Letters from the COVID Curve:

Your Responses to 'The Curve Is Already Flat'

After publishing The Curve Is Already Flat (by A.J. Kay and Thomas P Seager, PhD), we received a deluge of direct messages, emails, and text messages. The article was viewed 250,000 times in less than 48 hours, and then Medium deleted it.

However, in a strange twist of Medium’s terms of service that treats responses like their own stories, the reactions to the original stories are still available (selected links below).

Looking them over now is like watching the shadow of a solar eclipse. You know there’s something there to see, but you’re not able to look directly at it and you can’t tell exactly what it is.

Already Flat…’ was a powerful combination of scientific analysis and experiential narrative. The science (Seager’s specialty, albeit Kay’s idea) examined the Center for Disease Control (CDC) data on influenza-like illnesses in Nov and Dec 2019, and found that tens of thousands of cases a week were being reported in the US, despite the fact that COVID was supposedly still only in China. The experiential narrative (Kay’s specialty) explained how the government prohibition on “elective” procedures was not only preventing Kay from getting a 6-month checkup scan of her inoperable liver tumor, but also resulted in the furloughing of medical professionals all over the country who don’t have jobs during what is supposed to be the greatest health crisis of our lifetime.

Kay also pointed out that these newly unemployed health care workers include her ex-husband, which means she’s lost the primary source of financial support for her and her four daughters. She pleaded for antibody testing, to determine the level of immunity in the general population, but also in her family. She’s convinced that her whole family had COVID at about the same time it supposedly first appeared in Washington State, because her symptoms then matched so well with what the CDC now considers sufficient evidence to merit a COVID diagnosis.

Many of the letters we’ve gotten share similar experiences, and many people are anxious to have the antibody testing to determine whether they really experienced COVID, or some mysterious copycat bug. They also want to know if they have immunity (which seems like a really useful thing).

The countries that have implemented widespread antibody testing, like Iceland and Germany, are discovering that COVID was more widespread and less deadly than originally thought — findings that support the thesis in ‘Already Flat… .’

Since the article was published, several other studies have corroborated the findings we published, suggesting that COVID was epidemic in Wuhan during the last two months of 2019, and likely arrived in the US shortly after the discovery of the novel virus in China on 17 Nov. Given that flight records show hundreds of thousands of people arrived in the US on flights from China prior to the January travel ban, the idea that a highly contagious virus somehow missed all those flights is preposterous.

Despite the Medium deletion, the article has changed the conversation about “flattening the curve.” From our unique vantage point at the center of many of those conversations, we offer up these testimonials from our readers, because they are anxious to connect with someone who will listen to their story.

We haven’t, nor can we, verify any of these anecdotes. Additionally, we’ve scrubbed all identifying information from the messages, which is a departure from our usual policy regarding community testimonials. 

Nevertheless, the difficulty we face right now is that so many people are prohibited from meeting in person. They can’t form the usual anonymous support groups. Social distancing and public shaming can act like a gag order, given that even the usual, “How are you? Did you find everything you need?” at the grocery store all-of-a-sudden seems antiseptic and anti-personal.

So, we’re republishing several of the accounts shared with us here, anonymously, in the hope that those who wrote to us will feel that their voices have been heard, too — as Kay and Seager’s have.

These are some of our Letters From the Curve.

I am 57 years old. I may have had Corona virus. I had every symptom currently described in today’s Covid-19. It lasted 10 days!
The ironic portion of the story is a group of friends all went to a bar. We were all perfectly healthy. Three days later we all became bedridden with flu-like symptoms. I have all the texts back and forth with my buddies that were all with me that night. All of us had the same flu which we believe now could have been Covid-19. 
The text messages which I just went back and read last night because of the article shocked us all.

There’s a hospital were they are testing all women who come in to give birth for SARS-CoV2 antibodies. Approximately 50% have been testing positive.

As a result of posting your story, the head of the Corona Virus task force at our largest hospital said that they have concrete evidence that the virus was here in November. As fate would have it my Wife got really sick with all the symptoms the second week of December. I forced her to go to the hospital when she complained of shortness of breath. Long story short, she had an “unspecified virus.” 
I’ve heard other similar stories in the November-December time frame.

My roommate went to China in November. By mid-December we had both been sick as dogs. I went to urgent care and the physician was wearing a mask and told me to be super careful because it looked like I had the flu that’s been going around. 
She specifically stated to be careful because its turning into pneumonia and to be extra cautious because of my heart stuff. She prescribed a stronger mucinex, told me to use a humidifier and stay warm. I couldn’t even smell the peppermint oil and vicks I added to my humidifier at one point. 
Pretty sure that was covid, but there’s no way to tell.

I’ll speak to my own experience when I was hospitalized in early January, then again in February. 
The hospitals were overrun. 
The first hospital, I had to wait for 4 hours before being seen, and in between that time I was triaged in about 2hrs from the time I arrived. 
I spent 24hrs in the ER in an isolated room. I was then transferred to an overflow area where patients were separated by screens. There were about 4 of us in there, maybe 5. 
I was then transferred to a different hospital after a bed was made available there. I waited several hours for that transfer. 
The same thing happened again in February, but the only difference was they got me in quickly, and had me moved to an isolated room before being moved upstairs. Isolation was happening, and the doctors were very vigilant with masks, gloves, and full gowns/fatigues/smocks.
The explanation I got was that the hospitals were overrun with Flu patients. 
I was discharged about 2–3 weeks before the nationwide quarantine orders came out. I remember seeing the news about COVID-19 while I was in the hospital. This is why I wrack my brain on the numbers, the accuracy of the models, and the truth to all of this.

In February right after my birthday, I started with a headache and then nausea, fever and major body aches. 
The body aches where unusual, I’d have little “explosions” of pain in the muscles. No real chest issues and very fatigued for about 2–3 days. 
My dad was pretty worried and insisted I go to the doctor because that’s when we started hearing about the coronavirus. 
I went. 
They tested me for the flu and it came back negative. My stomach wasn’t right for 2 weeks! 

Mid January after coming back from Mexico, in California — awful chills and sweating for 10 days, never had anything like this.

I had a weird upper respiratory infection that tested negative for any known virus, but idk if it was covid. I never got a fever and while the cough was horrible and long lasting, that was the worst of it.

I’m wondering if I had it too. The entire month of December…. then I had an acute asthma attack in my car, in morning grid lock traffic…… it was horrifying. Had to stop and get a stranger to call 911. It’s like they say you lose lung capacity afterwards.

I never get sick, but a week after being in Mexico, I did. Big time!
The health and economic repercussions of living in fear and not having all the information are heartbreaking. I’m personally feeling it.
This article really resonated with me. I don’t know if you remember but both of my kids were sick for weeks with typical Covid symptoms before I came to see you. The doctors ran no tests. One of my sons is high risk due to type 1 diabetes.
That morning a started feeling it in my throat, but I never did get sick! I thank regular sauna and cold plunges for that. This virus has already made its rounds in February where I live.

Medium should take this down as misinformation. medium.com

There is no evidence to support this theory. medium.com

My son had a mystery virus that mirrored symptoms of Covid-19. The doctors never took blood and never said this is a flu or mentioned the word flu. He had his flu shot in September…medium.com

Yup. And I am reasonably sure I already had Covid back in January. But politicians aren’t going to allow this theory to gain momentum, because they’d have to admit they overreacted based…medium.com

I see imbeciles are already clamoring to remove an article simply because it raises good question. Much like Religion in the Middle Ages, people like Kelvin mask their own ignorance as enlightenment in order to…medium.com

I live in Ahwatukee and my family experienced 6 cases of something starting at Thanksgiving. I also have a cousin in Hudson Valley, New York who was sick on two occasions in November/December. In the latter…medium.com

I was so sick in February that I missed more work than I have in 26 years. medium.com

I struggle with these data points because it’s not just the US that has accepted these timelines… medium.com

Excellent writing and presentation of evidence of what most people believe is just common sense… I pray that you and so many others in similar situations are not a casualty of these flawed models. “Trust the…medium.com

I was so sick in February that I missed more work than I have in 26 years. medium.com

I have been saying this as well. medium.com

I agree with you. My family and I have had a very persistent flu-like illness since February, the symptoms kept disappearing then…medium.com

The data from the Southern hemisphere seems to support your hypothesis? This is a “statistics for decision-makers” worst nightmare…medium.com

I hope you and your family get through this thing ok and that you’re able to get prompt attention… medium.com

Finally, there is this tweet thread from Peter Antevy, MD who has self-administered an antibody test four times because he experienced COVID-like symptoms in January, but wasn’t tested for presence of the virus.

He’s using the antibody test determine whether he was infected with COVID, recovered, and now has immunity. 

The problem is that his first two tests were positive, and his last two were negative. He says he’s “back to square one.”

It turns out that antibody developing and mass-producing a reliable antibody test is a difficult technical problem that has yet to be solved. We may have to manage for awhile without one.

To read Dr. Thomas P Seager's views on that, see the article below.

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