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Gordo

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

Covid-19 Vaccine Survey  

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When delayed action risks big trouble likely unneeded caution can be prudent.

Driving in a fog despite uncertainty of impending doom most choose to sacrifice their time and slow down and backseat drivers bitching about excess caution are rarely appreciated.

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Whenever you have great turbulence like this, there are opportunities. I suppose in some quarters, it might be the case of "cash is king". If there really are mass layoffs and huge economic uppheaval, there will be spectacular opportunities. I still think that the recovery will be very strong - the problem is not with the fundamentals, it's entirely a voluntary shutdown, so the moment that is lifted, the economy will rocket up. YMMV.

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13 hours ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

Economists from the Fed analyzed the impact of the Spanish Flu comparing different US cities to see how the onset and duration of NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions - i.e. social distancing) impacted their economic growth following the pandemic.

 

I posted a quote previously  here from a similar article about that same study.

Quote

With much of the U.S. in shutdown mode to limit the spread of the Covid-19 disease, a debate has sprung up about when the country might "reopen" commerce, to limit economic fallout from the pandemic. But as a new study co-authored by an MIT economist shows, taking care of public health first is precisely what generates a stronger economic rebound later.

The study, using data from the flu pandemic that swept the U.S. in 1918-1919, finds cities that acted more emphatically to limit social and civic interactions had more economic growth following the period of restrictions[...]

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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FWIW,  a long, detailed German study with lots of images.  They make the case for widespread use of high quality masks  and  find vacuum cleaner bags to be the best material for homemade versions.   Their suggestions may not be feasible, though.

Flow analyses to validate SARS-CoV-2 protective masks 

About distance rules, mouth-nose protection, particle filtering respiratory protection, filter materials and mask manufacturing
 

Quote

Conclusion

The results show that direct personal isolation with suitable respiratory masks is without doubt technically possible. Combating the transmission of the virus where it actually takes place therefore seems to be very sensible and appropriate.

If everyone consistently cooperates, the restrictions could be relaxed and life could continue to be largely normal without major restrictions. Instead of dissociating oneself from all people, it would be much better to only distance oneself from those who do not wear suitable masks [...]

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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Explaining Minnesota's coronavirus model and why its death toll estimate is higher

The novel coronavirus model developed by the Minnesota Department of Health and the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota has a higher death toll estimate than other models in part because of the timeline it uses, and because it assumes there will be multiple peaks over the course of the pandemic. 

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I mentioned it in the hangouts meeting,  speaking about the heavy restrictions underway presently in Italy. This is a video shot near my place showing a runner who could not resist and train on the beach, which is strictly forbidden from Friday to Monday during the Easter holidays, as part of the SD policy. A police officer intercepted him and tried to stop him, but he was able to escape. After that though, he was stopped by a patrol and fined 4500 US$. Even when walking in small and secondary streets, people have been stopped by the police and asked identity and the reason of their outing. Whenever we go out we must have an ID and a filled out government form. 

 

 

Edited by mccoy

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Checking in with the IHME model, it doesn't look like it's doing a very good job predicting the tail end of the daily deaths curve. Below is the latest projection for Italy's death toll, last updated two days ago.

The model says Italy is 15 days past its peak and it is projecting that Italy should be in a steep decline in daily deaths now. Two days ago, the model projected deaths for today (Apr. 11th) in Italy should be 281. In actually, the death toll in Italy has been hovering around 600 per day for the last few days and doesn't seem to be coming down at all quickly. Today it was 619, well above the top end of the models uncertainty range (95% CI 177-439).

In addition, the number of active cases in Italy isn't dropping quickly, going from ~100K yesterday to ~98K today. Until that backlog of active cases drops dramatically, it doesn't seem likely the death toll will plummet in anything like the way the IHME model  is predicting. Italy's total deaths is currently 19,468 on worldometer. With ~600 new deaths being added per day, it will be only two days until Italy exceeds the IHME model's prediction for Italy's total deaths through Aug 4th (20,333). 

If the same underestimation of deaths on the far side of the peak holds for the US (reaching its peak about now according to the model), then it seems likely the IHME folks will have to upwardly revise their projected US death toll, which currently stands at around 61K, as well as the date by which the daily US death toll will drop to a level where it would seem prudent to start opening things up.

--Dean

 

Screenshot_20200411-193821_Chrome.jpg

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8 hours ago, mccoy said:

This is a video shot near my place showing a runner who could not resist and train on the beach

Thanks Mccoy.  The Italian commentary, with the giggling, laughing voice, made it entertaining.  Fantastico!   

(The $4,500 fine seems enormous.)   

I'm not sure I'd try to run away from these guys in El Salvador:

image.png.bfb70b4a8707fef863238082da2ff6b9.png

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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Some excerpts from the link Tomb posted above about a new University of Minnesota model.   An extended timeline seems important.  Why stop at Aug 4?  It's apparent now that this outbreak will not end then.

 

Quote

[...] A common reaction after seeing the high death estimates is shock due to the widely shared University of Washington model that only predicts 442 deaths, with a range of 107 to 1,566, in Minnesota. But the University of Washington model doesn't forecast what could happen beyond August 4 whereas the Minnesota model goes out for at least a year.

"We could spend an hour on why that model is different from Minnesota's model and why we think, though their researchers are as bright as our team, that they have made some incredibly optimistic assumptions," said Stefan Gildemeister, the Minnesota State Health Economist.  "Optimistic in regards to what mitigation is actually in place, with regard to the extent of death data that is actually accurate to have come out of China and other kinds of assumptions. 

"The big difference is they're predicting four months," Gildemeister said. "At the end of the four months, that team is saying 93 percent of the population won't have immunity. So what will happen at that time?

"Just because we're staying at home doesn't mean the virus isn't waiting for us to come back and infect people through its typical routes of infection who don't have built immunity."

Gildemeister said the MDH/U of M research team is "so tired" of answering questions about the difference that they may create a 4-month model so Minnesotans can see what the Minnesota model's death estimate is through Aug. 4. 

Edited by Sibiriak

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Sibirak, I posted a link to that article in a post earlier.

On another note, anecdotally, Amazon is starting to have trouble delivering on time - I've seen articles to that effect, and it's definitely happening here in LA, CA. I have had several packages now delayed multiple times, even when it says "out for delivery", it doesn't arrive day after day. I've read that they are having a lot of problems with fewer drivers available. If Amazon is having logistical and transport trouble, you can imagine how the rest of the economy is fareing. 

 

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8 hours ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

The model says Italy is 15 days past its peak and it is projecting that Italy should be in a steep decline in daily deaths now. Two days ago, the model projected deaths for today (Apr. 11th) in Italy should be 281. In actually, the death toll in Italy has been hovering around 600 per day for the last few days and doesn't seem to be coming down at all quickly. Today it was 619, well above the top end of the models uncertainty range (95% CI 177-439).

True, enough, yesterday morning I was looking the model up but the underestimate was evident. The official news are that hospitalizations and # people in ICUs are decreasing steadily, strangely enough. It also seems that the grouped data do not reflect well the spatial clusters, with Lombardy and Milan governing the deaths, the other northern regions giving a significant contribution and the southern and central regions being less affected. As discussed previously, these models should maybe analyze the single clusters ad the dynamic flows among clusters but that's probably all but impossible.

Starting from the 14th there will be some slight release from the lockdown in Italy, some businesses may open up like bookstores, kid's dressing, laundries and professional offices but the governors of the northern regions will not agree mainly and keep the lockdown very strict.

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5 hours ago, Sibiriak said:

Thanks Mccoy.  The Italian commentary, with the giggling, laughing voice, made it entertaining.  Fantastico!   

(The $4,500 fine seems enormous.)   

I'm not sure I'd try to run away from these guys in El Salvador:

Sibiriak, what inflated the fine was probably having tried to elude the police...  Heck, yes, in El Salvador they're not kidding, better off doing lots of squats at home.

By the way, congratulations to you for yesterday/earlier today, having been able to be up until 3 AM without yawning. I myself was starting to get sleepy and it was only 10 PM in my zone. Also, I didn't interrupt the conversation but at a certain point I toasted with a little Italian grappa (in a coffee cup), a while after your toasted with Russian Vodka.

Edited by mccoy

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This situation gets a lot more “real” as it hits closer to home. Found out today a high school friend’s parents were both put on ventilators last week for COVID-19 (North Jersey), his Mom recovered, Dad did not survive (I’ve met both of them before).

I am wondering which will occur first, reasonable herd immunity (40-50% of population recovered?) or effective vaccine widely available?  It doesn’t seem like either will happen in the next 10 months given the current attitudes of fight at all costs, which I guess means continuing economic devastation and cancellations of all events involving in person groups of humans. I don’t see how schools will even reopen in the Fall?  It’s really interesting to me that so many are still acting like this problem is going away soon, even the stock market is behaving like this is the case. Total disconnect with reality / cognitive dissonance.  In the meantime the proverbial “spit” continues to hit the fan...

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-
The Return of the Breadline

and


10,000 show up for food bank in San Antonio

6384F0A4-F212-4D22-8AA6-1ACFF70F285B.thumb.jpeg.d1cbaf0340c6e64fe84733d5c4d03520.jpeg

 

And:
 

Massive line in Pittsburg

Florida: 'Unforgettable' Footage of Endless Line of Cars at Food Banks a Stark Illustration of Coronavirus Crisis in US

Sign of the times: Mile-long line of cars outside California grocery giveaway

 

Edited by Gordo

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I watched a few video reports from Italy, including ones on BBC. Many people - even middle class people - have nothing to eat and no money left. Folks are organizing charitable food distribution. In Sicily there are looters hitting supermarkets. Italy is #8 economy of the world by GDP. If this is happening in Italy, I don't even want to think what might happen in poor countries. If this goes on much longer, I don't see how we can avoid ration cards and mass food distributions to the needy. We have to get real. Either reopen the economy and take the hit both short term and long term, or if you are going to enforce a lockdown, which is apparently more effective medically, then governments need to get real and start RIGHT NOW with planning on food distribution. For years pundits have marvelled about how so many people live paycheck to paycheck. Well, now disaster struck and that paycheck to paycheck reality has hit the fan. There are consequences to this level of inequality and unless immediate steps are taken to provide people with the bare basics we might see things we thought were the stuff of movies or the distant past. 

 

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When the antibody testing goes mainstream, we could end up with a "already hads" vs. "haven't hads" society where the "already hads" people are out having fun, going to concerts, bars, restaurants and cruises, while the poor "haven't had it yets" are holed up at home.  The already hads will be fully employed and taking jobs from the haven't hads.  Eventually people will deliberately try to get infected just to end the misery and join the privileged already hads.  The problem is that we've slowed the progression too much though, it's going to take a really long time before we have large numbers of people with antibodies.  Another problem is that it is currently believed that out of people who didn't have symptoms bad enough to be hospitalized, about 30% have such low antibodies that they can likely get re-infected (but the anti-body test should be able to identify those people).

Here's another reason corporate profits will be negatively impacted after this pandemic:
When Plagues Pass, Labor Gets the Upper Hand
You can already see the seeds of this happening now.  People demanding hazard pay, striking workers, walk outs.  You can see it in politics as well (big momentum for huge increases in minimum wage).

 

Looks like at least one guy at the Fed shares my non-consensus view:
America should be ready for 18 months of shutdowns in ‘long, hard road’ ahead, warns the Fed’s Neel Kashkari

Edited by Gordo

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Taking a step back,  an  example of  how viruses play amazing ecological roles.

Oldest Viruses Infected Insects 300 Million Years Ago (2011)

Quote

Viruses were already infecting organisms some 300 million years ago, suggests a new study on what may be the oldest date yet for the emergence of an insect-infecting virus.  "This is the oldest date ever proposed for a virus," said study researcher Elisabeth Herniou, of the University of Tours in France.

[...]The wasps use their onboard viruses, called bracoviruses, to control the development and immunity of the caterpillars they parasitize. The wasps use the viral genes to make virus-like particles containing genes for a toxin, which they insert into their caterpillar prey when they lay their eggs.The infected caterpillar then acts as an incubator for the wasp eggs. Meanwhile, the toxin is made by the caterpillar and poisons its immune system, causes paralysis and stops the caterpillar from pupating.

To find out when viruses first infected insects, the researchers compared the genes of this wasp bracovirus with genes of related free-living insect viruses (those that haven't inserted their genes into a host genome) called nudiviruses. They found 19 genes in both the wasp bracovirus and the nudivirus, about 10-15 percent of the nudivirus genome. Next, they looked at the different strains of bracoviruses in different wasps, finding that the bracoviruses and their free-living cousins have been evolving separately for at least 100 million years. By figuring out how different the ancestral bracovirus was from its parental nudivirus when it entered the wasp, the researchers can calculate backwards and determine when the two viruses had a common ancestor. According to the researchers' data, nudiviruses started appearing around 222 million years ago, then spun off the bracoviruses about 190 million years ago. By comparing the nudiviruses to their cousins the baculoviruses, another free-living insect virus, the researchers determined that the two groups split about 310 million years ago.

 
 

These ancient viruses would have been similar to modern viruses, with similar genes. "The genes that were used in our study would have been there already in this 300-million-year ancestor," Herniou said.   This date, 300 million years ago, is as ancient as insects themselves. "Our insect viruses are already present right from the beginning from the evolution of insects," Herniou said.

Viruses were still around during the age of dinosaurs, and survived the mass extinction that killed them. They survive to this day and have been found to infect every type of life;  there are even viruses that infect viruses.

"Because insects were already infected by some viruses, you can probably extend that to other kinds of multicellular hosts," Herniou said. Viruses could have been infecting other forms of life on the Earth at that time, and in later eras.

See also:  Zombie Caterpillars Rain Death From Treetops   "A single gene in a caterpillar virus sends its victims running for the treetops, where they die and their bodies liquefy, sending an ooze of virus particles on their brothers and sisters below. "

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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image.png.6a87f11d7d91d86f8ad287b583e748c8.png

Huge New Virus Defies Classification   (2004)

"We considered it a bacteria for a year and a half," said Didier Raoult of the Universite de la Mediterranee in Marseilles, France.  Mimivirus [aka "smiling virus" or "Jolie Virus"]  was found during a search in 1992 for the source of an outbreak of pneumonia in Bradford, England. Although the virus was spotted inside an amoeba, it was not immediately identified and, therefore, sat in limbo for several years.

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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So it seems the food supply in the US is rapidly shrinking, at least short term:

U.S. ‘Perilously Close’ to Meat Shortage After Major Plant Closes Over Coronavirus

People have been noticing meat shelves going empty in grocery stores.  Meat is calorie dense.  What do you think happens when people can't get their meat?

Now you might think, so what, the animals are still alive right?  But even that is kind of sketchy at this point, "just in time feed delivery" is showing signs of strain also.  I guess the good news is that Americans have a lot of capacity to lose weight 😉 half the country could probably go 6 months without food.

https://www.bing.com/news/search?q=meat+processing+plants+closed&FORM=HDRSC6

Vegans might take some delight in this, maybe there is even some good to come of it as people will become less dependent on meat, but the total food chain disruption could be problematic, even for non-meat eaters.

Thought you could just get groceries from Amazon?' Note the below title doesn't reflect the full extent of the problem, existing customers are not able to find available "delivery slots" either:

Amazon stops accepting new online grocery customers amid surging demand

Edited by Gordo

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On the magnitude of death relating to covid-19 vs. normal times when an area didn't institute social distancing soon enough, this graph from today's New York Times shows the huge spike in all deaths in NYC, dwarfing normal season variations. And it appears this data only counts deaths through April 4th. Several thousand additional covid-19 have occurred in NYC since that date.

Screenshot_20200413-104611_NYTimes.jpg

 

Regarding the economic impact and personal financial decisions. Early on I said when it came to investments I was planning to "ride it out" with the six months of cash we had in our portfolio. That continues to be mostly the case. Even after today's selling (see below) our portfolio remain 57% invested in equities I think will weather this storm in the long term including Amazon, Apple, Google, Costco, P&G, Dollar General, telecoms, utilities, consumer staples, and high dividend yielding stocks.

But this morning, after consultation with my financial advisor, I raised enough additional cash from equity positions to get my family through at least 2 years of our expenses. He and I agreed that the market may have gotten ahead of itself when it comes to optimism about a speedy recovery. We agreed that having a cushion against a prolonged down market was worth forgoing what modest upside risk there would appear to be from here, given how much the market has bounced back in recent weeks.  I was amazed that what we sold was only down 6.5% year-to-date, and was actually still quite a bit above where it was one year ago.

--Dean

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The folks at Johns' Hopkins University have put together a National Plan (pdf) for reopening the US economy. Below is the executive summary. Unsurprisingly it involves three prongs: 1) rapid testing for active infection, 2) serological testing for those who are (hopefully) immune and 3) rapid effective isolation and contact tracing of those infected.

They say the contact tracing will require ~100,000 people and $2.3B. That number of 100k people sounds huge, but Wuhan (a city of 11M) employed 9000 contract tracers to get its outbreak under control. Scaled to the population of the US, that would be the equivelant of over 250,000 people.

The $2.3B doesn't seem like it should be a problem, but it seems hard to imagine our dysfunctional government at both the federal and state level quickly hiring and training that many people to serve as contact tracers. But it is not out of the question I guess, since we've been able to mobilize those sorts of numbers in the past during wartime. Massachusetts has recently started an initiative to hire and train 1000 contact tracers, which if scaled up to the whole country would be 50,000 people.

One issue the report doesn't seem to address is what to do about asymptomatic spreaders, since it would seem difficult to identify them for isolation or contact tracing. 

--Dean

Executive Summary

In order to save lives, reduce COVID-19’s burden on our healthcare system, ease strict
social distancing measures, and confdently make progress toward returning to work
and school, the United States must implement a robust and comprehensive system
to identify all COVID-19 cases and trace all close contacts of each identifed case. It is
estimated that each infected person can, on average, infect 2 to 3 others. This means
that if 1 person spreads the virus to 3 others, that frst positive case can turn into more
than 59,000 cases in 10 rounds of infections.


COVID-19 is already spreading through communities across the United States.
Therefore, a case-based intervention approach (employed routinely for diseases like TB,
measles, sexually transmitted infections, and Ebola) will be impossible to achieve for
COVID-19 without a new national initiative that combines a massive expansion of rapid
diagnostic tests in every community with an unprecedented growth in a public health
workforce and adoption of new technologies dedicated to case identifcation and contact
tracing in each state.
To manage COVID-19 epidemics going forward, communities in the United States
need: (1) ready access to rapid diagnostic tests for all symptomatic cases or those
with a reasonable suspicion of COVID-19 exposure; (2) widespread serological testing
to understand underlying rates of infection and identify those who have developed
immunity and could potentially return to work or school without fear of becoming
infected; and (3) the ability to trace all contacts of reported cases. In order to trace
all contacts, safely isolate the sick, and quarantine those exposed, we estimate that
our public health workforce needs to add approximately 100,000 (paid or volunteer)
contact tracers to assist with this large-scale efort
. This workforce could be strategically
deployed to areas of greatest need and managed through state and local public health
agencies that are on the front lines of COVID-19 response. To do this, we also estimate
that Congress will need to appropriate approximately $3.6 billion in emergency funding
to state and territorial health departments.

This plan outlines a vision for how to accomplish this goal, including ways that case
identifcation and contact tracing capabilities can be greatly expanded; actions that the
federal, state, and local governments and other organizations must take to stand up
these capabilities as quickly as possible; and resources that will be needed to accomplish
comprehensive case fnding and contact tracing.

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We Need to Talk About What Coronavirus Recoveries Look Like

Quote

Sami Aviles, an otherwise healthy 31-year-old in our support group, shared that on Day 21 of symptoms, while her breathing had not felt strained enough to require medical attention, she was still coughing up blood, and her fever was breaking only to come back days later “like clockwork.” Another member of our group, Charlie, 24, described his case as “relatively mild,” but said that more than 23 days into the illness, he’s still experiencing a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Sabrina Bleich, 26, is grappling with severe fatigue and “persistent breathing issues” that make it difficult to walk, a month after she first felt symptoms. Jag Singh, 55, is still dealing with a “persistent cough” four weeks after his initial symptoms.

It’s been almost four weeks since I first became sick, and three weeks since I was discharged from the hospital. While my fever and severe shortness of breath have disappeared, my road to recovery has been far from linear. My second week of illness brought worsened GI issues, loss of smell, and intense sinus pressure. In the time since, I’ve experienced fatigue, intense headaches, continued congestion, a sore throat, trouble focusing and short-term memory loss. Even more confusing than the arrival of new symptoms is the way my progress seems to stop and start. While the overall trajectory has been one of improvement, good days are often followed by bad ones, and I’m still far from my normal, active self.

 

 

This article in the times makes it sound like recovery is not simple or quick at all. It is a good reminder that this virus truly is novel. Nobody really knows what it does to the body, what "recovery" looks like, or whether there will be any long term health issues. The 1918 flu gave people lasting neurological issues. Will we be seeing people with health issues that only fully manifest a decade from now, like organ failure, or heart disease?

Basically this sounds miserable and that recover is not real recovery, or at least not how most of us have experienced recovery from the cold or seasonal flue.

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