home owners who are still of skiing age. Nevertheless, they are also all ‘full-up’ in their hospitals and ICU’s.

    1. Are you ready to admit yet that your hysteria was totally misplaced, now that even most of the so-called “experts” have admitted it?

    2. Per capita case rates don’t tell us much since they aren’t measuring most of the population.

      Also, the ‘jet setters’ flew through places like Denver, LA, NY, Chicago on their way to their ski home. Spread would have started in the airports, and if anything, be more concentrated in big cities (where those airport workers live and work).

      1. They flew through DIA – and then got on a ski van/bus or rented a car there. DIA did have a couple early cases but the fact is the infected spent less than an hour at DIA – and then a week at the ski places enjoying the night life and the very crowded areas for lunch/meals.

        Further, the symptomatic cases got picked up very early because a TON of people every year there suffer from ‘altitude sickness’ which has symptoms like shortness of breath. Those folks were not included in the testing for Jan or Feb – even though that is the height of ski season – because they hadn’t ‘flown in from China’. Once testing finally started, community spread was already pervasive up there.

        Telluride is lower infection rate than the others mostly because it is a LOT further away (6 hr drive from Denver which means people fly into Montrose) and pricey – so it’s mostly second-homers not skiiers-for-a-weeks-vacation. That’s always a different sort of mixing.

    3. Do you have evidence that their hospitals and ICU’s are full? Because what I’ve read, there remains a surplus of ICU beds and hospital beds overall, especially in more rural communities.
      Face it, we based a policy on unknowns, drastic overestimation and fear. It has failed. Based upon what we are seeing in Los Angeles and Seattle (the epicenter of the first outbreak and deaths) compared to New York City and Detroit, it appears population density really does impact transmission and deaths. Our policy makers, however, didn’t even consider this in their one size fits all approach.

      1. Do you have evidence that their hospitals and ICU’s are full?

        Eagle County (Vail) has 372 cases with maybe 55,000 peeps (median age 31 years – only 23% over 45).
        Denver County (which is solely the city) has 884 cases with maybe 725,000 peeps (median age 33 years – 31% over 45).

        Eagle has one hospital (with 56 total beds) and a couple ‘regular’ type clinics with a couple more world-class clinics that are entirely sports/orthopedic medicine. Or a message from mountain communities to the rest of CO (focused very much towards other rural counties) a few weeks ago. They’ll have plenty of hospital beds (they can convert tens of thousands of tourist accommodation) but they’re heli-transporting serious patients to Denver now. Which only lasts until Denver is full – less than a week from now. CO action wasn’t driven by Denver. It was driven by ski country ‘breaking’ very early.

        The ag counties on the eastern plains are not full. Nor however do they all even have a hospital or an ICU bed. So ‘full’ is entirely irrelevant.

        we based a policy on unknowns, drastic overestimation and fear. It has failed.

        I’ve been hearing this shit from commenters here for 6 weeks. And still saying it even though a)this hasn’t even peaked THIS wave and b)prob 99% of people have not yet been infected (and we now have data – and also Iceland – to confirm that) and c)for the last two days, covid19 has been on a run rate to be the LEADING cause of death in the US.

        I have no problem with hearing alternative suggestions from commenters who actually understand the seriousness of this. But sticking your head up your ass and saying well this is just a cold/flu is just begging to be dismissed as an idiot. Sullum also fits well into this category.

        1. Considering your doomershit is based on models that are completely inaccurate, any “solutions” you’re looking for are completely pointless. The entire state of Colorado has the following listed on their website:

          5,655 cases*
          1,162 hospitalized
          54 counties
          29,199 people tested**
          193 deaths
          44 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities

          That 1,162 figure is leagues below what IMHE was predicting the entire state would need by 4 April. Approximately 25% of all the deaths have been nursing home residents. And while Denver has the most deaths with 33, guess who’s running second and third? Weld and El Paso Counties, which have large numbers of retirees in Ft. Collins and the Springs.

          When the models are shit, we must quit (mass shelter in place orders).

          1. LOL, LOL, LOL….Ok, now that was funny when you channeled your inner Johnnie Cochran = When the models are shit, we must quit (mass shelter in place orders).

        2. Cases don’t equal those in hospitals or even those who will end up in hospitals.

        3. JFree, when this is all over, how low does the infection fatality rate have to be for you to publicly admit you were wrong and apologize to the people you attacked? Is 1% low enough to admit it wasn’t that bad? 0.5%? I want a number. You’ve advanced a rough hypothesis (that the panic is justified), put a specific number to it so we can test your hypothesis when the data is in.

          I will happily admit that if the true infection fatality rate is above 1%, it was worse than I thought it was.

          1. Is 1% low enough to admit it wasn’t that bad? 0.5%? I want a number.

            What fucking planet are you on? Everyone here has been saying this is the same as the seasonal flu – for MONTHS now. That is 0.1% – in a bad year. LET ME REPEAT 0.1% IN A BAD YEAR.

            And I’m now the one who’s supposed to just give you 10x that number as if that’s what you assholes have been saying the entire time?

            FUCK YOU DICKHEAD

            My ORIGINAL most likely scenario was 0.8% – or just under 1 MILLION fatalities this year if we get anywhere near herd immunity or 1918 infection rate % while maintaining that ‘curve flattening’ stuff that means the really sick still have a chance at hospitalization. With most of that coming in the difficult wave – the second one this Oct and Nov. Which will be where #WeAreAllWuhan (or Lombardy).

            THAT is the number that has been either been scaring you clowns shitless where I’ve been accused of spreading panic. Or, apparently now, far fewer than the number of American eggs you need to break to make a re-election omelette for the orange baboon. Almost inconsequential. Keep shopping and going to restaurants. The market looks really great here. Best fucking economy ever. Ignore the bodies in the corner.

            You R’s are without a doubt the most dishonest innumerate people on planet Earth. On the bright side – Oct and Nov will gut that voting base.

            1. Hey dingle berry. The 0.1% for the seasonal flu is an estimate and not based on actual solid data, because actually acquiring such data is almost impossible. And the difference between a good and bad flu season can mean a doubling of the number of deaths. What is 0.1% x 2?

              Never mind, you seem like a fan of pseudo-science, so I doubt you can math.

              1. The 0.1% for the seasonal flu is an estimate and not based on actual solid data,

                It is based on very solid data. The CDC randomly samples the population to see how prevalent the specific antibodies for the previous flu season are. As preparation for knowing how to structure the following seasons flu vaccine. That is not the exact same data source as the one they use for hospitalizations or doctors visits or deaths – but it is very solid data

                Asshole

                1. >The CDC randomly samples the population to see how prevalent the specific antibodies for the previous flu season are.

                  They don’t have the authority to grab random people off the street and take their blood, so I’m not sure how this supposedly random sampling works. At the least it’s biased towards people who regularly see a doctor, which not everyone does.

            2. I never said it was just like seasonal flu. I’ve personally referenced Fauci’s 0.2-1% real fatality rate, compared it to the ’68 flu pandemic (0.5% case fatality rate), and so on. I don’t think even a 1% CFR is that big of a deal.

              (I’ve also argued that social distancing for vulnerable people is logical, but not locking down the whole economy).

              If you think 0.8% is worth panicking over, then please explain why the 0.5% ’68 flu pandemic with ZERO government response also had ZERO mass panic and basically no economic impact?

              1. And btw, 0.1% is normal seasonal flu cfr. Bad seasonal flu is more like 0.2%, such as the 2017-2018 flu season (cfr estimated at 0.21%). That’s within the low end of Fauci’s range for covid-19, so even the people saying it’s just like a bad flu year *could* be right.

                But if your prediction is 0.8%, you still haven’t answered the question – how low does it need to be for you to concede panic wasn’t necessary?

                1. I don’t think even a 1% CFR is that big of a deal. how low does it need to be for you to concede panic wasn’t necessary?

                  All I’m doing is QUANTIFYING the fatalities associated with those %. And the consequences that I can see that flow from that quantified number of fatalities. No one (at least no one who has basic math skills and isn’t an outright liar) has ever questioned the math behind those numbers.

                  YOU and your ilk are the ones who can’t seem to handle the mere transparency of that calc. As long as it is a % – 1%, 0.1%, 5%, 0.5%, then there is no consequence whatsoever because you twits are completely innumerate. Your individual/market/DeRp worshiping philosophy is perfectly OK with any number less than 100% because that’s like less than even one full person. Until I attach a number to that – like say 1 million fatalities. Then all of a sudden I’m the one spreading panic.

                  You really don’t get it at all. Most people don’t give a damn about your %. And they sure as fuck aren’t wedded to the stuff that flows from ignoring everything as long as it can be expressed in soothing tiny % terms – because to every HONEST person on the planet that smacks of utter dishonesty.

                  So far every one of my projections is turning out reasonably accurate. Still a long way from most of them proving true or false. But they are certainly on-track. The US system has proven remarkably incompetent at dealing with this compared to others. And the fatalities will only be the shorter-term effect of that.

                  It is that latter – the longer-term effects – where I have tried – pointlessly – to point out that ‘libertarians’ had better come up with better alternative than merely defending the status quo here re public health. Turns out all you R’s are merely conservative. And if Sullum is the example of ‘libertarian’ – well denial of reality by cherry-picking obviously wrong interpretations ain’t no way to anything other than getting dismissed as an idiot.

                  1. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Yeah, stupid people are scared by big numbers like X million- that’s why they are stupid. Rational people know that only proportional numbers matter. 1 million people dead sounds scary, until you realize that is 0.3% of the US population. Once anyone with a brain in their head sees that percentage they should immediately stop worrying because the likelihood of THEM or someone close to them being that one person in 300 is pretty small. Unless there are things that put them disproportionately at risk, like age or health. Which is the whole point- let the people who actually have something to worry about, worry. The rest of us can get on with things.

                    1. Rational people know that only proportional numbers matter. 1 million people dead sounds scary, until you realize that is 0.3% of the US population. Once anyone with a brain in their head sees that percentage they should immediately stop worrying because the likelihood of THEM or someone close to them being that one person in 300 is pretty small.

                      So your philosophy is so self-centered that the death of someone ELSE is irrelevant to you – even if caused by you. That doesn’t constitute ‘coercion’ at all. Because of course the liberty of the individual is all that matters. Unless of course it’s the other individual and they’re dead. And then the individual doesn’t matter after all do they? So let’s put this all in % terms so everything is tiny and we can ignore it and not be forced into dealing with potentially difficult questions like – let me repeat – the death of someone else – caused by you. Ignorant ‘libertarianism’ – it’s all so rational. WTF.

                    2. So your philosophy is so self-centered that the death of someone ELSE is irrelevant to you – even if caused by you. That doesn’t constitute ‘coercion’ at all. Because of course the liberty of the individual is all that matters. Unless of course it’s the other individual and they’re dead. And then the individual doesn’t matter after all do they? So let’s put this all in % terms so everything is tiny and we can ignore it and not be forced into dealing with potentially difficult questions like – let me repeat – the death of someone else – caused by you. Ignorant ‘libertarianism’ – it’s all so rational. WTF.

                      Well yes, if I got upset every time anyone, anywhere died, I would have to grieve 150,000 times every day. That would get old. It is possible to not particularly WANT people to die but still not necessarily care when they DO. In case you haven’t noticed, none of us are getting out of here alive. So I worry about what is worth my time- myself and my loved ones and my friends and my acquaintances, in that order. Ultimately, YOU are responsible for your own health and safety and what degree of risk you are willing to accept. If someone is scared of catching something and dying (whether that is WuFlu or a regular flu or Ebola or whatever), the answer can never be to tell everyone else that THEY need to change their lifestyle to accommodate that person’s fears. The ONLY answer is for that person to take their own initiative to protect themselves, however they feel they need to do that. And sometimes that won’t be enough, and they will die anyway. Which sucks for them, and is sad for their family, but is how it goes. No one has the right to not die. They only have the right to not die as a direct result of the malicious acts of another. A key disagreement between you and I might be what constitutes a malicious act; you may argue that going out when you are sick does since you could get someone else sick. I disagree. Where does it end? I mean heck, look at how all the OTHER causes of death have been going down during this lockdown theater (accidents, etc.). Should we then just keep this going forever? Only let people out and about for certain approved activities? Because they might get someone sick with a more run-of-the-mill illness that still kills them, or screw up while driving and kill someone in an accident. Look at all the lives we’d save! I’d guess you would say that’s ridiculous, but my point is that there is an arbitrariness here in saying that “we should take all sorts of radical measures to protect these lives, but not those.”

                    3. Most deaths of strangers are almost completely irrelevant to anyone.
                      This is a serious epidemic. People are going to die at higher rates than usual because of it. One can fully believe and accept that and still think that the reactions are largely doing more harm than good.

                    4. For each one of the 0.3% population that died, you should multiply by 15-20% who are (or should be) hospitalized, and about double that number for people who are wiped out for a couple of weeks while suffering at home.
                      0.3% die
                      0.3% don’t die, but are ICU/ventilated for up to 3 weeks.
                      4.5% are hospitalized.
                      Another 4.5% are sick and at home for a couple of weeks.
                      Those who are CARING for all of those will also need to be “locked down” to the greatest extent possible, as most homes don’t have sufficient PPE to prevent follow on infection.

                      If I do the math right, that’s 9.6% of the population with direct harm, and probably a matching number of care-takers.

                    5. So your philosophy is so self-centered that the death of someone ELSE is irrelevant to you – even if caused by you.

                      That you don’t realize you’re utterly failing the precautionary principle is the funniest part of your rant.

                      You clearly don’t have to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from.

                    6. If someone is scared of catching something and dying (whether that is WuFlu or a regular flu or Ebola or whatever), the answer can never be to tell everyone else that THEY need to change their lifestyle to accommodate that person’s fears.

                      Could pretty much say the same thing about whether someone worries about radical Islamists coming into Nowheresville and blowing up some suicide vest at the local grain elevator.

                      That said – I agree that a society is – or should be – more than the sum of its fears. But there is something profoundly fucked up about that strain of ‘libertarianism’ that pretends that ‘everything I’m worried about is entirely rational and everything you are worried about is emotional, therefore society should be based entirely on what I worry about and if that means you die well hey shit happens.’

                  2. So, no courage to say what would disprove your hypothesis? Shame.

                    And if you’re going with a true CFR of 0.8%, no way there’s going to be 1 million casualties. The 220k prediction from last week had a CFR over 1%, and assumed *absolutely nothing* was done.

                    BTW, I’d consider 220k fatalities acceptable in return for not shutting down the economy. Especially if the average lost QALY was 1 or less (which it probably will be, given the average age of fatality seems to be in the 80s).

                    And for all you whine about us being innumerate, you don’t seem to understand the economic consequences, which will have a cost measured not just in dollars, but in bodies. No one who wants to panic wants to even talk about those consequences, they’re literally unmentionable to you.

                    I’m not an R, btw, nor a D. I’m not going to defend the status quo – it would have been better if the FDA and CDC didn’t exist, and private testing had been able to take off naturally, rather than being hamstrung for months. Not that eliminating the alphabet soup is even an option. I’m not going to defend Trump for the things he’s actively done wrong (ie, promises that failed on testing availability), but I’m also not going to blame him for agency bureaucratic inertia that he literally can’t do anything about. He’s a terrible president and person, but he’s not the source of all evil or error.

            3. Hey dickhead–even IHME ramped back their prediction of total deaths to 60,000 by August 4th. That’s basically a really bad flu season. Pretty much every prediction you’re making about the body count is 100% wrong.

          2. Squirrelloid…I have not attacked anyone per se (I’m looking at you JFree), but I’ll take the challenge. The measures taken by governors across the country were justified, and the Federal support was necessary.

            To ground ourselves….I interpret a ‘Typical’ influenza mortality rate at 0.1%, which assumes about 2% (6.6MM) of the US pop (US pop ~330MM) people have the flu each season, with roughly 0.6% of those people dying. Comes out to about 41K annually. Do you agree this is a good estimate? Something to remember…that 41K annual fatalities is with little to no mitigation.

            So I’d peg the bar at 0.7%…or something much closer to 1% to justify what we are doing. We will probably wind up with ‘only’ ~40K fatalities….but…we have pretty extreme mitigation measures in place to get to that ‘low’ number. The contagion (e.g. extreme transmissability) of this little bastard is a real defining characteristic. The unusually high utilization of ventilators makes this very different also. And BTW, the jury is out on the ‘number’. Cases continue to rise daily at a pretty healthy clip. I hope and pray what we are doing works.

            And now let me make a shameless plug. It is critically important for every American to follow the 30-days to slow the spread guidelines. We have it within our power to alter the course of this terrible virus. Every single American can help!

            And therein lies a problem. How can we actually compare? When this subsides, we’ll need to look retrospectively at the county level and zip+4 data from testing and piece together the answer. I am not sure I want to trust any other country’s data in this instance, which would include Europe. We will be able to tell in a few months. So you’re going to need some time before you can collect on that bet.

            But I’ll take the bet/challenge: The Wuhan coronavirus is considerably worse than influenza, and justified the response taken by state governors and the Federal government. The bar will be a mortality rate of 0.7% or higher (based on an analysis of that granular data to the zip+4 area) that would justify the measures we have taken. If we find that total lives lost would have been 300K or more without the steps we have taken. I’d admit that I was wrong.

            1. edit: 300K or less. Really wish there was an edit function.

            2. Thank you.

              (Aside: the ‘extreme’ mitigation measures only started mid-March in early adopting places – ~Mar 16 in illinois, which was pretty early. It’s not clear if we’ve seen any signal from that yet, since covid-19 has an incubation period *up to 2 weeks*, and most people who do develop severe symptoms start with mild ones, so potentially 3 weeks or more between initial infection and confirmed diagnosis. As such, it might be as late as next week before the lockdowns have any attributable effect, and certainly no earlier than this week sometime. Most of the revisions downward in projections we’ve seen are either re-evaluations of the virus with no response, or caused by voluntary actions taken by people before state governments started ordering lockdowns.

              But all of that just goes to total infections, not true fatality rate, which uses infections as divisors, so predictions related to real CFR will be completely unimpacted by transmission mitigation strategies, and will mostly depend on statistically valid broad population testing for antibodies to see how many infected there actually were. Despite killing fewer people, SARS was significantly more lethal, after all, it just didn’t infect many people).

              1. Understand…I want you to be right, and me to be wrong. It may be the case that because I live in the People’s Republic of NJ, and it really sucks right now, it colors my perception of events.

            3. I have not attacked anyone per se (I’m looking at you JFree)

              I have not attacked anyone personally without being ad hominemed first – and not just once either.

              I have only turned the whole ‘it’s just the seasonal flu’ crap into an attack after those people have perpetually misrepresented the characteristics of the disease, then denied that testing serves any purpose whatsoever, then lied about the numbers, then pretended that exponential growth doesn’t exist so the future numbers can’t possibly mean anything, then pretended that testing of everyone but the infected or at-risk is all that matters now, then blahblahblahblahblah.

              If you have the patience to deal with that shit, good for you. I don’t. Those people are – at this point without exception – worthy of nothing but utter contempt. Every possible thing/philosophy they claim to stand for is worthy of nothing but utter contempt. They are the worst possible spokespeople for ‘liberty’ and in fact seem to revel in actually undermining it in the real world.

            4. “that 41K annual fatalities is with little to no mitigation.”

              But what % get an annual flu shot? what % have prior immunity or partial immunity?

              this “only the flu” comparison misses several relevant factors.

              1. Seasonal flu does involve a lot of partial immunity. I prefer to compare to pandemic flu (’57 and ’68, since this is probably worse than the H1N1 swine flu of 2009, and nowhere near as bad as the 1918 spanish flu).

                Pandemic flu, virtually by definition, has no partial immunity. (Pandemic flu is the result of a mutation that makes pre-existing flu immunities irrelevant).

                Neither ’57 nor ’68 involved lockdowns, cancelling events, or any sort of government reponse at all. People went on with their lives even as ~100k americans died from each of them. The economy didn’t even notice. (In ’68, the government even advised against school and business closures). That seems like the right way to deal with a run-of-the-mill pandemic.

              2. Lack of immunity because it’s a novel coronavirus isn’t necessarily meaningful, either. People assume that a novel virus will be more deadly than a similar one for which we have some immunity or commonly available vaccines. The 2009-2010 H1N1 flu was a novel influenza virus, but it was not particularly lethal.

                You’re right that comparing 2019-nCoV to influenza in general isn’t particularly useful. However, the aspects which don’t compare well are not necessarily worse just because this virus is novel.

      2. It’s certainly looking like not only population density, but demographics is the big factor in who gets hit hard. Again, the hot spots are not just cities, not even just dense cities, but cities/ areas of cities notorious for impoverished minority residents. I’ve posted some of these examples before, but they’re worth repeating- in NYC, Queens and the Bronx have twice the infection rate per capita of Manhattan and Brooklyn (Staten Island falls in between). I think Detroit and NOLA speak for themselves. In my state, Milwaukee metro has almost everything. Wisconsin started publishing data broken down by demographics yesterday, and 27% of cases and 42% of deaths were African American- this in a state with a 6% black population. Now exactly what this means is far from clear- in northern states like WI and MI, African Americans are far more likely to live in cities than the average white person, probably have disproportionately high poverty rates, etc. So these disparate impacts could simply be a reflection that living in dense cities and having poorer healthcare puts you at greater risk (duh). Or maybe there is something more, something cultural or biological that puts these communities at greater risk. One could examine further this by comparing with data for urban whites in similar situations as well as non-urban blacks with non-urban whites in similar areas. In any event, that is the kind of data that can point in a direction where we can potentially do some real good- admit that this is not a problem that affects all areas equally, that it really seems to hit critical mass under certain conditions, find out why that is, and take actions to help stop it. But rather, we continue to act as if it is in any way logical to assume this will sweep across the nation equally, and someone living in the most remote county in Montana is just as at risk as any inner city dweller.

        1. In the case of black high infection and death percentages, I’d probably point to not just poverty (although that’s certainly covariate here), but also high rates of multi-generational living situations. The grandmother living with her grandchildren and children is at a lot more risk of infection than the grandmother living in her own house. That would be the cultural factor I’d look at.

        2. So, the bottom line is that the preppers, militia……whatever you want to call them……in rural Idaho weren’t as off base as we like to make them out to be?

        3. It’s pretty easily explainable. Compared to non-Hispanic whites in the US, blacks in the US have significantly higher rates of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, HIV, and other serious ailments. So far, COVID-19 appears to be hell on anyone who is already unhealthy.

          Blacks also have higher rates of smoking, but I didn’t include that. Very recently, there have been a few studies casting doubt on the presumption that smoking and vaping are likely to cause worse outcomes.

      3. They also looked at Italy and said “that’s going to happen here”, ignoring the fact that Italy’s hospitals normally operate very close to capacity at this time of year, and also that it is far from all hospitals in Italy that are in such a bad situation. I’m pretty sure that in NY it isn’t all of the hospitals either. But the overwhelmed ones make much bettert story than ones who are doing fine.

        1. Especially when the news likes to use pictures taken inside those overwhelmed, Italian hospitals for their NYC stories.

  5. “even if they would have died anyway from other ailments”

    We’re all going to “die anyway” if we don’t die from this virus.

    1. We’re all going to die, but we’re all concerned about when.

      1. Certainly.

        But there could be a twist ending where we avoid the virus and get hit by a truck.

        Time to focus on what’s important, remotely wave to our friends and loved ones, even take that cruise we’ve always been wanting to…well, never mind about the cruise.

        1. “Oh, very well. We’ll throw in free drinks after midnight!”

        2. Yea, but if you do have the virus (symptomatic or not) and get hit by a truck, you’ll at least help pad that “covid deaths” stat

      2. That’s completely missed in all this. 98% of the patients being saved at this point have 1-3 comorbidities. We are destroying peoples lives and wrecking the economy to give 90 year old terminal cancer patients with heart disease 6 more months to live.

    2. I think the relevant question is if they would have died anyway this (month / quarter / year) without Covid-19.

      The ’57 flu pandemic killed 116k americans, but the statistically excess deaths were ~60k (meaning ~56k would have died from something that year, statistically speaking).

      The ’68 flu pandemic killed ~100k americans, but the statistically excess deaths were only ~40k.

      And that’s only a 1-year time horizon i believe. Many of those excess deaths were probably likely to die in 2 years, 3 years, etc… ie, pandemics tend to kill a lot of people who were likely to die regardless.

      1. Sort of like predators taking out the weak and sick.

        Nature is brutal and there is no stopping her.

      2. I’m a bit curious about the “that’s only a 1-year time horizon” argument. “He died of X, but he’d have died in 2 years anyway, so X doesn’t count” is… not a reasonable argument.

  6. My takeaway from this is that no amount of tests are enough since the various agencies vying to get more tests are hell bent on wasting the one’s they already have.

  7. The most important thing is that everyone obeys.

  8. Whenever this stuff is reported, keep in mind that if you’re struck by lightning and you die, and you happen to have the virus in you, then you are counted as having died from the virus.

    1. Yes. The anti-smoking and anti-drinking groups all seized upon these types of misattributed deaths to stoke their fortunes.

  9. Wow what a great example of awful, unethical journalism.

    The obvious misrepresentations aside, if the “more tests will show a much lower death rate” theory thats been peddled for weeks is true, why have we not seen that happen as tests have increased massively both here and abroad?

    1. Because we’re still only testing the most severe cases. Once we start random testing, that’s exactly what will happen.

    2. This is far more ethical than all the fearmongering reporting being done by mainstream outlets. It helps put the hospital case reports in a better context.

      You need population testing to get real numbers. The reason you haven’t seen lower death rates is because they’re only testing people who have severe symptoms. They aren’t even testing people who show up at a hospital with mild symptoms in most places. And places which do more testing *relative to the population* do show lower fatality rates.

      1. The idea of “more ethical” is a complete fallacy. Who was more ethical between Hitler and Stalin? (Please don’t answer, my point is that it doesn’t matter)

        This is a valuable study and it should be replicated elsewhere to make the data more robust. It is being presented irresponsibly for political gain.

        “whatever the actual prevalence is in San Miguel County, the national average is apt to be substantially higher.”

        There are many clear reasons that this data could be biased in EITHER direction, but this article states as fact that it could only be biased conservatively. That is unethical, and willingly so.

        More testing, will probably decrease the deathrate somewhat, but it is proving to be fairly unsubstantial so far. Two weeks ago, this same crowd said we’d see that trend beginning well before now – testing has gone up drastically and the numbers havent changed much. Almost 2% of NY has been tested… For the fatality rate to drop below 1% (in US, which is still incredibly high), over 2/3 of cases would have to assymptomatic (and none of them tested). Current estimates are about 1/3, many of which have been tested.

        1. They’re still only testing people with serious symptoms in most of the country. Of course the fatality rate isn’t falling much if you only test people with bad symptoms.

          What will drop the fatality rate is getting all those asymptomatic and mild symptom cases that *don’t go to get diagnosed*. Because we’re getting 99% of serious cases diagnosed, but 0% of asymptomatic and some small percent of mild cases diagnosed.

          1. Yea, but asymptomatic cases are significant but most likely way less than half – that won’t impact the CFR that much.

            Lol the “still only testing bad symptoms” theory doesn’t really hold up now that testing is dramatically expanded. Many places have tested well above 2% of their entire populations and nothing has changed…

            1. Asymptomatic infections are over 50% according to the Diamond Princess data, which is the only 100% tested population we have.

              And then there are the mild cases which never seek medical help. They don’t get tested, because they don’t think they need medical assistance.

              Best case scenario is we’ve identified 25% of infections. It’s probably closer to 15%, based on estimates made for Wuhan.

              Who has tested over 2% of their population? Most US locations are still turning people with mild symptoms away and not testing them last I knew.

            2. And FYI, as of CDC’s update today 4/10 (so for yesterday as of 4pm), 261,497 samples have been tested total in the US. Now, I don’t know how often they need to test the same patient more than once, but that number is non-zero – even assuming it is zero, that’s not even 0.1% of the US population, much less anywhere close to 2%.

              1. CDC info has been crap for weeks. CDC is not even collecting all state lab results. And almost no commercial lab results. They are only reporting THEIR contribution to testing – which has been crap from the beginning and is now being, correctly, ignored by everyone.

                We have 522,000 CASES. You think those half million cases are based on less than half that number of tests? You’re wrong. Most states report their own testing results and it ranges from 4-15x more than their confirmed cases. The only way you can find out how many overall is to add all the states up separately. CDC is and remains an utterly useless clusterfuck

    3. The doomsday predictions are proven wrong every day. They just had to readjust their “models” that they pulled out of their asses because they were way overestimating things and off by a factor of 2. The medical community has constantly been revising their estimates downwards as more data comes out. Have you not been paying attention?

    4. That is directly addressed in the article. They are using the tests on sick people and people who work at hospitals and other people very likely to be exposed. That just isn’t going to give any useful information on how widespread it is in the population at large.

      There are pretty much two things we could find from broader testing. Either the death rate is very high, but it isn’t as easily transmitted as feared, or it is easily and rapidly transmitted and the death rate is much lower than it appears now.

      1. Considering what we do know, even if the draconian measures do “flatten the curve” there is no end in sight. Short of a miracle cure or, development of a vaccine in record time.

        I hold little hope for either considering the historical data driven odds.

        However, the effects of the economic black hole we’ve created are more predictable. Including increased human death rates and suffering.

        And this is coming from someone over 60. The higher risk category.

        A more measured and less draconian shelter in place policy is warranted.

        We each get to pick our poison. ????

    5. > the “more tests will show a much lower death rate” theory

      You are seriously calling 3rd grade arithmetic a “theory”?

      > why have we not seen that happen as tests have increased massively both here and abroad?

      Because the virus is increasing much faster than any government can test, obviously. Ever heard of exponential growth?

    6. “The obvious misrepresentations aside, if the ‘more tests will show a much lower death rate’ theory thats been peddled for weeks is true, why have we not seen that happen as tests have increased massively both here and abroad?”

      Because we haven’t really started antibody testing at large yet. Germany has already begun: https://spectator.us/covid-antibody-test-german-town-shows-15-percent-infection-rate/

      Key paragraph from that article (there are embedded links to other sources, but reason.com only allows one per post, so you’ll have to go to the article to track down primary sources):

      “Data from coronavirus deaths in Gangelt suggests an infection mortality rate of 0.37 percent, significantly below the 0.9 percent which Imperial College has estimated, or the 0.66 percent found in a revised study last week.”

      To be clear, this one German study is not necessarily indicative of what to expect from antibody testing elsewhere. However, recall that South Korea’s breadth of early testing indicated a lower expected mortality rate than what was being touted in the media at the time (and for some time after, too). Still, we’ll have to wait for more conclusive data before we can have confidence in the numbers.

      1. There is zero reason for the US to take any confidence in results from Germany or SKorea or Singapore or Taiwan or Iceland or any other country that knows what they’re doing.

        No more than the Jamaican bobsled team can be more confident that they will win the gold medal because, after all, someone else did.

  10. >>>Including the indeterminate results

    skews your analysis from the beginning why would you do that?

    also and i’m no genius but if everyone had it past tense but the death totals stay the same into the present tense isn’t it much less deadly?

    1. It’s an almost certainty that more people have been infected than have been tested and found positive for it, and if that number outpaces the number of COVID-19-related deaths that haven’t been tallied as such, then the virus is less deadly than is currently estimated.

  11. You gave reasons why it might be lower than the rest of the country, but there is one reason it could have a higher prevalence than the rest of the state and country. San Miguel county is the home of one of the major ski resorts, and also where many high millionaires, and low billionaires live.

    The Colorado ski resorts have been a particular hotspot in the state, though until now San Miguel itself hadn’t had a lot of testing to find the cases. Summit county, Pitkin county, and Eagle county are other Colorado ski resorts, and all of them have major outbreaks. Pitkin had Australian tourists who brought it in. Summit had a Californian tourist who had visited Italy who brought it in. These areas are frequented by many extensive international travelers who frequently visit other infection hotspots.

  12. The lower the fatality rate is, the more contagious it is given the same number of fatalities. But, if the fatality rate is really low, (and R0 is really high), then we might as well all get it and thereby become immune.

    1. That has to happen anyway, so better to get it over with faster. The vast majority of hospitals are no where near capacity, even in countries that are practicing little to no social distancing.

    2. Yes, and I think that is probably the best case at this point. I just hope people have the balls to say it if it is indeed the case.

    3. Just wait. This ends with a fight between anti-vaxxers and mandatory vaxxers. Only ultra-libertarian nutjob kooks that make Ron Bailey look sane would turn their nose up at a state-mandated vaccine developed in the throes of panic during a pandemic.

      1. Which is probably the point. The hydroxychloroquine treatment only costs about $100 without insurance. A patented vaccine in the middle of a global mass hysteria event over the coof will make a lot of money for whomever brings it to market.

  13. Because I am an extreme skeptic, let’s confirm the validity of the test by using blood samples from a year ago as a control group (long before the name COVID 19 was generated). Commingle then with current blood samples in a double blind method, and make sure the positive rate of the tests of the control group is zero. If even one result comes back indeterminate, we are chasing a ghost.

    Science. Follow it.

    1. Art, what is the larger point? Suppose your method were used, and it invalidated the current testing regime. Do you think that would open the way to argue that coronavirus is NOT a horrific new viral infection, far more threatening than seasonal flu? Plenty of folks here—folks coming from a place of Trump apology, apparently—seem to think if you can cook up a plausible argument to suggest the virus is not so bad, that will somehow defeat all the evidence of horrific experience. Science, doesn’t work that way. The evidence overturns the logic, not vice-versa.

    2. All tests have a false positive rate and a false negative rate. Just one control test coming back positive isn’t enough to invalidate the tests. (Now, if the two groups are statistically indistinguishable…)

    3. Art, that is a brilliant idea… Embarrassed I didn’t think of it myself. I do think that serologic tests have all kinds of flaws; especially ones that are hastily manufactured and administered.
      If we played Sherlock Holmes with every virus that we were encountering the results would be all over the place.
      A related note, I my mind, is that “public health” suggests we not screen widely for type 2 herpes, because we would find huge prevalence in the population… A lot of asymptomatic cases and also no doubt false positives…. And a bunch of people freaking out is worse than the largely asymptomatic spread of a disease that is painful for a small fraction of those infected but also readily treatable and not life threatening.

      1. Though I agree with the other poster than “one coming back indeterminate” is not the proper threshold.
        Otherwise, what you suggest is certainly extremely prudent.
        B

  14. Absolutely nothing about what happens in remote, high-altitude, super-dry tourist destinations is remotely applicable to the health of the rest of the nation. People from near-sea-level who go to places like Telluride often get spontaneous nose-bleeds, even when they are perfectly healthy. The county which probably has the highest per-capita infection rate in the nation is one which hosts another ski resort—Blaine County Idaho, home of the Sun Valley resort. In places like that, small resident populations get exposed again and again, all winter, to transient crowds bringing diseases from all over the nation. In the best of times, the residents struggle to stay healthy during the ski season. Telluride and Sun Valley can’t be used as models for anything except other places like them, of which there are few.

    1. There sure have been tons of visitors there recently… right?

    2. So give us a population test from somewhere more representative?

      Can’t whine about the only data that matters in town until you have better data. No other US data is this good, because no other data is population data. (Happy to discuss the German population sampling data too).

      1. Sorry, Squirrelloid, but if there isn’t better data, then there isn’t any data. The absence of something else does not turn a steaming pile of dog shit into a petunia.

  15. I’m sitting here smoking a Cuban cigar. It’s going to make my lungs stronger for when I get infected.

  16. I think that the CFR is certainly relevant but I think there are two good reasons to think that it will drop a great deal (no matter what we do) over the next few years.

    First, the kind of “bad” reason it will drop is that the people most susceptible to dying from this virus will already be dead (similarly, we might have less sick or old people susceptible to dying from next winter’s flu).

    Second, there is good reason (and this is a “good” thing) to think that viruses naturally attenuate; they weaken because the strains that kill their hosts don’t have as much time to reproduce and spread as those strains that merely make their hosts sick.

    1. I agree that the fatality rate but it won’t be because of mutations. They (in particular Iceland) have already been testing those mutations. And while they actually found a lot of mutations – 40 different ones – that is apparently almost insignificant compared to other virus that replicate RNA rather than DNA.

      The fatality rate will drop because various treatments that are being used here and there will work ok without nasty side-effects. That still takes time to work through the data – but it will make a 2nd wave this fall less deadly than this one. Assuming that it doesn’t blow through the hospital capacity problem so fast that ‘treatment’ becomes an irrelevancy

  17. Best solution: Let nature takes its course. We’re postponing the inevitable with all this useless panic…

    1. Exactly. As hard as it is for many to accept. Do the best we can to get through it and keep moving forward. Lest we repeat the Dark Ages for a few hundred years.

      1. JAQO, I could get rich.

        I would bet the guy using the word, “panic,” was a right-winger.

        The takers would say, “No, that’s silly, why would only right wingers say, “panic?”

        I would say, “Because only right wingers need to minimize the pandemic, to make excuses for Trump. If you don’t believe me, put up a dollar.”

        I could get rich.

  18. In order for this to be considered a reasoned analysis, it should have also laid out more of the case for undercounting COVID-19 deaths. The most probative evidence of this is the number of deceased persons taken by ambulance in NYC. Normally this time of year it is about 250 people per day in NYC. Now it is 2000.

    This just reads like an ill-informed analysis or propaganda.

    1. There’s only 16.5k deaths in the US from covid-19 total. NYC can’t have had more than a few 2k deaths/day… yes, there’s a spike, but the average for, say, a 3 month period is going to be only slightly elevated.

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  20. Many think Denver is in the mountains which it is not. Also would one consider Aspen to be rural? Maybe except it has an airport that can accommodate passenger jets and not one of us in “comments could afford to buy lunch in Aspen. San Miguel County is home to Telluride which is second , third home to jet-setters and elites. Hardly rural or isolated compared to all other counties in Colorado besides Pitkin County where Aspen is located. Try Fremont County which has rural, small city and numerous state and federal penitentiaries, a portion of Ft Carson Army Base, high country and high desert plains. Also it is an hour drive or so to Denver and 30 minutes to Colorado Springs or Pueblo.
    Reason has it all screwed up just like those they are pointing their libertarian finger at. Get it right or do not bother. Reason is almost “fake news” with a black leather sports coat on. I live in Colorado btw.

  21. If those numbers are off by a factor of six, as suggested by the low estimate for San Miguel County, the crude case fatality rate (CFR) for the United States, currently 3.4 percent, drops to something like 0.5 percent, which would make COVID-19 about five times as deadly as the seasonal flu. If the official count is off by a factor of more than 20, as suggested by the high estimate, the actual fatality rate would be only slightly higher than 0.1 percent, the estimated CFR for the flu.

    The comparison to the flu uses bad logic. If you decide that there are lots of asymptomatic people that need to be included in the denominator for coronavirus in order to decrease its IFR to .1%, you have to do the same for the flu, which would decrease its IFR far below that.

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