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# BREAKING: Stanford Study: COVID-19 Case Fatality Rate May be Overstated by a factor of 85

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As we have discussed in these pages, the CFR (case fatality rate) for COVID-19 is extremely difficult to calculate. We have a rough estimate of the numerator (deaths). But even that may be off, because of the difference between dying “with” COVID-19 and dying “of” COVID-19. In other words, if a person who was going to die of cancer today anyway gets COVID-19 an hour before he dies, is it correct to say he died of the virus just because he had it when he died. This is not theoretical. The Health Minister of Italy said the virus fatality number in his country is certainly overstated for this reason.

For all the problems the numerator has, they pale in comparison to the denominator. I think it is fair to say that any estimate of the actual number of cases out there borders on wild speculation, no matter the good faith and expertise of the researcher making the calculations. We know that “cases presenting for treatment” would be way too low, because most cases don’t present for treatment. We know that “all those that test positive” is too low, because the rate of testing is both uneven geographically and limited numerically for logistical reasons.

Now we have this study out of Stanford to really throw a monkey wrench into the calculations. Very briefly, they tested a large sample of people in an attempt to get a handle on the incidence of the virus in the wild. It turns out that way more people had the virus and did not even know it that was previously thought. Read the study. But here’s the bottom line: The denominator may be understated by a factor of up to 85.

So, if the previous estimate of the CFR was 2%, the actual CFR may be 2% divided by 85.

Total Deaths in USA: (as of 6:00 PM EST) 45,126 Total Deaths in New York and New Jersey: 24,446 (presumably all around New York City for the most part) So, in one giant metropolitan area (roughly): 24,446 The other 48 states in the Union: 20,680 If you eliminate New York and New Jersey, the corona virus looks like a mild flu season, so far. Right? Is this simply due to the "lockdown"? I don't think so, but, as they say, time will tell. However, study after study points to a CFR of 0.1% or less. The CFR for the common flu is, of course, 0.1%. I believe that it will ultimately prove to be less than 0.1%. I've said that from the beginning. I've made this point above. Again, what happened in the New York area? Was there some kind of willful contamination that took place? Was it because New York is the financial capital of America? Were the Chinese involved? These questions should be looked into and, if possible, answered.PaV
April 21, 2020
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Sev
That was mass killing on a scale that the 20th century dictators could only have dreamed about.
But if their god does it, it is morally acceptable. Didn’t you get the church leaflet?Ed George
April 21, 2020
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TF
You do not support abortion?
No.Ed George
April 21, 2020
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Nothing quite like the blatant hypocrisy of an atheist as when an atheist with no objective moral basis starts making moral judgments on the people who dare point out to him that he has no objective moral basis in which to make moral judgments. I have a parable for you EG:
THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES https://andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheEmperorsNewClothes_e.html
bornagain77
April 21, 2020
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@Ed George You do not support abortion?Truthfreedom
April 21, 2020
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EG TBA77
I guess it is easy to win an argument when you tell your opponent what he must believe. I guess you take your victories where you can get them, even if they are hollow ones.
Inane rejoinder by TF
According to you, killing an unborn is something that should be advocated ‘for the greater good’ (women, society). How are you any better than the nazi who supported killing jews ‘for the greater good of the Deutsch people’?
TF, if you have to lie to try to win an argument, you are no better than BA77 telling me what I have to believe in so that he can claim victory. Is the hollow victories the reason some call this an echo chamber?Ed George
April 21, 2020
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Bornagain77 @
It is estimated that in the past 100 years, governments under the banner of atheistic communism have caused the death of somewhere between 40,472,000 and 259,432,000 human lives.[6] Dr. R. J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii, is the scholar who first coined the term democide (death by government). Dr. R. J. Rummel’s mid estimate regarding the loss of life due to communism is that communism caused the death of approximately 110,286,000 people between 1917 and 1987.[7]
According to your Old Testament, God killed almost every living thing on the surface of the planet, men, women, children, the unborn and all other animal and plant life. That was mass killing on a scale that the 20th century dictators could only have dreamed about.Seversky
April 21, 2020
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@Ed George According to you, killing an unborn is something that should be advocated 'for the greater good' (women, society). How are you any better than the nazi who supported killing jews 'for the greater good of the Deutsch people'?Truthfreedom
April 21, 2020
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BA77
EG says that murder is senseless. And just why is murder suppose to make any sense under your atheistic worldview EG? Yours is a worldview of pitiless indifference!
I guess it is easy to win an argument when you tell your opponent what he must believe. I guess you take your victories where you can get them, even if they are hollow ones.Ed George
April 21, 2020
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EG says that murder is senseless. And just why is murder suppose to make any sense under your atheistic worldview EG? Yours is a worldview of pitiless indifference!bornagain77
April 21, 2020
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@ Ed George No mockery here. Just reasoning. The same reasoning naturalism has destroyed. The same one you have been silencing for decades. If life is an accident, it has no value. Why should I refrain from killing dozens of purposeless chemical bags and blow my brains out after that? Naturalism has been seeding death. You despise babies, and characterize them as 'parasites'. And now, when you reap death, you dare to complain. Hypocrite.Truthfreedom
April 21, 2020
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TF
Each person has to find their own purpose in life. For some people, it’s killing other human beings. And you are no one to judge, since morality is subjective.
Well, I don't use the senseless murder of 18 people, and the suffering of their families, as fodder to mock someone simply because I disagree with their opinions. This says more about your reprehensible nature than it does about the point you are trying to make.Ed George
April 21, 2020
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EG, in fact both US and Canada have tracked in the same band of cases, rates of growth and fatality rates, as the regular OWID tracking charts show. You have made an unrepresentative contrast, ignoring the population. Surely, you know that there are probability distributions? And, across history, governance and culture in the two states are significantly different, Canada being far more centralised and regulated than the US. KFkairosfocus
April 21, 2020
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TF as to
Each person has to find their own purpose in life. For some people, it’s killing other human beings.
To wit
Young mass murderers Recent increases in tragic mass murders perpetrated by young individuals have prompted questions about their rationale for doing so. Below is evidence that their motives have been overwhelmingly from deteriorating social conditions in their personal lives.[1] For example, (most were) atheistic or liberal, or driven by hatred of God.,,, https://www.conservapedia.com/Young_mass_murderers Atheism and Mass Murder Concerning atheism and mass murder, Christian apologist Gregory Koukl wrote that "the assertion is that religion has caused most of the killing and bloodshed in the world. There are people who make accusations and assertions that are empirically false. This is one of them."[1] Koukl details the number of people killed in various events involving theism and compares them to the much higher tens of millions of people killed under atheistic communist regimes, in which militant atheism served as the official doctrine of the state.[1] Historically, atheism has generally been an integral part of communist ideology (see: Atheism and communism). Communist regimes killed 60 million in the 20th century through genocide, according to Le Monde, more than 100 million people[2] according to The Black Book of Communism (Courtois, Stéphane, et al., 1997).[3] and according to Cleon Skousen[4] in his best-selling book The Naked Communist.[5] It is estimated that in the past 100 years, governments under the banner of atheistic communism have caused the death of somewhere between 40,472,000 and 259,432,000 human lives.[6] Dr. R. J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii, is the scholar who first coined the term democide (death by government). Dr. R. J. Rummel's mid estimate regarding the loss of life due to communism is that communism caused the death of approximately 110,286,000 people between 1917 and 1987.[7] https://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_Mass_Murder
bornagain77
April 21, 2020
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@EG
Each person has to find their own purpose in life. For some people, it's killing other human beings. And you are no one to judge, since morality is subjective. You only have your opinion, that is not even yours, it is the result of neurochemicals. Meaning it is irrational. That's what happens with certain philosophies. I am talking of naturalism, of course.Truthfreedom
April 21, 2020
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PaV @ 38 -
You did. But how did you go from those facts to your conclusion? That's what I'd like to know.Bob O'H
April 20, 2020
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BTW if anybody wants a pdf copy of the classic Intro to Error Analysis textbook it’s here: http://hep.ucsb.edu/courses/ph128_18f/Taylor.pdfJim Thibodeau
April 20, 2020
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@Ed George I highly recommend the book Bad Blood, which details how Theranos tried to cheat and do lots of tests on microliter samples. They came up with the genius idea of just diluting the crap out of them and then running them on normal Abbot, Kleiner Perkins etc machines and then multiplying. You don’t need to have an entire semester of Error Analysis to guess that was going to be disastrous fraud ending in jailtime.Jim Thibodeau
April 20, 2020
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The recent spree killing in Canada (18 dead) made me think about whether the lock-down in the US has reduced the number of mass shootings (I’m always looking for the silver lining). Sadly, this has not happened.Ed George
April 20, 2020
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JT, most patients accept lab results as if they were gospel. If they knew how much uncertainty was involved with most medical tests they would always be demanding retesting.Ed George
April 20, 2020
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@EdGeorge, I remember the very last immunology/serology tests that I ever did, it was a batch of rprs for syphilis on those cards with 3x4 spots. H. Pylori was the only other test that I did on a regular basis in that department. 2-3% positive for antibodies? That could just be false positives. There were multiple disease conditions that could throw false positives on the syphilis rprs. Agglutination is sorta nonspecific.Jim Thibodeau
April 20, 2020
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As to herd immunity. https://apple.news/ABQknxC2PTjuhgKozySLyDAEd George
April 20, 2020
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Now that North America has reached the peak of the wave, it might be a good time to compare Canada and the US. Cases/million: US 2,395, Canada 976. Deaths/million: US 128, Canada 45 Tests/million: US 12,164, Canada 14,826 Median age: US 38.1, Canada 42.2. Urbanization rate US 82.3, Canada 81.1%. Health care system: US private, Canada public. The question that has to be asked, with similar median age, testing levels, and urbanization rate, why is Canada so different in infection and death rates?Ed George
April 20, 2020
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Here’s a question to chew on: how much as basic epidimiology helped us? It has been, for the most part, a compete hindrance.
This other universe in which you live must be a fascinating place. One of the things epidemiology has helped us to do is calculate the effects of quarantine on R0 on the ship:https://academic.oup.com/jtm/article/doi/10.1093/jtm/taaa030/5766334 So it started spreading like wildfire (faster than in Wuhan) and the less-than-prefect measures taken on the ship slowed that considerably. There is no reason to think most of the ship caught the disease. (BTW, with regard to herd immunity, it's important to know the epidemic won't just stop when that number if reached. Many many people will have the virus when that level of infection is reached, and some of them will still infect others. If the threshold for herd immunity is 60%, you might expect more than 80% of the population to get the virus in an uncontrolled epidemic, perhaps killing > 1 million Americans)orthomyxo
April 20, 2020
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Bob O'H: Here's a question to chew on: how much as basic epidimiology helped us? It has been, for the most part, a compete hindrance. Now, to answer your question: I quoted known facts.PaV
April 20, 2020
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If the New York City metropolitan area is subtracted from the death total, the US drops out of the top 10 in the world in deaths per million people. And except for a few more heavily populated areas in the country, the US would be further down the list. This calculation is forever fluctuating a little since the numbers change hourly,jerry
April 20, 2020
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80% of those on the ship did not develop CoVid-19. If we assume that they were exposed to the virus, does this mean that only 20% of the population even begins to develop anti-bodies? If this is so, then you don’t need 60% of the population showing antibodies, but only around 20%.
Can you explain how you came to that conclusion? I thought, from simple epidemiology, you'd need an R0 of below 1.2 for that to work.Bob O'H
April 20, 2020
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As to herd immunity, I began thinking about the Diamond Princess cruise ship numbers. Some have said that there was a "lockdown," yet that has to be questioned since those on board seem to suggest, at least some, that the 'lockdown' was a joke; i.e., it was completely ineffective. 80% of those on the ship did not develop CoVid-19. If we assume that they were exposed to the virus, does this mean that only 20% of the population even begins to develop anti-bodies? If this is so, then you don't need 60% of the population showing antibodies, but only around 20%. Cooked into this view is the idea that the 80% already had antibodies in place that turned back the virus, and so, would not show antibodies to this particular virus. Just a thought. If this thought turns out to be correct, then when they show 13% of random samples in Boston showing antibodies, this might mean we're much closer to herd immunity than we think. We simply have to wait for the testing and the numbers. In the meantime, let's get back to work with sensible distancing policies in place and with healthcare teams ready to stamp down any hot spots. Or else disaster lurks.PaV
April 20, 2020
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Ed George: I wish you were right, but it looks fairly certain that they are "cooking the books" right now. Gov. Cuomo shows how hospitalizations have steadily being going down, yet, this morning, New York is reporting over 1,000 dead. It's possible that this is from residual cases from even two weeks ago. Yet, New York reported 877 deaths for three days straight--I might be exaggerating, but you get the idea, only a week or so ago; and, now, over a 1,000 with hospital beds emptying out. The numbers, and the people behind the numbers, sadly, cannot be trusted. Greed is a powerful force. Government dollars--trillions, are up for grabs. Heaven help us. For four weeks, the number of new cases and new deaths were correlated, the latter trailing the former by about three or four days. If you look at the charts for Spain and for Italy, this is what you continue to see. Yet, for the United States, this correlation has completely fallen apart. We're in "La-La Land" right now.PaV
April 20, 2020
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Note Jerry, here https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/ethics/on-scientific-methods-and-alternatives-to-the-placebo-control-is-the-gold-standard-view-in-the-face-of-pandemics/#comment-699032kairosfocus
April 19, 2020
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