JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Thursday Open Thread

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They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?

The sitation in California is just like the one in Australia

Tim Ingalsbee has been fighting fires or trying to prevent them since 1980. He founded Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology.

They know how to prevent megafires

Elizabeth Weil, ProRepublica

So what’s it like? “It’s just … well … it’s horrible. Horrible to see this happening when the science is so clear and has been clear for years. I suffer from Cassandra syndrome,” Ingalsbee said. “Every year I warn people: Disaster’s coming. We got to change. And no one listens. And then it happens.”

The pattern is a form of insanity: We keep doing overzealous fire suppression across California landscapes where the fire poses little risk to people and structures. As a result, wildland fuels keep building up.

This week we’ve seen both the second- and third-largest fires in California history. “The fire community, the progressives, are almost in a state of panic,” Ingalsbee said. There’s only one solution, the one we know yet still avoid. “We need to get good fire on the ground and whittle down some of that fuel load.”

Modern Californians are burning 0.1% of what indigenous California’s used to do:

Academics believe that between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres burned each year in prehistoric California. Between 1982 and 1998, California’s agency land managers burned, on average, about 30,000 acres a year. Between 1999 and 2017, that number dropped to an annual 13,000 acres. The state passed a few new laws in 2018 designed to facilitate more intentional burning. But few are optimistic this, alone, will lead to significant change. We live with a deathly backlog. In February 2020, Nature Sustainability published this terrifying conclusion: California would need to burn 20 million acres — an area about the size of Maine — to restabilize in terms of fire.

..is there is any meaningful scientific dissent about controlled burns? \

“None that I know of.”

The incentives are all wrong. There is a risk in doing cool burns, but no immediate risk in foregoing them. And among other things, fires are big business. Cal Fire may spend $1 billion this year. Full time Firefighters earn  $148,000 a year.

A lot of the money though, goes on late afternoon planes dumping fire retardant to save a few wild trees:

Keep reading  →

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Good news: masks, means more asymptomatic infections and less severe ones

It appears people who wear masks are much less likely to get severe infections

This will make some heads spin.

Child Wearing a a Mask. Author vperemen.com

Child Wearing a a Mask. Author vperemen.com

Not only do masks reduce the odds of getting infected, but if people do get infected while wearing a mask — the severity of Covid is so much milder. With masks on, the odds of getting an asymptomatic infection improve. Masks don’t stop all viral particles but they stop the large droplet clusters, and thus reduce the viral load. If asymptomatic people get some protection (and we still don’t know for sure) it could solve so much.

Consider the two cruise ships where the asymptomatic rate varied from 18 to 81%:

One used masks and one didn’t:

In February, one of the first outbreaks of COVID-19 outside of China occurred on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan. Of the 634 people on board who tested positive, about 18 percent of infections were asymptomatic. In March, an Argentinian cruise ship found itself in a similar predicament, but of the 128 people on board who eventually tested positive, 81 percent were asymptomatic–   Ghandi et al.

Nations that use masks have lower death rates:

In countries where mask wearing was already commonplace, such as Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, and Singapore, and in countries where mask wearing was quickly embraced, such as the Czech Republic, rates of severe illness and death have remained comparatively low. — Nina Bai, UCSF

In food plants up to 95% got an asymptomatic infection:

In two recent outbreaks in U.S. food-processing plants, where all workers were issued masks each day and were required to wear them, the proportion of asymptomatic infections among the more than 500 people who became infected was 95%, with only 5% in each outbreak experiencing mild-to-moderate symptoms.3

Ghandi et al.

coronavirus, SARS Cov-2

Image: by Felipe Esquivel Reed

The initial dose of virus appears to be likely to be a key driver of severity. Those who get a small dose to start with, get extra hours to get their immune system activated. Those who breathe in a large dose, perhaps don’t have time to react before they are overwhelmed.

The idea of viral load being important has been around for a long time. Before vaccines, people would sometimes try to protect themselves from smallpox by inoculating themselves with tiny doses of the real deal. It was called Variolation, and must have been a dangerous game to play. (And we think we are hard done by).

There is at least a new study on Covid  (Pujadas et al ) which shows that viral load at diagnosis is an independent predictor of mortality. Though this doesn’t tell us necessarily about viral loads at the time of infection.

Mask wearing explains some of the paradoxes of Covid-19. All around the world, there are big variations of both the death rates and the estimates of how many people are asymptomatic.  Case Fatality rates range from 2% to 14%, and countries which wear masks or mandated masks tend to have a lower death rate. There are hints that the first wave iun some places was much more deadly than the second, but little evidence that this was due to mutations. Could it be due to mask wearing (as well as Vitamin D in summer, and a younger demographic)?

There are not many studies in humans, because of ethical questions but there are animal studies:

study published in May by scientists at Public Health England’s National Infection Service at Porton Down, Salisbury, gave ferrets varying doses of Sars-Cov-2 and found a clear difference in outcomes.

Animals given high and medium doses contracted the virus and suffered many of the same ailments as humans. But a low dose “appeared to result in infection of only one ferret”. It also escaped the worst effects of the disease, with no scarring of its lungs or fatigue reported. — Paul Nuki, The Telegraph.

And we know it matters for the Flu:

 A major 2010 study of influenza A concluded that there was a clear relationship between the infectious dose of that virus and patient outcomes. ….  one retrospective study of the 1918 Spanish Flu finds the much higher fatalities seen in its second and third waves can be explained entirely by people being exposed to a larger infectious dose rather than a mutation in the virus, as has previously been assumed.

– Paul Nuki, The Telegraph.

In 2015, researchers tested this concept in human volunteers using a nonlethal flu virus and found the same result. The higher the flu virus dose given to the volunteers, the sicker they became.

Monica Ghandi, Inverse.com

At this point we need to know whether low dose exposure and an asymptomatic infection also helps us avoid the silent heart damage and other potentially longer term problems. Then we need to know whether an asymptomatic infection gives long term protection, or even a reduction in symptoms the next time around.

Masks are so cheap compared to all the other options. It seems crazy not to use them while we wait to get past the Medical Swamp and get cheaper treatments approved. The more masks we use, the less excuse there is for all the other pandemic control measures.

h/t to useful tips and discussion over the months from Slithers,  Rudi K, Meglort, Bulldust, Heber Rizzo, TdeF, cedarhill, A C Osborn, Sunni Bakchat, Orson, DOC, Konrad, Annie, ren, PTR, bobl, Stephen Wilde, David A, Rud Istvan.

Other posts on masks:

REFERENCES

MedCram Video

Ghandi et al (2020) Masks Do More Than Protect Others During COVID-19: Reducing the Inoculum of SARS-CoV-2 to Protect the Wearer, Journal of General Internal Medicine.  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-06067-8

Pujadas E, Chaudhry F, McBride R, et al. SARS-CoV-2 viral load predicts COVID-19 mortality. Lancet Respir Med 2020; published online Aug 6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30354-4

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A quarter of UK drivers won’t even buy an Electric car “in their lifetimes”

The UK parliament has decided to phase out fossil fueled cars entirely by 2040 or even 2035,  but right now only 4% of the UK public are even planning to buy an EV, which makes it a very forced transition.  Forty four percent say they won’t even be ready in fifteen years time, and a quarter effectively say “over my dead body”.

Half of Britons say a 2035 deadline to switch to an electric car is too soon!

Rob Hull and Grace Gausden, ThisIsMoney.co.uk

But despite the growing availability and wider selection of motors to choose from, a survey commissioned by the SMMT found that almost half of drivers are not only unprepared to make a transition to zero-emission motoring now but don’t think they will be in 2035 – five years ahead of the existing deadline for the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars to be banished.

A quarter (24 per cent) of the 2,185 drivers interviewed claimed they don’t foresee themselves ever buying an electric car in their lifetimes, despite the impeding ban in 2040.

96% say they are not even thinking of buying one at the moment

Hardly anyone wants to buy an Electric Car in the UK

Peter Campbell Financial Times

The number of people in the UK planning to purchase an electric vehicle has collapsed as the pandemic squeezed finances for potential car buyers, according to a leading online automotive portal. A survey by Auto Trader of 2,300 consumers in January found 16 per cent were planning to buy a battery-only car. But in an August survey of 2,700 people, just 4 per cent were considering a pure electric car.

The two big reasons cited are the lack of charging points and the cost — even though the government effectively does a  £3,000 cashback deal to help sell them.

Government subsidies for electric cars were cut in March from £3,500 to £3,000, although the benefit does not apply for used vehicles.

In tight pandemic times, EV’s are so unpopular people don’t even want a second hand EV. The average selling prices for second hand EV’s fell 5% in August.

Since the tiny number of electric vehicles we have in Australia are already causing the odd blackout, UK Grid managers must be slightly relieved. The UK Minister for the Environment, not so much.

h/t GWPF

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Green groups save the coal underground but destroy the forest above

Raze trees to save the coal deposits

Building the future one log at a time.

Thanks to climate activists, coal deposits underground are safe but Europe’s old forests are being converted to industrial plantations and wood pellets

 Pierre Gosselin of NoTricksZone thinks the media, which raged over Brazil’s Amazonian forest fires may be finally noticing their own man-made disaster.

The ARD’s “Das Erste” reports how satellite images show deforestation has risen 49% since 2016 in Sweden, Finland and the Baltic countries. The reason: “Because of the CO2 targets.

Who needs massive hardwoods anyway?

For “CO2-neutral” wood pellets

Where once massive hardwoods once stood now grows tiny fir trees. The harvested trees, the report says, were used for wood pellets – a form of renewable green energy. The trees, the pellet industry says, will grow back.

Not only are the forests taking a hit, but so is the wildlife that once inhabited in them. According to Ms. Steinberg, bird life has fallen some 25%. “It’s wasted. Now we have to start all over again.”

 The problem is particularly severe in Estonia where one sixth of the forest has been razed since just 2001 to feed the worlds second largest pellet company.

 Estonia is beginning to see the cost of wood pellets. Is North Carolina next?

Elizabeth Ouzts, Energy News Network

“The main driver of the pellet industry in Estonia is the renewable energy subsidies by the European Union,” said Asko Lõhmus, lead research fellow of conservation biology at the University of Tartu. “They are making the richest people in Estonia out of European taxpayers’ money.”

Carbon accounting tricks kill forests:

 Under an international accounting framework, wood pellet emissions are tracked in the land use sector (where trees and plants soak up and store carbon) rather than in the energy sector (where burning fossil fuels emit carbon.) Countries that burn wood pellets for electricity count their emissions as zero and heavily subsidize the fuel.

Estonia lost 15% of its forest cover since 2001, with only a fraction getting replaced with new tree canopy. Data from the Ministry of Environment show more and more land is clear cut or cut to leave only middle-aged trees that can produce seeds.

That trend has cut against Estonian’s official appeal to tourists…

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Tuesday Open Thread

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Good news: Mystery cases falling fast in Victoria, staying low in Sydney

Finally, some unexpectedly good news on community spread in Victoria:

Untrackable new cases in Victoria are drying up.  The incidence of community spread cases with an unknown source are every epidemiologists nightmare. So their absence is a marker of how well the restrictions work– and whether the “fire” is under control. It’s cheery news.

Community spread is the number that matters most — more than daily infections. Known cases can be track-and-traced. Unknown cases mean whole clusters are spreading invisibly and restrictions need to be wider. Despite the depressing schedule planned in Victoria, if this reduction in unknown cases is sustained, then other options for pandemic management become possible.  The NSW-style-management with intense tracking and tracing may suddenly become an option within weeks.  (Though there may be a 50 case spike tomorrow just to prove me wrong.) Tracking and tracing works best at lower levels, and becomes overwhelming quickly as the number of clusters rise.

With strong restrictions, the exponential rise in infections can become an exponential fall. Where before each person might infect three new people, now three people staying home are only infecting one (or something like that). Two lines get extinguished instead of amplified, as the virus runs out of fresh bodies to hijack.

Victorians, no doubt, are fed up to the nth with lockdowns. At least a graph like this shows the end is in sight, and the isolates have achieved something. It augurs well.

Victoria, unknown cases of Covid-19, Sept 2020. Graph

Victoria, unknown cases of Covid-19, March to Sept 2020.

Unknown cases in NSW are also graphed (in blue, above) for comparison (and below in more detail). The spread in the Victorian community was vastly larger than what NSW faced in March when many cases were from overseas.

Don’t confuse this graph up for Daily New Cases, which are still coming in this week at 112, 79, 64, 59, 36…. New infections are still popping up, but mostly they are connected to known outbreaks, which are easier to manage (usually).

The Victorian modeling of how long strict conditions need to run apparently doesn’t take this into account. So the harsh conditions are likely to end sooner than expected as long as people stay distant.

The modelling did not attempt to estimate the number of community transmission “mystery cases” in the weeks ahead, nor did it model differing risks of transmission in industries like healthcare and meatworks.

The makeup of cases each day is important in determining the risk of a resurgence.

This is especially promising when we consider how well NSW is doing.

For the last two months NSW has danced with the tiger and kept daily new mystery source cases under 5.

Given that this was in winter, in a big city, this is good news too. This appears to be quite the success with tracking and tracing, and presumably with compliance.

NSW, unknown cases of Covid-19, Sept 2020. Graph

NSW, unknown cases of Covid-19, June to September 2020.

Currently there are a stream of random closures of schools or gyms and resturants. Sydneysiders can have gatherings of up to 20 people at one time. Funerals, with 100. Weddings with 150 people. Large sporting events are limited to 500.  Stadiums are at 25% capacity.

The problem is, of course, that NSW is running along a razor thin fence, one superspreader event away from bad news, and while they are moving a lot more than they were during the official lockdowns of April, it is still below normal levels.

Let’s hope the numbers stay this low. At least in Australia, days are getting longer, and the sun and Vitamin D are rising.

Data:

NSW restrictions.

  • Community Transmissions:
  • https://covidlive.com.au/report/daily-community-transmission/vic
  • https://covidlive.com.au/report/daily-community-transmission/nsw
  • Covid deaths Australia: https://www.covid19data.com.au/deaths
  • Covid demographics Australia: https://www.covid19data.com.au/demographics
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The incredible arrogance of Andrews in The State of Incompetance

What does an apology even mean?

Victoria, Map Australia, VIC.While the New Zealand Public service took a pay cut of 20%, in Victoria, MPs and Public servants got a pay rise of 2%. Dan Andrews will take home an extra $46,000 per annum despite presiding over the most costly public policy failure in Australian history. The private sector pays for the mistakes, while the public sector earns even more.

Dan Andrews asks so much, but gives so little. And it is a scandal that so many cheap, well known treatments and preventions are not being tested in large trials — Vitamin D, HCQ, Ivermectin, and all the other potential anti-virals like Interferon, Bromhexine, Melatonin, steroids, asthma drugs etc etc.

Voters slam ‘unfair’ public sector pay rise

Adam Creighton, The Australian

Private sector wages in Victoria dropped by $1.9bn in the June quarter, while wages in the public sector increased by $88m, according to the IPA’s analysis…

The poll, of just over 1000 Victorians, found only 7 per cent supported the 2 per cent pay rise that MPs and public servants received in July…

In the last five years, the Victorian population grew 12% but the bill for public servants wages grew by 40%.

Robert Gottliebsen wonders if “the state and its bureaucracy simply don’t have the skills to manage a crisis of this magnitude”. Look at the legal charges someone may face:

The unwillingness of anyone to take responsibility is multiplied by the fact that, if there is an occupational health and safety conviction, the minister and senior bureaucrats in the department involved are in danger of being charged with industrial manslaughter which carries a maximum $16.5 million fine and 25 years in jail.

Robert Gottleibsen lists the mistakes: There is Big-Government incompetence in every level

1. The well known hotel quarantine union and diversity hire failures. Emblematic of how inept it was: security staff got one hour of diversity training but no time in infection control.

2. People who tested positive were not notified quickly enough. What was the point of mass testing if the results were not used to stop infections spreading? This failure neutralized the success of mass testing

3. Not enough contact tracing. Test positivity in Victoria is ten times higher than NSW. Per infection, NSW is doing more testing.

What to do with Victoria and the virus is a wicked problem and Sophie’s choice.

More soon on the ugly complexities of melding the mess of virology, business and democratic wishes.

 

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Ran out of arguments? Extinction Rebellion ban newspapers instead

Extinction Rebellion blockade the Murdoch Press in the UK because climate reporting is supposed to be one-sided

After thirty years of saturation media on climate change, XR realize there is absolutely nothing new they could say that hasn’t already been said 4,000 times. So they attack the newspapers that put forward a few opposing views among the wall-to-wall propaganda.This helps keep the compliant newspapers in line.

So any self respecting editor ought be asking: If Extinction Rebellion aren’t blocking us, what are we doing wrong?

Pity the poor newsagents and delivery  boys and girls who lost money so XR could do grand-standing camping, blocking trucks and newspapers from getting out.

Extinction Rebellion: Printworks protest ‘completely unacceptable’ says Boris Johnson

More than 100 protesters used vehicles and bamboo lock-ons to block roads outside the printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, near Liverpool. By Saturday morning, police said some 63 people had been arrested.

The presses print the Rupert Murdoch-owned News UK’s titles including The SunThe TimesThe Sun on Sunday and The Sunday Times, as well as The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, and the London Evening Standard.

 If only they had evidence instead of bamboo sticks?

@MartinDaubney    #ExtinctionRebellion

The police were there to protect the protestors right to damage other people?

Hypocrisy is everywhere.

Ian  Austin of The Telegraph commented “on the Hertfordshire Police’s pathetic response. “

 

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What It’s Like Getting Censored on YouTube

By AwakenWithJP. Posted by David E.

Yup.

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.” — George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

“Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners.” — George Carlin

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Weekend Unthreaded

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How to ignore 94% of Covid deaths?

Be wary of junk data and junk conclusions

Death data has become a political tool (stretched both up and down by vested interests). We’ve all heard of the motorcyclist who crashed into the Covid tally, and the payments for US docs. We know there’s junk data out there, but the suggestion we only count deaths “from” Covid, and not the deaths “with” Covid is unscientific in the extreme.

Stick with me. We all want WuFlu to be nothing, but scientists and skeptics need to pick their targets carefully. Don’t lose sight of the real scandal and the real solutions. It’s a travesty that people are dying while cheap vitamins and antivirals are being ignored. Let’s fight for Vitamin D, HCQ, Ivermectin, and all the other potentials like Interferon, Bromhexine, Melatonin, steroids, asthma drugs etc etc. But let’s not get distracted by a hopeful fantasy that the true US  “death tally” is only 6% of Covid deaths in the US.

There’s an idea out there that only 9,680 people have died of Covid in the US, not 161,392 people. It’s because of this CDC quote:

“For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death. “

Ask yourself: Does Diabetes protect you from Covid?

Think it through. In this scenario, in order to be considered a real coronavirus death, the deceased not only have to have been tested, they can’t have any other contributing factor listed on the death certificate. Which means effectively that people with high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease, asthma, diabetes now cannot possibly die of Covid. (Won’t they be glad to hear that?) Nor can people who don’t get tested. And nor can obese people — unless they slim down first, then die.

In a world where only 6% of the US Covid death tally are truly due to Covid, you can protect yourself from Covid by getting fat, not getting tested and getting diabetes. I don’t think so.

Deaths are not simple one-cause events

Most deaths are due to a bunch of bad factors overwhelming the system. The only pure deaths are things like bullets to the head (in homocide, not even in suicide which has its own collection of contributing factors). Death certificates reflect that, allowing doctors to list a lot of contributing factors (read ZdoggMD for a US doctors perspective). The 6% of certificates which didn’t list other factors may represent 10,000 totally healthy people cut down ahead of time, which is it’s own tragedy, surely. But, mundanely, it may also represent that some busy distracted doctors don’t always fill in the form properly.

The question that matters is: How much longer would victims have lived if Covid hadn’t hit them?

We will all die sometime. What matters is whether we are losing people who would have lived years longer. The average age of death in the US might be 78, but that means about half the population expects to live to be older than that. Some 78 year olds have a lot to contribute. Sometime in the next four years, the leader of the free world will be 78.

The average 78 year old can still expect to live ten more years.

So people with co-morbidites are at higher risk of dying of Covid, but someone with high blood pressure can survive years with the condition. Covid may trigger their early death, but if the US borders had been shut in time, that same person might have survived for another decade of holiday and family moments. Another decade of voting and adding a long-life perspective to younger generations.

The real toll of Covid may be higher than the listed Covid deaths

Get ready: Rather than being 6% of the official tally, there are credible arguments that the real tally is probably higher than the official tally, not lower. The US is not testing adequately, the test positivity is still above 5%, and for large periods it’s been as high as 15%. Australia’s test positivity has mostly been below 1%. We know there are many missed cases in the USA.

Mortality counts are far higher than Covid deaths alone:

Nationwide, 223,900 more people have died than usual from March 15 to Aug. 8, according to C.D.C. estimates, which adjust current death records to account for typical reporting lags. That number is 62,000 higher than the official count of coronavirus deaths for that period. Higher-than-normal death rates are now widespread across the country; only Alaska and Hawaii, states outside the contiguous United States, show numbers that look similar to recent years. – New York Times.

So 60,000 extra people have died in the pandemic above and beyond the covid deaths listed on death certificates. Some of them were due to the pandemic, and not due to Covid. But equally, some of them were due to Covid in people that didn’t get tested. There were people who died from heart attacks and strokes who wouldn’t have died if they weren’t afraid to visit hospital during an epidemic. We know people died of cancer due to delays in treatments. We know people in homes died because their families couldn’t get in to see them and report neglect, or changes that only loved ones can spot.  We know people died because of the way governments responded to the pandemic — but some of these people, or even more, would have died even if there were no lockdowns. If the virus ran free in the population, more high risk people would have been afraid to visit the local ER.

For every motorcyclist who was listed as a Covid death — and shouldn’t have been — there might have been ten heart attacks or strokes in people who didn’t realize they had Covid. Ambulance officers reported turning up to homes to find people sitting up with blood oxygen saturation levels we thought were impossible — a classic sign of covid-19.

We need to know excess deaths for the next ten years

Has Covid lowered life expectancy in a measurable way? Anyone who claims to know the definitive answer at this stage is making stuff up.

All death statistics now are subject to change. Three quarters of mild to moderate Covid cases showed signs of heart damage. How do we know if a heart attack victim who wasn’t tested for Covid had an infection that ultimately caused their death? We don’t.

Only changes to excess deaths in coming years will reveal how many effective years Covid has stolen from people. We’ll never know on an individual basis, but only on a population-wide basis as we plot ongoing changes in deaths due to many conditions. Will there be a drop in stroke deaths next year because people at high risk of strokes died a year too soon? Has Covid fished out the high risk people from 100% or only from 20% of the population?

After the pandemic has long gone, PhD’s will be made by studying graphs of excess mortality from various conditions in various towns.  Will there by a dip in mortality figures “after the virus” — a classic sign that the virus took only a short time off the tally, or will the spike stand above the norms, marking deaths of people who died too young? Will there be fewer stroke victims in 2021 because they died in 2020, or will strokes continue at much the same rate?

The Cause of Death is not singular or obvious

Death is a complex event with a chain of dependent variables, which all contribute to the outcome. The true cause of death is often impossible to know without a full autopsy, and sometimes even with one.

To understand how complicated this is, read the 8 page coroner’s report on Patricia Dowd, possibly the first Covid death in the US. She was 57, with no known cardiac risk factors, but was overweight. To accurately figure out what caused her death took hours of work by someone with years of medical training, plus many blood tests, a long write up, and a cost of $3,000 to $5,000.

Her cause of death is listed — somewhat ambiguously, and in desperate need of punctuation — as:

“Acute Hemopericardium due to Rupture of Left Ventricle due to transmural myocardial ischemia (Infarction) with a minor component of myocarditis due to Covid-19 infection.”  Feb 10th 2020

SARS-Cov2 RNA was detected in Dowd’s heart, trachea, lung, and intestine. She had no coronary atherosclerosis or thombosis. She complained of a “flu like illness” in the days leading up to her death. But, since she was foolish enough to have one comorbidity (excess weight and a BMI of 31, possibly by following the recommended low fat diet), she would later be described by some as “died with covid” not “died from covid”.  So even though her heart was officially described as “rupturing”, which was broadcast in many sensational headlines, some people appear to be saying it is just a coincidence that she died at the same time as she had a Covid diagnosis. Seriously?

Even car accidents can be caused by Covid

It sounds ridiculous. But it’s even possible that people who died of road trauma might not have if they weren’t infected. How many? Who knows. We’ll have to wait for those excess death studies, and even then we won’t know for sure. I make the point only to show how complicated the cause of death can be.

Imagine someone with early stage Covid, untested and unaware that they were sick. Rapidly sinking into fatigue, they they make a stupid driving error that they wouldn’t have made if they weren’t infected. This sort of thing often happens, even just with the spring daylight savings transition.

Study links daylight saving time to 28 fatal car accidents per year in the US

The evidence shows about a six percent increase in the risk of fatal traffic accidents in the week after the time change each spring. In other words, more than 28 fatal accidents could be prevented yearly in the U.S. if the DST transition were abolished. The effect is especially pronounced in the morning hours and in locations further west within a time zone.

Since it was first introduced, the spring transition to DST has been linked to a variety of problems, including increased risk of heart attack, workplace accidents, and suicides. There had been evidence suggesting an increased risk of car accidents, too.  (Fritz et al, 2020)*

The cause of a driving death is often a judgement mistake, and we know Covid infections cause cognitive deficits, loss of attention, dizziness, and fatigue. In other words, a true post mortem would take a PhD thesis length analysis of their past driving record, level of illness, type of mistake, sleep patterns, etc. etc. ad infinitum — and we probably still couldn’t say for sure whether they would be alive  today if they hadn’t had Covid.

What looks like, smells like and acts like a deadly pandemic?

A wave of excess deaths is traveling around the world. The places with the highest peaks in excess deaths also happen to have the largest positive tests to coronavirus RNA. Coincidence? They also have the highest rates of healthcare worker morbidity and mortality.

Twelve days after quarantine restrictions start or significantly increase in severity, the rate of new infections drops off to a lower rate of exponential growth. People change their behavior in reaction to this new threat as they learn more about it, which is constantly changing all our statistics. It’s highly dynamic situation.

Covid is known to cause major blood clotting which damages organs. It has caused strokes, heart attacks, heart damage, low oxygen levels, and kidney damage, even in mild to moderate cases. There is still much we don’t know about it. Covid probably came out of a Chinese biowarfare lab. Is there something they know about it that we don’t yet? Is it significant that the Chinese put on the most strenuous quarantine measures to date, stricter than any other country? Or is that just another coincidence?

Ominously, there are now four known cases of reinfection only months after the original infection.

* * *

It’s a hot contentious topic. Sorry if it’s not what some what to hear, but thanks greatly to those who stuck with this and read this far. Kudos to skeptics who maintain civility and accurate language even when they passionately disagree. Civil debate is what makes skeptics great.

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REFERENCES

Current Biology, Fritz et al.: “A Chronobiological Evaluation of the Acute Effects of Daylight Saving Time on Traffic Accident Risk” www.cell.com/current-biology/f … 0960-9822(19)31678-1 , DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.12.045

* Fritz et al say that there were no lives saved in the fall, though this seems rather odd:  “there were no effects of the fall-back transition to Standard Time (ST) on MVA risk“.

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Thursday Open Thread

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Climate change causes car fires

 

Don’t try this at home:

Premature energy release can ruin your whole day.

h/t Jim Simpson

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Extinction Rebellion founder suggests bullets may improve the climate

What happens when delusional people can’t convince the masses to agree with them

Fury as Extinction Rebellion founder say MPs and business owners ‘should have bullet put through their heads’

The Sun, Sept 2, 2020

A BRITISH co-founder of Extinction Rebellion sparked fury after suggesting MPs and business owners “should have a bullet through their heads”.

Ex-organic farmer Roger Hallam criticised the people “who run society” – saying they were “culpable” for the climate catastrophe.

In a recording obtained by Guido, the 54-year-old was heard saying:

They [leaders] are exponentially more culpable for climate catastrophe.

“1990 might as well give them six months in prison, now maybe you should put a bullet through their head – or rather someone probably will.”

The real crime are the leaders and journalists who feed the delusions for their own profit and power. Creating things like pap declarations of “Climate Emergencies”. They are not just symbolism, they become the license for extreme responses. It’s a psychological and legal tool where people can both justify their own reckless behaviour to themselves, but also to justify dangerous acts of civil disobedience in a court.

Not long back Roger Hallam was calling for Nuremberg style trials.

The founder of Extinction Rebellion wants those responsible for climate change to face Nuremberg-style trials.

Roger Hallam also called for a ‘World War Two mobilisation’ of society, with rationing and the confiscation of private property.

Asked how those responsible for climate change should be dealt with, he told The Times: ‘The question will be who’s culpable, in the same way [as] with the Nazis.

He added that ‘maybe [we] should put a bullet in the head’ as punishment.

A bullet here, and a bullet there, and pretty soon we’ll be talking about a bloody revolution.

Extinction Rebellion responded that this was old news, and they’re resolutely non-violent now. Roger Hallam supposedly said this a year ago and is not formally involved any more. But there is no denying that he and Gail Bradbrook co-founded Extinction Rebellion. They set up the movement after she was inspired by a hallucinogenic experience. Bradbrook happily admitted that she flew 11,000 air miles to Costa Rica for a holiday in 2016 where she took the drugs. She “tripped” in every sense of the word, and flew home to the UK to start a movement, separate from her family, end a marriage and “that was the right thing to do”.

Hallam likes bullets and socialist governments:

If we’re going to have a possibility of living, we’re looking at mass socialistic organisation.”

As Guido says: Socialism brought about by the barrel of a gun. History shows where this leads…

h/t Colin

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