Sunday, April 19, 2020

Covid19 – Whack-a-Mole?

Numbers may provide truth, but we have an obligation to study – carefully.
by Pete Fasciano, Executive Director 04/19/2020

W.H.O. logarithmic scaled chart of international progress
W.H.O. logarithmic scaled chart of international progress

"How those numbers are framed, wrapped in context and presented to us can be misleading. Here is the latest W.H.O. logarithmic scaled chart of international progress. It shows us – s-l-o-w-l-y bending the curve of viral spread.

Note that this week Dr. Deborah Birx made a pointed statement about the preferred use of the Log chart. While that presentation form has its value, you can extract a clearer understanding of exactly where we are in mitigation by studying the Linear scale as well. The Log view would have you thinking that, all in all, we’re not that far off from other nations.

However, here’s the eye opener. Same chart. Linear scale.

the eye opener. Same chart. Linear scale
the eye opener. Same chart. Linear scale

This scale shows you how little progress we have made through tough mitigation. The bend is not really a bend. It’s what the ever-expanding scale of a Log chart produces when you hit a steady-state plateau ( currently, above 10,000/week ). This is nowhere near the CDC’s mitigation target of 420/week. This presentation indicates there is almost no ‘bend’ or true flattening. We have a very long way to go.

The false bend produced by the Logarithmic function creates a false impression –
that we can break out the champagne and declare victory. ( Your best bottle of bubbly, please ).

Not so fast. Look at China and South Korea. That’s very flat, even on a Linear scale. They got there by testing and more testing, isolation and more onerous isolation. Note that even as a flat trajectory at a very low rate compared to the U.S., their rate of new infection cases continues to double roughly every nine days or so. However slowly, the viral spread continues even under the best of mitigation efforts.

We once had 14,000 U.S. domestic flights. Even a minimum of that air traffic transports the virus at uncontainable rates. The virus continues to spread rapidly, freely hitchhiking about the country as it will. We will be stamping out viral fires, and locking down cities here and there, only to have more fires pop up elsewhere like a deadly game of Whack-a-Mole. These flareups will be our new normal until we can test and trace rapidly.

Now the President is encouraging an impatient citizenry to “liberate states”. They gather to protest – in crowds tight enough and large enough to spread the virus. Regardless of the hopeful mathematical models and projections we embrace today, when we change the input data, we change the outcome. We change our future.

‘Stay-at-home’ be damned. The emotionally infectious bravado of a protest crowd cannot protect it – or us. If the President pushes governors to ‘open up’ the country, some will comply. Those eager states will bring hurt upon us all.

Know that you are truly on your own regarding your personal health and safety. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home. For your own sake, stay there.

We have no testing. The current rate of testing is effectively next to zero on a per capita basis. We can’t begin to trace or treat what we can’t meaningfully test.

May I suggest that the feds need to shove the cork back in the bottle for another day
– a day that’s far off in the future.

Help yourself and others. Find away to mask up. As a fashion statement: Mask is the new black.

And – as always –
Thank you for listening to wfpr●fm. And, thank you for watching."

For the full program Guide for this week for Franklin TV and Franklin Public Radio

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