The presidential election will be decided in the next month

I find it very sad that loosening the restrictions on activity has become so political. The left says that it will be a disaster and that cases and deaths will spike. As far as I’ve seen, they never say they hope they’re wrong.  The right says that deaths will continue, but the rate won’t increase.  There is evidence for both sides, but in the coming months we’ll actually have data one way or the other.

One thing is certain.  The number of cases of positive viral culture will increase.  It has to.  We’ve only studied around 1/1,000 of the population.  No one has ever said the lockdown will prevent new infection.  It hasn’t, but it has slowed things down.

I’m hoping that things stay pretty much the same.  Not because I want Trump to win, but because getting people back to work  would be good for the country.  Should that happen, the anger of those losing jobs, businesses will be formidable.  Trump will win.

Should deaths from COVID19 explode, Trump is toast.

We should also get some idea of the percentage of the population who have been infected (manifest by antibodies to the pandemic virus).  It almost certainly will increase, unless those already showing the antibody lose them (something unheard of this fast given the antibodies we’ve studied in the past).

I’m cautiously optimistic that not much will happen when restrictions are eased. Here’s why.  All the studies on antibodies done so far show they are 10 – 100 times more prevalent than cases where the virus is cultured.  20% of Manhattan for example.  This implies that most infections are asymptomatic.  So the number of cases with positive culture isn’t what’s important.  It’s how many of them get sick with COVID19 (which is the clinical illness produced by the pandemic coronavirus).  I think we have very good past statistics on the number of deaths and cases of COVID19   It will be clear if there is a spike in COVID19.  Be careful not to read too much into first week’s statistics after restrictions are lifted, as there is a lag period of 2 – 11 days between infection and clinical illness.

If you are uncertain about the difference between virus culture and antibodies to the virus — have a look at this.

Finding the actual genome (RNA in this case) of a virus in an individual  is like seeing a real bear up close and personal.  This can do you some damage.  In contrast, antibodies to the virus are made by an individual who has been infected by the virus in the past.  Antibodies (proteins) and genomes (RNA) are completely different chemically.      Antibodies are like seeing the tracks of the bear without the bear itself. You can’t see tracks without the bear having been present at some point in the past.

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