A Journal of the Plague Year (42)

The Andromeda Strain

April 27, 2020

The above picture from one of my favorite science not-so-fiction movies, The Andromeda Strain (1971), shows the cause of the disease that wiped out a small town in New Mexico. It almost defeated the most brilliant minds in the US bio-war establishment until, in a flash of insight, despite all their medical training, the bug was found to be not even organic—it was an inorganic crystal. Simple, yet extremely hard to defeat.

Maybe we’ll get a flash of insight in dealing our new friend, the coronavirus.

The most sought-after statistic these days is the prevalence of the coronavirus infection in the general population. And the most difficult to come by.

Only random testing for antibodies will determine how many of the general population have been infected. Dr Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University organized such a survey reported in medRxiv [here].
This shows that maybe 50 to 80 times as many people as previously thought have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. And this means that they either showed no symptoms or else very minor ones not worth mentioning. So, therefore, the infection fatality rate would be 50 times less than previously thought, which is a significant difference in our favor. He has a fascinating interview on youtube: “Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Anderson”


Since then, several other similar studies have been made in New York and a town in Germany. The results were similar.

In Fake News news, it seems the British government is following the lead of President Trump and giving up on the news Lobby, that’s the gaggle of media-bitches who ask stupid questions of government ministers every day. They are moving to questions from ordinary citizens—shock, horror! As Guido Fawkes observes:

Guido’s spent much of this pandemic covering the Lobby’s shoddy performance in covering Coronavirus, and in Saturday’s Guido Talks observed Matt Hancock had taken away the opportunity to ask follow-up questions at the Daily Briefings as No. 10 lose patience with the media’s attempted gotcha attempts. Today the Government has gone further and launched a new initiative asking the public to submit the questions they actually want answering. Think you can do better than Peston, Beth etc.? Submit your questions here…

About time. A blogger from Scotland [Lily of St Leonards]  opines:

What strikes me most from my online interactions is that ordinary Brits have gone beyond politics. We understand that we are not fighting a General Election. We are fighting the worst pandemic in the past one hundred years…. Too many journalists who think there is only one story to write about skim a few medical journals and then think they are qualified to tell the rest of us what should be done. They go from one extreme to other and pretend to have a knowledge that they don’t.

And neatly summing up the state of the media:

The worst of all is the daily press briefings. We listen to some of the best minds in the country explaining to us what is being done and why only to have a series of ignorant childish questions from journalists trying to score political points and trip up a minister. No wonder most of us switch off when we get to that point.

Which is exactly why President Trump gave up on them too.

Thank you Lily of St Leonards, I’m going to use another of your quotes because you can say it so much better than I:

If we had had the modern journalist profession in 1940, we would have lost the war. They would have complained about the Governments disastrous mistakes at Narvik. It should have known that the Maginot line wouldn’t work. Journalists would have demanded that Churchill should have been immediately sacked for the defeat at Dunkirk. They would have described our situation as hopeless and would have ridiculed our ability to fight them on the beaches and would have said it was mere arrogance to suppose that our pathetic little country could have a finest hour. After all the Germans do everything so much more efficiently than we do. They would have listed all the mistakes our country had made and called it insight. The British people however would not have listened to them then, just as we don’t read them now. Newspapers are going out of business. They deserve to.

A perfect description of the modern media mindset.

Dr. John Oxford, virologist and professor at QMU  London making further comments on the media…

“Personally, I would say the best advice is to spend less time watching TV news which is sensational and not very good. Personally, I view this Covid outbreak as akin to a bad winter influenza epidemic. In this case we have had 8000 deaths this last year in the ‘at risk’ groups viz over 65% people with heart disease etc. I do not feel this current Covid will exceed this number. We are suffering from a media epidemic!”

Can we develop a vaccine against “journalists”?

Rebel Yell

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