COVID-19 What do we really know? Part three

Sunny day here in Victoria BC. A bit too warm for me. Another three days or so and all will be revealed on our travel destination. Along with a recounting of our adventures along the way.

Right we’ve done the history of SARS/COV-2 and the mortality, which is a little higher than seasonal flu, but not by that much. So, what’s next on the list Bill?

Today’s little missive isn’t masks, I covered that here, although I wonder about why people are being forced to wear the bloody things at this late stage of the game. It’s counter-intuitive because the figures say that the death count is bumping along the bottom and the increase in cases can be firmly laid at the door of increased testing, false positives and obsessive stats gathering on a pandemic virus that has long since morphed into an endemic disease. The long and short of it is ; if you haven’t had a bout of SARS/COV-2 (Coving-19) by now you’re not going to catch it unless you’ve been living in splendid isolation on a remote mountain top. Masks at this point are effectively worthless in non-professional use.

The subject of my blog post today is treatments. How good are they? What is the reduction of mortality for each upon which I touched briefly yesterday with Dr Campbell’s video on Vitamin D, which, taken as a prophylactic (Protective) supplement tablet dose between 2,000-3,000 International Units (UI) a day can reduce vulnerability. Must be taken daily for the first four days as it takes that long to percolate into your system. Thereafter a dose of 1,000UI every day will suffice if you can’t get any sunbathing in.

For those of you unwilling to sit through the good Doctors presentation, Vitamin D reduces the admission to ICU ratio of the infected from 50% to, wait for it 2%. Two percent Bill? Hells bells, that’s a big reduction and no mistake where do I get me some of that? Answer, on the ‘supplements’ shelves in your local pharmacy or health food store. Cod liver oil capsules work too. Three 500UI capsules a day to start with, then decrease to two thereafter will give you a rough equivalent dose.

Children and those under twenty don’t have to worry too much. Get them out in the sunshine to play or laze about (Not hard with most teenagers). Up to age 25 or 6 you’re usually pretty bulletproof anyway, unless the viral load is so heavy it’s like playing in raw sewage, like in a hospital or care home, or you are wearing a cloth mask that doesn’t get washed properly after each use. So a daily top up dose of 500-1000UI may be enough to send SARS/COV-2 packing with a flea in it’s ear.

For dealing with actual infections rather than as a pure prophylactic dose, something a bit more heavy duty is required. Fortunately a Belgian study has confirmed that ICU admissions can be significantly reduced in the case of SARS/COV-2 by as much as thirty percent and the subsequent mortality even further. Okay, Bill, so what is this miracle drug? Okay, I’ll tell you, but I won’t be responsible for the screaming from certain people. It’s our old anti-malarial friend Hydroxychloraquine with zinc supplement and the antibiotic Azithromycin. It works. We have data to prove it. It’s cheap and available and the dose is the standard anti-malarial regimen of 400mg on the first and second days and 200mg thereafter up to seven days total. Any more is far too much, as other studies have shown. HCQ, I might add, is no good on it’s own, but in tandem with zinc supplements taken orally and a suitable antibiotic has been shown to be an effective treatment when applied in the early stages of infection.

Yes, yes, that horrible Trump man said it might be worth looking into, so some of you will be leaping up and down like demented chimps, but sorry chaps, the science is in. This treatment works when applied correctly. Throw the masks away and stop waiting for that vaccine. There are workable treatments. So, pandemic over. Sorry if the drama levels have dropped below those you feel vindicates your hysterical world-view. No I’m not. I lied.

For the curious; the HCQ/Zinc/Azithromycin regime works as follows; HCQ allows a gateway for the zinc into the right cells, the zinc blocking SARS/COV-2 from using your white cells as a nursery to breed more SARS/COV-2. The antibiotic Azithromycin is tacked on to the treatment regimen as a broad spectrum mop up for any bacterial infections that try to take advantage while your immune system is depressed by the viral infection.

Other anti-viral treatments seem to be efficacious too. Most protease inhibitors used to treat other coronaviruses seem to have some reduction in the viruses ability to replicate and so threaten people’s well being. Remdesivir, Ivermectin and a few others reduce the viruses impact too. One suggested treatment that was being researched back in June was an anti-viral routinely used on cats for heavens sake.

So yes, there are worthwhile (and cheap) treatments out there, but too many politicians seem to be too frightened to make a judgement call and let the doctors do their thing. In the meantime society and the economy is being destabilised by the fearmongers who need to be taken out and thrown in a cesspit to see if they can swim. Maybe they’ll feel right at home.

COVID-19 What do we really know? Part two

Right, while Mrs S is waiting for her conference call with the rest of our globally extended family, I am going to proceed with my series of blog posts about SARS/COV-2 and what is understood about it. Now we’ve looked at the origins of this infection, but what about the mortality? There are a lot of hysterical stories about it, but how bad is this infection, really? Who is most likely to die and how does it stack up against other infections and accidents?

Okay, this is a bit of a high dive into available data and not a direct comparison, because most of those numbers simply aren’t available for 2020. There’s influenza mortality figures and overall death tallies for comparison, so, spoiler alert; this will not be a direct comparison because none will be available until all the data is in.

Now the current global death tally for all SARS/COV-2 associated mortality, is at the time of writing in early September 2020, well under a million. A quick explanation of ‘associated mortality’ is pertinent at this point. Essentially this is the number of deaths of people found to have died from a coronavirus, and those tested positive post mortem, regardless of the cause of death, for fragments of a coronavirus. Not specifically for SARS/COV-2 (COVID-19).

Unfortunately this is because a number of the testing regimens in use will interpret any type of coronavirus as SARS/COV-2 with a high proportion of high positives and false negatives due to the viral loading methodology which can concentrate any sample between 30 to 40 times.

So the average deaths from influenza type infections, estimated by the WHO at between 250 and 500,000 and this peer reviewed paper here are starting to look a bit samey, especially as the attribution criteria lobs all causes of deaths with those who have actually directly died from SARS/COV-2 in with those who tested positive using the flawed testing data. As well as the widely repeated rumour that some health authorities have been over egging the SARS/COV-2 pudding more than a little. Died from a heart attack but tested positive for a coronavirus? SARS/COV-2. Run over by a bus while suffering from a mild sniffle? Likewise. This is no way to get an accurate picture of the pandemic, which is now so widespread it can be said to be endemic, like all the other coughs, colds and sniffles out there.

Notwithstanding, the deaths actually caused by SARS/COV-2 are real, but for the greater bulk of the population the risk is minimal, especially for those who have the good fortune to have adopted a suburban lifestyle with good personal hygiene and plenty of personal space. Likewise for those under the age of 65. For those over 40, the risk is higher than for thirty-somethings, whilst for those under thirty, the risk is almost infinitesimal.

Some negative variance has been found for those with darker skins due to vitamin D deficiency in high latitudes, also for those living in close quarters with a lot of others and poor personal hygiene. The initial high figures from China for example were likely due to cramped living conditions and less than salubrious living conditions. Having seen a number of Chinese social media posts, I have formed the opinion that the living conditions of the average Chinese worker are less than ideal. Although this will hold true for any population in similar straits.

The same goes for European care home deaths where people are often closeted far too close together. Having seen the inside of many of these facilities, both in the UK and Canada, often with pervasive odours of unstable bowels and bladders, I’m not surprised at the scythe that runs through them every cold and flu season. Care homes and similar accommodation are for seasonal respiratory infections, a target rich environment. They are full of people already too sick with age. Similarly for health care workers who have to share that environment.

From the available figures, those most at risk are what is called ‘immunocompromised‘. Specifically those with a serious chronic health problem like type 2 Diabetes, a chronic respiratory condition or are suffering from a severely depressed immune system like with HIV infections or Leukaemia. Those in general good health are unlikely to be overly affected. At least this is what the data tells us.

For myself, my major risk factors are currently restriction related stress and lack of sleep, so I take the precaution of keeping my system topped up with Vitamins C, D every other day and a once weekly zinc and magnesium (Zinc for anti-viral, Magnesium for absorption) supplement. This is only sensible. On the whole I’m relying on my GP’s longstanding advice for moderate exercise (at least a 2-3km stroll daily) in the fresh air and a balanced diet including fresh fruit where available. The old ‘apple a day’ strategy. Which seems to work.

As for vitamin D, see Dr Campbell’s video below;

Nice to see the science is keeping up with my old GP’s advice.

COVID-19 What do we really know? Part one

A better nights sleep last night, so I’m feeling more alert and focused. I’ve had my morning coffee so, what’s the post today Bill?

Okay, here we go. While I’ve got a few days free I’m going to write a series of posts on what we (I) really know about SARS/COV-2 (COVID-19). Now I think I’ve done my due diligence on my sources and will cite them where available online. Or where they were because of the attempts to divert people towards a narrative that supports the politics of the situation, because this whole pandemic has diffused into one stinking shitpile of confused political cackhandedness. I will also refer to my training in these matters and any personal knowledge derived from employment and study. With a soupcon of my usual sarcasm, of course.

First stop on this train of thought is; where did this bug come from?

All the available evidence points to the original coronavirus being a zoonotic, a transfer from a species of Chinese bat via their urine and / or faeces to humans. Not from ‘bat soup’ or all the other confused fairy tales spun in the more hysterical end of the mass media, but from a research project at the Wuhan Institute of Virology into a respiratory disease that killed three Chinese copper miners as far back as 2012.

See this article in the UK Times. There was also an excellent perspective in the UK Financial Times back in May / June 2020, but that’s deep behind a paywall. If anyone finds the link in their feeds, I will attach it to this post.

We know about the originating infection (RaTG13) because back in 2013, one particular researcher from the Wuhan lab was being lauded on Chinese state media as ‘heroic’ for collecting faecal samples from the cave system where the now deceased copper miners had contracted the original virus. This was Chinese science at it’s finest, we were told. To give the Chinese authorities credit for their good intentions, they were probably seeking a cure, not a biological weapon to use against the West. The Chinese wanted the copper, the virus killed copper miners, making a valuable resource inaccessible. So a treatment had to be found.

We can also be fairly certain that the particular coronavirus we have all learned to love and hate, official designation SARS/COV-2, was in all probability an accidental release. The Wuhan lab at the centre of the outbreak had come under criticism for lax containment protocols as far back as 2017, with lab researchers wearing street clothes pictured injecting bats.

So it is not a massive leap of the imagination to think about one of the researchers, contaminated with or by the coronavirus mutated from bat faeces, popping out to the local market and spreading the infection onto live seafood and thence all the other people who visited the market. Probable release of this variant into the wild, so to speak, is probably sometime in November 2019. From where it spread rapidly across the world and caused most of the mainstream media and progressive politicians to activate their panic chips and completely lose their minds.

So. That’s my understanding of the SARS/COV-2 (COVID-19) origin story and is as honest as I can make it with the resources available. If anyone has some credible information to add to the above, I’ll be happy to update and amend.

Where’d you hear that then?

Another few days before our flight leaves. I’m still a bit keyed up and sleeping badly, getting by on a less than healthy four to five hours a night. Avoiding watching the news because most of it’s total crap and speculative churnalism. Our airline keeps us up to date via email with all the restrictions and we’ll just have to wait until we’re airborne before I relax a little. At the moment I’m contemplating the use of chemical assistance to get a good night’s repose tonight because all the insomnia is doing me no good at all.

We have cable TV at our hotel. Three hundred channels of absolute crap, with five minutes of adverts every twelve minutes, which means Mrs S and I find ourselves watching Amazon Prime movies and TV seasons on my laptop in the late evening when we tire of downtown’s highly restricted pleasures. The mainstream news is currently little better than clickbait and propaganda. So we don’t bother with it.

It’s not the pandemic costing me sleep, which has turned out to be rather a damp squib, comparatively speaking. The figures overstated by slaveringly enthusiastic mass media, gleefully pushing a narrative that has little to do with reality. My sleeplessness is primarily down to worrying about what the panicking fearmongers will do. Getting a bout of SARS/COV-2 itself seems child’s play in comparison. Yes it’s a nasty bug, but nowhere near as bad as advertised. But I repeat myself. See Tony Heller’s video below. It’s the craziness of those in authority which has me sweating, not the virus.

What else? Oh yes. Apparently this blog is all WRONG!!!!!!! According to some drone who failed to read the notes above my ‘contact me’ form that is. Well bless my raddled soul. I never knew. Swelp me sideways guv, there’s a turn up for the books and no mistake. I’m wrong. As wrong as wrong can be. Well, fancy that. According to whom, might one enquire?

Whenever I find myself faced with a drone or NPC type spouting what can only be described as information-lite propaganda, I have a little saying; “Where’d you hear that then?” occasionally followed by “CNN?” or some other discredited mainstream news source, delivered with a mocking grin.

For example; when someone declaims “But it’s science, innit?”
I generally reply “Which science is that? Please be specific.” Which they never can, they just say everyone else thinks so, or regurgitate some rather fanciful press release, which is enough to convince them. Which is odd because ‘science’ is the process of investigation to add to our body of knowledge, not the body of knowledge itself. It’s a fine, but highly valid distinction.

Gods but I can be really annoying (He said gleefully). This stance can be quite a lot of fun, especially when a froth mouthed opponent looks up into my gently mocking smile and realises that if they escalate they will be in deep, deep doo-doo. They will generally have to look up, because I’m a big guy. Which can put a potential assailant off their game. Then there’s the Ju-jitsu if push comes to shove. Because it’s much easier to defend than attack if you know how.

Regardless, when it comes to information, I like to go to primary source material wherever possible. Not secondhand accounts like newspapers. Failing that, I read the financial pages, because that’s where all the real news is. The Brownian motion of stocks and shares. Market trends. Restructurings. In the UK it’s the Financial Times. In Canada the rather milquetoast Financial Post. None of the other newspapers give you any information worth spit. All else, I have found, is mostly mere speculation, op-eds, Fark, Churnalism and outrage bait.

My new found pleasure in numbers comes from their propensity for blunt and unabashed honesty. As I have explained to my broker on several occasions, “People lie. Numbers generally don’t.” Apart from statistical models, which I find are less use at making worthwhile predictions than Mystic Smeg, famed newspaper astrologer and alcoholic. Like epidemics, pandemics and all other prophesies of doom which have either failed to happen or been turned into a total shitshow because the response relied on incomplete or faulty mathematical modelling.

I put my faith in no one else’s God, no spirit (Unless it’s a decent single malt) and definitely no politicians, the slippery bastards.

If I have any belief, it is this; I believe in life. Or if anyone is familiar with a play called ‘The Sea’, a comedy by Edward Bond, I refer to a set speech which is an audition text in the ‘Audition book for men’ published by Methuen. Specifically a speech by one of the characters called ‘Evens’ who is trying to comfort a grieving friend where he says; “I believe in sand and stone and water because the wind stirs them into a dirty sea and gives birth to living things. The Universe lives, it teems with life”. Failing that, the words in the left hand sidebar of this blog form another branch of my guiding principles. ‘Do not believe’.

Hiatus

Downtown and chilling before we leave Canada’s shores for good. This means a total shift in pace. Afternoon beers, dodging Victoria’s notoriously passive-aggressive cyclists, quietly making fun of all the ‘Mumsies’ (Masked up morons) and generally shoe-horning what enjoyment we can while waiting for other people to do their appointed tasks.

In our hotel lobby there is one of those leaflet holders. It is full of whale watching brochures. A couple for air tours, but the vast majority are for whale watching tours. Nothing else. Which begs the question, why only whale watching? Do the the whales being watched actually like overfed tourists gurning at them from annoyingly fast boats? Where are the tours for whales to come and see the humans? Where is the parity here? Enquiring minds would like to know.

The price of a pint in a pub is also somewhat mind strangling. You can pay almost ten bucks (GBP 6) for a basic brew downtown. Which is a piss take. Most of the cost being tax. But then what’s new? Tax takes a massive bite out of anything remotely enjoyable. Regressive Sin taxes, don’t work and harm the very people they are meant to ‘protect’. Like so many other governmental interventions.

There is a significant case for considerable governmental shrinkage across the west. Unfortunately there seems to be a pathetic belief in some quarters that Governments are somehow infallible, which isn’t true because they’re all made up of Mk1 Humans, some of whom lack the emotional and rational faculties of an off colour chimpanzee on methamphetamine. The sayings “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” and “Be careful what you wish for” are most apposite. When politicians offer free stuff, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself “Who is going to pay for this and how badly is it needed?” Also “Who is going to clear up this mess?”

This is not to say that Governments are unnecessary. Far from it. Governments provide infrastructure like the legal enforcement mechanisms of the civil and criminal courts. Which should be kept as free as possible from political interference. Governments do well at big, one size fits all stuff like roads, power supply and similar. Everything else has the potential for a big FAIL.

Regarding our current plans, the only glitch was my passport wallet disappearing down between the hotel bedside table and bed, which resulted in a minor fit of the vapours on my part until the reprehensible object of my frantic search was located. Mrs S has reprimanded me for being so careless as to lose track of such important documents but we both acknowledged that better a panic now than a panic on the morning of our flight.

I needed a shower after that.

On the road again

Okay. I’m officially homeless. The apartment is closed up cleaned up and signed off. The movers have come and gone with all our worldly goods in a shipping container and Mrs S and I are currently enjoying a hiatus in a nice hotel while we let the hamster wheels in our heads slow down a little.

Upside; we’ve got a warm bed, good food and all the somewhat restricted delights of downtown. Nice coffee.

Downside; Elderly Friend is on the way out and will need increasing levels of care as she slowly saunters off into the long night, pausing every few hours to fall and hurt herself yet further. We can do nothing for her except ensure her care levels are adequate by liaising with the care home staff and as Powers of Attorney making sure the money is there to pay for her care. Funeral is paid for. Not much else we can do but wait for the inevitable. The person we knew has gone, leaving a confused husk of habits and discontinuous memories.

On the streets of downtown Victoria the face nappy wearers are much in evidence. I keep a surgical mask in my pocket just in case someone absolutely insists I have to wear one, but so far it has remained unused. And I’m not much of a social person anyway.

The whole anti-social distancing thing is inconvenient, even ignored upon occasion. However, SARS/COV-2 has passed over us, like 80% of the population, with barely a ripple. The death count is nearly zero, even though increased testing has detected more people who have brushed the virus off as a mere inconvenience.

The only people truly frightened of this bug are the media and politicians, who know, deep in their spavined little souls that they are going to hell and want to put the whole eternal damnation experience off, just in case they are sent untimely coughing into oblivion or painful retribution for all the harms they have caused. Satan, Lord of Hell, is complaining that business has dropped right off and is going to have to rethink his marketing strategy.

More mundanely, regarding social distancing; I find it keeps the intrusive at bay, which I’m developing an enduring affection for. Now no one gets in your face and the nutters on the bus are too frightened of getting the dreaded lurgi to sit near anyone. See the highly entertaining Jasper Carrott sketch below.

Which I suppose is a compensation of sorts.

Time for breakfast.

Post breakfast update: The homeless encampment behind Victoria BC’s city hall has been shifted and the area given a sluicing down with disinfectant. There were a bunch of tents there last night. Now just rapidly drying puddles of disinfectant laced water ringed with yellow tape.