The Stanford study findings as reported in my previous post have created a lot of controversy. Now a Los Angeles study supports the results of the Stanford study. Neither of these studies have been published yet to receive peer reviews. These reviews are vital critical steps in research to examine study elements replicability, credibility and reliability to determine if they are valid to also support the conclusions.
These studies do indicate the virus is much more widespread than has been thought. Additional information suggests the first U.S. West Coast cases occurred earlier than believed, possibly in California, not Washington.
Questions are being raised about the reliability of the study tests used. Another source of bias was the manner in which social media was used to obtain participants.
This information is pertinent in determining what is best for each of us to consider in order to prevent our contracting or spreading the virus as discussed in this Modern Health Care Associated Press (AP) article. Pertinent cautions are offered for individuals and government officials formulating policy including:
"Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research, said the tests are not well validated and they overestimate the number of people who have been infected. Some may conclude that if that many people have been infected without symptoms severe enough to seek a test or medical attention, it's not a major threat.
"The problem is they've given a false sense that this is not a bad virus after all," Topol said. "It's bad math, bad tests and bad outcomes for the confusion that it engenders."
Meanwhile, more people are gradually being tested but so many more should have been tested earlier and still need to be now.
Most recently critics of the Stanford Study include Travis Gerke, an epidemiologist and visiting scientist at Harvard who discusses another of the study authors, John Ioannidis, also a highly regarded epidemiologist. He “... has wondered if Ioannidis should consider rereading his own most famous paper, “Why Most Published Research Findings are False.”
“His current study fits most of the high-risk criteria for falsehood that he outlines, such as publishing in a really hot scientific field with few corroborating studies, using a small bias sample, [and] reporting provocative findings in a politically charged arena,” Gerke said.”
This all matters because decisions about how we best protect ourselves, whether or not we shelter-in-place or freely resume business as usual, moving somewhat safely about in our communities, are highly influenced by the results of these studies and more to come.
Incidentally, the next time we read articles on any topic citing research studies we might be wise to consider if any high-risk criteria for falsehood might apply to their study conclusions.
One upside positive effect of this virus is on our environment here in So Cal. Los Angeles now has some of the clearest air in the world since we have so few polluting autos on the road. Air is cleaner elsewhere in the world too, including China and India cities. More wildlife creatures are making their appearance on the streets in surrounding communities since fewer humans are infringing on what was once the animals’ habitat. Mother Earth may be sending us a message, but will we listen?
A downside is that this virus is (just as are organized violence. riots, insurrection) a wanna-be autocratic leader’s dream, offering the opportunity to legally take more control of a country, all in the name of securing health, safety and security of the citizens. Fostering confusion and chaos helps create an environment conducive to being able to take such action with the approval of many citizens. Maybe even justifying declaring martial law.
Controls will all seem quite justified and acceptable to the people as they relinquish their freedoms – but with that kind of leader they may never regain those freedoms in the future. In fact, citizens may lose even more freedoms – truth will become obscured, the press will parrot only the government’s view, dissension will not be tolerated. History tells us this has happened repeatedly in the past and in our lifetime even now.
We might want to keep that in mind during our Cornonavirus in the weeks and months ahead. Can we count on Congressional oversight and our Constitution to insure we would regain any freedoms if we have any taken from us expecting them to be returned?
Anyone following this blog knows that as shelter-in-place due to the coronavirus was initiated, simultaneously I was without my internet connection and phone land line for almost a week before a repairman was able to come troubleshoot the problem (glad I also had a cell phone). Fortunately, he didn’t need to come into the house which neither of us wanted. Seems as I wrote then, he diagnosed, then repaired lines outside my house because some critter – likely a squirrel – had chewed my wiring, creating my communication life-line catastrophe.
My affection for these bushy-tailed squirrelly rodents has been gradually decreasing through the years due to their escalating misbehaviors increasingly outweighing, in my mind, the cuteness of their behaviors. The past few weeks I’ve repeatedly had to retrieve from the patio cement, items that I had to return to the patio table where they belonged. I couldn’t understand what was happening with these objects. One afternoon I glanced out the glassed-in-door-window from my living room to see a switching fluffy-tailed squirrel in obvious deep thought as he reclined on my lounge chair next to the patio table. My detective-self pondered the evidence, then thought, aha!
While he/she squirrel was not actually caught in any malevolent acts, I am firmly convinced that squirrel is attempting to move in and take over my residence. First, the attempts to sever my connection to the outside world. Then comes the repeated mysterious disorienting relocations of my possessions on the patio table as he moves closer to accessing the interior of my house. So, there he was, reclining in my lounge chair, plotting his next move. I carefully moved to unlock my door to confront him but Squirrelly instantly departed upon hearing my lock’s click. We will likely have a day of reckoning in our future.
As if I don’t have enough on my mind with this CORVID-19, though I can take comfort that isolating the past five weeks in my home isn’t getting to me. I only talked to that web designer spider once, but now they say a possibly worse virus rebound in the fall accompanied by the flu is a possibility, then we may have a food shortage in another year. My mind reels.
I wonder if I should start a raised garden in my backyard – but what about the squirrel – will he come with his pals and even invite the birds? The raccoons, possums and skunks can't be far behind. I’ve noticed the mockingbirds flitting about as they follow my every move when I go outdoors, I suspect calling reports to one another in ever-changing song language codes. Meanwhile I haven’t lost my sanity – I’m only paranoid, or maybe that's a virus transmitted from our nation’s leader. I’ll have to take each day as it comes.