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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Madness is Afoot!

Sorry. I might be way off but, . . . . well, before I start, let me state that I am not a medical doctor, public health expert, or anything remotely useful to society, and neither do I play such in real life or even on the internet.  In sum, I give out my views for free, and they are almost worth every penny you pay.

OK. That all said, the lawyers placated, I have to say I think that this Wuhan virus "crisis" is VASTLY over-hyped.

This is not the black plague; not the Spanish flu; not  Ebola or Swine Flu, the anthrax threat, or any of the other "epidemics," or "pandemics" that were supposed to kill us all. Remember, of course, that not too many years ago, the professional screamers told us that all of civilization would turn into a howling wilderness thanks to HIV/AIDS--ahem, Duesberg was right and it didn't happen. The HIV/AIDS predictions were not even close.

We see it also with the global climate change nonsense wherein predictions of catastrophe have repeatedly failed to materialize, and the only thing the changers can predict is, well, change. That's useful, right?

Wuhan, aka Corona, aka COVID-19 virus, so far, at least, does not appear to be a mass killer. It seems lots of people catch it and don't even know it. The vast majority of those who do have symptoms, apparently, will survive just fine. Sure elementary precautions are useful, and anything that encourages greater cleanliness can't be all bad. I, however, see little good reason, or any, for that matter, for the socio-economic-political destruction underway as mass hysteria grips the world.

Stop it!

At least here in the USA, we have a perfect storm. We have a hostile and incredibly arrogant and malicious mass media, running 24 hrs/day, pushing the "we're all gonna die" scenario in a political year, a year in which the target is Trump. The lefties have been calling openly for a recession, an economic collapse, as a way to get rid of Trump, to promote their crazy globalist memes, and to get us cowering in fear and praying for more government intervention in our lives. The Chinese virus is the silver bullet! Or so they think. The same people who opposed tightening our borders and who have turned our major cities into petri dishes for infection and social dysfunction are now critical of Trump's moves on the Wuhan virus.

This will pass. Pharma will develop a vaccine or a cure or the virus will just fade away.

By the way, the Diplowife and I have, in our many years abroad, come down with TB, dengue, hepatitis, broken bones, and various horrid stomach and skin ailments. We survived. Ain't afraid of no Wuhan virus. In fact, I am going out to have a lunch of fried bat wings. Well, I might be exaggerating for effect there . . .

In the meanwhile, I hope we proceed to decouple our Western economies from China's, and to relocate our supply chains back in the West.


  1. Wuhan Sniffles has killed 30 in the US over the past few months. The annual flu kills that many each hour. Yet people still come to work and send their kids to the bio-warfare centers (schools) with the flu.
    Back in January Trump initiated travel restrictions and the Democrats declared it was racism and another reason Trump needs to be Impeached. Now they are caterwauling that Trump isn't doing enough (while Sanders declares he would NOT close the borders due to a Pandemic). I like the idea of the payroll tax elimination...hopefully Trump can make it permanent. I fear what we will get is a student loan bailout.

  2. three TSA people in a California airport have been diagnosed with this - call for the TSA to be shut down to stop the spread :)

  3. It's not that Wuhan flu or whatever normal seasonal flu (which, by the way, usually comes... from Communist China, for since like forever...) is deadly by itself and kills by itself.

    Most all flus, from Swine to Bird to Seasonal Flu to Wuhan flu tend to kill by secondary effects.

    Ebola, on the other hand, that monster will kill you directly.

    So. Fight the secondary effects and you'll survive. Stay away from people. Wash your dirty hands. Keep your nasal passages clean. Make sure you're not drowning in your own fluids. Eat reasonably healthy. Don't inhale too much smoke particles or other fine particulates. Air out your living and work spaces.

    Do this, and your chance of surviving are high, even if you are 'at risk,' are good, if you are smart and aware enough to help your body fight the secondaries.

    And quit listening to people who 3 weeks ago were saying Wuhan was not a bad virus, but then suddenly started running around with their hair on fire (remember, don't breathe smoke particles.)

    1. One factor that correlates with the mortality rate for flu along with the secondary pulmonary/respiratory infections, is the fact that many people (elderly and otherwise) with their compromised immune systems and preconditions are socially isolated. This leads to situations where aid is administered too late or not at all.

      In the extreme cases, people are found dead days or weeks afterwards when someone notices a putrid smell.

      So while "Staying away from people" may seem common-sense, the truth is that social contact (interactions with friends, working with colleagues, family supervision) is a large part of why elderly live as long as they do these days. Telecommunications, healthcare, emergency services, etc only work for those who use it, and often the person making the call isn't the patient, as often as it is a concerned family member or a neighbor.

      And no, you don't have to be a doctor to comment on medical matters, anymore than you have to be a rabbi to comment on Jewish matters.

      Ultimately, there's sometimes a fine line for being a hypochondriac from a doctor's perspective. There are those who don't communicate or make use of their available healthcare resources enough, and there are those who overuse the system to the point of harassment. In calm times, the latter are nuisance and part of the job. When panic sets in, they overwhelm the system.

      But even in times of panic (which is where the Leftists are trying to drive America), an "overwhelmed system" isn't the same as "collapse of the system"; the former won't cause a mass-casualty event.

      The latter will, of course. But in that instance, we're talking war, revolution, civilizational breakdown. That's when your waterworks and sewage-treatment stop service and engineers electrical technicians abandon the grid.

      Again, the Bubonic Plague alone isn't what caused the collapse of the European populace. The precondition to the spread of the Plague was Muslim predation and the collapse of the European economy - lose a war, and the destruction of civiilization, infrastructure, and services is what kills on a continental scale.

      Again, you'll note that the Muslims and their Jewish administrators didn't suffer the Black Death despite capturing millions of Europeans and taking them to slave markets in Anatolia and North Africa.

      Because they were winning the war.

      Anyway, the only concern my doctor had with this bug was the uncertainty of the incubation period. That's why it's so important to find the origin of the bug, to be able to map out the point of infection and duration to symptoms. Now that it's been confirmed as no different from a flu (~ 4 days), there's no reason to fear this infecting an abnormal number of people which would increase the absolute lethality (as opposed to a rate basis); infect half a million Americans and it's a regular flu season (most never report and just ride it out, so the infection numbers are probably closer to several million). But infect 50 million, now that's a real problem, because no matter what the lethality, the infection rates are the real problem.

      The other point he made to us (which I didn't quite understand as much involving proteins and folding for distinctive infection or whatnot) involves a recurring and seasonal cycle along with the other strains of flu. By my understanding, it might be translated as "that is largely out of anyone's control".

    2. One of my odd little hobbies is medieval medicine.

      The Muslims sure as hell DID suffer from the Black Death, the moreso because of their in'shallah fatalism and the belief that getting sick is God's will. They continued to suffer mortality rates of up to 80% right up into the late 1800's, when the plague bacillus was first identified. One small town in Moorish Spain that specialized in the cloth trade -- including clothes from dead bodies -- was all but wiped off the map. Did the dumb fatalistic brutes learn anything from this? No, anymore than they learnt anything from outbreaks of cholera, typhoid, etc.

      After the first wave the Europeans seldom suffered greater than 20% mortality when the plague cropped up, because they got the animals out of the street, quarantined families with sick members at home, and whisked the sick ones off to plague houses in the countryside where they'd stay until they died or got better. They also tried tracked the outbreaks to discern its progress, if not its cause. It was the beginning of modern epidemiology.

      Muslim raiding had zero effect on Europe outside the Mediterranean basin. ('Jewish administrators'?) The Little Ice Age did, though. That's fairly well documented in period source materiel. There were too many people and not enough food and a nasty new disease plopped into a virgin population. It was a perfect storm.

      You might not have to be a doctor to comment on medicine, but you might first learn what the hell you're talking about.

  4. I'll take that student loan bailout if that's all we get.

    Be nice to not have that payment anymore. There's guns that need buying!


  5. I did some math which for me involved Google. First I threw out all the numbers from China since no right minded person would believe them for a second. Then I used the John Hopkins website and figured that the death rate for this virus is about 2.5%. That is higher than the yearly flu, but as the Diplomad said many many cases are not even recorded and those folks recover unnoticed. So reduce the death rate to what... Yearly flu rates... 20,000+ Americans have died of the flu since October 2019.

  6. I think the death rates, like global warming, are largely unknown at this point. Many 'mathematicians' (people call generally call themselves a mathematician when they studied macroeconomics in college and are rightfully ashamed of such) have 'proved' various things about the numbers. Most often there are critical gaps in the analysis that simply can't be filled.
    The most common is "number of deaths divided by expected number of infections" with some basic interpolation on infections for 'tip of iceberg' claims. The same is *not* done for deaths, even though *nobody* tests dead people for viral infections. An elevated death rate would be completely obscured by a lack of testing (in China, and here) prior to death.
    Then there's the 'time to resolution' variable: How long does it take for an infection to go from start to some final disposition (death or certain-to-not-be-death)? Mortality is total number of deaths as a fraction of infections which could have resulted in those deaths. Can't take the fatalities on day 30 and divide it by the number of deaths on day 30, an approximation must be made of the time-to-resolution.
    I don't know that these 'tuning knobs' cancel out the tip-of-iceberg 'knob', but it throws in 'another variable to twiddle to make the numbers look like I want'.

    "With four free parameters, I can fit any data set to an elephant." - John Von Neumann

    I do take at face value some of the numbers. The distribution of ages of people dying from this virus seems distinct from that of influenza, reaching further down from the elderly into the middle-aged. These are typically the most important people in our society, experienced journeymen in trades and business who are not yet planning for their retirement. That could be a bigger risk to the country than influenza as well.

    Maybe it's overblown... but the cost of reducing risk is pretty low for most people. It's too bad more of the 'low-cost-high-risk-reduction' plans weren't put into action sooner. "Work from home if you can." just seems like a no-brainer and would reduce the exposure of hospitals to potential flooding. Institute a "catch a doctor not washing their hands" bounty, because somehow medical practitioners are just terrible at hygiene.

    If the Democrats are trying to exploit this, they're pinning their hopes on a 6-month+ economic after-effect disruption. I doubt this will go past 2 or 3 months before the brunt is over. Once there are enough people-who-have-gotten-over-it around, it will be a much less communicable disease, as there will effectively be 'moderators' within the group. But either way, expect the Democrats/media to crow about how they've "finally got him" on this virus thing, and expect them to be yet-again-disappointed. They hang their hopes on what Trump does or does not do, and they do so because they know their own plans are for the worsening of America.

    - reader #1482

  7. "...meanwhile, I hope we proceed to decouple our Western economies from China's, and to relocate our supply chains back in the West." - WLA


    Seems some others, on our side, are are beginning to Bang the Drum LOUDLY! Although I suspect the majority of the 'Progressive Democrat Socialists' at home and abroad would prefer to sell US out and continue with the West's Death by a Thousand Cuts -- hOWever maybe the Dark STate Stinkers will become a LOT MORE AFRAID OF ChiCom BUGS, then those things that go BANG in the NIGHT!

    As Tucker Carlson wrote: "The United States' continued reliance on Chinese-made products, including life-saving pharmaceuticals that combat the coronavirus pandemic, makes the country increasingly vulnerable"...

    Carlson went further, stating that "the outsourcing of critical materials -- like pharmaceuticals -- is "terrifying and the Chinese know it."... "In other words, they threatened to kill us," Carlson commented. "And, we're all sort of standing back like, 'Oh, you know it's not a big deal.'"..."It's a terrifying situation," he said.

    Suspect the CCP CV/SAR Virus attack bugs are a shot across our bow, but wouldn't be surprised if the bastards are expecting the local Bilge'Rats to make things worse for the CinC and the American people! Some strategists are already of the opinion that the USA is in an undeclared Chinese WAR! What remains to be seen is how FAST we are able to adapt to this New REALITY? Spect Someone's OX may well be gored!

    Here's Steve Bannon and Crew in the War Room, laying out the some elements of a 'Hurry and Catch UP' Game Plan:


    On Watch~~~
    "Let's Roll"

  8. Dip, I usually agree with all your commentary and I used to agree this latest until a week or so ago. I've been watching the videos from this UK Medico. He presents a very lucid discussion.


    In the case of COVID-19 it seems that the more authoritarian countries are getting on top of it faster than those of us in the West. I feel it's because our govts are reluctant to impose harsh regulations on citizens who would not react well.

    But that appears to be the key to eradicating the virus and reducing the death toll.

    Copy & paste that link into your browser. There are others posted since that one. All good value.

    1. Quite possibly true. It will be one or some of the non authoritarian nations who discover and manufacture a vaccine/cure for this virus. There is a large gap between reducing the toll and eradicating.

    2. Taiwan is cited there, yet Taiwan is not nearly an authoritarian country.
      I'm not convinced by the 'bus study'. There are many situations in which a patient will not divulge a possible source of an infection, particularly when involving illegal behaviors. In China, this disease could have been spreading through various groups whose members could not admit to membership without legal, social, or familial repercussions. "We've eliminated all other possibilities." is the tripe of Sherlock Holmes fantasies, not reality.

      That said, I'm presuming it is an airborne pathogen regardless of this study. Wearing an n95 mask for a few months is a minor inconvenience about which only the softest and most pampered people would complain.

      - reader #1482

    3. Iran is pretty authoritarian last I checked, and an awful lot of their high muckity-mucks seem to have gotten it, and there has been some evidence of the digging of mass graves. Even without the latter, I'd not say they have it anywhere near under control.

    4. Back in the 1990's China was still using "barefoot doctors" in the countryside--untrained folks who'd give a shot of fructose for everything, administered by the same needle for everyone in the village, and some would even put a copy of Mao's saying on the affected part and chant revolutionary slogans. My guess is that a lot of rural Hubei and many other provinces (Guizhou, Gansu, Guangxi come to mind; to say nothing of Xinjiang and Xizang) aren't well covered.

      BTW, if anyone wants Chinese document, whether simplified or traditional orthography, Uncle Kepha is open for business.

  9. I remain unconvinced that all the hype and hoopla is warranted, particularly given the negative economic impact that is looming. But, it is what it is, unfortunately. We really won't know if this was all necessary until after the outbreak is over. Interestingly, we still don't know WHAT caused the outbreak -- animal contagion or laboratory (don't forget that lab in Wuhan housing all sorts of nasty stuff including coronavirus). One silver lining.....if this spurs US companies to diversity their supply chains including pulling out of China and relocating factories to the US or closer to home (Mexico, Puerto Rico for example), this would be a good thing. We shouldn't be relying on Chinese manufacturing for a significant amount of our pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.

  10. We are told not to believe numbers from China (because we think the Italian government is so much more reliable???). So let's look at a well-defined sample -- the infamous Diamond Princess cruise ship tied up in Japan. The situation was mishandled, resulting in passengers & crew getting a very high exposure to the virus; and the passenger list was heavily weighted towards the "At Risk" population of the old & infirm.

    Out of ~4,000 passengers & crew, ~700 ended up infected by the virus. About 80% of people given a heavy exposure to the virus do not catch the disease! About 10 people died (all in the "At Risk" group); thus 99.8% survived in what might be considered to be a Worst Case Scenario.

    All these scare statistics about 3% or more dying never talk about the denominator. They don't make clear that they are using the small number of unlucky "At Risk" people who catch the disease as the denominator -- ignoring the vastly larger number of people who never catch the disease.

    And if we do look at the Chinese numbers -- 25,000 people die in China on a normal day (a big number because of China's huge population). In the last 2 months of virus panic, 1,500,000 Chinese people died. China's rulers say 3,000 of those were due to the dreaded virus. Even if that number was really 10 times higher, it would still hardly make a blip on that 1,500,000 normal death total.

    The media is blowing this out of all proportion. The panic will cause more problems than the virus.

    1. Last I checked, Diamond Princess passengers scattered to the wind. Their cases are lost as a cohort. It's very frustrating. I saw one here or one there mentioned dying, but after the original 6, the rest started getting counted against their home countries only, apparently.
      I'm with you... would be great if this is all blown out of proportion.
      But mortality isn't the only concern. Overrunning hospital capacity is also a concern. Not as primary, but that kind of overrun may have pushed a 1-2% fatality rate up to 3-5% fatality. A large fraction of critical cases do need artificial respiration.

      - reader #1482

    2. Agreed, #1482, that the failure to keep track of the cruise ship populations (not just Diamond Princess) was another lost opportunity by our Best & Brightest.

      Even so, the main conclusions still stand -- 4 out of 5 people given heavy exposure to the virus do not catch it; 4 out of 5 of the minority who do catch it experience only negligible or mild symptoms; the people who are at risk are a well-defined group -- the aged and those with existing medical issues. That is comforting news for the vast majority of us.

      Agreed also that there could be a panic-related problems if people over-react to mild symptoms. The UK's plan for dealing with a viral outbreak includes telling people NOT to go to hospital. Remember that ordinarily about 7,800 people die in the US every day, many of them in hospital. When the daily death toll from this virus reaches 10% of that -- 780 deaths per day -- we will know we have a problem.

  11. I myself had a fungal skin infection in Thailand; God was merciful in China, and we didn't get sick. When teaching in Taiwan in the midst of the SARS epidemic, I taught in a tech college a quarter of a mile from where the first death happened; but I didn't know anyone who caught the disease, and my friends didn't know anyone who caught the disease.

    Where I live in MD, though, we had our first cases this week not far from where I live, and we teachers will be getting Spring break early, from the 16th to the 27th due to the outbreak.

    The way the Chinese gov't tried to suppress news of the diseas for weeks, and spoke of it only after a number of people caught it and some died (including the whistleblower, hmmm, hmmm) certainly makes it seems dreadful. Yet apparently, Taiwan and South Korea have gotten the disease under control without very draconian measures.

    In any case, Uncle Kepha has survived a few other end of the world scenarios, including remembering being told as a teen we'd be overpopulated, out of food, in a new ice age, or out of oxygen by 1990. For the record, I believe in the 2d coming of the Messiah, and the resurrection of the dead, and last judgment, but I also believe it's a holy obligation to let God keep his own timetable (which he hasn't shared with us). I'm taking precautions, because I'm close to my allotted threescore and ten years, but I'm also watching to see if this doesn't blow over.

    1. A few weeks of caution isn't going to hurt people... I *can* work from home, so I *do* work from home.. for now.
      How bad is that? Oh, just terrible... truly I have no words to describe how onerous it is to not get my daily dose of commuting! Woe is me... oh Woe...

      Here's what I don't get... people who both suspect it's an engineered virus *and* pass it off with "I've been through epidemics before.. heck! polio!"
      These two cannot be reconciled... if it's an engineered virus, it's something of a sort the world has never before seen.

      And that NBA player who made a show of touch all the mics on a press conference stand to show how unafraid he is.... is infected... how else could that have gone?

      - reader #1482

  12. My stepson will visit from Seattle soon. Should I quarantine him in the guest room?