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> Price-gouging a life-saving treatment is not going to go over well right now, and Gilead is certainly aware of that. Maybe Gilead learned something from the shenanigans it engaged it when it tried to get “orphan” status for remdesivir. It eventually relented after public pressure. Techdirt covered the whole saga: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200323/17334844155/why-is-fda-giving-potential-covid-19-treatment-orphan-status.shtml https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200324/18071944167/fda-wont-say-when-gilead-applied-orphan-status-covid-19-treatment-calling-it-secret.shtml https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200325/10540844171/public-pressure-works-gilead-asks-fda-to-rescind-orphan-drugs-designation-possible-covid-19-treatment.shtml Meanwhile, in Sweden, Anders Tegnell (the guy responsible for Sweden’s strategy) is responding as he usually does, by intimating that whoever is not happy with his handling of the crisis is a moron, after the WHO puts Sweden on a list of “countries at risk” (article in Swedish, use Google Translate if you need it translated to okay English): https://www.svt.se/nyheter/inrikes/who-pekar-ut-sverige-som-sarskilt-riskland-hor-tegnells-svar There’s much valid criticism to be cast at the WHO regarding its handling of the crisis, but I have to agree here with their assessment of Sweden. Tegnell would have liked the WHO to call him first. He blames the rising numbers on testing. Hmm… the other Scandinavian countries are also testing more but have kept the number of cases down. It is really night and day comparing for instance Norway with Sweden. When the other Scandinavian countries ban travel from Sweden, when the other countries in the EU do the same, when the foreign press questions the wisdom of Sweden’s strategy, etc., then for Tegnell they are all idiots unable to comprehend the magnificence of Tegnell’s vision.

I was going to point out the same thing. If the hospitals are receiving more critical cases, you don’t have to wait until a raise in deaths to declare bunk the notion that the increased number of infection cases is some sort of mirage. (Oh, but just wait for the deniers to declare that the ICU cases are really paid actors.) Now for a general comment addressed to nobody in particular: I do wish we’d stop focusing on “COVID-19 deaths” as the one indicator of how much the virus is screwing us. Why? Because, as has been pointed out on this very site: 1. COVID-19 can leave you with permanent disabilities even if it does not kill you. 2. The COVID-19 fatalities do not include those fatalities that happen due to other illnesses than COVID-19 but cannot be treated because the hospitals are at capacity. Eg. Bob has a heart attack but because the nearest hospital is full due to COVID-19, his ambulance is redirected to a more distant hospital, and he gets there too late. On any normal day, he would have had an excellent chance to get speedy care needed to survive it. 3. Even if you 100% recover from a trip to the ICU caused by COVID-19, going through the experience is awful. As doctors learn how to deal with COVID-19 cases, they’ll get better at reducing the fatality rate. There are already some treatments known now that they did not know at the beginning of the crisis that help reduce the rate. I suspect they’ll find more as time goes by. It is not clear to me how treatments will help with point 1 and 3 above. In fact, reducing the death rate may increase the rate of people left with disabilities. For treatment to have an impact on point 2, it would have to do more then prevent death but cause people to stay in the hospital for a shorter time, to the point that the ICU is no longer overwhelmed.

Yes, that’s important and it can very easily mess up attempts at determining how much capacity a hospital is using vs what’s left unused. I’ve been following my state and county ratings on this site: https://covidactnow.org/?s=56971 My county is in the red. The reason is that Covid Act Now pegs ICU bed usage at 100%. I’ve had reasons to doubt this so I checked the sources they use to come to the “100% figure”. The sources have data on my county that dates from prior to the COVID-19 crisis. When the COVID-19 crisis began there was a major conversion of facilities to boost ICU capacity. Of course, none of these changes can show in numbers that date from prior to the crisis. Unfortunately, I’ve not found a source that has reliable total number of ICU beds currently in place, but I’ve found reliable sources indicating that the numbers that Covid Act Now uses cannot be true. By the way, this is a good example of how we should all be skeptical of sites that pretend to quickly put a bunch of data together to make inferences. There’s been an explosion of these since the start of the crisis. In the vast majority of cases the inferences they were making were relying on deeply flawed assumptions. Most of the conclusions they come to are garbage, put people sure do like simplistic answers to complex situations, or answers that reinforce their prejudice against the other, whoever “the other” may be.


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> Price-gouging a life-saving treatment is not going to go over well right now, and Gilead is certainly aware of that. Maybe Gilead learned something from the shenanigans it engaged it when it tried to get “orphan” status for remdesivir. It eventually relented after public pressure. Techdirt covered the whole saga: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200323/17334844155/why-is-fda-giving-potential-covid-19-treatment-orphan-status.shtml https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200324/18071944167/fda-wont-say-when-gilead-applied-orphan-status-covid-19-treatment-calling-it-secret.shtml https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200325/10540844171/public-pressure-works-gilead-asks-fda-to-rescind-orphan-drugs-designation-possible-covid-19-treatment.shtml Meanwhile, in Sweden, Anders Tegnell (the guy responsible for Sweden’s strategy) is responding as he usually does, by intimating that whoever is not happy with his handling of the crisis is a moron, after the WHO puts Sweden on a list of “countries at risk” (article in Swedish, use Google Translate if you need it translated to okay English): https://www.svt.se/nyheter/inrikes/who-pekar-ut-sverige-som-sarskilt-riskland-hor-tegnells-svar There’s much valid criticism to be cast at the WHO regarding its handling of the crisis, but I have to agree here with their assessment of Sweden. Tegnell would have liked the WHO to call him first. He blames the rising numbers on testing. Hmm… the other Scandinavian countries are also testing more but have kept the number of cases down. It is really night and day comparing for instance Norway with Sweden. When the other Scandinavian countries ban travel from Sweden, when the other countries in the EU do the same, when the foreign press questions the wisdom of Sweden’s strategy, etc., then for Tegnell they are all idiots unable to comprehend the magnificence of Tegnell’s vision.

I was going to point out the same thing. If the hospitals are receiving more critical cases, you don’t have to wait until a raise in deaths to declare bunk the notion that the increased number of infection cases is some sort of mirage. (Oh, but just wait for the deniers to declare that the ICU cases are really paid actors.) Now for a general comment addressed to nobody in particular: I do wish we’d stop focusing on “COVID-19 deaths” as the one indicator of how much the virus is screwing us. Why? Because, as has been pointed out on this very site: 1. COVID-19 can leave you with permanent disabilities even if it does not kill you. 2. The COVID-19 fatalities do not include those fatalities that happen due to other illnesses than COVID-19 but cannot be treated because the hospitals are at capacity. Eg. Bob has a heart attack but because the nearest hospital is full due to COVID-19, his ambulance is redirected to a more distant hospital, and he gets there too late. On any normal day, he would have had an excellent chance to get speedy care needed to survive it. 3. Even if you 100% recover from a trip to the ICU caused by COVID-19, going through the experience is awful. As doctors learn how to deal with COVID-19 cases, they’ll get better at reducing the fatality rate. There are already some treatments known now that they did not know at the beginning of the crisis that help reduce the rate. I suspect they’ll find more as time goes by. It is not clear to me how treatments will help with point 1 and 3 above. In fact, reducing the death rate may increase the rate of people left with disabilities. For treatment to have an impact on point 2, it would have to do more then prevent death but cause people to stay in the hospital for a shorter time, to the point that the ICU is no longer overwhelmed.

Yes, that’s important and it can very easily mess up attempts at determining how much capacity a hospital is using vs what’s left unused. I’ve been following my state and county ratings on this site: https://covidactnow.org/?s=56971 My county is in the red. The reason is that Covid Act Now pegs ICU bed usage at 100%. I’ve had reasons to doubt this so I checked the sources they use to come to the “100% figure”. The sources have data on my county that dates from prior to the COVID-19 crisis. When the COVID-19 crisis began there was a major conversion of facilities to boost ICU capacity. Of course, none of these changes can show in numbers that date from prior to the crisis. Unfortunately, I’ve not found a source that has reliable total number of ICU beds currently in place, but I’ve found reliable sources indicating that the numbers that Covid Act Now uses cannot be true. By the way, this is a good example of how we should all be skeptical of sites that pretend to quickly put a bunch of data together to make inferences. There’s been an explosion of these since the start of the crisis. In the vast majority of cases the inferences they were making were relying on deeply flawed assumptions. Most of the conclusions they come to are garbage, put people sure do like simplistic answers to complex situations, or answers that reinforce their prejudice against the other, whoever “the other” may be.


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