Apologies

What to do about coronavirus.

Sorry, not a scooby. Wash your hands, try not to touch your face sorta stuff. Other than that? Economic plans and actions? Shaft the landlords? Build windmills? Coronavirus QE?

Dunno. For which apologies of course but I do try to only push a course of action when I know something about the subject under discussion.

My intuition, and it’s nothing more than that, is this is just some shit that we’ve got to suffer through. It’ll be largely over, in Europe, by mid-April.

44 thoughts on “Apologies”

  1. Coro is just big noise. Moronic claims of 80% infection when the fucking Black Death could only manage one third (under far worse conditions).

    Agree your analysis Tim.

  2. I read somewhere the other day that men who masturbate more tend to have higher immune responses. Suggest we all go with that!

  3. Take advantage of the crisis, EU style.
    Fight The Green Madness. It’s lost its headlimes right now, because people have something else to worry about. Work to see it never gets back there.

    One-Time disposable cups are good! Even Starbucks now agree 🙂

    What is the health risk of using recycled plastic (contaminated with who knows what) for packaging food and health products?

    etc.

  4. I read somewhere the other day that men who masturbate more tend to have higher immune responses.

    Violet Elizabeth Newmania will be fine then.

  5. We need to sacrifice some XR activists on flaming pyres. That’s the only way to appease the Gods of Corona. I read this morning that some XR people were planning to off themselves anyway as part of their protests, so we could use them, then everyone’s happy.

  6. As previously commented, the number of cases diagnosed will increase with the increase in testing. The number of deaths will increase, but far slower. Since most of those dying are susceptible to being carried off by flu there will be a reduction in flu deaths. A herd immunity will develop, and in any case virus infections drop off with spring. I think April is too optimistic, there’s a media bandwagon rolling, I’d say mid May.
    In the meantime, h/t TTC, let’s bring back single use plastic bags, they’re much more hygenic, better for the environment, and more convenient. Cheaper too.

  7. This is with us for a lot longer than April, I fear. The govt has taken the decision to let it rip through the population, which I think is the right thing to do, rather than try to suppress it as in Italy, Ireland etc, which cannot work. As soon as the Italians lift the restrictions, it will flare back up, because absent a vaccine there is nothing to stop it.

    Given that there is nothing to stop it, and that no health service in the world can provide enough ICU and specifically ventilation, and given the rate of contagion, I think it’s reasonable to assume that 50% of the UK population is going to be infected by the summer, and that the 1% estimate of deaths will be an underestimate because of the lack of medical care. I think we’ll be lucky to lose only 2% (of course, if it were the right 2% that would be a different thing) but if so that means 2% x 35m = 700,000 dead. Most of them this year.

    The good news is that we will mostly be over it by then, with a lot of recovered people and herd immunity, while over the Channel and the Irish Sea they will be gearing up for round two.

    I could well be wrong – I’m not an epidemiologist, nor even a quack – but I would love someone to point out to me the mechanism which will stop it.

  8. I read somewhere the other day that men who masturbate more tend to have higher immune responses.

    This is all very well, but what does ‘more’ mean? The public needs to know. Should we neglect significant others in order to up our numbers? I suppose when we’re all ‘self-isolating’ we’ll all have more time on our hands.

    We need to sacrifice some XR activists on flaming pyres.

    That doesn’t sound very environmentally friendly. We should dig a big pit and return them to Gaia’s loving embrace.

  9. @Pat – other infections drop off in spring (which will lift some pressure on the NHS) but it’s not struggling with conditions which roughly equate to our spring in Italy and Iran and elsewhere, nor which equate to our summer elsewere still.

  10. This grows exponentially, but our healthcare capacity (especially ICU) is more or less fixed. We are in the place Italy was about ten days – two weeks ago. Unfortunately true infections are about ten times the number of detected ones and there is a lag of roughly 1-2 weeks before these become apparent. When you think it’s serious enough to act, you are already a week late.

    Regarding death rates, in those areas of China outside of Wuhan, where they caught it early, the estimate is about 1%. This is WITH intensive care in a system which hasn’t been overwhelmed. In Italy it is currently about 5%. They are implementing ‘wartime triage’, I.e. deciding who gets the kit and who doesn’t – who lives and who dies.

    A very rough three months ahead.

  11. On topic of XR and flamimg pyres….

    Has anyone else noticed that if you take a swastika symbol, and rotate one of the cross-pieces, it forms the XR logo?

    (Imagine forming a swastika from two pipe-cleaners, then picking up one and pointing the arms the other way…)

    Do you think the XR message is deliberate?

  12. The only way such outbreaks can be stopped is reducing the replication rate below zero.
    i.e. by reducing the number of new people infected by each case. This cane be done by making the new people immune (vaccine or already had it & recovered), or by reducing the opportunities for transfer i.e. quarantine.

    It follows then that quarantine is only a delaying action, since ultimately the immunity is the only end.

    That said, delay by quarantine may reduce the scale, but most importantly, it reduces the peak, and therefore the number of seriously affected cases that die, but which could have been saved with less healthcare overload.
    So delay is good.

    NB Anyone else seen the Lew Rockwell blog on Covid19 + TB ? Very interesting…
    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/03/no_author/italy-is-second-country-with-coronavirus-outbreak-preceded-by-a-tuberculosis-epidemic/

  13. “What to do about coronavirus.”

    Fairly simple. Stock up with tins of beans, bog roll and plenty of tonic water and gin (for the benefit of the quinine element obviously). If you are concerned about the reliability of your internet service, I’d add jazz mags to the list too.

  14. “I read somewhere the other day that men who masturbate more tend to have higher immune responses.”

    I’m going with confounding factor here, what with most wankers being youngers.

    Interested, you’re about right, but my spread on the final fatality rate will be under 1%, health care here or there. If we can even calculate it reliably as we really have no idea how many people are infected with no or mild symptoms.

  15. From Beitbart:
    “According to Johns Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus deaths worldwide has still not crossed 5,000 but currently stands at 4,718, while the number of those who have recovered from the virus is 68,310.”

    Pardon my maths, but 1% of 68,310 is 683, not 4718
    So this looks like a death rate of 6.5% to my maths : 4718/(4718+68310)

    And another 100,000 known infected whose outcome is yet to be decided…
    Not the Zombie Apocalypse, but still a very serious epidemic.

  16. The best thing I’ve read from before the outbreak is this: UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011.

    As far as I can see it’s just how Boris, on the advice of the CMOs and the CSA, are playing this – presumably modified if needs be by a further nine years of knowledge. (Maybe the civil service is not entirely useless as long as you largely rely on medical/science types for the work.) I wonder whether there’s a US equivalent to the Strategy?

    In particular it’s full of put-downs of the sort of “it stands to reason” rubbish now infecting the papers. Me, I prefer reason and evidence – it seems that many EU governments don’t. As for the US government – I look at the efforts of the CDC and FDA and I could weep. Christ, they make the oaf Trump look good.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213717/dh_131040.pdf

  17. BraveFart, can you recommend a good jazz magazine? Today I received a decent pressing of Milestones. I like Blue Note late 50’s to 1964 or so, hard bop, not too modal, and I absolutely can’t understand avant garde or free jazz. Ta!

  18. Tim the Coder said:
    “the number of coronavirus deaths worldwide has still not crossed 5,000 but currently stands at 4,718, while the number of those who have recovered from the virus is 68,310 … Pardon my maths, but 1% of 68,310 is 683, not 4718. So this looks like a death rate of 6.5% to my maths.”

    No, because a lot more people than that have caught it, and are still alive, but haven’t recovered enough yet to be classed as having survived.

    If there’s a 2-week infection period, then the 68,310 survivors all went down with it at least 2 weeks ago, so the calculation you want is the number of deaths as at 2 weeks ago compared to 68,310.

  19. Tim the Coder: Re the Swastika

    Agreed. Watch any number of dystopian fantasy films where the makers want to equate the oppressive dictatorship with Nazis and the production designer comes up with a logo just like that of XR to make sure that even the dimmest audience member “gets it”.

    Either XR are too thick to realise the similarity (self-awareness not being their strongest attribute, admittedly) or that’s the way they actually want to be seen.
    Not great either way.

  20. This outbreak is being presented as being apocalyptically different to the average flu outbreak, but given that the usual number of deaths from “normal” flu is a lot higher than most of us realise, how many excess deaths are there?
    Are there some Corona deaths being statistically “discounted” because these are the numbers you would expect to die in an average year of colds and flu anyway?
    If not, then the numbers uniquely due to this particular virus are surely being exaggerated.

  21. The idiots in government – advised by the usual scientist pillocks – have fouled up. The correct answer is indeed trying for immunity, but as we have seen in Wuhan and in Lombardy, allowing it to spread unchecked creates a health emergency as hospitals become overwhelmed. Thus we have to block mass transmission – which means preventing people from heavily infected populations coming to the UK unchecked. And given the Italian incompetence and the movement from Italy to the rest of continental Europe, all continental visitors should be banned. The UK approach would have worked had it not been for the massive spike in infected in Italy, which means only extreme measures will prevent a major health crisis in the UK. The French, Spanish and Germans will have major crises – although hopefully not to the same extent as the incompetent Italians.

    The best form of immunity would be via vaccine. Probably not available before Autumn.

    We now have further evidence of the utterly unbelievable incompetence of the Italians – the confirmed cases of Covid by age – 58% of the cases in Italy are in those in their 60s and above, and 75% are over 50. At this rate of discovery it would appear the Italians have only been testing the old. So all the asymptomatic younger people wandered around infecting people.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_coronavirus_pandemic_in_Italy#Statistics

    Compare this to the rate of infection in China by age.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/1095024/china-age-distribution-of-wuhan-coronavirus-covid-19-patients/

    So the old do suffer more from it, but 47% were aged under 50 in China, 21% in Italy.

  22. RichardT: But surely, what matters is the outcome. Those infected will either recover or die. What we want to know is the ratio.
    That many more people are infected, but don’t know their outcome yet, doesn’t change this.

    At anypoint in time it’s = those died/those whose outcome is known

    Probability of rolling a dice and getting a ‘1’ is 1/6 and remains so, even if you have rolled a hundred dice and they are still spinning.

  23. RichardT
    March 13, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Plus, from what I’ve read, there must be many more people who are only slightly ill, if at all, and aren’t tested so won’t be included among the survivors.
    The death vs survival rates can only be really accurately taking into account those who were ill enough to merit testing (and in a country which had the capacity to test at the time).

  24. Government then should recommend masturbation, as most* people wash their hands – the recommended preventative – afterwards.

    *EWWWWW!

  25. Tim the Coder

    The only way you’ll be able to calculate the true death rate is to discover the total number of infections, which all sources say is substantially greater – orders of magnitude greater – than those so far tested. And we will only be able to discover that is in hindsight; after we have developed an antibody test, which currently we haven’t, and conduct random sampling. That is all going to be some time away.

    Interestingly, the CMO doubled down yesterday on his calculation of a CFR of <1, given the additional data they have been receiving.

    It is out there 'in the wild' and cannot be elimanated. We must just get to a Herd Immunity state in the most efficacious manner we can….flattening the peak.

  26. TD said:
    “The Economist is reporting that the coronavirus emergency in China appears to be abating, though they are relying on Chinese government reports which are probably to be trusted less than most government reports.”

    South Korea is also abating – number of new cases down about three quarters from their peak. And that’s without closing schools or otherwise panicking. But their health service seems to be a lot more impressive than I could imagine ours being.

  27. RichardT. That’s good. It does seem to have been overblown some, though a very rough illness for an older person. Market futures are also way up this morning, so perhaps this meltdown will finally also abate. Having taken stock of my portfolio I’ve concluded that I can probably now live comfortably till I’m 90, but perhaps I should give up on the century mark. On the other hand, that assessment could continue to change daily.

  28. “I would love someone to point out to me the mechanism which will stop it.”

    I haven’t had the flu in 40 years. I don’t know why. Not exposed? My immune system beats it? Flu can be virulent, yet I don’t get it.

    New cases in China are waning. Measures taking effect? Those who can be infected have been infected?

    “I think it’s reasonable to assume that 50% of the UK population is going to be infected by the summer”

    No. It’s not reasonable at all. Our experience with flu, and China’s experience with coronavirus, say we won’t get anywhere near that rate of infection.

  29. That said, delay by quarantine may reduce the scale, but most importantly, it reduces the peak, and therefore the number of seriously affected cases that die, but which could have been saved with less healthcare overload.
    So delay is good.

    Yes, exactly this.

    South Korea is also abating – number of new cases down about three quarters from their peak. And that’s without closing schools or otherwise panicking. But their health service seems to be a lot more impressive than I could imagine ours being.

    South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong had their wake-up call with SARS, they take this stuff extremely seriously, far more than the West does (especially the USA, whose CDC response is looking like a complete clusterfuck. What’s the point of spending billions on an organisation which cannot even begin to get its response right?).

  30. No. It’s not reasonable at all. Our experience with flu, and China’s experience with coronavirus, say we won’t get anywhere near that rate of infection.

    The R0 of the Coronavirus is much higher than flu, i.e. much more infectious.
    The Chinese basically bricked 60m people into their apartments to get down to their current rate of infection.

  31. Jussi

    “BraveFart, can you recommend a good jazz magazine? Today I received a decent pressing of Milestones. I like Blue Note late 50’s to 1964 or so, hard bop, not too modal, and I absolutely can’t understand avant garde or free jazz. Ta!”

    Instructional ones with detailed photos showing how female saxophone/clarinet – ists “tongue the reed”

  32. @Gamecock

    As Rob says, the Chinese welded apartment buildings shut to get the outcomes they got. Maybe we will have to do that, who knows. Your experience with flu is irrelevant. This isn’t flu, and you are only you. I have only had flu once – all the others I have missed. (That was swine flu which I think killed 12,000 in the States.) But so what? I could and probably will get this because it is looking like it is 10-40 times more infectious than seasonal flu. And indeed there is nothing in what you say that suggests to me that 50% of Brits won’t be infected. Most will probably barely know it, of course – I’m not panicking – but it’s an exponential thing, and I’m sure you know where unchecked exponentials lead. The question is how to check them. No-one knows, short of herd immunity or vaccination as I said.

    BiG – hope you’re right re <1%.

  33. “you are only you”

    Uhh . . . no comment.

    “The R0 of the Coronavirus is much higher than flu, i.e. much more infectious.”

    NFW. They are about the same.

    https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/coronavirus-outbreak-what-is-an-r0-and-why-is-it-so-important/news-story/27054a834bafc405f69d04d1b4c2742c#bottom-share

    “The Chinese basically bricked 60m people into their apartments to get down to their current rate of infection.”

    The South Koreans didn’t. There goes that theory!

  34. Rob said:
    “The Chinese basically bricked 60m people into their apartments to get down to their current rate of infection.”

    But the South Koreans didn’t, and the crisis is already over there – daily new infection rate has collapsed (and that’s with massive testing, so they aren’t missing loads like the Italians).

    First cases in South Korea, 19th Feb. Peak new cases, 3rd March, with 851 cases – just 2 weeks of growth. Then it dropped, as quickly as it grew – yesterday, just 10 days after the peak, only 114 new cases – down by 87%.

    2 weeks of increase, then ten days for it to get back down to low levels. 7,979 cases (and that’s with massive testing programmes); 71 deaths, another 93 still in critical condition. Even if all the critical ones croak, that’s still only a 2% death rate.

    And that’s in a country of 50 million; a bit lower population than us, but same order of magnitude. Fewer people CATCHING it than the 15-20,000 who DIE of normal flu in a normal year.

  35. The Korean response does look impressive, including the treatment of patients. This led me to look into how their healthcare is run, in turn finding this interesting fact from a healthcare journal

    “Private hospitals and clinics constitute more than 90 percent of the total number of medical institutions and account for nearly 90 percent of all beds.”

  36. Yes, I looked that up too. They also spend about 1.5% of GDP less than we do on health care……

  37. Bloke in North Dorset

    This is the best I’ve read or heard on the subject. As Sam is in the shut down everything camp it covers a lot of ground in a grown up way:

    In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Amesh Adalja about the spreading coronavirus pandemic. They discuss the contagiousness of the virus and the severity of the resultant illness, the mortality rate and risk factors, vectors of transmission, how long coronavirus can live on surfaces, the importance of social distancing, possible anti-viral treatments, the timeline for a vaccine, the importance of pandemic preparedness, and other topics.

    Amesh Adalja, MD, is an infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security. His work is focused on emerging infectious disease, pandemic preparedness, and biosecurity. Amesh has served on US government panels tasked with developing guidelines for the treatment of plague, botulism, and anthrax. He is an Associate Editor of the journal Health Security, co-editor of the volume Global Catastrophic Biological Risks, and a contributing author for the Handbook of Bioterrorism and Disaster Medicine. Amesh actively practices infectious disease, critical care, and emergency medicine in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.

    He puts the upper bound on the death rate at about 0.6% and the lower bound at about the same as seasonal flu.

    And if you do listen I also recommend the previous one with Nicholas Christakis:

    In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Nicholas Christakis about the coronavirus pandemic. They discuss the likely effects on society, proactive vs reactive school closures, community transmission, false comparisons between coronavirus and flu, the imperative of social distancing, the timeline of the pandemic, Trump’s political messaging, the widespread distrust of expertise, the importance of “flattening the curve” of the epidemic, the possible failure of our healthcare system, gradations of personal response to this threat, and other topics.

    Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University, where he directs the Human Nature Lab and is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2006, the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, and known for his research in the areas of social networks, biosocial science, behavior genetics, and public health.

    One of the problems with looking at what South Korea has done is that nobody I’ve read or heard as said it won’t come back. If we tried that here and it does come back it means round about autumn, just when the NHS is starting to get ready for the usual winter flu crises.

    Ken,

    Do you have a link for the claim about a vaccine before Autumn? Best I’ve heard is 18 months for mass usage and that was confirmed by both of those guys.

  38. What people overlook about the US CDC is the soft-headed, and completely useless, mission creep that has infected the organization as they go off on wildly inappropriate studies of global warming, phony gun statistics and similar liberal headgames. No time for work on Disease as the name implies.

  39. Have you noticed how many people are jizzing themselves demanding authoritarian government control of the population NOW!!!!!!

  40. Stay calm about coronavirus

    Some commentators are raging against Boris Johnson for refusing to be rash about coronavirus. Italy and Ireland have locked themselves down, America has banned travel from Europe, and all Boris’s Britain is doing is washing its hands while singing ‘Happy Birthday’, they mock.

    These people are so in thrall to apocalypticism, so used to stirring up doom over everything from climate change to No Deal Brexit, that they think panic is a normal and even good response to social and health problems. But it isn’t. Cool heads are better than hot takes, calm measures are preferable to social shutdown.

    Boris and his team are responding well to the virus so far: they’re treating it seriously, they’re taking strong action, but they aren’t freaking us out unnecessarily. It’s honest and science-based.

    Let’s leave fashionable bouts of panic to the green-leaning chattering classes – the rest of us know that very serious problems, and coronavirus is that, require considered policy, not fearmongering
    https://www.spiked-online.com/author/brendan-oneill/

    .
    Good response by Avis

    From: “Avis”
    To:
    Subject: A message from Avis
    Date sent: Thu, 12 Mar 2020 13:43:10 -0600

    – We will be waiving cancellation fees for any reservations at any time that need to be cancelled as a result of a government Coronavirus-related travel ban.

    – For increased flexibility on all bookings, you can change or cancel, without fees, any reservations in Europe for rentals due to start before 1st May.

    – For bookings which start after this time, there will not be any penalties for changes made up to 72 hours before the start of your rental

    and Barritel

    From: Barritel Customer Services
    To:
    Subject: Coronavirus: Support for Home Working – taking your office phone home with you
    Date sent: Fri, 13 Mar 2020 15:01:10 +0000

    Whatever the reason that your staff need to work from home. Barritel have a selection of solutions to help keep your business running smoothly.

    Customers using our VOIP brand can simply pick up the phone and take it home and connect it to the internet. Softphone options are also available

    Barritel are waiving all set up and monthly service fees until the autumn for the services below:
    – Mobile Routing
    – Day Parting
    – Voicemail
    – Indirect Access

    Supermarkets are pressing Gov’t and Councils to suspend curfew on night deliveries – Mr BoJo, Do it

    – New report shows how long coronavirus can remain in air, on surfaces
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TatxRmKgFUQ

    CV-19 can linger in air for 3 hours, wash your hands – whut? Breathing OK if hands washed?

  41. @Tim W

    Well done for saying “Dunno”, sensible and strong

    @Interested

    +1

    @TtC

    Deliberate? Probably, as with Antifa that’s what they & Soros are

    @JS

    It’s not death due to Flu or CV-19, it’s death ‘with’ in addition to other health issues. Flu/CV-19/Infected cut finger is tipping point

    @ken

    More reasons to copy Trump and ban travel from all Schengen countries

    Perspective: In UK ~1,680 die every day

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