Thursday, February 20, 2020

Coronavirus and The Fourth Turning

“Peak Prosperity” has a particularly interesting and disturbing video today, “The Social Upheaval Caused by the Coronavirus Is a Symptom of the Fourth Turning”.  I don’t like to reuse the same channel too often, but this video is particularly important.

The Fourth Turning” is a 1996 book by William Strauss and Neil Howe.  It maintains that history goes through cycles like seasons of the year.  The fourth season in winter, where there is revolution after confidence in institutions breaks down and there is great mistrust.

Harvard Vlogger John Fish has talked about reading large volumes of books.  I can’t recall if he has mentioned this one (he likes “Moral Tribes”) but I have a feeling he will soon, given what is going on. I’ll probably give it a retrospective preview on my Books Blog.

The last fourth turning was probably WW1 and WW2.  We’re about due.

Martenson doesn’t go into this aspect in detail today, but during the “winter” there can be a lot of expropriation of wealth, even by conflict and force.  Remember how the elites were destroyed by the Russian Revolution in 1917, and it got very personal.  This can get very ugly.  Yup, so was the Holocaust.  At age 76, maybe I’d vacate in time.  I might not have any legitimate place in a world resurfaced by such a turning. 
Martenson mentioned a 5:3 male:female ratio of Covid-19 infection.  He also notes that South Korea is already considering locking down one of its cities.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

"What If We Knew the Time Earth Will Die?" -- it will be gradual (probably)

What If We Knew the Time the Earth Will Die?”, from the What If channel.

100 million years from now a very large star in the Milky Way will go supernova, and that one is close enough to scorch the Earth and cause many Yellowstones.  In 600 million years the Sun would be hot enough to make land life impossible.  This is long before the 5 billion year lifespan of the Sun left.

The Earth would gradually turn into a Venus even naturally.
A good scenario would be something like “Deep Impact” (1998), if Earth was going to be hit with a major comet or asteroid and could not deflect it.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

"Coronavirus: Is Britain Ready?": a sobering look at whether Draconian conditions in China could come to the UK

Coronavirus Explained: Is Britain Ready?”, is a 24-minute documentary published by Britain’s Channel 4 News published February 14 on YouTube, concerning the risk for a major COVID-19 outbreak in the UK, post-Brexit.  

The film is shot mostly around Brighton, England and talks to physicians, nurses, and day care providers, among others. It asks frankly if the draconian roundup scenes you see in Wuhan could happen in Britain, and then backs away from that hysteria a bit.  The production company for the film is ITN and I don’t believe it is associated particularly with the right wing.  The political flavor sounds fairly neutral, given that Britain’s NHS is well-established as it is.

The film has a particularly graphic scene where a man whines (with subtitles) "I don't want to live" as he is dragged into a bus to be taken to mass quarantine (and maybe be left to die anyway). 
Teacher Ben Kavanagh appears (movie reviews, Feb. 13). 

The film seems to think that the virus is likely to have about a 1% fatality rate among those who develop a detectable infection.

There is coverage of fast track for a vaccine, which would be available in early 2021, maybe earlier.  But there are also reports that some people in China have already had more than one infection, with the recurrence deadlier.

If 60% of the UK population were to become positive and the fatality rate were 1%, the would be 400,000 deaths, somewhat skewed to the elderly with pre-existing conditions, possibly more for males.  The film maintains that there has been an unexplained increase in respiratory-related deaths (ARDS) in Britain already
Wikipedia attribution link for Brighton Cliff walk, CCSA 2.0. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

"Just Got Back from China": New York "native" says Chinese make personal sacrifices unthinkable for us

Jerry Howal shares a four-minute video “Just Got Back from China, Let Me Tell You About the Coronavirus!”.
He returned to New York on Jan. 29, before the airlines stopped serving China. He says his temperature was taken at all points leaving China. He had been about 1000 km away from Wuhan.
He describes average Chinese making incredible sacrifices in their daily lives that would be unthinkable in western countries, as part of Maoist or Communist psychological conditioning.
On Feb. 3, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial “China is the real sick man of Asia”, which Jerry finds offensive.  It is true that the epidemic could result in Trump-style xenophobia toward Asia and autarky that we have seen already with the southern border and with the Islamic world.  The article has a short 2-minute video “A Communist Coronavirus” which compares the biological threat from Communist China to us with the nuclear threats of the Soviet Union and China in the past (and the Vietnam war).
Wikipedia attribution link for picture from China News Service, CCSA 3.0

Sunday, February 02, 2020

"Coronavirus: Now That It’s a National Emergency, Is It Too Late?" video from Peak Prosperity

Coronavirus:  Now That It’s a National Emergency, Is It Too Late?”, a daily update by Chris Martensen of Peak Prosperity.  That will be the first video to review on this blog this month.


I’ve embedded a couple of his videos on my other blogs.

Martesen makes several points about China’s reporting.  One is that most deaths don’t occur for several days, so the deaths may be underreported on any given day relative to cases.  On the other hand, the numerator may be grossly low too because of China’s inability to do that many tests.

Another point is that Trump’s travel restrictions on China might not catch someone who went to China, somewhere else, and then came to the US.  But careful look at passports should catch these, and most other countries now have the same bans of travel to and from China.

Martensen talks about the possible case(s) of spread before symptoms, or after fever breaks.  But now there are other reports that the case in Germany – the woman may have had “mild” symptoms, not no symptoms when the business contact was infected.  It’s a case of presenteeism.

Now what worries me a bit is a couple things:  one is that it sounds, from some articles, that some patients have mild symptoms for a few days, seem to get better, and then have a second wave when they get much worse, which makes confidence in a supposed recovery less.  Another is that men seem to have more severe disease than women because testosterone makes lung cellular physiology in men slightly more vulnerable so contact points on the virus’s spikes.

In any case, strict contact tracing of future secondary contacts within the United States would sound very hard to do.  There are just too many people on subways, trains, events, malls. Bars, etc.  Would you hold someone at an airport just because he coughed a few times when that’s pretty normal in winter (and happens with allergies too).  It doesn’t sound doable.

Judy Stone offers this line of reasoning with an article in Forbes here. Andrew Joseph documents asymptomatic spread in Stat News here.   Vox has a detailed current article by Julia Belluz, here

We really need to know how well people are recovering outside of China.  I’ve read a few Lancet and NEJM articles, not sure of the pattern yet. It’s the recovery process that matters.

I had an infection while traveling in California in Feb. 2002, some months before SARS was known, that had an unusual one-two punch.  I got over it without medical attention but on two different nights in the hotels I had high fever and dry cough which subsided with aspirin and Mucinex.  The nights were 5 days apart, which is very unusual.  The unusual severity of the deep dry cough was noteworthy.  I did have the flu shots that year (as I always do).  This sounds like a corona-virus infection similar to SARS and the new one.  I simply was strong enough to tough it out.  If this was an unreported “mutant” animal corona virus, would I have some immunity to this new one?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

"What would happen if (just one) nuclear weapon hit the U.S.?"

What Would Happen If a Nuclear Weapon Hit the U.S.? on Unveiled, powered by Getty (March 2018)

The documentary (9 min) gives a history of nuclear weapons, especially their deployment over Japan to end WWII, and the risks by states like North Korea and Iran having them. 
Yet it doesn’t cover the central question:  What if only one such weapon reached continental US over a city before the war stopped?  How would the US recover?  How would sacrifices from others around the country be handled?   Of course, this argument makes something thinkable.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

"China's Coronavirus Is Much Worse than You Think", according to an American who has been in Wuhan recently.

"Iaowhy86" offers an 11-minute video “China’s Coronavirus Is Much Worse than You Think”

The Youtuber is a “white” person who has spent a lot of time in China and offers video of Wuhan. He says that China’s Communist Party downplays many systemic threats to public safety and health until too late in order to remain political control.

Tim Pool also has a 20-minute video reporting secondhand what looks like a “zombie apocalypse movie” from China.  There are plenty of “conspiracy theories”. 

Three cities in China and 18 million people are under quarantine (story from a newspaper in China).

Pool does believe in preparedness, but there are other reasons (like EMP?)

Flight attendants and airport police are visually watching all passengers from international flights in the U.S. for illness.  One person from Mexico City was detained, as were two other international passengers from Asia.

The patient near Seattle is apparently in good condition.
It is very likely that many people will be infected and have minor symptoms.  Corona viruses tend to cause bronchitis and laryngitis, and sometimes brief periods of high fever.  I got something like this in California in 2002 and got over it taking aspirin and cough medicine.  But I did spend most of two days in bed in a hotel.  A deep productive cough lasted about a month (but you feel OK once the cough is productive). Maybe I had SARS, no way to know except to test for antibodies.