Virus Transmissibility, Retest Reliability, and Reinfection Rates

Some studies and related data this morning are driving me crazier than usual, so … rejoinders:

  • A CDC study trumpeting an R0 of 5.7, without saying that it was in China, in the outbreak’s early days, during Chinese New Year travel with as many as 415-million people on the road, staying in crowded multigenerational housing, and with nosocomial panic spikes. It might have briefly spiked to that level, but it almost certainly isn’t best characterized as an R0 5.7 virus
  • People shouting about low antibodies in “some” recovered patients, without noting that there is no test/retest reliability in the indicator. This is very early data. 
  • People shouting about reinfection rates, without noting the high false negative rate in nasopharyngeal swab for virus clearance that allows some people to be released prematurely. While coronaviruses can cause reinfection in recovered patients, it has usually been at low levels. 

Humans exhaust me when they find narratives they can’t abandon.