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  #251  
Old 01-29-2020, 09:49 PM
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What’s new in the China virus outbreak as of about 6pm PST 29 January 2019?
Quote:
— The virus has killed 170 people, and the virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak.

— World health officials expressed worry that the virus is starting to spread between people outside of China. Meanwhile, scientists said there is evidence that the virus has spread person-to-person among close contacts since mid-December. They estimate that each infection led to 2.2 others on average, suggesting considerable effort may be needed to control its spread.

— Several countries moved to bring residents home from China. About 200 Americans flown out of Wuhan on a plane chartered by the U.S. government were undergoing three days of monitoring at a Southern California military base. In Tokyo, the second group of Japanese evacuees arrived aboard a government-chartered flight. The European Union was working to bring back 600 citizens from 14 countries.

— Sporting events in China were postponed and Olympic qualifying tournaments were moved elsewhere. The country’s women’s soccer team was quarantined in Australia ahead of an Olympic qualifying tournament. None of the players has shown symptoms.

— Airlines around the world suspended or significantly cut back service to China.

— A family of four Chinese tourists in the United Arab Emirates became the Mideast’s first cases of the virus.

— The outbreak kept many indoors and at home in China’s capital during what is usually one of the busiest periods for tourism. Beijing cultural landmarks such as the Great Wall and Forbidden City closed to visitors, while shopping malls, restaurants and subway stations were nearly empty.

— Villages on the outskirts of Beijing closed themselves off to outsiders, with residents blocking roads with piles of earth and standing guard to prevent outsiders and their vehicles from entering.
More than 7,700 infected. I note that is not an exact number; previous days had exact numbers.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 01-29-2020 at 09:51 PM.
  #252  
Old 01-29-2020, 11:08 PM
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According to my wife, who is in Shanghai, all passengers on all flights originating in China are getting their temperature checked. I believe each person gets a temp gun check in addition to all passing thru a general temperature check.
  #253  
Old 01-29-2020, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
What’s new in the China virus outbreak as of about 6pm PST 29 January 2019?More than 7,700 infected. I note that is not an exact number; previous days had exact numbers.
There is an exact number FWIW.

7783 cases

170 deaths (none outside of China)
  #254  
Old 01-29-2020, 11:12 PM
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Finally, a voice of reason about this disease: We Should Deescalate the War on the Coronavirus from Wired.
  #255  
Old 01-29-2020, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by China Guy View Post
According to my wife, who is in Shanghai, all passengers on all flights originating in China are getting their temperature checked. I believe each person gets a temp gun check in addition to all passing thru a general temperature check.
When I was in the Beijing airport in early January, I noticed some sort of health screening area. Like a separate queue. It wasn't staffed and wasn't being used but I thought of previous outbreaks like SARS.
  #256  
Old 01-29-2020, 11:23 PM
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Finally, a voice of reason about this disease: We Should Deescalate the War on the Coronavirus from Wired.

Total bullshit. Equating trying to close live animal markets with the homophobic hysteria of the AIDS epidemic is ludicrous. Yes, catching all cases is unlikely. So sure we should just give up.
Bullshit.
  #257  
Old 01-29-2020, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by steatopygia View Post
There is an exact number FWIW.

7783 cases

170 deaths (none outside of China)
Ah; thank you.
  #258  
Old 01-29-2020, 11:33 PM
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Lol. "We should" in reference to China....
  #259  
Old 01-30-2020, 12:27 AM
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Finally, a voice of reason about this disease: We Should Deescalate the War on the Coronavirus from Wired.
I've had to say it maybe 4 times in this thread, but it seems I need to tell Wired too: novel viruses are of particular concern because there is a much greater chance of them mutating to become more contagious or more virulent than a virus that has been mutating alongside humans for hundreds of years.

So when they say "it is already reasonably apparent that the virus is a relatively mild infection for most" the first response, and the one that destroys their whole point is "Yeah, for now it is".
The other response is that "not dying" and "mild" are not synonyms. I wouldn't consider my lungs filling with fluid such that it feels like drowning, and long coughing fits where every cough is excruciatingly painful "mild".

But I see the writing on the wall. Even if it takes months or years of protracted effort in China to contain this virus, the story in the Western world is going to be that it was a storm in a teacup and typical media hype. When in fact, some degree of panic was necessary to prevent it spreading around the world. And we should all consider how much we are funding disease research and whether our processes are ready for the inevitable seriously contagious, seriously deadly virus.
  #260  
Old 01-30-2020, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
I've had to say it maybe 4 times in this thread, but it seems I need to tell Wired too: novel viruses are of particular concern because there is a much greater chance of them mutating to become more contagious or more virulent than a virus that has been mutating alongside humans for hundreds of years...
What is the basis for this statement?
  #261  
Old 01-30-2020, 02:46 AM
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Well I read something about how the first 3 months are a critical monitoring period for newly emerging viruses but I cannot seem to find that cite now.

However, here is a cite that backs up what I am saying at least: that novel viruses have just crossed a species barrier and so are likely to change significantly as they begin the process of adapting to humans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cross-Species Virus Transmission and the Emergence of New Epidemic Diseases
Early detection of inefficiently spreading viruses in a new host would provide opportunities for epidemic control. In the SARS CoV outbreak, the first virus that emerged was only inefficiently transmitted by most infected people, and early recognition of the outbreak and institution of active control measures (particularly quarantine) allowed the epidemic to be stopped before the virus could become fully established in humans
Here's a link that SARS did indeed eventually gain mutations to become more infectious in humans, as did Ebola, and others.
  #262  
Old 01-30-2020, 08:15 AM
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Also - bring sanitizing wipes for your airplane seat rests, tray, and other things you'll be touching and wash your hands frequently. Which are good practices regardless.
I don't normally do this, but it seems like a smart thing to do at least. I don't want to get sick on vacation!
  #263  
Old 01-30-2020, 10:13 AM
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Six thousand tourists are being held on a cruise ship in Italy over fears that one of the passengers could be infected with the Chinese coronavirus.
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/30/6000...rus-fears.html
  #264  
Old 01-30-2020, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Well I read something about how the first 3 months are a critical monitoring period for newly emerging viruses but I cannot seem to find that cite now.

However, here is a cite that backs up what I am saying at least: that novel viruses have just crossed a species barrier and so are likely to change significantly as they begin the process of adapting to humans.



Here's a link that SARS did indeed eventually gain mutations to become more infectious in humans, as did Ebola, and others.
The first three months are critical because it is your best chance to keep it from spreading far enough that it becomes impossible to contain. And keeping it contained avoids giving it as much of a chance to develop mutations that allow it to spread easier.

Novel viruses don't mutate any faster than established ones though. And have no drive to become more virulent. Which seemed to be what your were saying.

Influenza is an established virus and mutates all the time.

Yes, evolution works fast and crossing into a new host is going to see its common sorts of mutations selected for or against. Those mutations that allow better transmissibility will be selected for; those that do not will be selected against. Often viruses win against their brothers and sisters by being less virulent as mild illness aids in transmissibility.
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Old 01-30-2020, 11:59 AM
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The first three months are critical because it is your best chance to keep it from spreading far enough that it becomes impossible to contain. And keeping it contained avoids giving it as much of a chance to develop mutations that allow it to spread easier.
Well that and the fact that newly emergent viruses may well change in characteristics as they become established in the new host. You asked for a cite, I gave you three. Why are you ignoring them?

Quote:
Novel viruses don't mutate any faster than established ones.
And have no drive to become more virulent. Which seemed to be what your were saying.
You first sentence is almost my exact words from post #129.

And the second is absolutely not what I have said.

The point is, it's not that newly emerging viruses are more likely to mutate in the new host species than an established virus.
It's that their exact mechanism is not yet tested in the new host; essentially they have picked up whatever mutations are required to jump the species barrier and nothing more*, and are initially ill-suited to the new host.
It's somewhat meaningless to say a newly emergent virus is weakly contagious given that they almost always are...at first. They need to gain additional mutations for the new host then we get to see the potential of this new strain of virus in that organism.

And that's why, as I cited, SARS, Ebola, Nipah virus and others all acquired mutations that made them more contagious in their first few months after initial outbreak in humans.

* I learned something else from my first cite. The mutations required to jump a species barrier are often suboptimal in terms of a virus' fitness for a given host organism. So one selection pressure having jumped a species barrier is to shed those mutations.

Quote:
Often viruses win against their brothers and sisters by being less virulent as mild illness aids in transmissibility.
Yep. Virulence could usually be considered a bad thing for the virus.
Nonetheless it can happen as a side effect as a newly emerging virus adapts to a new host.
In fact, this is pretty much the root of most pathological viruses in humans. Most pathological viruses jumped from a species where they caused mild or no symptoms and were more severe in humans just due to some side effect of the difference in pathophysiology.
  #266  
Old 01-30-2020, 12:30 PM
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... You asked for a cite, I gave you three. Why are you ignoring them? ...
I'm not.

I'm discussing them.

Again, what you seemed to me to be saying, may not be what you meant by there being a "much greater chance of them mutating to become more contagious or more virulent than a virus that has been mutating alongside humans for hundreds of years."

We seem to agree that there is no particular reason to expect a novel to human virus to become more virulent as it spreads through a human population, any more than an established virus has any chance to, and perhaps a bit less reason to expect such. To some degree evolutionary success for the virus is helped by decreased virulence as it adapts to the new host, shedding the features that make the new host more ill faster.

Coronaviruses have a high mutation rate and there are lots of human coronaviruses out there. None that have been around in humans as a host a long time have a high rate of serious morbidity or mortality ... convergent evolution to the most successful strategy for the family.
  #267  
Old 01-30-2020, 01:36 PM
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We seem to agree that there is no particular reason to expect a novel to human virus to become more virulent as it spreads through a human population, any more than an established virus has any chance to, and perhaps a bit less reason to expect such. To some degree evolutionary success for the virus is helped by decreased virulence as it adapts to the new host, shedding the features that make the new host more ill faster.
I think I see the misconception here.

Because I *am* saying there is an increased chance of a newly emergent virus becoming virulent. Not because it is mutating more. Not because it "wants" to become virulent. But because what we mean by "adapting to the host" is different for an established virus versus newly-emerged virus.

An established virus in humans is well adapted to spreading within and between humans. The main selection pressure on it now is simply the human immune system and the antibodies that are currently effective against the virus.

For a newly-established virus, it's not the same.
Firstly, it necessarily acquired genes that allowed it to jump a species barrier, and, as I said, these genes are not only not required but are often suboptimal for the purpose of spreading within a species, so there is a selection pressure to shed those genes -- this already can impact how contagious and how virulent the virus is as a side effect.
Secondly there may well be a number of genes the virus has that are beneficial for living in civet cats or bats, but are a hinderence in humans; so there's a selection pressure against those genes too, and changes to those genes can have knock-on effects as well.

As I say, we cannot look at a new virus in a species, see that it is poorly contagious and has characteristics X, and declare that there's nothing to worry about.
Because newly emergent viruses almost always are poorly contagious at first, having just jumped a species barrier. And their characteristics usually change as they go through this initial stage to some characteristics Y.
Usually X and Y are similar, but we can be unlucky and Y is some extremely virulent pathophysiology.
  #268  
Old 01-30-2020, 02:13 PM
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https://youtu.be/JYTzX9JCbDY

Parody song Fight The Virus sung to Sound of Silence
  #269  
Old 01-30-2020, 02:16 PM
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Hello virus from Wuhan
Another problem's here again
Because you see the contagion creeping
And the virus is indeed spreading
And the memory of SARS planted in my brain Still remains
We stand and fight the virus
We hear of theories how it grew
From snakes and bats became a flu
Passing the sickness from man to man Now it's growing, getting out of hand
It's a virus that has travelled near and far Corona
We have to fight the virus
  #270  
Old 01-30-2020, 02:56 PM
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A bit depressing.
When you said Fight The Virus I immediately imagined "Public Enemy - Fight the Power" but with the lyric changed to Fight Corona.
  #271  
Old 01-30-2020, 07:39 PM
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Russia closed their border today: https://apnews.com/9e2536bf7c7a3cd03b80688e476ed822
  #272  
Old 01-30-2020, 11:03 PM
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Here's some news:
Quote:
China counted 9,692 confirmed cases with a death toll of 213, including 43 new fatalities. The vast majority of the cases have been in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. No deaths have been reported outside China.

In the seven days ending at midnight Thursday, the National Health Commission reported 596 cases have been “cured and discharged from hospital.”
  #273  
Old 01-30-2020, 11:03 PM
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Per the Johns Hopkins site that blue infinity initially linked to. As of 1/30/2020 21:30 Eastern US time;

9776 cases

213 deaths (still all in China I believe)

Last edited by steatopygia; 01-30-2020 at 11:04 PM.
  #274  
Old 01-31-2020, 02:24 AM
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Has anyone here heard of Fah Talai Jone? This medicinal herb is available from Amazon, seems definitely good at fighting virus, and is touted for other purposes as well!

Our sister tells us to take it as protection from the coronavirus. Google News doesn't know about that yet — I get zero hits from "Fah Talai Jone coronavirus" but, as Hamlet said to Horatio, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Google, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

I'm sure I'll be laughed at here but, since Google tells me Fah Talai Jone may also prevent angina, I'll be taking it. The Fah Talai Jone plants in our orchard are dying (S.E. Asia is in record-setting drought), but my wife just stopped at a drugstore and picked up 18 bottles!

ETA: Oops. I just clicked Amazon: "Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock. "

Last edited by septimus; 01-31-2020 at 02:27 AM.
  #275  
Old 01-31-2020, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by steatopygia View Post
Per the Johns Hopkins site that blue infinity initially linked to. As of 1/30/2020 21:30 Eastern US time;

9776 cases

213 deaths (still all in China I believe)
So... that's a death rate of 2.2%, down from the initial 3%

Of course, many caveats with that - whether or not all infections are being captured in the data, in many cases the infections are new and it's not known how serious they'll become, etc., etc. but that's the direction I'd like that stat to go. Also consistent that initially it was the most severe cases seen and now we're capturing less severe instances of the virus.

Still spreading fast, though. Hope the containment measures being taken work.
  #276  
Old 01-31-2020, 04:11 AM
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I'm looking at a current headline that reads, "As the coronavirus spreads, fear is fueling racism and xenophobia". Here is the link:

http://www.kake.com/story/41635356/a...and-xenophobia

Diaspora communities and local authorities are preparing for this, with many trying to calm fear before it becomes hysteria. In France, the newspaper controversy sparked a social media campaign, with many French Chinese citizens using the hashtag #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus -- I am not a virus.

I saw in the news that some Chinese people living in Europe are actually carrying signs saying, "I am not a virus". Reminds me of the tragedy in France that sparked many people to proclaim, "I am not Charlie". That had something to do with the events of Jan. 7, 2015 concerning the newspaper "Charlie Hebdo" in Paris. For anyone who might suspect I chose the name "Charlie" in response to that, I chose this name long before that incident.

Some of you have advised me in private messages to try and relax and there is no reason to panic. I appreciate your kind words and thank you very much. Best wishes to you all.
  #277  
Old 01-31-2020, 06:11 AM
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I saw in the news that some Chinese people living in Europe are actually carrying signs saying, "I am not a virus". Reminds me of the tragedy in France that sparked many people to proclaim, "I am not Charlie". That had something to do with the events of Jan. 7, 2015 concerning the newspaper "Charlie Hebdo" in Paris. For anyone who might suspect I chose the name "Charlie" in response to that, I chose this name long before that incident.
In response to the Charlie Hebdo attack, people were declaring "I am Charlie," not "I am not Charlie." Clearly the "I am not a virus" shirts are related, but they declare a kind of opposing sentiment; the wearer is declaring no connection with the virus, whereas people claiming "I am Charlie" were declaring unity with (and support for) the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Has anyone here heard of Fah Talai Jone? This medicinal herb is available from Amazon, seems definitely good at fighting virus, and is touted for other purposes as well!

Our sister tells us to take it as protection from the coronavirus. Google News doesn't know about that yet — I get zero hits from "Fah Talai Jone coronavirus" but, as Hamlet said to Horatio, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Google, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

I'm sure I'll be laughed at here but, since Google tells me Fah Talai Jone may also prevent angina, I'll be taking it. The Fah Talai Jone plants in our orchard are dying (S.E. Asia is in record-setting drought), but my wife just stopped at a drugstore and picked up 18 bottles!

ETA: Oops. I just clicked Amazon: "Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock. "
Go ahead and stock up on Forsythia instead.
  #279  
Old 01-31-2020, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by steatopygia View Post
Per the Johns Hopkins site that blue infinity initially linked to. As of 1/30/2020 21:30 Eastern US time;

9776 cases

213 deaths (still all in China I believe)
Kind of surprising that the rate of increase of diagnosed cases has been so consistent. (Graph on the site above.) If only by virtue of wider deployment of testing capability and very high index of suspicion I would have expected the curve to be getting significantly steeper at this point. Instead the curve of diagnosed cases is merely a pretty straight line with the calculated mortality rate nevertheless decreasing. Huh. To me that reads like pretty dang effective containment and kudos deserved by the Chinese health system in particular.
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:09 PM
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I'm looking at a current headline that reads, "As the coronavirus spreads, fear is fueling racism and xenophobia". Here is the link:

http://www.kake.com/story/41635356/a...and-xenophobia
Good article (and sad situation).

Another recent episode was a cruise ship of 6000 people in Italy that was quarantined because a Chinese woman had a fever (story).
OK she had come from Hong Kong, so it was a non-zero risk, but still.

On the topic of Chinese eating weird stuff, as well as the good points the article mentions (that few Chinese eat these exotic meats, and it's all culturally relative anyway), one thing I'd add is this: the only reason eating cows or chickens doesn't give us novel viruses is because we have already caught most of them centuries ago
(although new pathogens still occasionally occur e.g. CJD), and live and die with them already.

Last edited by Mijin; 01-31-2020 at 12:10 PM.
  #281  
Old 01-31-2020, 01:16 PM
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To some degree evolutionary success for the virus is helped by decreased virulence as it adapts to the new host, shedding the features that make the new host more ill faster.
There's a fundamental flaw in your reasoning here. We're not necessarily concerned about what virulence phenotype is ultimately adaptive under natural selection for the virus, we're concerned about the probability that mutations give rise to a virulence phenotype in the first place, and how many humans that might kill. Evolutionary adaptation by natural selection occurs through differential surivival of different phenotypes, in other words differential death. A mutation that gives rise to an "extreme virulence" phenotype for the virus may ultimately be an evolutionary dead end for the virus, because it kills the host much too quickly, and the virus requires hosts to remain alive. But it's not much consolation if this process of natural selection for the non-virulent phenotype involves the death of 100 million humans!
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Old 01-31-2020, 02:19 PM
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There's a fundamental flaw in your reasoning here. We're not necessarily concerned about what virulence phenotype is ultimately adaptive under natural selection for the virus, we're concerned about the probability that mutations give rise to a virulence phenotype in the first place, and how many humans that might kill. Evolutionary adaptation by natural selection occurs through differential surivival of different phenotypes, in other words differential death. A mutation that gives rise to an "extreme virulence" phenotype for the virus may ultimately be an evolutionary dead end for the virus, because it kills the host much too quickly, and the virus requires hosts to remain alive. But it's not much consolation if this process of natural selection for the non-virulent phenotype involves the death of 100 million humans!
Well first of all, no. Differential viral "death" rate is not what determines how much a virus spreads or kills.

The point your are responding to is a very narrow one: are novel to humans viruses MORE likely to become more virulent in the near future after having crossed species than ones that have been in humans for a long while?

And the answer is very clearly NO. The selection pressure is greater on a novel to human virus to keeping hosts not only alive but out and about functioning in society. Balanced with having a high enough replication within the infected individual to be spraying some out there (which means a bit sick).

Yes it is very true that a virus with a fairly low mortality rate that infects millions will still cause hundreds of thousands of deaths - see seasonal influenza. And yes to the point that a pandemic with high absolute numbers of deaths is possible while that selection process occurs - see Spanish flu. But this is where the high mutation rate of coronaviruses plays both ways - there is a greater chance that it will mutate to a more "successful" less virulent form faster than a new influenza one. Harder to contain but less likely as virulent if it spreads. Still correct during that race with many infected many could die as the mortality rate drops from 2% to orders of magnitude less.

FYI here is an interesting bit discussing mutations in novel to human viruses.
Quote:
... outbreak-associated mutations do not have to increase viral replication or virulence. ... Mutations have been identified in the genomes of other zoonotic viruses, including MERS-CoV, that might also reduce virulence of the virus for humans. A single amino acid change in the ebolavirus glycoprotein has been suggested to increase replication and therefore transmission in humans. However subsequent studies showed that the change reduces virulence in animal models. It is interesting to consider that in all these cases, the selection for mutations that reduce virulence might prolong survival time of the host to allow transmission to others. Such a scenario is consistent with the fact that the strongest selection force on a viral genome is transmission to another host.
  #283  
Old 01-31-2020, 02:48 PM
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The point your are responding to is a very narrow one: are novel to humans viruses MORE likely to become more virulent in the near future after having crossed species than ones that have been in humans for a long while?
Has anyone argued that?
Because that's not what I have been saying. I have been saying that the chance of a newly emergent virus becoming more virulent is greater than the chance for an established virus. It's a comparison between two values.

If I had to WAG ballpark numbers, I'd guess the chance of influenza mutating a substantially more virulent strain in a given year is of the order of 1/100 and for a newly emergent virus something like 1/20 for the first year and then basically 1/100 after that.

And the blog you cite seems to have made a similar error, in that he is responding to someone raising the possibility of a dangerous new strain mutating by saying "[outbreak-associated mutations] do not have to increase viral replication or virulence". Well obviously not. But that's not what the Vice Minister said.

The reason newly emergent viruses have a greater risk because of the very different selection pressure on a newly emergent virus. I've given cites not only of the principles but of the objective fact that many recent virus outbreaks have indeed mutated to become more contagious within months I won't rehash the arguments again.
  #284  
Old 01-31-2020, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
Differential viral "death" rate is not what determines how much a virus spreads or kills.
I didn't say that. I said the mechanism of adaptation by natural selection is differential death. Yes, I was speaking to a narrow point - the fact that a highly virulent phenotype may not ultimately be adaptive for the virus is not necessarily what's important, since the effect on humans during the process of natural selection against that phenotype may be devastating.

Last edited by Riemann; 01-31-2020 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:19 PM
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Delta, United and American airlines and suspending flights to China until the end of March...
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:36 PM
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Has anyone argued that?
Because that's not what I have been saying. I have been saying that the chance of a newly emergent virus becoming more virulent is greater than the chance for an established virus. It's a comparison between two values. .
And what I am saying is that, if anything, the exact opposite is true. By far.

Going from low virulence to higher virulence through a new mutation given the numbers of influenza viruses out there happens every so often. See H1N1 a few years back. It will happen again and is a reason for huge concern.

Going from a state of maladaptive relatively higher virulence (because in new species and not yet selected for more "fit" lower virulence) to more fit lower virulence is OTOH fairly likely, given enough mutation opportunities to select from. OTOH even with lots of opportunities, trending to the less fit state, and farther from the mean for the viral family, is improbable. A novel to humans virus is most likely at its most virulent as it crosses over and decreases from there. A less virulent virus though may cause many more deaths than a more virulent one ... potentially a much higher n to work on.

Reimann, obviously agreed to that second narrow point but it wasn't the narrow point under discussion.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:47 PM
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Lots of masks on the flight today to Taipei, 99% of which are worn by Asians.

Most of the masks are the square, loose-fitting type although there are a few of the better ones.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:48 PM
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Just to be clear: those masks don't actually do anything, right?
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
And what I am saying is that, if anything, the exact opposite is true. By far.

Going from low virulence to higher virulence through a new mutation given the numbers of influenza viruses out there happens every so often. See H1N1 a few years back. It will happen again and is a reason for huge concern.

Going from a state of maladaptive relatively higher virulence (because in new species and not yet selected for more "fit" lower virulence) to more fit lower virulence is OTOH fairly likely, given enough mutation opportunities to select from. OTOH even with lots of opportunities, trending to the less fit state, and farther from the mean for the viral family, is improbable. A novel to humans virus is most likely at its most virulent as it crosses over and decreases from there. A less virulent virus though may cause many more deaths than a more virulent one ... potentially a much higher n to work on.
If we assume that in general lower virulence is better for the virus, then yes, on average viruses will tend to become less virulent over time. But you're looking at this only from the perspective of the evolving virus, and again - that isn't necessarily what matters. What matters is the probability that a dangerously virulent mutant phenotype will arise, and what effect that will have on the human population.

The virulence phenotype for a virus depends on how well the human immune system is able to cope with it. At the same mutation rate, my a priori expectation would be a much higher variance in virulence phenotypes for a novel virus that the human immune system has never been exposed to in any prior form. Higher variance implies a higher probability for a mutation with the optimally worst possible level of virulence for human fatality. Sure, there might be strong natural selection against that phenotype from the virus's perspective, reducing its virulence over time - but that natural selection that would be carried out by killing a vast number of hosts.

I'm open to seeing data that proves my a priori expectation wrong, of course. But I'm not convinced by your argument on theoretical grounds.

Last edited by Riemann; 01-31-2020 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:03 PM
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Just to be clear: those masks don't actually do anything, right?
Used carefully and properly... yes, they can reduce the spread of some illnesses, particularly if they are worn by the person with the sneezing/coughing/runny nose, capturing mucus and droplets of moisture.

Used improperly, they can actually become a vector for transmission - you have to handle something that is potentially contaminated carefully, and then carefully wash your hands afterward.

Last edited by Broomstick; 01-31-2020 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:05 PM
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The news coverage is really not helpful here. Does a day-by-day count of "number of infected" and "number of deaths" really tell the laymen in the Western world anything meaningful at all?

I mean ... no one really expects the virus to be contained to just a few tens of thousands worldwide and only kill, say, 1,000 people and then just STOP. Right?
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:25 PM
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The Trump administration on Friday declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak and said it would take the extraordinary step of barring entry to the United States of foreign nationals who have traveled to China.

Not sure my wife is going to be able to fly to the US on 5 Feb as planned on Delta. She's a green card holder
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
The news coverage is really not helpful here. Does a day-by-day count of "number of infected" and "number of deaths" really tell the laymen in the Western world anything meaningful at all?

I mean ... no one really expects the virus to be contained to just a few tens of thousands worldwide and only kill, say, 1,000 people and then just STOP. Right?
I'm not sure where you're going with that.

Yes, the figures do give some information, like that the death rate is not going up, meaning original estimates of how deadly this infection is are correct. Number of new infections can give an indication of whether or not containment tactics are effective (effective does not mean new infections stop immediately, of course). In a week or two we'll be getting more information on average length of illness, how rapidly people recover, and so forth.

Laypeople will not get as much useful information as experts, but these statistics are not meaningless.

Last edited by Broomstick; 01-31-2020 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
The news coverage is really not helpful here. Does a day-by-day count of "number of infected" and "number of deaths" really tell the laymen in the Western world anything meaningful at all?

I mean ... no one really expects the virus to be contained to just a few tens of thousands worldwide and only kill, say, 1,000 people and then just STOP. Right?


The SARS virus did more or less what are describing - it infected about 8000 and killed about 1000, iirc.

This virus seems to spread more easily from person to person, but to have a lower death rate. The inverse relationship is what you would expect - an individual infected with a really deadly virus won't be going out and about infecting people.
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
If we assume that in general lower virulence is better for the virus, then yes, on average viruses will tend to become less virulent over time. But you're looking at this only from the perspective of the evolving virus, and again - that isn't necessarily what matters. What matters is the probability that a dangerously virulent mutant phenotype will arise, and what effect that will have on the human population.

The virulence phenotype for a virus depends on how well the human immune system is able to cope with it. At the same mutation rate, my a priori expectation would be a much higher variance in virulence phenotypes for a novel virus that the human immune system has never been exposed to in any prior form. Higher variance implies a higher probability for a mutation with the optimally worst possible level of virulence for human fatality. Sure, there might be strong natural selection against that phenotype from the virus's perspective, reducing its virulence over time - but that natural selection that would be carried out by killing a vast number of hosts.

I'm open to seeing data that proves my a priori expectation wrong, of course. But I'm not convinced by your argument on theoretical grounds.
There is of course no data supporting your a priori expectation ... nor any explicitly disproving it. I really am open to seeing data that proves my expectation wrong as well.

Still I'll try this argument on you:

The conditions that led to SARS, 2019 nCoV, and MERS, are not new in the past two decades. One reasonably presumes that coronoviruses have crossed over from animals many times in the past, likely with the same frequency of maybe once or twice a decade.

What can we learn from the historic past epidemics caused by these novel coronaviruses crossover events?

Mainly that they never occurred, at least to any degree that was noticed as other than background noise in the crush of other viral illnesses. No doubt some had some virulence on crossing but we have no Spanish Flu sort of coronavirus event known in history.

If your a priori assumption was correct we should have had quite a few. Why have we not?

No question that the modern world with global travel amplifies risks. The serious containment efforts are very warranted. The reality of a new virus with even a 0.2% ... or less ... mortality rate, spreading quickly across millions, is scary enough. But there is NO reason to think that this virus is at any greater risk to become increasingly virulent than established viruses have, and every reason to believe the opposite.

Last edited by DSeid; 01-31-2020 at 08:18 PM.
  #296  
Old 01-31-2020, 09:05 PM
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11,800+ infected, 279+ dead.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 01-31-2020 at 09:06 PM. Reason: fixed coding (of course!)
  #297  
Old 01-31-2020, 10:58 PM
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Not sure if this is behind the paywall but a really good analysis from NY Times on How Bad Will the Coronavirus Outbreak Get?

I would be leary of comparing infection rates vs SARS. Reporting during SARS was not nearly as complete or timely as now. I had a dorm friend from college that worked for the CDC in China, and went into hot zones of the break out. They found dozens of peasants that had symptoms or had recovered, but were not officially reported because there had not been definitive testing done on them. The local officials wouldn't report someone with pneumonia like symptoms if they had not been officially tested and diagnosed. Net net, if you had crappy reporting during SARS (which is generally accepted) and decent reporting now, there will be a big gap.
  #298  
Old 02-01-2020, 01:00 AM
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The Trump administration on Friday declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak and said it would take the extraordinary step of barring entry to the United States of foreign nationals who have traveled to China.

Not sure my wife is going to be able to fly to the US on 5 Feb as planned on Delta. She's a green card holder
It looks like she needs to fly to another country first and stay there for 14 days and then fly to the U.S. [the restriction is to foreign nationals who have traveled to China in the last 14 days]
  #299  
Old 02-01-2020, 11:28 AM
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No.
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The American restrictions, announced on Friday, exempt immediate family members of American citizens and permanent residents.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/01/w...rus-china.html

So it looks like she can do it.
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Old 02-01-2020, 03:43 PM
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Um... maybe.

Keep in mind that there's a group of nearly 200 American citizens now under a 14 day quarantine when originally they were told 3 days. Not saying that's going to happen to her, but it might be a good idea to keep travel plans flexible.
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