Category Archives: Public Health/Coronavirus

Air freight networks tackling the logistics of transporting refrigerated vaccines

A couple of days ago, there was the usual doom and gloom reporting about how it might not be possible to transport vaccines requiring very cold temperature storage. The story was silly since transporting cold stored goods has been around a long time – the only issue is the scale required.

Not surprisingly, all of the air freight companies are building solutions for both storage, transport and distribution.

Logistics providers are lining up equipment and transportation capacity as they gear up for the rapid delivery of millions of doses of potential coronavirus vaccines around the world.

Source: From ‘Freezer Farms’ to Jets, Logistics Operators Prepare for a Covid-19 Vaccine – WSJ

Remember smart phone tracing apps?

Update: This says several U.S. states have rolled out contact tracing apps. Plus, Google and Apple just announced they are now rolling out contact tracing apps to all Android and iPhone phones over the next few weeks. There has been no controlled trial nor randomized controlled trial to judge their effectiveness or side effects. There is no evidence at this time that device-side, Bluetooth contact tracing apps will make a meaningful difference in Covid-19 spread- this is a population wide medical experiment.

The UK Bluetooth-based tracking app was rolled out in trial in May and was going to go nationwide almost immediately. As of August, its still in a trial phase. As I pointed out long ago, these Bluetooth tracking apps have so many problems they were unlikely to ever be used. (Note – some countries use network cell side tracking – and track locations of all phones, smart and dumb, all the time – and analyze the paths to find potential contacts. Many countries, like the U.S. and the EU cannot do this due to privacy laws.)

The app hasn’t been binned, although the government did change direction with their original app to instead use the Google/Apple system.

Source: Viral Facebook post on cost of “binned” test and trace app is wrong – Full Fact

Countries that have used smart phone based apps, including Australia and Iceland, found they uncovered single digit potential contacts nationwide and were not an effective use of public health resources. France, for example, has found the app is largely useless.

Virginia has launched a Bluetooth-based app. But hardly anyone is using it – and the way it works, if 30% of all phone users have the app installed, it can catch up to 9% of potential contacts (not including the false positive and negative problems inherent in the Bluetooth technology).

Northern Ireland has launched an app. The media is impressed that it has had 300,000 downloads. But at that number, it can detect about 2.5% of potential contacts in the country due to … math.

Finally, the supposed privacy safeguards in the Apple-Google technology do not actually work on Android phones. Because of what Google does with Google Play Services, personally identifiable information is being collected.

Basically, Google has been caught red handed, lying once again about their alleged privacy of personal data.

The data shared includes long-term, unchangeable identifiers of the phone users, including their phone’s IP address, WiFi MAC address, International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, SIM serial number, phone number and Gmail address, as well as fine-grained data from other, potentially sensitive apps, such as banking, dating or health apps. This is data which, when considered together, has the potential to draw a very detailed map of our lives and activities.

Duh: “New Thinking on Covid Lockdowns: They’re Overly Blunt and Costly – WSJ”

Blanket business shutdowns—which the U.S. never tried before this pandemic—led to a deep recession. Economists and health experts say there may be a better way.

Source: New Thinking on Covid Lockdowns: They’re Overly Blunt and Costly – WSJ

That’s behind a paywall but related contemporary thoughts here  and thoughts from professional epidemiologists in 2006 – who concluded that while a lock down works to control the disease, lock downs are not a sustainable solution.

Lock downs do not end the pandemic – they delay the onset of new cases. Pandemics end through herd immunity, vaccines, or virus mutation.

What if public health disease mitigation does not work or does not work well?

We have social distancing, physical distancing, six foot spacing, face masks, schools closed and more.

But what if these public health measures do not work or do not work well?

Many public health measures seem “intuitively obvious” but that does not mean they work in the real world, with real people.

A journal paper, co-authored by 4 epidemiologists, asked this question in 2006 – and claims many of the public health measures we are using today did not work well, or did not work at all, or have no evidence to support their use.

Who would write such a journal article? One of the co-authors is Donald Henderson, the doctor credited with eradicating smallpox from planet Earth.

Continue reading What if public health disease mitigation does not work or does not work well?

Interesting observations about the current pandemic, progression and mitigation strategies

I would not have chosen the title “Lockdown Lunacy” but this long blog post conveys that the virus does what viruses do and the data do not support most of the mitigation steps that were undertaken…

“Government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.”

Source: LOCKDOWN LUNACY 3.0: It’s over — j.b. handley blog

I will soon post links to a 2006 paper written by eminent epidemiologists, including co-author Dr. Donald Henderson, credited with eradicating small pox from the planet. In their paper they noted, based on real world experience of pandemics that lock downs accomplished little and are not sustainable.

They noted that in a half century of trying, travel restrictions have never worked (look at New Zealand and Hawaii today). They note there is no scientific support for many things we do, that seem intuitive – for example, they note there is no scientific evidence that hand washing or face masks when used by the general community, have any effect on the spread of an infectious disease. (Many people confuse hypotheses and computer models with real world confirmation – the former prove nothing – the hypothesis is answered with measured outcome data that determines if the “treatment” works in real world or not. For many reasons, what works in “theory” may not work in the real world.)

Continue reading Interesting observations about the current pandemic, progression and mitigation strategies

Spread of Covid-19 in Hawaii, worse than all other states

Update Sep 3, 2020:

Oahu established a new 14 day lock down effective August 27th. Their Department of Public Health asked for a 28-day lock down. Remember, this is the state that did everything right, with hard nosed travel restrictions, quarantines, arrests of those violating quarantine, and mandatory face masks since April. None of that appears to have worked.

There are now over 5,000 active cases in Hawaii.

Update August 22, 2020:

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The  Department of Health recorded 284 coronavirus cases on Saturday, Aug. 22, and the state’s lieutenant governor said that the new restrictions haven’t curved the spread as much as he’d hope for.

There are now 4,202 active cases in Hawaii and Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green said he doesn’t anticipate numbers to decrease any time soon.

COVID-19 cases continue to soar, restrictions likely to level up

Hawaii Did Everything “Right” 

Hawaii has had a mandatory face mask order in effect since April 17th. and travel restrictions and social isolation and arrested people for violating quarantine orders.

Apparently it did not work, just as in California where face masks have not worked. We need to understand why before randomly doing the same thing over and over again.

Hawaii tried to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Now, it faces a dire situation

Source: Coronavirus: Hawaii spreading COVID-19 more than any other state – Deseret News

Hawaii is planning for new restrictions and is unlikely to re-open the state to tourists (tourism is now effectively closed).

The evidence – and past published research papers – indicate that viral outbreaks do what viral outbreaks do. All of the public health mitigation measures slow the progress – a bit – but do not prevent or end the pandemic. Places that were doing really good eventually do really badly – until herd immunity is reached, or a vaccine is available, or the virus mutates to a less dangerous form.

All these restrictions are largely ineffective – or in the case of strict lockdowns, are not sustainable. Top epidemiologists have said that in the past. But for some reason, they – and everyone else – think “it’s different this time”. 

Continue reading Spread of Covid-19 in Hawaii, worse than all other states

Bloomberg argues we must involuntarily detain those ordered to quarantine in “Quarantine centers” for weeks

About 1/3d of people told to quarantine, don’t – so next up is arresting them and forcing them in to quarantine detention centers for weeks.

Flare-ups from Australia to Japan show the world hasn’t learned an early lesson from the coronavirus crisis: to stop the spread, those with mild or symptom-free coronavirus infections must be forced to isolate, both from their communities and family.

Source: Forced Isolation May Be the Only Way to Stop Resurgence of Virus

Just imagine government troops removing children from homes and placing them in quarantine (per the story this has occurred in other countries). That is what Bloomberg is advocating (see the link).

That will surely encourage the asymptomatic to get tested – not.

All pandemics eventually end – but not all have a known reason for ending. They generally ended due to:

Continue reading Bloomberg argues we must involuntarily detain those ordered to quarantine in “Quarantine centers” for weeks

Southwest Airlines is cruel; so is JetBlue

Southwest Airlines demonstrates idiocy on steriods:

Their flight to Houston left the gate Monday, only to quickly return when her son wouldn’t wear a mask.

“He was screaming. He was throwing a fit. He was screaming ‘no, no, no,’” Sadler said.Sadler said her son [3 years old] has sensory processing disorder and doesn’t like his face touched. She even had a note about his condition from his doctor, but that didn’t make a difference.

Southwest Airlines says all customers over age 2 must cover their faces while traveling, something that’s pointed out during the booking and online check-in process.

Source: Family kicked off Southwest Airlines flight after boy with autism wouldn’t wear mask

Basically, a lot of the country that has documented physical and behavioral health disorders is now prohibited from boarding airline flights. And the airlines want another bail out so that only the elite healthy can fly?

Updated : The idiots at JetBlue kicked an entire family off a flight after their TWO YEAR OLD would not wear a face mask. I have written to my elected representatives asking that there be no more airline bailouts as long as airlines are an exclusive club for healthy adults and those with out behavior health problems, and while they prohibit young children from flying..  No more taxpayer money should be handed out to those who refuse  to carry real children on their flights. The airlines own policy said two year olds do not require a face mask (but they updated it, unknown to passengers, just prior to the flight, to require all but 1 year olds – that is INSANE).  The airlines deserve no taxpayer money while denying flights to those with very young children, adults and children with bona fide medical and behavioral health conditions. Airlines are now an exclusive, socialized travel option for the healthy elite only.

Bill and Melinda Gates donate $1/2 Billion to accelerate manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines

This batch of manufactured vaccines will be targeted at low-income countries.

Since February, the foundation has donated more than $350 million to support the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes a $100 million commitment to Gavi’s Covid-19 Vaccine Advance Market Commitment (COVAX AMC), in which Gavi guarantees the price of Covid-19 vaccines once they have been developed.

The additional $150-million, at-risk funding will help SII manufacture candidate vaccines from two pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca and Novavax. About 100 million doses of vaccines are expected to be made available to 92 countries at a maximum price of US$3 per dose.

Source: The Gates Foundation Commits Another $150 Million to Accelerate Covid-19 Vaccines – Barron’s

Gates’ previously announced funding for 7 vaccine manufacturing lines.

The effort might cost him billions of dollars and end without a viable vaccine. But Gates thinks it’s something that needs to be done as soon as possible, and that it’s time that we can’t afford to waste.