Not the Flu

I’ve seen people compare the new coronavirus to influenza.  Some have said that we should worry more about the flu, since it kills every year (maybe 10,000 in the US last year). They are mistaken. The danger in this case is not entirely clear, but on the high end, we’re talking big trouble, way bigger than current influenza strains.

Current flu strains seem much less severe that this new coronavirus, much less likely to put you in intensive care or kill you. Fewer people are susceptible to the flu: we have a vaccine, and most people already have some degree of immunity from vaccination and past bouts with the flu.   We have somewhat useful antiviral drugs for the flu.

2019-nCoV: it’s new, nobody is immune. As yet we don’t know of antiviral drugs that are effective against it, although people are certainly trying out existing ones.  Perhaps we will get lucky. We will be working on a vaccine, and that is likely to succeed eventually, but  that takes time, on the order of a year or more.  Supportive care is helpful: ventilation and oxygen can give you time to beat the virus.

Even without a vaccine or useful drugs, you can foresee an end to it – say after most people have already had it. Fires need fuel.

It seems to spread fairly efficiently, comparable to influenza.  You have to think of two regimes of severity:  what happens when A. there is supportive care (hospitals, ventilators, oxygen) and B. when there is not. If it becomes common enough, regionally, you go from regime A to regime B (capacity for supportive care is limited) – and since it is new, since nobody is immune, that might happen.  Regime B looks not so good: in Wuhan, a few percent lethality, mainly among older men.

What’s the death rate in situation A? Hard to say.  For that matter, what’s the true number of people infected?  Also hard to say, but there is reason to think it’s lot higher than the official number, which ( I think)  is limited by the number of testing kits available. That may mean that the fraction of people infected that get terribly sick is lower than current reports suggest  – but since the majority of all cases must be very new, maybe they haven’t had time to get that sick yet. And then, we know that some people in Wuhan are dying without managing to get into a hospital – and without their deaths being counted.  But is this common enough to materially change the picture?

Even if the authorities in China are telling all they know, they themselves likely don’t  know enough. Might they be lying?  Sure. Lying about the 1918 flu epidemic was routine: that’s why it’s called the Spanish flu, since Spain was neutral and didn’t censor the newspapers.

The only thing you can be confident of is that the situation is no _better_ than the official line – the current story is against interest,  very bad for business.


[ disappeared. Odd.  some mistake? restored]

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191 Responses to Not the Flu

  1. John Massey says:

    The WHO has sprung into action – it’s now Covid-19. Yeah, that’s so much better LOL.

    Actually not – sounds like something dreadful from third rate sci-fi. What was unpronounceable about ‘encov’?

    • dave chamberlin says:

      I like pangolin’s revenge better. Cute little fellow that’s endangered and some greedy fools kept right on killing them and serving them for dinner. Payback’s a bitch. Yea I know it’s probably a bat but this guy is just so cute, he would be a great spokesmen on a sign. STOP EATING US ASSHOLE, OR ELSE.

    • gothamette says:

      I actually rather like COVID-19, just don’t ask me to put . It’s easy to write and to say.

      I think it’s also an effort not to stigmatize, as in “Spanish Flu,” and yes, I know why they call it that. Would you prefer Wuhan Flu?

      • John Massey says:


        • gothamette says:

          OK. Then between us here that’s what I’ll call it. The Wuhan Flu. It has a ring.

          • gothamette says:

            Wait. Clicked too fast.

            The Wu-Flu.

          • John Massey says:

            It’s unfair on those people in Wuhan and Chinese people generally who do not patronise the wild animal markets or eat those animals, but there is no simple way to distinguish them from the people who do, or the people who should have been enforcing the law against that market, which was operating illegally, or the Wuhan municipal and Hubei provincial government officials who should have reacted differently, all of whom deserve to be stigmatised. Otherwise they will never learn.

            • gothamette says:

              More than stigmatized, punished severely. China’s gotta shape up. They can’t very well be a linchpin of a modern economy and operate that way. They have to crack down and get their shit together.

              • John Massey says:

                They variously are being punished, or will be in due course, punished internally, within China. Heads have already rolled, and a lot more will roll. But the changes need to be made permanent – permanent lessons need to be learned, and culture changed. That is not easy in a country of 1.4 billion people with a very long lived, entrenched culture and a poor record of under-policing, enforcement of regulations and compliance, but it needs to happen.

              • gothamette says:

                Let a thousand more heads roll.

                The country that gave us the Four Pests Campaign and the Cultural Revolution should give us more of the same – this time one that will have positive consequences, not disastrous ones.

          • John Massey says:

            Think I’d prefer Wuhan Plague. It’s worse than ‘flu.

  2. rjjcda says:

    Lance Welton at Vdare has said (as of a few days ago) that there are no reported confirmed cases of death of Caucasians and blacks from the virus. Americans and others dying are of Asian ancestry according to current info. Perhaps there is a genetic factor here. Or maybe not. Time will clear up confusion.

    • dave chamberlin says:

      I am not wondering that, sounds unlikely. But I am hoping, certainly no proof yet, that is evolving to be less lethal. The reasoning sounds likely enough. The asymptomatic spreaders are the ones spreading it. The truly sick are quarantined.

      • Maciano says:

        With current contagiousness why would it need to evolve towards benignity?

        In fact, I’m betting on the reverse: the Chinese are putting 1000s of sick people in hospital beds near each other; more aggressive strains can now jump hosts easily without paying a price in survivability.

        Paul Ewald wrote extensively about this.

      • John Massey says:

        Those people in hospital beds are in isolation. John Campbell has gone through the Chinese criteria needed to be satisfied before people are determined to be recovered, no longer infectious and released, and he is satisfied that they are very rigorous. That is why the number of recovered is rising as slowly as it is – the criteria are stringent. So your observation is irrelevant.

        Dave’s observation is more relevant. It is not clear, though, how much is being spread by people who are asymptomatic. Must be some – Walsh was a super-spreader while asymptomatic, but they won’t all be like him. (It also seems notable that Walsh himself has already recovered, which is weird – he had to be shedding a lot of virus, but didn’t get severely sick himself. Shades of Typhoid Mary.)

        I am viewing the Hong Kong data as a sample, because I can get the most data on them, and because there has been so much contact with Wuhan and Mainland people generally – same country, same people, different legal jurisdiction, but HK people have been able to travel freely across the border and back until a quarantine requirement on returnees was imposed only fairly recently. There has evidently been some transmission by cryptic cases in HK, but not that much, and so far a rapidly spreading locally sustained epidemic has not developed. The HK Centre for Health Protection has already announced that it has the disease contained, and they would be taking a huge risk saying that if they were not very confident that they have. The numbers to date support what they have said.

        • Maciano says:

          “Those people in hospital beds are in isolation.”

          I’ve seen plenty of pictures of hospitals in total chaos, they are not remotely in isolation. Infection can (&has) spread widely there.

          That’s even separate from all the people suspected of having the infection, they’re housed in gigantic sleeping wards.

    • gothamette says:

      Lance Welton’s background in epidemiology is?

      Some bloggers are making light of being confined on a cruise ship. They are saying its better than being quarantined in a hospital.

      This is complete insanity.

      John pointed out in the thread that got disappeared that every new infection they set the quarantine back to Day 0, and they are confined in a small space, being fed by possibly infected crew members.

      • Maciano says:

        At least he tried to uncover who died of nCoV so far. That was useful info. The rest of his article and conclusions were guilty of motivated reasoning…

          • Maciano says:

            You don’t like the guy for his politics, that’s your own issue.

            He checked who actually: mostly Chinese. That’s an interesting fact. If it remains true, I highly doubt that.

            • John Massey says:

              It’s not an interesting fact at all. The reason for it is blindingly obvious.

              • Maciano says:

                I’ll judge what I think is interesting, not what some rando on the internet thinks. Definitely not you considering your comments here.

                To investigate 1) if the spread focuses mostly from Asians to Asians is worthy to know and 2) you might not think it is, but what do you know?

              • John Massey says:

                A bit more than you, evidently. For one thing, you need to define who you mean by Asians, unless you really do mean everyone from Japan to 2/3 of Turkey.

                According to John Campbell (try looking him up on YouTube), can’t rule out the possibility that East Asians (Chinese, Koreans, Japanese) might be somewhat more susceptible, but until a properly peer reviewed paper presenting some evidence is published in a reputable medical journal, there are no grounds for assuming it is true.

              • John Massey says:

                The reason I said it was not interesting is that it is blindlngly obvious that the people who have died so far have been mostly Chinese because the people who have been infected so far have been mostly Chinese. Nothing can be determined from that. We would need a large enough sample of non-Chinese (probably of non-East Asians) to be infected before anything could be concluded. Offhand I haven’t calculated how big that sample would need to be, but it would need to be a lot. Plus there are confounding factors, not least age and pre-existing health problems, history of smoking and exposure to dusty environments and poor air quality, etc. to be taken into account.

                Until we have all of that, the only safe assumption for non-Chinese concerned with their own vulnerability is the null hypothesis. And if SARS-CoV-2 can be well enough contained, we might never get it.

                In the 2003 SARS epidemic, the case fatality rates for Mainland China and Hong Kong were a lot higher than for other countries that got some of it, but there were confounding factors (e.g. they got it first, didn’t know what it was and didn’t know how to treat it, and it took a while to figure all of that out – by the time it reached other countries, there was already some experience with dealing with it), and the total sample sizes were not that big, so I doubt anything could be deduced from that. I recall there was a sizeable outbreak in Toronto, but some or all of those people could have been ethnic Chinese; the news reports didn’t say. There were some papers published after the SARS epidemic on the role of ACE2 receptors in disease pathogenesis, but I haven’t seen anything on differentiation by race, and certainly not in relation to disease severity and case fatality rates.

                Can non-Chinese get Covid-19? Yes, we already know that, and evidently very easily.

                You can see for yourself what John Campbell has to say about the subject.

                Dave Chamberlin posted the link to John Campbell’s YouTube videos before, but in case you missed it:

                The other thing to be aware of is that they might already have it in African and South American countries and not know it. Egypt has just announced its first case (that they know about).

              • says:

                It is infantile to assume that SARS-CoV2 cannot cross the ethnic barrier when it can jump from the bat to human. The second wave of Canadian SARS occurred after some time lags and it was more intense than the initial wave on an unprepared population, i.e. it seemed to have adapted to the Canadian demographics.

              • gothamette says:

                “It is infantile to assume that SARS-CoV2 cannot cross the ethnic barrier when it can jump from the bat to human. ”

                Good one.

              • Maciano says:

                I think it’s interesting how you guys keep insisting ethnic differences can’t play a role in a) risk of infection and/or b) severity of the condition once infection.

                I’d put my money on the virus infecting everybody, but I wouldn’t consider Welton’s remarks to be ridiculous. Why rule it out? Only people who don’t like the implication would do that.

              • Frau Katze says:

                Why does this Chinese-only theory have so many adherents? There is no reason that I can see: other flus and corona viruses (like the common cold) have affected every ethnicity on the planet.

                Our default assumption must be this new virus is the same.

              • gothamette says:


                I’m not ruling out ethnic differences in ability to fight off the virus.

                But how many times do I have to quote the damned OP:

                2019-nCoV: it’s new, nobody is immune

                Did you read that? No, I don’t think you did, because you wrote: “I think it’s interesting how you guys keep insisting ethnic differences can’t play a role in a) risk of infection”

                I’m NOT saying that ethnic differences can’t play some small role in how the immune system of individuals fights off COVID19. Maybe it’s possible. But that’s not what Welton was saying, so please, just get lost and stop making shit up and attributing it to me.

                Or advocate that we don’t quarantine people who carry the virus. Will you do that?

              • Frau Katze says:

                @gothamette I just heard a defence of the ethnicity difference described by a doctor. I can’t replay it yet as he’s live streaming.

                Mind you, he’s abandoned his career to be a Youtuber. He’s in Romania. I’m NOT intending to insult Romanians but I don’t think he had to study as long as my daughter to become an MD.

    • gothamette says:

      Lance Welton of Vdare is an idiot, as are the people who quote him.

        • reinertor says:

          Rational Wiki is not a source. It’s written by a small group of SJWs and basement dwellers. It has nothing to do with Wikipedia (which has its own biases), and it just writes SJWey stuff based on SJWey sources and whatever they cook up themselves.

          Here’s the Rational Wiki of the blogger under whose posts you are currently commenting:

          A few select quotes:

          Cochran is best known for his frequent collaborations with the late Henry Harpending,[2] considered a white nationalist by the Southern Poverty Law Center.[3]

          It has certainly brought out the stupid in Cochran.

          That Cochran is the most intelligent of so-called HBD bloggers shows how very lowbrow this crowd is.

          • John Massey says:

            So Mr Welton is a jolly good chap, is he?

            • gothamette says:

              Hey look, anyone who thinks that Europeans can’t get COVID19 is welcome to house people who come from the affected areas in their own homes for two weeks.

            • reinertor says:

              I don’t know who he is, nor what he wrote exactly (as opposed a one-sentence summary of his blogpost or article or whatever), so cannot comment on that. All I can say is that Rational Wiki is what it is.

              • John Massey says:

                I’m under no illusion about Rational Wiki. I’m not stupid. But some of what they reference is useful. They are not wrong in picking Greg as intelligent, even though that is not their intent.

                They are not wrong in noting that Welton quotes extensively from that barking lunatic Emil Kirkegaard, whose claims about ‘miscegenation’ and biracial people are truly ridiculous, just to pick an example.

                If Welton was lost in the Western Desert, vehicle broken down, he had better hope he is found by a group of Aboriginal people with mean IQ of 65, because out there they are the geniuses and they will keep him alive. My advice to them would be to leave him to his own highly intelligent pure white race devices and die from exposure and thirst within three days.

              • Peripatetic Commenter says:

                If Welton was lost in the Western Desert, vehicle broken down, he had better hope he is found by a group of Aboriginal people with mean IQ of 65, because out there they are the geniuses and they will keep him alive.

                Yeah. It is well known that the real world is about 90% desert and that is where all the real people live, so his probability of being lost in a broken-down vehicle in a desert somewhere is about 99.999%. He sure is fucked.

              • John Massey says:

                Australia is 90% desert, pretty well, but that was not what I was alluding to.

                Think about what you need physically and in your cognitive toolkit, not just to survive in the desert for more than a few days, but to live there permanently for 35,000 years or so. In the absence of trachoma (transmitted by flies, with which Australia is positively crawling), an unadmixed Aboriginal person has much more acute eyesight than a person of European ancestry – not just better, but 7 times better. Greg Cochran knows this – we have discussed it (he mentioned that Central Asians also have enhanced visual acuity, but to a much less extent). It is such common knowledge among eye doctors in Australia that they don’t even bother to remark on it. Aboriginal people also score very high on spacial memory, and directional sense. So, think about what differences you might need in brain structure for that.

                Psychometric testing tests people on things that are important to survive in the modern world, on which Aboriginal people do notably badly. Aboriginal kids will keep up pretty well in primary school, but much past that and they really struggle. Some graduate in medicine and dentistry, but they are highly admixed people. Put an Aboriginal guy from a remote settlement in the middle of a modern city and he will be lucky to survive 3 weeks without getting himself into serious trouble with the law. Aboriginal people are over-represented in the prison system by a factor of about 7 times.

                The education system in Australia is failing Aboriginal people badly because it is politically impossible for them to acknowledge openly that Aboriginal people are cognitively different from Europids. It tries to shoehorn them into a system designed for kids with European brains, if I can put it like that.

                What do Aboriginal people do really well at? They take to riding horses like ducks to water, and make excellent stockmen (cowboys to you). In the military they make excellent coast watchers, watching for illegal fishing boats and boats carrying illegal immigrants encroaching into Australia territorial waters – not only can they survive out in the bush for weeks, living off the land, they prefer it. They make very good park rangers. IQ of 65 should mean that they are incapable of taking care of themselves, which is very far from the truth, it is a matter of the environment they are in and the job they have to do.

                If ‘the system’ was geared to acknowledging their cognitive differences and making best use of their abilities that Europids don’t have, instead of trying to train them to be de facto Europeans, they and society generally would be a lot better off. In a lot of cases, tacitly it is. But you dare not say publicly that there are fundamental differences in brain structure and cognition between Aboriginal people and Europids for political/ideological reasons that I probably don’t need to spell out to you – Lewontin and all that.

          • Smithie says:

            I rather like Rational Wiki because they link to interesting HBD content, with suggestions, and their articles are indistinguishable from satire. In fact, I am not fully convinced that they aren’t secretly “based.”

            • reinertor says:

              Perhaps, but they are doing real harm to lots of people. Now it’s routine for HR departments to google the names of prospective employees, so anyone having a Rational Wiki page will have a huge disadvantage. It’s format is similar to Wikipedia, which is seen as the gold standard of objectivity (which it isn’t really, especially not in some “controversial” topics), so its contents are not really questioned. Probably such a page is seen as a red flag when hiring people (companies are prone to avoiding “controversial” people), so if it’s a joke, it’s a pretty cruel one.

              • Smithie says:

                You’re right… in a PC-environment, where people are often black-listed, it is heartlessly cruel.

                That’s why I like to try to give its creators all a sleepless night by extolling it on HBD forums, for, if I understand their psychology correctly, they have mood swings when a butterfly flaps its wings.

    • Smithie says:

      I’m a bit skeptical of the premise. Mainly, for two reasons. Firstly, the media are notorious for obscuring race, so that makes it very difficult to test. Secondly, the outbreak was centered in China, so that introduces confounding factors beyond genetics. For instance, I don’t believe China hands out visas to older or unhealthy people, but there are many other factors, as well.

      Still, it should not be scorned out of hand on an HBD forum. At the very least, it deserves consideration as an idea stimulating to the imagination. On that basis, let us suppose that it is true. How does one explain it?

      Well, purely on the basis of science-fiction, I would offer up this theory: Chinese are more cold selected, as can be seen from their small noses which are more resistant to frostbite. Perhaps, their respiratory tracts are also more cold-selected too, on a cellular basis, and the virus is exploiting this physiology.

      • J says:

        The small nose theory, Sir, is most improbable. I cant find one supporting fact on the interworld. It must be the censure. On the other hand, Arctic people’s eyes are padded and frost-resistant.

        • Smithie says:

          There’s been some speculation that nose shape has been influenced by sex selection, across the globe.

          I wonder whether European noses would have the greatest sex differences. This might support the idea of cold selection influencing nose size. If one supposes that a girl with a small nose is cuter than one with the tip missing.

      • gothamette says:

        “2019-nCoV: it’s new, nobody is immune.”

        Who wrote that?

        Please stop talking about nose shapes and this virus. Just stop.

      • John Massey says:

        “I don’t believe China hands out visas to older or unhealthy people”

        Where on earth did you get that idiotic idea?

        • reiner Tor says:

          I don’t know what he meant, but I guess older and unhealthy people in general travel less than healthy and young or middle-aged people. I don’t think China checks your health status much (except on most visa applications they ask a few questions about infectious diseases and maybe health insurance).

          • Smithie says:

            There are multiple layers of filters. The first and most significant is what you point out.
            Besides which, I doubt many tourists, or even businessmen, go to Wuhan this time of year. The foreigners that were there, probably weren’t on short term visas. And I’m sure there weren’t that many of them.

            In fact many were probably consular employees (and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of these are ethnically Han)

            China is not an immigrant nation. As they have developed, they’ve tightened up the requirements of their longer-term visas. They require a higher amount of education, a proxy for health. As well as an actual check-up. There are age cutoffs unless you are a super-wealthy investor. They are not looking to import people on dialysis.

            The age cohorts are not at all proportional. Foreigners skew younger and healthier.

          • John Massey says:

            Reiner, they require a medical check (including taking blood samples for testing) for people going to work in Mainland China, including Chinese nationals from Hong Kong and Macau, so people staying there relatively long term to work. And that is fair enough.

            They place no such restrictions and requirements on tourists, and contrary to everyone’s assertions, a lot of elderly people do travel to China, and not just in groups. Still some skew in the data, but some nuance is required, not black and white.

            I eyeballed the American consular people who were quarantined at Clark Air Base – didn’t spot any ethnic Han, although there were no doubt a couple. The 60 year old American woman who died in Wuhan was Chinese American (and had a pre-existing chronic health condition, but they didn’t say what). 60 + chronic prior health condition is a sufficient condition for death; no need to invoke her race as an explanation. Occam’s Razor.

        • gothamette says:

          I realize you’re not addressing me, John, but my earlier point about most Westerners in China being young, healthy and adventurous was a guess. Every American I know who has gone to China on their own has been young. I do know a few older folks who’ve gone, but only on carefully supervised tours.

      • John Massey says:

        It’s a well known fact that Scarlett Johannson has the world’s most elegant nose, and I certainly wouldn’t call it small. I have her facial profile as my desktop wallpaper on my 22″ screen, just so I can stare at her nose in profile all day long.

        Where does that fit your crackpot theory?

        • dearieme says:

          You have Scarlett fever? Isn’t it infectious?

        • Smithie says:

          Sorry, I know ScarJo is a bit of a mutt, but I am not counting Ashkenazis as Europeans because they have too much Southern DNA, and only entered Northern Europe relatively recently.

          Though to refine my crackpot theory, I really should specify Northern Euros, rather than just Europeans, to reduce noise.

  3. Gkai says:

    Just cancelled my aliexpress which was on hold since 2 weeks, at the seller request. Apparently they do not have the workforce to proceed it (due to spring festival, but now workers do not come back as planned due to the virus), chinese goverent told them to stop shipping, logistics compagnies do not ship anyway and most countries do not accept parcels shipped from china (maybe i was unlucky my seller is from the affected zone, but i think it’s general).
    He told me officials told them they can resume on March 1st…doubtful, Chinese economy will get a huge hit and everybody else will feel it. If chinese suppliers can not ship, it will be felt globally

    • J says:

      True. AliExpress is begging for more time and dropping prices. In principle I never exploit someone’s bad fortune, but I’ll think up something.

  4. John Massey says:

    So glad that the WHO has kept things nice and simple for all of the dumb people. So the coronavirus itself is now called SARS-CoV-2 (sounds like they have decided this is SARS Mk II, which seems at least questionable) and the disease you get from it is now called Covid-19.

    Not COVID-19.

    • reiner Tor says:

      Well, this is a less virulent but way more contagious version of SARS. It’s more destructive that way. Many deadly viruses like ebola could be way more dangerous to modern society if they were less virulent but more contagious. So it’s definitely way worse than SARS.

      • John Massey says:

        Yes, already a lot worse than SARS. SARS in Hong Kong was very bad because the mortality was 17.5% and it killed 299 people over the course of 6 months, but globally the mortality was only 9.5%. SARS-CoV-2 spreads more quickly, but kills a lot fewer people who are infected (at least so far).

  5. reiner Tor says:

    The number of daily deaths jumped to around 240 from around 100 just by changing the method to include those diagnosed with CT. First, CT capacity must also be limited. Second, the vast majority of the changes are coming from Wuhan, and it’s not clear if the rest of Hubei was changed, too. (Or the rest of China. Though most of the rest of China might still have enough capacity to test everyone with the old method. Or not. Remember, the Japanese are not testing everyone aboard the cruise ship.) So real numbers must be higher still, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that it was 500 or 1,000 daily.

    And that’s with a full lockdown in Hubei (and at least partial lockdown in much of the rest of China). It’s not the plague, but comparisons to the Spanish flu are spot on.

    • John Massey says:

      In Hubei they are limited in the number of tests they can do because they are low on the PCR kits, plus the fact that they do 3 determinations separated by one day each limits the rate at which they can test people and screen them in or out for isolation and treatment. They only need one CT determination, so it is much less of a limitation on the rate at which they can test people. Plus they are now very familiar with how the disease manifests, so they are not only limited to using CT alone – they have a set of clinical criteria.

      In the rest of China they are having to deal with numbers that are only a small fraction of the numbers in Hubei, so they are still using only the PCR test, because it is not a limitation on them.

      I don’t know why you think Japan is relevant. China has a lot of production capacity, far more than Japan, and far more medical personnel to administer tests. One impressive statistic I learned today is that every Chinese citizen is being supplied with 3 face masks per day, at very low cost – the Chinese factories must be churning them out at a huge rate.

      The most worrying thing I have heard today is that Hubei is running low on oxygen. But if you don’t care how many people in Hubei die, that won’t bother you at all, because it has no implication for anyone outside of Hubei, let alone outside of China.

      • reiner Tor says:

        Japan is a country of 120 million, and significantly more developed than China as a whole (though not necessarily than the most developed provinces of China, I haven’t seen data, but wouldn’t be surprised if Shanghai or Shenzhen were to be richer than Japan already), so it’s pretty relevant that they don’t test everyone on a ship of 2,000 people only. China may be over 10 times bigger than Japan, but poorer and, more significantly, with probably hundreds or even thousands of times more people to test. If Japan cannot meet its lower (on a per capita basis) testing needs, then maybe China can’t either. Perhaps the same will be true of Europe or North America as well.

      • reiner Tor says:

        I read that apparently they only changed the method in Wuhan, or at least it doesn’t seem like the whole of Hubei changed it. So the real numbers must be higher still, because the rest of Hubei probably has the same shortage of test kits etc. as Wuhan. As to the rest of China, I also wrote that maybe they still have enough capacity, so the method might not change things much.

        Also, are they still doing the old test anymore? The seeming drop in the numbers might’ve been due to the doctors more and more often not doing the tests anymore anyway, because they were now confident in the new CT method (or the other simpler diagnosis methods you mentioned), which resulted in a drop in the reported cases without the epidemic actually slowing down.

        • John Massey says:

          No, it’s whole of Hubei. That has been clarified by Dr John Campbell in his latest Youtube video – he has been getting a lot of email correspondence from people in China telling him what is happening there, including medical people in Hubei.

          Sorry, I can’t follow the logic of your second paragraph at all, I suspect because it doesn’t have any. Are they still using the PCR tests any more where? They are still doing them both in Hubei and in the rest of China. The drop in reported cases in the rest of China is because there has been a drop in people testing positive for Covid-19, which means that, at least at present, the epidemic is slowing down. It could speed up again as more people travel to go back to work, but that remains to be seen.

          • reiner Tor says:

            My point was very simple. It’s very complicated to do the tests to the old standard, and takes up a lot of time for the doctors. It’s much faster to do a diagnosis using simpler methods, and just not do the complicated test, thereby saving valuable time, because medical staff is in short supply.

            So it’s not at all impossible that more and more doctors did away with the old tests and just set their treatment and diagnosis on simpler methods. It would be way more efficient that way, so why waste time on doing the complicated tests, when they can have a diagnosis based on other methods as well..?

            The drop in reported cases in the rest of China is because there has been a drop in people testing positive for Covid-19, which means that, at least at present, the epidemic is slowing down.

            Well, that’s the official story, but what I wrote is another explanation for the same reports.

            • John Massey says:

              But, as reported by medical people in China, the rest of the country is not doing away with the PCR tests. Whether you think they should or not, they haven’t. The other thing people seem to keep not understanding is that, outside of Hubei, medical staff are not in short supply and the healthcare system is not under pressure, at least not so far.

              One actually very interesting thing that has happened in China is that the authorities have stopped censoring what people are saying on social media like Weibo and WeChat. They are leaving up everything that people are saying. So, if the official version was some kind of vast cover up, it would soon become evident, and it is not.

          • reiner Tor says:

            The suspicion that it’s not the whole of Hubei was voiced in The Guardian (maybe a biased source), and it was based on the fact that vast majority of the “extra” cases came from Wuhan. So there’s the possibility that it’s only Wuhan (and maybe a few other places) where they changed the methods, and not the rest of Hubei. Hubei is like a larger European country (like Spain maybe), so I’m not sure it’s very easy to uniformly change methods throughout the province in just one day. It probably could be done, but that’s not necessarily the way to bet.

            • John Massey says:

              The central government has sacked the provincial health authorities in Hubei and have taken over themselves, so yes, they could change it in one day. Wuhan alone is bigger than Sweden in terms of population, and this change is something they have evidently given thought and planning to.

              They have made some other big changes – one is that they have established mobile medical teams; people who are determined to be positive but have less severe symptoms are being isolated in their own homes and being treated by the mobile medical teams there, to relieve the pressure on the hospitals and reserve the capacity in the hospitals for the more severe cases. Even if that is just in Wuhan, it takes some organising in a city of 11 million people, but they have done it.

            • John Massey says:

              No, I’m sorry, you’re right. John Campbell misled me, but then corrected himself in a subsequent video. (He is getting his information from China and people are translating it for him.) They are using CPR and diagnosis of infection by clinical means (1.e. two different ways) in Wuhan, but in the rest of Hubei they are still using only CPR. Well, that’s what he has said in the most recent video.

    • John Massey says:

      The other thing is, it is still far from clear to me why the Japanese authorities are dealing with the Diamond Princess the way they are. The ship is now up to more than 200 people infected, more than 5% of all of the people on the ship.

      It should be clear to the Japanese authorities by now that not all of these people were infected when the ship docked in Yokohama, but that the disease is actively spreading on the ship, despite (or maybe because of?) the passengers all being confined to their cabins except for a short period to stretch their legs outside every day, and despite the fact that the Japanese authorities keep removing passengers who test positive and sending them to hospital.

      If the Japanese authorities really lack the capability to disembark, quarantine and test 3,500 people over a reasonable timescale, they are going to be in very deep shit when a self-sustaining epidemic of Covid-19 really gets going in Japan, particularly considering they have the world’s oldest population.

      • reiner Tor says:

        Smoking habits in Japan are also probably no better than in China. Yes, Japan will be in deep shit. Europe will be in deep shit. Hubei is already in deep shit. The rest of China is also in deep shit, just not nearly as deep (yet) as Hubei.

        And I haven’t even talked about countries like India.

        • John Massey says:

          In fact, I don’t believe the Japanese lack the testing capacity. They have surely had time to stockpile more than enough test kits by now. I am strongly suspicious that they are doing what they are doing because of domestic political pressure. Why else are they making people who test negative remain on the ship, instead of letting them get off and catch a flight home? There is no point in testing all of the people on the ship, if they are just going to make all of the people who test negative remain on the ship – sooner or later, they will become infected, so all of those negatives would be meaningless.

          The logical thing is to disembark them all, put them in quarantine, and release people who test negative once they are tested so they can then fly out, but they are not doing the logical thing. There has to be a reason for that, and the only thing I can think of is domestic pressure not to do it.

          If white non-hispanic Americans who have been quarantined for 14 days and cleared of infection are facing discrimination from other white non-hispanic Americans, even to the point of being denied accommodation to stay in, imagine the Japanese public attitude to landing foreigners, some of whom are undoubtedly infected, and then releasing those who test negative. The American and Australian, and some other, governments must surely have made representations to the Japanese government on behalf of their citizens on the ship by now, so there must be some heavy domestic politics that are outweighing that.

          • gothamette says:


            See this:

            Yes, she was old, but it’s worrying. She was the mother of a Tokyo cabbie who himself is in his 70s. (She is said to be in her 80s, so she must have had him young.)

            Anyway. Old guy who comes into contact with lots of people transmits virus to geriatric mom, who dies. This cannot have a good effect on Japan/China relations.

            And why is a guy in his 70s still hacking? I thought Japan was some kind of paradise for old people. Go ahead, laugh at me.

            • John Massey says:

              No, Japan has had a surge in crime committed by elderly people who don’t have enough money to support themselves, mostly stealing without violence. ‘Geriatric crime’ sounds a bit comical, but it’s really not funny; it’s symptomatic of abandonment and desperation.

              • gothamette says:

                So, you’re not surprised a guy in his 70s would still be driving a cab? To me, that’s weird. My father continued waiting on tables until he was 68, a year after he could have retired. On wrecked lungs, yet.

                But 68 still isn’t 70.

              • John Massey says:

                Not surprised at all. Japan has the world’s oldest population. Some people have calculated that the Japanese will be extinct by 2050. Long before it reaches that point it will become a failed country.

              • Frau Katze says:

                The Romanian doctor actually said that he does not know, but won’t rule it out.

                Sorry for that mistake, I had to listen to it for an hour to find the spot. It was originally what they call a livestream. I originally tuned in right around the spot where he talked about it, but I couldn’t back it up to hear it again since it was live.

                After the livestream finishes, it becomes a regular video.

          • Frau Katze says:

            I read that the Americans were going to remove their citizens from the Diamond Princess and quarantine them in the US.

            • John Massey says:

              Also Hong Kong (355 passengers) and Australia (200 passengers). And one other country, but I forget which one. I think I read that 10 or 12 of the 380 Americans who were on board are known to be infected. Some of the HK passengers are questioning why they will have to go into quarantine again when they get back to HK – either stupid or trying to wriggle out of it. Both explanations are possible.

              Meanwhile the number of known infections from the ship is up to 355; almost 10% of everyone who was on board. The Japanese human experiment is progressing well.

              • Frau Katze says:

                There’s an American couple that don’t want to leave. They must be crazy.

              • Frau Katze says:

                It shows how contagious it is. Japan shouldn’t have left them there. Did they let Japanese citizens get off?

              • John Massey says:


              • Frau Katze says:

                @John That’s awful. It’s clearly spreading on the ship. I haven’t heard of this at the land based quarantine sites.

              • John Massey says:

                Can’t tell much about the R0 because we don’t know the mode of transmission. Asymptomatic or very mildly ill crew members preparing food? Possible. R0 is not a constant, it depends on the conditions, so whatever could be learned from the ship would not be useful in different conditions.

                We already know that R0 can be at least as high as ‘flu if people are not effectively quarantined. In this case, the passengers are effectively quarantined by being confined to their cabins (aside from a short walk outside wearing masks every second day and told to stay away from each other), so something is getting to them from the outside. The crew are not quarantined, at least not the ones who need to prepare and deliver enough food to keep the passengers from starving, and that’s a sizeable production-line job for more than 2,000 passengers. I’d be looking closely at that. (Actually I probably wouldn’t, I’d just get them all off.)

              • John Massey says:

                Awful? Yes. I think it is verging on criminal neglect.

                No, that kind of transmission is not happening in quarantine camps on land in Hong Kong. Not at all. Something special is happening on that ship, because of the specific conditions.

            • John Massey says:

              Reportedly, the 2,000 Americans who were on the Westerdam which finally docked in Cambodia are not going to be quarantined in the USA, despite one of them testing positive. That does not sound prudent to me. Some commentators in the US are clearly worried by it.

              The American passengers taken off the Diamond Princess will be quarantined. Qualitatively, I can’t see a difference.

              One old Indian American retired thoracic surgeon on the Westerdam, a Dr Rao, and his son said they will self-quarantine when they get back to the US and thinks all of the others should do the same, to avoid a chance they might infect more people in America. At least someone is thinking clearly, sensibly and responsibly.

              The other country I couldn’t remember is Canada, which should be a worry to Americans, because Canada is being run by an idiot.

              A lady with the CDC said that tracing, say, 100 contacts of every infected person “doesn’t scale”. If the USA doesn’t have the resources or organisational capability to do that with the low number of infections they currently have, that is a worrying comment.

              • John Massey says:

                Australia will also evacuate New Zealanders from the Diamond Princess.

                I think Australia should get rid of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and let Jacinda Ardern take over running Australia as well; combine it into a single country called Australasia and be done with it, and we can work on the Kiwis to improve their awful pronunciation of vowels. Fish is not pronounced fush.

              • John Massey says:

                Sorry, I see that it is now reported that “more than 3 dozen” of the 380 Americans on board the Diamond Princess have been infected.

                So that makes the % of Americans infected completely consistent with the % of all people on board who have been infected. (Of course, no information is available about the ethnicity of those Americans, so it is not a useful data set for examining whether there are racial differences in susceptibility to being infected. In any case, I understand that the theory being peddled around the Internet is that Chinese are more likely to die from it, once infected, not susceptibility to infection.)

              • Frau Katze says:

                He’s a total idiot. Has not stopped flights from China. Has apparently been shamed by the Americans into evacuating the Canadians from the Diamond Princess.

                His incompetence is staggering and his advisors seem to be the same.

              • Frau Katze says:

                Those cruise ships are well known to be vulnerable to infectious diseases. They don’t appeal to me.

          • Frau Katze says:

            Yes, likely domestic pressure. The average citizen of Japan must be pretty scared. I can’t really blame them.

            The best way to deal with the cruise ships might be for each country to get their citizens off.

            Related: A doctor in Romania defended the ethnic difference theory. Mind you, he gave up being a doctor to become a YouTuber, plus I don’t know how training for doctors goes in Romania. It’s in the middle of a long video, I don’t know enough about to judge. It’s at around the 1:00:00 mark.

      • reiner Tor says:

        I think Japan will be in deep shit. China already is. And Europe and North America will likely not avoid that fate either, though at least our air cleaner than in China and we smoke less than either the Chinese or the Japanese. But being slightly shallower shit than China is not going to be a big consolation.

        • Frau Katze says:

          Maybe Japan is terrified of the disease and that’s why they’re acting in what seems an inhumane way over the people on the Diamond Princess.

          They won’t even let Japanese citizens off.

          • John Massey says:

            Could be. It’s not like they ever did anything inhumane before. But I won’t continue with that line of reasoning; it’s not productive.

            • Frau Katze says:

              It’s just that it hadn’t occurred to me. I ask myself how I’d feel if such a ship were sitting in our harbour. I actually feel more sympathetic. Plus it’s a small country, a lot more densely populated than Canada or the US.

              (We are too small to accommodate cruise ships, here in Victoria, BC. I have never travelled outside North America).

              • John Massey says:

                Japan is not that small, as Art Garfunkel discovered when he decided to walk across the country.

                I know what Australia did with the 1918-1919 ‘flu pandemic – they refused to allow ships to dock, and kept them quarantined offshore. But quarantines always leak, and once the disease got into the country, they had no way of preventing it from spreading uncontrollably. So, they got hit by it as hard as most countries, they just delayed it for a while.

                What would Australia do today? What was possible in political terms in 1918 is not possible now; they would get the people off the ship. (Although you could point to what they do with illegal immigrants turning up in leaky boats – hold them in offshore detention camps indefinitely, which is not too humane, but it they didn’t they would be flooded by boats run by human traffickers.)

                Australia is kind of doing something like it now with aircraft arrivals, but that is a lot less inhumane than it would be with a ship – the planes are not circling endlessly while everyone on board becomes infected. And they are permitting their citizens and permanent residents to land and putting them in quarantine facilities.

                Hong Kong is more humane. When it was flooded by Vietnamese boat people, the government took the position that turning the boats away would not be the act of a moral government. When that other cruise ship docked in HK, they got people off after 4 days. If little densely populated Hong Kong could do it, Japan could do it. The number of people was about the same.

              • Frau Katze says:

                @John Japan is small compared to North America. I have never been to Japan and have no feeling beyond looking at statistics as to how dense the population is.

                One thing came out of the Diamond Princess affair: we know 100% sure that cruise ships are not where you want to be if there’s an infectious disease loose. But we already knew that from the famous mini epidemics of norovirus.

              • John Massey says:

                Japan is a beautiful country. The big cities like Tokyo and Osaka are densely populated and massive, but most of Japan is farms and paddy fields, green rolling hills and forested mountains, really pretty. I love Kyoto, it’s just gorgeous, and very well preserved; the whole city has been declared a world heritage site. The population of Kyoto has been steadily dropping ever since the end of WWII – people moving to Tokyo and Osaka for work. And the Japanese population is dropping, so it has this quite eerie thing now that there are a lot of abandoned village houses – the families who lived in them have all died, so the houses have just been left, with all of the family possessions still in them. There is one Japanese guy who goes around photographing them all and publishing books of the photographs.

                Here’s a factoid for you – Japan had the world’s first big reafforestation program, during the Meiji Period in the 19th Century. The Meiji government realised that the use of their forests was unsustainable, so they engaged in a massive program of tree planting. They greatly value their forests, and really look after them.

                It is probably nothing like you imagine. I got a surprise the first time I traveled there – so much green open countryside, and such big areas of forest. Lots of it. And the traditional buildings and temples (some of them extremely old) are really beautiful; perfect. I’m not surprised that the Japanese guard their culture so jealously and resist outside influences so strongly. I would want to preserve it untarnished too, if I was them.

                I don’t know how you imagine Hong Kong. People keep calling HK a city, as if it’s one giant concrete jungle, but it’s not like that. It’s not a single city, it is a collection of densely developed urban centres like interconnected islands, in among a sea of green countryside. 65% of the total land area of HK is what is termed ‘country park’, which is just completely undeveloped wild countryside, no development of any kind permitted, all very steeply mountainous, and much of it covered in very dense jungle, much too dense to walk through, so you need to keep to the hiking trails, which are often just very narrow, barely discernible tracks through the jungle. There are all kinds of surprising animals in there: pangolins (pangolins, Dave! which people don’t eat!), monkeys, leopard cats, barking deer, wild pigs, porcupines, packs of feral dogs, feral cattle, feral water buffaloes, lots of smaller mammals like squirrels, a great wealth of bird life and butterflies, dragonflies and all of that, and lots of venomous and non-venomous snakes, including king cobras, which are really big, scary things. And waterfalls.

                The last positively confirmed evidence of tigers living in HK was as recently as the 1970s, and we still get occasional reports of people seeing a tiger, or their gigantic footprints – I think some of those sightings are actually of leopard cats, but it’s not impossible; there is no shortage of wild pigs, feral dogs, barking deer, feral cattle or other animals for them to prey on; and village dogs. There is still a small population of wild south China tigers living in Guangdong Province, and there is nothing to stop one slipping across the border into HK, which is just a not very wide river, and there is any amount of thick jungle that it could live in without anyone knowing it is there.

                People go hiking in the country parks and get lost in there, and some of them die in there, from heat stroke, or falling over cliffs. One European guy decided to go hiking, like how difficult could it be in HK? He disappeared and they didn’t find his remains until 3 years later – he had fallen into a steep ravine, evidently because he couldn’t see it because the vegetation was so thick. If I walk across the road passing by where I live, on the other side of the road I am straight into a big country park, and I could disappear in there, and people might not find me for years. Or ever.

                My daughter loves hiking, and she quite often disappears into the country parks for hours and hours, and comes back with photos and videos of monkeys and all kinds of things.

                Plus Hong Kong has a lot of outlying islands, many of which are only sparsely inhabited or not inhabited at all, and there are also a lot of old abandoned villages. These are things that most tourists never see, because they never venture out of the main urban areas, so they will tell you it’s just all concrete jungle, but it is very far from that if you venture out up the hiking trails, or get out on a boat and explore the outlying islands.

                Singapore is now much more densely populated than Hong Kong, in terms population divided by total land area, and it is much flatter terrain than HK, but even Singapore is not just some giant metropolis. It has lots of areas of undeveloped jungle. In the urban areas it is now wall to wall people, but you can get away from it.

              • gothamette says:

                @FK Japan (378 sq km) is a bit smaller than California (404 sq km). I always find that when I translate things into American geography, it helps. Or in your case, British Columbia, which is 944 sq kms.

              • John Massey says:

                378,000 sq km.

              • gothamette says:

                Yeah, 378 sq kms is a bit small…. left out the “K”…

              • John Massey says:

                Bangladesh is the most densely populated country, by a long way. South Korea is a distant second. Japan is a long way down on the numbers, in 11th place, and its population is dropping pretty fast. The point I’m trying to make is that Japan is not like people who have never been there imagine it is. Neither is Hong Kong. There is a reason why Hong Kong has become a mecca for trail runners.

              • John Massey says:

                So, Japan is substantially bigger than the UK, and only a bit smaller than Germany. It is less densely populated that India.

              • John Massey says:

                And according to gothamette, British Columbia is smaller than Hong Kong.

                OK, I did laugh that time. But only a little bit.

  6. says:

    Here are the comparative charts of the reported CoVid.09, SARS.03, H1N1 data. The historical CoViD.09 data are from JHU. The relative magnitudes of the various diseases can be seen from the charts. The time origins of the time-series are arbitrary depending on when the data were gathered. What are important are the slopes (rates of change) and the maximum levelling values. It looks like max CoViD.09 is already 7.0x SarsMaxC. Comparatively H1N1.09 was more serious in term of infection rate with the German H1N1.DE curve gone off the chart, but the (absolute) fatalities were much less than that for CoViD.09. The H1N1.09.US cumulative NConfirm was reset to zero on 2009-06-06 as the other H1N1.09 data started from that date. There seems to be no official H1N1.09.US fatality data.

    The criteria for CoViD.09 confirmed case have changed. Thus before the change the latest estimation of the CoViD.09 confirmed logistic curve seems to suggest that the infection rate might be levelling off in about two weeks. However the fatality curve still has a long time to levelling. The fitted CoVid.09 logistic curve is purely from the least squared errors fitted time series obtained before the change in NConfirm criteria. It could have been the basis for some of the claims that CoViD.09 is contained. However the new data have mucked up the possibility to test that. The dxy site now has two set of data, 1. “current confirmed” (52760), 2. “cumulative confirmed” (60407). Dont know what are the differences. The official reasons for the change,

    It seems that Hubei testings were overwhelmed. Now Hubei also uses the less reliable CT scans to clear the backlogs in addition to the standard test using PCR for sequencing the CoVid.09 RNA. Other Chinese provinces do not use the CT scans.
    There is a change for the top position of Hubei party boss.
    There was report that the Chinese data are regrouped wrt place of birth rather than place of test. Places like Shanghai the non-permanent infected resident fraction is (current) 73/252 or (cumulative) 101/315. That should not have changed the national data.

  7. Dave Chamberlin says:

    I’ve been saying all along the numbers of people that have Covid19 that the Chinese are supplying to their people and the rest of the world are complete bullshit. It’s come out they don’t have enough test kits. They could have said that earlier but of course they didn’t. I respect their excuse, they didn’t want their public to panic. My single and solitary bitch is the world’s keeps posting these numbers as if that is really the number of people who have contracted Covid19. It was nonsense and it will remain nonsense, stop believing them.

    Here is who you believe, John Barry. He states in pure and simple language the following. If there are asymptomatic people who are infectious with Covid19 we can’t stop it. Are there? Yes. Is the Chinese quarantine working to the degree that the R-0 is below 1? Doesn’t look like it. Can they keep up this quarantine for months and months. No. So is it going to roll through the rest of the world once it takes off out of China? Probably not, it’s a good educated guess it will behave like other somewhat similar viruses have in the past. John Barry’s book on the Spanish Flu is our best predictive model. That came and went for two years skipping around all over the globe. It also varied greatly in how deadly it was. This has just begun.

  8. J says:

    Funny, but little Israel is now supplying masks and miscellaneous bio-testing equipment to giant China. Since Saddam Hussein the Israel stockpiles gas and bio masks and so. BTW, I believe Saddam had WMD.

    • John Massey says:

      Little Israel is a tech powerhouse.

      Chinese like and admire Jews. It’s true, they do. It must make a pleasant change.

      • J says:

        It does. Thanks.

      • shadow on the wall says:

        Asian people were always pragmatic. The Jews rule the world, after all, and you want to get on their good side.

        See “Plan Fugu”.

        Memoranda written in 1930s Imperial Japan proposed settling Jewish refugees escaping Nazi-occupied Europe in Japanese-controlled territory. As interpreted by Marvin Tokayer and Swartz (who used the term “Fugu Plan”, “河豚計画”, that was used by the Japanese to describe this plan), they proposed that large numbers of Jewish refugees should be encouraged to settle in Manchukuo or Japan-occupied Shanghai,[1] thus gaining the benefit of the supposed economic prowess of the Jews and also convincing the United States, and specifically American Jewry, to grant political favor and economic investment into Japan. The idea was partly based on the acceptance of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as being a genuine document by at least part of the Japanese leadership.[2]

        • John Massey says:

          You will be disappointed to learn: (1) that is not the reason for Chinese people, and (2) not all Asian peoples (and there are a bloody lot of them) are culturally identical.

      • gothamette says:

        @John, you don’t have to be a tech powerhouse to make masks. Bio-testing equipment, yeah. The Chinese should be making their own.

      • Smithie says:

        The Chinese admire Jews because they have power in the West.

        They do not admire them because they have disproportionate power in China, and would not, if they did.

        • John Massey says:

          You are wrong.

          • Smithie says:

            Are you asserting that the Han welcome the diminution of their power? You need only compare a map printed in China to one printed outside it.

            Or is your theory that there are too many Han and too few Jews for the Han to notice a significant diminution of their power, if Jews were allowed to immigrate in large numbers? (which they are not allowed to do)

            The latter theory is an interesting one, as there are nearly 100x the amount of Han as there are core Jews, and the ratio would be even higher if you compared only Ashkenzai. Then there is the average 105 IQ estimate for the Han.

            • John Massey says:

              I am not making assertions in geopolitical terms at all.

              Chinese people like Jewish people because they perceive them to be like themselves: family minded, hard working, good business acumen, financial prudence, etc. They admire them for being high achievers.

              You might not be familiar with the old expression that “the Chinese are the Jews of Asia”. It refers to the Chinese diaspora in SE Asia and the niches they fill in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. I think it was meant to be somewhat derogatory, but Chinese people don’t seem to mind the comparison; they take it as a compliment.

              I am not going to get into some pointless debate about whether the perceptions are accurate or not, but that is why.

              • shadow on the wall says:

                This is true. Just like, in the West, self made gurus push things like “12 secrets of Taoist masters how to achieve enlightenment fast”, in China you will see things like “Eight secret teachings of the Talmud help you to make money fast”.

    • shadow on the wall says:

      BTW, I believe Saddam had WMD

      you are not alone 😉

      In a Public Mind poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University released Wednesday, more than half of Republicans — 51 percent — and half of those who watch Fox News — 52 percent — say that they believe it to be “definitely true” or “probably true” that American forces found an active weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq.

      Thirty-two percent of Democrats, 46 percent of independents, 41 percent of people who reported to watch CNN and 14 percent of MSNBC viewers answered similarly.

      • J says:

        Not giving much weigh to American public opinion. The Israeli government acted as if he had WMD.

        • reinertor says:

          You mean they did everything in their power to avoid the war? (Had Saddam had something, he could’ve used them out of desperation, since he had nothing to lose at the time.)

          Do you have proof Israel did anything to avoid the war?

          • J says:

            For one, the State provided carton boxes with gas masks and injection kit to everybody. Babies got plastic tents. And so.
            About avoiding war: We avoided it.

            • John Massey says:

              And if I recall, relied on the much vaunted American Patriot missiles to intercept the Scud missiles, and they didn’t work. Please correct me if I am wrong.

              • J says:

                You are right, but at the time we thought the Patriots were effective. There was one stationed in a park, went to see it and thank the American soldiers (and obese minority ladies) manning it.

            • reiner Tor says:

              In early January a huge delegation from the Gulf Arabs and the Saudis went to Washington, DC, to beg them to avoid war at all costs. They were scared shitless of the idea of a war, because they knew Iran could hit their oil infrastructure and cause enormous damage to them.

              Israel didn’t beg the US (especially not publicly), and many of its leaders were actually arguing in favor of it, certainly not against it. There’s no evidence that Israel’s leaders ever argued against the war. So they weren’t afraid that Saddam might launch nukes on Tel Aviv in retaliation.

              Gas masks are good protective gear against chlorine and mustard gas, which weren’t very deadly already in WW1. They are useless against modern chemical weapons.

              The Israeli leaders clearly didn’t believe Saddam had anything more dangerous than a few Scuds, possibly with chlorine or mustard gas warheads, so they did some precautions against these, but otherwise didn’t care much.

              • reiner Tor says:

                My Gulf Arab/Saudi example referred to January 2020, and was meant as an example of how a country behaves when it is scared shitless of war. Another example might be how the South Koreans and the Japanese behave with North Korea – they do everything in their power to avoid a war.

      • Jim says:

        What many people believe has no connection whatever to reality. Saddam’s WMD were pure fantasy. I remember after 9/11 polls showing something like 70% of people polled believed that Saddam was behind 9/11. This when the identities of all the hijackers was available online. They were mostly Saudis and no Iraqis. Most Americans are abysmally ignorant of the world and believe whatever the media tells them to believe.

  9. John Massey says:

    The Hong Kong government is considering air-lifting 250 HK citizens off the Diamond Princess, after 10 others were found to be infected and hospitalised in Japan.

    • gothamette says:

      I just got an email inviting me to a diamond, gem and pearl show in Hong Kong in late May. Think it will still go on?

      The Chinese have been disrupting the pearl trade in the last 10 years much to the chagrin of the Japanese. You wonder whether COVID19 will affect this, if it goes on. Yes, I know it’s irrational – infected oysters! – but people can get irrational when viruses are involved.

      • John Massey says:

        I have mislaid my crystal ball.

        People here are already rescheduling for later events that were originally scheduled for April, so there has to be some risk that it will be postponed, depending on how things develop. But I can’t quantify the risk. It is not being dictated by logic.

      • John Massey says:

        My other thought is that, if the coronavirus scare is completely gone long enough before May for them to decide they can go ahead instead of postponing, then it is likely we will see a resumption of the rioting, violence and vandalism that we were beset by continually for 6 months before the coronavirus crisis emerged, in which case I would caution seriously considering whether it is worth risking coming to HK on personal safety grounds.

        • gothamette says:

          I saw a documentary about the demonstrations and in one scene a gang beat the crap out of a guy from the mainland. They accused him of being a spy. It was awful.

          • John Massey says:

            Some people have been making remotely detonated bombs, which are obviously indiscriminate, so it is something to watch out for if you are a visitor. The police have been successful in catching some of the bomb makers before they could plant and detonate devices, but not all. The devices that have been detonated have been fairly small (mostly planted in public toilets, which is really hitting below the belt), but one that police found was a massive nail bomb that would have killed and injured people in a 100 metre radius – it was part of a plot to lure as many police as possible into an area, and then use the bomb to kill or maim as many of them as possible. They got the people who were involved with that, or most of them anyway, and they will be going away for a very long time.

            Ironically, one reason that coronavirus cases in HK are not higher than they are is that Mainland tourists had stopped coming to HK because they were concerned about instances of Mainlanders being beaten up for doing nothing. So Mainland tourists started to go to Singapore instead because it was perceived to be a safer destination. The outcome of that is that Singapore has more Covid-19 cases than HK, to the extent that they are considering just letting milder cases recover at home without supervision or quarantine because their healthcare system is struggling to cope. If they do that, that will impact on a lot of other countries, because HK people are now barred from entering a lot of countries because of HK’s close connection with Mainland China, while Singaporeans are not.

            They haven’t implemented that yet, but they are considering it. But then I read that the CDC in the USA is also considering that possibility. In effect, it means accepting that a mild form of Covid-19 becomes a permanent feature like seasonal influenza and common colds, but it also means accepting some level of fatalities from it, just as there are with influenza. So, good luck with debating that as a policy.

            • gothamette says:

              “nail bombs” That’s what I call terrorism.

              I don’t know what to day about the self-quarantine for milder cases. I have to hear both sides. Well, yeah, we can’t stop evolution. And hopefully by the time it mutates we’ll have a vaccine, as we do with the flu (and yes, I know that the flu vaccines aren’t 100%).

    • says:

      The best example so far for comparative ethnic susceptibility to CoViD19 in mixed multi-ethnics situation is the case of the Diamond Princess cruise ship though the exact demographics are not known but they can be compared to the extreme worst Chinese baseline case in Hubei province. The per capita infection rate from Diamond Princess is about 100 times higher than the regional worst case in China. I have to resort to using the log y scale to show the Chinese data. The net per capita infection for non-Chinese seems to be very much higher.

      As an aside. Why those countries are so eager to air-lift their citizens from Wuhan and yet they hesitated about those on Diamond Princess where the per capita infection rate is 100x higher.

      • John Massey says:

        You are right. The known per capita infection rate for Hong Kong people on the Diamond Princess is a lot lower than for Americans. Minor problem though – we can guess confidently about the ethnicity of the Hong Kong passengers, but don’t know about the American passengers, although it beggars belief that they would be majority Chinese Americans or Japanese Americans.

        FK – I found out the reason why one American couple has chosen to stay on the ship. They prefer to wait out the quarantine period on the ship than travel on a bus with a load of people, some likely to be infected, to get them to an aircraft to fly them out. IOW they think their risk is lower that way. I doubt they are right, given that known infections on the ship are now up to 454 at last reported count, but that’s what they said.

      • John Massey says:

        I am guessing, but I guess they hesitated because they kept expecting the Japanese health authorities to do something sensible. Because Japanese are sooo much more ‘advanced’ than Chinese. [Sarcasm.]

        Also, the hospitals in Wuhan were/are overwhelmed, which the hospitals in Japan are not (yet), so if their citizens got severely sick in Wuhan they would be in big trouble, but maybe not in Japan (but that is an assumption on my part – I don’t know what the Japanese are doing to treat severely sick Covid-19 patients). Well, that seems like a possibility. (I’m trying to think of logical reasons, while not convinced that actions were necessarily dictated by logic.)

        I suppose the other thing is that the infection rate on the ship really has escalated very quickly, much quicker than in Wuhan (as your excellent graph shows, bearing in mind the y axis is a log scale), and making arrangements to charter aircraft and air-lift people out takes time, once you decide that things are rapidly turning pear-shaped and you need to do something unconventional.

        Governments nowadays (particularly democratically elected ones) are not famous for their ability in rapid decision making. As one Austrian guy in the EU said, the Chinese built a new hospital in 10 days (actually two), while in Europe they would need 10 days to discuss whether to hold a meeting to talk about whether to build a new hospital. I’m not making a case for or against autocracy (in fact I don’t care), I’m just saying.

        • Frau Katze says:

          Good interview with a journalist, Laurie Garrett, who has a lot experience reporting from epidemic areas (she wrote a book that I read several decades ago about the epidemic diseases of the time: the first ebola outbreak in the 1970s and so on). She seems to have spent time in China and is familiar with the government.

          She thinks Singapore is a bellwether. They were hit badly with SARS and really trying to contain coronavirus. If it gets like Wuhan in Singapore, she figures it’s likely to go worldwide.

          She notes that there are already shortages of things like protective covering for health care workers, the most at risk workers.

          They’re mostly made in China and they have stopped exporting them as they need everything for local use.

          It would not be beyond the capacity of western countries to at least set up places that could make them. Presumably we used to make stuff like that.

          She says sub-saharan African countries are terrified. If China can’t control it what hope do they have?

          • gothamette says:

            Laurie Garrett is just telling us what we already know.

            Thing is, Mother Nature always has a trick up her sleeve.

            All we can do is use best practices, watch and wait. And some of us will die.

            That’s show biz.

      • Frau Katze says:

        The Wuhan people were likely diplomats and the like, not mere tourists on a cruise ship.

  10. John Massey says:

    Headline to make J happy: Hong Kong, China stocks advance as sentiment remains positive on Beijing stimulus, ultimate success in containing coronavirus. Property stocks in Hong Kong were big gainers.

    • J says:

      Wall Street never had the least doubt that China will contain the disease.

      • David Chamberlin says:

        I wouldn’t say that. What happened is China with ginormous cash reserves dumped a massive amount of money into their stock to reverse a steep downward trend and halt a possible panic. That influenced every other stock market in the world to follow suit. Saying that Wall Street never had any doubt that China would contain this disease means they knew what was happening in China and what was going to happen in China and they clearly don’t. Cochran in the podcast I linked to knows as much as almost anybody about pandemics and he stated there is a very wide range of possible outcomes. I agree. It could be as bad as the Spanish Flu or it could weaken considerably. I just try to link to experts who know what they are talking about and comment on situation as it changes.

        • J says:

          You are right. I should have written that Wall Street acts as if believed that the epidemy will cause no significant economic disruption.

          • J says:

            P.S.: The Black Death plague that killed 30% of England’s population did not cause a reduction in agricultural production. So say the experts.

          • j says:

            Post Scriptum: Five days have passed since the above comment, and it confirmed my opinion that Wall Street acts as if the Wuhan Flu was irrelevant vis-à-vis American economy. I think they know something. Which may be that Europeans and Africans have few EP2 receptors while East Asians have five times more and are super-sensible to the virus. Like the Biblical plague that “passed over” the doors of the Hebrew slaves, this one also may spare us.

            • j says:

              April 8th 2020 we’ll celebrate Passover. If in Jerusalem, give me a call.

            • reinertor says:

              Wall Street tends to rally until it doesn’t. It kept rallying well into the financial crisis, reaching its then all-time-highs in October, 2007, by which time it was obvious to all people with a room temperature IQ (or above) that something big was going to happen, and that the all-time-high stock prices were certainly unwarranted by the fundamentals.

              Probably the same story now.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Apple reported today they won’t make their projected earnings owing to the virus that’s interrupting supply lines.

  11. reiner Tor says:

    Does anyone believe the Chinese numbers at this point? So they now say they were double-counting cases yesterday, hence they needed to modify the data downwards. I don’t think it’s easy to believe what they are saying. Contrary to what has been asserted in these threads, the Chinese authorities are censoring and suppressing information coming out of Wuhan as much as they can.

  12. John Massey says:

    Double counted 108 deaths in Hubei, that’s all.

    They have also reported that 1,716 medical workers have been infected, including 1,102 from Wuhan and 1,502 from the rest of Hubei, making up 3.8% of infected cases in the whole country. Why would they volunteer that information, when they don’t need to? Also, have you forgotten that a team from the WHO are now there observing?

    Believe what you like, it’s not my problem. The endless carping based on nothing is somewhat irritating background noise, though.

  13. another fred says:

    A Chinese scientist in China has published that it is probable that the virus came from a lab in Wuhan. I doubt this would be published without approval from above.

    My bet is that somebody is going to take one for the team over there, and by take one, I mean a bullet to the head. Those guys don’t mess around.

    • Lee Barber says:

      Another Fred the link that you just posted is now gone. Can you post the document or email the document to me? My email address is leeb (at)

      • Lee Barber says:

        Never mind. I find an archive of the document through a Zerohedge article “Smoking Gun? Chinese Scientist Finds …” hosted on Scribd.

    • Lee Barber says:

      The scientific paper written by Chinese scientist Xiao Botao has been deleted. Here is the Zero Hedge article about the paper and an archive of the actual paper.

      Smoking Gun? Chinese Scientist Finds “Killer Coronavirus Probably Originated From A Laboratory In Wuhan”

      The Possible Origins of 2019-Ncov Coronavirus

    • John Massey says:

      The Chinese geneticist who CRISPRed those twin baby girls didn’t have any approval from above.

      At least a bullet to the back of the head from a military assault rifle is more reliable than a lethal injection, although very occasionally some idiot still manages to mess it up.

    • John Massey says:

      That paper, such as it is (which is no more than a bit of wild speculation, with no evidence) has now been debunked by a group of American scientists.

      • reinertor says:

        Would you care to provide a link to the debunking? I have seen arguments that it was not genetically modified, but the Chinese pre-paper didn’t actually propose that. It proposed that it’s simply a bat virus which they collected and then somehow escaped from the lab.

        • Frau Katze says:

          That was how I interpreted too. There was no attempt to created lethal viruses. But there were bats there.

        • John Massey says:

          Roger Seheult, the doctor in California who has been posting daily updates about the coronavirus on Youtube, talked about it in one of his videos and referenced it – you can find it there.

  14. David Chamberlin says:

    First main stream media article I have read that in my opinion understands the situation.

  15. onlytheghosts says:

    The CDC’s claims regarding Influenza deaths are very questionable. In one year, the CDC claimed 34,000 when the true number of confirmed Flu deaths was only 18.

    The CDC has exaggerated flu death numbers for the sake of fear-mongering people into taking flu shots – but their exaggerations have now caught them entangled in their own lies. They can’t openly admit the Wuhan Flu is more dangerous than the flu because they would also have to admit that they lie to the public about the flu death numbers.

    The Wuhan Flu corona virus is magnitudes more deadly than the common flu, with the death rate per closed case between 6% to 29% at present depending on the country. It’s also been estimated as 8 x more infectious than the common flu. It has an incubation period of asymptomatic infectiousness of at least 4 weeks. Most people who have fallen sick often show only mild symptoms for 3 weeks before either recovering or turning more serious and dying. Even after people have recovered, they can remain infectious for another 4 weeks. That’s a total of 11 weeks, or almost 3 months. We can’t trust the death toll numbers from a particular international organisation as they only repeat the claims of a certain very large country in Asia that lied about the problem back in December and January.

  16. Pingback: Koronaviruksen käyrä on murskattava | SARASTUS

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