Viral Load

…or, as I called it a few days back, dosage, gets a more technical examination here (the linked article, by the way, is very dense reading, but I urge everyone to plow through it anyway.  You may learn something that prevents you from getting infected).  A sample:

What evidence do we have that viral load matters?

Three classes of evidence seem strong.

The first is that we have a strong mechanism story we can tell. Viruses take time to multiply. When the immune system detects a virus it responds. If your initial viral load is low your immune system gets a head start, so you do better.

The second category is the terrible outcomes in health care workers on the front lines. Those who are dealing with the crisis first hand are dealing with lots of intense exposures to the virus. When they do catch it, they are experiencing high death rates. High viral load is the only theory I know about so far for why this is the case. Their cases are presumably handled at least as well as others, in terms of detection, testing, treatment and what the infected do themselves. The only other issue I can think of is that they might be reluctant to rest given how urgently their help is needed.

The third category is historical precedents.

Parents infected their children with what they hoped was exactly the minimum dose [of smallpox] required to get them sick enough to develop antibodies and gain immunity. Sometimes this went wrong and the child would get sick. Thus this form of inoculation was dangerous and 1%-2% of patients died. But of those who got smallpox infections in other ways, 20%-30% of patients died. Those rates are well established.

I should point out that Doc Russia, who as an ER doctor has been treating Chinkvirus patients almost daily, fully expected to catch the virus himself, but so far [crossing fingers]  hasn’t.  All I can think of is that because his hospitals (he works in several) don’t have that many infectees compared to those in, say, London or New York, his aggregate exposure is low;  that, his age outside the at-risk group, plus his fanatical adherence to commonsense protective measures, has probably kept him well.  Which leads to the other major point in the above linked article:

The default model is that the longer and more closely you interact with an infected person, especially a symptomatic infected person, the larger your viral load.

In-household infections are presumed to be high viral load, as in the case of measles. So would be catching the infection while treating patients.

Most out-of-household infections that aren’t health care related are presumed to be low viral load. Anything outdoors is probably low viral load. Most methods that involve surfaces are probably low viral load. Infection via the air from someone there half an hour ago, to the extent this is a thing, is low viral load. Quick interactions with asymptomatic individuals are probably low viral load.

I should point out that the above are observations based on admittedly-poor data, but as we know that the level of dosage/viral load is critical in other diseases (measles, smallpox, SARS etc.), it’s not a bad deduction to assume that it’s true also of the Chinkvirus.

As with all decisions in life, the key to decision-making is risk assessment and odds-calculation.  Use all the above accordingly, as you plan your daily life.

Mandatory

A couple days ago I went to the supermarket to top up our supplies of various necessities (you know:  cleaning products, milk, vegetables, chocolate, etc.) and had two different experiences.

Firstly, there was Kroger, which was busy, but basically allowed one to walk in, shop around and keep a “safe” distance from other customers.

At Central Market, there was a long line outside the store, each customer standing at a “social distance” from each other, and only being allowed to enter the store at three-minute intervals.  (Thank gawd it was a cool day [45F];  had it been Dallas mid-summer broil [100F++], I wouldn’t have stayed.)

At both stores, I estimated that face masks were being worn by about 50%-60% of all customers, in both stores (I not one of them).  And I have to confess that I felt as though I should have worn one —  even though Plano’s Chinkvirus infection rate is tiny, and the death toll less than a rounding error.

So as much as I have railed against the fucking lockdown and accompanying regs, I find myself curiously conflicted by this little piece of officialdom:

All persons shall wear facial coverings before they enter any indoor facility besides their residence, any enclosed open space, or while outdoors when the person is unable to maintain a six-foot distance from another person at all times.

I have to say that of all the stupid Gummint shit that has taken place recently, and loath as I am to ascribe any kind of sense to Southern California governments in general, this regulation actually makes a great deal of sense to me.  I know that face masks are not perfectly efficient, but they do work from a logical perspective in that they prevent sneezes and coughs from spraying aerosol germs all over the damn place.  It’s not perfect, but it is also a good prophylactic device — and the old “perfection is the enemy of the good” warning definitely applies here.

So the next time I go out on a shopping trip, I’ll be wearing a face mask from my Grab ‘N Go stash, and at all times in the future.  And yes, I already carry a bunch of steri-wipes in my pocket, and clean my hands and touching-surfaces obsessively.  All that plus our already-low COVID infection rate should suffice to keep me safe.  Me, in a face mask?

I’ll have to take a lesson from one of our elected Texas politicians…

…after all, she does have a BA from Yale and a law degree from U. of Virginia.  Or I can just go for a full-face cover:

Enough Already

Via somebody else, I see a couple of pleasing statistics at ZeroHedge (my emphasis):

Jurgen Brauer, chief economist at Small Arms Analytics, told Bloomberg News, that handgun sales increased 91.1% year-over-year, per Brauer’s analysis, and long-gun sales were up 73.6%.

Well, they’re pleasing statistics for me ;  for some others, not so much:

Governor Ralph Northam (D) signed legislation Friday creating universal background checks in Virginia and limiting law-abiding Virginians to one handgun purchase per month.
Northam’s office announced his signature on Senate Bill 70 / House Bill 2, creating the universal checks and thereby outlawing private gun sales.
He signed Senate Bill 69 / House Bill 812 resurrecting Virginia’s “one-handgun-a-month rule to help curtail stockpiling of firearms and trafficking.”

So… let’s just say ad arguendum  that this were to happen nationwide (I know, I know;  but run with me on this one).  Now we’d be faced with a situation where private gun sales are outlawed, you can’t buy more than one at a time, and if gun dealers were the only sales outlet, a simple order of mass denial at the poxy NICS would prevent any sales, at all.

But why Kim, you may ask, is government so afraid of all this?  ZeroHedge gives this simple and succinct reason:

It’s only matter of time before this lockdown of American — leaving citizens jobless, broke, and without options — becomes the flashpoint that leads to an explosion of civil unrest and violent crime.

So as the title of this post suggests, it’s time to end this sanitation theater, and let Americans go back to work.

And it’s not just commerce I’m talking about.  We also need to start dismantling the mechanisms that federal and state governments have installed (starting with this bunch of assholes) that have enabled them to deprive citizens of their liberty, their ability to work, and (in some places) their ability to gather the means of self-defense.

Here’s a quote from the late- and much-missed Joseph Sobran on just this topic:

“By today’s standards King George III was a very mild tyrant indeed. He taxed his American colonists at a rate of only pennies per annum. His actual impact on their personal lives was trivial. He had arbitrary power over them in law and in principle but in fact it was seldom exercised. If you compare his rule with that of today’s U.S. Government you have to wonder why we celebrate our independence…”

George III would never have contemplated arresting Americans for walking in parks, going out to dinner, selling the “wrong” merchandise or swimming alone in the ocean.  Never in a million years would he have shut down fish markets, outlawed the sales of seed, or spied on our religious observances.   Yet our post-Revolutionary government is doing all that to us — and, apparently, without much public resistance because “it’s for our own good”.

We need to get back to work, and tell the government to fuck off and leave us alone.  Or else.

Not Grasshoppers

From Shooting Times:

Between private conversations with firearm, ammunition and optic manufacturers over the past two weeks, along with public information disseminated by major gunmakers, I am fairly certain a major disruption in the supply chain for those products and likely many more is coming, and coming soon.

Read the whole thing.

And this, my children (he explained for the thousandth time), is why we gun owners need to have not only a plentiful supply of ammo, but also of guns.

Ant and Grasshopper story (executive summary):  buy and lay in stocks during Times Of Plenty, so that when the Lean Times come busting in through the front door, you don’t have to beg for anything from anyone.

This is as true (or more so) for guns as it is for any other household product.

Quote Of The Day

From this guy:

“[Preppers] are not the ones who are causing shortages of anything. It’s the mental midgets and digital deadbeats who have been face-down in social media slop – buried in political bullshit and being led around by their clickmasters – instead of learning to look at life realistically, assessing options for an uncertain future and then pre-planning accordingly, that are to blame.”

Without sounding like a closeted Lefty:  I don’t know a single person who has been panic-buying and rushing from store to store like a maniac, looking for toilet paper.

Let me rephrase that.  Everyone I know has had pretty much all they need to survive a couple-three weeks of enforced isolation without having to buy anything more than a few products, none in “bulk”.

Long, long ago I made the following statement:

“I don’t just want gun rights.  I want everything that goes along with it:  individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance, self-restraint and civic responsibility… I want the whole bloody thing.”

Nowadays, the “self-reliance” part of that statement is more relevant than ever, and if I’ve done even a little to foster that, then it’s job done.

Flashback

Britain starts to panic:

A food policy expert has warned a food disaster could be imminent unless the Government implements rationing. Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University in London, has written a letter to Boris Johnson asking him to ‘initiate a health-based food rationing scheme to see the country through this crisis’.
He wrote to the Prime Minister ‘out of immediate concern about the emerging food crisis’ and in the letter described public messaging about food supply as ‘weak and unconvincing’.
His warning comes after shoppers across the country have been met with empty shelves as panic-buying takes hold.

Back when I was running a now-defunct supermarket chain’s loyalty program in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire (Grand Union, if anyone out there remembers them), we had a common problem with “hot” items.

Often, our buyers got such good deals from manufacturers from bulk orders that our shelf retail prices were better than the wholesale price offered by distributors to local grocery stores and bodegas.  So the small-store owners would descend on our supermarkets and buy up all the sale items, to resell them in their own stores.  Nothing wrong with that, of course — except that it took stock away from our “regular” loyal customers, who typically accounted for 70% of total sales and close to 90% of gross profit.

So I put an end to all that.  Whenever the buyers told me about their hot price discounts (which they had to, as I was also in charge of Advertising), I would do two things:  make the low price available to loyalty card holders only, and then limit the number of items at that price to two or three per day per card.  Result:  we sold the same amount of product, only it was spread across a larger number of customers.

And I designed a sub-system for item purchase limits that automatically instituted the policy whenever the daily sales rate started accelerating past a certain velocity.  So if there were storm warnings and people started to stock up on, say, batteries, the in-store stock was quite- or nearly sufficient and would-be profiteers couldn’t play their reindeer games.

I did all this, by the way, back in the mid-1990s, so it’s not like it’s a new situation.

As I look now at the panic-buying of toilet paper and hand sanitizers, and the resulting empty shelves thereof, I can’t help wondering why all grocery stores haven’t been doing that now.  I know that not all chains (Wal-Mart especially) have loyalty programs, but most of the big ones do.  Doesn’t say much for their planning, does it?

And by the way, there’s also an answer for chains who don’t  have loyalty programs:  just institute price escalation (instead of -reduction) for multiple purchases:  first two items, $1.99 each, third or more items, $8.99 each.  With today’s technology, the software change should take about an hour to implement.

Food logistics is not something government should get involved in, despite the frantic appeals of “food policy” professors.