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The Flu (Health)
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Mick Harper
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There will be calls for a New World Order from other conspiracy theorists. Now I understand why the BBC's big new Sunday night offering is called Dr WHO.
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Mick Harper
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The sociology has now acquired some nice AE reverberations. As with terrorism, it is not so much the thing itself as the reaction to it that is important. And the establishment of a vast apparat to cope with it. My God, I've never seen so many self-important tossers telling us what the last self-important tosser had already told us. Last night's Channel Four News gave a typical rendition.

First, it was first. Domestic and international politics hardly got a look-in. The item lasted for twenty to thirty minutes (I'm doing this from memory). That's death-of-Diana territory. And yet nothing had happened. WHO had given it a new name (yeah, right, that'll be on everyone's lips). The English dude who'd caught it was given the plucky-Brit treatment. He'd caught a cold but was all right now. Brighton was confirmed as Place Zero. Cue Caroline Green MP doing her 'I'm your favourite aunty' routine and being so orthodox I wanted to scream. Is there no alternative voice left? We were cautioned not to treat sufferers as lepers even though the entire world medical establishment was treating them as lepers. There was more, but I had to fast forward in sheer self defence.
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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Mumps knocks coronavirus off top spot, on BBC health news.
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Grant



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Still not a single white or black person dead as a result of Coronavirus. But no-one must mention that diseases have different effects on different races
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Mick Harper
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Perhaps I've done you an injustice, Grant. I had not realised it was 'deaths'. Given the small numbers of people in the west/Africa that have the 'flu' and given the small number of people who die from normal strains of 'flu' and given the extreme cosseting those that do have it are receiving, this seems possible, reasonable and significant. Keep your eyes skinned not so much for the first euro-death but for the first mention of the phenomenon. Already it would seem out-of-kilter (assuming you are right).
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Mick Harper
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AE suggests you are right because of careful ignoral. If we had had someone die they would by now be receiving the media equivalent of being buried in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey. This can only mean one thing, we have finally found a strain of flu that doesn't kill anyone. Quick, make a vaccine out of it, someone.
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Grant



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The workers at the Wuhan wild food market (or whatever it's called) are constantly exposed to viruses from bats, snakes etc. Most of the time the viruses are harmless but once in a while a strain is perfectly designed to infect the workers and spread outwards. It's not surprising that the virus is particularly virulent to Chinese bodies because that's what it's been designed for.

As the virus spreads, natural selection will weaken it anyway because viruses which have no symptoms are more transmissible. In short, nothing to worry about, and the Chinese should stop eating bats.

Not only have no Europeans died, I haven't seen any evidence that they have any symptoms.
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Mick Harper
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I agree with your initial observations though not with the conclusions drawn from them. If there is anything to Darwinian Evolution and the Germ Theory of Disease, Chinese foodworkers ought to have antibodies up to their gills. And it defies all expectations that it would work in such a blanket way.

I also both take and reject your point about showing symptoms. Surely all the people reporting such, on cruise liners and sporadically across the non-oriental world, can't all be Chinese/Oriental?
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Chad


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I’ve been crunching a few numbers, and the odds (all things being equal) of there having been a single black death, so far, are approximately 10 to 1 against, and about 6 to 4 against a single white death.

So nothing statistically significant at the moment.
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Mick Harper
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I believe, combined, that puts it over the one-in-twenty conventional benchmark but I take your point. Once again though, in the hours of daily coverage the world is devoting to it, why is no-one discussing this? It has gone beyond racial coyness. If only we had Boreades amongst us, he's a mathematical health care professional (or something). When, statistically, is one of us due to go down with it, Chad? We need somebody at the coalface.
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Chad


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We can only really look at the situation in China (the number of cases outside of China is statistically insignificant, at present).

So, in the petri dish, we have 1.4 billion Chinese nationals, and just about 1 million foreigners living in China.

Of these 1 million foreigners, about 100,000 are black (mainly sub-Saharan students) and the rest are either; other oriental types (Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese etc) or Indo-European types (white, swarthy, Dravidian etc). Of the non-black foreign population, the upper limit, for the number of whites, is probably about 500,000.

Of the 2,000 dead so far, statistically (rounded to the nearest whole person) the expected death toll should be:

Orientals: 1999
Whites: 1*
Blacks: 0

If the death toll reaches over 5000 without any white victims, then maybe (just maybe) there is something of interest to AEists.

*The number of white deaths is likely to be lower than the predicted number of ‘1’ as most of the white population in China falls into low risk categories…(Otherwise they wouldn’t be there in the first place.)
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Mick Harper
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Nice figuring (insofar as I could follow it).

This low risk category is interesting. It seems health professionals in China are in the high risk category -- a second early-warner died yesterday. But this is different from 'high risk' in the sense of who-catches-it and who-doesn't. If it's so infectious and carried for quite so long without symptoms, the average person should be exposed 100% of the time. This doesn't seem to be mentioned very much either.

When our flu season comes along, the elderly are urged to get their jabs. The rationale for this is never quite stated in terms of "You're gonna die, granny" but that seems to be the inference. But does one hear of (say) young, fit males dying 'of the flu'? Maybe complications (pneumonia? iatrogenic infection?) but hardly... Except the Spanish flu which carried off twenty million apparently more than averagely in the fit categories.

There's one other thing to bear in mind. The young suffer disproportionately (via a vis us oldies) from all kinds of allergies. This is conventionally explained by them not getting out and about as much as we had to do. The Chinese have just reached that stage. More so, given they are just coming out of the one-child era.
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Mick Harper
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Cause & Effect
Stock markets tumble all round the world Reuters

Chinese government announce the death rate is 0.7%. Latest hospital admissions report no fatalities at all Channel 4 News

This last is especially significant since 0.7% was described as 'seven times the rate of normal flu outbreaks'. This tells us two things
1. Nobody knows what the normal flu death rate is since 0.1% is pretty obviously somebody's ballpark figure
2. This strain of flu -- if it had been called that and left to its own devices as per every year -- would have been merely 'a particularly virulent strain'. After all, that is what we hear from time to time and how can it mean anything else?

But I suppose we'll have to get used to this every other year or so from now on. Everyone is having such an exciting time it would be a shame to spoil the fun. And everyone will be primed to know exactly what to say and do next time. Like the good old days of oldies' jabs and casualty departments coming under strain, it's a winter sport.
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Mick Harper
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Cause and Effect II
1. Italy was the first (only?) European country to ban flights with China
2. Italy has more coronavirus cases than any other European country

If there are people flying to and fro between Italy and China and suddenly they can't fly to and fro between Italy and China it follows that there will be an enhanced number of people in Italy that have been in China.
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Mick Harper
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Actually, thinking about it overnight, I'm not sure that's true but the correlation, perhaps anti-correlation, is so striking that it's worth batting around for a few minutes while I'm waiting for my thought-for-the-day. What if the correlation arises from the length of time the average visitor stays in China (or Italy) and the time the virus becomes infectious? Or not visible but reaches the stage of "Darling, I'm feeling completely whacked, we'll have to cancel Italy/China'. Perhaps the ban stopped Italy getting its requisite amount of antibodies rather than ... er ... bodies. There's something there, I hate inexplicable coincidences.

Gives a whole new meaning to 'national carrier'. Oh well, that's my joke for the day, I must get on with my own work. Great books don't write themselves. Actually they do, it's a weird process. I only wished they sold themselves. I hate pushing the barrow round.
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