[LMB] OT: COVID-19 news

Karen Hunt huntkc at gmail.com
Sun Apr 19 17:39:53 BST 2020

On Sun, Apr 19, 2020 at 10:58 AM WILLIAM A WENRICH <wawenri at msn.com> wrote:

> I have been trying to follow the news from a lot of different sources
> print, TV, and internet. Most have been contradictory even self
> contradictory. The sources never, in my experience, say, “What we said
> yesterday was wrong. Here is our most recent information.” Originally I was
> going to use a more pungent illustration but I toned it down.
> Gayle refuses to listen to one news reader because she always starts out
> with “breaking news” even when the story is days old.
> It’s even harder get information on other countries or even other states.
> Examples:
> From the beginning I’ve been worried about the homeless camps in
> California. Lots of people in close proximity, bad sanitation, and poor
> physical condition seems to be tailor made for a disaster. I’ve heard
> nothing consistent.
> All I’ve heard from South America is from a college friend of Gayle’s in
> Asunción, Paraguay. There people over 60 must stay inside their homes
> enforced by the police and military. I’ve heard nothing about Santiago,
> Chile which is very densely populated. Nor from Brazil except for some
> early worries.
> The information I had about Australia was mostly wrong. Thanks for the
> corrections from the list. If there is new information, please post. I
> worry.
> What I hear from Canada is totally contradictory. Possibly because Canada
> is a big country and conditions are not the same every where.
> From the UK, the news is mostly contradictory. I did see an article on how
> they are combining NHS and private medical facilities.
> Europe seems to be all over the place with Italy and Spain hardest hit.
> Each country seems to be using a slightly different approach.
> Sweden is doing things differently and reports are totally contradictory.
> Everything from moving right along to imminent disaster.
> I won’t mention other places where, if there is information I don’t trust
> it from any source.
> Part of the problem is that nobody knows but people are reluctant or not
> allowed to say that.
> Please post anything solid that you know.

Since no one else has responded with better info I will give this a bit of
a try:

I think you're going to need to be more specific. Do you want knowledge
about the disease itself, about what methods are being used by which
countries with how much success, or what treatments are most effective, or
something else?

Purely on the medical side, I see plenty of "we don't know" where I'm at:
eg: My doctor was quite willing to admit she has no idea whether I should
keep taking immunosuppressants and HCQ as I've been doing for the last few
months for Rheumatoid Arthritis - the deep knowledge of how medicines and
chronic illnesses interact with COVID does not exist yet.

If you are curious about data analysis and predictions regarding COVID, my
best suggestion is to go to fivethirtyeight.com - Nate Silver has serious
statistical mathematics chops, and he's done a very good job of finding
experts willing to talk. (I also go to https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
and  https://covidtracking.com/data and
- for the last one, go to the bottom of the page to get current predictions
for any or all US states.

I have a OneNote page for information that I need for reference purposes,
such as an age distribution for people of my state.

Wikipedia has a lot of discussion, which appears good enough to use for a
first pass at understanding a lot of things. Yes, wikipedia has its
limitations, and I've seen plenty of mistakes within it, but it remains the
best first place to go to learn from, and the references are an extremely
valuable jumping-off point for learning in depth. So see:

In the end, it's a brand-new situation with too many changing variables for
anyone to say all that much with any certainty.

Karen Hunt

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