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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:58 pm 
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Thanks.

I´m not particularly worried for myself. In my age group, mortality is 0.2%; if 2/3 of the population will end up contracting this, as was predicted, and the virus will never again be quite that lethal and contagious, my odds of dying of it within my lifetime are something like 1 in 750. Meanwhile my odds of being killed in a traffic accident at some point in my life are about 1 in 250. Probably more than that, with all the city driving I do.

I am, however, extremely worried about about my customers. They are almost all elderly, and most have one or more of the conditions listed as risk factors. If this gets loose among them, a lot of them are going to die even with the best medical care. So my colleagues and I are taking all the precautions we can to avoid contracting the virus and passing it on to the old folks.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:15 pm 
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well, younger people can still get a severe reaction and die from it, so don't be complacent - the best way to survive this is not to get it! It sounds pretty awful for people who are healthy from what I've heard, but again it varies - some people have very mild symptoms, others have pretty harsh symptoms. They're saying about 80% get mild symptoms but I'm not sure if that's across the entire population or if that's taking into account health issues and age too. Either way, a 1 in 5 chance of getting severe reactions is way too high for my taste, so I'd rather just try to avoid the damn thing.

I think 2/3 of the population getting it is pretty extreme. I don't think it'll be more than a few million in the world getting it (i'm hoping no more than a few hundred thousand dead worldwide, but who knows), so long as we're all smart and stay indoors and avoid people. If, however, people are idiots and carry on as normal then sure - loads more will get it and millions may die. Herd Immunity is too deadly - this isn't a vaccine, it's a killer disease and if we just let everyone get it and hope the survivors are immune to it in future (which isn't clear at the moment) then there will be death on a scale we haven't seen for ages.

Ideally though we need a vaccine, and we need this not to come around again. If this turns out to be a seasonal thing then we're pretty screwed.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:59 pm 
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I´m not complacent about it - any more than I am complacent about traffic accidents. It´s a calculated risk in both cases. Of course, when I get into a traffic accident, I don´t have the near-guarantee that a bunch of vulnerable old folks will have even more severe traffic accidents as a consequence, like I have with the virus. I am careful - even more so for other people´s sake than of my own.

"So long as we´re all smart and stay indoors", yeah, we may get lucky. But judging from the observations of homo not-so-sapiens in the wild, I am not so optimistic. The best-case scenarios I have heard of so far is that we can delay the spread of the disease so that healthcare services aren´t overwhelmed with a large number of cases at any one time, like is happening Italy right now. For example, each country only has a certain number of hospital beds in isolation wards when this begins, and a certain potential for increasing that number in an emergency - so if no more than that number need isolation beds at the same time, we can keep the fatality rate fairly low. I´ve seen the goal of stretching the spread of the virus out over two years, by which time hopefully there will be a vaccine.

As far as I can tell, medical experts expect the virus to stick around, but in a less lethal form, but like the flu already does - and again, hopefully then there will be a vaccine. This initial outbreak is as bad as it is because there´s no vaccine, no medication that is effective against the virus, and no immunity of any kind among the population. If this becomes seasonal, we will have (hopefully) changed the first two factors, and the third may or may not change on its own. It´ll be like a more severe flu, essentially, not like the initial outbreak.

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Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. Sir Frederick Hoyle
Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Man has earned the right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone completely bat**** insane. xkcd #556
Just like people, stars can be very important without being terribly bright. Phil Plait, "Bad Astronomy"


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:24 am 
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EDG wrote:
I think 2/3 of the population getting it is pretty extreme.

Got a link? I see lots of news sites quoting experts as saying that 60%, 75%, or 80% of the world's population getting a dose.

The 1918 H1N1 influenza outbreak infected somewhere between 50% and 75% of world population, and the experts say that this has higher infectivity than that. Why should 67% be implausible?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:44 am 
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Sir Chaos wrote:
The best-case scenarios I have heard of so far is that we can delay the spread of the disease so that healthcare services aren´t overwhelmed with a large number of cases at any one time, like is happening Italy right now. For example, each country only has a certain number of hospital beds in isolation wards when this begins, and a certain potential for increasing that number in an emergency - so if no more than that number need isolation beds at the same time, we can keep the fatality rate fairly low.


I have calculated a simple mathematical model based on the current infection rate getting cut in half, 50% of Australians eventually getting infected, 6% of cases needing acute care for ten days, and the trend following a logistic curve asymptotic to saturation. That's moderately optimistic, and it predicts a peak of infections in late June, of new cases around the end of June, and peak hospital bed requirement in the first week of July. We would need about fifty thousand acute care beds and ventilators for a month or so.

Our hospital capacity will be overwhelmed even in that optimistic scenario. We have to increase hospital capacity, temporarily, but very quickly. I'm suggesting to everyone who will listen (i.e. writing letters and e-mail to editors and public officials) that we convert hotels for use as temporary hospitals, give airline and hospitality-industry workers crash courses in basic nursing, order a hundred thousand simple emergency-expedient ventilators (or whatever apparatus will be needed) from domestic light-engineering firms, make sure now that commercial supplies of oxygen for industry (welding &c.) can be diverted to medical use, etc. etc. If nothing else, it will be a serviceable form of economic stimulus.

I got one letter in a major Sydney daily on Saturday. Hope it helps.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:13 am 
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Agemegos wrote:
EDG wrote:
I think 2/3 of the population getting it is pretty extreme.

Got a link? I see lots of news sites quoting experts as saying that 60%, 75%, or 80% of the world's population getting a dose.

The 1918 H1N1 influenza outbreak infected somewhere between 50% and 75% of world population, and the experts say that this has higher infectivity than that. Why should 67% be implausible?


You'd think with the efforts that (at least some) countries are making (and with modern technology and communications) that we'd be able to get it lower than that. I mean, according to the CDC ( https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resour ... -h1n1.html ) the "Spanish Flu" (technically it should be "American Flu", but that's another story - https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/flu-epi ... 1918/17805 :P ) infected 500 million people. The CDC link claims that was about 1/3 of the world's population, but that sounds more like a quarter since the global population around then was apparently more like 2 billion), and about 50 million died so that'd be a 10% fatality rate.

Today though we have over 7.5 billion people, so that kind of percentage would be staggering - 4.7 billion people infected? With a 1% fatality rate, that'd still be about 47 million people dead worldwide. Proportionally less than in 1918 but still horrifying - and yikes, if that many ended up catching it in the first place then we must have unimaginably fscked up managing its spread! If word from China is to be believed though, they've already got it mostly under control there (it sounds like a winning battle at least), so that's like 1.3 billion people not infected...

Interesting reading here: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51970379 (Coronavirus: What could the West learn from Asia?)

I think the trouble is that the West isn't doing full lockdowns like China and some other Asian countries are doing - they're still thinking about 'flattening the curve' to reduce the load on health services and faffing around worrying about jobs and the economy and the markets, and meanwhile the virus spreads while ignorant people continue to socialise. They need to strictly enforce curfews and have only essential services running (which now in a rather surreal twist includes food delivery). Personally I'm totally fine with temporarily sacrificing some freedoms to stop this thing if that's what it takes, but that has to be strictly enforced and but they seem to be waiting til the very last minute to do a hard shut-down (if they do one at all), when they've already got thousands of cases. It's too late by then though - a lot of countries are going to go the way of Italy as a result.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:31 am 
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Oh well. I don’t have expert knowledge and therefore ought not to spread either complacency or panic. I’ll only say that the time to do things early or quickly was in February and the second half of January. As for modern communications and technology, they aren’t a lot of help. (Until we develop a vaccine, only modern supportive therapy for respiratory distress makes a helpful difference. That’s what makes the case fatality rates out of Wuhan as low as they are. ) They are up against modern transport, which makes things much, much worse. The 1918 flu was the pandemic that ocean liners gave us. This is the pandemic that airliners have given us.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:21 pm 
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Modern communications is a two-edged sword - on one hand it gets the message from the health professionals and CDCs out to more people faster than anything they had in 1918, but on the other it allows misinformation and idiotic opinion to spread further too. I'm really hoping the former is winning over the latter...

But yeah, at least most of the plane travel has pretty much shut down now, though it's done the damage already.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:27 pm 
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My understanding about the figure of 2/3 of the population eventually being infected is that it is rooted in the mathematics of infection spread.

Each infected patient infects a certain number of others - for coronavirus, that number (R0) has been given variously as 2.5 or 3 or something like that. Assume that anyone who has recently - i.e. during this pandemic - recovered is immune for a while; assume naturally assume that anyone currently infected cannot be re-infected until they recover. Vaccinated people also cannot be infected any more, but there is no vaccine for coronavirus yet. So, for anyone other and Patient Zero within a population, some part of his R0 will consist of people that cannot be infected, which means that. I haven´t seen a formal name for this, but let´s call R0 multiplied by the infectable part of the population "R1". R0 is static, but as the number of infected or recovered rises, R1 drops because the number of remaining infectable patients goes down.

Apparently a pandemic starts petering out once R1 drops below 1. For a virus that has an R0 of 3, 2/3 of the population have to become uninfectable. For an R0 of 2.5, it´s 60 percent.


Edit: The Robert-Koch-Institut, the closest we have to a CDC, has published a primer of sorts on the coronavirus: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/N ... brief.html (link in German)
It gives the R0 as "2-3.3".

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Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. Sir Frederick Hoyle
Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Man has earned the right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone completely bat**** insane. xkcd #556
Just like people, stars can be very important without being terribly bright. Phil Plait, "Bad Astronomy"


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 7:36 pm 
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UK and India on full lockdown now (you wouldn't know it from the pictures though...). Italy infection rate is possibly slowing down though it's a bit early to be sure. US is still a clusterfrak that's going to get way worse I think...

EDIT: My prediction is that the US will hit 100,000 cases by Saturday, and will overtake China by Friday. Looks like they're doubling every three days.

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