Debt Rattle April 19 2020


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    D Benton Smith

    Yeah, Yo Kimo ! Congratulations to you and happy belated birthday to your dad.


    D Bendon Smith:

    I see that you share my views on scientists and their modelling efforts!

    The only modelling I trust somewhat are engineering models that have been tested against reality.

    When I was doing electrical circuit modelling, our results were usually within 5% to 15% due to circuit component tolerances. But at least we got to test the model against a real circuit and adjust accordingly!

    The big problem with modelling is garbage in usually ends up with amplified garbage out!


    Thank you D Benton Smith & WEST on behalf of my father.
    And thank you, Huskynut, for the NZ links, the latter is of great interest.
    “If lock-downs (such as they were) had not been done, and the Wuhan virus ranged free”
    Ok, I’m triggered, and would like to point out there is a light year between these two extremes, and most of the ground could be covered by practical suggestions to modestly enlightened citizens, case in point.


    The problem in the UK and USA are the politicians and technocrats are paid to make this the best of all possible worlds for the rich; the hell with the rest. It never sank into their heads (despite the reports from the Diamond Princess to the USS Theodore Roosevelt) that the Wuhan coronavirus is highly contagious; around 40% onboard got infected and around half of those were asymptomatic. With quarantines, tracing and good medical care there were 7 fatalities on the cruise ship and 1 on the carrier. The real problem is that the approximate 15% of the infected that needed hospitalization. In the both countries public health systems have been cut to reduce costs to increase profits. Essential Workers, First Responders and Medical Staff still do not have necessary equipment to protect themselves from the virus. People are dying because professional managers got bonuses and stockholders became richer. Both national governments threw up their hands and tossed aside time proven techniques to fight epidemics; test, trace and isolate the infected. Only after Italy, way too late, did both countries lockdown their populations to try to prevent overwhelming the healthcare systems; they failed; New York, London, Boston, New Orleans hospitals are swamped. In hot zones without treatment, the death rate could exceed 10% plus all the other illnesses and injuries left untreated. Protests to reopen the economy to get income to survive have started. Free food lines extend for miles.

    The governments in both countries are unable to perform the most basic functions of governance: to protect lives and secure livelihoods. They will be overthrown; either at the ballot box or from lampposts. The Western Empire has fallen.


    Of the 397 people tested, 146 people tested positive. Not a single one had any symptoms.

    Data like this leads to the natural follow-up question how many of them developed symptoms in the next 14-24 days. Everyone is asymptomatic until they develop symptoms.


    V. Arnold:

    Re-your smog comment.

    The last of my English ancestors left (escaped at night actually) England in the late 1890s because of the coal induce pollution. (The rest of my ancestors left much earlier, again all in very unhappy circumstances!)

    It was so bad that people ended up sick with black lung!

    Once when I was visiting an old historic British army barracks, I was surprised to find all of the army beds were elevated similar to a lawn chair.

    I asked the tour guide and was told that most of the British solders suffered from black lung from the burning of coal.

    The only way the soldiers could sleep without coughing their brains out all night, was in an elevated sitting position to keep the fluids at the bottom of their lungs.

    So as bad as we thing pollution is today, 100 years ago it was much worst!

    P.S. Don’t forget the horse poo everywhere plus flies!



    The last count I saw (where ?) for the Diamond Princess was 12 dead.

    We forget many elderly were removed to hospitals in Japan then took their sweet time dying.

    Some may have died later here in North America too.


    DB Smith:

    “Show me a math geek who isn’t sweating bullets and I’ll show you a drug user.”

    Make-a me laff and smile.

    is me. Please look me up an it please ye.

    I been looking for a smart guy to teach me something.

    Anyone else wanna email too, I’d be happy to hear from you.

    V. Arnold

    It seems human nature will defeat all attempts at controlling the spread of the CV-19 virus.
    In the U.S., people of 5 states are demonstrating against continuing the quarantine.
    Other countries (including the one I’m in) are likewise demanding their freedoms.
    Apparently the freedom to make bad decisions is an inalienable right…
    A good reminder that personal responsibility is always the rule, in all things, concerning our own lives…
    Best to all; and keep your intelligence/judgement functional…

    D Benton Smith

    An extremely important couple of measurements and at least one major distinction is missing from recent reports out of Santa Clara County and Denmark. The distinction is whether they are testing general population for post-recovery levels of antibodies or simply “any detectable” level of antibodies.

    Obviously it’s good news if significantly large swaths of the population have more or less symptomlessly recovered from the virus and will not become ill, spread it nor contract it again. But we don’t know from the published results if that’s the case at all.

    The two missing measurements are therefore 1) number of days since exposure and 2) Type and Levels of the antibodies being tested for.

    If antibody type and level does not show that the disease is fully behind them then it might just be showing that the disease symptoms are still ahead of them in the very near future. In other words, are they recovered or are they still in the sometimes quite lengthy incubation period?

    We need to keep a weather eye on antibody testing because it could be either great news, or just more loose numbers irresponsibly tossed around to grab eyeballs and sell newspapers. We gotta know which. Solid studies good. Incomplete & Anecdotal bad.

    John Day

    Monitoring the feed.
    @Dr Benton Smith, Well said, sir.
    A civil commentariat, unlike those roughnecks over at ZH…


    At a personal level – apologies for offending you. That’s never the primary intention of my responding to anyone here.
    At a discussion/argument level, be aware that I vehemently oppose anyone and everyone inferring catastrophic outcomes off the back of official stories and stats. Your projected calcs fit into that.

    I’ve noticed that discussion on Covid seems to be polarised on one axis between “Believers” in the official stats and narratives which project horrific outcomes, and “Heretics” who have no truck with the stats and stories. There seems to be very little middle ground.
    On an unrelated but similar axis are “Humanists” at one end who believe the primacy of individual human lives merits extremely costly interventions. At the other end are “Rationalists” who believe that choices of action should be discussed of merits, and that everything is a trade-off of some form.
    I’ve come to believe these positions represent the core beliefs and individual ethics of each person, and that most of the Covid discussion is actually people arguing the ethics of their personal belief systems.
    Individual positions don’t change, and middle ground isn’t reached in any of these discussions. Because the arguments aren’t ultimately about Covid, they’re about how society should make decisions on matters of ethics, and individual have very different conceptions of fundamental ethics. Adults individuals very rarely change their core belief systems in response to argumentation of any kind.

    D Benton Smith


    Yup. Engineers answer to Mother Nature, and we all know how she is.

    A good friend of mine (and a helluva an engineer) once said to me, “Ya know, I think I could make an engineer out of you !”

    So I answered him, “What an awful threat to make to a friend.”

    But I will say this, the disciplined fact based thinking required throughout all engineering (enforced by the ruthless judgement of a Physical Universe) tends to instill a very high standard of thinking . Reality just won’t let ’em get away with anything less.

    Myself. I’m more of engineering stylist.

    Doc Robinson

    D Benton Smith: “An extremely important couple of measurements and at least one major distinction is missing from recent reports out of Santa Clara County and Denmark. The distinction is whether they are testing general population for post-recovery levels of antibodies or simply “any detectable” level of antibodies…”

    Below is a link to the full report for the Santa Clara County study. It’s complicated. They were looking for “the presence of active and past infections” based on “positive cases by either IgG or IgM [antibodies].” The test kits were tested with known samples (positive and negative) and the test results were adjusted accordingly. The estimate range reflects different scenarios for test sensitivities, expected false negatives, etc.

    Some general informaton on IgG and IgM antibody tests from another source:

    When IgM antibodies are present, they can indicate that a patient has an active or recent infection with SARS-CoV-2.
    IgG antibodies develop later following infection, and generally do not begin to appear until 7 – 10 days after infection.
    [Note: according to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.]
    When IgG antibodies are present it, often indicates a past infection but does not exclude recently infected patients who are still contagious, especially if detected with IgM antibodies.
    It is unknown how long IgM or IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 will remain present in the body after infection and if they confer immunity to infection.

    The full report for the Santa Clara County study:


    It is helpful in times like these, particularly the debate over statistics, to go back and compare to a historical example. Check out the death rates in the last paragraph and compare to the present data.

    On September 27, 1918, New York Health Commissioner Dr. Herman Biggs issued a public warning to residents across the state on the dangers of epidemic influenza. He noted that the disease itself was seldom fatal, but that the complicated pneumonia that frequently developed from it was quite dangerous. Strict quarantine was not practical, Biggs told the public, due to the highly contagious nature of influenza. Instead, those who developed symptoms should rest at home in bed until they were fully recovered. He advised the healthy to avoid poorly ventilated or crowded places.1

    As of yet, only two cases of influenza had been reported to the Rochester Board of Health, and neither was confirmed. Influenza was not yet a reportable disease in Rochester, and officials had no way of knowing the true extent of the epidemic. The following day, September 28, four officially diagnosed cases of influenza were reported in the city, one of them a soldier recently arrived from Camp Dix, New Jersey.2 Rochester’s epidemic had begun.

    A week later, Acting Health Officer Dr. Joseph Roby estimated nearly 1,000 cases in Rochester. The official number was still unknown, as the disease was not yet reportable. Regardless, officials realized that the city was either in the midst of or about to experience a severe epidemic and began to prepare. Rochester General Hospital set up a separate influenza ward. Education officials discussed the possibility of closing schools. The Army Aerial Photography School cancelled all leave and barred visitors from entering.3

    The planning stage did not last long. On October 9, Commissioner of Public Safety Andrew Hamilton announced that all public, private, and parochial schools would close at noon, after students received instructions on influenza prevention and care. At 11:30 pm that evening, all theaters, movie houses, skating rinks, bowling alleys, and other places were to close. Any scheduled performances for that evening that extended beyond that deadline would be permitted to finish. Gymnasium classes and the pool at the Rochester Y.M.C.A. were suspended.4 The Chamber of Commerce, in conference with city officials and employers, asked retail shops to stagger business hours and the Eastman Kodak Camera Company as well as other large industries to stagger their shifts to prevent crowding on trolley cars.5 The next day, Commissioner Hamilton ruled that bowling alleys could remain open, but that no spectators would be allowed in the halls.6 Two days later, Hamilton extended the closure order to churches, soda fountains and ice cream parlors, saloons and hotel bars, and lodge and civic association meetings.7

    Rochester’s epidemic grew in intensity over the course of the next several weeks. Physicians, whose ranks were thinned by nearly a quarter due to wartime service, were overwhelmed with cases. Nurses worked round-the-clock. By early-October it became clear that the general hospitals soon would be overrun with patients. With the help of the Red Cross and local institutions, Rochester opened and equipped several additional emergency hospitals: Infants’ Summer Hospital, for use by stricken soldiers; the local Y.M.C.A., used for women and children; the Baden Street Emergency Hospital for men, the Housekeeping Center on Lewis Street; and, for nine days only, Gannett House, the parish house of the First Unitarian Church.8 Together, these emergency hospitals helped relieve much of the strain placed on Rochester’s general hospitals as they tried to deal with the massive influx of influenza and pneumonia patients.

    By the end of October, over 10,000 cases of influenza had been reported to the Bureau of Health, and nearly 450 patients had died as a result.9 According to Health Officer Roby, however, most of the newer cases were milder. In addition, the number of influenza patients in the city’s hospitals had decreased. Residents were hopeful that the restrictions therefore would be removed soon. Theater workers, in particular, wanted them removed, as they were among the most affected by the closures. At least four hundred people connected with Rochester’s theaters were temporarily out of work, and, because the epidemic was considered an “act of God,” they were not receiving paychecks.10 Commissioner Hamilton, while sensitive to the plight of city workers, was not convinced that the slightly better epidemic news warranted lifting the closure order. After an additional week of decreasing case reports, however, Roby was. At 7:00 pm on Tuesday, November 5–Election Day–the closure order was removed.11

    Public schools opened the following day, giving officials time to prepare the buildings and staff. Many teachers had to be recalled from volunteer service, and a number of them were ill with influenza themselves. Rochester’s Catholic schools remained closed an additional week in order to allow the sisters who had been caring for the ill to rest before resuming their teaching duties. As in other communities that had closed schools, Rochester was in a bit of a quandary as to how best to make up the lost classroom days. The School Superintendent believed that the only way to proceed was to observe only actual holidays and not the usual associated breaks. Thus, children would be required to attend school the day after Thanksgiving as well as the day after Christmas.12

    Rochester slowly recovered from its epidemic. The city experienced a slight second peak in early- to mid-December, but the number of new cases never rose high enough for officials to consider a second closure order. Residents were pleased by the decision, especially those who once again would have been thrown out of work. The epidemic had been particularly costly to them. For the city, the epidemic reduced Rochester’s coffers by an estimated $20,000, although some of that money went to more permanent equipment such as beds that could be used in future health crises.13

    The death toll was even more devastating. All told, Rochester experienced nearly 30,000 cases of influenza. Of these cases over 1,000 resulted in death. Yet despite these high numbers, Rochester’s epidemic was much less severe than that of many other American cities, including ones in New York. Albany, for example, had an excess death rate of 553 per 100,000. Buffalo’s was 530 and Syracuse’s 541. Rochester, by comparison, had an excess death rate of 360 per 100,000, nearly identical to that of St. Louis, touted as one of the best examples of epidemic handling in the nation. Like St. Louis, Rochester officials reacted quickly to the growing number of influenza cases in the city, enacting social distancing measures within a matter of days after realizing that the epidemic had begun.

    V. Arnold

    You might find this interesting; Authored by Rob Slane via,

    I ditched my TV about the same time he did…


    So what inference are you drawing there? There’s one specific case study, representative of one specificc (perhaps unique) set of circumstances. And the lesson we should draw from it is…?


    Well, Huskynut, a few things jumped out. First, a lot of the social distancing measures that are causing an uproar among libertarians now have a long history. Second, early social distancing measures worked, and produced better results than other cities. Third, the overall death rate in that pandemic was less than one half of one percent of the population. COVID-19 threatens to be much higher than that if it quickly spreads through the population.



    My estimate of 30% asymptomatic comes from the widespread testing in China where they concluded that 30% were asymptomatic CARRIERS.

    I believe the Stanford study suggested there were asymptomatic sufferers of the disease who were no longer carriers, which would not have shown up in the Chinese tests, leading to my conclusion that asymptomatic sufferers were higher than 30%..

    My ‘60%’ came from infection on a US Navy ship where 60% of those infected were asymptomatic. They would be younger on average than the general population so will not be truly representative, hence my ‘could be’..

    Dr. D

    DBS: Disagree, as you know.

    What you’re saying can’t possibly be true, because that’s what “flattening the curve” means: Everyone will still get it, they will just have access to medical care when they do, at the cost of freedoms and the economy, whether or not that turns out to be more dangerous than the flu itself.

    Since 8B people will still get it or let’s say herd immunity will cut it in half to give you great benefit, then let’s say at a 6% death rate as presently advertised, we have +240M dead. If half the people have it already — that’s presumed a wild, crazy, irresponsible number right now — that would still be 120M dead. So…looking forward to I dunno, October, to see what you think then. If I’m right, you’re going to come up 119 Million short, or 11,900% off, two orders of magnitude, for exactly the reason you suggest: if you get the first numbers wrong even slightly — and the experts are still claiming no accuracy or information — then subsequent math compounds the errors. So all we’re seeing is a Rorschach test. Of our moral and belief systems, as wisely said.

    But don’t worry, I’ll apologize and stand corrected even if no one else will.


    D Benton Smith

    Dr D

    The reason your numbers and my numbers wind up at different destinations is that they aren’t leaving from the same station. My calculations are based on a simple premise : SARS CoV 2 virus replicating without intervention from any government influenced voluntary or involuntary mitigation actions. In other words, This virus in this population in this civilization, with no officially mandated counter-measures. Wuhan Fever on the loose !! Reported measurements and rates vary wildly. No way to be certain of any of them in the Fog Of War. So, gonna have to do separate calcs for each combination and permutation of the crazily divergent numbers. The answers come back in the form of a Bell Curve distribution of probable outcomes. In a nutshell these answers are :
    Government intervention in mitigation = excellent chance of immediate survival and moderately good chance of long range survival, depending on how well they finesse their moves.
    No government intervention in mitigation (NO mitigation at all if governments fall) = Game Over for Homo Sap.

    I accept without rancor that you respectfully disagree. It’s a good thing. Makes both of us think harder, but I warn you in advance that I cheat. Every time you’re right and I’m wrong I will quickly adopt your idea as if it were my own and then be right all along all over again.

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