NBC and NYT still trying for ChinCOVID panic

Ah, NBC; that non-biased COVID-19 fact-checking Trump on COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in 21 states, according to data compiled by The New York Times. There is some indication that expanded testing is catching more cases, but public health experts say that in reality, the surges are due to states’ reopening and people’s relaxing their social distancing protocols.

And Ms. Timm’s source for that, the NYT, is still full of bovine excrement.

Despite even their graph showing a clear decline in Georgia’s new daily cases, they claim we’re still “mostly the same.” BS.

Georgia’s new cases have definitely declined. What the NYT isn’t telling readers is that 6,207 of Georgia’s 53,249 cases — 11.7% — are antibody-positives. By definition, even though they are reported as post-lockdown, they are old cases. Antibody testing largely started just after the lockdown lifted. All of those represent old cases that should be reported as “new” on past dates. Instead, the state is graphing viral and antibody testing together, reporting antibody as new, and creating an imaginary post-lockdown surge.

A proper viral-positive curve would show an even higher peak, and a rapid decline. Not a double peak.

And if Timm at NBC, and the NYT, were interested in truth and facts, they could have noted that antibody testing suggests that 5.9% of Georgia’s population — 626,428 — had ChinCOVID, never knew it, got over it, and developed immunity. Add that to the known 47,974 cases, and that brings Georgia’s COVID-19 mortality rate down to 0.34%.

Oh, well. I probably can’t expect unbiased accuracy from Timm.

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Yet Another Early-COVID Datapoint

I’ve thought that SARS-CoV-2 was circulating widely long before people realized it; among other things, thing making the lockdowns pointless. Barn doors, horses; you know the drill. I collected quite a few bits of data to support that hypothesis, including confirmed community spread in Washington state back in December 2019 (before China even announced it).

Now we have this Harvard study suggesting it was becoming widespread in China last summer.

The global COVID-19 pandemic was originally linked to a zoonotic spillover event in Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market in November or December of 2019. However, recent evidence suggests that the virus may have already been circulating at the time of the outbreak. Here we use previously validated data streams – satellite imagery of hospital parking lots and Baidu search queries of disease related terms – to investigate this possibility. We observe an upward trend in hospital traffic and search volume beginning in late Summer and early Fall 2019. While queries of the respiratory symptom “cough” show seasonal fluctuations coinciding with yearly influenza seasons, “diarrhea” is a more COVID-19 specific symptom and only shows an association with the current epidemic. The increase of both signals precede the documented start of the COVID-19 pandemic in December, highlighting the value of novel digital sources for surveillance of emerging pathogens.

It’s purely statistical, and doesn’t prove anything, and China denies it. Call it confirmation bias, but it is consistent with all the other things I found.

It would certainly explain why 5.9% of the tested population in Georgia is already positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

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Dr. Lednicky: Real Teacher

I had been checking blog stats, and that led me to review a couple of my old posts. One, from April 21st, was about what I initially thought was a dubious COVID-19 test. The news report claimed it was a four year-old test that coincidentally worked for detecting SARS-CoV-2.

I sent an email to Dr. Lednicky, whose test it is, for clarification. This brings me to what I didn’t properly emphasize back then, and what I feel obligated to note belatedly.

I received an autoresponder reply that Dr. Lednicky was too busy to answer the thousands of emails (16,000+ that day) he was getting, and that he’s very busy. I could see that, and figured that was the end of it. Instead…

Less than four hours later, Dr. Lednicky did reply. In the middle of his busy day. To some nobody who questioned his work. And he graciously explained the changes he’d made to his old test, which made it a pretty good test for SARS-CoV-2; right down to the changes in nucleotide testing, and why. In layman’s terms which I could grasp.

Dr. Lednicky took time out to explain his work to some random layman. He made it understandable to said layman.

And he did it in just 163 words.

This guy can teach. I’ll bet his classes are very popular.

Thank you, sir.

Defund the Police?

To tell the truth, I favor that… in the long run. The problem is that you can’t get there from here. You have to go somewhere else first.

Back when I was still trying to write science fiction, the subject of how to maintain public order — “policing” — was one of my main themes. In my fictional universe, several options existed.

My characters arrived at those options by getting away from “here” in a few ways. Runaway inflation and heavy-handed policing (sound familiar?) led to more disorder. Civil disobedience on a large scale, followed by piecemeal rebellion. That was followed by actual deployment of military troops — including a attempted airstrike on US civilians. Full rebellion resulted from that, and the nation balkanized.

What was left of the United States was basically the northeastern seaboard states. The US went full totalitarian welfare/police state, with anything getting done through graft and bribes. One of my main — and possibly favorite — characters escaped from there, financing her way as a high-end teen escort. (This is where we’re currently headed.)

Macon, Georgia was pretty much cop-business as usual, with even more incompetence and inaction. What can you expect of a department that actually asks who your political and family connections are on the official job application? (I walked out without so much as putting my name on the app.)

Columbus, Ohio still had a police department, but its duties were limited to taking reports, collecting forensic evidence and witness statements, and running the jail. Actual investigations, and most apprehensions, were done by private parties; people involved or hired investigators. The police would sell case information to investigators. Exclusive access could be had for a higher price. (Probably the best model for the US, and what “policing” largely was until the nineteenth century.)

Most of my stories took place in space, where people generally left policing behind completely. They restarted with a clean slate, and opted for a civil process. Mostly; every habitat had its own ways, there was even a enforced people’s communist collective.

But overall, there were no laws. If someone was harmed, she worked it out with the offender, or filed a civil suit with an independent arbitrator, who is just a private person, not a government agent. If both offender and victim participate in arbitration, it’s binding. But if the alleged offender chooses not to play, so be it. The arbitrator may rule against him, but really can’t do much about it except make the offense very, very public with a notation that offender declined to make restitution. Ostracism is a big deal. One guy gets ostracized right out the airlock. Damn shame he’d pawned his pressure suit.

Dueling is rare, but happens. Security is personal, or hired security companies. Yes, some of them have nukes. Do not fuck with Ivan’s clients. Or, in the case of some clients, you might want to hope Ivan and family get to you first.

Of course, there were the aliens… whose ex-government had nuked its own citizens. They are not enamored of governments these days (take notes, Swalwell). There’s an unfinished story of the UN trying to deal with them…

At any rate, even at my most anarchocapitalistic phase, I never assumed humans are angels, and we could simply “defund the police” without a lot of trouble. If we do that now, we’ll get violent chaos.

But the totalitarian direction in which the government is headed will also force a violently chaotic reaction eventually. I don’t know what outcome we would arrive at. In my fiction, I could pick and choose events that drove society in the way I wanted it. Real life doesn’t work like that, no matter what our would-be social engineers think. They cannot impose their belief system on 328 million individuals. Whatever happens will be the averaged result of 328 million independent beliefs and actions; an unpredictable chaotic system.

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IHME Model: Declining into utter bullshit

I’m now checking the IHME Georgia COVID-19 model just for giggles. These dishonest scumbuckets are getting further and further from reality. And I’m not even talking about their projections.

IHME currently claims that Georgia saw 965 confirmed infections on June 4, 2020. Confirmed; not model projection.

Georgia DPH says…

89

So from which stinking orifice did IHME pull an additional imaginary 876 cases? Cases that the state agency that gathers and reports this data doesn’t know about?

Just for scale, while IHME is claiming 965 cases that day, Georgia reports that its peak new cases day was April 20, with 950.

As for deaths, IHME is still holding deaths in reserve to falsely maintain a fake curve. IHME claims 2,084 had died by June 3, while the state says 2,159. While that might seem optimistic on IHME’s part, you have to remember that they’ll maliciously report the extra deaths on a later day to make it look like lots of people are still dying. For instance…

Daily deaths, June 3
IHME: 29
GA DPH (the source of the real data): 9

Georgia has not had 29 daily deaths since May 12. And it’s been dropping since. It was declining then.

The IHME model is fraudulent. If it isn’t deliberate as I think, they need to show the source of their alleged data.

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Georgia: No Post-Lockdown COVID-19 Surge

As of 6/2/2020, 5:49:29 PM, Georgia has recorded 48,207 cases of COVID-19 positive tests. And the new cases graph is showing an impressive post-lockdown surge. So why does my post title say the opposite?

Because GA DPH is finally showing separate tallies for viral (active infection) and antibody (post-infection/recovered) tests. 5,395 of the positives were antibody tests. Antibody testing started after the lockdown ended. And that matters because…

To test positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, one must be exposed to the virus, be infected enough to stimulate an immune response, begin producing the appropriate antibodies, and produce enough to be detectable. The entire process can take weeks. That means any positive antibody test represents someone who was infected before the lockdown ended. They’re simply reporting those as new, post-lockdown cases. But in reality, they have no idea when they really occurred (as opposed to finding out about them).

DPH is still graphing viral and antibody testing together. I wish the idiots would separate those out. But a SWAG at the numbers strongly suggests that nearly the entire post-lockdown bump was really antibody-positives.

There was no post-lockdown surge in new cases; it was a surge in reporting, as predicted. The lockdown was pointless from a public health perspective. Kemp locked down Georgia three months after community transmission had already started in the US (despite CDC claims that it was late-January/early-February).

Another interesting point about Georgia’s antibody testing: 5.9% of those tested were positive. Remember; those were people who’d never had any symptoms to speak of, or they would have had viral testing before. COVID-19 has spread across the entire state; viral testing showed cases in every county. Georgia’s population is 10,617,423. Extrapolating, it’s very likely 5.9% of the population would be antibody-positive.

626,428

Georgia has reported 2,102 COVID-19 deaths (never mind for now that we know that number is inflated). That gives us a COVID-19 mortality rate of 0.335%. One-third of one percent. One-tenth of the 3.4% WHO claimed. The vast majority of whom were elderly and/or infirm (and many of those wouldn’t have happened if some states hadn’t decided nursing homes full of the elderly and/or infirm were a good place to stick the infected). But the powers that-be-locked down the entire younger working and student population, crippling the economy for — hopefully only — years.

Here are some more numbers to play with: You’ve heard that over 108,000 have died of COVID-19 in the US. Do you know how many the CDC actually has ICD-10 coded as COVID-19?

86,495.

Yeah, the other 21,000 may have had (or once had) SARS-CoV-2, but that wasn’t what killed them. It was little things like murder, or surgical complications.

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COVID-19: January? TRY to keep up.

The CDC now says SARS-CoV-2 may have been spreading slowly in the US in late January.

The first U.S. cases of nontravel–related COVID-19 were confirmed on February 26 and 28, 2020, suggesting that community transmission was occurring by late February.

This is — among other reasons — is why I do not consider the CDC to be a good source for data. Aside from the fact that nation-wide outbreaks occurred that were too widespread and early to be consistent with a mere late January slow spread, we know that there were nontravel-related illnesses well before that.

  • Ohio: Yes, Ohio, far from Washington. Antibody testing found a case dating as early as January 7. Patients in five counties spread across the state.
  • Washington: Two days after Christmas last year; December 27. Nontravel. That’s when she went symptomatic. Exposure had to be a week or two before that, meaning it was spreading mid-December.

Yes, we know that SARS-CoV-2 was widespread in the US by late last year. Three months before the gov noticed, and decided to use it as an excuse for a totalitarian police state.

Do try to keep up, CDC. Here’s a collection of links to case studies indicating extensive — and mostly harmless — exposure long before the lockdowns.

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Georgia Election Truth: I get on the darnedest email lists

This time, I seem to be on the list for something called “Georgia Election Truth,” which uses the name “John Anon.”

John’s email is interesting reading. It’s a collection of allegations calling into question the honesty of a Georgia 3rd District State Senate candidate, and his alleged work history.

On the one hand, if true, no one should vote for this guy.

On the other hand, there was the Trump pee dossier chock full of allegations that would be troubling if there had been any truth to them. The main letter — in JPG image format — has a signature block but no verifiable signature. And of course, it came from John Anon, otherwise nameless.

If anyone has any facts, and especially documentation on this, one way or another, please share in comments.

My COVID-19 prediction a month later

On April 23, I made a prediction: that Georgia would not see a post-lockdown surge in COVID-19 cases. You can follow that link for my full reasoning, but the short form is that I’d seen indicators that the virus was already widespread before the lockdown ever started.

By May 12, I saw some preliminary indicators that also seemed to support my view; to wit, we did not see a decline in the rate of daily infections which one would expect if the lockdown slowed exposures.

If we were going to see a new, post-lockdown surge, I thought it would start to appear approximately two weeks later, based on a roughly 14 day incubation period. The lockdown was lifted on May 1. I waited a little more than two weeks to give the state’s data time to catch up with local reporting. How did I do?

From that, you might think that my prediction of no new uptick was a complete failure. But wait.

As of this writing, that data is useless for confirming or denying my prediction. Georgia went and made some changes.

First, after the lockdown ended the state began offering COVID-19 screening to anyone. Previously, it was only available for those displaying symptoms. Unless they can report whether post-lockdown positives were symptomatic or not, we don’t know if we’re seeing something other than what we would have if testing had always been available regardless of symptoms.

Second, and far more serious… that graph no longer reports just SARS-CoV-2 testing. It now includes post-lockdown antibody screening. That is, people who never even knew they “had” COVID-19, but had been exposed enough to develop an immune response. And since, not being sick, they don’t know what days the “cases” developed, they seem to be reporting an antibody positive on the day of the test. A person might have been exposed all the way back in January, but it’s reported as happening after the lockdown lifted.

The uptick could be asymptomatic cases we’d never have seen before, because the state wasn’t looking for asymptomatic cases before the reopening. It could be antibody positives. We don’t know how much of which.

The state now says they’ll separate viral and antibody positives and report them separately. Until that happens, my prediction remains untestable, damnit. But the deaths-per-day graph may be another proxy. As yet, that does not appear to show an uptick; the 7-day average curve still looks like a classic epidemic curve. The state also reports that COVID-19 hospitalizations are “down 34% since May 1st.”

Hopefully they’ll sort out that data soon.

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The hell with reCAPTCHA

I’m not going to spend several more minutes going through multiple pages of “please click images of” to train Google’s pattern recognition bot, just to post a comment on a blog. Especially when it keeps insisting that there are buses there that aren’t.

In the past, I’ve put up with that to respond to specific data requests, but no longer.

And especially after wading through demand page after demand page, only to be hit with “Your comment will be visible after moderation.”