scientist

scientist

A Journal of the Plague Year (5)

March 21st, 2020

On a slightly different, and not so technical, note today, I ventured out into the Zombie Apocalypse. Essential supplies required (a case of wine). We are confined to quarters for two weeks. Only allowed out for groceries and pharmacy supplies. The local grocery store was not busy at all, sparsely populated, no problem in the parking lot. No shortages of anything either. I did go with my mask and bleached rubber gloves ready for a Level 4 decon event. Maybe over the top, but you never know.

I asked the wine guy for a case of Cabernet Franc. “Sure, no problem, sir.” All the staff wore gloves (good), but not masks (umm..) and were doing continuous cleaning of the carts and doors; all places subject to touching by the great unwashed. Sound practice.

Only one other person (one of my neighbors) had a mask.
At the self-checkout, she said, “Soon been time for biking, eh?” “Sure thing, Cathy. Who’ll be out first?” She’s also an avid biker. No panics. Drove home. Washed gloves with hot water and soap. Opened a bottle. Had a drink.

It seems a different world in the rarefied atmosphere of the twitterati, the chattering classes and the constricted world of journalists of limited mentality. No wonder President Trump got a little annoyed with some half-wit journalist the other day—he has a real problem to deal with and a real job—not a job as a permanent media-bitch.

This is the reality of ordinary people. Once a real problem is realized, everyone seems to knuckle down, get serious and keep cool. Only the media act like a Benzedrine puff adder on a bad day. The CBC, Canada’s answer to Pravda TV, announced one of their spectacularly stupid actions. They are shutting down local TV news and sending everything through Pyongyang Central, aka Toronto. In any emergency situation, as anyone who has dealt with these situations will tell you, local news for local people is the best way to communicate information and get reliable feedback from the ground. It’s what binds people together, especially in such a diffuse and sparsely populated country as Canada. It’s just so typical of the fossilized liberal mindset of the CBC that sees Toronto as the center of the universe. It’s the very last thing we need, not that most people get their news from the CBC anyway; its credibility quotient is less than zero anyway. It’s just the total lack of understanding of the real situation. As Chris Selley pointed out in the National Post today:

On Wednesday, in a moment history may well note as Mother Corp’ rock bottom, CBC announced it was scuppering all its local television newscasts. Instead it would feed us all Canadians a mixture of national and local news from the same Toronto-based spigot.
Basically, CBC ended itself. It almost beggars belief.
Brodie Fenlon, editor-in-chief of CBC News, took to his blog to explain the decision — but didn’t, really. He talked of “staffing challenges” stemming from employees self-isolating and working from home. “Television is especially resource-intensive, and many jobs are difficult to do at home,” Fenlon wrote. “Our systems are overtaxed.”

Ah, the poor guys! (And femmes and trannies too!). Too many diversity boxes to tick. That must have tired them out. “Television is especially resource-intensive” they whined. If they want to see resource-intensive, go to an ER during this crisis, go see Hydro workers during an ice storm in the middle of winter, go see fire fighters in a forest fire or oil workers on a rig in a storm. These CBC clowns have no idea what a real job is. Real jobs are not sitting around in comfy studios driveling on about how oppressed some “gender studies ‘professor’” is on $100 000 a year.

Selley is right. After this thing is over, we’ve got to get rid of the CBC; it’s just Liberal Party propaganda financed by the taxpayer and it’s nothing but a retirement home for washed-up party gasbags and intersectional weirdos.

Time to kill it. Stone dead.

That’s it for today, time for some bourbon.

Rebel Yell

A Journal of the Plague Year (4)

 

Image Credit: Imperial College, London (my old school!)

March 20th, 2020

As I write, Italy seems to be approaching a moment of truth. The case load for hospitals in the Lombardy region appears to be near critical. MIT Technology Review is running a website “Radio Corona” with excellent interviews with some of the leading medical minds—check it out.

I want to address a few points here that fellow scribes have raised which I think display faulty reasoning. And there is confusion about the absolute numbers, relative numbers, and the rate of change of numbers, each of which have different importance.

Point 1.

Much is made of the numbers of cases and deaths due to Covid-19 as compared to the standard flu that occurs every year. As Dalwhinnie points out (quoting the illustrious Professor Briggs):

• In Wuhan itself, the City of Doom, some 2,446 souls departed their fleshly existence earlier than expected. Google tells us the city has between 11 and 19 million, depending on whether you count the entire metro area as “the city”.
• The city had 49,995 cases. The case rate was 0.26% to 0.45%, depending on what China called “the city”. The total dead rate was 0.01% to 0.02%. The case dead rate was 4.9%.
• People fixate on that last number, forgetting you first have to get the bug before you can die from it. But everybody now seems to believe they’ll get it with certainty. Review Bayes Theorem & Coronavirus!

Nothing is wrong with these numbers or with the application of Bayes’ Theorem to the problem. However, it’s right only so far as it goes. The city had a total case rate of nearly 50,000 (0.5%) which doesn’t sound that bad, given a population of nearly 15 million. But this is only weeks AFTER a total shutdown of the city was instituted when even the Chinese leadership realized something big was happening. This is not what would have happened had that action not been taken. Witness Italy now and figure how far they were (are) behind the Chinese curve.

Further, this massive case load was IN ADDITION to the normal hospital case load of any city anywhere. And thousands of doctors and nurses do not miraculously appear overnight to care for them.

Moreover, it was only after the lockdown that (more than a week I think) the rate of increase of cases began to fall off. The effects of pushing down the value of R-naught, the base reproduction number, to below one led to this. Case numbers continued to rise due to the appearance of symptoms in those who were already infected prior to the lockdown.

Point 2.

Even if a health care system can cope with greatly increased numbers at various times, a tsunami of new cases can rapidly overwhelm even the best system. Despite the fact that the Chinese government was criminally negligent at the beginning, at some point something snapped in the leadership when they realized that this thing will not go away or be suppressed politically. It was then that mass action started. Europe, and especially Italy, did not follow this path and is paying the price.  (CIDRAP, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, at the University of Minnesota is an excellent source).

It is not only hospitals and the medical workers that are affected, all kinds of supply chains and manufacturing are affected, especially in the West. Or they will be. As I alluded to in my previous missive, it’s not the absolute numbers at any time that count, but the rate of increase and the transmissibility of the thing.

Point 3.

Testing— Of vital importance, not only for those who are becoming sick, but for the general population currently unaffected, but possibly infected. This latter group is the source of further spreading. Tracking contacts and quarantine is the way to stop that and South Korea has shown that this works.

When an antibody test is available (apparently quite soon, maybe in a few days), this will enable us to detect persons who have been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies but have never become sick. Knowing this can give us a much better idea of the number of people who have been infected but never displayed sickness and the number who become sick (the afflicted). This greatly affects assessment of the case fatality rate.

If the health care system becomes overwhelmed at any time, the case fatality rate will rise as many sick people will get no treatment at all. Check out the graph at the top for possible scenarios.

So that’s it for today. This will not go away in a few weeks, we’re all in for a bumpy ride.

Rebel Yell

A Journal of the Plague Year (3)

Chloroquine: C18H26ClN3

March 19th, 2020

Meet your possible new friend—chloroquine. According to a paper from a few days ago, chloroquine (hydroxychloroquine, or in another form, chloroquine phosphate) can mitigate (apparently) symptoms of Covid-19 and also be effective as a prophylactic. Showing his usual dynamic leadership, President Trump has cut through much bureaucratic red tape that would usually hold up approvals to ensure that it is released and freely available.

What about possible side effects, you may ask? Well, chloroquine has been around for decades as a drug used to counteract malaria—years of experience have shown that it is safe.

However, my main point is that with the world-wide capabilities of the Internet, work done in conjunction with the Stanford University School of Medicine can be out and available in a matter of days. Although no guarantees, encouraging results. If not a silver bullet, maybe a bronze one?

Events are moving with amazing speed. Italy and Europe are now the epicenter of the pandemic and China seems to be on the brink of recovery. Chinese TV (CGTN) has some very interesting coverage[here]. Sure, it’s state media, but so is CBC. Get your news from around the world as do I. There’s no reason to doubt Chinese figures on the case load today—anyway, it’s all the data we have.

Yesterday, my fellow scribe, Dalwhinnie, posted about Professor Briggs, a noted statistician (who I follow regularly), who wrote an article on coronavirus—the Madness Has Arrived. And let me say up front, I have no argument with his figures or analysis. Bang on, as usual. But…

No matter how irrational the madness, however, the physical effects in society are real—the stock market crash, the death porn, the wailing and gnashing of teeth, a retail and restaurant crash etc.

Further, even if the case fatality rate is not much greater than standard flu (although it does appear so far to be about ten times greater), the transmissibility of the virus is really high leading to rapid spread. And, it seems that a person is highly infectious some time before they show any symptoms; again making it much harder to control.

This is why comparisons with absolute numbers, how many people die from regular flu, are not really relevant. They are built into our systems through years of experience. This new virus has no barriers of partial immunity in the population, and, coupled with the high transmissibility, makes it a particularly nasty beast.

The now infamous R0, R-naught, the base reproduction number, the expected number of cases directly generated by one case in a population where all individuals are susceptible to infection, has to be brought down to below one. If greater than one, the epidemic will grow exponentially; if less than one, it can be contained. R-naught is not a function just of the agent (here corona virus) but a function of how easily the infection can be communicated, particularly as it seems to spread via droplets. Hence, the importance of social distancing and personal hygiene.

These effects are what can lead to a wave of patients that can overwhelm the capacity of the medical system to cope—and herein lies the great danger. The measures now being taken in the US should have been taken sooner, but at least they are happening now. President Trump seems to have got the message seriously. (As for the media—words fail me when trying to describe their appalling behavior. In this scientific age, we would be hard pressed to find a more ignorant shower of people.)

Acting rapidly can avoid the situation getting like that in Italy. And who is helping Italy out? Not the EU bureaucracy, but China.   Think about that.

Check also further real information [here].

Hang tight,

Rebel Yell

A Journal of the Plague Year(1)

March 17th, 2020

The world has changed, probably for ever. Who would have thought that it could happen so quickly? Mother Nature is reminding us that we are part of the ecology of Earth, not something outside it. Perhaps it will lead to a reduction in the fantasies that we can control Nature, be it health, disease or the weather.

Our apartment building has its own website and listserv. Many people are posting hints and help, asking elderly tenants by phone or email if they need help in getting supplies. Our glorious swimming pool is closed for the foreseeable future. Our bridge games are on hold. However, to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.

Perhaps this is one of those times, a time to rise above the pressures of the material world and look more to the social and spiritual ties that bind us all, rather than the endless concern with money and prestige. Time to read “War and Peace” as you promised yourself so long ago; time to really listen to all those Bach cantatas; time, indeed, to examine ourselves inwardly a little more.

I am one of the lucky ones who can work at home. Mrs Rebel Yell has no problem, drawing on an extensive experience of bush living in the wilds of Ontario before I met her. A picture of calm.

We had planned a trip to the West Coast for April, but cancelled around mid-February. Why? Having had professional experience in emergency response operations for some years, when I saw the events unfolding in Wuhan (at that time an unknown city on the other side of the world), and, knowing what an exponential curve is, and, knowing what a case fatality rate is, a little light turned on in my head. Surely, this cannot be, in the modern day of medical science? As soon as the odd cases started appearing in other countries around the world, that was it. It’s really going to happen.

Knowing that politicians would be too slow to act, that’s when I started stocking up supplies. Fortunately, President Trump was quick off the mark with a travel ban on China—for which he was excoriated by the stupid journalists in the Fake News Media. He’s been a bit too slow on other issues, but he has had nothing but trouble from the media in the US whose reaction and behavior has been utterly reprehensible—especially CNN and MSNBC.

The CDC in the US is another bureaucratic organization that needs thorough reform, perhaps a complete rebuild. President Trump is cutting through that. But not fast enough. The Federal bureaucracy needs to be cut drastically both in the US and in Canada.

In any real emergency, it’s the first responders, local people, and local governments that really know how to get things done at the ground level, not some airhead policy wonk in a think tank. Your local Fire Marshall, medical officer, hazmat director, police chief; any of these people know better than politicians. And never listen to journalists—a complete waste of space.

That’s it for today, I leave a few links for some excellent easily understandable medical and scientific info….

Dr John Campbell (PhD, Nursing) [here], a British doctor with a daily video. Excellent medical info and practical advice for ordinary folk.

And hourly plague stats from Johns Hopkins University, Center for Systems Science and Engineering …[here]

Rebel Yell

Plague News

For concise and rational commentary on the corona virus panic, the American Council on Science and Health can’t be beat. See some of the articles here. Also of interest is their views on the appalling behavior of the media (no surprise here).

In the US, the Democrat Party is moving from the absurd into the realm of the truly despicable in their behavior, with their toadies in the media following suit. It turns out that President Trump’s ban on China travel was the right choice despite the squawking from the usual suspects. Perhaps the Europe travel ban should have been sooner.

In Canada, the federal government is drifting in the wind. How can we expect people who waste billions of dollars on the pretense that they can control the weather fifty years from now to have any grasp of a real problem right now?

Our government would rather destroy our economic future at the behest of a gang of unelected fake Indians than do anything productive for the nation, which, according the intellectual microbe Trudeau, no longer exists.

Having had some professional experience in emergency response operations, I have to say that most people would be amazed at how little forethought and preparation goes into getting ready for the next natural disaster.

The ignorance of basic science in our political classes is staggering. This is why politicians would rather listen to the dishonest eco-babble from the Extinction Rebellion clowns than pay any real attention to the facts concerning real problems that face us now.

The situation is no different with the corona virus problem. How does this sit with the anti-vax freaks now? As soon as a real problem appears, they’re the ones clamoring for a vaccine now! And why didn’t the government do it last week!

Perhaps one good result from this modern plague will be to put these destructive anti-vax crackpots in their place and make politicians get with the program on planet Earth—and stop thinking of their unicorn and pixie dust policies for controlling the weather.

Fat chance.

Rebel Yell

White Girls Sacrificed for the PC Moloch

Does it get more ghastly than this?[here]

 

Over decades, the British police and the Labour Party have been guilty of turning a blind eye to the sexual exploitation of White girls by Muslim rapist gangs aided and abetted by local mosques and imams.

The political commissars of the local areas have sought to suppress all information of this and protect the police and politicians from the wrath of normal people and from British justice. So far, none of the police officers complicit in this or the Labour politicians have been brought to account or held accountable in any way.

Such a disgusting state of affairs shows the unbelievable moral rot and decay in the Establishment, the police, and the judiciary. The lives of young White girls can be sacrificed on the primitive altar of political correctness (aka left-wing thought) to further the cause of destroying the British people and the White race. No more despicable act can be imagined.

One day, “the terrible swift sword” of justice will be the reward for these debased rapists and the political hagfish that protected them.

Rebel Yell

Diversity In Action

As the worm turns…

See Akkad’s excellent commentary[here] on the status of Muslim grooming gangs in the UK. Now, the politically correct police force, not wanting to be left behind in the mad rush to ultra-diversity, has successfully become more diverse by recruiting their own Muslim police rapists and groomers. What a service to equality and justice! What next, cannibals?

Rebel Yell