Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Yep. And it's not just the number of carriers that drops but the number of potential victims per carrier. There's also the probability that only a small fraction of existing infections have been confirmed - meaning we may already be approaching the point where these numbers need adjusting. On the other hand the death rate per confirmed case will presumably rise with the burden on the NHS.

So I'd been working with following formula to test the effectiveness of the quarantine:

r.sd.t + (t - (sd.t.) = v
where
r = spread rate (cube root 2 in UK)
sd = the percentage of cases within one standard deviation of the mean incubation period, plus all those quicker
t = today's number of confirmed cases
v = tomorrow's number of confirmed cases

A friend (who's a mathematician) suggests:

Let t be the number of days since testing. Your equation implies that the number of confirmed cases on day t is proportional to the number on day t-1. So the continuous version takes the form:
dx(t)/dt=kx(t-1)

which doesn't quite exhibit exponential growth but it is convex forever which isn't realistic. We need concavity eventually as in the logistic equation.

One way of doing this would be to make the spread rate a function of the infected population. You could let r begin at cube root 2 and linearly decrease to 1 by the time everyone is infected. So if A is the ratio of confirmed to actual cases, you could let r(x)=B(p-(x/A))+1 and choose B so that r(number of confirmed cases now)=cube root of 2.

I'd say predictions would have to get easier once we pass the inflection point because eventually we'll be dealing with logarithmic growth, which is less sensitive to initial conditions.

I'll chew on it. I like to have an idea of what's coming.

Lomax

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Re: Carrier or Barrier?

Faradave » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:45 am wrote:Those are interesting calculations to track early rate of spread Lomax. However, as things progress beyond ten days it will be important to adjust the numbers if you want to track how many are actually contagious. The vast majority of those who get covid-19 survive and become immune. At the very least they should then be subtracted from the number "infected" because they can no longer get or spread the virus. They are actually barriers to spread and should be encouraged to return to normal activity (perhaps even issued a visible pass).

That may seem a trivial adjustment but I can assure you it's not. Consider health care workers. Those who have recovered from covid-19 can, in principle, care for the sickest of these patients with impunity - no mask, no gown, no gloves. In fact, their plasma has antibodies which can immediately neutralize covid-19 in the acutely ill.

The same will be true of those vaccinated, presuming it proves effective. What about all those who have been infected but remained dangerously asymptomatic (or mildly sick) carriers? That doesn't last forever - they become immune too in about 14 days. So, even as we ramp up containment measures, society needs a plan to return to normal and such considerations must be part of it.

I believe they are all useful ideas Faradave. One of the big problems in life unfortunately is how we get useful ideas to those who can make them happen.

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

I very much doubt 'normal' will ever be the same again.
All governments are spending unbudgeted sums or money, and taking extraordinary actions, that would usually happen only in war (not the little herd of contractor cash-cows the US has been tending, but a serious world type war) or a global depression. After those events, major political, social and economic changes took place in all the affected nations.
I'm quite pleased with our PM, who is in voluntary quarantine, for coming out on his porch every morning - all alone, far away from the reporters - to inform us what his government is doing, give credit to companies and organizations that have done something positive, and ask us to behave well. He's calm, clear, cogent and direct.
What I most appreciate is that he keeps backing away from the question of abrogating more provincial powers to the federal authority. I'm very much aware that in several instances, that would be most desirable - and he's got to be wrestling, daily, with the temptation.
I hope to see other heads of state exercise that restraint - but I'm not counting on it.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

It’s just over two months since I opened up the thread by writing a brief note about reports in asian news feeds of an unusual virus outbreak in an obscure Chinese city that most people had never heard of.

At the time, this topic seemed about as far removed from the normal concerns of everyday life as my previous thread had been - the one about the inexplicable dimming of the star Betelgeuse in the Orion constellation. I never imagined that the Hubei outbreak, which involved nine fatal cases at the time of writing, would acquire the apocalyptic topicality it has now achieved.

I hope everyone is as well, safe, and as calm as they can be in the current crisis. I expect to be receiving written advice from our Government in the next day or so telling me to self-isolate for 14 weeks, as I tick a number of relevant boxes.

Boris Johnson our PM has just announced a nationwide lockdown in UK. All non-essential shops, libraries and places of worship to be shut. No gatherings of more than two persons. The instructions are - don’t go out of the house, except to obtain food or medicine, or to take exercise once a day.

Take care !

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

toucana » March 23rd, 2020, 1:48 pm wrote:I hope everyone is as well, safe, and as calm as they can be in the current crisis. I expect to be receiving written advice from our Government in the next day or so telling me to self-isolate for 14 weeks, as I tick a number of relevant boxes....

It is my hope that either you meant 14 days, or if it is 14 weeks, that you test very high on the introversion scale. All kidding aside, best of luck in your seclusion and taking care of the old immune system. It's fortunate that many things which bolster the immune system - raw garlic, ginger, turmeric, red bell peppers, oranges, and Brazil nuts, to name a few - also happen to be tasty.

People here seem pretty calm about things. Though most places are shut down, there are many walkers, and no one seems to mind chatting on the sidewalks, or over a fence, al fresco.

TheVat

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

They really do seem to mean self-isolation for up to 4 months in UK

https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/15/over-70s-to-self-12399852/

The Health Secretary has confirmed people aged over 70 will be asked in the coming weeks to self-isolate for up to four months to protect them from coronavirus.

The most recent announcements indicate that the 70+ stipulation will now be extended to include anyone who normally receives either a winter flu jab from their GP surgery, or has previously had pneumonia.

I anticipate playing a lot of Mahjong online !

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

TheVat wrote:
There are multiple issues in your posts, Badge, so I'll just respond on your point about cheeseburgers etc. I would guess that human psychology is always tending to be more spooked by things that are (a) invisible, and (b) something over which we have no personal control. Stuff like Chernobyl leakage and nano-bastards like viruses. (Corvid, like a raven or crow, less of a worry...) We don't panic about junk foods so much because it's widely presumed that everyone has a choice as to what they eat in a developed country, so bad food consequences are more seen as ones that a person could have chosen to avoid. The choice to trade off one's health for some sensual pleasure is one that many societies defend, and so panic at the onslaught of fried or sugary or fiberless crud is less common.

Badgerjelly wrote:Address the points then? So you seriously think people are choosing not to go to work? People have no control over cancer. Just as much control over contracting the flu. I’ve seen it multiple times in my life where they warn the elderly to get flu jabs because there is a nasty virus around. Now this is MUCH worse but it does effect the elderly FAR more. Basically if you’re not healthy them you’re more at risk (ergo, it’s your own fault right? That is what you said about heart disease). If you’re unhealthy you’re more likely to die. This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone.

Millions of fit and healthy people will suffer and die because of economic fall out. If I was 60+ I’d take that as a good innings and stay inside rather than selfishly make the world come to a complete standstill causing untold suffering for generations to come.

I don’t quite think you understand what I’m saying here. In many countries they simply CANNOT afford to go on lockdown which will drive inequality in countries where it is already high and push people out of their homes and children onto the streets. A young women I spoke to yesterday had tears in her eyes because she’s been ordered to close her coffee shop in a week - she cannot afford to pay the rent and her business will collapse for sure. That is someone who is regarded as ‘wealthy’ in Vietnam. The poorest of the poor will seriously suffer as a consequence of overreaction.

TheVat wrote:You have completely missed or misunderstood my point. I was answering the psychological question of why people panic. I was making an observation on why viruses cause more fear than junk foods, not in any way suggesting that panic is justified or that economic fallout shouldn't be mitigated in every way humanly possible. Please take a deep breath and read what I am writing.

Yeah, my fault! Just a LITTLE bit worried about the economic fallout. I should’ve read more carefully! Just one of those days where everything I read (except your post) was like a kind of flailing madness disguised as calm apathy.

On the bright side maybe the current circumstances will shift the western mentality and UBI will be seen as a future force for good and other nations will follow suit after this has disappeared. As is the fallout for the climate and economy is going to be a huge step in the wrong direction.

I’ve always been of the opinion that humanity - although impulsive - does manage to scramble out of one problem and into another. That’s what keeps us going (the ‘challenge’ of life).

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

TheVat » March 24th, 2020, 7:21 am wrote:
toucana » March 23rd, 2020, 1:48 pm wrote:I hope everyone is as well, safe, and as calm as they can be in the current crisis. I expect to be receiving written advice from our Government in the next day or so telling me to self-isolate for 14 weeks, as I tick a number of relevant boxes....

It is my hope that either you meant 14 days, or if it is 14 weeks, that you test very high on the introversion scale. All kidding aside, best of luck in your seclusion and taking care of the old immune system. It's fortunate that many things which bolster the immune system - raw garlic, ginger, turmeric, red bell peppers, oranges, and Brazil nuts, to name a few - also happen to be tasty.

People here seem pretty calm about things. Though most places are shut down, there are many walkers, and no one seems to mind chatting on the sidewalks, or over a fence, al fresco.

If people are already locking down now then it’ll be pretty much ‘lockdown’ on and off for MORE than 14 weeks. 14 days then a break, then into another lockdown.

Italy is easing off, eventually it’ll hit the south. The world economy is the victim and it will eat up the poor. I’m VERY worried for people in countries that cannot cope with such an economic blow - the death toll from that could easily outweigh the death count from the actual virus.

The ‘calm’ will turn into “If seen outside you’ll be arrested/fined”. The test is on society at large. This will at least keep social scientists busy for years to come.

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

BadgerJelly » March 24th, 2020, 11:02 am wrote: The world economy is the victim and it will eat up the poor. I’m VERY worried for people in countries that cannot cope with such an economic blow - the death toll from that could easily outweigh the death count from the actual virus.

I don't think you're factoring in the economic consequences of letting the virus go unchecked. It's not just a matter of culling the old - whom many see as a burden on the youthful population (couple of issues with that view, but never mind for the mo).
- The virus itself never signed an agreement to work its way through the 60+ and then stop. Many of the victims, including severe cases, are under 50; some are children. That proportion will increase as the virus adapts to a wider range of hosts, and even more, if it goes airborne.
- If the curve isn't flattened, a single wave of this epidemic will overwhelm health-care facilities beyond any capacity to recover: medical personnel will die and burn out very quickly; supplies and drugs will disappear; there won't be time to develop a vaccine. This doesn't just mean they'll be unable to care for the next two waves of corona variants, but far more people will die of all the other injuries and diseases the health care system normally deals with.
- The economic fallout from all those preventable deaths is incalculable and uncontrollable.

The "world economy" hasn't been all that healthy for some time now. The poor always suffer disproportionately. When government is forced to take back its mandated responsibility, there is a batter chance of recovery for the average citizen than if corporations are allowed to run the world unregulated and unsupervised. In the long run, this may very well change the way we do business, but not necessarily for the worse.
China has already saved more lives in improved air quality than it lost to the epidemic.
There may be a permanent drop in air travel, ocean cruises, tourism in general, their pull at the oil teat; thus a concomitant improvement in quality of life as well as longevity in some places, simply due to less air and water pollution.
Yes, that will hurt many and kill some economies. However, these are artificial economies; fragile at the best of times and already endangered by climate change. We could see a rise in local food production and manufacturing that will benefit working people and reduce food insecurity. We could see local, clean energy-generating initiatives.
We might even see the rise of competent governments to replace a few hollow, corrupt ones.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Serpent and Badger touch on cause/effect stuff that, in the words of a John Cleese role, "makes my brain hurt." Economic consequences, in the 3rd world especially, may land harder on children than CV might, but getting solid figures on health and mortality is tricky. If lockdowns lower air pollution, that could also lower mortality rates sometime in the future, though many death certificates will not indicate all the dominoes that toppled in an individual. Did a person die a pulmonary disease death from Beijing air... or a lifetime of smoking, or working with organic volatiles in printer's ink, or excessive radon in their basement apartment? But we can see things stochastically that we can't individually.

If hospital beds run short, and government can't keep up, there will be triage, a word that rarely evokes happy outcomes. Some older people, like me, may prefer to take their chances at home rather than risk displacing a critically ill younger person with potential more life ahead of them.

Agree with Serpent that global supply chained economies are fragile beasts. If pandemics start pushing humans back towards more local supply chains and less petro-dependence, that could turn out to be a sort of silver lining. Depends on how fast things happen, and factors of chaos that seem incalculable. Just one snafu can have serious and life threatening results -- e. g. a sudden shortage of tractor parts leading to delayed harvests, lost crops, then food shortages.

Pass me that burdock leaf, please.

TheVat

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

TheVat » March 24th, 2020, 2:11 pm wrote:Agree with Serpent that global supply chained economies are fragile beasts.

That, too. But shipping hasn't been halted yet, though it will almost certainly be restricted. I'm not looking forward to a complete absence of European beer! The local micro-brews are too expensive... but that, too, can change. Or I may dig out my wine-making supplies... Maybe I can grow enough hydroponic kale to barter for Creemore... Naw - but we already have an agreement to supply one couple in voluntary quarantine. (I dislike the euphemism.) We're in the country, where people are accustomed to doing for themselves and being versatile, so we're ahead of that trend, but I'm sure more people will catch on to what-all they can do and get locally.

Some 'industries' - tourism, fast food, airlines, some kinds of retail, large entertainment venues - will probably not recover. They may need to re-think the US prison system before too many more riots break out. A lot of people who are switching to work from home will never go back to their offices - which means a huge drop in commuter traffic. Half the people in oil extraction, refinery, transport and cleanup won't have jobs to go back to. I haven't thought about all the ripples yet. Anyway, many people will be permanently unemployed.
Will they support a bank-friendly, billionnaire-friendly administration while their kids go barefoot? Or will they prefer a government that's on their side? Will they look to science in their anxiety or trust the Invisible Hand? Will more citizens be open to alternatives they wouldn't have considered least year?
I find some cause for optimism in the prompt and reasonable actions of some governments, including my own.

At the moment, I'm choosing to dwell on the best-case projection
-- because the other is very bleak, indeed!

Pass me that burdock leaf, please.

Long as I'm here, I'll dig up the root, too. Coffee be scarce pretty soon.
Serpent
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

TheVat » March 25th, 2020, 3:11 am wrote:Serpent and Badger touch on cause/effect stuff that, in the words of a John Cleese role, "makes my brain hurt." Economic consequences, in the 3rd world especially, may land harder on children than CV might, but getting solid figures on health and mortality is tricky. If lockdowns lower air pollution, that could also lower mortality rates sometime in the future, though many death certificates will not indicate all the dominoes that toppled in an individual. Did a person die a pulmonary disease death from Beijing air... or a lifetime of smoking, or working with organic volatiles in printer's ink, or excessive radon in their basement apartment? But we can see things stochastically that we can't individually.

If hospital beds run short, and government can't keep up, there will be triage, a word that rarely evokes happy outcomes. Some older people, like me, may prefer to take their chances at home rather than risk displacing a critically ill younger person with potential more life ahead of them.

Agree with Serpent that global supply chained economies are fragile beasts. If pandemics start pushing humans back towards more local supply chains and less petro-dependence, that could turn out to be a sort of silver lining. Depends on how fast things happen, and factors of chaos that seem incalculable. Just one snafu can have serious and life threatening results -- e. g. a sudden shortage of tractor parts leading to delayed harvests, lost crops, then food shortages.

Pass me that burdock leaf, please.

Yeah, silver linings are there. The pollution factor is nothing though. The problem is the long term effect - poverty = less concern for the climate. The crash will hurt the climate because the effect on the climate depends on the economy.

This will go on and on and on for months (likely a year). Do you think the world can sustain that? I CERTAINLY don’t. Just sit back and watch what happens in Italy - the cases are leveling off, soon it will hit other parts of Italy, and the while cycle will repeat again. It’s just getting started here. They’re predicting 40-100 deaths and no more than 1000 cases.

The science says here immunity is the best way long term. I don’t see how bring society to a complete stand still will help much in the kind of time span we’re talking about here - and we’re talking LONG term. This isn’t going away in the next few weeks. Schools have been closed here since February. The cases are just starting to go up now. Beijing is now under threat even though Wuhan looks good.

Maybe switching restrictions on and off will work. Total lockdown for months isn’t a good idea. Think about the countries where the poorest live hand to mouth. If society shuts down then they have no income.

I guess we’ll see. When things are still locked down in a month the effect on other parts of the world might be more tangible for economists to give us a better picture of the fallout.

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

I suspect the majority of economists are already out of their depth.
Anyway, they're unlikely to be any more useful to poor people now than they have ever been.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

India on lockdown.

India's poorest 'fear hunger may kill us before coronavirus'

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52002734

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

BadgerJelly » March 25th, 2020, 5:25 am wrote:India on lockdown.

India's poorest 'fear hunger may kill us before coronavirus'

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52002734

And the solution is....??
Rescind the lockdown order; allow a crap economy to proceed unhindered and let the virus kill as many as it can? Sure, that would reduce the excess population. It would not render that precarious, badly slanted economy any less crappy. Nor any more sustainable.
Whatever else this crisis may accomplish or destroy, it will force some nations to face their endemic social problems, simply by shoving those problems front and center where they can no longer be ignored.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Viru

The scientific solution would be to let it sweep unimpeded through the population in order to allow herd immunity to take hold - a terrible idea as millions would die. Given that this looks likely to spread and reemerge just when you think it’s contained an on off switch makes far more sense than a long continuous lockdown.

That said, I am sure the more developed countries could just about cope with a longer term lockdown, but my issue is that less developed countries cannot do the same so the power house nations will effectively halt the global economy to protect themselves without really taking into account the far reaching consequences - which will bite back down the line for sure.

They were talking about this already, but I fear very much they’ll overdo it. Be clear what I am talking about here. If they are saying lockdown is required for several weeks now then they’ll have to say the same thing once the next surge begins (which looks like it will be immediately after).

I’m in Vietnam. They acted quickly and cases have still come in (ironically mostly from the US and Europe). It’s just starting here and today they’ve tightened up (this with only 134 reported cases and 0 deaths). They are predicting up to 1000 cases and a death toll of 40-100. Personally I think that is very optimistic and that the effect on the poorest could be worse. It’s a real worry even though the government has done a good job of containing this here. The level of economic inequality is nothing like where you live I’m sure - ie. Children on the streets and all education a privilege paid for. Think of the effects of shutting areas down for the kind of people who are just managing to get by and won’t receive any funds.

The huge worry for me is overreaction. It’s a big deal, but what if the the ‘treatment’ kills more than the disease? How can we know? What measures should we take? I don’t pretend to have the answers, I’m just extremely concerned about the long term implications that will be all to apparent when it is too late. I think this is a reasonable concern while many in more developed countries are relatively extremely comfortable.

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Viru

BadgerJelly » March 25th, 2020, 9:12 am wrote:The scientific solution would be to let it sweep unimpeded through the population in order to allow herd immunity to take hold - a terrible idea as millions would die. Given that this looks likely to spread and reemerge just when you think it’s contained an on off switch makes far more sense than a long continuous lockdown.

It would, to a Martian, looking through his telescope at the wreckage. Less so, to the people standing in front of the bulldozer.

That said, I am sure the more developed countries could just about cope with a longer term lockdown, but my issue is that less developed countries cannot do the same so the power house nations will effectively halt the global economy to protect themselves without really taking into account the far reaching consequences - which will bite back down the line for sure.

What would happen in those 'developed' nations, if their governments said: "We'll let the bug take out 10% of of us, so that the governments of India and Nigeria can keep their people at bare subsistence without too much inconvenience to the super-rich."?

They were talking about this already, but I fear very much they’ll overdo it. Be clear what I am talking about here. If they are saying lockdown is required for several weeks now then they’ll have to say the same thing once the next surge begins (which looks like it will be immediately after).

Yes, and we'll have some time to accommodate to a different way of doing things.

They are predicting up to 1000 cases and a death toll of 40-100. Personally I think that is very optimistic and that the effect on the poorest could be worse. It’s a real worry even though the government has done a good job of containing this here.

But you're saying they shouldn't?
The level of economic inequality is nothing like where you live I’m sure - ie. Children on the streets and all education a privilege paid for. Think of the effects of shutting areas down for the kind of people who are just managing to get by and won’t receive any funds.

And, as I asked before: What's the alternative? What would those people be doing? Where would their pay be coming from, if there was no shut-down?

The huge worry for me is overreaction. It’s a big deal, but what if the the ‘treatment’ kills more than the disease? How can we know?

Are you quoting Trump, echoing him or just using the same sources of information?

What measures should we take? I don’t pretend to have the answers, I’m just extremely concerned about the long term implications that will be all to apparent when it is too late. I think this is a reasonable concern while many in more developed countries are relatively extremely comfortable.

Was that different last month? Or last year?
If you're okay with culling the herd for immunity to a virus, why not for immunity to hunger?
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle ... led-trial/

Many intensive care clinicians are willing to ‘try anything once’ in these unprecedented times,” said Mel Thomson, PhD, an emerging infectious disease expert and founder at VeraQ Pty Ltd in Australia, who reviewed the data. “Any widespread ‘off label’ use of anti-infective drugs, must be treated with great caution, as the unintended consequences may mean a rise in resistance to these compounds by parasites and bacteria, their original intended targets,” said Dr. Thomson, former principal investigator at Geelong Centre of Emerging infectious Diseases (GCEID) at Deakin Medical School in Geelong, Victoria Australia

Results from the first controlled clinical trial of chloroquine are out, but not too useful at this point.

And, after a death in the US of an elderly man who self-dosed chloroquine phosphate, it's all the more important the public gets good information and not hype about "a miracle" as one head of state (afflicted with moronavirus) described the drug.

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

The couple in Arizona who self-medicated on choroquine phosphate - with fatal results for the husband - didn’t take a pharmaceutical version of that drug. They actually ingested a compound normally used for cleaning fish tanks.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/23/health/arizona-coronavirus-chloroquine-death/index.html

NBC News spoke to the wife, who said they learned of chloroquine's connection to coronavirus during a President Donald Trump news conference, which "was on a lot actually." They took it because they "were afraid of getting sick," she said.

"I had (the substance) in the house because I used to have koi fish," she told the network. "I saw it sitting on the back shelf and thought, 'Hey, isn't that the stuff they're talking about on TV?'"

The Ars Technica website meanwhile says:
“A nationwide shortage of two drugs touted as possible treatments for the coronavirus is being driven in part by doctors inappropriately prescribing the medicines for family, friends, and themselves, according to pharmacists and state regulators.

Demand for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine surged over the past several days as President Donald Trump promoted them as possible treatments for the coronavirus and online forums buzzed with excitement over a small study suggesting the combination of hydroxychloroquine and a commonly used antibiotic could be effective in treating COVID-19.

The two drugs are only available through a prescription and cannot be purchased over the counter. Hydroxychloroquine, sold under the brand name Plaquenil, is approved to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis while chloroquine is an anti-malarial treatment.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/03/doctors-hoard-unproven-covid-19-meds-by-writing-prescriptions-for-selves-families/

There are reports that legitimate users of these products are now unable to fill their regular prescriptions for the medications. On Monday, the Lupus Foundation of America issued a joint statement asking the White House Coronavirus Task Force to “take action to ensure current supplies are allocated for patients taking them for indicated uses.”

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-heal ... SKBN21C3N5

The Atlanta-based CDC, America’s preeminent disease fighting agency, provides public health assistance to nations around the world and works with them to help stop outbreaks of contagious diseases from spreading globally. It has worked in China for 30 years.

The CDC’s China headcount has shrunk to around 14 staffers, down from approximately 47 people since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, the documents show. The four people, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the losses included epidemiologists and other health professionals...

“The CDC office in Beijing is a shell of its former self,” said one of the people, a U.S. official who worked in China at the time of the drawdown.

Separately, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the global relief program which had a role in helping China monitor and respond to outbreaks, also shut their Beijing offices on Trump’s watch. Before the closures, each office was staffed by a U.S. official. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) transferred out of China in 2018 the manager of an animal disease monitoring program.

Reductions at the U.S. agencies sidelined health experts, scientists and other professionals who might have been able to help China mount an earlier response to the novel coronavirus, as well as provide the U.S. government with more information about what was coming, according to the people who spoke with Reuters.

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Serpent -

Take Vat’s point to me. Take a deep breath and reread. If you still think the same then there is no point trying to engage with me.

If you’re not worried about hundreds of millions dying to save a few million rich people I find that repulsive - but I don’t honestly think you’e engaging me with your brain or you wouldn’t bury your head in the sand and ignore what I said. There seems to be a willfulness to blaming the rich rather than worry about the poor and a strange view that all that economists care about is money?

I NEVER said social distancing was a bad idea. I said that allowing it to spread is ‘scientifically’ the best approach for dealing with a unique strain. Ethically it is not an option.

You think I listen to Trump? A broken clock is correct twice a day.

Note: Just remembered the ‘foe’ feature! :D

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

BadgerJelly » March 25th, 2020, 8:53 pm wrote:Serpent -

Take Vat’s point to me. Take a deep breath and reread.

I'll try, when I'm rested.
Honestly, though, I'm not sure I'll understand tomorrow any better than I do today. It seems you're saying one thing that turns into another in mid-paragraph to mean the opposite.
Perhaps you're right, and I simply don't know how to engage with you.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Viru

Serpent -

The gist of my post was the last paragraph:

The huge worry for me is overreaction. It’s a big deal, but what if the the ‘treatment’ kills more than the disease? How can we know? What measures should we take? I don’t pretend to have the answers, I’m just extremely concerned about the long term implications that will be all to apparent when it is too late. I think this is a reasonable concern while many in more developed countries are relatively extremely comfortable.

You don’t need to read what follows as it’s pretty much just me showing my thoughts and concerns in a more in depth manner ...

Also, the article about India shows this concern too. The more developed countries can take a reasonable hit economically by shutting down. My primary concern is how less developed countries will suffer due to these countries shutting down and how long term attempts to copy this, in countries with worse inequality compared to income, could result in an irreversible slide into extreme poverty for literally hundreds of millions globally.

I don’t know if enough attention is being paid to this let how balances can be put in place. Only recently have I seen people talking more about this.

It is a perfectly reasonable problem to pose given that the main focus is on closing down many people’s sources of income. The more developed countries look to have acted well in this regard and understand the economic problem. The concern is countries like Indonesia, Brasil, and India cannot take such a blow yet it may not be in their hands as the more developed countries may overreact and stay in lockdown effectively halting the world economy to prevent loss of life within their borders whilst longterm less developed nations take a huge hit in terms of deaths due to poverty.

British government, paying 80% of employees wages (of course not everyone will benefit from this) which is frankly a shock given the general public’s take on the Conservative Party in the UK. Whilst in less developed countries people are forced to pay rent for shops they’ve been told to shutdown, those living hand to mouth are getting no more help than they did before on top of less opportunities (no chance rather) to earn money, and governments are only offering minimal support because the best they can do (economically speaking I assume) is ‘delay’ tax payments and leave everyone to pretty much fend for themselves.

And to be as clear as I can be NONE of this is me saying ‘there’s nothing to worry about in terms of fatalities from the disease - both my parents will be in the high risk category and they live in the UK. There are several bad choices and we’re inclined to focus on the immediate more than the longterm (it has served humans well and so has longer term planning).

The ‘silver lining’ is seeing something like UBI in action, more attention shifted toward the need to protect natural habitats to prevent the possibility of exotic viruses jumping quickly between species (a threat eluded to virologists for a while), the effects of air pollution -I’m well aware of the fall of deaths in Chinese cities due to air pollution effectively countering virus deaths out completely. That said they have a strange way of counting ‘flu’ deaths and may have hidden some of the data a little? It may lead to nations becoming more independent in terms of production, but that whilst helping climate change may be counter productive in terms of political relations and the economic dip - if like what I worry about in less developed countries happens - will set back any progress made in terms of climate change by a decade or two.

Yes, I do state things that are in opposition. Maybe you’re looking at what I say as arguing a particular point. I’m not arguing anything, just throwing out different possibilities and stating as frankly and openly as possible my concerns for parts of the world that may not be in the western scope just yet as people are, understandably, more concerned with the viruses immediate death toll than what effect overly prolonged lockdowns will have globally.

Engage with that as you will. I am NOT saying everyone should just go about there lives as normal, but I am saying I believe massive continuous lockdowns could cause more deaths than letting the virus rampage through the population. NEITHER of these am I for. It is a question of calculating as best we can how to mitigate the GLOBAL problems the virus will cause both long term, short term AND consider very seriously the economic impact in countries less sturdy than others.

I would be extremely delighted to see or hear any relevant material that touches on this subject in an objective manner. I can’t find much in terms of risk assessment for these problems that presents much more than I can come up with myself.

I care about what economists have to say and what the virologists have to say. I’d care MUCH more about what an expert in virology and economics would have to say.

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Your question seem legitimate to me, BJ, and the looming food disaster in India (where some farmers are not tilling fields, and distribution of food is faltering) is a case where the horns of the dilemma are very sharp. Where I am, the shortage problems are what comedian Louis CK has dubbed "white people problems" - my favored brands are gone, I buy my less favorite brand. No bread? Get crackers or Malto-Meal. Life goes on. Sacrifices can be made to protect immune-challenged citizens. As an early 20th century US President (Calvin Coolidge) said, Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.

However, if we stop buying, say, shoes, and millions in Asia are rendered destitute as a result, is that our problem or is it a problem with global capitalism that we can't fix in the short term? In a diffuse way, we are responsible, in that our Western nations exported varieties of capitalism that rendered everyone dependent on massively global trade. But most of us are trapped in our economic system, and didn't come into the world asking for it.

In the case of India, the onus seems to be on Modi to find a better balance, so that the poorest don't lose their fragile business or starve. Where nutrition is already on the margin, a disruption in supply could kill many more than a virus, as well as make many weaker immunologically.

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

I honestly don't know what the west can do to mitigate the economic tribulations of the east.
Rich countries have never in history been mindful of the welfare of the poor countries they conquered, depopulated, robbed, mined, exploited and incited one against another. We have seen the degree of disregard for the plight of poor populations in every war and migrant crisis. I don't see how this crisis will suddenly change the attitude of governments that have leaned increasingly toward insular nationalism.
My disapproval of those attitudes will not influence their actions.

We all have concerns, puzzles and deep worries about all kinds of effects this is going to have. Everybody - including governments - is flying by the seat of their pants, reacting, overreacting, underreacting according to one's pov, from day to day. I don't think it's reasonable to demand of any particular government to decide now what action to take in protection of some economy half a world away. Even if they did care, which some evidently don't. They not only lack the political power, they also lack the prophetic power. We can only guess how the dominoes will fall. Hand-wringing doesn't stop a single one toppling over.

We've always known that sooner or later something would bring down the house of cards that is the global economy.

Here is a response to https://rabble.ca/babble/body-and-soul/predict-future-pleasein 2009
Without any cataclysmic events -
Because the products of the dumbing-down effort of the past 30 years are now gaining positions of power at the level where practical decisions are made. They are deeply programmed to capitalist ideas; cannot imagine an alternative... the frustration and anger of robbery victims... channeled into hatred of other-language, other-culture and other-religious groups... the status of women has been eroded through gutting of the social programs... the coherence of communities has been severely compromised by the closing of industries, hospitals and schools. People have little defence against further damage to their livelihoods and autonomy. And the harder life gets, the more we, humans, tend to revert to the jungle.
....
In the presence of a major political and/or economic renaissance
- If the capitalist machine breaks down in enough places in a short enough time to push people into change, but not so widely and so fast as to cause panic and despair, we may rediscover the adaptability that made us the dominant species on this planet in the first place. In that case, we will come up with the structures, the political, commercial and social organizations, that work for us in different conditions. Then we can - as the ubiquitous saying is this year - move forward.

If climate the superbug, superbomb or superstorm gets here first, the question is moot. Then, we're not talking acceleration, so much as precipitation. Instant stone age.

That's where we are now. The "silver lining" is quite a long way off.
I don't put much credence in the prognostications of economists at the best of times, given their collective track record. I stand by my assertion that they are entirely out of their depth: no economist in a prominent position today has experienced anything worse than the pricking of a speculative bubble. Where we're heading now is economic Terra Incognita.
I don't know what you expect of me, or of our governments.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Vat -

I don’t try think like that. I view a planet full of humans. The responsibility is certainly there to take and I certainly don’t expect everyone to take on more than they can I just hope enough will at least push to see where their limits are rather than shrug and turn a blind eye.

I don’t think India is even nearly comparable to developed nations in terms of the distribution of wealth and the number of people living from hand to mouth. Maybe a different leader or better speech would help matters a little. The simple problem remains how do you expect people to sustain themselves when they have no consistent income and tell them to stop working?

If lockdowns are eased quickly in the western world then other nations might suffer much less loss of life. This is just starting remember, and once it’s over it’s going to take time to get everything back on track. I imagine the less developed countries will take longer to get back on track than the rest.

I’m no expert in either area. I’m not trying to be alarmist or throw around cryptic theories to be proven right or wrong. I’m just REALLY concerned about the longterm fallout and think it is something that needs public discussion rather than hoping commonsense will prevail and/or the virus will simply be history in a few weeks.

Keep in mind where I live this is 2 months in and no one has died here yet. If no one dies here at all and inequality goes up faster and faster due to the lockdown how many will be out of education? Homeless? Starving? How many generations will suffer because of this?

I’d be extremely happy if someone could convince me that I’m the one overreacting.

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

BadgerJelly » March 26th, 2020, 11:38 am wrote:If lockdowns are eased quickly in the western world then other nations might suffer much less loss of life.

I'm not sure that's true. Trump, for one, would very much like to ease restrictions on trade as quickly as possible, but other Americans may stop him. Astonishingly, his approval is high right now, so I guess a lot of Americans believe what he's said about his own response. They seem to be a very credulous people. I doubt the French people would be as tolerant of a government that had such disregard of their welfare. It's going to be different in each country, but none of their decisions will be based on the future well-being of Vietnam. (See their past actions in Vietnam.)
But there is great concern in America for the American economy. https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2020/03/24/43234830/the-logic-behind-sacrificing-old-people-for-the-economy
Only, the ones expressing this solicitude for the economy seem to have very little idea how it actually works - or how fast it would gurgle southward if all the elderly consumers, fee-payers, service-users, subscribers, investors, small business owners, consultants, ticket-holders, drivers, premium-payers, charity donors and volunteers were removed in a few months.

This is just starting remember, and once it’s over it’s going to take time to get everything back on track. I imagine the less developed countries will take longer to get back on track than the rest.

You just can't seem to accept that "everything" will never get back on the same "track".
The very problems you're concerned about demonstrate that it was the wrong track to be on.
Something was bound to derail that train, sooner rather than later.
We have been expecting the decisive event to be related to climate change: famine and displacement of masses of by drought, flood, hurricane, wildfirefire, etc. and that will probably still happen - certainly, if everything gets back on track. Very many people are going to suffer and die, whatever the catalyst. The overwhelming majority of casualties in any catastrophe are the poor - poverty itself is a state of permanent designated victimhood. That's how civilization is structured.

This may or may not be that critical world-changing event. If it is, each government is responsible for its own people - and cannot be responsible to or for any entity or interest beyond its borders. You can blame them all you want, but they just can't do more than they can do.
Of course they will try to keep capitalism going. I certainly haven't heard of any plans to raid the off-shore tax havens of the super-rich, and bitcoin is going stronger than ever, hiding wealth as fast as it can. But capitalism has taken a few hits and there will be more: it can be weakened, and then maybe something more equitable can take its place.
Putting all the marginal people you're concerned about back on their same precarious ledge of the economic edifice would not serve them well. Whatever else happens, a lot of jobs will be lost forever: that ledge will be more crowded than ever. There is no getting around that.
The next question is: What can their own governments do to foster independence from the world economy? How can they help local initiatives in food production, energy generation, housing and cottage industries?
Do not look for long-term solution from western "leaders": they're scrambling to save their own assets.

... I’m just REALLY concerned about the longterm fallout and think it is something that needs public discussion rather than hoping commonsense will prevail and/or the virus will simply be history in a few weeks.

This particular virus probably will be history in a couple of years. But it has cousins and offspring waiting to jump on us from unexpected hiding places. Nobody has a handle on the immediate effects of this outbreak itself, let alone long-term fallout. So far, they haven't even had time to discuss their own policies for the next three months. If they started trying to calculate their policies' effect on long-term global issues, they'd be paralyzed.

Keep in mind where I live this is 2 months in and no one has died here yet. If no one dies here at all and inequality goes up faster and faster due to the lockdown how many will be out of education? Homeless? Starving? How many generations will suffer because of this?

I don't know. But their inequality is not within my purview to address.
Surely, they must do something about it for themselves.

I’d be extremely happy if someone could convince me that I’m the one overreacting.

If anyone tries, take it with a very critical grain of salt.
This is a very big deal. This is the biggest thing that hit the world since WWII, and it may grow even bigger.
If common sense prevails in more populations than the various kinds of bedbug-crazy that's been crawling out of the woodwork, we survive it with not-quite-so-many casualties.
Last edited by Serpent on March 26th, 2020, 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Serpent
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Serp -

You just can't seem to accept that "everything" will never get back on the same "track".

Not taking the bait. Bye

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Boris Johnson the British Prime Minister has tested positive for COVID-19.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-boris-johnson-tests-positive-for-covid-19-11964493

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

So apparently has Professor Chris Whitty the Chief medical Officer for the UK according to this report.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-chief-medical-officer-chris-whitty-self-isolates-with-symptoms-11964697

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