To save our economy roll out antibody testing alongside the active virus testing

Guest post by Alec Rawls

Social distancing is very costly to our society and not everyone needs to be doing it. The greater Seattle area alone is right now rapidly filling up with many thousands of people who have already gotten over the COVID-19 “Chinese coronavirus” and are thus not at significant risk either of catching this disease again or of passing it on. We just need to make it easy for people to discover their already-had-it status. Then as long as they wash their hands they should be out engaging in the public activities that keep our economy and our society going.

The nationwide rollout of drive-thru testing for active coronavirus infection is starting to identify some of the immune population. Almost all of those who test positive will within a couple of weeks be well over their symptoms and no longer able transmit the disease. But active virus testing by itself will leave the biggest part of the immune population unidentified.

First it can’t identify anybody who is already over the disease, which means anybody who caught Corona more than two weeks ago. With the highly contagious “Wuhan flu” circulating since at least mid-January those numbers could be large and the people affected are the ones who can be stepping out to keep our economy running right now.

Going forward the live virus test will continue to miss most infections. Current estimates are that about half of the Corona infections are asymptomatic, or nearly so. In the words of Doctor Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins (at 1:10 here):

We do know, if we look at the Diamond Princess and other examples, that about half of people probably have no symptoms or mild symptoms.

The silent spread of “Kung Flu” (the moniker popularized by CBS reporter Weijia Jiang) will be and probably already has been vast. The only way to identify the large and important group of people who have been part of this expanding  wave is to have a nationwide roll-out of antibody testing to anybody who wants it, a rollout on the same scale as the live virus testing.

Given the important social benefits we shouldn’t charge for it and we should try hard to really sell people on the personal benefits:

“Hear ye, hear ye! Get you antibody check here! If you’ve already got Corona antibodies then you’ve have a “get out of social-distance-jail free” card. Go out dancing! Go to the movies! Go to the restaurant! And most importantly, go back to work.”

Add antibody testing to drive through PCR and encourage everybody to do both

The active virus test uses polymerase chain reaction testing (PCR) on nasal and throat swabs to look for the RNA of the Chinese Coronavirus. Antibody tests require a blood sample but are already available and, like the PCR tests, return results in a few hours. Everybody who does one should probably also get the other.

Why? Because people whose current symptoms turn out to be an ordinary flu might nevertheless have already gotten over Corona so they should test for that too, even if they have no awareness of an earlier infection. Similarly, currently symptomless people who want to find out if they already had Corona might turn out to have an active infection.

The large social benefits of each say to do both and Biomedomics says that their rapid antibody test only requires a finger-prick blood sample so it could probably be done drive-through at the same time as the swab testing.

As Corona comes to look less dangerous our response is becoming more extreme

The news from the frontlines of the Corona War looks good. We already have strong indications of about 1% mortality from the Diamond Princess and from South Korea.   That’s high for an ordinary flu but there has also been great progress in finding effective remedies that could reduce the mortality by quite a bit. Then there is the high estimated proportion of asymptomatic cases. If borne out that will not only keep the Coronavirus mortality rate low but it will also mean that we already have a good start on herd immunity.

Logically it seems that we are not far from the point where we can declare the situation manageable and start rolling back the extremes of social distancing and economic shutdown that are now in place. We shouldn’t be in too much of a hurry. The domestic testing data is finally starting to roll in and we need to look at it, but if we can get to the point where the risks can placed in the ballpark of an ordinary-flu (or a modest multiple of an ordinary flu) then we should drop all but the most basic social distancing (stay home when sick), and stop incurring the serious economic harm that more drastic social distancing is already starting to cause. Nothing kills as many people as poverty and even a modest recession upends the lives of those who end up without work.

But while the news from the war front is good multiple levels of government are forging full speed ahead with even more drastic distancing and shut-down. Multiple states have already committed to shutting down the rest of their public school years, California just locked all of its 40 million citizens in their houses and PA shut down its highway rest stops! (Now they are only shutting down the bathrooms, yay. One cheer.)

It goes on and on in a mad rush. A trillion dollar stimulus package is in the works and Congress is looking to enact responses into law. Radical shut down plans are being floated from sources one would expect to be rational (MITRE),  going far beyond the original stated goal of trying to slow the spread of the Coronavirus and instead explicitly advocating efforts to stopping Corona from spreading at all.

To defeat Corona, we can’t let our own immune system kill us

If the medical test data now coming in reveals some terrible bad news then a prolonged social distancing response could still turn out to be right, but people being people, extreme distancing could continue even if it is terribly wrong.

Remember how the Coronavirus kills (in the rare cases where it does kill): by provoking an over-reaction from the host body’s immune system that attacks and destroys the host’s own cells. That is exactly what our current “immune response” of shutting down the economy will quickly achieve if we follow it very long, whether on solid grounds or in terrible error.

The only way to survive going much further down this road is with mass antibody testing that releases those who have gotten over the Coronavirus from further social distancing. If we are going to take this very dire economy-ravaging medicine, akin to subjecting the body to a 106° fever, it is crucial that we mitigate the harm by exempting those for whom it is completely unnecessary.

Those people are going to be our skeleton crews and their unconstrained mobility is going to be most important when we are at our lowest point. As their numbers grow they are going to pave our road back. They are going to be our road back.

Eventually we will all be there. A year or two from now when effective vaccines are finally available we will all have immunity. But a year is a very long time to be flat on our back economically. In the meantime we need the growing army of our immune countrymen to be our legs and we need to take steps to get those legs up and under us.

So long as we are even contemplating continued social distancing it is imperative that we put mass antibody testing right at the top of our priority list. We desperately need protection not just from the Coronavirus but also from the immune response that our society implements to attack the virus, or it won’t just get a few of us. It will get all of us.

Does the possibility of reinfection change this analysis?

Reinfection would seem to be a second order concern but it is something we need to investigate. Flus always mutate, eventually coming back different enough to strike again. By then we should not only have vaccines but our vaccine industry should be developing vaccines much quicker than in the past, a change that is already emerging.

As for reinfection by a single strain, that should not happen with a healthy immune system and probably hasn’t happened. “If this acts like any other virus, once you recover, you won’t get reinfected,” says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and there are other possible explanations for the few seeming cases of reinfection, such as incomplete recovery and tests that missed the still infected body parts.

But we do know of one possible danger on the multiple-strain front already. Chinese researchers say that they have identified two major strains, a more aggressive “L” strain that was predominant in Wuhan but has since lost ground to a less aggressive “S” strain.

The small number of known cases of seeming reinfection suggest that there must be strong cross-immunity between whatever different strains exist, but what if that is not the explanation? Could the reason we aren’t seeing reinfection across the L and S strains be that they travelled off in different directions?

Plausible or not, just take it as a worst case example where we would be forced to deal with in-effect two different flus at once. Would it change our fundamental strategy? No. Mass antibody testing would still be a top priority.

If both flus were beyond containment we would have to double all the testing, doing mass PCR tests and mass antibody tests for both viruses. Higher mortality and less immunity would make more social distancing necessary, which would impose more economic damage, making it all the more important to identify those people who don’t need to social distance.

The difference is that they would have to be immune to both strains, which means there would be far fewer of them, which would make them that much more valuable. The shorter the supply of an economic input the higher its marginal productivity. The first glass of water in the desert is the most important.

The already immune are still going to have to fill crucial points of human contact so the fewer there are of them the more important finding them becomes. Thus under all scenarios, until we decide that social distancing is no longer necessary, antibody testing will be a crucial tool for limiting the economic and social damage that social distancing inflicts.

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March 21, 2020 6:32 pm

The “cure” is increasingly looking worse than the disease. The number of coronavirus U.S. deaths to date is maybe 275.

By contrast, the number of people who were murdered by guns in 2012 was 8900, and murdered by stabbing or blunt instruments or just being pushed was 2800. The number of deaths due to flu is in the tens of thousands (it varies considerably by year).

The fact is, as mentioned in this article, the shutdown is doing a lot of economic damage and damage to the people. The homeless shelter I work at some Saturdays was shut down. If non-transmission is more important than everything else put together, then that was the right move. But a lot of homeless people have now been turned away from hot meals and a warm place to sleep.

We need to be open for business.

Go Home
Reply to  Madman2001
March 21, 2020 9:15 pm

A pandemic produces death unlike any other statistic. Gun deaths, auto deaths, and the like are usually at fixed levels each year. Yes we accept those statistics as part of life in the world we live.

With no preventive measures, or as you say back to business as usual, you are saying just let it run its course. As of March 20th we had 256 deaths. The current count as of this posting is at 345.

For Italy, the number of deaths each of the last 7 days is: 368, 349, 475, 427, 627, 793.

Translated to the US population (x5.5.) that would be 16,717 deaths in the last 7 days. And that is with Italy operating with preventive measures. The numbers of deaths each day in Italy continues to rise dramatically. By the end of the next 7 days, they could easily see the US equivalent of 35000 deaths. For two weeks that would be over 50,000 deaths. I believe that number exceeds the number of US gun deaths or auto deaths for a year, in just two weeks.

We are not in Italy’s predicament yet, but we could be, and we certainly would be if we were to operate business as usual as you suggest. Until there is a cure or a vaccine, our economy is going to suffer tremendously.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Go Home
March 21, 2020 10:00 pm

The social and cultural differences between the US and Italy are so great that making the kinds of comparisons and inferences you are making is invalid. It makes as much sense to use Japan as the comparison, but of course the story isn’t nearly so scary if you do that.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
March 22, 2020 12:42 am

Indeed, naive scaling up ignoring all other factors is stupid to say the least.

They have yet to explain why Italy has been so badly hit but older demographic and large inter-generational families are certainly part of it. Population density is very different from USA. Also the quality and quantity of hospital care is probably a large factor too.

Germany has had very low death rate but they have 120,000 intensive care units. They are not going to be making choices about who they die based on age and their cost to the government, as has been suggested in UK with only 4000 ICUs for a similar population.

I have just shown the move restrictions in Italy have had a detectable effect though case rate remains exponential:

Reply to  Greg
March 22, 2020 5:47 am

1. Per 1,000 people, U.S. hospital capacity is *below* Italy’s. Further, where Covid-19 struck is the wealthy northern region, which had nearly twice the excess capacity than the U.S. average.

2. Italy does not have nearly so many prisons, or prisoners as we do. Italy does not have tent camps of thousands, even tens of thousands of homeless, nor streets filled with feces and needles.

3. While Italy is strained by immigration, it does not suffer a massive, lawless, virtually unprotected border with a nation that openly mocks the outbreak, because they think that they will be saved by being tough and using Vicks Vaporub. I kid you not.

Do not presume that all variables are in our favor.

John Finn
Reply to  Greg
March 22, 2020 6:05 am

Also the quality and quantity of hospital care is probably a large factor too.

The healthcare services in Lombardy are first rate. You are blind to what’s taking place. I’ll take a look at the US numbers later but they look to be heading the same way as Italy, France & UK.

Reply to  Greg
March 22, 2020 6:32 am

I generally agree with you except for some terminology. By definition, exponential growth produces a linear plot on a log scale (as explained by David Middleton a couple of weeks ago). Italy has clearly moved out of the exponential rate of growth regime and it appears that Germany just did also.

Yesterday/today’s data on cases and deaths gives an initial indication that the U.S. may have too, and as a few have noted, the ratio of deaths/cases in the U.S. has been slowly declining.

All of this is hopeful. That is not to say their couldn’t be some kind of relapse if for example a new strain evolves that is more virulent. There will still be large growth in infection and casualties for days to come. Some may look at these numbers as being bleak, but exponential decay follows exponential growth, though flattening the curve means that the rate of decline will be slower.

It appears that Willis’ and Davids’ data driven analyses are correct in retrospect, at least up to this point. The Scottish Sceptic’s model, based on his assumptions at the time, was too pessimistic by 500% (deaths) and 100% or so (cases).

Krishna Gans
Reply to  Paul Penrose
March 22, 2020 5:39 am

It might be possible that Italy suffers of the“L” strait as they hat a lot of economic and culturel contacts to Wuhan.
I know, it’s speculation but possible.

t port
Reply to  Paul Penrose
March 22, 2020 11:07 am

Also, how many of the seniors in Italy that died from Covid-19 had been vaccinated against pneumonia as compared to those in the U.S. where vaccination against pneumonia is fairly standard for those over 65?

Steven F
Reply to  t port
March 26, 2020 7:42 pm

The vaccine for Pneumonia is only effective against the the bacteria that commonly cause the most common pneumonia cases. however Covid 19 is a viral pneumonia. The current pneumonia vaccine will not likely have no effect on Covid 19.

michael burns
Reply to  Go Home
March 21, 2020 11:00 pm

In an article written in JAMA (Journal of America Medical Association) in 2010 by Dr. Barbara Starfield, she claimed as a graduate of Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, and as magnum cum laude pediatrician specialized at John Hopkins University. Her claim in that extend4ed article was that 225,000 people die every year from Iatrogenic means; a doctor, a hospital, wrong medication or surgery…an infection.

Reply to  michael burns
March 22, 2020 12:34 am

Very good point. A significant part of the risk of COVID is that you may need to go near a hospital !

France has about 4000 deaths annually from hospital related infections and mean of 9000 seasonal flu fatalities. pop 68 million.

Reply to  Go Home
March 22, 2020 4:02 am

Only 3 of the people (last I read) that died in Italy had no underlying disease. I’d always thought they ate healthy, but apparently not – they were very sick from the start – and they may have gotten the more virulent strain.
And, btw, we have a cure

Reply to  4TimesAYear
March 22, 2020 6:45 am

Good news on more confirmation of the benefits of hydroxychloroquine!

A couple of notes on factors in Italy. Numerous medical staff have been infected in Italy, and probably most of these were in good health, except for those who came out of retirement, who happened to be at high risk. The main problem contributing to infection was there was not enough PPE.

There are claims that undocumented immigrants (many Chinese) are part of the drain on resources, especially in Northern Italy.

Reply to  Go Home
March 22, 2020 5:42 am

Over 80% of the US “over 65” are in self quarantine. In Italy that percentage was 0% when it hit. We won’t be repeating “Italy”.

Maintaining that level of isolation for the elderly until a vaccine is ready would be aided greatly by optimizing the number of those immunized by having the disease (as many as possible as fast as possible short of clogging up the healthcare system) . We need the antibody testing en masse in order to manage that at all.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Go Home
March 22, 2020 4:38 pm

Italy has twice the number death from the flu per capita each year than we do, you comparison is bad but it what cause the educated idiots in this country to panic. My question to you are you one of them. Posted be a high risk person, I have three strikes against me, first I am male, second I have high blood pressure and third I am a life long asthmatic.

Reply to  Madman2001
March 21, 2020 10:22 pm

This brief data analysis is far from comprehensive, but here are my preliminary conclusions:

Isolate people over sixty-five and those with poor immune systems and return to business-as-usual for people under sixty-five.
This will allow “herd immunity” to develop much sooner and older people will thus be more protected AND THE ECONOMY WON’T CRASH.
If tests prove positive, use chloroquine and remdesivir or other cheap available drugs ASAP as appropriate.

Best, Allan


Following is a comment by Julian from the original paper at

“Why is this article’s main source of data the Diamond Princess when we have a much, much larger data set in South Korea? As of March 15th, South Korea had tested 248,000 people, and confirmed 8,162 cases, and recorded 75 deaths. That represents a case fatality ratio of 0.9%. If governments should base their policy decisions on a range of reasonable possibilities, it seems like the South Korea example, where they have conducted the most testing, should be the benchmark – not the Diamond Princess.”

OK Julian, here it is:


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Headquarters for Disease Control and Prevention, as of March 20, 00:00:.

In South Korea as of 0:00, 20 March 2020:
A total of 316,664 were tested and 8,652 cases have been confirmed (3%), of which 2,233 cases have been discharged from isolation (1%). Newly confirmed cases are 87.
6325 patients remain in isolation (2%), 94 have died (0.03% of those tested, and 1.1% of confirmed cases).
15,525 are being tested and a total of 292,487 tested negative (97% of those with test results to date).

In South Korea only 3% of all those tested to date were positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus – this suggests a strong level of containment.


On the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship by 20Feb2020:

There were 634 cases (21% of the 3063 tested), of which 328 (11%) were asymptomatic, out of 3663 passengers and crew.

On the cruise ship Diamond Princess 21% of those tested were positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus – this suggests a poor level of containment.
The cruise ship stats also reflect the very old age of the average passenger. There were 1231 people over age 70 (34% of the total population).
By 1Mar2020 there were 7 deaths, all over age 70 (2.4% mortality of the 288 over 70’s who tested positive for the virus)

March 22, 2020 12:40 am

Allan- I agree with the approach of isolating the high risk group and letting the disease quickly run its course through the general population and developing herd immunity. Clearly there will be some casualties with that approach. But long term it may be the best approach to protect the vulnerable. More and more it appears isolating young and healthy people is simply not justified.

Reply to  Marc
March 22, 2020 4:34 pm

Thank you Marc for your comment – which did not show up on my screen until after I wrote my 4:54am post.

I can see this getting really ugly. Why should a young person lose their car and their apartment to protect an old guy like me? I can self-isolate and protect myself. Those oldsters who are too foolish to do so can take their chances.

We are all better off if young people are working and their employer stays in business, and herd immunity develops sooner and this plague quickly runs its course. (I think.)

March 23, 2020 8:33 am

Americans are beginning to wonder if the prescribed cure for the COVID-19 outbreak may be more deadly than the virus itself, and President Donald Trump took to social media on Sunday to suggest that the possibility of relaxing restrictions is not off the table.

With countless businesses shut down, along with most public institutions, and more Americans out of work than can be counted at the moment, the country must look to a dysfunctional Congress for any hope of relief — a dismal prospect, given their track record of self-serving partisanship.


March 22, 2020 4:54 am

No reactions yet to my “straw man” alternative proposal to only isolate high-risk groups and GET EVERYONE ELSE BACK TO WORK SO WE DON’T DESTROY THE ECONOMY because of the corona virus quarantine?

I expected to be stoned to death by now with “how dare you’s” about my proposal. We may not have enough data to weigh upsides vs downsides of my proposal, but we should have such data soon.


Think Big Picture, good people.

March 22, 2020 7:05 am

Your straw man was probably the way to go had we known then what we know now.

China really really screwed everyone with their deceit. For a long time they hid the problem and then they said they found no evidence of human to human transmission, and they hid the data that showed which demographics were most vulnerable on top of that.

The big picture as I see it is, don’t expect governments to change course. Major economic damage has been done and its going to continue for some time and there will be plenty of misery to go around, but I especially feel for the hospitality industry workers who cannot afford this interruption.

Reply to  Scissor
March 22, 2020 8:41 am

Scissor: I fully expect the U.S. government to change course (back to some sense of normality) very soon and for one reason. President Trump is a businessman who understands business risk. He will remove restrictions as soon as he feels able to justify doing so and, as with his decision to stop flights here from China on Jan 31, he will do so sooner than most other governments.

We’re fortunate. A lot of potential and past presidents would have already considered nationalizing a lot of industries by now. This president will focus on getting the economy restarted as quickly as possible (sans climate change nonsense, to boot).

Logic and Reason
March 22, 2020 7:06 am

I agree. Isolate those at risk and get back to work.
However, the question is, is this a pandemic or a dempanic.
That will determine the response.
Very suspicious when Fauci says that Chlorquine results as a prophylactic are only anecdotal, when there have been studies.

Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 8:00 am

How dare you! 🙂 I think that your proposal is practical. Those of retirement age are not crucial to the economy and it will have little impact to their income if they socially isolate. And, they don’t have to be forced to do so. Any reasonable elderly person understands their mortality and they aren’t likely to behave like the ‘invincible’ young people on Spring Break.

I have been asking the question why we even have such an extreme response to COVID-19 when 10’s of thousands die every flu season in the US. NEVER has the government said, “We have data indicating that the vaccine produced this year is not effective against the strains circulating and there is the potential for twice as many deaths as usual. Therefore, we are asking all non-essential workers to stay home.” It has never happened in my long life!

It was initially thought that the R0 of COVID-19 was as much as twice that of seasonal flues. However, that didn’t take into account poor data from China, different age-demographics, economic conditions, population densities, cultural differences in food habits and greetings, and perhaps different susceptibilities from genetic differences. It is now looking like the R0 for the COVID-19 is comparable to that for seasonal flues, at least in the US.

Note that the worst outbreaks in this country are correlated with high population densities found in Washington, California, New York, and cruise ships — essentially microcosms of Wuhan.

We have done tremendous economic damage as a result of reactions based on incomplete and often misleading data.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 8:22 am

Personally, I think “social isolation” is bliss! Finally a legit excuse to tell everyone to GTFO of my face and GO AWAY! Now if I could just build a turnstile down the end of the road and tell the Patagonia Puffer People to throw $5.00 in the can to dog-walk here, life’d be PERFECT! 😉

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 11:18 am

I’m reminded of a story about an early inventor who constantly had people dropping by to visit. I forget whether it was Tesla or Steinmetz. I’m told that people complained that he needed to do something about the turnstile at the entrance to his property because it was hard to turn it. He then informed them that it was connected to a pump that pumped his water into a holding tank.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 5:27 pm

If the R0 for COVID-19 was 2, and it was actually in the US and undetected by 1 Jan, then by 19 Jan the entire country would have been exposed. Tell me if these numbers are wrong:

Day 0: 1 person infected; infect 2 more; total 3 infected
Day 1: 3 people infected; infect 6 more; total 9 infected
Day 2: 9 people infected; infect 18 more; total 27 infected
Day 3: 27 people infected; infect 53 more; total 81 infected
Day 18: 129,140,163 infected; infect 258,280,326 more; total 387,420,489 infected

And that’s the entire US population, plus some.

If that R0 number is correct, then what we’re doing is worse than useless, because that containment horse is long out of the barn.

Personal anecdotal evidence for early spread: several cousins in WV reported catching some bug in mid-December/early January that was the worst they’d ever experienced. One cousin spent five days in the hospital with pneumonia. One of my wife’s coworkers came down with something in mid-January that killed her with pneumonia in a week. In mid-January, my wife and I (in our early sixties) both got something that I would say made me the sickest I’ve ever been. Missed two days of work (and I never miss work for sick days), had a horrible mucous-heavy cough, and more than once I thought “This thing is trying to kill me.”

I would love the opportunity to have an antibodies test.

Steven F
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 26, 2020 8:02 pm

“I have been asking the question why we even have such an extreme response to COVID-19 when 10’s of thousands die every flu season in the US.”

If we assume that the COVID-19 faitality rate is the same as the flu we could have 300,000 deaths this year alone from COVID-19. Since the flu is reoccurring many people in any given year will have some immunity to the active strains of the virus. However for COVID-19 no one has immunity because it is a completely new virus .

March 22, 2020 9:42 am

Isn’t that what the UK adopted initially, I gather that they recently changed?

James Schrumpf
March 22, 2020 4:54 pm

I just expressed this same opinion to my wife and was labeled a “monster.” I tried to explain that at some point, someone is going to have to make some very tough decisions if this thing doesn’t start to subside, but that didn’t go over well either.

March 22, 2020 6:51 am

To update, there are now 8 deaths to date from Diamond Princess ship and still 14 or 15 in IC.

Rodney Everson
Reply to  Scissor
March 22, 2020 8:43 am

I see the Johns Hopkins site has updated to eight deaths, but they still show 379 open cases too. What is your source for the number in intensive care? Thanks for any info you can provide.

Reply to  Rodney Everson
March 22, 2020 10:43 am

That was my recollection from the link below. See Diamond Princess below Iceland.

Reply to  Madman2001
March 22, 2020 7:07 am

Would this be your point-of-view if you were lying on a gurney in some hospital hallway drowning in your own fluids?

Reply to  Adam
March 22, 2020 9:33 am

“Would this be your point-of-view if you were lying on a gurney in some hospital hallway drowning in your own fluids?”

Well Adam, I’d probably be too sick to do the research I’ve done and to post on wattsup.

Also, my focus would be on finding who infected me and putting a bomb under their car.

Those of us of Scottish descent are not known for our ability to forgive. 🙂

We still sing about the last time we soundly defeated the perfidious English, at Bannockburn in 1314.

Aidan Donnelly
March 23, 2020 9:07 pm

While skipping over Flodden and Culloden of course 😉

Reply to  Aidan Donnelly
March 24, 2020 12:38 pm

… and Sheriffmuir, where the Clan MacRae lost 90% of our men in one day.

Our problem is our inability to compromise , especially with scoundrels.

No reverse gear…

B d Clark
March 24, 2020 12:55 pm

A friend of mine when I was a young man ,was called Angus Macrae ,he always said he was the hereditary chief of the clan.

March 24, 2020 5:10 pm

Hello Mr Clark

The Clan MacRae has no official chief – we are more of a commonwealth.

The matriarch of the Clan is Marigold MacRae. This is her place – Eilean Donan Castle has been in the family since about 1511.

Hope you like the photo:

Yours aye, Allan MacRae

Reply to  Adam
March 22, 2020 2:20 pm

Questions we can’t get answers to:

Are these extreme “mitigation measures” WORKING after 10+ days?
Is the “curve” “flattening?”
Something should be trending here by now.
Otherwise the only thing “lying on a gurney drowning in fluids” is the US ECONOMY!!

Reply to  Adam
March 22, 2020 8:38 pm

For me, Adam, I would cheer on the economic success of the nation, even as I drowned in my own fluids, yes. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. Period.

Reply to  Matthew
March 23, 2020 10:24 am

Thank You, Spock! (sarc)

Reply to  Goldrider
March 24, 2020 4:41 am

Mock if you want, but the sentiment is valid. I’d rather die myself than see the entire nation annihilate its economy and unemploy its population. The cure, in this case, is worse than the disease.

Reply to  Madman2001
March 22, 2020 11:04 am

The death rate in Italy today is 9% and climbing rapidly. That does not even include collateral deaths from other diseases and injuries to patients who cannot get immediate treatment due to overwhelmed health care facilities. We are already reaching overwhelmed health care facilities now in the hardest hit areas in New York, Washington, and California.

Lest you think if you live in rural America you are safe, most of rural Americans are less well served in health care, which is why most rural Americans travel to big cities to get specialists, surgery, etc. Rural Americans will end up hurt worse than city dwellers.

As for developed immunity, virologists say any such benefit will be very short term, measured in weeks. Meaning second and subsequent wave infections likely will be just as deadly as the first, so long term safety will come from safe and effective vaccines and clinical treatments – which do not exist yet and likely will not for at least another year or more.

Happy talk doesn’t make you safe.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Duane
March 22, 2020 5:38 pm

According to the web page, there are 795 “serious, critical” cases in the US right now. If that is overwhelming hospital resources in the US, then someone has a lot to answer for.

At the moment, the mortality rate in the US is 1.27% overall. As new asymptomatic cases are found, this number will drop.

March 21, 2020 6:55 pm

The greater Seattle area alone is right now rapidly filling up with many thousands of people who have already gotten over the COVID–19 “Chinese coronavirus” and are thus not at significant risk either of catching this disease again or of passing it on.

FALSE premise. “filling up” — There are 3,939,400 people in the Seattle Metropolitan Area, according to Google. How many are “recovered” from COVID19? 4,000 … being generous?

1 in 1,000 is not “filling up”. It is “nearly empty”. Please!

Not a significant risk of passing it on? Really? What factual studies have shown that, so far? I’d settle for even superficial studies. Empirical studies. And just exactly would be the criteria for “all clear, its OK to go back to work now”? 14, 21, 30 days since officially diagnosed with the virus, and not inconveniently dying? I guess… but again, supposing a thousand people are on the mend, recovering, and said to be recovered, what it the residual viral load that they slough off … 14, 21, 30 days after diagnosis. What is the standard deviation? How could one run a separate followup 3-stage battery of tests to confirm that slough-off rate is satisfactorily low?

I’m not trying to be a harbinger of doom, authors. I am instead painfully aware that the urgency of getting society back to “manning the front line” is real, palpable and vital to our pulling out of this with our clothes intact, our homes and our neighborhoods still ‘whole’. I know that part. But, again, if 99.9% of the public has NOT caught ‘it’ yet, then it seems both foolhardy and preciptious to suggest the very, very few should go back to work, quickly.

⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

Ben Wilson
Reply to  GoatGuy
March 21, 2020 8:16 pm

Maybe you should re-read the article.

The point the author is making is an antibody test is desperately needed is to determine if as many think a substantial number of people have already had asymptomatic infections and indeed are now immune to the disease and are no longer shedding virus.

Reply to  Kevin Hilde
March 22, 2020 6:56 am

Your explanation describes the key point very well.

I would add that ultimately, propagation is stopped at much lower levels than 99.9% infected.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Scissor
March 22, 2020 8:06 am

Yes, the R0 has to be below 1, and from what I have read, that can be achieved with 60-80% infected.

Reply to  GoatGuy
March 25, 2020 2:38 am

March 21, 2020 at 6:55 pm

Mate, whatever you think is fine, but still make sure those rats and mise coming out of the sewers don’t get to your toilet paper stash… 🙂


March 21, 2020 6:58 pm

Show me your papers please 🙁

John in Cairns
March 21, 2020 7:04 pm

Covid 19 has at last been deemed airborne which makes it more like measles. How effective is social distancing likely to be in light of this realization? The world needs a plan B. Roy Spencer noticed that many countries around the tropics where malaria is a problem seem to be free of covid 19, which suggests that Donald was right again.It’s likely because of the widespread mass medication of the population with cheap Quinine. Are these poorer countries ahead of us,even lapped us in the race to find an answer? In spite of the mountain of anecdotal evidence , we the enlightened, mutter on about random controlled trials while Rome burns.There have been 70 odd years of scientific studies producing positive results as a preventative against both malaria and viruses such as SARS.That should be enough to allow people to protect themselves and at the same time build herd immunity by taking a Hydroxycloraquine pill every day. The medical profession is in the business of wellness, so let them do there job and protect themselves at the same time.

Reply to  John in Cairns
March 22, 2020 12:50 am

What is your “deemed”?

The virus is not “airborne” it is water borne. So what we are talking about is aerosols.

One US study used a mechanical atomiser to create aerosols and found some very small particles remained airborne for days and thus could transport the virus. These droplets from the smaller end of the size distribution are NOT representative of what the human body produces during coughing or sneezing.

Any conclusions drawn from a faulty untested model of a cough are invalid and misleading. As are claims the virus is “airborne”.

But of course it sells copy.

Reply to  John in Cairns
March 22, 2020 5:56 am

If the Coronavirus is spread by those without symptoms (half of thise infected!) , then how did China contain the spread to just one district…then control the spread?
Unless they tested everyone or quarantined everyone (they didn’t) that would not be possible.

Not adding up.

Reply to  DocSiders
March 22, 2020 9:21 am

“Not adding up.”

Right. What adds up is that their cases began tailing off about two days after Xi pronounced, after a long quiet period, that constraining the virus was “a priority.’ That was early February, around the 3rd, as I recall. Prior to that announcement, their cases were growing exponentially and spreading to all provinces. Most provinces outside Hubei had 100-800 cases by then, and growing rapidly.

Then, after two to three weeks of a rapid fall in the rate of new confirmed cases, Xi made another pronouncement, that officials in charge of the various provinces would be personally responsible for any new cases. That was around Feb 23. From the next day on, most provinces began reporting only one or two, or in many cases zero, new “confirmed” cases.

Anyone who relies on Chinese published data is going to be misled, not only in magnitude, but probably even the direction, of the problem.

Reply to  John in Cairns
March 22, 2020 2:54 pm

The word is preventive, not preventative.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Charles Rotter
March 22, 2020 4:36 am

Interesting test. Please keep us informed about the results!

It is very important to know how much people already are infected by the virus and how that compares to known cases.

Reply to  Charles Rotter
March 22, 2020 6:28 am

I’m going to keep my eye on Miguel County, Colorado…and I’ll be searching for other locations that are performing good epidemiology…unlike the rest of the country.

Reply to  Charles Rotter
March 22, 2020 7:16 am

As someone who does a lot of testing, I will say that people put too much faith in testing. The good thing is that a pass/fail test only produces one of two results, either of which can be wrong.

These tests are being developed and used without proper vetting. That said, antibody testing is greatly needed for the benefits that can be derived from it.

March 21, 2020 7:15 pm

Many years ago, in order to travel I had to carry a health card. It had my vaccinations on it, much like what is required by many school districts. It may time now to reinstate the use of a health card. It would permit restarting our economy.

Reply to  Phil
March 22, 2020 4:12 am

You still need a Yellow fever vaccination certificate to get into many countries in the tropics. Works well as there is space to keep all of your other vaccinations to keep track of them.

Quarantined in Seattle
March 21, 2020 7:27 pm

S Korea has it down. There is no better way to fashion a response than to gather data.
The idea of antibody testing to provide clearance may take some time to verify but starting now to get data is smart. I would happily pay for testing to determine both sick/shedding and antibody presence SO I CAN DECIDE WHAT TO DO PERSONALLY for the greater good. Not a tats fan but would happily volunteer for a visible brand indicating antibody presence and no viral load to escape this MADNESS!

Gerard O’Dowd
Reply to  Quarantined in Seattle
March 28, 2020 8:37 am

I think we should institute a dynamic set of social NPI recommendations based on actual test results: testing individuals for both active viral RNA genetic sequencing (RT-PCR) for COVID19 particle shedding and rapid serum anti-COVID19 Ab testing for immune status of previous exposure and disease recovery. Both tests should be done simultaneously on an individual.

Then you could divide the population into 4 groups based on test results: Active shedders, non-immune (PCR+/Ab-); Active shedders, Positive immune (PCR+/Ab+); Non Shedders, positive immune status (PCR-/Ab+); and Non shedders, negative Immune status (PCR-/Ab -).

Each group could then be given a work status that could communicated and an alert system using a iPhone:
1. Active shedders, non-immune (PCR+/Ab-): self-quarantine Precautions for 2 weeks. Monitoring for respiratory disease onset based on age >65 and susceptibility for severe ARDS (serious concurrent diseases). Monitoring means taking temp periodically. 2. Active shedders, Positive immune (PCR+/Ab+); limited self quarantine, NPI; incomplete disease recovery status; wear N95 masks so as not to communicate disease to others.
3. Non Shedders, positive immune status (PCR-/Ab+); Full Disease recovery, no or minimal disease transmission risk.
4. Non shedders, negative Immune status (PCR-/Ab -). Unexposed Disease Naive, at risk for disease, self quarantine if in one of the clinical high risk groups based on age, prior concurrent diseases: limited NPI for low risk individuals, wearing masks, gloves at work. Get tested periodically; take daily temperatures.

March 21, 2020 7:39 pm

“Going forward the live virus test will continue to miss most infections.”

I think what you meant to say was that the virus testing will miss most infections because those silent carriers were not tested. In short, non-testing will continue to miss most infections.

Alec Rawls
Reply to  Toto
March 21, 2020 7:58 pm

Right, thanks.

March 21, 2020 8:16 pm

Testing for anit-bodies makes a ton of sense. Even if there is a small rate of re-infection (doubtful) it makes more sense than keeping the entire economy at a stand still.

There’s plenty more we could be doing and (so far) aren’t:

o Contact tracing – several countries are giving everyone a cell phone app that traces their every step. When someone tests positive fo Covid-19, their location data is downloaded to everyone else’s phones. If you have crossed paths with that person, it tells you where and when. Brilliant. Why isn’t every country doing this?

o Turn up the thermostat – we know that the virus can live on surfaces for hours. But at temps in the high 70’s, it dies off quickly. So why aren’t we turning the thermostats in public buildings and workplaces up to 80? Yes it is uncomfortable, but you can dress for the heat and stay hydrated. Small price to pay in my mind.

o There’s a Nobel prize winning scientist in Israel who wound up helping China get things under control. Why aren’t we hearing more from guys like this? He makes excellent points about the virus slowing and how to tell but all we hear from mainscream media is mainly screaming the world is going to end.

o Chloroquine – no we don’t know for sure if it works or not. Who cares? It MIGHT work, and probably will in at least some % of cases. We know the side effects are minimal so instead of wringing our hands about health care workers ranks being decimated by the disease they are fighting , lets load them up with protection besides the masks that probably won’t help much anyway.

There’s probably a few more things I’ve read that make sense, but those are the ones that come to mind. Maybe there’s reasons why that I’m not aware of because I’m no expert on this, but seems to me there’s lots of low risk strategies that have potential major benefits that are simply being ignored.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 21, 2020 8:56 pm

1.) Contact tracing .. Does nothing to stop the spread it simply informs you that you may be infected. Great so now you have even more people turning up to testing clinics who are symptom less and overwhelming the system. If the infected person sneezes on a door handle or public transport an hour before does it alert you? What I see is the APP does nothing but create alarm, it doesn’t actually REDUCE the infection rate.

2.) Turn up the thermostat .. I doubt it does anything and it is benign the impact would be minimal.

3.) I am not even going to deal with that stupidity … try telling Italy that it’s okay it’s all ending.

4.) Chloroquine to health care workers which at least you note we don’t know if it works. All that is known is it possibly helps in some mild cases. Notably it won’t stop you getting infected protective gear would. Most health care workers would have easy access to Chloroquine if they thought it would help and at the end of the day that choice is up to them.

All in all nothing you have suggested is much more than hand-waving. How about we leave what should be done to the actual Health Professionals.

Reply to  LdB
March 21, 2020 10:30 pm

How about we leave what should be done to the actual Health Professionals.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the climate debate, we’d be absolute idiots to blindly put our trust into the hands of professionals. Contact tracing already proved effective in other countries like South Korea, lotsa evidence showing higher temps slow the virus down, pointing out a scientist who helped China get things under control isn’t “stupid” its logical, and healthcare workers don’t have easy access to Choloroquine unless a) they can get a prescription and b) there is a ready supply.

Now do you have anything constructive to add or are you just going to keep on p*ssing on those of us who do?

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 1:59 am

You haven’t remotely said anything constructive all you have done is publish layman dribble.

Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 9:43 am

Layman dribble? I linked to an article by a Nobel laureate. Articles about Chloroquine are numerous on this site alone, and it is being heavily investigated by several international agencies as well several departments of the US government. Almost every article about South Korea and how they got things under control mentions contact tracing. There’s an argument going as to why hot countries aren’t reporting as many cases. It could be they lack the means to test, or it could mean the virus doesn’t do well in the heat. If the issues was they lack the means to test, they’d be over run by now. So turn the thermostat up to 80. A simple review of articles on this site will show all of these things to be true.

Which makes me not a dribbler but you a LyingDirtBag who attacks positive suggestions from a shroud of anonymity., making you a coward to boot.

Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 11:04 am

All I did at the start was show your suggestions were flawed. That as you say p*ssed you off and you chose to go all gangster and made it personal (go back and read your comments). I am happy to slug it out if you really want to go this way.

Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 12:51 pm

All you did was show my suggestions were flawed?

I guess you forgot the part where you used words like “stupid” and “laymen dribble”

Further, everything I suggested except turning the thermostat up to 80 has been suggested by a variety of health care professionals that you demand I and others leave the field to. Read this site, follow the news, what I said is by no means laymen dribble. Other countries have taken some of the actions your criticize as useless to good affect. Read Mosher’s comments on the various threads about what South Korea is doing. Then go look at the graphs that Eschenbach is updating daily (link on the mast head) and look at how they are working. Look at China on that same graph and see the positive results they are getting. Then read again the link to the Nobel laureate article that you called stupid . Then go take a look at worldometers web site where you can see the growth rate graph that is updated daily is showing decline. Its all there to see, and we’re all free to draw our own conclusions. But when you dismiss out of hands other people’s conclusions, and ask for discussion to be shut down , you’re going to get a reaction.

Jimmy Haigh
March 21, 2020 8:32 pm

I live in Pattaya in Thailand. Up until mid February we had tens of thousands of Chinese tourists traveling in and out of the country and coming to Pattaya every day. I’m sure we have already had the virus and I’m sure it has spread far and wide already. One of my friends had a 2 week cold with a dry cough in January and several of his friends had the same. None of them felt it warranted a visit to the Doctor.

Thailand started testing a few days ago and of course the numbers are rising. This is starting to scare the public – so far we have avoided the mass hysteria seen in the west. There was one death attributed to the virus a few weeks ago – and the victim also had dengue fever.

The government has virtually shut the country down following the lead of the west. There is no social security system in place here and in many other countries. I am currently in Yangon and will be going offshore to an oil exploration rig tomorrow for around 3 weeks. I am more concerned about the socio-economic implications of all of this than I am about the virus itself. I said this right at the start of the panic.

March 21, 2020 8:36 pm

MODS I think you should take this junk down. It starts with stupid unsubstantiated and untestable fact and gets more and more stupid as it goes on.

Reply to  LdB
March 21, 2020 10:32 pm

MODS I think you should ban LdB.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 2:19 am

If you are going to publish more like this, they won’t have to ban me I am happy to leave. There is not much happening on the climate front and won’t be for weeks so leave you to it.

Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 9:34 am


Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 10:25 am

For the record, I’m not really asking the MODS to ban LdB. I was making a point. LdB attacked me and others in the thread without presenting any counter reasoning , and went so far as to suggest that “this junk” be taken down. I was pointing out to LdB in the bluntest terms possible that if all you have to add is an attempt to shut down the discussion, that the same tactic can be turned on him.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 11:10 am

So pointing out your suggestions were fatally flawed is attacking you :-).

In the same way I have corrected people posting quinine was going to help with covid19 when it will do nothing. I guess I attacked them as well.

I have no issue if you argue a point using data and facts but when you make up stuff about what my motives just because I disagree with you and then accuse me of attacking you it is a bit rich.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 12:40 pm

Testing of Chloroquine hasn’t been completed, so you have no idea if it will help or not. You don’t have facts or data to back up your assertion because nobody does until testing is complete. So you are full of it.

That said, early results are promising. If you go back and read what I said , I advocated giving it out because its side affects are well known and there was little down side to doing so, while there was potential major upside.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 5:43 pm

Chloroquine is not quinine, they are different compounds. I agree the first may have Covid19 use the later does not.

Many on here seem to keep thinking the two are the same because they share a common part of the name. Now I am not sure if you are one of those confused or just attacking everything I post … lets give you the benefit of the doubt and go with the later.

What I would say is please don’t use the word quinine if you mean Chloroquine because layman then things like tonic water is somehow going to protect them because it has Quinine.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 10:06 pm

What I would say is please don’t use the word quinine if you mean Chloroquine because layman then things like tonic water is somehow going to protect them because it has Quinine.

Not ONCE did I use the word Quinine. At all times I referenced CHLOROQUINE. So now you’re busting my chops for something I never even said.

Your apology is accepted.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 23, 2020 12:07 am

I never used the word Chloroquine so explain your comment in response to my post above?

Apparently I am full of it ….. over what I am not sure what then????

Yet I have to apologise because I couldn’t understand your attack on me 🙂

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 23, 2020 8:34 am

Seriously LdB?

You started out by dumping on me for suggesting Chloroquine. You said it wouldn’t work, that I was stupid and guilty of laymen dribble. You asked for the thread to be shut down due to all the bad information. You babbled something about Quinine, which had nothing to do with my or anyone else’s suggestion. Then you wound up admitting that there was a difference between the two, and that Choroquine, which I originally suggested, actually has potential value, exactly as I said.

Having attacked someone for something they never said, and then admitted that what they said was in fact true, now you don’t understand the need for an apology. LOL.

Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 12:23 am

LdB – We think for ourselves here, thank you.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
March 22, 2020 2:04 am

Then please make sure what you post is factual or you actually have evidence. Peoples lives literally hang on the decisions they make in the next few weeks.

Rich Davis
Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 3:46 am

You’re being a bit melodramatic don’t you think, LdB? No decisions are being made here. These are discussions by people who for the most part I assume do not participate in government decisions. Free speech is not dangerous.

The concept of detecting whether the asymptomatic cases have been nearly endemic is certainly a harmless hypothesis to test. If it proved to be true, it could provide a process for bringing industry back on line. If it is false as you assume without evidence, then we would know that and you would have evidence to back up your opinion. How can that be a harm?

As for quantifying the risk of continued virus shedding by those who test positive for the antibodies, it’s clearly not necessary to do rigorous testing of each and every person. Random sampling should be able to establish a safe rule of thumb so that anyone who is tested positive for the antibodies is cleared to return to work after a certain number of days.

In any case, you ignore the fact that what was proposed was a strict quarantine of vulnerable populations and continued social distancing while returning to work. In that scenario, the people who are cleared for work after say 5 days of a positive antibody test would be returning to a work environment which should be free of vulnerable individuals. If the rule of thumb occasionally fails and allows for some infection, it should only be impacting someone who is at low risk.

Eventually we must recognize that putting the world into a depression is not itself without harmful effects.

Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 7:33 am

This is a blog, it’s a place for people to discuss and debate, even speculate on topics that are posted. Frankly, the truth is more likely to come from here than from the likes of MSNBC, CNN, China Daily, etc.

Rodney Everson
Reply to  Scissor
March 22, 2020 8:55 am

I seem to find myself replying to a lot of your posts today.

I was thinking about President Trump’s advocating hydroxychloroquine at his news conference Weds. (?) morning. The night before it was a topic on Fox, particularly Tucker Carlson’s show where he interviewed a doctor involved in the French study. While I doubt that Trump first learned of it from Fox (he is President and has access to vast resources, after all) but I found myself thinking that it was possible.

From that point I found myself wondering what value he could possibly have gotten out watching most of the other news channels, and particularly CNN, MSNBC, and NBC. And yet, that’s where millions still get their information. Their attitude after he brought it up was along the lines of what could he possibly know about drugs. Really helpful, right? And that attitude also diminishes the possibility that they will run stories about that drug now being used in many hospitals, to the point where supplies are now running low.

Can you even imagine a story where they run the story that supplies of the drug that President Trump mentioned are now running low because so many hospitals are using it, and apparently with some success, at that. This is what happens when the media takes sides. (Yes, I’m sure they’ll eventually run them, but with reluctance and delay.)

Reply to  Scissor
March 22, 2020 10:59 am

There are people on those networks who are almost gleeful concerning the pain we are experiencing by this illness and the economic fallout. They are disgusting, along with a couple of posters here who display similar sentiments.

Reply to  Scissor
March 22, 2020 1:20 pm

Rodney E.
You posit a very worrying scenario: –
“Can you even imagine a story where they run the story that supplies of the drug that President Trump mentioned are now running low because so many hospitals are using it, and apparently with some success, at that. This is what happens when the media takes sides. ”

And yet, why are governments [obviously I include my government, here in the UK] not already pushing chloroquine?
If it stops 10, or 40, percent of health workers from catching Covid, it will be a bonus.
Yes, I know LdB pooh-poohs the idea – I am sure he doesn’t dislike humanity, but it seems he does, at times.


Aidan Donnelly
Reply to  LdB
March 23, 2020 9:27 pm

Somebody made a map a few days ago, posted on WUWT – I believe Tim Bell. He correlated on the map where Malaria is an issue and where Covid-19 has been infecting people.
The map was almost exactly a reverse correlation. where Malaria is common, no reported Covid, where Malaria does not exist there are Covid infections.
As the majority of people in Malarial areas are more likely to take cheap Quinine, Choroquine having become ineffective against Malaria years ago, if I could get Quinine I would take it.

Bill Parsons
March 21, 2020 8:37 pm

First, is there an anitbody test which specifically identifies COVID-19?

Secondly, why does a positive anitbody reading necessarily mean one can go out dancing? Does that mean one can no longer be a carrier or spreader of the virus?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Alec Rawls
March 22, 2020 8:10 am

Speaking of “The over-it-already people”, a parallel approach would be to create immune people by using antibodies from people who have already had the Wuhan virus. I think I heard one doctor say the other day that one person who had recovered from the virus could supply enough antibodies for two other people.

And then there are monoclonal antibodies, which are currently under active trials.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 22, 2020 3:18 pm

Good point. We need the all-of-the-above policy. Everything that makes an incremental improvement should be implemented with the goal of getting as many healthy people back to work as soon as possible.

At least as of last week, Italy was reporting that 99% of deaths were people with underlying conditions. We should be setting up temporary housing for vulnerable people who currently share living quarters with non-vulnerable people who should not be interacting with them. Within those temporary communities, the residents should be called upon to do as much of the food prep and housekeeping as possible, with only immune, carefully tested staff providing necessary care. As many of the vulnerable as possible should be among the first to receive antibody treatment.

It’s absurd that we put a leaky quarantine on the entire population and destroy the economy without effectively protecting the vulnerable.

If we put truly strict quarantine on the vulnerable and let the rest of society continue with business as usual, there could be light at the end of the tunnel. Rebuilding a strong economy will give us resilience to manage the situation. Realistically, this strain will mutate. Are we planning to shut down society indefinitely? We may have to develop semi-permanent arrangements for vulnerable populations. We certainly can’t shut down society indefinitely.

Every course of action that can be contemplated comes with a certain number of deaths. I do not believe that triggering a world-wide depression is the option that minimizes deaths.

Steven F
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 26, 2020 8:33 pm

“Speaking of “The over-it-already people”, a parallel approach would be to create immune people by using antibodies from people who have already had the Wuhan virus.”

This approach only procduces temporary immunity, Same for Monoclonal antibodies. It helps the person recover but over time those antibodies would be flushed out of the system. In health person the immune system starts producing the antibodies and continues to produce them for a very long time. Monoclonal antibodies and antibodies harvested from someone else will help a person recover. But if the recovered person doesn’t start producing his own antibodies he could be infected again. So some will be protected for life while others won’t be.

Reply to  Alec Rawls
March 22, 2020 5:04 pm

Doctors are advising patients that 48 hours after their fever breaks they can no longer communicate the disease.

This can’t be true.

What about the carriers without symptoms? 48 hours? 3 weeks? We don’t know.

Alec Rawls
Reply to  lb
March 22, 2020 8:48 pm

Interesting point. I don’t know what they would say to somebody whose fever never broke because they never got a fever. For asymptomatic people an indicator of their immune systems getting revved up would be the appearance of antibodies so they probably stop being contagious a few days after that but they aren’t going to know when that is.

Good reason to do the active virus test at the same time.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Bill Parsons
March 22, 2020 2:59 am

“First, is there an antibody dest which specifically identifies COVID-19?”

No. Not that I have found. The currently licensed tests that I know of identify SARS-CoV-2 genetic fragments.

The body produces about a dozen immunoglobulin – Ig – antibodies that will carry traces of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 antigens – Ag’s. The Ig’s are expressed at varying rates and amounts and which ones are most useful are yet to be determined, IgG and IgM are very commonly used.

Reply to  Bill Parsons
March 22, 2020 4:56 am

singapore claimed to have anti body test which they used to identify chain of transmission

Reply to  Bill Parsons
March 22, 2020 5:36 am

normally a positive antibody test means youve produced antibodies which gives/gave you the ability to recover.
the BIGGEST use for those tests would be to take blood to give to people who could seriously use an immune boost it would provide
THAT alone would also make it very valuable to do so
in spite of having measles and varicella and mumps I still meet gps and nurses whod love to give me the vaxxes.
they dont titre test which is daft.
ditto for pets yearly vaccines are stupid and risk more autoimmune issues when a simple titre test would prove theyre mostly NOT required.
short span killed Parvo is the only one I accept for my pets when outbreaks are mentioned or likely due to weather. ie hot n humid.

Clyde Spencer
March 21, 2020 8:46 pm

The masthead illustration shows a theoretical “Healthcare System Capacity.” Just what is that value? Are we really in danger of exceeding it under any reasonable circumstances? Or, is this another “RCP 8.5” worst-case scenario? As recently as the year before last, there were ~80,000 US deaths attributable to seasonal flu. Do you remember reading anything about exceeding our ability to handle the cases? Was there even concern expressed about approaching the capacity?

People have been waffling about whether COVID-19 will experience a natural decline with the approach of Summer. Can anyone point to a corona virus that does NOT have a seasonal behavior? Has anyone offered an opinion as to why COVID-19 should be the exception to the rule, other than that we have no experience with it? That is a bit like discovering a previously unknown small feline and suggesting that it can’t climb trees because it has never been observed doing so. Absence of evidence is not evidence against something!

It seems to me that the extreme actions being taken by countries around the world are not warranted nor supported by quality data. And, those willing to rationalize the risks of hydroxychloroquine as being “minimal” would not be so cavalier if they or a loved one died as a result atypical sensitivity to the drug, or an inappropriate dose. Even blindness might not be a good tradeoff, especially if the chloroquine didn’t actually help and the recovery was just coincidental.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 21, 2020 9:00 pm

It comes down to basic question how many ventilators does your country have. That is the rate limit of how many people you can treat …. literally nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter how many beds or anything else you can provide you simply need ventilators.

Reply to  LdB
March 21, 2020 10:05 pm

I should add a link from Italy if you want to see the life and death choices doctors will have to make in coming weeks about who gets a ventilator

At worst in Italy it boils down to if you have an underlying condition or over 60 you basically don’t get it.

Reply to  LdB
March 21, 2020 10:41 pm

Which is why we’re discussing steps that could be taken to not land in the same situation as Italy. But you want to p*ss on every suggestion everyone else makes while offering nothing of your own.

Its like you WANT us to fail LdB. WTF is the matter with you?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 8:21 am

You might say that “I have skin in the game” because I’m well over the critical age of 60. Still, I’m trying to be objective and ask questions that are begging to be answered.

Yes, ventilators are critical, but so are beds, vital-signs monitors, and people to change bed pans. It is all integrated.

However, neither you or anyone else has answered my basic question of just what the “Healthcare System Capacity” is (base it on ventilators if you want) and how close we are to saturating that capacity. We are only engaging in ‘hand waving’ without actual numbers.

Reply to  LdB
March 21, 2020 10:20 pm

Excellent point – but really, how fast can they be built and delivered? Or did the US outsource the production of ventilators overseas? Border closures may affect that. Also, the UK recently announced that it was banning the export of cloroquine. Would a ventilator-producing nation ban exports of those machines?

Reply to  LdB
March 21, 2020 10:35 pm

literally nothing else matters.

Well, other than ANYTHING that affects the number of ventilators you need and when you need them. Do you think before you shoot your mouth off? Don’t answer that I already figured it out.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 21, 2020 9:27 pm

Our family used hydroxychloroquine 20 years ago in the tropics, for 2 or 3 years. We had no noticeable side effects and we did get regular monitoring. As I recall, the side effects were more common from long term usage, if you didn’t get checked regularly. As I recall eyesight problems were reversible if detected early.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  ferdberple
March 22, 2020 5:53 pm

Hydroxychloroquine, brand name Plaquenil, is a commonly-used drug for treating Lupus, which my wife happens to have. Let’s hope these folk with pre-existing conditions are ensured a ready supply of the drug upon which THEIR lives depend.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 21, 2020 10:17 pm

If the corona virus is sensitive to temperature, why are there any case in the tropics, or in the SH, where it is still summer?

On a related note, California Governor Newsom’s office has backed off on his claim from two days ago that 25+M Californians will become infected by the corona virus in the next 8 weeks. It was just a “worst case” prediction if we did nothing at all to arrest it’s spread. An epidemiologist was interviewed on the radio today and stated that maybe 30% of Californians (~12M) might contract the disease, and didn’t say anything about 8 weeks. So the Governor’s prediction can probably be put to bed.

Sceptical Sam
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 22, 2020 7:13 am

Hi Jim,

There are cases in the SH.

Perth, Western Australia, in particular, is on an exponential growth path; as is Australia as a whole. Over 900 cases at present and doubling every 3.5 to 4.0 days. Seven deaths to date.

Here’s a shot of Perth’s temps for the current month:

As you can see, temp seems to mean nothing.

Aidan Donnelly
Reply to  Sceptical Sam
March 23, 2020 9:47 pm

@Sceptical Sam: Why are you spreading lies. In WA we have under 50 cases and 1 death (off the Diamond Princess, over 70 male with chronic heart condition).
These are the true ALL Australian figures for 23 March:
Cases Deaths Recovered DR Asymptomaitc Ratio
1,709 0.5% (of Pop) 7 88 0.4% 94.4%
Of course temperatures matter, why do you think flu season coincides with Winter?

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 22, 2020 7:38 am

It seems like heat and humidity can reduce transmission, not necessary eliminate it. Also, cases can be imported.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Scissor
March 22, 2020 8:36 am

You said, “Also, cases can be imported.” Which, apparently, is what China is now discovering. No “new” cases, but lots of cases from those returning to the country, which if they aren’t quarantined, would start infecting more people.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 1:37 pm

China would say that, wouldn’t they.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 22, 2020 8:32 am

I think that there are two parts to your question. It may be possible for a traveler to infect someone in a country that they visit, even in the ‘wrong’ season. But, will the temperatures act to suppress further transmissions? Just like people in the Northern Hemisphere sometimes get colds or the flu in the Summer, but it isn’t part of a seasonal epidemic. They are outliers because of special circumstances, such as someone having a lowered immune response, or being challenged with a dose of viruses that overwhelms the immune system.

We will soon find out if warmer temperatures damp the COVID-19 cases in the Northern Hemisphere, and support an increase in the SH.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 5:41 am

last year aussie hospitals were running full tilt just coping with the nasty flu strain that you also have up nth right now too.
throw one with severe risks to many more , and people from 30 to 50 appear to be the higher numbers down here btw..their survival is, well unknown just yet
a young lass with it felt fine, until day 9 when she got worse so its unusual in that respect
by day 9 with normal flu youd be over it and on the mend.
patients in intensive care for a month or so isnt “usual” from the standard cold coronas

March 21, 2020 9:01 pm

Every heath care worker and first responder on the front lines should have access to hydroxychloroquine 2x250mg daily and azithromyicim 1×250 mg daily as a prophylaxis.

This is a safe treatment already in use in resistant malaria regions and the dosage can be safely doubled if required. While there are possible side effects they are easily monitored and reversible.

If it doesnt work, what have we lost? Right now there are heath care workers and first responders that are going to die. Even young ones inn good health. We see this from other countries.

If someone doesn’t want to take the drugs, that is their choice. But they should at least have the choice.

Reply to  ferdberple
March 21, 2020 9:47 pm

They would have that choice now, and they would have easy access to get that. Show us evidence that they don’t have the choice or are being denied? At the moment all I see is a pile of layman dribbling rubbish about things they know little about.

Reply to  LdB
March 21, 2020 10:38 pm

They need a prescription which doctors aren’t routinely handing out and a massive ready supply which vastly outstrips current inventories. Are you not done making a fool of yourself in this thread?

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 2:01 am

Evidence please?

Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 6:04 am

‘Your comments are the evidence.

Rich Davis
Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 8:31 am

Cmon LdB, you normally add a lot to a discussion, but you’re having a bad day. How much malaria medication do you suppose is in inventory in northern countries? We recently heard that Bayer is shipping 3m tablets to US government. Still vastly inadequate to the need. Are you questioning whether a prescription drug requires a prescription?

Reply to  LdB
March 22, 2020 10:56 am

No he is saying a health worker can’t get a prescription .. all I ask is he at least show some evidence a statement by any health worker to that effect … I will accept literally any evidence. Other than that he is dribbling.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 8:45 am

I don’t know what the supply situation is, and I don’t know how you pretend to have special insights on something that is used a lot.

Certainly, doctors would have ready access to chloroquine should they feel that it would be useful. Doctors look out for each other. I’m certain, knowing how people are, that if a nurse were to ask the physician she usually works with, for a prescription, he/she would provide it if they felt it were safe and effective. How is it you are so certain that “doctors aren’t routinely handing out” prescriptions. When did you take your survey?

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 9:48 am

I did my survey yesterday. I spoke with several relatives who are nurses or doctors and asked if chloroquine was being discussed as a preventative option and got a universal no.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 11:24 am

Even that limited ‘study’ doesn’t support your claim. If they aren’t even discussing it, then apparently they aren’t concerned about using it. What would have supported your claim is if you had come back and said, “My sample indicates that they want to use it but can’t get it.”

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 1:02 pm

My sample indicates that they haven’t even thought of it on the front line level.

But it is being looked at seriously by a lot of people, it comes up in press briefings with POTUS frequently.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 12:58 pm

LdB you said they could get it easily if they wanted it.

I pointed out that it ISN’T easy UNLESS doctors are willing to write prescriptions AND there is a supply. They can’t just go to the pharmacy and scoop some up like it was in the candy isle.

We don’t really know where the supply situation is at. Bayer donated a whole bunch of tablets but that doesn’t tell us what the world supply is or how fast production could be ramped up. As for prescriptions, have have friends and family on the front line. When I asked them, the option hasn’t even been discussed in any of their briefings.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  ferdberple
March 22, 2020 5:59 pm

There are about 1.5 million Lupus cases in the US, and many of those people use hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) every day. Let’s not forget their need in this new development.

Michael Carter
March 21, 2020 9:20 pm

I see a number of people here saying that “I am sure I have been infected and have got over it” . I suspect that the Northern Hemisphere is still in the winter flu and cold season. A hard flu can be pretty horrible. As one gets older a cold is horrible too. Without antibody testing how can these people be sure?

I cannot see a situation where any country will have the resources to confirm the antibody levels in their populations. They have other priorities.

It a worthy idea but impractical. imo

Josh Postema
Reply to  Michael Carter
March 21, 2020 9:56 pm

“It a worthy idea but impractical. imo”

We’ve decided that shutting down nearly the entire economy indefinitely is “practical”. Why not testing?

Rod Evans
Reply to  Josh Postema
March 21, 2020 11:49 pm

That is a point that needs answering by those shutting down our economies.
They would rather see economic suicide, than test the nation.
We have achieved a mindless, brainless response to what looks like a normal new season virus.
The big question, is what will they do next year when the next new virus comes around?
Do we continue destroying the fundamental structure of society indefinitely?
Down that road lies revolution.

Reply to  Rod Evans
March 22, 2020 12:41 am

Rod if you made a 6 figure job as a public administrator would you put that at risk? If One child gets sick or killed how long would your job last?

Northern tier states saw the cancel culture start with school closings for “extreme” cold or snow that previous generations would have scoffed at.

I don’t see how this ends without some indemnification for these people. It is far easier for them to cancel than risk losing their job.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Derg
March 22, 2020 8:53 am

Yes, when I was a child I walked to school in snow that was so deep that it was almost to the top of my legs — and it was uphill both ways. I didn’t see a school bus until I was about 10, and I still had to walk a half-mile to get to the bus stop, whatever the weather.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Josh Postema
March 22, 2020 8:49 am

If you think about the logistics of getting everyone to a testing depot, taking samples, shipping them off for culturing, and informing the people, versus asking everyone to stay home, I think that you should be able to answer your own question.

Reply to  Michael Carter
March 21, 2020 10:44 pm

As the initial case of this virus in China gets pushed back further in time (it used to be the first week in December 2019, now it’s mid November 2019) it is likely that the virus had already come to the U.S. before January of 2020, and has been silently spreading here in the U.S. long before the panic set in. In mid January in Washington State where we live, my wife and I both woke up around 2:00 am with a dry cough. She never developed any further symptoms, but a few hours later I had an extremely sore throat and a slight fever. (She’s in her 60s and I’m in my 70s.) I drank two large glasses of water and suffered through what I thought was a common cold for the next 7 days. I would certainly be interested in knowing whether or not I already have acquired immunity to this virus.

Reply to  Michael Carter
March 22, 2020 6:37 am

Just for the record… “CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 38 million flu illnesses, 390,000 hospitalizations and 23,000 deaths from flu.”

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  ScienceABC123
March 22, 2020 8:57 am

And two years ago the CDC estimated that there were 80,000 deaths from seasonal flues because the vaccine was only partially effective. Yet, we didn’t shut down the economy!

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 12:15 pm

Exactly! The Wuhan virus has killed <1% of the number of flu deaths, yet we act like it's far worse than the seasonal flu, which it's not. Technically COVID-19 isn't a pandemic. A pandemic requires two things: 1) occurring over a wide geographic area, and 2) affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population – Merriam-Webster.

March 21, 2020 9:54 pm

Illinois’ governor had this to say:

““I fully recognize that in some cases I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving their livelihoods,” the governor said. “But ultimately, you can’t have a livelihood without a life.””

So, in other words, we don’t care about the real and measurable effects on the economy because we’d rather fixate on a hypothetical and treat it as true, as a fact. This is what happens with so many things: people assume that their worst-case-scenario events are factual and act accordingly, even when they aren’t.

I’m not saying being unprepared is a good thing. Plan for the worst. But by all means, act as though the best (or at least the good) is going to happen. Assuming that everyone is going to die when in fact many people are/will be just fine is simply not good thinking. A test for antibodies would show that and maybe settle some fears.

Reply to  Matthew
March 22, 2020 3:48 am

The guv is just trying to cover his @ss. If the economy goes south, like “depression south”, then everyone’s lives are in jeopardy and no one is safe. Furthermore, the ones he claims he’s trying to protect by putting everyone else’s lives in jeopardy will be the first to go when they can”t get their drugs because the supply chain is dead.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  icisil
March 22, 2020 8:36 am

What will change about the way people did their business before the Wuhan virus crisis and after the crisis goes away?

If the government manages to maintain the incomes of all the people who are currently sitting at home, then that means they still have money to spend and will spend that money and will do it just like they did before the virus crisis.

This is a plausible scenario provided the economy can get back to work in about two months, and that is a plasible scenario given what we are learning abou the virus and the drugs we cureently have available.

So you guys should give it a few weeks before declaring doom and gloom. It could turn into doom and gloom but it wont if we can get up and running quickly enough, and that’s a possibility.

Give it a few weeks. We’ll have a much better picture by then.

Our economy hasn’t fallen apart, it is still strong. The real question is for how long. We can survive a couple of months. We should know within weeks whether the malaria drug is going to help and other treatments are just around the corner including a new one mentioned (by MarkW, I believe) that is an anti-inflammatory drug used for another purpose that is showing good results with the Wuhan Virus.

Hang in there everybody! We have plenty of fight left in us! And options. If nothing else, we’ll have to take our chances with the Wuhan virus just like we do with all the other viruses out there we contend with all the time. I have a feeling this Wuhan virus will actually result in less viral infections as people realize what they need to do to avoid them. The steps taken avoiding the Wuhan virus also applies to avoding all the other nasty little viruses out there.

March 21, 2020 9:56 pm

One gets the feeling that keeping the eeconomy up and running is not a priority right now. The ‘show us your papers and get inside’ mentality sits pretty comfortably with authoritarian governments. The worldwide shutdown that the climate change alarmists could not sell us, is now ticking along nicely.

Interestingly, instead of greedy ‘baby boomers’ ruining it for the young, we have selfish young people putting the ‘vulnerable’ elderly at risk, and stealing their groceries. Get inside super-spreader Greta!

I dare say climate change is irrelevant for now.

March 21, 2020 10:02 pm

Read this from Stanford epidemiologist Dr. Ioannidis, you may recognize his name
from years of articles on the replication crisis in science.

Without adequate testing we can never know the prevalence, Ro, the serial interval, period of shedding, or the case fatality rate. Thanks to bungling by the CDC & FDA, our medical establishment is blindly groping for answers, and the ensuing panic makes everyone want to “just do something!”
I especially enjoyed Dr. I’s amusing analogy of the elephant.

Robert of Texas
March 21, 2020 10:02 pm

Information (accurate factual information) is power – we absolutely need to understand the infection and its statistics better to formulate better methods to fight back. Completely agree. I am just certain the infection is far wider and less deadly then the medical professionals think (at least many of them), but without data they are blindly preparing for the worst.

However, flattening the infected curve in a deadly pandemic is EXTREMELY helpful. It allows more critically ill to be given critical care (same number infected but over a longer time means more beds available at any given time). It allows more time to research and develop treatments and if we are extremely lucky, a cure within a year (which helps next year, but not now). So while it seems very disruptive, flattening the infection curve will likely save lives from this disease. One can argue that the economic damage is so high more people will die eventually from the economic impact then we saved from the disease – but at this time that is unknowable – it’s just a fear.

With better data we can adjust the actions taken to slow down the infection. We absolutely need to gather this data as quickly as possible, but its likely too late to save the economy from some harm. I believe it will bounce back, but the longer we shut it down the more time that will take. If we continue to shut businesses down the recovery will take years. How one balances this equation is beyond me – we have to make best guesses and quit acting like panicked children. I am hopeful the 15 days will be enough and people will be able to begin returning to something approaching normalcy soon – although many will likely return to lost jobs and nothing approaching normal for a long time.

March 21, 2020 10:04 pm

I would like the antibody test. I would like to do some volunteer work but I don’t know if I had a mild case three weeks ago or if it was some other non flu virus. Its not worth volunteering if your putting your life at risk. The only reason I didn’t get the Wuhan Corona test was that they were rationing tests back then.

My personal guess is that the number of people in the Seattle area that have or had it is over 10,000 and probably closer to 40,000. If the mortality rate is less than 1% of the people that had it two weeks ago that would imply that more than 10,000 had it two weeks ago based on today’s mortality of 96. Which would mean that about 40,000 would have it now if it double every week. Also over 1% of the people I know have it and I live in Washington state and I live close to the heart of the infection.

Reply to  Lowell
March 21, 2020 10:53 pm

Agreed. I had a wicked cold and cough but no fever a month ago. So I doubt it was Covid-19. But suppose it was. My entire company has been told to work from home, with only a bar minimum going into the office for those few functions that cannot be performed remotely. If it turned out that I did have Covid-19, I could be the one going into the office and give someone else a break.

LdB doesn’t understand things like this. He’d rather we all lay down and die than do something positive for the people around us and the economy in general.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 2:08 am

I said no such thing you like you other posts are just making junk up.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 3:36 am

March 21, 2020 at 10:53 pm

On top of it, antibody test helps a lot with identifying the actual pool size available to help with antibody treatment, which is better and faster than a vaccine. It helps a lot in that aspect… especially under the circumstance of a
novel virus infection.

Trump team already has engaged such a treatment. It helps a lot with the most vulnerable… and those testing positive and having symptoms.
Speeds up heard immunity.



Reply to  whiten
March 22, 2020 5:06 am

“herd immunity”
2020… no editing yet… 🙂

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 22, 2020 9:01 am

You are over the top on your accusations of what LdB thinks or wants. How about sticking to facts that you can support?

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 9:51 am

He attacked me viciously early in the thread, presented zero counter factual information, and has added nothing positive to this discussion. He’s done nothing but sh*t on everyone else. He’s getting what he deserves.

March 21, 2020 10:12 pm

Michael C.:
It would be a lot (!) cheaper to test everyone than to wreck the entire economy without knowing whether it was necessary. If the CDC & FDA had allowed more test kits to be approved (back in January!) we might not be in this current predicament. Ultimately it depends upon the transmissability & virulence of the virus. But to discern those 2 things you need widespread & accurate testing.

Randle Dewees
March 21, 2020 10:18 pm

Well, if I were experiencing the symptoms right now that I had for 2 weeks starting around Jan 1, I would be very worried. As it was I wondered if I would ever get over the damned thing – I was weak, if not exactly sick, for another two weeks. Would I want to find out if I had COVID19? Sure, but somehow I don’t think I’ll ever know.

March 21, 2020 11:42 pm

Early detection of coronavirus can determine life. In my opinion, antiviral drugs work up to about 5 days from the beginning of the infection (may I be wrong).

March 21, 2020 11:50 pm

Because the virus is new, some people will experience a cytokine storm.
Lower the pressure with fresh garlic. Suck zinc, take high doses of vitamin C and avoid infection.

Reply to  ren
March 22, 2020 4:10 am

And vitamin D for immune system modulation, making cytokine storms less likely. Most people above the 30th parallel are probably deficient in vitamin D right now if they’re not taking a supplement, or spending a lot of time outdoors.

Rod Evans
March 22, 2020 12:11 am

Like many others commenting here, I suffered a very real case of viral infection this year. I am a fit healthy person with many physical outdoor activities to keep me in trim. This year all of my extended family have suffered ongoing colds, coughs and a general feeling of fatigue. In my case coupled with a very productive cough the like of which I have never experienced before. Non of us know if we have contracted the Covid 19 virus, we probably didn’t, but the impact of normal flu was there to see.
Why has the world gone so overboard with this latest virus scare? It could not be more debilitating than what we have already suffered already this winter, short of killing us.
Test, test and test some more that is what we must do. We must establish facts before making extreme society destroying decisions. This is the 21st century not the 15th! We have the technology to roll out tests and the ability to analyse the data, gathered quickly world wide.
For the first time ever the UK is closed down. Even the pubs are closed which is the social gathering point the nation relies on for its cohesion and sanity. Even during the depths of the the most damaging threat to our society i.e. during the Blitz the pubs in London stayed open.
There is something very wrong with decision making by our national governments today. Decisions are being taken without establishing clear facts.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rod Evans
March 22, 2020 8:48 am

“Why has the world gone so overboard with this latest virus scare?”

Because they don’t want to end up like Italy where the doctors have to decide which patient will get medical treatment or will be left to lay there and die because the doctors don’t have enough medical equipment to treat all the sick people in the hospital. They have to let the sickest go ahead and die without treatment in order to treat those who have a better chance of survival.

The U.S can afford a couple of weeks off if we can avoid that kind of situation.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 22, 2020 11:24 am

Evidence from Italy indicates that a lockdown doesn’t help. Thinking that it will will work in the US is superstition.

March 22, 2020 12:35 am

The bad news :
“California just locked all of its 40 million citizens in their houses”

The good nwes :
Hundreds of thousands of homeless Californian citizens will not be impacted by this restriction.


Tom Abbott
Reply to  Petit_Barde
March 22, 2020 8:51 am

They ought to send some cruise ships to California to house the homeless.

March 22, 2020 12:52 am

I live in Vietnam. Its a densely populated country in which close contact with people is unavoidable. But its also a very young country by population along with being generally hot and humid. It also shares a border with China. Yet it currently has less than 100 cases of the disease and no deaths. And that has occurred despite the fact almost the entire country still goes to work every day.

Compare that to Italy. It’s generally has a cool dry climate and the second oldest population on the planet. It has an untold number of cases and a spiraling death rate.

I am hopeful that hot and humid weather will slow the spread of this disease. Certainly a comparison of Vietnam and Italy would offer some hope in that regard.

Reply to  Marc
March 22, 2020 8:01 am

It’s early to tell and there are confounding factors, but it appears that there is something to the heat and humidity hypothesis. When this is over, it should be possible to understand this using data from different countries /states, correcting for demographics/population and other factors.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Marc
March 22, 2020 9:01 am

When I was in Vietnam, I took a lot of anti-malaria drugs. Although I was known to miss my dose a few times.

I also got really sick over there. The sickest I have ever been. I layed in bed (no medical treatment) for three days, out in the boondocks, with such a high fever and sweating that I soaked the entire thin mattress on the army cot. The third night, I made my mind up that I would have to go in to see the doctor in the morning, but when morning came around, the fever had broken, and I then recovered quickly over a few more days and never did go to the doctor.

I have no idea what I had but it was the worst.

I lived around the An Khe area (where I got sick) and the Phu Bai area to mention a few.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 23, 2020 4:38 am

This is interesting, to me, anyway: I think I figured out what caused my illness in Vietnam. I was watching a program about Virus Pandemics last night on Fox News Channel and they mentioned the Hong Kong flu epidemic of 1968 and 1969, which occurred during the time when I was in Vietnam.

So I guess I had the Hong Kong flu. That was a rough one. I wouldn’t want to do that again. I had four wool army blankets on top of me and I couldn’t stop shivering and shaking for days.

March 22, 2020 12:53 am

Nothing kills like poverty

That is the factor that all those screaming for hard shut down seem to fail to understand. The measures taken to control a virus with relatively small death count will be far more dangerous than the viral infection.

March 22, 2020 12:56 am

MODS. Can you please do something about the K-word in your moderation filters ?

It is very hard to discuss a pandemic without saying that it terminates the life of some of it victims. We have a word for that which begins with K but we are not allowed to use it !!

I just quotes three words from this article and it fell into moderation trap.

March 22, 2020 1:26 am

Rapid SARS-CoV-2 serological testing (antibody screening) is coming and may be in use in some high impact areas within a month. A few different companies are at various stages of development now. We will be able to confirm COVID-19 when sick, and identify those who have immunity to the virus after all symptoms are gone.

Rod Evans
March 22, 2020 1:32 am

Like many others commenting here, I suffered a very real case of viral infection this year. I am a fit healthy person with many physical outdoor activities to keep me in trim. This year all of my extended family have suffered ongoing colds, coughs and a general feeling of fatigue. In my case coupled with a very productive cough the like of which I have never experienced before. Non of us know if we have contracted the Covid 19 virus, we probably didn’t, but the impact of normal flu was there to see.
Why has the world gone so overboard with this latest virus scare? It could not be more debilitating than what we have already suffered already this winter, short of finishing us.
Test, test and test some more that is what we must do. We must establish facts before making extreme society destroying decisions. This is the 21st century not the 15th! We have the technology to roll out tests and the ability to analyse the data, gathered quickly world wide.
For the first time ever the UK is closed down. Even the pubs are closed which is the social gathering point the nation relies on for its cohesion and sanity. Even during the depths of the the most damaging threat to our society i.e. during the Blitz the pubs in London stayed open.
There is something very wrong with decision making by our national governments today. Decisions are being taken without establishing clear facts.
NB My apologies if this comment is doubled up. The original contained the k word which lingered in moderation, possibly forever?

Steve Richards
March 22, 2020 1:55 am

Antibody testing sounds logical, but how do you stop the idiots who say they are now safe from running around as usual?

Rich Davis
Reply to  Steve Richards
March 22, 2020 8:47 am

If they are safe and not shedding the virus, isn’t that exactly what we want? We need to revive the economy before it is fully destroyed.

Doug Huffman
March 22, 2020 2:18 am

There is no useful supply of antibodies yet. CDC is still soliciting (Last I looked, a few h ours ago) verified SARS-CoV-2 antigens for propagation.

The RT-PCR test takes 15 hours per panel / plate on a licensed machine with a qualified technician.

The Cephid GeneXpert ‘home’ test will begin shipping tomorrow Monday 23 March. It uses a proprietary machine and is licensed by the FDA, not CDC.

Now is a good time – locked up with video time – to learn basic microbiology serology immunology PCR RT-PCR and ELISA. There are great video demonstrations / lectures.

Doug Huffman
March 22, 2020 2:50 am

Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 test (Cepheid)
On March 20, 2020, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to authorize the emergency use the Cepheid’s Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 test, in pursuant to Section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) (21 U.S.C. §360bbb-3), for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid in:

Nasopharyngeal swab and nasal wash/aspirate specimens collected from individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider. Emergency use of this test is limited to use of the GeneXpert Dx and GeneXpert Infinity Systems in laboratories certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), 42 U.S.C. §263a, to perform high and moderate complexity tests; and
Nasopharyngeal swab specimens collected from individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider. Emergency use of this test is authorized to be distributed and used in patient care settings using the GeneXpert Xpress System (Tablet and Hub Configurations).
Letter of Authorization
Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers
Fact Sheet for Patients
Manufacturer Instructions/Package Insert – Laboratories
Manufacturer Instructions/Package Insert – Point of Care

Link URL at the source

March 22, 2020 4:22 am

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes to roll back the corona measures they have introduced in twelve weeks.

“We are now in negotiations to buy an antibody test to see if you have had the virus or not. It is still early, but if it works, we will buy hundreds of thousands of these tests. It has the potential to become a “game changer,” Johnson said.
Combined with an escalation of corona testing, the new antibody tests and the advice they have given the British people, Johnson hopes to stave off the spread of the corona virus.”

March 22, 2020 4:46 am

Does anyone remember how parents used to hold slumber parties for girls when one girl in the neighborhood got sick with a certain illness (can’t remember which one) that could cause problems for the fetus when women got the illness while pregnant? Maybe we’ll start seeing covid-19 parties for people who want to get immunity so they can go back to work.

Reply to  icisil
March 22, 2020 5:52 am

rubella aka german measles
most schoold used to do a test scratch and follow up vax if you reacted
then decades later….
they realised they should have also been doing the boys who also carried it.
ditto the HPV

Reply to  icisil
March 22, 2020 5:56 am

Rubella aka German measles

Usually a mild childhood disease but serious for pregnant women…..causes significant birth defects

Vaccination in children recommended at 12 months

James Schrumpf
Reply to  icisil
March 22, 2020 6:11 pm

Chickenpox, too.

March 22, 2020 4:59 am

I’ve knew about bat soup, but not this.

Reply to  icisil
March 22, 2020 8:07 am

Yummy, but I’d at least have to use some salt and pepper.

I ate at a restaurant in Wuhan where one of our dishes was freshly prepared fish whose tail was still flopping.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Scissor
March 22, 2020 9:11 am

Sashimi in the making! Cooking will k1ll pathogens, so cultural food differences can contribute to differences in the infection rates. I’m going to avoid sushi for awhile.

Reply to  icisil
March 22, 2020 8:49 am

That right there is some crazy shit, icisil.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  icisil
March 22, 2020 9:08 am

They are better with ketchup! I prefer to pluck the feathers off first. 🙂

March 22, 2020 5:23 am

My household had the same, my brother caught a cough from work, then it went through the house, cough, white mucus, real tiredness, chills and temp, it was brutal… We all get little colds here and there, but honestly this was totally new, Vicks, cough medicine etc etc nothing really worked..

March 22, 2020 5:57 am

Perhaps later as a post-war analysis if someone wants to donate, from private funds, the millions of dollars this would require? Better, let private enterprise compete and have those that want peace of mind that they have an antibody for one of thousands of strains of respiratory viruses.

Today, if would be better, “at no charge”, for everyone to focus on treatments. Many claim, for example, that quarantines “work” but there is really no science confirming as in clinical trials. And for very good reasons including how to start a pathogen in a nation and then isolate towns when “discovery” is made, etc. Likewise, there is no proof that social distancing is effective. And for very good reasons including no one will willfully measure contracting the virus using measured rates of exposure. Unethical or impractical they claim. Common sense they claim. One must believe that a pathogens is both highly contagious and will obey stop signs erected at a distance that can be measured in inches or such.

However, given the huge advances in biochemistry, etc., wouldn’t treatment be a better focus at this point. Recall: There was a time when sequencing only one human genome was estimated to take decades? This is a time when your complete DNA can be sequenced in minutes and tell you how many, which, and impact of Neanderthal genes you have. And trace you back thousands of years. See 23andme.

If one has a need to spend public funds on health regarding the Wuhan, I’d vote to spend it on treatments and cures. Even at the expense of developing vaccines since most of them rarely even make 50% efficacy, many not even 30%. A treatment that is 95% efficacy just seems to be an enormously better option. And let private industry compete and be paid a reasonable, even good, profit to produce it.

And, yes, with advances we’ve made in biochemistry, private industry will be able to dramatically reduce lead times. Perhaps measured in days, maybe even hours. They’re very close now if you’ve noticed how the biolabs are using there current methods to engineer everything from vaccines to antibodies for the “novel” Wuhan. All that’s needed is incentive. Which means profit. To be helpful, government could even off a million dollar, even a 100 million dollar “prize” for a winner.

Testing everyone, while emotionally satisfying and comforting, results in a population that knows what they have but will still die due to lack of treatments.

Rich Davis
Reply to  cedarhill
March 22, 2020 8:58 am

You missed the point cedarhill. The testing proposed here is to identify those who have recovered from Covid-19 so that we can let them return to work and keep the economy from collapsing.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rich Davis
March 22, 2020 9:13 am

Unfortunately, the testing program would defeat the “social distancing” that we have all been asked to abide by.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 22, 2020 10:49 am

Why do you think that? Those who have immunity are not shedding the virus to infect others and cannot themselves be sickened.

There is no reason why social distancing could not be maintained. The only purpose for continuing social distancing in the workplace would be if in addition to having immune people go back to work, low-risk people were also allowed back to work even though not yet exposed to the virus.

Assuming that there would be appropriate screening for risk factors, it makes sense to me that we quarantine the vulnerable population (that is predominately not in the workforce) and allow the infection to become endemic among the low risk population, eventually building up herd immunity.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rich Davis
March 22, 2020 11:40 am

I don’t think that you have thought this through. To test the population to find those with anti-bodies, it will be necessary for those harboring the virus during the incubation period to stand in line with those who are already over it. Along with the immune, will be those who have not yet caught the virus, standing in line with potential spreaders! Yes, a situation could be created where there was less risk of exposing the vulnerable, but that would take a lot longer to execute. Imagine that you were appointed “Corona Czar” and had to actually design and implement the logistical nightmare of testing 330 million people without putting the vulnerable at risk by the process.

I suppose workers could petition their employers or the government for individual tests, but you still have the problem of putting those who only think that they have recovered from COVID-19 at risk of exposure to infected people.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Rich Davis
March 22, 2020 1:51 pm

Clyde you’re overthinking it. This would not be a science project to check the whole population. The population we’re talking about is a subset of the roughly 150m who have jobs.

It would be as described in the article—a drive through test site for non-symptomatic people who want to be cleared to return to work. Self-administered swab test for the active infection test and self administered blood test similar to glucose test. Samples put into vials or other containers and dropped off in a bin for testing.

Nobody would need to be exposed, and vulnerable people would be excluded.

We need a more can-do attitude.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rich Davis
March 23, 2020 12:03 pm

We need some practical, reasonable analysis of proposals. Some good old ‘climate change’ skepticism! Someone recently suggested that 100,000 tests a day would be a good target number. At that rate, it would take 500 days to test your 50 million. Hopefully, the problem won’t last that long. To get people back to work ‘quickly,’ say within 14 days, it would require about 3.6 million tests per day.

As to whether or not the 100,000 tests a day is even reasonable, consider what happens when people attempt to evacuate Florida before a hurricane. It is called gridlock! Your model, similar to the long gone drive-thru film-processing kiosks, worked well in small cities, with small demand. Considering applying that approach to where it is really needed, for example, Manhattan. A million cars lined up (every day!) to access just a few streets to get to the testing depots would be a traffic nightmare. From what I have read, it takes 4 hours to process a sample. They can’t sit around in their cars with engines idling. How do you notify them of the results? Most people have computers, but that means building a whole new infrastructure to collate and send out the notices. All this takes planning, money, and time.

Incidentally, something that you haven’t taken into consideration is that the tests are not perfect. There are both false-positives and false-negatives. The false-negatives are the greatest risk as they would be capable of defeating the social distancing and re-igniting infections. How do you deal with the tests being wrong?

March 22, 2020 6:30 am

I’m going to keep my eye on Miguel County, Colorado…and I’ll be searching for other locations that are performing good epidemiology…unlike the rest of the country.

March 22, 2020 6:44 am

Like Sunny and others above, the wife and I and many others in the neighborhood and extended family had the same thing. This was last year late Oct. thru Nov. It had already been going around for at least a month before that. It started out with the same symptoms as C-19 and for some progressed into very serious pneumonia like congestion which lasted 5-6 weeks. (Of people we knew – both remotely – here was 2 deaths) Mine was not as bad (it lasted over 5 weeks but not as high a fever or as bad of congestion) as the wife’s. She had to go to the walk-in clinic twice as the first time they would NOT prescribe antibiotics (probably rightly so as they said it was viral). Hers lasted over 6 weeks. Here’s what is particularly interesting: Her primary physician said (2 weeks ago) it COULD have been C-19. Just one physicians opinion? Maybe BUT – when she mentioned this to her daughter (who’s doctorate is in micro-biology and works in this area everyday for one of the largest pharmacy companies in the world) she said YES, that’s possible. C-19 “could” have (has been) going around in parallel with the “regular” flu. Which (if so) begs the question: Of the 22,000 to 36,000 deaths the CDC attributes to the “flu”, how many are/were actually C-19? Which is why we need to do a antibody tests AND should have been starting last Nov.

Reply to  MilwaukeeBob
March 22, 2020 9:00 am

opps, the CDC estimate is actually : From October 1, 2019, through March 7, 2020, there have been:
36,000,000 – 51,000,000 “regular” annual flu illnesses…. …and 22,000 – 55,000 “regular” annual flu deaths, spread across ALL ages including children.
A rate of ONLY .09% but approximately 138 – 346 PER DAY!
And from January 21, 2020 through March 19, 2020, there have been:
9,415 confirmed case of Wuhan flu illnesses… …and 151 confirmed Wuhan flu deaths.
A higher rate of 1.60% but ONLY approximately 2.5 per day. (From Jan 21, 2020 – Mar 18, 2020)

AND – the 151 is/was during the time when we DIDN’T have everything shut down.

Just Jenn
March 22, 2020 7:29 am

I’ve read through all the comments and one thing is certain—we simply NEED more data.

Testing for antibodies is just sound IMO. Because like a lot of people here, I suspect the virus has already spread through the world. However, I simply don’t know. I need more data to make a reasonable conclusion.

I am curious about the curve that we all know so well as it is on every single news program, website and news article. What exactly IS the infection rate that generated that curve? Is it R(naught)=2.2 as one very small study suggests or is it closer to what we saw on the Diamond Princess or S. Korea? Does anyone know on what factors that curve is based? Is infection rate one of those variables? And what is it?

Reply to  Just Jenn
March 22, 2020 8:10 am

Keeping in mind that all data has errors, the infographics below are interesting.

Just Jenn
Reply to  Scissor
March 22, 2020 6:58 pm


Thank you!

I especially like the graph of mentions in the media…..

J Mac
March 22, 2020 9:49 am

Alec Rawls,
A thoughtful and well reasoned article. Thank you!

March 22, 2020 10:34 am

This is more about the image for this posting on the home page than the content of this posting.
comment image

I’ve seen plenty of graphics like this and wondered why they always use bell-curve shapes. Surely the real shapes would not be so smooth and symmetrical. Attack and decay phases symmetrical?

Here you can find shapes calculated for your state. See what you think of their model.

john graves
March 22, 2020 11:03 am

It is called triage. Pandemic response 101 begins with triage. then determine RO. then quarantine.
quite simple. The CDC has been trying to encourage this since late January, I wonder why it has been stopped?

March 22, 2020 11:07 am

Blood samples were and are collected each day from tons of people everywhere. Some of those samples were frozen and stored, for many good reasons. Seems to me the presence and timing/history/location of the virus in the population is sitting there ready for an antibody study. If the virus was in circulation months ago, as some here suspect, the study response would help with our actions now.

March 22, 2020 11:30 am

It is pretty clear that quarantining the whole population does not work. Italy and Spain demonstrate that.
Anecdotes from a doctor in Italy indicate that health workers are the spreading the disease.
S Korea concentrated on infected people and their contacts with some success.

Steven F
Reply to  Billy
March 26, 2020 9:59 pm

Italy and spain only implemented Quarantines after they discovered it was circulating. To make it worse italy’s firststeps were initially full of gaps and as a result they were initially not effective. So italy’s effort were initially slow and ineffective. Hospitals were overloaded and many doctors got sick because they ran out of protective gloves , masks and other equipment. As a result many died because the hospitals couldn’t help all of the patients. Italy is now approaching 3 weeks or quarantine and things might now be getting better.

In South Korea the first cases showed un one town when one infected individual went to their church and much of congregation became infected. The First thing Korea did was to quarantine the town. And then they quickly ramped put testing and implementing more quarantines as more infections were found. Then when the testing was available they tested as many people as possible and then quarantined those people and people they came in contact with. In south Korea the combination of testing and quarantines worked.

Tiawan also implemented quarantines testing and shut down the airports. They have a lot of travel with China, the rest of asia and US. With a population of 23 million ( about half the size of South Korea). They about 250cases and only 2 deaths.

In short the efvidence from china an korea and other places is hat quarantines and increased testing Do work.

Robert Terrell
March 22, 2020 2:29 pm

I have read reports saying that people who survived the virus later came down with it again, nd only days later were dead! So, how do we KNOW someone is now disease-free? How do we know when it;s safe to take antibodies? This entire idea is rather suspicious.

Reply to  Robert Terrell
March 22, 2020 2:45 pm

You can’t believe anything coming out of China except videos shot from citizens phones. They were most likely sending patients home before they were fully recovered to make room for others. The CCP doesn’t give a crap about any of the common folk.

Reply to  Robert Terrell
March 22, 2020 8:41 pm

Most “reinfections” are likely to be a “secondary infection” where the patient gets a different
infectious agent before they get over the first illness so it looks like a relapse of the inital infection.
Commonly, patients get a secondary bacterial infection after an inital viral one. The classic example is the 1918 “Spanish “Flu pandemic where most of the deaths were from secondary bacterial lung infection
(this was before antibiotics, and Staphylococcal lung infections have a very high case fatality rate).

btw, there is data to support quarrantining for Influenza, but the major point of the Rawl’s post is thaat we lack the data [due to lack of test kits, thanks to the CDC & FDA] to make truly informed decisions on this coronavirus.

Robert B
March 22, 2020 4:44 pm

Maybe its time for the young and healthy to actually go on spring break. Just keep them locked in for 3 weeks. Then let them loose to work and shop.

Janet L. Chennault
March 23, 2020 9:37 am

OK. Done. Here is the FDA list of serology tests for SARS-CoV-2.


The FDA has not reviewed the validation of tests offered by these developers, who will not be pursuing EUAs, and is including this list here to provide transparency regarding the notifications submitted to FDA.

BTNX, Inc. Rapid Response™ COVID-19 IgG/IgM Test Cassette
Coronacide™ COVID-19 IgM/IgG Rapid Test
Diazyme Laboratories, Inc.
Nirmidas Biotech, Inc.
Phamatech Inc. COVID19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test
SD Biosensor Standard QCOVID-19 IgM/IgG
United Biomedical, Inc.
Zhuhai Encode Medical Engineering Co., Ltd
Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics, Inc.