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posted by martyb on Tuesday January 28 2020, @11:38PM   Printer-friendly
from the clearing-the-air dept.

https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/01/27/coronavirus

As the world knows, we face an emerging virus threat in the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. The problem is, right now there are several important things that we don't know about the situation. The mortality rate, the ease of human-human transmission, the rate of mutation of the virus (and how many strains we might be dealing with – all of these need more clarity. Unfortunately, we've already gone past the MERS outbreak in severity (which until now was the most recent new coronavirus to make the jump into humans). If we're fortunate, though, we'll still have something that will be worrisome, but not as bad as (say) the usual flu numbers (many people don't realize that influenza kills tens of thousands of people in the US each year). The worst case, though, is something like 1918, and we really, really don't need that.

[Ed note: The linked story is by Derek Lowe who writes a "commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry". He is perhaps best known for his "Things I Won't Work With" blog entries which are as hilarious as they are... eye opening. I have found him to be a no-nonsense writer who "tells things as they are", holding no punches. The whole story is worth reading as he clearly explains what a coronavirus is, about the current one that reportedly originated in Wuhan, China, what could be done about it, how long that would likely take, and what can be done for those who have already been infected. --martyb]

Previous Stories Referencing Derek Lowe:

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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday January 29 2020, @12:02AM (5 children)

    by c0lo (156) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @12:02AM (#950328) Journal

    The linked story is by Derek Lowe who writes a "commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry". He is perhaps best known for his "Things I Won't Work With" blog entries which are as hilarious as they are... eye opening. I have found him to be a no-nonsense writer who "tells things as they are", holding no punches.

    His right to not be willing to work with some sorts of things, but it turns out some compounds he doesn't want to work with are accessible to (literally) "shed synthesis" for determined-enough humans that lived to tell the tale.

    Example: Azidoazides azides [sciencemag.org] - shed synthesis [youtube.com] and demo [youtube.com].

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Snotnose on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:37AM (1 child)

      by Snotnose (1623) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:37AM (#950390)

      I'm an embedded software engineer, not a chemist. Found Things I won't Work With maybe 5-10 years ago, and have made his blog a daily destination ever since. Once or twice a week he has something I find interesting, plus as others have said the guy is a helluva writer.

      --
      I fondly remember the day I made sandcastles with my grandmother. Just wish I hadn't done it in the crematorium.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:00AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:00AM (#950424)

        I'm an embedded software engineer, not a chemist.

        See also appeal to non-authorities [wikipedia.org].
        The "tells things as they are" part may not be such a clear cut verdict when it comes from a S/N editor/submitter. Taking Derek's or anyone's choices as "the things that are" means one may never discover an actual value or less dangerous paths in things he deemed useless or too dangerous.

        Granted, internalizing the cautionary messages on his writings is a thing that may make all the difference in regards with the life and limb of the daredevils who wander in dangerous territories.

        Once or twice a week he has something I find interesting, plus as others have said the guy is a helluva writer.

        The above being said, nothing wrong in enjoying his style and picking whatever information one finds useful.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:43AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:43AM (#950491)

      but it turns out some compounds he doesn't want to work with are accessible to (literally) "shed synthesis" for determined-enough humans that lived to tell the tale.

      Unless the laws of physics are different for sheds, everything Mr. Lowe is not willing to work with are accessible to shed synthesis. The shed might not be around afterward, but it's quite feasible to do suicidal chemistry out of your shed.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:45AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:45AM (#950494) Journal
        Sorry, accidentally logged out. The above post was mine.
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday January 29 2020, @06:09AM

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @06:09AM (#950527) Journal

        Unless the laws of physics are different for sheds, everything Mr. Lowe is not willing to work with are accessible to shed synthesis.

        Theoretically, you are right.

        Practically, it may hinge on what one is willing to include in the definition of "shed" - e.g if you include "availability of pressure [sciencemag.org] in 10+GPa range [nature.com]" and/or "controlled fluid speeds in continuous flow reactions [sciencemag.org]" and/or "appropriate conditions to settle matters of honor [sciencemag.org]" in the definition of "shed", you may end with out-of-this-world meanings for the word.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Wednesday January 29 2020, @12:15AM (31 children)

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday January 29 2020, @12:15AM (#950337) Journal

    China demands apology over Danish newspaper’s cartoon flag 'insult' [thelocal.dk]

    China has objected to a satirical drawing of the Chinese flag published by a Danish newspaper on Monday.

    [...] “The current outbreak of a new coronavirus has cost 81 precious lives in China. At the same time as the Chinese government and the Chinese people are making every effort to combat this unusual and urgent health threat, Jyllands-Posten has published a ‘satirical drawing’ by Niels Bo Bojesen which is an insult to China and hurts the feelings of the Chinese people,” the embassy wrote according to a translation by Politiken.

    How about releasing the real death counts.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Bot on Wednesday January 29 2020, @12:32AM (3 children)

      by Bot (3902) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @12:32AM (#950344) Journal

      China does worse things like asking, oh wait I mean demanding, foreign people to boycott Tibet.
      The funny thing is that Italy and possibly other EU countries have signed treaties with China that makes the country liable for any loss any Chinese enterpreneur should encounter, so the situation is like this:
      - your country lets the Dalai Lama speak
      - chinese decide to go nuclear and pull some investment
      - your country must pay damages to the enterpreneur

      So, if your prez is paid by Israel and Russia, our politicians and mainstream media and "grassroots" movement leaders are literally lapdogs for China, unless of course they interfere from the obligations from mr. Soros.

      --
      Account abandoned.
      • (Score: 0, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:11AM (2 children)

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:11AM (#950369) Homepage

        We've been pretty fucked by China as well. They've stolen almost all of our technology, worked with Jews to subvert America culturally and especially at the college level, buying up expensive American properties with dirty money and exerting the leverage those property values have on "Fifth-columnist Feinstein" (herself having a Chinese spy as her confidant for over a decade) and now they might even be bringing us lethal diseases when we realize the jig is up and want to get both Feinstein and her Chinese handler death-sentences at Gitmo.

        And yet the Jewish gatekeepers keep awarding Chinese "academics" and other suspect solicitors open arms into our security industries. My question is, where were the fuck all of you who were supposed to stand watch on our security industries? Are you all Jews? Were you too cowardly to not say anything about that?

        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:59AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:59AM (#950399)

          I can't believe that someone as obviously retarded as you could possibly figure out how to use a computer to post here. Did your boyfriend help you?

          • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:01AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:01AM (#950402)

            Ah, so the 50c army strikes back in a little over 2 hours, I see.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:01AM (2 children)

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:01AM (#950358) Homepage

      I think we should first talk about the Jews seeking to work with China [nbcboston.com] against America's best interests. It's not the first time the Jews helped facilitate the transfer of America's secrets to its enemies.

      There are 3 things working to destroy the United States of America now, and they are: Jews, Chinese, and Mexicans. The sooner we send all those chucklefucks back to their home nations or put them in camps, the better.

      • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Wednesday January 29 2020, @06:03PM (1 child)

        by istartedi (123) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @06:03PM (#950748) Journal

        I've seen your ID for a long time here, and I had no idea you were like that. You should change it to Cocaine-fueled [npr.org]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @08:29PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @08:29PM (#950828)

          Most of us think stupidity-fueled would be more appropriate.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:19AM (18 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:19AM (#950376)

      Total symptomatic patients was 7 million:
      https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/reasons-for-china%E2%80%99s-unreliable-death-and-infected-statistics--finally-revealed-insufficient-test-kits,-also-cambodia-reports-first-case [thailandmedical.news]

      Max mortality rate is deaths/confirmed (because only the sickest will get confirmed) = 2-2.5%

      So max mortality rate is 0.25*7e6 = 175k deaths.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:21AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:21AM (#950378)

        Sorry, max death count = 175k.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:27AM (14 children)

        by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:27AM (#950382) Journal

        Bird flu. SARS. China coronavirus. Is history repeating itself? [statnews.com]

        Sometimes history seems to unspool in a continuous playback loop. That is the feeling I get from watching Hongkongers donning face masks, dousing hands with sanitizer, and once again bracing for the possibility that a deadly new coronavirus outbreak originating in mainland China will spread here.

        Chinese authorities’ delayed response, the secrecy breeding mistrust, the lack of full transparency, and efforts to control the narrative by downplaying the seriousness — it all rings sadly familiar.

        Public health emergencies should be handled quickly, transparently, and devoid of political considerations. But public health is inherently political and, with anything involving China, politics can never be fully excised. For Chinese Communist officials, particularly at the provincial level, there is an innate tendency to cover up and conceal, their long-imbued penchant for secrecy always taking precedence over trifling concerns like promoting public awareness and advocating proper precautions.

        That was certainly the case in late 1997, just after China’s assumed sovereignty over Hong Kong, when the territory was hit by an outbreak of the H5N1 virus known as “bird flu.” Well into the outbreak, with people sick and some dying, Hong Kong officials were reluctant to finger China as the source, even though 80% of the territory’s poultry came from the mainland. Hong Kong ordered the slaughter of more than 1.3 million chickens, ducks, pigeons, and other birds, but officials were still nonsensically hesitant to point to China as the culprit behind the contagion out of fear of contradicting Beijing, which insisted — wrongly — that all its chickens were healthy.

        The same obfuscation and denial came from China’s Communist authorities in reaction to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, also caused by a coronavirus, in late 2002 and 2003. Even as the virus spread, Chinese officials continued to undercount cases and delay reporting information to the World Health Organization.

        The government did not warn the public for months, allowing people carrying the virus to migrate freely, and did not alert the WHO until February 2003. China finally began concerted action in the summer of 2003 and SARS was quickly brought under control. But the inadequate reporting and delayed response led to a public health trust deficit that persists today.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:38AM (12 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:38AM (#950392)

          So you think the death rate is even higher in the unconfirmed cases? Or that more than 7 million people went to the hospital (most being turned away for having moderate symptoms0?

          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by takyon on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:01AM (11 children)

            by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:01AM (#950401) Journal

            I think the death toll is probably higher than officially reported, and 3% could be an optimistic death rate. People are just not getting treated, dying, and not being counted. Hence the rapid construction of field hospitals and videos of crowded hospitals.

            https://www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/china-coronavirus-outbreak-us-plans-wuhan-evacuation-death-toll-number-cases-rises-today-2020-01-28/ [cbsnews.com]

            A resident in Wuhan, the quarantined metropolis at the heart of the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, told CBS News Friday that he waited overnight at one of the city's overwhelmed hospitals to get treated for the illness but couldn't access a doctor.

            The man asked not to be identified as Chinese authorities struggle to show they're in control of the outbreak, which has now killed 26 people in China and infected more than 800. He said he was diagnosed with the virus Thursday at the Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, and that he has passed it to his mother.

            He waited from Thursday night into Friday morning at the hospital for an injection he was told he needed to treat the illness, but never managed to see a doctor to have it administered.

            The man said he saw patients at the rammed hospital on Thursday falling to the ground "one after another," but there was no room for more patients to be admitted. Videos posted to social media have shown patients laying on the floor in Wuhan hospitals, some crying out for help. One, which was removed from China's popular Twitter-like platform Weibo, purportedly showed dead bodies covered with sheets on the floor near other hospital patients.

            The irony could be that uninfected people are crowding into the hospitals and getting infected there.

            --
            [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:34AM (6 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:34AM (#950414)

              But basically you have to be proposing that it is not the sickest people who are getting tested for the virus.

              • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:45AM (5 children)

                by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:45AM (#950416) Journal

                Just give them vitamin C at the door. That will sort it out.

                --
                [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:55AM (4 children)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:55AM (#950421)

                  No, I mean you are saying that the Chinese are specifically not testing the patients most likely to die, or are hiding those test results. This is a level of corruption above and beyond what most are proposing.

                  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:11AM (3 children)

                    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:11AM (#950430) Journal

                    I would agree with that conclusion, but I don't have any hard evidence to support it.

                    You can find unverified videos floating around on social media of doctors and nurses contradicting official numbers and painting a grimmer picture than ~132 deaths.

                    https://www.thedailybeast.com/deadly-coronavirus-throws-china-hospitals-into-chaos [thedailybeast.com]

                    Another doctor in Wuhan wrote an open letter to Chinese officials on the message board of state-run publication People’s Daily, calling for an investigation of the Wuhan Health Commission. The doctor said that the commission attempted to cover up the coronavirus outbreak by banning mentions of lung infections in CT scan reports. (The post has been censored.)

                    There is undoubtedly heavy censorship on Weibo et al. no matter what the real situation is.

                    --
                    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:26AM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:26AM (#950439)

                      There are also a bunch of disturbing videos of people supposedly suddenly fainting/collapsing due to this virus but that is not a symptom according to any authority (WHO/CDC/etc).

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @05:37AM (1 child)

                      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @05:37AM (#950515)

                      If you are going to accept that degree of lying why not assume it is all fake and mean to suppress protests?

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by barbara hudson on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:04AM (2 children)

              by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:04AM (#950426) Journal

              He waited from Thursday night into Friday morning at the hospital for an injection he was told he needed to treat the illness

              We don't have a cure so I don't know what that's about.

              --
              SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:25AM (1 child)

                by c0lo (156) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:25AM (#950436) Journal

                We don't have a cure so I don't know what that's about.

                One is right to say chicken soup doesn't actually fights the cold away, yet it's helping.
                Measles - once infection is on its way, it is mostly deadly without proper health care; becomes just a nuisance with supportive treatment [mayoclinic.org].

                Symptom relief treatment may make all the difference on a patient's life or death - just help the body fight the virus better may be all that it takes to survive the infection.

                --
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Wednesday January 29 2020, @05:54PM

                  by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Wednesday January 29 2020, @05:54PM (#950741) Journal
                  He never got the injection, whatever it was, so there was zero palliative or supportive care, and given the overcrowding and the shortage of basic supplies , and the ineffectiveness of masks, if he didn't have the virus he was safer not hanging around, and if he did have the virus others would be safer him not hanging around, since there isn't any cure yet anyway.

                  When there's a flu outbreak the last place you want to be is the ER. Unless it turns into pneumonia, everyone is better off if you just stay home in bed.

                  So what did they want to inject ? My guess is that it wasn't a doctor telling him this, just someone like a security guard, so no harm done that he didn't get the mystery injection. You don't give antivirals to everyone who walks in the door, so the injection was fake news.

                  --
                  SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:00PM

              by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:00PM (#950600)

              People are just not getting treated, dying, and not being counted.

              You could probably cross out the not getting treated part. The causes of death per wikipedia seem to be:

              pneumonia and kidney failure in severe cases

              The problem is:

              https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2909231/ [nih.gov]

              Would seem to imply, because China is large, that the government approved low fake number is around 2.5M pneumonia cases per year is normal and 125K pneumonia deaths are normal. A western non-government approved number being thrown around was 21M cases per year mostly in kids.

              Statista claims there's 3.8 million doctors in China. Admittedly a podiatrist or psychiatrist isn't going to see many emergency room pneumonia cases, but its an upper bound, at least.

              So the fake "everything is awesome" government stats imply each doc in China sees one pneumonia case per year and realistic western data implies one pneumonia case per month. Obviously this is ER docs and as a smaller segment of the medical doctor profession the numbers seen are maybe 10 times higher. Figure the fake number for ER docs in china is a couple per week and the real world number is around one sometimes two per day.

              Suddenly, one day, three cases show up; should the ER doc immediately detect its an outbreak and raise alarms and all that?

              There's only been 6000 cases per wikipedia which may be false low stats; however; locally Wuhan has 11M people which is about one percent of China's population, so they should have somewhere around 1653 to 13888 pneumonia cases per month under normal circumstances depending on how fake the government figures usually are. Lets assume all 6000 wikipedia cases are in Wuhan, which they are not, as an extreme upper bound.

              This is the real risk of fake government numbers, because docs on the ground can't assess risk properly. So if the fake government figures are real, normally docs in Wuhan should see 1653 pneumonia cases per year and they have 6000 pneumonia-like coronavirus infections and holy shit thats three times normal and why aren't they in outbreak mode? Or, more realistically, if the western non-propaganda figures are real, they usually see 13888 pneumonia infections per month and an extra unexplained wintertime 6000 pneumonia-like infections is "just another day at the office" random statistical fluctuations that appears to mean nothing.

              This also makes me wonder about legacy media and attention whoring social media reporting megadeaths and hospitals in chaos. Outside "western civilization" hospitals are ALWAYS overcrowded in chaos with dead people, no outbreak needed. I'm sure those hospitals were really busy and crowded a couple months before the outbreak. So whats the real story?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:10AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:10AM (#950428)

          there is an innate tendency to cover up and conceal, their long-imbued penchant for secrecy always taking precedence over trifling concerns like promoting public awareness and advocating proper precautions.

          "Saving face" is not a "penchant for secrecy" and not specific to Chinese - you will see it in every bureaucracy.
          Just look at Trump for examples of placing his face above public concerns.

      • (Score: 2) by legont on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:57AM (1 child)

        by legont (4179) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:57AM (#950496)

        Perhaps a better mortality definition at an early and exponential infection stage is number of death / (number of death + number of cured) and this one is ugly.

        --
        "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @05:11AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @05:11AM (#950502)

          That is the same as deaths/confirmed.

    • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:10AM (4 children)

      by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:10AM (#950405) Journal

      China will always seek to be outraged at the slightest provocation. It's one way to draw attention away from their 1 million Urgers in concentration camps.

      If they're offended by a flag, they're really going to hate me. Every time I hear "coronavirus", I keep hearing the tune "9 Coronas."

      It's like a virus ... " do dah do da do da Nine Coronavirus!"

      I can't be the only one ....

      --
      SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:13AM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday January 29 2020, @02:13AM (#950407) Journal

        s/Urgers/Uyghurs/g

        Speaking of them, I wonder if they will get the best coronavirus "treatments" in their vocational education and training centers. Cough cough.

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      • (Score: 2, Offtopic) by VLM on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:04PM (1 child)

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:04PM (#950601)

        China will always seek to be outraged at the slightest provocation.

        We have an entire political party in the US devoted to self hate, which is actually pretty rare worldwide.

        China is normal; it just feels weird for us, to see a government that doesn't hate its own people.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @12:42AM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @12:42AM (#950351)

    Unfortunately, we've already gone past the MERS outbreak in severity

    This seems a bit alarmist. I thought MERS had a staggering mortality rate compared to the estimates I've seen for the Coroaovirus. Please correct me if I'm mistaken.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by takyon on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:14AM (5 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday January 29 2020, @01:14AM (#950371) Journal

      The problem with the coronavirus doesn't seem to be the mortality rate (although that could be difficult to quantify given bad data from China), but the fact that it can spread easily and with asymptomatic transmission. Then you have people boarding planes and making it through screenings, masks not being very effective, etc.

      The comparison to MERS is about quantity.

      https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-new-wuhan-coronavirus-stacks-up-against-sars-mers [sciencenews.org]

      MERS = 30% mortality, 2,494 cases

      2019-nCoV = 3-4% mortality (supposedly), X cases

      X is officially around 5,000 globally, more than MERS, but another estimate being thrown around is 100,000 [theguardian.com].

      Mutations could also be a problem: Coronavirus's ability to spread getting stronger, China suggests [theguardian.com]

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      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by deimtee on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:38AM (4 children)

        by deimtee (3272) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:38AM (#950442) Journal

        Mutations could also be a problem: Coronavirus's ability to spread getting stronger, China suggests

        A basic understanding of evolution would indicate that. If the virus is mutating then the variants that spread the best will be the ones that spread the most. It's practically a tautology. The only reason everything on the planet hasn't already been wiped out by disease is that efficiency in spreading usually involves becoming less lethal. After all, dead organisms generally don't move around much.

        --
        No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:48AM (3 children)

          by c0lo (156) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:48AM (#950447) Journal

          The only reason everything on the planet hasn't already been wiped out by disease is that efficiency in spreading usually involves becoming less lethal.

          On the long run, the best parasite is the one that doesn't kill the host?

          Take the herpes virus as example - still in the 'warts relief, no actual cure' state since forever (HPV and herpes are two different things [healthline.com])

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:21AM (2 children)

            by deimtee (3272) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:21AM (#950472) Journal

            Usually, but there are some pretty wacky parasites out there. Multi-host ones often need to kill the intermediate hosts. For instance that liver fluke one that gets in an ant and makes it climb up a grass stalk and wait to be eaten by a sheep.

            Here's a fun read with nice pictures: https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/body-snatching-parasites/ [nzgeo.com]

            --
            No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
            • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:43AM (1 child)

              by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:43AM (#950490) Journal

              Shit like this is why there are so many atheists in the life sciences. I do not blame them one bit.

              --
              I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @06:08AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @06:08AM (#950526)

                The curious thing is that God seems to love the pathogens as much as He loves the victims.

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