Questions On Statistics In The Epidemic

I have had some questions about how to get numbers for modeling the course of the SARS-CoV-2 infections and buildup of immunity in the population. Today others were asking those questions on Twitter.

I am definitely not a statistician. The only things I know about statistics come from having a team of very capable statisticians working with me on environmental cleanups to tell me how to sample to determine how much needed to be cleaned up, and then how we could tell if things were properly cleaned up.

But I think I learned enough to ask reasonable questions and to suggest what might be priorities. I would greatly appreciate it if knowledgeable people would comment. Read More

DKE-19 Strikes Over The Weekend!

Over the weekend, compounding the epidemic of SARS-CoV-2, there was an outbreak of DKE-19. It even struck the New York Times, and I had to deal with a case of it on Twitter.

DKE-19 results in long and convoluted justifications of letting more people get sick and die so that (maybe) the markets will perk up.

It’s the argument that the British government was making last week until they suddenly turned around completely. Read More

The Imperial College Modeling Of The Coronavirus

The Imperial College study, “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand,” from the Imperial College COVID-19 Response team, is said to have influenced both the United Kingdom and the United States governments.

It models how the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its resulting disease, COVID-19, might spread through those two countries. The numbers of cases of COVID-19 and resulting deaths are high, as are the amounts of time predicted necessary for social distancing. It looks at interventions that can bring the numbers down or spread them out in time.

All models are wrong, but some are useful, it is said. It can be misleading to simply take those bottom-line numbers, though. What models are good for is looking at what changes can be put into the system and which are most important. Read More

Scientific Papers Are Hard To Read

Most of the general information I’m seeing on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 is good! I’m pleased not to be complaining about it for a change. There’s one part of the information flow that needs qualification, though.

That genre is the scientific paper. Scientific papers and Twitter threads from scientists often require interpretation. What I’m seeing now is that articles by reputable science journalists are a better guide to what we know than individual papers or threads. Read More

What Is The Test For SARS-CoV-2?

As I’m trying to dig out the problems with SARS-CoV-2 testing the United States, it’s become necessary for me to learn a bit about how the test works. I am not an expert in RNA analysis, but this is chemistry, which I do understand. I asked Stephen N. Floor, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology at the University of California, San Francisco, some questions and to check my work. All errors and political content in this post are mine.

I am working from the CDC instructions for the kit and their information for laboratories using the kit. Read More

About Robert Redfield, Director Of The CDC

We still don’t know why the CDC decided to develop its own test for SARS-CoV-2. If the dysfunction persists, it’s a danger to other decisions being made about the epidemic. But, like the number of Covid-19 cases in the United States, we just don’t know.

The director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, was involved in the decision, but we don’t know how. It could be anything from a definitive order to passing it off to someone else, which is a decision too. Read More

The White House Coronavirus Task Force

Here are some early thoughts about what the Pence Task Force should do, coming out of my experience in project management.

Determine who is in charge. In Donald Trump’s typical desire to weaken subordinates and watch them fight, he has appointed three people as being in charge of the task force. No work will get done unless they agree who is to be the responsible decision-maker. Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Pharmaceutical Profit Alex Azar, or Ambassador Deborah Birx, MD. Once a leader is determined, all members of the task force must turn back Trump’s meddling on this issue.

As a part of setting up a responsibility structure, leaders must be chosen for subgroups as noted in the following topics. Read More