Math and History

It’s easier to understand what’s going on with Wuflu if you’re used to visualizing equations and playing with simulations, but knowledge of  relevant history also helps.  Knowing the  basics about perennial plagues like smallpox and falciparum malaria , or short-term-visitors like the English sweat, helps clarify the mind of people that say silly things about  evolution always favoring milder strains that spare the host:  apparently nobody told smallpox about this, since its CFR was around 30% for thousands of years.

And maybe, if you were familiar with the Plague of Cyprian and the Antonine Plague, you wouldn’t  automatically assume that such things had to be the result of germ warfare. Unless you were a nut, of course.



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215 Responses to Math and History

  1. Space Ghost says:

    Apparently the “viruses evolve to become less deadly” meme is based on a single data point, the Myxoma virus introduced to deal with Australia’s rabbit plague.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Which started killing > 99% of the rabbits, but after a while only killed 25%. I wouldn’t call CFR = 0.25 all that mild, but your mileage may vary.

    • David Chamberlin says:

      A paper was rushed to print without review and it is now being contested so who knows what the truth is about strain L and strain S of Covid19. What I deduced from it is therefore highly speculative but still interesting, it could be true. L strain is more aggressive, it kills more people and it is less inclined to be asymptomatic. So with strict quarantines it diminished in overall percentages. The S strain was better able to spread in this environment. But let’s head over to Iran or Europe or USA where the quarantines are far more lax. The L strain can spread faster because it’s more virulent without quarantines.

      Again, hypothetical but logical if true. I would be surprised if it isn’t. It is simply how evolution works. If this is true, and I could be wrong, a strict quarantine will have yet another reason to be enforced.

  2. Frau Katze says:

    Smallpox is a DNA virus. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t DNA less prone to mutating than RNA?

    I have no formal education in biology since high school. I’ve read books for laymen on various plagues. Cholera, caused bacteria, also did not evolve into milder forms.

    Cholera arrived from India once travel by steamship became the norm. Going by sail took so long that anyone aboard with cholera was dead or recovered by the time the ship reached Europe.

    Covid-19 has greatly benefited from air travel.

    • Rosenmops says:

      DNA has the double strand so there is less likely to be errors when it replicates, I believe. RNA is single strand. Corona virus is RNA.

      • geist says:

        In cells, DNA is doubled stranded and mRNA is singled stranded. But viruses exist for all four combinations of single/double and DNA/RNA (and also retroviruses).

    • Sher Singh says:

      Europeans brought viral cholera to India

      Another wonderful gift

      • gcochran9 says:

        Of course that never happened. Point: cholera isn’t viral. it’s caused by a bacterium. It’s been around India so long, and so intensely, that locals have a degree of genetic defense against it.

        Thanks for the comic relief, though.

  3. Frau Katze says:

    I understand (correct if wrong) that the reason why we get the common cold many times in our life is because the RNA virus keeps mutating. That also prevents a vaccine.

    Has anyone else noticed that they stopped getting colds eventually? By about 50 or so. Maybe it just coincided with my children growing up and leaving home. I did not work at a job that exposed me to the general public either (retired now).

    Influenza seems to be less common. I did get it in 2009, thought. I remember it because it cost me a lot of time off work. I did not recall the year until reading recently about a 2009 flu epidemic.

    The flu vaccines are against the currently circulating viruses (?)

    • gcochran9 says:

      It’s because there are about 200 different viruses causing what we call the common cold.

      • gothamette says:

        Plus, you can be coinfected:

        To get around paywall, save article to Evernote. Don’t spread this around.

        My guess is that if you have a cold, and you get infected with the C19 virus, you are a goner. Even if you’re a healthy 20 year old. They run around with colds. They don’t stay home and drink chicken soup.

      • The Monster from Polaris says:

        I noticed that as I grew older I had fewer colds. I attributed that to having acquired immunity to many strains, but if there are about 200 strains it seems to me that having had a few tens of strains wouldn’t make much difference. But suppose that the number of reasonably common strains is smaller, say 50 or less, the acquired immunity idea might work. I simply would rarely encounter the less common strains. Does this make sense?

        • Frau Katze says:

          The NYT article puts it at 99. That would explain the easing off with age.

          When my kids started daycare, it was one cold after the other for about three months. Undoubtedly some were more than one at once. It was an unpleasant few months.

        • Thersites says:

          I had a barber swear to me that he and his colleagues never get sick- after a few years of circling strangers’ heads all day, they get exposed to nearly everything, or so he claimed. Since this one is new, though, I still may need to delay my impending haircut.

      • gothamette says:

        If you’re infected with a cold or flu virus, can you get co-infected w/C19 virus?

        • Frau Katze says:

          I don’t know but it sounds plausible. What would stop it? I admit it never occurred to me that you could have two cold viruses at once. In retrospect that explains those really bad ones.

        • says:

          From the Chinese CDC the comorbidity of COVID.19 with “chronic respiratory diseases” is about 8%. The data could be diluted because of higher coinfection disease rate for lung cancer, diabetes, etc. In some studies the cold/flu coinfection can go to 30%. One poor baby got 6 different cold/flu viruses at the same time and it will take relatively longer time to recover from that.

  4. steve sailer says:

    By the way, Arguably Wrong has now extended his model for estimating deaths to estimating costs of various strategies for fighting the virus:

    • ASR says:

      A friend, a consulting engineer, noted a serious problem with arguablywrong’s costing of death. The figure provided for average cost of death, $5 million, is much too high. The Wikipedia link provided in support of this figure does not mention $5 million. In any event this is probably the estimated average cost for an entire human life. Covid-19 tends to kill the old and disabled, the average value of whose remaining life is likely to be at least one, or more probably two or more, orders of magnitude smaller.

      • From my response there:

        I’m pulling from the US Estimates table, these lines:

        $9.1 million (Environmental Protection Agency, 2010)[33]
        $7.9 million (Food and Drug Administration, 2010)[33]
        $9.2 million (Department of Transportation, 2014)[34]
        $9.6 million (Department of Transportation, Aug. 2016)[35]

        Note that the smaller numbers above these lines are the estimated costs of a year of life, not the estimated costs of a life. I rounded down to 5 to half-heartedly adjust for the age factor.

        • dearieme says:

          I suspect I’ve never met anyone, of any age, who’s insured his life for eight or ten million dollars.

        • Frau Katze says:

          Those of us that are retired are presumably worth nothing. More likely a net cost.

          Comment seen on Youtube (one of a vast horde): “Coronavirus? You mean BoomerRemover.”

          This is a common sentiment (Youtube attracts young males. You don’t need to look hard to find threads where everyone hates young women. The MGTOW crowd.)

          • Tim Burr says:

            Karma. Sometimes it’s a bitch. And I mean, those young guys have been so royally cheated, can you blame them? What, you wanted thanks for ruining the future?

            I’m neither Boomer nor in my 20s. But anyone with any sense has contempt for the Boomer generation.

            • dearieme says:

              To despise a whole generation is the same sort of nonsense as despising a whole race. Shame on you.

            • Frau Katze says:

              I didn’t destroy anything. There was a long thread on this on an earlier post. We established

              (1) It was the generation before the boomers that past the destructive legislation permitting mass immigration. Boomers were still in K-12 school when the legislation passed in the US and Canada.

              (2) The vast majority of boomers were NOT hippies.

              (3) An examination of the case of Enoch Powell, protesting mass immigration legislation, shows that the majority of the population agreed with him.

              No generation did this. It happened not only before the boomer generation, but even that earlier generation opposed but the elites pushed it through anyway.

              • Tim Burr says:

                Fair enough. I’m probably reacting to people dismissing young folks as “snowflakes” when many of the young really have been cheated. I talked to a cashier at Safeway yesterday who probably makes $10 an hour. His grandfather was an autoworker in Detroit! Imagine the different prospects in life. What needs to be addressed is how this happened.

              • Frau Katze says:

                @Tim Yes, it may well be harder for today’s young. I have two children. One of them has needed help, which I have provided to the best of my ability. The loss well paid union jobs is definitely a problem.

            • gothamette says:

              Have you said one thing that adds to the discussion here? No. Why don’t you just get lost?Anyone with any sense has contempt for YOU.

              • Madeira says:

                Speak for yourself. The only one I have contempt for is someone who makes such ill-mannered comments.

                Com os meus melhores cumprimentos.

            • Anonymous says:

              “But anyone with any sense has contempt for the Boomer generation.”

              I’m a boomer and I’ve been warning people of what was coming since 1966. When “The Limits to Growth” was published I took it to heart. I’m OK and my kids knew enough to expect this kind of crap and prepare themselves.

              This is only “the beginning of sorrows” and is rooted in human nature. Do yourself a favor and stop pointing the finger and blaming others. If you do that you may look around and find things you can do to help yourself…. or you can just join the crowd, but you won’t like where they are going.

              • Frau Katze says:

                Good point. I’m a boomer too. Our parents averaged more than 2 kids (although there’s a theory that it was a reaction to low birth rates in the Great Depression).

                But the boomer generation averaged few than two kids. And there was an awaking about industrial pollution and much progress has been made.

            • Thersites says:

              I’m sure Cain was righteously pissed at Adam for choosing fruit over paradise. I’m also sure such an attitude wouldn’t have helped his situation. Every generation since has left a mess for the next one to clean up.

  5. Steve Johnson says:

    If covid19 wiped out all humans then went extinct because it killed off its host that would qualify as evolving towards less lethality.

    No virus can perfectly wipe out humanity then survive to gloat about it – that’s what really counts.

  6. protokol2020 says:

    A less virulent strain, which would give you immunity to the more virulent one, would be great. Just like a vaccine.

    A mutation that would defect this way, betray the main virus line, would be great for us. Unfortunately, this kind of treasonous behavior is risky for the perpetrator, the mild virus. There are fewer copies of the mild version inside our bodies, by definition. Equally hunted down by our immune system and outcompeted in spreading out by the sheer number of copies.

    Unless we give some incentives to the milder version. Like detecting and insulating those with a more severe type of illness. That’s the domestication that may or may be not successful.

    But even when it is a success, when only the mildest version survives, it’s always the question of when a mutation will come and “a new”, the more severe version will pop up.

    A never-ending game.

  7. Oddly enough, I was in the middle of reading Plagues and Peoples on your recommendation when this came up.

    • j says:

      I am re-reading “The Black Death” by Ziegler, to get into the mood. “A series of natural disasters in the Orient during the fourteenth century brought about the most devastating period of death and destruction in European history. The epidemic killed one-third of Europe’s people over a period of three years…”

    • gcochran9 says:

      By the way, thanks for your modelling. I would have done it but I’m short on time: work is the curse of the thinking man. I wonder If I could ever manage to explain ( to a suit, say) how you can have a fair idea of the results without even writing the program, when you know the analytic answers for some of the limiting cases.

      • Theoretically I have work to do too, but fuck ’em. I made $4m for the company last year, they’re not going to get rid of me for taking a week to do epidemiological modeling.

        Let me know if there’s any details you think would be useful.

  8. mapman says:

    Nice dig at Ron Unz but I am not sure necessary.

    • Ron’s being a fucking fool.

    • syonredux says:

      “Nice dig at Ron Unz but I am not sure necessary.”

      There are people out there who take Ron seriously……

    • Ian says:

      What did Unz say?

      • Howitzer Daniel says:

        What does it matter what the little fellow says, after what he has already said? He does not seem to be someone who speaks honestly, and as such, what he says, regardless of his past successes as appearing to be intelligent to others, does not really matter, his words are probably nothing more than almost meaningless stochastic verbal choices made by a person with deep problematic issues, which one hopes he works out some day.

      • JAMES SHEARER says:

        Unz has been promoting the idea that this was a US biowar attack on China. Which does seem a bit nutty.

        • John Massey says:

          For what it’s worth, the Hong Kong government’s representative in Wuhan falls around laughing and makes derisive jokes about that idea, when he’s not busy trying to arrange for 2,000 HK people to get out of Hubei Province. He says he will be the last Hongkie to leave Wuhan. If he leaves it much longer, he won’t need to.

          Of the first 462 HK people air lifted back to HK, who had all been stuck in Wuhan ever since January 23 when Wuhan was locked down, 1 tested positive on arrival home. 1/462 (all isolated or quarantined, obviously) (well, maybe not obviously, but they were).

          • gothamette says:

            There was no dig at Unz, except in mapman’s tiny mind.

            Against my better judgement I went to the site and saw what he’s talking about, someone is claiming that the US and/or Israel created a bioweapon with which to weaken and smear China. Really, Israel.

            Look: if you’re gonna create a bioweapon, make one that kills 28-year olds. Israel didn’t exist in 1918. If it did, I expect Unz and Co. to blame it on them.

  9. David Chamberlin says:

    Just news from the front. My sister in law is is medical doctor in Portland Oregon. Right next to Covid19 epicenter Seattle. She’s director of medical services for 79 group homes for the mentally ill and also provides medical services for the vast multitude of Portland street people. She has access to 0 coronavirus tests. The 9 cases reported in Portland is obviously way low if they aren’t testing. Portland Oregon might as well be Tehran Iran, just a month behind.

    • gothamette says:

      What’s Oregon’s governor doing?

      Cuomo’s done a pretty good job. We now have a drive-in testing center in New Rochelle, the epicenter of the disease in the state.

      • Jacob says:

        Gov Brown ordered all gatherings of 250+ people to get shut down. Schools are closing as well. All K-12 schools plus universities including UO, OSU, PSU, and more.

        • gothamette says:

          NYC schools closing tomorrow.

          Restaurants and coffee shops 3/4 empty, but lots of people in Central Park.

          Is a park considered social distancing?

          • Jacob says:

            Stay 6+ feet away from one another and don’t touch stuff other people touch. Wear a face mask if you can find one: you’ll hear that an N95 is necessary, but current evidence points to that actually being overkill. Just get an ordinary surgical mask that protects from droplets.

    • says:

      COVID.19 test is not reliable and minimum of 2 tests on different day are usually needed. Plus the needs to test all health-care workers everyday and the quarantined infected regularly to check for recovery, I am assuming the preferred min PCR capacity to be 5 times the infection per KPop as shown by the green line.

      Base on that Oregon seems to be doing OK with COVID.19 test capacity. It is NJ, MA and DC that are to be worried about. The vertical distance to the green line is the slack and OR seems to be in a better position than NY.

      Some of the time lapsed trajectories are shown. WA (in red) seems to be able to keep up with the demand. Lombardia seems to be heading into test capacity problem. Korea has lots of spare test capacity.

      The blue line is the US average overall capacity and the slope is less than that for the green line, i.e. at this stage the US test system is still not geared up to meet the test demand.

      • David Chamberlin says:

        No way no how is “Oregon doing OK” I don’t care what your graph says. My sister in law is director of multiple medical clinics and she can get her hands on 0 Covid-19 tests at this point in time. I understand things are changing for the better as the supply of tests is increasing but right now it’s a travesty. When the tests are made in adequate quantities it will be too late. The disease will be well seeded across the country. Some states are ahead of other states because they quit pleading with the federal government for tests and turned to private sources for them.

        • says:

          The test situation is a relative zero sum game. With respect to the per capita infection rates in other states OR is in a better position though it should be better. There are many other states where the patients have higher chance of catching COVID.19. The test kits could be distributed more fairly with respect to risks. I showed this chart yesterday and today the data point for DC has jumped from some distance below the green line to some distance above it but not others in the same boat. Is some DC official watching this??

          • David Chamberlin says:

            I like your analytical approach. However, GIGO. Garbage In Garbage Out. Some states have tested very few people, some like New York are catching up to where they should be. New York supposedly has the most cases and the states without tests look like they have very few cases. We don’t know that. We are flying blind at this point. Until the states are flooded with test kits and anybody who wants a test gets one it’s anybodies guess what is going on.

        • gothamette says:

          Don’t they have to stick a Q-tip waaay up your nose to test you? That’s kind of annoying to have to put up with every day.

          Speaking of which, I’ve been on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and it is an open air petri dish. They should at least take the temp of every trader, morning & evening, and not allow anyone on the floor who is symptomatic.

          • says:

            I have not been to the NYSE. Seeing from the movie it is the shouting with the saliva flying everywhere that worry me.

            • gothamette says:

              It’s basically a human cattle pen with people milling around on a huge floor. Then there are banks of media here and there.

              I have to say, it’s quite exciting when the bell rings.

      • says:

        Edit2: My chart asserted that Lombardia might be below preferred testing capacity for the past 3 days. An unproven independent report saying the same thing,

        Ita_News 49 points · 3 hours ago
        Lombardia reached testing capacity 3 days ago. But we have plenty of labs that can help testing (if they provide them markers). Damn bureaucracy.

        On the other hand just when I said that Veneto might be below the Min Tracing PCR Cap there are report that they intended to expand their contact tracing to the asymptomatics like the Korean. We will see tomorrow if they add in additional capacity or just cutting corners.
        Posted by u/Ita_News 3 hours ago

        In Lombardy, exactly the opposite is happening. The Region, hard hit by the epidemic, is also struggling to swab symptomatic people. Often those who have mild symptoms and are a contact of a sick person are not even examined but invited to stay at home in quarantine. Other realities, much less affected by the coronavirus, are also struggling in this type of activity.

        Zaia explains that he is willing to do even more: “On swabs we do not accept lessons from anyone: I am the one who wanted to buffer all the citizens of Vo’ and today is a ‘case history’. We will also do them ‘on the road’, outside supermarkets, to supermarket staff and others because the more positive we find, the more we isolate and the less widespread we have. We have done 29 thousand swabs, we are the community that has done more swabs per million inhabitants worldwide. Korea, which is so much talked about, comes after the Venetians in terms of the number of swabs”. And in the meantime, Italian health care does not find a common line even in the middle of a momentous epidemic.

        Lombardia ICU is near full capacity, 15-20 beds remaining and 85 new people need it each day.

        Lombardia is flattening the curve. Veneto can do extensive contact tracing because they still have spare ICU capacity.

    • Jacob says:

      OHSU, the Portland VA, and the Oregon Public Health Lab are testing. OHSU has two positive tests (20+ negative tests), with one being a transfer. I also don’t think Oregon has a death yet.

      Schools and public gatherings are getting shut down.

      Shit’s going to get weird, obviously, but I don’t expect it’ll be much worse than anywhere else. Certainly not worse than Washington or the Bay area.

  10. In the presence of strong suppressive efforts, there is a reason for the virus to mutate toward lower lethality: mild variants go undetected, while severe ones are detected and their contacts quarantined. But this does depend on strong suppressive efforts, meaning doing pretty much what you’d do if you expected it to continue to be highly lethal. It’s not an excuse for laziness or incompetence. But it does mean that if this virus eventually mutates into something on the same level as the common cold coronaviruses, that wouldn’t mean the strong suppressive efforts have been a waste; on the contrary, they’d have been a key driving force.

    There are opposing forces, too: a severe case may spread the virus better, especially as regards spread to hospital workers. (Who should be good at protecting themselves, but there have been some pretty appalling numbers floating around.)

  11. mtkennedy21 says:

    Smallpox has high lethality but requires a large population to propagate. The estimates I’ve seen are about 250,000 minimum. Lower lethality allows a smaller population to carry it. Maybe P vivax came first because it was less lethal. Smaller population.

  12. Bob says:

    What’s the likelihood that North Korea could pull this off? They’ve managed to keep a nuclear program going. How much more difficult or easier would a bioweapon program be?

  13. Yudi says:

    Greg, to what extent do you think federalism will hurt us in the US? I’m worried that there will be a “race to the bottom” effect, where we are only as safe as the least competent state in the Union will let us be.

    Also, since different states got the virus at different times and implemented lockdown based on its progression in their jurisdiction, we could see the virus ricochet all over the country because they will also lift their lockdowns in a staggered way.

    So, Washington might contain it soon and lift lockdowns, only for it to flare up again from travelers from Alaska or something.

    But I’m not well-read, so I don’t know how much of a problem this could be. I haven’t seen anyone I follow bring it up yet.

    • dearieme says:

      If the USA were one centralised, unitary state stretching from, let us say, the Panama Canal to Hudson’s Bay and the Arctic Islands, wouldn’t you still have the problem as long as you allowed any movement of people to and fro with the rest of the world?

      • Anonymous says:

        I do think that’s a problem, which is why Britain’s plan is so insane.

        • dearieme says:

          You’ve got it arse-about-face. Because it’s a problem is why Britain’s plan is entirely sane. It may or may not prove wise – so much is necessarily uncertain about this virus – but it’s copper-bottomed sane. You really should read the Strategy (which answers your point).

          Click to access dh_131040.pdf

          • Frau Katze says:

            It’s dated 2011. And I can’t get the link to work.

            • dearieme says:

              It’s dated 2011 because it’s adapted from its forerunner of 2007.

              It’s dated 2011 because Her Majesty’s Government, for all its flaws, is not as routinely boneheaded as the US fedgov. HMG clearly felt it would be advantageous to have a strategy thought out in calm times rather than frantic times, and with plenty of scope to adapt it to whichever pandemic came along. It also means that people who are unpersuaded by its thrust have had eight or nine years in which to argue for a different approach.

              Epidemiologists have been trying to get fedgov to do some pandemic preparation, with no success, through the administrations of Slick Willie, W, O, and the Trumpster. Or so says this chap:

    • ghazisiz says:

      If you look at universities, you see that Harvard was one of the first to send students home and move to online classes. Less prestigious universities followed suit, pretty much in order of diminishing prestige. The relationships among states might be similar: the most progressive and admired states would be emulated by the others. The result would not be “race to the bottom” but “follow the leader”.

      • dearieme says:

        “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.” Charles Mackay

        I dare say that herd behaviour in the US is amplified by the ever present danger of ruinous litigation.

        • ghazisiz says:

          “Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule.” –F.N.

          Given the madness of crowds, and the pandering madness of politicians, one needs automatic mechanisms that drive the mad herd in the best possible direction. I agree that the threat of litigation is a force pushing in the right direction, at least in the present crisis.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Probably not much.

    • epoch says:

      There is a site which tracks the ancestry tree of the genetics of different strains. A cluster of unique US strains seem to have a MRCA of 28 Januari. I think the US has missed something.

  14. gothamette says:

    Thailand has very low cases and only one death.

    Could it be the humidity?

    • Gkai says:

      It seems they managed to track quite well the dicks and maybe the virus was really less effective in the tropics… But now I think their luck ended, local contaminations have started and i wonder if some mutation did occur: Europe strain seems more agressive and warm countries seems more affected lately… Could be just an effect of lack of testing, different population structure, or poor death attribution, but maybe it’s not eczctly the same virus as early hubei anymore…

  15. swampr says:

    Until Tuesday deaths in Italy appeared to be increasing asymptotically. Not so much since. Here’s deaths for the past five days:


    Deaths are the most reliable statistic. They lag infections by an average of 19 days. In Wuhan deaths began to level off 19 days after the Jan. 23 lockdown. 19 days after the Feb. 22 lockdowns in Northern Italy would have been Thursday.

    • swampr says:

      368 deaths in Italy today. Nevermind.

    • gothamette says:

      Italy had a downturn in reported cases day before yesterday. Unfortunately, there was an increase in reported cases from 2,547 to 3,497.

      Deaths went down from 253 to 173 but that’ll go up.

    • dearieme says:

      “Deaths are the most reliable statistic.” Indeed. But cause of death is less so. I notice that UK reports are phrased carefully e.g. from the Guardian “A further 19 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19”.

      • Howitzer Daniel says:

        Yes, I noticed that even Dr John Campbell did not seem to understand that in his youtube presentation today (I am sure he actually understands, I suspect he was just tired).

        There are lots of flu deaths every winter day in every northern country, and the people who are saying what was a Wuflu coronavirus death and what was not may or may not be reliable.

        • gcochran9 says:

          Which is why the death rate in towns in northern italy is ~7 times normal.

          • Howitzer Daniel says:

            and yes clearly in towns in northern Italy where there is an outbreak of a respiratory illness which has killed in any given March week this spring more people than died in those northern towns from respiratory illnesses all winter last year,
            the percentage of doctors or coroners incorrectly saying the cause of death is Wuhan Flu is going to be small compared to the percentage of doctors or coroners making such an inaccurate assessment in places where the variation since last winter is, to date, much smaller.

            thanks for explaining that in your lovable gnomic way.

            some of your pseudonymous commenters say dumb things I do not think I am one of them.

            and yes Dr Campbell probably got it wrong today.
            The sensitivity/specificity of the tests on live patients is not very good and there are lots of incentives to call it for the Wuhan virus on dead patients EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD
            and yes I am not talking about ignorance I am talking about lying for profit as a motive.

            • Howitzer Daniel says:

              Think “9/11 victim compensation fund” … you won’t even have to sue China, your own government will pay the survivors very handsomely

              (unless the Cassandras are correct, which they very well might be, in which case the fund for the millions of dead will be awfully diluted –

              as for me, I think the average Cassandra is too optimistic, I was just pointing out a minor flaw in the presentation of the person who is right now the number one Wuhan flu virus explainer in the English-speaking world).

              That being said, Dr Campbell’s Coronavirus death numbers – which he said “we know are accurate” – were probably not off by more than 10 percent worldwide (as of now) but he is the voice of science on these things and he should have been more humble.

          • dearieme says:

            … and yet nobody much is reported as dying of it in Germany. As of yesterday, anyway.

  16. gothamette says:

    This, from a top Chinese diplomat:

    After this is over, there SHOULD be hell to pay. But there probably won’t. Things will go back to abnormal, until the next virus.

    • Gkai says:

      Do you think the different countries will keep their relative power after the pandemy, and the global crisis that it will trigger? I am not sure, and, depending on how the us is hit, China may be a winner…

      • dearieme says:

        I suspect that may depend on what happens as the Chinese return to work. Any news on how that’s going?

      • gothamette says:

        Don’t ask me, I just live here. With our dysfunctional political system and hopeless parties led by scoundrels and hucksters, I doubt any good will come of it.

    • Frau Katze says:

      I heard one doctor today say that it’s here to stay. Might let up some in the summer.

      In 1918 it did burn through the whole world population.

  17. catte says:

    If they make a vaccine, but supplies are limited, can vaccinated people’s blood be used for serum therapy, as a kind of force multiplier? Has this ever been done?

  18. David Chamberlin says:

    Coronavirus testing by country.
    Hard data supporting my earlier comments. Some countries flat failed, some countries did pretty well. I recommend this site for your daily updates on how the world is doing versus Covid-19 . Link here for that information. . Scroll down a little bit to see confirmed cases by country.

    • tc says:

      For some reason, CDC can’t figure out how to put out a timely count of tests in the US. Some journalists are trying to do it by hand:
      As of now, US is up to 49k tests, pretty good. The testing shortage should be over soon.

      • David Chamberlin says:

        The CDC is a federal agency expressly ordered to release all information through Vice President Pence. Of course this information was censored. That is the reason. Pretty good way too late is pretty terrible.

  19. The G_man says:

    Robin Hanson has come out in favour of a souped-up version of the British policy: lock up the oldies, deliberately infect the young and get herd immunity within a couple of months. He says ‘nuke the curve’ is a delusion and that pursuing it can only result in two years of lockdown and the complete collapse of the global economy.

    Granted his is the voice of pure, concentrated Asperger’s syndrome, but where has he gone wrong?

    • catte says:

      We don’t know how long immunity lasts.
      The more people are infected, the more chances there are for it to mutate into something new, to which previous survivors are not immune
      Hospital capacity can’t process the 60% of the population needed for herd immunity in any reasonable length of time
      Deliberately letting it chew through the population without it either blowing up to unmanageable levels or dying away completely, requires artificially keeping R0 at exactly 1.0 for a long period of time. Think of a nuclear reactor, you want to stop it from melting down with too many neutrons (R0 > 1) or the reaction to die (R0 < 1), you want it exactly 1.0 for a self-sustaining reaction. But nuclear reactors are carefully built so that there are passive negative feedback mechanisms, the instrumentation is near-realtime, and the controls are quite precise. None of these are true for managing the coronavirus — there is no natural negative feedback mechanism, it has to be completely manual. The data you use to make the decisions about restricting or relaxing social distancing to control R0, are all on a 1-3 week delay from the real cases because of the incubation period. The measures for controlling R0, like school closures, lockdowns, etc, they are blunt instruments, you can’t know their exact effects on R0 in realtime. So, if you know the slightest bit of control theory, you know that it’s impossible to keep a system like this stable.
      -As Greg also pointed out, flattening the curve requires almost as much effort as crushing it, and it takes a long time as well, so the economic argument doesn’t work. In fact, once you eradicate it domestically, you can let life go back mostly to normal so long as you are stringent in quarantining all arrivals from the outside. Juche-lite, with a market economy — painful, but doable.

      • catte says:

        Hospital capacity can’t process the 60% of the population needed for herd immunity in any reasonable length of time

        I meant to say, they can’t process the 15% of the 60% who need hospitalisation. Also I forgot to mention, the economy will also be dragged down by the majority of that 60% who aren’t sick enough to need hospital but are sick enough to stay home from work.

      • dearieme says:

        “so long as you are stringent in quarantining all arrivals from the outside.”

        There’s the rub. How in God’s name could the US do that? Where’s your bloody wall, Mr Trump?

      • Frau Katze says:

        “ We don’t know how long immunity lasts.The more people are infected, the more chances there are for it to mutate into something new, to which previous survivors are not immune”

        It might mutate as happily as the common cold, up to 99 different strains, according to the NYT article.

    • j says:

      If the vaccine will be available in a few months, infecting the population will prove to have been unnecessary. No vaccine, the Brits were brave and right.

    • Hanson Is Probably Less Wrong says:

      Where he has gone wrong is that no one will do two years of lockdown, let alone “Juche lite” if a vaccine is impossible. They’ll relax it and spike the curve again.

      Not that our plan in the UK to manage the burn is really gonna work much better.

      But “nuke the curve” is just not gonna happen; where is our host’s belief in the boundless incompetence of 99% of human government (tailing off to a modest 90% in Western countries and East Asia)?

    • tc says:

      China disproves Hanson. They imposed a severe nationwide lockdown for 2-3 months, not years. They stomped out the epidemic, and now life is slowly returning back to normal. Chinese in the West are now fleeing into China.

  20. epoch says:

    “..helps clarify the mind of people that say silly things about evolution always favoring milder strains that spare the host: apparently nobody told smallpox about this, since its CFR was around 30% for thousands of years.”

    American chestnut. European crayfish. Maybe even Mammoths, because the fact that an isolated island population survived for so long could hint at that.

  21. Tim Burr says:

    “We are where Italy was a week ago”
    Haven’t we been hearing that for a couple of weeks?

  22. rgressis says:

    What do y’all think of this?

    • Tim Burr says:

      Sounds like a good way for them to get attention. In most of the West, the panic and the subsequent recession/depression will probably kill more than the coronavirus.

      Today alone, 3,700 people died in car crashes world wide. I know it’s a different risk, but we don’t shut down the world economy until crash deaths equal zero.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Much thought and work has been done to make cars safer, There weren’t even seatbelts when I was a child. It’s not been overlooked. Ralph Nader came to prominence writing about unsafe cars. The manufacturers were forced to improve things.

        Other common diseases have been studied and drugs have been developed. I know there’s at least one drug for high blood pressure, for example.

        The effort has been spread over a number of years, so it’s less noticeable.

        • gothamette says:

          Lord. I really doubt these numbers. The reality is bad enough.

          Princess Diamond, 19% infected. Round up to 20%. That’s 66M infected in the US, and with a death rate of 1% 660K deaths. That’s terrible. Avoid. But it’s not two million.

          Someone correct me. But I don’t see why we should have a 40-70% infection rate. I am NOT a C19 denier or minimizer. This is bad. Let’s not make it worse by exaggerating.

          I use 1% because we have lots of sick and homeless in the US. Our health profile is way worse than South Korea.

  23. Frau Katze says:

    Say you’re borderline at risk. You’re over 65 but don’t have co-morbidities. If you catch it now you might survive. If you keep waiting, you get more and more vulnerable with age. Co-morbidities might appear.

    I suppose a vaccine might come along in the interim.

    • David Chamberlin says:

      Hi Miss Kitty. You are not borderline at risk, you are at risk if you are over 65 as I think we both are. We need to socially isolate ourselves or roll the dice that we don’t do not get it and then end up on the wrong end of the statistics. Experts are estimating 40 to 70% of the population will catch it in the next year or so and we both know that the odds are heavily weighted to us seniors ending up in the 20% that need serious medical care. We are not going to get serious medical care if we catch it during the peak of this pandemic, we are going to end up on a cot in some high school gymnasium. I don’t plan on hiding in my house, the great outdoors beckons because lucky for me I live in the country.

      • gothamette says:

        “Experts are estimating 40 to 70% of the population will catch it in the next year or so”

        Dave – which is what I question. I know the expert in mind. But why would the infection rate be higher than the Princess Diamond?

        (I myself questioned John Massey on the Princess Diamond – I said he left out the time factor. The PD was a temporary hell, this will go on if we don’t stop it. But OTOH they were contained. So I think the two factors balance out.)

        Then there’s the Big One: 1918. About a third of the world’s pop’n infected. Why is COVID19 more virulent?

        • David Chamberlin says:

          Three parts to the answer.
          1)The world is way more connected 102 years later than in 1918. President Woodrow Wilson was the first president to take a trip to Europe in 1919, it took him nine days to get there.
          2)The infection rate of Covid-19 is way higher than any kind of flu, which the Big One was.
          3)The Diamond Princess situation cannot be compared to the real world over 12 to 18 months. They were in separate rooms and it was for a matter of weeks. Night and day difference if you compare those people on the Diamond Princess and any working Joe that commutes to a crowded workplace 5 days a week.

          Virulence defined as the degree of damage a microbe does to a host is a lot different than infection rate. Grim message that I will end with I am optimistic that modern medicine can come up with therapies that can greatly reduce the mortality rate of Covid-19 even before a vaccine is mass produced.

        • Frau Katze says:

          I don’t know how accurate this, but it gives a bleak picture of Lombardy.

          300K Chinese with many from the Wuhan area. We have nearly 500K Chinese in the Vancouver area but we didn’t get like Italy. In fact, of the cases from abroad in B.C., only a handful are from China.

          There’s actually more from Iran, although the expat Iranian population is low compared to the Chinese. Maybe the ones in the Vancouver area tend to be from another part of China. There’s a lot from Hong Kong, from ones I’ve met. A lot left after the 99-year British lease expired and handed it back to China. (It was originally to serve as a coaling station for the Brits).

          Then the writer says the Italian medical system is very overloaded. Mind you, I don’t think BC is all that much better. Despite the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants, no new hospitals were added AFAIK. Just the one med school – in Vancouver- , same as before the influx. They were building a new med school in Victoria, last I heard. They’re expensive to build.

          You can’t get a GP in Victoria. They’re all used up.

          • gothamette says:

            Lipsitch said that we shouldn’t talk about “Italy” – we need to talk about Lombardy and Veneto. So I say: same w/China – let’s not talk about China, let’s talk about Wuhan.

            I think you’re OK in Vancouver, Miss Kitty. Of course, take precautions but you’re not Lombardy in the making.

            Lombardy is fucked. Their curve is, hopefully, just beginning to flatten, but their deaths will be gut wrenching in days to come – check out

            When this is all over, someone should write a factual, non-sensational account as to how Lombardy was impacted so heavily. But it won’t be. It will all be swept under the rug.

            I heard a funny joke: “This is the first time in history that China made the original and Milan made the copy.” Every time someone calls you a racist, say that.

          • Rosenmops says:

            There are med schools in Prince George and Kelowna now. The Kelowna one one is a branch of UBC. But still not near enough doctors. It would be nice to put the breaks on immigration so the population didn’t keep growing. Not much chance of that with our foolish government.

            Vancouver got a few cases of the virus from Wuhan. But China closed off Wuhan in late January, I think. China did that to protect the rest of China, but it had the effect of protecting the rest of the world for a little while. But then the cases from Iran started arriving in Vancouver. In the early weeks most of the cases in Vancouver came from Iran. The earlier Chinese cases didn’t seem to spread–maybe the Chinese in Vancouver were more cautious because they had been following the news out of China.

            The Iranians in Iran didn’t seem to do anything to try to stop the spread. It was a clown show, with an assistant minister of health getting sick on TV while saying everything was under control. And people licking mosque walls. Maybe they made little effort to quarantine themselves after they got to Vancouver. In the early days they were giving out more details of the cases. There was one woman from Iran , a visitor (not a citizen) who spread it to about 6 other people (that we know of). 8 – 9% of the population in North Vancouver is Persian. North Van is an epicenter of the virus in BC. 7 of the 10 deaths in Canada have occurred at a care home in North Vancouver, There was also an outbreak among staff at the hospital in North Van.

            If only Trudeau had closed the borders earlier. If only multiculturalism had never happened. This shit might literally kill us. 😦

            • Frau Katze says:

              Trudeau is a total idiot. Zero leadership qualities.

              I didn’t know there were that many Iranians in North Van. I don’t even want to think about what it’s like in Iran itself.

              Yes, you’re right, closing off Wuhan likely stopped them from coming to Canada.

              But there must have been more Wuhan people in Italy. How else can we explain it? I don’t think our health care is that much better than Italy.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Yes I know I’m at risk. (I’m not in the country, I’m in a small city, Victoria, BC)

        I’m thinking if caught it now, before the peak. However I don’t know how I could control the timing.

        If I hit the peak, or higher on the curve without having caught it earlier, I won’t go out at all. I have not been out in two weeks.

        But I’ll still have interact to some extent, with delivery people. I shop online for food and have it delivered.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Buying food online is not necessarily the answer: Amazon has restrictions, plus saying they’re out of stock on a lot of things.

        I can’t logon to my local grocery. It times out.

        If the power and water stay on, I’ve got about 2 weeks worth of food.

        • Dave Chamberlin says:

          I’ve made plans to pay a high schooler to do my grocery shopping for me. They are all home from school, they are all broke, and anyone under 30 has a very slim chance of getting sick. But I got lucky, i have a grand daughter in the area. It’s shitty I can’t hang with my immediate family for a while but it’s a small price to pay considering the possible alternative. That 40 to 70% has someone else’s name on it, not mine.

          • Frau Katze says:

            My daughter-in-law says a huge number of people have switched to ordering online.

            If worst comes to worst I could ask my son. He’s not a teenager but not in the high risk age. But they’ve got two kids of their own and that’s a consideration.

            A teenager sounds good, but I don’t know any candidates. I’m hoping things will settle down. Amazon has hired thousands of people to do delivery.

          • Frau Katze says:

            Good idea, though. I could start looking around.

          • Frau Katze says:

            I got onto to the online shopping site by trying it around midnight. I have to wait several days for delivery, but I can do that. A huge number of people must be using it now. It was never like before.

            • Rosenmops says:

              Bread yeast seems to be in short supply. I was finally able to order some on Amazon
              when I woke up in the middle of the night and started browsing. A 2 pound package! That is a lot of yeast, since you only need about a teaspoon for a loaf of bread. It will probably last me the rest of my life. I will just take out a little at a time and keep the rest in the freezer.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Yes! I’ve heard now that some young people need oxygen.

        And that story of a family with three dead and three in critical condition. The mother was 73, but the other adults (her children) were likely only in their 50’s. (I posted it further down).

        This is way worse than seasonal flu.

  24. zz says:

    Why not trying right now treating the lightly infected ( who are mostly isolated at home) with chloroquine?

  25. gothamette says:

    Some good news – Italy’s curve looks as if it’s beginning to flatten.

    3,590 confirmed cases on March 16.
    3,233 on March 17.

    But these downward spikes have happened before, so we’ll see.

  26. Tim Burr says:

    Remember the pandemic of 1968 that killed over 100,000 Americans? The H3N2 virus. We tanked the stock market, went into severe depression, and pretty much used martial law to force people to stay inside their homes.

    Oh wait, we didn’t do any of that. Well, it wasn’t as bad as the one in 1958 that killed 116,000. Our population was much smaller back then. But, on the other hand, this current virus has already killed 120 Americans.

    • gothamette says:

      Remember the pandemic of 2020 that killed 660,000 Americans?

      Oh wait, that didn’t happen, because we took steps to prevent it.

    • gcochran9 says:

      I don’t remember it – not as you do – because it didn’t kill that many: more like 38,000 excess deaths. While the 58 ‘flu was just under 60,000.

      You’re dishonest as well as stupid.

  27. Dave Chamberlin says:

    Western style of quarantine
    1)hmmm, that’s worrisome, but it’s far away
    2)It’s here now but just a few people have it
    3)It’s frightening but I don’t know anyone with it
    4)Well shit, Fred at work has it and he coughed on me
    5)Hide in your home if you are old, if you are young go to the beach

    Eastern style of quarantine
    1)Shut down incoming people
    2)Quarantine those showing symptoms
    3) Quarantine anyone they came in contact with
    4) Test, test, test
    5)Severely limit movement of people
    6)Succeed in reducing cases day by day

    • Frau Katze says:

      Another item for the Western technique (also follow in Iran)
      – high up officials or their relatives start testing positive. Sudden switch to Method 2!

      This happened, a swath of Iranian politicians tested positive. In Canada, the prime minister’s wife came home from Europe testing positive.

      Mind you, I’m not sure what the Iranians are doing now. Releasing prisoners, digging mass graves, etc.

  28. jb says:

    Greg — I posted this thought on Sailer’s blog (and something similar on Razib’s), but I thought I would run it by you too. Let me know (in your inimitable style) if you think it’s plausible or totally stupid.

    We are told that there are currently four types of coronavirus that have been endemic for a long time but only cause mild colds, while the new type is much more dangerous. But is it really?

    The new type is typically mild in young people, especially children. If the new type becomes endemic then everyone will get it as a child, and won’t get very sick. Of course coronaviruses do mutate a lot, so there will always be new strains of the new virus in circulation, which will still cause colds in adults. But these won’t be terribly serious colds, since they will simply be variations on a cold people have already had as children.

    Sound familiar? It sounds a lot like the situation we already have with the old coronaviruses! Maybe those types were every bit as lethal as the new one when they first appeared, but now everybody gets some strain of the old types when young, and is thus partially immunized to all other strains for life. I don’t know enough about viruses to know if this scenario actually works biologically, but logically it seems like a possible endgame for this virus. (It might also explain why Old World respiratory diseases are so dangerous to populations that are totally naive to them, like Amazonian Indians).

    • gcochran9 says:

      totally stupid. it is quite possible that some or all of those coronaviruses were more lethal when they first showed up, but why would that mean that we shouldn’t try to stop something bad happening now? When we almost certainly can?

      But, on the gripping hand, now you’ve got me wondering if Wuflu affects the brain.

      • jb says:

        I wasn’t making any recommendations about what we should do now! If it came across that way then I was unclear.

        What I was wondering is whether this coronavirus is intrinsically different from, and more dangerous than, the other coronaviruses currently circulating in the population, or whether those viruses would be every bit as dangerous if we did not become acquainted with them as children. Note that this is different from the hypothesis that the viruses themselves evolve to become less virulent. My suggestion is that maybe neither viruses nor people have evolved, but rather that timing is everything. If true then sooner or later, whatever steps we take right now, this will probably become just another common cold, no different than the others. If not true — if the new virus is actually different in some fundamental way — then the long term burden if we don’t succeed in wiping it out completely looks to be considerable greater.

      • says:
        “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection Causes Neuronal Death in the Absence of Encephalitis in Mice Transgenic for Human ACE2”
        “Neurological Manifestations of Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China
        a retrospective case series study”

    • Rosenmops says:

      I’ve read that the 1918 flu was particularly deadly for natives of North America. But I don’t know about colds. I wonder if the natives of North America brought common colds with them over the Bearing straits. Or were they an Old World disease that wasn’t brought to the New World until first contact.

  29. Palamas says:

    I’d really want a response to this general idea, the one Dr. Wodarg brings up … is this even virulent, truly, in a way that is any different from the past?

    You can talk about R0 all you want, but if the virus isn’t any different, than what are we really doing?

    Challenge the point, if you can, no more hysterics here please.

    • gcochran9 says:

      This thing is > 40 times deadlier than current flus.

      Go fuck yourself: I don’t have time for every idiot ever born.

      • Palamas says:

        I’d think you’d have time for something this important. What is the basis for your claim (and it is a claim) that it is 40x times deadlier, Mr. Cochran?

        If Mr. Cochran is this afraid of basic science (or providing it) can anyone direct me as to where this 40x number comes from and why it is already “settled”?

        • Coagulopath says:

          The fatality rate in Wuhan seems to be 1.4%, versus 0.1% from seasonal flu. 40x is probably high.

          I watched some of that video and then had motivational problems. If he’s saying that it’s basically like flus we’ve had before (which kill 400-600k people per year) I’m not leaping for joy.

          To be clear, nobody’s saying COVID-19 is sui generis or unlike anything faced by mankind. But it’s bad, and unlike seasonal flu, we have a unique opportunity to stop it.

          • gcochran9 says:

            Dated. Key is what happens when the health system is overloaded, when they run out of capacity for supportive care.

            South Korea has lots of testing & probably not much undersampling of mild cases: they’re hitting a bit over 1% CFR, but their system is not at this time overwhelmed. Italy is.

            • gothamette says:

              Lombardy, not Italy. Veneto somewhat less.

              I think this is important. Why Lombardy? Because most likely they had multiple Patient 0s.

              I keep reading that it’s Lombardy because they have the 2nd oldest age structure in the world. Then these same articles admit that the oldest is Japan. Yet Japan has no Lombardy’s. Why? I’m no epidemiologist but I’d say they weren’t bombed by a bunch of carriers from Wuhan, and they are culturally very socially distant to begin with, epidemic or no.

          • gcochran9 says:

            ” Latest data from Italy:
            -9% asymptomatic
            -21% severe requiring hospitalization
            -5% critical requiring ICU admission
            -5.8% case fatality rate “

            • dearieme says:

              Far out of line with the Diamond Princess: was the quarantining aboard better than everyone supposed at the time? Was the testing regime very different?

              Was the key that the ill were spirited away to a non-overwhelmed hospital system?

            • ghazisiz says:

              Sums to about 40%. So the universe would be those tested, and 60% were negative?

              • John Massey says:

                Duh. The 5% and 5.8% are part of the 21%, so 79% are mild or asymptomatic (so the 9% are part of the 79%). Why are the 5.8% higher than the 5%? Because some people died before they could be given intensive care. So some of the 5% have survived, and some of the 5.8% dead received no intensive care, but the two subsets overlap.

                Those figures accord remarkably well with the data from Mainland China (very large sample) and Hong Kong (small sample), except that the 21% severe are a little on the high side, but not much, which could be explained by the respective population age profiles and/or comorbidity profiles.

              • John Massey says:

                Plus I infer that the data posted by Greg are from people who have been tested, because they can’t be anything else. So there is no correspondence with the Diamond Princess sample (but of whom about 19% became infected, but there is no breakdown that I have seen of how many of those 19% were asymptomatic or mild, or severe, but I think the total deaths amounted to 7 people, that are known about).

                So, on that simple IQ test, pass rate is 0 out of 2.

      • gothamette says:

        “I don’t have time for every idiot ever born.”

        So what do you think of Ron de Santis?

  30. Palamas says:

    I learned a lot about Mr. Cochran there, who I have enjoyed in various interviews over the years. Perhaps he is one of the susceptible and that’s why he has to use such foul language when addressing scientific questions, the very point of science (amazingly we KNOW all of this stuff because of such reliable data sets over … umm, 3 months from … umm China of all places).

    Stay away from those carbs, people. You might turn from bright, scientific mind, to old pathetic, curse word grumbler. I’ll get off your lawn now, Sir.

    • David Chamberlin says:

      You posted a blathering youtube video that promised stunning insights. I quit watching after 6 minutes because there were none. You asked the question is this coronavirus even virulent in a different way than all those other viruses.

      We have a lot of people here in the United States apparently wondering the same thing. Now I am not going to argue with you but i wish you all would take advantage of all the great travel deals to Europe right now.

    • gothamette says:

      “Perhaps he is one of the susceptible and that’s why he has to use such foul language when addressing scientific questions, the very point of science”

      Get off your low horse. Greg told me I was full of shit once. I sulked in the corner for a bit. So what? (I still think intelligence is heavily X-linked, LOL.)

      Then when all this started, I knew where to look for no-bullshit truth. And on February 6, 2020, I found it. Here.

  31. NobodyExpectsThe... says:

    I refuse to believe is just only pure stupidity at work on this. Elon Musk is weird, but not that dumb.

    I think is the product of a lot of people in denial, or being extremely selfish. Either consciously or subconsciously, having a temper tantrum over how inconvinient this mess is to their plans for his year.

  32. Frau Katze says:

    This is just one family, but I’ve never heard of seasonal flu being this bad


    blockquote>….Mrs. Fusco, 73, died on Wednesday night after contracting the coronavirus — hours after her son died from the virus and five days after her daughter’s death, a relative said….

    Four other children who contracted coronavirus remain hospitalized, three of them in critical condition, the relative, Roseann Paradiso Fodera, said.

    • gothamette says:

      Saw that. Horrifying.

    • John Massey says:

      Has it dawned on anyone that they were all clinically obese, or does that pass for the normal human condition in the USA and Canada now?

      • Frau Katze says:

        Yes we noticed it. But seasonal flu never killed the overweight (AFAIK). And there are great many overweight people in that age group. Maybe they all had diabetes or something. I’m not an expert on what conditions seasonal flu kills. Maybe I’ll check that now.

      • Frau Katze says:

        I could have sworn I entered this comment but I can’t find it. Seasonal flu most likely to cause complications with diabetes, asthma/COPD, cancer or AIDS. From Wiki.

        • John Massey says:

          I was not trying to suggest that Covid-19 is like influenza, it obviously isn’t. Just that the outcome in that family should come as no real surprise, given what is already known about both Covid-19 and health conditions commonly associated with obesity.

  33. Palamas says:

    Sad, but when you eat that many carbs like Mr. Cochran, even modern medicine can’t save you (forever). But when you last til 70+ with that many grandchildren, my emotions have already been sufficiently dulled to be manipulated more by the fake news media.

    I don’t have a problem with Cochran, it’s just his style is a bit coarse when telling someone to F-off who actually just wants to find the truth about a month of chinese statistics and SKorea and Sweden not showing any rate of “lethality” near 40x, as is his bogus claim. Try 0.7% a little higher than the flu. That is nature, sorry to break you the news.

    • Frau Katze says:

      I don’t think we can get an accurate death rate for covivd-19 from the Chinese dats. We don’t know such things as any other health problems they might have. Smoking is very common with Chinese men. The cities have terrible air pollution. I suppose one could get an upper limit, but do you trust any of their data?

      I don’t much about the South Korean data. They are a lot mote trustworthy, but have they broken their data up using co-morbidities? Maybe they have, I don’t know.

      (Cochran’s style keeps lots of crazy people off the sort. These types are clutter.)

    • gcochran9 says:

      The story is different (lethality is much higher) when the hospitals overflow. With South Korea, thanks to tough interventions, they have not. In Milan, they have. It isn’t that complicated.

  34. Palamas says:

    Greg, you might be well served by reading Dr. Ioannidis instead of projecting on random web/blog readers, though that shouldn’t affect you.

  35. jb says:

    Just a data point — here’s Bloomberg reporting on “a study by the country’s national health authority”:

    99% of Those Who Died From Virus Had Other Illness, Italy Says

    Sorry if this has been gone over elsewhere and I missed it.

  36. John Massey says:

    I will relate this – the Chinese Red Cross currently has a team in Milan, trying to help out. Quoting from a news article:

    ‘Chinese Red Cross vice-president, Sun Shuopeng, said at a press conference in Milan on Thursday: “Here in Milan, the hardest hit area by Covid-19, the lockdown measures are very lax. I can see public transport is still running, people are still moving around, having gatherings in hotels and they are not wearing masks. I don’t know what people here are thinking.” ‘

    Maybe the younger set in Lombardy think they are bullet-proof. Let the old sickos get bumped off so we can get the inheritance. I’m being cynical. Someone mentioned that northern Italy is rife with anti-vaxxers.

    Whatever, those who are hoping to see the epidemic curve in Italy peak very soon might be disappointed. I’m saying might. I hear they are stacking corpses inside churches because they have run out of places to stash the bodies. Large deep holes in the ground might be a better bet – plague pits.

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