Vitamin D – one weapon to combat the coronavirus.

 

The organization Grassroots health put out the results of 212 people that had the COVID-19 virus, roughly 50 each having a critical or severe or normal or mild outcome. The results were stunning. Nearly all with a high level of vitamin D level in the blood had a mild outcome, as opposed to those with a vitamin D deficiency.

Up to now vitamin D deficiency has mostly been a concern for the people with the following risk factors, but not as a virus fighter.

  • Osteoporosis or other bone disorder
  • Previous gastric bypass surgery
  • Age; vitamin D deficiency is more common in older adults.
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exposure to sunlight
  • Having a darker complexion
  • Difficulty absorbing fat in your diet

It should be fairly simple and fast to expand this analysis to a larger sample of people that also include people with antibodies to COVID-19 but never showed any symptoms.

If this holds true, we did the exact wrong thing by keeping people indoors in hope to slow the spread. Instead we should have encouraged people to be outdoors as much as possible, still practicing hygiene and social distance, give vitamin D to all over 65 (4000 IU), to all obese and people of dark complexion.

This is by no means the only suggestion, but it is one more weapon in the arsenal to combat this virus.

It is more dangerous to live in a state with a Democrat Governor than it is with a Republican Governor, at least in regard to COVID-19

Taking a snapshot of the COVID-19 cases as of Apr 23 I was curious to see if there were any differences in infection and death rates between states that has a Democrat Governor and those states that has a Republican Governor. And indeed there is, there are nearly three times as many cases (2.89) in states with a Democrat Governor as there are in states with a Republican governor, and the death rate is 62% higher, a more telling statistic.

There could be many reasons for this discrepancy, but here is some food for thought: The indoor environment is where most viruses spread, elevators, staircases, central ventilation, mass transportation just to name a few. This is typical of the urban environment. Living in rural areas on the other hand, much more time is spent outdoors, in sunshine, which kills the virus nearly immediately and fresh air is very good for basic health. Therefore to issue a nationwide ban to stay inside was the wrong thing to do. Cleanliness, social distancing and get outside as much as possible would have been much better. Go out, plant your garden, take your boat out for a weekend spin or visit your cottage in the woods. If you don’t have a cottage just take a walk in the woods and listen to the sounds of spring, but don’t put canned music in your ears. If you don’t have any woods nearby, use any area not crowded.  That is one way to eliminate cabin fever.

Here are the statistics, state by state.

Democratic governor      Cases                  Deaths

New York                             268,581                 20861

New Jersey                         100,025                 5428

California                             39620                    1531

Pennsylvania                     37053                    1685

Illinois                                   36934                    1688

Michigan                              35291                    2997

Louisiana                             25739                    1599

Connecticut                        23100                    1639

Washington                        12753                    711

Virginia                                 11594                    410

Colorado                              11262                    552

North Carolina                   7854                       281

Rhode Island                      6256                       189

Wisconsin                            5052                       257

Nevada                                4208                       189

Kentucky                             3481                       191

District of Columbia        3361                       139

Delaware                             3308                       92

Minnesota                          2942                       200

Kansas                                  2734                       113

New Mexico                       2379                       78

Oregon                                 2127                       83

Maine                                   937                         44

Hawaii                                   596                         12

Montana                             442                         14

Total:                            647,099                   40,983  Death rate 6.33%

 

 

Republican governor     Cases                    Deaths

Massachusetts                  46023                    2360

Florida                                  29648                    987

Texas                                    22393                    576

Georgia                                21883                    881

Maryland                             15737                    748

Ohio                                      14694                    656

Indiana                                 13039                    706

Tennessee                          8266                       170

Missouri                               6384                       243

Alabama                              5832                       201

Arizona                                 5769                       249

Mississippi                          5153                       201

South Carolina                   4917                       150

Iowa                                      3924                       96

Utah                                      3612                       35

Oklahoma                           3017                       179

Arkansas                              2599                       45

Nebraska                             2124                       47

South Dakota                     1956                       9

Idaho                                    1836                       54

New Hampshire                1670                       51

West Virginia                      981                         31

Vermont                              825                         43

North Dakota                     709                         15

Wyoming                             453                         7

Alaska                                   337                         9

Total:                           223,781                       8,749      Death rate 3.91%

Earth day 2020, the 150 year birthday of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, a.k.a. Lenin. A Limerick.

We celebrate Lenin’s old birth day

in what is now renamed the Earth Day.

It’s a globalist plot;

it’s the climate change: Not!

It’s capitalism besmirch day.

When I came to the U.S. as a green card immigrant  from a beautiful, clean Sweden in the spring of 1968 I was horrified at what I found. In Sweden they were worried about the fact that some lakes were fertilized four times more than the agricultural fields, acid rain killed the trouts in the already acid lakes and  seeds laced with Mercury as a preservative killed off most of the eagles and owls. None of this seemed to bother the Americans. Coming in to Rochester in N.Y the stench from the dead fish washing up on the shore of lake Ontario was strong, I read of a river catching on fire in Ohio and the smell of coal burning power plants without scrubbers was bad, almost as bad as in the coal and steel region of Germany. It was also the height of the Vietnam wars, and people were protesting. Many of the protestors were communists at hart, and they also turned to pollution. The aerosol pollution led to a decrease in global temperatures, so the mantra was: The ice age is coming! The worst prediction I read was that the global temperatures would be then degrees Fahrenheit lower by the year 2000! Most predictions were not that wild, but they all pointed down, ice age, here we come! The urge to clean up the pollution grew stronger and the Earth Day movement was formed, but they had to find just the right day to have the first. Since this was to become a global movement they decided on the birthday of Lenin, his 100th, very fitting for a globalist movement.  That was 1970 in Philadelphia, featured Ira Einhorn (The Unicorn Killer) as master of Ceremonies.

Now fifty years later the mantra has changed to climate change, specifically carbon pollution and carbon footprint. As the scientists were wrong then, the ice age is coming soon, so they are wrong now. The rise in CO2 causes climate change all right, and it would be really bad unless something else also changes as the CO2 concentration changes. Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas, much stronger than CO2, and they both add to the greenhouse effect, but only at temperatures below freezing. In the tropics there is 50 times as much water vapor as there is CO2, so the tropics is not affected at all by rising CO2 levels. In the Arctic the situation is quite different. Water vapor is also a condensing gas, and forms clouds in the atmosphere. Clouds cool by day and warm by night, but the effect of cooling by day is much larger than the cooling by night, so clouds act as the major temperature regulator on earth. That is why the temperature was about the same as now when the CO2 level was over 10000 ppm, 25 times as large as now hundreds of millions of years ago. There is zero risk of overheating, there is no “tipping point” on the warm side, the clouds tale care of that. On the other hand we know that because we have too little CO2 in the air we will have a new ice age. When will it come? Not in the next thousand years, in fact, by increasing the CO2 levels we will delay the onset of the next ice age. What will happen at the Poles? There will be less cold in the winters, it will snow more but the summers will be about the same, melting more snow.

As to the corona virus the scientists predictions have so far been way off the mark, which just goes to show that making models before all facts are known produces faulty predictions every time. As Yogi Berra once said: “’It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future’” “… never make predictions – especially about the future”.

 

There is a better green new deal. And this one will work and save the environment

We have immense environmental problems. CO2 is not one of them. There is a great need for a green new deal, but that involves cleaning up the earth, not destroying it even further. Cleaning up the earth requires a lot of electric energy. There is only one solution to this dilemma, renewables alone will not even begin to solve it, only Liquid Fluoride Thorium nuclear reactors, and in the future fusion power will have a chance to carry us through the next ice age, which will come when we have used up all available fossil fuels. We must save the bulk of it for our great grand-kids.

My suggestions for the green new deal are quite different from what is commonly proposed. Here are some suggestions:

Do harden the electric grid so it can sustain an electro-magnetic-pulse, either from a nuclear EMP-bomb or from a solar storm like the Carrington event of 1859. Make the grid safe from malicious hacking.

Do not build more wind-turbines except in areas where there are no raptors. The allowable kill of bald eagles per year is 4200, and if we build many more we risk to eliminate the bald and golden eagles as well as other rare birds. More here.

Do fill up fully the strategic petroleum reserve, taking advantage of the low, below cost crude oil prices due to lack of demand. This will be important and avoid price spikes and shortages should the strait of Hormuz be cut off. By eliminating that threat it will ensure that it will not be cut off. Peace is the final goal. (Note: This is already happening, at $10 a barrel)

Make all dams producing profitable hydroelectric power fully equipped to pump up water from a pool downstream to refill the dam during low power demand and provide extra power during peak demand. This is important, since that peak demand otherwise would be satisfied by burning coal and natural gas, and even using diesel-powered generators.

Do plant trees where-ever practical, especially in urban environments. They help immensely to alleviate the urban heat island effect, and are good for mental health, and provide habitat for birds and squirrels. They have to live too. In rural areas abandoned farms, like in upstate New York should be planted with managed forests.

Encourage protection and reforesting of the tropical rain forests. Plant a few billion trees worldwide. The Arbor Day Foundation operates worldwide and is reasonably efficient.

Do serious research on how to clean waste water including removing antibiotics and hormones such as birth control medicine. This is necessary in arid areas, water must be reused since the aquifers are already exhausted in much of the arid west. It will require a lot of energy  to implement and run water recycling plants, but it is necessary to secure clean water, not only for ourselves, but also for aquatic life downstream.

Do not build any more large solar power installations until our dependence on Chinese rare earth metals is eliminated.

Do eliminate  the regulation that Thorium is a source material and subject to nuclear regulations for mining. With this regulation eliminated we can again be independent from China on rare earth metals mining and refining.

Do not build any more Uranium based nuclear power stations. Even before we sold 20% of our uranium mines to Russia we were the world’s biggest importer of Uranium, and vulnerable to supply disruptions.

We must start immediately a large research and development effort into Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactors. China, India and Russia are way ahead of us, and China is grabbing IP rights as fast as they can. There is a million years supply of Thorium available, far more than anything else we are mining, and enough Thorium is already mined! Thorium reactors produce one ten-thousandth of the nasty TRans-Uranium waste products compared to a Uranium reactor, and the TRU it produces is Plutonium-238, used in space travel. Thorium waste products cannot be used for nuclear bombs, only dirty bombs, and the waste products radiation lasts only about 300 years, rather than 100000+ years. It is a good isotope producer for medical treatment and research.

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors are inherently earthquake safe, operate under atmospheric conditions, have a large negative temperature coefficient, making it very stable and easy to control, and  they can never have a meltdown, the salt is already molten!

LFTR reactors can be placed nearly anywhere, does not need an evacuation zone because of its inherent safety, uses very little cooling water, produces very little waste, scales beautifully from very large power plants to small portable plants for small communities, can be run at variable power output with a small reaction time, all of this lessens the need for an expanded power grid.

The U.S was once the leader in Thorium reactor technology, but bombs were more important, and so we lost out on safety. Nuclear accidents like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima could not have happened with Thorium reactors.

LFTR can produce electricity at about 4c/kWh, a very competitive cost.

And lastly, it can, in a slightly different configuration be used to eliminate spent nuclear fuels and nuclear bombs. They will have to be placed away from urban areas, not because of safety, but because nobody want to transport spent nuclear fuel or nuclear bombs through city streets.

This is a tall order, but it can eliminate all fossil fuel used to produce electricity.

About four years before all fossil fuel is eliminated as electricity producer, then and first then is the time to move over to electric cars and trucks. Before then, you are really using fossil fuel anyway, putting additional pressure on the national power grid with all its inefficiencies.

This is but a short list of the opportunities for a real green new deal, but these are the most important parts.

A perfectly preserved tunic from Roman times uncovered from melting glacier proves the climate was warmer then. A Limerick.

The tunic at Lomseggen pass

a garment of very high class

got preserved in the ice

glaciers grew, then demise

the climate change sure shows pizzazz

This tunic was made in the third or fourth century A.D. It is made of wool, and like all good tunics of that time it was never washed. The original sheep tallow in the wool made it a very good water repellent, so it was warm enough to wear when going over the short pass in snow in the winter. The oldest artifacts found, stone arrow points are about 6000 years old

and the newest are from viking times around 1200 A.D.

The Landbreen Glacier in central Norway grew, and from about 1400 to 2000 A.D. the pass was under the ice pack of the glacier. This proves that the climate was warmer  in roman and viking times than it was up till the 20th century. To prove this point we can see the temperature records from the Greenland icecap, at about the same latitude. (The temperature is in degree Celsius)

As we can see, there is a negative correlation between CO2 and temperature. This is counter-intuitive, but far more important than the amount of CO2 to affect the climate is the amount of clouds, the amount of snow they contain and when and where they occur. It turns out that clouds are the main temperature regulator for the climate, and we are eventually and slowly entering another ice-age. The recent rise in CO2 from 280 ppm to 405 ppm will delay the onset of the next ice age, surely arriving in the next 10000 years. Right now we are almost back to the conditions of the Medieval warm period, but still much below the ideal conditions during the Roman warm period. The climate is getting better.

Why models fail when developed with political as well as pure scientific motives

The corona virus has given us all an education on why models fail. Everybody in any form of management have to make forecasts, plan for the future as they stare an uncertain future in the face. It is time to remember the old saying in the Army: “No plan ever survived contact with the enemy”. And so it is, the corona virus is the unseen enemy that will affect our future, and our plans will have to change on an almost daily basis as it initially worked by doubling every 3 days. No disease since smallpox or measles in the American Indian population has been that infectious. So it was time to panic when it broke out in the Wuhan city in China. The city was sealed off except for international flying which was allowed to continue. The SO2 over the city was strong from all the cremation ovens going full blast. Over 40000 cremations was paid for by the Chinese government if the descendant agreed to ask no further questions, so they were never counted. How many more cremations? Who knows, but the size of the SO2 clouds, which by the way was only over Wuhan and Chongqing indicates it could have been ten times as many. But back to the models. These rumors prompted Trump to close all air travel to all non U.S citizens that had recently been in China. The official line was that there was no human to human transmission. As the death toll mounted in Italy with a 10+ percent death rate among the infected, the models indicated that U.S would have 2.2 million deaths. The models have since been adjusted more than once a week, but has now stabilized at 60000 deaths or fewer. While this is good news, why did the models fail us so badly?

The answer is obvious. Models are only as good as the input data and the assumptive relationships. In this case the big unknown was the denominator, how many will have it and yet show no symptoms? They may even be carriers.

We now have some of the answers. The death rate will be between 0.2 and 0.3% and will affect the normal risk categories, the old, diabetes, asthma, smoking, marijuana use, other drugs, overweight, and a compromised or overactive immune system. Properly handled, early diagnosis, and protecting the most at risk will reduce the death rate even lower.

It is time to get back to work.

The other models hat has failed us badly are the climate models, but the time scale is decades, not days. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has given out projections five times, beginning in 1990 on what happens to global temperatures if the amount of the greenhouse gas CO2 released in the air is increased, held steady or decreased. The result is always alarming with predictions a high as a temperature increase of up to 8,5C globally by the year 2100. Every new assessment show a decreasing number with the IPCC5 prediction being that temperature increase will be 2.2 C or thereabout if all reductions proposed will be made. IPCC6 will show a larger increase, mostly because of the rapid increase of CO2 emissions by China, India and other developing countries (Yes China is considered a developing country by U.N.)

There is one major problem with all these models. The trends shown by the models do not match with reality. The increased CO2 already occurred since industrialization would show a substantial hot spot in the tropical troposphere. There is no such hot spot. What do IPCC do with that troublesome fact? They ignore it, because it is mostly politically, not scientifically driven. Yes the scientists are sincere and contribute their parts, but the conclusions are politically driven. Is climate change a hoax? Not at all, it is changing, and long term we will have another ice age, but until then the increasing CO2 will stop the oncoming ice age, and even increase it  by as much as 7C in the arctic and antarctic, but only in the winter. In the summer there is no increase in temperature!

Why is that? To get the answer we must study molecular absorption spectroscopy and explain a couple of facts for the 97% of all scientists who have not studied molecular spectroscopy. IPCC and most scientists claim that the greenhouse effect is dependent on the gases that are in the atmosphere, and their combined effect is additive according to a logarithmic formula. This is true up to a certain point, but it is not possible to absorb more than 100% of all the energy available in a certain frequency band! For example: If water vapor absorbs 50% of all incoming energy in a certain band, and CO2 absorbs another 90% of the energy in the same band, the result is that 95% is absorbed, (90% + 50% * (100% – 90%)),  not 140%, (90% + 50%).

Even in Barrow, Alaska water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas. Only at the South Pole (And North Pole) does CO2 dominate (in the long winter).

All Climate models take this into account, and that is why they all predict that the major temperature increase will occur in the polar regions with melting icecaps and other dire consequences. But they also predict a uniform temperature rise from the increased forcing from CO2 and the additional water vapor resulting from the increased temperature.

This is wrong on two accounts. First, CO2 and H2O gas are nor orthogonal, that means they both absorb in the same frequency bands. There is three bands where CO2 absorb much more than H2O in the far infrared band, but other than that H2O is the main absorbent. If H2O is 80 times as common as CO2 as it is around the equator, water vapor is still the dominant absorbent.

And one more thing. Water vapor is a condensing gas, and it matters greatly whether it is in the atmosphere as a gas or in the form of a cloud. Clouds warm by night and cool by day and the cooling by day is much more than the warming by night, so it also matters greatly when clouds appear. People living in rural America know this instinctively even if they have not done the calculations. They look up and discern the sky and thank God for the clouds when they appear in the summer. In the winter that may mean even more snow. Clouds are the major temperature regulators of the earth. On the other hand people living in urban heat islands go from their air conditioned offices to their parked cars heated up in the sun so much that they get blisters when they touch the steering wheel. They are experiencing the worst of climate change, don’t look up and don’t thank God for the blisters.

We have immense environmental problems. CO2 is not one of them. There is a great need for a green new deal, but that involves cleaning up the earth, not destroying it even further. All of this takes a lot of energy. There is only one solution to this dilemma, renewables alone will not even begin to solve it, only Liquid Fluoride Thorium nuclear reactors, and in the future fusion power will have a chance to carry us through the next ice age, which will come when we have used up all available fossil fuels. We must save the bulk of it for our great grand-kids.

 

 

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.