COVID19: March 22, 2020 update

I wonder if in the usual flu seasons, they also refuse to treat those who are older or with pre-existing conditions, and that’s part of why they have such a painful flu death rate.

Spin, strangeness, and charm

Finance professor and statistician Peter DaDalt, on his personal FB page, weighs in on the anomalously high CFR (case fatality rate) of 8% from Italy. In contrast, Germany at this stage has an enviable 0.3% CFR.

As I pointed out before, limiting testing to people with already pretty severe symptoms will intrinsically increased the CFR by throttling the denominator. In addition, it is heartbreakingly obvious that the healthcare system in the stricken regions is buckling under the strain.

But there is more than that: Peter cites a professor affiliated with the Italian National Institute of Health, who says that, while yes, all these people are sadly dead, re-analysis of the case files showed that in only about 11% of them COVID-19 was the proximate or underlying cause of death.

Now how is Italy doing during bog-standard seasonal flu? This article (hat tip: LawDog)
states: “We estimated excess deaths…

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Author: Foxfier

Former sailor, current geek, conservative, mother and practicing Catholic. Refugee from the Seattle blob. (No, we DIDN'T vote for those taxes!) Elf is my husband, our kids are Princess, Duchess, Baron, Empress, Chief, and Contessa.

2 thoughts on “COVID19: March 22, 2020 update”

  1. That’s excellent. Thanks.

    Part of what’s going on: in classic economic terms, demand for healthcare is highly variable. Providers must weigh the costs of keeping a large excess of supply most of the tme in order to meet spikes in demand. Do I build hospitals where, most of the time, they’ll be 75% empty, just so that when a bad year flu rolls through, we’ll be ready for it? Do I train up many more nurses and doctors and technicians, only to have them idle most of the year, just so they are available when I need them? Do I buy many more machines and supplies than I’ll ever use except in epidemics? What trade-offs do I make? Now take these hard-headed business decisions and put them in the hyper emotional context of people getting sick and dying.

    These are hard questions to answer; they become much harder under socialized medicine, because decisions necessarily get moved farther and farther from the point of delivery; now add Italy’s 2,000 years of ingrained political corruption, and – it’s almost amazing people can get a band-aide when they need it. Then again, Italians (and I love Italians, I’d live there if I could!) have 2,000 years of experience working around the systems that saddle themselves with…

    1. And economically speaking, there’s even a very useful answer– figure out what things you need in an emergency and then figure out what else they can be used for– thus improving the situation for EVERYONE. Surgical beds for elective procedures like knee replacement (which gives folks back their lives) can be used for epidemic situations (thus directly saving lives).

      At-home nursing services have a LOT of equipment, workers and supplies, thus giving a pad for emergencies.


      And, of course, in Italy, the elderly have already paid for the services, so there’s no downside to denying it to them.

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