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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:45 pm 
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Someone just stole 5 million masks from us at the last second before it went on our ship to be delivered. Just disappeared. Some rich @#$@ country bribed the company with 4x their original value and refused to tell us who the buyer was.

So. Yes. Always question where things come from. Magical things appearing always comes at the cost of someone else.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:14 pm 
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A look at the effects of the coronavirus on the world's economy. Fair warning: since the decisions being made about how to deal with this mess are largely political ones, the story deals heavily with politics (especially in the US and the EU).

Another milestone, of sorts: the US has lost more folks to this epidemic than to the Korean War. Thankfully this is not true for the Koreans.

Some governors are issuing orders to prohibit private debt collectors from seizing the stimulus checks that the Feds are sending around. Yes, they have to.

And if interested, a live star studded at home concert for the antivirus efforts.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:49 pm 
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It turns out that there is a state that is doing enough testing to reopen the economy: Rhode Island. It isn't, but it could.

Meanwhile the National Institute of Health has decided to do a study on just how many undetected cases there are out there. Up to 10,000 participants who have no known history of this disease will mail in blood samples for antibody testing. I'm wondering what they're going to find, but strongly suspect it won't be under one percent positive.

Another study, this one from Italy. They did two surveys of the same place, and found that 43% of the cases detected were both asymptomatic and had the same viral load as the folks with symptoms. Which is to say, they're just as contagious but have less apparent reason not to go out and spread the disease.

A work in progress, but a look at how, specifically, the states should move forward.

And because what's one more site for Covid data more or less: this one shows the Rt (number of cases infected per person who has it) for each of the states. You can see at a glance which states will have their numbers heading up and vice versa.

There's a comment about the anti-quarantine protests in the other thread.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:16 pm 
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People are scared to go to the hospital. Even the ones with things like heart attacks and appendicitis. Cases in the ER are down 40%, though the ones who are showing up are in much worse shape because they avoided treatment for too long. The ones who lived, anyway.

The drop in demand for oil, combined with no where left for producers to store it, has pushed the price of oil negative. Folks are so desperate not to take delivery of futures contracts coming due in May, and incur the storage costs for that oil which they can't possibly sell right now, that West Texas crude is down to $-37.63 a barrel. Yes, the folks holding those contracts will pay you nearly $40 a barrel to take the already paid for crude oil off their hands (though don't expect corresponding prices for refined products) June contracts are about $20, but if demand stays this low then even the further cuts in production already announced will still be too much for the limited storage capacity left and those will drop rather lower. Silver lining time: a lot fewer people are dying of pollution related causes right now, for obvious reasons.

The newest emergency bill is hitting a snag over who is going to be responsible for administering the $25 billion for testing. More in the other thread.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:48 am 
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The Veterans Administration did a study on hydroxychloroquine, alone or in a cocktail with azithromycin. They found it had no significant effect on rate of intubation, though it did lead to a higher death rate.

Two house cats have tested positive for our favorite coronavirus in New York. I suppose they were jealous of the tigers. None of the infected felids seem to get severe symptoms; that's reserved for hominids so far. I wonder if the simians are at risk?

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:04 pm 
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Now this may be interesting. New York State officially has 263,000 cases of Covid. That said, the state did some antibody testing (3,000 samples from 19 counties) and discovered that the infection rate in New York is approximately 13.9%. That's roughly 2.4 million actual cases out of a population of not quite 17 million people. Depending on how those infections play out, that may bode.

Something a bit more uplifting. Jose Andres, a professional chef and restaurateur, is into feeding people. To borrow someone else's list of his current activities:
Andy Slavitt wrote:
He caters 250,000 people every day
He’s keeping 496 restaurants open by paying them between $6 and $10/meal for people
He’s creates a video of restaurant protocols so they can remain open to cater
He’s got protocols to help restaurants safely open
He’s feeding people in 400 hospitals
He’s bringing in shipments of N-95 masks and full protection gear
He’s then distributing masks and equipment to hospitals

He's the fellow who heard about the liner Trump stranded off the coast and arranged to feed the folks trapped onboard. And this is just his work regarding Covid. He's a remarkable fellow.

Working a 28 day shift to make polypropylene so it can be made into masks and surgical gowns. Well, they knew where they were when they woke up in the morning.

It turns out you can teach a new virus new tricks. One of the leading causes of death among coronavirus patients turns out to be blood clots. No one knows why yet.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2020 2:19 pm 
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Just in case someone was tempted, household cleaners and UV lights are not a useful cure for Covid-19. Neither of them is to be taken internally, and topical applications of the former are a really bad idea (the latter might eventually cause skin cancer, but it's less of an immediately bad idea). I know, but web searches for injecting cleaners became a thing a couple of days ago.

Last month France officially requisitioned all stocks and production of face masks for their health workers. So this guy who just got caught with 140,000 black market masks probably isn't looking at a very sympathetic judge or jury.

Meanwhile the WHO is saying that we don't know if getting over this disease renders you immune, so letting people who had it behave as if they are may be a bad idea. There's currently a bit too many signs of folks getting it again to justify treating this like chicken pox or mumps.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:29 pm 
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Maybe not the best of signs: as Germany started to reopen a bit, the R0 (cases infected for each person who has it) rose from 0.7 to 1.0 Which is to say, the number of cases is now stable again instead of dropping. That may not bode well other places trying to reopen.

Also noted: it's rare, but apparently the virus can cause apparent cases of toxic shock syndrome in children. This gets more entertaining all the time.

Food shortages in the US are likely to get worse. Oh, goody.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:41 pm 
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The Swedes are looking to keep people from gathering for Walpurgis Night in the city of Lund. The apparent answer to how is spreading chicken manure in the parks. Apparently it's not the best smelling of fertilizers.

Though it seems a better idea than spraying the beach with bleach

Slightly counterintuitive: but amid a massive decline in the US economy, one of the sectors losing the most money is healthcare, leading to a significant number of nurses being laid off or having their hours cut in the middle of an epidemic. There's some thought that the business model which drives that needs to be reexamined.

Current research on drugs for the occasion isn't finding good answers yet, but there have been some partial successes. Every little bit helps.

It is noticeable that different sites have different counts of the death toll for this epidemic. A certain amount is that it took a while to recognize that heart attack and stroke deaths were caused by this disease, and so the victims weren't tested (and not officially counted in many locations). And of course there was problems with inadequate supplies of tests. Then there are localities playing games with the numbers to keep the count low (that's just one local example). So what with one thing and another, until enough time has gone by for the statisticians to crunch the total death tolls from each location and then put it all together, we probably need to add about a fifth to the average tally to get a more realistic number. Not that this matters too much to the deceased, but it lets the rest of us get a handle on what's really going on.

Oh, and it seems folks are getting crafty while locked down. Lots and lots of donated home made masks...

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:26 pm 
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Apparently we can now protect rhesus macaques from coronavirus, though it will probably require more testing before we start mass immunizing them. I'm sure they're breathing easier. Human testing with this vaccine has begun, though it doesn't sound like it's supposed to be geared towards finding long term side effects. In passing, this is the first I had heard that they could get the disease in the first place; but at least their problems with social distancing may be ending soon.

But with that said, apparently Congress can't scare up enough Covid-19 tests for 100 Senators. And the tests they do have take days to get a response. My word.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Fri May 01, 2020 10:36 pm 
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I know, but just in case: it's not a bad idea to wash your hands with boiled water if the local supply is suspect. Washing them with boiling water is never a good idea.

A puzzle at the hospital. Someone shows up with the symptoms of a heart attack. Since those are also some of the symptoms of Covid infection, how do you treat them? There doesn't seem to be a good answer.

Btw: kudos to New Zealand, they've basically eliminated the epidemic in their nation. Hopefully reopening goes well.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sat May 02, 2020 10:40 am 
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Problems? Pshaw.

Ok, there's the little matter of to open or not to reopen, and whether or not to care if someone reopened. Turns out a large number of folks just don't care, until they see the folks who made the decision to reopen shaking hands and kissing babies (or the equivalent) then they're remaining socially distant. Not helping much is that folks who stayed open and downplayed safety measures as the epidemic spread are getting sued in droves.

A few public health officials put together a list of suggestions for Congress, one of which notes that since so many people can't afford to self isolate thenperhaps we should offer them a stipend to do so when told to quarantine. The $50 a day isn't going to make it all that attractive for the well to do, but for someone earning the current Federal minimum wage the $350 a week is basically what they're making anyway (somewhat better if they're working 40 hours a week). There are other interesting suggestions in there, it's worth a glance.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sun May 03, 2020 12:52 am 
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So where are we, here in the US, as far as the epidemic goes? Doing kinda poorly, unfortunately. Not counting New York State, the daily cases nationwide made it to 24,000 a day over a week ago and has held steady since. And as folks go back over the numbers we're discovering that the official death toll has been about 2/3 of the real surplus deaths since the epidemic started; so we're really looking at some 90-100 thousand losses to this virus so far.

In other news, Minneapolis decided to feed their kids. Cutting a great deal of red tape out of the way, parents can just go pick up cartons of food to replace the 5 breakfasts and lunches that school kids would have been getting. They don't need to be actual school kids, though; just prove you have kids and they get a box. They're also apparently discussing increasing the allotment to 14 meals a week from 10. Aside from the obvious benefits to the parents and kids, this food would come from the commercial supply chain; that both lessens the demand for the supplies intended for retail outlets (reducing shortages) while keeping it from going to waste. One hopes this kind of scheme will become more common.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Mon May 04, 2020 9:54 pm 
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Recognizing that we've already passed the previous estimate, the government has upped their estimate (to 100,000). It's still the same model as the last estimate, and there are problems with it. At the same time they've produced a report showing 200 thousand cases and 3,000 deaths a day by the beginning of June. That may be on the high side.

Meanwhile, Italy and Spain are starting to come out of their lockdowns. It'll be interesting to see how that works out.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 9:31 pm 
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As another company (the US Senate) reopens, some observations on how they're managing. Oddly enough, the most important line turns out to be the almost the last:
Senator Rand Paul wrote:
I have immunity. I’ve already had the virus, so I can’t get it again and I can’t give it to anybody,

The problem with that statement is that the virus is mutating. The strain that came over to the US from Europe in February is actually more contagious than the original one from China, but now that there are two of them being immune to one (assuming, perhaps falsely, that one would be) probably does not confer immunity to the other. So even if he is entirely clear (a big if), then he can probably still get it again. Indeed, anyone probably can. This bodes. Remember to socially distance, and digital hygiene is your friend.

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