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Novel coronavirus (covid-19), Pandemic or Not?

 
pollinator
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What do you think is the future of the new virus? Is the majority of the population overreacting? Underreacting?
How are you dealing with the threat (if it is)?
Please be nice and  remember that opinion is opinion, not objective truth.
 
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I'm personally mildly concerned.  Mostly because these things get over-hyped (from what I've seen in the past).
I live 100 miles from Las Vegas (where I think there has been a confirmed case, so if so, it's pretty close to home already).

More of a wait and see right now.  I live in a metro area, but just quit my job for unrelated reasons, so I won't be out and about much.  I'm pretty much a hermit, and just go out to the grocery store every so often.  I have very little contact with people other than touching shopping carts and such.  I never use antibacterial products, but might consider using them if it gets much worse.
 
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I really, really hope that this virus turns out to be not worth the hype.

That said, I see patterns emerging that lead me to think it might actually be worse than what the numbers currently say.

If this thing fizzles, then it's still a good opportunity to see how people and countries will react to a potential pandemic. And it was a good reminder to keep my supply of medicinal herbs stocked up.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
 
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I want to know more about this https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

It's a brilliant visual.  How are they defining "recovered"?  Is that laboratory tested or not showing symptoms anymore?  
 
gardener
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At this point, the way I see it, Coronavirus is far from being a pandemic.  A pandemic is an outbreak with extremely wide consequences.  I even hesitate to call this an epidemic.  

I think that only time will tell if this outbreak expands into an epidemic or worse, a pandemic.  Plausibly it could do so, but I don’t feel comfortable making one of these types of statements prematurely.

Please don’t take this to mean I am willfully ignoring the very real potential dangers of this disease.  At present it appears to be a flu-like respiratory disease with a higher mortality rate than influenza, which can itself be deadly.  I am merely saying that I cannot look into the future and declare it either an epidemic or a pandemic.

Eric
 
pollinator
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I am deeply concerned myself. Not much I can do but prep for the basics ahead of time though. So no need to freak out too bad. Though... it has the potential to be BAD.

They are claiming a current death rate of around 2%. That being said... it has been spread so rapidly that the death toll is a lagging indicator possibly... putting it at a MUCH higher rate.

That being said, even if it were only a 2% death rate and it managed to spread to all corners of the world with a population of around 7.5 Billion. That would put the final death toll at around 150 MILLION.

A 6% death rate would bump it up to 450 million deaths.

This would overwhelm medical facilities causing the % of death to rise.
It would cause all of the economy to stop dead in it's tracks.
The average grocery store holds around 3 days worth of food. After a month... folks would be facing starvation as well. Causing numbers to skyrocket even further.
Many of the neighboring countries to China are digging up the roads to stop travel. Even if it is stopped... it will still be VERY bad in China. I feel for them.

Here is a link I have been keeping an eye on for death toll/spread updates. If you look to the right-hand side... the Deaths vs Recovered numbers are darn near EVEN. That scares the heck out of me!!!

https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
 
pioneer
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I think focus on establishing or maintaining a healthy immune system is time and energy better invested.  Speculation does not inspire me to act or think differently.  I feel the drama that speculation invites is not useful and helps create unnecessary stress.  I prefer to be aware, prepared, stay calm, and hopefully in a position to assist others if necessary and if asked.  I also think when a single thing is given attention that many things deserve simultaneously, other sufferings occur due to that imbalance.  Same as when everyone in a small boat shifts weight to one side and causes it to tip over.
 
Eric Hanson
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Marty,

I am not going to disagree with the seriousness of the Coronavirus, but for historical precedent, let’s look at the Spanish Flu.  

The world-wide death toll for the Spanish Flu was about 25 million (with a fairly high degree of uncertainty due to many being killed but not attributed to the Spanish Flu, especially in remote areas).  Worldwide this was about twice the deaths of WWI (10 million).  In the United States it was about 750,000 in less than 6 months with the majority happening in a 2 month period.  By comparison, this figure is roughly equal to the deaths from the American Civil War over a 4 year period.  Even the Black Death did not spread so quickly.

But just months later the Spanish Flu mysteriously disappeared just as quickly as it appeared, the United States, and much of the world entered the roaring ‘20s.  The Spanish Flu, though terribly deadly, is not even covered in most American history textbooks.

As I am an American history teacher, I used to have a little activity around this.  We would watch a video about how incredibly deadly the SF was.  The video itself was frightening and disturbing.  At the end, I would get every American history textbook in my room (we had dozens of different ones) and I would ask students to look up the SF.  About half had no mention whatsoever.  The other half had a single sentence on the subject.  The event is largely forgotten in modern memory.

And almost immediately after came the roaring ‘20s!  The SF seemingly had no impact on the American economy.  My point is that I cannot possibly quantify the potential future effects of the  Coronavirus.  It is tempting to speculate, but I just can’t predict the outcome of even an extremely deadly disease.

Eric
 
Huxley Harter
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Eric,
Good point. How different is the way the economy functions now vs 1920? It appears to me that today's economy is based on just-in-time delivery and low stocking rates. I don't know how things functioned then compared to now. Not to say that economic disaster is my prediction, just very curios.

 
Eric Hanson
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Huxley,

Good point about the economy acting differently today, but on the other hand the 1920 economy was VASTLY more dependent on human labor and there was no such thing as telecommuting.

Much of the economy was ag based with people needing to do the work.  Factory’s were not automated.  In the 1920s, the virus was unknown which is part of the reason the flu spread so quickly.

The short version is I just don’t know and can’t possibly predict a similar repeat of the Spanish Flu.

But my instinct says that the economic impact would be lessened.

1). We know what a virus is, what it does, how do stop it’s spread and how to treat an infection.

2). We have biohazard suits that allow doctors to work with infected patients without becoming sick themselves.

3). We have supportive care for infected patients.  That is that while we may not have a cure for a virus, we know vastly better how to support a sick person while their own body fights off the infection.  Think a few years back when the American doctor who contracted Ebola was brought back to the United States.  Highways were cleared and an ambulance was escorted under armed guard, the patient brought to a hospital with a negative pressure room and the patient given supportive care.  As it turns out most of this was just a panic as Ebola is not spread through the air.  The patient survived just fine.

4) much more of our economy is automated.

5). We just plain know how viruses work compared to 1919 when viruses were unknown.

I am absolutely not trying to minimize any danger, just pointing out that we are vastly better equipped to handle a viral outbreak today than in 1919, and the Spanish Flu did not appear to have any lasting economic side effects.

Eric
 
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I don't think it can be called pandemic since, although appearing in many countries, it is not dominant....yet!

Here in UK it is described as a 'moderate threat' - 2 people testing positive to it and isolated.

I am elderly and with a lung condition so obviously am fairly concerned since my situation means that contracting this virus could finish me off!  Since people can be walking around - carrying the virus - for 5 days before the infection shows I find this quite worrying.

Re. the N95 respirator mask...(see last paragraph in this link)....Amazon has run out i.e. 'currently unavailable!'  Yikes!!
https://www.livescience.com/face-mask-new-coronavirus.html  

Treatment for this coronavirus isn't exactly reassuring either e.g. the time delay ....
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2232026-new-coronavirus-how-soon-will-a-treatment-be-ready-and-will-it-work/
 
Marty Mitchell
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Everyone has been coming at this subject with some EXCELLENT points of view. Thank you! You make some wonderful points. There is no reason to remotely be too worried within the U.S. at this time.

I agree that while, yes, the virus can indeed travel much more quickly today than in yesteryear. In fact an estimated 5 million folks flew out of China just after the outbreak started (for the Chinese New Year). Which is very concerning. Especially since a person can be passing it along to others for almost a week before they even know that they are sick.

On the other hand, we humans are also able to communicate around the world in the blink of an eye now which will help assist learning about it and adapting much more quickly. Especially, like mentioned, since we now know a lot more and have a lot more tools at our disposal.

Stock markets will crash if it spreads. However, that is not the real economy, and it will be a great time to jump in at a good price. They won't stay down as this won't last forever.



For the N-95 masks... most people don't know about them yet. I just bought a few 10 packs at my Local Lowe's on the cheap. They have heaps more still in the paint section. I plan to keep some for the family and have extra to pass out to friends/neighbors. Otherwise, I have always used them to do sheetrock, paint, and woodwork. So they will get used either way. My wife is an RN and assumed that they were only medical oriented. lol

There are several things I use that the medical industry uses as well.

If you get the N-95 masks from Lowe's... they have a special exhaust valve that allows the mask to run 20% cooler and be MUCH easier to breath/use long term. Those things get hot quick!

I would recommend going to a local hardware store and grabbing a few. My wife insists that they are a 1-time use item.

However, I know that the virus can only sit on a surface for around 5 days... much longer when it is cold/wet... and indefinitely when frozen.

I will be hitting the masks with sanitizer spray and letting them air out in the garage (or attic) for a week and cycle through for repeat use if I have to. I will have to keep them hidden from the wife though so she won't just throw away our only masks.

Also, you can get it through your eyes. Don't forget goggles. I am thinking swim goggles. lol
 
pollinator
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Eric Hanson wrote:Marty,

I am not going to disagree with the seriousness of the Coronavirus, but for historical precedent, let’s look at the Spanish Flu.  

The world-wide death toll for the Spanish Flu was about 25 million (with a fairly high degree of uncertainty due to many being killed but not attributed to the Spanish Flu, especially in remote areas).  Worldwide this was about twice the deaths of WWI (10 million).  In the United States it was about 750,000 in less than 6 months with the majority happening in a 2 month period.  By comparison, this figure is roughly equal to the deaths from the American Civil War over a 4 year period.  Even the Black Death did not spread so quickly.

But just months later the Spanish Flu mysteriously disappeared just as quickly as it appeared, the United States, and much of the world entered the roaring ‘20s.  The Spanish Flu, though terribly deadly, is not even covered in most American history textbooks.

As I am an American history teacher, I used to have a little activity around this.  We would watch a video about how incredibly deadly the SF was.  The video itself was frightening and disturbing.  At the end, I would get every American history textbook in my room (we had dozens of different ones) and I would ask students to look up the SF.  About half had no mention whatsoever.  The other half had a single sentence on the subject.  The event is largely forgotten in modern memory.

And almost immediately after came the roaring ‘20s!  The SF seemingly had no impact on the American economy.  My point is that I cannot possibly quantify the potential future effects of the  Coronavirus.  It is tempting to speculate, but I just can’t predict the outcome of even an extremely deadly disease.

Eric



The world population was 1.9 billion at that time.  It's now 7.5 billion.  People living more closely would seem to mean that it will spread much more readily.  We know it can spread from animals to humans.  We know it can spread from human to human.  It seems very reasonable that it can spread from human to animals.  I find that terrifying.

As far as the economy, technology has replaced much of the work done by people.  One very technologically skilled person can do the works of dozens, or even hundreds.  Take that person out of the picture.  The effects can be tremendous.  Much of our population relies on food and other necessities being shipped by freighters or airline cargo.  The people that control the machines that bring or supplies are not easily replaced, especially if we lose 25, 50, 75% of them, even for a short period of time.  My personal belief is that this coronavirus could possibly cripple the world economy temporarily, and possibly long term.  I very much hope I am wrong, it isn't a growing season here.
 
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The price of oil is already getting a bit wiggly as people realize that closing down travel is going to affect supply chains for all sorts of products.
I am with Catherine: it does very little to go with the whipping up of hysteria. Especially as we live in the clickbait era and people are invested in making money from rumor and fear. Being well-informed and prepared for anything, whether it is the normal flu, new viruses, climate irregularity (floods and fires come to mind over the last year) or whatever else is a good policy no matter where you are.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Tereza Okava wrote:The price of oil is already getting a bit wiggly as people realize that closing down travel is going to affect supply chains for all sorts of products.
I am with Catherine: it does very little to go with the whipping up of hysteria. Especially as we live in the clickbait era and people are invested in making money from rumor and fear. Being well-informed and prepared for anything, whether it is the normal flu, new viruses, climate irregularity (floods and fires come to mind over the last year) or whatever else is a good policy no matter where you are.



Exactly!

Being prepared (aka a "Prepper") means nothing more than being a... responsible human being.

 
Eric Hanson
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Trace,

Very true that the world population is about triple that of 1919.  Strangely though, that does not mean we are more crowded.  Tenement apartment were notoriously overcrowded c. 1920 and general sanitation is vastly improved.

This is compounded by the fact that the virus, meaning all viruses, were unknown back in 1919.  Microscopes could make out a bacterium, but a virus was invisible to microscopes at the time.

In 1919, people were trying all sorts of folk remedies that were utterly hopeless.  My personal favorite was wearing a little rag of camphor oil around ones neck.  It had exactly no chance of doing anything to a respiratory virus.

Today, although cities are larger, they are much cleaner.  And not only do we know what a virus is, we have a vast array of tools and techniques for eliminating or ameliorating their effects.

With a heavily automated economy, fewer people can do the work of many.  There are bottlenecks to be certain.  A reduction of pilots would significantly cut into air travel, but I am willing to bet that there would also be a bunch of passengers canceling their trips as they would be sick in the first place.

In the end, while caution is warranted, panic itself might be more harmful than the disease itself.  I have seen a lot of panic type thinking that only fosters more panic.  The Spanish Flu was probably the most deadly pandemic over a short timespan in modern history.  Yet a year later it was an afterthought.  I don’t want to sound blissfully ignorant, but I don’t envision anything like the collapse of modern society as we know it.

Eric
 
r ranson
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One thing that worries me is the panic.

People want to be safe.  They worry about things running out.  So they buy extra just in case.

But maybe people who actually need those supplies to survive can't get them.  

China is a big part of the supply chain.  Several factories are shut down.  So, we're increasing demand and reducing supply.

So how can we stock up enough but not too much?  We want to keep ourselves safe without adding to the panic and taking life-saving supplies away from others?

 
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I am cautiously optimistic, based on the lack of deaths outside of China, that if the infection rate can be kept low, then at least the countries with good medicine should be able to handle it without too many deaths. We have lots of experience treating flu, and flu-related pneumonia.

With most circulating strands of flu, approximately 5-20% of people catch it each year. But, most of us have been exposed to these strands for all our lives so a) we have immunity, so they may not hit as hard, or b) we have immunity, so we don't catch them in the first place!

The issue will become if a large proportion of the population becomes infected, AND a high percentage of those people require advanced medical care.

Of the four cases in Canada, one had pneumonia and required hospitalization. Canada has a population of about 37.5 million. If 25% of the population was to become infected, and only 5% of the infected required hospitalization (preliminary guesses are a much higher rate than this), then  - 0.25*0.05*37.5 million ~ 460 000 people in Canada would need hospitalization. Google tells me Canada has on average about 2.7 hospital beds per 1000 people. So approximately 100, 000 hospital beds in the country (most of which already have other kinds of patients in them!). You can see where this becomes an issue - and can also begin to understand the high death rate in China!

As I mentioned in the other thread on this topic - the other issue will be testing, especially as this virus spreads. Testing everyone coming to Canada from Wuhan is already beyond our capabilities - what if this pops up in Africa, South America, the Middle East, etc. Manufacturing testing kits to test 1000s of people is difficult. What about 10s of thousands, 100s of thousands, etc ??

So yes - i am getting prepared to avoid people as the infection begins to spread globally. If this is less severe than I worry about - oh well, I have a few extra non perishables in my house. If it is worse than I expect - I am better able to avoid leaving my house.
 
pollinator
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Eric I wouldn’t extrapolate from the flu. This is a totally different virus. The two known prior were SARS and MERS and both had a very high mortality compared with any flu. The one silver (?) lining is that these zoonotic (animal derived) viruses historically have decreased in lethality over viral generations in humans.

From my very cursory (not an epidemiologist) review of the lancet article and the information from Japan (the first place it really hit that is trustworthy) it may already be declining in lethality. Unfortunately and tragically China is going to get smoked as they allowed new year’s air traffic. Cities that have a lot of people transmitting in the next few viral cycles (month or so) will probably have a major episode (looking at Toronto and Seattle and a few other cities in NA). I would challenge anyone to show there is a way to screen effectively based on the lancet paper without PCR which is not widely available.

Just based on the fact that Australia is not showing a bunch of cases despite having major traffic with China is suggestive (to me, not concrete at all) that UV and vitamin D are probably very helpful. But of course now they are reporting cases, So maybe not. Depends on person to person kinetics in Australia.

From my layman’s view the first 5-6 generations are high mortality. So 2-3 months meaning mid February-March depending on whether it’s 6 days or 14 average intubation. Then the burnout to sub clinical is around 50 generations based on SARS and MERS so 1-2 years.

Please check my math. Most of the world is where China was in early January. I’m seeing this playing out like SARS but with a higher mortality internationally because more of the early infected travelled abroad from China.

9285E157-BF8A-4FBA-9129-66B1470F24B4.png
data map
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Eric Hanson wrote:


And almost immediately after came the roaring ‘20s!  The SF seemingly had no impact on the American economy.  My point is that I cannot possibly quantify the potential future effects of the  Coronavirus.  It is tempting to speculate, but I just can’t predict the outcome of even an extremely deadly disease.

Eric



I wonder if the SF may have actually been a contributor to the roaring 20's. Fewer workers forces employers to increase wages, look for more efficient tools and technology, and improve working conditions. If they don't, workers go elsewhere, and there just weren't enough of them around anymore. With better wages and working conditions, people would have felt more confident in their futures, which encourages spending.
 
Eric Hanson
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Ellendra,

You raise an interesting point about scarcity of labor prompting efficiencies of labor.  However, in this case I think not.  Your idea has merit and might apply to say, the Black Death and to a different degree the American Civil War.  The main difference between the Spanish Flu and the other cases is time.  

While the Spanish Flu was basically a 6-12 month phenomenon in the United States, the real punch happened over a 2 month period.  Over half a million people died in a 2 month period in the United States.  The US has never had anything like this before or since.  And then it was done, it just disappeared.

The Spanish Flu is mysterious in many ways.  For starters, no one really knows where or how it started.  One semi popular explanation is that at an army fort in Kansas, a bunch of horse manure was being burned.  The next day hundreds of soldiers came down sick and were in the camp infirmary.  This was a large unit of soldiers that were scheduled to head out to France and fight Germany in WWI.  

Soon other Army units began falling ill even as the deployment deadline loomed.  President Wilson had to make the agonizing decision about whether to send desperately needed US forces to France crammed onto troop ships which would become disease factories.  He sent them in spite of the risk.

The Flu was already raging in Europe but did so covertly as many people with Flu were thought to be ill from squalid living conditions in the trenches where they lived during the war.  The disease came to be known as the “Spanish” Flu when it showed up in Spain, a country not at war.  The name stuck.  The Flu spread during 1918, but didn’t really become a pandemic until 1919 by which point it spread to most corners of the world.

And then it disappeared.  Nobody really knows why or how.  The most straightforward answer is that the Flu began as a mutation (and had nothing to do with the burning manure in Kansas) and then mutated again. Really, much of the Spanish Flu is a mystery to this day.

There are some well known graves in Alaska where the deceased were buried in permafrost,  some have suggested exhuming at least one of those bodies to get a preserved sample of the virus in its pre-mutated version just to study it to find out what the heck it is/was and why it spread so fast.  Most diseases kill the very young, old and otherwise already sick.  Spanish Flu was odd in that it struck and mostly killed young, healthy adults.  Understandably, many people are quite concerned about reviving one of deadliest diseases ever unleashed.

But Ellendra, back to your point, the Flu, though devastating, disappeared so quickly that it left little time for major workplace changes to take place.

The Spanish Flu is still a mysterious disease whose precise mechanism of action is still poorly understood.

Eric
 
Tj Jefferson
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So there is an inflection point going the wrong direction if you look at today. This happened before right around 1000 cases, and it could be artifact from reporting so don’t make too much out of it.

But viruses work in logarithmic scales and that is suggesting that it is still under no control. The log growth means the cases should be at 100000 in a week or so. These cases are already infected just not showing symptoms in the majority. There has been some attempt at cultural control with closing schools and so on but it’s not likely to be very effective in my opinion because people are still on mass transit and sharing work spaces. The secondary cases of family members means each new case in a family generates a few more even with good control efforts.

One crappy data point- this is doubling every three days and the incubation is hopefully 6 days. That means 2 cases transmitted per person not the 1.2 reported in the papers last week. So the kinetics are more rapid. And these cases were after cultural controls were initiated.

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Yesterday
Yesterday
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Amy Francis
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I have done some more research/reading up on the N95 respirator mask and am now not too bothered that they are hard to get hold of here in UK.  Apparently many people are not wearing them correctly anyway - to form an air tight seal, which is uncomfortably hot and stuffy - i.e. they tend to open up the sides. (Doh!!)  Also that they block 0.03 micron test particles (300 nonometers) but the coronavirus is 0.125 microns (125 nanometers), i.e. much finer!  I guess something is better than nothing though. The masks last for 8 hours.  It doesn't address the ability to contract the virus via the eyes though...not seeing many people wearing goggles!

A flu virus can apparently survive on surfaces for 24 hours and in air droplets for several hours.  Thinking about it, I am wondering that if you were near a virus carrier (i.e. who has yet to develop the symptoms - i.e. before 5 days), that you might be relatively/fairly safe as long as they didn't cough?  Not that I'd take my chances but want to get this in proportion in terms of likelihood of contracting the virus.

That said, I have decided to no longer visit an area that has a high Korean community (whilst there's still a global emergency)....just to be on the safe side.

 
pollinator
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I read that you are statistically at risk if you have been within 2 meters of an infected person for 15 minutes or more. I suspect that many many more are infected than is reported not because anyone is trying to cover it up but because if you lived in an area with the virus and you came down with "flu" symptoms would you go outside? I wouldn't that's horribly irresponsible you might infect others. and assuming you were one of the 95% that didn't need hospital treatment you're now sitting at home feeling better but still not telling anyone or you were one of the 5% that gets complications and are lying at home dead, and probably won't be found for a while yet.


Am I worried? No not in the slightest, BUT I am putting off a trip on a plane, because while I am not worried in my normal life I don't see any point in upping the risks unnecessarily.
 
Eric Hanson
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TJ,

I think your graph nicely explains why the burning manure at Ft. Riley Kansas was NOT the cause of the flu.  Ft Riley did have the first known reported case of what would soon become known as the Spanish Flu, but doubtless, the Flu was already contagious and spreading far and wide by that point.  Here are a couple of reasons the burning manure theory is almost certainly false.

1)  According to the burning manure theory, the manure was burned one evening and people started coming down with Flu the next day.  Firstly, this would have an incubation period of only a couple of hours.  Secondly, it is a bit hard to think that a virus present in manure would become contagious in the lungs (in the GI trac Maybe, but lungs—that’s a stretch).

2). There was a global outbreak of flu before the Ft Riley incident.  It is believed now that this was all/most Spanish Flu and tracking to its point of origin is exceedingly difficult if not impossible.  But there is a body of evidence that the SF came from southern China and spread around the world as there was something of a Chinese diaspora at the time, with Chinese laborers looking well outside the boundaries of their country for work.  In fact some reports of early SF are thought to have originated from newly arrived Chinese laborers in France near the end of WWI.

3). If the the incubation period of SF was only a few hours, as suggested by the burning manure, then the troop ships carrying American soldiers should never have made it to port.  It took 4-6 weeks to get a passenger ship across the ocean.  This should mean that virtually every single person on board these ships should have come down with SF and either died outright or so incapacitated that they would need immediate hospitalization.  They would not have been able to sail a ship and they certainly should not have been able to have fought and won a war.  I think this last point pretty much rules out the burning manure theory.

TJ, I could go on, but I think the point has been made.  Your geometric expansion graph reasonably accurately describes how fast a viral infection can spread.  It does not indicate future deaths, but may well describe the size of the future outbreak.

Eric
 
Tj Jefferson
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“ It does not indicate future deaths, but may well describe the size of the future outbreak. ”

Only two numbers define a contagion. Infectivity and lethality. This show infectivity is still very high. The time rate of growth (can’t do calculus on my phone) looks to me to be stable with an exponent of 2. The mortality is too early but looks a lot like SARS- so far equal numbers of survivors and recovered in the “hot zone”.

As I mentioned the saving grace of the two historic viruses is that they have decreased in lethality with more generations outside animals. But I would say it meets epidemic metrics as there is no current reason known it will not continue to grow at that log rate. Certainly the cat is out of the bag globally but there are fewer cats travelling which helps the speed of transmission in real terms as say Toronto is starting from probably 10 cases rather than 100, so will take 3.5 generations to get to the same absolute number and hopefully will be less lethal by that time.

I have not been wearing a mask but I will this week, even a regular mask has some static charge and will attract small droplets. They were effective for viruses (not completely) when they were little more than cheesecloth. N95 should be rechargeable since it’s just pockets of charcoal in a pinch just don’t burn your house down. I do work around a bunch of people. A smaller workplace with only a few potential contacts probably is not the issue. I am using sanitizer like a maniac because I know how many bullets our immune system allows us to dodge but this doesn’t seem like a good time to kick the tires.
 
pollinator
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Eric Hanson wrote:.....  some have suggested exhuming at least one of those bodies to get a preserved sample of the virus in its pre-mutated version just to study it to find out what the heck it is/was and why it spread so fast.  



This has already been done and the investigations are on-going:  https://mbio.asm.org/content/3/5/e00201-12

Like Ebola and the 1918 influenza virus, it remains a mystery what goes into the "fitness" of a pathogen.  The long standing view is that pathogens will 'attenuate' (mutate to a milder form) because killing their host off too rapidly is a dead-end game.  It's not a deliberate changing of its genetic make-up.....rather it is viewed as still being a product of chance---those strains that don't kill off a host necessary for their survival will be the ones that survive, because their host is surviving.  But in the realm of 'fitness', there can be reasons un-related to the host that pathogens seem to disappear and that has more to do with the stability of the mutations that are allowing it to become more virulent.  Influenza virus has a genome size of 13,000 nucleotides (the genetic building blocks of the genome) and when mutations occur that create greater virulence, but lower fitness, there may be other changes in those 13,000+ nucleotides that stabilize the more virulent mutations. This is what most pathogists/epidemiologists dread is the possibility of that happening.....bad enough to deal with the heightened virulence, we don't need the thing being more stable outside of the main host.  Fortunately, this did not seem to happen and the 1918 influenza faded into the background.   Coronavirus genomes are ~30,000 nucleotides in length, a fact that has made them less tractable to laboratory studies, but ground is being gained very quickly. (By contrast, viruses like polio, West Nile, Zika, etc. come in around 10,000 nucleotides, meaning there is just less total information to have to wade through to find crucial virulence factors.)

End of the day, most epidemics are wake-up calls for how certain things are being done.  Host health/concentration/sanitation conditions are pretty key, but the interface of biomes that have not come in contact before can be a potent factor as well as history has shown with smallpox, rinderpest, etc.
 
Huxley Harter
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Eric Hanson wrote:
But there is a body of evidence that the SF came from southern China and spread around the world as there was something of a Chinese diaspora at the time,
Eric


Very interesting, considering the events of today.
 
Huxley Harter
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Amy,
Good info about the masks, thank you.
 
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The UK newspaper the Guardina, had a good article on this subject a few days ago. See https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/31/what-is-coronavirus-symptoms-wuhan-china-how-worried-doctor
A short quote from it:

Should we panic?

No. The spread of the virus outside China is worrying but not an unexpected development. It increases the likelihood that the WHO will declare the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern. The key issues are how transmissible this new coronavirus is between people and what proportion become severely ill and end up in hospital. Often viruses that spread easily tend to have a milder impact.

Healthcare workers could be at risk if they unexpectedly came across someone with respiratory symptoms who had travelled to an affected region. Generally, the coronavirus appears to be hitting older people hardest, with few cases in children.

 
Marty Mitchell
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Well... the current confirmed infections jumped from around 12,000 this morning... to 17,295 this evening. Still rapid expansion with no signs of slowing.

Keep in mind that there is an up to 14 day incubation period possibly. So if that is true; it will be another week before this number curve begins to slow down IF the virus containment protocols are working.

Death toll jumped from around 300 up to 362.

The Recovered # has increased at a more rapid rate and now sits at 487. So most of the 17,295 are either still showing symptoms/fighting... or are still infected/shedding the virus. Apparently a person who has this virus can still shed it for many days After And Before showing symptoms.

https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
 
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Disclaimer: We have a very high population of Chinese and other Asian peoples in Sydney and the outlaying suburbs

Four things concern me:

1. The knock-on effects of the virus – we now know many chronic conditions/diseases are related to the effects of seemingly unrelated viruses. In the coming years, it will be interesting to see if this virus and it’s various strains are causing other unforeseen effects – both good and bad.
2. Continued inability to control disease spread - I have little good things to say about the way this outbreak was handled here – in Australia we were still allowing arrivals from Wuhan (the epicentre!) for several days after the disease was reported. Now, our elected representatives are playing catch-up with policy on the run: some arrivals are being quarantined on an offshore island, others are being self-regulated at home, etc. Hopefully this is a wake-up call for those in charge. (There was an under current of 'negative economic impacts' if there were restrictions - basically, loss in money from Lunar New Year celebrations ... public safety versus profit.)
3. Prevention – on-going habitat destruction and population growth leads to unnatural human/wild animal exposure.
4. Over and UNDER reaction – it’s easy to see over-reaction, just tune in to some media providers. But, a possible bigger threat is under reaction – where’s the tipping point from ‘she’ll be alright, mate’ to ‘shit, I better get in my bunker and lock the door!’ We do rely heavily on validated reports in a sea of fake news.

Coincidentally, I was discussing the matter with my GP yesterday – he had a patient phone in with ‘cold’ symptoms asking for medication, and advising they’d  just returned from a coronavirus hot spot in China! The GP instructed the patient to go directly to hospital and wear a face mask – only hospitals have the capability to do the pathology tests for the virus. Luckily the patient had the wherewithal to do the right thing!! How many are out there walking around oblivious to it all?!

If it turned nasty, most hospital systems could never cope.

Thankfully, some progression has been made by our science-bods in Melbourne who recreated the disease in-vitro:

CORONAVIRUS GROWN IN-VITRO


Having the choice, I limit exposure – work from home, commute by car (not public transport), reduce face-to-face interactions, remain vigilant. (Don’t use a mask, yet.)

 
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We needed to go grocery shopping, so we got the cart that was at the back of the line of carts, and therefore used the least and also exposed to the most sterilizing UV rays. We were thrilled to find out that it was the Super Bowl. The store was empty! Great day to go shopping during an epidemic!

(Cultural notes for those not in the US. Super Bowl is the big American football game to find the winners of all the teams that year. It's like the big soccer/football games for the rest of the world. Neither my husband nor I care for sports, so we didn't even know it was the super bowl. But, boy were we glad when we got there the store was empty!)
 
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Amy Francis wrote:I have done some more research/reading up on the N95 respirator mask and am now not too bothered that they are hard to get hold of here in UK.  Apparently many people are not wearing them correctly anyway - to form an air tight seal, which is uncomfortably hot and stuffy - i.e. they tend to open up the sides. (Doh!!)  Also that they block 0.03 micron test particles (300 nonometers) but the coronavirus is 0.125 microns (125 nanometers), i.e. much finer!  I guess something is better than nothing though. The masks last for 8 hours.  It doesn't address the ability to contract the virus via the eyes though...not seeing many people wearing goggles!

A flu virus can apparently survive on surfaces for 24 hours and in air droplets for several hours.  Thinking about it, I am wondering that if you were near a virus carrier (i.e. who has yet to develop the symptoms - i.e. before 5 days), that you might be relatively/fairly safe as long as they didn't cough?  Not that I'd take my chances but want to get this in proportion in terms of likelihood of contracting the virus.

That said, I have decided to no longer visit an area that has a high Korean community (whilst there's still a global emergency)....just to be on the safe side.



The reason teh N95's are very effective against corona virus's is that the virus is in the larger droplets for the infected person,  they are not on their own in the air, so the masks do keep those droplets from getting thru, if worn properly
 
Amy Francis
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Sue Reeves wrote:

Amy Francis wrote:I have done some more research/reading up on the N95 respirator mask and am now not too bothered that they are hard to get hold of here in UK.  Apparently many people are not wearing them correctly anyway - to form an air tight seal, which is uncomfortably hot and stuffy - i.e. they tend to open up the sides. (Doh!!)  Also that they block 0.03 micron test particles (300 nonometers) but the coronavirus is 0.125 microns (125 nanometers), i.e. much finer!  I guess something is better than nothing though. The masks last for 8 hours.  It doesn't address the ability to contract the virus via the eyes though...not seeing many people wearing goggles!

A flu virus can apparently survive on surfaces for 24 hours and in air droplets for several hours.  Thinking about it, I am wondering that if you were near a virus carrier (i.e. who has yet to develop the symptoms - i.e. before 5 days), that you might be relatively/fairly safe as long as they didn't cough?  Not that I'd take my chances but want to get this in proportion in terms of likelihood of contracting the virus.

That said, I have decided to no longer visit an area that has a high Korean community (whilst there's still a global emergency)....just to be on the safe side.



The reason teh N95's are very effective against corona virus's is that the virus is in the larger droplets for the infected person,  they are not on their own in the air, so the masks do keep those droplets from getting thru, if worn properly


Thanks Sue for this qualification that makes wearing the mask more effective....assuming people put up with the hot stuffiness of forming a tight air seal and don't open it up at the sides, as seems to be quite common!  My breathing is already laboured (from a lung condition) so the mask would be too problematic for me to deal with.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Amy Francis wrote:
Thanks Sue for this qualification that makes wearing the mask more effective....assuming people put up with the hot stuffiness of forming a tight air seal and don't open it up at the sides, as seems to be quite common!  My breathing is already laboured (from a lung condition) so the mask would be too problematic for me to deal with.




In your case I would definitely recommend those high-end N-95 mask from Lowe's then. That extra exhaust valve really does make a huge difference when wearing. Instead of having to force your breath back through the filter it opens up for an easy out breath. Drastically reducing moisture/heat inside the mask as well. Making it much more comfortable to wear all day as well.


 
Amy Francis
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Marty Mitchell wrote:

Amy Francis wrote:
Thanks Sue for this qualification that makes wearing the mask more effective....assuming people put up with the hot stuffiness of forming a tight air seal and don't open it up at the sides, as seems to be quite common!  My breathing is already laboured (from a lung condition) so the mask would be too problematic for me to deal with.




In your case I would definitely recommend those high-end N-95 mask from Lowe's then. That extra exhaust valve really does make a huge difference when wearing. Instead of having to force your breath back through the filter it opens up for an easy out breath. Drastically reducing moisture/heat inside the mask as well. Making it much more comfortable to wear all day as well.



Thanks Marty but Lowe products are for US and I am in UK.  Good to know about this better version of N-95 mask though!  Still unavailable on Amazon and couldn't find any other outlet.  Oh well.
 
pollinator
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I am not prepared to panic. I think the best that we can do is try to shore up our immune systems if we are less likely to be directly exposed.

I live in Toronto, a major transit hub with a sizeable population of residents and citizens of Chinese descent. If I did any more than drive through Chinatown, or if I spent any time at all on transit, I would pay closer attention to what I did with my hands, and I would wash them before doing things like eating, which I tend to do anyways.

Honestly, I think it's silly to be personally concerned if you don't live near a transit hub. I think there are a lot of people whose automatic setting is to think that a global emergency is going to arrive on their doorstep because the news announcer said something that made them think that. Sorry, made them fear that.

We have more to be worried about in urban Canada than in the states, just based on urban population density. There are no acre-lots in Canadian cities, not in Ontario, anyways, and we only start calling them "cities" when they get big, like 100,000 people, like much of the urbanised world. Most urban jurisdictions in the states call cities anything between 1,500 and 50,000 people. For us, 1,500 people is a tiny town that usually gets by with seasonal influxes due to vacationers or cottagers. Many Canadians would call a municipality of 50,000 a large town.

I honestly don't expect to see the novel coronavirus in any of the so-called flyover states, barring the aforementioned transit hubs. I really don't see any potential of spread to rural areas, again except in the cases of places with widely-travelled residents.

As to food shortages and stocking up on masks, the people who need masks are doctors and caregivers, and maybe those who might have it, to keep others from being infected. Airborne disease isn't the same as airborne radioactive fallout. Exposure risk is dictated by the number of meters (a little more than three feet or a yard) to an infected person, and the amount of time spent in close contact.

As to stocking up on food gently, I tend to think about those long-keeping goods that most urbanites who aren't permies might overlook, as in anything dried. Split pea, barley, beans of any kind, rice, unmilled grains, anything that you'd stock your pantry with but the generation of eaters that only know how to unpack and microwave wouldn't recognise as food.

The real concern here is mutation, of the novel coronavirus interacting in an unforeseen way with, say, the new bird flu outbreak in Hunan province, in close proximity to Wuhan's novel coronavirus hotspot. But even then, the spread of the disease is constrained by limits placed on travel, especially in a time of heightened awareness of symptoms. Nobody with the associated symptoms of any similar disease anywhere remotely close to contact wouldn't be allowed to travel, and I am sure it would result in a shutdown of the affected air travel infrastructure, for a time, at least.

The bottom line is, disease is one of Mother Nature's control mechanisms for pest species. In terms of the global system, humans have become a pest. There will come a disease to cull the flock, in part if not in whole. And even it, if it's the pandemic variety, will be so constrained, unless the incubation period is long enough and the period of communicability occurs sufficiently before the onset of symptoms.

Even so, we'd need to be talking about an engineered virus to do any serious damage to the human population. Viruses that leave too few of their hosts living are on an evolutionary cul-de-sac. This would be more of an issue if less of the world were developed, and is a problem in the developing world, but even so, less than otherwise.

There's a great series of books with an underlying theme that is often repeated, two words of wisdom I try to live by.

"Don't Panic."

-CK
 
Amy Francis
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Some good news!
https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/significant-breakthrough-in-race-for-coronavirus-vaccine/ar-BBZFwgd?li=BBoPWjQ&ocid=mailsignout
 
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While I am very hopeful that this will be contained outside of China, I think it’s really important not to underestimate what is happening.  As most of you are probably aware, both the number of cases and the number of deaths in China has been extremely under reported.  This is partially due to cultural factors, partially because they simply are not able to test everyone who comes in with symptoms, and partly because some people aren’t seeking medical assistance.  Reasonable estimates by knowledgeable people are that both the case rate and the death rate numbers need to be revised upwards considerably.  

Of the people who are not seeking medical assistance, probably most have a mild case, but they are still capable of spreading the disease, so should not be discounted.

IF the disease does not take off like wildfire outside of China, there are still going to be supply line problems (these are already starting to manifest), and there will very likely be some economic fallout, as well.

So, hopefully this won’t be too much of a problem here, but it’s also not a nothing-burger, IMO.  
 
Slideshow boring ... losing consciousness ... just gonna take a quick nap on this tiny ad ...
BWB second printing, pre-order dealio maybe (poor man's poll)
https://permies.com/t/147624/BWB-printing-pre-order-dealio
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