Archive for category covid-19

COVID-19 update 24 March 2020

Let us be kind to one another, as someone wrote over 2000 years ago. What does it mean to be civilized? Does it not mean we reject the law of the jungle, of the survival only of the fittest, and the devil take the hindmost? That instead the strong take care of the weak?

Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed… A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”

Monday Musings 23 March 2020, David Perell and apparently quoted in Ira Byock, The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life (Avery, 2012)

We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.

From the WHO website:

  • Total cases over 330,000
  • Total deaths 14,600+
  • China 81.603
  • Italy 59,138 (+5560 since March 22)
  • USA 31,573 (+ 4826 since March 22)
  • France 15,821 (+ 1336 since March 22)
  • S Korea 8,961
  • Switzerland 6,971 (just overtook UK)
  • UK 5,687 (+ 620 since March 22)
  • Australia 1,709
  • Malaysia 1,306 (just overtook Japan)
  • Japan 1,089 cases (+ 34 since March 22)
  • Singapore 455 cases (next door to Malaysia and they just closed the border)
  • Taiwan got dropped off the WHO map! 215 according to Johns Hopkins map. (+ 62 since March 22)

And just for perspective, as a good friend recently reminded me, the mortality rate for humans has been very stable for a very, very long time – 100%!

Event 201 – a “pandemic tabletop exercise”

Event 201 – a pandemic tabletop exercise – took place in October 2019. A Mr. Gao (George!) from China took part. Did he know that this game was playing out for real in a major city back home, even as they spoke?

Update: Dr. Gao is a big deal. Click for details.

What a weird coincidence. Just one of those darnedest things.

The purpose of the exercise was presumably to test various countries’ preparedness for such an eventuality, which has been touted for decades as inevitable. If so, it did not really work, did it, boys and girls?

“Offer each other kindness and understanding.”

“Offer each other kindness and understanding. This is the time for empathy, clear thinking, and courage.”Prem Rawat

Covid-19 update 22 March 2020

Worldwide confirmed cases have now topped 300,000.

  • China seems to have plateau’d at 81,000+ (but what happens when they remove the travel restrictions?)
  • Italy in 2nd place now 53,578
  • US in 3rd place: 26,747 (with 5x Italy’s population; hmmm, are they testing?)
  • France: 14,485 (+6833 since March 18, av. 1708.25/day)
  • UK 5,067 (+3113 since March 18, av. 778.25/day)
  • Japan 1,055 (+182 since March 18, av. 45.5/day; hmmm, are THEY testing? Tokyo numbers: 130). See below. See also this colour-coded tracker map (added to sidebar) and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare map).
  • Taiwan: 153.


It’s natural that people want to avoid catching this disease, and therefore travel as little as possible, stock up on food, etc. On top of that, there are various emergency measures being taken by governments in the countries and areas most heavily affected, e.g. UK (Coronavirus: Boris Johnson tells UK pubs and restaurants to shut in virus fight 🔴 @BBC News – BBC 21 March 2020). China’s numbers seem to have plateau’d, but what happens when the restrictions are lifted? Limiting people’s movements and interactions obvious temporarily limits the spread of the virus, but does not kill it. The only thing that will do that is when immunity tops 70% or so thereby severely limiting the potential hosts.

I repeat what seem to me the key points from the Imperial College report of March 16th, 2020:

Suppression: The good news: will require social distancing of the entire population + home isolation of cases + household quarantines + maybe school and university closures.

The bad news: “this will need to be maintained until a vaccine becomes available (18 months +) because transmission will quickly rebound if interventions are relaxed. “China and S Korea show that suppression is possible in the short term. It remains to be seen whether it is possible long-term.” Imperial College UK Covid-19 Response Team Report

Imperial College UK Covid-19 Response Team report

This is worth reading, though slightly technical. Issued today, March 16, 2020. My takeaways on it below. But first, a quick illustration of the potential benefit of social distancing:

My key takeaways from the Imperial College report:

There are two strategies suggested:

  • mitigation
  • suppression

“Each policy has major challenges”. That means pluses and minuses. There is no magic bullet.

  • mitigation: ” slowing but not necessarily stopping epidemic spread – reducing peak healthcare demand while protecting those most at risk of severe disease from infection”
  • suppression: “reverse epidemic growth, reducing case numbers to low levels and maintaining that situation indefinitely.”

See that “indefinitely”? That’s one of the problems.

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Covid-19 funnies and wise words

Thank God for a sense of humour. I was glad of the wise words, and of the funnies to lighten things up. It can get pretty heavy these days, can’t it?

From LinkedIn
From LinkedIn. If you own this, let me know.

When Martin Luther was dealing with The Black Death plague, he wrote these wise words that can help inform the way we approach things happening in our world right now…”I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.” Luther’s Works Volume 43 pg 132 the letter “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague” written to Rev. Dr. John Hess

From LinkedIn. If you own this, let me know.

Advice to teens on Covid-19

France’s quarantining of the entire country shows the drastic measures that may need to be taken in other countries, too, if people do not take adequate precautions early enough.

From LinkedIn (sorry, couldn’t find the original; if you own this, let me know)

In a press briefing on March 11, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the event a pandemic. He also said,  “WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.”

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COVID-19 Corona virus update

the risk is … to the whole society, yet the solution depends not on society but on the individual.”

UPDATE: Armageddon ou Foutaise? Dr. Ph. Devos

Japan confirmed cases = 839 (not including the cruise ship “Diamond Princess”), just over half of the UK numbers (1,395) and 15% of France’s (5,437) (from Johns Hopkins )

Multilingual Hotlines have been set up in Japan for the major non-Japanese populations.

The Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare website shows a slight decrease in the number of new cases since March 10th, but there was a similar drop the previous week, and it spiked up again on March 10th. (I notice there are just 5 columns per week. Wait. Is that Mon-Fri? The website today Monday March 16th are for March 13th, so we’ll have to wait until they process the weekend numbers.)

UPDATE: The website numbers are out of date.

Health authorities in Japan reported 63 new cases of coronavirus infection on Saturday — the highest daily increase excluding those linked to the cruise ship Diamond Princess.

The officials say the number of cases confirmed in the country reached 773 on Saturday.

The figure does not include 697 people from the US-operated cruise ship or 14 others who returned on chartered flights from China.

Another death was reported on Saturday, raising the tally to 22 in Japan and 7 others from the cruise liner.

Japan sees record daily new coronavirus cases

Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare 16 March 2020

but the number of cumulative cases continues to rise.

Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare 16 March 2020

There are a number of live streams of updated data on YouTube. This one says ” The numbers on screen is based on combination of government announcement and news media”, so the usual caveat applies: do your own research.

This is not Armageddon or the end of humanity, the Apocalypse or any other doomsday prediction. As this Belgian doctor wrote, “We’re not all going to die. In the worst-case scenario, 0.4% of the Belgian population will die, the great majority of which will be among those over 80. Stop the madness already!”

Nous n’allons pas tous mourir : dans le pire scenario, 0,4% des Belges mourront, en large majorité dans les plus de 80 ans. Arrêtez la psychose. 

UPDATE: Armageddon ou Foutaise? Dr. Ph. Devos

He updated on March 8th with this, which I think is sensible (my rough translation): “I hope to convince the country to try and limit the infections to 500 per million inhabitants. To achieve this, individual behaviour will be more effective than mass measures. It may be difficult for some to remain quietly at home when they get a slight fever; some may find it difficult to wash their hands at least 5 times a day, and some cannot imagine not shaking hands with anyone. And yet it can be done. And if we do not do these things, we will be forcing the government to take drastic measure such as we see in Lombardy (N. Italy). I ask everyone to consider their personal responsibility: the risk is not merely to individuals but to whole the society, yet the solution depends not on society but on the individual.”

Je préfère pour ma part agir en amont et convaincre la population pour tenter de ne pas atteindre les 500 contaminés par millions d’habitants. Pour cela le comportement individuel sera plus déterminant que les mesures de masse. Rester cloîtré chez soi alors qu’on fait une petite fièvre sera difficilement acceptable pour de nombreuses personnes. Se laver les mains plus de 5 fois par jour sera également difficile pour beaucoup. Même ne plus serrer une main semble inconcevable pour certains. Pourtant cela peut marcher. Et si on ne le fait pas, on obligera le gouvernement à prendre des mesures drastiques telles que celle que l’on voit en Lombardie. Je demande à chacun de réfléchir à la responsabilité qu’il veut porter : le danger n’est pas au niveau de l’individu, il est collectif. Par contre le gros de la solution n’est pas collective, elle est individuelle. 

UPDATE: Armageddon ou Foutaise? Dr. Ph. Devos