Giving a very hard core treatment of immunities, infections, plagues, and general wimpiness of the culture.
May 3, 2020
One has to look on the lighter side of Doom occasionally, even though frowning and tut-tutting is de rigueur.
An extensive survey underway in the UK led by Imperial College , Edinburgh and Leeds universities is collecting blood samples and other clinical data from COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
This UK-wide study is called the International Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Consortium (ISARIC4C) study.
The ISARIC4C study, the largest undertaken in Europe, involves a national consortium of researchers that will gather data from more than 15,000 patients with COVID-19 admitted to 166 hospitals throughout the UK. Some of these samples have already been analysed by scientists at Imperial.
Preliminary analysis confirms that high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, obesity and chronic lung disease are risk factors that can lead to severe cases of COVID-19. The team will continue to collect more samples from patients over the next year and start reporting results over the next few weeks.
Again, this supports other findings from around the world about the extra risks of obesity, high blood pressure and diverse other problems.
Some of the microbiologists are saying that this will not be over for quite some time ….
“This thing’s not going to stop until it infects 60 to 70 percent of people,” Mike Osterholm, PhD, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, told CNN. “The idea that this is going to be done soon defies microbiology.”
Depressing, but probably true. On the other hand, we know much more about it with every passing day and with all the brain-power working on it around the world, some whizz-kid may come up with a therapeutic soon, maybe even a vaccine.
On the vaccine front, Oxford University in the UK is making noises about their prototype vaccine already in clinical trials. These folks have been working on corona viruses for years so they have a bit of head start.
Researchers at the University of Oxford have started clinical trials with humans for a coronavirus vaccine and might have results in a couple of months, the university said in a news release. From WebMD:
The school said around 1,110 people who have not tested positive for COVID-19 will take part, with half receiving the vaccine and the other half — the control group — receiving a meningitis vaccine. They will keep a diary and have blood samples taken to show how they’re responding to the vaccine.
On the drug front for prophylaxis or therapy, these was an interesting Fake News media reaction to the possible beneficial effects of hydroxychloroquine. As soon as President Trump mentioned it, a barrage of obfuscating nonsense emerged. And when certain doctors reported that it was effective in certain circumstances, they were immediately slandered. An interesting article Pseudo-science behind the Assault on Hydroxychloroquine [here] surveys the background:
On April 6, Peter Navarro told CNN that “Virtually Every COVID-19 Patient In New York Is Given Hydroxychloroquine.” This might explain decrease in COVID-19 deaths in the New York state after April 15. The time lag is because COVID-19 deaths happen on average 14 days after showing symptoms.
But on April 21, several perfectly coordinated events took place, attacking HCQ’s use for COVID-19 patients.
1. The COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel of the National Institute of Health issued recommendations with negative-ambivalent stance regarding the use of HCQ as a COVID-19 treatment. This surprising stance was taken contrary to the ample evidence of the efficacy and safety of HCQ and despite absence evidence of its harm. The panel also strongly recommended against the use of hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin (AZ), the combination of choice among practitioners.
2. On the same day, a paper (Magagnoli, 2020) was posted on a pre-print server medRxiv, insinuating that HCQ is not only ineffective, but even harmful. This not-yet peer reviewed paper, by unqualified authors with conflicts of interest, received wall-to-wall media coverage, as it if were a cancer cure. It used data from Veterans Administration hospitals, spicing its effects. The paper has shown to be somewhere between junk science and fraud.
3. Rick Bright, a government official who was probably more responsible for the low level of preparedness to the epidemic than most others, and had been re-assigned to a lower position earlier, emerged as a “whistleblower.” He claimed he had been demoted for opposing hydroxychloroquine, the claim to be soon debunked by documents bearing his signature. The media also gave him a wall-to-wall coverage.
The doctors Didier and Raoult who pioneered its use and reported great success were smeared in the media and the pseudo-science media to such an extent that they replied acidly (rarely seen in scientific papers) thus in a new paper: Scientific fraud to demonstrate the lack of efficacy of hydroxychloroquine compared to placebo in a non-randomized retrospective cohort of patients with Covid: Response to MAHEVAS et al. , MedRxiv, 2020. (Brouqui, et al., 2020). (Mahevas, 2020) also gathered many negative comments on MedRxiv.
None of this fazes other nations around the world:
On March 28, Russia announced a COVID-19 treatment based on Mefloquine. Mefloquine, invented in the US in 1970s, is another anti-malaria drug, similar to HCQ. In the West, Mefloquine was withdrawn from use after a controversy about its long-term effects. Russia might also use HCQ. From a Russian brochure (Nikiforov, 2020):
These drugs have a comprehensive negative effect on the coronavirus. It may take years of scientific experimentation to understand how and what exactly they affect. Now the fact of a positive effect has been established, and the drugs should and will be used.
The mechanisms of HCQ and HCQ+AZ action are explained (Hache & Raoult, 2020).
It’s a perceptive assessment of the appalling behavior of the dogs in the media when chasing one of their bones of Trump-hatred.
A quiet morning listening to Geminiani, Handel and Gabrieli on Sunday Baroque was interrupted by Sex Robot. I dare you not to laugh.
An hour long walk along the Sir John A. MacDonald Parkway, Westboro Beach, and Island Park Drive in Ottawa on Saturday yielded some purely subjective impressions about present and future behavior in this current lockdown. First of all, bicycle riders appear to have the least respect for distancing conventions of anyone in the crowd, and it was a crowd. Perhaps they feel the wind has a sterilizing effect on their emanations. Second, judging by people sitting and standing and moving in clusters, there’s a shared impression that family groupings confer immunity. And family groups would gently intermingle, one with the other, beginning with the younger members, with no fear of infection. Dogs, apparently, exempt anyone near them from even the pretence of caution.
Many people on foot, using the pathways and sidewalks in this western banlieu of Ottawa, were in several senses, going through the motions. For many, distancing has become conventional if not merely performative. (To borrow what I think is a commie word?) By this I mean, fear of dying from the Chinese Communist Party virus is dying away, to be replaced by that beautiful Canadian trait, a massive overdisplay of politeness, and conformity. People were giving only the slightest token obedience to the distancing guidelines, daintily ignoring them when pathways simply became too crowded. This observation tells me that the current apparent overreaction to this pandemic cannot and will not hold. People no longer fear death greatly during this pandemic. They have the much greater fear, the distinctly Canadian fear, of the disapproval of their neighbours. So they will pretend to keep their distance, and move to more normal behaviour. I think this great scare will soon be over.
May 2, 2020
A very interesting interview on Unherd, an interesting site. Professor Michael Levitt argues that the lockdown is a mistake.
Daily COVID-19 cases per million (3-day rolling average)
So here we see the US and the UK (in lockdown) followed by Sweden and then Russia and Canada below (also in lockdown). Now isn’t that interesting.
The Root of All Freedom
May 2, 2020
What does a Liberal government in Canada do after a tragic shooting incident? Why, assault the rights and liberties of law-abiding Canadians, of course. All quite in form for a politician who has been brown-nosing the communist Chinese regime for years.
Trudeau’s plans to ban “assault-style” guns are, of course, fundamentally dishonest. Assault weapons can fire fully automatically, launch grenades, and have bayonet attachments etc. All these weapons are currently illegal in Canada. “Assault-style” simply means a self-loading rifle than has a stock that looks like something else. This piece of deception is what they use to further infringe our rights to own firearms.
Needless to say, this has no bearing on public safety.
As reported on PJMedia:
…The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have confirmed that the shooter in the Nova Scotia rampage in April used guns already illegal in Canada, and did not possess the required license to own firearms. The CBC reports that 70 to 90 percent of all crimes in Canada are committed with illegal guns from the U.S., but that the Canadian government has failed to enforce the laws already on the books….Notably, the Canadian government does not define the term “assault-style weapon.”
Of course, that gives them arbitrary power to ban anything they want. And that’s the point. Arbitrary power is tyranny.
After an Islamic terrorist attack, does the government seek to ban law-abiding Muslims? No. The police are sent round to “talk to ‘elders’ in the community” to assure them that there will be no backlash against them by outraged victims of the attack.
The attack on the rights of law-abiding Canadians is an absolute disgrace. All the usual suspects, the appalling corrupt media, the PC crowd that suffocates all free discussion in this country, are, as usual, supine before this fatuous little man riding rough-shod over our freedoms.
And the tragedy is that the Conservative Party, a pale shadow of its former self, is adrift and leaderless, scared of the yapping jackals in the Fake News media.
Surely, why doesn’t Trudeau promise to end the killing of people by drunk drivers? With his “logic” that would be easy—simply ban sober drivers from driving.
To our American brothers and sisters: never, ever give up your Second Amendment; that is the only thing that can make tyrants tremble.
A Journal of the Plague Year (47)
May 1, 2020
To lockdown or not lockdown? The above graph shows us that the US, UK and Sweden do not have significant differences in daily confirmed cases per million (3-day rolling average). The US and UK have lockdown and Sweden doesn’t. It’s early days, but it’s beginning to look like there may be not that much difference.
In Ontario-ari-ari-ario, Premier Doug Ford is announcing the beginning of the opening season come May 4th.
A short list of Ontario businesses will be allowed to reopen Monday, Premier Doug Ford announced, citing positive trends in the province’s fight against COVID-19 that make the limited resumption of economic activity a safe possibility.
The following businesses will be allowed to open on Monday: lawn care and landscaping; garden centres and nurseries with curbside pickup; community gardens; no-touch car washes; auto dealers by appointment only; and some construction projects. Ford added that marinas and golf courses will be allowed to start getting ready for the season, but cannot open for business just yet.
Good start. We all know more about this thing now, so let’s get going, we can deal with it.
Take some time off: this will pass. Just think of the future of the Earth—this fascinating video from Cool Worlds Lab with David Kipping, astrophysicist, puts it all in perspective….Enjoy…
Escher said it best with his Double Planetoid. Rainy day in the country with nothing pressing to do. Go to you happy place. Read Kevin Kelly’s 68 bits of unsolicited advice. On the whole they are worth heeding. Listen to the rain and the creak of the stove as the woodfire heats it.
Paramedics suiting up
April 30, 2020
More local news today. The City of Ottawa has so far in the pandemic recorded 76 deaths and 1297 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
There are 23 ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 in local institutions, mostly long-term care, retirement homes and hospitals. Sixty-four deaths and 575 cases of COVID-19 have stemmed from institutional outbreaks in Ottawa.
Excluding the deaths in long-term care homes and other institutions, there were 12 deaths in total in Ottawa. Given that the population of Ottawa and its environs is about one million, the probability of dying from COVID-19 is around 1 in 100 000. This may change of course, but so far for ordinary people in reasonable health this is a pretty low probability. Does this justify destroying the economy and many people’s lives? Just by way of comparison, in 2017 there were 32 deaths from traffic accidents in Ottawa and 51 due to drug overdoses (2011–2015 average).
Many other people may die from surgeries and hospital care required for other medical conditions that has not been forthcoming. How many of them will there be? According to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot in the Toronto Sun:
An estimated 35 people in Ontario have died due to delayed cardiac surgeries during the pandemic, Health Minister Christine Elliott says.
Ontario continues to delay over 12,000 elective surgeries a week even as thousands of hospital acute and critical care beds lie empty, a provincial fiscal watchdog has found.
The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released a new report Tuesday that looks at hospital capacity and health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To free up beds, Ontario’s hospitals have cancelled 52,700 surgeries since March 15, and are delaying 12,200 additional surgeries each week that operation rooms remain idle.
It certainly seems like the health services are not overwhelmed. Sometime soon a reckoning must be made with the opportunity costs of this ongoing lockdown.
On the national scene, the record of Dr Theresa Tam, Canada’s El Supremo in the public health world, has been less than stellar. In a devastating article in the Edmonton Journal, we can see the timeline of mistake after mistake–mistakes that were made when other countries, notably Taiwan and South Korea, were showing the way with success stories of their own.
Jan. 23: The WHO emergency committee, including WHO advisor Dr. Theresa Tam of Canada, meets by teleconference with health ministry officials from China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand — but not Taiwan which is banned from the WHO at China’s insistence — to discuss whether to declare COVID-19 a public-health emergency.
Note that the WHO is totally dominated by Communist China. Why wasn’t Dr Tam objecting to this?
She is “…also on the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Health Emergencies Programme of the World Health Organization, a position to which she was welcomed between April and June 2018.” according to the Wikipedia entry. So not much oversight was being exercised.
Jan. 24. China locks down 12 more huge cities in Hubei province, with no travel in or out.
Jan. 24: The WHO again advises against travel bans on China: “WHO advises against the application of any restrictions of international traffic based on the information currently available on this event.”
And then, unsurprisingly, we are treated with the politically correct nonsense by which Liberal governments seek to suppress justified criticism:
Jan. 29: Canada now has three cases. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, on Twitter: “I am concerned about the growing number of reports of racism and stigmatizing comments on social media directed to people of Chinese and Asian descent related to 2019-nCoV coronavirus… Everyone has a part to play in preventing the spread of the virus. The Chinese community and all travellers from affected areas are a key part of these efforts….Racism, discrimination and stigmatizing language are unacceptable and very hurtful. These actions create a divide of Us Vs Them. Canada is a country built on the deep-rooted values of respect, diversity and inclusion.”
Apparently, that “respect” is not extended to respecting the lives and health of residents of Canada who may be infected by incoming travelers from other countries. Read the whole article and then ask yourself why does this woman even have a position in the public health world of Canada?
Hospital Beds per 1 000 people, 2018.
April 29, 2020
That’s an interesting statistic. There seems to be some interesting info regarding the Russian situation. We are always led to believe that they are far behind the curve, but it seems maybe that is not the real situation. I make no claims on the validity of the data: the conditions are the same for everybody.
So how many deaths are due to COVID-19 and how many to other causes? One thing that is not in disputes is that many surgeries that would normally have happened have been cancelled and postponed because the hospital beds have to be available for the COIVD-19 cases; which, don’t seem to be appearing at the anticipated rate.
An estimated 35 people in Ontario have died due to delayed cardiac surgeries during the pandemic, Health Minister Christine Elliott says:
So there is an opportunity cost as the economists would say.
…To free up beds, Ontario’s hospitals have cancelled 52,700 surgeries since March 15, and are delaying 12,200 additional surgeries each week that operation rooms remain idle.
“As of April 23, there were 910 hospitalized COVID-19 patients leaving over 9,000 unoccupied acute care hospital beds including over 2,000 critical care beds,” an FAO statement says. “As a result, the province has a significant amount of remaining available capacity to accommodate COVID-19 hospitalizations.”
So, apparently, the province has an excess of critical facilities right now. Shouldn’t some assessment of the need be made on a regular basis? And changes made where required? And from:
In this interview with Imperial College modeler Neil Ferguson (yes, the one with the “two million million [sic] will die” model, that later got revised drastically downward) he seems to take a more nuanced position than some of his acolytes, sees continued lockdown as unrealistic “and causing excess mortality from other causes” (!), expects a second wave (he’s not alone in that), and favors a South Korean-style test, track & trace approach.
Recall that the Imperial College model predicted some millions of deaths if the British government did not adopt the total lockdown strategy. At least they’re responding to changing real situations.
Just like a virus takes over a healthy cell, eviscerates it, and turns into a factory to create more viruses, so the plague of experts has taken over all our systems of science, education and even the arts, and turned them into factories to turn out more phony “experts.”
We have a disease, and unless we let in sunlight to illuminate the problem, Western civilization will die of it.
“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” —Niels Bohr
Well Niels Bohr had it right nearly one hundred years ago. And here’s some emergency physicians [here] giving their take on the mainstream hysteria:
OK, everyone take a valium and report back tomorrow…
Another interesting video, that, I understand has been censored the Thought Police at Youtube….Hospitals are not threatened with COVID-19 overload. So, why would that be a problem? Well, Youtube is part of the thought control apparatus in our world…
Apparently, Youtube is attempting to lie about it here]…
And remdesirvir helps as a therapeutic?…[here]
[PS Mrs Rebel Yell figures that in Canada the Liberal Party has conducted a coup, by keeping Trudeau in his Yalta retreat (a la Gorbachev) and installing a Freeland/Morneau/Globe&Mail/CBC junta to really run the government. Umm. Stay tuned.]
April 29, 2020