More evidence suggests COVID-19 was in US by Christmas 2019

Link: https://tucson.com/news/national/more-evidence-suggests-covid-19-was-in-us-by-christmas-2019/article_2235808e-a75b-55dd-aaeb-6a17877d03d8.html?utm_campaign=snd-autopilot&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter_

Excerpt:

NEW YORK (AP) — A new analysis of blood samples from 24,000 Americans taken early last year is the latest and largest study to suggest that the new coronavirus popped up in the U.S. in December 2019 — weeks before cases were first recognized by health officials.

The analysis is not definitive, and some experts remain skeptical, but federal health officials are increasingly accepting a timeline in which small numbers of COVID-19 infections may have occurred in the U.S. before the world ever became aware of a dangerous new virus erupting in China.

…..

The pandemic coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Officially, the first U.S. infection to be identified was a traveler — a Washington state man who returned from Wuhan on Jan. 15 and sought help at a clinic on Jan. 19.

CDC officials initially said the spark that started the U.S. outbreak arrived during a three-week window from mid-January to early February. But research since then — including some done by the CDC — has suggested a small number of infections occurred earlier. 

Author(s): Mike Stobbe

Publication Date: 15 June 2021

Publication Site: Tuscon.com, from AP

Mortality Nuggets: NYT Misleads, COVID Deaths Down, and Car Crash Fatalities Up

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/mortality-nuggets-nyt-misleads-covid

Graphic:

Excerpt:

I want you to notice something — the blue bars are the “with COVID” portion of deaths, and the chartreuse bars are the ones “without COVID”. The bars are weekly counts of deaths when they occurred. Ignore the most recent weeks because they don’t have full data reported yet.

The red pluses indicate excess mortality, defined as exceeding the 95th percentile for expected mortality for that week (so it includes seaonality). You can see the excess mortality from the 2017-2018 flu season, which was bad for a flu season.

The non-COVID mortality has been in excessive mortality range for almost all 2020 after March. But since the beginning of 2021, it has dropped off…. and COVID mortality has also dropped off.

I think we may be almost in “normal” range soon. We shall see!

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 13 June 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Which Groups Are Still Dying of Covid in the U.S.?

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/06/10/us/covid-death-patterns.html

Graphics:

image

Excerpt:

“Previously, at the start of the pandemic, we were seeing people who were over the age of 60, who have numerous comorbidities,” said Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious disease expert at the Medical University of South Carolina. “I’m not seeing that as much anymore.” Instead, she said, hospitalizations have lately been skewing toward “people who are younger, people who have not been vaccinated.”

More than 80 percent of those 65 and older have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, compared with about half of those aged 25 to 64 who have received one dose. Data collected by the C.D.C. on so-called breakthrough infections — those that happen to vaccinated people — suggest an exceedingly low rate of death among people who had received a Covid-19 vaccine.

Author(s): Denise Lu

Publication Date: 10 June 2021

Publication Site: New York Times

Update to Special Reports on Traffic Safety During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Fourth Quarter Data

Link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/2021-06/Update_Traffic%20Safety%20During%20COVID-19_4thQtr-060121-web.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The NEMSIS data include metrics on crash severity. For people treated at the scenes of motor vehicle crashes, EMS professionals use an injury scoring system called the Revised Trauma Score (RTS) to determine the level of care needed to save the lives of the injured. Under
RTS, patients who present with a probability of survival of 36.1% or less are considered severely injured and are often transported to Level 1 or Level 2 trauma centers that provide higher levels of critical care to the most severely injured. Figure 4 shows the percentage of
patients in crashes whose probability of survival was in this range for 2019 and 2020. Beginning in Week 12 of 2020, the percentage of those injured with a probability of survival of 36.1% or less never dropped below 1%, suggesting an increase in the severity of crashes.

Publication Date: June 2021

Publication Site: NHTSA

Early Estimates of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities and Fatality Rate by Sub-Categories in 2020

Link: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813118

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Total fatality rate per 100 million VMT [vehicle miles traveled] is broken down by roadway function class: rural versus urban interstate, arterial, local/collector/street. The results shown in Figure 2 indicate that the increased trend of the total fatality rate per 100 million VMT from March to December 2020, was mainly driven by the fatality rate per 100 million VMT on the rural local/collector/street, rural and urban arterial roadways.

Publication Date: May 2021

Publication Site: NHTSA

2020 Fatality Data Show Increased Traffic Fatalities During Pandemic

Link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/2020-fatality-data-show-increased-traffic-fatalities-during-pandemic

Excerpt:

Preliminary finding show that traffic fatalities rose in most major categories over 2019: 

Passenger vehicle occupants (23,395, up 5%)

Pedestrians (6,205, flat from 2019)

Motorcyclists (5,015, up 9%)

Pedalcyclists (people on bikes) (846, up 5%)

Crash factors and demographics reviewed by NHTSA that showed the largest increases in 2020 as compared to 2019 included: 

non-Hispanic Black people (up 23%); 

occupant ejection (up 20%);

unrestrained occupants of passenger vehicles (up 15%);

on urban interstates (up 15%);

on urban local/collector roads (up 12%);

in speeding-related crashes (up 11%);

on rural local/collector roads (up 11%); 

during nighttime (up 11%); 

during the weekend (up 9%); 

in rollover crashes (up 9%); 

in single-vehicle crashes (up 9%) and; 

in police-reported alcohol involvement crashes (up 9%).

There are a few categories that are projected to have decreases in fatalities in 2020. Fatalities in crashes involving a large truck (commercial or non-commercial use) are projected to decline marginally (down 2%).  Fatalities among older persons (65+ years of age) are projected to decline by about 9 percent.

Publication Date: 3 June 2021

Publication Site: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Edmond Halley’s Life Table and Its Uses

Link: https://fac.comtech.depaul.edu/jciecka/Halley.pdf

Formal citation: James E. Ciecka. 2008. Edmond Halley’s Life Table and Its Uses. Journal of Legal
Economics
15(1): pp. 65-74.

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Halley obtained demographic data for Breslau, a city in Silesia which is now the Polish city Wroclaw. Breslau kept detailed records of births, deaths, and the ages of people when they died. In comparison, when John Graunt (1620-1674) published his famous demographic work (1662), ages of deceased people were not recorded in London and would not be recorded until the 18th century.


Caspar Neumann, an important German minister in Breslau, sent some demographic records to Gottfried Leibniz who in turn sent them to the Royal Society in London. Halley analyzed Newmann’s data which covered the years 1687-1691 and published the analysis in the Philosophical Transactions. Although Halley had broad interests, demography and actuarial science were quite far afield from his main areas of study. Hald (2003) has speculated that Halley himself analyzed these data because, as the editor of the Philosophical Transactions, he
was concerned about the Transactions publishing an adequate number of quality papers. 2 Apparently, by doing the work himself, he ensured that one more high quality paper would be published.

Author(s): James E. Ciecka

Publication Date: 2008 [accessed June 2021]

Publication Site: DePaul University

Unlocking: India states start reopening amid dip in Covid cases

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-57380665

Excerpt:

Major Indian states that have been virus hotpots are easing restrictions as Covid case numbers continue to fall.

National capital Delhi and financial hub, Mumbai, are among the cities that are opening partially.

This comes in the wake of a crushing second wave that saw hospital beds, medicines and even oxygen run short as cases spiked and deaths rose.

But experts continue to advice precaution amid a lagging vaccine drive and the threat posed by new variants.

Publication Date: 7 June 2021

Publication Site: BBC

The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins

Link: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/06/the-lab-leak-theory-inside-the-fight-to-uncover-covid-19s-origins

Excerpt:

Wuhan is also home to China’s foremost coronavirus research laboratory, housing one of the world’s largest collections of bat samples and bat-virus strains. The Wuhan Institute of Virology’s lead coronavirus researcher, Shi Zhengli, was among the first to identify horseshoe bats as the natural reservoirs for SARS-CoV, the virus that sparked an outbreak in 2002, killing 774 people and sickening more than 8,000 globally. After SARS, bats became a major subject of study for virologists around the world, and Shi became known in China as “Bat Woman” for her fearless exploration of their caves to collect samples. More recently, Shi and her colleagues at the WIV have performed high-profile experiments that made pathogens more infectious. Such research, known as “gain-of-function,” has generated heated controversy among virologists.

…..

By spring of 2021, the debate over COVID-19’s origins had become so noxious that death threats were flying in both directions.

In a CNN interview on March 26, Dr. Redfield, the former CDC director under Trump, made a candid admission: “I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, you know, escaped.” Redfield added that he believed the release was an accident, not an intentional act. In his view, nothing that happened since his first calls with Dr. Gao changed a simple fact: The WIV needed to be ruled out as a source, and it hadn’t been.

Author(s): Katherine Eban

Publication Date: 3 June 2021

Publication Site: Vanity Fair

Alameda County Updates COVID-19 Death Calculation to Align with State Definitions

Link: https://covid-19.acgov.org/covid19-assets/docs/press/press-release-2021.06.04.pdf

Excerpt:

Today, June 4, Alameda County’s COVID-19 dashboard will be updated to reflect
the total number of COVID-19 deaths using the State’s death reporting definition. Alameda County previously included any person who died while infected with the virus in the total COVID-19 deaths for the County. Aligning with the State’s definition will require Alameda County to report as COVID-19 deaths only those people who died as a direct result of COVID-19, with COVID-19 as a contributing cause of death, or in whom death caused by COVID-19 could not be ruled out. Based on data available as of May 23, 2021, this update will decrease the overall number of deaths from 1,634 to 1,223.

….

This update does not disproportionally impact reported deaths for any specific race or ethnic group or zip code.

Close observers of Alameda County’s dashboard may have noticed a substantial increase in the COVID-19 death totals prior to this update, during the week of May 17. This increase was due to a separate quality assurance process intended to correct previously incomplete data; adjustments were made based on additional information that became available regarding date of death and county of residence. These corrections are unrelated to the current alignment with the State’s definition of death due to COVID-19, and some of the deaths will be removed from the updated totals because COVID-19 was not a contributing cause.

Author(s): Neetu Balram

Publication Date: 4 June 2021

Publication Site: Alameda County Health Care Services Agency