Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Men: "Do you have to shave your beard for COVID-19?" You do for N95 masks to fit (what about anything else?)

Do You Have to Shave Your Beard for COVID-19?”,  by critical care physician Mike Hansen.

He says, well, no, but if you need an N95 mask for work as a health care worker, you do, because the mask can’t fit over a beard.  Small mustaches’s may be OK.  He goes through a CDC document naming all the styles from the “Dollars” Italian westerns.

Given all the attention not just to vigorous hand-washing, two things come to mind. First, most things an ordinary person touches are with the undersides of the fingers and palms.  So it sounds like common sense they should get attention first, rather harmless.  The rest of it, of course, is the incredible tedium of putting on and taking off all the space-suit gear. I can recall a particular scene in “The Andromeda Strain”.  Can body hair hold virus?  Well, no, it’s actually dead, but the roots in the skin are very alive. Sone day there will be a virus that holds them (at least there is in my sci-fi novel “Angel’s Brother”).  This gets a lot more sensitive for men (Caucasians) than just the beard.
You have to trim your fingernails, too.  That doesn’t mean anything to most people.  But a woman who worked at the election in early March had trouble with one of the machines because of long decorative fingernails and she didn’t want to give them up.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

"The Coronavirus Is Not a Black Swan", video with Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Coronavirus Is Not a Black Swan” with Nassim Nicholas Taleb speaking on Bloomberg.

The channel is N N Taleb’s Probability Moocs.  Taleb is a professor of Risk Engineering at CUNY, I believe, and author of the 2018 book “Skin in the Game”.

Taleb here instead calls it a “white swan” because we could have anticipated and prepared for it.
But nobody – not even the science fiction writers – connected the dots about how it could suddenly become so devastating. 

We could have realized that a coronavirus like this could be bizarre.  

Friday, March 27, 2020

"An Alarmist Take on the Coronavirus" based on a new mathematical paper from Regenberg in Germany

Arvin Ash renders “An Alarmist Take on the Coronavirus  SARS-Cov2, leading to COVID-19 disease.

He appeals to the mathematics of Daniel Regenberg in Berlin, Germany, who made this short introductory video.

Regenberg wrote a long paper on Medium “The Algebra of Death” which is similar to Tomas Peuyo’s (Books blog, March 13). 

This is a worst case scenario and the big question is whether social distancing which, in most areas of the US has been in effect since about March 16, will start to make more difference.  It had better.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

"How Virus 'Exploded'" according to a doctor in northern Italy

Video, “Italian Doctor on How Virus ‘Exploded’; Having Coronavirus and How to Fight It”.

There were almost 900 more deaths today.

It seems to have broken out first in a nursing home in Bergamo.

She suggests virus spread was concentrated heavily in specific areas, maybe by contamination, as well as overwhelming problems for health care workers to avoid becoming infected. She does say there were many mild cases, and some people worked when they had trivial symptoms.

She says some people in ICU were 45-50 years old, not everyone is old.

She says she works from home while she recovers and feels OK.

She expects the peak next week.

The interview comes form Channel 4 News in Britain.

However a “From Home to Rome” site indicates that many of the deaths were not directly from the virus but from secondary complications associated with pre-existing conditions.  The virus has largely remained in the north as for deadly cases, according to this site.
NBC News reported today that the ICU cases are increasingly younger.

By Mykola Berkash, CC BY 3.0, Link

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

"Typhoid Mary: The Bringer of Disease and Death": we had thought about quarantine at all for a half century

Typhoid Mary: The Bringer of Disease and Death”, on the Biographics channel (19 minutes).

This is the story of Mary Mallon, a renegade cook who infected over 50 people with typhoid fever, while being "immune" herself, and winding up spending the last decades of her life (dying at 69 in 1938) in quarantine despite her lack of symptoms, after deliberately working as a cook after ordered not to.
This is certainly a story about the “morality” of the quarantine issue. 

Monday, March 09, 2020

"Spanish Flu: A Warning from History", from Cambridge University

Spanish Flu: A Warning from History”, from Cambridge University.
Mary Dobson and David Smith speak. 
They discuss how the H1N1 virus may have started in Kansas and spread to troops before the end of WW1.  The second wave around 1920 was much steeper.  It apparently had infected swine or other animals and adapted to the human host by random mutation evolution in an unusual way. 
This virus attacked young adults, and many died of the cytokine storms rather than the virus itself, and often it was sudden.  People would cough up or vomit blood very suddenly.
The new coronavirus seems to come on more gradually in most serious cases and seems to be much harder on older adults or adults with other health problems.  

Today we have to watch the H5 and H7 avian influenza strains, common in Asia, very carefully for the possibility of developing person-person spread. 

Friday, March 06, 2020

"War is the Appropriate Analogy"

Richard Harchett, Coalition of Economic Preparedness: “Coronavirus: War is the Appropriate Analogy”, speaks in the UK. 
Notice how he discusses personal responsibility, for others who have more risk than “you” do.  In some scenarios, you could be accused of murder or manslaughter if you weren’t careful?

The lack of an adequate health insurance system or paid leave from work certainly matters.  But what about independent contractors?  That's already the quandary journalists have in California.  
Or is this about being willing to experience a collective identity?

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Nashville Tornadoes Live Footage (almost immediate)

Global News has a 10-minute film taken post-midnight March 3 of severe damage, in an area that appears to be maybe two miles east of downtown Nashville near I-40.  The storms have killed at lear 24 in Tennessee as of now. 

The film shows a small business owner making immediately repairs with hands on carpentry. 
I believe the motel I stayed at in May 2014 for one night is near there.  I visited the downtown area in May 2014. 
The damage in a nearby area of homes is quite striking.
Global News has another video taken next day showing the damage.
WKRN has video of massive tornado damage near Cookeville, TN, which also had another storm in 2017 with a microburst. 
Cookeville is NE of Nashville an on the edge of where the mountains start. 
I also drove through Nashville in 1988 and visited Oak Ridge and areas not too far from Cookeville in 2013. It’s a little unusual to have a large tornado in more mountainous terrain.

I same storm came through the DC area Tuesday night with "gusty showers" and 60-mph gusts, possibly brief microbursts.   

Monday, February 24, 2020

"Pandemic! Coronavirus Is out of Control in China": Steve Bannon interview with Simone Gao blasts the Chinese Communist Party

"Steve Bannon: Pandemic! Coronavirus Is out of Control in China" on a channel “Zooming in with Simone Gao”.

Bannon calls it the “devil virus” and sometimes his 50 minute interview has religious overtones.

But he is absolutely right that China deceived its own people and the rest of the world, and he says companies need to demand that China bring down its firewall.

He points out that one-tenth of the world’s population is under quarantine. This is unprecedented in world history?  Maybe not; remember the plague of the Middle Ages.

He also discusses the Level 4 biohazard lab in Wuhan, but he does not maintain that a leak was intentional.

He gives the usual critique of globalization and disruption of supply chains. 

He also mentioned Rosemary Gibson’s 2018 book “China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicines”. It wasn't popular when it was published but it suddenly is now. 

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.

Friday, January 17, 2020

"The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima", short film simulation from The New York Times (2017)

The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima”, from The New York Times (2017), 3 minutes,  from a series called The Daily 360.

The film uses Google Earth to simulate what the city looked like before the blast at various altitudes. The explosion happened at 1900 feet.
I think I do remember seeing “Hiroshima mon Amour” on DVD about 15 years ago.
Wiki By Gelfer - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Saturday, January 04, 2020

British author: "This Is What Will Happen if a Nuclear Missile Is Launched" (from North Korea to London)

British “doomsday” videographer Thoughty2 (Aaran Lomas) warns (15 minutes) “This Is What Will Happen If a Nuclear Missile Is Launched” (toward London from North Korea).

He says it would take a missile 40 minutes to reach London from North Korea, and that the US has an early warning station on the Norwegian coast above Russia in the Arctic (which Finland does not touch).

His discussion of how to protect “yourself” from fallout is interesting – it tends to stick to hair as well as clothing.  Would body-shaving happen? 
The entire value system of a people can certainly be challenged by such a scenario.