Analysis Of The Covid-19 Pandemic

Herschel Smith · 18 Mar 2020 · 37 Comments

UPDATE 3/29 A few links, a few comments about those links, and then a link dump. Current trajectory of Covid-19.  I'll update the curve fit as often as I'm able to. Coronavirus Could be Chimera of Two Different Viruses, Genome Analysis Suggests. In December 2019, 27 of the first 41 people hospitalised (66 percent) passed through a market located in the heart of Wuhan city in Hubei province. But, according to a study conducted at Wuhan Hospital, the very first human case identified…… [read more]

I Thought Georgia And South Carolina Were Gun Friendly States?

BY Herschel Smith
5 hours, 9 minutes ago

Mark Walters writing at Ammoland.

March 17, 2020, GeorgiaCarry.Org was informed that the Probate Courts across the state of Georgia would temporarily suspend acceptance of applications for Georgia Weapons Carry Licenses and the renewal of Georgia Weapons Carry Licenses pursuant to an order of the Supreme Court of GA declaring a Judicial Emergency.

So now you get the idea. Georgia requires its law-abiding citizens to have a Weapons Carry License, which is issued by your respective county probate court. As of March 14, 2020, the probate courts have suspended most operations, including weapons licensing. That emergency order has now been extended by Governor Kemp to at least May 13, 2020, as of Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Because Georgia does not provide for the option of openly carrying a sidearm without that weapons carry license, well pardner, you’re just plain old s**t out of luck.

The Governor has been asked by Georgia Carry to suspend the licensing and renewal requirements during the health emergency. He has responded that his office is looking into the legality of such a move but has not been heard from since.

[ … ]

The bottom line? The permitting scheme has outlived its usefulness. It’s time to move on. I shouldn’t need a stinking permit to carry a gun in the first place, and if this whole debacle doesn’t scream why constitutional carry should be the law of the land, nothing does.

Similar to South Carolina, governor McMaster has said he supports constitutional carry, but for some odd reason, it never makes it out of committee.

Oh, and by the way, the only “usefulness” to a permitting scheme for a God-given right is to serve the evil one.

Why Hydroxychloroquine Works

BY Herschel Smith
5 hours, 34 minutes ago

This article, written at Medium but taken down and thus only on archive, comes to us via reader JJ.

Your red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to all your organs and the rest of your body. Red blood cells can do this thanks to hemoglobin, which is a protein consisting of four “hemes”. Hemes have a special kind of iron ion, which is normally quite toxic in its free form, locked away in its center with a porphyrin acting as it’s ‘container’. In this way, the iron ion can be ‘caged’ and carried around safely by the hemoglobin, but used to bind to oxygen when it gets to your lungs.

When the red blood cell gets to the alveoli, or the little sacs in your lungs where all the gas exchange happens, that special little iron ion can flip between FE2+ and FE3+ states with electron exchange and bond to some oxygen, then it goes off on its little merry way to deliver o2 elsewhere.

Here’s where COVID-19 comes in. Its glycoproteins bond to the heme, and in doing so that special and toxic oxidative iron ion is “disassociated” (released). It’s basically let out of the cage and now freely roaming around on its own. This is bad for two reasons:

Editorial comment: This is not exactly like, but similar to carboxyhemoglobin, where carbon dioxide binds to your hemoglobin, staying there unless you’re put inside a hyperbaric chamber, and thus preventing oxygen, O2, from binding to your hemoglobin.

1) Without the iron ion, hemoglobin can no longer bind to oxygen. Once all the hemoglobin is impaired, the red blood cell is essentially turned into a Freightliner truck cab with no trailer and no ability to store its cargo.. it is useless and just running around with COVID-19 virus attached to its porphyrin. All these useless trucks running around not delivering oxygen is what starts to lead to desaturation, or watching the patient’s spo2 levels drop. It is INCORRECT to assume traditional ARDS and in doing so, you’re treating the WRONG DISEASE. Think of it a lot like carbon monoxide poisoning, in which CO is bound to the hemoglobin, making it unable to carry oxygen. In those cases, ventilators aren’t treating the root cause; the patient’s lungs aren’t ‘tiring out’, they’re pumping just fine. The red blood cells just can’t carry o2, end of story. Only in this case, unlike CO poisoning in which eventually the CO can break off, the affected hemoglobin is permanently stripped of its ability to carry o2 because it has lost its iron ion. The body compensates for this lack of o2 carrying capacity and deliveries by having your kidneys release hormones like erythropoietin, which tell your bone marrow factories to ramp up production on new red blood cells with freshly made and fully functioning hemoglobin. This is the reason you find elevated hemoglobin and decreased blood oxygen saturation as one of the 3 primary indicators of whether the shit is about to hit the fan for a particular patient or not.

2) That little iron ion, along with millions of its friends released from other hemes, are now floating through your blood freely. As I mentioned before, this type of iron ion is highly reactive and causes oxidative damage. It turns out that this happens to a limited extent naturally in our bodies and we have cleanup & defense mechanisms to keep the balance. The lungs, in particular, have 3 primary defenses to maintain “iron homeostasis”, 2 of which are in the alveoli, those little sacs in your lungs we talked about earlier. The first of the two are little macrophages that roam around and scavenge up any free radicals like this oxidative iron. The second is a lining on the walls (called the epithelial surface) which has a thin layer of fluid packed with high levels of antioxidant molecules.. things like abscorbic acid (AKA Vitamin C) among others. Well, this is usually good enough for naturally occurring rogue iron ions but with COVID-19 running rampant your body is now basically like a progressive state letting out all the prisoners out of the prisons… it’s just too much iron and it begins to overwhelm your lungs’ countermeasures, and thus begins the process of pulmonary oxidative stress. This leads to damage and inflammation, which leads to all that nasty stuff and damage you see in CT scans of COVID-19 patient lungs. Ever noticed how it’s always bilateral? (both lungs at the same time) Pneumonia rarely ever does that, but COVID-19 does… EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Once your body is now running out of control, with all your oxygen trucks running around without any freight, and tons of this toxic form of iron floating around in your bloodstream, other defenses kick in. While your lungs are busy with all this oxidative stress they can’t handle, and your organs are being starved of o2 without their constant stream of deliveries from red blood cell’s hemoglobin, and your liver is attempting to do its best to remove the iron and store it in its ‘iron vault’. Only its getting overwhelmed too. It’s starved for oxygen and fighting a losing battle from all your hemoglobin letting its iron free, and starts crying out “help, I’m taking damage!” by releasing an enzyme called alanine aminotransferase (ALT). BOOM, there is your second of 3 primary indicators of whether the shit is about to hit the fan for a particular patient or not.

Eventually, if the patient’s immune system doesn’t fight off the virus in time before their blood oxygen saturation drops too low, ventilator or no ventilator, organs start shutting down. No fuel, no work. The only way to even try to keep them going is max oxygen, even a hyperbaric chamber if one is available on 100% oxygen at multiple atmospheres of pressure, just to give what’s left of their functioning hemoglobin a chance to carry enough o2 to the organs and keep them alive. Yeah we don’t have nearly enough of those chambers, so some fresh red blood cells with normal hemoglobin in the form of a transfusion will have to do.

The core point being, treating patients with the iron ions stripped from their hemoglobin (rendering it abnormally nonfunctional) with ventilator intubation is futile, unless you’re just hoping the patient’s immune system will work its magic in time. The root of the illness needs to be addressed.

Best case scenario? Treatment regimen early, before symptoms progress too far. Hydroxychloroquine (more on that in a minute, I promise) with Azithromicin has shown fantastic, albeit critics keep mentioning ‘anecdotal’ to describe the mountain, promise and I’ll explain why it does so well next. But forget straight-up plasma with antibodies, that might work early but if the patient is too far gone they’ll need more. They’ll need all the blood: antibodies and red blood cells. No help in sending over a detachment of ammunition to a soldier already unconscious and bleeding out on the battlefield, you need to send that ammo along with some hemoglobin-stimulant-magic so that he can wake up and fire those shots at the enemy.

All that hilariously misguided and counterproductive criticism the media piled on chloroquine (purely for political reasons) as a viable treatment will now go down as the biggest Fake News blunder to rule them all. The media actively engaged their activism to fight ‘bad orange man’ at the cost of thousands of lives. Shame on them.

How does chloroquine work? Same way as it does for malaria. You see, malaria is this little parasite that enters the red blood cells and starts eating hemoglobin as its food source. The reason chloroquine works for malaria is the same reason it works for COVID-19 — while not fully understood, it is suspected to bind to DNA and interfere with the ability to work magic on hemoglobin. The same mechanism that stops malaria from getting its hands on hemoglobin and gobbling it up seems to do the same to COVID-19 (essentially little snippets of DNA in an envelope) from binding to it. On top of that, Hydroxychloroquine (an advanced descendant of regular old chloroquine) lowers the pH which can interfere with the replication of the virus. Again, while the full details are not known, the entire premise of this potentially ‘game changing’ treatment is to prevent hemoglobin from being interfered with, whether due to malaria or COVID-19.

But don’t tell Dr. Zack Moore that he traffics in fake news with his counsel to North Carolina hospitals that they shouldn’t use hydroxychloroquine (yes, I have such a document).  I guess he cares too much about politics to be concerned about saving lives.

Politics Tags:

Gun Ownership As A Solution

BY Herschel Smith
5 hours, 50 minutes ago

Media Matters.

In a March 16 Ammoland post, David Codrea imagined the food supply dwindling during this pandemic before telling his readers the government is “utterly incapable of protecting them.” Articles in Breitbart and The Truth About Guns made similar points, saying that Americans realize “their safety, and their family’s safety, is in their own hands” and that “those vying to run the government vow to take that ability away,” all in a thinly veiled effort to encourage gun purchases.

Hey, why don’t you cite these pages, Cydney?  The encouragement to buy guns isn’t thinly veiled (actually, it isn’t either at DC’s place, so the prose makes no sense).

In other news, there are meat logistics problems.

A Tyson-owned meat processing plant that churns out 2% of the US pork supply ground to a halt this week as workers became infected with Covid-19.

And that wasn’t the only meatpacking plant impacted by the spread of the novel coronavirus. JBS USA on March 31 said it hit pause on much of its work at a beef facility in Souderton, Pennsylvania and wouldn’t have it back online until mid-April. National Beef Packing on April 2 temporarily stopped slaughtering cattle at one of its plants in Tama, Iowa after a worker tested positive for the virus.

Plant closures are emblematic of a larger issue across the US food system, as farms and companies work to weather the storm of Covid-19. The health and safety of workers is paramount if food chains are to continue running smoothly—and workers’ perceived safety appears to vary across the industry.

In Greeley, Colorado, at least 830 JBS employees didn’t show up for work on March 30 after several employees tested positive for the virus.

Vegetables and grains are also problematic coming up soon, especially with flooding in the midwest.

Hey Cydney!  If looters start breaking into your home because they’re starving, you gonna give them your grub?  What if they want more than your grub?  How are you going to defend yourself?  The cops are 15 minutes away.

Rifle Scope Brightness

BY Herschel Smith
5 hours, 59 minutes ago

Busting the myths.

Riflescope brightness is not as big a deal as advertising makes it out to be.

Differences in brightness from scope to scope are often undetectable to users.

Some features credited with brightness don’t even contribute.

Some high-end scopes aren’t as bright as some costing half that.

Maintaining a sharp image is as important as raw brightness. A sharp image at any brightness level looks “brighter” than a softly focused image. Resolution is a critical ingredient for making images seen through a scope appear brighter.

As for the wider main tube contributing to brightness, forget it. Doesn’t work that way. Regardless how much light enters the objective “window.” The higher the magnification, the less light that gets out. The amount of light that exits the scope at the eyepiece depends on the power level. Both objective lens and magnification work together to create the beam of light that exits the eyepiece. It is called the Exit Pupil (EP.) You can see it by holding a scope at arms length and pointed it at a bright surface. The little circle of light you see in the eyepiece lens is the EP. If you have a variable power scope, turn the power ring and watch the EP enlarge and shrink as powers goes down and up. The lower the power, the larger the EP and the more light that exits the scope.

While EP matters, extremely large EP does not because its effectiveness is limited by our own pupils. The human pupil opens (dilates) to about 7mm max. But this doesn’t happen until it’s nearly dark. In full daylight our pupils shrink to about 2.5mm. On cloudy days they might be opened to around 4mm. Place a 5mm diameter beam of light in front of your 4mm pupil and the extra 1mm rim just bounces off your iris. So why bother with a 50mm objective?

The magic hour for hunting is often the last few minutes of legal shooting light a half hour or more after sunset. Our pupils might then dilate to 6mm. They could use all of the 5mm EP and 1mm more. So step up to a big 56mm objective and what do you get? A 5.6mm EP. Not quite the 6mm you could fully use. You’ll need a 60mm objective at 10X to get the full 6mm EP. And if you want maximum brightness at the last minute or two of legal shooting light, you might need a 7mm EP scope. To get that, of course, you’d need a 70mm objective at 10X.

I’m not enough of a precision shooter, especially in dim light conditions, to nay say his observations.  Hunters can weigh in on this.  The most expensive scope I have costs around $600.

After 50 Years, The Army And Marine Corps Are Closing In On Dumping Brass-Cased Ammo

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 6 hours ago

Wheee … big news for the DoD.

After more than 50 years of failed attempts, the U.S. military may be on the verge of ending its love affair with brass-cased ammunition, something that predates the Spanish-American War.

Advancements in body armor, communications equipment and other tactical gear have weighed down U.S. combat troops in the Army and Marine Corps, pushing individual loads well past 100 pounds and degrading service members’ physical performance, U.S. military studies have shown.

Both services have launched multiple efforts to lighten the weapons and equipment grunts carried while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, but ammunition weight has always been an Achilles’ heel for these efforts.

Oh bull.

We suit these guys up in 30+ pounds of body armor with Kevlar and SAPI plates, and then add cameras, comms equipment, helmets, etc., etc., etc., and then spend millions of dollars to design polymer case ammo as a solution?

My reaction is good!  That will relieve the pressure on the civilian market and [hopefully] the costs of real ammunition.  That’s more for me for less.

Another Win For Hydroxychloroquine

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 6 hours ago

Via Insty, this story buries important details.

It wasn’t until she was given hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat Malaria, that things started looking up.

“After I started taking the Malaria medicine, I started to feel a lot better,” she said. “Like, the next day.”

The reason this information is buried is the same reason that people like Dr. Zack Moore of North Carolina recommends against the use of hydroxychloroquine.  Trump haters would rather see people perish that prescribe live-saving medications because Trump might get the credit.

Honestly.  They think like this.  That’s how juvenile they are.

Politics Tags:

The NRA Has Laid Off More Than Sixty Employees

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 6 hours ago

Politico.

The National Rifle Association has laid off more than 60 employees in recent weeks, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Unless that number includes Wayne, the number will continue to grow.

Wayne, do the right thing and step down.  Only then can the NRA recast itself as a true gun rights organization designed to protect and defend the God-given rights of Americans.

As opposed to what the NRA is today, one which supported the NFA, the Hughes Amendment, the GCA, the bump stock ban, universal background checks, and red flag laws.

And if you’re an honorable man or woman still on the board of directors of the NRA, we have to question why?  Or we have to question if you’re really an honorable man or woman.  Take your pick.

Why Would Anyone Want To Buy Guns In A Pandemic?

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 6 hours ago

David Codrea.

Petri, Maher, Cleese, and others know damn well the reason why. The extent of what we are facing is yet unknown, as is the potential for social upheaval, violence, anarchy, and mayhem, along with a government response that will only get more repressive the more its control is threatened. Let the food supply get interrupted and those who thought they saw it all with toilet paper brawls will find they ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Do you recall the time when the computers crashed and FedGov failed to give SNAP payments to inner city Atlanta moms?  Yea, then.  There were nearly riots in the streets, and that was over a day or two delay.

The vast majority of America is within 72 hours beginning starvation.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

And then ponder why on earth people would want means of self defense in a time of turmoil, panic, broken and delayed lines of logistics, sick workers, high unemployment, and potential inflation when all of this cash hits the market?

The gun sales says it all.  The people are smarter than you think, and even the progs know when to give up their utopian dreams.

The Effectiveness Of Hydroxychloroquine: A Note To Dr. Zack Moore

BY Herschel Smith
2 days, 6 hours ago

First up, a newly elected congress woman in Detroit.

LANSING – A Democratic state representative from Detroit is crediting hydroxychloroquine — and Republican President Donald Trump who touted the drug — for saving her in her battle with the coronavirus.

State Rep. Karen Whitsett, who learned Monday she has tested positive for COVID-19, said she started taking hydroxychloroquine on March 31, prescribed by her doctor, after both she and her husband sought treatment for a range of symptoms on March 18.

“It was less than two hours” before she started to feel relief, said Whitsett, who had experienced shortness of breath, swollen lymph nodes, and what felt like a sinus infection. She is still experiencing headaches, she said.

Whitsett said she was familiar with “the wonders” of hydroxychloroquine from an earlier bout with Lyme disease, but does not believe she would have thought to ask for it, or her doctor would have prescribed it, had Trump not been touting it as a possible treatment for COVID-19.

But that same thing, i.e., Trump touting it as a possible therapeutic, has caused the status quo, the ensconced bureaucracy, and doctors who live by state decrees, to pan it as needful or effective.  Queue many more doctors who think it works, via Katie Pavlich.

First, in Los Angeles:

Dr. Anthony Cardillo said he has seen very promising results when prescribing hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc for the most severely-ill COVID-19 patients.

“Every patient I’ve prescribed it to has been very, very ill and within 8 to 12 hours, they were basically symptom-free,” Cardillo told Eyewitness News. “So clinically I am seeing a resolution.”

Cardillo is the CEO of Mend Urgent Care, which has locations in Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys and Burbank.

He said he has found it only works if combined with zinc. The drug, he said, opens a channel for the zinc to enter the cell and block virus replication.

“We have to be cautious and mindful that we don’t prescribe it for patients who have COVID who are well,” Cardillo said. “It should be reserved for people who are really sick, in the hospital or at home very sick, who need that medication. Otherwise we’re going to blow through our supply for patients that take it regularly for other disease processes.”

New York:

Dr. Mohammud Alam, an infectious disease specialist affiliated with Plainview Hospital, said 81 percent of infected covid patients he treated at three Long Island nursing homes recovered from the contagion.

“In this crisis, I realized I had to do something,” Alam said. ”I realized if this was my dad, what would I do? And I would do anything I could to help.”

Alam said he decided he could not apply the touted combination of the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine and antibiotic azithromycin because the side effects could be potentially fatal for his high-risk patients, many of whom had underlying heart issues.

So instead, Alam replaced azithromycin with another decades-old antibiotic that doesn’t pose any known risks to the heart.

New Jersey:

Dr. Stephen Smith, founder of The Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health, said on “The Ingraham Angle” on Wednesday night that he is optimistic about the use of antimalarial medications and antibiotics to treat COVID-19 patients, calling it “a game-changer.”

Smith, who is treating 72 COVID-19 patients, said that he has been treating “everybody with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin [an antibiotic]. We’ve been doing so for a while.”

He pointed out that not a single COVID-19 patient of his that has been on the hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin regimen for five days or more has had to be intubated.

Around the world:

An international poll of thousands of doctors rated the Trump-touted anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine the best treatment for the novel coronavirus.

Of the 6,227 physicians surveyed in 30 countries, 37 percent rated hydroxychloroquine the “most effective therapy” for combating the potentially deadly illness, according to the results released Thursday.

The survey, conducted by the global health care polling company Sermo, also found that 23 percent of medical professionals had prescribed the drug in the US — far less than other countries.

“Outside the US, hydroxychloroquine was equally used for diagnosed patients with mild to severe symptoms whereas in the US it was most commonly used for high risk diagnosed patients,” the survey found.

The medicine was most widely used in Spain, where 72 percent of physicians said they had prescribed it.

The doctors who reflexively revert to bureaucracy for the determination of right and wrong, and who, because of hatred for Mr. Trump, have panned it and recommended against it because they lack fifty billion controlled studies approved by the FDA, have blood on their hands in the face of this mounting evidence.

Look, I have my issues with Trump too, from bump stock bans to red flag laws.  But reflexive reversion to opposing anything he says because a doctor doesn’t happen to like him, in a time of pandemic, is the most unethical and uncaring thing I can possibly think of.

It borders on negligent homicide.  If you’re a doctor, I’m speaking to you.

I’ll also point out that the epidemiologist in my own state of North Carolina, Dr. Zack Moore, opposes it, and I have sent him two notes now on this very subject, to be ignored both times.

I’ll have my say before this is all over with, and he’ll hear me loud and clear.

Politics Tags:

Maryland Passes Universal Background Check

BY Herschel Smith
2 days, 6 hours ago

So you think times can’t get tougher on the poor pols who are laboring so hard on behalf of your well-being?  In Maryland, they have found time to infringe on the rights of their own people even more.

Maryland lawmakers gave final approval on Monday to a bill that requires all purchasers of rifles and shotguns to submit to background checks.

State law already requires buyers to undergo a federal background check through the NICS Index when purchasing rifles from licensed dealers. The bill extends that requirement to private sales and permanent gifts.

Anyone who violates the act is guilty of a misdemeanor and could be convicted for up to 6 months, be subject to a fine of up to $10,000, or both. A person who provides false information could be imprisoned for up to 3 years, be subject to a fine of $5,000, or both.

The Maryland House of Delegates approved the bill by a vote of 87 to 47, and the Senate approved the bill by a vote of 31 to 14.

The bill will now go to Governor Larry Hogan. Provided that the governor does not veto it, the act will take effect on October 1.

Or in other words, universal background checks.  I do hope gun owners totally ignore it and via person to person transfers, buy and sell until their heart is content.

Because God-given rights.



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