How to approach the Coronavirus

Started by LittleRocketBoy, March 03, 2020, 02:27:37 am

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flaglady

Those were jolly good laughs! Thank you -and trust the Ossies!

Pete

Foadle and Jo, I'm curious...

Here in the US, conspiracy theories abound regarding the coronavirus. Is this unique to the US? I mean, are conspiracy theories rampant where you live, or in other parts of the world? Obviously the bulk of my news and contacts are from the US, so I'm just wondering if other parts of the world are propagating conspiracies on the scale that I see in the US.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Foadle

We are not immune.  I must admit some of these conspiracy theories (in this particular incident) I am more inclined to believe than the purported truth.

I think that conspiracy theories are a part of human nature...and THAT is in every country. ;)

Pete

I've never been one to believe in conspiracy theories. I'm a facts and figures kind of guy that subscribes to Occam's Razor in most cases. Plus, most of these conspiracy theories completely fall apart with even a cursory examination. That said, I know that some conspiracy theories do turn out to be accurate. Watergate, for example, was most certainly a conspiracy theory until it was proven.

The conspiracies that confound me the most are the ones that posit that this is all just one big attempt to take down our President. Like, think for a minute about the implications of what would need to be true for that to be the truth. Here we have a global pandemic affecting almost every country on earth. Yet a section of Americans believes it's all just a big conspiracy to "get" Trump.  :doh:

I just don't understand, and likely never will.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Foadle

No, this certainly is not a China trying to get Trump.  That makes absolutely no sense.  That would be like trying to catch guppies to feed a family...not going to happen.  China is not after individual's.  What they are after is control and that has been quite obvious to me for quite some time...I just wish our government could see it and not keep adhering to their whims.

The "conspiracy" theory I was talking of is that it started in a Chinese wet market.  I am not so sure.  Over the past ten years or so there have been several outbreaks of epidemic proportions:
SARS
MERS
Swine Flu
Bird Flu
Ebola
and now this.

Four of these six outbreaks have started in China and three of those four are previously "unheard" of. 
Further they are mostly said to originate from wet markets.  That doesn't add up either.  Wet markets have been in operation for a very long time and not just in China.  Most if not all Asia uses wet markets, as does Africa and South America.  So, why only from China?  And why recently?

Personally, I am of the opinion that China is trying to manufacture biological weapons and that they have escaped from labs.  There are two virology labs in Wuhan not far from the accused wet-market.  Technically they are for studying virus so as to create better treatments...at least that is what we are told, but are they.

To me this scenario fits well into explaining why, there is documented evidence that China knew of the outbreak at least as early as 17 November.  The WHO also dropped themselves in because China maintains that their first known outbreaks were only know 31 December, but WHO in their tirade against Taiwan said that it was the 27 December.  Why the conflict?

Further, Australia and America had shut their boarders before either China or WHO would acknowledge that this was even an epidemic!  Doesn't that say something.  Both the Chinese Communist Part and WHO knew and know a lot more than they are willing to let on, and that is why the situation is as it is globally.  People did not know what they were up against because China and WHO were not forthcoming.  If everything is above-board, why wouldn't they be?

Pete

Those are all valid questions, but then I have to ask myself what motive health experts would have in lying about the origins of the virus. From what I've read, they believe the virus originated in a bat and perhaps took a detour through a pangolin before jumping to humans. This is not unheard of. Viruses do sometimes jump species. So it's not really that far fetched for me to believe that the unsanitary conditions of wet markets create an ideal environment for viruses to jump species.

My theory is that world governments have not invested sufficiently in pandemic containment. It's easy to justify cutting funding and research when there is not an active problem. Once you have a problem, it's too late. And that's why I believe we're in the mess we're in now.

I think that as things start to return to some semblance of normalcy, there will be a renewed push on virology and epidemiology, making sure we are investing in the prevention of another such outbreak. But I also suspect at some point not too long after things have gotten back to normal, we will again undervalue the importance of these things.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Foadle

I certainly don't disagree with you there.  Although there have been many epidemics over the years, the last pandemic was the Spanish flu after WWI.  Unfortunately mankind is well known for its short memory span, and due to that less and less has been put into national protections against such things.
Quote from: Pete on April 14, 2020, 08:01:50 pmwhat motive health experts would have in lying about the origins of the virus. From what I've read, they believe the virus originated in a bat and perhaps took a detour through a pangolin before jumping to humans. This is not unheard of. Viruses do sometimes jump species. So it's not really that far fetched for me to believe that the unsanitary conditions of wet markets create an ideal environment for viruses to jump species.
No, that side of it is not.  Is it possible?  Yes.  But why are such virulent viruses coming ONLY out of Chinese wet-markets.
The World Health Organisation will not release the list of the way people voted (from what I understand this is not normal practice), but it is known that there were several countries in the WHO calling for pandemic status long before it the WHO would allow but they were shut down.  Further whistle-blowers in China were arrested for "making false allegations" and Li Wenliang, while the best known of these, was not the only one.  So we know that Chinese doctors were trying to get the information out there long before China Communist Party would even recognise that they had a problem in Wuhan much less anywhere else.  Others who have or did mention it simply "disappeared."

WHO's "reasoning" for not declaring a problem is that there was no known human-to-human spread.  China was saying there was no evidence of it, though the doctors were telling them the opposite.  Furthermore, Taiwan told WHO there was human-to-human spread in early January before WHO made its decision.  WHO will not recognise Taiwan though because it is led by an Ethiopian communist who was head of the medical board there and is known to have covered up three cholera epidemics in his time in office.

It is not that medical officials were lying, it is that they were being shut down.

This also was a rather interesting watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKmUxSlOoUE

Pete

Actually, in 2009, H1N1 (aka Swine Flu) was the last global pandemic. I see a lot of stuff on Facebook about how no one shut anything down for that pandemic, and by all counts, the number of infected was much higher. There are 2 things wrong with this logic.

First, the numbers people cite from the H1N1 pandemic were from the end of the pandemic. In other words, the pandemic had lasted 12-18 months and the data was complete. This is being compared to data in the beginning months of this current pandemic where the numbers are growing exponentially every day.

Secondly, H1N1 had a MUCH lower mortality rate than this current coronavirus. Estimates put the H1N1 mortality rate somewhere between 0.01% and 0.02%. The current case fatality rate for this coronavirus (although it changes every day we have more data) is believed to be about 1.4%.  This seems like a small number until you start to do the math.

Just taking the US as an example, I've seen some people call for everything to open and run normally so that we can achieve herd immunity. Most scientists believe that 80% of a population must be infected to achieve herd immunity. So, taking into account the US population of roughly 369 million people, 80% of that is 295.2 million people that would need to be infected to achieve 80% herd immunity. So if the case fatality rate is 1.4%, that means that 1.4% of those 295.2 million people would die, or roughly 4.1 million people.

Now that number is "only" 1.4% of 80% of the population of the United States. That's what I hear some people saying, but I don't think they realize that when you're dealing with such large numbers, 1.4% is incredibly high.

It is my personal opinion that we are in this mess due to the failure of our President and government to take mitigation measures soon enough. Had the US taken this seriously at the outset, it's possible that it could have been better contained and perhaps all of these draconian shutdowns would not have been necessary.

If we had the ability to test people en masse, we could then separate the sick from the healthy and allow the healthy to continue to move around. But since we don't have that ability, everyone has to stay put, because we don't know who is infected but asymptomatic and spreading the infection further.

All of these reasons are why I don't believe most of the conspiracies. I think this is mostly a result of incredibly poor planning and preparedness to deal with a pandemic.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Foadle

My apologies, I had seen other reports that declared it only an epidemic.  Still it was never as far reaching or as virulent as what we are currently seeing.  But your arguments shows nothing of the shady dealings around all this.

Further, I don't disagree that many governments should have acted sooner.  Our government in many ways did.  Our first case was January 25 (four cases discovered in one day!) yet our figures are much lower than many other nations.  Part of that is the protection we have as an island nation - something not afforded much of Europe for example.  However there are other elements to consider:

1. Populations
Much of the Australian populations is much more spread out than most places around the world.  Hardest hit areas have been cities.  This is not something the government anywhere really has much say on in that way I don't think.

2. Medical System
One of the stresses said to exist in the US around this is that there is no national medical system.  Here we do have a national medical system.  The difference being reported is that many people in countries where this is not the case don't go and get tested because they can't afford to; whereas here, anybody who thinks they may have symptoms can go to a doctor and so this means these people are isolated much sooner.

3. Closing boarders
Both America and Australia did this fairly early (US the day before Australia).  Many European nations did not.  International spread therefore was still rampant in many countries for long after it should have been.
We actually now have criminal investigations into a cruise ship debacle (The Ruby Princess - I'm sure even internationally you have probably heard of it) because protocols were not followed.  They have traced 1/3 of our cases back to this one cruise ship (either passengers on the ship or people who were in contact with those who had been).  This alone shows the importance of such measures.

4. Intra-national travel
Australia does not have the travel between states as America does.  And this would have aided spread there.  I don't know what measures have been taken there but here states have closed their boarders to others states through state governments, in many cases even to residents and so only work related (predominantly transport companies for freight) are being allowed across boarders.  Those crossing boarders are put into quarantine for 14 days.  Australia is only marginally smaller than the US but that has actually helped interstate movement of the disease.  Even before states were closed indigenous communities were made out of bounds until the disease is past.

And these are just a few things I can think of at the moment.  So yes, government actions can and do have an impact on how this spreads. 

"Herd immunity" comes either from ignorance or selfishness of those who think they would be safe, but is certainly not the answer.  Just taking round figures and going down for "benefit of the doubt" say a death rate of 1% would still leave 2,625600 dead in the states only saying 80% of the population contracted it.  In Australia that would be 199,920 dead.  THAT is not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination.

Having said that, closing down the whole nation is killing the nation/s economically.  My proposal would be:
1. close off areas that have had no cases.  Nobody comes into those places except they are quarantined (BTW quarantine was a term adopted in Florence in response to plague and comes from the word quarenta meaning 40 - it was 40days isolation, which I think should be done because there is evidence that this stays active on surfaces for 19 days).  This then at least gets some parts of the economy up and running...full capacity: no but it is a start and better than nothing.

2. Places that have not had any cases in 40 days be added to 1.

Gradually more and more of each country would be open and things would return to normal thus the economy not being crippled as much.

Still think China and WHO have a lot of questions to answer.

Pete

Actually the H1N1 pandemic was incredibly far-reaching. The CDC in the US estimates that between April 2009 and April 2010 there were 60.8 million infections just in the United States. Some worldwide estimates suggest that as much as 11 to 21% of the world's population was infected. Thankfully, that virus was not nearly as deadly, which is why these mitigation efforts were not necessary.

I think until we have adequate testing, we cannot responsibly re-open anything.

There are essentially two approaches to a viral outbreak; containment or mitigation.

We are currently in mitigation or trying to stop the viral spread. This is why we're all stuck at home with all sorts of things shut down, to prevent the person to person spread of the virus.

To get to a point of containment, which is essentially what you're suggesting in your 1-2 approach, we need to know who is infected and then separate them from those who are not infected. We can only know that by widespread testing.

Let's use my county as an example. As of this moment, there are 44 confirmed cases in my county that has a population of 110,683. That means roughly .04% of our county's population is infected. But we're not doing widespread testing. The key word in those 44 cases is CONFIRMED cases. Until we have the ability to do widespread testing on a representative percentage of the population, there is no way to know just how many people are infected. So I've seen people suggesting we should just reopen and have at it since we have so few infections. But if we do that, we're working blindly. The exponential spread of a virus quickly gets out of control. How quickly we all seem to forget that the US had a measly 15 infections less than 2 months ago. Current US case count today: 614,219.

What's worse is our President has said at one of his daily press briefings that he doesn't see the need for widespread testing. It's probably the most important aspect to a partial re-open, yet our President and our government don't seem to be doing anything to achieve that result.

I think it's possible to do what's necessary to begin to open sections of our country responsibly. But we need tests to do that, and I see no indication that's even in the works.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Foadle

I can see what you are saying there Pete.  It is like a something my father used to say: This houses is guarded by shotgun three nights a week.  You decide which three.  That type of a system just doesn't work.  If we are going to do that, let's just play Russian Roulette and be done with.  No, that is not the answer.

However, looking at Australia.  North and West Queensland for example have had NO cases at all.  So, why not section this area off so as to stop travel in and out of the area, and then allow them to go about their daily lives.  For the rest of us, we do need to sit it out, but at least that would get part of the country running.  Should a case break out, then continue with contact tracing and close off etc., but it seems ridiculous to shut them down when they have had no issues at all.

Further eastern north Queensland has had only two cases both brought in by people traveling from SE Qld.  If they had not been allowed to travel into the region there would be no cases.  But those cases were contained over a month ago and there have been no further outbreaks...See the logic?

If you have areas unaffected, isolate them from the areas that are and get them up and running.  It would then be hoped that that unaffected area would expand over time and the infected areas are being isolated more and more.  Like paper training a dog...as puppies the paper is everywhere they can get to.  As they start using more and more one area, decrease where the paper is so that the area used becomes less and less.  Here we are just isolating where the virus would be more and more.

Pete

What's testing like in Australia? In the US, it's abysmal, which is why we have to say things like, we only know of 44 cases in our county. Unfortunately, we cannot know with certainty, because tests are hard to come by. Even if you present with symptoms contemporaneous with the disease, you may not get tested unless you are severely ill. Even if you've been near someone who was diagnosed, you cannot get tested unless you have symptoms. So the US testing in many places is horribly deficient.

Does Australia have better testing, or is it a similar situation? I only ask because it's a very different thing to say definitively that North and West Queensland have NO cases and we know that because there has been extensive testing vs. saying we don't know of any confirmed cases.

I think this is one of the reasons South Korea has been much more successful in its containment. Their aggressive testing allowed them to identify and contain the infection before it got out of control. Both the US and South Korea identified their first cases on the same day in January. South Korea immediately jumped into action developing tests and setting up drive-thru testing sites while the US downplayed the threat for nearly 2 months. The result has been stark. Current data shows the total number of cases in South Korea at 10,591 with 225 deaths vs. the US at 614,246 cases with 26,064 deaths. Even adjusting for different populations, the US currently has a death rate of 79 per million while South Korea's is 4 per million.

I agree with you that isolating the sick from the healthy is what needs to happen. But because this can be transmitted asymptomatically, much testing, even of people that seem perfectly healthy, is needed to ensure the areas truly are not infected.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Pete

Here is an interesting article that lends some credence to the idea that the virus could have originated from a lab accident in Wuhan and not from a wet market;

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/14/state-department-cables-warned-safety-issues-wuhan-lab-studying-bat-coronaviruses/

One thing that this article is careful to note is that there is no evidence that the current coronavirus we're dealing with was engineered, but that does not preclude the possibility that it could have originated from that lab that was studying bat coronaviruses.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Foadle

I think to understand where I am coming from here Pete.  Queensland (1.853 million km2), as the example I have used, is larger than Alaska (1.718 million km2) the US's largest state.  Texas (695,662 km2) is only 40% the size of Alaska.

To travel from one end of Queensland to the other is north to south is 2,236.2km. 

85% of Australia's population lives on the coast (81% on the east coast) compared to America's 40% that live on the coast.

Testing in Australia according to worldometer is 14,564/million compared to America's 9,730/million (note: because of population size this means about 10times as many tests in US).

The point is, that once you get past the cities things are very spread out and isolated anyway.  We have had no flights into the country or across the country, and all internal travel has been suspended except for freight and "necessary work" for well over a month.  People have been fined for trying.  I can't go and see family 2hours away in Toowoomba and one man got fined and sent home for trying to get to a Tinder date Cairns to Port Douglas (only 1hrs drive).

Even if there had been asymptomatic cases in these areas, it seems far fetched to believe that there would have been NO symptomatic cases in these areas.  After a month, if anyone had been infected, people would be showing up by now.  Surely then, such areas should be opened with travel restricted to within the declared "safe" area.

Say you had cases in Florida ... even in some of the surrounding states.  Would it make sense to shut down Wisconsin and it's surrounding states from all business even though they had none?  Yet effectively that is what is happening.  Those are the distances we are talking about...and with people not allowed to travel, that defies all logic.

Pete

Is anything like what you're proposing under consideration?

Different states in the US are starting to propose plans for re-opening parts of the economy. I've recently gotten into some debates on Facebook regarding homemade mask usage. Pennsylvania today has mandated that these masks be worn in public, but I remain incredibly skeptical that there is any benefit at all to wearing a homemade, cloth mask. There really haven't been enough studies and there is not enough data to know if these masks provide any benefit. In fact, the studies we have seem to indicate that any benefit derived from wearing a cloth mask is very minimal. When talking of a virus that is probably around 5 microns or smaller, cotton isn't going to filter that at all.

Interestingly enough, the experts don't even seem to be able to agree on whether homemade cloth masks provide any protection. It sure feels like doing something just to do something whether it actually helps or not. In fact, until last week, the CDC in the US advised against wearing masks. Now all of a sudden that guidance has changed, and me being the analytical type wants to understand what data was used to inform this decision.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Foadle

Unfortunately not.  It has been proposed to the Queensland Premier by many municipal governments but Palaszczuk (pronounced: Palachay) insists we are one state and we will move as a state. :doh: Typical Labour government logic.  Thank goodness we have a Liberal Prime Minister (be aware our liberal is very different to yours ... here labour is left liberal right) who is a REAL Christian.

There are to be discussions with the federal government to day as to what if anything they can do yet to ease restrictions.  We have not had the massive spike predicted if we did nothing.  Our curve has flattened...we peaked at only 400-500 new cases a day and now are averaging only 40-50 new cases a day often less.  Governments acted fast and decisively here and we have reaped the benefits.  Still,tThe biggest concern here is that we are just coming into winter.  Nobody knows if this will affect anything, but generally the flu spreads more in winter than in summer.  Nobody really knows why, we just know that it does. 

Right from Day 1 Morrison was saying that anything we brought in could be in place for at least 6months because of this.  Certainly boarder closures internationally could be far longer.  But as things have dropped consistently and significantly there are considerations as to what can be done to relax a few (definitely not all) of the restrictions that have been in place....We will see.  As Morrison has said, we do not want to relax restrictions too soon and be caught out that way.

flaglady

Quote from: Foadle on April 14, 2020, 08:20:10 pmBut why are such virulent viruses coming ONLY out of Chinese wet-markets.
Speaking from a 'professional' POV - and maybe I'm just ill-informed - I think that in certain areas of the Chinese population, they want for a quality of cleanliness and hygiene in their every day lives and kitchens. So if this form of food that is taken from totally wild stock, is not prepared and cooked properly, then it would be entirely possible for such organisms to get a foothold and infect vast populations. The same has happened in history with the Bubonic plague in the 14th century and Spanish flu in 1918. Most of the spread was due to poor personal and household hygiene because, obviously, nobody understood it. The same is NOT happening with Covid-19 because, in general, we DO understand the process of cross-infection and the need for strict personal and household hygiene.


Quote from: Foadle on April 14, 2020, 07:50:04 pmPersonally, I am of the opinion that China is trying to manufacture biological weapons and that they have escaped from labs.
I would not and cannot agree with that premise. The theory of simplistic cross-infection because of poor personal and domestic hygiene is far too compelling an alternative.

Pete

Quote from: flaglady on April 16, 2020, 10:39:54 amI would not and cannot agree with that premise. The theory of simplistic cross-infection because of poor personal and domestic hygiene is far too compelling an alternative.
I don't think this virus was engineered as a weapon, but I do believe it's plausible that the virus was being studied at a lab in Wuhan and escaped from the lab. Recent reporting (from my link above) shows that there had been ongoing concerns about safety and security at Wuhan labs that were studying bat coronaviruses. At this point, both scenarios are circumstantial, but I believe both are plausible.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Foadle

Bill I owe you an apology.  I have been very out of line in this thread.  I have not written my responses in love.  No they were not exactly out of love, and I believe I was always respectful in what I said, but God rebuked me last night about my motives and there is the problem.  I had to be right.  Love didn't even enter into it, yet that is what should motivate everything we do.  Thankfully God is a God of forgiveness, and He has been merciful enough to show me my fault, it is not up to me to respond to that.  I repent, turn around :blank: , and change my attitude so that I can move more in the dispensation of the messiah.
Thanks for bearing with me the last couple of days.

Pete

If you're talking to me (since there is no Bill in this thread ;)) I can assure you that I didn't feel we were doing anything other than having a nice discussion. However, I commend you for sharing what God has told you and acting on it. While I didn't feel you were coming across as needing to be right, only you and God know your true motives.

Rest assured that I'm not looking to win any arguments or convince anyone of anything. I'm simply sharing what I believe to be true and why. It's OK if we disagree on some things. But you are very correct that Love should be our driving motivation in all we do.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."