Posts by JedRothwell

    The U.S. House is holding hearings on the coronavirus. Here are some comments by Fauci, transcribed at CNN. You can see the video there, which includes more comments.


    https://www.cnn.com/politics/l…7c6088ba4ccfe9c6783b0d628


    “You have a very large country, very heterogeneous, major differences — for example, between the New York metropolitan area and Casper, Wyoming,” but it’s clear, Fauci said, “we've been hit badly.”

    Fauci described the rise in cases in some parts of the country as "a disturbing surge of infections."


    "Right now, for example, the New York metropolitan area, which has been hit extraordinarily hard, has done very well in bringing the cases down and using the guidelines that we have very carefully put together in a step-wise fashion to try and carefully reopen their city and their state. However, in other areas of the country we're now seeing a disturbing surge of infections that looks like it's a combination, but one of the things is an increase in community spread, and that's something that I'm really quite concerned about that and you know that this has been something that's been in the press over the past couple of days," Fauci said.


    Fauci gave his advice on addressing these increase in cases.


    "The way you address that — and I've said this over and over again — is you have to have the manpower, the system, the testing to identify, isolate and contact trace in an effective way so that when you see those increases, you can understand where they are coming from, and you can do something about them," Fauci said.


    Fauci added, "right now the next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surgings that we're seeing in Florida, in Texas and in Arizona." . . .



    Sourced elsewhere:


    Fauci also said he is "cautiously optimistic" that a vaccine will be ready by early next year.

    Indeed, I believe some here probably think (but will not admit) that the elite should run the country and that to vote, one should have a certain education level (only from approved institutions of course), pass an approved aptitude test . . .


    I don't know who you think believes that. It sounds batty to me.


    I don't think much of aptitude tests. You can improve your score on them with practice. If you never took anything like an aptitude test, you will likely get a bad score no matter how smart you are.

    I think I posted Zhang's recent results in this thread. Anyway, today he reported more experiments. He works fast! Someone suggested he try "thermoacoustic" stimulation. Which is what it sounds like, but don't ask me. Anyway, he tried that, in record time. It ran for a while with 300 W input, then 200 W, then it began to produce 1 W excess, and it edged up to 2 W. Here is the graph:



    Maybe so, but whatever the reason for the rise in cases, the main thing is that we are developing immunity without getting very sick.


    Because young people are getting sick, as I said. The average age of the patient has fallen.


    Eventually, we will achieve herd immunity, and if this trend continues we will have gotten there much less painfully than originally anticipated.


    Let us hope we do not achieve herd immunity, because it will mean ~3.9 million people die. That has not changed. The present lower death rate does not mean it would be less painful than originally anticipated. It just means old people got sick first, then more young people got sick. To achieve herd immunity, many old people will once again get sick. That cannot be prevented. There is no way to protect old people from an epidemic that reaches 60% of the population. Overall, 2% of 60% of the population must die to achieve herd immunity. That's 3.9 million people. Plus many millions of other people with severe life-long health problems, especially young people who are prone to strokes and amputations. Herd immunity would be by far the worst catastrophe in U.S. history.


    Let us hope a vaccine becomes available long before the first flattening of the curve from herd immunity. Even that cannot happen before ~1 million people die.



    If you think it unlikely that ~1 million people will die, you are not looking at the numbers. We are 1/4th of the way to the first million deaths, after 3 months. * The death rate has fallen but it is rising again. If it keeps rising, and there is no vaccine for one year, that will be about ~1 million dead. Unless, of course, state and Federal governments take steps to prevent it. Most of them have taken no steps so far. That is why infections are rising, and why the U.S. has a thousand times more cases than the countries in Asia, even though they have 4 times more people (including China).



    * OOPS! Should be 1/8th.

    US deaths down 70% over a 7 day average. New cases are rising, but mostly asymptomatic, or mildly so. With deaths declining, it looks to be a good trend. Some doctors report the virus is losing it's punch, and the data so far supports that.


    It is a good trend, but I do not think it means the virus is losing its punch. The average age of patients in the U.S. has dropped significantly in recent weeks, so much of the improved survival rate is probably caused by the fact that young people are less likely to die from the disease. Many young people are becoming infected because they are going back to work, so you can't blame them. The young people I personally know who got infected had to work. They did not do anything risky. They recovered, and they are fine, thank goodness.


    Some young people in Atlanta are are going to restaurants and not wearing masks. You can blame them.


    The improved survival rate might be improving because treatment is more effective. Let's hope so!



    In most states, the improved survival rate is not because increased testing is revealing more benign cases. The number of cases discovered per test has not declined, which rules that out, I think.

    All other "advanced" countries have tackled the pandemic better than the US. The blue state of New York however, is an exception.


    I do not think anyone says New York did a good job initially. On the contrary, they did a terrible job! The record is clear. Quote:


    "As ProPublica reported, following Cuomo’s order, “Covid-19 tore through New York state’s nursing facilities, killing more than 6,000 people — about 6 percent of its more than 100,000 nursing home residents.” In Florida, which prohibited such transfers, the virus has so far killed only 1.6 percent of nursing home residents.


    Given how Cuomo’s errors contributed to New York’s catastrophe, it’s hard to say how much credit he deserves for eventually rising to the occasion. Still, by the time New York’s cases got to where Arizona’s are now, he at least understood that the state faced calamity and imposed the lockdown that helped bring it back from the abyss."


    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/0…us-coronavirus-trump.html


    https://www.propublica.org/art…en-he-risked-adding-to-it

    Let's not have any more politics.


    Krugman's article is not political. It describes history and facts about the present day. Indisputable facts. People who want to know about U.S. historical attitudes towards science and medicine should study the history of pellagra. Opposition to science, in particular evolution and global warming, is widespread in the U.S., and in both political parties. But it is stronger in the south and in the GOP. Public opinion polls bear that out. It is not political to point this out but factual.


    If the U.S. response to the coronavirus is not anti-science, what on earth would you call it? What else could it be? Why does the U.S. have a thousand times more cases per day than Japan or Korea, if not because we refuse to use scientific methods to control the disease? HHS Sec. Alzar has said this is because our population is less healthy than theirs. There is some truth to that. But it cannot explain three orders of magnitude more infections. Besides, healthy people are infected as easily as unhealthy people. Unhealthy people don't survive as well, but the infection rate is about the same as far as I know.



    "Americans living in the south are ignorant. They ignored the threat of Pellagra back in 1915 as "fiction", as do southerners, along with Trump supporters everywhere, ignore the threat of COVID today.


    Americans living in the south are definitely more ignorant than the national average. SAT scores and high school dropout rates show that. Obviously, that is a statistical generalization. People in Atlanta who go to Georgia Tech are smarter and better educated than the national average. You exaggerate when you say "Trump supporters everywhere." But public opinion polls show that Trump supporters are more inclined to dismiss the seriousness of the coronavirus, and they are more inclined to oppose evolution and global warming. Again, that is a statistical generalization, which means you can find millions of individual Trump supporters who do not fit that description, and millions of Biden supporters who do. Thousands of hardcore Trump supporters do ignore the threat of COVID. Most of them did not wear masks in the recent rally, and many told reporters they do not believe COVID-19 is a serious threat. When you see ~6,000 people not wearing masks in a crowded indoor space, that is proof they do not take the threat seriously.

    I must say, these articles about meatpacking plants make me wish for more progress in cultured mean. (In vitro meat production.) We need to close down the whole industry. It is cruel to the animals, and hard on the workers. It should all be done with clean, bacteria free machinery and robots. The meat will have fewer additives and it will be better for you. The energy and water costs per pound are far lower than meat grown on animals.


    Lately I have tried grilling Beyond Meat brand fake sausage and hamburgers. They are remarkably good. Surprisingly similar to real meat. My wife prefers it. The sausage is less salty. But cultured meat is the answer. As soon as they can make it into something similar to a steak, I'll take it, even if it costs more.

    Is it something unique to the way they operate - close contact increasing rates of transmission, or are animals asymptomatic virus carriers.?


    The press says it is because the workers are close together. There has been no mention of animals as carriers. The labor unions are pressing to have the workers stand farther apart, even though this would slow down production. See the photo here:


    https://civileats.com/2020/04/…emic-makes-it-much-worse/


    See:


    https://www.wired.com/story/wh…ecome-covid-19-hot-spots/

    Why Meatpacking Plants Have Become Covid-19 Hot Spots

    Frigid temperatures, cramped conditions, and long hours put meat processing workers at higher risk for contracting the novel coronavirus.

    I saw a story on Florida (which is becoming a major hotspot) where they said the rate of postivity is Increasing. That is a bad sign. If they increased testing dramatically and the rate of positives remained steady, then the positivity rate should actually decrease. It is just one state though, so who knows if that's true elsewhere.


    Yup. That's what they say in Florida.


    Who knows what's true elsewhere, especially in Georgia. We are a black hole of public health information. The nursing homes have not only been hiding data and lying to the public, they were hiding actual dead bodies in at least one case. The rural districts are hardest hit, often because of meatpacking plants and prisons where cases are concentrated. They don't want to talk about it. Hospitals don't want to talk about it. However, they are happy to accept donations to fight COVID-19. Emory Hospital keeps asking me for money. I should ask them what their mortality rate is.


    The Atlanta journal has done a public service ferreting out some of the numbers, and publishing these graphs and maps, and publishing stories about the shenanigans in the Health Dept., hospitals and nursing homes.


    https://www.ajc.com/news/coron…d/jvoLBozRtBSVSNQDDAuZxH/


    To give credit where it is due, Emory University has published useful information:


    https://covid19.emory.edu/


    That is affiliated with the hospital. Right at this moment the hospital is trying to arrange to have me take a COVID-19 test, for complicated reasons. They have a clinic that offers on-demand COVID-19 testing a mile away from my house. They have a gigantic hospital 3 miles away. But they want me to drive to Dawsonville, GA, 47 miles and 1 hour away. That's the American health care system for you!

    35,000 deaths per year in the UK are directly attributable to obesity - and yet selling people obesogenic food with psychological tricks calculated to increase consumption is legal and even accepted as perfectly normal.


    That's complicated, isn't it? You have free will, political freedom, addiction, cost versus benefit . . . There must be some benefit to eating yourself to death, because so many people do it. For some personality types, a short, fat life is preferable to a long one getting hungry at 5 pm every evening. It seems a little off to call this an "addiction" because you have to eat food, whereas you don't have to drink alcohol or take drugs. The people selling fattening foods are to blame to some extent, but the people eating the food should know perfectly well it is hazardous. The education system in the UK is better than the US, and I am pretty sure the public schools teach that. They teach it in Atlanta public schools, but not in many rural districts, or in West Virginia, which has some of the worst obesity in the country.


    The problem in the U.S. caused by personal irresponsibility and by bad public health and by corporate greed. A combination of factors.


    Here is another complicated stat:


    https://www.gov.uk/government/…tes-year-ending-june-2018


    Statistics on reported road casualties in Great Britain for the year ending June 2018 show there were:

    • 1,770 reported road deaths
    • 26,610 people killed or seriously injured
    • 165,100 casualties of all severities, a decrease of 6%

    Is it worth it? Sort of. People have to drive. Modern civilization would collapse overnight without automobiles. But, is it worth going 60 mph in the UK, which is smaller than the U.S. You could go 55 mph and save many lives. Is it ever worth drunken driving? Of course not!


    Here's the thing. You can fix the automobile accidents. You can greatly reduce them with self-driving cars. I hope we will do that in the coming decades. No one is in favor of killing 1,770 people in car accidents. It does not benefit the automobile companies, whereas people eating themselves to death does benefit the Coca Cola Company and others, so there is a death lobby for food, just as there is for cigarettes.


    Even though no one benefits from automobile accidents, when self-driving cars are introduced, I expect some people will claim they have a God-given right to drive manual cars on the public roads. When cars came in and horses went out, some people claimed the right to ride horses in towns and on highways. That happened well into the 1930s, when my father almost ran into horse and farm wagon near Ithaca, NY. Eventually, the horse owners died off and the issue went away. 50 years from now, no one will say they a right to drive manual cars on public roads. There won't even be many manual cars. Most people will never ride in one. Most people will not know how to drive one, any more than I know how to ride a horse.

    I agree with your conclusion that given identical exterior qualities, the equilibrium external temperature will be the same for each.


    But in real life, with actual cylinders, there are bound to be small but measurable differences, as I said before. Even if you use the same cylinder for the two different tests, I expect it would give slightly slightly different results for various reasons. Mainly because the surface temperatures are not uniform.

    We just started to test and track more


    Just started when? A significant increase began on May 27. Deaths have not increased as much.


    In the U.S. as a whole, deaths have been declining fairly steadily since around April 30:


    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/


    That's good news. That has been happening even as total cases remained high. Several reasons have been suggested. I don't have enough statistical information to hazard a guess which is correct. Maybe it is a combination of factors? Maybe they vary from local to another? The main ones I have read include:


    1. More testing being done, which reveals more cases. That may be the case in Georgia. It is hard to say. Health officials in Florida and elsewhere say that is not the case, because they are finding more cases per test. It has risen from 8 to 14% percent positive in recent weeks as Florida cases have spiked.


    2. Better treatments, so more patients survive. I hope so!


    3. More young people getting sick. They survive better. But that is still bad news. See:

    Young people in the US South and West are increasingly getting coronavirus

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/22…navirus-monday/index.html

    In sweden, Stockholm 1000 deaths/year because of polluted air is acceptable but one time event of 2500 deaths in corona is massively frown appon


    There are several problems with this comparison.


    1. It is not 2,500 deaths. 5,000 people have died in Sweden in 10 weeks. That's ~25,000 a year, assuming a vaccine becomes available in a year.


    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/sweden/


    2. The number of cases is not declining. It is increasing. The number of deaths is declining, but if cases keep increasing, deaths will also increase.


    3. Many steps have been taken to reduce polluted air. More is being done, such as using electric cars, and eventually banning the use of gasoline. If other ways to reduce pollution are discovered, they will be implemented. In other words, the authorities, industry and experts are doing all they can to reduce pollution. They are not doing all they can to reduce COVID-19. If they were, there would be only a few cases a day, and no deaths. Like in New Zealand, Korea or Japan.


    4. There are no benefits whatever to letting the coronavirus go on infecting people, whereas pollution is the unwanted side-effect of essential economic activity, such as manufacturing and transportation. Pollution is the price you pay for driving and making things; coronavirus is the price you pay for stupidity.


    Since the starting of test and tracking restarted in sweden the number of people going to ir has decreased from around 15/day to 10/day previously it has been stabilized on around 15/day for some time.


    When did tracking start?


    The number of cases is 935 per day, rolling average. I suppose they all go to the doctor or clinic, or the Health Dept. would not know about them, and would not count them. The number of people dying is ~26 per day rolling average. It was 108 at the peak. So that is a big improvement.

    So then you are proposing insulation of zero thickness and emissivity identical to bare metal?


    The insulation is on the inside of the cylinders. The discussion started when someone mentioned that some gasses insulate better than others. In the thought experiment, I described replacing the gasses with insulation. The effect is larger, and easier to measure. A bare heater is placed in a cylinder, and another heater wrapped in insulation and placed in an identical cylinder. The heater wrapped in insulation would reach a higher temperature with the same input power, and it would take longer for the outside surface of the cylinder to heat up to the terminal temperature and then plateau. But, after a while, the surfaces of both cylinders would reach the same temperature.


    After you turn off both heaters, the insulated cylinder surface would take longer to cool down.

    South Korea says it is battling 'second wave' of coronavirus

    https://www.reuters.com/articl…-southkorea-idUSKBN23T10M

    Jun 22, 2020 · As of midnight Sunday, South Korea reported 17 new coronavirus cases, the first time in nearly a month that daily new cases had dropped below 20


    What the heck?


    Read what the Health Min. people said and this will more sense. They refer to a small uptick in cases after weeks of practically no cases and no deaths. The 7-day rolling average was around 9 for a month, and now it is up to 46. Here are the Worldmeter graphs for S. Korea:




    You can see the trend more clearly in the Active Cases graph (the second graph, when you expand this figure).


    This is a statistically significant uptick in cases. It is cause for concern. They are taking steps to stomp on it, as they should.


    The same thing was happening in Japan for a few weeks, but I think they have stomped on it now.


    I think most of these cases in both countries were coming from a few hot spots. Mainly night clubs and bars in Japan. The patients have not been cooperating with the case trackers, reportedly because they are mostly men who do not want their wives and girlfriends to know they have been in bars.


    Korea reports 46 cases today. Japan has 32, including 3 caught at the airport coming into the country, which is no danger to anyone. Neither has had any deaths in several days. The U.S. has ~25,000 cases a day, about 700 times more. Obviously, the steps we would have to take to control this would be thousands of times more expensive and difficult, so from our point of view, going from 9 cases total per day to 46 is not even a noise level change. It would not even be measurable! The number of deaths that are overlooked in Atlanta alone sometimes exceeds this, nevermind cases. (The numbers are periodically updated to include some of the missing deaths.)


    I say "we would have to take" because I do not think we will take any steps. Apparently, the U.S. public and the leaders are now resigned to seeing several million more people get sick, hundreds of thousands damaged for life, and perhaps 300,000 killed. We could reduce the number of cases to the levels in Korea and Japan. This would cost trillions of dollars less than letting the disease rampage, destroying lives, businesses and the economy. We could stop it, but we have decided not to. Why, I cannot say. It seems like the most stupid thing we have done in U.S. history, other than the Civil War. It is a drastic failure of will, and of imagination.


    As I said, this is like killing 9 million young men by ordering them to march across no-man's land into machine gun fire in World War I. Even at the time, many soldiers and people such as Winston Churchill said that was an insane thing to do, and they pointed out better ways to fight a war. They were ignored. The slaughter went on, killing 6,000 men a day. Our situation is not so different. The numbers are not far off. U.S. leader are killing 1,000 people a day for no reason, and our public apparently supports this, the way Europeans supported WWI even as the pointless slaughter continued.



    17 new cases is hardly "battling second wave"!


    It is getting simply insane.


    It is battling a second wave from the Korean or Japanese point of view. The Japanese mass media has described the recent increase as "a second wave." They have emphasized that if it does not subside, the night clubs and bars may have to close at 9:00 again instead of 2 am. Sacrifices must be made! Cases fell to a low point of 30 per day rolling average on May 27, then increased slowly to 59 per day on June 18. That's a second wave. Sort of. It is not "insane" for the authorities in Japan to call it that. As you see, it seems to be subsiding:


    https://covid19japan.com/


    You have to understand, these people really are battling the pandemic. As in: doing something about it. When cases peaked in Japan at 741 per day, they were taking drastic steps such as telling everyone to say home (pretty please -- no mandate). And paying anyone who asked 80% of their salary to stay home. They had more case trackers at work with 741 cases than we have with 25,000. They probably still do have more trackers standing by. Obviously not working, with only 32 cases. They just finished rolling out a nationally available phone app. They are doing much more to keep 32 cases a day under control than we are doing to deal with 25,000 cases a day. (Bear in mind that the population is about 36% of ours.)