Tag Archives: Wile E. Coyote and the roadrunner

The United States lost the battle with the virus by March of 2020

Two papers published this February show that the USA had lost the ability to contain the pandemic virus by early April 2020.  The first paper was submitted in July 2020, the second in August.  They would have changed our perception of what we were up against in late 2020.  Here are links to both — they are not behind a paywall, and a friend who subscribes to neither was able to access them through these links.

The Nature paper is the most damning.  10,000 blood samples from Mt. Sinai hospital in New York City accumulated from February through July 2020 were studied for antibodies to the pandemic virus (whose presence implies previous infection)

Figure 1 p. 147 shows it best, with weekly numbers of tests and cases, in two groups — people attending urgent care and (more representative of the general population) patients who visited the obstetrics and gynecology department and visits for labour and deliveries, oncology-related visits, as well as hospitalizations owing to elective surgeries, transplant surgeries, pre-operative medical assessments and related outpatient visits, cardiology office visits and other regular office and/or treatment visits.

As you might expect the ER patients had a higher percentage of antibodies.  The first PCR confirmed case in the city was 1 March, with 1000 cases by the 15th. 

It was no secret that NYC was in the middle of the pandemic.  What is quite shocking is the number of people with antibodies (hence previously infected with the virus) in the presumably healthy group.  By 5 April 33/326  (10%) of tests were antibody positive, by 19 April 46/241 (19%) where it essentially remained to the end of the study in July.  Game over. Containment impossible. 

The second paper is from Boston where the virus genomes were sequenced from March through May of 2020.  The sequence of the viral genome tells you where the virus was coming from.  There were 120 separate introductions of the virus into the Boston area.  Most were from North America.  But of those from elsewhere how many do you think were from Asia?  Amazingly only 3.  How many from Europe?  19.  It’s like Wile. E. Coyote  peering earnestly toward Asia to nab the roadrunner, while a pack of roadrunners from Europe passes him from behind without him noticing a thing. 

It isn’t the fault of the authors that this information has just come out this month.  It would have changed our perception of the epidemic and what to do about it Trump or no Trump.  

20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing.  Here’s Dr. Fauci doing the best he could with what he knew at the time — he is NOT to be faulted to saying this — he changed quickly. 

In the clip, Dr Fauci says “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And, often, there are unintended consequences — people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.”

Fauci made this comment on an interview with 60 Minutes on March 8, a time when NYC proven cases were surging from 1 to 1000. 

Our vaunted intelligence service and the ‘situation room’ either did  not know or did not tell Dr. Fauci about the fact that the dean of a Hong Kong medical school wrote an article in the South China Morning Post 27 January 2020 stating that  “research shows self-sustaining human-to-human transmission is already happening in all major mainland cities.”  For details please see https://luysii.wordpress.com/2020/01/27/what-to-do-about-the-wuhan-flu/

Here are the links to the two papers cited above  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2912-6.pdf

and https://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci.371/6529/eabe3261.full.pdf

Click to access 574.full.pdf