Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 03, 2020

The Science Says #MaskUp - A Look At Two New Virus Studies

There are a few new studies about the novel coronavirus epidemic that are of interest for everyone.

From Science comes a study with new epidemic data that evaluates a smartphone based system that could alarm those who have come near a person which later developed Covid-19 symptoms. Such a system is used in South Korea.

Quantifying SARS-CoV-2 transmission suggests epidemic control with digital contact tracing

The new epidemic data in the study is of interest.

It says that the basic reproduction number R0 or R naught for the novel coronavirus is 2.0. Under normal circumstance a new carrier of the virus is likely to infect two other people. This is a higher value than for the seasonal flu but a bit lower than previously thought.

But what makes the novel coronavirus really different is that it starts to spread before the spreading person has developed symptoms.

The virus starts to replicate in significant numbers (billions per mililiter) on day 2 after the infection. The virus first replicates in the upper throat and the infected person starts to spread it to others simply by breathing, talking or coughing. Only on day 5 the infected person starts to develop first symptoms. The virus migrates into the lower lung and replicates there. The virus load in the upper throat will then start to decline. The immune system intervenes and defeats the virus but also causes additional lung damage which can kill people who have already other preexisting conditions. (Interestingly smokers seem not to develop a cytokine storms during a Covid infection and are thereby less prone to end up in the ICU.) On day 10 only few viruses will be found in the upper throat and the person will generally no longer be infectious.

The typical hospitalization point in China was only on day 9 to 12 after the onset of symptoms. At that point a test by swabs is nearly useless as the infected person will normally no longer have significant numbers of the virus in the upper throat. Reports of "defective tests from China" were likely caused by a lack of knowledge about this phenomenon. The diagnosis in these later cases should be done by a CT scan which will show the lung damage.

We do know since late January that people can transmit the virus even when they have not yet developed symptoms. An open question was how many of new infections happen during this phase.

The new Science study investigated how many infections were created by each of four infection phases or types:

  • pre-symptomatic - new infections come from an infected person who has not yet developed symptoms but will do so later
  • symptomatic - new infections come from an infected person who has already developed symptoms
  • environmental - new infections comes from some environmental contact with the virus
  • asymptomatic - new infections come from a person that will never develop any symptoms.

The study says that R0 for pre-symptomatic infections is 0.9 or 46% of all new infections. Infections from a symptomatic persons happen with an R0 of 0.8 which is equal to 40% of all new infections. Environmental infections have an R0 of 0.2 or 10% of all new infections. Infections from asymptomatic cases have an R0 of 0.1 or 4% of all new infections.

More new infections are created during the three pre-symptomatic days the virus carrier runs around then during the symptomatic one.

Washing ones hands helps but environmental infections happen only in 10% of all new infections. The pre-symptomatic carriers are, without knowing it, the biggest spreader of the disease. Millions of the many billions of viruses that get created in their throat can attach to tiny water droplets or aerosols while a person breathes, speaks or coughs.

Such spreading can be prevented when everyone wears a mask. A different new study shows that masks are very effective. Published in Nature the study is titled:

Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks.

The graphic (here cut off for only corona viruses) shows how masks can keep away your droplets from the people you meet and talk to.


If the carrier of a virus wears a mask the spreading of viruses due to speaking, coughing or even breathing goes basically down to zero.

But a mask does not only protect the carrier of the viruses. While homemade or even professional surgical mask do not protect the wearer from all particles they do protect one much better from them than when one wears no mask at all.

A person rarely gets infected by just one virus particle. They come in millions attached to tiny droplets. We do not know yet how the dose of the novel coronavirus that infects a person affects the intensity of the disease. But we do know from other viruses that the dose matters. People who catch a higher dose of viruses will usually have a more intense disease. A mask can lower the virus load the wearer may receive.

One can improvise a mask from simple household objects. One can sew a mask like a surgeon does in this video. This is my preferred model which is officially recommended by German fire departments. (The pdf is in German but the pictures tell the story). This is the mask I made by following those instructions.


It is made of a folded sheet cut from a triangular arm-sling out of an old first-aid kit. A HEPA microfilter (as used in vacuum cleaners) is in between the folded sheet. A piece cut from a clean bag for vacuum cleaners will do as well. Do not use a sheet or insert that is too tight to breathe through. If one does that the air will come in from the sides of the mask and the total protection effect will be less. It can be arduous to breathe through such a mask. If you have breathing problems leave the insert out. The sheets alone are already good protection. There is a piece of wire from a big paper clip fixed inside the middle of the upper seam to fit the mask tightly around the upper nose. The lower part goes under the chin. I shaved my beard to make it a tighter fit. As I had no sewing equipment I used a stapler to fix the seams and the ribbons.

The HEPA filter catches particles down to 0.3 micrometer. Viruses are some 125 nanometer in diameter so they are smaller and could slip through. But the viruses are attached to some droplet that are bigger. HEPA filter are essentially labyrinths of small fiber and the viruses would have to bounce multiple times to get through. Finally the dose also matters.

To clean the mask of potential viruses I put it into the oven for 30 minutes at 70C (158F).

The science says that masks work. Everyone should use one. #MaskUp!

Here some additional links which might be of interest.

So far, to the frustration of both the White House and the intelligence community, the agencies have been unable to glean more accurate numbers through their collection efforts.

That's because the Chinese numbers are as correct as they can get.

Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the issue:

Posted by b on April 3, 2020 at 18:24 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

@154 Peter AU1 | Apr 4 2020 13:28 (and others)

For the record (here) it is used in humans.

"Ivermectin has been used around the world for years as a treatment for a range of conditions including head lice and scabies, and it is available as a pill, lotion and shampoo."

However, now the government is concerned people "might hoard the drug, leaving none for people who needed it for proven uses — something which had happened with other medications" and "rushing out to their pharmacies or their supermarkets buying lice treatments now because scientists are doing this work."

Posted by: imo | Apr 4 2020 18:44 utc | 201

mpn, China and SK have been using anti virals at an early stage, unlike France, where the orders are to wait respiratory problems;
before that stage the only sick people got (unless they are MPs) is paracetamol or directly oxygen.
Today, on a French gov radio, some 'authorized scientist' was mixing testing policy with 'testing for antibodies' and dismissing the testing policy of other states as based on tests we do not know the accuracy of. states

Posted by: Mina | Apr 4 2020 18:52 utc | 202


medical staff has not been tested systematically or even, proportionally, neither ppl in care homes
and we had the 1st case in Europe, back in January... so yes indeed, we love super-spreaders and we still don't quarantine positive people, we just let them in their families (the same ppl who the next day go to the baker, the supermarket, etc)

Posted by: Mina | Apr 4 2020 18:55 utc | 203

RE: testing info on worldometer.

I have emailed the site asking how they arrive at the testing numbers and have not gotten a response or found an explanation on the site.

At the moment I am not sure if the info has any practical value. Testing vs infections is about 20%. Who is getting tested? Last info I was able to find concerning this was they were only testing people who were admitted to the hospital, or who were directly exposed to someone who had been. I would assume all emergency personnel are getting tested regularly, and I would also assume all politicians are getting tested regularly.

For the most part we are basically testing those who we think have it, or those who very likely have it. If this is the case then the 20% number doesn't really have any practical value. If we were testing the general public and finding that 20% of them have positive results, that would be useful. And ridiculously terrifying.

That being said I don't see any practical value to having this information. Anybody else more knowledgeable or have a better understanding of the process or value of this info?

RE: Matt in WI.

I too live in WI, Madison to be exact. I am curious where you live in the state that you have not had any infections. There are only 13 counties out of 72 that don't have at least one case. All but one of them are some of the remotest parts of the state, mostly recreational places areas where people have hunting/fishing/recreation cabins etc. You said you expect it will spread when everyone goes back to work. This makes me assume that lots of people in your community commute to a nearby larger community for work. The counties that don't have any cases aren't really near any cities of significant size. Where do you live?

Posted by: David F | Apr 4 2020 18:57 utc | 204

@ 195 likklemore... i appreciate trudeaus response... some maturity in the face of stupidity is probably the best response.. i do think this is a perfect example of what an ignoramus trump is though... he is going to tell 3M what to do!!! meanwhile 3M is reliant on outside sources like this.. what is trumps next stupid move? but he has a cheerleading section over at pat langs, lol..

Posted by: james | Apr 4 2020 18:57 utc | 205

Laguerre, by the time the Macron handlers will change (the only plan is: GAFA integration 2.0 (incl non-anonymous posting?), ID2020, some big agreement UK/EU for an inner Marshall bailout etc. see Pepe Escobar) France will still be stuck between demonstrations and byzantine quarrels around the possibility to authorize face veils aside face masks.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 4 2020 18:58 utc | 206

I can now order facemasks in two colours closed with a tape decorated with the French colours, made by the same people who make my pullovers. €6 each with half going to a charity. True!
More seriously, Here is a list of FREE medicines given out by the Syrian Government to Coronavirus patients. Info only as I do not know some of the equivalent names in French Pharmacies.

(Quote from a tweet, without confirmation but possibly true)

Critical Corona cases:
- Meropenem 1G injection 3 a day
- Vencomycin 1G twice a day
- Azithromycin 500 once a day
- Oseltamivir 150mg twice a day, 5 days
- Hydroxychloroquinine 400 twice for one day, then
200mg twice a day for 4 days, in case of no
contraindication (G6PD, Long QT)

(In bold type Trumps remedy. My emphasis)

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 4 2020 19:48 utc | 207

regarding test numbers, obviously a higher number is good. but be aware of the difference between number of tests performed vs persons tested.

a person might be tested multiple times due to false negatives or the need for confirmation, then tested again (may be multiple times again) as they recover before discharge.

so if the number reported are total tests performed the actual number of individuals tested may be a fraction of the total.

that's little uniformity on these data and how they're reported so it is extremely difficult to scrub. they are best used as an indication only on how aggressive testing is in a particular location.

epidemiologists will be chewing through this data for years to come but right now we're reading tea leaves at best.

Posted by: A.L. | Apr 4 2020 19:56 utc | 208

Re Ivermectin for Human use> Promising Direction; @ 144, 148, 152, 155

Used for TB treatment in Africa. Just google "TB treatment africa Ivermectin".
One example:

Posted by: Fundas | Apr 4 2020 19:59 utc | 209

From the CNN live "Brooklyn medical center to use rain ponchos and garbage bags due to gown shortage."
Obviously, Brooklyn is not in California.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 4 2020 20:21 utc | 210

Turkey steals large medical export to Spanish company. The equipment including respirators was assembled in Turkey with parts imported from China. See Independent linked by Mark sleboda at twitter.

Turkey destroys its assembly industry in one blow. The venal fools in Spain could have surely assembled this for near the same cost. Mad world.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 4 2020 20:26 utc | 211

Off-Guardian calls it right and exposes Bill Gates rip off science.

This journal is right on the tail of the beast here. Note that Gates connives to defeat natural immunity and blood plasma treatment so he can sell sell sell.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 4 2020 21:50 utc | 212

Re Ivermectin:

Recommended dosage in humans:

1.5mg per kg of body weight in a single dose.

2.0mg per kg of body weight for all other treatments.

which means if you weigh 90kg, the dose is 18mg. (0.2x90=18)

Some people have parasites inside the eyes and in those cases, vision may be affected by
the dead parasites killed by Ivermectin

usually comes in 3mg pills.

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 4 2020 21:54 utc | 213

imo 202

Has been used against parasites in third world countries for a number of years. Administered as a back liner on livestock for a long time. I tried some about ten years ago when I became ill and doctors where finding nothing. Just poured the stuff on my arm and let it soak in. Didn't make fix me though.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 4 2020 21:56 utc | 214

JohninMK @178

Thank you. It is easy to get discouraged. We have those bands sitting in a drawer. Will check for more next shopping trip.

Posted by: oldhippie | Apr 4 2020 22:00 utc | 215

CCD DSU for April 4, 2020

Spain has officially passed Italy for nCOV mortality/10M pop: 2546 vs 2526

France is now the 3rd highest nation: 1161, a hair ahead of the Netherlands at 1125 and Belgium at 971

US: 253 vs. Germany @ 160, but US without New York is 153

New York by itself would be a clear 3rd worldwide: 1834 - note they're rapidly catching up to Italy and Spain.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 4 2020 22:05 utc | 216

@mpn #198
I would be careful with any South Korea references.
I just read somewhere - can't remember where - that the average age for nCOV infected in South Korea was under 50. This is significantly lower than other nations' average nCOV infected ages, that I've seen.
May be a function of both extensive testing to catch asymptomatic and also the nature of the nCOV spread: many of the early transmitted cases were in call centers - staffed mostly by young people.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 4 2020 22:09 utc | 217

US, France and UK now leading the deaths per day.
China down to 1558 active cases and single digit deaths per day.
Three countries still with visions of empire and superiority. Reminds me of the old saying "Pride comes before a fall".

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 4 2020 22:31 utc | 218

This is pathetic:

70% of infection routes "unknown" New corona, rapid increase in 20-40 old age

Not only did Tokyo have its first triple digit day, but 70% of the newly infected are from an unknown route, i.e. the government doesn't have any idea where they were infected.

The COVID-19 has a potential to lay waste on the Tokyo-Osaka megalopolis. If that happens, hosting the Olympics in time for the summer of 2021 will be Japan's smallest problem.

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 22:37 utc | 219


The main or original outbreak in SK was this cult church.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 4 2020 22:38 utc | 220

Posted by: james | Apr 4 2020 18:57 utc | 206 he has a cheerleading section over at pat langs, lol..

Yes, I was just over there as part of my morning routine.

Lang has explicitly called for letting old people die in order to restart the economy. Go and read his latest post for yourself. He's absolutely explicit about it.

Lang has always been an utter asshole. He's right about the Middle East and despises Trump on foreign policy, which I give him credit for, but he thinks Trump is doing wonders for the economy - despite all signs to the contrary. But he makes a big deal about people being "respectful" on his blog - while insulting and demeaning people at every opportunity just to prove he's some kind of "curmudgeon" - which is a term meaning "old asshole." The amount of kowtowing his posters do to him is demeaning at best. I used to post there but got banned (as usual - I get banned almost everywhere for the usual reason that people can't handle disagreement with their pet opinions) when he couldn't tolerate my disagreements with his opinions.

He and his wife are old. It will be interesting to see his opinion if his wife contracts it and dies.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 4 2020 23:25 utc | 221

@151 imo Please go back and read the article that you linked to. Note this telling line: "Ivermectin is an FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug also shown to be effective in vitro against viruses including HIV, dengue and influenza."

So it has already been shown that IN THE PETRI DISH this same drug kills the HIV virus, the influenza virus, and the virus that causes dengue fever.

Yet it isn't being used to treat HIV, influenza, or dengue fever, even though all three have been around for a lot longer than Covid-19.

Bizarre, heh? It's almost as if the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has gone down this rabbit hole before - three times before - and come up empty each time. But forth time a treat, hey?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 4 2020 23:26 utc | 222

Posted by: MarkU | Apr 4 2020 13:57 utc | 159 FYI you can find scientists on just about any side of any debate, so whatever you believe, there is always some paid shill, crank or bullheaded holdout that will tell you whatever you want to believe.

Got that right. Spot on.

Human nature, folks - that's the deadliest disease there is. Worse than Ebola.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 4 2020 23:41 utc | 223

Posted by: dltravers | Apr 4 2020 13:49 utc | 157 Richard Steven Hack @ 141 That is just the State. In SF the hotel industry offered 8,000 rooms since they are not being used. As of a few weeks ago SF leased 60 and was using 30 for the homeless. Not sure what the numbers are now but it is probably so silly they will never publish them again.

Yes, I recall now that I did see something about that. The 8,000 figure is just 1,000 more than the state-wide figure. It's still half of the requirement - and as you state, the city is probably unable to actually use such rooms in disparate locations. They need to move them to Golden Gate Park in shelters build by the National Guard, like Santa Clara is doing with their fairgrounds.

The homeless in San Francisco (and probably everywhere in the US) are doomed - and will probably infect me along with them.

So I guess we can accept a "Final Solution" to the homeless problem in this country.

Human nature, folks. If you don't have power - you die by those who do.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 4 2020 23:46 utc | 224

Watch this Youtube video of "social distancing" in San Francisco...

The scene from 11 to 35 seconds or so is *one block* from where I live...just around the corner. I have to go past there to visit the ATM or go down to Market Street to do my food runs. They could have gone to any block surrounding that block and viewed the same thing. Also, they don't show the frequent homeless tent clusters on a lot of blocks around that area.

I don't know where the opening scene - the long line of people - was shot from. It's vaguely familiar but I can't remember where it is.

*Zero* social distancing among the homeless.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 5 2020 0:40 utc | 225

Here's another video that shows the situation even better, from March 20th. I'm not seeing *any* improvement as of *yesterday*, regardless of any "positive" developments. The obvious solution: Bring in the National Guard with military prefab shelters, set them up in Golden Gate Park, and provide National Guard medical treatment, food, and virus testing. How much would this cost for at least a temporary solution for the next couple month?

And from a station in Las Vegas:

'Impossible' for homeless to distance

And this pathetic effort:

CA to use hotels to shelter homeless during amid COVID-19 risks

"There are 108,000 homeless people in the State of California, according to the Governor's Office. Newsom said the state has over 2,400 hotels room secured, with 1,900 beds alone in San Diego County. Seven counties across the state have beds secured."

And are they providing food and virus testing for these people as well? I suspect not.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 5 2020 0:52 utc | 226

@ 222 richard steven hack... i agree with you about pat.. i have been banned and unbanned a few times.. i posted early in that thread.. he let my comment go thru as he wanted to refer to me as a ''heathen'' lol.. here's my comment to him.. i am quoting him at the beginning of my comment - ..."while we can care for the ill, and seek to protect the old and infirm, their welfare must, to some extent, be sacrificed" ...therein is the achilles heel of capitalism.... some people don't buy into this.. i am surprised someone supposedly into religion does..."
Posted by: james | 03 April 2020 at 12:48 PM

i tend said his comment about my being a heathen is akin to what some fundementalist islam person would do - call me an infidel or something along similar lines.. their religious bigotry gets short circuited very quickly for the simple reason there is nothing religious in any of this type ideology..

Posted by: james | Apr 5 2020 1:00 utc | 227

SF Bay Area Covid updated April 4
The last census lists a population of over 7 million people in nine counties and 101 cities.
Latest Numbers By County
State Statistics

Alameda county (not including Berkeley)
Positive Cases: 510 +94
Deaths: 12 No change

Berkeley No update
Cases 27 +4
Deaths Zero

Contra Costa County
307 Cases + 31
Deaths 5 +2
Total tested 4493 +410
Hospitalized 32 +1

San Francisco County
Positive cases 497 +47
Deaths 7 No change

San Mateo County
Postive cases 486 +33
Deaths 13 +3

Santa Clara County
1148 Cases +54
Deaths 39 +1

Sonoma County
Active Cases 83 +4
Hospitalized 20 +1
Recovered 21 +1
Deaths 1
Tests 1920 +5

Solono county
Confirmed cases 73 +12
Deaths 1
Active cases 33 +10
Total hospitalizations 22 No Change

Marin County
Confirmed cases 131 +13
Deaths 6 No change
Persons tested at County site 774
Hospitalizations 16 No change

Santa Cruz County
Total cases 59 +2
Tests 794 Negative
Hospitalized 9
Deaths 1

Napa County
Active case 20 +2
Deaths 2 +1

The governor is focusing on getting real time data out to the people. Things are improving on that end. Masks and gear are being rationed. One cheap mask per day in some places. The state is working on a public private partnership with the UC system to setup 8 test site aggregators to speed up testing and place the rights types of testing in the right places.

Posted by: dltravers | Apr 5 2020 1:31 utc | 228

@222 and @228 The problem I have with Pat Lang is that he does not practice what he preaches.

He has said many times that in the intelligence game you evaluate the information and you evaluate the source separately.

Which is sensible, otherwise you risk dismissing important info simply because you dislike the person, or you end up being convinced of something because your ego has been stroked.

Yet if someone posts that they disagree with an article that he has written - and explains why they think he is in error - he will invariably respond with a vicious ad-hom before banning the poster, and all without the slightest effort to engage on the merits of the argument.

Lang is not alone in that: Walrus shows the same ill-tempered and dismissive behaviour, as (to a lesser degree) does Larry Johnson.

It doesn't have to be that way: TTG writes articles on that site and seems happy to engage with critics in a courteous manner, and as a result his articles are a pleasure to read.

The others just leave a sour taste, and result less in a "committee of correspondence" so much as the dogmatic mutterings of a bunch of arrogant dicks.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 5 2020 1:42 utc | 229

@ 230 yeah, right.. i agree with your overview.. ttg is the one person i can relate to... pat is like a closet schizophrenic or something.. he is unaware of his own bias and thinks he is very objective.. he's not.. it would be better if he could see this, but he seems incapable.. i wouldn't fault him for being subjective either, but i do fault him for thinking he is rational and objective in his analysis when he is clearly not.. you're still posting their.. kudos to you.. you've yet to rub him the wrong way - and it is easy to do if you don't immediately agree with him too!

Posted by: james | Apr 5 2020 2:35 utc | 230

Currently searching Aliexpress for face masks. Problem: Everything is listed as 5991V. And what the hell is that? Can't find anything explanatory. Seems to be a valve designation. However, the *only* reference for this number comes with...wait for it...Aliexpress ads - along with a bunch of other ads from various companies, none of whom I recognize.

According to brochures from 3M which I just downloaded, they *do not sell* a 9511 (V or not). They sell a *9211* model. A search of their site for "9551" returns no results. So what *are* 9551 models? A China-specific model? An older model since discontinued? Anyone know?

This is very disconcerting. How do I know the Aliexpress masks are worth buying? Worse, most of these are "with valve" - and my understanding is that valves that allow outflow are useless for protecting other people from effluvia emitted by an infected person (albeit they are still useful for protecting the wearer.)

While searching, found these two pages which seem very informative:

N95 vs FFP3 & FFP2 masks – what’s the difference?

Disposable Respirator Reuse – How to decontaminate them safely? N95 & FFP2 etc.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 5 2020 2:57 utc | 231

Well, this is good news...

F.D.A. to Allow Use of KN95 Masks Approved by China

Now if I can just figure out what mask at Aliexpress is actually legit and worth buying...

Note: "But it left off China because of concerns about fraudulent masks." Or, you know, Trump...

*Many N95 masks are also manufactured in China, and the Trump administration is trying to compel companies like 3M to send more of those to the United States."

While at the same time worried about "fraudulent masks"...

This is not making me happy...

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 5 2020 3:06 utc | 232

Then there's this...from March 24th.

Mask Confusion
Contradictory Federal Guidance on N95 Respirators Fuels Concerns During Pandemic

The CDC also issued ambiguous guidance in late February on whether N95 masks can be used safely past their manufacturer’s expiration date. The recently auctioned masks mentioned earlier expired between 2011 and 2013, and millions more in the Strategic National Stockpile are expired. The sales notice on the auctioneer’s website carried a disclaimer that purchasers would be accepting the masks “as is” and without recourse.

Roughly 40% of the N95 government stockpiled masks—an estimated 5 million of the 12 million to 13 million—are expired. As of early March, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that the U.S. has only about 1% of the N95 masks it would need for a “full-blown” pandemic, which would require up to 3.5 billion N95 masks over a year. If the pandemic is less severe, tens of millions of masks would still be needed each month. Last month, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar estimated a minimum of 300 million would be necessary.

The numbers are so large partly because, in a healthcare setting, the masks are only supposed to be used once, then discarded, to minimize the risk of contamination. The CDC’s guidance from this March says, in a “crisis” situation, some reuse of facemasks could be allowed “for multiple encounters with different patients,” but since “it is unknown what the potential contribution of contact transmission is for SARS-CoV-2”—the technical name for the novel coronavirus—healthcare providers should avoid touching “outer surfaces of the mask” and ensure “that mask removal and replacement be done in a careful and deliberate manner.”

In an indication of just how limited the strategic stockpile of N95s is, Washington state, one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., recently asked for 233,000 N95 masks and 200,000 surgical masks, and the Strategic National Stockpile initially only agreed to provide half of the surgical masks and less than half of the N95 marks though the stockpile later relented, according to the Washington Post.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 5 2020 3:19 utc | 233

Richard Steven Hack 233

A simple rule in buying from China is to obtain a sample first. Product can differ from factory to factory.
KN95 I think is a Chinese standard and the equivalent of the N95 which is a US standard.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 5 2020 3:30 utc | 234

Oh, just great...

So I create an account with Aliexpress over my VPN. Then I try to make an order. I get *this bullcrap*...

We have noticed an unusual activity in your account. This might be because you tried to sign in from another location or device. To protect your account we have temporarily locked it. To regain access, please proceed with the below verification process. If you experience any problems, please contact customer service.

This sort of *crap* just drives me up the world. Their "verification process" is some crap with a slider which then gives an error and an option to "feedback" which means absolutely nothing.

So now I have to contact "customer service". That should be a hoot...

Well, no masks for me for now...

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 5 2020 3:34 utc | 235


The equivilent stads to N95. (copy paste from pdf)

• N95 (United States NIOSH-42CFR84)
• FFP2 (Europe EN 149-2001)
• KN95 (China GB2626-2006)
• P2 (Australia/New Zealand AS/NZA 1716:2012)
• Korea 1st class (Korea KMOEL - 2017-64)
• DS (Japan JMHLW-Notification 214, 2018)
As shown in the following summary table, respirators certified as meeting these standards can be expected to function very
similarly to one another, based on the performance requirements stated in the standards and confirmed during conformity

9551 refers to mask style. This ebay add lays out the differences. I take it N95, KN95 ect refers to filtering capabilities and extra designations are for the style or shape.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 5 2020 4:00 utc | 236

@215 Peter AU1 | Apr 4 2020 21:56

Indeed, its value is contextual. Not having head lice, I personally would not take it without special circumstances and no other options. However, if one was in this type of situation below (which came through a personal network) then local vet supplies might be an only option to try. Then I might give it a go. With the USA delivering rapid 'democracy' to any supply chain with a plunder-value I'd suggest remote and isolated communities might only have recourse to such desperate measures.

"... I need your advice. We need medical equipment here in Kurdistan. The situation is very bad as the place is poor. I am trying to get medical aid for the people here from Australia. We are facing increasing infections in a system which is very poor and unable to cope if this continues. To whom should I be contacting? Do you have people or organsations which can assist in this process?” ...

Posted by: imo | Apr 5 2020 4:49 utc | 237

And of course I can't contact "customer service" ...

OK, I straightened that out. Apparently they sent an email confirmation first, which once I clicked on it, allowed me into the site. Usual horsecrap badly explained by the site...Chinese, what can you do? Also they allowed the option of joining via Facebook. Now I can't even remember which I used. Anyway, I got in without all the non-working "security" crap...

More fun navigating the stores' ads. Took me a while to figure out you have to select from the country dropdown first, then once over at checkout, there's fun from the address section where you can't apparently actually enter the City directly, you have to select from everyone else's entries for the state of California - which results in "San francisco" being my city instead of "San Francisco - idiocy... And the credit card section doesn't show you card options until that address is "confirmed". And then if the credit card info isn't entered precisely in the required order of card number, CVV, etc. - it shows "we don't support that kind of card" - which initially led me all over the Internet trying to figure out why.

*Finally* I get all that stupidity worked out and have ordered 10 pcs of KN95 plus 1,000 pieces of plastic disposable food service gloves (so I don't have to touch the door and toilet at the communal toilet here.) The gloves should arrive in 4-7 days via USPS, the masks in two and a half weeks (estimated). Best I could do on the masks - hopefully I'm not dead by then...

Only took a few *hours* of my time to get this figured out...

Now that the FDA has cleared KN95 masks to the US, I expect 300 million Americans to buy out China's supply even more than they already have...

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 5 2020 4:49 utc | 238

Richard Steven Hack 239

I must say I got a lot of chuckles out of your continued updates to the process, the empathetic type of chuckles.

I am glad to hear you finally got what you were looking for, and I too hope you are not dead by then. On the bright side, if you are, then no more of this bullshit to deal with. Right?

Posted by: David F | Apr 5 2020 5:06 utc | 239

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 5 2020 4:00 utc | 237 9551 refers to mask style. This ebay add lays out the differences.

Thanks for that link. Still doesn't explain why 3M *itself* does not list any such designation. The pictures in the ad show existing 9501 and 9502 model numbers. I even checked the GB2626-2006 number which appears to be a *Chinese* National Standard Number as documented here: Apparently there are two standards, one for industrial masks and one for consumer masks. The 2626 one is for industrial, which according to the study I reference below, are probably better than the Chinese consumer masks.

And according to *this* page that standard is to be abolished on July 1, 2020!

And then I found *this*, which is not encouraging:
Effectiveness of face masks used to protect Beijing residents against particulate air pollution

So once again...back to the crapshoot as to whether these masks are really effective or not depending on circumstances...

It's insane that I've had to spent a couple days worth of research to become an "expert" on face masks...

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 5 2020 5:07 utc | 240

Richard Steven Hack 241

The masks in the ebay listing are knockoffs of 3M. 3M is a US brand name and I doubt they have a factory in China.
I would go for something generic or a Chinese brand name. Knockoffs and ones using western brand names could be anything as far as quality goes. KN95's are in short supply in China however they do or did have plenty of the European equivalent FFP2. I take it these were made for the European market and a good chance they are made to the FFP2 standard.
I would stay away from adds that have 3M or N95 as these will most likely be knockoffs to capitalise on a known brand and grade.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 5 2020 5:37 utc | 241


I see there are a lot of P2 masks on ebay. P2 is the Australian standard equivalent of N95.
This is the link to AU ebay P2 masks.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 5 2020 5:48 utc | 242

Search term I used in ebay was for masks. Should have been respirator though both terms bring up a mixture.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 5 2020 5:57 utc | 243

@242 Peter AU1: "3M is a US brand name and I doubt they have a factory in China"
"3M China also produces medial equipment, household appliances, office equipment, and other products."
"In a statement, Minnesota-based 3M said most of the masks it made at its factory in Shanghai had been sold within China even before the outbreak."

No question that 3M makes N95 masks in the USA.
But also no question that it makes them in Shanghai.
What I can't find is any data on how many are US-made and how many are made in Shanghai.

I suspect that is a topic that 3M doesn't really want to discuss right now.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 5 2020 6:24 utc | 244

For what it's worth.
"The company [3M] now has nine manufacturing sites in China that primarily serve domestic customers. More than 85 percent of 3M products produced in China are used in China, the company said."
"The majority of our products made in China are sold in China. 3M’s manufacturing model is local for local."

I take that to mean that the 3M factories in the USA build N95 masks for the US and Canadian/Mexican market, while the factories in China build KN95 masks for the Chinese/Asian market.

The question is which of those two manufacturing bases has the ability to "ramp-up" production to cater for an unprecedented global demand.

I don't know the answer to that. Maybe both can. Maybe neither can.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 5 2020 6:35 utc | 245

Yeah, Right

Thanks. Because of what I had read about 3M in the US, I took it US was the only place they manufactured their products.

Posted by: Peter | Apr 5 2020 6:58 utc | 246

"they do or did have plenty of the European equivalent FFP2. I take it these were made for the European market and a good chance they are made to the FFP2 standard."

One problem is ninety nine percent of the ads refer to "N95" "KN95" and "FFP2" for the *same* product. Unless there is a picture with a product ID number, it's a crapshoot - and ninety percent probability that the pictures are "generic" pics off the official manufacturer Web sites... The picture for the one I bought shows a 3M 9502+ - without the 3M logo. So almost certainly a Chinese knockoff. Another picture shows a 9191 number, which is probably a Chinese manufacturer's number.

The description of what I ordered also has a "certification document" which of course is in Chinese, so completely worthless, although the cover page is in English. How hard is it to fake that - probably trivial...

This is the item I bought:

Described as:
4 Layers Filter function:
1.The first layer: spunbond cloth, filter the dust of micron
2.The second layer: to filter industrial pollutants, automobile exhaust, second-hand smoke pollen allergies
3.The third layer: filter density, smaller material
4.The fourth layer: Spunbond cloth, filter out all kinds of harmful substances.

If it's not sold direct from 3M, or even Amazon, it's a crapshoot... For what it's worth, the seller has a grand total of 76 reviews with 87% satisfaction. Big deal...

Well, as they say for almost every type of mask and respirator out there - "better than nothing"...

What I might do is make further purchases over the next couple months from different sources to spread the risk around. In the meantime, I'll use these and rotate them. I ordered 10 pieces, so I can rotate these pretty well - I only go out every couple days. I don't really need them inside the building as I don't usually pass people in the hall every time I go to the john. So I can use one, go outside a couple days later with another one, repeat. The next time I'll use the first one again it will be perhaps three weeks - I doubt any captured virus particles will last that long.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 5 2020 7:13 utc | 247

I wonder if the higher figures in Italy, Spain and France are not due to the fact that they recommend to take paracetamol to take down the fever rather than let it do its work. Dr Campbell mentioned long ago that the French authorities themselves had noticed that their initial response, including aspirin and ibuprofen, was causing complications, and added that he would rather let the fever
but strangely enough, the French MSM keep saying that paracetamol is the main thing to use until you develop respiratory problems...

and so does another doc who caught the virus himself, who recommends letting the fever do its job
"J’ai pris contact par téléphone avec mon médecin-traitant, qui m’a conseillé le repos et la prise éventuelle d’un fébrifuge (Dafalgan). La fièvre constituant la meilleure réponse de défense de l’organisme aux virus, je m’en suis abstenu dès lors que ma température n’a jamais dépassé 39°5."

Posted by: Mina | Apr 5 2020 9:07 utc | 248


Paracetamol is a painkiller. I take it the fever would continue as normal but you wouldn't feel it as much.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 5 2020 9:58 utc | 249


The masks should be ok. This is the about page for for the department issuing the certificate. Looks be be Chinese government.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 5 2020 10:16 utc | 250

A New York doctor working in ER gives his thoughts on the current Pandemic in New York and the use of ventilators,


First doctor I have come across who is saying the ventilators are part of the problem.

mihai dragomir
mihai dragomir
18 hours ago
"Carbon dioxide had once been seen as a hormone, and it had been used medically for ulcers, arthritis, cancer, and mental problems, and Yandell Henderson’s work had led to its use as “carbogen” (5% CO2, 95% O2) for resuscitation, but by the middle of the century most therapeutic uses had been stopped, and hospitals had been taught to use pure oxygen instead of carbogen, and patients with brain swelling were being hyperventilated with oxygen to lower their blood carbon dioxide."

Rest of comment to be found in his latest video.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Apr 5 2020 11:12 utc | 251

Peter, I use paracetamol as well for headaches, but what both Campbell and Michel are saying is that it might be better to let fever do its cleansing.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 5 2020 12:32 utc | 252

Taiwan is betting on Quinine too...

Posted by: Mina | Apr 5 2020 13:17 utc | 253

April 3 article from the Washington Times (surely looking for news to justify Trump's claim that HCQ is effective). Interesting comments and links in the twitter comments to the article.

Posted by: mpn | Apr 5 2020 13:52 utc | 254

In my corner of Oz the mask drought appears to have ended. My closest pharmacy now has a limited supply of masks. They're kept in a carton on a shelf behind the cash register. $2-00 each limit 2 per customer "to be discarded after using for 1 day" according the check-out chick. The masks are just loose with no packaging, label or printing on the mask. I noticed an official memo poking out of the carton and asked the girl if she'd mind seeing if it had info about the mask specs. She read out the part which says "complies with N95 specs" so I handed over my $4-00 and she put them in a paper bag for me. I'll keep them in the car until I can get some more.
They seem to be made of white porous paper heat-welded in an 8mm band around the perimeter. One side has a pale green paper panel inside the 8mm fabrication band. The central panel has 3 double horizontal folds enabling the centre of the mask to span over ones nose without disturbing the flatness of the ends against the cheeks. The ear loops are welded to the ends of top and bottom fabrication strips on the plain white side of the mask. There's a metal strip inside the top of the mask immediately below the fabrication band. It's stiffer than the flimsy metal strip on the dust masks I bought last week and a lot closer to the top of the mask than those on the dust masks so will probably not need an auxiliary clip to create a good seal next to the nose.

So, no more mask shortage and no more Toilet Paper shortage in Oz...?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 5 2020 13:53 utc | 255

here is the answer to my question how in the world would recycled drinking water be rendered safe from Coronavirus?

recycled drinking water test positive for Covid 19

Posted by: snake | Apr 5 2020 14:02 utc | 256

Thanks, i have a related question here: someone posted an article from the DW about CV in sewage water in The Netherlands. Wouldn't that be the perfect tool to measure the presence of the virus in an area? Weren't water analyses made public in some countries recently?

Posted by: Mina | Apr 5 2020 14:08 utc | 257

@Richard Steven Hack (regarding masks)
I'd not buy a large quantity of N95 type masks until you've tried them.
N95 is really hard to take for most people. It is hot, sweaty, difficult to breath in and out etc.
I told my wife - she tried to use n95 but couldn't handle it for more than 10 minutes at a time. Unless you're literally running next door for milk, that won't do the trick.
Secondly, N95 masks accumulate dirt in a filter, then blow it back out. In a real sense, they're more dangerous for at-home use since it is unlikely the non-professional user will be handling/disposing of them correctly.
Just something to think about.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2020 15:28 utc | 258

@Richard Steven Hack #227
The video is of the homeless mission at 5th and Bryant: St. Vincent de Paul.
There has always been a lot of people sitting at the front - I'd guess the line is to get a place to sleep at night since it has been raining.
You'll see the same thing in multiple places in the Tenderloin - both homeless missions and methadone clinics.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2020 15:30 utc | 259

nCOV in India New Yorker interview with Indian expert on nCOV in India.

There is no evidence that the temperature and the humidity are slowing down the virus, even though it’s still rather cool across most parts of India, especially the north of India. And we’ve got a lot of compounding problems, which are that the health-system capacity is generally weak across the country. The number of hospital beds [roughly half a bed per thousand people] is remarkably low. It’s probably a fifth of what the U.K. has, for instance.

And it’s also got a population that has tuberculosis and respiratory issues and pneumonia and high rates of smoking and air pollution. So, the trajectory of the disease in this population is going to be unclear. The other thing is that India also has a lot of hypertensives. About a third of the country’s adults are hypertensive, and about one-tenth of them are diabetic.


So, on the one hand, yes, we’ve got people living in close proximity to each other, but the other side of that is that a lot of these people living in close proximity with each other are young people. [Per capita,] India’s population above the age of sixty-five is much smaller than that of Italy and certainly of China as well. That’s something which has a bit of a protective effect. But, certainly, the conditions for a rapid spread of the disease are all there in the urban areas. And, without question, it’s likely that it will just rip through the population, unless something fundamentally changes in the virus itself in India, for which we have no real evidence.


Let’s start with the disease. India has a really weak surveillance system for reporting diseases even in the best of times, and forget about a crisis situation like right now. So we won’t actually get to observe rural deaths or rural cases, because if someone who is poor in a village is dying of respiratory distress it won’t record. It won’t show up in any sort of death statistic; only around a fifth of India’s deaths are actually certified and recorded. The remainder have no official cause of death. So we won’t even know what’s happening on the health side. That’s the start.

Then, the other part is that we don’t actually know what’s going to happen to them in terms of immediate issues which relate to hunger and poverty. And hunger is something which I’m deeply concerned about. India actually has enough food to feed its entire population, just from a public stock. But it’s not clear that the food is getting to those places, or that it can in such a short period of time. In India, even if the intentions are good, the execution can be challenging, because there are a million blocks along the way.

The third thing is that all of the other infectious diseases or chronic diseases—whether they be tuberculosis or pneumonia or diarrhea—just didn’t take a holiday because of the lockdown. They are there in full force. And, with the entire health system geared toward COVID-19 response, as it correctly should, we may also see some of the other things get out of control, as happened in West Africa during Ebola, for instance.

And the one thing India has a short supply of is health-care workers.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2020 15:34 utc | 260

@evilempire #226
That paper was written a long time ago (March 2): when France had 191 nCOV cases with 3 deaths.
They have 68605 cases and 7,560 deaths today. (April 5)
I guarantee the author of that paper is either going to retract or is horrifically embarrassed at an epic fail.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2020 15:37 utc | 261

I had posted before that the US had seen #hospital beds drop 5% from 1999 to 2015; it appears this was just the latest in a much longer trend.
Jacobin article on historical hospital closings

In 1971, the United States had roughly 1.5 million hospital beds. In 2017, that number had plummeted to about 931,000. In the same period, the US population grew from about 207 million to about 327 million. Fifty years ago there was one hospital bed per 138 Americans. Now there is one hospital bed per 351 Americans.

Hospital closures are especially common in rural areas. Since 2015, more than 150 rural hospitals have closed, forcing people to drive sometimes hundreds of miles — or even be airlifted by helicopter — to receive medical care. More than six hundred rural hospitals are currently categorized as vulnerable to closure.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2020 16:08 utc | 262

Rhode Island: golf police state
3 Massachusetts golfers charged with violating ban on out of state golfers in Rhode Island

In a news release, Richmond, RI Police Chief Elwood Johnson said a local McDonald’s reported two cars with Massachusetts plates sitting in its parking lot on Wednesday afternoon. According to the Providence Journal, the caller told police the cars had been there for several hours and that three men removed golf clubs from the cars earlier before leaving in a car with Rhode Island plates.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2020 16:12 utc | 263


I doubt it. If the current mortality numbers are real, then
there would be a sharp discontinuity in the graph used to derive
the mortality rate. This would be highly unusual and would be a strong
indication that the current numbers are being manipulated. Mortality
rates don't just jump out of the blue for no reason, it is unheard of.
Unless a good reason is produced for such a jump, there is every reason
to doubt the current numbers.

Posted by: evilempire | Apr 5 2020 16:34 utc | 264

@evilempire #266
I posted a link which specifically looked at France's flu mortality vs. nCOV thus far.
From that link: your thesis is completely wrong. Flu deaths in 2018-2019 for the entire year were a fraction of nCOV deaths - to date. Hospitalizations were also much higher.
Note also that flu infects roughly 15% of the population every year.
Even the most pessimistic extrapolation of nCOV infections in France - based on nCOV disease progression cohorts, shows France might have up to 1.55% nCOV infections.
So yes, the author of the paper you referenced is utterly discredited. By his own methodology, the mortality rate for nCOV is over 10% in France - he was dividing 3 deaths by 191 to say that nCOV mortality was only somewhat above the flu death rate of 0.8% - which incidentally is also very wrong. Normal flu mortality is 0.1% to 0.2%.
So the author was guilty of multiple errors:
1) Extrapolating results too early in a disease cycle.
2) Using the wrong flu mortality data.
3) Incorrectly deriving mortality data from nCOV to date - 3/191 is neither IFR nor CFR.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2020 17:06 utc | 265

Munich study on nCOV patients
1) No nCOV in poop
2) Infectious virii up to day 8 in lungs and throat
3) antibodies starting day 7 - everyone tested had antibodies by day 14
4) Virii are still present, but aren't viable/infectious

Sample size was small, but was very thorough: testing for 28 days after onset of symptoms.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2020 17:37 utc | 266

Great post, and congratulations on the mask, looks pretty professional!

Re this here:
"The diagnosis in these later cases should be done by a CT scan which will show the lung damage."

Yeah, CT will show the damage to the lung typically inflicted on by a virus. But it's not just SARS-CoV-2 that does it, Influenza can do just the same thing. So if you want to be really certain you'd have to perform a procedure called bronchoalveolar lavage, or BAL, and test the liquid gained from within the lungs. Yes, it's as ugly as it sounds. A raging epidemic is of course not the right time for a time consuming, expensive and invasive procedure, but it's the only way to have proof beyond a doubt. Having that degree of certainty would surely help with epidemiological data collection.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Apr 5 2020 20:58 utc | 267

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2020 15:30 utc | 261 @Richard Steven Hack #227 The video is of the homeless mission at 5th and Bryant: St. Vincent de Paul.

Ah, yes, of course. I knew I'd seen that building multiple times, but not recently as I rarely go down 5th as far as Bryant.

"There has always been a lot of people sitting at the front - I'd guess the line is to get a place to sleep at night since it has been raining."

Yes, they run a shelter there if I remember correctly - I think the largest shelter perhaps.

"You'll see the same thing in multiple places in the Tenderloin - both homeless missions and methadone clinics."

Yes, I live here in the Tenderloin. I see lines like that at Glide Memorial Church which runs a food kitchen as I go by there frequently on the way home from Market Street or the movies, and at the St. Anthony's food kitchen (which I've used myself years ago - caught gastroenteritis eating there once. LOL - as well as Glide.

The lines are not the only problem - it's the considerable number of people living in tents on every other block. There's a new building opened up a few blocks from my building for low-income housing. They allow maybe 25 or more people to hang out in the open or in tents in front of their building. I have to pass through them on the most direct route to Market Street straight down from my building. Zero social distancing going on there. There are some other specific spots in my area.

No change so far that I can see, so the city is doing nothing or next to nothing as far as I can tell.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 5 2020 22:23 utc | 268

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2020 15:28 utc | 260 @Richard Steven Hack (regarding masks) N95 is really hard to take for most people. It is hot, sweaty, difficult to breath in and out etc.

Yes, I expected that from other descriptions. I'll only be wearing for a maximum of an hour or so when I run errands outside of home, so I expect I'll cope. They're sold for industrial use, so I figure if someone can handle working while wearing them for longer periods than I will, I will handle it.

"In a real sense, they're more dangerous for at-home use since it is unlikely the non-professional user will be handling/disposing of them correctly."

I've got the videos and texts explaining how to properly wear them and handle them when reusing them, so I expect I'll be fine. I'll wash my hands before putting them on, before taking them off and after I take them off. I ordered ten pieces so will have a couple spares in case I mess up occasionally.

I'll only be using them when out for supplies, so at most every two or three days either for 20-30 minutes for runs to the corner store or an hour and a half max when going to the grocery store or Target store ten blocks or so away. I should be able to handle that. I won't be using them in my building (unless I see a bunch of people standing around) or in my rooms.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 5 2020 22:32 utc | 269

CCD DSU for April 5, 2020

Spain has officially overtaken Italy: 2723 vs. 2613 nCOV mortality per 10M population.

New York has hit 2139 nCOV mortality per 10M - note Italy first hit this level on April 1st. New York still has a very steep growth trajectory though, so it seems likely it will get a lot worse than Italy.

Other European countries aren't doing great either:
France: 1240/10M
Belgium: 1269/10M
UK: 903/10M
Netherlands: 1039/10M

The US overall continues to match Germany: 293 vs. 195, but the US is 176/10M if New York is excluded.

Note DSU as %pop - which is a pessimistic estimate on nCOV infections based on death statistics - has Italy and Spain at 3.5% levels and New York at 2.8% - still a far cry from "typical" flu infection rate of 15%.

Lastly, "typical" flu mortality for an entire season is around 1000 to 2000 /10M population = 0.1% to 0.2%

Those people who say nCOV is a fraud, are deluded.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2020 23:20 utc | 270

they should add copper to the masks

Posted by: brian | Apr 6 2020 5:17 utc | 271

I believe the masks issue tells us something about the mainstream press and it is not what people on here will think. I believe it is in our interest not just to flatten the curve but to bring it down as fast as possible. The aim should be to restart normal social and economical life as soon as possible. Now I worry we will get stuck on a reproduction number near one for a while. The hospitals will be able to manage but there is no room for normalization.

Mainstream tends to align with power yes, but traditionally mainstream tended to align in an ideological manner. That doesn't mean it will simply align with big money. It has its own momentum which can diverge at times. What I see at the moment in Belgium is that the virologists control the planning. They are in lockstep with the WHO. The state follows the virologists. The press , very docile, follows the state. A binary choice has been made: human lives over economy. The idea that we have a social contract over direct interests. That means there is little room for economical arguments that we have to normalize asap.

On masks the media says the same as the WHO. This is better explained as a degree of groupthink than the press as a blunt tool of those in power.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Apr 6 2020 7:24 utc | 272

Making a start.

I've had a feeling that something about the response(s) to the COVID-19 saga doesn't add up. But each facet I examine seems adequate and justifiable. For example 'social distancing' seems sensible when widespread testing isn't available, but may not detect asymptomatic cases even if it were universally available. Similarly 'lockdown' seems unduly harsh and a bit pointless if people were willing and eager to strictly observe and respect the rules of 'social distancing'.

However, if there's an Elephant In the Room it's the fact that we haven't found a way to protect frontline medical people from infection. And if we can't protect them then we can't protect anyone.
I believe it would be worth throwing a huge amount of money at that problem until the safety of medicos can be guaranteed, which would be the FIRST and only victory over COVID-19 to date. And at this stage any victory would be an improvement over blundering from one social engineering experiment to another.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 6 2020 16:32 utc | 273

I had the exact same experience attempting to order masks from Aliexpress. I have given up for now . . .

But -- I was there because of a friend of mine who recently retired after years working as an ER technician, knows all about different kinds of masks. At my request he went to Aliexpress, searched for "N95 medical" masks which narrowed the field but still brought up a LOT of different masks.

After an hour or two searching carefully and paying great attention to details, he finally settled on this one for its combination of protective capability, reusability and an affordable price:


He ordered a package of 10 for me, another for his wife and another for himself -- 10 masks in a pack for about $23 US, shipped. Having that many masks allows for great flexibility in rotating them properly.

One drawback -- it's going to take two weeks for them to get here.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Apr 6 2020 21:54 utc | 274

Hoarsewhisperer 275

From what I can make of it, lack of PPE plays a big part in medical staff contracting the virus, and fatigue will play a big part in its severity.
First patient at Toowoomba went right through the system with no medical staff using PPE even after confirmation of the virus.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 6 2020 22:04 utc | 275

Tuyzentfloot 274

Australia is now in lockdown for the foreseeable future. Very slow spread rate but no attempt at eradication of the virus from the community.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 6 2020 22:06 utc | 276

Can you provide references to the R naught numbers for asymptomatic, symptomatic and environmental?

Posted by: Roger | Apr 7 2020 20:37 utc | 277

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 5 2020 13:53 utc | 256

Chapter II - curioser & curioser...

Today I called into the pharmacy which sold me its limit of 2 masks a few days ago, to check on availability etc.
Cashier: "Yes we've still got them."
Hoarsewhisperer: How many can I buy?"
Cashier: "As many as you want."

I didn't ask precisely what that means and bought 6.
I walked along to the next pharmacy to check availability there and was told they haven't had any, have some on order, and expect them soon, but don't know when they'll be delivered.

Knowing what corrupt, lying dorks & deadbeats Scum Mo's fascists are, I presume that the pharmacy chain member which does have masks has a lot more clout with than the pharmacy chain member which does not have masks.
Typical Western ($)democracy($)...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 8 2020 6:21 utc | 278

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