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stopdiggin

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Member since: Fri Jul 6, 2018, 06:29 PM
Number of posts: 3,760

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Woman's Death in California Upends Virus Timeline in U.S.

Resets the timeline in the U.S. -- Also reemphasizes "community" contact vector.

NYTimes (no paywall)
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/coronavirus-live-coverage.html

- snip -- The revelation that a coronavirus death took place in the United States in early February shifts the understanding of its arrival in this country and changes the picture of what the nation was contending with by the time government officials began taking action.
-- The first Covid-19 death in the United States had previously been thought to be on Feb. 26 in Seattle, one of the worst-hit cities in the country.
-- Officials in Santa Clara County said Wednesday that a newly discovered coronavirus-linked death Feb. 6, the earliest known death in the United States caused by the virus, was one of more than a dozen deaths in the county that the medical examiner had suspicions about and ordered investigated.

- snip -- The Feb. 6 death was a 57-year-old woman who died at her home in Silicon Valley, officials said Wednesday.
-- The announcement has reset the timeline of the spread of infection in the United States.
-- Officials have said that the death was believed to have been the result of community spread, not travel to another country.

Antibody Test, Seen as Key to Reopening Country, Does Not Yet Deliver

Good (layman accesible/understandable) info at NYTimes. (not behind a paywall for Covid reporting) Wish it were better news, but .. Calling it a hodge-podge is probably being kind.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/19/us/coronavirus-antibody-tests.html?

-snip -- In recent weeks, the United States has seen the first rollout of blood tests for coronavirus antibodies, widely heralded as crucial tools to assess the reach of the pandemic in the United States, restart the economy and reintegrate society. But for all their promise, the tests — intended to signal whether people may have built immunity to the virus — are already raising alarms.
- snip -- In Laredo, officials discovered the tests they received were woefully inadequate. The local health department found them to have a reliability of about 20 percent, far from the 93 to 97 percent the company had claimed. A police investigation led to a federal seizure of the tests.
- snip -- More than 90 companies have jumped into the market since the F.D.A. eased its rules and allowed antibody tests to be sold without formal federal review or approval. -snip - Their products vary. Some test only for a transient antibody that spikes while the body is in the throes of an active infection. An antibody that peaks about four weeks after infection and typically marks longer-term immunity is a separate target. There are tests that look for both antibodies; others also look for a third involved in respiratory infections.
- snip -- Rapid tests are by far the easiest to administer. But they are also the most unreliable — so much so that the World Health Organization recommends against their use. Most are manufactured in China. Reports of countries that quickly bought millions have just as swiftly been followed by accounts of poor performance. For example, Britain recently said the millions of rapid tests it had ordered from China were not sensitive enough to detect antibodies except in people who were severely ill. In Spain, the testing push turned into a fiasco last month after the initial batch of kits it received had an accuracy of 30 percent, rather than the advertised 80 percent.
- snip -- In an effort to speed up access, the F.D.A. apparently did not fully consider how these tests would be administered. The agency released a guidance document saying that antibody tests could be performed at “point-of-care” settings, indicating that doctors, nurses and others could give them to patients in their offices. But agency officials also acknowledged that under federal law, if a test has not been authorized by the agency, it must be conducted in so-called high-complexity laboratories, like some large commercial facilities or public health labs. The officials decline to provide additional clarification.

- snip -- Less than 5 percent of the U.S. population may be infected, and even in hot zones like New York or New Orleans, the prevalence may not be higher than 10 to 15 percent, according to Dr. Osterholm. In China, early screening in hard-hit Wuhan indicates that only about 3 percent of the population has antibodies against the new coronavirus.
-- When the proportion of people exposed is that low, the tests’ false positive rate — signaling antibodies where there are none — can limit the tests’ utility.
-- Even Cellex’s F.D.A.-authorized test has a false positive rate of about 5 percent. That is still a significant margin of error: In a community where 5 percent of people have had the virus, Dr. Osterholm said, there would be as many false positives as true ones.


The good news .. tests are (finally) becoming more available .. in some situations, and in some places.
The not so good news .. they're mostly a mess, and they're likely not really giving us the information we need.

'There Will Be Losses': How a Captain's Plea Exposed a Rift in the Military

Good reporting on the incident. Well worth the read (and the Times is not behind a paywall)

Among other things, 1) Modly was advised by military leaders to "wait for the investigation" .. but pleasing Trump (or fear of displeasing Trump) caused him to act. 2) The address aboard the Roosevelt horrified civilian and military alike. Modly was probably gone before he set down back in the states. 3) Military are concerned that the incident highlights not only problems with this virus and this carrier .. but also systemic issues dealing with discipline, respect and command.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/12/us/politics/coronavirus-roosevelt-carrier-crozier.html?
-snip - The episode shows how the military, the most structured and hierarchical part of the government, has tried to adjust to an erratic president, and how in a hollowed-out leadership, acting secretaries have replaced those confirmed by the Senate.
-snip - ... infuriated Mr. Modly. His next actions stunned Pentagon officials and effectively turned the crew of the Roosevelt even more solidly against him. Mr. Modly boarded a Gulfstream business jet at an airfield in suburban Washington and made the 35-hour round-trip flight to Guam, at a cost of $243,116.65, according to a Navy official, confirming a report in USA Today.
- snip - Then he went to the Roosevelt and delivered a 15-minute diatribe over the ship’s loudspeakers berating the crew for cheering for its captain. He called Captain Crozier either “too naïve” or “too stupid” to command an aircraft carrier. He told the sailors they should never trust the media. He blamed China for the virus. Less than 30 minutes later, after taking no questions from the sailors, he was gone.
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