• Punshhh
    2k
    Coronavirus, COVID-19, is spreading exponentially. So far we have seen news reports from countries where there is an organised and rapid response to outbreaks. But what we are beginning to see now is it's rate of infection in countries without such preparedness. Italy and more worrying Iran. Italy is adopting a very strict strategy now, after being slow to tackle the infection. Whereas Iran is in denial, they are refusing to quarantine suspected cases. They have refused to lock down an important religious site which appears to be the epicentre of their outbreak. Also it has been spreading amongst the political class. There is talk of it's spreading rapidly throughout the Middle East.

    What concerns me is that the chaos which will ensue in the Middle East, the virus will find a breeding ground and develop into a more deadly strain. Similarly to the way that Spanish Flu developed during the chaos of the First World War.

    Should we be worried, or should we just wait until a vaccination is developed so that we can irradicate it through a vaccination programme?
    Or is this the beginning of a deadly pandemic?
  • Tzeentch
    717
    Overblown hysteria. The media have nothing better to report, and what better to draw attention than pretending there's a crisis.

    The coronavirus has killed about 2,700 people so far. The flu kills roughly 60,000-70,000 people each year.
  • Hanover
    5.7k
    My thoughts:

  • Michael
    9k


    How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu?

    "Despite the morbidity and mortality with influenza, there's a certainty … of seasonal flu," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a White House press conference on Jan. 31. "I can tell you all, guaranteed, that as we get into March and April, the flu cases are going to go down. You could predict pretty accurately what the range of the mortality is and the hospitalizations [will be]," Fauci said. "The issue now with [COVID-19] is that there's a lot of unknowns."

    ...

    So far this flu season, about 0.05% of people who caught the flu have died from the virus in the U.S., according to CDC data.

    The death rate for COVID-19 appears to be higher than that of the flu.

    In the study published Feb. 18 in the China CDC Weekly, researchers found a death rate from COVID-19 to be around 2.3% in mainland China. That's much higher than the death rate linked to flu, which is typically around 0.1% in the U.S., according to The New York Times.

    Even so, the death rate for COVID-19 varied by location and an individual’s age, among other factors. For instance, in Hubei Province, the epicenter of the outbreak, the death rate reached 2.9%; in other provinces of China, that rate was just 0.4%. In addition, older adults have been hit the hardest. The death rate soars to 14.8% in those 80 and older; among those ages 70 to 79, the COVID-19 death rate in China seems to be about 8%; it’s 3.6% for those ages 60 to 69; 1.3% for 50 to 59; 0.4% for the age group 40 to 49; and just 0.2% for people ages 10 to 39. Nobody 9 and under has died of this coronavirus to date.
  • tim wood
    4.9k
    Or is this the beginning of a deadly pandemic?Punshhh
    Reported tentative mortality rates range from 2 - 15%, with the caveat that the methodology at this point cannot yield an accurate figure. By comparison, the rate in the US for the flu is under one percent. But also, the rate for untreated rabies is 100%. We live with dangers. And we also have cutting edge science at work. What I do not know is if the virus itself kills people, or if it just weakens people so that they die of other things, like pneumonia.

    In short, not the Black Death, with its cries of "Bring out your dead!"
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Should we be worried, or should we just wait until a vaccination is developed so that we can irradicate it through a vaccination programme?
    Or is this the beginning of a deadly pandemic?
    Punshhh

    Don't panic yet. There will be plenty of time for hysteria once people start dropping like flies, which hasn't happened so far.

    Respiratory infections (almost always caused by one virus or another) are very difficult to control because they are so readily contagious. Alls it takes is one strategic uncovered sneeze on the bus, and presto, maybe 20 people are exposed before they can flee at the next stop. Or less dramatically, just breathing the same air for a while -- like on a plane, a bus, a small office, etc.

    The mortality rate (= you're dead) for this virus is not astoundingly high -- maybe 1% or 2%, maybe a bit higher. That's not insignificant because it can mean hundreds of death per 100,000 cases. The mortality rate for the 1918 influenza epidemic was 20%; many millions of people died during that epidemic lasting around a year. Ebola and Marburg viruses, and some of the other newly emerged infections, have mortality rates over 50%. Untreated rabies has a 100% mortality rate.

    So, while a pandemic of Covid-19 would not be a picnic, it wouldn't be the end of life as we know it, either. Of course, this virus has been active only since December -- far short of enough time for us to have any understanding of how it will behave in the future. The worst - case scenario would be that no effective vaccine is developed (which is unlikely) or that it will not have seasonality and be active throughout the year.

    Most people are not going to be very sick at all. Older people (like... 60 and up) and people with weak immune systems of any age are likely to be the most common fatalities.

    The dark side of all this is that no nation, however developed, is going to be ready for a bad epidemic. It's just not possible. For instance, if New York City had 30,000 serious covid-19 cases, it would not have enough hospital beds to handle a contagious infection. New York would have to do what China did -- put the sick people together in huge wards (not in hospital buildings) to provide care while not exposing every other sick person in the hospital to something which might well finish them off. The staff would have to dress for bio-hazard protection, which in itself makes work more difficult (like you get hot).

    If there are many cases in a city, people will do well to self-quarantine--something more palatable to civil libertarians than forced quarantines. If you feel sick, go home and stay there. If you are very very sick, they can come get you in an ambulance. If you are not very very sick, try to cope on your own. If you are not sick and don't have to mix in public, then don't. Stay home. Fuck work. Capitalists will have to adjust to people not being able to maintain production.

    This approach will work over the relative short run. People can't self-quarantine for weeks or months -- they'd starve, eventually. Might as well go out for groceries and take your chances.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Where do these new diseases come from?

    It appears that a lot of the new viral infections that have cropped up in the last 30 or 40 years come from bats. Why bats? For various reasons, bats have very tolerant immune systems: they can harbor all sorts of viruses without getting sick, and without destroying the viruses. So when people come in contact with bat feces, bat urine, or bat blood (whatever), or trade in wild animals that have come into contact with bats, they are likely to become sick with something humans have not previously encountered. That's the story for ebola, for example. The covid-19 virus could have bat origins too -- don't know, just speculating.

    Some of our worst diseases circulate in other animals and ourselves. The influenza virus regularly circulates through birds and swine (sequentially) and in the process is shaped into a more or less dangerous virus that emerges in Asia and then spreads around the world to humans. SARS, MERS, and other respiratory infections behave similarly with different animals involved. Bird flu, which didn't make a lot of people sick, had a 60% mortality rate among birds. It also was cooked up in Asia.

    Why Asia? Asian farming practices have swine and fowl mixing in the same barn yards, same water holes, and same barns. There's lots of opportunity for disease to breed among the various birds and hogs. American and European meat and egg production farms keep fowl and swine isolated from much contact with people and certainly with each other. Hogs and fowl never lay eyes on each other.

    American farms used to look a lot more like Asian farms, but because American farms were far more dispersed, there was less chance of transmission from one batch of farm animals to another. Still, American farmers have disease problems which have to be monitored carefully.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    435
    I'm in Austria and we just had 2 suspected case in the southwest region of Tirol.

    This is making news here, as there's a larger outbreak in the area of Northern Italy only 300km south of the Austrian boarder.

    Oddly enough, there aren't too many folks that are overly concerned or much less in panic.

    I suppose the reason for this is as of yesterday evening it was reported that of the 45,000 cases of the virus in China 81% of those cases are mild, 14% are more severe like a Pneumonia and 5% are indeed life threatening. When the cases were broken down accoring to age there is a clear correlation between age and the severity of the virus, where of people under 40 only 0.2% are very serious. In the age group of 40 to 60 only 0.8% are very serious. As the patients become more advanced in year the threat increases dramatically... those 60 to 69yrs 3.9% - 70 to 79yrs 8% - 80 and over 14% are very serious. The danger to age correlation is about the same as in the current Flu we have in Europe that no one is really in panic about. The death rate of this Coronavirus (1.7%) is greater than the Flu (1.1%), but we aren't really talking panepidemic.

    Another correlation is that those who have died have pre-existing conditions of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases. Very few people without such a pre-existing conditions have severe case or have died, but only have a mild or slightly severe illness.

    Indeed there is the panic. That's no surprise. The mass selling of surgical masks is really booming as a business, which makes little sense as those masks only help the infected not to infect the uninfected, but they really do next to nothing to prevent catching the virus, but I suppose panic does what panic wants to and believes what panic makes one believe.

    In my case, I usually travel to the same region of Italy that is currently affect with the outbreak, but we had to cancel the trip due to my training partner starting is Paternity leave only a week after the planned trip. It's simply bad timing for his place or work (a genetic lab that work in Virology... so of ironic I guess) to take 10 days off just before he takes 6 months off. To be honest, I'm happy we canceled it due to the massive inconvenience of so many places having to close due to fear.

    Meow!

    GREG
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    due to fearMayor of Simpleton

    I've had really bad colds that pushed my tolerance of being sick to the limit; constant coughing, sinus infection, sore throat, sneezing, malaise, etc. Yeah, I wouldn't go somewhere where I thought I would catch one of those really bad versions. Call it fear, call it prudence.
  • Punshhh
    2k
    Reported tentative mortality rates range from 2 - 15%, with the caveat that the methodology at this point cannot yield an accurate figure.
    My concern is that when the virus becomes endemic in the Middle East, that it will become a breeding ground and a more deadly strain would develop. Unfortunately I don't have sufficient knowledge to make an educated guess as to the likelihood of such a development.
  • Punshhh
    2k
    An interesting scenario would be a world wide pandemic with a mortality of between 1and 2%. Presumably before this point, some countries would shut their borders. We would have massive economic disruption. The stock markets are having a hissy fit already.
  • Punshhh
    2k
    Are you happy with a new endemic virus which is highly contagious and a mortality rate of between 1 and 2%?

    It wouldn't be long before everyone would know someone who has died from it and it could develop a higher mortality rate in the future.
  • Nobeernolife
    556
    An interesting scenario would be a world wide pandemic with a mortality of between 1and 2%. Presumably before this point, some countries would shut their borders. We would have massive economic disruption. The stock markets are having a hissy fit already.Punshhh

    All of which are good things. The overheated stock market needs some cooling off, borders need to be controlled again, and the supply chains need to be made less dependent on China. Good, good, good. How ironic that it takes a China-made virus to push us in that direction.
  • Punshhh
    2k
    That is a rather naive view, has it occurred to you that capitalism requires endless growth and expansion? You are advocating economic decline, or at least shrinkage.
  • Nobeernolife
    556
    That is a rather naive view, has it occurred to you that capitalism requires endless growth and expansion? You are advocating economic decline, or at least shrinkage.Punshhh

    I don´t think I "advocated economic decline", where did I say that? However, you are correct that capitalism inherently requires endless growth and expansion, which of course is a problem in a limited system. There are lots of ideas about how to address this, it would be different topic.
  • Punshhh
    2k

    Economic shrinkage = economic decline, in our current capitalist system. The wealth we had been enjoying before the sub prime mortgage crash was built on a vast bubble. The world economy has been staggering along since and the chaos of populism sweeping the world at the moment, oh and not to mention the pandemic, economic decline is pretty much inevitable at the moment.
  • Tzeentch
    717
    Are you happy with a new endemic virus which is highly contagious and a mortality rate of between 1 and 2%?

    It wouldn't be long before everyone would know someone who has died from it and it could develop a higher mortality rate in the future.
    Punshhh

    Happy?
  • Nobeernolife
    556
    Economic shrinkage = economic decline, in our current capitalist system.Punshhh
    I think you are confusing short term and long term trends. A correction in overheated economy is a good thing, that is what the Corona thing brings, that is a good thing.

    The wealth we had been enjoying before the sub prime mortgage crash was built on a vast bubble.Punshhh
    The bubble is still there, and will eventually need to be deflated..[/quote]

    The world economy has been staggering along since and the chaos of populism sweeping the world at the momentPunshhh
    The much maligned (by the so-called mainstream media) populism is a reaction the elitist globalism that has been sweeping the world and is a healthy reaction. Do you seriously want to live in the globalist world envisioned by the likes of George Soros?

    oh and not to mention the pandemic, economic decline is pretty much inevitable at the moment.Punshhh
    A much-needed correction, not a decline, if you talk about economics. You can not have continuous expansion without corrections.
  • Punshhh
    2k
    Happy that it's not an issue, it's just one of many respiratory viruses.
  • Punshhh
    2k

    Well our country is still reeling from the correction in 2008. Following 10 years of fierce austerity, most of our local and district councils and public services are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Unless you're in the top 5 - 10% in terms of wealth it feels like 10 years of steady biting economic decline.
    If we get, or need any other correction now, we will begin to feel widespread economic collapse.

    We really don't need a rightwing populist government right now. Who are going to bash the poor some more. Not to mention one which is going to drive us of a cliff with Brexit.

    Yes, we really do need some cooling off right now.
  • Nobeernolife
    556
    Well our country is still reeling from the correction in 2008. Following 10 years of fierce austerity, most of our local and district councils and public services are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.Punshhh
    Are you writing from an alternative universe? Your government budgets have expanded over the last 10 years, that is certainly not "fierce austerity". And "local and district councils and public services" can never go "bankrupt", since they are funded by tax money. Maybe what you want to say is you wish taxes here higher.

    If we get, or need any other correction now, we will begin to feel widespread economic collapse.Punshhh
    Stock markets are too high, and need a correction. However, a stock market fall is not the same as an "economic collapse".

    We really don't need a rightwing populist government right now. Who are going to bash the poor some more. Not to mention one which is going to drive us of a cliff with Brexit.Punshhh
    I don´t know what you mean by "bash the poor", and I certainly do not see how "Brexit is driving us of a cliff". It is not the end of the world, when a country leaves the undemocratic EU project. In fact, the best countries in Europe are not members of the EU.

    Where do you get these talking points from?
  • Nobeernolife
    556
    Not to mention one which is going to drive us of a cliff with Brexit.Punshhh

    Oh now I get it. You are writing from the UK? Well, congratulations to Brexit! Surely you don´t think that being a subject of Merkels empire is better than having your own country?
  • Benkei
    3.3k
    False dichotomy.
  • Nobeernolife
    556
    False dichotomy.Benkei

    What is?
  • Punshhh
    2k
    This thread is about coronavirus, so it would be better to continue this line of discussion on the Brexit thread.

    You realise do you not, that the pandemic you are in favour of could kill 1-2% of the population before a sufficient vaccination plan is in operation?

    I suppose you are also in favour of a correction in population.
  • Tzeentch
    717
    I'm not happy about a virus. I'm also not overly worried. People should relax, newsmedia should stop scaring old people, and the experts should just do their thing.
  • Hanover
    5.7k
    In researching this issue, I noted that the Black Plague is said to have killed as much as 50% of Europe in the mid 1300s. America was spared as far as I can tell, largely because no one knew about America, except of course the people who lived in America. This is what a plague doctor looked like:

    wv72mm9f6gns2tib.png

    These doctors were apparently as effective as they looked.
  • Nobeernolife
    556
    You realise do you not, that the pandemic you are in favour of could kill 1-2% of the population before a sufficient vaccination plan is in operation?
    I suppose you are also in favour of a correction in population.
    Punshhh

    No, I did not list the mortality rate as one of the positive things. Obviously I am sympathetic to any victim. Please try to just respond to what is written, instead of "supposing" too much.
  • Benkei
    3.3k
    Even worse than the decrepit logic and unnecessary rhetorical flourishes is pretending you don't do it on purpose.
  • Nobeernolife
    556
    Even worse than the decrepit logic and unnecessary rhetorical flourishes is pretending you don't do it on purpose.Benkei

    What is that supposed to mean?
    I can see you try to be insulting, but do you have an actual point?
  • Benkei
    3.3k
    Try a dictionary if my meaning and my earlier point escaped you.
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