Comment to Perspectives on the Pandemic | Professor Knut Wittkowski | Episode 2

Perspectives on the Pandemic | Professor Knut Wittkowski | Episode 2

[ 4/4/20 ]
[Note – the video is interesting, the numbers are somewhere near close. In one sense this is a flu like pandemic, and in another sense it is very different, the structure of it is different. And it does raise some deep questions that I have no simple set of answers to. And this is what I wrote 5 days ago. 9 April 2020]

His numbers are already wrong. The fatality rate in USA today is already twice what he predicted as peak.

To me he seems to be wrong – dangerously so.

[followed by in response to a link from zineb r ]

Very interesting video.

Two of the papers referred to are:

The key point seems to be at 14:05 into the video

The graphic showing global covid19 deaths at 144 per day, with the greatest killer being TB at 3,014 per day.

As of 4th April NZ time (yesterday at time of writing) the global deaths from covid 19 were at 5,800 and climbing exponentially still at 11% per day.

Yes we have had flu pandemics before, and will again.

What does seem to be different about this one is the exponent on the spread, and the ability of that to overwhelm all systems (medical, funeral etc).

China took drastic action to slow the spread.

China did not rely on herd immunity.

The social distancing measures in the likes of Sweden have lowered the exponent – but not yet enough to avoid overload – just delayed it somewhat.

Like most things, this is complex; and it really does seem to be something that requires rather severe measures to control, if one wants to avoid very high fatality among those over 70s, and overwhelm of the ability of medical and body disposal systems.

It really does seem that initial viral loading is an important factor in the fatality rate – hence the much higher than average death rate among front-line healthcare workers without effective protective equipment.

On balance of assessments, it does seem to me to be different – and the video above does raise some very important issues for those able to build complex models of very complex systems.

Only 7% of Mexico’s population is over 65, (compared to 16% in the USA). That makes a big difference to mortality rates. I doubt the testing rate in Mexico is high, and it seems to have started later there. We will see what the death rate over the next few weeks actually tells us.

What still seems to me to make this different is the rate of spread – hence the peak overwhelm and the extra deaths that result from that (across many age groups).

And it is a very interesting video to watch.

[followed by]

Midlife Credo Can you be precise about what I missed.

What I see is an exponent in this infection that is far larger than any prior infection.
That exponent has implications on the overload of the health system, and on the impact, as it increases the initial viral load during the peak and thence the final death toll.

I stand by my statement that this flu does seem to be significantly different to previous flu’s

And it is a very good wake up to the risks of something much worse.

There are very deep issues here.

Do we really value individual life and individual liberty (life first), or is it all about the survival of a monetary system that is no longer appropriate to the levels of technology we currently have???

I am all for life and liberty, and logic is clear that liberty without responsibility is rapidly self terminating (and takes a lot of others with it).

It is an extremely complex and deep situation – at least as I view it. And I view Wittkowski as making a deep error, even as most of what he says is true.

[followed by]

Midlife Credo There are many different rates being measured and talked about right now.
Yes – the overall death rate from a disease is as you describe, and is difficult to measure for all the reasons you list, and a few more.

Here in NZ we are getting reasonably good measures of disease rate, which is very low. Yesterday at 1% of tested people – 39 cases from 3,700 tests. We are fairly confident that the disease is present at very low levels in this country, and should “burn out” in the next 2 weeks.

It is complex.
It is a flu.
It seems to be faster than recent flus, and more dangerous because of that.
China does seem to have managed it, as have several other countries.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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