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Covid-19 is now officially a pandemic, WHO says (npr.org)
1243 points by tmlee on March 11, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 1038 comments



Hey HN, in light of the current situation and the potential ordeal in the coming weeks, may I ask you instead of blaming whoever, let's find some solutions to help people?

As a Chinese, I read first hand materials from Chinese social media and friends on what life is like in a lockdown area. People there depends on deliveries for groceries and medicine, and occasionally restaurants take-outs. All those services, and a bunch of other services for small businesses are possible because of Wechat. Wechat is obviously not a popular option here in N.A. Is there something we can do to help both the people buy whatever they need via delivery and help local businesses?

In Wuhan when the entire family had to be isolated, no one was left to take care of family pets. I heard there's volunteer groups to take them but their capacities were very limited due to the short notice for them to take on such responsibilities. Can we be more prepared and maybe find a technology(-assisted) solution to this before it becomes a huge issue? I feel this will be an issue sooner rather than later because in N.A. it appears the current policy for mild cases is self-isolating, which will very likely infect the entire family.

Also in Wuhan during the lockdown many people felt so lonely, especially the older generation who can't use the internet effectively to stay connected to their families/rest of the world. Can we find ways to help people prepare for it psychologically? A lot of people will break medical suggested self-isolation because of the eagerness to stay connected to certain people/group. Instead of blaming them, can we help them find ways to stay connected yet in isolation?

I'm sure there are more things the mighty HN crowd can do to help others overcome this difficult time. Let's give it a try?


I hate to suggest that but the only short-term solution that seems to work is large-scale extreme response measures, just like China.

Here is evidence why it works: new cases/day decreasing dramatically since February: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ESywcEKUwAADhcQ?format=png&name=...

What China did is a complete shutdown and isolation of whole cities, cancellation of public gatherings, prohibition of attendance at school and work, massive mobilization of health and public health personnel as well as military medical units, and rapid construction of entire hospitals.

Wuhan, Iran, Italy have shown us that the health care system simply collapses under the huge number of patients needing hospitalization (20% of infected.) So mobilizing healthcare workers, springing up new "hospitals", and limiting spread with extreme responses is the way to go.

Unfortunately I predict that western governments are going to be less likely to suggest, deploy, and enforce such massive quarantines. Quarantines impede on civil liberties, and people in the West are very protective of freedom and liberties. I think the average American will NOT be okay with his government telling him he is only authorized to exit his house to go shopping once a week...


Singapore offers a compelling counter example entailing enlisting voluntary cooperation, rigorous testing and contact tracing, price controls on masks. I don't think China's fundamentally totalitarian / martial law approach is the place to start. I think Singapore offers a much much better model for dealing with Wuhan Flu.


But Singapore also backs up its "voluntary cooperation" with a big stick that they're not afraid to use: quarantine order violations including giving false/incomplete information for contact tracing can result in $10,000 fines and 6 months in jail for a first offence, plus cancelling work visas/residency permits for non-citizens:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/100-a-day-for-...

Apparently -- and this is unconfirmed scuttlebutt -- somebody already landed in hot water for neglecting to tell the authorities about their visits to a red light district. (Which, this being Singapore, are both legal and closely regulated.)


That's very different from the martial law that was effectively imposed in China. If you don't follow the law in most countries you will subject to sanctions, it's no different in Singapore. Typhoid Mary was subjected to forcible quarantine in the US https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Mallon


It’s just that the sanction in Singapore are much more harsh than in the West. When I visited I noticed that fines are about 10 times higher than in Canada for the same offense. And there is no caning as well.


that's a fascinating historical case, first time I learned of it. Do we know how exactly Mary spread the disease? Was it unwashed hands or saliva or her breath? How is typhoid transmitted exactly?


She was a cook who did not wash her hands thoroughly after defecating. Salmonella typhi bacteria causes typhoid and is excreted in feces. She transferred it into cold food--e.g. salads, peach ice cream--that she prepared (cooking kills the bacteria). The doctors of the time theorized that the Salmonella typhi had colonized her gallbladder. There were many asymptomatic carriers detected at the time but few if any persisted as cooks or preparing food once they had been warned.


Seems to me like a prison sentence when this blows over is reasonable for somebody violating a quarantine order without a good excuse. It's not outside of the legal traditions of the U.S. to have strong quarantine orders, nor is it particularly authoritarian.


Singapore is a city which acted as soon as the first case popped, with aggressive tracing and testing at entry point. US punctured and smashed that bus.


What about Vietnam? Track records so far says Vietnam did/does a much better job than Singapore in Covid-19 and previous pandemics. Yes Vietnam approach is fundamentally totalitarian (suspected can still deny quarantine, but will be pressured) and the result shows: only about 40 confirmed cases over population of 95 millions so far.


Can we trust those numbers though?


the catch is, if we're really hiding, we must have got thousands of deaths by now. Just see how quickly it spread in Korea, Italy and Iran. Hiding (thus no action can be done) for 1.5 months is a sure way to suicide, given the amount of traffic in/out of Vietnam and the population density.

Or you can see that in the past week alone we got 27 cases, starting from 2 planes. And the number is low because we vigorously chased people down to test them all and quarantine them. Had we let them go loose those 2 cases alone could spread to hundreds.


Singapore is 1/10th the size and population of most countries. Scale changes everything.


Vietnam population is around 95 millions, with less confirmed cases than Singapore, despite sharing border with China. Vietnam also acted immediately since first two patients (2 Chinese tourists parent and child), rigorous contact tracing and testing, price control of masks, food and other necessities.


Level of testing / surveillance is not clear. See https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/covid-19-testing/ They have run about 2400 test which is 24 per million in population (on a par with US which is wretched). Italy is 1,000 per million, Hong Kong is 2,000 per million, South Korea is 4,000 per million. Vietnam may be going a good job but they are not testing enough by a factor of 10 to 100 to be sure.


Vietnam is still in containment phase, so tests per million capita is not what I would look at. Rather, about 2400 tests against about 40 confirmed cases is a factor of 60 tests per confirmed cases (this should cover F1, F2). Italy on the other hand is about 60000 tests against 12000 confirmed cases, a factor of only 5. Hong Kong's number is impressive, 120. South Korea's 30.


You make a reasonable argument. In 2003-6 I helped out Viet Cervical cancer project on screening models for Pap smears to detect cervical cancer. Vietnamese incidence was high. Vietnamese public health organization was well organized and effective. Some lessons learned were published in Systems Analysis of Real-World Obstacles to Successful Cervical Cancer Prevention in Developing Countries

https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2004...


Population is about 5 million. I think a key effect is to reduce their margin for error.


I agree and disagree at the same time. Let me tell you why.

Extreme measures without a plan and a data basis will certainly make matters worse. We need a plan, which Western countries have. What is somewhat lacking is the basis to implement it. Aggressive testing of everybody would provide this basis, like South Korea does.

Which increases my critique points of the response to a total of two, a viable social media campaign to inform people and prevent panic reactions, which could totally provided and carried by tech companies. So, Google, Twitter, Facebook, if you are listening do something good with your social power! And the aggressive testing of people, everyone, starting with contact persons, people having traveled to risk areas and ultimately everyone.

Other than that I am quite satisfied, in Europe at least. The US seem to be a different story.


I am not sure there is much time left to be satisfied.

Coming 10-14 days will display how the most of the rest of the Europe will actually handle the critical situation.

Only country that appears to be doing something right is Germany. They should tell others what is their trick to keep most of the people alive. Of course they have highest number of intensive care places in EU https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00134-012-2627-8#... so perhaps just brute force is how they do it but I have heard (but was not able to confirm) that they are also isolating their elderly such that they will just receive food and other goods behind their doors. I do not know how right this is but this would make sense.


As someone who's monitoring the situation over in Germany because I have family there, Germany is definitely not doing "something right". There is a lack of direction in handling the situation, as well as information for the citizens.

People are calling 116117 but getting hang up on, and the weaker central government (due to obvious historical reasons) means that the response differs state to state. Much like in the US.


Communiction and information realls sucks, that's true. Same goes for a coordinated approach between states. Other then that the situation is more or less under control, as far numbers tell us.

Regarding school closings and such things, at last Bavaria is prepared for that (my sons school is over 1,000 students and might be clsed in the next one or two weeks regardless of cases due to that number of people there, but that is just a snapshot, so).


> isolating their elderly

Given the mortality rates by age bracket, this makes a huge amount of sense. Subject to their mental and emotional needs being given every consideration, of course.

Assuming (1) a large amount of the public will eventually be infected, (2) infections are (generally speaking) only fatal in older people... why not best protect the most vulnerable among us?

At this point, nursing homes and assisted living facilities should be staff-only, guaranteed paid sick leave, with teleconferencing equipment set up for families.

Wait until new case rate peaks, then start looking at relaxing the restrictions.


What needs to happen is to reduce the connectedness of the human social graph. The elderly don't need to be totally isolated. They can be seen by family, friends, but we need to limit the number of people that each older person can see, and the number of people that are seen by each younger person. That's what this social distancing is about. The virus travels along nodes where our paths through spacetime intersect or come close, and that is in many cases closely modeled by the human social graph. If you reduce the connectedness of the graph, you reduce the number of potential intersections each carrier has with uninfected people. You do that enough, and you can get the reproduction rate below 1. You do that enough and we can catch up to the infection front and seal it off.

At least, that's the hope as I understand it. That's what I'm trying to help do by staying home and seeing only close friends and only in 1:1 settings.


I'm fifty +- some and became isolated without realising during the years I cared for my mother.

You want to give the old folks, among who I am myself in this respect, something to live for. Attention is the catnip.

Want to kill the olds in droves? Isolate them.

I'm bloody serious about this and believe it's tort that needs a Court hearing for the human sake alone. You don't know anything until you friend all died. Mine did except for who then exited into a new world of economic paranoia and now hides in a regular job after increasingly failing to deal with isolation in the context of a young loving family around him at home at least. I'm so intensely proud of my buddy but he's a truly impractical link back to life for me


From experience, maybe one hour away from the Austrian border, easures are nowhere near what Austria or Denmark are doing. There is a 14 day self-quarantine rule in place for public institutions like schools and so. When you have been to what is determined to be a high risk zone, you have to self quarantine for 14 days, starting with your last day in that zone (happened to us, we have four days left till Sunday). Most big companies I know of have the same rules in place.

Events over 1,000 people are cancelled, how that applies to larger schools is currently being discussed (source: my sons school is over 1,000 students).

Communication is a little bit of an issue so, we found out about the high risk zone declaration by chance, more or less. On the other hand, case numbers are really low, so I think it's kind of trade-of thing. In denmark the increase in cases triggered the response.

In France on the hand, everybody with any symptoms resembling Corona are sent on sick leave for at least a week, over the phone. People not needed in the office work from home.


Living in Germany, I don't have the impression at all that the country is doing much compared to Italy.


Perhaps this is simply structural, multiple generations are not living together (less elderly among infected) there is more ICU capability (easier to put people in need under intensive care).

I could not find demographic breakdown of infected in Germany. This could suggest if these assumptions could be true.


> Other than that I am quite satisfied, in Europe at least.

Not in Italy. Our government changed emergency plans at least three times since Sunday and as far as I can tell is not aggressive enough in finding contacts and isolating them. The current trend is just to lock most of the people up and hoping the curve flattens.


Italy seems to me the only western country to have taken decisive action. For once I am actually rather proud of my country. What are the other European countries waiting for?


I'm not proud at all: communication was horrible (what do you think you can accomplish by changing things every few days?), caused panic (it's the fault of those who cause confusion, not of the confused), and it was reluctant in getting a no-red tape team up (even "emergency" supplies of respirators needed to go through the stupid bureaucracy).

There is a lot that could've done better than the current approach.


I think that given the magnitude of the adopted measures it is understandable that they were decided in the course of a few days. Stopping a country of 60 million is no joke. I'm not sure about the panic, but it seems hard to avoid when you tell a whole coutry to not leave their homes. We were also in uncharted territory, in the west: other countries can watch and follow what Italy has done. And yet they seem too slow in taking action. The US hasn't even started testing people.


> I think that given the magnitude of the adopted measures it is understandable that they were decided in the course of a few days

There were a few errors done in my view:

1. First, no preparation at all was done at any level. Other countries are now prepping their ICUs to prepare for the incoming tsunami.

2. Horrible communication and execution. The PM can't be both the head of the government and the one enacting the emergency measures (as in putting them into practice short of giving orders), at least not in bureaucracy-land like my country, and this PM in particular is weak and not particularly capable (and made key communication errors like blaming the hospital where the first case was recorded).

3. Laws given without clarity of "appropriate" or "not appropriate" behavior, which required constant clarification from the government

4. The leak of the "executive order" (inappropriate wording, hard to translate it to the actual Italian way of doing it) draft before it was completed, which caused mass panic and exodus (and instead of blaming the "idiots", people should investigate why that happened).

5. Total lack of clarity of how long the lockdown measures will last (if they don't change yet again).

It's not like changing measures every day will change the curve immediately (first lockdown on Sunday, then another on Monday, then more restrictive measures within a few days).

Lastly, all of this flurry of activity from the PM, aside pressure from other involved parties (like local governments), is, according to rumors, done because the current PM is likely to be asked to step down sooner or later (the country was at a political paralysis before the outbreak, and his handling of the crisis made matters worse).


Followig up contact persons ends to be meaningful once numbers are to high. Fro that point onwards, just closing everybody and everthing down right away is more effective. Following up individuals would have the same result anyway and take much longer.

How is Italy testing so?


I think you need to be really careful creating statistics out of thin air, like: "20% of infected people require hospitalization". We don't know how many people in a given region are infected... we only know the positive test cases and all percentages are based upon the positive test cases.

There is evidence that a lot of people contract the virus and have no symptoms or very mild symptoms.

Reported stats out of various countries/egions also do not account for things like the severity of regional air pollution (Wuhan, Tehran, and Milan have BAD air pollution) or the other key statistics, like "do they smoke?" (lot of smokers in China, Italy, and Iran... just saying). Bad air pollution and smoking tears the crap out of the lungs and makes it much easier to contract respiratory infections.

Caution and concern are completely warranted.... significant action needs to be taken to protect all of us, especially our elderly and immune suppressed.

But we need to be careful about pushing information that causes a descent into panic.


Large-scale extreme response measures are a disaster waiting to happen.

1. 38% of nurses have children at school. Shutdown the country and 1/4 of the US healthcare industry will choose their children over work in a blink. We don't want to put any more pressure on the people working in healthcare.

2. 75% of US companies have now a disrupted supply chain. Yes the cons of outsourcing core economic functions like manufacturing drugs, hospital supplies etc... Mass mania followed by ongoing shopping sprees will set in further draining a crippled supply chain.

What we need more of is hygiene education (with strict fines) and detailed data about who, where and how they are affected by the virus. Being politically correct in a time where the world is at the brink of chaos is not going to save anyone. Sometimes hard debates need to be had and tight restrictions enforced. It's sort of like the Trolley problem.


Why do people point to the China response as being a model response, as though that is easily seen. China has had an order of magnitude more deaths and instances than any other country. While you can point to many factors showing why it is disingenuous to look at those raw numbers without context, it seems to me that the burden of proof is on the other side, to show that the China model is actually effective, because naively it looks like it didn't work out too well.


Because China is a good month ahead of the rest of the world, and is much denser populated in the cities (which are also much larger than ours).

The initial cover up didn't help either. Once they instated the lockdown, they could test the backlog of people. That took quitea while. But now the spread has pretty much stopped, while everywhere else on this planet it increases day by day.

After the initial cover-up got public, the West couldn't get enough of reporting about it, and how this is the reason it could spread so fast, how irresponsible it was, and how it's typical for evil China. Now we have that virus here, plus two month of knowledge about it, and we're still mostly being reactive instead of proactive. In China's defense, when they tried to cover it up, much less was known about the disease, like it's asymptomatic spread. Now the cards are on the table and we're being ignorant, as if ignoring a problem makes it go away. But hey, when things are getting really really ugly for us, we can still go back to blaming China for their initial cover-up.

Watch Italy closely the next days, and compare it to China when they were at a similar stage. It will tell you what's to come in your country too. Another thing that's suspicious about Italy is the high CFR of around 6%. It most likely means they're not doing enough testing, only the severe cases, so the rest wanders around the country happily spreading it further.


Absolutely this summarizes the situation.

It's worth noting that South Korea also was able to engage in such mass mobilization. Moreover, if the trends continue for a few weeks, China's not going to have an order of magnitude more death anymore.

Italy's high CFR sounds like a health care that's broken far more than the Chinese health care system, a system which essentially isn't taking any specific extreme measures (which would be building more hospitals, importing more health care workers, etc).


Italy also has a demographic curve skewed heavily older than most other nations. Italy is the 2nd oldest country on earth after Japan.


And 89% of Italy's fatal cases are people >70yrs old.


If you don't mind, Where did you find this information? I've been searching for a breakdown of all fatalities so far by age group (raw numbers, not just average percentages) and could not find it.


It was covered in the WSJ earlier this week: https://www.wsj.com/articles/italy-with-elderly-population-h...


Thank you to all three of you for these.


https://www.flattenthecurve.com/#This_is_Not_Normal_Flu_-_No... Percentage graph at the link from Chinese CDC, though

Korea CDC has raw numbers it looks like. https://www.cdc.go.kr/board/board.es?mid=a30402000000&bid=00...


https://www.reddit.com/r/covid19 ...pretty well curated. Mostly scientific articles, stats, etc.


You may want to reconsider relying on /r/COVID19 as a source of information. There's been a lot of criticism on how they are applying censorship, and no transparency around it.

https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/f2jiyz/uclo_jun...


Because they're still treating them in some regard(before being overwhelmed).

However once things get even more overwhelmed, you have bad cases become critical leading to more fatalities.

The going figure seems to 20% are badly impacted, with 5% of that critical. Some of that 15% will become critical without treatment that might not be available. Thus impacting people <70.


Thus far. Most of the younger critical patients are not out of the woods yet. Also, many of those are left to die without treatment or assessment because there aren't enough ventilators for them.


I don’t know how they compare, but consider that in the north of Italy there is one of the most advanced health care system in the world.


I'm not sure "advanced" is what's needed for healthcare systems to cope with this. It's relatively low-tech care scaled up quickly. My fear is that the amount of institutional inertia, and where in time the inflection point of overcoming that inertia lies will determine outcomes.


> After the initial cover-up got public, the West couldn't get enough of reporting about it, and how this is the reason it could spread so fast, how irresponsible it was, and how it's typical for evil China. Now we have that virus here, plus two month of knowledge about it, and we're still mostly being reactive instead of proactive. In China's defense, when they tried to cover it up, much less was known about the disease, like it's asymptomatic spread. Now the cards are on the table and we're being ignorant, as if ignoring a problem makes it go away. But hey, when things are getting really really ugly for us, we can still go back to blaming China for their initial cover-up.

I think you're combining two largely-unrelated factors. The news in any country is only going to be interested in the most salacious stories in countries 12 time zones away. This is just how the market operates. A tiny percentage of china dying from a new kind of flu is not as headline-grabbing as people dying due to govt misbehavior.

Meanwhile our govt isn't blind, they have people and plans in place for everything and they think they are ready and in control. Then, it turns out it's a clusterfuck anyway that takes way longer than expected to implement. They need to have dealt with the exact same disaster in recent years to get it right. It's a problem with implementing a large-scale system you can't test until it's needed.


Having plans in place is great, but we're already running out of masks, gloves etc. here in Germany and it's only about to start. We didn't even try to stock up on this, since "lol China flu, won't concern us". Germany actually just intercepted a shipment of gloves from China to Switzerland and kept them. That's how desperate they are over here.

But in fact I doubt there really is a plan in place at all. It seems most countries ignored this, hoping they'll be spared of this, then stumbled along with adhoc measures, and only now slowly start to listen to experts.

Saying there is nothing we could have done better from just looking at what unfolds in China is very questionable.

> The news in any country is only going to be interested in the most salacious stories in countries 12 time zones away. This is just how the market operates.

... for about a month, and still bringing it up to this date.

Compare [1] to [2]. Notice anything? Western, especially US media is becoming more and more of an echo chamber trying to strengthen that simplistic world view that we are the good guys and they are the bad guys. But it's not overly surprising really, considering the financial struggles of traditional media over the last decade. As you said, the focus shifts more and more towards stories and headlines that sell, even for once renowned outlets like the NYTimes.

[1] https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1236484352965521408

[2] https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1236479276586807296


In the US the most notable problem is the tests. They had this grand plan to gets millions of them produced and be available at every local testing clinic, which ran into one misstep after another.

Do you recall the international coverage of Hurricane Katrina? It was dominated by the stories about rape gangs and anarchy which all ultimately turned out to be false rumors. Media everywhere sucks like that to some degree. As an american, I probably notice the bias towards stories that make the US look bad a lot more than you might.

Though I get what you're saying. US media may be one of the worst in the developed world. I don't even look at it anymore. Lucky I learned about coronavirus from here and adjusted my plans for it. And the NYT in particular seems to be really anti-China since they got blocked in China a long time ago.


"CFR" = case-fatality rate.


Fully agree except that Italy’s CFR is most likely caused by its large proportion of elderly people. Compare to South Korea where the majority of infected are young and thus CFR is sub 1%.


The difference in age demographics isn't nearly enough to account for the differences in outcomes, unless you believe the proportion of people in Italy >70 years old is 5-10x that of South Korea. (Spoiler alert: it's not).

The issue has to do with preparedness and healthcare capacity. South Korea has 3x the number of hospital beds per capita than Italy.


Japan has an even more elderly population than Italy, yet a lower CFR than South Korea. Is Japan testing enough? Are they somehow self-isolating way better than anyone else?


Japan isn't really doing much and many suspect that they are deliberately looking away from the coronavirus outbreak because of the 2020 Olympics later this year. IMO, the gov't willful neglect and concealment is exactly what enabled the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China and I fear this might come back to bite them later.


Japan didn't really test much. Lots of elderly die alone even without virus, people used to it.


CFR in Italy is lower in every age category than in China.

It’s Simpson’s paradox


Well, look at this chart which speaks volume about how successful China is in containing the outbreak, with new cases per day decreasing dramatically since February: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ESywcEKUwAADhcQ?format=png&name=... And look in particular how cases in other countries are starting to explode since the last week or so.

Or look at cumulative deaths (outside China): https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ESyyxfiUMAEwMVa?format=png&name=... The growth follows a perfect exponential curve, which suggests other countries have so far been completely unable to even bend the epidemic curve a little bit. It is obvious given this data that we will see 10k deaths outside China by March 20. I have a perfect track record at making such predictions in the past: https://twitter.com/search?q=from%3Azorinaq%20%23PredictionW... (short-term predictions are easy to make, long-term not so much)


You also have to take into account that China probably took the right actions, but their big failure was in timing them poorly. If they'd implemented travel restrictions before Chinese New Year, we probably wouldn't be talking about a pandemic right now.


Considering the lack of action, or the very delayed manner in which we, the West, start to put up measures to prevent spread, I very highly doubt so.

Consider the incubation time of 5 days avg, 14 days max during which you're already infectious. Even if China had reacted quickly, not trying to cover it up, we still wouldn't have known about that for a while. Even without the Chinese new year, I'm pretty sure given how dense and large Chinese cities are, this would have spread eventually either way. And I doubt the rest of the world would have reacted any different in that alternate reality than now. We still have travel with China and Italy today. Why would that have been any different had China handled that differently? It would have been slower, but it would have spread to other countries, I have no doubt about that.


> Consider the incubation time of 5 days avg, 14 days max during which you're already infectious."

I have seen several comments like this on this thread suggesting people are contagious during the incubation phase. Do you have a source for this? AFAIK this has not yet been confirmed, other than perhaps a few anecdotal cases.


I'm also just aware of a few anecdotal cases, but I guess this is very hard to scientifically confirm by its nature. There have been several cases in the US where it could not be traced back where they could have been infected (which could or could not be asymptomatic, or just incomplete knowledge of contacts). The first case in Germany was also asymptomatic spread[1]. Even if this just happens in few cases it would still be devastating, especially if it also happens with those that go completely asymptomatic for the entirety of their infection, which is currently said to be about 10 to 20% of all infections.

I check out John Campbell on YouTube every couple days. He has this unique style of presenting current developments and research papers in a no-bs manner and commenting on them, currently urging for more proactive measures mostly.

[1] https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2001468?url_ver=Z...


People need to stop talking about this as a binary yes or no fact. It is almost guaranteed that it is possible to infect someone else while not showing symptoms and this probably has actually happened. The question is how common it is. Most credible sources I've seen seem to say that it is unlikely/uncommon.

It seems likely that if we fully controlled most of the cases that had visible symptoms, the spread would stop, even if we failed to control the cases which did not show symptoms.

The same is true for spread via surfaces: while I'm sure it's possible and happens, it seems like the primary mechanism of infection is breathing infected respiratory droplets from someone else.

Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission...


Last guidance I saw from the CDC was that people without obvious symptoms were likely to only be contact-infectious, as opposed to airborne-infectious (droplets) once symptomatic.

If true, social distancing, hand hygiene, and not touching ones face would bring asymptomatic transmission down to almost zero.


This guy from the CDC claims this. Can't remember the source. I think it was a study from germany https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZFhjMQrVts


Hindsight is 20/20. It’s hard to know ahead of time whether you should cancel your nation’s equivalent of Christmas + Thanksgiving because you have preliminary and incomplete information about a disease outbreak somewhere.


Or, ya know, they coulda just prevented wildlife trade via regulation in the first place.


Yes, we all know that once regulation steps in, the thing regulated is completely stopped!


Regulation doesn't have to be binary. The point of it isn't to eradicate behavior, just lessen it so the risk can be mitigated and contained. Perhaps I should have said "lessened wildlife trade" to be more specific.

Regulation sucks until it saves your life.


Number of deaths is a lagging indicator while number of PUI (patients under investigation) would be a leading indicator. But since number of deaths is the number that can be easily aggregated let's hope in a few weeks we will find out that the curve has already started to bend.


> The growth follows a perfect exponential curve

You don't think that's a testing kit production curve?


Do you believe epidemiologists can’t account for that?


Well, it's not hard to test if someone's dead.


They are probably counted as dead from COVID-19 only if they were tested.


> new cases per day decreasing dramatically since February

some good news


I mean, don't just look at the absolute numbers, arguable China has 1/5 of the world's population.

I believe the argument to be made here is that most parts in China, excluding Hubei, has a lot less cases than Korea or Italy, when Korea's population is about 3-4% that of China. In most provinces in China there were 0 deaths.

Ideally, European countires like Italty are far further away and should have fewer cases than those regions closer to the epicenter, but reality suggest otherwise.


Italy, Hubei, and South Korea all happen to have around ~60M people.

When talking about China's coronavirus response, the numbers really have to be split up into Hubei and non-Hubei.


China seems to have done well to contain the virus in Hubei. The other major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, while affected by the containment measures were relatively lightly affected by the virus itself. If we can manage that I’d call it a success.


> China has had an order of magnitude more deaths and instances than any other country.

I don't know if you were being colloquial, but this isn't true. China has 80k, Italy 12k cases and the latter is seeing rapid increases.


Not to mention that China was pretty slow to properly react (nearly 2 months between the start of the outbreak and the start of Wuhan's quarantine, by which point it had already spread to South Korea and Thailand, and likely to Italy), and even outright suppressed the doctors/whistleblowers who originally publicly raised concern about the virus (which the Supreme People's Court even admitted was a bad idea; you know the PRC government done goofed when they're actually willing to admit they made a mistake).

The US should be looking at China as a case study on how not to handle the early stages of a pandemic. Instead it seems like we're making the same mistakes (though thankfully at least some areas are being proactive about e.g. shutting down schools).


You need to get some better sources.

The earliest case was found at the start of December but it wasn't correctly identified till the end (they went back and tested existing patients).

It wasn't confirmed as being able to spread person to person until the 17th although there was some evidence that it should have been identified on the 11th. (So a delay of either 5 or 10 days rather than 2 months)

The doctor didn't raise public concern. He told a few friends and told them not to tell people. The official announcement was made the following day.

If you look at the timetable it is significantly better than the SARs response or the N1H1 response so we seem to be learning and making progress which is good.


My sources are the same as Wikipedia's, specifically https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_2019%E2%80%932...

----- BEGIN WIKIPEDIA QUOTE -----

(30 December)

On 30 December 2019, genetic sequencing report of the pathogen of a patient indicated inaccurately the discovery of Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS coronavirus) in the test result.[15] After receiving the test result, multiple doctors in Wuhan shared the information via internet, including Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, who posted a warning to alumni from his medical school class via a WeChat online forum that a cluster of seven patients treating within the ophthalmology department had been unsuccessfully treated for symptoms of viral pneumonia and diagnosed with SARS.[20][21][15] Because these patients did not respond to traditional treatments, they were quarantined in an ER department of the Wuhan Central Hospital.[22] In the WeChat forum, Li posted that this cluster of patients appeared to be infected by SARS. Dr. Li posted a snippet of an RNA analysis finding "SARS coronavirus" and extensive bacteria colonies in a patient's airways according to a chat transcript that he and other chat members later shared online. [...] Dr. Li is widely known for the statement he gave before his death exemplifying how the Chinese government botched the containment of the Wuhan coronavirus, stating "There should be more than one voice in a healthy society."[20]

The Chinese National Health Commission announced later that evening that 8 doctors engaging in this WeChat forum had been arrested by Wuhan Police and charged with "llegal acts of fabricating, spreading rumors and disrupting social order."[25]

Wuhan medical authorities forbade doctors from making public announcements and ordered them to report cases internally.[26]

[...]

(31 December)

Qu Shiqian, a vendor at the Huanan Seafood Market, said government officials had disinfected the premises on 31 December 2019 and told stallholders to wear masks. Qu said he had only learnt of the pneumonia outbreak from media reports. "Previously I thought they had flu," he said. "It should be not serious. We are fish traders. How can we get infected?"[29]

"Chinese state television reported that a team of experts from the National Health Commission had arrived in Wuhan on 31 December 2019 to lead the investigation, while the People's Daily said the exact cause remained unclear and it would be premature to speculate."[28][29][38] Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported that a team of senior health experts had been dispatched to the city of Wuhan and were reported to be "conducting relevant inspection and verification work."[30]

Tao Lina, a public health expert and former official with Shanghai's Centre for disease control and prevention, said, "I think we are [now] quite capable of killing it in the beginning phase, given China's disease control system, emergency handling capacity and clinical medicine support."[29]

[...]

(1 January)

According to the Chinese state-sponsored Xinhua News, the Huanan Seafood Market was closed on 1 January 2020 for "regulation."[22] However, in the Consortium's report of 24 January 2020, it was stated that the Huanan Seafood Market had been closed on 1 January 2020 for "cleaning and disinfection."[36]

[...]

(2 January)

On 2 January, 41 admitted hospital patients in Wuhan, China, were confirmed to have contracted (laboratory-confirmed) the 2019-nCoV (Wuhan coronavirus); 27 (66%) patients had direct exposure to Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.[8] All 41 patients were subsequently relocated from the hospital they had originally been diagnosed in to the Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, China.[8]

[...]

(3 January)

On 3 January 2020, Dr. Li Wenliang, the Wuhan ophthalmologist who had been arrested for spreading false "rumors" on WeChat, was summoned to the Wuhan Public Security Bureau where he was told to sign an official confession and admonition letter promising to cease spreading false "rumors" regarding the coronavirus. In the letter, he was accused of "making false comments" that had "severely disturbed the social order". The letter stated, "We solemnly warn you: If you keep being stubborn, with such impertinence, and continue this illegal activity, you will be brought to justice—is that understood?" Dr. Li signed the confession writing: "Yes, I understand."[21]

[...]

(4 January)

The head of the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Infection, Ho Pak-leung, warned that the city should implement the strictest possible monitoring system for a mystery new viral pneumonia that infected dozens of people on the mainland, as it was highly possible that the illness was spreading from human to human. The microbiologist also warned that there could be a surge in cases during the upcoming Chinese New Year. Ho said he hoped the mainland would release more details as soon as possible about the patients infected with the disease, such as their medical history, to help experts analyse the illness and to allow for more effective preventive measures to be put in place.[43]

[...]

(7 January)

Since the outburst of social media discussion of the mysterious pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, Chinese authorities censored the hashtag #WuhanSARS and were now investigating anyone who was allegedly spreading misleading information about the outbreak on social media.[51]

[...]

(18 January)

On the same day, the Wuhan City government held an annual banquet in the Baibuting community celebrating the Chinese New Year with forty thousand families in attendance despite the officials' knowledge of the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. They shared meals, plates and ate together.[83] On 21 January 2020 when Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang was asked on state television why this banquet was held even after the number of cases had risen to 312 he responded, "The reason why the Baibuting community continued to host the banquet this year was based on the previous judgment that the spread of the epidemic was limited between humans, so there was not enough warning."[26]

[...]

(21 January)

After 300 confirmed diagnoses and 6 deaths, Chinese state media warned lower-level officials not to cover up the spread of a new coronavirus.[40] Officials declared that anyone who concealed new cases would "be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity", the political body responsible for law and order said. Local Chinese officials initially withheld information about the epidemic from the public. It later vastly under-reported the number of people that had been infected, downplayed the risks and failed to provide timely information that experts say could have saved lives. In its commentary published online on Tuesday January 20, 2020, the Communist Party's Central Political and Legal Commission talked of China having learned a "painful lesson" from the SARS epidemic and called for the public to be kept informed. Deception, it warned, could "turn a controllable natural disaster into a man-made disaster".[40]

[...]

(28 January)

China's Supreme People's Court ruled that whistleblower, Li Wenliang, had not committed the crime of spreading "rumors" when on 30 December 2019 he posted to a WeChat forum for medical school alumni that seven patients under his care appeared to have contracted SARS. In their ruling, the Supreme People's Court stated, "If society had at the time believed those 'rumours', and wore masks, used disinfectant and avoided going to the wildlife market as if there were a SARS outbreak, perhaps it would've meant we could better control the coronavirus today," the court said. "Rumours end when there is openness."[221][222]

----- END WIKIPEDIA QUOTE -----

So:

> The earliest case was found at the start of December but it wasn't correctly identified till the end (they went back and tested existing patients).

By that timeline, it wasn't even correctly identified by the end of December (though the "rumor" Dr. Li et. al. disseminated about it looking like SARS ended up being pretty close).

> It wasn't confirmed as being able to spread person to person until the 17th although there was some evidence that it should have been identified on the 11th. (So a delay of either 5 or 10 days rather than 2 months)

There's evidence that it should've been recognized as at least potentially spreading person to person by the 3rd, at the very latest (given that not all cases were connected to the Huanan Seafood Market).

> The doctor didn't raise public concern. He told a few friends and told them not to tell people.

He told an online forum of his fellow alumni, and he (among others) posted transcripts online, drawing the ire of authorities.

> The official announcement was made the following day.

Yes, after those "rumors" about SARS forced their hand.

> If you look at the timetable it is significantly better than the SARs response or the N1H1 response so we seem to be learning and making progress which is good.

True, and that's commendable, but even China admits it done goofed. It's great that (as far as we can tell) they've course-corrected and are getting a handle on things, but let's not gloss over how their kneejerk tendency toward censorship and their casual "well we don't know for sure if it spreads human to human so let's pretend we're all safe" attitude around the outbreak directly contributed to what's now officially a global pandemic.


The fact that people outside of China don't know what WeChat is make sense. It isn't an "online forum". It is more like a private Whatsapp group. He also told them the wrong information. He shouldn't have been charged but while he used the "internet" it wasn't public. It was passed around and others did post it publically online.

I don't know why Wikipedia is missing a lot of the public information that happened before the 31st. The local government was notified on the 28th. The National government was notified on the 30th. Other hospitals in the region were notified around this time as well.

His "leak" came while a lot of people were being notified about this problem. It "looks" like they would have notified the public and WHO a few days later once they had more information.

We still don't know if the original source is the seafood market. The fact that not all the cases came from there doesn't mean much. The SARS expert (Guan Yi) from Hong Kong said that there was no proof of human to human transmission on the 3rd.

You've counted time before anyone knew it existed in your 2-month delay. The first death was on the 10th. Less than 50 people have the virus. The probably should have done something then or on the 15th (second death).

There was a delay but more like 2 weeks compared to 2 months. If you are saying that they should have done something before they knew it existed then ... what should they have done?

As it is people are constantly bashing them for doing something.

What do you think they should have done and when?


> What do you think they should have done and when?

Not kneejerk-censor anyone "spreading rumors" about it, for one.


Let’s see who is really naive in a couple of months.


> China has had an order of magnitude more deaths and instances than any other country

So far.


https://www.databrew.cc/posts/covid Is a really good blog post on the data behind COVID-19.

Once countries get to about 150 cases their trajectories are very similar. So far the USA has not been too different to Italy.


> Here is evidence why it works: new cases/day decreasing dramatically since February: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ESywcEKUwAADhcQ?format=png&name=....

Such an impressive single day drop, it's almost like they stopped testing people..

Meanwhile, I recommend relying on vastly more credible and less easily falsified sources to judge how China is recovering.

If you trust your eyes, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf-4zQADLS8

If you trust TomTom, https://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/traffic-index/wuhan-traffic


If there are large scale falsified numbers in China, local and national authorities are certainly acting like they believe them. People are out and about; restaurants are opening; going back to work.

I don't get how people can simultaneously think "China instituted unthinkable totalitarian measures to isolate and quarantine people" and "all the numbers out of China are false, it has to be undergoing exponential growth like other countries."

You can choose one or the other, but not both: they're not self-consistent.


They are self-consistent if “unthinkable totalitarian measures” didn’t work, and the Chinese government has switched to a mitigation strategy without informing the populace.


If you think that people being locked up in their apartments for a month would result in the same transmission rates as people going about their lives freely, I don't know what to tell you: apart from all the other fantastic properties people have imagined SARS-CoV-2 to have, it also apparently can magically infect people who don't have contact with it.


Even if testing completely stopped, presumably an over-strained health system would be obvious and almost impossible to hide.

I can see why people are extremely resistant to believing anything the Chinese government says, but there seem to be indicators that don't rely on their statements.


So, how strained exactly are China hospitals?

Because I certainly don't know it, and there isn't anybody around here talking about this for some reason (and ok, even if there were, it would be hard to know if they are reliable - and yes, the entire world knows the reason, China prohibited talking about it).


"China hospitals" is a bit broad. From my perspective in Beijing, at least, the hospitals here are on high alert but not at all strained.


Isn't that showing how well the shutdown of Wuhan is working? No one has claimed the shutdown is over.

If anything that makes the number more believable.


The rest of the world is definitely not fascist enough in handling this. We should pass worldwide control to the Chinese government.


I think I’m retrospect the severity of the lockdown in China will be seen as a mistake. Many of the steps they took were unnecessarily damaging, and realistically It’s only a matter of time before there’s another outbreak over there, in fact it’s probably already happening. There’s just no way to stop this virus, we can only slow it down.


From what I understand, 'slowing it down' is really important, so we can't really tell quite yet how necessary the lockdown in China was. Sure, the virus isn't contained and it will probably return. But how many lives were saved or will be saved because the lockdown 'only' slowed things down?

Not saying I have a strong opinion on this; I really have no clue. But at least from what I understand even just slowdown might be worth quite a high cost.


Yes, that’s all true. It’s just a matter of the scale of the cost and benefits. Welding people into their apartments seems excessive, I have to wonder how many old or sick people died or suffered unnecessarily as a result.


Extreme measures are likely doing more harm than good -- as soon as China loosens them, there will be a flood of cases. You can't eradicate a disease that spreads via the air we breath (and can spread to animals). You can slow it, but much like Influenza you're stuck with it forever now.

With that in mind, the larger impact is going to be the lack of medicine, food, etc. that comes from a large-scale heavy response. We are just at the beginning. Push for social distancing, but over the next two years we're just going to have to learn to deal with this. It'll mutate, we'll find ways to mitigate damage and we'll have a large loss of life.

Push out higher production of medical equipment and push out the best possible safety gear for healthcare workers. On a personal level, try to stay fit, get lots of rest, and try to quickly take care of any other conditions. Stay home if you are sick (to avoid spreading any illness).

That's about the extent we can do.

Closing schools, closing offices, shutting down the economy is going to be far more damaging than this disease will be.


Extreme measures is to slow down the first wave of cases so the number of patients needing medical attention is under the local capacity. Death rate is between 0.6% to 8% depending on how you can treat the patients and that requires that you have enough capacity to handle it. Over time we will have better medicines to reduce the need of ICUs and vaccines and then containment will not be necessary but we will continue to handle it as a seasonal disease.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21149215

There are approximately 20 full-service ventilators per 100k population in the united states. Let's say 1% of cases require hospitalization and ventilation. That means we can sustain a sick population of 200 per 100k, or 0.2% at any given time.

You underestimate just how unprepared we are for this situation. It is not possible to "bend the curve" enough to keep everyone safe (infected below 2% of the population). Full stop, that little chart from bendthecurve.com with the nice flat blue curve that goes under "medical system capacity" will not happen. That's fantasy.

By all means we should do everything we can, the more we can slow the disease the fewer people will die, but the happy fantasy scenarios about everybody washes their hands and doesn't go to the sportsball game and we bend the curve enough that our medical system's capacity will be sufficient is just a fantasy.

Further, the lower we reduce the reproduction rate, the longer this crisis will last. This is a crass observation, but if you let it burn through the population it'll be done in a few months. If you really "bend that curve" and substantially decrease reproduction rate, then it'll take correspondingly longer to exhaust its susceptible population. That means sustaining quarantine measures for a longer period of time.

Researchers point to Coronavirus peaking around June or July. That means it will remain a serious problem through at least August or September ("peak" doesn't mean it's done, it just means it's slowing down). Interventions will extend that further. We need to consider the possibility that quarantine will be required for an extended period. How will this work if we need to turn our economy off for 6 months? Nine months? A year?

Grandparent is probably correct that if China loosens its quarantine measures that it's going to bounce back. And in fact that is a problem that everyone has to consider.

https://www.ketv.com/article/unmc-models-suggest-covid-19-ca...

https://www.itv.com/news/2020-03-03/coronavirus-government-w...

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.12.20022566v...


I did not said that we are prepared for it. What I was saying that we need extreme measures to slow down the number of cases and not that we will have full success at doing it but we can save a lot of lives and this the only thing that really matters.


>Extreme measures are likely doing more harm than good

You lost me here.

I hope we never do them in the USA, but the extreme measures taken by China absolutely halted the spread of the disease.


And now they can export medical supply to the rest of the world. Just imagine if they had not been able to halt the spread.


me getting lost too, op suggests China should just let loose?


There’s never going to be a lockdown in this country. If people need stuff, they’ll go out. It simply won’t work.

I’ve seen the videos coming out of Hubei. If you tried to weld someone’s door shut in the US you stand a good chance of being shot by the resident and both their neighbors. Maybe not in the big cities, but virtually everywhere else.


> may I ask you instead of blaming whoever

No. We knew the R0 of this thing in late January, and we knew, at least approximately, the fatality rate and ICU/ventilation requirement rate, in very early February.

Every single "just the flu bro" type has indirectly killed people since that time, including the WHO Chief and US President. These things should not be forgotten, and consequences should be meted out, lest we doom ourselves to repeat the mistakes of complacency in the future.


I cannot up vote this enough. I wish there were a government or social agency in place to better consider these issues.


It would be great if we had some kind of global institution with distributed local branches whose aim was to feed the hungry, tend to the sick, and commune with the destitute.


It would be even more awesome if they were actually focused on that and not primarily on hoarding wealth.


Yes, and they do. Local churches in my area are always helping the community.

Even in a time like this you choose to make snide comments towards religion? Really?


Isn't it the aspirational goal for several churches/religious orders to do just this?


that is what he was referring to.


Taking the same action as China technically is impossible for most countries because of differences on attitude to human rights.

In China, a lot of people can be left at home to die and they cannot do any protest against their government. In the most serious period in Wuhan, citizens were limited to stay home and there were not enough means of transport to do necessary transportation, such as critical patients and food. At the expense of this, another large proportion of people can keep alive.

But in the US, people have weapons and they are very tough. In addition, the information is transparency, so it is impossible to hide such tragedies.


This is why US is an accepted leader of the world. I am not a national of china or US.


There are structural problems that China needs to address that would help in the future. For example, the lack of indoor heating in southern China exacerbates flus and sicknesses like this because your immunity system is constantly beat down when it is constantly cold everywhere. China is rich enough now that they can afford to heat southern homes, if not for comfort, then for stuff like this (see https://facilityexecutive.com/2020/02/indoor-humidification-...)! And when the quarantine comes, you have to keep warm at home somehow.

Something that we westerners take for granted and why I would guess the virus won’t propagate as quickly. Long term, these kind of things are more important than shiny sky scrapers and HSRs.


I don’t quite get this. Having spent significant time in southern China, while there’s no exceptional water heating that’s (from what I heard and from some brief stays) universal in the north, I can’t think of an urban residence that doesn’t have indoor air conditioning, and rural homes tend to have installed them in the last twenty years, too. It can’t be constantly cold unless people refuse to turn on air conditioning. (I’ve heard that some older college dorms may not have air conditioning, though.)

Meanwhile, I’ve spent significant time in NorCal and NJ residences with extremely crappy heating, too.


What cities in southern China? There is very little indoor heating in Changsha, and I assume nearby Wuhan as well but I’ve never been there. Guangzhou and HK have less indoor heating as well, but they have more mild climates than Changsha so it isn’t much of a problem. Shanghai and Hangzhou do much better with heat, but they are also the richest cities in China.

It stems from a decision Mao made more than 50 years ago. First, people expect the state to be responsible for heating, which is weird to us but follows the soviet model. So the state decided to provide central heating to people in the north but not in the south.

Now you could provide your own heat, but the majority of Chinese live in apartment blocks that are poorly insulated between units. So to heat your home you have to heat all of your neighbors also, which isn’t going to happen. It works fine in northern China because they just pump hit water through the whole building. So people are left with local heating options, eg the kokatsu.

So my wife and her family own a couple of apartments in hunan that we’ve thought about renovating for heat. No one local really knows how to do it because it isn’t done. Coupled with the fact that walls in China are concrete slabs, not wooden posts with room for insulation in the middle, so you have to add something on top of the walls and maybe do heating from the floors. Anyways, it is expensive.

And it’s not just your home, but where you work. The last time I went to the HSR station in my wife’s hometown, the girls selling snacks at the station were really bundled up and if you weren’t wearing gloves your hands with hurt...inside the brand new train station.

Indoor heating is a requirement in much of the states, even in LA (you can skimp on AC, but you can’t rent or sell a unit without heat), and building codes have improved a lot over the years so it’s unlikely you’ll freeze your butt off in something built within the last 30 years.


Okay, I think we differ on the definition of heating here. I consider AC (with heat) a heating solution, and with AC you’re definitely not gonna freeze your butt off. I spent my winters in southern China mostly with a single layer of clothing...

Central heating is lacking in southern China in all but single family homes and high end apartment buildings for sure, but the air conditioner is considered one of the essential household appliances, alongside the refrigerator, television (this one might be on the decline?), etc.

> Now you could provide your own heat, but the majority of Chinese live in apartment blocks that are poorly insulated between units. So to heat your home you have to heat all of your neighbors also, which isn’t going to happen.

Apartments I lived in and visited all have AC (usually more than one unit for moderately sized ones) and I’m pretty sure I never benefited from neighbors’ AC at all, nor did mine benefit them. Insulation may be bad but not that bad. If you were planning in-floor hearting then yeah, you’re probably gonna provide for the household living downstairs too.

> Workplace & HSR station

Ones I’ve been to (Beijing, Shanghai, numerous ones between Shanghai and Nanjing including ones at small towns, etc.) all have indoor AC. Haven’t been to Changsha but kind of hard to imagine it lagging behind too much. Every single office building I’ve been in, too, but I suppose I’ve hardly ever been in a really crappy one.

> Indoor heating is a requirement in much of the states, even in LA (you can skimp on AC, but you can’t rent or sell a unit without heat), and building codes have improved a lot over the years so it’s unlikely you’ll freeze your butt off in something built within the last 30 years.

Not talking about freezing my butt off apparently, just uncomfortably cool to the point of having to wrap myself up even at home. Many houses aren’t built within the last 30 years so there’s that.


AC in American English just means cooling. In China, it usually means an electric air based unit that can cool and heat (central water based indoor heating is done via circulation, I’m not sure if gas heating would be considered AC but I’ve never seen that in China anyways, local coal based heating was also common but the government has cracked down on that).

A concrete slab built without insulation is going to be difficult to insulate after the fact, you just can’t foam it up because there is nowhere for the foam to go. You have to maybe build a false wall and lose some floor space, or use paneling. Anyways, it is complicated.

Zhejiang and jiangsu are China’s richest provinces, and often lack the problems of the rest of south China. Jiangsu is actually north of the Yangtze so they they get heat in the cities anyways, like much poorer Anhui next door. Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, and I guess fujian is where the no heat in the south starts to hurt. Guangxi and guangdong also, though winter weather isn’t as bad, but touring Guilin I the winter was also a bit uncomfortable, only the five star hotels provided real heating.


> AC in American English just means cooling. In China, it usually means an electric air based unit that can cool and heat

Yes, I was using the phrase air conditioner (don’t think I’ve seen a unit in China without heat function) for lack of a better one, but the meaning was hopefully clear given the context.

The AC units mostly cost between 1-3k yuan (just looked up the current prices) so they’re affordable to pretty much all (urban) households, even in the poorer regions...

AFAICR commonly seen AC units can usually heat up to something like 25-28 degrees Celsius (except ones that have been sucking up a lot of dust and haven’t got a proper cleaning in a while, in which case they’d be less effective) so they’re okay.

Another thing: Yangtze actually runs through Jiangsu, with the wealth concentrated mostly in the south. I’m not sure where they start to have central heating — the cities bordering Shandong probably do, but Nanjing (sitting on top of Yangtze) and southern cities don’t have it, that I’m sure about.


HN likes to downrank anything regarding the current outbreak. This was posted 53 minutes ago and received around 100 votes in 20 minutes, but was downranked shortly after:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22550623

Now this post has inevitably been downranked as well. I'm setting up a HN downranking-watch site right now ;-)

If you know some crowd-funding site where one can donate money to health care workers, please let me know (berthold dot alexander at googlemail dot com)


HN will down rank anything getting a lot of comments, I think votes might be factored in as well. It kills a lot of good topics and often allows astro turfing accounts to kill them.


Every time I make a comment that garners a large number of replies, moderators 'detach' it from the article, which I suppose leaves it in some Netherworld where it can only be accessed from members' profiles. I'm not sure what the point of that is.


Maybe they are just falling off the first page of the article's comments. Try the "more" link at the bottom.


No. I'm referring to a moderator making a statement 'this has been detached', not some misunderstanding or confusion I'm having. You can find it on my profile recently.


I see what you mean https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22512003. Considered off-topic maybe?


For the pets there are already various pet care platforms that probably tout themselves as "The Uber/AirBnb for pets!". People can take your pet to their home or visit yours for feeding/walking/yard time.

So if this may be an issue for you it might be good to start looking around to get connections. I assume the issue is that the entire family was moved out of the home? I'd be a little leery of visiting such a home without training if there's a chance the fixtures (doorknobs, fridge handles) can be carrying the virus. In particular if there's any reason to be opening the fridge for pet food because lower temperatures of 4c apparently drastically increase virus survival time to a few weeks, so handling items in the fridge may be a major risk.


Before helping people already in locked regions if you are not I beg you to do whatever you can to talk some sense into your representatives. The level of actions you want from your point of view would probably be seen as "drastic" or "exaggerated". It is not.


> All those services, and a bunch of other services for small businesses are possible because of Wechat.

Ughh, no thanks buddy. I'd rather not have any of this propaganda garbage. WeChat basically contributed to a global pandemic because it's prime instrument of Chinese censorship[1].

[1] https://medium.com/pcmag-access/china-has-been-censoring-cor...


What's happening is an appropriate response. Sure, anyone blaming individuals / residents is being out-of-line, but this _needs_ to happen.


This post

This post right here

This is peak HN

We're facing potentially the worst global pandemic in a century and you're talking about takeout and pet sitting

And this is the top post


If the root cause of the problem is not resolved, even we overcome this virus, then now what? What's next? If the next virus hit us again, would Chinese government still try to cover up the problem and stop people from speaking up? Would WHO stop down playing the problem and advice not taking actions? It's a wake up call, while it's nice to have some heartwarming help from internet, I am more concern about COVID-19 is not the worst case, it's just a test, next thing could be way worse if we only try to look away from the root problem, like all the time we did.


The root cause of this Outbreak in North America is we have a president call it a HOAX, a flu. The incompetency of the government resulted this disaster in here. Even now when we have thousands in isolation. They are still trying to down play it. They have no idea how many people are infected, they have no idea how many possible contact s are out there spreading the virus. No matter how much they blame others, the root cause is right here in North America!


> The root cause of this Outbreak in North America is we have a president call it a HOAX,

Wrong. You are just repeating misinformation. He labeled some of the criticism a hoax, not the outbreak.


I mean he did say it was not serious that it was just the flu and that it will soon be gone, just disappear. He also said he would have a press conference yesterday to announce major financial moves to help the economy which did not happen. He is also still insisting via his new budget that funding for the cdc be cut by 15%. He also fired the U.S. pandemic response team in 2018 to cut costs.

You are right though, he did not directly call it a hoax.


But he did call it a hoax.

Only later when he was called out on how stupid the comment was he back-pedalled and said their criticism was a hoax. That doesn’t make sense.

They weren’t really criticising him? Or they were trying to make him think they were criticising him?

The sentence doesn’t make any sense, so it’s clearly not what he meant.


> But he did call it a hoax.

No he didn't. He characterized the criticism as a hoax. That is an entirely different thing. By perpetuating the lie that he considered the outbreak as a hoax you are adding to the problem. If you disagree, please link to some sort of news account that backs up your statement.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-coronavirus-rally-re...

It isn't really hard to understand what he meant either. The President's critics say all sorts of things that aren't true. He is constantly calling them out on it. He has used the term 'hoax' for a long time to refer to the misleading stories his critics tell.

Doesn't mean that there aren't valid criticisms. Just means that much of the back and forth is just hot air. There is no reason to add to the madness though by spreading more misleading information.


It's not even clear that his definition of hoax is. It applies to anything he doesn't like. He's basically ruining the word.


It is very clear. He uses it to refer to the unfounded conspiracy theories and accusations directed at him. What is so difficult to understand about that usage?


No, nothing that he says is very clear. The things he labels hoaxes do not correspond to what other people would call a hoax in subtle but significant ways. It doesn't seem that he understands what the word actually means.


Don't try to give meaning to his words or understand them. That way lies madness.


Approximately 0% of this discussion should be occurring right now. Presidents should not be throwing around words like this in a middle of a crisis. Period. Recognize this for what it is. This is shit leadership. This is a shit show. I don't give a crap which finely parsed definition to the word "hoax" you give. Don't defend this.


What nonsense. It isn't hard to understand what the President is saying. And the idea that there are particular words that shouldn't be used because we are in a crisis is just weird.

Yes we should strive for clear communication but that doesn't happen by declaring particular words as off limits.

And what exactly am I defending other than accurate reporting?


> It isn't hard to understand what the President is saying.

The most generous interpretation of his words is that he meant it's a political attack from his political opponents.

The fact that his first instinct is his own political fortunes and has to preemptly whine like a baby about it is evidence of shit leadership.

The President and all leadership should be focused on the right response that minimizes loss of life, political fortunes be damned. I mean, seriously. If a sheriff's first instincts in every crisis were his reelection chances, he'd be out on his ass. But sadly, yes, here we are, arguing stupid shit, in the middle of a completely unnecessary distraction because he felt threatened and needed to lash out. So he pitted us against each other at the least opportune time. It is the one of the worst possible things to do in a crisis. Find a way to divide us!


> It isn't hard to understand what the President is saying

The problem is that the public at large will internalise the first interpretation they are presented with, whether this be their own understanding or their favourite news outlet's. Past presidents were smart enough to realise this and therefore appointed professionals (whom they listened to!) to help them craft their messaging to be as precise as possible. Trump, for some reason, has failed to learn this lesson in his first three years on the job. It is because he continues to use inprecise language that his messaging gets corrupted like this.


The quote is:

“Now, the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus," and, "One of my people came up to me and said, 'Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.' That didn't work out too well. They couldn't do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. And this is their new hoax.”

It's hard to parse that, but a reasonable interpretation is to say "this" refers to coronavirus. Notably he didn't say "criticism" at all, and referring to "politicizing" as a hoax doesn't make grammatical or logical sense (which of course doesn't mean it isn't what he meant. He said "the impeachment hoax", and he was impeached so clearly his interpretation of "hoax" is different to the normal interpretation).

Either way, I wouldn't say it's misinformation.


Not american here, so didn't read/listen to this, but in all honesty, I would read the last part not as 'calling' the corona virus a hoax, but that democrats were using the corona virus as an attack, as they did with russia or the impeachment (not passing judgement about russia/impeachment, just I would read that as an attack on democrats and not as they calling COVID a hoax)


(Not American either)

My initial reading was that he meant the severity of the virus is a hoax (which goes along with his "the flu kills more people" narrative).

Your reading sort of makes sense if "hoax" was a synonym for "attack". It's not, but Trump seems to use it as one, so yes I could see that could be what he meant.

It's interesting, because we end up in situations like this where you can try to read into it what he meant but that really requires guessing!


Trump has been using "hoax" to refer to the false attacks on him for long before COVID-19 was a thing.


The Verge has got good, non-political coverage of the issue. Needless to say it isn't clear cut:

Trump surrogates said after the rally that he wasn’t calling coronavirus a hoax. “He was referring to the way he had been treated by the opposite party … in terms of taking every opportunity to bring him down,” said Surgeon General Jerome Adams on SiriusXM’s The Black Eagle with Joe Madison. And you can argue that Trump is limiting his claim to Democrats arguing he’s not prepared for the coronavirus. But the speech simply compares coronavirus to the “impeachment hoax” (which Trump describes as a “perfect conversation” that Democrats twisted into something negative), so it’s also easy to argue that Trump is saying the coronavirus itself is similarly overblown.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/3/21163388/facebook-fact-che...


It isn't hard to parse at all. He has been using the word "hoax" to refer to false narratives and accusations for months if not years. He is clearly pushing back on the criticisms as being false, as being a "hoax".

There is also the fact that his actions don't make any sense at all if it were true that the President thinks the outbreak is a hoax.


Trumps's actions at the time (28 Feb) were things that indicated exactly that he thought coronavirus wasn't a threat and would go away soon:

Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low.... Hopefully, we’re not going to have to spend so much because we really think we’ve done a great job in keeping it down to a minimum. And again, we’ve had tremendous success — tremendous success — beyond what people would have thought.

and

So we’re at the low level. As they get better, we take them off the list, so that we’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-pres...

I really think he is using "hoax" as a synonym for "bad" and is referring to coronavirus, criticisms of his response and the Democrats all at the same time.



Let's overcome this virus first? We normally don't do root cause analysis during an outage in IT do we?


If the root cause of an IT outage in one place can be used to help prevent the outage from occurring elsewhere, yes.

Your personal relationship to this is entirely understandable, but not a sufficient reason to not focus on root causes where they first occurred.


[flagged]


Please don't take HN threads further into flamewar.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I mean we can do 2 things at once. Its like when there is a mass shooting and when someone suggests gun control as a solution the other side yells that people just died and their families are grieving and this is no time to be discussing taking guns away.

Then it happens again...


Are you a doctor writing from ICU? Or a researcher working on the vaccine?


I'm failing to see how the "root cause", as you suggested, China, of the problem can somewhat solve the problem. It always us against the virus. Last I recall, they don't take orders from any one. Not even Trump.


[flagged]


This comment breaks at least three of the site guidelines. Please read and follow them when posting here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Who cares where a virus starts? This is essentially a random event that is going to happen more as human density increases. How we prepare our societies for pandemics (and how we respond to this one) is far more important than allocating blame or litigating damages.


Based on how most nations are responding to the threat of Coronavirus, I think your expectations of China and its leadership are way too high. The Chinese are just people, like the rest of us. Some mistakes were made. But I think there’s a reasonable case to be made that the rest of the world has a lot to thank China for, too.


What's up with these constant purtorting of November as the starting point of the disease? AFAIK. We have no reliable information that this is the case.

Could you give sources to that and some of the other statements in your comment?


Doing those things right now helps absolutely no-one.


Re 4), this sounds way too much like what was done to Germany post World War 1, and it had massive consequences.


I'm saying I'm serious twice in this year already do it had to be the end..

Send everyone over 55 s as my working phone capable of doing Skype or whatever and provide the device a data connection to a Chatroulette app setup and instructions to disable the it and use normally in big big print and grayscale not color screens please color is confusing or color only what you want clicked (NeXT could have been a revolution for just doing that) by us old people anyway...


I don't see any tech solutions mentioned out here. At least i would like to take a shot.

Not relying on government is the way to go.

I think we should build a social network for community welfare which can prepare us for something like this in future. Where people build communities among themselves. Key point being internal resource availability to be exposed to the close knit network and an external pool exposed to an radius. Keeping everything to the close knit shouldn't be encouraged and there should be a proportion. Ideally the network should be split when its crossing a proportion.


How do we keep up with something like covid-19 in future?. I don’t think relying on government is the way to go.

Why not build a social network which helps to build close knit communities and it can have a cascade effect on the whole populace as a side effect("good"). Some of the key points for it to work being:

    # Pool resources before hand so that the whole system is not suffocated.
    # Internal resources exposed to close knit.
    # External resources exposed to a radius.
    # Cap on internal vs external resources.
    # Split the community into smaller ones when it reaches a proportion.
    # Point system to motivate communities.
    # Ability to mobilize resource across communities.
This need not be the case with just a pandemic but can help us tide over other eventualities as well.


Here in Austria the government forbade any indoor gatherings of >100 people (outdoor >500), all universities and colleges are closed (except administration and research), including libraries and also museums. All schools and kindergartens will gradually close coming monday. That's more than 1.5m students/pupils against a total population of 8.8m. Nurses and doctors are being honed in from retirement. We completely locked down our borders to Italy. This is all very unprecedented.


Here in Austin, SXSW was cancelled but I've seen numerous "unofficial party" lists of people organizing events.

I understand people want to support the Austin economy since losing SXSW is a big hit, however it was cancelled to limit mass gatherings yet people still want to gather.


People will of course want to gather still... I've always wanted to hit SXSW so I'd be pretty heartbroken, myself.

Even still, my partner and I are keeping an eye open on flights to Europe (we've always wanted to go) and seriously considering taking the risk of buying a flight for in a couple of months time because they are quite literally at half price right now. And I'm not even talking about Italy.

edit: Haha—to clarify, the risk being flight cancellation or border closures not catching or spreading disease.

2nd edit: Wow. I'm drawing a little ire here. I'll reiterate: the risk is in not being able to go because the problem continues. Please take the charitable view (and of my whole comment, not snippets)—not the one that I'm some kind of monster :)


> Even still, my partner and I are keeping an eye open on flights to Europe (we've always wanted to go) and seriously considering taking the risk of buying a flight for in a couple of months time because they are quite literally at half price right now. And I'm not even talking about Italy.

If you do this in the midst of a pandemic, it's an unethical and selfish act.


Please read the entirety of my comment before painting me so negatively...

I'm certain that just purchasing some discounted airline tickets for sometime later in the year will not in itself cause any negative global health effects. The decision to actually travel can be made entirely separately from that gamble.


Yeah, patient zero in Italy was probably just one dude who traveled. You have no effin' clue what consequences of your acts may be. Europe will be still here later.

If we're still in the height of epidemics during your travel, you will be basically locked in someplace and very hard to see anything.

To sum it up, tremendously stupid idea with utterly selfish tones.


Selfish?

To travel after the trouble with the virus has subsided on tickets purchased during a period of discounted rates?

Or do you mean not traveling because the virus hasn't subsided and tossing the hundreds of dollars down the drain in a gamble?

If neither of these were your conclusions, then respectfully—I think you misunderstood my comments.


After reading your comment including edits it's still not clear when you plan to travel so I understand the negative reactions you're getting.

Buying flight tickets might be cheap right now but the point is if when your trip starts X weeks from now and the situation is still bad and you don't cancel it, then you are indeed selfish and deserving of the negative comments and down votes.

Further, since nobody knows when this will end (it could continue into 2021 for all we know) and you didn't say you'd cancel your plans if it did (instead you expressed concerns you'd lose money if travel was banned), I feel like you're drastically misunderstanding the 2nd order dangers your actions would have and likely deserve the ire and down votes you're getting.


> and you didn't say you'd cancel

That is the risk I referred to, as I clarified—not being able to take the trip because the situation didn't improve. I've explained this many times over by now.


> I've always wanted to hit SXSW so I'd be pretty heartbroken, myself.

Save your heartache. SXSW lost its "soul" many years ago.


For the modern SXSW experience, just go to the local supermarket when it's ultra busy and the parking lot is full. Park your car among the rest and just sit in it.


Well that's a shame. Guess I'll visit Austin on some other day.


You'd honestly probably have a better time, unless there was something you specifically wanted to see at SXSW. So many people come into town for it that getting anywhere in the city becomes a nightmare.


Taking this thread way off the original topic now, but yeah. Would love to visit for the music scene—SWSX probably would crowd out what I actually want to get out of the place when I think about it longer than 30 seconds.


I used to live in Austin and have experienced SXSW many times. It's still an amazing time and experience. Take all of the comments with a grain of salt (including mine).


How about a cruise to Europe? If you like deals.


Hahaha. Even before all this nonsense—if I proposed, in earnest, a cruise I think she'd leave me because then I never truly knew her.

Too many pints in Dublin and then wine in her ancestral village in Portugal and then we're talking.


Sounds romantic. I wonder how romantic that ancestral village will feel when local health officials have declared a mandatory quarantine and you can’t leave your hotel room.


Thankfully, the tickets are on sale now for dates throughout the year, and the village is so small and old I'd be shocked if anyone really comes or goes from there as it is. :)


I can imagine worse things


Have you even once stopped to consider how your actions might affect people other than yourself?

Even if you're not in the groups with high mortality rates, you can still be a carrier.


Of course. The risk in purchasing tickets for later in the year while they are still cheap is that we may not be able to use them if this situation continues and doesn't improve. I thought that was pretty clear in my original comment.


Either I missed that wording or it wasn't clear to me. I also may be projecting the mentality of other people I've heard planning to get cheaper travel even if it does result in other people getting sick.

I cannot know your intentions, so if they truly are with other people in mind, I apologize.

Do also keep in mind, though, that by purchasing them now you are inevitably biasing yourself towards going.


Surreal comment.


That even in the face of a particular health problem, people have a hard time giving up their desire to socialize or live?

I think it's pretty normal. Surreal would be adapting more easily and unconsciously to the new constraints.

Thankfully, continuing to dream doesn't cost us anything, and it doesn't hurt anyone.


If my facebook feed is indicative of the general US population, there are still a lot of people who think the media is just trying to scare us. Some of them are your typical nutjobs for Trump, but even my 60-something year old hippie liberal jazz musician friend is on that train. There were women replying to her that the media focuses on Covid-19 because "it's killing old men" who run the world, and the media should instead be focusing on women's issues... I think I'm finally ready to give up facebook after seeing my the thoughts of most of my 'friends'.


If they wanna support the economy just send money to the entities that they can't go to. That restaurant you were going to dine out at, instead you're not microwaving a Lean Cuisine? Send them $10. Otherwise they are doing it for the shills.


There's probably about 500 people in the massive open plan office I work in. We're just sitting ducks.


You need to approach senior management, and press them on what their plan is.

Why aren't they already transitioning to remote work? Is there a timeline in place? What are their criteria about what would trigger WFH? What about employees with elderly family members at home? Do they have the necessary systems in place to support a fully remote staff?

It's very likely that management has simply avoided thinking about the topic entirely. If the employees press them for a concrete action plan, then that at least prompts them to start engaging in objective analysis.


Yeah.

It's a massive multinational company, so I'm sure they're thinking about it. Technically no barriers to working from home (I do it every Friday), tempted to just start doing it every day, but would rather they made a formal decision on it first.


What happens if you just tell them you’re doing it, rather than ask for permission?


Yeah “tell, don’t ask” is good advice for both OO design and office communication. If you ask, a manager will always consider whether they will need to ask someone else about it.


You can also take a softer approach and tell the manager your concern and say you would work from home for safety reasons unless they absolutely require you to be there. That way you didn't give an order to your boss and can still go home.


For all their faults my smaller company is very forward thinking on this. They have banned all non-essential visits to sites by clients or contractors, and travel between offices by staff - even within the same metro area. So you can't just pop into the other office on Friday if you feel like it.

You're also asked to work from home for a while if any travelling family member from overseas visits, and if you have no reason to be in the office they won't say no if you just want to work at home and avoid public transport.

Hoping it doesn't cause a big hit to productivity because it's the right thing to do.


My company is doing the same thing. We’re doing a trial day tomorrow with everyone working remote to make sure everyone is situated.


Same here. And it's not like I can just head home freely.


I did just that. I couldn't concentrate on work in a big office. I'm canceling meetings (or changing them to video conferences). I think I can get away with it for a week or two. And in two weeks I expect my employer to order home office for everybody anyway.


Here in the UK our government thinks washing our hands will save us.


It makes a tremendous difference, so don't downplay it. Infection due to smear (secondary droplet) is really high IIRC and washing hands is a huge countermeasure.


It's necessary but not sufficient to stop the spread. I'm currently just avoiding bringing the topic up with my sister who traveled from the UK to America last month. She repeatedly brushed off the topic because the UK government kept saying it's essentially the flu. Now she's in America with her 2 year old and I'm betting she'll probably fly back to the UK under these conditions.


It's not about stopping but delaying.


It likely will. If all people washed their hands properly and avoid touching their face that would probably slow infection rates down enough. Measures are needed because realistically, no one follows these orders enough.


It has really been a lackadaisical response from the Austrian government - shades of Semmelweis all over again? This is a country that has monuments to Plague victims in its most valued districts ..

Going to be an interesting few weeks as we see how things proceed. To think, somewhere out there, the virus lurks and is headed our way ..


Plague monuments are hardly an Austria specific thing, you can find them almost everywhere in a large part of Europe, including here in Czech Republic:

https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pests%C3%A4ule

(in German)


Was wondering about the response in Austria, thanks. Haven't seen much over at ORF.at. I have older extended family there I worry about.


Austria isn't as badly hit as Italy, despite the short distance to the most affected regions in Italy. They took quite drastic measures early which hopefully slows down the spread. It also helps that much of the traffic from Italy continues on northwards towards Germany and therefore bypasses the main population centers in Austria.

But as in all countries by now, older folks should stay home and self quarantine whenever possible.


Finally - vigorous, coordinated action. That's exactly what's needed right now and I'm glad to see countries stepping up to the challenge.


Isn't this happening in many places? In Greece, schools are closing for two weeks, all gatherings are prohibited, and celebrations for various holidays have been canceled.

Notably, the Church of Greece has announced that "the virus cannot be spread through Communion" (where everyone drinks wine from the same cup). You can imagine how angry this self-serving move made most people.


> Notably, the Church of Greece has announced that "the virus cannot be spread through Communion" (where everyone drinks wine from the same cup).

Catholics in Greece are overwhelmingly Orthodox. The Orthodox Catholic church distributes holy communion differently, with a spoon (there is a particular term for it, but I don't know it) that doesn't touch the communicant's mouth. So, they're not drinking from a communal cup.

It's entirely possible for the communicant to exhale / cough / sneeze on the spoon. I don't know what the priest would do if this were to happen.

As an aside, it's widespread right now (but maybe not universal) in Catholic dioceses to not even provide the cup to the congregation during Communion (which is perfectly fine according to Catholic theology btw). edit: additionally, I recently heard about a dispensation in at least one diocese for people who are in any of the COVID-19 risk categories that they don't need to receive Communion for now. I don't know whether this also dispenses them from attending Mass on Sundays (which is otherwise an obligation for all Catholics).


Do you mean "Christians"? There are very few Catholics here.

The spoon very much touches the communicant's mouth, and the priest dips it back in the cup afterwards. You're getting spoon-fed wine, essentially, with a whole lot of contact.


> All of the three main branches of Christianity in the East (Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and Church of the East) had always identified themselves as Catholic in accordance with Apostolic traditions and the Nicene Creed. Anglicans, Lutherans, and some Methodists also believe that their churches are "Catholic" in the sense that they too are in continuity with the original universal church founded by the Apostles. However, each church defines the scope of the "Catholic Church" differently. For instance, the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox churches, and Church of the East, each maintain that their own denomination is identical with the original universal church, from which all other denominations broke away.

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_(term)

Greek Orthodox are "Catholic" but they are not "Roman Catholic".


In Christian dogma terms, sure, but if you call an (edit) Orthodox Greek Catholic, they will quite disagree.


Unless they are a Greek Catholic.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_Catholic_Church


Or Roman Catholic, yes.


Sounds like the only visual analogy is the branching of a broccoli head, or something equally dense and fractal.


The tree of life works better, there were many branches even earlier that died off and the ones that survive did so through evolutionary pressure. The ones that required circumcision for instance weren't great at attracting converts.


I'll take your word for it, I've been to Divine Liturgy exactly once.

Do Orthodox folks not use the term "Catholic" for themselves? I just don't know very many.


No, it's "Orthodox Christian" and "Catholic Christian", to differentiate.


Conversely, the Catholics I know prefer (if they have a preference, many don't) the bare term "Catholic" rather than "Catholic Christian". This is likely because I live in the US.


Now that you mention it, I've only heard them called "Catholics" here as well, not "Catholic Christian", so it's "Orthodox" or "Orthodox Christian" and "Catholic", you're right.


I was curious about how you would reliably spoon-feed someone without the spoon touching their mouth, so I looked it up online, and from what I've seen [1] it doesn't look like they avoid touching the mouth.

[1] https://youtu.be/WPj7z72VgT0?t=130


The Diocese of San Jose gave a dispensation from attending Mass to people in the various risk categories[1]. That means they don't have to attend Mass on Sunday.

> don't need to receive Communion for now

Regardless of the virus you only need to receive Communion once per year, not at every Mass[2].

[1] https://www.dsj.org/decree-of-special-dispensation-coronavir...

[2] https://forums.catholic.com/t/receive-holy-communion-at-leas...


Same in Poland. Schools, kindergartens, universities all closed starting Monday (Thursday and Friday are "if you must" to give people time to cope), but from what I hear from people, the Church considers itself to be a "hospital for the soul", and "you wouldn't close hospitals during a pandemic". smh.

> "the virus cannot be spread through Communion"

I assume Greece is Catholic, right? Because pope himself told people to take the "spiritual communion" instead of the actual one, and yet the Church in Poland doesn't seem to care.

EDIT: sorry. Somehow I thought Orthodox is mainly in Russia. But my rant against Polish Catholic Church still stands. Pope himself shows people what to do, but in Poland, we're going to do the opposite.


Greeze is probably orthodox not catholic. There is a difference, but I'm not sure what other than they don't report to the Pope, and they do recognize the pope (and vise versa)


There are dogmatic differences such as the Filioque, where one Church says that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father only, whereas the other claims that it also proceeds from the son.

It's kind of like the systemd rageforks, only for sillier (unless you're religious, I guess) reasons:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East%E2%80%93West_Schism


I dunno, the details of Christian theology and doctrine and systemd doctrinal differences seem equally silly to me.


Until you get burnt by a bug/limitation which systemd team consider as feature.


Greece is Orthodox, but I imagine each franchise has some leeway in its marketing. It seems that ours are just excessively greedy.


it's Greek Orthodox Catholic, which is not a part of the Roman Catholic church.


Yes, I'm glad. Currently we have 246 confirmed cases and with those measures they may rise slower than otherwise.


Makes the conspiracy theorist inside me think why are the governments are overreacting... Are they testing their reach for a future false flag?


Overreacting? Did you miss the headline of the thread you’re commenting on? This is officially a pandemic. And instead of reading that and thinking “wow, this needs to be addressed with serious action” you instead thought that hundreds of governments across the world are working in tandem to make it easier to raise false flags in the future. Yikes.


If that’s their thought process about a pandemic announcement from the WHO I’m not sure the conspiracy theorist is just “inside” them any longer.


Over 49 thousand people die from Pneumonia every year in the United States[1]. Under 5 thousand have died globally from COVID-2019[2]. Does this information change your perspective?

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/pneumonia.htm

[2] https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situati...


From a Penn State epidemiologist (note that the quote below speaks of the "infection fatality rate", which is different from the "case fatality rate", the difference is explained in the article)[1]:

"Scientists working at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London and the Institute for Disease Modeling have used these approaches to estimate the infection fatality rate. Currently, these estimates range from 0.5% to 0.94% indicating that COVID-19 is about 10 to 20 times as deadly as seasonal influenza. Evidence coming in from genomics and large-scale testing of fevers is consistent with these conclusions. The only potentially good news is that the epidemic in Korea may ultimately show a lower CFR than the epidemic in China.

...

"On balance, it is reasonable to guess that COVID-19 will infect as many Americans over the next year as influenza does in a typical winter -- somewhere between 25 million and 115 million. Maybe a bit more if the virus turns out to be more contagious than we thought. Maybe a bit less if we put restrictions in place that minimize our travel and our social and professional contacts.

"The bad news is, of course, that these infection numbers translate to 350,000 to 660,000 people dying in the U.S., with an uncertainty range that goes from 50,000 deaths to 5 million deaths. The good news is that this is not a weather forecast. The size of the epidemic, i.e., the total number of infections, is something we can reduce if we decrease our contact patterns and improve our hygiene. If the total number of infections decreases, the total number of deaths will also decrease."

[1] - https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-this-epidemiologist-is...


No, not at all. Because covid is just in the earily stages of spreading. At it's best it will kill far more than 50k this year alone and become endemic so it continues to kill at many on top of flu. At its worst it stands to kill a lot more.


The number of cases in China was been steady for around a week. If we extrapolate from Hubei that should give a decent picture. Around 0.1% of their population were diagnosed with covid and of those diagnosed around 4% died. If we apply the same rates to the United States (328 million * .001 * .04) we get 12,960 deaths. Keep in mind that is somewhat of a worse case scenario. In Henan province the fatality rate is less than half of what it was in Hubei, 1.6%.


It's not a "worse case scenario", it's successful containment through quite strict quarantine measures. Since neither USA nor Italy are taking measures remotely comparable to what Hubei or Henan did when they had a similar amount of spread, we should expect these countries to have a much larger spread than Hubei did, it's really not reasonable to assume that they would be able to limit this to "around 0.1% of their population were diagnosed with covid" - it's plausible that more than half of the population could get it, and leaders of many western countries have acknowledged that.


The population density of Hubei is over 9x that of the United States, the quality of care is better in the United States, and there was basically no action taken for the first 2 months of the outbreak.

"it's plausible that more than half of the population could get it, and leaders of many western countries have acknowledged that."

Will there ever be apologies for spreading mass hysteria?


Will there ever be apologies for downplaying justified warnings and saying "it's just the flu" with dire consequences?

E.g. in a recent turnabout Vice President Mike Pence said today that there has been “irresponsible rhetoric” from people who have downplayed the seriousness of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak.


Will if Mike Pence says it, then it must be true.


Please don't post unsubstantive comments here.


Well, yes, but that's with the extreme measures taken by China. And the spread in Italy doesn't seem close to stopping yet.

Edit: also pneumonia is caused by a large number of causes. If covid-19 killed as much as all respiratory diseases it would already be scary.


Let's look at South Korea. The number of daily cases has been declining for a week. There are currently 7,869 cases there. Let's just say that despite the current trend the number of cases manages to increase to 20,000. That would mean around 0.04% of the population of South Korea would be affected. They currently have a death rate of 0.8% but there are still many active cases. Let's say that doubles to 1.6% which would put it in line with regions of China other than Hubei. If we apply that infection rate and mortality rate to the US population (328,000,000 * .0004 * .016) that gives a total number of deaths of 2,099.

The numbers don't need any mitigating factors but those do exist as well. I don't see South Korea doing anything more extreme than what could be done in the US so that doesn't show the US would be worse. The population density of South Korea is 15x that of the US so that would probably mean the infection rate would be lower in the US. The median age is also higher in South Korea and since this disease affects older people more that would also make the outlook for America better.


It's not clear that it's an overreaction; the paradox is, assuming this truly is a pandemic (seems likely), and every nation on earth had taken drastic action early enough, it could have actually been contained; in which case we wouldn't have seen the pandemic manifest, and the public would be left scratching their heads, going "why did we do all that again?", and provoking inquiries into false-flag/etc.

I lean a little tinfoil-hatty; but I get the impression that for all the bullshit self-serving narratives proffered by elites (both economic and political), this is one that they actually seem to believe themselves, privately as well as publicly. If anything, they're more spooked than they're signaling openly.


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And yet if they did nothing you would predictably be in this thread wondering if it was a planned release.


Western governments do seem to be reacting to this major threat to our lives with a degree of callous disregard ..


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