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Coronavirus and the madness of crowds

Yesterday I got a bit of frustrating and disappointing news. The 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC-51) to be held in the Houston suburbs beginning on March 15 (to which I was planning to attend) had been canceled due to coronavirus/COVID-19 fears. From the organizers’ email:

We regret to inform you that LPSC 51 will be cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19. This difficult decision has been made after a careful assessment of the risks as determined by the CDC and WHO; consultation with NASA PSD leadership; and consideration of community feedback. We are fully committed to ensuring that our conference attendees remain safe and well.

The organizers had earlier in the week sent out an email stating that they were considering their options because of the epidemic, and would announce a decision on March 6. That they pushed forward the cancellation decision by two days was almost certainly prompted by the revelation yesterday that a case of coronavirus had been confirmed in Houston.

To say this is a disappointment is an understatement. I was very much looking forward to meeting face-to-face many of the planetary scientists I have been corresponding with during the past few years. I was also eagerly anticipating getting an up-front look at the most recent discoveries in the exploration of the solar system, and to pass those discoveries on to my readers.

My disappointment however must pale in comparison to the disappointment of the scientists involved, especially the younger ones trying to establish themselves in the field. They need conferences like this to not only promote their work, but to network and to learn for themselves what others in their field are doing.

What makes this decision more appalling to me is how completely pointless and fear-driven it is. While it makes sense to try to slow the spread of the disease while scientists scramble to understand it and possibly develop a vaccine, it also makes no sense to stop living and to cease all effort out of mindless fear and ignorant panic.

And what we have today is the latter. This planetary conference was not the only one cancelled this week. On March 2 the American Physical Society panicked and cancelled its only annual convention, only 36 hours before it was about to begin, out of a fear that a gathering of 11,000 scientists from all over the world would help spread the disease.

This decision was absurd, however, as a large bulk of the conference’s attendees had already arrived. The cancellation thus accomplished practically nothing to stop coronavirus, while succeeding ably in stymying the spread of knowledge.

The simple fact is that though COVID-19 is a concern and must not be ignored, it is hardly the worldwide crisis being touted by our mindless press, odious politicians, and largely politically correct intellectual community.

A rational look at the facts give a bit of context that deflates the balloon of this madness. Several facts, both good and bad:

For reasons not yet understood, COVID-19 does not appear to infect children at the same rate as adults. Either their young immune systems are able to quickly clear them of the virus, or the virus simply doesn’t easily infect them. More significantly, when children have become infected, almost all have mild cases, and none so far have died.

Moreover, COVID-19 has infected slight less than a 100,000 people worldwide, killing just over 3,200. Meanwhile, in 2019 alone the flu infected about one billion people worldwide, killing between 291,000 to 646,000, depending on who you ask.

When compared with the flu, which no one seems to worry that much about, coronavirus does not seem so bad.

Of course, this conclusion is somewhat superficial. Coronavirus has a much higher death rate, especially among older populations (1% for the flu, as much as 14.8% for COVID-19).

Yet, even here, it is foolish to be fearful. Except for populations over 60 years old, the death rate differences are relatively small (see the graph here). Essentially, the only people who should be really worried about coronavirus is that older population.

These numbers are also probably over-estimates, as we do not yet have good numbers on everyone who has been infected. China has been somewhat opaque releasing information. It could be that many many more people, both young and old, have been hit with the virus, experienced relatively mild symptons, and did not therefore report their illness. Thus, the percentage of deaths-to-infections could be much much smaller, and might even align with that of the flu.

Even assuming many more have been infected than reported, COVID-19 up to now has still affected a relatively tiny percentage of the populations of any nation where it has appeared. And that includes China. In fact, when compared with the flu, coronavirus is at this point nothing more than a pinprick.

Moreover, after only three months the spread of the disease in China appears to be easing.

Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s coronavirus epidemic, will likely see new infections drop to zero by the end of this month, an expert with the country’s top panel on battling the illness said on Thursday, even as the city reported a quicker rise in new confirmed cases.

…The number of new confirmed cases in Hubei, excluding Wuhan, has remained in single digits for seven consecutive days, with three new infections recorded on Wednesday.

In the rest of mainland China, outside Hubei, there were only five new confirmed cases, the health commission said.

Some will claim that the harsh travel restrictions China imposed on its population caused this decline. I have my doubts, as do many scientists. COVID-19 appears very easily disseminated, so much so that I don’t think any actions by governments can stop it, merely slow it. This is why the disease is beginning to spread quickly across the rest of the globe, despite many attempts early on to restrict travel to and from the infected areas in China.

The recent drop in infections in China however indicates that coronavirus is much like the flu, and after a short period its spread begins to ease, no matter what you do, and thus is also likely not going to affect entire populations worldwide.

There is also the fact that the travel bans, while accomplishing little, are very counterproductive.

[M]any epidemiologists have claimed that travel bans buy little extra time, and WHO doesn’t endorse them. The received wisdom is that bans can backfire, for example, by hampering the flow of necessary medical supplies and eroding public trust. And as the list of affected countries grows, the bans will become harder to enforce and will make less sense: There is little point in spending huge amounts of resources to keep out the occasional infected person if you already have thousands in your own country. The restrictions also come at a steep price. China’s economy has already taken an enormous hit from COVID-19, as has the airline industry. China also exports many products, from pharmaceuticals to cellphones, and manufacturing disruptions are causing massive supply chain problems.

In a sense, travel bans are merely a “feel-good” response to the problem, allowing people who impose them to make believe they are doing something, while achieving little. They are also a method for the power-hungry to increase their power, using a crisis to gain the right to tell more people what to do.

Does all this mean we should not do anything? Of course not. The advise of all experts so far is to simply follow the same procedures used to avoid getting the flu. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, throw out the tissue, wash your hands often, and be careful where you put them.

And be aware that face masks are a waste of money and effort:

Only medical professionals or those working directly with sick people require the protective masks, or those who are reasonably anticipated to potentially infect others with the virus (to protect others). The masks, N95, require fit-testing and training to be used effectively. Any other kind of mask won’t protect against aerosols and is ultimately nothing more than decoration.

All of this means that it is likely foolish to cancel conferences like the Lunar and Planetary Conference. Better to provide better facilities for the washing of hands, ask participants to refrain from shaking hands and hugging, and spend a little extra money doing additional disinfection work on handrails, in elevators, and other places where people routinely touch things.

Sadly, however, the people in charge of the Lunar & Planetary Science Conference did not follow this well-documented scientific strategy. Instead, they panicked, and shut everything down, to the detriment of all.

I will still make an effort to report on the results of the conference. The program has been published. I will go through it carefully over the next few weeks, interviewing the scientists involved, and will periodically write up stories based on the results I find most interesting, much as I did last year.

It is just a shame that we are becoming a society run by fear, not rational and cool-headed thought. Even worse, this fear continues to be marshalled by the power-hungry to restrict our freedom and prevent us from living our lives sensibily, as we wish. Instead, we must be under the thumb of someone else who likes smashing his boot into our face.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Phill O

    No decisions these days, are made by scientific fact. The Crona (beer) virus is of more concern.

    The data for the flu are on the same scale. We have become accustomed to zero tolerance.

  • Brendan

    Part of the problem is the uncertainty, driven by the top down rule that has turned American citizens into subjects. That no test except those approved by FDA/CDC can be used under penalty of law.

    Washington State got around this by declaring their tests experimental (good for them!). And the rule was just overturned (late) by executive order a few days ago. Quest and Labcorp will be doing full scale testing based on doctors orders – and not our masters in the govt – next week.

    BTW the Koreans are seeing a much smaller death rate. Because of early detection and treatment Once that is happening here the fear will largely vanish I think. Again, thanks to the free market.

    The Chinese and their secrecy have driven much of this. They have much to answer for, especially if one of John’s recent guests is correct and the Wuhan lab researchers spelled out how they planned to do this in the Aug and Nov 2015 Issues of Nature. If true, this was man made.

    It probably inevitable that within a few years everyone will have been exposed. There will be higher than flu level deaths. But rapid testing will significantly reduce this and turn it truly into nothing much worse than the seasonal flu.

  • Brendan

    I will say that face masks are not completely a waste of money. They help keep a higher level of moisture as the person breathes, reducing drying of the mucous membranes and reducing the chance of viral infiltration through micro cracks that appear. The flu has a higher incidence in winter since heaters dry the air and dry our mucous membranes.

    So room humidifiers should reduce the chance of catching the flu in the winter. Once people turn their heaters off and own windows come April this season of the Coronavirus will come to an end. For now.

  • Col Beausaber

    Comment on John Batchelor Show (when 5 deaths out of nine, nationwide (!) were from a nursing home) by a health care professional. “People die in nursing homes every day. How are these deaths national news” Also more people died in one night in Nashville from a tornado than have died in the entire country due to the virus, but Nashville will be out of the news in two or three days. Because 1) The media enjoys stirring up panic It improves their ratings. So every snowstorm is gonna be a blizzard and you need to stock up on emergency supplies! (I live in the New York area, if our food supply is cut off, it’ll be the biggest natural disaster in US history) and the panic buying starts. 2) It may help bring Trump down, probably by damaging the economy. I’ve seen (off-topic) posts in various sites I frequent and the posters are positively gleeful at the idea that deaths of their fellow citizens and their economic hardship might harm Trump’s chances.

  • John

    Weeks ago I read many articles saying N95 masks were effective in stopping infection whereas the surgical type masks were not. Many people never have, and will not now, cover their face when they cough or sneeze. The N95 masks were said to filter out enough of the aerosols to protect you, if you also protected your eyes and hands.

    Now after the run on N95 masks, there are many articles saying not to get them, and they’re useless because they require fit checks. I’ve been in a respirator program most of my working life, and understand how fit checks work with half and full face masks that have rubber seals and valves. I don’t see how you could even do a fit check on a simple fabric N95 mask. So that part of the public information campaign reeks of BS IMO.

  • Cotuor

    I the middle of the Corona Virus madness there is a need for humor, British humor.

  • walt39

    I don’t think the author has done the amount of study of the COVID-19 pandemic that I’d expect of a science writer.

    Perhaps he’s better when writing about planetary matters.

  • Alton

    The first scientific posting of the Wahun Virus outbreak ? Was on Dec 30th to the WHO servers from a Chinese medical source. Thus it had probably circulated for about two months in country……
    The Red China’s government held a conference in Wuhan; the first week of December, attendees were communist officials and scientists (5,000+) from across China, OOP$!!!
    For over 100 days. 15_000 to 20_000 persons a day from China landed in the USA via air travel.
    How much of this seasons 18,000 CDC recorded flu deaths to date are from the Wuhan viroids already landed???

  • Craken

    The author doesn’t understand risk management or exponential growth or epidemiology. Read NN Taleb on the first and Greg Cochran (at westhunt) on the third. Hopefully he can figure out exponentials for himself.

  • John

    Here is a very informative article that uses the data from the Diamond Princess to get an idea of the real death rate from the virus:

    Spoiler alert – the real death rate is likely much lower than is being reported.

  • John: In fact, based on this analysis, the death rate is remarkably close to that of the flu. I also like this quote from the article:

    This all suggests that COVID-19 is a relatively benign disease for most young people, and a potentially devastating one for the old and chronically ill, albeit not nearly as risky as reported. Given the low mortality rate among younger patients with coronavirus—zero in children 10 or younger among hundreds of cases in China, and 0.2-0.4 percent in most healthy nongeriatric adults (and this is still before accounting for what is likely to be a high number of undetected asymptomatic cases)—we need to divert our focus away from worrying about preventing systemic spread among healthy people—which is likely either inevitable, or out of our control—and commit most if not all of our resources toward protecting those truly at risk of developing critical illness and even death: everyone over 70, and people who are already at higher risk from this kind of virus.

  • Cotour

    This too will pass. (Unless this is some kind of engineered virus that has mistakenly (?) been released out of a lab and designed for a specific purpose. And although that has been credibly talked about related to Wuhan, China, who is now spinning that its an American virus, I nor anyone else can say either way whether that is so or not.)

    People in America are behind the curve here and they are depending on the media and government to inform them. And those two entities by their nature create uncertainly and fear. The media because they pump stories to the point that they make them crazy. And government is not exactly known for fostering confidence in their statements that can be very S.O.M. based in their nature.

    The good part is that because of this spun up fear people are now hyper aware and vigilant. They are washing their hands, covering their mouths if they cough and are not touching their faces.

    So in the end this too will all work out as it should, 2 or 3 percent of people affected will die and they will be older and ill to begin with. (Unless its an engineered virus that is)

  • Cotour

    Then we have this in the media component: Possibility of 15 million dead world wide.

    If nothing else it has peoples attention, and is making them paranoid enough to probably make a difference in the potential of this situation as it is.

  • Cotour: The last link you provide is an example of the worst sort of fake news, and as one of the links in my essay notes, should be quarantined.

    Fourth Point: Tune out the mainstream media.The press wishes to induce economic turmoil to harm Trump’s re-election and to make the coronavirus into his Katrina.

    The media’s fear-mongering has the real effect of jeopardizing the welfare of millions of Americans, like my mother, who rely on their investments to pay for food, medicine, warmth, and other essentials.

    Until the press decides that it wants to help the country instead of destroy Trump, it needs to be quarantined.

    The prediction is based merely on bad computer modeling. Garbage in, garbage out. The academics who wrote the study merely created seven possible scenarios, all based not on actual data but on what they suppose might happen. The news article at yahoo then specifically focuses only on the worst scenario. Garbage.

    We should not be providing such bad reporting any distribution.

  • Cotour

    Lets reconsider:

    My point here is that this study, what ever study, really does not matter because the turmoil, fear and paranoia that the media and nefarious political operatives are generating, no matter their intent, is making individuals hyper vigilant and proactive and will drive them to severely limit the viruses potential because of it.

    Exactly the opposite of what any operative with evil intent might want to create, kind of a negative feed back loop that ultimately has a positive effect.

  • Cotour

    PS: Real world example.

    I have a pump bottle with 80 percent alcohol and alo vera on my counter for the last couple of days and most everyone is happy to squirt some on their hands and rub it around as they are checking out. Man, Woman, Liberal, Conservative, does not matter, they are all using it.

    And as Martha would say, that’s a good thing. If nothing else they feel like they are doing something proactive about this current situation where chaos and fear is being pumped.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Who owns Purell? Maybe I should buy stock.

  • wayne

    GOJO Industries own the Purell brand

  • wayne

    “We Heard the Bells: The Influenza of 1918”

  • m d mill

    The Diamond Princess cruise ship may an excellent microcosm experiment . There, 8% of this dense population were sickened by the Covid-19 virus in a few weeks, ie 300 out of 3600 (an even larger number were infected but did not get ill). This is very much inline with the 25 million US citizens who are sickened by the normal flu yearly (ie not as dense a population but over a longer period of time)…where 25,000,000/300,000,000=.083=8.3% . Therefore perhaps this cruise ship over a few weeks is a good simulation of a normal population over a year.

    Then, of those on the Diamond Princess who were ill 2% died (ie 6 out of 300). However, in a more normal younger population (cruise ships skew to an older clientele) we may speculate the fatality rate would be about 1%.

    In the US about 30,00 people die annually of normal flu out of 25 million who become ill, therefore the fatality rate is about 30,000/25,000,000=.0012=.12%. Therefore it would not be unreasonable to deduce the covid-19 virus is about as infectious as normal flu, but about 8 times as deadly! (1%/.12%=8.33)

    If this were true then we might expect 240,000 U.S. deaths from the Covid-19 virus within a year (ie =8*30,000) UNLESS extra-ordinary steps are takes to limit transmission, or unless new medicines and vaccines are produced quickly.

    These alarming numbers seem logically reasonable to me unfortunately, given the Diamond Princess “controlled experiment”. I therefore think the real possibility of a quarter million US deaths is reason for alarm, and a call for extra-ordinary responses of some sort…especially the robust quarantining of infected individuals.

  • m d mill

    Having read the Slate article recommended by John above, I would like to make my calculation above highly conditional.

    “The most important insight is that all six fatalities occurred in patients who are more than 70 years old. Not a single Diamond Princess patient under age 70 has died.”. That is an important point.

    HOWEVER….the deaths from normal flu are 75% in people over 65 ALSO…so the comparison of Covid-19 to normal flu above may still be reasonable. Perhaps 4 times as lethal under 65, 8 times as lethal over 65???

  • pzatchok

    I have no idea were you people live and work. But…….

    My company has a dozen factories in China and I have been getting emails about this virus since day one.

    My company have also religiously been keeping hand sanitizer all over the place. All drinking fountains, restrooms, Doors, offices. all work stations. Everyplace.

    I see sanitizer stations in half, if not all, the restaurants I visit and almost all the big box stores.

  • m d mill

    There is an interesting alternative strategy.
    All people under 50 (66 % of the population) should go out into public domain robustly, get infected, get the covid flu, live through the flu like symptoms if any, and then become immune to the virus and future infection. The virus will then have few bodies in which to multiply and the “pandemic” will then rapidly die away (it is an interesting feedback effect).Then the elderly can again come out (using common sense precautions) and be relatively safe. By that time vaccines may be available.
    This is along the reasoning (see RZ above) there is really no way to avoid the spread anyway (so just get it over with), and more importantly trying to fearfully avoid the problem just makes the problem worse/longer than it need be.

  • Lee S

    Sorry I’m late to the conversation, but as I have commented on another thread.. I’m alarmed by the response of governments all over the world… The Chinese economy is being severely impacted, and the knock on effect is rippling around the world. I struggle to understand why something on the same level as the flu would cause such panic?
    I’m not acctually scared of death, ( even tho I’m diabetic..) but I am scared of society closing down for a while… And I genuinely think there is something we are not being told here…. I’ve gone full on prepper just in case…. I’m not often worried about life… But just now I am… And I don’t like it!

  • Lee S: The problem with the coronavirus panic is not that “there is something we are not being told.” The problem is that too many people seem totally uninterested in looking up some data, and are instead more interested in wallowing in their emotion and fear.

  • Cotour

    Don’t worry Lee S, your government will take care of you :)

    And I must say that I respect your decision in the qualitative interests of your children and them having a better life in Sweden rather that the socially out of control England. In the end its really all about the kids. One gold star for you.

    And what you are experiencing in this viral virus event going on in many countries around the world is what I call, S.O.M. (Strategy Over Morality) as you may already know. The two conversations where your interpretation of what you think truth and morality is becomes optional. And this is just the mildest example.

    You through your personal observations have come to understand that there are two conversations in progress and you are fearful when that is revealed, and with good reason. However, the government can and will massage and modify and delay what they have to say about the situation based on several parameters that include their interests and the interests of retaining control, power, blood, territory and treasure.

    Its like the governmental cloaking devices that are firmly in place have malfunctioned because this event is a bit too shallow and can not easily be hidden and allows those that inhabit the Pedestrian Realm to see the real reality rather than the projected reality that they present. Sleep tight.

  • David Telford

    If a decent representation of the LPCS-51 contingent have already arrived, I recommend they hold a few impromptu session in a city park, and at least get some presentations out of the way and allow for networking. Houston in the spring, bet it’s rather nice. Bring a lunch.

  • Lee S

    @Bob…. If you had taken a moment to consider the meaning of my comment you would realise I am fully aware of the statistics, I am fully aware of the science, I am scared of societies reaction…. I still believe there is something we are not being told which is behind the media hype… But I have no fear of dying from the Wu tang flu.
    I am prepping because I have faith in the stupidity of my fellow man, not because I am scared of a relatively benign virus. Please grant me the dignity of not always talking to me like I am a child.
    @ cotour…. If I understand you correctly… I think we agree on something for once … The veil covering this story is very thin indeed.

  • pzatchok

    The Chinese economy is being impacted and yes that does influence the rest of the world.

    But the Chinese economy is a leading indicator and its influence will not be physically felt until the goods they send by slow boat to the rest of the world do not get here.
    And that will take any place from 2 to 6 months after they started closing down the production plants in China.
    80% to 90 % of those plants are back up and running full speed. So even if you do see a drop in imported goods from China you will also notice a replacement of those missing goods inside of a few weeks.
    Normally cargo ships are operated at a slow speed to save fuel but the replacement boats can be ordered to go much faster to fill back orders. So even a noticed production dip could be filled in faster than expected.

    Stop listening to the sensationalized news reports and start thinking like a greedy businessman. Are they really going to let some little virus stop them from filling orders and getting paid?

    Do not rely on the stock markets of the world to influence any thing about your life.
    The stock markets are made up of a billion normal under educated people from around the world. As soon as they see something on the news they react and not in a good way. They panic because of something in the sensationalized news and the market drops a single point and because of that drop more panic and more sell and that drives the market down even more.
    The real smart investor is sitting waiting for this and buys it all up at a cheap price and the market goes back up.

    The truly unscrupulous investor actually finds a way to make the news and turns that to his advantage. Bad news drives the market down. Now who in this world would have that kind of wealth and power, and owns a few news outlets to get the job done?

  • Cotour

    Lee S:

    We agree on two things; 1. The choices you made for your children in getting them to a theoretically preferred environment, and 2. The thin veil in this case that exists related to the Corona Virus between the Pedestrian Realm assumed / imagined reality and the Political Realm S.O.M. spin. (Learn to take all the praise when its offered, if history is any indication it will not be happening too often)

    PS: I reported yesterday that I had a bottle of alcohol mixed with a bit of alo vera on my counter for the public, which most everyone is happy to see and enthusiastically uses. I had one man the other night ask if he could bring the bottle out to his car for his wife, they were just at the grocery store and she was paranoid that she may have touched something with Corona on it and she wanted to cleanse her hands.

    And I then realized that this has the potential to become much like the 9-11 days were I had a flag in front of my store and someone stole it because there were none to be found. Try to find hand sanitizer in a store today. There is none, its already been hoarded. Another customer told me last night that she buys a special organic sanitizer for $5.00 from one company, and she saw the same exact small little bottle of the same on Amazon for………..wait for it…………$70.00!

    This morning I made a security device out of an empty white bean can and some wire that the bottle sits in that is screwed to the counter that will not allow the bottle to be removed any longer, I am certain that someone will swipe it for sure.

  • wayne

    Jordan Peterson
    “Disgust Sensitivity, Social Prejudice, Behavioural Immunity, Killer Hospitals”
    excerpted from 2017 Personality 20: Biology & Traits: Orderliness/Disgust/Conscientiousness
    May 2017

  • wayne

    “organic sanitizer” $70, that’s a good one. (I assume they get free-shipping with prime membership?)
    Tangentially– who remembers when hand-sanitizers & antimicrobial soaps were targeted as the tools of the devil & big-pharma, designed to destroy your immunity?

    This is so (very) good it deserves its own link:

    Jordan Peterson
    2017 Personality 20:
    “Biology & Traits: Orderliness/Disgust/Conscientiousness”
    May 2017

    We are watching some aspects of this, playing out in real-time— 8 months to the Presidential Election.

  • wayne

    “In September 2016, the FDA announced a ban on nineteen ingredients in consumer antibacterial soaps citing a lack of evidence for safety and effectiveness. A ban on three additional ingredients, including benzalkonium chloride, was deferred to allow ongoing studies to be completed.”

  • Jason Hillyer

    I get the sense that this post will not age very well. However, only time will tell…

  • Jason Hillyer: So far, all new data continues to support the conclusion that COVID-19 is about as dangerous as the flu, except that it appears relatively more harmless for the young and relatively more dangerous for the old.

    Overall, however, the data continues to show that the panic surrounding it is entirely unwarranted.

    Data however rules. If new facts change this conclusion, I will not hesitate to post about it.

  • Lee S

    Regarding the lack of hand sanitizer… I went into my local bookstore today to buy a birthday present for my daughter, and they had a shelf full for 79:-… ( I think about 5-6 bucks) for 300ml… I told the owner he should stick in in the window and double the price… (Jokingly!),.he winked and said it was for his regulars….
    I was somehow touched….
    @Cotour… Thanks for your words of praise…. I think…lol…
    And I missed your post regarding hand cleaner recipe…. but it does no harm to repeat it as often as possible… Every little helps!

  • Col Beausabre

    Latest is that US cases now are over 1000 with 31 deaths….Out of a population of 330 MILION ! Even assuming that the figures are 20 times higher, that’s 0.00006 percent. of our population has caught it – and the number of deaths is statistically close to ZERO. (According to the CGC, 66000 died last year from plain garden variety flu). And the evidence we have so far shows it will diminish and die out with warmer weather. Yet, we are in the midst of the biggest public panic in my lifetime. Frankly, I am ashamed of my countrymen and furious at those who whipping the population into a frenzy

  • Cotour

    “I am ashamed of my countrymen and furious at those who whipping the population into a frenzy”

    A friend of mine who follows my political analysis said to me, as he does almost every time that I speak with him, “Do you see what they are doing to him now?”, meaning Trump. I ask him, “Have you ever read anything that I have ever sent to you related to Trump and the Democrats?”.

    Nothing new here: “By any means necessary”, “Never let a crisis go to waste”.

    This virus and tagging Trump with incompetence in some way shape or form for any reason is ALL the Democrat leadership has. Oh yeah, and Joe Biden.

    (Really, the Democrat leadership has chosen Joe Biden to pull their fat out of the fire, and that is desperate. At this point its just a calculation about how badly you are going to lose and has nothing to do with actually winning. Better to live to fight again another day than to destroy your cause through self suicide as they would with a Communist admiring candidate. The 2020 presidential race is about 2024 for the Democrats.).

  • wayne

    What’s up with your Governor? (He’s smarrrrt, like his brother Fredo.)
    –I see he’s getting all authoritarian in New Rochelle.

    on a lighter note…

    R.E.M. –
    “It’s The End Of The World”

    “This means no fear cavalier,
    Renegade steer clear!
    A tournament, tournament, a tournament of lies.
    Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline.”

  • Cotour

    Does anyone find a problem with the measures, specifically his choice of gas mask equipment, that Howie Mandel is taking?

  • wayne

    Looks ‘cartoonish’ (with apologies to real Cartoons).

    Personally– as someone who is older, smokes, and works with the public, -albeit part-time –I’m more paranoid of the Flu and various cold viruses that generally hit my lungs.
    Anecdotally– sick as a dog for a week in February, with something unlike I have ever experienced.
    Totally random thought– my gosh, the federal government is getting ready to drop cash money from helicopters, (that’ll save us for sure) and send ‘reparation checks’ to all effected parties…

    the way-back machine to not-so-long-ago-

    Unconditional Surrender: The Polio Vaccine
    Eli Lilly Company [Detroit] 1956
    –“sponsored short”–

  • pzatchok

    Our company is now getting ready to switch all of our north American plants to the same defense procedures as our Asian Pacific plants.

    Basically one door in and out and everyone getting their temperature checked.

    My philosophy though is that everyone is pretty much already a carrier.
    80% of the people just like with the flu are just carriers and don’t show anything more than a sniffle.
    If one person infects 4 every week how long until everyone is infected?
    And as for staying healthy and uninfected. Well good luck. This is similar to a flu with no available vaccine. You can kick it off this week and still get it again next week.
    There are reports that people are getting reinfected. But it might just be that people are carriers far far longer than previously thought possible.

  • Phill O

    Reinfections may be due to mutations as it jumps.

    Amazing how some will use things like this to bolster their own pockets and prestige.

    This virus is very much like any flu virus and somewhat less deadly. Not so good for the elderly with other respiratory issues.

    The type response to this is a result of the zero tolerance for anything. These folk would go into cardiac arrest if a real plague happened like smallpox. Our enemies have GMO smallpox according to all information.

  • Cotour

    The Chinese are such a practical people.

  • Cotour

    And then of course you have this by Dean Koontz from 40 years ago.

    Now THAT is a prediction, and I want to hear Mr. Koontz interviewed on the subject and its origins.

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