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Be Like Sweden 

When it comes to dealing with COVID-19, we should all be more like Sweden.  They always kept their young kids in school and had limited lockdowns.  They had a large number of deaths in the beginning but now they have almost zero and are being told they don't need to wear masks anymore.

The US after a couple of months of lockdowns, shutting down the schools and forcing many businesses to close, has death rate that is still increasing.  Some states and local areas are postponing their plans to open up more of their economies.

While Sweden was criticized for having so many deaths in the beginning, they have always had a more long-term realistic approach to dealing with coronavirus. They pushed their deaths forward, the US and most other countries have pushed them into the future unless there is a vaccine suddenly available. 

This chart tells you all you need to know.  They are months ahead of the US and many other countries as well.

For more on why this is happening, read my post from 3-13-2020.

 

 

Source

 

Lockdowns Prevented 60 Million COVID-19 Cases in the US 

tA study released this week says that the lockdowns prevented 60 million people in the US from getting COVID-19.

A study by UC Berkeley says that lockdowns may have prevented 500 million COVID-19 cases in six countries: China, United States, France, Italy, Iran and South Korea.

Let's hope they find a vaccine really soon!

Preventing hundreds of millions of people around the world from getting coronavirus, also prevented most of them from developing an immunity to it.  The lockdowns trashed the global economy, destroyed million of lives and businesses and have brought many poor people around the globe to the brink of starvation.

With all the non-stop media and government fear-mongering about the pandemic, it's easy to forget that the mortality rate from COVID-19 is very low, somewhere around 1%.  Many people have no symptoms and don't even know that they have it.  All they get from the infection is a natural immunity to it.

So if it comes back in future waves, what will they do then?  Lock everybody up again because there's no herd immunity in the population? 

I believe a tremendous opportunity was lost here and at a huge cost to economies and people around the world, especially the poor who have no financial safety blanket to weather lockdowns, and often lack enough space for social distancing.

Until there is a vaccine, the best chance we have to fight COVID-19 is to develop herd immunity.  It's free and effective and the ability to get it has evolved over many millions of years.  We should not be completely stopping infections, we should be slowing them down so that those who get seriously ill can get the medical attention they need.  That can be done without totally destroying so many people's lives.

Today's Johns Hopkins map shows that almost 3.4 million people around the world have recovered from COVID-19.  We'd be in a much stronger position if that number was closer to 500 million.

 

5-21-2020 - When A Vaccine is More Dangerous Than the Disease 

The media has done a great job of whipping up fear and hysteria around the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

The government is throwing billions of dollars into developing a vaccine and there is much discussion among drug companies and doctors about ways to vaccinate everyone on the planet.

An article in Smithsonian Magazine tells what happens when fear mongering greases the path for a hastily developed vaccine.  Swine flu was not as deadly as the vaccine they invented to prevent it.  

This all happened in the spring, with emergency legislation for the “National Swine Flu Immunization Program,” being signed into effect in mid-April. By the time immunizations began on Oct. 1, though, the proposed epidemic had failed to emerge (although Legionnaires' Disease had, confusing matters further.) 

“With President Ford’s reelection campaign looming on the horizon, the campaign increasingly appeared politically motivated,” Kreston writes. In the end, one journalist at The New York Times went so far as to call the whole thing a “fiasco.” Epidemiology takes time, politics is often about looking like you’re doing something and logistics between branches of government are extremely complicated. These factors all contributed to the pandemic that never was. 

The real victims of this pandemic were likely the 450-odd people who came down with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, after getting the 1976 flu shot. On its website, the CDC notes that people who got the vaccination did have an increased risk of “approximately one additional case of GBS for every 100,000 people who got the swine flu vaccine.”

Pandemic not as bad as originally predicted.  Election on the horizon. Rush to force vaccinations on as many people as possible.  Does this all sound a little familiar?

Pay attention.  I have the feeling we're about to see history repeat itself.

As of today, almost 2 million people worldwide have recovered from COVID-19 without a vaccine.  They have their natural immunity to thank for their recovery, a natural immunity that most other human being possess as well.

Here's today COVID-19 map from Johns Hopkins.

5-4-2020 Over 1.1 Million Have Recovered from COVID-19 

While this number is certainly smaller than the actual number, it's great to see that over 1.1 million people around the world have recovered from COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus currently sweeping the globe.

Here is today's chart:

President Trump is currently predicting there will be a vaccine by the end of the year.  This prediction should be taken with a truckload of salt.  Just a few days ago Trump suggested that injecting household disinfectants could be an effective treatment for COVID-19.  

The fact is that there is currently no vaccine and nobody knows when one will be available.  Over 30 years ago they were optimistically predicting we would soon have a vaccine against HIV, the virus the causes AIDS, but one has not been found.

Natural antibodies to the coronavirus are created when people have COVID-19 and so far there have not been any cases of people getting sick twice from the disease.  The people with the natural "herd" immunity are the solution to the pandemic, but currently polices which prevent the virus from spreading, are slowing down the creation of natural immunity in our population.  They also make it far more likely that we'll have a second wave of the pandemic in the fall, something that would not happen if we had a much larger number of people who have recovered from the disease.

See also:

Asymptomatic Coronavirus Carriers Are the Solution, Not the Problem 

Natural Immunity to COVID-19 is a Human Right

4-23-2020 - Asymptomatic Coronavirus Carriers are the Solution Not the Problem 

The number of people worldwide who have recovered from COVID-19 is now 738,500.  These people now have some natural immunity to coronavirus.  The actual number of people recovered is certainly much higher than that because several recent studies have shown that about 50% of people with coronavirus have no symptoms.  These studies were in Los Angeles, the USS Roosevelt, a homeless shelter in Boston, Santa Clara County in California, and perhaps the most important was the entire country of Iceland which has done more testing than any other county.

Since most of the disease is spread by the asymptomatic carriers who don't even know they are infected, people assume they are the problem and they should all be quarantined.  But keep in mind that if those numbers hold true over time, it means that half of the people they infect will never get sick.  Those people are a huge step toward having a natural herd immunity to COVID-19.  If we lock them all up, we'll never develop herd immunity and this pandemic will persist until there is a vaccine. If there is ever a vaccine. Nobody knows when that will be.  A recent study showed there are already more that 30 strains. The more strains, the more difficult it is to develop a universal vaccine.  They have been working on a vaccine for HIV for more than 30 years and still haven't found one.

As I discussed in my previous post, Natural Immunity to COVID-19 is a Human Right, why wait for a vaccine when natural immunity is free, superior and available now.

The media is only focused on how many are dying even though they are still a very small number of the people who get infected.  Most of these asymptomatic carriers are not even included in the statistics due to the lack of testing.  When they are included they will probably lower the mortality rate to something around 1%.

Here is today's map from Johns Hopkins University.

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4-8-2020 Number of People With Natural Immunity to Coronavirus Surging 

With the media largely focused on the number of new COVID-19 cases and then number of deaths, the number of people who have survived doesn't get as much attention.  There are now over 318,000 who have recovered.  That is an increase of over 55,000 in just three days.  Most likely, these people now possess antibodies to coronavirus and have a natural immunity to it.  They should have nothing to fear from it from this point forward.  The faster this number increases, the faster we will establish a herd immunity in our population and life will return to normal, although most of us don't really know what normal is these days.

There are most likely many people who have had the virus but cleared it without showing any symptoms because the genetic resistance is stronger than people who do become symptomatic or very sick.  Until we have widespread access to antibody testing we won't know the number who have a natural immunity so strong that they never progressed to a full-blown illness.

I discussed natural immunity to coronavirus which causes COVID-19 in a previous post, Natural Immunity to COVID-19 is a Human Right, and several other posts on this blog as well.

Today's map from Johns Hopkins University

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4-5-2020 More Good News on Recoveries 

There are now more than 260,000 recoveries from COVID-19.  This number is certainly too low given that anybody who had a case that hasn't been detected because they had minimal or no symptoms has not been counted.

Today's map from John's Hopkins:

We need a lot more people like this to end this pandemic!

DIY Cloth Face Mask - No Sewing Required 

You can make this simple cloth face mask to cover your face when out in public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You only need a napkin, scarf or some other square piece of fabric that is big enough to do the job.

According to the Washington Post, the CDC may change their policy on masks by suggesting people use a cloth face covering so that medical masks can be used by the doctors and nurses who need them for close contact with patients.

Here's my video. It's simple.

 

Other countries have had great success with using masks to fight the spread of coronavirus.  There's a great video from the Czech Republic that explains their success and why they believe they work.  This is well worth watching.

#masks4all

 

Head of Chinese CDC: Not Wearing Masks is a Mistake 

Dr. George Gao, the Director of the Chinese CDC says that the US and Europe are making a big mistake not wearing masks to fight the spread of COVID-19.

This ABC News report says that even Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Trump are reconsidering the policy that masks are not useful in the battle against coronavirus. I think a big change is coming on this policy.

 

Everybody Should Wear a Mask and Gloves for COVID-19 

The official recommendation is that masks don't do any good for the little people who just want to avoid getting or transmitting coronavirus which causes COVID-19.

The first thing the government should have done was to get medical grade masks and gloves to everyone.  It should have been much easier can cheaper than all the other things they are trying but it didn't happen.  Instead they just try to make people feel powerless which also makes people afraid.

This excellent article in the Washington Post, written by a research scientist at the University of San Francisco, shoots down the idea that masks do no good and advocates that even a DIY mask is better than nothing at all:

When I first started wearing a mask in public, I felt a bit odd. But I reminded myself I’m helping my community, and I’m sure in the coming weeks people who don’t wear masks will be the ones who feel out of place. Now I’m trying to encourage everyone to join me — and to get their friends to wear masks, too — with a social media campaign around #masks4all.

The government should be supplying them to everyone, first to medical personnel, then to everyone else. They aren't complicated or expensive to make and many millions could be produced in a short time.

Doctors and nurses use them to protect themselves and their patients.  They would work for everybody else, too.  Until that happens why not empower ourselves by DIY.

 

More Talk About Natural Immunity to COVID-19 As More People Survive 

I've been writing about natural immunity to COVID-19 since January 26, 2020.  That's two month ago.

As more people survive, the media is starting to focus on them and how valuable their immunity will be in winning the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

This video is from CBS News and talks about the antibodies the survivors carry.  According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now 131,700 survivors around the world.  I'm sure there are many more because, as this video points out, there are probably plenty of people who had the virus and never knew it.  As antibody tests become more available, we will be able to identify them. 

The woman in this video who survived COVID-19 says she feels like Superwoman.   There will soon be many more like her.

 

Here is today's map from Johns Hopkins University.

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3-22-2020 - A Lot More People Recover from COVID-19 Than Die from It 

Each day the news about coronavirus COVID-19 keeps getting worse.  A few hundred Italians die every dayThe Spanish death toll is increasing rapidly.  It's not just older, sick people who are becoming seriously ill but many younger people as wellHospitals will soon be unable to treat all the patients who are seriously ill and will be forced to make choices about who lives and who diesPeople are losing their jobs and many won't be able to survive economically unless they get some immediate help. The stock market is crashing faster than it ever has before.  This list goes on.

There are plenty of news articles about the dark side. The good news is, as of today, there all almost 100,000 people who have contracted coronavirus and survived it.  This is far more that the 14,700 who have died from it.  The number of people who have recovered is lower than it will be because when people get sick they get tested.  If they test positive they are immediately counted among the total cases "confirmed."  It can take two weeks  or longer for all symptoms to go away when a patient will be called "recovered."  So the number of recovered lags way behind the confirmed number.

We know that the mortality rate is somewhere around 2-3%, so 97-98% of people will ultimately recover. If the health care system becomes overwhelmed, however, that mortality rate will most certainly increase. There are going to be a lot of difficult times before we have a substantial population of people who have recovered and who have developed a natural immunity to COVID-19. The more of them, the faster we can get over this.  It's going to happen and it's something to be thankful for.

Today's JHU COVID-19 map:

I have written several articles in COVID-19 and you can see them all on my blog page.

I also have written and recorded a couple of songs that might interest you. "A Better Life" which I released about six months ago, is built on Morse Code for SOS.  Some lyrics from it are, "I'm troubled by the state of things, afraid for all mankind."  

"Billion Dollar Pill" was written in 2011 when we were in the depths of the last economic crash.  I knew we were going to get back there again and here we are.

They both seem prescient right now.

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Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Released from Hospital 

Since most people who are infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) develop a resistance to it and recover, it is not a surprise that actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress/singer Rita Wilson have been released from the hospital in Australia, after testing positive for the virus.  They are now self-quarantining at their home in Australia.

When they fully recover they should possess a natural immunity to COVID-19 and will be free to go about their lives without concern for getting infected and possibly dying.  They also should not be able to infect others with virus from their own bodies though I can think of ways they might transfer the virus from an infected person to an uninfected person. Shaking hands with an infected person and then shaking hands with an uninfected person is an example.

They are not the only celebrities to become infected.  I hope that people pay attention to the recoveries of celebrities.  As they see more an more people recover and become immune to the virus, they will realize that getting infected, and becoming a person who will help end the pandemic might be better than constantly living in isolation and fear.  There has to be a better balance between social isolation and completely shutting down life and the economy, and helping healthy people successfully get a natural immunity to COVID-19.  Such people are the key to beating this pandemic.

It's also important that both Tom and Rita are over 60 and it has been reported that they both have underlying health conditions.  If you believe the media on this, you would think they should both be dead.  Remember that about 98% of those who get infected do survive and become naturally immune.

All the best to Tom and Rita and the thousands of others who have recovered and are in the process of recovering right now. 

There is evidence that "undocumented cases" are the cause of most new infections.  Those are people who have the virus without significant symptoms.  The fact that they haven't been detected means they are not included in the statistics for total cases, or the number of people who have "recovered" from the pandemic.  This makes the mortality rate look higher than it really is.

It might be tempting to think that the undocumented cases are the cause of the epidemic.  COVID-19 is the cause.  Some might think that they should be identified as soon as possible and quarantined.  But the fact is from a biological and genetic viewpoint, they are the solution to the problem.  They possess a genetic resistance to this disease.  They should be celebrated because they are the salvation of our species with regard to COVID-19 and probably other closely related pathogens.  They will probably pass their resistance on to their offspring.

WE NEED MORE TESTING AND NOW!

I've written a number of articles about topic on my blog.

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3-15-2020 Number of Coronavirus Survivors Continues to Grow 

As you can see from today's COVID-19 map from Johns Hopkins University, the number of people who have survived a coronavirus infection continues to increase rapidly. The more people who get infected, the greater the number of people who beat the infection by developing a natural immunity to the virus.  Once a person has a natural immunity it is likely that they cannot be infected again or transmit the infection to others. They're free!

Currently numbers:

Cases: 162,687

Recovered: 75,620

Deaths: 6,065

The number of survivors is 12 times the number of deaths.  The number of deaths probably is distorting the real mortality rate because there are almost certainly people who are infected but have symptoms that are so mild that they never get tested or feel sick.  Such people will also not be counted among those recovered.  This will also make the numbers look more dismal than they really are.  (Update 3/16/2020:  A Chinese study confirms that there are many undocumented cases and they are responsible for most of the spread of the disease.)

We won't know the true scope of this pandemic until we have more testing!

I'd also like to point out that the number of cases in the southern hemisphere is starting to grow.  Many people believe that the coronavirus infection rate will slow down as the northern hemisphere moves into summer.  But it is the end of summer in the southern hemisphere and they appear to be getting a steady increase in cases.  We'll have to wait on that one.

For more on why the recoveries are so important check out this article

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3-13-2020 - Natural Immunity to COVID-19 is a Human Right 

Coronavirus COVID-19 is causing the human race to make major, life-disrupting changes to how we live our lives.  A little tiny virus, that can't even be seen with the naked eye, is bringing the most intelligent species on our planet to its knees.

Entire countries like Italy are being shut down in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.  We are all being encouraged, sometimes forced, to practice social distancing by avoiding any unnecessary contact with others including social events, large and small.  Large events like major sports events, concerts, etc. are being cancelled to slow down transmission of the virus.

The purpose of this is to "flatten the curve."  Public health authorities are hoping that slowing the rate of infections will keep the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.  Once the number of sick people exceeds the ability of our health infrastructure to care for them, it's possible that the mortality rate could increase because the sick can't get even the most basic treatment.

We are already seeing an embarrassing and some might say shameful shortage of testing supplies.  The US is far behind other countries in its ability to test for the virus.  Let's hope that we don't see the same shortages with doctors, nurses, disinfectants, drugs or anything else that will help us fight this pandemic.

What happens if the doctors, nurses, lab technicians, scientists, police, military personnel start getting sick?  What about people in really important jobs who are running our most important computer systems or social benefit systems?

Social distancing and flattening the curve to slow in the infection rate is only half of the solution.  Ultimately, people need to be immune from getting sick for things to return to normal.  We are being told that vaccines are being developed and will soon be tested.  But we should not forget that vaccines are a relatively new invention.  Before that, we had a reliable and free way to become immune.  When you got infected you got sick and your body developed a natural immunity to the disease so you won't get it again.  This remarkable process has evolved over billions of years and has preserved and advanced life on our planet.  That ability if still there, but keeping people from getting infected will defeat that natural process and make it impossible for people to develop a natural immunity to COVID-19 and possibly other closely related viruses as well.

Natural immunity saved our species through many epidemics, many far more serious and deadly than coronavirus.  Polio, tuberculosis, smallpox, the Black Plaque, the Spanish Flu are just a few examples.  They had much higher mortality rates than COVID-19 and could leave people crippled or scarred for life even when they survived.  But the fact is that even in the most serious epidemics, some people survive because they have a stronger genetic resistance. They pass this resistance on to their offspring who are then naturally immune to the disease.  It's called evolution and it has worked for billions of years.

You can't pass the immunity you receive from a vaccination on to your offspring because it is not based on your genes.  

From what we know so far, COVID-19 produces a relatively mild flu in most healthy people under 60, but much greater complications and even death in people who are older and/or have underlying health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.  Getting COVID-19 is not like getting polio, malaria or smallpox.  Somewhere around 97-98% of the people who get coronavirus will survive, and most importantly, they will be immune from getting it in the future.  They won't be able to spread it, they will be able to live normal lives again, taking public transportation, going to work, attending large sporting events, etc. 

Those who are preaching social distancing are also holding out hope that an effective vaccine is coming soon.  I've heard estimates of 12-18 months.  It will be costly to develop and costly to distribute.  Compare that to becoming immune in two weeks for free, in a way that has proven effective for millions of years in humans and their close evolutionary ancestors.  That's what will happen if you are healthy and get infected with COVID-19. 

Actor, Tom Hanks, and his wife Rita Wilson are both ill from coronavirus in Australia.  The wife of Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, is also infected.  She is now recovering while her husband is in self-imposed quarantine.  Assuming they have mild cases of this flu, Hanks, Wilson and Gregoire Trudeau will all be immune from the disease when they recover.  It sounds very liberating to me.

I'm not suggesting that anybody should be forced to become infected with COVID-19.  But nobody should be prevented from using their body's immune system to develop a natural immunity to this coronavirus as long as they do it responsibly and avoid infecting others who do not wish to make the same choice.  To deny anybody the right to become immune to a major pandemic by getting sick for a short time can only be viewed as assault on their natural right of self-defense.

Here is today's chart from Johns Hopkins University.  Most people, including myself have been fixated on the number of cases and deaths.  But the really important number is "recovered".  Those people are now liberated from the threat of coronavirus. They also can't spread it to anyone else.  They don't have to wear a hazmat suit to protect them from COVID-19.  Unfortunately, they are not yet liberated from hysteria over it.  None of us are.

Total cases:  145,369

Deaths:  5,429

Recovered: 71,694

We need to add scheduled, voluntary infections to the social isolation model.  Some scheduling is important to help flatten the curve. We can use some social isolation to slow down unintended infections, and use scheduled, voluntary infections to build an army of people who are naturally resistant to COVID-19.

I just add that all of this is based on information we have about coronavirus so far which suggests it causes a relatively mild flu in younger, healthy people.  It's possible that there is some more permanent damage that has not yet been discovered or reported. If that is the case then it makes no sense for people to become infected just to develop natural immunity.

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3-9-2020 COVID-19 Seattle, the World and the Stock Market 

My last post on coronavirus was three days ago.  At that point there were just over 102,000 cases worldwide.  Today there are more than 113,000 worldwide, an increase of more than 11,000, or more than 10% in just three days. The number of deaths has exceeding 4,000.

As testing becomes more available we'll probably see even bigger jumps in the numbers.

I live seven miles from Seattle and my city had no cases--until yesterday.  Now we have one, a male in his 60's.  They have not provided any additional information and say they won't unless public health depends on it.  Things are pretty quiet around here with fewer cars on the roads, less people out and about and businesses seeing some substantial declines in customers.  That will probably slow the spread of the virus but it's also totally spooking the stock market which saw its biggest point decline ever today.  Saudi Arabia also started an oil price war which isn't helping the market either.

Another important development is that Italy, which has the largest number of deaths outside of China, has put the entire country on lockdown.

I'm over 60 so I'm spending a lot of time at home.  I can't wait until testing is easy and cheap like The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working on.  They are hoping to roll out a program in the Seattle area initially because it is the hardest hit area in the country as well as the Gates hometown. People will be able to make better informed decisions about how to deal with their own situation.

Here is today's map from John's Hopkins:

Total cases: 113,739

Total deaths: 4,016

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3-6-2020 COVID-19 Update and Life in Seattle 

Today the coronavirus hit a milestone.  The number of infections jumped to 102,186 and the global death toll reached 3,491.  That's the first time over 100,000.  (See map below.)

The number of people infected would have to be higher because there's no way they've tested everyone on the planet for COVID-19.  They've only tested a small portion of the population.

The good news is that most people are able to survive the infection with little more than a mild flu.  Deaths are disproportionately in older people with underlying health conditions.

Seattle is only about seven miles from where I live so it's getting close. 

The Seattle Times publishes updates including national and global information but also has a lot of local developments. For example, Starbucks closed one of their Seattle stores because an employee tested positive for COVID-19 and the entire staff of that store is now quarantined for two weeks.  The Seattle Convention Center has had three major events canceled.  Clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine have been approved at a Seattle research institute. President Trump called Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee a "snake" after Inslee and Vice President Mike Pence had a cordial, constructive meeting about the growing epidemic.  Guess he couldn't handle the good will.

There are a lot more updates and they keep coming.  Read them at The Seattle Times and come back for more.  It's a good resource.

Here's today's map from Johns Hopkins University.

Infections: 102,186

Deaths: 3,491

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Living in Kirkland, WA with Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

I live only 20 miles from Kirkland, WA which is currently the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington State.  It is also where most of the deaths have occurred in the US so far.

Just last month this disease was almost exclusively in China.  How quickly things have changed.

Check this article if you want to get some idea of what life in Kirkland is like right now.  From the LA Times:

KIRKLAND, Wash. — 

Parents keep their children inside. Few people shake hands anymore. More than two dozen firefighters remain in quarantine. Restaurants and hair salons are close to empty. 

Such is life in Kirkland, Wash., the suburb just east of Seattle known for its folksy downtown and spectacular lakefront views, but now above all as the U.S. epicenter of COVID-19. 

Of the 11 U.S. deaths from the coronavirus epidemic, eight were residents of a local nursing home that is struggling to care for others who may have been infected. An additional death occurred at a Kirkland hospital.

I'm wondering if all the cities around here, and countless more around the country will soon be like Kirkland.

Most of the serious cases and deaths occur in elderly people with underlying health conditions.  That's good news for healthy people less than 60. Even if they get it, their symptoms may be relatively mild or even so mild that they aren't noticed.  But that presents a problem because such people can spread the virus even though they don't know they have it.

I think it's also safe to assume that these numbers from Johns Hopkins University understate the reality of the situation.  Is is realistic to assume that the authorities know all the cases around the entire planet, even from areas of the world that have no well-developed healthcare system or a government that has any interest in monitoring and reporting these numbers accurately?  I think not!

What if a country needs foreign travelers to keep its economy afloat?  Do they want the world to know that a lot of their citizens are getting sick from coronavirus?  Remember how China tried to suppess their numbers and it only made matters worse?

Global cases: 95,416

Deaths: 3,285

Check previous posts on this blog to see how quickly this map has been changing as the spread of the virus accelerates.

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2-29-2020 Coronavirus Hits Close to My Home 

Last night the first death from coronavirus (COVID-19) occurred on US soil.

It's one thing to write about a disease in China or in other parts of the country, but Seattle is my neighborhood and suddenly the threat seems much more real.  Kirkland, WA is a suburb east of Seattle and in King County, the same as Seattle.

The patient who died was in Evergreen Health Medical Center. There is another patient, a woman in her 70's who is reportedly in serious condition at the same hospital.  In addition than 50 staff and residents of a long-term care facility in Kirkland are having respiratory problems and being tested for the coronavirus.  

The health officials reported two cases of COVID-19 virus connected to a long-term care facility in the same suburb, Life Care Center of Kirkland. One is a Life Care worker, a woman in her 40s who is in satisfactory condition at a hospital, and the other is a woman in her 70s and a resident at Life Care who is hospitalized in serious condition. Neither had traveled abroad. 

“In addition, over 50 individuals associated with Life Care are reportedly ill with respiratory symptoms or hospitalized with pneumonia or other respiratory conditions of unknown cause and are being tested for COVID-19,” Seattle and King County officials said. “Additional positive cases are expected.”

There are now more new cases being reported outside of China than in that country.

I think it's inevitable that the coronavirus will get into parts of the world where the residents are poor, in generally poor health, and lack access to health care. That could include many parts of the world like poor regions of Africa, the slums of India and cities in the US with large homeless populations like Seattle and San Francisco.  It's scary to think how fast the virus could spread in such areas and what the death toll might be.

Here's today's virus map:

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2-26-2020: Coronavirus Rattles Global Markets. And Bernie Too? 

Coronavirus contiues to spread and although the global death toll is now 2801 (mostly in China) the fact that it is already preventing markets from operating normally is negatively impacting global markets.  Supply line disruptions, quarantines and travel restrictions are expected to get worse for the foreseeable future.  

The global markets have been in a central bank-nduced bubble for 12 years and the fact that many indexes are at record highs, leaves them vulnerable to any force that will remind investors that there is no such thing as unlimited growth in financial markets or anything else in the physical world.  All growth will reach a limit and then a reduction of some sort will take place until a new balance can be found.

The fact that the CDC announced today that they have the first patient with COVID-19 of "unknown" origin will not instill confidence in the markets tomorrow. Unknown origin refers to cases that can't be tied to a known path of transmission, like travel to China or having contract with somebody who traveled to China.  This is also called "community spread" because the patient most likely got the infection from an unknown source in the community, perhaps from a person who is an asymptomatic spreader.

There's also the fact that democratic socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders, has been gaining momentum and delegates in the Democratic Primary Race of 2020.  Bernie's anti-capitalist rhetoric and the possibility that he could be the Democratic nominee and eventually the President of the United States may also be weighing on the market.

Markets don't like uncertainty.  COVID-19 and Bernie Sanders are possibly giving the markets more uncertainty than they can handle right now.

Another problem is that market meltdowns feed on themselves.  At some point, people who have purchased stocks on credit (margin) get margin calls to put up more cash or sell.  If companies can't do business or can't borrow, they have to lay off employees who are then unable to pay their own bills. That's when things really crash.  Remember the dot.com crash and the housing bubble crash?  But it's too early for that at this point.  Or is it?

Here's today's map:

Total number of cases: 82,164

Number of deaths: 2801

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Update 2-17-2020: Coronavirus Quarantine on Diamond Princess Fails 

Exactly one week ago, I warned that there was an ethical problem in forcing healthy people to stay in a confined location with sick people, where they are more likely to get sick and possibly die. At that time 66 new cases of COVID-19 infection were reported on the Diamond Princess bringing the total to 136.

There are now 454 cases on the ship and the US in evacuating hundreds of patients back to the US where they will most likely have to spend two more weeks in quarantine.  14 have already tested positive for the virus.  Bringing them to the US will double the number of patients with coronavirus within our borders. 

In one week, the number of cases on the ship exploded by more than three times from 136 to 454!

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health admitted that the idea had failed:

"The quarantine process failed," Fauci said. "I'd like to sugarcoat it and try to be diplomatic about it, but it failed. People were getting infected on that ship. Something went awry in the process of the quarantining on that ship. I don't know what it was, but a lot of people got infected on that ship."

This chart from Zerohedge illustrates what a stunning failure the plan was.  It shows the number of Wuhan coronavirus cases outside of China.  The total cases of infection on the Diamond Princess (454) is more than all the other cases outside of China (435).  And it only took 13 days to get there.

To call the quarantine a failure is almost too kind.  It's not too much of a stretch to say it was a human rights violation that caused a lot people to become infected with a deadly virus they might have avoided had they not been quarantined on a ship with sick people. At least they have admitted to the failure and will be trying another approach that will hopefully be effective.

I repeat what I said in my previous post.  If this virus gets into places where a lot of malnourished, generally unhealthy poor people are packed together it will be a disaster.  And if there is any effort to keep the healthy people in the same location with the sick, it will only cause the infection to spread more quickly among that isolated population.

Here is today's global map of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Total cases: 73,335

Deaths: 1873

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Update 2-12-2020: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases Explode 

Just yesterday, it was reported that the rate of new cases of coronavirus, now called COVID-19, was slowing down.

Today, the number of cases exploded to over 60,000 globally and deaths increased to over 1,300.

Here's the latest map:

CNBC also has a report on the sudden increase.  It says that the increase is because they are now including "clinically diagnosed" cases. 

What were they including before if not the clinically diagnosed cases? 

If they have broadened the criteria for diagnosis for COVID-19, we should expect to see bigger increases per day than we've seen so far.  We'll soon find out.

Many have long suspected that China was not reporting the full extent of outbreak in their country.

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Hong Kong Scientist Speculates That 51 Million Could Die From Coronavirus 

In a previous post, I speculated about the possibility that coronavirus infected so many people on our planet that millions of people would die from it causing a reduction in population.

It is reported that Professor Gabriel Leung, the chair of public health medicine at Hong Kong University has been thinking along the same lines.  He speculates that Wuhan coronavirus could infect 60-80% of the human population causing 51 million deaths.

Such an outcome seems highly unlikely at this point.  We still have more to fear from the common flu than coronavirus.

All living species go through cycles of population growth and decline.  Disease is one of the ways that nature controls population growth and makes a species better adapted to the environment.  When the organisms (in this case humans) that can't fight a disease die off, that leaves the organisms that are better adapted genetically to fight the disease. When they breed they will pass their natural immunity on to future generations which makes the species stronger. An inbred resistance to a specific disease is genuine free healthcare, not "free" heathcare that politicians talk about, which will actually cost billions in tax dollars.  It will also prevent the natural free resistance to the disease from becoming part of the species.

With advances in healthcare, the human race has not suffered a major die-off in many decades.  We're long overdue.  It's nothing to fear if you stay focused on the big picture.  It's good for the survival of the species and the planet as well.

My BS degree is in Biology with an emphasis in genetics and evolution.  I'm also a musician and songwriter.  While you're here check out my music.  All this talk about death reminds me of The Song in My Heart from my Billion Dollar Pill album.  All my work is also available on your favorite streaming service as well.

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Update 2-10-2020: Coronavirus Deaths Top 1,000 

Today that number of people diagnosed with Wuhan Coronanavirus topped 43,000 and the number of people who ave died topped 1,000.  It is also the first day when the number of deaths increased by more than 100 in one day. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has remained out of sight throughout the outbreak, appeared in public wearing a face mask.  The WHO chief warned that this could be the "tip of the iceberg."  

Here's today's map:

 

A cruise ship docked in Japan added 66 to its list of infected passengers, bringing the total to 136.

There is an ethical problem with forcing healthy people to stay in a confined space where they are more likely to catch a disease and possibly die from it.  Nobody seems to be talking about this.  I think is will become a big issue in the future as more people are confined and especially if the virus gets into poor areas like the slums of India or impoverished areas in Africa, where there is no healthcare and no way to determine who is infected and who isn't or how to treat people who are sick.

I can imagine that such places will use the military to try and keep people in a confined area and that it will fail.  The human desire to survive will compel people to escape.  More on this subject later.

Please check back for more updates and while you're hear check out my music.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Update 2-6-2020: The Coronavirus Marches On 

Just four days ago there about 19,000 cases of Wuhan Coronavirus worldwide.  Today there are over 31,472.  That's more than a 50% increase in just four days.  There are 638 dead.

Two weeks ago, January 23, 2020, there were 916 cases reported worldwide. Today's total is 34 times that number.

Here is today's map: 

In addition, the Chinese doctor who first sounded the alarm about coronavirus has died from the disease.

Dr. Li Wenliang was threatened by the government and told that he would be "brought to justice" if he didn't stop "making false comments."  It would not be unreasonable to wonder if it was really the coronavirus that killed him.

7,000 passengers are currently quarantined on two cruise ships, one in Japan and one in Hong Kong.

While these numbers sound scary, it is important to note that the flu has infected millions and killed thousands in the US this year and the flu season isn't over yet.

And even if the coronavirus did infect every person on our planet, there will still be a lot of people left to endanger all life here.

And while you're here play some of my music for free.  Or you can go play it on a streaming service and I can make a few pennies.  You can also listen to my latest song "A Better Life" using the player that should be on your screen.

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