17 February 2020 - Coronavirus update: at least 69,000 cases, accuracy of test kits questioned, science and political correctness

in #coronavirus2 years ago (edited)


In the last couple days since I covered the topic it looks like not all that much has changed. The official count of infected persons stands at about 69,000; the official death toll is about 1,800. That may be good news of sorts - the growth model seems to be linear at this point - in other words, the same number of people get infected every day, give or take; the same number of people die from the virus, give or take. At least that is the picture - if official counts can be believed.

Now whether or not they can be believed - that is a big question. Test kits in use are of questionable quality, as acknowledged by the CDC itself. Count methods are changing - sometimes of necessity, sometimes out of genuine concerns for accuracy, sometimes, likely, out of political considerations. Now, notably, the error can be both on the side of diminishing the real danger - such as by underestimating or undercounting the real counts, or exaggerating it as the infection may be mutating into less dangerous forms as viruses often tend to do. The general relationship between lethality and transmissibility is whatever is more lethal tends to be less transmissible, and vice versa. And in general viruses tend to mutate into more transmissible and less lethal forms as they spread. But this rule is not ironclad and at this point we simply do not know if the coronavirus is following this pattern.

So, even though that is repetitive, I would like to repeat the general advice I have voiced earlier: be prepared for this virus to come to a neighborhood near you. Have supplies on hand in sufficient amounts to allow you to go autonomous for awhile if that becomes necessary. For what it's worth, it is my opinion that potential panic may be more dangerous than the disease itself.

Meanwhile, the contrast between modern technologies and political correctness permeating mainstream media could not be starker than illustrated by the following. While AI (Artificial Intelligence) shows promise in finding effective treatment for the coronavirus, some pundits, like Dr Sanjay Gupta, MD, CNN's medical commentator, claims that the virus does not discriminate based on race - and, according to him, the Trump administration does, and should not. As they say, there is so much to unpack here that I am not sure where to start.

First off, the Trump administration merely introduced an entry ban for those who have been to any of the "hotpots" in China in the preceding two weeks. So you could be, let's say, a German citizen of Asian origin and you would be welcome. And you could be a White person from Norway who has merely visited Changhai a week ago and you still would be turned away. You can even be a White American - and you still will be held in quarantine, best I can tell. So it takes a mind somewhat warped by political correctness to see anything racist in any of that.

But even the notion that the virus does not discriminate appears false as, at least as of several days ago, out of over 1,000 fatalities, none was non-East Asian. So it does look like the virus hits East Asians harder than other groups - and this appears to be a fact backed by actual statistics.

So we have political correctness potentially getting in the way of actual science and knowledge, once again. Take a moment to think of that. Political correctness may literally end up communicate false reality to some people when it comes to this issue - and the issue, being potentially of life and death, this sort of confusion may in some cases turn deadly. Which is why I view it as my duty to dissect the harmful nature of political correctness.

The situation remains complex and confusing and challenging. I trust that technology we have at our disposal, including communication technology, has a good chance of playing pivotal role in successfully addressing this challenge. But there are many challenges involved - including the social and psychological challenges which may impede real progress. And they may turn out to be even more harmful than the virus itself.


Coronavirus Update: Almost 1,800 Dead, Concerns about Test Kits and Case Totals
Tarl Warwick, 17 February 2020

STILL No Non-East Asian Deaths From Corona—But CNN’s Sanjay Gupta Won’t Admit It
Lance Welton, VDare.com, 15 February 2020

Coronavirus: some random thoughts and observations
@borepstein, 15 February 2020

Drug makers are using AI to help find an answer to the coronavirus
Ruth Reader, Fast Company, 10 February 2020

Some coronavirus testing kits are defective, CDC says
Madeline Farber, Fox News, 14 February 2020


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This is spreading really fast

Not as fast as it would if we had an unimpeded exponential model.

But there is a lot more than that to it - such as, is it mutating, if so - to a more or less lethal form, is it reinfecting people, how long is the incubation period, how well does it survive outside of carriers, etc. I'd say at this point there is too much we don't know to make any solid conclusions regarding this situation.

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