Tuesday, March 17, 2020

At last - some actual Coronavirus data

I've been saying that what we don't know about the Coronavirus outweighs what we know.  This makes it really hard to estimate how bad things will get.  Now there's an analysis of the Plague Ship Diamond Princess.  It's really, really interesting for a couple of reasons:

  • It was a "worst case" scenario, as people were confined for weeks with other infected people in very close quarters.  While this protected the general public from the infection, it likely maximized the spread of the virus on board the ship.
  • It was a "worst case" scenario as the population on board skewed dramatically to older - and thus, more vulnerable - people.

And so to the data, which is (cautiously) reassuring:

  • 83% of the passengers never caught the virus at all.
  • Very elderly (80+) were infected at only a very slightly higher infection rate (75% never caught the virus)
  • Almost half the passengers who did get the virus showed no symptoms at all
  • The young (under 20) and old (over 50) disproportionally showed no symptoms after being infected
  • Overall death rate was 1.2% (7 cases total)

Remember, this was a worst case scenario.  As I said, this is (cautiously) reassuring.  A detailed analysis is available here.


SiGraybeard said...

Very interesting. The more extensive the data we see, the less scary the disease is. Like the death rate being 3% in China (I think that was it) but in South Korea, where they tested more and have better medical facilities, it was 0.7% (another study said 1%).

Here we find despite being an almost ideal case for transmission, 17% did and 25% of the most likely to die caught it.

Back around mid-February when news on this ship was breaking, I put up a post that said I thought it was the best laboratory to study the virus so far. That didn't go over well.

Old NFO said...

Some doctors are putting out a 20% death rate for the elderly... I WONDER where they are getting their information, since that contradicts everything I'm seeing. Sigh...

Borepatch said...

Graybeard, it WAS a great lab. We're now seeing the results of the experiment.

Beans said...

Communist China and Italy have basically the same problem with their deaths, lots of old people in bad health.

That is the deciding factor in many deaths, already bad health while old and in a country that sucks rocks for medical care.

South Korea? Japan? Lots of old people, but excellent medical care, decidedly not a drop of classic socialized medicine.

In Italy, there are doctors who are openly advocating for the denial of medical services to the old afflicted people in order to save those services for 'younger' patients. Much the same has been done in Communist China, denial (quarantine at home) of medical services to most older patients.

Almost like it's not the virus that kills, but socialism. But that's crazy talk, right?

Eric Wilner said...

Yeah... I'd been looking at the readily-accessible numbers for the Damnèd Pestilence, coming up with pretty much the same thing, and wondering if I was missing something really big.
Sounds like the epidemiological models predicting 60-80% of the population getting infected are about as good as the climate models that show my lawn drying up and blowing away.
The Andromeda Strain, this ain't.

FredLewers said...

Those CFR stats are only good till the US medical establishment hits the threshold of critical cases outnumbering available beds. That's when the wheels come off the trolley.

Aesop said...

So to sum up, best case when you pull every infected person out of the pool the minute they're symptomatic (like they did on the MV Death princess - and like we aren't doing and can't do in society overall), it's only twelve times deadlier than the annual flu, not 20 or 30 times?

So with annual flu deaths at 20K in an average year, and 50K in a bad year, we can expect "only" 240K dead and 2M hospitalized from this if we're really lucky, and "only" 600K dead and 5M hospitalized from Kung Flu if we're not? In a country with a grand total of 93K ICU beds and 900K regular hospital beds, all in?

I'm slow following this...please, explain the good news again.

As near as I can figure, this is roughly akin to telling me than now, the US and Russia can only obliterate the world with nuclear weapons 10-20 times over, instead of 60-80 times over. So I should therefore relax about that.

The "experiment" was finger-banged from beginning to end, and I pointed out the inevitable disasterpiece theater to come in about 0.2 seconds of careful analysis, only about a week before Top. Men. figured that out, and pulled every American off the Death Princess, before they could kill off half the passengers on the ship.

Whereas if they'd put everyone there in an isolation tent on the adjoining vacant dockside parking lot, they could have stopped it cold the day they did that.

Medieval medical treatment protocols render medieval survival rates, and I am nowhere near as sanguine about this news.
It is, at best, a statistically invalid curiosity, and a cautionary tale of why no one in charge ever has your best interests at heart.

Don't listen to them, don't get into the boxcars, and pry up the floorboards to get out if you find yourself in one inadvertently.

Aesop said...

But I'm fair:
Let's assume this is spot-on, 24K gold statistically valid predictive information:

There are, more or less, 330M Americans.
83% of them don't get Kung Flu.
OK, neat.

Leaving us with only 56,100,000 people here do who get it.
Of those, only 1.2% die from it.
(I'm spotting that as 1.2% of the 56M, not of the 330M, which would be the whole boat. Let me know if I accidentally made things too rosy.)

So "only" 673,200 dead. Between about now and August or so.
So only 10 Vietnam Wars, or about one a week, from late April to early/mid July. Just from this virus.

And "only" about 6M hospitalized...somewhere...because that's "only" 6X the number of beds in the entire country.

Which is kind of the problem in Italy.

Oh...and all the other patients normally in those beds from trauma, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, etc., now get a real good shot to die too, because no beds, no doctors, no nurses, no medicine.

Personalizing it a bit, that makes CA's share 67,000 dead.
There are something like 341 hospitals in this state, so each one can expect ± 197 dead@ in the next 4 months. Call it 50/month, about 2/day. Which is about 1.5/day higher than what we see now. And 3-10 times that in more daily critical admissions. Which will, frankly, crush us lower than hammered whale shit at the bottom of the Marianas Trench inside about a week. And that's before the second week starts. Or the fourteen weeks beyond that.

That's assuming the Josef Mengele School of Medicine's MV Death Princess Experiment's data is 100% accurate.

What's not to like about that?

My apologies for being as subtle as dropping a loaded 40' conex box on a fly, and as cheerful as Death. In my defense, this is math from Hell. There isn't any good news in it, unless Milla Jovovich shows up in a bandaid dress, huffs it all in at once, and farts it out in little freeze-dried cubes that smell like strawberries on their way through the atmosphere to the sun. And you have that on video.

McChuck said...

Aesop - Most of us no longer really care all that much. The sky has been falling for too long, and people are out of work. What do most people care about - paying the rent and putting food on the table, or the possible deaths of old people they've never met? Old people die every day.

You know what? I 'm pretty sure me, my wife, and our son just had the virus. I'm not sure, because we could barely tell anything was going on, and we're not going to waste the hospital's time. If it hadn't been for a sore throat for a few hours on day 3 (of 5 total), we just thought it was a very mild case of spring allergies.

This is the weakest plague ever.

Borepatch said...

Beans, China and Italy (and Korea) have a LOT of smokers.

Fred, you're absolutely correct. What I thought encouraging is that this is data, not speculation. We know a little bit more now.

Aesop, You do a pretty good job of showing the upper bound of the problem. I think it's the upper bound because the conditions on the cruise ship are much more advantageous for spreading the virus than the general population in the USA. Also, this upper bound is ~ 50x lower than what we thought the upper bound was, say, two months ago. Yeah, it would still be better not to have this, but it's not the second coming of Yertsinia Pestis.

Oh, and if the mortality rate is actually 0.2% like it seems it could be, then this will only be twice as bad as the regular flu. Sure, that's bad, but that's 100,000 dead. I'd say that's currently a reasonable lower bound. I.e. 100,000 - 650,000 is the range that the data are showing us.

McChuck, I have been wondering if The Queen Of The World and I contracted this and both recovered. Heck, I even had pneumonia, although of the walking variety. She's had strep for 3 weeks, even on antibiotics. Of course, nobody is going to waste a couple of test kits on us, as we're doing pretty well. If this is common (lots of undiagnosed Coronavirus cases) then this is probably a LOT less bad than we think. But this is pure speculation on my part and I'm trying to keep focused on actual data.

Aesop said...

If it turns out to be only 0.2% in the wild, I will be properly ecstatic. I will shed zero tears if this turns out to be a bust.
I expect rather the opposite.

Per the Johns Hopkins page, it appears to be doubling in about 3 days, not 4.

I don't have a TI-84 handy, but that doesn't sound like a good rate of growth from where I'm sitting.

Thanks for better illustrating the actual thickness of the veneer of civility in society than I could have done in two pages. Promise me that if, contrary to Borepatch's calculations and both of our fond hopes, this yet manages to melt down medical care for everyone, you'll be decent enough to show the same compassion you've expressed by dropping your health insurance, and self-treating yourself and family for all ailments for the rest of your lives.
Fair is fair.

And mind the ice on that slippery slope you're greasing up, the minute someone else decides you and yours are just worthless eaters too.

Or was saying "F**k a few million old people, because it's inconveniencing me" not quite what you meant to express?

KDKong said...

So the solution is that we blow up the economy for every virus that comes along?

edutcher said...

I've copied and linked this piece everywhere I haven't been banned, trying to get the word out.

You are a good guy for doing this.

God has your place in Heaven all made up. Right between Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner.

McChuck said...

Aesop -
Save the women and children first.
Saving the old at the sacrifice of the young is discivilizational behavior. Society does not require octogenarians to continue, but it does require young men and women, and their children.

If this is a civilizational threat, as you so frequently state, then triage is not only appropriate but necessary.

Aesop said...


The women and children aren't the ones at any risk from this virus, per current accounts.

I'll be telling myself that I'm "just following orders", like in Italy, when I tell everyone over 65 "Sorry, no ICU for you".

See if you can guess how many people will be working in healthcare after a season of doing that.

My guess is 25% is optimistic. And I doubt it will include me, either.

If you like your healthcare now, guess how it's going to go when no one with any humanity (let alone experience) will do it anymore.

It's going to be a thing, I promise you.