Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Orders Down in Italy

COVID-19 is depressing the demand for squid in Italy. The article is a week old, and already seems almost comically quaint.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Posted on March 20, 2020 at 4:18 PM192 Comments


JonKnowsNothing March 20, 2020 4:43 PM


COVID-19 is depressing the demand for squid in Italy

The ducks and fish are returning to Venice now that the human and tourism blender has stopped.

MSM report:

Look down into the waters of the Venice canals today and there is a surprising sight – not just a clear view of the sandy bed, but shoals of tiny fish, scuttling crabs and multicoloured plant-life.

“The water is blue and clear,” said Gloria Beggiato, who owns the celebrated Metropole Hotel a few steps from St Mark’s square and has a view over the Venice lagoon. “It is calm like a pond, because there are no more waves caused by motorised boats transporting day-tripper tourists. And of course, the giant cruise ships have disappeared.”

Under Venice’s strict rules of self-confinement to prevent the spread of the coronavirus – all journeys but a trip to walk the dog or buy food are forbidden – the ancient city has been transformed almost overnight.

Nature abhors a vacuum, nice to get a glimpse of the “after us”…

ht tps://

ht tps://

horror vacui, or plenism commonly stated as “nature abhors a vacuum”, is a postulate attributed to Aristotle

(url fractured to prevent autorun)

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained Spook March 20, 2020 5:07 PM


Nature abhors a vacuum

Nature’s vengeance against mankind. Mankind messed with nature, nature fights back!

MarkH March 20, 2020 6:21 PM

A Dissenting View on Covid-19 Response

For anybody with compassion, balancing loss of life against economic costs is a distasteful exercise. Even so, individuals, institutions, societies and governments make decisions influenced by judgments about such balance very frequently … though often, we don’t “say out loud” that we are doing so.

As of today, the prevailing policy responses — all focused primarily on broad-scale physical separation between people — are entailing economic costs which, while still poorly known, are sure to be of extreme magnitude.

It ain’t just pounds and pence, or euros/dollars and cents. The ramifications of a severe economic downturn are far-reaching, including:

• mass suffering
• losses to health
• loss of life
• destabilization of vital institutions, whole societies, or international systems

Some of these damages may impose consequences persisting for many years after the pandemic has passed.

David L. Katz, director of a health research center, writes in the NY Times1 that public health measures applied across entire populations are far from the best way to protect people from Covid-19.

Here’s my TL;DR:

Considering that the great majority of Covid-19 infections don’t require special medical treatment, and that we have a good picture of the small percentage of the population that is most vulnerable, the optimal strategy is to:

a. provide strong protections for the people known to be most likely to get acutely ill

b. let Covid-19 sweep through the rest of the population unhindered, to build herd immunity as soon as possible

c. concentrate medical resources on those who do become acutely ill, either because measure a. above is necessarily imperfect, or the patient was one of the unlucky minority outside of the identified risk groups

The importance of herd immunity is vast. Covid-19 has been exhibiting R0 in the range of 2 to 3 in “virgin” populations with no acquired immunity2 and no isolation/distancing measures. As more people become infected, R0 will automatically decrease. When it falls below 1, outbreaks will naturally die out without the need for any special public health intervention.

When the percentage of people with immunity is great enough, the danger to the high-risk people will greatly diminish.

The value of concentration of resources (measure c.) is also important: present approaches need massive testing across the entire population; the proposed policy would greatly reduce the number of people who need to be tested.

1 Both NY Times and Washington Post are now publishing Covid-19 articles outside their paywalls. I don’t know whether that applies to this particular article.

2 In my layperson understanding, people recovering from a virus are virtually guaranteed to have immunity; the open question is how long it lasts (it’s too soon to know the answer). But even if acquired immunity is disappointingly short, that would not necessarily invalidate the author’s argument.

gordo March 20, 2020 6:50 PM

Why U.S. national security community hasn’t prioritized public health — until now
By PBS NewsHour, Audio and Audio-Video [07:20], Mar 20, 2020

Should the U.S. have been better prepared for the coronavirus pandemic? Experts both inside and outside of the government have sounded the alarm for years about the possibility of a dire public health crisis. One of them was Dr. Kenneth Bernard, an epidemiologist and former special assistant on biosecurity. He joins Nick Schifrin to discuss a lack of “advance planning” and what should happen next.

JonKnowsNothing March 20, 2020 7:14 PM


re: “Herd Immunity”

There is no such thing as Herd Immunity. What there is, is Herd Die Off.
(African Swine Fever)

All new members of the herd become vulnerable.

All infected and asymptomatic members are vectors to new members.
(Bovine Tuberculosis, Badger Cull)

There is no treatment for COVID19. There is only Life Support Oxygen for the associative body response.

There will be a lot of COVID19 Orphans
(AIDS orphan)

There is no response from the dead…

Of course, if you would like to volunteer for that position, I have a great need for groceries for the next 6-12 months and if you would like to venture out into the COVID19 virus cloud for me…

note: Ranchers and farmers know a lot about “herd immunity”…

ht tps://

African swine fever virus (ASFV) is a large, double-stranded DNA virus in the Asfarviridae family.[1] It is the causative agent of African swine fever (ASF). The virus causes a hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in domestic pigs; some isolates can cause death of animals as quickly as a week after infection.

ht tps://

Strangles (equine distemper) is a contagious upper respiratory tract infection of horses and other equines caused by a Gram-positive bacterium, Streptococcus equi.[1] As a result, the lymph nodes swell, compressing the pharynx, larynx, and trachea, and can cause airway obstruction leading to death, hence the name strangles

ht tps://

Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) is a slow-growing (16- to 20-hour generation time) aerobic bacterium and the causative agent of tuberculosis in cattle (known as bovine TB). It is related to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium which causes tuberculosis in humans. M. bovis can jump the species barrier and cause tuberculosis-like infection in humans and other mammals

ht tps://

Badger culling in the United Kingdom is permitted under licence, within a set area and timescale, as a way to reduce badger numbers in the hope of controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

Research reported in 2016 indicates that bTB is not transmitted by direct contact between badgers and cattle, but through contaminated pasture and dung.

ht tps://

Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) is a form of systemic inflammatory response syndrome that can be triggered by a variety of factors such as infections and certain drugs.[3] It occurs when large numbers of white blood cells are activated and release inflammatory cytokines, which in turn activate yet more white blood cells. CRS is also an adverse effect of some monoclonal antibody drugs, as well as adoptive T-cell therapies.[4][5] Severe cases have been called cytokine storms

ht tps://

An AIDS orphan is a child who became an orphan because one or both parents died from AIDS….There are 70,000 new AIDS orphans a year.

(url fractured to prevent autorun)

La Abeja March 20, 2020 7:40 PM


Both NY Times and Washington Post are now publishing Covid-19 articles outside their paywalls.

Along with “white papers” from the real experts and other promotional content the MainStream Media don’t expect anyone to pay real money to read.


They are expressly targeting poorer people with the “non-paywall” content. I think at Starbucks, public libraries or some places like that the free WiFi includes some of the “rich people’s” stuff which is normally paywalled elsewhere.

The MainStream Media are “institutional” — it’s more about the clientele they a trying to reach: a certain net worth or income. I highly doubt that they actually expect a private individual to pay a cash subscription price to read an “authoritative” online news source.

Pay-per-view or some limit of free articles or something like that with some nasty cookie that can’t be removed without reinstalling your operating system.

I just want to crack their skulls with a good old American baseball bat for stealing my ID, purloining my banking passwords or whatever else they are doing to lie, cheat and steal online.

65535 March 20, 2020 10:03 PM

There may be a beacon of hope in this “pandemic” storm. As some people have mentioned a French doctor believes there are two drugs when used in combination provide a meaningful treatment for those people actually stricken with Covid19.

The combination of Hydroxychloroquine and axithromycin have shown some benefit to Convid10 infected people. I am somewhat doubtful that this is a real cure – probably more of a “treat the symptoms” – but I am not a doctor.


“…the data have not yet been published, and should therefore be interpreted with caution, this non-randomised, unblinded study showed a strong reduction in viral load with hydroxychloroquine.

“After 6 days, the percentage of patients testing positive for COVID-19 who received hydroxychloroquine fell to 25% versus 90% for those who did not receive the treatment (a group of untreated COVID-19 patients from Nice and Avignon).
“In addition, comparing untreated patients, those receiving hydroxychloroquine and those given hydroxychloroquine plus the antibiotic azithromycin results showed there was “a spectacular reduction in the number of positive cases” with the combination therapy, said Prof Raoult.

“At 6 days, among patients given combination therapy, the percentage of cases still carrying SRAS-CoV-2 was no more than 5%.

“Azithromycin was added because it is known to be effective against complications from bacterial lung disease but also because it has been shown to be effective in the laboratory against a large number of viruses, the infectious disease specialist explained…”- medscape


The pdf link to a scientific study regarding the above treatment [note link is broken to hinder bots][.]com/file/d/186Bel9RqfsmEx55FDum4xY_IlWSHnGbj/view

MarkH March 20, 2020 10:48 PM


The comment you generously contributed contains one completely false assertion, and several which are based in fact, but more or less inapplicable to the present pandemic.

There is no such thing as Herd Immunity.

Anti-vax propaganda, provably false.

What there is, is Herd Die Off.

That happens when epidemics have high mortality rates. Data so far indicate that with sufficient sampling to cover mild or asymptomatic cases, the CFR for Covid-19 is in the range of 1 to 2 percent. Because capacities for testing and diagnosis have been so severely overtaxed up this moment, these numbers may over time be revised downward.

Note well that these CFR estimates are for conventional medical treatment without anything specific to Covid-19, because no such specific treatment has yet been deployed at scale. In other words, medical advances may reduce CFR.

An epidemic with such a comparatively low fatality rate inherently cannot in itself cause a drastic reduction in population within a small number of years.

All new members of the herd become vulnerable.

First, as Covid-19 makes its global sweep, the only new members of the human population with respect to potential exposure will be infants. Mortality for people younger than age 20 — this includes newborns — is extremely close to zero.

Second, as herd immunity develops, the probability of infants being exposed will diminish.

All infected and asymptomatic members are vectors to new members.

That’s not as significant as it might seem at first. The example you offered, of bovine tuberculosis, is a chronic disease which may be carried in the patient for a duration of years.

The course of Covid-19 seems to be a matter of a few weeks. When patients recover, they no longer transmit the virus by aerial droplets. There is some indication that they may shed the virus fecally for several weeks after that, but this time frame is limited, and in any case fecal transmission appears to be very exceptional.

Again, as herd immunity grows, the number of these asymptomatic patients will diminish.

There will be a lot of COVID19 Orphans

It’s a frightening possibility, though the AIDS epidemic was very different.

Without specific medications, the CFR of AIDS approaches 100%. Even with the best treatments, it remains an extremely dangerous disease. AIDS often kills young adults of parenting age.

About 80% of Covid-19 deaths are among persons at least 65 years of age. This means that the CFR for adults with minor children is likely to be less than 0.5%, and probably nearer to 0.2%.

Considering all factors, my “guesstimate” is that per million families with minor children, a small number (perhaps in the range of one to three) will suffer the death of both parents from Covid-19 during the next 12 months, leaving many thousands of such orphans.

Because some percentage of minor children have already suffered the death of one parent from another cause, the total left orphaned will likely be much greater than that. The rate of children becoming orphaned worldwide might easily increase by 10 percent, or perhaps a lot more 🙁

It’s worth noting, that the growing benefits of herd immunity are available today. They don’t depend on any medicine, therapy or technique yet to be developed or tested.

The people who specialize in infectious diseases seem optimistic that an effective vaccine can eventually be developed against SARS-Cov-2. Certainly, more money will be available to fund vaccine development than laboratories can possibly use.

If and when such a vaccine is deployed, it will render herd immunity even stronger, combining acquired immunity via vaccination with that achieved by the spontaneous spread of the illness.

If by some terrible quirk of fate an effective vaccine remains elusive, acquired immunity via community spread of Covid-19 will be the only sustainable defense.

Clive Robinson March 21, 2020 1:39 AM

@ MarkH,

I don’t think you quite get the idea about “natural immunity by infection” or what is mistakenly called “herd immunity”[1].

It’s actually “an area under the curve” problem which is constrained by resources.

It would appear that 15-20% of infected people will need medical intervention, thus actual recorded cases. Even with medical intervention a significant number become severe cases and go on to die.

Thus the question arises as to what happens to the Case Fatality Rate if medical intervention with oxygen therepy is not available.

Well we know the answer to this the CFR goes up significantly Italy has around a 10% CFR Germany a lot lot less. The difference is “medical assistance” plain and simple, Italy’s health care is overwhelmed and currently Germany’s is not, but probably wilk be very soon.

If we just alow SARS-CoV-2 to rip through any community of size that is without medical intervention then we can expect the CFR to rise to around 12-14% of “general population”. For the US this would be around 46million deaths.

The fact that the majority of these deaths are in the 45 years old and up is significant. These are the people who generally have excess income over need and are often not debt encumbered by mortgage etc. Thus they represent a significant part of the economic activity in the US. That is without them the US economy would go into a much deeper and much longer recession, some think upto a decade or two.

Thus what is needed is what some are calling “flatening of the curve”. That is the area under the curve remains the same (it’s the general population) what you do is a “number -v- time” trade off.

Put simply you exchange the high numbers of COVID-19 patients in a short time period to low numbers in a much longer time period.

That way you keep the numbers of COVID-19 patients within the capabilities of the healthcare system that you have. By so doing without any other change you might get the CFR down to below 0.25% of general population or around 0.8 million over say two or three years in the US. At which point you are realy looking at exchanging manner of death in any given time period. That is instead of dying from say non communicable circulatory or lung disease due to life style over several months of terminal illness you die fairly quickly of COVID-19 side effects maybe a few weeks to a year earlier than you would have otherwise. Unpleasent and unsympathetic as that sounds, it’s what happens every year with the flu and even the common cold, and if you have the misfortune to live in some parts of the US due to polution from energy production or industry as well. If you are not sure where such places are look at a map of the US with “average life expectancy” marked on it and then look into why some are as low or lower than retirment age.

But that fatality rate over say a thirty six month period assumes that there is no effective and affordable vaccine or other treatment for the virus found within that time. The chances are one will be so the CFR could drop to that of the flu or less.

The problem is the only way we currently have of slowing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is by issolation or what is being called “lock down”. China via what appear as draconian measures have stopped infections in China, thst is the “new cases” they see are what is termed “backflow” that is people comming back to China having caught the disease in other parts of the world.

We actually know how to get rid of SARS-CoV-2 compleatly that is make it extinct, and it’s not that difficult to do. However for various political and economic reasons it will not be alowed to happen.

If you take a few minutes to total up the maximum times for the virus to survive on surfaces, during incubation, infection and recovery you come to around 30 days. If we all went into total individual issolation for say 35 days the virus will be extinct because it can not survive without hosts to replicate in. It will when you do the figures be the most economic way of dealing with SARS-CoV-2, but as I said it will not be alowed to happen due to way too many “vested interests”.

Thus we will be forced into what will appear like an endless repeates of “lockdown” untill simple effective medical support outside of a hospital setting is found or a viable vaccine and vacination program –think smallpox– is put in place.

One thing is certain however and that is “social change” part of which may well be the end of the airline industry as we know it. Likewise other forms of long distance travel[2].

Because we’ve been lucky as a species, we’ve not had a real pandemic in a century. Hopefully the SARS-CoV-2 virus and resulting COVID-19 disease will be a “wake up call” and we will start to take “world community health” seriously and also stop doing the fairly moronic things that start these potential pandemics in the first place (yes we realy are “doing it to ourselves”).

But one of the things that is clear will have to change is our beliefs and death rituals. In Iran for instance it was finally realised that “shrines” were disease vectors so they were closed. However people are breaking in and touching and kissing the walls and other totems thus getting infected or putting virus on the shrines. This is realy a “medieval behaviour” as science has shown “Shrines do not have antiviral properties”. At best this behaviour is usless at worst suicide and it realy needs to be stopped once and for all. Likewise many death rituals are based on religious beliefs and actively cause the spread of disease and should likewise be stopped. We’ve known this for decades yet such baseless beliefs still continue.

Then there are possibly older and as equally misplaced beliefs which result in the killing of exotic species and consumption of their body parts. Usually in the belief that this will somehow transfer some part of the dead creatures essence or spirit into the person. Part of this are things that supposadly increase various forms of potency, and realy are “all in the mind” of people who realy should know better. What it does do however is significantly increase the risk of viral, bacterial and other pathogens to “Jump Species”. Such “bush meat” practices are dangerous not just to individuals but the whole of the human species as we are currently seeing.

But there is also other “stupidity” of the “fast buck” greed variety, where areas that have high concentrations of animals humans used to rarely come into contact with getting progressivly destroyed forcing the animals into very close contact with humans. Thus more pathogens have the opportunity to “jump species” into humans.

If this spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the resulting disease it causes COVID-19 either stops or significantly reduces such greedy / stupid / moronic practices then there might be some hope for mankind…

[1] Herd Immunity only occurs with “endemic pathogens” and over “many generations”. By far the majority of new diseases never become endemic, and last only a fraction of the host lifeforms life time. Those that do become endemic only do so for a couple of reasons,

1, They rapidly mutate.
2, There is some kind of reservoir holding the disease.

If what virologists are saying is true then neither is particularly likely with SARS-CoV-2. That is it will not become endemic like the flu or the various common colds.

[2] We know from 9/11 that the stoping of aircraft even for three days has a measurable effect on the environment. The result of significant changes on the airline industry could some belive cause a “climate crisis”. That is the micro and nano particulats that help reflect sunlight back into space, will under the influance of gravity be cleaned out of the atmospher in 2-4 weeks. However the gasses that cause the “green house” effect have atmospheric half lives measured in decades and tens of decades. Thus the argument is that the earths temprature will rise between 1-3 degrees Celsius which would have a major effect on our future weather making the disasters we have had this past year look minor.

65535 March 21, 2020 3:39 AM

No comments on the usefulness or non-usefulness of the combination of Hydroxychloroquine and axithromycin?


Any medical experts what to comment on the above?

MarkH March 21, 2020 5:08 AM


My medical expertise is best approximated as zero.

Accordingly, I yield to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

He’s probably the most respected expert in the U.S. in the matter of medical responses to infectious disease outbreaks, and has long practical experience.

Yesterday, when a reporter asked whether hydroxychloroquine could be used to prevent Covid-19, Dr. Fauci replied

No. The answer … is no.

The information that you’re referring to specifically is anecdotal. It was not done in a controlled clinical trial, so you really can’t make any definitive statement about it.

Dr. Fauci not only said that the drug will be investigated, but also explained why:

The president feels optimistic about something, has feelings about it

We can safely rely on the President’s feelings in this matter, because Trump said (in the same press event)

You know, I’m a smart guy. I feel good about it …

myliit March 21, 2020 5:42 AM

“U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen, according to U.S. officials familiar with spy agency reporting. …

“Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it,” this official said. “The system was blinking red.” …

The warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies increased in volume toward the end of January and into early February, said officials familiar with the reports. By then, a majority of the intelligence reporting included in daily briefing papers and digests from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA was about covid-19, said officials who have read the reports. …

But Trump resisted and continued to assure Americans that the coronavirus would never run rampant as it had in other countries. …”

Anders March 21, 2020 5:47 AM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @ALL

“Turkey. 359 cases, 4 dead.”

Update : now 670 cases, 9 dead.

notamedic March 21, 2020 5:54 AM


You don’t need to be a medic. Just read the article. For the Corona virus there is no “evidence” that this combination does help. The data and procedures are insufficient (low number of patients, non randomized, no placebo).
These kind of studies would not make it into some review on the efficiency of drugs against corona virus. But there is nothing better up to now, bigger studies are under way, and we are in some kind of special situation. You never have lots of data in beginning of a trial or when you have a new emerging disease. You need to start somewhere.
Of course you also always have to keep publication bias in mind ie. how tests were not published because they failed. You also need to keep an eye on a potential monetary motivation to publish these results.
I think Mr Fauci also commented on this treatment in one of the recent White House briefings. Look them up on youtube.
These drugs have been around for a while as treatment against other diseases and are considered rather save in contrast to e.g. some newly developed vaccine.
IMHO: in the worst case these drugs do nothing against Corona but they won’t make it worse either, in the best case they could actually help. You need to wait at least a few weeks for more data.

myliit March 21, 2020 6:01 AM

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Covid-19 operations center ran an extensive exercise last year simulating a pandemic.

“ Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went Unheeded

Government exercises, including one last year, made clear that the U.S. was not ready for a pandemic like the coronavirus. But little was done.

[From the exercise] The outbreak of the respiratory virus began in China and was quickly spread around the world by air travelers, who ran high fevers. In the United States, it was first detected in Chicago, and 47 days later, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. By then it was too late: 110 million Americans were expected to become ill, leading to 7.7 million hospitalized and 586,000 dead.

That scenario, code-named “Crimson Contagion” and imagining an influenza pandemic, was simulated by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August.

The simulation’s sobering results — contained in a draft report dated October 2019 that has not previously been reported — drove home just how underfunded, underprepared and uncoordinated the federal government would be for a life-or-death battle with a virus for which no treatment existed.

The draft report [1] , marked “not to be disclosed,” laid out in stark detail repeated cases of “confusion” in the exercise. Federal agencies jockeyed over who was in charge. State officials and hospitals struggled to figure out what kind of equipment was stockpiled or available. Cities and states went their own ways on school closings. …”

[1] pdf, 63 pages

myliit March 21, 2020 6:04 AM

Oops, the first sentence above should read

The Department of Health and Human Services’ ran an extensive exercise last year simulating a pandemic.

metaschima March 21, 2020 6:55 AM

I recommend you get your information from accurate, reliable sources, which the media is not. I strongly believe that the media is fearmongering and that this whole thing has taken a political turn.

Reliable sources are journal articles on the subject published in well known journals like JAMA, the CDC will also list accurate data. The NIH also has information. I would recommend a pubmed search but a lot of their articles are paywalled and too technical for most people.

I know people on here are saying there’s no treatment, but that’s not entirely true. The FDA has not approved a treatment, yes that is true, so no doctor can say there is a treatment because they cannot go against the FDA if they don’t want to be sued. However China did approve several treatments for it that are effective in vitro and were effective against the last SARS coronavirus. Unfortunately, some of these drugs are not available in the US like fapilavir/favilavir which actually would be great if the US had it. Im the US for severely ill patients they will likely use hydroxychloroquine. Sure, none of these are approved by the FDA, so there is no treatment.

Anyway, you can inform yourself about the actual numbers and risks using the resources above. It seems the media are biased and hellbent on making people panic.

myliit March 21, 2020 7:33 AM

@65535, MarkH, notamedic, metachisma, SpaceLifeForm, Anders, Clive Robinson, or popcorn eaters

This topic has been also been discussed, on last weeks’s squid, see post by Clive Robinson [1] and work backward

Imo, IANAD, in general, stay away from antibiotics if possible. If not, load up on probiotics, concurrent and subsequent to treatment, to try to stave off c-diff [2]


[2] “ For community-acquired pneumonia, it has been suggested that a tetracycline may be substituted in place of azithromycin (or another macrolide) among elderly patients at higher risk for C difficile infection.7 ”

La Abeja March 21, 2020 8:23 AM

@Dancing On Thin Ice

about facial recognition with medical masks.
China has been working on it.

They have been “working” on it, haven’t they? Chinese and other socialists and communists especially target transgender individuals, to steal money, I.D., personal and real property, and put us in prison or jail without cause.

THEY need to be be imprisoned, beaten, whipped, bloodied and tortured into submission to the law, NOT the other way around, as they have done to us time and time again without cause in the United States.

THEY need to be punished out of their vicious habits of referring to us by the wrong sex. WE most emphatically DO NOT need to be punished into the restroom of THEIR choice, which they have imposed on us against nature by unnatural drugging in utero.

The socialists need to be punished into a decent respect of our human rights without regard to their impositions and ideas of sex.

Or else we need to kill them off before they murder us en masse in the gas chambers which they have already prepared for us.

myliit March 21, 2020 8:46 AM

From , who knows, afaik, about eastern and western medicine. Imo, a good source, like pubmed, mayo clinic, wikipedia, etc., among others, when you want to search medical diagnoses, symptoms, health topics , and so on. Especially when taking antibiotics Food/nutrition advice

myliit March 21, 2020 10:02 AM


Here’s a another infectious disease doctor, also from yesterday Part 1 of 2 with Stanford University’s global health expert

From your PBS NewsHour link:

“ Nick Schifrin:

And it is a battle that we must win, and we must win altogether.

For a minute, though, I do want to ask you about those delays — or much delayed, as I think you put it. You have criticized the administration’s initial responses. Many others have criticized the administration’s initial responses.

What was inadequate about the initial response?

Kenneth Bernard [ epidemiologist and former special assistant on biosecurity]:

Advanced planning.

Many of the things that we’re doing right now, increasing our personal protective equipment, increasing the number of ventilators, planning for hospital surge capacity, all could have been done in advance, because we have known an epidemic is coming.

We have had a series of epidemics, back from SARS and Ebola and pandemic flu. And there’s many epidemics in the history of mankind, even in the recent 15 or 20 years, that have indicated that this is a real risk, an ongoing risk to humanity.

And we need to plan for these. And we need to plan for them in advance, and that is the biggest — the biggest misstep I have seen is the late plans that were implemented over the last few weeks that could have been implemented a month or a month-and-a-half ago.

Nick Schifrin:

What is supposed to be the hub for planning in the administration, of course, is the National Security Council staff.

In 2018, the then National Security Adviser John Bolton eliminated the Office of Global Health Security on the National Security Council staff. That was not the first time, though, that that had happened.

You were in that job in early 2001. The Bush administration eliminated it. Job brought back. The Obama administration then eliminated it as well.

So, this is actually a bipartisan blind spot? …

Let’s fast-forward back to today’s crisis.

A lot of State Department officials tell me that they blame China, they blame China for covering this up, and, if China had acted better, then we would be more ahead of the problem. Do you agree?

Kenneth Bernard:

It’s possible, but essentially completely irrelevant.

Did the president’s early decision to block those from China, especially from Wuhan, entering the United States — absolutely. We were given a month of extra time to prepare for what would be inevitable in this country, given the virus.

And, instead, we spent most of our time worried about blocking borders, and not enough time preparing for the inevitable. …”

Clive Robinson March 21, 2020 10:16 AM

@ metaschima,

The FDA has not approved a treatment, yes that is true, so no doctor can say there is a treatment because they cannot go against the FDA if they don’t want to be sued.

Well maybe you are the one making assumptions about what is being said here, had you thought about that?

Your above statment is actually not true. Many doctors have said that there is no disease specific treatment, because there has not been one found yet. The Chinese, the French and many other Governments are running trials. Untill those successful small trials are run against greater cohorts of patients, then things like efficacy and side effects remain unknown.

As for prescribing drugs for “off book use” that is a mainly US problem due to the way healthcare insurance companies behave. In many other parts of the world “Comfort Prescribing” and “last resort prescribing” are alowed. This is how crisis health managment kind of works, you take known prefereably off patent drugs and try them in combinations. You do this because they are well understood and you try them on small cohorts of patients. Those that show efficacy and minimal side effects get tried on larger cohorts. But all such treatments are in reality “stop gap” to relieve the preasure on hospitals untill the likes of vaccines are developed.

But on to other thingd, I’ve just looked at several reputable sites and they show that the number of confirmed cases[1] world wide has gone up from 250,000 yesterday to what will be 300,000 by midnight (GMT).

Now I don’t know how good your maths is but that means 600,000 in four days time if there is not some drastic change. As for the numbers dead well that’s showing a similar rise.

Now I don’t know what you do for a living, but I suggest you stay at home with your family if you can.

Because I know that quite a few places are now at or beyond the number of cases they can admit into hospital, thus the Case Fatality Rate on those who don’t get medical treatment will be something like 20 times that of those who do get medical treatment.

You might not like being told this but you can go check the figures yourself, without going anywhere near a MSM site[2].

But if you look back I’ve made several predictions about SARS-CoV-2 and it’s effects as well as the fairly venal nature of some in positions of power that enable them to enrich themselves at the expense of others. I’m not the only one and so far our predictions are either true or still in the pipeline.

I don’t remember any true predictions under your handle… I wonder why?

[1] The reported figures we know are low for various reasons, in the UK for instance the political arm of the National Health Service the Department of Health has issued edicts on testing which quite deliberatly under report the number of cases for what is obviously political reasons. Some specialists in disease spread mapping put the number of actual infections at twenty or more times the “Official Government” figures. Some consider 80,000 cases in London and the South East of England to be well within reasonable estimate.

[2] I’ve not looked at too many MSM sites, the ones in the US tend to block Europeans. But the ones I have seen are tending to not be alarmist or over dramaticising the situation.

JonKnowsNothing March 21, 2020 10:17 AM

re: Treatment

This is a good point because there are all sorts of things called “treatment” which are viable or acceptable in context.

Such things as:

  • Treatments for chronic illnesses like asthma
  • Treatments for chronic conditions like back pain
  • Treatments for genetic related conditions like motor neuron disease
  • Treatments for inherited conditions like Huntington’s chorea
  • Treatments for annual illnesses like influenza
  • Treatments for infectious diseases like measles or polio
  • Treatments for conditions that are no longer given like for smallpox
  • Treatments for conditions not understood by science

One main variable is how the treatment is perceived, not only by the person but family and society. So one “treatment” is OK in one context but not in another.

Perhaps a more thoughtful consideration is in order.

  • Personally I don’t find a “treatment” that condemns a large percentage of the population to death because we don’t have enough “physical goods” isn’t much of a “treatment”.
  • Personally I don’t find a “treatment” that banks on “personal responsibility” to be a very good one, even if that’s the treatment most recommended, because it’s not likely to be 100% successful, leaving failures in it’s wake leading to death or a “forever” new hotspot eruption.
  • Personally I don’t find a “treatment” that omits to explain that the percentages mentioned include YOU. You might be in a percentage with a good chance of minimal immediate effect but YOU can still die. Percentages do not grant immunity to any individual it is treatment by RNG/PRNG.
  • Personally I am skeptical of “OMG this WORKS”, perhaps having been around the receiving end of New Drugs and New Treatments only to find they work by placebo or worse they cause long term damage that takes the “long term” to recognize.
  • Personally I am highly biased because I am IN the No Treatment Percentage and you know, I didn’t volunteer to die because the airlines wanted to make money or cruise ships overflowed with sick people and didn’t want to give refunds.
  • Personally I am hoping to survive long enough that a respirator will become available for when I do get sick because you know: I don’t have any herd or another immunity.

But that’s me… ymmv

MarkH March 21, 2020 10:19 AM

@metaschima, myliit, Clive’s comment on another thread:

I’ve no opinion on whether any particular medication (or combination thereof) will prove effective against Covid-19. I haven’t the foggiest notion of how these chemicals work, how they fail, or how they damage the patients to whom they’re administered.

My sunny perspective is that medical researchers are at least as clever as we are … maybe even more so!

Probably, for at least two months, laboratories have been testing a broad variety of antiviral medications, and will continue to do so.

metaschima’s comment includes this telling phrase (my emphasis added):

China did approve several treatments … that are effective in vitro

It’s as common as dirt that drug therapies which show promise in the lab, fail miserably in human patients. In particular, medical experts in the U.S. are saying they are not especially optimistic that the “cocktail” about which Trump has such good feelings will be safe and effective as a Covid-19 treatment.

Unfortunately, the kind of medical research needed to evaluate candidate medicines requires patient, deliberate, methodical processes.

Like so many people, I dearly hope that one or more effective medications will be found. I’m an elevated-risk person myself, so I even have a little personal interest in the matter.

Clive Robinson March 21, 2020 10:59 AM

@ 65535,

No comments on the usefulness or non-usefulness of the combination of Hydroxychloroquine and axithromycin?

There are now 0:)

But it takes a while to not just read the paper but do research on the drugs and think about why they might be working. So I’d still be expecting further info to be rolling in for a week or so.

@ ALL,

If you do read the report, it won’t tell you as much as the graphs on the last two pages.

Especially note the fact that the control group was going not just down but up down and up again. This is an indication that their immune systems were suffereing from a “viral overload” and thus could not cope. If people take any antipyretics such as NSAIDs and Steroids this will lower the body temprature giving even further advantage to the virus over the immune system, thus the overload wilk be worse and the likelhood of clinical shock, sepsis, organ failure, systemic organ failure and ultimately death are more than somewhat increased in the age range the study was in (ie older than 12 years).

MarkH March 21, 2020 11:18 AM

I found this most interesting: a very brief but informative NYT article by an epidemiologist summarizing 7 important characteristics of the virus causing Covid-19.

One reason it’s so succinct, is that it uses without defining them some technical terms which will be unfamiliar to the great majority of newspaper readers.

Two things that stood out for me:

  1. Coronaviruses have the longest genomes of any RNA virus family (in the neighborhood of 30,000 base pairs). I speculated about this a few weeks ago … presumably, a significant proportion of them have little or no functional impact, and provide a convenient mechanism for tracing the pathway by which infection reached a particular host.

  2. They’re big fat fellows … as viruses go. That’s why they aren’t (thank God!) as contagious as measles with its much smaller size; their mass limits their “hang time” in air, and causes them to fall within a modest distance from their host.

gordo March 21, 2020 11:40 AM

@ myliit,

Thanks for the Democracy Now! link. Also, that the PBS interview transcript is up.

Key comment from Dr. Barry in the Democracy Now! interview:

What we do have is what we call nonpharmaceutical interventions. And that is basically quarantine and isolation and good transparent communication and testing, testing and surveillance.

From USA Today:

More states are enacting strict stay-at-home orders this weekend as health officials nationwide seek to slow the community spread of COVID-19.

Illinois plans to require residents to stay home as much as possible, aside from meeting their basic needs, starting Saturday evening. New York plans to ban all nonessential travel beginning Sunday evening, following California’s lead, which began Friday. Connecticut and Oregon were preparing to do the same.

Meanwhile, the White House’s coronavirus task force is expected to give a briefing at 12:30 p.m. ET.

dbCooper March 21, 2020 1:27 PM

A hypothetical:
Should China be the first to develop a viable Treatment/Vaccine, I sincerely hope the US President will refer to it as The Chinese Treatment/Vaccine.

Alejandro March 21, 2020 1:30 PM

Nobel laureate: surprised if Israel has more than 10 coronavirus deaths

Michael Levitt: Crank or Prophet?

I guess we’ll know soon enough.

Basically, he claims by studying the death rate, he has determined Covid is a self limiting disease and, after a very intense rise of critical cases, new cases will simply fall away, as it did in China.

He predicts very soon Italy and France will see a decline in new cases.

I checked some facts about the Spanish Flu pandemic. Of course record keeping was crude, but as near as I can tell no more than 27% of the population caught the disease, and the mortality rate of those who did was between 1% and 6%. Of course, the loss was still staggering. So was the Spanish Flu “self limiting”?

I believe Levitt’s basic premise is to only look at the coronavirus within an exponential rate model is erroneous. Basically, as a population becomes immune and due to movement limitations the disease will control itself. To what level of course is not known.

But, he did make a rather bold prediction for Israel which will be an interesting test of his hypothesis. Pretty soon.

My bet: I think he might be right.

JonKnowsNothing March 21, 2020 2:39 PM

MSM report:

You can bork face recognition AI by “poisoning the data set” using an “Image scaling attack”.

algorithms are used by AI frameworks for image scaling – a common preprocessing step to resize images in a dataset so they all have the same dimensions.

Different algorithms use different methods to achieve this resizing.

The number of pixels used by an algorithm, can be tweaked the affect outcome. Most consider only a third of the pixels to compute scaling.

Researchers were able to modify a source image of a cat, without any visible sign of alteration, to make TensorFlow’s nearest scaling algorithm output a dog.

Image scaling attacks “are model-independent and do not depend on knowledge of the learning model, features or training data.

Cute cat… not so cute dog… woof!!!

ht tps://
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

SpaceLifeForm March 21, 2020 4:33 PM

@ Clive, Anders, ALL

Here’s a MD that is using the Hyrdoxychloroquine and Azithromycin


Unfortunately, it is as the patient.


lurker March 21, 2020 4:44 PM

@Clive, All

If you do read the report, it won’t tell you as much as the graphs on the last two pages.

The picture(s) worth a thousand words. Although they acknowledge at the start this was an open-label, non-random test. I have used chloroquine (it was long ago, I suspect it was probably hydroxychloroquine sulfate) for malaria, twice. Dosage 1 gram, then after 8hours 500mg, followed by 250mg at 16, 24, 48hours. That first hit is heavy, so the report’s caution on contra-indications is welcome. Let’s hope somebody has picked this up for double blind randomised trials rsn.

SpaceLifeForm March 21, 2020 5:30 PM

@ Clive, Anders, ALL

A study that points to the reduction of viral load may be the best treatment, especially for severe cases.


The mean viral load of severe cases was around 60 times higher than that of mild cases, suggesting that higher viral loads might be associated with severe clinical outcomes.

Clive Robinson March 21, 2020 5:31 PM

@ Alejandro,

Michael Levitt: Crank or Prophet?

I would suggest that he is incorrectly being assessed by Clarke’s Law,

    “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right.”

There is a distinct difference between something that “is possible” and a “prediction”. If I said it’s possible for it to rain in the Sahara desert, you can do some checking and verify that it has happened and is thus still possible. However if predict that ten inches of rain will fall on a particular piece of desert a week on monday… I suspect you and most people would bet against me.

Oh by the way technically nobody has actually died from SARS-CoV-2. What they have died of is the complications that lead to the likes of shock, organ failure etc which then eventually cause your heart or brain to stop, and that is what kills you.

But what he is getting at is in part the patient zero problem and the number of available hosts[0].

If you are patient zero of a novel to humans pathogen, then everybody you meet initially is a viable host[1]. Conversley if you don’t meet anyone whilst you are alive and infectious you can not pass it on, so it will die out when your immune system gets on top of it and any pathogen you have left on any surfaces becomes non viable[2]

You can view those two points as either end of a line. That is from zero potential hosts to some number of potential hosts. The average number of potential hosts infected by a person shedding virus who is thus infectious is R0 if it is above one then the number of people infected goes up from time period to time period. If it’s at one the number of people being infected in any succession of time periods remains constant. If less than one then the number of new infections is decreasing with successive time periods.

R0 is not realy predictable for various reasons. However we do know that it is based on the rate of people you meet and the number of those people who can be viable hosts. If either of those drop then your personal R0 drops. This is the whole point of individual quarantine, if you don’t meet anyone whilst you are shedding virus, and nobody comes into contact with anything you have shed upon, then your personal R0 is zero. More importantly if you don’t die then you cease to be a viable host, then you leave both the “population of viable hosts” and the “population of infective agents” and effectively you are out of the patgogen spreading game. Which means that the population of viable hosts decreases in the general population eventually to some small value or to some function of the addition of new viable hosts to the general population under consideration.

Now if you are patient zero and you have contact with viable hosts then you will probavly infect them. They will then go on and infect others. Thus the number of infected people grows exponentially and with a rate where those infected double every time period (~3 days in France, ~5 in Italy and ~6 in China). Even when the number of new cases are dropping the growth rate is still exponential it’s just that the doubling rate changes and becomes increased and becomes infinity when the curve is flattened. However unless the general population size is infinite the number of viable hosts will start to drop. What happens then is the dominant figure is not the rate you meet people at but the percentage of those people that are still viable hosts, but importantly it is time limited by how long you remain infectious for. At some point those who are infectious nolonger meet viable hosts and thus at some point even though there are still viable hosts in the general population the dwindling numbers of virus shedding people nolonger infect people and the virus ceases to be viable thus becomes extinct.

The question arises as how do you accurately model this, well the answer is you can not realy as there are to many factors involved that you just can not know and change continuously. What you can do is run a number of simulations and then select the one that appears to match your current data set. This prediction much like the weather forecast will be good in the short term and quickly becomes near usless as you go further into the future.

Thus his predictions are probably not at all acurate outside of a few days. And even just one infective person getting into Israel will start a new cluster that will wreck the model because it could quickly become a new wave. The more viable hosts there are in the general population the more likely this is to happen.

[0] It’s also why I’ve said we know how to eradicate SARS-CoV-2 within ~35 days, but we are unlikely to do it due to vested interests.

[1] Viruses can not reproduce without a viable host so if they do not come into contact with a new viable host then as the current host either dies or their immune system gets on top of the virus then they are nolonger a viable host so the virus is nolonger replicated. The virus then starts to become less and less viable with time and environment conditions[2].

[2] When a human “sheds virus” there are various pathways it can leave the body. But the virus is realistically only going to end up in one of two places where it can do harm. Firstly suspended in the air, this appears to be from a half hour to an hour with SARS-CoV-2 after which it ends up in the second harmfull state on the surfaces of objects. The virus has not been fully characterized, but it’s generaly assumed it will cease to be viable in a fairly short period of time, which apparently takes around three or four days, nine maximum if it’s on certain favourable surfaces and both the temprature and humidity are right, which generally they are not.

myliit March 21, 2020 6:00 PM

“… What’s key though (and, because of editing decisions, doesn’t get a lot of focus in the story) is one reason why Trump didn’t heed the warnings of his briefers: because he believed Xi Jingpeng [or he said he did for political or meritless reasons] more than he believed the US intelligence community.

The intelligence reports didn’t predict when the virus might land on U.S. shores or recommend particular steps that public health officials should take, issues outside the purview of the intelligence agencies. But they did track the spread of the virus in China, and later in other countries, and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak.


Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response — who was joined by intelligence officials, including from the CIA — told committee members that the virus posed a “serious” threat, one of those officials said.

Kadlec didn’t provide specific recommendations, but he said that to get ahead of the virus and blunt its effects, Americans would need to take actions that could disrupt their daily lives, the official said. “It was very alarming.”

Trump’s insistence on the contrary seemed to rest in his relationship with China’s President Xi Jingping, whom Trump believed was providing him with reliable information about how the virus was spreading in China, despite reports from intelligence agencies that Chinese officials were not being candid about the true scale of the crisis.

We all pay for Robert Kadlec to make sure policymakers get warnings about such things. And yet, Trump refused to believe those warnings because someone he trusted more — Xi — told him differently.

Trump has been permitted to believe his authoritarian buddies over the intelligence community on all manner of things. It derives from two things: first, his own innate fondness for authoritarians. But also, his need to believe Vladimir Putin’s assurances that Russia didn’t help him get elected.

The enabling of Trump’s fondness for dictators will end up being very costly for the United States.”

Clive Robinson March 21, 2020 6:16 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Unfortunately, it is as the patient.

I wish Dr. Jignesh Patel MD well and hope his recovery is swift.

With regards,

The mean viral load of severe cases was around 60 times higher than that of mild cases, suggesting that higher viral loads might be associated with severe clinical outcomes.

It’s what I am talking about when I say “viral overload” and it’s why it’s important you should not take any antipyretics such as NSAIDs or Steroids if you are not prescribed them from before you get infected.

In a normal infection you would get just a few RNA strands in you, thus the replication rate would be low. However if you are in an environment where the air is thick with virus RNA strands then you would get a vast number of strands inside you very quickly and the replication rate would be many times higher than normal. I suspect this is what happened to some medical personnel that when getting a vast number of RNA strands in them, combined with dehydration, long hours, and high physical and mental stress depressing their immune systems and they went out fast.

Put simply your body can only handle a certain amount of virus replication before you start to loose the battle. The older you are the longer the time lag before your immune system starts to ramp up and the slower the rate it ramps up at thus giving the virus a larger initial advantage. If you then take antipyretics you not just give further advantage to the virus, you also reduce quite a bit the efficiency of your immune system giving the virus yet more advantage.

If the virus replication rate is at the limits of what your immune system can do, then you become sufficiently ill that you have to go onto oxygen therapy if it’s above the rate your immune system can initially handle then other supportive treatment in ICU/ITU is required because you become severly ill. Then it becomes a question of if the damage is sufficient for secondary effects to kill you…

In theory if you can stop clinical shock by giving fluids etc, and maintain the oxygenation of red blood cells and get them to every part of your body you will survive. The Chinese used what some call “heart lung machines” to oxygenate some patients blood outside of their body and they survived. However there were very few machines and also some peoples condition degraded so fast there was not time to get such treatment started.

I further suspect that if you are in a closed environment with someone who is immuno-compromised and shedding a lot of virus such as “home quarantine” it will make it considerably more likely that others in the environment will get a virus overload. This might account for the significant increase in Italian cases where three generations living in the same house is fairly common and thus when they become “shut in” the amount of volume per person is significantly smaller than in other places thus the virus density significantly increased.

Sancho_P March 21, 2020 6:30 PM

@MarkH (re: A dissenting view), @Clive Robinson

First we’d have to answer if there is immunity and how long, if ever.
Some days ago we did not have enough data, today we have?
The critical resource is speed and we lost the race against GRETA-19 already.
Treatment available or not, if above capacity, health services(+) will be overwhelmed by the vast amount of patients needing (controlled) treatment. So will be the undertakers.

Thus we are not in the position of “balancing loss of life against economic costs”, we are not at the wheel anymore (probably we never were).
@Clive already hinted at the important role of seniors in our global economy.
But in contrast to a “climate crisis” I hope the economy crash will cool and save the world within 4 years. Plenty of fish, wildlife, nature – yummy 🙂

Clive Robinson March 21, 2020 6:37 PM

@ lurker,

I have used chloroquine (it was long ago, I suspect it was probably hydroxychloroquine sulfate) for malaria, twice.

Yes I was prescribed it long ago along with a lot of needles and other tablets for a trip to sub Saharan Africa, and it made me very sick for a while. However the symptoms passed before I had to step on the plane ramp, where once in the air supprise supprise the symptoms returned for a pergetory number of hours. Thus I did not hit the ground running but horizontal and soaked through much to the anoyance of the rest of the team. It’s a trip I’d rather not remember for many reasons.

Anders March 21, 2020 7:33 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @ALL

Turkey is raising fast, 947 cases 21 dead.

But Italy…this picture worried me.

Desciption : The Italian army intervenes to move bodies from the main cemetery of Bergamo. Photograph: Sergio Agazzi.Fotogramma/Reuters

JonKnowsNothing March 21, 2020 8:17 PM


re: Second or Recurring infection of COVID19

While it’s early days, there seems to be an assumption that re-infection of COVID19 does not occur and that there is no mutation happening.

In OLD TIMES, before genome sequencing was common, An-Illness was An-Illness. Now we can often trace the history of An-Illness and the pathway through the population it picks up bits and pieces of genetic material as it propagates through various individuals.

It would be a bit odd, if COVID19 did not do so too.

Is COVID19 any different in the mechanics of this?

fwiw: I can only suppose given the extreme rate of traversing the globe, that there is only one edition, but if we end up with re-infections or re-occurrences wouldn’t a mutation be likely? I’m pretty sure, the disaster capitalists are planning on this as referenced in an article earlier.

fwiw: I have been unlucky to be in the under 5% with more than 1 episode of Shingles. I was below the recommended age for the vaccine available from my healthcare system so I did not get the vaccine until after the 3d episode.

ht tps://

Shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, is a viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blisters in a localized area.[2][6] Typically the rash occurs in a single, wide stripe either on the left or right side of the body or face….The rash usually heals within two to four weeks.

Shingles is due to a reactivation of varicella zoster virus (VZV) in a person’s body.[1] The disease chickenpox is caused by the initial infection with VZV.[1] Once chickenpox has resolved, the virus may remain inactive in nerve cells.[1] When it reactivates, it travels from the nerve body to the endings in the skin, producing blisters.[7] Risk factors for reactivation include old age, poor immune function, and having had chickenpox before 18 months of age.[1] How the virus remains in the body or subsequently re-activates is not well understood.

About half of those living to age 85 will have at least one attack, and less than 5% will have more than one attack

(url fractured to prevent autorun)

Sed Contra March 21, 2020 11:06 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing

Shingles is due to a reactivation of varicella zoster

Probably a practical impossibility in the current restricted situation, but the body’s metabolism and immune system can be boosted to tackle this and many other conditions and diseases by the Gerson therapy approach, a detoxifying diet and regime. No drugs are involved. The website has details. I’ve seen it work.

myliit March 21, 2020 11:12 PM

“ Steven Levy: I was in the room in 2006 when you gave that TED talk. Your wish was “Help Me Stop Pandemics.” You didn’t get your wish, did you?

Larry Brilliant: No, I didn’t get that wish at all, although the systems that I asked for have certainly been created and are being used. It’s very funny because we did a movie, Contagion— …

We are being asked to do things, certainly, that never happened in my lifetime—stay in the house, stay 6 feet away from other people, don’t go to group gatherings. Are we getting the right advice?

Well, as you reach me, I’m pretending that I’m in a meditation retreat, but I’m actually being semi-quarantined in Marin County. Yes, this is very good advice. But did we get good advice from the president of the United States for the first 12 weeks? No. All we got were lies. Saying it’s fake, by saying this is a Democratic hoax. There are still people today who believe that, to their detriment. Speaking as a public health person, this is the most irresponsible act of an elected official that I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime. But what you’re hearing now [to self-isolate, close schools, cancel events] is right. Is it going to protect us completely? Is it going to make the world safe forever? No. It’s a great thing because we want to spread out the disease over time. …

Unfortunately, it requires doing the proportionate number of tests that they did—they did well over a quarter of a million tests. In fact, by the time South Korea had done 200,000 tests, we had probably done less than 1,000.

Now that we’ve missed the opportunity for early testing, is it too late for testing to make a difference?

Absolutely not. Tests would make a measurable difference. We should be doing a stochastic process random probability sample of the country to find out where the hell the virus really is. Because we don’t know. …

If you were the president for one day, what would you say in the daily briefing?

I would begin the press conference by saying “Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Ron Klain—he was the Ebola czar [under President Barack Obama], and now I’ve called him back and made him Covid czar. Everything will be centralized under one person who has the respect of both the public health community and the political community.” We’re a divided country right now. Right now, Tony Fauci [head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] is the closest that we come to that. …

How will we know when we’re through this?

The world is not going to begin to look normal until three things have happened. One, we figure out whether the distribution of this virus looks like an iceberg, which is one-seventh above the water, or a pyramid, where we see everything. If we’re only seeing right now one-seventh of the actual disease because we’re not testing enough, and we’re just blind to it, then we’re in a world of hurt. Two, we have a treatment that works, a vaccine or antiviral. And three, maybe most important, we begin to see large numbers of people—in particular nurses, home health care providers, doctors, policemen, firemen, and teachers who have had the disease—are immune, and we have tested them to know that they are not infectious any longer. And we have a system that identifies them, either a concert wristband or a card with their photograph and some kind of a stamp on it. Then we can be comfortable sending our children back to school, because we know the teacher is not infectious.

And instead of saying “No, you can’t visit anybody in nursing home,” we have a group of people who are certified that they work with elderly and vulnerable people, and nurses who can go back into the hospitals and dentists who can open your mouth and look in your mouth and not be giving you the virus. When those three things happen, that’s when normalcy will return. …”

MarkH March 22, 2020 2:18 AM


Here’s my highly uneducated picture (readers, kindly correct anything I’m getting wrong here):

Because cures by antiviral drugs are quite exceptional, virtually everyone who recovers from viral illness with a diminishing viral load, does so by virtue of their immune system developing a significant capacity to destroy the virus.

In other words, if you recover, you are at that time immune. Conversely, if you failed to become immune, you never recovered. It appears that patients who survive recover within a few weeks … so yes, people acquire immunity.

This leaves two big open questions:

  1. How long does the immunity persist?
  2. How specific is that immunity in comparison to the proliferation of genetic variations in the virus?

The existence of immunity not in question. Its duration and breadth can only be known after months — perhaps a good number of months — of studying recovered populations.

65535 March 22, 2020 2:49 AM

@MarkH, Clive R, notamedic, metaschima, myliit and others,

First, MarkH, I do basically agree with your statement

“A Dissenting View on Covid-19 Response… Considering that the great majority of Covid-19 infections don’t require special medical treatment, and that we have a good picture of the small percentage of the population that is most vulnerable, the optimal strategy is to… a. provide strong protections for the people known to be most likely to get acutely ill… ”

Yes, the population that is pre-existing sever illness and elderly or over 60 years of age are most at risk. They should be the ones actually seeing a doctor about their health before something worse happens.


“My medical expertise is best approximated as zero. Accordingly, I yield to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. hydroxychloroquine could be used to prevent Covid-19, Dr. Fauci replied No. The answer … is no.”-MarkH

Yes, that is true. If you read my post it indicated…” I am somewhat doubtful that this is a real cure – probably more of a “treat the symptoms” – but I am not a doctor.” -65535

If you read back through this blog a long ways you will know that I do read it a lot and I have extended family members in both China and the States – some of whom are in the medical industry.

As for Dr. Fauci’s statement he made it clear his treatment was “off-label” and when speaking specifically of hydroxychloroquine is helps a number of actual covid19 sufferers but not all and must be combined with azithromycin to achieve some positive results [a see my google pdf paper link]. The combination of the two drugs may be helpful but far from a cure or even a vaccination.

That brings me to the next set of comments Clive R, notamedic, metaschima, myliit and others.

Yes, I see the framing of your answer and I don’t really disagree.

“These …studies would not make it into …review on the efficiency of drugs against corona virus. But there is nothing better up to now, bigger studies are under way, and we are in some kind of special situation. You never have lots of data in beginning of a trial… IMHO: in the worst case these drugs do nothing against Corona but they won’t make it worse either, in the best case they could actually help…” – notamedic

Very true.

“I strongly believe that the media is fearmongering… people on here are saying there’s no treatment, but that’s not entirely true. The FDA has not approved a treatment, yes that is true, so no doctor can say there is a treatment because they cannot go against the FDA if they don’t want to be sued… China did approve several treatments for it that are effective in vitro and were effective against the last SARS coronavirus. Unfortunately, some of these drugs are not available in the US like fapilavir/favilavir which actually would be great if the US had it. Im the US for severely ill patients they will likely use hydroxychloroquine. Sure, none of these are approved by the FDA…” – metaschima

I agree, and that is my understanding. A patient and his doctor can agree to the above combination of drugs off-label and use them or other combination of drugs. It is indeed done all the time. Now, the FDA, and coverage providers may not pay the cost of said off-label medication combinations but it is done more frequently than most people believe.

And, yes I agree there is a degree of fear mongering by CNN, ABC, MSNBC, NYT, LAT, WoPo, Fox, USA today and so on are fearmongering – and in a time where it is profitable.

Let’s be honest with each other, if the major networks can move political opinion or demonstrate the ability to sway public option it is “money in the bank” for them.

The major networks know how much political parties and politicians on both sides will pay them in this sensitive political time frame – to sway public opinion. I don’t want to dwell on politics so I will move on to another subject.

Most people on this blog have seen the Aaron Ginn’s piece in a well known and somewhat controversial site entitled “Evidence over hysteria COVID-19” – assuming it has not been taken off line or DDosd completely

ht tps://medium[.]com/six-four-six-nine/evidence-over-hysteria-covid-19-1b767def5894

[link is broken to hinder bots and be prepared to read 7K of English words]

Ginn notes:

“Time lapsing new cases gives us perspective… see how total cases are growing against a consistent time scale… time lapsed by country and date of first 100 total cases… United States is tracking with European nations with doubling cases every three days or so. As we measure and test more Americans, this will continue to grow. Our time-lapse growth is lower than China, but not as good as South Korea, Japan, Singapore, or Taiwan. All are considered models of how to beat COVID-19. The United States is performing average [Italy and Iran are the highest and not US or UK -ed]… Rank ordering based on the total number of cases shows that the US on a per capita basis is significantly lower than the top six nations by case volume. On a 1 million citizen per-capita basis, the US moves to above mid-pack of all countries and rising, with similar case volume as Singapore (385 cases), Cyprus (75 cases), and United Kingdom (3,983 cases). total cases even on a per-capita basis will always be a losing metric. The denominator (total population) is more or less fixed. We aren’t having babies at the pace of viral growth. Per-capita won’t explain how fast the virus is moving and if it is truly “exponential”…This is data as of March 20th, 2020… COVID-19 is spreading, but probably not accelerating…

“…Bell curves are the dominant trait of outbreaks. A virus doesn’t grow linearly or exponentially forever (if assuming reasonable assumptions about time). It accelerates, plateaus, and then declines. Whether via environmental factors or our own efforts, viruses accelerate and quickly decline. This fact of nature is represented in Farr’s law. CDC’s recommendation of “bend the curve” or “flatten the curve” reflects this natural reality… A low probability of catching COVID-19… The World Health Organization (“WHO”)… according to their report if you come in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 you have a 1–5% chance of catching it as well. The variability is large because the infection is based on the type of contact and how long… Air-based transmission or untraceable community spread is very unlikely. According to WHO’s COVID-19 lead Maria Van Kerkhove, true community based spreading is very rare. The data from China shows that community-based spread was only a very small handful of cases. “This virus is not circulating in the community, even in the highest incidence areas across China,”

Van Kerkhove said… “Transmission by fine aerosols in the air over long distances is not one of the main causes of spread. Most of the 2,055 infected hospital workers were either infected at home or in the early phase of the outbreak in Wuhan when hospital safeguards were not raised yet,” she said… The media was put into a frenzy when the above authors released their study on COVID-19’s ability to survive in the air. The study did find the virus could survive in the air for a couple of hours; however, this study was designed as academic exercise rather than a real-world test. This study put COVID-19 into a spray bottle to “mist” it into the air. I don’t know anyone who coughs in mist form and it is unclear if the viral load was large enough to infect another individual. As one doctor, who wants to remain anonymous, told me, “Corona doesn’t have wings”… Due to COVID-19’s sensitivity to UV light and heat (just like the normal influenza virus), it is very likely that it will “burn off” as humidity increases and temperatures rise… Children and Teens aren’t at risk… Only 2% of the patients in a review of nearly 45,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases in China were children, and there were no reported deaths in children under 10, according to a study published in JAMA last month. (In contrast, there have been 136 pediatric deaths from influenza in the U.S. this flu season.)

“… the true viral capacity is unknown at this moment, it is theorized that COVID-19 is more than the seasonal flu but less than other viruses. The average number of people to which a single infected person will transmit the virus, or Ro, range from as low as 1.5 to a high of 3.0 [chart show various ratios of infection and other rates of infection from past epidemics]… The majority of cases see symptoms within a few days, not two weeks as originally believed… true asymptomatic spread, the data is still unclear but increasingly unlikely. Two studies point to a low infection rate from pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. One study said 10% of infections come from people who don’t show symptoms yet. Another WHO study reported 1.2% of confirmed cases were truly asymptomatic. Several studies confirming asymptotic spread have ended up disproven. It is important to note there is a difference between “never showing symptoms” and “pre-symptomatic” and the media is promoting an unproven narrative. Almost all people end up in the latter camp within five days, almost never the former. It is very unlikely for individuals with COVID-19 to never show symptoms. WHO and CDC claim that asymptomatic spread isn’t a concern… and… Things are moving quickly, so I update this article twice a day. Most graphs are as of March 20th, 2020. Follow me on Twitter if you would like to see the updated graphics and articles…”-Ginn

I will say Ginn does some extrapolating and editorializing so take him with a grain of salt. But, Ginn does basically agrees with the EFF on a small need to watch infected individuals with privacy and care.

Returning to Ginn, this crew should feel free to hack away at his report. I am sure this blog can do so.

Sorry I cannot spend large amounts of time on this blog. I do re-image and repair computers that M$ patches have destroyed – it is not ideal but it is keeping me working. I use to think M$ was bad but what the heck – it brings in money.

[Excuse of the grammar and spelling errors. I had to bang it out. Also, If you cannot get the post at: ht tps://medium[.]com/six-four-six-nine/evidence-over-hysteria-covid-19-1b767def5894 just use a search engine and you will find it]

oooooof March 22, 2020 7:58 AM


You only need two things:


Each day, when I look at the numbers, my oof gets longer.
For 100000 cases it took about 3 months.
Going from 100k to 200k took 12 days.
Going from 200k to 300k took 4 days.

Most people would agree that for a spreading disease this looks like some kind of a problem. Of course you could also argue this is just due to more testing. The more you test the more mild cases you find and the more the CFR goes down. While I can’t prove it I’d still say the CFR is still higher and always will be than the average flu. If you’d test everyone in the country for flu and not just people going to the doctor you would see a similar decrease in CFR for the flu.
However, you could also argue that you have these numbers because some of the (draconian) measurements being put in place and people already adapting things like social distancing, more hand washing … If you look at China they are doing fairly well since a while compared to other countries.
The article states that:

“In CDC’s worst-case scenario, CDC expects more than 150–200 million infections within the US. This estimate is hundreds of times bigger than China’s infection rate (30% of our population compared to 0.006% in China)”

Some other countries give numbers like 70%. But even if we stick to the CDC you still compare apples to oranges. The first is the worst case spread over a long time frame while the second is actual cases including a very! big lockdown.
Based on the growth rates you can barely estimate what the number would be without doing anything. Business as usual, letting everyone traveling everywhere, no protection for health care workers, no vaccine … Active cases would be in the millions with a high death toll compared to the flu.

“despite a significantly lower caseload on a per-capita basis.”

That’s certainly pointless. Better take a look at the population density in certain areas of the country

Depending on where you live your risk and hence required counter measurements are different. You’d maybe never meet someone with the corona virus in your life time when you live in the African bush while in the big apple this will spread like a wildfire if you don’t take any precautions.

The WHO says depending on the state in your country you need to take different actions. You don’t need a lockdown in the middle of nowhere but in a multi million city …

“China has a sub-par healthcare system”

On average maybe. But not in a city like Wuhan. Compared to other countries they also have some kind of experiences with similar situations.

“attempted to suppress the news about COVID-19 early on, a lack of transparency,


” an authoritarian government, and millions of Chinese traveling for the Lunar Festival at the height of the outbreak”

The first actually helped them I’d say. For the second, people were doing business as usual around the world while China was coughing. Now the rest of the world is/starts coughing …

“we have a significant lead time”

Imagine what would have happened if it had started everywhere at the same time … . Or what if it had started in NYC. You don’t need to thank China for everything, but they certainly bought the other countries some time.

“several therapies proving successful, transparency, a top tier healthcare system, a democratic government, and media providing ample accountability”

I beg do disagree on at least some of that.

“Does stopping air travel have a greater impact than closing all restaurants? Does closing schools reduce the infection rate by 10%? Not one policymaker has offered evidence of any of these approaches.”

Yeah, let’s just wait for a meta analysis of double blinded placebo controlled trails on the effect of closing restaurants on spreading of the Coronoa virus . Some things are just common sense. Take a look at China again and tell me how locking everything down didn’t work. Maybe we have the magical summer and heat there now so the virus went away? Yes, it cost them a shitload of money.

It breaks down to how much a life is worth compared to the potential losses. Is it worth when some elderly person dies because someone else wanted to keep his restaurant because he needs to feed his family? Answer probably depends on who you are. In Italy doctors already need to decide who gets treatment meaning someone else will most likely die of this decision. When taking a look at the US or UK the only thing which might help them is 1-2 weeks lead time where they can prepare. I’m not sure their health system is generally better than in Wuhan or Italy. Boris Johnson already asked everyone in the risk group to stay at home for the next months.

The article is also right in some sense. Many politicians and decision makers are in the risk group while at the same time their monetary losses (maybe still in the millions) are small compared to Joe Plumber who can’t go to work the next months. This creates some bias.

Clive Robinson March 22, 2020 8:11 AM

@ Sed Contra,

With regards the J post article on a vaccine, it’s not exactly news. Also there is something like 30-40 seperate research groups developing a vacine for SARS-CoV-2, some are much further ahead.

However the “90days” approvals proccess is a non starter if it’s to be done according to the current rules for testing. Whilst Israel might reduce the “safety” and “efficacy” testing and some of the larger studies required other governments may well not.

I for one would not take such a “short cut tested” vaccine even though I’m in several of the “high risk” groups.

But lets assuming it does get through testing in 3 months, it still will not be available for some time afterwards. It takes time to setup and get right production of a vaccine on any sort of scale assuming you have all the equipment in sufficient quantity, fully setup, personnel trained etc all ready and waiting to be used, which it won’t be. Most of the equipment required to do it is currently in use for other vaccine production and it takes time to manufacture even if you switch to a “war time footing” for production. If you don’t think so look at the ramp up time on ventilators which are way simpler equipment.

I don’t want to rain on anyones publicity parade but realistically we are not going to see a vaccine in 2020, the allocation of land, building of the required premises, the manufacture and installation of equipment, the training of personnel and the sourcing of “raw stock” are things we know about and can CPA up and running. But there are going to be any number of things we don’t know about presenting as rocks in the road.

Ask any large chemical process engineer what they would think on times and you start to understand why most experts in the field are saying not 3 months but 12-18 months before a vaccine will be available for use and for good reason.

But appart from waving a publicity flag the J Post has set up false expectations in peoples minds. We know drowning people will clutch at straws, which is a very bad decision, but most politicians are floundering in the water, that article is like throwing in a handfull of straw, it will in all probability set many politicions of down the wrong path, which will have a deleterious effect on the entire population.

Clive Robinson March 22, 2020 8:43 AM

@ Anders,

The information comming out from Italy is very sad and depressing, but all to predictable.

The simple fact is every fascit of life and death can be viewed as a process. As a rule in our current world thinking we plan processes even in normal times for “under capacity” as the simple rule of “supply and demand pricing” nets a better profit.

As a process the undertaking business is very much “under capacity” at this time of year due to the increase of seasonal deaths. Thus your money gets you less of a funeral than it does in summer as those involved try to increase capacity by shortening times and other variables they can not address at other slacker times.

The problem we have now is that all COVID-19 deaths result in what is legaly “contaminated waste” or bio-hazard and there is no humanity or death rituals in what is done with bio-hazard contaminated waste.

Thus the grieving are denied not just the rituals around the body, but also the processes that follow of those who know the deceased getting together and remembering their life.

Thus closure is hard to come by for many, and this will have repucutions for many throughout their lives.

I personally have no expectations about my demise, but the loss of my parents when young still hangs over me into a fifth decade. Likewise friends and comrades especially the too many that have gone before their time. It is said by those more atune to the ways of nature, “you are never truely gone, you live on in peoples memories”. It is the good memories that people should have to carry forwared, unfortunatly this crisis will leave to many bad memories and even recriminations, and that is one of the costs that will carry forward for more than a lifetime or two.

It’s something people should remember, that what we do, how we do it and the outcome of such actions will be carried forward in others memories.

Sancho_P March 22, 2020 8:49 AM


I think you still didn’t get my point, sorry:
Until experts aren’t sure about immunity, we, the laymen, should not favour unreasonable ideas (your TL;DR March 20):
”b. let Covid-19 sweep through the rest of the population unhindered, to build herd immunity as soon as possible”
To ‘sweep unhindered’ means:
Many (70%+) sick in a short timeframe (2-3 months), with extreme impact on business, supply chain and family life, high fatality rate, without bounds resp. borders.
But worse, with unknown future regarding immunity.
Mr. Katz seems to be a close friend of the greatest emperor we’ve ever had?

On the contrary, we should carefully evaluate and learn from the past.
”The existence of immunity not in question. Its duration and breadth can only be known after months — perhaps a good number of months — of studying recovered populations.”
OK, let’s put naZZionalism aside and look at China before risking all of us.

If true, it’s shocking, so take care:–terrifying-lung-failure-from-covid19-even-in-his-young-patients

Clive Robinson March 22, 2020 9:18 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

I can only suppose given the extreme rate of traversing the globe, that there is only one edition, but if we end up with re-infections or re-occurrences wouldn’t a mutation be likely?

If there is only one strain of infection then anyone who has suffered it will not get reinfected in the short term.

However if preventative measures are taken and the spread is suppressed that will leave a large cohort of uninfected people. Which means that as long as the virus remains anywhere then a new slightly smaller wave of infection will take place as the preventative measures are eased or cease.

What happens to this second or subsecuent waves rather depends on what measure we leave in place.

South Korea has demonstrated that you can fairly quickly get a starting wave of infection under control you just have to be significantly proactive not lackadaisical reactive.

If your response is fast and contact tracing good then you can contain an outbreak and a near normal society and economy will be the result. If not then general community spread will happen again and society will just go back into lock down again and the economy will fairly quickly colapse.

London’s Imperial College disease moddlers are some of the best in the world. Taking into account lackadaisical political behaviour and lack of will plus the less than educated view of a significant percentage of the population, they have predicted for the US and UK repeated waves of infection every few months with belated lock down. Such that lock down will be in place for 2/3rds of the time for several years unless policy changes, effective treatment developed or finally an effective vaccine. They did not say what they thought about the economic consequences of such repeated waves but I think most will realise that the best we could hope for is a recession lasting atleast twice that long.

I have been unlucky to be in the under 5% with more than 1 episode of Shingles.

Ouch, I used to work with someone who had it a couple of times as well, in fairly quick succession. In both cases it was across the waist band area, which made the wearing of clothes torture for them and you could see in their face just how much so, even though they tried to remain cheerful. They were also not impressed when their Dr. prescribed anti-depressants. They took some persuading that the drugs actuall were for the shingles (they actually work beter than they do for depression which might account for why other drugs are used for depression these days).

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons March 22, 2020 9:31 AM


For those that hold out the proposition that the U.S. administration is prosecuting the Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange for reasons whatsoever, should resist a misinformed position. Are you listening Qanon? What has been revealed from the first day of the court proceeding, an extradition hearing, in Woolwich England consists of a continued abuse of power. What the defense has described as an abuse of process at nearly every state and stage of the prosecution.

The President of the U.S. employed proxies (Rohrabacher, Johnson) to approach Assange’s legal counsel (August 2017) with an extortion offer. If Assange gave claim to Russian sourcing for materials related to information leaked during the election, then charges could be dropped. It has also been reported that a close associate of Assange was confronted by political donors indicating that their preference was to see that Assange was persecuted. Their outrage was palpable to paraphrase the associate. To think that this is not a political prosecution and persecution is to defy gravity while complaining about how “stuff” rolls downhill. Some might call it credulity…

Clive Robinson March 22, 2020 11:09 AM

@ ALL,

One of the unknowns about SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 is how long it remains viable outside a hosts body.

In essence we are interested in a line from nano particles/droplets that achive maximal aerosolization through to how long millimetric particles/droplets survive on surfaces.

No matter where you are on that line three things apply,

1, Inate pathogen viability.
2, Temprature.
3, Humidity.

With viruses they tend to remain viable longer when temprature is lower and humidty higher (upto a point).

Up untill recently we were working on assumptions based on the similar SARS-CoV-1 and it’s analogues, which suggested at lower tempratures and higher humidity it could remain viable on stainless steel for upto nine days.

There has been a letter published in the well regarded New England Journal of Medicine about a comparison study done on both SARS-CoV-1 SARS-CoV-2,

Unfortunatly the temprature range was small and the humidity low, thus comparable to the environment you would find in many Western air conditiones office and home environments.

The findings about the two types of SARS-CoV are that broadly they are similar though type 2 which causes COVID-19 appears more robust.

The letter is written in a way that many will find hard to get their head around. Therefore they might find the interpretation of another researcher Dr. John Campbell PhD easier to understand,

But the big take away you should realise is that SARS-CoV-2 is quite viable out of sunlight even in the tropics, and that the “viable for 9 days” from previous tests on SARS-CoV-1 and it’s analogues almost certainly still holds for places out of doors where the temprature is lower abd the humidity higher.

But perhaps more important is that closed close quaters environments on multiple occupant transportation from cars through busses, trains, boats, and planes are environments you most certainly do not want to be in at all currently.

Now the bad news,

The accumulated recordeded cases[1] world wide are ~320k cases ~14k dead.

[1] In the UK the “recorded cases” in no way match the “assumed cases” the reason being that the political arm of the UK health service has rules that deliberatly under report. Put simply only those positively tested become recorded, and tests realy only happen if your symptomps are sufficiently server that you need in hospital medical support. Even Drs and Nurses are instructed “to go home and quarantine for seven days after symptoms” rather than be tested and thus recorded. I’m assuming other countries are doing similar “fudging of the figures” for their own reasons. Thus I would put a little more faith in the numbers of dead and work things backwards from the graphs for South Korea (they were actively testing as many people as possible in the comnunity via contact tracing and limited surveillance from phone location data, and those who asked to be tested).

SpaceLifeForm March 22, 2020 11:27 AM

@ JonKnowsNothing. Clive, Anders, ALL

It’s definitely been mutating, as would be expected since it is RNA. But so far, the mutations have not functionally affected the virus. But, the mutations can provide some travel history.



Think March 22, 2020 11:36 AM

In the US – there are many companies scheduled to pay dividends in the millions of dollars due to their excessive stock float. (Couldn’t buy it all back – too many issued stock options to higher execs – a virtual printing press of free cash compensation diluting the value of your shares in your retirement plan).

These same companies will be laying off or firing ‘non-essential’ employees (read ‘non-executive’ or lower paid). This is going to shift the cost of the pandemic economic damage away from those that can absorb it (shareholders) to the ‘government’ (us – the public) as part of a bailout.

The economic comparisons to both the crash of ‘87 and ‘29 are erroneous. The damage to the global economy is unprecedented. There are liquify crisis in the money markets. The pressure of capital flow is falling rapidly. Already, many brick and mortar companies are questioning if they can make their rent payments and payrolls.

It is time to urge all public companies to STOP dividend payouts and conserve their cash for their employee’s welfare and their own well being (think paying their suppliers and debts with the cash that would have gone into paying dividends) over disposing if their employees like biological waste.

On the security side of things – don’t think that the recent Break into Citrix was to steal information – it was to obtain and dissect their source code for state based espionage. If you read Kevin Mitnick’s early works he almost comes out and says that he modified downloaded source code and then uploaded the modified code back up – certainly with covert back doors. Who is to say Citrix wasn’t affected in the same way.

Important since many around the globe are using their product to work from home these days.

JonKnowsNothing March 22, 2020 12:11 PM

re: Supply Chain Setup Timing

fwiw: From personal experience with setting up supply chains

Do not expect setup to be fast. Do not expect quantity output to be fast.

While previous discussions about supply chains have hinged on security issues with electronic components these same issues affect anything going down a conveyor belt.

There are at least 2 segments:
1 Engineering and Test
2 Manufacturing and Production

You maybe able to get something out of Engineering “fast” but testing is never fast and skipping testing is one reason electronic stuff is NG.

Testing and verification take time. You cannot do a 30 day 24/7 test in under 30 days. If you do some sort of short cut like a 15 day 24/7 test it is not the same as the 30 day version. Even in electronics, heat generation over 30 days RT is not the same as a modeled 30 day heat expectation.

Once you have testing and verification that is when you can start manufacturing setup. It is not helpful to “guess ahead” and find out you purchased mega-bucks of equipment and spent mega-bucks on factory layout to find out that some widget used in Engineering is not available or cannot run through the equipment.

Engineers especially those in High Salary positions often claim more than is there. Yeppers we got it nail down and ready for GA. It likely isn’t and it’s going to delay the entire process. Can’t blame them because shooting the messenger is a popular activity.

Once you think you have a potentially good base line, you can try to setup the factory floor and production. This is a whole other can of enchiladas.

If you have ever done a DIY project and count the number of trips to the store for new parts, replacement parts, returns, exchanges, completely different solutions you have some concept of how difficult this is to get right on the first pass. Except in major factory systems you cannot just run down the to local store to get things.

It is not a fast process. It takes time. Cutting corners will cost more lives.

The infamous Engineering statement:

There’s no time to get it right the first time,
but there’s always time to do it over and over and over.

When you have excess capacity and multiple factories that produce the same stuff the dynamics are different. One factory can pick up production from another up to their true capacity.

There is only a few ways to shorten this process and that is to have multiple stakeholders building on the same platform and process. It’s not likely with disaster capitalism and it’s not likely with political differences. It’s not likely with given even small issues of metric vs imperial tooling.

There is another factor in trying to ramp production which I call it the Truck and Driver problem.

  • You can have a lot of Trucks but if you have 1 Driver, you can only Drive 1 Truck.
  • You can have a lot of Drivers but if you have only 1 Truck, you still Drive 1 Truck.
  • You have to get the number of trucks and the number of drivers in the same shared set. You can have more of one, less of another, but you have to have a bunch of each to get anywhere.

SpaceLifeForm March 22, 2020 1:25 PM

@ Clive, Anders, ALL

Practical Social Distancing. This graph is telling.

Again, St. Louis remembered from 1918.

Doubtful that most know of what has happened in St. Louis in past weeks, because of media coverage, or lack thereof.

As of yesterday, basically the entire St. Louis metro area is in Stay-at-home mode. That includes the Illinois side of river.

The Illinois side is because Governor ordered it statewide.

The Missouri side is because of local counties leadership.
There has not been a state-wide Missouri order by Governor.

All bars, casinos closed. Restaurants drive-thru or pickup only. Keep groups under 10 people.

Had first fatality 2 days ago. Older, already had been ill.

Less than 20 cases in St. Louis Metro area at this time. 73 in State of Missouri.

Anders March 22, 2020 2:42 PM


Stay home, stay safe, learn new things 🙂

Anders March 22, 2020 3:18 PM

(no, no typo, url starts with wwws)

Anders March 22, 2020 3:55 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @ALL

Local COVID sitrep.

2 person in intensive care, one in critical state.
So far we have had avoided any casualties, but it’s only
a matter of time i’m afraid. Lithuania has one, Finland
also one dead. So death is slowly crawling closer…

La Abeja March 22, 2020 4:29 PM


time to urge all public companies to STOP dividend payouts and conserve their cash for their employee’s welfare and their own well being

That’s what they do in times of financial distress. Publicly traded companies do not exist for their employees’ welfare.

The employees do a job and are paid for it. Some or probably most of them do own company stock in 401(k)s or other retirement plans, and they depend on dividend payouts or stock buybacks for their retirement, when they are too old or weak to work anymore themselves.

Got to be reasonable about it, though. Employees as well as outside investors are S.O.L. if the company goes out of business by squandering its cash.

MarkH March 22, 2020 4:29 PM


As of yesterday, two have died, who lived within walking distance of my home in a mixed rural/suburban region … though it should be noted that my radius of “walking distance” is several times what most of my neighbors would consider.



The article by Katz supposes that as few as one percent of infected persons need any special medical attention.

As of today, I haven’t seen any data that supports such a low percentage, and the true figure is likely to be greater — perhaps quite a lot greater.

His proposal must properly be considered in that light.

Nonetheless, the cost of present responses to Covid-19 is likely to be enormous, not only in purely economic terms, but also in other kinds of suffering (in lieu of the disease itself), lost lifetime education and earning opportunities, depression, drug abuse, and lives lost — not killed by Covid-19, but killed indirectly by the cost of fighting it.

In my mind, the central concept is that large-scale disruptions to the fabric of societies necessarily incur heavy costs (though benefits might eventually accrue as well). There’s a magnitude of disruption caused by people falling ill and dying, and a magnitude of disruption caused by trying to prevent this illness and death.

I read a memoir of a naval aviator, who wrote that he and his colleagues used the expression “the box” to mean a situation in which all available options are really bad … but you must choose one of them.

The world is in the box with respect to this pandemic, largely because so many governments in the West seem to have completely squandered perhaps 4 to 6 weeks of advance notice they had, from the experiences of countries in eastern Asia.

The policy question is, which is the least bad of the available bad options?

There seems to be an effective consensus that no country other than China is (yet) prepared to follow the maximalist policy … with the likely exception of North Korea, about which we have no data anyway.

I suppose that reluctance to convert cities, towns and regions into open-air prisons is in part consequent to deeply held societal values, and perhaps also in part because the magnitude of economic loss in Hubei province (which is still unfolding and only partly measurable) is so daunting.

Analysis focused on certain effects, whilst neglecting others, opens the door to surprises which may prove to be very nasty indeed.

SpaceLifeForm March 22, 2020 5:05 PM

@ Clive, Anders, All

Neil Ferguson says if is feeling better now and wants to get some
modeling code out that he wrote years ago.

It is 1000s of lines of C, apparently few comments, written 13 years ago, to model a flu pandemic.

I’m not sure I would have Microsoft involved in any effort to refactor the code.

I’m sure if he just put it out there as is, it will be well taken care of, very quickly.


lurker March 22, 2020 5:16 PM

@Anders: iot-threat.
56% of medical imaging devices on Win7? BG’s philanthropy must be conscience money…

La Abeja March 22, 2020 5:24 PM


As of yesterday, two have died, who lived within walking distance of my home in a mixed rural/suburban region … though it should be noted that my radius of “walking distance” is several times what most of my neighbors would consider.

You are scaring your neighbors.

What if they suspect a serial killer rather than a novel beer-brand virus?

“Genre” is French for gender.

There are two main “genres” of popular fiction: the romance novels for women and the thrillers or spy novels for men.

Although I more than suspect that some of the deaths are caused by opioid drug overdoses, which are very carefully concealed by physicians, pharmacists, and nurses of the medical establishment who do not wish to risk losing their professional licenses, never mind all the patients whose rights they revoked for life without any possibility of recourse.

Meanwhile, murder-for-hire is 100% legal, no holds barred, under America’s state-corporate fascist healthcare system.

MarkH March 22, 2020 6:07 PM

A Pandemic Instability Case Study

Though I write about one country here, my purpose is to illustrate that costs of melting down the global economy are liable to be vast, unpredictable, uncontrollable, and perhaps catastrophic.

I’m using the Russian Federation as an example, because I’m more familiar with circumstances there than in most other large countries, and because of its distinctive vulnerabilities.

Chronic Stresses

  1. For at least 150 years, Russia has experienced (according to an analysis by a Russian economist) about half the per-capita GDP growth of its European neighbors. That this persisted across extreme transitions and crises is remarkable.
  2. The present regime, now in its 21st year, has steadfastly resisted economic reforms which would certainly have made Russia prosperous, because such a reform program would necessarily undermine the regime’s power.
  3. Russia’s 21st century policy of using force or the threat thereof to control former Soviet states, along with occupation and warfare in their territories, provoked international sanctions which have further depressed economic growth.

To give just one data point, the majority of Russian citizens must spend the majority of their income to purchase food.

  1. Throughout its duration, the Putin regime has adopted a monotonically growing list of repressive measures, including:

• seizure of control of most major media organizations
• toleration (if not encouragement or even commission) of politically motivated beatings and murders
• comprehensive control of internet activity
• outlawing certain religious activities
• criminalizing almost all public protest
• structuring national elections to ensure that only approved candidates can win

It’s vital to bear in mind that the establishment of these structures of repression has necessarily gone hand-in-hand with the dismantling of the institutions required for what the West considers to be normal governance. If Putin were to disappear tomorrow, those lost institutions (some of which were still in their infancy when Putin took power) would not suddenly rematerialize.

  1. The Putin regime, including his network of cronies, is so powerful, so corrupt, and so entangled in every area of Russian life and activity, that many observers struggle to imagine a way for a peaceful transition of power to a successor.

Recent Pre-Pandemic Stresses

  1. Public approval of Putin has been declining. [The still-high poll numbers, while probably accurately measured, are distorted by the bizarre nature of modern Russia: most citizens can’t imagine a viable alternative to Putin (see 5 above).]

Discontent with Putin has been particularly pronounced among younger Russians, who face the challenge of starting careers in a stagnant economy, and envy the the opportunities and liberty enjoyed by their Western counterparts. Many of these young adults seem to feel impatience for the Putin regime — which has existed as long as they can remember — to finally come to an end.

  1. In recent weeks, Putin:

• effectively dissolved the parliament (which is anyway a pure rubber-stamp)
• put through a sweeping set of changes to the constitution, apparently designed to allow him to retire from the presidency while exerting great influence over the Russian government
• shortly afterward seems to have lost confidence in that plan, and added more constitutional changes which would allow him to remain president far into the future

That segment of the public which has been waiting impatiently for Putin to go, are certain to have their distress aggravated by these developments.

Pandemic Stress

It appears that so far, Russia has managed Covid-19 well, although the reliability of this picture is difficult to assess.

However, even if the pandemic itself (and the costs of responses to it) are not a significant internal problem for the Russian Federation, sales of petroleum are of great importance to its economy (perhaps 30% of GDP), and the major source of both foreign currency (vital to a country whose own currency is not widely trusted), and of revenue for the federal government. Many millions of Russian elderly are completely dependent on federal pensions for their physical survival.

As of the last market valuation I’ve been able to find (from late last week), the Urals benchmark crude was trading at USD 21.40 / bbl.

During most of the preceding twelve months, Urals has traded in the range of USD 50 to USD 70 / bbl.

Measuring the cost of petroleum production is not trivial, because such a high proportion of it is capital investments, but the average cost / bbl for Russian crude is probably very near to USD 20.

The national currency (ruble) is presently trading about 78 / USD. For most of the preceding twelve months, the rate has been in the neighborhood of 60 / USD.

The only way a state like the Russian Federation can protect its currency is to use its foreign currency reserves to buy its own banknotes. The magnitude of such reserves in Russia is not great, and with the bottom falling out of the oil market, replenishing foreign currency will be a serious challenge.

If you’ve been paying attention to oil, you’ll know that Saudi Arabia and Russia got into a price war which has surely magnified the drop in oil prices (why Russia chose to go this route, is rather a mystery to me).

However, the enormous downturn in global economic activity resulting from the pandemic has heavily depressed energy demand. If tomorrow Russia and Saudi Arabia were to “shake hands” (from a safe distance of at least 2 meters, of course), I suspect that the resulting rebound in crude prices would be too little to offer much comfort to Russia’s economy.

In summary, Russia’s position was already surprisingly precarious for a large country with so many valuable resources.

If energy demand doesn’t make a good recovery within a few months, the accumulating stresses will, in my opinion, carry a substantial risk of large-scale destabilization.

This, in a country which relies on military muscle for its prestige (its economic strength and “soft power” being disproportionately puny), and has more nuclear warheads than any other.

MarkH March 22, 2020 6:18 PM


In a way, it is. Reportedly, members of the Gates family shamed him into philanthropy in the 1980s.

@La Abeja:

I do scare my neighbors, and law enforcement as well. In a world dominated by automobiles, and their titanically huge corporate impedimenta, walking is an inherently subversive activity. See Ray Bradbury’s story, “The Pedestrian,” which became the seed from which “Fahrenheit 451” would later grow. [Bradbury, a resolute non-automobilist, never obtained a driving license.]

JonKnowsNothing March 22, 2020 6:37 PM

Multiple MSM reports that in the absence of cars and humans, numerous wild animals are beginning to cross into urban areas.

Reports of various type of deer strolling down streets.

Reports of legions of monkeys. Although in one area the monkeys were fed by tourists and since tourism is nil, they have entered deeper into the city looking food sources. (It maybe they no longer know how to forage natural foods having been feed French Fries and the like..)

Reports of reemergence of rarer species. A spectacle bear in south America is one. (It maybe that reduced demand of raw materials and reduced intrusions into the rain forest have helped).

Reports that air quality was visibly and measurably improved while major manufacturing cities are shut down due to COVID-19. (Maybe this will yield a Euro-1-Month-Vacation style system where manufacturing shuts down world wide for vacations and allows the environment to clean up a bit)

There are still wild pigs and coyotes and foxes which already live in urban areas.

We have recently seen a new “picket pin” ground squirrel in our urban yard. They come into the urban areas periodically when construction or farming digs up their burrows. As a farming area and targeted CA Construction Housing area, there are fewer places for them now. This one seems to be hanging about a bit more.

ht tps://

Belding’s ground squirrel (Urocitellus beldingi), also called pot gut, sage rat or picket-pin,[2] is a squirrel that lives on mountains in the western United States. In California, it often is found at 6,500 to 11,800 feet (2,000–3,600 m) in meadows between Lake Tahoe and Kings Canyon.

(url fractured to prevent autorun)

Clive Robinson March 22, 2020 7:43 PM

@ Wael, Anders,

The word is neither “alive” or “potent” but “viable”.

@ ALL,

The 9 days viability for SARS-CoV-1 and it’s analogues was if memory serves on stainless steel around 10C.

The viability half life is considerably reduced on “bare scrubbed wood” and “copper” for both bacteria and virii. It’s something that humans noticed long before we had any idea that such pathogens existed. Certain types of cotton cloth suck the water out of the droplets and thus the virus viability half life is significantly reduced. So eating at a table with cheese cloth as a table cloth means you can give it a fine misting of weak bleach solution and hang it up outside to dry and it will not have any viable pathogens on it.

If you look at metals like silver and copper in the periodic table they all have significant anti-microbial and anti-fungle properties. Especialy for some in their salt forms, where 30ppm of copper salts is the LD50 for quite a few animals as well and humans not much more.

Bare scrubbed wood has the natural anti-microbial and anti-fungle properties of the wood, which is why “end grain” chopping boards and “butchers blocks” are safer to use than their plastic equivalents.

Varnished woods however do not have any more anti-microbial properties than plastic, which is why you should always clean down tables you eat at with either good “hard soap” solution or disinfectant.

But as I’ve mentioned above the lower the temprature the longer virii remain viable…

Due to an accident a number of sailors who had Spanish flu got buried in ground that is effectively permafrost. Nearly a hundred years later scientists dug them up and took samples. It was how we found out exactly what strain of flu it was…

Such extended viability when frozen is why imported frozen food is going to be a major issue for several years to come. Because even if you subsequently cook it when it has fully thawed out, once the surface gets to a fraction above 0C then the virus strands of RNA become available to be transfered off of the food onto your hands or preperation surfaces and utensils.

It’s why we may have to consider the banning of imported frozen food. But why might this be for several years?

Well you might be horrified to find out that bulk blocks of frozen food are “futures traded” and some can be as old as seven years before they finally become available to the consumer in frozen meals and the like.

This is the problem with modern life and pandemics, we are so reliant on imports from other countries, especially food that we now can not realy survive without imports. Back in the 1990’s a friend used to bang on about our lack of food security in Northern Europe, and I did not take it to seriously at first. It was only when I looked into where most of our food comes from I understood what he was banging on about.

I suspect we are going to hear a lot more about “food security” or more precisely our lack of it in industrialized nations in the not to distant future.

Oh just to remind people again,

    Pandemics come in repeated waves of infection.

Which means that with panic buying our food supply chain will go into “yo-yo mode” of glut and scarcity. So when this current panic buy is over in a week or so and shops over stock you might be advised to buy a few extra tins and jars of food you like and “stock up your pantry” the chances are you will need to do this several times. I’d favour cooked meats and fruits and learn how to “can/jar” butter and cheese. Also learn how to make sour dough flat breads and the like and get in plenty of oil/fat ketchup, mayonnaise and sauces and spices and dried herbs and powdered milk (not non dairy creamer or coffee whitener they are all bad for you and can not be used in cooking).

The reason for the herbs and spices, well there is only so many tins of “beef stew” and “corned beef” you can eat however turn the stew into curry or chilli and not only will you find it won’t “jade the pallet” you can with a little powdered milk and flour and herbs/spices make one tin serve twice the number of meals as it will on it’s own… Likewise you can make a lot of soup with a tin of corned beef two table spoons of flour some oil/butter/fat a table spoon or two of sugar two tins of chopped tomatoes three tins full of water, herbs and powdered milk to make it “cream of” and even cayen pepper and other hot spices. Chilly and peppers,by the way are a very good way to make protien light meals go further. It’s protien that gives you the feeling of being satisfied, if you don’t have it even a large pile of potatoes will not make you feel fed. However chilli causes the release of endorphins that fools the brain into thinking you have eaten a large lump of protein so stops you feeling hungry. It’s why highly spiced potato curry on rice feels satisfying, whilst just the rice and potatoes will be too bland and unsatisfying. Oh and remember pickled chillis and pepers also contain vitimin C in supprisingly large amounts.

SpaceLifeForm March 22, 2020 8:15 PM

@ Clive, Anders, ALL

Another graph showing why getting on top of the problem early makes a huge difference.

This is a comparison between Kentucky and Tennessee where Kentucky was much more proactive, and now Tennessee has more problems.


Wael March 22, 2020 8:21 PM

@Clive Robinson, @Anders,

The word is neither “alive” or “potent” but “viable“.

That’s a better description. “Potency” applies to a strain in comparison to another (I think).

The 9 days viability for SARS-CoV-1 and it’s analogues was if memory serves on stainless steel around 10C.

Well, that’s a big problem. Viruses can travel on electronics or furniture or appliances that are imported from infected regions or handlers in the supply chain.

Disinfect everything then!

Anders March 22, 2020 9:17 PM

@Wael, @Clive @SpaceLifeForm

Yes, 9 days is a BIG problem. Start using paper towels
for opening doors ASAP and throw them away after that.
Consider EVERYTHING outside your apartment as a hazardous
area that is contaminated.

I’m doing this for some time now.

Wael March 22, 2020 9:32 PM

@Anders, @Clive Robinson,

Start using paper towels

Can’t find paper towels. Thinking about getting diapers instead — they’re more available but very expensive.

lurker March 22, 2020 11:25 PM

New Zealand goes into full lockdown from Wednesday local time; and the ‘net has turned to treacle. I feel like I’ve fallen into the pages of a novel by H.G.Wells.

mEntrooy March 23, 2020 2:23 AM

Just use washable gloves, don’t touch your face, DO wash the gloves daily and you can go about your shopping.
And always wash your hands thoroughly, 20 secs min.

Pickling creates carcinogens, last I checked. Means the Vitamin C tends at best to counterbalance the nitrosamine buildup, at worst it increases it. So its best not to cook and thus further reduce antioxidants in pickled foods.

Andrew March 23, 2020 3:00 AM


Ok, I’m talking from Europe, basically US is now completely with its pants down.

You have 15 thousands new cases and the whole US media is worried about Europe. No dudes, YOU ARE THE MAIN SUBJECT of the day.
You you do not have lockdown yet, do not have the Martial Law, you do not have army on the street to keep people indoors.
But you just have Miami parties, political argues and soft measures.

Your media is only talking about money, financial crisis and how bad Europe is. You will be hit hard by reality in a matter of hours.
You think the Europeans are stupid to close borders, lockdown everything and take extreme measures? You think you have blue blood and its going to be different? (order by new cases please) (see how worried about others they are).

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons March 23, 2020 4:18 AM

A fairly straight forward and simplified model for COVID-19 pathophysiological and epidemiological description with diagnostics. Posted 16 Mar 2020.
A must see for those wanting to understand the mechanics of the virus. Thank you Ninja Nerd…

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons March 23, 2020 5:34 AM

Monday may find the congress passing legislative authority for the
Federal Reserve Corporation to purchase corporate bonds. WHAT?

Corporate bonds have already been issued to do stock buybacks to prop up
prices, why is the Federal Reserve taking on this shift in asset/loans.

This is criminal, with buybacks banned, the backdoor is through corporate bonds.

Clive Robinson March 23, 2020 9:52 AM

@ mEntropy,

Pickling creates carcinogens, last I checked.

So does making toast, roasting coffee beans and making baked goods, roasted meats and charcuterie US style.

Most foods start to form N-nitroso compounds (NOC) that build up after they are dead it’s part of the natural decay / rotting process that starts almost immediately.

Preserving food does not generaly stop the NOC build up, what it does is effectively make the food pathogen unfriendly. This is usually by making the food low in water content (curing, snoking) or dehydrating to the pathogen (adding salt, sugar, alcohol) or removing oxygen (heating to kill viable surface pathogens and bottling/canning to keep oxygen out so spores etc can not grow).

However there are loads of carcinogens added to food the amount of nitrates added especially in US charcuterie is positively lethal in comparison to plain salt (Sodium Chloride) used for cold pickling of vegetables. Then when you add in liquid smoke you add way way more carcinogens.

In the US “pink pickling” salts (all nitrate) is used in excecive quantities. Back in the 1970’s politicians tried to get it’s use baned, the food industry came up with some faux story about botulism to get their way. Why did they push hard to keep “pink pickling salt”? Well because with nitrates in the quantities the industry uses you can “cure” an entire hog leg or belly in 48hours with close to zero spoilage. The traditional plain salt takes about 14days with about a 1% spoilage and air curing takes a minimum of 100days and has something like a 20% spoilage rate when done the traditional “hang it in a tree” method. Saying the nitrates are from “celery” might make it sound more natural, but trust me it’s not, nitrates are nitrates what ever the source.

Then there is smoking the traditional methods are cold and hot smoking, in the US the food industry loves “liquid smoke” which transferes way way more nasties to the food than the traditional methods. If you have ever made liquid smoke you will know this by simple observation.

In the case of hot salt water pickling the countries that do it as part of their daily food have some of the lowest cancer rates per head of population in the world (South Asian).

But seriously an espresso and toasted bagel breakfast with North American cured and smoked salmon and cream cheese is way way way higher in carcinogens and other nasties than you would like to contemplate let alone consume if you knew.

As for keeping vitimin C the methods available to the individual are basically all “wet” and involve the preserving of food, that without freezing is going to use some preserving method to keep bad pathogens at bay. With acidic vegetables or fruit putting in air tight jars uncooked in plain salt brine or alcoholic spirit ususaly suffices (though “scalding” in boiling water to kill surface pathoges is advised). Other vegetables you would “blanch” in hot brine or a weak acid alcohol such as apple vinegar. Blanching serves two purposes, first it kills the majority of surface pathogens, but secondly and perhaps more importantly it makes the food way easier to compress in jars (try it with de-ribbed white cabbage leaves to see just how much).

There are other techniques which encorage “good” bacteria at the expense of “bad” they are only a slightly more involved process. One such is yogurt making, which gives rise to the old infinite regression joke,

    To make yogurt, add warm milk to yogurt and stir.

But with certain fruits and vegtables a mixture of cooking with pectin rich and acidic fruits and vinegar to make jam or chutney can be used. Unfortunatly even relatively short “sugar temp” boils have a significant effect on the vitimin C content. Which is why some jam and chutney processes involve “setting” then adding of scalded or blanched fruit and vegtables (think strawbery jam with actual strawbery pieces in them).

However the proble with all “hot” methods is the heat used reduces the Vitimin C content, scalding can be less than 1% loss, blanching down betweew 5-15%, boiling 45-55% and the prolonged and higher heat of Jam/chutney 80-100%

But you also have to consider vitimin C oxidizes quite quickly, “fresh water” contains quite a bit of oxygen, however the process of boiling to make a brine or sugar solution reduces it irrespective of if the are used hot or cold.

Thus blanching vegtables by quickly imersing in boiling water then immediately plunging into cold brine kills surface bacteria alows easier packing whilst preserving most of the vitimn C. Scalding of things like tomatoes you don’t want to “press in” is even better. The choice to add “live vinegar” or not to a cold solution to promote health bacteria during the long term pickling is dependent on several things.

However look up recipies for making Kimchi that use less salt and little or no fish sauce, and the, quantities N-nitroso compounds (NOC) build up way way slower, especially if temprature levels are kept in the right region.

However things are still relative, Korean men of a certain age are known to have helicobacter pylori infection which causes stomach ulcers and gastric cancer with increased susceptibility to other cancers and comorbidities. They also have way more “life stlye” issues such as smoking like chimneys which also causes gastric cancer, they also tend to overly indulge in grilled meats that they overly cook which causes significant carcinogen production as does the burning of any fat or protein as with toast. They also eat and drink certain Western products like smoked fish and pork, and certain types of dark or white beers that are high in NOC. This is because these “conspicuous” habits are associated with wealth and memories of the Japanese occupation still feature strongly in Korean Culture, even when they are second generation born in western nations and culture.

Yes NOC is a cancer contributor but it shows up in very many foods naturaly and more so as they “age” which is what preserving is all about. So yes you find them in cheese as well and even canned foods.

However the king of NOC content has to be nitrate preserved liquid smoke flavoured bacon, it’s NOC levels are hundreds if not thousands of times that of other preserved foods, comming in close behind are nitrate preserved charcuterie, a single slightly brouned slice of pepperoni on your pizza has more NOC and other carcinogens than the average amount of Kimchi Koreans eat. Heck if you look at fast food NOC is well up there, take that crispy bacon cheese burger in toasted brioche bun, the pickles make little difference, throw in a portion of fries, and as they say in some places “Hey don’t go there man”.

Life is about choices, and death by scurvy is just as bad as cancer, only it turns up one heck of a lot quicker and for certain, unlike cancer. Your likelyhood of developing cancer is slightly less than 0.35%/year –age normalised– in the US and quite a bit less in most other places as the US is 5th on the list. So pays your money…

MarkH March 23, 2020 2:30 PM

Here’s a logical proposal for mitigating the economic damage of attempts to control Covid 19, written by two economists, one of whom is also a physician.

In essence, “social distancing” entails such a comprehensive shutdown of economic activity that it can’t be sustained. To reduce the need for social distancing as soon as practicable,

  1. Make virus testing so accessible that everyone can be tested weekly (and high-exposure people tested daily). Over time, knowledge of where the virus is and isn’t will allow infected people to isolate for a while, and reduce the need for whole-population precautions.
  2. Make PPE (air filtration gear) available and comfortable enough that people who must have a lot of public contact (retail workers, for example) can use it in their work life.
  3. If SARS-Cov-2 infections confer durable immunity — as is the case for some of its coronavirus cousins — use antibody testing to determine who has acquired immunity. People with immunity don’t need to worry about catching the virus, and won’t spread it to others.

Crash programs to develop these capabilities at the required scale will be very costly and intensive. But economies will need a lot of stimulus right now, and investing in these resources (as well as expanded hospital and ventilator capacity) is a functional way to inject that stimulus.

Sed Contra March 23, 2020 3:10 PM


… virus testing so accessible …

If the resource to do this were available, one could consider also the suggestion for proper random testing in the link to Ars interview with pandemicist L. Brilliant provided above by myliit. Isn’t this a standard practice to get a handle on the statistics of any situation?

Of course there might be societal and political objections to random testing.

The walk back to patient 0 and the revealing of the contact chain seemed very prompt and aggressive in SARS-1. Why did that not happen this time ? Did things just go too fast ?

myliit March 23, 2020 3:26 PM

“… It’s an intimidating picture. But the weaker the [coronavirus] freeze, the more people die in overburdened hospitals — and the longer it ultimately takes for the economy to restart.

South Korea avoided locking down any city, but only by moving early and with extraordinary speed. In January, the country had four companies making tests, and as of March 9 had tested 210,000 citizens — the equivalent of testing 2.3 million Americans.

As of the same date, fewer than 9,000 Americans had been tested.

Everyone who is infected in South Korea goes into isolation in government shelters, and phones and credit card data are used to trace their prior movements and find their contacts. Where they walked before they fell ill is broadcast to the cellphones of everyone who was nearby.

Anyone even potentially exposed is quarantined at home; a GPS app tells the police if that person goes outside. The fine for doing so is $8,000.

British researchers are trying to develop a similar tracking app [1], albeit one more palatable to citizens in Western democracies.

Fix the testing mess

Testing must be done in a coordinated and safe way, experts said. The seriously ill must go first, and the testers must be protected.

In China, those seeking a test must describe their symptoms on a telemedicine website. If a nurse decides a test is warranted, they are directed to one of dozens of “fever clinics” set up far from all other patients.

Personnel in head-to-toe gear check their fevers and question them. Then, ideally, patients are given a rapid flu test and a white blood cell count is taken to rule out influenza and bacterial pneumonia.

Then their lungs are visualized in a CT scanner to look for “ground-glass opacities” that indicate pneumonia and rule out cancer and tuberculosis. Only then are they given a diagnostic test for the coronavirus — and they are told to wait at the testing center.

The results take a minimum of four hours; in the past, if results took overnight, patients were moved to a hotel to wait — sometimes for two to three days, if doctors believed retesting was warranted. It can take several days after an exposure for a test to turn positive.

In the United States, people seeking tests are calling their doctors, who may not have them, or sometimes waiting in traffic jams leading to store parking lots. On Friday, New York City limited testing only to those patients requiring hospitalization, saying the system was being overwhelmed. …”


“ Translating a Surveillance Tool into a Virus Tracker for Democracies

Health officials in Britain are building an app that would alert the people who have come in contact with someone known to have the coronavirus. The project aims to adapt China’s tracking efforts for countries wary of government surveillance. …”

JonKnowsNothing March 23, 2020 5:15 PM

re: “Griefing” and COVID-19

In video games “griefing” is the act or acts of harassing other players. It comes in all shades and colors of activities from verbal or text messages to actions in game mode that affect or impede other players. It’s always a big deal and every game company has had to deal with its share of What To Do. Often the Griefing actions are done within the game context and do not fall outside of EULA/TOS or COC rules.

For those who have played such games nearly everyone of them has had a “plague” event. Some are better designed than others. Some have more “science” behind them. They are most often billed as “zombie apocalypse” events. During such event Griefing seems to increase anecdotally from the number of posts in main chat channels. There seems there is no end to the fun of “infecting others” to see that way kewl animation of your head exploding in green goo…

Most gamers would know this happens and those that don’t care for such events log off for the duration. Unfortunately we cannot log off for COVID-19.

What is useful in the current context is whether or not Real Life COVID-19 Griefing would happen. I surely had hoped not. Unfortunately it has started.

I don’t know whether the determination of people to not STAY the F HOME is a form of Greifing but deliberately attempting or pretending to infect someone definitely falls in that category.

In video games Griefing can often be averted by program changes. The activates still continue and new players are often ambushed or ghanked before they learn which options to turn off. It’s a big part of some game models.

For real life, there are so many ways that we already accept being ghanked repeatedly, having someone spit on your or trespass on your personal body zone (the size of which varies by culture) is not going to make living with COVID-19 any easier.

MSM report:

  • Three teenagers have been arrested after an elderly couple were allegedly coughed at and assaulted in Hertfordshire…. A woman in her 70s, sustained a black eye … A man in his 30s who tried to intervene to help the couple also sustained bruising to his face.
  • a man was arrested in the West Midlands after coughing on shop staff and claiming to be infected with the coronavirus.

ht tps://
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

SpaceLifeForm March 23, 2020 6:04 PM

@ Clive, Anders

URL says it all.


myliit March 23, 2020 7:14 PM

“Keeping the Coronavirus from Infecting Health-Care Workers

What Singapore’s and Hong Kong’s success is teaching us about the pandemic.

By Atul Gawande, 21 March 2020

The success of Hong Kong and Singapore in stemming the spread of the coronavirus holds many lessons for how to contain it in the United States.

The message is getting out: #StayHome. In this early phase of the coronavirus pandemic, with undetected cases accelerating transmission even as testing ramps up, that is critical. But there are many people whom the country needs to keep going into work—grocery cashiers, first responders, factory workers for critical businesses. Most obviously, we need health-care workers to care for the sick, even though their jobs carry the greatest risk of exposure. How do we keep them seeing patients rather than becoming patients?

In the index outbreak in Wuhan, thirteen hundred health-care workers became infected; their likelihood of infection was more than three times as high as the general population. When they went back home to their families, they became prime vectors of transmission. The city began to run out of doctors and nurses. Forty-two thousand more had to be brought in from elsewhere to treat the sick. Luckily, methods were found that protected all the new health-care workers: none—zero—were infected. …”

Clive Robinson March 23, 2020 8:06 PM

@ MarkH,

In essence, “social distancing” entails such a comprehensive shutdown of economic activity that it can’t be sustained.

Social distancing will work if society can make the changes… The real problem to this is “manual labour”, if it were replaced by automatons of some form humans could on theory live their lives in total physical issolation. Personally it’s not something I would care to do for “social reasons”.

But that is beside the point currently. Depending on your definition of “Social Distancing” it is a “containment and exterminate” solution it robs the short lived virus of hosts and it can not replicating or remain viable. As I’ve said before if the whole world went into full lockdown for 35days SARS-CoV-2 would cease to exist in a viable form, and any pandemic would cease with it, and it does provide minimal economic impact.

If Governments had not alowed “vested interests” with their ultra short term profit motive to rule the day then the pandemic would never have happened it would have died out inside of China and a few issolated places fairly quickly.

We know this and the maths tells us this. In South Korea where there are considerably more science literate people running not just businesses and government, they went down what is probably the most viable and minimal economic inpact route there is. If you take a few minutes with K12 children to explain how the maths work they not only quickly understand it many also generaly work out one of several optimum stratagies using rudimentry games.

Take the very stupid notion of “herd immunity” the idea sounds seductive untill you realsie that it only starts working when 70-80% of the general population is immune and not before. That is 70-80% of the general population have to have bern infected and survive. If you then look at the natural –non medically assisted– results you find between 5% and 20% of the general population has to die out to get “herd immunity”. Even with medical assistance for all still 1-4% of the general population will have to die. As we know even in modern western countries there is not the equipment or personnel required to deal with even 0.01% of the population at any one time. Thus if you are stupid enough to go for herd immunity you will need many many “plague pits” or “pyres”. The UK tried this stupidity with “Foot and Mouth” a few years ago and we have still not recovered from it fully.

Speaking of the UK lets look at todays figures,

Active cases = 6120.

New cases = 967
New Deaths = 54
New recovered = 42
Freed space = 96
IN to OUT = 10.07 times.

Which means, overall on final outcome, less than 30% survive and that is only 4.3% of new cases, and there are over ten times the new cases that there are concluded cases that free up hospital beds.

This means medical support for new cases will not be available in a day or two at the most. Which means we will fall back to “natural progression” that is unassisted by medical intervention.

The dithering of a buffonic Prime Minister who only listens to an unelected advisor is going to kill a lot of people in the UK.

His latest action[1] is to little to late and it’s basically “more of the same” social distancing but now with “the economy switched off”…

What needs to be done, but the buffon will not do it, is to,

    “test test test” and “chase chase chase”

To get “sight of the enemy” and to effectively commit forces to do battle, to turn the tide by strong containment. That is put resources where they are needed to contain disease but alow the economy to function at some level.

There are only two models that are known to work where R0 gets turned down below 1, and that is the South Korean model that keeps the economy going, and the Chinese model that puts the economy on life support for a time that is shorter the sooner you start.

Realistically in the UK we will need the Chinese model for a month or more, then switch to the South Korean model for however long it takes to get a vaccine –12-18months– and enough vaccine made, distributed, and injected into all the people still alive in the UK which could take another three months, and it needs to be mandatory after adequate safeguards[2].

Why do we need to keep the South Korean model going untill then?

Simple if you have less than 70-80% of the population immune by either having survived or been vaccinated then you will have repeated “flare ups” as hidden reservoirs of disease end up in the general population, mainly from infected people comming into the country directly or indirectly. That is clearing immigration and customs or by contact on the dock / air side, which can also be via “import goods” they have handled. Of most concern here is “frozen food” which we believe could can keep the virus viable for months or years.

The South Korean model will stop “flare ups” becoming “new waves”, and that is vital not just for humanitarian reasons but economic ones as well.

We know from the 1918 flu pandemic there was three main waves. The first was comparatively small, the second was many times the first and the third though smaller than the second was still considerably greater than the first. If you ignore the direct humanitarian disaster the excess deaths due to other factors and lack of medical support was almost early Victorian in effect. Worse the economic effects never realy ended, in part they may well have caused the Second World War two decades later, which had clear economic effects into the 1960’s and the cold war that then went on untill the end of the century and may well have caused 9/11 which is still driving the economy down two decades later. That is the economic effects are like a line of dominoes, unless you make a “clear break” at some point the effect once started precipitates each other economic event in turn, and with it more humanitarian issues.


[2] Yes there will probably be some very very small percentage of risk from a vaccine, but the same is true for anything we put in our bodies be it by injection, ingestion, inhilation or infusion. Whilst death or injury following an injection can be a quite emotive subject, as far as we can tell the risks are down in the parts per million range. With adequate screening this drops even lower[3]. Supprisingly for many the biggest causes of death and injury are fainting and physical damage due to the needle. Both of these are not “vaccine” related but “needle stick” related and can and do occure more frequently for other uses of needles such as for drawing blood for testing. The trend these days where possible is to not use needles for vacination, as people have seen with “flu shots” nasal mist systems are becoming more common.

[3] But at the end of the day people need to remember that sometimes “social good” has to come before “individual rights”. So far in the UK more have died of COVID-19 than would ever do so by a safe and effective vaccine by several orders. Whilst as we know just one person can infect atleast ten or more people (UK recorded) rising to more than thirty people (South Korea recorded) directly this can rapidly spread as is known in South Korea to hundreds then thousands causing multiple deaths, again more than would be expected from a safe vaccine and modern nasal spray type delivery system.

Clive Robinson March 23, 2020 8:21 PM

@ Sed Contra,

The walk back to patient 0 and the revealing of the contact chain seemed very prompt and aggressive in SARS-1. Why did that not happen this time ? Did things just go too fast ?

The reason is the difference between “asymptomatic virus shedding” in COVID-19 and very clear symptoms prior to virus sheding with SARS-1.

If people are hot sweaty, have palour and are not very coherant or focused in their interactions they tend to alarm you and they stick in your mind. Thus people could be traced back to before they were shedding virus thus infective fairly easily.

It was this feature of SARS-1 that gave rise to some of the initial complacency with COVID-19.

Clive Robinson March 23, 2020 9:26 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

I’ve become increasingly aware of Bloomberg “news generating tactics” by “faux scare” tactics.

Thus I should point out that “traces of” does not mean “viable”.

A dead fly on a windowsill is “a trace” whilst a fly busy flying around and landing on food etc is a “viable” one. Further the dead fly is very easy to clean away, but as most of us know getting a live fly out of a room can be a task of Hercules 😉

But more seriously if I take a sample of viral RNA and subject it to UV-C it will stop it being “viable” after quite a short period of time. However it’s remains are there and there are tests that will clearly indicate “traces of” the now nonviable viral RNA, as well as any viable virus RNA.

Thus what the Bloomberg artical carefully avoided was a discussion of if the virus was viable or not. Thus you will need to “back trace” to the source documents and if necessary back again untill you reach the actual primary research paper/source (I know it takes time and is a pain).

As a rough rule of thumb there are three natural environmental variables that effect a virus,

1, Temprature.
2, Humidity.
3, Sunlight

And if it is not in the air the surface it lands on.

As a rough rule of thumb, the lower the temprature the higher the humidity and the lack of sunlight all favour viral longevity.

I’ve already discussed the NEJM letter that the Bloomberg artical also uses, and I made specific note that it used a limited temprature range and humidity you would expect to find in an air conditioned room, where the temprature is not that favourable to the virus, nor is the humidity. What I did not mention but should have done is that no mention was made in the NEJM letter was the lighting conditions the experiment was carried out under. Some “labs” use mercury plasma fluorescent strip lights. These tend to cause more UV light than other types of lighting.

Having worked for a while in the “hospitality industry” one of the things most people are not aware of is what happens to “empty rooms”… Firstly curtains are closed to reduce sunlight damage to furniture and fitings, secondly air con and lights are turned off to save energy and often ventillation is opened to stop the room having that musty or dead air smell.

Which means not only a more favourable environment for a virus, but quite importantly any virus in the room could have got there at any time through the ventilation. As it is assumed that one of the virus paths around the cruise ship was by the ventilation system and that there are still people on the vessel, that 17 day period may not be 17 days at all.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not in the slightest ruling the possability out, I’m saying I’ve my doubts about the reporting by Bloomberg and would want to see the actual research documentation, to see if the findings Bloomberg are implying are actually valid or not.

If not then further work needs to be done but I’ve already indicated that on my previous post about the NEJM letter.

gordo March 23, 2020 9:46 PM

@Clive Robinson,

What needs to be done, but the buffon will not do it, is to,

“test test test” and “chase chase chase”

To get “sight of the enemy”

Similar to Johnson’s willful blindness, refusal to see or lack of focus is this Trumpian trope, “we’re at war and we’re fighting an invisible enemy”.

From yesterday:

In the United States, the slow rollout of coronavirus PCR tests has been widely attributed to a combination of stringent rules aimed at ensuring their reliability and a complex web of companies and health care systems responsible for developing, carrying out, and paying for tests. The Trump administration says testing is accelerating. On 16 March, at a White House press conference, U.S. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said the country would be able to process 1 million tests by the end of the week, and 2 million the following week. But the actual numbers aren’t close to that yet. According to data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project[1], a nonprofit collaboration of public health officials and journalists counting tests given in the United States, 191,541 PCR diagnostics have been performed as of 22 March, with 24,345 of them positive for the virus.


Clive Robinson March 23, 2020 9:58 PM

@ myliit,

You left out the following “punch line” paragraph from the New Yorker article,

    View all stories
    News Desk
    Keeping the Coronavirus from Infecting Health-Care Workers
    What Singapore’s and Hong Kong’s success is teaching us about the pandemic.

    By Atul Gawande
    March 21, 2020
    Nurses and hospital workers walk in a group.
    The success of Hong Kong and Singapore in stemming the spread of the coronavirus holds many lessons for how to contain it in the United States.Photograph by Tsuji Keith / Abaca / ZUMA
    The message is getting out: #StayHome. In this early phase of the coronavirus pandemic, with undetected cases accelerating transmission even as testing ramps up, that is critical. But there are many people whom the country needs to keep going into work—grocery cashiers, first responders, factory workers for critical businesses. Most obviously, we need health-care workers to care for the sick, even though their jobs carry the greatest risk of exposure. How do we keep them seeing patients rather than becoming patients?

    In the index outbreak in Wuhan, thirteen hundred health-care workers became infected; their likelihood of infection was more than three times as high as the general population. When they went back home to their families, they became prime vectors of transmission. The city began to run out of doctors and nurses. Forty-two thousand more had to be brought in from elsewhere to treat the sick. Luckily, methods were found that protected all the new health-care workers: none—zero—were infected.

    The New Yorker’s coronavirus news coverage and analysis are free for all readers.
    But those methods were Draconian. As the city was locked down and cut off from outside visitors, health-care workers seeing at-risk patients were housed away from their families. They wore full-body protective gear, including goggles, complete head coverings, N95 particle-filtering masks, and hazmat-style suits. Could we do that here? Not a chance. Health-care facilities don’t remotely have the supplies that would allow staff members to see every patient with all that gear on.

Which raises an interesting point which is,

    Is all that PPE required?

I’ve kind of being saying not for a while, N95 masks are unlikely to be effective in the general case a simple over the face clear plastic visor with optional down draft system should suffice, but importantly the “effective sanitation” of fomites and hands is of highest importance and I’m of the opinion alcohol based hand sanitizers are “insufficirntly effective”.

When it comes to fomites as always “it’s the little things that count” one of the most dangerous things done in an infectious or contagious environment is “note taking” and other record keeping. To often it involves a pen or keyboard. Whilst a pen can be wiped down it’s fiddly to do it properly and it remains difficult to use for some minutes. Keyboards on laptops are a compleate “No No” they are way to difficult to clean and actually represent a fire or health hazard if liquids are used. Even “touch screen” pads are problematic.

A better solution infection prevention wise is a combined barcode reader and voice recorder where the patient number gets scanned in for accuracy via a no-contact long distance reader (say upto ten feet) and the audio recording starts at that point using a Voice Operated Switch (VOX) and microphone inside the face shield.

Yes I appreciate there are other issues but whilst infection risk is high they are comparatively minor.

La Abeja March 23, 2020 10:00 PM

@Clive Robinson

Bloomberg “news generating tactics” by “faux scare” tactics.


“FBI raises eyebrows after saying it would not accept electronic FOIA requests due to coronavirus outbreak”

Sed Contra March 23, 2020 10:09 PM

Re: disinfecting, paper towels

Dude, where’s my AI robot UV-C sanitizerator ? Roomba à la Corona. Coroonba ?

Handheld UV-C sanitizers exist also.

Clive Robinson March 23, 2020 10:29 PM

@ myliit, ALL,

My apologies something kind of wierd happened with the “cut and paste” in my above.

All but the last paragraph appears to have come from a mixture of picture captions and a popup or similar… Most odd.

Clive Robinson March 23, 2020 10:32 PM

@ Sed Contra,

Handheld UV-C sanitizers exist also.

As UV-C is a known cause of cancer in humans, I hope the source is in a light tight box.

Sed Contra March 23, 2020 10:58 PM

My last lunatic suggestion:

Could there be devised a non-tissue-damaging, non-cancerous way to dose covid patients lungs with UV-C to kill the virus ?

Or other radiation therapy?

Clive Robinson March 24, 2020 8:25 AM

@ Bruce, ALL,

SMS Message from UK_Gov

    New rules in force now: you must stay at home. More info & exemptions at Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

Hey ho UK Lockdown commences…

Clive Robinson March 24, 2020 8:31 AM

@ Sed Contra,

Could there be devised a non-tissue-damaging, non-cancerous way to dose covid patients lungs with UV-C to kill the virus ?

Not realy no.

Virii replicate be getting into your bodies cells, take over the protien synthesis mechanism and trigger ot to make lots of replicas that then explode out of the cell.

Effectively the virus becomes part of the cell once it’s in, and at that point it’s game over for intervention and the cell.

The bodies solution to the problem is to give up on the cell. The cell releases interferon into the intercellular space around it, this depresses the activities of the cells around it, turning them into a kind of firewall. It then effectively sends in a clean up team. A certain type of white blood cell is atracted by the chemicals the infected cell releases and they go in and suround things it finds and chenically digests them…

So realistically you either need to work down at or below the cellular level or in our more macro world by filtering out viable virus before you breath it in or touch it to your face.

So in theory the use of ionizing radiation like UV-C could be used in air filters in the same way they are used in water filters. Not sure of the top of my head what the mechanics would be, but it would be a lot easier to breath than with what we used to call a “gaspirator” NBC filter.

But there are other forms of radiation at school you were probably taught about Alpha, Beta, Gamma all of which do kill virii quite effectively. But one does not go through your top layers of skin very well. As far as I’m aware there was a patent for a sterilizing unit using Alpha radiation to irradiate but it would be long out of patent by now. Most modern uses of such irradiation is for “final packaged” items where heat from an autoclave etc would damage the product. Thus you see the likes of Cobolt 60 sources used to irradiate pre packaged one time use / emergency kits of disposable plastic instruments for clinical use in the likes of A&E / fitst responder situations.

Oh and your “fresh food” will quite often be irradiated, as it can significantly improve shelf life. As far as I’m aware the first use of irradiation of food was by M.I.T. To kill worms in pork flesh[1]…

[1] When I was younger a lot younger I had whilst a student an evening job working as a chef in a rather nice family run Greek resteraunt. One regular customer from Ghana would not eat pork, and when chatting with him one day he mentioned the worms in pork flesh. Well I’d not heard about them or seen them when chopping up pork for the grill and many other dishes. He poped out to his car and came back with a bottle of “Polish Spirit” not far off of 180 proof, and he put a cube of raw pork in a saucer and poored a little spirit over it. What I saw convinced me pork has to be cooked very well…

You can see the same if you look carefully,

[2] Whilst the worms should not be present in US or UK pork any longer, it’s still highly prevelent in other countries and can cause lots of problems as it eats it’s way around your body,

It’s why I almost always freeze meat especially the likes of minced meat used in sausages, burgers etc for atleast a month before cooking it.

gordo March 24, 2020 9:09 AM

A Failure of Systemic Thinking
America’s coronavirus response could have played out another way, if only we’d understood the complexity of the problem.
ZEYNEP TUFEKCI, March 24, 2020

As it turns out, the reality-based, science-friendly communities and information sources many of us depend on also largely failed. We had time to prepare for this pandemic at the state, local, and household level, even if the government was terribly lagging, but we squandered it because of widespread asystemic thinking: the inability to think about complex systems and their dynamics. We faltered because of our failure to consider risk in its full context, especially when dealing with coupled risk—when multiple things can go wrong together. We were hampered by our inability to think about second- and third-order effects and by our susceptibility to scientism—the false comfort of assuming that numbers and percentages give us a solid empirical basis. We failed to understand that complex systems defy simplistic reductionism.

Widespread asystemic thinking may have cost America the entire month of February, and much of what we’d normally consider credible media were part of that failure.

It’s like the difference between generalization and specialization; in-context versus out-of-context. There are many other ways of saying it, but the principles are the same. Symptomatic versus asymptomatic?

JonKnowsNothing March 24, 2020 10:40 AM

@Clive @All

There are pictures of people sanitizing the streets. In China, early on, pictures showed a phalanx of folks moving along the street with huge billows and clouds of something rising up behind them. In other locations, it looks like they are using power washers to spray on the streets and sidewalks.

The billowing stuff seems to rise up to the first story, while the direct power spray is only on the street level items.

Q: What is it that they are spraying on the streets?
Q: Does it work?
Q: Is it only a Health-Theater-Prop action?
Q: If we added skunk scent to it, would it help people “Stay the F Home?”

JonKnowsNothing March 24, 2020 10:56 AM

just an anecdote:

Pretty much anyone who talks with me and asks about computer stuff, is likely to get a talk about computer security, app security etc etc ending up with Don’t Do That.

Pretty much anyone who talks with me after hearing the barrage of issues and problems, goes about merrily doing exactly what I suggested they don’t do and ignoring anything alternatives that I recommended.

In other words: I’m all HOT AIR and I doubt any one person has truly responded with any 2 grey cells making The Connection.

Recently via phone call, I was helping someone when THE topic of COVID-19 came up and Lock In-Down. The person I was helping is in one of the Bay Area Lock In Cities and is working from home. All to the Good.

But then, the conversation took a depressing turn. Perhaps due to the Mis-Managed and In-Adequate government and employer directions, the person had not actually connected 2 grey cells together. They were looking forward to a nice stroll about SF and that everything would be Just Fine on April 1 (also called April Fool’s Day in USA).

I’m glad it wasn’t a video link… my jaw dropped.

I tried to explain that as they have several vulnerable family members and that they themselves are not likely to be in the “treatment” age group, that should they return to the office and stroll about like “Nothing Going On”, and should they contract COVID-19 and return home, that their family members were likely to Get It. Since those members are also in the “no treatment group”, they will die.

I told them that their employer was paying them to do WORK, they were not paying them to DIE.

I do not think it sunk in very deep…

However, perhaps I am also a bit culpable.

I am in the no-treatment group (in another city), I am also Locked-In too. I have some wonderful friends that brave the markets and shops for me and do food drops at my door. Yesterday they dropped TWO BIG bags of groceries at my door!

They are risking their lives and families for me.

It makes me a bit uncomfortable that.

Clive Robinson March 24, 2020 11:34 AM

@ gordo,


Oh dear… I’m significantly underwhelmed yet again…

Her proposition when you dig down is this happened because of flu already doing the rounds and taking up large amounts of hospital resources.

That’s twaddle. Hospital resources are linear, unchecked disease spread is exponential upto close to 50% of the available population (which decreases with death and recovery).

So if flu had not been taking up beds and hospital space it would buy us at most a couple of days before we ran out of healthcare space with an R0 greater than 2.5 which it was (the maths is not hard to do).

Further She goes on to push some it’s “complacency in power and media” because we do not think right about systems.

Again compleate twaddle. The reason nothing happened was “short term vested interests” by those who’s jobs in theory depend on the next quaters figures with the stock market and those who rig the stock market to their advantage.

People should know by now that the stockmarket is rigged, theres “insiders” and there’s “saps”. Your savings and pensions are “sap money” to be taken at will by the “insiders”. It’s like an eight horse race where 2/3rds of the horses have been hobbled in some way. Saps think it’s a fair race, insiders know a fix is in. Whilst they might have hobbled one or two horses, they do not know who has hobbled the other half of the horses or which two horses are going to be heading for the line first. Thus insiders hedge their bets and the saps are mainly loosers.

Those insiders knew damm well what was going to happen to the stockmarket, all they needed was time to “safe haven” their money and leave the saps with the losses. Thus the insiders and executives of large corporates were doing the same thing, lobbying for what favoured their very short term intetests against the longterm interests of the nations other citizens.

Thus the real problem is those without science or basic maths skills that occupy office were bombarded by “money men” painting noir nightmares about what would happen if what they said was not heeded. Because all politicos need money to stay in office, guess who ‘s voices were heard over all others… Even those that can do the math and the science (which can be read on this blog if people are doubtfull).

In South Korea as has been pointed out there are a lot less MBA’s and one heck of a lot more hard science PhD’s in positions of power, as well as investment in corps is done in a substantially different way.

Supprise supprise South Korea has got the disease under a sufficient degree of control that their economy is still up and running at the same time and will remain so. Because they acted on the threat to the citizens rationaly.

The UK and US well as we know money men are “king makers” and the voices of unelected, non vetted and unqualified toadies rule supreme.

So those 1% of the 1% have their money out safely as do the corporate execs, many also have “safe havens” where they can “wait it out” to take significant advantage of the rest of the citizens as things stabilize or return ti normal. To them chaos is opportunity and the more there is the more money and assets there are to steal and put to work to continue the cycle.

However I hope when they did their MBA’s and sociopolitical degrees they studied a bit of history.

The usual result of a pandenic is those at the top get a major change in circumstances. Because those left at the bottom realise that regime change is more advantages to them, and what have they realy to loose by kowtowing and genuflecting to those that put them in such a dire position in the first place. More interestingly the “guard labour” who often take the biggest hit in a pandemic, start realising that they too would be better off with a regime change…

The question is what have the politicians and their pupet masters if they have thought about it got to fight back with…

MarkH March 24, 2020 12:06 PM


I entered only “uk l” before google suggested “UK lockdown rules”

Pubs AND bingo halls closed?

Britain continues as a geological land mass … but culturally, it has vanished

SpaceLifeForm March 24, 2020 12:17 PM

@ Clive

Thus I should point out that “traces of” does not mean “viable”.

True, true. But I suspect there will be more results to come from the CDC investigation. Yes, 17 days may be off.

Another thing that came out was that approximately 18% of the cases NEVER developed symptoms.

Which means there are many Silent Spreaders out there.

Which explains, well, A LOT.

Combine Silent Spreaders with long viability on surfaces, then ‘Houston, we have a problem’.

Which would explain why China was spraying disinfectant into the air on empty streets.

Clive Robinson March 24, 2020 12:18 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

With regards your four questions

Q: What is it that they are spraying on the streets?

I don’t know but I can take several guesses. If it was me I would be looking at a short acting bleaching agent that would attack virus RNA but break down harmlessly in the environment fairly quickly. I don’t know how good it would be with regards breaking down virii but not changing the colour of streat furniture etc but I know Hydrogen Peroxide is quite a powerful bleaching agent as well as breaking down to just H2O and O2 both of which are abundant in the environment naturally.

Another thing that can be done is the electrolysis of brine, to make a short acting chlorine bleach.

Q: Does it work?

That rather depends on what you mean by “work” and what the substance is. I suspect the purpose is to render unviable virus RNA in droplets from human breathing, coughing, sneezing etc that could live for several days, gey on peoples footware and thus get in their homes and on their hands[1].

Q: Is it only a Health-Theater-Prop action?

Again it depends on what they are spraying, but even if it is primarily designed to boost confidence in the population, I doubt that what they are spraying does not have some anti viral properties.

As for “skunk scent” firstly not every one can, smell it. Secondly people regularly walk dog mess into their homes. But if you remember back, some authoritarian typrs use water cannon with an agent in it that is difficult to get off and smells very strongly to stop riots and punish those who do riot. From what I’ve heard it’s less effective than rain at stopping riots, also non involved with the riot people complain vociferously about it stinking up outside their shops etc and press for compensation.

So I suspect that eau de skunk is not going to be effective or popular.

[1] Which is why you should take footware off at the door carefully, spray them down with a mild bleach solution immediately then go and wash your hands with hot water and hard soap.

Clive Robinson March 24, 2020 12:44 PM

@ MarkH,

Britain continues as a geological land mass … but culturally, it has vanished.

Times change but sadly the dregs in the barrels still remain.

A few years ago I had reason to be in Norwich which ment a couple of nights spent in a hotel in the city center.

Norwich is a funny place it has a cathedral for every season, a church for every week and a pub for every day, and back then yes it still had one bingo hall that I was aware of.

It also has a university with an unusually high number of “lady” students…

My rest was disturbed on both nights by police throwing these “ladies” often in a state of some undress and swearing fit to turn a “fishwifes” face pallid, into the back of vans, or in some cases ambulances.

It was then I realised that the “minger culture” sobriquet handed out by the various “red top” papers did have some factual basis…

mEntropy March 24, 2020 12:48 PM

You’re aware of this, I figured to state it clearly.

About carcinogens, they hamper anyone’s immunesystem. Inhale sufficient smoke, you’re more likely to catch an infection soon after or experience a flare-up of an existing condition.

During a pandemic with several waves and lack of hospital resources people with comorbidities, advanced age, want to avoid smoking, fast food, chips, chimneys, baking, any practice increasing infection risks by overtaxing immune systems.

@Clive, puppetmasters
Skynet? Economy shutdown? Oh wait, last one is already in effect.

Clive Robinson March 24, 2020 1:11 PM

@ mEntropy,

Skynet? Economy shutdown? Oh wait, last one is already in effect.

Yes I was “privileged” to get the “Official” SMS this morning…

The trouble is you can not return your thoughts on the matter to the sender so a “democratic failure”…

Well atleast it’s not a “Hawaiian missile alert”[1] unlike the situation that presages and occasions it’s transmission.

[1] Yes it’s become a common idiom for something that shall we say is rather more than a typical SNAFU or similar. That is it’s monumental mark in history to bureaucracy “gone to lunch” but being atleast “One sandwich short of a picnic”.

Anders March 24, 2020 4:19 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @ALL

However, they want a LOT of information. Detailed technical information.
And i doubt they will delete it afterwards.

Put this into Google translate:

MarkH March 24, 2020 4:43 PM


Minger is new word to me … I suppose it’s the same small fraction of Brits, who gave British tourists such an evil reputation around the turn of millennium, with the foundational philosophy “I drink therefore I am?”

I’m too timid to investigate the reputation of U.S. tourists … when abroad, I try to be as unobtrusive as I can, and to regard myself as an informal ambassador, hopefully not besmirching my homeland.

I’ll put Norwich on my Must Miss list. Anyway, if I have any opportunity to spend time in Britain, Scotland is where I long to be.

La Abeja March 24, 2020 5:10 PM



However, they want a LOT of information. Detailed technical information.
And i doubt they will delete it afterwards.

What are those Estonians doing with all that information anyways? They already got all the Finns’ medical records in their government gun control database systems through some kind of international trans-European socialist healthcare gun control treaty of something like that.

Nik March 24, 2020 7:06 PM

Paper towels: Try car part stores: Blue towels that are VERY sturdy.gonna see about them tomorrow.

@Clive: Thank you for the hints/ thoughts on food/ chili and prep. Also the point on the “street people”. I Lived in LA and it was a huge tent city. The official numbers were on the low end and corruption made it so the answer [1] was to build dwellings by builder who had donated money to the mayor and cronies. In Pasadena TYPHOID FEVER broke out from the homeless people; in San Diego there was a huge outbreak of hepatitis from the homeless population. The reaction of LA was to pass a Billion dollar bond system where most of it was put toward building apartments. Paid by homeowners and future debt. The net effect was that all the homeless people saw a billion dollars being available to them in CA, so 100K migrated there. Warm weather, social system, money, can’t blame them. But LA is a hard city and drugs are everywhere. I never came up with a solution, so I moved. (+Traffic + tax / financial breakdown of CA)

[1] The issue is that many homeless people have issues that not only require a place to live, but addiction and mental care.

gordo March 24, 2020 8:29 PM

@ Clive Robinson,

The reason nothing happened was “short term vested interests” by those who’s jobs in theory depend on the next quaters figures with the stock market and those who rig the stock market to their advantage.

The material shortages roiling COVID-19 response efforts, i.e., the lack of basic health emergency preparedness stockpiles, has shown a true systemic problem: As you’ve touched on previously, supply chain weaknesses are rendering healthcare delivery infrastructure and other economic actors across the spectrum susceptible to those selfsame “short term vested interests” or “the market”. As the saying goes, “It’s a feature, not a bug” and it shows what happens when governments decide that they’re not the answer to what they know the market won’t provide.

Regarding anti-situational awareness on material shortages or a defense of the status quo:

Nick Turse
March 24 2020

[T]he need for large stockpiles of masks, like the need for ventilators, has been no secret. “As occurred during the SARS outbreak in Canada, hospitals would especially need N95 particulate respirators to protect medical staff against infection,” according to the 2006 CBO report. “Widely adopted just-in-time practices … leave too small an inventory margin to accommodate the increased demand for supplies that would accompany an influenza pandemic.” [last paragraph]

Regarding short term vested interests (one response):

Debt and Power: An Interview With Michael Hudson
Posted on March 24, 2020 by Yves Smith

What happens when a debt can’t be paid? Well, either you default and lose your property as creditors foreclose on your home or drive you into bankruptcy, or – if you’re a corporation – they drive you under and a corporate raider takes you over. Or else, you write down the debt.

Clive Robinson March 24, 2020 8:53 PM

@ MarkH,

Anyway, if I have any opportunity to spend time in Britain, Scotland is where I long to be.

Funny you should mention Scotland home of my ancestors and language of it’s own. Because that’s where “minging” / “minger” originates from. As you can probably gather it’s a derogatory term.

I don’t know if you watched the original “Terminator” movie, but there was a bit in there where the flesh was rotting off the arm, so in a motel he cut it off… And a bloke walked by out side and said “Hey buddy have you got a dead rat in there?”. Well that smell and pile of flesh is what a scot would describe as “minging”. Likewise one of those “truck stop rest rooms” that look and smell like they’ve not been cleaned in a fair old “bunch of sundays”.

The term was brought south by a “Big Brother” z-lister called Jade Goody who described herself live on television as a “minger” thus a lot of people south of the boarder down Milton Keynes way think the word means something other than it does in Scotland, where it originated…

Clive Robinson March 24, 2020 9:43 PM

@ gordo,

I did reply to your comment yesterday but it “evaporated” over night…

With regards what ails us as a civilization held captive by a series of rigged markets, whilst I can point out the issues easily enough, I have yet to find a solution to them.

As I’ve said before nature deduced long before primates climbed out of trees to be bipedal, that if something is too efficient it becomes extinct.

This lack of resilience has turned into an utter disaster for the majority.

Whilst I’m confident China’s economy will be back on track very soon, I suspect that the UK and US economies either not to survive or be in the doldrums for years if not decades.

Why am I confident about China but not the UK and US? Well it’s simple realy.

Back in the 1980’s under Thatcher and Reagan some idiot promoted the idea that the UK and US did not need industry and manufacturing and that both countries could survive on “service sectors” like Finance…

Well if you look at the banking and finance service sector as a “value chain” the only thing they add is “inflation”… What somebody forgot to tell the politicos is there is a very big difference between the “real wealth” manufacturing produces and the phoney “paper money wealth” that banking and finance sectors produce. Further that the banking and finance sectors are critically dependent on the manufacturing sector…

So what have the UK and US done, well they have “outsourced” manufacturing and IP to China, and in effect killed of technical education, thus we realy have no easy road back away from our folly.

China on the other hand has taken the IP it was given and developed it further. So now they are in effect unassailably “The world’s factory”… That is if China’s economy does not recover the worlds economy will not recover either…

But this result of “outsourcing” was all to predictable and it’s only now, two to three decades too late, that politicians are finding out what happens when China “turns the tap off”.

Even though the UK and US do retain some manufacturing, guess where some or all of the components come from? Yup China.

For all his faults Issac Asimov in his “Foundation” series high lighted how a fading military empire could be defeated without a shot being fired. As the new manufacturing nation supplied the empire with all the critical bits for it’s machines and weapons, the new manufacturing nation just stops supplying and the Military Empire grinds very quickly to a halt…

I’ll leave any conclusions that can be drawn to others..

Clive Robinson March 24, 2020 9:58 PM

@ Nik,

I Lived in LA and it was a huge tent city.

With no sanitation or effective healtcare, it is in some respects worse than some refugee camps in other parts of the world.

As has been discussed with Turkey potentially “weaponising refugees” and “forcing them into Europe”, the same issue exists in that “tent city”.

Because of the way COVID-19 spreads, much of a “tent city” could become infected but initially asyptomatic. Of course when the symptoms start to show the tent city dwellers will scurry off to places new. Much like cockroaches do when you turn a light on… Those new places will quickly become diseased and so the cycle repeates.

We know this happens by simply looking at the history of other plauges in times past.

And it’s that which worries me, and I don’t live in the US. But it should also worry just about every other US citizen, because that “tent city” has a good probability of becoming a fragmentation grenade for SARS-CoV-2. Thus hundreds of thousands of carriers will in effect start “community spread” where ever they go…

Sed Contra March 24, 2020 11:21 PM

@ Faustus

disinfecting Roomba-alikes

And the Boing Boing offering besides rhe AI robot mode includes the handheld capability!

Clive Robinson March 25, 2020 4:41 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

Congress agrees on $2 Trillion package

Nothing like seeing a danger threaten your own to loosen the political purse strings…

And this will be only the first such tranch of tax pay money, it will be interesting to see where it goes, the US airline industry? The MIC, or big pharma… Oh there will be a few crumbs for researchers to fight over to be sure but this is going to be “stimulus” money in the main.

If they had been more like Soth Korea in there response, even it they had started only two or three weeks earlier think how much less it would have cost…

And the figures this morning 09:12UTC are, for the world 425k total, 109k recovered, 19k dead, and a little under 300k taking up medical services as active cases. I wonder how many more cases there realy are. As for those “seasonal flu” arguments that 19k deaths is fast heading to over take those figures.

The total, recovered, dead, and active figures of direct interest are,

For the US 55k, 379, 784, 54k.
For the UK 8k, 135, 472, 7.5k.
For S.Korea 9.1k, 3.7k, 126, 5.3k.

Take note of “dead” and “recovered” figures they tell quite a story. I can only dread what they will be this evening.

Josh March 25, 2020 5:14 AM

@Clive Robinson,

This could explain the nominal difference in California and New York, noting hte discrepency in temperature and humidity.

Clive Robinson March 25, 2020 7:46 AM

@ All,

I’ve been looking at videos and web pages where obvious specialists are making a mistake with the basic math of exponential growth, thus getting things wrong such that the figures they talk of are about R0 to small.

To explain I will use an R0 of 2 as it’s easiest to see.

What those explaining do is they tell you about the time it goes from 1 to R0 cases and explain it gets bigger by R0 times every time period there after (wgich is correct for “grow by” but not for “total).

Which they then demonstrate by drawing a little pyramid starting with 1 in the top row R0 in the second row R0^2 in the third row and so on.

So for R0 of 2 you get,


What they then say is “at the end of time X you have Y cases” and they would point at say 128 for Y. That is they have forgotton that the preceeding 64 + 32 + 16… cases are not some how magically now “never infected” thus they should point that the 128 is the extra cases for the last time period “growth” and that the actual “total” infected case is now the sum of all the numbers in this case 255…

Whilst this might appear a minor point it’s not. Because it critically effects the number of “infectious people” in community.

Lets assume that on average you remain infective for three time periods then simplistically when you have the new 128 people you actually have them plus the previous two time period figures so 128+64+32 which is 224…

It’s also important when you are trying to work out real Case Fatality Rates (CFR). You need to know the number of cases when the person became sick not when they died X number of time periods later, which in large enough numbers you can do on the average time to die. Likewise for those that recover. Otherwise all your predictions will be wrong though initially they might not appear “to far out”…

Nik March 25, 2020 8:24 AM

It recently occurred to me that right me is a really bad time for any catastrophe, like an earthquake and such. Wildfires are still a risk for the overloaded utility lines and lightning strikes. And The “Big One” in California. Everybody is inside, the services overtaxed. A quake would shut off power, water, gas creating an unsolvable situation.

Anders March 25, 2020 9:47 AM


Regarding R0 there’s well known
“The wheat and chessboard problem” that illustrates this
thing very clearly.

And especially the “Second half of the chessboard” in modern
“computer terms”.

gordo March 25, 2020 10:08 AM

@ Clive Robinson,

held captive by a series of rigged markets

The table’s being set. From earlier this morning:

So that’s the stuff that’s been reported. Here’s what hasn’t, and why the bill goes up in value to $6-10 trillion.

• An additional $4 trillion from the Federal Reserve in lending power to be lent to big corporations and banks.

• Authorization to bail out money market funds, multi-trillion dollar unregulated bank-like deposits for the superrich.

• Authorization for the the government through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to guarantee trillions of dollars of risky bank debt.

There’s more.

MarkH March 25, 2020 12:40 PM

@Clive, re geometric series:

What you found is certainly bad math … it’s disappointing that you saw the mistake repeated in numerous places!

However, the significance of this mistake to the pandemic is small under present conditions.

Including the first case, the nth power (given incorrectly in those tutorials as though it were the total) understates the actual sum by

(Rn – 1) / [(Rn-1)(R – 1)]

which, as n increases, asymptotically approaches

R / (R – 1)

For R less than 2, this error grows quite large.

But as your example shows, for R = 2 the incorrect estimate is off by a factor of 2, or a single generation. For R = 2.5, this drops to less than 0.6 generations, and for R = 3, less than 0.4 generations.

Given that Covid-19 doubling times in the “wildfire” regions are measured in dozens of hours, a total estimated using the mathematically incorrect formula is displaced in time from the correct sum by as little as 1.5 days.

There’s a much more important truth probably missing from all of those online explanations: physically realizable exponential growth can never (in a finite universe) be sustained for very many generations.

I’d be interested to see whether anyone has estimated that maximum physically realizable n, but I suspect it’s on the order of 100.

In epidemics of human disease, the maximum n is surely very much smaller.

It’s worth remembering that R0 is a sort of mathematical ideal: it’s the estimated reproduction rate for the first case in a population with no acquired immunity; hence the subscript of zero.

R, the effective reproduction rate, will necessarily change with time, often quite rapidly where people are concerned. Accordingly, tidy formulas are necessarily crude approximations which become grossly inaccurate over time. For the present pandemic, exponential growth seems unlikely to persist longer than a few weeks.

I understand the desire to make the illustration “this is what will happen if we do nothing,” but when a lot of people start dying, things change.

There’s a U.S. economist who famously predicted that the federal budget will, well before the year 2100, come up short by $222 trillion.

Essentially, this Very Smart Guy found a Very Stupid Way to say that there’s a divergence between commitments and tax revenues. (Because, as we all know, tax rates NEVER change.)

This prediction led me to observe that every ship now underway at sea will, if it maintains its present course and speed, run aground — with ruinous consequences in almost every case.

Oddly, the great majority of ships cross seas and oceans without wrecking in this manner. Gee, I wonder why?

MarkH March 25, 2020 12:56 PM


I forgot to mention that in the 70s I read an Isaac Asimov essay in which he assumed that the then-prevailing growth rate of human population to be sustained continually.

He computed the date by which the entire mass of the universe would (given the predicate) have been converted to human flesh (disgusting thought!). I don’t remember the number now, but it was on the order of 100 human generations hence …

Sancho_P March 25, 2020 2:15 PM

@Clive Robinson

”You need to know the number of cases when the person became sick not when they died …”

I think this statistically tuning is well known, but not openly reported for obvious (political) reasons.
Spain today reports 2991 total death and 35.273 infected, that is
2991 / 35.273 = 0,0848 = 8,5 %, [Germany 0,5 % ()]
When taking into account a delay from “tested pos” to death from, say, 10 days, the figures would be:
2991 / 5.678 = 0,527 = 53 % [Germany 3,5 % (

But it’s difficult to hide the truth, scroll further down there is a diagram “Outcome of cases (Recovery or Death) that’s very close to 50 %:

(*) Comparing Spain to Germany, it’s obvious Germany has a much better emergency care, there people don’t die in ER in the short term.
But I’ve heard that 5 or more days on the machine will change life forever, youngster or oldie, and not to the better.

And for the recovery or death rate of Germany I’d say there’s a measurement error, the graph was approaching 50 % as well.
But the big question is: What is counted as GRETA-19 death?

Anders March 25, 2020 2:47 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @ALL

Today CFR passed 4,5% mark 🙁

Direction is still the same, slowly and steadily up.

anonymous March 25, 2020 7:40 PM

So since there is still no antibody test that I could find data for I feel I should point out as Clive pointed out on his first post in this squid blog many of the presumed cases of SARS-CoV-2 are not dieing from the virus but from assumed complications from the virus. The thing is that if there is no test for if this virus actually exists in the form of a serological test then how does one know all the information reported about it to be true? Like there is supposed sequence anaylisis for the virus on github but what exactly does that prove? That some random samples taken from random patients might have a similiar genome sequence? Is there any hard data or tests on the virus itself and not random people assumed to have the virus? This news cycle could be a example of lacking in information security for various reasons by various groups.

myliit March 26, 2020 6:24 AM

“ The Coronavirus Is the Worst Intelligence Failure in U.S. History

It’s more glaring than Pearl Harbor and 9/11—and it’s all the fault of Donald Trump’s leadership. …

Suffice it to say, the Trump administration has cumulatively failed, both in taking seriously the specific, repeated intelligence community warnings about a coronavirus outbreak and in vigorously pursuing the nationwide response initiatives commensurate with the predicted threat. The federal government alone has the resources and authorities to lead the relevant public and private stakeholders to confront the foreseeable harms posed by the virus. Unfortunately, Trump officials made a series of judgments (minimizing the hazards of COVID-19) and decisions (refusing to act with the urgency required) that have needlessly made Americans far less safe. …

By now, there are three painfully obvious observations about Trump’s leadership style that explain the worsening coronavirus pandemic that Americans now face. First, there is the fact that once he believes absolutely anything—no matter how poorly thought-out, ill-informed, or inaccurate—he remains completely anchored to that initial impression or judgment. Leaders are unusually hubristic and overconfident; for many, the fact that they have risen to elevated levels of power is evidence of their inherent wisdom. But truly wise leaders authentically solicit feedback and criticism, are actively open thinkers, and are capable of changing their minds. By all accounts, Trump lacks these enabling competencies.

Second, Trump’s judgments are highly transmissible, infecting the thinking and behavior of nearly every official or advisor who comes in contact with the initial carrier. Unsurprisingly, the president surrounds himself with people who look, think, and act like he does. Yet, his inaccurate or disreputable comments also have the remarkable ability to become recycled by formerly honorable military, intelligence, and business leaders. And if somebody does not consistently parrot the president’s proclamations with adequate intensity, they are fired, or it is leaked that their firing could be imminent at any time—most notably the recent report of the president’s impatience with the indispensable Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

And, third, the poor judgments soon contaminate all the policymaking arms of the federal government with almost no resistance or even reasonable questioning. Usually, federal agencies are led by those officials whom the White House believes are best able to implement policy. These officials have usually enjoyed some degree of autonomy; not under Trump. Even historically nonpartisan national security or intelligence leadership positions have been filled by people who are ideologically aligned with the White House, rather than endowed with the experience or expertise needed to push back or account for the concerns raised by career nonpolitical employees.

Thus, an initial incorrect assumption or statement by Trump cascades into day-to-day policy implementation. …

The White House detachment and nonchalance during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak will be among the most costly decisions of any modern presidency. These officials were presented with a clear progression of warnings and crucial decision points far enough in advance that the country could have been far better prepared. But the way that they squandered the gifts of foresight and time should never be forgotten, nor should the reason they were squandered: Trump was initially wrong, so his inner circle promoted that wrongness rhetorically and with inadequate policies for far too long, and even today. Americans will now pay the price for decades.“

myliit March 26, 2020 6:45 AM

“Peterr, March 25, 2020 at 10:43 pm
Politico posted a story 90 minutes ago that opens like this [1]:

‘The Trump administration, state officials and even individual hospital workers are now racing against each other to get the necessary masks, gloves and other safety equipment to fight coronavirus — a scramble that hospitals and doctors say has come too late and left them at risk. But according to a previously unrevealed White House playbook, the government should’ve begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment at least two months ago.

“Is there sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are providing medical care?” the playbook instructs its readers, as one early decision that officials should address when facing a potential pandemic. “If YES: What are the triggers to signal exhaustion of supplies? Are additional supplies available? If NO: Should the Strategic National Stockpile release PPE to states?”’

The strategies are among hundreds of tactics and key policy decisions laid out in a 69-page National Security Council playbook on fighting pandemics, which POLITICO is detailing for the first time. Other recommendations include that the government move swiftly to fully detect potential outbreaks, secure supplemental funding and consider invoking the Defense Production Act — all steps in which the Trump administration lagged behind the timeline laid out in the playbook.

Wait! You mean there was a document that says “in case of pandemic, read this” and no one read it? No one could have anticipated . . .

Speaking of “No one could have anticipated . . .”:

‘Trump has claimed that his administration could not have foreseen the coronavirus pandemic, which has spread to all 50 states and more than 180 nations, sickening more than 460,000 people around the world. “Nobody ever expected a thing like this,” Trump said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday.

But Trump’s aides were told to expect a potential pandemic, ranging from a tabletop exercise that the outgoing Obama administration prepared for the president’s incoming aides to a “Crimson Contagion” scenario that health officials undertook just last year and modeled out potential risks of a global infectious disease threat. Trump’s deputies also have said that their coronavirus response relies on a federal playbook, specifically referring to a strategy laid out by the Centers for Disease Control.’

The question Politico asks but cannot answer (at least not yet) is obvious: “It is not clear if the administration’s failure to follow the NSC playbook was the result of an oversight or a deliberate decision to follow a different course.”

IOW, are they idiots or crooks?”

myliit March 26, 2020 4:33 PM

A good, and informative, imo, review of Surveillance Capitalism by Zuboff including this with something about our host.

“… How? [ B. F. ] Skinner demonstrated his theory of behavioral control by so-called operant conditioning in rats. He would place hungry rats in boxes. They came to realize that pressing a lever on one side of the box delivered a snack: after several repetitions, the rat, upon being deposited in the box, learned to head straight for the lever. As for humans, the idea is that if the tech industry knows where you are and what you like, it can use a variety of tricks and techniques—updates, buttons, listicles, and more—to create the levers we are conditioned to pull (or click) on. All of this induces us to make choices in slightly different ways than we might have otherwise, which is known as behavioral influence.

To most people, the assertion that we are living in Skinner boxes might sound alarming, but The Age of Surveillance Capitalism goes darker still. Skinner, at least, saw himself as a do-gooder who would save humanity from its own delusions. His behavioral engineering was meant to build a happier humanity, one finally at peace with our lack of agency. “What is love,” Skinner wrote, “except another name for the use of positive reinforcement?”

Zuboff, in contrast, sees Silicon Valley’s project of behavioral observation in the service of behavior control as lacking an interest in human happiness (other than as a means); its goal is profit. That’s why Zuboff calls it “surveillance capitalism.” If “industrial capitalism depended upon the exploitation and control of nature,” then surveillance capitalism, she writes, “depends instead upon the exploitation and control of human nature.” The term refers to the idea, just described, that we spend our days under constant surveillance, motivated by the offer of small rewards and punishments—radical behavioralism made flesh.

Her book is not without flaws. It is far too long, often overwrought, and employs far too much jargon. Its treatment of Google, which dominates the first half, will strike anyone who has spent time in the industry as too conspiracy-minded, even for those disposed to be critical. Other books, like Bruce Schneier’s Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World (2015), offer more technically sophisticated coverage of much of the same territory.

But I view all of this as forgivable, because Zuboff has accomplished something important. She has given new depth, urgency, and perspective to the arguments long made by privacy advocates and others concerned about the rise of big tech and its data-collection practices. By providing the crucial link between technological surveillance and power, she makes previous complaints about “creepiness” or “privacy intrusions” look quaint. …”

Clive Robinson March 26, 2020 4:34 PM

@ Anders, SpaceLifeForm,

Everything OK?

Well nothing’s fallen off yet 😉

It’s been a bit of a busy day…

As a relative pointed out to me some years ago after they had been retired for a couple of months,

    I want to go back to work,
    I need the rest!

Some entity always finds a way to make idle hands busy.

Hopefully others are finding usefull things to do and are hale and hearty enough to do them.

For those that find time on their hands may I commened a good book, or perhaps learning a new programing language, it would be less risky than “doing stuff around the house” like putting up those shelves, or fixing the hinge on the cupboard door in the kitchin. As a doctor might say,

    The use of tools, especially power tools, is contraindicated at this time.

A&E is probably not the place you want to be right now and neither the Drs or Nurses will thank you for being their…

My son’s mum has been told that when she is out of quarantine she’s going to be working 12.5-13hour shifts, doing ICU stuff probably at the camp they are setting up in the ExCel Arena Docklands,

It would appear that medical staff who are thought to have had COVID-19 are “being selected from a cast of many” for a “special role”,

Anders March 26, 2020 6:29 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @ALL

I sadly notice that United States has passed
both China and Italy regarding infection

SpaceLifeForm March 26, 2020 6:34 PM

@ Anders. Clive

How sausage is made in Congress

I have doubts that House will pass bill Friday, due
to backdoor bailout added.

This is a side-by-side diff.
To easily find the changes, search in the webpage for “<>”


Anders March 26, 2020 7:02 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @ALL

New rules here

Clive Robinson March 26, 2020 7:45 PM

@ Anders, SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

I sadly notice that…

The world totals,

cases 0.53M
deaths 24k

But when you look at “closed cases” the real story is comming out,

Recovered 123k 84%
Deaths 24k 16%

That 16% is not a nice figure to contemplate, and in reality it’s probably worse because the recoveries average a shorter time from infection than the deaths do…

But take a look at the UK and US recovered and deaths

US :- Dead 1209, Recovered 1864.
UK :- Dead 578, Recovered 135.

You will not that nobody in the UK has recovered in the past few days and that the deaths keep going up.

One reason is the UK has been fiddling the figures. By only testing “some” patients in hospital they kept the overal total down for some time. Now the patients are going critical and in need of ICU etc they can not be “not tested” so the recovery rate looks very bad now.

From this you can do a rough translation and say the UK has 15-25 times more cases than the totals the Government claims of 11.7k. So,

UK estimate 175.5k – 292.5k

Of which half will be in London and the South East.

If people are doubting this look at the number of “critical cases” and deaths,

Yesterday CC 163, Deaths 463.
Today CC 163, Deaths 578.

You can see there have been 115 deaths today, but the Critical Care remain the same… Which means that the UK NHS is out of ICU beds and is now swamped beyond capacity so we will be catching up with Italy real soon now… It also means that other non COVID-19 people are dying and will die needlessly because they don’t have access to the care that will save their lives. It’s bad when you read it, but how much worse for the health care professionals who see it in front of them, and of course devestating to the friends and families of those who die. All knowing that this has happened because our current crop of politicians were more interested in helping stockmarket manipulators make profit than looking after the citizens of this country in the face of a clear and present danger. Whilst a month and a half two over two months of critical time that we know from South Korea would have saved many citizens was frittered away.

Wael March 26, 2020 8:47 PM

@Clive Robinson, @Anders, @SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

Recovered 123k 84%
Deaths 24k 16%

You were optimistic to not include the:

364,429 (95%)
in Mild Condition; 19,357 (5%) Serious or Critical Condtion

There’re 5% more serious/critical condition. So CMR is
around 20%. Yes, not all Serious/Critical conditions will die, but also: not all 95% of the mild conditions will live, either. So add ~4% to the 16%.

Clive Robinson March 26, 2020 9:18 PM

@ Wael,

You were optimistic to not include…

Yes but I also chose not to work it out against the general populous, where it will be something like 3.5-6%, as the numbers become not just frightening but unimaginable.

4% of 7.5×10^9 is 300×10^6 or a little under the population of the US. That as they say is rather more than Joseph Stalin’s “just a statistic”. Yet even so it’s very far from existential.

Yet we see the likes of US and UK politicians squabling over who is going to get the big slice of the tax take pie for the next umpteen generations. Let’s just say the gimble on my moral compass is spining so fast, that like the teeth on a circular saw, it can not be seen as it tries to keep track of their perfidy.

Wael March 26, 2020 9:35 PM

@Clive Robinson, All,

the numbers become not just frightening but unimaginable.

What happened to “Trust the math”?!

I watched a French video (subtitled — I don’t know French) about COVID-19 being “unnatural”. Are you aware of “BREVET EP 1 694 829 B1”? The context was about a French doctor from Pasteur Institute who helped build a P4 class lab in Wuhan, China… and an infected test bat escaping from the lab. Sounds more like a f%€£ up than a conspiracy theory. Too far fetched?

Anyone seen that video?

JonKnowsNothing March 26, 2020 10:08 PM

The numbers are not very encouraging…

Anecdotally, a few more folks are trying to Stay the FHome. It’s not going to be all that successful in the USA because we have such poor social systems due to our belief that anyone needing help is Not Worthy. So there’s no one to bring food, post, bank/money or minor health items (band aids and antacids). Those who are fortunate to have such support, have to hope that their support doesn’t fall ill. (I do have someone making food drops and I worry about them risking it all to bring me groceries).

Whiling away the time, clicking Wikipedia Random Page…

ht tps://

The Year of the Four Emperors, 69 AD, was a year in the history of the Roman Empire in which four emperors ruled in succession: Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian

ht tps://

The Year of the Five Emperors refers to the year 193 AD, in which the five claimants for the title of Roman Emperor were: Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger, Clodius Albinus, and Septimius Severus. This year started a period of civil war when multiple rulers vied for the chance to become Caesar.

ht tps://

The Year of the Six Emperors was the year 238 AD, during which six people were recognised as emperors of Rome. Maximinus Thrax. Gordian I and Gordian II, Pupienus, Balbinus and Gordian III

Made me wonder how historians will name this period? Will they name it after the heads of state that saved people or after the ones that let them die?

(url fractured to prevent autorun)

Wael March 26, 2020 10:51 PM

@Sed Contra,

I looked at the patent. The video I watched was subtitled in a different language, and the patent number was displayed in the video. What’s your take?

La Abeja March 26, 2020 11:45 PM

@Wael @Clive Robinson, @Anders, @SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

Recovered 123k 84% Deaths 24k 16%

You were optimistic to not include the:

364,429 (95%)
in Mild Condition; 19,357 (5%) Serious or Critical Condtion

There’re 5% more serious/critical condition. So CMR is
around 20%. Yes, not all Serious/Critical conditions will die, but also: not all 95% of the mild conditions will live, either. So add ~4% to the 16%.@Clive Robinson

A 20% mortality figure is more than likely only for those so seriously ill that they have been served with an official diagnosis of Coronavirus® or COVID-19® and court-ordered for quarantive and involuntary treatment by authority of the board of commissioners of the county of lawful jurisdiction of medical diagnosis and treatment of the aforementioned novel Coronavirus® or COVID-19®, pursuant to emergency orders of the department of public health.

The crude mortality rate (CMR) is one of the most widely used indicators at MSF and the humanitarian sector more generally, when evaluating the severity of a health crisis within a given population.

Dude, we’re drilling crude oil out of the ground in Alaska, North Dakota and other states, OPEC is imposing a definite mortality rate upon us, and all the radical environmentalists, climate-changers, and Palistinians are piling their B.S. on top of everything on us. That crude stuff ain’t called black gold for nothing.

Our political enemies drive cars to work just like the rest of us, but they always take them to a proper shop for mechanical work under warranty, and they pay their local high school girls handsomely for a detail and wash.

La Abeja March 27, 2020 12:13 AM


our belief that anyone needing help is Not Worthy.

What’s the matter? Saw the “help wanted” ads, they aren’t willing to pay you what you think you’re worth?

So there’s no one to bring food, post, bank/money or minor health items (band aids and antacids).

Oh, I’ll bet. The waitresses, grocery store checkers, post office workers, bank tellers, and convenience store clerks are all on strike. Better not cross the picket line if you don’t want to get robbed of you money by a mob of bona fide union members and trespassed off the property by a cop-calling ho like some low-life ne’er-do-well scab who can’t have a gun because he won’t join the union.

SpaceLifeForm March 27, 2020 1:08 AM

@ Clive, Anders, Wael, Myliit, ALL

Recall there were leaked numbers from China, that I said were absolutely horrible. So horrible, that I did not want to explain further.

Also, recall, that the number I watch is the ratio:
(deaths)/(deaths + recovered)

If you connect those two dots…

Using the numbers Clive noted above

US :- Dead 1209, Recovered 1864.
UK :- Dead 578, Recovered 135.

For US, the (d)/(d+r) = .39
For UK, the (d)/(d+r) = .82

Those are absolutely horrible numbers.

The only good thing that can be said at this time is that the base numbers are small, that it is early.

The leaked numbers from China were much larger in magnitude, so I would expect them to be more statistically stable.

As, I said, the ratio of (d)/(d+r) for the leaked China numbers was absolutely horrible.

Worse than the early ratios above for US, UK.

Over 2 months later, a lot has been learned.

Early on in Wuhan, the healthcare system was overwhelmed, so we need to keep in mind that as the centre of the outbreak, large numbers would not be a surprise.

But early on, it became clear that in severe cases, most did not recover.

Wesley Parish March 27, 2020 3:12 AM

@Clive Robinson, @myliit, @JonKnowsNothing, and concerned parties

Back in my younger years, I belonged to a church of sorts, and – this was in either 83 or 85, I’ve forgotten precisely when – a high-ranking US evangelical came over. He was an apologist and I think it might be better if I didn’t mention his name, but he taught at Dallas Theological Seminary and was highly regarded. He spoke about nuclear war, presenting an argument I considered absurd, namely that nuclear weapons could be used in a “just” war.

During the Q and A session afterwards I challenged that, pointing out that the EMP made any definition of a restricted “battlefield” highly unlikely, and furthermore the prospect of nuclear winter made a full-scale nuclear war highly immoral. I was expecting him to argue on the basis of something other than that which he used.

To put it bluntly, he ignored the EMP threat to hospitals and the innocent, and concentrated on the politics of the people who had theorized about nuclear winter – they had based their theories on the observations of another planet’s atmosphere, namely Mars, during a planetwide dust-storm. The lecturer pointed out that some of the scientists were leftists, some communist – hardly surprising, it was a project shared between US and Soviet scientists, this examining the Mars atmospheric data, and then drawing the nuclear winter theory from the conclusions.

It was the first time I had seen an adult acting so childishly. Judging an argument by the incidentals of the person making it, is something I thought people grew out of. But judging from the US coronavirus evidence, it is standard practice in US politics. Seriously, does someone’s politics (ethnicity, language, etc) alter the fact of 1 + 1 = 2? (In footy – whether it’s soccer, gridiron, league, rugby, aussie rules, gaelic football is irrelevant – they call this “playing the man” which is frowned upon; they’d much rather have players play the ball, which is a lot more fun anyway.)

But that’s a major part of the reason for the US’s lacksadaisickal response to the coronavirus. I think it’s Trump’s Suez Crisis moment.

MarkH March 27, 2020 5:36 AM

@Wesley Parish:


In the U.S., politically conservative people are much less likely than others to accept the scientific facts of human-caused climate change, and the evolution of new species.

Somehow, millions of people have construed these questions not as matters of inquiry into the workings of nature, but instead as ideological or ethical questions. It’s the most extreme kind of category error.

Whatever the causation, it appears that other things being equal, U.S. states with more conservative populations are taking less measures to ameliorate the pandemic than their more liberal counterparts.

To my knowledge, the SARS-Cov-2 virus does not discriminate on the basis of the host’s political philosophy.

MarkH March 27, 2020 6:11 AM


Current numbers from China’s Health Commission:

Cases: 81,340
Deaths: 3,292
Recovered: 74,588

I compute the d / (d + r) ratio you considered as .042

The numbers above imply 3,460 who have neither died nor recovered as yet. As China is reporting a low rate of new cases, the fate of those people might perhaps clarify within a few weeks.

At this stage, almost all statistics give only a fragmentary picture of the actual public health situation.

I think it’s worth considering that the determination, reporting and tracking of recoveries is perhaps quite different from the process for confirmed cases and deaths. At the very least, determination of recovery can generally be expected to occur significantly later. Combining such disparate measurements could be quite misleading.

For example, the disease falls with particular heaviness on the elderly, and those with certain grave underlying health problems.

Imagine an elderly cardiac or cancer patient who became sick with Covid-19 and is presently virus-free … but who continues to be very ill in hospital with heart failure, chemotherapy, some bacterial infection, or what have you. Are the criteria for “recovery” from the disease sufficiently definite and straightforward, that such a patient will be dependably classified as recovered from the epidemic? How reliably can doctors distinguish between sickness in such a patient due to the epidemic, from sickness the patient would have developed anyway?

For that matter, in a population of gravely ill elderly, a significant percentage are going to die in a two month period with or without the pandemic. How reliably can the cause of death be assigned to Covid-19 versus pre-existing morbidities?

The statistics are very important. Because most of us here are geeks, we tend to focus attention on such numbers.

But before we get too carried away in analyzing the statistics, we would do well to consider the ambiguity, error margins, and numerous confounding factors affecting their proper interpretation.

NimbUs March 27, 2020 6:22 AM

@All : the French “doctor” who installed the virus lab in Wu-han, China,
whence our friend Covid is suspected (by some) to have escaped was none
ther than the director of INSERM – French gov financed health research institute – his wife by shere co-incidence was the government minister in charge of health …

Clive Robinson March 27, 2020 8:01 AM

@ MarkH, ALL,

For example, the disease falls with particular heaviness on the elderly, and those with certain grave underlying health problems.

Whilst it does fall more heavily on the old as nearly all communicable diseases do as our immune system ages, that does not account for the trends we are seeing.

Those dieing are predominantly male by a factor of over 2:1 and 7 out of ten of the deaths have high BMI’s and tend to be at 25 or higher.

These two facts may not be unrelated. As a rule of thumb men tend to carry weight internally and on the abdomen, women tend to carry fat externaly and distributed around the torso, thighs and arms.

Which means that men get more easily out of breath for the same BMI as women. That is the diaphragm has to work a lot lot harder. It’s why men are more prone to snoring and other forms of respiratory distress than women.

Whilst “smoking” was first considered the reason for the excess male fatalitie, it appears that body fat is equally to blaim from figures xomming in from other parts of the world where smoking is just as bad in both men and women.

As for hypertension, diabeties, and cardiovascular diseases they come with age and the Western life style. Or any lifestyle with an excesse of carbohydrates especially those that are not complex.

Diabeties is a known “immunosuppressive” disorder, put simply white blood cells slow down a lot in even moderate levels of glucose etc in blood serum. Thus your imune system active components become like tadpoles trying to swim through jello.

The simple fact is all people with a BMI more than 10-15% have elevated serum glucose levels.

Likewise all people who smoke even just one or two cigarettes a day, paralyse the cells in the respiratory system with the cillia designed to “waft” mucous and foreign matter in it upwards so you can clear it out of your system.

Thus switching to a low carb weight loss diet and quitting smoking immediately as well as giving up alcohol should improve most peoples chances of survival. Even low BMI non smokers over 35 should consider giving up all simple carbs. And if you don’t have an athletes BMI no matter how old you should give up the empty calorie carbs…

Sed Contra March 27, 2020 9:40 AM


Re: videos patents etc

There seem to be various sites saying the video misinterprets the patent, that the patent was for vaccines against corona types, some of these rebuttals claiming the Institut Pasteur made a statement to this effect.

As you suggest, no need to get conspiracy minded about the virus, if there is a level 4 lab with people working on viruses to get vaccines, presumably mistakes could happen, and it’s just the kind of place you don’t want them, being level 4.

SpaceLifeForm March 27, 2020 11:50 AM

@ MarkH, Clive, Anders

The leaked number for deaths about 2 months ago
exceed that of the current official count of cases.

The official numbers from China are worthless.

Anders March 27, 2020 3:56 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @Wael @ALL

How trusted are US official numbers?
Today they passed 100 000 margin 🙁

Wael March 27, 2020 4:50 PM

@Anders, @SpaceLifeForm, @Clive Robinson, all,

Let’s differentiate between inaccuracy and deliberate misrepresentation.

How trusted are US official numbers?

I trust the numbers are not misrepresented in the the US. I don’t believe the low double digits reports from China.

Today they passed 100 000 margin 🙁

I believe if we were to test the whole population of the US today, the numbers will be in the tens of millions. The virus has been out since December last year, assuming there were no coverups for a few months. The question is: can we attribute the increasing numbers to the spread of virus or to the number of tests conducted?

Total number of reported infections = function (total current population infections, rate of virus infection spread, accuracy of the test, number of tests conducted, …)

Nreported infections = F(Nreal population infections, Rvirus spread speed, Atests, Ntests conducted, …)

I don’t think F is linear, and the parameters are interdependent, either: they’re not all independent variables. Also, there’s no single test: they’re multiple suites of tests that depend on the purpose of the test. Each test has a “Sensitivity” and a “Specificity” parameter… maps to the “False Positives” and “False Negatives” (FAR/FRR) we use in “Biometric Authentication”, for example. The purpose of the test dictates what type of test to run: for example, when we need to estimate or forecast the number of beds we need to prepare, then a test with more false positives is ok, as it tends to be a “worst case scenario” type of preparation.

What I am trying to say is the numbers are not indicative of much, either because they’re misrepresented for political or economical reasons, or because the mathematical model, the assumptions, and the tests are all inaccurate, and the US numbers fall in the later category, I believe.

Me, I attribute the increase of numbers to Nreal population infections term in F. I claim that’s the most dominant term. Emphasis on “claim”. This is the optimistic view. The pessimistic view is a virus with an incubation period of 2 – 4 months that’s spreading like wild fire, and it’s only a matter of weeks before a lot of us assume room temperature 😉

Clive Robinson March 27, 2020 5:03 PM

@ ALL,

How trust worthy are the numbers?

The short answer is “Not”, the slightly longer answer is “Not even in South Korea”.

The reason as the Chinese have said for most of the time is they are “based on testing and later expert diagnosis”.

What this realy means is that we are at best seeing the tip of the iceberg in infections. That is those serious enough to be tested with a test kit or diagnosed by an expert of which there are few (but numbers are rising rapidly first in China and now in Europe).

In the UK the chief medical officer has said that the numbers are atleast ten to twenty times the official figures. Which atleast is a touch of honesty in the matter, sadly he is apparently infected and so are a number of members of the Cabinet including the PM, also the heir to the throne Prince Charles (though we do have “heirs and spares”).

It would appear that those in “public life” are more susceptable than others… Or as the press in the UK are starting to ask get preferential access to tests and experts, which in turn means they will probably get “preferential access to treatment” not as the rest of us on “triaged need”.

Personally I’m quite happy to throw bricks at the politicians trying to deliberatly hide figures, but not at those who can not get figures due to lack of qualified medical personnel and test kits (unless the test shortages are due to political behaviour).

Many may be unhappy with China but they have been about as honest as they can be in the fiqures. They’ve said exactly what they are based on as well as saying that they know they are under by quite a substantial margin. Also remember the WHO went in and verified what the Chinese were saying and what they were doing.

Whilst the Chinese are not blaimless, they did after an initial setback actually get on with the job.

We also know why the setback happened and we know the same has happened in other countries, even democracies. Put simply nobody want’s to give the person who can fire them or worse bad news, history is full of examples of this, it’s just a variation on “short term thinking” which we have certainly seen in the two new Epicenters on either side of the Atlantic. Which if you look back I was predicting was going to happen due to those leaving infected areas as @SpaceLifeFor kept pointing out the aircraft needed to be grounded and they were not due to three factors,

1, Bad news avoidence.
2, Short term thinking.
3, Vested interests.

The result we are now in a situation that is going to be so expensive both in human and financial terms that the effects will probably last untill the end of this century one way or another if not for longer. Now I know people don’t want to think like that and I won’t be around then to see if I was right or wrong but when you have a look at history or do the math, you might understand why I’m saying it.

Something else I will say that you will be able to check, “there are going to be food shortages and dire poverty” comming one way or another at all of us, you need to think what it is you are going to do about not just you but your family, friends and neighbours. Because what you do tommorow and the next few weeks will have a significant effect on what happens to you in return.

Just remember that something like 50% of the working population can not work from home, nor will they be able to realistically go back to work untill either,

1, We have an effective vaccine.
2, We have an effective antibody test.

Right now our entire economic future rests not on those who “work from home” but those who “have to go to a work place”.

Thus from a “social good” we need an effective antibody test not in a year as might just happen with a vaccine, but in three to six weeks such that we can get farm labour, shops, factories, infrastructure repair/maintainance, transportation, etc running again.

Without which in very short order not just food but energy and water will stop…

But saying you don’t believe XXX’s figures is realy showing that you are not understanding the situation, it’s not important, what is as I’ve said is,

    Test, test, test, chase, chase, chase.

Because unless we test everyone and chase down and deal with the infected as individuals we will have to remain in “lock down” and “The economy will fail”. We have to lift lockdown in a safe way to get the economy out of “flat lining”. It’s this we should be concentrating on not the blaim game that nearly every nation has a guilty part to hold their hand upto.

SpaceLifeForm March 27, 2020 5:52 PM

@ Wael, Clive, Anders

China numbers, False Negatives, Asymptomatic Spread, Wishful Thinking


But some Wuhan residents who had tested positive earlier and then recovered from the disease are testing positive for the virus a second time. Based on data from several quarantine facilities in the city, which house patients for further observation after their discharge from hospitals, about 5%-10% of patients pronounced “recovered” have tested positive again.

“I have no idea why the authorities choose not to count [asymptomatic] cases in the official case count. I am baffled,” said one of the Wuhan doctors who had a second positive test after recovering.

“In terms of those who retested positive, the official party line is that they have not been proven to be infectious. That is not the same as saying they are not infectious,” one of the Wuhan doctors who tested positive twice told NPR. He is now isolated and under medical observation. “If they really are not infectious,” the doctor said, “then there would be no need to take them back to the hospitals again.”

MarkH March 27, 2020 6:54 PM

I think that Clive’s reasoning above does a good job of explaining why our “crunching the numbers” will do very little to improve understanding of the reality of this pandemic.

Even the best available data has enormous margins of uncertainty.

Counts of deaths are sure to be the most reliable and up-to-date statistics … but when an already morbid person dies not long after contracting an infection, assigning the cause of death is far from an exact science even without the pressures of a horrible health crisis.

Case counts are not only missing a great many infections in most regions, but are sure to include some false positives too.

In my judgment, the number of recoveries is the least meaningful, for reasons I explained in a previous comment. I understand the logic of wanting to consider recovery rates for analytic purposes, but getting decent numbers is going to take a long time. Even under ideal conditions, this is a long-lagging indicator.

In practice, I suggest that analysis of recovery rates may be useful retrospectively, long after an epidemic has passed its peak. In the thick of the battle, formulas based on recovery counts may be conveniently substituted by a some coin flipping or dice rolls.

PS I certainly can’t prove it, but from what I’ve seen I agree with Clive’s assessment: it appears that by now, the Chinese government is publishing the data it has, imperfections and all.

lurker March 27, 2020 7:33 PM

from the npr article,

Could that second positive test mean a second round of infection?

Could the negative/positive results be indicative of the margin of error in the test procedure? Paraphrasing @Clive, crunch the numbers at your peril. One thing is certain, we will all die. The probability that we will die of this particular pestilence increases with age, bmi, being male, cardio-pulmonary history. Putting an absolute value on that probability is as @MarkH says, a retrospective exercise.

Clive Robinson March 27, 2020 7:52 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, Wael, ALL,

But some Wuhan residents who had tested positive earlier and then recovered from the disease are testing positive for the virus a second time.

As I understood it this was explained a while afterwards as being due to a mutation. That whilst making the virus more infectious made it less harmfull hence the S and L strains.

Though I’ve not seen much about it since.

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