Sunday, April 26, 2020

Is Maryland still having a problem with Covid19 infections?

There was an interesting exchange on NBC's "Face the Nation" on 26 April 2020:

MARGARET BRENNAN to Maryland Governor Hogan: I want to ask you about this region of the country. Doctor Birx said that the D.C. metro area, Maryland, obviously being part of that, is still having a problem with infections. Why? What is-- what is driving this?

Governor Hogan: (...) the whole talk we've been hearing about for more than a month now is about trying to flatten and lengthen that curve so you don't have the big spikes. That's exactly what we've been really successful in doing here in this region. That's why we're about a couple of weeks behind places like New York and New Orleans and other places. We have dramatically flattened and lengthened that curve and lowered the numbers. But unfortunately, that means-- that means we're also a little bit behind, and now those numbers are coming up. We can't stop the virus, but we've at least up till now, stopped the overflow of our health care system, the overburdening of the ICU beds and ventilators and things like that. But yes, we're-- [interrupted by Brennan]

At this point, without acknowledging the accuracy of Hogan's response, Brennan switched to testing. One recalls that the [initial] rationale for social isolation, termed "flattening the curve," was to lessen the burden of a high number of cases arriving at the hospitals, so that the finite hospital capacity was better matched to the input. Hogan's response was on point. The initial theory did not say that the number of infections would be lowered. The theory was that they would be spread out in time.i

Brennan also alluded to statements by Governor Murphy of New Jersey on April 26:

I-- I also want to ask you, New Jersey's governor said today that his state is going to have to gut the living daylights out of educators and first responders if Congress and Republican leaders, who were reluctant to do it, don't provide aid.

This episode of Face the Nation included Diller's "witch doctor" remark:

Absolutely. I-- look the thing is, we're going to have to go through a-- a different-- a new kind of-- kind of let's call it risk calculation. And that's going to be based upon levels of what we believe is safe and not safe. And we're going to have to be told. Now, unfortunately, we have a witchdoctor as a President and he ain't going to tell us. But the science part of it, I-- I think that has to be translated into more practical solutions. So somebody is going to have to say, yes, you must wear masks, period, or no, take your chances. But the chances are pretty good. There'll be a teething period where we'll kind of get used to this.

The transcript of Face the Nation for April 26 does not include the word "antibody" (or antibodies).


Earlier, on April 24, 2020, the Wall Street Journal had an opinion piece by Allysia Finley titled:

The Bearer of Good Coronavirus News
Stanford scientist John Ioannidis finds himself under attack for questioning the prevailing
wisdom about lockdowns.

Based on antibody tests of a population in Santa Clara County, California Ionnidis and co-workers presented evidence
that between 2.49% and 4.16% of the county population had been infected (ie, blood tests showed antibodies for Covid19).
That’s 50 to 85 times the number of confirmed cases and implies
a fatality rate between 0.12% and 0.2%, consistent with that of the Diamond Princess.

Ioannidis had previously written " “locking down the world with potentially tremendous social
and financial consequences may be totally irrational."


Abbott and BD have announced work on tests under FDA's diagnostic test policy unique to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Abbott has discussed an IgG-detecting test.

In antibody testing, one is concerned with sensitivity, or how many people are correctly labeled as having antibodies, and specificity, or how many people are correctly told they lack them.



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