Coronavirus in one state (90)

Yesterday’s data are illustrative of our situation in Minnesota. The authorities attributed four new deaths to COVID-19. Three of the four deaths occurred in long-term care facilities, consistent with the average since the outbreak here. Two of the four deaths involved decedents in their 90’s. One was in his 80’s and on in his 30’s (“with known prior medical condition” if I heard Commissioner Malcolm correctly).

Yesterday’s press briefing (audio below) was also illustrative of our situation in Minnesota. No one seems to notice that every professed rationale supporting Governor Walz’s one-man rule has been served and every dire warning of the catastrophe has come a cropper. We await the rollout of long-promised Minnesota Model 4.0 — where is it? Another unasked question. One begins to infer that they can’t make the data conform to their desires.

KSTP’s Tom Hauser was on hand after a long absence yesterday. With respect to the Sturgis apocalypse, Tom asked how it compares to the cases traced to the Minneapolis riots. Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann responded at about 28:00. They have test results on 13,418 of those who attended — Ehresmann tactfully referred to the results as “post the civil unrest.” Of those tested, 243 turned up positive (1.8 percent). By contrast, as of yesterday, they have traced 27 cases to the thousands of Minnesotans who attended Sturgis. As for causation, they either aren’t saying or don’t have a clue.

One reporter also asked a disparaging question about the FDA emergency use authorization for convalescent blood plasma at about 30:00. Ehresmann gave a good response, but nothing quite as informative as the Power Line reader and internist who wrote us yesterday:

I have been a very long term fan of Power Line, starting years ago when I was a physician in Minnesota. I thought you might appreciate some perspective on the convalescent plasma. I have followed this carefully and the Mayo study design was truly magnificent. There is a good review of how this study was done in this video.

The Mayo staff realized that desperately ill patients and their families wanted something that might work, but did not want to be randomized to a placebo. They gave everyone plasma but recorded when in their illness they got it and analyzed each plasma dose to determine the level of antibodies. They clearly showed that those who got plasma with a high level of antibodies early in their disease did dramatically better than those who got plasma with fewer antibodies or got it later. They established beyond a doubt that it worked.

It would have been more surprising if it didn’t work. But what is truly amazing and I think the big story of the day is the response of certain officials, including Fauci at the NIH. They exerted maximal pressure to prevent FDA emergency authorization. Why? This is truly unprecedented.

President Trump said the action was political. There is no medical reason to do this. Fauci and allies insisted that a randomized control trial be done. That would be highly unethical at this point and certainly result in extra deaths in those randomized to the control. Even worse, such a study would never be completed. Plasma is only a stopgap measure until monoclonal antibodies become available and they will almost certainly be much more effective as you will get more potent antibodies and more of them than you can with plasma…. Truly Trump Derangement Syndrome is not only hazardous to your own health but also to the health of innocent third parties.

And the beat goes on.

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