May 7, 2020

Testing... your intelligence.


Quayle said...

Agree! Agree! Agree!

Plus, until we know the true denominator - how many people have or had the virus - we don't know anything about the meaningful statics, i.e. transmissability, morality, etc.

We did all this, without really knowing the important indicators.

Skeptical Voter said...

Gee you go looking for something (with testing) and you are likely to find more of it. Math is hard.

Fernandinande said...

it's revealing about the media's goals

To sell advertising.

Wince said...

Althouse said...
Testing... your intelligence.

I would say patience or temper... but continue.

Sebastian said...

"Not providing context on the increase in testing is such a basic error, and has been so widespread, that it's revealing about the media's goals. It's more interested in telling plausibly-true stories ("narratives") that sound smart to its audience than in accuracy/truth per se"

Well, yes. Except it's not an "error." It's basic MO.

Even Althouse still resists. I want "factual information, clearly stated"! If only their style were a little less frustrating, if only they were a bit more plausibly plausible, if only they had "real calculations" and such that sound smarter than smart! They should be better!

Michael said...

Indeed. Plus, the media and some governors have completely lost (or suppressed) the plot. The idea was to flatten the curve and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. This has been, in general, accomplished. It was already far too late to contain the virus. What we should be doing now is protecting the most vulnerable (nursing homes, immuno-compromised, health workers) as best we can and allowing, even encouraging, healthy young people to become infected and get over it. The only pre-vaccine solution was always supposed to be herd immunity. If we largely open up and do lots more testing,there will be a spike in reported new cases. But that is not a bad thing.

Paul Snively said...

I picked the wrong year to be an expert on probability.

rcocean said...

More testing = more cases. Its more useful to look at Hospitalizations. We're still trying to figure out what the true death rate is, since we don't know how many asymptomatic people their are.

Bay Area Guy said...

The No. of Cases is very soft -- because there are: (1) so many recoveries (at least 33% of all cases have recoveries -- see Johns Hopkins map , (2) so many people who have antibodies, but were never tested or had symptoms (see Santa Clara antibody paper and (3) increased testing will, duh, increase the number of cases, per Nate.

Testing without symptoms is just stupid.

The No. of Deaths is also very soft, and horribly inflated -- because they are counting deaths with pre-existing serious co-morbidities, even after the fact via autopsy and they are counting "presumed" cases where there is no confirmed testing.

I have no reason to doubt that Sars-Cov-2 is dangerous for the elderly and already sick, just like the flu or even the common cold, but these quacks have taken this to an entirely different level.

rcocean said...

Here's another CV-19 comparison:

NY cases vs. deaths: 13 to 1
Calf Cases vs. deaths: 30 to 1

Ray - SoCal said...

100% agree the lack of Context, Test Data, is annoying.

This site has Test Data. People behind it wrote an article for the Atlantic on CoraVirus, and had problems getting good numbers:

This site has mortality by state:

This is the site a LOT of Reporters are using, with Google Data, going down to a county level. So a lot of reporters just cut and paste. It's lacking test information and percentage mortality rate for hospitalization.

What I would like to see in data is:

1. By state of Hospitalization vs. Mortality.
2. Test information when showing number infected
3. Hydroxychloroquine usage for treatment
4. R Factor
5. Where the infections are coming from. CA is now providing information by race. NY Post just had an article that was saying lots of hospitalizations are coming from stay at home people. Coronavirus survey reveals ‘shocking’ stats about hospitalized New Yorkers

gilbar said...

Serious Question (that we won't be able to answer, for years!)

Do more people die in 2020 than in 2019?
Do more people spend time in a hospital in 2020 than in 2019?

narciso said...

there 's also the scandalous modeling from dr. ferguson, no I'm not referring to ms staats, more his dubious code,

traditionalguy said...

As David Farragut then in command of the the US Navy fleet once said,"Damn the testing.Full Speed ahead."And he thus permanently deprived the Mississippi River from any use by the Confederate States of America. But Trump played things very cautious. Maybe he had other motives in mind such as effectively merging a bankrupt FED's role into the authority United States Treasury while depriving China of control over the world's supply chains.

Tom T. said...

Nate's going to get into trouble for saying the quiet part out loud.

rcocean said...

There's no doubt the CV-19 death count is inflated, but I don't think its by much. However, its never emphasized that almost all the deaths are occurring in people over 60 and people who already have medical conditions. The Under 45 don't need to be "locked down" - to them its no worse then the annual flu. We need to lockdown the seniors.

Nonapod said...

It's more interested in telling plausibly-true stories ("narratives") that sound smart to its audience than in accuracy/truth per se

Did Nate Silver just figure something out? I mean, I could be wrong but he almost sounds like some crazy right winger complaining about fake news.

rcocean said...

Trump isn't going to take on the Democrat party, the D governors, the CDC, the media, and everyone else just to re-open more quickly.

Especially when he gets ZERO support from McConnell and the worthless DC Republicans. Besides the CV-19 crisis political calculus is quite simple:

1) Reopen too soon, people die, get crucified by the MSM and the D's.
2) Reopen too late, business's suffer - but they do nothing politically.

Kevin said...

Context allows less room for cherry-picking facts.

It has no place in our modern media.

Paul Snively said...

narcisco: there 's also the scandalous modeling from dr. ferguson, no I'm not referring to ms staats, more his dubious code,

That's an insult to millions of lines of dubious, but demonstrably useful, code. What you really mean is "disastrous".

Kevin said...

Without context, Trump calls Nazis "fine people" and wants Americans to inject bleach.

Without context, Biden faces unproven allegations which should not impact your vote for him.

Without context, Trump waited too long to act on coronavirus and never took it seriously.

Without context, Hunter Biden is just a businessman making a living in the global economy.

Kevin said...

I'm so old I remember when properly-contextualized facts needed to be further considered in the light of "nuance".

Lucien said...

Rcocean: why lock down seniors? They do not spread disease at a higher rate than anyone else. Are you saying it’s “for their own good “? When would you start barring the morbidly obese from fast food restaurants?

Birkel said...

Shorter versions:
The MSM is lying.
The MSM is gaslighting America.
The MSM is undermining the Republic.

How long can that be tolerated?

narciso said...

I stand corrected, I was riffing off scandalous modeling

Gusty Winds said...

What I see on FB among friends and family it is ALL Democrats that push the fear porn, infection, and death statistics without context. They see being locked down as a virtue. They tell themselves they are saving lives by doing nothing. It’s is a fascinating part of the one dimensional liberal brain. They post all the masks they are sewing. Now they are stocked and trying to sell them too. They are on the “front line”. Martyrs risking their lives driving a UPS truck.

When you realize this type of brain dead intelligence permeates our education system from Kindergarten through PHD… it becomes easy to understand how so many are accepting the quick striping of freedoms, and turning their neighbors into the on-line anonymous politburo. They are not just willing to be lead into a depression…they’re skipping….

The Wisconsin plan to re-open plan depends on decreasing infections. With increased testing, it’s like a horse chasing a carrot on a stick.

dreams said...

Yeah, I think that's why someone calls it the fake news media, you know who.

Unknown said...

"Blogger Fernandistein said...

it's revealing about the media's goals

To sell advertising.

5/7/20, 10:00 AM"

If only that were the true case. The media is fully, completely invested in the Democrat Party. They are the propaganda arm of that Party. Look as the insanity of Kalifornia. That is what they want everywhere.

Gusty Winds said...

Am I wrong to assume that most of the faculty, students, and administrators at the University of Wisconsin would promote the Axios analysis as accurate and truthful? They would be risking the cush Madison life by pushing back against the liberal narrative. Now, perhaps they are intelligent enough to know it’s without context, but they would promote it to suit their agenda which…benefits them.

Where are the UW “scientists” that know this data manipulation is all bullshit? There’s none? I’ll bet risking the pension isn’t worth it.

The arguments presented by the Democrat Wisconsin Attorney General to the WI Supreme Court weren’t much different than Axios’ assumptions. Same with our Democrat Health Secretary and Governor. Dane County is the stupidest county in Wisconsin. You’ll get more critical thinking from a crack dealer in Milwaukee at the corner of 15th and Capital Drive.

stevew said...

My state publishes statistics daily, I suspect most do. The most useless data point is new cases/infections. It doesn't tell me anything about the severity of the newly identified cases, and it doesn't tell me anything about who is being tested. The number of tests given is helpful but only in that it allows me to calculate the percentage of positive tests. Deaths per Day and Hospitalizations are useful but only when charting by day to identify the trend.

Percentage of positives has been trending downward for about two weeks here - though there was a spike yesterday. D/D has also been trending downward since an April 23 high - though, again, there was a spike yesterday. Lastly, hospitalizations has been steadily declining for more that two weeks, the decline has been very small.

As a result, I think, my governor (Baker, MA) has begun talking about some limited re-opening. That is encouraging because it aligns with the trends. Anyone who advocates, as Cuomo does, for "turning off the valve" if there is a spike should be made to define what constitutes a spike.

MikeR said...

Nate Silver is a lefty but does not like lies. That's good.

Sam L. said...

I presume that everything the media tries to tell me is a lie, so I don't listen to it.

Yancey Ward said...

As of yesterday, the US had run almost 20% of the RT-PCR tests run in the entire world and had 32% of the world's confirmed cases. Testing in the US rose from a plateau of about 145,000/day that had persisted for 17 days from the 5th day of April until April 22nd- then it shot up in a single step to 240,000/day that has now persisted for since April 23rd. That is an increase in testing of 44%/day since April 23rd, but new cases, as measured by the 7 day moving average has declined by 5% since that single step jump in testing to the new plateau.

On April 23rd, New York accounted for 15% of the tests run in the US and 30% of the confirmed cases. Yesterday, on May 6th, New York accounted for 13% of the total tests run, and 26% of the total confirmed cases. So, while New York's share of total cases has dropped by 13% (4/30x100), it share of testing has also dropped by the same percent (2/15 x 100. Put more simply- nothing has really changed- new cases in the rest of the country has gone up by the increase in their share of total tests run, while New York's share of total cases has decline commensurate with their relative decline in total tests run.

As a whole, the country, with and without New York included, is finding fewer infected people, both in the gross, and greatly improved as a percentage of positives. In other words, we are testing a lot more people, but now finding actual declines in new cases, and this has been going on since mid April, 3 weeks ago.

I Callahan said...

Stopped clock or not, this is 100% true. The reason cases are going up is because of increased testing. And if the death counts stay constant with additional testing being done, then it shoots a hole in the theory that this disease is that much more fatal than any other viral infection such as the flu.

If that gets out, then even the Gladys Kravitzes are going to have to start thinking differently. And we can't have that, because Orange Man Bad...

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Our criminally negligent media, possibly for the first time in history (maybe not), is notably stoking panic and fear in the public, siding with chaos and confusion rather than proving basic information and helping to calm a worried public. Being beholden to our sworn enemy China is going to end up costing the newsertainment industry the tiny amount of credibility they had in reserve. If we are at war with the virus, they are in the other side, not America’s. How sad.

TreeJoe said...

Quarantine from the word quarantena, meaning 40 days, a period of lockdown that was shown to be more than adequate to prevent the spread of the plague.

My crew has been locked down for 56 days and I'm hearing/seeing an INCREASE in nanny-ism towards those who are starting to loosen their own personal restrictions.

Why are people so fearful? Is it because the media and some politicians reset the goals from flattening the curve (accomplished) to eliminating deaths (impossible)?

We do realize that as a society the media like to set movable and unachievable goals? It allows them to report endlessly on the subject without tying it back to an objective.

"Do you feel you did enough?"
"Couldn't you have done more?"
"Did you act early enough?"
"How many lives were lost because there wasn't earlier action?"

In my business life we always ask our customers "Compared to what?" and "Did we achieve the objective we set out to achieve?"

Otherwise conversations are entirely about feelings which are extremely subjective and ridiculous to try to benchmark in a small group setting.

Leland said...

Although I agree; I doubt Nate Silver has taken a red pill.

They see being locked down as a virtue. They tell themselves they are saving lives by doing nothing.

I see the same thing, and I'm starting to understand how military spouses see debates on wars. My wife is a nurse. She doesn't have the luxury of working from home. Yet she doesn't see herself as virtuous because she is actually doing something to save lives. She just considers it her job. Yet these people sitting at home and receiving a paycheck for it are all in with the sanctimony. Although I give some respect to those trying something by sewing masks, but most are still in it for the money. I give lots of props to the UPS driver, but I don't know why others can't make the mental leap that if UPS is important and essential, then so are the various other businesses that UPS relies upon to make a profit.

Yancey Ward said...

The three day running average of positives/day is below 10% now, and the total positives are declining about 1/4 to 1/2 a percentage point every day and was at 18.8% yesterday (I created a spreadsheet that runs this calculation on the entire series, and it has been in decline for over two weeks). We are past this particular wave's peak, and have been for a while. We also probably past the peak in deaths, but they will lag a bit. If we follow Italy's track in deaths, the US will probably fall to about 500/day in two week's time unless we get as bad at treating the disease as Italy has been, or we see a surge of new cases starting today, and we already weren't as bad at treating the disease at the recent peaks.

hombre said...

It is difficult for the leftmediaswine to jam everything into the narrative when there are actually intelligent people who know that the solution to the ChiCom virus problem is not defeating Trump. That won’t stop them.

Unfortunately, the declension of our education system has left a plurality of our population that is too stupid to engage in critical thinking. The election of 2020 will tell us if that plurality is actually a majority.

Jersey Fled said... is now showing only 6 states with values of 1.0 or higher (number of new infections is growing) vs. 44 states with values below 1.0 (number of new infections declining).

Take a look. Where your favorite state is may surprise you.

Fernandinande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jersey Fled said...

BTW, adjusts for the amount of testing that is taking place in each state.

Fernandinande said...

"To sell advertising."

If only that were the true case. The media is fully, completely invested in the Democrat Party.

That's definitely a very warping factor, but they have to constrain it enough to keep their readers/viewers looking at advertisements.

If they can't sell advertising, they can't support the DNC.

hombre said...

The ChiCom Virus, Trump’s election and the Reade accusations, have exposed the total political corruption of the media and the Dems and the willingness of Dem partisans to climb aboard the bandwagon.

narayanan said...

I have been dismayed by lack of proper perspective on the COVID issue and reliance on so called experts who are never challenged

I am hoping for helpful discussion - can this be considered an advancement

The COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it at all levels of government have disrupted all of our lives. As we begin to contemplate the challenge of reopening and rebuilding the economy in the face on the ongoing spread of the virus, it’s critical to employ the right philosophical framework for thinking about these issues, and to not be misled by false alternatives, wishful thinking, tribalistic finger-pointing and other forms of distorted thinking.

This Q&A is the final talk recorded on April 18, 2020, as part of AynRandCon-LIVE, a free online event offering a framework for thinking about the COVID-19 crisis from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.

bagoh20 said...

Also, when we know that 97% of those positives won't even get symptoms, and 99.9% will live on to be immune and block the virus from spreading, what exactly is bad about more cases? We should be celebrating more cases as they all soon benefit the larger population and eventually save lives. You know what makes cases go down? Running out of hosts, at least enough hosts to spread it - herd immunity. The idea that we had some other option was dumb and unscientific. Those of you sheltering in place and wearing your masks are not helping, except when you go to the store, and then bring home the virus on your mask and everything else and share it in your home where all your hosts are waiting, trapped to receive your gifts.

bagoh20 said...

"There's no doubt the CV-19 death count is inflated, but I don't think its by much."

What about the reports from doctors and funeral directors saying that the vast majority of dead they see are attributed to Covid, even when they know that's not why they died? I believe the combined effects of incentives, and laziness can't help but create a large inflation in the death numbers for Covid. If your job is to assign a cause of death in some capacity, simply putting down "Covid" sure makes that job easier, and avoids having to justify why it's not, which I bet is an uphill battle.

bagoh20 said...

I hate moderation, but blame those making it worth the work. Just stop the shit.

hstad said...

Well "Nate Silver" finally publishes something I can get behind on. The MSM publishes their favorite "Narratives" masquerading as news. Bravo!

rhhardin said...

The media are genuinely stupid about everything. Fortunately their business is narrative, which stands or falls on only its own terms.

Rabel said...

Nate Silver gets results!

Axios has added this:

"Editors' note: This story has been updated to clarify that increased testing could be part of the reason the number of cases in the U.S. is rising."

Birkel said...

Now tell me the false positive rates.

Also, tell me the false negative rates.

Governors destroyed an economy on which billions depend.
And they did it because they do not trust citizens to protect themselves.

Something at Instapundit really struck a chord with me:
The poor man kicks the dog.

When faced with unknowns people respond by kicking down.
Governors and health agencies kicked businesses eases, hard.
They had no other control so they kicked the proverbial dog.

I trust people to take precautions.

jaydub said...

Sebastian, Yancy, me and a few others have been saying from the start that the smart play was to isolate the old and at risk folks, let the kids go to school, let those with low risk get back to work, and treat the economy with the same kind of concern as the alarmists have been treating the Covid problem. For this we were called covidiots and grandma killers by the really smart folks who comment here, not to mention being more worried about our 401Ks than deaths from Covid (spoiler: I don't have a 401K.) I provided data from my NC county on several occasions which showed not only was it not like NYC, it wasn't even like the worst areas in NC, which, BTW were nothing like NYC either. In fact, at least 95 of the counties in the state are very similar to my own county or even in better shape, as are 95% of the counties in other states. But, we were still “idiots” because we didn't understand that we had to react like NYC in order to "flatten the curve", except we never had a curve to flatten. In fact, even today we have had a total of 535 cases and just over a hundred hospitalizations and twice that many recoveries in a county of 530,000 spread over 638 square miles. We have only had 35 deaths and all of them have been associated with the at risk population, including half from nursing homes (Hmm. Wonder if more thought should have been given to the option of isolating the old folks from us instead of us from each other?) Also, as we were saving hospital beds for Covid patients that never materialized, we put off other types of surgeries and treatments just in case. As a result most of the hospitals in the county are in financial straits and the doctors and nurses are being furloughed or laid off, including my neighbor who is a widowed nurse with 4 kids. Another neighbor has been laid up in pain with a cyst on his spine for two months because operations such as his were no longer being scheduled. To summarize my rant and to avoid retracing ground already covered, I’ll simply state that the shutdown was neither required nor effective, at least not in most places, and all less severe options were summarily shouted down by Karen. While the Karens who post here have no influence over policy, it would be worthwhile to remember their names for the purpose of discounting their opinions in the future. I know I will never again read anything they post. (cont'd below)

jaydub said...

(Cont'd) I have a master’s degree in Operations Research/Systems Analysis with a specialty in stochastic modeling and forty years of experience; so I know something about models in general and what is necessary to produce one that actually works. The first requirement is an understanding of the process being modeled, what variables are involved in the process and how they interact. The second is quality data to input into the model. The third is intellectual honesty, e.g. the absence of an agenda that would influence the model’s development, output or output interpretation. For Covid, we had none of those basic requirements to develop a quality model; ergo the focus on modeling and model results was always problematic. Add the fact that various political entities making the decisions wrt Covid mitigation policies were predisposed to a particular outcome, hence looking for models that supported their own agenda, there is no reason to expect that projections would not be FUBAR from the start. However, as the disease progressed and more information became available we should have been able use developments as they occurred to refine both the models and the data in order to produce significantly improved confidence in the model outputs. Unfortunately, IMHO we have also been cursed with a hostile opposition party and agenda driven media which makes progress impossible until the fall election is over. What gives me some renewed hope is that even Nate Silver has started to take on one of the roadblocks to progress, i.e., the media. Also, I’ve noticed some additional support for isolating the vulnerable recently, so maybe that is also a good sign. Probably too little, too late to save the economy, but maybe there is still time to restore the food chain so the larders aren’t completely empty when winter sets in. We shall see.
My brother-in-law is a retired scientist from NOAA and we have had the same arguments over AGW models, he being a big proponent of AGW and also a co-developer of one of the NOAA models. Those models suffer from the exact same problems as the Covid models and are equally bogus, so it’s not like we haven’t made the Covid mistakes before.

Yancey Ward said...

Silver is a statistician by trade, if not actually credentialed (I don't know how much education he got in it, but he does know the subject pretty damned well). This is the key difference between Silver and the purveyors of propaganda in the media- Silver knows to actually look at the underlying data. All Silver has to do in this situation is to care about his reputation as a statistician- if he does, then he either has to call this out, or he has to remain silent in the face of lies and mistakes.

It is the first part of the Gell-Amnesia theory- in this case, Silver is the guy who knows his field well enough to know the story he is reading is wrong- it is either a deliberate lie or a mistake made by someone who knows jack-shit about the subject at hand. To his credit, Silver is speaking up. He gets credit for doing so.

buwaya said...

"To sell advertising"

Not really. Advertising has gone the way of the dodo, and the "news" has nearly always run at a loss anyway. Every MSM entity rather depends on parent company subsidies, secure funding from say cable deals, or rather thinly disguised uneconomic "advertising" from corporate sponsors, meant more to prop up the media entity than to assist the advertiser.

This is a zombie industry, an undead, malevolent spirit existing in whats left of the corporeal form of what was once a fairly normal commercial niche.

Paco Wové said...

"They see being locked down as a virtue. They tell themselves they are saving lives by doing nothing… it becomes easy to understand how so many are accepting the quick striping of freedoms, and turning their neighbors into the on-line anonymous politburo."

Nancy-boys and Stasi-girls.

CWJ said...

At the end of April, our mayor (Kansas City, MO) extended our lockdown to May 15 saying the rest of the metro area was on board with this decision. When some of the counties didn't follow suit and started reopening, he got a little testy with the rest of us, insisting the city would stick to the later date.

I commented to my wife that I'd like to know what so dire that we were keeping KC's economy shut down. I checked the county level stats and at that time the three counties which encompass the city totalled 9 deaths attributed to covid. I almost shouted out loud "9 deaths? We've turned KC upside down over 9 deaths. I bet we've had at least that many murders.". Sure enough, the city alone has had 55 homicides so far this year, on average over 13 per month. Our leaders are perverse.

Fernandinande said...

"To sell advertising"
Not really. Advertising has gone the way of the dodo, and the "news" has nearly always run at a loss anyway.

Advertising revenue is about 2/3rd of total revenue for TV and print "news", and about about 85% of the total for network and local TV news.

For the NYT, advertising supplies about 1/3 or their revenue, user subscriptions almost all the rest.

Phil 314 said...

More testing: Good
More cases: Good
More hospitalizations: Bad
More deaths: Bad*

*assuming accurate attribution

fizzymagic said...

A comment right below Silver's post illustrates the point nicely. Somebody posted that they had "lost respect" for Silver during the whole Covid thing. That's a sure sign that Silver is saying things the other person doesn't want to be true.

I had briefly hoped at the start of the lockdown that America would figure out how to put our political differences aside and work toward a common goal. That hope is long gone. Science is now more politicized than ever, and this case is an excellent example.

C R Krieger said...

Excellent point by Nate Silver. I see this innumeracy everywhere.
Regards  —  Cliff

DavidUW said...

I don't think the NYTimes "reporters" are smart enough to understand the concept.

Treeamigo said...

The only reliable data we have is hospitalizations. Growth rate in hospitalizations should track the infection rate amongst vulnerable populations.

Our testing data is fairly meaningless, though getting slightly better. And people who try to compare today’s positive test data to data from 2 months ago when we were only testing people who had been to China or Italy are imbeciles. Unfortunately, this includes nearly all of the media, most governors and most state and county health officers