What we are reading about the Wuhan virus crisis


Recommended articles, links and excerpts. If there is some information or an article that you have run across that is instructive please forward a link. (Graphics via HP or others not part of originals)

Kevin McCullough at Townhall

The Final Steps to Defeating COVID-19  

. . .

The stock market tanked. Thousands of small businesses went bankrupt, millions closed their doors and wonder if they will be able to survive once they re-open.

Amidst all of the attempts to flatten the curve, increase the number of testing locales and kits available, and randomly requiring people to stay at home the number of confirmed infections went up—while the percentages of deaths related to them went down.

Most importantly, an on-the-shelf cure for COVID-19 has finally been authorized. It has a 99.75 percent effectiveness in controlled studies.

I interviewed the co-author, Gregory Rigano of Johns Hopkins and Stanford, about the reliability of the studies.

But what good is it to know that a cure exists that stops the virus and dismantled it in 99.75 percent of the cases it is studied in if the Surgeon General is still claiming day and night on every news channel that its effectiveness is not yet proven?

Multiple controlled studies, the most significant one authored by Dr. Didier Rauolt in southern France, have seen that 99.75 percent cure rate be matched over and over.

Lennox Hill Hospital in New York has even adopted the HydroxyChloroquine formula, and they have yet to lose even a single victim to COVID-19 of their more than 100 cases that they are treating.

Nonetheless, the panic-driven media, the big money-lust vaccine research grant types, and the swampy Surgeon General are still dismissive of the idea that a cheap, inexpensive-to-produce, readily available anti-viral that was created in 1934, used widely in 1945, and known to be effective against viruses since the 1970s should be the end of a virus that has killed off life in America.

So here’s what we need to do to bring this thing to an end so that America can begin the larger recovery:

Adopt immediate use, in the recommended dosages in Dr. Rauolt’s study, for frontline medical workers. The CDC says it is effective as a preventative. Then let’s arm up the heroes of this battle so that they are protected.

Immediately begin prescribing for worst cases (elderly, asthmatic, upper respiratory vulnerable), then those who have contracted, then those who have positive tests, and lastly those merely exposed. Do it in this order and start yesterday. American companies should be able to produce between 15-20 million more pills before the end of this week.
Be generous. I know of one small business owner who has already paid the rent/mortgage for Broadway ushers, eatery waitstaff, and others he’s learned of. That’s the spirit of Americans coming together.

Originate the stimulus only for those in need. This “$2,000 in every pocket” idea sounds nice—and is a windfall for many, but for those who have effectively lived within their means, there is no real reason to shell out the money.

Open businesses a week from Monday. The pain has been severe, even as eateries have tried to convert to curbside delivery they are still shedding losses of enormous amounts. Same with barbershops, retailers, cinemas, and gyms.

. . .

Refuse to fear. The media, the swamp, and politically motivated Never Trumpers, Democrats, and the left are all trying to get you to lose your mind. Don’t let them. Clean and reload all the firearms in your home. Participate with your friends through their social media push-up challenges. Take an Instagram yoga time out. Enjoy the free American Ballet Theater virtual ballet classes with your baby girl. Or send your boys to their virtual Taekwondo class on YouTube. Live, and never let anyone stop you.

Fourteen days ago the “experts” predicted we’d be out of hospital beds in 10 days.

We’re not even close.

The regular flu has taken 13,000* American lives this flu season, out of 38,000,000 being infected. COVID-19 has yet to infect even a million people on the entire planet thus far and as of this writing for roughly the same period as the flu, the Wuhan coronavirus has killed 300 Americans.

The cure has been found. Stay calm. Enjoy this week with your family. Live your life.

And come back STRONG!  . . .

*V’PAC note — we have seen higher figures


WSJ: These Drugs Are Helping Our Coronavirus Patients                                             The evidence is preliminary on repurposing two treatments. But we don’t have the luxury of time.

What’s more, most patients cleared the virus in three to six days rather than the 20 days observed in China. That reduces the time a patient can spread the virus to others. One lesson that should inform the U.S. approach: Use this treatment cocktail early, and don’t wait until a patient is on a ventilator in the intensive-care unit.

As a matter of clinical practice, hydroxychloroquine should be given early to patients who test positive, and perhaps if Covid-19 is presumed—in the case of ill household contacts, for instance. It may be especially useful to treat mild cases and young patients, which would significantly decrease viral transmission and, as they say, “flatten the curve.”

Emergency rooms run the risk of one patient exposing a dozen nurses and doctors. Instead of exposed health workers getting placed on 14-day quarantine, they could receive hydroxychloroquine for five days, then test for the virus. That would allow health-care workers to return to work sooner if they test negative.

President Trump touted hydroxychloroquine in his Thursday press conference as a potential treatment, which is a welcome move. And this isn’t only about treatment. Rapid and strategic use of these drugs could help arrest the spread of the disease.

Vik Khanna, a retired health-care consultant and an alumnus of the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health writes at the Federalist (excerpts)

We Need Better Data Before Trusting Most Things Anyone Says About Wuhan Virus (bold our emphasis)
Many of the claims being made about how the Wuhan virus is the plague for our times are founded on remarkably weak data sets that are intentionally manipulated to foment fear.

. . .

In the time of the Wuhan virus, we should remind ourselves that we are trusting our collective fates to the exhortations and exclamations of politicians, media, academics, and a public health establishment that have spent almost four years on the frontlines of the #NotMyPresident movement. Many of the claims being made about how the Wuhan virus is the plague for our times are founded on remarkably weak data sets that are intentionally manipulated to foment fear.

When estimating the impact of an infectious disease on a population, it is vital to know at least four important data sets:

People exposed to the virus who do not get infected. The president himself falls into this category. When people are exposed but don’t get infected, given that we do not have innate immunity, we need to know much more about the duration and intensity of exposure to deduce what behaviors and interactions are actually risky.

People exposed to the virus who are infected (i.e., carriers) but don’t get sick. To know the data for this group and the one above, periodic random sampling and epidemiologic surveys are necessary.

People who are exposed, infected, and get sick. Within this group, there are three additional strata to know: mildly ill, seriously ill, and critically ill.

People who are exposed, infected, get sick, and die. We already have data pointing to high-risk groups such as the elderly and immunocompromised. There will also obviously be outliers, just as there are every year when younger, ostensibly healthy people die unexpectedly of the flu.

The disaster occurring in Italy is not unexpected; it is the natural result of combining a nationalized health-care system with an elderly population and slowly implemented travel controls. Japan, which has a population older than Italy’s, is not suffering nearly as much. Why not? Because of a powerful clamp down on travel.

We have almost no credible information about the first two of the four groups listed above, because we are not randomly sampling and surveying in areas that are most heavily affected, such as the international gateway cities and their surrounding communities. By concentrating on testing primarily people who meet specific criteria (e.g., symptoms and travel history), the death rate looks scary because the denominator is small.

Even the way information is presented and uncritically reported inflames and scares: 2.2 million Americans will die; 100,000 Ohioans infected; 150 million Americans will get the virus. Erika Edwards of NBCNews waits until the end of her article before reporting that severe cases and deaths are not the norm, and that 80 percent of people who get sick do just fine. Models and projections are only as credible as their assumptions (see man-made global warming, by Al Gore), and we have no idea whether our present models are projecting accurately.

China’s ‘Data’ Is Worthless

China, which gave us the virus, claims known cases have leveled off in the four months since patient zero at 81,000 in a population of 1.4 billion people, for a prevalence rate of 0.0057 percent. Their official mortality number is that Wuhan has caused 3,260 deaths, which is 0.03 percent of the more than 10 million deaths in China each year.

China also claims it did not steal American intellectual property, did not imprison Uighur Muslims, and did not try to destroy political freedoms in Hong Kong. You can believe what you will from China, but it might be wise to lean on the old Russian proverb “doveryai, no proveryai”—trust, but verify. I see no one undertaking the onerous task of data verification in the Middle Kingdom.

Democratic governors, mayors, and their public health trolls have placed the blame for the virus at the foot of the president instead of where it belongs: in an authoritarian third-world state with a per-capita economic product that is less than one-fourth of West Virginia’s—ironically, the last state to show a case of Wuhan flu. China’s communist government not only lied about the eruption of the virus but willfully exported it to the civilized world. What better way to dismantle the presidency it loathes? The lesson to be learned is that we cannot trust opaque totalitarian regimes.

Smart Decisions Don’t Come From Garbage Data

Had the White House shut down travel from China in early January, when it was clear that something was very wrong in Wuhan, it would have been not just right, but prescient. That would have been a true victory for public health in the United States, even if it had inconvenienced tens of thousands of travelers. Instead, we have turned a $20 trillion economy on its head, endangered the livelihoods of tens of millions, and appear ready to use this crisis as an Obama-esque wealth redistribution scheme.

This is a time for caution and personal responsibility, but a strategic public health response is not built upon hysterics, half-baked data sets, and political motivations. Really, how much effort does it take to doubt our health policy machinations?

. . .

The most important, and unstated, assumption underlying many Wuhan virus models and pronouncements is that this is the long-sought tool to overturn Trump’s 2016 election. Is there any economic or human cost that would give pause to the coastal intelligentsias and their histrionics as long as it evicts Trump from the Oval Office?

The same cabal that has spent the last decade telling us all there is an “epidemic” of gun violence in America, even though the gun homicide rate has fallen 50 percent in 25 years and is still falling, is engaging in a political con no one wants to talk about. Aeschylus was right: truth really is the first casualty of war.

Victor Davis Hanson at American Greatness  (excerpts)

The Virus is Not Invisible, But It’s Exposing Who’s Irreplaceable

When your refrigerator goes out under quarantine and your supplies begin to rot, do you really need another rant from Maxine Waters—or do you rather need a St. Michael Smith and St. Uriel Mendoza to appear out of nowhere as the archangels from Home Depot to wheel up and connect a new one?

In all the gloom and doom, and media-driven nihilism, there is actually an array of good news. As many predicted, as testing spreads, and we get a better idea of the actual number and nature of cases, the death rate from coronavirus slowly but also seems to steadily decline.

Early estimates from the World Health Organization and the modeling of pessimists of a constant 4 percent death rate for those infected with the virus are for now proving exaggerated for the United States. More likely, as testing spreads, our fatality rates could descend to near 1 percent.

There is some evidence from Germany and to a lesser extent South Korea, that it may be possible to see the fatality rate dip below 1 percent. And with the breathing space from the lockdown, better hygiene (the degree of constant and near-obsessive cleaning at businesses that are still open is quite amazing), more knowledge and data, better medical protocols, the use of some efficacious drugs, warmer weather, and experience with the disease will, in perfect-storm fashion, begin to mitigate the effects of the virus.

Should we get the lethality rate down to German levels (currently two to three in 1,000), then we can cautiously assume that those who predicted that the coronavirus could eventually be contextualized as a bad, H1N1-like flu will no longer be demonized as nuts, and life can resume with reasonable precautions and focused quarantines and isolation.

In two or three weeks, if we can just allow most businesses to reopen, gear up to pandemic testing, track cases and contacts in the manner of past protocols that lessened polio, tuberculosis, AIDS, and measles outbreaks, and focus on the ill and elderly, then the economy will reboot.

But now the current economy is starting to resemble a patient in an induced coma, one whom no one knows whether he will recover after the respirator is disconnected. But still, there are reasons for optimism: historically low interest rates will eventually encourage bit-ticket buying.

After any war or national crisis, confidence soars with collective relief and people go out to eat, travel, buy, and consume. Airlines, and the entire commercial and private transportation sector, will receive a multi-billion-dollar subsidy in radically reduced gas and diesel prices. The same holds true for the utilities.

. . .

Nations, if wise, will question Chinese reliability, transparency, and truthfulness as never before—despite likely Chinese discounts and outreach to maintain relationships. Many will still conclude that the upside of cheap labor cancels out the downside of dependency on such an unreliable and odious government partner.

In American terms, Trump’s supposedly quixotic effort to decouple key industries from China will no longer be the stuff of bemused scorn, but the new orthodoxy, with obvious advantages for the United States in terms of autonomy and autarky of life-sustaining goods—not to mention U.S. jobs.

. . .

There is a golden opportunity for U.S. corporations to return to America and to become what has been called the new Roosevelt “arsenal of democracy,” the world’s supplier of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals that nations count on in times of crisis.

The Media

Everyone knew before just how biased and unprofessional the media had become in its maniacal hatred of Donald Trump. But few appreciated how uneducated, arrogant, and clueless about simple calculations and logic was this generation of reporters that has emerged from politicized schools of journalism, which taught therapy rather than knowledge, much less a code of conduct.

The media daily blares out preliminary models and data, without even the most remedial context. They parrot the supposedly historic death rate of the virus, without any knowledge that the numerator of virus cases is as inaccurate and misleading as the denominator of deaths is mostly factual.

Then they seemed surprised that the death rate dips as tests and supposed cases spread, without any appreciation that known cases are likely not representative of the populace as a whole, but represent only those who were tested (80-90 percent negative), and thus only of those who felt ill or were exposed enough to be tested. Few tell us that a small percentage of those tested, when ill, have COVID-19, or the death rate is warped by those over 70 with accompanying heart, respirator, and cancer challenges.

When journalists talk of “20,000 cases!” they never remind their readers that nearly 99 percent recover from the virus that has stealthily been with us likely since mid-January, and of those 20,000 or so cases, a large number of the sick are already well. There is now a parlor game on the Internet of cutting and pasting clips from cable news, PBS, and NPR to reveal how inane and unthinking reporters have become.

Not so long ago, it was “bombshells,” “turning points,” “game-changers,” and “walls are closing in” to assure us that Robert Mueller was about to indict the entire Trump team. And now “we will never be the same,” “worse than the 1918 flu,” “xenophobia,” etc. have become the new parroting. Only an ignoramus or worse, would employ the terms “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan flu” for most of January and February, and then suddenly declare such terms racist when Donald Trump or his supporters copied such common media parlance.

Whereas no one believed the media in the past, no one especially likes them now, either. The more they in Pavlovian fashion equate coronavirus with the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, and Trump with Hitler, the more people, to the degree they hear of such silliness, tune them out.

Relative Value?

I think one of the strangest of all sequelae to the virus and the lockdowns might be the millions of high-paid Americans whose absences were hardly missed either by the public or count much in subsequent economic analyses of damage to the economy.

In a sophisticated society under lockdown, is it more existentially valuable to know how to fix a toilet, replace a circuit breaker, or change a tire, or to be a New York fashion designer, a Hollywood actor, or a corporate merger lawyer? At 9 p.m., when you go downtown in need of a critical prescription, are you really all that furious that a law-abiding citizen who has a gun and concealed permit is also in line—or would you be more relieved that gun control laws might ensure that his ilk never enters an all-night pharmacy?

So who is important and who not?

We were often told globalized elites on the coast were the deserved 21st-century winners, while the suckers and rubes in-between had better learn coding or head to the fracking fields.

But who now is more important than the trucker who drives 12-hours straight to deliver toilet paper to Costco? Or the mid-level manager of Target who calibrates supply and demand and is on the phone all day juggling deliveries before his store opens? Or the checker at the local supermarket who knows that the hundreds of customers inches away from her pose risks of infection, and yet she ensures that people walk out with food in their carts? The farmworker who is on the tractor all night to ensure that millions of carrots and lettuce don’t rot? The muddy frackers in West Texas who make it possible that natural gas reaches the home of the quarantined broker in Houston? The ER nurse on her fifth coronavirus of the day who matter-of-factly saves lives?

Do we really need to ask such questions of whether the presence of the czar for diversity and inclusion at Yale is missed as much as the often-caricatured cop on patrol at 2 a.m. in New Haven?

Do social justice student protestors who surround and heckle the politically suspicious now in ones and twos also scream in the faces of the incorrect plumber who unclogs their locked-down apartment drain?   . . .

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