Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 14, 2020

Debunking Some Ideas About The Virus

We still do not know for certain where the virus that causes the current pandemic has come from. China's first known Covid-19 case has now been traced back to mid November. While the virus is most likely a natural creation the U.S. State Department officials now point to alleged insecurities at the safety level 4 laboratory in Wuhan which did research on similar viruses. It spreads unfounded rumors that the virus escaped from there. But the U.S. itself has many such laboratories with long documented security issues and there is reasonable suspicion that the real patient zero case has happened in the U.S.

Science will eventually solve that conundrum. Until it does there is little to gain from further speculation about it.


There is a loose group of people who think that the current pandemic is some conspiracy with a nefarious purpose.

Some of them still compare the disease caused by the novel coronavirus to a flu. Some doubt that current restrictions of their personal liberties are legitimate and justified. Still others doubt the value of masks (Yesterday I deleted a comment that argued against masks.)

It is probably a waste of time to counter the arguments of such people. But I will give it a try.

The graphs show the normal mortality rates in the England and Wales and in New York City and the current deviations from it. The flu does not create such graphs. Nor do the lock-downs.

England & Wales - Weekly Mortality - Blue: historic range, Red: 2020

Source: Ed Conway / Skynews - bigger
New York City - Deaths by Month 2000-2020

Source: NY Times - bigger

A lot of the currently occurring death get misclassified. This happens in both directions. Death caused by an underlying disease may be classified as Covid-19 death if the person was tested positive. But the extreme increase of 'cardiac arrests' in New York City is certainly related to Covid-19 even as those deaths are not counted as such:

New Yorkers are making four times as many emergency calls about cardiac arrests as they did last year [...] about 200 of these heart-attack victims are being pronounced dead at the scene each day, up from around 30 this time last year.

 

New York, Cardiac Arrests

Source: Economist - bigger

Some people in 'western' nations fear for their freedom and mistrust their current governments when they order a lock-down. There must be some nefarious purpose behind it. But why have the governments of China, Iran and Russia ordered similar measures? Are they part of a global conspiracy? I don't think so. Lock-downs are simply a sensible method to slow the spread of epidemics. They have been used with more or less success for hundreds of years.

Personal freedom is not an unlimited right. Diana Johnstone has given a convincing argument for its limits. One's freedom and rights end where they infringe on the freedom and rights of others:

[V]irtually all key aspects of any civilized society go contrary to the absolutism of individual rights. Every civilized society has some sort of legal system, some basic rules that everyone is expected to follow. Most civilized societies have a public education and (except for the United States) a public health insurance system designed to benefit the whole population. These elements of civilization include constraints on individual freedom.

The benefits to each individual of living in a civilized society make these constraints acceptable to just about everybody. The health of the individual depends on the health of the community, which is why everyone in most Western countries accepts a single payer health insurance system. The only exception is the United States, where the egocentricities of Ayn Rand are widely read as serious thought.

It is without doubt that masks are helpful to limit the spreading of the epidemic. An infected person begins to spread viruses by breathing, talking, singing or coughing on day 2 after the infection. Only on day 5 or 6 will the symptoms of the disease set in. Some people will never feel symptoms but can still infect others usually up to day 10 after the infection.

Masks stop the viruses one sheds from reaching other persons. They do this effectively.

Without mask

Source: Flow analyses to validate SARS-CoV-2 protective masks
bigger

 

With mask

Source: Flow analyses to validate SARS-CoV-2 protective masks
bigger

The German government is currently evaluating when to lift the current lock-down. It's science advisors are pushing for making it mandatory to wear a mask in all public settings. It is likely that the government will follow their advice. The above pictures show that this makes sense.

 

 

 

Posted by b on April 14, 2020 at 18:12 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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@ptb #76
The problem with that methodology is that the hospitals themselves could well be the vectors for nCOV transmission.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 15 2020 14:13 utc | 201

While the placebo effect can affect how patients feel, studies suggest that placebo effects do not have a significant impact on underlying illness.
...
Placebo makes no difference to a condition that is measurable eg viral or bacterial load, imaging ect.
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 15 2020 3:13 utc | 112

Sorry Peter, that is 100% bullshit. The placebo has a huge effect, and that is very well established. In a huge number of clinical trials for new drugs, the effect of drugs under comparison is so small that it would be drowned by the placebo effect, as a result the placebo effect has been widely studied, and in basic principle is well understood.

That is why the randomised double-blind clinical trial was developed. Any clinical trial that does not use the randomised double-blind design with properly balanced controls has a very poor status in scientific circles. Double blind means that neither the patients, nor the doctors administrating the treatment, know which patient receives which treatment/placebo/control, it all has to be randomised and labelled with codes. Also the doctors treating different patients have to be balanced across different conditions, because the type of doctor (mature vs. young, kindly vs. stern, etc) usually has a much bigger effect on the result than the drug itself.

Why does a placebo work? Because the mind has a huge effect on the immune system. The condition of the mind can turn the immune system off, or it can enhance it. 70% of all human diseases are psychosomatic - meaning that they are 100% caused by the condition of the mind. Of the other 30%, the mind also has a very major component!

These days people are so materialistic they don't appreciate the power of the mind. The mind can cause us to die, on the one hand, and on the other it can cause us to recover from the most serious diseases.

Posted by: BM | Apr 15 2020 14:13 utc | 202

@fairleft #89
That's pretty easy to test: 10% unemployment jump in the last 2 weeks means 400K extra American deaths in 1 month? 6 months?
I guarantee that model you cite is nonsense.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 15 2020 14:16 utc | 203

From ZHedge, which has good coverage of virus developments, even if they are biased against China:

Yesterday, after criticisms published in the NYT, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered health officials to count all deaths suspected of being caused by COVID-19, even if they hadn't been officially diagnosed.

That prompted a nearly 4k surge in NYC's official death toll, driving the citywide total north of 10k, and driving total US casualties north of 25k (per JHU, the US had 26,059 confirmed deaths as of Wednesday morning).


!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 15 2020 14:26 utc | 204

@Perimetr #119
You said:

Scientists have been messing around with the Coronavirus for 18 years. Is it that much of a stretch to think someone bioengineered COVID-19?

In a word: yes.

Bioengineering is really difficult. It took 18 months to get a treatment for a single nucleotide mutation (sickle cell anemia) developed.

To find a hitherto unknown ACE2 attack path, then to engineer it into a virus, to test and iterate - it is theoretically possible but not at all possible without extremely visible and widespread effects. A single lab couldn't do it - they could do one part but can't do the rest. Keep in mind that they would have to experiment with humans or at least monkeys - it takes at least months for each cycle.

Contrast this with the possibility that it mutated naturally: one single infected human or animal will have billions (out of trillions) of its cells infected, which produce trillions of mutated virii. A single virus cycle is minutes.

It doesn't even need to be humans where the jump occurred - there are huge numbers of genetically identical pigs in China that have been dying of swine flu in the past 2 years. The possibility that nCOV was occurring in that population, undetected due to the swine flu overshadowing it, is credible.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 15 2020 14:26 utc | 205

@Reg #159
Perhaps you can enumerate how many Brits will be killed by the lockdown, vs. how many would die without it.
Note the present trajectory is *with* lockdown, so is certainly lower than it would be without one.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 15 2020 14:29 utc | 206

@BM | Apr 15 2020 5:39 utc | 124

Yes, the SCMP is a worthless rag that in no way deserves the cachet accruing to a major national newspaper, which unfortunately it is given by default here in HK, being the only English print newspaper.

It's of lower quality than the regional newspapers I grew up with in Australia, which is really saying something. It is the print equivalent of HK's woeful free-to-air English TV station, TVB Pearl, but with routine anti-China bias thrown in. To call it shit would be to heap undue and unmerited praise upon it, and would cause shit to cringe in shame.

Posted by: Herr Ringbone | Apr 15 2020 14:34 utc | 207

According to PressTV, the IRGC has unveiled a tester that emits a magnetic field
to pick up either Covid19 patients and/or infected surfaces, and then directs an antenna toward the source.

It takes 5 seconds to reach a conclusion with 80% accuracy.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/04/15/623068/Iran-IRGC-Coronavirus-Technology

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 15 2020 14:35 utc | 208

Edward Snowden in a recent interview with Glen Greenwald on System Update
"...human emotion is itself viral and emotions that have the largest contagion are anger and fear... and what we are seeing now is panic and fear sweeping around the world...that moment of vulnerability when rationality goes out the window. All humans are susceptible to it."
Posted by: krypton | Apr 15 2020 9:11 utc | 139

Thanks for that important comment from Edward Snowdon Krypton. That is exactly what we see happening in society today, and sadly, its happening even here on MoA. People are driven by fear, and that fear is impairing people's ability to see clearly what is happening.

I see Realist also quoted Snowdon at the bottom of the last page, but seems to have missed this most important and topical quotation!

Posted by: BM | Apr 15 2020 14:38 utc | 209

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid#status-of-covid-19

As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.

The 4 nations public health HCID group made an interim recommendation in January 2020 to classify COVID-19 as an HCID. This was based on consideration of the UK HCID criteria about the virus and the disease with information available during the early stages of the outbreak. Now that more is known about COVID-19, the public health bodies in the UK have reviewed the most up to date information about COVID-19 against the UK HCID criteria. They have determined that several features have now changed; in particular, more information is available about mortality rates (low overall), and there is now greater clinical awareness and a specific and sensitive laboratory test, the availability of which continues to increase.

The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) is also of the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID.

Posted by: No Frills | Apr 15 2020 14:40 utc | 210

@BM #163
1) China absolutely did lock down huge swathes beyond Hubei/Wuhan
2) You are neglecting that lockdowns should also reduce flu deaths - since flu also kills people and is spread by contact.
3) You also ignore the April 3/week 14 deaths: 16,387 which is over 2000 higher than any other month in 2020.
4) I looked at weeks 1-14 for 2019 and 2018 to double check.

Here is a graph of the week 1-14 overall mortality numbers for 2018, 2019 and 2020

Note that nCOV deaths only started in volume this month - April

You are as wrong as can possibly be.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 15 2020 14:44 utc | 211

Thanks to Matthias @142. There were so many page over-run links on the page, I imagine it is difficult to fix, so apologies to those other worthy comments. I will however paste Matthias's here for others who may have difficulty reading it:

Everyone seems fixated on the virus and how to protect against it. I remind you all of the famous proverb
“Le microbe c’est rien, le milieu c’est tout” = the microbe is nothing, the environment is everything.
Environment means the local conditions in the affected body, a combination of immune system and pre-existing illness.

We are facing a microbe that appears very dangerous in some places with case mortality 10..20% (heavily featured in the media and also in this blog), while in other places it does no more than a seasonal flu with overall mortality < 0.5%. This leads to two equally distorted biases: some people see the whole world as disaster area, some say there is no problem at all. One could question whether it is really the exact same virus, but I’m not going there.

Actually, with the proverb in mind we should be asking: what are the local conditions in the hotspots, what has weakened people’s immune system in these places, and what kind of precondition exists there but does not exist in general. In simple words: why here and not there?
Not asking this question and focusing only on an alleged “killer virus” means you see a distorted picture and you would tend to roll out the same drastic protection lockdown measures everywhere, which suffocates the economy and culture unnecessarily and creates massive collateral. I’m in favor of a proportional response focusing on the hotspots, and otherwise teach people how to strengthen their immune system and protect themselves (voluntarily) if they see the need - of course they must have the means made available.

Known factors weakening the immune system and/or lungs:
1) Poor diet – the junk food (fast food, canned food, microwaved food) so typical of US and GB city dwellers. Without the necessary high-quality nutrition the immune system can only be weak. Natural vitamins and essential nutrients go very far in terms of virus protection.
2) Air pollution – Lombardia (Bergamo in particular) and NYC for example both suffer from high air pollution, and particularly in Manhattan the 9/11 event released a huge cloud of finest asbestos dust which caused a wave of lung cancer in the region and a lung precondition for everyone who was exposed at the time.
3) Negative emotions – intense anger and fear can reduce immune activity by 50% for several hours, as measured by IgA in the saliva. Likewise, positive emotions strengten it. Media have been feeding us shock and awe and disaster 24/7 for weeks now, you think that has no effect, think again. Check the amazing research done by HeartMath institute. Also, forced isolation and contact deprevation is wreaking havoc with people who love company or have psychic preconditions.
4) Radiation – there are hundreds of scientific papers on the non-thermal effect of low-energy microwave radiation on our physiology at cellular level, usually this medical research is ignored. An extensive linked collection is available by diagnose:funk (a German self-help society involving many M.D.s). Immune suppression is one of the effects. Where the COVID19 death toll is very high you have a dense WiFi and 4G coverage and yes, typically 5G pilot installations also exist. Most young people who died from COVID19 were working in IT companies and thus had very high exposure.
5) Vaccination – a vaccine protects from one specific virus but is known to weaken the immune system otherwise. North Italy is among the regions with the highest vaccination rate on this globe.
Posted by: Matthias | Apr 15 2020 9:16 utc | 142

Posted by: juliania | Apr 15 2020 14:45 utc | 212

Liberty Blogger says "There is no form of society better equipped to deal with a pestilence than a republic of free, self-reliant people. (post number ca. 140)

The notions of "republic", "free" and "self-reliant" lack agreed definition, so this claim is hard to evaluate without a list of examples of "societies" that fit all three parts of the definition and those who do not, and some pestilences that have superior outcomes in the first group.

I could start with Korean People's Democratic Republic. It is a republic. Self-reliance is the basic tenet of the state ideology (check Juche). They are free to follow Juche self-reliance ideology unlike their ethnic kin to the south. And one of the remarkably few states not affected by the "pestilence".

Surely, one can dispute applicability of Liberty Blogger statement to KPDR, but this is my point: what is his list of examples?

Not to mention that it could be a trick statement. One can claim that USA is a republic, that the people there are free, and even though it is a bit of a stretch, that they are self-reliant, and as predicted, USA is very well prepared for the pestilence, but, alas, does not take a proper advantage of those preparations.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 15 2020 14:46 utc | 213

@Posted by: CarlD | Apr 15 2020 14:35 utc | 209


Reminds me of the fake bomb detectors sold to middle eastern countries by British scammers...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADE_651

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-29459896

Posted by: gm | Apr 15 2020 14:47 utc | 214

“Le microbe c’est rien, le milieu c’est tout”
...
2) Air pollution – Lombardia (Bergamo in particular) and NYC for example both suffer from high air pollution, and particularly in Manhattan the 9/11 event released a huge cloud of finest asbestos dust which caused a wave of lung cancer in the region and a lung precondition for everyone who was exposed at the time.
Posted by: Matthias | Apr 15 2020 9:16 utc | 142

Too true, Matthias, a very worthwhile post. Also the point about the nano dust from 9/11 is very important. Lombardia is also well known as having by far the highest pollution in Europe; Wuhan also! People who live for decades in highly polluted air for many decades have compromised lungs, and that directly has a major effect on the course of the corona virus.

Posted by: BM | Apr 15 2020 14:48 utc | 215

@jinn #179
I don't disagree with what you wrote, but I suspect there is an untoward assumption on the aims of evolution.
"Adapting" to a host species for long term survival is a value judgment, not an evolutionary goal. A virus has no brain - it just acts.
Yes, all things being equal and over the long term, the emergent behavior for a virus tends towards less lethality because killing hosts too quickly is bad for propagation - but even this is not necessarily true given other factors like latency times and transmissibility.
The Bubonic Plague killed huge swathes of the European (and later, Native American) populations - and it didn't either die out or become less lethal. Its still around us - in ground squirrels and what not.
Ditto rabies.

for nCOV - it spreads so fast that clearly it hit a transmissibility jackpot. The people who believe this is impossible naturally are wrong - this isn't even the first time a virus has gotten super spreading and lethality combined: 1918 flu is one example. There wasn't airplane travel and global supply chains were much slower and lower extent back then.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 15 2020 14:52 utc | 216

In the '80s when information "science" terminology was being proselytized some dismay was expressed over the connotations and semantics of the terms "meme" and "virus." Their clumsily fluid discursive interoperability would lead to pseudoscientific poppycock and obfuscation and sectarian cominterns. I think this has come to pass with the internalization of network analysis as substitute for coalition-building. The line between propaganda and journalism has been disappeared by the death squads of information war machines.

I used to do research as a work-study student in insect population management(IPM)and was hired to work with farmers by a state. One summer I fudged the bug counting numbers regularly and showed a co-worker how I did it. At the end of the season I was required to learn a statistical software package, SAS, and plug in the data gathered by a team of a half-dozen for a research product. I was sociopathically relieved my bad data fit the expected models while my co-worker's was anomalous and since I was the fox in the chicken coop I discarded some of his/her data. I'm somewhat of a mathematical savant, testing high without formal math, satellite operator in USAF and so on, and so I surmise I internalized insect population phenomenology. There weren't any consequences to my crime that I'm aware of, except that I dropped out of college soon thereafter partly due to self-criticism.

I relay this story because I think it's a common problem with scientists and elegant modelling software and I'm pretty darned suspicious of all these graphical representations.

"Let them eat pie charts."

I went looking for some of my propaganda work from this period around the end of the cold war and found this example, a desktop-publishing newsletter that we oriented to anti-war activism. I think you'll see that in paragraph 4 I could be regarded as indirectly responsible for the post-911 anthrax attacks:

http://theweeklynews.us/portfolio/weekly-news-issue-16/

There's also an interesting artifact relevant to the current discussion: a misprinted(curiously at the time) overview of controversies surrounding disinformation during the then-termed "AIDS pandemic."

Posted by: Ralph Reed | Apr 15 2020 14:55 utc | 217

More than half French regions see mortality go down
https://tinyurl.com/r5d29as

Posted by: Mina | Apr 15 2020 14:56 utc | 218

@ all

Hydroxicloroquine is not a viable treatment. All those "compiled data" are pretty much useless, as they don't have control groups, they are not blind and random trials etc etc. I don't care how much awards dr. Didier Raoult has - he's not above the scientific method.

When the pandemic broke out, Chinese doctors at the front line threw whatever they had at hand their educated opinion judged could be helpful. A total of 22 drugs are used. Out of those 22, hydroxycloroquine may be the most helpful - but that's the same of stating I'm the world's tallest dwarf. It really isn't a treatment, let alone a cure.

The economy won't come back if eveybody takes a dose of hydroxycloroquine. Small and medium businesses are not coming back. A lot of people will permanently lose their jobs. The West is permanently decaying. Accept it now, and you'll be better prepared for whatever the future brings to you.

I repeat: hydroxycloroquine is not the second coming of Jesus Christ. There won't be a miracle today.

--//--

Speaking about the collapse of the economy thanks to the pandemic, this is a punch in the nuts of the American economy:

Biggest fall in 74 years!

Total industrial production in the United States slumped 5.4 percent from a month earlier in March 2020, the largest drop since January 1946 and compared to market expectations of a 4 percent plunge. Manufacturing output fell 6.3 percent, the most since February 1946, as the coronavirus pandemic led many factories to suspend operations late in the month.

AND

Biggest fall on record!

Retail sales in the US plunged 8.7% month-over-month in March of 2020, following a downwardly revised 0.4% drop in February and worse than market forecasts of a 8% drop. It is the biggest decline on record, in a sign that the coronavirus impact on the economy may be harder than anticipated.

So both the supply and demand side of the US economy is plummeting.

And things were not so rosy among financial assets either. Yesterday both JP Morgan and Wells Fargo reported huge fall in profits. Today Goldman Sachs and Bank America did the same.

And this is hilarious:

In unprecedented move, Treasury orders Trump’s name printed on stimulus checks

The most funny part is this:

The department’s decision could slow the checks’ delivery by a few days, senior IRS officials said.

Posted by: vk | Apr 15 2020 14:58 utc | 219

And on some other news:
Chloroquine trial in Brazil yields poor outcomes - both side effects and impact - on high dose chloroquine treatment: source

Eligible participants were allocated to receive orally or via nasogastric tube high dose CQ (600mg CQ twice daily for 10 days or total dose 12g); or low dose CQ (450mg for 5 days, twice daily only on the first day, or total dose 2.7g). In addition, all patients received ceftriaxone and azithromycin. This study was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT04323527. Findings Out of a pre-defined 440 patients sample size, 81 patients were enrolled. The high dose CQ arm presented more QTc>500ms (25%), and a trend toward higher lethality (17%) than the lower dosage. Fatality rate was 13.5% (95%CI=6.9-23.0%), overlapping with the CI of historical data from similar patients not using CQ (95%CI=14.5-19.2%). In 14 patients with paired samples, respiratory secretion at day 4 was negative in only one patient. Interpretation: Preliminary findings suggest that the higher CQ dosage (10-day regimen) should not be recommended for COVID-19 treatment because of its potential safety hazards. Such results forced us to prematurely halt patient recruitment to this arm.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 15 2020 14:58 utc | 220

Lombardia is also well known as having by far the highest pollution in Europe; Wuhan also! BM | Apr 15 2020 14:48 utc

Hm. Snicky Chinks, they pollute like hell but the pollution happens in Europe! BTW, I do not know about Europe, but in Asia, New Delhi tops all metropolitan areas of China, but so far is only modestly affected.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 15 2020 14:59 utc | 221

jinn | Apr 15 2020 12:45 utc | 179

So this whole thing may fade away about as suddenly as it appeared and the people who are calling it a hoax will say, "see we told you it was harmless"

And the people who are crying end of the world will say, "see we saved you by locking you down, removing your jobs and right to privacy. You should be thankful."

Posted by: Norwegian | Apr 15 2020 15:02 utc | 222

@206 - The word bioengineered may not mean the same thing to all readers. For some it implies nefarious intent. I seriously doubt that is the case, but that is unprovable.

Here is an article that discusses the wide range of what "bioengineered" means -

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/02/15/844752/biologists-rush-to-re-create-the-china-coronavirus-from-its-dna-code/

Note that the type of work Baric was doing was banned from 2014 to 2017 because of the dangers. But then it was allowed to restart.

Posted by: Don Wills | Apr 15 2020 15:02 utc | 223

University of Cambridge virologist Dr Jane Greatorex worked in Sierra Leone on the Ebola outbreak and for Public Health England during the swine flu epidemic:
Cambridge virologist explains what we do and don’t know about Covid-19

Can you build up immunity to the virus?

We hope so, otherwise in China where you had massive numbers of cases it would have taken a lot longer for the drop in cases to start. You would have seen people in the most populated areas of the country keeping getting reinfected and that doesn’t seem to have happened. Modellers would have seen a difference if you were getting reinfection.


When will we know for sure?

To look at immunity takes a while. For example, with swine flu we didn’t really know how many people had been infected for nearly 12 months after the event because you have to give everyone’s immune systems time to respond and it takes weeks before you get that secondary response. What you are looking for in tests to check immunity is for antibodies. There’s an immediate immune response, which says there’s a virus in your cells. From that innate response your body builds on that so that next time you meet the virus you should be immune, but it could be a month down the line before you have a proper IGb (immunoglobulin) response.

Can you relapse after recovering from the virus?

That doesn’t happen with these respiratory viruses. The symptoms that drag on are your body’s response to the virus, but the virus is gone after a few days. I take great umbrage at the lengths of time you are meant to be infectious for because it is just not true. Nine days is nonsense. You don’t excrete a live virus that long.

Those studies are not checking for live virus, they are checking for genome. They do something called a PCR test (polymerase chain reaction), which is the test we are using to diagnose patients. It doesn’t tell you that you have live virus in your nose, it tells you have had it. For about 72 hours of a viral infection you have a live virus. In children it can last for longer – four or five days have been observed in flu.

So, there’s a big difference between how long we can detect the virus and how long they can infect someone else. With this coronavirus the only way you can say, yes, they are still shedding live virus - which is the only thing that will infect someone else, is if you take that sample from the patient and extract it and put it on tissue culture cells and then see it growing. That is done very rarely. There are not a lot of studies that look at live viruses. It is very easy to do PCR tests. It is harder to do live virus studies.


How long are people contagious before symptoms appear?

The likelihood is up to 48 hours before. The symptoms are your body’s response to the virus. This is what is called an acute virus, so its way of dodging your immune system is to get into the upper respiratory tract and get through the epithelial cells into your system and replicate like mad.

The way these viruses have evolved and the way your body responds is an acute inflammatory reaction, so lots of histamine and something called cytokines are produced that ramp up your immune response. One of the first things to appear is that temperature, because the virus is affecting a big area - your whole upper respiratory tract. You get a big cytokine response, your temperature shoots up and you feel horrible.

With this novel virus you get a dry cough form. That initial irritation and the cough is what the virus has evolved to produce. That cough is what sends the virus onto its next host. What we think of as the cold or the cough is actually your body’s response to the infection in the cells. These symptoms last much longer than the virus is live.

Posted by: c | Apr 15 2020 15:05 utc | 224

More debunking of conspiracy theory:
Seattle went back and tested almost 7000 flu samples it took in January and February as part of a study on flu.
No nCOV was found until February.

So we know:
1) Nextstrain shows a very clear and consistent nCOV spread pattern from China to Europe, from Europe to the US, and from Europe/US to the 3rd world.
2) We have documented proof in the original outbreak state and city that the flu people had in January and February was not nCOV (and even earlier, they had small numbers of samples going back to October 2019). The first nCOV appearance was found February 21, with 10 samples (out of 3308) showing nCOV in a period from February 5 to 18.

source for above Seattle info

3) The ongoing Italy, Spain, New York, Belgium, France etc data is clearly showing a major nCOV mortality impact: New York is over 5500 nCOV mortality per 10M vs. a total monthly average mortality of 6500.
Spain, Italy and Belgium have all passed the 3000 nCOV mortality per 10M: 3933, 3465 and 3895. France has passed 2000: 2415 and the UK will pass this mark likely today.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 15 2020 15:09 utc | 225

For the most part Iran is not in lockdown. Here there is social distancing measures in place and voluntary 'stay at home' has been in place for a while now. People are acting responsibly but are not neglecting their social responsibilities to the elderly or their neighbours and relatives, and are not being chased through the streets by power crazy police! In a few cases there have been village quarantines where there has been a specific outbreak, but nothing else as far as I am aware.
Also worth mentioning that plasma treatment has proven very successful, a claimed 40% reduction in fatalities. (And before the smart-alec's come up with the 'can't trust the regime figures' clichés may I say, look to your own first!). Turkey is also now pursuing the plasma treatment apparently.
Posted by: Egor68500 | Apr 15 2020 11:42 utc | 169

Thanks for your first hand report from Iran, Egor68500. I think other third world countries are pursuing a similar measured approach, even though they are not so heavily affected as Iran was. That is the way to go, far more effective than the blunt sledgehammer approach of the major Western countries.

Posted by: BM | Apr 15 2020 15:11 utc | 226

BM #210

The interview with Edward Snowden on Greenwald's System Update podcast is excellent and well-worth listening to. In one part he describes how individual rights and freedoms can be so easily taken away in a crisis but not given back back after the crisis has passed...the Patriot Act as one example.

Posted by: krypton | Apr 15 2020 15:15 utc | 227


LIVE WHO - Media briefing on COVID-19.

1,943 watching now•Started streaming 22 minutes ago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60xrWlw0VkQ


Posted by: JC | Apr 15 2020 15:39 utc | 228

To the anti-lockdown troupe: see the case of Sweden:

Researchers blast Swedish govt for disastrous Covid-19 strategy, claim country’s death toll headed for ‘heights of Italy’

Posted by: vk | Apr 15 2020 15:41 utc | 229

A couple very interesting links:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/14/air-pollution-in-china-is-killing-4000-people-every-day-a-new-study-finds

4000 people every day!

Now compare to the so called "corona deaths" worlwide within months. Air pollution contributes very much to "Corona death" (like to any other death related to the respiratory system - not even mentioning that a lot of the "Corona deaths" are probably "flu deaths", but we will not find out as long as patients are only tested, often maybe falsely, for Sars-CoV-2) and it isn't a sole Chinese problem. We know that the region in Italy where by far most deaths happened, there is the highest air pollution at least in Italy, if not Europe.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/10/nyregion/new-york-coronavirus-hospitals.html - need for hospital beds largely overestimated. In this context, we have to remember what happened in stronger flu seasons:

It’s the most detailed picture of the devastating reach of the respiratory virus, which sickened millions of people as overwhelmed hospitals pitched tents to treat patients.

Not now, but 2 yeares ago. Have you heard of any lockdown? I haven't.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/last-years-flu-broke-records-for-deaths-and-illnesses-new-cdc-numbers-show/2018/09/26/97cb43fc-c0ed-11e8-90c9-23f963eea204_story.html

Hospitals overwhelmed by influx of flu patients

Not now, that was in January 2018. So much for "Covid-19 ist as harmless as the flu". The flu isn't harmless, and Covid-19 isn't any more dangerous. That's how it should be said. But the question is: will we have this lockdown scenario every other year from now on? The flu of 2017/18 killed children, too! This current virus does not, even if some people still claim.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2018/01/24/Hospitals-overwhelmed-by-influx-of-flu-patients/8171516800130/

Back to "Corona":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0lIWZpiRU0 - Montana Physician Dr. Annie Bukacek Discusses How COVID-19 Death Certificates Are Being Manipulated. Worth a look.

Posted by: Corax | Apr 15 2020 15:42 utc | 230

1) China absolutely did lock down huge swathes beyond Hubei/Wuhan
2) You are neglecting that lockdowns should also reduce flu deaths - since flu also kills people and is spread by contact.
3) You also ignore the April 3/week 14 deaths: 16,387 which is over 2000 higher than any other month in 2020.
4) I looked at weeks 1-14 for 2019 and 2018 to double check.
Posted by: c1ue | Apr 15 2020 14:44 utc | 212

Were you there, c1ue? Did you see for yourself? I was in China for most of March.

Day in, day out, you pile on so much bullshit and misinformation - you're very motivated aren't you?

Posted by: BM | Apr 15 2020 15:43 utc | 231

Japan is getting more and more worried:

Japan virus deaths could top 420,000 without social distancing, panel says

Posted by: vk | Apr 15 2020 15:45 utc | 232

It should be clear by now, to all but the most dullwitted, that the virus is being very cynically used as a smokescreen/multi-purpose-excuse to hide the blatant powergrab, blatant roll-out of full spectrum surveillance society, blatant treasury looting, blatant curtailment of basic rights, blatant police state enactment, and blatant socialisation of private sector debt obligations.

Posted by: Realist | Apr 15 2020 15:50 utc | 233

.... And subsequent blatant future impoverishment of both the working and middle classes.

Posted by: Realist | Apr 15 2020 15:53 utc | 234

@BM #233
And what part of China were you in?
Was it Hubei/Wuhan? Was it in any of the provinces affected? Was it even during the lockdowns - which weren't all applied at the same time and kept on?
Please communicate your first hand experience: where in China were you, what did you see or not see etc. Maybe some pics with included dates to show the bustling traffic because you seem to imply there was no lockdown.

As for misinformation - I used the exact same source as you did: the UK Office of National Statistics.

You just don't like the reality that the data doesn't match your utterly wrong ideas. There is absolutely a spike in April of overall deaths. This spike is beyond any month in 2018, 2019 or 2020.
The overall mortality behavior decreases from Week 1 to Week 14 in general as the winter flu season ends - this changed completely with Week 14 in 2020 (and will be a lot worse for week 15 and onwards).

So whinge all you want - the misinformation is coming from you.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 15 2020 16:02 utc | 235

c1ue @221

It's as if this study was designed to impugn Chinese dosage recommendations, not actually test Chloroquine effectiveness.

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

That study has not been peer-reviewed and was clearly flawed by 1) a low sample size; and 2) use of dangerously high doses of Chloroquine. I also see only a cursory description of the patients. The disease may have already been too far along for Chloroquine treatment to be effective in most of these patients. That is hinted at in "Discussion" section of the paper:

In order to better understand the role of CQ or HCQ in COVID-19, we recommend the following next steps: (1) trials evaluating its role as a prophylactic drug; (2) trials evaluating its efficacy against progression to severity when administered to patients with mild/moderate disease. Even if we fail to generate good evidence in time to control the current pandemic, the information will highly impact the way we deal with next coronavirus outbreaks in the future.

It's strange that the researchers used very high doses of Chloroquine di-phosphate when Raoult (the recognized global expert on Chloroquine) had already recommended hydroxyChloroquine (a safer formulation) at a much lower dosage.

I also find no mention of Zinc or Vitamin-C. Zinc has been recognized as a crucial part of Chloroquine treatment for weeks and Vitamin-C is also part of the recommended treatment.

The researchers were apparently following Chinese recommendations instead of Raouts and their own medical understanding. Thus, they find that:

... CQ, despite being a safe drug used for more than 70 years for malaria,
might be toxic in the dosages recommended by Chinese authorities (high dosage 10g, for 10 days). Our study raises enough red flags to stop the use of such dosage

I have to wonder if China has revised their dosing guidelines since late January when they first noted that Chloroquine was effective.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 15 2020 16:17 utc | 236

I'd like for the murderous sociopaths coming here to show me when was the last time Spain had to use ice rinks as morgue due to a massive spike in flu deaths, or when was the last time European hospitals had to do mass triage and leave countless elders dying outside ICUs. Not that there weren't bad flu seasons or heatwaves in the past decades that could be nasty, but they didn't overwhelm the healthcare system to such an extent, and they didn't require people to stay 3 weeks in hospital under close watch.

As for mortality, we should of course compare expected mortality rates to what we experience now, but keep in mind this is still downplaying the true mortality. Chinese numbers showed a huge drop in flu cases in February and March, because the virus couldn't spread much across the country. The same obviously is happening across Europe and the US. Other common deaths like car accidents or (for the US) mass shootings are obviously very low, with most people stuck at home. Apart from coronavirus, the only increasing deaths are heart attacks and other deaths due to people going too late to ER, compared to what they would've done last year - this is a growing worry that's more and more being addressed by physicians and health authorities. In the long run, if isolation policies go on, we'll see a rise in suicides and deaths from domestic violence - hopefully, the situation will improve before it becomes too bad.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Apr 15 2020 16:23 utc | 237

heated debate.. i can see why a user says what he does...

@ 169 Egor68500.. thanks for sharing the viewpoint inside iran and on the use of plasma to deal with this..

Posted by: james | Apr 15 2020 16:24 utc | 238

right on clueless joe!

i did want to comment on edward snowden.. i am sorry, but has he said anything different all along?? i like what he has done and admire him, but it doesn't sound like he is saying anything new here.. did i miss something??

Posted by: james | Apr 15 2020 16:26 utc | 239

Agree with Don Willis @224, appreciate the link to the MIT article Biologists rush to re-create the China coronavirus from its DNA code
Article notes that "That means anyone who wants a complete synthetic copy of SARS-CoV-2 would need to undergo “specific and detailed vetting” and prove they are already registered by the CDC to work with SARS, as the North Carolina researchers are.

Gain-of-function research is hardly new and it opend the door to the creation of deadly bioengineered viruses, which is why restrictions have been imposed on transferring "select genes" to non-approved facilities outside the US. But the US has about 200 P3 and P4 labs within the US that handle and research these agents.

More importantly, the US maintains P3 and P4 labs outside the US, located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa,located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.. where it evades restrictions on research. These US bio-laboratories are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $2.1 billion military program– Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP)

DTRA has outsourced much of the work under the military program to private companies, which are not held accountable to Congress, and which can operate more freely and move around the rule of law. US civilian personnel performing work at The Lugar Center have also been given diplomatic immunity, although they are not diplomats. Hence, private companies can perform work, under diplomatic cover, for the US government without being under the direct control of the host state.

Three private American companies work at the US bio-laboratory in Tbilisi – CH2M Hill, Battelle and Metabiota.CH2M Hill has been awarded $341.5 million DTRA contracts under the Pentagon’s program for bio-laboratories in Georgia, Uganda, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, South East Asia. Half of this sum ($161.1 million), being allocated to The Lugar Center, under the Georgian contract. According to CH2M Hill, the US Company has secured biological agents and employed former bio warfare scientists at The Lugar Center. These are scientists who are working for another American company involved in the military program in Georgia – Battelle Memorial Institute.

MERS-CoV is one of the viruses that have been engineered by the US and studied by the Pentagon, as well as Influenza and SARS. Confirmation of this practice is Obama’s 2014 temporary ban on government funding for such “dual-use” research. The moratorium was lifted in 2017 and experiments have continued. Enhanced Potential Pandemic Pathogens (PPPs) experiments are legal in the US. Such experiments aim to increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens.

Posted by: Perimetr | Apr 15 2020 16:27 utc | 240

CT. @ 22. No - though I did not look hard.

Brendan @ 28 on UK.

This raises the question: Were the thousands of extra deaths caused not by the corona virus but as a result of the lockdown which began on 23 March? The sudden disruption of normal life could have had fatal consequences.

No - the extra deaths are non-hospital deaths, typically in ‘care’ homes, and even at home. 1. The UK does not tally them. A rough rule of thumb (W countries) is to add 50% to the official ‘hospital’ number.

For ex. in the Switz. canton I live in, so far have died in hospital (there is no problem being admitted, one is rushed in, etc.), 119, in care homes 49, at home / in public, 4.

France’s tracker now lists hosp./care home deaths. To date, 15 April, 10K+ deaths in hosp. and 5K+ deaths in old ppl care homes. (F old ppl homes have a *very* bad reputation since 2003.)

https://dashboard.covid19.data.gouv.fr

Petri 36, that long post takes some digestion, i will get back.

1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/14/care-homes-coronavirus-why-we-dont-know-true-uk-death-toll

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 15 2020 16:32 utc | 241

@c1ue | Apr 15 2020 14:52 utc | 217
"for nCOV - it spreads so fast that clearly it hit a transmissibility jackpot. The people who believe this is impossible naturally are wrong - this isn't even the first time a virus has gotten super spreading and lethality combined: 1918 flu is one example. There wasn't airplane travel and global supply chains were much slower and lower extent back then."

We don't know its transmission rates. That is part of the problem we have. I have seen estimates ranging from .5 to 5. It may have been 5 in Bergamo where it was spreading among a stadium and post win celebrations.

Posted by: JFo | Apr 15 2020 16:38 utc | 242

Re:"Japan is getting more and more worried:

Japan virus deaths could top 420,000 without social distancing, panel says

Posted by: vk | Apr 15 2020 15:45 utc | 234"

This should be evaluated the context of the strong 'State Secrets'law on the books that Diet passed in the wake of Fukushima disaster to muzzle professors, journalists etc. from saying/writing anything (true or mistaken) that Japan govmt deems harmful to Japan society's greater interests.

https://cpj.org/blog/2014/04/journalists-in-japan-face-threats-3-years-after-fu.php

For this U of Hokkaido professor to be given a prominent public forum at the MHLW (health labor welfare) headquarters in Tokyo means that Japan gvmt in totally on board with these warnings.

Posted by: gm | Apr 15 2020 16:40 utc | 243

There are only two data points above the line on the ONS data. The first one barely and the second one the week ending April 3rd. It is actually somewhat reassuring to see excess deaths. For the first time we can confirm that there is actually excess deaths from corona virus. This is the only data point I have seen yet that indicates it but the ONS is the only database I currently know of that publishes this data in a timely manner. The US is about 3 years behind. We can at least say there is statistical evidence that more people are dying than usual. I don't find the rest of your ideas convincing or reassuring. I think paying too close attention to mass media is a major error. As a country we have already embraced panic and hysteria as a solution to our crisis. The US was obviously not prepared and had no real plans in place. In spite of this Dr. Fauci is polling at an 80 percent approval rate. LMFAO. There is no logic to this. The only person who has said anything intelligent I know of is Dr. Ioannidis. Both in his youtube video and if you have a chance read his 2010 write up in the Atlantic titled "Lies, damned lies, and medical science". It might open up some eyes to the real condition of the US medical system and how much "expert" advice is really worth. People are looking at what Sweden did and calling them stupid now (My guess is most likely far more practical than the US lockdowns but I'm not going to say that for certain). What would probably be better to know is if Sweden already had a real pandemic plan before it happened and are following it. People are pointing out the high rate of deaths but this suffers from the same error as the imperial college of London study. Sweden is only recording the severely ill that go to the hospital. Most people who are infected never go in for any treatment so the data is horribly unreliable. If Sweden had a pandemic plan and are following it that speaks well of them. If it winds up being a bad plan at least they can correct it in the future. You can also look at what South Korea did which was a semi lockdown with a lot more testing (the USA is clearly not prepared or capable of this type of fast response).... but they went through a panic response after the MERS outbreak. They realized how unprepared and dysfunctional their response was to the MERS outbreak. It actually speaks well of their leaders that they were actually capable of acknowledging that and making an actual plan to follow for this pandemic. The position we are in is what? I have no fucking clue. I guess we get to sit in lockdown until Dr. Fauci and Bill Gates can tag us like the cattle that we seem to be? Make sure we got our Gates approved vaccine? I mean shit. Stanford University epidemiologist John Ioannidis calls out media for panicking the public

Posted by: goldhoarder | Apr 15 2020 16:41 utc | 244

@c1ue | Apr 15 2020 14:58 utc | 221

The Brazil study was high dose chloroquine. They gave very high doses to individuals. I am wondering if this study was necessary. It would not surprise me if high dose chloroquine has been studied in the past not related to CV. Here are a listing of studies currently going on. The jury is out on hydro / chloroquine.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1O6Cls-Oz2ZAgJuyDbnICEGjMvQPEyM-aaXARUomR9Ww/edit

Posted by: JFo | Apr 15 2020 16:43 utc | 245

Posted by: JFo | Apr 15 2020 16:38 utc | 245

Well I think the point is the virus does not have any transmission rate of it's own. It is passive, how well it transmits from infectee to infectee depends almost entirely on environmental factors, which is what all the social distancing and mask-wearing and hand-washing etc. is about. It is an error to think of it as something inherent to the virus. The factors that do inhere in the virus depend on environment too, how hot/cold it is, the surface it is on, other chemicals laying around, social conventions, and so on. Again how people behave, or don't, has the biggest impact, and if people behave the wrong way transmission rates can go way up, even if transmission is not particularly easy, as with HIV.

Of course we don't like to have to behave, so we don't like to hear all this stuff about being disciplined.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 15 2020 16:50 utc | 246

Just in case anyone was in doubt the hyroxchloroquine treatment has now been endorsed by Jason Kenney, the demented right wing Premier of Alberta.
He is desperate to get the oil industry up and running again so he is threatening to separate from the Canadian government's public health authorities and in place of testing, tracing and treatment he is for massive doses of the anti-malarial.

The most obtuse of pseudo libertarians can hardly deny that what Kenney is recommending is what Trump and Bolsonaro are calling for too. And its what the Tories in the UK as well as the Swedes are also in favour of.

The quarantine and the three "T" strategy, far from being part of a capitalist plot to take our freedoms from us, was actually forced by the pressure of events (rising death rates), the Chinese example of proven efficacy and well informed, public opinion (justifiably cynical of official motives) onto governments reluctant to offend their oligarchies by running down the economy (aka Capitalism).

Let us put this to the test: if as Realist@236 claims,
".. the virus is being very cynically used as a smokescreen/multi-purpose-excuse to hide the blatant powergrab, blatant roll-out of full spectrum surveillance society, blatant treasury looting, blatant curtailment of basic rights, blatant police state enactment, and blatant socialisation of private sector debt obligations (that last charge is a tell a sign that we are dealing with a neo-liberal) ...", then we can anticipate the tightening of the quarantine, an extension of the testing regime to cover the entire population, intrusive searches as the government sets out to trace the virus back to its sources in the population and, as in China, the establishment of massive hospitals to treat thousands of patients.

On the other hand if the real aim of governments is actually to restore the status quo ante as soon as possible and move to the next level in the exploitation of the disenfranchised masses, what will happen next is that the crisis will be proclaimed to have passed its peak, people will be urged to return to work and hundreds of thousands more will become infected and die.
Of course, those who will die will be the most vulnerable: the aged, the fragile and, most notably, the poor who will have no alternative but to seek work. The comfortable and the wealthy, the families of the top 10%, will retreat comfortably, as the characters in the Decameron once did, and wait in isolation while the storm passes.

It cannot be said too often: those trivialising the pandemic are preaching the right wing, anti-social gospel of the neoliberals.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 15 2020 17:04 utc | 247

The Chinese government could call for a neutral international commission to investigate the origins of the virus. Would the Trump administration support this?

Posted by: Edward | Apr 15 2020 17:05 utc | 248

Bemildred | Apr 15 2020 16:50 utc | 249

Of course we don't like to have to behave, so we don't like to hear all this stuff about being disciplined.

Oh, it's crystal clear that you all finally have found yourselves once and for all in your ecstasy of totalitarian obedience. All prior ideals, all prior principles, all prior commitments, all institutions of law and constitution, all notions of science and reason, cast off in demented delight. History has never seen anything remotely like it.

Hitler in 1933 thought he was accomplishing something extraordinary with how almost all Germans were joyously celebrating the new vision of Volksgemeinschaft, but he'd look at this collective religious ecstasy and cry tears of envy.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 15 2020 17:06 utc | 249

deschutes @ 153

disregard the mass graves on Hart island, etc.

Maybe you can - Hart Island has been used for some time to bury people who have no known relatives or can't afford to pay for a burial, so burials there are nothing new. The real question should be has the burial rate on Hart Island increased and those photos do nothing to prove or disprove that.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Apr 15 2020 17:12 utc | 250

"It cannot be said too often: those trivialising the pandemic are preaching the right wing, anti-social gospel of the neoliberals.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 15 2020 17:04 utc | 250"

Yes, yes, we all get it by now. Everyone with an opinion not pre-sancitioned by this "Bevin" creature simply must be a fascist.

Of course let's just ignore that the looting has passed without any means to protest. Let's ignore that millions of low paid workers are without income, and will be subjected to the inevitable renewed "austerity" measures so beloved of the neocons, in the near future.

All will be declared necessary and excused as being the fault of coronavirus and not the fault of deliberate collusion between Wall Street and the political classes in loading their private debt burden onto the taxpayers.

And anyone who points out any of this simply must be a fascist. Well done Bevin, way to shill for Wall St!!!

Posted by: Realist | Apr 15 2020 17:18 utc | 251

Posted by: Russ | Apr 15 2020 17:06 utc | 252

Thanks for the perfect example of what I was talking about.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 15 2020 17:23 utc | 252

@246
Japan has mandatory turberculosis vaccine policy which may be reason for less impact by COVID-19
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.24.20042937v1.full.pdf
Majority of deaths being counted as COVID-19 may have died due to other outstanding health issues.
If everyone has COVID-19 already then how could these counts be accurate or representative?
https://swprs.org/a-swiss-doctor-on-covid-19/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=11DrPL-hpQY&fbclid=IwAR3dXkIE2VDd-xmpXxZC_s4h09L1xXwZANaTC3Ipl-cWLSw-DQC2-iMmcwo&app=desktop
Influenza causes about 500,000 deaths a year.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 15 2020 17:27 utc | 253

Posted by: bevin | Apr 15 2020 17:04 utc | 250

That the virus is a dangerous and that the virus is being used for a power/wealth grab are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Apr 15 2020 17:28 utc | 254

Johnson grants £350b COVID-19 hand-out to big business

Waaay back on March 18th, Those fascists at WSWS were spreading their neoliberal fascist opinions!!

    Unlimited support for business stands in grotesque contrast to the contempt and neglect of working people forced to bear the brunt of the crisis. Asked directly about “staff costs,” Sunak made no commitment to guaranteeing workers’ jobs and wages, or compelling companies to do so. Instead the trade unions are to be enlisted to police an “employment support” scheme, which will enforce the decisions as to who remains in a job and who is sacked as firms shed staff by the thousands.

    On Monday, Johnson held a conference call with business leaders asking them to divert some production capacity to producing essential medical ventilators. One business leader told the press that he said the project could be known as “Operation Last Gasp.”

    Corporations are already lining up to demand taxpayers’ cash to preserve their profits. Virgin Atlantic’s parent company, IAG, demanded on Sunday that the UK government commit to a £7.5b bailout of the country’s aviation industry.

    Sunak said yesterday that he was working on a specific package of support for airports and airlines.

    Virgin Atlantic, owned by multi-billionaire ‘Sir’ Richard Branson, hailed this “unprecedented level of support” even as it demanded its workforce agree to take eight weeks “unpaid leave” while offering all its 10,000 employees “voluntary redundancy.” With the financial spigots opened to the CEOs and shareholders of major companies, their employees are left to fend for themselves in the face of a mounting public health crisis.

Posted by: Realist | Apr 15 2020 17:34 utc | 255

Posted by: Joe | Apr 15 2020 17:27 utc | 256

I've been immunized for TB a couple times I think, long time ago. I know my wife who works in schools had been tested for it several times as part of her work requirements. I would think that was important to know whether it provides some sort of protection, and why?

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 15 2020 17:34 utc | 256

No Frills @ 211

As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.

The 4 nations public health HCID group seems to have made a rational decision based on the available evidence. So what's your point?

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Apr 15 2020 17:37 utc | 257

That the virus is a dangerous and that the virus is being used for a power/wealth grab are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Apr 15 2020 17:28 utc | 257


----

Shush now, you'll confuse the comrade.

The idea the some things are not mutually exclusive, not a simple black/white good/bad dichotomy, is clearly a fascist neoliberal idea!

Posted by: Realist | Apr 15 2020 17:39 utc | 258

We scientists said lock down. But UK politicians refused to listen

For 11 fateful days in March, the government ignored the best coronavirus advice. It must learn from that mistake

Helen Ward is professor of public health at Imperial College London

Posted by: vk | Apr 15 2020 17:39 utc | 259

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Apr 15 2020 17:28 utc | 257

"That the virus is a dangerous and that the virus is being used for a power/wealth grab are not mutually exclusive.

That is quite true, Trump, for example, seems to be working very hard to use it to enrich himself/cover his debts, like any good gangster would.

I see lots of people/corporations working to advantage themselves from the crisis.

But that offers no protection from the virus or its consequences either.

Likely, neither one will get dealt with in any effective way, every man for himself.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 15 2020 17:40 utc | 260

If you don't obey orders for strict self-incarceration, the terrorists will make you use drugs!

Posted by: Russ | Apr 15 2020 17:43 utc | 261

We should remember that with a new pathogen, the science is not settled and politicizing and ideologizing adds smoke to an already foggy picture.

Hydrochroroquine -- works or not? Patients group differ, outcomes differ, different medications have different dangerous side effects, it is important to adjust to patient, be alert to new statistics etc. Since there are not that many therapies in circulation and there is no settled science, even stupid politicians may say something truthful. But with a significant proportion of elderly, people at the highest risk, have heart or circulation problems, recommending a single medicine is why we would rather not visit Trump or Kenny (if you are Canadian) when we get a severe cold. I guess Trump is a fan of Theodoric, barber of York.

Quarantine -- again, a buzzword. Different countries have different sets of measures. Sweden has quite a bit higher mortality than the neighbors, so it is not such a great example of a good approach. It is a complex set of measures that makes a difference. Remarkably, Belorus did not introduce a quarantine, Russia did, so far outcomes look similar. Russia has more resources to take larger economic risks, but Belorus may yet get similar results. It is not like Belorus gave up on testing, tracking, wearing masks etc. The situation changes daily, but both Russia and Belorus still look better than Western Europe and USA.We may have a similar comparison as China vs South Korea.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 15 2020 17:48 utc | 262

Today Pentagon rules $10B award to cloud-computing contract to Microsoft .. So Bill Gates winning

Posted by: Nick | Apr 15 2020 17:51 utc | 263

Trump's halt to WHO funding prompts condemnation as coronavirus cases pass 2 million

More of Trump shooting himself in the foot, this leaves the field wide open to China to step in as the competent authority to help the world deal with disease going forward. Good job Trump.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 15 2020 17:54 utc | 264

@256
The paper shows causation between TB vaccine and COVID-19 impact.
TB vaccine is mandatory in some countries and not in others.
It is not mandatory in the US. Majority of people have had TB skin tests, not the vaccine.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 15 2020 17:57 utc | 265

The Chinese government could call for a neutral international commission to investigate the origins of the virus. Would the Trump administration support this?

Posted by: Edward | Apr 15 2020 17:05 utc | 251

Why not OPCW? Chemical, biological -- aren't they related?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 15 2020 18:02 utc | 266

@256
The paper shows causation between TB vaccine and COVID-19 impact.
TB vaccine is mandatory in some countries and not in others.
It is not mandatory in the US. Majority of people have had TB skin tests, not the vaccine.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 15 2020 17:57 utc | 269

There are also confounding factors. For example, mandatory TB vaccine could correlate with other beneficial public health measures.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 15 2020 18:04 utc | 267

Posted by: Joe | Apr 15 2020 17:57 utc | 269

Thanks, I'll read through it. I'm pretty sure I got immunized back before we stopped doing it here. My wife got the skin tests.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 15 2020 18:05 utc | 268

I don't know if this has been linked to by others here but Counterpunch has an article that links to a study in Science Magazine of how China brought the epidemic under control.
After reading this, I'm more convinced that China is not consciously lying about the number of corona virus cases/deaths, but the current figures might under-report it for the same reason that other countries in the so-called "Free World" are under-reporting it. We'll have to wait for the excess death figures to see what actually happened
BTW, I have yet to see any evidence on social media like the cremation urns crap that convinces me that China is lying, China made a Herculean effort to control this epidemic that the west criticized at the time and has learnt and applied virtually nothing from it which is going to cause tremendous financial damage in the west. For example, the UK is expecting a 35% drop in GDP With UK GDP at £2.21 trillion, that translates to ~£774 billion. How much would a Chinese style approach have cost?

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Apr 15 2020 18:05 utc | 269

More than half French regions see mortality go down

Posted by: Mina | Apr 15 2020 14:56 utc | 219

Of course. No work accidents, and few accidents on the road, the roads being empty.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 15 2020 18:05 utc | 270

Just in case there be any doubts that Japan politicians are really worried about coronavirus exploding in their country, an backing up new rules with tough actions;

Mr. Edano, leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party, a center-left political opposition party holding ~10% of Diet seats just summarily fired one of his OWN party's elected representatives, a Mr. Takashi Takai, very publically, for violating new strict social distancing rules put in place last week.

Seems Mr. Takai was collared while "playing in Sexy cabaret clubs" (google translated) in Kabukicho, Tokyo on April 9 two days after new rules went into effect.

https://www.nikkansports.com/general/news/202004150000732.html (need to G-translate)

Zero tolerance for congressmembers? I would NEVER happen in good old USA.

Posted by: gm | Apr 15 2020 18:06 utc | 271

Posted by: Joe | Apr 15 2020 17:57 utc | 269

The thing is TB immunization policy varies from country to country, should be fairly well documented, and that would seem to be a fruitful field of investigation based on which of them do better or worse with the current Corona pandemic.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 15 2020 18:09 utc | 272

Emily @ 183

My summaries related to the hemoglobin issue:

235

Posted by: pogohere | Apr 15 2020 18:12 utc | 273

"That the virus is a dangerous and that the virus is being used for a power/wealth grab are not mutually exclusive."
Blue Dotterel @257

I am in complete agreement.
I have always made the point that the ruling class is opportunistic and will seize any occasion to attempt to increase its powers and disadvantage its opponents. My argument is with those who claim that the crisis was manufactured (if it actually exists) in order to make a wealth/power grab. It is no discovery that the people who rule in this society are constantly looking for ways to increase their power/wealth.

Telsur is reporting that the Bolsonaro/Trump remedy is actually very dangerous:

"Eleven people died in Manaus, in the state of Amazonas, Brazil, during a study conducted with high doses of the drug chloroquine.
"Eighty-one patients participated in the research, 41 of whom received a high dose of chloroquine.
"After three days of treatment, those who received the highest dose of chloroquine began to have heart arrhythmias.
"On the sixth day of treatment, 11 of them died, leading the group of researchers to abandon the investigation."

This anti-malarial is known to be very dangerous for heart patients inter alia. Employing it on a large scale-as called for by mad Jason Kenney (and others)- would be tantamount to mass murder.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 15 2020 18:17 utc | 274

@276
That is true. Assume Japan and most other industrialized countries have healthcare systems which are superior to the US.
Be simple to contrast obesity levels in various countries. Am sure the US will be last in list.
Coronavirus could have been spreading thru the world population for years if not decades and just recently discovered as a variant of influenza by the Chinese.
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3077442/coronavirus-pathogen-could-have-been-spreading-humans-decades?

Posted by: Joe | Apr 15 2020 18:18 utc | 275

re TB immunisation treatment see this piece by the excellent John Helmer.
http://johnhelmer.net/how-being-poor-and-soviet-has-helped-save-russians-from-covid-19-the-tuberculosis-story-and-the-yeltsin-chubais-virus/

Its curious how Australia turns out journalists like Helmer, John Pilger and the late lamented Wilfrid Burchett, who blew the whistle on the Vietnam war. One might add Julian Assange to that list of men who could not stop telling the truth,too.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 15 2020 18:23 utc | 276

reply to Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Apr 14 2020 19:42 utc | 25
I have no idea if this virus is a bioweapon, if it is it is a bit of a dud IMO. Until patient zero is identified and their initial strain, we will have to wait to consider origin and malicious or non-malicious intent IMO.
re vaccines and 5G and my fear and loathing of both; I do feel I am in good company with one fellow and organization at least; Robert Kennedy Jr. And happily he is taking concrete steps to address the issues of both. I urge you to visit his website, here is a link to his website, worth reading are his FCC lawsuit re 5G regs, or rather the lack of them and his comments on Gates and vaccines. childrenshealthdefense.org/news

Posted by: frances | Apr 15 2020 18:28 utc | 277

I have always made the point that the ruling class is opportunistic and will seize any occasion to attempt to increase its powers and disadvantage its opponents. My argument is with those who claim that the crisis was manufactured (if it actually exists) in order to make a wealth/power grab. It is no discovery that the people who rule in this society are constantly looking for ways to increase their power/wealth.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 15 2020 18:17 utc | 278

-----

Well as everyone in this thread can see for themselves, that's simply not true, irrespective of what you falsely try to claim now, having been called out on it

Posted by: Realist | Apr 15 2020 18:31 utc | 278

If this has already been posted, apologies! It seems to me some debunking is going on in this article from the Nation, and I have to thank nakedcapitalism.com's yesterday 'watercooler' provider, Lambert Strether, for the excerpt as although the magazine says this article is free, so much overload was there for me that I could neither read the article nor extract a different passage. Here is the watercooler posted passage:

“No, Italy Is Not the Case Against Medicare for All” [The Nation]. “When Covid-19 reached Italian shores, it found a country in the midst of a private-sector transformation that has been turning the country’s single-payer health care system into an Italian version of Biden’s beloved “public option”—and putting millions of people at risk in the process. The callous slashing of public funding undertaken by all Italian administrations since the 1990s and the parallel proliferation of private clinics have left the country with fewer health care personnel and hospital beds, and longer wait times. These cuts, along with similar attacks on public expenditure in education, pensions, and social security, have been coupled with a dramatic restructuring of labor relations that has left a significant portion of the Italian workforce struggling with increasingly precarious forms of employment on one hand, and the threat of unemployment on the other. What does this mean in a time of pandemic? Stripped of paid leave and unemployment benefits and unable to afford missing a day of work, people have been going to work sick. Sound familiar?”

Very important explanation that also applies to the US, and I think overrides some previous ones discussed on this forum.

Posted by: juliania | Apr 15 2020 18:37 utc | 279

reply to Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Apr 14 2020 19:42 utc | 25
I have no idea if this virus is a bioweapon, if it is it is a bit of a dud IMO. Until patient zero is identified and their initial strain, we will have to wait to consider origin and malicious or non-malicious intent IMO.

Posted by: frances | Apr 15 2020 18:28 utc | 281

I agree. It is disconcerting that dud weapons are being developed. As I wrote, an anti-Chinese organization could develop it under wrong assumptions on the efficacy of Western health systems and Western economic resilience, assumptions which have a wide circulation. I think it is more plausible that TPTB though "when it comes here, we will be ready, don't we have the best health care system in the World? After all, we rely on free enterprise more than everybody else." Such thinking is actually documented.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 15 2020 18:40 utc | 280

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 15 2020 17:54 utc | 268

"More of Trump shooting himself in the foot, this leaves the field wide open to China to step in as the competent authority to help the world deal with disease going forward. Good job Trump."

Its not about China, Trump hates the Black especially WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Posted by: JC | Apr 15 2020 18:40 utc | 281

@C1ue 221

the Brazilian study used a even higher dosage (600mg HCQ BID x10days) than was the highest recommended regiment in China (500mg chloroquine BID x no more than 10days). It was always going to fail phase 1. Also it's a moot point as HCQ and the older chloroquine's dosage and lethality is already very well studied for decades, almost a century.

Lancet - Caution and clarity required in the use of chloroquine for COVID-19

HCQ is shown to be more potent than the older chloroquine against this bug in-vitro and less should be used vs. chloroquine so it brings the question why even test such a high dosage except to find the upper limits.

Additionally the study was not to study the drug's efficacy, only it's safety and side effects.

HCQ is not candy, but disregarding any promising avenues when we know so little about the the disease is just plain foolish. Perhaps cancer patients shouldn't do chemotherapy either because it could be lethal? The viewpoint you're projecting is IMO imbecilic.

Some current clinical studies are also deeply flawed in that they used case patients that are well advanced with co- morbidities such as cancer and even HIV. it's almost like the tests are stacked for HCQ to fail.

ScienceDirect - No evidence of rapid antiviral clearance or clinical benefit with the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin in patients with severe COVID-19 infection

Some people more knowledgeable then you and I put together thinks HCQ Is useful or at least not to be discounted...

evms critical care covid-19 management protocol - EVMS.edu

Sooooo let's just let the researchers do their jobs shall we?

Posted by: A.L. | Apr 15 2020 18:44 utc | 282

I meant, however the epidemic originated, our rulers were confident that they do not need to hurry. Intelligence agencies were blissfully occupied in identifying possible Russian meddling, no one was contacting the industry to make sure about essential supplies for various scenarios etc., over here we were discussing that COVID could exploit some peculiarly East Asian genetics, something that CDC should now early on if true or false.

But now Russia has closed the border with China on Jan 30 and Trump was mislead by the Chinese and WHO? A small child gullibly accepting a candy?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 15 2020 18:46 utc | 283

...
More of Trump shooting himself in the foot, this leaves the field wide open to China to step in as the competent authority to help the world deal with disease going forward. Good job Trump.
Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 15 2020 17:54 utc | 268

Well, it remains to be seen whether Trump's decision to withdraw US funding from the UN's World Health Organisation is a good thing or a bad thing.
Imo, anything which gets the US and its Quid Pro Quo dough, AND the obligatory US loudmouths out of the hair and out of the decision-making processes of ANY International Humanitarian Organisation, is a definite plus.
If the Rest of The World can fill the funding gap created by Trump's knee-jerk funding withdrawal, and disbar USA from active membership, then the WHO may finally be able to execute its mandate as originally conceived.

Now, if Trump can just get the US, and its Quid Pro Quo dough out of EVERY other branch of the UN, then it shouldn't take long for a New & Better World to become visible on the horizon...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 15 2020 18:51 utc | 284

It is despicable how people who support a state of things and way of life where in two weeks people owning $50.000 cars need to be in a queue to get food from Food Banks, would do whatever they can to blame anybody in the world for the fact that they do not want to organize to help each other and, above all, for the fact that they live clearly over their possibilities...

https://twitter.com/ActualidadRT/status/1250415578889650178

Instead of thinking in changing things so as to avoid that people who have not savings to survive two weeks without working feel the neccesity to own a $50.000 car ( would like to know which kind of home they own too..)..they focus their efforts in demonicing whatever country so as to get that more palatable for the population what they have always done, going to that country to plunder as if there was no tomorrow...

People like those promoting war on China at SST, would kill ( as they have done in the past )so as to not be a it poorer and share a bit with their nationals, and instead, go anywhere to ransack..
That this people have themselves as most religious and exquisite elite is the height of impudence...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Apr 15 2020 18:54 utc | 285

AlainJ @ 14
"Almost all oppression via propaganda is based upon scaring people, and then presenting a false choice, where the people can choose either to do what you want them to do, or face some unknown, often purely fictional horror. "

+++++++++++
In other words, a Hobson's choice.
But, in addition, an unnecessary one. A (to some extent or other---that is still under discussion) created dilemma.

Posted by: Really?? | Apr 15 2020 18:55 utc | 286

While there is no doubt that "protective" masks (medical, or surgical masks) can be of help, it's the other, homemade kind, including bandanas and scarves, that is at issue. There is considerable doubt, including the study you cite, that any kind of face covering will work. The WHO has yet to make a recommendation. And there is this:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275360639_A_cluster_randomised_trial_of_cloth_masks_compared_with_medical_masks_in_healthcare_workers
I will be looking for the right kind of vacuum cleaner bag. I hope others do as well, and that everyone follow the instructions carefully for production and use. Makes a big difference it seems. I wonder how available these bags are in the Africa and Latin America. Probably more than medical masksI which are in short supply throughout the US and Europe. In any case, I will be on the lookout for them, and also buy stock in vacuum cleaner bags. Thanks.

Posted by: Mark | Apr 15 2020 18:59 utc | 287

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 15 2020 18:02 utc | 270

"Why not OPCW? Chemical, biological -- aren't they related?"

People hates me for saying American love to kills..... I'm right and you know it's true here are more........and they bombed the shit out of the Syrian Arab Army and murdered Irian commander General Qasem Soleimani.

Oops more cut-N-paste.."Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old Sister. Obama directed the CIA to assassinate an American citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki ......"

https://theintercept.com/2017/01/30/obama-killed-a-16-year-old-american-in-yemen-trump-just-killed-his-8-year-old-sister/

Posted by: JC | Apr 15 2020 19:00 utc | 288

Nope I did not create the screen problem. Below mark did it!

Posted by: Mark | Apr 15 2020 18:59 utc | 291

Posted by: JC | Apr 15 2020 19:03 utc | 289

why the f... is this Chloroquin thing politicized so much?

I follow the issue since long and got some of it 10 days before Trump mentioned it.
The letal dosis is 2 g/day. So they used half of this dosis. Need to know more?

The real trouble with it is whereelse: it has side-effects, of course. At least one should look to the liver function (enzyme test from the blood), tachycardy check and a blood check for eosinopeny (indicates a very heavy course coming up). And then start to use it. Even 0,6 g/day is a lot.
The reason: look at is chemical formula. Hardly soluble in water. So the bioavailability is critical. You take it orally. Only a part of it will be absorbed to the blood in the intestines. This is chemically altered in the liver, damaging the liver thereby. The altered compound most likely has no impact. Only a small fraction will be distributed by the blood, have some impact and is then excreeted by the kidneys, damaging then again.
It is not possible right now to research for better application methods. Most likely a tiny fraction of it would be necessary then. No one will develop it. The stuff is not patentable any longer, a cheap thing. No shareholder would like that.

But the main problem is another one. One should use when there is a virus infection. But 70% of the infected people realize no symptoms. One cannot run for testing each 2 days to catch the right moment. If it is taken late it is less powerful, bacterial secondary infections are likely so one adds an antibiotic. Suboptimal!
One thing more for the sceptical people: people who once got a malaria seem not to be infected by covid-19. Same people with thalassaemia minor. Both points to Chloroquin.

Whatever, I would prefer better clinical tests of it. But which person infected with covid-19 would accept to share a placebo-controlled study?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Apr 15 2020 19:05 utc | 290

Instead of thinking in changing things so as to avoid that people who have not savings to survive two weeks without working feel the neccesity to own a $50.000 car ( would like to know which kind of home they own too. Posted by: H.Schmatz | Apr 15 2020 18:54 utc | 289

In my parts, you can see several decent vehicles in front of a house that pretty much looks like a trailer (double-width?). That said, when hard pressed these folks can shoot some game, catch some fish etc. so they may be well prepared. Some are even skillful at bow hunting.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 15 2020 19:05 utc | 291

@vk | 62:

Re studies showing Covid mortality at or below the 0.1% influenza average:

For an excellent and regularly updated summary on important findings and research on Covid I recommend https://swprs.org/a-swiss-doctor-on-covid-19/.

Below are text quotes from there - for the embedded links to the data sources refer to the above website:

Overview
1) According to data from the best-studied countries such as South Korea, Iceland, Germany and Denmark, the overall lethality of Covid19 is in the lower per mille range and thus up to twenty times lower than initially assumed by the WHO.
2) A study in Nature Medicine comes to a similar conclusion even for the Chinese city of Wuhan. The initially significantly higher values for Wuhan were obtained because a many people with mild or no symptoms were not recorded.

And:
The German Network for Evidence-Based Medicine reports that the lethality of a severe seasonal influenza (flu) such as 2017/2018 is estimated by the German Robert Koch Institute to be 0.4% to 0.5%, and not only 0.1% as previously assumed. This would mean that the lethality of Covid19 could even be lower than that of a strong seasonal influenza, even though it may spread faster.

In a serological pilot study, German virologist Hendrick Streeck comes to the interim result that the lethality of Covid19 is at 0.37% and the mortality (based on the total population) at 0.06%. These values are about ten times lower than those of the WHO and about five times lower than those of Johns Hopkins University.

A Danish study with 1500 blood donors found that the lethality of Covid19 is only 1.6 per thousand, i.e. more than 20 times lower than originally assumed by the WHO and thus in the range of a strong (pandemic) influenza. At the same time Denmark has decided to reopen schools and kindergartens next week.

A serological study in the US state of Colorado comes to the preliminary conclusion that the lethality of Covid19 has been overestimated by a factor of 5 to a factor of 20 and is likely to be in the range between normal and pandemic influenza.

A study conducted by the Medical University of Vienna concluded that the age and risk profile of Covid19 deaths is similar to normal mortality.

Lots and lots of intriguing detail on this website. Reading it is an hour of lifetime well spent imho.

Posted by: Leser | Apr 15 2020 19:11 utc | 292

@Noirette #244:
No - the extra deaths are non-hospital deaths, typically in ‘care’ homes, and even at home. 1. The UK does not tally them. A rough rule of thumb (W countries) is to add 50% to the official ‘hospital’ number.

Non-hospital deaths are also recorded by the UK's Office for National Statistics.
but nearly all of the extra 'Corona' deaths so far occurred in hospitals:

Of deaths involving COVID-19 registered up to Week 14, 90.2% (3,716 deaths) occurred in hospital, with the remainder occurring in hospices, care homes and private homes.

The ONS reports that the number who died in Week 14 was 6,082 higher than average. It also reports 3,475 COVID-19 deaths that week. But it doesn't explain the difference between those numbers.

It will be publishing its 'Analysis of deaths involving COVID-19' tomorrow. Hopefully that will shed some light on the matter but that might be too much to hope for, given the lack of clarity so far.

Posted by: Brendan | Apr 15 2020 19:20 utc | 293

@ vk | 62 who says

"Autopsies are only done in cases where the doctors consider clinically relevant, in cases where the family of the deceased want to do and/or in criminal investigations. They are certainly not the rule, they are the exception. The reason for this is simple: autopsies are expensive and take a lot of time."

You are completely right and I don't disagree with your statement. It misses my point though, which is that the German national lead institute on the matter ("Robert-Koch-Institut, RKI") advocates against autopsies to verify a suspected Covid death not for any of the above reasons (and those would be far outside RKI's remit anyway), but rather because it would supposedly be too dangerous . That is is ridiculous because autopsies are and have been performed routinely on bodies with much more dangerous diseases. Furthermore, pathologists are of course equipped and trained accordingly, an elementary fact that can't possible elude the elite RKI.

The suspicion is therefore that the RKI has been leaned on to obscure the true, much lower mortality of Covid.

Posted by: Leser | Apr 15 2020 19:25 utc | 294

@ joe and TB topic.... i mentioned this a few days ago regarding the low deaths in germany was apparently had the tb vaccine for many previous generations... jen commented on this as well... it was on a different thread a few days ago... look like more are interested in the topic today.. good! i agree with @ 271 piotr - "There are also confounding factors. For example, mandatory TB vaccine could correlate with other beneficial public health measures."

Posted by: james | Apr 15 2020 19:40 utc | 296

I would also note that plasma transplants to confer antibodies is simply a very low scale way of vaccinating...

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 14 2020 19:07 utc | 15
++++++++++

What's wrong with that? What is "simply" meant to imply?
By "low-scale" do you mean limited in number of patients who can be treated with the plasma of one covid-19 survivor? Or do you mean "primitive," "low tech"?

We have blood donation drives all the time (or we used to; who knows what we "still" do). These are particularly important in the case of rare blood types. Very often family members are asked to donate blood for the one who needs it, or, if a different blood type is needed, to top up the holdings of a blood bank.

How much plasma from a survivor does one patient need? If we had effective testing of the whole population for past exposure and survival it seems it would be feasible to create a database---even an international database---of people who can supply a load of antibodies to sufferers. The use of antibody-loaded plasma within families and extended families would seem to be a no-brainer.

Not only blood is donated by family members, volunteers, etc. (not to mention of course organs such as kidneys). There is an international database of persons willing and able to donate bone marrow for transplants needed by those suffering from CML and who cannot find a match within their own family. Granted, the time frame is different in the case of covid-19, but the basic model of creating such a database for covid-19 antibodies certainly seems worth pursuing.

I see no reason to sideline any type of therapy because it isn't "the one" that can, guaranteed, save millions with push-button dependability. Especially since the jury still seems to be out on the exact way(s) this virus attacks the human body, maybe the closest therapy to hand is the "low-scale" antibody-plasma therapy.

Posted by: Really?? | Apr 15 2020 19:53 utc | 297

In case anyone is interested in how did China stop the epidemic, here is a pretty good overview.


In Chengdu, Sichuan Province, 440,000 citizens formed teams to do a range of public actions to stem the transmission of the virus: they publicized the health regulations, they checked temperatures, they delivered food and medicines, and they found ways to entertain the otherwise traumatized public.

In China, the leaders put people to work to stop the epidemic, while in the US and other places we are told to just stay home, "experts" and "officials" will do all that needs doing, peons should just "butt out".

On February 1, the government produced 773,000 test kits a day; by February 25, it was producing 1.7 million kits per day; by March 31, 4.26 million test kits were produced per day.

Any nitwit Dear Leaders thinking about waging war on China should really spend a minute or two thinking about the productive capacity of China. In any shooting war, China would easily out-produce Uncle Sam, except maybe fuel.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Apr 15 2020 19:55 utc | 298

This pandemic will not be the last until every top secret bio-lab in the world is shut down, cleaned up, and reopened with absolutely no secrecy component to it. We just don't have the required information (as planned IMO) to ascertain what led to this pandemic, nor how to prevent it in the future.

The top secret labs (such as the Richard Lugar center in Tbilisi, Georgia, or the other nation's bio-labs) need to have complete transparency and audit-ability as to the nature of their research. Anyone who works to defeat this transparency, whether Defense, Intelligence, Industry, or Research, should be prosecuted to the max.

Posted by: naiverealist | Apr 15 2020 19:56 utc | 299

Bevin @ 250

Let us put this to the test: if as Realist@236 claims,
".. the virus is being very cynically used as a smokescreen/multi-purpose-excuse to hide the blatant powergrab, blatant roll-out of full spectrum surveillance society, blatant treasury looting, blatant curtailment of basic rights, blatant police state enactment, and blatant socialisation of private sector debt obligations (that last charge is a tell a sign that we are dealing with a neo-liberal) ...", then we can anticipate the tightening of the quarantine, an extension of the testing regime to cover the entire population, intrusive searches as the government sets out to trace the virus back to its sources in the population and, as in China, the establishment of massive hospitals to treat thousands of patients."
+++++++
Not agreeing nor disagreeing with Realist, but it is possible that Realist's view can coexist with Govt. etc. wanting to get people back to work if Govt is pushing the idea that a vaccine will solve everything, and the vaccine happens to be the ID2020 Gates-wet-dream (ugh! what an awful thought!) vaccine mit Chip.

Posted by: Really?? | Apr 15 2020 19:57 utc | 300

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