Honest Doubtful Armchair Epidemiologists #WW3 #Covid19

Sunday, 12 April, 2020

I had a great laugh from watching ABC The Armchair Epidemiologist but find it also wrong and misguided. (video embedded below)

*** 1) What is good science?
Before we get to epidemiology, lets talk about what is good science? I like what Natalie Jeremijenko, an artist engineer once said,

“Science is question-driven. And the more interesting the questions, the more compelling the results.”

Yes, good science comes from good questions. Why does light travel in a straight line? Why is antibiotic resistance dangerous? What makes some computer problems much harder than others? Is P=NP? What does it mean by “P=NP?” and why does it have a US dollar one million prize on solving it? (sorry, I let the computer geek inside me spoke ;) ) What is 4D Printing? Why does a vaccine takes 12-18 months at best or may be longer and why can’t we create a vaccine in one or two months? If you ask good and interesting questions. Then you may get compelling results.

Good question to ask why can’t we, with the whole world working together, NOT be able to create a vaccine in one or two months? The challenge with vaccine is that it has to be absolutely as safe as humanly can! Why? To paraphrase Dr. Mike Ryan from WHO, what is worse than a bad disease is a bad vaccine. A bad vaccine is super bad because imagine for a second, we inject bad vaccine into healthy people and harming us. We cannot do that so we must ensure safety as FIRST priority. “Do no harm” is a good rule even in the days of Greek Medicine, the so called Hippocratic Oath. So vaccine takes time.

*** 2) Armchair Epidemiology
To be honest, I’m actually rather sad to see millions of HongKongers and even some reporters suddenly all decided to become Armchair Epidemiologists with main focus on the political side of Epidemiology and *without* paying the needed attention to the science of Epidemiology. Epidemiology is NOT easy but it is also NOT impossible to try to read and understand a little. A not very smart man like me can start to learn about the science of Epidemiology in the last few months, you can too!

How to learn more about the science of Epidemiology you ask? I say skip the Wikipedia page of Epidemiology, but start watching some good YouTube videos! What videos? Some legitimate University may offer some free online Epidemiology courses but I haven’t taken any myself so I cannot recommend you which ones to watch. But I LOVE learning by doing. So weeks ago, I started watching the WHO daily pressers and even downloaded their transcripts to read for precisions. When the WHO Director General Dr. Tedros, Dr Mike Ryan, and Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove gives their joint pressers, they give a pretty good overview of things, and then this is the good part, great and insightful reporters ask very good questions of them. Listen to the questions carefully, and listen to their answers carefully. DO NOT simply take the answers blindly. Think for yourself. Filter and consider these answers with your scientific mind, slowly learning bits and pieces to create a framework.

And don’t stop at the WHO YouTube video pressers. Go read letters and research papers in The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, Stat News, etc. Speaking about Stat News, follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/HelenBranswell . If you can remember just ONE thing from reading this post, remember @HelenBranswell and read her!
Helen, unlike the too many non-science reporters in Hong Kong and around the world, is herself is senior writer focus on infectious diseases! Helen’s spider sense picked up this on Jan 1, 2020 long before others did
“Thanks. Wasn’t so much thinking that this was SARS itself, more that it reminds me of the start of SARS.” (Tweet link)

So read more and many more science reporters’ work and skip the meaningless politics because when covid19 kills one of us humans, it doesn’t check our passports, race, or gender. Covid19 interests in two things and two things only, infect us quickly, and kills us fast-ish-ly.

*** 3) Honest Doubt
Honest Doubt is key in learning and trying to be better a “scientist” or has a scientific mind. Sometimes some “Armchair Epidemiology” can be good. Why? Because we need to all understand a bit more about the science of Epidemiology in our #covid19 age. And #covid19, I believe and suspect (a view hold by Bill Gates as well) that #covid19 will NOT be the last nasty virus or infectious disease we humanity will face. So it helps to be more scientific.

*** 4) Don’t blindly trust me!
I don’t blindly trust anyone! Blind Trust is dangerous. But careful consideration of what some experts say and then take careful time (for important enough topics or ideas) to study these ideas or claims is well worth it.

*** 5) My critique of the #ArmchairEpidemiologist comedy
I am NOT funny. I have too much respect for knowledge, respect for science and most importantly, our pursue to learn more about science and other topics. It is human nature to want to appear smarter than we are (well, heck, what do you think I am doing here!!!!). ;) But wanting to be smart is ok AS LONG AS we are being both honest of what we don’t know and also be doubtful of what we think. Constantly checking and critiquing our own reasonings and thinking.

*** 6) Lifelong learning

In closing, let me end with a quote by the then 100 year old Prof. Ronald Coase which is exactly how I try to live my life in learning.

You don’t know what you can learn until you try to learn.

Constantly trying to better ourselves with each passing day. Keep learning. Yes, I have a hashtag and it is #LifelongLearning! Thinking about it, I actually have a photo album that I call “Lifelong Learning (online)” on Facebook trying to document some of the stuff that I have taken time to try to learn over the years.

Pick something you like to learn and go ahead to learn more about it. I hope you live a long life and enjoy your journey in learning as much as I do.

Screen Shot 2020-04-12 at 7.29.36 AM

Have a watch and a great laugh: ABC The Armchair Epidemiologist.


I am the F**King Virus – a Pandemic #Covid19 Documentary Poetry short film

Thursday, 9 April, 2020

“I am the F**King Virus” is Kempton‘s first foray into Poetry, specifically Documentary Poetry (see note below), and even more specifically the form of Documentary Poetry short film.

==== See Director’s statement plus more reference notes below after the documentary poetry ====

I am the F**King Virus – a Documentary Poem by Kempton

(20200417 version 2.48163264128256512102420484096)

I am the F**King Virus

You covered me up. And let me killed thousands

Thank you. Xie Xie. Or is it Xi Xi

WHO studied me and recommended how to beat me

but few read her report so I infected 100,000s more

How do I say thank you in Italian, Spanish, German, Persian, French, Korean, and Trumpian

I am the F**King Virus

We shall fight on the beaches

We shall fight under the cherry blossom trees

We shall fight in the churches, mosques, and synagogues

We shall fight in close combat less than 2 meters apart (with no Physical Distancing)

We can stop fighting now IF you accept my price of 1.4% of you ALL
(mostly elderly, the weak plus some healthy young human beings)

I am the F**King virus

I am on the Edge of Tomorrow or is it Live Die Repeat Read the rest of this entry »


We are Your Tomorrow, with love – a poem by Kempton #covid19

Friday, 3 April, 2020

Note: Few days ago I wrote my first poem, a #covid19 poem as well and you can read it here: “I am the f**King Virus“.

We are Your Tomorrow, with love – a poem by Kempton.
(version 1.0 0.65 Work-In-Progress poem)

We are Your Tomorrow, from Wuhan with love

We fled our city when we knew a lock down was coming

Our supermarket shelves were emptied by us in a hurry

We overwhelmed our hospitals as the cases grew exponentially

Our divorce rates spiked as we got fed up of each other

We are Your Tomorrow, from Hong Kong with love

We hoarded toilet paper as if we all had diarrhea

Our political leaders were totally useless and mistrusted so chaos ensued

We hunted for masks and were royally gouged

Our critiques of Emperor Xi legitimized our bigotry for all mainland Chinese

We are Your Tomorrow, from South Korea with love

We went to churches and “Patient 31” was reborn as “Super Spreader” accountable for half of our country’s Red Sea of Infections

Our military cleaned our streets with theatrical fogging disinfecting guns Read the rest of this entry »


WWIII #covid19 Human Spirit

Tuesday, 31 March, 2020

In humanity’s WWIII against #covid19, a disease that infects and kills exponentially, keeping our human spirit high is important for our long war. Here are some examples.

20200331, CTV News (with video), “Calgary teachers find socially distant way to celebrate principal’s retirement: a parade


WWIII #covid19 Medical Equipments and Supply Chains

Tuesday, 31 March, 2020

In humanity’s WWIII against #covid19, a disease that infects and kills exponentially, our medical equipments supplies (e.g. PPE (Personal Protective Equipments), face shields, etc) are in severe shortage in Canada, US, and globally. Even our Supply Chains are under attack and severe stress. This post is meant to collect some good news from our battle fronts.

20200331, Calgary Herald, “Corbella: Donated RVs help health-care workers isolate from families

20200331, WaPo, “3-D printing face shields for hospitals in need

Crystal Blair, Truck Stop Owner on Nova Scotia highway offering free meals

Crystal Blair, Truck Stop Owner on Nova Scotia highway offering free meals

20200328, CTV News (with video), “As COVID-19 puts strain on truckers, this truck stop is offering free meals

20200326 KTVQ News (video), “Montana truck stop giving goodie bags to truckers

xxx


WWIII #covid19 – Thanks Sir Dyson for your CoVent

Sunday, 29 March, 2020

20200328 Dyson CoVent - pix 01

Thanks Sir Dyson for your inventive and entrepreneurial spirit in our WWIII against covid19! May your CoVent ventilators save thousands and thousands of lives in UK and around the world soon!

Reports from 20200325 Guardian: “Dyson and Airbus expect green light to start making ventilators – The companies will start making up to 30,000 ventilators from next week to help the NHS fight Covid-19

“Dyson has been working on a completely new model of ventilator with The Technology Partnership, a Cambridge-based group of science and innovation companies with expertise in medical equipment.

Work is going on at Dyson’s Hullavington laboratory in Wiltshire, where it was designing an electric car until the plan was abandoned last year. Dyson believes it can meet the government’s requirements by deploying knowledge in areas where there is some crossover between its products and ventilators. These include digital motors, battery packs, expertise in airflow, and HEPA filters, which block fine particles but not air.

Sources familiar with the two schemes said they were in a position to start work but have been waiting on the government to give its blessing to one or both of the projects. The government is expected to provide further details on Thursday.”

From Fast Company with a reprint of Dyson’s internal email to employees: “Dyson plans to build 15,000 ventilators to fight COVID-19 The company will donate thousands of ventilators abroad.

“As the world faces ventilator shortages in the growing COVID-19 pandemic, Dyson—the U.K. company known best for making vacuums, air purifiers, and hair dryers—is collaborating on a ventilator in coordination with The Technology Partnership (TTP). Dubbed CoVent, it’s a bed-mounted, portable ventilator that can run from battery power in field-hospital conditions.

Working under a grant from the U.K. government, with oversight from the U.K. National Health Service and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Dyson has agreed to produce 10,000 ventilators for the country. On top of that, it will produce another 5,000 ventilators for donation. One thousand of those will go to the U.K. The remaining 4,000 will go to other countries. CoVent will need to receive regulatory approval before receiving funding and going into production.”

Disclosure: Years ago I sold ads in a blog post featuring you, your biography and vacuum! I’ve yet to own any Dyson products myself. May be I should find something Dyson to buy to celebrate IF (a big if) and when our WWIII against covid19 is won. It is way too early to tell…

20200328 Dyson CoVent - book - pix 02


Your #covid19 control measures have got to be exponential – New Quote I Love

Friday, 27 March, 2020

Here is a new addition to my collection of Quotes I Love.

“”This is a virus (#SARS-CoV-2 / #covid19) that once it does take off, it is going to move and increase exponentially, … your control measures have got to be exponential as well to get in front of it. So small incremental measures won’t work.”” – Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO


Bill Gates foretelling TED talk on Pandemic in 2015 & his views on #covid19 now

Thursday, 26 March, 2020

Here are two videos where you can watch Bill Gates foresight on Pandemic in 2015 & his views on #covid19 now. If his advices were heeded in 2015, thousands and thousands of lives could have been saved from #covid19.

The next outbreak? We’re not ready | Bill Gates

2020 March 25, How we must respond to the COVID-19 pandemic | Bill Gates

And as a bonus video given by Dr. Bruce Aylward. Sadly, if his words from one month and one day ago were heeded by leaders of UK and UK, then they can certainly avoid many more daths

20200225, “Coronavirus outbreak: WHO expert says countries must shift mindset to virus preparedness | FULL”


I am the F**King Virus – a #Covid19 Documentary Poem

Sunday, 22 March, 2020

20200413 Update: See this link for the latest text and video short film of “I am the F**King Virus – a Pandemic #Covid19 Documentary Poetry short film”. The following text is NO longer updated with any further changes.

20200403 Update: Kempton has now written his second poem, “We are Your Tomorrow, with love“, another #covid19 poem.

====

(Written Sat & Sun March 21-22, 2020 as the world fights the deadly covid19. My heart is broken. Witness data on two screens captured 4 hours apart this morning on March 22nd. I write without malice but with hope. Never Give Up! We can and will win this WWIII of Covid19 together! Inspired by poet & reporter Yuri‘s poem “I AM THE VIRUS“. Many thanks to Yuri for her encouragement plus wonderful feedback & suggestions for improvements. As I tweeted, “Life is too short so I’m going to make a fool of myself by attempting my first poem! I hope I won’t die of #shame before #covid19 kills me!” Will see about that.)

I am the F**King Virus – a Documentary Poem by Kempton

(version 2.481632641282565121024)

I am the F**King Virus

You covered me up. And let me killed thousands

Thank you. Xie Xie. Or is it Xi Xi

WHO studied me and recommended how to beat me

but few read her report so I infected 100,000s more

How do I say thank you in Italian, Spanish, German, Persian, French, Korean, and Trumpian

I am the F**King Virus

We shall fight on the beaches

We shall fight under the cherry blossom trees

We shall fight in the churches, mosques, and synagogues

We shall fight in close combat less than 2 meters apart (with no Physical Distancing)

We can stop fighting now IF you accept my price of 1.4% of you ALL (mostly elderly, the weak plus some healthy young human beings)

I am the F**King virus

I am on the Edge of Tomorrow or is it Live Die Repeat

You are now awakened. You want to act brave and play Emily Blunt or Tom Cruise

You have finally found those bottles of deathbed messages on your empty beaches

You finally care. WHO cares. Really. Always

Give up now. My first offer of 1.4% of you ALL is gone. Now my market price has gone up to 9% (thank you China, Italy, Spain, Iran, France, and the good old US of A)

I am the F**King Virus

I am not your “Chinese Virus”. But I love your infighting. Hatred is my Superman’s yellow sun

My name is COVID19. My friend WHO gave me that lovely name.
WHO talked to me, cared about me, and studied me when few had heard about me.
I am the Fun King of Virus. Your Holocaust 2.0.
How Game of Thrones should have ended.
Your World War III genocide of humans.

I love sports. See you in Tokyo Olympics. Yes to “Faster, Higher, Stronger”, especially Faster. Like Bond, James Bond. Faster, Spread Faster

Time helps me kill you exponentially fast. But time is also fair. Time told me I cannot mutate faster to kill you better

I wish I am not illiterate. I wish I can read the WHO-China Joint Mission report, your letters/research papers in The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, Stat News and so much more. I wish I could stop you from researching for cures. I wish there is no SOLIDARITY global megatrial. I wish I could stop you from “Testing, Testing, Testing”. I wish I could change my battle plans to fight you better. Most of all, I wish I could stop you from washing your damn hands. I wish, I wish, I wish. I kill, I kill, I kill

I am the F**King virus

I am COVID-19 of the House SARS, the Second of Her Name,

Reigning Fun King of Virus, Stopper of Flights, Builder of Walls, Destroyer of Alliances

Divider of United “PPE for Highest Bidders” States, Breaker of Supply Chains and Mother of Bats.

Unless Humanity stops her infighting and work together as One to end me now

I will be back

at 10.19.08 AM 20200322 (318,209 confirmed, Total Deaths 13,664, Total Recovered 94,700) - Screen Shot

at 10.19.08 AM 20200322 (318,209 confirmed, Total Deaths 13,664, Total Recovered 94,700) – Screen Shot

at 6.12.58 AM 20200322 (311,988 confirmed, Total Deaths 13,407, Total Recovered 93,790) - Screen Shot

at 6.12.58 AM 20200322 (311,988 confirmed, Total Deaths 13,407, Total Recovered 93,790) – Screen Shot


Canada #covid19 Lockdown Day006

Saturday, 21 March, 2020

Canada - United States - South Korea - Italy - Iran - UK

20200321, “Dr. @BogochIsaac is right //rankings don’t seem to be performing well when faced w actual pandemic//
Rankings talk abstract capabilities, insights of countries’ scientists.
Actions/indecisions @JustinTrudeau @moonriver365 @realDonaldTrump impact how many live/die in #covid19 war!
And even IF we get world leaders themselves and their best scientific teams to attend simulations like GHSI and give their best efforts in providing data for these rankings, I submit they will still fail. Why do I think that?
To quote Warren Buffett,
“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”
And I play copycat,
“Only in a global pandemic like #covid19 do you discover a country’s true character and if her better angels have been swimming naked.“
Simulations capture best of us in peace time so to speak. But when shits are flying, thats when travel ban, border controls, critical medical equpiments export bans come out, the shit that no country leaders are willing to admit in polite company. #covid19 shows our true selves.

20200319 NYT, “Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went Unheeded – Government exercises, including one last year, made clear that the U.S. was not ready for a pandemic like the coronavirus. But little was done.

20200320, #coolVideo “A good illustration of why the surgical hand washing technique is really very important

20200321, The Lancet, “Canada and COVID-19: learning from SARS

“//The 2003 SARS epidemic killed 44 people in Canada, and led to many proposals for reforms. Paul Webster looks at how the SARS outbreak has affected Canada’s COVID-19 response. […]
Canada was affected by SARS more than anywhere else outside Asia. Like COVID-19, SARS was a respiratory coronavirus originating in China, which infected more than 8000 people worldwide. More than 900 people died. Canada saw 438 suspected cases and 44 deaths, mostly in Toronto, Canada’s largest city. During the epidemic, WHO issued a travel ban for the Greater Toronto Area, which has a population of about 6 million.
Following the disaster, the Canadian Government charged Naylor with leading a thorough review. Canada’s public health system was deemed by Naylor and his co-panellists to have stumbled badly, especially in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province.
In their report, Naylor and his co-panelists outlined scores of challenges for epidemic and pandemic control. While various other outbreaks in the 16 years since SARS have “road-tested those mechanisms and enabled refinements”, says Naylor, “COVID-19 is emerging as the most severe test to date, and I think the coordinated response has been impressive.”
Inevitably, says Naylor, there have been some inconsistencies in the overall public health response as COVID-19 continues to make its mark in Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is currently in voluntary isolation while his wife is being treated for the virus.
“This is a vast country, and provinces have substantial administrative authority, including over health care”, says Naylor. “But at all levels of government and public health oversight, Canadian leaders are staying in close touch and working well together.”// “

xxx


#covid19 daily press briefing 20 March 2020 – Live from WHO Headquarters (with timecodes to Q&As)

Friday, 20 March, 2020

#covid19 daily press briefing 20 March 2020 – Live from WHO Headquarters

List of timecodes to help quickly access specific sections where Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Dr. Mike Ryan, and Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove answered questions from the press:

0:00 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus starts press conference
11:52 Q1 by reporter from China state owned Xinhua News Agency
12:28 A1 Dr. Mike Ryan answer re implication of China has no new cases since yesterday.
14:07 Q2 from Iran re Nowruz [which means “new day”/Iranian New Year, a holiday marking the arrival of spring]
15:12 A2 from Dr. Mike Ryan
17:38 A2 from Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
18:48 Q3
19:24 A3 Dr. Mike Ryan
22:30 A3 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
23:38 Q4
24:16 A4 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
26:02 Q5 Email question from India
26:35 A5 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
28:08 Q6
28:35 A6 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
29:30 Q7
30:00 A7 Dr. Mike Ryan re lack of supply globally
34:55 A7 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
35:34 “Some countries are banning exports and that cannot be a solution”
37:00 A7 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove re recommendations on the use of masks on an individual level.
38:18 Q8
38:44 A8 Dr. Mike Ryan 41:00 These are the healthcare systems collapsing …
42:20 A8 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
43:22 Q9 from Greece
44:02 A9 Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
45:00 A9 Dr. Mike Ryan
47:38 A9 & Concluding comments from Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus


Better Angels Swimming Naked #covid19

Friday, 20 March, 2020

 

20200319 - Ottawa taking charge of housing asylum seekers during 14-day isolation period

20200319 – Ottawa taking charge of housing asylum seekers during 14-day isolation period

Breaking news update (20200320 ~9:20am): Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his March 20th press conference announced Canada & US have agreed to turn back asylum seekers to stop spread of covid19. (news link, CBC News, “Canada to turn back asylum seekers, close border at midnight to stop spread of COVID-19”).

The reciprocal agreement on irregular migrants, which Trudeau called an “exceptional” and temporary measure, was signed earlier today. The development comes just one day after the government announced all border-crossers would be under quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, and that the federal government was looking for space to shelter the arrivals.

I decided to leave this post up for the record.

====

After reading a news report of “Ottawa taking charge of housing asylum seekers during 14-day isolation period“, I have to admit small part of me would rather see the asylum seekers stop coming to Canada during #covid19. But the better angels in me realize legitimate asylum seekers crossing the border are fleeing grave dangers like wars, deadly personal persecutions (e.g. for merely being gay) and have little choice.

Famed investor Warren Buffett likes to say,

“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

Warren inspired me to cook up this version:

Only in a global pandemic like covid19 do you discover a country’s true character and if her better angels have been swimming naked.

It is heartbreaking to see covid19 has killed thousands around the world and has harmed even more and some survivors will forever live with serious multi-organ injuries. One may argue it is even more heartbreaking see people around the world succumbed to succumbed to covid19-induced hatred and racism in United States, Hong Kong, and around the world. For our collective souls may be irrevocably harmed or extremely difficult to mend.

NOTE: News story is using an old photo from Aug 2017, Canada still has wintry conditions.

References:

1) 20200311, The Lancet, “Comorbidities and multi-organ injuries in the treatment of COVID-19”

2) 20200318, Yamiche Alcindor’s tweet (with video), “My Q: Are WH officials using term “Kong-Flu” to describe coronavirus wrong? And, are you concerned that term “Chinese virus” will put Asian-Americans at risk of being targeted?
Pres Trump: “Not at all. I think they probably would agree with it 100 percent.”
Full video below.”

3) 20200229, The Lancet, Roger Yat-Nork Chung, Phd, Minnie Ming Li, Phd “Anti-Chinese sentiment during the 2019-nCoV outbreak” (or via Lancet direct)


Italian death toll overtakes China’s as #covid19 spreads – Can China’s number be trusted?

Thursday, 19 March, 2020
Italy vs China data - JHU Med - Screen Shot 2020-03-19

Italy vs China data – JHU Med – Screen Shot 2020-03-19

#Sobering day as //Italian death toll overtakes China’s as virus spreads// (20200319, City News 1130)

* 3405 reported deaths out of 41,035 cases in Italy (quoting JHU Med map data taken as of 20200319 ~3pm data)

* 3249 reported deaths out of 81,155 cases in China

* Let me try to address the widespread distrust in China’s numbers by some HongKongers and Chinese around the world. The dictatorial ruthless Xi BJ gov is rightfully to be distrusted but hear me out …

An #Exponential growth in cases and deaths mean that cases and deaths double in N number of days, say 5-6 days. Thinking like an Epidemiologist (which I am NOT) so lets have a #ThoughtExperiment.

China might be under reporting few (even a large number of) cases here and there BUT the exponential power of #covid19 in its growth and kill figures as China was in an uncontrolled growth phase means that thousands and thousands of deaths need to be hidden.

#ThoughtExperiment In just one (1) month, assuming exponential growth in 5 days. An initial Day01 deaths of 2,000, after just SIX (6) doubling, means that you have 2,000 x 64 = 128,000 deaths on Day30!

Try hiding ~128,000 deaths without having their families and loved ones willing to die to overturn the government!

Of course, if you still don’t trust my #ThoughtExperiment, no problem. Trust that #covid19 doesn’t really give a beep of what we think. It will keep on infecting and killing until it has no one to kill. So Xi as any dictatorial ruthless emperor wants to do, he wants some people to rule over and not to have them all died under his rule.


Steve Martin and Martin Short – Brief But Spectacular

Saturday, 14 March, 2020

I LOVE the Brief But Spectacular series from PBS (and now also from CBC also). Because I’m a geek, there are TWO versions (in a sense) of Steve Martin and Martin Short – Brief But Spectacular.

Steve Martin and Martin Short on faux flattery and genuine compliments (4:45)

The enduring and spectacular friendship of Steve Martin and Martin Short (6:31)

Oh man, THANK YOU internet, here is “Jiminy Glick Interviews Edie Falco” (the “shhhh” comes at ~4:35 timecode)

Another bonus – Hilarious Steve Martin and Martin Short | 60 Minutes Australia

xxxx


#covid19 news, research, vaccines, drugs

Monday, 2 March, 2020

Here are some #covid19 news, interesting research, vaccine, drug info. I’ll try to add to this post periodically if I can. (Last update: 20200310, Created: 20200302)

====

20200310 (Tweet thread with paper link) Insightful & important #covid19 paper from Harvard

//Conclusion: Even after the lockdown of Wuhan on January 23, the number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients continued to rise, exceeding local hospitalization and ICU capacities for at least a month. Plans are urgently needed to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 outbreaks on the local healthcare system in US cities.//
//The demand for inpatient and ICU beds for COVID-19 in the US: lessons from Chinese cities// Many thanks to //Ruoran Li *1; [@ruoranepi] Caitlin Rivers 2; Qi Tan 3,4; Megan B Murray 3; Eric Toner 2; Marc Lipsitch 1 [@mlipsitch]//

20200309 NYT Opinion – This Is Life Under Lockdown in Italy – Your tickets for concerts and soccer games are useless. Your children can’t go to school. Even Mass is canceled.

====

20200309, WHO “Coronavirus outbreak: WHO calls threat of COVID-19 pandemic “very real” | FULL”

20200309, Coronavirus outbreak: B.C. officials announce Canada’s first COVID-19 death

20200309, Coronavirus outbreak: 7 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta | FULL

====

20200306, “Live from WHO HQ – Daily Press Briefing on COVID-19 –Coronavirus 6MARCH2020”

20200306, CNN podcast, “Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction”

20200304 NPR, “How Computer Modeling Of COVID-19’s Spread Could Help Fight The Virus” (~4 minutes)

====

20200305, Live from WHO HQ – Daily Press Briefing on COVID-19 –Coronavirus 05MARCH2020

20200302, CNBC, How this Canadian start-up spotted coronavirus before everyone else knew about it

Ref: 20200304, U of T’s Kamran Khan on how his startup used AI to spot the coronavirus before anyone else: CNBC

====

20200304, NPR, (~4 mins) “How Computer Modeling Of COVID-19’s Spread Could Help Fight The Virus”

20200304 CBC News, “Trudeau appoints new cabinet committee for COVID-19 response and warns of economic impact”

The committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, will complement the work done by the Incident Response Group, meeting regularly to co-ordinate and prepare for a response to the health and economic impacts of the virus.

‘All possible measures’ to limit COVID-19 impact

Trudeau said the committee will work with provincial, territorial and international partners to make sure Canada’s response “takes all possible measures to prevent and limit the spread of the virus in Canada.”

Other ministers on the eight-member committee include Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

Kirsty Duncan, deputy government House leader and scientist who wrote a book [BMJ book review of “Hunting the 1918 Flu: OneScientist’s Search for a Killer Virus” by Kirsty Duncan] on the origins of the 1918 Spanish flu, will also be a core participant of the meetings.

20200304 NYT “Inside China’s All-Out War on the Coronavirus Dr. Bruce Aylward, of the W.H.O., got a rare glimpse into Beijing’s campaign to stop the epidemic. Here’s what he saw.” #covid19 #TheydWhipYouThroughaCTScan #WayneGretzkyOfViruses
Good questions and insightful/nuanced answers. Don’t be dogmatic and blindly mistrust WHO. *Blindly* anything is bad science. #TeachableMoments

//Dr. Aylward, who has 30 years experience in fighting polio, Ebola and other global health emergencies, detailed in an interview with The New York Times how he thinks the campaign against the virus should be run.//
//[Q] Are the cases in China really going down?

[A] I know there’s suspicion, but at every testing clinic we went to, people would say, “It’s not like it was three weeks ago.” It peaked at 46,000 people asking for tests a day; when we left, it was 13,000. Hospitals had empty beds.

I didn’t see anything that suggested manipulation of numbers. A rapidly escalating outbreak has plateaued, and come down faster than would have been expected. Back of the envelope, it’s hundreds of thousands of people in China that did not get Covid-19 because of this aggressive response.

[Q] Is the virus infecting almost everyone, as you would expect a novel flu to?

[A] No — 75 to 80 percent of all clusters are in families. You get the odd ones in hospitals or restaurants or prisons, but the vast majority are in families. And only 5 to 15 percent of your close contacts develop disease. So they try to isolate you from your relatives as quickly as possible, and find everyone you had contact with in 48 hours before that.

[Q] You said different cities responded differently. How?

[A] It depended on whether they had zero cases, sporadic ones, clusters or widespread transmission.

First, you have to make sure everyone knows the basics: hand-washing, masks, not shaking hands, what the symptoms are. Then, to find sporadic cases, they do fever checks everywhere, even stopping cars on highways to check everyone.

As soon as you find clusters, you shut schools, theaters, restaurants. Only Wuhan and the cities near it went into total lockdown.

[Q] How did the Chinese reorganize their medical response?

[A] First, they moved 50 percent of all medical care online so people didn’t come in. Have you ever tried to reach your doctor on Friday night? Instead, you contacted one online. If you needed prescriptions like insulin or heart medications, they could prescribe and deliver it.

[Q] But if you thought you had coronavirus?

[A] You would be sent to a fever clinic. They would take your temperature, your symptoms, medical history, ask where you’d traveled, your contact with anyone infected. They’d whip you through a CT scan …

[Q] Wait — “whip you through a CT scan”?

[A} Each machine did maybe 200 a day. Five, 10 minutes a scan. Maybe even partial scans. A typical hospital in the West does one or two an hour. And not X-rays; they could come up normal, but a CT would show the “ground-glass opacities” they were looking for.

(Dr. Aylward was referring to lung abnormalities seen in coronavirus patients.)

[Q] And then?

[A] If you were still a suspect case, you’d get swabbed. But a lot would be told, “You’re not Covid.” People would come in with colds, flu, runny noses. That’s not Covid. If you look at the symptoms, 90 percent have fever, 70 percent have dry coughs, 30 percent have malaise, trouble breathing. Runny noses were only 4 percent.

[Q] The swab was for a PCR test, right? How fast could they do that? Until recently, we were sending all of ours to Atlanta.

[A] They got it down to four hours.

[Q] So people weren’t sent home?

[A] No, they had to wait. You don’t want someone wandering around spreading virus.

[Q] If they were positive, what happened?

[A] They’d be isolated. In Wuhan, in the beginning, it was 15 days from getting sick to hospitalization. They got it down to two days from symptoms to isolation. That meant a lot fewer infected — you choke off this thing’s ability to find susceptibles.

[Q] What’s the difference between isolation and hospitalization?

[A] With mild symptoms, you go to an isolation center. They were set up in gymnasiums, stadiums — up to 1,000 beds. But if you were severe or critical, you’d go straight to hospitals. Anyone with other illnesses or over age 65 would also go straight to hospitals.

[Q] What were mild, severe and critical? We think of “mild” as like a minor cold.

[A] No. “Mild” was a positive test, fever, cough — maybe even pneumonia, but not needing oxygen. “Severe” was breathing rate up and oxygen saturation down, so needing oxygen or a ventilator. “Critical” was respiratory failure or multi-organ failure.

[Q] So saying 80 percent of all cases are mild doesn’t mean what we thought.

[A] I’m Canadian. This is the Wayne Gretzky of viruses — people didn’t think it was big enough or fast enough to have the impact it does.

[Q] Hospitals were also separated?

[A] Yes. The best hospitals were designated just for Covid, severe and critical. All elective surgeries were postponed. Patients were moved. Other hospitals were designated just for routine care: women still have to give birth, people still suffer trauma and heart attacks.

They built two new hospitals, and they rebuilt hospitals. If you had a long ward, they’d build a wall at the end with a window, so it was an isolation ward with “dirty” and “clean” zones. You’d go in, gown up, treat patients, and then go out the other way and de-gown. It was like an Ebola treatment unit, but without as much disinfection because it’s not body fluids.

[Q] How good were the severe and critical care?

[A] China is really good at keeping people alive. Its hospitals looked better than some I see here in Switzerland. We’d ask, “How many ventilators do you have?” They’d say “50.” Wow! We’d say, “How many ECMOs?” They’d say “five.” The team member from the Robert Koch Institute said, “Five? In Germany, you get three, maybe. And just in Berlin.”

(ECMOs are extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines, which oxygenate the blood when the lungs fail.)

[Q] Who paid for all of this?

[A] The government made it clear: testing is free. And if it was Covid-19, when your insurance ended, the state picked up everything.

In the U.S., that’s a barrier to speed. People think: “If I see my doctor, it’s going to cost me $100. If I end up in the I.C.U., what’s it going to cost me?” That’ll kill you. That’s what could wreak havoc. This is where universal health care coverage and security intersect. The U.S. has to think this through.

[Q] What about the nonmedical response?

[A] It was nationwide. There was this tremendous sense of, “We’ve got to help Wuhan,” not “Wuhan got us into this.” Other provinces sent 40,000 medical workers, many of whom volunteered.

In Wuhan, our special train pulled in at night, and it was the saddest thing — the big intercity trains roar right through, with the blinds down.

We got off, and another group did. I said, “Hang on a minute, I thought we were the only ones allowed to get off.” They had these little jackets and a flag — it was a medical team from Guangdong coming in to help. […]

[Q] Isn’t all of this impossible in America?

[A] Look, journalists are always saying: “Well, we can’t do this in our country.” There has to be a shift in mind-set to rapid response thinking. Are you just going to throw up your hands? There’s a real moral hazard in that, a judgment call on what you think of your vulnerable populations.

Ask yourself: Can you do the easy stuff? Can you isolate 100 patients? Can you trace 1,000 contacts? If you don’t, this will roar through a community.

[Q] Isn’t it possible only because China is an autocracy?

[A] Journalists also say, “Well, they’re only acting out of fear of the government,” as if it’s some evil fire-breathing regime that eats babies. I talked to lots of people outside the system — in hotels, on trains, in the streets at night.

They’re mobilized, like in a war, and it’s fear of the virus that was driving them. They really saw themselves as on the front lines of protecting the rest of China. And the world.

[Q] China is restarting its economy now. How can it do that without creating a new wave of infections?

[A] It’s a “phased restart.” It means different things in different provinces.

Some are keeping schools closed longer. Some are only letting factories that make things crucial to the supply chain open. For migrant workers who went home — well, Chengdu has 5 million migrant workers.

First, you have to see a doctor and get a certificate that you’re “no risk.” It’s good for three days.

Then you take the train to where you work. If it’s Beijing, you then have to self-quarantine for two weeks. Your temperature is monitored, sometimes by phone, sometimes by physical check.

[Q] What’s going on with the treatment clinical trials?

[A] They’re double-blind trials, so I don’t know the results. We should know more in a couple of weeks.

The biggest challenge was enrolling people. The number of severe patients is dropping, and there’s competition for them. And every ward is run by a team from another province, so you have to negotiate with each one, make sure they’re doing the protocols right.

And there are 200 trials registered — too many. I told them: “You’ve got to prioritize things that have promising antiviral properties.”//

20200301 CBC Radio, Cross Country Checkup – ASK ME ANYTHING 5 lessons about COVID-19 from doctor who led WHO mission to China – Bruce Aylward took questions from callers on Cross Country Checkup

20200304 CNN, “Canceling SXSW festival won’t make the community safer, Austin health officials say” [Note: Time will tell if this decision is wise or not. I worry not. They may change this decision later too. Will see.]

20200303 Science Mag “Indonesia finally reports two coronavirus cases. Scientists worry it has many more

But epidemiologists have long said COVID-19’s absence in the world’s fourth most populous nation was implausible, given the large number of visitors—both for tourism and business—from nearby China. A modeling study based on the number of travelers from Wuhan, published by a team at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on bioRxiv on 11 February, concluded that even then, it was unlikely that Indonesia did not have a single COVID-19 case. (Indonesian Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto called the study insulting and later said the lack of cases was the result of prayer.)

====

20200302 (hope we don’t need this but SK is cool in this efficient way to do test and get sample) //South Korea is pioneering a coronavirus drive-through testing station that officials say is faster and safer than going to a hospital or clinic// [HT @klustout]

20200303 WHO, “Coronavirus outbreak: World Health Organization says virus death toll has surpassed 3,100 worldwide”

20200303 Vox, “China’s cases of Covid-19 are finally declining. A WHO expert explains why. “It’s all about speed”: the most important lessons from China’s Covid-19 response.” [HT Kai “Also highly recommend reading this great interview by @juliaoftoronto with mission head Bruce Aylward:”]

“Q: Julia Belluz
In the elderly, what explains the high death rate? Is it something about deterioration of the immune system with age or the higher probability you have [of developing] other illnesses as you age?

A: Bruce Aylward
I think it’s the latter. These people are dying of an inflammatory process in their lungs. It’s not an infectious process, like a bacterial or viral infection. It’s inflammatory, like we see with SARS. We’re not sure of the mechanism. We do know the proportion of people who die who had cancer was half compared to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Diabetes is a little bit lower than those two, and cancer lower again.”

Read the rest of this entry »


The most personal is the most creative. – New Quote I Love

Wednesday, 12 February, 2020

Here is a new addition to my collection of Quotes I Love.

‘The most personal is the most creative.’Martin Scorsese. As Bong Joon-ho, Oscar winning director of Parasite, quoted his film-making hero Scorsese in Bong‘s acceptance speech (~1:13).

#Oscars Moment: Bong Joon Ho accepts the Oscar for Best Directing for @ParasiteMovie .

#Oscars Moment: Bong Joon Ho accepts the Oscar for Best Directing for @ParasiteMovie .


#Oscars2020 Best Picture #Parasite #BongJoonHo

Monday, 10 February, 2020

Here are a few things I collected related to Oscar winning director Bong Joon-Ho and his Oscars 2020 Best Picture Parasite!

Tweet video via @TheAcademy “#Oscars Moment: Bong Joon Ho accepts the Oscar for Best Directing for @ParasiteMovie .” (LOVE Bong quoting and thanking Martin Scorsese in his speech, “The most personal is the most creative.” And also thanking Quentin Tarantino for spreading words of his works.)

The quote here.

Tweet video via @TheAcademy “#Oscars Moment: @ParasiteMovie wins for Best Picture.

Oscar Winers for ‘Parasite’ Full Backstage Speech | THR (Kwak Sin Ae, Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won)

BAFTA Guru: Bong Joon-Ho on Writing Parasite | On Writing

[SPOILERS] PARASITE Cast and Crew Q&A | TIFF 2019

via Directors Guild of America (2020 Jan 25), “Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film Award nominees Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood), and Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) joined moderator Jeremy Kagan onstage for an in-depth discussion about their work.

xxx

P.S. 20191231, Nerdwriter1 “Parasite’s Perfect Montage

“As Bong so memorably said in this clip, “We all live in the same country … called Capitalism.”” ===> Bong Joon-ho Discusses PARASITE, Genre Filmmaking And The Greatness Of ZODIAC

20200102 Guardian “Sharon Choi: how we fell for Bong Joon-ho’s translator

“Choi – a 25-year-old Korean-American, also a film-maker, currently living in Seoul – has only been working with Bong since May, when her skills made her an indispensable part of his team at Cannes. But her scene-stealing has shone a light on interpreting, an overlooked aspect of film’s promotional circuit, especially on the arthouse side. It is a high-grade post, combining two-way linguistic expertise, formidable memory skills (good for keeping hold of rambling directorial musings) and a head for PR. Ever-present, as Choi has been as Parasite does the rounds, interpreters sometimes become a mouthpiece for certain directors. The fresh-faced young man that Takeshi Kitano had on hand during junkets in the early 00s was very conspicuous amid the retinue of yakuza-like goons who would hang around the director during his interviews.”

xxx


News Clippings 20200121

Tuesday, 21 January, 2020

Some News Clippings on 20200121:

20200121, Guardian, Coronavirus: Chinese hospitals not testing patients, say relatives – Number of cases, and deaths, could be much higher than those cited in official reports if claims are true

//On 12 January Huang got news his healthy 65-year-old mother had been checked into a hospital in the central Chinese city of Wuhan with a fever and a cough. […]

The hospital pressured the family to immediately cremate Huang’s mother, but they refused, asking for more information. A few days later, they relented and workers from a funeral home, also in protective clothing, retrieved, cremated and buried her within a few hours, leaving the family no time to say goodbye. Afterwards, the staff disinfected the van they had travelled in and threw away their hamzat suits.

“My mother’s death was dealt with without any dignity,” said Huang, 40, who did not want to give his or his mother’s full name. “She wasn’t even counted as a number on the government’s list,” he said, referring to the six people authorities say have been killed by the virus.//

20200121, BBC News, (with vide of HKU Med), New China virus: Warning against cover-up as number of cases jumps

xxxx


News Clippings 20200120

Monday, 20 January, 2020

I’ll try to add to my collection of News Clippings regularly if I can. Here are a few added on 20200120:

20200120 Guardian, (part 1 of 2) #HumanToHumanTransmission Very sad to learn [14] medical staff had been infected! “China confirms human-to-human transmission of coronavirus

//China’s National Health Commission has confirmed human-to-human transmission of a mysterious Sars-like virus that has spread across the country and fuelled anxiety about the prospect of a major outbreak as millions begin travelling for lunar new year celebrations.

Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert and head of the health commission team investigating the outbreak, confirmed that two cases of infection in China’s Guangdong province had been caused by human-to-human transmission and medical staff had been infected, China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Monday.//

20200120 China CCTV, “新型冠状病毒如何防控?会否重复SARS疫情?钟南山:呈现人传人特点

(part 2 of 2) #HumanToHumanTransmission Very sad to learn 14 medical staff had been infected! Via Chinese source: //Pulmonologist ZHONG Nanshan, leads an expert group to investigate the #WuhanPneumonia, said human-to-human transmission is confirmed. Also 14 medics have been infected by the novel coronavirus, reports state media CCTV.//

//疫情发展到什么阶段?
钟南山 [国家卫健委高级别专家组组长钟南山院士]:呈现人传人特点 有14个医护人员感染 […]

武汉减少输出是非常重要的一个方面,武汉会有很严格的筛查检测措施,特别是体温检测,体温高的不建议离开武汉。预防和控制最有效的方法是早发现早治疗,确诊病例的隔离治疗非常重要,这个冠状病毒没有特效药,但是现在正在进行一些动物试验观察,科学研究要跟上。春节期间,估计得病的人数还会有增加,要防止传播,防止出现超级传播者。//

[HT @chiangst]

xxxx


News Clippings 20200118

Saturday, 18 January, 2020

I’ll try to add to my collection of News Clippings regularly if I can. Here are a few added on 20200118:

– Vanity Fair, 20200111, “Greta Gerwig on the Lives of Little Women—And Why “Male Violence” Isn’t All That Matters – The filmmaker, who drew on Louisa May Alcott’s life and letters, dives deep into a particularly resonant page of her script.

“This discussion I’m having Amy and Jo have is, in some ways, my thesis. Or at least part of my thesis. Initially I was worried it was going to be too on the nose, this discussion of writing, but it seems to be something that people fold into the emotional arc of the story, that it doesn’t stand out in blinking lights, like, HERE IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. In any case, this discussion of the subject of fiction as either conferring importance or reflecting it, is at the heart of my understanding of the book. It is one of the reasons this book is the book that so many female authors and creators point back to and say, “That is my book; Jo March is my girl.” […]

The very last two lines, about Amy being wise, aren’t directly from the book, but they are an extrapolation of one of my favorite lines of Amy’s—she says, “I don’t pretend to be wise, but I am observant.” That was one of the lines that I underlined and put little stars and exclamation points around because it was another key to the puzzle of Amy. She has always been seen as such a bratty character, with no depth or backbone, and yet when I revisited the book, I found her to be amazingly insightful and compelling. I wanted her to deliver some knowledge to Jo—sometimes creators don’t know what they create, and it is essential to have someone else reflect it back to you. And then of course Amy’s response to Jo, “You were just too busy noticing my faults,” is me in conversation with the 150-year-old audience of Little Women. It’s me—Greta, the author—saying, “WE MISSED HER! SHE WAS WISE ALL ALONG!”

In some ways this entire scene is that—a four-way conversation between me, the modern screenwriter, Louisa May Alcott, the characters of the book, and the audience as it spans across time and space. And I’m saying, it matters what we write. It matters what we make films about. I can because Louisa May Alcott did.”

20191226, 92nd Street Y, “Greta Gerwig on Little Women: Reel Pieces with Annette Insdorf

20200106, THR Directors Roundtable, (I especially LOVE segments with Lulu & Greta) “Todd Phillips (‘Joker’), Martin Scorsese (‘The Irishman’), Lulu Wang (‘The Farewell’), Noah Baumbach (‘Marriage Story’), Greta Gerwig (‘Little Women’), and Fernando Meirelles (‘The Two Popes’) join Close Up with The Hollywood Reporter for this season’s FULL, uncensored Directors Roundtable.

20190529, CBC Radio As It Happens, “Remembering Velma Demerson — the woman jailed in Toronto for living with her Chinese fiancé

“Velma Demerson was a young woman in love with a baby on the way — and for that, she was jailed for nearly a year.

It was 1939 in Toronto and Demerson, a white woman, was engaged to Harry Yip, a Chinese man.

Police showed up at the couple’s home in May 1939 and arrested the then-18-year-old under the Female Refuges Act of 1897, a since-repealed law that allowed authorities to jail women for “incorrigible” behaviour such as promiscuity, pregnancy out of wedlock and public drunkenness.”

20200108 CBC News, Brief But Spectacular – Morgan Barense on Our Memory

“University of Toronto neuroscientist Morgan Barense has created an app called the HippoCamera, which mimics part of the brain compromised in Alzheimer’s disease. She offers her Brief But Spectacular take on how to improve our relationship with those suffering from memory loss.”

More info of Prof. Morgan Barense & her team’s research work at the University of Toronto.

xxx


%d bloggers like this: