How much does public messaging effect the spread of the Virus?

Yesterday, Hunan (66m) had one symptomatic case remaining in the province and a new asymptomatic case was discovered in Changsha upon arrival from another province. All new arrivals need to quarantine and present themselves for testing upon arrival.

This is the message I found from the Changsha CDC about the latter, precautions that need to be taken, and contact tracing.

Changsha CDC

What messaging do you get in the UK about new cases? How does it differ? Does it make any difference?

I’ll leave the answers to you.

Choose your Covid experts carefully!

Over 2 years into this pandemic I’ve learned not to treat all experts with the same respect! Be particularly careful of those who offer advice and comments that would lead to reduced caution! They may be right about many things but not always! Experts need ‘common sense’ as well as their scientific qualifications.

Example: The CSA for England recommended at the very start of the pandemic that as many children should get infected as soon as possible to give lasting protection. [I will note that to my knowledge no coronavirus – neither the 4 which produce the common colds nor SARS1 – have ever resulted in ‘herd immunity’.]

Example: ICU Consultant Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield stated on 10 Aug 2020 that there would be no second wave!

Example: There are still experts suggesting that herd immunity is the way out of this pandemic even though the experience in June 2022 is that reinfections are growing at an alarming rate, and that a preprint now suggests that reinfections result in significantly worse outcomes.

Example: several South African doctors described their experience with Omicron as ‘the vaccine we’ve all been waiting for’!

Example: I’m alarmed that several prominent medics approved of by the UK govt presently ignore and fail the mention the ‘epidemic’ of Long Covid now experience in the UK (ONS state over 2m suffering currently), and there’s no known cure, just some treatments for some of the symptoms.

This is not to infer that experts are wrong all the time. The thing to look out for is those making suggestions that things are getting better (when not enough time has elapsed to warrant it) and other suggestions which lead the viewers to assume that they can relax on the cautionary measures. In general, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have had a good record, but on 25 Oct 2021 they came out with the unqualified prediction that UK daily cases would be down to 5,000 by Christmas. We all know what actually happened (Hint: Omicron). And we need to listen carefully. Far too often experts, particularly those representing the govt position, give only a limited view (such as hospitalisations and fatalities) but ignore longer-term problems. It is worth noting that even those who’ve only experienced asymptomatic infections, one year later on are experiencing a marked increase in the incidence of diabetes.

Even Prof Danny Altmann (Immunology Prof, Ed at OUP Oxford Open Immunol, associate ed Vaccine. ICL Research group with RJ Boyton) put out this warning tweet:

“Noting some of my friends (and professional colleagues who should know better) disbelieving that we have a BA4/5 wave, around 1 in 40 infected. often feeling really ill, time off work, some destined for #longcovid. Please remember masks, consider the CEV. 14:25 • 25/06/2022 • Twitter for iPhone”

Let’s still be careful out there.

The West’s View of the Pandemic in China

Most western articles about the current handling of the pandemic in China promote ‘living with Covid’. While, in the small print, they acknowledge that this may lead to 1.5m deaths in the country as a whole, that seems to be subservient to relaxation of precautions. What is wrong with people?

While they acknowledge that the lockdowns in Shanghai have caused Western industry problems with chip shortages, they seem to ignore the fact that China is currently the effective ‘workshop of the world’; ‘living with covid’ would cause colossal harm, not only to the Chinese economy but to the world. If they’re unhappy about current chip shortages, they’ve seen nothing compared to a major recession in China and its effect on the world economy if ‘living with covid’ were to replace the current precautions.

Even if you don’t believe the statistics coming out of China, just because the precautions being taken are much greater than anywhere else on the planet from what I understand, the incidence is bound to be much less than elsewhere. Less incidence also means less Long Covid. And just a few academics are now starting to realise that LC is a big problem; not just treating it, but for the economy long term.

We need to brace ourselves for a tsunami of Long Covid

While far too many countries have abandoned restrictions aimed to prevent the spread of the virus, I’m bloody glad that China has not!

Pandemic in China: 2022-05-23

I live in Changsha, Hunan, I have zero medical background and zero access to independent sources of data on the pandemic in China.

What I can say, is to give my perspective as someone on the ground.

I hear comments everywhere on the Western Internet that China is in trouble and that ‘Zero Covid’ is unsustainable. Even the WHO have put out such statements.

Firstly, please note that some time ago ‘Zero Covid’ was replaced by ‘Dynamic Zero Covid’. They are different. Have you bothered to find out what the difference is?

China is NOT underestimating the seriousness caused by the latest Omicron variant. I note other countries, such as the UK and its govt, are putting out messages that they’ve ‘beaten’ the virus. That’s from a country of 68m and the latest ONS survey states that about 100/day are still dying from Covid and still has a prevalence of about 1 in 53 . Whereas mainland China is STILL putting out messages that this is still a very serious disease and to be treated with the utmost caution. And out of 1.4b inhabitants, yesterday there was 1 (one) fatality. So serious that my family and I, along with 10m others in our city, have been tested 8 times in 6 weeks, when the highest number of still infected persons reached 68 (and currently that has come down to 7) in the provincial population of 66m. And I have read that China currently has the capacity to carry out over 50m NAT (PCR’s are a type of Nucleic Acid Tests) a day. They’re pretty rigorous about contact tracing but the testing goes way beyond that to whole communities. And in the UK you can’t even get a free test and even the paid ones cannot be reported if positive; the only recorded tests are done on hospital patients, so govt ‘case’ figures have no connection to prevalence in the community. At least the UK still has the ONS, although other truly ‘world-beating’ studies/surveillance such as REACT and ZOE have had their funding completely axed.

Yes, the world has noted the extremely severe lockdown in Shanghai along with its consequences both for the residents and for the world economy, particular related to computer chip shortages. But the severe restrictions have dramatically slowed down the spread of Omicron. Note that this variant arrived in China at exactly the same time as the UK, early December 2021. Within one month, Omicron had completely taken over the whole of the UK, putting it into the worst incidence rate of the entire pandemic. Right now, nearly 6 months on, outbreaks in China are limited. Yes, Hong Kong has been devastated with some of the highest infections and death rates in the world. But incidence has come right down to around 300 cases/day. Yes and there’s been Shanghai, where in a population of 25m its current infection levels are now around 1,000/day and yesterday one fatality. Yes and there are other outbreaks in Beijing (less than 100/day) and Tianjin (32/day).

But China is being bloody careful. Here in Changsha EVERYBODY is still wearing masks on the bus and the metro, and most people even wear them outside. We have electronic health cards on our phones which record vaccine records, dates of latest tests if within the last 10 days, and travel records (via the phone network providers) showing if you’ve been an an area of high risk in the last 14 days. These are scanned in every major building, most shops and every Metro station. Until recently they were scanned on entry to the buses.

An example of Chinese caution: 606 medical workers just returned from Shanghai where they’d been for over 5 weeks, helping with the response to the Omicron outbreak there. On arrival back in Changsha, they immediately went into a quarantine hotel.

It is my perception that the WHO and most Western commentators never think about the big picture and the impact of restrictions has had on the spread of the virus. If China followed the example of the west and abandoned its Dynamic Zero Covid policy and other NPIs, it would be devastated. Applying the UK/s death rate/m to China would result in 3.5m deaths. But China is not going to let that happen, not without a big fight anyway. Because China has dramatically slowed down Omicron, it has a large section of the population which is relatively unaffected and can provide help for those areas under stress. 40,000 were able to move to Shanghai to provide support for healthcare, testing etc. If Omicron was everywhere, no help could be provided.

China recognises that the pandemic is not over for anyone until it’s over for everyone. Not just everyone on the world-wide scene, but internally here in China. Moving from province to province requires testing.

I’m bloody glad they’re being very careful.

Pandemic in China

So grateful to see that Hong Kong had its first fatality-free day yesterday since the beginning of February.

And Shanghai infection numbers yesterday down to 3,975 (including 3,760 asymptomatics) and 8 deaths. Back in mid April it was 28,038 cases on 13 April, with its recent wave starting mid March (5 cases on 16 March). Shanghai’s had such a terrible time.

Hoping Beijing manages to prevent another huge wave. (53 cases 2 days ago including 8 asymptomatics).

Here in Hunan, the total number still infected is down to 25 with no new cases yesterday (in a population of 66m). We’ve been tested 8 times now in the last 6 weeks.

Pandemic Precautions in China

Unlike Shanghai and Jilin, Changsha, Hunan, has not been badly hit. Zero new cases for 3 days in the province (66m) with ‘still infected’ total down to 20 from a high of 68. But everyone is complying with precautions. We’ve had 6 PCR tests in the last 3 weeks as part of mass testing. The results go on to our electronic health card (together with vaccination records). Everywhere you go, your health card is scanned; even now on buses.

I know people in the West mock the mainland China precautions (e.g. the UK Health Minister Sajid Javid, who has zero health qualifications) but just compare the stats to get an idea about their effectiveness!

Here’s an example about guidance using public transport put out by the local Changsha CDC:

I’m grateful for an abundance of caution.

QR Health Code scanner
Electronic Health Card on phone
Home testing for my 90-year-old In-Laws

Some Pandemic Surprises

A couple of days ago I was searching the internet for some details about the early days of the pandemic in China: When was the first death? when was it discovered that the virus was infectious before symptoms became evident? when was the WHO alerted about the virus? when was the earliest confirmed case?

I had some rough ideas about these but wanted some references from those who research these things.

But I was surprised by some of the results and can’t help wondering why! Could it be that the message does not fit the dominant narrative?

The Earliest Cases and Alerts

“On December 27 last year (2020), Zhang Jixian, a respiratory doctor in Wuhan, which was hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, was the first to alert authorities of a new contagious disease after treating patients with flu-like symptoms. Meanwhile, the city’s health officials started an investigation into the viral outbreak.

Within three days, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission sent out an urgent notification about an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown causes in the city, and started releasing briefings on the disease since December 31. National experts were also sent to investigate the epidemic on site.”
[https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-05-06/Timeline-How-did-China-warn-the-world-about-the-coronavirus-outbreak-QgTpKdT6o0/index.html]

“SARS-CoV-2 is a newly discovered virus that is closely related to bat coronaviruses,[24] pangolin coronaviruses,[25][26] and SARS-CoV.[27] The first known outbreak started in Wuhan, Hubei, China, in November 2019. Many early cases were linked to people who had visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market there,[28][29][30] but it is possible that human-to-human transmission began earlier.[31][32]

The scientific consensus is that the virus is most likely of zoonotic origin, from bats or another closely-related mammal.[31][33][34] Despite this, the subject has generated extensive speculation about alternative origins.[35][32][36] The origin controversy heightened geopolitical divisions, notably between the United States and China.[37]

The earliest known infected person fell ill on 1 December 2019. That individual did not have a connection with the later wet market cluster.[38][39] However, an earlier case may have occurred on 17 November.[40] Two-thirds of the initial case cluster were linked with the market.[41][42][43] Molecular clock analysis suggests that the index case is likely to have been infected between mid-October and mid-November 2019.[44][45]
[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic#Background]

Li WenLiang

Li Wenliang (Chinese: 李文亮; 12 October 1986 – 7 February 2020) was a Chinese ophthalmologist who warned his colleagues about early COVID-19 infections in Wuhan.[2] On 30 December 2019, Wuhan CDC issued emergency warnings to local hospitals about a number of mysterious “pneumonia” cases discovered in the city in the previous week.[3] On the same day, Li, who worked at the Central Hospital of Wuhan, received an internal diagnostic report of a suspected severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) patient from other doctors which he in turn shared with his Wuhan University alumni through WeChat group. He was dubbed a whistleblower when that shared report later circulated publicly despite his requesting confidentiality from those with whom he shared the information.[4][5] Rumors of a deadly SARS outbreak subsequently spread on Chinese social media platforms; Wuhan police summoned and admonished him on 3 January for “making false comments on the Internet about unconfirmed SARS outbreak.”[4][6]
[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Wenliang]

“China named Li Wenliang — the doctor who sounded the alarm about the coronavirus that later killed him  — a “martyr” following a campaign to silence him by police in Wuhan.

Li was among 12 dead medics given the official honor by the Chinese Communist Party on Thursday (2020-04-02), according to state media outlet CCTV.

“Martyr” is the highest honor the Communist Party can bestow on a citizen killed working to serve China, according to the state-run Global Times tabloid.
[https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-china-li-wenliang-whistleblower-doctor-martyr-2020-4]

Information to the WHO

“Since January 3, China has been regularly informing the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant countries, including the United States, on the latest development of the situation.

On January 12, China shared with the WHO information on the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus, which has laid a solid foundation for global efforts of scientific research and vaccine development.

On January 23, China put Wuhan into lockdown to contain the virus. By that time, the megacity with 11 million residents had reported fewer than 500 infections, while cases outside the country was merely seven.”
{https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-05-06/Timeline-How-did-China-warn-the-world-about-the-coronavirus-outbreak-QgTpKdT6o0/index.html]

Earliest Death

According to the WHO, the earliest recorded death was 2020-01-06
[https://covid19.who.int/region/wpro/country/cn]

“During the beginning of the pandemic, the Chinese government showed a pattern of secrecy and top-down control.[4] It censored discussions about the outbreak since the beginning of its spread, from as early as 1 January,[5][6] worked to censor and counter reporting and criticism about the crisis – which included the detention of several citizen journalists[7] – and portray the official response to the outbreak in a positive light,[8][9][10] and restricted and facilitated investigations probing the origins of COVID-19.[4][11] Early in the pandemic, several commentators (world leaders and anonymous whistleblowers) suspected the Chinese government had deliberately under-reported the extent of infections and deaths.[12][13][14][15][better source needed] However, contrary to popular speculation, academic studies have found no evidence that China manipulates COVID-19 data.[16][17][18][19][20] The New York Times reported in early 2022 that that “most experts believe the country’s official Covid counts have been at least close to accurate for most of the past two years.”[21]

From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%932020_COVID-19_outbreak_in_mainland_China>

Ref: 21: Leonhardt, David (4 February 2022). “Zero Covid in China”. The New York Times. [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/04/briefing/zero-covid-china-olympics.html]

Knowledge of Asymptomatic Transmission

While the earliest diagnoses indicated a SARS1 type illness/flu/pneumonia, the latter was known both to result in high mortality, but also only to become infectious once symptoms appeared.

“On 1 February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that “transmission from asymptomatic cases is likely not a major driver of transmission”.[70] One meta-analysis found that 17% of infections are asymptomatic, and asymptomatic individuals were 42% less likely to transmit the virus.[71]

However, an epidemiological model of the beginning of the outbreak in China suggested that “pre-symptomatic shedding may be typical among documented infections” and that subclinical infections may have been the source of a majority of infections.[72] That may explain how out of 217 on board a cruise liner that docked at Montevideo, only 24 of 128 who tested positive for viral RNA showed symptoms.[73] Similarly, a study of ninety-four patients hospitalized in January and February 2020 estimated patients began shedding virus two to three days before symptoms appear and that “a substantial proportion of transmission probably occurred before first symptoms in the index case“.[74] The authors later published a correction that showed that shedding began earlier than first estimated, four to five days before symptoms appear.[75]
[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severe_acute_respiratory_syndrome_coronavirus_2#Asymptomatic_and_presymptomatic_transmission]

May 1, 2020: “We estimate that 86% of all infections were undocumented [95% credible interval (CI): 82–90%] before the 23 January 2020 travel restrictions. “
[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7164387/]

Location of Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wet Market

“The Wuhan Institute of Virology is not 400 meters away from the Huanan seafood market. It is roughly 26,912 meters (or about 17 miles) away. The confusion stems from a so-called “scientific paper” (self-published in February 2020 on the academic networking site Research Gate with no peer review) that asserted with deeply flawed reasoning that “Wuhan Disease Prevention and Control Center” was involved in bat coronavirus research. The authors of that paper pointed to a building identified on Google Maps as the “Wuhan Jianghan Disease Prevention and Control Center” in close proximity to the market as a potential lab-derived source of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
[https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/cruz-wuhan-tweet/]

Conclusion

I don’t pretend to be a researcher or an academic. Just ‘a man on the street’ trying to find out the best information. There remain lots of unanswered questions, many of them surrounding the origins of this scurge. Amongst these unanswered questions are 1) why were Covid antibodies discovered in samples taken for a cancer screening programme done throughout Italy, with the earliest dating back to September 2019?
[https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33176598/]

and 2) how come university researchers found the virus itself in Barcelona sewage samples taken there on 2019-03-12, and how do its genetics relate to the wild Wuhan virus?
[https://www.ub.edu/web/ub/en/menu_eines/noticies/2020/06/042.html]

It’s Bloody Infectious, even Outside!

0.5 Meters – That is What It Takes to Get

Infected Without Wearing a Mask! Foreign Affairs (Hong Kong and Macao Affairs)

Office of Hunan Province Reminds Foreign Friends and Compatriots from Hong Kong and Macao in Hunan to Wear a Mask and Take Proper Personal Protection

2022-03-23

A COVID-19 case was confirmed in Furong district, Changsha, according to the announcement of the Office of Changsha

Municipal COVID-19 Prevention and Control Headquarter on March 21. The epidemiological investigation shows that the above mentioned case had overlapped outdoor path with another infected case who traveled to Changsha from another province.

Both of them did not wear masks. They walked from opposite directions and passed each other at a distance of onlv 0.5 meters.

Without wearing a mask, can the virus be transmitted at a distance of about 0.5 meters, especially in the open air?

The answer is yes, according to an expert from CDC. No matter how much the COVID-19 virus mutates, it can still spread through droplets and contacts. The most cost-effective and simple was to avoid infection are to properly wear a mask, wash and disinfect hands and keep a safe distance.

CDC reminds the public that the pandemic prevention and control is a duty for all, and everyone is responsible for their own health. In daily life, it is necessary to properly take personal protections by wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and maintaining a social distance of 1 meter in public places, etc. It is also required to comply with prevention and control protocols such as scanning

the designated health code for each public place at the entrance, getting vaccinated and avoiding gatherings.

Translated by Office of Foreign Affairs Commission of CPC Hunan Provincial Committee

http://www.enghunan.gov.cn/hneng/News/Localnews/202203/t20220323_22721161.html

Covid-19 now endemic in UK?

Yesterday, the ZOE symptom tracker reported 212,162 new infections. Yet another increase, day-on-day for the last week. Last Friday, the ONS reported >2.6m infections for the previous week. Yet another increase and equivalent to 1 in 26 across the nation or about 4% of the whole population.

Yet there are medics (but not Independent_SAGE) still saying that the virus has moved to being endemic in the UK.

Quote:
“Endemicity has been one of the most misappropriated and misunderstood concepts during the pandemic. It means roughly constant levels of infection, but says nothing about how high those levels are and how severe their impact: the common cold is endemic, but so too is malaria. Smallpox was endemic, until eradicated. Endemic does not mean benign. While we fail to take measures to mitigate the pandemic, we will continue to suffer a high disease burden. Despite what politicians say, the pandemic is not over. And while Covid may have been forgotten by some, it is far from gone.”

Kit Yates is director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Bath and author of The Maths of Life and Death

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/mar/12/covid-restrictions-eased-cases-coronavirus-precautionary-peasures?fbclid=IwAR1VZCIg3NllR-Rsn1SuWHrS343_2Fc-OI5-M3Zo8qrzKdvlEreBbirv4qI

Yes, Omicron appears to be less deadly than Delta. But just look at S Korea, or even Hong Kong which now has some of the highest infection and fatality rates in the world (due to an immunologically naive population with very few of the elderly fully vaccinated). This is STILL a deadly disease.

And the UK (and others) have abandoned all pretence at mitigating measures bar vaccination. Insane!

2022-02-02 Coronavirus will always be an epidemic not endemic.
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/02/02/covid-will-never-become-an-endemic-virus-scientist-warns.html

– Raina MacIntyre, a professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, told CNBC that although endemic disease can occur in very large numbers, the number of cases does not change rapidly as seen with the coronavirus.
“If case numbers do change [with an endemic disease], it is slowly, typically over years,” she said via email. “Epidemic diseases, on the other hand, rise rapidly over periods of days to weeks.”

Covid-19 ain’t endemic yet. And with such high levels of infection, high rates of vaccination it wouldn’t be surprising for another VOC to come along. Viruses mutate at a vast rate. (And we now know about VE in the UK, 2022-04-05)

Let’s be careful out there, protect the vulnerable (even those we don’t know about), and be careful of whom you listen to. They may be experts, but they’re still human and capable of talking absolute trash (e.g. Jay Bhattacharya)