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Coronavirus Outbreak

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Colonol Dekker:
Bit dicey for a day or two if I'm honest.  But I tend to not air and share the worse stuff.  No sense dragging the mood down. 💪💪

Long time lurker, rare poster here.. but I work in healthcare IT and specifically on COVID-related data and reporting (SQL and Power BI), so I feel I have something relevant to add. Now, I realize that my post is merely anecdotal and limited to a single healthcare system in the US, but I've also had interactions with people questioning the validity of hospital beds and ICUs being full, even within my own family and about the organization I work for, so I've got some feelings and words. :blah:

In an attempt to keep this brief (ha! :beamz:), some bullet points:

* CDC data is entirely dependent upon a long chain that begins with individual healthcare organizations, hospitals, clinics, and private practices, followed by county health departments, state health authorities, ending with the CDC itself. At various step along the way are thousands of people collecting, documenting, coding, aggregating, validating, and reporting the data.
* Individual healthcare organizations must abide by metric guidelines and reporting deadlines set by their local and state health authorities. These theoretically should be given to health authorities from the CDC, but there is (some understandable, some not) friction between the CDC and some states.
* An example of a metric guideline in my state: COVID-related deaths must have had a positive test within 60 days of the death date, otherwise the death is not counted as 'COVID-related.' I believe this matches the current CDC guideline.
* In the past 3 weeks, our local hospital has been over 90% capacity with our other nearby hospitals over 80%. We have over 300 beds total across 5 facilities. Roughly 40% of those occupied beds were COVID-related hospitalizations. These numbers are trending downward as of this week, and we hope that this trend continues.
* I, nor anyone I work with have ever received a directive to inflate, alter, or obfuscate our COVID numbers in any way. I work with both peers and physicians to ensure our data is validated and accurate before any reporting or submission. It's not always perfect, for example, we had to throw out about 70 tests at the beginning of the pandemic because they didn't have a location documented (someone made an error when the test type was created that wasn't immediately caught, so it flowed downstream for the 70 tests ordered under this type).
* The idea that there could be some grand conspiracy doesn't hold water for me. There are too many people involved in the data to feasibly deceive everyone and too much money on the line for hospitals to leave beds empty while claiming they're full.

One more point I'd like to illustrate before I go, and that is the way some states report their data to their county health departments, state health authorities, and eventually the CDC. Let's look at Colorado for the past 3 months as an example: (source:

Notice that numbers are reported every day of the week except one (presumably Sunday) until after July 4th, then numbers are reported every day except weekends and holidays. You can even see the 7 day average line drop a bit for Labor Day, but the bars and lines seem mostly consistent over time and there aren't any large gaps or wild fluctuations in the data. They seem to be submitting their data consistently.

Now look at Florida for the same past 3 months: (source:

Look at June 19th to 25th, no cases reported. Look at July 16th, suddenly 75,000+ new cases. And no new cases reported for the following week? The bars and lines have gaps and are all over the place. Because that's how they have been submitting their data (or is part of a cabal that wants to make FL look inconsistent at data submission :rolleyes:). Unfortunately, it doesn't paint a very accurate picture of how the pandemic is going over there. If I were asked to analyze this data, I'd say it couldn't be done in a very meaningful way.

Now, not to get too political, but Texas and Florida have governors that have made their positions on the pandemic pretty clear, and I think we're seeing that affect their data in some way. I'm not saying it's necessarily nefarious, it could just be they're more lax on reporting requirements and deadlines which explains the funky FL example above. But if people are claiming that numbers in TX and FL are down and hospitals aren't overflowing and doctors and the media are all just lying about it, I'd 100% ask to see the data and make my own conclusion based on what I see.

From what I'm seeing here, I'm not sure I'd take Florida at their word. I'd instead check with the people actually working in healthcare there.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

[edit] Some corrections, and if anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to do my best to answer them. [/edit]

Excellent post.

Thanks for that perspective. :yes:


--- Quote from: -Joshua- on August 28, 2021, 04:26:23 pm ---
--- Quote from: Colonol Dekker on August 24, 2021, 05:12:24 pm ---So my horrendous chest pain is lessened.  Foggy head and chills have subsided.   I think I'm getting the better of this.

My wife (currently and luckily down south with out kids visiting her parents due to a pre booked holiday, worked out nicely) has berates me for being nonchalant about my falling prey to infection.   I reminded her thst my job to date has been to get within kissing distance of bombs and explosives designed to kill people who find bombs.   I've had sit down chats with 17 year old boys about will writing and the high risks of death in our game, so the whole mortality thing is something I came to terms with over 20 years ago. And I'm only just noticing the difference between my professional circle and those not in it regarding "signing off".

I'm not saying I'm not respecting the lethality of covid,  my wife an do have both lost a friend each to it.   I just never see the sense in panic and letting it "kill my spirit" 😂

--- End quote ---

After seeing quite a bit of people dying around me without having been in the military I think the thought that bothers me most about mortality is not my own death (though I did get a full blast of death anxiety a year or so after my suicidal feelings had subsidized), but mostly the thought that other people can and will die suddenly, without warning, and I will have to live the rest of my without them. Like I 've been told the line between the army and the partner is sometimes a bit blurry, but I'm quite sure only the former considers you to be replacable :P

--- End quote ---

I think the reason we are so engrained to avoid death and become distressed when  thinking of our own death is because it is extremely disadvantageous for our species, and most likely any species or form of life, to not fear or otherwise avoid death, for doing so would lessen the chance that an individual is able to reproduce and aid the survival of its species.

The one thing that I believe holds true to all forms of life is that they attempt to reproduce and continue their lineage. Not all forms of life have the same structure, organs, color or even method of reproduction, but they all in some way serve to simply continue their own existence. I can't think of any species that makes no attempt to continue its own existence because doing so would likely lead to its rapid extinction.

And so, if we look at the billions of years of evolution that we are descended from (considering the fact that all life originated from a single very distant ancestor), it must be presumed that at no stage did any of our direct ancestors NOT have the desire to avoid death because the aforementioned line of reasoning suggests that a lack of desire to avoid death would lead to its extinction and therefore our non-existence.

However, we as a species are at the stage where we no longer necessarily need to allow our instincts to control how we act nor feel because we are able to act on logic and reasoning. Just to make this point a little easier to understand, let's say that I could not feel hunger and had no psychological disposition to eat food, but I also did not feel any repulsion towards food.  For a species that does not have the level of intellect and consciousness that we have, this would probably be very bad because that species would likely no longer eat and then starve to death. However, because I know that I have to eat food to live, I would continue to survive, for even though my body does not tell me to eat and even though I cannot taste not derive pleasure from food, I will continue to eat a balanced diet that fulfills my nutritional and caloric needs because doing so allows me to live.

Therefore, the fear of death is so too an unnecessary fear to have because we are able to logically conclude that no matter what we do we will die. We will always unavoidably die, and every form of life that ever lived has either died or will die. So why fear death? We should still try and avoid death so that we may live a long and successful life, but we should not fear it because it is going to happen regardless of what we do.


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