Thursday, April 2, 2020


Yep, that's 1150 deaths in the U.S. since yesterday. 50,000 flu deaths in a bad year, divided by 52 weeks, =less than 1000/week. But Kung Flu is only that bad in one day. Glad this is "just the flu" and a "hoax", otherwise this might get serious or something. We could get an alternate viewpoint, but at least 1150 people are going to be rather quiet on this topic, going forward.

And the cheeriest CDC estimate puts the peak of things at least two weeks in the future, and staying at this level of crappy or worse until the end of May. And that's with 3/4ths of the country on a soft, voluntary lockdown. Get rid of even that weak sauce, and this thing goes straight up to the moon.

Now tell me how important your cubicle job or whatever is, because rent and shit. And you'd rather shoot for a million deaths, or more, instead of a hundred or two hundred thousands.

Simmer down, suck it up, and deal with it.


Anonymous posting is now disabled, because the Usual Suspect shitposters have trundled out from under their bridges at WRSA, and mistaken this blog for CA's deliberate free for all, and I've neither the time, patience, nor inclination to shovel out the living room three times a day because some babies can't wear a diaper.

Step Two will be comment moderation.
I hope I don't have to go there, because it's a pain in the ass, and comments will probably simply be disabled in perpetuity.

For those long-time posters here who will now be comment-blocked, my regrets.
Hopefully this is a short-term situation, when the asstards see that they can't fling shit here and scamper away.

For the rest, if you can't own your comments, nor follow the comment policy on the front page, go back to 4chan or whereverTF you came from, and stay there. Grownups are talking here.


MacD said...


Ned2 said...

Aesop, here's a great website with real time tracking of this thing:

Worth a look.

Anonymous said...

Mighty fine presription in that last sentence Brother.
I still think May is optimistic, but I'd be happy to be proved wrong in that.
I will say that tomorrow will still be (private) range day. All hands will maintain double-arm interval at minimum and the range is outside.
Boat Guy

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Carrying forward the discussion of our two aircraft carriers confirmed to have COVID-19 cases, you mentioned the end phase of remedying the ships by decontaminating them.

I'm replying here because of how you titled this posting. My first thought was, just wait a week, and the virus will have become inactivated on every place that's not fridge cool or colder. But here's were numbers come into play: with 5,000 men and the tremendous amount of space they move around in, you have to account for long tail distributions, where for example one lucky patch of still infective viruses and one unlucky sailor restart the cycle.

That's assuming you do a perfect job of screening all 5,000 men, weeding out any long term super spreaders (for example see the case of the half-immune system compromised guy) and them maintain perfect isolation going forward. Our surface navy is already such a poorly managed s***show, including what sounds like a business as usual attitude that's already crippled these two carriers, that I have my doubts.

More key will be managing this for the hunter-killer, cruise and nuclear missile subs, the fact we haven't lost any due to poor leadership says something, and our ability to deny sea access to any adversary depends on the former two more than anything else, they're much harder targets to find than carriers. And we need to keep enough of each arm of the nuclear triad operational to avoid friskiness by certain parties, most especially the Chinese Communist Party.

Anonymous said...

@MacD: the math looks right to me. So please explain how this is scaremongering. 'Its just the flu bro' advocates have been using full season (6 months typically) data to compare against ~1 month (16.7% of flu season) of KungFlu. This is very bad math technique and Aesop just demonstrated what I and others have also observed. This could be done but then any results need to be x5 (thereabouts... x5 is close enough to scare the shit out of you... or should be).

So, please, as our good host says, show your work. Prove 'scaremongering' mathematically. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would love to see that our math is wrong. However, the numbers have been pretty consistent since about mid-Jan even with ChiCom goal seeking numbers.

Nahanni said...

Then get out there and lick some store door handles or maybe a toilet seat. Make sure you post it on "social media" and post updates to prove your healthy and it's all a hoax.

Otherwise STFU and STFD.

FredLewers said...

Its a lovely day to work in the garden. Two words about why this is scary. Systemic fragility. Something's gonna break. And then the boogaloo is on.

Aesop said...

I would have shitcanned the whinging stupidity, but the commentariat seems to have delivered an adequate and thoughtful troll-beatdown instead. So it stays.
Posting the actual numbers isn't "scaremongering", halfwit. It's called updating those who aren't tracking this every day. And since you haven't evidently read anything else here, including the likely progression, you probably ought to get yourself to the supermarket to stock up on TP and bottled water, like the other unprepared idiots, for when it swims up and bites you in the ass, and you can't leave your house any longer for several weeks.


"Real-time" tracking this is a myth. I can't even do that in the hospital, because COVID-19 test results currently have a 1-3 day lag. Sometimes as much as 5 days. There is a further lag in reporting numbers from 50 states and 3,142 counties (or equivalents) in the U.S., and 6,284 boards of health and county coroners' offices.

Johns-Hopkins updates several times a day, and day-over-day tracking is as close as you can get, knowing you're always gong to be hours to a full day to several days behind the ground reality on this. It's no different than a pilot knowing his altitude and airspeed dials may have a several-second lag.

It still accurately indicates trends.

Anonymous said...

ThatWouldBeTelling at 7:55, heat might not be the answer, unfortunately.

Study on spread in a sauna:

lineman said...

Hope you have Community Brother and not just you and yours...Lots of stories of isolated farmers being hit by gangs in SA and in Argentina when that disruption was going on...

lineman said...

Here is a on the ground report from New York if anyone can be believed these days...

elysianfield said...

Well, ladies and germs;

As bad as it appears, I have a vague feeling that there is something else about the virus that is still unknown to us. Considering the obvious self destructive attempts by nations to control this, the destruction of economies and trillions of dollars spent/lost, I think the true ugliness of this disease is yet to be fully recognized by the unwashed.

Rates/methods of re-occurrence,

long term physiological effects of those mildly infected, or those adjudged "cured"

cross transmission back to various animals...dogs, pigs, cattle.

Considering the current methods of testing, can the virus exist in the body but do so undetected? Can it remain dormant for periods of time? Can you ever be "virus free" once infected?

The nations of the world seem unified in the response to the virus, never seen this level of cooperation before in my 70+ is as if they view the situation as...existential.

Virginia Granny said...

Thursday, April 2, 2020

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists announced a potential vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic. When tested in mice, the vaccine, delivered through a fingertip-sized patch, produces antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2 at quantities thought to be sufficient for neutralizing the virus.

Lots more at the link.

TechieDude said...

The math-is-hard flu bros are making a common mistake, using grand total numbers to downplay their own risk. Those numbers do not translate to risk.

Humpf...87 drowned in buckets last year! So what? Like my mom said "what's that have to do with the price of tea in China?"

Well! 50K die each year of the flu!. That's more than this so I should be OK. Then they walk their happy ass around, doing what they do, and contaminate others.

So what if you're where I am, where there's only a few hundred cases, and a dozen deaths. If you are in NY, the chance of infection is many times greater. Tell me how those global stats are going to help you there?

The problem is it's not the flu. It's more contagious, and while it has a low death rate, per se (It's at the lowest, a multiple or 10 of the flu), it has a huge population that is infected and not dead, and the "Infected" stats are just those that went to get care and got tested. The number that's contagious is way larger and unknown.

It's all fun and games, ignoring reality, doing what you feel like doing, until you infect and kill someone you know or love.

nick flandrey said...

USA infections, doubling down to 5 days. USA deaths, doubling still every 3 days.

Italy infections down to 8 days, deaths doubling 8 days.

Spain infections, 8 days, deaths 6-7 days.

Germany’s chart is not smooth. Something funny going on there. 8 days for infection, 3-4 days for deaths (death chart is smooth).

France, 7 and 5.

UK, 5 and 3.

Swiss- chart is funny, 10 days to double, 5 days for deaths.

( numbers)


FWIW, NY alone with 92K+ cases is higher than all the rest of the world, except the USA (in total or without NY counted), Italy, and Spain. That’s starting from none about a month ago. None to 92,ooo in four weeks.

but, you know, it's probably just the flu...


(and what does it say about your mindset that you think the doctors and nurses on the front lines are so corrupt they are falsifying cause of death? If anything, logically covid deaths are UNDER reported because of a lack of definitive testing and deaths outside of healthcare facilities. We've actually SEEN that in WA and elsewhere.)

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

heat might not be the answer, unfortunately.

We don't believe it is, as tropical year around Singapore helped prove. But cold is a problem, the virus survives longer at fridge temperatures, and is presumed to survive longer at freezer temperatures.

Time is my usual answer to handing potentially contaminated items, just put them to the side for a week at normal room temperatures and there shouldn't be any viable viruses left.

However, if your air conditioning is literally nuclear powered, and you condition a lot of space, you might just end up with some lucky viable viruses on non-porous surfaces that are most favorable for enveloped viruses. 5,000 men need a lot of room to live and work in, so I'm saying the statistics that I think favor me with cardboard and plastic taped packages just might fail the Navy at super carrier scale.

More likely, though, will be failing to catch everyone with Corona-chan when they re-man the ships. Or maybe transfer when they get cargo shipments by air or ship. This is a navy that fails at avoiding running into big cargo ships after all.

ASM826 said...

Data. Not happy data, but data.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Considering the current methods of testing, can the virus exist in the body but do so undetected? Can it remain dormant for periods of time? Can you ever be "virus free" once infected?

Compared to the viruses which can do this, we know that Corona-chan is way too simple. See the herpesviruses that infect humans, which includes the virus that first causes chickenpox, then from hiding out in nervous system cells, later can cause shingles. They have adapted to us for a long time, and are tremendously more complicated than SARS-CoV-2. 4 times as much genetic material, coding for 80 proteins plus or minus, vs. ~14 for the SARS family. Besides being too new to humans or mammals like us, it's just not complicated enough, nor does it have the bag of tricks that makes HIV "forever" in a human who has it.

Seriously, unless you have some biology background, please don't fearmonger in this way, a lot of what you are concerned about can be ruled out by the basic and by now fairly well understood biology of the human coronaviruses. SARS-CoV popped up in 2002, and it was clear it could be followed by more, as happened with MERS-CoV which is still with us since it has a camel reservoir, between the two there are many hundreds of survivors in open societies. Not to mention we now have lots of survivors in open societies for Corona-chan, it's been infecting people in them since mid-January at the latest.

Ray - SoCal said...

For test data, I found this the most useful:

And based on this, CA is not doing well..

Pending tests are still 57400 pending, and about 2000 tests a day (being generous) are now being done. Which is up from a week ago was about 1,000. Which translates as about 30 days to clear the backlog.

Positives are testing at around 25%.

NY is in even worse shape, and they are doing 16,000 tests a day.

Ominous Cowherd said...

USA infections, doubling down to 5 days. USA deaths, doubling still every 3 days.
People dying today got infected around 2+ weeks ago. We won't see deaths start to level off until a couple of weeks after cases level off, UNLESS the Trump Cure is good enough to break the correlation between lagged cases and deaths.
Positives are testing at around 25%.
Presumably they are only testing those who are likely to have it; those who are definitely exposed or definitely sick or both? If only 25% of the probable carriers test positive, that suggests that Corona-chan isn't yet ubiquitous in the population. That is good news.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Ray - SoCal: In a ludicrous hit piece on private testing in The Atlantic, there was one useful piece of data: the California backlog for Quest largely has to do with a bunch of samples that were taken before automated testing came on-line, and those samples can't be fed into the machines, they have to be done by hand using the old test protocol, a slow and tedious process.

Implied was the backlog of testing new samples isn't so bad, but I get the impression the demand is still wildly outstripping supply. For example, on the 20th, it was reported "Los Angeles County health officials advised doctors to give up on testing patients in the hope of containing the coronavirus outbreak, instructing them to test patients only if a positive result could change how they would be treated."

Aesop, thank you very much for turning off anonymous commenting, it was getting steadily more enraging to read the verbal spewing of the smug "it's just the flu" bros. One suspects that given the small proportion of people who get really sick, and smaller who die, they'll not shut up about this as the US death toll hits 6, or even 7 figures should the latter come to pass.

Aesop said...



And I can speak to the testing locally: we're using Quest, and they're 5+ days behind.
We've had patients so obviously positive Stevie Wonder could see it, and they died in the ICU still waiting for test results.

Ned2 said...

The "it's just the flu bro" automatons are still reeling from having to face the facts. Their numbers are diminishing however. Several site hosts over the last week have changed their tune. 180.

Some people take a stand on something and cannot change their mind, no matter how much truth you show them. I have to say I have been surprised at the number of "right" leaning sites that still think this is all a hoax. Normalcy bias on steroids. It also surprises me how many with good critical thinking skills, apparently, are so quick to dismiss something that doesn't fit their world view.
I suspect a lot of them have not been prepping as well as they should have over the years, and this virus scares the shit out of them so much, they're unable to come to terms with it.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

I suspect a lot of ["it's just the flu bro" automatons] have not been prepping as well as they should have over the years, and this virus scares the shit out of them so much, they're unable to come to terms with it.

Perhaps if you define prepping to include being able to withdraw from society if you really want to avoid getting it, that's a lot harder than stocking up on beans and rice.

But even more than surviving a nuclear war, which I've been prepping for half a century since my mother became a Civil Defense Block Mother, a respiratory pandemic like this one is terrifying. As we're seeing, 2nd and 3rd order effects while normal society and government are still a thing are steadily getting worse, who knows how many of them still have jobs or expect to have them in the coming weeks, and I suppose some also waited too long to stock up on something they consider to be essential, or not hardly enough.

All that, plus so many authorities blatantly lying to us like about the utility of simple facemasks, and this not stopping our cold civil war ... may you live in interesting times. Too interesting for too many.

FredLewers said...

Ya. Small neighborhood of like minded people. Not much gang activity around here. They stay in their lane. Too many gun owners for them not to and they know it.

Aesop said...

It's all of that, and more.

A lot of people have no critical thinking skills under stress.
And that includes some right-wing bloviators.

This "problem" is going to reset a lot of things.

Cocoa FootiePJ Bois are out.
They're not coming back.

Brian said...

In keeping with the adjustment to your posting policy, my name is Brian Morgan
According to my sister, I'm an idiotic NAZI, Granny Kill'n POS that should FOADIAF.
There is little special about me and I am not involved in an "Essential" role where the Kung Flu is concerned and I am not an "IJTFB" guy.
I have experience in dealing with bad situations that have happened to myself, my family, friends, fellow church goers, co-workers, people I don't even know but stepped in to help when obviously in trouble, etc.
Some of this has been done professionally, some volunteer, and some a little of both.

I say this to preface a very real question :

With the certainty that the Kung Flu will continue to be worse, our economies (world-wide) will be worse, our local situations will be worse,

What is the crossing point?

In earlier posts, the host has mentioned what he'd do if King Of The World and from an immediate tactical perspective, there was good stuff in it.

However, we're in it for years.

So, regardless your flame towards myself (family, friends, congregation, locality has that covered), or that from any other quarter, I'm asking from the perspective of a guy that supports others on a modest level,

What is the Cross Over Point on the graphs where you add up the infection/mortality rates, the world wide economic catastrophe, the political ambition (Holodomor/NAZI/Great Chinese Famine/Name Your Statist Atrocity/etc), the industrial tycoon/Oligarch (Let us agree to call a spade a spade), Civil War participant (see above), Flying Monkeys...

And decide to triage and get back to doing what has to be done with the best SWAG* and Damn the costs?

I've made my decision - have had to.

What's yours?

*REALLY? Do you have to ask? I've Lost, Tied and Won based on the heat of the moment. I've got several kids and family on all sides of this and everyone is at a loss. This is not the Perfect Storm, it's cyclical and if you don't have a classic Liberal Education with life experience, Get Some

elysianfield said...

"Seriously, unless you have some biology background, please don't fearmonger in this way,"

Why would any nation, consider both China and the USA, risk the destruction of their economies, debasement of their currency, and potential civil insurrection? The sniffles? A 2% rate of mortality? I will take a short answer, but please, as the Raconteur is wont to say, show your work. Please disabuse me of my fearmongering ways.

Aesop said...

Pleasedtamecha, Brian.
Not sure what you're asking.
The crossing point to what?

As far as this problem, I'd have done a number of things differently, but I'm a "Shut down the borders and ground the airplanes" kind of guy, and that's now water well under the bridge and far downstream.

Where we are now?
Stop f**king around with this.
Tell people to stay their asses home if they don't make the essential list.
If stopped out and about for non-essential shenanigans, no fine: mandatory 30 days in jail. If in a hot zone, that 30 days will be on body handling detail, and swabbing the local COVID tents at the ERs.
Don't want to do that?
Stay your ass at home.

Other than work the past three weeks, I've been out and about exactly one time.
This isn't hard.
And despite care for at least two active cases, and ten potential ones, I'm not infected. Yet, sure, but I'm at 5 bazillion times the risk of people with no earthly reason to leave their own house or home right now.

If it were legal for TPTB to award dick-punches for breaking quarantine, I'd hand them out a dozen per offense, with steel-toed boots, until the message sinks in.

If...IF...we had 330M rapid-response test kits right now, we could wipe this out in 30 days, for good. On day 31, the United States would be back open for business, no problem, pandemic solution unlocked.

But we don't have that, and the reason it keeps rippling outwards into bigger and bigger puddles of shit is because m*****f*****s who have it and don't know, are too stupid to stay the fuck home, because they don't get that nobody's kidding here. And/or they pick it up, and then spread it around, and in a week or two, they'll find out they're part of the problem.

If it takes shooting them to get the point across, open fire.
Zero fucks given.

Aesop said...

Once this is over?
It's a blip.
Worst case, it was only ever going to kill 10M people in a nation of 330M.
That's horrific on a personal level, and it's 1000 9/11s, but in the grand scheme, we'll lose that many dead in 4 normal years from natural causes.
And that's the worst case. It's liable to be much less severe.

Economically? What are you worried about?
Five minutes after this is over, people drive. Gas prices go up. They need Big Macs and new tires and clean underwear. If you're retiring in a couple of years, your 401K is screwed. Sux to be you. If you're 35, with a wife and 2.3 kids, you have a mortgage to pay, skills that are marketable, and life to get on with.

Some shit changes. (Hint: after people realize college for 75% of attendees is a scam, don't look for a job in academia.) Jobs in healthcare, and the trades, that pay good money, come roaring back. Mike Rowe is Secretary of Education, or Commerce; ideally maybe both, on alternate days. And none of those jobs can be outsourced; they can't fix your muffler or check your temperature from India.

Hopefully, we build the goddam Border Wall, and halt all legal immigration for twenty years or so, minimum. After that, if you aren't bringing something to the table besides a burning love of liberty, fluent English language skills, and a marketable skill in short supply, you get told "No thanks, we don't need you."
Because we don't.

Employment is 98% after that. The welfare state is ended, and you either saddle up, or you starve.

And a lot of stuff like manufacturing that got outsourced to ChiComia and the Turd World comes back, and stays back, for a generation, until people too young to remember the lessons form this time around can forget them anew.

While I'm up, I can hope that the people that have been enemies of freedom get prison sentences, or scaffold sendoffs, but I doubt it, unless we go full boogaloo.
At which point due process is a bullet, and a speedy trial is the time it takes the wire to snap taut after we push certain public servants off the overpass.

And FTR, I can live with Brian M., or Brian the Invincible, Brian from Bugtussle, or whatever.
(If you think Mom named me Aesop, I have a bridge for sale, cheap. But I'm always Aesop online, every time I post, everywhere, and leave my email and blog site as a calling card, so I own what I type.)
I don't want your SocSec#, I'm just tired of people popping in here, shitting on the rug anonymously, then doing it again tomorrow.
It's too late in my life to be dealing with fuckheads like that in my spare time.

Feel free to ask questions anytime, and thanks for dropping by.
Hope that answered yours, but if not, have another crack.
Electrons are free, and most of us don't have anything better to do at the moment.

KGH said...

I did not see ElysianField’s comments as fearmongering. And ThatWouldBeTelling’s response strikes me as a little beyond the average Joe’s understanding of virus stuff. FFS, guy asks a question, and gets back the number of proteins...

Now that comments are closed, tfat and asshats are not here. Let us keep the dialog going, and be prepared for what-if’s that may be far out of the realm of what an individual poster’s personal experience is.

We may talk a lot of tough talk, and be ready for any possible outcome. But the truth of the matter is many of us are shit scared. I know I am at times. I am not immobilized, not sucking thumb and finding Happy Place. But I do realize that this is a bad ass virus, the world has changed, and we are (IMHO) nowhere near understanding the 2nd/3rd...8th order effects of the virus and response.


ThatWouldBeTelling said...


Using your Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 2%, multiply 330 million people in the US times 0.02 = 6.6 million people dying.... Well, it probably couldn't be quite that bad due to things like herd immunity.

But that might only kick in around 80-85%, to take a wild guess, assuming 10% less than the 90-95% I just looked up for the R0 12-18 measles. Now add in morbidity from, what, 13% getting viral pneumonia? That's not a binary thing like death, but shouldn't you be old enough to remember the justified fear of polio? Let's be conservative and assume another only 6.6 million have severely life limiting lung damage, and that or twice as many are never as healthy as before they got it, are reminded of it every day.

That's before we even consider 2nd and 3rd order effects. Just to skim the surface of the first, as our host points out, at the extremes we either give minimal care, assume nothing more than oxygen, to the 15% serious cases, and probably lose more than 2%, or we let this take over our healthcare system, and all the people it routinely saves die instead of normal accidents and illnesses. (At this point I see no prospect for the US flattening the curve enough to make a difference any time soon, I'm finding it difficult to believe Trump has what it takes, plus there's the minor detail of mindless resistance to anything he tries to do.)

Is that enough showing of my work, starting with the 2% CFR you posit? Which is reasonable figure for planning purposes from January to today.

Aesop said...


Well said.

A nickel's worth of free advice: Don't be shit scared.

Just take this serious, use common sense, stay frosty, and be prepared for things in the meantime that are pretty weird. Including mobs of other people that are shit scared.
IOW, the problem isn't the lightning, it's the cattle stampede it causes.

Afterwards is a whole 'nuther thing.

One disaster at a time, please.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

I did not see ElysianField’s comments as fearmongering. And ThatWouldBeTelling’s response strikes me as a little beyond the average Joe’s understanding of virus stuff. FFS, guy asks a question, and gets back the number of proteins...

If you have enough understanding of biology and medicine, and have used that to research these issues in the last few months, it comes across as "fearmongering". It's taking a situation elysianfield has since revealed he doesn't consider to be awful enough, and positing a whole bunch of things to make it worse, all the way to the Satan Bug extreme of reinfections until you die. This is bad, but not Book of Revelation bad unless and until our governments go too far, like banning cash.

I'd heard the claim I related about herpesviruses vs. Corona-chan in brief, and decided to look up the facts on complexity to make sure I hadn't been fooled. A virus with 80 proteins, which is a lot---OK, I suppose that's not exactly common knowledge---can obviously do a lot more than one with only 14, which is a good budget for reproducing wildly. Think of them as either structural blocks, or gadgets that do evil things. Not a big tool chest.

So this isn't like the chicken pox/shingles virus, theory seems to match the practice we're seeing in the real world, if you know to ignore or interpret anecdotal claims of immediate reinfection (if it's from the PRC, as a non-clinician, I ignore almost everything that comes out of it). And the number of proteins reifies the theory, I thought it was something more tangible to grasp.

And isn't now a good time for the Average Joe to learn about viruses??

Your last paragraph is spot on. I'm more terrified of the 2nd etc. order effects than the virus, and it's potential to wreck my lungs or kill me is pretty terrifying. So my non-real world response is to try to explain things; I'm sorry if that came off the wrong way.

Avalanche said...

New wrote: "... this virus scares the shit out of them so much, they're unable to come to terms with it."

Dr Peter Sandman and his MD wife Jody Lanard are risk communication consultants: they WERE happily retired, but got "unretired" by the reporters and agencies calling them. One of their very useful concepts is the difference between apathy and denial.

From here:

Apathy versus denial
First and maybe foremost, it is crucial to distinguish people who are truly unconcerned about COVID-19 from people who are so frightened (or so depressed) that they are at risk of being unable to cope emotionally, so they have tripped an emotional circuit-breaker and are now in denial.

Denial is far from optimal; people in denial don't take precautions. But denial is preferable to panic – and denial is why panic is rare.

In normal times, apathy is far more common than denial. People who claim to be unconcerned should usually be taken at their word. But in times of crisis, genuine apathy becomes less common and denial becomes more common. This is one of those times.

The distinction matters because the right way to cope with apathy and the right way to cope with denial are opposites. If people are apathetic, the task is to scare them. Information helps only insofar as it's alarming information – stories work better than statistics, for example. Emotional arousal is what does the job.

But people in denial have already blown their emotional fuses. Frightening them further will only push them further into denial.

Also, as you note, people in denial work hard to avoid content that threatens to alarm them. They'll try not to see what you're showing them or hear what you're telling them. Or they'll misperceive it. Or they'll come up with reasons to mistrust it or arguments to rebut it.

All this is diagnostic. When "unconcerned" people get less concerned instead of more concerned when you tell them scary things (assuming you tell them in empathic, credible ways), the odds are they’re not unconcerned at all, but rather more upset than they can bear. So stop trying to frighten them, and start trying to help them bear their fear (or sometimes their misery).

Jester said...

What a lot of these baboon fuckers here (Aside from the obvious annon trolls) keep missing the fucking point on is how communicable this shit is and the fact it's not like the flu (where in a matter of hours or a very few short days you show symptoms of it) and you can carry the disease for two weeks, possibly indefinitely with out showing a single sign. None but you're passing it off on every fucking thing you touch, door knobs, elevators, canned goods etc etc. And those that end up in the ER or ICU? (And I'm in the healthcare industry so while I'm not as much a infectious control expert I see and know a lot more of the fuck is actually going on than most you clowns here shit posting) Most of those that shown up, are not only infectious as fuck but they had a -very- short curve from I feel fucking fine and wonderful there is nothing wrong with me to dead on a bed. 24 to 72 hours after it shows itself. This does harken back to the Spanish flu. My Grandfather (WW2 officer) passed on stories his dad (WW1 Officer) told him. Get up in the morning and be next to a man shaving and by that night he was in the hospital either dead or down for the count. Sound familiar to this disease if anyone is paying attention beyond the hype and hyperbolic news?
Not to mention the factor most of you tardlings are missing is there is not enough equipment, medical staff, PPE or medicines to go around right now. My facility is looking at constructing face shields themselves if they can't get their shipment of it. Guess what every fucking medical facility in the nation is doing? Scrambling to get PPE and stuff to support this.

But yes, most of everyone is going to survive this. And most you ignorant fucks that don't give a fuck don't care if it's your family members that die from it let alone someone else's family that gets dead because you're an ignorant fuckwad that should have been shot in a tube sock or swallowed. Same dumb fucks that shit and don't wash your hands or suck off your fingers after they have been in your nose. Sorry, I don't particularly want my older family members to get it or my own kids because you can't fucking be clean or understand that this shit is dropping people. If nothing else try to think that if you take out one medical personal that is one more person that can't take care of dozens of other people that end up sick because stupid shits like half yall here not taking this with a single grain of seriousness.

Paul W said...

WRT the morons that don’t wash their hands after crapping or sticking their booger hooks halfway down their throats, you aren’t going to change them. Their stooopid is permanent. But, perhaps, after this thing is over and the tug rats go back to school, there can be mandatory instruction -on a pass/fail basis - in hand-washing? Bring up a generation of kids the know what to do, who will actually pass it on to their kids, etc. It would certainly serve the public interest more than additional (or any) class time spent on why Johnnie should want to have his dick hacked off, so that he can give Bobby a BJ and “not be gay.”

elysianfield said...

"but shouldn't you be old enough to remember the justified fear of polio?"

Yes, I DO remember the fear...but I don't recall the government's response as being anything resembling what is occurring today. Polio must have been in extant in China, but I never heard that they quarantined the whole damn country over it.

My suggestion for you is to gauge the responses of various countries in light of the obvious self destructive responses. You are parsing the knowns...I am speculating that the extreme preventive measures represent a possible unknown.

I suggest that a single-digit rate of mortality might not necessarily bring the Chinese society to it's knees...or rend the fabric of our society. And yet our government is willing to roll the dice. The responses are draconian...I accept that to control the disease, that the measures are rational and needed...but why does every country act as if the CV is an existential event?

Why are the majority of countries in the world willing to risk their economies as well as the control of their populations? Two Percent mortality? Has humanity become the salient feature of government all of a sudden?

Maybe. Maybe not. Wars are fought...millions die...where is humanity then as a guiding principle?

You must either believe that the strident responses from government are either justified, or not. If you suggest not, then you must accept that either the governments are over-reacting...or that their actions are rational and proper...or they fear something greater than what we now know.

elysianfield said...

Oh, and one other thing. I can accept all the data that you have offered as correct. Can you consider however, the study of the disease complete? Is it "settled science"? With your knowledge in Biology and Virology, can you suggest there is no further questions regarding the pathology, and all is known?

Please tell me that this is the case.

mike18xx said...

Nothing to see here. Move along, Citizen.

Ann K. said...


Thank you for your info. Could you please explain herd immunity in the context of a brand-new coronavirus that has 8+ strains to date?

McChuck said...

The virus exists. It will continue to exist. Isolating ourselves, destroying the economy, and shredding the last whimpering vestiges of the Constitution will not change this fact. The virus is already everywhere.

Two weeks after the "stay at home" period ends, the next outbreak begins. No matter what that date may be. April. May. June. It makes no difference, except to all those people who might want to pay the rent and maybe buy food.

We should be sending the kids out to play with the infected, just like with chicken pox. Similarly, grandma should stay at home, and the kids should stay away from her while they're infectious.

Mad Mike says this much more eloquently than I possibly could.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Ann K.: Thank you for your info. Could you please explain herd immunity in the context of a brand-new coronavirus that has 8+ strains to date?

You're welcome.

The "strains" discovered so far have very tiny changes, the largest 18 base pairs out of the 30,000 total. That said, a single substitution, deletion, etc. mutation can have dramatic effects, although > 99% of mutations are simply harmful or fatal to the organism.

These "strains", or better yet phylogenetic trees in which they're the bigger branches, are tremendously useful in tracking the progress of SARS-CoV-2, because unlike every other RNA virus, coronaviruses have a proofreading mechanism that limits mutations, so we can get good ideas of when a strain was created, which forked off from which, etc.

It's also presumed there's no evolutionary selection pressure on it, except perhaps a bit to spread even faster. I.e. no real pressure to get even more adapted to humans because as is it can spread so rapidly, only a mutation that helped it spread even faster would be favored. That could be an issue in the future, I don't think we've ever made a vaccine for a novel virus besides Ebola, but I'm assuming for now it would be an easier change to existing vaccines than requiring us return to the drawing board (I have a lot to come up to full speed on).

One other critical molecular biology detail: parts of a virus (or bacteria etc.) are "conserved", that is, they can't change much or at all or "the virus won't virus." That's why most mutations are harmful to the organism. So for immunizing the population, directly by contracting the disease and recovering from it, or by vaccine, what matters is if the immune system picks one or more parts of the virus that are sufficiently conserved as its target(s).

That's why we have so many vaccines against RNA viruses that mutate at much higher rates than coronaviruses that don't require periodic changes, like polio, measles, and rubella. And why the ones for flu frequently change every 6 months, what the body naturally develops antibodies against, and we're doing no better with vaccines, can change a lot while still doing its job.

So going on ab assumption we think is safe that SARS-CoV-2 isn't going to make an "antigenic" shift of consequence, and I'm told there are some specific reasons to believe this is true, pertaining to the big spike protein that gives it its characteristic corona and presumed much greater infectivity than SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, we believe immunity from either getting COVID-19 or a vaccine will suffice.

So if that's true, as more and more people get immunity one way or another, the herd will get more protective of those who don't have it for one reason or another. But we shouldn't assume this happens before, say, 90% of the population is immune, we won't know until some time after we get there.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

McChuck: You and Michael Z Williamson are Covidiots, I didn't read more than the beginning of his blog post, but I searched for hospital and health as part of healthcare, it matters very much how many people get COVID-19 at any one time, since interventions like oxygen will save a large fraction of the serious cases (being put on a ventilator, not so much as our host has confirmed).

To spitball numbers, and please anyone who's following the clinical statistics correct me, let's say that's at least 10% of the population, so we could talking 33 million or more lives saved if we manage to flatten the curve. Or saved from significant morbidity. Or from bacterial superinfection, that's really bad news.

Maybe review the math of exponentials before getting back to us? Turns out you will actually need the math you should have been taught and learned in high school.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

mike18xx, in reference to this Covidiot Facebook posting, you too need to learn more math, although in all fairness, the area under a curve is only seriously studied when you get to single variable calculus.

The area under the curve(s) being the total number of people who die or get significant morbidity from this. Compare the areas from a useful graph of uncontained exponential growth of cases, and a flattened curve that's long and low, and doesn't exceed the health care system's capacity.

Which as we've been detailing, isn't going to start happening for real in the foreseeable future, I expect only if enough hospitals get crushed, and somehow the population is convinced or coerced into effective social distancing. Even then, the less they get crushed, the fewer people will die from COVID-19, or not having access to healthcare for normal accidents and illnesses.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

elysianfield said:

Oh, and one other thing. I can accept all the data that you have offered as correct. Can you consider however, the study of the disease complete? Is it "settled science"? With your knowledge in Biology and Virology, can you suggest there is no further questions regarding the pathology, and all is known?

Please tell me that this is the case.

Yeah, you're a jerk, Vox Day would no doubt diagnose you as a gamma. Because you know very well the answer to your ultimate question is no. But even worse, you use the I F**ing LOVE SCIENCE!!!, even in scare quotes, phrase "settled science." I can safely presume you're here just to stir up shit, albeit with a bit more finesse than the normal WRSA crowd, and I won't be wasting my time on you going forward. Certainly your previous April 2, 2020 at 10:19 PM posting has been exhaustively answered here, even before I made my set of replies this morning. If you can't grok the why, there's no hope for you.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Replying to Aesop's comment on WRSA about the idea the PRC is preparing for a real shooting war with the US:

And nobody in recorded history ever started a war by dropping a live grenade down their own pants with the pin pulled and the spoon removed.

Indeed, but if you didn't watch the video I also didn't watch, see the full thesis written out by Mr. Bracken here (postings at American Thinker are almost never worth the time reading). It starts with an analysis how bad off they will be shortly due to that now exploded grenade.

My followup wonders what they could possibly accomplish that wouldn't make the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) worse off, but I don't think there's much doubt the CCP is overall facing an existential threat, and could get very desperate.

Ned2 said...

I would not put it past the Chinese to kill their own people with this virus as a face saving measure for spreading it to the rest of the world deliberately.
Their military is no match for ours, despite what anyone says, so if they can debilitate ours before engaging better for them.
I know, we're entering conspiracy theory territory here, but trusting the Chinese is something we will live to regret.

idahobob said...

This thing is why we have been preparing for years. DW and I started self quarantining a month ago. Not only to protect ourselves, but also not to become a spreader of this virus.
I like and watch this guy every morning:

Good info.

Stay safe

elysianfield said...

"Yeah, you're a jerk, Vox Day would no doubt diagnose you as a gamma. Because you know very well the answer to your ultimate question is no. But even worse, you use the I F**ing LOVE SCIENCE!!!, even in scare quotes, phrase "settled science." I can safely presume you're here just to stir up shit, albeit with a bit more finesse than the normal WRSA crowd, and I won't be wasting my time on you going forward. Certainly your previous April 2, 2020 at 10:19 PM posting has been exhaustively answered here, even before I made my set of replies this morning. If you can't grok the why, there's no hope for you."


Ahh, you've reverted to the mean. Your argument invincible, your rationale without question provides the beat-down I so richly deserve. How can I argue against such
logic, such incisive observations? I am humbled.

Were I to have considered that a person of your quality would suffer to answer my foolish question, I would not have the presumption to have asked. But...but the question still has not been answered. Oh, yes, peripheral issues were addressed, but not the core question;

grokked with humility;

The Jerk

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

I would not put it past the Chinese to kill their own people with this virus as a face saving measure for spreading it to the rest of the world deliberately.

That would be unusually canny, because using a cut out country instead of your own deals you much less damage. They've also shown absolutely no signs of preparation for the pandemic, although that could also be claimed as canniness, since people would notice.

I only find it plausible as a faction fight move, it totally trashes everything Xi has been trying to accomplish. But he certainly has acquired a lot of enemies in trying to become a second Mao, and it could have been noted how very poorly he handled "pig Ebloa", which has killed over half their herd, their primary source of animal protein. Another theory I just came up with is a faction decided to be accelerationist, after the above screw up and other things like their economic bubble eventually being popped made it likely the CCP will be in for a world of hurt pretty soon.

I'm talking about using claims the virus was an act of war by the US as a casus belli for a war with us, which would be correct if we had done it. Which would kill even more of their own people.

Their military is no match for ours, despite what anyone says, so if they can debilitate ours before engaging better for them.

I don't see how they could sufficiently debilitate what ultimately matters, our nuclear triad, which is more sized to deter Russia than them, but now so small it doesn't require large numbers of people to operate and maintain it. If the Silent Service has their act together sufficiently to keep enough hunter-killer and cruise missile subs operational, we can also deny the PLAN ("People's Liberation Army Navy", their weird name for their navy) control of the seas near the PRC, as well as impose a blockade if we desire. If for example they tried to throw us "into the mighty sea of coronavirus" by a pharmaceutical embargo as they've threatened. Probably no need to actually do any of this, the credible threat is enough.

But for now our dismantling their rings of bases just like we did with Imperial Japan's is off the table, although we could do a number on a bunch of them with iron bombs carried by strategic bombers, probably preceded by cruise and other standoff missiles. But to what point?

I know, we're entering conspiracy theory territory here, but trusting the Chinese is something we will live to regret.

Indeed, it turns out everything I trusted from them in the very earliest phase of the outbreak was a lie. The biggest one, the one that shows the true depths of their evil, is that it looks like they never planned to release gene sequences for SARS-CoV-2. 17 days after they had their first one, essentially for the good of mankind a Shanghai research outfit published their first one without authorization. Which resulted in its closure for "rectification" the next day.

Everyone would be quite a bit further behind if not for that, Thailand used it to confirm their first case a couple of days later (can't hurt that Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn is a biochemist), the WHO chose a German test to promote two days later. As it is, as far as I know they didn't in that month supply any viral cultures to foreigners, we had to isolate them from patients identified by tests, and that's bad, there's a whole lot of things you need to do using real live viruses in a BSL-3 or higher laboratory, including some things to really make sure your tests are good.

The Gray Man said...

Florida “lockdown” in effect. The list of “essential businesses” is a mile long. Lol

Ray - SoCal said...


Agree with you on the Atlantic Article.

My fisking of it:

Private Labs Are Fueling a New Coronavirus Testing Crisis
The Atlantic

Alexis C. Madrigal - Wrote book on Green Technology
Robinson Meyer - Climate Change & Technology
March 31, 2020

Stuff I agree with the article on:

1. California has a back log of about 60,000 CoronaVirus Tests
2. CA is now up to about 2,000 tests a day, from 1,000 a week ago
3. Quest Diagnostics has a lab in San Juan Capistrano that is doing much of the testing
4. NY is doing 16,000 tests a day
5. CA is behind other states on testing

Site that has good statistics:

Strange Stuff:
1. Article seems to be blaming private test labs for back log
2. If you do a Control F, no mention of California's Governor
3. No mention of WHY the number of tests done in CA has not increased, as other states have
4. If Quest Changed over to the Roche Test that takes 45 minutes, why no increase in the number of tests done?
5. Why no mention of the 150,000 test kits the CA bought from HK per Gov. Newsom?
6. No mention that at the current through put, of 2,000 test a day, it would take 30 days to process the tests. Backlog is from a week ago., March 26, 2020. Seems to me pretty soon those test results would be useless?
7. Says testing is being prioritized due to Trump, for Medical Personal. I take this as an attempt to blame Trump for this mess.
8. Little mention of how the CDC and FDA screwed up the initial testing. They do link to an Atlantic Article that is very good on the subject by a different author -
9. No mention of shortage of key chemicals.

Ray - SoCal said...

Interesting - both of the authors, Alex Madrigal and Robinson Meyer are behind the site:

With all that useful data on testing, how could they write such a useless article?

I used the data from covidtracking for a spreadsheet I built, to figure out number of tests per day, % infected per day, and increase in tests in California per day so I could comment semi intelligently on testing. California is not increasing much the number of tests per day and as a CA resident, I am worried. And I am surprised their is so little worry in the main stream testing in CA about the testing debacle.

My take - CA is in Bad shape... Around 2,000 tests per day, and still a HUGE backlog of 60,000 of so tests. CA is at 37% positives. Last I checked CA has 90%+ of the entire backlog of tests in the US. And another blogger,, mentioned CA is in the bottom 10 states with percentage of testing based on Scott Gottlieb's twitter feed.

Another article that mentioned the CA Testing Snafu, but lacks details:

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Ray - SoCal: A likely better bet when viewing a hit job is to suspect things that don't make sense, but by my eye looks to confirm ~2,000 tests per day, certainly not a lot more. But maybe it's data is not complete?

Here's what I've picked up over the last month and a bit about testing in California:

It's not (completely) centralized, various county level public health departments can run the laborious so to speak CDC by hand tests.

Stanford started doing testing, but I didn't read anything about their capacity. And they can't do it for free.

Quest likely only has a cobas 6800 systems at their California state lab, seeing as how Roche hasn't been able to sell more than about a 100 of the highest capacity 8800 systems featured in their great music video. Even if they're getting all the reagents they need from Roche, its capacity is still pretty limited for this high complexity test (high in the machine, but a lab licensed for medium complexity tests can use machines like Roche's to do these RT-PCR tests).

Something stinks, California should be able to do a lot more tests, it's a biotech superpower, unless, say, NY's political pull has managed to corner a huge fraction of the materials needed. Which could make sense, with half the population, they have 10 times the number of lab confirmed positives per

I'm doubting 20 times the per capita positives could entirely be an artifact of having more testing capacity, although NY state was really on the ball and actually fought the "old" FDA to victory to get the only non-CDC Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) before the sea change. I'll bet it's more NYC is inherently doomed to be a Wuhan because of extreme crowding I don't think you'll find so much in California, and worse than inept leadership, you might say de Blasio is unwittingly on the side of Corona-chan.

Sure, Pelosi also is, we've dug up video of her at SF's Chinatown on February 24th scolding people not to be racist, but I'm guessing the scale is different, and as I recall reading just recently, the Bay Area was the first in the nation to pull the trigger on sheltering at home. Not following Southern California, have they and when did they do that? Meanwhile, we continue to see pictures of NYC commuters packed like sardines in subway cars, in part due to the subway system reducing capacity due to their own people getting sick, and I'd bet union shenanigans.

"Civilization is the art of permitting large numbers of people to live in close proximity without dying like flies," a recent refinement of Vox Day's who's been saying that sort of thing for a long time (sad, there is indeed nothing that Corona-chan can't do, including getting me to resume skimming his blog).

NYC/the NYC metro area is conspicuously failing that test at the moment, it might even depopulate if it becomes another Wuhan, our being too soft to quarantine the metro area. Trump dropped that trial balloon like it had a fever, probably in part because he doesn't particularly have that power in theory, and absolutely doesn't have it in practice.

RSR said...

I agree w/ elysianfield on this: "The nations of the world seem unified in the response to the virus, never seen this level of cooperation before in my 70+ is as if they view the situation as...existential."

With so many competing agendas, it makes zero sense otherwise. MountainGuerilla seems to agree as well: (worth reading the whole thing):
"Am I fear mongering? No. Not really. Fear mongering is “the spreading of frightening and exaggerated rumors of an impending danger to purposely arouse fear in order to manipulate the public.” A fear monger is “someone who spreads fear, or needlessly raises the alarm.”

I get how someone could make that mistake, but it’s simply not the case. We’ve looked at the numbers in my articles over the last several weeks. This IS a scary disease, if you get past the political bullshit of pretending it’s no big deal, and “it’s just the flu, bro!” Am I exaggerating the dangers? I don’t think so. We’ve looked at the numbers, based on the projections and theories of the people who get paid a lot of money to be expert in this subject matter. We’ve looked at “best case” projections of those numbers, and we’ve looked at “worst case” projections of those numbers. From the word go, I’ve posited that the reality was likely to be somewhere in the middle, depending on the actions taken in response.

Look at the actions of the governments OF THE WORLD, in response to the spread of this disease. The entire world economy was dumped in the shitter, in the course of a couple of days. There is a USN hospital ship parked in Los Angeles Harbor, to assist in the medical care of projected casualties of this disease, and another underway from Norfolk Naval Base to New York Harbor for the same reason. We’ve got the entire medical system of the US—and the world, really—in an uproar, because they can’t get enough PPE and life-support to deal with the numbers they are expecting—and in some cases, already dealing with.

I’m not trying to spread fear. I’m trying to get people ahead of the curve--”left of bang” as we say—so they don’t NEED to be fearful.

Here’s the thing...and it’s so important, I’m putting it in bold and in italics:

If you wait until the last minute to take this serious, you ARE going to be scared, and you ARE going to panic, and you’re going to make really shitty decisions that will result in you, or your loved ones, getting hurt or killed. Get ahead of it, if you still can.


Nevertheless, why am I, even as the President’s Task Force is reducing their verbalized level of concern, still insisting that this has the potential to get really bad, even before we consider the already occurring second and third order effects (which I will also point out, is something most of us have been warning people about even before we were really realizing how bad the illness itself had the potential to be…)? Because, I’m watching the numbers, and paying attention to what is being said, between the lines.


One of the things I’ve been arguing for awhile now is that the CFR—Case Fatality Rate—is an incorrect statistic to use. Instead, the number to watch is the number of deaths, as a percentage of closed cases. This is because the open cases still have to resolve, and they all have to resolve in one of two ways: either recovery or death."

Other good MG COVID-19 posts.
Above is from 3/29.
This from 3/9:
This from 3/2:

RSR said...

Aesop -- insofar as locking down for testing, don't know if you saw 30% false negatives: "Conventional diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus may give false-negative results about 30% of the time, meaning people with an active COVID-19 infection still test negative for the disease, according to news reports.

"Unfortunately, we have very little public data on the false-negative rate for these tests in clinical practice," Dr. Harlan M. Krumholz, a professor of medicine at Yale University and director of the Yale New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, wrote in an opinion piece in The New York Times. However, preliminary research from China suggests that the most common type of COVID-19 test, known as a reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, may give false-negative results about 30% of the time.

The Chinese research has not yet been peer-reviewed, but anecdotally, Krumholz's colleagues have expressed concern that the false-negative rate may be even higher in the U.S., he wrote."

Also, highly encourage you to consider doing a podcast or livestream w/ Mountain Guerilla -- that Angery American author completely screwed that up, and is refusing to repost b/c his fans were offended by MG's language... Truly cowardly, and a disservice to Americans everywhere -- at least IMO.

Aesop said...

If asked, I'd do a podcast with anyone legit.

I have been, a few times, on other topics, but it always seems to fall through for one reason or another.

As far as anyone offended by language, I would fall back on the example of fellow Californian G.S. Patton III, and simply advise people:

"If my goddamned language pisses you off, keep your silly ass the fuck out of earshot, and you whiny bastards won't have shit to complain about!"

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Ray - SoCal:

Interesting - both of the authors, Alex Madrigal and Robinson Meyer are behind the site:

With all that useful data on testing, how could they write such a useless article?

Because they've got a narrative, and the facts be damned, either through innumeracy truly of the level we saw on display about how Bloomberg could have minted a zillion millionaires, or they're blatant liars who know almost no one will check their facts, and none who do that will have enough pull to call them to account.

Because I caught a horrible error or lie: they claim the big backlog is from pre-(Roche)automated test samples, but that would only be true for the period March 9 to March 13, plus some number of lagging test kits being returned. We can see in the California historical data that 11-12 days later, an eternity in this pandemic, the pending tests for March 23-24 were "only" 12,100. Then a huge bolus jams the system, up to 48,600, 57,400, the same for another day, then the astronomical 64,400 for three solid days.

In addition to proving their claim false, it's clear this one slice of their data set is garbage, you don't have the same numbers two or more days in a row, nor would actual numbers be rounded to the nearest hundred. And they admit this, their source is the state health department, which is ultimately responsible for the state of testing in the state, and that 64,400 figure was an error. And the state's public health system has a lot to answer for, they're ultimately responsible for testing in the state. No doubt they've been starved for money, public health is almost always a poor way to buy votes, and I could well see them trying to shift blame without angering their political masters.

Another thing I caught: they talked about Kaiser Permanente in Washingtonian giving Quest a trial run before returning to the University of Washington. Which set up a special center for rapid high complexity testing not long ago, are the source of "your test must distinguish between SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2" FDA roadblock news, and when they started said they were doing 100 tests/day, and were "prepared to do more than 1,000 a day immediately and could quickly increase that to 4,000" Of course using robotics.

Which, if they weren't grossly wrong, is first half, then double the entire state of California's capacity! These numbers are not adding up without some facts these reporters are ignorant of, and/or withholding to lie by admission. First thing comes to mind, California and everyone else who doesn't have a (captive?) setup like the U of Washington is on allocation, and California's isn't super high because they're not actually getting hit hard yet, e.g. compare the ratio of positive to negative for them and New York, per this data set, which I now utterly distrust. Another might be a stupid law or regulation that only allows the tests to be preformed inside the state.

TL;DR: they're liars through malice, with or without a heaping portion of ignorance and/or innumeracy. Don't suffer from fellow Californian's Gell-Man Amnesia effect, seek out other data sets and analyses, and don't assume all the data in any is correct. As of course assume everyone out there might be unwittingly or not trying to give you the disease. See also our host's observations and comments on how the state is not being decisive with hospitals, and looks to be getting the worst of both worlds, will soon be failing many patients with COVID-19 and the normal stuff you go to the hospital for.

Ray - SoCal said...

ThatWouldBeTelling - great analysis!

I agree 100%, CA test numbers are sketchy...

I wonder if CA is requiring a certain reagent to be used?

More info:

Roche 6800/8800 was designed in Pleasanton, CA.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Ray - SoCal: Things are really starting to not add up based on the data from the first link (that it's from March 16th should not matter). Although they buried one lede in the last paragraph:

Over the past 15 years, 11 public health labs have closed in California, according to DeBurgh. And last year, the Health Officers Association of California and the County Health Executives Association of California requested $50 million in ongoing funding to shore up the state’s infrastructure to address infectious diseases, she said. “We got $40 million in one-time funding. And we can’t hire staff with one-time funding — and staff is our greatest need.”

But in addition to Stanford which I already mentioned, WRT to universities it says UCSF is running tests, and they're world class in biomedicine. UCLA is also running tests, UC Davis was back then running 3 tests, the CDC, a small scale automated system, and they have a cobas 6800, and the 1,400 SARS-CoV-2 tests a day is around the number I've heard quoted.

So I'd assume either some screwup with state government laws, regulations, or interpretation of them, or one or more supplies bottlenecks are preventing them from doing more tests, the raw human and machine capacity is there. With NY hoovering up every resource they can for their Wuhan in progress, even if they already have a surplus (they're even going upstate and seizing "unused" respirators), Hebei province if you count their tri-state metro region including New Jersey and Connecticut which are tightly linked by commuter trains to NYC/Manhattan Island, it could be that with California's 20 times lower per capita total positive cases, which we can use for a proxy for disease prevalence, and I assume lower incidence, rate of people getting it, it's not a priority state.

The powers that be ought to be keeping some in reserve for the next flair-ups, and per this article, our favorite nerd Dr. Birx said yesterday:

“We continue to watch the Chicago area and the Detroit area and have some developing concerns around Colorado, the District of Columbia, and Pennsylvania,”

I can't recall hearing from any source that California is a major concern right now. First in the nation lockdowns, less crowding than other states (the much decried NIMBY housing density limitations are now saving many lives) ... it sucks to be any polity in the world, but it sounds like it sucks less to be in California. At least WRT to COVID-19....

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Ray - SoCal: Another data point in the testing business: "Lab Test Volumes Plummet as Patients Put Off Care Due to COVID-19" (free registration required, and it's great but generally specialized stuff). Key graphs, most of the [] sections are their's:

This week, Quest Diagnostics filed a form 8-K in which it noted that during the last two weeks of March the company's test volumes, inclusive of COVID-19 tests, declined by more than 40 percent.


Kyle Fetter, executive vice president and general manager of diagnostic services at revenue cycle management and lab informatics firm Xifin, said that thus far, most industry layoffs and furloughs were occurring on the administrative side of the business as labs tried to maintain their clinical staff.

Fetter said his firm has seen volumes drop substantially not only for routine lab testing but also for tests that might not typically be considered elective, such as genetic tumor testing to determine patient cancer therapy, which he said had dropped around 30 percent to 35 percent since the start of the outbreak in the US.


Raich said that some labs are trying to move into SARS-CoV-2 testing to help address the broader shortfall but noted that "you can't make up that [lost] volume with just COVID-19 testing."

Additionally, it can be difficult for labs to get ahold of the instrumentation and supplies they need to start SARS-CoV-2 testing, he said.


Birenbaum similarly said that many NILA member labs were exploring SARS-CoV-2 testing but that they were running into a number of challenges.

"We have different size laboratories with different capabilities," he said. "If they are decent sized and have some of the [RT-PCR] equipment in-house already, the challenge has been, do they have equipment that is compatible with the [CDC test]?

More recently, he noted, several vendors have received FDA Emergency Use Approval for tests on their platforms. For labs with these platforms, a major challenge has been getting test kits, with some labs being told by vendors that they won't be able to get shipments of kits for two months. [Swabs, too.]


"Labs [without the equipment] are saying, well, we would [start SARS-CoV-2 testing], but we don't have the necessary capital and we're not willing to take loans out if we don't know whether we can get kits," Birenbaum said....

There are also questions about whether making capital investments makes sense given the relatively low reimbursement for the test. Pricing put out by local Medicare Administrative Contractors last month put reimbursement for the CDC test at around $36 and reimbursement for non-CDC versions at around $51.

According to some NILA member labs, "if you factor in all the capital investment and everything, the [Medicare rates] don't cover their costs," Birenbaum said.

Fetter agreed. "At the price [CMS] is going to pay for COVID-19 testing, if a lab is super efficient, they will potentially break even," he said.

So, no surprise, idiotic government policy has a hand in this, we must not let anyone "profiteer" off a pandemic.

Ray - SoCal said...

ThatWouldBeTelling thanks for the great info. Your guesses on the reason behind the no tests is the best I have read. The reimbursement information makes so much sense.

Today CA recorded 78,400 tests done, so hopefully the screw up has been fixed? Or was a lot of testing just not recorded in a timely manner?

Pending is now down to 13,000.

And 39 deaths in CA today are only around 3% of the US total deaths of 1,352 recorded today. NY is around 50% of the US total, 630 deaths. CO was at 14 recorded today, doing 1500 tests per day. Illinois is at 33 death today, but is accelerating, doing 5,500 tests per day.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Ray - SoCal: You're welcome; it's been very educational for me, very rewarding albeit depressing. This is one way CMS rations the healthcare Medicare provides, anything they disfavor but can't refuse for political reasons they technically approve, but set reimbursement below costs.

Assuming the authors aren't lying about this as they are about so many other things (i.e. maybe check out the state web site vs. trusting their screen shots), pretty clearly the California public health system, which has been systematically raided for money that can better buy votes, is producing garbage statistics. We can be very sure 78,400 tests were not done in one day, would have taken a number of days to do, unless for example the eeeevil Quest corporation has one quarter of the cobas 88000 machines sold worldwide, and just let them rip on a huge number of California only samples for 3 shifts in one day. Which I suppose is possible.

The only statistic I'd even begin to maybe believe from the state's public health department is the number of positives, COVID-19 is a "reportable" disease, anyone, public or private, is required by law to report a positive test to an appropriate entity, and that filters up to the state health department, and then the CDC, and I suppose the WHO, but I don't spend any time thinking on them nowadays. This is what everyone treats as a serious thing, for the obvious reasons.

Oh, I read that UC Berkeley, which had to start from scratch, including using their university student and staff health center to get certification (no med school, they partner with UCSF for teaching), hopes to come online tomorrow.

CA with 12% of the population has only 3% of the deaths? Either a lot of COVID-19 deaths are getting missed and also not noticed by the other means deaths are reported, and/or the first in nation lockdowns plus for example the previously mentioned wider spaces (BART is nothing compared to the NYC MTA subway system) is doing the state a world of good. Do a lot of illegals just die in "secret" you might say and get interred privately? Are a flood of them returning home south of the border for some reason??

Ray - SoCal said...

Gov. Newsom did a video saying it’s his fault testing is so slow, with 13,000 pending. And he will set up a committee to investigate...

My take:
- he waited till backlog was down for video
- committee is to whitewash blame
- he hopes universities will do more testing
- no increase in reimbursement
- Saturday bad news drop

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Ray - SoCal:

Other possibilities: either the testing backlog, and/or the claim that the tests have been performed are a lie. California is a very corrupt state, has a lot to do with its post-WWII history. And what the [bleep] does this sentence say:

'We turning the page on our old approach to how we coordinate, how we collaborate and how we distribute to you in the public around the issue of testing.'

In the following statement, assuming he didn't amplify in the video, he's confounding RT-PCR and antibody tests, which are both important, but have nearly completely different use cases. Either he's pig ignorant, or obfuscating to try to make the situation look better:

He added that Stanford, which is also involved in the task force, was just 'hours' away from getting FDA approval of a new blood test for coronavirus.

The article implies he believes the state is seriously under tested, and is going to need a lot more hospital capacity. Which doesn't exactly make sense, because those who really need to go to a hospital, e.g. the short of breath, are going to (or not), based on symptoms, not a test. Could mean they're planning on setting up an outside of your dwelling quarantine system like the PRC's....

Don't see anything to add to your other comments, they sound about right. Although he has no control over CMS' reimbursement rate, he could complain to Trump if he realizes it's a problem. Or he could bypass CMS altogether, you don't have to bill them for tests. And/or arrange to slip some money to the university labs that are doing testing, especially the ones doing it efficiently, more with robots than human hands.

Ray - SoCal said...

ThatWouldBeTelling - Interesting comment on the corruption. I always viewed North East as more corrupt due to actual bribery, with progressiveness in CA removing a lot of that. In CA we have a lot more legal bribery / donations, along with union political donations, and ballot harvesting, that has caused a one party state that is very dysfunctional - plastic bag ban that increased health hazards is a pet peeve of mine.

A state order saying ALL short term rentals can't do business, but can only be used for Homeless and Coronavirus, backs up your comment on outside of your dwelling quarantine.

Riverside County just required all people going outside to wear masks. San Diego was just employees facing the public.

Riverside Order:

Main Page:

LA and Orange County are still voluntary.
Interesting, OC is saying HCA Labs did 1,070 tests yesterday. I wonder if that is OC only?
LA no information on testing.

No information on Riverside on Testing.

FredLewers said...

As was pointed out earlier, the numbers from CCP are as worthless as last month's lottery ticket. Anything coming out of DC pieholes are as worthless as last week's lottery ticket. This is due to the lobbyist effect and campaign contribution syndrome.
The most trustworthy data is the anecdotal reports from frontline medical staff. THEY'RE ALL SAYING THIS IS BAD NEWS.
There's an old proverb "where there's smoke, there's fire". So when people with real world experience tell me to avoid catching it I'm listening. Whereas the 'top men & women' bloviating in front of MSM cameras impress me about as much as an STD.
Always remember, paranoia is a survival trait.

FredLewers said...

I've noticed that the liberal state governors have taken the opportunity to let their inner Pol Pot of the leash. For the most part it appears that 'conservative' governors are seeking buy in and voluntary cooperation from the subjects. Is it possible that the liberalism and socialism in the world has reached the tipping point? Is it possible that the globalists have saturated governments to the point that they can lockstep through this? Europe has been soft socialist gradually hardening up to fascism and Marxism for decades.
Two other possibilities are:
1 This is a bioweapon released accidentally or deliberately. The lack of military response points toward accidental.
2 Government in general has grown to large and ossified to respond with any level of common sense and wisdom to any issue more important than not pissing on their own shoes.
I think that it's the culmination of the long march through the institutions. They'll keep cracking down and tightening their grip until they're dropping through the gallows trap with a look of complete surprise on their faces. Mumbling something to the effect of "it was for your own good"