Where do you get your COVID-19 news and epidemiology?

Where do you get your COVID-19 news and epidemiology?
Right now, I get it from:
– Medscape News Alert “Where the doctors go!” https://www.medscape.com/today
https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html and the pages on the site like this one https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality
https://www.npr.org/ (the most non-political news site I could find)
– links from Facebook friends

Wearing a facemask is a good start

Here’s an article
Wearing a face mask can reduce coronavirus transmission by up to 75 percent, study says
(as close to a source as I could find)

It is super seeing research like that! The next question to our society is: how do we couple mask usage with another “multiplier” so that people can coexist inside a room and not transmit the virus at all?
The case studies that I have seen demonstrate one person spreading the virus to up to 80% of the other people in a room in 3 hours. Reducing that transmission rate by 75% isn’t actually helpful on its own; in simplest terms, now that same 80% gets infected in 12 hours 🙁.


Hydroxychloroquine as prophylaxis

I am very concerned about healthy people taking hydroxychloroquine as prophylaxis / a preventive for COVID-19.

What is your experience with a “-quine” based anti-malarial?

When I was researching antimalarial drugs for a trip overseas in 2010, I found that all of the quinine-based antimalarial drugs I found caused people to have significant negative psychotic effects, from vivid bad dreams to scary hallucinations and psychotic breaks. The literature says “up to 25%” of people have these symptoms but when I put it to my friends, 6 out of 6 people that had taken quinine-based antimalarials like Mefloquine had extremely bad psychotic effects and had to stop taking it for life-threateningly-bad psychosis based reasons. I opted to take doxycycline instead :-).

Yes, hydroxychloroquine has these side-effects (via)

Here is my post from 2010 on the subject

Abigail’s Preschool November 4, 2019

That’s Abigail on the far-right with the inside-out striped dress. This photo accurately represents the vibe on that afternoon! November 4, 2019


I started learning piano. It’s fun and hard! When I play the piece on the right, “Sunrise” it sounds like some too-cool-for-shoes experimental ambient slow-groove space music composition. It’s a good thing I like experimental ambient slow-groove space music!

And thank you Michael!!

Pandemic Statistics

Yesterday I made a facebook post that sparked a good discussion:

A family friend wrote an “open up America!” post. Here was my response:
If we open up completely right now, figure 1/4 of Americans will get COVID-19. It’s about 6% fatal. Here’s the math: 300,000,000 * .25 * 0.06 = 4.5 million dead. That seems a high price to pay for freedom. Thoughts?

That said, I -hate- staying home and hiding from this thing and I know the loss of productivity is staggering. I’m watching my daughter’s development change for the worse and I hate it.

My friend Tim posted an interesting article and I riffed on it here:

And then, here’s some studies that says my estimates could be way off. I’m happy to be wrong. See Reason article 1 and Reason article 2

“A hundred deaths out of 48,000-81,000 infections corresponds to an infection fatality rate of 0.12-0.2%,” they report.* That’s about the same infection fatality rate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates for seasonal influenza.”

So maybe if we open up completely, the math looks like this: 300,000,000 * 0.25 * 0.002 = 150,000 dead total.
I wish we knew which way we were headed.

And here is today’s post in the form of a (very long form) question:

So, how dangerous is COVID-19? Should we get back to our lives?
Looking to Sweden’s death toll may be useful to see what may happen in the US. Sweden didn’t shelter-in-place.

This page (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality) shows Sweden having 32 deaths per 100,000 people, (that is a mortality rate of 0.032%) which isn’t the highest mortality rate; why don’t they have a higher mortality rate with their open policies??
If 0.032% mortality is what we can expect in total, and people actually recover, then there is a strong argument for us to just go back to work, yes?

What am I missing? With a 0.032% mortality rate, the US would be expected to have a total of 102,400 deaths (calculated by 320 million people * 0.00032). That’s… honestly… not bad. That’s in the realm of a “really bad year with influenza”. There are lots of reports out there that say comparing COVID-19 to the flu isn’t reasonable. Why not? In all seriousness, why not?

Let me try to enumerate the important factors of the pandemic. If we can figure out all the important factors and then address them, maybe we’ll get somewhere:
– Concern about a very high mortality rate among individuals that are older and have co-morbidities
– Concern that COVID-19 leaves people permanently injured
– Concern that people don’t build immunity… and subsequently, that the mortality rate will climb insidiously over time.
– Fear. Fear that there is a new disease that we can readily identify but cannot treat.
– what else? What, specifically, am I forgetting in this list?