Should People Test More, or Less?

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  • This topic has 40 replies, 17 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by mdd1.
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  • #1909094
    bhyy
    Participant

    According to the latest stats posted by NYS Governor Cuomo on his governor.ny.gov pages, “Within the “Red Zone” focus areas, 2,961 test results were reported yesterday, yielding 170 positives or a 5.74 percent positivity rate. In the remainder of the state, not counting these “Red Zone” focus areas, 115,293 test results were reported, yielding 973 positives or a 0.84 percent positivity rate.”

    Are people testing too much, or too little? I’m no statistician, nor mathematician… but… if the number of tests were double, the % could have been cut in half… rationale as follows:

    If testing is minimal, with those only testing when feeling ill, in relation to the low number of tests, it inflates the positive %… on the other hand, instead of protests, shouldn’t testing be initiated en-masse in the red zones by those who have already had Corona, or those tested negative previously, or by those who had reported anti-bodies, so the number of tests increases, with the negative results increased, thereby driving down the reported positive percentages versus test conducted…?

    Is this correct?

    #1909186
    akuperma
    Participant

    The government is unlikely to support widespread testing since it would reveal a large number of people who have, or had, Covid19, but didn’t get sick. This would undermine the narrative that Covid19 is a very dangerous plague that justifies canceling the education of children, destroying small businesses and closing synagogues (and all religious institutions). When the emperor has no clothes, the last thing he wants is accurate data.

    #1909193
    SRivka
    Participant

    The tests are inaccurate. Dead virus comes up positive very often

    #1909204
    user176
    Participant

    Yes. And those planning to quarantine anyway don’t need to test.

    #1909205
    se2015
    Participant

    If the positivity rate fell, but positive cases and hospitalizations rose, don’t you think the health dept would adjust the criteria for what constitutes a problematic area?

    If you’re serious about trying to mess with public health data, then you want sick people to get tested many times over using disguises and aliases if necessary. This way the cases and the positivity rate skyrocket with a comparatively small percentage of hospitalizations, leading to the mistaken conclusion that the virus is now weaker than it really is. If more people die as a result, well then, as they say, it is what it is.

    #1909242

    I am genuinely curious: I see many posts with people declaring great insights into public health data, overriding public health experts and potentially contributing to killing people in their own communities and Hillul Hashem. How do you make sure your analysis is correct? Is there any way you can – for your own sake – test your ability to make judgments here? For example, do you have an advanced degree in public health, statistics, biology? This is not a necessary condition, of course. But if not – could you google online, for example, an advanced test in statistics and see if you can pass it?

    To start the discussion, here is a multiple choice question:
    You go to a street and ask two random people: does the bus N 5 pass on this street. One person said yes, one – no.

    What is the probability of bus N 5 passing on this street:
    A. 50% B. More than 50% C. less than 50%.

    #1909244
    mdd1
    Participant

    Akuperma, so many people died (many could have been saved if not for the criminal Republican negligence). Your trying to mevatel the loss of human life is despicable!!

    #1909286
    akuperma
    Participant

    mdd1: People have been dying in vastly greater numbers for millenia (as we reckon time). And they die of a great many things, many of which could be avoided (e.g. if we banned cars, tens of thousands of lives would be saved). Closing down the economy and stripping millions of people of their parnassah and property was not an appropriate response to what is basically a cold (a.k.a. coronavirus) that acts like flu.

    Also note the Republicans (or at least Trump) tried to close the border to Chinese travellers but the Democrats screamed loudly and said it was racist. Indeed, Trump is distinguished, much to the objections of the Republican business community, by his opposition to open borders.

    #1909288
    Abba_S
    Participant

    What I think is wanted is that people who have been tested and have the antibodies should be retested for Covid -19 using an address in the red zones thus reducing the Covid -19 positive rate below 3%. As far as I can tell there is no outreach to the frum community outside of some billboards in yiddush at a few bus shelters and some ads in the free papers there is any publicity. No testing sites, no community meetings or going door to door as was done for the census.
    The test doesn’t cost anything, but likewise doesn’t prevent or cure covid. The only thing it may due is reduce the positive rate but becuase the current rate is 3% you need 100s of people to be positive to reduce it.

    #1909313
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Can someone explain to me why they use the percentage of positive tests rather than the percentage of people who are positive?

    #1909324
    se2015
    Participant

    Daasyochid, because even though it has its limitations, it is a useful way to monitor trends. Anyone who advocates trying to fool health officials should realize that a) it probably wouldn’t work, and b) if it did, you’d have blood on your hands. There’s a more reliable and more moral way to improve health statistics. Follow health guidelines.

    #1909328
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    Se2015 – i agree with you that falsely altering numbers is wrong. I would never give false addresses or advocate for my kids to. There is a problem tho. Just from my first hand knowledge, people who are sick and need to be cleared for work have been solely responsible for 2-5 positives, actually accounting for 1 illness on one person but recorded as 2-5 seperate individuals. Since the health officials are not being careful in thier recording, the numbers are being falsely driven up. If i were to know that we were suffering lockdowns because of it, i might consider helping to drive them back to were they would be more accurate.

    Mdd- ignore him. Id never thought him to be a troll but anyone who can deliberate insert “covid is just a cold” into their posts for 6 months may not be worth responding to right now.

    #1909345
    se2015
    Participant

    Syag, on the other hand certain professions like health care workers, and perhaps yellow zone schools, are required to test frequently, resulting in repeated negatives. The point is not that positivity rate is a perfect metric, but that it helps spot trends. If an area was at 1% and has steadily increased to 6% over the course of several weeks, and neighboring areas have stayed at 1%, then it’s a concern.

    #1909346
    besalel
    Participant

    Always_Ask_Questions: I really appreciated your post. I find it hysterical that these people who purposely stunt their science education at the fourth grade now come forward and pontificate about a brand new virus that no one knows anything about. What a bunch of funny people. Like how they don’t want to wear masks because they don’t want to look funny but the men walk around in public with white tights and a fur hat in summer with no shame. Funny people.

    That said, I would encourage 11219 and all the others to lift these gzeiros which ARE unfairly targeting MY funny people by doing a simple thing: every single person who already had the virus in March/April should go today and get tested. Not a one can be positive. You will dilute the positives and get your percentage to where they claim it needs to be in order for them to leave us alone.

    #1909357

    se2015. I agree positive rates are not a precise statistics. But it is an early predictor. Overall excess mortality would be a better measure – but it is available maybe a month later after the deaths, or 1.5 months after the first infections. You can go back over last several months and compare excess mortality with positive rates 1-2 months before – and see if positive rates predict mortality.

    There are other ways to get early predictions – google searches for “I am coughing”, wifi thermometers, but I am afraid best predictor would be population activity level, especially inside (schools, bars, shuls), and percentage of people wearing masks …

    #1909364
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    “but I am afraid best predictor would be population activity level, especially inside (schools, bars, shuls), and percentage of people wearing masks ”

    Was this also a part of the post graduate level statistics or are you allowing yourself to insert opinions too? You are aware I assume that the numbers that make up the statistics include fudging (florida positives) mistepresentation (no testing on weekends presents alleged spikes on tuesdays) and political manipulation (nobody is allowed to ask if you attended a protest).

    The science of numbers does require knowledge not possessed by all our pontificators, but don’t be blinded by the letterheads that submit them.

    #1909373
    rationallyrealistic
    Participant

    It’s very simple.
    DO NOT GET TESTED.
    Now before you get all up in arms let me explain.

    They are taking the positive test results and correlating that to the number of tests. So, hypothetically speaking, if 10 tests are performed for residents residing in 11219 in one day and 5 of them come back positive that’s a 50% positivity rate. As far as I’ve seen they don’t seem to care about the overall population of 11219 just how many positive test results they get. Now if everyone gets tested, and I mean every single person, we may or may not drastically lower the positivity rate; assuming of course we actually trust them with the numbers. If no-one gets tested they wont have any numbers to potentially fudge. If you feel sick stay home. Whether you get tested or not doesn’t change the outcome or the treatment. I’m not talking about someone who needs to see a doctor or is experiencing severe breathing problems. I’m talking about most people who if they truly have it will either be asymptomatic or experience flue like symptoms for a couple of days and recover. Again to be clear, I am not talking about those who would require medical attention or hospitalization.

    For those yelling pikuach nefesh and calling those that don’t listen rodfim; Would you be considered a Rodef if you were in Sweden and didn’t wear a mask? Food for thought.

    #1909370
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    Se2015- agreed. It’s all very murky.

    #1909380
    se2015
    Participant

    Rationally realistic: morality aside, if the only people who get tested are those taken to the hospital with covid, then the positivity rate will be 100%. Brilliant strategy. Obviously no one will think every person in 11219 has covid, but what exactly has been accomplished.

    #1909385
    Rava
    Participant

    Sick people definitely should not get tested

    #1909384
    mdd1
    Participant

    Syag, I believe I need to respond to him so that others will not be influenced by his statements.
    Akuperma, your callous disregard for the loss of human life is outrageous! Those people who died in great epidemics a long time ago are dead now – they can not be saved. We are talking about saving people now. There is almost a quarter million Americans dead from corona by now. And it is with partial mitigation measures. It is just a cold?!? A flu is not this deadly!
    Trump closed only the Chinese border. He should have closed all borders quickly. Instead he refused to implement all the necessary measures and has been trying to deliberately minimize the pandemic. And yes — pikuach nefesh (saving lives) overrides jobs!
    And yes — I heard some Rabbonim saying that Chazal would have forbidden cars because enough people die in accidents. I don’t know if most Rabbonim agree with this.

    #1909406
    rationallyrealistic
    Participant

    @se2015
    22 people were hospitalized for covid19 on October 9th in the entire city according to the nyc covid19 data page. 229 people over the last 7 days. Assuming they were all correctly diagnosed and these 229 people were the only ones tested in the five boroughs, do you think they would lockdown 8,336,817 people (nyc population according to wikipedia) because 100 of those tested are positive even though only 0.0027% of the population is hospitalized over the last 7 days with covid?

    And morality aside? no! Elaborate! You saying “morality aside” doesn’t automatically make your thoughts about morality as it relates to testing correct.

    #1909405
    mdd1
    Participant

    Rationally Realistic, to the Sweden question — yes, a roidef. They have a very high death toll. America used to be much less than them, but because of the bungled response by now America overtook them. Also in Sweden they had partial measures in place, and the Swedes being Swedes followed them religiously. That is why their death toll is very high, but only to a point — they had inadequate measures, but they did follow them.

    #1909449
    bk613
    Participant

    “And yes — pikuach nefesh (saving lives) overrides jobs!”

    I do believe lockdowns and restrictions do have a role in managing the pandemic. However, your comment is short sighted. I spent the summer rotating at an inpatient psychiatric unit in NY. The number of previously stable people (prior to the pandemic) who needed to be admitted because they lost their jobs, life savings, etc was not to be believed. Off the top of my head I can think of close to 10 who attempted suicide and bh failed. This obviously doesnt include the people who never made it to my unit because they were unfortunately successful. Consistently well over 20% of the daily patient were admitted because they couldn’t access their normal out patient psychiatric care, resulting in them relapsing and requiring hospitalization. So while you may be correct that pikuach nefesh overrides jobs, taking away people’s jobs can and does lead to sakanas nifashos.

    #1909435
    se2015
    Participant

    rationally – I was trying to show you the absurdity of focusing on test positivity results in a vacuum, but I think you went down the slippery slope and stayed there. If only 229 people had been tested and 229 had been positive, then test positivity is 100%, but obviously that doesn’t mean all 8 million people have covid. That means we aren’t testing enough. That’s exactly where we were in March. We were able to test people in hospitals, but we had very little data on what was happening outside the hospitals. If you remember, it was a stressful time. I don’t know why anyone would voluntarily go back there.

    As regards the morality of your scheme – if you did succeed in kicking sand in the eyes of health officials trying to monitor outbreaks, then they can’t update guidelines and people won’t know when to be vigilant, so you will be responsible for illness and possibly deaths. You argued that that doesn’t make you a rodef. I disagree. I’m not sure what Sweden has to do with anything. If you deliberately frustrate efforts to put out fires in NY, it doesn’t matter what the fire department in Stockholm does.

    #1909444
    mdd1
    Participant

    Rationally Realistic, nobody said that hospitalizations rates are now high in NY — bH, they are not. Cuomo said the measures are meant to prevent things from going bad, because in other countries the second wave also started from small clusters.

    #1909467

    @Syag, of course you need to take lots of factors into account. daily trends are easy – just take a 7-day average of the time series. If you want to read faster signal, you would need to match day-of-the-week ore careful. Not asking about protests is a good question, I agree with you. I am not sure whether it affects the question – what is an early prediction of magefa in the community. Misrepresentation is an even bigger question. I think nursing homes are the biggest examples. I followed several examples and overall statistics – where overall mortality measured later on uncovered that a number of nursing homes were hiding numbers. I am not sure we disagree much here.

    What I have a problem with – an example of the person in this thread who suggests to sick people not to get tested. To spite the Mayor, I presume. So, possibly increasing chances that someone sick will not get treated on time or will infect someone else. Unfortunately, there is a taste of this in one of the public letters I saw recently that says – “to facilitate an accurate assessment of the infection spread in our communities and to prevent further surge, it is important for people in high infection areas to get tested now for COVID-19.” I think this is a deniable call to present a better picture of the community (while presumably wasting tests and public resources). As daf yomi explains – we can (and should?) judge people by kiso, koso, vekaaso.

    #1909468

    bk613. I agree re:psychiatric effects. In fact, I am not sure any of us here is sane :). This underscores that we need to be as rational as we can to sort out lifestyle. So, people who need to work outside and those who need to have children at schools would have priority to move more. Those who have luxury to work from home and teach kids at home – should stay there. Still, many people seem to have psychological need to get to “normal” – whether it is going to a packed bar or davening in a full shul. How do we figure out – who can learn musar and re-direct his efforts from shul packing to teaching his own kids, and who gets a medical OK to go?

    Ps of course, it is catch-22: if not going to shul makes you crazy, then you are not obligated to daven until you feel better.

    #1909539
    mdd1
    Participant

    bk613, the number of suicides is very small when compared with the number of COVID victims. Also, if the fellow became totally crazy and killed himself, he is a victim. However, if he committed suicide for which he can be partially or fully held responsible, it is different from someone just getting corona and passing against his will.

    #1909568
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    Mdd1 – sorry but that response just shows you are lucky enough not to know anything about the subject. Count your blessings.

    #1909569
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    I can’t speak for anyone here but “don’t get tested” when i have heard it, meant if you don’t feel good, but its not serious, don’t get tested but do stay home, quarentined, monitor your symptoms, contact people you’ve been with. It doesn’t mean pretend you are fine.

    #1909573
    Decency is Key
    Participant

    DaasYochid – They do not have enough information to produce statistically valuable data and the percentage would likely be a fraction of 1%. “Today, another .012% of NYC residents tested positive for COVID” – would that keep you at home? Because that is, in fact, the percentage of NYC residents who tested positive today. By choosing to use the number of cases, especially without leaving room for the margin of error as they did in past epidemics, they can continue to push a narrative of fear. Fear is the one thing that makes people willingly give up their freedom, which is necessary for them to enact their marxist ideology.

    #1909594
    bk613
    Participant

    @mdd1
    As syag mentioned, your ignorance regarding mental health is glaring. May Hashem continue to bless you and your family with such ignorance.
    My point was/is, there are serious public health consequences to unilaterally locking everything down. You dismissed people losing their jobs due to the lockdown. What if that means a family loses their home and kids end up in a shelter? What if a kid couldn’t be successful on zoom school thus falls behind his peers and ends up not graduating high school, joins a gang and ends up in prison. What if childhood vaccination rates fall so low that we end up with totally preventable outbreak in a few years. The list of negative outcomes are endless, and it would be nice if politicians would acknowledge them and would take a more balanced approach.

    #1909615
    mdd1
    Participant

    I readily acknowledge that I know nothing about the mental health. However, you must admit that the number of suicides is very small in comparison to the number of Covid victims.
    Bk613, all the possibilities that you mention are, to a degree, far-fetched. According to you, people should be allowed to keep their business open and working on Shabbos, because he may not make it financially otherwise, and then … So, working on Shabbos should be mutar because of pikuch nefesh.
    Also, Syag and Bk613, according to the Shulchan Aruch we don’t sit shivah for someone who committed suicide, because he is a a big rosha. Any comment? (I know there is a heter to sit if the the public does not know what happened, but me’ikar ha’din — one does not unless the fellow was a real shoteh according to Halochah before he did it).

    #1909616
    mdd1
    Participant

    Decency, please, no outrageous right-wing propaganda about the Marxists trying to take away our freedom. It belongs on a red-neck militia website.

    #1909629
    SchnitzelBigot
    Participant

    To answer the question, it depends on what kind of people are currently testing themselves. A New York Post article claims that per capita, white liberal areas in Manhattan test three times as much as white middle class areas in South Brooklyn, and they use anecdotal evidence to show that the Manhattanites are basically being frivolous about their testing while South Brooklynites only test themselves when they’re sick. If this is true about Boro Park and Midwood too, then it would make sense to test more nonsick people in our neighborhoods to reach the same ratio of well people frivolously testing to sick people testing that white liberals have.

    If however, there is no deficit of regular well people in our community testing, then encouraging more testing just to artificially lower our rates can potentially be dangerous in many ways. On the other hand, this egregious lockdown on our neighborhoods, which is horrible on every level, makes me want to say that anything should be done to lower our numbers.

    There is another concern that people might have, that if we all test, even if the positivity rate goes down, the number of positive people will inevitably go up, and the government/media will decide to drop the current metric and begin using number of positives as a new metric. I personally was nervous about this happening, but I’m beginning to think that De Blasio and Cuomo will have to explain to everyone in two weeks from now how their lockdowns are very successful yada yada yada, and how the positivity rates are down all because of their decisions yada yada yada so they’ll look for any number that’s good news.

    #1909707
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Daasyochid, because even though it has its limitations, it is a useful way to monitor trends.

    So is number of infected per 100,000.

    #1909712
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    DaasYochid – They do not have enough information to produce statistically valuable data

    They have the data. And the frum neighborhoods are not necessarily the highest percentage of positive cases yet neighborhoods with higher numbers per 100k didn’t get shut down.

    #1909724
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    I just get tested and feel good being negative.

    #1909739
    se2015
    Participant

    “So is number of infected per 100,000.”

    I’m not saying that number isn’t important and you often see tracked in the media. But you’re only reporting results of people actually tested, so it’s less useful in trying to get an idea of how widespread the virus is if the number of tests vary.

    Take extreme examples where testing rates are more useful than positives per population:

    Area A: 100,000 random tests with 1,000 positives
    Area B: 1,000 random tests with 1,000 positives

    Or the following:
    Day one: 10,000 random tests with 100 positive.
    Day two: 5,000 random tests with 50 positive.

    In these examples, if you looked only at positive tests per population, you’d get a very distorted view of what’s actually happening.

    #1909824
    Decency is Key
    Participant

    I don’t know where you got this information. I have watched videos of Sweden and accounts from their citizens, they are basically BACK TO NORMAL. They did not have any shutdowns at all so there were no “rules to follow” they closed schools and colleges, but they never shut down businesses – even nonessential businesses. They washed their hands, practiced some social distancing, and went about their business. Yes, many people died, but they have beat the virus. In addition, they are a country the size of California with 1/4 of the number of the population of California. They have 10.5 Million citizens total. That’s only two million more than people in NYC for many times the amount of space. You can’t compare.

    BUT, for all of you calling “Rodeph”. A person who goes out while knowingly infected can be considered a Rodeph. Masks are NOT reliable, they are NOT considered more than 30% effective and only tightly fitted N95 masks actually keep the virus out, and even then, you need to make sure that you wash your hands and face to keep the particles away. Bottom line is, it isn’t as dangerous as you think, Doctors just didn’t know how to treat it effectively. Be extra cautious if you have family members or acquaintances who have preexisting conditions that put them at risk. Otherwise, just keep your hands clean and use common sense about when and wear you need to wear a mask.

    #1909979
    mdd1
    Participant

    Decency, they did have rules: social distancing, no gatherings of more than 50 etc. And those were adhered to! Many people were even more machmir on themselves. And yet, their death toll skyrocketed, and was for a long time a couple of times more than in the US. Only because of the bungled US response we only recently overtook them.
    Regarding the masks: please spare us the propaganda/fake news from the red-neck websites. They just don’t want to be bothered with rules and the government telling them what to do even if the last one is 100% right.
    You can beat the virus by letting it run unchecked and achieving herd immunity, but it will kill many, many people in the process. Do you care about saving people?

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