The themes of this update will be on issues of COVID-19 spread, testing, public health institutional credibility, some e-mails evaluating the CDC and our elites, and my personal analysis of same after the top line infection numbers and headlines.
The SARS-CoV2 virus and it’s COVID-19 virgin fields infection seems to have a top line R(0) of between three and 6.7 — that is one person infects near seven people on average — because there are repeated “super spreader” events where one person slimed an institution with a lot of close contact and then the fomite contamination of that institutional setting causes everyone present to get the disease. Examples thus far include the Diamond Princess Cruise ship, a pair of prisons in China, and multiple hospitals in China and now South Korea. The rate of growth of the COVID-19 pandemic is such that we will be fighting it on a very large scale in a few weeks (no more than 10) in every nation world wide with the public and private medical institutions, societal resources, and people we have right now, with all their flaws. And not what we wish they were, but will never have. There simply isn’t going to be time and energy for blame games when issues of daily survival break upon us all.
Top line, there are currently 78,986 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 2,468 fatalities as of 23 February 2020 at 11:52 a.m. ET on the BNO News corona virus traking site (https://bnonews.com/index.php/2020/02/the-latest-coronavirus-cases/) China, Taiwan Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, and Iran all appear to have local, or endemic, spread of the disease. See multiple charts attached and headline summary
World Headline Summary:
o Italy confirms 3rd death and cancels last 2 days of carnivale in Venice as cases soar above 100
o 4 more cases confirmed in UK
o 200 Israelis quarantined
o Japan confirms more cases
o Japanese Emperor expresses hope for Tokyo Games (fat chance)
o ROK Gov’t total cases above 600
o Trump says US has everything ‘under control’ as he asks Congress for more money (I call B.S. below)
o EU’s Gentiloni says he has ‘full confidence’ In Italian health officials
o Turkey, Pakistan close borders with Iran as confirmed cases soar
o Global Times (Chinese Gov’t news source) says virus may not have originated at Hunan seafood market
o Axios reports shortages of 150 essential drugs likely. (Most source in China)
Inside China, the newly built or newly converted so-called hospitals in Wuhan and elsewhere appear to be more hospice-prisons to create a disease-resistant work force than a place of treatment. This is both bloody-minded and it fits the “There are always more Chinese where they came from” mind set of ruling Chinese dynasties going back thousands of years.
The problem for executing this strategy is that China is big. Areas that local Chinese Communist Party cadre say are “burnt out” via the hospice-prisons are going to get re-infected by travelers from areas where that is not true, because the local party leaders lied on their hospice-prison metrics. Thus restarting the hospice-prison quarantine process with a resultant wide-spread absenteeism. We are looking at six to nine months of this at least based on the epidemic history of the 1918 Spanish Influenza and the 1.4 billion person Chinese population.
Iran appears to have become a beachhead epidemic for the Middle East as travelers from there have turned up Canada, Lebanon and the UAE. “Rumor control” has it that the epidemic is much worse than the official reports. How bad will not be knowable for some time, if ever.
Outside China, the most concerning epidemic growth appears to be South Korea AKA the Republic of Korea (ROK), as in three days they doubled from 50 cases, to 100 cases, to 200 cases to 400(+) cases and are now over 550(+). (See the chart) Two super spreader events with a christian mega-church and a psychiatric hospital have supercharged the spread of the disease there. More than 1,250 members of the sect, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, have reported potential symptoms, and officials are still trying to locate 700 members so they can be screened.
Additionally, local ROK media reports the Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo hospital’s mental health division hosted a funeral for the brother of the Shincheonji’s leader earlier this month and now almost all patients at its psychiatric ward the hospital are now testing positive for the corona-virus. Some report’s I’ve read say the two clusters account for almost 80% of the confirmed cases.
To deal with this spread, the ROK government public health system is capable of 10,000 COVID-19 tests a day with a six-hour turn around. The price for this level of testing has been accepting a test with a high level of false negatives and having to retest again and again. This contrasts with the American CDC test which had done 414 such tests in a month.
Why that is comes down to the issue of institutional and national culture. The current test kits being distributed by CDC use a technology (Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR) that exists in very few laboratories and almost no hospitals. It is designed for a specific piece of equipment, and the CDC won’t even send out kits to hospitals or labs that are not properly equipped.
From the (CDC) horses mouth:
“CDC’s test kit is intended for use by laboratories designated by CDC as qualified, and in the United States, certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) to perform high complexity tests. The test kits also will be shipped to qualified international laboratories, such as World Health Organization (WHO) Global Influenza Surveillance Response System (GISRS) laboratories. The test will not be available in U.S. hospitals or other primary care settings. The kits will be distributed through the International Reagent Resource external icon (IRR)” (See also https://www.internationalreagentresource.org/ and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/testing.html)
Why the CDC went that route rather than one more suited to our medical infrastructure reflects the CDC as an institution and the incentives our national policy makers have placed on it for going on 60 years. The first and foremost issue is the CDC’s intense desire to control the test results. Next, there are issues of medical liability that drive the US medical system to the best possible regardless of cost to demonstrate to a future legal trial that you can’t reasonably blame anyone involved with developing the test. Finally, there is the bureaucratic kudzu of Federal government procurement that means anything a Federal bureaucracy does involves sending work to preferred vendors even for fast breaking epidemics. The bottom line is SARS-CoV2 virus and it’s COVID-19 are moving faster than Federal bureaucracy can act.
It appears that globally, everyone’s tests for corona-virus simply suck. The Chinese one is apparently 25% effective according to some sources. However, unlike the CDC; everyone else is simply accepting that as OK; because something is better than nothing.
The CDC simple cannot do that for reason of institutional culture and American political-legal incentives.
The CDC is all about information control to keep the economy going and not the health of the infected or of healthcare workers. Watching the 2014 Ebola outbreak at Texas Heath Presbyterian — across the street from my children’s pediatric medical practice — educated me to those facts. That is exactly what the open borders elites running the Federal government have demanded of it since the early 1960’s and that is what it does. Expecting a bureaucratic Federal government institution with those incentives over almost 60 years to be different in a crisis is irrational. You have to replace those open borders elites and have their replacements replace the CDC to get different results. I don’t expect to see it because of the money involved with open borders and cheap immigrant labor.
I’ve raged about it in my various e-mail lists, but the fact is that rage is too…’value subtractive’…too waste any effort on.
You are simply going to have to mark what happened for political action later, after we defeat the SARS-CoV2 virus/COVID-19 infection with a world wide vaccine program.
I’m going to share three of the e-mails — minus the “serial numbers” — that have lead me there regards the CDC, what it is doing, and what needs to happen later.
E-mail 1, 2nd week of Feb 2020
At one of the Presidential Task Force pressers, they outright came out and admitted that yes, masks do help, but the rationale for saying “masks are ineffective” was to avoid a general run on masks by the general public, in order to protect the mask supply level so that they can be allocated to medical stockpiles for emergency personnel use.
This… is not a bright idea to do in 2020; with Youtube capability; I could probably find that moment in that Task Force Presser find it; and supercut it and spread it in moments.
People are gonna remember the CDC saying “masks are ineffective” in the lead up to when it finally breaks out here; and notice that the chocolate ration was increased to 80 grammes.
They’re not going to buy CDC’s soon to be lame explanation: “weeeell, the virus is x microns in size, while N95 masks only block 0.3 microns.” to be ‘technically correct’; particularly when within a few seconds of googling, I can find this via “flu virus size micron”
I could tell CDC/Government this, but a lot of upper level people in government and industry are stuck in 1997-1998; pre-internet mindset where information could be somewhat controlled.
The same thing is playing out in China; albeit much more deadly and lethal with the CCP’s insistence of quarantine in giant open bay “hospitals” which will act as gigantic petri incubators for the Wuhan Flu, when we have Japanese studies recently released saying that 50% of Wuhan Flu cases are caused by hospital visits (or something like that).
The CCP is basically using their playbooks for mass disasters such as Earthquakes or fires, in a pandemic disease situation, and it’s going to backfire on them.
E-mail 2, 3rd Week of February 2020
I think they’re trying to do the playbook they tried back in 2003 with SARS and then later with Ebola in 2014.
Contain Information to avoid spooking the Normies.
To those who may not know, “normies” was a term that originated in internet subculture initially to refer to people outside their secret club.
But over time, it morphed to become “normie” as in the person who gets all his news from either FOX News or MSNBC news; he’s the guy who’s constantly clicking on chain emails, falling for Indian telecom scammers, etc.
Or the guy who wanders into a gun store the day after a democrat ban bill becomes effective and is all upset that he has to jump through hoops — you have to be fingerprinted, wait seven days, etc; since he thought the bill that just passed was only to ban those evil assault weapons (since that’s what the news said).
Basically, Florida Man — the guy who doesn’t prep if he lives in Florida, but the moment a hurricane comes within 200 miles, all the milk and bread disappear from store shelves.
The problem with trying not to spook the Normies, is that it’s 2020, not 1999 anymore.
People can easily access tonnes of news sources now from the comfort of their home and find out all sorts of interesting tidbits,
like that 45% of the infected on the Plague Princess are asymptomatic.
By low-balling things, you end up irritating the Bookworms who notice things and put 2+2 together and notice that you’re saying 5 or 6, when it should be 4.
Additionally, you get a false sense of security that your security theater methods work, when they don’t. You basically don’t learn anything from AARs because you sandbagged everything.
If nothing happens during an outbreak, the powers that be pat themselves on the back for avoiding “mass panic”, not realizing
that they’re corroding the trust that Bookworms have in the system.
This has dire consequences if things really do kick off for real — i.e. we get something similar to Stephen King’s Captain Trips or
the Simian Flu from the Planet of the Apes reboots.
E-mail 3 — This week end (22-23 Feb 2020)
Someone on ARFCOM nails it:
“The biggest single issue is that they’ve blown their credibility at the leadership level.
It’s been pointed out several times in this thread, but these are the sorts of people who told hospitals it was a good idea to treat Ebola patients wearing half-assed PPE, then cleared one of the nurses to fly commercial after she developed a fever. It’s not a new problem. Some – to be fair, not all or necessarily even most – of these people simply suck at their jobs.
If it gets to the point where they’re ordering people to do things they don’t want to do, do you think this makes it more or less likely that the public will comply? If people are told they need to be shipped off to some place, or that they’re going to be geographically restricted, how many people are going to trust them to not fuck that up?
This isn’t the PRC. They can’t just send some guys in raincoats and hospital masks and expect to get their way with a moderate amount of hickory shampoo.
I don’t think it’ll come to that – we’ll probably see school closures, some hospitals having a lousy time of it, cancelled events, and a relatively low number of people under quarantine or home observation, set to a backdrop of supply chain hindrances.
Whether or not they suck at pandemic prevention, the powers that be might at least be making the right call in reducing panic.”
So, the CDC is doing one thing right, delaying panic as long as it can so the “Normie Florida Man” does not go out and do a game of “Run, Hide, & Horde” and collapse the economy.
But it has come at a huge cost.
The thing about Black Swan events like this COVID-19/SARS-CoV2 pandemic is the medical science means little compared to the issue of government public health credibility. Being on the edges of Cold War FEMA’s large volunteer nuclear warfare civil defense community, and having a very deep look at Western and Asian societies under strategic bombardment in WW2, has educated me to the fact that government credibility is a weapon of immense price.
The “New Versailles class” as one of my fellow bloggers [“Sgt. Mom” on the Chicagoboyz blog] calls current Western elites are that they are innumerate, arrogant and ignorant of anything outside their scope of narrow political intrigue of the various National/Trans-National Progressive “Court’s” (to include multi-national corporations) they inhabit.
The F-35 fighter program is a very good example of the problem.
Add in the fear, uncertainty and doubt of a virgin fields pandemic to their innumeracy, arrogance and ignorance and they are going to fail.
The “New Versailles class” have already thrown away the institutional credibility of the WHO internationally and the CDC here in the States. See the January 2020 airline worker unions world wide strike threats versus the WHO and CDC regards flying to China.
Understand that after dealing with the WHO, the CDC, and the various airline corporation management with SARS (2003) and MERS (2009) epidemics. The airline worker unions acted in January 2020 to protect the jobs of their members because they know the Dilbert style pointy haired corporate airline managers won’t pay for masks for every passenger and disposable vinyl seat covers on every airline seat and floor to prevent permanent contamination of the airliner’s seats and rugs from the mucus, vomit and fecal matter of those carrying COVID-19/SARS-CoV2. The airline unions knew if the general public believes all airliners are COVID-19/SARS-CoV2 infection tubes with them as test tube subjects. They will not fly.
It is now too late to save those airline jobs for COVID-19/SARS-CoV2. An acquaintance of mine e-mailed this to me Saturday on that score —
“I know people in international contractor management.
Nobody is willing to travel in the Old World. Nobody.
Americas okay for now. Not Eurasia Africa Africa etc.”
That sort of analysis does not matter to the “New Versailles class.” None of them lost their jobs to SARS/MERS that the airline unions did. For the “New Versailles class,” it is always about them.
Their problem with COVID-19/SARS-CoV2 is there is no “Lambs blood” the “New Versailles class” can place above their doors to get them spared epidemic that is coming. George Soros is absolutely equal in his chances of dying in an intensive care unit as an 80 year old Chinese Communist Party boss in Wuhan…that is a 67% chance of dying.
[See: Clinical course and outcomes of critically ill patients withSARS-CoV-2 pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a single-centered,retrospective, observational study” Published online February 21, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30079-5]
And when the pandemic hits -THEM-, they are all going to be chickens with their collective heads cut off.
If all of that makes you mad — like it did me — BREATH.
These people are who they are. You have too many other important things to plan, prepare and do for the pandemic.
We are in the part of the roller-coaster ride where the click, click, click, stops and the silent pull of gravity acts on the cars to accelerate them down the tracks.
It’s all about preparation now. Accept that and move on. Keep a little black book. Update it in the slow periods in self-quarantine later, but prepare, prepare, prepare right now.