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Tywin Manderly

Who Pays the Coronaman? - Covid #8

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14 minutes ago, Ran said:

 

Apparently a SARS-Cov study from 2004 found some people were testing positive on PCR tests, but not viral cultures, up to 2 months(!) after the infection. But this may be to slow disposal of stuff through the intestine, as rectal swabs were mentioned. Not sure what sort of tests are being done after people are declared well, or even to declare people well.

The virus (both SARS, SARS-COV-2, and MERS) continues to be shed in the faeces for weeks after the respiratory infection has cleared. This is pretty well documented. But no, viral RNA won't hang around after the virus has cleared. Outside the virion, RNA has a ridiculously short half-life in vitro, and an even shorter one in vivo (we're talking minutes). It's why its a pain in the ass to work with.

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, Paxter said:

Amid the devastating absolute numbers, it's worth noting that the rates of growth in cases and deaths are starting to slow almost across the board.

The Financial Times ran some good charts on this today. South Korea is clearly the star pupil so far: nearly five weeks since the 10th death and they have already managed to get their fatalities growth rate to well below 10%/day. Italy is now at around 10%, but peaked at around 40% (S Korea never went above 20%). 

The big question now is around further waves and the effects of relaxing lockdowns. 

Define across the board? 
Do we know the real situation in Brazil, India, Indonesia? Iran, Egypt? Bangladesh? You should specify for which country you speak. 

Edited by Arakan

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6 minutes ago, Arakan said:

Define across the board? 
Do we know the real situation in Brazil, India, Indonesia? Iran, Egypt? Bangladesh? You should specify for which country you speak. 

A friend (US) who is teaching in Xalapa, Mexico, says everything there is entirely normal.  Nothing has shown up.  Which means ... it's going to start very soon, he thinks.

 

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3 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

It's interesting that Sweden claims to be approaching the pandemic in a more sensible manner by not enforcing public movement restrictions. But beware of any claims that this is an effective means for control. Sweden has a higher per capita infection rate than the UK and close to the same infection rate as the USA. It has close to the same number of confirmed cases as Australia but half the population.

The vagaries of different standards and capacity for testing of cases makes this not very useful. Better statistics would be how many people require intensive care per capita and how many people die per capita, and the growth rates of same. 

3 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

It has double the population of New Zealand but 7x the number of cases.

Again, not too useful. Sweden had its first case registered on January 31st, New Zealand had its first on February 28th. There's also the fact that we had hundreds of cases come in from people who had vacationed in Italy and people who were visiting Iran -- it was only a week ago that more than half of cases were from local transmission rather than foreign sourced. New Zealand, being a remote island, seems to have had only a relative trickle of these if the Wikipedia entry for the pandemic is correct, and making contract tracing much easier. I can't quite tell if you've reached the 50/50 point on community transmission or not. 

3 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

I would conclude that Sweden's approach is not better at controlling the pandemic than anyone else's, but might be better at maintaining the economy and keeping people happy (at least until they get the disease). 

Denmark went full lock down more than two weeks ago, and the effect of the lockdown has so far been nil compared to Sweden's more modest changes when comparing deaths per capita. Norway has done better on that score, but is smaller and even less population dense than Sweden (about comparable with New Zealand, in fact, although Oslo is far more dense than Auckland, and Stockholm even more dense than that).

 

3 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

Depending how the New Zealand response pans out it might prove to be considerably worse than some responses. It's certainly not been as effective as China's, if you believe China's almost down to zero new daily cases.

A lot of people don't believe that, no. Even so, there's also the question of the long term impact of periodic shutdowns of industry going forward -- which is what's happening in parts of China right now, because new outbreaks keep happening. Japan is seeing more and more cases. South Korea keeps getting outbreaks.

The success of the Swedish strategy can only be determined a year or two from now when we see how its overall health outcomes, including yearly deaths, compares to the outcomes in other countries which used different methods. The failure of it will not need that much time to determine, however, as the failure will be seen if serious cases overwhelm the healthcare resources and Sweden becomes the Nordic Spain or Italy. So far, Sweden has a lot of capacity, and in fact its rate of new ICU admissions and deaths has been down the last few days, when presumably our policy of social distancing, work for home, etc. kicked in.

 

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, Arakan said:

Define across the board? 
Do we know the real situation in Brazil, India, Indonesia? Iran, Egypt? Bangladesh? You should specify for which country you speak. 

Across the board was intended to mean “across countries which have confirmed fatalities over 100” (for the fatalaties data) or "cases over 5,000" for the new cases data. 

ETA: Worth looking at the FT website for a more fulsome look at the stats.

ETA: Correction of who was in the FT sample. 

Edited by Paxter

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55 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

It's interesting that Sweden claims to be approaching the pandemic in a more sensible manner by not enforcing public movement restrictions. But beware of any claims that this is an effective means for control. Sweden has a higher per capita infection rate than the UK and close to the same infection rate as the USA. It has close to the same number of confirmed cases as Australia but half the population. It has double the population of New Zealand but 7x the number of cases.

I would conclude that Sweden's approach is not better at controlling the pandemic than anyone else's, but might be better at maintaining the economy and keeping people happy (at least until they get the disease). Depending how the New Zealand response pans out it might prove to be considerably worse than some responses. It's certainly not been as effective as China's, if you believe China's almost down to zero new daily cases. According to official numbers China is only about 7000 people away from eradicating the disease within its borders. That would be very impressive if true.

The other thing Sweden has going for it is it is coming into summer as the pandemic will be peaking which is very important for peoples immunities to help minimise the effect. I'm in NZ as well and I think we had to do something before winter or it would have been crippling. I suspect there are thousands of other undiagnosed cases out there, which isn't actually a bad thing because it would mean the fatality rate is not as bad as statistically reported. I think Sweden will be OK.

The economic hit for NZ is going to be nasty though and the taxpayer is going to be paying this off for a long time. At least the starting point was relatively healthy. I'm mainly concerned about what we do after the lock down. Are we going to close off the borders until a vaccine is developed? The self isolating methods we have imposed on overseas travelers have proven to be utterly inadequate and I'm mainly concerned we will be repeating this lock down in another few months.    

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The Sweden approach also relies heavily on individuals acting responsibly and mostly voluntarily adhering the social distancing and social isolation that is being mandated in a lot of countries. Some countries with a high sense of social responsibility among residents will have a high rate of compliance with recommended actions among individuals and organisations. Countries with a less well developed sense of social responsibility would perform extremely poorly in controlling the disease if the Sweden approach was transplanted there.

So part of my concern about media appearing to suggest the Sweden approach is more sensible than approaches in other countries is that what might work (still unproven) in Sweden will not work elsewhere. And in that context I think this comment that I read in an article is particularly irresponsible because it is criticising other government's decisions in a very offhand manner

Quote

"Sweden is an outlier on the European scene, at least,'' said Johan Giesecke, the country's former chief epidemiologist and now adviser to the Swedish Health Agency, a government body. "And I think that's good.''

Other European nations "have taken political, unconsidered actions" instead of ones dictated by science, Giesecke asserted.

Now, as some pleb nobody I can go onto web forums and criticise countries for what they're doing with scant evidence and information, because I have no influence on public thinking and the only consequence is people think / say I'm a dick. But a public official being quoted in the media claiming their approach is better, and worse disparaging the decisions of other govts is not helpful. I hope the above quote is Dr. Giesecke being taken out of context by the media, because that's what media does, and it's not actually his publicly stated sentiment.

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4 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I live right next to a major highway and different hospital though, and am hearing an unusual amount of sirens from my window. 

That'll be the zombies.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

The Sweden approach also relies heavily on individuals acting responsibly and mostly voluntarily adhering the social distancing and social isolation that is being mandated in a lot of countries. Some countries with a high sense of social responsibility among residents will have a high rate of compliance with recommended actions among individuals and organisations. Countries with a less well developed sense of social responsibility would perform extremely poorly in controlling the disease if the Sweden approach was transplanted there.

Absolutely. I think Sweden is not saying everyone should act exactly the same. The health authorities are saying that they think some countries took political decisions not supported by science. A major point that has been emphasized of late is that Sweden are not the ones being experimental -- these nationwide lock downs have never been before, and indeed were probably not considered feasible until China shut down a province with 115 million inhabitants and showed that, well, it is (if you're an authoritarian state capable of enforcing draconian protocols, anyways).

In Italy, the mayor of Palermo cites increasing unrest over the effects of their lockdown, claiming (perhaps hyperbolically) that a Mafia-led revolt could take place against the strictures that have been imposed. You're going to be hearing a lot more of this stuff as countries go on complete lockdown for many weeks more.

Quote

So part of my concern about media appearing to suggest the Sweden approach is more sensible than approaches in other countries is that what might work (still unproven) in Sweden will not work elsewhere.

I will say that New Zealand seems an ideal place to try an approach targeted to letting the disease run its course in a managed way that does not overload the health care system because of how low your country's density is. But perhaps culturally-speaking it is not feasible. And the fact is that so long as you do not have much community transmission, the challenge of contact tracing and quaranting is easier. Again, New Zealand's an island, international travel is way down, screening can be done... though I guess that'll hurt the tourism industry, but eh, this year's a lost cause anyways.

Quote

And in that context I think this comment that I read in an article is particularly irresponsible because it is criticising other government's decisions in a very offhand manner

Well, it is largely without question that at least some countries in Europe really have been making decisions based on political determinations rather than scientific ones. Both the Danish and Norwegian health authorities, the actual civil servants with all their relevant experience, were opposed to the border and school closures that their governments imposed, and have indicated as much (basically saying it wasn't their decision). I can't speak for Germany or some of the other countries, and certainly not New Zealand... but again, complete national lockdown is the historical outlier, not the norm.

 

Edited by Ran

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48 minutes ago, Ran said:

Again, not too useful. Sweden had its first case registered on January 31st, New Zealand had its first on February 28th

I don't think we can talk about dates, for any country, since the virus was probably in Europe undetected since at least january....

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2 minutes ago, Cridefea said:

I don't think we can talk about dates, for any country, since the virus was probably in Europe undetected since at least january....

Very probably true. But it makes it hard to make too much of New Zealand only just having its first death when it has been relatively sheltered for weeks compared to other nations. This is also why a lot of the charts out there, like FT's, try to even up benchmarks by starting from "10th death" or "100th" case to give at least some sense of similarity.

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28 minutes ago, Ran said:

Very probably true. But it makes it hard to make too much of New Zealand only just having its first death when it has been relatively sheltered for weeks compared to other nations. This is also why a lot of the charts out there, like FT's, try to even up benchmarks by starting from "10th death" or "100th" case to give at least some sense of similarity.

Yes probably  New Zeland is not comparable because of what you said in your previous post, but we need to be careful about any chart right now, probably is too early to understand what's better and what's worse based on those charts. See China and its number of deceased.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

Well, it is largely without question that at least some countries in Europe really have been making decisions based on political determinations rather than scientific ones

I can't speak for other countries, but here it was quite the opposite. I don't know what media said outside Italy, did they say otherwise?

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Ran said:

Very probably true. But it makes it hard to make too much of New Zealand only just having its first death when it has been relatively sheltered for weeks compared to other nations. This is also why a lot of the charts out there, like FT's, try to even up benchmarks by starting from "10th death" or "100th" case to give at least some sense of similarity.

Yeah this kind of benchmarking has helped me a lot. For example, I feel comfortable concluding that Germany is having more luck/better response in dealing with the virus than its European counterparts. The evidence is that, two weeks after its 10th death, Germany is experiencing a daily fatalities growth rate of around 25%. At the same stage, Italy and Spain had growth rates in the mid 30s. 

Without seeing that analysis, I was wondering whether Germany would have the same trajectory as its neighbours. 

Edited by Paxter

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It's going around Ohio that DeWine had to go public with an appeal to get FDA approval for a mask decontamination system because Trump initially blocked it as he's upset that DeWine isn't playing along and has been upstaging him and stealing his spotlight. Locals think things might get ugly between the two.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/29/ohio-dewine-trump-administration-mask-ruling-154378

https://www.cleveland.com/open/2020/03/gov-mike-dewine-blasts-fda-decision-limiting-use-of-new-mask-cleaning-technology-as-reckless.html

Quote

DeWine had touted the new technology, developed by Battelle, at a Saturday news conference, saying his administration was pushing the FDA to approve its use in Ohio and three areas hit hard by COVID-19 -- Seattle, New York and Washington D.C.

Battelle leaders said their technology could sterilize up to 160,000 respirator masks for re-use per day in Ohio alone. The firm said Saturday “the first completed system is in transit and will be placed at an undisclosed location in the New York metropolitan area to address that city’s critical shortage of PPE [personal protective equipment] needed by healthcare workers and first responders.”

But the FDA only granted Battelle permission to clean masks at its Columbus headquarters, and only 10,000 per day. The FDA’s limited approval allows for the masks to be sanitized and re-used up to 20 times.

...

After his briefing, DeWine tweeted that he’d spoken with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, about his conversations with the president and the FDA.

I talked with @NYGovCuomo a short time ago to update him on @Battelle's sterilization technology and our progress with @US_FDA. He was happy to hear that this critical N95 sterilization could soon be happening for frontline workers in NY. We'll update everyone when we hear more.

— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 29, 2020

 

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Unreal. I just walked my dog down the middle of a road in Minneapolis. I barely saw anyone. Seems like things are going smoothly. 

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Northeast Wisconsin here, we were all disappointed to get our counties first confirmed case this week. The communities are doing a great job obeying the social distancing and safer at home guidelines from what I've been able to observe.

Parents are over in lower Michigan and the situation over there has me more concerned. Luckily they are taking every precaution and realizing the gravity of the times.

Gas was at $1.67 a gallon and sliding lower every other day it seems. Was no shortages for my normal groceries, although several signs with limits of how many you could purchase for things like the T.P., beans, tomato sauce, eggs, etc.

Biggest source of discomfort for my presently has been the loss of my swimming facilities, so I feel grateful so far, yet concerned that the worst is slowly coming.

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I have to admire the Balkan's politicians' undying ability to politicize everything. Between the snide remarks made towards EU and praises of brotherly (!?!?!?!) love from China, I have to admit Serbian president takes the cake. You think Trump is bad. Oh, boy, you have seen nothing. In a manner of one week (between February, 27th and March, 6th), Serbian president went from laughing to the idea of "going to shopping in Milan" and begging people to be responsible. Oh, yes, coronavirus has locked us all in our houses and almost every day, our President is kind enough to provide a world-class entertainment. Personal favorite was his idea that we will have graveyard "from Belgrade to Cacak" (roughly 300 km) if we allow senior citizens to go out for an hour each day.

That said, sadly, Serbian people have not been the most obedient in making sure the quarantine is respected. I am afraid of the consequences as the numbers are getting higher and higher.... And given the overall health of Serbian population (leading lists of pulmonary, cardio and renal  diseases in Europe), I am afraid to even think what may happen.

In Montenegro, the government appointed Minister of Agriculture as the Head of National Crisis Center. The country's Minister for Health has a Degree in Economy and by this day, has never worked in hospital or medical sector (I swear I am not making this up!!!) Last few days, Montenegrin society's focus has been the "stolen" respirators (apparently, Montenegro wanted to buy respirators from some Swedish company that has office in Belgrade. Unfortunately, the respirators could not be delivered due to embargo Serbia declared on export of medical equipment. The company informed Montenegrin authorities that respirators can't be delivered and because of that, they have sold them to Serbia.) This case provoked the usual Serbo-Montenegrin tennis match of nationalist insults in which, quite distastefully participated both sides.

So, all is well with political life in Balkan countries. That said, they may be enjoying these days and unlimited power they have but people are seriously going crazy. It's a ticking bomb ready to explode.

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So I'm reading this list of how long C-19 germs live on different surfaces, like elevators buttons 2-3 days; wood 4 days; metal 5 days . . .

and I start to think about things not listed, like paper money or coins.  Unless you use charge cards for any purchases, anytime you pay in cash you handle money, right?

Makes you think.

:leaving:

 

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