Monday, February 24, 2020

Very Good Article Re Covid 19

You can get the short version at Zerohedge:

Harvard Professor Says 40-70% Of People Worldwide Will Be Infected With Covid-19

Or the full version at The Atlantic:

You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus
Most cases are not life-threatening, which is also what makes the virus a historic challenge to contain.

 The guy they're talking about is Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch. He starts out talking about the avian flu, H5N1, then compares that to more "normal" flus and Covid 19:

Those who got [H5N1] became manifestly, extremely ill. H5N1 has a fatality rate of around 60 percent—if you get it, you’re likely to die. Yet since 2003, the virus has killed only 455 people. The much “milder” flu viruses, by contrast, kill fewer than 0.1 percent of people they infect, on average, but are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths every year.
Severe illness caused by viruses such as H5N1 also means that infected people can be identified and isolated, or that they died quickly. They do not walk around feeling just a little under the weather, seeding the virus. The new coronavirus (known technically as SARS-CoV-2) that has been spreading around the world can cause a respiratory illness that can be severe. The disease (known as COVID-19) seems to have a fatality rate of less than 2 percent—exponentially lower than most outbreaks that make global news. The virus has raised alarm not despite that low fatality rate, but because of it.

A fatality rate of 2 percent is low compared to H5N1's fatality rate of 60%. But it's exponentially higher than the usual flu rate of 0.1% that still kills hundreds of thousands per year. Lipsitch thinks this will become a world wide recurring seasonal illness. He doesn't get into things like bioweapon origins. I leave that to you.

Now here's the bad news:

At this point, it is not even known how many people are infected. As of Sunday, there have been 35 confirmed cases in the U.S., according to the World Health Organization. But Lipsitch’s “very, very rough” estimate when we spoke a week ago (banking on “multiple assumptions piled on top of each other,” he said) was that 100 or 200 people in the U.S. were infected. That’s all it would take to seed the disease widely. The rate of spread would depend on how contagious the disease is in milder cases. On Friday, Chinese scientists reported in the medical journal JAMA an apparent case of asymptomatic spread of the virus, from a patient with a normal chest CT scan. The researchers concluded with stolid understatement that if this finding is not a bizarre abnormality, “the prevention of COVID-19 infection would prove challenging.”

See why Trump was "furious" with DoS for letting planeloads of infected people into the country?

And now tomorrow the Senate will receive a "classified briefing" on this coronavirus. You read that right: classified briefing, as in: They don't want you to know.


  1. They say 2% mortality rate but the numbers don't support that. A Lancet article a couple of weeks ago, I think, estimated it at about 15% (my best guess, taken from ChiCom numbers (lies) is between 4 and 8%). The problem is that everyone is either lying through their teeth or just deeply ignorant and low-balling their guess so as to 1) stay in the game without 2) scaring the hell out of everyone.
    Secret meetings are decidedly the worst idea in a long history of bad ideas. It can do nothing but fuel wild-eyed speculation (like mine ;-)) or lead to a complete collapse in trust when the lies/dissimilation that comes out of the meeting are proven. And whoever the idiot is that recommended the secret meeting will certainly recommend the lie and Congressmen, being who they are, will no doubt go along.
    Tom S.

    1. That's about it. I'd seen all the different estimates--and that's all they are, based on very incomplete data. The point is, though: this could be very, very nasty.

    2. Well, it has scared the living hell out of a Godless authoritarian regime like China's. That alone should give people pause.
      Tom S.

    3. The reason the actual mortality rate is likely as low as 2%, rather than, say 4 or 8%, would be because only 1/2 or 1/4 of all those infected get counted. Healthy people with a mild case, who presume they have a typical chest cold, probably aren't being counted. Only the most severe cases (doctor visits, hospital admissions) are being counted.

      Now, of course, I could be wrong about this. Journalists are famously math and number phobic, and public health authorities are fearful of instigating a panic. Yet, the best response is probably, at least, a mild panic as the step taken so far have been weak and ineffective.

      An embargo of humans crossing our borders for a period probably makes sense--and it'll never happen.

    4. That's very possibly the case. The fact is, since the China data can't be trusted we just don't know. However, what we're hearing from people who understand pandemics is this: a seemingly low mortality rate is worse than a high mortality rate. For example, the Ebola mortality rate is said to exceed 60%. But that means that Ebola quickly kills off its entire host population, and the outbreak remains relatively localized. A "lower" rate of 2% guarantees that the host population will not be killed off and the virus will continue to spread.

      "probably never happen."

      But never say never. EU countries are now closing their borders to each other--who would have ever expected that?

      Government actions--from S. Korea to Italy--have been so rapid and "extreme". You hafta believe they know more than they're letting on. Sad to say, I'm afraid the US is way behind the curve on this.


    CDC finally starting to ease people into the reality, which has been pretty obvious for at least a month, that there is no shutting this out/down. COVID-19 is certain to become endemic in the global human population and adjustments will have to be made. Unfortunately no one knows what those adjustments will entail or how effective they will be, if at all.
    This is a true "Turning of the World" event: a socio-political/economic Black Swan of possibly epic proportions.
    Tom S.

    1. Tom, I obviously agree. I listened to a lengthy forum podcast on this today. One of the speakers pointed out what we should all know--there are a huge number of Chinese people who travel to and from the US, as well as US people doing the same. He pointed out that there are over 330K Chinese students in the US, and many traveled to China and back for the Lunar New Year, which coincided with breaks in our school year. He compared the chances of none returning with the virus with shuffling a deck of cards and having it come out in perfect order. We know the virus is here but for the most part have done very little testing. It's a matter of time before we realize that the problem is real and it's with us. Now.