Saturday, March 28, 2020

Covid-19 Scenarios Updated 3/28/2020

Across my posts I've been trying to scenario plan based on the variables I see as most predictive of disease and social trajectories.

I identified several key disease variables:
1. Viral Susceptibility to UV

2. Viral Mutation rate

3. Human Susceptibility to Re-Infection due to limited antibody production and/or viral mutation

4. Human Susceptibility to Worsening Reactions with Subsequent Infections due to, for example, a "cytokine" storm unleashed by virus hijacked immune system

5. Human Response - e.g., support for people losing income, medical support, etc.


1. Viral susceptibility to UV is high but not sure if warm weather enough to beat it back

2. Viral mutation still unknown. The virus has been described as having a metaphoric "code-repair" function but an Icelandic study allegedly (I cannot verify as its non-English) has already documented minute changes in this minute RNA plague.

3. SOME GOOD NEWS Human susceptibility to reinfection - There is growing research that we produce enough antibodies to prevent infection short term (months at least) and that babies born to exposed mothers also have antibodies.  However, inflammation may result and make us more susceptible to other diseases.

4. UNKNOWN Worsening disease conditions either from later re-infection to mutated virus or to viral dormancy. Dormancy is another problem that is emerging as critically important.  Yet, we don't have full understanding of dormancy given we are in the early crisis stages of this disease outbreak.

5. HEROISM and a NATIONAL CLUSTERF_ _ _! The POLICY response in the US has been disastrous. However, the nation's health care providers (and supporters), food supply workers, sanitation workers, etc. have labored heroically. Maybe they should be the ones running national policy!  


Here is the best article I've read on the DORMANCY problem (like chicken pox and herpes):

Cherian, Dona & Chaudhary, S. B. (2020, March 10). Coronavirus: What does a COVID-19 recovery mean for you. Gulf News. Available


MedCram @MedCramVideos ·Mar 23 Coronavirus Quick Video Update 42 with Dr. Seheult: Immunity to COVID-19 and is Reinfection Possible?

Antibodies in infants born to mothers with covid-19 pneumonia. Journal of American Medicine (2020).

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Potentially Good News on Covid-19 - Animal Study Predicts Acquired Immunity

I saw this study last night:

COVID-19 Reinfection Not a Concern, Monkey Study Suggests March 23, 2020

Now, a collaboration of Chinese scientists has dug deeper into whether or not reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 is possible with a small monkey study. The team looked at whether or not non-human primates, rhesus macaques, can become reinfected with SARS-CoV-2. The work was posted on the preprint server bioRxiv on March 14 in a paper titled, “Reinfection could not occur in SARS-CoV-2 infected rhesus macaques.” Their conclusion: there may be no reason to worry about reinfection.

My worst case scenarios were based on the possibility of re-infection.

This study - albeit limited because of the small sample size and limitations of animal models - still offers considerable hope.

If we can acquire immunity, we will be able to manage the biological aspects of this challenge, albeit with great human cost and suffering.

Even that suffering can be reduced significantly with an adequate social response that prioritizes our collective well-being and especially assists our most vulnerable populations.

There is hope, if only we can get our collective act together.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Interesting Interview on Coronavirus Trajectories

Amy Gunia (March 23, 2020) Will the Coronavirus Ever Go Away? Here's What One of the WHO's Top Experts Thinks. Time, Available Yahoo:

...What do you think the coronavirus pandemic will look like six months from now?

I expect we will be emerging—still with disease in various parts of the world—but we should be emerging from a bad wave of this disease across a large swathe of the planet. The challenge is we’re going to be back into the flu season. And one of the big questions is, are we going to see a surge of it again at that period?

Looking further into the future, what do you anticipate? Will COVID-19 ever disappear?

... Are we going to get into a period of cyclical waves? Or are we going to end up with low level endemic disease that we have to deal with? Most people believe that that first scenario where this might disappear completely is very, very unlikely, it just transmits too easily in the human population, so more likely waves or low level disease.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

More Covid-19 Scenarios and a Universal Income

The Financial Times has a very good article covering a study produced by the UK's Imperial College modeling the covid-19 disease trajectory:
Chelsea Bruce-Lockhart, John Burn-Murdoch and Alex Barker (March 19 2020) The shocking coronavirus study that rocked the UK and US. The Financial Times,
This model predicts spring and fall (November) peaks for infection.

The model's full assumptions are not detailed in the FT article. Here is the link to the executive summary of the study

The lead researcher, Neil Ferguson, argues that HERD IMMUNITY is not going to work with this pandemic and that SUPPRESSION is the only option.

See additional discussion here:

That means that we as a society are going to have to figure out very fast how to make quarantine work without undue suffering and civil unrest.

Unfortunately, our "repressive" state apparatuses are too likely to invoke POLICING but what we need now is a UNIVERSAL INCOME to protect people from economic collapse.

We will descend into chaos if we don't provide sustenance and support for the people.


Most people will listen and respond to well-argued, well-substantiated reasoning when delivered by people that are trustworthy and are perceived as expert and well-intentioned.

Where is that crisis communication now? We need a lot more of it.

We must put into place NOW, while we can, the INFRASTRUCTURE that will allow us to make it through this trial.

Cooperation and mutual aid are key to our future.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

COVID-19 Scenarios

A few days ago I posted my predictions for coronavirus scenarios here.

Today, Yahoo has an interesting article on disease trajectory scenarios here:
Adriana Belmonte (19, March 2020). Coronavirus: Infectious disease expert details 3 scenarios for the U.S. Yahoo Finance

….How will the coronavirus play out in the U.S.? According to Penn State University infectious disease expert, Maciek Boni, it depends on which scenario the country finds itself in.

“One of them is the Chinese scenario, where we do put together social distancing, a measure that’s so extreme that we do manage to suppress it within a month,”

Boni said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. “But at that point, we’re not out of the woods yet and we don’t know what the endgame is, because when you lift those suppressive measures, the virus is able to come back.”

“Scenario two is if the virus is able to transmit successfully during the summer,” Boni explained, “then the current epidemic wave that we’re just at the beginning of — people are talking about this being over in a few weeks but it’s ... not almost over at all. So if the virus can transmit in the summer, we’re going to see an epidemic wave that lasts through the summer, possibly to the end of the summer.”

….Then there is scenario three: if the virus cannot transmit successfully during the summer. “We’ll see lower transmission in the summer, which would be really fortuitous for us, because it will give us time to prepare for the second wave that will come in the winter,” Boni said.

“It might start in October, November, when school gets back into session and when the winter turns down again,” he added. “And then we’d have a major epidemic wave the following winter. So it’s probably 12 months of hardship for all of us.”

The three variables I see as most predictive of infection are these:

1. Viral susceptibilities to UV radiation and mutation tendencies

2. Degree of human susceptibility to re-infection - especially when viewed in context of viral mutations

3. Nature of human biological responses to re-infection - do re-infections wear down immune system? Do re-infections result in worsening biological effects?


That said, the SOCIAL response by government, business, civil society and everyday people will by far have the greatest impact on outcomes.



Apoorva Mandavilli (Feb. 29, 2020). They recovered from the coronavirus. Were they infected again? The New York Times

Wan, Y., Shang, J., Sun, S., Jai, W., Chen, J., Geng, Q, He, L., Chen, Y., Wu, J., Shi, Z., Zhou, Y., Du, L., Li, F. (2020). Molecular mechanism for anti-body dependent enhancement of coronavirus. Journal of Virology, 94 (5) e02015-19; DOI: 10.1128/JVI.02015-19.

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Coronavirus Panic - Good News and Bad News

The good news is President Trump met with the nation's food producers/distributors and there is a plan to keep the food coming despite "unprecedented demand":
Fares, Melissa & Baertlein (2020, March 15). Factories shift operations in scramble to restock supermarket shelves. Reuters.

As the fast-spreading coronavirus continues to alarm consumers across Europe and the United States, Trump held a phone call on Sunday with 30 executives from grocery stores including’s Whole Foods, Target Corp (TGT.N), Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O) and Walmart Inc (WMT.N). Trump Administration official Larry Kudlow assured television news viewers that U.S. supply lines were “working pretty well.”
“The grocery supply chain is not going to shut down,” said Doug Baker, who leads crisis management for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the trade group representing food retailers and wholesalers.
“Manufacturers have also started allocating goods so they can ensure equal distribution across the country,” Baker said. U.S. retail giants such as Walmart Inc, Publix and Kroger Co (KR.N) have set restrictions on purchases of toilet paper, Lysol sanitizing wipes and other in-demand products.
Walmart, which gets more than half its U.S. revenue from grocery sales, has given store managers authorization to manage their inventory, “including the discretion to limit sales quantities on items that are in unusually high demand,”

The bad news is that some people feel that vulnerable life is not worth protecting:
Nick Brown, Brad Brooks (2020, March 16). Fear and loathing bloom as American tempers fray in coronavirus crisis. Reuters.

...The most concerned include parents of young children with severe health conditions. Among them are the Raatz family of Oviedo, Florida.

Their 8-year-old daughter, Ella, has multiple risk factors because of a neurodevelopmental disorder, epilepsy and a primary immunodeficiency.

“People just don’t seem to care about people who might be vulnerable,” said Becky Raatz, Ella’s mother. “Some people are not taking it seriously – when I see the photos of the people cramming into the bars, I can’t believe it.”
It may be that people cramming into bars are simply denying their own mortality, but in doing so they are inadvertently increasing risks for us all.

Of course, I understand why some people see such a gap between the response and the alleged risks, which often are trivialized as less than 1-2 percent of infected.

However, the case of Italy has shown us very clearly a major problem arising with the pandemic: Hospitals become overwhelmed and ordinary services disrupted by onslaughts of very sick patients.

Flatten the curve if you can by implementing social distancing.

Wishing you all well....

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Time to "Hunker Down More" to Flatten the Curve #Covid19

Time to "hunker down more":
Chiacu, D., & Shalal, A. (2015, March 2020). U.S. coronavirus death toll hits 62 as Americans urged to hunker down more. Reuters,

“I think Americans should be prepared that they are going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Elderly people and those with underlying conditions need to be especially cautious.

....Asked whether he thought U.S. authorities should impose a 14-day lockdown to try to stop the spread of the virus, Fauci said: “You know, I would prefer (that) as much as we possibly could. I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for over reacting.”
It's on my agenda. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus Blues and Charting Our Way Forward

We finally got the news that our university classes are going online for two weeks, after which the situation will be re-assessed.

I was glad to receive the email and I think that re-assessing the situation in 2 weeks is entirely reasonable.

I'm fortunate that my job can be shifted online.

What do the next two weeks hold?

The coronavirus charts for cases of infection show exponential growth so a few cases can multiply into thousands quickly.

You can read the latest statistics here

If you prefer established media, here is the WSJ's report from yesterday:

I see several likely scenarios:
Scenario 1: Personal Impacts Moderate to High - Infrastrucural Impacts Manageable - This scenario is based on Angela Merkel's comments that up to 70 percent of Germany could be impacted, one can imagine the virus impacting the global population, with substantial but limited effects, that do not disrupt infrastructures significantly, although do present deep personal losses.

Scenario 1A: Same scenario as above but with a second impact in the fall when the virus returns, as they are inclined to do. The negative effects could accumulate under this scenario.

Scenario 2: Personal Impacts High - Infrastructural Impacts Disruptive - This scenario is based on the Italian case and also, longer-term, the problems of re-infection with worse illness - see my discussion here:

I'm collecting data to see which scenario is most probable, but strongly believe that the case of South Korea demonstrates that effective policy and risk communication can prevent emergence of Scenario 2.

That is, the most likely scenario is a direct outcome of our governmental, community and individual competences in managing the crisis.

Government must be pro-active, transparent, and responsive to human needs and civil liberties.

Communities must also be pro-active, transparent, and responsive.

The time for both self-care and caring for your community is upon us.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Fukushima Daiichi Common Spent Fuel Building Leaking Steam/Gas?

I've posted before that the real story at Fukushima Daiichi has been the ongoing contamination of the ocean as the underground river and water injections at Daiichi lead to unstoppable "leakage" of highly contaminated water into the ocean.

TEPCO has to inject water into the reactor buildings because, nine years after the disaster, the fuel is still so hot that it must be cooled or TEPCO risks radioactive fires.

TEPCO has removed spent fuel from building 4 and some of that was re-located in the common spent fuel pool.

You can see the common spent fuel pool in the screenshot below - Look in the corner where you see what appears to be"steam" rising 3/9/2020 at 6:42 AM:

Three minutes later, it is mostly gone

It is possible this "steam" is smoke from off-screen machinery but the plant has been quite steamy looking over the last couple of weeks.

The emissions started becoming more visible mid-February after an earthquake in the area:

The emissions have visibly worsened since then, although they are still far less than during the first few years.


About 6 months ago, Japan ended its maternal health survey from Fukushima because they claimed there to be no health effects:
Fukushima Pref. to end maternal health survey as no effects of radiation found 5:12 pm, August 21, 2019 The Yomiuri Shimbun

Relatively little research has been conducted on animal life in Japan and its coastal waters after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster but anomalies have already been identified.

One study found a marked decline in bird abundance in Fukushima.[i]

Spiders, grasshoppers, dragonflies, butterflies, bumblebees and cicadas also suffered population declines since the accident.[ii]

Another study found cesium contamination in Japanese macaques, ranging across time from a high of 25,000 Becquerels per kilogram in 2011 to 2,000 in 2012.[iii]

Yet another study published in 2015 found chromosomal malformations in wild mice caught in Fukushima Prefecture, with young mice more adversely impacted than older mice.[iv]

Research conducted by Japan’s National Institute of Radiological Sciences on fir trees near the Fukushima Daiichi plant found significant increases in morphological defects corresponding to radiation exposure doses.[v]

Taken together, these studies point to increased biological risks for flora and fauna living in radiation contaminated zones.


Meanwhile, death from cardio-vascular disease was up 25% in Colorado between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016, which received considerable fukushima fallout according to the US Geological survey (

And the proportion of patients diagnosed w/ colorectal cancer under age 50 rose from 10% in 2004 to 12.2% in 2015

And then there was the California spike in cases of childhood autism: Majia's Blog: Sharp Increase in Autism Rate Among California ...

Can these US increases be attributed to Fukushima entirely, or even at all?

No - correlation doesn't prove causation so there is no "proving" any of the above posited relationships to Fukushima fallout, especially when looking at factoids in isolation.

However, when you consider these cases as part of a series of mass mortality events in animals and increased health ailments in humans a theme of decreasing ecological and biological health emerges quite clearly:

You can read more about the relationship I posit between human health effects and ionizing radiation here:

Majia's Blog: Ionizing Radiation and Germ Cell Damage: Link to Autism?

[i] A. Moller, A. Hagiwara, S. Matsui, S. Kasahara, K. Kawatsu, I. Nishiumi, H. Suzuki, K. Ueda, T. and A. Mousseau (2012) ‘Abundance of Birds in Fukushima as Judged from Chernobyl’, Environmental Pollution, 164, 36–39.

[ii] A. Moller, I. Nishiumi, H. Suzuki, K. Ueda, T. A. Mousseau (2013) ‘Differences in Effects of Radiation of Animals in Fukushima and Chernobyl’, Ecological Indicators, 24, 75–81.

[iii] S. Kimura and A. Hatano (4 October 2012) ‘Scientists in Groundbreaking Study on Effects of Radiation in Fukushima’, The Asahi Shimbun,, date accessed 6 October 2012.

[iv] Yoshihisa Kubota, Hideo Tsuji, Taiki Kawagoshi, Naoko Shiomi, Hiroyuki Takahashi, Yoshito Watanabe, Shoichi Fuma, Kazutaka Doi, Isao Kawaguchi, Masanari Aoki, Masahide Kubota, Yoshiaki Furuhata, Yusaku Shigemura, Masahiko Mizoguchi, Fumio Yamada, Morihiko Tomozawa, Shinsuke H. Sakamoto, and Satoshi Yoshida Chromosomal Aberrations in Wild Mice Captured in Areas Differentially Contaminated by the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2015, 49 (16), pp 10074–10083. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01554.

[v] Watanabe, Yoshito, San’ei Ichikawa, Masahide Kubota, Junko Hoshino, Yoshihisa Kubota, Kouichi Maruyama, Shoichi Fuma, Isao Kawaguchi, Vasyl Yoschenko, Satoshi Yoshida, “Morphological defects in native Japanese fir trees around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant,” Scientific Reports 5.13232 (2015): doi:10.1038/srep13232.


Pacific Ocean tipping points

Bioaccumulation: Cesium is One Among the 1000 Radionuclides Unleashed by Fukushima Bioaccumulation: Cesium is One Among the 1000 Radi...

Contaminated Water at Fukushima Daiichi Majia's Blog: Contaminated Water at Fukushima Daiichi ...

Will Fukushima Daiichi Kill Vast Swathes of Ocean life Majia's Blog: Will Fukushima Daiichi Kill Vast Swathes of ...

Endless Atmospheric and Ocean Emissions Majia's Blog: Endless Atmospheric and Ocean Emissions

How much Fukushima Fuel is in the Ocean

Ocean Releases Majia's Blog: Ocean Releases

Humanity’s End Foretold in Destruction of Oceans: Majia's Blog: Humanity's End Foretold in Destruction of Oceans

Compromised Oceans mean Compromised People: Majia's Blog: Compromised Oceans Mean Compromised People

Radiation plumes headed to N. America Majia's Blog: Fukushima Radiation Plumes in the Ocean Headed to ...

Majia’s Blog: The Art of Deception