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Old 2020-02-05, 06:41   #45
CRGreathouse
 
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Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
But if you read beyond the abstract of this CDC article, you'll note progress has been a slow, multiyear slog, and even if an effective antibody-based vaccine is found, scaling it up to fight a global pandemic does not seem to be in the cards - had such cutting-edge methods been used against, say, the 1918 Spanish flu, the progress of the disease would have not been slowed one whit, because it would have circled the globe by the time the vaccine development had just got its boots on, to paraphrase Winston Churchill's famous saying about lies vs truth.
There's a much quicker approach here -- there's an existing (research) vaccine for another coronavirus, SARS, which completed Phase I trials. The current proposal, as I understand it, is to follow a similar path to the development of that vaccine. It's expected that it would only take around 3-4 months (!) to develop the vaccine, but of course longer than that to test it -- call it 3 months minimum for Phase I, then you could just possibly get it licensed for compassionate use while further testing is done. (The company behind it would want to accelerate testing as much as possible because they can only give it away under compassionate use, IIRC.)

So best-case scenario would be July 2020, a more reasonable timeline would be early 2021.

Last fiddled with by CRGreathouse on 2020-02-05 at 06:42
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Old 2020-02-05, 22:23   #46
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Couple guest posts, with intros by site owner Yves Smith, over on NC:

Coronavirus: Australia Faces Calamity | naked capitalism

Public Health Officials Offer Scant Details On U.S. Coronavirus Patients | naked capitalism: In this one Yves' intro is more or less an override, she lists a bunch of critical issues not mentioned in the guest post from Kaiser Health News. Starting with touchscreens-as-disease-vectors, she then gets to the broken-by-design US Healthcare system and the vulnerability of key supply chains to a global pandemic:
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The second basis for concern is what looks to be overconfidence of US officials in our “public health system,” as if we have one. The fact that, depending on how the study was conducted, between 44% and 64% of Americans say they skip or delay medical treatment alone says we have huge gaps in our “system”. And remember, in the early stages, the coronavirus symptoms seem like those of a winter flu until they progress to pneumonia in severe cases.
...
Perhaps much more is happening behind the scenes, but what has kept infection numbers and therefore risk in the US low so far is the (admittedly a bit late) lockdown of Wuhan and other key cities in Hubei, the halting of passenger flights to the US, and putting evacuees in quarantine.

But while the potential for transmission from China has been throttled down to close to nil, enough people left Hubei before the lockdown to allow for infection through other countries, and we may see those avenues become meaningful risks. Thailand admitted a full week ago that it can’t stop the spread of the coronavirus. Kerala just announced that the coronavirus was a “state emergency” although it is not clear what that means.
...
Epidemiologists are concerned that airlines were slow to cut off flights from China to Africa. Another issue is that while passenger transportation can be shut down fairly quickly, freight is another matter. Readers have no doubt seem much gnashing of teeth over the damage the coronavirus poses to global supply chains, both due to restrictions on transport as well as restrictions on movements of people, which will have knock-on effects to production. But there’s also the disease transmission issue. China has land transport routes though Asia to the Middle East; truckers may have taken infection with them.

Needless to say, disease containment measures could have even more severe knock-on effects, as sometimes discussed in comments. From Transport Geography:

o Food. Contemporary food production and distribution rely on low levels of inventory, particularly to avoid wastes of perishable products on store shelves. On average, supermarkets have between 2 to 5 days of inventory of perishable goods (dairy, produce, meat) and about 1 to 2 weeks for other goods (pasta, canned goods, etc.). It is worth underlining that these figures are for a normal and stable demand. In the case of a pandemic, available food supplies could quickly be exhausted through hoarding behavior. Such behavior is commonly observed during an acute weather event such as a hurricane where store shelves are quickly emptied. Food security is therefore defined by the ability of the transportation workers to move food from producers to the bulk-storage facilities, to the processor and lastly to the grocer.

o Energy. The provision and distribution of energy are critical to the functioning of a modern economy and society. For instance, about 40% of the world’s supply of electricity is generated by burning coal (50% for the United States). Coal power plants maintain a fairly low stockpile, about 30 days, and rely on a constant supply from major coal mining regions, which tend to be far away. While a pandemic would not directly damage energy systems, many energy distribution systems could be threatened through the removal of essential personnel from the workplace for weeks or months and impaired transportation capabilities to supply power plants.

o Medical supplies. A pandemic is obviously associated with a surge in the use of medical facilities, equipment and pharmaceutical products. Global drug production is controlled by a few large conglomerates that maintain a limited number of facilities at selected locations. Commonly, a single drug is produced at a single plant. If global distribution systems were impaired during a pandemic, many essential drugs would have difficulties to reach patients while limited stockpiles maintained at medical facilities would quickly run out. For instance, over 95% of all generic drugs used in the United States are made offshore, primarily in China and India. A similar pattern applies to critical medical equipment such as ventilators. Even simple respiratory masks could quickly run out. In 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and substantially damaged infrastructures, particularly the power generation system. In the aftermath, a shortage of saline solutions was felt because Puerto Rico was a major supplier of these solutions to hospitals across the Americas. All these shortages are likely to result in additional deaths.

In other words, the US may continue to be lucky. But I wouldn’t bet on our ability to respond well to a real crisis.
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Old 2020-02-06, 02:16   #47
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Arrgh! Sloppy research really damages credibility. Why throw in erroneous figures that aren't key to the central point?
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o Energy. The provision and distribution of energy are critical to the functioning of a modern economy and society. For instance, about 40% of the world’s supply of electricity is generated by burning coal (50% for the United States). Coal power plants maintain a fairly low stockpile, about 30 days, and rely on a constant supply from major coal mining regions, which tend to be far away. While a pandemic would not directly damage energy systems, many energy distribution systems could be threatened through the removal of essential personnel from the workplace for weeks or months and impaired transportation capabilities to supply power plants.
As of 2018, US generates 27.5% of electricity from coal.
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Old 2020-02-06, 02:36   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdbardwick View Post
Arrgh! Sloppy research really damages credibility. Why throw in erroneous figures that aren't key to the central point?

As of 2018, US generates 27.5% of electricity from coal.
Thanks for the link - but I note total fossil fuel is nearly 2/3 of the total, so 50% of US power generation relying on sources that have long supply lines and cannot be stockpiled on-site for multi-month supply interruptions seems not unreasonable.
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Old 2020-02-06, 03:31   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Thanks for the link - but I note total fossil fuel is nearly 2/3 of the total, so 50% of US power generation relying on sources that have long supply lines and cannot be stockpiled on-site for multi-month supply interruptions seems not unreasonable.
Almost all of the rest is gas, which use pipelines. They don't keep anything on hand.
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Old 2020-02-06, 03:47   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Thanks for the link - but I note total fossil fuel is nearly 2/3 of the total, so 50% of US power generation relying on sources that have long supply lines and cannot be stockpiled on-site for multi-month supply interruptions seems not unreasonable.
Yes, your point is valid; had the original author stated something similar I wouldn't take issue. However, that validity is rather besides my point (which, I admit wasn't sufficiently explicit) that portraying incorrect information as fact severely damages credibility.

EDIT: Although the author of the NC post gets a partial pass; the error is in the quoted article from Transport Geography.

Last fiddled with by sdbardwick on 2020-02-06 at 03:54 Reason: Source of error clarification
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Old 2020-02-06, 21:36   #51
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Hospital Says Chinese Doctor Has Officially Died: Virus Update | Bloomberg News
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The Chinese doctor [Li Wenliang] who issued an early warning about the coronavirus has died, said the hospital where he worked, ending hours of confusion about his status.

The city of Wuhan told residents to begin reporting their body temperature daily, and the large port city of Tianjin said it would restrict residents’ movement, part of steps across the country to stop the coronavirus outbreak from spreading. In Beijing, the Chinese government voiced anger as countries placed more restrictions on travelers.

Tesla temporarily closed its stores in the nation, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV warned that a China-related parts shortage could force it to idle a European plant, according to a report. Equities rose on China’s plans to cut tariffs on U.S. imports and optimism the global economy can withstand the impact of the virus.
Aside: Ah, so that's why the insane run-up in TSLA shares - up more than 2x from 1 January's already hugely-inflated-based-on-fundamentals level to the insane 20% pop on 4 Feb - has been dented a smidge in the past 2 days.
Quote:
The doctor’s status had been subject to hours of confusion after earlier reports of his death on Chinese social media were deleted and replaced by messages saying he was being treated.

“Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at our hospital had unfortunately been infected when he worked on fighting against the coronavirus outbreak,” Wuhan Central Hospital said in a post on the Chinese social platform Weibo.

The hospital said he died at 2:58 a.m. in China “after all efforts to save him failed.”

Li was in his 30s, according to a report by the Chinese media outlet Caixin.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2020-02-06 at 21:37
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Old 2020-02-07, 21:23   #52
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Forgot to note yesterday - I'm a bit worried about George: He and his wife are in midst of a nearly-2-month-long cruise along the Asian coast, with originally-scheduled stops including places like Hong Kong. Have heard about several cruise ships in that area having been quarantined, some as a precaution, others due to an actual outbreak onboard of 2019-nCov. I see George's last forum activity was today, but last post was 29 Jan.

George, if you happen to read this thread, would you be so kind as to let us know how you're doing?
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Old 2020-02-08, 01:14   #53
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All is well, in Darwin today.

Yesterday the cruise line informed us they were cancelling the Hong Kong stop. A major headache for the cruise line and many passengers as that was a disembarkation/embarkation point. Once they pick a replacement port they'll need to reroute about a thousand airline itineraries.

I'm a little surprised at the decision as there are still only 26 virus cases in Hong Kong. I suppose both airlines and cruise passengers are panicky about flying into or out of there.
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Old 2020-02-08, 15:09   #54
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Quote:
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Almost all of the rest is gas, which use pipelines. They don't keep anything on hand.
Not true. They store it in huge underground caverns. As of 2000, there was 3.9 trillion cubic feet of storage space available. I don't know the current usage %.

http://naturalgas.org/naturalgas/storage/
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Old 2020-02-08, 15:23   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tServo View Post
Not true. They store it in huge underground caverns. As of 2000, there was 3.9 trillion cubic feet of storage space available. I don't know the current usage %.

http://naturalgas.org/naturalgas/storage/
In 2015, there was one heck of a leak from a storage well near LA. Try search parameters "aliso canyon gas leak" or "porter ranch gas leak" if you care to look it up.
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