The Corona-virus death rate is over-estimated, but by how much? Iceland gives a possible answer.

I have been fascinated with the spread of the coronavirus and the speed of which it has spread to all parts of the world. The question is how bad will it be, how many will die, and what can be done about it. Thanks to the ability to test who are having it, and who will get it, and how many have already died from it, and how many are still in critical care we can now estimate how bad it can be in countries with a good healthcare system, the Nordic Countries will serve as an example.

Let us begin with Sweden. They took a passive approach at first, the healthcare system will take care of the cases as they have always handled the flue. The problem is, that left to itself the coronavirus cases double every 3 days until the whole population is infected except for those with natural immunity. A few days ago even Sweden clamped down and is now implementing separation. Here are the current numbers for Sweden, normalized per million inhabitants

Cases 704, serious or critical 60, deaths 47, testing 0.36%

Denmark took a similar approach, and here are the

Cases 808, serious or critical 48, deaths 32, testing 0.92%

We can see testing makes a difference, cases go up, deaths go down

Finland is very similar, but cases started later:

Cases 393, serious or critical 35, deaths 5, testing 0.6%

Norway took a different approach, they applied early testing, and tracing and testing their contacts. Here are these results:

Cases 1082, serious or critical 16, deaths 14, testing 2.5%.

Going west there is the Faeroe Islands with little more than 50000 inhabitants:

Cases 3745, serious or critical 20, deaths 0, testing 10.2%.

Wow! No deaths at all! But the sample was small.

Of particular interest is Iceland. It is a unique country. Not only do they have excellent health care, they have the DNA genome of nearly every Icelander. They did a very aggressive testing, and here are the results so far:

Cases 4577, serious or critical 4, deaths 18, testing 8.2%.

It turns out that about half of those who tested positive had no symptoms, but were probably carriers. This leads us to the conclusion that testing is important, social separation only works if everyone participates, and if the country has an excellent health care system the total cases will be 5,6% of which 2.8% show no symptoms, critical or serious cases are 0.25%, and deaths are 0.3% of the whole population.

In a country like United States this means that we will have about 80000 deaths total if we test like Norway or Iceland from now on, and about 210000 deaths if we continue with only mitigation and no contact tracing, and let the disease work itself through the whole population.

The lesson from Spain, Italy and Franceis; if the hospitals get overloaded it could be far worse.

The generic drug Hydroxychloroquine combined with one more generic drug could lower those numbers substantially if taken voluntarily by a majority of early diagnosed patients, and even if taken later in the course of the disease. Of course there will always be some that would rather die than taking something that has been recommended by President Trump, but we are a free country, and there should be enough ventilators for them.

Enough people are taking the medicine cocktail now on a right to try basis to give us the answer in about two weeks if we can go back to work and back to normal life, but with changed social separation. The regular flu and pneumonia deaths are way down already.

 

The worst pandemic the world has ever seen can be stopped quickly, and this is how.

The pandemic has spread to the whole world, only Tajikistan and North Korea  have yet to report any cases, but territories like Falkland Islands and Saint Pierre Miquelon have reported in, a total of 208 countries and territories as of now. Antarctica is so far spared, but nobody lives there anyhow, only a few thousand people on temporary assignments.

This means the COVID-19 virus is so contagious that it will affect us all, and with a 3 day doubling rate it will not take long until everybody is or has been infected, except for those with protection or immunity.

One possible such protection is the use of Hydroxychloroquine, or just plain Chloroquine Phosphate. These are common drugs to protect against malaria, and in countries where malaria is prevalent there seems to be much fewer cases than in countries without malaria threats. These drugs are safe for most people, but must be taken under advise and prescription from a physician.

Early last week, Dr. Birx in the daily coronavirus briefing promised to look into if there was any correlation between people already taking Hydroxychloroquine for relief from Lupus of Rheumatism and their incidence of contracting COVID-19. She was going to utilize the large, anonymous part of the Medicare and Medicaid database that lists everybody that receives these benefits. It is already used to study interactions between medicines and outcomes, a most valuable resource, but as always they normally take their jolly time to verify and certify the results. She wanted the results by last Friday to keep up with the enemy, the virus. If there is a statistically valid difference between Lupus or Rheumatic patients and the population in general we have our answer! (China have their answer, but they are not telling, presumably to maximize the damage in the rest of the world.) If the result is conclusive, here is the answer,

Step 1. Give the Hydroxychloroquine medication to all patients testing positive for COVID-19.

Step 2. Give the medication to all health care workers coming in contact with COVID-19 patients.

Step 3. Give this medication to all potentially coming in contact with COVID-19 positive people such as police, first responders, the military and so on.

Step 4. Give this medication to all who have been in contact with people having tested positive for COVID-19

Step 5. Make taking this medication a condition for international travel and travel to and from national hot spots.

Step 6. Offer this medication to the rest of the world.

The medicine can be manufactured by the tons if speedy approval is issued by the FDA from sources other than China! This is why President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act!

If we can ramp up this action plan speedily, we should be back to normal life within a month, except most of us will have to take one more medication, (but it is cheap). When the vaccine is approved and available this requirement will go away

 

 

 

How to bend the corona-virus curve: Treat patients with Hydroxychloroquine

The recent chart on the corona-virus infection is really scary:

It is better to plot the Corona-virus cases on a logarithmic scale. It is less scary, but more serious. It shows the same thing. the virus cases double every 3 days. This is never seen before in pandemics history. Even worse, CDC is set up to develop and approve new medications with a time-frame of months, or even years, not 3 days.

Like they say in the military, even the best laid plans never survive contact with the enemy. That is why the Presidential task force wss forced to act with unprecedented speed and approve drugs that have not been subjected to double-blind clinical trials, which sometimes take years to validate. No, here speed is of essence, and President Trump is a man of immediate action, reacting on instinct rather than established scientific studies. Somebody showed him this study:

He got so excited he shared it in one of the daily briefings. The result was predictable. Three Democratic governors forbade its use in their state. They have since then all modified their stance and allow it under strict control of a licensed Physician or Licensed Practitioner, but Governor Cuomo was still insisting it could only be done in a hospital, not as an outpatient.

Then yesterday more information got out, so he tweeted this:

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump
I agree with this. Watch!
@WashTimes
·
Hydroxychloroquine rated ‘most effective therapy’ by doctors for coronavirus: Global survey bit.ly/2xKne7I
11:17 AM · Apr 4, 2020
The survey was large and international. 37% overall surveyed suggested that Hydroxychloroquine was the most effective treatment. It is interesting that the U.S. doctors had the lowest recommendation rating for this drug of all the nations surveyed.
There are some possible side effects when using the drug as with every medicine you take. That is why it should be taken after consulting a physician, but for over 95% it is perfectly safe. What are the side-effects? For people with arrhythmia it can worsen the condition, as with vision problems, but otherwise they are few severe side-effects.
Doctors in areas of mitigation should offer the drug to anyone who is a candidate for it, but we live in a free country, so you cannot force the drug on anyone that would rather die than use a remedy that has been strongly advocated by President Trump.
In the other areas, not in mitigation the drug should be offered to anyone testing positive for COVID-19 and their contacts! This is what China did after they had cremated the evidence in Wuhan and Chongqing, and the new infection rate went to nearly zero, only affecting foreigners visiting China, or so their recent statistics show.

China and rare earth metals. Can China be trusted? Consider COVID-19 and pharmaceutical supplies.

In early May, 2019, President Xi and Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top trade negotiator, visited a rare earth metals mine in Jiangxi province. This has led to the rumor that China is seriously considering restricting rare earth exports to the US. China may also take other countermeasures in the future. The trade negotiations between U.S. and China got a lot more serious. It extended far beyond tariffs and intellectual property, it began to involve strategic materials.

The first thing we must realize is that rare earth metals are not all that rare. They are a thousand times or more abundant than gold or platinum in the earth crust and easy to mine, but a little more difficult to refine. Thorium and Uranium will  also be mined at the same time as the rare earth metals since they appear together in the ore.

Related image

U.S. used to be the major supplier of rare earth metals, which was fine up to around 1984. Then the U.S. regulators determined that Uranium and Thorium contained in the ore made the ore radioactive, so the regulatory agencies decided to make rare earth metal ore subject to nuclear regulations with all what that meant for record keeping and control. This made mining of rare earth metals in the U.S. unprofitable so in 2001 the last domestic mine closed down. China had no such scruples, such as human and environmental concerns, so they took over the rare earth metals mining and in 2010 controlled over 95% of the world supply, which was according to their long term plan of controlling the world by 2025.

Rare Earth Element Production

The U.S. used to have a strategic reserve of rare earth metals, but that was sold off in 1998 as being no longer cost effective or necessary. Two years later the one U.S. rare earth metals mine that used to supply nearly the whole world, the Mountain Pass Mine in California closed down, together with its refining capacity. From that day all rare earth metals were imported. In 2010 it started up again together with the refining capacity but went bankrupt in 2015, closed down the refining but continued selling ore to China. They just announced they will start up refining again late 2020. Meanwhile China is slapping on a 25% import tariff on imported ore starting July 1. Rare earth metals may be in short supply for a while.

So, why is this important? Just take a look at all the uses for rare earth metals. The most sought after pays all the cost of mining and refining, and the rest are readily available at nominal cost.

The Chinese almost got away with it, and that is but one reason the trade negotiations are so complicated and hard fought, but necessary. Donald Trump fights for reciprocity and fair competition.

For example, according to a 2013 report from the Congressional Research Service, each F35 Lightning II aircraft requires 920 pounds of rareearth materials. Who is making the most critical parts to this airplane? You guessed it – China, from our drawings and according to our specifications.

But it is getting worse. the COVId-19 virus hit China bad, probably in November or so, nobody knows and China won’t tell. Then they told us there was a small outbreak, but it is not contagious from person to person. Then on January 10 the first case of the Wuhan virus hit the U.S.A. Late January President Trump halted entry into the U.S. from foreigners having been in China recently. At one of the daily COVID-19 briefings President Trump got excited about a potential treatment. He had been shown the result of a french study. Here it is:

To make matters a little more complicated, China has stopped export of one of the ingredients in making this medicine, and they are the only source, until we have started up production of our own. We have to do it in days, not weeks.

It turns out that China had been, and is treating their COVID-19 patients with this medicine, both as a preventive, and as a cure for months, but they never told the world until now.

Why did China stop this medical export? There are at least two possibilities, either they are lying through their teeth about the COVID-19 cases and they need it for their own consumption but didn’t tell us, or, which is even worse, they do want to maximize the damage in the rest of the world.

This is the real China. The people are wonderful, but their government is evil.

The COVID-19 epidemic presented in charts. How to scare or calm down with the same, perfectly valid statistics.

The impression you want to make on the public depends on how you want to present the data in charts. This is the data for the COVID-19 outbreak you would use if you are a reporter working for the mainstream media.

The chart is absolutely true, and is selected to scare you as much as possible.

Governor Cuomo of New York does no longer want to scare you, but present a clear and present danger, since New Yourk State has nearly half of all COVID19 cases, and NYC by itself nearly a quarter of all cases. He then would choose a statistics that shows the infection rate per million people

While hardly comforting, the chart is equally true, but not nearly as alarming as the first one.

Now, there is great debate if any of the two charts above show the real picture. The cases are confirmed only if a test has been made, and many go on unnoticed.

A better statistics would then be made by only counting the COVID-19 deaths, and again show the result as per million people. This would be the most accurate to show, and is used by the modelers and forcasters in the Trump/Pence task force.

Italy is doing poorly with an over 11% death rate, Spain next with 8, France is slowly increasing, but not as slow as Iran, which has different travel habits between cities and villages. United States and Germany show a very similar pattern, and both countries have excellent health systems with by far the most emergency rooms per capita of any nation.

One nation has done significantly better. Japan has a death rate of 0.3 %. It is probably because they are an obedient people and practice social separation anyway, they don’t shake hands, they bow, and they have a habit of wearing masks if they cough or sneeze.

And yes, there is one more country, China. They are officially over the crisis, but anecdotal evidence tells another story. There was an increase in demand for at least 40000 cremation urns this winter in the City of Wuhan alone, and the Chinese government paid for the cremation if the cause of death was not disclosed. Another nugget of evidence is that Chinese Telecom lost 18.5 million wireless customers and two million wired customers in January and February. They are busing in and training peasants from the countryside to fill the factories to get the production started up again after they shut down the country for a month. The Chinese Government has been less than transparent.

 

Why did the Michigan Governor prohibit promising treatment for COVID-19. A Limerick.

The Governor’s Trump hate in Lansing,

from science advancement distancing.

She would let people die,

valid treatment deny

to stop Donald Trump’s reelecting.

The Detroit News’ Kathy Hoekstra reports that Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has sent a letter to all physicians and pharmacists in the state warning of “professional consequences” if they prescribe or dispense hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to treat coronavirus patients. Hoekstra writes that “beyond the rational recommendation against hoarding as production of this medication needs to be ramped up, the letter deviates into open threats of “administrative action” against the licenses of doctors that prescribe hydroxychloroquine.” It also orders pharmacists to “ignore physician orders for this medication.”

There must have been a reason why Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued this threatening letter. She could have heard President Trump being excited about a promising study that offered a remedy, or, which is scary, she believed it was dangerous because a husband and wife ate spoonfuls of aquarium tank cleaner which contained chloroquine phosphate, and one of them died. What made this unbelievable story the news of the day in the mainstream media was the dying man’s words:  “Look, this is what Trump recommended, why don’t we try it?” Little did they know that 2 grams is a deadly dose, but it is perfectly safe to take an appropriate dose under a physician’s supervision. It has been taken safely for over 50 years to combat malaria.

So why was President Trump so excited about the french study he was shown? Here are the results:

This was a non random test of 80 people, and one person died, a 70+ year old woman with underlying conditions. They took a chance on her because she was within hours of probable death anyhow, but she was too far gone. The other 79 recovered.

This is no time for double blind large clinical trials. They sometimes take years to verify, and the enemy, the COVID-19 virus works on a time-frame of 3 days, so the only choice is to work with incomplete and uncertified data.

To make matters a little more complicated, China has stopped export of one of the ingredients in making this medicine, and they are the only source, until we have started up production of our own. We have to do it in days, not weeks.

Why did China stop this medical export? There are at least two possibilities, either they are lying through their teeth about the COVID-19 cases and they need it for their own consumption but didn’t tell us, or, which is even worse, they do want to maximize the damage in the rest of the world.

 

 

COVID-19 response, shut down all nonessential functions for 15days. What is the “black body” reaction of America?

When engineers and scientists want to study an object, the first step is often to study it as a “black body”, apply an impulse to it and study how the body reacts. One such “opportunity” is just now happening, the Coronavirus COVID-19 and how we, as a people react to it.

The flu season started innocently enough, but there was an increase in the number of healthcare visits for flue like symptoms, already when the flu season started in week 39 (October). At this time nobody had even heard of COVID-19 

The healthcare workers expected a higher flu season than average, but nobody expected this. On Dec 31 the Chinese government officially acknowledged that this virus could spread from human to human, but was still insisting it was largely contained to the live animal market in Wuhan. But Wuhan is a large regional hub, with lots of people, even international visitors were coming and going. No tests had been developed yet for the Coronavirus, so who is to say when the outbreak started. Certainly not the Chinese, they had successfully silenced a whistleblower, and he later died of the disease. We may never know the onset, and how many had spread the virus internationally before December 31. The silence of the Chinese government was a medical malpractice of worldwide importance. After Christmas the flu symptoms seem to have abated, but after President Trump issued the travel ban for foreigners who have recently been in China, people got nervous and the healthcare visits took off again. The question is, how much did the increased healthcare visits help or hurt? This chart shows the pneumonia cases, since this is usually how people die, not from the flu but from the following pneumonia.

Yes, there seems to be a negative correlation between health care visits and pneumonia deaths. More early attention to flu like symptoms and early intervention leads to fewer pneumonia deaths. Not really surprising, but earlier intervention seems even more important than I thought.

But what was really stunning is the effect the intervention to “flatten the curve”,  that is to slow the spread of the virus by 6 feet of separation “better six feet apart than six feet under“, telling everybody in the country to stay home if they do not have an absolutely essential job, don’t cough into open air, wash your hands with soap and don’t touch your face, had. Enough people seem to have obeyed. Did it make a difference? Check out the total deaths per week:

The number of deaths in the whole country shrank by twenty thousand per Week! This is remarkable. Will it continue, will changing hygiene and social separation continue, or will we return back to where we were before?

Time will tell, but there is much hope.

The reverse is just as good: