Corona virus update.

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I got an email yesterday about Allieaz, who insures me when I travel for work, not covering any COVID 19 related illnesses in contacts taken after January 30. In the meantime, Auckland University is freezing hiring because Chinese students can’t get here.

Italy has closed all cultural and sporting centres and childcare centres in the Lombard region.

Using internet translation from the Italian:

In the Lombardy region and in the province of Piacenza
In these territories, the measure of suspension of the activities of gyms, sports centers, swimming pools, swimming centers, spas, spas (with the exception of the provision of services falling within the “essential levels of assistance”), cultural centers also applies, social centers, recreation centers.

Well, Italy, like Iran, is now on the “not getting into NZ unless you are a citizen” list. Probably too late. It looks like we will be adding the USA soon.

The coronavirus has been circulating undetected and has possibly infected scores of people over the past six weeks in Washington state, according to a genetic analysis of virus samples that has sobering implications for the entire country amid heightening anxiety about the likely spread of the disease.

The researchers conducted genetic sequencing of two virus samples. One is from a patient who traveled from China to Snohomish County in mid-January and was the first person diagnosed with the disease in the United States. The other came from a recently diagnosed patient in the same county, a high school student with no travel-related or other known exposure to the coronavirus. The two samples look almost identical genetically, said Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who announced the results of the research on Twitter late Saturday night.
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“This strongly suggests that there has been cryptic transmission in Washington State for the past 6 weeks,” Bedford wrote. “I believe we’re facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now due to narrow case definition requiring direct travel to China.”

Officials in Seattle and King County on Sunday announced that four more people have tested positive for the coronavirus, including the second person in the state to die of the virus. That brings the outbreak in Washington state to 13 cases. Of the four new cases, the three surviving patients range in age from their 70s to 90s, have underlying health conditions and are in critical condition, health officials said. The first coronavirus death in the United States, which was announced Saturday.

Health officials in Washington state and across the nation said they expect numbers will continue to rise in the wake of the decision by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week to widen testing guidelines. Over the weekend, new cases were reported in Americans who had recently traveled to South Korea and Italy, including one person in Rhode Island, the state’s first case.

The grocery runs started in NZ over the weekend. I’d emailed the family the week before: checking with Son one they had already got stocks in because one of the family reads medical journals and had come to the relevant conclusions. You can’t get rice or flour or bread: since we avoid these and had those supplies we are down to topping up supplies. Most Kiwis don’t have a weeks worth of food in their houses, and are used to “just in time” shopping 24/7… but when the last big earthquake hit Christchurch we were making bread because all the centralized bakeries for the South Island had been flattened and/or the roads were cut. It appears that the word is out in the USA…

CT findings Acute Respiratory distress syndrome secondary to COVID-19, Wuhan case series.

Wang D, Hu B, Hu C, et al. Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA. Published online February 07, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1585

After hundreds get quarantined and the officials in charge of propaganda cannot avoid the partial truth, word gets out a few people are exposed. People are flocking to Costco in those states ( I don’t know if Hawaii was because infection or just because the residents know their supply lines are screwed in the best of times ). I’m sure smaller stores are getting hit also. This last weekend seemed to be the dam bursting and the runs began. I wouldn’t wait past today’s lunch hour or after work to do what could be the last grocery run.

The best antipodean list is here: noting that it contains things that most people want. Note two things: handwashing counts — and plain soap and water will do the job — and don’t touch your face.

If possible, don’t shake hands or social kiss. (If your beloved is infected, so are you, so don’t be distant from them).

The WHO advice for the public around this is here. This will not be enough if the current estimates are reasonable. Jo Nova from teh Cat.

Not enough beds

Obviously, this explains my obsessive interest in the percentage needing ICU care and also the Ro (rate of reproduction or spread). With a shortage of ICU beds, slowing the spread makes a life-and-death difference to state the bleeding obvious. To bore you again: in Australia we have about 1 ICU bed per 12000 people or 2,000 ICU beds nationally.

Check out the Ro epidemiology curve written here Jan 31st: Corona virus and those exponential curves. .. The only way to reduce the R0 to zer0 is to “Stop The Flights”. The next best option (far distant second) are mass lockdowns, closure of factories, schools, offices, etc.

As a reader wrote to me yesterday: It’s not practical to close the borders. My reply: It’s not practical to kill 100,000 people either but one or the other may happen. Do the maths, WHO estimates 1% CFR (Case Fatality Rate. Let’s be optimistic, call it 0.5%. Deaths in the next six months: Australia, 125,000; Canada, 175,000; New Zealand, 25,000, USA, 1.6m; UK, 300,000. Geddit?

Jo Nova, Cataxally Files

The math may be wrong, because no one quite trusts the People’s Republic of China. The rates from Korea and Italy will give us better information, as far as health planning. The best thing to do is to stop the flights, but that is not acceptable to the elites. The Cato institute proves again that libertarians are evil, because they did the costings.

There is growing evidence that COVID-19’s case fatality rate (CFR) is substantially higher than the normal flu with deaths concentrated on the elderly and those with comorbidities. It’s important to note that the CFR is a fatality rate for those who contract COVID-19, not a fatality rate for the entire population. That’s not much of a relief as the fatality rate is high, but it does help us get a better picture of COVID-19’s threat to particular groups. For instance, COVID-19’s CFR is 2.3 percent according to recent evidence from Mainland China. The CFR for those aged 39 and younger is 0.21 percent, but it is 5.96 percent for those aged 60 and above. Protecting the elderly should thus be of prime concern as younger people, especially children, don’t appear to be much affected.

There are several different ways for policymakers to respond to COVID-19. A travel-and-immigration ban is an appropriate policy response if two conditions are met. First, the benefits of a travel-and-immigration-ban are greater than the costs of a travel ban. Second, there are no other less-costly options. This analysis will compare the breakeven point to show how many lives a travel-and-immigration-ban would have to save to make sense. It will then further compare the cost of those less-costly policies that will have big positive impacts.

Finding the breakeven point at which the benefits of reduced deaths from COVID-19 equal the costs incurred by a U.S. ban on travel and immigration helps form the outermost boundaries of a possible policy response. COVID-19 is spreading from China to other countries, with outbreaks reported in Italy, Iran, Korea, Taiwan, and elsewhere. Currently, there are more new cases of COVID-19 reported outside of China than inside, so it’s conceivable that policymakers will react in this extreme way.

Travel-and-immigration-bans are expensive. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimated that tourism contributed about $1.595 trillion to U.S. GDP in 2018 and 18.8 percent, or about $299.86 billion, was from international travel. Also, blocking the roughly 500,000 immigrants who receive a green card abroad each year and those who enter on temporary work visas would also diminish their contributions to GDP. Looking at average salaries of immigrants as a decent proxy of their contribution to GDP, combined with the tourist spending, a travel-and-immigration-ban would impose a cost of $323 billion to the U.S. economy in the first year.

The statistical value of a life in the United States, which is the average dollar value that individuals place on their own lives based on the risk-money trade-offs that they make, is about $10 million. Dividing the $323 billion cost of a travel and immigration ban for the first year by the $10 million statistical value of life reveals how many lives would have to be saved in the first year of such a ban so that the purely economic costs equal the benefits. Thus, a moratorium on travel and immigration would have to prevent 32,302 deaths to breakeven.

So don’t close the borders because you will lose money your spreadsheet model assumed you would have. As if people don’t change their behaviour. I expect tourism will suffer more that it is already — and in this part of the world, it is suffering already. But deciding I am worth a certain sum of money when Christ died for me? Infinite worth for infinite grace: this is evil.

Adam Piggot at his most trenchant.

When the elite weigh the cost of closing the borders purely in an economic sense then we have reached the point where we have most certainly lost our humanity. So according to the boffins at the Cato Institute, if under 32,000 people die then it’s not worth closing the borders because of the economic hit we will take. That’s all that counts in the scheme of things. You and I and everyone else are simply economic units. We’re not people, we’re not family members, we’re not valued members of our communities, we’re not future generations and nor are we mentors and guides for the young. We are simply worth what we can make the government in monetary value over the course of our lifetimes.

That is all we are. So they will decide whether we get to continue to live based on the economic data. That these are the same imbecilic cretins that throw trillions of dollars at attempting to stop the climate from doing what it’s always done just adds insult to viral death. They tax us into oblivion while wasting our money on socialism for illegal immigrants but when we are actually threatened by one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse then they get our their slide rules and calculators and start muttering about balance sheets and cost analysis.

Just so you know where you stand.

Of course, the elites’ assumption is that if they keep the borders open then we’ll all just continue swanning around, doing our thing, consuming like good consumers and the rats in the cage that we are. It’s ludicrous; you either protect your population or you don’t.

They haven’t been protecting us for a very long time. So no reason to change things up now.

Australia and New Zealand are surrounded by water. Close the airports and put the sailors in the port into quarantine on their boats. Stop the cruise ships (aka Petri dishes). And defend Australia and New Zealand.

Or God help the elite, for the populace now knows they are lying.