And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Linkee-poo Monday

"First (came) a report out of Italy. Two physicists, including Claudio Cancelli Luca Foresti, the Mayor of Nembro, one of the hardest-hit towns in Italy, took a deep statistical dive into data about deaths, and here's what they found… In normal times, looking at average death rates from January to March in previous years, 35 people would have died. Add the 31 reported Covid deaths, and they should be looking at approximately 70 deaths. Instead, there were 158 deaths. This huge spike, more than 3.6x the expected (subtracting out Covid), was too significant to be a statistical anomaly. Also, the additional undiagnosed deaths spiked in perfect harmony with the Covid deaths. The only possible explanation was that they, too, were Covid-related." What is being discussed a little on the periphery. Because of testing coming so late, it's possible this disease is more widespread and has been causing problems sooner than we expected. If true, that means our predictive modeling is based on false data and this may be far worse than we originally thought. (Grokked from Sheila)

"Pastor who decried (coronavirus) 'hysteria' dies after attending Mardi Gras." The family still blames the media for overhyping, even though their father is dead. And they wonder aloud why the country can't come together. J'accuse. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"An association representing thousands of hospitals across the country is pushing back after President Trump claimed that hospital administrators are 'really thrilled to be where they are.'… The American Hospital Association said hospital officials are worried about shortages of critical medical supplies, including medication for patients and personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers."

"The debate is not a new one inside the coronavirus task force -- and medical experts have repeatedly explained to the President that there is a risk in enthusiastically touting hydroxychloroquine in case the drug doesn't ultimately work to combat the virus. But other aides and outside advisers have sided with Trump, including Navarro, who is still not a formal part of the task force but has wedged himself into the meetings." In other news, the White House is dysfunctional because there is a raving narcissist in charge. "(Trump) said azithromycin 'will kill certain things that you don't want living within your body.'" Not exactly true, azithromycin weakens the capsules bacteria create to protect themselves, allowing your immune system to kill them more effectively. But it also does the same to bacteria which is helpful to you as well. This is how you get C-diff. Also, in the hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin combination, the azithromycin helps control inflammation in the heart and lungs (one of its side-effects). In case you were wondering how an antibacterial could help against a virus (it's not for the virus itself, but to counter your body's response to the virus).

"President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence said they see signs the U.S. coronavirus outbreak is beginning to level off or stabilize, citing a day-to-day reduction in deaths in New York, the Covid-19 epicenter in the country." Brought to you by the same minds of "it's only 15 now, soon, like magic, it'll be zero."

"The city council of Georgia's Tybee Island, a tourist hotspot, on March 20 voted to close the area's beaches as it shut down the area to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The town put up signs and barricades to block would-be beachgoers from disregarding the local mandate." But the governor's order has opened up all the beaches.

"Two workers at a Chicago-area Walmart store have died from the novel coronavirus, the company confirmed Sunday." Not even the Walmarts are safe.

"There, and in places like Detroit, Seattle and New Orleans, funeral directors are struggling to meet the increased demand. Joseph Lucchese, who owns and directs a funeral home in the Bronx, says it's unlike anything he's ever seen and it's dispelled any doubts he once had about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic." Funny how your political ideology can crumble when the bodies start piling up in your parlor.

"Around the world, in countries afflicted with the coronavirus, stores are sold out of toilet paper. There have been shortages in Hong Kong, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And we all know who to blame: hoarders and panic-buyers… Well, not so fast." More on supply chains and how the market for the "same product" can vary wildly. Also about how, after 3 decades of "strategic downsizing", "just in time supply chains" and "6-Sigma" driving costs out of production and "fat trimming" there is no slack and our systems don't have flexibility. (Grokked from Mer Haskell)

Heinous fuckery. "The federal government is stopping planes on tarmacs to confiscate these shipments." (Grokked from Kelly Link)

"Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Monday that the country was preparing to issue a state of emergency to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases continued to increase in cities like Tokyo." Well that only took several weeks longer than it should.

"In contrast to stringent lockdowns in some countries, mandating fines and arrests for non-compliance, enforcement will rely more on peer pressure and a deep-rooted Japanese tradition of respect for authority."

"Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to hospital for tests, 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus, Downing Street has said… He was taken to a London hospital on Sunday evening with 'persistent symptoms' - including a temperature… It is said to be a 'precautionary step' taken on the advice of his doctor." Sure, sure, totally believable. (Grokked from Kelly Swails)

"A senior British government minister said Boris Johnson was able to continue running the country despite being admitted to a London hospital for persistent coronavirus symptoms." Cool, cool. Totally not like when Reagan had to undergo sedation and hadn't signed the order to temporarily transfer his power to GHW Bush.

"Europe saw further signs of hope in the coronavirus outbreak Sunday as Italy's daily death toll was at its lowest in more than two weeks and its infection curve was finally on a downward slope. In Spain, new deaths dropped for the third straight day… But the optimism was tempered by Britain's jump in virus deaths that outpaced the daily toll in Italy."

"There are tentative hopes in Europe that the coronavirus outbreak could be slowing, as the number of new infections and fatalities starts to slow down, according to data over the weekend… The figures are prompting European leaders to look for an exit strategy to national lockdowns, while urging the public to maintain discipline while the apparent recovery from the outbreak is in its infancy." And now the game moves into the second quarter with a distinct possibility of overtime. There are three things which can relieve these lockdowns; 1) an effective vaccine given to a substantial portion of the populace, 2) enough people have recovered that it's the same as if we've inoculated a substantial portion of the population with a vaccine coupled with large testing regime, or 3) some treatment is discovered (highly unlikely).

"A crucial milestone for the Chinese government’s narrative of triumph over the epidemic, the lifting of the lockdown won’t signal a return to normal life in Wuhan, where the official daily infection tally has dwindled to less than 30 after peaking in the thousands in mid-February. Early signs indicate it will be a slow and painful process, with the shock of the epidemic still lingering and fears of a second virus wave keeping businesses from resuming full operations."

"A man in central Russia shot and killed five people for talking noisily at night under his windows, investigators said Sunday. The shootings took place in the Ryazan region during stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus."

"'We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19, but they can trap women with abusive partners,' (United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres) said. 'Over the past weeks, as the economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying surge in domestic violence.'"

A random dungeon generator. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

"In a study published March 23 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, researchers used more than 20 years of satellite data to monitor the ice in Denman Glacier — a 12-mile wide (20 kilometers) stream of ice in East Antarctica — along with the bedrock beneath it. The researchers found that, not only did Denman's western flank retreat nearly 3 miles (5 km) between 1996 and 2018, but that a deep canyon below the glacier may be causing the glacier to melt faster than it can possibly recover." We're boned.

"Picture an angry little ball, covered in spikes, perhaps equipped with arms and legs, and definitely an evil grin. That's how cartoonists and animators are anthropomorphizing Covid-19. Which seems to make the coronavirus unique in our long history of anthropomorphizing diseases." How we visualize the world, with a large dollop of racism (because it's easy).

"Radiation levels near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster have spiked as firefighters battle to contain two forest fires in the area… A fire covering around 50 acres broke out on Saturday afternoon near the village of Vladimirovka, within the uninhabited Chernobyl exclusion zone, and responders were still fighting two blazes on Monday morning, Ukrainian emergency services said in a statement." Whispers, there's still a lot of fallout on the ground. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"'The Fed is doing everything they can to keep financial markets functioning and credit available to households and firms,' former Fed Chair Janet Yellen said during a forum organized by the Brookings Institution." Kinda hard to do that when people aren't spending money. I know everyone is trying to frame this as "get us booming again" but really the best we can hope for is to avoid the splat at the end of the fall.

How's that whole OPEC-Russia spat going? "Oil prices dipped during afternoon deals on Monday, reversing earlier gains after the CEO of Russian sovereign wealth fund RDIF told CNBC that Moscow and Riyadh were 'very close' to an oil deal."

"The Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly blasted the now ousted commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt as 'stupid' in an address to the ship's crew Monday morning, in remarks obtained by CNN… Modly told the crew that their former commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, was either 'too naive or too stupid' to be in command or that he intentionally leaked to the media a memo in which he warned about coronavirus spreading aboard the aircraft carrier and urged action to save his sailors." They piped that over the USS Theodore Roosevelt's PA system. What a spectacular way to resign from office. I guess Modly really didn't want to have a job. Like, ever. The word you may be searching for is "frag". It's when one's soldiers or sailors lose so much faith in their commander's ability to command, they roll a fragmentation grenade into their tent. Making a speech about how you had to fire a popular commander is one thing, blaming that commander for putting their sailors/soldiers above their career and embarrassing the brass and that makes them "stupid" is one sure way to break the chains of command and "good order." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"In the words of one administration insider, to the Guardian: 'The Trump organism is simply collapsing. He’s killing his own supporters.'… Members of the national guard, emergency workers, rank-and-file Americans: all are exposed. Yet Trump appears incapable of emoting anything that comes close to heart-felt concern. Or just providing straight answers." I'm not counting chickens yet.

A Cory Doctorow tweet storm on conspiracy theories and social media. Well worth the time.

Tweet of my heart: @HannahLebovits Husband just told me, “watching the federal government deal with COVID-19 is like watching the Ministry of Magic deal with Voldemort’s return,” and damn if that isn’t the best take I’ve heard this month (Grokked from Joshua Parker)

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