COVID19 mini-update, October 6, 2020: POTUS back to the White House; cheap paper strip testing; is early social distancing more effective than even tight lockdowns?

(1) The main news is of course that the US President has returned to the White House. I cannot say I am surprised by this outcome: statistically, even at his age of 74, he had 95%+ odds of survival, and he has of course gotten top-notch care from the beginning. Besides, the White House has its own pretty elaborate sickbay/micro-hospital (h/t Mrs. Arbel). Also via Mrs. Arbel, an article in the WSJ about the treatment applied to Trump.

(2) (h/t: Masgramondou) Two interesting articles from the BBC (!):

(3) And of course (again h/t Masgramondou), then there is the estimate by the WHO that as much of 10% of the world population may have had a COVID infection — about 20x the documented case number.

(4) The Jerusalem Post quotes a study from Tel Aviv University, supposedly just accepted for publication in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine (I could only find a medrXiv preprint, ) that analyzes (anonymized) cellular phone mobility data from COVID-afflicted countries and concludes the following:

“Mobility data indicate that a hermetic lockdown, in which everyone must stay at home, is unnecessary. Instead, social distancing measures should be introduced as early as possible,” say Pupko and Mayrose. “We have shown that the countries with the lowest mortality rates in the first outbreak of COVID-19 were not those that imposed the most hermetic lockdowns, but rather those in which mobility decreased (even slightly) at an early stage… as the government considers tightening [Israel’s second lockdown] even further, the import of our research is clear: Extreme restrictions are uncalled for. What we need is fast implementation of social distancing.”

Figure 4 from the preprint

3 thoughts on “COVID19 mini-update, October 6, 2020: POTUS back to the White House; cheap paper strip testing; is early social distancing more effective than even tight lockdowns?

  1. Japan is such a huge outlier in that chart. I think that means Japan didn’t start “social distancing” until much later. That’s either a statistical quirk because the first Japanese cases were from the Diamond Princess and not counted as Japan or its because the Japanese started social distancing long before any mandatory measures were put in place (or both). Interesting in either case.

    Also interesting is the countries in that list that are notable by their absence – Brazil, India, PRC, Taiwan and Russia being the obvious ones


    One thing lacking in the vast ocean of coverage is a fair and detailed accounting of the cost of economic shutdowns vs the gain from keeping people separated for more than half a year.

    The Great Barrington Declaration, which anyone can sign (though they are mostly wanting to gather more researchers, doctors and other blue chip endorsements), is a step in the direction of at least asserting that the shutdowns have outlived their usefulness.

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