Patterico's Pontifications


Trump Falsely Claims That “Anybody” Who Needs a Coronavirus Test “Gets a Test”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:06 pm

The Los Angeles Times reports on the testing kit shortfall that is hampering health professionals’ ability to respond to the coronavirus outbreak:

Federal officials said nearly 1 million tests were expected to be available by the end of this week. But in California, one of the country’s hardest-hit regions with 60 cases, the total testing capacity is limited to only 7,400 through the weekend, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The inability to test widely and swiftly for the novel coronavirus has impeded the country’s ability to beat back the spread of the virus, experts say. Without testing, public health officials don’t know where the virus is spreading and where to target efforts to contain it. Twelve Americans have been killed so far by the disease.

The shortage of test kits as well as lab staffing to screen for the virus are creating chaos for doctors and nurses as their triage efforts are complicated by testing restrictions and shortfalls.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump claimed today (quite falsely) that, as of yesterday, everyone who wanted to be tested is getting tested:

Anybody right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. They have the tests and the tests are beautiful. If there’s a doctor that wants to test, if there’s somebody coming off a ship like the big monster ship that’s out there right now, which you know again, that’s a big decision. Do I wanna bring all of those people on? People would like me to do that. I don’t like the idea of doing it.

That is, again, quite simply, not true.

[S]enior director of infection prevention for the Johns Hopkins Health System Dr. Lisa Maragakis told Congress Friday that tests need to made available as quickly as is feasible.

“Testing capacity is not currently adequate and we need more,” Maragakis said. “We need this as soon as we can have it.”

By the way, why doesn’t Trump want to bring people from the “big monster ship” onto the mainland? I’ll tell you why: because he believes that would double the number of cases on the mainland, and he doesn’t want the statistics to double because he doesn’t consider the cases on the ship to be his fault. If someone were to think I am making an unfair statement about Trump’s motivations, that person would be wrong. Trump actually said this today:

They would like to have the people come off. I’d rather have the people stay but I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision.

I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.

The voters will decide if that seems like a good reason to advocate for sick passengers staying on a ship when health professionals want them off.

I like the reference to the Ukranian phone call. It reminds voters of another decision they must make: whether Trump puts the interests of the country first, or his own petty interests.

Our Media Betters Dazzle Us with Higher Order Mathematics

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:30 am

[guest post by JVW]

What do you get when you bring together an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning teleprompter reader and a New York Times editorial board member to react to a politically-charged tweet from a blue-check fashion journalist who worships all of the proper feminist icons? You get Mathapolooza! Behold:

[UPDATE] – Our friend harkin reminds us of the MSM’s penchant for showcasing their own learning while questioning the intelligence of those of us outside of the bubble.


Trump and His Administration Continue False Assertions About Coronavirus

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

Coronavirus is spreading. Trump is saying it’s contained. It is not.

New York Times today:

[A]round the world, as the number of cases passed 100,000, governments have displayed signs of paralysis, obfuscation and a desire to protect their own interests, even as death tolls passed 3,200 and global capitals were so threatened by infection that politicians and health officials tested positive for the illness.

In the United States, a survey of nurses found that only 29 percent had a plan to isolate potentially infected patients. Across the nation, as the number of new cases passed 200, public health labs anxiously awaited diagnostic kits, which will allow for a fuller sense of the scale of the crisis.

A simple look at any chart of the increase in reported cases of the illness over time in any of several affected countries shows the same pattern: a low number of reported cases at the beginning, followed by an explosion of reported cases. For example:

Here’s what Trump and his White House are saying this morning:

The Guardian:

“It will go away,” [Trump] said. “We have very low numbers [of confirmed cases] compared to many countries throughout the world, our numbers are lower than almost anyone…deaths, is it 11?” It is.

“In terms of cases, it’s very very few because we have been very strong at the borders.”

He also said he thinks the financial markets will “really bounce back” from the see-sawing of recent days over concerns that the virus is spreading and on governments’ abilities to contain it.

This came unexpectedly, it came out of China, we closed it down, we stopped it, it was a very early shut down,” he added.

There has been no official evidence provided to date that the novel coronavirus illness COVID-19 has been “shut down” in the US.

The United States has not stopped the coronavirus, Trump’s false claims notwithstanding.

Let’s look at some facts. As one example, take New York.

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in New York State doubled on Thursday to 22, with officials announcing eight new cases in Westchester County, one on Long Island and two patients in New York City who are critically ill.

. . . .

Mayor Bill de Blasio did not say how the two new New York City patients, who are in intensive care units in Manhattan and Brooklyn hospitals, became infected. Neither traveled to an area where the disease is known to be spreading, nor had a connection to people who tested positive for the disease, he said.

The mayor added that both had underlying conditions that could make the virus more dangerous to them, characterizing their condition as “critically ill.”

In a New York Times interview with Adam Kucharski, a mathematician who studies contagion statistics, we learn to be concerned if the first case in an area is severe or fatal:

One signal to watch out for is if the first case in an area is a death or a severe case, because that suggests you had a lot of community transmission already. As a back of the envelope calculation, suppose the fatality rate for cases is about 1 percent, which is plausible. If you’ve got a death, then that person probably became ill about three weeks ago. That means you probably had about 100 cases three weeks ago, in reality. In that subsequent three weeks, that number could well have doubled, then doubled, then doubled again. So you’re currently looking at 500 cases, maybe a thousand cases.

This virus is not contained. Do not listen to the people who are saying it is. And hope that our government’s priority is protecting the public, rather than pulling out a Sharpie and changing the stats to make Trump’s false statements sound correct.

Facts don’t care about your feelings, and the coronavirus don’t care about your propaganda.

As of this writing, the Dow Jones is down 465 points today.

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