Recent quotes:

Coronavirus: DeWine criticizes those defying orders, including churches; cases reach 2,547 as Ohio designates hospital zones - News - The Daily Record - Wooster, OH

Coronavirus continues its relentless rise in Ohio — advancing toward a projected peak later this month — as 348 more infected Ohioans and 10 more deaths were reported Wednesday. In his daily briefing, Gov. Mike DeWine hinted that extended or new restrictions on residents and businesses were coming as soon as Thursday. He also outlined efforts to expand hospital capacity, including use of convention centers for patients without COVID-19. With limited testing concealing the true extent of the pandemic, total cases rose 16% to at least 2,547 and deaths increased by 18% to 65 total since the virus first was confirmed in Ohio on March 9, state figures show.

Opinion | High-Dose Coronavirus Infections Should Worry Us More - The New York Times

Virus experts know that viral dose affects illness severity. In the lab, mice receiving a low dose of virus clear it and recover, while the same virus at a higher dose kills them. Dose sensitivity has been observed for every common acute viral infection that has been studied in lab animals, including coronaviruses. Humans also exhibit sensitivity to viral dose. Volunteers have allowed themselves to be exposed to low or high doses of relatively benign viruses causing colds or diarrhea. Those receiving the low doses have rarely developed visible signs of infection, while high doses have typically led to infections and more severe symptoms.

The Mathematics of Predicting the Course of the Coronavirus | WIRED

According to IHME’s models, 41 states will need more hospital beds than they currently have. Twelve states will need to boost their numbers of ICU beds by 50 percent or more. The models predict that over the next four months, these shortfalls will contribute to the deaths of 81,000 Americans, with the number of deaths per day peaking as soon as mid-April.

Doc Searls Weblog · Zoom needs to clean up its privacy act

What they mean by that is adtech. What they’re also saying here is that Zoom is in the advertising business, and in the worst end of it: the one that lives off harvested personal data. What makes this extra creepy is that Zoom is in a position to gather plenty of personal data, some of it very intimate (for example with a shrink talking to a patient) without anyone in the conversation knowing about it. (Unless, of course, they see an ad somewhere that looks like it was informed by a private conversation on Zoom.) A person whose personal data is being shed on Zoom doesn’t know that’s happening because Zoom doesn’t tell them. There’s no red light, like the one you see when a session is being recorded. If you were in a browser instead of an app, an extension such as Privacy Badger could tell you there are trackers sniffing your ass. And, if your browser is one that cares about privacy, such as Brave, Firefox or Safari, there’s a good chance it would be blocking trackers as well. But in the Zoom app, you can’t tell if or how your personal data is being harvested.

The Eerie Parallels Between Coronavirus and the Bubonic Plague - Rolling Stone

Crises like these — whether it’s a crisis of political legitimacy, or a pandemic that demands response, or some kind of major external war that crops up out of nowhere — the chances are good that whatever snaps under the pressure of that crisis was probably straining already, was probably barely chugging along already. There’s some kind of deep problem that a crisis is going to expose, bring to the fore, and then break very dramatically for everybody to see. We see the crisis and we see the break — and we equate the two. We’re narrative creatures. That’s how we understand the world. We understand things as a story with a climax, and the break has to be the climax. It’s very hard for us to turn a more analytical eye and see the collection of very small things that lead up to a systemic break. It’s just difficult. But these disasters don’t create these trends so much as they supercharge them.

BuzzFeed Slashing Employee Pay Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

Staffers in the lowest bracket—which includes anyone making under $65,000 annually—would experience a five-percent reduction, while those making between $65,000-$90,000 would experience a seven-percent cut. Other staff would take nearly a 10-percent pay cut, while executives would take between 14-to-25-percent in pay reduction.  CEO Jonah Peretti confirmed in a note to staff that “I will not be taking a salary until we are on the other side of this crisis.”

Yuval Noah Harari: the world after coronavirus | Free to read

You could, of course, make the case for biometric surveillance as a temporary measure taken during a state of emergency. It would go away once the emergency is over. But temporary measures have a nasty habit of outlasting emergencies, especially as there is always a new emergency lurking on the horizon. My home country of Israel, for example, declared a state of emergency during its 1948 War of Independence, which justified a range of temporary measures from press censorship and land confiscation to special regulations for making pudding (I kid you not). The War of Independence has long been won, but Israel never declared the emergency over, and has failed to abolish many of the “temporary” measures of 1948 (the emergency pudding decree was mercifully abolished in 2011).

Inactivation of Influenza Virus by Solar Radiation - ProQuest

Among the environmental factors that affect survival of influenza virus, our calculation of virus inactivation by solar UV radiation appeared to produce an effect stronger than expected. The potential solar UV inactivation ranges from near negligible to 9 log^sub 10^ or more per day, depending on location and season (Tables 1 and 2). Therefore, it appears that the germicidal impact of solar UV radiation may be several orders of magnitude more relevant to environmental virus inactivation that the other primary physical factors (temperature and relative humidity). However, other factors may be also involved in virus persistence as influenza epidemics still occur in the tropics (3) in spite of the strong virucidal effect produced there by solar UV radiation. Person-to-person transmission, aerosolization and environmental contamination are likely affected by seasonal human behavior. For example, people in the developed countries located in the temperate zone spend their work time indoors, minimizing exposure to outdoor environmental sources of influenza, while maximizing direct indoor person-to-person transmission. Thus, although our calculations suggest that solar UV radiation might have a significant role in influenza outbreaks, it is apparent that influenza epidemics will ultimately be understood only after considering the interactions among a number of variables. The inactivation rates in the tables indicate that influenza virions should remain infectious after winter release from the host for several days in many higher latitude cities, with continued risk for reaerosolization and human infection. These findings are supported by increased mortality during winter months recorded between 1959 and 1999 when influenza was identified as the primary determinant of excess winter mortality (15). By spring equinox, solar inactivation improves in parallel with a general decrease in flu cases. Also paralleling the sharp seasonal differences in radiation at higher latitude, influenza epidemics have a marked seasonal occurrence in the northern and southern temperate zones (latitudes 30-70°), while the occurrence at lower latitudes is spread more evenly over the year (7).

More pablum from experts

A global, novel virus that keeps us contained in our homes—maybe for months—is already reorienting our relationship to government, to the outside world, even to each other. Some changes these experts expect to see in the coming months or years might feel unfamiliar or unsettling: Will nations stay closed? Will touch become taboo? What will become of restaurants?

Germany’s coronavirus anomaly: high infection rates but few deaths  | Financial Times

“This is about capacity. The capacity in Germany is very, very significant. We can conduct more than 160,000 tests per week, and that can be increased further,” Prof Wieler told journalists this week. Test capabilities would be boosted not least in part by switching laboratories that specialise in animal health towards coronavirus checks. There was no sign that test kits were running low, Prof Wieler added.  In the short term at least, mass testing feeds through into a lower fatality rate because it allows authorities to detect cases of Covid-19 even in patients who suffer few or no symptoms, and who have a much better chance of survival. It also means that Germany is likely to have a lower number of undetected cases than countries where testing is less prevalent. Indeed, one notable feature of the coronavirus outbreak in Germany so far is the high number of relatively young patients: according to data from the Robert Koch Institute, more than 80 per cent of all people infected with the coronavirus are younger than 60.  Coronavirus business update How is coronavirus taking its toll on markets, business, and our everyday lives and workplaces? Stay briefed with our coronavirus newsletter. Sign up here “Especially at the beginning of the outbreak in Germany we saw many cases connected to people returning from skiing trips and similar holidays,” said Matthias Stoll, a professor of medicine at the University of Hanover. “These are predominantly people who are younger than 80 and who are fit enough to ski or engage in similar activities. Their risk of dying is comparatively low.”  Hans-Georg Kräusslich, a professor of medicine and the head of virology at the University Hospital in Heidelberg, said: “In most cases the illness is mild and shows few symptoms, and we assume that the detection of such mild cases varies from country to country. In statistical terms that leads to a difference in case fatality rates.”

A Journal of the Plague Year, by Daniel Defoe

We had no such thing as printed newspapers in those days to spread rumours and reports of things, and to improve them by the invention of men, as I have lived to see practised since. But such things as these were gathered from the letters of merchants and others who corresponded abroad, and from them was handed about by word of mouth only; so that things did not spread instantly over the whole nation, as they do now. But it seems that the Government had a true account of it, and several councils were held about ways to prevent its coming over; but all was kept very private. Hence it was that this rumour died off again, and people began to forget it as a thing we were very little concerned in, and that we hoped was not true; till the latter end of November or the beginning of December 1664 when two men, said to be Frenchmen, died of the plague in Long Acre, or rather at the upper end of Drury Lane.

The coronavirus turns deadly when it leads to ‘cytokine storm’; identifying this immune response is key to patient’s survival: report -

All Covid-19 patients sick enough for hospitalization should be given a cheap, quick, and readily available serum ferritin blood test. Indeed, elevated serum ferritin values have recently been reported in Chinese hospitalized patients with Covid-19. This is a good first screening tool for the possibility of a cytokine storm syndrome in sick patients with high fevers.

Coronavirus Is High Risk to Aging Florida, Retirement Communities - Bloomberg

The county with the nation’s highest senior-citizen share is Sumter County, Florida, home of the fast-growing retirement community, The Villages. Its 65-and-older percentage was 55.6% from 2014-2018, a period I used in the above chart because single-year data for many smaller counties isn’t reliable, and 57.6% in 2018. That’s an estimated 74,162 people 65-and-older in a county with 277 acute-care hospital beds.

Pollution Data Shows China’s Uneven Economic Virus Recovery - Bloomberg

At least three cities there have given local factories power-consumption targets because they’re using the data to show a resurgence in production, according to people familiar with the matter. That’s prompted some businesses to run machinery even as their plants remain empty, the people said.

How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America | History | Smithsonian Magazine

For an example of the press’s failure, consider Arkansas. Over a four-day period in October, the hospital at Camp Pike admitted 8,000 soldiers. Francis Blake, a member of the Army’s special pneumonia unit, described the scene: “Every corridor and there are miles of them with double rows of cots ...with influenza patients...There is only death and destruction.” Yet seven miles away in Little Rock, a headline in the Gazette pretended yawns: “Spanish influenza is plain la grippe—same old fever and chills.” People knew this was not the same old thing, though. They knew because the numbers were staggering—in San Antonio, 53 percent of the population got sick with influenza. They knew because victims could die within hours of the first symptoms—horrific symptoms, not just aches and cyanosis but also a foamy blood coughed up from the lungs, and bleeding from the nose, ears and even eyes. And people knew because towns and cities ran out of coffins. People could believe nothing they were being told, so they feared everything, particularly the unknown. How long would it last? How many would it kill? Who would it kill? With the truth buried, morale collapsed. Society itself began to disintegrate.

How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America | History | Smithsonian Magazine

The local newspaper, the Santa Fe Monitor, confirms that something odd was happening around that time: “Mrs. Eva Van Alstine is sick with pneumonia...Ralph Lindeman is still quite sick...Homer Moody has been reported quite sick...Pete Hesser’s three children have pneumonia ...Mrs J.S. Cox is very weak yet...Ralph Mc-Connell has been quite sick this week...Mertin, the young son of Ernest Elliot, is sick with pneumonia,...Most everybody over the country is having lagrippe or pneumonia.” Several Haskell men who had been exposed to influenza went to Camp Funston, in central Kansas. Days later, on March 4, the first soldier known to have influenza reported ill. The huge Army base was training men for combat in World War I, and within two weeks 1,100 soldiers were admitted to the hospital, with thousands more sick in barracks. Thirty-eight died. Then, infected soldiers likely carried influenza from Funston to other Army camps in the States—24 of 36 large camps had outbreaks—sickening tens of thousands, before carrying the disease overseas. Meanwhile, the disease spread into U.S. civilian communities.

Pence Will Control All Coronavirus Messaging From Health Officials - The New York Times

The White House moved on Thursday to tighten control of coronavirus messaging by government health officials and scientists, directing them to clear all statements and public appearance with the office of Vice President Mike Pence, according to several officials familiar with the new approach.

Pandemic dodged, but black swan looms

Billionaire investor Hamish Douglass says he is confident the coronavirus outbreak will not develop into a global pandemic that will roil the global economy, but has warned that the probability of a black swan event such as a cyber attack, terrorist attack or pandemic is increasing. The founder of Magellan Financial Group, who spoke to AFR Weekend before he took the stage in front of 2500 Magellan investors at an event in Melbourne, said he had been impressed with the Chinese government’s response to the crisis. “Could you imagine if something like this actually broke out in the United States?” Douglass said.


“The real issue here is whether we’re seeing efficient community transmission outside of China. And at the present time, we’re not observing that. And as such, we’re not in a position to have that discussion. What we’re seeing is, again, as we’ve said previously, the majority of cases outside China have a direct link still back to China. And of that transmission that’s occurred in countries outside China, the majority of that transmission can be traced through existing transmission chains. So therefore I think we have to be very, very careful not to drive fear in the world right now, and be very cautious in using the words you have used. We’ve said that the risk is very high in China, it’s high regionally and it’s high around the world. That is not, ‘the risk is high of a pandemic.’ The risk is high that the disease may spread further, and I think at face value, that is true."

Rare Release of Xi’s Speech on Virus Puzzles Top China Watchers - Bloomberg

“For Xi to authorize the speech’s publication at this juncture seemed strongly defensive, as though he needed to make clear that he didn’t bear any of the blame for the slow initial response to the discovery of the virus in Wuhan,” said Richard McGregor, a senior fellow at the Lowy Institute and author of “The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers.” “In fact, it does the opposite, by seemingly putting him on par with the top officials in Hubei, in Wuhan, in being late to recognize the gravity of the public health criss as it was unfolding.”

Forget Masks to Avoid Coronavirus on Flights Says Airline Doctor - Bloomberg

[…]Masks are useful for those who are unwell to protect other people from them. But wearing a mask all the time will be ineffective. It will allow viruses to be transmitted around it, through it and worse still, if it becomes moist it will encourage the growth of viruses and bacteria. Gloves are probably even worse[…]inside the gloves, your hands get hot and sweaty, which is a really good environment for microbes to grow.

Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults | British Journal of Sports Medicine

We combined data from two cohorts of approximately 500 subjects each that were studied during the winter and fall seasons. After controlling for important confounders, total days with URTI during the 12-week study were 43–46% lower in the high versus low tertiles for aerobic activity and perceived physical fitness level, respectively, and URTI severity and symptomatology were reduced 32–41%. Limitations in this study include lack of adjustment for all potential confounders including exposure to URTI pathogens at work and from children in the home. Although methodology varies widely, other epidemiologic and randomised exercise training studies consistently report a reduction in URTI incidence or risk of 18–67%.11,–,19 Within certain subgroups such as the elderly or those with high mental stress, the reduction in URTI with aerobic exercise training may have more significance. Fondell et al,15 eg, reported an 18% reduction in URTI risk between high and low physical activity quartiles, but this risk reduction improved to 42% among those with high perceived mental stress. A randomised study of elderly women (mean age, 73 years) showed that walking 30–40 min, 5 days/week, for 12 weeks at 60% heart rate reserve, reduced URTI rates to 20% as compared with 50% among sedentary controls.18 A 1-year randomised study of 115 overweight, postmenopausal women showed that regular moderate exercise (166 min/week, ∼4 days/week) lowered URTI risk compared to controls modestly during the first half year, but then more strongly during the final months.19 The underlying mechanisms for the reduction in URTI risk with aerobic exercise training are still being explored and debated. Each aerobic exercise bout causes a transient increase in the recirculation of immunoglobulins, and neutrophils and natural killer cells, two cells involved in innate immune defenses.16 17 Animal data indicate that lung macrophages play an important role in mediating the beneficial effects of moderate exercise on lowered susceptibility to infection.36 Stress hormones, which can suppress immunity, and pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, indicative of intense metabolic activity, are not elevated during moderate aerobic exercise.16 17 Although the immune system returns to pre-exercise levels within a few hours after the exercise session is over, each session may improve immunosurveillance against pathogens that reduce overall URTI incidence and symptomatology.

Effect of Regular Exercise on Inflammation Induced by Drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus 3089 in ICR mice

Infectious microorganisms also elicit acute inflammatory responses mediated by cytokines secreted from immune cells, akin to inflammation associated with obesity52. In this study, we examined the effect of 3 weeks of exercise (swimming) on the immune response induced by infection with DRSA. Our findings show that regular exercise suppresses infection-induced inflammation, as indicated by reductions in the levels in two inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL1-β) and two inflammation markers (NO and PGC-1), and it increases cathelicidin levels in the blood, adipose tissue and whole lung tissue. Earlier reports indicate that production of TNF-α and IL1-β is significantly increased by regular exercise53,54,55, resulting in improved immune responses, prevention of various diseases, increased signal transduction and reduced body mass through β-oxidation56,57. Secretion of large amounts of cytokines stimulated by infectious pathogens results in strong activation of immune cells58. TNF-α and IL-1β, in particular, are key mediators of the signal transduction initiating immediate immune cell activity upon release from the site of infection59,60. We observed that serum TNF-α and IL-1β levels were lower in SW-EX and SW-EX + DRAS mice than No-EX + DRSA mice, and were even lower in SW-EX + DRSA than SW-EX mice. We also observed that production of TNF-α and IL-1β was reduced in exercising mice, while cathelicidin production was increased, suggesting that suppression of the infection by cathelicidin led to a decrease in cytokine production. We therefore suggest that the immediate action (autocrine and/or paracrine) of cathelicidin on the infected tissues contributed to a reduction in serum cytokine levels.

The Truth About “Dramatic Action” | China Media Project

And there may be a reason for this. Why? Because there are already concrete examples that deepen their sense of dread. On January 22, Huang Mouhong (黄谋宏), the deputy director of the Hubei Provincial Department of Commerce, was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Before this, there was news that Wang Guangfa, the expert who had flown to Wuhan from Beijing and announced that the disease was “preventable and controllable,” had been confirmed as infected shortly after his return to the capital. In fact, both the provincial and municipal governments have already effectively been shut down, and to a large extent can be said to now be only caretaker governments (看守政府). These cowardly and incompetent governments obviously cannot take on the necessary responsibility of governing in what has already become essentially a state of war. This leaves the public in a state of deep concern and uncertainty. On January 22, Zhang Ouya (张欧亚), a journalist for the official Hubei Daily newspaper, clearly at the end of his rope, fairly shouted online: “Wuhan must immediately change out its commanders” (武汉必须当机立断换帅了). For a brief time, this furious call proliferated online. Another meme was rapidly born, like a mutating virus, across social media. The word “coronavirus”, or guānzhuàng bìngdú (冠状病毒), was replaced with the identical-sounding “official virus” (官状病毒), mocking the cowardice and ineffectiveness of the government and of high-level officials. We may find it hard to suppress a bitter laugh over such an acts of inventive criticism. But such a story cannot have a happy ending in China’s stability-obsessed political environment – where anything can be stopped. Zhang Ouya’s post was quickly expunged. The Party leadership of the Hubei Daily Media Group, Zhang’s employer, wrote a letter of apology to the Municipal Party Committee expressing its “deepest apologies” for Zhang Ouya’s “incorrect remarks.”

The Truth About “Dramatic Action” | China Media Project

The scientific results could not be clearer, and the authorities likely had a decent grasp of the real situation. But nevertheless they could not speak the truth, and they spared no effort in keeping the outbreak under wraps. Front-line doctors who spoke up about the outbreak were taken in for questioning. Eight Wuhan citizens who dared to post about the outbreak online were summoned by the police and singled out in public announcements through official media in order to terrify the public and force people to remain quiet.

The Truth About “Dramatic Action” | China Media Project

China is a society closely monitored by the government, and the shadow of Big Brother is everywhere. Social media in particular are subject to very close surveillance. So when the authorities detected chatter about the re-emergence of SARS, or of a similar unknown outbreak, they took two major steps initially. First, they tried to ensure that this new outbreak remained a secret; second, they put the stability preservation system into effect (启动稳控机制). On December 30, the Wuhan Health Commission (武汉市卫建委) issued an order to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare units strictly prohibiting the release of any information about treatment of this new disease. As late as December 31, the government in Wuhan was still saying publicly that there were no cases of human-to-human transmission, and that no medical personnel had become infected.