January 23, 2020

Take With a Grain of Salt (UPDATE)

There's a lot of talk about the outbreak of this coronavirus which started in Wuhan and has now spread to multiple countries. At this point the death toll 5 days on is said (by the ever-so-trustworthy government of China) to be 25. That's almost equal to a half-hour in a really bad flu season, but given the small numbers reported (~825) that comes to one in 33 of those infected being killed...which is....quite impressive if the data is accurate.

The data's probably NOT accurate. It's almost certainly skewed one way or another. However, the Chinese have instituted a quarantine(!) of Wuhan, where the outbreak started. Wuhan is a city that's bigger than London. There are now multiple cities that are also locked down. I don't know the provenance of the following video, but it is alleged to be from inside Wuhan...where they are apparently going to great lengths to look like the beginning of a zombie movie.

Entirely coincidentally, Wuhan is the home of China's National Bio-Safety Laboratory China's first level 4 Biohazard facility which now handles the most deadly diseases on the planet, because China has had such a good record with the less dangerous ones.

Fortunately, we can all rest easy, because despite what some on the internet are implying when they talk about the situation in Wuhan City, it turns out that the Chinese word for raccoon is not actually wuhan , it's huànxióng.

So rejoice! There are no zombies in evidence at this time.
But there is reason to keep one's eye on this.

In the U.K., doctors are being given instructions on how to deal with a patient that is suspected of having this bug. "Lock the patient in a room and leave the area straightaway."
I don't know if this just socialized medicine at work, or this is serious business, but I'm starting to lean towards the latter.
Good LORD!

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 10:05 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 What I'm reading from people in China is that they've got the bag closed, now; but the cats were already quite out of it. So...China's got everything in-country quarantined and monitored, and quite likely the spread has already peaked...there.

Posted by: Ben at Sat Jan 25 12:19:13 2020 (osxtX)

2 My first thought was that someone was picking scenes from movies and other news stories to spread BS.  After looking at that last link, I'm of the opinion that it would take a LOT of effort to do that.  Like the entire b-tard squad from 4-chan and then some.

The most curious aspect to me is that it's attributed to "snakes in a market."  Sounds like something a stupid bureaucrat would make up.

Posted by: Ubu at Sat Jan 25 14:55:06 2020 (UlsdO)

3 The snakes thing is so bizarre as to almost be believable. There were fruit bats at the same market which are a notorious vector for zoonotic disease jumps, but snakes, which as near as I can tell, with a couple of days of internet searching, have never transferred a respiratory virus to people. So if there was a coverup, you'd expect they'd use the fruit bats as their alibi.

OTOH if you want to get REALLY paranoid, a two week asymptomatic contagious phase is close to ideal for spreading a pathogen, and shows up in the CDC's worst case scenario exercises. If one WAS going to design a bio-weapon this would be it. Evolutionary pressure might well rapidly produce a similar result, but that's not nearly as dramatic.

The thing is, we don't know what we don't know, about the actual mortality rate, and transmissability, though the latter seems to be alarmingly high given the measures taken by the powers that be. This could be, in ascending levels of undesirability: hype,  SARS, a bad flu season, 1918, or North America 1545-1610.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Sat Jan 25 19:00:18 2020 (5iiQK)

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