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The Pandemic Thread


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#1 TVCasualty

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 10:56 AM

I'm a bit surprised that there isn't a thread about the COVID-19 coronavirus yet. So here's one...

 

One thing that is of particular concern is that people trying to report the truth about what's going on in Wuhan are disappearing: https://www.bloomber...issing-in-china

 

This is already a global game-changer, and the media accounts seem very understated in light of what's been reported so far and what's being done to combat it, like shutting down entire cities and the level of travel restrictions imposed compared to outbreaks of SARS or bird flu, etc. The increasing deaths of healthcare workers is very troubling since they are typically healthy adults with strong immune systems.

 

 

Even if this one ended today, the effects on the global economy would still be significant and long-lasting. You might want to stock up on things like clothing and electronics you might need in the next year or two right now since China is where they either make most of both products or make most of the parts or process the materials that make them.

 

A couple of articles about the economic concerns:

 

https://qz.com/18016...-into-disarray/

 

https://qz.com/18005...s-supply-chain/

 

I guess cruise ships can be turned into mobile quarantine hospitals since no one in their right mind is going on a cruise for a while.

 

 

Granted, the economic concerns will pale to insignificance if this evolves into a global pandemic on par with (or greater than) the "Spanish Flu" of 1918 (which actually originated in either France, East Asia, Austria, or Kansas, oddly enough. But definitely not Spain).

 

 

COVID-19 appears to be a real contender for a global "Spanish Flu v2.0," so it's something to stay abreast of both because of concerns over contracting it as well as concerns about heavy-handed government actions to combat it that might become a bit too heavy-handed here like they already have been in China.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 Myc

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 11:05 AM

Here's my favorite take-away from the article:

"Starting this week, scores of WeChat users complained that they were locked out of their personal accounts after people in their chat groups discussed issues around the virus outbreak. That’s meant losing access to all of their stored social contacts as well as the money in their WeChat wallets. Many others have gone into self-policing mode, reminding friends in their chat groups not to exchange information about the coronavirus."

 

Welcome to your future in a cash-less electronic society. 


Edited by Myc, 14 February 2020 - 11:05 AM.

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#3 TVCasualty

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 12:03 PM

Here's my favorite take-away from the article:

"Starting this week, scores of WeChat users complained that they were locked out of their personal accounts after people in their chat groups discussed issues around the virus outbreak. That’s meant losing access to all of their stored social contacts as well as the money in their WeChat wallets. Many others have gone into self-policing mode, reminding friends in their chat groups not to exchange information about the coronavirus."

 

Welcome to your future in a cash-less electronic society. 

 

If this virus doesn't fuck up the global economy beyond recognition then some of those trends will probably change thanks to those kinds of reports.

 

 

AIDS was originally swept under the rug by pretending it didn't exist at first, which is why the message of activists at the time was "Silence = Death." That is just as true right now as it was then. If China survives this it will not be forgotten by the Chinese people that their government prefers they get sick and die over exchanging accurate and potentially life-saving information that the government might find awkward. When you inform a population that they literally have nothing left to lose anymore then they tend to act like it.

 

This could very well be the spark that ultimately blows China apart; things were plenty precarious already with the tensions over trade and the mass-detentions of Uighurs and an uprising in Hong Kong.


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#4 ElrikEriksson

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 02:12 PM

The increasing deaths of healthcare workers is very troubling since they are typically healthy adults with strong immune systems.

Chinese health care workers are completely unlike health care workers in other countries?

In western nations health care workers average out to have more cardiovascular disease, more hypertension, more diabetes, and more stress than the general population. All of which have been correlated to a higher risk of death in the current coronavirus epidemic.

 

If China survives this it will not be forgotten by the Chinese people that their government prefers they get sick and die over exchanging accurate and potentially life-saving information that the government might find awkward.

One worry being talked about by medical communities across the globe is the risk posed by rumors, scientifically unfounded folk remedies, unethical profiteering, and blind panic.

I'm often the last to side with big and powerful governments against civil liberties, I'd make an absolutely horrible communist, but in a dramatic disease outbreak the last place I'd go to find accurate and potentially life-saving information is internet chatrooms and facebook. Here is a perspective from western medical news media:

 

The antidote to false information that fuels fear during disease outbreaks

False allegations and rumors about the coronavirus outbreak have been running riot on social media and in some mainstream media. Misinformation is rampant and conspiracy theories have added to the confusion. Examples include reports that the virus can kill a person in seconds, that Ghana has developed a successful vaccine and that HIV drugs have been used as a cure. There has even been a photo showing dozens of coronavirus victims lying dead in the streets of Wuhan in China.

All of these claims have been shown to be false.

The spread of rumors and plain lies has happened in the wake of other disease outbreaks. For example, when Ebola broke out in West Africa in 2014, rumors about the source of the disease included that the virus was cultivated and released to kill Africans. During the 2018 outbreak of the bat-borne Nipah Virus in India, it was alleged that news of the disease was a corporate conspiracy to boost sales of mosquito repellent.

This sensationalist and alarming content is spread via online channels, creating what have become known as "digital pandemics" or "(mis)infodemics". Their effect is to amplify public anxiety. This can derail official efforts to provide credible information to the public. Misinformation also has devastating consequences for affected communities, such as the current increase in anti-Chinese sentiments.

Several factors fuel the spread of misinformation during outbreaks of infectious diseases. These include fear and the speed of social media. As previous incidents like this have shown, it's possible to counter the foolishness. But this requires scientists and public health officials to step up to the plate and to proactively use their platforms to convey accurate information.

Fuelling fear

Misinformation spreads fast when people are afraid. A contagious and potentially fatal disease is frightening. This provides the ideal emotionally charged context for rumors to thrive.

People rely on mental shortcuts (or heuristics) when facing complex information, rather than consider everything carefully and critically. This allows them to make instant decisions that are, unfortunately, often wrong.

Scientists need time to study a new disease and test potential treatments, but people may be desperate and impatient. As a result, it's common for old home remedies and unproven treatments to be revived. One example is the claim that oregano oil can cure the coronavirus. I have personally received a detailed WhatsApp message about how "Biblical oils" such as frankincense can cure any stage of a coronavirus infection.

Ingrained negativity bias means that people love to share bad news. A 2018 study confirms that false news travels farther, faster and more widely than the truth. Scientists ascribe this to the novelty and emotional reactions these messages invoke. This also explains why people are inclined to speculate and spread exaggerated rumors about the perceived dangers of an infectious disease.

New media

Editors and journalists no longer control the flow of news and opinion. Anyone can generate and distribute text, images, sound clips and video on social media. It's easy, fast and virtually free to distribute information. Messages can be amplified, shared and reacted to at levels previously unimaginable.

Social media channels provide near-perfect vectors for misinformation to proliferate. Some social media tech giants claim that they are doing what they can to stop the spread of half-truths and outright falsehoods about the coronavirus. Facebook, for example, has promised to help limit the spread of false information by taking down content containing false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organisations and local health authorities.

But sources of misinformation are often unclear and it may seem daunting (or even impossible) to control their spread.

Taking control of the narrative

Research has shown that, during a health crisis, affected communities are eagerly looking for information and able to assimilate positive health messages rapidly.

For their part, most scientists are keen to combat misinformation. They even feel morally obliged to help stem the flow of misinformation, particularly when inaccurate health messages could cause harm to desperate and vulnerable people.

Rather than lamenting the dangers of social media, scientists and public health officials should learn how to use social media more effectively for frequent and reliable updates. This could include working with so-called social media influencers including popular sports stars and celebrities to convey accessible and actionable health messages.

The mass media can also play a key role. Major media organizations are rising to the current coronavirus challenge by providing accurate information. Take this visual guide from the BBC and the news updates from the IOL media group in South Africa.

Science media centers, such as the ones in the UK and Australia, have lists of topic experts on hand to ensure journalists can reach them easily. These platforms are providing expert responses to the coronavirus and extensive multimedia resources that help journalists report the story more accurately.

Institutional media offices, science academies and learned societies could play a significant role in mobilizing experts to respond visibly and pro-actively during disease outbreaks. For example, many universities such as Harvard and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine are providing updates.

International, national and regional public health organizations share the responsibility to provide accurate and timely information to the media and the public. For example, the World Health Organisation (WHO) provides basic advice to the public and has a team of risk communication experts and social media teams. The WHO also issues daily situation reports and hosts press briefings.

And people are being called on to judge online sources more critically so that they will be able to distinguish between credible and dubious content. For example, the International Federation of Library Associations created an infographic with eight simple steps on how to spot fake news.

There are a number of a number of additional challenges that pertain to Africa. A report on South Africa identified a few of these. They include getting accurate information to people who aren't literate or don't have internet access; constructive involvement of traditional healers; making health messages available in indigenous languages and empowering public health officials to communicate accurately, clearly and speedily. All are relevant to other countries on the continent.

The chinese are just dealing with that concern in a chinese way.



#5 TVCasualty

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 03:39 PM

Chinese health care workers are completely unlike health care workers in other countries?

 

 

 

Point being they're adults, not children or the elderly or people with already-compromised immune systems.

 

 

If adults in China are more susceptible to this virus it's largely because China has some of the worst air quality in the world, so the public is already at a respiratory disadvantage. An acquaintance of mine who is a biosafety expert who works with the CDC and WHO isn't too worried about it as a global health emergency yet, and she's one of the proverbial canaries in my coal mine about stuff like this.


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#6 ElrikEriksson

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 04:08 PM

Yes, horrible air quality and overpopulation certainly are working against them. Add those to the reasons I am not chinese!

Another thing making this seem worse than it probably is is the fact that in the early stage of novel epidemics its the worst cases that are counted as the infected. The ones who are dying are the ones diagnosed, making the proportionate death rate seem very high. As the epidemic develops it starts being diagnosed at lower intensities of illness, lowering the estimated lethality, until finally the medical authorities can identify mild cases which just weeks before would have been mistaken for cold or flu. That is why the proportionate death rate has been steadily dropping in china even as the death toll rises.

In western countries where this is not a public emergency they have been identifying a much greater proportion of cases simply because they are testing people coming from infected zones. Add to that the better care they can give such a small number of people and that is why outside of china the death rate is so low.

 

This virus is clearly more lethal than the typical flu, but in the final analysis I really don't think it'll be dramatically so.

 

So people, don't panic-buy €1000 cases of forsythia capsule extract because facebook says its the only cure :laugh:



#7 August West

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 06:43 PM


This virus is clearly more lethal than the typical flu...

 

Are you basing this on the percentage of deaths vs people who've contracted it? Because, as far as I understand, in terms of actual casualties at least, this isn't remotely accurate.

 

 

*edited to rephrase question


Edited by August West, 14 February 2020 - 06:52 PM.

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#8 ElPirana

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 09:31 PM

This virus is clearly more lethal than the typical flu...

Are you basing this on the percentage of deaths vs people who've contracted it? Because, as far as I understand, in terms of actual casualties at least, this isn't remotely accurate.
 
 
*edited to rephrase question
Checking the CDC, during the 2019-2020 flu season there are 26-36 million flu illnesses and 14-36 thousand flu deaths.

If you’re in the United States, the likelihood of contracting influenza is much more likely at this point. We probably don’t hear as much because everyone is accustomed to it.

#9 ElrikEriksson

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 12:00 AM

A typical influenza death rate is somewhere around 0,1% or one person in a thousand

As of yesterday the numbers being given to the WHO say that 64 000 people have contracted the coronavirus and 1 400 have died. Being very generous and assuming every one of those infected who will have died already have died that stands at about a 2% death rate. Of course there is the 'severity bias' I previously mentioned. There could be many more infected than the official count. Lets be generous again and say its ten times as many with most cases being milder and assumed to be flu. That still leaves this at a minimum of twice the lethality of a typical flu.

The whole reason the scientific and medical community is worried is that this is hitting people harder than the flu.



#10 Alder Logs

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 10:05 AM

Breathing whatever quality air at the moment, Americans at a time early in our history, consumed 4 pounds of sugar per year on average.  These days it's over a quarter pound per day.  I'm sure that builds strong immune systems. 

 

BTW, what sugars I eat come in the natural organic foods I eat, like in fruit (and so, would not be counted in that average).   Someone else is pumping up that average to make up for my lack of contribution.


Edited by Alder Logs, 15 February 2020 - 10:12 AM.

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#11 Coopdog

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 12:14 PM

I have seen so many of these pandemic scenarios come and go, after millions of dollars have been harvested in the interest of said pandemics. I might be a little jaded at this point. Waiting for the new Corona vaccine that will be voraciously shoved down our throats to prevent the end of the world in 6 years, or oh hey, that might be another end of the world scenario they inflamed to make money off of the people. I figure it is dangerous, probably especially in such a densely populated area as China where you brush elbows with hundreds of people every day. Times like this I am ever thankful that I have the immune system of Rasputin and seem immune to this sort of thing. I think I am getting over my fear of the sky falling and chicken little can go.... nevermind, Like I said I might be a tad bit jaded at this point in my life.

 

EDIT: I in no way mean to deny that this is going on, nor the seriousness of it. Just seen it so many times it is getting old, including the social media rumor mill. It's a different one every year, yet here we all are. Just saying. 


Edited by Coopdog, 15 February 2020 - 12:16 PM.

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#12 TVCasualty

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 12:35 PM

I have seen so many of these pandemic scenarios come and go, after millions of dollars have been harvested in the interest of said pandemics. I might be a little jaded at this point. Waiting for the new Corona vaccine that will be voraciously shoved down our throats to prevent the end of the world in 6 years, or oh hey, that might be another end of the world scenario they inflamed to make money off of the people. I figure it is dangerous, probably especially in such a densely populated area as China where you brush elbows with hundreds of people every day. Times like this I am ever thankful that I have the immune system of Rasputin and seem immune to this sort of thing. I think I am getting over my fear of the sky falling and chicken little can go.... nevermind, Like I said I might be a tad bit jaded at this point in my life.

 

EDIT: I in no way mean to deny that this is going on, nor the seriousness of it. Just seen it so many times it is getting old, including the social media rumor mill. It's a different one every year, yet here we all are. Just saying. 

 

One thing that will likely be unique about this current outbreak will be the cost increases of many industrial and consumer goods over the next few years thanks to all the supply-chain disruption going on. This could become a very big deal depending on what sorts of shortages emerge.

 

Another point that my acquaintance who works in biosafety made that could prove relevant is that we import the majority of our medical industry consumables from China. That includes the most basic stuff like bags of saline solution and IV fluids. Presumably China's demand for them is skyrocketing as production slows or grinds to a halt even as the need for them increases, so what if China suddenly stops exporting enough for other countries (like the U.S.) to cover their needs because they simply can't produce enough anymore? If production drops but demand is high and growing, why would they allow any to be exported until their own domestic demand was met?

 

So we can add a likely spike in medical costs to the coming spikes in the cost of clothing, electronics, and probably everything else except building materials and oil.


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#13 ElrikEriksson

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 01:32 PM

...Waiting for the new Corona vaccine that will be voraciously shoved down our throats... 

I believe it was 1976 when they expected a particularly bad flu and rushed out a vaccine only to have the vaccine kill more people than the flu did.

They sure are rushing this vaccine. And they push every years flu vaccine much too hard for my tastes, considering that the flu kills mostly people too old or too young to take the vaccine.

It's all just profiteering.

 

Shortages of saline and masks is a short term problem. Most people here could make saline safe to use intravenously and setting up a factory shouldn't be difficult.

It's chinas near monopoly on various antibiotics and complex medical equipments that other nations can't easily make that is a problem.

Millionaires have set up unstable supply chains in their mad rush to be billionaires and now that we have the inevitable rock of the boat it's the masses that will suffer for it.

But don't expect any accountability from those who caused it.


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#14 MsBehavin420

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 10:19 PM

This is what happens when you eat animals that you are not supposed to be eating. Dog.. Bat. Fucking bat is what im seeing was the cause..
i mean can we just quarantine China and let them die.. Theyre responsible for the extinction of the rhino.
https://www.savether...elephant-ivory/

Yulin dog meat festival... Caution ⚠ :graphic photography.
https://www.independ...y-a8410426.html
But this is why you smell wet dog when your leather made in China gets wet.... Its bc it is dog from thia festival.

They own a stake in our pork farms. Bc their land is so full of pollution that they cant raise swine.. Cant raise swine, aye? Must be a superfund site or something

#15 MsBehavin420

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 10:23 PM

https://time.com/577...s-wild-animals/

https://www.ccn.com/...-both-shocking/

#16 MsBehavin420

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 10:27 PM

And has anyone looked into the bill gates being involved? Something from a conference a few years ago..

#17 TVCasualty

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 12:10 AM

So is the virus the fault of hotdogs made from real dogs, bat soup, Chinese culture, or Bill Gates? I'm getting confused.


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#18 newmoon

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 12:38 AM

This is what happens when you eat animals that you are not supposed to be eating. Dog.. Bat. Fucking bat is what im seeing was the cause..
i mean can we just quarantine China and let them die.. Theyre responsible for the extinction of the rhino.
https://www.savether...elephant-ivory/

Yulin dog meat festival... Caution ⚠ :graphic photography.
https://www.independ...y-a8410426.html
But this is why you smell wet dog when your leather made in China gets wet.... Its bc it is dog from thia festival.

They own a stake in our pork farms. Bc their land is so full of pollution that they cant raise swine.. Cant raise swine, aye? Must be a superfund site or something

 

It's not something unique to China; the last big flu pandemic, "swine flu", emerged in large part from the North American taste for pork. Animal agriculture/cuisine is a major disease concern in general.

 

This post came across as xenophobic. The "they eat dogs" thing is a worn out slur at this point, and "can we just quarantine China and let them die" isn't a very nice sentiment...



#19 Juthro

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 12:53 AM

I beg to differ, the swine flu, while it may have originated from pigs, the actual pandemic was created by air travel and the end of WW I.

 

If all of those infected troops hadn't have pushed into close quarters with everyone else trying to go home, and then shipped all over the world the swine flu would have only been a side note.   It was a nasty strain for certain, but it was the ability to mass transport it around the world that made it a pandemic.


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#20 August West

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 04:51 AM

This is what happens when you eat animals that you are not supposed to be eating. Dog.. Bat. Fucking bat is what im seeing was the cause..
i mean can we just quarantine China and let them die.. Theyre responsible for the extinction of the rhino.
https://www.savether...elephant-ivory/
Yulin dog meat festival... Caution ⚠ :graphic photography.
https://www.independ...y-a8410426.html
But this is why you smell wet dog when your leather made in China gets wet.... Its bc it is dog from thia festival.
They own a stake in our pork farms. Bc their land is so full of pollution that they cant raise swine.. Cant raise swine, aye? Must be a superfund site or something


Is there an, "Are you sure you want to post this incoherent bable?" button that I've been missing all these years?

Superfund, swine flu, Bill Gates, dog leather and "taking over our" pork farms...got it.
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