Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 13, 2020

News-Nugget About The Coronavirus Pandemic

Excerpts from three current pieces about the novel coronavirus pandemic.

NPR: White House Knew Coronavirus Would Be A 'Major Threat' — But Response Fell Short

In the case of Alex Azar, [the head of Health and Human Services], he did go to the president in January. He did push past resistance from the president's political aides to warn the president the new coronavirus could be a major problem. There were aides around Trump - Kellyanne Conway had some skepticism at times that this was something that needed to be a presidential priority.

But at the same time, Secretary Azar has not always given the president the worst-case scenario of what could happen. My understanding is he did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that's partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear - the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.

So how did that worst-case scenario look?

NYT: The Worst-Case Estimate for U.S. Coronavirus Deaths

Officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and epidemic experts from universities around the world conferred last month about what might happen if the new coronavirus gained a foothold in the United States. How many people might die? How many would be infected and need hospitalization?

One of the agency’s top disease modelers, Matthew Biggerstaff, presented the group on the phone call with four possible scenarios — A, B, C and D — based on characteristics of the virus, including estimates of how transmissible it is and the severity of the illness it can cause. The assumptions, reviewed by The New York Times, were shared with about 50 expert teams to model how the virus could tear through the population — and what might stop it.
...
Between 160 million and 214 million people in the U.S. could be infected over the course of the epidemic, according to one projection. That could last months or even over a year, with infections concentrated in shorter periods, staggered across time in different communities, experts said. As many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die.

And, the calculations based on the C.D.C.’s scenarios suggested, 2.4 million to 21 million people in the U.S. could require hospitalization, potentially crushing the nation’s medical system, which has only about 925,000 staffed hospital beds. Fewer than a tenth of those are for people who are critically ill.

That is why we argued that only an early and lasting lockdown can prevent that the health care system goes into overload and that many people who would ordinarily survive would otherwise unnecessarily die.

A U.S. op-ed writer, who was in China during the lockdown, repeats our criticism of the racism that led to the still sluggish response in 'western' countries.

NYT: China Bought the West Time. The West Squandered It.

[F]or weeks now, the attitude toward the coronavirus outbreak in the United States and much of Europe has been bizarrely reactive, if not outright passive — or that the governments in those regions have let pass their best chance to contain the virus’s spread. Having seen a kind of initial denial play out already in China, I feel a sense of déjà vu. But while China had to contend with a nasty, sudden surprise, governments in the West have been on notice for weeks.

It’s as if China’s experience hadn’t given Western countries a warning of the perils of inaction. Instead, many governments seem to have imitated some of the worst measures China put in place, while often turning a blind eye to the best of them, or its successes.
...
In my experience living in China for weeks during the peak period of the lockdown and talking to various groups beyond the disgruntled elites, people were frustrated, even exasperated, by the containment measures — but they largely supported them, too.

And while some in the West fixated on how China’s system failed to stem the outbreak at first, they were ignoring the aspects of it that worked. There’s nothing authoritarian about checking temperatures at airports, enforcing social distancing or offering free medical care to anyone with Covid-19.

Your host is currently working on a piece about the social, political and geopolitical consequences the pandemic is likely to have. My first outline says that these will be huge and will reverb over several decades. I will have to tone that down.

---
Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the issue:

Posted by b on March 13, 2020 at 14:00 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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While Garmany jumps over sovereignty of European nations to impose austerity rules even over the welfare of their citizens, to the extent of oblying them to introduce amendments in their Constitutions, as happened in Spain during 2008 crisisv to asure the rescue of the banks over the welfare of citizens, Germany itself, when it needs it, jumps over any EU regulation and law to forbid exports of health care material to most affected EU nations...

https://twitter.com/juantorreslopez/status/1238972434956591104

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Mar 15 2020 14:51 utc | 401

Alpi @45, financial matters @391: US Intelligence role in corona virus response

This info from Whitney Webb is very disturbing.

Given the incredibly poor Western preparation, we have to consider the likelihood that TPTB wanted/welcomed a panic that would allow invoking a "national emergency".

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 15 2020 15:08 utc | 402

@Peter AU1 #362
Given the huge numbers of deaths in China and Italy - why exactly should these countries be considered paragons of nCOV treatment?
Their mortality levels are far, far higher than anyone else except Iran.
That's why I personally would be cautious of any tales involving 1 or 2 patients; this is the same trap that befalls cancer victims. They read about some cancer victim going meatless or whatever and recovering - and extrapolate that said bullshit actually does something.
In the real world, people do recover from all sorts of situations spontaneously - i.e. the doctors have no idea why.
Given the thousands of dead and tens of thousands of people infected and hospitalized, I would expect at least some of this situation occuring - even disregarding the blatant self serving propaganda I also am seeing.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:18 utc | 403

The thing to notice about this is that the people behind the spokespersons are concerned about being perceived as weak, and that is because they perceive themselves as weak and are worried that their "enemies" will take advantage and attack. Since we have attacked those "enemies" again, no doubt some of them will do just that.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 15 2020 15:19 utc | 404

Here's an interesting data point: newspaper obituaries in Italy from Feb 9 vs. March:

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:21 utc | 405

Link again Twitter video link

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:22 utc | 406

Could reluctance to test in the US be related to the weakness of the PCR test ? If that test is useless (false Positive) people with regular flu or cold might test Positive for Covid-19 thus revealing that they have no test for Covid-19.

Key Factors for Removing Bias in Viability PCR‑Based Methods: A Review
F. Codony M. Dinh‑Thanh G. Agusti
Received: 17 July 2019 / Accepted: 29 November 2019

Abstract

During the last decade, the viability PCR approach has been investigated intensively with the goal of detecting solely the DNA derived from intact cells by removing the bias resulting from dead or damaged cell artifacts. However, since the first published paper in 2003 and despite the various continuous improvements, the stubborn reality is that in most cases the goal has not been achieved. Complete neutralization of nucleic acids derived from dead microorganisms was not possible, at least without affecting live cells. However, recently published works in this field show how neutralization rates can be improved.

Reality is a nasty rival of Mankind. This situation with Covid-19 would surely strain Dr. Spock to the max.

Prime Directive

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 15 2020 15:22 utc | 407

Regarding mineral micronutrients and what not:
The arguments sound good, but the real world data doesn't support the argument.
If micronutrients are truly important and affect health in a major way - there should be a flat to declining life expectancy as well as significant/top 10 numbers of micronutrient deficiency related diseases.

I don't see any such thing. The recent US life expectancy decline is 100% due to opiate deaths but was continuously improving for decades before that.

And as I've written about before - human bodies are extraordinarily tough. It takes a very, very long time for even a core deficiency like Vitamin C to start impacting bodily function - and people lived despite suffering from scurvy for months at a time.

Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. I'd like to see actual evidence of micronutrient deficiency impacting end results before I would put any significant faith into what a bunch of profiteers are trying to sell you - even if some of them are earnest. Some of them clearly are not.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:26 utc | 408

Some thoughts on the future:
1) There will be thousands dead no matter what happens. The only questions are how many thousands and how fast.
2) The US has experienced 5% loss in hospital beds from 2005 to 2017. Richer areas have gained 10% beds vs. 20% population gain; poorer/rural areas more than made up for the difference. Thank you for-profit health care.
3) Mortality exists at all levels except 10 and under. But it is low. The problem is that after age, risk factors include smoking, obesity, hypertension. Americans are fat…
4) What’s the deal with toilet paper? Unlike Australia and Japan where bullshit articles were popularized featuring masks made of toilet paper – why are Americans stocking up? I was in the grocery store Friday – the TP aisle was almost empty and the checkout lines were literally historic: 20-30 people long with every 2nd person buying 3 packs of 12-roll toilet paper. Friends in Russia are joking that Americans are scared shitless by nCOV…
5) The biggest problem is I don’t think people have really thought this out. nCOV isn’t going away – the lockdowns will slow down the spread which is good. However, what happens to the economy with no one travelling, no sports, no concerts, restaurants hit, tourism dead? The US economy is enormously dependent on consumption – nCOV lockdowns are the single best way to hurt consumption.
So let’s say the lockdowns work. nCOV is still going to be out there – and the growth curves are just going to start again after the lockdowns stop.
I’m not saying not to do them – but I am asking what the end-game is when a vaccine is 12-18 months away, minimum. Repeating cycles of lockdowns?

China has instituted draconian measures to identify exposed people and quarantine; Europeans are generally societally aware/responsible enough to self-regulate supplemented by government action, but the US will never be able to execute these type of measures either by force or by individual initiative.

I can see China and most of Europe coming back to some semblence of normal in a few months – I am not hopeful of the same thing in the US.

Think about what a stop/start cycle of nCOV flareups interspersed with lockdowns will do to the American economy. Or the prospect of Trump having the executive authority to be allowed to do this. Or what happens if he isn't given it.

Scared yet?

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:31 utc | 409

And then there's this: for all the "bioweapon" believers

If anyone was creating a bioweapon - the balance of beneficiaries is China. Yes, they had 4000-ish people die, but they've got 1.4 billion more.

China’s Hubei province is the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak. It’s also home to at least 12 drug plants supplying the US with everything from painkillers to antibiotics. And beyond Hubei, an estimated 80% of pharmaceutical ingredients are sourced from China and India (which, in turn, sources nearly 80% of its drug ingredients from China).
source.
China is now making more than 100 million masks a day, up from 20 million before the coronavirus outbreak, and may start to export more to other countries
source

Pharmaceuticals and masks as strategic resources?
The US sends money and/or bombs - China can send masks and pharma drugs to build good will...

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:37 utc | 410

@Tom_LX #407
false positives aren't ideal but aren't bad. Better safe than sorry...
False negatives would be bad.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:39 utc | 411

China has had 81,000 "official" cases, almost all in Hubei/Wuhan which has a population of 58.5 million. The first case was in November, and China cracked down on the epidemic in mid January, immediately before all the travel associated with the Lunar New Year. If the 81,000 hospital cases are divided by the population of Hubei (58.5 million) that gives an "official" infection rate of ~ 0.14%. Two possibilities: either the COVID-19 is non-infectious, or the 81,000 cases vastly underestimate the number of people who caught the virus. A Johns Hopkins researcher noted that (although the "official confirmed cases" in the US number <2,000) there are likely 50,000 to 500,000 Americans infected with the COVID-19. If the situation was similar in China before testing was available and medical care soon overwhelmed, it is likely that all mild cases avoided the doctors/ hospitals or were dismissed as colds or seasonal flu. In that case, with 250 times as many cases as officially confirmed, the infection rate rises from an absurdly low 0.14% to 35% (more in line with the 40 to 70% predicted infection rates for Western countries). This would mean that the fatality rate would also fall correspondingly from 7.5% to 0.025% like a bad flu. COVID-19 should never have entered US borders, but now it mostly becomes an effort to slow the spread (and thus not overwhelm America's for-profit health care) and avoid spreading to the 16.5 million Americans who are over age 75, and those with underlying lung, heart/circulatory and immune issues.

Posted by: michael888 | Mar 15 2020 15:41 utc | 412

More US Health care supply chain fun:

New York making their own hand sanitizer. Cheaper than buying it: source

90% of drug precursors - the active ingredients in pharma - are made in China source

MAGA?

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:42 utc | 413

rhesus monkeys don't get nCOV again after they've caught it once.
Doesn't guarantee the same in humans but is highly likely.
source

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:44 utc | 414

nCOV spread primarily from droplets - not aerosols: consistent with cruise ship numbers.
source
Publication date: March 13, 2020

Emerging data indicate that SARS-CoV-2 is primarily spread by droplets, is likely to be more easily transmitted than seasonal influenza based on an R0 of 2.0 to 2.5, and can spread through asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic individuals who would not normally seek medical care or evaluation.
Eighty percent of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 have minimal or mild symptoms.2 Combining these characteristics and the emergence of community transmission, it is likely that silent spread has already occurred in multiple US locales.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:47 utc | 415

@michael888 #412
Your point is valid, but I would note that 20% of nCOV victims have serious problems. It is just that the younger ones don't die.
Given this, it seems unlikely that the numbers of "unknown" nCOV infected are at the high of the range specified.
500,000 infected = 100,000 serious problems = 5,000 to 10,000 people in the hospital. No way that isn't going to be noticed especially concentrated in a few states: Washington, NY, CA.
However, 50,000 infected = 10,000 serious problems = 500 to 1000 people in the hospital - that is possible. That number falls into the range of regular flu victims with serious complications.
Net net - I don't see a glaring reason to discount the mortality numbers being reported so far, particularly the age-related ones.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:57 utc | 416

Everybody should read these. It explains why a pandemic like COVID-19 was inevitable and why China couldn't have behaved differently:

WHO Research and Development Blueprint (February 2018)

The blueprint talks about "Disease X". This Disease X ended up being exactly like COVID-19.

Posted by: vk | Mar 15 2020 16:06 utc | 417

To vk @ 417

No COVID-19 isn't it. That's like calling a magnitude 5 earthquake on the San Andreas fault "the big one." The R naught is too low and the generation interval is too long. All this is is a "Boomer Remover" and they and their children are panicking big time. Basically since modern medical care nobody is used to death anymore so the population is panicking. Remember the old song "Od to Billy Joe?" "There was a virus going round papa caught it and died last spring...." That doesn't happen like it used to and people are panicking. In a year or two when the Brits and the Japanese have the best long term results people here (I live in the US) should be embarrassed but they won't be. What they will be is still terrified and subject to panic. Anyway the economic damage and the cancelling of younger people's lives to spare people in hospice is worse than the disease. It's regrettable.

Posted by: Paul Bogdanich | Mar 15 2020 16:19 utc | 418

To Michael @ 888.

Bravo. I reposted a German virological assessment that had the same conclusion and was pilloried for suggesting that people may be overreacting. I would point out that to get an accurate CFR (case fatality rate) you need a blood test for the antigen. We don't have that. Preliminary indication are that about 80% of people who catch the virus are either totally asymptomatic or show very mild symptoms. The problem is these asymptomatic individuals are the most infectious for the first 10 days. Anyway it's just a panic. It is a Boomer Remover because there is a correlation between death rates and people taking statins to control blood pressure. That's what they are trying to hide. Anyway a lot of people are scared shitless. I find it kind of embarrassing myself. Words like coward and pusillanimous come to mind.

Posted by: Paul Bogdanich | Mar 15 2020 16:29 utc | 419

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 15:39 utc | 411

My line of thought is that a large component of cases could be due to placebo/nocebo/"voodo suggestion" psychological effect on people with weak immune system diagnosed with a test that "wags" every which way. MSM is doing a great job of whipping up the masses. Even I sometime catch myself thinking if that sensation around my throat isn't early sign of .....

What people are dying of we can only guess but flu season comes around every year so deaths will be registered.

Just so I am not accused of being a complete nut here is one of my reference to the "voodo" part,

Am J Public Health. 2002 October; 92(10): 1593–1596.
doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.10.1593
PMCID: PMC1447285
PMID: 12356599
“VOODOO” Death
Walter Bradford Cannon, MA, MD
Copyright and License information Disclaimer

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 15 2020 16:34 utc | 420

@Tom_LX #420
The placebo effect is real, but unless you are stipulating that it extends to people getting hospitalized/dying of respiratory complications because they think they have nCOV - I still don't see that mattering.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 16:51 utc | 421

@Tom_LX #420
I looked at the paper referenced: it draws no conclusions that VOODOO death is real - only states it "could" happen. And it specifically relates to stories about people dying due to voodoo curses.
Most importantly, the actual paper was written in 1942. Detracts from its relevance considerably.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 16:54 utc | 422

@ Posted by: Paul Bogdanich | Mar 15 2020 16:19 utc | 418; 419

Not every pandemic is highly lethal. It only needs to infect 50%-70% of the world's population to be classified as such.

COVID-19 is not The Pandemic - the pandemic of all pandemics, that will bring humanity to the brink of extinction and which will happen someday -, but it is the Disease X WHO predicted in 2018.

Natural selections is happening right now. The COVID-19 pandemic will go away, but the virus itself won't. It will become a common disease, which future generations will grow up accustomed to. What's to be done is to flatten the curve so that people who aren't suffering from the COVID-19 (e.g. strokes, heart attacks) won't die needlessly just because there's no infrastructure left to attend them.

Yes, the mortality rate of the COVID-19 is seemingly low - we won't know it for sure until the epidemic is over and we have the time to count the bodies and finish all the testings.

But China - which was ground zero - didn't know that. It could be Disease X, but it also could be "The Great Pandemic", the pandemic which would wipe out 70% of its population. Hence it was perfectly justifiable for the CCP to enforce total lockdown, no matter the costs.

Posted by: vk | Mar 15 2020 17:06 utc | 423

@c1ue #409:

So let’s say the lockdowns work. nCOV is still going to be out there – and the growth curves are just going to start again after the lockdowns stop. I’m not saying not to do them – but I am asking what the end-game is when a vaccine is 12-18 months away, minimum. Repeating cycles of lockdowns?

Lockdowns should be based on ventilator availability. If the number of available ventilators in a county increases, allow more events with more participants to take place (resulting in more cases a week later); if the number of available ventilators decreases, cancel more events and further restrict maximum number of participants (resulting in less cases a week later). Target something like 95% ventilator utilization. There are about 72,000 ventilators in the U.S. Assuming 1% of the U.S. population develops severe respiratory problems (from COVID-19 and other types of pneumonia) and assuming two-week hospitalizations, the process will take 2 years.

The process can be accelerated by buying more ventilators and creating makeshift hospitals. People who will lose their temporary jobs because of the lockdowns can be hired to perform auxiliary tasks at these makeshift hospitals.

Posted by: S | Mar 15 2020 17:07 utc | 424

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 16:51 utc | 421

on people with weak immune system diagnosed with a test that "wags" every which way.

I'll be a little clearer. People who catch the flu/cold who already have a weakened immune system as a result of pre-existing condition having been attacked by this "media virus" could potentially windup in the hospital in large numbers.

The effect is real (placebo/nocebo/voodo) and it will operate on the susceptible. Stress levels in the aged population must be going off scale. How many are effected by this phenomena ? God only knows.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 15 2020 16:54 utc | 422

There are other papers on this effect and not only the one from 1942. I'm not going to list them all here as that is not going to change anything. A person's state of mind is an important factor which can and has a significant effect on person's health.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 15 2020 17:27 utc | 425

To vk @ 423

You say, "perfectly justifiable for the CCP to enforce total lockdown, no matter the costs." I disagree with the "no matter the costs" part of the statement. You can't cancel the lives of the young to protect the elderly and infirm. True, China did not know the epidemiological progress of the disease so maybe their actions were defensible. We however do know the epidemiological characteristics of the disease and we are flat panicking. People fully expect president Trump to go into the White House bathroom and shit 10 gross of ventilators and 100 gross of test kits. It's outrageous. People are being stupid. The Brits and the Japanese are the only ones being rational at the moment. The Brits are just going to let the herd immunity develop and voluntarily quarantine the at risk not the bulk of the population. The Japanese issued guidelines about when to seek medical attention (continuous fever over 103 degrees F for 48 consecutive hours - 24 for pregnant women) and don't even bother showing up to a hospital before that. Their economic costs will be minimal and more importantly their population will have responded to an unfortunate situation with courage and dignity. Our costs will be staggering and our behavior cause for embarrassment. In my opinion of course.

Posted by: Paul Bogdanich | Mar 15 2020 17:31 utc | 426

@ 412 michael888... thanks.. a reasonable overview...

Posted by: james | Mar 15 2020 17:47 utc | 427

@ 402 jackrabbit... thanks for getting me to check the mintpress linked shared by others....

early quote in the article which makes perfect sense for a military establishment... this is the drawback to putting the military establishment at the top of everything..

"Little attention was given to the fact that the response to this apparently imminent jump in cases was being coordinated largely between elements of the national security state (i.e. the NSC, Pentagon, and intelligence), as opposed to civilian agencies or those focused on public health issues, and in a classified manner."

Posted by: james | Mar 15 2020 18:00 utc | 428


The French lab is rightly scratching its head what is all the excitement about.


Feb 27 2020

In our reference institute for infectious diseases, we have been implementing since the end of January 2020 PCR detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA using several systems, including those released at the European level [4]. In total, we have tested to date (as at 19 February 2020) 4,084 respiratory samples by PCR and all the tests have been negative for SARS-CoV-2. These tests were carried out on the samples of 32 suspected SARS-CoV-2 cases, 337 people repatriated at the beginning of February 2020 from China tested twice, 164 patients who died in public hospitals in Marseille between 2014 and 2019 of whom at least one respiratory sample had been sent to our laboratory, and they also included 3,214 respiratory samples sent since January 2020 to our laboratory to search for a viral aetiology. In striking contrast, we have tested 5,080 respiratory samples for various suspected respiratory viral infections since 1 January 2020 and identified in 3,380 cases respiratory viruses. In decreasing order of frequency, they were: influenza A virus (n = 794), influenza B virus (n = 588), rhinovirus (n = 567), respiratory syncytial virus (n = 361), adenovirus (n = 226), metapneumovirus (n = 192), enterovirus (n = 171), bocavirus (n = 83), parainfluenza virus (n = 24), and parechovirus (n = 8). Among the diagnosed viruses, there were also 373 common human coronaviruses (HCoV), including 205 HCoV-HKU1, 94 HCoV-NL63, 46 HCoV-OC43, and 28 HCoV-229E [5]. Furthermore, analysis of the mortality associated with these viruses has been able to show that since 1 January 2020, one patient died after being diagnosed with HCoV-HKU1, and respiratory viruses were found in 13 other patients who died, which included influenza A virus (3 cases), respiratory syncytial virus (3 cases), rhinovirus (5 cases), adenovirus (1 case) and metapneumovirus (1 case). Retrospectively, analysis of deaths in patients who have had a respiratory sample has shown that at least nine patients have died between 2017 and 2019 after being diagnosed with one of the four coronaviruses commonly circulating in humans [6].

Thus, it is surprising to see that all the attention focused on a virus whose mortality ultimately appears to be of the same order of magnitude as that of common coronaviruses or other respiratory viruses such as influenza or respiratory syncytial virus, while the four common HCoV diagnosed go unnoticed although their incidence is high. In fact, the four common HCoV are often not even identified in routine diagnosis in most laboratories, although they are genetically very different from each other [7] and associated with distinct symptomatology [8].

"Paging Covid-19, Paging Covid-19. Please come to the phone at the nearest lab near you."

link

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 15 2020 18:02 utc | 429

I only read down to comment 100. So, I haven't followed it all properly.

Still I wanted to post the below.

… end lockdown, the disease will come back fairly quickly as those without any immunity become infected .. likely be several cycles of lockdown and infection before the disease becomes a background disease because immunity will have built up .. those most vulnerable would have died. Instead of disrupting society by implementing universal lockdown, perhaps they should look at assisting the most vulnerable - those over 60 and/or those with compromised immune systems and encourage and assist them to self-isolate until ..

Yes… Ghost Ship, many think the same way, me for ex. Yet, there is a lot to unpack, sort out. Ex. the F authorities just now announced that half the serious cases in France are under 50. Other…Social: A CH Canton has forbidden over 65’s using public transport. Protests and suits for discrimination will be forthcoming… !

We don’t know enough about the virus. ..When only a few isolated cases pop up seemingly randomly there is a definite and hopefully correct interpretation of ‘die-down’ (independent of the specific conditions used for testing, treatment, etc.)

until a vaccine is developed

HIV virus “has” no vaccine though the hunt now exceeds 30 years, many of the affected have been, are, very famous and rich. SARS virus neither. However treatment will improve - anti-virals, etc. (See AIDS.)

It's obvious that the 1% are sacrificing the old and the sick to save capitalism. (re UK)

One way of putting it, yes. The argument between ‘do all to keep the economy going - profits coming in..’ (implied, older ppl could die off for 50% - that would fix some pension fund problemi) and ‘people come first we must help and save as many as possible independently of other considerations’ is stark in its crassness and simplistic in its underlying assumptions.

The oppo’ assumes a sort of steady societal state (mistake..) and a quarrel between profiteers and more humanistic figures. (Right - Left, anyone?) A kind of slice -n-dice identity politics (of death) which completely by-passes better understanding - of the virus, the disease, + how ppl think this should be handled.. And risks rejection by the ppl…

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 15 2020 18:05 utc | 430

A few more details to the Italian picture regarding reported numbers.

Several doctors who have given media interviews have emphasized that these deaths are associated with 2019-nCov and not necessarily attributed directly to the virus. 2019-nCov refers to the virus. COVID-19 refers to the Corona virus disease. It’s possible to test positive for 2019-nCov without necessarily suffering from COVID-19.

link

Good Luck friends trying to figure out this cluster fu%K of statistics coming out of Italy. One thing is clear, MSM has managed to stampede the population of the country into such a mental state that getting a handle on this thing there would be a miracle.

Fangulo

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 15 2020 18:29 utc | 431

Well it looks even worst with the numbers in Italy.

Rome, 13 Mar 19:12 - (Agenzia Nova)

There may be only two people who died from coronavirus in Italy, who did not present other pathologies. This is what emerges from the medical records examined so far by the Higher Institute of Health, according to what was reported by the President of the Institute, Silvio Brusaferro, during the press conference held today at the Civil Protection in Rome. "Positive deceased patients have an average of over 80 years - 80.3 to be exact - and are essentially predominantly male," said Brusaferro. "Women are 25.8 percent. The average age of the deceased is significantly higher than the other positive ones. The age groups over 70 years, with a peak between 80 and 89 years. The majority of these people are carriers of chronic diseases. Only two people were not presently carriers of diseases ", but even in these two cases, the examination of the files is not concluded and therefore, causes of death different from Covid-19 could emerge. The president of the ISS has specified that "little more than a hundred medical records" have so far come from hospitals throughout Italy.

These are the first minimum detailed data provided so far by the Civil Protection on the causes of death of coronavirus patients. At present, in fact, the authorities are unable to distinguish those who died from the virus, from those who, on the other hand, are communicated daily to the public, but who were mostly carriers of other serious diseases and who, therefore, would not have died from Covid-19. In response to a question from "Agenzia Nova", in fact, Brusaferro was unable to indicate the exact number of coronavirus deaths. However, the professor clarified that, according to the data analyzed, the vast majority of the victims "had serious pathologies and in some cases the onset of an infection of the respiratory tract can lead more easily to death. To clarify this point , and provide real data, "as we acquire the folders we will go further. However, the populations most at risk are fragile, carriers of multiple diseases ".


link


See article linked in comment #431 for more about this "nebulous" data from Italy.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 15 2020 19:22 utc | 432

Donkeytale #432
Your absolutely right. Yet all the clowns hear still scream “But, Muh China is Socialist because of Muh State-owned corporations and Muh Xi Jinping Theory”, and ban anyone like you and me who tell the obvious truth that China has sold out to Neoliberal Capitalism, and its “Communist Party” has been filled with Capitalist readers since the 1970s (the only real Socialist countries today are Cuba and North Korea, due to their Planned economies and dictatorships of the proletariat, IMO). I also find it amazing that besides you, me, and perhaps a couple others most hear can’t see that Trump is a Neoliberal, Neocon, globalist, who’s primary goals in office are to raise Corporate profits, overthrow countries for Israel (i.e. Iran) along with engaging in a phony conflict with the Democrats and Media over fake bullshit (i.e. Russiagate and Social issues) to distract the masses, along with entertaining his supporters and horrifying his opponents with Racism, Zenophobia, and Sexism, thus getting more fools to participate in the bread and circuses i.e. U$ “selections”.

Posted by: King Lear | Mar 15 2020 19:40 utc | 433

British Dr., John Campbell talk about the virus and criticise the way it has been handled by governments and warn about the future if actions is not taken right now
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIuzLf9f5WI&feature=youtu.be

Posted by: Zanon | Mar 15 2020 19:46 utc | 434

c1ue@414

I agree that a second infection for SARS-CoV-2 is unlikely. For those who have poor immune systems and/or underlying disease and survive critical care will have diminished lung function (in part due to lung stem cell destruction). Such individuals will likely die in the next round of the flu (e.g. SARS-CoV) or simply later bacterial infections.

Perhaps, an effective vaccine will be found out or the many now being developed. A lot of chicken eggs will have to be inoculated to develop the vaccine - lets hope there isn't an avian flu pandemic.

I have finally recognized that flattening the curve to prevent overloading hospitals in the US will not work due to widespread community spread, unlike in China where aggressive sealing off of some 60 million people saved the other 1.2 billion (for now).
https://www.fiphysician.com/flatten-the-curve/

Besides flattening the curve to prevent hospital overloading would take years of social isolation, especially since hospital capacity would be severely degraded by staffing issues due to the infections (ventilators may not be the limiting factor).

Posted by: krollchem | Mar 15 2020 20:03 utc | 435

vk 394

When you start talking antibiotics it becomes quite clear you don't have a fucking clue. China is has tested known drugs for their anti viral effectiveness against the coronavirus in vitro and found several that were very effective. They are now testing one of these in patients.
They have also been testing Rheumatism anti inflammatories against the pneumonia and found one that is effective in tests to date. Perhaps you would prefer to wait for US big pharma to come up with something, but I am quite interested in what China is doing.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 15 2020 20:16 utc | 436

Miss Lacy
It is interesting that there is a name for it in the spanish horse industry.
As to humans people who are healthy and eat a normal diet will get virtually all minerals. Here and I think other places around the world iodine is one that is deficient in diets unless a lot of seafood or some seaweed is eaten.
We have always had iodised salt, but now with low salt diets and other non iodised salts being use, doctors are starting to see more thyroid problems and iodine deficiencies.
But the areas where there are deficiencies due to poor uptake is anyone with gut-digestive problems and to a small extent as people get older. Several water soluble supplements that are easily absorbed have made a noticeable difference for me.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 15 2020 20:36 utc | 437

Interesting news from the rabbit hole that explains the Trump administration FUBAR approach to pandemics :The Trump administration fired the U.S. pandemic response team in 2018 to cut costs.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-fire-pandemic-team/

Posted by: krollchem | Mar 15 2020 20:36 utc | 438

I must admit it was only the Italian article that jarred my gray matter to the fact that one needs to be precise regarding which terms are being used when discussing this Bio-Event.

Coronavirus does NOT NECESSARILY equate with COVID-19. COVID-19 however IS a Coronavirus. So if we see text with the term "coronavirus deaths were" we can not be sure which particular virus is being referred to, SARS, MERS, or COVID-19.

Coronaviruses are a group of related viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that are typically mild, such as some cases of the common cold (among other possible causes, predominantly rhinoviruses), though rarer forms can be lethal, such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. Symptoms in other species vary: in chickens, they cause an upper respiratory tract disease, while in cows and pigs they cause diarrhea. There are yet to be vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections.

Definition of terms

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 15 2020 20:43 utc | 439

@Tom_LX #425
Everyone is entitled to their beliefs.
I see very little reason to share yours, given the profile of the majority of people who die from nCOV: the really old and the already really sick.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 16 2020 0:22 utc | 440

Well, well, well.

America has not only taken the curious step of classifying high-level meetings about a public health issue (COVID-19) but also US spy agencies are now going to play a key role in the pandemic situation in general, as they “'almost certainly see an opportunity to exploit the crisis' given that international 'epicenters of coronavirus [are] in high-priority counterintelligence targets like China and Iran.' It further added, citing former intelligence officials, that efforts would be made to recruit new human sources in those countries."

Forget about mass COVID-19 testing for its own citizens, lifting sanctions on Iran, or aiding China in its international efforts to deal with COVID-19.

No, America instead wants to *exploit* this pandemic to allow its spies to penetrate Iran and China, which are two leading geopolitical opponents of the USA that have been hit hard by this disease.

From: US Intel Agencies Played Unsettling Role in Classified and “9/11-like” Coronavirus Response Plan
https://www.mintpressnews.com/us-intelligence-unsettling-role-classified-9-11-like-coronavirus-response/265687/

"The Politico article also noted that the intelligence community is set to play a “key role” in a pandemic situation, but did not specify what the role would specifically entail. However, it did note that intelligence agencies would “almost certainly see an opportunity to exploit the crisis” given that international “epicenters of coronavirus [are] in high-priority counterintelligence targets like China and Iran.” It further added, citing former intelligence officials, that efforts would be made to recruit new human sources in those countries.

Politico cited the official explanation for intelligence’s interest in “exploiting the crisis” as merely being aimed at determining accurate statistics of coronavirus cases in “closed societies,” i.e. nations that do not readily cooperate or share intelligence with the U.S. government. Yet, Politico fails to note that Iran has long been targeted for CIA-driven U.S. regime change, specifically under the Trump administration, and that China had been fingered as the top threat to U.S. global hegemony by military officials well before the coronavirus outbreak."

Posted by: ak74 | Mar 16 2020 7:45 utc | 441

Tom_LX #431

Thank you for your posts. The French lab report was especially pointed. What a disaster this panic anxiety driving propaganda is turning out to be. Meanwhile the marines and their UK friends have landed on the shores of Yemen (or was Santo Domingo?).

I see you and c1ue are contending but his fab link at #406 to the Italy obit pages was a gem.

Between you both and the French lab there is abundant proof that flu is a real killer, not so much the Ncov-19.

Looks to me that corbett report is spot on.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 16 2020 10:21 utc | 442

I was wondering,if Boris Johnson wants the elder british to stay put inside their homes,then he must give orders to the BBC to quit the political correctness bias,and resume broadcasts of ancient popular humourous series,like Dad's Army,George and Mildred,Blackadder,Steptoe and son,Only fools and horses,Rab C.Nesbitt,Porridge,Some mothers hav'em,One foot in the grave,Fawlty Towers,Monty Python emissions,You rang ,my Lord?,Benny Hill,and so many more,that wouldn't pass today's filter of political correctness.Don't expect the elderly to like watching all the modern rubbish where you only see young middle of the road people with gender identity syndroms,like walking deep states PR.

Posted by: willie | Mar 16 2020 11:46 utc | 443

The French lab is rightly scratching its head what is all the excitement about.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 15 2020 18:02 utc | 429

Yeah, unfortunately that letter was published on February 20th, and at the latest refers to data acquired up to the previous week. The situation is changing day by day at the moment, even hour by hour.

I would agree there's a greater mix of other viruses than is being admitted, as not enough specific testing for COVID-19 is being done. But there's still a crisis, a genuine one.

Posted by: Laguerre | Mar 16 2020 12:17 utc | 444

Sunlight and fresh air...I remember my parents and grandparent speaking of 1918 and the epidemic -(grandpa was a surgeon in the AEF at the time)- and what this guy says seem sensible to me. >"Coronavirus and the Sun: a Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic " (Richard Hobday) @ medium

Well, sick or well, the garden in springtime is a nice place to be, as is fishing by the river...

Soap an' water, sun and fresh air was their "antibiotic".

..............


About vectors...the magic pen at the checkout line Always creeped me out, and so does the gaspump and all the touchie screens.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 16 2020 14:55 utc | 445

@Peter AU1 #362
And here's the French noting that anti-inflammatories inhibit the immune system fighting off the infection:
source

Health officials point out that anti-inflammatory drugs are known to be a risk for those with infectious illnesses because they tend to diminish the response of the body’s immune system.

The health ministry added that patients should choose paracetamol – which is known in the US by the generic name acetaminophen and commonly by the brand name Tylenol – because “it will reduce the fever without counterattacking the inflammation”.


I remember MERS - there was all sorts of talk about interferon or ribavarin or whatever being a treatment. The CDC today - many years later - still says there is no treatment for MERS, only symptom alleviation.

On the vaccine front: there are *no* vaccines for any of the known 5 or 7 non-novel coronaviruses. It doesn't seem like it is a capability issue though - the problem seems to be that none of them were either damaging enough (the common cold coronaviruses) or widespread enough (SARS 1/MERS) to really push through a vaccine. But we'll see with nCOV - again, the issue isn't the creation of the physical substance used to vaccinate - the real issue is testing to see if said vaccine actually confers immunity or reduces health risk, then producing.
I saw a news article talking about "producing 10 million doses a day" if a vaccine is approved - well, so it will be a year before half the world's population can be vaccinated, if they start tomorrow...

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 16 2020 14:59 utc | 446

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 16 2020 10:21 utc | 443

It's a veritable "Spaghetti Western" which hasn't yet ended.

Terms changing, categories changing, Moon Phases changing, bats flying everywhere ..... :-)

link

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 16 2020 15:32 utc | 447

Not to downplay the urgency, but perhaps this is accurate? And is critical to getting important (non CDC-Fauci-MSM carefully vetted et al) information?
http://theinfectiousmyth.com/book/CoronavirusPanic.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1oYZ-SHb_QYnaEpulvp7TK0gDKoAF_-hEZ1-WQUXDR2Mr6SF5aIogT6pc

Posted by: Nancy | Mar 16 2020 16:03 utc | 448

@Nancy #449
That author is an idiot.
New diseases have a timeline. The existing flu is mature - it is established in the world and so circulates around and has a steady state.
nCOV is brand new - it is trying to become established. It isn't going to behave the same as established flu because of that.
It is, however, very clear that the mortality rates for nCOV are far higher than regular flu. For under 50 without major health issues, regular flu death rates are like 0.01% to 0.02% vs. nCOV 0.2%. That's 10 to 20 times worse; multiplied by 330M Americans, 500M Europeans, and billions of Asians/East Indians - it is a big deal.
0.2% of the US is 660,000 people - and this is on top of regular flu deaths. The US bombed the crap out of Afghanistan and Iraq for 1/200th of that number of deaths.

For people over 60 - the mortality rates are 2-4% or even higher vs. regular flu = 0.1% - 20 to 40 times higher.

The questions that aren't answered are:
1) is nCOV established? Because if it is, then that's a different situation than if it can potentially be prevented from doing so.
nCOV is clearly out of the local bag and international, but nobody knows if it is widespread enough to have taken hold permanently.
China will again be the key - once (and if) they end the lockdown, then we'll see if nCOV starts spreading again.
If so, it is very likely that nCOV is established.
The question then is if the lockdowns are worth the ginormous societal disruption: job losses, wage losses, supply chain disruptions, spending cuts due to travel/tourism/sports/shopping, etc.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 16 2020 16:30 utc | 449

Getting back on my horse "Google", I notices this story involving vaccines+Italy .

It appears in the Northern province of Lombardi (epicenter of Covid-19) the authorities were forceably vaccinating. Is this connected to the outbreak ? God knows but is a nice coincidence. However considering that Milan is the business axis of Italy (lots of business travel) one might not be surprised.

Interesting nevertheless.

After coming to power in May 2018, Italy's previous populist coalition government threatened to overturn Italy's existing vaccination laws, saying that requiring school children to be vaccinated against common diseases was “coercive.”

It protested against Italy's so-called Lorenzin law, under which children must receive a range of mandatory immunizations before attending school.

The government later backed down over the issue amid a surge in measles cases in Italy, and the law was reintroduced in March 2019 – but many parents were left confused.

How do I make sure my child has the right vaccinations?

The mandatory vaccines are free. Visit the Ministry of Health's vaccine page for more information and to request an appointment online.

link

Going one step further, translating English to Italian, "vaccinazione gratuita italia lombardia 2019" led me to this article,

Vaccination campaign
Put in Google Translate to read.

So it looks like province of Lombardia was on war footing vaccinating people for free Dec. 2019 going into Jan. 2020. Huumm.

Here is a nice map of Italian cases with respect to time,
Animation wt time

More "eye candy"
Fatality Rate

Phylogenetic Tree

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 16 2020 16:31 utc | 450

This is way beyond me to use but the "eye candy" value is very high,

Nextstrain Prototyping - Issue 817

Attempting to help the Auspice project with some prototypes of feature requests. Motivated by the incredible impact Nextstrain has had on the COVID19 response, hopefully this notebook can help others with improving the Nexstrain visualizations!

This notebook is focused on issue 817 - Showing a time-based legend when only map is displayed.
The Goal

The Nexstrain app is a tool for epidemiology, the main visualization is a phylogenetic tree along side a world map:

Link

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 16 2020 16:38 utc | 451

"Two possibilities: either the COVID-19 is non-infectious, or the 81,000 cases vastly underestimate the number of people who caught the virus."

Much too limited in thinking. The third possibility is that China's efforts to contain the contagion were successful. This third possibility is far more probable than the only two that the poster's mind could come up with.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 16 2020 16:44 utc | 452

for c1ue @ 450

Speaking of idiots. We don't have antigen test. Stop propagandizing and saying that the severe patient (diagnosed) fatality rate is the same as the CFR ("Case Fatality Rate"). Most people, maybe as high as 80% who get the virus are asymptomatic. No couch, cold, fever, sneezing, nothing. The only way to get them in the count is to test for the antigen to the virus to see whether they were exposed and no such test exists. So look at the numbers. Say 100 people are exposed. 80 have no symptoms. 20 get sick in varying degrees. Of the 20 suppose 10 go to hospital and get formally diagnosed. Of that ten suppose 1 dies. Here you are screaming, "OMG the fatality rate is 10%." No, the CFR is 1% because you are neglecting to count the asymptomatic and mild cases. You should be on TV whipping up unreasonable panic instead of wasting your time on here.

Posted by: Paul Bogdanich | Mar 16 2020 16:48 utc | 453

Speaking of idiots. (webster) > "The Greek adjective idios means “one’s own” or “private.” The derivative noun idiōtēs means “private person.” A Greek idiōtēs was a person who was not in the public eye, who held no public office. From this came the sense “common man,” and later “ignorant person”—a natural extension, for the common people of ancient Greece were not, in general, particularly learned. The English idiot originally meant “ignorant person,” but the more usual reference now is to a person who lacks basic intelligence or common sense rather than education."

(This would seem to include the idiots I used to work with that were former marines. They were idiots. Also violent and dangerous, and colorful - it was like going to the zoo.)

Posted by: Walter | Mar 16 2020 16:57 utc | 454

@Paul Bogdanovich #454
Your credibility is utterly shot: You couldn't correctly read the report you yourself posted.
You also don't appear to exhibit any of the skill normally part of being a statistician.
Thus you are just a blowhard that has contributed nothing whatsoever to this conversation - one that is pushing an agenda which is frankly irrelevant.
I, nor anyone else on MoA, have no reason to believe anything of what you say concerning your skills or your background.
Feel free to continue posting your nonsense as I believe in free speech, but I personally won't read or respond to them anymore.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 16 2020 17:00 utc | 455

The pre-conditions of a potential Covid-19 patient have an influence on what approache can be taken to attack Covid-19. This report explains such a situation,

We therefore hypothesise that diabetes and hypertension treatment with ACE2-stimulating drugs increases the risk of developing severe and fatal COVID-19.

link

What is ACE2 ?

SARS-CoV-2 Cell Entry Depends on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and Is Blocked by a Clinically Proven Protease Inhibitor
....
Here, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 uses the SARS-CoV receptor ACE2 for entry and the serine protease TMPRSS2 for S protein priming. A TMPRSS2 inhibitor approved for clinical use blocked entry and might constitute a treatment option.

link

Thus drugs which have ibuprofen are a no-no as they are linked to increased ACE-2 expression and thus making that nasty bug's life easier in attacking the body.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 16 2020 18:22 utc | 456

@dfc, 124

I don't understand why you see the Nature paper you linked to and quoted from as strong evidence that the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab. The research described was American-funded and controlled. See https://www.nature.com/news/engineered-bat-virus-stirs-debate-over-risky-research-1.18787?WT.mc_id=TWT_NatureNews&fbclid=IwAR0OHqbDXrULUNIQPsxfjLpEx86eIrA-_uvymQuBPdQlUtJ2KB9-KF7-g_M for the ensuing controversy about the American government funding. The project seems to have been based in North Carolina. (Ten of the fifteen co-authors were based there, and only two in Wuhan.)

Posted by: kgbgb | Mar 16 2020 23:57 utc | 457

@smith, 196

> LOL, I retract my positive impression about the UK's handling of this, they are letting it go wild to build up "herd immunity".
> Holy fuck, Boris is mishandling this shit on an epic proportion

Not at all. It would have been much better if we'd been able to contain the virus, like the Chinese, Russians and (perhaps) the Koreans did. But, once you move from containment to delay, the UK strategy might well be better than the knee-jerk 'CLOSE EVERYTHING NOW!' policy of many panicking politicians around the West.

It is quite subtle. Professor Ian Donald explains it here: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1238518371651649538.html . He does say "it's way too clever for #BorisJohnson to have had any role in developing [it]", so you don't have to hate the plan just because you hate Boris.

Posted by: kgbgb | Mar 17 2020 1:35 utc | 458

kgbgb @459:

the UK strategy might well be better than the knee-jerk 'CLOSE EVERYTHING NOW!' policy

1) CLOSE EVERYTHING NOW! was the best policy as soon as community spread was detected.

They didn't do that. They allowed it to morph into a pandemic and a panic.

2) Even so, the "UK strategy" is a callous neoliberal policy.

China has proven that it's possible to contain the virus, even after community spreading is underway. Given the that example, Boris Johnson's government may be guilty of a crime against humanity by knowingly condemning thousands or tens of thousands to die.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 17 2020 2:36 utc | 459

@Jackrabbit, #460

I don't think you read what I wrote carefully, and I very much doubt you read Professor Donald's excellent explanation of the policy. (You really should. It's a very encouraging example of a government making policy on the basis of a rational calculation of the benefits and costs to its people, rather than on emotion or for the benefit to powerful insiders - a rarity in the West these days.)

Moving from 'containment' (in the hope of eliminating the disease) to 'delay' (in the hope of keeping the number of people needing intensive care beds within the available capacity) is not the same thing as the onset of community spread. (After all, every patient after Patient Zero was infected by community spread.) You might have argued that the UK moved to the delay phase too early, (and I might have agreed with you, given some evidence), but you seem to be saying that you just never should make that move.

In the containment phase, there is hope of eliminating the disease (globally, or in a country which is sufficiently isolated from potential re-infection). Obviously, you quarantine those with the disease, and their contacts who might have it. In Wuhan, the Chinese didn't have a test for the disease, so they initially shut everything down and banned movement, to prevent mixing the healthy with any carriers. Right decision. The South Koreans had thousands of test-kits available, so they didn't need to quarantine whole areas, with the resulting economic damage - they went with tracing and testing all contacts, and testing anyone worried they might be infected. Probably the right decision.

The UK initially adopted the Korean approach to containment, with some success. I don't know whether they eventually decided that they had failed, or whether they gave up on containment because of developments abroad. Either way, the aim has now changed to reaching a steady-state situation where the disease does as little damage as possible each year, and to incur as little damage as possible in getting there.

That steady state is attained when enough people are resistant to infection to make the R0 fall below 1 (i.e. each person with the disease infects less than 1 new person on average) so that any outbreaks naturally die out. That could mean waiting for a vaccine. But there is no guarantee that one with no unacceptable side effects can be found - nobody has ever created a practical vaccine for any of the half-dozen or so existing corona viruses. People hope there might be one in 12 to 18 months - but hope isn't a plan of action, and anyway, lock-down for that long could cause complete economic collapse. The other option is to build up what is traditionally called 'herd immunity', but which some people now call 'community resilience'. Each person who has already recovered from the disease becomes a block to its further propagation, as they are immune to catching it again (at least till it mutates sufficiently some time years down the line). Having people catch the disease is no longer considered a disaster - so long as they recover, it becomes part of the solution.

Achieving community resilience would be simple if you had infinite medical resources and if there were no difference between different sections of the population in susceptibility to the disease. There would be no better solution than "letting it go wild", as 'Smith' wrongly accused Boris of doing. But intensive care units are limited, and a proportion of those infected will require treatment in an ICU. If the supply of ICUs is overwhelmed, as happened initially in Wuhan and in Lombardy, some of those people will not get the treatment they need, and will die. It is therefore sensible to aim for (just under) 100% demand for the available ICUs until population resilience is achieved. Anything more causes unnecessary deaths, and anything less delays achievement of resilience, and extends the crisis for no advantage. Further, there are some groups - the old, the immuno-suppressed, those with pre-existing heart or respiratory problems and so on, who are more likely to die if infected. For their own sake, it is best for them to self-isolate until community resilience is achieved - they may then never get the disease, and if they do, they will have ICUs available without depriving anyone else. But their self-isolating also helps everyone else. For they are not only much more likely to die if infected - they are also much more likely to need an ICU. The young and healthy will generally get through the disease without medical attention, and only a tiny proportion will need an ICU. So, if the oldies keep out of the way, there can be a very large flow of young people from susceptibility to illness to immunity without overloading the ICUs, thus helping end the crisis as quickly as possible.

The British scheme consists of several pieces of advice, aimed at keeping the ideal flow through the ICUs, and achieving population resilience and an end of the crisis as soon as possible. (It also gives emergency help for people and firms that are financially endangered because people follow that advice). Practically nothing is banned outright - in fact, in the models used for predictions, there are guessed parameters for rates of compliance with the advice. At the coming height of the crisis, there may be some curtailment of liberty, but it is being kept as small as possible, and will be clearly temporary as it will be justified only by reference to avoiding overwhelming the ICUs. This precludes the resentment expressed by the young in some other countries, who say that their lives are being put on hold to save the lives of useless and scared boomers. As the boomers are keeping out of the way as much as possible, the lives being saved by managing the flow through the ICUs are largely young ones.

In contrast, the strategy of locking everything down straight away, whilst sensible in the containment phase, is pointless and disastrous once hope of eliminating the disease has passed and you are in the delay phase. It is pointless because it delays everything, including the achievement of community resilience, which is the only way out of the crisis except for the hoped-for distant and uncertain promise of a vaccine that does more good than harm. Models show that if you end the lockdown because of the economic and social disaster it causes, the medical disaster just starts up all over again. The social strains, the destroyed firms and jobs and families, the delayed or abandoned projects will all have been for nothing.

Just for once, Britain is doing something better than most other countries. After the embarrassments of the dodgy dossier, the Skripal affair, the White Helmets, Bellingcat, the Steele dossier, etc etc, I'd like to take a smidgen of satisfaction from that fact. Please don't just dismiss it without argument as a "callous neoliberal policy" because there will be some deaths - any policy available in the delay phase necessarily involves deaths. Carrying on with policies designed for containment would be worse. If it's your position that we should still consider Europe to be in the containment phase, I'd be interested to hear your arguments. But I think they're going to need to be extra-ordinarily good, since Europe had already got many times China's infections before Britain changed strategy.

Posted by: kgbgb | Mar 18 2020 1:06 utc | 460

@dave | Mar 15 2020 1:25 utc | 352

Regarding the American deaths in the Dominican Republic.
Your link now says 404 - page not found.

Here's another article which reports a cluster of three deaths in two nearby hotels in the Dominican Republic.

Some interesting things to note:

-- In the first case, the woman apparently died on the day of her arrival at the Dominican Republic. Which probably means she was sick already when she left the US.

-- She died of respiratory failure and pulmonary edema. A hard way to go. The respiratory failure is a lot like Covid-19.

-- She died on May 25, 2019. That was seven months before the first Wuhan case, for a victim who was probably sick when she left the US. If indeed she died of Covid-19, then this Is more evidence that SARS-Cov-2 originated in the US.

-- She died on May 25th. Perhaps this pours some cold reality on those who are hoping for warm weather to save the US.

Posted by: Cyril | Mar 18 2020 2:42 utc | 461

kgbgb @461

Professor Donald states explicitly that there is a risk that a 'balance' is not achieved. I think it would be very very difficult to achieve such a balance when some have little or no symptoms of infection and when the virus spreads as quickly as this one. It is just commonsense to implement WHAT WE KNOW WILL WORK to stop the spread: quarantining.

In his latest post b points out that when there is mass quarantining, the number of new cases of the virus begins to fall after about 2 weeks.

IMO that is the correct and appropriate way to deal with the virus. The West's failure to take appropriate measures appears (to me) to have been a calculated political maneuver - NOT medically sound decision-making. In fact, it would've been best to have closed schools immediately upon learning of community spread.

Every delay has cost lives. But the governments will exploit the emergency/panic THAT THEY HAVE CREATED to further powerful private interests that they serve. We are now witnessing a Bank bailout via trillions of dollars of liquidity and may also see a bailout of Boeing.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

PS b also points out that UK has now changed their policy. That is not surprising to me.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 18 2020 4:25 utc | 462

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