Covid-19 News

  • The ranks of people from 20 to 80 are increasing rapidly, something that has never happened in history. Once that stops happening, and the world population profile resembles that of the U.S., Europe and Japan, overall growth must stop. There will be no more ranks to fill out.


    It sounds stupid to say this, but you must remember that people are only added to the population at age 0. After that, they gradually disappear. We don't think of it that way in the U.S. because much of our population is from immigration. People are added to our population at any age. In a first-world country where the birthrate has been at replacement level for decades, the population profile is very different from a third-world country where it only dropped to replacement levels 20 or 30 years ago, which is when most of them did. There will still be a great bulge of people under 30. Population will increase until the people who are now 0 to 30 die, in the future. Of course, the 0 - 20 cohort might start increasing again, so that projection may be wrong. But it seems unlikely the birthrate will increase. Quality healthcare and contraceptives are widely available, and healthcare and longevity are increasing in every country except the U.S. (Our healthcare and longevity are falling because of the opioid crisis, for political reasons, and because the healthcare industry is gauging the nation. These trends could easily be reversed.)


    World population and the population for different countries is shown here:


    https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/


    Life expectancy is here; you can see it cannot go much higher before it reaches the natural limits. That will end population growth, unless the 0 - 20 cohort begins growing again:


    https://www.worldometers.info/demographics/life-expectancy/


    The lowest is 54 years, which is more than you probably expected. People have the notion that third-world life expectancy is stuck at 20 years, or something like that. That was only true in premodern conditions when infant mortality was very high. Even in Medieval Europe, a person who survived to age 6 was almost as likely to live to 60 as we are today. There has also led to the myth that people looked old, or suffered from the diseases of old age, at around age 40 in ancient times, because that was the average lifespan. (https://www.verywellhealth.com…hroughout-history-2224054) That is nonsense. A person in good health at age 50 or 60 in the year 1526 was a vigorous and healthy as a people are today. You can tell by looking. This guy was 57 in 1526:


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…brecht_D%C3%BCrer_078.jpg


    He looks pretty good to me. As my grandmother would say, his color is good. In those days, adults tended to be in good health, or dead. There were plenty of 80-year-olds back then. People did not drop dead at age 40!


    Modern population profiles still vary a great deal. The population profile in Russia still reflects the losses from WWII.

  • The lowest is 54 years, which is more than you probably expected. People have the notion that third-world life expectancy is stuck at 20 years, or something like that.


    Literacy and wealth in the third world also much higher than first world people think. MUCH higher. Adult literacy is ~80%. Wealth has increased tremendously since the 1980s. Literacy and wealth go hand in hand. Wealth has also increased because third world people have cell phones, giving them access to education, information, market prices, and so on. Decades ago Bill Gates said "third world people need clean water, not computers." He was right about water, but wrong about computers. It turns out they are a tremendous benefit, in the form of cell phones. Gates has since learned otherwise. The Gates Foundation and the U.N. are among the major contributors to wealth, health and longevity improvements in the third world. Of course the main reason people are better off is the efforts made by the people themselves. Extreme poverty, now defined as living on $1.80 per day, has declined drastically, and might be eliminated in another 10 years. See:


    https://www.worldbank.org/en/n…but-has-slowed-world-bank


    There is a tremendous difference between living on $10 per day, and $1.80. At $10 you can afford a bicycle, a cell phone, and you can send your kids to school. Those are bigger improvements than, say, going from my lifestyle to that of a billionaire. See the above video for details.


    People in the first world are abysmally ignorant of conditions elsewhere, and far too pessimistic. They are also too pessimistic about energy -- especially cold fusion. Also about things such as solid waste. Solid waste is not a problem in the first world. As I said here before, a few generations from now, landfills will likely be considered troves of valuable resources. Robotic waste separation and treatment with molten metal can recover nearly all useful elements from solid waste.

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    Those are bigger improvements than, say, going from my lifestyle to that of a billionaire



    Or merely negative ones. Most of billionaires are busy people who simply cannot afford spending their time with careless twaddling on public forums... ;-)

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    The problem with corona virii is that they reproduce internally to the cell so that there is no way to mount an immune response while it is replicating internally to that cell. It's "cloaked". That is why a vaccine is unlikely as even training the immune system.

    Do you have a scholarly citation for this claim? I don't know specifically for corona virus but for the classic virus model, replication is intracellular but when it is complete, the virus is released by bursting the infected cell. The released particles go on to infect previously uninfected cells, however, while in tissues or body fluids, the virus can trigger the immune system. There are, of course, many viral vaccines, including even Ebola. I know of no reason why a vaccine could not be made for Coronavirus and in fact, I think one is under rapid development, ETA about a year, which may or may not be quick enough to help. I have seen the possibility of a vaccine mentioned in CDC news releases and interviews with Dr. Fauci (Head of NIH infectious diseases) so I am pretty sure it's doable. If you know otherwise, please say how you know.

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    Japanese cruise ship with 3,700 aboard quarantined in Yokahama - 10 aboard diagnosed with WuFl

    Tough on the passengers but an interesting fortuitous epidemiology experiment. How many now healthy passengers will get it and how severe will it be? I hope someone is keeping track.

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    Mythbusters testing germ spreading...


    Video is so cool and so true. What they didn't mention is touchpads, like used in banks, ATM machines, and grocery stores. And shared pens and other "utensils." Contactless pay methods might help (like Apple Pay and equivalent near field devices) but too many still require you to sign with a pen or acknowledge with a touch pad. And then think of door handles.


    If a virus spreads by hand to face/eye/nose contact, it will get spread widely indeed. And you can't trust people to stay home if sick-- you can trust them to do the opposite. Our society encourages a lot of person to person contact. If this corona virus epidemic gets underway where you are, you may want to avoid such contact as much as possible.


    Masks will help as will glasses to shield eyes from droplets. Masks should be surgical level 3 or N95 -- their specs are about equivalent and you can still buy the surgical variety economically. The masks are more to prevent infected people from spreading the virus but they have some value in protecting the wearer as well. And the big thing is to use hand washing and hand sanitizer compulsively until the epidemic is over.


    Just for giggles, here is a guide to mask selection:


    https://www.crosstex.com/sites…on20and20use20-202017.pdf

  • I know of no reason why a vaccine could not be made for Coronavirus and in fact, I think one is under rapid development, ETA about a year, which may or may not be quick enough to help

    Yes, a year is what I read. It might take 3 to 6 months to develop, and up to a year to test and mass produce. In an emergency, they might deploy it in about 6 months.


    It will probably be quick enough to help in many ways. The infection rate can be slowed down by conventional methods such as washing your hands, and putting sick people in quarantine. The Lancet said this might slow the rate by about half. That might buy time so that a large fraction of the world population is not infected when the vaccine becomes available. I do not think anyone can estimate the infection speed or the likelihood of it becoming a pandemic, but in the coming months that data should become available, and the benefits of a vaccine should be easier to estimate.


    Furthermore, suppose the Wuhan flu does not go extinct naturally, the way SARS did. In that case, the vaccine will be needed in years to come to combat outbreaks. It might eventually drive this particular species into extinction, if it is good enough, and if the virus cannot survive outside the host.


    Smallpox was driving into extinction. Polio has almost been eradicated. It should have eradicated years ago. It would have been, were it not for politics and anti-science attitudes in some third world countries.

  • Tough on the passengers but an interesting fortuitous epidemiology experiment. How many now healthy passengers will get it and how severe will it be? I hope someone is keeping track.

    The Japanese government and the mass media is keeping very close track. This is front page news. The people on the ship are mainly bored. WiFi movies have been made free.

  • https://www.thelancet.com/jour…-6736(20)30211-7/fulltext



    "Summary


    Background

    In December, 2019, a pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) emerged in Wuhan, China. We aimed to further clarify the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 2019-nCoV pneumonia.


    Methods

    In this retrospective, single-centre study, we included all confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital from Jan 1 to Jan 20, 2020. Cases were confirmed by real-time RT-PCR and were analysed for epidemiological, demographic, clinical, and radiological features and laboratory data. Outcomes were followed up until Jan 25, 2020.


    Findings

    Of the 99 patients with 2019-nCoV pneumonia, 49 (49%) had a history of exposure to the Huanan seafood market. The average age of the patients was 55·5 years (SD 13·1), including 67 men and 32 women. 2019-nCoV was detected in all patients by real-time RT-PCR. 50 (51%) patients had chronic diseases. Patients had clinical manifestations of fever (82 [83%] patients), cough (81 [82%] patients), shortness of breath (31 [31%] patients), muscle ache (11 [11%] patients), confusion (nine [9%] patients), headache (eight [8%] patients), sore throat (five [5%] patients), rhinorrhoea (four [4%] patients), chest pain (two [2%] patients), diarrhoea (two [2%] patients), and nausea and vomiting (one [1%] patient). According to imaging examination, 74 (75%) patients showed bilateral pneumonia, 14 (14%) patients showed multiple mottling and ground-glass opacity, and one (1%) patient had pneumothorax. 17 (17%) patients developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and, among them, 11 (11%) patients worsened in a short period of time and died of multiple organ failure.


    Interpretation

    The 2019-nCoV infection was of clustering onset, is more likely to affect older males with comorbidities, and can result in severe and even fatal respiratory diseases such as acute respiratory distress syndrome. In general, characteristics of patients who died were in line with the MuLBSTA score, an early warning model for predicting mortality in viral pneumonia. Further investigation is needed to explore the applicability of the MuLBSTA score in predicting the risk of mortality in 2019-nCoV infection.


    National Key R&D Program of China."


    Balance of the paper is free at the Lancet link above.

  • Well, all things considered, what keeps bothering me about this outbreak, and makes me feel constantly startled since a week ago or so, is what IMHO are extremely harsh and economically suicidal measures being taken and enforced by Chinese authorities. I had not realized until today that there are now 90.000.000 people living in cities that are officially locked down in China. I had kept thinking in the original 56.000.000 from a couple of weeks ago.


    I can’t reconcile the official numbers of infected and fatalities with those extreme measures. The measures being take seem completely disproportionate.

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • 17 (17%) patients developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and, among them, 11 (11%) patients worsened in a short period of time and died of multiple organ failure.


    Yikes! Granted, these were acute cases, bad enough to be hospitalized. Still, that is a very high mortality rate.


    I hope the overall rate is not actually as high as 2%, but so far that number is holding for actual counted cases and fatalities. The New York Times reports:


    "The fatality rate in Wuhan is 4.1 percent and 2.8 percent in Hubei, compared to 0.17 percent elsewhere in mainland China."

  • I can’t reconcile the official numbers of infected and fatalities with those extreme measures. The measures being take seem completely disproportionate.


    The measures are not disproportionate if the mortality rate really is 2%. That would be about the same as the 1918 Spanish flu. It could kill millions of people. It is about 200 times higher than ordinary flu, which kills 10,000 to 30,000 people in the U.S. per year. See:


    https://www.livescience.com/ne…rus-compare-with-flu.html


    Death rate

    So far this flu season, about 0.05% of people who caught the flu have died from the virus in the U.S., according to CDC data.


    The death rate for 2019-nCoV is still unclear, but it appears to be higher than that of the flu. Throughout the outbreak, the death rate for 2019-nCoV has been about 2%. Still, officials note that in the beginning of an outbreak, the initial cases that are identified "skew to the severe," which may make the mortality rate seem higher than it is, Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Homeland Security (HHS), said during a news briefing on Jan. 28. The mortality rate may drop as more mild cases are identified, Azar said.

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    Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe has bees suggesting this for decades already.

    The findings are that the stratosphere contains micro-organisms. How does this extrapolate to extra-terrestrial origins? Can't the organisms found in the upper layers of the atmosphere simply be from Earth and have gotten there from air currents, convection and so on?

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    I take that back. The 1918 Spanish flu mortality rate was closer to 10%.

    Still, 2% would be catastrophic

    In 1918, there was uncertain hygiene, a poor understanding of routes for contagion, no antivirals, no time or method to make a vaccine, and a lot of people had chronic diseases (tuberculosis, diabetes poorly treated, syphilis, etc.). Also many more people smoked cigarettes. On the other hand, today's population has a larger proportion of vulnerable people-- transplant recipients and HIV patients with degrees of immunosuppression and the elderly. So it's not clear what will happen.


    Someone mentioned the lockdowns in Chinese cities? Maybe difficult but maybe necessary to prevent wholesale disease and many deaths.

  • The findings are that the stratosphere contains micro-organisms. How does this extrapolate to extra-terrestrial origins? Can't the organisms found in the upper layers of the atmosphere simply be from Earth and have gotten there from air currents, convection and so on?


    ALbeit this is veering off topic, just to answer you, Wickramasinghe did other parallel works to try to prove these hypothesis, you can find most of that work through Google Scholar.


    Of course is controversial, but that has not stopped him or his collaborators.


    You have to bear in mind that Wickramasinghe was co author of Sir Alfred Hoyle, and together they proposed an extraterrestrial origin of viruses since the late 1970's. They have a book about that, which can also be found through Google Scholar. No matter how controversial, and how criticized their work (and the continuance of that work by Wickramasinghe and many collaborators since), the research follows and no single of his papers has been recalled, albeit he has not been published in "Nature" since the Early 1980's, but at some point he was.


    I keep sporadic contact with Dr. Wickramasinghe by e-mail as I have been an Astrobiology aficionado since I have memory of the creation of this research discipline.

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.