Testing for the Virus Devil does what exactly?


"Highly contagious and manifesting in some with little or no symptoms, the coronavirus has the world struggling to keep up. But when it comes to containing the epidemic, one country may be cracking the code — by doubling down on testing.

South Korea is experiencing the largest virus epidemic outside of China, where the pneumonia-causing pathogen first took root late last year. But unlike China, which locked down a province of more than 60 million people to try and stop the illness spreading, Korea hasn’t put any curbs on internal movement in place, instead testing hundreds of thousands of people everywhere from clinics to drive-through stations.

It appears to be paying off in a lower-than-average mortality rate. The outbreak is also showing signs of being largely contained in Daegu, the city about 150 miles south of Seoul where most of the country’s more than 5,700 infections have emerged. South Korea reported the rate of new cases dropped three days in a row."  Bloomberg


1.  Testing tells you how many people are infected in the sample.

2.  Observation of the infected tells you how lethal the bug really is.  In Korea the death rate among the infected seems to be less than 1% and grouped in the old and/or lung compromised.

3.  Testing does not cure people.  It is an information and data drill.  

4.  The larger the number of people tested,  the greater the panic is likely to be since the numbers coming out of the tests will "reveal" larger and larger numbers of "discovered" infected people creating what may be an illusion of rapid spread.  In fact, this virus may have been in the population for a long time.

5.  The media have gone mad with desire for a ratings boosting crisis.  pl

PS  There should be more babble about "therapeutics" and less about "vaccine."



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51 Responses to Testing for the Virus Devil does what exactly?

  1. Terence Gore says:


  2. Jack says:

    I disagree with your point 4. Knowing who are infected allows for their isolation and the containment of the virus. Panics occur IMO when people don’t know or believe there is a plan to counter the pandemic.
    South Korea not only tested across the board early by testing everyone that came into contact with those infected, they used that information to aggressively hospitalize those seriously impacted while also isolating those that showed no symptoms. This is working as the growth rate of those infected is reducing. There’s no panic there as everyone knows that the authorities have a plan to identify and take care of those infected.
    South Korea is the example we should follow if we want to reduce the spread and reduce concerns in the broader population. People will respond positively if they could voluntarily take tests and self-isolate if they’re infected and can be hospitalized if they have severe symptoms. It is the most common sense plan to contain. While we should continue to develop treatment and vaccines they’ll always be behind the eight ball when the next virulent mutation arrives.
    The problem that we have is a completely hapless response where it is clear that the CDC, NIH, FDA and local public health authorities don’t have a coordinated action plan that they’re executing. If they had a national pandemic response plan it is not evident. This IMO is part and parcel of our inability to get what matters done. And it’s not that they don’t have funding. Whether it’s the Boeing Max or our Katrina response, cronyism and short-term personal benefit motivations have taken precedence over honor and competence. We’ve ceded much of our national security to the totalitarian Chinese communists. Can we really fight them when likely much of the parts in our military equipment are sourced from them? As we find out now, the vast majority of the critical ingredients in our pharmaceuticals are manufactured there. Did our political, governmental, and business leadership care? No. They were too busy increasing their personal wealth while strutting around with rhetoric on free markets and open trade.

  3. robt willmann says:

    A friend who was a known cellular and structural biologist explained that washing with soap and water is just about the best thing a person can do externally about viruses, as it kills just about everything. In the case of viruses, the soap basically dissolves or penetrates the outside boundary of the virus and it collapses. Unfortunately, my friend passed away not long ago, or he could provide a lot of insight into numerous issues and unanswered questions about this “coronavirus”.
    One question is whether a virus has a life span or “shelf life”, such that after some period of months or time, it ceases to be active, or is mutated out of effective existence. We talked about that once in general terms, but I do not remember clearly what was said, and so I do not want to repeat it here.

  4. Testing is far more than an information and data drill. Testing identifies infected individuals for targeted treatment, including isolation. Widespread testing allows targeted treatment plans rather than blanket quarantine and social distancing policies. Targeted treatment should reduce fears and effects on the economy. That appears to be how South Korea got it right.
    No disruptions at the Fredericksburg VA clinic this morning. Posters about symptoms and recommended actions were displayed at the entrance and in the waiting room. More hand sanitizer than normal was available. Masks were offered to anyone with coughs or sneezes. Patients were asked about health and travel. Other than that, it was business as normal.

  5. turcopolier says:

    TTG and Jack
    The flaw in your argument is that this is not a fatal disease for the vast majority of people and/or dogs infected. Most people don’t need ANY treatment other than what they would do for a cold. so, what you are doing in treating identified infectees is treating people who really don’t need treatment. This is not true for the dotards among you. We are doomed.

  6. Ulenspiegel says:

    “The flaw in your argument is that this is not a fatal disease for the vast majority of people and/or dogs infected. Most people don’t need ANY treatment other than what they would do for a cold. so, what you are doing in treating identified infectees is treating people who really don’t need treatment. ”
    Now you, Sir, get it wrong. The strategy must be to delay the spread to avoid to many persons at the same time who need ICU beds. Whether most people only suffer from a cold like disease is not a relevant argument, only the number of ICU cases is and the number of available ICU beds. Italy will face triages within the next two weeks.
    The most efficient way is to test people who had contact with an ill person and put positively tested in quarantine. Of course most tested are healty. In South Korea around 30 tests per 1 identified infected person are performed. The hard ceiling is the test capacity (PCR cycler + staff).
    The issue in the USA is that you are in a Italy style scenario: The quite high number of dead patients who acquired the virus within their community indicate that thousands of unidentified infected people spread the virus. The low number of identified cases mean that very likely more than 70% of the infected belong to the unidentified.

  7. Jack says:

    It is not just about treatment but also containment. Identifying those infected allows for containment. Not identifying those infected can lead to draconian actions like what Italy did. That leads to panic IMO.
    It is true that for the vast majority it is only like a flu. It is mostly serious only for people in my age group. In any case we are following your suggestion currently.

  8. akaPatience says:

    I’m so very sick — of the hype about this virus. If it were A LOT deadlier I’d of course feel differently but so far it doesn’t seem to pose anywhere near the danger or threat as that of this season’s influenza strains.
    THUS, I just don’t understand why on earth this particular virus has managed to roil markets to the extent it has. It seems irrational. Is it mainly because supply chains linked to China are in jeopardy, or what? If it continues to be so much less deadly a virus than has been hyped, who can we blame for the steep declines in equities’ values and bonds’ rates of return that we’re witnessing???

  9. João Carlos says:

    Vacines – no vacines for more one year. And maybe the vacine can be worse than rhe disease ( the SARS vacine kills the lab rats… and SARS is a coronavirus)
    Drugs – hope, but no reality. It’s a virus and there is no good antiviral. If we had a good one, influenza was to be no problem.
    So, discuss about vacine and drugs is talk about nothing and no thing.
    If you identify infected people, including the non-sintomatic, you can isolate them and stop the transmission.
    Sorry, but the media is correct. To Not have tests is a helluva bad job.
    My country, Brasil, is testing all suspected cases. So, what is wrong with US?

  10. turcopolier says:

    Isolating the infected is not a bad idea but the hysteria is a VERY BAD idea. I will be interested in what you hysterics say when the death rate turns out to much lower than you believe.

  11. BillWade says:

    I’ve read that those infected will shred the disease for only 8 days after infection. We have one case here – she’s about 2 miles from me in the hospital, caught it while on a Nile river cruise. I would much rather have testing available to all if they want it. I understand if you want a test for an STD, and don’t have any symptoms, they will test you. You can boost your immune system with 500 MG of vitamin c daily – chewable tablets still in stock as far as I know.
    A Japanese doctor recently recommended to drink something about every 15 minutes, you need to keep your mucous membranes moist, if the virus is in your mouth or throat the drink may wash it down into the stomach where normal acids will kill the virus. He also says you can self-diagnose for advanced coronavirus by taking a deep breath of fresh air and hold it for 10 seconds. If you feel anxious or cough involuntarily, you should seek immediate medical treatment.
    I had an appointment at my dermatology clinic early this morning, no masks, no disinfectant wipes. The tech who treated me said that the parent company was considering not having any elderly patients come in, she laughed and said, “that isn’t practical, all of our patients are elderly”.

  12. Given the virus’s severity, or lack thereof, would it not be logical to allow the disease to run its course? The panic which could well result in financial difficulty and ruin for large numbers will, in my opinion, kill more people than the virus. Consider factory closings, mass layoffs, foreclosures, loss of medical insurance, bankruptcies, evictions and other effects of a looming recession or depression.

  13. turcopolier says:

    William fitzgerald
    IMO the panic is more deadly than the disease in exactly the way you mentioned.

  14. D says:

    Testing may or may not tell you if you have this particular corona virus or just the regular flu – whatever that is. No difference is follow-up protocol once one knows which virus it is. Or is not.
    if you have the flu, you have the flu just like millions of people get the flu during flu season. Which just happens to coincide with the school year – kids bringing home bugs from the dirty school environment. No reason to single out cruise ships – they are not dissimilar to pre-schools, day care or senior care centers – any close environments where bugs are quite happy to get carelessly passed around.
    However, it has been learned when a “name” gets attached to the regular flu season, panic increases exponentially. Particularly when that name gets extended to “Trump’s Katrina” or the latest “Trump’s Chernobyl”.
    The real infection is Democrat hysteria, so desperate to get their hands back on the taxpayer’s check book.

  15. steve says:

    Testing is very important as it lets us know how and where the disease is spreading and what measures we should be taking. These could vary from nothing to voluntary quarantine to mandatory quarantines and isolation like they have in Italy.
    We dont really know fatality rates yet. No one quite trusts Chinese data. I would wait for data out of Italy. Also, we dont yet know if there are residual pulmonary issues after people get better. We will want to look at morbidity as well as mortality.
    “Isolating the infected is not a bad idea but the hysteria is a VERY BAD idea. I will be interested in what you hysterics say when the death rate turns out to much lower than you believe.”
    The Italians, who have first world medical care, are reporting that their hospitals are so overwhelmed that they are at the point of collapse, setting up intensive care beds in hallways. I really hope we avoid that. I have seen more than enough people die. So I will get on my knees and thank God if this ends up being a minor issue. That said, we will continue to prepare.

  16. turcopolier says:

    But will you worship ME if you are wrong? Why are our hospitals not overwhelmed with influenza patients each year?

  17. Eric Newhill says:

    Testing has plusses and minuses.
    On the plus side, people who are infected can be quarantined and the disease’s spread and etiology can be studied. On the minus side, there is a chance of panic, as you note.
    This bug is worse than the flu if it gets into the respiratory tract. If it does, it causes acute respiratory distress and support in an ICU on a ventilator is required to keep the patient alive. Yes, obviously the old and otherwise compromised are more at risk, but it has killed some young and healthy people too (for example the Chinese doctor that first observed and reported the virus).
    Panic is never good, even in terrible situations. Here is a cause for concern. In the US there are approximately 65K ventilators on ICUs. Compare that to national demographics. Some of those vents are in use for the usual every day acute admissions. So if this new coronavirus becomes an epidemic, there are going to be a lot of people dying because there are no ventilator units available for them.
    You’re right that – perhaps – there are many walking around with the bug and not even knowing it and it’s not as lethal as some make it out to be. On the other hand, for those hit hard by the bug, there have been ventilators and other intensive ICU care services available and put to use. Without that level of care, the mortality rate would be substantially higher for those with the virus in their respiratory system.
    I am agnostic on this situation. Only time will tell.

  18. JJackson says:

    robt Encapsulated viruses normally have a protein shell structure, like a geodesic dome, but the overlay this with some of the of the animal cell membrane as it exits the host cell. This is a phospholipid by-layer, so basically fatty. Hence hot water and and washing up liquid do exactly what they do on your greasy plates.
    akaPatients NO! I am sorry to be so blunt but what you are saying is dangerous. Seasonal flu has a CFR of 0.02 ish for COVID we do not know yet but I guess about 1% (i.e. your are 50 times more likely to die of it) IF you get a reasonable level of care and hospitalisation if you need it. The 1918 flu pandemic had a CFR of about 2% and killed 25 million people in about as many weeks and 50 million plus overall. The population at the time was under 2 billion and is now 7.8 so these numbers need to be multiplied by 4. The very severe age related CFR curve means this does not fall evenly by age groups and the China data gives the CFR for the over 80s as 20%+ and the over 60s at 8%. I will link the WHO fact finding post which has graphs for age distribution and the Chinese case growth curves.
    ulenspiegel is on the money and I will try and explain why below because the point raised is important in the next epidemic phase – which we have not yet entered.
    Population dynamics and Epidemiology are mature sciences with well defined rules. If you infect a yeast cell with virus and let it grow in a vat of yeast cells its growth curve looks just like one from an ebola, flu or CoV outbreak. It starts as exponential growth until it meets a problem e.g. most of the cells are dead or the hosts are immune from previous infection at which point it levels off and then declines. I have graphs from 2009 flu, 1918 flu, Ebola and they all went through the ‘Hockey stick’ growth phase visible in the daily confirmed case counts in Europe. Humans can mess with this natural pattern with containment measures making artificial problems for the pathogen in finding its next target.
    We can also change the CFR through good patient care and the 1% CFR based on Chinese, Korean and the Diamond Princess data are based on this. What ulenspiegel is talking about is what occurs when the patient numbers are such that those who need a bed and oxygen or a ventilator can not get them. Then the fatalities rise very sharply giving a much higher CFR. COVID puts immense strain on some very specific hospital kit for which their is very little surge capacity. PPE is the first item to cause a problem as very few people in a hospital normally need the level of PPE that COVID does and consequently demand is outstripping supply and if not rectified soon HCWs are going to be faced with the dilemma of treating patients, or not, with no protection. If too many get ill polling data shows they will not work and put their families at risk until adequate PPE is available. After PPE the next item that is going to run out is ventilators. As severe double pneumonia is the common symptom for the severe cases the standard treatment is induced coma and mechanical ventilation to oxygenate the blood until the immune system can clear the infection to the point the lungs can take over again. This requires an ICU bed and highly trained staff. England has about 4000 CCs (critical care beds – one level down from ICU but these will include the ICUs) for 50 million population of which 75% are normally in use. In bad flu seasons this capacity will max out.
    Which brings us to testing as a containment measure. The aim is stop, or at least slow, spread. If we follow the typical outbreak scenario then patient 0 comes in from outside, he breezes through airport security as he has no temp or symptoms. After a day or two he gets mild general symptoms as the virus begins replicating and may start shedding after another day or two he definitely does not feel well and has a temp then dry cough (normally not a runny nose or much sputum) and suspects COVID and gets tested. It is those 2 or 3 days where he is infecting others that seed the next generation of cases. The trick with contact tracing is finding those contacts and isolating them before they have their turn in spreading the virus. Get to the testing fast and the contact tracing very fast and you can break the transmission chain and end the cluster. Do it repeatedly and you put the epidemic in reverse which frees up more contact tracers so it gets progressively easier to end the epidemic. This is a proven technique that works for most diseases but not flu. China and Korea have used it fairly successfully to bring numbers down to manageable levels but not to stop all transmission. Assuming China can maintain its current case burden they will ONLY have had 100,000 cases in 1.4 billion or 0.1% of the population. If the disease gets out of control this could grow to 20% or more so we are in the very early stages of a full blown pandemic if we can not control it the daily case counts could reach the 100s of thousands. This is not something any of our health systems could cope with and most severe cases would die without ever getting near a hospital. Even if we can not stop it making sure bad city clusters come one after the other – where help can come in from outside – and not in parallel will help spread the load over time so the surge limit is not badly overrun for any length of time.

  19. b says:

    I agree with Ulenspiegel.
    It is the overwhelming of ICUs and the whole health care system that makes the new virus much more deadly than it would be without overwhelmed ICUs.
    That is because it is a NEW virus and we do not have a basic immunity against it in our societies like we do have against common flu viruses.
    For your age Pat, the death rate may be 5% with functional ICUs available. With overwhelmed ICUs the death rate for your age will be above 50%.
    Consider that Lombardy, which is now overwhelmed, has now a death rate over all cases of 6% while South Korea, which effectively limited the spread through early testing and is not overwhelmed, limited the death rate to below 1%.

  20. Stephanie says:

    You’re wrong. 180 degrees off.
    Read this article.
    Whatever you may think of the blogger, he is absolutely 100% correct here. Executive summary: if you extend the time period over which the epidemic occurs by testing and quarantining, you reduce the risk that your health care system will collapse, like it has in Italy. South Korea is the case where testing has prevented their health care system collapsing. Their health care system has not collapsed. Italy’s has.
    And now we will wait and see what happens in the U.S. Trump is betting his re-election on your being right.

  21. JJackson says:

    Sorry again I forgot to add the link
    WHO fact finding mission report https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjI0eLHiPfnAhUxQkEAHU7aB-AQFjAAegQIAhAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.who.int%2Fdocs%2Fdefault-source%2Fcoronaviruse%2Fwho-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf&usg=AOvVaw1gO_RTfaIWQuEkjdvq_O7i
    Copy of link (posted in previous thread) to background information which should help understand what is happening and why. https://flutrackers.com/forum/forum/the-pandemic-discussion-forum/jjackson-s-workshop/826486-covid-ncov-preliminary-thoughts-jjackson-personal-opinion
    The CFR is going to come up a lot and this is a copy of something I wrote explaining how it is calculated can be effected.
    I know a lot of effort has gone into CFR calculations but I am not sure I see the point. The CFR is a moving target and is going to vary greatly over time and in different locations. It is calculated for a given population in a given area over a set time period. The real CFR for an epidemic will be calculated after it is all over based on every case’s outcome. The CFR for early Wuhan cases will be a reflection of the fact they had no idea what they were dealing with or how to treat it, nor could they even tell who had it until it was isolated, sequenced and PCR protocols established. They would not have known transmission characteristics or what PPE they should use. Later cases from the same population fared much better. Things that will effect the CFR will include overall health, age distribution, proportion with co-morbidities, how quickly they present for treatment (and get it), what treatment is available to them, how knowledgeable their HCWs are, how much load the system is under, what pharmaceuticals there are (and availability), how effective these are etc. You will get a range of wildly different CFRs depending on where and when you look. As mscox points out a major spike will occur anywhere the health system is overwhelmed and life saving treatments stop being available. Key bits of kit will be PPE, Lab capacity, ICU and CC beds, ventilators/ECMO, CT scanners (X-rays can help but are not as useful) & oxygen plus any of the drugs, currently in trials, that turn out to be useful. Ventilators will probably the first thing to max out. China was very good about shipping capacity into Wuhan (people and kit) which saved many at the peak of the wave which was also considerable smaller, than it would have been, due to their containment measures. They barely coped despite both massive interventions. How good other peoples are going to be about shipping their PPE, ventilators and best HCWs to cities on the other side of the country remains to be seen but it could be a major factor in preserving surge capacity and holding down that country’s CFR.
    Just what I could think of I am sure I missed lots of other important variables.
    This is a simple calculator post but it is now 6 days out of date so the numbers inside China are lower and outside China a lot higher.
    Here is a little maths problem for you. You will need two numbers 1] Your country’s population (in 10s of millions) and 2] How many new cases/day it is reporting (go with a average over a few days). Now divide cases by pop to get your answer.
    So if your population is 100m and you are reporting 2 cases a day then 2/10 = 0.2.
    Now you know your score how do you compare to others.
    For S. Korea 600/5 = 120
    Singapore 3/0.6 = 5, Iran 80, Italy 50.
    What about China? Which is still the country you are most likely to get asked about at the airport.
    China (exc Hubei) 0.1
    China (All) 1.4
    Hubei 55
    Taking daily data (or averages over a short time) is not a very reliable measure but when cases are exploding it is all we have, but it will give an indication of likely disease burden on your health system and how risky contacts with other citizens are. This data also explains why China is taking the same measures, on some outside countries, as they had been applying to China.
    For countries outside China (with rapidly changing numbers) I used the average from the last 3 WHO situation reports, for China (which is fairly stable or slowly falling) I used a 7 day average. Note also that China is dealing with 200 case a day while it had been coping with 2000 so should have no capacity problems and should not be missing much. Iran, on the other hand, has a far higher number of deaths than you would expect implying it has been suffering more community transmission, and for a longer time, than its reported numbers show so its score of 80 is probably an underestimate.

  22. LondonBob says:

    It is about managing the outbreak. Buried in the PM’s press conference in Downing Street today was the quiet admission that drastic action to slow everything right up would simply stop it spreading, then when measures were relaxed again we’d get it next Winter. In other words, we need you to get this, but at the time we choose. This Spring/Summer would be the most manageable and would keep the mortality rate at less than one percent.

  23. different clue says:

    If we become able to combine South Korean levels of testing with South Korean levels of applicable plans for what to do about the test results combines with the evident zero-hysteria levels of the Korean public, then Koreaform testing would be a good thing here. Among other things, it might prevent or at least reduce the level of mildly symptomatic or non-symptomatic carriers from spreading the virus to others, including the vulnerable old and/or immuno-compromised or those not-yet-old people who have prematurely old lungs, kidneys, etc.
    In the meantime, we should all practice the different keep-safe personal and community behaviors we can.

  24. turcopolier says:

    What are their plans for treatment?

  25. turcopolier says:

    More hysteria. He has no idea what he is talking about. They are blowing smoke up your a-s. Is this like the gassing of the ex-GRU spook and his daughter?

  26. turcopolier says:

    I am ready to go but hope to piss on your grave. “Overwhelmed ICUs?” You hope for overwhelmed ICUs is for the US, not in the countries of your little friends.

  27. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill
    There is “a chance of panic?’ Are you blind?

  28. turcopolier says:

    You are as full of BS as “b”

  29. This is much more serious than the flu. The flu is overhyped significantly. 0.1% CFR(Case Fatality Rate) in a bad year. Average CFR is 0.04% according to serology studies.
    For this new virus Sars-Cov2 the CFR is estimated to be anywhere from 0.7% to 3.4%. Depends on the data and country. At the low end it suggest the new coronavirus Sars-Cov2 is 7 times as deadly as the worst flu year. But the 0.7% is data from South Korea where many cases have not resolved. Many deaths take 3 to 6 weeks. So it’s a naive CFR. Most likely to rise above 1%. So at a minimum 10 times as deadly as the worst flu year. In a high functioning intellect society. Not the US.
    Just look at Lifecare Nursing Home in the State of Washington. 123 patients and 25% dead from the virus. And most likely to go up. Also 70 of 180 workers showing symptoms.
    The virus is estimated to cause 20% severe cases. Meaning hospitalization. And 5 to 10% ICU. 50 to 60% do not survive ICU. Also the attack measurement RO(ease of transmission) appears to be much higher than the flu. RO of flu is 1. Estimated RO of this virus is all over the place but I’ve read as high as 3+ in reputable studies.
    Others have pointed out the major concern is overloading the healthcare capacity of ICU beds. Italy is already beginning triage of patients.
    On a low end scale if 20% of Americans(flu infects estimated avg. 45 million per season) get infected that is 66,000,000 Americans. 20% need hospitalization = 13,200,000 = disaster. Avg CFR of 1% = 660,000 americans dead. Same number who perished in the 1918 Spanish Flu. It must be blunted by public education/actions or we are in a hell of a mess.
    The virus doesn’t care if you test for it or not. It will continue to spread. Especially as the President communicates it is “just the flu”.
    I still believe warmer weather will blunt some of the worst for this year. Doesn’t mean we are out of the woods. This virus is endemic to the world now and will come back for me/you next flu season. Maybe in a more deadly form after mutanting. Much more smarter people who read this blog can comment on this. The guys who commented the other day with expertise in this subject.
    I personally believe this will cost President Trump reelection. Though how does a candidate like Dementia Joe win is beyond me. President Trump is out of touch and delusional when it comes to the danger and lethality of this virus for individuals 40 and over. Especially 60 and over. Many in his base will turn on him when mom and dad contract this virus and die. Like I said we may get lucky with spring and summer blunting this season’s lethality of the virus. And Trump will gloat. I hope for a warm weather savior. I have many elderly relatives and I cannot tell you how much I resent Trump for downplaying the danger to them.
    The evidence is clear from Italy and China this ain’t no damn flu. Also WHO stated they found very little evidence for asymptomatic transmission in China. They tested 30,000 samples in storage to come to this data point. This means the hoped for huge iceberg that is invisible below the surface of infected but asymptomatic probably doesn’t exist. So CFR may go up rather than the pollyanna predictions of down.

  30. blue peacock says:

    Col. Lang
    There is no hysteria yet, at least where I live. This past weekend I noticed the restaurants and bars were packed. The store shelves are not bare of toilet paper or bottled water. The symphony, ballet and opera have cancelled all their shows for the next 2 weeks in an abundance of caution as they say. I have taken 3 flights around the country in the past two weeks. Most flights are full but traffic is noticeably less. Many companies have sent out no travel notices including mine sent out on Friday. The email from my company CEO noted his concern on the lack of information on availability of testing and a containment plan of the government.
    There is a lot of concern among pretty much everyone that I have interacted with in the last 4 weeks that the government and the authorities don’t have a plan and don’t really know what they’re doing. Clearly the US health authorities reaction has been slow at least from a communications perspective. They knew first week of January and as of yet have not presented a coherent containment strategy that people believe in. There seems to be no trust that the government will act in the best interests of the people. Trump’s tweets dismissing the virus threat are not helping as many people are concerned. It can’t just be wished away. By not addressing those concerns it only exacerbates the distrust of government competence.
    Contrast with South Korea. As I noted on Walrus’s thread, they have tested 160,000 people, identified and isolated 7,300 people and have seen 50 fatalities. They have mass drive-thru testing facilities. Takes 5 minutes to provide a sample and 24 hours to get the results. If one is infected, then the authorities determine who all you’ve been in contact with and follow up to have as many of them that they can reach tested. If one is infected and have debilitating symptoms then they are immediately hospitalized, if not then they have to be self-quarantined until they test negative. This strategy was communicated early on when there was limited information. People bought into the strategy and there is no panic nor any mass cordons. This strategy is working as the infection growth rate is reducing.
    IMO, this shows that a clear strategy of containment that includes mass testing and isolation of those infected is the antidote to hysteria & panic. It may be just another flu, but if many people don’t perceive it that way, then by dismissing their concerns one is creating the environment for panic.
    I’ve been sympathetic to Trump during his term, particularly with respect to the soft coup by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. As Scott Adams has noted during the 2016 election campaign Trump is a master persuader. However in this case to quote Mike Cernovich, a conservative blogger with a large following:

    These tweets FEEL off key.
    Trump is a master usually, this time he isn’t reading the room.
    Coronavirus is and should be the utmost priority, as is oil war with Saudi.

    I agree with Mike. Trump is misreading the sentiment. He should not be dismissing concerns of coronavirus or the Saudi’s crashing the oil market. He should be showing he is in command of the situation. At best folks are going to see a savings of $100/month at the pump. But the impact on the shale patch in Texas, Pennsylvania and North Dakota could be much bigger.
    Kyle Bass, a Texan hedge-fund manager and strong advocate for Trump tweeted this:

    The Saudis and the Russians have flown a metaphorical jet into the heart of the US energy business. This is the equivalent of an economic 9/11 with the Saudis as the pilots AGAIN. US energy independence is under attack…and it’s not for lower prices at the pump.

  31. steve says:

    “But will you worship ME if you are wrong? Why are our hospitals not overwhelmed with influenza patients each year?”
    It is a different disease. Not as high a percentage of flu patients end up in the ICU. Covid-19 is different in a number of ways. The flu kills the very young and the old. Covid doesn’t seem to have much if any increased mortality for the young, for which I am eternally grateful. On the other hand, Covid seems to have a bimodal pattern where you are either fairly mildly sick or you end up in the ICU. Also, in bad years we do run it pretty close in our major hospitals. Our sickest patients often end up on ECMO (machine that oxygenates the blood) and we have run out of those several times in bad years.
    Finally, I forgot not everyone is a doctor, you do realize we need testing just to establish a diagnosis right? We use that to help determine treatment, including isolation, need for admission and precautions staff need to take. Wearing the PPE gear and the N-95 mask (or even the PAPR) is exhausting and dehydrating. If we have testing available we can rule out some people and not have to wear that gear. Given that we already have shortages in some of that gear that helps tons.

  32. different clue says:

    Colonel Lang,
    I do not know the South Korean plan for treating those who test positive. I would suspect that for the basically-healthy young and middle aged the plan would be self-quarantine at home or be quarantined somewhere for the called-for time period ( considered to be 14 days for now). And if such people under quarantine were to develop lung-involvement symptoms ( mild shortness of breath, etc.), come into hospital for pre-emptive intensive care to maintain the body alive long enough for the body to mount its own immune response against the virus. That would be my best thinking for how to treat the non-old who test positive.
    For the old or immunocompromised or the non-old with lung or kidney disease, I would admit into hospital upon testing positive for observation and for being right there if symptoms begin which call for placement on intensive-care body-life-maintenance. If people in those categories develop any lung or kidney symptoms, or develop the general cluster of symptoms short of lung or kidney symptoms, they should report right to a hospital to be tested and kept for observation and intensive-care-if-necessary
    till their test came back definitely negative.
    But I am just a layman here. If anyone sees problems with that approach, they should be pointed out. Since I have had bad pneumonia in the past as well as ongoing chronic kidney disease,
    the virus may well consider my lungs and kidneys to be old if it finds its way to them. So I think about best treatment and for whom firstest of allest.

  33. D says:

    Do not overlook the fact Italy has been wanting to close its borders for a long time, led by the Northern League of conservatives, in the area that first went into lock down.
    EU membership has forced immigration policies on Italy which has made them one of the most vulnerable targets to North African and Middle Eastern “boat people”.
    There willingness to go into total lock-down may have already been in the stars.

  34. D says:

    I believe the 1918 flu was so deadly because it moved into pneumonia and we were pre-antibiotics in those days. The vast majority of those “flu deaths” were in fact from other causes than the flu.
    Read elsewhere applying intense cortisone therapy to those with respiratory complications for those who also exhibit this co-incidental “flu” marker (the Wuhan corona flu) has been beneficial.
    Consequently, comparisons to the 1918 flu under these more modern therapeutic options and understandings could be irresponsible.

  35. J says:

    7 year old in NYC has COVID 19

  36. Eric Newhill says:

    My perception of panic is more pervasive, frenetic and lunatic than what we’re seeing now. The stock market appears to be in full panic mode, but it’s a good time to take some fat profits too. Who knows the real reason(s) for things happening? Most people aren’t that self-aware and people acting as mobs or markets even less so. It’s a stampede. Try stopping a cow and asking her why she’s running. Worse, humans will stop running for a minute to say anything to explain why. They assign rational explanations to their subconscious emotion driven behaviors; so as to appear smart or something.
    In my circles people seem less concerned about catching the virus than they were about being killed by terrorists circa 9/11/01. Are you seeing personal contacts being truly panicked?

  37. J says:

    Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 list have qualified under EPA’s emerging viral pathogen program for use against SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

  38. ked says:

    The panic is more about panicing – how that effects finance and the wider economy – more so than about public mortality. Panic management among the general public is accomplished similarly to combat preparation. Expertise, procedures, practice, and leadership. Those are top-down functions. If the pres would shut up and get outta the way, we’d merely have a manageable public health crisis, instead of laughable reality TV.

  39. Walrus says:

    Col. Lang is right, hysteria is the main threat. The @#$@ing media are doing all they can to stoke it. Our media are now wildly talking about prepping in a way that will provoke panic buying and thereby create artificial shortages. That creates huge problems for the poor and elderly who are not in a position to buy much more than their daily needs.
    Testing is now an academic argument because the current test reports many false negatives – FACT. Add to that the FACT that many people can be virtually asymptomatic and still be infected and shedding virus.
    So all testing does is give everyone a warm feeling unless it is done very early and followed with vigorous contact tracing when it MIGHT buy you some time. As I stated in my previous note, there are at least ten times the number of infections as is being reported according to what I was told last Friday first hand by local researchers, virologists and epidemiologists, who have been working with the virus, the Chinese and the WHO since January 2.
    What appears to work to blunt the peak of the pandemic is Chinese style mass quarantine, however I am not sure other countries have the Government authority or the guts to do it.
    I hope America can again surprise the doomsayers and beat this thing. Americans are good at problem solving. There must be a way to build ventilators and bare bones ICU’S staffed by volunteers the same way they built liberty ships.

  40. smoke says:

    Someone posted a video graphic, which helps visualize the theory of containment with respect to a fast spreading disease outbreak.
    As others here have observed, containment may or may not reduce total number of cases. But by stretching out the rate of spread, the medical resources of a community have a better chance to treat severe cases. And we do know, with this disease, that treatment makes a difference in the severe stages. Thus, overall mortality and morbidity will be reduced.
    The situation in Italy is a concern. One report said that, in Bergamo, no one over 70 is being given access to ICU.
    I like the advice of a nearby Texas town on handwashing. “Wash your hands like you just chopped jalapenos and you are about to put contact lenses in.”

  41. LondonBob says:

    The PM will be going along with what the Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, are recommending.
    Whitty’s testimony to MPs is worth watching. Manageable, but has to be managed, and will have passed in a few months. He also believes it will be less than one percent and many will never know they even had it.

  42. turcopolier says:

    “One report said that, in Bergamo, no one over 70 is being given access to ICU.” Well, pilgrims, it will be interesting to see who else does something like that.

  43. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill
    No. We gave bottles of Purell to neighbors. They seemed receptive but no panic. Tried to order in some Chinese last night. They were closed early. Got some sandwiches from Subway instead. The driver was an immigrant from Istanbul. Had a nice talk.

  44. A.I.S. says:

    Testing reducing mortality is to be expected.
    If one does test broadly, one will detect many somewhat ill individuals who do not feel sufficiently ill to actually visit a doctor, or an ER. People who do not feel sufficiently ill to do this, and who do have corona, are probably a lot less likely to die then people who feel the need to visit and ER. Still important to do this testing because knowing what proportion of people is low sympthoamtic and asymptomatic is important.
    My company in Germany essentially made a “do homeoffice unless they are really strong reasons not to”, and “if you do feel somewhat ill, stay at home, you can stay for up to 3 days without needing to visit a doctor for a “this person is sick and does not have to work notice” ” policies.
    Reasoning being that people can easily catch the thing in a waiting room, and everyone is essentially better off if somewhat ill persons just self quarantine.
    This being Germany, paid sick leave is a thing paid by the insurance rather then the employer for periods less of less then 4 consecutive weeks.
    There are several cross use trials (you use another medicine which you expect to be capable of doing something, and where sideeffects are known to test, first in vitro then in vivo, if it affects CovId19) are already on its way. Preliminary results imply that reducing ACE and TRRF (these are 2 otherwise useful proteins that sadly jointly facialiate virus entry in this case) functions can work.

  45. Jack says:

    “It may be just another flu, but if many people don’t perceive it that way, then by dismissing their concerns one is creating the environment for panic.”
    blue peacock,
    Yes. Many don’t want their neighborhoods to become like Wuhan or Italy where the ICUs are slammed and they’re now contemplating triage. By not presenting and hammering home a believable containment strategy the government is creating the environment for panic. Folks just want reassurance that the federal, state and local government along with the healthcare care system are on top of it and have a credible strategy to contain the spread and treat those with adverse symptoms.
    If there’s a better game plan than South Korea they should present it and convince the people. Many are not going to buy the strategy that it’s just the flu and it will burn itself out.

  46. Diana Croissant says:

    At my age it is interesting to observe the coarse of this current infection causing so much worry.
    My poor mother had four elementary school children at the same time. She almost never had a week without at least one child home from school with a bad cold, a strep infection, one of the two forms of measles, or mumps.
    I remember lining up in our school gymnasium to receive our polio shot.
    For some reason, I catch everything going around. This time I am at an age when I can isolate myself most of the day. I could not do that when I was teaching in public schools. The infection that I contracted most often was strep throat. I did early in my career take every opportunity to wash my hands with disinfectant soap or carry with me packages of disinfectant wipes.
    Somehow I survived spending my days with 1,500 germy teenagers every week day for over nine months a year; so I am not panicking in regard to this new flu. (But it was nice that my son in CT was worried enough to call me to make sure I was taking precautions.}
    What I am waiting to hear is whether this flu is indeed a “snake” flu. The flu that killed so many after WWI was an avian flu, and then later the Swine flu was actually also determined to be an avian flu. It seems the pigs contracted it from birds.
    I do admire the people who figure these things out. We no longer worry much about the Great Plague. But then, maybe remembering having studied that is what makes us all a bit jumpy.
    This too will pass.

  47. Eric Newhill says:

    Sir, the driver from Constantinople is a nice touch

  48. Eric Newhill says:

    oh, BTW I don’t recognize the Islamic entity occupying Armenia

  49. Travis says:

    Larger data set. The bigger the data set, the better idea you can get about the actual death rate, what protocols work and what doesn’t, vectors where the spread is happening etc. Is it 2% for everyone or 50% for people over 60 with chronic illness? Hard to know if you only test people who show up at the hospital. The more testing done is more data for epidemiologists to study the disease and develop protocols for future outbreaks of new viruses.

  50. JJackson says:

    cortisone is a standard treatment for flu, and works well, consequently it was used in COVID but was found to make matters worse. Clinicians are told not to use it

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