Drowning in Coronavirus Research, Part Tres

By April 21, 2020 Commentary

Well, here we go again with the Sweden comparison, only sane country on the planet.  Their strategy is clearly working, their per capita death rate is lower than many other countries and they haven’t tried to mangle their economy.  And they are heading to natural immunity.  A new antibody study from Sweden shows a high rate of infection among the population.  The study is in Swedish, so it will take me a few days to be fluent enough to understand it, in the meantime I will rely on this newspaper report.   (Swedish Study)  The conclusions were based on a model of infections as well as antibodies detected in about 10% of blood donor samples.  The authors of the study say that for every one reported positive case of coronavirus infection, there are far more unreported ones.  More when the study is translated (which won’t be done by me).

Along similar lines, Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA Commissioner said in an interview the total number of infections is likely 10 or 20 times greater than those found in reported test results, meaning that hospitalization and death rates are correspondingly lower.  (Gottlieb Interview)

And a study from the French Alps indicates that children have difficulty becoming infected with or transmitting the virus.  (French Study)  The researchers examined a single cluster of 12 coronavirus disease cases.  One child who was infected attended three schools while infected but did not transmit the virus to any other children.  The cluster started with a tourist who was in a chalet with 15 other guests.  12 of the persons developed an infection.  Note what that says about how infectious the virus is.  The index case had moderate symptoms.  One person who subsequently stayed in a room in the chalet also became infected.  Only the one child became infected.  Most of the cases were mild at best, all resolved without serious illness.

And it does seem to be true that living in a high population density area is linked to faster spread of the virus.  (Medrxiv Paper)   The authors modeled the length and strength of the outbreak in various parts of China and found a correlation between both speed and depth of infections and greater population density.  And a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research concludes that the epidemic in New York was facilitated by transmission via the subways.  (NBER Paper)

Leave a Reply