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Jan Finster

Coronavirus - those in China, and general discussion

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889

I'm beginning to believe pretty strongly that looking at the screen all day following all the latest developments -- the US-Canadian border is closing! The Dow is in free-fall! -- is the worst thing you can do at this time.

 

Quarantine yourself from the news. And stay healthy. Both in body and mind.

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somethingfunny

Well, schools are closing on Friday.  What an absolute nightmare.  Sure, there is a small amount of relief that we're not on edge everyday waiting for an announcement, but we are well and truly in uncharted territory now.  The only similar experience I've had in my life is 9/11, and this has very rapidly become more extreme than that.  I now face the prospect of up to five months without the thing that I do everyday.  And years from now, when they test the pupils going through the education system, there is going to be an enhanced wealth gap between the coronavirus kids who did a lot of work and the coronavirus kids who spent the whole period sat at home wasting their time on their phones.  It will be with us for generations.

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mungouk
14 minutes ago, 889 said:

Quarantine yourself from the news. And stay healthy. Both in body and mind.

 

Amen to that... to a degree.  Sitting online doing nothing but reading news updates all day is a great recipe for instant depression.

 

 

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roddy

Was out and about today getting a few things done - it's pretty bleak out there. Fair number of people still to be seen, but far quieter than usual and the conversation has shifted from 'are we going to get sick' to 'wait, what's happening to my income?' Popped into a charity shop and even they're suffering - less footfall, and their volunteer staff aren't coming in so they can't sort new stock onto the shelves. If you're not selling groceries, you're in trouble. 

 

Bought a bike today - been talking about it for a week, on the basis the gym will inevitably close and the exercise and fresh air will do me a lot of good. Got the bike home (in a taxi, haven't ridden since I started shaving and wasn't going to relearn across Edinburgh city centre, even if the traffic is lighter) to an email confirming that the gym has, indeed, closed for the foreseeable future. So that was good timing. Lucky to have some good running and cycling routes nearby though, and the weather's warming up.Thinking about it, the gym closing was probably related to the schools closing - can't run a gym if your staff is home with the kids. 

 

I probably (very probably) spend longer than necessary reading the news, but manage to avoid it making me worry any more than I already would, I think. Ignore any headline with 'could' in, as that's an unlikely worst-case scenario. I suspect I'm better off reading the news and coming away with a sense of knowing what's going on and being able to plan accordingly. And as I think I've said, I'm very lucky in being in a better position to weather something like this than many. 

 

I did find myself thinking I should get a new hobby for the extra at-home time. And then I realised I already have a full suite of at-home hobbies that I can just start doing more conscientiously. Might get some online tuition for those, depending on how income pans out. 


Edit: just started a Constructive quarantining topic. Drop by, if only to tell me I’m not really using the word quarantine correctly. 

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889

 Trump Bans Driving As Week's Road Kill

Soars to 800; Scientists Search for Cure

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imron
4 hours ago, wibr said:

, it's just a fact that 80% of the infections are mild.

Correct, and only 5% of cases need intensive care.

 

Now plug in some figures for your local population (country, state or city), as well as a figure for percentage of people who get infected (I’ve seen estimates ranging from 20% to 80% might as well try both to see and upper and lower limit), and compare that to the number of intensive care beds available (or even just regular hospital beds) for the same region. The numbers are not pretty.

 

Now factor in exponential growth rates, meaning everything happens slowly at first and then very suddenly, and you’ll see why people are concerned enough to start shutting everything down. 
 

Here is post by an Australian doctor who lays it out for his small city. 

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Ruben von Zwack
5 hours ago, wibr said:

Drosten by the way is in no way downplaying anything, he is very concerned about the situation, it's just a fact that 80% of the infections are mild.

I know! Drosten is good. I was unfair, I was irked not so much by him, but by all the people who take sentences like that out of context, to downplay.

  

38 minutes ago, imron said:

Here is post by an Australian doctor who lays it out for his small city. 

Imron, does the hashtag "lockusdown" mean what I think it means? In Munich, sensible people are begging for a shutdown, too. 40 people were diagnosed with Corona after a Ski party, all of them young people, allegedly even young doctors among them, 10 of them in intensive care now.

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imron

Yes it does. Many doctors (and other concerned citizens) have been calling on the government to take stricter measures such as closing schools and other options in order to try and ‘flatten the curve’.

 

The government believes it’s not necessary yet,  as there aren’t too many cases, and closing schools will have knock on effects on the economy and also healthcare workers who may need to then stay home to look after children who are no longer at school. 


 

 

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Ruben von Zwack
1 hour ago, imron said:

The government believes it’s not necessary yet,  as there aren’t too many cases, and closing schools will have knock on effects on the economy and also healthcare workers who may need to then stay home to look after children who are no longer at school.

That was literally the exact same discussion here last week! It was "only" 128 cases in my state around the 12th, and the Robert Koch Institute classified the threat as "moderate".  Now it's 1,600, and they closed schools and all businesses unless they are basic needs, like groceries. But people are still flocking together and having a great time, especially all the school kids, and the pensioners.

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imron

Exponential growth is a powerful thing, it’s like the story about the man who bankrupts the king by asking for a reward of one grain of rice, doubled for every square on the chess board. 

 

Australia is currently doubling in cases every 3-4 days - see this graph which I’ve been keeping an eye on since under 100 cases. Unless we can flatten the curve we’ll be at 2,000 cases in a week or so. 

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roddy
11 hours ago, imron said:

compare that to the number of intensive care beds available (or even just regular hospital beds) for the same region. The numbers are not pretty.

And uglier when you consider that those beds are already in use. Nobody (well, the UK anyway) has been keeping extra intensive care beds lying idle just in case.... 

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roddy

Figures here seem to give the lie to the idea that young people are safe:

20 percent of the hospitalized patients and 12 percent of the intensive care patients were between the ages of 20 and 44, basically spanning the millennial generation.

 

The good news there is that apparently I'm young enough to at least span the millennials, if not be one.

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889

Ditto Hong Kong, where there was a spike of reported cases Thursday, and most are in their 20's and 30's.

 

https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/19/P2020031900018.htm

 

There's a theory that people in this age group are more likely to socialise.

 

You'll note the Hong Kong Government publishes quite a bit of information about each case. It also publishes a list of all the buildings where people are home quarantined, and building management usually puts a notice in the lobby if the block shows up on the list. Names and flat numbers aren't given, but no doubt everyone knows nonetheless.

 

By the way, look at this very disturbing graph from the Guardian:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/19/boris-johnson-uk-can-turn-tide-of-coronavirus-in-12-weeks

 

But if you read the graph carefully, it shows cumulative cases of the virus, and of course that number's always going to increase until there are no more new cases. A far more honest and informative graph would plot out the new cases each day over time.

 

(Of course I'm following my own advice and quarantining myself from the news; I just clicked on the Guardian bookmark by mistake.)

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Lu

Here in the Netherlands, reportedly about half the people in the Intensive Care are below 50. Theory is that they caught the virus during the Carnival festivities, where older people go less. I am not reassured.

 

(That was a real mistake, in my opinion: Carnival (the Catholic feast) is celebrated extensively in the South of the Netherlands. Entire cities do nothing but party together for several days. These festivities were not cancelled. The first Dutch COVID case was a man from Noord-Brabant, one of the Southern provinces. He had celebrated Carnival after catching the virus. I don't know how many people he infected, because only very little testing is done here and hardly any searching for who caught it where.)

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imron
4 hours ago, roddy said:

give the lie to the idea that young people are safe:

It’s never been the case that young people are safe from catching the disease, only that they’re less likely to die from it.  The Australia stats I linked to previously (scroll down to age related graphs) show plenty of people in their 20-30s catching it.  They’re just more likely not to die. 

 

 

3 hours ago, 889 said:

A far more honest and informative graph would plot out the new cases each day over time.

A cumulative graph is both fine and honest, you just need to pay attention to the slope of the curve to see new cases.
 

The curve will flatten to an ‘S’ curve once infections have peaked and start declining. 

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889

"The curve will flatten to an ‘S’ curve once infections have peaked and start declining. "

 

But the curve will always be climbing until new infections stop. It's a great way to make the situation look as dire as possible, then hide behind the excuse that, well, the graph's not inaccurate, is it. I seem to recall that there's a book or two out there on statistics and graphical representations of statistics that demonstrates how they can be so easily twisted to make whatever point you're trying to make. The Guardian is something of a master at this.

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imron
1 hour ago, 889 said:

 

But the curve will always be climbing until new infections stop

Yes, and the slope of the curve shows the number of new infections per day - the more vertical it is, the worse the situation is. 

 

Also, at this stage, while we’re still in what looks to be exponential growth, the new cases per day graph doesn’t look any less dire (the link I provided above for Australia has both cumulative and new cases per day graphs) and it’s still a hockey stick, it’s just that the scale on the y-axis is different.  
 

Not to defend the guardian, but you’d see a similar thing if you converted the guardian graph to new cases per day. 

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889

"  . . .  but you’d see a similar thing if you converted the guardian graph to new cases per day."

 

No, it wouldn't look anywhere near as alarming. The Guardian has an agenda -- to make Boris Johnson look as hopeless as possible -- and they chose to present the data in a manner that served that agenda.

 

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imron

I have no comment on the Guardian's bias - I don't read it, nor do I particularly follow British politics.  That said, the Guardian sources the graph to Public Health England.  Go to PHE's page on corona virus and you get both cumulative and new cases graphs.  The shape is basically the same, the only main difference so far is the scale of the y-axis.  As time progresses one will become an S curve, the other will become a bell curve.

 

I'm not sure if any one of those graphs provides more or less of a hopeless outlook than the other (both currently show a doubling of cases every 3-4 days, and that's the real concern). 

 

Personally I prefer looking at the cumulative version of the graph.  The cumulative version is the main one I look at for Australian data, and I'm not doing that out of any bias, I just prefer the information in that format.

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