Monday, March 16, 2020

Corona, Swine, Time

Before you get turned off by the fact I look at history, take a look at current WHO actual tracking for perspective.

Having lived through the Swine Flu panic of the 1970's, I'm thankful to it for for being a heavy contributor to my skepticism of the "brilliance" of government, media, and "experts" in general.

More than 500 people are thought to have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving the vaccine; 25 died. No one completely understands the causes of Guillain-Barre, but the condition can develop after a bout with infection or following surgery or vaccination. The federal government paid millions in damages to people or their families.
However, the pandemic, which some experts estimated at the time could infect 50 million to 60 million Americans, never unfolded. Only about 200 cases of swine flu and one death were ultimately reported in the U.S., the CDC said.
So government screws up, vaccine kills 25, flu kills 1 ... and we won't even talk about economic cost. Oh, and some of us don't actually believe everything the government tells us -- making us "deniers",

Most of our media and government minders are "progressive" ... history is bunk, best forgotten, and we are MUCH smarter now! So no reason to bring up the past mistakes. (unless it is McCarthyism, Watergate, or a few other select cases, but I digress )

Naturally, this one COULD be different -- that is how predicting the future ALWAYS is. As for me, I remain a student of history -- which after all is all that science is based on -- the assumption that the next time an experiment that has produced "X" results in the past is done, it will with produce "X" results again! Induction, the Thanksgiving turkey problem  -- "humans are benevolent creatures that care for turkeys, "proven" anew each day of its life until Thanksgiving."

We all live by faith the question is "In what?"

Fast forward to H1N1 in 2009.

Working with admittedly sparse data, a research team led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated the global death toll from the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic at more than 284,000, about 15 times the number of laboratory-confirmed cases.
The team estimated that 80% of those who died were younger than 65, which is in accord with previous observations that the pandemic H1N1 burden fell heavily on younger people, unlike the pattern for seasonal flu.
CDC estimates there were 60 million h1n1 cases ... the REPORTED cases will always be far less, because thankfully, the vast majority of people that get the flu just get it, deal with it, and life goes on. The GOOD NEWS of Corona is that the vast majority of people who get Corona will not know they had it.

Stranger still is the fact that testing for H1N1 in the US was stopped in July of 2009 because "it had already been declared an epidemic"!

Here in the present day, AS OF TODAY we have 168k confirmed cases and 6600 deaths due to Corona.

Unlike H1N1 the evidence so far is strong that Corona kills the old vs the young.

Overall, China CDC found, 2.3% of confirmed cases died. But the fatality rate was 14.8% in people 80 or older, likely reflecting the presence of other diseases, a weaker immune system, or simply worse overall health. By contrast, the fatality rate was 1.3% in 50-somethings, 0.4% in 40-somethings, and 0.2% in people 10 to 39.
Add into this, people with compromised immune systems, smokers, and those living in areas with heavy air pollution are more at risk.

At the end of January, lots of media was complaining that Trump was overreacting to Corona ... not so much now. I believe that we can be very certain the media will remain anti-Trump, so at least something is certain!

We also know we are in an insane tribal time ... a council woman in Denver suggests it is a is a good idea to spread Corona to Trump supporters. It isn't hard to find people hoping that Corona "ends Trump". I'm not a huge media follower ... I think we all know that we are tribally divided and that fact affects how we see global happenings. For ALL of us ... me included.

Based on what I see, these are my thoughts:
  • It seems likely that the reaction in the US erring on the side of unreasonable caution as it did in the 1970's Swine Flu -- hopefully with less negative affect.
  • In hindsight, it appears that there was an under-reaction to H1N1  ... 280K deaths skewed to the young vs the old seems more frightening ... yet, it wasn't, and the deaths may be higher since testing was stopped in the US. 
  • It is pretty clear that Corona is not well understood, so perhaps that is the reason for what appears to be an overabundance of caution -- "fear of the unknown".  (did we not have that in 2009?) 
  • OTOH, the evidence we DO have ... hitting mostly the elderly, many cases so mild they are not reported, etc would "normally" lead to an indication that things like the NCAA tournament would not need to be cancelled. Advising elderly to stay home and watch on TV would seem to be sufficient caution in "normal times". 
My firm bias is that like most issues in our time, the response to Corona has become tribal -- if you are of the "Progressive Tribe", you MUST believe in what the "general global authority" says, so you do. To doubt that authority is to doubt your secular faith in science and progress.

I fervently pray that God will provide us with another golden opportunity to shift our faith and become "Post Secular". 

Here's hoping we will look back on Corona as the point where the tide of unreason and wishful thinking turned. (yes, I know that is unlikely -- hope is good)

However, even if Corona  "fizzles", the "powers that be" will have their ready explanations for why they were still right. In the early '80s when crazy "Ronnie Raygun" made the claim that we would consign the USSR to "the ash heap of history", the MSM and the intelligentsia called him a dangerous madman. When the USSR fell, those powers gave Gorbachev all the credit.

In any case, I fervently pray we LEARN ... as we didn't from the 70's, 80's and many other cases were our "expert powers that be" plainly showed their feet of clay.

Fear of God remains our only hope to maintain a bit of humility, which is required for learning! 

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