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Ser Scot A Ellison

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Ah fuck, Berlin is infected. As someone reliant on public transport, working with kids, having a lot of stress and having Asthma, I guess I can go order myself a coffin.

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10 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

Not sure I believe there are only 5 cases in the whole of Africa in only 3 countries. And it's really hard to believe there are no cases at all in Saudi Arabia but there are cases in 6 of the countries bordering Saudi Arabia. I guess I can believe there are no positive diagnoses in almost all of Africa and in several other countries because of a lack of confirmatory testing. But that just means there is a substantial risk that these places will become incubators of the virus.

Sure that plays a role. See Iran for example. However, the diseases is still in expansion phase so it's perfectly possible that there are many countries where it hasn't reached yet. As in the Iran case, we can expect a higher amount of mortality compared to the reported cases because 1) lack of testing 2) lack of proper medical facilities.

Maybe even climate plays a role here. We still need to know.

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On the weekend I met two friends. The man is a biologist working in some obscure subfield related to virus protein synthesis. His wife is gastroenterologist. They both have been receiving a deal of information regarding this virus.

Both had nothing but praise for China.

They both agree that this disease is extremely hard to contain  (think on the common cold but much deadlier) and it was going to spread no matter what. Yet, China draconian measures allowed to buy crucial time 1) to better understand the virus 2) to delay the international spread long enough so the good weather can return to the northern hemisphere. Basically, everyone expect that the disease is going to slow during the warmer seasons with still some lower level spread during that time only to return in full strength next winter, basically everywhere.

They say the international concern is rightly placed. The thing is if one thinks about this with a cold mind, 3000 deaths and 100000 infected (like in China) is something that most countries can absorb without much trouble. What worries them is the high frequency of serious/critical cases that require hospitalization, which could collapse any sanitary system in the world.

They say that only a miracle can make a vaccine for next winter. Even shitloads of money won't do that, because trials require time. However, they expect that the clinical trials of several antivirals will be ready by then and the sanitary systems are better tuned to deal with this ugly guest next winter.

 

 

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2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

On the weekend I met two friends. The man is a biologist working in some obscure subfield related to virus protein synthesis. His wife is gastroenterologist. They both have been receiving a deal of information regarding this virus.

Both had nothing but praise for China.

That's an attitude I cannot bring myself to agree with.

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

They both agree that this disease is extremely hard to contain  (think on the common cold but much deadlier) and it was going to spread no matter what.

That's probably fair enough. 

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Yet, China draconian measures allowed to buy crucial time 1) to better understand the virus 2) to delay the international spread long enough so the good weather can return to the northern hemisphere.

Firstly, I agree that, while the virus perhaps could not be stopped, it is important to slow its spread, so that health care systems are not overwhelmed.

But China's authoritarian system created an environment where the disease was swept under the rug, while it was silently spreading inside of China and internationally.  They punished Doctor Li when he tried to warn other doctors about its spread.  They punished their own virologists and officials for saying the virus could be airborne, and admitted it was only after the Diamond Princess situation more or less let the cat out of the bag.  And now that the rest of the world has its own problems with the virus, they have clamped down even harder on the spread of information.

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Basically, everyone expect that the disease is going to slow during the warmer seasons with still some lower level spread during that time only to return in full strength next winter, basically everywhere.

Well, that's apparently President Xi's line.  Trump was called a fool when he repeated it.  I've got my fingers crossed.

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

They say the international concern is rightly placed. The thing is if one thinks about this with a cold mind, 3000 deaths and 100000 infected (like in China) is something that most countries can absorb without much trouble.

Do you think it is reasonable to trust the Chinese figures at this point?

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

What worries them is the high frequency of serious/critical cases that require hospitalization, which could collapse any sanitary system in the world.

Agreed.

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24 minutes ago, Platypus Rex said:

But China's authoritarian system created an environment where the disease was swept under the rug,

It’s not just China that sweeps things under the rug. I have repeatedly mentioned the fact that the US has never had a case of mad cow disease. Riiiight.

But I also see that the US only had 8 SARS cases, and no deaths, while Canada had 251 cases and 45 deaths, a 17% fatality rate. The US-Canada border is the busiest in the world, with hundreds of thousands of crossings a day, and Ontario was a hot-bed if SARS. No fripping way did the US only have 8 proven cases and a total of 27 with the suspected cases. 

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9 hours ago, lancerman said:

Apparently it's in Florida now too, so it's basically all over the country

Not quite yet. Most of the cases appear to be along the coasts and major intercontinental hubs (also perhaps college towns with large international populations). I havent seen any in Atlanta yet though. Also, the middle of the US seems relatively unaffected at the present.

Michigan right now does not have any confirmed cases, although Toronto (and London, ON), Madison and Chicago do, so its just a matter of time.

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45 minutes ago, Platypus Rex said:

But China's authoritarian system created an environment where the disease was swept under the rug, while it was silently spreading inside of China and internationally.  They punished Doctor Li when he tried to warn other doctors about its spread.  They punished their own virologists and officials for saying the virus could be airborne, and admitted it was only after the Diamond Princess situation more or less let the cat out of the bag.  And now that the rest of the world has its own problems with the virus, they have clamped down even harder on the spread of information.

It is completely unclear that this disease could have been easily detected in any other country amid the flu (and other seasonal diseases) epidemic. Certainly, some attitudes didn't help, but if the origin was Thailand for example we would have gotten it much earlier in the western hemisphere and we would have had the disaster already. It is already March, not beginning of February, at the peak of the flu season. It makes a huge difference for the sanitary system. 

 

45 minutes ago, Platypus Rex said:

Well, that's apparently President Xi's line.  Trump was called a fool when he repeated it.  I've got my fingers crossed.

It should be like that unless they got the virus completely wrong. In that case, blame the virologists.

 

45 minutes ago, Platypus Rex said:

Do you think it is reasonable to trust the Chinese figures at this point? 

Think about it. Even the Chinese cannot fake the number of deaths for more than a factor two. So, if the disease is much more widespread in China, it means that it is less lethal  than previously thought.  If it is more, we should already see it from the cases in Italy and S. Korea. So, if the Chinese are lying we have already enough data to disprove them. So, I don't think it is the case.

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50 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

But I also see that the US only had 8 SARS cases, and no deaths, while Canada had 251 cases and 45 deaths, a 17% fatality rate. The US-Canada border is the busiest in the world, with hundreds of thousands of crossings a day, and Ontario was a hot-bed if SARS. No fripping way did the US only have 8 proven cases and a total of 27 with the suspected cases. 

It is possible the US under-reported the number of SARS cases, but if there are only 251 cases in a nation of 33 million, then with some approximations even among 330k people crossing the border you'd only have about 2.5 people being vectors for the disease.

The other part of it is why did the US have so few cases from travelers entering the country, and why did Canada have so many (the only nation outside Asia to report deaths I believe). To that, I have no answer. Might be 9/11 related enhanced border protocols, who knows?

Edited by IheartIheartTesla

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In terms of what covid-19 means globally, there are political and social norms that it is allowing to be flouted as we see in the first place this virus emerged -- but hey! good for the economy!

"China compels Uighurs to work in shoe factory that supplies Nike"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-compels-uighurs-to-work-in-shoe-factory-that-supplies-nike/2020/02/28/ebddf5f4-57b2-11ea-8efd-0f904bdd8057_story.html

"Apple suppliers implicated in reports of Uyghur forced labor in China"

https://9to5mac.com/2020/03/02/apple-suppliers-implicated-in-reports-of-uyghur-forced-labor-in-china/

"China transferred detained Uighurs to factories used by global brands – report"

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/01/china-transferred-detained-uighurs-to-factories-used-by-global-brands-report

-- the sorts of coercive police state action which  bedbug favors.  A national crisis of this sort allows for suspension of civil law, institution of martial law, and even, o yes! never leaving office.

In the meantime covid-19 reported in B.C. -- Vancouver.

https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/eighth-case-of-covid-19-recorded-in-b-c-say-health-officials

https://bc.ctvnews.ca/covid-19-fears-causing-panic-buying-in-vancouver-1.4833426

 

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5 minutes ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

It is possible the US under-reported the number of SARS cases, but if there are only 251 cases in a nation of 33 million, then with some approximations even among 330k people crossing the border you'd only have about 2.5 people being vectors for the disease.

The other part of it is why did the US have so few cases from travelers entering the country, and why did Canada have so many (the only nation outside Asia to report deaths I believe). To that, I have no answer. Might be 9/11 related enhanced border protocols, who knows?

China had 349 deaths, Hong Kong had 299 deaths, Taiwan had 73 deaths, and other countries in Asia had a few deaths. South Africa and France had 1 death each.

Toronto and Vancouver have massive populations of Hong Kong Chinese immigrants. When the British made their announcement that they were returning Hong Kong to China, hundreds of thousands of residents moved to Canada over more than a decade. It was the biggest group of immigrants to Canada for years. As part of the Commonwealth, Hong Kong residents had an advantage over other immigrants, and Canada had an 'entrepreneur' category of immigrant, bring money and you'll get in. They moved their families to Canada, got their citizenship and Canadian passport, then moved back to Hong Kong to run their businesses, leaving the kids behind to look after the house and get a university education. Many thought that there was at least a chance that China would live up to their promises of relative freedom.

An elderly doctor from China went to Hong Kong to attend a wedding. He had SARS and died quite soon after. An elderly woman from Toronto was at the wedding and caught it from him. She went home and at first her family cared for her, but when she got really sick they took her to hospital. Her son, in his 40s, then got sick and died, as did his mother. The rest of the family got sick as well, and had been spreading it to people they met. They infected people in the hospital, because at first they did not have the kind of information they really needed to deal with it. 17 hospital workers got SARS and died, 27 non-hospital workers.

The original hospital was closed off and isolated, and the province went overboard with hospitals across the province, totally over-reacting, mainly because no one understood the virus and how it spread for quite some time. After 4 months Canada was declared SARS free by the WHO, and a week later the epidemic was declared to be over.

Another person at the same Hong Kong hotel returned home to Vancouver, but he went immediately to hospital and they isolated him. There was no outbreak in Vancouver because he infected no family members.

I don't recall any post 9/11 actions that the US took against either China or Hong Kong that would have prevented SARS from entering the US. The largest Chinese community outside of China is in California and the early 2000s was when business with China was getting ramped up. Hong Kong did a large amount of business with the US as well. That's why I am so cynical. Border crossings may, indeed, have been only a tiny exposure window.

SARS taught a huge  number of lessons about coronavirus and how to deal with it.

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Well my wife is finally of the same accord as me that a cruise out of Italy in May would be the height of irresponsibility.  Just going to play the waiting game with the cruise line now and hope they do the right thing and cancel or allow us to reschedule before I'm out half of the costs. 

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2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

It is completely unclear that this disease could have been easily detected in any other country amid the flu (and other seasonal diseases) epidemic.

When doctors are punished for sharing information with other doctors, I'd say that's a pretty good clue.

Quote

It should be like that unless they got the virus completely wrong. In that case, blame the virologists.

I don't see why we should blame the virologists, when we know the virologists can be punished for saying the wrong things.  I don't know of any virologist outside of China who has endorsed this "disappear in warm weather" notion with any confidence.  Seems to me they all have their fingers crossed.

Quote

Think about it. Even the Chinese cannot fake the number of deaths for more than a factor two.

Why not?  It seems to me they are doing at least that much virtually in plain sight, with the various ways they have re-defined what constitutes a "case".  And who knows what tricks they might use to manipulate the data from behind the scenes.

Quote

So, if the disease is much more widespread in China, it means that it is less lethal  than previously thought. 

You are assuming that unreported cases are not dying of pneumonia in China.  I see no basis for this, and even some evidence against it.

Quote

If it is more, we should already see it from the cases in Italy and S. Korea. So, if the Chinese are lying we have already enough data to disprove them. So, I don't think it is the case.

You are assuming the Chinese lack sufficient guile to give us a fairly representative sample.  In any event, I think it remains to be seen whether the reported cases outside of China will turn out to have a higher CFR than the reported cases within China.

Edited by Platypus Rex

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1 hour ago, Platypus Rex said:

  I don't know of any virologist outside of China who has endorsed this "disappear in warm weather" notion with any confidence.  Seems to me they all have their fingers crossed.

Based on what is known about other coronaviruses, the expectation has good grounds. Of course, they do not know with 100% confidence this virus and anyway viruses mutate often and unpredictably.

1 hour ago, Platypus Rex said:

Why not?  It seems to me they are doing at least that much virtually in plain sight, with the various ways they have re-defined what constitutes a "case".  And who knows what tricks they might use to manipulate the data from behind the scenes.

If they had, western countries would have already caught them. We have pretty good data in our own with the outbreaks in Italy, S. Korea and elsewhere. In particular the death rate in Italy seems to be pretty much inline with the chinese reports. So, I don't see absolutely any ground for this mistrust. 

Regarding, changing the definition of a case. That pretty much happens in every scientific field as evidence becomes available. The newer representation should of course be more accurate otherwise why bother.

 

1 hour ago, Platypus Rex said:

You are assuming that unreported cases are not dying of pneumonia in China.  I see no basis for this, and even some evidence against it.

It doesn't matter if they had ~90k cases and 3k deaths or 10x as much. If they want to keep face, they still need to report them in a consistent way otherwise we should already know the real virulence based in our own data.

1 hour ago, Platypus Rex said:

You are assuming the Chinese lack sufficient guile to give us a fairly representative sample.  In any event, I think it remains to be seen whether the reported cases outside of China will turn out to have a higher CFR than the reported cases within China.

See Italy, pretty much in line with Chinese reports, even somewhat lower given the better health care facilities there.

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This thread moves fast, so not sure this has been brought up yet but:

The likely invasion mechanism for the novel corona virus is through the ACE2 receptor. This receptor is expressed at a higher levels in the lungs of smokers than nonsmokers. So given the extremely high rate of smoking amongst Chinese men in particular it gives additional explanation to the higher mortality rate and higher incidence amongst males inside China.

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A family friend returned from Iran to Toronto a couple days ago.  No screening at the airport or customs....NONE.  Good job Trudeau.  It'll be spreading like wildfire in TO right now, with a plane full of people from the most infected city in Iran, somebody had to be infected statistically. 

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4 hours ago, SerHaHa said:

A family friend returned from Iran to Toronto a couple days ago.  No screening at the airport or customs....NONE.  Good job Trudeau.  It'll be spreading like wildfire in TO right now, with a plane full of people from the most infected city in Iran, somebody had to be infected statistically. 

That's an interesting claim. The opposite is probably the case.

Assuming the only people on the plane were residents of Tehran, that's a plane load of people (500?) in proportion to 8.69 million population. Officially there are 1144 people with the disease in Iran. That is almost certainly a low number, so let's put all of those cases in Tehran and double it. And let's double it again for asymptomatic shedders. So 4576 people in Tehran with the disease. Some of those people will be too sick to move, so lets round it down for ease and say 4500 people living in Tehran with the infection were well enough to get on a plane. So, maybe 0.052% of the population of Tehran are infectious and well enough to travel. That really suggests that statistically, on any given plane there is unlikely to be anyone infectious. Though with a large enough number of flights, statistically there will likely be at least one person on a flight going to somewhere that is infectious.

[edit:After having a nap on the train on my commute home I realised it's more statistically likely than I thought, but still more likely that you would get on a non-infected flight. There is an approx 25% chance of boarding an infected flight with the Tehran prevalence at 0.06%, so 1 in 4 planes will have 1 infected person with at a 95% confidence]

Still seems dumb to do nothing. We have a travel ban in place for Iran and China, though the travel ban came in for Iran only after we had someone fly in from Iran with the disease. So I guess we might have got one of those few flights where there is someone infectious.

Edited by The Anti-Targ

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Every case in Canada has been travel related, the most recent 3 have been people who visited Iran, and a fourth travelled to Egypt. The first 3 or 4 in Canada were travel related to Wuhan.

All the people went to hospital and reported symptoms. All have been released and are self-isolating themselves at home.

There are no so-called community cases. (One has to say 'yet', of course, let's face it.)

Contrast this with the US, where almost all recent cases and all the deaths in Washington state were community cases, with no links found to travel.

Canada is likely more at risk from Americans crossing the border into Canada from Washington, or from Canadians crossing the border to do some shopping.

SerHaHa's friend wasn't very observant. The initial screening is done at entry. At Toronto's Pearson Airport everyone uses a machine for the initial step, and the questions are on the machine. I assume if they answered truthfully, they did not then go to another level of screening. I hope they answered truthfully.

eta: I think some of the screening done in the US was at first done by checking body temperature, looking for fever, using industrial thermometers. That equipment was quickly shown to be wildly inaccurate. I saw a news report that several of the East coast cases were detected when people showed up at hospital with symptoms. They had been giving an information card at the airport with a list of symptoms to watch out for.

Calm down, Ser.

Edited by Fragile Bird

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12 hours ago, Impmk2 said:

This thread moves fast, so not sure this has been brought up yet but:

The likely invasion mechanism for the novel corona virus is through the ACE2 receptor. This receptor is expressed at a higher levels in the lungs of smokers than nonsmokers. So given the extremely high rate of smoking amongst Chinese men in particular it gives additional explanation to the higher mortality rate and higher incidence amongst males inside China.

Very interesting piece of information. Worth to quote.

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