Hotblack Desiato 20 Feb 20 17:18
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Okay so:

1. You cannot trust the Chinese statistics, and more people than the Chinese are admitting have (a) got Coronavirus and (b) died from it.

2. Infections and deaths outside of China now starting to go up pretty steeply.

3. South Korea now recommending people stay at home.

Whose feel complacent now?



Bring it! Better now while we still have a healthcare system of some kind than in a few years when Boris has spaffed his way through 40 hospitals worth of hush payments to ladies where he has jizzed and jilted.

HB, is Maryjane an effective treatment for Coronavirus? I could be turned to your side if so.

*looks in DOOM bag*

nah soz m7 still not much in the way of bovvered in there. 


Still looking forward to two weeks working from home in the country with a bit of a sniffle.

If you can get a copy on Private Eye read MD on the first page  puts everything into some sort of perspective.



your 2 is completely incorrect 

In China, the epidemic is tailing off in Hubei and there is not actually an epidemic elsewhere. Guangdong has had hardly any new cases in ten days. The figures are likely to be directionally reliable.

There is no sign of a general outbreak anywhere outside mainland China. The cases there have been in HK, Singapore, Korea and Japan are highly clustered.

Evidence-based study suggests the disease is not particularly amenable to aerosol transmission and we are coming to the end of the flu season.

We’re going back to HK at the end of next week.

??? I think he left "or else I nuke the bastards" off that diplomatic tweet.

HB, is Maryjane an effective treatment for Coronavirus? I could be turned to your side if so.

Let's look at the facts shall we?

1. There is some suggestion that the coronavirus outbreak in fact derives from the Wuhan virology lab, and not the seafood market.

2. A sample of a new type of coronavirus was sent from Canada to the Wuhan lab for them to work on last year.

3. Canadians smoke a ton of weed.

4. The Chinese do not.

5. Everyone who has died so far has been in their sixties and from China/Taiwan/Japan/South Korea, where almost no-one blazes.

6. It follows from 5 above that no stoners have yet died of coronavirus.

7. In a universe in which coronavirus, cannabis, global cannabis prohibition, the Chinese communist party, global warming and delicious irony all exist, it is clearly more likely than not that the coronavirus was weaponised by Canadian stoner scientists to compel the global repeal of cannabis prohibition, solve climate change and bring down the Chinese Communist Party. It will turn out that inhaling large amounts of THC is proven to be prophylactic against coronavirus, with the result that everyone everywhere will have to get really really pranged, for like weeks, and not do anything, to finally defeat the virus, after which everyone will be like:

"Why the fvck did we spend all that time running around doing stuff when we could get really baked instead and listen to Neil Young, before doing some yoga, going for a leisurely run, have mind-blowing sechs and eat cheese?"

and Xi Jinping will be like: "You're right! I do look like Winnie the Pooh! I cannot believe I was such a dick about that! I am so sorry! Oh and I am totally declaring free and fair elections and resigning as president as soon as the elections are over because to be honest Politburo meetings are really really dull and I just want to play Mariokart and watch Seth Rogen movies!"


I appreciate the effort you put into that. You have my vote and the next bang on this magic carpet.

Heh, that’s absolutely brill and a nice bit of light relief

I continue to take the outbreak seriously and monitor things with a view to our own situation but I am becoming increasingly confident that this virus is not going to end the human race.

Still in the balance if you ask me. Note re highly clustered ...  but ... there are rather a lot of clusters globally now. Iran and S Korea seem to be lighting up. Japan too And in a disease which is mild in 80% of cases the stats to date still feel like they could be consistent with the early stages of a pandemic.  So much of it would be hidden from view it really is difficult to tell. Id give it at least another couple of weeks.

Japan is particularly vulnerable given its age demographics. Saw an interesting study looking applying China fatality rates to age profiles of other countries. Which seems sensible given how sensitive the disease is to age. Japan and Germany are particularly vulnerable and the study predicts fatality rates in excess of 3x the China baseline for those countries. UK came in a bit better but still a 2-2.5 worse fatality rate than China. I think in practice this would be largely offset by lower smoking rates/better health tbh, but its still a useful counterpoint to the widespread lazy assumption (which tbh I do  pretty much share) - that the China situation is necessarily an upper bound on how bad it could be.


The prison infections are well dodgy IMO.

I reckon it’ll be matter a few days to a week before it mysteriously spreads to the Uighur concentration camps.

In S Korea they basically have one cluster in Daegu relating to a church. Epidemics do not spring from such limited wells.

I am also unbothered for epidemiological purposes that it seems to be rife in prisons in Hubei. While no doubt a humanitarian tragedy - as, frankly, is the Chinese prison system generally - that’s clearly a one off and contained situation. 

However, I continue to monitor downside risks as well as positive signs. The potential Iran situation is more worrying, although (1) I’m not convinced the Canadian woman actually caught in Iran rather than having chance contact with a Wuhanese visitor and (2) if it is already in wide circulation in Iran then (a) the source is not likely to be the current event in china, suggesting a separate root or a longer history of undetected circulation and (b) what that then means is unclear - it is perfectly possible that widespread circulation would not always result in an epidemic, as it doesn’t with say swine flu.  

So who knows. Actually, while I am not sure an acute pandemic is the likeliest outcome, I think it is entirely possible - odds-on, even - that this becomes a circulating low level adjunct to flu and the cold.

Yeah if you wanted to quietly dispose of a whole load of political prisoners you’d definitely infect them with a pathogen the whole world is watching and which kills less than 1 in 200 of the healthy working age people it infects.

The apparent drop off in the rate of new cases in Hubei and in China generally is a statistical thing, not reality.  

First of all, there is widespread undetected disease in people who just don’t get particularly ill from it.  

Secondly, there is a lot of under reporting of more serious cases.   They don’t test everyone and up until last week they actually couldn’t because they did not have the lab capacity.  If you are not tested, you fall into a second category called “suspected cases” or you are classified as having ordinary pneumonia.   It will be quite interesting to see the death statistics for Hubei for this period and if they are not faked I expect to see a huge and unexplained rise in deaths from ordinary pneumonia (which is a common cause of death anyway).  

Third, they have changed the way the totals are added up at least twice.  About ten days ago they included all the untested “suspected cases, leading to a jump in new cases of 15,000 in one day.  Then about three days ago they excluded the suspected cases again, leading to a sharp falling off in new reported cases which does not reflect the reality.  

I suspect, but cannot price, that whoever is managing the reporting is desperate to show a leveling off in new cases to match a timetable set by politics and has little interest in or knowledge of the actual progress on the ground.  

That is why it will be so important to see what happens if the disease gets going in Iran.  

Laz I think the Korea cluster is interesting as it stemmed from a funeral after which mourners went their separate ways all over the place.

it’s precisely this sort of activity that carries it across borders and there are bound to be other similar outbreaks in the future. It probably wont be a one-off.

that said I am no doom monger, I am in the storm in a teacup camp.

the fact this virus can lead to viral pneumonia in vulnerable groups (which cant be treated by antibiotics) is nothing new, thats mostly how flu kills people, same process. You can have mild flu and you can have flu no symptoms, both of which lead to greater infection than nasty bout of flu because sufferers are going about their business still. Nothing I have read about covoid 19 so far seems any different.


DS is right that the absolute statistics are probably rubbish, but the direction (new cases increasing / decreasing) will be right. It's decreasing. Yes, making that judgement is complicated to a small degree by the fact that they've changed the methodology of counting (in a fairly straightforward and transparent way, tbf) twice - but all the better media reports adjust for that. The daily new case rate in China is falling. Quite consistently. The deaths per day rate is also tailing but more slowly because deaths are a lagging indicator.

I think it is probably low level endemic in Iran and has been for months if not years. I also think it's probably been circulating in central China for ages.

China has a major presence in Africa, yet there are no reported cases at all in Africa (apart from Egypt) despite their world class health systems.  None in Indonesia, one of the most populous countries in asia.  Its not the cases that are reported that are the danger, its the ones that aren't.    

although you could infer from the fact that it is probably widespread and undetected in many places that it is not necessarily likely to spark epidemics

The disease appears to have behaved differently in Wuhan to how it has behaved elsewhere. I can't help thinking that something weird happened there.

Laz - Im open to ideas around Wuhan -  but do you have any particular speculation/explanation in mind?

I still think the far simpler and more straightforward answer is that the key zoonotic event took place there relatively recently and they’ve been hit by it first (and tbh made a bit of a hash of the initial stages of it). 

Thats not to say the same thing will happen everywhere else. Although I would certainly say there is no reason right now to assume that the same thing could  not happen anywhere else.

I have to say I think the idea that it been incirculation for ‘years’ (implying its all so mild its not a problem) - and something has just happened to set it off badly in Wuhan - sounds like wishful thinking to me.

What warren said about worrying about the unreported cases.

On the endemic point - I don’t think Ive read a single expert who has suggested anything like that as a possibility.

And as you all know I have been obsessing over this intermittently for a number of weeks now.

I haven't seen a single credible expert claiming to know anything about what actually happened tbf. The theory that there might have been multiple zoonotic events over time has been openly discussed however.

Likelihood of global pandemic is receding and, although politicians wary of claiming too soon that the mainland china epidemic has peaked - it clearly has.

If it is circulating sufficiently widely in Iran that a random tourist picks it up, then the source is almost certainly not Wuhan sinnce December 2019.

traffic between china and iran is insignificant

I emphasise however that I don't know anything about epidemiology

Despite heavy Chinese investment in Africa I doubt that many Chinese travel back and forth regularly hence no reported cases in Africa.  

The lack of significant numbers of new cases in the West is reassuring, but still too soon to tell in my view. Might just be lag/mildness factors slowing its reporting.

We don’t know when it started in Wuhan. Maybe it wasn’t endemic but it started there Sep/Oct. and took 2-3 months to get going and we are just at an earlier point in the journey than we realise. Isn’t that equally/more likely than the idea this thing has been floating around for months or years and for some peculiar reason suddenly became a disaster in Wuhan and now its back under control and so its going back to being (presumably) an innoffensive endemic disease again?

Whilst not inconceivable, it does sound tremendously optimistic.

Also be interesting to see if anything flares up as China goes back to work.

I should emphasise that the above are simply my hypotheses. They are based on the biggest picture approach: when people generally predict disaster, I am sceptical; when people generally predict joy, I am also sceptical.

Nobody should make health policy or life decisions on this basis, but I am not an advisor on either.

Re Iran, I suspect the truth is it is not yet rife in Iran, and the Canadian tourist did not pick it up in Iran, but rather in Canada.

I did read a summary of the quite credible chinese omnibus study of 44,000 cases, which said that the initial outbreak was entirely consistent with exposure to a single or concentrated source, switching to disperesed human to human transition at, if I recall correctly, some time in January. While I doubt the same thing will happen elsewhere, it's clearly possible e.g. as a result of the Korean church cluster.

It is possible that given their better demographic position -much younger populations- that actually some African countries might have lower CFRs and might just resist it better.

That said I would still feel that in the long run, if it does become epidemic in such countries, their lack of ICU facilities will ultimately result in a very bad emergency.

"Despite heavy Chinese investment in Africa I doubt that many Chinese travel back and forth regularly hence no reported cases in Africa."

The Chinese by and large import their own workforce for infra projects in Africa and there are lots of small businesses started by Chinese traders as well. The travel between Africa and China is not insignificant. 

Highly improbable imo that the absence of recorded cases in Africa reflects the true situation.

Laz - I think you are describing a normalcy bias and/or a belief in reversion to mean. I have to say I normally share the same approach and for most of our human and professional lives it is perfectly sensible. In fact as people tend to overreact its usually the right approach.

The concern is that there are categories of event  (ie black swan type events) where it could be the wrong approach and it can totally mislead. 

My view is that with events that could be a black swan we should assume it is until we have a high level of certainty.

I think tbh u get that.

I think that for policymaking purposes one is very well advised to take that approach, CW. I'm not making policy tho

Not looking good in Korea m99s

Duck and cover

Yeah looks like we may now be seeing the predicted spike in non-China cases.

I am not mocking CW as I share many of his concerns, but I can't help lolling that the idea that drowning in his jizz might, in time, become more of a public health risk than the virus itself! Heh heh.

Italy looks like a traceable cluster similar to those we saw in France, Germany and the UK. Korea and Iran are worth watching. The Iranian city most affected is a pilgrimage centre i.e. plenty of international visitors.

You're right not to mock CW, Laz - as above - one of the latest victims was only 78. If he jogged a couple of times in his life and only smoked 40 a day after the age of about 20 you should be seriously worried, tbh... ;)

Middle aged and married. Chances of anyone even figuratively drowing in my jizz in the near future are pretty low.

TBH I still don’t really know whether its controllable (possible if clusters are isolated and stamped on quickly) but I suspect that the start of a pandemic would look a bit like this - an increasingly desperate game of whack a mole which eventually becomes unplayable.

Just yesterday tho Laz you said you thought the chances of a global pandemic were receding. I have to say I thought that was daft. My own personal non expert view is that they have probably moved from 30-40% to at least 50% now.

If a pandemic does come to pass lets just hope Im wrong at least about the virulence risk/significance.


Another measured, non-DDDOOOOOOMMMMM-laden post from Canary Worf. No doubt yet another 'only one today' we'll get today though (22 Feb).

I don’t think there has been any significant overnight change in the chances of a global pandemic.

I did exit my local Costa earlier because it was full of prematurely geriatric old Geordie codgers coughing their droopy man-tits off. Just because there’s a coronavuvu (not in county durham mind u) doesn’t mean I want to die of normal flu u cunts

Yeah, I’m gonna give up on the one-a-day bull shit. Tho tbh I slowed down as I don’t really have time to share my wisdom with people who aren’t interested in it.

But, frankly, fuck it. Ill post when I fucking want to. At present in between running sprogs from one saturday activity to another so not much else to be done.

Besides, on the vast majority of subjects, including this one, Im much more likely to be right than other people. So you’ll get my views, when I feel like it,  whether you like em or not.

And you'll be called on them, whether you like it or not, CW.

Which is precisely when each time so far you've admitted you've been OTT and pretty much a panic-mongering khunt so far.

But we'll see how it goes from here.

Good on u m99 I enjoy reading your posts, although they make me nervous.

p.s. also what is this about being middle aged meaning your jizz is not of drowning quantity? The bukkake party demographic is mostly 40+ and male! ;-)

Sounds like CW has the chair any time at a HK Laz host bukkake party.

Bring face mask, obv.

I do hear from good friends that there’s an active scene in HK, but haven’t attended.

You seem To be taking this very personally BC. Did your mum get run-over by a *panic mongering cunt* needlessly fleeing the SARS outbreak or something?

If you are going to call me a cunt, please feel free to spell it properly. I can handle it.

Ive softened the rhetoric, but tbh I don’t think Ive been especially OTT about anything factual so far.

Laz - CDC in the US seem to getting gradually less samguine:

“We are not seeing community spread here in the United States, yet. But it is very possible, even likely, that it may eventually happen."

(noted that is not the same as saying there will be a pandemic).

“We are not seeing community spread here in the United States, yet. But it is very possible, even likely, that it may eventually happen."

 This is not new at all, seriously doubt they are becoming “less sanguine” - unless you can point to a specific statement where they said it was not possible or unlikely that the virus will achieve community spread in the US.

Tbh i dont have time to trawl what they specifically said but the gist of most announcements to date has been spread is possible or may happen.

I don’t think they have used the phrase “very possible” or “likely” before. Happy to be corrected. Reading across experts/authorities generally, it does seem that the concern levels are going up. Or if their concern levels have remained consistent then they’ve not been as open about it previously. Tbh I wouldn’t be surprised if the latter is the case.

I think any responsible public health authority is or should be working on the presumption that community spread will happen.

Significant outbreaks in South Korea, Iran and Italy now.  Pretty clear it ain't going to be contained.


overnight news hasn’t raised the scare level much 

haven’t changed my appraisal of the overall situation

if they cancel any football in England however I am instantly immolating myself live on youtube. That’s the last bastion of civilisation. Cancelling football FGS!

I would literally rather you all died of pneumonia than miss a football match. No offence.

Laz I wholeheartedly endorse your prioritisation of the football, and clearly the ultimate severity remains very much in the balance; but are you not at least a little bit nervous that your pronouncement - less than 48 hours ago - that ‘the likelihood of a global pandemic is receding’ might turn out to be one of your less accurate statements?

Experts and authorities popping up all over the place now to tell us a pandemic is ‘likely’ and that ‘the window of opportunity has been lost’ etc etc.

Seen a few tagging on sentiments to the effect of ‘as predicted’ or ‘not unexpected’. *Hollow laugh*.

I'm glad I've still got my Brexit stash of bottled water  


Seen a few tagging on sentiments to the effect of ‘as predicted’ or ‘not unexpected’. *Hollow laugh*.


But... that’s true

In some cases.  But its been clear that many have been trying to play down the risks when the facts were clearly pointing to a really very major risk many weeks ago. Anyway they might now be overreacting the other way. Twitter seems almost designed to encourage groupthink:

In some cases? No it’s unequivocally true that wide spread of the virus was predicted and not unexpected, Laz’s commentary notwithstanding

“No it’s unequivocally true that wide spread of the virus was predicted and not unexpected, Laz’s commentary notwithstanding”

Not sure how this is “notwithstanding my commentary”. I agree entirely.

“are you not at least a little bit nervous that your pronouncement - less than 48 hours ago - that ‘the likelihood of a global pandemic is receding’ might turn out to be one of your less accurate statements?”

Not really m88, I never really worry about being wrong, especially when I’m “wrong” only to the limited extent of having said “I estimate the chances of this happening being modest” and then it happens - which does not prove that the chances weren’t modest. It’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about managing the anxiety of one’s internal and external dialogue. The only people I care about being “right” are the people actually making health policy.

Are CW @ 10:48, prepare how? Get some beers in?

I’ve gotta heh @ the notion that social media is a tool for downplaying this! It is an absolute hive of alarmism.

Nope sorry CW, this we do disagree on: the overwhelming tone of commentary has been alarmist

I think we are talking about different things. I am talking about official and expert channels. Yes clearly the general twitterverse tends to be alarmist.

Nor does it make sense for China to lock down 500million people in quarantine over 2000 dead people. The loss of Chinese economic production already is akin to the entire US workforce taking a 2 month holiday. There is just no way they do that for something 'like a flu.'

Estimates coming from on the ground inside China are that there is at least 200,000 dead. Obviously this is unconfirmed...But there are many, many videos from inside China of ambulances essentially just driving around picking up bodies and when they open the ambulance doors and you see inside they are already loaded with numerous body bags.

There is also footage taken inside a hospital where they load three young children (approx. 4-6 years old) into a single body bag (all of who are still flaccid- so no rigor mortis - which means they have all died within an approximate 6 hours window). So three dead children, within 6 hours, at one hospital.

And why would you load three children into a single body bag unless you were rationing the body bags.

None of it adds up to 2000 dead.

lindaradlett23 Feb 20 12:20




These measures don't make sense unless the fatality rate is actually much higher than we are being told (which seems unlikely)

The Black Death started in China didn’t it?

imagine 40% plus of the European population wiped out.

"Estimates coming from on the ground inside China are that there is at least 200,000 dead."

Don't be completely ridiculous.

Also the reported death rate and ICU admission stats coming out of Iran and Italy are higher than those being reported by China.

This would support any argument that the Chinese numbers are being under reported.

Remember this disease has an up to 24 -28 day incubation period.  What you see now is up to 3 weeks behind where the disease already actually is, and that the deaths peak 2 weeks after symptoms. So death rates lag considerably also.

Even if you don't believe this is serious, and that the disease won't impact you directly because of your age or lack of pre existing conditions, the panic buying going on in Italy right now is clearing shelves everywhere and is indicative of what will happen in a lot of places in the weeks and months to come.





Scylla, on a completely different topic (because I've just spotted you here)... ...did your beautiful house site survive the summer fires?

It got badly burnt Fluffy.

But it's all good, I hadn't started building yet and the land is already recovering after we have had some rain.

I should be starting building in the next month or two.

I'm actually concerned that this coronavirus crap will get in the way of that though.. (among other things) as many Australian manufacturers are already experiencing supply chain issues with materials coming out of china. They are already running out of supplies and they have no expected delivery dates as China has shut down all the ports etc.


"Remember this disease has an up to 24 -28 day incubation period. "

This is completely incorrect. A miniscule number of outlier cases (which will exist for any estimate of any incubation of any pathogen anywhere) have shown incubation periods longer than 14 days. Sub 1% of all cases, per the recent omnibus study. So few data points are there on >14 day incubation cases, in fact, that they're quite prone to being bollocks e.g. the guy who met his (later found to be infected) 27 days ago outside Hubei, drove back to his home *in Hubei* and then got the coronavirus on day 27. Hmm, could he possibly have encountered anyone else with the coronavirus in Hubei in the meantime?

Even if the tiny number of >14 day cases could potentially have butterly-flap style ramifications, it is plainly untrue to say there is a 3 week lag on seeing the spread of the virus. A week to ten days maybe.

Italy has 150 reported cases, with 27 in ICU and 3 dead.

Even assuming no more deaths out of that 27 who are currently in ICU,  Italy already has a death rate higher than that reported by China.

It's not higher than was reported by China in earlier phases of the epidemic. The cases that show up at the start are biased toward the more serious.

I agree with you about the ICU admission rate tho

The 600+ confirmed cases from the 5000? people on the Diamond Princess is a worrying ratio.  But what do you expect if you keep people cooped up in close proximity? Would nearly everyone get it eventually?

Cruise ships are a unique environment for disease to spread. So I wouldn't count that as a typical scenario... and there is a lot of criticism over the quarantine procedures they put into place.

One good thing however is the very few deaths that have arisen so far from those 600 cases. Noting that death tends to occur some time after infection so that could still change dramatically.

But generally it is a massive positive given the average age of cruise ship passengers.

It may demonstrate that the disease does have a much lower death rate per total infection rate and that it is only the very serious cases elsewhere which are being picked up.

Laz the videos of body bags and the sheer numbers of them which are coming out of China simply do not support the reported death rate as advised by the CCP.

And they have been literally welding people into their apartment buildings. 

How the fvck would the CCP even begin to know how many of those people have now died.

I am not able to find any stats on the hospitalization rate or ICU status of the 600+ Diamond Princess cases.

You would think they would be tracking that extremely closely give that it is an almost perfect test case for how this thing will impact outside of China.

Its a controlled environment. they know with some degree of precision the dates of transmission and could easily pinpoint infection and transmission points using CCTV footage on board. And could also easily have a confirmed infection/ death rate and hospitalization ICU rate from a confirmed and limited sample population.

And yet none of this information is available... that's weird.

​​​​​​no, not a perfect test case by any means.

utterly unique circumstances of location and passenger type and a tiny sample size to boot.

a good example of what happens to above average age passengers on a cruise ship, yes. Of the disease’s progression in general outside China - nope.

that’s a v interesting one goose m7

u could read it several ways:

the chinese have got themselves comfortable it’s under control and improving

or the communist party have decided that the political risk is so significant that it’s better to risk the spread of infection than imply that they have lost control/plus the unrest caused by effective mass house arrests

or the expert advice is that the curfew has been ineffective in halting the outbreak and the resources used to maintain curfew need to be applied elsewhere