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Just curious, anyone have a plan, or preps for global pandemic?

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20 hours ago, Sibiriak said:

I just went to get some supplies at a discount depot.  I saw only two people wearing masks out of hundreds, in other words, practically nobody.  No sign of people stocking up for a long haul,  let alone panic buying.   Life continues just as usual.  

This of course  could change at any minute.  I'm making preparations for an outbreak.

Not here in Australia, nothing left on the shelves at the supermarket. No one wearing masks as yet. 

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Jerome Salomon, France’s top health official, has said his country is struggling to curb the spread of coronavirus, after many Parisians ventured out in large numbers on Sunday despite official advice to stay at home. He told France Inter radio:  A lot of people have not understood that they need to stay at home, and this low level at which people have adhered means that we are not succeeding in curbing the outbreak of the epidemic.

Not succeeding in curbing the outbreak --is that good or bad?

 

Meanwhile in the Netherlands:

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People were queuing outside Dutch coffee shops on Sunday to stockpile cannabis ahead of the closure of most public places...

 

Spain:

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...the government announced sweeping measures allowing it to take over private healthcare providers and requisition materials such as face masks and Covid-19 tests. 

[...] The emergency measures also allow the Spanish government to temporarily requisition property and take over factories and businesses if necessary.

 

And in the US,  an exceptional country,  this announcement from the Salt Lake City Police Department:

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Due to the confirmed case of #COVIDー19 from community spread, SLCPD is asking all criminal activities/nefarious behavior to cease until further notice. We appreciate your anticipated cooperation in halting crime & thank criminals in advance.

Edited by Sibiriak

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3 hours ago, Sibiriak said:

Financial analysts have said the economic impact of the pandemic may have cut China’s growth in half during the first quarter [but it's still growing].

I have to laugh at that, their real GDP should be about -20%, you can easily confirm this based on energy utilization (electricity usage, coal/oil imports, air pollution). The Chinese government had no credibility to begin with, but if they report a positive growth GDP number they will be the laughingstock of the financial world.

The only things boosting our GDP will be canned goods, toilet paper, and guns.  As the coronavirus pandemic grows, gun sales are surging

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@DHL

Didn't you see the research I posted with regards to beta-glucan preventing cytokine storm and preserving the integrity of lungs in animals infected with H1N1? This Coronavirus kills people by causing a cytokine storm late in infection.

Beta-Glucan modulates the immune system in humans the same way it does in animals. This is shown by research conducted in humans.

 

Antiviral effect of Saccharomyces cerevisiae beta-glucan to swine influenza virus by increased production of interferon-gamma and nitric oxide.

The aim of these experiments was to investigate the potential antiviral effect of Saccharomyces cerevisiae beta-glucan on the pneumonia induced by swine influenza virus (SIV). Forty colostrum-deprived 5-day-old piglets were randomly divided into four groups of 10. The 20 pigs in groups 1 and 2 were administered Saccharomyces cerevisiae beta-glucan orally (50 mg/day/pig; En-Bio Technology Co., Ltd) for 3 days before SIV infection and those in groups 3 and 4 were given culture medium/diluent alone. Groups 1 and 3 were inoculated intranasally with 3 ml of tissue culture fluid containing 2 x 10(6) tissue culture infective doses 50% (TCID(50))/ml of SIV and those in groups 2 and 4 were exposed in the same manner to uninfected cell culture supernatant. The microscopic lung lesions induced by SIV infection (group 1 pigs) were significantly more severe than those induced by infection in animals pre-administered beta-glucan (group 3) (P < 0.05). Significantly more SIV nucleic acid was detected in the lungs of pigs experimentally infected with SIV only (group 1) at 5, 7 and 10 days post-inoculation (dpi) compared with lungs from pigs pre-administered beta-glucan and infected with SIV (group 3) (P < 0.05). The concentrations of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and nitric oxide (NO) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from pigs pre-administered beta-glucan and infected with SIV (group 3) were significantly higher than for any other group at 7 and 10 dpi for IFN-gamma, and at 5, 7 and 10 dpi for NO (P < 0.05). Saccharomyces cerevisiae beta-glucan reduced the pulmonary lesion score and viral replication rate in SIV-infected pigs. These findings support the potential application of beta-glucan as prophylactic/treatment agent in influenza virus infection.

PMID: 15030604

Inhibition of Influenza Virus Infection by Lentinus edodes Mycelia Extract Through Its Direct Action and Immunopotentiating Activity

Lentinula edodes mycelia (LEM) solid culture extracts contain many bioactive compounds with diverse pharmacological activities such as antitumor, antiviral, and immunopotentiating effects. In this study, we examined the anti-influenza virus activity of LEM in vitro and in vivo. LEM directly inhibited influenza virus growth in vitro at early phases of infection, possibly at the entry process of viral particles to host cells. We also found that the nasal administration of LEM increased the survival rate of infected mice, and this was likely due to the direct action of LEM on viral growth. The oral administration of LEM showed prolonged median survival time of infected mice. Histological analysis revealed that the moderate bronchiolitis was observed in infected mice by the oral administration with LEM, and the extent of alveolitis was dramatically reduced. The orally LEM-administered mice showed a rapid activation of IFN-β gene expression upon influenza virus infection. These results suggest that the immunopotentiation activity of LEM on type I IFN pathway represses the virus spread to distal alveolar regions from peribronchiolar regions which are primary infection sites in the mouse model. We propose that LEM has anti-influenza virus activities through the direct action on viral growth and stimulatory activity of innate immunity.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5992414/

 

89762436_10159371697803154_8681987870140923904_o.jpg

 

Beta-glucan attenuates inflammatory cytokine release and prevents acute lung injury in an experimental model of sepsis.

In a separate set of experiments, survival was monitored for 7 days after CLP. beta-Glucan treatment led to a significant increase in survival rate (63% in glucan-treated rats vs 38% in saline-treated rats). Administration of the beta-glucan inhibitor abrogated beta-glucan's survival benefit (50%). After CLP, plasma TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-6 concentrations were increased in control animals. When beta-glucan was administered, it completely blocked the elevation of TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-6. Administration of beta-1,3-D-glucanase suppressed glucan-induced decrease in cytokines.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17414422

Oral Supplementation with Baker's Yeast Beta Glucan Is Associated with Altered Monocytes, T Cells and Cytokines following a Bout of Strenuous Exercise (humans)

BYBG significantly (P < 0.05) altered total and classic monocyte concentration and expression of CD38, CD80, CD86, TLR2, and TLR4 on monocyte subsets. BYBG also significantly increased CD4+ and CD8+ T cell concentration and the exercise response of CCR7+/CD45RA- central memory (TCM) cells. Likewise, BYBG significantly (P < 0.05) altered serum IFN-γ and IL-2, and LPS-stimulated IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-7. Taken together these data support the hypothesis that oral BYBG supplementation modulates the expected exercise response for individuals of average fitness.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2017.00786/full

Baker's yeast beta glucan supplementation increases salivary IgA and decreases cold/flu symptomatic days after intense exercise.

n E1, BG was associated with a 37% reduction in the number of cold/flu symptom days postmarathon compared to placebo (p = .026). In E2, BG was associated with a 32% increase in salivary IgA (p = .048) at 2 hr after exercise compared to placebo. In summary, the present study demonstrates that BG may reduce URTI symptomatic days and improve mucosal immunity (salivary IgA) postexercise.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23927572

 

Edited by Matt

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Matt,   oat-derived glucans  which you say are inferior to yeast-derived glucans may nevertheless have significant  immunomodulatory effects, according to some studies.  For example:

Benefits of oat beta-glucan on respiratory infection following exercise stress: role of lung macrophages

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Abstract 

Exercise stress is associated with an increased risk for upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). We have shown that consumption of the soluble oat fiber beta-glucan (ObetaG) can offset the increased risk for infection and decreased macrophage antiviral resistance following stressful exercise; however, the direct role of macrophages is unknown.

This study examined the effect of macrophage depletion on the benefits of orally administered ObetaG on susceptibility to infection (morbidity, symptom severity, and mortality) following exercise stress. CL(2)MDP (Ex- H(2)O-CL(2)MDP, Ex-ObetaG-CL(2)MDP, Con-H(2)O-CL(2)MDP, Con-ObetaG-CL(2)MDP)-encapsulated liposomes were administered intranasally to deplete macrophages, and PBS (Ex-H(2)O-PBS, Ex-ObetaG-PBS, Con-H(2)O-PBS, Con-ObetaG-PBS)-encapsulated liposomes were given to macrophage-intact groups. Ex mice ran to volitional fatigue on a treadmill for 3 consecutive days, and ObetaG mice were fed a solution of 50% ObetaG in their drinking water for 10 consecutive days before infection. Fifteen minutes following the final bout of Ex or rest, mice were intranasally inoculated with 50 microl of a standardized dose of herpes simplex virus-1. Ex increased morbidity (P < 0.001) and symptom severity (P < 0.05) but not mortality (P = 0.09). The increase in morbidity and symptom severity was blocked by ObetaG consumption for 10 consecutive days before exercise and infection [morbidity (P < 0.001) and symptom severity (P < 0.05)]. Depletion of macrophages negated the beneficial effects of ObetaG on reducing susceptibility to infection following exercise stress, as evidenced by an increase in morbidity (P < 0.01) and symptom severity (P < 0.05).

Results indicate that lung macrophages are at least partially responsible for mediating the beneficial effects of ObetaG on susceptibility to respiratory infection following exercise stress.

 

Immunomodulatory activities of oat beta-glucan in vitro and in vivo

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Previous studies have shown that beta-glucans extracted from yeast or fungi potentiate immune responses. In the present study, the immunomodulatory activities of beta-(1-->3,1-->4)-glucan, derived from oats, were investigated. 

[...]In conclusion, these studies demonstrated that ObetaG possesses immunomodulatory activities capable of stimulating immune functions both in vitro and in vivo.

 

Oat Beta‐Glucan: Its Role in Health Promotion and Prevention of Diseases (2012)
 

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Abstract:

This article presents an overview of the recent advances into the health promoting potentials of oat β‐glucan. Oat β‐glucan (OβG) consists mainly of the linear polysaccharide (1→3), (1→4)‐β‐D‐glucan and is often called β‐glucan. This soluble oat fiber is able to attenuate blood postprandial glycemic and insulinemic responses, to lower blood total cholesterol and low‐density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and to improve high‐density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and blood lipid profiles as well as to maintain body weight. Thus, OβG intake is beneficial in the prevention, treatment, and control of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

In addition, OβG can stimulate immune functions by activating monocytes/macrophages and increasing the amounts of immunoglobulin, NK cells, killer T‐cells, and so on, which will improve resistance to cancer and infectious and parasitic diseases, as well as increase biological therapies and their prevention.

 

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Antimicrobial and immune effects of oat β‐glucan

As much as fungi‐derived β‐glucans may have stimulatory effects on the immune system, leading to resistance against viral, bacterial, parasitic, and fungal pathogens, the cereal derived β‐glucans have also been ascribed to have immune‐stimulating properties.

It was reported that natural β‐glucan administration (intravenously or intramuscularly or taken orally) helps in the elimination of bacteria by increasing bacterial clearance, increasing bactericidal activity, increasing modulation of cytokine production, and increasing the number of monocytes and neutrophils, thereby resulting in an antibiotic potential (Liang and others 1998; Kaiser and others 2002), and enhances macrophage phagocytic activity and resistance to infection in mice (Estrada and others 1997; Yun and others 2003; Murphy and others 2008).

Some scientists reported that oat β‐glucan taken orally alone or in combination with sucrose has beneficial effects on susceptibility to HSV‐1 respiratory infection and macrophage antiviral resistance following stressful exercise (Davids 2004a and b; Nieman 2008Murphy and others 2008, 2009). Oat β‐glucans increase the activity of transcription factors in intestinal leukocytes and enterocytes of β‐glucan treated mice (Volman and others 2010b).

Rodriguez and others (2009) have reported that intraperitoneal injection of β‐glucan significantly enhanced the immune response and protection against infection by the bacterial pathogen Aeromonas hydrophila in zebrafish.

Soluble β‐(1, 3)‐glucan has been demonstrated to protect against infection and shock in rats and mice (Hetland and others 2000), and clinical studies suggest that administration of soluble glucans to trauma/surgical patients decreases septic complications and improves survival (Williams and others 1996). To confirm these studies, Sissener Engstad and others (2002) studied the effect of soluble β‐(1, 3)‐glucan and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on cytokine production and coagulation activation in whole blood, and they reported that soluble yeast β‐glucan is recognized by and interacts with cells of the innate immune system in humans, and that soluble glucan not only modulates, but (in most cases) upregulates leukocyte function, both on its own and in response to LPS.

Many studies have shown the antimicrobial effects of oat β‐glucan, whereas Yun and others (1997) treated mice, immunosuppressed and infected with oocysts of Eimeria vermiformis, with oat β‐glucan by intragastric or subcutaneous route. As result, oat β‐glucan treated‐groups showed reduced fecal oocyst shedding, minimal clinical signs of disease, no mortality, and a greater amount of total immunoglobulin in the serum. Immunomodulating agents such as IFN‐gamma‐ and IL‐4‐secreting cells in response to sporozoite antigen were also detected in the mesenteric lymph of the oat β‐glucan‐treated groups. Therefore, oat beta‐glucan treatment increased the resistance to E. vermiformis infection. The same author, in another study, confirmed that oat β‐glucan treatment enhanced resistance to infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus and E. vermiformis (Yun 2003). Moreover, scientists have stated its antimicrobial effects against E.coli and B.subtilis, but a β‐glucan derivative showed pronounced antimicrobial effects (Shin and others 2005). According to their results, underivatized oat β‐glucan had inhibitory effects on both E. coli and B. Subtilis; up to around 35% depending on their concentration and that the β‐glucan derivative inhibited their growth up to 80% at a concentration of 2000 μg/ml.

Oat β‐glucan enhances resistance to microbial infections via cellular and antigen specific humoral immunity. These immune functions can be upregulated by both oral and parenteral administration of oat β‐glucan. Therefore, oat β‐glucan plays an important role in providing resistance to bacterial and parasitic infections.

 

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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14 hours ago, Ron Put said:

So, if it's "unrealistic" to focus our limited resources and efforts on a vulnerable subgroup, how is it more realistic to spread the same limited resources across the general population, including those who are unlikely to be at risk of significant adverse consequences?
Basically, Italy, Spain and others are acting from political pressure and expediency, because healthy people are panicking and demanding that "the government does something." And the more dramatic the action, the better such people will feel. The virus is the "enemy" which will unite the flag-waving and patriotically singing populace behind the loudest voices (in your neck of the woods, it's "Il Capitano" Salvini).

Of course, nobody really knows what's the winning strategy. Most countries are following the traditional concept of isolation to reduce viral propagation, which is most effective when the ROP is higher, which is the case in this SARS-COV2.

But I concede that old Boris may eventually be right, who knows, this is a new situation, we'll know that in the next couple weeks, he's sure gambling high sums of money/human lives. If he wins, he'll be seen as a supreme visionary and he'll be granted a semi-permanent seat in UK politics, if he loses, he'll be finished. I don't know if there is a 3rd possibility.

Re.: Salvini, the situation is more complex, right today I watched his Facebook live video, he appears more concerned with the loss of income from the lower and middle classes than with patriotic songs. Actually, it's the government now which appears to launch slogans on national unity and flag-waving. Presently all political factions in Italy agree on the necessity of drastic measures

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Demographic science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19 (March 15, 2020)

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Abstract

Governments around the world must rapidly mobilize and make difficult policy decisions to  mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Because deaths have been concentrated at older ages, we highlight the important role of demography, particularly how the age structure of a population may help explain differences in fatality rates across countries and how transmission unfolds.

We examine the role of age structure in deaths thus far in Italy and South Korea and illustrate how the pandemic could unfold in populations with similar population sizes but different age structures, showing a dramatically higher burden of mortality in countries with older versus younger populations. This powerful interaction of demography and current age-specific mortality for COVID-19 suggests that social distancing and other policies to slow transmission should consider both the age composition of local and national contexts as well as the social connectedness of older and younger generations. We also call for countries to provide case and fatality data disaggregated by age and sex to improve real-time targeted nowcasting.

 

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The Importance of Age Structure 

Population age structure may explain the remarkable variation in fatalities across countries and why countries such as Italy are especially vulnerable. The deluge of critical and fatal COVID-19 cases in Italy was unexpected given the health and wealth of the affected region. Italy is one of the oldest populations in the world with 23.3% its population over age 65, compared to 12% in China (3). 

Italy is also a country  characterized by extensive intergenerational contacts which are supported by a high degree of residential proximity between adult children and their parents (4). Even when inter-generational families do not live together, daily contacts among non-co-resident parent-child pairs are frequent. Many Italians also often prefer to live close to their extended family and commute to work daily. According to the latest available data by the Italian National Institute of Statistics, this extensive commuting affect over half of the population in the northern regions.(5) These intergenerational 2 interactions, co-residence, and commuting patterns may have accelerated the outbreak in Italy through social networks that increased the proximity of elderly to initial cases (see Supp Info).  

Age structure, along with early detection and treatment, also likely explains the low numbers of fatalities in South Korea and Singapore compared to Italy. The Korean outbreak, while large, was concentrated amongst the young recruits of the Schincheonji religious group (6), with only 3.3% of cases falling into the very vulnerable >80 group.(7) Singapore is notable with zero deaths thus far, but have had only one confirmed case over 80 and only 10/200 cases above age 70.(8) COVID-19 transmission chains that begin in younger populations may have a low number of severe cases and thus go longer undetected, (9, 10) with countries thereby slow to raise the alarm.

The low case fatality rate in England thus far (0.01%) may reflect the relatively young age structure of populations impacted to date, including Greater London, which has a small fraction of residents over age 65 compared to more rural areas (11).  COVID-19 was only detected in King County, Washington once it reached the Life Care Centre in Kirkland, where 19 out of 22 deaths occurred, despite estimates based on virus genetic sequences suggesting it circulated for several weeks prior (12).

Once community transmission is established, countries that have a high level of intergenerational contacts and co-residence may see faster transmission to high-fatality age groups as seen in Italy.

In Figure 1, we use population pyramids to illustrate how population age structure interacts with high COVID-19 mortality rates at older ages to generate large differences across populations in the number of deaths, using existing assumptions about infection prevalence and age-specific mortality. The top panel considers two countries currently affected, Italy and South Korea. The larger number of expected fatalities for Italy is clearly visible in the right panel.  In the bottom panel, we consider two countries yet untouched by the pandemic who have similar population sizes but very different age distributions. In Brazil, which has 2.0% of its population age 80+, the simulated scenario leads dramatically more deaths (478,629) compared to Nigeria (137,489), where the fraction over 80 is only 0.2%.  [Etc.]

Figure 2 uses an alternative visualization to depict the expected deaths by age groups in Italy, Brazil, Nigeria, UK and US, together with the proportion of the population in different age groups. Both figures demonstrate the stark implications of an older population age structure for higher fatalities and critical cases.

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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Seven time zones of Siberia and Russian Far East are almost clear of coronavirus - but why? [And are they really ?]   (March 14)

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[...]We spoke to Dr Alexander Chepurnov, a leading virologist who previously headed research into ebola at the world famous Russian State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology, Vector, in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk region.

‘I'm not that sure that all is so safe here,’ he said. ‘I cannot find any explanation [to the fact that a low number of people have been diagnosed with the virus in Russia] and that is why doubts gnaw at me.’ He said: ‘What is worrying, in my opinion, is that I do not understand why they do not take samples from all people with pneumonia.  ‘All these cases are now ascribed to seasonal flu.’

Moscow, for example, appears to show a spike in pneumonia cases of 37% in January compared with a year earlier. ‘We have a lot of pneumonia cases, and I see that in hospitals they do not take samples,’ Chepurnov said, evidently fearing that these patients might suffer from coronavirus. 'That means that maybe the web is not cast very wide.

‘I cannot quite understand the situation, and I am not sure that the conclusion about the safety of our region is right. ‘In general it looks rather strange: the part of the country that directly borders with China, with a large number of people that cross the border here and there, has such a calm situation in terms of coronavirus. It is quite surprising.’

Another expert Dr Valentin Kovalev, an Infectious disease specialist at Rassvet Clinic, told Medusa publication: 'To distinguish the course of coronavirus infection from the usual seasonal flu is almost impossible without laboratory confirmation. 'This is a cough, runny nose, fever, mucus, and so on, so I think that coronavirus infection has long come to us from China - and many have already been ill with it. 'But we don't know about these cases because mostly the infection flows like a normal acute respiratory infection, and the person recovers. 'In our country, no-one routinely examines those who suffer from a cold at home.'

Evolutionary biologist George Bazykin, of Skoltech, told Medusa: 'I don't have a good answer [why there are so few confirmed cases of coronavirus in Russia]. 'Maybe we are just lucky and no-one brought them. 'Perhaps some brought it, but recovered, without infecting anyone.'Perhaps there are many unregistered cases - according to early data, about two-thirds of all cross-border transfers were unregistered - but I did not see any direct data confirming hidden cases in Russia.'

Against this, Russian hospitals say they are testing appropriately for coronavirus and Vector - where Dr Chepurnov worked - has led the way in producing testing kits. 

Russian government officials also claim credit for swift and decisive action, taken earlier than in many Western countries. For example, most entry points on Russia’s border with China is 4,209 km in length (2,615 miles) were closed after the Wuhan outbreak. Passenger trains from China were halted as early as 2 February and flight restrictions on foreigners arriving from this country were imposed the following day.The temporary ban on Chinese citizens entering Russia remains in force.  More recently, flights to Europe were limited with Russia closed to Italians and foreigners travelling from Italy.

Russia has also taken strong action from an early stage in the coronavirus spread to demand quarantine and self-quarantine from those at risk.

The pneumonia statistics do not necessarily hide anything suspicious, either. RBK received official information from Rosstat that there was a 37% spike in Moscow.In January 2019, there were 5,058 cases and this year 6,921. But in Russia overall there were 90,100 people with pneumonia, an increase on January 2019 of only 3%.

 

 

image.png.60a51b711f16d3b539a99a345bf93865.png

Dr Alexander Chepurnov, a leading virologist pictured with colleagues who headed research into Ebola at the world famous Russian State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology, Vector, in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk region

image.png.3c005521edc8981aa6ff0a3f97010819.png 

Staff training at the airport of Irkutsk.

 

UPDATE:  The Russian government has banned  entry of foreign nationals  into the country until May 1.

Edited by Sibiriak

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Re the South Korea-Italy comparison, it also seems to me that Asians as a group are not so much a "slap on the back" kind of folks.

I also read that at one point the Canadian province of BC had tested more patients than the US.  There are 64 deaths from coronavirus in the US; one in Canada.

An Italian doctor is quoted as describing the Italian epidemic as a bomb.  Maybe the Italian health care system was hoisted by its own petard.:

'Why Italy was hit so hard and so fast by COVID-19'
https://www.cbc.ca/news/why-italy-was-hit-so-hard-and-so-fast-by-covid-19-1.5498650
>>>>
   "It's believed this is where the Italian coronavirus outbreak began on Feb. 18, when a 38-year old athletic male with breathing problems was repeatedly turned away from his doctor's office and the local hospital without being tested. He unknowingly spread COVID-19 to dozens of people over several days. 
   According to a hospital administrator in the area, Dr. Lorenzo Casani, "We know that Patient 1 went in and out at least three or four times from the emergency room, so he spread the virus to other patients and also to the health-care workers.""

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An alternative explanation for differences in mortality, critical cases, and even total numbers: a non-homogeneous medical protocol.

For example, it's just impossible that in Germany there are 0.5% fatalities. They just do not attribute most fatalities to Covid-19, rather than pre-existing pathologies.

Since it gives an economic or politic advantage, individual states may be tempted to under-report the cases or to attribute critical cases or deaths to other pathologies.

 

 

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[US] Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned Monday "there's every chance" the trajectory of the coronavirus in the U.S. could mirror that of Italy—where COVID-19 infections have topped 24,000—unless urgent public health recommendations are heeded.

[...] "We are where Italy was two weeks ago in terms of our numbers, and we have a choice to make as a nation," said Adams. "Do we want to go the direction of South Korea and really be aggressive and lower our mortality rates? Or do we want to go the direction of Italy?"

 

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1 hour ago, AlPater said:

'Why Italy was hit so hard and so fast by COVID-19'
https://www.cbc.ca/news/why-italy-was-hit-so-hard-and-so-fast-by-covid-19-1.5498650
>>>>
   "It's believed this is where the Italian coronavirus outbreak began on Feb. 18, when a 38-year old athletic male with breathing problems was repeatedly turned away from his doctor's office and the local hospital without being tested. He unknowingly spread COVID-19 to dozens of people over several days. 
   According to a hospital administrator in the area, Dr. Lorenzo Casani, "We know that Patient 1 went in and out at least three or four times from the emergency room, so he spread the virus to other patients and also to the health-care workers.""

An investigation is underway. As the story goes, the guy had the typical symptoms of some respiratory affection and did not mention that he had any contact with people coming from China. In the end, it was his wife who pinpointed to him that a friend of him actually had returned recently from China. After 3 weeks he was out of ICU. his pregnant wife was infected but recovered sooner.

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Quite amazing-- everyone in France ordered to stay at home:

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The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has put the country into almost total lockdown, introducing new rules stopping people from leaving home unless strictly necessary and banning them from meeting others and spreading the coronavirus. In his second national address in less than a week, Macron reprimanded those who had not followed official advice and warned that those who broke the new rules would be punished. In his 20-minute live broadcast, Macron repeated several times: “We are at war.”

 

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[Macron:] We saw people gathering in the parks, markets ... not respecting official advice as if nothing had changed in their lives. You are not protecting yourselves ... everyone is vulnerable even the young, and you are not protecting others. Even if you have no symptoms you can infect friends, parents, grandparents, loved ones.

But how is this going to work?  The lockdown is for two weeks.  Then what?  Release everyone?  Or extend it?  Indefinitely? 

Edited by Sibiriak

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8 hours ago, Sibiriak said:

But how is this going to work?  The lockdown is for two weeks.  Then what?  Release everyone?  Or extend it?  Indefinitely? 

Yep. Without herd immunity, the infection is likely to resume as soon as people start moving about again. Which is why the China numbers don't make much sense, either.
 

14 hours ago, mccoy said:

Re.: Salvini, the situation is more complex, right today I watched his Facebook live video, he appears more concerned with the loss of income from the lower and middle classes than with patriotic songs. Actually, it's the government now which appears to launch slogans on national unity and flag-waving. Presently all political factions in Italy agree on the necessity of drastic measures

Of course :) After Salvini drove the draconian measures, which he will eventually claim were too late, he has to move to a new target: the impact on the economy. As a skilled populist, he knows how to push the right buttons.

As to Italy and Germany differences, it is likely that the number of beds available (Germany has close to 3x more) and possibly equipment (ventilators?), and maybe age and serious ailments.

Speaking of posturing, last night I got a note from someone in Moscow that the authorities are killing all stray dogs and cats to control COVID-19. It makes no sense, but it shows a "strong" government response and makes the populace feel like the authorities are doing something drastic. Which I guess justifies 16 more years for The Great Leader /:)

Edited by Ron Put

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Mind on Longecity said that in the USA, no individual under 70 without pre-existing conditions has died from covid-19. Does this sound accurate? How does this compare to the data from Italy?

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At this time, to me, the most interesting part is the social aspect of this pandemic. I can report, that things are deteriorating further, and people's inhibitions are loosening, with bad behavior getting more common. Here is the latest indication. TJ's has shortened their hours and the chaos is worse. The latest development - people are starting to steal from each other's carts - this happened in line waiting to pay: a man surreptitiously took a carton of eggs from the cart of the woman in front of him, but she noticed and confronted him - his answer to her: "you snooze, you lose"! Wow. Anyhow, this morning my local TJ's instituted a new policy - there is now a line in front of the store and they only let small groups of customers in, gradually, while the rest of the line waits, this in an effort to prevent zoo-like conditions inside the stores.

I'll keep monitoring the social evolution here. The friend who said he will not open his door in order to prevent people asking for stuff, still gets calls, including relatives. He is now contemplating - thankfully jokingly, but said to me as if he's serious - that he intends to record a voice mail on his phone and also connected to his door bell: a brief recording of the parable of the Ant and the Grashopper. We live in interesting times!

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So it seems politicians at least in the USA (but also most other countries) are deadset on the "lockdown" strategy, in the Trump & pals press conf today he said this will likely go until "July or August" (how they picked those dates I don't know), but even if that is a realistic expectation, if we lockdown for 6 months, how does that NOT cause the most epic and destructive economic depression in modern history?  Right now US markets are down "only" 30%, won't they be down at least 70% by August?  Just curious as to what you guys are doing with your investments/savings?  Are you just going to ride it out and hope you don't need to sell anything for a few years?  Or sell now and buy back sometime in the Summer perhaps at far lower prices?  Or do you not believe this is going to kill the economy - and if so, why?  Several states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and others) just told all restaurants and bars to close, in PA its "all non-essential businesses" (whatever that means).  

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1 hour ago, tea said:

Mind on Longecity said that in the USA, no individual under 70 without pre-existing conditions has died from covid-19. Does this sound accurate?

No, it does not sound accurate.  The percentages are small but plenty of younger people have died.  Healthcare workers have been particularly hard hit with severe illness and more deaths than is typical for their ages.

Oops, I just realized this question was restricted to the USA, in which case it might be true now but probably won't be true for long.

Edited by Todd Allen

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1 hour ago, tea said:

Mind on Longecity said that in the USA, no individual under 70 without pre-existing conditions has died from covid-19. Does this sound accurate? How does this compare to the data from Italy?

USA:
"Among the people in the United States who have died from coronavirus, almost all have been in their 70s, 80s or 90s. The youngest known fatality was a man in his 40s."

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html

Italy:
"The average age of COVID-2019 positive and deceased patients is 81 years, they are mostly men and in more than two thirds of cases they have three or more pre-existing diseases. This was stated in an analysis of the data of 105 Italian patients who died on 4 March, conducted by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, which underlines that there are 20 years of difference between the average age of the deceased and that of the virus positive patients. ...

The average age of the patients examined is 81 years, about 20 years higher than that of the patients who contracted the infection, and women are 28 (26.7%).

The majority of deaths 42.2% occurred in the age group between 80 and 89 years, while 32.4% were between 70 and 79, 8.4% between 60 and 69, 2.8% between 50 and 59 and 14.1% over 90 years.
Women who died after contracting COVID-2019 infection are older than men (median age women 83.4 - median age men 79.9). The average number of pathologies observed in this population is 3.4 (median 3, Standard Deviation 2.1). Overall, 15.5% of the sample had 0 or 1 pathologies, 18.3% had 2 pathologies and 67.2% had 3 or more pathologies.
The most represented comorbidity is hypertension (present in 74.6% of the sample), followed by ischemic heart disease (70.4%) and diabetes mellitus (33.8%)."
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&amp;sl=auto&amp;tl=en&amp;u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.salute.gov.it%2Fportale%2Fnuovocoronavirus%2FdettaglioNotizieNuovoCoronavirus.jsp%3Flingua%3Ditaliano%26menu%3Dnotizie%26p%3Ddalministero%26id%3D4163

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2 hours ago, Gordo said:

So it seems politicians at least in the USA (but also most other countries) are deadset on the "lockdown" strategy, in the Trump & pals press conf today he said this will likely go until "July or August" (how they picked those dates I don't know), but even if that is a realistic expectation, if we lockdown for 6 months, how does that NOT cause the most epic and destructive economic depression in modern history?  Right now US markets are down "only" 30%, won't they be down at least 70% by August?  Just curious as to what you guys are doing with your investments/savings?  Are you just going to ride it out and hope you don't need to sell anything for a few years?  Or sell now and buy back sometime in the Summer perhaps at far lower prices?  Or do you not believe this is going to kill the economy - and if so, why?  Several states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and others) just told all restaurants and bars to close, in PA its "all non-essential businesses" (whatever that means).  

July-August sounds pretty outrageous, and - maybe I'm being pollyanna - I kinda imagine that this whole thing is gonna be "over" by late June. It has to be - otherwise how is the economy working? By "over" I don't mean the pandemic will burn itself out, I mean, we'll all accept the deaths the same way we accept regular flu deaths in the 10's of thousands. I realise that COVID-19 is far more deadly than the flu, but even so, I think the death toll will be accepted and life will return to "normal". We accept deaths from car accidents, gunshots, and various diseases. Once the novelty of COVID-19 wears off, people will get jaded and it'll become the new normal, just another risk in the risk of life. Now, if it was as deadly as the Spanish Flu of 1918, then indeed it would be hard to ignore and it's a different situation. But COVID-19, bad as it is, is not Spanish-Flue-1918-deadly - it's kinda like a regular flu on steroids. Older people with co-morbidities will have to be more careful, but society will adjust.

Of course, that's just my rose-colored glasses speculation.

Because if not, and this indeed goes on throughout the summer, I think there's gonna be huge economic impact. Cutting interest rates to zero is not gonna be helpful, when nobody is taking out business loans and banks don't want to lend. It's like the payroll tax - what's the point if your main problem is mass layoffs? Quantative easing is a stopgap measure for the market, but if there are serious selloffs then this is pushing on a string. And there will be serious sell offs if the business climate is dismal - stocks fall, because the corporations can't make money and when business is bad, or anticipated to be bad, the valuations must be cut. Meanwhile, stocks are still expensive if you go by P/E ratios. If Apple is not selling gizmos because nobody is buying, the stock will go down, because Apple business is bad - the P/E will keep chasing itself down, as E diminishes, P will have to keep going down to keep pace otherwise it'll still be a high P/E. Meanwhile, Apple (and the rest of 'em) won't be selling because unemployed people don't have money. Corporations are not going to invest in manufacture, marketing or sales if the prospects are bad. It'll snowball. 

Right now you have the hospitality business getting hammered. If it goes on much longer, mass layoffs are going to happen - and consumers will pull back spending. Given how big a part of consumer spending plays in most developed economies, that can be a nasty spiral. The dominos will fall and accelerate.

Traditionally, you'd try Keynsian stimulus - mass public works perhaps a la FDR. But with the present crew, Republican nincompoops, good luck with that - ain't happening. And help is not coming from abroad. China has received a body blow - with all their grey market debt, this is not good timing. Japan has not managed to spend their way out of doldrums since the 1980's. 

Best not to go down that road. Best to avoid all that nonsense and get back to "normal" as soon as possible. Which is why I don't think they'll let this go on until August. Of course, with the sorry crew in charge, who knows. I hope cooler heads prevail. 

As to your question Gordon, I personally (and wife) are not super stressed. We got a decent chunk of cash on hand (OK, in a bank - and unless FDIC fails, we should be fine). Also, the wife has a government job, and a couple of pensions accruing so losing that source of income is not in the cards - unless there's such a meltdown that the government goes out of business... in which case money is going to be the least of our problems. So, personally we're not sweating it excessively for ourselves. I don't worry for myself. I worry for the economy and those who are living paycheck to paycheck.

Seriously, this has got to be gotten under control by the end of June - otherwise, uncharted waters. August is just nuts.

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1 hour ago, TomBAvoider said:

raditionally, you'd try Keynsian stimulus - mass public works perhaps a la FDR. But with the present crew, Republican nincompoops, good luck with that - ain't happening. And help is not coming from abroad

Are you aware of the deficit spending of this administration??  Its ludicrous already, I mean I guess we could go with 2x ludicrous, but...

Can we really bailout all the hotels, airlines, restaurants, bars, tourism, autos, cruise lines, banks, oil industry, etc.?  Just doesn't seem like an option.  We HAVE to accept these deaths and move on or the alternative will be much worse.  But when are people going to realize this?  As per above: "The average age of COVID-2019 positive and deceased patients is 81 years, in more than two thirds of cases they have three or more pre-existing diseases."

Edited by Gordo

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I'm finding the realtime Tomtom traffic data charts interesting to check in various parts of the world, to see an unbiased view of economic activity. For example in China, Shenzhen was pretty much back to normal traffic levels yesterday for the first time since the outbreak.

 

https://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/traffic-index/shenzhen-traffic

 

So it is possible to get the virus under control within around a six week period, given the correct measures (which the US is failing at currently). As I mentioned here yesterday, China now has ongoing measures in place to try to prevent/control further outbreaks, including now quarantining all foreign travelers for 14 days so places like the USA don't reinfect their cities. Their industrial production/GDP/etc definitely took a major hit to accomplish this, but from what I've read this is expected to quickly rebound and by the 2nd half of the year it's expected they would be essentially back to normal.

 

I think the issue in the US and Europe is that if/when the virus is left essentially unchecked to spread, the speed of it is such that it results in vastly exceeding the hospital capacity, as seen in Italy (parts of Seattle are close to this point from what I read). And it's that kind of very public (no real censorship in these places) result that politicians are driven to avoid. And most everyday people too. They don't want to see tons of grandparents and great grandparents just essentially left to die in the hallways of hospitals because the limited resources are triaged towards younger patients.

 

Due to that potential horror show the UK did a 180 today and is no longer embracing their "take it on the chin"/"herd immunity" policy. They realized their NHS was about to get hit with a tsunami of ICU patients like in Italy, and are now moving more towards the Euro/USA approach... try to slow down the overall infection rate to avoid those kinds of news reports from hospitals happening.

 

I see the US trying in fits and starts to try and copy some bits of the Asian approaches, for example I'm reading more about doing drive through testing like from South Korea. Testing volume is going to keep ramping up over the next 2 months to the point that everyone who wants a free test will eventually be able to get one. Unfortunately though at the moment my guess is the US just isn't going to be strict enough to really eliminate the virus completely in large geographic areas like China may be able to achieve (remains to be seen though, even for them). So my expectation is eventually after experimenting with regionally-driven lockdowns for varying lengths of time (long enough to keep the spread slow enough to avoid hospitals being crushed too badly), eventually yes things will sort of go back to a kind of normal, with the virus still around here in varying intensities well into next year. Hopefully by later 2021 there would be a proven out vaccine to finally end it. Between now and then, things will gradually return to normal, a decent amount of older people will die (but not as many as if we do nothing to slow the virus spread), there may be lingering loss of jobs through a good chunk of this year at least in hospitality areas (New York state unemployment website apparently was crashing today).

 

So I guess I'm leaning towards the recovery in the US potentially taking a bit longer than parts of Asia, just due to how bad of a containment job we're doing, perhaps by the 4th quarter this year or maybe into 2021 before GDP recovers, maybe until into 2nd half 2021 for most job losses to recover (although we are seeing plenty of hiring now in online-centric businesses, Amazon announced hiring 100k people due to massive online demand right now). If the feds pump in a very large amount of fiscal stimulus (well over $1 trillion might be needed by the end of this), then things might be cushioned to a decent degree. Unfortunately due to this being an election year, it's hard to come to agreement on some of this, we'll see.

 

Investments-wise, I would say investing in various kinds of tech (incl biotech) should still be a good investment for the long term. People will want even more online and remote services after this outbreak. And the health system will be revamped to better handle an outbreak like this in the future, plenty of spending on that I expect. I can't say if the current stock market value is a good place to invest in the short term, there are still a lot of unknowns regarding fiscal policy, the virus itself (will it mutate? how soon to a treatment or vaccine? etc) that make the short term almost impossible to predict. This is why there are 5 to 10% overnight and daily market swings still going on. But my guess is that as clarity comes to these issues, the market will go back up.

 

Edited by BrianA

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