Friday Squid Blogging: Amazingly Realistic Squid Drawings

The squid drawings of Yuuki Tokuda are simply incredible.

I tried to figure out how to buy one of them, but everything is in Japanese.

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 April 10, 2020 at 4:04 PM156 Comments

Comments

A Serious Hypothetical April 10, 2020 4:21 PM

All,

It seems that some form of Contact Tracing and/or Movement Tracking will be implemented in the Western World.

Here is an Apple proposal, which seems to require that all people carry a BTLE transmitter at all times:

https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/10/21216484/google-apple-coronavirus-contract-tracing-bluetooth-location-tracking-data-app

Thoughts?

(My thoughts are. No Effing way do I scan a QR code to leave my house, trying to forcethis will lead to gunfire.)

ASH

Alejandro April 10, 2020 5:18 PM

@Serious

From your link:

https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/10/21216484/google-apple-coronavirus-contract-tracing-bluetooth-location-tracking-data-app

“…in the months after the API is complete, the companies will work on building tracing functionality into the underlying operating system, as an option immediately available to everyone with an iOS or Android phone.”

Bruce has mentioned this crisis will provide opportunities for authoritarians to tighten their surveillance and control over all of us, without or without an epidemic.

This app, to be baked in to the OS, is a prime example. Once it’s buried into the OS, no one will have control over it at all, even if they think they do.

We shouldn’t let the corporations track us no matter the alleged good cause. Unfortunately, we have no power to stop it anymore because the corporations have bought off the politicians who in a legitimate democratic society would be outraged by much of what is already going on.

AlanS April 10, 2020 6:07 PM

Sobering global perspective from Adam Tooze, an economic historian at Columbia University, who has written books on past crises including WWI, WWII and the 2008 Crash, on the unfolding public health, economic and political consequences of Western governments’ responses to the risk posed by COVID-19: video interview conducted by Indian journalist Menaka Doshi on Bloomberg Quint. He covers some of the same ground in Foreign Policy, the London Review of Books, and an interview on Politics Theory Other. There’s more technical economic analysis on his blog.

Interesting observation that in countries like America and the UK built in political priorities mean the government delays in responding in an attempt to avoid problems for the economic model they are committed to but this creates even bigger economic problems and leaves the government caught between a rock and a hard place: huge death toll or economic crisis. And the longer the delay the more the social system ends up suffering both. And none of this has been helped by the rise of nationalism and the decline of global institutions and cooperation. It’s not like the risks were not well-known. Take a look at the reports to Congress etc. after SARS in 2003 and the numerous subsequent warnings from experts in infectious disease and public health. Pretty much all the public health recommendations were ignored to maximize “market efficiency” with the result that there is no slack in the system. And in recent years public health institutions such as the CDC and WHO were themselves seen as slack or threats to government sovereignty that needed gutted.

Also see Frank Pasquale’s Two Timelines of COVID Crisis:

Technocrats have also aggressively cut excess capacity that is sorely needed in pandemics. New Jersey’s 300+ page report on hospital “rationalization” (i.e., potential shuttering) does not even mention the words “pandemic” or “influenza” once. The rise of the power of finance and real estate interests, relative to health care providers, helps explain the tragic overcrowding of patients in New York City now. One-time hospitals have been converted to luxury condominiums—the market’s verdict on their “highest and best” use, despite enormous and ongoing unmet health and care needs in the city. Philadelphia’s Hahnemann was also taken off line, in service of gentrification.

and Mark Byth’s The U.S. Economy Is Uniquely Vulnerable to the Coronavirus:

This lack of shock absorbers is integral to the U.S. growth model, and under normal circumstances, it is a feature, not a bug. When systems such as the American one are hit by shocks, they tend to bail out their financial systems to keep credit flowing and let the real economy absorb the blow through unemployment and austerity policies. The assumption is that with no shock absorbers in place, prices and wages will adjust quickly, capital will be redeployed, and growth will return without the need for state intervention. But these are not normal circumstances. And as U.S. policymakers are quickly realizing, the usual playbook is of limited use in the face of the coronavirus pandemic….The United States, with its 330 million people, 270 million handguns, 80 million hourly workers with no statutory sick pay, and 28 million medically uninsured, faces challenges quite unlike those in other countries. Putting the economy in a freezer for six months or longer would destroy what’s left of its social fabric along with its growth model. But restarting it could turn the pandemic into a plague that could cause as much damage as the freezer.

Clive Robinson April 10, 2020 6:20 PM

@ ALL,

Re Apple&Google contact tracing.

The first thing to note is as described it’s not location based thus is not technically a tracker[1]. Also there is no mention of if “track logging” is going to be used.

But it’s safe to assume time will be logged for when another Bluetooth unit came into range (AOS) and went out of range (LOS) so when one phones log is cross refrenced to the Telco’s position log, the phone log turns all other devices into “witnesses”… Thus you could see how eagerly LEO’s would want to get at the phones log.

As there is no real information on the “crypto” that’s going to be used for “ID Generation” or how they plan to use it for “anonymization” there is little I can say on it’s effective “privacy”.

However I can say what I’ve said before, I’ve been involved with trying to build an anonymization system for use with mobile phones to collect “trafic incident” and “traffic census” data. It’s actually very very difficult to do.

For instance even with a “rolling ID” for census data you have to be able to “log a track” for a period of time. The point is that over a period of time because of time drift in humans your daily track segments start to overlap and the overlaps can be used to “back trace” with increasing confidence untill your daily routes become known. As does when you vary from them, because an expected track is absent from the database, and a new different track starts from your known location appears in the database.

In essence it’s a form of “traffic analysis” and it can be done in almost “Real Time” or as near as makes little difference in most human terms.

[1] Whilst technically not a tracker if some one uses Bluetooth Beacons of known location then as you pass your location does in effect get logged in your phone and by the beacon[2].

[2] There are other sensors in modern phones that can “log your track” that is they know your speed and direction and when you turn to a “new heading” etc. If a beacon gets logged[1] then a “known way point” provides a location refrence from which the “delta information” of the “track” can be placed. When maps and other information get added to make “corrections” you are probably as good as having a GPS “position log”.

Clive Robinson April 10, 2020 6:52 PM

@ Wael,

I made a joke a little while back about “adding pasta”[1].

Well imagine my surprise this past week to see,

https://xkcd.com/2287/

[1] For those that did not get the joke at the time, somebody had noted things were getting a little religious cultish. One viraly spreading cult is “Pastafarianism”. A less well known type of Pasta is made in thick large tubes and when sliced it ends up looking like “squid rings” so if you add squid rings they are “hiding in plain sight”, which brings us onto the sauce that covers things up. The sauce comes from the home of the Mafia who were also in the news at the time. The sauce it’s self uses a lot of lemon and if you get it wrong it can be quite astringent. And as we should all know lemon juice and lemon zest have been used for millennia to “ward of infection” and stop things going rotten and in the case of the leaves discorage pests from long term stored food that people were still panic buying.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons April 10, 2020 8:28 PM

To Surveil or Not; Betrayal’s Smell is Sweet
Seems Glenn Greenwald steps back from the precipice, the gulf between our own concerns and perceptions of threats and what liberty requires. When Greenwald first pronounced his support for medical surveillance vis-a-via technological systems over a week ago, I figuratively sensed the atmospheric pressure increase several millibars. Glenn Greenwald invites Edward Snowden to sit down and discuss the corners of political and social hypothesis about the surveillance of the type just recently advocated by Google/Microsoft. We know where the government stands on this, if one wants some counterfactuals try asking Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Justin Amash, or Barabra Lee what they think of our National Security Crypto-fascism. Does the U.S. Constitution have any relevance or value?

The program, System Update, from the Intercept is an hour and half discourse that debates what might be the single most public policy knife/razor blade. Others in discourse includes Andray Domise and Cassie King

8 April 2020 Youtube Video — hxxts://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd7exbDzU1c

I too expressed concern early that turning the gun on ourselves would be an option and I knew to my core that this cannot stand. But I did inform others that I had this stumbling, nearly tripping, on central and core moral and ethical principles. Whew, that was close.

We have yet to address the undercurrent of legal constructs that have done everything but remove nearly all forms of modern precepts of liberty. I caught myself guessing that the solution was nearly tenable, and that was a cause for great personal concern. Was I willing to walk away from my strong relationship with our history and our hopes for a future?

Wael April 10, 2020 9:47 PM

@Clive Robinson,

I made a joke a little while back about “adding pasta”

I remember!

Well imagine my surprise this past week to see

Why don’t you make a joke or two about corona disappearing, perhaps that will come to be true next week?

https://xkcd.com/2287/

My goodness, that’s a long one![1] Clever that he didn’t use a Virus through a mosquito vector, since malaria is caused by a Plasmodium.

Suddenly, humans have become dead ends. We try to jump from one to the next, but there’s no one to jump to

We’ve borrowed some security terminology from the medical field / Biology: Virus, Vector, Worm, [brain not helping list the rest]. Now it’s Securelogy’s turn to give back a couple of terms: “Jump to a host”, “Energy Gap” 🙂

[1] Ok, let me have it!

SpaceLifeForm April 11, 2020 12:50 AM

When you have to sue over common sense, you know common sense is not really that common.

It’s not clear to me if Darwin considered human stupidity in his theory of evolution, as he studied many species. But, I’m sure it was on his mind, certainly.

There are many that are not using their sense, and they will die, not thru chance, but via their stupidity.

Unfortunately, they can cause others to die by becoming a spreader.

Lesson here: Avoid stupid people!

https://freeowl.com/2020/04/10/kansas-governor-sues-gop-leaders-for-subverting-order-limiting-church-meetings/

Andrew April 11, 2020 1:02 AM

I’ve noticed that on my Android phone I cannot forcely stop the Bluetooth device anymore, so probably now it’s official, whether you want it or not, all devices around you are reported back to Google all the time. It pisses me off that it drains my battery, just like so many other bloatware on my phone installed just to track me on my money.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/10/21216484/google-apple-coronavirus-contract-tracing-bluetooth-location-tracking-data-app

SpaceLifeForm April 11, 2020 2:04 AM

@ Clive

5 to 10 years with a vaccine?

Very optimistic.

Unfortunately, I do not believe it will ever completely disappear, even with a vaccine.

In the UK, US, it’s all about the money.

https://bylinetimes.com/2020/04/09/leaked-home-office-call-reveals-uk-government-wants-economy-to-continue-running-as-we-will-all-get-covid-19-anyway/

The recordings show Home Office Deputy Science Advisor Rupert Shute stating repeatedly that the Government believes “we will all get” COVID-19 eventually. The call further implied that the Government now considers hundreds of thousands of deaths unavoidable over a long-term period consisting of multiple peaks of the disease.

Clive Robinson April 11, 2020 2:12 AM

@ AlanS,

With regards,

    “But restarting it could turn the pandemic into a plague that could cause as much damage as the freezer.”

I was not going to put it quite like that “significant social change” was my diplomatic way of putting it.

What I’ve mentioned once to @MarkH is my concern for how we get out of the hole both the US and UK are in (A view of the numbers shows that the UK is in an adjacent life boat but lower in the water). Put simply the polotico’s will make wrong decisions, we know they will because they are as always listening to the wrong people (the short term thinking “globalists” in “The Davos Crowd”). Thus almost the only thing they will do is what makes them look less like “the boy blunder” in the short term to gloss over their real intentions which is “business as usual” that is for the citizans “failure as usual”.

My concern is the trade offs they are making. In the UK for instance antigen testing is lamentable, and arguments about antibody testing are in many cases about maintaining “vested interests” and power in certain areas.

Thus my concern is that faux “concern” will be excercised as an excuse to do as little as possible whilst building up huge fiscal and technologic debt that will make little difference to COVID injury and deaths but will reduce the majority of both nations citizens to abject poverty for decades. Thus several generations will have their lives shortened in numbers way beyond most peoples understanding.

One aspect of this will be the loss of the “educated” because there will not be an economy to carry people forward for the five to ten years it takes to get the required education to be competative in a technological world. As less people get educated the capacity to educate will drop and thus a fairly typical “downward tail spin” will occur.

I’ve no wish for my descendants to live in a Dickensian world, but that is where things are likely to head. In effect the US and UK societal highs are going to go the way of the dodo not because we can not change but we won’t be alowed to change, because certain vested interests see much in the way of short term gain. In the process they will take care to ensure the history books get written to suit their way of thinking and try to embbed it as “the only way”…

As @Bruce has noted in the past we are going to head backwards to a feudal society where the very few will have the very most. Unfortunately perhaps what those who envisage their “neo-status” as overlords have not realised is that science and technology will stall, thus industry that gives the standard of living we had and the healthcare that increases our life expectance will cease to be. Thus as nations we will both fail and fall…

MarkH April 11, 2020 2:29 AM

@AlanS:

Perhaps you’ll find this short NY Times piece interesting.

Economic historian Chris Miller, looking for a precedent of abrupt deep economic shutdown, cites the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1990.

A large proportion of economic activity halted almost instantly, and the vast (though poverty-stricken) free-trade zone comprising the Soviet Union and its satellite states splintered into numerous sovereigns, which erected various trade barriers.

Scott April 11, 2020 2:42 AM

@Andrew

Why not install a custom OS on your Android phone? LineageOS 17.1 just came out and it supports a whole lot of devices.

MarkH April 11, 2020 2:56 AM

@Clive:

I’m doing my best to find “realistic optimism”. I do see serious bases for hope.

The reality that “the politicos will make wrong decisions” is horrifying. As I wrote a few days ago, the Authoritarian Trinity of Trump, BoJo and Putin1 have magnified the eventual damage to the states they lead by large factors.

The situation in my country is inexcusable. A “scoring” system for epidemic preparedness gave the U.S. the highest rating of any country, and in terms of medical system capacity this might well have been accurate. Probably nobody anticipated that the crisis response by leadership could be so wantonly destructive.

Amidst all the debates among the commentariat here, I think we’ve been practically unanimous about the paramount importance of virus (and as time goes on, antibody) testing.

Testing is necessary in the first instance to study and monitor the pandemic, and to optimize efforts to “douse the flames.”

Just as important, every plan I’ve seen to resume normal life and restart economic functioning has as its first step, wide-scale testing.

The U.S. has had at least 90 days to work on this problem of testing, which in some ways is much more manageable than expanding the number of hospital beds etc. My understanding is that present test production is at about 0.01% of the needed level.

In any rational scheme of governance, the U.S. would have immediately launched a “Manhattan Project” to develop mass testing capacity, with a target of one billion tests per month.

As of today, to my knowledge, the U.S. federal government has absolutely no program to develop large-scale testing capacity. The mental deformity of POTUS may be directly responsible for this: he certainly doesn’t want people to know how many cases there are.


Part of my hope, is that these ghastly heads of state will, by committing mass negligent homicide, undermine their power sufficiently for rational human beings to assume some of the decision-making.

Or maybe rather than hope, this is my prayer … after all, this is Easter weekend.

1 By the way, I read just today that the explosion in Russia is starting to become visible. The government has admitted that their virus testing to date had massive error rates (everybody’s still making their own tests … how f*ing stupid is that?) Russia implemented travel bans early, and imagined that this hopeless tactic would somehow save them. In the early phases with exponential growth, if the doubling time is three days, then stopping 99% of incoming cases at the border buys you less than 3 weeks, and we have yet to see a government anywhere outside of Asia (with the possible exception of Germany!) which put their few weeks of warning time to any good use. As Clive keeps saying, people don’t understand exponential increase 🙁

Don K April 11, 2020 3:00 AM

Bruce, My knowledge of written Japanese is very poor. Just sufficient to navigate the public transportation system and a few things like that. But it’s good enough that I tried to find your squid drawings for sale. It doesn’t help that there seem to be two Yuki Tokuda ‘s active online — a ballet dancer currently living in the US and a well known male(?) illustrator. Presumably we’re talking about the latter. Some of the latter’s work seems to be available from third parties, but not, so far as I can see, the squid drawings.

I’d suggest waiting a few years. Then, if you are still interested, do a search (in English) to see if there is an exporter who can sell you a copy.

Wael April 11, 2020 3:30 AM

@Clive Robinson,

I didn’t know about Dengue fever! @Dirk Praet is ok as of two weeks ago 🙂

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons April 11, 2020 4:02 AM

@ Wael
Thanks for the update, haven’t heard from Dirk in some time and have enjoyed his contributions over the years. Oh, and that goes for you and Clive too. Didn’t think we’d be here but did know that the roads have lead to destinations we knew better of.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons April 11, 2020 4:15 AM

Movie Plot; Lyme or Lying Disease

NOTE: The submitted plot for your review is structured in a manner I term “OSI”. First draft, it is not a polished “screenplay” but a work in progress.
SIDE-NOTE: Thank goodness my android clone is made in China, they’re not interested in my non-local pandemic status, yet.

PLOT OUTLINE:
[application layer] “bag” your phone
Don’t rely on powering down (S3 state) and believing that your cheating phone (really computer that makes calls) is ratting you out.

[presentation layer] Pull (side-load, jail break) the base radio subsystem flash (AJAX fix)
Update to permanently change geo-location and GPS coordinates so the SS7 subsystem reports lat/long 38.897, -77.0365. In addition, inter-device reporting will look like a stochastic function when reporting temperature, humidity, ambient noise/wind, number of neighbors, etc. via sensors.

[data layer] Power up old phones and create a network of phones
Ride the race conditions between report gather/syncing and BLTH reporting by the “brown shirt” phone (computer again). So, in a way making these phones sick/unwell and reporting all those connected/associated as suffering too.

[protocol layer] Confusing base station controllers-BSC Segments
(want to spread out to a number of MSC’s) Force adaptive traffic and channel management statistics from the base station subsystems due to the transmission connect/disconnect just below the ISDN layer.

[link layer] Multiple phones heaving and hoeing
Connections flaying about at the media layer will cascade into link layer performance problems. NEEDS WORK

[media layer] But here is where I add some coconut...
Guessing about 32 phones aught keep the local exchange, and more specifically, the (BSS) link saturating the base station controllers (BSC). Using a 1/17 recurring time base error, with accumulation, a drift +11% -19%, will keep channel selection and synchronization difficult–similar to holding your phone walking through a tunnel, out into open, then into some (radio reflection) shack made of tin–repeatedly and frequently.

SUBPLOT: 17 ball of the 8 ball
Taking every corner condition that the radio is susceptible to or from and making it a permanent condition of operation. From the media layer to the presentation layer, running every corner on the nominal state simultaneously.

SS7 management layers are so robust, the risk of convergence with another transmittable contagion should go quite unnoticed. The new code for android phones will source to the “Lyme” virus source tree. Cause it will go great with the Corona.

myliit April 11, 2020 4:22 AM

@+1-for-of-the-above_posts-i-think

So sad, I may not live long enough to cover the presented topics, and understand them, in depth

+1-for-all-of-the-above_posts-i-think

So sad, I may not live long enough to cover the presented topics, and understand them, in depth

I heard Willie Nelson and others are getting together for another farm-aid event soon. In part, perhaps, to honor support covid-19 critical personnel infrastructure, or something like that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxNx4UbtNA4 Highwayman [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highwayman_(song)

“”Highwayman” is a song written by American singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb, about a soul with incarnations in four different places in time and history: as a highwayman, a sailor, a construction worker on the Hoover Dam, and finally as a captain of a starship. The song was influenced by the real-life hanged highwayman Jonathan Wild. The dam builder verse alludes to the deaths of over one hundred men during the construction of Hoover Dam near Boulder City, Nevada, although none of those deaths resulted in a person being encased in concrete[1]. Webb first recorded the song …”

In addition, Public Televiision, has a DVD of a recent Highwayman concert in New Jersey, iirc.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd9nMrvBbmA Galveston, Glenn Campbell & Steve Wariner 6:27

Clive Robinson April 11, 2020 4:45 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

In the UK, US, it’s all about the money.

Oh that it were only about the money, because there are rational arguments that show that the “Herd Immunity Policy” (HIP) is actually going to be the most costly by far. Sadly it’s actually about “status”[1]… Yes petty status of who kowtows to whom and how that status will be recognised and defered to.

Yes SARS-CoV-2 is here to stay because reservoirs will build in regions of poverty around the world. Also even if a perfect vaccine became available in a year –which it probably won’t– It would take 5-10 years to put in peoples arms, which I think people are finally catching on to.

Worse however is thinking in science is turning to the fact that antibodies are for a significant number ~6% very weak or nonexistant in COVID survivors. Further some indicate that the antibodies might only be good for 18months any way…

Whilst this might appear insumountable it’s not, far from it, even these supposadly defective antibody tests will enable proactive behaviour such as Taiwan and South Korea have practiced. They have both kept their healthcare system out of saturation and their economies going. The price however is a degree of privacy loss, predicated on trust in the government…

However what that idiot politician Shute is actually advocating will do the exact opposit, of what is occuring in Taiwan and South Korea.

What many clearly see is irrational behavior by politicians, is caused by an underlying idea that they will not give up because it gives them “Status” not just now but into the future. Because the actual real policy remains totaly unchanged and that is “Do nothing and let it run through the population like wild fire”.

This can be seen from the fact that government policy has actually had to be pushed into reluctant and inadequate action every time by the previous innaction causing things go badly wrong very quickly which is kind of what you would expect when you do nothing.

Thus what these neo-liberal status seeking politicians are trying to do, is “Do the minimum they can and find excuses to do less” so that the real policy can continue whist the can claim publically they were doing their best and it’s all the fault of others.

Because for those politicians the neo-liberal agender -that is one of the root causes of the problems we are in as I’ve indicated- is as a religious mantra to them, it must not be questioned and those that do must be forced into subservience to the cause or struck down.

The fact that it flies entirely in the face of what science knows and most can see about evolution if they care to look, does not matter because “The mantra is all”. It’s the “idiocy of status” which gives the very worst forms of paternalism and it almost never ever ends well. Look at what has happened in the old CCCP bloc since the excuse for dictatorship called “Communism” colapsed and the neo-liberal mantra was alowed to run free, whilst the actors might change the play is the same “Status over others”.

Which brings us onto the biggest stumbling block and one that will be used now and later as a “whipping block” for privacy advocates.

As can be seen the way to stop the expected SARS-CoV-2 flareups becoming “Infection waves is,

    “Trace, track, test and quarantine fast”

This is effectively “targeted micro lockdowns” to prevent the need of “general macro lockdowns” which is what Taiwan and South Korea are doing. Not just because they can, it’s because it’s rational and minimises the cost to both society and the economy. The logic of it is that it enables,

1, effective outbreak control.
2, non saturation of the healthcare system thus giving way lower CFRs.
3, stops the economy from flatlining.

If you analyse it you realise it’s currently the best option for both society and the economy, as in both cases it’s “minimum impact”.

However this entails the public to give up quite a degree of privacy which is a very significant issue in the West where Governments are nolonger trusted. Both Apple and Google are looking at ways to try to reduce the “spying factor” of “track and trace” preemptively but the technology will still have issues as I’ve previously mentioned.

Oh and to be fair the one future projection Schute has got right is that society will be different… And if he and his cronies have their way not for the better.

[1] One of the greatest changes in society over the last Century or two has been the removal of the “Status Barrier” in society. Whilst the majority have not even noticed, the self promoted “High and Mighty” have, and they feel they have lost “the deference they are due”, that is “the rabble are not rendering unto Ceaser…”. You can see this idiocy in certain UK politiciancs (Johnson, Gove, Rees-Moog) their “all jolly good chaps” masks are just a little bit to forced to hid their true pathological desires[2].

[2] Remember that the desire for “status” includes the notion of “Blood Purity” and the centries old laws about marriage and breeding especially with very close relatives. It gave a “closed stud book” breeding policy that have concentrated undesirable genetic charecteristics in those that believe they have status. Madness and idiocy of the “village idiot” variety are rife and rather than have such “shame” stumble around in public, those with status chose sanitoriums and euthanasia to “preserve appearances”. Unfortunately that was upset by world war one, the saner members of such families were the ones culled on the likes of Flanders Fields thus inheritance passed to those who could not pass muster in a military medical. So the madness of “blood purity” and euthanasia beliefs was in effect amplified and became almost compleatly out of control in Europe and the US in the 1930’s adding the likes of compulsory sterilization programs and the witholding of medical treatment in certain parts of society. Sadly we know where it all led, and after WWII many thought it had be wiped out by rationality, unfortunatly not, it stayed as little reservoirs of diseased thinking. That have given a little time and darkness, spread it’s rotten roots through society like a malignant fungus.

godfree roberts April 11, 2020 7:22 AM

There’s a pattern here.

When China pioneers a Technology it’s obviously bad.

When we (later) adopt that technology it’s obviously necessary and, thus, good.

e.g., every police and immigration agency on earth perceives face recognition as a force multiplier and wants the technology. The NYPD has been using China’s Hikvision for years and refuses to discuss, let alone abandon it. But China is bad, and so are empty Chinese prisons and unarmed Chinese cops…

MarkH April 11, 2020 9:29 AM

.
Bulletin for Armchair Pharmaceutical Researchers

A blinded, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has begin in the U.S., according the the National Institutes of Health. The study, named ORCHID, is intended to enroll more than 500 adults hospitalized with Covid-19.

Though there’s understandable concern about the time needed to conduct a trial — that is, to get scientifically valid data — if HCQ is significantly effective on patient outcomes, I see no reason why this wouldn’t become clearly apparent in trial data within a week or two.

Anecdotally, infectious disease monitoring conducted by the Global Rheumatology Alliance indicates that more than 25 patients who were already taking HCQ for auto-immune disease became infected with Covid-19. It seems likely, then, that any protective effect against SARS-Cov-2 is not impervious.

Also, I had assumed that whether or not HCQ is effective against Covid-19, it’s probably harmless. However, according to NIH, “even short term use can cause cardiac arrythmias, seizures, dermatological reactions, and hypoglycemia.”

Maybe it will prove to be clinically useful. I certainly hope that HCQ and/or some other medication(s) will help physicians to save patients in this tragedy!


My understanding from a quick web search is that HCQ for Covid-19 is in clinical trial in at least one other country, and that at least one other medication for Covid-19 is in clinical trial in the U.S.

Sick people, those who love them, and those of us who fear falling sick are perennially impatient and angry with the pace of scientific testing of medical therapies. The process of medical research stubbornly adheres to clinical testing — even in situations where the pressure for results are really extreme — not because doctors like it (they feel the same agony of frustration), or because it makes money for Big Pharma (their profit margins would skyrocket — at least for a while — if clinical trials weren’t required).

It’s done because generations of experience have shown that it is absolutely and vitally necessary.

MarkH April 11, 2020 11:03 AM

Okay, this is discouraging …

I wrote here a few days that “Electing populist authoritarian leaders isn’t just a bad idea. It can kill you.”

As it turns out, your authoritarian neighbors might also kill you.

The effectiveness against the pandemic of “social distancing” — or more accurately, physical distancing from people not in your household — depends very strongly on nearly everybody cooperating.

It’s easy to visualize that just a small number of people spreading the virus can effectively undo the protective effect of thousands of other in their community taking care not to spread the disease. It’s an example of what political scientists call a collective action problem.

In the U.S., there are numerous private companies collecting mobile phone location data. As menacing as this practice is for personal privacy, it can be valuable for research purposes.

One of those companies has analyzed its data using proxies to estimate the extent to which Americans are following social distancing guidelines, and found substantial variation from one geographic region to another.

Sociology professor Patrick Sharkey looked at this data by county (a U.S. administrative unit of which there are more than 3000, with mean population around 105,000), and compared it with population survey data by county.

There are many ways for this to go wrong, including the approximations necessarily assumed, and the potential for confounding mutual correlations with other factors.

With that caveat in mind, Sharkey found that in places where the average person:

• has less education,
• is more likely to have voted for Trump, and
• is more likely to deny human-caused climate change,

people are significantly less compliant with guidelines for preventing Covid-19 community transmission. For each of those three parameters, the correlations are strong.

On its face, this result makes sense: people who deny climate change necessarily hold scientific expertise in contempt, so why would they believe the epidemiologists?

David April 11, 2020 11:08 AM

@ Clive Robinson
Dengue is the poster example of why a COVID-19 vaccine has to be tested very carefully.
Dengue currently has four serotypes and you can catch all of them one after another. Unfortunately by the time you have reached the 3rd or 4th, the body gets confused, produces a flood of useless antibodies for one of the previous versions and goes into a lethal self destruct.

There was a vaccine experimentally distributed in SE Asia a few years ago and it had to be withdrawn as this fatal reaction became more frequent

Don't Post Much April 11, 2020 11:58 AM

@Clive
Re: Power and Control
You touched all of my biases. Modern Western civilization is all about the power. I believe this holds true whether it is in the political arena or at the higher levels of corporations. I believe this so much that I constructed a take-off of the famous energy formula (E=MC2). Here is the power formula: P=Mt2. Where P is power over people, M is money, and t is time. You’ll notice that there is no I for intelligence.
Re: Vacine
I remember the days when the Polio virus was the killer to be feared. Poliomyelitis took quite a long while to be conquered. If conquered means less than a hundred wild cases per year, mostly in third world countries. The first effective vaccine was developed around 1935, but it used a live virus which killed a few children and thus was shunned. It took until about 1952 for a safe and effective vaccine to be produced. So…we may have quite a wait for an effective vaccine.
@MarkH
“With that caveat in mind, Sharkey found that in places where the average person:
• has less education,”
I’ve noticed many groups of teens and young adults hanging in groups, sharing touches and in head-to-head conversations. I suppose that this falls within the ‘less education’ field.

Don't Post Much April 11, 2020 12:19 PM

@SpaceLifeForm
Congrats to Professor Gilbert. I truly hope she is correct. However:

In order for the vaccine to be distributed in the autumn, Professor Gilbert says the Government will need to start production before it is proven to work.
She told the paper: “We don’t want to get to later this year and discover we have a highly effective vaccine and we haven’t got any vaccine to use.”

From my admittedly jaded perspective I have to say: It Ain’t Gonna Happen That Way. There is way too much gov’t money to be thrown around and an important election coming up. Recent memories of denial and foot-dragging (which led to the N.Y. and Mardi Gras disasters) lead me to believe that the U.S. Government will not be sponsoring the tests or the production of an unproven vaccine.

Clive Robinson April 11, 2020 12:26 PM

@ Anders,

South Korea to strap tracking wristbands on those who violate quarantine.

There will always be a few who put what they see as their rights before their responsabilities to society.

If you remember China sent in “dog catchers” for those who violated twice and then put them in enforced quarantine. It looked violent but actually when you look at it it a bit more closely it prevented those doing the catching being bitten, spat upon or touched/clawed by the offenders.

No I don’t aprove of peoples rights being violated, but the choices of what to do with repeated offenders are limited. After all you don’t want to put them in prison because “institutional spread” not only effects the inmates but the guards their families and those around them, which would make things worse not better.

In times past there was no redemption for offending society, the poor got strung up, the more well todo had property and land confiscated prior to hanging or beheading and some with influance got not just excommunication from the Church –which was seen as a major punishment back then– but exiled out of the country as well. Because a man without land no matter how meger was worse than a peasant and would not only have no income but be shunned as well.

It’s something I’ve had plenty of time to think about recently and it’s a conundrum. Society depends on the citizens complying with reasonable requests for society to function, the weasel word though is “reasonable” which changes depending not just on the prevailing situation but the context within it and also the circumstances of the people involved.

For instance in the UK the Police apparently can now order on the spot fines for certain types of behaviour. A fine of 200GBP might be a major issue for somebody who is young and now without income. But for the child of the wealthy, they would spend upto five times or more than that on a night out so it’s of minor consequence to them. Thus in ordinary times I would prefere something like imprisoment in social issolation for a week or two or doing some kind of community service for a hundred or so hours which would be a similar two week period. Obviously these are not normal times.

However anomalies happen. A family of four decided to hold some kind of event in their front garden and a Police officer intervened. The Police officer ended up receiving a talking too and the family got away with it.

But look at it this way they may have been sheding virus out onto the public highway via their breath and spital. Because we now know it can go upto 8 meters, which is more than the distance between the front door and the garden gate for many homes in the UK. If however they were standing their urinating on the street which would also be sheding virus out onto the public highway then they could be arrested detained and fined under quit a few pieces of legislation…

I feel sorry for the police officer, because although his job is not “public safety” keeping “public order” is, and the families behaviour was one that I suspect could easily have caused a public order offense to be committed…

I fully expect many people to accidently or deliberatly not respect the public safety rules.

However with the attitude expressed by the UK Home Office Minister, something tells me those rules are realy only as “a sop to public opinion”. Because he’s made it perfectly clear he wants SARS-CoV-2 to run through the UK population as quickly as possible and he cares not a jot for how many will die to satisfy his neo-liberal plans to let the market take primacy on all occasions.

Of course he and his family do not have to worry about getting COVID-19 like the UK Prime Minister he and his family will receive the best medical care the UK can provide, and none of them “will have to wait their turn”. Unlike all the low paid clerical staff he is trying to force back to work in dangerous office conditions to “issue passports” even though people can not realy travel and should not under any circumstances…

After all walking a tight rope and falling is mearly anoying with a safety net, there is nothing brave in it realy. Without the safety net it’s something different, fool hardy might be one way of looking at it. But with a now saturated and failing healthcare system that is exactly what the Home Office Minister is asking those working in the Passport Office…

Oh and the reason the UK healthcare service is saturated? Well the blaim for that lies entirely with the UK Cabinet which is that cleaque of Ministers hell bent on letting SARS-CoV-2 run wildfire through the UK for the reasons of stupidity and status. That has been dressed up as ideology to a disgraced form of fiscal policy designed to flatter and thus get money from those who through gross debt have on paper become the 1% of the 1%. That is the same policies that have repeatedly failed and will continue to fail untill someone who can do basic maths and reasoning with regards what National Security actually is takes over.

Unfortunatly like a plague of Lyme’s Diease infested ticks such neo-liberal fantasy followers have embedded themselves in the body politic, and for status reasons will fight to the last body –providing it’s not their own– to retain the trapings of power.

La Abeja April 11, 2020 1:28 PM

@Clive Robinson

No I don’t aprove of peoples rights being violated, but the choices of what to do with repeated offenders are limited.

That’s the way it should be. Excuse my U.S.-centic point of view, but we do have a Constitution, and our Constitution has survived many childhood illnesses and infectious diseases.

I feel sorry for the police officer, because although his job is not “public safety” keeping “public order” is,

Do we need to set the cops straight? Who are they working for?

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

Who are the executive officers?

The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. … He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

La Abeja April 11, 2020 1:35 PM

So if “all the officers of the United States” are commissioned by the President according to the Constitution, then why do we have NCOs or “non-commissioned officers” in the military? It seems blatantly unconstitutional for such a classification of rank to exist within the U.S. military. I’m no expert. Just curious.

lurker April 11, 2020 3:01 PM

More Armchair Pharmacology
@MarkH

However, according to NIH, “even short term use can cause cardiac arrythmias, seizures, dermatological reactions, and hypoglycemia.”

Which is why I suppose the ORCHID trial will be looking for inter alia

seizures, atrial or ventricular arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, elevated aspartate aminotransferase, acute pancreatitis arrest, acute kidney injury, renal replacement therapy, symptomatic hypoglycemia, neutropenia, lymphopenia, anemia, thrombocytopenia, severe dermatologic reaction

While most of the above are listed as side effects of HCQ this hasn’t stopped it from being prescribed for malaria, or in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

What has happened however is that HCQ use in low dosages as a prophylactic against malaria (~200mg daily) has created regions of the world where the malaria is now “immune” to it. 200mg daily also appears to be the dose for maintenance treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. If dosage rates are too low in use treating Covid19 might we expect Sars-Cov2 to also become “immune”? I observe that the doses intended to be used in the ORCHID trial are about half the dosage recommended fifty years ago by the London School of Tropical Medicine for treatment of acute malaria.

A dubious person April 11, 2020 3:13 PM

@ Clive, @ Wael:

Another recent and well-publicized1 virus that spreads via mosquito is West Nile. And quite coincidentally, it affected corvids2 as well as humans and horses.

  1. At the time, anyway; I doubt strongly whether most of the people who were freaking out about West Nile ten years ago still remember it.
  2. Cf. COVID and its many cryptic “spill-chucked” appearances as CORVID

La Abeja April 11, 2020 3:21 PM

@lurker

London School of Tropical Medicine for treatment of acute malaria.

You can’t even make this stuff up. London just isn’t far enough south to qualify as “tropical” as far as I can remember from my grade school geography lessons. There’s Blandford flies and horseshit.

Clive Robinson April 11, 2020 3:45 PM

@ David,

Dengue is the poster example of why a COVID-19 vaccine has to be tested very carefully.

As an Australian friend would have said of it “It’s a nasty little bu99er!”. Thankfully it’s mainly mosquito and blood to blood contact that spreads it from person to person.

As I understand it the antibodies get confused by a moderatly different coating on the different strains, thus when they drag it down to the white blood cells that would consume the pathogen, it somehow turns the white blood cells into reproductive factories.

The resulting storm and a defeated immune system would be serious enough to injure if not kill the host without medical intervention.

As you indicate a vaccine could cause this same misfiring of the antibodies…

How it could be tested with only “one strain” officialy is something we would need to ask an expert about… I suspect that those that exist are rather busy at the moment.

South Korea is colaberating with industry to come up woth a vaccine, and the government has said if they produce a vaccine they will pass it on to other nations so that they can produce their own vaccine.

However I’ve no idea what the “Bio-Security” issues would be about this. Because it was not that long ago and for a moderat 100k USD cost researchers regenerated the extinct “Horse pox”…

@ Don’t Post Much,

I remember the days when the Polio virus was the killer to be feared. Poliomyelitis took quite a long while to be conquered. If conquered means less than a hundred wild cases per year, mostly in third world countries.

I would not call it “conquered” or defeated, just “corralled for now” less and less people are getting vacinated against it and most inder around fourty in the west have not been vacinated unless they are in the military. worse the vaccine is only good for about ten years anyway. Which means the number of potential hosts is rising significantly. Thus it could spring up again in first world nations as easily as the third world given the chance.

Technically I guess it’s still endemic and realy we should make the push as we did with smallpox to eradicate it and make it extinct even in laboratories[1]

@ MarkH,

The effectiveness against the pandemic of “social distancing” — or more accurately, physical distancing from people not in your household — depends very strongly on nearly everybody cooperating.

Yrs and the least likely of normal people to do it are teenagers, who do not have any real notion of risk even in the face of direct physical threats or risks, hence climbing and swinging on lamp posts when only lightly inebriated.

Some people never develop any sense of risk and likewise sense of empathy. They are sometimes called “sociopaths”.

There is little or nothing generally can be done about such people. Which is why some end up in prison with unlimited terms, whilst others run boardrooms…

But as you note,

[Patrick] Sharkey found that in places where the average person

There are certain social elements in society that exhibit certain characteristics. What did supprise me was that,

1, Religious behaviour.
2, Broad class of work.

Did not show up with strong correlation as well.

As has been discovered more widely in the past four years, for what ever reason people get a notion in their head and despite logic, reason and proof will not give that notion up. Whilst it might be considered cognative bias it appears to be way stronger, sometimes vehemently so and is known to cause physical violence in some when their notion gets questioned.

Why some people invest so much of themselves behind such notions I have no real idea, I can make guesses and they might even be valid but you would need to see the family dynamic from very early childhood.

What I do know is such people are seen as usefull in the military and other “Guard Labour”. In part because they rarely question authority.

I’ve fairly much questioned authority my whole life but managed to fit in “wearing the green” in part I suspect because from day one I was seen as a “Specialist” who was rather more qualified than expected. More so than those that commanded me, that and I had an amiable disposition and was normally first to volunteer for the unpleasent tasks others would rather not do made me a usefull “Sack-o-Crap tied loosely in the middle. Yes I ended up in “the awkward squad” but like snipers and other high value specialists we were seen to be self motivated finishers who whilst “Individualistic” got the difficult jobs done not just effectively and quickly but with little more than what we carried in our pockets. We were very rarely given orders just informed in broad brush strokes certain things needed doing, then asked could it be done, done better and could we make it happen before the other “lads” got there. To which the answers were usually yes, yes and yes. We were more “round pegs in square holes” and we certainly “rolled” unlike most others even though we always landed with our feet running even when it was water 😉

Part of my questioning of authority went back to the way I was brought up my father was always keen that I make sense of the world thus not take peoples word for it. I fairly quickly learned that most people who give orders, do so because they can, not because the orders make sense or even need to be carried out or are even safe to do so. My way was to ask people to do things, but also ask them what they needed from me to do them. Thus they usually ended up learning new things or taking responsability for what they were doing. This is the best way with most people, unfortunatly not for some, and it is these I suspect are the ones “breaking curfew” etc.

[1] If I remember correctly the last smallpox outbreak occured in a UK university (Birmingham) back in 1978 and “could not have happened”. But it did and sadly killed the woman who became infected. It’s stuck in my mind because a friends elder sibling was attending the University and their was concern it might spread. Smallpox is quite devistating even if you survive it, I used to work with someone back in the 1980’s whose face was pockmarked by it. In the least serious of natural infections around three out of ten people die. Much worse in populations where there is no natural immunity. Which is why smallpox has been a vary successfull if accidental weapon against indigenous populations[2] in the past. There is even credible evidence that later the English troops tried to quite deliberately infect indigenous people by giving them “gifts” of blankets that had been used by smallpox patients.

[2] To the native Amer-indian population smallpox was novell and thus they had no acquired immunity to the disease. Which ment that the indigenous populations were decimated by epidemics with very high fatality rates. This incredible loss and suffering is not much mentioned in history books about the Conquest unfortunatly, otherwise some people such as politicians might be more clued up on epidemics. However the noval epidemics even though accidental were very much a significant factor in the Spanish achieving conquest of the Aztecs and the Incas. Similarly, in North America the establishment of the English settlement of Plymouth (Massachusetts) was accompanied by the indigenous Native American population suffering untold losses in repeated outbreaks of smallpox. All of which probably gave certain people ideas in the 1600’s of the potential military use of smallpox and other pathogens that were later used like typhoid.

Clive Robinson April 11, 2020 4:22 PM

@ La Abeja,

You can’t even make this stuff up. London just isn’t far enough south to qualify as “tropical” as far as I can remember from my grade school geography lessons.

Whilst your grade school geography was correct your assumption about “malaria and London” is wrong. Malaria does not need “tropical” conditions.

Malaria is actuallybquite a bio-security threat to Europe and has been for centuries.

I’ve mentioned this before on this blog and it still surprises people, but malaria used to infest the marshes to the east of London and down to the south coast. The disease back then was called “Marsh Ague”, later “Marsh Fever”. As far as I remember both Samual Peeps and Charles Dickens works contain refrences to it.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0305748880901450

Oh and I fully expect malaria to be back in the South East of the UK in the next decade as the conditions for it to survive have already been reached. All that’s needed is for the mosquitoes to arrive which bearing in mind the movment of “blue tounge” will be soon,

https://www.nadis.org.uk/disease-a-z/cattle/bluetongue-in-cattle-and-sheep/

Then all it needs is someone who has malaria in their blood and it will be “off and running”.

Just don’t say you don’t learn something new on this blog 😉

A dubious person April 11, 2020 4:32 PM

@ MarkH:

we have yet to see a government anywhere outside of Asia (with the possible exception of Germany!) which put their few weeks of warning time to any good use

Do you consider New Zealand to be in Asia, or had you just overlooked them?

I’ve been closely following the news from NZ for the past couple of weeks. (I have a sister living there, so I take a personal interest in all their doings.) They’ve managed to diverge from the lazy containment strategies exhibited by the rest of the 5-eyes, and, from what I can see, successfully implemented lockdown restrictions that would never be acceptable in the US. They even managed to stink-eye their Health Minister into publicly abasing himself after he pulled a Calderwood; Ardern kept him in place for now to avoid disrupting the management chain, but he’s the proverbial dead man walking. Can you imagine Alex Azar or Mike Pence ever grovelling like that?

Whether their idea will work remains to be seen – this is after all a pandemic that nobody can evade for very long, and the economic effects of their shutdown have already been dramatic. But I sure do admire their moxie.

MarkH April 11, 2020 4:45 PM

@SpaceLifeForm:

I don’t know why the ORCHID listing shows such a late completion date.

I can tell you that NTSB air crash investigations typically take about a year to complete, and occasionally a lot longer than that. I don’t know why, it’s just their time frame. But if a crash is of particular public interest, and they find something important early on, the NTSB sometimes publicizes preliminary findings just a few days into their investigation.

I know that clinical trials have been cut short because either (a) the treatment was so bad (adverse reactions vs. benefit) that it was considered unethical to continue, or (b) the treatment worked so well (saving people from dying) that it was considered unethical to continue giving placebos to the control group.

Note that ORCHID is looking at clinical outcomes at 15 days (from hospitalization, I presume). I’ve no idea how long it will take them to gather up their participants. But if there’s a strong positive effect, then it may become visible in a matter of weeks.

I saw from your link (thanks for that), that the design isn’t double-blind, but quadruple-blind (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor). Confirmation bias is a big deal, and they’re taking it seriously.


Note that the University of Washington study is entirely different. They’re looking at Post-Exposure Prophylaxis for persons who are likely to have been exposed to the virus, but are not yet sick.

These are very different studies! I wish good luck to both of these teams, and suspect that there are probably a good number of other investigations under way worldwide.

If HCQ is highly effective, we’ll soon have a controlled clinical research to validate that.


@lurker:

I don’t know how they chose the dosing for the ORCHID study, but I’m guessing it’s inspired by previous clinical experience, or perhaps the anecdotal report from China.

I’m not a pharmacologist. I don’t even play one on TV! So I looked up HCQ by web search, and found a recommended dose for malaria prophylaxis of 400 mg/WEEK.

In contrast, the ORCHID design is based on 400 mg/DAY, with 800 mg on the first day.

I’m also not a mathematician, but my crude estimate is that the study dosage is worth about six weeks of antimalarial dosage in only five days!!!

The study dosage is also — if I understood correctly — the higher dosage typically prescribed for lupus patients. Some autoimmune disease patients are prescribed 600 mg/day.

And remember that we have reports of more than 25 people prescribed daily HCQ who tested positive for SARS-Cov-2. Those might have been false positives, or some other error; or maybe HCQ is partially effective; or maybe it doesn’t do much good at all.

That’s why controlled studies are necessary.

MarkH April 11, 2020 5:08 PM

@A dubious person:

I overlooked NZ 🙁

I’d like to offer excuses, such as:

• it’s one of those odd countries I don’t think of as being part of a continent
• to visualize my position relative to it, I must look straight down at the ground
• if it were a city, its population wouldn’t put it in the top 75 worldwide

But in fact, it was pure parochialism on my part, and inexcusable.

I was focused on the Bad Boys in Europe and America, not the success story in Oceania.

I have heard that New Zealand appears to be doing very well with the pandemic. I also have a bit of a sweet spot for PM Ardern, whose looks remind me of the one I love, and who has shown (by my lights) exemplary leadership … and also given birth during her time in office!

La Abeja April 11, 2020 5:12 PM

@Clive Robinson

Malaria is actuallybquite a bio-security threat to Europe and has been for centuries.

Europe abuts tropical areas to the south past Greece, Italy, Spain etc., there is no denying that, but London is still neither tropical nor part of continental Europe.

There was a Black Death in London in the Middle Ages, supposedly due to rats and fleas biting the rats, carrying Yersinia pestis, and there was a certain plague known as “English Sweat” — makes me think people were “working too hard” on the equivalent of “calling in sick” before telephones were invented.

A dubious person April 11, 2020 5:52 PM

@ Andrew:

Might you be running an app or two that insist on having the Bluetooth radio active? It should be possible to turn off any of the radios, at least temporarily, but apps may interfere with this. You might try checking to see which apps have access to Bluetooth, uninstalling them if possible, or disabling them one-by-one and retesting (again, if possible), etc. – rinse and repeat.

@ Scott:

Even if Lineage supports Andrew’s exact model of ‘phone, that doesn’t mean it would be possible for him to install it. (See, e.g.: carrier locking, Trusted Boot, etc.) And installation/use of ill-advised apps can still prevent meaningful control and security of the phone platform. Lineage will help avoid certain problems, but it’s a tool, not a magic bullet; it can’t protect someone who doesn’t understand InfoSec well enough to use it properly.

@ All:

Google and Apple can do whatever they like with their phone OSes, more power to them. But there’s a whole string of bad assumptions behind the promise that more phone tracking will “solve” any actual problem:

  • First is the narrow-minded belief that everybody has a “smart” phone in the first place (which is demonstrably untrue);
  • then that everybody takes said phones everywhere (also demonstrably untrue);
  • then that said phones never shut down or go out of range of cell towers (demonstrably untrue, and please don’t remind me that “turning off” a “smart” phone doesn’t turn it off, because batteries can and do still run flat);
  • then that everybody actually installs updates to the OSes on their phones (seemingly more likely with iOS than Android, but still);
  • then that everybody CAN install updates to the OSes on their phones (again, more likely with iOS than Android, but only up to a point);
  • then that any data collected by phone tracking software actually gets uploaded before it gets lost;
  • then that any data that was uploaded is not subsequently lost;
  • then that any data collected was any better than random gibberish;
  • then that the entities collecting said data will actually divulge it for socially useful purposes (and not merely hoard it like a depraved Boggie);
  • then that any disclosed data would be used for more than advertising spam;
  • then…

Well, this post is heading toward Clive scale1 so I’d probably better stop.

  1. I hereby propose the term “Clive” as a standard unit of measure of the depth and scope of insight contained within a blog comment. I would consider a Clive to be similar in scale to a Farad; i.e., a single unit is unusually (perhaps even dangerously) large, and most posts will be on the order of a micro-Clive, or even a few nano-Clives; very few would ever be a significant fraction of the base unit. I estimate that my preceding list of bad assumptions is no bigger than 18 micro-Clives.

A dubious person April 11, 2020 5:59 PM

@ MarkH

Understood re: NZ being something of a “stealth” society. It really isn’t part of any continent; I consider it to be part of Oceania rather than Australasia, and even less “vaguely continental” than the UK or Japan.

And I agree with you 100% regarding PM Ardern. She is literally amazing. (And I mean “literally” literally!)

lurker April 11, 2020 6:38 PM

@Abeja
You should thank London’s climate being warm enough to support cholera, for one porcelain sanitary device. Sorry I’m too terse to give you a @Clive explanation.

JonKnowsNothing April 11, 2020 7:13 PM

@ADub

re: people who were freaking out about West Nile

In my corner of the globe, West Nile is something we freak out about every year.

As you noted it infects horses, and is fatal to them. Luckily horses have a vaccine now. The current version is much easier to administer.

As you noted it also infects humans. Afaik there isn’t a vaccine and people here get it regularly. It mimics a extremely bad flu episode; when you get to the ER that’s when you find out you have West Nile.

Like a great number of illnesses, it was brought here from somewhere else by people who thought THEY WERE ENTITLED TO DO WHAT EVER THEY WANTED. Like our current global dilemma, the rest of us pay the price for their arrogance.

West Nile vaccine for horses isn’t too expensive in USD. My horse gets the injections the same time as he gets the ones for RABIES. Yes, horses get rabies too. There isn’t any cure for rabies in horses.

Welcome to California.

ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabies
ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabies_in_animals#Horses

ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Nile_virus#Disease

Severe disease may also occur in horses.[51] A vaccine for these animals is now available.[51] Before the availability of veterinary vaccines, around 40% of horses infected in North America died

(url fractured to prevent autorun)

The gophers who feed on human blood April 11, 2020 8:49 PM

“Might you be running an app or two that insist on having the Bluetooth radio active?”

Sneaky packet/ham radio modules can be hidden. Not limited to netrom, ax25, rose, etc.

There are also applications which utilize interesting vectors, (near) ultrasonic frequencies and much more.

A dubious person April 11, 2020 9:03 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing

Thanks for bringing me up to date on West Nile. Up where I live in the PNW, there was a small (but real, as opposed to nominal/synthetic) panic back in the late “aughties” when there had been a spike in MSM news reports on regional cases (more of a spike in the reports than the cases, it seems). I know people I can ask at a neighborhood feed and tack store (which is still open – hay and chicken scratch are essential products); I’ll have to see what they can tell me about it.

So would you describe it as endemic? It sure looks that way to me.

SpaceLifeForm April 11, 2020 9:35 PM

@ lurker, MarkH

“What has happened however is that HCQ use in low dosages as a prophylactic against malaria (~200mg daily) has created regions of the world where the malaria is now “immune” to it.”

Malaria is not a virus.

200mg daily does not sound right, it could be creating the problem. See bottom.

“I observe that the doses intended to be used in the ORCHID trial are about half the dosage recommended fifty years ago by the London School of Tropical Medicine for treatment of acute malaria.”

Chloroquine remains in the body for some time, it does not break down fast. That is why the initial load is higher than the maintenance load. But, in the treatment case, the dosage may be higher, and stays daily instead of weekly.

Interestingly, the University of Minnesota Study is using different dosages over the 5 days than the NIH study.

NIH: D1 (load) 800mg, D2-D5 400mg
UM: D1 (load) 1400mg, D2-D5 600mg

For Malaria, my reads are:

prophylactic scenario:

D1-D2 (load) 1000mg each day
D3 500mg, then 500mg/week maintenance.

treatment scenario:

D1-D2 (load) 1000mg each day
D3-D12 500mg

lurker April 11, 2020 10:12 PM

@SLF, MarkH
Mea culpa, I’ll claim fifty years ago as fogging the memory. 200 or 400mg weekly must be right. I am sure tho’ that the difficulty in getting a reliable quality supply meant most expats just kept enough on hand for one or two treatments, and didn’t bother with prophylaxis.

I note the UM study, is relying on self-reporting on an easily understood coarse 3 step scale. Self, or primary medical care provider? The secondary outcome measures might need some filtering for random noise…

JTC April 11, 2020 11:42 PM

“Unfortunately, we have no power to stop it anymore because the corporations have bought off the politicians who in a legitimate democratic society would be outraged by much of what is already going on.”

Technically, we are supposed to be a constitutional republic. We are not, and never have been, a democracy. The term, democracy, is not in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. We elect representatives and rarely vote on any major issue directly.

Democracy is another name for majority rule and minority loss. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting what’s for dinner!

Like your overall style. Just subscribed.

Love this comment:
“(My thoughts are. No Effing way do I scan a QR code to leave my house, trying to force this will lead to gunfire.)”

SpaceLifeForm April 11, 2020 11:59 PM

@ lurker

Good catch on the UM study.

You may not have misremembered at all. Maybe the dose was larger because it was chloroquine phosphate , and not hydroxychloroquine or even chloroquine sulfate.

In the current studies, I am sure they are all dealing with 200mg hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets.

Check this link, it may be referring to your point about immunity.

https://medicalguidelines.msf.org/viewport/EssDr/english/chloroquine-sulfate-or-phosphate-oral-16683315.html

The dose written on the labels is sometimes in chloroquine salt and sometimes in chloroquine base which leads to frequent confusion. The WHO recommends prescriptions and labels in chloroquine base.
100 mg base = approx. 130 mg sulfate = approx. 160 mg phosphate or diphosphate
155 mg base = approx. 200 mg sulfate = approx. 250 mg phosphate or diphosphate

JonKnowsNothing April 12, 2020 12:47 AM

@Adub

re: Is West Nile Virus endemic?

In my area of California, it is endemic and seasonal, after what passes for a “cold winter” and the skeeters get active. Most feed stores sell vaccinations for livestock. There are other vaccinations included in bundle.

Rabies vaccinations have to be given by a licensed veterinarian.

Skeeters = Mosquitos

MarkH April 12, 2020 3:29 AM

@lurker:

I can proudly claim to have an elephant’s memory … but I can’t recall where I put it 😉

Damn near half a century past, I made a very brief visit to an African country a few degrees north of the equator. As part of the process, my travel companions and I were given little packets of quinine pills.

What form of quinine … what strength the pills … the frequency of dosing … I ‘aven’t the foggiest!

@A dubious person:

Surely you overstate the case!
Probably I’m a bit defensive, because my comments often rather run on (which I conveniently blame on my Welsh ancestry).

I propose semiClives, semiDemiClives, and deciClives as more practical units.

Who? April 12, 2020 4:36 AM

My country will accelerate removal of physical money as a consequence of COVID-19. Nothing like global fear to impose strong unconstitutional surveillance.

Until now if you were ill, paying meds with physical [anonymous] money was a choice, now we will be under strict surveillance. Now insurance companies will not need to struggle to get access to our yet-private medical records. As a consequence, if you have a serious disease you will probably find that your insurance company will reject your support renewal next year.

Wesley Parish April 12, 2020 5:12 AM

@Clive Robinson

I thought the general idea was not to feed the trolls, and @La Abeja has emitted enough nonsense on this blog to qualify as a troll, though precisely what species I dare not venture to postulate … I’ve lost my D&D Monster Manual 🙂

@MarkH, etc

re: New Zealand; it’s on its own continental shelf, relatively recently separated from Gondwanaland then Antarctica then Australia. And yes, I’m living in lockdown at the moment, and I’m pleased that things seem to be working out and we’re surviving the pandemic so far. I’m waiting for the end of lockdown so I can get back to being my usual obnoxious self – thankfully nothing like His Vogonic Majesty the current recumbent in the US White House.

@La Abeja

Now @Clive Robinson has bothered to reply to you, it might be worth adding that London was once the focus of a world-wide empire, with more than a few possessions and outposts and bases in the tropics. Among them a good part of Africa, several large areas in South East Asia, not forgetting most of the Indian subcontinent, and the Solomon Islands archipelago in the South Pacific, plus of course the pandemonium with France aka New Hebrides now Vanuatu just north of Kanaky aka New Caledonia. Not having a medical school dealing with tropical diseases, or illnesses most commonly found in tropical regions, would have been a dereliction of duty, and they couldn’t allow that while they were asking the up-and-coming middle-class youngsters to fill the ranks in the colonial administrations. It just wouldn’t be Krikkit!!! 🙂 Thinking is not illegal, you should know. Nor is digging in history and geography books to find out the truth – you only imagine it so.

MarkH April 12, 2020 5:17 AM

PS to dubious:

Having pondered the matter a little more (whilst doing laundry), I concluded that using our esteemed Mr Robinson as the standard for a unit of measure singles him out unfairly, and is also rather arbitrary.

If we’re going to propose a new unit of measure, isn’t it better that it be more general?

I asked myself, “who in the English language has most justly merited fame for incontinence of their pen, dictation, or keyboard?” I joyfully nominate Soviet émigré Alysa Rosenbaum, famous under her nom de plume, Ayn Rand.

I further propose that in the context of comments here, microRands and nanoRands would be convenient measures. One or the other can represent comment length without too many zeros on either side of the decimal point.

courage April 12, 2020 5:52 AM

“There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.” – Ezekiel 23:20

Alejandro April 12, 2020 6:09 AM

In the middle of the coronavirus crisis totalitarians see an opportunity to push a law essentially requiring a back-door for all encrypted speech in the USA:

SIGNAL app staff “said it will have to shut down it stateside presence should the EARN IT Act be passed and signed into law.”

The “EARN IT Act proposes stripping websites … of their Section 230 free-speech exemption under the 1996 Communications Decency Act. This would leave them open to lawsuits should they fail to adhere to a number of yet-to-be-determined best practices, the most likely being either allowing law enforcement the ability to decrypt select conversations or requiring providers to screen all messages.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/04/09/signal_earn_it/

Because: the children.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons April 12, 2020 9:52 AM

DRAFT GPL DOC/RFC – 31 MARCH 2020 2030 PDT EDITED – 12 APRIL 2020 0936 EDT

DOCID: GPL-V2-20200330-US-COVID-CALLTOACT

CALL TO ACTION IN TIME OF OR IN EVENT OF CRISIS

TOPIC SCOPE: STATEMENT, REQUEST, INFORMATION

STATEMENT:
Forming a Global Public Crisis Organization for Action; an open source and commons organizational, governance, and management structure capable of answering large scale challenges that cannot (or will not) be answered by those charged with that task and the authority. Stepping in, volunteering, and in action to serve humanity when enlightened self interest, core values, history, and future are sacrificed for private advantage with an affecting, cognizable, and tangible public harm.

Individuals, without limitation, are called to participation and action in recognition of interlocking concerns, challenges, risks, and unforeseen threats.

We the many, they few, can be made to heal. Did I just hear “Let them eat ventilators and masks!” just now?

PRE-INDEX: GLOBAL PUBLIC CRISIS CALL TO ACTION
CLASS: CHARTER, ORGANIZATION, FORMATION, FOUNDATION, IMPLEMENTATION, OPERATION
SCOPE AT : GLOBAL, INTERNATIONAL, INFORMAL, NON-GOVERNMENTAL

SCOPE TO: ALIGNED INSTITUTIONS, NGO, WORKING GROUPS, ACADEMIC, PROFESSIONAL, SOCIETY, GUILD, KNOWLEDGE ENTRUSTED/ORIGINATOR, CITIZENS, VOLUNTEERS, INDIVIDUAL

DOCTITLDE-INDEX:
CALL TO ACTION IN TIME OF OR IN EVENT OF CRISIS
GLOBAL PUBLIC CRISIS CALL TO ACTION
+ TOP LEVEL – PRE-AUTHORIZE, IDENTIFY, TASK

GLOBAL PUBLIC CRISIS CHARTER/ORGANIZATION
+TOP LEVEL – ORGANIZATION STRUCTURAL AUTHORITATIVE INTERLOCUTOR

GLOBAL PUBLIC CRISIS ACTION PLAN
+ TOP LEVEL – NEAR/MED ACTION ITEMS

GLOBAL PUBLIC CRISIS KNOWLEDGE COMMONS, AND DOMAINS
+ TOP LEVEL – CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

+ AUTHORITATIVE DAY-2-DAY

ALL COMMENTS WELCOME, APPROPRIATE AS NECESSARY

Scott April 12, 2020 12:02 PM

@A dubious person, @Andrew

“Even if Lineage supports Andrew’s exact model of ‘phone, that doesn’t mean it would be possible for him to install it. (See, e.g.: carrier locking”

If Andrew cares about hos freedom/privacy, he makes sure the next phone he buys supports not necessarily LineageOS in particular, but custom ROMs in general.

youtube.com/watch?v=WSNGK9gmdpg

Carrier locking? The rest of the world has been buying their phones contract free/unlocked since forever.

Sure, LineageOS may not be the most secure OS, but a reasonable balance between your privacy, serucity, and freedom (perhaps?).

“Lineage will help avoid certain problems, but it’s a tool, not a magic bullet; it can’t protect someone who doesn’t understand InfoSec well enough to use it properly.”

I bet Andrew is is to at least learn about these things, but I guess a significant percentage of the readership of Bruce’s blog can install an Android ROM.

Besides, you have options like /e/ who offers refurbished smartphones preinstalled with their LineageOS-based ROM or alternatively offer you to install the ROM on your compatible phone if you ship it to them. They serve European customers at the moment.

e.foundation/e-pre-installed-refurbished-smartphones/

JonKnowsNothing April 12, 2020 12:08 PM

@JG4

re:

Assange secretly fathered two children inside Ecuadorian embassy with lawyer

I’m not sure how one can actually “secretly father/mother” children when confined to a fixed space with a plethora of surveillance systems monitoring and recording every aspect of life.

I think perhaps it’s just a surprise that something rather normal was taking place and as the MSM often has less than supportive reporting about M. Assange, perhaps they just forgot to mention it.

Nice to see smiles in the photos.

La Abeja April 12, 2020 12:35 PM

@Wesley Parish

London was once the focus of a world-wide empire, with more than a few possessions and outposts and bases in the tropics.

We in America at one time declared independence from such, for clearly stated causes. We did not find British imperialism, colonialism, and parochialism helpful in fighting disease when our soldiers were suffering from trenchfoot and frostbite in the winter of the Revolutionary War.

MK April 12, 2020 1:43 PM

@La Abeja

You are aware that neither trenchfoot nor frostbite are viral diseases. Well, maybe not.

AlanS April 12, 2020 2:45 PM

Two from the Guardian:
UK government using confidential patient data in coronavirus response

Palantir, the US big data firm founded by the rightwing billionaire Peter Thiel, is working with Faculty, a British artificial intelligence startup, to consolidate government databases and help ministers and officials respond to the pandemic.

Great at accumulating private data; not so good at managing personal protective equipment. One has to wonder what they think the health value of Big Data is when they can’t deliver adequate supplies of PPE: Revealed: value of UK pandemic stockpile fell by 40% in six years.

AlanS April 12, 2020 2:54 PM

@MarkH

Thanks. I hadn’t seen that one.

@Clive

Yes, it’s hard to be optimistic going forward. We have crossed the liminal zone on a rite of passage to the devil knows what.

Sherman Jay April 12, 2020 3:04 PM

Yes, I know it is Ru$$ian TV, a questionable source, but might be worth noting:

hxxps://www.rt.com/op-ed/485420-twitter-advertising-coronavirus-location-privacy/

Twitter is no longer allowing users to hide private data like their phone’s unique tracking identifier from advertisers, at the same time the US government is apparently targeting advertiser data to track Covid-19. Coincidence?

The social media giant announced the changes in a popup when users logged in on Wednesday, glibly informing those outside Europe that they would no longer be able to disable sharing “mobile app advertising measurements” and that there was nothing they could do about it.

Everyone seems to be joining G00gle and Rotten Fruit Phones in the private data hoovering contest!

Privacy and Security are moot in today’s Orwellian world!

AlanS April 12, 2020 3:40 PM

@Samuel Johnson

Thanks for the link. Also see link I just posted above about their stockpile of PPE being slashed by over 40% during the last 6 years. The only thing that won’t be in short supply will be BS to explain this away. I am sure we will be seeing plenty of that in the coming months and years.

AlanS April 12, 2020 4:06 PM

@vas pup

I like this one. As an early investor in Amazon wrote somewhere there are only two outcomes of massively increasing inequity: a police state or angry crowds with burning torches and pitchforks. These guys are clearly betting on the former. Apparently we’re all part of a Heaven’s Gate-like techno cult run by Bezos, Kurzweil, Thiel, Musk, Zuckerberg and the Google Boys: How tech’s richest plan to save themselves after the apocalypse. Start worrying when they stop offering these with free shipping.

MarkH April 12, 2020 4:20 PM

.
Covid-19 Transmission

I read an interview of a U.S. food safety expert, who has recently been bombarded by questions related to Covid-19.

Along the way, he referred to the present state of knowledge concerning transmission. Most of us have become familiar with “contact tracing” in its proactive sense, as a way of identifying people who might have become infected by a sick person.

For purposes of medical research, epidemiologists practice a form of retrospective contact tracing not limited to persons, to understand how infections spread.

The summation by the food safety guy: to a good approximation, all infections result from proximity to other infected persons.

We’ve had plenty of discussion here about the possibility of airborne transmission as dry aerosols (technically possible, but as far as I’m aware not shown to have happened), and how many days the virus can remain active on surfaces (potentially a couple of weeks, but whether at enough strength to infect anyone has also not been shown).

[I’m not suggesting that surface contamination isn’t a danger … but from day one, public health experts have been telling us that it can be very heavily mitigated by warshing yer damn hands!]

Though it’s interesting to know whether such things are possible, there’s lot of things that are possible but happen quite rarely. If you end up in the hospital with this plague, it will very probably be because you were too close / too long / too unprotected with somebody who was emitting wet droplets with SARS-Cov-2.


What “social distancing” has been accomplishing is to reduced R, the effective reproduction rate, to well below unity. This has been convincingly demonstrated: compare the case trajectories in places with widely practiced social distancing, to those in places without.

If one case in 30 (or 100, or 300) is transmitted by some alternative mechanism, the resulting effect on R is too tiny to matter. So from a public health perspective, these “exotic routes” just don’t matter.


I would go farther and suggest that for most people, worrying about transmission other than person-to-person isn’t even a benefit to personal health.

Given the stresses, disorientation, sense of shock and depression engendered by this crisis, people who focus on low-probability risks may, through the limits of human attention, make some lapse in safeguarding against the high-probability risk.

For example, the food safety expert said that no, it’s not necessary to wash produce with disinfectant (dangerous), or to disinfect food packaging, or to let stuff sit on the porch for a few days before bringing it in. Simply, after opening or handling the food packaging … wash your hands.

[Disclosure: I am disinfecting food packaging, because I don’t trust my wife and daughter to wash their hands as obsessive-compulsively as I do.]

If extreme precautions (like such disinfection) are accompanied by a failure in concentration and planning which leads to more frequent trips to the grocery store, then the net effect will be negative.


Here’s an anecdotal snapshot from my neighborhood:

Two of the “necessities” shops I go to now have modified their use of entry/exit doors, and have people at the doors to keep count of the number of persons inside. At some limit, entry will be throttled, and queue lines have been prepared with distance markers.

Six-foot distance markings have been placed on the floors throughout the shops; the narrower aisles are now labeled as one-way.

One of the shops has large transparent shields between shopper and cashier, with a fairly small opening for the passage of money etc.

One of the shops has now mandated that all employees wear masks.

One of the shops has a sign at the door saying that customers will not be admitted without masks, though I don’t know whether there’s any enforcement.

One shop — which I haven’t been visiting, but where a friend is a manager — has more volume than usual for the time of year. Every day, our friend sees customers without masks, socializing with friends, hugging etc. Ye gods! Our region is experiencing a high death rate 🙁

Anders April 12, 2020 4:23 PM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @ALL

nypost.com/2020/04/12/the-coronavirus-can-travel-at-least-13-feet-new-study-shows/

MarkH April 12, 2020 4:26 PM

.
PING

According to my calculations, we’ve gone 24 hours without a comment from Clive.

I hope that he has simply been sleeping off an excellent Easter dinner.

But under the circumstances, I worry a little; Clive and I are both uncomfortably far up the risk percentile scale …

Please do tell us you’re safe!

Clive Robinson April 12, 2020 4:54 PM

@ AlanS,

Yes, it’s hard to be optimistic going forward. We have crossed the liminal zone on a rite of passage to the devil knows what.

You may have heard that the UK Home Office Minister shot himself in the foot the otherday over what he sees as COVID-19 advantages.

I’ve only seen some of the highlights and they are not good in the slightest. Part of it was “freeing up assets to stimulate the economy”.

I was on the phone today and I eas informed that a British Comedian had died of COVID-19, whilst not exactly wealthy his assets will attract a nice chunk of money into the UK Treasury…

Which brings us around to,

Great at accumulating private data; not so good at managing personal protective equipment. One has to wonder what they think the health value of Big Data is when they can’t deliver adequate supplies of PPE

Well you might know that the economic policy in the UK has been “austerity” for quite some time. Or put mote simply “asset strip the poor for giveaways to the rich”. There is actually not much of worth now left in the poor except for the assets tied up in those who are in their 50’s and later in terms of “premium housing stock” that others see as “development base stock”…

PPE especially the effective stuff is not cheap, degrades and is actually reserved for “armed forces” and other “Guard Labour” protection, not “civilian protection”.

Due to government austerity the UK military has way less medical personnel on it’s books than it needs. Therefor they have been encoraging medical staff into the various “reserves” in one way or another to artificially inflate the “personnel books” on the very cheap. The downside is that some of those reserves are priviy to what those national emergancy stocks are for and more importantly why. Which is the maintainance of government in times of crisis. Back in the 1980’s Maggie Thatcher by selling off the national assets raised money to refurbish rebuild and modernize all the “Government regional Seats of Power” Command centers and the like (look up “Box Tunnel”). An old friend of mine from Pirate Radio days “Nick Catford” had a hobby which was getting into these underground bunkers and photographing them for historical reasons. Others however of a more political nature went in after maps, plans, procradures and charts that described how the government would deploy their “guard labour” to ensure their health and safety at just about every one elses expense. Whilst the bunkers have been sold off redeployed or fallen into decay, the basic plans are still in existance and we see part of them in action with Boris Johnson’s hospitalisation.

At the moment UK hospital admins are just stating the known facts that hospitals have run out of PPE. Soner or later some of them who are in the know about these “National Emergancy” stocks are going to start talking. That is when they get sick and tired of seeing the UK Cabinet Ministers deliberately sitting on stocks that would save hundreds if not thousands of lives almost on a daily basis as that exponential curve keeps rising.

So why might Mr Schute and the other cronies in the UK Cabinet sit on such stocks?

Well the “National Security” one makes a “good cover story” to in effect “blaim the Russian’s” or who ever else like the “North Korean’s”, “Iran”, or “China”.

But what would be the actual benifit?

Well as we know those most likely to die are those over the age of fifty who are sitting on lots of assets that are tied up one way or another. Alowing them to die, will free those assets up. Even if the Government do not get their hands on the assets directly, they will get their hands on taxation via the economic churn the freeing up of those assets will give[1].

More importantly the larger assets will almost certainly be subject to death duties meaning that they will almost certainly be “freed up” for those “special friends” who will put them to use for the purposes of “rent seeking”. But even those who don’t own property can be in “fixed low rent” often called “Council Housing”. When they die such property gets “freed up” and under Government rules often as not will get sold off so that Central Government gives the local Councils less money. So a nice double win there…

So for those sitting in the UK Cabinet a nice win-win-win if you sit on your thumbs just letting the “at risk groups die”.

You can guess that “Mr Pay Pal Billionair” Peter Thiel and his nasty little plan to vampire tax dolars out of the IC and LEO’s world wide called Palantir[2]. Which was also tied up with Cambridge Analytica set up by one of the three families behind the GOP and very much into world wide “voter manipulation” . You can be sure that Peter Thiel and associates would be absolutly delighted to get their hands on all that highly detailed and valuable data. You can also be assured that no matter what the contract says there is no way Palantir will firewall that information away from their other money making activities, they will just find invrntive ways to cover it up if you like as “Parallel Construction”.

However it will nodoubt also be cross refrenced against property, tax and other databases the UK has which will give the UK government a few crumbs, but will be a major feast for Peter Thiel and Palantir for years to come, which no doubt will get sold back to the UK IC and LEO’s for a huge slice of the tax take, and quickly build up a dependence like that of a drug addict in them, making “weening off” difficult to impossible.

Thus I suspect the “contact tracing” will be more correctly called “asset tracing and tracking” and become available to Revenue Services of various kinds.

Of course the same policy will work in other nations untill the point the citizens realize whats happening and at the very least force the government by “public opinion” to start acting responsibly.

[1] This will not be the first UK government to try this trick. Back when Gordon Brown was chancellor a plan eas formulated to put lots of assets into the hands of reckless teenagers. We know by the behavioirs of young footballers on high wages that they will basically spend spend spend unless they are very firmly advised. This has been known for centuries which is why wealthy parents put in place “trust funds” so that their children did not get their hands on the bulk of their bequests untill they were in their late twenties or thirties when they would probably have their own children. The plan that Gordon Brown had was to change the law such that children would get their hands on the entire trust fund when they reached the irresponsible age of eighteen…

[2] Normally I sound a caution about checking anything that comes out of Bloomberg, and I will on this occasion as well. However this might give you some insight about Palantir and Peter Thiel,

https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2018-palantir-peter-thiel/

The basic plan with Palantir is quite simple, get people to use Palantir’s computers as “data repositories” that Palantir also gets access to. To get them to do so “you give a little back” that is you analyse their data for them and call it “Inteligence” in reality you are also analysing what might be highly confidential information and selling it multiple times to other people. The more they pay the more results they get. The prices keep going up in the old “drug dealer trick” of “hook them cheap, bleed them when they weep”. Thus as the Palantir costs go up and budgets come down LEO’s have a choice dump Palantair or Detectives. However as Peter Thiel all to well knows young detectives learn their skills the hard way from older detectives and their long memories. Thus by having all the LEO’s records they replace those old detectives with technology, as they retire out the new detectives don’t have their skills so are dependent on Palantir and that’s when the prices go up… So Palantir gets a double win very valuable data that is typed in for them at no cost, and that valuable data can be sold many times over in different disguises to other customers who are typing in valuable data for free…

Clive Robinson April 12, 2020 5:15 PM

@ MarkH,

Feer not, yes I have been sleeping, some very kind people brought me round a “food parcel” as they know I’ve difficulty getting about. In it was some things I very rarely eat these days as I’ve issues with carbohydrates. So yes I cooked myself a nice non traditional Easter Lunch that was a little starch heavy which was topped off by a pudding and later tea with “accompaniments” that were both startch and simple carb heavy…

Foolish I know as I had to significantly up the meds to compensate. Which along with the carb brain fog and the unseasonally warm weather suggested a recumbrant position was more appropriate, thus I assume a degree of snoring did ensue (but my brain was somewhere else by then 😉

@ Wesley Parish,

I thought the general idea was not to feed the trolls

In general yes, however when it comes to scientific and technical misconceptions a pointer in the right direction for @ALL readers is recommended.

However remember whilst names change the people behind them rarely do unless things change in their lives (hopefully for the better but in current society that’s often a hope to far). Thus you can work out who they are and how long they have been around. As was once noted long ago “Though the dress might change, the waltz remains and the dance goes on”.

SpaceLifeForm April 12, 2020 5:47 PM

@ Anders

I guess I’m not crazy after all.

“Furthermore, half of the samples from the soles of the ICU medical staff shoes tested positive,” the researchers wrote of samples taken at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan.

MarkH April 12, 2020 6:33 PM

@Clive:

Glad to know it 🙂

As to “carb brain fog” … I think of that as a sort of default setting for modern homo sapiens.

Since I entered middle age, I’ve been explaining to folks that I alternate between two mental states: almost awake, and almost asleep.

@SpaceLife:

Just because we’re right sometimes, doesn’t prove we’re not crazy 😉

Back in the 90s, a colleague and I strolled through an office building in which we had worked together more than a decade prior. It was abandoned, and due to toxic soil contamination from a previous industrial use was designated an EPA Superfund site.

It was very strange to see the transformation of this place where I had worked thousands of hours, and the scene of so many memories. The central room which had once housed a forest of cubicles was empty, save for a scattering of junked furniture and strewn rubbish.

As we were leaving this ruin, my friend sagely advised, “don’t lick your shoes.”

Words to live by!

Clive Robinson April 12, 2020 6:51 PM

@ MarkH,

Please do not associate my name even indirectly in jest with that of Alisa Rosenbaum / Ayn Rand.

When younger I used to read a lot of ScFi and I had the misfortune to get a copy of Atlas Shrugs.

I’m told it has sold millions of copies but I doubt if many have been read through.

To be polite the romance is farsical even to a young teen, the writing turgid and monotonous, and her desire to push an easily disprovable philosophy just overwhelming bad (theres a very long monologue about fifty pages gratuitously dropped into it espousing the philosophy).

Her philosophy is “egotistic rationalism” mislabled as “Objectivism” and It won’t take many guesses for most people to work out who would be in favour of that perverse form of libitarianism.

Funnily enough some of those are the ones that are puting self above society during lockdown like the “social shoppers” you have observed and thus it’s been said / implied especially with “Spring Break” they are responsible for the rapid communication of SARS-CoV-2 and the atendent COVID-19.

Life is about balance and Ayn Rand never realy understood that concept, nor did she understand the dangers of unconstrained ego (it’s ably denonstrated by socio / psychopaths). All things in life do not stand alone they have foundations of various forms that hold them up and all have responsability to maintain them. Society in what some call “socialism” provides the infrastructure by which we live and makes it possible for “capitalism” to be built. Thus like it or not even capatlists and libertarians, need the society some of them denegrate due to “egotistic rationalism”. I’ve warned around a decade ago on this blog that healthcare is a social good for all. That is nobody can remain healthy if society has to great a level of sickness. Disease is opportunistic and knows no effective boundries that are compatible with life as we have known it. Whilst I’ve been expecting a pandemic out of Africa or Asia at some point since I first looked into the various haemorrhagic fevers like ebola back last century, I was not expecting one to so forcefully make the point that effective healthcare for all is a necessary foundation stone for society to exist in the way it does. Nor was I expecting the reality of nation wide “lockdown” due to inept behaviour of societies leaders who clearly believe in “egotistic rationalism”. What I was expecting was “scientific rationalism” to do what only a few nations have done.

Clive Robinson April 12, 2020 7:31 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, Anders

I guess I’m not crazy after all.

Depends on which way you mean, the word “crazy” has almost as many meanings in UKUSA these days as “mate” does in Auz 😉

But if you are refering to surface contamination where the surface is the ground. No it’s a known disease vector or atleast it used to be even for respiritory diseases. Which is why way back last China had the no spitting on the ground laws made and very vigorously enforced (beating with sticks, imprisonment, fines, ritual humiliation etc).

The real problem in science is characterizing the new, especially with diseases. It can sometimes be like standing in the flames of a pyre and waiting to grab the tail feathers of the rising phoenix to lift you out, befor it engulfs you.

In the West there have been assumptions almost based on a bidding down process to the lowest agreed denominator.

Research that I linked to that was published in JAMA has quite reputably established that the 2m/6ft seperation rule is a nonsense spital can easly travel 3m/10ft and just like smoke rings clouds of fine aerosol particals bearing virus can travel 8m/26ft.

What is also still not known is how viable the virus is after extended times on surfaces. We know from SARS-1 analogous that CoV can last for upto 9days in temprate conditions on stainless steel polished stone and plastics.

The tests were all done on “smooth surfaces” primarily because it makes testing easier. There appears to be an implicit assumption that rough surfaces are different and therefore must “shorten” the viability times… Why this should be I’m not quite sure. Because if you think about it for a moment rough surfaces have pits/crevices of some form or another that would trap moisture and block evaporating air movment as well as being less susceptible to heating and UV from the sun.

Further I would not mind a small wager on the general type of sole the shoes in the contaminated half had… That is it’s a softer sole that slightly sinks into the pits and crevices in the like of tarmac and paving stones.

SpaceLifeForm April 12, 2020 7:32 PM

@ Anders

From the study link in your link

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/7/20-0885_article

“These results confirm that SARS-CoV-2 aerosol exposure poses risks.”

“Third, the SARS-CoV-2 aerosol distribution characteristics in the GW indicate that the transmission distance of SARS-CoV-2 might be 4 m.”

“In addition, our findings suggest that home isolation of persons with suspected COVID-19 might not be a good control strategy. Family members usually do not have personal protective equipment and lack professional training, which easily leads to familial cluster infections”

It is this last point about home isolation that I believe is key to explaining large outbreaks in cities.

If a person is infected, and at home and is creating aerosol, and even if isolated in a room to themselves, the rest of the household is likely getting exposed. So, households with say more than 4 people, may be at larger risk for another person to become infected, and at minimum, becoming a silent spreader. Households with children may be a factor.

It is a contained environment.

If the weather is not favorable, then likely no windows are open to ventilate to outside. If it is an apartment, there may be no cross breeze available even if weather is good.

Even if you can ventilate somewhat, Brownian motion can still infect others. Brownian motion can probably keep the virus floating around in the air for many days.

The size of the virus, near .1 micron is perfect to be suspended in air for a long time via Brownian motion.

MarkH April 12, 2020 7:37 PM

@Clive:

My most abject apology 🙁

I was thinking of Rand as a proper exemplar of wordiness, as I might propose any of a few German composers for writing music too long …

I didn’t imagine any implication of connection between her thinking or writing, and yours!


I agree whole-heartedly with the critique you wrote above. I’ve long thought that few have more contempt for her ideas and work than I, but I humbly yield to your expert dissection.

During my laundry-chore meditation, I enjoyed a little daydream that the Soviets had learned from their seminal experience, when Imperial Germany sent Lenin into Russia on the legendary sealed train. In Churchill’s famous simile, Germany injected Lenin “like a plague bacillus” which they hoped (correctly, as it proved) would fatally weaken their Great War adversary.

In my fantasy, the Soviets cunningly sent Rand to America, having understood that her “ideology” was effectively an amplifier for the worst and most self-destructive defects of capitalist societies1.

Anyway, in the hands of a good novelist, it might make an entertaining book.


An expression that’s been going about in various forms in recent years goes something like “a stupid person’s idea of what an intelligent person is like.”

I regard Rand as a sixth-rate thinker who looks like an intellectual to people who’ve not been blessed with the natural gifts, or sufficient exposure to the world of ideas, to distinguish the genuine article.

1 If my fantasy of intention were true, we could score at least one direct hit for the Soviet Union, years after that state had itself dissolved: American idiot savant Alan Greenspan, one of Rand’s pathetically adoring disciples, did his best to lay the groundwork for the global economic crisis which precipitated in 2007 … by adhering to Rand’s doltish precepts.

MarkH April 12, 2020 8:01 PM

.
Inoculation

Although inoculation and vaccination are sometimes used as synonyms, where they are distinguished inoculation may be thought of as vaccination’s primitive cousin.

Typically, it involved taking material from a sick person (for example, liquid oozing from sores) and transferring that to uninfected persons via a pin prick.

The concept is that with the (hopefully) controlled small dose of active microbes, the recipient will develop a systemic infection which is both (a) too mild to kill or permanently disable, and (b) sufficiently strong to yield antibodies conferring future immunity.

For smallpox, many people received inoculations even though some percentage became very sick or even died. The benefit of acquired immunity was judged to be worth the risk.

Smallpox inoculation was practiced for centuries before much safer vaccines became available.


In the UK, Italy and Germany, governments have discussed proposals to issue special “passports” for people who’ve passed the infectious stage of Covid-19, with the idea that their immunity1 could enable them to function in society without practicing social distancing and other burdensome precautions, with a low risk of spreading the disease.

The concept is certainly under discussion here in the U.S. as well.


In practice, people with such passports will be in some regards citizens of higher privilege, with more liberties and economic opportunities.

Like it or not, this will create an incentive for people who didn’t yet fall sick to get their own antibodies …

Is anyone aware, of any studies or trials of Covid-19 inoculation? In principle, it could be done fairly simply today, unlike vaccines which require some unknown but probably large number of months to develop.

If there isn’t medically administered inoculation, then people are going to be doing it on their own, with heaven knows what consequences.

1 As yet, the evidence on acquired immunity to SARS-Cov-2 is still scant, though medical researchers think it likely to be substantial. The return of recovered patients to quotidian activities (to the extent possible these days) will constitute “natural experiments”, and follow-up monitoring will furnish growing data about acquired immunity.

Rj April 12, 2020 8:09 PM

@clive

[2] There are other sensors in modern phones that can “log your track” that is they know your speed and direction and when you turn to a “new heading” etc. If a beacon gets logged[1] then a “known way point” provides a location refrence from which the “delta information” of the “track” can be placed. When maps and other information get added to make “corrections” you are probably as good as having a GPS “position log”.

The more formal term is inertial navigation, old nautical term was dead recononing.

Scott April 12, 2020 8:46 PM

@Rj

“As @Bruce has noted in the past we are going to head backwards to a feudal society where the very few will have the very most.”

A link would help. Thanks.

AlanS April 12, 2020 8:47 PM

@Clive

A nasty scheming lot. They have very little interest in health or certainly the value they see in it has very little to do with health.

Clive Robinson April 12, 2020 9:11 PM

@ AlanS,

Rand ended up depending on state handouts because of her own unwise choices.

I do wonder if she ever payed “insurance” except where lawfally required to do so.

I know some people think that paying insurance is just handing money over to shysters and with some insurance I can understand why.

But at the end of the day insurance whilst it may now be perverted into naked theft, was originally about spreading risk not wealth.

With a little thought most will realise it’s not possible for every person in the US to save up enough money to cover all eventualities in life. Thus having insurance systems benifits all yes there will be winers and losers but over all everyone benifits just as a rising tide lifts all boats.

There is no doubt at all that having unhealthy people in society increases not just their disease risk but the disease risk of all society.

However there is a catch in the way we look at things.

The simple fact is about 25% of people in the US will get cancer at some point in their life, whilst a lifestyle argument can be made it’s converse is not false either.

That is yes there is a high corelation in many non comunicable diseases to do with social excesses be it tobacco, alcohol, sedentry etc. However the simple fact is there is a similar corelation in people that never get those non comunicable diseases. That is there is rather more to getting the diseases than just the social excesses.

For a while the argument has said there is also a genetic component, but as somebody pointed out there has been more money spent on the investigation of genetics in oncology research than any other medical research, and also the least benifits derived…

As a result the interest in extended results of communicable disease via pathogen infection has increased in recent times. That is what we classify as non communicable diseases might have as their root cause a communicable disease acting as a trigger or switch.

In one disease –chronic stomach ulcers– the case has been proved and what was a life long and life shortening chronic disease is now cured not by surgery but a couple of handfulls of off patent therefore inexpensive antibiotics. Other chronic diseases where the prevelent thinking is pathogen originated are cervical cancer and type one diabetes.

However the evidence is kind of stacking up not just against a pathogen as a trigger but what is in effect a metabolic and immune system poison and it’s the simple carbohydrates we call sugars.

We often hear about “miracle diets” that promote rapid weight loss. The one thing you rarely hear about is what actually happens to the human body and why the diet fails after six months, no matter what the person does. Put simply the body adjusts the metabolism downwards to a reduced calorific input which if you think about it is a strong survival charecteristic.

More interestingly sugar does not produce the feeling of having eaten sufficient, unlike protien, fat and large quantities of complex soluble but not digestable carbohidrates (plant fiber). The reason is again another survival trait, when our blood sugar rises our insulin levels rise and sugar ends up via lipogenisis production of triglycerides as adipase fat. Which matches the supply of simple sugars in fruits in autumn thus we lay down energy stores to see us through the winter.

It’s something the food industry does not want you realy knowing because they put sugar in every processed food including reduced calorie meals where they take out the fat and protien and add sugar and salt or other very unnatural chemicals to make the meal palatable. Also you get a sugar high followed by a sugar crash that sends you scurrying for more food… All good for business.

I suspect in the next twenty years the scientific evidence to be in that pathogens aided by an immune system suppressed by excessive diatry sugar or insulin to be the actual root cause of many of our so called non communicable diseases. I also expect obesity rates to drop once excess sugar and salt, and all artificial sweetners are removed from foods and likewise grains and corn reduced in peoples diets which will also reduce the likes of IBS and type II diabeties and the associated heart diseas, high blood preasure, arthroma etc.

Which would be bad news for governments and certain insurance sectors as life expectancy will probably go up. Which might mean as has happened in the UK retirment age rises to maybe 80.

Clive Robinson April 12, 2020 9:39 PM

@ MarkH,

Is anyone aware, of any studies or trials of Covid-19 inoculation?

No, but I am aware of injections of antibodies.

If you’ve provably had the disease and you are not one of the ~6% some scientists believe do not develop antibodies in reasonable quantities then your blood plasma can save lives.

If I take your blood and centrifuge it I can return the red bloodcells plus some substitute serum back into you.

The serum which contains the white blood cells and important antibodies can be filtered and the antibodies injected into sick people thus effectively boosting their immune system.

As far as I’m aware this is being developed / trialed in South Korea.

However it has a darker side…

You might have heard about certain very wealthy silicon valley types being injected with blood from you healthy individuals?

In effect this is to get at “human growth factor hormone” that is assumed to cause extended life (it does in nematodes and certain rodents).

Well lets assume you have a number of young people that have had COVID-2 and plenty of antibodies?

What would you pay for an injection every couple of weeks that would make you immune for that period to COVID-19 as a person in the “at risk group”?

But lets say you want one of those passports, that make you a first class citizen… What would you pay to get just one antibody injection that got you through the antibody test?

I’m no genius on this one, so I should think others know it as well. So you can be fairly sure their are already people thinking this up as a way to make a lot of money…

It’s why I think such a passport is a realy bad idea.

La Abeja April 12, 2020 10:01 PM

Soviet émigré Alysa Rosenbaum, famous under her nom de plume, Ayn Rand.

Oh, well, yes, if I believed in God, I’d use my real name, too.

And if someone can make a more or less argument that God does not exist, then that is rather a severe rebuke to the religious hypocrites of the time than a condemnation of one’s own soul.

Some people sit in church and listen to the sermon, and they’re taught to see God in their brother or sister right beside them.

The community that Ayn Rand came from — which sounds a little bit Ashkenazi Jewish — evidently was not so “kind” and “good” to her as one would ordinarily require for the existence of “God” as such.

Is God a community? Is God embodied in any particular community or congregation as opposed to others? (As the church or a church is often said to be Jesus Christ’s body.)

Is atheism a necessary part of Communism? Were the early Christians communists because they shared all things in common? Or was that more or less a sarcastic protest against the Roman government of the time for a total lack of respect to private property?

And then St. Paul was able to rent, not even so much as own, his own house, and actually live or reside in one place for two full years, and that was considered a miracle, if anybody had any property to their own name at all.

Clive Robinson April 12, 2020 10:03 PM

@ Rj,

In less diplomatic terms, just wait till the electricity goes off and doesn’t come back on.

With the way oil prices are going, that might just happen sooner than you might expect…

Due to a sudden drop in demand and a spat between Saudi Arabia and Russia the price of oil has tanked. Well below the actual production cost of many oil producers.

Whilst you could in theory turn of the well heads that is actually not a good idea, the same with piplines and some refineries.

Thus producers are renting oil tankers and just about every other imaginable storage to put it in.

As @MarkH noted the other day they are even looking to use railway cars in sidings… Which is highly undesirable to put it mildly (do you realy need a few hundred hundred ton fuel air explosives parked down town?).

The simple fact is if you are forced to close an oil production process the restart cost might be too high to bother.

Now a lot of electricity is generated by fosil fuels be it coal, oil, natural gas. The primary user of electricity is industry, much of which is shut down.

Thus we could get into the problem that as industry starts up again there may nolonger be the oil to get it fully functional again.

Such a dip could cause a recesion of very large effect and initiate a downward spiral…

It’s just one of many problems we tend not to think about…

Clive Robinson April 12, 2020 10:38 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

It’s about the eggs. Always the eggs. 😉

Eggs-actly…

As for which is good or bad, it’s the old Lilipution argument again…

    To bigendian on not to bigendian, that is the question…

@ Wael,

Your turn for a Shakes-eggian quote 😉

You could start with “hark what littlendian through yonder window shines”…

Rj April 12, 2020 10:42 PM

@clive

I was thinking more along the lines of a drastic reduction of personell available to operate the generating plants and the grid control centers, but a good old fashioned EMP from our chinese freinds would hasten it too. Remember, once the pestilence has weakened side A, side B is frequently tempted to take advantage and attack. Since they are conveniently located on the opposite side of the globe, either side could launch such an attack without experiencing the direct effects of it themselves.

Or maybe the economic damage will just continue until all the power companies’ staff just quits because they are not getting paid.

Either way, a good old fashined outhouse looks better than a modern indoor flush toilet.

Which reminds me, I have spend some time this weekend researching covid19 in sewage. It turns out that virus shows up 3 days earlier in stool samples than in the swabs now being used, the virus survives for weeks in sewage, and there are several efforts underway to analyze sewage influent for the presence of the virus as a way to track its spread.

Sampling sewage means you sample a fairly large number of people annimized by the nature of the process in as an agregate, so the data is annimized by the nature of the process in a restricted geographic area, and it gives yo a 3 day lead time.

The bas news is that these discoveries also open up the possibility of spread by secondary sewage treatment plant effluent contaminating rivers, lakes, etc. thus providing another way to spread the disease.

lurker April 12, 2020 10:51 PM

@Clive

Which is why way back last China had the no spitting on the ground laws made and very vigorously enforced (beating with sticks, imprisonment, fines, ritual humiliation etc).

From personal observation 2012-14 I would declare that law to be not universally observed or enforced, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas.

Xi Jinping has spoken sternly a number of times about the rule of law, but far from the misconception held by some in the West of a totalitarian police state, the situation is much as in the West, it’s what you can get away with. Which is why I have little faith that the latest rules outlawing wild animal markets can prevent future pandemics. Most larger cities have at least one market like the one alleged to have been ground zero for Sars-Cov2. These markets supply a demand backed by 4000 years of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and aren’t likely to disappear because of a few words in lawbooks.

They may retreat to the countryside for a year or two, but a major transport hub like Wuhan will continue to attract the exotic items like wolves, pangolin and camels’ feet.

Wael April 12, 2020 11:00 PM

@Clive Robinson,

Your turn for a Shakes-eggian quote 😉

My head is about to explode. I’ll queue it until I feel better 🙂

Wael April 13, 2020 2:39 AM

@Clive Robinson,

Pretty impressive! What, him egg! … Young fry of celery, you should have continued, ala:

To transistor or not to transistor-that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to cleartext 
The backdoors and spyware of outrageous TLAs,
Or to take encryption...

Anyway… brain still numb.

“hark what littlendian through yonder window shines”

Hark what littlendian through yonder window shines;
Dawg, tis not shiny light; only a reflection of harm;
Rumors’re mooning littlendian’s signs;
Rappel urinating in Santa Clara for mating with ARM

Wael April 13, 2020 3:12 AM

Social Distance (Extension) is directly proportional to the square of mortal distance.

Extension = Distance between coffins in Mass graves x Corona2

In other words: E = MC2

Close in life, in death! Choose wisely 😉

MarkH April 13, 2020 3:22 AM

I’ve heard about tests of using plasma to transfer antibodies. Assuming this works, I wonder whether the immunity would be more persistent than that from antibodies made in the patient’s body, or more fleeting …

myliit April 13, 2020 4:25 AM

@markH, popcorn eaters, or misc.

“I’ve heard about tests of using plasma to transfer antibodies. Assuming this works, I wonder whether the immunity would be more persistent than that from antibodies made in the patient’s body, or more fleeting ..”

Old articles indicate in a semi-random testing, iirc, participants can refuse testing, about one half of Iceland’s population tested positive for antibodies.

https://www.zmescience.com/medicine/iceland-testing-covid-19-0523/ 26 March

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/01/europe/iceland-testing-coronavirus-intl/index.html

I would like to know I have already had a mild or asymptomatic covid-19 infection.

Of course, in the United States of Amnesia our president prefers to run blind (lack of tests) perhaps to spin propaganda to get re-elected or to create more chaos in an authoritarian power grab (perhaps like Orban in Hungary). Dead US citizens are, perhaps, collateral damage to our president’s election campaign and rallies (aka his nauseating, almost daily, “fvcking updates””)

myliit April 13, 2020 4:49 AM

https://www.democracynow.org/2020/4/10/noam_chomsky_trump_us_coronavirus_response transcript available

“ Noam Chomsky on Trump’s Disastrous Coronavirus Response, Bernie Sanders & What Gives Him Hope …

[conclusion of show] AMY GOODMAN: Noam, we only have a minute, but I wanted to ask you, as we speak to you at your home in Tucson, Arizona, where you are sheltering at home, where you are staying at home because we are in the midst of this pandemic, to prevent community spread and to protect yourself and your family: What gives you hope?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I should say that I’m following a strict regimen, because my wife Valeria is taking charge, and I follow her orders. So Valeria and I are in isolation.

But what gives me hope is the actions that popular groups are taking all over the world, many of them. Some of them are — there are some things happening that are truly inspiring. Take the doctors and the nurses who are working overtime under extremely dangerous conditions, lacking — especially in the United States, lacking even minimal support, being compelled to make these agonizing decisions about who to kill tomorrow. But they’re doing it. It’s just a — it’s an inspiring tribute to the resources of the human spirit, a model of what can be done, along with the popular actions, the moves to create a Progressive International. These are all very positive signs.

But you look back in recent history, there have been times where things looked really hopeless and desperate. I can go back to my early childhood, the late ’30s, early ’40s. It looked as though the rise of the Nazi plague was inexorable, victory after victory. It looked like you couldn’t stop it. It was the most horrible development in human history. Well, turns out — I didn’t know that at the time — that U.S. planners were expecting that the post-war world would be divided between a U.S.-controlled world and a German-controlled world, including all of Eurasia — a horrifying idea. Well, it was overcome. There have been other serious — the civil rights movement, Young Freedom Riders going out into Alabama to try to encourage black farmers to go to vote, despite the threat, serious threat, of being murdered, and being murdered themselves. These were some — this is examples of what humans can do and have done. And we see many signs of it today, and that’s the basis for hope.“

MarkH April 13, 2020 5:19 AM

@myliit:

I respectfully suggest that you may have fallen into the trap of sleepy-posting. I’ve done this more than once …

The idea that half of the Icelandic population could have SARS-Cov-2 antibodies was amazing to me: that they should already be so close to herd immunity, with only a modest percentage of confirmed cases!

The two links you posted are about half of infections being asymptomatic, which is an entirely different thing.

That’s an interesting result, though not unexpected. Early data have suggested a lower proportion of asymptomatic cases, but there are all sorts of problems with early data! Epidemiologists (I mean the professionals, not the self-appointed armchair experts) have been suspecting that the true asymptomatic proportion might be around half, or even greater.

However, all of this data must be treated with care. Some of those people recorded as asymptomatic might be false positives on the virus test, or people on their way to getting sick but not yet showing symptoms …

The error bands and other data quality problems on virtually all pandemic numbers are still massive, so “huddling over the abacus” (still love that image!) with them is likely to product numerical “results” which have little connection to reality.

MarkH April 13, 2020 6:03 AM

.
More about HCQ

  1. At least 15 U.S. medical centers are conducting hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) trials. Because some may be conducting more than one, the actual number of trials might be greater. Surely additional trials are underway in other countries.
  2. Some trials will need a few months to yield results, but at least two of them expect conclusions in a matter of weeks.
  3. The French study (claiming significant results, and cited by many) is garbage. Researchers reviewing it found crippling defects in the categories of data integrity, statistical analyses, and experimental design. Experts have reportedly characterized the study as “a complete failure” and “pathetic.”
  4. HCQ can kill you, or leave you with permanent vision loss. The margin between the therapeutic dose and the toxic dose is narrow.
  5. As of today, evidence for the usefulness of HCQ against SARS-Cov-2 is somewhere between nonexistent and scant.

I’ll be as delighted as anyone, if HCQ works. However, the hypothesis that HCQ has no therapeutic value against SARS-Cov-2 is not inconsistent with present knowledge.

Today’s stumbling in the dark on HCQ is why controlled, randomized, and blinded studies are strictly necessary.

There are rules for doing drug research, put in place for extremely strong reasons. People make large investments in science, because it is the most powerful tool yet discovered for interrogating the truths of nature.

Not only does science take time, but as a corollary the quickest “answers” are often the most worthless (see the history of attempts to replicate the Fleischmann–Pons experiment; the labs that got it wrong, got there quick).

myliit April 13, 2020 6:37 AM

MarkH

“I respectfully suggest that you may have fallen into the trap of sleepy-posting. I’ve done this more than once …

The idea that half of the Icelandic population …”

Embarassingly, afaik, I was wide awake, but I may be worse at cocktail hour.

OT, with all due respect to our president, Trump, who is syph’lytic parasitic [1]

[1] Borrowed from John Prine

Curious April 13, 2020 6:44 AM

@MarkH

Re. covid-19 immunity.
A local news article of recent claimed that there are some data that suggest that the human body creates two types of antibodies (I forgot the two names for them, a three letter acronym each I think it was). One type early on after infection and in larger amount, and another one much later, but in less amount as I remember it. Maybe of interest to you.

Curious April 13, 2020 7:07 AM

@MarkH

Hm, I might have confused ‘antigen’ with ‘antibody’, unsure. Have to check that later.

myliit April 13, 2020 8:09 AM

About our president’s puppet master:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/13/science/putin-russia-disinformation-health-coronavirus.html

“ Putin’s Long War Against American Science

A decade of health disinformation promoted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia has sown wide confusion, hurt major institutions and encouraged the spread of deadly illnesses.

On Feb. 3, soon after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus to be a global health emergency, an obscure Twitter account in Moscow began retweeting an American blog. It said the pathogen was a germ weapon designed to incapacitate and kill. The headline called the evidence “irrefutable” even though top scientists had already debunked that claim and declared the novel virus to be natural.

As the pandemic has swept the globe, it has been accompanied by a dangerous surge of false information — an “infodemic,” according to the World Health Organization. Analysts say that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has played a principal role in the spread of false information as part of his wider effort to discredit the West and destroy his enemies from within.

The House, the Senate and the nation’s intelligence agencies have typically focused on election meddling in their examinations of Mr. Putin’s long campaign. But the repercussions are wider. An investigation by The New York Times — involving scores of interviews as well as a review of scholarly papers, news reports, and Russian documents, tweets and TV shows — found that Mr. Putin has spread misinformation on issues of personal health for more than a decade.

His agents have repeatedly planted and spread the idea that viral epidemics — including flu outbreaks, Ebola and now the coronavirus — were sown by American scientists. The disinformers have also sought to undermine faith in the safety of vaccines, a triumph of public health that Mr. Putin himself promotes at home.

Moscow’s aim, experts say, is to portray American officials as downplaying the health alarms and thus posing serious threats to public safety.

“It’s all about seeding lack of trust in government institutions,” Peter Pomerantsev, author of “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible,” a 2014 book on Kremlin disinformation, said in an interview.

The Russian president has waged his long campaign by means of open media, secretive trolls and shadowy blogs that regularly cast American health officials as patronizing frauds. Of late, new stealth and sophistication have made his handiwork harder to see, track and fight.

Even so, the State Department recently accused Russia of using thousands of social media accounts to spread coronavirus misinformation — including a conspiracy theory that the United States engineered the deadly pandemic.

The Kremlin’s audience for open disinformation is surprisingly large. The YouTube videos of RT, Russia’s global television network, average one million views per day, “the highest among news outlets,” according to a U.S. intelligence report. Since the founding of the Russian network in 2005, its videos have received more than four billion views, analysts recently concluded.
…”

myliit April 13, 2020 9:17 AM

It’s wonderful that our president is getting more factual free media exposure:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/11/us/politics/coronavirus-trump-response.html [1] [2]

Trump “Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus

An examination reveals the president was warned about the potential for a pandemic but that internal divisions, lack of planning and his faith in his own instincts led to a halting response.

WASHINGTON — “Any way you cut it, this is going to be bad,” a senior medical adviser at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Carter Mecher, wrote on the night of Jan. 28, in an email to a group of public health experts scattered around the government and universities. “The projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe.”

A week after the first coronavirus case had been identified in the United States, and six long weeks before President Trump finally took aggressive action to confront the danger the nation was facing — a pandemic that is now forecast to take tens of thousands of American lives — Dr. Mecher was urging the upper ranks of the nation’s public health bureaucracy to wake up and prepare for the possibility of far more drastic action.

“You guys made fun of me screaming to close the schools,” he wrote to the group, which called itself “Red Dawn,” an inside joke based on the 1984 movie about a band of Americans trying to save the country after a foreign invasion. “Now I’m screaming, close the colleges and universities.”

His was hardly a lone voice. Throughout January, as Mr. Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government — from top White House advisers to experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies — identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action.
The president, though, was slow to absorb the scale of the risk and to act accordingly, focusing instead on controlling the message, protecting gains in the economy and batting away warnings from senior officials. It was a problem, he said, that had come out of nowhere and could not have been foreseen.
Even after Mr. Trump took his first concrete action at the end of January — limiting travel from China — public health often had to compete with economic and political considerations in internal debates, slowing the path toward belated decisions to seek more money from Congress, obtain necessary supplies, address shortfalls in testing and ultimately move to keep much of the nation at home.

Unfolding as it did in the wake of his impeachment by the House and in the midst of his Senate trial, Mr. Trump’s response was colored by his suspicion of and disdain for what he viewed as the “Deep State” — the very people in his government whose expertise and long experience might have guided him more quickly toward steps that would slow the virus, and likely save lives.

Decision-making was also complicated by a long-running dispute inside the administration over how to deal with China. The virus at first took a back seat to a desire not to upset Beijing during trade talks, but later the impulse to score points against Beijing left the world’s two leading powers further divided as they confronted one of the first truly global threats of the 21st century.
The shortcomings of Mr. Trump’s performance have played out with remarkable transparency as part of his daily effort to dominate television screens and the national conversation.

But dozens of interviews with current and former officials and a review of emails and other records revealed many previously unreported details and a fuller picture of the roots and extent of his halting response as the deadly virus spread: [5 bullet points]

When Mr. Trump finally agreed in mid-March to recommend social distancing across the country, effectively bringing much of the economy to a halt, he seemed shellshocked and deflated to some of his closest associates. One described him as “subdued” and “baffled” by how the crisis had played out. An economy that he had wagered his re-election on was suddenly in shambles.

He only regained his swagger, the associate said, from conducting his daily White House briefings, at which he often seeks to rewrite the history of the past several months. He declared at one point that he “felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic,” and insisted at another that he had to be a “cheerleader for the country,” as if that explained why he failed to prepare the public for what was coming. …” [3]

[1] By Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger, Maggie Haberman, Michael D. Shear, Mark Mazzetti and Julian E. Barnes
April 11, 2020

阅读 …

[2]. Iirc! Our president tweeted fire Fauci, because Fauci said Obviously.

Obviously Trump’s slow response killed 10,000s of lives …

[3] As a cheerleader, i would be delighted to see our president be a contortionist and screw himself …

Scott April 13, 2020 10:08 AM

@myliit

Meta. “About our president’s puppet master”

I certainly didn’t came here to discuss US internal politics as a non-American, but generic cybersecurity topics, security and social implications of the virus, things like that. As you can see in my previous comments up in this thread. This seems more and more impossible. This was my previous experience too, so not really a big surprise.

So I just became a little curious: What percentage of you believe Putin is Trump’s puppet master, whatever that term means? Maybe we can do a little poll about this. Put a 0 or a 1 next to your nick!

Scott 0 – I certainly don’t believe Putin is Trump’s puppet master, whatever that means. I believe America’s institutions are strong, relatively, even if they may have weakened. I’m European, that’s my reference point.

I really wanted to talk about cybersecurity and the security and social implications of the virus, but if this has became your obsession lately, so be it. ;(

Seriously, is there another community out there I should probably switch to, which is just like this was before, I guess late 2016?

Scott April 13, 2020 10:13 AM

Oops.

So I just became a little curious: What percentage of you believe Putin is Trump’s puppet master, whatever that term means?

Should be obviously >>>

So I just became a little curious: What percentage of you believe Trump is Putin’s puppet master, whatever that term means?

I certainly don’t believe Putin is Trump’s puppet master, whatever that means.

Should be obviously >>>

I certainly don’t believe Trump is Putin’s puppet master, whatever that means.

Sorry, typo.

myliit April 13, 2020 12:33 PM

About our president, who claims to be a genius. (Mozart, Stravinsky, etc., Da Vinci, Einstein, etc., me thinks our president doesn’t rise to the level of competent unless the coronavirus failed response in the USA is part of a Trump et al.’s diabolical or deadly plan.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/11/us/politics/coronavirus-red-dawn-emails-trump.html

“The ‘Red Dawn’ Emails: 8 Key Exchanges on the Faltering Response to the Coronavirus

Experts inside and outside the government identified the threat early on and sought to raise alarms even as President Trump was moving slowly. Read some of what they had to say among themselves at critical moments.

April 11, 2020

WASHINGTON — As the coronavirus emerged and headed toward the United States, an extraordinary conversation was hatched among an elite group of infectious disease doctors and medical experts in the federal government and academic institutions around the nation.

Red Dawn — a nod to the 1984 film with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen — was the nickname for the email chain they built. Different threads in the chain were named Red Dawn Breaking, Red Dawn Rising, Red Dawn Breaking Bad and, as the situation grew more dire, Red Dawn Raging. It was hosted by the chief medical officer at the Department of Homeland Security, Dr. Duane C. Caneva, starting in January with a small core of medical experts and friends that gradually grew to dozens.

The “Red Dawn String,” Dr. Caneva said, was intended “to provide thoughts, concerns, raise issues, share information across various colleagues responding to Covid-19,” including medical experts and doctors from the Health and Human Services Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Homeland Security Department, the Veterans Affairs Department, the Pentagon and other federal agencies tracking the historic health emergency.

Here are key exchanges from the emails, with context and analysis, that show the experts’ rising sense of frustration and then anger as their advice seemingly failed to break through to the administration, raising the odds that more people would likely die.

A Veterans Affairs official worried in January that the W.H.O. and C.D.C. were slow to address the spread of the virus.

One of the most active participants in the group was Dr. Carter E. Mecher, a senior medical adviser at the Veterans Affairs Department who helped write a key Bush-era pandemic plan. That document focused in particular on what to do if the government was unable to contain a contagious disease and there was no available vaccine, like with …

The next step is called mitigation, and it relies on unsophisticated steps such as closing schools, businesses, shutting down sporting events or large public gatherings, to try to slow the spread by keeping people away from one another. As of late January, Dr. Mecher was already discussing the likelihood that the United States would soon need to turn to mitigation efforts, including perhaps to “close the colleges and universities.” …” Late January

myliit April 13, 2020 1:18 PM

@Scott

“… I certainly didn’t came here to discuss US internal politics as a non-American, …”

Imo, not much in the way of politics is internal anymore; perhaps, not anywhere. For example, the former head of Mossad, iirc, called our president’s 2016 election victory the biggest win for Russia, ever … (see New Yorker, Spies for Hire, search Pardo)

https://www.wsj.com/articles/bernie-and-coronavirus-capitalism-11586795622

“Opinion
Bernie and Coronavirus Capitalism
His perverse morality sees only greed as business takes on Covid-19.

In its obituary for Alfred Sherman, one of Margaret Thatcher’s economic advisers, the Times of London relayed a story that spoke to one of his pet themes: the utter fecklessness of the British workingman.

The tale begins with Sherman at a Tory conference, where he was offered a lift by Peregrine Worsthorne, a prominent newsman at the Sunday Telegraph. As the two walked to the car, Sherman fulminated about how the working classes were shiftless to a man, corrupted by welfare and socialism.

…“

Imo, this blog is highly moderated; it probably has to be. No doubt, however, occasionally something might slip by that is not security related.

Wael April 13, 2020 2:33 PM

With nine-months pr-eggNANt hints:

Pretty impressive! What, him egg! … Young fry of celery[1], you should have continued, ala:

"To transistor or not to transistor-that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to cleartext The backdoors and spyware of outrageous TLAs, Or to take encryption...

Anyway… brain still numb.

“hark what littlendian through yonder window shines”

Hark what littlendian through yonder window shines;
Tis not shiny light; only a reflection of harm;
Rumors’re mooning littlendian’s signs;
Rappel urinating[1] in Santa Clara for mating with ARM

[1] Jumping from one play to another. Far jmp, I guess — in a cross endianess world! Pretty trecherous!

[2] Gulliver is charged with treason for, among other crimes, urinating in the capital though he was putting out a fire.

Clive Robinson April 13, 2020 3:55 PM

@ Wael, ALL,

On the fun side…

You may of heard about the 5G burn outs in the UK the other day?

Apparently 5G is responsible for all manner of ills including a lack of rationality and sanity…

Well the news appears to have traveled to “The land guzz under” and Dave over at EEVblog has “done a ripper” on it,

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4vHx-UyIM9M

I chalenge you to not chuckle or laugh whilst watching 😉

vas pup April 13, 2020 4:52 PM

@AlanS.
For me the great point is that we (folks of average wealth) do not get the idea of psychological burden of becoming rich.

As I recall from childhood, it was Italian movie of 4 friends who were lovers (3 men and one women), but one of them betrayed the love and married very rich woman (money were her only advantage). Her father told that guy he understood that money is the only driving force for prospective husband, but he warned about loneliness that money will bring into his life. Anyway he married, lost all his friends and finally committed suicide by jumping into the empty swimming pool.

Per this blog, loneliness is very vulnerable state of mind and was used for IC purpose by Stasi:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4G2qqI8k3do

I guess you should like this documentary as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eqV_F0r05k

Best,
VP

A dubious person April 13, 2020 6:04 PM

@ Clive

Clive, sorry about my thumb-twisting choice of ‘nym. You should all feel free to just call me e.g. ADub. (And glad to hear that you had a snoreful Easter. Mine was quiet and uneventful, and nowadays I’ll take that whenever I can get it.)

A dubious person April 13, 2020 6:05 PM

@ MarkH,

Now I’m feeling very self-conscious, for having started a joke that made Clive think he was being spoken of in the same paragraph as an Elder Fraud like Ayn Rand.

And I was pointing at myself, not you, when I made the original comment about unusual, and sometimes daunting, thoroughness, and the fine line it treads with TL;DR. Anyway…

In the UK, Italy and Germany, governments have discussed proposals to issue special “passports”…

In practice, people with such passports will be in some regards citizens of higher privilege, with more liberties and economic opportunities.

Like it or not, this will create an incentive for people who didn’t yet fall sick to get their own antibodies …

I should think it would create an incentive for said people to get their own PASSPORTS; that that would require any actual antibodies seems to be an assumption. It’s also an assumption that the passport would be trustworthy. If the tales of re-infection are true, it would seem to give a false sense of security.

Even older tales imply that some wealthy people still consider Elizabeth Bathory a brave pioneer of effective anti-aging treatment. Exsanguination being a bit radical nowadays, not to mention legally hazardous, it’s good that most people don’t seem to be creeped out when one just uses extracts from the vital fluids of the tender youths. Trying to get COVID antibodies or cadge yourself an unearned passport is probably even less arguably sociopathic than doing it because you believe it will help you stay young.

La Abeja April 13, 2020 6:33 PM

@A Dubious Person

sorry about my thumb-twisting choice of ‘nym …

Elder Fraud like Ayn Rand. …

This sounds like the hometown cops of Vancouver and Clark County, Washington.

Exsanguination being a bit radical nowadays, not to mention legally hazardous, it’s good that most people don’t seem to be creeped out when one just uses extracts from the vital fluids of the tender youths.

They’ve got to call Jehovah’s Witnesses in court, because all the others are “bad faith” or something like that, and there’s no longer any separation of church and state in that hometown gangsta snot-rag district since the local Masonic Hall on Minnehaha Street went bankrupt in the 33rd degree allegedly because of some lady’s embezzlement some other lady (Bethany Storro) ended up with half her face scarred off with caustic lye they spared her eyes there’s always some religious cock-and-bull story cops hitting that time clock way too hard on departmental duty with a city hall police union overtime budget.

MarkH April 13, 2020 6:44 PM

@ADub:

Your point concerning forgery is well taken.

A few potential deterrents:

  1. States can make forgery difficult, if they are so minded
  2. States can make the penalties for forgery very heavy indeed
  3. Some persons wishing to enjoy the benefits of such a passport may prefer not to die or become desperately ill
  4. Most people are not comfortable with the idea of becoming felons

Nobody with medical understanding expects that passing an antibody test will confer absolute protection.

Against epidemics, measures which are probabilistic or otherwise partially effective can confer enormous benefits.

Freezing_in_Brazil April 13, 2020 8:05 PM

@ all (with a special nod to the Great Clive)

re Electricity shortage, I’m lucky we rely mostly on hydropower down here in these Tristes Tropiques. This a recurrent nightmare of mine.

Salutations to ya’ll. This is the best corner of the Internet. Thanks for all the fish. Take care.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons April 14, 2020 12:39 AM

DRAFT GPL 2.0 -  13 APR 2020 2050 PDT EDITED - 13 APRIL 2020 2220 PDT
AUTHOR SUBMITTED: OPEN LICENSE, NO RESTRICTIONS
DOCID: 2020413-US-PUBLIC-POLICY-OPENLETTER

<———————— BEGIN OPEN LETTER ————————->

IT’S BROKE AND WE DON’T KNOW WHY — BUT WE HAVE SUSPICIONS
Without assumption, under direct observation, the United States
Government does not exceed or meet its mandates. Grotesque in scale, as it is difficult to ascertain with a significant amount of deterministic and quantitatively substantive evidence, studies, or reports about the performance of large institutions, an attempt must be made to approximate what is failing and why. Until an analysis of the broad contours of U.S. political and governmental power and control, understanding how and why the 8000 pound gorilla is acting out, we will not fix this. And today, in less than a month the U.S. government has demonstrated that it is not concerned for the welfare of its citizens. Full Stop

PURSUITS NOT IN SEARCH OF LIBERTY, OR LIFE
And, that the United States of American has unofficially decided to align itself in a manner and method that threatens the lives of many citizens, it is wise to act in favor of the citizen, who is the sovereign, and disseminate the fact that maladministration of public offices, by public officials, threatens their pursuits, liberty, and lives. Unfortunately this is not a hyperbolic statement, if a month prior someone had sent me a similar letter, I would have dismissed it out of hand. But, in looking at the data from the Centers for Disease Control, Johns Hopkins University, Wolfram Research, University of Arizona, University of Kentucky, Stanford University, California Public University, testimonials from immunologists, microbiologists, public health administrators, practicing physicians, nurses, emergency medical personnel, and their families, I can only reach one conclusion. This is not OUR government, but THEIR government.

“HONOR OR DISLOYALTY?”, QUEEN SAYS “PICK ONE”
In the recent resignation of the acting Secretary of the Navy, Modly, and relieving from duty the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Cozier. When the armed services must be made to serve as loyalists to the Commander and Chief, the underlying structural institutions are failing. There is no requirement, constitutionally, that binds one to any person or office of the United States of America. As a citizen, the ability to protect and defend that to which I’ve sworn is not possible–not by my hand or word. The primary tool and weapon to wield against foreign and domestic enemies to ideals; research and studies using evidence and objective information, analysis and reporting in a manner consistent with clinical studies standards, and to call on fellow citizens into service of their country. Lastly, with an ear on the ground listening to the murmuring of the those alive during the enlightenment for guidance and wisdom. To Thomas Paine, my sincerest gratitude and respect for facing history in the moment, to inform fellow citizens of the injustices and crimes committed against them and without their knowledge.

NO HESITATION OR RESERVATION
And in signing this letter, I acknowledge and understand that the expressions and statements are my own, given freely and without reservation. It is my contention that the proof given by the President of the United States of America during the month of March and 13 days of April, 2020, is evidenced by a comprehensive set of records provided publicly make indisputably clear by and objective measure, the United States of America’s Federal government is incapable of honoring and maintaining the Union in good faith. State governments are operating under the rubric of fending for themselves, and in some cases from the federal government, in order to fulfill health and safety obligations to their health services personnel and citizens. Not only does the federal government fail to honor its own edicts and proclamations, but it is acting in a manner hostile to state and local governments across the United States. As state government procurement offices must contend with purchase arrangements or RFQ’s and related mechanisms, it state officials rarely contemplated that the U.S. federal government would intercede during the acquisition process in a manner that could be characterized as illegal.

AS WHEN AT WAR
As states are denied purchasing opportunities by the federal government during a national emergency (as in an invasion from a foreign power) and have deployed the guard, if the federal government takes from available sources the ammunition the guard needs to defend it citizens, then most certainly there has been a criminal act. This is using the power of federal government to bring harm to a state–premeditated and prejudiciously, with malice and distain. State governors have actively engaged in “ring kissing ceremonies” in order to secure resources for personnel and citizens.

Signed by a vigilant (not vigilante) Citizen of the Former United States of America
<———————— END OPEN LETTER ————————->

MarkH April 14, 2020 1:47 AM

.
MADNESS ON STILTS

The governor of South Dakota takes public health so seriously, that she has still refused to issue a statewide social distancing order.

This enlightened thinker has announced that her state will undertake a study of hydroxychloroquine for SARS-Cov-2, presumably because the numerous studies already underway are not sufficient, and because medical experimentation is a proper role for the governments of U.S. states???????

She claims that up to 100,000 people will participate — almost 12% of the state’s population.

As a reminder to dear readers,

• evidence that HCQ helps sick patients is anecdotal and slim

• evidence that HCQ works to prevent Covid-19 is practically absent

• to my knowledge, nobody has yet proposed a plausible mechanism by which HCQ might act against the virus

But Trump likes it … and ar$e-lickers must lick …

It’s like giving a loaded 9 mm to a toddler 🙁

My hope is that the dose for this “trial” will be low enough to avoid killing or maiming participants.

mEntropy April 14, 2020 6:42 AM

@Clive

Oat’s beta-glucane can help reduce insuline resistence in humans. Three days of heavy oat only intake supposedly suffice for a measureable difference. Haven’t found specific links, but it’s probably true.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20112296

L-Carnitine helps with burning fat and fortifying the heart, if you want to believe webmd and wikipedia. I found it made a difference. To note, the older one gets the less a body synthesizes carnitine.

@All
https://www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2020/04/12/contact-tracing-in-the-real-world/

Ross Anderson on contact tracing apps.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons April 14, 2020 8:50 AM

Quick Pandemic epidemiological study:

Take one state with “SIP” orders, and one state without restrictive measures in place and test both populations using pseudo-random cross section across demographics. Use the same two states, and perform a demographically biased sampling.

Compare and contrast.

gordo April 14, 2020 9:03 PM

On today’s Lawfare home page there are a few articles that have not already been posted or linked to elsewhere here on the Schneier on Security blog. There’s a lot going on these days, so in the spirit of adding to the ever-growing topic of ‘situational awareness’ . . .

Coronavirus
COVID-19 Contact Tracing We Can Live With: A Roadmap and Recommendations
Robert Chesney
Tue, Apr 14, 2020, 12:29 PM
Reopening the economy without medical breakthroughs will require, among other things, enhanced contact tracing. Here’s your road map to the issues, and recommendations should there be “app” legislation.
https://www.lawfareblog.com/covid-19-contact-tracing-we-can-live-roadmap-and-recommendations

Biodefense
Quarantine and Isolation Authorities in States Affected by COVID-19
Samantha Fry, Eric Halliday, Masha Simonova, Jacques Singer-Emery
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 12:40 PM
Every state has reported cases of coronavirus infection. But what power do these states have to order compulsory quarantine of infected or exposed persons?
https://www.lawfareblog.com/quarantine-and-isolation-authorities-states-affected-covid-19

Contact Tracing
The Problem With Google and Apple’s COVID-19-Tracking Plan
Stewart Baker
Tue, Apr 14, 2020, 12:14 PM
Google and Apple have released specifications for how to use a mobile phone to track coronavirus infections. But the design leaves out important capabilities.
https://www.lawfareblog.com/problem-google-and-apples-covid-19-tracking-plan

Coronavirus
The Long History of Coercive Health Responses in American Law
Adam Klein, Benjamin Wittes
Mon, Apr 13, 2020, 2:56 PM
Americans are rediscovering the power of federal and state governments to enforce quarantine and isolation in the midst of the pandemic.
https://www.lawfareblog.com/long-history-coercive-health-responses-american-law

Clive Robinson April 15, 2020 12:01 AM

@ gordo,

Unfortunatly I see “Stewart Baker” in the list of authors…

People should know his history before reading any of his bias.

He was once “the legal man” for both the NSA and DHS enabling abusive policies for them. His views are somewhat extream at the best of times and he has his hand on the valve of the hosepipe that spews “think of the children” style FUD.

If people read his article they will come across all sorts of statments that are full of false assumptions or at best distant corner cases and he tries to hold them up as major reasons to commit to his abusive fantasies whilst hoping to hide from people what became highly abusive systems in the past (which is why people should ask themselves why such systems are not around today).

For instance he mentions syphilis tracing in the US and fails to mention just how badly it was used and abused by authorities not just with racial prejudice but to quite illegaly withold treatment from people knowing what their fate would be under the excuse of “science”.

As others have noted if you are over forty something you won’t get treatment. So people should ask themselves the question as to if people in that age range will even get notified if those who make “triage choices” have sufficient information to identify them[1]?

I could go on with a longish list of his FUD but that would be an abuse of this blog. Thus people should realise that he like a tertiary syphilis suffer has mental impediments, and it’s best for others to “sanity check” his statments and to question every example he offers as to it’s real rational. Which his history shows is basically to give more power to an unelected few than any person or system should ever have. He wants god like omnipotence and omnipresence it to every fascit of peoples lives, for “his chosen few” to use and abuse. History is weighed heavily with examples of how such behaviours always go bad, and cause more harm than any potential good the promoters might claim to cover their real intent.

[1] Whilst people might think that nobody would even contemplate witholding notifications from people, have a look in US Healthcare history. It’s record has a long and quite sizable set of examples of exactly this being done. There are always attempts to make the reasoning sound as though it has some kind of validity but in all cases you find it’s actually to hide a method to persecute people individually or collectively often as “ideological purity” discrimination and attempts at genocide.

MarkH April 15, 2020 12:59 PM

.
CIA Sez: No Prez Meds!

Around the first day of spring, POTUS — ostensibly in his official capacity of conveying vital information to Americans about the pandemic — started to talk up hydroxychloroquine as though he were a Pharma salesman.

The best guess is that Trump’s touching faith in this nostrum was based on a single sentence of anecdotal reportage in a medical paper from China — later reinforced by some inexcusable scientific malpractice from France.

On an internal CIA web page created to provide Covid-19 information to employees, a worker submitted a question about the advisability of using HCQ as protection against the virus without a prescription.

In reply to this question, the agency posted:

At this point, the drug is not recommended to be used by patients except by medical professionals prescribing it as part of ongoing investigational studies. There are potentially significant side effects, including sudden cardiac death, associated with hydroxychloroquine and its individual use in patients need to be carefully selected and monitored by a health care professional.

Please do not obtain this medication on your own.

The boldface is from the original; I added italics.

Daddy, is sudden cardiac death what they call an “adverse reaction?”


By the way, doctors in Brazil tried a test of chloroquine, HCQ’s cousin. The effect of the drug on their patients’ hearts was so frightening that they cut the test short.


The more I learn about HCQ in application to Covid-19, the more it reminds me of the hypothesis that proximity to electrical power lines causes cancer, which:

• originated from exceedingly scant evidence
• once publicized, caught a foothold in the public imagination
• had no sound theoretical foundation for a causative mechanism
• consumed an absurd amount of scientific resources

I don’t know that HCQ is useless against Covid-19. However, my layperson assessment is that short-selling any stock which got pumped up on the hopes the HCQ is safe and effective, is likely a winning trade.


HCQ for Covid is probably a mirage. We’ll soon know the truth of it.

What troubles me most about it, are

  1. the vulnerability it exemplifies in human nature, of grasping at straws when frightened: we’re going to see this play out in many ugly ways before the pandemic ends; and

  2. real pharmacologists (not politicians, or tech geeks who read security blogs) surely have a list of drugs they’d like to test against Covid-19 whose potential efficacy has some sound scientific basis … how much testing of better candidates will be displaced or delayed by the “quinine fever?”

Clive Robinson April 15, 2020 3:02 PM

@ MarkH, SpaceLifeForm,

real pharmacologists surely have a list of drugs they’d like to test against Covid-19 whose potential efficacy has some sound scientific basis

Well…

There is a problem pharmacology is a wide ranging subject with many areas that do not even apparently relate to each other.

Thus if you asked ten pharmacologists to look in their crystal ball you’ld probably get ten diferent sets of drugs…

What people also forget is that even though “nutrition” is a much maligned subject for fairly good reasons, there are some bits that have relevant solid scientific investications and results.

One area where nutrition and pharmacology cross over is in vitimins and minerals.

Many have observed over the years that the human race arose somewhere like africa where it was hot and very sunny most ot the year thus a lot of skin pigment (melanin) is required to reduce the risk of sunburn and subsequent cancer. However as the human race went away from the equator paler skin became more and more advantageous resulting in the almost milk white skin of red heads that develop instant freckles if the clouds part even briefly.

The reason for this paling of the skin has been put down to “Vitimin D production”…

There are various studies that show that a lack of vitimin D makes you more susceptable to a lot of what appear as “social diseases” and the darker somebodies skin the more suceptable they are to diabetes, cancer and inflamitory respiritory diseases.

Various tests carried out in the US sometime prior to the existance of SARS-Cov-2 have show 42% of whites, 70% of hispanics and 80% of African-Americans are vitimin D difficient. Others have subsequently noted that this appears similar to US COVID-19 death proportions.

But again prior to the appearance of SARS-CoV-2 links had been demonstrated to the effects Vit D had on the immune system specificaly the cytokines that effect inflammatory behaviour that can result in cytokine storms that are frequently fatal.

Sufficient Vit D raises the anti-inflammatory cytokines whilst also reducing the inflamitory cytokines.

Srveral papers recommend that people in similar at risk groups should increase their daily intake if D3 to 2000iu / 50 mg daily.

In most people the level of Vit D they injest from Vitimin Supliments is unlikely to harm whilst reducing the likelihood from death via ARDS from viral respiritory diseases such as flu by over 15%. Other papers indicate that the risk of respiritory infections drops from 60% down to 32% just by ensuring sufficient Vit D.

Obviously people should check with their medical practitioner to verify that they won’t have problems. However my Dr’s and consultants have been nagging me to up both my Vit D and Magnesium levels for some time for several of the non-infectious diseases I suffer.

So yes I’ve started taking the higher 50mg amount with the Drs blessing…

JonKnowsNothing April 15, 2020 5:14 PM

@All @Clive

re: Street Disinfection

A while back I posted questions about what cities are using to disinfect streets. There are numerous images of phalanxes of hazmat garbed workers spraying the streets and behind them a huge plume rises upwards.

Clive suggested it was probably hydrogen peroxide.

Jim White a poster on emptywheel.net (Marcy Wheeler’s site), wrote a very interesting piece about the “N95 mask sterilization for reuse”. While the main point of the posting was about the corporation who landed a whopper-contract, his reporting also included some of the following:

  • The sterilization process itself is carried out by hydrogen peroxide vapor (HPV)
  • a photo of the simple machine used to generate the HPV
  • vapor phase hydrogen peroxide generator, which looks like a washing machine with two hoses, is then used to circulate the colorless gas
  • the first four hours, workers increase the humidity inside the chamber, causing the hydrogen peroxide to collect as condensation on the masks, neutralizing the coronavirus and other contaminants.

Which explains most of what can be seen in the images and also that the cleaning is done at a time to allow 4 hours (or more) to be effective. I had made the assumption that it was done early to avoid traffic but… doh… everyone is in lockdown = no traffic. It also explains why the streets appear to be wet to start with, perhaps to increase the condensation effects.

It maybe this process is what’s left to the survivors after the corpse-removal folks finally take out the body and leave all the decontamination to those still alive and locked inside. I don’t know if they loan them an HPV machine or if you have to buy or rent one yourself. M. White’s article indicates used ones are about $4500 or new $20,000 for fixed floor models.

Never doubt Clive.

ht tps://www.emptywheel.net/2020/04/15/why-is-the-battelle-n95-mask-sterilization-contract-so-expensive/
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

gordo April 15, 2020 6:31 PM

@ Clive Robinson,

Unfortunatly I see “Stewart Baker” in the list of authors…

I know, but he nonetheless lays out a clear choice. In an earlier article, he says:

governors should ask Apple and Google to auto-download the app to every phone in their states, along with a message explaining why users should activate it.

[ . . . ]

since Apple and Android know which apps we’ve activated, they could be ordered to identify those who haven’t registered for contact tracing.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/singapores-location-app-could-save-american-lives

I think that the program should remain decentralized. Let those who want to opt-in, opt-in. If it’s shown to work then confidence may build and enough subsequent, voluntary uptake may prove efficacious. Either way, this allows time for assembling needed contact tracing/testing teams and test kit production and distribution to said teams which will happen regardless.

How this gets rolled out matters, too, which gets into federal support of state/regional compacts for said testing/surveillance regimes, app-based or not or both.

Again, if shown to work, as far as digital divides go, people who don’t have phones and who want one should be given one so that they can participate in the public health commons just like anyone else.

I see this as a bottom-up, egalitarian approach that keeps choice, literally, in the people’s hands.

MarkH April 15, 2020 8:12 PM

@Clive:

As so often, wise words from Mr Robinson. Vitamin D as a precaution against the pandemic:

• good statistical data showing a protective effect against related illness? Check

• a mechanism that could account for this effect? Check

• well established safety, with a dosing below toxic levels by a large margin? Check!

Ingredients all missing, from the HCQ madness.

In addition, as Clive observes, an awful lot of people are chronically deficient, and would do well to use a safe supplement pandemic or no.

Even better, Clive prudently checked with a physician.

An oasis of sense, in a desert of unreason …


As to variation of expert opinion, that happens sometimes. There are practical ways to winnow the chaff. I’d bet that not one antiviral medicine researcher would put HCQ high on their list.

forgotten mouse trap April 16, 2020 2:00 AM

Spread the word of ID2020. Warn your family and friends.

Do not take “the mark” no matter where it comes from or how it is delivered.

Reject a tattoo or chip or whatever they want to MARK you with so you can crawl out of your house, take the cheetoes out of your hair and pretend to be something you’re not again.

Spend your “Stimulus” check(s) on the homeless.

Wesley Parish April 16, 2020 5:15 AM

@Wael,Clive Robinson

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
creeps in this petty pace from nanosecond to nanosecond
And all our yesterseconds have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Cleared, cleared, is that cache!

@La Abeja

You might want to re-read the US’s history in the light of the criteria the Declaration of Independence establishes. The treaties with the various Indian tribes, the behaviour of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the treatment of the Latino, Black, and other minorities, then the treatment of the various foreign territories that had treated with the US in good faith, only to discover that the US had no intention of acting in good faith. Hawai’i, Cuba and the Phillipines for a start, then of course the various Latin American nations – ever realize how similar the US interventions in Guatemala (1954) and Chile (1973) are to the Soviet interventions in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968)? Except of course that the US had also intervened in Iran (1953) and in several other places as well. The criteria of the Declaration of Independence are good criteria, and for a common law citizen, they are also deeply based in the “common law constitution”. So why has the United States of America chosen to act against its own constitutional base? Why has it chosen to behave n the manner its own founding documents condemn in the harshest terms? It you could find the answer to that instead of attempting to eat out our substance with inane statements, I for one would be eternally grateful.

(Oh yes, the good ol’ one of He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. You might like to look at common problems nations with US military bases have with US servicemen breaking their laws and being spirited away from the local version of a fair trial: He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:. In other words, grow up.)

Nik April 16, 2020 7:54 AM

Masks, Masks, Gloves – The PPE lies and FUD

A month ago I have been getting a lot of people that spoke up and posted articles against the use of masks. Arguments:
* They make it easier to spread diseases
* Underneath it gets moist and warm, easier for “disease agents” to multiply
* If you don’t know and and not properly trained, you are making things WORSE
* It should be left to medical professionals to wear them

(I’m not listing the other crap pushed by loudmouthed baboons … )
Surprisingly a lot of doctors and nurses come out with these lists.[1]

Now, I am seeing the same list being applied to gloves

My main argument is that if they are so bad, why do doctors and nurses wear them[1]?
Also the “heat and moisture” makes them multiply… viruses do not multiply outside of cells, unless i’m mistaken. Bacteria, possibly, but the point is to keep them “away from the body and the inside of the PPE”

Suddenly NYC and many other states require masks[2]. Hmmmm

Now gloves… They also are made out of “Porous substances and viruses can penetrate them with ease.

Same argument as above. Also if you work on greasy engines or with paint, you tend to be much more careful about not touching yourself or other objects. and the doffing also is no rocket science. Are we running out of gloves? It is annoying that it seems that I won’t be able to get masks or disinfectants for 6-12 months

Another headline from today is that several people who got COVID-19 got reinfected, just as many here worried and mentioned. I read it here first.. a month ago like many other things that came to be true. Thank you[5]

[1] and complain that there are not enough? This is another argument “save them for the healthcare workers”. True but would you give up your needed protection for when you have to procure essential food (that will get scarce) for a system that did not plan ahead as you did? When experts had warned decades ago that the next pandemic is going to happen. Nobody took lessons from SARS-1? Or the “Hot zone”?

[2] But there are not a lot of “good ones” around, so make your own. Left again to yourself, get vacuum bags and coffee filters and cloth and make some. Sounds great! What could go wrong? Hey wait why can’t I find coffee filters? [3]

[3] living far away from cities, makes it so that I had to become organized and shop in bulk. Not practical anymore and people at least give me the stink eye when I buy more than one item [4]. Where I live, there have been two huge snow storms in the last week+, easy to get snowed in.

[4] Note that normal people can but one one (1) item that is limited but people on food stamps can buy double? Food stamps is not related to the # of people you have to feed, but the money you have. Not like I will be seeing any checks (now Signed by Trump; I’d wash away the other ink and print “I have failed the american people and the world” or “I have a small pee pee” – Signed by him)

[5] as @SpaceLifeFrom had said “it’s the planes” one of the people on my team likely got covid-19 on a plane – domestic flight (we traced the public contact time from infection to syptoms was ~9 days, he is very healthy and an avid jogger). he never got the test, because he was not sick enough, 3 weeks of illness, the worst he had? His doctor wanted to have him tested, but hey the guidelines…… the fever never broke out 99.8F top temp.

Clive Robinson April 17, 2020 1:53 AM

@ ALL,

With all the noise about “drugs” for treating COVID-19 two things often do not get mentioned,

1, Existing drugs can be expensive, and even when not all are only likely to be partialy effective as they are not targeted. Worse some have quite significant side effects.

2, New more targeted drugs will be expensive and take a year or two to become available for various reasons, they will also probably have significant side effects.

Thus the question arises as to if something inexpensive, easily made available now, and with minimal side effects might exist? The answer is “probably”, but we are not hearing that much about it.

I’m refering to “convalescent plasma therapy” also known as “passive antibody therapy” I’ve mentioned it a couple of times as “blood plasma” therapy.

Simplisticaly you take blood from a COVID-19 survivor, centrifuge it down to get the pale straw like blood plasma, return the red blood cells and IV fluids back to the donor. The actual plasma is screened and filtered to give the donors antibodies which includes those for the COVID-19 causing SARS-Cov-2 virus.

This plasma you inject into a patient in critical or sever stages of COVID-19 which will boost their immune system and hopefully buy the time for the patients own immune system to catch up.

This therepy has been used for over a century, however it is not liked that much in the medical community because it does carry risks (as do all blood transfusions) that are difficult to quantify.

However for certain “Silicon Valley” types, blood plasma form young adults rich in things like “growth factor” are seen as being a way of “rejuvenating”…

Thus the equipment and trained personnel are currently available in the US and other Western Societies unlike “Drug manufacturing” which has mainly been “outsourced” to India and similar countries half way around the world…

Convalescent plasma therapy, maybe all we’ve got available in the short term…

Thus this Scientific American article will give you more information,

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-blood-from-coronavirus-survivors-might-save-lives/

MarkH April 17, 2020 4:13 AM

@Clive et al.:

Thanks much, for linking to the Scientific American article on meds under investigation for treatment of Covid-19. I found it highly informative.

The article highlights one of the many challenges, in confronting this pandemic: while commonsense suggests that enhancing immune system response in the early stages of Covid-19 illness, this same enhancement might be deadly at the very advanced stage in which the patient’s own immune system is killing him, not the virus itself.

[I speculate that if HCQ does prove to be useful, it might be at that advanced stage as an immunosuppressant.]

The application of therapies for such a damaging virus requires a lot of data, understanding and judgment.

None of this is going to be easy …


On a somewhat related note, this article discusses the dangers of rushing vaccine development:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/opinion/coronavirus-vaccine-research.html

Vaccines are normally subjected to the highest standard of safety. In the treatment of people sick with deadly illness, a certain degree of patient risk can be tolerated, if the protective effect is larger. In contrast, vaccines are often administered to vast numbers of healthy people.

One danger described in this article — which was news to me — is that in some cases vaccines have been seen to increase the deadliness of illness if a patient becomes infected despite the vaccination, or even to increase the risk of infection!

The human immune system is an intricate and sophisticated mechanism, resulting from hundreds of thousands of generations of evolution. Medical interventions in this mechanism must be made with great humility and respect … and a hell of a lot of testing.

Clive Robinson April 17, 2020 11:36 AM

@ MarkH,

One danger described in this article — which was news to me — is that in some cases vaccines have been seen to increase the deadliness of illness if a patient becomes infected despite the vaccination, or even to increase the risk of infection!

It’s a well known issue in research, but not much talked about normally (don’t scare the patient).

I’ve mentioned the Dengue Fever a couple of times and I think it was @JonKnowsNothing, who called it the “Poster Child” of problematic viruses. I think it’s only the fact that the transmmission vector is a mosquito that stops it killing millions of people.

Put simply there are several strains of it and whilst the first time you get any one of them your symptoms are quite mild getting another can and does kill lots of people worse still for the third infection. What happens is that the antibiodies that latch onto the virus and effectively feed it to white blood cells to be “digested” only partialy work with other strains, thus whilst it latches on it does it differently which ends up rapidly infecting the all important white blood cells rather than digesting the virus. The result is your immune system gets majorly impared and the virus runs almost unhindered through your body…

This same problem exists with vacines where a nutered virus is used unless care is taken. In drug trials young healthy people have been injected and within a half hour have gone down into massive inflamation, clinical shock major organ failure, and shortly there after sepsis with a high probability of death…

It’s just one of several reasons I caution against hoping for a quick vaccine.

But there is another issue which I’ve tried to avoid talking about, which is what happens if SARS-CoV-2 mutates into another strain? Whilst the virologists say the probability is low, we just don’t know, even quite low probability events like “thousand year storms” can show up twice in the same year… Let’s just say that it could like dengue fever mutate into a strain that causes the immune system to fail in that way. If that happens then those that have been neither vaccinated for, or infected by SARS-CoV-2 will be the ones least effected…

It’s one of the reasons fast and somewhat brutal confinment to make SARS-CoV-2 “extinct” as we did with SARS-2002 was the only sensible thing to do…

As I pointed out early on we could have done it in as little as a month, if we had stopped flights and international transport as @SpaceLifeFor was hopping up and down about just as Taiwan did and South Korea tried to do. But now we can’t thanks to short term thinking “vested interests” and neo-liberal stupidity…

I suspect when that becomes widely known and properly understood by many citizens, they are going to want real political change and I don’t mean voting for “the other party” that’s not “change” it’s just “lipstick on a pig cosmetics” and we are well past time for that idiocy. All I hope is that it can be done peacfully (what happened in the very end of the 1980’s with East Germany atleast gives us some hope on that score even if most of the rest of history does not).

Clive Robinson April 17, 2020 1:07 PM

@ Bruce, ALL,

One to keep your eyes on…

I know you’ve taken an interest in Enigma and other mechanical based cipher machines made using modern materials.

Well it appears that somebody is going to run a project using laser cut materials.

As there is only one episode so far, and it shows very little, I can’t say very much about what the gent –who’s wife I gather is with the US Mil curently stationed in Germany– is going to do. Anyway first part is,

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap7pS_2X9Vw

MarkH April 17, 2020 6:57 PM

Above, Clive repeated his position that the virus should have been eradicated by confinement/isolation. He’s mentioned it a number of times, and I think he has made the case for it as well as anyone could. If I understand correctly, Clive assesses that this could only have been successful in early days; the opportunity is lost.

It’s essentially an unanswerable question, but I suspect that there was never any date on which both (a) any response to the epidemic — howsoever brutal — could have achieved eradication, and (b) enough was known about the disease to trigger and organize such a response.

A picture of the early spread of Covid-19 will take some “medical archaeology,” and will be impaired by the incomprehensible and criminal delays and slowness in the development and deployment of testing. When the studies have been done, I think it likely that they will conclude that in January, the geographic spread of SARS-Cov-2 was already extremely broad.

Up to the time the pandemic started to impair travel, about 400,000 residents of China traveled to other countries in an average day. Yup, that’s more than twelve million per month.

Readers may be interested in this Lancet article:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30129-8/fulltext

which explicitly asked the question, “Can we contain the COVID-19 outbreak with the same measures as for SARS?”

The article concludes with

… sacrifices are being made because the memories of SARS fuel hope that containment is feasible. Whether these rigorous measures will indeed result in the same success as for SARS depends on the extent of transmissibility of subclinical cases (asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic), including the timing of peak viral shedding during the course of disease, as well as on the role of fomites and other environmental contamination in propagating transmission.

It was published six weeks ago. It now seems clear that people infected with SARS-Cov-2 transmit the virus despite having mild or even no symptoms.

With the “original SARS,” caused by infection with the SARS-Cov virus, all (or very nearly all) transmission was from people who had unambiguous symptoms. For example, temperature (fever) screening was highly effective for the older outbreak, but not in the present pandemic.

I understand the appeal of what I think of as Clive’s absolutist strategy: if correctly implemented, it MUST work. What engineer doesn’t prefer such a solution?

Life being messy, it is worth remembering that about one billion of our brothers and sisters live in teeming slums in which “social distancing” is physically infeasible.

Hundreds of millions of others are farmers or gatherers whose family income does not exceed a few dollars per day, for whom failing to make their usual meetings (trips to market, for example) would entail starvation.

Countless millions have never drawn water from a faucet, and could not afford soap for hand-washing even, literally, to save their lives. For many, a single N95 mask would be more costly than any object they have ever owned.

Things that seem sensible to those of us lucky enough to have grown up in the abundance of the West, are unattainable dreams for may others.


My Germanic fussiness obliges me to say that “extinction” by measures affecting people can only apply to human-specific pathogens (like smallpox). It might be that either or both of the SARS coronaviruses needed some unique mutation in order to infect people; but if not, then they may continue in their wild reservoir species (bats, most likely) even when the last human case has ended.

Smallpox was actually extincted — and it would seem, polio on some continents — only by vaccination.

When SARS-Cov-2 has disappeared from the human population, it will probably be a consequence of vaccines.

Clive Robinson April 18, 2020 2:05 AM

@ MarkH,

Clive repeated his position that the virus should have been eradicated by confinement/isolation.

It’s actually “could” not “should” the reason being as I’ve said all along is “vested intrests”, and also it being one end of a line of actions with exponentialy increasing cost. As for “should” well it should have been the starting point, along with hard border controls from the “get go”. Which is something @SpaceLifeForm pointed out repeatedly we should have “stopped the flights”. Hard border controls have turned out to be as important a factor as hard social distancing / confinement.

Clive assesses that this could only have been successful in early days; the opportunity is lost.

Not quite, it would have been easiest and least costly directly and to the economy if we had done both in the beginning.

I understand the appeal of what I think of as Clive’s absolutist strategy: if correctly implemented, it MUST work. What engineer doesn’t prefer such a solution?

As I’ve pointed out it’s not an “absolutist strategy” it’s one end of a line. We will still have to do it jurisdictionaly anyway if we want any chance of retaining our economies, a point that people are avoiding discussing for ideological reasons. Worse each tick of the clock takes us further up that cost curve thus idiology and procrastination will lead to recession, bankruptcy, and poverty, the question arising from delayed implementation is how badly do we want to hurt ourselves as nations, states or regions?..

Thus the question of “can we be sufficiently ruthless to do it?” arises. Whilst it is possible I think those “vested interests” will fight even with their dying breath to prevent it happening. Because for some of them such as politicians their beliefs are as a religious furver, even though what they “believe in” (neo-liberalism) has been thoroughly debunked. For others their self belief is “it won’t happen to me”, but they fail to see the rocks just under the surface as they stick hard and fast to their course caring not a jot about those floundering around them, their faith and beliefs just won’t let them behave in any other way.

It’s essentially an unanswerable question, but I suspect that there was never any date on which both (a) any response to the epidemic — howsoever brutal — could have achieved eradication, and (b) enough was known about the disease to trigger and organize such a response.

Actually the question is answerable, and we know it’s true, but you don’t hear many talking about the Taiwanese response to the news comming out of China in the early days… Because it makes just about every other first world Government especially in Europe and America look “venal, lazy, stupid, and slow”. Though there are some “late starters” who are also succeding Greenland and New Zealand being two that have been successful. In part because they were not on the “silk road” or “health migrants” lists, a point I made very early on when I identified Europe as where it was going to go before Italy blew up so spectacularly. Also being islands jurisdictions helps a lot, but again you don’t hear it talked about much which is why the UK is such an astonishing failure (due mainly to political idiology). Oh and have a look at Hawaii it’s in a prime position to act as an experiment.

Which is the main reason we hear about South Korea so much, it was their “Patient zero” who was perhaps the most prolific “super spreader” analysed. Whilst South Korea have not been as successfull as the Taiwanese Government they have been way more successful than many other first world nations. That is those outside of the “asia and antipodes regions”. Importantly their prompt action has ment that their economy continues to function rather than flatline.

The thing that distinguishes most of these successful response places is that they are in effect “island jurisdictions” that is they have real control over their borders. Which in the main European nations and US states do not have. However hard cross border controls should realy be attempted to stop “health migration” which happened on a regional basis in Italy when lockdowns were pre-anounced. Health migration rapidly expands community spread the severity of which mainly depends if infectious people are symptomatic or not.

Oh of importance to this unsymptomatic community spread is a very recent study from a New York hospital on pregnant women[1]. They PCR tested all but one patient, and what they found makes sober reading… Only four of the women were symptomatic though 14% of the cohort tested positive. Thus of those who were tested positive 88% were unsymptomatic. Testing in China indicated ~50% of infected being asymptomatic and European testing has indicated as high as 75%. So detecting and responding hard when just the first couple of patients are diagnosed in any jurisdiction would at the very least be prudent. This needs to be accompanied by hard “Track, Trace, Test and Confine” policy within a jurisdiction. This needs to remain in force for 90-120days after the last person was detected and hard borders controls need to stay in place for between 6-18months after last case reported in the world.

Smallpox was actually extincted — and it would seem, polio on some continents — only by vaccination.

But you are not comparing “apples with apples”… Both smallpox and polio were “endemic” and had been for some considerable time prior to Jennings did the work that led to low risk vaccination. SARS-CoV-2 is novel and not yet endemic, what we do very much dictates if it becomes endemic or not, and what happens to the world economies in the process.

About the only two things that appear even vaguely predictable from delaying the required actions are,

1, A harder recession.
2, A more pronounced societal change.

As both are going to happen the real question is how much worse are peocrastination and idiology going to make them?

[1] Importantly remember firstly that of those admitted to hospital specifically with COVID only ~1/3 are women, secondly women of traditional child bearing age are well within the low risk groups. Thus the results may be skewed.

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