Thursday, November 26, 2020

PragerU jumps on Angela Merket idea of "freedom from speech" that "hurts" you

Stadtbild Köln (Zuschnitt)


Angel Merkel screamed, in Dec 2019, that expression of an opinion doesn’t come at “zero cost” when it is hateful or hurtful.

PragerU insists that “intellectual comfort is not a fundamental right”.

A whole generation has been raised to believe it has a right to freedom from speech that offends it.

Wikipedia:  Cologne (Koln), click for attribution 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

France (and other EU countries) now beginning to relax a lockdown much stricter than anything ever in US; you can only buy what the government says you "need"? (Marxist?)

Europe is still deep in lockdowns, as France promises to ease a lockdown that started Oct. 30 as some non-essential businesses can open this weekend.  A Guardian story summarizes;  France's copy of its official rules

All the countries are trying to tailor a gradual release of lockdowns before Christmas and New Years.

In France, the daily case counts have finally started to ease.

The lockdown in France does limit people to within a 1 km of their residence and seems to require a hall pass or something like military basic training pass to be out at all.

The rules in France appear to allow someone to replace broken computer hardware only if they need it to make a living, not for personal blogging or social media. It would appear to run a risk someone could lose all their work.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Coronavirus hoax in Adelaide, South Australia leads to draconian shutdown

Adelaide Oval - panoramio


The BBC reports that a “hoax” contributed to a 6-day lockdown in Adelaide, South Australia.  

Apparently, someone who had tested positive led contact tracers to believe that that he had caught coronavirus from touching a pizza box at a shop. There was a fear that this was a new mutated strain that was even more outrageously contagious (maybe partly because of the mink scare in Europe) but proved unfounded.  Conservative news sites in Australia call it the country's "Pizzagate". 

When that lie was revealed, the lockdown was listed (there were 36 active cases).

Australian states have insisted on driving coronavirus to almost zero with much stricter lockdowns on “unnecessary” personal movement, largely to keep people from congregating in homes.

The founder of the original Blogtyrant (now sold), Ramsay Taplan, comes from Adelaide. 

Wikipedia embed of Adelaide soccer stadium, click for attribution.  

Friday, November 20, 2020

Reports that there were COVID-like cases in Italy (maybe Spain) earlier in 2019 surface, as the mystery deepens

Vista dalle Mura .... - panoramio

 The UK paper Daily Mirror reports Chinese claims that there were novel coronavirus cases in Italy in September, 2019, story.  

This would be a sly attempt to blame Italy for its own outbreak beginning in February 2020.  But we know there were visitors from Wuhan to northern Italy in late Jan 2019, but there was also a possibility of a superspreader from Germany in early February.  

The virus in September might be a related undiscovered virus that is less virulent.  It would be necessary to publish exact genomic condons and compare to known strains. However postmortems of some pneumonia patients in Italy in the fall of 2019 have shown CoV2 antibodies.  

There have also been reports of the virus in Barcelona wastewater in March 2019.

There may well be undocumented strains of coronavirus that have caused less severe disease.  It is conceivable that one of these could mutate into the CoV2 form in a person with other infections.

This report sounds more credible than I had first thought. 

In February 2002, about eight months before SARS was known, I had a sudden flu-like illness on a Friday in California.  It subsided somewhat on Saturday, but returned the following Tuesday but subsided on Thursday and gradually went away.  There was chills, fever, and severe cough.  I had the flu shot that year.  The “relapse” of second part of the illness resembled Covid today, with a lot of malaise and maybe a little shortness of breath for a day or so (and some unusual diarrhea which was odd). There may have been other SARS-like Beta coronaviruses circulating before 2003 which did not "catch fire" and caused intermittent diseases.  It's possible that if you had a case like this twenty years ago, you have some T-cell resistance to CoV2 today.  

Wikipedia, embed of Bergamo Italy, click for attribution 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Curious study in Denmark about mask usage for COVID19

Kattegat coast of Skagen

There is some controversy about a study in Denmark that apparently showed that wearing masks offered little benefit to the wearer.  Here is Healthy Skeptic 

Other journals have said (or confirmed) that the study does not confound the likelihood that mask wearing protects others. Check the New York Times article by Gina Kolata. 

And if people wore the best possible masks (N95’s) they would be protecting themselves.

The CDC maintains, however, that even less than perfect masks help protect the wearer.

Denmark, as noted, also has the mink farm cull and mutation.

Danish coastal landscape, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Greece requires citizens to text authorities before leaving home

Angelokastro (Corfu)

 Greece is requiring people to text authorities before leaving home, for essential purposes, according to a Fox News and NY Post, by Travis Fedschun. 

It makes sense to close businesses that require persons to remain indoors (particularly unmasked) for an extended time (with the same people).

But this kind of closure restricts everyone “just for authority”, that is, for a complete control of people’s movements (as in Australia with “Dictator Dan”).

One question:  I thought mask usage was pretty much universal in Europe.  But then why has Europe surged so much?  One reason might be indoor (non-commercial) gatherings of households, which get beyond what closing businesses controls.   Restricting personal movements “for authority”, which may included confinement to a small distance from home, is one way to prevent social gatherings.

Wikipedia: ancient Greece, click for attribution 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Credible reports of China's mishandling of knowledge of coronavirus in late 2019 accumulate, and there is no focuses investigation to get to the bottom of it

Enshi grand canyon

It’s useful to provide a roundup of some of the sources on the early days of the virus in China in late 2019.  I’ve already covered Dr. Li, who seems dubious, and her Tucker Carlson (Fox) interview before.

NBC News (Carol E. Lee) had published this analysis in May 2020, making several points of contention about what happened in Wuhan, especially in October 2019. 

Yahoo! recirculated the NBC report a few days later. 

There is a Document Cloud PDF called MACE-E-PAI  

BBC and ABC News had published satellite surveillance reports about parking patterns around Wuhan as being unusual as early as Aug 2019 but especially Oct. 2019.  

There is a timeline of events in BSL-4 in the Wuhan Virology Lab in October.  There is credible information of major communications and physical traffic disruptions in early October.

There is also collaboration at a communications center in Singapore.

There is information about a first known case in Hubei (supposedly Nov. 17, 2019), and it does not seem connected to the Wuhan wet market. 

There was a case in Paris in December 2019, near the airport, which could have been from a community transmission from someone who had flown in from Wuhan. 

There were reports of a very similar virus found in wastewater in Barcelona Spain in March 2019, and in Italy in December 2019.

Vanity Fair reported on a death apparently from COVID in Mississippi as soon as January 9, 2020. 

There was a small outbreak in 2012 near a cave associated with the Mojiang Miners, and a sample was sent to Wuhan in early 2013.  That practically proves that Wuhan Virology Lab had a sample of this or very similar viruses all along.

There is controversy over when the PRRA (furine splitting) sequence was inserted into the virus.  Some feel that this required lab intervention. Others say that this happens naturally when a person has two simultaneous infections.  A similar codon is known for influenza.  No one has documented exactly when the condon first appeared (see Peak Prosperity on YouTube, May 4, 2020), possibly an important clue.

China’s behavior in early 2020 was certainly duplicitous.

Also, Austria will follow Slovkia's lead and start a mass-testing program to try to reopen safely in December.  Austria's PM, Kurz, is only 34 years old. 

Picture: Hubei Grand Canyon, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

British medic warns public about the mutation in mink in Denmark in strongly worded video

John Campbell has another more detailed video on the mutation in mink in Denmark

At about three minutes he discusses the tendency of individuals under quarantine to “nip out” and feel privileged (again at the 6:27 mark), particularly those restricted in relation to this new mutation.  

He also notes that wearing mink has not been socially acceptable in the UK for a long time.

Today (issues blog) Pfizer announced a preliminary result from its trial of 90%.  We don’t know yet if the virus would cover this mutation.

This is a rather sobering video.

Helen Branswell writes in Stat News that many experts believe the fears are overblown, as most mutations don’t change a virus like this that much. 

The area most affected seems to be North Jutland.

Wikipedia attribution link for NASA image of Denmark from satellite, p.d.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Manchester (England) university locks in all students with a fence after almost all test positive for coronavirus

River irwell liz


LockdownTV, on the UK Channel the Unherd, interviews a female student at the University of Manchester, England, about the students being locked in the campus with a fence.

Almost all the students have tested positive, and few have symptoms.  A few have fever for one or two days, and a few have taste and smell disruptions.

Earlier, the university had allowed them go to stores for food with masks.  Now there is a question whether food service is adequate.

Picture: Manchester, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Mutation transmissible to humans from mink in coronavirus leads to culling of mink farms in Denmark, and prophylactically other countries

Birgit Ridderstedt 1984


The SARS-CoV2 coronavirus has long been found in mink, but recently cases of transmission of a mutated form of the virus back to humans was found in northern Denmark. BBC News has a typical story.

There is concern that the mutation would affect vaccines well into development (phase 3), were it to spread.

Therefore, Denmark is culling its mink farms, and will lock down the northern part of the country harder to prevent any cases from leaving.

It is not known if the mutated form produces more severe illness.  But I saw a prediction of still new mutations requiring lockdowns in early 2021 on a right wing channel recently (as part of a “conspiracy”).

Spain and Poland apparently have mink outbreaks.

In the U.S. there has long been a problem in Utah.  But it has not been reported that the mutation is outside of Denmark, which does not want to be the “Wuhan” of the next novel strain.

Laurie Garrett has a long twitter thread today, starting here.   Bus and rails service is stopped in that part of Denmark. 

Update: Nov. 7   John Campbell reports on lockdown in NW Denmark, travel ban to UK from area, quarantine for Brits from area, and a case of the mutated virus in Trondheim, Norway.  The mutated virus is said to have longer incubation period and maybe be even more transmissible (like the G mutation).  There is also a new mutation (of 12 proteins) reported in New Zealand. 

Picture: gratuitous mink coat, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

China apparently did more widespread lockdowns across the country than I had thought, but too late; still, setting an example?

Coco park

London’s Financial Times, which usually imposes a strict paywall, seems to offer this coronavirus analysis article to everyone, “China and Covid-19: What went wrong in Wuhan?”, by Tom Mitchell, Sun Hu, Xinning Lu,  Michael Peel.

A lot of the delay seems to be genuinely bureaucratic, as long as the problems inherent in a top-down authoritarian Communist party structure. But China obviously wanted to get the pre-NewYear dinner in, which would have been a big superspreader.

The article maintains that China really did lockdown hard all over the country.  I though that the strictest lockdown was in Wuhan only, and in a few other smaller places.

A Barrett Channel video filmed on Feb. 17, 2020 in Sehnzhen shows that the city had been under a brief lockdown with most businesses closed, but reopening in less than 4 weeks.

Since China is even larger than the US in population, so the level of nationwide lockdown might show that a federal lockdown in the US to break the pandemic might be feasible (if the scientists tell Biden to do it after Biden wins – not certain yet).

I had believed that not all of China really locked down.

The article notes that western countries didn't have the mentality to do what was necessary until too late. 

(Picture: Coco Park in Sehnzhen, embed, click for attribution, Wikipedia.) 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Europe getting ready for a verson of "rapid tests": will this help them reopen after "circuit breakers"?


The Wall Street Journal reports (Drew Hinshaw) that European governments are looking at testing entire cities or countries, making it mandatory, as did Slovkia.

China has done this with whole cities or provinces for a few cases, and actually used the PCT double nasal swab test.  In Europe, they are looking at antigen tests, which are fast with results.

The article admits that getting compliance in isolation is difficult.

But maybe this is the beginning of “rapid testing” as a way to reopen after the current circuit breaker lockdowns.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

England goes into "strict" lockdown; NYState changes quarantine rules; more on Sweden

City hall London at dawn (cropped)

England will start a strict lockdown starting Thursday Nov. 5, and will last until at thru Wednesday, Dec. 2. 

The BBC story is typical.   

In addition, CNN reports on the air that people must stay within 1 km of their homes.  That was done in the Australian and New Zealand lockdowns and apparently in some other European lockdowns now (and was done in the spring?)  Single people are allowed to meet with one other person at a time outside not during the lockdown.  Takeout food will be permitted.

Schools remain open, possibly extending the risk and sacrifice by those without kids, and there has been flak about this, resulting an a "you people are disgusting" reaction tweet. 

This does amount to civil home detention, for all intents and purposes.

In the United States, last spring, there were no restrictions on distance from home.  In Virginia you could go to any outdoor state park (most were open) and exercise alone. However there were mandatory quarantines moving in to some states.

In cities where people do not have cars and use public transit, it is likely that there are severe restrictions on use of public transit.

Authorities said that the R-naught number needed to go below 1 to remove restrictions.  But with the novel coronavirus, the problem is really the dispersion.  It spreads asymmetrically, in large gatherings, and then inside congregate households.  People who avoid large gatherings indoors remain relatively safe.  Use of the R-naught this way doesn’t follow the latest science.

States and countries announcing severe lockdowns have not said if people can get repairs done to appliances that break in their homes, or whether they can get computers or Internet connections repaired.  Are these “essential” enough?  I am rather aghast that nobody talks about this!  These can create huge online security problems. 

New York has changed the rules on state entry (story). Regardless of where you came from, to enter you must display a negative test within the past 72 hours.  You are quarantined for three days and must pass another test on the fourth day.  It is still not practical to visit under those conditions, but nothing is open anyway until 2021.

The video shares a detailed report on coronavirus in Sweden now.

Picture:  London City Hall, click for attribution Wikipedia embed

Thursday, October 29, 2020

European countries seem to be swamped by the Second Wave more quickly than the US despite their earlier lockdowns

Prague SPOT 1030

 European countries are reinstituting lockdowns quickly, as summarized in a New York Times article by Matina Stevis-Gredneff.  

Most of the lockdowns involve closing bars and restaurants (except for takeout) and the similar, but France will restrict personal movements to within 1 km of home.   That seems designed to stop family or personal gatherings.

Most of them are aiming for a set amount of time, like the month of November.

In the Czech Republic, the government is trying to recruit teenagers or very young adults to help care for the sick, on the theory they have more robust immune systems, as a kind of quasi national service.

Again, “total” lockdowns can be very dangerous and I think are unnecessary.

Yet, this morning, CNN was praising Victoria (“Dictator Dan”) for driving new coronavirus cases to zero. 

Wikipedia:  Prague from space, click for attribution 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

China should do a lot more to make amends for the origin of the virus

Exit-Entry Permit for Residents During the Outbreak of 2019-nCoV


I found an article back in April by the Washington Post by Marc A. Thiessen, “China should be held legally liable for the pandemic damage it has done”   It reads like an article from Breitbart. 

This had linked back to a story in the South China Morning Post (SCMP) by Josephine Ma, which indicated that cases in China were known by Monday Nov. 17, 2019.  It’s pretty clear that China knew there was community-spread by mid December and could have had good reason to suspect asymptomatic or at least pre-symptomatic transmission. Yet, it pillories and silenced an eye doctor who tried to warn everyone, who would die himself in early February from massive exposure to the virus.

There have been credible reports of a communication halt from the Wuhan virology lab around Oct. 6, 2019 and of increased hospital usage around Wuhan in late October. There seems to have been a case in France near De Gaulle airport in early December.  We know that very similar virus samples were transferred to Wuhan from a bat cave several hundred miles to the southwest in early 2013.  And there is evidence that the first patients in China had no contact with the Wuhan wet market. 

It is certainly true that a bat virus can develop enormous pathogenic capacity because it has to survive a bat metabolism and immune system. And codon inserts (like the PRRA furine splitter) do happen in nature when the same animal has multiple simultaneous infections.  Yet, if you put all this together, it looks like a worker at the lab could have been infected at work, had no symptoms, but passed the infection to someone more vulnerable in the community, and away we go. 

Or possibly someone living in Hubei did visit the caves and pick up the infection.  Maybe.

There are also wastewater reports of finding the virus near Europe, such as Barcelona in March 2019. There needs to be specificity of the viruses found in these as compared to the Wuhan virus. Or are the wastewater viruses somehow more like the "G" viruses that started circulated in Italy and beyond in late February 2020.  No one has said. 

But China should be expected to share all it knows about vaccines and early interventions that work. Instead, it has been able to leverage its communal and nationalistic authoritarianism to control the outbreak (although we are not sure of what they could be hiding now) to make western individualism look like a moral flaw. 

(Wikipedia: image of permit used on Wuhan during lockdown for one household member to leave for essential shopping every two days.  This went on for 76 days.  I doubt replacing a damaged laptop computer would have been essential.  Click for attribution.)