Behind the Curve – EOH 10/28

Happy Halloween… remember social distancing applies to skeletons. We are all in this together!

Remarkably, skeptics continue to be vindicated by the evidence on the ground while the MSM acts surprised and claims ignorance. From the Texas Tribune to the New York Times, mainstream media publications are finally “discovering” that allowing children to go to school in person is safe and low risk While the rest of Europe is suffering a larger second wave of cases, Sweden quietly hums along with no second wave of cases or hospitalizations. The anti-Sweden of Europe, Czech Republic, is having one of the worst second waves in all of Europe. From the beginning to today, nearly all of the countries lauded for a quick and hard lockdown are facing an unprecedented second wave, which lockdown skeptics warned continually.

“Lockdowns only push cases into the future; the overall susceptible population does not change.”

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Additionally, we just released an update on how COVID-19 is playing out on university campuses.

COVID News

CDC denounces ‘unethical and illegal’ mandatory coronavirus testing in schools

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/15/cdc-mandatory-school-testing-429667

The medical totalitarian state is completely unethical and unconstitutional..

The CDC is condemning mandatory coronavirus testing in K-12 schools, updating guidance after New York City began random testing this week on thousands of students and educators. In revamped advice published this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorses voluntary “surveillance” testing in schools but decries any mandates. “It is unethical and illegal to test someone who does not want to be tested, including students whose parents or guardians do not want them to be tested,” the CDC said. Key context: The updated guidance comes as the agency’s reputation for objectivity has been undermined by reports that political appointees within the Trump administration have intervened in the drafting of CDC reports during the pandemic. In New York City’s first day of random coronavirus testing in schools this week, the city’s Department of Education ran more than 1,700 tests, finding one positive case among the 56 schools that participated. City officials have said students whose guardians do not consent to the tests could be barred from in-person education and offered remote learning if enough consent forms are not filled out to produce an appropriate sampling from a given school. Many U.S. universities have also mandated coronavirus testing for anyone who uses campus facilities during the pandemic. Additional guidance: Classrooms and schools “may” temporarily close if there is a coronavirus outbreak, and local health officials “may” test students, teachers and staff, the CDC said, stopping short of urging those actions. The agency recommended against retesting people who have tested positive and do not have symptoms of coronavirus for up to three months after their last positive test.

Alarming failure rates among Texas students fuel calls to get them back into classrooms

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/10/23/texas-students-remote-learning-failing-schools

Remote learning has consequences.

As fall progresses, Texas public school superintendents are realizing that virtual instruction simply is not working for thousands of students across the state. Report cards from the first weeks of the school year show more students than last year failing at least one class. Students are turning in assignments late, if at all; skipping days to weeks of virtual school; and falling behind on reading, educators and parents report. Many parents say they’re exhausted from playing the role of at-home teacher, and some students without support at home are struggling to keep track of their daily workload with limited outside help. The problems are concentrated among students trying to learn from home, more than 3 million of the state’s 5.5 million public school students, according to administrators’ accounts. The trends are adding urgency to calls for getting more students back into classrooms as quickly as possible. By now, many school districts hoped their students would be making up academic ground lost last spring, when the pandemic caused them to shut down classrooms. Texas is mandating that districts get back to normal this fall and prepare students for upcoming state standardized tests. Schools dialed up the intensity of their classes — and then an alarming number of students began failing. As the first grading period came to a close, some administrators began temporarily backpedaling from their initial insistence on academic rigor. They gave teachers the message: Do what you can to make sure kids pass. Judson Independent School District, in San Antonio, added a note to its grading handbook allowing principals to “grant any exceptions” and “extend grace” to students, letting them make up late work or drop assignments. “We understand that connectivity issues, lack of devices, technological issues with the Student Portal, Canvas, and electronic books may impede a student from submitting their assignments in a timely manner,” the handbook now reads.

The Pandemic’s Real Toll? 300,000 Deaths, and It’s Not Just From the Coronavirus

Lockdown deaths are now being realized in the MSM.

The coronavirus pandemic caused nearly 300,000 deaths in the United States through early October, federal researchers said on Tuesday. The new tally includes not only deaths known to have been directly caused by the coronavirus, but also roughly 100,000 fatalities that are indirectly related and would not have occurred if not for the virus. The study, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is an attempt to measure “excess deaths” — deaths from all causes that statistically exceed those normally occurring in a certain time period. The total included deaths from Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, that were misclassified or missed altogether. Many experts believe this measure tracks the pandemic’s impact more accurately than official Covid-19 death reports do, and they warn that the death toll may continue an inexorable climb if policies are not put in effect to contain the spread. “This is one of several studies, and the bottom line is there are far more Americans dying from the pandemic than the news reports would suggest,” said Dr. Steve Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, whose own research recently reached similar conclusions about excess deaths. “We’re likely to reach well over 400,000 excess deaths by the end of the year” if current trends continue, Dr. Woolf said. Paul Sutton, deputy director of the division of vital statistics at the C.D.C. and an author of the analysis, said the study had set out to gauge the number of deaths that “we would not have expected to see under normal circumstances.” The results indicate that the pandemic “is having a tremendous and significant impact on death in the country, and it may extend well beyond those deaths that are directly classified as Covid deaths,” Dr. Sutton said. The analysis highlights two disturbing trends. The researchers discovered a high percentage of excess deaths in an unexpected group: young adults in the prime of life. And the coronavirus has greatly raised deaths overall among people of color.

Epidemiologists Stray From the Covid Herd

https://www.wsj.com/articles/epidemiologists-stray-from-the-covid-herd-11603477330

No one person “owns the science” on COVID.

The Covid rebels make an unlikely pair. Jay Bhattacharya was born in Kolkata, an Indian city that pulsates with people. Martin Kulldorff is from Umeå, Sweden, population 90,000. Yet they have much in common. “I almost view Martin like a brother,” says the talkative Dr. Bhattacharya, 52, who moved to the U.S. with his Bengali parents when he was 4. “I mean, we complete each other’s sentences, as you can see.” The feeling is “mutual,” confirms the more phlegmatic Mr. Kulldorff, 58. Dr. Bhattacharya, a physician and economist, and Mr. Kulldorf, a biostatistician—who study epidemiology at the medical schools at Stanford and Harvard, respectively—are, in the eyes of their critics, dangerous contrarians for opposing Covid-19 lockdowns. Some of the criticism borders on hysteria: A colleague accused Mr. Kulldorff of practicing “Trumpian epidemiology” after he gave an interview to the far-left Jacobin magazine in which he called for a “radically different” approach to pandemic management. Most pertinently, the two men are the authors—with Sunetra Gupta, a professor of epidemiology at Oxford—of the Great Barrington Declaration. Published on Oct. 4, the declaration is a cri de coeur against lockdowns and other economic restrictions that have hobbled swaths of the world. It asked instead for “focused protection”—a policy of allowing “those at minimal risk of death” to resume their lives while societies concentrate on “better protecting those who are at highest risk.” I interview the two men jointly by Zoom—Dr. Bhattacharya in California, Mr. Kulldorff in Massachusetts. The former speaks of a “systematic media campaign” against the declaration. He says Google “shadow banned” the text in the days after it was published. “If you typed in ‘Great Barrington Declaration,’ what would happen is that the actual website would appear on the second or third page, buried under a whole long list of negative stories.” (The matter has since been resolved, he says.)

Research

Public Health Lessons Learned From Biases in Coronavirus Mortality Overestimation

https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/7ACD87D8FD2237285EB667BB28DCC6E9/S1935789320002980a.pdf/public_health_lessons_learned_from_biases_in_coronavirus_mortality_overestimation.pdf

Overreaction with typical consequences born by the average citizen.

On September 23, 1998, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) permanently lost contact with the $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter. A simple miscalculation, failure to convert English measurements to metric measurements, doomed the Mars space mission. A later investigation found that backup quality assurance procedures were not in place at NASA to catch and correct this simple miscalculation. Fast forward 22 years to another crisis involving a US government agency: On March 11, 2020, the US Congress House Oversight and Reform Committee received information from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) concerning the novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), and coronavirus-disease 2019 (COVID-19). Based on the data available at the time, Congress was informed that the estimated mortality rate for the coronavirus was 10-times higher than for seasonal influenza, which helped launch a campaign of social distancing, organizational and business lockdowns, and shelter-in-place orders. Previous to the Congressional hearing, a less severe estimation of coronavirus mortality appeared in a February 28, 2020 editorial released by NIAID and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Published online in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM.org), the editorial stated: “…the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).” Almost as a parenthetical afterthought, the NEJM editorial inaccurately stated that 0.1% is the approximate case fatality rate of seasonal influenza. By contrast, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 0.1% or lower is the approximate influenza infection fatality rate, not the case fatality rate. To fully appreciate the significance of discrepancies in fatality rate usage by NIAID, the CDC, and the WHO, brief definitions of relevant epidemiological terms follow. Case fatality rates (CFRs), infection fatality rates (IFRs), and mortality rates are used by epidemiologists to describe deaths during and after an infectious disease outbreak. The CDC defined a mortality rate as the frequency of deaths within a time period relative to the size of a well-defined population. Patients may be classified as having an influenza-like illness (ILI) such as COVID-19 according to standard criteria in a case definition.

Mortality among Adults Ages 25-44 in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.21.20217174v1.full.pdf+html

A low-risk population has high excess mortality. Lockdown related or COVID related?.

Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) has caused a marked increase in all-cause deaths in the United States, mostly among adults aged 65 and older. Because younger adults have far lower infection fatality rates, less attention has been focused on the mortality burden of COVID-19 in this demographic. We performed an observational cohort study using public data from the National Center for Health Statistics at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and CDC Wonder. We analyzed all-cause mortality among adults ages 25-44 during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Further, we compared COVID-19-related deaths in this age group during the pandemic period to all drug overdose deaths and opioid-specific overdose deaths in each of the ten Health and Human Services (HHS) regions during the corresponding period of 2018, the most recent year for which data are available. As of September 6, 2020, 74,027 all-cause deaths occurred among persons ages 25-44 years during the period from March 1st to July 31st, 2020, 14,155 more than during the same period of 2019, a 23% relative increase (incident rate ratio 1.23; 95% CI 1.21–1.24), with a peak of 30% occurring in May (IRR 1.30; 95% CI 1.27-1.33). In HHS Region 2 (New York, New Jersey), HHS Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas), and HHS Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada), COVID-19 deaths exceeded 2018 unintentional opioid overdose deaths during at least one month. Combined, 2,450 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in these three regions during the pandemic period, compared to 2,445 opioid deaths during the same period of 2018. Meaning We find that COVID-19 has likely become the leading cause of death—surpassing unintentional overdoses—among young adults aged 25-44 in some areas of the United States during substantial COVID-19 outbreaks. From March–July 2020, 74,027 all-cause deaths occurred among persons ages 25-44 years, 14,155 more than during the same period of 2019, a 23% relative increase (incident rate ratio 1.23; 95% CI 1.21–1.24), with a peak of 30% occurring in May (IRR 1.30; 95% CI 1.27-1.33). In HHS Regions 2 (New York, New Jersey), HHS Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas), and HHS Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada), COVID-19 deaths exceeded 2018 unintentional opioid overdose deaths during at least one month (Figure). Combined, 2,450 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in these three regions during the pandemic period, compared to 2,445 opioid deaths during the same period of 2018.

Charts and Graphics

New Deaths Attributed to Covid-19 in Spain, Italy, European Union, Czech Republic, France, Sweden

Bad Sweden… BAD!

Covid Cases USA vs Europe

“BAD SWEDEN!” – Dr. Fauci

All Cause Mortality Per Week (Sweden)

Sweden is reporting lower than expected typical deaths for the third month in a row. At this pace, annual total mortality for 2020 is estimated to be in line with 2018-2019.

Average COVID-19 Test Result Times

COVID testing is getting faster and faster in the US.

International News

Covid in Australia: Melbourne to exit 112-day lockdown

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-54686812

Australia gives up on its hard second lockdown.

The Australian city of Melbourne will exit lockdown from Wednesday after recording no new Covid-19 cases for the first time since June. Victoria state was the epicentre of Australia’s second wave, accounting for more than 90% of its 905 deaths. The state capital, Melbourne, went into lockdown 111 days ago – enforcing home confinement, travel restrictions and and closing stores and restaurants. However on Monday, authorities said the city was ready to re-open. “With zero cases and so much testing over the weekend… we are able to say that now is the time to open up,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. In July, Victoria saw cases surge to more than 700 per day but the severe stay-at-home rules and a curfew have brought the numbers down. Mr Andrews praised the state’s six million residents, saying: “Fundamentally, this belongs to every single Victorian who has followed the rules, stayed the course, worked with me and my team, to bring this second wave to an end.” Australia has adopted an approach of using lockdowns alongside proactive testing and tracing to contain the virus. A nation of 25 million people, it has recorded about 27,500 infections – far fewer than many nations. The state government put Melbourne into its second lockdown in early July after cases exceeded 100 cases per day. Infections peaked about a month later, before beginning to fall. As the virus spread outside the city, stay-at-home restrictions were also imposed on the rest of the state. But Melburnians endured the toughest measures including a night-time curfew, a one-hour limit on outdoor exercise, and a ban on travelling more than 5km (3.1 miles) from their home. The heavily policed lockdown – one of the toughest in the world – had divided opinion among the city’s residents and prompted small protests. In recent weeks, many business owners and others had called for the state to re-open, but others had supported the premier’s cautious approach.

Wales retailers call for clarity on non-essential goods

https://www.ft.com/content/98b62640-0a7e-4031-a8f3-ab431173cc8a

Remember when Michigan banned the sale of non-essential goods too? Can’t have you gardening in these dangerous times, peasant!

Retailers in Wales on Monday called on the principality’s devolved government to allow an “inform not enforce” policy over the sale of non-essential goods, as business frustration over inconsistent and ambiguous lockdown rules across the UK grows.Sara Jones, head of the Welsh Retail Consortium, said the administration had indicated that it was not prepared to withdraw the contentious ban, which has seen items such as greetings cards, books and children’s clothes pulled from many supermarket shelves.But it was considering a proposal that would result in the sale of non-essential items being treated in a similar way to the wearing of face coverings — where retailers, particularly supermarkets, remind shoppers of the law but do not enforce it.“This would remove the pressure on our staff to police,” said Ms Jones. “We are already seeing that frustration [among shoppers] is rising, after an initial sense of uncertainty.”The WRC had “pushed back very hard” against a government suggestion that store staff be required to decide what is essential and what is not, she added. A phone call between retailers and ministers on Monday afternoon had been “heated” with ministers “coming in for a lot of stick”, according to another person briefed on details of the call. Retailers also want more clarity on what constitutes an essential item. Current guidance defines essential items as “any products which would normally be sold” in food stores, newsagents, pharmacies, bike shops, petrol stations, post offices and pet shops. The dialogue followed a weekend in which over 60,000 people signed a petition against the ban on non-essential retail, which has been described as “disproportionate and cruel” by campaigners. It is part of a 16-day “firebreak” announced last week to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Wales. But it has left those stores that sell both essential and non-essential items scrambling to separate the two.

Europe’s long Covid: things aren’t getting better any time soon

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/europes-long-covid-things-arent-getting-better-any-time-soon

MSM criticized the US and POTUS by claiming Europe “beat” COVID. Strange. Where have all of these critics gone?.

China is now suffering only mild symptoms from the global pandemic. It is Europe that is stuck with the dreaded long Covid. The Chinese economy has rebounded and its exports are going through the roof, as it sells medical equipment to a world devastated by the pandemic it covered up. The virus originated in Wuhan, yet China has avoided much of the pain, despite how slow Beijing was to admit to the initial outbreak. But eurozone economies were a tenth smaller this spring than at the start of the year. Only a few weeks ago, it had seemed that Britain — and Europe — was on a steady path to recovery. The UK economy seemed to be bouncing back. This stood to reason: we have significantly more control over Covid-19 than we did in March. We’re armed with more facts, including fatality rates — 0.05 per cent for under-seventies. Treatments have come a long way. We’ve traded ventilators for anti-inflammatories, and are saving thousands of lives because of this. Second waves of Covid, while on the rise in Europe, have not yet come close to reaching infection rates or the death toll we experienced the first-time round. It was possible — in theory — for the West to continue the job of social and economic repair while regarding Covid as a manageable risk. But that battle was played out over the summer when Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, subsidised people to ‘help out’ by eating out — the opposite message to ‘stay at home, save lives’. It seems Sunak has lost the argument now. Wales is returning to its ‘stay at home’ messaging with a 17-day lockdown, Northern Ireland is in a ‘circuit breaker’, and more than 28 million people across England are no longer able to meet up with friends and family in pubs or restaurants. And it’s only October. Under the weight of such restrictions and uncertainty it is near-impossible for the economy to rebound. The government’s pledge to level up the country has been put on pause because the shutdown of business and economic activity has levelled down nearly every region outside of the south-east. Investment decisions are also on hold: not just cash to companies, but the investment employers make in their employees as well. Mass unemployment looms and bosses have no incentive to take on the financial risk of new workers, not when they might be told to shut their doors again. It’s nearly impossible to plan ahead with no vaccine or mass testing strategy in sight.