Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

COVID-19 deaths plummeting worldwide

Chicken Little is wrong! From the journal Nature: The death rate from COVID-19 continues to plummet worldwide, for reasons that baffle some scientists.

As a result, it has taken researchers some time to determine whether the number of deaths per SARS-CoV-2 infection is really falling, particularly for older people, says epidemiologist Ali Mokdad at the University of Washington in Seattle. Mokdad and his colleagues have been monitoring global data, with a focus on the United States and Europe. A provisional analysis, he says, which includes data from the American Hospital Association, now suggests that the number of fatalities per infection might have fallen by 20%.

Intensive-care physicians say that treatment has improved, but not always in ways that are easy to pinpoint. Vijayaraghavan and others credit a shift in mindset. In the early days of the pandemic, COVID-19 was viewed as something frightening and new — and worthy of resorting to unproven interventions in a desperate act to save patients. “Unfortunately, a lot of the initial discourse was complicated by noise about how this disease was entirely different or entirely new,” says Vijayaraghavan. “This distraction caused more harm — we were all probably poised to go off track.” [emphasis mine]

The article, from this leftist-leaning science journal, is somewhat amusing in that it wrings its hands almost in despair at these encouraging numbers. It is like watching a group of people who refuse to see the elephant in the room. This quote from the article is especially revealing:

Vijayaraghavan credits the improvements in mortality at his institution to hard-earned experience, a better understanding of how to use steroids and a shift away from unproven drugs and procedures.

Marcus Schultz, an intensive-care specialist at Amsterdam University Medical Center in the Netherlands, agrees, adding that it took time to realize that standard treatments were among the most effective. “In just half a year, I think we repeated 20 years of research in acute respiratory distress,” he says. “Everything was done again, and everything came with the same result.” [emphasis mine]

The virus is not nor ever was the deadly plague that journals like this sold it as. From the very beginning, the data showed it would be variation of all other respiratory illnesses, and that to panic over it was a big mistake. The virus is now doing what some reasonable but ignored scientists correctly predicted: it is dissipating and weakening with time, as such viruses always do.

But panic we did, and as a result many more died than was necessary, even as we destroyed the livelihoods of millions and reshaped our society from one that celebrates freedom and boldness to one that demands obedience and encourages fear.

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17 comments

  • Chris

    The panic will continue until the control is complete.
    Perhaps a manufactured 1984 quote.

    There are many more here:

    https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/153313-nineteen-eighty-four

    Unfortunately, They all apply today.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Just as the original panic was fostered by the fact that the President was not from the correct party, this new development will remain similarly unacknowledged, until the contested Presidential election is resolved “correctly”.

  • Such a great post and such outstanding comments. My only comment: “1984 is not a handbook” fill in apt descriptor. Just sat with my parents under a variety of possible actions, criminal to some degree, to visit on their 60th Wedding Anniversary. My dad expressed his displeasure on people not wearing masks, out of doors, beyond six feet, etc, etc. I could not let it go and caused some inflection on the happy day, one not celebrated as their 50th with a gathering, dinner, and celebration on large. Asked if masks work, why do I have to wear one? Along the same line, if they work why were prions let out where the complete control (veiled as my protection) done? Finally, if they work, if it is bad as you say, why no direction on how to dispose of the bio hazard they are “catching the plague”? Finally this heated discussion ended with why are you not wearing a mask in the house? The government is telling you to in some places. My dad response, classic – “I have to use common sense”. I weep for the lose of liberty that I defended in uniform and follow on work nearly my entire adult life. Heartened by the readers of Bob Zimmerman.

  • Andrew_W

    I mentioned in a comment a few hours ago that IFR’s had dropped as a result of the slowing of the rate of the spread of the virus, I mentioned specifically that that had resulted in time being granted to medical professionals to develop procedures to reduce fatality rates. That the virus might be adapting to better survive and spread given human biology is also a product of that time and those extra viral generations.

    It’s a bit surprising that Mr. Zimmerman acknowledges this and then condemns the time granted by measures to slow its spread.

    It is like watching a group of people who refuse to see the elephant in the room.
    Been there.

  • Patrick Underwood

    ALL the mainstream science sites on the web have gone full commie. Oh how I wish the excellent Eric Berger would leave those Stalinists at Ars* Technica behind.

    * = “e”

  • Brian

    Nowhere in that Nature article does it mention what the “standard treatments were among the most effective” are, irritating.

  • Sam

    Andrew said, “I mentioned specifically that that had resulted in time being granted to medical professionals to develop procedures to reduce fatality rates.

    Per the article: standard treatments were among the most effective. Are those the procedures you’re referring to – the standard ones? At a mere 3 trillion dollars or so and the complete loss of liberty those “measures to slow its spread” were great value, huh comrade? Can you imagine if our medical establishment had been overwhelmed – as in Sweden, for example – and we didn’t have that precious time to develop “standard treatments”?

    Anyway, I’m glad we were granted (graciously by our wise rulers) all this time, have found workable solutions, and therefore can relax the somewhat inconvenient restrictions on human activity we all agreed were necessary and proper. Right?

  • Edward

    From the article:

    “Marcus Schultz, an intensive-care specialist at Amsterdam University Medical Center in the Netherlands, agrees, adding that it took time to realize that standard treatments were among the most effective. In just half a year, I think we repeated 20 years of research in acute respiratory distress,” he says. “Everything was done again, and everything came with the same result.”

    Are they kidding?!? They spent half a year and all those lost lives just to reinvent the wheel?

    All this time we thought that they knew what they were doing, that their experience with previous infectious respiratory diseases, flus, and epidemics was informing them as to what to do, but now we find out that they ignored it all and started from scratch. They were put in charge because we trusted that they had a head start on all this, but instead we all have suffered greatly because they thought that it would be a good idea to try a whole bunch of truly stupid ideas. What we needed were the “reasonable but ignored scientists” that Robert mentioned. Rather than the intelligent ones, we got the idiots.

    How do such morons get put in charge of our lives and livelihoods, our fears and isolations, our hopes and dreams, our finances and economy, and our liberty and civil rights? How much sooner could the death rate from Wuhan dropped, without all the collateral damage, if we had intelligent people in charge?

    What were they doing, ignoring their experience when they had a disease that was so similar to another disease that they both carry the same official name? Except this one is given a number “2” in order to distinguish it from the first (SARS-CoV-2: Return of the Revenge of the Super Athletic Rambo Series, First Blood, Part 2). How can it be that these guys aren’t ashamed of themselves or that the press is not shaming them for their astonishing stupidity? They knew how to properly react to it from the start. It reminds me of Dorothy at the end of the movie The Wizard Of Oz, who had the solution all along.

    Because of all this incredible incompetence, we have suffered unnecessarily from a horrendous reaction that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the U.S. alone, plus the potential to starve a hundred thirty million people worldwide. All we had to do was treat this version of the disease like the previous version. Washing hands, protecting the vulnerable, and limiting travel from areas with high infection rates. None of the deadly lockdowns were necessary or helpful. The mask mandates were unneeded. Sending people to their local Chinatown, sending Wuhan contagious patients into nursing homes, and banning helpful medications were just plain stupid actions. How could the doctors violate their Hippocratic oaths in such a horrible way?

    But, in retrospect, clinicians might have been overzealous at times. Schultz recalls asking patients to get off of their mobile phones so he could put them on a ventilator, but a candidate for a ventilator normally wouldn’t be well enough to hold a telephone conversation. As physicians became more comfortable treating people with COVID-19, many realized that early ventilation was not necessary, says Fan. …The NHS health-care centres with the lowest mortality rates during the pandemic used ventilators, but not too early. They followed standard protocols for when to use the devices, says Summers.

    Although some British doctors know what they are doing, there were unintended consequences due to the world’s other doctors being overzealous:

    Unfortunately, the public began to become concerned that ventilators themselves were causing harm, says Summers. Now, she says, families are upset when physicians recommend that their loved ones be put on a ventilator — even when there are no other suitable ways of providing oxygen. “The narrative you’ve heard is that ventilators kill people,” she says. “That’s been particularly unhelpful.”

    Yet another form of collateral damage due to the horrific reaction to Wuhan flu. First, the doctors were so fearful that they put patients on ventilators far, far too soon. No wonder they thought that they didn’t have enough ventilators, last spring. Then when lung damage showed up, the general public feared that ventilators were worse than the disease. The general public became fearful about going to the hospital, thinking it will get them infected, thus many people choose to stay home even as they die of heart attacks, and due to the same fear they won’t go to medical facilities for screening for various health problems. Here we learn that even if they overcome the fear of going to the doctor, they may still have to overcome their fear of lifesaving ventilators.

    Instead of virtually disappearing over the summer, like any other virus, Wuhan remained a problem. As a result of the reaction to it, not only are we unable to combat Wuhan but we are now unable or unwilling to get necessary healthcare. Our healthcare system (Obamacare) has utterly failed us.

    It isn’t just the medical community who have made terrible decisions, but our fearful leaders do, too.

    Last spring, many hospitals were banned from performing elective surgeries (e.g. life-saving cancer or heart surgery) and other routine medical procedures or doctor visits were banned or discouraged for fear that hospitals would be overwhelmed. Helpful medications were banned by some governors. Small medical problems grew into large ones. Now that winter is coming and increased testing is finding more and more people who have already gotten over their asymptomatic infections, will our fearful leaders use these newly discovered non-cases as an excuse to impose these same insane policies again? They are already doubling down on lockdowns, another stupid and deadly reaction to Wuhan, and Cuomo has said that he already rejects the coming vaccines.

    The combination of having lost perspective and their belief that they know the answers has led our fearful leaders into making tragic decisions, imposing strong-arm authoritarian tactics that resulted in worse outcomes than the disease could have done. Unfortunately, we are the ones to suffer while they disobey the rules that they demand we follow. Our fearful leaders and the experts still have their freedoms, paychecks, healthcare, large birthday parties, and haircuts, yet we don’t get such luxuries. Here’s to hoping you all still have savings to live on, now that they are ramping up the lockdowns again.

    These are the people that we are supposed to obey and follow. No wonder Americans traditionally buck authority. It turns out that authority is incompetent.

    The good news is that there are some police departments that now realize that it is wrong and unAmerican to enforce the current tyrannical rules for celebrating our coming holidays. Hopefully they will soon actively fight the tyranny and return to protecting us, our rights, and our liberty. Or am I raising false hopes?

    Welcome to Obama’s America, land of the formerly free.

  • mkent

    COVID-19 deaths plummeting worldwide

    Plummeting? America is losing almost 1400 / day, nearly double the death rate of two months ago. Spain’s death rate is up by nearly a factor of eight from early September. France’s is up by about a factor of 40 over the same time period. The UK: almost 60. And Italy’s is up by almost a factor of 90.

    Again, when it comes to the pandemic, reality is nearly dead opposite of what you write.

  • mkent: Hey, I am only quoting Nature, one of those “reliable” news sources you and others keep insisting I rely on.

    I guess when they come up with data you don’t like the results are no longer reliable, eh?

  • mkent

    Hey, I am only quoting Nature, one of those “reliable” news sources you and others keep insisting I rely on.

    I guess when they come up with data you don’t like the results are no longer reliable, eh?

    Now it’s getting bizarre. You’re arguing from authority. I’m giving you comparisons of the actual numbers now and two months ago. You’re a science writer. Surely you see your logical fallacy?

  • mkent: I am not arguing from authority. Did you not read my post? I surely did not express a lot of respect for Nature in my analysis.

    However, their data is worth looking at, and cannot simply be dismissed. In fact, they themselves couldn’t. Why do you?

  • mkent

    However, their data is worth looking at, and cannot simply be dismissed. In fact, they themselves couldn’t. Why do you?

    I didn’t dismiss it. I didn’t mention the Nature data at all. I merely pointed out that, far from plummeting, the death rates in America, Spain, France, the UK, and Italy are up by a factor of 2, 8, 40, 60, and 90, respectively, over the last two months. That’s about the polar opposite of plummeting.

    Sticking by an article about plummeting death rates when shown that death rates are actually skyrocketing is like sticking by a sunny weather forecast while standing out in a downpour.

    I await your comeback. I imagine it will be along the lines of my favorite quote from M*A*S*H: “There are no enemy units in your area. You are not being shelled.”

  • wayne

    Genomic epidemiology of novel coronavirus –
    -data visualization and tracking tool
    https://nextstrain.org/ncov/global

  • wayne

    Real-time tracking/analysis of influenza A/H3N2 evolution using data from GISAID
    (Showing 1610 of 1610 genomes sampled between Dec 2013 and Sep 2020.)
    https://nextstrain.org/flu/seasonal/h3n2/ha/2y

    Forecasts: For H3N2 only, the frequency panel shows *projections of currently circulating strain frequencies one year into the future in one month intervals.* Frequency projections are calculated from a previously trained fitness model based on the current frequency and estimated fitness of each strain in circulation.

  • Edward

    mkent wrote: “Plummeting? America is losing almost 1400 / day

    How can this be, when the CDC shows that we are losing fewer that 5,000 per week?

  • m d mill

    Incidently, in the reference link sited by RZ:

    https://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/essays-and-commentaries/covid-19-the-unwarranted-panic/

    is the quote “This is a death rate[in S. Korea] of 0.9%, higher than the flu’s 0.1% but not horribly so. And like the flu, most of those deaths have been among the elderly.”

    Thus, more early confirmation that Covid-19 is roughly a factor of 10 worse than “common” flu viruses, and not
    “quite comparable to the ordinary flu”.

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