Coronavirus: More than 80% of patients have mild disease and will recover

Started by dsanchez, February 23, 2020, 23:47:08

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SueC

Do you know what, @Ulrich?  I actually nominated that one on their website yesterday and got a message back that it was "unsuitable"...  Ha.  Seemed to be a perfect example to me.  :evil:
SueC is time travelling

SueC

Fabulous article yesterday by Bernard Keane on the relationship between coronavirus transmission and workplace deregulation:

https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/07/23/economy-deregulation-coronavirus/


QuoteAustralia's deregulated, fluid economy creates the perfect conditions for the virus to thrive

Microbes are brilliant at exploiting human economic structures. And our 21st century economy provides opportunities for them to resist even concerted attempts at elimination.


As Victoria is discovering, and the rest of us may yet discover, COVID-19 is perfectly habituated to a 21st century economy centred around services delivered by outsourced, precarious workforces.

Daniel Andrews, whatever his faults, at least recognises the role of insecure work in driving people to continue going to work even if they're feeling ill, enabling the transmission of the virus. And many of those jobs are in service industries, which exposes more people to potential infection.

The acceleration in infection is thus a US-style outcome to a US-style feature of our economy -- that despite Medicare, and a better industrial relations system, workers are still faced with an invidious choice of working while ill or losing income.

The current $1500 payment for casual workers if they become infected is little help for people deciding to lose a few days' shifts for the good of the community.

It's not a choice many people on higher incomes face. And the government is giving federal politicians time off work rather than requiring them to attend parliament, without any loss of income. High-profile journalists, enjoying incomes multiples of those of people in insecure work, scold lower-income people for their irresponsibility.

But many are doing exactly what our economy requires them to do. Australia was once the land -- so we told ourselves -- of worker self-indulgence, a national that honoured the great tradition of chucking a sickie, of putting the feet up rather than doing the hard yakka (funnily enough, that was also when our labour productivity was significantly higher than now, but anyway).

Since the 1990s -- when the level of casualisation in the workforce dramatically increased, though it has stayed relatively level since then -- that's changed fundamentally.

The rapidly expanding personal service economy enabled by the internet has accelerated that in recent years, creating terms like "gig economy" and "side hustle" to describe what has replaced full-time, secure work. And the war in penalty rates conducted by business and the Coalition has only increased pressure on the incomes of people in casual work.

And these are jobs that the worried well of the middle class -- including well-paid journalists -- expect as part of the modern economy. The barista to make a coffee whenever you want; the driver to deliver your food and transport you across town at your command; the petsitter to look after your animals; the cleaner you need at home because you and your partner are too busy. All jobs where if you miss a shift, you don't get paid.

That's a related but quite separate matter to the growth of labour hire and outsourcing, by both governments and the private sector, of what used to be specialist roles but now appears to be pretty much anything, including security guards.

Labour hire, a sector rife with exploitation and wage theft, offers not merely a lower-cost form of labour than bothering to employ someone, but it also outsources responsibility for any problems.

...

For millennia, viruses and bacteria have cleverly adapted to and thrived in human structures -- the settled communities that followed agriculture, the towns and cities that created employment, economies of scale and innovation, the networks that connected them together.

Human economic activity provides the infrastructure for infection, and our latest innovations of outsourcing, insecure work and leaving housing to the marketplace have provided a perfect environment for COVID-19 to resist our attempts to eradicate it. It's a viral world; we just deregulate in it.

...and yet what's our right-wing treasurer calling for this very morning?  According to this morning's Crikey news email:

QuoteTreasurer Josh Frydenberg has identified the first cab off the policy rank in the government's quest to reverse a "free fall" in business investment: industrial relations reform, aimed at "injecting greater flexibility into the labour market".

"Our view is that those flexibilities that apply to the employer, and give them the ability to change duties, to change hours and to change the location of staff, should continue, not just for those firms that meet the reapplied eligibility test, but should apply to those firms on JobKeeper right now," he said.

In case you needed reminding, the vast majority of this second wave comes down to "flexible" (see deregulated) work -- casuals who worked while ill because they didn't have access to sick pay, untrained security guards hired over WhatsApp, and now, underqualified and inadequately trained staff without access to proper PPE at aged care homes.

SueC is time travelling

SueC

SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Rather worrying:

https://hyperallergic.com/578563/aam-survey-one-third-museums-reopen/

Quote from: undefinedNews from the cultural sector has not been hope-inspiring as of late -- mass layoffs and furloughs continue to plague US institutions, with reopening dates in some states increasingly uncertain as the virus continues to spread. The latest survey to measure COVID-19's impact on the industry, conducted by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), does not augur well for museums: a third of them -- a total of 12,000 organizations -- may never reopen.
:'(
It doesn't touch me at all...

SueC

REFLECTING HALF A YEAR IN...

So, we've been living with COVID-19 in our societies for about half a year, and I was thinking about our initial responses when this was on the horizon, and what we've learnt since.

I was happy to see David post this topic back in late February with the title and slant he gave it - i.e. not sensationalising, just facts.  :cool  It was helpful to remember as this was heading our way that in the majority of cases, the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2 is mild.

And while that's how it turned out, I've got to say the thing that amazed me the most about COVID-19 is just how much havoc can be created in a society by a virus with a fatality rate of 0.5-1% - and that's still the figure being mooted by most commenting epidemiologists now - because so many people have it (often mildly / asymptomatically) and were never tested and therefore aren't in the count - and of course, fatality rates increase when hospitals can't handle all the cases who need support (because of poor resourcing / curves not being flat enough).

It's the first time those present here have been in a pandemic, so it's a learning experience.  While of course pandemics are always a theoretical possibility, and increasingly so as the planet becomes more overcrowded with humans and the remaining non-human biota get more and more stressed, when this one did finally sneak up on us, it was a bit like the boy who cried wolf.

How was that for all of you?  I've got to admit, I was mostly media fasting when this all began, due to the lamentable state of human society on the macro scale and not wanting my energy drained away unnecessarily by having that in my face all the time, and I'm generally cynical when mass media are presenting a new bogeyman (especially as they concomitantly tend to ignore or minimise real, actual problems - especially the commercial, non-independent media).  So, for me, the point I began to sit up and take note was when an online pal who edits a medical journal said, "This thing that's coming is serious."  I'd known her well enough for long enough to respect her judgement on matters like this, and that's when I started keeping an eye on this bug, also aided by an online thread she made with non-sensationalised, reliable information on it (including links to published medical studies etc).

The pandemic broke my media fast - in part because of the acceleration of positive developments that have come with it, like the increasing support for BLM and other social justice movements, the removal of offensive statues and their dumping in harbours etc by everyday people around the world (attempts to go through the official channels simply didn't work, as is often the case), the increasing levels of communication and connection about things that mattered amongst people during lockdown, the real-world demonstration in Australia that the sky didn't fall in if you gave unemployed people enough money to buy medicine and vegetables (funny how they doubled the social security money when a lot of the middle class was suddenly out of work - and of course, enough people were now personally affected for it to potentially affect the vote) - things like that.

I always regretted missing the 60s, which had seemed to me the last point in history where there had been a chance the West was going to choose a different path.  But now, we have another slim opportunity to make that happen, while the juggernaut of business-as-usual has been slowed down, and its faults have been so emphatically highlighted by COVID-19.  A pandemic isn't a fun thing, but when it happens on the Titanic, is there a possibility that it will get us to change course instead of heading blithely for the iceberg?  Maybe, just maybe, will it teach us that we are fragile organisms in a pillaged, endangered biosphere, and not free-floating economic entities with consequence-free lives?

Thoughts and love to anyone living in areas which are currently experiencing outbreaks.  Hang in there, @word_on_a_wing, @piggymirror, anyone else where things are nosediving again. ♥
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on August 02, 2020, 02:22:04So, we've been living with COVID-19 in our societies for about half a year...

Half a year? I gotta admit it starts to feel like 100 years...  :persevere:  :unamused:

Some politicians are talking about a 2nd wave - but looking at the numbers (e.g. from the local newspaper) I don't see it right now here in Germany.

In my humble opinion, they shouldn't have allowed travelling so soon. In theory, you're supposed to go into quarantine when coming home from abroad and/or be tested, but no-one really controls if this gets done at all.  :?

Then politicians talk about the rules, which should be followed, but at the same time there's a huge demonstration in Berlin against those rules (and most of them didn't wear masks, didn't keep distance).  :confounded:

I don't know... if there should be a "2nd wave", restrictions should be regionally - we can't afford to put the whole of Germany in "lockdown" again.
It doesn't touch me at all...

SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on August 03, 2020, 09:54:35In my humble opinion, they shouldn't have allowed travelling so soon. In theory, you're supposed to go into quarantine when coming home from abroad and/or be tested, but no-one really controls if this gets done at all.  :?

Yeah, I agree with you; in Australia people still have to quarantine if they cross the national border, which is only allowed for a small number of reasons, and not for general travel.  That's been helpful, and has been stringently enforced, but you can see what happens if unqualified people / people breaking protocol supervise hotel quarantines and carry the virus back home with them, as happened in Melbourne, which now has a second wave that's caused more infections and deaths than the first wave did in the whole of Australia.  :worried:  We had quarantine breaches in WA too, like one guy getting out through a fire door to catch public transport to go sightseeing, instead of staying in the quarantine hotel.  We just got lucky so far, but one day we won't be.  If an interstate truck driver stuffs up protocol while unknowingly infected, it can set off community transmission too.

Interstate borders are also helpful with their various travel restrictions, but of course some idiots with lots of money have been trying to take WA to court for having a largely closed border.  I heard that hearing at least got suspended until October, which is a good start.


QuoteThen politicians talk about the rules, which should be followed, but at the same time there's a huge demonstration in Berlin against those rules (and most of them didn't wear masks, didn't keep distance).  :confounded:

OMG, you've got "freedom" protestors in Germany?  We've got a small proportion of nutters here too doing this, but not on a big scale so far.  Our biggest protests are BLM and they've been at pains to wear masks, follow social distancing and use hand sanitiser, and so far not a single transmission is linked to the BLM protests in Australia.


QuoteI don't know... if there should be a "2nd wave", restrictions should be regionally - we can't afford to put the whole of Germany in "lockdown" again.

That's what's happening here.  Lockdowns are in regions where outbreaks are.  It's the same principle as something I learnt last year, when Brett and I both got the flu very badly for the first time in our lives (horizontal for two weeks, breathing difficulties, bronchitis):  If one of us comes home ill, we have to isolate from each other in separate rooms/bathrooms, because it's not good when every household member goes down at the same time.  If one of us can avoid getting infected, they can better support the sick person.  Sadly, snuggling up to a virus-infected spouse may feel like support, but in a couple of days that can make two very ill people.  I think it's the same with different regions in a country - if we can avoid all going down at once, we can better support each other.
SueC is time travelling

SueC

A nice little article on COVID-19 risk factors, and the role of good nutrition in reducing susceptibility to infection:  https://drdingle.com/covid-nutrition-the-gut-and-inflammaging/

By Dr Peter Dingle, my erstwhile toxicology lecturer - a guy with a first-rate research brain, who has always been interested in lifestyle diseases and how to prevent them - and public education on this been his focus for the last couple of decades.
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quite a good analysis (German only, sorry) of the protesters against the Corona measures.

https://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/1140754.corona-rebellen-paranoia-taktik-und-spektakel.html

QuoteWiderstehen muss man jedenfalls einem Reflex: alles, was nicht vernünftig ist, als idiotisch und alles, was nicht moralisch ist, als kriminell abzutun. Denn das Verhalten von Menschen, wie destruktiv und soziophob auch immer, hat Ursachen, »Erklärungen«, hat einen psychologischen Unter- und einen ideologischen Überbau.
It doesn't touch me at all...

Ulrich

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/15/sweden-records-its-fewest-daily-covid-19-cases-since-march

Quote"We don't have the resurgence of the disease that many countries have," Anders Tegnell, the country's chief epidemiologist and architect of its no-lockdown strategy, told broadcaster France-24 in an interview, adding that the country was broadly happy with its overall strategy.

"In the end, we will see how much difference it will make to have a strategy that's more sustainable, that you can keep in place for a long time, instead of the strategy that means that you lock down, open up and lock down over and over again."

Unlike many countries, Sweden closed schools for the over-16s but kept those for younger pupils open, insisting on full attendance. Schools and universities are now open again.

It also banned gatherings of more than 50 people and told people over 70 and in at-risk groups to self-isolate.

Otherwise, the population of 10 million was asked, rather than ordered, to respect physical distancing and work from home if possible, which it largely did. Shops, bars, restaurants and gyms stayed open and the wearing of masks has not so far been recommended.
It doesn't touch me at all...

Ulrich

In my humble opinion, it is time (in Germany at least) to slow down with the "panic-making" and fear-mongering.

QuoteMan habe in Deutschland derzeit eine völlig normale Sterblichkeitsrate. Bei der Hitzewelle 2018 und bei der Grippewelle 2017 habe man sehr viel deutlicher eine Übersterblichkeit gesehen. "Wir haben es mit einem ernstzunehmenden Virus zu tun, aber wir dürfen dieses Virus nicht mehr überdramatisieren."

Streeck wies darauf hin, dass die Sterblichkeit von Corona-Infizierten sehr viel niedriger sei als man das im Frühjahr befürchtet hatte. "Dieses Virus ist tödlich nur für wenige. Genauso wie viele andere Viren auch", meinte Streeck.

Die zunehmenden Erkenntnisse der Wissenschaft sollten Mut machen: Es gebe fast keine Übertragung über Gegenstände. Auch gebe es im normalen Alltagsgeschäft - etwa im Einzelhandel - wenige Ansteckungsrisiken. Viele Infektionen verliefen komplett ohne Symptome. Nur noch fünf Prozent der Infizierten bräuchten überhaupt eine klinische Versorgung, weitaus weniger gar eine intensivmedizinische.

Streeck plädiert für ein Ende des Krisen- und Panikmodus, der Umgang mit dem Virus müsse zur in ein normales Risikohandling wie bei vielen anderen Risiken des Lebens auch übergehen. Ängste zu schüren sei der falsche Weg, weil man damit die Gesellschaft spalte und die Akzeptanz für eigenverantwortliche Achtsamkeit schwäche.

Maskenpflichten etwa an der frischen Luft seien unsinnig. "Wir brauchen einen Wechsel im Krisenmanagement. Wir dürfen die Krise nicht verwalten, sondern müssen Lösungen finden. Sorgsam pragmatische Lösungen", empfiehlt der Virologe.
https://www.gmx.net/magazine/news/coronavirus/virologe-hendrik-streeck-verbotspolitik-corona-pandemie-35144824
It doesn't touch me at all...

MeltingMan

Quote from: Ulrich on October 05, 2020, 18:57:26In my humble opinion, it is time (in Germany at least) to slow down with the "panic-making" and fear-mongering.

Around 800,000 people die every year in Germany statistically. Of these, an estimated 10,000-20,000 from the "normal" flu or its complications if it is not treated in time or properly. Risk groups are the elderly, children and hospital staff. Was it necessary to paralyze a country or an entire continent? I dare not to answer. Viruses are only comfortable in the cold. No wonder that meat processing companies were and are affected, because rooms there have to be permanently cooled. This brings us to the upcoming "cold" season. If everyone, really everyone (and not just two thirds), obeys the rules, I don't see any problems. Unfortunately, this is currently not the case - not in Germany.
« C'est un bourreau caché que notre ange gar-
dien, » a dit Musset, par une de ces divinations
confuses du génie, si admirables et si fréquentes dans Baudelaire.
(Comment on devient fée, érotique, p. 319.)

Ulrich

Quote from: MeltingMan on October 06, 2020, 13:39:29Was it necessary to paralyze a country or an entire continent? I dare not to answer.

In March it was probably a good idea (for a while). However in late April or early May it was obvious that not so many "emergency" beds in hospital were needed (as feared a few weeks before).

What we'd need now is to learn from the numbers (not just have them presented to us in media). What we need is hope and a perspective - especially artists/musicians, technicians (roadies) and many more people working in the socalled "showbusiness".
It doesn't touch me at all...

SueC

For what it's worth, I think the early and hard lockdown policies have served countries like Australia, NZ, Taiwan very well - Taiwan's the real star here; internal life there is relatively normal again - their experience with a SARS epidemic a while back had them extremely well prepared for a pandemic.  In WA we're locked off from the rest of the country with hard border closures and two-week compulsory quarantines for repatriating Australians and anyone else let in on a special permit, but we're big enough to keep an internal economy going - and a large majority (>85%) of the WA population has approved of the way COVID-19 was handled here so far this year - including quickly applied COVID-19 protocols like early lockdown, banning unessential travel, restrictions on social gatherings, adoption of compulsory hand hygiene when entering shops, insistence that people with respiratory symptoms don't go to work and get tested quickly, isolation of suspected cases, etc.

As the weeks with zero documented community transmission increased, restrictions were eased, but not entirely removed.  We could potentially have a second wave like Victoria, since the virus is present in our state (in quarantine, and also potentially coming in with transport crews etc) - all it takes is a single breach of protocol by an infected person (who may not be aware they are infected), combined with breaches of social distancing and hygiene protocols by the general public, to start community transmission, which goes like a runaway train - when you've documented the first one, there's likely dozens undocumented out there already, etc.

Not everyone plays along here, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the supportiveness of the general Australian citizenry for the medical advice, and the extra powers given to deal with people who aren't cooperating.  All in all, I think it's nice for most of Australia (and Victoria is getting there again too, which is fantastic) to be operating far more normally than most other countries now, as a result of go hard, go early policies, including with the second wave lockdown in Melbourne.  Ditto NZ; and Taiwan has been better than either of us Antipodean countries for preventing transmission and quickly tracing outbreaks.

It helps to be an island, but South Korea is also doing pretty well: https://www.wsj.com/articles/lessons-from-south-korea-on-how-to-manage-covid-11601044329

Personally, neither Brett nor I think it's a huge imposition for us to keep following social distancing and hygiene protocols, not go out if we're ill, to wear masks in public indoors or even crowded outdoors spaces, and not to holiday interstate or overseas even in the medium term - and a byproduct for WA has been a historical record low in colds and flus this year, too.  In WA and other places without documented community transmission, if we all comply with this, then most of what are probably inevitable outbreaks will be able to be contained by contact tracing - and the rest by occasional return to lockdown, or partial lockdown - as Victoria and NZ have successfully shown.

Unless SARS-CoV-2 goes the way of SARS, or a successful vaccine is developed (and it may not be), we're not going to be back to pre-pandemic norms for quite a while.  Meanwhile, keeping levels of virus low in the community is the best chance any of us have for continuing to make a living; e.g. we're hosting farmstays again, after an initial three-month closedown; most people here are back at work, with added precautions; and as a society we ought to help people in occupations that have taken a hit to find other meaningful paid things to do (there are many meaningful things that need doing urgently) - of course, the right-wingers would scream "socialism" - they prefer legal robbery of the masses by the well-heeled.

I agree that stoking fear is stupid - we should be doing XYZ because they're sensible things that we can do to reduce the spread of this virus - the same as we should be eating nutritiously and exercising sufficiently in order to reduce our risks of contracting lifestyle diseases.  It's just commonsense; but sadly, commonsense doesn't sell trashy newspapers.

Also, I agree that wearing masks outdoors isn't necessary if you're not in a crowded situation - unless you've got respiratory symptoms, but then it would be much better if you stayed home.

By the way, it's incorrect to say, "Viruses are only comfortable in the cold. No wonder that meat processing companies were and are affected, because rooms there have to be permanently cooled."  First of all, we shouldn't generalise about viruses, because they have a wide range of characteristics and environmental preferences.  Indeed, various viruses can also spread well in warm conditions, as we've seen with COVID-19 in the US and other places this summer.  The main reason human respiratory viruses tend to spread more effectively when it's cold is because people tend to huddle together indoors more then.  The virus transmits best when there's people in close proximity breathing in someone else's infected droplets.

Indoors environments are closed off and tend to have still air, which tends to increase the concentration of airborne respiratory droplets and respiratory (and other) aerosols in the air, when people are present and breathing.  High humidity is another factor, and cold rooms can be quite humid - when you exhale, you can actually see your breath then, because of condensation of water vapour you've breathed out.  Those are floating droplets, and if you're infected, those droplets are infectious.

(Coughing and sneezing, of course, produces droplets directly; and just to complicate matters, viruses that infect the nasal passages tend to do better in low humidity because dry conditions can lead to cracking in the mucous membranes, which presents an opening in the mucus barrier that usually helps to prevent infection.  This is set against potential reduction in the life span of the respiratory droplets in low humidity, through higher evaporation rates.  There's all sorts of complexities, as is usual in these matters.  And yes, some viruses causing respiratory infections have been shown to survive longer outside a host in cold temperatures such as found in a refrigerator;  but you still need to get them into your body to get infected.)

One other issue with meatworks is the difficulty of social distancing for some of the tasks - but appropriate PPE can step in there (and is doing so).  Another is the same as with any other organisation with a lot of floor staff - it becomes more difficult to keep the virus out of the workplace.

But yeah, if we develop appropriate protocols (open to revision, refinement etc), and they're followed by everyone, then it becomes so much easier to deal with this thing.
SueC is time travelling

MeltingMan

Quote from: SueCThe main reason human respiratory viruses tend to spread more
when it's cold is because(...)

It remains to be clarified whether there is a connection between the meat processing industry here and customers in the Far East (China, South Korea). Cold rooms also exist on ships. The jobs there are very tough as well. Many men have wives, children, etc. I say that in contrast to the so-called one-person households, where the risk of infection is, let's say, manageable. At the moment it is no longer enough to rely on the "good will" of the citizens, as the number of cases is rising again (rapidly) in densely populated regions, but the news situation changes every hour.

Quote from: SueCHigh humidity is another factor,

But only if the living space is not properly heated. Then the relative air humidity increases (70-80% or even more).
However, the last winters were too dry (in our region).
« C'est un bourreau caché que notre ange gar-
dien, » a dit Musset, par une de ces divinations
confuses du génie, si admirables et si fréquentes dans Baudelaire.
(Comment on devient fée, érotique, p. 319.)