Coronavirus (COVID-19) data

05 April 2020

I highly doubt that social distancing and lockdowns do any good. Italy and Spain have been on lockdown for 3 weeks, and the number of deaths has not gone down. The incubation period of Covid is being said to be between 1 to 14 days, and even if you assume 14 days, after the 14th day, the number of deaths should fall off considerably if your social distancing/lockdown procedures are working.

The theory that Covid transmits through exhaled droplets (of saliva or mucus when someone coughs, sneezes or talks) from direct human-human contact is not proven, and is probably false. Viruses have a thousand other ways to get into a person (food, pests (cockroaches, mosquitos, spiders, ticks, fleas, flies, etc), bacteria (which can contain virus), animals, etc. and a combination of these (e.g. you eating food contaminated by the eggs of a tick)). Or it may just be lying around on furniture, cutlery, decoration objects etc. which are circulated around all over the world-like dust (virus particles are harmless themselves until they find a host. Viruses are like seeds; lifeless until they find a place to grow). It is not as simple as someone sneezes or coughs on you and you get the virus. A tiger today was tested positive for Covid (in Bronx, NYC) (See news item here). A few weeks ago a couple of dogs tested positive for Covid in Hong Kong (Note here). A cat in Belgium has also tested  positive for Covid (Note here). All this shows that the virus is probably everywhere-the more animals we test, the more we will find its existence in all animals, including household pests like cockroaches, mosquitos, spiders, etc., and the animals humans eat: pigs, chickens, cows, goats, etc.. How did all these animals get Covid? Clearly there's more to this than humans spitting saliva/mucus.

Before Covid, how many times did someone actually sneeze or cough on your face? Probably never. We have already been doing that kinda social distancing, enough to keep viruses and germs at bay.

If you look at data of deaths, you will find that the "clusters" are not the biggest metropolitan cities; they are often much smaller cities (e.g. Bergamo in Italy, which is just 50 km away from Milan, has far more fatalities per capita than Milan). If Covid were to transfer via exhaled droplets, the infections would be the highest in big cities, where there are many more people per sq km, and many crowded avenues like metro stations, bus stations, stores, bus stations, theaters, stadia, etc. giving more chance for the droplets to hit someone vulnerable. Clearly Milan has far more contact frequency than Bergamo, and the very fact that Bergamo has more deaths per capita than Milan shows that there's something else going on-maybe a food, pest (e.g. a bunch of infected cockroaches) or another animal which is only present in Bergamo but not in Milan. The map of infections looks very much like infections from food e.g. E Coli, which is known to reside in lettuce (which was a constant problem with Chipotle restaurants in US for some time), for example. The very local nature of these infected clusters, and the fact that they are not in the biggest cities of the world, show that it is unlikely that the virus is transmitting via exhaled droplets.

In other words, if the virus spreads mainly via droplets, within a country the number of deaths must be proportional to the size of the city or state's population. I say within a country because the rules etc. (e.g. how deaths are assigned a cause, how social distancing is policed) are similar inside a country. The virus has taken a lot of deaths in New York, whereas very few in California and Texas. This shows that it is a local specific to New York phenomenon. Within New York, many small cities have more deaths than larger ones (just like in Lombardy, Italy) and that again shows that it is a local problem, and not a flying droplet cause.

Also, if virus did transmit from exhaled droplets, you would have most couples get it, because they live and breathe together. There are many examples where only one of the couple has the virus. That also shows that even if you are quite close to someone and exposed to exhaled droplets, you don't necessarily get the illness.

In summary, as medical research will dig into this more, they will probably find out that the original conclusions which forced such drastic measures as shutdowns, quarantines etc. were ill-conceived; that the transmission was not direct human to human in most cases, and there were numerous other ways the virus transmitted.

Update (21 April 2020): 
Got some additional confirmation that social distancing/lockdowns is a failed strategy from the Covid infection data of inmates at the State prison in Ohio (USA). There are about 73% of inmates infected at this facility, around 1900 people. See note here. The goal of lockdowns is basically to house arrest the population, to make it like a prison-very low interaction between residents (inmates). However, if this worked to reduce infections, the prison population would not get infected, certainly not such a large percentage of them.



6 comments:

  1. Some holes in your premise(s): China and SK both dramatically cut down the number of cases after implementing strict lock down methods. In NYC and other cities even now lockdown is much more lackadaisical- I have a flight reservation to travel on Thursday that I made a month ago, and I have received already 3 flight changes but it has not been cancelled. The subways and buses are still open, and taxis/ubers are potentially methods of transmission. You brush off the idea that it is spread by respiratory droplets- how do you think the cold or flu is spread? Do you think someone has to sneeze in your face to contract the flu? Your suggestions that it may be foodborn... You seem to have delusions of grandeur that you have somehow discovered things that thousands of people have been working on for months as if they had not even considered it to be a possibility. The virus has been more persistent in Spain and Italy because it hit those European nations first, and became entrenched because the early cases weren't properly diagnosed. Also, with CV there seems to be a significant number of people that are asymptomatic, and they may or may not spread it. And, a helluva lot of people that I know of (married couples) both have contracted it. I poked around your blog and after seeing another post suggesting there is not conclusive evidence of global warming then I realized that I have just been wasting my time because you my friend have absolutely no interest in the facts, you just use data points as you see fit to lend support to your picture of the world.

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    1. Hi Joseph,
      Thanks for reading my article and commenting here (even though we may not agree on certain things).

      I have said before that flu or cold is not contagious (see the Medicine section article "How to cure the flu/common cold and not get it at the first place"). I have considerable personal experience and data with the flu-I have not caught the flu in many years because I have always kept warm. It doesn't matter if people around me have the flu or not.

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  2. I cannot figure-out death toll still ahead but economy of develop and developing countries devastated in inappropriate response of Authorities. Soon we are going to suffocate with rules and regulations that will be violating to be human being’s

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  3. @Sanjay "John" Any theory why the great disparity between NYC and Los Angeles?
    NYC with7563 confirmed deaths vs LA with only 455

    Total cases/deaths. 4/16 10:55 PM
    NYC: 117,565/7,563 vs LA: 10,854/455

    * [JHU reports 11,477 deaths for NYC (confirmed + unconfirmed)
    Worldometer reports 7,563 confirmed for NYC]

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    1. Hi John Wilson,
      Thanks for reading my article, and posting a great question.

      The NYC vs. LA data also shows that social distancing/lockdown measure are doing nothing.

      NYC has been under a lockdown for about 4 weeks; if lockdowns could really help, the death toll would have gone down by now. And when you get a true primary cause and effect, you see a massive strength in the cause effect relationship, it is one of the hallmarks of primary cause analysis, as explained by Bradford Hill. Because deaths didn't go down much ever after NYC lockdowns, it is unlikely that social distance/lockdowns has any effect on these deaths.

      The social/distancing lockdown policies are similar in NYC and LA, and you should see similar number of deaths. The very different number of deaths shows 1) the social/distancing lockdown are not a major cause of deaths and 2) that there's something local, specific about NYC that is causing the much higher number of deaths. Causes for transmission of this virus, as I said above, can be numerous-food, pests, insects, etc. or a combination which exist only in NYC but not in LA. We may not even know what they are.

      The main point of this article was to show that from the data available, it seems that social distancing/lockdown policies are not doing any good-it is an irrelevant factor in determining the number of deaths. And the NYC LA data just strengthens that point.


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