Friday, June 26, 2020

"What If a COVID-19 Vaccine Is Never Developed" (to be effective)? (animated short)

SARS-CoV-2 scanning electron microscope image

What If a Covid-19 Vaccine Is Never Developed?” by the Inforgraphics Show, June 18.

Actually, it should say “never found to be effective”. 

There are reasons to throw cold water on the vaccine hopes.  We never have developed an effective vaccine against a coronavirus, and this video reports that the antibodies produced by an original SARS virus were not very effective.  NBC News has a more balanced and detailed story on this attempt, which lost funding.

Also, with short term antibodies, the risk of ADE, or antibody dependent enhancement, might exist with a vaccine, as what caused a catastrophe with a dengue vaccine in the Philippines (NPR story. Rachel Martin).  (The NBC story above mentions that this problem happened with the SARS vaccine).

The video says that it is possible that effective anti-virals and PrEP, like what was developed for AIDS and homosexual men, might be more likely.

Otherwise, society would have to settle down to a “new normal” with rolling lockdowns and quarantines when infection rates reached a certain level. 

It becomes much harder for people to leave their communities of origin and branch out and create their own lives, and society becomes more authoritarian and locally communitarian when there are serious public health problems.  That is one reason for the intensity of the tribalism being seen today (as with the Black Lives Matter movement. It also provides an ideological reason for activists recruiting people into identarianism and intersectionality as the only way to save the space and rights for minority groups – they much accept the integrity of their own groups as such.

Vox reports on Dr. Fauci's confidence level (reasonable) in a vaccine by the end if 2020, even if this breaks world records for vaccine development by 400%. 

Wiki picture of coronavirus virions emerging from cell (Yellow), from Wikipedia, NIH. Pd, click for credits.


Friday, June 12, 2020

"What People Are Getting Wrong about the Minneapolis Situation"

Salt-Lake-City

Michael Moreno, a student in Utah, explains “What People Are Getting Wrong about the Minneapolis Situation”.

Mr. Moreno lays out a clear statement on the moral dimensions of this crisis (and makes no equivocation on the guilt of the police officers in various incidents), he lays out a case for individual personal responsibility (more or less libertarian) in analyzing the violent behavior of some people attending the protests in many cities.

He shows many news clips of businesses looted and owners speaking up about it. Many of the business owners were black themselves.

Moreno has created controversy before over criticism of a “woke” professor at college.  I don’t know if his background is specifically LDS.


But he is very articulate here and in other videos.

The Salt House in Salt Lake City (Wikipedia, click for attribution)


Saturday, June 06, 2020

"Cell-Culture Experiment -- Gone Wrong": there is a good reason this theory doesn't go away

The Orb, Adelaide Entertainment Centre

Sky News Australia and Sharri has a 16 minute video “Covid-19 virus may have been a ‘cell-culture’ experiment gone wrong”.

The main point is that the ACE2 receptor of humans (which is in many organs, not just lungs, and even in the endothelial blood vessel linings) attracts the virus more strongly than does any animal’s.

It is possible for a new coronavirus to evolve if an animal is infected with two different coronaviruses at the same time (same for influenza).

Sky News Australia normally produces a large number of videos and seems to be on the conservative side a bit. 

On May 31, SkyNews offered a 19-minute video "Chinese lab experimented on 'highly pathogenic viruses" days before COVID-19 outbreak" and this examines two labs in Wuhan, especially the WVI. 

Picture: Adelaide (AU) entertainment center in rainbow colors, Wikipedia embed, click for CCSA attribution. 

Thursday, June 04, 2020

"Outside Agitators and Violent Protests"

Outside Agitators Blamed for Violent Protest Wave”, a short news summary about the integrity of the protests. .

This report comes from the Straits Times (Singapore). The story started with Tim Walz, Minnesota governor, announced Tuesday that police intelligence had indicated that 80% of the crowd was from outside Minnesota. (Wisconsin isn’t far away.)

Of course, some people, put on the streets by the COVID lockdown, are just there to steal.

On the other hand, the willingness of legitimate protesters to march and shout incessantly for their mass movement when lower-income members of their community are repeatedly profiled and treated as serfs by some of law enforcement.

It’s hard for white people to understand this when they see successful blacks in the professions, politics, and even law enforcement itself.

Law enforcement is forced to act when destruction of property and violence unrelated to the George Floyd death happens. 

Twitter has closed white supremacist accounts posing as Antifa and pretending to organize legitimate protesters (CNN)

Monday, May 25, 2020

"China's Deadly Secret": Fareed Zakaria makes CNN come clean with a reasonable account of Communist China's negligence and bureaucratic incompetence, leading to the global pandemic

李文亮的训诫书

Fareed Zakaria came clean for CNN Sunday night May 25 at 9 PM with “China’s Deadly Secret”. The best URL is here .  CNN does not reliably provide trailers in advance of it its important documentaries the way most movie studios do. “The Print” in India has a nice summary.

The 53-minute film was pretty balanced. He presented China’s colorful celebrations of its 75 years of national progress in late 2019.  Then came the reports of the cases of unusual “pneumonia”, apparently as early as November.

Even before the end of the year Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist, had posted about the cases and we all know that Chinese authorities muzzled him.  In a few weeks, he would become a patient and die, at age 34, himself, apparently having been exposed to very large doses.

Local officials in Wuhan had tried to protect the “New Years Pot Luck” event, but shortly thereafter China’s central government locked down the city.

Zakaria seems to think that, because of the politics of China’s top-down authoritarianism, local officials were reluctant to act, until it was too late. He is not sure that Beijing is directly to blame, or that it fully understood the risk in early January.

Xi Jingping then put on a show, marching through Wuhan, showing that the Chinese people would overcome the virus collectively and become a stronger nation. 

China claims that its authoritarian lockdowns and contact tracing kept the death toll down below that in western countries, but we don't know how reliable their numbers are. They did share the genome but have often closed off contact with outside countries on sharing all of their research. 

Jim Gergaghty has an important article in National Review about a supposed cell connection outage at the Wuhan Institute of Virology around Oct 6, along with a confirmed COVID case in France in mid-December from community spread, but probably through the de Gaulle airport.

Picture:  Letter to Li Wenliang on Wikipedia (click for attribution CCSA).


Saturday, May 23, 2020

OK, "Plandemic" has indeed been slammed


The pseudo-documentary “Plandemic” has come into such disrepute that I won’t give a link to it. There is a video with a short clip of a spokesperson defending it (as an apologetic).

I’ll give a couple of detailed analyses of its fallacies.  Tara Heaele has a detailed story (May 8) on Forbes, with a shocking cover picture of an attractive young adult immobilized while being treated in emergency.  The person of controversy is Dr. Judy Mokovits.

Beth Skwarecki has an even more pointed refutation in LifeHacker  (May 8).

Jane Andraka (Jack’s mother, regarding the Stanford student who invented a pancreatic cancer test) put the Forbes article on her Facebook page recently. 

Tim Pool reports that Google took down a private user drive copy of this film (video). 

Remember that in 2016, a film by the antivaccine movement was removed from the Tribeca film festival.

Picture: Cape Cod, MA, 2015 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

"How Did America Screw Up COVID So Bad?" A doctor in San Francisco gives us a piece of his mind

How Did America Screw Up COVID So Bad?

Dr. ZDoggMD, from San Francisco, talks about how the US got this so wrong, and Asian countries were on the ball.

It’s 46 minutes.

He questions depending on cloth face masks for civilians, although statisticians say it helps you protext other people.

He then gets into our “federal system” compared to Europe.  American exceptionalism harmed us (obesity, poor diet, racial and class divisions which cause crowded conditions).

“America is an exceptional target for this disease because we’re so sick.”  Even young people have undiagnosed diabetes. 

He does understand the rationalization of the "survivial of the fittest" idea, as articulated along with "free speech" in our country.  He also talks about the misinformation that comes with our style of free speech. 

He notes particularly the delayed circulatory system problems and resurgent inflammation in younger people and children. 

Also, important, he thinks the public should wear surgical masks.  There should be a pointed effort to have companies 3-D print them.  By the way, that would mean men would have to shave their beards (for N-95's to fit).  He is clean-shaven and bald in the video. 

(He may be in Washington State.  He mentioned both that and San Francisco.) 

Monday, May 11, 2020

"Coronavirus Second Wave: Prepare", in the eyes of a "prepper"


Coronavirus Second Wave Is Coming: Understand What It Is About and Prepare”, by Bjorn Andreas and Bull-Hansen.

Bjorn sits with outdoor cooking gear in a forest and talks (17 minutes).

He predicts the second wave will have much stricter lockdowns this fall. He advises people to leave the cities and go off the grid if they can.  (My own life means nothing off the grid without globalization, because I have no progeny.)

He talks about the Bill Gates vaccine and says he is not an anti-vaxxer, but he says the vaccine will not have been tested properly.


Saturday, May 09, 2020

"This Is the New Killer Virus that will End Humanity" (Thoughty2 video)


Thoughty2, a British opinionator, offers “This Is the Next Killer Virus that will End Humanity”

That is “Virus X” at the end of the W.H.O.’ s warning list

The most deadly possible virus would have no symptoms for two weeks or more, and then cause a chronic degenerative illness that cannot be stopped.  And it would somehow be supercontagious.

Imagine the mandatory germophobia this would cause.

Most viruses (and bacteria) that have this kind of contagion have relatively short incubation periods. Relatively few are transmissible a long time before symptoms.  Novel coronavirus is maybe moderate in incubation period time (median about five days to noticeable symptoms).  But is seems somewhat unusually contagious (except for measles).  And it hides itself in the immune system for a while, inviting devastating relapses (cytokine storms) after about a week in some people. And it seems capable of doing permanent damage because it attacks endothelial cells, mostly through ACE2 receptors.

As the video (15 minutes) progresses, Thoughty2 seems to reverse his course a couple times on whether a virus really could occur naturally that wipes us out or sends us out on an Escape Earth spaceship.

I think a particularly diabolical virus could be a sexually transmitted disease that then becomes an arbovirus too.  Zika was like that but not severe to the whole population (children before birth). Imagine the political consequences had HIV turned into an arbovirus, although I don’t know if that would have been possible biologically.

There are also prions (protein infectious molecules) which cause nerve proteins to refit themselves into a chain and cause degeneration.  Fortunately these diseases are hard to transmit (mainly through eating animal meat).  That sounds like the concept of a strangelet in astrophysics, which could convert the Earth to strange matter of grey goo in about two seconds.

Maybe one of the worst possibilities would be a virus with few symptoms that makes men sterile. Remember the 2006 film “Children of Men”.  I may come back to that movie later. We could find out down the road that SARS-Cov2.  Another idea is that most people have few symptoms at first but gradually lose intellect or perhaps motor skills irreversibly even after “recovery”.  We’re not completely out of the words on that idea with SARS-Cov2 yet (on either of these two – testes have ACE2 receptors). Antibody Dependent Enhcancement (ADE) could fit into such a paradigm and make vaccines harder.  

Update: May 11

Thought2 also offered, a month ago, "Why Coronavirus May Be a Good Thing"   He says this virus wakes us up and prepare us for the possibility of a contagious virus with a much higher fatality rate (he calls this one "mild").  At 16:40 he notes stronger community and solidarity and teens helping the elderly (I could point out "the Real David Hogg" on Twitter with an unusual video today). 

Picture: Reno NV, indoors, 2018 

Friday, May 08, 2020

"The Bakersfield Doctors", from "Perspectives on the Pandemic" and Journeyman Pictures

CA SR178 Bakersfield CA


“The Press and the Public Project” of Journeyman Pictures brings an episode (6) “The Bakersfield Doctors” from “Perspectives on the Pandemic”, a press conference from April 28, 2020.

Two physicians who work in urgent care in Bakersfield CA (in the Central Valley) , Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, discuss their observations of COVID in their community. 

They says most of the infections are mild, even in people with other preexisting conditions. They question the extreme social isolation and even overuse of hand sanitizers as removing beneficial bacteria that most people need in order to maintain their immunity from everything else. They point out that children grow more resistant to infections as they are exposed to more after infancy (when they are most vulnerable). Adults who are less fastidious are sometimes healthier than others because they develop immunity to more common germs faster – yet in extreme situations (like COVOD) that could make them more dangerous to others.

They talked about Sweden’s handling of the pandemic with less lockdown.

They did say that special measures need to be taken to separate out the vulnerable and possibly all aged.

They also said that a vaccine will contribute to herd immunity but cannot be completely depended on by itself (and they said that flu vaccines work by getting the population to herd immunity faster).

Yet YouTube originally tookdown their video as “harmful” to some naïve viewers who will believe it is an excuse not to follow social distancing and hygiene recommendations by public health officials; a BakersfieldTV station’s (ABC23) account.

KQED also ran critical comments by Dr. Navin Amin of the doctors. 

Let’s hope YouTube doesn’t censor Journeyman Pictures, too.

Embeded Wikipedia picture of Bakersfield, click on it to see attribution and CCSA.   


Saturday, May 02, 2020

"What the School Shutdowns Mean for Homeless Students" (Journeyman Pictures, PBS)


What the School Shutdowns Mean for Homeless Students” from Journeyman Pictures (7 minutes) and PBS News Hour Weekend


The report looks at what happens with college students after their campuses close.  In Massachusetts, students were allowed to live in the residences, but no longer had meals or other services, including reliable connectivity.

In a homeless shelter in the Bronx, a high school student struggles with poor Internet connectivity for his iPad.

Exposure to the virus is obviously a bigger issue in homeless shelters.
  
A recent tweet from "Lollardfish" summarized all this well.  

Artwork picture is from Cambridge, MA, Aug 2015 (mine) 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Interview with Jerome Kim of International Vaccine Institute


IVI Building (1)

Asian Boss: “We Asked the World’s Leading Vaccine Expert About COVID-19 Vaccine”, from Asian Boss, and interview with Dr. Jerome Kim of the International Vaccine Institute

The interview (43 minutes) occurred April 25, 2020.

Kim explains how T-helper cells direct B-cells to make specific antibodies.  He explains why we don’t have a vaccine for HIV: because the virus infects the very helper cell that directs other cells, so it is a recursion or logical loop.  He notes that today’s tests for HIV antigen are much more sensitive than in the past, which could me that some people (active gay men) should be retested again.

He also discusses the “reactivation” vs. “reinfection” issue that has come up in South Korea.

He discusses the steps of vaccine trials in detail.  A typical vaccine costs about $500 million to develop at the low end.
   
Attribution for picture of IVI building in Seoul available by clicking on picture (Wikipedia credits, CCSA).

Sunday, April 26, 2020

"Why Is America's Death Toll So High?" for Covid-19? Video from The Economist



The Economist examines “Why Is America’s Death Toll So High?” for Covid-19.


The basic answers are a more individualistic personal value system (at least compared to China and most of Asia) and a polarized political situation, complicated by how federalism works (leaving states so much discretion).
  
The cases, hospitalizations, ICU and deaths exploded in early to mid March 2020, right around St. Patrick’s Day, after deceptively low numbers because of ineffective testing and contact tracing.  There only a handful of officially counted cases in the U.S. until around March 1. Right now the US approaches 1 million officially confirmed cases with a case fatality ratio of 5.61%.  Early indications that the number of undetected minimal infections may be much higher, reducing the infection fatality ratio.  But some deaths at home have not been counted. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

PBS Frontline: "Coronavirus Pandemic: A Tale of Two Washingtons" documents the first outbreak in the US, and Trump's cold shouldering


Seattle Skyline-

Coronavirus Pandemic: A Tale of Two Washingtons”, directed and narrated by Miles O’Brien, aired on many PBS stations Tuesday April 21.


The documentary traced the emergence of the COVID19 pandemic in the state of Washington, where the first patient, a traveler from China, was much sicker than we realized at Providence Hospital, and got a compassionate user approval for remdisivir.

The documentary moves to the nursing home in Kirkland WA, where investigators were at first shocked to find that two random patients tested positive, which already meant that there had to be considerable community spread in the area.

The hospitals depended on armies of home sewing machine operators and little construction shops to home-make their equipment, as the country was so completely unprepared for this unprecedented pandemic.
   
(Downtown Seattle picture embedded from Wikipedia;  click on picture for attribution, CCSA and photographer credits).

Sunday, April 19, 2020

"Briefing on Virginia COVID-19 Models" explains how UVa models work and what Virginians can expect this summer


I’ll treat the video from the Commonwealth of Virginia April 13, 2020, “Briefing on Virginia Covid-19 Models” as appropriate for this blog.  You can watch it on Facebook here or slightly abridge on YT


The presentation compares the University of Washington model (based on IHME), University of Pennsylvania CHIME, and the University of Virginia’s own Biocomplexity model.

The IHME models put Virginia resource utilization maxing in late April. UVa has it in late August, but there is a different assumption. UVA models 5 scenarios: No mitigation, slow (April 30, June 10), and a Pause (same dates).  A Pause is supposed to stop the increase in new cases.  One problem with that will be that case increases can occur because of increase in testing (catching more asymptomatic).  But UVA says it assumes there are about 7 times as many cases as documented, and that 50% are asymptomatic (which means that 10% are serious enough for hospitalization and about 2.5% result in ventilation, which not only leads to deaths but also other outcomes like kidney failure). 
   
UVA assumes social distancing is eliminated June 10 in Virginia. Obviously, it you can have completely containment (with testing and contact tracing and quarantines) the volume at peak goes way down as new cases should not increase in a perfect world.  The rules for people identified by contact tracing need to be very specific:  do they go to hotels?  Do they pay for their own isolation if able?  Is their income intact?  Do they keep full internet access? 

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.

Update: April 20

A WSJ article April 3 by Sumatha Reddy, despite being a bit ho-him, recommends that men remove beards for tighter fit on all masks. 

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.

Wikipedia: 
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.

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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.