COVID-19 Coronavirus current events

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
WASHINGTON — Of the flood of misinformation, conspiracy theories and falsehoods seeding the internet on the coronavirus, one common thread stands out: President Trump.

That is the conclusion of researchers at Cornell University who analyzed 38 million articles about the pandemic in English-language media around the world. Mentions of Mr. Trump made up nearly 38 percent of the overall “misinformation conversation,” making the president the largest driver of the “infodemic” — falsehoods involving the pandemic.

The study, to be released Thursday, is the first comprehensive examination of coronavirus misinformation in traditional and online media. [..]

The study identified 11 topics of misinformation, including various conspiracy theories, like one that emerged in January suggesting the pandemic was manufactured by Democrats to coincide with Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, and another that purported to trace the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China, to people who ate bat soup.

But by far the most prevalent topic of misinformation topic was “miracle cures,” including Mr. Trump’s promotion of anti-malarial drugs and disinfectants as potential treatments for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That accounted for more misinformation than the other 10 topics combined, the researchers reported.

[..]

The study found that conspiracy theories, when lumped together, accounted for 46 percent of the misinformation mentions. Among those theories was one that emerged in early April suggesting that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a respected voice on the pandemic, was exaggerating deaths or was a beneficiary of pharmaceutical company efforts to find treatments and vaccines. To look for such stories, they examined social media hashtags, including #FireFauci and #FauciFraud.

(Emphasis mine.)
 

DavidB66

Active Member
Among the many puzzles presented by the international statistics for Covid-19 is the large difference in death rates between The Netherlands and Belgium, neighbouring countries which seem to have much in common. The Worldometers table currently shows a death rate per million population of 375 in The Netherlands, but 864 (second highest in the world, after Peru, and ignoring little San Marino) in Belgium.
Part of the explanation may be that the Dutch figure is a serious underestimate. According to a Reuters report, based on a study by the Dutch Statistics office, the true figure of deaths among people who had tested positive for Coronavirus, or where Covid-19 was listed as 'the most probable cause of death', would be over 10,000 rather than some 6,400 as officially reported. The Reuters report is here:
https://in.reuters.com/article/us-h...in-first-wave-statistics-agency-idUSKBN26M4ZR
In some other countries, such as the UK, it is known that overall death rates during the earlier peak of the epidemic were higher than the rates attributed to Covid-19, but the Dutch report seems to go further than this, implying that a lot of deaths specifically identified as Covid-19 related are not so far included in the official death figures. In some other countries (the UK and France, I think) this was initially also the case, as deaths outside hospital were not included, but the figures were later revised to include them.
I don't know what effect this would have on the overall figures. Simply adjusting by a factor of 10/6.4 would bring the Dutch death rate per million up to 586, but this is probably too crude. It is still a lot lower than the Belgian figure, but there may be other factors to explain this.
In passing, I note that another puzzle is the very high death rates in many South American countries. There are now six of them with rates over 600. I have not seen much discussion of this. It would be easy to say, 'well, they are poor countries', but so are those in Africa, and death rates there seem much lower.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Among the many puzzles presented by the international statistics for Covid-19 is the large difference in death rates between The Netherlands and Belgium, neighbouring countries which seem to have much in common.
Belgium is half francophone and close to French regions that have been hit hard. If you look at the current ECDC map at https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/cases-2019-ncov-eueea , you can see that the Netherlands are also hardest hit in those areas that are closer to Belgium. The same page shows that 14-day case rates and death rates are comparable right now.
w38_39_COVID_subnational_Last_2week.png
The biggest risk for SARS-CoV-2 transmissions is geographical proximity to other infected areas -- Germany had its worst infections in the South, closest to Italy. Many EU institutions being based in Belgium may be another part of the puzzle.

My impression is that government and population response is a big factor in what happens with respect to Covid-19. I am not in a position to say how much Belgium had in common with similar countries, both in terms of Covid-19 response and public health system capabilities; but they've been the outlier in Europe, not the Netherlands, going back to April and May.
 

Oystein

Senior Member
The difference between Belgium's death count and her neighbors is this:

Belgium counts as "Covid-19" related deaths all deaths from respiratory illnesses that come with typical Covid-19 systems, even if the patient has not been tested and thus was not an official "case". The Netherlands and most other countries only count as Covid-19 those where the virus has been positively identified via test (generally PCR).
Belgium thus may have somewhat OVERcounted Covid-19 deaths, while the Netherlands and others would tend to UNDERcount them.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The difference between Belgium's death count and her neighbors is this:

Belgium counts as "Covid-19" related deaths all deaths from respiratory illnesses that come with typical Covid-19 systems, even if the patient has not been tested and thus was not an official "case". The Netherlands and most other countries only count as Covid-19 those where the virus has been positively identified via test (generally PCR).
Belgium thus may have somewhat OVERcounted Covid-19 deaths, while the Netherlands and others would tend to UNDERcount them.
Do you have numbers? I don't think you can overcount Covid deaths by much, you wouldn't count the "atypical" deaths (cardiac, liver etc.) as Covid without a pisitive virus test, and the pneumonia cases have the very typical lung scans. And I think most countries actually do accept these kinds of diagnoses now.

And Belgium doesn't just have a relatively high number of deaths, they also had a relatively high number of cases.

France was undercounting cases, and they're a neighbor of Belgium, so differences in bookkeeping do matter, but Belgium is still on the high end of the scale.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
There's a strong resurgence of the epidemic in Europe now that the weather has become colder.
Article:
Distribution of laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the EU/EEA and the UK, as of 17 October
novel-coronavirus-cases-EU-UK-2020-10-17.png
14-day COVID-19 case notification rate per 100 000, weeks 40-41
w40_41_COVID_subnational_Last_2week.png


In most countries, the situation is reminiscent of March/April, which is a bad thing going into the cold season.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
now that the weather has become colder.
is it that much colder? a serious question as i dont know europe weather. or their "opening" levels. (schools, businesses etc) and i'm curious.

i'm near NY. our numbers are going up again too but our weather isn't that much colder (mid 60s to 70s.. which they do say is the viruses favorite temperature). Restaurants were recently open to 75% -Oct 8th- but bars/clubs still closed. Casinos are open at 25% (which seems to be the hot spot section of our state right now, but that might just be a coincidence. they opened at 25% june 1st )

Schools did open (colleges seem a pretty big problem here). People are tired of isolating and all the constant safety measures. we had Labor Day early September. We only generally know where and who the outbreaks are affecting, unfortunately specifics are hard to find.

I am curious about weather because most of our summer was heat wave territory, so people were still inside in the air conditioning. although not in restaurants at all, school was closed, most businesses still in curb side pick up status.

Not that it matters, we cant shut down the economy forever. But here unfortunately the turn of weather coincides with businesses and schools opening. so it's hard to tell the main driver of increases.
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
some joy down under in Victoria Melbourne the case numbers have dropped to level wherin Gov has relaxed some lock down rules. We can now travel 25 clicks go golfing swimming surfing fishing tennis kids returning back to school and service business opening up etc still need to wear approved mask and keep low group number but its looking better each day,,



https://www.theage.com.au/national/...ubble-meets-your-buddy-s-20201019-p566ie.html

One of the big changes announced by Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday was the expansion of the five-kilometre limit on travel for Melburnians to 25 kilometres.

No limit on time outdoors and outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people from two households were also among the new, less restrictive lockdown rules.

as apposed to many other country's right now as this meme attempt to illustrate.




thumbnail_121707542_3469400736439693_69843318038516484_n.jpg

thumbnail_121703072_10215388133530541_8065840720170385726_n.jpg
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
My OZ state Victoria has endured some 100 plus days of stage 4 lockdown its been a real chore and ruined lives and many business. The debate of $$ cost control vs less control & so more deaths rages among many. But today was a nice warm sunny day and we all can go out shopping things getting back to normal.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/...a-s-covid-19-second-wave-20201027-p5694b.html


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derwoodii

Senior Member.
My OZ state is very pleased with its self if we can get 14 clean days tomoz be amazing

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-12/victoria-records-0-coronavirus-deaths-cases-again/12874988

Several shops in Melbourne's CBD and some train trips have been added to Victoria's list of possible COVID-19 exposure sites.

Key points:​

  • Victoria's 14-day rolling average of new cases per day has dropped to 0.1
  • A positive test in South Australia with links to Melbourne is still thought to be a case of 'viral shedding'
  • A new report has highlighted the areas hardest hit financially by the pandemic
Victoria has recorded no new coronavirus cases or deaths for the 13th consecutive day.
 

econ41

Senior Member
My OZ state Victoria has endured some 100 plus days of stage 4 lockdown its been a real chore and ruined lives and many business. The debate of $$ cost control vs less control & so more deaths rages among many.
In my opinion the Australian experience overall would be a topic for reasonable review clear as far as possible of the "we did better than you" comparisons and risk of bragging. Our overall numbers are have been low. Two states - NSW and Victoria - made significant early mistakes then overcame them. Four factors haven't changed:

The first two are physical realities and should not be controversial:
1) We - Australia - like New Zealand - are a remote island nation and it was physically easy for us to shut the doors to the outside world;

2) Our population is small and scattered despite some concentration on the east-south east coastline and hinterland.

The next two may need objective quantifying :
3) (Most obvious in comparison with the US) - our political leaders Federal/State and all sides - were in and stayed in broad agreement on the broad goals and strategy.

4) (Again - the main contrast with the US) - the Aussie "culture" seems to have been mostly accepting of the rule of law.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Test rate and positivity.png

The y-axis shows the test positivity rate from the German laboratory surveillance; the thickness of the blob for a certain day indicates how many tests samples were taken that day.

Compare to the number of cases:
Article:
Nowcast 11-11.png

It seems obvious that the increase in testing over the summer corresponds to a rise in the number of infections; since tests are driven by people who seek to be tested (because they have symptoms or know someone who does), I expect that infections drive that rise, and not the other way around.

The testing sytem is starting to reach capacity now, with shortages in materials and backlogs of up to 100,000 tests per week being reported. Because our capacity now is much higher than it was during the first wave, we have a lower positivity rate for a higher number of cases, because we can test more at-risk people than we could back in April.
 
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Agent K

Active Member
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, 65, died of COVID-19. He had a lung transplant in 2017.
Article:
On 12 October 2017, he had a lung transplant at Inova Fairfax Hospital in northern Virginia, United States.
Erekat, who was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, tested positive for COVID-19 on 9 October 2020. On 18 October, he was sent to the Israeli Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem in critical condition. On 21 October, his daughter said on Twitter that he underwent a bronchostomy to examine the condition of his respiratory system. Erekat died of complications from COVID-19 on 10 November 2020 at the age of 65.
 
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Oystein

Senior Member
There's apparent "rounding the curve" in many European countries (I checked Germany, Poland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain on Worldometers). Not yet in the USA.

Now part of that could be that countries are nearing the maximum test capacity.
According to an article on Der Spiegel online earlier today, the Robert Koch Institut tightened its recommendations on whom to test at the beginning of November, coinciding with tighter lockdown measures: They no longer recommend to test anyone with ordinary symptoms of respiratory diseases (coughs, fever...) - only when those are either more severe than common cold, or when coinciding with a risk contact or when person is in health care or in contact with many people.
The immediate effect of such recommendations, if immediately carried out, is of course a decrease in detected infections - but this effect is difficult to evaluate.
If infection rate does in fact continue to rise, then after a short time (1-2 weeks), a rounded curve should go up again.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Yes.

The thing is, Germany had an effective reproduction rate R>1 all through October, and we have R approximately =1 right now, and we consistently need R<1 to get the numbers down, even if we don't have a measuring error because the test criteria changed. We managed that well back in April/May; but the UK had similar measures, and its case numbers stayed high for much longer. So we don't really know if we're rounding the curve or plateau-ing.

P.S.: The RKI recommendations were tightened more than a week ago; see https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ...eststrategie/Testkriterien_Herbst_Winter.html for the original source (in German). They're still including more people than they did back in March/April, with a much more pronounced focus on preventing clusters.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Sweden is imposing stronger restrictions than in the spring.
Article:
Swedes are not sticking to coronavirus recommendations as well as in the spring and public gatherings will now be limited to eight people, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said, down from a previous upper limit of 300.

"This is the new norm for the entire society," Lofven told a news conference. "Don't go to gyms, don't go to libraries, don't host dinners. Cancel."
[..]
More than 6,000 people with COVID-19 have died in Sweden since the pandemic began, a death rate per capita several times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours, if somewhat lower than some larger European countries such as Spain.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
There's an article out by a North Dakota contact tracer on how the situation is right now, how she works, how the state is doing. It's worth reading in full, but this struck me especially:
Article:
For the past two weeks, North Dakota has had the most new cases per capita in the country. Our hospitalizations have doubled since last month. We have the world’s highest death rate from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Things got so bad, so fast, that we’ve surrendered one of our key weapons against the pandemic: Test and trace went by the wayside. Even if we had enough staff to call up everyone’s workplace and contact, there are so many new infections that it wouldn’t be as effective. At this point, the government has given up on following the virus’s path through the state. All we can do is notify people, as quickly as we can, that they have the virus.

One thing that is underappreciated is that when the case numbers go up, contact tracing doesn't work so well any more; and you need to impose more restrictions to get the numbers to come down. It's better to be careful when the numbers are low because then you can get by with less restrictions. Wear your masks, people! Do the distancing!
 

Oystein

Senior Member
...
Article:
For the past two weeks, North Dakota has had the most new cases per capita in the country. ...
It's true:
I have stuffed a lot of Worldometers data into an MS Access database so I could do quick sums and comparisons and stuff.

For the 2-week period November 04-18, North Dakota not only had more new cases per capita than any other US state, but than any country or territory in the world!
In fact, 8 US states had more new cases per capita than the worst country in the world (Luxembourg):
  1. North Dakota
  2. South Dakota
  3. Iowa
  4. Wyoming
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Nebraska
  7. Minnesota
  8. Montana
Where North Dakota had 24,839 per 1 million, Luxembourg 13,073.
North Dakota also leads the WORLD in deaths per capita, with 286 per million in those two weeks. Czechia is second with 243, South Dakota 3rd. The next 16 are all European countries save one.
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
yay 24 days in my OZ state and no new cases recorded.. The control & management of the bug spread has after poor start gone well that gatherings of size & masks are relaxed .
oh no thanks goes the hand full its a hoax these unhelpful citizens have no claim to this success.

The damage done to economies is not good however some of the more dire predictions dont seem to have evolved shares prices have begun to recover house prices have remained strong not dived unemployment was bad but jobs are returning, stay at home school kids seem to fared well, supply chains held up & we never ran out of toilet paper.


Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announces coronavirus restrictions changes, including relaxed rules for face masks

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11...-on-coronavirus-restrictions-changes/12907456

Key points:​

  • From 11:59pm December 13, Victorians will be allowed to have up to 30 visitors to their home per day
  • The Chief Health Officer says he's "confident" Victoria has no community transmission
  • Caps on public gatherings and indoor venues are also being increased from midnight
 
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