A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Corona reports lack important details

Written April 11th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Friday at Bowman Park: Amidst COVID-19, the boating season has begun.

Taking your boat out on the Willamette River is one way to spend a warm spring day during these Days of Corona. But we should also pay attention to the Oregon numbers on this outbreak, and the reports we are getting from the state could be more complete.

Every day the Oregon Health Authority gives us the latest number of “new cases” of COVID-19 infections. But it never reports the number of actual total cases, which would subtract those patients that are known to have recovered and no longer have the illness.

New cases reported in Oregon on each of the last four days before Friday numbered 49, 58, 83, and 51, and the total reported Friday was up to 1,371. The outbreak has been going on for about a month. So you would expect quite a few of those thirteen hundred Oregonians to have recovered.

Adding new cases every day, and reporting that number without subtracting any, makes it appear the outbreak is getting worse every day. But subtracting the number of known or presumed recoveries would give a more complete and perhaps less alarming picture.

Then there’s the matter of “underlying conditions” in Oregon patients who have died. On Thursday the Health Authority reported six more lives lost to COVID-19. On Friday it said the infection had claimed four more. In each of these 10 cases, as in virtually all the previous 38 deaths, the agency cited one or more “underlying condition.”

Just what were the “underlying conditions” in each case, and how serious were they? If the virus had not been present, would the person have died within a few days or weeks anyway? Or would the person with those conditions probably have lived another five or 10 years except for the virus?

Knowing the nature and severity of the “underlying conditions” would help readers of these Health Authority reports gauge the level of risk that the new coronavirus represents to them. (hh)

28 responses to “Corona reports lack important details”

  1. Bob Zybach says:

    Thanks, Hasso: It is telling that the “authorities” are not reporting these numbers, nor are they reporting distinct racial statistics regarding infection and mortality on a regional basis. There is a huge difference between died “with” coronavirus, vs. died “from.” We are not getting complete information on this pandemic, and that is not just from China.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    So governments impose house arrest and shut down the economy because according to Dr. Birx “we’ve taken a very liberal approach to mortality.” Oh….now I see. It’s a liberal thing.

    So what really matters here? Before the virus on average 7,700 people died every day in the U.S. The only meaningful number is how many EXCESS DEATHS are attributable to COVID-19.

    Like you said, not deaths “with”, deaths “from.”

    Given that the inaccuracies and manipulation in the reporting of numbers are easy to see, one must ask – What is the underlying political motive at work here?

  3. J. Jacobson says:

    Yes, this is precisely what we need now – a bunch of self-diagnosis by armchair medics. Keep up the good analysis.

  4. Dan Murphy says:

    This would be helpful Hasso – thanks for posting.

  5. Lexis Kirkendall says:

    Thank you so very much! My husband and I and others have been saying the same thing for weeks. It seems like all the media sources go for the scare tactics. We have a granddaughter that is an RN in the Bend hospital. She says the same thing. Maybe you can convince the DH to run a ” true” picture.

  6. Timothy SMITH says:

    They are preaching a false narrative and don’t want people to have all of the information, otherwise their narrative falls apart. The truth will come out soon.

  7. Cheryl P says:

    Jeez Louise…not you too; put the Kook-Aid down Hasso.

    FACT – We ALREADY know that those over 60 and/or have chronic conditions are more susceptible to CV-19. WHICH by the way…is NO different that any other ‘cold and flu’ season which is why it is highly recommended that said folks get flu and pneumonia shots. Is NO different that any other time in history when a particular virulent strain of some virus or bacteria makes the rounds…folks over 60 or with ‘underlying conditions’ are the most vulnerable.

    Given that this is ‘fact’, why the push to discount these folks, to say “They don’t count because they were going to die anyway”?

    FACT – There are not enough tests. Because there are not enough tests you either have to be rich and famous, have direct contact with some who has tested positive for CV-19 or gasping for breath before you get tested.

    The truth is…there are millions of people in this country alone that actually have CV-19, but they will never become a statistical ‘fact’ because they haven’t been tested. If you don’t believe me, ask folks who have gone to the doctor with CV-19 symptoms how many been diagnosed with a “respiratory infection” or even “pneumonia”, are given meds and sent back home with orders to “wait for the fever to break” or “isolate themselves for seven to fourteen days”.

    And because CV-19 is a brand new virus, it will be decades before know what the fallout (long-term effect) is.

    But you go right on ahead with your ‘less alarming picture’ as you ride your bicycle around town keeping your distance from folks. I’ll continue to take care of my [adult] daughter who was diagnosed with a ‘respiratory infection’ eleven days ago. And my friend Tree…her [adult] daughter was diagnosed with a ‘respiratory infection’ sixteen days ago, ‘double-pneumonia’ nine days ago, BOTH are still sick

  8. Ted says:

    What? Make the number of recovered citizens easily accessible? They can’t keep the panic fueled power grab going with lower numbers. Panic news leads the reports. Good news is after the third commercial or on page 9 for those newspapers still in print. And they’ve gonna have a hard time surviving.

  9. HowlingCicada says:

    “””Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”””
    I would have added “incompetence” to “stupidity.” Unlike in China, we will get plenty of accounting for what happened when this is over. Those who want the truth will read both sides. Will it include significant malice? I have no idea.

  10. Kurt says:

    I think it is important to not downplay this virus. Ten residents in one nursing home in SE Portland have died from the coronavirus. This herd immunity option is too risky. It’s already not working well in Sweden and the Swedes are far more healthy than Americans. Look at the stay at home orders that have been implemented in Finland, Norway, and Denmark, they are all doing much better than Sweden. Also, to all you right-wingers, the death count is not being exaggerated in our country, if anything there are people in New York and New Jersey who are dying from it and who are not being counted. I couldn’t disagree more with all the contrarians who insist that “we have to open up things again.” May 1st is too early.

    • Dad McKay says:

      It’s equally important not to up-play the virus. The governor has closed open-air venues where minimal contact is made between individuals, including McDonald Forest. Ludicrous!
      Almost makes a person wax poetic for Kitzhaber. At least he knew the difference between a scalpel and a bone saw.

      • HowlingCicada says:

        McDonald Forest is a big part of what makes me want to stay in Corvallis (though Albany offers much better non-car-owner connections to the rest of the world). A few days before it closed, I hiked up Dimple Hill. Dan’s Trail had lots of bikers and a few hikers. A group of 8 to 10 people congregated at the peak. I was uncomfortable with the normal shouted greetings from bikers (“two more ahead,” etc). The forest roads seem much less problematic than the trails; I hope they open them soon.

        Anyway, here’s OSU’s statement with recent updates:
        “””… a respectful distance was not maintained when users were passing and crossing on trails …”””

        Webcam of the Oak Creek entrance looking outward (south). The time-lapse movies are ironically fun to watch.

  11. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “You will find here adulations and accusations under tyranny, evils not unknown to this age: nothing genuine, nothing sincere, and no sure faith among friends … many bitter and sad things for the reader, but let each of us think on the words of Thrasea, even as he was dying: ‘Behold, young man, (and may the gods avert the omen) you have been born into a time when it is useful to fortify the mind with firm examples’.”

    — Justus Lipsius (1547–1606)

    • centrist says:

      Otherwise seems proof text with dubious connection

      • Hasso Hering says:

        What does that mean?

        • centrist says:

          Learned the term from a Missouri Baptist. Refers to a practice of associating unrelated Bible verses into a single quote to support a point.
          Don’t know that RayK intended that, but clarification would be enlightening.

  12. centrist says:

    Looks like you have distancing boredom. You ask about a statistic that’s not currently published, but can easily be found with a little arithmetic. Once upon a time, you might have assigned an intern that task.
    As to whether COVID19 caused, accelerated, or played no part in a death; or whether an underlying cause caused, accelerated, or played no part in a death, no armchair Quincy has the data or expertise.

  13. John Klock says:

    As usual, conservatives deny the virus, waiting for their senior leadership to tell them how to think and respond, and after the virus disrupts their theories, they pile on the science or the people who know science. If we want to get back to work, not retirees who already have their retirement and have the time to respond to this blog, then we have to have some adherence to facts.

  14. Bob Woods says:

    They report the totals, Try this link that has been available for a 2 or 3 weeks:


    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Woods, you’re not paying attention. Go back and read Hasso’s story. Your link is an example of the problem Hasso identifies.

      The link reports “total positives” since reporting began. For example, 1,447 as of 4/11.

      Hasso wants to know how many of those 1,447 have recovered? This “recovered” number would give a “more complete” and “less alarming” number.

      And your link says zippo about how many cases and deaths involve underlying conditions. Again, a person can’t “gauge the level of risk that the new coronavirus represents to them.”

    • Al Nyman says:

      I don’t usually agree with Mr. Woods but I looked at the site and found data showing a distinct drop in hospitalizations but still the media reports that we all are in grave danger of dying which is a total farce. And I have seen several New York doctors state the virus is 90-95% from contact with the virus and not from airborne contact. I would be curious as to the average age of virus deaths as I saw an Italy statement a couple of weeks ago which stated their average age was 80 so really all this fuss is to save Hasso and myself.

  15. Katherine says:

    We will probably never know the true numbers. Like most of the folks I know they don’t have any kind of health insurance so unless they’re on death’s door they never go to a doctor or a hospital. You either believe this pandemic is real or you don’t end of discussion. I just know there’s no vaccine so there’s no cure and it’s in everyone’s best interest As Americans liberal or conservative to protect ourselves as best we can. God bless you all on this Easter Sunday.

  16. Phyllis Richards says:

    Did you know that starting last nite WAHS and SAHS will be honoring their 2020 graduates by turning on the field lites (on the fields where they should be graduating) at 8:20 for 20 minutes every Friday nite.

  17. Lundy says:

    Hasso, thanks for not being afraid to look at data and ask questions. At this point in our history, that will get you labeled a heretic by some. Myself, I appreciate the curiosity and integrity.

  18. Brandon Miller says:

    It seems to me that people begin to have too many conspiracy theories about all. Because in Spain or Italy, people set fire to and destroy the towers with 5g connection because of the “possibility of spreading the coronovirus”, in our country people go to rallies and the next day they get it all. People who think about this often, according to my statistics, suffer from addiction, alcohol, drugs. I was one of them and was undergoing treatment, so if someone is interested: If you think about this a lot, you can get here: https: //floridarehabexperts.com/. But this is happening all over the world, just think. I believe that you need to keep a cold mind and make the right decisions, taking advantage of this.


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