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Apocalypse later — 32 Comments

  1. Bravo, Mr. Drummond! Let’s hope some of the movers & shakers who have been making such bad decisions (nominally to protect us) see your piece and engage brain.

    One positive from the panicked over-reaction is that we are all learning things. The obvious one is that most of us previously did not have a clue we are so dependent on China for medications and medical supplies. Who arranged that? One of the other things we are learning about is ILIs — Influenza-Like Illnesses.

    Apparently, in the US, about 70% of the people who show up at medical facilities with flu-like symptoms and are tested for flu viruses — do not have flu viruses! The US Centers for Disease Control have been tracking ILIs for years — they are not new.

    One possible explanation is that Covid-19 is not a new virus. Perhaps it has been endemic for years? The only thing that is new is the ability to test for it. If this explanation is correct, then our Betters really are screwing the pooch by shutting down the economy and causing immense harm to millions of healthy people.

    As for tracking this “epidemic”, there can be great difficulties in classifying the cause of death. As an example, a lot of the scary numbers during the now-forgotten AIDS “epidemic” came from continually broadening the number of diseases which were presumed to be taking advantage of an AIDS-related immune deficiency.

    This issue of classifying the cause of death is especially difficult with older patients with multiple health problems. Consequently, the only sure way to tell if we have a real viral outbreak to deal with would be to see a statistically-significant increase in the total “All Causes” death rate. With the small number of Covid-19 deaths (relative to expected death rates), it is doubtful that there is any such statistically-significant increase in total deaths.

    • Unfortunately, the panic fomented by many politicians and journalists prevents most regular people from critically analyzing the root causes. If a critical process doesn’t occur, we don’t learn the lessons.

      That’s right, Gavin, we may have finally learned we are too dependent on China. Our President has been screaming that to high heaven for almost 4 years, but I suppose a presumed apocalyse might bring the message home. Hopefully.

      Maybe we have learned something about old people. They die more than young people do. Who knew?

      We have once again learned that Governments are hopelessly unprepared for many emergency events. Some federal agencies in the US have perfected mass emergency response in some scenarios. But the brilliant geniuses we vote for refuse to fund pandemic response programs and supplies, while requiring taxpayers to fund programs such as research into tse-tse fly sexual behavior.

      Speaking of taxpayers: Have we learned that WE will be billed for the $2TT Caronavirus package? Sometimes even I forget I’m footing the bill.

      Finally, I hope we’re learning personal responsibility. Having been a survivor of 2 major disasters—-1975 and 1992—-I unwittingly entered survival bootcamp. Also, 911 and Too Big To Fail effectively drained every cent I struggled to save for retirement up to those years……At some point, I had to face the fact that no one is going to take care of me in the humble, but adequate style of life I require.

      I’m elderly. I have no serious health issues, but still, I’m old. I haven’t gone into panic on Coronavirus because my life experience taught me that a certain amount of self-reliance quells fear…..I’ve stayed home because I can. It’s a responsible choice.

    • What a difference 6 days make …
      “March 29: The UK has reported 19,522 coronavirus cases and 1,228 deaths linked to the virus.” The point I think your medical advisors are trying to get you to understand is the exponential rate of growth …Shutting down buys time for your resources to formulate a plan to get the greater population through this. There are a number of treatment regimes in use around the world, that are minimising the effects and the numbers for that matter. Time buys your medical personnel the space to manage a way forward.

      • John, pretty much all diseases have an exponential rate of growth (or something like it), but it usually doesn’t last that long before it plateaus and then there’s a rapid tailing off. There’s little reason to think that Covid-19 will be an exception and turn into a mass-killer (there is no independent validation of Ferguson’s models).

        Check out the graphs on my other recent posts.

  2. It’s interesting that the whole issue is now settling into a political one.

    Leftists are calling for MOAH Government action and using all the usual tricks (yell Racist!!) at anyone who questions China‘’s role to silence them or (shout Heartless!! or Stupid!!!) at anyone who regards the economic damage caused by shutdown as a much much more serious threat.

    Traditional ”Conservatives’ have adopted their usual approach to the media and the leftists (but I repeat myself) of caving in to Leftist demands by stages, giving the Left a perfect weapon to beat CINO’s while claiming validation for the State and the magic money tree.

    In the war of ideas this is a big loss. Let’s hope you are right and it does turn out to be a damp squib, and quickly. Powers ceded to the state are hard to reclaim. Remember that income tax was supposed to be a temporary measure. It was introduced in 1799.

    • “Remember that income tax was supposed to be a temporary measure. It was introduced in 1799.”

      I’ve always found that a remarkably weak argument. A government introduced it and promised to scrap it when the emergency passed: it did so in 1816.

      The fact that it was reintroduced by a quite different government a generation later is being glossed over in your account. Shame on you.

  3. As I see it, the scary predictions are theoretical whereas the non scary predictions are empirical. The latter have always proven to be more trustworthy. Here is some of the theoretical stuff, which should certainly be given some consideration, but as far as I can tell is already in conflict with reality.Copied!
    Please share.

    This is from an immunologist at Johns Hopkins University.

    Feeling confused as to why Coronavirus is a bigger deal than Seasonal flu? Here it is in a nutshell. I hope this helps. Feel free to share this to others who don’t understand…

    It has to do with RNA sequencing…. I.e. genetics.

    Seasonal flu is an “all human virus”. The DNA/RNA chains that make up the virus are recognized by the human immune system. This means that your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year… you get immunity two ways…through exposure to a virus, or by getting a flu shot.

    Novel viruses, come from animals…. the WHO tracks novel viruses in animals, (sometimes for years watching for mutations). Usually these viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1) (birds in the case of the Spanish flu). But once, one of these animal viruses mutates, and starts to transfer from animals to humans… then it’s a problem, Why? Because we have no natural or acquired immunity.. the RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn’t human, and the human immune system doesn’t recognize it so, we can’t fight it off.

    Now…. sometimes, the mutation only allows transfer from animal to human, for years it’s only transmission is from an infected animal to a human before it finally mutates so that it can now transfer human to human… once that happens..we have a new contagion phase. And depending on the fashion of this new mutation, thats what decides how contagious, or how deadly it’s gonna be..

    H1N1 was deadly….but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly as the Spanish flu. It’s RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its host differently, too.

    Fast forward.

    Now, here comes this Coronavirus… it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long…but one day, at an animal market, in Wuhan China, in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from animal to people. At first, only animals could give it to a person… But here is the scary part…. in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability, “slippery”

    This Coronavirus, not being in any form a “human” virus (whereas we would all have some natural or acquired immunity). Took off like a rocket. And this was because, Humans have no known immunity…doctors have no known medicines for it.

    And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus, changed itself in such a way the way that it causes great damage to human lungs..

    That’s why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any other type of influenza…. this one is slippery AF. And it’s a lung eater…And, it’s already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with, strain s, and strain L….which makes it twice as hard to develop a vaccine.

    We really have no tools in our shed, with this. History has shown that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in the past pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu.

    Factoid: Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him, till the Black Plague passed…(honestly…I understand him so much better now). Just like us, he had no tools in his shed, except social isolation…

    And let me end by saying….right now it’s hitting older folks harder… but this genome is so slippery…if it mutates again (and it will). Who is to say, what it will do next.

    Be smart folks… acting like you’re unafraid is so not sexy right now.

    • Seems to be a developing theme now: now the ‘we are all gonna die this year’ is starting to look a little unlikely the scare is ‘it will be back’ next year.

      Note also that on the human v animal virus reasoning above, once we have it and survive then there is immunity and thus it become a ‘human’ virus.

      • djc: “Seems to be a developing theme now: now the ‘we are all gonna die this year’ is starting to look a little unlikely the scare is ‘it will be back’ next year.”

        That is an excellent point! Just like with the Climate Change Scam, it is always Apocalypse Postponed. But because Apocalypse is still coming, our Betters will need to keep the boot of Big Government on the peons’ necks — for our own good, of course.

        Look on the bright side. At least when the UK’s economy crumbles thanks to this self-imposed unnecessary shutdown, no-one will credibly be able to blame Brexit.

    • Stonyground, I don’t think this immunologist’s comments are very helpful, and I doubt this is even a real immunologist. Perhaps a beginning grad student, not a serious academic.

      For one thing, the fact that’s a new disease to our immune system doesn’t tell us anything specific about its effects. There have been lots of viruses in this situation, and mostly they haven’t resulted in disaster. (It’s also not true to say it’s entirely unknown. This type is new, but coronaviruses are amongst the most common viruses afflicting humans.)

      >it’s already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with

      All viruses mutate constantly.

      >We really have no tools in our shed, with this

      We generally don’t have tools against most viruses.

      >Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu.

      Funny how this immunologist uses the same example that’s been going around social media.

      >Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him, till the Black Plague passed

      A real immunologist might have referred to two things here: (a) The Black Plague was a bacteria, not a virus; and (b) it was vastly more deadly than SARS-CoV-2.

      >if it mutates again (and it will). Who is to say, what it will do next.

      You can say this of any virus. But generally mutations tend in the direction of making viruses less harmful, not more. That’s why it’s hard to believe this really was written by someone who knows much about this field.

    • Where are all the dead people then? The “virus” test we have can hardly identify the thing. How do you know where it came from? The “Wuhan Market Bat-caper” is FAR from proved. How do you know it has mutated and isn’t some other virus altogether? How does this “expert” know all this FOR SURE? And as for mutations–nothing can be done about that –or do you think isolation will somehow kill off an entire virus strain? It won’t–so shall we spend the rest of our lives waiting for the revenge of the mutated?

  4. This shutdown is unsustainable. I give it till Tuesday. worldwide web is faster at spreading than any human disease. great blogpost. btw.

  5. “Now, here comes this Coronavirus… it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long…but one day, at an animal market, in Wuhan China, in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from animal to people. At first, only animals could give it to a person… But here is the scary part…. in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability, “slippery””

    Or dare one say it, was created in the coronavirus lab just down the road, and escaped……….

    We know that the Chinese have mutated Bird Flu in the lab into a form that was airborne, its a matter of public record. So they are involved in creating new Frankenstein versions of coronaviruses (virii?), why is it such a leap to suggest they may have created this one? They have also been involved in multiple breaches of bio-security at their labs, they’ve lets SARS viruses out several times.

    We have a situation whereby a virus suddenly appears out of nowhere, has a makeup that would not seem to to be likely to mutate naturally and makes the jump from animal to human transmission to human to human transmission in weeks (very unusual). We also have a lab 20 miles down the road that is on record as having researchers work with coronaviruses found in bats, and also to have engineered more virulent strains of flu viruses in the lab before. And bio-security has proved porous in China before.

    Occams Razor says the two are linked.

  6. Some of your calculations are wrong, which casts doubt on your wider claims.

    In the USA, about a million people have died in that period, so their 276 deaths is about 0.0002% of all deaths in that period (ie. about 1 in 500 000 deaths are attributable to Covid-19).

    276 in a million is manifestly not the same as 1 in 500,000. Also, your percentage is out by a factor of 100.

    I’m inclined to agree with you that the cost of a full-scale economic shutdown is not worth the gain; but when the rest of Europe closed down, Boris had little choice but to follow suit. There’s little political risk in a shutdown; whereas every Covid-19 death is now a political liability.

    • You’re right, that calculation was obviously wrong, I’ve corrected it now. Thanks.

      276 in a million is 0.0276, or 1 in about 3600. I don’t think that changes my overall point.

      >when the rest of Europe closed down, Boris had little choice but to follow suit.

      He did have a choice, but predictably he followed the herd.

      >There’s little political risk in a shutdown; whereas every Covid-19 death is now a political liability.

      Well, yes, but what I’m concerned with is, is it the right decision? And if not, let’s put pressure on to make it a political risk. Because a lot of lives are going to be ruined.

      It’s noticeable that most other countries are enacting travel bans, but not the UK (at least, not to the same extent). That’s because there’s no political pressure for that from the media and the chattering classes.

    • No risk to Blojo in ruining the economy? I beg to differ. After 14 weeks we will have millions more on the dole, businesses crashed and a cosmic f-up.

      Plus mass unrest. What keeps most folk in line? They like their lives –their job/ home/lifestyle. They don’t want to have a run in with Plod and the Beaks and put it all at risk of being ruined. But if the scummy and useless state has already ruined you why NOT put your fist in Plods mug? What do you have left to lose? When all you can think re your family is HTF will I feed them? Expect BIG trouble indeed.

  7. Very interesting Hector. I’m not sure what to think. I’m in super cautious mode right now for obvious reasons but I’d like to think I’d be much more fearless otherwise. It does all seem like one-upmanship between states right now.

  8. Great post, Have been trawling through data from the Office of National Statistics, after a tip off from a doctor… They have weekly death rates, all in nice spreadsheets.

    In the U.K. over the last 3 years,

    In 2017 between January and May 36,225 people died of Respiratory diseases, In the same time frame 161,490 over 75 year olds died.

    In 2018 between January and May 41,548 people died of Respiratory diseases, In the same time frame 172,580 over 75 year olds died.

    In 2019 between January and May 35,416 people died of Respiratory diseases, In the same time frame 159,828 over 75 year olds died.

    In 2020 between January and February 16,708 people died of Respiratory diseases, In the same time frame 74,036 over 75 year olds died.

    These figures may be relevant for Italy, they have a smaller population but an older population! We are told that 99% of the deaths in Italy the person had other, sometimes 3 other potentially fatal conditions.
    I wonder how many of the 5,476 that have died in Italy having tested positive for the Covid would have appeared in these type of figures anyway.
    Unfortunately it is only after the outbreak we will know if the Covid has killed any extra people above the average for this time of year.
    2018 was a bad year and an extra 5,000 people died of Respiratory diseases, this is interesting when compared with the Italian figure of 5-6,000 dead.

    Heading back to Britain, if a reasonable number of sick of over 75 year olds get Covid in this country we can expect that a reasonable proportion of the 160,000 that on average die at this time to have their death recorded as Covid rather than Cancer / respiratory / etc.

    Also if a reasonable proportion of the 30,000 people sick with a Respiratory disease, also contract Covid they also will be added to the figures!

    I have heard that in Germany (they have some pretty good figures) they are not testing those that have died of what appear to be other causes. While in Italy they are testing every body and adding them to the figures! The U.K. are also doing this so our figures should get worse as we pick up many of those that would have died anyway. Looking at Spain’s figures I suspect they are doing the same.

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  14. Excellent Hector.

    Telegraph reporting today (in separate stories) that the first UK case was probably mid-Jan and that new models reckon 6.5m infected already. Which points towards infectious but not dangerous.

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