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  #8571  
Old 06-02-2020, 04:06 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is online now
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Nothing on COVID-related suicide by falling off a train going 15 miles per hour?
No soap?
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  #8572  
Old 06-02-2020, 04:13 PM
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Nothing on COVID-related suicide by falling off a train going 15 miles per hour?
No soap?
I'm gonna go with RNN on this one...
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  #8573  
Old 06-02-2020, 04:29 PM
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RN
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  #8574  
Old 06-02-2020, 04:53 PM
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3Rookie wins!!

HL, you're going home with a parting gift.
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  #8575  
Old 06-02-2020, 05:35 PM
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I see that there have been 130 posts on this thread since I was last here. I found some time to look at the things you linked. The stuff on dispersion was interesting.

But, I'm still left with my initial problem. You said it takes 4 people to seed an epidemic, I said that in some cases 1 can be enough. But you insisted on 4 as the only number.

Fish Actuary immediately saw the point that any such claim has to have some probability threshold. .

In this post, you are still missing the relevant probability. Hartfield calls it "c", if that helps. I don't see it in your post.

Let's suppose that you're claiming that 4 lives gives a 99.0% probability of the outbreak succeeding. In that case, 3 lives makes "success" 96.7% likely, and even 1 life will be enough 68% of the time.

And that assumes we're starting with a perfect knowledge of a probability distribution. As you show on this post, we aren't. You've got one estimate of the mean as 2-3, and another of "around 4". That's a pretty big range. If we assume a negative binomial distribution (that's another assumption), then we have similarly uncertain values. There's no surprise in that. Lots of covid cases are never confirmed, we can't trace contacts well, analysis is tough. The actual transmission patterns vary geographically and culturally (subway riders in NYC vs. private autos in Des Moines, Italians who hug vs. Japanese who bow).

My first post was intended to prompt a small but important point -- any claims about numbers should come with a good deal of humility, probably demonstrated with ranges and probabilities. I still think that's a good point.
There has been more research done on the over-dispersion vector (k)

Looks like its in the 0.45 range.

So 20% of people are responsible for 80% of cases

Then 10% of people are responsible for the other 20%

And finally, 70% of people do not seem to spread it at all.

This is the main reason this pathogen is so dangerous. A couple of super-spreaders (so just a few imported cases) can do extensive damage given enough time. Only way to stop this effectively for now is 14 day quarantine periods on arrival. Beyond that, a fast PCR test will be required on arrival (that is also accurate).

NYT Article Link:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/02/o...nion&smtyp=cur
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  #8576  
Old 06-02-2020, 09:47 PM
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Nothing on COVID-related suicide by falling off a train going 15 miles per hour?
No soap?
You know we don't have tables for that.
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  #8577  
Old 06-03-2020, 08:36 AM
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Actuaries Response Group

https://www.covid-arg.com/

Quote:
ABOUT THE GROUP
Coming together to make a difference.

On the weekend of 7-8 March 2020 this group of concerned actuaries, epidemiologists, & longevity specialists came together in response to Lombardy shutting down.

Instinctively, they knew that we face a global crisis of epic proportions, and we have to do what we can quickly, meaningfully and thoughtfully.



Tan Suee Chieh reached out to Joseph Lu, Nicola Oliver & Stuart McDonald, and together with Matthew Edwards, Adrian Pinington, Matthew Fletcher, Andrew Gaches, Dan Ryan & Adrian Baskir, the COVID-19 ARG was born.



In the first 10 weeks the group published 26 bulletins, has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, had one myth-busting bulletin published in full in The Spectator, two articles published in The Actuary and were profiled in Insurance ERM, My Pension Expert and IPE.




https://www.covid-arg.com/group
Quote:
ABOUT THE GROUP
This group came together via the Linked-in social network. Concerned actuaries, epidemiologists, longevity specialists and individuals came together in the weekend of 7-8 March 2020, as the Lombardy region in Italy was being shut down.

Instinctively, we knew that we face a global crisis of epic proportions, and we have to do what we can quickly, meaningfully and thoughtfully.

Our Purpose :

• To help actuaries in thinking and responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

• To create a community and forum for actuaries and others to learn, educate, inform and influence the unfolding events in a positive and constructive way. We pledge to do the above in a manner which will bring credit to the actuarial profession, and we will support and enhance our profession’s commitment to societal and public interest.





We agree to be governed by the following principles.

1. The six principles of the IFoA’s Actuaries Code.

2. We will seek science and data, appreciating that we will not get to the full truth and objectivity if we want to respond quickly. We seek to extricate the signal from the noise.

3. We will adopt a multi- disciplinary approach and bring an innovative approach in framing both the problems and solutions. Hence, we will go out of the group to seek expertise.

4. We want to respond quickly to the crisis, and we will make our material available to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA).

5. We appreciate what we release as bulletins and studies et. al. are “Beta versions” (work in progress) – and that better and more complete versions will and can be made in the fullness of time. We are mindful of this trade-off – “rigour and comprehensiveness” versus “responsiveness and usefulness” and seek to tilt our approach to the latter.

6. We are all speaking in our personal capacity, and we do not represent our respective employers, organisations or IFoA’s official policy.
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  #8578  
Old 06-03-2020, 09:03 AM
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The Guardian continues to dig on this

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...oxychloroquine



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Governments and WHO changed Covid-19 policy based on suspect data from tiny US company
Surgisphere, whose employees appear to include a sci-fi writer and adult content model, provided database behind Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine hydroxychloroquine studies
Spoiler:
The World Health Organization and a number of national governments have changed their Covid-19 policies and treatments on the basis of flawed data from a little-known US healthcare analytics company, also calling into question the integrity of key studies published in some of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.

A Guardian investigation can reveal the US-based company Surgisphere, whose handful of employees appear to include a science fiction writer and an adult-content model, has provided data for multiple studies on Covid-19 co-authored by its chief executive, but has so far failed to adequately explain its data or methodology.

Data it claims to have legitimately obtained from more than a thousand hospitals worldwide formed the basis of scientific articles that have led to changes in Covid-19 treatment policies in Latin American countries. It was also behind a decision by the WHO and research institutes around the world to halt trials of the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine.

Two of the world’s leading medical journals – the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine – published studies based on Surgisphere data. The studies were co-authored by the firm’s chief executive, Sapan Desai.

Late on Tuesday, after being approached by the Guardian, the Lancet released an “expression of concern” about its published study. The New England Journal of Medicine has also issued a similar notice.

An independent audit of the provenance and validity of the data has now been commissioned by the authors not affiliated with Surgisphere because of “concerns that have been raised about the reliability of the database”.


Questions raised over hydroxychloroquine study which caused WHO to halt trials for Covid-19
Read more
The Guardian’s investigation has found:

A search of publicly available material suggests several of Surgisphere’s employees have little or no data or scientific background. An employee listed as a science editor appears to be a science fiction author and fantasy artist. Another employee listed as a marketing executive is an adult model and events hostess.
The company’s LinkedIn page has fewer than 100 followers and last week listed just six employees. This was changed to three employees as of Wednesday.
While Surgisphere claims to run one of the largest and fastest hospital databases in the world, it has almost no online presence. Its Twitter handle has fewer than 170 followers, with no posts between October 2017 and March 2020.
Until Monday, the “get in touch” link on Surgisphere’s homepage redirected to a WordPress template for a cryptocurrency website, raising questions about how hospitals could easily contact the company to join its database.
Desai has been named in three medical malpractice suits, unrelated to the Surgisphere database. In an interview with the Scientist, Desai previously described the allegations as “unfounded”.
In 2008, Desai launched a crowdfunding campaign on the website indiegogo promoting a wearable “next generation human augmentation device that can help you achieve what you never thought was possible”. The device never came to fruition.
Desai’s Wikipedia page has been deleted following questions about Surgisphere and his history.
Sapan Desai
Sapan Desai, the chief executive of Surgisphere. Photograph: Gore Medical
Doubts over Lancet study

Questions surrounding Surgisphere have been growing in the medical community for the past few weeks.

On 22 May the Lancet published a blockbuster peer-reviewed study which found the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been promoted by Donald Trump, was associated with a higher mortality rate in Covid-19 patients and increased heart problems.

Trump, much to the dismay of the scientific community, had publicly touted hydroxychloroquine as a “wonder drug” despite no evidence of its efficacy for treating Covid-19.

The Lancet study, which listed Desai as one of the co-authors, claimed to have analysed Surgisphere data collected from nearly 15,000 patients with Covid-19, admitted to 1,200 hospitals around the world, who received hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with antibiotics.

The negative findings made global news and prompted the WHO to halt the hydroxychloroquine arm of its global trials.

We trust that this review ... will tell us more about the status of the findings
Editor of the Lancet, Richard Horton
But only days later Guardian Australia revealed glaring errors in the Australian data included in the study. The study said researchers gained access to data through Surgisphere from five hospitals, recording 600 Australian Covid-19 patients and 73 Australian deaths as of 21 April.

But data from Johns Hopkins University shows only 67 deaths from Covid-19 had been recorded in Australia by 21 April. The number did not rise to 73 until 23 April. Desai said one Asian hospital had accidentally been included in the Australian data, leading to an overestimate of cases there. The Lancet published a small retraction related to the Australian findings after the Guardian’s story, its only amendment to the study so far.

The Guardian has since contacted five hospitals in Melbourne and two in Sydney, whose cooperation would have been essential for the Australian patient numbers in the database to be reached. All denied any role in such a database, and said they had never heard of Surgisphere. Desai did not respond to requests to comment on their statements.

Another study using the Surgisphere database, again co-authored by Desai, found the anti-parasite drug ivermectin reduced death rates in severely ill Covid-19 patients. It was published online in the Social Science Research Network e-library, before peer-review or publication in a medical journal, and prompted the Peruvian government to add ivermectin to its national Covid-19 therapeutic guidelines.

Richard Horton
Richard Horton, the editor of the Lancet. Photograph: Richard Saker/The Observer
The New England Journal of Medicine also published a peer-reviewed Desai study based on Surgisphere data, which included data from Covid-19 patients from 169 hospitals in 11 countries in Asia, Europe and North America. It found common heart medications known as angiotensin-converting–enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers were not associated with a higher risk of harm in Covid-19 patients.


On Wednesday, the NEJM and the Lancet published an expression of concern about the hydroxychloroquine study, which listed respected vascular surgeon Mandeep Mehra as the lead author and Desai as co-author.

Lancet editor Richard Horton told the Guardian: “Given the questions raised about the reliability of the data gathered by Surgisphere, we have today issued an Expression of Concern, pending further investigation.

“An independent data audit is currently underway and we trust that this review, which should be completed within the next week, will tell us more about the status of the findings reported in the paper by Mandeep Mehra and colleagues.”

Surgisphere ‘came out of nowhere’
One of the questions that has most baffled the scientific community is how Surgisphere, established by Desai in 2008 as a medical education company that published textbooks, became the owner of a powerful international database. That database, despite only being announced by Surgisphere recently, boasts access to data from 96,000 patients in 1,200 hospitals around the world.

It doesn’t make sense. It would require many more researchers than it claims to have
Dr James Todaro, MedecineUncensored
When contacted by the Guardian, Desai said his company employed just 11 people. The employees listed on LinkedIn were recorded on the site as having joined Surgisphere only two months ago. Several did not appear to have a scientific or statistical background, but mention expertise in strategy, copywriting, leadership and acquisition.

Dr James Todaro, who runs MedicineUncensored, a website that publishes the results of hydroxychloroquine studies, said: “Surgisphere came out of nowhere to conduct perhaps the most influential global study in this pandemic in the matter of a few weeks.

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“It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “It would require many more researchers than it claims to have for this expedient and [size] of multinational study to be possible.”

Desai told the Guardian: “Surgisphere has been in business since 2008. Our healthcare data analytics services started about the same time and have continued to grow since that time. We use a great deal of artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate this process as much as possible, which is the only way a task like this is even possible.”

It is not clear from the methodology in the studies that used Surgisphere data, or from the Surgisphere website itself, how the company was able to put in place data-sharing agreements from so many hospitals worldwide, including those with limited technology, and to reconcile different languages and coding systems, all while staying within the regulatory, data-protection and ethical rules of each country.

Desai said Surgisphere and its QuartzClinical content management system was part of a research collaboration initiated “several years ago”, though he did not specify when.


Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19 despite FDA warnings
Read more
“Surgisphere serves as a data aggregator and performs data analysis on this data,” he said. “We are not responsible for the source data, thus the labor intensive task required for exporting the data from an Electronic Health Records, converting it into the format required by our data dictionary, and fully deidentifying the data is done by the healthcare partner.”

This appears to contradict the claim on the QuartzClinical website that it does all the work, and “successfully integrates your electronic health record, financial system, supply chain, and quality programs into one platform”. Desai did not explain this apparent contradiction when the Guardian put it to him.


Desai said the way Surgisphere obtained data was “always done in compliance with local laws and regulations. We never receive any protected health information or individually identifiable information.”

Peter Ellis, the chief data scientist of Nous Group, an international management consultancy that does data integration projects for government departments, expressed concern that Surgisphere database was “almost certainly a scam”.

“It is not something that any hospital could realistically do,” he said. “De-identifying is not just a matter of knocking off the patients’ names, it is a big and difficult process. I doubt hospitals even have capability to do it appropriately. It is the sort of thing national statistics agencies have whole teams working on, for years.”

“There’s no evidence online of [Surgisphere] having any analytical software earlier than a year ago. It takes months to get people to even look into joining these databases, it involves network review boards, security people, and management. It just doesn’t happen with a sign-up form and a conversation.”

There continues to be a fundamental misunderstanding about what our system is and how it works
Sapan Desai
None of the information from Desai’s database has yet been made public, including the names of any of the hospitals, despite the Lancet being among the many signatories to a statement on data-sharing for Covid-19 studies. The Lancet study is now disputed by 120 doctors.

When the Guardian put a detailed list of concerns to Desai about the database, the study findings and his background, he responded: “There continues to be a fundamental misunderstanding about what our system is and how it works”.

“There are also a number of inaccuracies and unrelated connections that you are trying to make with a clear bias toward attempting to discredit who we are and what we do,” he said. “We do not agree with your premise or the nature of what you have put together, and I am sad to see that what should have been a scientific discussion has been denigrated into this sort of discussion.”

‘The peak of human evolution’
An examination of Desai’s background found that the vascular surgeon has been named in three medical malpractice suits in the US, two of them filed in November 2019. In one case, a lawsuit filed by a patient, Joseph Vitagliano, accused Desai and Northwest Community Hospital in Illinois, where he worked until recently, of being “careless and negligent”, leading to permanent damage following surgery.

Northwest Community Hospital confirmed that Desai had been employed there since June 2016 but had voluntarily resigned on 10 February 2020 “for personal reasons”.


“Dr Desai’s clinical privileges with NCH were not suspended, revoked or otherwise limited by NCH,” a spokeswoman said. The hospital declined to comment on the malpractice suits. Desai said in the interview with the Scientist that he deemed any lawsuit against him to be “unfounded”.


Hydroxychloroquine and coronavirus: a guide to the scientific studies so far
Read more
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the institution affiliated with the hydroxychloroquine study and its lead author, Mandeep Mehra, said in a statement: “Independent of Surgisphere, the remaining co-authors of the recent studies published in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine have initiated independent reviews of the data used in both papers after learning of the concerns that have been raised about the reliability of the database”.

Mehra said he had routinely underscored the importance and value of randomised, clinical trials and that such trials were necessary before any conclusions could be reached. “I eagerly await word from the independent audits, the results of which will inform any further action,” he said.

Desai’s now-deleted Wikipedia page said he held a doctorate in law and a PhD in anatomy and cell biology, as well as his medical qualifications. A biography of Desai on a brochure for an international medical conference says he has held multiple physician leadership roles in clinical practice, and that he is “a certified lean six sigma master black belt”.

It is not the first time Desai has launched projects with ambitious claims. In 2008, he launched a crowdfunding campaign on the website indiegogo promoting a “next generation human augmentation device” called Neurodynamics Flow, which he said “can help you achieve what you never thought was possible”.

“With its sophisticated programming, optimal neural induction points, and tried and true results, Neurodynamics Flow allows you to rise to the peak of human evolution,” the description said. The device raised a few hundred dollars, and never eventuated.

Ellis, the chief data scientist of Nous Group, said it was unclear why Desai made such bold claims about his products given how likely it was that the global research community would scrutinise them.

“My first reaction is it was to draw attention to his firm, Ellis said. “But it seems really obvious that this would backfire.”

Today Prof Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, said: “I welcome the statement from the Lancet, which follows a similar statement by the NEJM regarding a study by the same group on cardiovascular drugs and COVID-19.

“The very serious concerns being raised about the validity of the papers by Mehra et al need to be recognised and actioned urgently, and ought to bring about serious reflection on whether the quality of editorial and peer review during the pandemic has been adequate. Scientific publication must above all be rigorous and honest. In an emergency, these values are needed more than ever.”

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  #8579  
Old 06-03-2020, 09:15 AM
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That would be a great group to be in on talk like a pirate day!
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:02 AM
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https://www.technologyreview.com/202...ent=06-02-2020

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Two-meter distancing might halve infection risk compared to one meter
Spoiler:
The news: Keeping people two meters apart from each other is far more effective than just one at reducing the risk of spreading coronavirus, according to a new analysis in The Lancet. The researchers combed through 172 observational studies across 16 countries and then applied statistical analysis to pull out estimates of infection risk. The models they used on nine key studies found that the transmission risk when people stood at least one meter away was an average of around 3%, but rose to about 13% when people were standing within one meter. The risk of transmission roughly halves for every extra meter of distancing up to three meters, the modeling suggested.

Masks, too: The researchers also found that both face coverings and eye protection significantly reduce the risk of spreading the virus: an analysis of the studies found that masks cut the risk of infection from 17% to 3% while eye protection reduces it from 16% to 6%. Other factors such as how long the people had been exposed were not taken into account as they were not part of the original data sets.

Why it matters: Governments around the world are discussing how to ensure people’s safety while lifting lockdown restrictions. It’s clear from this peer-reviewed paper that keeping people as physically apart from each other as possible has to be at the core of any sensible strategy. The findings should also inform workplaces, restaurants, bars, and movie theaters that are currently trying to work out how to get people back through their doors while protecting them from spreading covid-19 to each other.

Differing approaches: Distancing advice varies from country to country. In the UK it’s two meters currently, although there is some pressure to reduce that distance. In the US, the CDC advises six feet (1.8 meters), Australia and Germany say 1.5 meters, and France has one meter as its official guideline. The World Health Organization recommends people stay one meter apart.
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