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TitanGuy
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

12 Mar 2020 18:57

There is a cure. And there are many cured already. Now, if the media wants you to not know about that, then okay, don't know, it's your own choice. It's not like you have to know it. It's better if you don't, for some.
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

12 Mar 2020 18:59

And yes, I did read them. Twice at least.
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

12 Mar 2020 19:46

TitanGuy, okay, so you're a conspiracy theorist. Normally I might entertain it. But not with this. Not with what's going on right now. I don't know where you get your ideas from, but they are not only wrong but also dangerous and would get a lot of people killed. You're out of here.
 
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midtskogen
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

13 Mar 2020 05:03

The "cure" is the human immune system.

Quarantines and isolation are effective, but also costly.  Norway decided to shut down this week after we got several hundred cases with people coming home for ski resorts in Italy and Austria.  The schools in Norway had a winter break in three different weeks in February/March depending on county, so different parts of the country now are in somewhat different stages.  It took less than a week after the first break was over to see the first signs.  Clearly, people's movement is how this spreads.  In hindsight the obvious thing would be a temporary travel ban in Europe already a month ago, but would not have been accepted.  If that were to be imposed every time there is a risk, the costs would be too high.  It's a very difficult choice whether to take drastic action to contain a disease or not.  We don't do it for seasonal flu.  There is always a risk that a particular seasonal flu has higher than normal mortality and vaccines are ineffective, and when we discover that, it's too late.

So everybody here who can are working from home.  I can do >95% of my work from home. Schools are closed, but teachers and pupils are in touch online.  The technology of today greatly limits the impact of such drastic action.

In theory this virus could be contained if everybody stays at home for two weeks, and then life can return to normal for symptom free households, and the remaining would have to be quarantined longer.  
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A-L-E-X
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

13 Mar 2020 11:56

midtskogen wrote:
The "cure" is the human immune system.

Quarantines and isolation are effective, but also costly.  Norway decided to shut down this week after we got several hundred cases with people coming home for ski resorts in Italy and Austria.  The schools in Norway had a winter break in three different weeks in February/March depending on county, so different parts of the country now are in somewhat different stages.  It took less than a week after the first break was over to see the first signs.  Clearly, people's movement is how this spreads.  In hindsight the obvious thing would be a temporary travel ban in Europe already a month ago, but would not have been accepted.  If that were to be imposed every time there is a risk, the costs would be too high.  It's a very difficult choice whether to take drastic action to contain a disease or not.  We don't do it for seasonal flu.  There is always a risk that a particular seasonal flu has higher than normal mortality and vaccines are ineffective, and when we discover that, it's too late.

So everybody here who can are working from home.  I can do >95% of my work from home. Schools are closed, but teachers and pupils are in touch online.  The technology of today greatly limits the impact of such drastic action.

In theory this virus could be contained if everybody stays at home for two weeks, and then life can return to normal for symptom free households, and the remaining would have to be quarantined longer.  

The American healthcare system, lacking as it is, is completely unequipped to handle this crisis.  There isn't even any paid sick or family leave, let alone universal healthcare!  A bunch of neanderthals.....
On the bright side looks like the pandemic is subsiding in China, so this looks like a 7-8 week surge.  I expect things to return back to normal levels of mediocrity by the end of April.
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

13 Mar 2020 12:01

Watsisname wrote:
TitanGuy wrote:
Source of the post But there's a cure anyway

Did you not read midtskogen's reply to you just above?

Nobody has been cured. There is no cure, and there will not be a vaccine ready for probably 12-18 months (and having it ready that fast would be a record). In China they took dramatic measures to slow the spread of the virus and now most of the infected have recovered naturally. 

Meanwhile the entire population of China that did not yet get exposed to this virus is still at risk. If containment measures are reduced too much too quickly, it can spread again and we'd see another surge of cases.

That's an excellent point, Wat.  So containment needs to persist even after the threat subsides since we dont have a vaccine yet?  The ironic thing is cases of the flu are on the downturn because of all the cleaning and handwashing people have been doing (something they should have been doing anyway.)
Thoughts on the virus spreading less quickly in warm and humid weather?  I've seen demos of how viruses stay airborne longer in dry weather (which is more common in the winter.)  When it turns humid during the warm season, the virus particles are quicker to land on a surface (which of course brings the idea of touching a contaminated surface into play.)  Is the more humid air during the summer the main reason why the flu and colds are less common in the summer?  Aside from people not all being crammed indoors of course.
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

13 Mar 2020 12:03

Watsisname wrote:
The page midtskogen linked above continues to be updated and discusses more containment/mitigation strategies and their effects.

https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

In particular, the travel ban on Europe won't do very much for the US. It may have bought us about a day. What's far more important is to reduce the average transmission rate through social distancing. Because of the nature of exponential/logistic growth (see the 3b1b video above), even a small reduction in the transmission rate has a large effect on the curve. We cannot stop the virus, but we can slow it down enough so that the health care system doesn't get overwhelmed and can better deal with severe cases. The name of the game now is to flatten the curve:

Image

We know that this strategy works. We have seen it done not just in China, but also Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong. What is common to these countries? They have all been through this before, with the SARS outbreak in 2003. They knew how to act. Now it's the rest of the world's turn.

Testing is also really important.  The US lacks in widespread efficient testing far behind nations that have universal healthcare.  New York is now developing its own testing separate from the CDC, just like we did with universal healthcare.
 
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Watsisname
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

15 Mar 2020 18:48

Seattle in the age of coronavirus: Not quite empty, but eerie.

It's finally happening here, just like the major cities in the countries that went through this before the US. I've been to many of the places photographed here (especially Pike Place Market, which in normal times is always packed with people). I am happy to see such dramatic action. We expect it is already having a large effect on slowing the virus, though it may be about another week before we see that show up in reported cases (since many of those who are already exposed will take time to show symptoms and be tested.) 

I'm curious to drive down there one of these days and just explore around -- assuming authorities do not shut down unnecessary interstate travel, which seems a real possibility.
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

15 Mar 2020 20:13

Resist Watsisname! This is my second night in quarantine here in Madrid. I would like to see more restrictive rules by now, people is not so concerned some times and I hope the state manages to control this. It's going to be an intense experience indeed.
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

16 Mar 2020 00:55

I am under advised quarantine from my doctor and it really sucks.  I don't leave home often anyway, but now if I need to go out to do something I find I have to go out at odd times of night.  Had a lung infection for 5 months, had swine flu years back and that nearly killed me, I don't think I will fare well if I catch this.


I just keep hoping nothing major happens, but the figures are just not great right now.  I have been helping in what way I can with data work from home, but its not much.
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midtskogen
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

16 Mar 2020 06:01

What are your thoughts about the mortality rate?  I think this is a big issue.  If it's low, towards that of regular flu, it seems clear that what the world is really facing is a panic epidemic spread by media.  If the mortality is above 5% as some data might suggest, then clearly the world must not simply flatten the curve, but stop it.

Is it low? Only people with clear symptoms of the virus, and often only those with other conditions or important functions, get tested.  South Korea seems to have done the most extensive testing, and less than 1% of those with confirmed COVID-19 have died there.  If the majority of all actually infected hardly have any symptoms, only a fraction have been tested and the death rate is significantly less, not worse than that of regular flu (~0.1%).

Is it high? Simply dividing the deaths by the number of positive tests will also be incorrect because of the delay between testing and death, which may be weeks, when new confirmed cases still rapidly increasing.

Either way it's probably going to be a lesson learned here.  Several European countries now seem to abandon the "flattering the curve" strategy in favour of "stopping the curve", which might even be futile and not warranted, turning out to be a "better safe and sorry" approach.
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FastFourierTransform
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

16 Mar 2020 11:40

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post If it's low, towards that of regular flu, it seems clear that what the world is really facing is a panic epidemic spread by media.  If the mortality is above 5% as some data might suggest, then clearly the world must not simply flatten the curve, but stop it.

Well I think this is one of the few things were there is little debate. It is not like the flu in any aspect (contagion, propagation rate nor mortality). Even in the best case scenario you still kill more than 10 times more people. The system is clearly overflown. The bias due to the delay between the infection curve and the death curve (that you mentioned) just supports the idea that we have a higher than apparent mortality rate.
Image
I find this chart very insightfull. Not only is it worse than seasonal flu for different ages but for young people is way more dangerous than the flu (even if young people is the less vulnerable to this virus).
I see some uncertainty for sure but the best case scenario for this is still ten times worse.
 
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midtskogen
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

16 Mar 2020 13:18

There is a need to explain the 0.7% death rate of South Korea versus the 7% death rate in Italy.  Two factors are important for the latter case: Who get tested, and hospital capacity. Clearly, the testing rate influences the numbers.  If mainly people on their deathbed get tested, you'll get a very high rate.  I think it's too early to call it settled.  We simply don't know how many have been infected.

What several Europeans countries now aim for is no longer to flatten the curve, but to stop it, and I do think the question whether this is warranted needs to be asked.  If flattening the curve can bring the mortality rate down to the South Korea rate (or below because many have no or mild symptoms and were never tested), then attempting to stop the curve rather than flattening it will do significant harm.

I'm not saying that this virus is intrinsically harmless, but asking whether there are indications now that, if the curve gets flattened, the virus can be made relatively harmless.  I have a growing suspicion that Europe is overreacting.  Flattening the curve does not require a complete lockdown.
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midtskogen
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

16 Mar 2020 13:51

I think the following actions make sense:
  • Work from home policies for everyone who can do it.
  • Switch to remote teaching in universities, high schools and schools for pupils aged 12+.
  • Strict isolation policies for hospitals and homes for the elders.
  • Actions to avoid crowded public transport or events.
  • Anyone with symptoms, even if most likely a light cold, stays at home.
  • Remind people to wash their hands before and after going anywhere.
  • Discourage travel that is not strictly necessary.
Otherwise, society should go about as usual and the impact will be quite limited, mostly to travel related business.  By the end of Easter it should be clear whether this is working and restrictions can be lifted.
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Watsisname
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

16 Mar 2020 15:02

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post There is a need to explain the 0.7% death rate of South Korea versus the 7% death rate in Italy.  Two factors are important for the latter case: Who get tested, and hospital capacity.

I can think of two other factors at play.  First, the elderly make up a larger fraction of the population in Italy than in South Korea. We can see this by their population pyramids:

Image

How big of an effect can we expect this to have? We can find out by multiplying the fraction of the population in each age bracket by the estimated probability of mortality in that bracket, and then summing them up. I went ahead and wrote a quick python code to do the calculation. I used the estimated mortality rates in the figure here, which is fairly consistent with the figure FastFourierTransform showed above, but with more finely divided age groups. The data ultimately come from studies of the outbreak in China.

Result: assuming uniform distribution of infections by age, then Italy's average mortality rate would be about 2.5%, while South Korea's would be about 1.8%.  That's about a 40% difference in average mortality rate just from the difference in population structure.

The second factor is how people were treated. South Korea took more measures to flatten the curve of new cases, which meant more people in need of health care were able to receive it. From prior epidemics, we can see that mortality rates are significantly higher in situations where hospitals are overwhelmed:

Image


I think these two effects together, combined with those you mention, may explain much of the difference in observed mortality rates between these two countries.
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