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I'm wondering if anyone has encountered anything paranormal related to COVID-19. For instance:

*Are there any COVID-19 NDE accounts that have come out? Have any recent NDErs encountered any feedback during their NDE related to COVID-19?

*Are any reputable psychics or mediums commenting on COVID-19 and expressing any messages from the other side about the import of this experience and what would be wise as to how to handle it?

*Have there been any spontaneous encounters with those deceased from COVID-19 with elements of the above?

Early on as this broke out, I noticed a comment in the comments section of a conservative news source (can't recall it now - probably a Drudge link) that stated that Sylvia Browne had called COVID-19 in her 2008 book "End of Days": https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/sylvia-browne-coronavirus/

Her claim in that book said the following: "In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments. Almost more baffling than the illness itself will be the fact that it will suddenly vanish as quickly as it arrived, attack again ten years later, and then disappear completely."

The Snopes article writes it off as likely a "lucky guess." Who knows. As everyone here probably already knows, Browne was known to get things wrong: https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/05/sylvia-browne-cleveland-kidnapper/315507/

Part of the reason I got into the paranormal when I was a child was because I had some experiences of my own back then. Later, my great aunt became a Sylvia Browne enthusiast (strange in my family, considering she and everyone else was pretty much an uncritical conservative Christian). Her embrace of Browne gave me a soft sort of permission to think about these kinds of things - at least with her. I've managed to shake myself loose from my conservative Christianity, but I've never given up on the paranormal altogether.

Anyway, if people like George Hansen are onto anything about "liminal" times like these (https://www.amazon.com/Trickster-Paranormal-George-P-Hansen/dp/1401000827) then I wager we'll see a significant increase in discourse with the dead and all things otherworldly emerging in the months and years to come.

Maybe it's the isolation, or the quiet, or the slower pace of life... I don't know... but I've been feeling like there is something drawing near to us during this thing.

Anyway, I'd love to hear more along the lines above. I think it would make for a very profitable conversation. I've occasionally been checking the IANDS and NDERF websites waiting for arrivals of recent NDE stories. I didn't see anything the last time I checked, but I figure it's inevitable...

Any thoughts?

There's no certain knowledge about what's right and wrong in the current crisis.

Both South Korea and Taiwan has managed to get their level of infections under control with very limited loss of human life compared to the west. So it's obviously not a necessity to let the virus run loose.

We don't know for how long people surviving the infection will stay immune and I would say it's far too early evaluate Sweden's approach a success. Sweden is a sparsely populated country and most of the infection is in the Stockholm urban area having a population of only 1 million people. They have more than 10 times the people in intensive care for Covid-19 right now then their neighboring countries.

Philemon,
Good Comments! We will have to wait and see. - AOD

Philemon, interesting thoughts. Personally I’ve found myself distracted, restless, and agitated during the lockdown, so I don’t think it’s working out to be a time of quiet reflection for me. I find it more difficult to concentrate than usual, and I’ve abandoned any longterm projects. Given the amount of alcohol that's being purchased (per media reports), I suspect my experience isn’t unusual. (But I guess one way or another, people are communing with spirits!)

Sbu, I agree no one can be certain about the virus. Data are still limited. We *can* be certain about the economic, social, psychological, and civil liberties dangers, though. And we can take note of increasing evidence (not yet conclusive by any means) that the virus is more widespread than previously thought, and thus less lethal.

I don’t know about Taiwan, but South Korea managed to contain the problem without a widespread lockdown. So their example would seem to show that a lockdown is not necessary. Some experts now say the lockdown makes the situation worse by forcing family members to stay together in close quarters. Their idea is that the virus spreads mainly not by casual contact but by close, extended contact. This would be consistent with the fact that some of the worst outbreaks have occurred in hospitals and nursing homes and in areas with crowded multigenerational households, like Italy. OTOH, the NYC subway system (still open, for some reason) seems to be serving as an incubator for the disease, so perhaps casual contact is enough if people are jammed together like sardines in an unsanitary environment.

Sweden‘s neighboring countries have much smaller populations. In any case, whether fatalities are on the order of 100 per million or 300 per million strikes me as a small point. Either percentage is minuscule. There will be variations based on all kinds of factors, known and unknown. But it’s clear now that the doomsday predictions were wrong. I remember people telling me on the basis of media reports that the virus would kill one percent of the US population, or more than 3 million people in our country alone.

At some point we need to begin assessing risk intelligently. I’m afraid at the moment we are not doing that. The governor of New Jersey recently said the state should not reopen for business until the virus death toll was as close to zero as possible. He ridiculed the idea of reopening Atlantic County, which is far from the NYC suburbs, because the county had suffered 19 deaths — out of a population of 263,000. So I guess he is really serious about getting down to zero. He also cited with approval a scientific study calling for general lockdowns to continue until the year 2022! Though I’m sure Jersey will not stay locked down that long, this type of statement by a public official does not inspire much confidence in the authorities.

Some people seem to think the virus can be eliminated altogether if only we lock down longer. It can’t be. COVID-19 is part of the ecosystem now, and it will stay with us. Only one virus, smallpox, has ever been eradicated by human effort, and that project took decades. The new coronavirus will work its way through the population one way or another. The question is, how much damage will we do to our society in the meantime?

Michael,
You have written the ultimate summary of the situation. It's a well balanced master piece. Seriously, I would like to see you sell it to a major media outlet. If for the money, for larger exposure. I think the country needs to read it.

errr…"if NOT for the money...."

Thanks, Eric. Not sure it’s a masterpiece, but I appreciate the sentiment. I tried to dial back my emotions, which I admit have been running out of hand.

The county in which I live in the middle of Illinois has a population of 194,672 with a death rate from Corona Virus of 0.003%. (5 people---1 visiting from Florida) If you look at an incidence map of Illinois You will see that the entire state is colored the darkest red signifying a high incidence of the disease. What is not evident from the map is that high incidence is in Chicago located at the northern tip of the state. It is very misleading to suggest that the entire state of Illinois is over-run with Corona Virus. All that does is frighten people in down state Illinois.

Unfortunately many of the businesses in down state are shut down, people are laid off and people are judiciously wearing their masks even when they are out walking their dog on an empty neighborhood sidewalk or going to a sparsely populated grocery store or gas station. - AOD

Ditto on Eric Newhill's comment above. I think Michael echoes what many are thinking, if not saying out loud. I've been reading this blog for a couple of years back and forth from Michael Tymm's interesting articles but have never posted a comment. This shutdown in Canada (Alberta) has forced me out of my shell for brief spurts of communication. And dammit I consider myself a confirmed recluse! Apparently not.
I also hope the terrible mass shooting in Nova Scotia was not the result of an emotional breakdown brought on by the stress this virus is causing, although it would not surprise me.

Well, MP, it's a better synopsis than I've read anywhere else.

I don't think it's smart of Georgia to reopen their economy there without doing proper testing. As well as their cases appear to still be pretty high.

I am still shocked here from a mass shooting. It never ever happens here in Nova Scotia Canada where I am from things like that. It is truly terrible and hard to understand why this guy did that to innocent people.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/20/americas/nova-scotia-shooting-monday/index.html

A good piece, Michael. And though I’ve been a source of irritation for a few here (including yourself) who have seen me as fearful and overly cautious, I do understand the risks to our society caused by an extended lockdown. In defending one of Jean’s posts, I was merely responding to what I felt was a lack of compassion.

It does seem that this is not a place where it is safe to express emotional vulnerability. And that’s sad, because it limits what can be said on spiritual matters, which are inseparable from matters of the heart.

Also, I can’t help but notice something which (to continue a theme I broached earlier) continues to impress me: in your list of countries, two of them have female heads of state—the two at the very top with the fewest deaths per million. It’ll be interesting to see how these and other female-led countries fare on the whole, in the long run.

But perhaps praising women leaders is further proof of wimpiness? (Yes—the earlier comment that “Bruce and Jean should stay home” stung a bit.)

I suspect that de-cloistering will depend on:

1. General face-mask wearing to most stores and gatherings. Part of the reason for good results in East Asia was that the populations were accustomed to mask wearing—and that the countries had a stockpile of masks, as a result of their close encounter with SARS. I suspect that it'll take a month for stockpiles in the West to build up to an adequate level.

2. Availability of treatments that reduce the virus's lethality. These will be needed to enable politicians to gracefully undo their lock-downs. Current leading candidates are remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin. (An Oxford U. team thinks it has a vaccine now and is mass-producing it ahead of tests.)

3. Better availability of test kits. Same rationale as #2 above.

These all look to be six weeks off to me, although maybe 1/3 of the restrictions will be lifted anyway sooner.

MP: here's a phrase I read against long-term lockdowns. "Lives are precious but not priceless."

Re have any psychics predicted this - Eric Leigh Pink at world predictions did ( can’t remember how I discovered him but it was either here in a comment here or in the Skeptiko forums) https://worldwidepredictions.com/2020/04/18/world-prediction-coronavirus-the-tide-shifts/

That’s a new one but the old predictions are listed below. The one on 6 October 2019 strikes me as particularly impressive quoted below:

” I had a visual of China, in the eastern coastal region semi close to Taiwan, that was marked. On the map was the number 2

“An epidemic is coming that will move with such fury.” Then it shifted to show people in tents coughing.

I had a visual of a map showing an area between France and Spain in the more northern region. Then the area turned red, the red are grew outward, getting larger and larger.”


I agree that this is a really good post, but either side of the policy divide needs to justify their position with numbers. That this isn't happening--at least on the pro-measures side, as they are supposed to have access to the best and latest numbers--is a bit crazy at this point.

Here's a long, recent, high-quality, medical-oriented, and very depressing article on why Covid-19 isn't like the flu and will be hard to treat:

How does coronavirus kill? Clinicians trace a ferocious rampage through the body, from brain to toes
By Meredith Wadman, Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, Jocelyn Kaiser, Catherine MatacicApr. 17, 2020 , 6:45 PM
From the journal “Science” by the AAAS.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/how-does-coronavirus-kill-clinicians-trace-ferocious-rampage-through-body-brain-toes

PS: Here's Jo Nova's latest thread on Covid-19, which echoes the depressing article above.

http://joannenova.com.au/2020/04/its-not-just-lungs-coronavirus-can-affect-brains-may-increase-stroke-risk/

"Either side of the policy divide needs to justify their position with numbers. That this isn't happening--at least on the pro-measures side, as they are supposed to have access to the best and latest numbers--is a bit crazy at this point."

That's true, Matt. As you know, the original justification for the shutdown was to "flatten the curve" and prevent hospitals across the country from being overwhelmed by a flood of COVID-19 cases. Outside of New York City and its suburbs, the flood of cases did not occur. In fact, many hospitals are laying off or furloughing staff because, having canceled elective procedures, they find themselves without enough admissions to justify a full staff.

Around the country, many hospitals are planning to resume elective procedures, or have already done so.

Upstate New York: https://www.syracuse.com/coronavirus/2020/04/syracuse-hospitals-can-resume-some-elective-surgery-next-week.html

Utah: https://www.ksl.com/article/46743988/hospitals-and-physicians-can-resume-some-elective-surgeries-under-new-utah-health-order

Nebraska:
https://www.ketv.com/article/gov-ricketts-to-provide-covid-19-april-20/32212299

West Virginia: http://wvmetronews.com/2020/04/20/justice-suggests-elective-surgeries-may-be-among-first-activities-to-resume/

Texas:
https://www.expressnews.com/business/health-care/article/San-Antonio-hospitals-could-resume-elective-15209439.php

Colorado:
https://www.denverpost.com/2020/04/21/denver-hospitals-surgeries-restart-coronavirus-covid/

Florida:
https://floridapolitics.com/archives/329322-florida-hospital-association-releases-plan-to-restart-elective-surgeries

Oklahoma:
https://oklahoman.com/article/5660495/coronavirus-in-oklahoma-hospitals-review-policies-as-elective-surgeries-resume

Indiana:
https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/indiana-governor-easing-elective-surgery-restrictions/2258927/

South Carolina: https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/health/2020/04/16/coronavirus-sc-officials-discuss-letting-hospitals-resume-elective-surgeries/5142394002/

North Dakota, Alaska, Michigan, Pennsylvania:
https://www.beckersasc.com/asc-news/8-states-considering-resuming-or-resuming-elective-surgeries.html

Some people say this happened because the lockdown was successful. There may be some truth in that, but it's worth noting that the actual number of cases outside the NYC Metro area has been well below even the lowest numbers (best-case scenarios that assumed full social distancing and lockdowns) offered by early projections.

At any rate, whether or not the original rationale for the lockdown was justified, it clearly is not justified now. The only way people can continue to defend the lockdown is to say that if it's lifted, there will be a "second wave" of cases that will overwhelm hospitals. This fails to take into account the fact that there was no "first wave" throughout most of the country. It also fails to acknowledge the fact that the coronavirus is now part of our ecosystem and will be with us from now on, so a new spate of infections will *always* be possible. The virus cannot be totally eliminated. The best we can hope for is herd immunity, which will take much longer to achieve if everybody is sheltering in place, or a vaccine, which is unlikely to be available for at least a year, assuming it can be developed at all.

By the way, I was rather startled to learn that throughout the crisis, New York City has kept Central Park open. Meanwhile, New York media are bitterly chastising any states that have opened their beaches or parks (even running misleading telephoto shots of seemingly crowded Florida beaches, with the telephoto lens squashing together people who are actually separated by yards). Seems like a double standard.

And I still cannot understand why the New York City subway system has kept running, when it is well-known that the subway cars are Petri dishes of viral infection. If the trains must run, then the MTA should run as many as possible and enforce restrictions on the number of people who can occupy each subway car. Instead, to save money, the MTA has reduced the number of trains running, crowding more people into each car.

Here you go Michael something to take your mind of the coronavirus thing. {grin}

William Shakespeare: archaeology is revealing new clues about the Bard's life (and death), The Conversation, William Mitchell, Lecturer in Archaeology, Staffordshire University

https://www.yahoo.com/news/william-shakespeare-archaeology-revealing-clues-142025614.html

Matt,
I had assumed that the US impact would be like the impact Germany has experienced - the elderly and infirm being hit hardest, like any bad flu*, and the rest of us building immunity. Part of my assumption was based on the idea that the virus was more widespread than thought.

Studies are proving that my latter assumption was correct (including studies in Germany - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMWdPRhu_p8&fbclid=IwAR1aNHppNjJWip6vZn8ZskTOsfpNPtHfd4I7_dC-dfpcOs0PqLYAcfNtRKw) and Iondides/Stanford in the US. There are similar studies occurring in Michigan and Ohio and preliminary results indicate that they will confirm the Stanford and German studies.

Generally, in the US, my first assumption is proving correct as well. I further believed that nursing homes and the elderly living at home would be quarantined and be largely protected. That assumption is also proving true to some extent. However, there are notable exceptions that have caused my prediction of the number of deaths in the US to be too low, though much closer to reality than the CDC/WHO projections before they revised downwards a few times (I said 21K +/- 4K).

New York City and New Jersey are the exceptions (as are Detroit and New Orleans to a lesser degree). Los Angeles is right in line with what I expected and resembles Germany's experience.

I honestly do not know what is happening in New York City and NJ. Some of it is, no doubt, fudging of the numbers upwards - also true elsewhere in the US now. Per new CDC guidelines, anyone who dies and tests positive for covid has their death counted as a covid death. This seems a little dishonest and distorting of the picture. A man has a heart attack and dies and is found to have been covid positive is counted; even though we know that people can test positive and be asymptomatic.

Additionally, anyone not tested, but presumed to have died because of covid is counted as a covid death. That to me is totally dishonest. The symptoms of covid can be very much like any respiratory virus and/or pneumonia. In fact, as Michael noted, NYC retroactively added 3,700 deaths, where a test wasn't performed, to the covid fatality count and, going forward, they continue to add such deaths.

Were these really covid? We don't know. However, a clue exists in CDC emergency visits going back to Oct 2019 (available on the CDC site and presented by me on the other thread). More than 17,000 ER visits at the sampled hospitals are being listed as "covid like" symptoms. No one believes covid was here in Oct 2019. Symptoms of other diseases are close enough to be counted as covid by CDC standards. We can say we'd like to trust the doctors to make perfect diagnosis without tests, but doctors, really don't know one pneumonia cause from another or one respiratory distress cause from another. Close enough to covid symptoms, it's covid. Next case please. And there is the issue of possible funding/aid packages for covid that incentivizes a more inclusive practice of listing cause of death = covid.

Whatever is happening, the outliers are driving the phenomenon and continuing panic at this time.

That is a data driven understanding that anyone can independently verify and that I think is fairly indisputable. So, should policy for the entire country be driven by a couple (or few) outlier geographies/populations?

* I do think the virus is worse than the flu for some vulnerable individuals, but that the numbers overall will resemble the flu, excepting the outliers, to some extent.

Let’s see Eric,
In Illinois the governor has just declared that if one nursing home resident is diagnosed with Corona Virus and dies, then any other resident of the home who dies with similar symptoms is counted as a Covid-19 death even though they may not have had a test for the virus. - AOD

"I honestly do not know what is happening in New York City and NJ."

I've read that incoming citizens and visitors from most foreign countries were routed through only a few airports, of which JFK was one.

Another piece of the NYC puzzle: the state requires nursing homes to admit or readmit any patient diagnosed with COVID-19. Asked about this yesterday, Governor Cuomo said he didn’t know about it. Maybe not, but the order was issued by his administration.

Since nursing homes are flashpoints for COVID outbreaks resulting in high death tolls, this crazy policy has doubtless upped the fatality count considerably.

So we have ... lots of international visitors, crowded and dirty mass transit, nursing homes stocked with COVID patients, a mayor who encouraged subway use and large public gatherings even after the virus became known, and very questionable criteria for counting COVID deaths, including the addition of about 3,800 previously undiagnosed, backdated deaths in one stroke.

There are probably other factors.

"Since nursing homes are flashpoints for COVID outbreaks resulting in high death tolls, this crazy policy has doubtless upped the fatality count considerably. "

Incredible. I did not know that. And it is the lower income elderly who are dying by and large in NYC.

The virus has a latency period of up to two weeks, with an average of 5 or 6 days (depending on which study you read). The initial two week "shelter at home" policy should have curtailed the spread of the virus. I assumed hyper-precautions would have be taken where nursing homes are involved. Given the small impact on the young and healthy, I thought this pandemic would have minimum impact on the country in terms of deaths and economic damage.

There are going to be some mighty ticked off Americans if it turns out the economic destruction they are enduring is largely the result of idiotic policies by a few loud mouthed politicians. Worse if said politicians are found to have been artificially increasing the death count to hide said idiotic policies. Of course at least 50% of Americans are good sheep and believe whatever nonsense the media tells them. On and on it goes - "it" being the destructive cycle of politicized media dividing the country for the sake of political masters, who in turn can't see past the next election and the next bag of pay-offs from unfriendly foreign countries like China. I grow weary of it all.

Another study suggesting that many of us have already contracted the virus - as many as 21% in NYC.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/new-york-antibody-study-early-results

It just isn't that deadly for most of us.

NDERF just had a COVID-related NDE story come through.

Here's the link for those interested: https://www.nderf.org/Experiences/1sarah_a_probable_nde_8993.html

It's an interesting one.

Democrat Governor Pritzker of Illinois has just issued a stay at home order for all residents until May 30 and is requiring all people to wear a mask including kids older than 2 years old.--- Two years old!

"The order also requires that all individuals wear a face covering or a mask when in a public setting where they are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance. Those face coverings will be required in areas such as stores, and applies to all individuals over the age of 2 who are able to medically tolerate a face covering or mask.”

In Sangamon county which is in the middle of the state and in which is the State Capital, 5 deaths have been recorded so far; one was a visitor from Florida.

This is insanity for people in downstate Illinois when most of the problem is in Chicago. - AOD

Daily Mail: “Coronavirus has mutated to become far deadlier in Europe than the milder strain that made its way to the US west coast, Chinese study finds” https://mol.im/a/8237849

“There could be as many as 30 different strains of coronavirus, a study of patients in China has claimed.

Zhejiang University scientists studied a small number of patients with the disease and uncovered tens of mutations - 19 of which had never been seen before.

Some mutations boosted the virus' ability to invade cells in the body, others helped the disease multiply more rapidly. 

The most deadly strains were genetically similar to the ones that spread in Europe and in New York, reported the South China Morning Post: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3080771/coronavirus-mutations-affect-deadliness-strains-chinese-study ” 

FWIW, re: the political angles on this thing, I'll say again what I said on an earlier post, but in a more plain manner: I don't think it's worth a damn what any of us think about this situation we're in. We've all been blinkered for too long by our mass engagement in the culture wars to recognize that it's only what the power elite decide to do that has any currency in the actual playing out of events.

While the rest of us have been distracted sniping one another on Facebook and Twitter and cheerleading on Red Team or Blue Team in their everlasting tug of war, Dwight Eisenhower's Military-Industrial Complex and C. Wright Mill's Power Elite have been calling the shots and reaping the economic rewards leaving all of us - Right and Left and In-Between on something akin to that scene in It's a Wonderful Life where two lonely outcasts open up the retractable floor to let all the distracted parties fall into the pool below.

This is to say, it's not a couple of soy boys and their helicopter parents frightened of getting the sniffles that's keeping us sheltering in place. The whole world isn't letting all of their various economies burn to the ground for nothing.

I've enjoyed reading the Monday/Friday blog of James Howard Kunstler for several years now. I encountered him while looking into the concept of peak oil and how it is impacting the economy and social policy.

Here's a quote from Kunstler's latest piece that I think makes good sense:

"Here’s what I think about the disease just now (subject to further evidence): it’s not just another flu. It operates differently, it’s more lethal, it affects many organs and can damage them permanently, and it spreads rapidly. That seems to have been the consensus of public health officials the world round who promoted the lockdown policy ­– and it’s hard to believe that they all got snookered into that. I have no idea (or opinion) whether Covid-19 was engineered, either as a bio-weapon or a good-faith science project gone awry… or whether some hapless gourmet got it at the Wild Animal Cafe.

"The plague didn’t cause the economic crash. But the lockdown response certainly accelerated, amplified, and ramified it. The crash happened because we built up a hyper-complex, over-scaled, just-in-time economic system with all its ecological redundancy edited out for the sake of efficiency, making it hyper-fragile. The system’s basic power module (fossil fuel) was failing on a cost-basis and we tried to compensate for that with debt. The debt got out of hand in both sheer quantity and from the dishonest games that bankers and politicians were playing with it. All of this happened for the reason that most things happen in history: it seemed like a good idea at the time."

Here's the link in full: https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/turning-and-churning/

My humble opinion is that, like it or not, we're entering a whole new historical era and a whole new way of conducting ourselves in this world.

That's why I think this is precisely the time for all of us who believe in *something greater* to put our ears to the ground and listen very, very intently for guidance. We may not be the good Christian soldiers that Kierkegaard envisioned as his Knights of Faith, but we are nonetheless suspended over a yawning anti-structural chasm and will have to get on with things the best we can.

We'll need help in that endeavor. I think those that have gone before us and the spiritual powers that be, roused from their materialist slumbers while journeying through our earthly world, might well be the allies we all need in these times.

Again, just my humble opinion. Less humbly, I think the political sniping has passed its sell by date. Lets move on, shall we?

Love the title "Cassandra Shrugged". Good to see you still have your wry sense of humor. You've done a great job Michael in laying out the collateral damage caused by the reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Very thought provoking.

This has been a test of the global pandemic response system. It's not the zombie apocalypse virus that some warn could threaten humanity one day, but it's just bad enough to show how even a moderately lethal virus that is moderately transmissible can wreak global pandemonium. We can learn from this and, hopefully, when the next pandemic rolls around we will do better.

Most readers of this blog are likely in the "Death OK" camp. Rather than viewing death as lights out forever, we likely share the optimistic perspective that death is the doorway into what Robert Crookall called "the supreme adventure". Despite seeing that death, in itself is not a bad thing, I think we would also likely agree that death caused by alcohol induced vehicular homicide, or manufacturer negligence is not the same as death by Cancer or, for that matter, death by COVID-19. Where needless death can be prevented we should do so, within reason.

All deaths are not created equal. As a variation on the philosophical trolley problem, imagine a one fire engine town where a nursing home is on fire on one end of town and on the other is a burning schoolhouse where children and teachers are trapped inside. In this situation our moral calculus demands that we sacrifice the elders in order to save the children. I think, if there were time to put it to a vote, even the residents of the nursing home would agree to this choice. It's the right thing to do. Were COVID-19 especially lethal to children, our resolve to put out the viral fire would and should be even stronger than it is now. This is no value judgement against those, like me, in their "golden" years. Healthy elders are a vital part of a healthy society, but we are also more likely to be ripened grain for the reaper. Our work on Earth is mostly finished.

Up until 1972 U.S. forest management policy was to put out or control all forest fires regardless of their origin. Research into how forests recovered from wildfires showed that fires play an important and beneficial part in the long-term health of the forest. Firefighting efforts were shifted from putting out all fires to establishing protective zones for cities and homes. The “Let it burn” philosophy was famously (or infamously) put to the test during the 1988 wildfire in Yellowstone National Park; burning nearly 800,000 acres.

Viral outbreaks are analogous to wildfires. It's doubtful that a "Let it burn" philosophy would or should ever be sanctioned with respect to epidemics. We know what the world was like when epidemics flared out of control and decimated or destroyed entire communities. And though we can dispassionately witness the positive effects to the ecosystem with respect to forest fires, it's much more difficult to turn a blind eye to human death and suffering. Perhaps, letting epidemics sweep through a population, like a pack of wolves picking off the stragglers and unlucky, would have an overall beneficial effect on the human herd. That's a very difficult ethical discussion to have and, in the heat of these times, perhaps not possible.

Like Michael, I have my own quarrel with "materialist" science and I find the resistance in the medical community to alternative therapies perplexing. When solutions are put forward to managing the symptoms of COVID-19, the usual pharmaceutical suspects are put forward. What if "the magic bullet" lies in Acupuncture, Reiki, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, or some other "quack" remedy? As President Trump is fond of saying "It couldn't hurt to try."

Finally, I'd like to touch on two of the spiritual aspects of this crisis. Prior to stay at home orders, there was good evidence of a loneliness epidemic, especially amongst seniors living alone. Given that elders are particularly vulnerable to this rampant virus, and should exercise extra caution, the "loneliness epidemic" amongst that cohort will only get worse. There are abundant volunteer opportunities here that would prove mutually beneficial.

Secondly, we are social creatures that flourish in congregating with the pack; be that in a bar, in a church, concerts, sports events, and so on. Coming together is not just good for the economy, it's good for the soul. I fear that our virtual lives will continue to increase at the expense of our social health. Though forums like this do provide an outlet for self expression and social exchange, it's nothing like a hearty conversation over food and drink.

May you find peace and joy in the midst of these "interesting times".

@Eric - I was under the assumption you were an actuarian?

In any case statistics for the EU and also New York proves that there currently is a significant excess mortality in several locations. And this excess is not even in all locations covered by death attributed to Covid-19. E.g in Madrid (Spain) the number of excess death vastly exceeds the number of recorded death from Covid-19, almost double up. That’s why authorities now also include Covid-19 as cause of death bases in presumption.

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/04/16/tracking-covid-19-excess-deaths-across-countries

David Chilstrom,
As always, a very intelligent, insightful comment. - AOD

\\“Coronavirus has mutated to become far deadlier in Europe than the milder strain that made its way to the US west coast, Chinese study finds” https://mol.im/a/8237849 “There could be as many as 30 different strains of coronavirus, a study of patients in China has claimed." - Roger//
-----------------------

I wonder if a person has had the milder strain if that confers any immunity to the more lethal strains of Covid-19? Like once you've had the milder strain does it give you any special advantage to the deadlier strains of Covid-19? Inquiring minds want to know?

Art,
Cowpox, also called vaccinia, mildly eruptive disease of cows that when transmitted to otherwise healthy humans produces immunity to smallpox. The cowpox virus is closely related to variola, the causative virus of smallpox. - AOD

sub,
Yes. And I don't see proof of excess deaths so far. In fact, it is not possible to do so. We have to wait until the end of the year.

Many of those who's death is attributed to the virus would have died anyhow this year.... Heart attacks, respiratory disease, drug overdoses....if the virus is present in the system it is being chalked up to the virus. However, it is becoming apparent that anywhere from 13% to 25% of populations have contracted the virus - many, perhaps most, not having the slightest clue they carry it.

Now, you may justify counting the heart attack as covid caused by saying something like, "Well instead of having the heart in March, he would have had it in Oct and the virus did kill him because it lowered his oxygen levels and that put excess stress on his heart", but we (actuaries) don't think that way. It comes down to months or years of expected life and costs, etc over that time. It's rarely yes/no, on/off.

Imagining how the "Swedish Strategy" might work at the level of the auto-immune system:

"Hey dere you Corona punks. Now don't you go makin a ruckus. Ve don't vont no trouble here. Keep yourselves spread out, no closer dan 600 nanometers between you and the cellular membranes, and no groups of you little buggers larger than six at a time. Now you be goot or be gone!

"Vat's that you fellers doin over there? Don't be loitering around dem alveoli. Didn't you get da 600 nanometers memo? Bugger off or ve going to make a Svedish meatball out of you.

"Seriously, cut that out, or ve go over there and kick your sorry asses. I'm not jus a horsin around! Scat you varmits.

"Gus, ve got to go over dere and kick some ass. Oh coffee break? Yes, ve do that first and then kick some ass.

"OK boys, break's over. Pass out the billy clubs. Vat's that? Time for my favorite Svedish soap opera? OK ve watch TV first, den ve give them little buggers the heave ho.

"Boy, dat vas a goot show. Vat you say? A two parter? Heck, ve can watch that, but then ve gotta get out there and show them vandals vot for.

"Boy, dat vas a really, really goot show. Vat? Time for another coffee break? OK, ve got to keep ourselves strong and alert. But after break dere vill be hell to pay."

This is scary stuff. Plus hearing of food shortages coming up as well.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/covid-19-causing-blood-clots-sudden-strokes-in-young-adults-doctors-say-1.4910674

This clears everything up. Or not.

https://youtu.be/wVs5AyjzwRM

Leo,
The virus causes heart attacks, strokes, drug ODs, car crashes, cancer, swimming pool drownings, dog bites, chicken pox, slipping on banana skins, gun shots, diabetes, broken legs, baldness, ED and so many more conditions. We know this because the virus has been detected in the victims of these conditions. As the virus spreads due to more testing, we will find that it is more deadly than even the worst initial estimates. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Joan of Darby, hilarious - and so true.

Very very funny, Joan! I needed that!- AOD

Leo,
Inactivity---lying in bed at home or in a hospital bed for days tends to allow blood to pool in the circulatory system causing blood clots and strokes. That can happen to people who are healthy. It is always a consideration for anyone following surgery that they get up as soon as possible, sometimes even the same day of the surgery. One might remember cases of people who developed leg thrombosis while sitting on an airplane for hours during a long flight which subsequently traveled to their lungs and they died of pulmonary embolism.

It is never a good idea to sit or lie down for hours or days at a time. Even if one doesn't feel well it is a good idea to get up and move around periodically. Hospital care-givers should know this and take precautions to prevent it from happening. - AOD

"A sensible COVID-19 exit strategy for the UK"
Posted on April 26, 2020 by niclewis | 116 Comments
By Nic Lewis

"Clearly, the Ferguson et al. illustrated on-off lockdown strategy is not appropriate. A more intelligent approach is needed. Fortunately, there is an obvious solution. The key is to remove restrictions from those segments of the population that are at low risk of death from COVID-19 infection. Age is a key factor here. However, another key factor is whether a person suffers from various chronic health conditions.

I estimate that there are over 41 million people who are under 70 with no relevant health conditions, or have such conditions but are under 30. Allowing them to resume normal life, subject to some precautions, should lead to around 87% of them being exposed to COVID-19 and, if susceptible to it, infected, over the next few months. Because the IFR for these groups is very low, the resulting likely number of deaths would be relatively modest – slightly over 10,000. That would represent under 2% of the expected total deaths in the UK during 2020. And if the IFR estimates that Ferguson et al. are using turn out to be too high, as looks increasingly likely, there could be substantially fewer deaths.

"Assuming that these 10,000 deaths were spread over six months, on average slightly over 2,000 ICU beds would be occupied. The extent of precautions taken could be varied over time to achieve an even ICU bed occupancy level."

https://judithcurry.com/2020/04/26/a-sensible-covid-19-exit-strategy-for-the-uk/

"WHO Deletes Misleading Tweet That Spread Paranoia About COVID-19 Reinfection"
"The thread caused some concern & we would like to clarify."
Robby Soave 4.26.2020 4:17 PM

This weekend the World Health Organization (WHO) had to delete a misleading tweet about the coronavirus. Unfortunately, several media outlets had already cited it, spreading unwarranted fear about the likelihood of secondary COVID-19 infections.

On Friday, the WHO published a scientific brief on "immunity passports"—the idea that governments should grant special documents to citizens who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, allowing them to move about freely. The WHO warned that this is premature, since "no study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans."

The WHO is correct that scientists have not determined the degree of immunity enjoyed by COVID-19 survivors. But the tweet version of the brief was missing important context, and it said only this: "There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from #COVID19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection."

That's technically true: There's no evidence of immunity. But that's because COVID-19 is new and the matter hasn't been conclusively studied yet. Scientists have good reason to expect COVID-19 survivors to have some immunity to the virus, though they're unsure how strong it will be or how long it will last.

"When they say 'no evidence' they mean something like 'no definitive proof, yet,'" wrote statistician Nate Silver in response to the WHO tweet. "But the average person is going to read it as 'there's no immunity to coronavirus,' which is likely false and not a good summation of the evidence."

[more]
https://reason.com/2020/04/26/world-health-organization-tweet-coronavirus-covid-19-antibodies/?utm_medium=email#comments

I'm coming in late here, but it seems to me there were only two sane ways to approach this:

1) The Swedish method: no lockdown, no economic collapse.
2) The German method: lockdown, but aid to "regular folk," including Universal Basic Income, Universal Health Care, help for small business owners.

The U.S. seems to have taken an approach guaranteed to result in social unrest, riots, strikes, etc., by preventing people from going to work, but providing virtually no assistance. Currently, unemployment systems are crashing, food banks are being depleted, small business owners can't get loans, and the government can't even manage to get those $1,200 checks to those who need it the most. People are protesting on the right and left.

Maybe people will start going back to work soon, and the U.S. and other lockdown countries will economically recover, and this will all blow over. Hopefully.

Since I earlier recommended Alex Berenson's Twitter feed, I thought I should include an update now that my opinion has changed slightly. I still think Berenson is a valuable contrarian voice who links to important and under-reported data. But I’m afraid his newfound celebrity may have gone to his head just a bit. His tone is increasingly snarky and even downright hostile, and he seems to enjoy getting into fights with Twitter "blue-checks," while making some issues overly personal (his animus toward Neil Ferguson is really out of control). More than once he’s tweeted that no major celebrity has been hospitalized with COVID, which is clearly false, but no matter how many times people remind him of Tom Hanks, Boris Johnson, and others, he doesn’t seem to get the message.

In short, I think he’s gotten too ego-involved in the story, which has become a personal crusade for him. And it doesn’t help that his Twitter feed is increasingly taken up by people spreading questionable and exaggerated claims, such as the claim that Ventura County, CA, will start forcibly removing infected persons from their homes. (They will not.) This kind of rumor-mongering is only another form of mass hysteria. Instead of panic over the virus, this is panic over the lockdown.

Speaking of panic, I thought this Psychology Today piece on moral panics (aka social manias) helps put the current coronavirus hysteria in perspective. The piece was written long before the viral outbreak, but the points it makes are readily applicable to today's popular narrative. For "folk devils," we have all those who question the lockdown policy. The forces of good are the media, politicians, law enforcement, and first responders. The victims who must be saved at any cost are the helpless general public, especially grandma (and of course, the children — though there is no evidence that COVID is a serious threat to anyone under 18). It is a simple fairy-tale narrative of good versus evil, and many people are deeply committed to it.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/wicked-deeds/201507/moral-panic-who-benefits-public-fear

"It is a simple fairy-tale narrative of good versus evil, and many people are deeply committed to it." - Michael P

I think it's a bit more complicated than you make out. The Psychology Today article was referring to a singular category of folk devils; i.e. Al-Qaeda terrorists, criminal gangs, etc. With respect to the devils of 911, Americans were quite unified in their moral outrage and determination to wage war with a specific enemy (Al-Qaeda) and less enthused as the conflict morphed into the more nebulous "War on terror".

What's so damnable about this pandemic is that the chief demon is an invisible entity that stealthily enters healthy bodies and enlists them in spreading it's campaign of conquest. Our only tactic up to now has been to beat a hasty retreat and seek out weapons to battle this devil.

In the meantime there are multiple minor folk devils in play largely dependent on the particular frame of reference of the individual:

  • The global cabal of "hysterical" public health officials.
  • The global cabal of "shrill" economists forecasting the end of the world as we know it.
  • The global cabal of "panicky" politicians mesmerised by the mortifying prognostications of the PHO (Public Health Officials) and terrified by dire financial forecasts.
  • The evil fake media (as opposed to the true and righteous media serving up news that conforms with your particular worldview).
  • People who wear masks in public.
  • People who refuse to wear masks in public.
  • People demanding the lockdown end now.
  • People demanding the lockdown be eased gradually and safely.

We cannot know what the world would be like today if China and the rest of the world shrugged off Covid-19 as just another touch of the flu. This struggle may well be just another wasteful war, worse than simply letting the demon run through the human race unimpeded, collecting his souls like lambs led to the slaughter.

For better or worse, there is something in the human spirit that refuses to let the devil have his due without putting up a fight. Bloodied, but unbowed.

I guess human nature was different in 1957 and 1968, when the Asian Flu and the Hong Kong Flu swept through the population, each time killing more than 100,000 Americans (at a time when our population was much smaller than it is now).

Or maybe the difference is that we didn’t have cable news networks and Internet social media shrieking about the virus 24/7.

Anyway, if we really wanted to put up a fight against COVID, we would focus on nursing homes, where a hugely disproportionate number of deaths have occurred.

“People demanding the lockdown end now.
People demanding the lockdown be eased gradually and safely.”

What about people demanding the lockdowns continue indefinitely? This is the de facto position of those politicians, medical experts, and concerned citizens who say we should stay locked down until the virus has been eradicated (how?) or until a vaccine has been developed (when?).

In a surprising development, I’ve uncovered a previously lost document dating from the Salem witch trials. Though it doesn’t have much to do with the present situation, I felt I should reproduce it here for posterity.

//What is so damnable about this unholy invasion is that the chief demon is an invisible entity that stealthily seduces innocent Christians and enlists them in spreading its campaign of conquest. But there are multiple minor devils in play largely dependent on the particular frame of reference of any given New Englander:

-The cabal of "hysterical" preachers and witchfinders.
-The cabal of "irresponsible and selfish" skeptics who fret over threats to our liberties.
-People who identify witches in our midst.
-People who refuse to identify witches in our midst.
-People demanding the witch burnings end now.
-People demanding the witch burnings be eased gradually and safely.

We cannot know what New England would be like today if we had shrugged off Satan's latest advance as just another round in an eternal struggle. This episode may well be just another wasteful war, worse than simply letting the demon run through the human race unimpeded, collecting his souls like lambs led to the slaughter.

For better or worse, there is something in the Christian spirit that refuses to let the devil have his due without putting up a fight.//

In a significant percentage of coronavirus patients, the body’s defense mechanism of cytokines fight off the invading virus, but then attack multiple organs including the lungs and liver, and may eventually lead to death. One mechanism is, the patient’s body fights its own lungs, fluid gets into the lungs, and the patient dies of acute respiratory distress syndrome. Another very common one is death by stroke or heart attack due to countless blood clots formed by the "cytokyne storm". Then of course there are the cases where the coronavirus wins due to a weakened immune system or other causes.

The carefully unmentioned elephant in the room of these discussions is the fatality rate by these mechanisms and others of one specific age group: over 80 years old. This appears to be alarmingly high, about 20-25% with standard treatment protocol, no HCQ or AZ or zinc, standard use of ventilators, etc. Look at the toll it's taking in nursing homes. Not the .1 - 1% quoted by some for the general population. In this elderly age group, with multiple preexisting conditions, COVID-19 is proving to be a true grim reaper culling agent of decimation.

COVID-19 can be dismissed as a catastrophic grim reaper pandemic only by ignoring the elderly, throwing them under the bus. I guess that's easy to do - after all, the coronavirus might be just nature's way of culling the old and unfit who are no longer contributing to society (sarcasm).

Some medical information in a critical care protocol from a leading physician actually treating and researching COVID-19:

https://www.evms.edu/media/evms_public/departments/internal_medicine/EVMS_Critical_Care_COVID-19_Protocol.pdf

Excerpt:

“Three core pathologic processes lead to multi-organ failure and death in COVID-19:
1) Hyper-inflammation (“Cytokine storm”) – a dysregulated immune system whose cells infiltrate
and damage multiple organs, namely the lungs, kidneys, and heart. It is now widely accepted
that SARS-CoV-2 causes aberrant T lymphocyte activation resulting in a “cytokine storm.”.
2) Hyper-coagulability (increased clotting) – the dysregulated immune system damages the
endothelium and activates blood clotting, causing the formation of micro and macro blood clots.
These blood clots impair blood flow.
3) Severe Hypoxemia (low blood oxygen levels) –lung inflammation caused by the cytokine storm,
together with microthrombosis in the pulmonary circulation severely impairs oxygen absorption
resulting in oxygenation failure.

The above pathologies are not novel, although the combined severity in COVID-19 disease is
considerable."

"COVID-19 can be dismissed as a catastrophic grim reaper pandemic only by ignoring the elderly, throwing them under the bus."

It’s definitely a very serious disease for the elderly and infirm, and ground zero is nursing homes. So wouldn’t it be a more intelligent strategy to lock down nursing homes, supply them with PPE, focus test-and-trace efforts on their staffs, etc? Instead the policy has been to act as if the entire population is at high risk. Schools are closed, even though there’s no evidence that children can carry a viral load high enough to get seriously ill or infect others. "Nonessential" businesses are closed and "nonessential" jobs are lost (36.5 million newly unemployed at last count). Surgeries, cancer screenings, and even chemotherapy treatment are postponed. And the original rationale of "flattening the curve" seems to have been supplanted by the vague hope that if we hide from the virus long enough, it will get bored and go away.

//The carefully unmentioned elephant in the room of these discussions is the fatality rate by these mechanisms and others of one specific age group: over 80 years old.//

The issue of age demographics has been discussed here, mostly in the comment threads. For instance, see my comment on this thread timestamped April 23, 10:57 AM. Many of Eric Newhill's and Amos Oliver Doyle's comments address risk factors (including but not limited to age) in detail.

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