A Journal of the Plague Year (21)

April 6, 2020

How real values change overnight. Suddenly, some object performing a role in the our world that never gets a second thought, is elevated in status beyond all previous measure.

And so it should be. Guaranteed to reduce particulate intake by 95%, it is a good start to reducing the transmissibility of the disease.

On that front, have you noticed that all the eco-babble has suddenly stopped? All those beardy-weirdy sandal-wearers droning on about “natural healing” and the problems with evil “chemicals” have retreated to the nearest flat rocks to hide under?

An illuminating article from the science20.com website, mainly bloggers from the American Council on Science and Health,[here] [promoting science and debunking junk since 1978] points out that no matter how many people talk about the “virtues” of all these organic or “natural” materials:

…Environmental Working Group recently rolled out its annual Dirty Dozen list of foods that … wait, did they?

This year, no one seems to know or care if a group of lawyers paid an intern to go through USDA pesticide data and did simple arithmetic to declare how ‘toxic’ fruit was unless the pesticides on it were made by their clients.

Instead of being paralyzed by irrational fear, the way organic industry groups make money, people are paralyzed by something real; SARS-CoV-2, the 2019 coronavirus that set off a microbiological bomb in Wuhan, China and causes the COVID-19 disease that has spread across the world. Go to a store right now and lots of Seventh Generation brand “alternatives” can be found on shelves but good luck finding Purell, Clorox, and Lysol. It turns out when people are actually at risk the public wants things that work, not that have a “natural” halo.

No kidding! All the purity talk evaporates like the morning mist when a real situation demands real action. What your grandmother told you is true and still works, and all the Whole Foods organic eco-drivel is no more. Again, the hold-up is always the inability of bureaucracy to adjust to real-time thinking.

On another science front, a paper from Australia on a possible drug treatment for the coronavirus says:


Although several clinical trials are now underway to test possible therapies, the worldwide response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been largely limited to monitoring/containment. We report here that Ivermectin, an FDA-approved anti-parasitic previously shown to have broad spectrum anti-viral activity in vitro, is an inhibitor of the causative virus (SARS-CoV-2), with
a single addition to Vero-hSLAM cells 2 hours post infection with SARS-CoV-2 able to effect ~5000-fold reduction in viral RNA at 48 h. Ivermectin therefore warrants further investigation for possible benefits in humans.

This is interesting in light of the reported encouraging treatments using hydroxychloroquine from around the world.

All of this is pretty much a shotgun approach to trying out various drugs as therapeutics and/or prophylactics, but there is no time to lose in emergency response operations, particularly global situations:


March 28, 2020 Updates: Dr. Vladimir Zelenko has now treated 699 coronavirus patients with 100% success and ZERO deaths using Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate, Zinc and Z-Pak.
The deadly Coronavirus pandemic continues to claim thousands of lives around the world. That’s the bad news. The good news is, many doctors from around the world, including the United States are successfully treating coronavirus patients with great success. Studies in France, China, and Australia, found that a combination of two anti-malaria drugs Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin (Z-Pak) have shown to cure coronavirus patients within six days with a 100% success rate.


The jury is still out on that but the amount of research that is taking place in days, not weeks or months, is truly astounding. One of the results of this pandemic is going to be a thorough revision and purging of the peer-review process for scientific publications.

In the current frenzy of the pandemic, many mistakes will be made, but, as they say, perfection is the enemy of the good. In our situation, it has never been more apt.

Rebel Yell

A Journal of the Plague Year (20)

April 5, 2020

There has been the predictable whining about President Trump from the usual suspects in the media and the from the lesser political figures in Canada over the shortage of protective masks and the direction to the 3M Company in the US. It may have escaped the notice of the media that the President’s first responsibility is to the American people, just the same as the first responsibility of the Prime Minister in Canada is to the Canadian people.

Front-line health workers, nurses and doctors are in desperate need of protective equipment in both countries, and many other countries besides. How would they feel if a company in Canada was making protective masks and shipping them abroad when our nurses, doctors, paramedics and other essential workers went without? It is true that we can help each other as nations, brothers and sisters in fact, but the media need to get a grip on reality and quit their unfounded griping.

To turn to more relevant topics, the ability of the health-care system to deal with a surge capacity of new patients. Some interesting information is available in Wikipedia. One has to be circumspect about the reliability of information in Wikipedia, particularly with politically contentious topics when it can be plainly deceptive, but health care may be a relatively innocuous topic; moreover, there are many original sources to check.
Many countries like to brag about their health care systems. Most shouldn’t.

Taking a look at one measure, hospital beds per 1 000 people, at the top in ranking are Japan and South Korea with 13.05 and 12.27. Interestingly, Russia comes in at number 3 with 8.05 (all figures are for 2017) and Canada appears at number 36 with 2.52. The occupancy rate of beds, that is the number of beds occupied in normal times, is best in the US at 64%; Japan comes in at 75% and Canada—at 91.6%. Note that the lower numbers indicate more available capacity. This means that our system is working at almost full capacity at the best of times with little room for a surge in patients.

Also of great interest is that the available number of hospital beds per 1 000 people in almost all of the developed countries has, between 2013 and 2017, been continuously declining. In terms of percentage decline per year Canada comes in at number 8 with a change of –1.8% [2017/2016 figures]. This is not encouraging when we hear so much political jabber about our health care system when compared to other countries.

Even with these problems facing our doctors and nurses, it has been made worse by the slavish worship of political correctness. As Chris Selley pointed out in the National Post:

…As recently as Jan. 29, when it was obvious the Chinese had a big problem on their hands, Theresa Tam, the chief federal public health officer, was rejecting calls for a ban on travellers from China saying “racism, discrimination and stigmatizing language are unacceptable and very hurtful.”
More hurtful than dying in an ICU gasping for breath with fibrotic lungs, alone because your family is forbidden to be with you?
For nearly a month, our own prime minister was more worried about showing how “woke” he is on racism than safeguarding public health.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said allegations the virus was spreading from China was “fake news” and claimed “we can’t let fear or ignorance triumph over our values of community …”

And, don’t forget, while President Trump was making the right decision, as has been verified by Dr Fauci in the US, he was being excoriated for it by you-know-who.

What was that about “accountability”? Some people are going to get it good and hard when this thing is over.

Rebel Yell

1920 and now

A LETTER FROM  F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, QUARANTINED IN 1920 IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE DURING THE SPANISH INFLUENZA OUTBREAK.

Dearest Rosemary,

It was a limpid dreary day, hung as in a basket from a single dull star. I thank you for your letter. Outside, I perceive what may be a collection of fallen leaves against a trash can. It rings like jazz to my ears. The streets are that empty. It seems as though the bulk of the city has retreated to their quarters, rightfully so. At this time, it seems very poignant to avoid all public spaces. Even the bars, as I told Hemingway, but to that he punched me in the stomach, to which I asked if he had washed his hands. He hadn’t. He is much the denier, that one. Why, he considers the virus to be just influenza. I’m curious of his sources.

The officials have alerted us to ensure we have a month’s worth of necessities. Zelda and I have stocked up on red wine, whiskey, rum, vermouth, absinthe, white wine, sherry, gin, and Lord, if we need it, brandy. Please pray for us.

Nattering Nabobs of Negativism Everywhere

The Guardian hyperventilates as follows regarding Ecuador.

‘They’re leaving us to die’: Ecuadorians’ plead for help as virus blazes deadly trail

Dead bodies kept in homes or dumped on roadsides as authorities and hospitals are overwhelmed by Covid-19 in Andean nation’s second city

It has been three days since Reynaldo Barrezueta passed away at his home in Ecuador’s biggest city – and still his body lies in a coffin on the sitting room floor.

“The authorities are just leaving us to die,” said his son, Eduardo Javier Barrezueta Chávez, who has spent the last 72 hours pleading with authorities remove his father’s corpse – so far to no avail.

Barrezueta is not alone. In recent days the coronavirus has swept into Guayaquil with deadly force, overwhelming local authorities, funeral homes and hospitals and leaving families such as his facing unthinkable horrors.

Photographs and video footage emerging from this crisis-stricken coastal city look like images from the aftermath of a natural disaster: bodies wrapped in sheets and dumped on the roadside or outside houses; desperate families begging for help after being forced to keep their loved-ones corpses at home for days in temperatures of more than 30C.

Good grief!! What has gone terribly wrong in Ecuador? Let us head over to worldometers for some stats regarding this terrible situation.

Total deaths: 172

Deaths over the last 5 days in chronological order: 4, 17, 19, 22, 25.

Does that seem like something that would overwhelm a country of 17.3M people? In 2013, the last year for which the records are available, Ecuador recorded 3,164 deaths annually due to traffic accidents. That is an average of 8.7 deaths/day due to traffic accidents.

Besieged

We are in a siege. The enemy has invested us, and then besieged us.

Siege And Destruction Of A City Under Holy Roman Emperor ...

Wikipedia defines besieged in these terms:

“A siege is a militaryblockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from Latinsederelit. ‘to sit’.[1]Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, static, defensive position. Consequently, an opportunity for negotiation between combatants is not uncommon, as proximity and fluctuating advantage can encourage diplomacy. The art of conducting and resisting sieges is called siege warfare, siegecraft, or poliorcetics.”

We are in day 30, say, of the siege. Food is still plentiful and booze and drugs are available. Disease or resistance to disease may wipe out the besiegers (the communicability of the virus) just as well it the virus may kill some of us. At first we thought this was a bit of a lark. Now we are starting to realize that, no, this could be the shape of our lives for months – even years – to come.

A Journal of the Plague Year (18)

April 3, 2020

Talking of sorting out the men from the boys, Premier Doug Ford of Ontario continues to be a voice of reason and common sense; someone with a handle on reality. A frequent target of the bloviating pseuds in our Fake News media, he seems to have risen to the occasion. On today’s news conference he laid out in brutal detail exactly what the epidemiological models are predicting for the development of the corona virus in Ontario, based on what we know now. Addressing the public he said, “You will know what I know.” [here]

It shows a very sound understanding of ordinary folks. Now everybody knows what they have to prepare for. The secret of delivering bad news is that it should be told as soon as possible and in as much detail as possible. Failure to do that destroys credibility later when it is needed more than ever. Continual obfuscation destroys credibility faster than the morning sun dispels mist. There’s a lesson here for he-of-little-credibility Trudeau.

Based on knowledge of the events in Italy and Spain and other countries, Ontario is looking at between 2000 and 15 000 fatalities. Not pleasant, and very difficult for people who have never had any experience of disaster situations. However, the only way to deal with disaster situations is to have the maximum amount of information disseminated as soon as it becomes available.

Neither politicians nor scientists are magicians, no matter what the ignorant journalistic rabble may think. Speaking of which (no more than necessary) after Premier Ford’s presser, three senior doctors in the public health field gave a more detailed rendition of Ford’s address speaking directly to and from the modeling data and projections. In an ice-cool way they exposed the presumptions and ignorance of certain journalists. It would be nice to think that in a national emergency the media would be interested in conveying as much essential information to the public as possible, but no. Not now. It’s always… “Why didn’t you see the future three months ago?” Why is it that journalists can’t seem to fathom that opening a book on biology or math might, just might, teach them something?

In terms of people who need to be spanked openly and rudely in public, President Trump wrote to Democrat Senator (Up-)Chuck Schumer after his whining about leadership from the White House. Schumer wouldn’t know leadership if it bit him in the ass. Trump’s response was a much needed response––a flamethrower of a reply that was absolutely necessary. So many others need it too. I include it in full for your joy….

I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Rebel Yell

A Journal of the Plague Year (17)

April 2, 2020

Lead on, Emperor Trump.

But I want to focus on events in Britain today, more than usual.

The political class, the trendies, and the usual shower of the wokerati, love to trash the Daily Mail, a right-wing (somewhat) paper in the UK. Actually, the Mail has been doing some pretty good reporting of late concerning the developing public health fiasco in Britain. If the Grauniad morons are obsessing about the impact of coronavirus on transsexuals, or some other absurdity, at least the Mail is looking at some of the events that are happening on the ground.

The UK Government has been saying all day (for the past few days) that testing will be ramped up to x thousand per day (it doesn’t matter what x is, it’s nowhere close). Only a few thousand health service personnel have been tested for the virus today, after weeks of expanding case load. Meanwhile, Germany has been testing half a million a week already. How so? What’s the hold up?

Apparently, Public Health England, a soviet-style bureaucratic behemoth, is solely responsible for conducting biosample testing in the UK, and a new facility was supposed to be up and running to deal with problems like this. Actually it hasn’t even been finished yet.

Further, there were no contingency plans to deal with such a situation in the event of a catastrophe like coronavirus. Further, there are hundreds of small biotech companies, university laboratories and scientific institutions that are capable of conducting testing at the local level with rapid turnaround times, thereby dispensing with the need to send test samples to some centralized Ministry of Bugs in Little Berserkly, England.

As the Mail reports:

It is, therefore, scandalous to discover yesterday that officials at Public Health England have repeatedly failed to take up multiple offers from some of the country’s leading scientific organisations willing to help expand the testing programme.
One came from Oxford University’s Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, whose head, Professor Matthew Freeman, complained yesterday that repeated offers to provide specialised testing equipment and expert laboratory staff to PHE had been ignored.
The virus test requires a PCR machine (polymerase chain reaction) to detect the presence of the virus. Apparently, these machines are widely available, but are being little used.
One came from Oxford University’s Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, whose head, Professor Matthew Freeman, complained yesterday that repeated offers to provide specialised testing equipment and expert laboratory staff to PHE had been ignored.
Of our machines there was only one of that type, and the army came and collected it and took it off to Milton Keynes. But we have another 118 machines that can broadly do the same job, but they don’t appear to be part of PHE’s plans.’
The Francis Crick Institute in London has supplied five PCR machines to Public Health England, but is understood to have dozens more sitting idle inside its labs. The Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham is testing 200 samples a day but its director said yesterday ‘we could probably treble that’ if only someone bothered to ask.
Many medical experts blame PHE’s reluctance to accept help on a mixture of control freakery and incompetence among senior staff.
For example, whereas other countries weeks ago took the sensible decision to relax the rules on which laboratories can carry out coronavirus tests, in order to get as many as possible done, PHE chose to follow a tightly controlled approach.

In a national, nay, international emergency, it beggars belief to see bureaucrats behaving in this way.

Tim Colbourn, associate professor of global health epidemiology at University College London, has called for PHE to now hand over control to local authorities and private sector providers. ‘All the national capacity needs to be used for this effort,’ he said. ‘You could ramp it up a hundredfold… This is a national emergency.’ PHE seems, however, to be more interested in ticking boxes. A vast testing facility in Milton Keynes, supposedly operational since last week, is in fact still in a ‘trial’ period.
There are also claims that PHE decided to destroy thousands of swabs sent by GPs who suspected their patients had contracted the disease, before they could be analysed, because they did not meet strict criteria.
‘If they had looked at those swabs earlier instead of throwing them away, we could have got a handle on this thing much earlier,’ one GP told The Daily Telegraph.
Meanwhile at least some of PHE’s reluctance to requisition university and commercial laboratories appears to stem from a politically-motivated hostility towards private sector involvement in the healthcare system.
‘Their top staff of course like their fatcat salaries, but on other issues their world view is basically Corbynite,’ complains one healthcare expert.

The entire decision-making structure in Public Health England (PHE) is built on a centralized soviet-style model of central control. Fossilized management, incompetent bureaucrats very likely unqualified in medicine, biology or any scientific discipline, have been promoted into a civil service nomenklatura where they are responsible to no-one, least of all the people they are supposed to serve.

Completely ignorant of how any emergency response operation must work, where decision-making and response capabilities have to be delegated to the responders on the ground as far as possible, they have created an organization unfit for purpose and, what is worse, is paralyzed and apparently incapable of responding even in a national emergency.

Public Health England is a national disgrace as are the people who head it. When this thing is over, the papers, investigations and PhD theses written on it will be essays of an organizational disaster.

Rebel Yell

A Journal of the Plague Year (16)

I’ll start with a few links right off…

Dr Bhattacharya on how the ignorance of the number of possible infected people who have antibodies in their blood (but may never have developed disease) is essential to knowing how widespread the disease is and what the infected fatality rate is. This greatly affects how many people are now basically immune. Immune people are free to go back to work.

In news from the Back of Beyond in the Frozen North, Ottawa, our responders are dealing with pretty much the same problems they all are around the world: bureaucratic delays and red tape.

An article in the Ottawa Citizen says that many of the shortfall problems are due to various shortfalls that….

“…have been exacerbated by the country’s heavy reliance on a network of foreign-based suppliers who make everything from laboratory equipment to specialized throat swabs used to extract specimens. Post COVID-19, the idea of developing vital technologies in-country will resonate profoundly.” No kidding.

And in Britain, the land of the National Health Service, “the envy of the world”, the situation is way more chaotic and paralyzed. Here again, the fault seems to lie with a Soviet style of decision making. Since the health service is run by a bureaucracy, it us populated by the kind of people who cannot make a decision in an emergency because they have been trained to think only in terms of regulations and paper work¬¬¬—not in terms of the lives they have to protect. There is no capacity in the organization for innovation, no matter how much prattle there is in gov-speak about it.

As an article in the Daily Mail pointed out, when NHS staff arrived at work expecting to be tested…

And even though there were empty spaces at the testing bays NHS staff were refused entry as they did not have an appointment. A doctor flashed his NHS laminated ID pass at the security guard but was told to turn around and leave.
The medic, who did not want to be named, told MailOnline he had a letter from his head of department requesting a test but without an email from Public Health England with a specific appointment time he would not be tested.

This kind of soviet-style paralysis beggars belief, but it is the current arrangement of much the British health service.

[Meanwhile in the US, federal regulations on centralized testing have been rapidly swept aside to allow all state, local and private sector laboratories to carry out testing were possible.]

This why the private sector companies have been saying that have the materials and resources to deliver what the NHS wants, but red tape is holding things up. Now? Surely, in a global emergency, this can be swept aside for once. One has to wonder what material is between the ears of some of these bureaucrats—it’s not brains. President Trump in the US has been showing the way on this. The “We want it not now, but yesterday” kind of approach.

And something one would have never thought possible even a few weeks ago, “Russian Aid Aircraft Land In New York”. We are living in strange times.

And last, but not least, nothing could be complete without mentioning the cretins at CNN:

In an attempt to squeeze the Covid-19 crisis for all its worth, networks like CNN are letting agenda-driven celebs such as Sean Penn and Stephen King exploit the situation to promote themselves as offering real expertise.
Even quarantines in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak have not been enough to keep celebrities from virtue-signaling and preaching to the rest of the world.
From bizarre renditions of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ to messages from their mansions and hottubs shaming others for daring to live lives during this pandemic, one could even argue celebrities are more insufferable right now than they have ever been.
What makes matters worse is a mainstream media that can’t get enough of it. Not only do they want to cover every celebrity’s coronavirus messages with puffpieces, but they also want to prop these people up as experts that we should be listening to.

Thank you RT.

Rebel Yell

Ho ho ho! Is the cat out of the bag?

  1. The virus came from a type of bat, according to a report by Chinese scientists.
  2. The bat is not native to Wuhan but comes from 300 miles away.
  3. Two centres of disease research are near the Wuhan wet market from which the virus was held to have originated.
  4. The two centres for viral research use this particular type of bat in their research.
  5. This information comes from a report by Chinese scientists that has been on the web for the past two months.
  6. The American National Institute of Health and other flak-catchers for the Chinese government have denounced in vigorous terms any suggestion this virus was an escaped bioweapon.
  7. The Chinese government has accused the American government of starting this plague.

In the old language of Mao, we have some running dogs of the Chinese government in the west, and they do not even have to be told what to do, so obedient are they to the requirements of political correctness .