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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Reusable Grocery Bags Can Sustain COVID-19 and Flu Viruses

Reusable Grocery Bags Can Sustain COVID-19 and Flu Viruses

Greening Our Way to Infection

The ban on single-use plastic grocery bags is unsanitary—and it comes at the worst imaginable time.

The COVID-19 outbreak is giving new meaning to those “sustainable” shopping bags that politicians and environmentalists have been so eager to impose on the public. These reusable tote bags can sustain the COVID-19 and flu viruses—and spread the viruses throughout the store.

Researchers have been warning for years about the risks of these bags spreading deadly viral and bacterial diseases, but public officials have ignored their concerns, determined to eliminate single-use bags and other plastic products despite their obvious advantages in reducing the spread of pathogens. In New York State, a new law took effect this month banning single-use plastic bags in most retail businesses, and this week Democratic state legislators advanced a bill that would force coffee shops to accept consumers’ reusable cups—a practice that Starbucks and other chains have wisely suspended to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus.

John Flanagan, the Republican leader of the New York State Senate, has criticized the new legislation and called for a suspension of the law banning plastic bags. “Senate Democrats’ desperate need to be green is unclean during the coronavirus outbreak,” he said Tuesday, but so far he’s been a lonely voice among public officials.

The COVID-19 virus is just one of many pathogens that shoppers can spread unless they wash the bags regularly, which few people bother to do. Viruses and bacteria can survive in the tote bags up to nine days, according to one study of coronaviruses.

The risk of spreading viruses was clearly demonstrated in a 2018 study published in the Journal of Environmental Health. The researchers, led by Ryan Sinclair of the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, sent shoppers into three California grocery stores carrying polypropylene plastic tote bags that had been sprayed with a harmless surrogate of a virus.

After the shoppers bought groceries and checked out, the researchers found sufficiently high traces of the surrogate to risk transmission on the hands of the shoppers and checkout clerks, as well as on many surfaces touched by the shoppers, including packaged food, unpackaged produce, shopping carts, checkout counters, and the touch screens used to pay for groceries. The researchers said that the results warranted the adaptation of “in-store hand hygiene” and “surface disinfection” by merchants, and they also recommended educating shoppers to wash their bags.

An earlier study of supermarkets in Arizona and California found large numbers of bacteria in almost all the reusable bags—and no contamination in any of the new single-use plastic bags. When a bag with meat juice on the interior was stored in the trunk of a car, within two hours the number of bacteria multiplied tenfold.

The researchers also found that the vast majority of shoppers never followed the advice to wash their bags. One of the researchers, Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, said that the findings “suggest a serious threat to public health,” particularly from fecal coliform bacteria, which was found in half the bags. These bacteria and other pathogens can be transferred from raw meat in the bag and also from other sources. An outbreak of viral gastroenteritis among a girls’ soccer team in Oregon was traced to a resuable grocery bag that had sat on the floor of a hotel bathroom.

In a 2012 study, researchers analyzed the effects of San Francisco’s ban on single-use plastic grocery bags by comparing emergency-room admissions in the city against those of nearby counties without the bag ban. The researchers, Jonathan Klick of the University of Pennsylvania and Joshua Wright of George Mason University, reported a 25 percent increase in bacteria-related illnesses and deaths in San Francisco relative to the other counties. The city’s Department of Public Health disputed the findings and methodology but acknowledged that “the idea that widespread use of reusable bags may cause gastrointenstinal infections if they are not regularly cleaned is plausible.”

New York’s state officials were told of this risk before they passed the law banning plastic bags. In fact, as the Kings County Politics website reported, a Brooklyn activist, Allen Moses, warned that shoppers in New York City could be particularly vulnerable because they often rest their bags on the floors of subway cars containing potentially deadly bacteria from rats—and then set the bag on the supermarket checkout counter. Yet public officials remain committed to reusable bags.

A headline on the website of the New York Department of Health calls reusable grocery bags a “Smart Choice”—bizarre advice, considering all the elaborate cautions underneath that headline. The department advises grocery shoppers to segregate different foods in different bags; to package meat and fish and poultry in small disposable plastic bags inside their tote bags; to wash and dry their tote bags carefully; to store the tote bags in a cool, dry place; and never to reuse the grocery tote bags for anything but food.

How could that possibly be a “smart choice” for public health? Anyone who has studied consumer behavior knows that it’s hopelessly unrealistic to expect people to follow all those steps. If the Department of Health actually prioritized public health, it would acknowledge what food manufacturers and grocers have known for decades: disposable plastic is the cheapest, simplest, and safest way to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Instead, leaders in New York and other states are ordering shoppers to make a more expensive, inconvenient, and risky choice—all to serve a green agenda that’s actually harmful to the environment. The ban on plastic bags will mean more trash in landfills (because paper bags take up so much more space than the thin disposable bags) and more greenhouse emissions (because of the larger carbon footprints of the replacement bags). And now, probably, it will also mean more people coming down with COVID-19 and other illnesses.

When virtue signalling is literally deadly (besides being useless)

Links - 21st March 2020 (Amazon Rainforest)

Emmanuel Macron’s fake news about the rainforest - "nothing in the president’s melodramatic statement was true. The Amazon rainforest is not ‘our house’, literally or figuratively... There have been many fires in the region recently, but most of the fires are on farmland or already cleared areas... By no stretch of the imagination are the fires an ‘international crisis’.Even the photo in Macron’s tweet turned out to have nothing to do with the recent blaze – it was taken by a photographer who died in 2003. Yet the president’s emotional, irrational and baseless claims ignited a wave of hysterical headlines and commentary around the world. If these words had been tweeted by President Trump, perhaps news editors would have commissioned fact-checkers to scrutinise each detail, and his departure from fact would have led the news reports. Instead, Macron’s false claims were repeated in news items for days afterwards as scientific fact. The BBC, CNN, Sky News and many others have run with the notion of the burning Amazon as a portent of doom – apparently uncontaminated by reason, proportion or historical perspective. It is hard not to conclude that alignment to a political agenda, not science, orients broadcasters’ coverage of events.And it isn’t just the news media, either. Many of those in the world of science also seem increasingly aligned not to objectivity, but to a political agenda... This wasn’t really about the rainforest – it was about politics. Which is why attention soon turned from Macron’s fictions to Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro. Last October, Bolsonaro won comfortable majorities in both rounds of the country’s presidential elections. But he has quickly become a bête noire of various Western leaders and commentators. This is reflected in much of the discussion and coverage of the fires... Brazilian-born Professor Alexandre Antonelli, director of science at Kew Gardens, joined calls for economic sanctions to be imposed on Brazil, on the basis of claims that Bolsonaro, who is sceptical of environmental NGOs and the broader green agenda, had encouraged the fires.Others have gone further. Before the outbreak of the fires, Stephen M Walt opined in Foreign Policy that ‘Brazil happens to be in possession of a critical global resource… and its destruction would harm many states if not the entire planet’.On this basis, Walt imagined not only economic sanctions, but also military intervention... Macron’s posturing isn’t about the Amazon, then. Rather, it is reflective of an international set shaken by Brexit, Trump and populists across Europe. Bolsonaro is the latest recalcitrant upstart challenging its authority... Agree with his politics or not, Bolsonaro’s democratic mandate seems to have been built in part on facing down the ‘international community’. And that ‘international community’ has increasingly defined itself in relation to the climate issue"

does the amazon provide 20% of our oxygen? - "the phytoplankton in the oceans also photosynthesise, generating around 240 Pg of oxygen per year. So total global photosynthesis (land and sea) produces about 570 Pg of oxygen per year. Therefore in terms of TOTAL global photosynthesis, photosynthesis in the Amazon contributes around 9%. This is smaller, but still substantial.Second, a bigger point that is often missed is that the Amazon consumes about as much oxygen as it produces. This is shown in the diagram below. Plants produce oxygen through photosynthesis (green arrow). However, the the same plants consume the equivalent of over half the oxygen they produce in their own respiration (blue arrows: my own team's research suggests this is more like 60%). Plants metabolise just as animals do, just at a slower rate, and at night when there is no photosynthesis forests are net absorbers of oxygen. The remaining 40% of the Amazon oxygen budget is consumed mainly by microbes breaking down the dead leaves and wood of the rainforest, a natural process called heterotrophic respiration (dark blue arrows).These process of plant and heterotrophic respiration are effectively the reverse of the photosynthesis equation above.So, in all practical terms, the net contribution of the Amazon ECOSYSTEM (not just the plants alone) to the world's oxygen is effectively zero. The same is pretty much true of any ecosystem on Earth, at least on the timescales that are relevant to humans (less than millions of years). The oxygen levels in the atmosphere are set on million year timescales by the subtle balance of geological, chemical and biological processes. They are not set by the short term (short term equals anything less than hundreds of thousands of years) activities or existence of current biomes. "

Don’t Panic: Amazon Burning Is Mostly Farms, Not Forests - ""A picture is worth a thousand words" is one of the dumbest aphorisms ever coined. Speaking as a former television producer, I'd say a picture takes a thousand words to explain. Take this much-circulated NASA satellite photo showing vast smoke plumes over the Amazon region... Interestingly, when NASA released the satellite image on August 21, it noted that "it is not unusual to see fires in Brazil at this time of year due to high temperatures and low humidity. Time will tell if this year is a record breaking or just within normal limits."So why are there so many fires? "Natural fires in the Amazon are rare, and the majority of these fires were set by farmers preparing Amazon-adjacent farmland for next year's crops and pasture," soberly explains The New York Times. "Much of the land that is burning was not old-growth rain forest, but land that had already been cleared of trees and set for agricultural use."It is routine for farmers and ranchers in tropical areas burn their fields to control pests and weeds and to encourage new growth in pastures.What about deforestation trends?  Since the right-wing nationalist Jair Bolsonaro became Brazil's president, rainforest deforestation rates have increased a bit, but they are still way below their earlier highs"

What everyone gets wrong about the Amazon - "there has been a huge decline in deforestation since its peak in the early 2000s. Deforestation is still 75 to 80 per cent lower than at this peak. Deforestation has been going up in recent years, but that rise didn’t start under the current Brazilian government. Clearly, much of the response from the Western media is a reaction to Bolsonaro – it’s not just about what’s happening on the ground... from the 1950s and 1960s onwards, conservationists realised that they could get a lot more media attention by telling people that environmental problems weren’t just problems that people should care about because they love the environment. Instead, they started to say that these were really problems that threatened an apocalypse or the end of the world. They have been doing this with basically every environmental problem. It’s manipulative. It’s a sad commentary on the cynicism of many environmentalists and environmental scientists, who think that they can’t get people to care about nature and that we only care about ourselves... Thirty million people live in the Amazon. But whenever the Western media and environmentalists point to the people living in the Amazon, they only ever point to the indigenous people. But the indigenous people are just one million out of 30million... you get more media attention through alarmism, and media attention is important to sustain and raise money for organisations... It’s also very noticeable to me that the people that engage in environmental alarmism tend to be secular and on the left. If you’re on the political right, in much of the Western world, you tend to have a traditional religion, with your own gods and your own view of the apocalypse. You don’t need a political ideology to fulfil that. After the fall of communism and the failure of Marxism more broadly, the left needed a new apocalyptic religion and that has become environmentalism... There is an effort to represent European economic interests over Brazilian interests. I think one of the most interesting things I discovered during my reporting on the Amazon is that Macron’s own farmers are offering a lot of resistance to the trade deal between the EU and Brazil, as it involves importing a lot of Brazilian food. That makes sense when you think about it. So Macron seems to be doing something that might allow him to not engage in this free-trade deal with Brazil... when somebody is talking about how to ‘make the world a better place’, it’s worth asking yourself whether they are really advocating for a kind of control, if they are making a power move or if there is an agenda being dressed up as altruism"
Secular religion as filling the role of traditional religion

Andrei Biro - "How can I bet against the Amazon having any significant effect, especially compared to the scaremongering that’s going on!? What!?! In 1963 there was a fire in Brazil affecting 20 times the square kms this current cataclysm is turning to ash? No way. And we’re still alive. 🤪🤪🤪 shieeet
Hmm, could it all be overblown? Noooo, we’re all gonna die 🤪🤪🤪🤼‍♂️🤼‍♂️"

Why Everything They Say About The Amazon, Including That It's The 'Lungs Of The World,' Is Wrong - "What about The New York Times claim that “If enough rain forest is lost and can’t be restored, the area will become savanna, which doesn’t store as much carbon, meaning a reduction in the planet’s ‘lung capacity’”?Also not true, said Nepstad, who was a lead author of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. “The Amazon produces a lot of oxygen, but so do soy farms and [cattle] pastures.”... CNN ran a long segment with the banner, “Fires Burning at Record Rate in Amazon Forest” while a leading climate reporter claimed, “The current fires are without precedent in the past 20,000 years.” While the number of fires in 2019 is indeed 80% higher than in 2018, it’s just 7% higher than the average over the last 10 years ago... One of Brazil’s leading environmental journalists agrees that media coverage of the fires has been misleading. “It was under [Workers Party President] Lula and [Environment Secretary] Marina Silva (2003-2008) that Brazil had the highest incidence of burning,” Leonardo Coutinho told me over email. “But neither Lula nor Marina was accused of putting the Amazon at risk.”... Against the picture painted of an Amazon forest on the verge of disappearing, a full 80% remains standing. Half of the Amazon is protected against deforestation under federal law"

With this post I have decided to create a new blog tag, "environment", for the first time in a while

Unfortunately, going back to tag old posts is not going to be easy

Friday, March 20, 2020

Links - 20th March 2020 (2)

Chia Suat Huang - "Watching budgeting videos on YouTube.These people have USD30k to USD80k debt - credit cards, personal loans, student loans - and they are planning their budgets using USD40 Erin Condren notebooks and buying stickers, washi, pens and highlighters to decorate their budgets.🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️SERIOUSLY?!"
And then they bitch about how capitalism is broken and the working class is being screwed

Americans confused as Filipino boyband tweets ‘Hello Negros’. Negros is an island in The Philippines. - "SB19 is the first Filipino idol group to debut under a Korean entertainment company... Negros is a province in The Philippines...
"Hello, Negros!"...
"its a little entitled to hear a westerner demand an asian boy band group to cater to YOUR cultural context."
"We don’t have to censor our language and places in our country just so you don’t get to be offended. Maybe educate yourself too."
"It's becoming too tiring nowadays that most of english speaking people expect us non-english people to cater and adjust to them. Why don't they take a look outside of their side of the world for a change.---"
Ignorance and offence culture strike again

SPANISH DINNER ENTERTAINMENT HARKS BACK TO MEDIEVAL TIMES - "The first two Medieval Times-styled shows were developed in Majorca and Benidorm, Spain, about 25 years ago, by Jose Montaner, who converted his farm into a barbecue restaurant catering to ever-increasing numbers of European tourists to Majorca.But when another barbecue opened on the island in the late 1960s, Montaner had to think up another angle to stay competitive. That`s when he decided to develop a medieval-themed, indoor-theater show, an idea he`d gotten from hearing his English patrons talk about their country`s popular medieval fairs. Montaner, who is the uncle of the Count of Perelada, based the show on his family`s own 11th Century traditions, when knights of Aragon, Navarre, Perelada and other kingdoms in northern Spain and southern France competed in jousting matches and tournament games. He relied on both family histories and classics for research, and Tino Brana, choreographer for the movie epic El Cid, also assisted with the show.  In 1983, the Spaniards took on the North American market with the construction of their first U.S. castle, a $3.8 million Medieval Times in Kissimmee, Fla., 15 minutes east of Walt Disney World"

“Hail Satan?” Tracks the Satanic Temple’s Strategic Trolling for Justice
For all liberals go on about "trolls", they approve of trolls who they agree with (see also: Flying Spaghetti Monster)

People Astounded To Learn How A Bot Is Stealing Everyone’s Art On Twitter, Decide To Trick It Into Getting A Lawsuit - "Twitter users have figured out how to troll art thieves, and it’s turned into a hilarious meme for a good cause. Artists on social media have long faced the problem of bootleg merch sites reprinting their work. A print-on-demand site snapping up a design that you spent days or weeks creating so they can have it automatically printed by order on t-shirts, mugs, stickers, and hats is instantaneous, and once your design is on this network of sites, it takes a legal game of whack-a-mole to get it removed. Recently, people on Twitter began to notice just how instantaneous and automatic it is. As a matter of fact, bots are doing it indiscriminately, observed Rob Schamberger, who paints official merch for WWE. When people reply to a tweet saying they want a design on a shirt, bots zero in on those keywords, and the image in the original tweet gets uploaded on print-on-demand sites... to turn this from an embarrassment into a disaster for sellers that thrive on art theft, Twitter users decided to bring in the big guns. Drawings of copyrighted characters, often behaving badly and urging their owner companies to take legal action (“pwease sue us daddy disney,”) proliferated. Other popular themes include support of Hong Kong’s protests against meddling by the Chinese government, and calls to look into China’s imprisonment of Uighur people in detention camps, all statements that could get print-on-demand sites based in China into legal hot water."

Shopify CEO says long hours aren't necessary for success - "Tobi Lutke, the founder and CEO of $48 billion e-commerce cloud-software company Shopify, has a message for you this holiday: You don't need to work 80 hours a week to be successful.And he's living proof, he explained in a Twitter thread on Thursday, the day after Christmas — in response to a debate over work-life balance and the 40-hour workweek sweeping the venture-capital and startup community on Twitter... he and his cofounders have grown this company from a profitable bootstrap to its multibillion-dollar status without him ever sleeping under his desk."I've never worked through a night. The only times I worked more than 40 hours in a week was when I had the burning desire to do so. I need 8ish hours of sleep a night. Same with everybody else, whether we admit it or not"... Shopify has had a spectacular few years... "I'm home at 5:30pm every evening. I don't travel on the weekend. I play video games alone, with my friends, and increasingly with my kids. My job is incredible, but it's also just a job. Family and personal health rank higher in my priority list"... He believes one reason Shopify grew without giving up work-life balance is that it's based in Ottawa, Canada, far from Silicon Valley and its worship of workaholism... His philosophy is: "For creative work, you can't cheat. My belief is that there are five creative hours in everyone's day. All I ask of people at Shopify is that four of those are channeled into the company"... Instead of looking for the so-called "10x engineer" or the "rockstar" engineer — who are sometimes also known as brilliant jerks — he hires for people who can make great teams... In 2014, Stanford professor John Pencave published a now famous paper in which he described a productivity cliff when people work over 50 hours a week.Erin Reid, a professor at Boston University's Questrom School of Business, also published a study that said that managers could not differentiate between those who logged a true 80 hours a week and those who faked it."

Breitbart gets to keep using Shopify to sell its merchandise - "Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke said the Canadian e-commerce company won’t bow to pressure to kick the far-right Breitbart News site off its platform.He wrote in a Medium post Wednesday that he believes refusing to do business with the site would constitute a violation of free speech."

Political Compass Memes - Posts - "Authoritarian Left: bye men
Authoritarian Right: by men
Libertarian Left: bi men
Libertarian Right: buy men"

MAKE WOMEN WOMEN AGAIN - Posts - "men in commercials: Buff Mickey Mouse lifting weights
men in commercials if he has a wife: brainlet Wojak Mickey"
"Women’s amazing effect on men"

Russia's new £3million tank is the first in the world to have a flushable toilet on-board - "The three-man T-14 Armata has been promoted by the Kremlin as the most sophisticated armoured vehicle produced and will bring an end to operators having to relieve themselves in ammunition boxes that have been nicknamed by some soldiers, 'Putin's Poo Tins.' Soldiers can be on duty for days without stopping"

Race row after leading private schools turn down donor's £1m offer to help poor white boys - "Two leading private schools are at the centre of a race row after a philanthropist claimed they rejected scholarships of more than £1m for poor white boys.Dulwich College and Winchester College turned down Professor Sir Bryan Thwaites' offer to leave the funds in his will because they feared breaching anti-discrimination laws... Sir Byran, 96, attended both schools on scholarships and wanted to help disadvantaged white British boys because they perform worse at school than nearly every other ethnic group.Recent studies show they are less likely to attend university than their peers and they perform relatively poorly in exams.The row comes after the rap star Stormzy created Cambridge University scholarships to aid black British students exclusively. Sir Bryan said: "If Cambridge University can accept a much larger donation in support of black students, why cannot I do the same for underprivileged white British?"In my opinion [Winchester] would gain enormously by being seen to address what is the severe national problem of the underperforming white cohort in schools."Trevor Phillips, former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, described poor white boys as "today's educational left-behinds".Writing in the online magazine Standpoint, he added: "I've been asked to advise on whether it is acceptable to offer bursaries or scholarships to one minority group or another."Invariably, I have said yes; but donors remain nervous, and beneficiary institutions are routinely discouraged by their lawyers.""
White privilege!

State schools welcome £1.2m donation to help poor white boys after rejection from elite schools - "State school headteachers have said they would welcome a £1.2m donation – which two elite private schools rejected – to help disadvantaged white British pupils... A number of studies have shown white British children on free school meals struggle academically compared with those from other ethnic groups – which is why Sir Bryan made the specific offer... Leon Wilson, executive principal of state schools Hurlingham Academy and Lambeth Academy in London, told The Times: “You have lots of philanthropists who give away money for different ethnic groups such as black Caribbean boys. I can’t see why it should be a problem for white boys.“It is clear for everybody to see that white working-class boys are not doing well in every index: exclusion, attainment, they are lagging behind.”"

Why so many young women don't call themselves feminist - "Fewer than one in five young women would call themselves a feminist, polling in the UK and US suggests... A 2018 YouGov poll found that 34% of women in the UK said "yes" when asked whether they were a feminist, up from 27% in 2013.It's a similar picture in Europe, with fewer than half of men and women polled in five countries agreeing they were a feminist. This ranged from 8% of respondents in Germany, to 40% in Sweden.However, people do not appear to reject the term feminism because they are against gender equality or believe it has been achieved.The same study found that eight out of 10 people said men and women should be treated equally in every way, with many agreeing sexism is still an issue... The term feminist is less likely to appeal to working-class women, polls suggest. Almost one in three people from the top social grade ABC1 - those in managerial, administrative and professional occupations - called themselves a feminist in a 2018 poll. This compared with one in five from grades C2DE, which include manual workers, state pensioners, casual workers, and the unemployed.  But those from lower income backgrounds are just as likely to support equal rights... Research into the views of US millennials found 12% of Hispanic women, 21% of African American women, 23% of Asian women and 26% of white women identify as a feminist.
Hearteningly, in so many countries - even in feminist Sweden - most normal people reject this hateful ideology. Unfortunately the article doesn't explore this, just claiming there're misconceptions about feminism. But the media love feminism, so
US Asians having similar progressive views to whites (unlike other racial minorities) is indeed a form of "whiteness"

Why Movie Posters All Look the Same - "Blue and orange are a powerful combination because unlike other color pairings — red and green, pink and blue — they don’t conjure cultural associations that are already set in stone. They sit on opposite sides of the color wheel, evoking the two poles of hot and cold and explosive action. And don’t Hollywood ad makers know it.
Hollywood sends us another signal when it wants us to think “comedy.” In this compilation, French film scholar Christophe Curtois highlights the trend of a white background, which sets a light, friendly, and understated scene. Like a blank canvas, it leads our eye to the actors. We feel like we’ve seen the star couple leaning back to back before — because we have.
Are our movie posters getting darker? In 2012, software engineer Vijay Pandurangan proposed a theory posters have become both more dark and more blue over time. Using color data from 35,000 movie posters created from 1914 until now, his final image below shows that’s he’s right... Blue is the hue, and the proof is in the poster. One explanation for the posters’ shifting hues is that they reflect differences in the genres making waves at the box office. The popularity of action, thrillers, and sci-fi of the past decade may have led to a darker and more “masculine” palette.Some film theorists speculate that 9/11 and the economic downturn have led the public to crave grittier stories, since a sugarcoated world no longer feels real to them.  Compare the ’90s-era Batman and Bond movies — full of camp and comedy — to their gritty modern counterparts and you’ll see a distinct difference in style.Studios also want to quell fears that big-budget franchises like Spider-Man and Harry Potter might not appeal to an older audience. A dark color scheme lends an air of intensity and importance that can help hook that audience. However, this strategy isn’t working for everyone. It recently led Rolling Stone to lament, “Cheer Up, Guys: Why Are Our Action Heroes So Depressed?
If you need a little light after all that darkness, here’s a sunnier formula used for independent movies: the all-yellow poster"

On Following "True" Islam

B: Since alcohol is not permissible for practicing Muslims, some Malaysians have begun selling hand sanitizers made out of ethanol as an alternative.


Malaysians are selling 'halal' hand sanitizers that are 'alcohol free' - Culture

A (Muslim): In Islam, Alcohol is only haram to be consumed, not haram to be used as a medication.

Me: Doesn't stop alcohol free perfume etc being popular in Muslim countries

A: back to basic premise that alcohol is haram to be consumed only.

Me: Some Muslims want halal toilets, so...

A: oh pray do update what’s a halal toilet? Using water instead of toilet paper?

Me: "People ask for a halal toilet bowl because it comes into contact with humans" Rising trend of halal labelling generates concern, SE Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

I'm guessing a halal toilet is one non-Muslims don't use

Highway operator blames errant contractor for ‘Muslim toilet’ sign | Malaysia | Malay Mail

A: if by halal means non usage by non muslims, then nothing is in Sg? My only reference on Islamic knowledge and understanding of halal and haram is the Quran and the prophet’s tradition , not what so-called muslims or non muslims say and refer.

Me: That isn't objective either. Because even if interpretation is 100% undisputed, not everyone subscribes to the same hadiths and sunnahs

Anyway even if you have a platonic ideal of Islam it doesn't mean everyone else shares it

A: so your article mentions the sign was placed by an errant contractor and the authorities have removed it. This means this is (a) a mistake (b) a prank (c) a sabotage

Islam means being submissive to Allah’s directives and commands as spelled out in the Quran and as practised by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Other versions and other practices aren’t not even relevant

and a non muslim is better able and more knowledgeable at this matter of interpretation ? Lol

Me: I see you're ignoring the previous article

And you ignore d) zealousness

I'm sure you think your version of Islam is the correct one. But there're 4 major schools of Sunni Islam - not to mention the Shiites. So have fun arguing over who is right and who is wrong

A: yup . Have fun trying to convince a Muslim what to believe about Islam, if what you’re reading are only the media and Google. Go read the Quran , learn the traditions of the prophet and then you’ll know what’s right and what’s not in Islam

C (Muslim): actually quite impress on your knowledge haha. And you are absolutely right

Links - 20th March 2020 (1) (Coronavirus)

Did China fuel Wuhan coronavirus spread with information crackdown? - "In early January, the Wuhan police said they had arrested eight people accused of spreading "rumors" about what was then a mysterious pneumonia causing serious complications in patients.When the coronavirus made national headlines, more and more journalists began to describe being detained or threatened with arrest by Chinese authorities while reporting on the outbreak. The Wuhan outbreak immediately harked back to the SARS epidemic in the early 2000s, which the Chinese government tried to cover up... The Hong Kong news outlet TVB reported on January 14 that a group of journalists, including one of its reporters, were detained for hours while covering the outbreak at a Wuhan hospital that has been treating patients... TVB said its reporter was "then taken to the police room in the hospital for questioning, and asked to delete the materials shot in the hospital."... In the early days of the outbreak, officials downplayed the seriousness of the virus, saying it was controlled... officials initially said the virus came from animals and could not be spread among humans, something that later proved to be incorrect... While the official order is that anyone who hides infections will be "forever nailed to history's pillar of shame," the actions taken by the government so far are telling a different story. "The authorities are sending a signal, which is that only the government agencies can talk about the epidemic," Yu Ping, a former Southern Metropolis Daily reporter, wrote on his personal blog, according to The New York Times. "All other people should just shut up."... "Why is the government scared of public discussion?" one Weibo user wrote, according to Time. "They are slow to handle the crisis, but fast to shut people up.""

A Chinese Citizen Journalist Covering Coronavirus Just Live-Streamed His Own Arrest - "Li Zehua is a former employee of state-run television station CCTV who quit and went rogue earlier this month to report on the situation in Wuhan, and has posted videos from crematoriums, virology labs, and funeral homes inside the lockdown zone.  Li is the third citizen journalist to be detained by authorities in Wuhan in recent weeks and was live streaming on YouTube from his apartment in the city when unnamed officials arrived at his door and stopped the recording.Li was also secretly streaming the scene to a friend via Skype, and that footage, which was subsequently uploaded to YouTube, shows the people searching through Li’s flat before that video too goes dark... Li was taken away by unidentified officers and has not been heard from since Wednesday. He added that Li knew he was being followed but said no one knows who took him, where he was being held — or why... “But why did I resign from CCTV? The reason is that I hope more young people, more people like me, can stand up,” Li said in his final video.Li was also inspired by the work of other citizen journalists, such as Chen Quishi and Fang Bin, both of whom were detained over two weeks ago and have not been heard from since... He begins by saying he admires the people who have tracked him down:
“I admire the diverse methods you employed under the light of day to track down my position so accurately. The way too that you managed to pressure my friends to come over”... Li says that throughout his time in Wuhan he abided by all the rules in relation to wearing protective gear and never broke the law."

Letter From China: The Worst Chinese New Year Ever - "Such is the depth of the paranoia that has gripped the nation. It is fed by a constant drip of ‘news’ from social media. Pictures of an empty Wuhan. Selfies in overcrowded hospitals. Masked police officers guarding ominous buildings cordoned off by tape. In the absence of reliable, first-hand journalism from Wuhan, all that anyone has are bits and pieces shot on smartphones. One viral image shows a man stuffed into a white box as he leaves the airport... Yet another, soon to go viral, shows a sign which reads: ‘Visiting relatives is harming them, reunion dinners are certain death’ No one can verify any of it, but they circulate without context or explanation, leaving netizens to draw their own conclusions and thus fanning the fear. However, there is no news quite so dire as the message conveyed in the Spring Festival Gala—the after-dinner state-sponsored CCTV variety show watched—and loathed—by almost everyone in China. In a last-minute segment addressing the nation, the hosts implore—implore—Wuhan citizens to stay put and to avoid leaving their home.“Our bodies might be apart, but our hearts are always with you,” cries one particularly mawkish host.So it’s true, we think, people are indeed fleeing the province. My cousin suggests tracking them—a la The Dark Knight—by their cellphones/WeChat accounts and detain them. My uncle mutters darkly that it must some kind of American plot... Shanghai resembles Switzerland: I’ve never seen the place so empty and so quiet. The narrow streets thronging with pedestrians have suddenly turned into wide boulevards. The train stations look like cathedrals without their usual crowds... For once, the stars are aligned. For once, the western media and China’s state-run media are in agreement about the cause of the crisis. The New York Times laments—rather predictably—about China’s lack of open-ness and the government’s secrecy. The Global Times—which has supplanted The People’s Daily as the central government’s leading mouthpiece—concurs. In a widely-read editorial, it blames the Wuhan government for its attitude of ‘nei ji wai song’ (internal panic, external harmony). This sounds like arcane gibberish, but it essentially faults the leadership in Wuhan for downplaying the epidemic publicly, whilst working feverishly behind the scenes to contain its spread.They should have raised the alarm sooner, instead of keeping it under wraps for fear of repercussions. In short, they should have done what the NYT columnists advised. The only difference is, the Chinese media has blamed Wuhan whilst NYT, Foreign Policy, and the usual suspects have blamed ‘China’... It is an open secret that China’s medical system is overtaxed. Even in Shanghai, the hospitals are often overcrowded, and one’s access to medical care is often dependent on connections, wealth, and privilege. The best hospitals—301 in Beijing, Huadong in Shanghai—are reserved for senior party officials. Unless you can pull some strings or make the right call, security will remove you from the A&E."
Apparently you can praise "China", but you can't criticise "China"

How China’s slow response aided coronavirus outbreak | Financial Times - "a Chinese reporter said this month that they were told by a medical professional that hospitals in the city were given a target of “zero infections” among staff, with hospital deans liable to be fired for failing to meet the target. As a result, medical staff were slow to report infections among nurses... “Until recently the government was saying [there were] no such infections. Does that mean the infection happened all at once?” said the Council of Foreign Relations’ Mr Huang of the medical staff cases.Part of the reason for the tightly controlled release of information was that Wuhan, a provincial capital, was hosting annual meetings of the top municipal and provincial officials from January 7 to 17... Since Sars, China has built a world-class network of disease control centres in all its big cities. Yet several cases were confirmed overseas in Thailand and Japan before infections were reported in Chinese cities other than Wuhan."

China’s credibility on the line as it tries to dispels fears it will cover up spread of Wuhan virus - "Peter Cordingley, who was the spokesman for World Health Organisation during the Sars crisis, was one of those who raised the alarm on social media on Tuesday accusing Beijing of “lying about the spread of the Wuhan flu virus from the start”.“I say this because I was the WHO spokesman in Asia at the time of the 2003 Sars outbreak, and I’m seeing precisely the same reckless behaviour now”... Hu Xijin, editor of Global Times, a tabloid affiliate of People’s Daily, criticised the Wuhan municipal government for its sluggish response to the crisis.Hu even questioned if the Wuhan authorities would have been willing to take the responsibility for confirming the probable human-to-human transmission of the virus had it not been revealed by Zhong Nanshan, one of China’s leading experts on respiratory diseases, on Monday.Wu Qiang, a Beijing-based political analyst and former Tsinghua University professor, said Wuhan’s slow response may have been due to an ingrained culture among Communist Party cadres who were not prepared to act on their own. “All these campaigns that have been launched one after another since Xi Jinping came to power seven years ago have robbed cadres of the motivation to take the initiative and they have become accustomed to hiding behind the shadow of the strong man,” Wu said. He added that Beijing’s tight control over free speech and intellectuals has also created a stifled environment discouraging experts to speak out during a public health crisis."
I pointed a China shill to this article and he first (obviously not having read it) proclaimed that China hadn't covered this up. When I presented the quote from the WHO spokesman the China shill said he was biased. I then presented the quotes from the 2 China-based commentators further down, and he shut up

Don’t buy the media hype over the new China virus - "A CNN reporter broadcasts from Wuhan, China, on the recent viral outbreak. There is nobody near who could possibly infect him — unless the cameraman has Guinness Book of Records coughs and sneezes. So why does he insist on wearing a blue surgical mask while talking?It’s called “drama,” which is badly needed, because there appears to be nothing very special about this outbreak of the 2019-nCoV or Wuhan virus. It should actually be called the DvV, or Déjà vu Virus, because we have been through these hysterias before. Over and over. Heterosexual AIDS, Ebola repeatedly, the H1N1 swine flu that was actually vastly milder than the regular flu and, especially, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003.Once you start debunking mass hysteria over outbreaks, it gets easy, because the same patterns repeat themselves.The best remedy for all epidemic hysteria is perspective. How is this new outbreak different and thus potentially more dangerous from other diseases we have dealt with in the past or are dealing with now?Wuhan is repeatedly labeled “deadly” — but so is every other virus most people know about. But especially deadly? Nearly 600 cases have been confirmed with at least 17 reported deaths... What we can say for sure is that Wuhan will be a lot worse in China, simply because health care there is vastly inferior. It appears that, like flu, Wuhan usually kills through often treatable secondary infections. Well, treatable in the West. You’d be surprised at how many potentially deadly diseases (malaria, TB) Americans get that wreak havoc in much of the world but kill essentially none of us.  It also appears those most likely to die of Wuhan virus fit the same profile as flu fatalities: people over 65, those with compromised immune systems and those with serious pre-existing conditions... We are breathlessly told it’s spread from human to human. Again, most of the contagious diseases we think of are spread between humans, with some exceptions, such as rabies.  It’s inherently bad because it’s new, we’re told. So were swine flu and SARS.  Chinese health officials warned it could mutate further to either become more deadly or more contagious. Same was said about the aforementioned outbreaks. Actually, viruses usually mutate to become less deadly, to preserve the host body and hence themselves. Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, said local officials were apprehensive about taking sensible preventive measures without knowing what Xi and other top leaders wanted as they feared that any missteps would have serious political consequences.“Who would dare to take on this responsibility without knowing whatever action to be taken would enjoy Xi’s blessings? So, I can’t say I was surprised by the basically passive responses until Xi came out ordering a robust response”"
The only thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history
The fact that this keeps happening (and can be seen too in secular religions like environmentalism, climate change and diet) suggests that moral panics satisfy visceral human needs
The same China shill posted this article - but also one of Xi claiming that this was a serious threat. The first time I pointed out the contradiction, he didn't understand

Is the coronavirus outbreak as bad as SARS or the 2009 influenza pandemic? A biologist explains the clues - "As the new coronavirus continues to cross international borders, the two key questions on public health officials’ minds are: ‘How deadly is it?’ and ‘Can it be contained?’.The two outbreaks in recent memory that give the most insight into these questions are the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, which spread from China to 26 other countries but was contained after eight months, and the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, which originated in Mexico and spread globally despite all containment efforts. The severity and mortality of a novel emerging virus, which we scientists in this case are calling 2019-nCoV, are very difficult to judge when new data are coming in on a daily basis. During the 2009 influenza pandemic, the earliest reports listed 59 deaths from approximately 850 suspected cases, which suggested an extremely high case fatality of 7%.  However, the initially reported information of 850 cases was a gross underestimate. This was simply due to a much larger number of mild cases that did not report to any health system and were not counted. After several months – when pandemic data had been collected from many countries experiencing an epidemic wave – the 2009 influenza turned out to be much milder than was thought in the initial weeks. Its case fatality was lower than 0.1% and in line with other known human influenza viruses.The case fatality for SARS, during its eight months of circulation, was just under 10%. Is the current epidemic more similar in severity and transmissibility to the SARS outbreak or the 2009 flu pandemic? I am a professor of biology who studies the evolution and epidemiology of infectious disease, and in my view, in late January 2020, we do not yet have enough solid evidence to answer this question... As with the 2009 pandemic, initial reports from Wuhan described small numbers of both deaths and cases. On January 20, there were six deaths out of 282 confirmed cases. By January 28, there were 106 deaths from about 4,500 confirmed cases.These numbers taken alone suggest a case fatality rate of around 2%, very high for a respiratory virus. But the true number of infected individuals circulating in the population is not known and is likely to be much higher than 4,500. There may be 50,000 or 100,000 additional cases in Wuhan that have gone undetected, and, if this is the case, it would put the case fatality of 2019-nCoV infections in the range of 0.1% to 0.2%... Fortunately for human beings, a pathogen like 2019-nCoV cannot have its cake and eat it too. The virus cannot be both deadly and undetectable"

Wuhan coronavirus is causing unnecessary panic, some experts say - "Many patients with coronavirus have already made full recoveries. According to Chinese officials, most of those who've died were elderly or had other ailments that compromised their immune systems. Experts say that for the most part, global panic over the Wuhan coronavirus is unproductive and unwarranted... An expert also said fear would not stop the spread of the virus and could cause negative social impacts... Psychological research shows novel threats raise anxiety levels more than familiar threats and that people tend to underreact to familiar threats... Experts say a few factors should ease fears about the coronavirus: First, it was identified and determined to be a new virus more quickly than ever before. A week after it was discovered, Chinese authorities had already sequenced the virus and shared it with labs around the world... Second, a variety of advancements in medical technology since coronaviruses were discovered in the 1960s have allowed clinical labs and virologists to conduct more in-depth research into the way these zoonotic viruses work... people in the US were far more likely to catch the seasonal flu than the Wuhan coronavirus. The preventative measures for both are the same: handwashing, avoiding face touching, and steering clear of contact with anyone who's sick.Martinello hopes that the widespread worry about the coronavirus will lead to lower rates of seasonal flu this year as people take better precautions."

White House task force on coronavirus another example of Trump administration's lack of diversity - CNNPolitics
Not The Onion (but close enough).
It is better to die than not to be Diverse

Chinese sex workers in New Zealand shunned amid coronavirus fears - "Chinese sex workers in New Zealand are claiming to be Korean, Japanese, or simply “Asian” in their online advertisements as clients give them a wide berth amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak... despite slashing her rates of NZ$180 (US$116) by half, business had still fallen by more than 50 per cent in the last fortnight... She said it used to be common for sex workers to claim to be new arrivals as a way to attract would-be clients seeking “fresh girls”, but that now worked against them... Although there is no official data, Chinese sex workers are understood to be the highest number of foreign nationals working unlawfully in New Zealand’s sex industry.Under the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, only New Zealand citizens and residents can work in the sex industry.Last year, Immigration New Zealand compliance officers visited 57 brothels in cities across the country.A total of 66 migrant workers were identified, with 36 on visitor visas and two on student visas. All of the sex workers, except for one, were Chinese nationals."

The New Coronavirus: A Very 2020 Epidemic - The Atlantic - "“I’m not as worried by the disease as from people’s reactions to it,” she told me over Skype. “People are freaking out.”... Each new crisis follows a familiar playbook, as scientists, epidemiologists, health-care workers, and politicians race to characterize and contain the new threat. Each epidemic is also different, and each is a mirror that reflects the society it affects... The new crisis is very much the kind of epidemic we should expect, given the state of the world in 2020. “It’s almost as if the content is the same but the amplitude is different,” Bhadelia said. “There’s just a greater frenzy, and is that a function of the disease, or a function of the changed world? It’s unclear.”... SARS hit a world that was unaware of how far and fast a new virus could spread, and that was unprepared for such a threat. Many cases were likely never recorded because tests were slow to arrive and affected people weren’t sick enough to seek treatment. By stark contrast, the panic about the new coronavirus might lead to an uptick in known cases “because people are more conscious of it and are reporting their illness and seeking out testing,” says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University... The number of people traveling by plane every year has more than doubled since SARS first emerged, in 2003... Preliminary data that might once have run the gantlet of peer review before being published can now be downloaded by anyone, sparking misinterpretations and conspiracy theories... border screenings and travel bans have historically proved ineffective and inefficient at controlling diseases. If anything, they can make matters worse. “People will find a way to get where they want to go, but you lose the opportunity to provide them with information, and you drive them away from public health services”... Bans can also break the fragile bonds of international trust that are necessary for controlling diseases, which is why the WHO advised against them when it declared a PHEIC. If countries know that they’ll be cut off during an epidemic, with all the economic repercussions that entails, they may be less likely to report future outbreaks, leading to costly delays"

Coronavirus Triggers Hospital Building Boom In Wuhan, China - "China said it was going to build two hospitals in under two weeks... But the term "hospital" may not be exactly on point. "I wouldn't call it a hospital. I would call it more of a triage and isolation facility"

Tomaž Vargazon's answer to How can China build a 1,000 bed hospital in 10 days (BBC News) whereas in the UK it takes years? - Quora - "What China is doing is an emergency center to keep the patients alive and isolated from the rest of the community and staffing it with military personnel. It won’t have much in the way of diagnostic and it certainly won’t be able to do much more than what it’s designed to do. All developed countries could do about the same, the only difference is they wouldn’t call it “building a hospital” but “setting up an emergency response center”. Chinese response is appropriate for the situation but got beefed up by inevitable propaganda machine of the Party."

The coronavirus is Xi Jinping’s greatest challenge - The Washington Post - "It is far too early to predict the beginning of the end of Xi’s political career, but the epidemic clearly is shaking China and Xi’s way of governance to its core.Since the Chinese revolution of 1949, the central tension inside the country’s Communist Party has been between “reds” and “experts,” between ideology and know-how. This tension has real world significance. During the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957, as many as 650,000 Chinese intellectuals (or “experts”) were sent to China’s gulags because they were not sufficiently “red.” The Great Leap Forward marked the climax of red economic policies and resulted in death by starvation of some 30 million Chinese. The Cultural Revolution that took place between 1966 and 1976 saw millions more educated Chinese murdered by gangs loyal to party chairman Mao Zedong, the chief red of them all. After Mao died, Deng Xiaoping ended the Cultural Revolution and reappointed experts to many positions throughout China. Deng put China on the road toward economic modernization. There was an uneasy truce between reds and experts. Redness did raise its ugly head, such as on June 4, 1989, when Deng ordered the People’s Liberation Army to crush pro-democracy demonstrations throughout China, killing hundreds. Still, the general trend in China was to favor the experts. At one point during the 2000s, all seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the most powerful political body in the country, were engineers, a clear sign that, in China, the experts were in charge. In addition, throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, China’s government, specifically the State Council and the Office of the Premier, grew increasingly strong, taking more responsibility for critical issues such as the economy and reforms of state-owned enterprises. The Chinese Communist Party was still all-powerful, of course, but the government was strengthening, as well. Xi reversed those trends when he rose to power. He gutted the power of the government by expanding the number of “leading groups” within the party, which monopolized decision-making. It was no coincidence that he appointed himself chairman of most of those groups, including ones that oversaw economic reform, foreign affairs, internal security, innovation and technology... When Robert Zoellick, the then-president of the World Bank, asked Xi what his priorities were for China’s future development, Xi replied, “the 86.68 million members of the Communist Party.” In Xi’s mind, better red than expert. But the coronavirus has challenged the system Xi has built like nothing else has.Xi has been forced to bow to the experts. In a move unprecedented from a man who has sought, as the Chinese say, to become “chairman of everything,” last week, Xi appointed his formerly knee-capped premier Li Keqiang to head the leading group in charge of dealing with the virus. It was Li, not Xi, who went to the virus’s ground zero in Wuhan to supervise the campaign against it... China’s reds were less forthcoming with China’s people than its experts were with the WHO. Instead of fighting the virus, the apparatchiks who take their orders from Party leaders were obfuscating, suppressing news of the virus and threatening with prosecution those who tried to break the information logjam... “Politics first. Stability preservation first.” This is Xi’s system. And now all of China — and perhaps Xi himself — will have to deal with its consequences."
Of course, there're still people praising China for meritocracy and technocracy

Coronavirus: Cambodia refuses to evacuate citizens from China as ‘we need to share their happiness and pain’ - "Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has said the government will not evacuate nationals in China amid the coronavirus outbreak, so as not to “strain relations”.The decision to leave Cambodian citizens in China was described by the prime minister as “soft diplomacy”... Hun Sen also used the press conference to chastise reporters who wore masks to the event, threatening to remove them, and also criticised Cambodians for wanting to leave China... Cambodia’s Minister of Health, Mam Bun Heng, said on Wednesday that the virus could not spread in Cambodia because the “country is just too hot”."

You Can Now Go to Jail in China for Criticizing Beijing’s Coronavirus Response - "the government authorities issued an order for an article that looked at the possible negative impact of the outbreak on China’s economy to be scrubbed from the internet... police in the port city of Tianjin detained a man for 10 days for “maliciously publishing aggressive, insulting speech against medical personnel” after he criticized the response to the outbreak in a WeChat group he shared with his friends. China’s huge online censorship system, known as the Great Firewall, is also censoring any information the government deems to be “rumor.”Examples of this include posts by families of infected people seeking help, by people living in quarantined cities documenting their daily life, and by those criticizing the government’s handling of the crisis. In a bid to make sure people don’t even try and spread such “rumors” on Chinese social media, the government announced this week that anyone who tries to "disrupt social order" by posting on social media information from sources other than state-run media, will face between three and seven years in jail... In a bid to counteract any negative commentary about the government’s response to the outbreak, state-backed media outlets have been producing gushing reports about Beijing’s efforts to address the crisis... These efforts also include sharing fake images of the new hospital. The images, which actually show a modular apartment building more than 600 miles away in Qingdao, were posted by the verified Twitter accounts of the Global Times and the People’s Daily, both state-run publications, in an apparent bid to show the hospital construction as more advanced than it really was.The image was also shared by the Twitter account of Lijian Zhao, the deputy director-general of the information department in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs."
When China cordons off cities it's brave and stunning! When countries/airlines suspend flights to/from China they're racist and ignorant! Any news that makes China look bad is fake news and biased and untrustworthy. But anything that makes them look good is reliable and heartwarming

Study suggesting earlier human transmission fuels public anger - Nikkei Asian Review - "The deadly new coronavirus from Wuhan was spreading from person to person as early as mid-December, weeks before China officially confirmed such transmission, government-funded Chinese researchers report in a top American medical journal... The findings sharply contrast with the accounts of Wuhan health authorities who had maintained until mid-January that there was "no clear evidence" that the virus could be passed among humans. Officials also claimed Jan. 11 that no health care workers had been infected.Public acknowledgment only came Jan. 20 via an interview with an expert commissioned by the National Health Commission on state broadcaster CCTV... Many of the paper's authors work for the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and local counterparts, and many were among the first batch of medical experts to have entered Wuhan for on-the-ground investigations... In a country where academic performance is often linked to promotions, many social media users have also raised doubts as to whether the authors prioritized their own careers over the urgency of controlling the epidemic."I'm demanding an explanation from the paper's authors," wrote one Weibo user. "You clearly knew about people-to-people transmission three weeks earlier than the public, but did you do what you were supposed to do?"The Ministry of Science and Technology issued a statement on Thursday urging researchers in the country to "not devote their efforts to writing essays before completing the task of combating the novel coronavirus."Some social media users in China pointed to another possibility."Perhaps the researchers did not have a way to share their findings, and publishing it in a scientific journal was their last resort to warn the public," one WeChat user wrote on a group discussion."

How to survive coronavirus quarantine, French style - "The 179 evacuees -- mostly made up of French nationals and their Chinese spouses -- flown back from China were settling into their new life in quarantine on Saturday. A holiday resort in the southeast of France that will be their home for the next two weeks.These special guests will have the run of their seaside base in Carry-le-Rouet, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the Mediterranean port city of Marseille -- so long as they wear a mask... "There are worse places," said Marc Ziltman with a smile, as children's shouts echoed across the facility."The easy solution would have been a disused barracks," Zilman, the senior Red Cross official on site, pointed out. Instead, the French authorities opted to make the evacuees stay as comfortable as possible."The site needs to be as agreeable as possible because people are going to pass 14 days there"... There is volleyball for the teenagers, art classes for the toddlers and a space for the grown-ups to relax over a coffee, making it more holiday resort than hospital or clinic."

Opinion | Coronavirus Spreads, and the World Pays for China’s Dictatorship - The New York Times - "One reason for the early cover-up is that Xi’s China has systematically gutted institutions like journalism, social media, nongovernmental organizations, the legal profession and others that might provide accountability. These institutions were never very robust in China, but on and off they were tolerated until Xi came along.I conducted a series of experiments on Chinese blogs over the years beginning in 2003 and was sometimes surprised by what I could get away with — but no longer. Xi has dragged China backward in terms of civil society, crushing almost every wisp of freedom and oversight. For the same reason that Xi’s increasingly authoritarian China bungled the coronavirus outbreak, it also mishandled a swine fever virus that since 2018 has devastated China’s hog industry and killed almost one-quarter of the world’s pigs.Dictators often make poor decisions because they don’t get accurate information: When you squelch independent voices you end up getting just flattery and optimism from those around you. Senior Chinese officials have told me that they are routinely lied to on trips to meet local officials and must dispatch their drivers and secretaries to assess the truth and gauge the real mood. For this or other reasons, Xi has made a series of mistakes. He mishandled and inflamed the political crisis in Hong Kong, he inadvertently assured the re-election of his nemesis as president of Taiwan, and he has presided over worsening relations with the United States and many other countries.The coronavirus has already reached the Xinjiang region in the Far West of China, and one risk is that it will spread in the internment camps where China is confining about one million Muslims with poor sanitation and limited health care... let’s get over any misplaced admiration some Americans have for Xi’s authoritarian model.The Chinese social contract has been that citizens will not get ballots but will live steadily better lives, yet China’s economy is now as weak as it has been in three decades — and the coronavirus will sap growth further. Xi is not living up to his end of the bargain, and this is seen in the anger emerging on Chinese social media despite the best efforts of censors."

Wuhan Mayor Says Beijing Rules Partially Responsible for Lack of Transparency - WSJ - "The mayor of Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of China’s viral outbreak, said rules imposed by Beijing limited what he could disclose about the threat posed by the pathogen, suggesting the central government was partially responsible for a lack of transparency that has marred the response to the fast-expanding health crisis.Mayor Zhou Xianwang’s comments were broadcast on China’s state television network... His careful attempt to shift blame to the central leadership mirrored complaints that local officials have expressed in private for years about President Xi Jinping’s rigid, top-down leadership style."
One China shill said this was unreliable because it was the WSJ (i.e. "Western" media). Presumably if Xi Jinping says the earth is round on CCTV, and the WSJ reports what CCTV broadcasted, it means the earth is flat

SARS Control and Psychological Effects of Quarantine, Toronto, Canada - "The 129 quarantined persons who responded to a Web-based survey exhibited a high prevalence of psychological distress. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression were observed in 28.9% and 31.2% of respondents, respectively. Longer durations of quarantine were associated with an increased prevalence of PTSD symptoms. Acquaintance with or direct exposure to someone with a diagnosis of SARS was also associated with PTSD and depressive symptoms."
The cost of quarantine may be more than that of what it's supposed to prevent

China Wants to Patent Gilead’s Experimental Coronavirus Drug - "Chinese researchers have applied for a national patent on an experimental Gilead Sciences Inc. drug that they believe might fight the novel coronavirus.The Wuhan Institute of Virology -- based in the Chinese city at the center of the epidemic -- has applied for a patent in China for the use of the antiviral drug, known as remdesivir, in treating the ailment. The application was made on Jan. 21 together with a military academy... If the application succeeds, Gilead would need to get Chinese patent owners on board in sales of the drug for treating coronavirus infections outside China... The move may revive longstanding concerns about China’s respect for intellectual property rights... The Wuhan institute said in its statement that it made the patent application out of national interest, and won’t exercise its patent rights if foreign pharmaceutical firms work together with China to curb the contagion."
Patenting something you didn't discover - amazing

Chinese scholar blames Xi Jinping, Communist Party for not controlling coronavirus outbreak | South China Morning Post - "A prominent Chinese scholar has published an article criticising the country’s leadership for failing to control the coronavirus outbreakthat has infected almost 25,000 people around the world.Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, who has been under close surveillance by the authorities, blamed Communist Party leaders for putting politics ahead of the people... “The political system has collapsed under the tyranny, and a governance system [made up] of bureaucrats, which has taken [the party] more than 30 years to build has floundered,” he said in a reference to how reform-minded leaders sought to rebuild the country and modernise the government after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and moved away from one-man rule to collective leadership.Xu was suspended from teaching at Tsinghua University in 2018, after the publication of an article in which he criticised the decision by party leaders to lift the two-term limit for presidents, allowing Xi Jinpingto remain in office beyond his second term, which ends in 2023... His latest criticism came as China’s leaders and law enforcement officials warned that internet controls must be tightened to prevent the spread of rumours and misinformation... Xu said also that Beijing’s crackdown on civil society and freedom of expression had made it impossible for people to raise the alarm about the outbreak... Xu Zhangrun is not the only academic to speak out against Xi and his handling of the virus outbreak, which the World Health Organisation has declared a global health emergency.Prominent intellectual Xu Zhiyong also published an article on social media on Tuesday in which he urged Xi to step down for his “inability to handle major crises”.He cited several examples, including the China-US trade war, the anti-government protests in Hong Kong and the coronavirus outbreak.He also called Xi’s political ideology “confusing”, his governance model “outdated” and said he had ruined China with “exhaustive social stability maintenance measures”. “Seven years ago, I appealed to you to lead China to become a nation that respects democracy and the constitution, but in return I was thrown in jail for four years,” he said.“And now, your men are still looking for me trying to throw me back in jail again. I don’t think you are a villain, just someone who is not very smart. For the public’s sake, I’m asking you again: Step down, Mr Xi Jinping.” Despite his presence on social media, Xu Zhiyong has been in hiding from the police since December, following a year-long crackdown targeting civil rights dissidents that saw many people accused of inciting state subversion and detained."
Tight controls to prevent the spread of rumours and misinformation are part of why this outbreak exploded in the first place

Coronavirus may ease in summer and re-emerge in winter - "viruses in general tend to peak in cold winter months and ease as the weather warms up... “Sars largely spread in hospitals but still died out in the summer in the northern hemisphere,” said Professor Hunter.As to why this occurs, Professor John Edmunds - from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine - notes school term times may play a big role.“We know very little about respiratory viruses in general,” he said.“They tend to be more common in winter, which may be because of schools opening and closing.”Colds and flu are thought to become a bigger risk in winter due to icy weather driving people to huddle close together indoors.There is also evidence low temperatures and a lack of sunlight slows the rate norovirus, the winter vomiting bug, breaks down. As to concerns the new coronavirus may re-emerge when the weather turns chilly, this did not occur with Sars, with no cases being reported since 2004... A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan also analysed the viral DNA of five coronavirus patients.They found the new strain seems to share 79.5% of its genetics with Sars and is 96% “identical” to a coronavirus that infects bats.Speaking at the time, Professor Ian Jones from the University of Reading, said: “2019-nCoV is a bat virus and Sars is the closest relative seen previously in people.“In essence, it’s a version of Sars that spreads more easily but causes less damage.“The virus also uses the same receptor, the door used to get into human cells, which explains transmission and why it causes pneumonia.”Sars jumped from bats to humans via the masked palm civet, a mammal native to the Indian subcontinent and south-east Asia.Scientists from Peking University in Beijing have suggested snakes may have been the “intermediate host” for the new coronavirus.A team from South China Agricultural University have since found pangolins could be to blame."

Coronavirus expert says correct comparison of Wuhan virus is not SARS or MERS but a bad cold - "Professor John Nicholls... is a  Clinical Professor in Pathology at the University of Hong Kong and an expert on coronaviruses. He was a key member of the research team at the University of Hong Kong which isolated and characterized the novel SARS coronavirus in 2003. He’s been studying coronaviruses for 25 years... People are talking about a 2.2 to 2.4% fatality rate in total.However recent information is worth taking a closer look – if you look at the cases outside of China, the mortality rate is less than 1%. There’re two fatalities outside of mainland China.Two possible reasons. One, either China’s healthcare isn’t as good, and that’s probably not the case. Two, and what is probably right is that just as with SARS, there are probably much stricter guidelines in mainland China for a case to be considered positive. So the 20,000 cases in China are likely only the severe cases. The folks who actually went to the hospital and got tested.The Chinese healthcare system is very overwhelmed with all the tests going through it. So my thinking is this is actually not as severe a disease as is being suggested. The fatality rate is probably only 0.8%-1%. There’s a potentially vast under-reporting of cases in China. Compared to SARS and MERS, we are talking about a coronavirus that has a mortality rate of 8 to 10 times less deadly to SARS to MERS. So a correct comparison of this coronavirus is not SARS or MERS, but a severe cold... Three things the virus does not like are 1) sunlight 2) temperature and 3) humidity... The environment is a crucial factor. The environment will be unfavourable for growth around May. The evidence is to look at the common cold – it’s always during winter. So the natural environment will not be favourable in Asia in about May... Hong Kong has far more cleanliness (than China) and they are very aware of social hygiene. And other countries will be more aware of the social hygiene (than China). So in those countries ,you should see fewer outbreaks and spreading.A couple days ago, the fecal-oral route of transmission for coronavirus was confirmed in Shenzhen. In China, most of the squat latrines lack covers and are open – there is therefore a higher chance of transmission. But in other countries, the sanitation systems tend to closed. My personal view is that this will be a bad cold and it will all be over by May...
Any sense of whether the estimates of the Reproductive Number (RO) of 2.5 or 2.7. Do you think that is high or low. What does that mean?
Measles was about 10-15 and influenza is just below 2. I think it’s about 2.2 as it’s being transmitted within the community... SARS went really for people in their 30s to 50s. And MERS, on the other hand, basically is if you have co-morbidity – try and find somebody in the middle east who does not smoke or does not have high blood pressure etc…The data coming out of China seems to indicate that it’s those with the co-morbidity are most at risk. For the seasonal influenza, that’s also what we find... Now that we have better case control definitions outside of mainland China, we will get a true assessment of the fatality rate. I would now put it at about 0.8% to 1%. When you look at all the death reports – separate out the deaths from mainland China and outside China... In the high-income countries, you don’t have as high a population density, higher level of environment control and hygiene... In Hubei, the milder cases are not making it to the hospital. Because they are so overwhelmed that milder cases are being sent away. So that’s why it’s important not to look at the mortality rate in Wuhan but to look at the mortality rate in Shanghai or Shenzhen or outside of Wuhan"
I was accused of being "obtuse" for criticising the hysteria of people gushing about a death rate of at least 20%, and who were stocking 4-6 months' worth of supplies because civilisation was going to collapse. I informed that person to tell all the infectious disease experts that they were being obtuse since everyone should panic
Keywords: bad flu

澳洲香港地 - "針終於拮到肉才知痛"
"This one needs lots of translations but it is basically some Mainlanders collectively realising that Hong Kongers were not wrong in defending the freedom of speech.(Because what if the news of a deadly virus spreading in your neighbourhood is censored?"Some Mainlanders (according to them) realised this after the death of Dr Wenliang Li - one of the first few people to whistleblow on the coronavirus outbreak. The doctor was subsequently punished and silenced by authority. His death triggered the reflection of these weibo posters.Some of these posts read as follows: "Remember it wasn't that long ago we laughed at Hong Kong's useless youths' demand for freedom of speech. Now we are the ones being laughed at..""

C.D.C. and W.H.O. Offers to Help China Have Been Ignored for Weeks - The New York Times - "they believe the reluctance comes from China’s top leaders, who do not want the world to think they need outside help... Some experts also say that outsiders could discover aspects of the outbreak that are embarrassing to China: for example, the country has not revealed how many of its doctors and nurses have died fighting the disease... some Chinese colleagues have indicated that they are overwhelmed and would welcome not just extra hands, but specialized expertise in a couple of fields. Also, C.D.C. officials have said that they hope to learn more about the new coronavirus from their Chinese counterparts to improve the American response if the virus starts to spread widely here... China had “agreed to a mission of international experts” to better understand disease transmission and clinical severity... a W.H.O. spokeswoman said that there was no delay in the organization’s own mission to China.“Our understanding is that the mission is on,” Marcia Poole, the spokeswoman, said. But she could not say when the team would leave or who would be on it... The two fields in which China appears to need outside help, experts said, are molecular virology and epidemiology.The first involves sequencing the virus’s genome and manipulating it to refine diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccine candidates.The second involves figuring out basic questions like who gets infected and who does not, how long the incubation period is, why some victims die, how many other people each victim infects and how commonly hospital outbreaks are occurring... A major epidemiological failure by China is that the Wuhan authorities appear to have closed and disinfected the seafood market that was the outbreak’s early focus without swabbing individual animals and their cages and without drawing blood from everyone working there. That would have provided a wealth of information about which animal might have been the source of the coronavirus and which people had become infected but survived."
Naturally, some China shills were saying this was a NYT conspiracy to make China look bad, and that China didn't need help
At the time I predicted that later China would blame other countries for not helping. Now, sure enough, people are bashing the rest of the world for supposedly not helping China when it needed help

Coronavirus: why hygiene fears strike at the heart of modern China | South China Morning Post - "the crisis exposes a continuing problem with China’s modernisation. Because the political system has become so lacking in transparency, there is a widespread reluctance to believe assurances from the authorities that the disease is under control, even when those claims may in fact be perfectly valid. To understand the issue, it is worth comparing China not with Sweden or Germany, but with itself over the past couple of decades. In 2003, the Sars crisis, involving a virus deadlier than the coronavirus, was made much worse because official information about it was suppressed. Over the following decade, a variety of factors allowed for a loosening of China’s public sphere. There was a recognition that overly tight information flow had worsened the disease, and other factors allowed some openness, including more freedoms for the domestic and international press in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics. The earliest phase of social media in China also allowed an explosion of free comment. During this time, any attempt to stimulate political activism online was still crushed, but complaints about the functioning of government and corruption were widely aired. Some impressive investigative reporting took place on television, in print and online. Professionals, including lawyers and medics, were given space to operate as long as they were not explicitly political. That atmosphere has tightened again significantly over the past few years, and, as a consequence, there is a lack of confidence that information is flowing to the right places, whether it is about disease control, environmental pollution or financial scandals"
Damn biased western media!

Lawyer Journalist Who Risked Life to Reveal Conditions in Wuhan Now Reported Missing by Mother - "A Chinese citizen journalist has reportedly gone missing after exposing Wuhan’s “urgent epidemic situation” involving the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in a YouTube video posted last week.Chen Qiushi, a former human rights lawyer, managed to arrive in the city a day after it was put under quarantine. He reported from Wuhan until his alleged disappearance... He claims that hospitals have been struggling with the volume of incoming patients... He describes a massive city with 10 million people, not enough transportation available for people to get to hospitals, and those who do get to a hospital are turned away because there is a lack of test kits that are only used to verify critical cases. People have been waiting days with suspected symptoms just to wait to test if they are infected with coronavirus. Even if people confirm they are sick with coronavirus, there is a lack of medical supplies and face masks while doctors are exhausted. At one point in the video, an elderly woman can be seen holding a dead man in his wheelchair because they are waiting for a “car” to take him to the morgue... Chen, clearly in a stressful state and admittedly scared, acknowledges that the justice department and police have been harassing him to “cooperate” with their investigation and discover his location in Wuhan. He reveals he is staying at a friend’s place and that he is very protective of revealing his location. He claims authorities have also harassed his parents to discover his whereabouts. “I have the virus in front of me. Behind me is China’s law enforcement"... through tearful eyes, Chen ends the video with a message clearly meant for the Chinese government:“F*ck you, I’m not even scared of death. You think I’m scared of you Chinese Communist Party?”Chen is fully aware of the dire consequences that sharing his face, the information he is reporting and sending beyond China’s firewall will bring to him from the Chinese government."

Wuhan Virus Cover-Up Exposes a China Built on Lies - "The central government is now promising to perform where Wuhan officials failed. Officials in Beijing have pledged greater transparency to both the public and outside groups like the World Health Organization—even introducing a whistleblower hotline within the massively popular WeChat messaging app.Such measures are about as convincing as an organized crime boss who launches a “Start Snitching” campaign. The hostility to transparency and fear of speaking out baked into the fabric of Xi Jinping’s China can’t be thrown away for one crisis. Transparency is not a window that can be opened and shut at the state’s will when it finds it useful... The central government authorities may truly want transparency—if only so that they themselves know what’s going on. But they don’t want it across the board: only on this one specific issue. And the repression of speech and distortion of data in China aren’t a matter of a singular central will. It’s mostly carried out by local officials, who have the most to lose if people can complain freely about mistakes or cover-ups. In a public health crisis, that could have fatal consequences. For instance, it’s unclear whether it’s deliberate policy or simply an overwhelmed system, but numerous reports testify to bodies being cremated in Wuhan without the death being recorded as a coronavirus fatality, which has made it highly difficult to tell just how lethal the virus is. To be sure, the men responsible for covering up the initial outbreak—the online monitors who stifled the doctors’ comments (originally posted to a relatively private group chat); the police who threatened them; and the local government officials who signed off on their harassment or detention—will be punished at the central government’s insistence, if only to appease public anger. But there’s a perverse injustice, given that they were following the expected standards of the party-state.Under ordinary circumstances, in fact, their behavior would have, from the party’s perspective, been laudable. Hundreds of similar incidents play out every day across China as part of a program of “stability maintenance” that officially costs the country around $200 billion a year, more than double the figure of a decade ago. (That figure includes some policing activities that would be normal in any country, but it also excludes much of the apparatus of control, such as the domestic United Front programs that look to co-opt non-party groups into serving the party’s purposes.) The kind of repression that occurred in Wuhan didn’t even need any special conspiracy behind it to specifically cover up the coronavirus. Rumormongering—a euphemism for drawing attention to potential sources of social or political scandal—has been a priority of the authorities since 2013, especially online... take Shuping Wang and Gao Yaojie, the heroic doctors who exposed the illicit blood sales and subsequent AIDS crisis in Henan in the 1990s. Both of them faced years of persecution as a result, even after the state admitted they were right; both were forced to take refuge in the United States. Activists like Tan Zuoren, who attempted to document the corruption that led to the collapse of supposedly reinforced school buildings during the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, were put in prison. Despite all this, between around 2000 and 2012, the Chinese internet developed its own watchdog culture, particularly over local corruption. Journalists often shared information from scandals, backed by a public keen to haul greedy officials over the coals. Crackdowns were relatively rare, and there were those within the party itself who saw this kind of monitoring as a useful tool to engage the public in the work of maintaining some accountability. All that ended in 2012-2013, as a concerted campaign against some of the most prominent watchdogs, combined with sweeping new online restrictions, signaled the end of any tolerance for outside monitoring. By the end of 2013, Weibo, the most popular social media site for such stories, had seen its traffic drop by 70 percent. In the next few years, that campaign broadened to a mass crackdown on human rights activists, lawyers, and anyone else who dared to monitor officials’ business, even as it was joined by a sweeping purge within the party of supposedly corrupt figures, who also happened to be Xi’s political foes. Humiliating TV confessions became a normal part of evening broadcasts. Even now, arrests and threats continue throughout China for spreading so-called rumors about the virus... To speak up, citizens need to believe not only that they won’t be punished now but that local authorities won’t remember them and take vengeance later. Given the record, that’s unlikely. Take the village of Wukan, once heralded for resisting corrupt local officials in 2011. By 2016, the villagers involved in the protests had been picked off one by one, and the local government was more repressive than ever. The state has a long memory and keeps records. It’s true that Chinese reporting has enjoyed a rare spring and that media has been doing brilliant and honest work from inside Wuhan itself and elsewhere. (See this compiled list in Chinese, put together by the reporter Shen Lu.) But such flourishing has happened after disasters in the past, such as the Tianjin explosions of 2015 and the high-speed rail crash in Wenzhou in 2011, and it has always been short-lived... Actual, lasting openness would need watchdogs outside the party-state itself. It would need a media environment where the censor’s pen doesn’t hover over every piece of copy filed. It would need protections for whistleblowers and an independent judiciary able to enforce those protections. It would need a willingness to let control slip out of the party’s hands and to bear the consequences. None of this is remotely likely in the foreseeable future. That means the Chinese people will be left in darkness about what their institutions are doing—until something else slithers out of the shadows that endangers them all."

Wuhan Virus Could Hurt the Chinese Communist Party - "Even a cursory glance at Weibo will reveal an enormous amount of criticism, both veiled and direct, at the official response... the coronavirus epidemic has clearly struck much closer to the public’s bottom line, leading to widespread displays of anger and frustration that one rarely sees these days in the tightly censored world of Chinese internet expression... more than a few government media platforms have actually added to the chorus of criticism... There seems to be a general recognition across the state apparatus that aggressive suppression of public criticism will lead to a potentially unmanageable backlash—in other words, that public unhappiness has already reached such a critical level that the only truly viable response is appeasement... As a number of studies have found, the Chinese public has long had a significantly more favorable view of the central government than of county-level or provincial-level ones. The exact origins of this phenomenon are unclear—the situation was largely the opposite in the Republican era, and the change likely had something to do with the centralization of authority and political legitimacy under Mao Zedong—but it is one of the more striking and unusual things about contemporary Chinese politics. Most polities around the world tend to place greater trust in officials who are more proximate to their everyday lives. They are more easily observed and monitored, more vulnerable to local social pressures, and therefore perceived as more accountable. Central authorities, in contrast, are distant, obscure, and less trustworthy. Chinese politics has long operated under the opposite scenario: Local officials are considered corrupt and ineffective, whereas those in Beijing are supposedly more professional and disciplined... The central government benefits from the ability to shift blame to local underlings in times of serious crisis. This helps prevent social frustration over specific incidents from snowballing into a more general challenge to the party-state’s political legitimacy while providing relatively low-cost ways to pacify public anger"
It is common in authoritarian regimes to have those down the hierarchy take the hit - e.g. In Russia Putin is seen as the good Tsar let down by his advisors

Chinese cities fight for mask shipments in scramble to stop coronavirus - "The health chief of Dali in the southwestern province of Yunnan was sacked after the city commandeered about 600 boxes of masks destined for the megacity of Chongqing on their way through Dali from Vietnam... the port city of Qingdao said it would confiscate 100,000 masks from South Korea that authorities in Shenyang had ordered if the shipment entered the country via Qingdao.Qingdao made the decision after Shenyang withheld 100,000 masks Qingdao ordered from Japan"

Death of coronavirus doctor Li Wenliang becomes catalyst for ‘freedom of speech’ demands in China - "The death of a doctor in China is threatening to turn into a public confidence crisis for Beijing, just as it faces unprecedented challenges from the coronavirus outbreak.Doctor Li Wenliangdied on Friday in the central Chinese city of Wuhan after being infected with the virus, sparking a huge outpouring of grief and anger online in China... Beijing’s unusual decision the same day to send a team from the country’s top anti-corruption agency to Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, to look into “issues of public concern relating to Li Wenliang” shows how seriously the government is taking the venting of public anger.“It is a very big crisis. China’s public opinion was divided, but this time a consensus has been formed. The public share the same attitude and harbour the sentiments of sympathy, suppression and grieving anger,” Wuhan University law professor Qin Qianhong said.“I am worried that the situation could explode, or become like when [former Communist Party general secretary] Hu Yaobang died or even more serious.” Hu’s death on April 15, 1989, triggered mass protests that later morphed into the Tiananmen student movement... Qin said that if the public could not express their views, the same crisis would only recur and public confidence in the government would be difficult to restore.“The government has lost credibility now, and if [the public] don’t trust you any more, how can the government achieve its [national] goals in 2020?”... “[Xi] will double down and see the need to tighten control even further. The last thing he will allow is for him to appear weak.”"
Since he probably didn't have co-morbidities...

The second coronavirus is a ‘moron strain’ driving panic on social media globally - "It’s worth bearing in mind that the 2002–2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak, which also started in Asia predated the social media age. The information we received about Sars was generally via the mainstream, conventional media... Why do they spread so quickly and why do people seem to fall for them so easily?Perhaps it’s because they often highlight – and exacerbate – long-standing anxieties in our societies"

Important images - Posts - "Tee: "Love is in the air"
*Couple wearing masks*"

Widespread Outcry in China Over Death of Coronavirus Doctor - The New York Times - "They posted videos of the Les Misérables song “Do You Hear the People Sing.” They invoked article No. 35 of China’s Constitution, which stipulates freedom of speech. They tweeted a phrase from “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”The Chinese public has staged what amounts to an online revolt after the death of a doctor, Li Wenliang, who tried to warn of a mysterious virus that has since killed hundreds of people in China, infected tens of thousands and forced the government to corral many of the country’s 1.4 billion people... After speculation of Dr. Li’s death began swirling online Thursday evening, the Communist Party’s propaganda machine went into full gear, trying to control the message. But it didn’t seem as effective as it had in the past... As confusion mounted about Dr. Li’s fate, people accused the authorities of trying to delay announcing his death.The grief was so widespread that it appeared in unlikely corners.“Refusing to listen to your ‘whistling,’ your country has stopped ticking, and your heart has stopped beating,” Hong Bing, the Shanghai bureau chief of the Communist Party’s official newspaper, People’s Daily, wrote on her timeline on WeChat, an instant-messaging platform. “How big a price do we have to pay to make you and your whistling sound louder, to reach every corner of the East?”... Wang Gaofei, the chief executive of Weibo, which carries out many of the orders passed down from China’s censors, pondered what lessons China should learn from Dr. Li’s death. “We should be more tolerant of people who post ‘untruthful information’ that aren’t malicious,” he said in a post. “If we’re only allowed to speak what we can guarantee is fact, we’re going to pay prices.”... The hashtag #wewantfreedomofspeech# was created on Weibo at 2 a.m. on Friday and had over two million views and over 5,500 posts by 7 a.m. It was deleted by censors, along with related topics, such as ones saying the Wuhan government owed Dr. Li an apology... Talking about freedom of speech on the Chinese internet is taboo, even though it’s written into the Constitution. So it’s a small miracle that the freedom of speech hashtag survived for over five hours.The country’s high-powered executives have been less blunt, but have echoed the same sentiments online... It’s too early to tell whether the online anger and frustration will amount to much. There was palpable public outrage in a few past tragedies, including a 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province and a train accident in 2011. But it faded in those instances."

Coronavirus Could Derail Xi Jinping’s Dreams for China - "The doctor was “99% sure” she had contracted the mysterious pneumonia-like illness sweeping China’s central city of Wuhan, Wu says, but he didn’t have the testing kit to prove it. And despite the 64-year-old’s fever and perilously low oxygen levels, there was no bed for her. Wu tried two more hospitals over the next week, but all were overrun. By Jan. 25, her mother was slumped on the tile floor of an emergency room, gasping for air, drifting in and out of consciousness. “We didn’t want to see my mom die on the floor, so we took her home,” says Wu, 30. “She passed the next day.”... Officials were pictured pocketing supplies meant for frontline medical staff, who were reduced to cutting up office supplies for makeshift surgical masks. Meanwhile, the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has already started leveraging the crisis for propaganda by lionizing cadres leading containment efforts. “No crisis is too deadly that they can’t take a time-out to promote the party through manipulation of it,” says Scott W. Harold, an East Asia expert at the U.S. policy think tank Rand Corp. In the fall of 2017, Xi took the podium at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to claim that China’s version of one-party autocracy offered an option for “countries that want to speed up their development while preserving their independence.” Western democracy was messy and flawed, the argument went. In the years since that speech, China’s hubris has grown, nurtured by the tumultuous U.S. presidency of Donald Trump and the disintegration of the multilateral world order. But the coronavirus crisis threatens to rattle China’s authoritarian apparatus... “Since Xi came to power, problem after problem have occurred on his watch that he seems unable to effectively manage,” says Jude Blanchette, a China analyst at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. These include popular unrest in semiautonomous Hong Kong, a disruptive trade war with the U.S. and now an unfolding health crisis. For decades, the sales pitch for China’s single-party rule was the superior performance of its political system when faced with both short-term crises and long-term challenges... A bland apparatchik by reputation, Xi climbed the career ladder as a provincial bureaucrat, eventually emerging as a compromise candidate for the post of China’s top leader. His lack of a power base led party elders to believe he would remain malleable and easy to control. Global leaders hoped he might push through long-awaited economic and social reforms.They were wrong... Far from embracing Western-style market reforms, Xi calcified state control over the economy and stocked its bureaucracy with flunkies and yes-men. Today party zealotry permeates all of Chinese society. The head of China’s national Film Bureau has ordered movies “must have a clear ideological bottom line and cannot challenge the political system.” China’s journalists have been instructed to follow “Marxist news values.” Artists can only produce works that “serve the people and socialism.” One advertisement for sperm donors required applicants ages 20 to 45 with “excellent ideological qualities” who “love the fatherland,” and are “loyal” to the party’s “mission.” Mao may have had his Little Red Book, but Xi has a personalized app distributed to all 90 million CCP members, with a directory of his speeches and quizzes on his life and political thought. His mission is to forge a singular Chinese identity that restores the nation’s ethnic Han majority to a golden age, on the basis of fealty to his party. “Xi Jinping is fundamentally a Han chauvinist with a ‘historic mission’ to make China, Han China, great again,” says Professor Steve Tsang, director of SOAS China Institute at the University of London... Nurlan Kokeubai, 56, never found out the charges against him. But from August 2017 to April 2018, he was detained in a re-education camp close to the city of Ili, in Xinjiang province. For four hours each morning, Kokeubai says he and his fellow inmates were forced to watch videos of Xi carousing with dignitaries and overseeing military exercises. They were also ordered to memorize Xi’s eponymous “political thought” and documents from the 19th CCP Conference, where Xi removed presidential term limits to enable himself to rule for life. Those that resisted were beaten with sticks or strapped to a metal chair for interrogation. “They weren’t testing our knowledge or loyalty,” Kokeubai told TIME in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to which he has since fled. “They were just filling us with this propaganda.”... “[Last year] was a landmark in the structural shift of how the United States views its relationship with China,” says Tsang. “But the decoupling wasn’t started by Donald Trump. It was originally prepared by Xi Jinping himself.” Every one of Xi’s signature economic policies has sought to reduce China’s reliance on the U.S. and grow its own empire. His $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative builds connectivity across Eurasia and Africa. The “Made in China 2025” campaign aims to propel China to the forefront of strategic industries currently dominated by Silicon Valley, such as semiconductors, aerospace, AI and robotics. The Chinese government has even ordered all state departments to remove foreign-made computer equipment within three years... Confronting an outbreak requires more than just an ability to throw up hospitals in a few days; it necessitates trust. And from the beginning, China’s public response to the virus has raised questions. Even multinational institutions like WHO are feeling this as the coronavirus worsens. The organization was unable to rule on the severity of 2019-nCoV following its first meeting on Jan. 22, apparently because of resistance from Beijing. (WHO referred to “divergent views.”) Notably, despite WHO’s insisting that travel bans to China would not be necessary, a dozen nations introduced stringent restrictions, including the U.S., Australia and North Korea. If you believe China’s official figures, 2019-nCoV has a fatality rate of just 2%–about the same as regular influenza and a far cry from the 50% of Ebola or the 10% of SARS. Why then, observers might well ask, has China placed entire cities in lockdown, quarantined tens of millions and mobilized troops? Here is the downside of Xi’s system of top-down control; nobody acted until they got word from the top, and then everyone wildly overreacted in order to satisfy the leader... “The full CCP apparatus didn’t kick into gear to address the coronavirus until Xi had weighed in on the matter,” says Blanchette. Notably, the President himself has kept a low profile since the outbreak began and was not seen in public for eight days after the Lunar New Year. Now, throughout China, fear is mixing with inchoate rage. In Hubei province, people from Wuhan are ostracized. But in other provinces, people from anywhere in Hubei are shunned. Videos circulating on social media show vigilantes tooling up to protect their villages. In one video, a man in a dark jacket and wide-brimmed hat guards a bridge with a pistol. In another, a man in an orange puffer jacket sits on a table at the entrance to his village, brandishing an enormous sword. All have signs nearby with a common theme: outsiders cannot pass. Even in Beijing, apartment building guards are checking the IDs of everyone who enters and banning those from Hubei–rent-paying tenants included... “Don’t blame us for being rude if you are from Wuhan and you don’t self-quarantine,” wrote one poster on China’s Twitter-like microblog Weibo. “You should just shoot them because they are killing us!” wrote another.The ideological revival behind Xi’s “China Dream” may have rendered the political system more decisive but also more prone to error. Under Mao, local officials were also hesitant to act until they had clear signals from the top. Rather than assess issues through a purely governance lens, China’s bureaucracy is forced to balance both technocratic and political concerns. Meanwhile nativist vigilantism spreads almost as fast as the virus... the crisis has already demonstrated that the centralization of political power under Xi has made Chinese society brittle. The question now is what it will endure before it begins to crack."
This is also a good reminder that the death rate in China is relatively high because the healthcare system is overwhelmed

Coronavirus, Xi Jinping, and the Mandate of Heaven - ""China will grow old before it gets rich."... Demographic bombs detonate slowly, however, and can sometimes be defused... PJMedia's own Richard Fernandez was one of the first to notice the shift from "Xi sits on top of the world" to "Xi is sitting on a powderkeg, playing with matches."... Xi has kept a low profile during the outbreak, perhaps wanting not to be seen as the symbol of Beijing's troubles in dealing with it. But in a country where nearly one-third of the people are under some kind of quarantine, a leader has to... well, get out and lead if he's going to be considered worthy of the title. Perhaps that why Xi just made what's been called a "rare appearance" in recent weeks, today at a Beijing medical center... According to Western suckups like Thomas Friedman, Xi's ability to decisively move his authoritarian government is a big bonus for Getting Stuff Done. When the CCP says "Jump," the country shouts "How high?" That is, that's how it looks if you're a comfy Westerner suffering from a common mental condition known as Authoritarian Envy. The truth of the matter is that the CCP is so thoroughly corrupt that Xi's decisive measures aren't measuring up -- and some of the most "decisive" are mostly just for show. Business Insider reported today that "China is sending trucks to spray bleach on entire cities as the country struggles to contain the Wuhan coronavirus," but it's actually a PR stunt to make people feel like decisive action is being taken. The story notes that "health experts say these public displays of germ-busting are probably not doing much to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, and that the disinfection should instead target specific spots, like emergency rooms, and communal surfaces in hospitals." Probably, but the people can't see that happening on a mass scale. Some of Xi's most decisive actions look less like the effective handling of a deadly outbreak, and more like hurried construction of Potemkin villages... Xi has another problem on his hands: His own overweening ambition. From the death of Mao until Xi himself, the CCP leadership functioned largely on consensus between the top men. Nobody wanted to see a return to one-man totalitarianism, when Mao was free to murder on a whim while the country barely subsisted. But the CCP was hardly willing to surrender any power, either. Consensus was a way to show the CCP as a whole enjoyed the Mandate: The economy began its long and unprecedented boom, guided by a ruling clique that agreed on all the big details. When trouble erupted, a head or two might roll, but the consensus continued unchanged except for a new head or two to replace the rollers.But Xi has moved from consensus to one-man rule. No rival power centers remain within the CCP, so there's no consensus committee to roll on if Xi's head rolls off. If Xi stumbles badly, whether it's due to coronavirus or some other crisis in the future, he'll leave behind nothing but untrusted, untested yes-men"

Xi warned officials that efforts to stop virus could hurt economy: sources - "Chinese President Xi Jinping warned top officials last week that efforts to contain the new coronavirus had gone too far, threatening the country’s economy, sources told Reuters, days before Beijing rolled out measures to soften the blow... The ruling Communist Party’s propaganda department last week ordered state media to focus on “economic recovery”"

Wuhan woman caught on camera spitting on apartment building doorknob - "The Hubei government has warned that those who intentionally spread the coronavirus could face criminal penalties"

What China’s empty new coronavirus hospitals say about its secretive system - "China’s two new hospitals built in as many weeks were the official face of its fight against the coronavirus in Wuhan. As the city was locked down, authorities promised that thousands of doctors would be on hand to treat 2,600 patients on the facilities’ wards.Timelapse videos tracked the almost incomprehensibly fast construction of the hospitals, and state media celebrated their opening in early February. The only thing missing a week later? Patients. Four days after its opening, the larger Leishenshan hospital had only 90 patients, on wards designed for 1,600, but was reporting no spare beds, Wuhan city health data, first reported by the Chinese magazine Caixin, showed. The other facility, Huoshenshan, had not yet filled its 1,000 beds a week after opening.Meanwhile, the city was setting up emergency hospitals in exhibition halls and a sports stadium, and medics were still turning some ill people away. China has the world’s largest army but it has not deployed any field hospitals to Wuhan. The gulf between the vision of vast new hospitals created and thrown into action within days and the more complicated reality on the ground is a reminder of one of the main challenges for Beijing as it struggles to contain the coronavirus: its own secretive, authoritarian system of government and its vast censorship and propaganda apparatus... The problems of officials trying to cover up scandals or mistakes are not unique to China. But without a free press, elections or much space for civil society, there are few ways for citizens to hold their rulers accountable. Instead, local officials answer only to a party hierarchy that puts a premium on stability and economic growth... The cost of trying to curb the coronavirus when it first emerged – high-profile moves to close the market where it originated, cull and destroy livestock, quarantine and compensate victims, cancel mass festivities for the new year – would have seemed a risky gamble for little reward.“That might have ended it, or not,” Tsang said. “[But] since you stopped the virus from developing, you have nothing to show. You quashed a potential threat that may not have existed.” Even when the government reversed course and announced a crisis, it appeared to be focused on managing its image as well as the disease, he said. It could have deployed medics and a field hospital to Wuhan almost overnight rather than building new hospitals.It is unclear why they chose not to do so. But a country setting up field hospitals looks like one in crisis. A government expanding hospitals looks like one in control"

Wuhan coronavirus: Travel bans for diseases like this don’t work - "“Travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies,” said the World Health Organization director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.“These types of measures have been shown to be ineffective at halting the spread of the viruses,” said Adam Kamradt-Scott, a professor in global health at the University of Sydney who studies global health security.At best, travel restrictions, and even airport screenings, delay pathogens from moving — but they don’t impact the number of people who eventually get sick. Rather, they make it harder for international aid and experts to reach communities affected by disease. They are also expensive, resource-intensive, and potentially harmful to the economies of cities and countries involved...
During the height of the SARS outbreak in 2003, he had a colleague who wanted to return to the UK from Toronto, one of the cities most affected by the virus. So she caught a domestic flight from Toronto to Vancouver, then boarded a flight to London. “When she arrived at Heathrow [airport] and authorities asked her, ‘Have you been to Toronto,’ she said no and walked right through.”...
Airport screening after SARS didn’t catch a single case...
Travel restrictions are political theater"
The literature says that extensive travel lockdowns would be more effective. But then, we're only trying those this time around

Police detain Chinese parents who escaped Johor hospital with coronavirus suspect kid - "The parents of a toddler who refused to be quarantined after their child showed symptoms believed to be coronavirus (2019-nCoV), have been detained by the Johor police... the parents had refused to be quarantined as they intend to catch a flight back to China the next day."

Coronavirus ‘Hits All the Hot Buttons’ for How We Misjudge Risk - The New York Times - "Experts used to believe that people gauged risk like actuaries, parsing out cost-benefit analyses every time a merging car came too close or local crime rates spiked. But a wave of psychological experiments in the 1980s upended this thinking... When it comes to the coronavirus, Dr. Slovic said, it’s as if people are experiencing one report after another of planes crashing.“We’re hearing about the fatalities,” he said. “We’re not hearing about the 98 or so percent of people who are recovering from it and may have had mild cases.”That tendency can cut in both directions, leading not to undue alarm but undue complacency. Though flu kills tens of thousands of Americans every year, most peoples’ experiences with it are relatively mundane.Being told how dangerous flu is does little to change this, studies find. The brain’s risk assessment approach simply overwhelms rational calculation — a source of endless consternation to health officials trying to raise flu vaccination rates... We are conditioned to focus heavily on new threats, looking for any cause for alarm. This can lead us to obsess over the scariest reports and worst-case scenarios, making the danger seem bigger still. Maybe the most powerful shortcut of all is emotion... Another trigger is a threat that is not fully understood. The less known it is, the more people may fear it, and overestimate its threat... Risks that we take on voluntarily, or that at least feel voluntary, are often seen as less dangerous than they really are. One study found that people will raise their threshold for the amount of danger they are willing to take on by a factor of one thousand if they see the risk as voluntary... All those emotions can have real consequences.Consider the response to the partial meltdown of the nuclear plant at Three Mile Island, in Pennsylvania, in 1979. Though the incident caused no deaths, it led to public demand to turn from nuclear power to fossil fuels whose impact on air quality, alone, is thought to cause thousands of premature deaths every year... Our minds tend to either “round down” the probability to “basically zero” and we underreact, Dr. Slovic said. Or we focus on the worst-case outcome, he said, which “gives us a strong feeling, so we overreact.”"

Coronavirus: Chinese cities ban sale of fever, cough medicines to turn out infected patients - "At least three cities in China have resorted to banning the sale of fever and cough medicines to force people who are unwell to seek treatment at hospitals, where they could be tested for the coronavirus that has killed more than a thousand people in the country... To prevent more clusters from forming, some local authorities, including in Hangzhou, have gone to the extreme of using metal chains to lock people who returned from virus-stricken areas such as Wuhan in their flats... "What if there's a fire at our home at midnight, and we can't get anyone to unlock it?""

How Xi's 'controlocracy' lost control of the coronavirus - "Over the past eight years, the central leadership of the Chinese Communist Party has taken steps to bolster President Xi Jinping’s personal authority, as well as expanding the CCP’s own powers, at the expense of ministries and local and provincial governments. The central authorities have also waged a sustained crackdown on dissent, which has been felt across all domains of Chinese social and political life... Cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence are all being deployed to strengthen the central government’s control over society... on Feb. 3, after Xi had chaired the Standing Committee’s second meeting on the epidemic, the CCP’s propaganda apparatus was ordered to “guide public opinion and strengthen information control.” In practice, this means that cutting-edge AI and big data technologies are being used to monitor the entirety of Chinese public opinion online. The controlocracy is now running at full throttle, with facial-, image- and voice-recognition algorithms being used to anticipate and suppress any potential criticism of the government, and to squelch all “unofficial” information about the epidemic... For the first time since coming to power, Xi’s high-tech censorship machine is meeting with intense resistance from millions of Chinese internet users. The controlocracy is being put to the test. Most likely, though, the outbreak itself will be used to justify even more surveillance and control of the population."

Coronavirus: Russian woman sent back to quarantine after elaborate escape from hospital - "A Russian woman who staged an elaborate escape from hospital has been ordered to return to a quarantine facility as a precautionary measure against coronavirus by a Russian court.Alla Ilyina, 32, was put in coronavirus quarantine after she reported having a sore throat following a trip to Hainan, China... she short-circuited an electronic lock on her door and escaped to her flat in St Petersburg... “I studied physics, which helped. Our Constitution guarantees freedom. I didn’t understand why I had to stay in a hospital cage.”"

Coronavirus bombshell: ‘REAL cause’ of outbreak claim - Chinese scientists breaks cover - "They said scientists researching bat diseases could be responsible for the global outbreak, in a bombshell report published this week. Their report details how sick bats urinated, attacked and bled on researchers, who did their best to quarantine themselves. But the disease still spread through Wuhan, across China and throughout the world. The new report by biological scientists from the prestigious South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, China, contradicts Beijing, who said it spread from contaminated bats being sold at a food market.Biologists Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao, published a pre-print entitled "The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus”, in the report they described how “the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan”.The report added: “We noted two laboratories conducting research on bat coronavirus in Wuhan, one of which was only 280 metres from the seafood market."... “The probability was very low for the bats to fly to the market.“According to municipal reports and the testimonies of 31 residents and 28 visitors, the bat was never a food source in the city, and no bat was traded in the market."
So much for wildlife markets
The CIA must have a very big budget and be very talented to recruit Chinese scientists as undercover agents to defame China and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people

What the coronavirus crisis tells us about Chinese governance | Financial Times - "The continued blocking of Taiwan from the World Health Organisation by the Chinese Communist party is putting politics above people. That is unacceptable: any global health response is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain.It is right to look at the party’s governance, what it means for President Xi Jinping and China, not least because the answers affect — and may infect — us all... Big errors have been made. The party is definitely trying to shut the hospital door after the horse has bolted, but it is extraordinary for the mayor of Wuhan to say: “we didn’t have any remedial actions prepared”.Even after the Sars crisis of 2003? Or, despite warnings, to hold new year banquets for 40,000 people? Or to delay action seemingly in obeisance to the imperative of continuing with the January timetable for local-level people’s congresses, in order to feed into the national level in time for March’s “Two Sessions” — the annual meetings of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the National People’s Congress — the most important event in the annual political calendar? Again, politics before people...
Monopoly of power is dangerous. The party claims credit for all good things. But the people blame it for the bad. Yet, like the Pope, the leadership/leader must be infallible. So, when events don’t go swimmingly, it is the fault of local officials. The bigger the bad, the swifter the exit from the pool. Wuhan and Hubei province have lost their leaders. In nearby Huanggang, 337 officials have been dismissed.
Decisiveness is dangerous. Local officials will always try to pass responsibility upwards to Beijing. This tendency has been reinforced by Mr Xi’s strongman governance. Offending “the core” is dangerous. Prevarication is a well-observed phenomenon; hence Mr Xi railing against “formalism and bureaucraticism”, party-speak for going through the motions and inaction.
Decision is dangerous. When stability is number one (two and three), because unrest might threaten the party’s hold on power, officials are caught in the headlights of a dilemma between the short term and long term...
Information is dangerous. It must be disseminated in order to inform; but it must also be controlled to avoid inflaming unrest... Noticeably, in the line-up of the swiftly formed leading group on Covid-19 only one leader has any responsibility for health. Two were from the propaganda world; another was in charge of security...
So far the CCP has played it by the textbook. Blaming local officials, exonerating the top leaders (even though it now appears that Mr Xi made his “requirements” — read “orders” — known on January 7, long before isolation measures were announced), censoring the media, threatening “rumour mongers”. All of that breeds distrust and cynicism, both with the people and among officials.None of which is likely to threaten Mr Xi’s hold on power. What might could arrive later: a collapsed economy, bankruptcies on a large scale, unemployment, unpaid wages and inflation (this last a big factor in the unrest of 1989) and agricultural failure, if preparations for the looming planting season cannot be put in place... Another judgment Mr Xi must get right is how much stimulus to apply to the economy to avoid shorter-term bankruptcies and unemployment, without worsening an already dire long-term threat to stability from misallocated investment.Nor are those domestic concerns the end of Mr Xi’s worries. How will the Covid-19 crisis affect China’s ability to honour phase one of the US trade deal? Foreign companies are surely going to be further encouraged to diversify their supply chains away from China, which seems to be a global incubator for viruses. Innovation is vital to China, but will talented researchers and their families be put off by the risk of viruses? What about other professionals who underpin industry or the financial world?"

China’s Coronavirus Figures Don’t Add Up. ‘This Never Happens With Real Data.’ - "A statistical analysis of China’s coronavirus casualty data shows a near-perfect prediction model that data analysts say isn’t likely to naturally occur, casting doubt over the reliability of the numbers being reported to the World Health Organization... In terms of the virus data, the number of cumulative deaths reported is described by a simple mathematical formula to a very high accuracy, according to a quantitative-finance specialist who ran a regression of the data for Barron’s. A near-perfect 99.99% of variance is explained by the equation, this person said.Put in an investing context, that variance, or so-called r-squared value, would mean that an investor could predict tomorrow’s stock price with almost perfect accuracy. In this case, the high r-squared means there is essentially zero unexpected variability in reported cases day after day... “I have never in my years seen an r-squared of 0.99,” Goodman says. “As a statistician, it makes me question the data.”... For context, Goodman says a “really good” r-squared, in terms of public health data, would be a 0.7. “Anything like 0.99,” she said, “would make me think that someone is simulating data. It would mean you already know what is going to happen.”"

Here's How China Is Hunting Down Coronavirus Critics - "he first received a warning message from WeChat administrators. Then he began receiving strangely specific messages that appeared to come from four of his friends on WeChat, all asking him for his location, what hotel he was staying at in San Francisco, what his room number was, and what his U.S. phone number was.Then his cell phone received a warning message that someone in Shanghai was trying to log into his account.Finally, when he wouldn’t tell them where he was staying, the same accounts all simultaneously began urging him to return to China as soon as possible.Left told VICE News the he believes his friends only sent the messages after they were coerced by agents from the Ministry of State Security in an attempt to get him to reveal his location, and part of a much wider effort by the Chinese government to crack down on any dissenting voices who are sharing content related to the coronavirus outbreak... As a Chinese company, Tencent is under strict requirements to share information about users with the government, even though its shares are traded on the New York Stock exchange and it has a fast-growing number of users in the United States and other international markets."

A Vaccine Won’t Stop the New Coronavirus - The Atlantic - "H5N1 has a fatality rate of about 60 percent—if you get it, you’re likely to die. Yet since 2003, the virus has killed only 455 people. The much “milder” flu viruses, by contrast, kill fewer than 0.1 percent of people they infect, on average, but are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. Severe illness caused by viruses such as H5N1 also means that infected people can be identified and isolated, or that they died quickly. They do not walk around feeling just a little under the weather, seeding the virus. The new coronavirus (known technically as SARS-CoV-2) that has been spreading around the world can cause a respiratory illness that can be severe. The disease (known as COVID-19) seems to have a fatality rate of less than 2 percent—exponentially lower than most outbreaks that make global news. The virus has raised alarm not despite that low fatality rate, but because of it... Ultimately, SARS and MERS each killed fewer than 1,000 people.COVID-19 is already reported to have killed more than twice that number. With its potent mix of characteristics, this virus is unlike most that capture popular attention: It is deadly, but not too deadly. It makes people sick, but not in predictable, uniquely identifiable ways. Last week, 14 Americans tested positive on a cruise ship in Japan despite feeling fine—the new virus may be most dangerous because, it seems, it may sometimes cause no symptoms at all... The Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch is exacting in his diction, even for an epidemiologist. Twice in our conversation he started to say something, then paused and said, “Actually, let me start again.” So it’s striking when one of the points he wanted to get exactly right was this: “I think the likely outcome is that it will ultimately not be containable.”... Despite the apparent ineffectiveness of such measures—relative to their inordinate social and economic cost, at least—the crackdown continues to escalate... Lipsitch predicts that within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. But, he clarifies emphatically, this does not mean that all will have severe illnesses. “It’s likely that many will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic,” he said. As with influenza, which is often life-threatening to people with chronic health conditions and of older age, most cases pass without medical care. (Overall, about 14 percent of people with influenza have no symptoms.)Lipsitch is far from alone in his belief that this virus will continue to spread widely. The emerging consensus among epidemiologists is that the most likely outcome of this outbreak is a new seasonal disease—a fifth “endemic” coronavirus. With the other four, people are not known to develop long-lasting immunity. If this one follows suit, and if the disease continues to be as severe as it is now, “cold and flu season” could become “cold and flu and COVID-19 season.”... Making vaccines is so difficult, cost intensive, and high risk that in the 1980s, when drug companies began to incur legal costs over alleged harms caused by vaccines, many opted to simply quit making them. To incentivize the pharmaceutical industry to keep producing these vital products, the U.S. government offered to indemnify anyone claiming to have been harmed by a vaccine... coronaviruses could present a particular challenge in that at their core they, like influenza viruses, contain single strands of RNA. This viral class is likely to mutate, and vaccines may need to be in constant development, as with the flu... long-term government investments matter because creating vaccines, antiviral medications, and other vital tools requires decades of serious investment, even when demand is low. Market-based economies often struggle to develop a product for which there is no immediate demand and to distribute products to the places they’re needed... Italy, Iran, and South Korea are now among the countries reporting quickly growing numbers of detected COVID-19 infections. Many countries have responded with containment attempts, despite the dubious efficacy and inherent harms of China’s historically unprecedented crackdown. Certain containment measures will be appropriate, but widely banning travel, closing down cities, and hoarding resources are not realistic solutions for an outbreak that lasts years. All of these measures come with risks of their own. Ultimately some pandemic responses will require opening borders, not closing them. At some point the expectation that any area will escape effects of COVID-19 must be abandoned: The disease must be seen as everyone’s problem."
How can libertarians blame government for market failure in developing a vaccine?

Iran cleric urges people to visit Qom religious site despite coronavirus fears - "The representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the city of Qom called on Iranians to visit the city’s main religious site, calling it a “place of healing,” despite the coronavirus outbreak in the city.“We consider this holy shrine to be a place of healing. That means people should come here to heal from spiritual and physical diseases,” said cleric Mohammad Saeedi... He opposed closing down the shrine due to the coronavirus outbreak in the city... Iran has the highest number of deaths from coronavirus outside China"
I guess we know why Iran has been so badly hit

Iran Cannot Handle the Coronavirus - The Atlantic - "Pilgrims from a dozen countries converge on one small city. They stay in cramped hotels, using communal toilets and eating meals together. For their main ritual, they converge on the tomb of a woman, the sister of a holy man, and as they get closer, they feel with rising intensity grief over her death and the deaths of her kin. The grief is a commandment: Each tear, according to one tradition, will be transformed in the afterlife into a pearl, and an angel will compensate them for their tears with a bucket of pearls that will be signs of their devotion when they arrive at the gate of paradise. But for now the bodily fluids are flowing, wiped away occasionally by bare hands, and the crowd is getting denser. A metal cage surrounds the tomb itself, and when the weeping pilgrims reach it, they interlace their fingers with its bars, and many press their face against it, fogging up the shiny metal with their breath. Some linger for minutes, some for seconds. In a single day, many thousands pass through the same cramped space—breathing the same air, touching the same surfaces, trading new and exotic diseases... China can lock down a city, quarantining tens of millions at a time, and it can marshal its top experts, allowing them to wage a campaign against the disease with the absolute authority of a caesar. But it can’t avail itself of the benefits of public trust, including transparent and honest accounts of the disease and its toll. In Iran, it appears that the government has all the disadvantages of an unfree society, and none of the compensating advantages. Watch this incredible video, at once comic and horrifying, of a top Iranian health official, Iraj Harirchi, assuring the public that the situation is being addressed, while sweating and coughing on colleagues and his audience because he has contracted the coronavirus. Nor is he the only top official to have been infected: Today, Masoumeh Ebtekar, Iran’s vice president and a notoriously cruel member of the group of Iranians who held U.S. diplomats hostage in 1979, announced that she, too, has the disease. According to reports, she met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet just yesterday, potentially exposing the entire senior leadership of Iran to the disease.Harirchi stated that the government refuses to impose quarantines, because they are premodern and ineffective... The quarantine in China seems to be buying us time. The lack of one in Iran is spending it away."

Applying essential oil to anus 'cures coronavirus': Iranian cleri - "A local cleric from the Iranian city of Qom has suggested a novel cure for the new coronavirus - the pre-bedtime rectal administration of violet leaf oil.Users on Twitter describe how the Ayatollah Tabrizian has publicly denounced Western medicine as "un-Islamic".In a post to over 120,000 followers on the social messaging service Telegram, Tabrizian, a purveyor of traditional Islam medicine, listed several alternative techniques for fighting the spread of the contagious disease, known as Covid-19. According to an Iranian news site, which obtained a screenshot of the message, Tabrizian recommends consuming copious amounts of brown sugar, burning wild rue, as well as inhaling snuff.His eighth tip is the most striking: "Before bedtime, drench some cotton in violet oil and apply onto your anus" Ayatollah Tabrizian has written extensively on the essential oil, which he claims has miraculous, life-enhancing properties, such as the power to increase brain mass and reverse cognitive diseases such as Down's Syndrome.He cites a tradition attributed to a 12th century Persian scholar, who described the remedy as an effective treatment for rhinitis, or throat mucus, if it was "the will of God"... Qom, the city from which he hails, attracts millions of pilgrims every year and is home to a seminary which hosts large numbers of foreign religious students.The holy city is now a hotbed of coronavirus in Iran.BBC Persian say that implementing a lockdown by shutting down the city's shrine would be a huge step for local clerics, who see it as the pride of the Shia Muslim world"

Man hits emergency button on train in Japan after passenger coughs without mask

COVID-19 threat could erode with time just as with H1N1, say experts - "The outbreak of COVID-19 infections that started in Wuhan, China and has now spread to almost 30 other countries including Singapore could follow the same trajectory seen in the H1N1 influenza outbreak in Mexico just over a decade ago. It could fade into something less sinister later on, said infectious disease experts... Professor Tikki Pang, visiting professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy under the National University of Singapore (NUS) said the coronavirus causing the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to stabilise and eventually disappear from public consciousness.“This is the historical pattern of past pandemics, and happens because the virus ‘burns out’ and runs out of people to infect as a result of many factors,” said Prof Pang, citing warmer temperatures, better public awareness and public health measures... there are four circulating coronaviruses that cause the common cold, and one of them periodically causes severe pneumonia.“I believe they came into existence much like the current COVID-19. It killed many people and virology or technology was not sufficiently established then to identify the cause of the illness. But it became attenuated with time”... there is a “natural tendency” for viruses to mutate to something milder.If the virus is too pathogenic and it kills its host, it is unable to continue spreading. But if it is mild, it can continue to propagate and pass on to other individuals, eventually picking up mutations that reduce the virus' ability to cause disease"
People have short memories and the psychological need for drama is persistent

Pope cancels event due to 'illness' after touching hands and kissing heads at Vatican - "It comes a day after he kissed heads and touched faces as he met with crowds in St Peter's Square, saying he had solidarity with those suffering from coronavirus... He urged followers to give up trolling people on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for Lent. He said there was too much 'verbal violence' in the world which was 'amplified by the internet'.Francis added that Lent was 'a time to give up useless words, gossip, rumours, tittle-tattle and speak to God on a first name basis.'"

NHS staff told to shave off beards over coronavirus fears as facial hair can render masks ineffective - "An email sent to staff at Southampton General Hospital urged fellas with a beard or moustache to get rid.Medical director Derek Sandeman, who drafted the diktat, attached a graphic showing 36 styles of facial fuzz.Small growths that can fit under a mask, such as Hitler-style tach, the “soul patch” and “Zappa goatee” are marked as acceptable.But those with a bushier look, such as “mutton chops”, the “Van Dyke” or “full beards” are told to shave.People that grow a beard for religious or cultural reasons are exempted from the rules... other styles of mask are available for people who insist on keeping their beard but still need protection."
It's better to spread the coronavirus than to be 'racist'

Trump ‘shocked’ by deadliness of flu — it’s killed at least 16,000 Americans this season - "Public health officials have warned Americans to prepare for the spread of the novel coronavirus in the U.S., but the better-known flu virus is a far greater threat to Americans’ health right now, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest.President Donald Trump, seeking to reassure Americans about the novel coronavirus at a Wednesday press conference, said he was “shocked” to learn that the flu kills “from 25,000 people to 69,000 people a year.” So far this flu season, 16,000 Americans have died from flu, according to the CDC... Americans have simply gotten used to influenza despite the staggering number of people it affects"

Coronavirus: fellatio less contagious than a handshake according to scientists

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "We’ve already had a writer in the New York Times remark that the coronavirus should be called the Trumpvirus because they felt Trump’s response has been too slow. Let’s put the response in context by comparing to the H1N1 virus.The coronavirus started in China in December. The virus was identified less than two months ago and China started seriously addressing it about six weeks ago. January 31st, Trump declared a public health emergency and limited travel from China. (In a since-deleted tweet, Chuck Schumer opposed this action.) Last week Trump assigned Mike Pence and the epidemic response expert to head the ongoing CDC effort. Right now less than 100 people in America are known to be infected (with more suspected) and there is 1 fatality from a couple of days ago.The H1N1 flu pandemic started in April, 2009. It originated next door, in Mexico. President Obama declared a public health emergency in late October, six months later. At the time of the declaration over 1 million Americans had the H1N1 flu, 20,000 had been hospitalized, and over 1000 had died. "

Wuhan Resident Fears People are Deliberately Infecting Each Other

Surgeon General Urges the Public to Stop Buying Face Masks - The New York Times - "The surgeon general on Saturday urged the public to stop buying masks, warning that it won’t help against the spread of the coronavirus but will take away important resources from health care professionals... Dr. Adams said the best way to protect against the virus is to wash hands regularly, and for those who are feeling ill to stay home. Health officials around the world have been imploring the public to stop buying masks if they are healthy or not caring for someone who is ill. Medical professionals need a large supply of the masks because they are in direct contact with infected patients and must change their masks repeatedly... masks primarily prevent a person from giving the disease to someone else... A person is more likely to get infected by touching contaminated surfaces than from a droplet traveling through the air... Most people are unlikely to know how to wear these masks and could accidentally contaminate themselves if they touch the outside of the mask when they remove it and then touch their face... Dr. Redfield’s comment came after an exchange with Representative Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat of Pennsylvania, who asked how people should be preparing, including whether they needed to stock up on food or prescription medication.“Not at this time,” he said.“Should people be afraid?” Ms. Houlahan asked.“No,” he replied.“Should you wear a mask if you’re healthy?” she asked.“No,” Dr. Redfield said."

They're At It Again: Media Claims Trump Called Coronavirus a 'Hoax,' But That's Not What He Said - "President Donald Trump called out the Democrats for politicizing the coronavirus, noting that so far the administration’s quick reaction has kept the cases of the virus low.Trump quoted one of his people saying that the effort to politicize the virus is the new “hoax” effort following the failure of Russia and impeachment... Trump [is] reassuring people that “we have to take it seriously” and “we are prepared for the worst,” but they have taken “agressive” action... media completely twists what he says and blows it up. Thousands if not millions will then be sucked in, believing he actually said that, despite it making no logical sense with his prior comments and actions on the matter.Pretty much proving the point about “politicizing” it. Except Trump referred to Democrats. He should have included media as well."

Did President Trump Refer to the Coronavirus as a 'Hoax'? - "Trump did not call the coronavirus itself a hoax."
Even Snopes admits it. I saw someone dismissing this as semantics. Apparently it is more important to be morally right than factually correct. How ironic that Trump used to be condemned for his liberal approach to the truth

Trump Warned of Virus in State of the Union: MSNBC Compared to "Big Lie" Propaganda - "Speaker Nancy Pelosi literally ripped up the speech on camera, calling it a “pack of lies.”Senate Democratic Leader said of Trump’s remarks: “This President Just Lies. Just Lies!”Ohio Democrat Congressman Tim Ryan walked out while Trump was delivering the speech, saying: “It’s all fake.”Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave the Democrats’ official response to the Trump speech – and never once mentioned coronavirus... Trump, who by this point had not only mentioned the virus in his speech but had days earlier acted to restrict travel with China, was ridiculed for being “preposterous” (Scarborough) or a “white supremacist” (Capehart)."

Gad Saad - Posts - "Trump Derangement Syndrome is a bonafide psychiatric condition. Many “progressive” pundits criticized @realDonaldTrump when he announced an entry ban from China. Apparently it was xenophobic. The SAME pundits are now criticizing him for not having done so quickly enough"

Gad Saad on Twitter - "Oh look. The venerable @nytimes used the “xenophobic & bigoted” term “Wuhan virus” nearly two months ago. Any comments @chrislhayes?"

AP FACT CHECK: Democrats distort coronavirus readiness - "Democratic presidential contenders are describing the federal infectious-disease bureaucracy as rudderless and ill-prepared for the coronavirus threat because of budget cuts and ham-handed leadership by President Donald Trump. That’s a distorted picture. For starters, Trump hasn’t succeeded in cutting the budget... the money that government disease detectives first tapped to fight the latest outbreak was a congressional fund created for health emergencies.Some public health experts say a bigger concern than White House budgets is the steady erosion of a CDC grant program for state and local public health emergency preparedness — the front lines in detecting and battling new disease. But that decline was set in motion by a congressional budget measure that predates Trump.The broader point about there being “nobody here” to coordinate the response sells short what’s in place to handle an outbreak.The public health system has a playbook to follow for pandemic preparation — regardless of who’s president or whether specific instructions are coming from the White House. Those plans were put into place in anticipation of another flu pandemic, but are designed to work for any respiratory-borne disease. Among the health authorities overseeing the work are Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s principal deputy director and a veteran of previous outbreaks, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIH’s infectious disease chief who has advised six presidents.“The CDC’s response has been excellent, as it has been in the past,” said John Auerbach, president of the nonpartisan Trust for America’s Health, which works with government at all levels to improve the nation’s response to high-risk health crises. Some Democrats have charged that Trump decimated the nation’s public health leadership, but Auerbach said CDC’s top scientific ranks have remained stable during the past three years."

Why the Coronavirus Seems to Hit Men Harder Than Women - The New York Times - "while the novel virus has largely spared one vulnerable group — children — it appears to pose a particular threat to middle-aged and older adults, particularly men... the death rate among men was 2.8 percent, compared with 1.7 percent among women... Men also were disproportionately affected during the SARS and MERS outbreaks, which were caused by coronaviruses... When it comes to mounting an immune response against infections, men are the weaker sex... “There’s something about the immune system in females that is more exuberant,” said Dr. Janine Clayton, director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health.But there’s a high price, she added: Women are far more susceptible to autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, in which the immune system shifts into overdrive and attacks the body’s own organs and tissues... China has the largest population of smokers in the world — 316 million people — accounting for nearly one-third of the world’s smokers and 40 percent of tobacco consumption worldwide. But just over 2 percent of Chinese women smoke, compared with more than half of all men. Chinese men also have higher rates of Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure than women, both of which increase the risk of complications following infection with the coronavirus. Rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are almost twice as high among Chinese men as among women. In the United States, women are more proactive about seeking health care than men, and some small studies have found the generalization applies to Chinese students at universities in the United States, as well... several studies have found that men — even health care workers — are less likely to wash their hands or to use soap than women... “We make these broad sweeping assumptions that men and women are the same behaviorally, in terms of comorbidities, biology and our immune system, and we just are not”"
A dogged refusal to believe in "stereotypes" literally means people die - political correctness kills

Pence's office placed in charge of coronavirus messaging - "Vice President Mike Pence's office is in charge of all novel coronavirus messaging after several aides blamed negative coverage about the response on too many mixed messages from senior members of the administration.The new communications approach follows President Donald Trump's decision to put Pence in charge of the administration's coronavirus response.Now Pence's office is expected to take the lead role on coordinating all public statements and appearances related to the coronavirus. And the current expectation is that officials on the task force who go on television will likely have to clear their statements with his office beforehand."
I saw someone equate this to China arresting ordinary people who say something not approved about the coronavirus. Presumably that means if you work for a company and you speak out about work to the media without going through corporate communications and get fired, you can sue for wrongful dismissal

WHO chief on coronavirus: Global markets 'should calm down, see reality' - "“Global markets … should calm down and try to see the reality,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble during a panel discussion at the King Salman Humanitarian Aid Center’s International Humanitarian Forum in Riyadh. “We need to continue to be rational. Irrationality doesn’t help. We need to deal with the facts.”The comments come after global stocks were slammed in their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis"

Coronavirus Could Be The End Of China As A Global Manufacturing Hub - "“Using China as a hub...that model died this week, I think,” says Vladimir Signorelli, head of Bretton Woods Research, a macro investment research firm... That China is losing its prowess as the only game in town for whatever widget one wants to make was already under way. It was moving at a panda bear’s pace, though, and mostly because companies were doing what they always do - search the world with the lowest costs of production. Maybe that meant labor costs. Maybe it meant regulations of some kind or another. They were already doing that as China moves up the ladder in terms of wages and environmental regulations.Under President Trump, that slow moving panda moved a little faster. Companies didn’t like the uncertainty of tariffs. They sourced elsewhere. Their China partners moved to Vietnam, Bangladesh and throughout southeast Asia... Retail pharmacies in parts of Europe reported that couldn’t get surgical masks because they’re all made in China. Can’t Albania make these things for you? Seems their labor costs are even lower than China’s, and they are closer.The coronavirus is China’s swan song. There is no way it can be the low-cost, world manufacturer anymore. Those days are coming to an end. If Trump wins re-election, it will only speed up this process as companies will fear what happens if the phase two trade deal fails.Picking a new country, or countries, is not easy. No country has the logistic set up like China has. Few big countries have the tax rates that China has. Brazil surely doesn’t. India does. But it has terrible logistics.Then came the newly signed U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, signed by Trump into law last year. Mexico is the biggest beneficiary... “Our survey shows that a large majority of executives are moving or have moved portions of their operations from another country to Mexico,” says Christopher Swift, Foley partner and litigator in the firm’s Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations Practice.Swift says the move is due to the trade war and the passing of the USMCA. The phase one China trade deal is a positive, but the coronavirus - while likely temporary — shows how an over-reliance on China is bad for business."

Jeremy Judkins on Twitter - "Millennials: "I wish I was dead."
"There are too many people."
"We need a new plague."
Coronavirus: "Why are you running?"
The crowd which gush about how great human extinction will be need to volunteer to speed the process along

The Mossad: Elite Parody Division on Twitter - "North Korea shot their first confirmed case of #COVID19 to death.
Israel will have a vaccine for the virus ready in 3 weeks.
Guess which one has a permanent agenda item at @UNHumanRights."

COVID-19 isn’t as deadly as we think. - "The true case fatality rate, known as CFR, of this virus is likely to be far lower than current reports suggest. Even some lower estimates, such as the 1 percent death rate recently mentioned by the directors of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, likely substantially overstate the case. We shouldn’t be surprised that the numbers are inflated. In past epidemics, initial CFRs were floridly exaggerated. For example, in the 2009 H1N1 pandemic some early estimates were 10 times greater than the eventual CFR, of 1.28 percent. Epidemiologists think and quibble in terms of numerators and denominators—which patients were included when fractional estimates were calculated, which weren’t, were those decisions valid—and the results change a lot as a result. We are already seeing this. In the early days of the crisis in Wuhan, China, the CFR was more than 4 percent. As the virus spread to other parts of Hubei, the number fell to 2 percent. As it spread through China, the reported CFR dropped further, to 0.2 to 0.4 percent. As testing begins to include more asymptomatic and mild cases, more realistic numbers are starting to surface... But the most straightforward and compelling evidence that the true case fatality rate of SARS-CoV-2 is well under 1 percent comes not from statistical trends and methodological massage, but from data from the Diamond Princess cruise outbreak and subsequent quarantine off the coast of Japan... Here’s the problem with looking at mortality numbers in a general setting: In China, 9 million people die per year, which comes out to 25,000 people every single day, or around 1.5 million people over the past two months alone. A significant fraction of these deaths results from diseases like emphysema/COPD, lower respiratory infections, and cancers of the lung and airway whose symptoms are clinically indistinguishable from the nonspecific symptoms seen in severe COVID-19 cases. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the death rate from COVID-19 in China spiked precisely among the same age groups in which these chronic diseases first become common... This is where the Diamond Princess data provides important insight. Of the 3,711 people on board, at least 705 have tested positive for the virus (which, considering the confines, conditions, and how contagious this virus appears to be, is surprisingly low). Of those, more than half are asymptomatic, while very few asymptomatic people were detected in China. This alone suggests a halving of the virus’s true fatality rate... These patients were likely exposed repeatedly to concentrated viral loads (which can cause worse illness). Some treatments were delayed. So even the lower CFR found on the Diamond Princess could have been even lower, with proper protocols... we need to divert our focus away from worrying about preventing systemic spread among healthy people—which is likely either inevitable, or out of our control—and commit most if not all of our resources toward protecting those truly at risk of developing critical illness and even death: everyone over 70, and people who are already at higher risk from this kind of virus... Healthy people who are hoarding food, masks, and hand sanitizer may feel like they are doing the right thing. But, all good intentions aside, these actions probably represent misdirected anxieties. When such efforts are not directly in service of protecting the right people, not only do they miss the point of everything we have learned so far, they may actually unwittingly be squandering what have suddenly become precious and limited resources"

Trump calls WHO's global death rate from coronavirus 'a false number' - "Donald Trump declared live on television on Wednesday night that he did not believe the World Health Organization’s assessment of the global death rate from coronavirus of 3.4%."
Strange how Trump is basically saying the same thing as Jeremy Samuel Faust, MD MS MA, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, in the Slate article above. But of course he gets slammed for it

California's Democrat Governor Praises Trump's Coronavirus Response: 'Every Single Thing he Said They Followed Through On' - "California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom praised president President Donald Trump on Monday for supporting his state as it combats the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.Trump and his administration have faced criticism for their response to the coronavirus. But Newsom, who declared a state of emergency in California last Wednesday, shared positive remarks about the way the president has responded and supported the West Coast state."

China's coronavirus recovery is 'all fake,' whistleblowers and residents claim - "Beijing has spent much of the outbreak pushing districts to carry on business as usual, with some local governments subsidizing electricity costs and even installing mandatory productivity quotas. Zhejiang, a province east of the epicenter city of Wuhan, claimed as of Feb. 24 it had restored 98.6 percent of its pre-coronavirus work capacity.But civil servants tell Caixan that businesses are actually faking these numbers. Beijing had started checking Zhejiang businesses' electricity consumption levels, so district officials ordered the companies to start leaving their lights and machinery on all day to drive the numbers up... In Wuhan, officials have tried to make it appear that recovery efforts are going smoothly. But when "central leaders" personally survey disinfecting regimens and food delivery, local officials "make a special effort" for them and them alone, one resident told Caixan. And in a video circulating on social media, residents can be seen shouting at visiting leaders from the apartments where they're being quarantined — "Fake, it's all fake.""

What Does Beijing Believe About the Coronavirus? - "As the coronavirus spreads globally, China is keen to convince the world that things are getting back to normal within its borders. But the message that all is well is undercut by the tightening lockdown in Beijing, where streets remain empty and many offices and factories are required to have no more than 30 percent of their employees physically at work at any given time. For Chinese officials, protecting the party leadership from infection is clearly the highest priority. Deaths in Beijing appear to matter more than deaths elsewhere, so the response there is a telling vision of what the government really believes about the virus... Data faking. The government pressure to show that business activity is resuming has produced surreal scenes, with some local officials ordering factories to turn on machines to make it look like production is taking place and reporting fictitious data to top officials... Similar distortions are likely taking place with the coronavirus epidemic data itself.
Propaganda push. The Chinese government has shifted toward tacitly endorsing conspiracy theories that blame the United States for the coronavirus. On Monday, I wrote about the theories being circulated—not censored—on social media. Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during a press conference that though the first cases were detected in China, it’s not clear that the virus originated in China.China wants to promote itself as the savior—not the cause—of the virus. It is even looking to fund an alternative to the World Health Organization to push that idea...
China’s official figures leave a major unanswered question: How many asymptomatic cases of the virus are there, and is the country recording them properly? Asymptomatic patients are not included in the tally of cases, and the Chinese government claims that they are only 1.5 percent of total infections. But figures from Japan and South Korea suggest the real figure may be closer to between 10 and 20 percent, and data obtained by the media outlet Caixin suggests that Chinese provinces are fixing the real figures...
China has rolled out a color-coded quarantine system across the country, with citizens’ movements now restricted by an opaque algorithm and shared between the government and the e-commerce giant Alibaba. This type of system could end up staying in place and being used for other purposes beyond the virus outbreak. As the United States showed after 9/11, governments are reluctant to roll back security measures once enforced. But China’s new measures could be full of errors...
Since Wuhan’s quarantine began on Jan. 23, home sales in China have plummeted by 90 percent compared with the same time last year. Nobody is moving house, nobody is looking for new office space, and nothing is being built. That’s a big problem, because every Chinese company of scale is really a real estate company: Firms from airlines to film studios tie up their wealth in property."

Coronavirus Australia: Toilet paper panic prompts prankster to fill skill tester with precious prize - "As toilet paper panic hits fever pitch, one South Australian prankster has put something worth playing for inside a skill tester... Supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles have imposed a four-pack limit on toilet paper packs per customer in response to the flurry."

Chinese hotel used as Covid-19 quarantine site COLLAPSES, trapping dozens under rubble (VIDEOS)

Abdu Sharkawy - "I'm a doctor and an Infectious Diseases Specialist. I've been at this for more than 20 years seeing sick patients on a daily basis. I have worked in inner city hospitals and in the poorest slums of Africa. HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis,TB, SARS, Measles, Shingles, Whooping cough, Diphtheria...there is little I haven't been exposed to in my profession. And with notable exception of SARS, very little has left me feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed or downright scared.I am not scared of Covid-19...  What I am scared about is the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic, stockpiling obscene quantities of anything that could fill a bomb shelter adequately in a post-apocalyptic world. I am scared of the N95 masks that are stolen from hospitals and urgent care clinics where they are actually needed for front line healthcare providers and instead are being donned in airports, malls, and coffee lounges, perpetuating even more fear and suspicion of others. I am scared that our hospitals will be overwhelmed with anyone who thinks they " probably don't have it but may as well get checked out no matter what because you just never know..." and those with heart failure, emphysema, pneumonia and strokes will pay the price for overfilled ER waiting rooms with only so many doctors and nurses to assess.I am scared that travel restrictions will become so far reaching that weddings will be canceled, graduations missed and family reunions will not materialize. And well, even that big party called the Olympic Games...that could be kyboshed too. Can you evenimagine?I'm scared those same epidemic fears will limit trade, harm partnerships in multiple sectors, business and otherwise and ultimately culminate in a global recession.But mostly, I'm scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, openmindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested."

Sacramento County Announces Shift Away From Quarantines In Coronavirus Mitigation Efforts - "Sacramento County is moving away from 14-day quarantines for people who have been in contact with someone with the novel coronavirus... County officials said in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, “it is no longer necessary for someone who has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days.”"
This must be a new type of containment

Thread by @PalliThordarson - "Why does soap work so well on the SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus and indeed most viruses? Because it is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer... The soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and "dies", or rather, we should say it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive. Viruses can be active outside the body for hours, even days.
Disinfectants, or liquids, wipes, gels and creams containing alcohol (and soap) have a similar effects but are not really quite as good as normal soap. Apart from the alcohol and soap, the “antibacterial agents” in these products don't affect the virus structure much at all...
Ethanol and other alcohols do not only readily form hydrogen bonds with the virus material but as a solvent, are more lipophilic than water. Hence alcohol do also dissolve the lipid membrane and disrupt other supramolecular interactions in the virus. However, you need a fairly high concentration (maybe +60%) of the alcohol to get a rapid dissolution of the virus. Vodka or whiskey (usually 40% ethanol), will not dissolve the virus as quickly. Overall alcohol is not quite as good as soap at this task."

Why sanitizer works, but hand washing works better - "Soap works a little differently. Instead of killing viruses and bacteria, its purpose is to lift away dirt, oil, and other dangerous agents that get on your hands. Sanitizer doesn’t remove anything: It only disinfects bacteria and viruses and can leave pesticides or spores on your hands... The one thing that can be a little tricky is that sanitizers or soaps with ingredients like triclosan might up the risk of antibiotic resistance; these additives haven’t proven to do much to benefit your hand washing and sanitizing regimen. But Maggirwar hasn’t seen bacteria and viruses grow resistant to alcohol or regular old soap"

Japanese corporate culture explains why experts given back seat in virus response - "Despite the unfolding crisis, the government’s coronavirus task force didn’t convene its panel of experts to discuss what measures should be taken in Japan to combat the new virus’ spread until Feb. 16. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the first meeting for a mere three minutes and then went home, and has attended subsequent meetings for an average of just 12 minutes each.Last week, the Abe administration recommended that all schools in Japan close for several weeks, despite experts doubting the usefulness of doing so. Masaki Yoshida, chairman of the Japan Society for Infection Prevention and Control, has said that closing schools where the virus is not present “will not make any difference at all” and the fact that children will go out and play even with schools closed will make it hard to tell whether the school closures are actually working. On March 2, Abe admitted that he made this decision without expert input, solely based on his own political judgment. Kentaro Iwata, a doctor at Kobe University who specializes in infectious diseases, boarded the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama on Feb. 18 while it was under quarantine due to the spread of COVID-19 onboard. He posted a pair of YouTube videos (subsequently deleted) in which he reported that “there was nobody in charge of infection prevention as a professional” and that “the bureaucrats were in charge of everything.”... the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s website uses poor quality machine translation for much of its foreign language provision of information including that relating to COVID-19, with ministry official Takuma Kato saying, “Our ministry doesn’t have a dedicated team of staff specializing in English-language communication.” After the publication of this article, the ministry said it would start using professional translators for updates on its website... most Japanese organizations focus on creating generalists, which prevents the development of specialists"

South Korea’s aggressive coronavirus testing gives clues to fatality rate - "South Korea’s massive testing effort can come in, providing a valuable reference point for public health experts around the world who are starved of hard data – offering potentially the most comprehensive picture yet of the threat posed by Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, to the general public.And while experts caution that it is still too early to draw firm conclusions, the picture emerging in South Korea – which has the most confirmed cases outside China but with a more transparent political environment – suggests the virus could be less lethal than patchier data emerging from elsewhere.“If we can test more people – whether they have no symptoms, mild or severe disease – the results, including the case fatality rate, are more accurate and representative when the whole disease spectrum is taken into consideration,” said David Hui Shu-cheong, an expert in respiratory medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.“Most countries just focus on testing the hospitalized patients who obviously have more severe disease, and [thus] the fatality rate is high.” South Korea, which introduced a system to grant the rapid approval of testing kits for viruses after 2015’s outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome in the country that killed 38 people, has won international plaudits for the scale and speed of its screening regime, which includes drive-through stations that can test members of the public in minutes.This week, President Moon Jae-in went so far as to declare “war” on the virus and as of Thursday, health authorities had tested more than 140,000 people.One question puzzling disease experts has been Covid-19’s mortality rate, which has seemingly ranged from 2-3% in China up to 10% in Iran, based on official numbers – though given the opaque nature of both countries’ political systems, these figures have been dogged by doubts, with some scientists suggesting that the illness caused by the new coronavirus is actually less deadly than the severe acute respiratory syndrome... World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday said the global mortality rate from Covid-19 recorded so far was about 3.4%... in South Korea, where the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported 6,284 cases and 40 deaths, the mortality rate appears to be hovering around 0.64%. While this is still several times more lethal than seasonal influenza, which kills about 0.1% of the people it infects – 30,000-40,000 people in the US alone each year – South Korea’s rate is far lower than that seen elsewhere... All other things being equal, the more people tested, the more accurate the mortality rate will be.William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said South Korea had emerged as a “wonderful laboratory” for studying the virus... The argument that South Korea’s lower death rate may be more representative of the risk posed by the virus has been bolstered by some of the data out of China, where more than 80,000 cases have been reported.In a study released last month, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the mortality rate among people whose symptoms started between January 1 and January 10 was 15.6%, compared to just 0.8% among those who showed symptoms between February 1 and February 11 – a possible indication that increased screening as awareness of the virus grew had detected more mild cases of infection... Jeremy Rossman, an honorary senior lecturer in virology at the University of Kent in the UK, said he believed the true fatality rate was significantly lower than observed in China and especially the city of Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak – where about 4% of patients are reported to have died.“It is hard to know exactly which factors are at play in which country,” Rossman said, adding there may have been significant under-reporting of cases in Wuhan. “Regardless, I do think it’s likely that the fatality rate is closer to 0.5%, which is indeed very good news.”"
Hystericists, seeking fuel for their own panic, look at Iran's high mortality rate and proclaim that this shows the disease is really deadly, and that China is covering all the deaths up. Presumably they think South Korea is in on the conspriacy too

How Deadly Is The New Coronavirus? China Offers Some Intriguing Clues - "Outside of Wuhan — the city at the epicenter of the outbreak — the death rate in China has been much lower: about 0.7%. That's fewer than 1 fatality per 100 cases... if you factor out all the data from Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, the fatality rate in the rest of China drops to 0.4%... Wuhan suffered from being the first place where the new coronavirus surfaced. "Wuhan started fast and, and early. People didn't know what we were dealing with. We were learning how to treat this." The more patients medical staff saw, the more they could start identifying what kind of supportive care made a difference. So by the time patients started showing up in hospitals in other provinces, doctors and nurses there had a lot more information about what it takes to keep patients alive... The second reason for the higher death rate in Hubei "was just the sheer scale of the numbers," said Aylward.Hospitals in Wuhan were flooded with thousands of sick people. That stressed their capacity to provide the kind of round-the-clock intensive care needed for a patient with a critical case of COVID-19.Elsewhere in China the caseload was much lower.The implication for other countries: It's worth trying to at least slow the pace of an outbreak with measures to keep the number of patients from overwhelming local hospitals.The final factor, says Aylward, "At the beginning of this outbreak remember, people were finding severe disease. And that's why the alarm bells went off."Those early severe cases made COVID-19 look like a much bigger killer. It was only after officials in China stepped up surveillance that they started uncovering many more mild cases (people with symptoms such as fever and dry cough but limited or no pneumonia).All of this may also help explain why over time the death rate for COVID-19 has steadily dropped... there's a good chance the fatality rate in nations with good health systems will end up being a lot lower than what was first seen in China.Still, it's worth noting that even after China got the death rate down to 0.7%, or even 0.4%, that's still about four to seven times greater than the death rate for seasonal flu"

Coronavirus privacy: Are South Korea's alerts too revealing? - "These alerts arrive all day, every day, telling you where an infected person has been - and when. You can also look up the information on the Ministry of Health and Welfare website.No names or addresses are given, but some people are still managing to connect the dots and identify people. The public has even decided two of the infected were having an affair.And, even if patients are not outright identified, they're facing judgement - or ridicule - online. When you search online for a virus patient's case number, related queries include "personal details", "face", "photo", "family" - or even "adultery".Some online users are commenting that "I had no idea so many people go to love motels" - the by-the-hour hotels popular with couples.They are also joking that people cheating on their spouses are known to be keeping a low profile these days..."
A research team at Seoul National University's Graduate School of Public Health recently asked 1,000 Koreans which scares them the most:
Potential carriers around them
Criticisms and further damage they may suffer from being infected
That they may not have symptoms yet have the virus
Prof You Myoung-soon's team found "criticisms and further damage" were more feared than having the virus... Lee Su-young, a psychiatrist at Myongji Hospital in Goyang, Gyeonggi, told BBC Korean that some of her patients "were more afraid of being blamed than dying of the virus"."

Chinese who cry racial abuse amid the coronavirus epidemic forget they are as bad as the rest of us - "Yes, racism runs deep in American society. But the same goes for China, Hong Kong, Japan, India and elsewhere. At least the US admits it has a problem and tries to right its wrongs. There is legal recourse against racism. Can I say the same of Hong Kong, where I was born, and China?"

China pushes back as Covid-19 crisis damages its image - "When the Covid-19 epidemic began its relentless march around the world, China’s diplomats reacted harshly toward countries that shut their borders, cancelled flights or otherwise restricted travel.Italy was overreacting when it did so, Mr Qin Gang, a vice-minister of foreign affairs, told his counterpart in February. The United States was stoking fear and panic, a spokeswoman, Ms Hua Chunying, said. “True feeling shines through in hardship,” she said back then.Now China is doing the same, undercutting its own diplomatic efforts to win sympathy and support by imposing travel restrictions that it once called unnecessary. They include 14 days of quarantine for travellers from Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan. Almost everyone flying into Beijing faces a similar fate, regardless of departure point.“They have a toolbox that only seems to have a hammer”... it has expelled foreign journalists, attacked displays of racism, hinted that other governments are responding too slowly and suggested that the virus originated elsewhere... China has urged countries to work together but lashed out at the United States and others, at least in part, it seems, to deflect public anger at home... “Beijing is playing geopolitics with the epidemic,” Ms Shirk wrote. “The domestic propaganda is hostile to the US and emphasising the superiority of the Chinese system and the wisdom of Xi Jinping.”... The Central Propaganda Department is even publishing a book — in several languages — praising Mr Xi’s role in guiding the country through the crisis, however premature a declaration of victory might seem at this point... It also chartered a flight to bring back Chinese citizens from Iran — a step it harshly criticised the United States for doing from Wuhan in January. China’s Foreign Ministry is keeping score. Mr Ma Zhaoxu, a vice-minister of foreign affairs, said Thursday that 62 countries had donated masks or protective clothing... Mr Zhao, the ministry’s spokesman, noted that 170 leaders had made supportive statements"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Coronavirus infects the markets - "‘Why are there seemingly widespread suspicions that Iran may be covering up the number of cases in the country?’
‘If you look at the numbers that we have today, the number of people who have died of the virus is one 10th of the number that they say have confirmed corona. While the official number that the World Health Organization puts is that probably for each hundred people who contract the virus, one or two people would die’"
Of course, hystericists interpret this as meaning the virus is really as lethal as in Iran, and the statistics from the rest of the world are what is dodgy

Many locally transmitted Covid-19 cases a result of ‘socially irresponsible’ actions of a few individuals: MOH - "As of Monday, there were a total of 160 confirmed cases in Singapore. Of these, around 35 admitted to not minimising social contact despite having developed a fever or respiratory symptoms. These individuals also continued to go to work and carried on with their daily activities despite being ill, the ministry said.They also did not consult a doctor on the early onset of their symptoms... As for the biggest cluster, which is linked to a private dinner function on Feb 15 at the Joy Garden Restaurant in Safra Jurong, MOH said that an individual was unwell but went ahead to attend the event.This likely resulted in 18 people at the dinner testing positive for the virus.Of the 18, 10 continued with daily activities despite feeling unwell, resulting in 17 more cases — none of whom had attended the dinner... MOH also highlighted the issue of doctor-hopping and urged the public to see the same doctor so that appropriate assessments can be made.It revealed that out of the 160 confirmed cases, 24 per cent — or 38 people — visited more than one general practitioner (GP) clinic. Of the 38, eight visited three or more GP clinics."

Trump, Socialism, and the Coronavirus Epidemic - The Atlantic
Actual response: ""Just as there are no atheists in foxholes" And the writer knows  this how? And just like that, the whole article is discredited."
If you dismiss ideas you don't like, you don't need to engage with them!
It's quite strange how to this writer, any government intervention is socialism. Even to the 'libertarians' (who are really anarchists) for whom government is not needed even to build roads, those who advocate any role for government at all are 'statists', not socialists

Opinion | How Iran Completely and Utterly Botched Its Response to the Coronavirus - The New York Times - "Lives could have been saved and the scale of the contagion contained if the Islamic Republic had not made health policy subservient to its politics... The official response was glaring denial of the magnitude of the crisis. Iraj Harirchi, the deputy minister of health, denied Mr. Farahani’s allegation and promised to resign if the death toll proved to be even one fourth of his claim. A day later, Mr. Harirchi himself tested positive for the coronavirus, and is under quarantine.By that time, the fourth week of February, it became evident that a disproportionate number of members of Parliament and senior government officials were infected. Iranian politicians and officials travel frequently between Tehran and Qum, and it is most likely that one of them contracted the virus in Qum and infected colleagues in Tehran, where the newly elected Parliament was in session.Iranians have a culture of greeting each other by kissing the other person on the cheeks. Politicians often overdo it to show their closeness to power players. In this particular moment, the greeting could have transmitted the virus... Even doctors and medical staff members at the smaller government hospitals were not alerted to take precautions until after the number of cases started to increase rapidly. The results of a test of a nurse from a small village in Geelan province were communicated a week after her death... A high turnout in the elections would help improve the legitimacy of the government. Tehran seems to have suppressed information about the coronavirus because it did not want participation in the elections to be affected. Although the hard-liners won the elections, voting was the lowest since 1979. The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accused the country’s enemies of exaggerating the threat of the coronavirus right before the elections to keep voters away from the polls.Iran could have minimized the outbreak by moving swiftly to quarantine Qum, which is very crowded and heavily infected, but it did not"

Melissa Chen - "I've been tracking the Coronavirus story since January. What has most amazed me about the US's reaction to all of this is the clear demonstration of political tribes in action.In the earlier days, the right was the one making a big deal out of the spread of Covid19, warning about China's mishandling of the outbreak and the potential spread globally. They wanted travel bans in place. Meanwhile the left was playing the crisis down, saying travel restrictions were "racist" and it was "just a flu by another name."TODAY: FLIP THE SCRIPT.The right is saying "nothing to see here" because the Trump administration has taken an almost nonchalant approach to it, failing to take actions or issue communications that are commensurate with the dangers of the crisis. And because of the admin's bungling shit show, the left is now gleefully saying "THIS IS A FIVE ALARM FIRE!!! DEFCON 1!!!!"Ridiculous."

Even as behavioural researchers we couldn’t resist the urge to buy toilet paper - "It’s seen as an essential product, without ready substitutes. In many ways, toilet paper is similar to essential services. Imagine that the water utility told you they were cutting off the water in your neighbourhood for an undetermined period. I’m sure there’d be a surge in water tank sales and that baths, sinks and buckets would be filled.Toilet paper is easily stockpiled and doesn’t deteriorate. It’s relatively a low cost/low risk investment and even if you have stockpiled, it’s something you will eventually use. Given we’re aware of people in quarantine for two weeks or longer, it makes sense to stockpile non-perishables in case this happens in Australia... The virus has all the characteristics that make it scary – it’s novel, invisible, we have no control, we are involuntarily exposed to the risk, it makes us feel dread and we are personally vulnerable. As box ticking goes, this one is right up there... Buying toilet paper alleviates some of this anxiety and helps us regain control... The supermarket shelf itself also sends signals. Toilet paper is bulky and, as it’s removed, the shelves look empty quickly, which triggers the perceptions of scarcity. In reality, the situation appears worse than it actually is.We psychologically respond to scarcity... There are at least three factors driving our response – scarcity, social proof, and regaining a sense of control"

Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now - "Flatten the CurveThis is a pandemic now. It can’t be eliminated. But what we can do is reduce its impact.Some countries have been exemplary at this. The best one is Taiwan, which is extremely connected with China and yet still has as of today fewer than 50 cases. This recent paper explain all the measures they took early on, which were focused on containment... If we reduce the infections as much as possible, our healthcare system will be able to handle cases much better, driving the fatality rate down. And, if we spread this over time, we will reach a point where the rest of society can be vaccinated, eliminating the risk altogether. So our goal is not to eliminate coronavirus contagions. It’s to postpone them... There is one very simple thing that we can do and that works: social distancing... Keeping people home as much as possible, for as long as possible until this recedes.This has already been proven in the past. Namely, in the 1918 flu pandemic... Philadelphia didn’t act quickly, and had a massive peak in death rates. Compare that with St Louis, which did.""
There is omitted variable bias here, though - countries which are better prepared also do more testing. So South Korea has many cases on paper - but that's because it tests a lot. Which also lowers the fatality rate. And South Korea having more cases than Japan is not necessarily because it didn't learn lessons from SARS but Japan did - but because they screen more

How Italy’s coronavirus lockdown differs from China’s | South China Morning Post - "Italy’s response to the Covid-19 appears to mirror China’s lockdown of cities across the country, but the sharp differences in the two countries’ government systems mean the restrictions in place will be nowhere near as extensive... the Italian government did not stop businesses from operating as normal or blocking deliveries of supplies of goods provided appropriate protective measures were adopted.It was also unclear how the restrictions on movement would be enforced if at all.Conte was trying to strike a balance between curbing the spread of the virus and avoiding making harsh, restrictive decisions like in China... A major difference between the two countries’ measures is the ability for outsiders and foreigners to come in and out of the affected areas.In China, all foreigners were barred from leaving Hubei, except those who were able to catch chartered flights organised by their home countries or territories, such as the US, Germany, Britain and Hong Kong... Conte’s policies also appear to give a lot of leeway to regional officials to decide what kind of measures to put in place – unlike China’s top-down approaches where central government officials instructed local subordinates and coordinated nationwide policies."
I saw multiple people bashing the New York Times for "racism" for covering China and Italy's quarantines differently. It's good to know that the South China Morning Post and their reporter Stuart Lau are also racist

Coronavirus: Why it’s so deadly in Italy - Andreas Backhaus - "Recently, 3% of all confirmed cases in South Korea were at least 80 years old. At about the same time, 19.1% of all confirmed cases in Italy were at least 80 years old. This enormous difference occurred while the absolute numbers of confirmed cases overall were similar in the two countries (8,036 in Italy vs 7,134 in South Korea). Consequently, Italy’s healthcare and hospital system had to take care of a much higher number of infected older patients than the South Korean one — patients that need more intensive care and that are simultaneously more likely to pass away. A clear implication is that the Italian CFR is not comparable to the Korean CFR — the people infected with the coronavirus that enter the Italian CFR are much older than those that enter the Korean CFR, and as older people are much more likely to die of COVID-19, they push the Italian CFR upwards. Another implication is that explaining the different CFRs with differences in the healthcare and hospital systems between Italy and South Korea might be premature — in the current coronavirus crisis, South Korea’s hospitals and intensive care units have never been tested to the extent that Italy’s currently are... In South Korea, the age structure of the coronavirus cases is remarkably similar to the age structure of the population... The same is not true for Italy: The share of confirmed cases at age 70–79 exceeds the population share of this age group by more than a factor of two. Among those aged 80 and more, the case share is almost three times as high as the population share. By contrast, young people and hence low-fatality-risk people are visibly underrepresented among the confirmed cases... the testing procedures for coronavirus in the countries are very different — Italy has predominantly been testing people with symptoms of a coronavirus infection, while South Korea has been testing basically everyone since the outbreak had become apparent... the Korean CFR has been creeping up to 0.89%. Hence, 1% seems to be a reasonable estimate of the case fatality rate in a high-income country (!) in the absence of any major failures of the hospital and care system (!). This 1% CFR estimate is close to what Dr. Jeremy Faust has been suggesting based on the Diamond Princess cruise ship case."
So much for socialised healthcare (which South Korea also has) explaining why Italy is doing so badly
Presumably the hystericists think South Korea is covering up deaths too to make the fatality rate look lower than it really is. I saw one guy tout a death rate of minimum 20%, so the fact that even Italy isn't seeing such a high death rate means they must be in on the conspiracy too

Eugene Gu, MD on Twitter - "@GOPLeader So now it’s the Chinese coronavirus? Why is racism against Asians so widely accepted and tolerated in this country?" - March 9
Eugene Gu, MD on Twitter - "In the month and a half since the Wuhan coronavirus emerged as a new disease, it has killed 41 people so far. During that same time period, the common flu has killed almost 80,000. We must take all new diseases seriously and be vigilant while keeping everything in perspective too" - January 25

Why Is the Coronavirus Outbreak So Bad in Italy? - "Because the virus spread undetected, some officials believe this is the reason for such a high number of cases in the country... Some officials also believe Italy, which has already tested over 42, 000 people, may have a higher number of cases as a result of performing more rigorous tests than their European counterparts.Italy, however, is also reporting an above average mortality rate at 4%. The average age of coronavirus patients who have died because of the virus in Italy is 81, according to the National Health Institute. Italy, which has one the world’s oldest populations, could be facing a higher mortality rate as a result of its above-average elderly population. “Italy is the oldest country in the oldest continent in the world,” says Lorenzo Casani, the health director of a clinic for elderly people in Lombardy told TIME. “We have a lot of people over 65.” Casani also suggests the mortality rate might be higher than average because Italy is testing only the critical cases. “We are not doing enough,” he said.Casani says that pollution in northern Italy could be a factor in higher death rates. According to a report by the Swiss air monitoring platform IQAir, 24 of Europe’s 100 most polluted cities are in Italy... Italy was the first European Union country to ban flights to and from China.The travel ban, however, may have encouraged travellers to come in on connecting flights without disclosing their country of departure... Italy’s current national health service, known as Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), provides free universal care to patients yet remains under-funded. Investments in public healthcare make up only 6.8% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is lower than other countries in the European Union including France and Germany."
Other articles say Italy's health system is good, though

Coronavirus testing might have stopped it early. Now it's too late. - The Washington Post - "The first thing officials need when responding to an infectious disease is a way to test for it — a way to tell who has it and who is at risk...the United States has lagged far behind the rest of the world in testing for the new coronavirus. As a result, outbreaks here are likely to be more numerous and more difficult to control than they would have been otherwise. I research infectious disease and how to fight it, so I know how important it is to detect outbreaks early. The covid-19 outbreak is the largest acute infectious-disease emergency most of us have experienced. And we may have let it go undetected here for too long. For countries that are lucky enough so far to have been spared large covid-19 outbreaks, the way to handle the virus is simple: Strangle it at birth. If you detect it while there are still just a handful of cases, it is comparatively easy to chase down the contacts of the people who have it, isolate them quickly and halt transmission. If that fails, stopping transmission might take measures like the draconian restrictions imposed in China, which — while apparently successful — we should wish to avoid...If you don’t diagnose the disease, it doesn’t go away. It keeps being transmitted without being noticed, and a thousand little fires spark. If we don’t start aggressively testing mild illness and contacts of contacts, we will lose all track of them. Bruce Aylward, leader of the joint World Health Organization China mission, put it bluntly: “It’s all about the speed.” We’re in a race with the virus, and if it wins, we only get more contacts to chase in an ever-growing chain reaction...Testing for the virus is like turning on the light. If you don’t test, you cannot know where it is spreading. And if you don’t know where it is spreading, you cannot mount an effective response. How different countries affected by covid-19 have tested for it shows what can be done and the consequences of failure...Iran and Italy were both surprised by the sudden arrival of the virus in their communities. It’s not clear how much this was due to underreporting or wishful thinking by officials that it might go away, but in both cases, a lack of testing allowed the viru1s to spread unseen; gradually, then suddenly...Explanations for this shortfall in basic outbreak response in the United States range from the bureaucratic (confusion among federal and state agencies) to the scientific (which test is the best?) and the economic (who pays?)...Test early. Test often. Testing costs money, but this should be considered an investment in public health. A negative test result is just as important as a positive one."
Naturally there were quite a few people bashing "socialized healthcare" who blamed it for the virus's impact in some countries (ignoring South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong which have socialised healthcare and still done well, or Singapore which has quasi socialised healthcare and waived Covid-19 fees) and were unable to understand the importance of free testing in controlling it

Surge in coronavirus patients threatens to swamp U.S. hospitals - The Washington Post - "The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates a pandemic influenza, such as the one that hit the United States in 1957, would result in 38 million needing medical care, 1 million needing hospitalization and 200,000 needing to be in intensive care. In a severe scenario, such as in the 1918 influenza epidemic, the numbers would go up to 9.6 million hospitalizations and 2.9 million needing intensive care.The United States, in comparison, has only about 924,107 hospital beds and 97,776 intensive care beds, according to a 2018 American Hospital Association survey."
So much for non-socialised healthcare meaning the US is best placed to deal with the virus

Robert Schultz on Twitter - "To everyone in NYC but ESPECIALLY healthy people & people under 40 (bc from what I’m observing that’s who needs to hear this again):PLEASE stop crowding bars, restaurants, and public spaces right now. Eat your meals at home.If you are healthy, you could be spreading COVID."
"I just went to a crowded Red Robin and I'm 30.It was delicious, and I took my sweet time eating my meal. Because this is America. And I'll do what I want."
"I just went to a crowded Red Robin and I’m 98 years old! I tipped the wait staff to spit in my water cup then I made a family of strangers take a bite of an uncooked burger before I shoved it up my ass! Because this America and I’M BATSHIT INSANE!!!"
When AOC actually makes sense...

A coronavirus cautionary tale from Italy: Don’t do what we did - The Boston Globe - "Until last week, the Italian public health care system had the capacity to care for everyone. Our country has universal health care, so patients aren’t turned away from hospitals here. But in a matter of days, the system was being felled by a virus that I, and many other Italians, had failed to take seriously.The inability of the medical system to deal with the flow of patients in critical condition is not one of the problems of this complex medical emergency. It is the problem... less-than-urgent appeals to the public by the government to slightly change habits regarding social interactions aren’t enough when the terrible outcomes they are designed to prevent are not yet apparent; when they become evident, it’s generally too late to act. I and many other Italians just didn’t see the need to change our routines for a threat we could not see.Italy has now been in lockdown since March 9; it took weeks after the virus first appeared here to realize that severe measures were absolutely necessary... How do we decide who gets an ICU bed and who doesn’t? Age? Life expectancy? How many kids they have? Their special abilities? Is the patient’s profession a relevant factor? Is it right to save a middle-aged doctor who will save more lives if he survives as opposed to a younger person who’s been unemployed for the last 12 months? These are the kind of theoretical questions you are asked to weigh in leadership classes at business school. But this is not a personality test. It’s real lives.The way to avoid or mitigate all this in the United States and elsewhere is to do something similar to what Italy, Denmark, and Finland are doing now, but without wasting the few, messy weeks in which we thought a few local lockdowns, canceling public gatherings, and warmly encouraging working from home would be enough stop the spread of the virus. We now know that wasn’t nearly enough... Life in lockdown is hard, but it is also an exercise in humility... Strangely, it’s also a moment in which our usual individualistic, self-centered outlook is waning a bit"... "We believe that no disease or illness can exist in holy communion, which we believe is the body and blood of Christ"... the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference urged a number of measures to reduce transmission of the virus, including stopping communion being distributed from the chalice and the removal of holy water from stoups...  The Catholic Church and Anglican Church have ceased serving wine in the common cup, due to coronavirus, and Australian Christian Churches — a movement of Pentecostal churches — said it was being guided by the Department of Health. Victory Life Centre, which is a non-denominational Christian church in Perth founded by Margaret Court, also believes its faith will protect its congregation.The church issued a statement on its website that said COVID-19 "will not come near our dwelling or our church family"... "It's not a matter of listening to [anyone]. It comes down to religious rights. If a government is going to impose its own view on matters of faith, where does one stop? We will continue as we have during the [past] centuries""

Melissa Chen - "The bald-faced lie that COVID19 is an American disease introduced by the US Army in Wuhan in October is being promoted by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Yet our virtue-signalers in the media (cough cough Jim Acosta) have been pillorying US government officials and Fox News for using terms such as “Wuhan virus” for xenophobia and racism because apparently it isn’t kosher to highlight the virus's origin. Odd that no one finds it racist to call it Ebola, Zika, MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), German Measles or Spanish flu.Further, every publication has used the same designation and even Chinese journalists working for Asia-based newspapers continue to do so till today."

17 Diseases Named After Places Or People - "West Nile Virus
Guinea Worm
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Lyme Disease
Ross River Fever
Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
Valley Fever
Marburg Virus Disease
Zika Fever
Japanese Encephalitis
German Measles
Spanish Flu
Lassa Fever
Legionnaire’s Disease"

Lucas Lynch - "All those "scholars" in the humanities dedicated to the idea that our scientific and medical establishments are tools of racism and sexism, and that scientific inquiry has no superior grasp on truth, gosh they have grown rather quiet lately haven't they?Strangely they don't see 'inherent bias' in CDC regulations urging them to stay at home and work from there, nor do I see them flaunting that 'bias' as some act of liberation.Don't know why they lack the courage of their convictions in this particular case!"
Comments: "Innocent boy. Check out @conceptualjames. The Critical Theorists have made Cofveve19 all about racism, sexism, transphobia, islamophobia , etc"
"Until yesterday I was pretty sure that this "humanities people think that science is a tool of oppression blah blah blah" was a bullshit story, but then I made the mistake of trying to explain my own discipline to a group of anthropologists and english majors and it turns out that you were right in the end"

Stephen King on Twitter - "Note that Trump’s coronavirus team is all male, all old, and all white."
Comments: "As I watch a woman step to the podium to speak."
"Bro you misgendered Deborah Brix.This is a hate crime.You will be arrested and your Twitter will be banned immediately — Bigot."
"Fake News: On the #CoronaVirus Team. Dr. Deborah Birx: U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. Seema Verna, MPH: Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Dr Ben Carson: HUD Secretary. Dr Jerome Adam: US Surgeon General"
"Look in the mirror bro"
"First of all, this is obviously not even close to be true, and second, why would that matter in a situation like this?"
"You should get tested. You are experiencing cognitive decline and/or blurry vision."
Since liberal logic is that if you don't advance the liberal agenda you are a straight white guy (which is why Buttigieg is straight), King is right
Yet diversity doesn't matter in art to King, only quality. Presumably it's important to have good art but not important if people die

In Washington, COVID-19 quarantine plans disrespect communities of color - "The state’s first COVID-19 diagnoses and related deaths occurred in Kirkland, which is overwhelmingly white and wealthy. Never mind that the county has and will continue to introduce quarantine facilities in largely white areas; its first two were in communities of color... Both communities have pushed back. The city of Kent filed a temporary restraining order that was denied Friday in King County Superior Court. Community members in White Center protesting the county’s nearby isolation facility have circulated an online petition that has attracted more than 15,000 signatures. And yesterday afternoon residents from both communities poured into a King County Council meeting to denounce the quarantine plan. Many lamented the county’s failure to apply a racial equity lens to its decision... Neither community complained solely about the racial insensitivity of county officials choosing to site isolation facilities in Kent and White Center (triggering, by the way, echoes of previous and ongoing detention experiences). No, they were more outraged that the county imposed actions on them without consultation or collaboration... “We always take into account how government decisions are perceived in a community, but responding immediately to the current health emergency took precedence.”It should not be lost that “emergency powers” have served as cover for many of our country’s greatest government-sanctioned atrocities against people of color... In the end, among the most lasting symptoms of COVID-19 will be the layers of inequity it exposed in our society"
Grievance mongers never take a day off. I guess at any consultation they can all get infected and then blame the racist system for infecting them, so it's win-win

Satiria - Home - "Decolonizing medicine: western academics encourage drinking cow urine & licking shrines to defeat coronavirus, erase slavery."

Covid-19: Quarantines are a ‘massive human rights violation’ - "During the SARS outbreak in Toronto, more than 25,000 people in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) were placed in quarantine and 9,100 passengers screened at airports by nurses or quarantine officers, yet not a single case of SARS was caught. It was a waste of financial and human resources, according to a Government of Canada report.In 2009, some countries implemented travel restrictions on flights to and from Mexico after the outbreak of the H1N1 swine flu. A study published in PLOS One found the travel ban only delayed the disease by three days... So why enforce strict travel bans and mandatory quarantines if it’s been shown it doesn’t work? Closing borders looks good politically. It’s aggressive, proactive, and gives citizens the impression their leaders are making shrewd decisions and taking action. But governments also face criticism for inaction and silence... Being in isolation and in an extended quarantine not only infringes on rights and liberties,  but it also it causes fear and poses an ongoing threat to the physical and mental health of millions of healthy people"

Jais says ordered Shah Alam mosque to cancel closure over Covid-19 - "A mosque in Seksyen 27, Shah Alam in Selangor has been ordered to withdraw its previous decision to close over the Covid-19 outbreak affecting the country, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) reportedly said.Jais director Mohd Shahzihan Ahmad reportedly said that the Shah Alam mosque’s notice of its closure was issued without the department’s prior knowledge... Malaysia recently experienced a spike in Covid-19 cases that has now pushed up the total tally to 238 cases as of yesterday, with 77 of these cases so far traced back to a recent large-scale religious gathering at the Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling in Kuala Lumpur."
I guess they still think it's a cina babi thing

Islamic Scholar Who Said Coronavirus Was "Allah's Punishment" Gets Coronavirus - "Back in February, Hadi Al-Modarresi, who is based in Iran, said that the coronavirus outbreak was “undoubtedly an act of Allah that is divine punishment against the Chinese for their treatment, mockery, and disrespect towards Muslims and Islam"

Thousands of Muslim pilgrims brave coronavirus to gather in Indonesia - "Thousands of Muslim pilgrims from across Asia gathered in Indonesia today, despite fears that their meeting could fuel the spread of a coronavirus, just two weeks after a similar event in Malaysia caused more than 500 infections.Organisers and regional officials said the event in the world's fourth most populous nation had begun, although the regional police chief said he was making a last ditch-effort to persuade organisers to call it off."We are more afraid of God," one of the organisers, Mustari Bahranuddin, told Reuters, when asked about the risk of participants spreading the virus at the event in Gowa in Indonesia's province of South Sulawesi."Because everyone's human, we fear illnesses, death," he said. "But there's something more to the body, which is our soul." Organisers had rejected a formal request from authorities to postpone the gathering... The Malaysian event, held from February 27 to March 1, drew 16,000 followers.Both gatherings in Indonesia and Malaysia were organised by members of Tablighi Jama'at, a global movement of evangelical Muslims that promotes proselytising, known as dakwah. About two-thirds of Malaysia’s 790 infections have been traced to the meeting at a mosque complex on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the capital.Tiny neighbour Brunei has confirmed 50 infections linked to it, while Cambodia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have also said citizens were infected there... Promotional material for the Indonesian gathering reviewed by Reuters read, "The pleasure of living in this world is only a little, compared to the afterlife.""
When so many Muslims fall ill, they can just blame a Jewish plot
This got cancelled in the end

Greek Orthodox church says 'holy cup cannot carry disease', allows congregations to share spoon - "Greek Orthodox churches across the country will allow congregations of hundreds of people to sip wine from the same spoon during mass because "the holy cup cannot carry disease," the Archdiocese said. Greek Orthodox priests dip a spoon into a chalice of wine and place it into the mouths of parishioners, as part of communion during mass. The spoon and chalice remain the same throughout the ceremony.A spokesperson for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Steven Scoutas, said anyone showing signs of illness should stay away from church gatherings."But once we decide to go to church, we believe there is absolutely no possibility of contracting disease from the holy cup,"

Covid-19 Is Not the Spanish Flu | WIRED - "A popular refrain is that the new coronavirus has a frighteningly high fatality rate of at least 2 percent, which is supposedly comparable to that of the 1918 influenza pandemic, also known as the Spanish flu—one of the deadliest viral outbreaks in history. The truth is that this comparison is severely flawed and that the numbers it relies on are almost certainly wrong... To make 50 million deaths compatible with a 2.5 percent CFR would require at least two billion infections—more than the number of people that existed at the time... There are many additional reasons not to make blithe comparisons between the current crisis and the 1918 pandemic: stark differences in health care infrastructure and medical technology; the ravages of the first world war; the unusual tendency of the Spanish flu to kill young adults; and the fact that many, if not most, people infected with influenza in 1918 died from secondary bacterial infections (as mass-produced antibiotics did not yet exist). The global fatality rate is just an average, and the CFR of any pandemic varies immensely by age, population, and geography. During the Spanish flu, for instance, it ranged from less than 1 percent in some areas to 90 percent in one Alaskan village. What gets lost in superficial analogies is that, despite some valid and instructive parallels between the two pandemics, there are many more differences. We can’t use half-contrived statistics about a century-old pandemic to predict what will happen today... Near the start of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, CFR estimates were 10 times too large. During the 2002-04 SARS outbreak, however, early CFR estimates were nearly three times too small. The novel coronavirus pandemic is a major threat that demands a swift and robust response. Even a fatality rate between 0.5 and 1 percent is extremely alarming in a world as populous and interconnected as ours. Another crucial consideration is the virus’s potential to induce severe illness that may not be fatal but lasts for weeks, straining hospital resources and potentially leaving some people with lifelong health issues. If the multiplying outbreaks around the world are not curtailed, we could see staggering numbers of illnesses and deaths, especially among the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions"

Health Experts Worry Coronavirus Will Overwhelm America’s GoFundMe System - "“GoFundMe is the bedrock of the American healthcare system, and as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rapidly spread, we fear the servers just won’t be able to take it,” said research director Dr. Monica White, who stressed that if the pandemic were to grow any worse, there simply would not be enough $5 and $10 donations from sympathetic strangers to go around."

Italian man wears a GIANT disk in extreme attempt to enforce social distancing in Rome

MRCTV.org on Twitter - "Liberal media pundits want you to think referring to the coronavirus as the "Wuhan" or "Chinese" virus is racist. Here's just a few of the times the liberal media did just that."

ISIS tells terrorists to steer clear of coronavirus-stricken Europe - "In the latest edition of the terrorist group’s al-Naba newsletter, the editors who normally urge followers to carry out attacks on the West instead ask them to "stay away from the land of the epidemic" for the time being.In a full-page infographic on the back cover, a list of pro-tips instructs militants on how to stop the pandemic's spread. ISIS members are advised to "put trust in God and seek refuge in Him from illnesses," but to also "cover the mouth when yawning and sneezing," and to wash their hands frequently.Those who believe they might have contracted coronavirus are told to stay away from areas under ISIS control in order to preserve the health of others and fulfil the holy "obligation of taking up the causes of protection from illnesses and avoiding them.""

Documentary captures extreme distress in Wuhan, China, during the coronavirus epidemic - "On Jan. 23, weeks after reports began to surface about a potentially deadly new virus gaining a foothold in the city, Chinese officials shut down all public transport in an effort to contain its spread. The residents of Wuhan were not allowed to leave the city without permission from authorities...  Australian Tim McLean, filming from Wuhan where he lives with his Chinese spouse, says, “the police are actually knocking on doors and taking temperatures, and if people have got a temperature, they’re dragging them out, mate. ... You don’t get an option.”Residents also post video footage online that they say shows officials welding the doors of apartment buildings shut. One video, featured in Coronavirus, shows a woman screaming from her balcony: “Help! My mother is dying. Someone come quickly! I have no way out!”... Wang, trapped with her husband and two children, says she wants to know how serious the pandemic is. “I really just want a more firm answer from anywhere, really — from [the] WHO or my local government.”... Neil Ferguson, a U.K. epidemiologist interviewed in the film, says that new infections likely exceed official case numbers: “We think 10 per cent or less of all infections in China are being detected at the current time.”"
This China shill was claiming that in China everyone was public spirited and voluntarily staying at home, so the Western media was being biased in characterising China's lockdown as brutal (compared to Italy's).
The CIA is really amazing in its ability to spread so much fake news. Why did they bungle the Bay of Pigs?

Inside the model that may be making US, UK rethink coronavirus control - "the COVID-19 Response Team at Imperial College London released a report that describes its efforts to create a model of how various control efforts could alter the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic in the US and UK. The report is being published by a World Health Organization publication, but it had been provided to the governments of these countries, where it is reportedly influencing their responses. The report paints a grim picture of millions of deaths in the two countries if nothing is done, as infections greatly outstrip the capacity of their hospital systems to handle patients. But it does find that aggressive steps can hold off the virus until an effective vaccine can be developed, although those will mean shutting down many aspects of society for over a year... To really have an effect in either the UK or US, general social isolation is needed. In combination with household quarantine and case isolation, the need for critical-care hospital beds will be exceeded for several months, but the excess will only be slight and might be manageable with emergency measures. The combination of school closures, case isolation, and general social distancing keeps the peak infections low enough to ensure critical care's capacity isn't exceeded, and problems will gradually taper off after the peak in April.The problem here is that the virus will remain circulating at low levels in the population in this scenario. The authors model releasing the restrictions in September, and by October, a peak appears that rivals the one caused by doing nothing to begin with. (Although less effective forms of suppression have a lower peak because so many people ended up infected in the intervening months.)"
Of course, it is more fashionable to just bash Boris as an idiot

Trudeau unveils $82B COVID-19 emergency response package for Canadians, businesses - "Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam... warned that the virus will be around for a while and will not be eradicated from the world within months. People need to prepare for another "wave" that could come after an initial containment period, she said."You're going to have to prepare as though this virus is going to have more than one wave. I think that's the only prudent thing to do""

Coronavirus lockdowns: How long do we have to live like this? - "The hard truth is that it may keep infecting people and causing outbreaks until there’s a vaccine or treatment to stop it.“I think this idea … that if you close schools and shut restaurants for a couple of weeks, you solve the problem and get back to normal life — that’s not what’s going to happen,” says Adam Kucharski, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and author of The Rules of Contagion, a book on how outbreaks spread. “The main message that isn’t getting across to a lot of people is just how long we might be in this for.” As Kucharski, a top expert on this situation, sees it, “this virus is going to be circulating, potentially for a year or two, so we need to be thinking on those time scales. There are no good options here. Every scenario you can think of playing out has some really hefty downsides. ... At the moment, it seems the only way to sustainably reduce transmission are really severe unsustainable measures.”... The way things are looking now, we’ll need something to stop the virus to truly end the threat. That’s either a vaccine (there are some now entering clinical trials but it could be a year before they are approved) or herd immunity. This is when enough people have contracted the virus, and have become immune to it, to slow its spread... the journal Science published an analysis that concludes 86 percent of all the Covid-19 cases in China before January 23 were not at the time detected by public health authorities (though, that doesn’t mean these cases were asymptomatic). It’s estimated these undiagnosed cases infected 79 percent of the total cases. The results suggest that without aggressive testing to confirm cases, Covid-19 will sneak past our best efforts to contain it.Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, agrees that the social distancing measures might need to be in place for at least months. “I don’t think people are prepared for that and I am not certain we can bear it”... Scientists are still working out which groups of people — and in which locations — are the most likely to transmit the virus. If it turns out that children aren’t playing a big role in transmitting the disease, it could make some sense to reopen schools. Perhaps travel bans, which may prove to be ineffective, will be lifted. People still may be asked to telework, but restaurants may open back up with limited seating... An aggressive social distancing policy could also become a victim of its own short-term success, Tara Smith, a Kent State epidemiologist, fears. As cases start to come down due to harsh measures, there might be political and economic pressure to lift them prematurely"

The U.K.’s Coronavirus 'Herd Immunity' Debacle - The Atlantic - "“People have misinterpreted the phrase herd immunity as meaning that we’re going to have an epidemic to get people infected,” says Graham Medley at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Medley chairs a group of scientists who model the spread of infectious diseases and advise the government on pandemic responses. He says that the actual goal is the same as that of other countries: flatten the curve by staggering the onset of infections. As a consequence, the nation may achieve herd immunity; it’s a side effect, not an aim. Indeed, yesterday, U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated, “Herd immunity is not our goal or policy.” The government’s actual coronavirus action plan, available online, doesn’t mention herd immunity at all. “The messaging has been really confusing, and I think that was really unfortunate”... The government’s own action plan even says that it will consider distancing measures “such as school closures, encouraging greater home working [and] reducing the number of large-scale gatherings.”... Why didn’t Johnson just roll out those measures on Thursday? Why wait, when cases are growing exponentially? Medley says the government is taking the long view. “My problem with many countries’ strategies is that they haven’t thought beyond the next month,” he says. “The U.K. is different. We’re at the beginning of a long process, and we’re working out the best way to get there with the least public-health impact.” To him, that means not rushing into panicked decisions about, say, banning soccer games or closing schools “in a way that feels good but isn’t necessarily evidence-based.”... making a decent long-term strategy is hard when there are still two big unknowns that substantially affect how the pandemic will progress. First, we don’t know how long immunity against the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, lasts. When people are infected with OC43 and HKU1—two other coronaviruses that regularly circulate among humans and cause common colds—they stay immune for less than a year. By contrast, immunity against the first SARS virus (from 2003) holds for much longer. No one knows whether SARS-CoV-2 will hew to either of these extremes, and according to one recent study, its behavior could mean anything from annual outbreaks to a decades-long quiet spell.We don’t know how the virus will behave across the year either. Other human coronaviruses tend to peak in the winter, while lying low during the high humidity and temperatures of the summer. But it’s unclear whether SARS-CoV-2 will do the same. One study showed that, across the globe, the biggest outbreaks have occurred within a narrow band of climate. But a more granular analysis across Chinese provinces showed that the virus can still easily spread in humid areas, and a third modeling study concluded that “SARS-CoV-2 can proliferate at any time of year.” The bottom line: There’s a very wide range of possible futures. For that reason, critics of the U.K. strategy argue that swift, decisive action matters more than future hypotheticals do. The country’s current caseload puts it only a few weeks behind Italy, where more than 24,000 cases have so overburdened hospitals that doctors must now make awful decisions about whom to treat. South Korea, by contrast, seems to have brought COVID-19 to heel through a combination of social-distancing measures and extensive testing. Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan have been similarly successful... Even if the virus surges back once social restrictions are lifted or winter descends, “let’s buy time,” Sridhar says. “We can use that time to get personal protective equipment in, to get beds ready, to get trainees trained properly. In the United States, there’s a vaccine trial. There are trials of antivirals in China. We shouldn’t give up hope.”"

When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready? - "“Like most vaccinologists, I don’t think this vaccine will be ready before 18 months,” says Annelies Wilder-Smith, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. That’s already extremely fast, and it assumes there will be no hitches.In the meantime, there is another potential problem. As soon as a vaccine is approved, it’s going to be needed in vast quantities – and many of the organisations in the Covid-19 vaccine race simply don’t have the necessary production capacity... Once a Covid-19 vaccine has been approved, a further set of challenges will present itself. “Getting a vaccine that’s proven to be safe and effective in humans takes one at best about a third of the way to what’s needed for a global immunisation programme,” says global health expert Jonathan Quick of Duke University in North Carolina, author of The End of Epidemics (2018). “Virus biology and vaccines technology could be the limiting factors, but politics and economics are far more likely to be the barrier to immunisation.”... you could also imagine a scenario where, say, India – a major supplier of vaccines to the developing world – not unreasonably decides to use its vaccine production to protect its own 1.3 billion-strong population first, before exporting any."

South Korea rations face masks as virus cases near 7,400 - "South Korea began rationing face masks on Monday to cope with a severe shortage among the public as the nation scrambles to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has infected nearly 7,400 people"
So much for the East Asian fetish for masks

As shutdowns occur across the country, are Canada’s grocery stores able to cope? - "A big reason behind the temporary shortages is most major retailers have moved in recent years to a “just-enough," "just-in-time” supply chain approach, said Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University.With grocers moving towards smaller stores (particularly in major urban centres), they have relied heavily on logistics in order to maximize efficiency in their supply chains, and to prevent retail locations from holding excess stock at any given time.And while such systems result in lower prices and reduced amounts of food waste, it also means they are less resilient to major spikes in demand."

Italian Man With Coronavirus Who Hid Symptoms To Get Rhinoplasty Facing 12 Years in Prison - "just before he was placed in the operating room the anesthesiologist noticed a rise in his body temperature. Shortly after, the man was tested and was determined to be infected with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has run rampant in Italy. He was then discharged and ordered to self-quarantine at home, however, the newspaper said the man already infected the anesthesiologist, nurse and the doctor. According to La Repubblica, the man was working in a resort in Aosta, where he came in contact with a number of tourists from Lombardi, a coronavirus epicenter in Italy. While working at the resort, he experienced coronavirus symptoms, including a mild cough, but feared that reporting the symptoms to health officials would force his rhinoplasty to be postponed."

Chinese couples divorcing in record numbers after being stuck home together due to coronavirus - ""Usually the office would see a wave of divorcement after Spring Festival and the college entrance examination"... Fortunately, not all of these couples who show up for divorce appointments end up going through with it. Some of the requests are impulsive responses to the stress of being quarantined for a long period of time due to the threat of a deadly and highly contagious virus... 'Wang [an official of the registration office in Beilin district of Xi'an] said some young couples even decided to remarry when their divorce certificate is printing.'"
This doesn't stop feminists wanting to make divorce easier

Coronavirus outbreak among South Korean churchgoers traced to saltwater spray - "Dozens of worshipers at a South Korean church were infected with the coronavirus after a contaminated bottle was used to spray saltwater into their mouths in the belief it would help prevent the spread of the deadly bug"
So much for that image I saw more than one person sharing about gargling with salt water curing it if it hadn't reached the lungs yet

Coronavirus Australia: Why women will feel the impact more than men
"Men die, women most affected"

Coronavirus could be spread by rimming, scientists say - "This is the latest blow for the LGBT+ community, which is already more vulnerable to coronavirus than heterosexual people and has seen the pandemic force major Pride festivals to cancel."

WATCH: Chinese Government Encourages Italians to Fight Coronavirus Racism By Hugging Strangers - "As the entire globe judders to a halt in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a lot of people are wondering how it swept the planet so fast. The following video, produced by the China Global Television Network -- an arm of the Chinese Communist Party -- might provide a clue.Titled "Italian residents hug Chinese people to encourage them in coronavirus fight," the brief video shows a handsome, casually dressed young Chinese man standing in a busy pedestrian area in Florence. He's blindfolded and wearing a surgical mask, next to a handwritten sign reading the following in Italian and Chinese: "I am not a virus. I am a human being. Free me from prejudice." Then, as stirring electronic music swells, passersby hug him and touch his face to remove his blindfold and mask. So much for "social distancing."This was released on February 4, 2020. Six weeks later, Italy now has more active coronavirus cases than anywhere else in the world, and the entire country has completely shut down. Again, this video was released by the Chinese government. Someone who's far more paranoid and conspiratorially minded than I am might wonder why the ChiComs stifled information about a viral outbreak within their own borders, silencing doctors and others who tried to warn the outside world, while at the same time releasing treacly, upbeat propaganda videos encouraging Europeans to come into direct physical contact with random Chinese people or else they're racists."

TikTok user licks toilet bowl, starts ‘coronavirus challenge’ - "In a bid to reach viral notoriety, one TikTok user went to extremes and licked what appeared to be a toilet bowl in an airplane.Ms Eva Louise, who goes by the TikTok username @avalouiise, first posted a video of herself licking the seat of a toilet bowl on her account on Sunday (March 15), captioning the video “coronavirus challenge”... Ms Louise said that she had posted the TikTok video so as to be featured on news outlet CNN, adding that she had “cloroxed” the toilet seat prior to licking it. She then claimed to have made US$4,000 (S$5,690) over her viral stunt.The video was removed from TikTok about a day after it was posted... basketball player Rudy Gobert faced backlash after he mocked the risk of the coronavirus spreading by touching reporters’ microphones and recorders sitting on the table in front of him at a news conference.He tested positive for Covid-19 two days later."

One Simple Idea That Explains Why the Economy Is in Great Danger - The New York Times - "One person’s spending is another person’s income. That, in a single sentence, is what the $87 trillion global economy is.That relationship, between spending and income, consumption and production, is at the core of how a capitalist economy works. It is the basis of a perpetual motion machine. We buy the things we want and need, and in exchange give money to the people who produced those things, who in turn use that money to buy the things they want and need, and so on, forever.What is so deeply worrying about the potential economic ripple effects of the virus is that it requires this perpetual motion machine to come to a near-complete stop across large chunks of the economy, for an indeterminate period of time."
I guess the Marxists won't be cheering for long. But of course they'll find a way to blame capitalism for their losing their jobs when people consume less - despite that being what they keep calling for
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