Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Mossling on February 20th, 2020, 10:59 pm 

toucana » February 20th, 2020, 6:35 pm wrote:The problem is that Coronaviruses like COVID-19 are capable of mutating quite rapidly as they proliferate

Well, the current problem is that the virus just isn't being contained in any effective way.

Yesterday a Beijing hospital had a huge outbreak that infected many medical workers, cleaners, patients and their relatives. Apparently the source was someone who had been taken to the pulmonary wing, who just happened to have a stealthy infection - unknown to themselves or medical staff.

This stealthy aspect of the virus is known but doesn't seem to be on medical workers' or higher authorities' radar. In this context, EVERYONE in China is potentially infected unless one can be sure they've been in 3 week proper quarantine.

Soon enough, it could be everyone in Asia, and then right across the globe from there.

Predictions from Imperial College, London - 60% global population infected :
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Event Horizon on February 21st, 2020, 12:42 pm 

NCov-19 or novel Coronavirus has flourished and spread. So far there have been around 2000 cases in China alone.
I have calculated the mortality rate as 2.5% which is close to the WHO figures @ 2.0%.
Containment was already breached before control measures were implemented by a factor of about 3 weeks.
It is spreading.
Paper masks and surgical masks won't help much. They offer only psychological comfort, nothing else.
I have a current S10-FM12 military mask, but any mask with activated charcoal canisters, such as my workshop mask, spray masks etc will provide adequate protection.
Hands and face should be washed at any opportunity.
You won't die from this if you take just a few simple actions.
Love and peace xx
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Mossling on February 21st, 2020, 11:11 pm 

Event Horizon » February 22nd, 2020, 1:42 am wrote:NCov-19 or novel Coronavirus has flourished and spread. So far there have been around 2000 cases in China alone.

This doesn't make sense. Cases of what? Infection? Death?

Hands and face should be washed at any opportunity.
You won't die from this if you take just a few simple actions.

Well, as long as the virus doesn't mutate to affect how it kills people, if you're under 50 and without existing life-threatening health issues, you needn't take ANY action to not die from it. Being young is currently enough.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on February 22nd, 2020, 10:43 am 

He must mean fatalities. WHO reported 75,000 cases in China, as of 2-20. So far, in its present form, it looks to be a less severe flu strain than the earlier SARS was. The 2003 strain had a 9.6% fatality rate.

As the 90s bestseller "The Hot Zone" made clear, what humanity really doesn't want is a virus with the communicability of covid and systemic punch of Marburg or Ebola-Z.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on February 22nd, 2020, 11:06 am 

One key to how easily a virus spreads is the relation between latency period and incubation period, as this diagram shows. If latency ends before the incubation period is ended, then there is a period when one can be asymptomatic but contagious. For example, one could not be in the disease phase but cough or sneeze (dust, a cat, secondhand smoke, etc.) and spread an active aerosol.



Image
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on February 27th, 2020, 4:42 am 

One detail that I hadn’t fully grasped until watching this recent TRMS interview with science journalist Laurie Garret was the lethality ratio of Covid-19 compared to that of the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic of 1918.

https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/u-s-unready-to-deal-with-potential-coronavirus-spread-79446085581

The 1918 ’Spanish Flu’ pandemic which infected around 500 million people (about 27% of the world population at the time), and may have killed upward of 40 million of them, is now believed to have had an average fatality ratio of around 1.9%. By comparison, the Covid-19 virus is thought to have a fatality ratio of around 2.3% in known cases of infections. (Higher fatality figures of 4% have been reported in Wuhan the original epicentre of the outbreak, and up to 6% in some of the other worst affected areas inside China.)

The 1918 influenza pandemic was unusual in a number of other ways, notably in the fact that it killed a wholly disproportionate number of otherwise healthy young adults, as opposed to elderly people with compromised immune systems, or very young people with immature ones. The modern scientific explanation for this phenomenon is that the Spanish Flu virus tended to provoke a cytokine ‘storm’ response in healthy younger people, and effectively used their own immune systems to kill them.

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

Covid-19 mercifully does not appear to have this mechanism in its armoury, but the lethality ratio data is nonetheless still unnerving.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on February 27th, 2020, 10:25 am 

Japanese health officials have reported a case of a reoccurence of Covid-19 in a patient thought to have recovered from the infection.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-japan-confirms-first-case-of-person-being-reinfected-with-covid-19-11944295

Officials in Osaka confirmed that a woman who works as a tour bus guide had tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time, further heightening concerns about the spread of the infection in the country.

While there have been a number of cases of reinfection in China, notably in Wuhan province where the coronavirus outbreak originated late last year, second positive tests have not been reported elsewhere in the world.

The woman in Osaka, western Japan, who is in her 40s, tested positive on Wednesday after developing a sore throat and chest pains.

The case has health experts worrying that the illness could remain dormant after an apparent recovery.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on February 28th, 2020, 2:22 pm 

Interesting commentary on how being uninsured, or underinsured (like the enormous deductibles most of us Yanks in the middle class have to deal with), in the USA may affect the speed of spread of a virus like covid-19...

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... -uninsured



On a personal note, I will add that I have lived a far healthier life, living in a country where medical care is so expensive (and often financially ruinous - I have plenty of stories I can share on this), than I might have in other industrialized nations with socialized medicine, i.e. single-payer systems. Knowing I have a rather frayed medical safety net has meant, for me, paying more attention to exercise, diet, and vices than I might have otherwise paid. Ironically, this approach has not been adopted by many Americans, who seem to have worse health habits and diet than in other industrialized nations.

Those of us in the life sciences, it seems to me, have both a curse and a blessing. The curse is awareness of what we are exposed to, in our environment, every day. The blessing is having received an education that allows us to somewhat mitigate those exposures and optimize methods of staying reasonably fit in a sedentary culture. Our responsibility lies in having knowledge and an obligation to share that knowledge in a way that is accessible to those around us, without being preachy or alarmist. And, if we are in positions of influence, to provide knowledge to policy makers in a digestible form. (to be sure, there are some pieces of knowledge that are nearly impossible to render as not alarming, e.g. the high arsenic content of rice grown in the American South and parts of S. Asia) (if you were just alarmed by that, I recommend basmati rice from California, where there was not a prolonged field battle with the cotton boll weevil using arsenical compounds, followed by a major shift from cotton to rice...)
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 1st, 2020, 8:21 am 

According to BBC Radio 4 news reports I heard first thing this morning, the UK government’s contingency planning for a major outbreak of Covid-19 in this country is currently based around a ‘medium to worst case scenario’ that might involve 80% of the population becoming infected, 2.3 million patients needing intensive hospital care, and around 500,000 fatalities attributable to the virus.

The British authorities are apparently thinking of recalling large numbers of retired doctors and health workers to service under an emergency re-registration and medical indemnity scheme to meet the unprecedented demand.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-51632801

The government are also said to be preparing to shut down all schools in the UK for up to two months. Public transport, and large public gatherings could also be shut down under the terms of the Civil Contingencies Act (2004).

Large numbers of workers may be encouraged to work from home wherever possible as well.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Mossling on March 2nd, 2020, 5:26 am 

There's community spreading of virus on-going in USA, Australia is starting to get community spread too, Iran is being framed as the Middle East's own 'Wuhan,' and the pope appears to have contracted some "mystery illness" that is a lot like COVID-19.

It's the end of the world!!! ... for the over-60s. :/
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 3rd, 2020, 7:30 am 

A Wuhan doctor, from the same department as whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang, died from coronavirus on Tuesday, according to Wuhan Central Hospital.

https://edition.cnn.com/asia/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-03-03-20-intl-hnk/index.html

Mei Zhongming was the 57-year-old chief doctor and deputy director of the ophthalmology department at Wuhan Central Hospital, and was Dr. Li’s superior.

The hospital expressed “deep condolence” at the news of Dr. Mei’s death.

Li Wenliang was regarded as a hero in China for trying to raise awareness of the coronavirus outbreak before it was publicly acknowledged by the government.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 5th, 2020, 5:15 am 

A claim that North Korea has executed a coronavirus patient has been widely shared on social media, despite the story being unverifiable.

https://monitoring.bbc.co.uk/product/c201hte3

The story appears in the Singapore version of the International Business Times website, headlined "North Korea's first confirmed Coronavirus COVID 19 patient shot dead: report", saying that the country's leader Kim Jong-un "sanctioned the execution of the first North Korean patient tested positive for the deadly strain of the virus".

It's based on a tweet by Twitter user @Secret_Beijing, who describe themselves as a "social observer and analyst about China and beyond".

https://www.ibtimes.sg/north-koreas-first-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19-patient-shot-dead-report-40042

Earlier last week, reports in the same newspaper had suggested that a North Korean trade official was shot dead for leaving coronavirus quarantine to visit a public bath. According to South Korean media, the victim, who had returned to the country after a visit to China, was executed for risking the spread of the deadly virus.

https://www.ibtimes.sg/north-korea-did-kim-jong-un-execute-trade-official-deal-spread-coronavirus-39379

South Korea's largest newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, reported that there were at least two suspected cases of the illness in the city of Sinuiju, which borders China. South Korea-based Daily North Korea citing inside sources reported that as many as five people had died of the novel coronavirus COVID 19 in the same city.

North Korea, meanwhile, has shut down its border and cut transport links with China. Foreigners visiting North Korea are being kept under quarantine for 30 days, while foreign diplomats and international organization staff have been restricted in their movement across Pyongyang.

North Korea officially has maintained that there are no cases of novel corona virus in the country.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 5th, 2020, 6:54 am 

Image

South Korea meanwhile which has a snowballing number of Covid-19 cases has resorted to issuing an endless torrent of text alerts telling you where an infected person has been - and when. You can also look up the information on the Ministry of Health and Welfare website.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-51733145

No names or addresses are given, but some people are still managing to connect the dots and identify people. The public has even decided two of the infected were having an affair.

And, even if patients are not outright identified, they're facing judgement - or ridicule - online.

When you search online for a virus patient's case number, related queries include "personal details", "face", "photo", "family" - or even "adultery".

Some online users are commenting that "I had no idea so many people go to love motels" - the by-the-hour hotels popular with couples.

They are also joking that people cheating on their spouses are known to be keeping a low profile these days.

South Korean laws on managing and publicly sharing information on patients with infectious diseases changed significantly after the Mers outbreak in 2015.

South Korea had the second-largest number of Mers cases after Saudi Arabia. At the time, the government was criticised for withholding information, such as where the patients had been. After that, the laws were amended to empower investigators.

South Korea has now had more than 5,000 confirmed case of Covid-19 and more than 30 deaths.

A significant number of the more serious cases were being connected to the activities of a religious cult called Shincheonji Church of Jesus (신천지 ) who are widely blamed for enabling the spread of the coronavirus by refusing to cancel large gatherings, quarantine suspected victims, and in the case of their founder Lee Man-hee refusing to even get tested citing their religious beliefs on privacy.
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Re: Assessing risk

Postby TheVat on March 5th, 2020, 10:33 am 

https://apnews.com/580923fa5e2200f98c0a42b5c0d7b236


Ropeik said the coronavirus triggers thinking about years of warnings about lethal pandemics. “This idea of the new disease being a major killer is an idea that has been burned into our recent fear memory,” he said.

Vincent Covello, director of the Center for Risk Communication, based in New York, provided a list of 17 psychological factors that he said can influence how individuals gauge the risks of coronavirus. For example, he said, people are often more concerned about events if they don’t trust the authorities or institutions in charge. They’re more concerned about involuntary things, like exposure to an infected person, than voluntary ones, like smoking or sunbathing. And they’re often more concerned about risks that have delayed effects, like the lag time between infection and symptoms, than those with an immediate effect, like poisoning.

So how can people minimize the risk of overreaction in themselves and others? Don’t spread the word about every little development, including minor missteps by government authorities, Ropeik says. And “don’t just share the scary parts,” but also include things like infection usually causing only mild to moderate symptoms.

Finally, “don’t be a 24/7 information victim,” he said. “Log off, put your phone down, pick up a book ... Shut down your risk radar screen for a while.... You’re probably just as much at risk or safe tomorrow as you are now, whether you stay online all the time or not.”


Number of flu-caused deaths in a flu season in USA, average, per CDC: 56,000
Number of deaths from coronavirus in USA: 11

Average global flu deaths: 291,000 to 646,000
Global coronavirus deaths: 3000
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby BadgerJelly on March 9th, 2020, 2:41 am 

Malaria 1 million per year.

Deaths due to economic difficulties caused by fear mongering and hyperbole? Almost certainly going to cause more deaths than the actual virus in the long run - not to mention untold stress and strain on families.

The effect on tourism in Vietnam at the moment is obvious - many hotels have literally had to shut down due to cancellations.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 9th, 2020, 2:00 pm 

The Italian government just quarantined the entire territory of Lombardy which contains some 16 million people (one quarter of the entire population of the country), and also happens to include the city of Milan which is the centre of their banking industry and financial services sector.

An Italian government spokesman was explaining why they were taking this step on BBC Radio 4 news on Sunday, and what he said was that the Italian health service had 850 acute ICU beds available in hospitals across the whole of Lombardy, and that as of Saturday morning no fewer than 530 of them were already spoken for. Their hospitals were effectively already being overrun, and with no let-up in sight from an exponential increase in Coronavirus cases requiring acute care.

The problem with all these emollient sayings that "It won't be so bad" - "Flu kills more people" - "Malaria is more deadly" etc. is that they take no account of the immediate demand management problems that hospitals currently face. Nor do they take any account of the fact that the Coronavirus is arriving on *top* of everything else that would normally be stressing the health care providers at the time of year. Coronavirus isn't a substitute for seasonal flu. It's an "as well".

Right now you probably won't ever catch malaria in either Italy or any part of the USA, so whether malaria is more or less dangerous than Coronavirus in epidemiological terms is supremely irrelevant. What does matter is the prospect of discovering that your local medical centre or hospital has shut its doors and taken the phone off the hook because they have run clean out of beds, staff, medication, masks and test kits and simply can't cope with any more casualties, - not even by a telephone triage system.

If you happen to live in USA then you can thank the 'very stable genius' who decided to disband the whole of the White House epidemic disease control unit back in 2018 because he didn't see any point in funding it, and never imagined that it would be needed.

If you happen to be travelling in Vietnam and are heading downtown for a meal tonight, then my tip would be to avoid any dish marked con tê tê. It's a local delicacy, and it might even be on special offer. But it probably isn't a good idea right now.
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Re: Practice Makes Perfect

Postby Faradave on March 9th, 2020, 6:58 pm 

So far, I'm not terribly impressed with covid-19 as a disease. Just got back from a last minute cruise out of NYC - tremendous bargain, cheaper than staying at home (I might just go again).

Of course, I washed my hands all the time, but cruise ships are far better equipped for this than any other travel/leisure pursuit. That said, I advised my brother (on chemotherapy) to stay home. Same for anyone immunocompromised. But as for me, though I'm in the "vulnerable" age group, I'm in robust good health (as far as I know) and see no need to avoid the population at large. If I get the virus, so be it. I'd even volunteer to be inoculated if I thought any researchers were interested. Either way, I'll become immune and that (herd immunity) is what ultimately stops the damn thing.

I honestly don't think it can be contained any more than the wind, though we can slow it.

In the mean time, this whole affair is great practice for the day some truly nasty bug breaks out of a weapons lab (or is put out by terrorist). It's always good to test the system now and then.

Say your prayers, wash your hands and have a great day!
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 10th, 2020, 7:39 pm 

Image

The British Health minister Nadine Dorries has tested positive for COVID-19 according to news reports in UK.

https://news.sky.com/story/nadine-dorries-health-minister-tests-positive-for-coronavirus-11954928

She is the first MP to be tested postive among 382 cases identified in Britain so far.

Officials are reportedly trying to trace everyone she met after going to a reception with the PM the day before she felt ill.
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Re: Practice Makes Perfect

Postby TheVat on March 10th, 2020, 8:54 pm 

Faradave » March 9th, 2020, 3:58 pm wrote:So far, I'm not terribly impressed with covid-19 as a disease. Just got back from a last minute cruise out of NYC - tremendous bargain, cheaper than staying at home (I might just go again).

Of course, I washed my hands all the time, but cruise ships are far better equipped for this than any other travel/leisure pursuit. That said, I advised my brother (on chemotherapy) to stay home. Same for anyone immunocompromised. But as for me, though I'm in the "vulnerable" age group, I'm in robust good health (as far as I know) and see no need to avoid the population at large. If I get the virus, so be it. I'd even volunteer to be inoculated if I thought any researchers were interested. Either way, I'll become immune and that (herd immunity) is what ultimately stops the damn thing.

I honestly don't think it can be contained any more than the wind, though we can slow it.

In the mean time, this whole affair is great practice for the day some truly nasty bug breaks out of a weapons lab (or is put out by terrorist). It's always good to test the system now and then.

Say your prayers, wash your hands and have a great day!


Will do! Dave, I've sort of leaned in your direction, as regards herd immunity and all that, until reading recently that CV poses a risk of viral encephalitis. Even a slight chance of lasting neural degeneration should give us a sense of caution about being overly philosophical on catching CV. Here's a report from China....

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-0 ... RB8db0XUEQ

While this fellow's case may not be a common response to CV, anything with potential to damage the brain would make me consider steps like avoiding crowds, not drinking at public fountains, and sternly repressing the urge to touch my face until at home and hands washed. And, full disclosure, I am 64, so I know that my health (robust, like yours) requires a bit more discretion and a bit less valor. And fiber. Lots of fiber.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 11th, 2020, 10:14 pm 

The following graphic highlights the necessity of 'flattening the curve' of COVID-19 to keep health services from collapsing under peak demand load in the coming weeks.

Image

A more detailed discussion of the curve, and an animated version of the same figure can be found here.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/3/9/1925933/-Our-health-systems-aren-t-built-to-handle-a-national-crisis-That-s-why-these-early-days-are-vital
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 12th, 2020, 7:01 am 

Here is a link to the full Italian text of a posting made by an Italian doctor called Daniele Macchini who works at the Humanitas Gavazzeni hospital in Bergamo which is in the heart of the Lombardy area most severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

https://www.ecodibergamo.it/stories/bergamo-citta/con-le-nostre-azioni-influenziamola-vita-e-la-morte-di-molte-persone_1344030_11/?fbclid=IwAR3Fs_3Vzr-tYzho4JI13uzL_HyT6I0wRmx-BEzfjCW7bqoAyGmjL9DNtF4

His graphic account of the conditions faced by doctors dealing with the pandemic in Italy should be of unusual interest, given that USA may be just two weeks behind the curve of what is currently happening in Bergamo.

A quick translation of the more salient parts:
.. Well, the situation is now nothing short of dramatic. No other words come to mind. The war has literally exploded and the battles are uninterrupted day and night. One after the other, the unfortunate poorly come to the emergency room. They have anything but the complications of a flu. Let's stop saying it's a bad flu. In these 2 years I have learned that the people of Bergamo do not come to the emergency room at all. They did well this time too. They followed all the indications given: a week or ten days at home with a fever without going out and risking contagion, but now they can't take it anymore. They can't breathe properly, they need oxygen.

Drug therapies for this virus are few. The course (of the disease) mainly depends on our own organisms. We can only support it when it can't take it anymore. It is mainly hoped that our body will eradicate the virus on its own, let's face it. Antiviral therapies are experimental on this virus and we learn its behavior day after day. Staying at home until the symptoms worsen does not change the prognosis of the disease.

Now, however, that need for beds in all its drama has arrived. One after the other, the departments that had been emptied are filling up at an impressive rate. The display boards with the names of the patients, in different colors depending on the operating unit they belong to, are now all red and instead of the surgical operation there is the diagnosis, which is always the same damn thing : bilateral interstitial pneumonia….

There are no more surgeons, urologists, orthopedists, we are only doctors who suddenly become part of a single team to face this tsunami that has overwhelmed us. The cases multiply, we arrive at the rate of 15-20 hospitalizations a day all for the same reason. The results of the swabs now arrive one after the other: positive, positive, positive. Suddenly the emergency room is collapsing….

Intensive care becomes saturated, and where intensive care ends, more are created. Each ventilator becomes like gold: those operating rooms that have now suspended their non-urgent activity become places for intensive care that did not exist before. ..

There are no more shifts, schedules. Social life is suspended for us. I have been separated for a few months, and I assure you that I have always done everything possible to constantly see my son even on the days of taking the night off, without sleeping and postponing sleep until when I am without him, but for almost 2 weeks I have not voluntarily seen either my son or my family members for fear of infecting them and in turn infecting an elderly grandmother or relatives with other health problems. I am satisfied with some photos of my son that I look at between tears and a few video calls.

So have patience, too, that you cannot go to the theater, museums or gym. Try to have mercy on the myriads of older people you might kill. It is not your fault, I know, but of those who put it in your head that we are exaggerating and even this testimony may seem just an exaggeration for those who are far from the epidemic, but please, listen to us, try to leave the house only for indispensable things. Do not go en masse to stock up in supermarkets: it is the worst thing because you concentrate the risk of contacts with infected people who do not know they are. You can go there as you usually do. Maybe if you have a normal mask (even those that are used to do certain manual work) put it on. Don't look for FFP2 or FFP3. Those should reserved for us and we are beginning to struggle to find them. By now we have had to optimize their use only in certain circumstances, as the WHO recently suggested in view of their almost ubiquitous impoverishment.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on March 12th, 2020, 10:26 am 

A 60 year old has died of CV in the county I live in. We are starting now to make decisions along the lines of the "flattening the curve" that Toucans has posted about. Our county is the population center for a popular tourist destination region called the Black Hills, with hundreds of tourist traps including Mount Rushmore National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, the Needles, Devil's Tower nearby, Badlands National Park nearby, etc. Tourists here come from all corners of the globe as well as the USA. So, yes, it's time to start thinking about social distancing. My sympathy for people here whose livelihood depends on close contact with tourists: if tourists show up this Spring, the locals who serve face illness. If they don't, they face severe money problems.
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Re: Being Herd

Postby Faradave on March 12th, 2020, 11:08 am 

While I haven't changed my views, I can see that my last post may be considered too cavalier. I'm certainly in sympathy with the vulnerable and their families. The same for my overworked medical colleagues around the world who are essentially powerless against a pandemic.

I lost my mother to pneumonia last Christmas morning. It certainly wasn't COVID-19 but that doesn't make much difference now. She was 93 and represents a victory in terms of exceeding the average lifespan, so I can't feel shortchanged, quite the contrary. She had finally taken advice to move into assisted living within walking distance of my home three years ago (important, since my wife & I "share" a car). I was able to visit often and got closer to her than I ever had been. Early on, she made the clearheaded decisions no code, no ventilator, no tube feedings, etc. Instead we both delighted right to the end, in all the "extra innings" we had received.

That seems to be the situation with the current US (and modern world's) population. The blessing of great medical success is the reason we now have such an abundance of vulnerable in our midst. That's a wonderful achievement but nature is fickle and sooner or later will find a way to take its toll. Not to diminish the personal losses, this happens to all species and ends up strengthening the herd.

It's ironic that in a world where we frequently see headlines regarding euthanasia, assisted suicide and late-term abortions that we may emerge with a renewed appreciation for life and possibly even regain reverence for the aged. Having lost a few good friends here at SPCF over the years, let me take this opportunity to say how much I appreciate all of you who remain.
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Re: Being Herd

Postby TheVat on March 12th, 2020, 12:19 pm 

Faradave » March 12th, 2020, 8:08 am wrote:...(important, since my wife & I "share" a car)....


First, those quotes around "share" got a knowing LOL from me. The need to use your feet for transport may be part of that "robust health" you spoke of.* Second, I liked the thoughts on "extra innings" and the good fortune many of us have in developed nations. As for herd strengthening, that sounds like it could be its own thread - with possibilities for various forums - Health, Biology, Ethics. It's certainly the case that the Spanish Flu (misnomer, but that's what we call it) outbreak in 1918 increased herd immunity to the H1N1 virus, of which it was a variant IIRC. That's why the 2009 H1N1 outbreak was so much less than it might have been.


* one recurrent theme in the case of Jeanne Calment, the French woman whose lifespan of 122 years has stood up to repeated investigations of the documentation and witnesses, is that she walked everywhere, and had a brisk cadence even in old age, reportedly zipping around the streets of Arles, France with a speed of someone much younger.
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There's no risk, we're Smurfs

Postby TheVat on March 12th, 2020, 9:59 pm 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2 ... us-france/

A looming sense of unease spread across Europe during the weekend as once-bustling cities were placed on lockdown, officials worried about shortages of face masks, and the number of people infected with the novel coronavirus grew to over 7,000.

But a small town in northwestern France was not about to call off the world’s largest gathering of Smurfs.

“We must not stop living,” Patrick Leclerc, the mayor of Landerneau, told Agence France-Presse on Tuesday. “It was the chance to say that we are alive.”

Despite the fears of contagion, more than 3,500 people in blue body paint crowded together in a parking lot Saturday, dancing in conga lines to disco hits chosen by a Smurf DJ. “There’s no risk, we’re Smurfs,” one fan of the Belgian cartoon told AFP. “Yes, we’re going to Smurferize the coronavirus.”

The village of Landerneau, which is home to a little more than 15,000 people and best known for its historic architecture, hoped to earn a spot in Guinness World Records. In February 2019, 2,762 people had painted themselves blue and gathered at a regional carnival in Lauchringen, Germany, taking home the world title for “Most people dressed as Smurfs.” Organizers of Landerneau’s annual Festival of the Starry Moon were determined to top them in 2020...
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"Verily I say unto you"

Postby toucana on March 14th, 2020, 4:39 am 

If you are looking for that magical new website announced yesterday by president Trump - the one that Google are supposedly developing as the go-to online triage tool for suspected COVID-19 infections - then don’t hold your breath.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/03/google-contradicts-trump-claims-its-not-working-on-a-coronavirus-portal/

President Trump announced that Google was developing software that would be central to the US' containment strategy. Trump, along with Dr. Deborah Birx, the administration's Coronavirus Response Coordinator, said that Google's Web portal would be central to the process of helping US residents take advantage of a promised expansion of the country's testing capacity.

Just two hours later, however, Google communications felt compelled to issue a statement saying that nearly everything about this is either not quite right or badly mistaken. The portal is being done by a different company, and isn't even ready for testing in the single location it's planned for: California's Bay Area.
We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time. We appreciate the support of government officials and industry partners and thank the Google engineers who have volunteered to be part of this effort.

Google isn't involved in this. Instead, a different Alphabet company, Verily, is working on a portal. This makes more sense, given that Verily is focused on medical-oriented computing, both in terms of analyzing data for large healthcare providers, and in terms of providing services and hardware for individual patients. And it at least has the same corporate parent as Google, which presumably explains the confusion about who's building the software.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby doogles on March 18th, 2020, 1:17 am 

The following turned up in my emails this morning from an Iranian-Australian friend.

It's from a 2015 Letter in Nature Medicine titled A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence -- https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985. It's authored by Menachery et al. Two of the 15 or so authors are Xing-Yi Ge and Zhengli-Li Shi from the Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China.

The Introduction contains this ominous excerpt relating to the present day -- "On the basis of these findings, scientific review panels may deem similar studies building chimeric viruses based on circulating strains too risky to pursue, as increased pathogenicity in mammalian models cannot be excluded. Coupled with restrictions on mouse-adapted strains and the development of monoclonal antibodies using escape mutants, research into CoV emergence and therapeutic efficacy may be severely limited moving forward. Together, these data and restrictions represent a crossroads of GOF research concerns; the potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens. In developing policies moving forward, it is important to consider the value of the data generated by these studies and whether these types of chimeric virus studies warrant further investigation versus the inherent risks involved."

The work was conducted jointly by American, Chinese and Swiss authors, and appears to have been funded by American and Chinese sources.

I gained the impression that this type of research is widespread and performed to gain a better understanding of basic virology. I note also that the references here are to strains numbered 14 and 15, whereas the current strain is labelled Covid-19.

It was the Wuhan connection that caught my attention. The full text is available for anyone interested.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 18th, 2020, 3:02 am 

According to the ethics statement contained in the text of the scientific paper cited, the actual research referred to was carried out in the USA:
Ethics statement.
This study was carried out in accordance with the recommendations for the care and use of animals by the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), NIH. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC, Permit Number A-3410-01) approved the animal study protocol (IACUC #13-033) used in these studies.

The twelve principal authors listed at the end of the article all have stated affiliations to the Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

The only connection to Wuhan in China appears to be a reference to another academic journal article by Chinese scientists Xing-Yi Ge & Zhengli-Li Shi who wrote about the possibility of zoonitic viral infections circulating within horse-shoe bat populations inside China.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on March 18th, 2020, 10:10 am 

Disturbing speculation on how society might change in dealing with pandemics...

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/6153 ... 18-months/

The section on police state levels of surveillance of citizens made me wonder if there are levels of protection that just aren't worth it.

We don’t know exactly what this new future looks like, of course. But one can imagine a world in which, to get on a flight, perhaps you’ll have to be signed up to a service that tracks your movements via your phone. The airline wouldn’t be able to see where you’d gone, but it would get an alert if you’d been close to known infected people or disease hot spots. There’d be similar requirements at the entrance to large venues, government buildings, or public transport hubs. There would be temperature scanners everywhere, and your workplace might demand you wear a monitor that tracks your temperature or other vital signs. Where nightclubs ask for proof of age, in future they might ask for proof of immunity—an identity card or some kind of digital verification via your phone, showing you’ve already recovered from or been vaccinated against the latest virus strains....
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 18th, 2020, 12:43 pm 

There was an interesting article published in the The Slate a few days ago which discussed this topic in relation to the intriguing question of just how Taiwan and Singapore have managed to keep their rates of COVID-19 infections so low.

https://slate.com/technology/2020/03/countries-contain-coronavirus-spread.html

Taiwan is an island with a population of 24 million that lies just 81 miles off the coast of China. More than 850,000 Taiwanese citizens live in mainland China and another 400,000 or more work there. Yet to date Taiwan has experienced just 48 cases, and one virus related death.

A similar story has happened in Singapore, a city state with a population 5.6 million which has experienced just 178 cases and had no virus related deaths. Like Taiwan, Singapore took precautions after SARS—and then after the 2010 swine flu—to prepare for the next outbreak, and it was one of the first countries to restrict the movement of people who had recently traveled to China or parts of South Korea.

But the real clue lies in this passage:
Taiwan “rapidly produced and implemented a list of at least 124 action items in the past five weeks to protect public health,” said Stanford Health Policy’s Jason Wang, a co-author of the article. “The policies and actions go beyond border control because they recognized that that wasn’t enough.” These actions include proactively finding new cases, quarantining suspicious cases, stopping flights from China, creating policies for schools and businesses, rationing mask purchases to reduce prepper panic, establishing a hotline to report suspicious symptoms in oneself or others, offering hand sanitizer in nearly all public buildings, and requiring fever checks for people entering schools and other public buildings. The measures have helped to assuage public panic—even as the Taiwanese economy has suffered—and public schools, for instance, are already back in session.


Big data and technological innovation are at the heart of these measures. Taiwan integrated its national health insurance database with its immigration and customs database to create big data for analytics, according to the JAMA article. This has alerted officials to potential cases during individual doctor visits. It’s also enabled the government to classify individuals’ risks of infection on the basis of travel history, and to track those who have visited high-risk zones via mobile phone. These steps effectively prioritize public health over individual liberty. They’re not as draconian as, say, Micronesia’s drastic travel ban (which has so far staved off the virus entirely), but they are a reasonably invasive form of surveillance.


The Slate article references this JAMA publication entitled "Big Data Analytics, New Technology, and Proactive Testing":
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762689
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