Is COVID 19 more or less deadly than seasonal flu? Depends.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-data-suggest-the-coronavirus-isnt-as-deadly-as-we-thought-11587155298

New testing by Stanford seems to indicate that infection rates are much higher by multiples possibly driving mortality to .12 to .2%, similar to seasonal flu.

Still, the article does note:

“This is not to deny that Covid-19 is more serious than influenza. Its symptoms are sometimes crueler, and it is fiercely infectious—it escaped the draconian lockdown of Wuhan and spread globally in a few months. In some places, like Northern Italy and New York, it has stretched hospital capacity and endangered or killed frontline health-care workers. Tens of thousands are dead world-wide, and there’s no vaccine. So a path forward demands continued monitoring of seroprevalence as well as new case testing, identifying and protecting those most vulnerable to more serious or even fatal infections, and supporting hospital capacity to handle surges of respiratory intensive-care patients.”

I think the “fiercely infectious” is the issue. Closing in on 40,000 deaths in US in about 2 months is evidence of that. Also, had we continued to ignore it per administration pronouncements up until March 13, the death toll could have been much higher despite a possibly lesser mortality rate.

In other words, a disease with no vaccine that everyone catches can be more devastating than another with lower contagion rates but similar mortality.

“Yet if policy makers were aware from the outset that the Covid-19 death toll would be closer to that of seasonal flu than the millions of American deaths predicted by early models dependent on inputs that now look inaccurate, would they have risked tens of millions of jobs and livelihoods? The science to support better modeling and decision making is rapidly becoming available. One hopes that it will inform better policy decisions.”

The moral: maybe the predictions were right. For decades the warnings about a pandemic and its devastating impacts were mostly ignored except for some minor efforts. And, of course, with that went the research for the type of testing that Stanford just revealed. So without testing and preparations we were in the dark. And consequently drove the response with ignorance, last minute panic, and general fumbling around. Add in political rancor, hyper-partisanship and daily policy changes from the top and, VOILA, we have the present clusterf#%&.

10 thoughts on “Is COVID 19 more or less deadly than seasonal flu? Depends.

  1. Yeah, the “efficiency” of the virus relative to its infection capability is alarming. The under reporting of related death tolls is also an “X” factor in the ongoing guesswork.

    Testing, Testing, Testing….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. RE: “The moral: maybe the predictions were right.”

    In what sense could that possibly be true?

    Also, how could testing have been prepared in advance, prior to having identified the pathogen?

    Like

    1. @Roberts

      “In what sense could that possibly be true?”

      Hmmm. Tough one.

      Maybe Len is referring to countless predictions by scientists and economists that the world and the country were vulnerable to pandemics and that not enough efforts were going into being prepared for the worst? THOSE predictions now seem prescient. Don’t you think?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. RE: “THOSE predictions now seem prescient. Don’t you think?”

      Not particularly. In one area, as noted, testing could not have prepared in advance. But in other areas, as well, we are beginning to see we were better prepared than we thought.

      Like

      1. @Roberts

        You are referring to a tiny tip of the iceberg of unpreparedness. But that is fine. If you think your challenging that what was predicted and that has now happened is sensible I will not try to dissuade you further. Nor bother to list the countless ways that our house of cards medical and economic systems showed just how unprepared we were when the pandemic arrived – as predicted.

        By the way, this is a mild one. According to the document you cited the other day there is EACH YEAR a 1% chance of a pandemic that will kill 6 million people or more.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. The predictions about the real threat of a pandemic and its economic impact throughout the world.

      Did you miss that?

      As far as testing goes, I reiterate what I wrote in case you missed that too:

      “And, of course, with that went the research for the type of testing that Stanford just revealed.”

      To clarify, we had 2 decades of warnings, including a major speech by Bush 2, that we should prepare. My feeling is that should have included viral research that could very well have set the groundwork for rapid tests as soon as the RNA was known which was in early January. Stanford’s research on this is recent. A couple of decades is a lot in science.

      But not having rapid tests is not solely Trump’s fault. He just ignored warnings for 38 months. The other 17 years or so are spread among past administrations. However he is in power now. So it is his crisis to deal with. How well prepped we were, what information to tell Americans, what actions to take are all the responsibility and job requirements of the present administration. Any flaws in the administration are his responsibility.

      The presidency is not a reality show. It is reality.

      IMHO

      Liked by 3 people

      1. RE: “My feeling is that should have included viral research that could very well have set the groundwork for rapid tests as soon as the RNA was known which was in early January.”

        The viral research you think we should have had we did have. You may recall that the CDC and others had effective test procedures within about two weeks. This could not have gone faster, although CDC botched the roll-out.

        Anyone can argue from hindsight, but that’s a hobby horse that goes nowhere, especially when it is based on false assumptions.

        Like

        1. Who was in charge of the administration when the CDC “botched the roll out”?

          Besides, it wasn’t botched so much as they tests were flawed and the CDC turned down the proven and available German tests.

          So were was Azar in all this? That was his responsibility as Trump’s appointee even though Trump is still the ultimate man in charge and responsible.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. @Len

            You obviously do not understand the situation. Whenever anyone anywhere in the government does something right, that is Trump’s doing. Whenever someone anywhere in the government does something wrong that is not his fault. It is those bureaucrats he has no control over.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. …”effective test procedures”…

          Not effective because they did not follow their own procedures for test development. Shoddy work led to the first rollout of tests to be ineffective and they had to start over again and follow their own procedures.

          It wasn’t a botched rollout; it was ineffective tests due to laziness and attempts at expediency.

          Like

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