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About Gordo

  • Birthday 07/22/1974

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  1. I am wondering now if the mass destruction of food due to supply chain disruptions could potentially lead to food scarcity or do we just have such an abundance that it won’t matter? Coronavirus claims an unexpected victim: Florida vegetables ... Farmers Dump Milk, Break Eggs as Coronavirus Restaurant Closings Destroy Demand
  2. I watched "Contagion" several weeks ago 😉 Today my state's governor announced all private and public schools would be closed to students (online learning only) for the rest of the academic year. I see growing dissent... Meet the former NYT reporter who is challenging the coronavirus narrative As daily life across America is upended by the coronavirus crisis -- with mass business closures plunging the economy into freefall -- one former New York Times reporter is sounding the alarm about what he believes are flawed models dictating the aggressive strategy. Alex Berenson has been analyzing the data on the crisis on a daily basis for weeks and has come to the conclusion that the strategy of shutting down entire sectors of the economy is based on modeling that doesn't line up with the realities of the virus. Berenson is a former reporter who worked for the Times from 1999 to 2010 primarily covering the pharmaceutical industry. He recently came to prominence again with a book, "Tell Your Children The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence," which challenged prevailing narratives on marijuana. In the face of a broadening consensus on both the left and the libertarian right that sees marijuana as mostly healthy and even a positive in some circumstances, Berenson argued that the evidence instead shows a link between the drug and serious mental illness and an epidemic of violence. Now he's turned to challenging the narratives on the response to the coronavirus. What Berenson is promoting isn't coronavirus denialism, or conspiracy theories about plots to curb liberties. Instead what Berenson is claiming is simple: the models guiding the response were wrong and that it is becoming clearer by the day. "In February I was worried about the virus. By mid-March I was more scared about the economy. But now I'm starting to get genuinely nervous," he tweeted this week. "This isn't complicated. The models don't work. The hospitals are empty. WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT INDEFINITE LOCKDOWNS?" Hospitals, of course, are not empty in places like hard-hit New York City, and tales are widespread of overburdened doctors and emergency rooms. Berenson acknowledged as much in the interview Thursday. Concerns that this virus is significantly more contagious and deadly than any ordinary flu strain are what's driving the current government approach, in America and around the world. Perhaps due in part to more testing, America reports the highest number of cases in the world right now, with more than 430,000 cases and nearly 15,000 deaths. Symptoms vary widely, with some patients reporting only minor discomfort yet others dealing with crushing physical pain and struggling to breathe, forced to go on ventilators. But Berenson is taking a broader look. He initially challenged the model put forward by the Imperial College in London, when one of the authors of the models appeared to significantly walk back projections that the U.K. would see 500,000 people killed by the disease to closer to 20,000 -- although the author later said that the 500,000 prediction was without social distancing measures, and 20,000 was with them in place. That model is being used to advise the U.K. government on its strategy for the virus. "That was March 22 or 23, and ever since then I've been paying incredibly close attention to the modeling and trying to figure out whether it lines up with what we're seeing in reality -- and the answer is it hasn't lined up at all," he said. Recently he's been focusing on discrepancies within the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model. That model has come under renewed scrutiny as it has revised its metrics multiple times. It once predicted more than 90,000 deaths by August but recently issued a new estimate that has the figure closer to 60,000. Government officials say it's a model that's moving with what the country is doing. "We believe that our health care delivery system in the United States is quite extraordinary," Dr. Deborah Birx said at a White House press briefing on Wednesday. "I know many of you are watching the Act Now model and the IHME model— and they have consistently decreased the number, the mortality from over almost 90,000 or 86,000, down to 81,000 and now down to 61,000. That is modeled on what America is doing. That's what's happening." Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the indicators are that social distancing efforts are working: "Because remember, what you do with data will always outstrip a model. You redo your models, depending upon your data, and our data is telling us that mitigation is working." But Berenson argues that those models have social distancing and other measures baked into them. As for further proof, he says that outside of places like New York there has not been a national health crisis that was predicted -- nor are there signs that the level of lockdown in various states has made a difference. "Aside from New York, nationally there's been no health system crisis. In fact, to be truly correct there has been a health system crisis, but the crisis is that the hospitals are empty," he said. "This is true in Florida where the lockdown was late, this is true in South Carolina where the lockdown was early, it's true in Oklahoma where there is no statewide lockdown. There doesn't seem to be any correlation between the lockdown and whether or not the epidemic has spread wide and fast." He has also argued, in lengthy Twitter threads, that the drop in cases seen in various states has come before lockdowns would have had an impact -- since it takes a few weeks for social distancing measures to take effect due to the window between infection and symptoms. Berenson blames the models for a response that has effectively shut down large sectors of the economy and is causing significant financial harm to Americans. On Thursday it was announced that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits swelled to 6.6 million last week, surging for the third consecutive week. Congress has sought to alleviate the pain by boosting those jobless benefits. His is a view that has seen some sympathy from President Trump, who has spoken about the "cure being worse than the problem" and has indicated that he is keen to end the strict measures as soon as is possible -- saying Wednesday he wants to re-open the economy with a "big bang." Berenson says the correct response in the initial days of the crisis would not have been to do nothing, but instead to adopt a more measured and targeted approach. "There was incredible pressure to do something ... so these lockdowns all cascaded, every governor tried to outdo the next. And no one stopped and said 'OK what about Japan, they don't seem to have a terrible epidemic, they wear masks, maybe we should wear masks," he said. He said other measures such as protecting individuals particularly at risk, and even things such as banning large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events could have been appropriate. But now he fears it may be too late for officials to say they overreacted. "Now we're in a bad spot because there's clearly a dangerous political dynamic right now -- the economy is in freefall, a lot of people are hurting. If we acknowledge what is clearly happening ... the people who made these decisions, I think there's going to be a lot of anger at them, so they don't want to acknowledge it, so they say 'oh it's the lockdown that saved us,'" he says. Berenson is not a known partisan. His Twitter feed and other works contain few references to specific politicians, and there's no indication that he's in this to bash or defend Trump or either political party. But he noted that, like with his conclusions on marijuana, there has been a distinct lack of interest from the left. "I went to Yale and I worked for the New York Times, the people on the left hold themselves out as being science-driven, as being smarter, they think they're smarter but they won't look at facts that won't meet their narratives," he said. He voiced frustration that these arguments have been ignored by a lot of mainstream outlets. "That is frustrating for me ... but everyone needs to hear this counterargument, whether or not it's right, you need to hear it because the damage we are doing to ourselves right now is so enormous."
  3. BREATHE EASY - NHS doctor shares breathing technique that JK Rowling claims helped her recover from coronavirus
  4. Yea demand for survival supplies (food, guns, ammo) is through the roof - not sure that supports your apparent argument though. With skyrocketing unemployment I would not expect demand for non-essentials to be very strong. Wait until luxury car sales numbers come out, or all auto sales for that matter, how about new and existing home sales? Analysts are expected the worst drop in GDP in our country's history. The gas price in California and some other states is largely taxes. How about actual national data though? You do touch on one thing I’m concerned about - people are starting to hoard food, even farmers are now panic buying feed for livestock, and this is causing problems. If it escalates, life is going to get even more interesting. I drove by two grocery stores today that had totally packed parking lots. I’ve seen videos I won’t post links to of food hoarding in China. This type of thing can easily spread. Even though it’s irrational, the rumor mill causes people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. Then in a twisted sense it becomes rational - “maybe I better secure as many bags of rice and canned food as I can before it’s all gone due to all those irrational people buying up all the supplies”.
  5. New twist on SARS-CoV-2, there had been reports from China about people who had recovered, tested negative, then got reinfected. Now there is some actual (preliminary) scientific data explaining this unfortunate possibility: COVID-19 REINFECTION RISK QUESTIONED AFTER LOW LEVELS OF ANTIBODIES FOUND IN RECOVERED PATIENTS I wonder what, if any, implications this has for the prospects of an effective vaccine? Unrelated, but the same article also mentions another possible treatment candidate drug but I think they've only done in vitro studies (I haven't looked up the reference): "More recently, Australian researchers announced that a drug commonly used to treat parasite infections can also kill coronavirus in a laboratory setting in under 48 hours. The team, from Monash University in Melbourne, found that the antiparasitic drug Ivermectin can inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus the causes COVID-19, according to a study published Friday in the journal Antiviral Research."
  6. That's right, Thomas you misinterpreted that article. Having an elevated ALT before you get COVID-19 probably doesn't predict a higher risk of COVID-19 severity. If you got COVID-19, and then your ALT shot up, that is essentially a sign that the disease is screwing with your organs and you may be headed for trouble. Perhaps more importantly, you might want to try to figure out why your ALT is elevated. Note that some CR Society members have seen elevated ALT in the past related to supplements or foods they had been taking/eating. If you are taking anything you might consider "suspect", you might try eliminating that, and getting another blood test in 3-6 months to see if your ALT has gone back down. Certain medications can also elevate ALT.
  7. The False Choice Between Lockdowns and the Economy Countries without lockdowns are in a state of economic free fall too I don't have a subscription so haven't read the full article... but this is something I was thinking about anyway - if they were to lift restrictions ("lockdowns") tomorrow, would it actually make a significant difference? The fear of getting or spreading the virus is going to prevent most people from going back to "normal" until a vaccine is out. vs. ‘Big Short’ investor says the shutdown is worse than the coronavirus: ‘It bleeds deep anguish and suicide’ I do think these orders from governors that "essential businesses only" remain open are far too extreme. Not every business is high risk for spreading disease and just taking precautions could allow many businesses to remain open. A friend of mine owns a specialty construction business, his employees can maintain social distance and still get work done, but our governor has ordered "non-essential" business to close, for now he isn't doing the jobs, and yet his monthly burn rate for equipment and trucks is killing him, the business could easily go bankrupt. Stimulus bill is still confusing to most small business owners.
  8. On Monday, 23andMe launched a new study intended to illuminate any genetic differences that might help explain why people who’ve contracted Covid-19 have such varying responses to the infection
  9. One thing I noticed in my area today at the grocery/produce store is that almost EVERYONE is now wearing masks and gloves (including employees), that really happened suddenly, I guess when the CDC recommended them people took it seriously. My Dad texted me a picture yesterday of himself in the mask my Mom sewed him, complete with protective eye wear (he is 80 and in good health). I think (based on the study Sibiriak posted) this is going to help a lot. Nice to see new deaths dropping in New York. I still think when all is said and done this bad boy will end up killing fewer people than the flu did last year (both in the US and globally) but only time will tell - I do think the mitigation efforts (change in personal behavior) are an important reason for this. I'm sure even in Sweden people are not behaving as if the pandemic didn't exist - it will be a valuable data point for future reference as to tight lock down / stay at home, vs. other types of strategies. I think the anonymous contract tracing apps I've read about might be helpful with future outbreaks (and maybe with this one too). I know some people will freak out about these and not trust them (reminds me of vaccines)... The other aspect that fascinates me is the possiblity that total US and maybe global deaths will decline overall because of the pandemic. Governor Cuomo even made some comments about this in his daily briefings - he said hospitals are seeing fewer non-coronavirus related patients (he mentioned traffic accidents are way down). I expect all infectious disease deaths to decline this year, including the flu. Although this may be offset by deaths related to people avoiding medical care either because they lost their health insurance or they are just paranoid about going to doctor's offices or hospitals due to coronavirus. The stock market SOARED today (up 7% across the board pretty much) so investors seem to be betting on a more optimistic view as well (only time will tell how that works out, personally I think we have entered a new deleveraging phase independent of coronavirus that will result in a larger sell off over the coming 2 years but who knows that is just a guess).
  10. We may just end up wearing masks all the time when around other people, the masks may get more and more high tech over time, maybe eventually they will be so effective along with hand washing and not touching others that all the strains of this virus and others like it completely disappear. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the common cold and flu also got totally wiped out? We can dream... Lots of encouraging signs this weekend with many European countries showing declines in daily new infections and deaths. It will be a relief when we see the same in the US. But I think the economic fallout is going to be long lasting regardless. We have entered a new deleveraging phase that will probably last 2-3 years and cause a lot of pain. Regarding politics... if ever there was a golden opportunity for a third party candidate to have a legit chance at winning, this is it! Personally I’d really like to see the rise of additional parties. We’ve been stuck with “coke & pepsi” for too long. For this to work, the candidate would have to have broad appeal, drawing votes from both sides, plus the right personality and name recognition. Not sure who that might be. Mark Cuban was talking about running recently, but he definitely isn’t the right personality and would flop badly. Many are trying to get Cuomo to run, but he would simply split the Democrat vote and guarantee a Trump re-election. I’m sure there are some celebrities that could pull it off (similar to Arnold when he became governor of California).
  11. Martha McSally calls on WHO director to resign
  12. There are some interesting observations in this new vid. For one thing, if you get covid-19 you should not try to suppress the fever (indeed this is good advice in general, not just with covid-19). Fever: suppress or let it ride? "Despite this evidence, treatment of fever is common in the ICU setting and likely related to standard dogma rather than evidence-based practice." But beyond that, there is an interesting COLD EXPOSURE twist to this episode. One hour of cold exposure (after heating) appears beneficial and can boost the innate immune response (looks like two hours of cold exposure was less effective in the study cited). I've been doing my usual routine of sitting outside in the cold without shirt (but with sun on me) lately, feels great. Maybe I'll try exercising beforehand though. Immune changes in humans during cold exposure: effects of prior heating and exercise 01 AUG 1999https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.1999.87.2.699
  13. US Jobless claims soar to record-breaking 6.648 million Consensus expectations were for 3.76 million claims. Prior to the week ending March 21, the previous record was 695,000 claims filed the week ended October 2, 1982 From the comments on that article: "It is rather shocking to watch in real time how people who been trading a bull market for 10+ years can't accept that the economy that supported these levels no longer exists. It takes 30 days for people to acquire a habit. I'm not sure that we have really had an event that has been so widespread failure of our government to protect us and that will drive at least half the people in this country to completely reorganize their lives. Companies are holding on to some people now because of 'compassion', but the bleeding will eventually force them to lay people off. The lockdown has not even really begun. It's going to really start taking place in the next 2 weeks as this spreads out past just a few hundred thousand to a few million. That is when we will be tested. So far we have failed."*Note: I don't agree with the idea that government can magically stop new infectious disease (vaccines do better than governments)
  14. I'm sure it will be very hard to quantify, but I think this pandemic will also end up causing serious and widespread health problems just from the stress and anxiety it caused alone (if anxiety levels could be measured for the country/world I bet it would be at an all time high). The very fact that I keep hearing/seeing co-workers asking "are you alright?" tells me lots of people are NOT alright. I've also seen many references to mental heath specialists offering free counseling and whatnot, people acting in strange ways, hysteria, etc. Such an interesting time. 😉
  15. Before the pandemic, revolution was already underway in Hong Kong, I think the same spreads to mainland China. Speaking of spreading, it was just reported that China has locked down some new central county (population 600,000): https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-china-county-idUSKBN21J64X