Another Differing Coronavirus Opinion

This time Christopher Balding explains the inconsistencies in testing, diagnoses and how that incorrectly informs our policy response

If we assume that the first patient was in Wuhan on November 15 and began infecting people at what we will assume is a fixed rate, the daily rate of growth through Friday March 27, 2020 based upon confirmed cases would have been 10.51%. In other words, if corona cases grow everyday from November 15, 2019 through March 27, 2020 by 10.5%, the numbers would grow from 1 to the number of confirmed cases of 596,000. The confirmed observed cases would account for the entirety of corona transmission vectors.

Does this match what the research shows us empirically? No. In this case there are two important assumptions being made. First, the assumed growth rate matches the real growth rate and all cases are observed confirmed cases. In reality both are false and we know both are false. What is important for our purposes here, is that they do not even need to diverge enormously for the end results to be significantly different. To again, take a simple example. Let’s assume, corona is really growing at 11% daily instead of 10.5% daily. How big of a difference does that make? Now the real number is of corona infections is not 596,000 but 1.1 million all because corona grew just a little faster than we expected. 12% becomes 3.5 million and 15% becomes 118 million with real infections outpacing observed infections by a factor of 200.

Balding goes on to point out that the WHO's R0 is 2.0-2.5. However, published research studying outbreaks in China, Italy, South Korea and Iran all document R0s from 3.0-5.0 and only dropping to 2.0 after major containment measures, "indicating that the disease spread much faster than the WHO guidelines."

Since the speed of the spread is much faster than WHO's published figures then the magnitude of the spread and any research based off of WHO's figures is under-reported, too.

Second, testing in most parts of the world, especially China and Asia, is significantly flawed with high numbers of false negative tests. Research from China finds false negative tests on 30-60% of positive patients with some studies going higher. Let us use a low estimate and say 25% of cases who got tested for corona tested negative were actually positive and they in turn infected one other person at some point. Both are low estimates but for our simple example will work. In an additional attempt to be conservative, I will do this only for China. This gives us an additional 27,00 additional cases just from false negatives and if we assume they each infected one person, this gives us a total 54,000 new unknown cases. How big an impact would that be? That increases global cases by 9.1%.

Third, we know that numerous key countries record cases differently leading to large undercount. Leaving aside political interference, we know that China for instance states they do not count asymptomatic or only mild cases even refusing to test. ... According to places that have taken broad quasi random or population tests, asymptomatic and mild cases of corona are the large majority of all cases. For our purposes, we will again undercount this population and assume them to be 50%. So if China records 82,000 moderate to severe symptomatic cases, this will imply an asymptomatic or mild population of 82,000. We make the same follow up assumption, each of these people then infected one additional person. This gives us an additional population of 164,000 cases not counted in official data. We now have 218,000 new cases just from how data is counted. This would be equal to 37% of total global cases.

Add Christopher Balding to the list of intellectuals that disagree with prevailing public opinion and the opinion of the majority of the world's leading epidemiologists. I am now of the opinion that even the leading epidemiologists wouldn't disagree that they are misleading the public.

Take the WHO & CDC's incessant proclamations that masks don't help prevent coronavirus:

Potentially they believe that misleading the public is an acceptible casualty in this war against Coronavirus. I suppose it could be an acceptible casualty in some scenario, though I don't believe this is it.