Quote of the day—Jeff Tomlin

We don’t know if this last two weeks has been a calm before the storm or if the social distancing and all those things that are being practiced are working.

Jeff Tomlin
EvergreenHealth CEO
March 26, 2020
Where coronavirus outbreak started in Washington state, officials see hope as cases appear to be leveling off
[EvergreenHealth is close to home.

Barb and I talked about this almost two weeks ago: Our area was first in the U.S. to get hit and so it should be the first to recover.

It probably helped that it was a suburban area like Kirkland that was ground zero. With the lower density at ground zero the spread was slower as the response was still ramping up. NYC has much a higher people density and is getting hit much harder.

We got step daughter Maddy home from Brooklyn as things were ramping up there. She’s been through the two week quarantine here and is fine. The stories she tells of the crowed conditions on the subways make it clear NYC had an impossible problem to solve without immediate and drastic action. And it looks like they missed their opportunity which Kirkland was apparently able to grasp. I expect the much lower people density made that possible.

This looks to also be an contributing factor (from the same article linked to above):

A spokesperson for EvergreenHealth said the hospital was uniquely positioned to deal with an infectious disease outbreak, owing to its status as one of Washington’s highest-rated hospitals and the presence of Francis Riedo, the hospital’s Johns Hopkins-schooled and CDC-trained medical director of infection control.

I doubt that we are in full recovery mode yet.

As soon as people without immunity start moving around again things will flair up again. Recovery will start when anti-body tests and/or vaccines are available. But the prediction that our local hospital ICUs would fill by the end of this month may have been in error. The response to the outbreak has stymied that prophecy. That’s good enough for now.—Joe]

8 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Jeff Tomlin

  1. Glad I live in Gila County, Arizona, where we still have no cases of the Chi-Com Virus. Population less than 54,000, spread out over 4,796 square miles. Living healthy and peacefully here in the pines…

  2. “We don’t know” are the operative words we need to live by. This will come as a shock to many that expect that ‘science’ has the answers and that if we can imagine it we can do it.

    Still, we need to remember that sometimes the ‘impossible’ is achieved. One doctor said that sterilization of PPE after use was not possible, but researchers have found a gas that will sterilize PPE without damaging it.

    • Science can’t solve everything, and (regarding the stuff it can solve) it takes some time to do the experiments, analyze the results, and start to figure it out. And even then, sometimes it’s wrong. Wrong experiment, wrong design, wrong model, wrong questions, incorrect analysis method, statistical fluke/small sample size, overlook some pattern in the data while looking for something else, etc.

      It’s a great tool, and it can work really really well. It can give you results you can really hang your hat on. But some (most?) people really don’t understand the process or its pitfalls or its limitations all that well.

      We’re gathering an enormous amount of data as we speak. The experts will be arguing over the best way to slice & dice the stats and what it all means for the next 50 years or so.

      • Yes, we’ll be slicing and dicing the data for years to come. As of now, it appears that the model(s) we are using don’t fit the observations and don’t explain the anomalies.

        We have become accustomed as a society to believing that science always has the answers even though there are plenty of examples where that is not true.

        As Rumsfield said: “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

        I would add ‘unknowable’ things to his list. That list is why people have God(s) to help explain the world they are living in.

        Even though we ‘believe’ in science, many of the important decisions we make in our lives are not based on data or science. Personally, I like Taleb’s ‘Antifragile’ logic.

  3. Chet is spot on. It’s funny how many on the far left embrace “science” as a pseudo-religion. That’s not how it works – scientists actually rely on human-fallible methods, observations, and experimental results to weave a tortuous path from ignorance to hypothesis, to theory, to (hopefully) “truth.” Sometimes it takes false starts and blind alleys to find that path.

    The recent reports from Imperial College in the UK are a result. One day, the principal researcher, Neil Ferguson, predicts that half a million Brits and up to 2.2 million Americans will likely die of Wuhan Flu. It’s predicted that 60% of Americans will be infected. 60%??

    Mass panic ensues. The administration experts read this respected report and shut down the country.

    A couple of days ago, Ferguson and his fellow researchers recompute the transmissibilty inputs to the model. They now make the (perhaps correct?)) assumption that there are probably more, a lot more, mild or asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 in society than they previously thought. The result? The model now predicts less than 20,000 fatalities in the UK. Fewer than regular flu, and the principal researcher states that half of those cases would be dead by the end of the year even without Covid, because those folks are really sick and infirm anyway. Fatalities in the US? Orders of magnitude drop in fatalities.

    That is, unfortunately, how science works. It’s often a slow, ponderous process. Those who blindly wave “science” around as a talisman against evil – be it Chinese Flu, global climate change, or whatever the liberal cause de Jour may be do not understand the process, or don’t even understand that science IS a process.

    • And even then, those are probabilistic, and have a lot of built in assumptions. If the Hydroxychloroquine + Z-Pax, or Hydroxychloroquine + zinc, other other various things pan out and have significant impact? If so, then suddenly the problem is 95% solved, death-count and disruption levels fall off a cliff, unless the hidden dark powers that be manage to kill the manufacture of them, but that’ll be one of those “Shaggy rips the mask off the bad guys” moments, not just the mask slipping a little bit.

      https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/hydroxychloroquine

      Should be something a good compounding pharmacist can make in a typical lab if needed.

      On the other hand, if the test don’t pan out, and it mutates in a bad way… well, that’s the story-line for innumerable novels.

    • For a little more information on what Defens was referring to from the UK’s Imperial College, check out this article:

      https://thefederalist.com/2020/03/25/inaccurate-virus-models-are-panicking-officials-into-ill-advised-lockdowns/

      The really distressing thing about all of this is how we got played by some very liberal operatives who really intended for this website to be used to push for fast action, not try to predict the future. Just reading the Known Limitations that were at least honestly included in the model should have caused any ethical person to question the predictions rather than run with hair on fire through the media and political leader’s deliberations and subsequent announcements.

  4. Of course it’s at least possible that neither clause is true.

    Just a few things I’ve noticed;
    Everyone who travels by road, for but one simple example, touches the same few gas pumps and the same few gas pump keypads.
    Some percentage of the exhalations of people in one car are likely inhaled by the people in the next car within seconds.
    Everyone who eats is touching the same few touchpad terminals and refrigerator cabinet handles, etc. at the supermarkets, squeezing the same melons and so on.
    And so on.
    “WE” might “stop” this by limiting its rate of spread, but let’s not get too confident in believing that “WE” are capable of “stopping” one that’s really super infectious.
    Some people love the idea that a significant percentage of the global population might die, and some among that group have openly shown signs that they’d spread it on purpose.
    Like your “iron door on a grass hut” concept, there are centralized access points in the food chain, to name one of several critical supply chains, one of which being compromised could in theory infect thousands via a single event.
    “WE” can pretend that “WE” have it under control, but to what extent are “WE” participating in our own Security Theatre?

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