Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Report from Taiwan: Friends Return to the USA to Compare & Contrast

by gmoke Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 06:13:46 PM EST

My friends and former co-workers, Marc and Sally, love to travel the world and this year spent some of February and March in Taiwan.

This is their account of the response of Taiwan to COVID19, the letter they sent to friends after they arrived back home on March 19, 2020:

As the Deads so eloquently sang, "What a long, strange trip it's been!"

We are ensconced pond-side, bleary from poor sleep jet-lag wise, but home at last.  Our wonderful friend Missy went shopping for us, so eggs and cheese and milk were waiting when we woke from not sleeping.  So begins our at-least 14 day self-quarantine -- we've been through enough bad places in the past 2 days that it would be crazy to do anything else.

A sudden spike of CV in Taiwan ( something like 25 new cases) brought instant response -- the borders are largely closed to foreigners now, and the government is busy tracking down the vectors of the newly infected.  In Taiwan surgical masks are universally available (but we still had our supply of N95s from Community Builders that we carried in our backpacks for 2 months.)  Just before leaving Taipei, we bought a big box of disposable gloves and two large bottles of hand sanitizer, both easily available in shops within a block of our hotel.  We wore our masks and gloves throughout the airport experiences and for the first 20 minutes on the planes (allowing the HEPA systems to cleanse the cabin air a few hundred times before removing them). We washed down all the surfaces around us with sanitizer, and washed our phones after handling them with gloves.  Wore gloves to the bathroom and disposed of them after each visit.

Our Taiwan to SFO flight was more crowded than it had looked in the seat assignment window online, but we were still relatively isolated, plus everyone was coming from the clean island like us.  Also almost everyone wore surgical masks throughout the trip- it's what they do in Taiwan all the time anyway, and so did all the flight attendants.

All it took was a day back in America to see how hopeless avoiding an outbreak is here, given the money making ethos of every business, the lax response by the government at every level (despite lots of talk) and the general idiocy of the people who live here.

At arrival at SFO we breezed through re-entry, though standing in a lineup of returnees with no distancing whatsoever. The Immigration officer greeted us outside of the glass booth they usually sit in, with his mask dangling under his chin -- a 2 foot distance from hundreds of people every hour.  No disinfection, no baggage check, no dogs, no customs inspection: we might as well have been carrying 50 pounds of crack and a nuclear device.

Shuttle driver to the hotel handled our bags, and everyone else's, without gloves (which we wore until we were inside our room.)  No sanitizer in the hotel lobby -- being California, there was was wine, whiskey and tequila for sale, so we opted for internal alcohol to go with our external dosing. We picked this nice hotel based on the advertised full breakfast included, but since California adopted "no gatherings", they shut it down and offered us grab-and-go - but figured they'd offset their losses by offering the absolutely smallest yogurt container I've ever seen, one granola bar and an apple the size of a fig.  

Back at SFO we saw that restaurants were generally takeout only, but you could sit inside if you wanted to drink alcohol - which several people were doing at 11 AM. One guy took his grab-and-go and sat across a table from us and actually put his feet up on the table, dirty boots and all, staring at the weirdos with the masks. NOT ONE FUCKING RESTAURANT OR SHOP HAD A SANITIZING STATION.  In Taiwan you could not walk 25 steps without seeing one available free. Every restaurant took your temperature before you entered, every museum and the subway required masks.  Two hours waiting for our flight at SFO and we never saw a single person cleaning or wiping down anything.  In the Taipei Metro, there was an army of cleaners endlessly wiping down the escalator and stair rails, the strap handles and seats in the cars, etc.

Happily our SFO to Boston flight was totally empty - maybe 15 passengers.  Again we wiped everything, did the glove and mask thing and passed the time watching movies.  Logan was also stuck on lazy mode -- we were un-approached the entire transit from plane to uber.  Our uber driver was a young Indian guy from Waltham, who was clearly happy we were wearing masks, and he was armed with soap and water and hand sanitizer.  Why are only immigrants sane here?

Now that the internet knows I'm back, my inbox is clogged with special herbal remedies that will prevent corona virus and organic pure sanitizer creams.

This country is fucked.


I asked him if I could share this and sent him this Foreign Policy article on Taiwan's "success" story with COVID19 (https:/foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/16/taiwan-china-fear-coronavirus-success).  Here is his response:


Thanks, George-- excellent article that conformed to our observations. I'd add:
Hand sanitizer pumps are at the entrance to every shop and public place and everyone uses them many times a day.

Public restrooms are absolutely everywhere, always free, and invariably clean.
Seats, grips and handrails on buses, trains and stations are being wiped down constantly. Taipei metro claims to disinfect each carriage every 4 hours. There is an army of cleaners.

Having one's temperature taken by forehead scan was the rite of entry to nearly every restaurant and many points of entry to businesses and apartment buildings, and grew ever more common over our two month stay.

A ubiquitous network of CCTV cameras everywhere assisted in tracking down the contacts of early victims and isolating vectors of infection.  

Mask wearing was already a cultural norm and in crowded subways, malls, markets, busses, and workplaces it neared 100%, even though enforcement only became a factor by March.  (Social distancing was virtually non-existent -- everything was open for business right through our March 17th departure.)

Handshakes are uncommon -- slight bowing and even wai'ing is a more common greeting. Hand holding, embracing and public affection is not unheard of, especially among teens, but is much rarer than in the west. Fist bumping, high-fiving. and cheek kissing greetings are practically unheard of.

Public fear and demonization of PRC Chinese is common - mainlanders are isolated and avoided - the virus was usually referred to in conversation with us westerners as Wuhan Flu or Wuhan Virus.

Westerners were also perceived as a threat in public, especially as the virus spread overseas -- people often moved away from us on the subway cars and platforms. There was no hostility in this, however--people were warmly welcoming and friendly. We are easily noticed, as the population is 95% Han Chinese.

A huge sector of the public travels solo on motor scooters, even when in groups, rather than side by side in closed cars.

Every train, bus and metro car is equipped with electronic message scrolls or video screens which carried CV safety advice between announcements of upcoming stops and stations.  Cardboard figurines of popular anime characters spread the prevention message on subway platforms and in other lobbies.

People walking side by side or sitting together are more likely to be staring at their phones than facing one another when conversing.

Now back in Massachusetts and armed with hindsight, I can definitely say we should have stayed in Taiwan for another 3 or 4 months.

Batten down the hatches...

by Frank Schnittger Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 12:25:46 PM EST

The number of new confirmed cases of Covid-19 surged by 302 yesterday, the highest daily increase so far. There are now a total of 2,121 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland and 22 deaths to date. The number of cases has been doubling roughly every 4/5 days, which is somewhat better than was forecast at the start of the outbreak. Up to last Wednesday, 419 patients had been hospitalised with the disease and 59 of these had been admitted to ICU.

Given the shortage of ICU beds hospitals are now operating at close to capacity and the government has just issued its strictest restrictions  yet, basically saying everyone should stay at home for the next two weeks except for the purposes of buying essential food or medical supplies or a much more tightly defined list of essential work.

It is a lockdown in all but name, and pretty much the last shot in the governments locker - one last attempt to "flatten the curve" and, if possible, suppress the disease. Compliance, so far, seems to be high. The first death of a healthcare worker is adding to the sombre mood, although the situation doesn't seem to be quite as chaotic as in the UK's NHS, h/t  ThatBritGuy.

Read more... (6 comments, 454 words in story)

The Voice of Conservatism, Corporations and EU Austerity

by Oui Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 10:23:18 AM EST

The Dutch better prepared for post-mortem citizens than taking care of the living, young and old, in a global pandemic.

A good read ...

Caught Between Herd Immunity And National Lockdown, Holland Hit Hard By Covid-19 | Forbes |

In a national address to the Dutch nation on Monday, March 16th, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his country would aim to develop immunity to the novel coronavirus among its population by allowing large numbers to contract the illness at a controlled pace.

Initially, creating herd immunity for the novel coronavirus was one of two main objectives of Dutch government policy: Controlling spread of the virus while protecting vulnerable groups, including the elderly and people with underlying health conditions. By striking this balance rather than instituting a national lockdown, the thought was the nation could avoid a situation in which post lockdown - when society returns to normal - it would be exposed to the danger of a new outbreak as too few people would have become infected and therefore immune.

More below the fold ...

Read more... (1 comment, 781 words in story)

Hacking COVID19: Open Source Global Brainstorms and Mutual Aid

by gmoke Fri Mar 27th, 2020 at 02:41:32 AM EST

MIT COVID19 Challenge - Beat the Pandemic
Friday, April 3 at 6:00pm - Sunday, April 5
RSVP at https:/covid19challenge.mit.edu
We invite you to attend the MIT COVID-19 Challenge event, Beat the Pandemic, a series of virtual hackathons. The next event is April 3-5, 2020. In this 48-hour virtual event, we will help tackle the most critical unmet needs caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Participants will form teams on Friday, April 3rd to hone down on the problems, generate solutions, including proof of concepts, prototypes, and preliminary vision for execution. On Sunday, April 5th, teams will reconvene to present their work. After the weekend, the best ideas and teams will have the opportunity to co-develop and implement their solution with the support of our partners.

For more information and to apply as a participant, please check out our website:  https:covid19challenge.mit.edu

The MIT COVID-19 Challenge is proud to be supported by organizations including the MIT Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship, MIT Hacking Medicine, MIT Innovation Initiative, MIT Sloan Healthcare Club, Digital Medicine Society, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Netherlands Innovation Network, MassBio, and many more.
We hope to see you (virtually) at the event!


Conserving Supply of Personal Protective Equipment--A Call for Ideas

The editors of JAMA recognize the challenges, concerns, and frustration about the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) that is affecting the care of patients and safety of health care workers in the US and around the world. We seek creative immediate solutions for how to maximize the use of PPE, to conserve the supply of PPE, and to identify new sources of PPE. We are interested in suggestions, recommendations, and potential actions from individuals who have relevant experience, especially from physicians, other health care professionals, and administrators in hospitals and other clinical settings. JAMA is inviting immediate suggestions, which can be added as online comments to this article.
Corresponding Author: Howard Bauchner, MD (howard.bauchner@jamanetwork.org).


I read through the more than 50 entries to the JAMA Call for Ideas on Saturday, March 21.  As I write now on Thursday, March 26, there are over 250.  You can read what I found at Crowd Sourcing Solutions to COVID19 (https:www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/3/22/1930022-Crowd-Sourcing-Solutions-to-COVID19)


Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies

Mask Force:  DIY mask production  


There are many, many DIY mask and PPE initiatives now with many, many different designs.  Probably one or more in your area and, if not, start one yourself.


Mutual Aid Networks are springing up all over the place (https:www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/3/15/1927820-Mutual-Aid-Networks)
Mutual Aid & Social Capital: The Power of Communities, Networks from Howard Rheingold, based upon the syllabus of a course he used to teach at Stanford on social media and including recent links to mutual aid networks forming to deal with Covid19 (which he will update)
Mutual Aid Networks article from NYTimes

Spreadsheet of mutual aid networks

Mutual Aid Initiatives to Combat the Coronavirus
itsgoingdown.org/autonomous-groups-are-mobilizing-mutual-aid-initiatives-to-combat-the-coron avirus
Intellihelp Facebook group - only ask and give posts


"You could say that civil society is what unimpaired mutual aid creates;  or that civil society is the condition and mutual aid the activity that produces it." - Rebecca Solnit, from A Paradise Built in Hell (http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2016/07/notes-on-rebecca-solnits-paradise-built.html)

The sooner we organize to help each other the better off we all will be.

Once we start exercising our freedom to build mutual aid networks that support and empower each of us individually and collectively we will have reclaimed some of our own liberty and power (swaraj - self-rule).  Mutual aid networks are part of what Gandhi called swadeshi, local production, the heart of satyagraha, nonviolence, and a lifelong daily practice of community (sarvodaya) (http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2014/04/sarvodaya-swaraj-and-swadeshi.html), all who are for the benefit of all, as the ethicist Milt Raymond, author of Social Reason (https://www.amazon.com/Social-Reason-Milton-Raymond/dp/0557086043) would say.

"Make the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."  R Buckminster Fuller

The Covid-19 Patterns are changing

by Frank Schnittger Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 10:49:27 PM EST

The table above is continuously updated here and by John Hopkins University here.

The pandemic patterns are changing, with the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases now in the USA, despite a lack of a timely and comprehensive testing regime. Italy and Spain are still leading the mortality column with France also moving up the table. On a per capita basis, Luxembourg and Switzerland actually have a higher confirmed infection rate per million inhabitants and there is some hope that the rate of new infections is actually beginning to slow down in Italy where new infections have increased by less than 10% per day for the past four days in a row.

Read more... (28 comments, 719 words in story)

CoV-2 Herd Immunity is Incongruous to Healthcare

by Oui Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 08:54:33 AM EST

Concerns the COVID-19 Pandemic originating in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

Western nations not heeding the early warning warnings and data from China and the WHO.

'This beast is moving very fast.' Will the new coronavirus be contained--or go pandemic? | ScienceMag - Feb. 5, 2020 |

The repatriation of 565 Japanese citizens from Wuhan, China, in late January offered scientists an unexpected opportunity to learn a bit more about the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) raging in that city. To avoid domestic spread of the virus, Japanese officials screened every passenger for disease symptoms and tested them for the virus after they landed. Eight tested positive, but four of those had no symptoms at all, says epidemiologist Hiroshi Nishiura of Hokkaido University, Sapporo--which is a bright red flag for epidemiologists who are trying to figure out what the fast-moving epidemic has in store for humanity. If many infections go unnoticed, as the Japanese finding suggests, that vastly complicates efforts to contain the outbreak.

What did politicians in Europe know and why didn't react to the warnings?

More below the fold ...

Read more... (8 comments, 984 words in story)

Ireland becoming a socialist state?

by Frank Schnittger Tue Mar 24th, 2020 at 10:45:56 PM EST

The Irish government, led by the most conservative major party in the state, has instituted a number of emergency measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic:

  1. The government will fund 70% of workers salaries up to a maximum of €410 per week tax free in businesses effected by the crisis.
  2. Social welfare, unemployment, and sick pay is increased from €203 per week to €350 p.w.
  3. The government is taking over all private hospitals and incorporating them into the public hospital system for the duration of the crisis.
  4. A rent freeze and ban on evictions.
  5. The cost of these measures is estimated to be €3.7 Billion over the next 12 weeks - greater than the total annual budget surplus estimated prior to the crisis.

Read more... (29 comments, 347 words in story)

Trump: It's About #Me, Not Others

by Oui Tue Mar 24th, 2020 at 09:41:51 AM EST

The Dominic Cummings policy on the CoV-2 pandemic rears its ugly head again ... just as persistent as the virus that traveled the globe via their hosts traveling by air.

The writing has been on the wall for weeks in the UK, US and where I reside in The Netherlands. Lying liers ...

PM Mark Rutte had a broad explanation why it wasn't necessary and it was good policy NOT to do more tests as directly advised by the WHO.

More below the fold ...

Read more... (43 comments, 1581 words in story)

Crowd Sourcing Solutions to COVID19

by gmoke Mon Mar 23rd, 2020 at 07:04:17 PM EST


The editors of JAMA recognize the challenges, concerns, and frustration about the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) that is affecting the care of patients and safety of health care workers in the US and around the world. We seek creative immediate solutions for how to maximize the use of PPE, to conserve the supply of PPE, and to identify new sources of PPE. We are interested in suggestions, recommendations, and potential actions from individuals who have relevant experience, especially from physicians, other health care professionals, and administrators in hospitals and other clinical settings. JAMA is inviting immediate suggestions, which can be added as online comments to this article.
Corresponding Author: Howard Bauchner, MD (howard.bauchner@jamanetwork.org).

I read through the more than 50 submissions at the JAMA site on March 20, 2020 and will attempt to summarize them along with some other resources I've come across:
A Belgium nonprofit worked with their government to design a DIY face mask:
Korean DIY mask  

An emergency mask from a T shirt:

Home-Made Face Masks
https:/www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/3/17/1928552-Home-Made-Face-Masks [three different versions of improvised face masks, including directions for 1918 Spanish flu design]
Use mask covers (surgical mask sleeves)
How to Make n95 Mask Covers
Mask Sewing Crowd Source on FB: https:/www.facebook.com/groups/1596375590537476

The Million Mask Challenge

Swedish/St. Joseph's Providence is making homemade PPE [face shields]
https:/komonews.com/news/coronavirus/volunteers-making-homemade-equipment-to-combat-shortages-cause d-by-covid-19

3-d printed face shield

DIY substitute for N95 respirators, "create your own reusable respirator using only a face mask, an in-line ventilator filter, and two elastic straps. All for less than 3 dollars!  Find instructions, details, and video at
www.childrenshospital.org/research/departments-divisions-programs/departments/surgery/surgic al-innovation-fellowship"

We need quantities of Personal Protection Equipment [PPE] within the next week or two until the factories ramp up,  Could a significant proportion of that need be supplied by a crowd-sourced production method?  Can people in quarantine do whatever they can do from home in order to help the effort to "bend the curve" (make sure fewer people die) now and in the near future? Can they be paid in $$$, kind, or services to tide things over?  (It would also be helpful to have utility and rent payment moratoriums as in France and, I've read, El Salvador. That would alleviate some worry, I suspect.)  

It seems some form of short-term "universal basic income" [UBI] is going into legislation but what if it were combined with a possibility of universal service as well in this particular?  What if we were thinking of this the way Churchill thought about Dunkirk and called out everyone who can help to help?  What if we mobilized our own "little ship navy" to get all hands on deck to deal with this crisis?

Here are some more ideas from JAMA:

There is a 1975 study indicating that the material used in masks matters less than the fit.  See Br J Surg. 1975 Dec;62(12):936-40. The efficiency of surgical masks of varying design and composition. Quesnel LB.
(And other studies suggest that any mask is better than none, down to a bandana across the nose and mouth.)

"On any surface, the virus dies off over time anyhow, so merely storing used masks for a week might adequately decontaminate them."  I suspect exposing them to sunlight's UV radiation would be good too.

Sanitization for re-use:
Data from WHO suggests heat at 56°C kills the SARS coronavirus at around 10000 units per 15 min (quick reduction)
disinfect with alcohol and then dry at 60ºC of higher
gamma or e-beam radiation decontamination
SARS-coronavirus can be effectively eliminated at 56-65 deg C for 30-90 minutes.  Heat PPE at 65 deg C in an oven for 90 minutes before reusing  
(According to the CDC, flu viruses are killed by heat above 167º F
ultraviolet decontamination for reuse although this needs testing as UV may degrade mask quality
ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilization for n95 and all PPE

Reusable gowns for patients in contact isolation have already been deployed at large medical centers (https:practicegreenhealth.org/tools-and-resources/ronald-reagan-ucla-medical-center-reusable-isola tion-gowns), with the primary motivation being an overall reduction in waste and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacture, transportation, and disposal of one time use gowns.  [Margin note:  there's going to be a lot of waste with all these one use items.  Already there are reports of littering with used face masks in areas where many are used.]

categorize patients and have batch examinations so caregiver can use one set of PPE
schedule batch medication administration times so nurses can use just one set of PPE instead of multiples for patient care
wash gloves while still wearing them with alcohol hand sanitizer
use of telemedicine services such as https:
World's smallest cheapest ventilator
www.electronicsforu.com/india-corner/innovations-innovators/world-cheapest-smallest-ventilat or-made-india
Mass-bio list of materials & supplies currently needed in MA
www.massbio.org/news/blog/calling-on-all-life-sciences-and-healthcare-organizations-to-donat e-supplies-to-fight-covid-19-151858

Novel Coronavirus Fighting Products

So that is JAMA's crowd sourcing ideas (and crowd sourcing home production) for dealing with this health emergency with some addition I found along the way.  It looks like a good start.

Oh, and washing your face as well as your hands is a good idea.

Here is another example of crowd sourcing:
"There is a call for scientist volunteers by Dr. Michael Wells at the Broad [Institute]. pls see this Google form below and sign up if you are interested and are able to.
Broad Institute is part of the testing effort in MA as well as a leading biomedical research institution based in Kendall Square, near MIT.

I'm sure there is an overwhelming amount of research work that needs to be done in order to find possible treatments and possibly a vaccine for Covid19.  Again, if people who can help with this work can apply their enforced leisure to these efforts, would we be able to use that help?

For instance, could students be brought up to useful speed through such events as this study group?

Learning Circle: COVID-19, Tackling the Novel Coronavirus (Week 1)
Tuesday, March 31
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM Every week on Tuesday until April 14, 2020
Online Meeting

THIS MEETING WILL HAPPEN ONLINE AT https:meet.jit.si/covid19-learning-circle

Learning circles are free, facilitated study groups for learners who want to take online courses. More information about learning circles can be found on the P2PU website: https:www.p2pu.org/en.

Starting on March 31st and for 3 weeks, BosLab will host a learning circle to help participants study the FutureLearn course "COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus" from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (https:/www.futurelearn.com/courses/covid19-novel-coronavirus).

More of this will and should be happening.  A lot of people stuck at home have plenty of time to study this virus and crowd-source solutions to our current health crisis.
If as many of us as possible spend the next two weeks or so of quarantine or shelter in place or social distancing devoting as much time as we normally devote to our favorite sports team(s) or the Presidential campaign, could we maybe crowd source the sh!t out of this m*therf^cker?  Already?

Comments >> (3 comments)

The patterns of a pandemic

by Frank Schnittger Mon Mar 23rd, 2020 at 11:53:13 AM EST

Update [2020-3-23 23:40:41 by Frank Schnittger]:Table updated

You can find the table above constantly updated here, where you can also sort it by each column header.

A number of factors can influence the spread and mortality rate of the pandemic in different countries:

  1. Timing - the number of days since the first case in a region
  2. Preparedness - the ability of local hospital facilities to cope with rapidly elevating demand
  3. Timing and effectiveness of counter-measures taken - principally non-pharmaceutical interventions like the closure of schools, pubs, restaurants, non essential business contacts, sporting events, and the practice of self isolation, physical distancing and personal hygiene.
  4. Level of testing and contact tracing
  5. Demographics - older people (and men), especially with pre-existing serious medical conditions, are disproportionately at risk

Read more... (56 comments, 709 words in story)

From Outbreak to a Global Pandemic

by Oui Sun Mar 22nd, 2020 at 10:01:38 AM EST

No, Mark Rutte can be accused of intentional neglect by following the suggestion of his chosen scientists on "herd immunity". The RIVM is still not following WHO instructions to do the testing!

Minister President Mark Rutte of The Netherlands will be remembered in history, quite like Dutch PM Colijn during the military build-up in Germany and the outbreak of World War II ...

From my diary on March 14th ...

Outbreak -- Herd Immunity Is Damning!

More below the fold ...

Frontpaged- Frank Schnittger

Read more... (66 comments, 724 words in story)

Crisis In Leadership

by Oui Sat Mar 21st, 2020 at 09:35:30 AM EST

I must admit, during my lifetime I've seen far more failures in leadership than succes.

In a democracy, the public is easily manipulated by PR and a non-critical media. Therefore, the popularity curve of leaders are far behind as a crisis develops. As new data is confronting the man in the street, the popularity polls catches up.

Interesting comparison I found was president Johnson's Vietnam War and George Bush in the Iraq War.

More below the fold ...

Read more... (46 comments, 1504 words in story)

Sectarianism goes viral

by Frank Schnittger Thu Mar 19th, 2020 at 11:58:56 AM EST

Letter to the Editor

A Chara,

If I were charged with murder (and guilty as hell) I would hire your columnist, Newton Emerson, as my defence attorney. Based on his article "Sectarian split over school closures feels ominous", Opinion, 19 March, he would have even me believing in my innocence.

The whole point of the WHO (and now belatedly, the UK) expert advice is that the infection rate will increase exponentially until herd immunity is achieved unless there are radical interventions on the part of governments and peoples.

The further one is up that exponential curve, the more difficult it becomes to isolate and control the rate of infection. Exponentially more difficult. So days and even hours matter, and two weeks is an age.

There is , in any case, no evidence to support Newton's assertion that N. Ireland and the UK are two weeks behind Ireland in the course of this pandemic.

To try to cast those who sounded the alarm when they realised how serious this was all getting as engaging in sectarian politics is itself sectarian politics of the most crass kind almost equivalent to accusing Jews of alarmism and racism when they warned of Nazi atrocities.

Globally there could indeed be millions of casualties - and thousands in Ireland - before this is all over, and then those who delayed and procrastinated over essential measures will indeed be in the dock. Guilty as charged, I'm afraid.

Comments >> (37 comments)

Young People and Scars of CoV-2

by Oui Thu Mar 19th, 2020 at 09:28:38 AM EST

Inflammation of the lungs ...

Pneumonia is inflammation caused by infection that affects the air sacs in the lungs

Many young people will have minor symptoms, yet they will have a much longer road to full recovery. Information from research from China, South Korea, Italy and Belgium.

More below the fold ...

Read more... (18 comments, 454 words in story)

Facing the Surge

by Frank Schnittger Tue Mar 17th, 2020 at 11:45:58 PM EST

I don't agree with his economic policies, and his party has just been roundly defeated in a general election by a people yearning for change. But every now and then it's nice to see some basic competence in your leaders. Leo Varadkar didn't announce any radical new measures in this broadcast to the nation and to the world on St. Patrick's day, but he got this speech just about right. The detail can come later.

For the full text, see here.

Read more... (24 comments, 406 words in story)

CureVac In Germany: Trump's Failed Takeover Bid

by Oui Tue Mar 17th, 2020 at 09:44:25 AM EST

In a moment of global crisis, the worst of human kind outs itself ... or society can come together to fight a common enemy. The ultra-narcist in the leader of America came to the forefront: Buy the German vaccine and we'll market as ::


"We've got the BEST doctors, scientists, hospitals ... we're doing a great job. Very early I closed to borders to China ... saved thousands of lives!"

More below the fold ...

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

Read more... (92 comments, 1487 words in story)

Mutual Aid Networks

by gmoke Mon Mar 16th, 2020 at 02:51:03 AM EST

Mutual aid networks are being formed in the neighborhoods in Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Arlington, and other communities.

My Nextdoor account (https:/nextdoor.com) is filling up with people offering help to others as MA goes into shut down.  Pause.....  and reset.

My notes on Rebecca Solnit's A Paradise Built in Hell:  The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster, which shows how people often respond to emergency and disaster through mutual aid and community support but that "elite panic" is a term of art in disaster studies, are available at http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2016/07/notes-on-rebecca-solnits-paradise-built.html

Cambridge Mutual Aid Network
Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville (MAMAS) network
Food for Free (for Cambridge and Somerville) volunteers

from State Rep Denise Provost
"Help Feed Others: These three Somerville organizations need volunteers to help distribute food during this emergency. All three food service organizations are practicing COVID-19 safety, which requires more volunteers than usual:
Contact: Lisa Brukilacchio at lbrukilacchio@challiance.org 
Food For Free ( https:
foodforfree.org ) is mobilizing a volunteer team via the google form below. They will be in touch with interested folks regarding opportunities as they arise:
Project Soup ( https:
www.somervillehomelesscoalition.org/food-security ) is looking for volunteers to help at its community food center, and its food bank. It could also use assistance with toiletry drives, including diapers. Please contact: Ben at bwyner@shcinc.org or djacobs@shcinc.org or phone 617-776-7687."

These mutual aid networks are probably happening around your neighborhood too.  

Comments >> (17 comments)

Infection rates - the numbers done simply

by ARGeezer Mon Mar 16th, 2020 at 12:52:57 AM EST

This diary was inspired by Frank's "Corona Virus gets Real' diary and Number 6's "Flattening the Cruve" comment.

Using figures from Wiki for numbers of infections reported by states it appears that the doubling rate is  a little more than two days. As of March 13 there had been 2,160 cases reported by US states. Rounding down to 2000 for that date and using two days as the doubling time interval, by March 31 there should be over 1,024,000 reported cases. By April 18 at a two day doubling interval 262,144,000 cases, or ~ 80% of the population could have been infected.

The cases by March 31 are unlikely to be affected by new 'social isolation' measures, as the incubation period is as much as 14 days, and most of these future patients are already infected. And these numbers are surely an undercount, as they are restricted to only those cases that have come to the attention of the medical profession and we rounded the first number down to 2000 from 2,160 for ease of presentation.

Continuing with this sequence through April, but assuming that on April 1 the social distancing has increased to doubling time to four days, so there are seven doubling times until April 28, when the number of infections are projected to be 131,072,000 - over a third of the US population.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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Democracy in a time of coronavirus

by eurogreen Sun Mar 15th, 2020 at 02:31:58 PM EST

Today, municipal elections are being held, as scheduled, in France, while simultaneously the country switches into lockdown.

I see no conspiracy; on the contrary, the governments seems be in "rabbit caught in headlights" mode, and probably thought it would catch more flak from postponing the elections than from maintaining them. On the other hand, maintaining the elections in the current crisis may well be a useful way of de-fusing the political impact of elections which Government-aligned candidates seemed on track to lose badly.

Macron's "La République en Marche" movement has failed pretty miserably in its strategy to put down roots at a local level (Lyon is something of a special case, as we shall see). They are running lists in all major cities, but were not expected to win any. The crisis will overshadow the elections; depressed turnout will help de-legitimize any surge for the left; and perhaps there will be a "legitimist" reflex on the part of people who work that way, to soften their defeat.  

Personally, I'm a sort of microcosm of the divided French left : in Lyon, as is common in the larger cities of France, there are three competing lists from left of centre, and I have ties to all of them.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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Outbreak — Herd Immunity Is Damning!

by Oui Sat Mar 14th, 2020 at 09:52:39 AM EST

[Update-3] Playing God to decide who lives and dies. A££hole advisors who convinced the Trumps, Johnsons and Ruttes of this world the best bet is to controle the spreading of CoV-2 ... there should be sufficicient number of people to catch the virus to build up “herd immunity.” Living in a laboratory of Dr. Frankenstein. In de presentation to the nation, that is exactly how PM Mark Rutte explained his choice [https://nltimes.nl/2020/03/16/coronavirus-full-text-prime-minister-ruttes-national-address-english]. He was given three options, he believes society is makable ... Conservative capitalists in the seat of the Creator.

”Herd Immunity”: A Rough Guide [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21427399]

It’s a strategy used in vaccination programs ... NOT a choice for intentional spreading a deadly disease ... has the world gone crazy?


[End of update]

COVID-10 Pandemic in Italy - 2020 | Wikipedia |

New tactic suggested by science and followed by politicians in Europe and US ... herd immunity. In other words, human sacrifice of today's elderly so future generations have a better chance of survival. Before Western civilization ends, the ancient practice of human sacrifice: in pure capitalism a cost/benefit analysis.

The Capacocha, Human Sacrifices in the Inca Empire

Human sacrifices have been practiced for thousands of years by many cultures in the world, including the Chinese, Carthaginians, Celts, and ancient Hawaiian cultures. It is also known of human sacrifices in indigenous peoples and cultures of pre-Columbian America, such as the Olmecs, Teotihuacans, Mayans, Toltecs, Aztecs, Muiscas, Mochicas, and Incas.

More below the fold ...

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