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2020-03-25 08:48 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 1367 references Ignore this thread
Damn People Are Stupid
[Comments enabled]

Now the Oxford study is validating what we first learned with Diamond Princess -- that this virus has a very high "silent attack" rate.

ALL of the lockdowns of economies are stupid if that is the case because by the time you detect a public health problem a huge percentage of the population already has the virus, this continues as you start getting worried and by the time you lock down a huge percentage of the population is already immune.

ALL you get out of those policies if that's the case is economic damage.  You get exactly nothing in terms of actual benefit.


I know, this sounds lunatic; there's never been such a virus before, you state.  Except we knew it was going on during the Diamond Princess quarantine.  There we tested all the people on the boat and a large percentage were positive but never developed symptoms.  Further, we didn't test for serology but a huge percentage never tested positive at all. Anyone who didn't immediately adjust their models and expectations for this closed-system set of facts is a hack. Period.

Now look at Florida.  Specifically, Dade and Broward.

Dade county, 78 travel related cases, 51 known not travel related.  A significant number of "unknown" (bull****; illegals?), but not crazy high; 238.

Broward County: 94 travel related, 113 not travel related.  105 "not known" (uh huh; illegals?); similar to Dade.

Florida just slammed the door on bars and such about a week ago, plus "social distancing."  The first Executive Order was issued on March 17th, which was the first to impose actual restrictions.  That is 7 days ago.

The "generation" time has repeatedly been shown to be around 4-5 days.  In Wuhan, in South Korea, in Italy and here.  This has been consistent since the first public surveillance on this virus began.  You can trust it because it's consistent, it's material, and it's world-wide.  Many people and places can and do lie but to lie consistently is unusual at best.

So where is the 3:1 exponential expansion in the travel related and non-travel related cases between first infection and the lockdown when actual suppression effort began on each "turn" period?  From the time the first cases were found and the travelers came home there were several -- like five -- turns of the crank in terms of exponential expansion.  Remember that the impact of "suppression" should just now be starting to show up in confirmed positives.  In other words this thing "ran free" up to basically today, in the that impact of slowing transmission would not be visible in the numbers for at least 5 days and more likely closer to 10 (2 periods.)

The multiplier series, I remind you, is: 1, 3, 9, 27, 81, 243

So if we had 88 travel related cases and most of them were here 20 days or more then there should now be 243 for each of those in Florida, not ~200 or so in total.  Why?  Because there were five "turns of the crank" in the exponential model.

In other words there should be thousands of cases in each of these counties.  No, not everyone came home or in at once, obviously, so each of those started at different times.  Nonetheless, even the most-optimistic, biased analysis to the downside says that each of these counties should have well north of a thousand cases and if you use "hair on fire" estimates you get numbers around ten thousand in each county.

These are dense, city type areas.  They don't have "small cluster" groups where isolated groups have leakage, but essentially form their own exponential element in the tri-county area (north to roughly Palm Beach) and then leak at some rate to another one.

But.... the cases simply aren't there.  There are a couple hundred tops.  There's no evidence, in short, that the "seeds" well...... seeded in what should be a relatively homogeneous group of seronegative and thus infectable "targets."

Therefore either (1) R0 is wrong or (2) there really are all these cases and there were many, many cases before that seroconverted a large percentage of people -- but nobody picked it up because ordinary flu was no big deal, we all have flu bugs running around all winter long and nobody thought anything was odd because the percentage of those who got actively sick wasn't high enough to freak anyone out when only one in a thousand people get sick.

We have exactly zero reason to believe R0 is wrong.  If R0 is wrong we'd know that.  While there is a fair bit of variation between places all evidence is that it's well over 2.0 with estimates somewhere between 2.2 and 3.0.

Why do I pick on Dade and Broward counties?  Because they have enough cases to be statistically significant and diverse through the county.  And while both have a lot of immigrants almost none of them are ****-eaters; most are Cubans and second or third generation, that is, American citizens, by now.  They all grew up in America, they all came out of diapers to flush toilets and they're as American as you or I in terms of sanitation culture.

But in neither county did the predicted explosion in cases happen.

It is likely that both a variable R0  and the Oxford thesis is true.  That is, as I've noted, transmission is likely a function of a trinomial; one element is ****-eating and extremely efficient, the second is symptomatic transmission via coughing and sneezing (and quite efficient) and the third is asymptomatic via vapor phase from, mostly, ordinary breathing.

The latter is highly influenced by UV and thus will go to an effective zero outdoors soon if it hasn't already in the southern half of the US.  The former two are more troublesome.  Note that polio was a huge problem and transmission is almost entirely fecal/oral.  This is very cultural; you either grew up learning good personal hygiene in this regard or you did not.

But I cannot explain the lack of community transmission in the high density areas of Florida, specifically Broward and Dade counties, except by a hypothesis that there is both an R0 that is susceptible to environmental factors to a material degree and that there is an extremely high "silent" attack rate -- which leads to immunity.

In addition it fits exactly with why China could reopen, why Japan did not get immediately slammed (irrespective of their cultural factors) and why South Korea was successful.  No other explanation fits; if you're not in such a situation as soon as you drop the repression measures and "lockdowns" the exponential series resumes exactly where it was and you instantly, within a few days to a week, get hosed with a virus that can spread before you feel ill, say much less are clinically ill in a way that can be detected externally.

It hasn't happened in a single instance across the world thus far and several nations have dropped the repressions -- never mind those areas, specifically Japan, that never imposed them in the first place.  The only place that has had a mild resurgence was Hong Kong -- which of course has a border issue (e.g. imported cases) with China and can't seal that off.

Now let me expound on how we can have a virus with such a crazy-high "silent" attack rate.  This again is a hypothesis -- but it fits with the known facts above.  Indeed if you talk to virologists and epidemiological folks they will all tell you that what Oxford is now modeling and what I brought up early on when Diamond Princess occurred -- the former of which is a model that fits the facts and the latter of which is a documented fact -- are impossible.  They will all tell you that there is no such thing as a virus that both causes serious disease and yet has a high "silent" and asymptomatic attack rate.

We've all heard the famous saying: When you discard all that is impossible whatever remains, no matter how unlikely it appears to you, must be the truth.

You may remember that many years ago in America we had an attenuated polio vaccine.  I was given this as a boy; it's oral.  They passed the virus through non-human cells at a lower temperature which attenuated but did not completely kill it, then isolated them to produce the vaccine.  You drank it (right down the "oral" part of the fecal/oral route), that produced an immune response and thus you gained immunity.  If you later got exposed to the "real deal" in all its power.... no polio.

This process was known a long time ago and every single virologist knows this.  Everyone has probably heard of Jonas Salk but it was Albert Sabin who came up with the oral version, which of course is easier to distribute since you don't need someone who can give injections.  They all know the history on this.  In addition OPV, the attenuated vaccine, is one fifth the price of IPV (the inactivated, injected one) so in places where health resources are limited it's still widely used.  My daughter, when the time came as a child, got the IPV.

But IPV has a problem in that while it's effective in preventing you from getting polio it doesn't stop you from shedding it in your feces if you get infected, so if you get infected but had IPV only you can potentially transmit it to an unvaccinated person.  In parts of the world where vaccination levels are low and ****-eating is high that means you get outbreaks anyway, so those parts of the world prefer OPV either singularly or after IPV.

Why after IPV in combination, if you already got personal immunity from the IPV?  Why not just use OPV and be done with it?

The problem with OPV is that in a very, very small percentage of people the attenuated vaccine -- the oral form -- actually gives you polio!

Why?  Because it is in fact a live virus!

It's extremely rare -- something like 1 in 2 million doses -- but it happens.

How does all this relate to COVID-19?  Quite well, actually.

Animals also get coronaviruses. Many of them are very serious and veterinary vaccines have been developed.  However, and this is key, attenuated live vaccines have worked the best, although none have produced permanent immunity.  The inactivated veterinary vaccines typically require frequent re-dosing, which of course in humans is a problem but not so much with animals where you can introduce it as an aerosol in their pens or through their food and water supplies.  Part of the problem with obtaining vaccine persistence is due to where these viruses attack the body; actually producing a systemic antibody response by other than direct infection has proved elusive.

Indeed virologists have tried to produce a vaccine for the common cold well.... forever.  About 20-30% of colds are caused by coronaviruses.  They've never succeeded.

So let's postulate that Covid-19 is an attenuated virus.  Not an intentionally released one, but one that was attenuated and being worked on in an attempt to produce a vaccine.... for SARS and/or MERS.  Those of course have crazy-high fatality rates, and thus it would be well worth it to find an effective vaccine for either or both, especially in Asian nations like China.  We know there's a Level IV biolab in Wuhan and we also know that a year or so prior a handful of Chinese nationals were caught stealing virological material from a lab in Canada and expelled.  In other words we know factually that China doesn't play by the rules when it comes to safety of highly-infectious biological material -- they're more like "Nedry" in Jurassic Park.

So said attenuated virus gets out -- accidentally.  Maybe an animal they were using for testing was sold out the back door of the lab to the wet market nearby.  The virus crosses into humans, the person who gets it sheds like crazy and starts infecting people.

But this virus was never intended to cause disease.  It also wasn't finished -- it was in the process of being turned into a vaccine and thus, gee, what a bummer, it does cause disease once in a while.

Instead of one in 2 million it makes you clinically sick one in a thousand times.

That fits exactly what we've seen folks.  It fits the Oxford model, it fits why South Korea was able to get a handle on this without a vaccine, it fits why China was able to release their lockdown and not have the virus immediately surge back and it fits why Japan did not get flattened.  It fits Diamond Princess where people were dosed repeatedly and heavily, yet there were still a bunch of asymptomatic positives and a crap-ton of people who never got it.  Further, because of its highly variable seriousness of infection depending on individual human factors, including ACE2 specifically, consumers of nicotine, those on high blood pressure medication and similar get hammered much worse than others.  None of this, of course, would be true in a final product -- they hadn't finished their work to remove those undesirable elements yet, assuming they knew about them (thalidomide anyone?)

When the virus got into China it circulated and was indistinguishable from ordinary flu for quite a while because with the huge silent attack rate a clinically noticeable elevation in people getting really sick and dying took many infectious periods.  Many generations of the bug passed with nobody noticing because so few, as a percentage, get ill.  But eventually, as is true of all exponential series, as you get closer and closer to the peak suddenly it explodes in your face.  By then it had been seeded well and good into the entire world due to these magical things called "airplanes".

The difference is that due to the silent cases when the explosion in visible cases happens you're not near the beginning -- you're near the end.  The number of serologically-positive people is high when all the so-called "experts" are running doomsday scenarios under the assumption that number is statistically zero.

But we know it can't be zero.  We cooped up a whole bunch of people on a boat with a galley crew that was literally serving it to everyone on board and yet a huge percentage never got the virus and a material percentage of those who did test positive never got sick.  The most-likely explanation is that those who didn't get it were already immune and those who got it and didn't get ill joined them.  In other words our testing caught it late, just like we're doing right now.

If this is true then Xi knows it and has intentionally not told us.   China would have to know as soon as the virus was sequenced that the virus was what they were working on.  Once they figured it out they locked down long enough to check and see if their population, on a random sample basis, had acquired immunity.  Enough of them have to prevent it from being more than a minor (or even serious) nuisance -- but not a catastrophe -- at this point, so they dropped the constraints.

This scenario also explains why the CCP and Xi forced the destruction of samples and other material at the lab and hospitals early on when they realized what it was -- the point wasn't to keep the world from knowing there was a virus -- it was to destroy the evidence linking the serotypes to their work.

Further, they refused to permit US and other scientists into Wuhan and China generally at the beginning of this and still are.  Why would you do that except to hide things?  Why wouldn't more brains be better than fewer ones in any instance unless you are concerned they will discover what happened -- and if they manage to reconstruct your destroyed evidence you're ****ed!

That also fits this hypothesis.

Am I right?

Maybe, maybe not.

But if so then every bit of these lockdowns are not only stupid Chairman Xi is laughing his ass off because he knows that if we didn't do it by the time we detected the problem a huge percentage of our population was already immune and the only correct course of action was to let it go.

Serological survey for antibodies will prove if the Oxford paper -- and my hypothesis -- is the case.  If even 1% of the non-symptomatic persons have antibodies in the hotspots where the virus is raging it is hard, irrefutable proof that this hypothesis is correct.  If, as Oxford suggests, it's 50%, well...

All we're left with at that point is whether China concealed this from the world on purpose and, if so, what we intend to do about it.

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