Sunday, March 22, 2020

Bill Gates Nailed It

Perhaps you've seen this, but if not it's worth watching. In 2015 Bill Gates got this exactly right. And he's no expert -- he got it from listening to experts who were saying it. Yet the United States, the richest country in history, has been caught largely unprepared for this virus. Despite intelligence reports, Trump selfishly downplayed the danger for weeks. He has already killed Americans and his inaction will see the death of many more. His rank stupidity -- there's no other honest word for it -- is killing people. It seems almost impossible now to overestimate the impact. This is how scary it's become: in Italy, doctors are no longer using respirators on people over 60. I think this is the most shocking thing I've heard yet.

And this, from less than two weeks ago, is very informative:


David in Cal said...

Pence just said over a quarter of a million tests have been done. We will be caught up with the backlog by the middle of next week. (I think he meant the middle of THIS week)

Ned said...

Two weeks ago on this blog (9 March) David in Cal wrote: "the number of testing kits is rapidly growing into the millions. This problem is rapidly disappearing."

Not so rapidly after all, it turns out.

When David in Cal posted that comment two weeks ago, there were only 584 confirmed cases in the USA, but based on various methods we can estimate that there were 6000 to 20,000 actual cases nationwide. Detecting, contact-tracing, and isolating all of those cases would have been difficult even with no shortage of tests.

Now, two weeks later, it is likely there are (conservatively) 400,000 cases nationwide (based on two different inference methods), of which only 39,000 have been confirmed.

Detecting and contact tracing 400,000 cases would require well over 4 million tests, because the ratio of positives to total tests needs to be driven down way below 10%.

Over the past three days, we've tested approximately 40,000 to 50,000 people per day.

What David in Cal keeps hailing as impending victory on testing is actually an ongoing massive defeat. The numbers being tested now -- 50,000 per day -- would have been sufficient four weeks ago, but they are way too low now. We need to be testing a million people per day NOW.

The claim "we will be caught up with the backlog by the middle of this week" is insane. Over the past week, the inferred number of new cases has been growing faster than the number of tests. By Wednesday (yes, the day after tomorrow) there will be roughly 800,000 cases nationwide.

We need an effort that's 1-2 orders of magnitude larger than anything we're doing right now. The daily White House press conferences are a joke. I said a few days ago that the Administration's lethargy and inaction would kill thousands of Americans. I now would upgrade that to tens of thousands.

OnymousGuy said...

CDC reports as on 12:30 EDT, “ Number of specimens tested for SARS CoV-2 by CDC labs (N=4,607) and U.S. public health laboratories* (N=67,263)†”

These seem substantially lower than that stated by Pence. Can’t imagine why.

Ned said...

The CDC data aren't being maintained consistently. Better data for the US are here:

Layzej said...

The UK is in much worse shape. UK has 335 deaths from only 5,837 confirmed cases vs 483 deaths in the USA with 40,841 confirmed cases.

Only 78,340 people have been tested in the UK. This is much lower than USA and Canada per capita.

Layzej said...

Looks like I'm wrong. UK has tested 1180/million. USA = 750/million. Canada =2630/million.

So not sure why UK death rate is so high...

Entropic man said...

The UK only have 6 intensive care beds/100,000.

Germany have 24/100,000.

The USA has 34/100,000.

Layzej said...

Seems like 12.9 adult ICU beds per 100,000 population in Canada. -

There's a neat chart on page 9 of that document that compares Canada to other countries. It shows hospital beds/100,000 on the x axis, and ICU beds/100,000 on the Y. Belgium and Germany are in the upper right (having both many beds and many ICU beds). USA is in the upper left (having many ICU beds, but almost no beds otherwise).

Everyone else (including Canada) is somewhere along the diagonal, but mostly in the lower left (having not much of either).

Layzej said...

Germany death rate is 0.41%, which is fantastic. Belgium has as many ICU beds, but has a death rate of 2.35%.

Maybe the difference is that Germany is testing like crazy while Belgium is not.

Italy is at 9.51%. Iran at 7.86%. UK at 5.04%. China at 4.03%

USA and Canada are at 1.21% and 1.13%.

US stat may get even better as testing continues to roll out and the denominator grows.

OnymousGuy said...

Actually, I was wondering why the CDC data is so awful.

David Appell said...

This doctor near Pittsburgh can't get anyone tested:

Ned said...
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