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Coronavirus Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it

#181 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2020-March-20, 01:53

I still feel that in the UK not enough is being done to promote the logic of social distancing to try to keep the numbers getting this virus under control. Public Houses and Clubs have not been told to shut - why? - when every other event is being cancelled or postponed even when the event is months in advance.

Panic shoppers, due to their co-mingling, have probably caused many more coronavirus germs to be passed on. As a nursing friend said on the telephone, "If you're ill with any type of flu, then you're appetite disappears" so it might be poetic justice that many of the greedy panic buyers, who have left nothing on the shops' shelves for the elderly and vulnerable members of society, will get coronavirus and see most of their shopping go to waste.

So it will be interesting to see what happens this weekend, compared to the last when it appears that people were still going out socialising. The weather isn't going to help to keep people indoors as it looks to be sunny in most parts of the country. Will people ignore the government's advice and still think they are invincible to this illness? I hope not. Social responsibility has to come to the fore at some point, though many will still remain irresponsible whatever happens. Sadly.

Later edit (after reading Cyberyeti's post below): Been for a walk this morning in the open air and it's not just the supermarkets that are getting emptied. Seen queues outside smaller shops (butcher, delicatessen, general grocer, etc) and people in very close contact inside the shop. At least one smaller shop owner was socially responsible and was only allowing two people in at a time. I now know of a few pubs and restaurants that have closed their doors 'until further notice', but the majority remain open.

Some shop owners are taking advantage of the situation, too, as bad as the locusts who have left the shelves empty. Bread at £5.75 per loaf, Children's paracetamol (Calpol) at £19.99, 32 tablets of paracetamol at £9.99 (the normal price for generic paracetamol is £0.80 per 32 tablets.)
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#182 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-March-20, 04:38

View PostFelicityR, on 2020-March-20, 01:53, said:

I still feel that in the UK not enough is being done to promote the logic of social distancing to try to keep the numbers getting this virus under control. Public Houses and Clubs have not been told to shut - why? - when every other event is being cancelled or postponed even when the event is months in advance.

Panic shoppers, due to their co-mingling, have probably caused many more coronavirus germs to be passed on. As a nursing friend said on the telephone, "If you're ill with any type of flu, then you're appetite disappears" so it might be poetic justice that many of the greedy panic buyers, who have left nothing on the shops' shelves for the elderly and vulnerable members of society, will get coronavirus and see most of their shopping go to waste.

So it will be interesting to see what happens this weekend, compared to the last when it appears that people were still going out socialising. The weather isn't going to help to keep people indoors as it looks to be sunny in most parts of the country. Will people ignore the government's advice and still think they are invincible to this illness? I hope not. Social responsibility has to come to the fore at some point, though many will still remain irresponsible whatever happens. Sadly.


I don't drive, I walked into the only supermarket within walking distance at 1130 yesterday and it was heaving, with so many people at the checkouts and self service tills I just walked straight out and came back at 1500 when it was much quieter but some of the shelves were empty. I'm not prepared to stand at the tills for 10-15 minutes in close proximity to that many people.

The supermarket is the ONLY place I now go, all social contact has stopped. Thank god for forums like this, online computer games and text/voice chat programs like discord.

Somebody also pointed out that with so much pasta having flown off the shelves, many hoarders will be incapable of using their 200 toilet rolls.
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#183 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-March-20, 05:32

Not sure why, but this morning my thoughts specifically turned to the concentration camps that have been erected on our borders. I am terrified at the human costs if/when coronavirus inevitably breaks out in them. Wish I had a good answer.

Keeping them open seems highly problematic...

Not sure whether we can either release the victims into the US or, alternatively deport them.

Just another one of those examples where Trump and Miller dug us into a really deep hole, where there aren't any good answers, and it's highly likely that whole bunch of people are going to die.
Alderaan delenda est
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#184 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-20, 06:56

From Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution:

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What is the scenario for going back to work? Testing and tracing. In fact, two types of tests. First, the test for COVID-19 which says if an individual is infected. After deadly delays caused by the FDA and CDC we unleashed the private labs and the states and are now ramping up the number of tests. As of today, we have run about 80 thousand but we need many more and with every positive test we need to isolate and contact trace. Test and trace. Health care workers need daily testing. We don’t need to test everyone but we do need to test enough to get the number of new cases down to a level that people feel comfortable returning to work, to shop, to eat. In China yesterday there were no new local infections. We can get there.

The second test is for COVID-19 antibodies which indicate that the person was infected and recovered and may thus have some immunity. An antibody test was just announced. The test looks only at one antibody and this doesn’t guarantee immunity. Nevertheless, people who have been infected and recovered are valuable. The blood of recovered individuals may be useful as a treatment. (N.B. The NIH Vaccine Research Center is looking for otherwise healthy recovered COVID-19 patients who are willing to donate their blood for study. Please contact.) In addition, recovered individuals have a kind of superpower and would be highly desirable workers. Recovered individuals are better able to help the sick at lower risk, for example (David Balan made this point in an unpublished piece). Moreover, a non-infected person would be very willing to work with a recovered person so the effect on labor supply is amplified.

As with the financial crisis, there are some bad risks out there but no one knows where and so every borrower/worker is suspect and no one is lending/working. With more information we can separate out the bad risks and get the majority of people working again.

To be clear, things are going to get worse but there is a reasonable scenario for recovery. Social distancing, including all the shutdowns, will start to show an effect in a week or two. With luck and effort we may stop SFO, Seattle and NYC from going critical and we can then start to bend the curve nationally. If we greatly expand testing, it’s possible that we can get people back to work in one or two months. That will not end the crisis–a fall rebound is possible and we can expect outbreaks. But if we test quickly and widely at the first sign of an outbreak, outbreaks can be contained. A vaccine is also possible and perhaps faster than most people think. Treatments will also improve. Testing and tracing buys us time.

We can get the economy back on track. Testing and tracing will do it much faster and cheaper than dealing with a prolonged recession.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#185 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-March-20, 09:02

View PostCyberyeti, on 2020-March-19, 16:56, said:

Can you actually try reading - the second part of the sentence said "restrictions have been IMPOSED on their movement".

I think you may be interpreting that too literally. Restrictions against speeding are also "imposed" on us. Most laws impose on us in some way.

#186 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-20, 10:41

View Postbarmar, on 2020-March-20, 09:02, said:

I think you may be interpreting that too literally. Restrictions against speeding are also "imposed" on us. Most laws impose on us in some way.


From a libertarian viewpoint, though, governments impose their wills - except in cases where the libertarian wants government to act - then it's O.K. B-)
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#187 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-March-20, 13:06

Today's statistics in Italy: positive 47021 (+42%), dead 4032 (+18%), no longer infected 5129 (+16%). Intensive care 2655 (+6%). Fatality rate 7.9%.
The jump in positives is downhearting, the lag of intensive care even more so.


I discussed a few days ago possible links between air pollution and anomalous diffusion of the virus.
This interesting Position Paper measures the correlation between Covid19 diffusion rates and registered violations of the EC limit of 50 ug / m3 for PM10 and PM2.5 particulate. The two figures on page 4 are fairly eloquent even if your italian is basic. The hypothesis of Di Gennaro of Bari University is that the PM2.5 particles are capturing the virus and carrying it very effectively into our lungs. Chinese research about measles diffusion in Lanzhou reached similar conclusions.
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#188 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2020-March-20, 14:42

Finally, the UK government has taken drastic measures and closed bars and public houses tonight. Thankfully.

Pescetom's previous post about air particle quality (pollution) and covid-19 distribution in Italy is an interesting hypothesis that rings true. It is another factor that must be taken into consideration. Lombardy is extremely polluted [I checked the air quality index for the last few days]

Whilst looking into this, I wondered why we haven't heard much about covid-19 infection in Japan. Not so many years ago, air pollution in Japan was at dangerous levels. It was not uncommon for Japanese people to wear face masks in the larger cities. However, what impressed me was how Japan have dealt with covid-19. The Wikipedia entry makes interesting reading. Less than 1000 infected, and just over 30 deaths as of today.

https://en.wikipedia...ndemic_in_Japan

Face masks and testing for covid-19 were high priority in the early stages of the covid-19 outbreak. And, yes, Japan is a first world country with good resources to deal with this pandemic, but you have to admire the ruthless efficiency of the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government.
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#189 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-March-20, 18:00

I've come across an easy and convincing explanation for Germany's low fatality rate, at least in the beginning. Ski season. Many must have originally caught it during their ski holiday in Italy. Those who go on ski holidays typically aren't over 70, nor do they usually have strong underlying health conditions.
In addition, I am sure there are more people being tested in Germany just based on mild symptoms, or on indirect exposure to a known case. There are no precise figures, but the Robert-Koch-Institute (roughly the German CDC) estimates Germany does 160,000 tests per week.
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#190 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2020-March-21, 01:23

View Postcherdano, on 2020-March-20, 18:00, said:

I've come across an easy and convincing explanation for Germany's low fatality rate, at least in the beginning. Ski season. Many must have originally caught it during their ski holiday in Italy. Those who go on ski holidays typically aren't over 70, nor do they usually have strong underlying health conditions.
In addition, I am sure there are more people being tested in Germany just based on mild symptoms, or on indirect exposure to a known case. There are no precise figures, but the Robert-Koch-Institute (roughly the German CDC) estimates Germany does 160,000 tests per week.


Yes that seems a possible, even logical, explanation. And Germany, like Japan, testing for covid-19 far more comprehensively than other countries, and then isolating the carriers.

The statistics for Italy make for contemplative reading. It's a very age discriminatory illness. 95% of the deaths have occurred in the 60+ age group (as per Wikipedia data) and whilst those people are more likely to have age-related health problems, it's a sobering fact that many Italians in that age group also have good health too due to their diets.
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#191 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-March-21, 02:18

View Postpescetom, on 2020-March-20, 13:06, said:

This interesting Position Paper measures the correlation between Covid19 diffusion rates and registered violations of the EC limit of 50 ug / m3 for PM10 and PM2.5 particulate. The two figures on page 4 are fairly eloquent even if your italian is basic. The hypothesis of Di Gennaro of Bari University is that the PM2.5 particles are capturing the virus and carrying it very effectively into our lungs. Chinese research about measles diffusion in Lanzhou reached similar conclusions.

If the spread of the disease can also occur through PM2.5 particulates, the situation is going to get ugly sometime in the coming months. Various cities (especially in developing economies) have very high PM2.5 pollution.
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#192 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-21, 07:53

From Pilita Clark at FT:

Quote

Last Tuesday an email landed in Neil Ferguson’s inbox from his boss, Alice Gast, the president at Imperial College London. She had two things to say to Prof Ferguson, an influential epidemiologist whose work had just been credited with helping to upend coronavirus response strategies on each side of the Atlantic: thank you for everything you’re doing and try to get some rest.

His initial response was typical, Prof Gast said. “He asked me to write again to his whole team with a message he could forward . . . He’s a very collegial academic.” Then he said something startling. “He told me he had a dry cough.”

That was a classic coronavirus symptom. So was the high fever Prof Ferguson soon developed. By Wednesday morning he was tweeting that he felt “a bit grotty” as he hunkered down for seven days of isolation in his central London flat. A test confirmed he had been infected by the virus he was modelling.

It was sobering news from the bespectacled 51-year-old, one of the first global experts to warn at the start of this year that the outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan could be worse than reported figures suggested. Since then, he and his team at Imperial have had a more dramatic impact, not least at home in the UK where he has been advising government on the outbreak for weeks.

Britain has been slower than other European countries to close schools, ban sporting matches or take other, drastic steps to suppress infections. Instead it has taken a less socially disruptive path of trying to slow but not stop the spread of the virus, partly in the hope that this would build up “herd immunity” and avoid more outbreaks in the future.

But this so-called mitigation strategy was abruptly junked this week after modelling in a study co-authored by Prof Ferguson suggested it could lead to the deaths of 250,000 people in the UK and up to 1.2m in the US. “Suppression is the only viable strategy at the current time,” the paper grimly concluded.

By Monday, when the research was publicly released, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had begun to tell people to avoid crowded places and non-essential travel. White House officials cited the British study the same day, as they unveiled similar measures.

Imperial College’s global reputation for infectious disease modelling expertise was one reason the research had such an impact. Prof Ferguson’s reputation was another, says Andrea Crisanti, an infections expert at the college who has been working to contain the virus in Italy. “He is very well recognised as one of the most influential scientists in the field of epidemiology and modelling,” says Prof Crisanti.

Yet it was not immediately obvious that Prof Ferguson would ever enter the field of disease control. Born in England’s picturesque Lake District, he grew up in the middle of Wales where he went to Llanidloes High School. His father was an educational psychologist and his mother a librarian who became an Anglican priest.

By the late 1980s he was at Oxford university where he seemed destined to become a physicist. He gained a first class degree in physics and then a PhD where he looked at aspects of a quantum theory of gravity.

“He was one of the best graduate students I’ve ever had,” said his doctoral supervisor, John Wheater. “He is a very smart guy.” One day, according to Prof Wheater, his student came to him with news. “He said, ‘John, I’ve decided I’m not smart enough to carry on as a theoretical particle physicist’.” Instead, he had decided to apply his modelling skills to real-world problems by going into mathematical biology.

He was soon working for one of the top scientists in the field, Roy Anderson, who took his team of infectious disease experts from Oxford to Imperial College in late 2000. Within months they were called in to help UK officials grappling with a devastating foot-and-mouth disease outbreak that would prove to be a turning point in Prof Ferguson’s career.

As the Daily Telegraph reported at the time, it was “the first time that epidemiologists have modelled a major epidemic as it unfolds, then intervened to change its course”.

“It was really Neil’s innovative thinking on the computational side of it that made that possible,” says Deirdre Hollingsworth, an Oxford university epidemiologist who worked with Prof Ferguson at Imperial.

In recognition of the role his work played in helping to contain the outbreak, the father of one was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2002. He stayed at Imperial, where he now heads several research groups, including the Jameel Institute of Disease and Emergency Analytics. An adviser to the World Health Organization, the World Bank and sundry governments, he has been at the scientific coalface of most of the 21st-century’s disease outbreaks, from Sars and swine flu to Ebola and the Zika virus.

All of those pale before the coronavirus pandemic, however. It poses what Prof Ferguson has called the most serious public health threat seen in a respiratory virus since the 1918 Spanish flu, which is estimated to have killed at least 50m people worldwide.

The world now depends on the computer models Prof Ferguson and his team have developed as never before. Their task may seem overwhelming but Prof Wheater at Oxford says one thing is worth bearing in mind. “If I trust anybody’s calculations I trust Neil’s,” he says. “He’s a very careful, very solid person.”

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#193 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-March-21, 08:03

View PostFelicityR, on 2020-March-21, 01:23, said:

Yes that seems a possible, even logical, explanation. And Germany, like Japan, testing for covid-19 far more comprehensively than other countries, and then isolating the carriers.

The statistics for Italy make for contemplative reading. It's a very age discriminatory illness. 95% of the deaths have occurred in the 60+ age group (as per Wikipedia data) and whilst those people are more likely to have age-related health problems, it's a sobering fact that many Italians in that age group also have good health too due to their diets.


I buy the argument about the effect of a very high German testing rate much more than the one about young skiers (the initial vectors of the virus in all countries have been internationally mobile people who are mainly younger, nothing specific there).
Not sure what gave you the idea that Japan has been efficient (see the Diamond Princess) or testing energically - this Japan Times article says that no real precautions have been taken and suggests that the government may be intentionally under-testing to maintain hope for the Olympics.


View Postshyams, on 2020-March-21, 02:18, said:

If the spread of the disease can also occur through PM2.5 particulates, the situation is going to get ugly sometime in the coming months. Various cities (especially in developing economies) have very high PM2.5 pollution.

Teheran, for instance. But also the industrial cities of Poland which do not seem hit yet.
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#194 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-March-21, 08:33

View Postpescetom, on 2020-March-21, 08:03, said:


Teheran, for instance. But also the industrial cities of Poland which do not seem hit yet.


Was thinking Athens, but Greece doesn't seem to have a massive outbreak
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#195 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-21, 10:51

Visualization of the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. by Lazaro Gamio, Mitch Smith, Karen Yourish and Sarah Almukhtar at NYT:

https://www.nytimes....pgtype=Homepage
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#196 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-March-21, 12:28

Today's statistics in Italy: positive 42681 (-9%), dead 4825 (+20%), no longer infected 6027 (+18%). Intensive care 2857 (+8%). Fatality rate 10.2%.
Don't get excited about that apparent drop in positives, yesterday it was an equally unlikely +42%, everything is consistent with a simple back of an envelope error of counting 10,000 too many yesterday - the increase over two days is +29% which is in line with the revised trend of previous days.
The worst news of course is 800 deaths in one day, pushing the fatality rate over 10%.
This morning a long line of army trucks carried coffins away from Bergamo cemetery which cannot incinerate enough people in 24 hours.
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#197 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-March-21, 15:21

View Postpescetom, on 2020-March-21, 08:03, said:

I buy the argument about the effect of a very high German testing rate much more than the one about young skiers (the initial vectors of the virus in all countries have been internationally mobile people who are mainly younger, nothing specific there).

I used to go skiing a lot. I have been do many international conferences. The idea that the participants in the latter are just as young and healthy as the former would make for a good joke at the conference dinner...
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#198 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2020-March-22, 01:45

This news item was one of the first that greeted me first thing this morning as I caught up on the overnight news. I can only describe it as utterly moronic.

https://www.mirror.c...ps-pub-21732667

The last sentence in this statement just doesn't make sense either: Several people criticised the pub on social media for staying open even though health officials advised all public venues to close to prevent further spread of the virus. DCC Malcolm Graham [of the Scottish Police] told the Daily Record that officers, at this time, cannot enforce the closure of any premises.

Why can't they enforce a closedown? Take away their drinks licence immediately? If a licensed premises is deemed a danger to the public I would have thought it could have been closed down with immediate effect? And where are the Health and Safety council officers who probably have separate powers to enforce closure?

Whilst people still act as irresponsibly as this, then is there any hope for the world?
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#199 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-March-22, 03:10

View Postcherdano, on 2020-March-21, 15:21, said:

I used to go skiing a lot. I have been do many international conferences. The idea that the participants in the latter are just as young and healthy as the former would make for a good joke at the conference dinner...

Well when I travel internationally I feel younger ;)
Your specific point is right of course, but I suspect the business travel between Germany and north Italy far exceeds number of skiers.
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#200 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-March-22, 10:35

This is horrifying:
https://globalnews.c...impression=true
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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