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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok - here's some really radical thinking in respect to this thing...... not terribly palatable but let's get it on the table anyway.

When I go to work today (in a 7-11 store) seventy percent plus of the 'essential visits' that the lockdown allows for will be to sell booze, tobacco and lottery tickets or scratch cards. For this, I will risk infection and keep exposing myself to contact with other people. If the government is truly serious about limiting visitors to retail outlets like mine, let all sales be restricted to essential items and ban the sale of the rest of the rubbish for the duration.

Secondly, for the duration of the outbreak, let the state assume full responsibility for the immediate and free of charge cremation of the dead, the ashes being returned to the families of victims for internment and remembrance services to be held post the crisis. (Incidentally, I believe that this should be the case all of the time - the funeral system is a racket designed to hit people in the pocket at the time of their greatest vulnerability and it should be stopped.) In this way the inevitable pressure people who have lost loved ones in the outbreak to hold services for their dead will be removed, the problem of gatherings likewise and also that of the build up of corpses.

Thirdly, if doctors are to be placed in the situation of choosing who will live and who will die because they won't be deemed 'suitable' to warrant life support as compared to the patient in the next bed, then 1) lets hear on what criteria such judgement will be made - wealth? Intelligence? Age? Social status? Smoker or not? Will all doctors be scrutinized on how the decisions are made?

And what of the poor souls left to gasp away their lives with no ventilation? Are doctors to be allowed to expedite their deaths, or must they be left to suffer in agony? Why not make the 'juice' as used by the Dignitas exit service available for use in hospitals - or come to that, across the counter of pharmacies (for those who do not choose to spend their last days isolated from their families in strange surroundings and will otherwise have to resort to the rope or the tube to the back of the car in order to avoid this?

Nasty questions Peter (as Mr T would tell me) - but the stuff I want to hear the answers to anyway.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:
I am not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, just making a general observation. Many so-called "conservatives" who proclaim their love of personal freedom and small business rights are actually "except in cases of viral outbreak" conservatives--when the chips are down they abandon their prinicples.
Gee. There's nothing like prejudging the issue in how one chooses to frame the statement, eh? Here's an alternative and at least equally valid way of framing things:-

Many so-called rationalists who proclaim their love of logic, the scientific method and basing their conclusions on the available data are actually alt-Libertarian fanatical extremists with no concept of real-world pragmatism, regardless of what set of unprecedented circumstances may be in play. When the chips are down, they refuse to abandon their absolutist principles, regardless of the outcome in not doing so.

Pointing no fingers of course...

There is an undoubted value in pragmatism, yanno? Martyrdom isn't necessarily the best go-to strategy in every single event...

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:
The doom-and-gloom scenarios all assume that the entirety of the United States is as dirty and overcrowded as Wuhan. The Huanan Seafood Market--look up pictures of it for yourself--was just plain nasty.
With respect, that statement shows no understanding of the current situation.

Yes, the Huanan live market was the perfect breeding ground to allow the emergence of a new, virulent and species-jumping zoonotic virus. Absolutely no doubt.

However, once such a virus has evolved into being, the sole factor of any relevance whatsoever in terms of its spreading is population contact and density. There is a reason why New York City is well on its way to becoming a second Wuhan, with around half of all identified US COVID-19 cases - and overall environment hygiene has next to nothing to do with it.

Final released and audited COVID-19 figures from yesterday show:-

The US experienced a 25.4% rise in newly identified COVID-19 cases (11.1k new cases)

The UK experienced a 21.5% rise in newly identified COVID-19 cases (1.4k new cases)

Italy experienced an 8.2% rise in newly identified COVID-19 cases (5.2k new cases)

Spain experienced a 19.7% rise in newly identified COVID-19 cases (6.9k new cases)

In terms of the absolute number of identified COVID-19 cases, the US is set to overtake Italy (and China, if one can give any credence to its released numbers) within three to four days. Presumably that proves conclusively that the US is in fact as "dirty and overcrowded" as Hubei province? Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

'Every man for himself' is not a solution to pandemic, pope says

Quote:

Closed restaurants are seen in a mall after the government shut down all the shopping centers in the country due to the coronavirus disease outbreak in Bangkok, Thailand, March 23, 2020. As more and more countries start to feel the economic pinch due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis urged business leaders to seek solutions that will not hurt employees and their families. (Credit: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters via CNS)


ROME -- As more and more countries start to feel the economic pinch due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis urged business leaders to seek solutions that will not hurt employees and their families.

"Each (country) must find concrete solutions depending on their situation, but of course, 'every man for himself,' is not a solution," the pope said in an interview via Skype that aired in Spain March 22. "A business that lays off employees to save itself is not a solution. In this moment, instead of laying off, we must welcome and make everyone feel that there is a society of solidarity."

[...]

He was also asked if he was an "optimist" when it came to how the world would be after the current crisis is over.

"I don't like that word because optimism sounds to me like makeup," something false and superficial, he said. "I have hope in humanity, in men and women, and I have hope in the people. I have a lot of hope (in) the people who will take lessons from this crisis to rethink their lives. We are going to come out better, although there will be fewer of us, of course. Many will remain on the path and it is hard. But I have faith we will come out of this better."

[...]

When asked what he would tell men, women and families who live in fear due to the pandemic, the pope said that "the last thing I would do is tell them something."

"What I try to do is make them feel that I am close to them. Today, the language of gestures is more important than words. Of course, something should be said, but it is the gesture of sending them a greeting" that is most important, he said.

The current pandemic, Pope Francis added, has also revealed the plight of the less fortunate, which is a tragedy "that is concealed from societies."

"A couple of days ago, a police officer -- with good intentions -- told a man, 'Sir, please go home, you can't be out here in the street.' And this man told him, 'I don't have a home. I live on the street,'" the pope recalled.

"We must start to be close to those people who we only know as a concept: The homeless, those who are taken advantage of, the sad world of exploited women which is all a business. And this brings us close to those people who, in a way, have very little hope because they don't have anywhere to lean on. It's very sad but at the same time, we start to realize that these people exist," he said.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Italy has still not peaked. 69176 cases 6820 deaths. Mortality is close to 10% now. It could be that the peak of new cases has hit its peak and the deaths have not, which could mean an even higher mortality rate.

Spain is just getting rolling. 47610 cases, 3434 deaths. That's 7.21% mortality. If they follow the same pattern, the mortality rate will go up.

In a week or two, we should have more of an idea of where the US is in this and what the mortality rate is here. By halting the spread of this, we have given time for manufacturing to get more ventilators and more masks, gowns, etc etc. We should find that due to that our mortality rate is much smaller. BUT had we not given ourselves time, this could have been much worse.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It appears that more and more cases are being successfully treated with hydroxychloroquine. Let's hope that continues to be the case.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SB although I agree that the mortality rate is an important stat, surely the much more important stat by far is the rise in number of infections.

The mortality rate is (obviously) only a result/consequence of that number of infections. It will be what it will be, primarily defined by the ability of healthcare resources on the ground to treat virus sufferers effectively

Plus of course at the moment, it's very liable to be mammothly skewed by the unknown number of unknown infections.

Which of course also relates to the rate of identified new infections, but if the same bent ruler is being used to measure every time, then some extrapolation is possible.

The fact remains that for the last two days, the increase in Italy's newly identified COVID-19 cases has been below 10%. A week ago that was in the mid to high 30s - so if this trend persists, then something's working to slow infection rates - and that is without a doubt and as you clearly fully agree a good thing for all the reasons much discussed.

Obi, yes very early signs for hydroxychloroquine therapy do look promising, either with or without azithromycin in combination. There's a neat interview here with an epidemiologist that evaluates this very early date:-

https://www.contagionlive.com/news/how-does-hydroxychloroquine-and-azithromycin-combination-therapy-measure-up-for-covid19-treatment
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly right TF. I only quote the mortality stats to show what we in the US are trying to avoid and may well have done so by the measures that were implemented.

But yes, you very correctly state that the more important measure is new cases and that its going down. I do wonder though, lets say that the number of new cases gets fairly low and they/or us re-open basically everything. What are the odds of a new resurgence that could be worse that the original one? If that indeed happens (and I dont know either way) then we may find that Hashi and Obi were more right than wrong and we shut down the economy for nothing. Time will tell.

edit to add - well it wasnt for nothing. It gave us time to get on a better footing to address new cases and lower the mortality rate even if the virus has a resurgence later
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course we're more right than wrong.

Getting the economy moving with common-sense self-quarantine of those at risk would have been far more prudent. 819 dead, millions out of work, trillions of dollars lost and spent.

Madness.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't bank on them being more right than wrong, even though they're coming at it from differing angles. Obi's more about the inaffordability of current action and Hashi's more about infringement of principles that he personally holds as utterly inviolable.

(Well, I think that's fair).

Obi-Wan Nihilo wrote:
Getting the economy moving with common-sense self-quarantine of those at risk would have been far more prudent. 819 dead, millions out of work, trillions of dollars lost and spent.

Madness.
Not quite madness. Sure, 819 dead so far - but over 60,000 active identified cases (half in New York State, which is the new Hubei sadly), with that national number rising still by around 11 to 12,000 per day. You're still weeks away from the apogee of the death rate yet.

The current thinking of Western governments at least seems to be based on build-up, then release of pressure. Currently, we're in the suppression phase, hence the mandated social distancing measures. As you know, this is to get the new case load down to levels that are manageable by healthcare resources.

Once that's stabilised, the chances are that social distancing measures will be temporarily relaxed, which will cause an increase in new COVID-19 cases, which will then cause restrictions to be re-imposed.

The issue is that this virus isn't going away any time soon and thus a massively high percentage (I've seen estimates as high as 80%) of the global population will eventually contract it. So, given that stark fact, the management technique is in theory at least to keep it to a series of new infection minispikes.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheFallen wrote:
Hashi Lebwohl wrote:
I am not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, just making a general observation. Many so-called "conservatives" who proclaim their love of personal freedom and small business rights are actually "except in cases of viral outbreak" conservatives--when the chips are down they abandon their prinicples.
Gee. There's nothing like prejudging the issue in how one chooses to frame the statement, eh? Here's an alternative and at least equally valid way of framing things:-

Many so-called rationalists who proclaim their love of logic, the scientific method and basing their conclusions on the available data are actually alt-Libertarian fanatical extremists with no concept of real-world pragmatism, regardless of what set of unprecedented circumstances may be in play. When the chips are down, they refuse to abandon their absolutist principles, regardless of the outcome in not doing so.

Pointing no fingers of course...

There is an undoubted value in pragmatism, yanno? Martyrdom isn't necessarily the best go-to strategy in every single event...
Well said.

Obi wrote:
Getting the economy moving with common-sense self-quarantine of those at risk would have been far more prudent. 819 dead, millions out of work, trillions of dollars lost and spent.

Madness.
If the economy makes a full recovery, which it most likely will, this point is moot. Likewise, we're going to "get back our rights," (which were never really taken any way). So the only lingering effect of all this will be those dead. The economy, our rights, these will be blips leaving no effect. Thus, to keep pretending that those dead are irrelevant--when they're going to be the only permanent loss--is pretty damn callous (maybe that comes from your line of work? A natural outcome and/or prerequisite for doing what you do? IDK).

Dismissing the dead is not only callous, it misses the point. As I've said over and over, overwhelming our health care system is the point of the social distancing. Managing the peak, flattening the curve. A breakdown of our healthcare system is a fundamental breakdown of our society, literally the most vital/necessary sector of our economy. An economy is built on confidence and a certain amount of willingness to take a risk. But we have to have a foundation for that confidence, and at the bottom of it all is the health care system. We bank on the fact that if we have a life-threatening illness or accident, we will be ok because we have first world, 21st century medicine, to get us back to work. My job, for instance, takes me into daily contact with the public. Once the hospitals fill up, I'm not going to work anymore. I have enough savings to sit this out, so why should I risk it for a paycheck? I'm damn well not going to suffocate on my own shredded lungs at home from some disease I could have avoided. I think that millions would do the same. THAT would kill our economy without any government intervention at all. THAT is when people will stop politely paying for groceries, and just go loot Krogers. Knowing that the system hasn't broken down yet is all that is keeping people calmly in their homes, instead of rioting in the streets.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Z, that last paragraph is spot-on. Well reasoned, well said.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Obi wrote:
Getting the economy moving with common-sense self-quarantine of those at risk would have been far more prudent. 819 dead, millions out of work, trillions of dollars lost and spent.

Madness.
If the economy makes a full recovery, which it most likely will, this point is moot.
It is not. The economy will, in fact, make a full recovery. However those who are retiring within the next 5 years or so are screwed. Similarly, there's more to the economy than the stock market. Over $2 trillion in these aid packages....That money's all but spent, and will have to be factored into future tax packages and budgets.

Zarathustra wrote:
Likewise, we're going to "get back our rights," (which were never really taken any way). So the only lingering effect of all this will be those dead. The economy, our rights, these will be blips leaving no effect.
Are you familiar with the Patriot Act? Tell me again how we get these rights back. Tried taking a bottle of water from your house onto a plane? How about those rights? We can look at countless examples from the last 20 years where the government has infringed on our rights and not restored them.

Zarathustra wrote:
Thus, to keep pretending that those dead are irrelevant--when they're going to be the only permanent loss--is pretty damn callous (maybe that comes from your line of work? A natural outcome and/or prerequisite for doing what you do? IDK).
I don't believe I've ever discussed my line of work, but I'm in the service sector, and all but unemployed at the moment.

On point, how much attention did you pay to the 62,000 flu deaths a couple of years ago? I searched, couldn't find a single post of yours on the topic. So it would appear that I'm exactly as callous as you. People die. That sucks for them and their loved ones. We're not putting millions out of work and crippling the economy every flu season. We don't put Detroit or Baltimore in lockdown to keep people from shooting each other.

Zarathustra wrote:
Dismissing the dead is not only callous, it misses the point. As I've said over and over, overwhelming our health care system is the point of the social distancing. Managing the peak, flattening the curve. A breakdown of our healthcare system is a fundamental breakdown of our society, literally the most vital/necessary sector of our economy.
I'm familiar with this talking point, and don't disagree with it. However the goal could have been achieved by what I've suggested above, and the market would barely have blipped. Democrats and their media have used this as yet another way to take down the president. Able-bodied people are idling at home because of unfounded fear fomented my the media.

Zarathustra wrote:
An economy is built on confidence and a certain amount of willingness to take a risk. But we have to have a foundation for that confidence, and at the bottom of it all is the health care system. We bank on the fact that if we have a life-threatening illness or accident, we will be ok because we have first world, 21st century medicine, to get us back to work. My job, for instance, takes me into daily contact with the public. Once the hospitals fill up, I'm not going to work anymore. I have enough savings to sit this out, so why should I risk it for a paycheck? I'm damn well not going to suffocate on my own shredded lungs at home from some disease I could have avoided. I think that millions would do the same. THAT would kill our economy without any government intervention at all. THAT is when people will stop politely paying for groceries, and just go loot Krogers. Knowing that the system hasn't broken down yet is all that is keeping people calmly in their homes, instead of rioting in the streets.
You realize that it's hard to take your continued concern for lung damage seriously when you smoke (at least you used to). And, as I've mentioned, the only "study" claiming permanent lung damage was 12 people in Hong Kong. You know what they do a lot of in Hong Kong? Smoke. Worldwide the percentage of serious cases is 4%, and those 4% are having a rough go. Pneumonia is common, and like any pneumonia there can be lung damage. If you're no longer smoking and have no other underlying health issues, your chances of long-term damage are so close to zero as to not exist.

Please don't take the above as a personal knock, but I've seen more than my share of people removing a desperately-needed N95 mask to fire up a Marlboro, and I've about had it.

The curve can be flattened without the destruction of our way of life, temporary or otherwise. We're far more at risk from 30% unemployment.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obi, just to float a theory about the "line of work" references, I suspect that Z may have confused your profession with that of a former member who worked as a mortician.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obi-Wan Nihilo wrote:
On point, how much attention did you pay to the 62,000 flu deaths a couple of years ago? I searched, couldn't find a single post of yours on the topic. So it would appear that I'm exactly as callous as you. People die. That sucks for them and their loved ones. We're not putting millions out of work and crippling the economy every flu season. We don't put Detroit or Baltimore in lockdown to keep people from shooting each other.
Why oh why do people keep trotting out the winter flu paradigm and present it as if it has any relevance??? It's a classic logical error - one of false equivalency.

Are there similarities between winter flu and the current COVID-19 pandemic? Well duh, yes. Both are highly contagious respiratory viruses.

But that's as far as it goes. Sure, it is an audited fact that a bad winter flu epidemic can see the deaths of over 60,000 American citizens... BUT those deaths occur despite appropriate and sufficient healthcare resources being available, in place and applied. That is the crucial difference here and that's why claiming that winter flu is in any way a relevant paradigm is entirely fallacious.

Obi-Wan Nihilo wrote:
However the goal could have been achieved by what I've suggested above, and the market would barely have blipped.
I entirely disagree - as does the available data. Merely asking those with flu-like symptoms plus the old and infirm to self-isolate would categorically not achieve the goal of suppressing new infection rates sufficiently.

Applying these measures you've stated support for alone was actually modelled by the ICL study and the prediction was that it would a) reduce the eventual death rate by 50% and b) reduce the overloading of healthcare resources from a factor of 30 times overloaded to a mere ( Rolling Eyes ) 8 times overloaded.

More to the point, that's what Italy initially tried, before going fully draconian - and it did not go anywhere near sufficiently helping with the suppression of new infection rates and subsequent complete overloading of their healthcare resources. It's only now after more than two weeks of rigorously mandated social distancing that we're finally seeing their newly identified infection rates coming down to manageable single percentage figure daily increases. Their healthcare resources remain overwhelmed still and will be for a while (and thus projected mortality rates much higher than they needed to be) - but there are at least the first faint signs of a light at the end of the tunnel for Italy, courtesy of the tough social distancing measures it has imposed.

Figures from March 24th aren't quite final yet, but currently Italy's showing a rate of daily increase of newly identified COVID-19 cases of just 7.5% - that's three days running of under 10%.

Spain is at 17.7%, the UK at 17.9% and the US at 19.7% rates of newly identified case increase over the last 24 hours. I don't expect to see those numbers dropping to Italian levels for at least another couple of weeks or so, because rigorous measures were imposed that much later.

...by which time, the total number of US identified COVID-19 cases may well have reached over 400,000. And that's with draconian measures applied.

Yes, that's right. The maths may be surprising, but it's easy. I've presumed that the US can reduce its current new infection rate (starting at 20%, as per today's figures) by say 1% per day, with a total infected startpoint of 65,000, again as per today's figures. In just 15 days' time, even with this fast-reducing infection rate, there'd be over 400,000 US citizens identified as being infected.

Sure, you can argue that the measures taken are not on balance affordable and that's fine. But don't pretend that less draconian measures would achieve the same suppression of infection rates, because that's very demonstrably disproved by all the available data from all around the world.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WaPo suggests that hospitals should refuse to resuscitate coding patients.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mortality rates are a meaningless statistic in this scenario; until there is blanket or targeted testing on the population as a whole to establish the number of 'hidden' positives - ie those who have had or have the virus, but never appear on the radar because the symptoms are so mild that they never fall under the radar of the health services, or indeed never show symptoms at all - the percentages given are skewed beyond value. That services are overwhelmed by the numbers in need of emergency treatments, equipment for which is unavailable, is a visible reality and the one that Governments must respond in a proportionate manner to, and be called to account for at some future point.

Yesterday over two shifts in the store, four hours in the morning and four in the evening, I served around a hundred and fifty people; of the total, I could count the number of essential sales to perhaps half a dozen - a dozen at most. The rest were as I noted above, simply booze, scratch cards, tobacco, sweets and pop. Eighty percent plus paid in cash demanding physical contact (I washed my hands between every sale), a good sixty percent either did not see or ignored the notice asking them to maintain distance and the black and yellow distance boxes taped on to the floor around the till. This behaviour makes a mockery of the PM's request that people limit their outings to the shops to basic necessities only. The problem here is that we simply, unlike the Chinese, are not used to being told what to do by our Governments - and then doing it.

Still - at least in the UK there are not three hundred million guns out in the hands of the populace waiting for the moment that some trigger happy cop shoots a black man in order to touch a fire to the fuse-paper. How long, once the restrictions start to bite, will it be before significant numbers start to say to themselves "This is what the second amendment is all about; so that we can protect ourselves against just what is being done to us at this very point".
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well generally the type of people that would riot over cop brutality aren't the ones who are exactly gun enthusiasts with arsenals of their own.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obi-Wan Nihilo wrote:
Are you familiar with the Patriot Act? Tell me again how we get these rights back. Tried taking a bottle of water from your house onto a plane? How about those rights? We can look at countless examples from the last 20 years where the government has infringed on our rights and not restored them.
The Patriot Act was legislation. Nothing that has happened recently has the force of law. Laws do tend to be permanent. This isn't. I don't mean to sound sarcastic, but . . . a bottle of water? Seriously? I think I need more of those "countless examples" to be convinced.

Obi-Wan Nihilo wrote:
On point, how much attention did you pay to the 62,000 flu deaths a couple of years ago? I searched, couldn't find a single post of yours on the topic. So it would appear that I'm exactly as callous as you.
I never made any specific posts downplaying those deaths, no. That doesn't make me callous.

Obi-Wan Nihilo wrote:
You realize that it's hard to take your continued concern for lung damage seriously when you smoke (at least you used to).
I don't believe I've ever admitted to smoking, but yes, I did smoke a little in my 20s. I rolled my own, American Spirits. About a cigarette a day. It didn't last long. I haven't smoked in 15+ years. I have enjoyed pot, but vaped that (naturally, not the vape pens). That has also been many years ago. All of this is completely different from a respiratory disease. Also, I wasn't talking about permanent lung damage here, but dying from a respiratory disease.

Obi wrote:
The curve can be flattened without the destruction of our way of life, temporary or otherwise.
I'm not sure. Are you?

Quote:
We're far more at risk from 30% unemployment.
I think that could come either way.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are effectively under house arrest. All of us. Whole nation's. When people start to buck against this (and they will) it will be interesting to see how our Governments respond. And it will give us a true indication of just how much power our administrations have over us, how benevolent or otherwise they really are and just how far they are prepared to go to retain hold over their subjects. It used to be said that Governments should be afraid of the people, not people afraid of their Governments. It is only when we see the answers to the above questions that we will begin to be able to put a true cost on what is happening here.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Mortality rates are a meaningless statistic in this scenario; until there is blanket or targeted testing on the population as a whole to establish the number of 'hidden' positives - ie those who have had or have the virus, but never appear on the radar because the symptoms are so mild that they never fall under the radar of the health services, or indeed never show symptoms at all - the percentages given are skewed beyond value.
Completely correct, Pete. Mortality rates are currently almost entirely worthless as a percentile stat.

peter wrote:
That services are overwhelmed by the numbers in need of emergency treatments, equipment for which is unavailable, is a visible reality and the one that Governments must respond in a proportionate manner to, and be called to account for at some future point.
Also bang on the money - it is indeed a visible reality, either an extant one as in Italy, or one that can be seen fast-approaching.

I've just taken a look at yesterday's final audited newly identified infection rate stats - and the numbers (the US ones particularly) have altered since my post of late last night (even despite this having been made only 30 minutes before midnight GMT, which is when the stats reset).

Anyhow, here's the latest percentile rate of increases in identified COVID-19 cases as of yesterday. I will as always remind everyone that these are being measured everywhere with slightly skewed rulers... but the same slightly skewed ruler is being used every day, which thus gives these stats a not inconsiderable level of relevance.

US - 24.3% increase of identified cases in the last 24 hours. That's 13.4k new cases for a total of 68.2k cases overall.

UK - 18.0% increase of identified cases in the last 24 hours. That's 1.5k new cases for a total of 9.5k cases overall.

Spain - 17.7% increase of identified cases in the last 24 hours. That's 7.5k new cases for a total of 49.5k cases overall.

Italy - 7.5% increase of identified cases in the last 24 hours. That's 5.2k new cases for a total of 74.4k cases overall.

What needs to be realised is the inertia - or lag - inherent in these numbers. Much like turning round an oil tanker, the length of time it takes for any imposed measures to show an effect is considerable, running into periods of a couple of weeks or more.

All the rate of increase numbers I list above are showing signs of slowly reducing - and there can be no doubt that this is pretty much solely down to imposed social distancing. , but given the lag I mentioned above, newly identified cases (and attendant deaths, themselves accelerated by the current unforeseeable strains currently being put on healthcare services) are set to carry on climbing very steeply for some time to come.

I'm still "finger in the air" estimating that the US will easily see well in excess of 400k identified COVID-19 cases before its rate of daily increase flattens off. And that's with draconian measures continuing to be imposed.
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