Downward Virus Flux in Earth’s Atmosphere Is Over Three Billion Viruses Per Square Meter Per Day

By Robert Kernodle

Figure 1. NASA satellite image showing the two most frequent meteorological scenarios where huge quantities of viruses and bacteria are deposited in the high mountains of Sierra Nevada, Spain and at a global scale: (1) Viruses are transported by Atlantic Ocean depressions, and (2) bacteria are transported by Saharan dust intrusions.

         Apparently, the fact that viruses rein rain down on Earth by the billions-per-square-meter each day is old news. If you Bing the phrase, viruses falling from the sky, then you will retrieve page after page of links to stories that proclaim this amazing fact. Those links lead primarily to stories published online during the year 2018. These stories appeared on websites of major news outlets — where was I? — how did I miss this? I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t abducted by aliens.

     The more important question might be, Why is this old news seemingly newly relevant to the present times?

     Invariably, the major focus of all those 2018 internet stories was an article appearing in the Journal of the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME Journal), a cooperative effort between owner ISME and publisher Springer Nature:

Reche, I., D’Orta, G., Mladenov, N. et al. Deposition rates of viruses and bacteria above the atmospheric boundary layer. ISME J 12, 1154–1162 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-017-0042-4

     The main thrust of this article was that “aerosolization of soil-dust and organic aggregates in sea spray facilitates the long-range transport of bacteria, and likely viruses, across the free atmosphere.”

     The word, aerosolization, is defined as the process or act of converting some physical substance into the form of particles small and light enough to be carried on the air (i.e. into an aerosol).

From the body of the article:

We quantified the wet and dry deposition of (free and attached) viruses and bacteria above the atmospheric boundary layer at the Observatory (OSN) and Veleta Peak (VSN) in Spain, and demonstrated that in each square meter, tens of millions of bacteria and billions of viruses are deposited each day.

         The phrase, atmospheric boundary layer, for those (like me) unfamiliar with the concept), is also known as the planetary boundary layer. What is it?

      According to A. Molod, H. Salmun, M. Dempsey (2015). Estimating Planetary Boundary Layer Heights from NOAA Profiler Network Wind Profiler Data, Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 32(9) https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/10.1175/JTECH-D-14-00155.1

The planetary boundary layer (PBL) is the shallow layer of the troposphere nearest to the Earth’s surface that, particularly over land, exhibits a diurnal variation due to the exchange of energy and momentum between the surface and the atmosphere. The depth of the PBL can range from less than one hundred meters to several kilometers. Knowledge of the PBL depth and its fluctuations in time are also essential for the estimation of the transport of atmospheric constituents, and in particular to estimate the terms in the atmospheric carbon budget.

Figure 2. Visualization of the planetary boundary layer or atmospheric boundary layer, from www.skybrary.aero

    The authors of the ISME paper, thus, confidently state that long-range transport of viruses and bacteria occur, but admit that there are many uncertainties associated with deposition rates of viruses and bacteria. Nonetheless, they claim to demonstrate in their study that, above the atmospheric boundary layer,

downward flux of viruses ranged from 260,000,000 to greater than 7,000,000,000 per square meter per day. These deposition rates, they further assert, were 9 to 461 times greater than the rates for bacteria, which ranged from 3,000,000 to greater than 80,000,000 per square meter per day.

Viralpocalypse?

     So, viruses can be carried on the air of Earth’s atmosphere (billions and billions of them), and they can be carried long distances in this manner, say, from one continent to another. Should this terrify us? Before approaching such a question, let’s consider some basics, like how many types of viruses there are, and how prolific viruses are on the planet.

     In plowing through the internet, looking for an answer to the question of how many different viruses there are, I haven’t found a clear and straightforward answer. As near as I can tell, we really do not know how many there are, but the number is huge, which means that the venture of discovering new viruses seems to be an active scientific endeavor.

     Also, given their large number and prolific presence on the planet, viruses mutate all the time, thus adding more new types to the already vast collection. And then there are the labs that experiment with viruses — who knows how many different human-created types are out there that ordinary people do not know about? [but that’s another topic]

    A statement by Berliner et al. — in Aaron J. Berliner, Tomohiro Mochizuki, and Kenneth M. Stedman (2018). Astrovirology: Viruses at Large in the Universe, Astrobiology, Volume 18, Number 2

https://drpaulroth.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Astrovirology.pdf

summarizes it nicely:

Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on modern Earth. They are highly diverse both in structure and genomic sequence, play critical roles in evolution, strongly influence terrain biogeochemistry, and are believed to have played important roles in the origin and evolution of life.

      The takeaway from this statement is that humans probably would not exist without viruses. In other words, one of the reasons for our being is also one of the reasons for our dying. Life is strange this way — replete with seeming contradictions, or, at least, oppositions that tend to balance one another.

      Let’s incorporate this insight, as we get back to the question of whether virus transport in Earth’s atmosphere should terrify us. Consider these key statements from the Reche et al article:

Despite the high genetic diversity within viral communities, the observation has been repeatedly made that identical or nearly identical virus sequences can be found in widely separated environments that are environmentally very different.

Viruses and bacteria are usually not air-dispersed as free particles, but are attached to soil-dust or marine organic aggregates.

Based on what could be detached by washing in buffer and mechanical forces, ~69% of viruses and ~97% of bacteria deposited from the atmosphere were attached to dust or organic aggregates.

      After reading those statements, my mind goes to particulate pollution and possible increased opportunity for viruses to attach to these particulates. Next, I think of China, New York, and the major polluted parts of Italy and Spain, as these places seemingly suffer the devastation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But then I have to keep in mind that most viruses are not harmful to humans — they are fundamental features of the planet, which would make them integral parts of the proverbial natural order.

    Next, I have to wonder what are the statistical odds that a virus harmful to humans is a virus that could hitch a ride on dust or sea spray or air pollution (if this is even possible).

     And here is where my ignorance shows itself — I have no idea. That’s one reason I wrote this article — to raise the question and hopefully gain more knowledge from insightful people who might help with an answer.

           Figure 3. T4 bacteriophage joins artist, Luis Falero’s 1878 painting, “Vision Of Faust”, in a digital manipulation by Robert Kernodle        

      In the meantime, I have probed deeper into the philosophical question of death itself, in asking this: If death is a part of life, and viruses are natural parts of life as we know it, then is a death caused by a virus a death by “natural causes”? What exactly is a death by natural causes? What exactly is death by old age? Are the old who are dying allegedly because of the SARS-CoV-2 virus undergoing the dying process of old age? Is that part of what it means to die of old age?

     Is our current fear of COVID-19 a fear spawned of childish fragmentation from reality, where we have grown so accustomed to the protections and comforts of our modern civilizations that we have lost touch with survival of the fittest? — during an era when so many people are physically unfit?

     Is our current fear a result of an unprecedented number of people coming to terms with the very idea of death for the first time? — young people (constantly interacting electronically), wanting to live forever, watching older people succumb to a seemingly routine process?

     Is our current fear, therefore, irrational, as it causes leaders to halt the operation of civilization, in a panic to protect life? I certainly have my own answer to this last question, which is yes — an answer that I have held onto, since day one of the first shutdown.

END

176 thoughts on “Downward Virus Flux in Earth’s Atmosphere Is Over Three Billion Viruses Per Square Meter Per Day

      • WATCH THIS VIDEO BEFORE YOUTUBE CENSORS IT:

        Dr. Ivette Lozano MD speaking in Dallas, Texas about COVID-19/Corona Virus – 10th May 2020
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bho803qRmkk

        She has treated patients with [HCQ + etc] and ssays every one significantly recovered by the next day.

        She says [HCQ + Zithromax (azithromycin)] works and works well to quickly cure Covid-19.

        Ratings for Dr. Ivette Lozano MD
        https://www.healthgrades.com/physician/dr-ivette-lozano-3fqdp
        17 – 5-Star Ratings
        7 – 1-Star Ratings

          • I did not know any of this information – even if it is half true, Bill Gates should withdraw from the vaccine business.

            I am also appalled by his reported concept of a “global vaccination ID enterprise” that could be subject to enormous violations of civil liberties.

            Sign me “Shocked”, Allan

            GATES’ GLOBALIST VACCINE AGENDA: A WIN-WIN FOR PHARMA AND MANDATORY VACCINATION
            https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/government-corruption/gates-globalist-vaccine-agenda-a-win-win-for-pharma-and-mandatory-vaccination/
            By Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Chairman, Children’s Health Defense
            APRIL 09, 2020

            Vaccines, for Bill Gates, are a strategic philanthropy that feed his many vaccine-related businesses (including Microsoft’s ambition to control a global vaccination ID enterprise) and give him dictatorial control of global health policy.

            Gates’ obsession with vaccines seems to be fueled by a conviction to save the world with technology.

            Promising his share of $450 million of $1.2 billion to eradicate polio, Gates took control of India’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), which mandated up to 50 doses (Table 1) of polio vaccines through overlapping immunization programs to children before the age of five. Indian doctors blame the Gates campaign for a devastating non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP) epidemic that paralyzed 490,000 children beyond expected rates between 2000 and 2017. In 2017, the Indian government dialed back Gates’ vaccine regimen and asked Gates and his vaccine policies to leave India. NPAFP rates dropped precipitously.

            The most frightening [polio] epidemics in Congo, Afghanistan, and the Philippines are all linked to vaccines.

            In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) reluctantly admitted that the global explosion in polio is predominantly vaccine strain. The most frightening epidemics in Congo, Afghanistan, and the Philippines, are all linked to vaccines. In fact, by 2018, 70% of global polio cases were vaccine strain.

            In 2009, the Gates Foundation funded tests of experimental HPV vaccines, developed by Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) and Merck, on 23,000 young girls in remote Indian provinces. Approximately 1,200 suffered severe side effects, including autoimmune and fertility disorders. Seven died. Indian government investigations charged that Gates-funded researchers committed pervasive ethical violations: pressuring vulnerable village girls into the trial, bullying parents, forging consent forms, and refusing medical care to the injured girls. The case is now in the country’s Supreme Court.

            South African newspapers complained, ‘We are guinea pigs for the drug makers.’
            In 2010, the Gates Foundation funded a phase 3 trial of GSK’s experimental malaria vaccine, killing 151 African infants and causing serious adverse effects, including paralysis, seizure, and febrile convulsions, to 1,048 of the 5,949 children.

            During Gates’ 2002 MenAfriVac campaign in Sub-Saharan Africa, Gates’ operatives forcibly vaccinated thousands of African children against meningitis. Approximately 50 of the 500 children vaccinated developed paralysis. South African newspapers complained, “We are guinea pigs for the drug makers.” Nelson Mandela’s former senior economist, Professor Patrick Bond, describes Gates’ philanthropic practices as “ruthless and immoral.”

            In 2010, when Gates committed $10 billion to the WHO, he said “We must make this the decade of vaccines.” A month later, Gates said in a TED Talk that new vaccines “could reduce population.” And, four years later, in 2014, Kenya’s Catholic Doctors Association accused the WHO of chemically sterilizing millions of unwilling Kenyan women with a “tetanus” vaccine campaign. Independent labs found a sterility formula in every vaccine tested. After denying the charges, WHO finally admitted it had been developing the sterility vaccines for over a decade. Similar accusations came from Tanzania, Nicaragua, Mexico, and the Philippines.

            A 2017 study (Morgenson et. al. 2017) showed that WHO’s popular DTP vaccine is killing more African children than the diseases it prevents. DTP-vaccinated girls suffered 10x the death rate of children who had not yet received the vaccine. WHO has refused to recall the lethal vaccine, which it forces upon tens of millions of African children annually.

            [Global public health officials] say he has diverted agency resources to serve his personal philosophy that good health only comes in a syringe.

            Global public health advocates around the world accuse Gates of steering WHO’s agenda away from the projects that are proven to curb infectious diseases: clean water, hygiene, nutrition, and economic development. The Gates Foundation spends only about $650 million of its $5 billion dollar budget on these areas. They say he has diverted agency resources to serve his personal philosophy that good health only comes in a syringe.
            In addition to using his philanthropy to control WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, and PATH, Gates funds a private pharmaceutical company that manufactures vaccines and is donating $50 million to 12 pharmaceutical companies to speed up development of a coronavirus vaccine. In his recent media appearances, Gates appears confident that the Covid-19 crisis will now give him the opportunity to force his dictatorial vaccine programs on all American children – and adults.

    • There is almost certainly not enough concentration of viral matter falling from the sky to affect us. Our defence mechanisms can deal with small amounts quite easily. It’s the concentrated matter we get from infected individuals that we need to be careful of. So washing hands works, as does avoiding touching one’s face.

        • We used to call that common sense based on observation, but since you aptly prove common sense is dead…..

      • Is this “live” viral matter falling from the skies? How can it possibly survive the UV at altitude?

        • Pillage Idiot asks, “Is this “live” viral matter falling from the skies? How can it possibly survive the UV at altitude?”

          Good questions. Remember, though, that viruses, technically, are not alive (yes, I noticed your quotation marks). So, how could they remain viable?

          From the Reche et al ISME Journal article:

          There is less evidence of dust carrying viruses, although they appear to be effectively aerosolized from the sea surface, and are largely associated with organic matrices of transparent exopolymeric particles. These exopolymeric particles strongly absorb ultraviolet wavelengths and likely prevent complete dehydration; hence, these particles may assist in the persistence and viability of viruses and bacteria in the upper atmosphere during long-distance transport.

          “What the heck are exopolymeric particles?”, you might ask. The following reference might offer some insight on that:

          https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030442031930009X

          • Viruses are inactivated by UVC, the highest energy of the three bands emitted by the sun. Thus, viruses floating in air below the ozone layer might be protected. Unencapsulated viruses might be susceptible to UVB as well, but SARS-2 is encapsulated and reportedly requires longer exposure to “k!ll”. What effect UVA and B might have on it, I don’t know, but China is using UVC to disinfect buses.

          • What John Tillman says about ultraviolet light is what my reading also confirms:

            UVC definitely inactivates viruses, if I understand correctly. But this radiation band is blocked well above the atmospheric boundary layer, where the atmospheric viruses move about.

            UVB might weaken the viruses, but I don’t know how much of this band would be required or if that much is available at the boundary layer to disable viruses.

            UVA seems not to do Jack Squat on disabling viruses — other microbes, yes, but not viruses.

          • But OTOH, single-stranded viruses are more vulnerable, as less capable of repairing damage.

            As most here know, the WuWHOFlu virion is a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus, whose capsid (RNA wrapped in protein) is enveloped by a spherical lipid membrane through which proteins poke, most functionally the spikes which give coronaviruses their name.

            The little bastids get their envelope from the cells they infect and hijack.

      • Ziz Zag Wanderer wrote:

        There is almost certainly not enough concentration of viral matter falling from the sky to affect us. Our defence mechanisms can deal with small amounts quite easily. It’s the concentrated matter we get from infected individuals that we need to be careful of. So washing hands works, as does avoiding touching one’s face.

        Billions and billions of viral particles per square meter per day seems like a pretty high concentration.

        Say three billion particles fall on a square meter in a day. In an hour, that would be 125 million particles. Now, assuming that even a small fraction of those were of a human-threatening type, this would still seem to be quite a dose.

        I’ve read somewhere that an infective dose of SARS-CoV-2 is about 1000 particles.

        Of course, as I’ve stated, I don’t know the odds of a human-threatening virus being in those vast numbers that fall from the sky, but I’m not seeing how we could dismiss this possibility.

      • Dr Vincent Racinello (sp?) (Columbia University School of Medicine), has been teaching a biology course on viruses for a decade. His current course is available and free to view on Youtube.com.

        In the intro lecture, he makes a fine ambassador for his subject. He argues that viruses are the most fascinating object on earth, and cites estimates that all viruses gathered together would weigh 3,000 elephants!

        He also hosts a topical weekly news program TWiV, this week in virology. Free to listen, and of course, CV19 is often topic du jour.

        • Viruses are indeed fascinating, not least in their origins and subsequent evolution and influence in the development of cellular life.

          It appears that the classification “virus” is paraphyletic, ie not a natural group all descended from the same common ancestor.

          DNA viruses, like smallpox and phages, probably are degenerate bacterial parasites. Their structure and size vary greatly. Some of the largest retain limited metabolic function. Whether single and doubled stranded DNA viruses arose separately is unclear.

          RNA viruses, like WuWHO, are monophyletic (sharing a common ancestor), with double-stranded evolving repeatedly in different single-stranded lineages. Their origin might predate prokaryotes or stem from coevolution.

          Retroviruses, like HIV, appear to descend from transposons which escaped their ancestral cellular genomes. Baltimore’s discovery of reverse transcriptase was a major breakthrough in virology.

          Only in 2018 and 2019 was a phylogeny of viral realms finally proposed, encompassing Baltimore’s Roman numeraled Groups. Then there are other replicant Mobile Genetic Elements without the protein capsids of viruses, let alone their envelopes. These include transposons, plasmids (agents of horizontal gene transfer) and viroids.

          Prions are malformed proteins, so not genetic.

      • What were the violations? Violating social distancing? I don’t see any masks on officers in the photo.

        Is it really a “speakers corner” if a controversial speech gets one arrested?

      • Looked him up on Wikipedia. He has fist class degree in Physics from Imperial and and Msc in Astrophysics. He started research into Superconductivity but there is no evidence that he competed the research or submitted a Phd thesis.

        • Piers Earth Moon Sun forecasting theory is a magnitude better than the UK’ Met supercomputer’s forecasts.

        • Ah well, I did as much, MSc and one year Phd research never completed both in applied acoustic, at the annex of the same Imperial college.

    • wuwhoflu – wtf is this

      do you mean – Wuhan Wet Market Bat Pangolin Civet Cat Allowed By The Chinese Communist People’s Army Virus?
      WWMBPCCABTCCCPAV?

      or is this instead of the very precise disease definition covid-19

      • Started in Wuhan, Spread by chinese intentional allowance of international travel from Wuhan but not to other provinces in China, and WHO turned a blind eye (at best) or aided and abetted (at worst). Thus the disease by some is called the WU WHO FLU.

        China and the World Health Organization need to suffer extreme consequences for their efforts!

        • why didn’t your esteemed leader react in January when china and who all released their warnings?
          How on earth can you blame the who?

          December 21st 2019
          Chinese epidemiologists with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention published an article on 20th January 2020 stating that the first cluster of patients with ‘pneumonia of an unknown cause’ had been identified on 21st December 2019

          You cannot act on this – it is a sort of pneumonia with unknown transmission. It was published therefore no secret

          December 31st 2019
          Chinese authorities confirmed they were treating dozens of cases of pneumonia of an unknown cause. Days laters researchers in China identified a new virus that had infected dozens of people. There was no evidence that the virus was spread by humans.
          China contacts the WHO and informs them of ‘cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology’ detected in Wuhan

          no evidence for human to human spread and who informed

          1 January 2020
          WHO had set up the IMST (Incident Management Support Team) across the three levels of the organization: headquarters, regional headquarters and country level, putting the organization on an emergency footing for dealing with the outbreak.

          January 2nd 2020
          Central Hospital of Wuhan banned its staff from discussing the disease publicly or recording them using text or image that can be used as evidence

          Chinese damage limitation not called for

          4 January 2020
          WHO reported on social media that there was a cluster of pneumonia cases – with no deaths – in Wuhan, Hubei province.

          5 January 2020
          WHO published our first Disease Outbreak News on the new virus. This is a flagship technical publication to the scientific and public health community as well as global media. It contained a risk assessment and advice, and reported on what China had told the organization about the status of patients and the public health response on the cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan.

          January 8th 2020
          The Chinese government agrees to accept a WHO scientific team to assist their own researchers

          WHO goes to China now they cannot hide problems

          10 January 2020
          Developed with reference to other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, WHO issued a tool for countries to check their ability to detect and respond to a novel coronavirus. This information is to help with identifying main gaps, assessing risks and planning for additional investigations, response and control actions.

          January 11th 2020
          Chinese state media reported the first known death from an illness caused by the virus. It was a 61-year old man who was a regular customer of the market in Wuhan where the virus is believed to have originated, and had previously been found to have abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease.

          first death many co-morbidities – so was this the virus?

          12 January 2020
          China shares the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus, which will be very important for other countries as they develop specific diagnostic kits.
          First case of novel coronavirus outside of China confirmed

        • why didn’t your esteemed leader react in January when china and who all released their warnings?

          January?

          Why did the filthy Chinese CPC hide the information all the way up until January? How many thousands of lives could’ve been saved had they just been honest and upfront with the world in late 2019 (emphasis added)?

          “Li [Wenliang] had posted a snippet of an RNA analysis finding ‘SARS coronavirus’ and extensive bacteria colonies in a patient’s airways, according to a chat transcript that he and other chat members later shared online.

          On Jan. 1, the Wuhan Public Security Bureau issued summons to Li and the others accused of fanning rumors. The detentions were reported on ‘Xinwen Lianbo,’ a newscast watched by tens of millions.

          The police followed up in the state-run Xinhua News Agency with a chilling warning. ‘The police call on all netizens to not fabricate rumors, not spread rumors, not believe rumors,’ the Wuhan authorities said, adding that they encouraged Web users to ‘jointly build a harmonious, clear and bright cyberspace.’

          As authorities cracked down, the outbreak was quickly worsening amid an information vacuum. Wang Guangbao, a surgeon and popular science writer in eastern China, later said that speculation about a SARS-like virus was rampant around Jan. 1 within medical circles, but that the detentions dissuaded many, including himself, from speaking openly about it.

          ‘The eight posters getting seized made all of us doctors feel we were at risk,’ he said.

          Wuhan police released Li on Jan. 3 after he signed a document saying that he committed ‘illegal acts.’ The doctor, who did not immediately respond to The Washington Post on Tuesday, later explained to CNN that his family would ‘worry sick’ about him ‘if I lose my freedom for a few days.’ CNN reported that he was able to leave the police station within about an hour.

          China had yet to declare an emergency. That would come on Jan. 20, as more than 400 million Chinese people prepared to travel home to mark the Lunar New Year. A renowned pulmonologist appeared on state media to announce that the new virus was transmissible between people, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping called for quick information-sharing and ‘resolute efforts’ to contain the virus.”

          “Li’s situation has drawn rare acknowledgment of official missteps in China, where a bureaucratic culture that prioritizes political stability over all else probably allowed the new coronavirus to spread farther and faster. Late last month, China’s highest court admonished the Wuhan police for the detentions.

          ‘If society had at the time believed those “rumors,” and wore masks, used disinfectant and avoided going to the wildlife market as if there were a SARS outbreak, perhaps it would’ve meant we could better control the coronavirus today,’ the court said. ‘Rumors end when there is openness.'”

          https://tinyurl.com/rrtsjtf

          What say you then, is China’s highest court lying for acknowledging that evidence of the seriousness of the outbreak was hidden from the world?

          Please don’t insult my intelligence by arguing that this admonishment from the court indicates the Wuhan police acted on their own without the knowledge or authority of the CPC, rather than it being the case that the court’s admonishment is a plausible deniability tactic against the potential outcry of their own citizenry, not to mention the outcry of the world against the mass death and economic destruction this debacle of wholly Chinese origin and fault has caused.

        • And China kept the CV19 virus transmissibility under wraps while they rushed to get a new US-China trade deal completed during the first weeks of January.

          The Daily Mail in later April reports that this deal contains a provision vitiating performance in the case of an Act of God…like a viral pandemic!

          NOT a coincidence, but CCP nefarious calculations.

      • I referred to the virus, which first appeared in Wuhan. The first cases of the disease caused by it, COVID-19, had no connection to the wet market.

        The virus has been labelled SARS-CoV-2, but I prefer to follow the over century-long tradition of geographic names, such as Spanish (incorrect), Asian and Hong Kong Flus, Zika, Ebola and MERS. Thus the Wuhan SARS. SARS-1 came from SE China rather than Hubei. Since the WHO, doing the bidding of its Communist masters, helped spread the disease, I added them into the rhyme.

    • “Rain”, yes (not “rein”). Just when you think you’ve spotted all the typos, a correct spelling that is the wrong word rears its ugly head. I don’t know why I had reins on the brain at that moment. Maybe the mod can fix it — I have no access to the wizard’s control panel. (^_^) Thanks for pointing it out.

    • Composition, “Phage with Witches”, based upon painting also called, “Witches on the Sabbath”, or words to that effect.

      Luis Ricardo Falero – Kunsthalle München
      Witches going to their Sabbath (The departure of the witches) oil on canvas 145.5 x 118.2 cm signed b.r.: LFalero date b.l.: 1878

      Nudity was OK in 19th century art if there were some at least ostensibly redeeming feature, which Manet’s shocking “Olympia” (1863) was thought to lack.

  1. This is a planet of biological life bonanza. Scientists realized that almost 100 years ago, and is the basis of (mostly junk) Gaia Hypothesis.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

    After almost 4 Gy of evolution, life is throughly infused from the deepest subduction zones and sub-ice sheet Antarctic Lakes to the upper Stratosphere. Any niche it can occupy, it has.

    The planet isn’t going anywhere, we are. We’re going away.
    And the Earth will eventually shake Mankind off… like a bad case of fleas.
    https://youtu.be/EjmtSkl53h4

    • Going into the ocean at night with a light, mask and snorkel, one is amazed at how many small creatures contribute to that bonanza. Eventually, larger and larger creatures are attracted to the light and the smaller creatures drawn around it.

      Similarly, take a drop of pond water and look at it under a microscope at 40x or 100x power.

    • Humans are the universe hitting the jackpot, Joel.

      Humans are the universe consciously regarding itself. With humans, value arrived (unless there are space aliens with ethics and aesthetics).

      Earth without humans is no more than blind matter and energy. Terrestrial life without humans is just mindless bellowing and the screams of the predated.

      We humans are the alpha and the omega of the meaning of the universe (unless sentient space aliens).

      Humans are not fleas, and George Carlin is wrong to deride us.

  2. According to some expert experts, there are ~40 trillion bacteria in the typical human body, and as many as 400 trillion viruses. Inside you. On your skin, in your blood, all through you including incorporated into your DNA. Right now. Bunches of em. Doing stuff.

    There are ~30 trillion cells in the human body, so there are more bacteria and 10 times as many viruses as there are cells. In effect, you are a bag of viruses and bacteria. Your virome and microbiome are more you than you are, in some respects.

      • Actually, since much biological /nutritional processing seems to depend on them, it could reasonably be considered that many are paying their own way.

        • I recently had surgery. Had to take strong antibiotics to knock down infection. Played havoc with my stomach biota. To quite Bad Santa, I didn’t poop right for weeks.

    • What I find infinitely more fascinating is how each of us is merely a bunch of completely independent cells that have, over millions of years, arranged to work together in order to create us. And our sole purpose is to keep generations of these cells alive until we can create a new bunch of cells, all from one single embryo cell, so it can all happen again.

      It’s even more fascinating that we, those bundles of collaborative cells, have created an intricate fantasy that there’s some meaning or purpose behind it all. Now that’s what I call a miracle!

    • And yet people are so phobic about viruses. It’s like the dark ages when people were afraid of invisible goblins and demons. Viruses don’t stand a chance against a healthy immune system.

      • “And yet people are so phobic about viruses. It’s like the dark ages when people were afraid of invisible goblins and demons.”

        I think the Black Death and the pandemic of 1917-1918 are still in the memory of people and when an unknown virus appears, that’s what they think of.

        The Ebola virus is very deadly, but is controllable. If the very infectious Wuhan virus were as deadly as the Ebola virus then there would be very good reason for having fear of a virus like this.

        We’re lucky this time. People aren’t dropping dead all over the place. We understand a lot more about the Wuhan virus than we did when it first appeared, and it looks like we have the ability to operate our society without taking more drastic measures.

        Social distancing gave us time to get to this point, and we are now opening up our economy and maybe it will be soon enough to avoid major economic damage.

        • The comparison the the Black Death is a good one. Back then a rumor started that cats were the cause, so in their ignorance and need to “do something”, they killed many of the cats. Ironically this only made things worse because the real cause was the fleas on the rats which now could breed in even larger numbers due the the reduction of their primary predator. Just as today we are dismantling our economy which will weaken our health care system and increase poverty, making it more difficult to address future emergencies. It’s like those drivers that slam on the brakes at the first sign of anything unusual. They are usually the ones you see in the ditches when the weather gets dicey – along with the poor sods behind them who were caught unawares.

  3. Great article, Robert!

    Intellectually, I think most of us realise that we live in a veritable stew of microorganisms….but we choose to ignore that fact as we go about our daily lives. That’s probably partly because these life forms are microscopic so, fortunately, we don’t see them engaging in their daily life & death struggles around us, on us and, indeed, inside us. Most of us would be spooked if we really saw what was crawling, sliding (or whatever other form of locomotion), etc across the surfaces around us and on us. It’s slightly unsettling to realise that these things constitute a significant part of our body mass although health food companies have long touted “good” bacteria as essential for our wellbeing.

    Anyway, I’m not really surprised to see the figures quoted in your article. Viruses are ubiquitous and have certainly helped direct evolution since they are the ultimate masters of stealth in getting their genetic code inside other creatures’ cells. As obligate parasites, they have no machinery of their own and require the transcription and protein synthesis machinery of cells to do their damage. And sometimes their coded instructions remain inside the DNA of the very same cells they infect resulting in generational mutations that can be beneficial or pathological.

    A fascinating topic and I hope it spurs some great discussion and contributions from those who have genuine expertise in the field of virology. And, like you, I continue to search for evidence that the actions taken by governments have had any effect on the eventual outcome of the current pandemic. So far, I remain unconvinced.

    • Left unmentioned in this article is the fact that all viruses are easily destroyed by irradiation from the ultraviolet portion of the solar spectrum. I suspect, but don’t know for sure, that the Reche, et al., ISME Journal paper was seriously flawed in not distinguishing recently and locally-sourced viruses from those those arriving, say, from sources hundreds of kilometers away and therefore originating many hours or days previously.

      Thus, it would be important to know what percent of those viruses raining down above “the planetary boundary layer” were/are DOA due to sunshine.

      • If they are Dead On Arrival – DOA – then how are the defining life processes of bacteria / viri detected?

        Do I detect a resurgence of Naturism in the meme-wind?

        I septuagenarian cyclist enjoy vast sunshine (OMG tanned!), fresh air, exercise, good food, moderate ethanol internal disinfectant. I was California raised Santa Cruz nekkid, loving on the beaches and in the mountain streams. If I can just remember the name of the old ‘nudist colony’, oh, and there is Esalen Institute

      • “Thus, it would be important to know what percent of those viruses raining down above “the planetary boundary layer” were/are DOA due to sunshine.”

        Good point.

        The Wuhan virus is supposedly destroyed by 90 seconds of exposure to direct sunlight.

        • No, the declarative statement the SODIS inactivates bacteria says nothing about what effect it may have on viruses.

          FYI:

          “The new coronavirus is quickly destroyed by sunlight . . . the [COVID-19] virus’s half-life — the time taken for it to reduce to half its amount — was 18 hours when the temperature was 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius) with 20 percent humidity on a non-porous surface. This includes things like door handles and stainless steel. But the half-life dropped to six hours when humidity rose to 80 percent — and to just two minutes when sunlight was added to the equation.

          “When the virus was aerosolized — meaning suspended in the air — the half-life was one hour when the temperature was 70 to 75 degrees with 20 percent humidity. In the presence of sunlight, this dropped to just one and a half minutes.”

          — source of above-quoted text: https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2020/04/24/sunlight-destroys-coronavirus-quickly-say-us-scientists.html ; April 24, 2020

  4. I have pointed this out to many people of the years and all I ever got from trying to inform them was incredulous looks. From the smallest viruses to small spiders, they all can and will float on useful wind and may well travel many thousands of miles before landing again.
    Bird, bats, and insects carry viruses, bacteria and microbe of all kinds and readily shed them as they fly.
    From an article back in 2013,

    The research, published today (Jan. 23) in the journal PLoS One, revealed that hailstones drawn from storm clouds harbor several species of bacteria that tend to reside on plants, as well as thousands of organic compounds normally found in soil. Some of the bacterial species can seed the tiny ice crystals that lead to rain, suggesting they play a role in causing rain.

    From https://www.livescience.com/26533-loads-of-bacteria-hiding-out-in-storm-clouds.html
    Also see https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/11/11/how-bacteria-make-it-rain/

  5. Be that as it may, I do believe that when a virus is going around, being in an enclosed space with infected people is asking for it.

    • So, basically, every minute of every day that you spend indoors but not locked inside your very own hermetically sealed room?

  6. Another paper that gives numbers they couldn’t possibly know. Similar to Australia’s “billion of animals cooked alive”. Did they count them all?

    I’m not being facetious.

    • Dergy,

      I can see how you might arrive at your point of view. I mean, how the heck could anybody count viruses falling from the friggin’ sky?!

      Reading the article, I really tried to grasp this, but the technical procedures described in the “Materials and Methods” section were beyond my comprehension — lot’s of scientific equipment that I have no idea what the authors are talking about and chemical methods that, again, my unschooled-in-this-skill-set brain has little clue what they are. But I get the gist that there ARE ways to do this.

      Ever watch the TV series NCIS, with Abbie doing all her forensic “magic”? — probably something like this. (^_^) [clearly, I’m such an amateur]

  7. There is no indication in this paper that the virus material has any functionality. All they do is subject it to a destructive separation process, and classify as virus material anything that takes a certain stain and then shows up under fluorescence.

    • Broad spectrum UV light damages RNA and DNA strings, so flying around high in the atmosphere should be pretty unhealthy for viruses, fungi and bacteria. UV is used to make drinking water safe.

      Indeed they may have found lots of parts of viruses, but these would be as dysfunctional as a shot up car.

    • Nick S,

      Clearly, this is the recurring concern here in the comments. Again, I admit that I do not understand the separation, staining, and counting process, and perhaps the researchers do make a leap in assuming that they are observing viable viruses. It would be great if we could ask them to address this in more detail.

      I get a sense that there’s a lot that nobody really knows about the dynamics of this whole process — how viruses move in the atmosphere, what percentage of them are destroyed en route, what percentage “make it”, what possible protective structures might come together at the micro-scale to insure their viable relocation.

      This is certainly an important aspect to consider.

  8. Your descending atmospheric viral/bacterial portrait should include that solar UV radiation (increasingly with altitude) will be a fatal limiting factor to viability of much of this airborne particulate microbiology. And viruses in particular are obliged to replicate within largely earthbound bacterial, animal, or botanical cells with their full complement of commandeered metabolic machinery — either as unharmed reservoirs or as previous damaged infection sites, with limited cross species capacity for migration between such carriers.

    • Doc Chuck,

      The killer UVC is blocked at the ozone layer, well above the “viral air”.

      I’m also seeming to understand that encapsulation of certain viruses in exopolymers might offer some enhanced viability. I now wonder whether airborne viruses can “hitch rides” on bacteria that “hitch rides” on particulate matter.

      In some of my more poetic attempts at writing, I have called humans “walking bags of seawater, supported on a bony trellis”. Given insightful comments in this thread, I must now modify that to “walking bags of seawater, supported on a bony trellis, infested with all manner of micro-vermin”.

      … and we breathe “carbon pollution”.

      I feel dirty now.

      • All eukaryotes swim in a sea of prokaryotes and carry them within us. All prokaryotes and eukaryotes swim in a sea of viruses (and other Mobile Genetic Elements). Pathogens and helpful symbionts alike dwell all around, on and in us.

        Eukaryotes result from symbiosis between an archaeon and a bacterium, the first mitochondrion. The earliest animals, sponges, formed symbiotic relationships with cyanobacteria. Plants evolved thanks to endosymbiosis of a eukaryote with a cyanobacterium, forming a chloroplast, then again with an alga, ie another euklaryote with its own chloroplast.

        Viruses have also been important in the evolutionary history of life on Earth. The defining feature of eukaryotes, a cell nucleus, probably derives from a virus.

        The largest viruses overlap with bacteria in size and have elements of metabolism. Thus, there is a continuum between arguably non-living replicants and definitely alive organisms.

        • I don’t think that anyone said “all damaging UV is blocked by the ozone layer”.

          What was said specifically, in regard to viruses, is that UVC is blocked by the ozone layer, and since UVC is the only band of UV that can decidedly disable viruses, virus destruction by UVC below the ozone layer can’t happen.

          UVA and UVB, of course, CAN penetrate and burn human skin, and, over time of prolonged exposure, probably cause cancer.

          As for other micro-organisms, like bacteria and fungi in the atmosphere, … well, they are not viruses, are they? UVA and UVB … CAN take care of those.

          Again, specifically, the point was about viruses and UVC.

          In my teens, when I was a carpenter/handy-man/do-it-all helper, I used to work for hours replacing screen wire in old screen doors for an apartment complex, or working on roofs, or digging water-line ditches by hand, all day in the sun. My arms would get burned very badly, and I just accepted it, since I was too ignorant to know any better. Thankfully, no skin cancer — lucky, I guess.

  9. Robert,
    I lost touch with “survival of the fittest” a long time ago as I am sure you did? Have you ever
    taken antibiotics, been vacinated, had surgery, bought food in a supermarket rather than hunt?
    Used any labour saving invention?

    Or alternatively “survival of the fittest” now means “survival of the most intelligent”. NZ for example
    went into lockdown early and maintained it and now has 41 active cases and only 2 new cases in the last
    week. Compare that to the situation in the US where armed protesters are demanding the lockdown ends
    and ask yourself which country is likely to have the fewest per capita fatalities due to COVID-19

    • What is your evidence that lockdowns work?
      Correlation is not causation.

      Evidence to the contrary comes from New York, where the majority of NY Cov-19 cases were from people already in lockdown. This is probably due to the virus being delivered to your doorstep in your groceries.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisettevoytko/2020/05/06/majority-of-new-coronavirus-cases-in-new-york-are-from-people-staying-at-home-not-traveling-or-working

      In which case, the recent reduction in virus cases may be more due to increased hygiene than isolation. If so, we could have saved our economies simply by more frequent hand washing.

      Just think – all that unemployment and government debt could have been saved by some soap. But if this postulation is proven correct, then people like the US’s Dr Doom (Fauci) and the UK’s Dr Pantsdown (Ferguson) should go to jail. For a long time.

      Modern scientists, especially climate scientists, think they can spout any kind of alarmist nonsense they like, with impunity. Even if their alarmist fantasies cost $ trillions or create havoc in the community. It is about time some if them were given life imp.risonment, to make others see the seriousness and gravity of their many unfounded claims.

      Ralph

      • Now this is good – except Sir – you left out YouTube – who illegally abused their authority and blocked free speech, censoring the important video by Dr Dan Erickson and Dr Artin Massihi.
        https://savedmag.com/dr-erickson-covid-19.mp4?id=0

        Donald J. Trump
        @realDonaldTrump
        The Radical Left is in total command & control of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google. The Administration is working to remedy this illegal situation. Stay tuned, and send names & events.

        State attorneys general are reportedly working alongside the DOJ to draft similar lawsuits alleging that Google has violated antitrust laws. Texas AG Ken Paxton is leading the coalition of 51 AGs, according to Bloomberg.

        • Hey Allan,
          I watched that video when it came out, and felt it that what they were saying was likely correct for their location, but they possibly needed a week long assignment in New York or at an extended health care location before broadcasting their “experience” to the general public. American Samoa has zero cases, a couple of Samoan doctors going on youtube saying cases are low, deaths are low, so no problem….is factual for them but irresponsible overall. Feedback from hundreds of doctors caused Youtube to respond. Whether they should limit “free speech” is a whole ‘nuther question.

      • Ralfellis,
        It makes sense that not congregating with people and at places where there is probability of someone being infected, should reduce the rate of new cases. The success of social distancing and group size rules show clear correlation. So does increased hygiene. These go hand in hand with population density, number of places large numbers of people are in close proximity, and how often disinfection of touchable surfaces are carried out, per given number of people touching those surfaces, given that nearly everyone touches their face an average of 20 times per hour. So don’t go to crowded places, don’t touch surfaces, don’t touch your face….and someone will still sneeze in your direction….oops….you’re a statistic….

    • “NZ the most intelligent” could not be further from the truth. We have madness in the extreme. Remember we are a remote sparsely populated island. Anybody using this as a comparison needs opinion rejecting for starters. We closed our borders 5 weeks later than the intelligent countries (e.g. Australia who never went into lockdown and have the same results as NZ). We managed to import a few hundred cases in that time and the curve flattened almost immediately after our borders closed. Then the madness began, hospitals empty, surgeries on hold, suicides up, family violence up, businesses going bust, shops not reopening, livelihoods destroyed and the list goes on. All for a non-problem which we could have managed BAU. MADNESS.

      • It remains to be seen how well the economy-destroying lockdowns protect Kiwis once the Winter flu season is upon them. From what I have seen, there will probably be an early outbreak of illness and deaths once the virus makes its way into the country; the reaction will be another panic lockdown, and the new cases will peak in about a month, with a long tail through the Winter. It will probably never get very bad because of the low population density and the absence of the underground public transportation of New York. On the other hand, if NZ did nothing but what the Swedes did, it wouldn’t be much different.

        • Clyde,
          Currently there are 1499 cases of COVID-19 in NZ with 21 deaths. In Sweden there are currently 30143 cases with 3679 deaths. And the population of Sweden is roughly 10 million
          while that of NZ is 5 million. Do you really think that if NZ did nothing but what Sweden did it wouldn’t be much different? There are 20 times as many cases in Sweden for only double the population and similarly deaths per capital are also an order of magnitude greater in Sweden
          than NZ.

          NZ is now nearly back to normal with businesses and schools open. Some sectors like Tourism are never going to recover since the border is likely to remain closed for the rest of the year but that is perhaps not a bad thing provided that the government makes an concerted effort to retrain and resell those people working in Tourism who have lost their jobs since NZ is never going to get rich by relying on the tourism sector.

    • Izaak, You are confusing a particular use of the term “fit” with its general meaning. Fit does not exclusively mean physically robust. The term survival of the fittest means that the one who best fits the requirements of the environment will be most likely to survive. In an environment where the only food is high up in trees, a huge brute beast that cannot climb trees and must wait for ripe fruit to fall is less fit than a frail creature that can climb easily and eats all the fruit. In an artificial environment where survival is premised on giving correct answers to complex physics questions, Stephen Hawking would have been more fit than nearly all 18-year old football players. Fit to purpose is the general meaning.

      Survival of the most intelligent is just another way of saying survival of the fittest, assuming that in the particular situation, intelligence is the key factor needed for survival. Obviously not every situation meets those criteria. If Stephen Hawking had to swim across a lake to answer the first physics question and then run a marathon to answer the second question, he would would have drown at the starting gate. Most of his competitors would at least make it across the lake, and possibly like the chimpanzees banging on typewriters generating Shakespeare, given enough of them, perhaps one or two might chance on the right answers.

    • Some areas with lockdowns like New York City are hotbeds of activity, as are nursing homes and prisons. Should I assume New Zealanders have zero prisons, zero nursing homes (they all die young, right?) and no population densities over that of a tiny midwestern US town? South Dakota did not lock down and they have very more deaths than any other state of comparable size. Wyoming had SEVEN deaths total and there was NO lockdown. Some businesses closed, many did not. All the department stores like Walmart, etc were open, hardware stores, grocery stores. The streets had traffic all the time, only the longer distance travel slowed down. SO, LOCKDOWNS ARE OBVIOUSLY WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. That was your original premise–that ONE factor in a ton of complex variables is the solution. You know, like reducing CO2 saves the planet.

      • SD deaths were boosted by a single Smithfield meat-packing plant in Sioux Falls, recently visited by execs from its Chinese owners. Many victims there were vulnerable immigrants, low in vitamin D and living and working in crowded conditions, without masks. Even had SD locked down, the plant probably would have been deemed essential.

      • Clyde,
        NZ decided to make a short term sacrifice (8 weeks of lockdown) in order to
        effect a medical treatment and stop COVID-19. There are now about 40 active
        cases (and they testing over 5000 people every day), contact tracing is in place
        and there was only one new case in the last 5 days. As a result people can go back
        to “living free” without having to worry about catching COVID-19.

        • Izaak. I live in NZ and interested to know where you get your information? What is this mirical medical treatment you speak of?
          Please dont even try to compare stats. They are meaningless. As I said in a previous reply, anybody using them can be dismissed.
          e.g. Australia and NZ both have 4 deaths/1 million population: Australia closed borders early, NZ waited 5 weeks knowingly importing visitors from China already in lockdown. Australia did not lock down, NZ completely locked down. Now see if you can use these and make a comparison to NYC?
          As I said earlier – MADNESS

          • Titus,
            I am not sure about your dates. Australia banned travelers from China on the 1st of February and instituted a general travel ban on the 20th of March. NZ banned travelers from China on 3rd of February and closed its borders at midnight on the 19th of March.
            There was no five week difference between Australia and NZ in their responses. And talking to people in Australia the lockdown there wasn’t legally as strict as NZ’s but ended up being just the same (shops were closed due to people staying at home rather than because they were forced too). And if you look at the cases Australia is still experiencing about 9 or 10 new cases a day while NZ is down to zero or 1 (1 in the last five days). So NZ’s lockdown was more strict and more effective.

          • Hi Izaak. Not able to reply to your comment as too far down chain. Hope this might find you.
            NZ only placed what they called ‘entry restrictions’ on 3rd Feb and folks just kept coming in which was raised as a serious issue which the government ignored. Eventually after much pressure they closed borders on 19th March. Go figure….
            BTW what was that mirical ‘medical treatment’ you mentioned?

          • Titus
            What is interesting about this disease is the wide range in the infection rates. There are countries that have done little to suppress transmission, and still compare favorably with those that have been most draconian. Population density seems to be an important consideration, but things such as cultural differences, and the season, seem to be as important. As I told Izaak, I expect the next Winter will be a test of just how proud Kiwis can be of their trade-off of liberty and health.

    • Izaak W

      Actually, in my youth, I was sort of a proponent of “survival of the fittest”, … in the modern sense, of course, as I was (for 20 years) … a … (what used to be called) “fitness instructor”. In those days, I saw great promise for civilized people to be healthier, stronger specimens than at any other time in history.

      Sadly, the obesity statistics, heart disease stats., and other preventable-ailment stats have gotten worse, when the promise was that they should have gotten better. I, thus, have always been in touch with the idea of fitness as it relates to human well being. Alas, if real, in-the-moment survival does not demand it every second, most people prefer not to move their muscles, and most people prefer to sit, and eat, and grow fat, tense, shallow breathing, attached to a coffee cup and a mobile device through most of their waking hours.

      Your “alternatively”, meaning “survival of the most intelligent” encompasses deep concern about one’s health for the duration of one’s life — NOT hiding from the world, when things get challenging, but challenging oneself daily to be as healthy as possible, to confront ailments more successfully, when they do hit.

      How many people with COVID-19 are in poor health? Poor health, in many instances, is due to a lack of intelligence, as I see it — not just on the individual level, but on the community, city,and country level too, as far as implementing opportunities, outlooks, and expectations for people to be responsible for their own health.

  10. The R with regards to this Coronavirus is something that we hearing a lot about. I would ,if I understand the meaning of it, regard my R as 0 because I have never had the virus so I have never infected anyone however there are some who enjoy going to exotic places and perhaps taking part in the custom of eating bats alive in wet markets and returning to this country without restrictions who I would regard as R=1001. I have had colds and flu and other disseises throughout my life but none have been life threatening . Why should I be under house arrest with an R=0 but those with R of 1001 free to enter and leave the country, this might be part of a plot to reduce the human population by humanity hating people. I would think that a virus that is fittest with regard to natural selection would do least harm to its human host and the coronavirus is killing people so it is not surprising that the virus has not been very good at spreading locally in the way this virus is normally spread but is carried from one place to another by human mobility. The UK is a fairly small island but we have not seen a uniform spread of the virus, the black death did not come to the UK and then remain at the ports, I would think that the reason that it has not spread more locally is that it is not the fittest as it would be if it was infecting bats so it has to die out through a process of natural selection if people would just stop carrying it around.

  11. Obviously viruses can travel thousands of miles, which is why all the common European viruses were present in the Americas before Columbus arrived. Like Smallpox, the cold, influenza, measles, chicken pox…..

    …And Native Americans didn’t die in millions from them. Or with them.

  12. No one mentions the obvious point.

    Let’s leave on one side whether any of the descending particles of soil and salt crystals from the oceans are attached to bacteria or viruses which might be injurious to human (or animal) health.

    The NUMBER of particals is likely correct. It agrees with studies of exactly this issue that have been published over many years.

    Now just remember one of GangGreen’s favourite panic screams – PM 2.5 and PM10 particulates. Now, we all remember, those little critters, (since the EPA ‘six cities’ bogus study), is blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths. (40,000 per year in the UK alone), although none of the supposed victims can be identified.

    These tragic lives snuffed out are unequivocally blamed on diesel engines, traffic, industry- whatever GangGreen has in their incompetent, malicious crosshairs. And despite the incontrovertible fact that air pollution is a tiny fraction of what it was in the 1980s, let alone the 1950s. And that, until the Chinese Politburo virus came along, life expectancy had greatly increased.

    Just remember these awkward facts next time our Beloved Leaders tell you that, in future, they will only allow you to have a car if it is electric.

  13. Used to love the Sierra Nevada. It was often very murky up there, but I never knew the danger I was in. Not so many years back one could drive almost to the summit of Veleta (The ‘carretera más alta’ – think it was close on 11000ft.) but now that is no longer permitted. Environmental reasons were cited, but maybe the real reason is .. the viruses!

    • Growing up, often in the Sierra Nevada (John Muir Trail 1966), water was free. Encounter a high mountain stream thirsty, and plunge open mouthed for a refreshing drink. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

      • Doug
        There are many people in the small town of Columbia (near Sonora) who still get their untreated water from an open ditch supplied with water from a small reservoir on the campus of Columbia College (Calif.).

  14. Philosophy in the debate over things “man made” are not natural? If a natural organism modifies it’s environment is that natural?

  15. I thought you great leader said that strong light or ultra violet light would destroy the viruses. so surely those falling through the air are going to be sick little viruses.
    Or else they are now mutated to be able to survive the destruction of UV and we are doomed

  16. Yes. Thank you for articulating.
    Perhaps the current malaise in our thinking is as a result of unprecedented success which we are not built for or accustomed to. My parents generation were subject to war, and the very real prospect of desease and poverty. At least the last 30 years nearly all western youth have no direct experience of all three all. This is an extraordinary change. Life knowledge is mostly 2nd hand via books or more commonly the internet. The latter is both an extraordinary source to those with experience and a terrible source to those who don’t understand context or complexity and the broad sweep of history. The opportunity for mass hysteria has been enhanced by Twitter, Facebook and the Google and YouTube search algorithms.

    • “The opportunity for mass hysteria has been enhanced by Twitter, Facebook and the Google and YouTube search algorithms.”

      Yes, it has. Reasonable people should try to counter the hysteria. As with everything, there is much too much speculation and not enough hard facts in the discussion. Reasonable people should insist on facts and decry wild speculation.

  17. There is a young lass I know of of about twenty two who had her knickers in a complete twist about COVID-19 and I had to tell her to shut up in the end. A year or two ago in NZ we had around 750 deaths through pneumonia and the flu and yet we have only had twenty one through COVID-19.I don’t understand the effort going into stopping Darwin’s theory from working. I think the world has gone insane. I must admit that hindsight is useful.

    • One cannot fool Mother Nature or Father Darwin. Old folks have far hindsight, zoomers ignore their teachers to their doom. Experience is a good teacher, a bad experience is a better teacher.

      • experience doesn’t protect someone from COVID-19. All the evidence suggests the exact oppossite. Old folk are the ones dying in large numbers.

    • One cannot fool Mother Nature or Father Darwin. Old folks have far hindsight, zoomers ignore their teachers to their doom. Experience is a good teacher, a bad experience is a better teacher.

    • The first thing that bothered me is that the narrator incorrectly pronounces “Wuhan.” Getting such basic pronunciation incorrect demonstrates a lack of quality.

      Thereafter, the video is just one big red herring, ultimately supporting the CCP (the source of virtually all lies in this case) and shifting blame onto the Chinese people.

  18. Final paragraph is a bit of a killer though!

    Dismissing as dogma the conventional medical wisdom that flu is a virus passed by human contact, the distinguished astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle, and his colleague at Cardiff university, Chandra Wickramasinghe, warn that we may be on the brink of a global epidemic.
    In a report to be published in the journal Current Science, they claim the outbreak was caused by dust deposited high in the atmosphere by passing comets being forced down to earth by energy generated by cooler patches on the sun’s surface, known as sunspots.
    They reach the peak of their activity, the maxima, every 11 years, coinciding, the scientists say, with all major flu outbreaks since 1761, including the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic blamed for 20m deaths worldwide. The latest cycle began to peak in September and the maxima is due sometime this year.

    • The 1957 Asian flu and 1968 Hong Kong flu fit, but the 1976 swine flu outbreak in the US came too early. In this century the timing of SARS, MERS, Ebola and Zika also don’t work. The 2009 swine flu and 2019-20 COVID pandemics are close, however.

      If viral outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics follow the solar cycle, it’s more likely IMO to relate to UV radiation variation, hence vitamin D. Maybe some airborne viruses also survive during low UV intervals.

      UV varies much more than TSI.

    • No the latest cycle is at it’s minima. Some predict it will not recover and we’ll remain in a grand solar minima.

  19. “Is our current fear of COVID-19 a fear spawned of childish fragmentation from reality, ….”

    This essay is so nicely constructed. Really beautifully written. Thanks.

  20. Interesting. I have argued that the notion I have to spray my Amazon boxes with disinfectant or leave them out for one to three days so the viruses on the box die is akin to “I cannot go in by bathroom ever because have you seen those studies on ecoli spread ALL over your bathroom all the time no matter what you do?????” and “I can never use a kitchen sponge or dish rag again after watching those demonstrations on Dr. Oz of the bacterial content” but this takes it to a whole new level!!!

    • Trying to protect yourself from everything means something innocuous will take you out, because you haven’t built up any immunities.

  21. Relative to the current Covid-19 pandemic, mention has been made of “herd-immunity” vs lockdown. The question I have not seen debated is how long can an individual be isolated from the herd before he/she/it starts losing said herd immunity. Relative to us humans, how long can we safely “self-isolate” before we start losing the “herd-immunity” we may have built up against other pathogens and become vulnerable?

  22. Actual Deaths (23,000: almost twice the number of confirmed deaths)
    As of May 1, New York City reported 13,156 confirmed deaths and 5,126 probable deaths (deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate but no laboratory test performed), for a total of 18,282 deaths [source]. The CDC on May 11 released its “Preliminary Estimate of Excess Mortality During the COVID-19 Outbreak — New York City, March 11–May 2, 2020” [source] in which it calculated an estimate of actual COVID-19 deaths in NYC by analyzing the “excess deaths” (defined as “the number of deaths above expected seasonal baseline levels, regardless of the reported cause of death”) and found that, in addition to the confirmed and probable deaths reported by the city, there were an estimated 5,293 more deaths to be attributed. After adjusting for the previous day (May 1), we get 5,148 additional deaths, for a total of actual deaths of 13,156 confirmed + 5,126 probable + 5,148 additional excess deaths calculated by CDC = 23,430 actual COVID-19 deaths as of May 1, 2020 in New York City.

    Infection Fatality Rate (23k / 1.7M = 1.4% IFR)
    Actual Cases with an outcome as of May 1 = estimated actual recovered (1,671,351) + estimated actual deaths (23,430) = 1,694,781.

    Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) = Deaths / Cases = 23,430 / 1,694,781 = 1.4% (1.4% of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 have a fatal outcome, while 98.6% recover).
    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-death-rate/

    • The researcher should have checked ferrets, used as models for human lungs in Bat Woman Shi’s dangerous gain of function “research” in 2014 at UNC, and, after losing US funding, at the new BSL-4 lab in Wuhan.

      Such directed evolution in a lab would be indistinguishable from natural selection in the wild. No genetic engineering, gene splicing, required.

    • Good article. Kudos to the informant, if indeed he be a Chinese scientist.

      There is a monor error. While the first mention of the genetic code correctly says U, from there on it’s T, which is right for DNA but wrong for RNA. The nucleobase uracil is the demethylated form of thymine. the other three nucleobases are the same in both genetic nucleic acids.

        • Preponderance of evidence IMO is that the virus was created by Shi’s crazily dangerous gain of function “research” in the WIV’s new BSL-4 lab. Whether it was released on purpose or accidentally escaped, I cannot say. But with Communists, it’s prudent to assume the worst. Even covering up and lying about an unintentional release is criminal.

    • Thanks.

      Virions aerosolized by cough or sneeze can probably survive for some time in air close to the ground. Whether they can be swept up into weather systems and carried intercontinentally still effective, I don’t know. IMO it generally takes the kind of concentrations found indoors to cause sufficient infection for COVID symptoms to arise.

      Have there been cases definitely contracted out of doors?

    • If virions exist in space, then prokaryotes would also have to inhabit asteroids and comets. Viruses can’t replicate without hijacking cellular organisms’ reproductive machinery.

      Wickramasinghe can’t rule out life arising on Earth, aided by its building blocks (but not organisms) arriving on meteorites. The gap between complex organic compounds and prokaryotes isn’t as great as he imagines. It’s filled with such near- or sub-biological entities as prions (misfolded proteins) and Mobile Genetic Elements, eg plasmids, transposons and viruses.

      The building blocks of life self-assemble both in space and on Earth. The required chemical engineering trick is to polymerize them without modern enzymes.

  23. Knowing how many falling per square meter seems without context. You would think they would mention the number of virus particles per square meter in isolation, both indoors and outdoors. Surely if we can measure whats falling we can measure whats there.

    In any event, your point is right. Viruses make up life. Animals and humans immune have evolved for millions of years dealing with a constantly changing population of viruses. 10% or more of the human genome is made of viral DNA. Thousands of viruses are present in our bodies and some of them help in ways such as helping us fight off certain harmful bacteria. Others are harmless passengers and we know little of them and their role in health.

    Obviously new viruses can cause some harm. But our genetic diversity is so large those who succumb will always be a minority. Many will be naturally immune and don’t need to even generate antibodies as their innate immune system does the job. Many will develop antibodies and then have protective immunity. A few wont survive. Natural selection. As a species we become stronger. Something called evolution.

    • Pft wrote:

      Knowing how many falling per square meter seems without context. You would think they would mention the number of virus particles per square meter in isolation, both indoors and outdoors. Surely if we can measure whats falling we can measure whats there.

      Could you explain what you mean by “number of virus particles per square meter in isolation”?

      The study you are referring to was not a study about indoors vs outdoors — it was a study about viral-particle deposition at/in the planetary boundary layer. That IS the context of the “per square meter” figures. The context seemed to me to be clearly stated.

      I would imagine that how many particles from the atmosphere make it into indoor environments would be highly variable, depending on many factors associated with specific location, specific ventilation, specific local air movement, building construction, and a host of other things.

  24. To quote Mike Rowe, from various interviews he did recently: “Safety is third.”

    There is much wrist wringing over a biologically typical process. The current theatrics of the revelation of the power of death is a result of a materialist society of man-children having their eyes held open to the destructive force of our world. Yet, this destructive force is as old as earth itself: mother nature, and she’s a cruel, impartial dame.

  25. I have been trying to find an answer to this question for several months, now. The fact that members of tribes in South America, with little or no outside contacts are catching Covid-19. How is that even possible? The only answer is the virus is somehow reaching them, from China or wherever. I’ve wondered if there is a vector, like a mosquito or o a bird, often seen with other viruses. The other possibility would be the winds. The prevailing winds over the northern hemisphere blows from the West/Northwest, coming in from either Asia or the North pole regions. The only fly in this ointment, though, is the fact that Australia, in the Southern hemisphere, has had as much exposure as the Northern hemisphere has had. But I am glad that SOMEONE is finally taking a look at this side of it! According to the Chinese, viruses REQUIRE a vector to be effective. So, what IS the vector here? The Chinese have been studying this a lot longer than America has!

    • No need to invoke intercontinental carriage of viruses on trade winds. All Amazonian tribal people infected have had contact with visitors from the outside world. They live in close quarters. Transmission is to be expected.

  26. Viruses have certainly played a very important part in the evolution of life, but they could not have played any part in the origins of life. Viruses depend upon the genetic machinery of their hosts to replicate, and therefore could not have existed until well after life had been established.

  27. It’s just amazing how human life is even possible on this planet.

    It must be God.

    Just a quick question. How did they count all the viruses falling from the sky? With a tweezer and a microscope? Good work if you can get it.

  28. Christopher Paino asked:

    How did they count all the viruses falling from the sky?

    The ISME Journal article describes how in detail, in the “Materials and Methods” section, but I cannot comprehend it, since I have no familiarity with any of the devices to which they refer or any of the separation/staining/counting methodologies to which they refer.

    You get a gold star, if you have this specialized knowledge and can understand how the researchers did it. (^_^)

    It’s sort of like asking, “How did ice-core scientists count the number of CO2 molecules in fossilized air from hundreds of thousands of years ago?” I’ve questioned whether this is truly possible before, but I often use a measure of amateur faith that it CAN be done, in some of my arguments against CO2 climacatastrophism.

      • That’s right, John Tillam, good find of a incredibly underreported study! Note the lead author Grebennikova published with Wickramasinghe et al., immediately after the ISS annoucement publication — supporting a space origin for bio scum on the ISS windows. I think it is significant that the scientist who handled and characterized these profoundly important materials (essentially the discovery of life in space) immediately joined the most heretical but well-credentialed worked on the subject, Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe. I have posted both papers on my blog here: https://cosmictusk.com/virus-and-disease-from-space-international-space-station-life-panspermia/ Just to note for readers, the viruses make their in-fall deeply encased in cosmic dust particles which are orders of magnitude larger than they are, which provides excellent protection from UV and other threats I am told. Lemme know if anyone has any questions for Dr. C, I correspond with him daily.

        • Grebennikova allows as how the microbes might have originated in space, but she first cites the more likely transmission from Earth hypothesis. Also unclear is whether the samples were actually alive or not. I suspect not.

  29. Sorry, I call BS on these atmospheric virus studies. There is no way a large number of viruses are going to be viable after being exposed for many hours to the UV and reactive species of oxygen above the cloud level. Prove it! by culturing the viruses that are collected. I use to take weekend trips from LA to Yosemite to get to that clean high altitude air. I won’t have it besmirched like this.

    • Remember, there is UVA, UVB, and UVC.

      Remember, there could be encasement of the viral particles by exopolymers, and partial attenuation of UVA and UVB (which have minimal effect on VIRUSES anyway) by dust layers in which the particles are embedded.

      I am not sure what the signature of viable viruses might be, after undergoing separation and staining procedures for counting. I am not sure that there would be a way to count the particles in a way where these procedures were not used. These are points for further study, before totally dismissing the possibility.

      In the meantime, prove that SARS-CoV-2 exists. (^_^) Prove that atoms exist. After that, let these guys know how you did it:

      https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1103/rr

      Based on the available literature, there is enough evidence to consider the airborne route, with a possible role of particulate matter, as a possible additional infection “boosting” factor for interpreting the anomalous COVID-19 outbreaks observed in Northern Italy – known to be one of the European areas characterized by the highest PM concentration.

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