Folks, Covid-19 appears to go pandemic.

I'm not the easily scared type, but I am a history buff type. Pandemics happen, and they can be really bad with lethal diseases. Covid-19 has the potential to exceed the lethality of tobacco consumption this year. That's BAD.

The question is not whether it can be contained, but whether we can advantageously slow the pandemic down so our pharmaceutical supplies production capacities and medical services capacities can handle it better. Moreover, we absolutely should slow it down till the flu pandemic is over so we don't have that double stress on the system.

Wear gloves, wash hands, limit skin-to-skin contact, don't sneeze wildly (do it into elbow or quickly-discarded handkerchief), absolutely avoid public handrails/doorknobs and similar touching points in public (also: cash). Seek medical care when you have one of these symptoms:
  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath
These are also symptoms of (so far) much more common and less lethal or non-lethal diseases, so leave the diagnosis to the medical doctor. Most Covid-19 patients have mild symptoms, but can still infect other people. It's advisable to lower the threshold of doctor visits this year; don't sit out a likely common cold infection on your own in 2020.

The available info about the effectiveness of filter masks is discouraging, but I don't want to discourage their use in case they are found to be worthwhile after all. Already sick people should probably use them (only the kind that has no exhaust valve) to at least reduce their emissions.





[German] https://www.sciencemediacenter.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Fact_Sheets_PDF/FS_Pandemie_Verhalten_CoV.pdf

It appears that some governments have focused their anti-pandemic planning on versions of the flu, with an emphasis on rapid provision of vaccination to the whole population. That's unlikely to help much against Covid-19.
_ _ _ _ _

This is merely my guessing: I suspect UVC lamps will boom soon. They are very likely effective area disinfectants (with side effects that make permanent use impractical). UVC lamps for clearing up an aquarium appear to be rather safe and cheap compared to some other types.



  1. Ozone generators will also be a hot commodity

    1. Well, UVC lamps do 'produce' O3 unless they are specially modified to not do so.

  2. Charles_in_Houston_Texas29 February 2020 at 03:24

    How expensive (if available) are the COVID-19 test kits in Germany/Europe?
    State-side, they are expensive ( https://qz.com/1809382/us-health-care-costs-could-help-coronavirus-spread/ ) and not
    available for home/individual use.

    And (alas) not yet all that reliable ( https://www.propublica.org/article/cdc-coronavirus-covid-19-test )

    China and SouthKorea have deployed government-provided test kits that ambulance crews can use on-site when summoned by
    emergency service.

    1. Multiple German companies developed tests (both mobile and for labs) and are providing them in parallel.
      The insurance pays for the test if medical professionals rate you as a suspected Covid-19 case.

  3. "Multiple German companies developed tests (both mobile and for labs) and are providing them in parallel."

    The German test, which is actually used by most countries outside China and USA, was developed by the Charite Berlin, that is an university hospital. Most larger hospitals are able to use it and many private companies are implementing it too.


    1. I looked it up. There are multiple test designs from Germany.

  4. "I looked it up. There are multiple test designs from Germany."

    The first test, which is also used by most labs, is from the Charite.

  5. Charles_in_Houston_Texas3 March 2020 at 18:17

    Germany has always been strong in virology. I recall that
    the german Robert Koch Institute was among the key
    contributors to treatments during the SARS crisis of 2005.
    Let's hope RKI will come through again. As of now there
    is no word on good post-exposure treatment for COVID-19

    1. The virology part is only one aspect, maybe not even the most important.

      The good decision in Germany was to send the test to all university hospitals and larger hospitals with own labs. This allows testing without large delays. A PCR takes around 4 hours. Now even a lot of for-profit labs get the test running.

      The USA wasted a lot of time with trying to run the testing centrally, not working tests also did not help.


    2. Charles_in_Houston_Texas4 March 2020 at 14:28

      sigh - did US waste time or is it because US have
      no pandemic response team. In 2018, a competent
      biodefence technocrat (Timothy Ziemer) was fired
      for no reason other being chosen by Obama. John
      Bolton (a guy famous for hismoustache) replaced
      Regardless, our genius leader then cut off funding to
      all biodefense agencies to save money for his mexican
      border wall.

    3. "did US waste time or is it because US have
      no pandemic response team."

      The USA have research groups and infrastructure that are as good as the German, therefore, the same answer was possible.

      The key in Germany was to allow many facilities to do the tests and accept the results. Now we have here (and in Austria) a 5 times higher per capita test capacity than the USA. Helps a lot at the beginning as it allows a longer containment phase, get valuable ICU beds back from influneza pateinets...

  6. My calendar is suddenly emptying today. Trade fairs, conferences and meetings get cancelled. It's an appointment massacre. I haven't experienced anything like this before.

  7. Charles_in_Houston_Texas4 March 2020 at 18:12

    "...I haven't experienced anything like this before.."

    This is my second time going thru this experience.
    Swine flu scare of 2009 was my first. Our office is a
    short distance from the Texas clinic where we had
    our patient 0.

    We woke up to bunch of recorded messages on our phones:
    don't come to work, don't come to our offices, etc.

    1. H1N1 was pretty much an ordinary flu in Germany with merely about 250 deaths. I don't remember anything special about the period.
      SARS-Cov 2/Covid-19 is in a different league.

  8. Anything negative written about the use of masks to prevent infection is just a way for authorities to divert attention and blame from the fact that they are now totally unavailable due to outsourcing. Countries are scrounging up any masks they can find for healthcare workers after all. No more than a hollow confidence keeping trick.

    1. Well, the virus is actually way smaller than the fineness of even N99 and FPP 3 filter masks. This means they are leaky at least unless there's a activated carbon layer in the filter (and I have not been able to confirm that activated carbon works in this case).
      Valves generally are leaky. Incorrect wearing fo the amsks means leaks. Masks deteriorate (and become badly contaminated) when used for long.

      Masks do reduce the load of incoming or exhaled viruses by some degree, of course.

      The German government recently banned the export of certain medical supplies including masks, which is a kind of dick move towards small countries like Luxembourg which cannot have domestic production capacities. I hope they'll use the ban to get a grasp of the supply situation and then allocate shares of the supply to EU countries at least. The German production relative to population size is certainly above the European average.

  9. BTW, the estimates for how many people will be infected and what share will die coupled with German population justify an expectation of 300,000...2,000,000 dead in Germany alone.
    I suppose it's going to be much less, for those figures apply for the current state of affairs, and we might still find effective treatment methods.
    The current overt measures are merely meant to buy time for progress towards treatment and vaccination as far as I can tell.

    I'm glad I'm not living in lying moron land where the head of state phones into a TV show that has a rather elderly and gullible audience and tells them that people with the new Corona virus infection should go to work.
    I wonder how much stupid it takes to turn things that turned bad because of stupid away from stupid.

    BTW, personally, I could self-quarantine for two months in my home and do 90% of my work from home for two months if tap water keeps running. I'm a 'prepper' by German standards with that many supplies. It did cost me only about 50 € per person a year or so ago when I wondered what to put into an empty kitchen cupboard.
    - spaghetti
    - sauce napoli bottles
    - rice
    - tea
    - some other foods worth about two weeks
    - and I can grow parsley for Vitamin C
    Food can be ridiculously cheap in Germany.

    1. Charles_in_Houston_Texas5 March 2020 at 22:47

      According to this study - Germany (and Europe/Africa)
      should fare much better in term of: full-recovery
      for the infected patients(low mortality).

      Although, from a few reports, the patients will
      still have a tough time due to the one of the 2
      viral strands attack on the nervous system.


      East-asia has more to fear.

    2. "According to this study - Germany (and Europe/Africa)
      should fare much better in term of: full-recovery
      for the infected patients(low mortality)."

      That does not make any sense: The mortality is low because we test a lot, we have smaller number of undetected cases in some EU countries.

      There is NO evidence that the real mortality (dead patients/all infected people) is different.

      The higher testing rate gives us a higher chance to delay the spread of the virus, avoid a collaps of the health system as we decouple influenca from coronvirus...


    3. Mortality likely is lower in Germany ceteris paribus due to availability of intensive care. Poor countries simply don't have much of that. We can afford to give immune system boosting medication and to remove water from lungs.

      Germany may still end up with a rather high average mortality because of the large share of elderly people, particularly in the East and rural areas as there are issues with the hospital network anyway.

      300k to 2 M dead if we fail to react properly - and today reacting properly means for most of us to avoid unnecessary exposure. Hence the collapse of large crowd events and often superfluous business meetings this spring.

    4. "Mortality likely is lower in Germany ceteris paribus due to availability of intensive care."

      No, mortality will be the same in most EU countries as long as enough ICU beds are available, when the virus spreads more all countries will face the same issue that there are not enough ICU beds.

      The current differences are different starting points of virus spread (different time points for deads caused by EDEMIC infection are a nice proxy) and much different testing levels. More testing more -> identified infected people -> lower APPARENT lethality.

      (My bet is that we will observe an increasing apparent lethality in South Korea because testing has a hard ceiling and the ratio of tested people to newly infected people will decrease.)

      The German situation is good because we started early (in respect to edemic tarnsmission) large scale testing. We are still able to delay the spread of virus a little bit longer.