Coronaplague in India proves Dr. Jeff Goldblum’s theories?

Dr. Jill Biden’s colleagues (the “experts”) say “India Worst Hit Country in the World”:

The TIME article:

India became the country with the world’s second highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, surpassing Brazil, and now second only to the United States.

India now has 13.5 million confirmed cases, compared to the U.S.’s 31.1 million. The country is currently in the midst of a second wave of the virus, with confirmed daily infections reaching an all-time high of 168,912 on Monday.

Dividing by 1.4 billion is apparently too challenging for American journalists. How about the Brits? From the Guardian:

This week has marked a series of grim Covid milestones for India. It was this week the country once again outstripped Brazil to become the second-worst affected globally, with a total of over 13.68m cases.

In other words, India has suffered more from COVID-19 than a country in which 100 percent of the population died of COVID-19, just as long as that country had only 13 million people.

How bad are things in what TIME and the Guardian say is the worst-plagued country on Earth? The country has suffered 125 COVID-19-tagged deaths per million inhabitants (ranking). That compares to 2,530 per million here in Massachusetts (states ranked; note that this is per 100,000 so multiply by 10). Maybe they will be getting worse, though. If things get 20X as bad as they’ve been in India, the situation will be about as bad as it is right now in Massachusetts.

From the New York Times, the “cases”:

and the deaths tagged to COVID-19:

The trend certainly does not look good. I wonder if this proves what Dr. Jill Biden, M.D.’s colleague Dr. Jeff Goldblum said: “Life Finds a Way.” The non-Chinese Wuhan-edition coronavirus was perhaps not a good fit for hosts in India, which is why, adjusted for population size, not much happened during Coronawave #1 (TIME: “health experts had predicted that India, with a population more than four times the size of the U.S., would quickly become the world’s worst-hit country”). But now the virus, with approximately 30,000 base pairs, has evolved. How much? Here’s the March of the Mutants:

If there isn’t already, there should soon be a coronavirus suitable for any host: Indian, not Indian, vaccinated, not vaccinated, etc.

On the third hand, what goes up exponentially might well come down exponentially. So far the actual daily death rate from Coronawave #2 in India is lower than during the first wave. The higher case rate could simply be an artifact of increased test availability.

Readers: What’s your best guess as to how events unfold in India? My guess is based on regression to the mean. India was an outlier (125 deaths per million). When the dust settles, India will be somewhere in the middle (right now the worldwide average is about 375 deaths per million; 3 million deaths in a population of 8 billion). Perhaps we’d have to adjust for the fact that the median age in India is roughly 27, slightly younger than the world median (around 30).


  • “India sees record surges in cases due to coronavirus variants” (New Scientist): The surge appears to be driven mainly by the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant from the UK, which is causing around 40 per cent of cases in Asia, according to pathogen-tracking project Nextstrain. Another 16 per cent of cases are due to the B.1.351 variant that evolved in South Africa.

17 thoughts on “Coronaplague in India proves Dr. Jeff Goldblum’s theories?

  1. Believing reported numbers is a mistake. Revenge propaganda for India being touted as some wacky super resistant outlier, I recall one speculation was because a good portion of the population in India is on HCQ. That idea wasn’t spread. My guess is the numbers are fake and they are hitting India because nothing can be untouched by the cold so bad you have to be told about it to even know it exists. Plus they are probably just mad at India for stopping the Western vaccine programs that were killing and maiming so many of their people. And who can verify the truth on the ground in India?

    • @GB – I live here.
      Yes, the cases have increased almost everywhere in the country. But – a couple of states dominate the stats, if you remove those, the situation isn’t that bad (i.e end_of_the_3rd_world_bad).

      You touched on a couple of subtle points. India has pissed off some lobbies by:
      1. supplying vaccines to a lot of countries in the world (74). & being ‘self sufficient’ on the home front,through%20commercial%20deals%20as%20well.

      2. Its own handling of the corona-plague had been okay[ish] (given the doom predicted by BBC

      so, yeah a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff going on here & also yes, the situation has to be controlled sooner than later.

      BTW, if you notice what India did after the propaganda went overboard? :
      It approved Russia’s Sputnik vaccine (instead of Pfizer et. al ). LOL.
      ( Pissing off the entire lobby yet again, similar to when it approved S4000).

      My intuition is that its going to subside in next 3 weeks or so… let’s see what happens.

      (PS: yes, one of my office colleagues was prescribed HCQ.
      also, lots of ‘immunity booster’ home recipes being followed here. which i think is useful in general & is helping).

  2. How about number of tests per capita? It’s not an epidemic of virus, it’s epidemic of testing.

  3. I think Dr. Malcom (Jeff Goldbloom) is correct — on both sides of the conflict. The Corona virus (same family as the common cold virus) is evolving and so will we. This isn’t a new concept, it’s been happening for thousands of years. What’s new is that the Media continuously sprays us with paranoia…

    It’s quite likely that when the common cold burst on the scene, thousands of years ago, that it killed some fraction of the human population. Human immune systems then produced specific antibodies to defend themselves (like Covid vaccines today), so the virus mutated (evolved) to get around that defense, so humans produced T-cells which aren’t as pro-active but much broader spectrum; you get sick but you don’t die.

    I’ll predict that as time passes, fewer and fewer people will die from Covid-19, in all of its variants. Evolution in action. The Media will evolve too. They will find another way to terrorize us.

    Just by the way, Phil, what are your thoughts on the fact that the Media can’t seem to pronounce “T-cell”? And that all our vaccines, and the tests of their efficacy, rely on specific antibodies, which are already obsolete against the variants? (Luckily, as a by-product, the vaccines also stimulate the T-cells.)

    • JSB: I don’t watch TV (unless you could Foghorn Leghorn streaming for the kids) or listen to the radio (Audible books instead) so I haven’t heard anyone pronounce “T-cell”. How does our science-following media say this technical term?

      (I agree with you that coronavirus will eventually kill fewer people if for no other reason than those who are most susceptible to this virus (and maybe its variants) will get killed first. That would be true even if the virus were immutable. I just hope that I’m not one of those who happens to be “most susceptible” and, by the way, I’m a little bored so please pass the Cheetos!)

  4. “Our science-following media” does not say “T-cell”, ever. You know that. I don’t think they know they exist. (sigh)

    I had Covid in March of last year. I was sick for 5 days, then recovered. Different from the flu but overall less unpleasant; I’d rather have deep fatigue than the flu’s muscle aches. I tested negative for antibodies so my Cross-reactive T-cells, from having colds, took care of it. Perhaps the best pro-active thing one can do, in lieu of a vaccine, is go out and catch a bad cold!

    Phil, I doubt you’ll be “most susceptible”. Curmudgeons have strong immune systems. 😉

    • JSB: I know so many people who have had COVID. I’m not sure for whom to feel sorriest. The ones who got it early then had to endure more than a year of school closures, lockdown, mask hassles, and a dysfunctional society where half the people hate the other half. None of this could have had any value to them since they were already immune. Then there were the ones who got it in the last month or two. They endured more than a year of school closures, lockdown, mask hassles, and a dysfunctional society only to end up in the same place medically that they would have been if they’d partied. (Since most of my friends are rich and white, a lot of them had engaged in heroic deep bunkering and Facebook Mask Karenhood. Despite going above and beyond to avoid COVID, the virus found them anyway and knocked them down for a few days.)

  5. Phil, you’re absolutely right. I’ve been called a “self-righteous prick” because I don’t want to wear a mask or be locked down. I’m bitter because an entire year of my life has been stolen from me. I’ve been thrown out of a shop after explaining that I have natural immunity AND I’ve been vaccinated, because “You can get it again!”

    Just like the common cold, we are ALL going to get it. Either the original version or one of the variants. And over the years we’re going to continue to get it, just like the common cold. The sooner everyone accepts that, the sooner we can go on with living.

    Perhaps the most significant thing that comes from this pandemic is that people will re-evaluate what it means to be “healthy” and change their behaviors.

    • Interesting thought about people changing behaviors with a new perspective about what it means to be healthy. Philg has posited several times that corporations like to celebrate LBGTQRST+ because it doesn’t cost anything but gets free publicity (when else would national news write approving articles about changing the colors of your logo? A designer’s dream!). The cost/benefit analysis is similar for putting a BLM sign in your front yard in a Democrat state, and allows you to avoid having to do things that would actually reduce inequality, like changing zoning laws. I wonder if after the panic dies down and wearing masks continues to be something that people in CA and MA do for the rest of their lives it will take on a similar flavor. Wearing a mask during flu season (which will be renamed Corona season as you note) is a sign that they are making healthy choices, and a much easier choice than losing the 20-30 pounds that they gained during lockdown.

  6. To me, it looks like India has an annual peak, the current increase in deaths comes almost exactly 1 year after the last one.

    my prediction is that the monsoon will kill it off.

    • Viking: Do you have a prediction for the height of the peak? It was about 1,300 deaths per day in September 2020 (did you mean a “semi-annual peak”? We are only about half a year past the first one). And let’s keep in mind that the standard for classifying a death as a “COVID death” might have changed over in India (not sure in which direction, though!).

    • Based on the sharp increase, I am predicting the peak value will be higher than last year.

      The difference compared to last year is that Indie this year had an endemic virus as a starting point.

      By the time it is obvious India is past the peak, say daily deaths are down to 650/day, I expect 200 to 300 cumulative deaths per million.

      So 8 to 12% of Maskachusstts rate.

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