Saturday, March 7, 2020

The $64 Question

Bad, wicked, naughty, evil Zoot.

A month ago I was worried we might have 10-20 cases of Kung Flu. Instead, we have nearly 20 deaths. That means those people got it up to a month ago, from other people who didn't know they had it either.

So far, most of them are elderly, and/or with other co-morbid conditions.

But sooner or later, a relatively healthy 40- or 50-year old with no predisposition is going to croak. Maybe a teacher. Or a school janitor or lunch lady. Then everyone will lose their shit.

The school will be closed. But that person will have infected 40-200 kids, who won't be symptomatic, who will then be locked up at home to infect their whole families, and you'll have a blossom of 1000 cases. Some of whom will still be going to work infected and asymptomatic, and give it to co-workers, who'll give it to their kids, and so on, and so on.

That's how a pandemic marches onwards.
And it will be everywhere.

Take a pair of ordinary dice. There are only 36 possible combinations (6x6). So the raw chance for any roll is a hair under 3% (2.77% for the anal retentive math geek crowd). If coronavirus only has a 3% chance at being transmitted, every time you're out and about, you're rolling the dice. Except you touch things 1000 times a day, and your face about 500 times. (We'll forget about droplets, mucous membranes, and inhalation vectors from coughing and sneezing people for the moment). So, roll the dice every day, and see how long before snake eyes comes up. Remember those thousands of touches, and 500 times touching your face.

After rolling dice 164 times, your chance of getting snake eyes is 99% probable.

So being out and about, in a world becoming saturated with asymptomatic carriers, you're not just likely to get Kung Flu, you're going to get it .

For probably 80% of all persons, two weeks to a month of PITA. For some of them, they may not even know they have it! For 10-17%, you're going to the hospital. But unless you're dying, you aren't getting in. And about 3 people out of every 100 are going to die from it.

If everybody in CA gets it, that's up to 1.2M deaths. Leaving us with 38.8M swinging Richards afterwards. For Texas, it would be up to 870K dead, and 28M still there. Nationwide, up to 10M dead, and 320M still here.

That's if mortality holds at 3%, and everyone gets it. Juggling those numbers around on the slide rule gets you any answer you want.

Bad for the 10M dead, and the 20-50M hospitalized/laid out, but that's not the catastrophe, per se.

The real problem is, the only way to stop this is to send everyone - everyone - home, until 30 days after the last case gets well or dies. Even the idiots among TPTB will figure this out, after exhausting all other half-assed options (just like in China).

If you do nothing, you lose 10M outright, and 50M who can't work for months, and 100M more out for up to a month, but not all at once.

That's the problem. Either of those options screws the economy like a $2 hooker, which is why the stock market is in freefall, why Italy and China have thrown in the towel, and why Korea and the rest of Europe probably will too, before we figure it out.

And until you self-quarantine, and don't pop positive in the next month, you won't know you don't have it already either.

So the $64 Questions is, how long can you miss work, school etc., and how much money, water, food, medicine, and other necessities do you have, to stay home for what may become a mandatory extended quarantine? Will you have a job to go back to when it's over? Will anyone?

We'll leave the discussion of how you hold a valid general election for the President, 1/3 of the Senate, and the entire Congress amidst this sort of thing, for another time.

Local observation:

I note for informational purposes that the local bookseller, B and N, is suddenly light on disaster/survival/preparedness books, which had formerly just been gathering dust, and is now missing every volume on first aid. Because I check those aisles 2-3X/week, and probably know them better than store staff.

Some people are getting edjumicated, apparently.


Also, over at WRSA, one of the He's-who-shall-not-be-named observed accurately that contrary to all dystopian fiction, the stores remain open and unburnt, rather than the popular "stripped to the walls in 48-72 hours".

Allow me to respond:

Food isn’t coming here from China (unlike N95 masks), the trucks are still running, and you’re still free to travel, and not under draconian quarantine.

So there isn’t any national emergency, for the moment.
{cf. 1940: Phony War. Compare and contrast with Dunkirk, and the Battle of Britain, a few months later.}

Once you can’t go out, it won’t matter what’s on the shelf. The average person and family has three days' food at home. (If you have more, by definition, you’re above average, just like the kids at Lake Wobegone. That also means somewhere there’s some jackass who has less than three days on hand.)

So, how long do store shelves stay stocked (and not gloriously aflame) when the trucks aren’t rolling, and Trayvon Diversity and his posse go emergency shopping after midnight, with a brick and a machete?

And what happens when people who depend on prescriptions, made from precursors that aren’t coming from China, and haven’t been for the last month or two, start getting shorted on their Rx meds, esp. the ones that
a) keep them alive, or
b) keep them sane and functional?

Just curious.
Feel free to extrapolate at your own leisure, as you see fit, considering those new data points.


Anonymous said...

Your numbers are good as long as this thing doesn't mutate again, (and again?)
I'm out in the boonies, over 50 miles from the nearest town. Yesterday a car load of people including a sniveling brat from Washington state came though the gas station where I was fueling up. The kid had what appeared to be a cold. I watched them touch everything. We don't need airports to spread this.
Everyone is oblivious.

The Freeholder said...

Yet the mainstream media, the CDC, and bloviating pundits who ought to know better are all telling us that it's not much worse than the flu. And that if we're preparing, we're e-e-evil hoarders.

I stand by what I've done-I "panicked" early and got all the things I didn't have, or didn't have enough of, and stacked them away. If I have to, I can dive in the hole and pull it in after me and be good. Except for the issue of Mrs. Freeholder, who is still stuck in the elementary school disease factory until the fools figure out it needed to close 2 weeks ago. But hey, they been talking to the county and state health goobers, and it's all good. She got that call yesterday and came rushing to me with her phone on speaker and held out. "Listen to this!"

Yeah, we're going to be screwed if these people don't un-eff themselves RFN.

Aesop said...

Italy, with only a few more deaths than we have RFN, shut their entire country down this past week.

Those potential 10M dead I mentioned?
TPTB are going to see that we get them, if at all possible.

Jimmythetriger said...

It appears that RdRP, RNA dependent RNA polimerase is inhibited competitively by zinc in the cytoplasm of mamalian cells. This limits the ability of some +rna viruses to initiate their propagation cascade. Corona viruses have been shown in general to exhibit this weakness. Whether or not the honey badger virus can be defeated this way remains to be seen. Zn is cheap CT scans not so much. Pound of prevention you know.

Anonymous said...

A nurses union says that most hospitals are not prepared,


Anonymous said...

Calm down. I have a great cruise ship opportunity for you. 1/4 the regular price. Take some time off. Kick back. It's going to China by the way.

Aaron said...


Nobody is prepared, the least of all hospitals. In my 10 years in the ED only one thing was ever certain and that was that we were going to run out of beds...on a usual Tuesday night. All the admitted patients, including ICU patients, then languished downstairs with us. That means that the nurse taking care of the unit patient was also working up a fresh chest pain or stroke alert while also getting the baby from the hood with a fever that should've been given Tylenol at home ("but that s*** expensive". Mom has hair did, fresh nails and the newest iPhone). As far as supplies go after the hurricane in PR we started running out of normal saline. That was JUST Puerto Rico. China makes almost ALL of our masks. My own facility is rationing PPE as we speak (no coveralls, no booties-just a gown) and we have roughly 1 1/2 boxes of N95 masks left and I'm pretty sure they walked out.

Everyone needs to know that in the VERY near future are going to lose the ability to go to the hospital as we have always done. On any normal day our just-on time barebones low-stock medical system is stretched to the brink. Add this BS to it and that level of care is soon going to go away and we will truly be on our own.

Anonymous said...

"and you’re still free to travel, and not under...quarantine...Yet."

"Yet" is so this morning...

Multiple stories on it, with LE ordering people "heads back inside" just for sticking there head out to see what is happening in their neighborhood.

The deceased was on the GP cruise.

Roger said...

Oooooh and the fun will really begin soon when the newly available Covid 19 test kits become commonly available and the REAL infection numbers are public. (That is if the .gov decide to allow the data out.)

parascribe said...

Well, no shit!

Smoker78 said...

The data will get out, that’s why people like us frequent the blogs and sites we do. Look, there is nothing here (757) and rations are being implemented. It is a foregone conclusion that this is going to get bad. Now they are talking two strains, ie mutation. How long until the next mutation? And the next? 7+ billion of us gives a very large opportunity for mutations. This is getting interesting and I haven’t even hit my personal panic button....yet. Unknown territory lies ahead, we are all ahead flank, with no Fathometer.

Anonymous said...

I just hope things can hold together until week after next when my sister goes home to Washington DC because she is a drone who watches cnn/mange for her "news" and thinks this is all bs. b she is on psych meds and is crazy enough as it is if she stops getting them she will by beyond insane and c she runs out all over town to eat at restaurants and shop at stores and will likely bring this back to my house I love her but if she's going to crash and burn anyway I don't need her around to take the rest of us with her

Crew said...

I am told that a school in San Jose has had a kid who tested positive for the Kung Flu.

It seems to have been a sorry tale of idiocy all along.

The student's mother was in hospital at KP for the Kung Flu but no one seems to have suggested testing her husband or offspring. So, the offspring kept going to school until a teacher asked why said offspring had been tardy every day for a week.

When told it was because the mother was in hospital for reasons the kid did not know the school got worried and called the hospital to find out what was up.

They the asked that the rest of the family be tested only to have them turn up positive as well.

I imagine there will be a large amount of noise about it soon but who knows. Maybe they will engage in ass covering instead.

Anonymous said...

Our hospital has initiated their covid policy. They have closed all access doors except for three for the civilians. They have stationed a staff member at each door who asks visitors if they have been outside the country or if they have been around anyone with a diagnosis of covid. THAT'S IT! That is all they do. Then the visitor is given an orange sticker to wear.
I have already had a probable infection pt in my ICU last weekend.
We are screwed.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, this continues to get out in front of TPTB. Whether they are so stupid they cannot comprehend the reality around them or, they do realize it and this is a planned culling; it is obvious to me we are on our own. Costco, Fred Meyer, Walgreens, and other retail outlets are all out of rubbing alcohol. That's just for starters. The JIT delivery system is still keeping up with the comestibles and GMO poison. Also, plenty of ethanol to numb the sheeple. As we all wait for the other shoe to drop, it is becoming more apparent to me the greatest danger to me and my tribe will be within five miles of our home. We do live in interesting times. Thanks for all of your input, Aesop. Bleib ubrig. - Dweezil the Weasel.

Anonymous said...

Our hospital deployed their Surge Tent last week. It is set up and ready to go. WuFlu patients will be treated in the Surge Tent not the hospital.

Prospective WuFlu patients go to the ER entrance and ring the bell. A ER tech or Nurse comes out and has the patient put on a mask before entering the hospital.

As many of you know, 97% of prescription medication and precursor chemicals are made in China and their economy is pretty much shut down now. Significant shortages of antibiotics and other meds should be a big problem in the next 30 to 60 days. India is refusing to send some drugs made for the USA market to the USA and they are keeping them for their own people.

Since Insulin is now manufactured and does not come from pigs anymore, does anyone know where Insulin is manufactured? We have a young niece who is Type 1 and we would like to get her some extra supply. Getting a prescription is not a problem.

Charles in VA said...

@ aesop,

If you're like me...and like it or not, you are to a degree...I'm getting bored shitless with constant commentary on the impending apocalypse. I'm as prepped up as I'm ever going to be. We'll all die or we won't.

That having been said, I have a suggestion for us all to relive the boredom of self quarantine:

How about an open thread about how we are all ultimate bad asses in our chosen fields of interest?

Half of us are bound to find fault with anything said, and the other half might just learn a thing or two!

So what do you say, jarhead? You ready to step out of the wheelhouse for a free for all? After all, you've nothing to lose, having total control over the venue and all.

Even you must need a break from the usual shit by now, right? C'mon! It'll be fun!

You could title it "What do you bring to the table?".

I think Uncle Remus would approve.

Anonymous said...

Once more you've given us all a useful and cogent column; thanks, my Brother. The anecdotal data points and extrapolation give a sense of the speed of the train toward the downed trestle.
Gonna be mighty interesting sooner rather than later. Preps complete ( though an extra bottle of whiskey woulda been nice), 'spect we'll withdraw from company polite or otherwise.
Boat Guy

pdxr13 said...

The Bright Side: State Fed and Muni pension funds previosly facing disaster collapse by excessive years predicted for retirees to live may be liquid much longer. GenZ may get to live in single family houses after all.

Tucanae Services said...

The 3% number seems good on the face. But here is the problem. The current strain of the virus according to all accounts offered does not impart immunity so a patient could survive the first bout with the virus only to succumb in a follow on bout due the weakened condition.

Swrichmond said...

Politicians, ass covering?

What happened to make you so cynical?


Anonymous said...

I’m a licensed funeral director & embalmer in central Florida. I work at a medium sized firm (about 300 death calls a year). I speak for many funeral homes, Staff is minimal due to budget issues. Folks, if this shit gets real and the death toll begins to climb..... we are fucked! Medical examiners, funeral homes and hospitals do NOT have enough refrigeration space for a mass casualty event! Many embalming supplies come from China and the major embalming supply companies do not keep massive inventory in warehouses.
Therefore, the population of North Florida is about 3.5 million people, even with a mortality rate of 1%.... that’s 35,000! We, in the death care industry, are NOT equipped to deal with it! I don’t have a solution, just an observation from someone in the trenches.

15Fixer said...

SLIDE RULE!!!!! I still have mine from engineering school!!!!!

elysianfield said...

"Folks, if this shit gets real and the death toll begins to climb..... we are fucked! "

Fire up the tumbrels!


On another note, it seems ludicrous to charge people to be tested. Consider that the government wants/needs to know why you are sick...I already KNOW that I'm sick, and that not much help will be forthcoming....

Cougfan said...

In a mass casualty event no one's going to be worried about embalming.

They'll be looking for diesel fuel to run the excavators. See the first few episodes of "the walking dead" or "the Stand."

Grog said...

Closing schools? yep.

Anonymous said...

No IPA.. think high proof alcohol. Preferably colorless w/ no flavoring. So don't drink it all.

China is not open for business. At my job I've been affected 2X not being able to get what I need to do my job. Chemicals. Yet the CEO says "our supply chains have not been affected".

At this point I don't know if TPTB across the board are pathological liars, incredibly stupid, or scared shitless, or some combination above. No matter, the end result is the same as has been said in the post and above..we are screwed.

T-Rav said...

Here in Missouri, we officially have our first case. A young lady from STL who'd been to China.

The authorities say, for what it's worth, that she hasn't been out of the house since returning, except to go to the hospital. *shrugs*

Of course, she did have to go through the airport. Which is a fairly busy airport.

pdxr13 said...

Embalming? That's like a guaranteed retirement for GenX.
Pool liners and deep excavations. Someone is going to come up with an enzyme that eats corpses and sterilizes the resulting goo in one year above freezing. Keep good records of who goes in, photographs, id card, dogtag.

Anon said...

Interesting (IMHO) twitter post that I saw today, which has been "threaded."

Aesop, would certainly appreciate your commentary...

The Gray Man said...

WuFlu patient at my place of employment is dead. Also, at least one RN I know MOST LIKELY has it from treating the patient.

Good times, yo. I remember asking several of my docs here in the ER what they thought of COVID. That was in January. None were worried. I told them they should be.

Now they are.

Anonymous said...

"On another note, it seems ludicrous to charge people to be tested. Consider that the government wants/needs to know why you are sick...I already KNOW that I'm sick, and that not much help will be forthcoming...."

Why do you think they want to know? I'm fairly sure they don't. Easiest way to not have COVID deaths, is to not have COVID cases.

Get a load of this:

vigilantcitizen said...

This has got some length so please bear with me. But I have come to two conclusions from the perspective of not being an expert, like the highly paid cdc hack that they roll out to tell us with a straight face ,”Herr derr, we can only test a coupla thou a day even though South Korea’s cdc has already processed a 100,000 and have that many in stock ready to go, but my salary is higher than their entire budget.)

First, I am convinced this manmade. A high number of patients that recover do not confer immunity after.. Not all, but enough to show a trend. A very troubling trend. These patients end up getting sick again. Some the virus goes back to the lungs in a more virulant form, or the virus gets into the spinal column, brain stem, and attacks the part of the brain that runs involuntary muscles, like breathing. Some have it attack the heart.

Well, China tried when it locked down Hubei province on Jan 24. And shut down economic output of the entire country.

Right then, had the rest of the world wanted to, it could’ve stopped travel out of China, It didnt. It put worthless ass travel restrictions but for the most part, and worthless ass screenings checking for fever, to appear as if they were doing something while enabling this virus to escape contain and spread to all corners of the world.

It’s funny, Italy, USA, Germany, UK, Japan, all are up in the hundreds while countries like Singapore are still in double digits.

Here we are just over a month after Hubei was locked down and we coundlt have spread it faster and better if we went around the world seeding virus by hand.

To finish, let me summarize the timeline:

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]
On Jan 2nd China said it Lab confirmed 41 cases. Here were are in March and the CDC says “we cant test cuz no tests”.

3 January
On 3 January 2020, Chinese scientists at the National Institute of Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) determined the genetic sequence of the novel β-genus coronaviruses (naming it '2019-nCoV') from specimens collected from patients in Wuhan, China, and three distinct strains were established.[19]

10 January
The gene sequencing data of the isolated 2019-nCoV, a virus from the same family as the SARS coronavirus, was posted on by researchers from Fudan University, Shanghai. A further three sequences from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and one from Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan were posted to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) porta

13 January
The USCDC announced that the genome had been posted on the NIH genetic sequence database, GenBank.

By Jan 3rd China had mapped the dna of the virus and posted online.

BY the 13th, the good ole US cdc had posted the genome China had decoded ten days before on their own server. Top. Men.


vigilantcitizen said...

SO, This virus has had it’s gene’s mapped for a month now, and the cdc cant produce enough tests so an rn that treated a verified corona chan got sick, got ordered by her doc and her boss to be tested, but the cnc said no.
Bullshit. They dont want people tested because they aint corona chan until that test comes back positive. Entire staffs at hospitals have not been exposed if they aint tested.
Instead of facing this head on, being upfront and honest with people about a serious situation, they have chosen to sling bullshit at us, bullshit so obvious that it insults our intelligence, all so they can kick the can and milk every freakin dollar they can before things crash. Unlike China which sacrificred billions of dollars shutting down their economy.

You know what? I hate it, innocent people are gonna die and suffer, but fuck it, let it burn. And let it burn down the sorry, greedy, no good for nothing bastards in our government that chose to take this path for nefarious reasons of greed.

Anonymous said...

Anecdote - Parents flew in from Greece (after Israel) the other day. ZERO testing at the Australian airport.

I'd imagine that people have been to Italy but flew out of another city probably didn't declare they'd been to Italy.

Red Forman said...

Anyone seen this?


Cato the Nth said...

Take turns dumping out purses? My purse is a Klein tool bag so why not?

Anonymous said...

Cui bono?


Anonymous said...

Claimants down, good.

Fund balances tanked due to all the high yield paper held to boost yield turning magically into wet feces?

Not so good.


Borepatch said...

We simply don't know what the death rate is. We know deaths with some (but not complete) accuracy, but we don't have any idea how many people have been infected. Government statistics range from so-so to entirely untrustworthy.

We'll know better in 60 days, but not before. In the meantime, Aesop is right when he says wash your damn hands and stop touching your face.

jim rock said...

My purse is a Marshalltown canvas bag full of bricklayer tools.

MTHead said...

I'm starting to feel like a Branch Covidian.

ASM826 said...

If those levels are reached (or higher) earth moving equipment and bulldozers will be used. It's just the reality of the thing.

Aesop said...


Sooooooooooooooo stealing that!

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct.While it is a shame that innocent people will die. But the massive government, greed and corruption needs to be burned to the ground. As it will. I pray to GOD that the people realize the mistakes that were made by the government and the fact that "WE THE PEOPLE" did nothing. Nothing at all to prevent any of this. The clock has run out. Funny thing, now is the time where there is nothing left to lose. GOD SPEED everyone.


Unknown said...

mankind outlived his usefullness quite some time ago. bummer we were born to be here just in time to see it all crash down!

MTHead said...

Welcome! Thanks for all the work!