I am not a doctor. Please follow the advice of your country’s public health officials (or, if they are being subverted and are hampered in their data collection and dissemination of information to the public due to idiotic political pressure, please also consult the WHO and reputable public institutions)
With certain states loosening restrictions — and others partially in lockdown — there’s a lot of widespread confusion about COVID-19 risks. We talk with University of Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm about the safety concerns in terms of protests, indoor gatherings, touching surfaces, and why the antibody test is so flawed.Readable link:
I think right now, most of the world — not just the United States, but most of the world — is quite confused about what to do or why to do it. And what I mean by that is, is that already I think we’ve seen pandemic fatigue set in, in the United States. Right around Memorial Day, the country was ready to say, ”We’re done with this. We’re unlocking. We’re going to no longer do the kind of physical distancing that’s been recommended. We should reopen the economy. Let’s let the cards fall where they may.” And I think to myself, wow, that’s what’s happened after 5% of the population has been infected. How might we ever get a population to do what it needs to do to reduce transmission to hopefully get to that vaccine before the disease gets us to that 60 or 70% level.
And I think to myself, wow, that’s what’s happened after 5% of the population has been infected. How might we ever get a population to do what it needs to do to reduce transmission to hopefully get to that vaccine before the disease gets us to that 60 or 70% level.
That’s going to be months and months. This is not what is going to last for a few more weeks. And if you look at influenza pandemics, they all did last for years, not for just a couple of months. And so I think that that’s the challenge we have today is helping people understand: We’ve got to figure out how to live with this virus as much as we’ve had to painfully understand how to die with this virus.
July 7th, 2020
Spanish antibody study casts doubt on possibility of achieving a safe ‘herd immunity’
…without “accepting the collateral damage of many deaths in the susceptible population and overburdening of health systems”:
Reading first chapter of “The Great Influenza” by historian John M. Barry:
Lewis was correct. In 1918 an influenza virus emerged—probably in the
United States—that would spread around the world, and one of its earli-
est appearances in lethal form came in Philadelphia. Before that world-
wide pandemic faded away in 1920, it would kill more people than any
other outbreak of disease in human history. Plague in the 1300s killed a far
larger proportion of the population—more than one-quarter of Europe—
but in raw numbers influenza killed more than plague then, more than
The lowest estimate of the pandemic’s worldwide death toll is twenty-
one million, in a world with a population less than one-third today’s.
That estimate comes from a contemporary study of the disease and
newspapers have often cited it since, but it is almost certainly wrong. Epi-
demiologists today estimate that influenza likely caused at least fifty mil-
lion deaths worldwide, and possibly as many as one hundred million.
Yet even that number understates the horror of the disease, a horror
contained in other data. Normally influenza chiefly kills the elderly and
infants, but in the 1918 pandemic roughly half of those who died were
young men and women in the prime of their life, in their twenties and
thirties. Harvey Cushing, then a brilliant young surgeon who would go
on to great fame—and who himself fell desperately ill with influenza and
never fully recovered from what was likely a complication—would call
these victims “doubly dead in that they died so young.”
One cannot know with certainty, but if the upper estimate of the death toll is true, as many as 8 to 10 percent of all young adults then living may have been killed by the virus.
…perhaps two-thirds of the deaths occurred in a period of twenty-four weeks, and more than half of those deaths occurred in even less time, from mid-September to early December 1918.
Influenza killed more people in a year than the Black Death of the Middle Ages killed in a century; it killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years.
One cannot know with certainty, but if the upper estimate of the
death toll is true as many as 8 to 10 percent of all young adults then liv-
ing may have been killed by the virus.
And they died with extraordinary ferocity and speed. Although the
influenza pandemic stretched over two years, perhaps two-thirds of the
deaths occurred in a period of twenty-four weeks, and more than half of
those deaths occurred in even less time, from mid-September to early
December 1918. Influenza killed more people in a year than the Black
Death of the Middle Ages killed in a century; it killed more people in
twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years.
The influenza pandemic resembled both of those scourges in other
ways also. Like AIDS, it killed those with the most to live for. And as
priests had done in the bubonic plague, in 1918, even in Philadelphia, as
modern a city as existed in the world, priests would drive horse-drawn
wagons down the streets, calling upon those behind doors shut tight in
terror to bring out their dead.
John M. Barry’s The Great Influenza, pg. 18-19
Yet the story of the 1918 influenza virus is not simply one of havoc, death,
and desolation, of a society fighting a war against nature superimposed
on a war against another human society.
It is also a story of science, of discovery, of how one thinks, and of how
one changes the way one thinks, of how amidst near-utter chaos a few
men sought the coolness of contemplation, the utter calm that precedes
not philosophizing but grim, determined action.
For the influenza pandemic that erupted in 1918 was the first great
collision between nature and modern science. It was the first great colli-
sion between a natural force and a society that included individuals who
refused either to submit to that force or to simply call upon divine inter-
vention to save themselves from it, individuals who instead were deter-
mined to confront this force directly, with a developing technology and
with their minds.
In the United States, the story is particularly one of a handful of
extraordinary people, of whom Paul Lewis is one. These were men and
some very few women who, far from being backward, had already devel-
oped the fundamental science upon which much of today’s medicine is
based. They had already developed vaccines and antitoxins and tech-
niques still in use. They had already pushed, in some cases, close to the
edge of knowledge today.
The Great War had brought Paul Lewis into the navy in 1918
as a lieutenant commander, but he never seemed quite at ease when
in his uniform. It never seemed to fit quite right, or to sit quite right,
and he was often flustered and failed to respond properly when sailors
Yet he was every bit a warrior, and he hunted death.
When he found it he confronted it, challenged it, tried to pin it in
place like a lepidopterist pinning down a butterfly, so he could then dis-
sect it piece by piece, analyze it, and find a way to confound it. He did so
often enough that the risks he took became routine.
Still, death had never appeared to him as it did now, in mid-September 1918. Row after row of men confronted him in the hospital ward, many of them bloody and dying in some new and awful way.
Most of the blood had come from nosebleeds. A few sailors had coughed the blood up. Others had bled from their ears. Some coughed so hard that autopsies would later show they had torn apart abdominal muscles and rib cartilage. And many of the men writhed in agony or delirium; nearly all those able to communicate complained of
headache, as if someone were hammering a wedge into their skulls just behind the eyes, and body aches so intense they felt like bones breaking. A few were vomiting. Finally the skin of some of the sailors had turned unusual colors; some showed just a tinge of blue around their lips or finger-
tips, but a few looked so dark one could not tell easily if they were Caucasian or Negro. They looked almost black.
The clinicians now looked to him to explain the violent symptoms
these sailors presented. The blood that covered so many of them did not
come from wounds, at least not from steel or explosives that had torn
away limbs. Most of the blood had come from nosebleeds. A few sailors
had coughed the blood up. Others had bled from their ears. Some
coughed so hard that autopsies would later show they had torn apart
abdominal muscles and rib cartilage. And many of the men writhed in
agony or delirium; nearly all those able to communicate complained of
headache, as if someone were hammering a wedge into their skulls just
behind the eyes, and body aches so intense they felt like bones breaking.
A few were vomiting. Finally the skin of some of the sailors had turned
unusual colors; some showed just a tinge of blue around their lips or finger-
tips, but a few looked so dark one could not tell easily if they were Cau-
casian or Negro. They looked almost black.
Only once had Lewis seen a disease that in any way resembled this.
Two months earlier, members of the crew of a British ship had been taken
by ambulance from a sealed dock to another Philadelphia hospital and
placed in isolation. There many of that crew had died. At autopsy their
lungs had resembled those of men who had died from poison gas or
pneumonic plague, a more virulent form of bubonic plague.
Whatever those crewmen had had, it had not spread. No one else had
But the men in the wards now not only puzzled Lewis. They had to
have chilled him with fear also, fear both for himself and and for what
this disease could do. For whatever was attacking these sailors was not
only spreading, it was spreading explosively.
For whatever was attacking these sailors was not only spreading, it was spreading explosively.
And it was spreading despite a well-planned, concerted effort to contain it.
And it was spreading despite a well-planned, concerted effort to contain it. This same disease had erupted ten days earlier at a navy facility inJohn M. Barry’s The Great Influenza, pg. 15-17
Boston. Lieutenant Commander Milton Rosenau at the Chelsea Naval
Hospital there had certainly communicated to Lewis, whom he knew
well, about it. Rosenau too was a scientist who had chosen to leave a Har-
vard professorship for the navy when the United States entered the war,
and his textbook on public health was called “The Bible” by both army
and navy military doctors.
Philadelphia navy authorities had taken Rosenau’s warnings seriously,
especially since a detachment of sailors had just arrived from Boston, and
they had made preparations to isolate any ill sailors should an outbreak
occur. They had been confident that isolation would control it.
Yet four days after that Boston detachment arrived, nineteen sailors in
Philadelphia were hospitalized with what looked like the same disease.
Despite their immediate isolation and that of everyone with whom they
had had contact, eighty-seven sailors were hospitalized the next day.
They and their contacts were again isolated. But two days later, six hun-
dred men were hospitalized with this strange disease. The hospital ran
out of empty beds, and hospital staff began falling ill. The navy then be-
gan sending hundreds more sick sailors to a civilian hospital. And sailors
and civilian workers were moving constantly between the city and navy
facilities, as they had in Boston. Meanwhile, personnel from Boston, and
now Philadelphia, had been and were being sent throughout the country
3Blue1Brown: Simulating an Epidemic
(SIR model) S = susceptible I = infected R = removed
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