Friday, July 10, 2020

WHO'da Thunk About the Effectiveness of the Face Mask Fetish of the Totalitarian Left; Ezra Klein's WOKE Transmogrification; Plus, Covid-19 Stats and CFR vs IFR Gedanken Experiment

The first half of this entry was motivated by the information in this Alex Berenson tweet.

Cloth masks, a.k.a., FACE DIAPERS, have a marginally positive effect and effectively none when worn outside. As for the benefit, that only comes from the face diaper wearer who might be "shedding" virus rather than being protected from anyone else.

But the totalitarian-minded Illiberal Left that's giving America her Summer of Madness with all the WOKE hysteria and street-level crazy that a resident of Pyongyang would quickly recognize are DEMANDING we "mask up" in order to follow their Thought Police-like degeneracies.

On the questionable efficacy of FACE DIAPERS, er, face masks, here is the World Health Organization from last year (2019) [link embedded]: Non-pharmaceutical public health measures for mitigating the risk and impact of epidemic and pandemic influenza.

From the executive summary:

The evidence base on the effectiveness of NPIs [non-pharmaceutical interventions] in community settings is limited, and the overall quality of evidence was very low for most interventions. There have been a number of high-quality randomized controlled trials (RCTs) demonstrating that personal protective measures such as hand hygiene and face masks have, at best, a small effect on influenza transmission, although higher compliance in a severe pandemic might improve effectiveness.

As the above chart shows, the Covid-19 case fatality rate is no worse than that of a seasonal influenza strain for ANYONE under age 50 REGARDLESS their underlying condition(s).

Yes, this chart is from Sweden, so you might expect folks there to be in overall better health than obese, sedentary, garbage food-eating Americans, and, yes, SARS-CoV2 spreads more easily than a typical coronavirus, but still ...


Continued Executive Summary excerpt:

However, there are few RCTs for other NPIs, and much of the evidence base is from observational studies and computer simulations. School closures can reduce influenza transmission but would need to be carefully timed in order to achieve mitigation objectives. Travel-related measures are unlikely to be successful in most locations because current screening tools such as thermal scanners cannot identify pre-symptomatic infections and afebrile infections, and travel restrictions and travel bans are likely to have prohibitive economic consequences.

Excerpt of Section 4.3 Face masks

Summary of evidence

Ten relevant RCTs were identified for this review and meta-analysis to quantify the efficacy of community-based use of face masks, including more than 6000 participants in total (42-47, 50, 68-70). Most trials combined face masks with improved hand hygiene, and examined the use of face masks in infected individuals (source control) and in susceptible individuals.

In the pooled analysis, although the point estimates suggested a relative risk reduction in laboratory-confirmed influenza of 22% (RR: 0.78, 95% CI: 0.51–1.20, I2=30%, P=0.25) in the face mask group, and a reduction of 8% in the face mask group regardless of whether or not hand hygiene was also enhanced (RR: 0.92, 95% CI=0.75–1.12, I2=30%, P=0.40), the evidence was insufficient to exclude chance as an explanation for the reduced risk of transmission.

Some studies reported that low compliance in face mask use could reduce their effectiveness. A study suggested that surgical and N95 (respirator) masks were effective in preventing the spread of influenza (71).

Now, it is true there is a "conditional recommendation" for face masks in "severe pandemics" -- but, as Alex Berenson again helpfully points out, Covid-19, which fails to significantly impact children or healthy adults, simply doesn't qualify as a severe pandemic ... Except in CNN WOKE Media-WHORE world.


Tweet with bar chart showing backdating of
Florida daily deaths

This ties into the media horseshit hysteria about "120 deaths in Florida in one day! And it's all because of Donald Trump and young people who won't shelter and shit in place at home!!" that we heard yesterday. (Remember, though, when it's rioting and looting, or in a WOKE frenzy, that's all perfectly fine.)


The 125-page Annex to the above report is here. From the Executive Summary (page vi):

We found that there is a limited evidence base on the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical community mitigation measures. There are a number of high-quality randomized controlled trials demonstrating that personal measures (e.g. hand hygiene and face masks) have at best a small effect on transmission, with the caveat that higher compliance in a severe pandemic might improve efficacy. However, there are few randomized trials for other NPIs, and much of the evidence base is from observational studies and computer simulations.

Covid-19 weekly deaths by U.S. States, 3/17/2020 - 7/7/2020


School closures can reduce transmission, but would need to be carefully timed to achieve mitigation objectives, while there may be ethical issues to consider. Travel-related measures are unlikely to be successful in most locations because current screening tools such as thermal scanners cannot identify presymptomatic and asymptomatic infections, and travel restrictions and travel bans are likely to have prohibitive economic consequences.

As a statistical update based upon an analysis of the site (where a day starts ands at 00 UTC) ...

The number of daily tests has been climbing steadily -- and is approaching 1.0M, which is a ridiculous number of new test given the fatality rate (see below).

True, Ezra "Totalitarian Loving Twat" Klein gets aroused by mass Covid-19 death or ANYTHING else that helps his "Year Zero" WOKE Jacobins achieve their ends. Klein does it via his Vox Cultural Marxist-Leninist cell, which itself masquerades as a journalistic outfit.

A supposed clear-headed and empirical data-driven journalist (which is the whole Vox shtick), Ezra "Ass-Wipe" Klein claims the First Amendment -- the very thing that makes his noble craft so robust -- is merely an instrument of oppression. He's also boasted how he wants innocent young college men accused of sex crimes to "prove a point."

God, I detest Ezra Klein.

As an aside on the topic of Ezra Klein and the virus of WOKENESS ...

Absolutely delighted describes how I feel about the eruption in the Vox newsroom because Vox Co-founder and senior correspondent Matt Yglesias cosigned -- along with ~150 journalists, columnists, authors (including Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie), teachers, and academics -- "A Letter on Justice and Open Debate" that decried the Orwellian mindset of "WOKE" cancel culture. (OK, they didn't phrase it quite that way.)

This instantly TRIGGERED -- yes, TRIGGERED, in the WOKE sense of that word -- both of Vox's transgendered and transmogrified "cultural / at-large critics" -- Aja Romano and Emily VanDerWerff.

They freaked out about "the violence" "embodied" in the letter. You see, by advocating free and open discourse in a pluralistic, tolerant, classically liberal society that just MIGHT include opinions with which they will disagree, the letter is "transphobic hate speech" that makes them feel "unsafe."

Typical Cultural Marxist-Leninist horseshit.

This sent the Vox "family" into a yowling, shrieking, WOKE frenzy with no obvious guidance on how to proceed since Vox Co-founder and Editor-at-Large, the same execrable Ezra Klein, could not do what he would do if it were anyone else, namely, summarily fire the person who stood up for journalistic integrity and basic free speech. That he, he just can't fire his Vox cofounder Matt Yglesias.

Instead, Klein tweeted Orwellian Cultural Marxist garbage about how "free speech" is simply a tool for the oppressor, which prompted Yglesias to fire off a since-deleted tweet that suggested he was ready to go to the mat on this (see image above). Alas, the whole thing petered out.

Among the signatories was Noam Chomsky. Yes, Noam Chomsky, the same guy who thought the Khmer Rouge were great. But now WOKE cancel culture is a bridge too far even for him. Amazingly, writer Dahlia Lithwick of Slate signed it. "Amazingly" because Slate is a 1984-style Ministry of WOKE Truth guarded by rioting Antifa / BLM goons.


OK, the rest of this entry delves into Covid-19 numbers and projections. The text is broken up with more of the pics I've taken in recent weeks on sundry walks -- in this case, the remainder of my June and some July photos here in D.C. and in Alexandria. They are not captioned, but the file name contains place/time information.

Below some numbers for your consideration to include both U.S. numbers and the eight Southern and Western states -- Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas -- where the supposedly cataclysmic spike in cases is occurring.

Remember that the percentage (let's just call it Dx) on any given day says little. But given enough time, that ratio should start to approach the Case Fatality Rate (CFR), and given a longer time (over the course of the entire media pandemic) approaches the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR).

The CFR is based upon confirmed cases (ideally, via the PCR test) whereas the IFR is the number of infections to include all those never tested for whatever reason such as they were wholly asymptomatic and never knew they had it. As a result, it is almost always the case that IFR< CFR, but by how much is as rarely known as it is critical for an effective public health response.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has itself said that it suspects for Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus, the CFR is 0.2% to 1.0% with a "current best estimate" of 0.4%.

U.S. Covid-19 daily deaths bar chart,
Feb 15 2020 - 10 July 2020


U.S. Covid-19 daily new cases bar chart, 
Feb 15 2020 - 10 July 2020


Date: Daily Deaths / Daily New Cases -- Ratio Dx (as percentage)

7/6: 379/50,586 -- 0.75%
7/7: 994/55,442 -- 1.79%
7/8: 890/61,848 -- 1.44%
7/9: 960/61,067 -- 1.57%
7/10: 849/71,787 -- 1.18%

Southern 8 States
7/6: 232/31,666 -- 0.73%
7/7: 467/37,107 -- 1.26%
7/8: 445/40,162 -- 1.11%
7/9: 501/40,155 -- 1.25%
7/10: 443/45,182 -- 0.98%

Here is the nationwide monthly Dx ratio -- based upon the mean of the daily ratios (rather than the ratio of the sum of all deaths / sum of all cases).

March (partial): 1.90%
April: 6.67%
May: 5.75%
June: 2.71%
July (through 10th): 1.14%

My sense is that the ratio (percentage) figure should continue to drop into the 0.2% to 1.0% range -- which, if we take the CDC best estimate scenario, will end up around 0.4%. If herd immunity kicks in when, say, 70% of the population infected, that's 231,000,000 and if CFR = IFR (which it doesn't), then at 0.4% CFR, that's 924,000. Now this assumes NO vaccine or meaningful treatments in the next year, which is unlikely.

Knowing the difference between CFR and IFR is everything -- and I don't know that. But I came across this intriguing paper by Perikles Simon from Johannes Gutenberg-University in Germany that includes the following between pages 10 and 12 with tables and figures (presented slightly out of order from the paper):

Table 3: Presented are the IFRs for the countries with their means and 95%-CIs in the validation data set. In the lines in bold, the IFRs are nested into three groups according to progressive increase in time period, ranging from below 9 days over 9-13 days to 2 weeks and more. In the two lower lines the estimates for the CFR and the classic CFR are shown.

On page 10, it states:

These countries are listed with their IFRs in Table 3, which also provides means and 95%-CIs for the means of Japan and Korea are both at the end of a consolidation phase and did neither show values for the classic CFR nor for CFR in line with expert estimates, but their IFR estimates are again in line with that of all other countries (Fig. 3).

Table 3 is reproduced below with its caption:

Figure 3 from the Perikles Simon paper


The IFR is with 0.05-0.3 a bit lower than the current expert consensus, but the margin reflected (Fig.3 and Table 2) is the narrowest for all countries. The median for all 21 countries for the IFRs was 0.11 (95%-CI: 0.073–0.15) and significantly different from CFR with 3.59 (95%-CI: 2.57–5.00, p = .0001) and the classic CFR of 0.66 (95%-CI: 0.47–0.91, p = 0.0001; Figure 3 upper left).

Let's say the IFR is "only" three times lower than the CFR. Then the 924,000 number reduces to 308,000 -- of which 137,000 have already occurred or 171,000 to go. At 750 deaths per day, that would take us to 8 months hence to March 2021 -- about a year after this whole goddamn thing began.

Any ANY treatments, much less a vaccine, can make all of this considerably better. Except the totalitarian Left media in America WANTS mass death and maximal shutdowns -- and not just while Trump is president but FOREVER. That makes them happy. But now I'm getting into my commentary, so I'll just end this entry.

And there you have it.


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