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HomeIllinois NewsThorner/Ingold: Fact Checking on COVID-19 and Leftist Schadenfreude

Thorner/Ingold: Fact Checking on COVID-19 and Leftist Schadenfreude

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By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold –

The spread of the Coronavirus to the United States is thought to be from an open-air meat market in Wahan, China, although recently China spread the tale that the U.S. Army started the Coronavirus outbreak.

The coronavirus most likely jumped from animals that are not eaten here, such as cats, bats, and snakes.  Without globalism, the virus could have been easily contained and eradicated by China.  This is not, however the first time that an outbreak of a disease far away from our shores has caused pandemic infections in the US . Examples include SARS (related to the current COVID-19) in 2003 and Swine Flue in 2009. SARS was much deadlier (11%), especially to children. Neither resulted in fatalities in the US.

Perhaps, coincidentally, Wahan is also the site of a top-secret biological weapons development lab. One can only wonder if something so deadly might have come from the warfare lab itself. This is vigorously denied by the Chinese government, and the  COVID-19 virus is genetically traceable to infections in certain bats in the area.

Even so, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been accused of racism for calling the novel coronavirus that first emerged in Wuhan, China, late last year “the Chinese coronavirus, yet in two of the best-known cases – Spanish flu and German measles – the identifications are not even valid: The geographic source of the flu that killed millions in 1918-1919 was never established, and the disease properly known as rubella was nicknamed German measles only because physicians in that country were first to identify it.

According to Robert O’Brien, the White House national security adviser, China did not initially handle the coronavirus outbreak well, likely costing the world two months when it could have prepared and dramatically limited the outbreak. Rather than using best practices, this outbreak in Wuhan was covered up. Chinese doctors were silenced or put into isolation so that the word of this virus could not get out.

O'Brien further praised Trump's very bold action. Upon realizing the extent of what was happening, President Trump on Jan. 31 stopped air travel coming in from China. We'll never know how many lives were saved through Trump's initial travel ban.

An October 2019  “Global Health Security Index” released by the John Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Economist Intelligence unit noted that the U.S. received a score of 83.5 out of 100for its preparation and ability to handle an epidemic or pandemic, while also cautioning  that "no country is fully prepared to handle an epidemic or pandemic." The next highest, the United Kingdom at 77.9.

Coronavirus facts without spin

Information about coronavirus with its non-stop coverage on TV can lead to confusion.  One person who has been listening closely to the news and reading all he can is my friend Ed Ingold, a retired process control engineer from Abbott Laboratories, who has added his experience with biostatistics and scientific methods.

Against this, we have heard an endless stream of accusations and invective against the President by the Democrats and liberal news media. “He’s racist. He’s ignoring the problem. He’s slow to respond. He doesn’t believe in science (because he is a climate change skeptic).” Don’t be surprised if Trump is compared to Hitler, plotting to kill off poor people with disease. What you won’t hear from them are positive solutions.

Recently Ed Ingold shared these thoughts with me:

  • Trump has lagged behind on response to the disease
    China concealed the spreading disease until mid-January. At that time President Trump ordered travel restrictions between the US and China. At the time, Washington Democrats decried this action as “racist” and unjustified. Meetings were held with NIH, CDC and FDA for the best way to minimize its effect. Spread of the disease is inevitable, but these measures can slow it down while better solutions are developed.
  • Decisions regarding COVID-19 should be left to scientists, not politicians
    It takes both science and politics to handle this situation. Scientists can recommend, but only politicians can order travel restrictions and economic response. Further, only high-level politicians can resolve jurisdictional disagreements between large government agencies. For example, the FDA restricted development of diagnostic test kits, and the CDC restricted to whom and when they could be administered. When some test kits proved defective, the CDC refused to allow FDA inspectors on cite to investigate.
  • Trump wasn't truthful when he said a vaccine could be ready in 6 weeks, contrary to scientific opinions
    Potential vaccines have already been created, and more are on the way. They can be engineered from scratch using genetic data from the viruses themselves. However, it can take 1 to 1-1/2 years to show they are effective and have no harmful side effects before they can be administered on a large scale. Government and academic scientists briefed him on all aspects, and the President took the most optimistic part to reassure the public.
  • Test kits are needed to combat the disease, and not enough are available
    China initially refused to share genetic data on the virus with the West. However, Trump met with government agencies and biomedical industries to expedite their production. In a month’s time, availability went from about 15,000 to several million.
  • Tests will show who is safe and who is not
    It’s difficult to prove a negative. While a test will show who has the disease, a patient passing the test can become infected within hours, days or weeks, and in turn, pass it on to others. The real value of testing is to determine who needs medical attention, and possible quarantine and isolation. Secondly, epidemiology is based on data, and test results provide much of this data.
  • Anyone who wants a test should get it, for free
    Cost of the tests will be completely covered by private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. However, patients will need a doctor’s examination and prescription based on medical evidence, not merely a wish to be tested.
  • WHO (World Health Organization) declared COVID-19 a “Pandemic”
    This designation is based on how widespread is the disease,that it occurs in many countries, rather than the consequences and morbidity thereof. That said, a pandemic which is deadly is more serious than one which is benign.
  • Testing will probably show the disease is more widespread than currently thought
    This is so, however, it is not necessarily a bad thing. We already know who is seriously ill and who has died from its effects. What we don’t know is how many have the disease with mild symptoms or are completely asymptomatic. While the numbers will increase dramatically with widespread testing, these numbers mean that it is less deadly than currently known (same problems, larger denominator). That’s good news. However, we can guess that CNN will concentrate on the raw numbers rather than the consequences.

Until we know more, the best precautions are to wash hands and avoid close contact with crowds and strangers. Those with underlying disease and advanced age need to be especially cautious. The most serious adverse effects so far have been economic – from fear-based uncertainty and misinformation. We don’t want a return to the middle ages, where a cough in public would arouse crowds with pitchforks and torches.

“Flattening the curve”

The curve is from an epidemiological model.  Several references on the statistics of an epidemic are below:

In practice, prophylactic measures only delay the onset, but lower the peak value. In the absence of vaccines and preventive drugs, about the same percentage of the population (60% has been tossed out by CDC) will catch the disease. Consequently. the area under the curves will be the same, despite the change in shape.

Transmission of Coronavirus

We have heard from CDC experts that one person can pass COVID-19 to 2.5 other persons, which is less than twice the rate of endemic influenza (1.5). We have also heard that the infection can be transmitted before the one infected is symptomatic, which is about 6 days on the average.

If we assume that it takes a reasonable period before someone becomes contagious, say three days, one person could spread the disease to over 9500 others in one month.

2.5^(30/3) = 9536

In fact, in the last two months we have seen the number of COVID-19 cases in the US increase from about 100 to a little over 1000, a factor of 10 not 9500 (or 9500^2 = 910 billion for two months). Something is wrong with the assumptions, or something we’re doing is working, maybe both.

Anything which reduces the branching factor (2.5) or increases the period of latency reduces the spread of the disease exponentially.   At present, we can’t change the course of the disease, but we can reduce the number of people exposed to the disease in several ways – isolation (quarantine), sanitation (hand-washing), and restrictions on outside sources entering the country (travel bans). These things are precisely what President Trump has done, and they appear to be working beyond expectations.

The “experts” could also be overestimated the rate of contagion and underestimating the period of contagious latency. That’s why data from diagnostic and clinical testing is so vital. It’s okay to err on the side of safety, but it has to be balanced against the high cost of over-reacting. Closing schools, businesses and gatherings is probably over-reaction, and should be re-evaluated in a week or two based on the facts, not hysteria (or politics). In any case, the rate of infection will fall as quickly as they arose as more people survive and gain immunity in the process, reducing stress on ICU facilities, and buying time to develop better treatments and vaccines.

Cutting manufacturing ties with China

80 – 90 % of US antibiotics come from China.  America is finally waking up to the fact that we have allowed ourselves to become wholly dependent on China for a great many essential pharmaceuticals and the ingredients that go into the production of several others.

Did those who allowed the Chinese to gain control of our antibiotics, generics and penicillin, really think it was wise to allow our chief competitor to oversee the medical needs of America, including our military?

We reached the moon ahead of the Russians because President Kennedy made sure it happened.  It will require President Trump to see to it that our pharmaceutical industry is up to the task of supplying Americans with pills, drugs and capsules, that all carry the Made in America label.

It’s bad enough knowing that the Chinese biological warfare labs may not be the most secure in the world, but the country itself is one huge petri dish.  How can it be otherwise when large numbers of their people frequent so-called wet markets where consumers can purchase live animals that can be slaughtered on the spot.  The menu includes bats, skunks, snakes, foxes, badgers and hedgehogs.

Coronavirus neither Democrat/Republican

We must forget partisanship and work together for the good of our nation. It certainly didn't help to have Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and other Democrats denounce every action Trump took to deal with the coronavirus.

For Democrats, nothing they have tried so far has worked to undermine Trump.  There only shot was to find a way to bring down the economy. Now that this is happening, they must be crowing over the possibility that the coronavirus virus will be the agent to deny Trump a second term in office. 

Recently MIT biologist, Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, who does research almost every day into the immune system, says the fear-mongering by the Deep State will go down in history as one of the biggest frauds to manipulate economies, suppress dissent, & push MANDATED Medicine!” 

It’s a bad virus but we can’t shut down the entire world every time there is a pandemic. We can’t do this every flu season. The President has been put under tremendous pressure. The press needs to ease up – talk less and listen more.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. 3-16-20, Today at my local Utah Walmart the people are in a frenzy… I go to the drive up having pre-ordered online so I didn’t go into the store, but the girl helping me said, “Don’t go in the store; there’s nothing! and the people are crazy!”
    They’re so fearful because the media and the government haven’t explained that the Covig-19 [C-19] virus isn’t as ‘deadly’ as hyped as there’s a high rate of recovery of normal healthy people without pre-existing health issues or the elderly. Since Sept 2019 when China first announced the existence of C-19 only 41 have died in the USA; mostly senior citizens … with the common flu killing 20,000+ [so far] THIS SEASON. See the numbers from CDC of Covig-19 here:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
    See the numbers of common flu from CDC here:
    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm
    Clearly the world leaders are deluded; maybe God’s strong delusion is in effect?? Based on the behaviors and edicts from government officials with the numbers so low; it just doesn’t make any sense. God’s word:
    2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 “With every wicked deception directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them. For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. In order that judgment will come upon all who have disbelieved the truth and delighted in wickedness.”

  2. We are having election day tomorrow in Illinois. This could have been delayed for a better time. I ask by email Durbin, Duckworth, Schneider, Morrison, Morgan, Frank, and Rotering.
    I understand some other states have delayed election day.
    Love Saves Lives
    Carl Lambrecht

  3. Last week, I suggested to our elected officials to postpone the election.
    Durbin, Duckworth, Schneider, Morrison, Morgan, Frank and Rotering. Only Rotering responded. Saying it is not her decision.
    The other just said nothing. Action is needed. The President cannot do every thing.
    Love Saves Lives
    Carl Lambrecht

  4. Please stop making excuses for the man at the top and start taking this seriously! I want to see all of you stay healthy – please follow recommendations for social distancing.
    The Wall Street Journal reports today that there is still a huge shortage of tests and what got us there is incompetence that goes right to the top. The result is that we truly don’t know how bad the situation is but we do know it is much worse than is being reported by official statistics.
    America Needed Coronavirus Tests. The Government Failed.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-washington-failed-to-build-a-robust-coronavirus-testing-system-11584552147?mod=itp_wsj&ru=yahoo

  5. “The result is that we truly don’t know how bad the situation is but we do know it is much worse than is being reported by official statistics.”
    Actually, sick people are being tested disproportionately to the population as a whole, by government guidelines. That said, statistics are pretty solid regarding the number of acute and fatal cases. With more testing, the morbidity ratios will go down. That’s good news!