Global Surveillance in the Wake of COVID-19

OneZero is tracking thirty countries around the world who are implementing surveillance programs in the wake of COVID-19:

The most common form of surveillance implemented to battle the pandemic is the use of smartphone location data, which can track population-level movement down to enforcing individual quarantines. Some governments are making apps that offer coronavirus health information, while also sharing location information with authorities for a period of time. For instance, in early March, the Iranian government released an app that it pitched as a self-diagnostic tool. While the tool’s efficacy was likely low, given reports of asymptomatic carriers of the virus, the app saved location data of millions of Iranians, according to a Vice report.

One of the most alarming measures being implemented is in Argentina, where those who are caught breaking quarantine are being forced to download an app that tracks their location. In Hong Kong, those arriving in the airport are given electronic tracking bracelets that must be synced to their home location through their smartphone’s GPS signal.

Posted on April 24, 2020 at 6:02 AM62 Comments

Comments

Who? April 24, 2020 7:00 AM

Thanks to the COVID-19 we have woken up in a cyberpunk world. It is time to convert it in a cypherpunk one.

These surveillance programs are good for tracking people, but are not the answer to stop the propagation of the SARS-CoV-2. The only valid program to stop the propagation of the new disease is staying at home while scientific community works in a treatment. The treatment will help us until a vaccine is widely available.

Beobachter April 24, 2020 8:50 AM

This comment will likely be considered blasphemy on this site, but The Virus will stop being a problem only after it spreads everywhere, as it seems to already be doing in spite of all the heavy handed attempts at suppression. The vast majority of people who come in contact with it will show no symptoms, more will have flu like symptoms… some will die, unfortunately.

No high tech solutions will “save us”. Our immune systems will.

And as for any “authorities” who want to use this as an excuse to implement Prison Planet – Virus take ’em!

parabarbarian April 24, 2020 9:34 AM

I guess there is something to be said for carrying a cheap flip phone.

Yes, I know they can be tracked but location is mostly just which cell tower or mast the phone is or was connected to. I suppose if the difference in arrival time from three or more towers as avaialable, a LORAN type calulation could locate one to within a few dekameters.

Peter A. April 24, 2020 10:44 AM

Not only surveilance, but also automatic control and enforcement of movement.

Russians, for example (in Moscow and other cities as well) require that you apply for a digital “permit” before you get out of your home, and only for specific reasons and within specified limits (like twice a week). You send a specially formatted SMS or phone a call center or use a website to key in all info (where are you going from and to and for what purpose, all your ID numbers etc.) and wait for a response with a numerical or QR code. You are [il]legally forbidden to walk out without a valid code except for walking your dog or going to the nearest store etc. If you go by car you need to enter your plate number; if you go by public transport you need to enter your fare card ID (single paper tickets are unavailable now). The gates at the metro station won’t open for you if you don’t have a valid permit. Surveillance cameras would scan your plate – and maybe your face – and the system will check if you have a permit. The permit lasts for one day.

I’m not making it up: google it. Sorry, I haven’t reliable English sources handy – I went straight to the Moscow municipality website to get firsthand info after I got the news (or use a translator: here’s one link: hxxps://www.mos.ru/news/item/72972073/)

It’s scary.

Apparently the system is automatic with some applications trigerring manual review by… whom? FSB?, because they recommend applying at least five hours before you plan to get out.

One thing I wonder: how they were able to set up such convoluted system on short notice? I bet they had it ready or almost ready long before. Did they develop it beforehand “just in case” or had they some prior notice abut the virus and what is going to happen? Or… my mind starts to go in spoooooky directions.

AlanS April 24, 2020 10:45 AM

@Beobachter

“The Virus will stop being a problem only after it spreads everywhere”

Yes but isn’t the point to control the rate at which it spreads everywhere so health systems aren’t overwhelmed? That said, I’m very skeptical that controlling the rate requires new forms of surveillance beyond what existing public health systems have access to. The limiting factor in many countries isn’t the surveillance infrastructure but the availability of tests and the infrastructure to run and manage large number of tests quickly, and, in certain countries, catastrophic failures in political leadership.

Michel April 24, 2020 11:27 AM

Strangely enough, I feel that the Moscow solution is much less invasive than others, for two reasons:

  1. It leaves you alone if you don’t call. It doesn’t snitch on you.
  2. It is apparently uniformly enforceable. If you don’t have permission you don’t get what you need/want. I like that gates to public transportation require your permission QR code.

Yes, it is heavy handed. But the situation requires more than every citizen’s goodwill – CoVid-19 is too contagious to rely on approximative compliance.

What I find amazing is that a plce know for being authoritarian understands that covert spying on its citizens is not very acceptable, while Western democracies feel that covert spying is A-OK.

This is a bizarre world.

Clive Robinson April 24, 2020 11:45 AM

@ Beobachter,

The Virus will stop being a problem only after it spreads everywhere, as it seems to already be doing in spite of all the heavy handed attempts at suppression.

There are only two outcomes for the virus,

1, Extinction
2, Endemic.

It is probably to late to make it exitinct, unless we put real effort in, which vested interests will not alow, as they have not alowed us to eradicate it so far.

If it becomes endemic it will always be a problem, it will be forever taking a toll on mankind and it will make flu deaths appear trivial, as it already has in countries where it might have infected as little as 5% of the pipulation at large[1].

At the moment people are playing “silly politics” and holding up Sweden as some kind of shining example. It’s not it’s current death rate is 200/million which is worse than many places and it’s death rate is still growing daily. Any epidemiologist will tell you they are in a worse situation than other countries on lockdown, but are at the begining of their curve, that will just grow unless they make some drastic changes.

The other thing is despite evidence to the contrary the virus does not appear to be seasonal. The only thing that appears to have any effect is how much or little time people spend out doors in sunshine keeping their Vitimin D levels up getting healthy excercise and not getting trapped inside with infection.

Even the very young are getting ill and dying of COVID-19 what appears to make your chances of succumbing to it is being under norished, having a comorbidity, or OTHER viral infection like flu or the common cold… Oh and if what some suspect is true, that antibody immunity is only good for ~18months then don’t bother with your pension you are going to be dead of it before long. That is before you might otherwise have lived to, so instead of 80+ years you’ll get 60-70 at best…

Just think what this means for about the 2/5ths of the worlds population living in close quaters poverty away from anything like minimal required health care…

Thus SARS-CoV-2 is likely to be a way better prey creature on the herd of human life than lions are on gazelle…

Thus I expect that if and when we get a successful vaccine people will try for the “eradicate to extinction” route for SARS-CoV-2, and many Governments will not let the vested intereats of Big Phama etc stand in the way.

[1] In the UK total annual flu deaths are around 4k individuals. Acording to the current figures of just hospital deaths to COVID-19, we have just under 20k if we add in estimates for care homes it comes in at 30k and if we add in excess deaths then 40k is still on the low side. So a death rate of 10times already and only a few percent maybe 5% max infected. So far so a death rate 200times flu is not an unfare figure. Especially when you look at the world figures and see only 80% of the cases close with a patient surviving and 60% or less in other countries as it was in the US for a while.

Clive Robinson April 24, 2020 12:02 PM

Opps,

I left a few important words off of the end of,

    The other thing is despite evidence to the contrary the virus does not appear to be seasonal

In my above. It should be,

    The other thing is despite evidence to the contrary the virus does not appear to be seasonal as many have hoped.

That is we can expect new waves of the virus at any time of the year unless we as individuals take responsability for keeping our immune system in the best condition we can which life in the higher climbs of the West we do not. Our warm stuffy homes and offices, crowded public transport, lack of excercise, fresh air and sunshine are suppressing our immune systems.

I was speaking to one of my relatives who is older than I am who can remember the TB and polio wards, which were designed for maximum fresh air and getting patients out on the balconies etc into even the palest of winter sunshine because they knew it helped recovery…

x April 24, 2020 12:16 PM

This is a typical case of the technical community not understanding how politics works.

Timeline:

  1. We need an app for Corona tracing
  2. Experts in the field come up with a protocol that offers best possible privacy (DP-3T)
  3. Someone politically connected forms a ‘consortium’ promising to implement DP-3T in an open source fashion, promising decentralized storage as mandated by the parliaments.
    https://www.pepp-pt.org/
    https://github.com/pepp-pt/pepp-pt-documentation
  4. Hundreds of research organizations join the consortium
  5. The consortium uses the credibility of the researchers to gain a government contract

  6. Researchers focus on technical issues and revel in the amazing privacy preserving technology

  7. The company controlling the ‘consortium’ drops their mask and decides to switch to a centralized scheme that records all data in a ‘pseudomymous’ fashion in favor of ‘cryptographic elegance’. The mailing list is censored, the github issue tracker disappears.
    Oh, and it won’t be open source either. For security reasons.

  8. Currently, the German government is pressuring Apple and Google to open their API so that they work with their centralized storage server, i.e. instead of storing the contacts on the phone, they will be reported to the government server.

  9. News articles praise the government, because we can’t leave privacy to Apple and Google.

  10. Researchers write some open letters that no one cares about.
    https://nadim.computer/posts/2020-04-17-pepppt.html

At the moment, the only open question is whether Apple and Google are going to put in a centralized API to report all of your contacts to a ‘trusted’ government server.
Btw, the company that will run the server is called Palantir Technologies.

Peter A. April 24, 2020 12:17 PM

@Michel: Russians do covert spying on top of that.

On the other hand, inhabitants are kind of used to that since tzar times and mostly do not care.

On the other other hand, the authorities are able to (quasi)uniformly enforce all the heavyhand rules (today’s extraordinary ones as well as everyday ordinary ones, such as taxes) only in the big cities and generally in the western parts. Down there in the east people have much more actual freedom despite of lack of legal liberty. For example, the economy is deep in gray/black area there. There’s simply not enough police force in today’s Russia to enforce all of that, and local officers are mostly from local communities and turn a blind eye on many things – otherwise their life there would be miserable. Living in a poor rural community means you really NEED support of others. They activate when seeing strangers, however.

msb April 24, 2020 12:18 PM

@Michel,

What I find amazing is that a plce know for being authoritarian understands that covert spying on its citizens is not very acceptable, while Western democracies feel that covert spying is A-OK.

People from the Eastern Bloc all expect to be spied on, so there is no point in the government trying to cover up this, and as you say, it’s fairly unobstrusive.

People in Western democracies are in denial that they live in a surveillance state, because that would make them no better than the “damned commies” so the state has to try and be all sneaky and hand-wavy about it.

Don't Post Much April 24, 2020 12:54 PM

Re: Surveillance
This is my U.S. centered perspective on our current Surveillance State. Disclaimer: I work for a private company as Surveillance Intercept Observer where my job is to observe, record, and report deviations from the normal and expected. As such, I’m required to keep up-to-date on the latest tech. There is a lot of keeping up to do. And yes, I’m still on the job while the pandemic rages.

  1. We, in the west, already live in a Surveillance State. Even in small rural communities video cameras are ubiquitous. Grocery markets, fueling stations, the butcher, the baker, and the local traffic control signals, all have video capabilities. Some have audio available as well.
  2. There isn’t much that we can do to change the situation. Governments, and their various tentacles, who wish to keep tabs on an individual will do so. How can you hide?
  3. The vast majority of humans don’t have much to worry about. However, if you are a Person Of Interest, all bets are off. Much like the discussions here about internet security, if you are POI then you are being surveilled.
  4. There have been a number or suggestions on the viability of facial recognition obscuration. All well and good. But you’d better find ways to alter your walking gait, change your posture, your perceived sex, and your body type. Sounds tough, right? It is. There are systems in play that can pick you out of a crowd by simply analyzing your gait. No need to get a visual on your face, just the way you move. There have been hints that certain high level TLA’s have the capability of recording your fingerprints as you move through some camera views. Without you touching anything. Scary thing, that.
  5. If you are POI, you should recognize that you must do all in your power not to invite observation by a human. If you are recorded it will go in a database somewhere, for some retention period. One can hope that the bits will degrade or that a storage purge will delete your information. If you persist in doing the unexpected or deviate from ‘some norm’ the chances of escaping human observation and intervention is very small. At that point you’ve been tagged.

This has gotten much longer than I intended. The take away is: we are under surveillance. Even in our homes there is the IOT, smart televisions, and many others that you know about. The world outside your door is watching.

Clive Robinson April 24, 2020 1:05 PM

@ Bruce, ALL,

How are your iPhones making you feel “secure”?

Remember that due to Apple’s walled garden monoculture, they are the only mobile phone architecture where they can “force” tracking on you…

Android requires individual manufacturers to do so, and with many phones without a manufacturer any longer –anyone remember ZTE the US Gov killed off?– the chances are that many of the smart phones and devices made with it won’t be updatable by a forced download…

As for other mobile OS platforms those may not be under US or other Five Eye Nation control, so who knows what might happen with them…

Funny I feel the need to dig out my older Nokia phone…

There is an upside to this of course, if a government wants to force all mobile phones that are not upgradable off the air, they can tell the Service Providers to “deregister” the electrobic serial numbers of phones that are “older” but… What are those now deregistered users going to use… Yup mobile phones are not exactly selling like hot cakes at the moment, and supply of new phones is far from certain.

One of the joys of our “Outsourced, Just In Time, LEAN” systems is that just one tiny item being unavailablr throws the spanner in the works for many many items… But the reason we are in this state is all tose Management Consultants and their MBA’s who have been raised on a mantra that makes things fragile to the point of near compleate failure if somebody sneezes to hard…

It has a degree of irony about it that would make me laugh if it was not so critical to so many peoples lives.

As I’ve mentioned before it’s the issue of,

    “Individual-v-Societal Rights and Responsibilities.”

We have to make a choices over not just,

1, Where we are going to draw the line over this…
2, But how we are going to enforce it against citizens…
3, Police it against governments..
4, And finally ensure that it does not outlive it’s actual need.

They are all questions people are avoiding asking or answering, and that carries a potential “Death Sentence” for all those that get needlessly infected.

The only way we can keep the SARS-CoV-2 virus under control currently is going to result in some peoples Rights getting trampled by Responsabilities to Society. It matters not a jot how libertarian your views are it’s impossible to live any kind of modern life without enjoying some of the “fruits of society”, thus we all have responsabilities to Society to ensure it’s well being.

Thus we all have responsability to Society and in return Society has responsabilities to us as individuals. If those that think they control society want to implement systems, then they have to earn the Right to implement them, which means lots of transparancy and oversight that can not be avoided, captured or ignored as well as cast in stone methods of shutting such systems down.

But most important with systems that,

1, “Track” your past movments.
2, “Trace” others movments with respect to yours.
3, “Test” those who have been traced, and
4, “Confine” those who test positive.

We need things to be in place that are just not there currently, such as suitable “Confinement”, reliable or sufficient “Tests” or more interestingly having asked epidemiologists what the actually need.

All we appear to be doing is having some “techno fantasy” for various people to strut around to. The down side is because they have no idea of what is realy needed they are making invalid assumptions that are fulfilling other peoples fantasies.

For instance, if your phone stores other peoples trace contacts then it becomes a “witness” to any event somebody wishes to investigate. Repetative contact implies a relationship thus potential for “conspiracy”. And so on, some might have noticed that “Conspiracy” is a standard gambit for the likes of the FBI and “You were there” as a standard gambit for other LEO’s in questioning and preasuring people. Thus storing traces on a persons phone is a feature some would chearfully kill to get…

Are we prepared to lift the lid on that particular Pandora’s box?

The only thing that is certain about this COVID-19 Pandemic is that both society and the relationship individuals have with it are going to change, and unless we do it right, right from the begining it will be for the worse for both.

privacy_forever April 24, 2020 1:54 PM

@Clive

The only way we can keep the SARS-CoV-2 virus under control currently is going to result > in some peoples Rights getting trampled by Responsabilities to Society.

There is a simple solution that would trample far less rights: Just wear masks. No information technology needed. If we don’t have masks, make them. If you have a sewing machine at home you could make a lot of money if it weren’t illegal for the small guy to ‘profit’ from the situation.
And don’t talk about the inefficiencies of homemade masks, cotton masks were used in hospitals till a few years ago and there are plenty of scientific studies demonstrating that they are working reasonably well.

It is not even clear that a contact tracing app will work. The BLE protocol is not made for accurately measuring distances, and we still don’t even know how close is too close.
If the infection is passed through smears on surfaces, the app would be completely useless.

Even if the technical solution did work, who promises that it won’t be subverted because it is convenient for someone?

France is already ramping up the pressure for Gapple to replace the decentralized storage on the phones by a system that sends all contacts directly to French servers.

https://techcrunch.com/2020/04/23/germanys-covid-19-contacts-tracing-app-to-link-to-labs-for-test-result-notification/

Given the recent discussion about taxation of international companies in France the French government has plenty of leverage.

Once the French have access, every other nation will want it as well.

Don't Post Much April 24, 2020 2:12 PM

On cell phone tracing.

How much storage would be required for the many millions of iOS and Android devices in use today? For how long? Please don’t say that storage is infinite.

MarkH April 24, 2020 2:18 PM

@Clive:

It is probably too late to make [SARS-Cov-2] extinct

I take that you meant without vaccines, since you acknowledged the possibility of extinction via vaccination later in the same comment. Taking account of the possibility of vaccines, it will never too late as long as something like civilization endures.

Consider:

• Wuhan has a very large population
• Wuhan is a transport hub and manufacturing center
• Covid-19 spreads very efficiently
• Covid-19 spreads very stealthily, because a large proportion of cases have mild or no symptoms, and even acute illness cases are contagious prior to symptoms
• residents of China were making more than 12 millions foreign trips in an average month
• China has trading and strategic relationships in dozens of countries

There was a day — I’ll call it P-Day — after which the measures required to make the virus globally extinct by means of isolation — necessitating highly intensive responses synchronized in every affected country — passed from the realm of feasibility.

The knowledge does not yet exist to locate P-Day on the calendar. As epidemiologists look at antibody tests and other evidence, the estimated dates of first cases (by country or region) are moving “backward” by several weeks.

Doctors, medical examiners, and public health officials are now reexamining unusual cases of illnesses and patient deaths prior to what were believed to be first cases of Covid-19, wondering whether they were unrecognized Covid cases. In some cases, retained specimens or autopsies may be able to confirm whether the virus was present.

Probably before this year is out, enough information will be available to estimate the date of P-Day. I think it likely, that it was sometime in January … if already in 2019.


Meanwhile, Hong Kong and South Korea are indeed pursuing eradication in their territories. Interestingly, Australia and New Zealand are following suit, applying the same basic strategies: they have explicitly set eradication as national goals.

Their unfolding experiences will be instructive for all the rest of the world. If they are highly successful domestically, every such state or territory will have to make the “trade-off” between keeping cases out, versus international accessibility.

I note that because of large territories and populations, and the efficiency with which the virus finds new hosts, pre-vaccine “success” might never mean complete eradication, but rather a system of medical surveillance by which new outbreaks can be suppressed with great speed, with few total illnesses.

La Abeja April 24, 2020 2:58 PM

@Who?

The only valid program to stop the propagation of the new disease is staying at home while scientific community works in a treatment. The treatment will help us until a vaccine is widely available.

  1. Just stay at home like all the other couch potatoes and welfare moms and do what you’re told on cable television.
  2. Get out of welfare work requirements because of COVID-19®.
  3. “propagation” = propaganda in Italian. There’s information they don’t want propagated among the general public.
  4. “vaccine” = vacca, “cow” in Italian.
  5. The treatment will cost money.
  6. The doctors aren’t doing it for free when they’ve got $500,000 medical student loans to pay off.
  7. The vaccine is a shot. The needle or the gun. Girls have their ears pierced and the cows on the farm wear ear tags for ID.
  8. Pasteurized homogenized vitamin-D-fortified fresh milk and USDA Choice Grade A beef are always available at your local grocery.

MarkH April 24, 2020 3:06 PM

@Clive again, re Covid-19 vs. seasonal flu:

Only an idiot (and we’ve seen some right here in comment threads) would suggest that this pandemic is not significantly worse than seasonal flu.

Taking as a starting point that this virus is, at the very least, much more comparable to the 1918 pandemic than seasonal flu, I suggest that “200 times flu” (death rate) for endemic Covid is quite extreme.

For a start, there’s so much uncertainty concerning CFR. It seems to me that mounting evidence suggests not greater than 2 percent, and perhaps not greater than 1 percent. I think it likely that by mid-year (start of July), the picture will be much clearer.

As an early data point, an antibody survey (we’ve already discussed testing problems, so this is low-reliability information) in New York state suggests that about 2.7 million residents have already been infected. The official death toll would make the “raw CFR” 0.55 percent. Assuming both a large undercount of deaths, and that many more of those already infected will die, the projected CFR will still come out not more than 2 percent.

Other fragmentary data (we don’t have nationwide numbers, because our cowardly president is afraid of truth) suggests that half of deaths are in nursing homes. This is a good news / bad news story.

The good news, is that the death rate for the great majority who are not institutionalized is only about half of the total death rate, and that measures addressed to such institutions could greatly reduce that miserable half.

The bad news is that protecting institutionalized persons will be very difficult and costly, though certainly achievable for the affluent states of the West.

When it comes to poor countries, we just don’t have data. Although you and I are both worried by the incredibly poor health services for so much of humanity, it’s not clear how much difference that will make.

For example, on the question of ventilators, it may prove (to a first approximation) that a very small percentage of ventilated Covid patients both survive and make a functional recovery. Anecdotally, a hospital worker in New York said “it’s a miracle” when a patient on a ventilator comes off of that ventilator alive. If getting that acutely sick is a literal “dead end,” then the lack of high-tech medical care may not make as much difference to outcomes as we fear.

And though younger people are falling ill, and sometimes dying, correlation with age is very strong. Co-morbidities? In very poor regions, people with severe diabetes and the like have such a short life expectancy, that they make up a tiny fraction of population 🙁

The distribution of age and physical robustness in the poorest regions of earth just might render Covid CFR lower, than we’ve been seeing in more affluent countries.

It’s worth noting that based on a typical seasonal flu CFR of .1 percent, if 1/4 of the world population caught it each year, there would be about 4 times as many fatalities as are presently estimated. For a variety of reasons, including acquired immunity, vaccination, and variation of spread based on climate and weather, the actual numbers fall short of the simplified math.

I can’t prove that 200X won’t happen, but I think the actual ratio (whilst ghastly) will prove less than that.

When vaccines become available (I think it likely that successful vaccines will eventually be made), rich countries will have a selfish interest in vaccinating people in poor countries … in such case, the selfishness of the West may be accidentally beneficial to all.

Clive Robinson April 24, 2020 3:09 PM

@ privacy_forever,

There is a simple solution that would trample far less rights: Just wear masks.

The problem is as has been seen in the US some think that, wearing masks to protects others in society is infringing their rights.

The fact that that supposed “grass roots” appears to be astroturfed by those close to Amway (pyramid selling) and Blackwater (mercenaries and worse for hire) suggests that there is quite a deal of politics stiring things up and as we know from past times there are always those who look to profit from confusion.

All it appears to require is someone to say some measure is “un constitutional” and it won’t be long befor Jo Nobody is screaming abuse out of a land cruiser window about how somebody is steping on their right to protest…

To say the situation is being made more volatile by those preaching to those in confirmation bias that their rights are being stepped on… I think is becoming self evident, to the point I suspect that the easiest way to get a certain core group of people to do what many would consider the right thing is to start a false news story that the Government “is going to take away your right to wear masks”…

The point being it matters not a jot to these people what they are protesting about, they have got to a point where they feel hopeless and frightened and thus will take any opportunity to feel like they have some control back even if it is just by protesting about something.

Arguably what you are seeing is the start of the break down in the confidence trick that is government. People are starting to realise that there is no “wizard behind the curtain” and this will if not carefully managed reach a point when the “citizens” will realise there are a lot more of them than there are “Guard Labour”. Shortly after that some of the guard labour will realise that there are way to few of them, and not only that but the orders comming down the line are immoral or worse and they will realise they are on the wrong side. Thus civil disobediance will rise and public order will be come a major concern.

Opening the cage to a wild tiger in a zoo does not mean that even if you can hang onto it’s tail, you can control it and stop it from ripping your head off. There are too many “self appointed” in government and behind them that think they are safe from the consequences of the actions they initiate. Normally they might be right but these are not normal times…

Rights and Responsibilities are way way wider than some “tech heads” dreams. However any spark no matter how small can start a wild fire, it’s something that all need to remember and act upon.

As for,

And don’t talk about the inefficiencies of homemade masks, cotton masks were used in hospitals till a few years ago and there are plenty of scientific studies demonstrating that they are working reasonably well.

It depends on what “inefficiencies” you are talking about all masks are “trade offs” in some way or another.

The simple fact is that at some point somebody for what ever reason decided “disposable” was best, I can give you some of the reasons but at the end of the day the choice was made and now we have to live with it. Or more correctly we are making others live with it… As can be seen by thr UK buying up large amounts of PPE from Turkey, in effect there are no morals in a crisis…

Worse is the blatant profiteering, someone has realised that even disposable masks are reusable several times. All you have to do is suitably sanatize them. As unlike cotton masks they can not be boiled in soap and water, another method has to be used. Chemical vapour sterilization is one way UV-C irradiation is another (as is X-Ray, gamma, and neutron irradiation).

The problem with chemical vapour is “residue” if you use a chlorine based vapour it’s very effective but do you realy want to be breathing in chlorine gas residue? No me neither, which is why Hydrogen Peroxide Vapour is so attractive it can only break down into harmless molecules two of which “water and oxygen” we breath in all the time as part of life.

So as was mentioned on this blog a few days back a well known MIC company has siged an eue wateringly expensive contract that realy can not be anything other than a “payoff”.

So where there is a way “big corp” will find a way to get “Cost plus quadruple cost” as a minimum and $1200 hammers start to look like bargains.

So yes cotton face masks and boil wash laundery with hot air drying should be cheap easy and home producable with little issue… But you and I know that somebody has to be paid off so it will be neither cheap nor easy… Have a look at restaurant laundry service in Las Vagas to see just how something so simple can be “stiched up for payola”.

Clive Robinson April 24, 2020 4:09 PM

@ MarkH,

For a start, there’s so much uncertainty concerning CFR. It seems to me that mounting evidence suggests not greater than 2 percent, and perhaps not greater than 1 percent. I think it likely that by mid-year (start of July), the picture will be much clearer.

Yes which might account for why the world ratio of survivours to dead is 80% – 20% that in the US has been 60% – 40%. These are “hospital” not “community” figures and even though the absolute numbers are horiffic the petcentage of national population is small.

Howrver the issue of when community stability is reached with an endemic disease can be very difficult to judge, but it could take as I’ve mentioned befor 80years, though I suspect it will be lower.

If we assume that 5% of uninfected people become infected in each wave then it’s going to take 15 waves for every one to have become infected asuming a simple first order approach. However we know from the 1918 pandemic and other disease outbreaks that infact the first order analysis is likely going to be incorrect. That is the first wave is going to be small in comparison to the second wave and the third will be some significant fraction of the first wave.

The number of waves depending on disease reservoirs and the virus escaping out.

Which brings us sadly to “desperate people do desperate things”. China and several other nations are loosing a large number of “hogs” to African Swine Flu (ASF) which is one of the primary protein animals for second and third world countries. We also know that locusts are having “biblical” effects in other places according to the UN. Due to “lockdown” in China it is likely that their farming has fallen behind on spring planting… In short there is going to be food shortages for around half the worlds population. If we then throw in the long supply line chains of the first world food supply things could be heading for a “perfect storm”.

One thing is clear is that an inefficient immune system is a killer when it comes to COVID-19. For instance a young child in China died of COVID-19 because they had a deficiency in their digestive tract that would have been easily solvable by very simple surgery.

Thus we currently have little idea what the real infection rate is in the first world other than “diseases of affluence” are going to make your death more likely if you catch SARS-CoV-2, and a significant proportion of “Typhoid Mary” types will exist who will spread the disease without signs of having it. Even those who do get signs will for several days be presymptomatic spreaders.

Now the question arises as what will happen as food shortages start. Well we can assume two things are likely,

1, The population will weaken.
2, Health emigration will start.

One result of this will be “refuge camps” where SARS-CoV-2 will spread not at the relatively low “Community R0” but at the way higher “Institutional R0” which appears to be at ten to twenty times the community rate.

It’s thus safe to assume unless such refugees are kept under strong guard that they will escape and head for food and better healthcare, probably taking virus with them.

If you live in an island juresdiction where there is strong control on the borders you might be able to stop the virus getting into your community. But if you have land borders these are always going to be pourous to desperate people with little fear of death.

Thus in the very near future very strong control of borders will become a priority…

As we know one security aspect of this will be “technology” at the very least drones ranging through full biometrics…

As we know when there is desperation in people then people smuggling becomes highly profitable, certainly high enough to kill…

The only way to stop this will be very much against the interests of “vested interests”, thus opportunities will be lost over and over.

However if I were to suggest the vested interests were made to pay back some of what they have been getting for free for years I think you could imagine the noise that would create…

La Abeja April 24, 2020 5:21 PM

@MarkH

… the 1918 pandemic than seasonal flu …

Healthy young men were getting sick and got doctors’ notes to dodge the draft for World War One. The military officers got wise and the conscientious hackers and coughers died of the influenza (=”influence”) of Italy which did not officially join the Axis until the Second World War.

Remember that was during Prohibition, when you could get a doctor’s prescription for a shot of liquor or pretty much any other alcoholic cure for any sort of ailment you wanted.

Tõnis April 24, 2020 6:53 PM

I don’t “social distance” (whatever that means). I’m not one of these fags who rides around in his own car wearing a mask and rubber gloves. (Have you seen how ridiculous you look?!?) I haven’t worn a mask or gloves once since this nonsense started, and I’m not about to start now. I don’t stay home; I leave the home whenever I want. I don’t “isolate” or quarantine. I don’t take orders from politicians; I’m well-groomed in front of cops. Whenever I hear “syndrome,” my bs meter goes off, so here’s a prescription: stop hiding like Marys in your houses, head on out and leave the dust masks and rubber gloves home, walk down the aisles at the grocery stores the wrong way, and you’ll see that nothing bad will happen. Grow a pair and don’t be such pussies all afraid of the common cold! If you’re an American physically present within one of the fifty states, there’s no such thing as a “lockdown”; that’s the con. I’m an American.

JonKnowsNothing April 24, 2020 9:02 PM

@Tõnis

Unicuique suum

  • I keep social distances (20+ft).
  • I wear mask and gloves.
  • I don’t smoke.
  • I stay home as much as possible
  • I use my intellect to detect BS
  • I don’t know any Mary’s.
  • I drive according to the CA DMV rules of the road (right side)
  • I already have a pear.
  • I take care of my family, friends and neighbors by not infecting them
  • I am not on anyone’s criminal listing that I know of, although there are probably listings with my name on them.
  • I am an American
  • I am also a Citizen of the USA
  • I am funnier, have less angst, and laugh more…

ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suum_cuique

“Suum cuique” or “Unicuique suum”, is a Latin phrase often translated as “to each his own” or “may all get their due”. It has been significant in the history of philosophy and as a motto.

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JonKnowsNothing April 24, 2020 9:26 PM

@All

re: Masks

Pre-COVID19 there were many laws passed globally about masks, face coverings, and anything that would inhibit the immediate identification of a person. The severity of the laws varies by country.

In France all head coverings or scarves where prohibited as well as wearing full face covering motorcycle helmets beyond a certain distance from the scooter-bike.

In many countries similar No Masks Allowed Laws were passed. Often they included what sort of clothing a person could wear (in public).

Some countries passed laws Requiring Head Coverings or masks or specific clothing must be worn. Some of these have serious penalties if you do not cover your face, hair, body. The USA used one of these full-body covering laws to help push a war which is still on-going, the requirement for full-body covering remains in place.

There are problems now in Hong Kong, where the folks in charge have forbidden people to wear masks because it interferes with the face recognition systems used to track their population and group actions. People who wear a mask risk arrest.

In the USA a recent insightful article detailed how dangerous it would be for some persons to enter a store with a mask, they would likely be shot due to social stereotyping.

It’s a bit like hats.. some places you have to have one on and other places you have to take it off.

ht tps://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/07/black-men-coronavirus-masks-safety

I’m a black man in America. Entering a shop with a face mask might get me killed

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a friend of T April 24, 2020 10:15 PM

LOL, @JonKnowsNothing, you’re all right. Re this —

“there were many laws passed globally about masks, face coverings, and anything that would inhibit the immediate identification of a person. The severity of the laws varies by country”

— I wonder why the thugs with badges are so often wearing ski masks when committing government sanctioned atrocities …

Beobachter April 24, 2020 10:57 PM

@Clive:

Clive, I try to absorb your every word on computers and electronics, Sir, but unlike the complete fiasco that is computer “security”, we didn’t create our immune systems. They have evolved to protect humans for thousands of years, and have many components that we haven’t even begun to understand. Unlike computer security systems, usually they JUST WORK. And even if this scary virus was created in some evil lab somewhere, the statistics that are emerging indicate that for the overwhelming majority of those exposed to this virus, their immune systems are just working. Almost all of the deaths are very old people, very overweight people, people who are already sick…

I live in a country where most of the people need to go out and look for money for food everyday, so there is no house arrest style response here. I make a daily effort to stay healthy, but I am over 60, so if I disappear from the comments, you’ll know I’m wrong 😉 On the other hand, I won’t be commenting too often, because the weather here is fine and bike riding in the sparse traffic is wonderful!

@Tõnis:

If only more of our politicians had your attitude!

MarkH April 25, 2020 2:56 AM

@Beobachter:

Yes, human immune systems just work, for most people most of the time. For the majority, they function every minute of every day.

They work so well, that the estimated global average life expectancy in 1900 was more than 30 years … way longer than dogs!

Who needs all of this public health crap? Those smug nitwits with their medical degrees, research laboratories and all that other garbage ain’t fooling me.

I wasn’t born yesterday!

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons April 25, 2020 4:52 AM

@ MarkH

I wasn’t born yesterday!

Okay, I’ll byte–wasn’t it the day before!

Clive Robinson April 25, 2020 7:26 AM

@ name.withheld…, MarkH,

Okay, I’ll byte–wasn’t it the day before!

To Speak of Summer Sorrows.

Oh to be young again, when every day was an adventure new, and seeing a ladybird on the stem of a dandelion could fill a young heart with joy.

Sadly now in quarantine advised for the aged and infirm, I find my days merge into one long yawn of durance not vile, but void of things to make a heart glad to skip. But worse, much so made, by the lack of beat that even humdrum brings.

Memories rise of yesterdays, walking in pastures and hills and mountains, of sailing boats and cycling down leafy lanes, the enjoyment of being out and moving making up for any weather not clement, that should chose to fall on head raised high.

To be once more as free as a breeze to go whence the fancy takes, to see things new with apreciative eye. To enjoy the sounds of lifes surounds the quiet song of the medow lark and cooing of the dove, the sound of peace and serenity to acompany ones inner thoughts.

Such was life that one thought would never change, the joys of life to feel, now barred and locked against those folk of whom we have been warned to fear, lest they bring a sickness so unknown we know not how to fend it off. Thus run run as fast as you can to hide with distance great, lest you it does incapacitate.

myliit April 25, 2020 10:13 AM

@ Noise makers[1], those trying to play whack a noise maker, popcorn eaters, etc., …

To state the obvious our, probably incompetent and negligent, president may be desperate to form an authoritarian state [2], before he lands his sorry ass in prison.

That is if syph’litic parasites like our ex-president are allowed into prisons.

How exactly would secret service protection for our ex-president be handled in prison?

How would a chatter box like our president be prevented from talking too much in prison?

[1] one woman’s noise maker is another woman’s freedom fighter, or something like that

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/24/joe-biden-donald-trump-delay-election

“Joe Biden warns that Donald Trump may try to delay November election

‘I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow’
Democrat also expect[s] Russia and others to interfere

[…]

Under the law, no president has the power to postpone the presidential election. To change the date, Congress has to intervene.

Trump has not announced plans to delay the 3 November election, but it is a concern both political parties have raised. The president has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of understanding about the limits on executive power, particularly when it comes to his own self-preservation.

The Covid-19 outbreak has also increased concerns about how to conduct in-person voting safely. In response, many are pushing for an expansion of voting by mail.

Trump has used Covid-19 press briefings to make false claims about voting by mail, calling it “corrupt” and “dangerous”. Earlier this month, Trump also urged Republicans to fight efforts to expand voting by mail.

“Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting,” Trump tweeted. “Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.”

At the fundraiser, Biden also referenced reporting by the Washington Post which revealed Trump’s reluctance to fund the US postal service and efforts to force changes to its financial structure, which could harm voting by mail.

“Imagine threatening not to fund the post office. Now, what in God’s name is that about? Other than trying to let the word out that he’s going to do all he can to make it very hard for people to vote,” Biden said. “That’s the only way he thinks he can possibly win.”

The Covid-19 outbreak has already reshaped the 2020 campaign. The candidates are campaigning from home and at a stage in the cycle when the election tends to dominate news coverage, reporters are instead focused on Covid-19.

Biden also shared a broader concern about interference in the presidential election by Russia and two unnamed “major actors”.

…”

Any idea who the major actors might be? For example, Israel, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, UAE,etc., might be potential candidates amongst others.

For example, China, amongst others, might consider our president easy to manipulate and cheap to buy.

Clive Robinson April 25, 2020 4:09 PM

@ Mr. Peed Off,

Whilst “Track, Trace, Test and Confine” is the only proposal on the table that has a realistic posability of keeping national economies going and controling this disease under current knowledge. The real problem is as I’ve indicated “Track” is pointless at disease control unless the other processes are in place. Thus why give it needless priority over the more essential parts such as effective “confinment” and “viable testing” neither of which is apparent or likely to be in place any time soon?

In short it is quite sinister how a “techno dream” that lacks much in the way of rationality is being lauded so much by people who’s idea of democracy is FUD and remote corner cases dressed up in “Think of the children” style persuasion.

What The Guardian article is pointing out in slightly nicer prose is that the idea is not just dangerous it threatens to bring in “A New World Order” of the Police State variety. Which unfortunately appeals greatly not just to elected government officials but to a whole plethora of unelected, unacountable oft unseen persons on the public pay role who lack any let alone effective oversite.

The important thing to remember about the unelected on the public pay role, is that they rarely if ever face sanctions of any kind. Thus there is no risk in them endlessly pushing for more encroachment on both privacy and civil rights that form the core of any functioning society, not just those that claim to be some form of democracy or republic, but any where the claim is “the people” have a say.

JonKnowsNothing April 25, 2020 7:16 PM

@Clive

re: To Speak of Summer Sorrows

Just OUTSTANDING. Well DONE!

It’s an odd spot to be in for sure, and certainly through eons past many have had the same.

I move between despair and reality that I am and have always been 1 breath into mortality.

Death is when you cannot breath in and your heart slows. The last action, unconscious and involuntary, is not the last breath but the last exhale, deep, deeper until stillness.

I ponder what might be, what cannot be, what might have been, what will never be. I recall joy and joys lost. I recall sadness and anger. I recall all the lost paths and all the paths never to be walked.

What have I missed? More than a bucket list…

Clive Robinson April 25, 2020 9:26 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

Thank you.

I ponder what might be, what cannot be, what might have been, what will never be. I recall joy and joys lost. I recall sadness and anger. I recall all the lost paths and all the paths never to be walked.

Such is we hope “free will” to make choices that we think will make the best of things.

The old advice of “It’s the journey not the destination” still holds true for me atleast. It’s why I always almost instinctively tried to take the less traveled path, the one where life could be seen not shuttered away by an endless view of those in front.

To many of us never stop to look and see in the relentless drive forward to a destination. But when we get there what has been achieved? Nothing realy just another start point to another blinkered race. Eventually you realise that for many life is but a “Red Queen’s Race” runing forward as hard as they can, for what? Realy just to stay where they are. In fact a life without actually going anywhere, as bad as preordained, a life without choice, thus without joy or sorrow, that should never be a life for any one.

Wael April 25, 2020 10:22 PM

@Clive Robinson, …

In fact a life without actually going anywhere, as bad as preordained, a life without choice, thus without joy or sorrow, that should never be a life for any one.

We all have a choice — we’re free-willed. The fact that someone knows what we’ll choose has no bearing whatsoever on our ability to choose. We do the best we can; if we fail, then of course we feel sorrow; if we succeed, we naturally feel joy. But we shouldn’t feel excessively sorry or joyful.

If we knew the future, your statement may hold true. But we don’t! “Preordained” does not negate choice!

Clive Robinson April 25, 2020 11:50 PM

@ Wael,

I hope you and yours are well and safe?

With regards,

“Preordained” does not negate choice!

Actually it does, as you can be given only the illusion of choice, but actually either no choice, or not the power to act on your choice[1].

The problem starts with,

The fact that someone knows what we’ll choose has no bearing whatsoever on our ability to choose.

You assume that they are mearly a distant observer and not part of the experiment.

The basic fact of life is we live in a society and society in one way or another forms a stucture into which choices are effectively pushed onto you. It does not matter if you call them laws, regulations or norms, they rob you of choice.

It is if you will the flip side of “Individual-v-Societal rights and responsabilities”. In essence the choice you are given is “Play by the rules or do not play at all” is often called a “Hobson’s Choice”[2]. It is actually a “no choice choice” rather than a “take it or leave it” choice. That is if I know you have no choice but to take a particular action, I effectively can appear to give you a choice which is “no choice” you thus can in reality only except what I chose to give you.

[1] A prisoner may think they have choice as to if they go into a cell or not, in practice they don’t. Likewise they may think they have other freedoms of choice, primarily they do not. A condemed man may be given the choice of poison or having his heart ripped out in the most painfull way imaginable but there is no real choice that would be of interest that is to chose honourable life over death.

[2] Hobson’s Choice, is said to have arisen from a Hostilier owner of a livery stable in Cambridgeshire. Who ensured he was the only one in town, and you took what he offered or you had nothing. Whilst seen by many as “take it or leave it” which sounds like a choice, it actually is not and Thomas Hobson[3] certainly knew that. However such is the power of that “no choice choice” it became the name of a play that later in 1954 David Lean turned into a successful film. Yes it’s black and white but if you can get to see it, not only is it entertaining it very much illistrates the “No choice choice” on many occasions,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobson's_Choice_(1954_film)

[3] Not to be confused with the philosopher Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury who came up with what is now called the “Hobbesian Trap” which is actually a highly important game theoretic notion that underpins much of security thinking,

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

Wael April 26, 2020 12:23 AM

@Clive Robinson,

I hope you and yours are well and safe?

So far, yes. Hope the same for you and all.

Let’s take a simple example: a teacher in a classroom says to himself: “Joe will fail the class”, because the teacher knows Joe plays around and doesn’t study. Joe fails. Did the teacher’s knowledge affect Joe’s choice to study or not?

The (counter-)examples you cited don’t fully cover the topic: I had a choice to comment or to not comment. You knew I will comment because of previous encounters. But your knowledge had no effect on my choice; I could have just as easily not commented, as I have done other times.

Now suppose you were omniscient: you would have known with 100% certainty that I will reply, and you would have known exactly what I would say and what time I would push the submit button… to the letter. Your knowledge still did not affect what I chose to write.

BTW: seems rocket-man has died and his little sister (you know, the one that carries the black bag with the button) is going to be in charge. Interesting times ahead!

excelsior April 26, 2020 12:23 PM

Peter A.,

how they were able to set up such convoluted system on short notice?

They’ve had it under development for quite a time. There’s a bunch of firms who do the bidding for the siloviki. Some of them were crass enough to outright state that this kind of wankery – nosey marketers and law enforcement tracking you – is a-okay and they want it everywhere, namely NTechlab who specialise in facial recognition.

There was quite a big article on them a few years ago, somewhere in WaPo or else. I don’t see it now yet I’ve found some scraps that were posted in another Squid thread:

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/09/friday_squid_bl_594.html#c6761479 (post date: September 30, 2017 2:26 AM)

https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/28/moscow-officially-turns-on-facial-recognition-for-its-city-wide-camera-network/

That firm also was behind the infamous FindFace thingy. Of course they spout the usual ‘zomg just a tul’ rationalisation – easy enough when you aren’t the one on the receiving end and prolly not going to be.

On a ground-level, Moscow has been getting surveilled by CCTV heavily in the recent years. They have gone so far to tie into their system as many cameras as possible, including cams from the door phones in high-rises.

Michel,

What I find amazing is that a plce know for being authoritarian understands that covert spying on its citizens is not very acceptable

They don’t understand. They do as they please – that means overt spying or rather, overt surveillance.

JonKnowsNothing April 26, 2020 2:46 PM

@All

MSM interview with “Christian Drosten, who directs the Institute of Virology at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, was one of those who identified the Sars virus in 2003” … “head of the German public health institute’s reference lab on coronaviruses, he has become the government’s go-to expert on the related virus causing the current pandemic”

Q: If there were such a resurgence, could it be contained?

A: Yes, but it can’t happen based on human contact-tracing alone. We now have evidence that almost half of infection events happen before the person passing on the infection develops symptoms – and people are infectious starting two days prior to that. That means that human contact-tracers working with patients to identify those they’ve been exposed to are in a race against time. They need help to catch all those potentially exposed as quickly as possible – and that will require electronic contact-tracing.

All very plausible.

Of course, if you didn’t allow things to run amok to start with…

Additionally, all those “hot spots” of COVID19 waiting to erupt, presumes all persons all have this app and they all have service and they all have service providers that actually maintain connections and that they said service providers never disconnect someone due to payment issue…

Oh, one could possibly could guess where such hot spots might show up? Aged Care Facilities, Rehab Facilities, Gyms, Sporting Events, Bars, Nightclubs, Restaurants and *$, favelas, slums, ghettos and high density housing and not to forget the high density un-housed, not to be omitted work places, AnyZoneWH, UBER taxi, subways and bus systems.

Seems like they slipped a few gears.

ht tps://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/26/virologist-christian-drosten-germany-coronavirus-expert-interview
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JonKnowsNothing April 26, 2020 3:07 PM

@All @Clive

re: diluted hydrogen peroxide sanitizing

A fun image of “Snow cannon spraying disinfectant [diluted hydrogen peroxide] are being deployed in villages around the ski slopes of the Italian Alps by sanitation workers”.

It certainly blows the stuff around. Once the ski slopes open, and COVID19 meets the après-ski crowd again, they might need to just blow it over the entire mob.

There were early on discussions of how to sanitize aircraft and cruise ships. Wonder if using this or the fire hoses mentioned would help? The cruise industry has never properly dealt with NOROVIRUS so I wouldn’t think they would qualify for certifying the sanitation protocols.

iirc: There were pre-lockdown an images of packed in like sardines heavy drinkers slugging it down and falling down on the ski slopes. Similar to the same sort of USA Spring Break sardines on the beaches of Florida and various beaches south of the border, some more notorious than others.

ht tps://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2020/apr/24/italy-uses-snow-cannon-to-disinfect-alpine-villages-coronavirus-video

ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norovirus

Norovirus results in about 685 million cases of disease and 200,000 deaths globally a year

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Clive Robinson April 26, 2020 6:37 PM

@ Wael,

Hmm I’m unaware of any politician or unelected political advisor who would be described as a mathmetician, by a mathmetician (an economist however now you are talking a wgole different kettle of fish 😉

After all mathmaticians know pi is not a square or part there of nor is it an invention of man so would not seek patent or legislation. More recently you may remember “The Wizzard of Auz” decreed the whims of politicians writ down can change the laws of logic, mathmatics and even physics… Much to the amusement of many (I think there is even a tee-shirt).

Any way you know sometimes I pick my words with care, sometimes the spell checker has the claim to fame, but a smile on the face is maybe a clue 😉

Speaking of other things, it’s funny but the “Rocket Man” story appears to be one of intense interest only in US fringe web sites apparently a diplomatic “wish you well” is now a treasonable act or some such, involving the mass ejection of vitriol and invective, as well as yes “a conspiracy theory” shock horror swoon 😮

Which in effect is, a Chinese Dr is a modern day Typhoid Mary who is a SARS virus laden asymptomatic bio-weapon sent in to turn the afflicted into the host nations patient zero. Thus creating chaos and necescitating an immediate invasion to secure the scientists and the fruits of their forbidden knowledge, in the name of peace freedom and all that stuff atleast “For the common good” =:(

So grab your battle hat and body bag, you know it’s your patriotic duty to proudly go and lay down your life where the MIC will profit most…

Wael April 26, 2020 6:53 PM

@Clive Robinson,

I hear you!

Thus creating chaos and necescitating an immediate invasion to secure the scientists and the fruits of their forbidden knowledge

Happened in the past. More than once!

So grab your battle hat and body bag

I prefer a popcorn bucket and a jug of Arizona sun tea

Clive Robinson April 26, 2020 7:25 PM

@ Wael,

Happened in the past. More than once!

True, but back then it was so much more meaty, braziers, pincers, thumb screws and similar all in the name of God clean fun…

These days it’s just another form of corporate take over where labour is cheap…

I prefer a popcorn bucket and a jug of Arizona sun tea

It certainly sounds like it might be more successful but then… there is still appeal in sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and a fragrant tea poured into a dash of milk at the bottom of a porcelain cup to the sound of amiable conversation and the click of mallet on croquet ball as people try to “peg out”.

MarkH April 26, 2020 7:37 PM

@Clive:

I’m unaware of any politician or unelected political advisor who would be described as a mathematician, by a mathematician

You might enjoy reading about Cédric Villani.

He’s the exception who’s so rare, as to reinforce your point.

Clive Robinson April 27, 2020 11:33 AM

@ gordo, ALL,

I’ve suspected that getting SARS-CoV-2 more than once was on the cards when a Chinese Research showed that 6% or more of people who had been known to have had COVID-19 were not showing signs of seroconverting (making antibodies).

Without seroconversion you obviously don’t have antibodies which are the primary method your immune system uses to fight of any reinfection… What is not yet clear is if like with some other viral infections seroconvertion will come with time and low levels of virus in your system and how infectious you might be.

Well the WHO later made a statment about “many people not seroconverting” and finally some ears pricked up on that as the sound of a penny hitting the pavement was heard…

Now it would appear WHO has finally driven the last nail in the coffin of the “Herd Immunity Policy” by saying that some people –again unspecified– will become reinfectid by SARS-CoV-2,

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/you-may-catch-coronavirus-more-than-once-who

But again as with many WHO anouncments no statment as to the ratios or effect. That is what percentage and if it will be asymptomatic or full on critical care. Hopefully it will be like other CoV strains that cause the common cold you just feel unwell for a couple or three days and it’s gone the second or more times around.

But it’s not just the discredited “Herd Immunity Policy” that has been shot between the eyes, it also has a real effect on “recovery from lockdown”. Because even if you have an office full of “know to have had COVID” people a proportion of them will now be “viable hosts”… So if Mrs Smith’s little boy picks up the virus at school and it ends up on his posessions, Mrs Smith could get it on her and her posessions as she delivers him to school. Then on into the work place on say the handle of the kettle or coffee machine. Where Mr Jones gets it on his hand and the rim of his cup and a couple of days later he’s shedding virus like crazy around the office and thus it all gets back out into the community again…

Eventially over the next five to ten years most of the rest of the community will have come into contact with it and well the deaths could be up in the 4% of population range.

The actual recorded death rate currently is between 15-70% of recorded cases going into hospital do not make it back home. That is only 30-85% survive depending on what country you are in…

As for the “Swedish Way” I think we can safely say that, it also is now discredited if you look at,

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/sweden/

You will see that,

Recorded cases : 15,647
Closed cases : 3,279 (21%)

And of those closed cases,

Fatalities : 2,274 (69%)

Which is 225 per million of population and rising steadily.

Unlike other European countries that are seeing rates holding or dropping on a daily basis.

A noticable difference is Belgium, the reason is that they have decided to include in their figures those that other countries like the UK take pains to exclude from their figures by how they collect and record them. The reality is UK figures are atleast twice as bad as the “tested in hospital” figures given and probably worse a lot worse.

MarkH April 27, 2020 2:06 PM

@Clive:

It’s still rather early days on antibodies, because the amount of testing remains so small compared to what scientists would like to see in order to develop some confidence in conclusions.

There’s room for compounded errors: for example, we’re measuring the antibodies of a person who had Covid-19 … but what if their earlier virus test was a false positive?

As somebody who understands immune system functioning less than 1%, my impression is that in general, it’s normal and expected to see a lot of individual variation in antibodies. In other words, whoever proposes a “standard template” that antibodies will be at a certain level after recovering from Covid-19, is likely to see many exceptions.

There’s also early evidence that — rather intuitively — people who had mild cases may have lower levels of antibodies than those who got very sick.

There are complications on complications. Our immune systems produce different categories of antibodies in response to a viral infection, of different functions and durations. For immunity going forward, how many of the antibodies will be very important … but most of the mass-produced tests (many of which are practically meaningless) are binary: they only indicate yes or no.

As you wrote, plans based on a “one size fits all” assumption won’t work as hoped.

JonKnowsNothing April 27, 2020 4:13 PM

A COVID19 app tracker called: Covid-19 Symptom Tracker is beginning to regurgitate it’s data. The MSM article primarily is about the science but what’s more interesting is the between the lines bits.

  • Available to the public
  • Targeted to Twins
  • 2.7 Million app users
  • Data Focus on 2,600 Twins
  • Could tell if Twins lived in same household
  • Location and Allocation of Resource cross reference
  • Genetic identification and cross referencing
  • Used ML algorithms for results
  • Attempted to connect Twin DNA to COVID19 symptoms
  • May use the collected data for “other projects”

ht tps://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/27/study-of-twins-reveals-genetic-effect-on-covid-19-symptoms

ht tps://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/mar/24/uk-app-aims-to-help-researchers-track-spread-of-coronavirus
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

Beobachter April 28, 2020 10:46 PM

Before everybody wanders away from this thread, here are some thoughts on the global PR campaign to make totalitarianism go viral:

hxxps://off-guardian.org/2020/04/28/watch-stop-calling-it-contact-tracing/

Lots of good coverage of the coverage of the scary virus on off-guardian (Warning – possible blasphemy!).

Everyone stay healthy!

Clive Robinson April 28, 2020 11:22 PM

@ gordo, MarkH, ALL,

There is just so much out there to read that you get to miss much of it unless your eye gets drawn to it, like the small movment of a prey animal…

Which is why your above link drew my eye to this link,

https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/04/24/study-challenges-reports-of-low-fatality-rate-for-covid-19/

They have used the Northern Italian “excess death” figures to show without doubt COVID-19 is many times more deadly than annualized flu rates.

Put simply the gut “punch line” is what ever your “normalized age related risk of death” is in a year, catching SARS-CoV-2 and developing COVID-19 doubles your chance of dying and that holds across the adult age ranges…

MarkH April 29, 2020 3:50 AM

@gordo, Clive, et alia:

My steady prediction has been that the pandemic will end when enough people have acquired immunity, by whatever combination of (a) catching the virus in the wild, and (b) vaccination. The (oft misunderstood) technical term for the criterion of how many people must acquire immunity, before the reproduction rate R drops to 1, is “herd immunity.”

The Berkeley article addresses estimates of the Infection Fatality Ratio (IFR), though the article doesn’t seem to use that specific terminology.

Knowing IFR is of great importance, because it permits an estimate of how many people would die in the “unarrested spread” scenario — in other words, the virus keeps spreading by community transmission until herd immunity is (hopefully) attained.

Sweden is one country in which the stated policy is to let community transmission continue to the stage of herd immunity — in the expectation that this will occur long before vaccines are available to help.

Some countries are unofficially on the same trajectory, by dint of their lack of resources or political will.

And many countries seem poised to go this direction in steps: they will ease restrictions until Covid-19 flares up, and then reimpose restrictions in a limit-cycle oscillation … with the net effect of delayed, but ever-expanding infection. These countries plan to apply testing and tracing, but I suspect that this will often fail.

So what is this crucial value for IFR? I believe that nobody knows. The denominator is the total number who’ve been infected. Considering the error rates of antibody tests, and the rotten population sampling of the surveys, there’s probably no count yet on Earth that we can confidently conclude is within a factor of 2 of the true number.

So, these numbers: 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.8% … are not (strictly speaking) inconsistent. Within their enormous error bands, they could all be “legitimate” measurements even if made on the same population!

What’s the true number? Anybody who says he knows, has been drinking too much bleach.

Meaningful data will come during the next few months, though perhaps too late to be useful 🙁

If IFR is indeed 0.8%, and the herd immunity threshold is around 60% … and, very importantly, if getting infected confers significant immunity … then about 0.5% of the population will be killed, though in theory this could be significantly reduced by effectively imprisoning the most vulnerable (and I mean, to an even greater degree than is happening now).

Various countries and regions are performing “natural experiments” by trying many varied policies. The outcomes may prove to be instructive.

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained Spook April 29, 2020 4:22 AM

@MarkH:

What’s the true number? Anybody who says he knows, has been drinking too much bleach.

Drinking, my ankle!

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