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German 15% Herd Immunity study: wasn’t random and may have tested for the common cold?

Studies may not be what they seem

We need antibody tests to find the number of asymptomatic Covid-19 cases, but the German Heinsberg study was poorly done. Apparently there aren’t many good antibody tests available yet.

The early results of a small study in Germany on the town of Gangelt suggested that as many as 15% of the town might have caught an asymptomatic form of coronavirus and already had antibodies to it. This would mean that death rates to coronavirus were much lower — a mere 0.37%, not 2% (or so), and that aiming for Herd Immunity was a realistic policy. It was picked up in many newspapers and turned into headlines that may have misled a lot of people, including the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia.

“Coronavirus: Nearly 15% Europeans Now Immune in COVID-19″

“Many people may already have immunity to coronavirus, German study finds”

“Scientists say many more people than previously thought could have acquired coronavirus immunity after discovering 15% of people in city dubbed ‘German Wuhan’ could be carrying antibodies”

Five different reasons the results may be spurious

  1. The test may have detected antibodies to the harmless common cold form of coronavirus instead of the deadly SARS-Cov-2 type. Cross reactivity of antibodies can be ruled out through a time consuming test that seemingly was not done.
  2. The town infections were started in a cluster by one superspreader at a large carnival. Does that mean the virus spread first through a younger cohort? That would explain both the rapid spread and low fatality rate.
  3. The data is preliminary and apparently not published in full. No one can analyze it properly. E.g. What were the ages of the people that tested positive?
  4. It’s not a random test. The researchers selected households, not individuals.  People in a household are much more likely to infect each other, and households with children will also be likely to have asymptomatic cases. Family groups may have been overrepresented compared to singles or older couples.
  5. Even if the antibodies are to Covid-19, that doesn’t mean a person is immune to covid-19, just that they had it.

Other estimates of asymptomatic infections suggest the unknown asymptomatic infections are not 15 times larger, but only  2 or 3 times bigger than known infections of Covid-19. An Austrian team found that only 0.33% of the population was infected about a week after the peak, and estimated just 1% of Austrians were infected. Iceland showed a similar number – around 0.3 -0.8% were infected and that was only twice the number of known infections. These latter tests are RNA tests, which can only find an active infection, not people who have been cleared of the virus. Antibody tests will be more useful (hopefully) but they are barely there, and some are unreliable.

The UK government was urged to abandon one antibody test. They may have another one ready by May. The US NIH announced they have just started antibody testing, and will hopefully release results in a week.

A Stanford Uni group says they have an antibody test working but it won’t be ready for public mass use til May.

Criticism and doubts about study from Heinsberg

Kathrin Zinkant [German language, translated by Google]

…It is probably even methodologically incorrect. Above all, it is unclear whether the antibody test used can show what it is said to have shown, namely immunity to the new virus. The Braunschweig infection epidemiologist Gérard Krause from the Helmholtz Institute for Infection Research had already told the Süddeutsche Zeitung a few days ago that there are currently no widely available tests that could reliably demonstrate immunity to Sars-CoV-2.

On Thursday after the press conference, the virologist Drosten also referred to the problem that some of the tests already available detect antibodies against completely harmless colds, which are also corona viruses“We are now just a month after the end of the cold season,” said Drosten. According to the Helmholtz Institute, a third of the colds are caused by these four known, harmless corona viruses. After a positive antibody test, only time-consuming neutralization tests have so far shown that the person in question actually went through an infection with the new pandemic pathogen. At the PK in Gangelt, however, there was no question of such neutralization tests.

For example, Streeck’s team selected households for the tests and tested all people in these households. This is legitimate so far – however: “You should not take all the results from these households and convert them into percent, but at most one person per household,” explained epidemiologist Krause on Thursday. The reason: within the household the risk of infection is many times higher than in the general population, a complete count of all family members therefore results in an excessive percentage for immunity, which cannot be transferred to the general public. But that’s exactly what was done in Streeck’s study

Experts criticized the study

Dr Simon Clarke, Associate Professor in Cellular Microbiology, University of Reading

“The finding that 14% of the population of Gangelt in Germany have antibodies to the virus causing COVID19 is interesting, but does not in any way prove that 14% of the population are immune, as these reports suggest. While it’s undeniably a good sign, merely having some antibodies does not necessarily prove immunity, as is often casually asserted. We don’t know what the correlates of protection, the measurable signs that someone has immunity to a disease, are for this virus and neither do we know how long any immunity would last.”

Prof David Heymann, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
“It is important to understand the sensitivity and specificity of the serological test used in the German studies to be sure the test is not picking up antibody to other corona viruses (4 different common cold causing coronaviruses have been isolated in humans during the past years and 3 more serious ones (SARSCoV1 and 2, and MERSCoV).

Perhaps readers who understand German can help me find the data? The original link to the report has been taken down.

 

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Rating: 8.7/10 (33 votes cast)
German 15% Herd Immunity study: wasn't random and may have tested for the common cold?, 8.7 out of 10 based on 33 ratings

128 comments to German 15% Herd Immunity study: wasn’t random and may have tested for the common cold?

  • #
    BernardP

    Here is my realistic, although pessimistic, analysis of the future evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic:

    — About 80% of cases are asymptomatic or mild. Of these, about half (40% of total) are asymptomatic, meaning people who are infected don’t know they are infected.

    — Most asymptomatic cases (and some cases with mild symptoms) will go undetected, because people who don’t have symptoms won’t get tested.

    — These asymptomatic cases will not be subjected to quarantine and will continue to spread the virus.

    — An eventual vaccine will only come in 12 to 18 months. Like all flu vaccines, it will not be 100% effective. Not everyone will get the vaccine. Other potential treatments, such as chloroquinine or antivirals, will only be used on symptomatic cases.

    — The Coronavirus has already spread too much, will continue to spread, and will not be contained, even if all symptomatic cases are identified and quarantined, which has now become unachievable.

    — Thus, despite massive efforts and economic costs, the world as a whole seems to be moving towards herd immunity, meaning that about 60% to 80% of the population will eventually be infected.

    — I, for one, have reached to Acceptance stage.

    Am I wrong in this analysis? Is there anything that could stop the pandemic before herd immunity is achieved?

    131

    • #
      Bill In Oz

      Zero new victims = Zero new viruses !
      And Bernard, if 6you are doing all the things suggested you are helping to ensure Zero new victims; and Zero new Viruses.
      Simple !

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      • #
        Bill In Oz

        Bernard, here in Oz we know now for bloody sure What happens when an individual or a group are stupid or arrogant. Other people get infected & die.
        That’s is what happened in North West Tasmania when a bunch of medical people had group party when such parties had already been banned. There was a super spreader there at the party. Now 6 people are dead. [Snip. Let's wait and find out what happened - Jo]

        And near Penrith we now have 10 staff & residents of an aged care home infected because one woman kept working for 6 shifts when she has symptoms.. Another dopey idiotic dumbnut !
        I think such people should be sacked & de-registered.
        Zero new victims = zero new viruses !

        [Chill Bill! Many smart people in other countries face a battle much harder than Australians do. They are doing it tough. And be wary of medical worker stories. Until we hear their POV, sometimes the rumor started with a desk-jokey who wants a scapegoat, and the medical workers don't have enough PPE in Australia - jo]

        510

        • #
          Andy in Arkansas

          Good lawd Bill, [snip] you is coming across all holier than thou and judgemental like. Hope you never make a mistake or bad decision partner…

          [Moderators (9 out of 10) would prefer a less crass way of expressing oneself.]ED

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          • #
            Bill In Oz

            Andy, I don’t believe in any Lawd or Lord
            Forthright I am, yes.
            But not ‘holier than thou’.
            And judgemental ? Definitely I was and remain. on this issue.
            The regs here in Oz are pretty straight forward.
            If we all stick to them for a few weeks longer
            We will eliminate this vile virus here.
            And then we get our lives back !
            Great !
            I recognise that other countries have a harder rod to travel.
            And the people there have my sympathies for what they are going through.
            But we here have an opportunity to make it right on this Corona 19.
            And I have little time for those ( whether here in Oz or elsewhere ) who undermine that opportunity.

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        • #
          Kalm Keith

          A wonderfully inclusive observation that clearly identifies the dopey, dingbat, numbnut superspreaders who are incoherently spreading the virii across to the mainland through the submerged cable which is occasionally used to send natural electricity for reimbursement. Another mutation of the original CV19 virus means that there are now two varieties which necessitates the use of the plural descriptor used above. A very tragic development detailed in David Attenboroughs favourite newspaper, The Guardian, concerns The Queen and Prince Phillip who have taken shelter from the Virus in Windsor Castle. With so much obvious distortion coming from the media it’s hard to pick the content that is real from the merely headline grabbing stuff.

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        • #
          TdeF

          All it takes is one handshaker, you know, the sort of medico who insists on shaking everyone’s hand on introduction. Even if not infected, a single handshake will pick up RNA and then distribute it to everyone. These are people who wash their hands continually in their daily jobs, but not at a party.

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          • #
            Annie

            Shared bowls of nuts and so on have given me the eebygeebies for years, wondering how clean are the hands dipping into them. Avoid them like the pkague now. :(

            20

        • #
          R.B.

          TdeF is on to something. It’s not a coincidence that spread is usually a familiar setting where there are many chances for contamination and the likelihood for forgetfulness. We don’t need everyone locked up. We just need to take more care around people.

          That nurse in Penrith was not that big an idiot. She had a scratchy throat – not even worth wasting a lozenge on.

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          • #
            Sunni Bakchat

            R.B., Exactly! What you’re discussing is how to mitigate risk whilst allowing society to function normally. Australian authorities are steadfastly refusing to recommend masks and now lying through their teeth on the quality of testing. Only when there is comprehensive, randomised and broadscale testing will the true rate of infection be known. Only when masks are worn can the social distancing and isolation rules be relaxed.

            Australians are now being held hostage to masks and testing. How it is acceptable to Australians to not even be given an indication as to when broadscale testing and masks become widely available is absolutely unbelievable. Australia is literally being held down by one man’s absolutist ideology. That person is the Chief Medical Officer of Australia. He has convinced Morrison for the moment. We’ll see how long this virtuous, economically and socially damaging state lasts. I’d encourage you to read Murphy’s comments made at a New Zealand conference in the past few days. They are available via the Catallaxy web site.

            Jo posted an excellent piece of research on micro-droplet spread recently. This theory, which is rapidly gaining mainstream acceptance, would explain how the virus persistently spreads despite all the measures taken to contain it.

            10

        • #
          Bobl

          Wouldn’t matter, you are infectious prior to symptoms, the was shown very early.

          No new cases means no virus BUT, it also means no immunity so when someone arrives with the virus this all starts again. We can’t continue to live like this we must achieve immunity either naturally or via the mythical vaccine that doesn’t exist.

          PS for those posting the scare campaign that getting the virus doesn’t confer immunity… consider this makes a vaccine impossible also. Our vaccines mimic how our bodies naturally respond. No natural response , nothing to copy. Talk about fatalism…

          20

          • #

            Bob, welcome to the world of virology. For some diseases there are no vaccines. And it’s not like we haven’t tried our damndest to beat them. Eg AIDS. Sometimes the virus changes, but sometimes it doesn’t and we still can’t.

            The immune system is an army, there are many wings and divisions. Antibodies are just one part. We don’t understand how human bodies beat influenza — or how human immune systems can remember an influenza infection for 50 years. Our vaccines are a pale imitation of a process we don’t understand. That’s why they don’t last like natural immunity, and we need to do boosters and repeats. But despite the sophistication of our immune system, sometimes our immunity doesn’t last, even to a natural infection. Eg A Natural Norovirus encounter gets us only five months protection.

            So saying that we don’t know if a vaccine is possible to Coronavirus is merely a statement that’s true of any new virus. Maybe we will. Maybe we won’t. It’s not a “scare campaign”. It’s just a fact. There are also risks with vaccines that our immune system may respond in a way that makes the infection worse. It happens. That’s why testing for vaccines is so slow. Other times the vaccine helps us make antibodies, but they are to the wrong part of the virus, or don’t stop infections. Sometimes the virus can sneak from cell to cell, and antibodies are not going to stop it because they act in blood and extra cellular fluid, not intracellularly. And this is one of those viruses.

            But like I keep repeating ad nauseum, we have so many other options as well as vaccines: CRISPR, Stem Cells, Monoclonal antibodies, blood plasma, RNAi, antivirals and antivirals, and antivirals. Vaccines are the 1918 era pandemic tool of choice, but in 2020 biotech has so many more options.

            80

            • #
              Kalm Keith

              Very informative comment Jo, thanks.

              Reinforces my concern about the annual flue shot as well.

              I had a bad reaction and I think it was the same year that a couple of youngsters died after being given it.

              KK

              11

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      You may well be right. But right or wrong the only thing you can do is protect yourself as well as you can and then ride it out and take whatever comes.

      And it looks like a long siege. :-(

      90

      • #
        sophocles

        The Southern Hemisphere will be entering its CC&F season (Coughs Colds and Flu) in about another 3 – 4 months time. That is when I’m expecting a rebound and it will be like the Northern Hemisphere is now — having a nasty time of it. It’s why this lockdown has to work. If it hasn’t squashed the bug, it will be a rough time.

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    • #
      Sunni Bakchat

      BernardP, your logic is absolutely correct save for the reality a vaccine is unlikely. Is there a vaccine for SARS Cov1? I have presented the same logical proposition on this blog in the past few days and there have only been responses that don’t directly address the proposition.

      Death rates are dropping with improved treatment. The discovery this is a hypoxia like disease is a huge leap forward (see my research post on the subject the day before jo posted Dr Seheults video on same); As was the chloroquine therapy and the understanding of micro-droplet transmission.

      Groupthink on this blog sometimes bogs new thinking down. Though many people choose to remain silent and not endure the personal insults often borne of ignorance and enmity by an obnoxious few.

      Australia is really at the grasping of straws stage now despite finding itself in a good position to date.

      There’s a voluntary app that is supposed to track covid-19 cases. I severely doubt this will achieve Zero Virus. Its more likely Australia will play whack-a-mole with this for a while before quietly changing strategy due to public frustration.

      Australia just thinks it unique when in fact, it is mostly lucky. Either way the outcome will be pretty good if the tail chasing (literally a statistical long tail distribution of infections) doesn’t go on for much longer.

      Having an offshore perspective often brings clarity!

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      • #
        truth

        Sunni….

        For you the ‘offshore perspective’ seems to bring distortion and tunnel vision laced with a sour and debilitating resentment of Australia.

        Why are you so fixated on Australia’s failings at this point when Switzerland’s situation is infinitely worse than Australia’s…why don’t you reserve your Cassandra claptrap until our big test comes…until we see if we can keep things under control here and make it through the Winter cold without an outbreak.

        If we can’t and disaster befalls us ….you’ll be pleased as punch…you’ll then have your chance to vent your unhinged triumphalism that Australia and those Australian people who then die ….have paid the heavy price you seem to require for whatever crime against you your fevered mind perceives in our nature…our views…our very existence…you’ll be able then to wallow in that nauseating bile that so consumes your miserable waking hours.

        Until then it’s all BS.

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        • #
          Bobl

          For grandma’s sake.

          You seem to think that looking at the epidemic realistically (that there is no vaccine and winter will probably bring an outbreak) is somehow a crime against humanity?

          Keeping it real and recognising the reality of the situation is the first step to rational action something sorely missing so far. Even the government hasn’t thought it through, they’ve bought some time but if coronavirus vaccines run true to form we will have to deal with it at some point probably without a vaccine, and the buying time may come at a cost. What then? When do they plan to tell us plan B

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        • #
          Sunni Bakchat

          Truth, A French Swiss philosopher by the name of Voltaire once said “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

          10

      • #
        TedM

        “Groupthink on this blog sometimes bogs new thinking down.”

        Sunni there are many like minded people that comment on this blog. That does not automatically mean group think. In fact there are a good number that agree on the climate change issue but disagree as to whether we should implement lock downs at all, and some agree on some sort of lockdown, but disagree as to how severe that lock down should be.

        I would suggest that there are many like minded but independently thinking people commenting on this blog.

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        • #
          Sunni Bakchat

          TedM, thanks for the comments. It’s always good to hear rationality. Below is quite a good excerpt on Groupthink from Wikipedia.

          “Groupthink requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the “ingroup” produces an “illusion of invulnerability” (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the “ingroup” significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the “outgroup”). Furthermore, groupthink can produce dehumanizing actions against the “outgroup”. Members of a group can often feel peer pressure to “go along with the crowd” in fear of rocking the boat or of what them speaking up will do to the overall to how their teammates perceive them. Group interactions tend to favor, clear and harmonious agreements and it can be a cause for concern when little to no new innovations or arguments for better policies, outcomes and structures are called to question. (McLeod). Groupthink can often be referred to as a group of “yes men” because group activities and group projects in general make it extremely easy to pass on not offering constructive opinions.”

          10

    • #
      TdeF

      This is logical rubbish, the fear of the asymptomatic carrier who cannot be stopped or detected. It permeates the thinking of Sweden and many medicos. People learn a new idea like herd immunity and then it becomes a religion. And these mythical people are the key.

      Sure, asymptomatic carriers do not themselves show up. They are self curing and will infect a lot of people.

      However you cannot infect a lot of people without leaving symptomatic people behind. Whether it is 10% of people infected or 20%, the path is like a wake. The idea that a big proportion of the population can be infected silently and no one knows it is a fascination of the Germans and the Swedes. Obsessive, a form of fatalism.

      But the symptomatic people who report to the GP and off to hospital and 5-10% in intensive care leave a trail of destruction which will be noticed. It is why in Australia all notifiable infections are reported by law. This has always been the case. And quick followup can shut down this strand with a real search for the primary carrier, possibly off the Ruby Princess as in Tasmania. A classic case of what not to do in an infectious diseases outbreak, a big party of medicos with a lot of handshaking. Or even the person who handed out the plates.

      So we can see in the third week of isolation in Australia, new reported infections have peaked exactly as quickly as they grew. A near perfect bell curve. And have dropped from 450 a day two weeks ago to 50 a day now. That proves that total infection has dropped and the virus is actually vanishing from our society as rapidly as it came. Half of the 6,500 people infected are now clear of the virus. And in another week the total number infected will be in single digits. By the end of the month, there will be no people in hospital and new infections close to zero.

      Sweden is on 11,000 people infected and is still doubling every 10 days and not slowing down because they refuse to isolate. Parties of up to 50 people are allowed. Restaurants. We were equal in numbers once but their medical chief is chasing herd immunity. This is with a population of 40% of Australia.

      He will be responsible for the deaths of thousands. And their goal? Herd immunity? On 11,000 people now, they will have 30,000 people infected when we have none.

      As far as I can tell, no country has over 0.2% infected people. Even America with 582,000 is 0.17%. Most are under 0.1%, like Sweden. Except for the belief that they are well on their way to creating herd immunity as these German studies try to prove.

      And remember, isolation not only stops you from catching this virus, it stops carriers from infecting anyone. Which is why it works so well. Isolate and exterminate. Cheap, simple, very effective, very safe. If it is boring, you need to address that. And I have noticed that family communication is a fundamental human need, but works just as well on video phone. After half an hour, everyone is bored anyway. One of the contradictions of life as herd animals. Once you know everyone is safe and happy, you want to get back to being bored by something else.

      83

      • #

        There hasn’t been the kind of random testing that’s been done for Covid-19 for any other corona, influenza or rhinovirus cold or flu. It wouldn’t surprise me that if we did so for other viral infections, we would find symptomless carriers all over the place. This would seem to be a successful strategy that many viruses would take advantage of since a lot of people self isolate when sick and the virus would not be able to propagate.

        41

      • #
        WXcycles

        Why does the ‘just-give-up’ crowd think an engine without fuel can keep running? Can they justify their belief in a perpetual-motion engine? Why do they keep effectively claiming that? How does a virus replication and transmission engine keep running without any fuel? Or is magic and witchery involved?

        Why does quarantine allegedly not work against SARS-CoV-2 while they conveniently ignore results of large-scale real-world testing just performed and its positive results? Isolation produced noticeable positive results in the 1st week, began to flatten the prior exponential curve in the 2nd week, defeated it during the 3rd week, and recovery underway in the 4th week.

        But the corrupt and stupid Tedros Adhanom from UN WHO was completely wrong once again yesterday, as he asserted glibly that “COVID-19 is a fast rise but slow fall disease” (paraphrased).

        Wrong! It isn’t, our observed result shows that strict isolation produces a fast rise followed by a fast fall and recovery. It almost seems like Tedros wants us to feel unable to cope, defeated, so we lose heart, accept defeat and make the intended error of just giving up. Even when the solution is known, it’s very simple and easy to implement, and we know for certain that it works — fast!

        But here’s Tedros pretending that the opposite is true! When he knows perfectly well that it isn’t true. Should anyone be listening to let alone trusting the words and opinions of such a treacherous, disreputable culpable UN idiot at this point?

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      • #
        RickWill

        Sweden will be isolated from the rest of the world if they do not do better:
        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8212365/Swedish-PM-tighten-coronavirus-restrictions-Austria-Denmark-begin-easing-lockdown.html

        Sweden faces stricter quarantine as PM admits measures were ‘not good enough’ – while Austria is set to begin easing lockdown and Denmark gets ready to reopen schools

        Australia appears to have crushed the virus but there could still be asymptomatic carriers out there who could infect others once controls are eased. To be certain of eradication would require maybe 30 days lockdown after last reported case. That will not happen in Australia because the authorities are already working on voluntarily tracking individuals, indicating that there is a belief that good tracking ability will identify asymptomatic carriers.

        I expect the world has learnt a lot about social distancing and we may all end up closer to the non-contact greeting of the Japanese rather than the kissing of the Europeans.

        51

      • #
        David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

        G’day TdeF,
        The “big party of medicos” in Tasmania story has been challenged, but their Premier has ordered a police inquiry. But bad news however it happened. (That’s from last night’s TV news.)
        Cheers
        Dave B

        30

      • #
        Sunni Bakchat

        TdeF,

        Your comment “isolation not only stops you from catching this virus, it stops carriers from infecting anyone”. What sort of isolation are you referring to? If you’re referring to the rules being applied to citizens and residents in Australia, there are plenty of opportunities for infection to occur at the supermarket, service station, hairdresser, etc.

        Your comment “well on their way to creating herd immunity ……..”. There are now three very credible studies indicating asymptomatic infection is likely around 80%. All three were posted here today. What solid proof do you have of your alternate viewpoint?

        Sweden’s death and infection rate are increasing at a decreasing rate. I refuted your position on isolation yesterday and you were unresponsive. Do you have a counter-argument to validate your assertions?

        Your comment “that proves that total infections has dropped and the virus is actually vanishing”. It’s impossible to know how many infections are within a population without quarantining communities and testing everyone. Its more likely transmission of the virus is slowing down whilst the percentage of the population infected increases.

        I’d suggest the “trail of destruction” you assert as existing is getting smaller as incentives to not report cases increases. People would rather self-isolate at home, rather than in quarantine or a hospital unless they are very ill. As only a small percentage of the population is able to be tested, the sample is unrepresentative of infection in the broader community. The research studies from Vo, Gangelt and now China show this very clearly. Tracking and tracing is impossible in many situations.

        Your comment “you cannot infect a lot of people without leaving symptomatic people behind”. It is entirely possible for asymptomatic people to infect many people who are also asymptomatic or unreported. The studies referred to above now make this very clear.

        The wake you refer to may in fact come after the funereal farewell to a theory that was lethally mugged by reality.

        13

      • #
        Bobl

        Nope, look at the penetration while we being an island that was struck in summer we can beat it, Europe/N America can’t. How do you anticipate we can keep it that way once we open to a world where covid-19 has become endemic?

        00

        • #

          Bobl, We would not open up without a two week quarantine until we have a vaccine or a treatment that works or the virus has mutated to become much nicer.

          The advantages of having a normal domestic economy while hard borders are closed compared to an open border with repeat cycles of a deadly virus are surely 100 to 1.

          20

      • #
        TedM

        “However you cannot infect a lot of people without leaving symptomatic people behind.”

        Excellent and also self evident point TdeF. It leaves such a glaring hole in the “most of the population have probably been infected” argument. Such obvious nonsense.

        20

        • #
          Sunni Bakchat

          It’s not an either/or logical proposition, is it? I can think of plenty of situations where a lot of people could be infected who don’t end up being symptomatic. Here’s one. Imagine a random group of young people go to a not very crowded bar and party for an evening. There’s a superspreader in the group and fifty people are infected. The following week most of the partygoers feel fine. One or two feel a bit off but aren’t sick. The bouncer at the door comes down with the flu but feels ok and just has a day or two off work. Is that Reasonable? Now swap that bar for a church or a supermarket or a private party during lockdown.

          If the ratio of those being symptomatic vs asymptomatic was very highly slanted toward the latter i.e. 5:95 due to selective testing, disincentives to be tested, etc. its entirely possible a very large group in the community could be infected and unidentified as such.

          I haven’t seen anyone on this blog who can refute the above potentially probable possibility. I do see many fairly decent research reports indicating much higher ratios i.e. 80:20 than previously considered possible only a fortnight ago.

          10

    • #
      Slithers

      If there was such a thing as Herd Immunity then Influenza would have dies out decades ago. There has to be a reservoir of animals that carry the virus and pass it on is some mutated form year after year. It was found that in the UK Badgers were such an animal, the carried bTB, a bacterium, has there ever been any research into which animals can be the reservoir of corona virus. There is anecdotal evidence that Bats can carry it as detected from excretement in caves populated by some bats in China. That excretement is alive with insects and other nasties so who knows if they are the real carriers of Influenza or now Sars-Cov-2
      There is so much speculation, upon which entire economies are being turned upside down and inside out!
      It is my belief that we will all eventually get some form of COVID-19. Yes Flattening the curve is important so as not to overload the health care system, but please don’t destroy our way of life to achieve that.

      30

    • #
      Orson

      I’ve been in New Zealand for one month. When the case numbers of Covid19 infections reached about 1,000, I read that the Health Ministry reported that no cases were spread asymptomatically. None at all!

      I believe this was true because there were so few cases of community spreading (three perhaps, all from defined groups such as a church meeting, a conference meeting, and a wedding). And therefore contact tracing can be highly effective. And nearly all of the rest were brought in by international travel.

      I mention this because, as with BernardP, we often hear of supposedly high and extremely high rates of asymptomatic transmission claimed but back by no measurements whatsoever. Why do people keep invoking completely unsubstantiated claims?

      After Wuhan was ravaged, the claim of 10 to 15%, and later as high as 20%. But nowhere have any sources made BernardP-type of claims.

      Here is the original:

      Here is my realistic, although pessimistic, analysis of the future evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic:

      — About 80% of cases are asymptomatic or mild. Of these, about half (40% of total) are asymptomatic, meaning people who are infected don’t know they are infected.

      — Most asymptomatic cases (and some cases with mild symptoms) will go undetected, because people who don’t have symptoms won’t get tested.

      — These asymptomatic cases will not be subjected to quarantine and will continue to spread the virus.

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    Michael Gronemeyer

    Background: The municipality of Gangelt is one of the most affected places in Germany by COVID19 in Germany. The infection is believed to be due to a carnival session on February 15, 2020, as several people tested positive for SARSCoV2 after this session. The carnival session and the outbreak of the session are currently being examined in more detail. A representative sample was drawn from the community of Gangelt (12,529 inhabitants) in the Heinsberg district. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a protocol in which 100 to 300 households are sampled depending on the expected prevalence. This sample was coordinated with its representativeness with Prof. Manfred Güllner (Forsa). Aim: The aim of the study is to determine the level of the SARS-CoV2 infections (percentage of all infected) that have been undergoing and are still occurring in the Gangelt community. In addition, the status of the current SARS-CoV2 immunity is to be determined. Procedure: A form letter was sent to approximately 600 households. A total of around 1000 residents from around 400 households took part in the study. Questionnaires were collected, throat swabs were taken and blood was tested for the presence of antibodies (IgG, IgA). The interim results and conclusions of approx. 500 people are included in this first evaluation. Preliminary result: An existing immunity of approx. 14% (antiSARS-CoV2 IgG positive, specificity of the method>, 99%) was determined. About 2% of the people had a current SARS-CoV-2 infection determined using the PCR method. The overall infection rate (current infection or already gone through) was approximately 15%. The mortality rate (case fatality rate) based on the total number of infected people in the community of Gangelt is approx. 0.37% with the preliminary data from this study. The lethality currently calculated by the Johns-Hopkins University in Germany is 1.98% and is 5 times higher. The mortality rate based on the total population in Gangelt is currently 0.06%.

    https://www.land.nrw/sites/default/files/asset/document/zwischenergebnis_covid19_case_study_gangelt_0.pdf

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      Thanks Michael. Helpful.

      We still don’t know the demographics of the group in the study and whether it is a fair representation of the population at large.

      It’s interesting that they state the specificity was 99% — that would imply they are ruling out the cross reactivity with the common cold coronaviruses which is very important, and answers some of the critics. It would be good to know how they do this and see that data.

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    • #
      Orson

      A group of about 1,000 in Gangelt was tested…after Carnival…and high rates were suspected. It seems the latter two salient points are missing from many reports of this prevalence testing.

      Another 1,000 member community was tested in late March in the USA, the winter sports town in Southwest Colorado, favoured by Hollywood, Telluride. (Just search the terms Telluride and virus for media links.)

      The results? Just 8 infections, with 23 “indeterminant” and subject to retesting.

      What does this tell us? March closes out the busiest season visitors for spring break. Presumably nearly all local infections were brought in by visitors, one could suppose.

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    Bill In Oz

    Thanks Jo for this post. Excellent work again !
    I watched Dr Campbell’s Youtube last week about this research and he seemed fairly convinced. of it’s value. But the criticisms you have presented are very convincing.

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    Roy Hogue

    As I have said before, “If you ask the wrong question you always get the wrong answer,”

    Dumb!

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    My hypothesis is that since Covid-19 seems to be a slowly developing disease, what matters is how quickly the required antibody emerges from the immune system. Many common colds are also Corona viruses, so perhaps antibodies left over from a past cold, flu or vaccine were close enough to what was needed that either the required antibody had a head start and arose quickly or the existing antibody was partially effective giving time for a more effective antibody to emerge before the infection got out of control.

    Those who are infected without symptoms aren’t immune, but their immune system was somehow primed to produce the required antibody. Even when you are immune, you can still potentially shed viral particles after being exposed again, it’s just that the immune system responds even more quickly once the exact antibody is circulating which significantly limits the potential for viral shedding.

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      Co2isnotevil, It’s more likely that antibodies are not the major player. In one test I saw older people were more likely to make antibodies than younger ones and 5% of survivors did not make any antibodies at all. That means some other wing of the immune system may be more effective. Antibodies can even be a disadvantage if they are implicated in increasing blood clotting.

      Our immune systems are more like an entire defense force. Antibodies are targeted ammo, but there are many ways to beat the enemy.

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        “5% of survivors did not make any antibodies at all”

        Hmm. I suspect this means that the specific COVID-19 antibody is missing. This could also mean that some other existing antibody was good enough, that more than 1 kind of antibody emerges as effective or the antibody test produced a false negative.

        It’s interesting that blood plasma transfusions from recovered patients works quite well, so whether it’s an antibody or not, it seems to be circulating in the plasma. An interesting test would be to see of the plasma from a recovered patient who didn’t have the specific antibody was effective at treating the virus.

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        • #
          Kalm Keith

          Was wondering if a highly challenged immune system during childhood could have benefits in dealing with later events like this current crisis.

          Many people now have grown up in a super clean environment and I wonder if this contributes to the modern problems like gluten intolerance and peanut disease?

          The string of comments above may be pointing to a generalised strong immunity being possible.

          This would be in contrast to the idea of specific immunity available through vaccination.

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      • #
        farmerbraun

        ” That means some other wing of the immune system may be more effective.”
        That’s one possible explanation. Are there many others that would explain the observation that
        ” older people were more likely to make antibodies than younger ones” ?

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        • #

          Older people may produce more antibodies but not necessarily the right ones which may take longer to emerge to fight a new threat. This could also lead to the immune system attacking things it shouldn’t which is also more common in older people.

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            farmerbraun

            Do older people make more use of annual flu shots?
            How does this effect the overall immune response?

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            Kalm Keith

            Thanks CO2 INE and Jo for an interesting outline of “immunity”. :-)

            KK

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            Kalm Keith

            Earlier I had some questions about immunity that weren’t expressed clearly;

            http://joannenova.com.au/2020/03/young-and-fit-brought-down-means-hard-sharp-quarantine-coming-everywhere/#comment-2297209

            Was wondering if a highly challenged immune system during childhood could have benefits in dealing with later events like this current crisis.

            Many people now have grown up in a super clean environment and I wonder if this contributes to the modern problems like gluten intolerance and peanut disease?

            The string of comments above may be pointing to a generalised strong immunity being possible.

            This would be in contrast to the idea of specific immunity available through vaccination.

            I’m very pro vaccination as mentioned in earlier posts.

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            • #

              I’ve heard somewhere that living in a super hygienic environment doesn’t exercise the immune system as much as living in dirt. I do think that like muscles, the immune system must be exercised and like the brain, it must be trained.

              Something I’ve wondered about is which is better for the immune system, to actually have the childhood diseases like measles, mumps, chicken pox and whooping cough or to be vaccinated against them. In the past, every child had these diseases, so they had millions of years to evolve symbiotically with man, so much so that they don’t tend to evolve any further. Did having these diseases somehow evolve a benefit for the devloping immune system of a child that might not be the same if immunity came via a vaccine? In the same way, does getting a flu provide better training to the immune system then getting a flu shot?

              I’m not against vaccines either, especially for diseases that almost always have bad consequences, for example, polio. I’m just not so sure about vaccinating against diseases that have few, if any, long term health consequences, unless an individual is particularly vulnerable to harm. I had all of these childhood diseases as well as booster shots more recently when I was doing a lot of traveling for work.

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        WXcycles

        … but there are many ways to beat the enemy.

        Would like to hear about that within a post Jo.

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      sophocles

      The problem with corona viruses is they change/mutate constantly so our immunity to one of the seven doesn’t last very many years. That’s why the “common cold” is so common.

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      Roy Hogue

      The problem with trying to rely on antibodies left over from a cold or a less dangerous flue illness is that once the antibodies are no longer meeting what they’re able to destroy they tend to disappear over time. That’s why vaccinations need to be renewed every so often. How reliable do you think your theory is? This is not a flip question. I don’t know and the answer seems important to your theory.

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    Andy in Arkansas

    Hmmm, so the Austria study saying 1% infection rate is the only good one out there! Got it!

    These other studies noting 15% or 17% are probably a pile o’ kangaroo dung too:

    https://hotair.com/archives/allahpundit/2020/04/14/hmmm-15-pregnant-women-recently-admitted-nyc-hospital-give-birth-coronavirus-nearly-without-symptoms/

    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-outbreak-diamond-princess-cruise-ship-death-rate

    So three studies say ~15% and one study says 1%, so go with the 1% because it fits how you feel/what you’ve said in the past more closely! Crystal clear! Can’t be any criticism of the Austria study huh?

    BTW, Marv apologizes for the in appropriate way he expressed [snip] to a fellow-commenter in one of his/Marv’s previous comments, he is self-isolating to reconsider the error in his ways!

    [Moderators (9 out of 10) would prefer a less crass way of expressing oneself.]ED

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      RickWill

      From your Diamond Princess link:

      “Well, it’s more severe than the flu.”

      The cruise ship death rate of 0.91% is also an outcome based on the best available medical care in Japan and passengers being quarantined in their cabins.

      Diamond Princess confirmed that 634, or 17 percent, had the virus; 328 of them did not have symptoms at the time of diagnosis.

      The salient point is that in bold. Who knows how many did develop symptoms. At least 50% of cases showed symptoms.

      In Italy, where the health system was overloaded, 13% of those with CV19 detected have died so far. So if only 50% were symptomatic then the death ratio drops to 6.5%.

      Sweden is finding out the cost of not crushing the virus. Austria and Denmark are already easing controls while Sweden is considering more draconian controls as their death rate continues to climb

      This is what Austria has managed:
      https://covid19.healthdata.org/austria
      Peak daily toll of 30.

      Compare that with Sweden:
      https://covid19.healthdata.org/sweden
      Daily deaths now at 110 and forecast to peak at 560 if they do not do something more effective.

      Populations of Austria and Sweden are similar; 9M and 10M respectively.

      There will be a high cost for any country not crushing the virus because no country that has crushed the virus will permit travellers from a country with the infection raging.

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        truth

        There’s a rabid campaign by SKY pundits now…led by Bolt…to try to muscle the government into relaxing the controls so business can open asap….and telling the vulnerable that they should be able to just defy the advice and make their own decisions to interact with grandkids and others…that they’re entitled to take the risk.

        This might not be so bad if the virus had a slow infection and killing rate…but it’s more shock and awe when provided with lots of fodder.

        They seem to have forgotten that shortage of PPE and ventilators and the potential overwhelming of the health system is what makes the difference with this virus…and with Winter and the flu season approaching…and the virus still as opportunistic as ever….we could get a surge that would put us smack into that situation the Northern Hemisphere countries are struggling with.

        While Austria …heading into Summer…is easing the controls now in the belief that they’ve crushed the curve….I don’t see how we in Australia can feel confident …having crushed the curve…that the worst is over here by any means…as we head into…not out of… Winter.

        Hopefully the government won’t succumb against medical advice.

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      Andy, as I said in the post, with a link, the large Iceland study closely matched the rate in the Austria study. Think carefully about accusing me of “confirmation bias”. It might be your own…

      And 50% asymptomatic on the DP fits with Austria and Iceland too. The Gangelt study suggested that 94% were asymptomatic. It’s the outlier.

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    Stephen Cheesman

    Should have known that doing a study in a town called Heinsberg would lead to an unavoidable amount of uncertainty. (And yes I know how it’s really spelled).

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    Sunni Bakchat

    Jo, here’s the preliminary report link. https://www.land.nrw/sites/default/files/asset/document/zwischenergebnis_covid19_case_study_gangelt_0.pdf

    Full publication at a future date not disclosed according to the website.

    The partgoers at the Carnival were adults. “Beer and wine flowed aplenty as approximately 350 adults in fancy dress locked arms on long wooden benches and swayed to the rhythm of music provided by a live band.” See link – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/09/the-cluster-effect-how-social-gatherings-were-rocket-fuel-for-coronavirus

    The sampling protocol was taken from WHO guidelines. It will be interesting to understand the selection criteria used in generating the subset of samples utilised for final analysis. If randomised the household cluster bias argument likely has its theoretical statistical significance weakened.

    The test used a Polymerase Chain Reaction. Its unlikely the researchers would not have controlled for false positives from other coronaviruses.

    There may be some level of immunity as a result of other coronaviruses.

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    Sunni Bakchat

    A Report today in the British Medical Journal suggests four fifths of Chinese cases are now asymptomatic.

    Exceprt from the article – “Tom Jefferson, an epidemiologist and honorary research fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, said the findings were “very, very important.” He told The BMJ, “The sample is small, and more data will become available. Also, it’s not clear exactly how these cases were identified. But let’s just say they are generalisable. And even if they are 10% out, then this suggests the virus is everywhere. If—and I stress, if—the results are representative, then we have to ask, ‘What the hell are we locking down for?’””

    I share Jefferson’s view at this point.

    Link to the article – https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1375

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      WXcycles

      ” …If—and I stress, if—the results are representative, then we have to ask, ‘What the hell are we locking down for?”

      Seriously?

      Because isolation burns it out and ends its existence in any community.

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        Sunni Bakchat

        Wxcycles, if you are so certain “isolation burns it out and ends its existence in any community” please provide incontrovertible evidence of same. Without the Ad hominem attacks please.

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          WXcycles

          Wxcycles, if you are so certain “isolation burns it out and ends its existence in any community” please provide incontrovertible evidence of same. Without the Ad hominem attacks please.

          Pot call the kettle black! How about you just focus on keeping your board-brush slights to yourself.

          Your example of Vo below, for one.

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      Sunni, forgive my lack of enthusiasm for the Chinese study. They had 80,000 official cases and their study has under 200 of them? Why bother? Perhaps the CCP want us to believe in herd immunity? Ask yourself if they would benefit…

      I would call it “very very dubious” like all their other data. We saw before that their researchers published a tiny unrepresentative study saying Chloroquine was not useful based on results from about 15 cases compared with 15 who got regular treatment (which turned out to be other anti-virals).

      They do not have our interests at heart.

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        Sunni Bakchat

        I don’t disagree with you on this Jo. The insidious aspect of the Chinese is their desire to weaponise almost everything. It is part of the marxist DNA. It runs entirely against enlightenment thinking. It is difficult to objectively weigh political and scientific elements in already complicated scientific propositions. Contextually however, we are now seeing numerous sources of quality information testing earlier hypotheses on symptomatic versus asymptomatic manifestation in populations. I have an open mind on matters other than the virtues of the two political systems.

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    Sunni Bakchat

    If we go back to Vo in Italy and look at the findings after the town was comprehensively tested, we find something close to 75% of the residents were asymptomatic;

    Link to the article – https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1165

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      WXcycles

      If we go back to Vo in Italy and look at the findings after the town was comprehensively tested, we find something close to 75% of the residents were asymptomatic;

      Link to the article – https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1165

      Nowhere in that link does it say that testing found that 75% of the population of 3,000 in Vo had COVID-19.

      But it does say …

      In an open letter to the authorities in the Tuscany region,1 Romagnani wrote that the great majority of people infected with covid-19—50-75%—were asymptomatic, but represented “a formidable source” of contagion.

      and …

      The number of people sick from covid-19 fell from 88 to seven in less than 10 days, Romagnani reported.

      i.e. he’s suggesting that this 88 of know symptomatic cases is just 25% of the total infection, in other words he’s saying the true infection scale was about;

      88 x 4 = 352

      352 total cases in a village of 3,000 people, or 11.7% in Vo became infected with SARS-CoV-2.

      So ~264 unknown unseen cases were also present and spreading the disease in Vo.

      … village of roughly 3000 people in northern Italy saw the number of people with covid-19 symptoms fall by over 90% within 10 days.

      Which was defeated via a strict QUARANTINE in just 10 days, with a residual tail still to eliminate. All gone soon after.

      You seem determined to spin out wrong conclusions and to propose the irrational. that we should all not isolate to defeat COVID-19, completely.

      En-guarde with this one.

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        Sunni Bakchat

        WXcycles,

        “Nowhere in that link does it say that testing found that 75% of the population of 3,000 in Vo had COVID-19″. Nowhere did i state this either.

        You can see the 80:20 ratio being almost the same in Vo as demonstrated in the reports from Gangelt and China.

        If Australia followed the same strategy as Vo the results would logically be the same. But when it comes to logic, unfortunately Australia does not view things in the same way or cannot implement. At least not at this stage. The Italian strategy may be superior notwithstanding all the other calamities within the country which to be fair, they really stumbled into as the first to experience the virus in the western hemisphere.

        Italy could could have sealed its borders across the north of the country early and either test or quarantine entrants as Australia did. Australia definitively had the better strategy in this regard, even if test kits weren’t yet available to test returning residents and citizens. Australia effectively removed the risk at a national level.

        Where the Italians have succeeded is creating a quarantined area (Vo) small enough to be able to service the entire area population with test kits (and probably masks, etc). This has allowed them to clean up one area at a time and open boundaries to the next area once they were cleaned up and so on and so forth. I haven’t kept track of their progress but believe this is their adopted strategy. It will work in every place just as it did in Vo if they keep doing it.

        Australia however does not yet appear to have worked out or have the resources to implement the successful strategy the Italians used in Vo. Maybe there are reasons the exact same strategy won’t work in Australia. The problem i see is that if Australia doesn’t break it down into “bite sized” areas like Vo, the chances of successfully testing everyone quickly and hard quarantining those who are diseased, is unlikely to be logistically feasible.

        The clock is ticking on the lockdown in both countries. Nobody wants a second wave. Most want to get their economy going again whilst minimising further loss of life. I can see Australia and Italy getting the numbers right down low relatively quickly without bite sizing it. But to really finish things off would require an area by area, town to town, house to house, comprehensive testing and strict quarantining regime. You can’t have one without the other. The sooner both countries did this the sooner Covid-19 would be eradicated.

        The bigger question now is whether some areas are so heavily infected it might just be better to make the leap to herd immunity. Again, we don’t know without at least randomised testing in these places. Its certainly clear now however that the asymptomatics are much greater in ratio than originally thought. Which was my original commentary.

        The endgame is a race against time to implement these measures before people get fed up with isolation and the economic cost becomes too much to bear. I’m not sure either country has the time to achieve the desired eradication outcome. We may just have to live with this virus lurking beneath the surface and working its way slowly through the population via the asymptomatics.

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          farmerbraun

          It’s getting too confusing.
          I had understood that Covid -19 was the disease, possibly unique,possibly not, that was symptomatic of infection with SARS-CoV2.

          So if you don’t have symptoms , then you haven’t got Covid-19 ; but you may test positive for the presence of SARS-CoV-2.
          So asymptomatic Covid-19 is just not possible.

          Have I got this wrong?

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            JanEarth

            farmerbraun

            Yes its getting confusing but Virology was always confusing to lay people as is epidemiology. The question is ” Is it important that I understand everything about this?” Well no it’s not. The important thing to know is what you can do to keep you and yours safe during the Zombie Apocalypse. That’s it all the rest is just icing on the cake. The more you try and drill into it the more confused you will become. Also relax about moderation. I always shake my head when I see butthurt people complaining that their post did not appear in the time they expected it to. Just relax have a cuppa or go out and do whatever Kiwi’s do to their sheep…

            I have made one post here which I thought straight off the bat was never going to get out of moderation. I haven’t checked but I would be surprised if it made it. Quite frankly I don’t care because I know the world does
            not wait with baited breath for any droppings that fall from my cerebrum. I never refresh the page just to see if my posts make it…that can lead to frustration. I have quite frankly been surprised at some of the posts I put up that did get through so I am happy with the standard of moderation. That is good because catharsis is the main motivation for a lot of what I post. I know from experience that you will rarely change a persons mind through this medium…people usually only want validation for their own views. I must say however that Jo did sway me to her view quite early on so I am thankful of that because it meant I have been able to accept the situation we are in with a sense that I am actually making a difference simply by observing the lock down.

            I toiled for years on a very busy cancer forum both as a Mod and as an Administrator, it’s a thankless job that pays nothing. I would never do it again because the rewards never match the cost. I do doff me cap to the mods here for that very reason.

            Anyway Kiwi bro there are millions ( no exaggeration) of sites on the webs for you to access info…good luck in trying to figure out what is real and what is BS but maybe like me you will find that is half the fun.

            Say hello to Dolly for me and be safe.

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          WXcycles

          Australia however does not yet appear to have worked out or have the resources to implement the successful strategy the Italians used in Vo. Maybe there are reasons the exact same strategy won’t work in Australia. The problem i see is that if Australia doesn’t break it down into “bite sized” areas like Vo, the chances of successfully testing everyone quickly and hard quarantining those who are diseased, is unlikely to be logistically feasible.

          Sunni, given your repeated attempts to sway and influence with nonsense, plus many denigrating remarks about Australian’s alleged relative provincialism, within multiple threads now, combined with your statements quoted here within the Weekend Unthreaded, I think there is now sufficient reason to wonder about your motivations to attempt to influence the discussion, for personal and/or business reasons. As the reason you are here is not because you like Australians, or the people here, it’s apparent you’re not here to clarify the best and most beneficial policy options available based on sound science and subjective values and good judgement.

          … I have family and extensive business interests in Queensland. I speak regularly with family members and associates to obtain updates on the situation. …

          http://joannenova.com.au/2020/04/weekend-unthreaded-306/

          Due to your accumulating comments which demonstrate a curious cart-before-the-horse mentality, and the attempts to cower via denigration of Australia’s policies, plus anyone who disagrees with you, I’ve formed the view that you’re not just being contrary and skeptical or and culturally- elitist.

          You’re trying to corral discussion away from sensible policy choices which would work in our best interests, but against your own personal and business interests. You desire an outcome where Australia does not impose lengthy strict quarantines upon other countries as this would be counterproductive to your “family“, “associates” and “extensive business interests“, within Australia.

          The health and longevity interests of Australia’s community can take a back seat, as its apparently inimical to your personal interests. You’re dedicating so much personal time to this here because this is an influential site in Australia and is examining the pros and cons scientifically. And a lot of money is up for grabs depending on the policy debate outcomes from here, so if you can influence to reduce a rational tendency to impose a strong quarantine policy, via casting doubt on that, that’s what you’ll do. So you keep foisting this irrational assertion and pretense that strict quarantine restrictions would be bad for us, economically and financially, and that the gains we hope to achieve via it would somehow be fruitless and derailed, anyway.

          When the opposite it true, of course, and has been all along, thus far.

          Australia’s quarantine if protracted would be particularly bad for Sunni economically and financially, not just for Australians. Hence your resolute, aggressive rejections of the whole suggestion that Australia could maintain a functional strong quarantine policy, to keep COVID-19 out of the country after it is cleared via community isolations. And also why you keep claiming that this virus can’t be eliminated within Australia when obviously it can be. You made me very suspicious of you, but only because you keep giving good reasons to wonder about your motivations. I’m not the only one who’s noticed that you’re behaving rather oddly, you comments don’t gel, and you’re trying too hard to shape the debate to suite your agenda. Why should a foreigner be trying to goad us into accepting no quarantine restrictions? Why all this song and dance about Switzerland and Austrian policy?

          … The bigger question now is whether some areas are so heavily infected it might just be better to make the leap to herd immunity. … We may just have to live with this virus lurking beneath the surface and working its way slowly through the population via the asymptomatics.

          I don’t trust your now somewhat chastened moderated play of ‘objectivity’ Sunni, nor your many obtuse attempts to slant the discussion to try to exclude the obvious choice of a strict national quarantine policy. What’s it to you anyway? Sovereign risk is a part of international business and investment, some you win, some you lose, but if what you’re doing is what I think you’re doing, that is diabolical.

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            Sunni Bakchat

            WXcycles, How unfortunate to be subjected to attempted character assassination via a dishevelled farrago of egregiously faulty logic and personal abuse.

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            Bill In Oz

            Thank WXCycles for your lengthy & detailedRebuttal of this person.
            he is as you say trying from his home in Geneva attempting
            To undermine the great work we Australians have done
            to control and now destroy this infectious disease in Australia.

            His heart is not here.
            He is not putting Australians ahead of whatever interests he is promoting.
            Not worthy of our time or energy.
            Worthy of moderation IMO.
            Again thanks !

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              Sunni Bakchat

              Bill In Oz,

              Slander and attempted obloquy do not an argument make.

              Run along now.

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              • #
                Bill In Oz

                On this issue
                You have nothing worthwhile to say.
                Tis all puff & nonsense !
                Hey, it’s 4.30 pm in Geneva..
                It’s been a long day
                Got get G & T or tow or three..

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          WXcycles

          Your original comment:

          If we go back to Vo in Italy and look at the findings after the town was comprehensively tested, we find something close to 75% of the residents were asymptomatic;

          Link to the article – https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1165

          Your wording implies a claim that 75% of the population were found to have contracted COVID-19.

          You are implying that after the entire 3,000 were tested, it was found that ~75% of that 3,000 (2,250 cases) were asymptomatic, plus another 2.93% (88 cases) which were symptomatic (2,338 total COVID-19 cases).

          What you wrote implies it was established that 78% of Vo had caught COVID-19, so the situation was hopeless and too late to fight it, so just give it up, because it stopped only because heard-immunity levels had been reached, and not because of an effective quarantine (the real cause of why it was stopped), where the most likely situation was that only 11.7% (~350) had caught it and it was a strict quarantine which spared them from further sickness, death and losses, got them back to relative normality sooner.

          “Nowhere in that link does it say that testing found that 75% of the population of 3,000 in Vo had COVID-19″.

          Nowhere did i state this either.

          You may argue now that you didn’t really mean to imply that, but that’s what you wrote, which misleads a reader, to support a poor argument against a quarantine strategy being effective, desirable or even necessary.

          Given that is your on-going position, at this point, I’m inclined not to give you the benefit of any doubt.

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            Sunni Bakchat

            WXcycles, thanks for your further comments. The sentence could certainly have been expressed more clearly to be consistent with my other comments on these pages. What you are implying with regard to my understandings, beliefs and intentions is again almost entirely fallacious and has been dealt with in prior responses.

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          JanEarth

          Sunnit backchat

          Are you seriously trying to put up Italy’s response as better than Australia’s ? You have got to be kidding. Until they get some runs on the board there is nothing to boast about there.

          So it is obvious you are going to lose money, join the friggin club mate we are all in the same boat. You bloody whinging ain’t gonna change a thing but it will probably make you feel better so let it rip. I am getting a lot of amusement
          watching you get shot down in flames, so its worth you continuing to bash your head against the wall for my entertainment.

          Buy BTC and stay safe.

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          • #
            Sunni Bakchat

            JanEarth, re-read my comments carefully. The exercise in Vo, Italy, if you’re familiar with it, puts serious runs on the board for Italy. Jo has posted on Vo a number of times and spoken about the excellence of the approach taken.

            I am not losing money in Australia. On the contrary, my businesses in Australia have done extremely well in the present environment. I expect they would not have done so well in the absence of the virus. I don’t expect they’ll do so well after the lockdown ends. Either way, I don’t know of anyone successful who doesn’t place morality ahead of financial gain.

            I am glad you are amused. What’s life without a little mirth. But please keep the personal insults to yourself. Would you conduct yourself the same way if meeting in person?

            Far from being shot down in flames, i’m flying straight and level at cruise altitude. Well on the way to a destination many on this blog don’t understand, nor care to investigate.

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      • #
        TedM

        I hadn’t got around to looking AT THat WX. Your excellent summary has saved me the trouble, Thank You.

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  • #
    Zigmaster

    The principal of identifying this huge number of asymptomatic cases is interesting. If it is large it is evidence that the virus has already spread and huge number of unknown people have become immune without realising so everyone can get back to work.if it is small and their is very small numbers of asymptomatic carriers then the disease is not as contagious as thought and confined generally to certain clusters. So either way that should be good news.
    I find it frustrating that the media and governments go out of their way to downplay good news, to keep us in fear and keep us compliant. Listening to the news today . Only 15 new cases but this may be misleading because less tests over Easter or even with no cases be wary of a second wave. Look at Singapore , things have soared since they relaxed things. Their total deaths have skyrocketed from 8-10.
    If we didn’t take measures 150,000 could’ve died and this could still happen if we relax restrictions.
    Give me a break!

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    • #
      Bill In Oz

      Comparing countries like this shows up just how foolish the herd immunity hypothesis is.
      Brazil, the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada are all developing into basket cases because of the inept policies adopted by their governments.
      This strategy ( ? ) does not recommend itself for Australia

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  • #
    WXcycles

    Deaths in the US jumped to their highest overnight (2,349). This is the first catching-up data after the Easter long-weekend’s disruption. It’s likely cases and deaths will jump higher tomorrow before settling for a day before the next weekend noise begins.

    Countries with more than 500 active cases, and deaths above 5.0%

    % Died | Country | Active Cases | New Deaths
    15.75 … Algeria … 1,053 … 13
    13.36 … Belgium … 20,094 … 254
    12.97 … Italy … 104,291 … 602
    12.90 … UK … 81,422 … 778
    10.98 … France … 98,769 … 762
    10.74 … Netherlands … 24,224 … 122
    10.49 … Spain … 88,301 … 499
    9.49 … Indonesia … 3,954 … 60
    9.03 … Sweden … 10,031 … 114
    8.07 … Hungary … 1,268 … 13
    7.57 … Egypt … 1,583 … 14
    6.67 … Morocco … 1,545 …
    6.62 … Mexico … 2,718 … 36
    6.41 … Philippines … 4,593 … 20
    6.25 … Iran … 22,065 … 98
    6.06 … Brazil … 20,684 … 204
    5.57 … Iraq … 556 …
    5.57 … Dominican Rep … 2,941 … 6
    5.10 … Romania … 5,477 … 20

    Countries with more than 250 cases and more then 7.5% daily spread

    % New v Active | Country | Total Cases | New Cases
    22.6 … Bangladesh … 1012 … 209
    21.1 … Djibouti … 363 … 65
    19.1 … Bahrain … 1,528 … 167
    15.7 … Uzbekistan … 1165 … 167
    14.4 … Russia … 21,102 … 2,774
    13.9 … Kazakhstan … 1232 … 141
    13.3 … Guinea … 363 … 44
    13.0 … Mexico … 5,014 … 353
    12.7 … Singapore … 3,252 … 334
    12.7 … Oman … 813 … 86
    12.6 … Moldova … 1,934 … 222
    12.3 … Georgia … 300 … 28
    11.9 … Belarus … 3,281 … 362
    11.5 … Ghana … 636 … 70
    11.4 … Nigeria … 373 … 30
    10.8 … Isle of Man … 254 … 12
    10.6 … India … 11,487 … 1,034
    10.4 … UAE … 4,933 … 412
    10.4 … Serbia … 4,465 … 411
    10.1 … Egypt … 2,350 … 160
    9.9 … Saudi Arabia … 5,369 … 435
    9.2 … Slovakia … 835 … 66
    8.9 … Brazil … 25,262 … 1,832
    8.6 … Ukraine … 3,372 … 270
    8.3 … Algeria … 2,070 … 87
    8.1 … Morocco … 1,888 … 125
    7.8 … Pakistan … 5,837 … 341
    7.7 … Canada … 27,063 … 1,383
    7.6 … Chile … 7,917 … 392
    7.5 … Ireland … 11,479 … 832
    7.5 … Afghanistan … 714 … 49
    7.5 … Bolivia … 354 … 24

    USA had a spreading rate of 4.6% today. Hope that’s real, if so they’ll stabilize next week.

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  • #
    george1st:)

    Herd imminuty as painful or slow and devastating as it will/maybe has to be the end result .
    Short of a quick,cheap and effective cure,vaccine or testing mechanism .
    The economics of the equation are even more horrendous .

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    • #

      We didn’t do herd immunity to Ebola. We didn’t do it to AIDS or Rabies. We can’t do it to Norovirus.

      Herd immunity is a term used by large pharmaceutical companies in their advertising.

      We have no data on the economic true cost, but we know we should have shut the borders in Feb and we would have saved billions. The cost of keeping international borders strictly closed without a two week quarantine while domestic business functions normally will be significant but not catastrophic.

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      • #
        JanEarth

        Could you imagine if Ebola had the same Ro as Sars-Cov-2. I bet London to a brick that every naysayer here would be onboard… no exception ! Not even our Swiss pork chop

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        • #
          Sunni Bakchat

          JanEarth, personal insults are a poor substitute for fact and reason.

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          • #
            Sceptical Sam

            Sunni,

            A heads up for you.

            Clearly you have no understanding of Australian vernacular. Let me help you understand:

            A “pork chop” is not a personal insult. It a humorous reference to unpopularity. It plays on the statement “as popular as a pork chop in a * “. It’s not unlike “is the Pope a Catholic?” – in reference to a statement of the obvious.

            That is, your views are unpopular. You’re probably a good bloke. Don’t confuse the two things.

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            • #
              Sceptical Sam

              Footnote:

              * particular houses of worship of a number of faiths.

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              • #
                Sunni Bakchat

                Sceptical Sam, I’d take JanEarth’s comments in good humour had i not seen his/her other posts. There’s a disturbing groupthink on this blog that usually manifests metaphorically as a rabid pack of drooling and grunting Orcs circling those with “unpopular” opinions. Often to reinforce the biases of their easily slighted, punch drunk comrades.

                Even by Australian standards the conduct runs very close to the bone. The pub test of course would be; if the comments were made in person, would it be taken outside. There are a select few who’d be outside very quickly.

                It is for pleasant, thoughtful and good humoured types such as yourself i will keep ‘em coming. I suspect jo is of the same nature. Hence my efforts for the common good.

                I said something about not being Indian not the other way around. Sort of like Peter Sellers explaining he wasn’t really Hurundi V. Bakshi in real life. ;-)

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            • #
              Sunni Bakchat

              Sceptical Sam, thanks for the comment. I’m an Australian citizen of English extraction, not Indian. Not here to be popular; only right or wrong. Being referred to as a Pork Chop is an attempted put down.

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              • #
                Sceptical Sam

                Sunni.

                I read it as a humorous crack. Horses for courses I suppose.

                And, who said anything about being Indian?

                Your idea is the unpopular thing that was being commented on, as I read Jan’s comment. Maybe I’m too insensitive?

                Move on. And keep ‘em coming.

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            • #
              Kalm Keith

              Sam, It’s good to see you defending a lady.

              This was thrown at me, and was after some previous interaction that I felt was off side, to use an Australian idiom.

              http://joannenova.com.au/2020/04/another-possible-cure-from-coronavirus-found-in-sheep-dip-invermectin/#comment-2305196

              Why bring the sort of inflammatory language used in earlier comments to the “debate” on science/politics?

              And true, I’m not Blameless.
              I do respond.

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              • #
                Kalm Keith

                Eyes open… Be safe
                :)

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              • #
                farmerbraun

                That’s a good yarn (sic) Keith.

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              • #
                Sunni Bakchat

                Kalm Keith, Responding to your question “why bring the sort of inflammatory language”?
                Because when some people who lack ideas, wit, wisdom and the ability to invoke logic and reason are cornered, they become personally abusive.
                Those who value civility generally respect another individual’s opinion, politely disagree and contemplate a further response. Civilised society is based on this discourse. None of us are perfect.
                General Criticism is usually sufficient. Specific praise is to be desired.
                I can only imagine those who don’t wish to live by an ethos of civility, see anonymity online as a potential opportunity to free themselves from such an obligatory shackle. It is up to the moderators to determine the benefit or otherwise of this behaviour.

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      • #
        george1st:)

        Jo , ihave great respect ,appreciation and admiration for all that you do on this blog and elsewhere for the fight not only against climate climate change propaganda but also just speaking for commonsense including this viral pandemic .
        However IMHO ebola,aids,rabies cannot be compared to this virus in the term of herd immunity .
        They were either more containable or less spreadable diseases .
        All I meant in my post was , either we are all going to get it or they will fix it . :)

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      • #
        Sunni Bakchat

        Jo, Isn’t the herd immunity proposition a trade off in terms of acceptable mortality rates and existing level of infection within the community i.e. We wouldn’t seek herd immunity to Ebola or AIDS when it has a high mortality rate, but we would accept Herd Immunity for influenza with a .1% mortality rate? Is that not the nexus of the argument. Is the question not the true mortality rate of Covid-19, how widespread it is and whether that is acceptable to society? Are we now saying as an Australian or broader society we’re prepared to pay an enormously higher cost to achieve much better mortality rates than we have in the past?

        A number of countries are now testing inbound visitors to their countries successfully. Why would Australia be fixated on two week quarantines and all the cost and complication this brings when accurate and rapid testing can remove the risks impeding the way of a return to normality? Would that not be pragmatic and beneficial to Australia?

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        • #
          george1st:)

          Agree if it works , ‘Herd isolation ‘
          If only we had a quick test kit that was 100% effective .

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          • #
            Sunni Bakchat

            george1st:), I read yesterday South Korea amongst others is now testing inbound persons. It sounds very sensible to me if the report is accurate. South Korea has put very few feet wrong during this pandemic. There’s not much in the way of reason to think they’ve got it wrong with this testing either. I imagine they want to get back normality as soon as possible.

            Perhaps someone can provide a good reason why Australia isn’t taking this very logical and sensible next step? Then again the same question was asked of mask wearing weeks ago.

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            • #
              WXcycles

              Jo, Isn’t the herd immunity proposition a trade off in terms of acceptable mortality rates and existing level of infection within the community i.e. We wouldn’t seek herd immunity to Ebola or AIDS when it has a high mortality rate, but we would accept Herd Immunity for influenza with a .1% mortality rate? Is that not the nexus of the argument. Is the question not the true mortality rate of Covid-19, how widespread it is and whether that is acceptable to society? Are we now saying as an Australian or broader society we’re prepared to pay an enormously higher cost to achieve much better mortality rates than we have in the past?

              A number of countries are now testing inbound visitors to their countries successfully. Why would Australia be fixated on two week quarantines and all the cost and complication this brings when accurate and rapid testing can remove the risks impeding the way of a return to normality? Would that not be pragmatic and beneficial to Australia?

              george1st:), I read yesterday South Korea amongst others is now testing inbound persons. It sounds very sensible to me if the report is accurate. South Korea has put very few feet wrong during this pandemic. There’s not much in the way of reason to think they’ve got it wrong with this testing either. I imagine they want to get back normality as soon as possible.

              Perhaps someone can provide a good reason why Australia isn’t taking this very logical and sensible next step? Then again the same question was asked of mask wearing weeks ago.

              —-

              … but we would accept Herd Immunity for influenza with a .1% mortality rate? …

              Who accepts this? we battle against it every year with self-isolation for work if we know we have it. It costs us economically.

              It’s not “accepted”, we let it get in every year due to insufficient quarantine, because we actually have a vacinne to create artificial herd-immunity which inhibits its spread until the UV light and warmth return. Bu COVID-19 is not being inhibited by Sun and Warmth in the spreading data we have, and we don’t have a vaccine, plus it is a very deadly dissease with much higher mortality and severity than flu, so a strict quarantine is essential to prevent mass deaths

              Is the question not the true mortality rate of Covid-19, how widespread it is and whether that is acceptable to society?

              Yeah, we looked into that Sunni, it’s not acceptable, deal with it.

              Are we now saying as an Australian or broader society we’re prepared to pay an enormously higher cost to achieve much better mortality rates than we have in the past?

              Who’s this “we” you refer to here? You’re not here, you are not going to be the recipient of your own misguided advice, you’re in the lofty Swiss Alps nirvana, remember?

              … South Korea has put very few feet wrong during this pandemic. …

              Really? You better take a non-blinkered look at the S Korean data, they have a continuous progressive rise in total case number that has not leveled out. Not a problem if the recoveries are higher than the new cases, the problem is this disease spreads much too easily to allow that situation to continue. That would be constantly flirting with further illness clustering and domestic disruptions. A less then suitable-for-purpose testing capacity and lack of sensitivity will always allow leaking of cases. Useful for detecting part of the infection, but useless for ending it. That is indeed a wack-a-mole process, one you keep recommending to us, for some reason.

              What isn’t a wack-a mole is when isolation eliminates it in a community and a strict quarantine makes sure it stays out permanently, which does not create repeated domestic isolation periods and repeated economic and social disruption. We know that will work, we know what you propose (for now) won’t work in the way the domestic population needs it to. The mix you espouse is the one that is predictably prone to repeated failures and also actually seen to fail.

              As to your claim to only be interested in being right or wrong? Well you are wrong, and quite obviously wrong.

              As for S Korea doing so well, this is because the disease was already being fairly well restricted to a fundamentalist church, who like all Christian fundamentalist groups already tended to self-isolate from the ‘worldly’ people around them, and just mixed among themselves. That both hid the disease from the rest of the community as it spread within the Church, enhanced its spreading due regular and repeated close contacts for hours on an almost daily basis, and also contained its spreading within an insular subculture.

              i.e. S Korea got ‘lucky’, and just in time.

              What is now happening there is more akin to what’s happening everywhere else, namely, they imported the virus into the general population leading to an on-going community spread they have not as yet ended. The prior dense easier to detect case cluster there primed them to be ready to detect and disrupt first signs of community spread sooner, which served to suppress case number growth earlier, and keep total case numbers low past the initial spike. Superficially they look to be doing things right. But testing has solved nothing for them, it con only indicate COVID-19 presence, it can not end its presence without isolation and strict quarantine control, which they have in place.

              I read yesterday South Korea amongst others is now testing inbound persons. It sounds very sensible to me if the report is accurate.

              Um, heeeyaah! Australia’s doing that already, every inbound traveler in quarantine gets tested, it’s been that way for a long time.

              But you want to merely insinuate this means S Korea does a test then lets anyone into their country, immediately a negative test result appears.

              Um, no Sunni, this is why I do not trust you, you are a deceiver, you spin BS to project a load of false narrative to suit you anti-quarantine agenda which has nothing to do with science, balanced judgement and good public policy.

              Only isolation and a national quarantines with strong border controls will put an end to it, and can even do so without any further tests. Testing doesn’t control anything, time in personal isolation ends it. Relying on testing as a solution is a guaranteed path to failure (your preferred outcome).

              Continual wack-a-mole domestic disruption is what you recommend because for you failure curiously equates to “success”. :-)

              Debunked.

              A number of countries are now testing inbound visitors to their countries successfully.

              Yes, Australia is one of them, Mr. Bamboozler.

              They all imported the virus, that is their problem, they need a strict national quarantine policy from here, that’s sufficiently long to end the importation completely, and to reduce the need to rely on testing, which is not sufficient beyond providing indicative evidence of failure. And case total rises show tests alone are not and never can be an acceptable solution to domestic spreading. It’s a fool’s errand.

              The one solution that works extremely effectively is isolation and a strict universal quarantine, until -ve case passenger flows indicate which countries do not have the virus circulating within it. When they meet that yet to be determined standard we open transit to and fro between those states and exclude others until they come up to standard. If they don’t they have failed just themselves – not us!

              Everyone involved has a mutual interest in making sure such a process works.

              Why would Australia be fixated on two week quarantines and all the cost and complication this brings when accurate and rapid testing can remove the risks impeding the way of a return to normality? Would that not be pragmatic and beneficial to Australia?

              What’s it to you what we do? You don’t live here, you won’t be impacted, how are our national policy arrangements and national best interests your concern? You can have your opinion and voice it, but don’t get sore when its rejected. We don’t need more of your conceited I’m right but Australians are too stupid to realize it or implement it, self-opinions thank you. But immediately you keep trotting that stuff out.

              We may need a 3 to 4 week quarantine period. The incubation period indicated 14 days is probably insufficient duration and is likely a cause of residual untraceable low-level community spreading cases. China has imposed a 28 day quarantine.

              With China, it’s a case of don’t do anything they say, watch what they do. If we had done that we would not have kept taking flights from Wuhan when Beijing had already banned domestic travel to and from Wuhan.

              But yet again, you constantly argue to end what works, to do what will predictably not work acceptably for the domestic population, and actually does not ending the virus circulating. But when ended via isolation, and the imposition of a strict ban on the export or import of the virus, we’ll get no more virus domestically.

              But instead, you say stop doing what is working, do what predictably (and actually) doesn’t work acceptably, and is nothing more than the “give up and fail” position, but you dress it up in a tempting frock and stockings and parade it around as the look of impending success. :-)

              Such wasted genius.

              No thanks mate. ;-)

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              • #
                Bill In Oz

                South Korea is testing at the entry point instead of 14 days quarantine….
                Oh well..
                When the South Koreans have ESTABLISHED that this works with no false negatives, I’d be happy for Australia to introduce it.
                I’m in favour of what is established as working..
                But not in favour of experimenting with Australian people’s lives.
                Simple

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              • #
                Sunni Bakchat

                WXCycles, did I direct my question to you? Does a blog need a junkyard dog? Would I be cowed by your ilk?

                There is neither time, nor do i have the inclination to pick apart your highly unusual, histrionic response to my post i any great detail. Your response almost entirely misstates and misunderstands my inquiry.

                Your assertions in relation the virus’s modus operandi are full of confused assumptions, self-serving bias, parochial hyperbole and wilful ignorance. You seek to answer the questions you prefer asked. Your assertions in relation to my personal affairs are hallucinogenic. Your personal insults add nothing, persuasively.

                It is my opinion that to write in the way you have, is simply ill disciplined, personally vituperative and lacking any beneficial quality for this blog. I can’t imagine any normal person aspiring to this behaviour. I’m surprised the administrators aren’t more focussed on the quality of argument and civility on these pages.

                Try to improve the qualitative aspect of your analysis to bring it into line with the reasonably good spreadsheeting and applied mathematical analysis you often post.

                Closely re-read my comments for better understanding. Then if you wish to comment further, realise that by doing so without personal insult will likely add brevity and clarity to your assertions. At that point i’ll perhaps be pleased to respond to you further.

                Run along now.

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              • #
                Bill In Oz

                Time for someone to ask why it is that you continually insult & belittle anyone who disagrees with you ?

                You have continually tried to dominate the discussion of how Australia should handle this disease for the past week. You have continually tried to bag & undermine the efforts here to eliminate this infectious disease.

                And as you have admitted you have done so from somewhere in Geneva, Switzerland. You claim to be Australian. And claim to have lived here for a long period of time. But to my mine you are a leftover of that now rare type, ( because they have died of from old age ) “the winging pom.’

                So I wonder how successful you have been on UK science blogs discussing this disease. I wonder also if the UK’s decision to completely abandon it’s herd immunity approach to dealing with this disease, is what motivates your anger and your bile. and your personal attacks.

                PS I too was a Pom, born in the UK in 1947 in Liverpool. I know the winging pom only too well. .

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              • #
                Bill In Oz

                How fortunate the UK is to have Boris Johnson as it’s PM !
                He is successfully leading the UK out of the EU.
                And he had the guts to change the UK’s strategy on this COVID 19 disease
                When it became clear that the Herd Immunity idea was a disaster.
                The “Herd Immunity” strategy if it had been abandoned earlier
                Would have prevented the 12,000, + deaths. that have happened.
                And maybe limited it to just a few hundred.
                But better Boris’ late decision,
                Than the Save Our Virus mob being allowed to rule the roost.

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            • #
              Sunni Bakchat

              Bill In Oz,

              I’ll reinforce some advice that was provided to you earlier in the week; “Chill”! I have broadly not personally criticised. If you choose to be insulted, that is your prerogative. There is no right to offense. Does it not suggest however that you choose to identify with the criticism?

              Given you’re a fellow Englishman, perhaps you could refresh yourself on the virtues of Cricket, where the ball not the man is played. Personal insults are not persuasive.

              I do agree that Boris has put in a very good innings so far. Though I think he hasn’t abandoned the idea of herd immunity. I think like many epidemiologists and immunologists he believes herd immunity will come and the most pragmatic thing that can be done for the moment, is to buy some time. I think Australia will very likely involuntarily follow the same path as undesirable and unpleasant as it may be.

              Nobody has yet eradicated the virus. It took several hundred years to eradicate Smallpox and Polio. We still vaccinate for several other persistent diseases. There are many diseases such as Malaria, Ebola, HIV and SARS the best efforts of science have yet to invent a vaccine for.

              I don’t expect to be personally insulted for holding this reasonable viewpoint!

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              • #
                Bill In Oz

                You are a hypocrite mate
                Continuing your cricket analogy,
                You let lose with Body Line attacks
                On WXCycles and me and anyone else who disagrees with.
                And then respond with complaints when we respond in kind.
                Stop being a hypocrite.

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  • #
    ImranCan

    Interesting report from todays (April 16th) UK Daily Telegraph relating to the validation of antibody testing and has found that those infected people under 40 years old are not building enough anti-bodies to be detectable, even though they have had the virus. Apparently due to the functioning of the body’s innate immune system (‘natural killer’ NK cells) which just ‘gobble up’ the virus. This explains why the mortality rates for under 40′s are so very low.

    The good news from this is that infection rates may be much higher than currently assumed and average mortality much lower. The bad news is that it may mean under 40′s don’t develop any immunity (as they don’t need it) so will just keep getting re-infected and keep spreading it around, so not great for older people and the idea of quick herd immunity.

    Interesting little bastard, this virus.

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    • #
      Bill In Oz

      So lockdown is the only way !

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      • #
        ImranCan

        Only way to what ? What this tells you, if this scenario is correct, is that the virus is here to stay. If it is lives that you want to ‘save’, then the only way is to ensure isolation via lockdown but it will be until a vaccine is found, which might never even happen.

        Lockdown is not a sustainable proposition in this scenario. The only reason you would want to lockdown is if you could contain the virus. And under this scenario it would not be possible to contain.

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    Analitik

    Does writing SARS in capitals trigger auto-filter?

    I’ve tried to figure out the moderation filter to no avail – it does its thing when it feels like it and no one understands why, not even the moderators

    The frustrating thing is that the moderators get angry at those of us who try to investigate how we can express an opinion or provide information without triggering the filter because almost all of the time, what we posted gets passed unmodified once the moderators have a look at what has been caught by the filter. This is especially frustrating when trying to reply to another comment with a link to further information.

    I wish there was a test thread like on WUWT where you could post stuff and the moderators could ignore everything in that thread so we could test out versions of comments until one gets through and then that could get used in a ‘live’ thread.

    [ No idea ,yes it's frustrating and no I don't think any the worse of you for ending up in moderation because of this comment which is benign as far as I can see .] AD

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