Exilian

The Street of the Clerisy => Discussion and Debate - The Philosopher's Plaza => Topic started by: dubsartur on March 11, 2020, 11:57:02 AM

Title: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 11, 2020, 11:57:02 AM
So efforts to contain COVID-19 may have failed, and some areas may be facing something on the order of the 1918 Spanish Flu (about half of the population infected, on the order of 2% of those infected die and very large numbers are in bed for weeks).  Italy, for those reading this in the future, has quarantined itself and some cities in UK are running out of toilet paper due to panic buying.

Edit: As of Thursday 12 March, a friend in Sardinia tells me that Italians are only allowed to leave their homes for work, grocery shopping, or medical treatment.

The World Health Organization has a webpage https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

This woman, I think Boston MA based, has a pretty sensible amateur site https://siderea.dreamwidth.org/tag/coronavirus2020  I love this: "I discount a story's credibility if the content is either explicitly or implicitly trying to tell the audience what the audience should feel, rather than informing them about what they think the audience should know."

I have lacked a full-time job for a year and live in a space with a small shared kitchen and freezer so I am SOL.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 11, 2020, 03:02:09 PM
I've renamed the threat to add a title clarification :)

Uni Wien has shut down in-person classes, but not other activities as yet - both of my upcoming talks have been cancelled which is something of a relief, but I have to work out how to remote-teach a course that was not in any sense designed for such, which is less good.

I'm a little nervous - Vienna is definitely very much infected now, even if without that many cases as yet, and my respiratory system isn't in fantastic shape which could cause complications if I got it. I'm planning to venture out to my writing group anyway this evening and to my work meeting tomorrow though - it's a difficult balance to get.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 11, 2020, 07:08:54 PM
The thread title was going to be Middle English, a corvid joke, or a pangolin joke and I am tired. 

LFU Innsbruck has shut down for the month as well.  My South Tirolean friends are all north of the border.  And yes, isolating yourself and avoiding exercise hurts mental and physical health, but I won't be doing many pub quizzes this month.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 11, 2020, 10:54:18 PM
Much of the US has a combination of pretty low population densities, and a very hyperactive media, which may tend toward it feeling very overblown for you. I think the fact that the major international agencies are now terming it a pandemic is worth listening to though. It's a balance - the panic buying, and interrupted news broadcasts, and so on are silly, but on the other hand I've seen some people liken it to the flu which just clearly doesn't check out factually any more. The death rate is quite a lot of times higher than flu, it has a longer incubation and spreads very fast. In Italy the death toll is genuinely getting pretty high despite very extreme lockdown measures, and Austria's number of cases is growing very rapidly now, especially in densely populated cities (like, say, where I live). It's hard to get the balance right - there's been some incredibly stupid hysteria, but one shouldn't stick fingers in one's ears and pretend nothing is happening either, isolation and containment measures will help ensure healthcare systems don't get overloaded by this thing.

I don't see that there's much need to avoid exercise - gyms perhaps, but I don't see why walking, running, etc should be per se impossible, it rarely involves close enough person contact to be much of a threat. I'm hoping to keep going to writing group meetings, but we'll see how bad things get.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 11, 2020, 11:11:52 PM
I don't think globally we have seen a disease that actually acts like this within the past century. Like, we've had tons of scares (the bird flu stuff or whatever) that we all remember well, but this seems to be actually doing medium scale killing in a way that things like the H5N1 Bird Flu never managed, and enough that it's putting pressure on healthcare systems. Of course many/most people might still never notice it, but that's true of most epidemics in history. I think one just needs to remain calm and be sensible with stuff for a bit (especially once the disease is actually in your area like it is with me).
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 12, 2020, 12:21:00 AM
The people who are very worried are the heads of national and international infectious disease agencies (and my friends from Italy and in China).  The people who say "its just another flu" are strangers on the Internet.  Just saying :)

The WHO site has comments on some of the things I have seen going around social media (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters), like "sunny weather will slow the spread."
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Glaurung on March 13, 2020, 07:16:43 PM
"An overblown, press-created, hysteria."
Why is no one blaming the source anymore? I've read that this exotic food market is still operating... shouldn't we have literally nuked it by now? Something fishy is going on here.
So, about "hysteria", CG?
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Tusky on March 13, 2020, 08:04:20 PM
There is definite hysteria

Agreed

It's legit to ask why the source hasn't been dealt with, especially when it's something like an illegal food market.

I really am confused why you keep saying this. It is very probably a food market in China (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huanan_Seafood_Wholesale_Market), but I'm not sure why you are describing it as iilegal? Because it was retrospectively viewed as unsanitary by some western journalists? Even if it is "illegal", and/or if it did start there, what good would nuking it do? I don't think that market is especially different from lots of Asian seafood markets

Should we have nuked Mexico during the "swine flu" outbreak, since that started there?

I was drunk.

you've got my vote
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 13, 2020, 09:18:24 PM
Gwynne Dyer says that the Chinese Communist Party has ordered all breeding of wild animals for sale and all sale of wild animals in markets ended (https://lfpress.com/opinion/columnists/dyer-whatever-you-call-it-china-has-made-a-mess-of-the-covid-19-crisis).  He has some things he gets stuck on but I can't remember him being wrong about a fact.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Silver Wolf on March 14, 2020, 11:10:42 PM
Czech Republic has been taking things very seriously from the very start (and that's very surprising).
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 15, 2020, 12:33:03 AM
@Tusky: AIUI, the food market in question did include traders in a number of illegal meats (notably pangolin). The market wasn't illegal, but if the theory that pangolin meat was the human vector for Covid-19 is true, the illegal activities at the market weren't irrelevant. That said, it's not the sort of thing where "shutting down the market" would do much, AFAICT, since presumably the poachers would find another supply line.

We're hitting medium lockdown in Vienna from now on: cafes and pubs can't open in the evenings, nonessential shops all closed. Annoyingly I failed to sort out some plants before this happened, so I hope my new thyme can survive being looked after in the pot it came in for a month or two. The weirdest thing is just not knowing how long this will all last. Everyone is treating it like it's going to be a couple of weeks, but I can't see how it will be at all effective if it's less than three months or so, which is long enough to cause severe social strains from the lockdown.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Silver Wolf on March 15, 2020, 01:44:42 AM
We're hitting medium lockdown in Vienna from now on: cafes and pubs can't open in the evenings, nonessential shops all closed. Annoyingly I failed to sort out some plants before this happened, so I hope my new thyme can survive being looked after in the pot it came in for a month or two. The weirdest thing is just not knowing how long this will all last. Everyone is treating it like it's going to be a couple of weeks, but I can't see how it will be at all effective if it's less than three months or so, which is long enough to cause severe social strains from the lockdown.

Pretty much the same here.
the whole thing is well organized though, I get SMS messages from the government concerning major updates.

It's gonna last a long time for sure.
Right now I'm more worried about the future effect on economy than the virus itself.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 15, 2020, 09:18:03 AM
@Tusky: AIUI, the food market in question did include traders in a number of illegal meats (notably pangolin). The market wasn't illegal, but if the theory that pangolin meat was the human vector for Covid-19 is true, the illegal activities at the market weren't irrelevant. That said, it's not the sort of thing where "shutting down the market" would do much, AFAICT, since presumably the poachers would find another supply line.

We're hitting medium lockdown in Vienna from now on: cafes and pubs can't open in the evenings, nonessential shops all closed. Annoyingly I failed to sort out some plants before this happened, so I hope my new thyme can survive being looked after in the pot it came in for a month or two. The weirdest thing is just not knowing how long this will all last. Everyone is treating it like it's going to be a couple of weeks, but I can't see how it will be at all effective if it's less than three months or so, which is long enough to cause severe social strains from the lockdown.
I have no money but I spent the past week-and-a-bit buying things that are not available in grocery stores and pharmacies like replacement crockery (it keeps breaking while I carry it wet and in a hurry from the shared kitchen where there is no place to dry it- the drying rack fills up with small things all jumbled together and is great for cross-contamination anyways), a set of tableware which I can't possibly confuse with anyone else's (I already have my own paring knife, vegetable peeler, and cleaver) and a bin to carry things between my living space and the shared kitchen.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 15, 2020, 09:25:48 AM
It's gonna last a long time for sure.
Right now I'm more worried about the future effect on economy than the virus itself.
I hate to link to birdsite, but this video is worth watching https://twitter.com/i/status/1238854071509016577

If you don't have un poco Italiano, he says "the Echo of Bergamo, 12 February: one and a half pages of obituaries.  The Echo, 13 March: one two three four five six seven eight nine ten pages of obituaries.  This is not just the flu."
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 18, 2020, 12:30:59 PM
Well, settling into Viennese lockdown life here. After some confusion it turns out people will still be allowed to use public transport when going for walks on their own, so that's a relief for me. It's amazing how many problems a lockdown causes and how fast, though. One of our team has been forced to return to the US because her job is ending and her visa invalidated as a result, whereas those of the group who are parents are having issues with childcare not being available. It's getting almost frustrating for me to see all the "hey look at the stuff you can do when on lockdown" posts, because I'm having to work every bit as hard as usual to keep up with teaching right now...
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Tusky on March 19, 2020, 05:58:46 PM
I've been temporarily laid off  -_-

BUT stay tuned for billions of tourney updates  :)
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 19, 2020, 10:57:02 PM
I am sorry to hear that, hope you can sort out unemployment insurance!

According to Graphtreon, the number of creators on Patreon increased 20% in the second week of March, I will be interested if the total donations move at all. 

At least 2% of my building are confirmed infected, and another 6-8% have flu-like symptoms.  And Tirol is maybe one or two doublings (2-8 days) ahead of most rich countries. 
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 21, 2020, 06:15:06 PM
I've been temporarily laid off  -_-

BUT stay tuned for billions of tourney updates  :)

I am very sorry :( In a way that is also pretty pumped for the Tourney updates...

Not had any cases reported among people I know in Vienna. One friend in Cambridge thinks she has it and is self isolating. I'm not surprised that lots of new Patreons are launching, though I do worry that total donations will be static at best. I've started working on a kickstarter project which if it goes well might provide some work for a friend - generally I'm really worried for all my friends who are artists, artisans, self-employed, unemployed, etc in particular.

Also the pendulum seems to have swung back again on whether I'm allowed public transport usage. I'm really exhausted and the stress is starting to impact my physical health already, which is a bit grim.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 22, 2020, 06:13:02 PM
Yes, I don't know what the UK prime minister was thinking of with "people over 70 can just stay locked in their houses for four months and avoid contact with anyone younger.  They all have big airy detached houses with a garden that they can maintain themselves, someone to talk to, and four months of loneliness and inactivity will have no negative effects on their health."  In British Columbia, all of the deaths so far seem related to the Lynn Valley Care Home in Vancouver, and all that took was one person visiting the home and infecting someone.

Tirol has introduced a new quick test which takes a throat swab not a nose swab and can be analysed in 24 hours.  It may have to do with the two machines from Roche Diagnostics in Switzerland we imported to raise our capacity from ~0.7 tests/thousand people · day to ~4.4 tests/thousand people · day.  I think that by April 1st we will have some idea of the state of the problem.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 23, 2020, 08:58:56 PM
It looks like I was negative according to one test as of Sunday (22 March) evening.  "But the chronicler swerved aside and dodged dark death."

So the true rate in our building is 2% of the population, and there have been no new infections in the building since the initial discovery earlier in March.  Hygene and social distancing work!
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 23, 2020, 09:46:59 PM
Yay, glad to hear :) (Though of course in some ways it would be nice to discover one had had it and was now immune)

The UK has finally hit Austria-style lockdown, two weeks later than Austria and probably two weeks too late for a lot of UK patients in the coming weeks... meanwhile Austria are still saying they might loosen restrictions as soon as mid-April, though I'd be surprised if that happens.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Glaurung on March 23, 2020, 10:38:37 PM
Irony: having spent a good part of the last two weeks in a personal lockdown due to illness (quite possibly coronavirus, though I'll probably never find out for sure), just as soon as I'm fit to go out again I'm banned from doing so. To be clear: I approve of the lockdown in the current situation, and think it should have been introduced sooner - it's just unhappily timed from a personal perspective.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 25, 2020, 11:27:34 AM
Austria is stepping up its testing capacity fairly fast now, getting on for testing ca 5000 people per day (which wouldn't be much in a UK context, but we have far fewer people in total). This may ironically make it harder to tell from the raw stats if the quarantine is having much of an impact - because just at the point we should be expecting the restrictions to have an effect on the numbers, wider testing will be causing a spike in how many cases get picked up.

Meanwhile Trump says he wants the US open again by easter. And that he wants "packed churches all over our country". Is he trying to kill off chunks of his own voting base?
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 25, 2020, 04:36:19 PM
Yes, to understand how many people are already infected we need tests of a random sample of the population.  That data is not available to the public in most countries and I am afraid that the reason is that any medium-sized country which did so would leap to the top in the number of cases.

I think that early on the UK government had the plan 'we cannot stop this, so lets spread it as quickly as possible and get it over with.'  But committing to the death of around 1% of the population and a total collapse of the medical system in a single year, losses similar to the UK's losses in World War II but crammed into a single year, when so many things about this disease are uncertain and some countries seem to have contained it, is mad.  That is not the Dunkirk spirit, that is the Wehrmacht hearing their chief of logistics explain that an invasion of Russia would bog down well short of Moscow due to lack of fuel and transport, thanking him and invading anyways.

I imagine that one day we will hear in court what some of the US president's courtiers and sophists are telling each other.

I have my covid-19 reading list on my site (https://bookandsword.com/resources/covid-19/), I am trying to emphasize the useful resources by Europeans and Asians and by scientists not by business owners with a Medium account.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 25, 2020, 05:52:24 PM
Also, my impression is that at the beginning of March experts were telling European governments that the infection was probably no longer controllable.  Angela Merkel's statement that 60-70% of the population of Germany will be infected in 2020 sounds like the kind of number that the UK government herd immunity plan was working with.  And if you assume the disease is not containable, there are apparently some arguments that letting it run wild would reduce the total deaths (https://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/staff/thomas.house/blog/modelling-herd-immunity.html) (although we are still talking about on the order of 1% of the population dying!)

But all of these numbers are very uncertain, and at least shutting down things for a few weeks gives time to prepare the medical system for masses of very sick people!  And currently most governments seem to think that they can at least slow the rate of infections to something the health care system can sort of handle.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Gmd on March 28, 2020, 03:04:26 PM
I work at the hospital and it's mad, and its only going to get worse over the next few weeks. They want my team to potential move to the ED as people drop. Currently huge capacity issues for critical care and everything/everyone getting juggled to help maintain it and we're not even close to the worst yet. Expected to be breaking point in the midlands by end of next week so wish us luck.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Glaurung on March 28, 2020, 09:12:58 PM
Gmd: many thanks to you and your colleagues for all you've done so far, and the best of luck to you all for the time to come.

I don't know if it's any consolation, or gives you some hope that we will get through this, but here's a drone video of Cambridge during the lockdown this week. It's eerily empty of people, but also cheering to see that the lockdown is being observed.
https://www.instagram.com/p/B-MaDcCJLUN/ (https://www.instagram.com/p/B-MaDcCJLUN/)
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Gmd on March 29, 2020, 12:55:10 AM
Videos in our country give a lot of hope. Sadly is not the same everywhere. My walk to work through the centre of Nottingham is really really eerie at the moment, Seeing less than 5 people on the tram at 8am on a weekday is strange. I've never lived through such a time where i have documentation explaining why I'm allowed outside, its truly mad.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 29, 2020, 11:44:39 AM
Re needing documentation, Britain's lockdown sounds like it's rapidly becoming more illiberal than Austria's - I've seen reports of multiple UK police forces trying to go beyond the law and impose additional arbitrary restrictions (by suggesting that their daily exercise is limited to 1hr, which it isn't, or that they can't move so a more walkable location in a car in order to take it, which they can). I think that's a real problem, because the biggest challenge of the lockdowns is going to be holding them together for long enough. But then, the Austrian lockdown basically seems to be effective, I'm hearing very few reports of anyone breaking the rules here, whereas the UK seems to have more of a vocal minority who think it's all a conspiracy or something.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Caradìlis on March 29, 2020, 03:58:37 PM
Well, tbf, the UK reacted waaaaay too slowly, so they're in a pinch now... But also, as someone currently locked up in their flat waiting to be allowed to go back home, I have difficulty imagining how restrictions could be worse/more illiberal than this... :/
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 29, 2020, 11:04:37 PM
Lots of ways it could be tighter than here: regularising stop-and-searches or actual paperwork required to prove your right or reason to be outside, for example, ending or further restricting the permission to go outside for exercise (which has happened in lots of places in Lombardy).

Like, things are pretty rough here, but enforcement is fairly loose/sensitive to circumstance, and from what I've heard the police seem to be taking not too heavy handed an approach. Compare to the UK, where one police force has been trying to tell people from its official social media accounts that exercise time is limited to one hour a day, which... it isn't, that's not the law at all. Having the police heavily overstep their jurisdiction, needless to say, could cause a *lot* of problems.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Caradìlis on March 29, 2020, 11:18:57 PM
No, it can't get any worse, I miss my friend!!! I'm not allowed to go outside, and I'm stuck and alone...

And also, I'll say it again, the UK reacted waaaaaaaay too late! I know it sucks, this whole thing sucks, but they should have reacted much sooner... Like, people are mad at Tyrol, because a skiing resort only closed down like 3 weeks ago... the UK is only starting to do things now... US is still barely doing armadillo... Like, what the portugal people, what gives?
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 29, 2020, 11:40:08 PM
Yeah, I'm not arguing with you about the UK being far too late acting! But I think that's a reason not to overdo the scale of the lockdown unless they absolutely have to, because they're going to have to keep some lockdown in place for a considerably longer period of time than I suspect e.g. Austria is. At the current rate of progress, Austria should be able to start easing off a little in a month or so, I think - the spread rate per day is down to an 11% increase from nearly 40% at the start, we're miles below the exponential curve now which is good news. Though the issue in Austria will partly be that it's been too effective, so Austria has near zero herd immunity against this thing: we can start relieving our own restrictions here in a few weeks, but we're going to be having to be very careful about the international borders for a lot, lot longer, it might easily be six months before international travel eases up.

America meanwhile is looking like it could be unbelievably bad. The extent to which the death rate there is accelerating is really, really scary, and I'm quite worried for my American friends and relatives. :(
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 30, 2020, 10:06:01 AM
Good luck Gmd.

Re needing documentation, Britain's lockdown sounds like it's rapidly becoming more illiberal than Austria's - I've seen reports of multiple UK police forces trying to go beyond the law and impose additional arbitrary restrictions (by suggesting that their daily exercise is limited to 1hr, which it isn't, or that they can't move so a more walkable location in a car in order to take it, which they can). I think that's a real problem, because the biggest challenge of the lockdowns is going to be holding them together for long enough. But then, the Austrian lockdown basically seems to be effective, I'm hearing very few reports of anyone breaking the rules here, whereas the UK seems to have more of a vocal minority who think it's all a conspiracy or something.
When I go for walks I see some groups of three or four teenagers along the river, and the Tiroler Tageszeitung reports a couple who crashed someone else's car in a village at 1.20 am and who were charged with violating the curfew as a group of more than one person.

I get the impression that civil society pushed back to get an acknowledgement that outside exercise alone or with members of your household is allowed, early on the messages were mixed.

What I remember reading in 2019 is that British police forces and the army have been cut so small that they don't think they could handle any disorder worse than the local team loosing at footie in a week one of the supermarkets unloads some discount cider.  And that is without a double-digit percentage of the force having to go home sick, and 20% of the sick needing long-term hospital care.  So aside from being confused by rapidly shifting policy, I would not be surprised if some British police forces are resorting to "bark orders and hope nobody notices that we can't actually enforce them against more than one person at a time."

Deaths attributed to coronavirus in Austria are still doubling every 3-4 days, but those are people who were infected about three weeks ago.  The mayor of Nembro in Lombardy has released an op-ed: "Nembro, one of the municipalities most affected by Covid-19, should have had - under normal conditions - about 35 deaths. 158 people were registered dead this year by the municipal offices. But the number of deaths officially attributed to Covid-19 is 31." (https://www.corriere.it/politica/20_marzo_26/the-real-death-toll-for-covid-19-is-at-least-4-times-the-official-numbers-b5af0edc-6eeb-11ea-925b-a0c3cdbe1130.shtml)

According to Wikipedia, the population of Nembro is around 12,000.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Gmd on March 30, 2020, 03:00:23 PM
yeah it seems completely impossible for the police to enforce the lockdown, but from what i can see people are clever enough to stay at home anyway. Not like they have anywhere to go, everything is closed.

Also America is completely screwed from leadership down to the frontline medical staff. The fact that Trump is blatantly ignoring medical advice is horrible. Despite everyone telling him to enforce social distancing this is an image of him signing his "Coronavirus Bill":
(https://www.ft.com/__origami/service/image/v2/images/raw/https%3A%2F%2Fd1e00ek4ebabms.cloudfront.net%2Fproduction%2F64e12d25-a1ae-4381-aa7b-6fc8cc01fd96.jpg?fit=scale-down&source=next&width=700)
Just to add to the Irony, the oval office was also packed full of reporters.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 30, 2020, 04:09:11 PM
Yeah, I think closing down shops etc is the biggest part of getting people to stay home.

Austria is apparently going to give free masks out at supermarkets and require people to wear them from Wednesday onwards. Not sure how much that'll help, but we'll see.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 30, 2020, 05:52:30 PM
I think that social media is buzzing with East Asians + Czechs screaming "everyone should wear a mask" and Anglos + the rest of Europe saying "at best it makes the sick slightly less infectious, and medical personnel need the medical-grade masks."

Maskenpflicht? *clangs* (https://bookandsword.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/p1000906_bascinet_side_view-e1481658483321.jpg?w=800)

All openings are guaranteed smaller than a Turkish arrow or a Cologne poignard which in microns is ...*advisor whispers in my ear* new plan, to the sewing room!
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on March 30, 2020, 06:29:44 PM
Yeah, it's elfshot you need the holes smaller than in this case ;)

But yes - I guess it may be that Austria feels under control enough that the marginal gain from masks in supermarkets is seen as worthwhile and not taking anything away from medical staff. Still, it's going to be weird and pretty horrible, it's the sort of thing that makes me panicky which is going to make shopping a nightmare from now on.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 30, 2020, 10:24:06 PM
I don't handle the unusual well either, but let me see what I can come up with in masks with an appropriate inscription embroidered on.

Skimming the Tageszeitung, they seem to be still assuming a base replication number/Replikationsfaktor of 2-3, but I have read specialists who think the true number in China was around 4 (https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.18.20024315 (https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.18.20024315) seasonal flu is in the 1.3-1.5 range). 
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on March 30, 2020, 10:43:56 PM
All I can find in the tablets is the words of Ea the Wise:

Quote
Abandon riches, seek survival!
Spurn property, save life!

(Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, XI.25-26)
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on April 01, 2020, 12:52:14 PM
Austria plans to test a random sample (Stichprobe) of 2,000 residents starting today.  I will be interested to see whether there are more like 20 or 200 positive.

If the number of confirmed cases, 10,000 in a population around 9 million, represented the state of the pandemic, we would expect about 2 people to test positive (plus a few false positives).  If you believe that, I have a nice rug merchant in Isfahan who I would like to introduce you to.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on April 01, 2020, 01:28:30 PM
If more people test postive, it's not necessarily a bad thing, though - because it may mean that a lower percentage of cases are symptomatic than we thought, and we're thus building a certain degree of herd immunity faster than espected.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Glaurung on April 01, 2020, 01:29:37 PM
Indeed. If I'm not mistaken, the number of confirmed cases in the UK is in the low tens of thousands, but given the continuing reports of 20-30% of staff in various sectors off work, the true total must surely be several orders of magnitude higher. I'm a good example myself: I caught something that seems suspiciously like covid-19 nearly a fortnight before the UK lockdown, and I know at least three other people who've probably had it too. None of us has had a test or been included in the official statistics.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on April 01, 2020, 03:17:56 PM
I had what was probably a bad flu in late February and early March, a lot of people I know have or had flu-like symptoms.  It would be interesting to know whether one kind of dreaded lurgie makes you more vulnerable to the other.

So some of the people who are out sick will just have colds/flu/stress-related symptoms, but people with public-facing jobs are exposed to a lot of respiratory ailments- and its easier to deal with a cold or a flu when you are sure its something not so dangerous and that your job will still exist when you recover.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on April 02, 2020, 02:46:11 PM
El País in Madrid reports the same thing as the mayor from Lombardy: official death figures show coronavirus doubling the normal death rate, but three to five more deaths from all causes are being registered than in the same region last year.

https://elpais.com/sociedad/2020-03-27/el-coronavirus-causa-mas-muertes-de-las-detectadas.html

The situation is so unusual that Americans are actually acknowledging sources written outside their country in a language other than English during their lifetime!

Meanwhile, the curve in British Columbia continues to flatten.  And patreon pledges are up 13%, and amount pledged up 16%, over the previous month for the first time since they finished shooting themselves in the foot in 2018.

Update: Random sample of 1.161 people in key occupations (care homes, hospitals, supermarkets) in Austria on 29/30 March: 6 tested positive for covid-19 (0.5%) (https://volksblatt.at/coronavirus-sechs-von-1-161-stichproben-in-oesterreichs-schluesselberufen-positiv/)  That is similar to Iceland's results earlier in March, and lower than I expected.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Caradìlis on April 03, 2020, 10:00:58 AM
Good news from Austria since yesterday, infection rates seem to descend (percentage wise) it seems the whole isolation program is working... Other countries, take note... :)
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on April 03, 2020, 11:15:24 AM
Yes, it's been noticeable in the statistics for quite a few days now - if anything, the problem Austria might have is that we'll have built up basically no herd immunity, so we'll get cases dropping off significantly by mid-May, but then when we relax the restrictions we'll be very vulnerable to it blowing up again. Though at least we're better prepared for it now.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on April 03, 2020, 06:19:42 PM
Lets give it a week or two.  This may be the phase in the story where we have conversations like "our entrenchments are holding (https://www.livius.org/articles/battle/philippi-42-bce/)!  With the hill on one side and the marsh on the other the tyrants and their slaves can't get through.  Gracchus, have your men reported anything on the rustling from the reedbeds?" "No, imperator, they went 50 paces into the marsh and they did not see anything."  "Right, so lets move on to logistics ... Perses, how many amphorae of wine have you scrounged up?  If the number is not high enough I will sell you to the Parthians!"

If parts of Europe and some Anglo settler countries manage to contain the disease by May, reducing travel restrictions will be a mess.  If it goes out of control in some Canadian provinces, US states, and Schengen countries but is contained in others, how can you allow travel without opening the floodgates to infectious people?

My understanding is that herd immunity is only possible if you accept the low estimates for infectivity and assume that infected people are immune for an extended period of time.  If you accept the high estimate for infectivity, or assume that people infected can be infected again a few months later, then more than 90% of the population could be infected before the disease starts to become rare.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on April 03, 2020, 09:25:14 PM
Also, at the start of this week, after two weeks of stay-at-home and three weeks of closed schools, the government believed that covid-19 was spreading in ?AT? or Tirol as fast as a seasonal flu spreads in a normal winter with people out working and drinking and partying and exercising together.  So they brought in the masks for shoppers and probably some other tweaks in hopes of bringing the number of people infected by each infected person closer to 1. 

Nobody knows how many are sick or dying (the test of essential workers suggests that Austria has only identified 20% of people with covid-19) but the public health workers are worried. 

I am sorry, I keep talking about serious things.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on April 03, 2020, 09:35:05 PM
I think the assumption that infected people have extended immunity is generally considered to be a workable one, though not a proven one as yet - but as I recall the virus has mutated remarkably little since it started, which would tend to imply that immunity would be stable too. But yes, herd immunity probably does mean most people getting the disease at some point. The trouble is, given we can't maintain a lockdown to a timescale big enough to allow for a vaccine to be produces, most people will get the disease. The best we can do is try to keep its progress below the capacity of the intensive care system until we have a vaccine - what other plan is there? Letting it run riot means unacceptable loss of life, but we can't eradicate it realistically either by any means other than herd immunity or vaccinations - no lockdown, no testing regime, will be quite thorough enough for a disease this widespread. And we can't maintain total lockdown for a year and a bit without mass casualties from lots of other problems.

I think we actually do have a decent handle on how many people are dying in Austria - that's rather clearer, if not entirely so, than trying to work out infection rates.

The masks for shoppers thing seems to be having an awkward roll-out - which is to say, I went shopping today and did not wear a mask at any point, because, well, there weren't any being given out at the shop, or indeed any on sale at the shop, and I can't create them by magic. I guess maybe the bigger supermarkets are rolling them out first? Meanwhile I still don't have hot water, my arms are to put it gently buggered, the humidity in my flat is a mess and teaching is exhausting. I've been listening to Wolf 359 a lot and finding all the stuff about being on a space station with repeatedly failing life support systems really quite relatable to my situation. Except I'm lacking the wisecracking AI voiceover to talk to.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: dubsartur on April 03, 2020, 09:59:54 PM
If you assume that every infected person infects 2-3 others in the circumstances of normal life and people who have been infected once are immune for the next few years, then you achieve herd immunity when 60-80% of the population have been infected.  But since February, there have been epidemiologists who believe that the true number was more like 4 or 5 new infections per patient in China before the lockdown (https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.18.20024315) and they tell me that in that case, there is no way to just let the virus race through the less vulnerable population then die out.

A lot of these fashionable online conference and chat systems sound impossible for anyone, and especially an introvert, to manage: too many things flashing at you at once and demanding instant replies.
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Caradìlis on April 04, 2020, 11:04:42 AM
The masks for shoppers thing seems to be having an awkward roll-out - which is to say, I went shopping today and did not wear a mask at any point, because, well, there weren't any being given out at the shop, or indeed any on sale at the shop, and I can't create them by magic. I guess maybe the bigger supermarkets are rolling them out first?

According to what I heard on the news, shops under 400 square meters do not have to abide by that rule, but it is reccommended that everyone try and get a mask for themselves... Do you know anyone crafty who can sew you one and drop it in your mailbox, maybe?
Title: Re: The Crowne Grippe (COVID-19 Thread)
Post by: Jubal on April 04, 2020, 04:38:35 PM
I don't think I know anyone nearby who sews (I mean I can sew, but I don't have a machine and I'm hardly efficient). I've got a neck-warmer that I can wear over my face for next time I go, it'll be as good as a cloth mask - though I'm not super convinced that masks below surgical levels are all that useful, given the increased risk of touching one's face to adjust it (especially for someone like me with skin conditions so I might actually have to). But I'll probably do that anyway, to avoid people getting on my case about it

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A lot of these fashionable online conference and chat systems sound impossible for anyone, and especially an introvert, to manage: too many things flashing at you at once and demanding instant replies.
Yes, I've mostly shifted to asynchronous teaching in order to avoid video conferences - larger scales than about 9-10 people really don't work so well over video, I think, I'm happy using it for very small group sessions, or team meetings, but anything bigger is an absolute nope. I'm doing a text-chat on slack weekly with my class - text means I don't end up losing people's questions to glitches or confusion - and doing a lot of emailing, setting homework for most of the actual teaching load. But it's proving a lot of work compared to running the class normally.