Monday, July 26, 2021

Could a Czech Covid-positive Olympic athlete need oxygen?

Not really.

OK, Czechia has 10.7 million people. Assuming the thresholds that are used for flu, the Covid-19 epidemics ended sometime in April or May and for all practical purposes, there has been no Covid-19 in Czechia for a month. The daily cases, hospitalizations, daily deaths etc. are 98.0%-99.7% below the most recent March peaks. In total, 30,000 lives were "ended with Covid-19" according to the official statistics. Every year, about 112,000 Czechs die without Covid-19.

Now, the Czech Olympic team is composed of 116 athletes. 80% of them have been vaccinated against Covid-19 which is a higher percentage than 60% in the general population: athletes are really being pushed into this ritual which still "isn't quite mandatory" but it's close to being mandatory. A special flight took 40 people, mostly athletes but some members of the support staff, to Tokyo around July 20th. A day later, we already discussed their positive tests. The Japanese have more sensitive PCR tests than we have. None of the people have any symptoms. As far as I can say, every single one is a false positive.

Dr Vlastimil Voráček is a physician of the Czech Olympic athletes; I don't understand whether he serves all of them or just the tennis players – he is normally the doctor of our stellar Fed Cup team. He thinks that vaccines are a great invention but for these mRNA etc. vaccines, he insists on the 10-year probation period. So maybe he will agree to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in 2030. Voráček has been one of the people who were positively tested; because of his "anti-vaxx" attitude, he was immediately "accused" by the Coronazis – without any real evidence – that he was the patient zero. The infection is believed to have taken place in the aircraft. He correctly says that he violated no rules and there is no evidence that he is the "local" patient zero.

Great, some 2 days after the flight, the Czech minister of health already announced on TV that one of the female athletes, namely the beach volleyball player Ms Markéta Sluková-Nausch (33), has not only been positively tested (like her duo's coach and her husband Nausch) but she is also connected to oxygen in a hospital. Obviously, it was completely fake news, Nausch's agents quickly denied the claim, and an attorney in Prague has already filed a criminal complaint against the minister (accusing him of the crime of mass fearmongering which may produce up to 8-year-long jail terms). We need to go after the neck of people who are constantly doing these things. The minister defends himself by saying that he is just a stupid parrot who repeats whatever someone tells him to parrot. Can stupid parrots be jailed for fearmongering? I am not a lawyer.

But was it plausible? No. And is it possible that he was stupid enough so that he actually believed this implausible assertion?

According to the latest data, Czechia has 32 Covid-positive people in the hospital which includes 3 serious cases. These two numbers have been similarly tiny for a month (the stagnation seems to consist of "seemingly regular" drops by 50% in 10 days; and some rise in early July which may be blamed on the delta common cold or on people's new holiday environments, it is really hard to separate the two). The peak was 9,400+ and 2,060+ so the drop from the peak is roughly by 99.7% and 99.8%, respectively. The pyramid tells us that there are about 0.7 million Czech women aged 25.00-34.99, the athlete's group, and 21 of them have died with Covid-19 (women are less likely to die than men, even in this group). I am confident that a (clear) majority of each cohort has been exposed to Covid-19 and has the immunity by now.

The number of Covid patients who have needed oxygen was just slightly higher than the number of people who have died from Covid-19, basically in every cohort. The claim that "one of the ~60 female Czech Olympic athletes is connected to oxygen" says that there is a nonzero intersection between the set with ~60 women in the age group who have needed oxygen; and ~60 women in the age group who have made it to the national Olympic team. The age group contains 700,000 women so the probability of a nonzero intersection would be something like\[ \frac{60 \times 60}{700,000} \approx \frac{1}{200} \] which is already pretty small. However, this result wildly overstates the tiny probability that a female Olympic athlete was connected to oxygen in this time, with the extra information about the timing. Recall that we have 3 serious Covid patients in the hospital now out of some ~10,000 that have been serious patients at least at one moment. "Now" is an extremely unlikely moment to be connected to the oxygen because almost all the sick people were sick during one of the big waves. That's why the probability above needs to be multiplied by 3/10,000 or so; we get 1 in 700,000 or so. (I am applying to Czech statistics even though they have left for Tokyo. This really changes very little about the odds and the dynamics of the virus.)

Pretty much independently of that, the athlete wasn't a generic member of the female age group 25-34 years old. She is a vastly more healthy one than the average. Because among the young people, difficult Covid-19 targeted very ill (diabetes, cancer...) patients and/or obese people etc. (she is not even obese, it is not such a great idea for an Olympic volleyball player to be obese), her probability of needing oxygen is one or several orders of magnitude smaller than it is for an average Czech woman in the 25-34 cohort. I generously say that it only adds 1 more order of magnitude although I surely think it is at least two orders of magnitude. So the probability stands at 1 in 7 million now.

Independently of that, the full story says that she needed the oxygen one day (or at most two days) after she was infected in the airplane (because there was arguably still a negative test in Czechia). The proportion of patients who already need oxygen 1-2 days after infection is very small once again; most of the patients are connected to oxygen 5 or more days after the infection (the median could be about 9 days because 5 days is just the first symptoms that are typically not enough yet) and 1-2 days is very far from that, a Gaussian tail. Again, generously, I only add one more order of magnitude although it is probably more than one. We stand at 1 in 70 million.

Also independently of that and the previous extra observations, the infected people almost certainly got a very tiny dose (the whole infection could have been on their hair only, a false positive) because all the "suspects" who could have been the primary propagators of the virus in the Olympic team were asymptomatic. I think that this self-evidently low dose reduces the probability of "oxygen is needed" at least by another order of magnitude and we stand at 1 in 700 million.

I could probably add some extra observations that further reduce the probability. But I got about "one over one billion" which is a damn small probability. We are drowning in exaggeration and lies. Every sane person must have noticed that a huge fraction of the things we hear are lies (at least lies about "what is important and how you should react" which are actually the most damaging lies) – and there are people whose profits (and life away from a jail or an electric chair) depends on propagating these lies and maintaining the irrational Covid fear in the society. So a person with common sense is really comparing two basic possibilities:

(a) Mrs Nausch was really connected to oxygen, despite the odds comparable to 1 in 700 million.
(b) It is fake news, someone made it, either intentionally or by some mistake or stupidity.

Of course (b) is more likely. The fraction analogous to "1 over 700 million" is about "1 in 2" for (b) because we are drowning in lies and approximately every second statement is a lie. So the option that the "claim about her needing oxygen is just BS that someone made up, either intentionally or not" is at least 350 million times more likely than the option that it is true.

You may adjust some of the numbers above and the result will be correspondingly modified, too. If you are a regular person, you will not quantify the things at all, you will do these calculations non-numerically by an "analog computer inside the brain", by some feelings and intuition. But if you are really unable to figure out or "feel" that this assertion is almost guaranteed to be BS, then your stupidity is truly breathtaking. You are a braindead sheep that is ready to swallow an arbitrarily obvious BS and you should realize that this trait of yours is really worse than any disease you can conceivably contract. You are just a fudged up pile of šit. I am very disappointed if this applies to the Czech minister of health.

P.S.: You could argue that the probability should be higher because we also have the information that ~5 athletes out of 116 are positive which is a higher fraction than the positive fraction in Czechia right now, so the Olympic team is "one of the current hot spots". Such an argument could work under some conditions but I think it is wrong now because it is very plausible that if the very sensitive Japanese tests were used against the people in Czechia right now, we could also get a ~5% positive rate. There is no reason to think that the "positive tests" which are associated with no visible disease cannot be repeated and last for a very long time. Instead, quite some circumstantial evidence indicates that they can be repeated – and they last for a month after the disease or more (which is why, thank God, the public health officials finally stopped waiting for the infected people's negative tests). A positive test says virtually nothing about the health of the person that was tested. It is just a ritual made to produce a fake justification for moving the person into a "suspect category" and if some people are really insane, automatically treat the positively tested person as "ill".

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