Sorry Doomers It’s a Nothingburger Part Two: Boston Poop Shows The Virus Is Not Very Deadly

I would have gone for “Electric Boogaloo”, but the title is long enough as it is. Just as in my previous post, in today’s post I’m once again going to demonstrate to you that this virus is far less deadly than the average Joe in the street seems to think. People have a number of motives to assume this virus is really deadly. Smart people were afraid of this virus in January, when hospitals in Wuhan were full of patients. Doomers jumped on it because they’re depressed enough to want the world to end and too impatient to wait for global warming to end the world. “Liberal progressives” (they’re neither) are eager to jump on it because Trump was initially trying to argue it’s not very dangerous, based on poor arguments.

But first, we need to start with some other good news. In the previous post I pointed out that the wildcard to me remained indigenous American populations and obese populations. Indigenous Americans have lived for thousands of years without large herds of animals and seem to be more vulnerable as a consequence to respiratory infections that are mild in old world populations. There was one piece of evidence I hadn’t yet considered however.

The above map demonstrates which parts of the world vaccinate everyone with a live mycobacterium strain. When you’re exposed to this live vaccine, it causes a peculiar shift in your immune system, that results in less inflammation in your body for the rest of your life. With the novel coronavirus, the deaths tend to be people whose own immune system ended up damaging their heart and their lungs. Scientists are increasingly convinced that the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis protects you against the novel coronavirus. In the above map, you see one country in South America in category B, the category of nations that used this vaccine in the past but no longer do. That nations is Ecuador, the same nation that has horrifying footage of people wandering with the bodies of their dead parents in the street.

However, as with Wuhan and Lombardy before Ecuador, there are two possibilities when you see horrifying footage and apparent mass death: Either this is a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the world (aka the “two weeks behind Italy meme” every numbnut on Reddit parrots), or the footage I’m looking at is a statistical outlier for reasons I don’t yet understand. So far, we’ve continually seen the latter apply.

Unlike what the fearmongerers want you to believe, Ecuador is not the future of COVID-19 in third world countries. Rather, Ecuador is the only third world country unlucky enough to have stopped vaccinating its population against Tuberculosis. You’ve seen people on the Internet complain “how is it possible people in Russia/Turkey/Indonesia/Japan are not dropping dead like flies already!?!? Clearly these governments must all be covering up how deadly this virus is!”. Well, part of the answer is that unlike most of Western Europe, Oceania and North America, these places still use the BCG vaccine.

If you (foolishly) think I’m somehow wrong about the low mortality rate of this virus, this should still give you reason for optimism. A new corona vaccine would take much longer to develop, test and produce up to scale than the BCG vaccine, which could simply be given to elderly and healthcare workers and allow the rest of us to move on with our lives within months, rather than years.

If your politicians keep threatening and intimidating you on TV by saying stuff like “things will never be the way they were before batsoupflu, you will live in this dystopian nightmare forever”, then you need to realize that’s not because this virus is somehow insanely dangerous, but rather, it’s because they get a hardon from the thought of locking you up inside your homes.

Boston poop delivers another piece of the puzzle

The coronavirus can enter your gastrointestinal system. As a consequence, we can measure the viral RNA in your stool. If we have numbers that show how much viral RNA is in the average fecal matter of a COVID-19 patient and if we know how much poop humans produce per day, then we can use those numbers to get a rough estimate of how many people in a population are infected with the virus, based on how much COVID-19 RNA we find in sewage. Well, have I got some news for you. Some guys working at a small biotech startup went ahead and did just that.

They show us a number of things. To start with, they mention:

All four samples from before the first known US SARS-CoV-2 case were negative for virus.

In other words, we can probably rule out the theory that it has been circulating since long before it showed up in Wuhan.

More importantly however, they mention:

Estimates of viral load in stool from positive patients are still a matter of uncertainty, but at least one recent publication suggests levels as high as 600,000 viral genomes per mL of fecal material (12). This number would suggest roughly 5% of all fecal samples in the treatment facility catchment were positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the March 18 – 25 period, a number much higher than the 0.026% confirmed for the state of Massachusetts (a similar prevalence is obtained using individual counties represented by the wastewater treatment facility’s catchment or state-wide estimates) on March 25.

So, if we take their cautious and conservative assumptions, we’re looking at the mother of all icebergs: Urban Massachusetts had 200 times more COVID-19 cases than were formally diagnosed, as early as mid March! This of course fits what I have said before, that most people get the virus but get symptoms that are so mild that we never really hear about them.

I should stress however, that these guys are using some very conservative assumptions. They assume that no viral RNA is degraded by the time they measure it. They also assume that no viral RNA stays stuck in the poop and thus doesn’t show up in the sewage water they’re measuring. Most importantly however, they’re operating from the assumption that anyone who is infected with COVID-19, releases as much viral RNA in his poop as confirmed infected people do. I think this assumption is unjustified, if you have a mild case, you’re going to be releasing less viral RNA in your poop than people with severe infections do.

With their very conservative assumptions, they arrived at 5% of people infected by mid-March. If you think some viral RNA degrades before they manage to measure it, if you think some virus material stays stuck in the poop, or think that most people have less viral RNA in their poop than confirmed patients do, the iceberg merely grows bigger than the 200-fold iceberg you’re now looking at. This estimate fits what I’ve said earlier, namely that Madrid has already reached herd immunity.

It also fits another data point I need to mention, that excess number of people reporting flu like symptoms suggested 10 million symptomatic people in the United States by mid-March. If you assume those people generally live in densely populated internationally connected cities, then a 5% infection rate in Massachusetts in mid-March sounds very reasonable.

So how come we’re only starting to see deaths climbing in Massachusetts by now? A number of reasons. The first people to be infected, are young twenty-somethings in overpopulated city centers whose roommate just got back from abroad. By the time grandma who lives in a rural county gets infected at her bridge club, it’s weeks later. By the time grandma dies from the infection, we’re almost three weeks further down the line. By the time her body is tested, COVID-19 is found and her death is included in the statistics, we’re another few days further down the line.

In addition, there’s another thing to note: If you don’t look for COVID-19, you won’t find it. If grandma visited her grandson in early March, got infected and then did actually die from the virus in Mid-March, would we have known? The United States wasn’t really testing people. Similarly, at this point some people are being included in the statistics as COVID-19 deaths, regardless of whether it was COVID-19 that actually killed them.

Everyone has already figured out it’s not a big killer

At this point, everyone whose opinion matters realizes that this is not a very lethal virus, but average Joe is still unaware. The projection used by the United States government was revised downwards a few days ago, to 81,766 deaths by August 2020, down from 93,531 deaths in their previous version. They’re also no longer expecting overloaded ICU’s in most of the United States, since their recent update. They now realize they have more ventilators than they’ll need.

If it wasn’t obvious yet, 80,000 deaths, is roughly twice a typical American flu season. Yes, America has had the greatest unemployment spike since the Great Depression, because of an unusually heavy flu season. There’s one difference with the flu season though: The flu season leads to 600 dead American children in a typical year. This is the kind of scientific scandal, where you have to start worrying that epidemiologists who were preaching hell and damnation is coming may start trying to cover their tracks.

In Europe, the first countries are beginning to end the lockdown measures. Denmark wants to reopen the schools by April 15. The only data that can give us a definitive answer in regards to how deadly the virus is, is antibody data. In Germany, they’re now delaying the date at which the antibody results are announced. In one Italian town, 70% of people sampled had antibodies, but nobody outside of Italy is paying attention to it.

Ask yourself: Where are the results of the antibody tests? Why aren’t we hearing results from all around Europe and America by now? Why are the announcements in Germany being delayed? I’m going to make a daring suggestion: Besides damaging some people’s scientific careers, the results are potentially politically damaging. However, the longer it takes until we’re hearing numbers, the more embarassing it gets. At this point, they’re all busy with one priority: Saving face.

Remember, this is the kind of totalitarian nightmare the epidemiologists were shoving down your throat:

These are the sort of projections the politicians were told about behind closed doors by their epidemiologists. The end of Western liberal democracy. For two years or more, the epidemiologists would be a self-appointed technocracy that would start micromanaging your lives. You would be locked up in your house for three months, then you would be allowed to have birthday parties and go to the library again for two weeks, then they would lock you all up for three months again. Festivals? Ha! Forget about it. An entire generation of teenagers was supposed to grow up without any sort of meaningful social interaction. That’s the kind of nightmare they were preparing, so that grandma wouldn’t get the flu.

Here’s a hint: You’re not supposed to call the cops because your neighbor left his house twice on the same day. No my friend, you’re supposed to be angry right now. You’re supposed to be seething with rage, but you were fooled into barking up the wrong tree. You need to be demanding answers and you need to be demanding that people start taking responsibility for these projections that led us to destroy liberal democracy.

Based on the faulty assumptions by epidemiologists, your government copy-pasted lockdown measures that were initially implemented by a Maoist dictatorship that harvests the organs of prisoners and locks ethnic minorities up in concentration camps.

We here in Western Europe lived under a dictatorship up until seventy-five years ago. People gave their lives, so that we could leave our homes without having to fear for our lives and liberty. You’re supposed to be angry, when your government officials sully and disrespect that sacrifice, by violating the rule of law and Western liberal democratic principles.

Forget the unemployment and the suicides that will result from this madness for a moment, that stuff is bad enough. No, try envisioning a ninety-five year old Canadian who witnessed his buddies lose their lives within minutes of descending down the beaches of Normandy. What does he see when he turns on his TV? Soldiers patrolling the empty streets of Paris. People being fined for jogging. Are you not ashamed?

For me, this mass hysteria has been quite profitable so far. I would tell you what stock to buy before the normies figure out they were lied to, but I’m not going to tell you, because you’re not angry enough. Punch a hole in your wall, break your knuckles and perhaps we can talk.

3 Comments

  1. Castiglione is a very good example. It is super likely true that the town may have reached herd immunity. You can add the fact that those 60 blood donors were those out their list of 130 who accepted to be screened. The others declined because they either were positive/ill or living with a sick family member. But then you fail to mention the most important thing that comes out of the numbers that I posted here

    https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMotte/comments/fscavf/coronavirus_quarantine_thread_week_4/fmbosja/

    This means that for a town of 4.500 that as a population age/gender distribution perfectly in line with Italy (if not slightly younger for the over 85)
    https://imgur.com/gallery/8FmQHIv

    the deaths were already 80 and that would mean a mortality rate of at least 1.7%

    My point is. Be less biased on finding the real mortality rate, even if it´s 2%. I have estimated that it would mean 0.5% of the total amount of “life years left to live” in the entire population. It´s way bigger than a flue but it doesn´t justify the loss of freedoms and the advent of any total control/surveilance state. In my point of view, there´s no threshold. I for example don´t change my mind in the trolley dilemma if it comes to save 5 or 1.000 persons.

  2. I am not totally convinced, but I certainly hope you’re right. I see few contrarian takes about all this even on the edgy parts of the net that I frequent. In the streets there is a strange dreamlike feeling, only half of the people I see seem to be wearing masks and there seems to ambivalence but no anger. When do you expect that people will start seriously doubting the severity of the disease?

  3. I am afraid that after this madness most people will gladly accept some kind of dictatorship.
    There is only one country in Europe that is following some scientific scheme and it is Sweden. Rest of Europe did something first and then tried to find some scientific explanation for their action. Even United Kingdom has chosen model from Imperial College and not from Oxford or Cambridge.
    In Poland it is easiest to catch coronavirus in the hospital or nursery home, which confirms common opinion that hospital is by far more dangerous for most people than their house. Government is mostly concerned by joggers and cyclists.
    If the world leaders were that serious about other problems, such as global warming or air pollution, we would achieve enormous gains. People want to return to the normal (which means that upper class and upper-middle class will return to flying for the weekend or taking month-length oceanic cruise) on the expense of the working class. What is funny, if doomsayers are right we are fucked unless we have a vaccine, and it is quite unlikely that we will have a vaccine, so we should just think about damage control and not about returning to the normal via massive house arrests.

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