Feb 202020

Saul Leiter Man with flowers, NY 1950s


A few days ago, I was thinking of writing another corona article, focusing on two things: 1) the ease and speed with which the virus spreads -because I think that is hugely underestimated-, and 2) testing. But then the situation with the two cruise ships started going berserk.

I had intended to use the Diamond Princess as a case for the ease and speed of infection, but it became clear quite rapidly that you can’t use the ship to prove any case, other than that people are completely nuts. But we already knew that. And while Dostoyevsky wrote some great books on the topic, it’s not a great framework for a piece on a virus. Unless perhaps if it infects the brain.

Not that I don’t think the ship is still a good example to make the point, but too much plain bonkers stuff has been going on with and around it. The quarantine, the evacuations, the infection numbers, you name it. I’ll get to the testing later, that was/is a whole other chapter.

A problem, if you’re me, with letting an essay simmer for a bit, is that ever more sources start accumulating, until there’s too many to either comprehend or use in an effective way. First thing to do is not to wait another day. Let’s start with 1) The ease and speed with which the virus spreads, aka transmissibility,, and see where we land.


1) The ease and speed with which the virus spreads

People continue to have this idea that COVID19 isn’t all that bad, yada yada, an “analysis” crowned by the comparisons to seasonal flu. Which make no more sense then to compare it to bovine flatulence. Stop it.

The way and extent the virus was spreading aboard the Diamond Princess became clear before the evacuation efforts. The US government, and others, were watching it happen, and pulled the plug. What the Japanese were doing and thinking is less clear. It’s sort of fun to see Washington refrain from calling Tokyo on it, best allies and all, but it makes you think at the same time.

So if using the Diamond Princess is not a good example, we need to look elsewhere. This Feb 16 Zero Hedge graph of infections outside China might be a good start. Whether it represents an exponential or a quadratic function is sort of an inside joke by now, but it’s clear enough in either case.



Even more obvious perhaps is this from the South China Morning Post (SCMP):

Coronavirus Up To 20 Times More Likely Than Sars To Bind To Human Cells

The deadly new coronavirus is up to 20 times more likely to bind to human cell receptors and cause infection than severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), a new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin has found. The novel coronavirus and Sars share the same functional host-cell receptor, called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).

The report, published on the website bioRxiv on Saturday, said the new coronavirus had around 10 to 20-fold higher affinity – the degree to which a substance tends to combine with another – for human ACE2 compared with Sars. But the researchers added that further studies were needed to explore the human host-cell receptor’s role in helping the new virus to spread from person to person.

“Compared with SARS-CoV, 2019-nCoV appears to be more readily transmitted from human to human,” the report of the study said. “The high affinity of 2019-nCoV S for human ACE2 may contribute to the apparent ease with which 2019-nCoV can spread from human to human.”

The ACE2 receptor has already been reported as being much more prevalent among Asian people, but please don’t presume the buck stops there. Non-Asians have them as well, and we’re not even sure what role they play, or if fewer of them would protect you from being infected. Allegedly, smokers have more ACE2 enzymes as well. As do older people.

Another transmissibility example is the death of an entire family in Wuhan:

Virus Kills Chinese Film Director and Family in Wuhan

A Chinese film director and his entire family have died from the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Chang Kai, a film director and an external communications officer at a Hubei Film Studio subsidiary, died in hospital on Feb. 14 from the virus now called COVID-19, according to a statement from the studio. He was 55.

But Chang’s death was not the first in his family—the Chinese media reported that Chang’s father and mother were infected and died one after the other. Chang and his sister, who looked after their parents at home, were both infected with the virus as a result. His sister died just hours later. Chang’s wife is also infected, still alive, and is still battling the virus in an intensive care unit.

But everything above loses most of its meaning compared to the following, also from the South China Morning Post. You might want to sit down for this one.

Until now, ‘accepted knowledge” is that the first death from COVID19 was registered on January 9 2020, a 61-year old man in Wuhan. And that the incubation time for the virus was maximum 14 days – hence the 2-week quarantines everywhere. No more.

The government of Xinxian county, in the city of Xinyang, on Sunday reported that one of its new cases had been confirmed 34 days after the patient returned from a mid-January visit to Wuhan.

He had been sent to hospital with suspected symptoms on January 28, but twice tested negative before testing positive on February 16. A further two people who attended family gatherings with the man in Xinxian were reported as infected, while three were suspected cases or under hospital quarantine.

The county government announced it would extend the home quarantine period from 14 to 21 days for residents who had been to Hubei or had contact with people who had been there.

It also reported a case that was confirmed 94 days after the patient’s contact with a relative from Hubei. The patient had taken care of his father-in-law, who arrived from Wuhan on November 13 and died days later.

The son-in-law continued to stay in the father-in-law’s house until January 31. However, the government statement said the origin of the son-in-law’s infection had yet to be identified. Zhuhai, in the southern Guangdong province, last week reported two cases with incubation periods longer than 14 days. Similar cases have also been reported in Anhui and Shandong provinces.

This potentially pushes back the first known case to November 13 2019 and the first known death to November 13 and change. “Died days later”. Shall we say 4-5 days? That means the first fatality was November 17-18. While incubation time may have been pushed forward to 94 days.





2) Testing

The most important term coming out of the coronavirus news, going forward, will be “false negative”. Closely followed by “asymptomatic”. There are tons of stories about people testing negative 2-3-4- times before testing positive. And also tons of stories about people with no symptoms infecting others. It’s all about the things you don’t see.

The Chinese had it about as wrong as can be early on, and knee-jerked into the Party deny and hide mode. They have it right now, though: the only way to keep the virus from spreading is to limit contact between people, even if that may seem to reach extreme proportions. If there is no vaccine, there is no other way. But if it’s just the Chinese that do isolation, that solves nothing.

When I first read that the passengers of the Holland-America Line cruise ship Westerdam had been allowed to leave the ship when it landed in Cambodia a week ago after, I think, 9 days of floating around aimlessly, I thought this was a “Go Forth and Multiply” message for the virus. Second thought was: who’s in charge here? Still wondering about that one.

The Westerdam had 2,257 people on board, 1,455 passengers and 802 crew. They were not allowed to dock anywhere after a man who had gone off board in Hong Kong tested positive. As we speak, some 255 passengers and 747 crew members are still being held on the ship while further testing was conducted. That means 1,200 passengers and 55 crew have left the ship. Cambodia let lots of them fly to Malaysia, and they flew all over from there.

And only then did they discover an 83-year old American woman who had already flown to Malaysia had tested positive. The ship had a lot of Americans (400?) , Canadians and Dutch people on board. Where did they go? Mostly home, of course. And now all those countries are scrambling to locate these people. Even if they do, who have they infected in the meantime? They’ve been in close proximity to others, like on planes.

And, again, who’s in charge? Did the Holland-America people, and the Cambodian government, keep in constant touch with the WHO and the Chinese? Would it have made any difference if they did? Or is it as bad as it seems, a Wild East sort of set-up with everyone fending for themselves?

What are the odds that someone in the Cambodian government now has a new offshore bank account with $10 million in it, in a deal made before the 83-year old American woman tested positive, in exchange for letting the ship dock and making sure the passengers would leave ASAP?


Hard as it may seem to imagine, the Diamond Princess may be, and have been, even more of a mess than the Westerdam. Someone said: “it was a mess on board, and the mess is now moving off board”. And now we have the first 2 fatalities from the ship.

Diamond Princess: everyone confined to their cabins, little interaction, but still in the past week numbers of new infections have exploded, with many dozens of new cases every day. So now we have a total of what, 500-600 new infections ever since the US said: enough!

Why were they, why were larger numbers, not discovered earlier? Well… There were 3,711 people on board. 5-6 days ago, 10-12 days after the first positive test, 1,219 had been tested. Which means that after 10+ days of quarantine, less than a third had actually been tested. As of Monday, 2,404 passengers and crew, out of the 3,711, had been tested. That still left 1,300. Many of whom are now gone.

The remaining 61 American passengers on the Diamond Princess who opted not to join the evacuation will not be allowed to return to the US until March 4, according to the American embassy in Tokyo.

Undoubtedly some logic behind the lack of testing until recently will be offered by Tokyo, but you must wonder how many of the 542 new cases of the last four days had been tested at all, and how long some of them had been infected, probably without showing any signs. For instance, the 14 cases on the flights to the US this week were all asymptomatic virus carriers. All of them, according to official channels.

And now we read that Japan has no intentions of quarantining its citizens who were on board the Diamond Princess:

Earlier in the week, the United States evacuated more than 300 nationals on two chartered flights. A State Department official said there were still about 45 US citizens on board the cruise ship as of Thursday. Americans flown back will have to complete another 14 days quarantine, as will returning Hong Kong residents. Disembarked Japanese passengers, however, face no such restrictions, a decision that has sparked concern.

One more thing, then I’ll stop. Zero Hedge a few days ago quoted a Taiwan Times article saying people can be infected multiple times. And be worse off for it. A first infection leaves your immune system ravaged, and combined with the damage caused by the medication taken, can make you helpless against a second attack.

Chinese Doctors Say Wuhan Coronavirus Reinfection Even Deadlier

Doctors working on the front lines of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak have told the Taiwan Times that it’s possible to become reinfected by the virus, leading to death from sudden heart failure in some cases. “It’s highly possible to get infected a second time. A few people recovered from the first time by their own immune system, but the meds they use are damaging their heart tissue, and when they get it the second time, the antibody doesn’t help but makes it worse, and they die a sudden death from heart failure.. ”

“The source also said the virus has “outsmarted all of us..” [..] “It can fool the test kit – there were cases that they found, the CT scan shows both lungs are fully infected but the test came back negative four times. The fifth test came back positive.” -Taiwan Times

We will now start to see the economic effects (you haven’t seen anything yet in that regard). More on that later. Rule of thumb: companies have 1-2 weeks of supplies in stock. Just-in-Time. Then they need more delivered. But the Chinese economy is on its last legs. Please don’t think it’s about Apple or some other major company. This is about a million smaller companies and (chain) stores in the west. What was it, 80% of US drugs come from China? Or was that just antibiotics?

There are ways to minimize the damage a virus can do. Mankind as a whole, in the places where the proverbial chain literally is as strong as the weakest link, has not minimized it. Instead it has told the virus: “Go Forth and Multiply”. Prepare accordingly. If we’re lucky, this will die down and pass. But that’s the problem: it’ll happen only if we’re lucky, not because we’ve done all we know we could.



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    Saul Leiter Man with flowers, NY 1950s   A few days ago, I was thinking of writing another corona article, focusing on two things: 1) the ease an
    [See the full post at: Go Forth and Multiply]

    Doc Robinson

    A study published today by The Lancet looks at Africa.

    We used data on the volume of air travel departing from airports in the infected provinces in China and directed to Africa to estimate the risk of importation per country. We determined the country’s capacity to detect and respond to cases with two indicators: preparedness, …and vulnerability…

    Countries with the highest importation risk (ie, Egypt, Algeria, and South Africa) have moderate to high capacity to respond to outbreaks. Countries at moderate risk (ie, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Angola, Tanzania, Ghana, and Kenya) have variable capacity and high vulnerability.


    John Day

    More good work, ilargi!

    Let me summarize:
    This virus spreads very well without physical contact, from both upper and lower airways, including from people with minimal or even no symptoms, and with no fever.
    It looks like it was spreading through the ventilation system in The Diamond Princess, or at least as readily as if that was the case. Full respiratory isolation is required, and almost nowhere is that feasible.
    You can stay in a suburban house, but somebody has to care for you if you are sick,
    The incubation period of this minimally-visible-in-most-cases virus is between 3 days and 4 weeks.
    So you can’t identify everybody with the virus, or even everybody who is spreading it, and a long enough quarantine to be universally effective is economically impossible.
    That leaves containment-of-damage:
    Warm, sunny days may reduce viral spread.
    Watch Hawaii. The Japanese tourist was mildly ill in Waikiki for 4 days. His wife got symptoms later.
    Most children have mild illness at most. That’s promising for our species.
    Smokers have a big red bullseye, as do chronically ill and elderly.
    61 seems to be elderly in the stats I see. That’s me. I’ve had a full life.
    The current system is completely unsustainable and observant people already know that. Resets are long and hard and necessary and periodic in our species.
    Do take 5000 units/day of vitamin-D, grow vegetables if possible, buy some beans, rice, cooking oil, salt, coffee and toilet paper.


    Defense Lawyers Say They Will Seek French Asylum For Assange

    Julian Assange’s European defense team said Thursday it will try to seek asylum in France for the Wikileaks founder, whose full hearings for extradition to the United States on spying charges start next week in London. French team member Eric Dupont-Moretti said Assange’s case placed at stake “the fate and the status of all journalists. “We consider the situation is sufficiently serious that our duty is to talk about it” with French President Emmanuel Macron, the lawyer said.

    He was one of a team of lawyers lined up at a Paris news conference to explain why they view the case against Assange as unfair, citing his poor health and alleged violations of his rights while in jail in London. French members of the team said they have been working on a “concrete demand” for Macron to grant Assange asylum in France, where he has children and where Wikileaks was present at its founding. “It is not an ordinary demand,” lawyer Antoine Vey said, noting that Assange is not on French soil.

    Doc Robinson

    Some more details about Assange and the potential asylum in France (translated from French). There are also efforts to get him asylum in Switzerland.

    “We are of course working on the possibility of asking the French authorities for political asylum, our Constitution allows it, we have an example”, “the political asylum granted to Ayatollah Khomeini “, added the lawyer, admitting that this was “not the best example”.

    The two French lawyers joined the Assange international defense team about a month ago, alongside Belgian, British, Spanish and American lawyers, under the coordination of former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, also present at the conference.

    A first asylum request in France made by the former counsel of Julian Assange, Juan Branco, had not been completed. An asylum application has also just been made to Switzerland by NGOs.

    On the choice of France, Me Dupond-Moretti put forward criteria of professional connection, part of the structures of Wikileaks is hosted in France, and personal. Julian Assange lived in the country from 2007 to 2010, his second child, still a minor, and the mother of this child are of French nationality and reside in the country.



    ” Allegedly, smokers have more ACE2 enzymes as well. As do older people.”

    I have not been getting the flu shot for the last 4 yrs. I have not been getting the flu.
    I succeeded in quitting smoking 7 yrs ago. As a result, I’m still alive.
    I assume that the nicotine in my lungs has been illiminated along with the extra ACE2 enzyme since my xrays does not have spots.
    I feel that in my youth, I must have gotten every flu that existed since I got the flu more than twice per year.
    I still don’t know of anyone of the many 100,000 who died from the old flu.
    With the knowledge gained of this new flu and I will change my habits.
    I will avoid the gathering of crowds, casinos, parades etc.
    I will wash my hand more often and think twice about picking at my face.
    I will use sanitizers more often.
    I will pay more attention if kids are staying home for the flu.

    Since, this virus, as of today, appears to be racist, I will still keep my friends.
    Finally, my thinking on this subject will not change what is happening or what the decision makers are going to do.
    I’m going to relax, enjoy life.

    Dave Note

    I highly recommend Chris Martenson’s Youtube Coronavirus summary, he publishes it almost ever day in the evening 7-8.
    He has a couple dozen youtubes 15-30 minutes each wrapping up what news articles he can aggregate about Covid-19.

    His website Peak Prosperity has links to this summaries. He has been a financial researcher and former pharmaceutical executive before starting his own business.

    In an early life he was Dr. Chris Martenson who holds a PhD in Pathology and Neurotoxicology from Duke University. Duke oddly enough, has a Virology Institute that is directly linked with the Chinese Virology entity in Wuhan.

    I’m in no way shilling for Chris’ website, his Coronavirus youtubes are free and I consider them an island of sanity in a sea of Bedlam and incompetence by the MSM, who having behaved with criminal negligence in informing the public of how incredibly dangerous this Covid-19 is shaping up to be.

    Here is the link to last night’s youtube’s wrap-up.
    Coronavirus Infections Outside Of China Are Growing Exponentially

    Dave Note

    I am a blue-eyed blond who has dry earwax and doesn’t need deodorant. Yuck factor and TMI aside, this is most likely due to an SNP on an alelle (ABCC11) which is (as far as I can make out of the dizzying chatter of genetics) inactive. I share this with most far east Asians and a good percentage of indigenous Americans. The allele and its effects were discovered in 2001. I have been searching for a connection to susceptibility to nCoV2019 and this genetic factor, for obvious reasons.
    In the meantime, I will continue to wear gloves, and will reluctantly give up my light smoking habit. There’s nothing I can do about my advanced age, except to update my will and simplify everything else.
    There’s nothing I can do about the coming economic horrors. WTF on the stock market?
    Whatever good gods there may be, I hope they are with Julian Assange.


    Blame the virus
    A lot of observers are not yelling “wolf”
    Thursday, February 20, 2020
    Covid-19: Global Retrenchment Will Obliterate Sales, Profits and Yes, Big Tech

    Dave Note

    To shed some light on diseases and race and/or ethnicity, some contend there are no differences in humans, that essentially you can’t have a disease effect a specific race or ethnicity, and certainly not ‘design’ or bio=weaponize an ailment targeting a specific race or ethnicity.

    Here’s some examples however of diseases linked to specific groups.

    Cystic fibrosis, the most common life-limiting autosomal recessive disease among people of Northern European heritage

    Sickle-cell anemia, most prevalent in populations with sub-Saharan African ancestry but also common among Latin-American, Middle Eastern populations, as well as those people of South European regions such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy

    Thalassemia, most prevalent in populations having Mediterranean ancestry, to the point that the disease’s name is derived from Greek thalasson, “sea”

    Tay–Sachs disease, an autosomal recessive disorder most common among Ashkenazi Jews, French Canadians of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Cajuns of Louisiana and Old Order Amish of Pennsylvania

    Hereditary hemochromatosis, most common among persons having Northern European ancestry, in particular those people of Celtic descent

    Hermansky–Pudlak syndrome, most common among Puerto Ricans

    etc… there are more examples, do your own research.

    These examples fly in the face of the politically correct crowd who think we are all equally prone to all human ailments. Well , wrong, ding,ding,ding


    Are USA military outposts immune
    Update (1820ET):
    Update (1815ET): Yonhap is reporting that the first case of coronavirus among a member of the South Korean military has been detected.

    That’s bad news, mostly because soldiers tend to live in crowded barracks, typically in close proximity to other soldiers.

    Dave Note

    Anthony Fauci was on PBS NewsHour last night.

    This reminded me of his earlier appearances there during the HIV outbreak. No one in corporate media is connecting the dots. No doubt to prevent panic and a Wall Street crash. He talks about the death rate being less than 2% because the denominator of unreported cases is actually larger. If my math is right, a 50% larger denominator lowers the mortality rate down to 1%. This is a cold virus that kills people. It will infect whole populations except for those who can isolate themselves long enough for the epidemic to burn itself out. That is 3.3 million elderly and susceptible Americans, 5.1 million Europeans or 13.6 million East Indians. Without a vaccine there are two options; avoid contact with the virus or survive the infection. This won’t wipe out towns like the black plague which is described really well in the SiFi novel “The Doomsday Book”. Hospitals will be overwhelmed. But no national quarantines like China. In the neo-aristocratic West vital employees will have report for work despite having no PPE to protect themselves. The elderly and the unlucky will be incinerated. Gone.

    By 2040 The Great Coronavirus Crash will be ignored as humans migrate to higher ground.

    V. Arnold

    More and more stupid human tricks: Collectively, something has happened to us. We’re broken; we no longer work; our critical thinking abilities are severely damaged; if they in fact ever actually existed…
    This is not a new condition; the Corona virus has just amplified and accelerated what’s been happening for decades.
    Your article/post is spot on Ilargi and pretty much lays it all out for any cognizant human to read…

    V. Arnold

    That graph of new cases fits an exponential very neatly;
    I = 2^n

    I = Infections
    ^ = raised to power of
    n = (Days/6) doubling every 6 days.

    If you had a cent on the first day of the month, 2 cents on the second day, 4 cents on the third day, 8 cents ……. etc (Doubling every day), you would have 10 million dollars after one month.

    Japan: 20th Feb 94 cases === 20th March 3200 Cases===20 April 70,000 cases.

    They are probably not too bothered by counting at this stage.


    South Korean Coronavirus Cases Explode After “Super Spreader” Event

    The defense ministry banned troops stationed in Daegu from leaving their barracks and receiving guests. The US military imposed similar restrictions on its army base in the city, which houses thousands of troops, family members and civilian employees, curbing travel and closing schools and child care centers.

    V. Arnold

    South Korean Coronavirus Cases Explode After “Super Spreader” Event

    So, it’s now indisputable; the world’s population is now under The Sword of Damocles…

    It would seem Glenjeff’s; That graph of new cases fits an exponential very neatly;
    I = 2^n; is operational…


    The SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) on rs17822931 can have a GG (guanine/guanine), a GA (guanine/adenosine), or AA (adenosine/adenosine). AA is the one I am interested in. Guanine is found in fish scales and guano. Adenosine is anti arrhythmic (given for heart abnormalities). These two are the “A” and “G” of GATTACA (think the 1997 movie), the other two being cytosine and tyramine. They are the building blocks of DNA. RNA uses cytosine, guanine, adenosine, and uracil.
    Koreans have the highest percent of the AA thing.
    If you want to say “wow, you have a WILD imagination!”, it won’t be the first time I have heard it.
    My apologies to the biochemists out there who recognize my mangled language (or understanding) of these things.
    If a common corona virus is mutating to be deadly to (what seems at this time) a particular group of people, it seems to make sense to look at this interesting marker.
    If one might want to call me crazy, I get that a lot, too.

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