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PostPosted: Fri 10 Apr , 2020 4:13 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2009
Just dropped by with some things to think about since I briefly broke my moratorium on the internet. The mainstream news media seems to all be playing the same tune. And doing their usual trick of focusing narrowly on the biggest, most dramatic stories even when they don’t represent the whole. To me, it looks much more complicated, with lots of things to consider in terms of both current and future harm.



1. From what I’m seeing so far, this coronavirus has a huge range of outcomes.
It’s looking like roughly half of those who test positive might have no symptoms, based on info from other countries or cruise ship outbreaks. But this isn’t certain. They’re testing for the virus’s genetic material, not the virus itself, so everyone who tests positive might not really be infected.

Other people have mild symptoms, or a moderate flu-like illness or, in the worst cases, a very serious disease that seems to go downhill very, very fast even when it’s treated with the standard protocols for viral pneumonia. So this seems to be an unusually nasty virus for certain susceptible people. This is not to say everyone, and not even everyone who’s elderly.

It still looks like the early information holds – most serious cases are in those over 60-65 and deaths are concentrated in the elderly, though the media is clearly trying to spook the young into following orders by emphasizing every healthy person who dies. If anyone has been paying attention during flu season, there are a few serious cases and deaths in young healthy people then too. The media also have a little trick of telling you breathlessly that “most of the cases we’ve had are in people under 50” while omitting the condition of those people (How sick are they?) and not considering what percentage of the total cases in their age group they represent. This is not to say that the death rate is going to be zero in people under 50 (no one said that in the first place) but, statistically speaking, it still looks like the chances of skating through are very good unless they have some other problem like lung disease or cancer. I wouldn’t be surprised if smoking is a factor too.


2. The latest media fuss seems to be to scare people about those who have no symptoms but are infected. What none of them seems to mention is that people who have infectious diseases without symptoms usually put out much less virus than someone who’s sick. It’s also important to remember that dose matters. I don’t know what dose it takes to infect someone with this coronavirus but, on general principles, the lower the exposure, the less likely you are to get sick. So, yeah, they could be spreading it. How much of a problem this is, is anybody’s guess.

The little research on fabric masks says they’re crappy in terms of letting viruses through. Surgical masks - which aren’t great either, but better than fabric - are sort of a toss-up as far as usefulness against respiratory viruses, unless you need to block coughs and sneezes (then they’re valuable.). The CDC didn’t recommend people wear them all the time in the swine flu pandemic for good reason and they didn’t recommend them earlier in this pandemic either. Supposedly the thinking now is that they might block coronaviruses breathed out by asymptomatic people, though I know of no research to support this.

And I’m even wondering if fabric masks could be counterproductive, by putting a nice warm, moist, dark (UV-protected) space in front of an asymptomatic person, where viruses can be concentrated and survive longer. Then the person scratches their nose or pulls down the face mask to talk to someone (I’ve seen mask-wearers do this a lot) and, boom, there’s a nice big dose of virus for someone. I don’t know, but I sure hope someone considered this and they didn’t just decide “Hey, Asia does it. Let’s do it too!”. But I do know there’s this study on fabric masks, the only “real world,” properly controlled study I know of :

BMJ Open. 2015 Apr 22;5(4):e006577. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006577.
A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers.
MacIntyre CR1, Seale H1, Dung TC2, Hien NT2, Nga PT2, Chughtai AA1, Rahman B1, Dwyer DE3, Wang Q4.
Author information
Abstract
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of cloth masks to medical masks in hospital healthcare workers (HCWs). The null hypothesis is that there is no difference between medical masks and cloth masks.
SETTING: 14 secondary-level/tertiary-level hospitals in Hanoi, Vietnam.
PARTICIPANTS: 1607 hospital HCWs aged ≥18 years working full-time in selected high-risk wards.
INTERVENTION: Hospital wards were randomised to: medical masks, cloth masks or a control group (usual practice, which included mask wearing). Participants used the mask on every shift for 4 consecutive weeks.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Clinical respiratory illness (CRI), influenza-like illness (ILI) and laboratory-confirmed respiratory virus infection.
RESULTS: The rates of all infection outcomes were highest in the cloth mask arm, with the rate of ILI statistically significantly higher in the cloth mask arm (relative risk (RR)=13.00, 95% CI 1.69 to 100.07) compared with the medical mask arm. Cloth masks also had significantly higher rates of ILI compared with the control arm. An analysis by mask use showed ILI (RR=6.64, 95% CI 1.45 to 28.65) and laboratory-confirmed virus (RR=1.72, 95% CI 1.01 to 2.94) were significantly higher in the cloth masks group compared with the medical masks group. Penetration of cloth masks by particles was almost 97% and medical masks 44%.
CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. However, as a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12610000887077.


I also must admit to a morbid sense of curiosity: what is the average person going to do when, rather than sneezing into their elbow, they sneeze into their mask (what doesn't leak out around the edges or spray through the cloth, of course), let's say if they have allergies? Walk around the store for the rest of the time with snot all over their face and the inside of their mask? Or take off the mask, contaminating their hands and face, wipe their face with a tissue, then put the mask back on? I strongly suspect the latter.


3. The media is really pushing the “hospitals are overwhelmed” scenario. Outside some localized areas like New York, I’m not sure if that’s true. I personally know of at least two hospitals in rural areas, one in the Midwest and one on the East Coast, that are underwhelmed though well-prepared. I also know of a major city hospital in Oregon that has been doing fine in keeping up with the cases. And at one time in late March, I looked for news about hospitals in Washington state, out of curiosity to how they were coping after weeks of spread. All I found was that one hospital near the nursing home was close to capacity and news media were warning other hospitals might be overwhelmed in the future. And California had a couple of hundred deaths, the last time I looked, which sounds far, far from overwhelmed.

It seems that others are starting to wonder too. I saw one news article earlier, because someone posted it, but can’t seem to find it again even if I put in all the keywords. The guy who had surveyed hospitals throughout the country didn’t sound like an idiot – not a partisan Republican or Democrat, Yale degree, wrote for a major newspaper at one point. So I’m also wondering if search engines are actively promoting some views and suppressing others. I'm sure Google is.

EDIT: Sorry, I remembered incorrectly. He's actually looking at whether the actual cases match up with the models and finding that they mostly don't, outside the hotspots like New York.
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ex-nyt-reporter-challenging-the-coronavirus-narrative

(Yeah, I know it's Fox, but it's interesting and the article/ analysis seems reasonable. Wouldn't surprise me, either. I saw one write-up on 538 of the many models' different predictions for COVID-19 and the enormous variation was amazing. Not surprising to me, though. But politicians adore modelers, because they can give them numbers and a "scientific" justification for doing something. All an infectious disease expert can tell you is what typically happens, while cautioning you that not every outbreak and virus is typical. That doesn't give the politician enough cover in case things go south. )

EDIT: Also, something to consider as far as New York's experiences:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/new-york-citys-2018-flu-was-the-near-death-experience-for-the-medical-system-that-andrew-cuomo-ignored
Quote:
New York City’s 2018 Flu Was a Near-Death Experience for Its Medical System

“When we asked, ‘How much worse could it have been before you couldn’t handle it?’ it was very clear that there wasn’t much left in the system.”

So New York had ample warning 2 years ago. And now their politicians are howling over something that's partly their own fault. They knew there were issues but they ignored it. And I'm sure I'm not the only person who saw what was on the horizon when the COVID cases started appearing in larger numbers outside China, earlier this year. It was exactly the same pattern of events as swine flu in 2009. Any politician that didn't see it and prepare, especially Cuomo (given this story) was an idiot.


Don’t forget that the entire point of this whole “flatten the curve” exercise is just to stretch things out and delay some cases so everyone who needs advanced care can get it. It’s pretty likely that one-size-fits-all for an entire state or an entire large country is not the most effective way to do this.

The virus itself will still be out there waiting when people emerge. And sooner or later, most of us will have to, or we'll end up with massive economic destruction to real people. A vaccine is unlikely to come before that happens.



4. Some people are praising countries like Singapore or Hong Kong for managing to suppress the virus, and suggesting we can all do the same things they did. But islands can sometimes keep diseases out with constant vigilance when no one else can. (Mostly animal diseases, since it’s easier to control animals than people. It takes money and resources for lots of testing, too.) And, as long as the virus exists in the world, these countries are at constant risk unless they either get natural immunity in enough people to slow down virus spread and/or get a decent vaccine. And this strategy simply won’t work in most of the world where you have land borders and constant travel.

Even in South Korea, I’m wondering what’s happening in the remote rural areas where there’s a lot of illicit cross-border trading with China. I know that some areas are so remote and poor that vaccines to control animal disease outbreaks have to be brought into these areas by motorcycle courier. Are they doing the same thing for COVID-19 as the big cities? I wonder.


4. People on the internet are throwing out figures for “herd immunity,” saying things like “oh, but we need X percent of the population immune to stop the virus.” But it probably isn’t realistic to think of stopping the virus, just getting enough immune people to slow it down. In other words, the “we need this much” figures from bloggers are probably meaningless.

What we could really use is a picture of how many people have already been exposed in outbreak areas (by doing a survey for antibodies to the virus), but no one seems to be in any hurry to do this. Instead, it's all silly stuff like proposing that everyone get an antibody test before they are allowed to go out in public (yeah, like that'll be practical and cost-effective, taking blood samples from the entire population, again and again, until they test positive).

And some people on social media seem to think that the 1918 H1N1 virus or the 2009 H1N1 virus disappeared after the pandemics. They didn’t. All the new flu viruses kept circulating in people for many years. And they still caused the same effects as when we first met them; there were just a lot fewer people getting infected at any one time. Another thing that happens with established viruses is that people usually get them for the first time when they’re young and healthy and nothing much happens. This helps protect them later in life when they meet the same virus again. I won’t be at all surprised if that eventually happens with this particular coronavirus.


5. As far as the economic effects on businesses, here are two stories. It’s quite possible that we’re creating a bigger crisis in the future by demanding that our politicians protect us with the “nuclear option” now.

The first is the prettied up, hopeful version from a major news organization, about what's happening to small, specialized farms and agriculture right now. Here, I'm already seeing some local small businesses throw in the towel in spite of the 2 trillion dollar (so far) bailout / addition to our national debt. Those closures will affect real people. And if there are too many of them, the effects might be catastrophic.

Note they mention in passing that the US has stopped processing worker visas for immigrant labor during the pandemic. This means agriculture will soon be facing a big problem. I’ve also seen where some slaughterhouses had to shut down if a single person gets infected. And I don’t know what state the supply chains are for food in packages, but some businesspeople have been complaining that governors shut everything down without thinking about the interconnectedness of supply chains.

https://www.baltimoresun.com/coronaviru ... story.html


The second is a personal view from a small business owner in Canada who's concerned about the effects of both the virus and the loss of work on her family and employees, and what they're trying to do. It's very much worth reading, especially for those of us who don't have to wrestle with their issues.

https://quillette.com/2020/04/02/i-run- ... -my-world/


I’d also suggest looking up the news from southern Italy, where they’ve had to send the army down because some people are out of work, have run out of money, and are demanding that grocery stores give them food.



And, lastly, an editorial with some interesting questions. Personally, I don’t think enough people are asking them:
https://thehill.com/opinion/civil-right ... g-covid-19
Quote:
The first area of expertise is the epidemiology of COVID-19. It entails questions of the virus’s contagiousness and deadliness. There are questions on which there are very significant disagreements (with important policy implications) and, importantly, very poor data.
A second question is whether cost-benefit analyses favor the draconian measure of coercively shutting down all of civil society, one that is fundamentally unanswerable. This question is unanswerable because we cannot know how much the forcible suppression of civil society will cost and we won't know the benefits.

Quote:
Politics is plagued by a do-something bias, which drives elected officials and bureaucrats to act hastily, scrambling to enact some policy even when faced with a complete lack of evidence about that policy’s long term effects.
Economist Robert Higgs has presented the theory of a “ratchet effect” to explain the growth in the power and scope of government during times of crisis. Higgs shows that crisis situations afford the state the opportunity to stretch its power into areas of life that were before beyond its reach.
The lesson from his work is clear. These layers of government power do not go away when the crisis subsides, but rather remain, becoming the new normal.



And Google is tracking cell phones and giving (selling?) the information to governments. They claim there is no personal information and paint this as a good thing, so governments can see where people are disobeying orders and congregating. I find it disturbing.
Maybe those people I used to think were tin-foil-hat levels of paranoid for putting their cell phones in Faraday pouches were not so crazy after all....





One thing I can say, it’s been interesting watching what people will do out of fear –cheer on draconian measures, turn in their neighbors to the authorities (even sometimes when they’re just technically breaking rules, like walking on a deserted beach or going for a hike in the wilderness), physically attack a little group of congregating teenagers, etc. Anyone who condemns the Germans in the 1930s and thinks Americans would have resisted Hitler should took a good hard look at how most people act when they get scared.

We’re really not that far mentally from the cave and the tribe, when it comes down to it. Only now we’re all compartmentalized in our states and countries, yelling “go away, you might infect me!” to outsiders and grabbing scarce resources from each other in any way possible. Both governments grabbing medical supplies and individuals grabbing food. And sometimes getting upset and angry at anyone who doesn’t follow the herd.

Truthfully, I've lost a lot of respect for certain liberal posters (on a political messageboard) whose political opinions I generally agreed with before. Out of their own personal fear of the unknown, they're cheering on authoritarianism with amazing zeal, and even complaining that Trump isn't as authoritarian as they'd like.* Surprisingly, it's many of the conservatives who've kept their heads and can look at the whole picture analytically and rationally, instead of succumbing to emotional arguments.

In all fairness, I've seen this epidemic bring out the best in some people, too. But how fear negatively affects people and makes them afraid to differ publicly with "the herd," even when they do have private misgivings and doubts, is what has really struck me.


*Trump is actually surprising me with his restraint during the pandemic, given his emergency powers. He's still an ass and a conman and responds to the things he sees on Fox news without thinking things through or consulting experts. And, behind the scenes, he's still systematically firing anyone who might oppose his aims or expose his corruption. But he doesn't seem especially eager to play dictator right now. The state governors and mayors seem far worse. Like Cuomo confiscating ventilators from rural hospitals to give to New York City, or the governor of Maryland putting a $5000 fine and/or jail time on violations of his "stay at home" order, or the mayor of Los Angeles forcing everyone to wear fabric masks in public. And several governors shutting down every single public greenspace where people could get some fresh air and exercise ... Or, for that matter, Quebec and Nova Scotia preventing people from crossing their borders.






Some points in addition to those I've already made. This was written by a physician, signed by 4 other physicians:
https://medium.com/@jbgeach/eight-reasons-to-end-the-lockdowns-as-soon-as-possible-b7bb0bc94f00
Quote:
Eight Reasons to End the Lockdowns As Soon as Possible
Quote:
... Lockdowns also slow the development of herd immunity, which helps a society move past the virus.

... By the time the lockdowns began, COVID-19 had already been seeded in the US for months, limiting the effectiveness of the lockdowns in the first place as the virus was already widespread.
Quote:
We have not saturated the health care system...
Quote:
... What we really need to know is the infection mortality rate (IFR). Fortunately we have some good clues. Looking at the data from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the infection fatality rate on the cruise ship was 1%. However, the average age of people on the cruise ship was much higher than the age of the average American. When you adjust for the differences in age between the cruise ship and America, you see that the IFR should be about 0.1%. There was a recent study out of Germany in the city of Gangelt where they tested 80% of the population, the IFR there was about 0.37%. .... Antibody testing is needed to know the true number of people who have been infected. There is a good chance this number is well above 10 million, which drives the IFR down even further.
Quote:
....[meanwhile] countless patients are not receiving the care they need in a timely manner. In medicine, timing is of the essence, so even receiving the same exact in the future comes at a price. Many important services are being delayed: blood donations, organ donations, screening colonoscopies, and many other elective procedures. It is very important to note that elective medical care is not useless medical care; rather, it’s simply meaningful and necessary medical care that is scheduled in advance and not performed on an emergency basis....


Quote:
Those who want to continue the lockdown indefinitely should show clear evidence regarding the benefits of indefinite lockdown. There needs to be a clear reliable model that shows how many additional lives will be saved considering we have already flattened the curve and there is essentially no further risk of overwhelming the health care system. The previous models were wrong. The consequences of indefinite lockdown are quite staggering, to the tune of one million jobs lost per day.

And even they are afraid to openly say that lockdowns (in other words, copying authoritarian China's method of dealing with a disease, which is something I never thought I'd see in the western world) might not have been the right thing to do. They (or the editors of Medium) felt the need to add a disclaimer, even though one of their statements, quoted above, suggests that the lockdowns might not have done much good.

Frankly, no one is ever going to admit it now, especially not the politicians, though it's quite possible it's the truth. The models assumed either all or nothing. It' could be that a plethora of lesser commonsense measures like banning large indoor crowds and too large outdoor gatherings, mandating that openly sick people stay home, encouraging telecommuting as much as practical, figuring out ways to isolate nursing homes, etc. would have done as much good without putting millions of people out of work. And possibly putting them on the road to becoming homeless once this all ends. Many people in the US don't have savings and some continued to live beyond their means after things recovered from 2008. The U.S. economy seems like a fragile one to me, built on people constantly spending money. It doesn't seem like it would take much to knock it to pieces.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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PostPosted: Wed 15 Apr , 2020 2:33 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2009
I've been quietly scratching my head for some time over the advice coming from WHO in this pandemic. The WHO's director Tedros Adhanom kept saying bizarre stuff like "the US is now the epicenter of the pandemic" and insisting that every country must do more to contain COVID-19 immediately. This was long past the point where it was clear this virus is spreading extensively and "containment" was simply not feasible, with this type of virus and its transmission, plus the preponderance of mild and asymptomatic infections.

First, Italy was supposed to "do more," then Europe, then the U.S., as if that was going to somehow contain the virus. It always struck me as magical thinking, pretending that lockdowns could do anything beyond slow virus spread to make sure hospitals in densely population regions didn't get overwhelmed with too many people at once. (Or maybe delay things until cases diminish with warmer weather and people getting out and about more - if that's going to happen with this virus - though there's an obvious irony here when the authorities tighten the restrictions even more as the weather warms and people try to seek out parks and outdoor spaces)

The epicenter stuff is also head-scratching. Of course we have more cases, in total - we also have more people. In terms of cases/ population, it doesn't look that different from anywhere else (possibly excluding New York, though that's not certain - and things like Cuomo starting to send back ventilators suggests things did not become as overwhelmed as the predictions suggested). And even if the virus was spreading in the U.S., it was everywhere else too - it's not as if the US was going to now seed outbreaks in other countries that had eradicated the virus.


Now it's becoming clearer - it's starting to look like China is pulling the puppet strings on WHO's director. Tedros, incidentally, is the first head of WHO who's not a physician and has done some head-scratching and/or corrupt things in the past. (For one, he was going to appoint Robert Mugabe (!) as a goodwill ambassador until the outcry forced him to back down. He's also been accused of hiding three cholera outbreaks in Ethiopia as health minister.) To be blunt, I also wonder how much experience Tedros has with healthcare systems outside Ethiopia, which is an impoverished country with abysmal healthcare and weak research/ testing capabilities. He may have been a good choice for dealing with persistent healthcare issues in Africa, but this is different.


Anyway, China backed Tedros's election over the candidate from the U.K. and it looks like Tedros might be repaying the favor. At one time, I thought it equally plausible that Tedros was just playing nice with China so they would be more transparent. But this article suggests it's more than that - the WHO accepted too much information uncritically from China.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/04/02/china-coronavirus-who-health-soft-power/
Quote:
How WHO Became China’s Coronavirus Accomplice
Beijing is pushing to become a public health superpower—and quickly found a willing international partner.
Quote:
While the novel coronavirus is changing the world, China is trying to do the same. Already a serious strategic rival of the United States with considerable international clout, it’s now moving into a new field—health.

After initial denials and cover-ups, China successfully contained the COVID-19 outbreak—but not before it had exported many cases to the rest of the world. Today, despite the falsehoods it initially passed on, which played a critical role in delaying global response, it’s trying to leverage its reputed success story into a stronger position on international health bodies.

Most critically, Beijing succeeded from the start in steering the World Health Organization (WHO), which both receives funding from China and is dependent on the regime of the Communist Party on many levels. Its international experts didn’t get access to the country until Director-General Tedros Adhanom visited President Xi Jinping at the end of January. Before then, WHO was uncritically repeating information from the Chinese authorities, ignoring warnings from Taiwanese doctors—unrepresented in WHO, which is a United Nations body—and reluctant to declare a “public health emergency of international concern,” denying after a meeting Jan. 22 that there was any need to do so....


Quote:
WHO was keen to broadcast Beijing’s message. “In the face of a previously unknown virus, China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history,” WHO experts said in their February report on the mission to China. The country had gained “invaluable time for the response” in an “all-of-government and all-of society approach” that has averted or delayed hundreds of thousands of cases, protecting the global community and “creating a stronger first line of defense against international spread.”

China’s “uncompromising and rigorous use of non-pharmaceutical measures” provides vital lessons for the global response, the WHO report said. Beijing’s strategy “demonstrated that containment can be adapted and successfully operationalized in a wide range of settings.” However, while recommending China’s epidemic control policy to the world, WHO neglected the negative externalities—from economic damage to the failure to treat many non-coronavirus patients, psychological woes, and human rights costs.


Quote:
...based on numbers from the South China province of Guangdong, WHO argued that undetected cases are rare. However, a screening program for COVID-19 only included patients seen at fever clinics; most of them probably showed at least a fever. In Germany, most of the people who tested positive did not show a fever. It is easily possible that there has been a substantial number of undetected cases, Neher said, which is the “big unknown” in calculations of the death rate.

WHO also left many questions open about how exactly public engagement was managed in its report. ...

In China, no measures have been implemented that could not also be used elsewhere, Aylward claimed in an interview. Apparently, the WHO mission didn’t have the chance to speak with people with opposing views. Many Chinese people told him that they all have been attacked together and need to react in a united fashion, Aylward said.

The very uniformity of this narrative should have been a wake-up call, said Mareike Ohlberg from the Berlin-based Mercator Institute for China Studies. Indeed, the whole trip of both foreign and national experts seems to have been organized along Potemkin-esque lines for a team where most of its international members lacked linguistic skills and familiarity with China....



Also, from a German source
https://www.dw.com/en/how-chinese-propaganda-is-reframing-the-coronavirus-narrative/a-52796337
Quote:
How Chinese propaganda is reframing the coronavirus narrative

As new cases of COVID-19 drop in China, experts say Beijing has started to use different propaganda tools to improve its international image and portray its authoritarian system as better equipped to handle a crisis.
Quote:
..."The CCP is also using the 'beating the virus' narrative as an opportunity to polish China's global image as a responsible power that is capable of withstanding the toughest of disasters, as well as using these experiences to help other countries fight the coronavirus," Repnikova told DW.

....Repnikova said that China has taken harsh criticism from western media and politicians about how it handled the coronavirus outbreak in the early stages.

Now Beijing is seizing the opportunity to reshape that narrative by declaring victory in the battle against the pandemic.

"This is a timely opportunity for the CCP to turn the narrative of a troublemaker into the narrative of a global leader that's fighting against a pandemic," said Repnikova.

"I think China's efforts have in part paid off, as international organizations like the WHO have praised China's response, and much of the Western media's narrative has shifted from criticizing China to describing it as a lesson or an example."...




Call me suspicious, but China half-destroyed its economy before deciding it had succeeded in containing the coronavirus and suddenly and magically had no more cases (color me very, very skeptical). I think they'll be very happy if the rest of the world damages itself by following its model of "containment."



At the moment, there seems to be a huge outcry in much of the media over Trump pausing WHO's funding The liberal narrative claims that he's looking for a scapegoat. Perhaps he is, but some of us can walk and chew gum at the same time, and WHO/ Tedros isn't looking particularly good to me either.





https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/coronavirus-authoritarianism-is-getting-out-of-hand/
Quote:
Coronavirus Authoritarianism Is Getting Out of Hand
Quote:
...Under what imperious conception of governance does Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer believe it is within her power to unilaterally ban garden stores from selling fruit or vegetable plants and seeds? What business is it of Vermont or Howard County, Ind., to dictate that Walmart, Costco, or Target stop selling “non-essential” items, such as electronics or clothing? Vermont has 628 cases of coronavirus as of this writing. Is that the magic number authorizing the governor to ban people from buying seeds for their gardens?

Maybe a family needs new pajamas for their young kids because they’re stuck a new town. Or maybe mom needs a remote hard drive to help her work remotely. Or maybe dad just likes apples. Whatever the case, it’s absolutely none of your mayor’s business.

It makes sense for places like Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland to ban large, avoidable gatherings. But it is an astonishing abuse of power to issue stay-at-home orders, enforced by criminal law, empowering police to harass and fine individuals for nothing more than taking a walk.

The criminalization of movement ends with ten Philly cops dragging a passenger off a bus for not wearing a face mask. It ends with local Brighton, Colo., cops handcuffing a father in front of his family for playing T-ball with his daughter in an empty park. It ends with three Massachusetts men being arrested, and facing the possibility of 90 days in jail, for crossing state lines and golfing — a sport built for social distancing — in Rhode Island....

Two days before Easter, Louisville, Ky., mayor Greg Fischer attempted to unilaterally ban drive-in church services for the most holy day in Christianity. It’s one thing if people are purposely and openly undermining public health. The constitutional right to assemble peacefully and protest or practice your religion, however, is not inoperable in presence of a viral pandemic....

I thought the Louisville incident was egregious myself. They were sitting in a church parking lot, each family in its own car with the windows rolled up, listening to their preacher broadcasting the sermon on AM radio from inside the church. Strikes me as a novel and rather creative way to gather for an important service without endangering anyone's health.

And the mayor called in the police to charge each participant and fine them $500.

Meanwhile, anyone caught not wearing a mask while shopping in some states, including California and Maryland, is now a criminal. I haven't seen California's order but, in Maryland, the order says it's punishable by $5000 or up to a year in jail.
Quote:
ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND
NUMBER 20-04-15-01
REQUIRING USE OF FACE COVERINGS UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES AND
REQUIRING IMPLEMENTATION OF CERTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCING MEASURES ...


NOW, THEREFORE, I, LAWRENCE J. HOGAN, JR., GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF
MARYLAND, BY VIRTUE OF THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN ME BY THE
CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF MARYLAND, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED
TO TITLE 14 OF THE PUBLIC SAFETY ARTICLE, AND IN AN EFFORT TO
CONTROL AND PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 WITHIN THE STATE, DO
HEREBY ORDER:

a. Effective as of 7:00 a.m. on April 18, 2020:
i. all riders and operators on any Public Transportation are required to wear
Face Coverings (excluding any operator in a separate compartment that is
off-limits to riders);
ii. all customers over the age of nine are required to wear Face Coverings
while inside the enclosed area of any Retail Establishment or Foodservice
Establishment;
iii. adult customers accompanying children age two through nine shall use
reasonable efforts to cause those children to wear Face Coverings while
inside the enclosed area of any Retail Establishment or Foodservice
Establishment;
iv. all Retail Establishments shall require staff to wear, and those staff shall
wear, Face Coverings while working in areas open to the general public
and areas in which interactions with other staff are likely; and
v. all Foodservice Establishments shall require staff who interact with
customers (including, without limitation, delivery personnel) to wear, and
those staff shall wear, Face Coverings while working.
b. Single-use Face Coverings shall be properly discarded in trash receptacles. It is
recommended that all reusable Face Coverings be cleaned frequently (at least
once per day).
c. Wearing a Medical-Grade Mask satisfies any requirement in paragraph II.a to
wear a Face Covering, but all Marylanders are urged to reserve Medical-Grade
Masks for use by health care workers and first responders.


....b. A person who knowingly and willfully violates this Order is guilty of a
misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding one
year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.
c. This Order remains effective until after termination of the state of emergency and
the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded, or until
rescinded, superseded, amended, or revised by additional orders. ...




And while arresting and/or charging these "dangerous" criminals for defying orders of uncertain effectiveness from the authorities, many states have actually released convicted criminals from prison so they won't get infected, or told the police not to prosecute certain crimes....


I'm also seeing people proposing cell phone apps to track people and their contacts, under the justification of preventing disease. Is this really the wonderful communist China system these people want to emulate?
https://thediplomat.com/2020/03/china-fighting-covid-19-with-automated-tyranny/
Quote:
China: Fighting COVID-19 With Automated Tyranny

The government response to the virus hinged on invasive new surveillance methods, like the Health Code app.
Quote:
“I thought the days when humans are ruled by machines and algorithms won’t happen for at least another 50 years. [But] this coronavirus epidemic has suddenly brought it on early,” a blogger on the popular Chinese forum Zhihu wrote. The blogger was complaining about Health Code, an app that local authorities around China rely on to make decisions about quarantining individuals amid the COVID-19 outbreak....

How does Health Code work? People first fill in their personal information, including their ID number, where they live, whether they have been with people carrying the virus, and their symptoms. The app then churns out one of three colors: green means they can go anywhere, yellow and red mean seven and 14 days of quarantine, respectively. The app also surreptitiously collects – and shares with the police – people’s location data.

The app’s color determination has a wide-ranging impact on the lives of its 700 million users, as local authorities throughout China require people to show their app when they hail a ride, go to supermarkets, or enter and exit residential areas and the subway. Their ability to move around, earn a living, and even obtain necessities and medical care are dependent on the app’s tri-color code. The access control systems of some residential areas even use facial recognition technology, allowing only those with green code to enter, indicating that these systems are linked....






btw, Sweden has a very solid and sensible health page on COVID-19, treating this coronavirus in a very reasonable way instead of pretending it's something from the distant moons of Jupiter that will bear no resemblance to other viruses that affect people (For instance, whenever someone tries to tell me that research suggests people don't develop immunity to this novel coronavirus (OMG!), I have to work very hard not to roll my eyes. Really, if the human immune system was that bad, we'd be extinct as a species by now. Or the many other exaggerated claims for this virus.).
I think it's actually better than what the CDC puts out. It's here, in English.
https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/the-public-health-agency-of-sweden/communicable-disease-control/covid-19/

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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PostPosted: Thu 16 Apr , 2020 8:07 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2009
OK, here we go at last. It looks like many of us may have already been exposed to this virus. This suggests the worst case scenarios of the modelers are very unlikely and also that the fatality rates are much lower than previous reports. It would also be a plausible explanation for some of the odd incidents where one person is infected, with or without symptoms, and their spouse or family never gets infected even after close contact .


https://www.dailywire.com/news/early-antibody-testing-in-chicago-30-50-of-those-tested-for-covid-19-already-have-antibodies-report-says
Quote:
At a hospital in Chicago, a non-randomized sample found that 30-50% of patients tested for COVID-19 have antibodies in their system, suggesting they already had the virus and have potential immunity.

“A phlebotomist working at Roseland Community Hospital said Thursday that 30% to 50% of patients tested for the coronavirus have antibodies while only around 10% to 20% of those tested have the active virus,” Chicago City Wire reported Thursday....

This is a non-randomized sample done at a testing center, so it's already selecting for the sick and the worried, not the healthy and young and asymptomatic.

The Daily Wire has a right bias but I don't see that this matters much here. Certainly their reporting in this story was much straighter and more factual than CNN has been. The other day, I actually saw CNN forecasting doom and dire despair from the findings that so many infected people are asymptomatic in Iceland. CNN's take was that most of these people were inevitably going to fall ill during the next few weeks and in the meantime they were going to be running around as plague carriers and infect everyone. That was an amazing spin of what's good news into something to spread fear. I swear, they're getting as bad as MSNBC and Fox.



Will this stop the politicians, the modelers and the media from dire forecasts and increasing clamp-downs? Call me doubtful. This was published on April 11, at least 5 days before the governors of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, etc. started publishing their mask mandates. One state - I think it's Massachusetts - is already spending billions on training people to trace contacts of any cases after they release their citizens from lockdown. Meanwhile, many of these states have their hands out to the federal government, asking for bailout funds because they've trashed their state economies by closing businesses down and putting so many people out of work.


Also, a couple of Democrats in Congress have proposed a bill that would give everyone $2000/month until they decide to release us to live our lives again. I really hope it doesn't pass. It could end up another reason to prolong the lockdowns, to save face and claim they saved us from much worse. And the interest on the national debt already took a good chunk of the budget, before they increased the debt from $15 trillion to $17 trillion with the first bailout bill. At this rate, we will be in debt to China forever.

Some people don't seem to realize that "free money for all" isn't really free. There will be consequences, paid by us, not the politicians.

btw, the bailout funds (loans/gifts) for small businesses are already emptied.


This has been the weirdest outbreak. I was alive during the Hong Kong flu pandemic. My father went to work, my mother shopped freely and visited the neighbors, we kids went to school. None of us even remembers it. Yet an estimated one million people died worldwide, with a much smaller world population. And no one, back then, would have dreamed of locking healthy people into their homes, extending these "two week" lockdowns again and again, and demanding that everyone wear masks in public simply because they were susceptible to a virus.


Also, I can't believe the preconditions the WHO/Tedros/China are suggesting before we can be released. If it turns out that up to half of us have had it already, there is no point to running around wasting money for contact tracing of every damn case.
https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/covid-19-the-who-has-issued-guidelines-for-lifting-restrictions-but-is-canada-ready
Quote:
Jianhong Wu, a distinguished research professor at York University who has led multiple national projects on SARS, pandemic influenza and immunization evaluation, said there is a close relationship between contact tracing, testing and social distancing.

“If you don’t do well in one component, you need to significantly magnify your effort in other components,” he said.

Sly said provinces are largely trying to contact people exposed to a confirmed case by telephone, which is not sustainable given the soaring number of cases.

He pointed to countries such as South Korea, which have employed cellphone data to track possible contacts. He said that is much more effective, but it would raise privacy issues.

“People are going to be hollering and screaming about that but it does seem to work,” he said.

So can this "expert" describe when countries ran around contact tracing all influenza cases, with the exception of the very early stages of the 2009 swine flu pandemic? (Just because you do research on something doesn't mean you know much about the practicalities and limitations of a public health response.)


Meh. Back to hibernation. Until the media finds some other profitable bone to chase, I expect most people will stay terrified and risk-averse and willing to let the politicians do their thinking for them.




btw, beware of media claims based on total deaths from day to day. It sounds like they're starting to do some data dumps, adding things like probable past COVID deaths to the total. The U.S. is also counting deaths that could have other causes. For instance, if you die of a heart attack and are also infected, it can be called a COVID death. That could be true. Let's say you have heart disease and get bad pneumonia. The pneumonia then puts too much strain on your heart, which can't take it. On the other hand, it could be false. People can die of heart attacks that were not influenced by the fact that they were infected with this coronavirus. There was one 17-year-old in California the media was using as a poster child to scare young people, until the public health department spoke up and said "Whoa - we're not sure COVID was the cause of death. He had other problems." I doubt they would have done that if they thought COVID had any significant part in his death.

And I still can't figure out how the left-leaning media thinks we're ever going to get through this pandemic if people don't get exposed to the virus and develop immunity. Do they seriously think we can stay shut away for a year or more? The lockdowns had a specific purpose (whether or not that was justified is a question for hindsight). But I'm not sure if that purpose has been communicated clearly enough to the average person. No one likes the deaths. But the reality is, this is a pandemic and some people are going to die, whether they meet the virus tomorrow or in 2 months.

And some of the paranoia is getting silly. Yesterday, the cashier at the grocery store "reminded" me to wipe down all my groceries (presumably with disinfectant?) before putting them away. I nearly laughed. I suppose I was also supposed to take a hot bath, wash my hair, set my shoes outside the door and throw all my clothes in the laundry, making sure they touched nothing inside the house? I simply washed my hands, put things away, and went for a long bike ride. This was the bloody grocery store, not a hospital COVID ward.
(The seriously immunocompromised/ highly susceptible may need to take more precautions. But they probably shouldn't be out there shopping in the first place, whether or not we're locked down.)

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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PostPosted: Tue 21 Apr , 2020 6:01 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2009
FYI, a pertinent scientific paper on models. It's not an easy read (though not especially technical) but important takeaways are:
- Modelers speak more confidently to politicians and the public than their models warrant (they don't acknowledge the uncertainties the same way as when they have to talk to other scientists. See, for instance, this arrogant bunch: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/15/uk-government-coronavirus-science-who-advice )
- Models have screwed up (for instance, the foot and mouth disease model they discuss here, where the modelers took credit for the disease peak starting to go down, thanks to the government following their recommendations for culling many uninfected animals, but others point out that the numbers of cases had already peaked before these control measures could have had an impact)
-Models should never be the sole basis for a policy. They can be part of the decision making, but not the whole.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0076277
Quote:
“Wrong, but Useful”: Negotiating Uncertainty in Infectious Disease Modelling

Quote:
King's statement, made to the UK Parliamentary Inquiry into the impact of the 2001 FMD epidemic, illustrates the use of strong program rhetoric (hard sell [16]). Here, modelling science unequivocally indicates the different futures open to decision makers; no accommodation is made for contingency, nor thus for alternative scientific views. This contrasts with the weak program rhetoric (soft sell) adopted in a scientific journal paper read predominantly by microbiologists....

This soft sell presents modelling as an exploratory tool to assess what might be of the impact of alternative choices, implying that modelling provides a starting point for discussion and need not dogmatically warrant a specific action in response.
Quote:
This uncertainty actually encompasses at least four underlying uncertainties (about each species and each process), but could also include uncertainties about potential variation in each process (for example relating to age, breed and other factors that, although poorly described, may influence individual animals' immune systems). Hence, this single listed uncertainty embodies a wide range of independent potential sources of uncertainty, although most are not mentioned or discussed. As is well understood, but may need repeating here, these are not only additive in their potential cumulative error-magnitudes, but may be multiplicative. Hence, authors must decide what to present, what to leave out, what to prioritise and, ultimately, what is to be achieved through the communication processes in which the model becomes an actor. The representation of uncertainties through the production of the model is, therefore, contingent on the actions of the authors, and alternative choices and representations are possible. Importantly, omission of any specific uncertainty in communication of model results may prevent or limit its consideration by consumers/users of the model results. We contend that selective omission, reinforced by an empiricist repertoire, is a recurrent feature of formal modelling discourse, and that this asymmetric accounting results in understatement of the potential implications of uncertainties in what are usually mixed biological and social systems, even when these are recognised by modellers in less formal discourse.

Quote:
Finally, as noted by Haydon et al [36], all models used in the UK 2001 FMD epidemic considered a narrow range of policy options and “it is difficult to make the argument that mathematical models showed that implementation of widespread and intensive culling was the only tenable option.” Therefore, the strong program rhetoric adopted in the comparison of models (and the inferred validation of these and/or their conclusions) masks the weak program test that is used, ignores issues that may bias the models toward developing similar mutually affirming conclusions, and limits the scope of discussion by disregarding alternative potential policies.
Quote:
Many modellers we interviewed expressed awareness of complex issues associated with communication of uncertainty to decision-makers, with modellers being simultaneously aware of the scientific basis of the models and the need to safeguard the influence of modelling as a tool in decision-making.

E20 (Interview – modeller)

It's very dangerous to say you don't believe this model before you start. It's quite a hard trick to pull off to convince the policymaker that the model has value and should be believed and they should base their policy on it and at the same time explain that actually the model, it's not true, is wrong.

E21 (Interview – modeller)

If the modellers believe a model's giving important advice, even though there's a level of uncertainty in that advice, how – it's a real issue – how hard should you – if you feel the advice is good advice and important, how hard should you push it? ‘Cause if you’re – if you take a very open approach, saying, “Well, this may or may not be correct, there are different possibilities,” then you run the risk that what you consider important advice may be ignored.

These modellers express the concern that exposure of their true understanding of the uncertainties of a model would undermine its credibility and prevent its effective contribution to decision-making....

Hence, whilst model-users may have some appreciation of general issues relating to uncertainty in models, they may be poorly placed to judge the depth or impact of these. This difficulty was articulated by one respondent, quoting a colleague who had expressed frustration with a model: “Everyone knew it was crap, but nobody knew why”....



https://www.statnews.com/2020/04/17/influential-covid-19-model-uses-flawed-methods-shouldnt-guide-policies-critics-say/
Quote:
A widely followed model for projecting Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. is producing results that have been bouncing up and down like an unpredictable fever, and now epidemiologists are criticizing it as flawed and misleading for both the public and policy makers. In particular, they warn against relying on it as the basis for government decision-making, including on “re-opening America.”

“It’s not a model that most of us in the infectious disease epidemiology field think is well suited” to projecting Covid-19 deaths, epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health told reporters this week, referring to projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Others experts, including some colleagues of the model-makers, are even harsher. “That the IHME model keeps changing is evidence of its lack of reliability as a predictive tool,” said epidemiologist Ruth Etzioni of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, who has served on a search committee for IHME. “That it is being used for policy decisions and its results interpreted wrongly is a travesty unfolding before our eyes.”...



A fair article that acknowledges the Swedish approach might be right and might be wrong, and gives an insider's perspective on what's actually happening in Sweden. Most of the articles I've seen on Sweden, including the BBC, start from the view that Sweden is wrong and slant the article that way. Even their titles are along the lines of "Experts Fear Swedes Will All Die!" (yeah, that's an exaggeration, but not much).
https://reason.com/2020/04/17/in-sweden-will-voluntary-self-isolation-work-better-than-state-enforced-lockdowns-in-the-long-run/
Quote:
In Sweden, Will Voluntary Self-Isolation Work Better Than State-Enforced Lockdowns in the Long Run?
There’s a lot of debate over the Swedish model of coronavirus response, but there are good reasons to think a Hippocratic approach to policy may pay off.
Quote:
"Sweden's suffering very, very badly" according to President Donald Trump. Nope, says Denmark's former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who suggested April 7 that Denmark should have followed the cautious Swedish way of responding to COVID-19.

Views diverge on Sweden's unique strategy of not closing borders and shutting down schools, workplaces, restaurants, libraries, gyms and shopping centers. ...Some Brits think that we Swedes are crazy, The Spectator's Fraser Nelson told Swedish radio last week, but added that other Brits admire how the Swedish people have largely followed scientific advice—no mandatory lockdown needed.

One reason why some believe Sweden is a disaster zone while others see it as a role model is that currently available data can be interpreted many different ways.

For example, the number of deaths as a share of total cases is a useless statistic,...
Quote:
No matter how we count, though, I assume that Sweden has had more COVID-19 deaths per capita than our Nordic neighbors. But that is an obvious result of those countries' decisions to postpone cases and deaths by locking down whole societies for a period of time. The thing to watch is what happens when they begin to open up again and will face a new wave of COVID-19. No government can keep people locked up until we have a vaccine, and most are now loosening restrictions.

A Harvard model projects that a 60 percent suppression of the disease will result in a higher peak later on and a higher number of total deaths than a mitigation strategy like the one Sweden used... Other models come to other conclusions, of course, depending on what you put into them. We just don't know yet, and only time will tell.





More solid than an interview with a phlebotomist:

https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/other/in-german-town-of-gangelt-blood-samples-of-residents-show-14-25-now-immune-to-covid-19-report/ar-BB12qsbt
Quote:
The survey in Germany was conducted out by a team led by virologist Hendrik Streeck at the University Hospital in Bonn, who stated that they had spoken to around 1,000 residents of Gangelt to give their blood samples, have their throats swabbed, and complete a survey, the report said.

They discovered that 2% of the town’s residents had contracted the virus and a total of 14% possessed antibodies, suggesting earlier infection.

This was a community survey, so presumably it tested those who had not been tested earlier or seen a doctor. In other words, despite the pessimistic slant in the news article, it's good news.


In California:
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-04-17/coronavirus-antibodies-study-santa-clara-county
Quote:
The preliminary study, conducted by researchers at Stanford University, estimates that between 2.5% and 4.2% of Santa Clara County residents had antibodies to the new coronavirus in their blood by early April. Antibodies are an indication that a person’s immune system has responded to a past infection.

Though the county had reported roughly 1,000 cases in early April, the Stanford researchers estimate the actual number was between 48,000 and 81,000, or 50 to 85 times greater.

...Based on their results, the Stanford researchers estimated the mortality rate in Santa Clara County to be between 0.12% and 0.2%. By comparison, the average death rate of the seasonal flu is 0.1%.

Similar to the 0.3% estimate from a town in Germany.


https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/04/20/feud-over-stanford-coronavirus-study-the-authors-owe-us-all-an-apology/
Quote:
Researchers are engaged in a fierce debate over the startling* estimates in a Stanford study that suggested as many as 81,000 people could already have been infected with coronavirus in Santa Clara County, with some of the world’s top number crunchers calling the study sloppy, biased and an example of “how NOT to do statistics.”

“I think the authors owe us all an apology… not just to us, but to Stanford,” wrote Andrew Gelman, a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University.

Yet after a weekend of attacks on the paper, a study announced Monday out of the University of Southern California on a sampling of residents in Los Angeles reached a very similar conclusion: It found hundreds of thousands of adults there may have already been infected. As of Monday, Los Angeles County had recorded fewer than 13,000 cases....

The Santa Clara County study concluded that the virus had infected 2.5% to 4.2% of residents here; in LA, the estimated infection rate ranged from 2.8% to 5.6%.

If true, it suggests that the large majority of people who contract COVID-19 recover without ever knowing they were infected. If undetected infections are that widespread, then the death rate in the county could be less than 0.2%, making the virus far less lethal than authorities have assumed. Los Angeles authorities also peg their death rate at 0.2% based on the USC study.

You know, when at least four serological studies have similar findings (plus a little study in Italy where a single known case in a village revealed something like 3% of the residents had unrecognized mild/ subclinical cases there, based on testing for the virus's RNA in nasal secretions) and it's also consistent with the reports from closed populations (cruise ships, navy ships, see below), perhaps these people getting all outraged about imperfect methodology might consider the possibility they might be wrong themselves? I'm really starting to wonder why so many people seem to be clinging hard to worst case scenarios.

*Don't ask me why this is "startling," except this is the news media. Some of us predicted that mortality estimates would come down significantly with antibody testing, weeks (months?) ago.




Another outbreak in a closed population. Like the Diamond Princess cruise ship but with a younger average age:
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/military/story/2020-04-17/navy-cdc-to-launch-theodore-roosevelt-coronavirus-outbreak-study
Quote:
The outbreak on the Roosevelt is the single largest in the military, with 660 members of its crew testing positive for the novel coronavirus, seven in the hospital and one sailor who died Monday.

The virus has sidelined the carrier in Guam for three weeks, where 4,000 sailors have been quarantined off the ship.

About 60 percent of the 660 Roosevelt sailors who have tested positive so far have shown no COVID-19 symptoms,
Another source said the person who died had a preexisting condition that made him more susceptible to the virus.


Published, peer-reviewed study on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (much older population):
Quote:
Euro Surveill. 2020 Mar;25(12). doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.12.2000256.
Estimating the infection and case fatality ratio for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) using age-adjusted data from the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, February 2020.
Russell TW1, Hellewell J2,1, Jarvis CI2,1, van Zandvoort K2,1, Abbott S1, Ratnayake R3,1, Cmmid Covid-Working Group4, Flasche S1, Eggo RM1, Edmunds WJ1, Kucharski AJ1.
Author information
Abstract

Adjusting for delay from confirmation to death, we estimated case and infection fatality ratios (CFR, IFR) for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the Diamond Princess ship as 2.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.89-6.7) and 1.3% (95% CI: 0.38-3.6), respectively. Comparing deaths on board with expected deaths based on naive CFR estimates from China, we estimated CFR and IFR in China to be 1.2% (95% CI: 0.3-2.7) and 0.6% (95% CI: 0.2-1.3), respectively.






https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/pandemic-facebook-and-twitter-grab-more-power/610213/
Quote:
The Internet’s Titans Make a Power Grab

Facebook and other platforms insisted that they didn’t want to be “arbiters of truth.” The coronavirus changed their mind overnight.
Quote:
The ordinary laws no longer govern. Every day, new rules are being written to deal with the crisis. Freedoms are curtailed. Enforcement is heavy-handed. Usual civil-liberties protections, such as rights of appeal, are suspended. By act, if not by word, a state of emergency has been declared. This is not a description of the United States, or even Hungary. It’s the internet during the coronavirus pandemic. We are living under an emergency constitution invoked by Facebook, Google, and other major tech platforms. In normal times, these companies are loath to pass judgment about what’s true and what’s false. But lately they have been taking unusually bold steps to keep misinformation about COVID-19 from circulating.....

I've noted with cynicism that these platforms still allow misinformation to circulate as long as it promotes the officially sanctioned opinions.

Speaking of cynicism, I've noticed how certain governors (Michigan, Kentucky, Maryland?) and social media users are trying to turn everyone against protesters, claiming they will be responsible for increased cases and longer lockdowns. Excellent use of propaganda, considering that these places have rising numbers right now from virus spread and/or increased testing, so it's hard to disprove. But, given how widespread the virus already is, and the constant mixing already going on at grocery stores and WalMart (the current setup in the strictest states pretty much funnels everyone through a small number of stores), I have my doubts. Also, most of the protesters have either distanced themselves or stayed in cars. Though, as usual, the media makes sure to focus the pictures and stories on the wackos and extremists, not the normal but fed up folk.

I think the news media underestimates the anger among normal people, both among those who are out of work/ in danger of losing their business soon/ retired and worried about their savings in the economic mess, and among those who think their governors/ mayors (and police enforcing lockdowns via drones) have gone too far and are being unreasonable. Right now, the news media is keeping that suppressed by feeding the fear, but that might not last too much longer. If you're stuck in a tiny city apartment with a couple of kids and no job, everyone is getting on everyone else's nerves, and your governor is talking about months more lockdown, your patience may eventually snap. Personally, I'm feeling rather envious of Australia. They seem to be doing all right, and apparently, you can even get a haircut there as long as the salon complies with certain distancing requirements. And some Australians seem puzzled that car washes have been shut down in the U.S., even though you have no contact with a person, except maybe to pay. I guess they've come up with some sane restrictions, unlike some of our loonier governors.


Added:
https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/494324-27m-new-yorkers-have-had-coronavirus-preliminary-data-shows
Quote:
Preliminary data shows about 13.9 percent of the population of New York state — about 2.7 million people — have at some point been infected with the coronavirus....

In New York City, 21 percent of residents had antibodies for coronavirus, compared with 3.6 percent in upstate New York, 16.7 percent in Long Island and 11.7 percent in the Westchester and Rockland area.
The 21% figure for New York City suggests the 30-50% figure from the phlebotomist at a hospital might be a plausible estimate. It's in a very poor section of town where exposure could well be high.



https://thehill.com/policy/technology/494330-connecticut-city-testing-drone-that-detects-fevers-coughs
Quote:
Police in Westport, Conn., will test a “pandemic drone” they say is capable of monitoring residents’ temperatures from nearly 200 feet as well as detecting coughing and sneezing.

The police department said they are testing the technology in cooperation with drone manufacturer Draganfly.

The company said the drone will feature sensors that can detect fever temperatures and heart rates as well as sneezing and coughing in crowds, according to a local NBC affiliate.

“One of the major problems for cities and towns like Westport in managing and responding to a pandemic like the COVID-19 virus, is finding out who could be infected and how widespread the disease has spread,” Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe said in a statement....

Many states have bought these Chinese-made surveillance drones. Police in another city in Connecticut have been sending drones into people's backyards to watch them and make sure they're not congregating. Police in Lewes, Delaware are using one to monitor people using trails...

As that Chinese blogger said about the phone-based control of their movements, the pandemic has advanced the government's control over our lives. The scary thing is that I see some people in western countries suggesting this is a good thing.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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PostPosted: Mon 04 May , 2020 2:18 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2009
As I mentioned before, there is a long-standing debate about how much good surgical masks do against influenza,* but the consensus has been that at least they're helpful if the wearer coughs or sneezes. Turns out that this probably isn't true either. This actually surprised me a bit, though I figured the stuff about stopping asymptomatic people from breathing out viruses was nonsense.

*For instance, they might be beneficial in stopping you from touching your face as often.... but, on the other hand, they're uncomfortable (even people who are used to wearing surgical masks find it a relief to get them off) and many people touch their faces more often to adjust the mask. Also, untrained people don't handle masks correctly. And the masks give people a false sense of security so they're more likely to neglect other precautions. Not to mention that these respiratory viruses can get in through your eyes too...


https://www.newsweek.com/surgical-cotton-face-masks-ineffective-blocking-sars-cov-2-particles-when-covid-19-patients-1496476
Quote:
Surgical and Cotton Face Masks Ineffective at Blocking SARS-CoV-2 Particles When COVID-19 Patients Cough, Study Finds
Quote:
...researchers asked four COVID-19 patients in South Korea to enter negative-pressure isolation rooms. The volunteers, aged between 35 and 82, were asked to cough four times each on to five separate Petri dishes positioned 20 cm (7.9 inches) from their mouths. The first time they wore no mask, then a surgical mask, followed by a cotton mask, and again no mask. The disposable surgical masks used in the study measured 180 mm × 90 mm and had three layers, while reusable cotton masks measured 160 mm × 135 mm and were comprised of two layers

After the participants finished coughing, the researchers took swabs from the inner and outer surfaces of the masks.

...Dr. Sung-Han Kim of Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, and colleagues found SARS-CoV-2 on the outside of every mask, but "most" swabs from inside tested negative.

Finding more virus particles on the outer than inner mask surfaces was "of note," the scientists said. It was unlikely the researchers spread the virus while swabbing the masks, they argued, as they tested the outside before the inner surface.

Instead, SARS-CoV-2 particles may have escaped around the edges of the mask, the researchers said. Alternatively, small SARS-CoV-2 particles created during a hard cough may have penetrated the masks....

In a sensible world, this would end the mandatory masks stuff, especially since the WHO re-examined the same research as the CDC, when the CDC recommended that people wear masks, and the WHO still decided not to recommend them for the general population. If you look at their current guidance documents for COVID-19 in medical settings, they don't even recommend them for patients not showing respiratory symptoms, or for some people associated with healthcare facilities like ambulance drivers (or, if I remember right, clerical staff in hospitals).

In the current panicky climate, I predict it will just lead to more debate, where the proponents of masks will insist that, before changing the mandatory mask laws, there must be large scale studies of mask-wearing and non-mask-wearing populations during the COVID-19 outbreak (and those studies will probably be mostly garbage, since they will be observational studies easily confounded by other factors, not controlled studies).


btw, well-fitted N95 respirators (which protect the wearer, but not others) are uncomfortable to wear. I saw that our local grocery store had given one to the person standing at the entrance monitoring people coming in and leaving. But he had already pulled it off his nose and, by the time I left, he had taken it off altogether. I wasn't surprised.





Speaking of which, another antibody study that shows the same thing has been reported - many of us have already been exposed to this coronavirus and have antibodies, with no serious ill effects. (again, there will be some reason for some researchers to criticize the study and the politicians to say "oh, no, we can't abandon lockdowns." I don't know why everyone's waiting for the perfect study, when those usually take a long, long time to come out, often well after the epidemic has subsided.)
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/04/17/business/nearly-third-200-blood-samples-taken-chelsea-show-exposure-coronavirus/
Quote:
Nearly one third of 200 Chelsea residents who gave a drop of blood to researchers on the street this week tested positive for antibodies linked to COVID-19, a startling indication of how widespread infections have been in the densely populated city.





btw, when the news media goes on about how COVID-19 is so different because it affects the kidneys, can cause neurological signs, etc, and influenza doesn't? Well, here's a small sample from a quickie search of the scientific literature:

Brain Dev. 2018 Oct;40(9):799-806. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2018.05.019. Epub 2018 Jun 8.
Influenza-associated neurological complications during 2014-2017 in Taiwan.
Chen LW1, Teng CK1, Tsai YS2, Wang JN1, Tu YF1, Shen CF1, Liu CC3.
Author information
Abstract
INTRODUCTION:
Seasonal influenza-associated neurological complications had high mortality and morbidity rates in recent studies. We reported influenza-associated encephalitis/encephalopathy in children during 2014-2017 in Taiwan, focusing on neurological presentations, neuroimaging correlations, and critical care managements.
MATERIALS/SUBJECTS:
During January 1st 2014 to June 30th 2017, pediatric patients reported to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control surveillance system for severe complicated influenza infections in the hospital were retrospectively reviewed. Children with influenza-associated encephalitis/encephalopathy were inspected for clinical presentations, laboratory data, neuroimaging studies, treatment modalities, and neurological outcomes.
RESULTS:
Ten children with median age 5.9 years were enrolled for analysis. Influenza-associated encephalitis/encephalopathy appeared in the spring and summer, with a delayed peak comparing with the occurrence of pneumonia and septic shock. The neurological symptoms developed rapidly within median 1 day after the first fever episode. All patients had consciousness disturbance. Seven patients (70%) had seizures at initial presentation, and six of them had status epilepticus. Anti-viral treatments were applied in all patients, with median door-to-drug time 0.9 h for oseltamivir and 6.0 h for peramivir. Multi-modality treatments also included steroid pulse therapy, immunoglobulin treatment, and target temperature management, with 85.2% of the major treatments administered within 12 h after admission. Nine of the ten patients recovered without neurological sequelae. Only one patient had epilepsy requiring long-term anticonvulsants and concomitant cognitive decline.
CONCLUSIONS:
In highly prevalent area, influenza-associated encephalitis/encephalopathy should be considered irrespective of seasons. Our study suggested the effects of timely surveillance and multi-modality treatments in influenza-associated encephalitis/encephalopathy.
Copyright © 2018 The Japanese Society of Child Neurology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
KEYWORDS:
Encephalitis; Encephalopathy; Influenza; Multi-modality treatments; Status epilepticus
PMID:
29891404
DOI:
10.1016/j.braindev.2018.05.019
[Indexed for MEDLINE]




JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Mar 2;3(3):e201323. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.1323.
Respiratory and Nonrespiratory Diagnoses Associated With Influenza in Hospitalized Adults.
Chow EJ1,2, Rolfes MA2, O'Halloran A2, Alden NB3, Anderson EJ4,5,6, Bennett NM7, Billing L8, Dufort E9, Kirley PD10, George A11, Irizarry L12, Kim S13, Lynfield R14, Ryan P15, Schaffner W16, Talbot HK16, Thomas A17, Yousey-Hindes K18, Reed C2, Garg S2.
Author information
Abstract
Importance:
Seasonal influenza virus infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality and may be associated with respiratory and nonrespiratory diagnoses.
Objective:
To examine the respiratory and nonrespiratory diagnoses reported for adults hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza between 2010 and 2018 in the United States.
Design, Setting, and Participants:
This cross-sectional study used data from the US Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) from October 1 through April 30 of the 2010-2011 through 2017-2018 influenza seasons. FluSurv-NET is a population-based, multicenter surveillance network with a catchment area that represents approximately 9% of the US population. Patients are identified by practitioner-ordered influenza testing. Adults (aged ≥18 years) hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza were included in the study.
Exposures:
FluSurv-NET defines laboratory-confirmed influenza as a positive influenza test result by rapid antigen assay, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, direct or indirect fluorescent staining, or viral culture.
Main Outcomes and Measures:
Acute respiratory or nonrespiratory diagnoses were defined using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) and International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) discharge diagnosis codes. The analysis included calculation of the frequency of acute respiratory and nonrespiratory diagnoses with a descriptive analysis of patient demographic characteristics, underlying medical conditions, and in-hospital outcomes by respiratory and nonrespiratory diagnoses.
Results:
Of 89 999 adult patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza, 76 649 (median age, 69 years; interquartile range, 55-82 years; 55% female) had full medical record abstraction and at least 1 ICD code for an acute diagnosis. In this study, 94.9% of patients had a respiratory diagnosis and 46.5% had a nonrespiratory diagnosis, including 5.1% with only nonrespiratory diagnoses. Pneumonia (36.3%), sepsis (23.3%), and acute kidney injury (20.2%) were the most common acute diagnoses. Fewer patients with only nonrespiratory diagnoses received antiviral therapy for influenza compared with those with respiratory diagnoses (81.4% vs 88.9%; P < .001).
Conclusions and Relevance:
Nonrespiratory diagnoses occurred frequently among adults hospitalized with influenza, further contributing to the burden of infection in the United States. The findings suggest that during the influenza season, practitioners should consider influenza in their differential diagnosis for patients who present to the hospital with less frequently recognized manifestations and initiate early antiviral treatment for patients with suspected or confirmed infection.
PMID:
32196103
PMCID:
PMC7084169
DOI:
10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.1323
Free PMC Article


Pediatr Nephrol. 2018 Nov;33(11):2009-2025. doi: 10.1007/s00467-017-3783-4. Epub 2017 Sep 7.
Influenza-associated thrombotic microangiopathies.
Bitzan M1, Zieg J2.
Author information
Abstract
Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) refers to phenotypically similar disorders, including hemolytic uremic syndromes (HUS) and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). This review explores the role of the influenza virus as trigger of HUS or TTP. We conducted a literature survey in PubMed and Google Scholar using HUS, TTP, TMA, and influenza as keywords, and extracted and analyzed reported epidemiological and clinical data. We identified 25 cases of influenza-associated TMA. Five additional cases were linked to influenza vaccination and analyzed separately. Influenza A was found in 83%, 10 out of 25 during the 2009 A(H1N1) pandemic. Two patients had bona fide TTP with ADAMTS13 activity <10%. Median age was 15 years (range 0.5-68 years), two thirds were male. Oligoanuria was documented in 81% and neurological involvement in 40% of patients. Serum C3 was reduced in 5 out of 14 patients (36%); Coombs test was negative in 7 out of 7 and elevated fibrin/fibrinogen degradation products were documented in 6 out of 8 patients. Pathogenic complement gene mutations were found in 7 out of 8 patients tested (C3, MCP, or MCP combined with CFB or clusterin). Twenty out of 24 patients recovered completely, but 3 died (12%). Ten of the surviving patients underwent plasma exchange (PLEX) therapy, 5 plasma infusions. Influenza-mediated HUS or TTP is rare. A sizable proportion of tested patients demonstrated mutations associated with alternative pathway of complement dysregulation that was uncovered by this infection. Further research is warranted targeting the roles of viral neuraminidase, enhanced virus-induced complement activation and/or ADAMTS13 antibodies, and rational treatment approaches.
KEYWORDS:
ADAMTS13; Complement; Hemolytic uremic syndrome; Influenza vaccine; Neuraminidase; Plasma exchange; Thrombotic-thrombocytopenic purpura
PMID:
28884355
PMCID:
PMC6153504
DOI:
10.1007/s00467-017-3783-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article



The thing is, when you're seeing more people with a particular condition like the current coronavirus pandemic, of course the rare complications are going to be noticed more, just thanks to percentages being applied to a higher number. I expect the same thing happened during the 1968-1969 Hong Kong flu pandemic, though I haven't gone back to see if that stuff was published.

It's like the 2009 swine flu pandemic, when people started noticing that pets could get the influenza virus from people and a few of the cats and dogs got seriously ill or died. Something new? Nope, they saw the same thing during the previous pandemic (Hong Kong flu), people just forgot about it over 40 years. And any cases that showed up in pets during an ordinary flu season were far too rare for anyone to make the connection. When this all started, I was curious if this coronavirus would be found in a few pets too. I wasn't surprised when it was. Also zoo tigers that had an infected caretaker, and I believe some mink.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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PostPosted: Wed 06 May , 2020 3:00 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2009
I found this amusing:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/05/exclusive-government-scientist-neil-ferguson-resigns-breaking/
Quote:
The scientist whose advice prompted Boris Johnson to lock down Britain resigned from his Government advisory position on Tuesday night as The Telegraph can reveal he broke social distancing rules to meet his married lover....

The epidemiologist leads the team at Imperial College London that produced the computer-modelled research that led to the national lockdown, which claimed that more than 500,000 Britons would die without the measures.

Prof Ferguson has frequently appeared in the media to support the lockdown and praised the "very intensive social distancing" measures.

Goes right along with Chicago's mayor, who got a haircut herself while telling everyone else they can't (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/chicago-mayor-defends-hairstylist-visit-amid-coronavirus-outbreak-n1181546), Ruth Bader Ginsberg getting to use the Supreme Court gym with a personal trainer when such services are forbidden to everyone else (https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/justice-ginsburg-continues-essential-supreme-court-workouts-covid/story?id=69966242), Scotland's chief medical officer traveling to her second home and so forth. I actually don't have a problem with Ginsberg choosing to take a limited risk in spite of her age and health, or people traveling between their own homes, or two people in a dedicated relationship meeting each other (though Ferguson and his lover are total jerks for what they're doing to her/their families), but the hypocrisy of these people is annoying. They all know these things won't make much difference to anything in the long run, but if you're going to have extreme rules for some, the rich and powerful shouldn't get to skirt them.

EDIT: Oh jeez, I just heard that Neil Ferguson was also the person behind the crappy and overblown foot-and-mouth disease models that helped make the 2001 epidemic in the UK worse than it had to be. (I thought his name sounded familiar, but Ferguson is one of those common names...) And our governments listened to his worst case scenario predictions again?!





Newly published, relevant to other respiratory viruses (e.g., COVID-19) as well as influenza:
Quote:
Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 May;26(5):967-975. doi: 10.3201/eid2605.190994. Epub 2020 May 17.
Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings-Personal Protective and Environmental Measures.
Xiao J, Shiu EYC, Gao H, Wong JY, Fong MW, Ryu S, Cowling BJ.
Abstract

There were 3 influenza pandemics in the 20th century, and there has been 1 so far in the 21st century. Local, national, and international health authorities regularly update their plans for mitigating the next influenza pandemic in light of the latest available evidence on the effectiveness of various control measures in reducing transmission. Here, we review the evidence base on the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical personal protective measures and environmental hygiene measures in nonhealthcare settings and discuss their potential inclusion in pandemic plans. Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza. We similarly found limited evidence on the effectiveness of improved hygiene and environmental cleaning. We identified several major knowledge gaps requiring further research, most fundamentally an improved characterization of the modes of person-to-person transmission.
KEYWORDS:

environmental measures; influenza; influenza virus; meta-analysis; nonhealthcare settings; nonpharmaceutical measures; pandemic influenza; personal protective measures; public health; respiratory infections; viruses

PMID:
32027586
DOI:
10.3201/eid2605.190994

Free full text


Full text:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7181938/
Quote:
In pooled analysis, we found no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.51–1.20; I2 = 30%, p = 0.25) (Figure 2). One study evaluated the use of masks among pilgrims from Australia during the Hajj pilgrimage and reported no major difference in the risk for laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection in the control or mask group (33). Two studies in university settings assessed the effectiveness of face masks for primary protection by monitoring the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza among student hall residents for 5 months (9,10). The overall reduction in ILI or laboratory-confirmed influenza cases in the face mask group was not significant in either studies (9,10). Study designs in the 7 household studies were slightly different: 1 study provided face masks and P2 respirators for household contacts only (34), another study evaluated face mask use as a source control for infected persons only (35), and the remaining studies provided masks for the infected persons as well as their close contacts (11–13,15,17). None of the household studies reported a significant reduction in secondary laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the face mask group (11–13,15,17,34,35). Most studies were underpowered because of limited sample size, and some studies also reported suboptimal adherence in the face mask group.

Not perfect evidence but certainly suggests that mandatory surgical or cloth facemasks* are not "follow the science," as the media keeps suggesting, but more just a sop to make frightened people feel they're "doing something."

*Again, I don't include N95s, which do work if properly fitted and handled (something the general public is quite unlikely to do).




https://reason.com/2020/05/05/coronavirus-let-people-go-outside/
Quote:
Let People Go Outside
Many public health experts say the benefits outweigh the risks.
Quote:
...Policies discouraging nearly every form of public interaction—from widespread restaurant closures to a prohibition on big box retailers selling paint—have popped up across the country in an attempt to curb the coronavirus. Some of those policies still make sense.

Closing outdoor spaces does not. That includes the beaches in Florida, which have slowly begun reopening on a county-by-county basis.

Predictably, the move wasn't without backlash. "The trouble is, Florida's not known for 'good' or 'safe,'" writes Diane Roberts, a professor of English at Florida State University, in a Washington Post op-ed. ...

But Roberts does not cite any infectious disease specialists, who are trained to analyze the risks of such situations using science, not stereotypes. What do those experts have to say?


"It bugs me to see these restrictions on people being outside," said Edward Nardell, a professor in the departments of Environmental Health and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Nardell told Slate that he favors opening the beaches, so long as social distancing rules are put in place and enforced....

According to Daniel Kuritzkes, the chief of the infectious disease division at Brigham and Women's Hospital, "I don't think there's a real concern" about catching COVID-19 from walking past someone....

"If you're swimming more than 6 feet away from people, you're probably reasonably safe," Michael Buchmeier, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of California, Irvine, told The Guardian. "The virus is very sensitive to ultraviolet light and very sensitive to heating. It's not likely to survive in heat and sunlight."
This is all absolutely correct. Also worth pointing out that the virus will get diluted quickly in the open air and it's going to take more than a single virus or two to infect a normal person. So why the devil is the Washington Post publishing editorials from sanctimonious English professors on COVID-19 instead?


https://reason.com/2020/05/06/the-coronavirus-butterfly-effect/
Quote:
The Coronavirus Butterfly Effect
Global manufacturing is an intricate ecosystem of specialized players, their fates closely intertwined.
Quote:
At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. is facing two parallel crises—looming public health and economic cataclysms. In navigating them, it confronts what former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously called known knowns ("things we know we know"), known unknowns ("we know there are some things we do not know"), and also unknown unknowns ("ones we don't know we don't know").... We also know that these governments are implementing public health measures that try to account for the virus's known unknowns (its mortality rate, infectiousness, and proportion of asymptomatic carriers, among other variables) and that reflect worst-case predictions: millions of cases, hundreds of thousands of deaths. About half of the world's population has been under some degree of lockdown, according to a New York Times estimate. We know that that should slow the virus's spread.

But the deeper we delve into the economic side of the ledger, the more we are forced to confront the unknown unknowns that inevitably lie in wait. American and European economists are already forecasting a major recession; they largely agree that we cannot simply flip the global economy back on once the terror of infection has passed....

Globalized supply chains are a recent development in economic history. Since the 1980s, trade barriers have fallen, shipping technologies have improved, and U.S. manufacturers, lulled by the prospect of lower costs and greater efficiency, have cast their nets far beyond our country's borders. This has engendered a panoply of unforeseen risks, and the pandemic has laid them bare. ...




https://quillette.com/2020/05/04/risk-uncertainty-and-covid-19-strategies/
Quote:
Risk, Uncertainty, and COVID-19 Strategies
Quote:
Former World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recently argued that “[n]o one in the field of infectious disease or public health can say they are surprised about a pandemic.” And yet, the COVID-19 outbreak did take most policymakers very much by surprise. ...

In such a situation, the precautionary principle tends to apply. As a prominent member of the Danish parliament told us in mid-March: “This is a natural disaster in slow motion. We basically know nothing. The only rational thing to do is to shut down entirely.” That was six weeks ago. At the time of writing, we are already in a very different situation. Now that many more data points are available, sophisticated cost-benefit analyses are emerging, and the curves depicting those who are hospitalized, in intensive care, or dying are flattening or even dropping in many places. We are moving from a situation of radical uncertainty to one that is in many respects more like a risky situation—one in which we can be fairly confident of what the likely outcomes of our actions and the associated costs and benefits will be....
Quote:
When faced with a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic, political leaders and their advisors must embark on a rapid process of learning and discovery necessary to inform urgent decision-making. However, this process takes place under the impact of threat responses that are likely to disfigure decision-making in various ways. In the weeks after the dramatic pictures from Lombardy circulated the world, many epidemiological experts offered policymakers worst-case scenarios and proposed far-reaching measures to fight the pandemic. This is understandable—these experts were dealing with an unknown virus, and their responsibility at such times squarely lies in preventing a foreseeable medical disaster.

Less understandable is why policymakers relied exclusively on these experts and rarely formed interdisciplinary teams to think through related global health, economic, political, and social dynamics simultaneously. ...
Quote:
...However, the public was not educated in elementary statistics and the dangers of sampling biases (for example, the fatality rates initially communicated in the media and by the WHO generally overestimated the number of infected people dying, because only the sickest patients were being tested). This effectively prevented them from being empowered to make their own risk assessments.

While epidemiological experts did try to educate the public and allocated ample time to this, they did not always manage to communicate the seriousness of the situation without slipping into counterproductive alarmism. ...



btw, Singapore, which many people held up as an example of how to do things, is now facing a large outbreak. Which is not surprising - sure, they temporarily stopped the virus locally, but everyone was still susceptible. Like it or not, there is no good, easy way through a viral pandemic like this. IMO, too many people, especially in the U.S., have become used to thinking that someone should "do something" to protect them from perils of all sorts. But Mother Nature likes to periodically remind us who really calls the shots on planet Earth. And she's not always nice.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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PostPosted: Wed 13 May , 2020 2:10 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2009
Some practical considerations that don't seem to be making the rounds among the proponents of contact tracing by phone.

https://quillette.com/2020/05/11/covid-19-and-the-normalization-of-mass-surveillance
Quote:
In the past few months, governments ranging from Australia to the United Kingdom and corporations as influential as Google and Apple have pushed the idea that cellphone tracking can be used to effectively fight COVID-19. There was even an essay here at Quillette, arguing that a mandatory phone tracking app would save lives while also saving jobs as a policy alternative to economic lockdown. Unfortunately, the idea that phone apps should be popularized or even mandated to fight outbreaks is techno-utopian, based on optimism rather than evidence. The real impact of such an approach on society wouldn’t be better immunity, but rather the acceptance and creeping growth of an even more powerful and omniscient global surveillance state....
Quote:
Academics have provided ammunition for this approach, recently stating in Science that “controlling the epidemic by manual contact tracing is infeasible. The use of a contact tracing app… would be sufficient to stop the epidemic if used by enough people.” Regardless of rationale, the immediate, often unsaid problem is that phone contact tracing is not accurate enough for medical use, and trying to implement this strategy will expose individuals and authorities to false positives and false negatives and bring false confidence....
Quote:
A big problem with this approach is its inaccuracy: Tracking someone by their cellphone location is only accurate within 10 — 50 meters, far outside the accuracy needed to see if you’ve come close enough to a carrier to warrant concern....

A second approach, marketed as more accurate and privacy-preserving, is being promoted most notably by Google and Apple, and relies on Bluetooth Low Energy ...

In theory, a Bluetooth-powered COVID-19 app will broadcast digital “handshakes” on an ongoing basis with any other phones that come close....

In practice, however, Bluetooth exposure tracking is so fundamentally flawed that it amounts to little more than security theater. The virus has hit hardest in densely-populated areas like New York City, Milan, and Wuhan. How will your phone know that the handshake it just received was from someone sitting two meters next to you, and not the person sitting two meters away from you through a wall in a next-door cafe? Or that it was the person on a bus sitting near you on the upper level but not the person sitting underneath you? ... the actual inventors of Bluetooth have voiced concerns that the technology is not actually as accurate as some have claimed, opening the door for additional uncertainty....
Quote:
We must also grapple with the fact that the government with the most intense citizen surveillance system in history—the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—couldn’t, despite all the Orwellian tech in the world, prevent an outbreak, untold deaths, and economic devastation. ...

And, whatever the means, I'm afraid I still don't understand how contact tracing is going to usefully limit a widespread and highly contagious respiratory virus in the real world, possibly outside limited applications like nursing home personnel or controlling virus spread at a work site. If you do it for every contact, it seems like it would shut down society constantly, from even a handful of infected people going about their lives, with uncertain benefits.




CIDRAP is a highly respected source of information and this is an excellent and detailed review.
https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/04/commentary-masks-all-covid-19-not-based-sound-data
Quote:
COMMENTARY: Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data
Filed Under:
COVID-19
Lisa M Brosseau, ScD, and Margaret Sietsema, PhD


Dr. Brosseau is a national expert on respiratory protection and infectious diseases and professor (retired), University of Illinois at Chicago.
Dr. Sietsema is also an expert on respiratory protection and an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

_____________________________________

In response to the stream of misinformation and misunderstanding about the nature and role of masks and respirators as source control or personal protective equipment (PPE), we critically review the topic to inform ongoing COVID-19 decision-making that relies on science-based data and professional expertise....


https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/mask-respirators/cloth-masks-are-useless-against-covid-19
Quote:
Lisa Brosseau, ScD, is a nationally recognized expert on infectious diseases. Brousseau taught for many years at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She may be retired from the university, but she’s not retired from teaching. She recently cowrote an opinion piecethat drew a lot of notice: In it Brousseau argues that cloth masks offer no protection from COVID-19. As one might imagine, it drew a lot of attention and caused a fair amount of controversy. She recently sat down with Infection Control Today®to talk about her strong feelings about cloth masks and that data she used to reach her conclusions...



Nothing I've seen since then invalidates her opinions, which I share. In fact, the South Korean research which showed that the coronavirus all appears outside fabric and surgical masks after a cough, and the recent review article on the effectiveness of fabric and surgical masks against influenza in the real world (both posted above) support them. Honestly, I'm still scratching my head over why the CDC and some others did a 180 degree U-turn over masks for the public against respiratory viruses (COVID-19 is no different than influenza in this respect). Or why some experts who would have told you the same thing about masks and influenza as Dr. Brosseau 2 months ago have now gone silent. The cynic in me wonders if masks are supposed to be a security blanket so people will dare to return to "normal" life, or if it's a way for politicians to back away from lockdowns gradually. Personally, I think it was an unwise move by some governors and mayors to make them mandatory, given the drawbacks of masks among people not used to wearing them.




And, though I'm not usually fond of cutesy derogatory names, I might have to appropriate the term covidiots for people who are so paranoid about this virus that they do dumb and dangerous things. Like walkers who step out into the traffic lanes so they don't get closer than 6 feet from a perfectly healthy-looking person for 2 seconds. Or who dart across the road in front of cyclists to avoid being anywhere near them (it's great fun when there are two cyclists on opposite sides of the road, who have to wonder whether and when the person might suddenly dart back).

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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PostPosted: Wed 13 May , 2020 9:04 pm 
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I have heard pretty much no one (experts at least) say that wearing a mask will help prevent you getting an infection. Instead, the consensus seems to be that if you are infected, the mask will make you less likely to infect others. Since we have found that many of the infected are asymptomatic, making it impossible to know who is and is not infected, it would then make sense to encourage the general public to wear masks to lower the spread caused by those people a bit.


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PostPosted: Mon 25 May , 2020 10:04 pm 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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What yovi said, honestly.

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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jun , 2020 6:27 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2009
Quote:
I have heard pretty much no one (experts at least) say that wearing a mask will help prevent you getting an infection.

Actually, a N95 mask plus eye protection, gloves, good hygiene, etc. (and knowing how to handle PPE and act around infectious individuals) will do a great deal to protect a trained professional from aerosolized respiratory viruses, and can make the risk very low. How do you guys think healthcare providers keep from getting infected with aerosolized viruses (or when doing procedures that cause aerosolization) in hospitals? Some of them far nastier than this coronavirus.

But masks vary and so do situations.

Quote:
Instead, the consensus seems to be that if you are infected, the mask will make you less likely to infect others. Since we have found that many of the infected are asymptomatic, making it impossible to know who is and is not infected, it would then make sense to encourage the general public to wear masks to lower the spread caused by those people a bit.


This is not an unreasonable view if there are no detriments to wearing a mask. As there are some, as I've mentioned above (including complacency/ feeling less vulnerable, touching your face more, possibility of heat stroke or other adverse effects for some, study that found fabric masks increased influenza-like illnesses in healthcare workers compared to surgical masks or the control group, etc.), that makes this a debatable view.

And I'm afraid your so-called "consensus" is nowhere near as solid as you think. I think some of it might be part of the pandemic plans put in place under the Obama administration - consistent messaging from all sources of information to the public - media, etc. But I happen to disagree with pretending that science is a monolith and everyone agrees. I feel that, if people eventually find out that the "consensus" was wrong, they stop trusting the information put out by medical organizations and their skepticism makes them them think everything they were told is wrong. In other words, they're ripe for disinformation. I think it's better to let people know where there's uncertainty and debate, than to pretend something is more solid than it is.

In more than a decade of following the mask research on influenza, I have yet to see any solid evidence from a real world study that a mask will be helpful for the general public, given the realities of how the average person handles a mask. Given this is the case with surgical masks, I don't anticipate a piece of fabric being any better. And the basics of both respiratory viruses are the same, both the general mechanisms (coughing, etc.) and the fact that many pathogens (microbes) can be spread by people shortly before their symptoms first appear.


Many of the Masks Work!! "studies" you guys are being fed by the media are either models, where they make an assumption that a mask is X% effective and feed that data into the model (garbage in, garbage out is possible in this situation) or observational studies of correlation, which does not necessarily equal causation. (A couple of those studies look like they might be retracted soon, by the look of it, after they were heavily criticized.). There's also a weird study on hamsters infected with a coronavirus, where they covered the cages with surgical mask material and found that cut down on transmission (hey, if you can find a giant tent of such material and want to go walking around under it, go for it. Otherwise, it really doesn't address the issues with surgical or fabric masks in actual humans.)

As the WHO says, there is currently no high quality evidence that wearing a mask does any good if you're not coughing or sneezing.* Researchers in Canada and a couple of other countries are starting controlled, randomized studies for coronavirus in various groups of people, I believe, and that might finally answer the question. My prediction is that they'll be just like the few influenza/ masks studies on the public - no statistically significant benefit, for various reasons (including that most people don't wear or handle masks correctly, and that exhaled air is going to escape around the edges of most masks). I admit I could be wrong, but we'll see.

*WHO recently changed their recommendations to be in line with the CDC's. The timing was interesting. Some conservative news outlets discovered that the WHO's guidance for the public on masks differed from the CDC and said no, you don't need to wear them unless you're sick, other media outlets and pundits piled on to say, in vehement outrage, that either 1) you guys misunderstood the WHO, or 2) the WHO doesn't know what they're talking about. And soon after that the WHO said essentially "we still know there's no high quality evidence for this recommendation but we're now going to suggest that the public all wear masks." The cynic in me wonders if they also changed the technical guidance for people like ambulance drivers (no masks needed). This whole mask thing seems to be turning into another stupid political fight with no nuance.


Look, I don't really care if someone chooses to wear a mask or not. The only thing I've told vulnerable people in my life is not to trust that bit of fabric or whatever in the slightest, and if you're in a high risk group, you should be isolating yourself until the virus is no longer as widespread (or, given that they're adults, taking precautions and taking the risk of exposure with open eyes).

But, honestly, mandatory masks bugs me because IMO if you're going to make something mandatory, you'd better have rock solid evidence of benefits far outweighing any potential harm. There are circumstances where I might decide to wear a mask - like the duration of a conversation facing a single person at a close distance, especially if one of us was a shouty sort of person (It might be helpful in deflecting particles to the side, though I remain skeptical it will make any statistically significant difference in virus transmission, and the drawbacks of very short-term use in this case seem minimal) - vs. others - like a farmer's market on a humid 90-degree day - where I'd choose not to.

And because it's a slippery slope to other arbitrary orders by politicians "to protect other people's health." I don't think anyone has a right not to be exposed to a virus by making someone else do something on the off-chance that they might be infected. Yeah, if you're sick, quarantining that person is absolutely reasonable. But, in my view, if it's "you might be infected and you can probably spread the virus for a few days before you get symptoms and there's a possibility that masks might do some good" that's too many "mights" for anything mandatory. Persuasion or personal choice, sure, go for it. Mandatory, no. Let the person choose. And if they're motivated by personal choice to wear a mask, they're probably more likely to handle it well, change it often, etc.

A technical note:, before they were forced to backtrack by the political outcry, WHO scientists said what is probably the truth - the data they're getting suggest that truly asymptomatic people don't seem to be transmitting the coronavirus much. This is different than people in the late incubation period (which is sometimes called "presymptomatic"), who can spread it. This makes sense if you know something about infectious diseases. A great deal of the symptoms are actually your body's response to the virus, so as the number of replicating viruses rise, your body starts to respond, but there's a bit of a lag and viruses increase before the symptoms fully show up.


And, as I say, I could be wrong. I'm only one person and science/ medicine/infectious disease research is more a debate and argument, not the monolithic "trust the science" stuff the activists like to put out. All I wanted to do here was present information that seemed to be drowned out by the idiot media. And yeah, I'm pretty fed up with the half-understood crap information they're putting out on a lot of things. They don't have the background to put things in context - for instance, virus dose/ concentration and length of exposure matter - and don't bother anyway, because nuance doesn't sell as well as rules to keep you "safe" and scare stories.

Anyway, I think there have been some major screw-ups from politicians of all stripes. For instance, now that many liberal politicians and the media gave their approval to big, close crowds during the BLM protests ("as long as they're wearing masks"), ordinary people will see the hypocrisy and are going to start ignoring what, in my mind, was one of the most useful control measures - no big indoor gatherings of strangers and no closely-packed outdoor groups. When you're pretty much immediately breathing everyone else's exhaled breath, especially when they're shouting, that bit of fabric isn't going to help in the least.
(btw, it's really quite amazing how that there was so much heated media criticism of people who were mostly doing low risk things during lockdown protests, like driving around in cars or standing outside, well-spaced and holding signs, but soon afterward, massive, out-of control crowds of shouting, shoving people was an admirable thing. )





But what I really came here to post was this, in case anyone finds it useful. Graphs of different countries, including Sweden on cumulative deaths and new deaths/ day. Ignore the total deaths graphs - they're pointless - but the cases/million population helps even out the differences in population numbers. I find them interesting and will be curious where they go. (overall deaths still seem to be falling in the U.S., even while infections increase in some areas. Not a surprise, that increase, as people move about more. The deaths could be falling simultaneously if the most vulnerable people tended to get it earlier and now it's a more resistant group of people getting infected.)

Case numbers are partly a function of how many people are being tested, so deaths can be more useful sometimes. (admittedly, they're influenced by who you decide to count as a COVID death. For instance, I thought it rather dishonest that the US is counting deaths of people in hospice. Or that the media doesn't make it clear that, when an infant with a serious heart condition dies as it's apparently starting to recover from COVID in the hospital, that child might have just as easily died from any other respiratory virus it was unlucky enough to contract.)


The graph at the bottom - daily COVID mortality vs "all cause" mortality in Sweden - is also interesting.

https://www.covid19insweden.com/en/deaths.html

EDITS: typos, clarifications of brain farts, additions of info I shouldn't assume people know

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


Last edited by aninkling on Wed 01 Jul , 2020 8:24 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jun , 2020 6:51 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 2009
I might or might not stop by again, so I might as well post something else that might be inflammatory to some. :D

I found it an interesting argument.

https://quillette.com/2020/06/19/the-purity-paradox-how-tolerance-and-intolerance-increase-at-the-same-time/

Quote:
The Purity Paradox: How Tolerance and Intolerance Increase at the Same Time
Quote:
How can intolerance be increasing when Western democracies are demonstrably more tolerant of historically marginalised identities than at any point in their history? It is, according to Douglas Murray, “a curiosity of the age” that as racial and sexual tolerance “at the very least appears to be better than it ever was, it is presented as though it has never been worse.” This paradox occurs because, as we address and overcome problems of intolerance and discrimination, we also expand the concept of intolerance to stigmatise new attitudes and behaviours. This makes it appear as if we are either making no progress at all or, worse, that we are becoming more intolerant. The upshot is that social problems appear increasingly irresolvable.

It is, of course, counter-intuitive to think of tolerance and intolerance increasing at the same time. Nevertheless, the idea is supported by a Harvard University study of human judgement, led by Professor Daniel Gilbert. In a series of experiments, Gilbert and his team of researchers showed that “people often respond to the decrease in the prevalence of a stimulus by increasing the concept of it.” He termed this phenomenon “prevalence-induced concept change.” In the first experiment, participants were shown 1,000 dots that varied on a continuum from very purple to very blue and then asked to identify the blue dots. After 200 trials, the number of blue dots was decreased for one group of participants but increased for another. In both cases, participants assessed the number of blue dots to be the same—the group with decreasing blue dots expanded their concept of blue to include dots they had previously excluded. This change was not altered by forewarning participants, by sudden decreases in prevalence, or by reversal in the direction of prevalence.

The same effect was noticed when participants were shown 800 human faces on a continuum of threatening to non-threatening...
Quote:
The implications of this research should give us pause for thought across a wide range of social and cultural issues, especially when it comes to assessing the prevalence over time of bias against marginalised groups. There is no doubt that discrimination against people on the basis of race, gender, or sexuality continues, the view that it is increasing is likely to be an effect of prevalence-induced concept change. The concept of what constitutes discrimination has expanded, and as marginalised communities have splintered into mutually antagonistic groups, overall hostility and inter-community tension has been exacerbated....

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jun , 2020 4:22 pm 
of Vinyamar
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Location: Ireland
That tolerance/intolerance study is very interesting. Thanks for that!

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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul , 2020 12:21 pm 

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This made me angry enough to post it here. Apparently this part editorial/ part book promotion was originally posted on Forbes (supposedly you can still get copies of it via the wayback machine). But it seems someone was so threatened by it that they pressured Forbes into taking it down. They haven't been entirely successful - it's been picked up by other sources, but probably those that many liberals will never read/see.

If someone or some group can't respond honestly with a rebuttal and let readers decide, instead of telling them what to think, then I'm all for thwarting their censorship by all means possible.

I've also quit reading any of the New York Times editorials, and am now viewing their news articles with a degree of skepticism, in protest for their young "woke" staffers forcing the resignation of an editor because publishing the Sen. Cotton editorial made them "feel unsafe." Either the Times restores my confidence by recommitting itself to objectivity and fairness, or they're off my list of news sources.

https://quillette.com/2020/06/30/on-behalf-of-environmentalists-i-apologize-for-the-climate-scare/
Quote:
On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare
written by Michael Shellenberger
Quote:
On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem. I may seem like a strange person to be saying all of this. I have been a climate activist for 20 years and an environmentalist for 30.

But as an energy expert asked by Congress to provide objective expert testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to serve as expert reviewer of its next assessment report, I feel an obligation to apologize for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public.

Here are some facts few people know:

Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”

The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”

Climate change is not making natural disasters worse

Fires have declined 25 percent around the world since 2003

The amount of land we use for meat—humankind’s biggest use of land—has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska

The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California

Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the mid-1970s

The Netherlands became rich, not poor while adapting to life below sea level

We produce 25 percent more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter

Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change

Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels

Preventing future pandemics requires more not less “industrial” agriculture


I know that the above facts will sound like “climate denialism” to many people. But that just shows the power of climate alarmism.

In reality, the above facts come from the best-available scientific studies, including those conducted by or accepted by the IPCC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other leading scientific bodies.....


btw, I do enjoy the comments on Quillette. There is the occasional loon or extremist who's found the site but many commenters are reasonable and articulate. This comment made me laugh:
Quote:
"vast majority of scientists in a well-established field arrive at the same conclusion"

This quip has always made me chuckle a bit having worked in a university setting for 16 years. First of all what, exactly, is the conclusion? If we could define that very narrowly, then the statement may be true. But my observations lead me to believe that if you put two Ph.D’s in a room and ask them if it’s raining outside, you’ll walk away confused and the Ph.D’s will partner up to write a grant proposal.


And this one gets to the gist of the problem with many "hot" topics in science. The media tends to amplify the overconfident people/ self-promoters and ignores the scientists who admit to alternative explanations and uncertainties. I'm seeing a similar problem in some scientific papers, overconfidence in your findings, though that might be partly because space limitations are getting worse and so there's less room to say "our findings agree with those of so-and-so but disagree with this other guy. Here are the factors that might influence this." :
Quote:
The real problem he exposes stays implicit, which is how activism and alarmism are out of touch with real science. You can see why, since his resume shows he spent more time in his youth being a know-it-all activist than learning anything. Reminds me of a certain Swedish girl. This is the real difference between people at a young age - those who think they should learn versus those who think they should act. A lot of the idiocy today is because we’ve forgotten to put the latter in their place.

I have a friend in climate science (glaciology to be precise) and he has commented on how upset scientists feel about being misrepresented by both climate change activists (who make up their own more alarmist pseudoscience and want to enforce a political and economic program of dubious value) and climate change deniers. More precisely he says he thinks the activists are worst because they can do more harm. The word on the street is that a there are lot of scientists out there who really dislike St Greta of Arc for popularising wrong conclusions and claiming they are supported by science, and essentially turning a scientific issue into a religious one.



And an excellent article worth drawing attention to. Too many people have forgotten that there are many perspectives and experiences and equate "the worst" with "everyone." And these same people absolutely adore simplistic solutions. :
https://quillette.com/2020/06/30/policing-in-the-anomie-era/
Quote:
Policing in the Anomie Era
Quote:
We bounced along a pitted dirt road on an Indigenous reserve in Northern Ontario. As I leaned on my horn to convince a bored looking, semi-feral stray dog to move out of our path, I chatted with my passenger. She was a young Indigenous woman who worked at our police detachment as an administration assistant....

... Unfortunately, this potential success story would end in failure. Within a year, Grace’s parents had returned to drinking and she was forced to choose between withdrawing from school and returning to care for her children or losing them to foster care. She chose the former and the intergenerational cycle of defeat continued.

Activists invariably claim “racism” or a “lack of funding” are behind stories like these. But these are simplistic characterizations of complex problems. .... What undermined her were deep-rooted social pathologies that simply cannot be solved through corporate diversity programs, increased government funding, or vituperative Twitter campaigns that seek to defenestrate those who fail to stay current with the malleable tenets of the zeitgeist.

As a now senior Canadian police officer in my third decade of service, I have reflected on this experience quite a bit recently. ....

As calls to “defund police” continue, academics, activists, politicians, and other public figures are re-evaluating the role law enforcement plays in liberal democratic societies. In and of itself, this isn’t a bad thing.

.... Mental health provides one example. Since the 1970s, virtually every jurisdiction in the Western world began the process of deinstitutionalization, which saw those suffering from psychiatric disorders treated within the community rather than warehoused in asylums. While this was a humane evolution, it also resulted in police officers becoming the default option when a person with a psychiatric disorder suffers emotional distress....

Another area in which activists and police leaders would no doubt find common ground relates to police accountability....

...When anti-racism activists cite evidence of systemic racism, they invariably point to statistics that demonstrate marginalized people make up a disproportionate share of those involved adversely with the justice system. In Canada, this is reflected in the oft-cited statistic that Indigenous Canadians make up five percent of the population but now account for 30 percent of the federal inmate population, up significantly since the year 2000. Activists claim this proves that systemic racism not only exists, but is growing, and they identify “over-policing” as the root cause of this disparity. But are Indigenous communities really over-policed?...

A closer examination of the facts would suggest otherwise. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, for instance, found that on-reserve Indigenous people in Canada are charged with fewer property offences than non-Indigenous people but more violent ones.1 ... I

In reality, the underlying cause of high rates of Indigenous incarceration results from higher rates of criminality. That’s not a moral judgement. Toxic combinations of poverty, geographic isolation, family breakdown, and substance abuse underpin this pathology. ...






btw, glad you appreciated the previous article, Al.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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