Open Thread Friday 3-27-2020

My county is has 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Testing is still very limited in Oregon and we are in a partial lock down. Some optimization if we follow the guidelines may not overrun our capacity of hospital beds. This will go on for several weeks and every few days there area a few more restrictive orders.

Technology is supposed to provide part of the answer to our overcoming the viruses impact. Some of the monitoring practices have been available ror some time, but hidden from the general public's awareness. This visual example of phone tracking is a little creepy. The publishers are very reassuring how they are not identifying personal info. It appears to be a choice they are making, not a feature of the data being used.

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The pharmaceutical companies are concerned about maximizing profits. When the United States stopped giving them tax breaks manufacturing began moving around the world. To have domestic production the manufacturing of medications and all chemical required for the processes will need to be relocated.

Why Puerto Rican drug manufacturers moved to China

Until relatively recently, Puerto Rico was a dominant player in the manufacture of prescription drugs. The reason? Taxes.

In Gerald Ford’s last year as President, the Democratic Congress passed—and Ford signed—the Tax Reform Act of 1976, which exempted from taxation corporate income generated in U.S. territories, like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This policy, combined with Puerto Rican tax law, meant that corporate subsidiaries based in Puerto Rico enjoyed a zero percent corporate tax rate, so long as they distributed their profits as dividends.

Pharmaceutical companies were well suited to take advantage of this tax break—contained in Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code—for drug manufacturing. Companies could base their manufacturing operations in Puerto Rico, and thereby significantly reduce their U.S. tax burden. A 1993 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that pharmaceutical companies represented, by far, the largest beneficiaries of the Puerto Rican corporate tax system, benefiting to the tune of $86 million in 1985.

Over time, Congress whittled away at the Puerto Rican tax break. Finally, in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, which phased out Section 936, fully repealing the tax break in 2006. The measure was hailed at the time as “ending corporate welfare as we know it.”

The end of Section 936 dispersed the global pharmaceutical manufacturing industry to other parts of the globe. Many manufacturers of branded pharmaceuticals moved their factories to Ireland, which has a low 6.25 percent corporate tax rate for revenue tied to patents or other intellectual property. Ruthless price competition among manufacturers of older, generic medicines drove those supply chains to China and India. A U.S. Department of Commerce study found that 97 percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. now come from China. 40 percent of over-the-counter and generic prescription drugs used in the U.S. now come from India.

Moving the pharmaceutical industry back to the United States would not completely remove the risk of supply disruptions. Hurricane Maria disrupted the pharmaceutical manufacturing in Puerto Rico.

The vulnerable points

Creating a safe space for employees was a crucial element to restoring drug manufacturing to normal levels, pharma site leaders readily admit. Executives were keenly aware of the need to get operations back up and running as quickly and with as much stability as possible, for the benefit of global drug supplies as well as Puerto Rico.

Of the top 20 medicines sold worldwide, components of 11 are manufactured on the island. The drug supply chain has some flexibility—companies can shift manufacturing to sites in other countries, for example—but the portion of the pipeline potentially affected by Maria risked bottom lines as well as the overall pharmaceutical supply chain.

The stakes were high for Puerto Rico itself too: As of 2016, the drug and devices industry represented nearly 30% of its overall gross domestic product, and some 38,000 people worked in the biosciences.

As media began to report the outages at plants on the island, and U.S. Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb issued statements on the issue, worries over drug shortages heightened.

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I cut the cord to TV three years ago. Ironically with the fast changes in our society right now I had been thinking about getting an antenna for local stations. JekyllnHyde saved me some dollars when he posted his diary in February.

That said, it's still useful to watch the three cable news networks for political debates, analysis, and the like. If for whatever reason you don't have access to them, bookmark these websites. Some also include a few other news channels. Note that these are completely FREE!

1. livenewsnow.com

2. livenewswatch.com

3. livenewsmag.com

4. planetnews.com - only has CNN and MSNBC.

5. https://pluto.tv/ - this is something like Sling TV, Hulu, YouTube TV, etc. It has a couple of hundred channels and is FREE. At least for now. Look for the yellow circle at the lower right side of your pc screen. That's how you see the channel listings for movies, news, sports, etc.

When on travel, I can access and watch these news channels on my cell phone.

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If you are interested in freelance work or spot projects Edg provided a great diary about Upwork earlier this month.

Work At Home. No, Really.
This essay, on the other hand, is based on my personal work at home experience over the past several years. It includes actual screenshots from my freelancer account at Upwork.com and provides exhaustive, in-depth guidance on how to set up your own account and start pursuing your own work at home opportunities.

Warning: When I say exhaustive, I mean it. This is a very long essay.

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There has been some very good discussions this week regarding COVID-19. I thought this video shared by out of left field has some good info. Video is a little rough, but worth the interruptions. (full 57 minutes)
Most common methods of COVID-19 and prevention 6:39 to 15:30
What to expect if get COVID-19 and when to seek treatment 15:30 to 29:00
Answering various questions 29:00-57:00

Dr. Price knows whereof he speaks: he has spent the past several weeks caring for Covid19 patients in NYC's Weill Cornell hospital. Below is a link to a video in which he talks about how you catch Covid19, how you can protect yourself from catching it, and what to do if you do catch it.

Dr Price video (57 min)

Continuing the Journey into Chinese Medicine

Qigong or energy work has been used in China for five main objectives: 1) maintaining health, 2) medical therapy, 3) prolonging life, 4) optimize martial arts and 5) spiritual enlightenment. An author I have been recently reading to better understand qigong is Dr Jwing-Ming Yang (doctorate is in mechanical engineering). He grew up in Taiwan, began his teaching career there and moved to the United States mid 1970's. He makes an effort to communicate the essence of the Chinese thoughts in English. Not an easy task.

Excerpt from his book Simple Qigong Exercises for Health.. A promotional pdf download with a few more sections of the book.

Chapter 3. Sitting Eight Pieces of Brocade

It has been nearly one thousand years since the Eight Pieces of Brocade were created. There are many versions, each one somewhat different from the others. However, it does not matter which version you are training, the basic principles and theory are the same, and the goal is consistent. Remember that the most important thing in the training is not the forms themselves, but rather the theory and principle of each form, which constitute the root. Once you understand these, you will be able to use your wisdom mind (yi, 意) to lead the qi to circulate and bring you to health. Therefore, when you practice you should try to understand the poetry or the “secret words.” They have been passed down for hundreds of years and are the root of the practice. Because of cultural and language differences, it is very difficult to translate into English all of the meaning of the Chinese. We will try to keep as close as possible to the Chinese and hope that you are able to get not just the meaning, but also the taste of the original. Sometimes, words that are not in the original will be added in parentheses to clarify the meaning. Each section of poetry will be discussed so that it is as clear as possible.

As the first chapter explains, The Eight Pieces of Brocade is an external elixir (wai dan, 外丹) exercise. It includes both types of wai dan qigong practice theory: not only does it build up qi in the limbs and then allow this qi to flow into the organs, but it also uses the motion of the limbs to move the muscles around the organs and increase the qi circulation there.

There are two sets of The Eight Pieces of Brocade. One set is sitting and the other is standing. The sitting set discussed in this chapter focuses on exercising the upper limbs and benefits the six organs that are related to the six qi channels in the arms. The sitting set is a good way to wake up in the morning, and it is usually practiced before noon. The sitting set is also good for people who are bedridden or cannot stand easily.

You may wonder about the number of repetitions given for the different exercises. Chinese people consider twelve to be the number of a cycle; for example, twelve months comprise a year. Therefore, you will often see twelve or its multiples listed as the recommended numbers of repetitions. Square numbers such as nine, sixteen, forty-nine, or sixty-four are also popular. Such numbers are only a guide, and you don’t need to follow them precisely. If you have only a limited amount of time and cannot do the recommended number of repetitions, simply use a smaller number. Do not, however, omit any of the exercises.

You may have noticed that in the discussion of the training theory and in the training instructions there is very little about coordinating your breathing with the movements. This is simply because the set was designed for the beginning qigong practitioner. For the beginner, the most important element of the practice is relaxation. Only when you have mastered the set and learned how to regulate your body should you start to coordinate
your breath with the movements. The general rule in breathing is that when you extend your limbs you exhale and lead the qi to the extremities, and when you withdraw your limbs you inhale and lead the qi to your spine.

15.23 minutes Sitting Set of Eight Piece Brocade

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Lookout's picture

What odd times. Spring is so beautiful here this year, as the whole system seems to collapse around us.

Ain't it like the evil bastards to take advantage to funnel ever more money to the 0.01% while trying to take away our social security?

Fortunately the garden is doing well and offers a respite from the insanity unfolding before us.

Minimizing trips out to once a week. Reminds me of the time I lived 20+ miles from town. I learned to make a good list and live without the things I neglected to buy... till the next trip.

Perhaps the spread will slow this summer and the med centers can rest and recoup a bit before the fall/winter outbreak. Sounds like the vaccine is at least a year out. More and more previously infected people will become immune and able to help ease the crisis.

Take care everyone!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
We still don't have a vaccine for the common cold because it mutates too fast.

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We are so screwed.

studentofearth's picture

@Lookout Finally had the time and $$ to plant spring bulbs and a few indoor pots last fall. Usually get my spring flower fix by driving to the Willamette Valley which is about 6 weeks earlier into the spring bloom. Instead I am walking among early crocuses outside and have daffodils blooming inside.

Definitely planting a garden this year. Still dropping into the teens at night so waiting a few weeks. Might try a cold frame if I get impatient.

I don't think I have ever stayed in my home this long without a quick trip somewhere in my life. Even just a simple trip to get an ingredient for a recipe. Take care.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Raggedy Ann's picture

Thanks for such an informative OT! So much I have to go back and read/listen. We are all on a learning curve with this new life, so all help is appreciated.

We got rid of our cable five years ago and only have rabbit ears. We get a few channels, but the ones from JnH help tremendously. Thanks for posting them again - it's a good reminder to bookmark them!

We are relatively safe in rural America. I have so much empathy for those n big cities. Even our "big" city of Albuquerque (pop.550,000+) has the most cases, so far. I live 50 miles away, but my work is in the city. Unfortunately, we are venturing out to the city today so I can retrieve some things from my office. After that, we hope to hole-up for a couple of weeks before having to venture out again.

Enjoy your Friday, everyone! Pleasantry

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"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

studentofearth's picture

@Raggedy Ann tourists bringing COVID-19 with them when visiting. The rural counties have older populations. The last few decades many rural hospitals have closed and it would be very easy overwhelm healthcare capacity.

I enjoy my fresh eggs and the insect control the chickens provide. Good luck with your new flock.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

This is a very telling bit from Moon of Alabama
https://www.moonofalabama.org

The more than two trillion dollar the lobbyists told Congress to put into their 800+ pages relief bill will mostly go to very rich people. It is corporate socialism - a bail out for investors and managers.

Contrast that with the Russian president Vladimir Putin who, in an address to the Russian people, allocated most of the money for the unemployed, the retired and for families...

what makes USA exceptional
the house is tryng to have a vote on this boondoggle this morning
can they just cut out the corporate give away? hmm

good luck

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@QMS

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We are so screwed.

studentofearth's picture

@QMS could be significant.

The novel coronavirus is spread to a great extent by people who stay asymptomatic and by people who do not yet feel sick but will later show symptoms. When they talk, sneeze or cough they release small droplets that carry viruses. The droplets can stay in the air for some time. If a person coming along inhales those droplets the viruses will likely infect that person.

Those who have have the virus or might spread it should wear a mask because it prevents their droplets from flying out. Those who do not have the virus should wear a mask to prevent droplets from entering their body.

We were told that 'masks don't work' because they are not a 100% protection. The very tiny viruses can pass behind the mask at its sides or they can slip through its webbing. But the virus is not traveling alone but as part of a droplet. Even a relatively wide webbing may hold it up. If it is doubled with a sheet of cosmetic paper towel in between the protection will be even better. Microfilter bags for vacuum cleaners and so called HEPA filters are also effective materials that are readily available and easy to turn into masks.
.....
When one checks the original reports from Spain and from the Czech Republic one learns that these countries bought anti-body tests which only react when a person has had the virus for some time and developed anti-bodies against it. These tests can obviously not be used to find persons who are infected but have not yet developed anti-bodies.

China's ambassador in Spain also pointed out that these tests have yet to be verified by the regulator and were imported without the help or knowledge of the Chinese government.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

ggersh's picture

Koch Bro behind let's get ameriKa back to work

https://theintercept.com/2020/03/26/americans-for-prosperity-cdc-coronav...

If you are wondering where #DonaldTrump got the idea to end the #CoronavirusPandemic quarantines, stay at home orders. It came from the #KochNetwork These are 2 staffers of the network agitating for businesses to reopen.
They will be safe working at home. pic.twitter.com/CVXjhCKVrz
— Laura Goldman (@laurasgoldman) March 23, 2020

AFP’s position, which directly contradicts the advice of medical experts who say that social isolation is essential to curbing the spread of the coronavirus, comes after the group lobbied the Trump administration in 2018 to rescind $1 billion from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Work sheep work

Experts around the country have called for shelter-in-place policies for nonessential businesses, arguing that social isolation can drastically curb the spread of the coronavirus. Slowing the pandemic, they say, can save lives by lowering the demand for medical supplies and limited hospital beds. Despite their medical necessity, these policies are being rejected by conservatives around the country. Republican state leaders, including Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have balked at shutdown requests. On Tuesday, Reeves signed an executive order superseding local bans on public gatherings.

So w/AFP endorsement the C19 problem will remain for quite sometime if these Bible Belters
don't get onboard, amirite?

In case you're wondering about the safety of those lobbyists, those that want the people to continue working for profits, look no further they're working from home

The Koch network, while pushing for businesses to stay open, is taking the opposite approach for its lobbying apparatus. AFP and its affiliates, including LIBRE Initiative and Concerned Veterans for America, are now working from home. “Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the health and safety of our activists, staff, and voters, our staff are working from home and are utilizing digital organizing as one way to continue their grassroots engagement,” a spokesperson from AFP told CNBC

It's almost 3rd Reich like, the only difference being the camps of today don't starve one to death.

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this time it's different

empty suit on Kapernick

"“Kapernick needs to think about the pain he’s causing military families."

studentofearth's picture

@ggersh and corporations. Their persistence dramatically changed the landscape of this country. After Charles is gone the true believers will try and continue the course the Koch's set. It is a tough fight for us to keep focused winning the war, not stopping and sharing congratulations after a battle. It is when people are not looking the most progress on Koch ideas are moved forward.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

For prevention of COVID-19, 23 provinces in China issued CM programs. The main principles of CM use were to tonify qi to protect from external pathogens, disperse wind and discharge heat, and resolve dampness. The most frequently used herbs included Radix astragali (Huangqi), Radix glycyrrhizae (Gancao), Radix saposhnikoviae (Fangfeng), Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae (Baizhu), Lonicerae Japonicae Flos (Jinyinhua), and Fructus forsythia (Lianqiao).

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11655-020-3192-6

and this...

According to Xinhua Net, the official state-run press agency of the People’s Republic of China (it’s the the largest news agency in the world), health authorities are calling for the establishment of coordination mechanisms between traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases including the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pneumonia.

https://www.activeherb.com/blog/how-helpful-is-chinese-medicine-in-fight...

The report in Taiwan News lists some traditional remedies for staff who don’t come in direct contact with infected patients. Ginger soup and licorice are two examples. Licorice root, according to TCM theory clears heat and toxicity, two pathologies which are associated with viral attacks. In addition, licorice may also ease symptoms expelling phlegm and arresting coughs. Another way licorice root may help is by tonifying Spleen Qi. Viral attacks weaken Spleen Qi, thereby interfering with digestion and the production of blood and overall Qi energy.

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studentofearth's picture

@QMS Activeherb is a good source for quality bulk herbs. I use them and Frontier Co-op as my primary sources.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

enhydra lutris's picture

Technology is supposed to provide part of the answer to our overcoming the viruses impact.

I recently rad that "technology is stuff that doesn't work". Chairs work, they're just there, we use them when warranted or needed for whatever purposes they can fulfill and otherwise never think of them. Technology is stuff that just isn't there yet.

Something I just installed on my phone but haven't tried out yet is portable.tv an app promoted by redacted tonight that purportedly has a ton of stations. I need to offload a ton of stuff from my tablet, install a larger sd card, re-load and then add several apps, including that one. However, we are sheltering in place so that will wait.

have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Granma's picture

By county. Some states break it down to zip codes. Maybe it doesn't matter since testing is still so limited. But I live in a geographically large county and would feel safer going to grocery store if I knew that county cases were far away.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@Granma
some of the talking heads about that

Maybe it doesn't matter since testing is still so limited.

TH: As of today we still only have 4 cases
moi: How many did you test?
TH: 7

happy sailing

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

studentofearth's picture

@Granma COVID-19 free. We are between 2 states with large outbreaks and a major economic sector is tourism. Next time I go out I will wear a mask and probably wear gloves to remind myself not to touch my face. The other option is safety glasses, since they have side protection. Harder to rub your eyes.

Take Care.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

to trash progressives and again pitch Putin/Russia. How he once appeared to be level-headed is another mystery.

Glenn Greenwald responded with a handy-dandy graphic tweet, but it won't load here.

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CB's picture

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Just thought they had a bad cold and recovered.

South Korea tested everyone and isolated the infected.
The USA wants everyone scared and willing to give up all their rights and benefits.
It's a big power and money grab for the politicians and the corporations they serve.

Yes, it's real and deadly but they are using it to destroy the America we new and turn it into the Fourth Reich,

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We are so screwed.

@The Voice In the Wilderness They have been testing those with symptoms and the identifiable contacts of those persons. To date (it's reported daily by KCDC) they have tested 376,961 (that's 0.74% of the population). Of those tested 352,410 were negative, 9,332 were positive, and 15,218 are in-test. What SK did do from it's first case on 20 Jan was initiate contact tracing and testing, isolation for those that test positive, and put out public service messages on the symptoms and general public health measures -- wash hands and wear masks.

By way of comparison, at this point (if the reports on testing are valid) on testing:population
Spain 0.84%
Italy 0.60%
Germany 0.24%
US 0.18%
UK 0.16%
France 0.15%

I've not seen a report on how many were tested in China.

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CB's picture

and more testing.

Germany has 50,871 confirmed cases with only 342 deaths to date.

A German virologist says the reason Germany has such a low death rate is because they were conducting tests at the rate of 500,000 per week since the outbreak in Germany.

A Berlin Biotech Company Got a Head Start on Coronavirus Tests
TIB has made kits with 4 million tests since the outbreak began.

Shortly after New Year’s, Olfert Landt started seeing news reports of a strange disease spreading in China. The German scientist, who’s developed tests for ailments ranging from swine flu to SARS, sensed an opportunity—and a new mission. He spent the next few days quizzing virologists at Berlin’s Charité hospital and scouring the internet for more information on what soon became known as the novel coronavirus, and by Jan. 10 he’d introduced a viable test kit. His phone hasn’t stopped ringing since. “Everyone here is putting in 12- to 14-hour shifts,” the ponytailed Landt says as he rushes through the corridors of TIB Molbiol Syntheselabor GmbH, the Berlin biotech company he started three decades ago. “We’re nearing our limit.”

In the past two months, Landt and his staff at the company’s production facility—a former industrial building just south of the disused Tempelhof airport—have produced 40,000 coronavirus diagnostic kits, enough for about 4 million individual tests. TIB has reoriented its business toward coronavirus, running its machines through the night and on weekends to make the kits, which sell for about €160 ($180) apiece. As orders have poured in from the World Health Organization, national health authorities, and laboratories in some 60 countries, TIB’s revenue in February tripled from the same month in 2019.

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@CB 500,000/week testing program because they've only reported a total of 200,000 tests so far.

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CB's picture

@Marie
Here's mine.

I wanted to understand why their testing was so effective and got off to such a quick start I dis some background checks. I knew from Chinese reports that the Germans had been the first to take advantage of the Chinese genome publication of the coronavirus at the beginning of January. That's why I included the link to the designer and manufacturer of the test kits in Germany.


500,000 coronavirus tests a week are helping Germany keep the death toll in check

The low death rate is directly correlated with the high number of tests performed in the country, virologist Christian Drosten said during an event in Germany to promote coronavirus research. Germany was carrying out “extremely high numbers” of tests, per Reuters. The average number is around 500,000 a week, or more than 70,000 a day.

That’s a huge number, but it’s the best way of taking on the virus. The researcher said that the high number of tests give authorities a better understanding of the bigger picture. They’re aware of every coronavirus case, including the milder ones, which explains the huge discrepancy between Germany and other countries in Europe when it comes to the fatality rate.

Germany is a country of over 82 million people and could very well report even more cases in the coming days. But the faster that patients are identified, the faster they can get on therapies and trials that have proven to be effective elsewhere. An early diagnosis means fast access to professional help even for milder cases. But fast diagnoses will especially help at-risk patients who can be assisted and observed well before the onset of symptoms. Discovering coronavirus cases that may be asymptomatic can significantly slow down the disease as well.

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@CB that it might not be reliable. As no country other than South Korea has been fully transparent as to its COVID testing numbers skepticism is warranted. Whether Germany has tested 0.24% of its population or 1.0% doesn't much interest me considering that by population its 63% larger than South Korea and currently has 5.5 times as many infected and with its early treatment magic has 2.5 times the deaths compared with SK that has not claimed any extraordinarily effective medical treatment.

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CB's picture

@Marie
In Germany there were 50,871 confirmed cases with 351 deaths which gives a death rate of 0.69%.

S Korea had 9,332 cases with 91 deaths with a death rate of 0.98%.

S. Korea had clamped down much quicker and firmer than Germany which reduced overall cases there.

From what I observe, Germany performed as well as S Korea despite the slower start. The lower death rate was probably due to the larger number of confirmed asymptomatic cases detected. There were reports in Germany that testing was being done on people with few symptoms. But, like all diseases, the earlier the detection the better the prognosis.

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@CB
What I gather is that there is not much doctors can do besides putting you on breathing assist and letting it run its course. So reports about that malaria medicine, something-quil, but the CFC seems to poo-poo that. Deaths rates in the Orient seem lower but is that genetics?
I don't see how isolation can affect the percent infected that die. We have some deaths here in Illinois but they are probably old people because they are in nursing homes. I do worry about my 83 year old brother-in-law who's been hospitalized/in in a nursing home for over a year as a result of being hit by a car which almost killed him.

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We are so screwed.

CB's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness
general hospital care for the less ill until they are well enough to leave.

If the patient is on a ventilator then it takes a major effort to keep them alive. One in three will die.

Care for Patient with Mechanical Ventilator

All this care is required 24/7. A 6 hour shift is exhausting for nurses and doctors in isolation wards.

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@CB
That's nursing home care.

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We are so screwed.

CB's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness
doctors and qualified nurses.

China separated patients after they had built temporary hospitals into mild, medium and acute care. They staffed and equipped them appropriately. As patients improved, they moved them into lower categories to free up space.

BTW, it looks like the Chinese will be back to work well before Trump's Easter deadline.

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janis b's picture

I enjoyed following along and will again.

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