This is really important information for EVERYONE to pay attention to. It is time for everyone to wake up because all of our lives are at stake, and it is not because of some virus . It is because of the manipulators behind the curtain:
Pam Barker | Director of TLB Europe Reloaded Project
It seems you can’t fix stupid. Nor puppet governments.
Here, we present 3 graphs and their sources to show, as clearly as anything can, that, yes, viruses are still seasonal – they still die off or lose potency in high humidity. And whatever else might be going on out there (pockets of flare-ups? sudden mass testing that picks up meaningless trace amounts of some coronavirus or other?), the danger has well and truly passed.
Senior Italian doctors based in hospitals had already declared the virus depleted of power during May, leaving even the frail and elderly able to recover fast. See here, here and Coronavirus, Profs. Remuzzi, Bassetti: “New positives are not contagious, stop the fear.”
Let us get on with our lives, for pity’s sake.
Graph 1: CDC
Source: UK Column broadcast for July 31st, 2020 with Patrick Henningsen and Mike Robinson
Graph 2: UK’s NHS
Source: Second Wave? Virus Has All But Disappeared by Toby Young for Lockdown Sceptics, July 30th, 2020
Your daily reminder that the virus has dwindled away to almost nothing. This graph shows daily triage calls for 19-69 year-olds. Note no uptick during the Hyde Park BLM protests or during the “major incident” on Bournemouth Beach. (Hat tip Alistair Haimes.)
Graph 3: Sweden’s Public Health Agency
Source: Sweden: the One and Only Chart That Matters by Mike Whitney, July 25th, 2020
- The Facts:A study published in 2015 found that cloth masks can increase healthcare workers risk of infection. It also called into question the efficacy of medical masks.
- Reflect On:If masks may not protect healthcare workers in an acute setting, what are they doing for the public? Are the decisions made by health regulatory agencies always in the best interest of the public?
A lot of places are mandating that people wear a mask. Some grocery stores here in Canada are making it mandatory for people who want to do some shopping, and Los Angeles County recently mandated that all people must wear a mask when going outside. But do these measures really help? We are living in strange times when people like Bill Gates are getting a lot of T.V. time, as he seems to be the world’s leading ‘health’ authority on the new coronavirus, what we should do, and how we’re going to stop it. On the other hand, there are several doctors and leading epidemiologists around the world who have been studying viruses for decades that have been censored from social media platforms for sharing their research and opinions. Their interviews are being taken down, and some have even been flagged as ‘fake.’ Ask yourself, what’s wrong with this picture? Many of them are suggesting that the new coronavirus is not nearly as dangerous as it’s being made out to be. There have been multiple studies that have also suggested this based on the data that researchers have accumulated. Mainstream media is trying really hard to shape our perception with regards to everything that surrounds the new coronavirus, from treatment, lockdowns, to social distancing and much more.
We’ve covered a few examples of these experts giving their opinions with regards to how dangerous this virus actually is, what the solution is, treatments and more. If you’re interested you can refer to the articles linked at the bottom of this one. At the end of the day, a lot of what these doctors, scientists and epidemiologists have been saying since the beginning of this outbreak, up until now, has completely contradicted the narrative of federal health regulatory agencies and the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, social media and other platforms are banning content that opposes and contradicts the WHO, no matter how much evidence is behind the information, or even if the sources are some of the leading experts in the world.
Should there be a digital authoritarian Orwellian ‘fact checker’ going around the internet telling people what is, and what isn’t? Or should people have the right to examine information, check sources and evidence and ultimately decide for themselves?
So the question is, can we really trust these health authorities to guide us into doing what’s really best for us? Is this really about our health or is something else going on here? Are there powerful people profiting off of this both politically and financially? Was Edward Snowden correct when he said that the new coronavirus fiasco is no different from 9/11, in that it’s simply being used to push more authoritarian measures on the population? Just like they remained after 9/11, will they remain after this coronavirus? Why are there apps tracking people for coronavirus, but not for the pedophiles, murderers and rapists? These are important things to think about.
There is a lot of conflicting information out there and again, if you’re interested in going a little deeper you can refer to the articles listed at the end of this one.
But what about masks? Do they really help? How effective are they? According to Dr. Dan Erickson (former emergency-room physician) and Dr. Artin Massihi (emergency medicine specialist affiliated with multiple hospitals) of Accelerated Urgent Care in California, they’re not helping at all.
When you wear gloves that transfer disease everywhere, those gloves have bacteria all over them. “I’m wearing gloves,” not helping you…Your mask that you’re wearing for days, you touch the outside of it, COVID, and then touch your mouth, this doesn’t make any sense. We wear masks in an acute setting to protect us, we’re not wearing masks (right now). Why is that? Because we understand microbiology, we understand immunology and we want strong immune systems. I don’t want to hide in my home, develop a weak immune system, and then come out and get disease. We’ve both been to the ER through swine flu and through bird flu, did we shut down for those? Were they much less dangerous than COVID? Is the flu less dangerous than COVID? Let’s look at the death rates, no it’s not. They’re similar in prevalence and in death rate. (source)
According to a study published in BMJ Open in 2015,
This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. However, as a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated.
We have provided the first clinical efficacy data of cloth masks, which suggest HCWs should not use cloth masks as protection against respiratory infection. Cloth masks resulted in significantly higher rates of infection than medical masks, and also performed worse than the control arm. The controls were HCWs who observed standard practice, which involved mask use in the majority, albeit with lower compliance than in the intervention arms. The control HCWs also used medical masks more often than cloth masks. When we analysed all mask-wearers including controls, the higher risk of cloth masks was seen for laboratory-confirmed respiratory viral infection.
According to the study, it was unclear if they help at all, and that they probably need to be worn at all times in acute/dangerous settings within the hospital to be effective at all.
There are also other potential health consequences of wearing not just a cloth mask, but also medical masks. The physiological effects of breathing elevated inhaled CO2 may include changes in visual performance, modified exercise endurance, headaches and dyspnea. The psychological effects include decreased reasoning and alertness, increased irritability, severe dyspnea, headache, dizziness, perspiration, and short-term memory loss. (source)
This study suggests that masks don’t really help, and depending on the material, they can actually make things worse. That being said, there are studies suggesting that medical masks are indeed effective, but the studies are referring to health care workers in acute settings, not the general public.
Below is a quote from a very interesting paper published in 2016, titled “The Surgical Mask Is A Bad Fit For Risk Reduction.”
As represented by our cinema and other media, Western society expects too much of masks. In the public’s mind, the still-legitimate use of masks for source control has gone off-label; masks are thought to prevent infection. From here, another problem arises: because surgical masks are thought to protect against infection in the community setting, people wearing masks for legitimate purposes (those who have a cough in a hospital, say) form part of the larger misperception and act to reinforce it. Even this proper use of surgical masks is incorporated into a larger improper use in the era of pandemic fear, especially in Asia, where such fear is high. The widespread misconception about the use of surgical masks — that wearing a mask protects against the transmission of virus — is a problem of the kind theorized by German sociologist Ulrich Beck.
The birth of the mask came from the realization that surgical wounds need protection from the droplets released in the breath of surgeons. The technology was applied outside the operating room in an effort to control the spread of infectious epidemics. In the 1919 influenza pandemic, masks were available and were dispensed to populations, but they had no impact on the epidemic curve. At the time, it was unknown that the influenza organism is nanoscopic and can theoretically penetrate the surgical mask barrier. As recently as 2010, the US National Academy of Sciences declared that, in the community setting, “face masks are not designed or certified to protect the wearer from exposure to respiratory hazards.” A number of studies have shown the inefficacy of the surgical mask in household settings to prevent transmission of the influenza virus…
(Please note, to get the list of additional articles, go to the source listed below.)
Here’s Where All 50 States Stand On Reopening Their Economies
As the debate about when, where and how to reopen the American economy rages on, here’s where all 50 states stand on reopening their economies, now that the White House has released its ‘guidelines’ and delegated ultimate authority to the governors of each state.
Here’s an (alphabetical) roundup of states’ plans:
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s stay at home order is set to expire on April 30. The state’s Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth is in charge of a task force to decide when to reopen the state’s economy. The task force is expected to deliver a report on its findings later this week.
Ivey said April 14 she intends to work with other states and the Trump administration, but that “what works in Alabama works in Alabama.”
When the economy starts to reopen, Ivey said during a press briefing it will be a slow process over time, “segment by segment or region by region.”
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has ordered residents to stay at home until at least April 21. Dunleavy has said that Alaskans will be allowed to schedule elective surgeries on or after May 4; that also applies to doctors visits for non-urgent needs.
Arkansas is one of a handful of states that never faced a stay at home order. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has closed schools for the rest of the academic term, while fitness centers, bars, restaurants and other public spaces have been closed (though the media likes to treat these states as virtually free of any constraints).
Hutchinson told reporters on April 16 that he wants to bring back elective surgeries. “We want to get (hospitals) back to doing the important health-care delivery that is important in our communities,” he said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom was the first governor in the nation to issue a stay-at-home order, which he did more than a month ago, on March 19. It had no set expiration date.
Last week, Newsom announced during a joint briefing with Western States that Cali had formed a pact with Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee, promising that “health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide these decisions” to reopen the states.
Moving ahead to this week, Newsom outlined a framework for reopening the economy in California that he said was predicated on the state’s ability to do six things: expand testing to identify and isolate the infected, maintain vigilance to protect seniors and high risk individuals, meet future surges in hospital demand and continuing work on therapies and treatments, redrawing regulations to continue social distancing at businesses and schools and develop new enforcement mechanisms. How long that might take is anybodies’ guess.
Gov. Jared Polis extended the state’s stay-at-home order to April 26 (it ends Sunday night).
Polis added on April 15 that the key information state officials needed to determine when parts of the economy can be reopened is likely to come within the next five days.
The governor warned that restrictions won’t all be lifted at the same time, and life will be different for some time. “The virus will be with us,” Polis said. “We have to find a sustainable way that will be adapted in real time to how we live with it.”
During an interview on “Squawk Box” Tuesday morning, Gov. Lamont said that May 20 is a line in the sand: He has promised that schools and businesses likely won’t start to reopen before then. “The presidential guidelines were pretty responsible,” Lamont said, adding that they gave the state “a yellow light” to start opening things up. “My instinct is we’re going to first focus on big manufacturing and outside construction – which Connecticut never closed down by the way – before we move on to retail, and opening them up on a limited basis.”
“The things that come later are the things that Georgia opened up first…those things that have close personal contact…bars, barber shops…there I think we’re going to have to wait until we have a little more testing, and more masks,” he said.
Gov. John Carney issued a statewide stay-at-home order that will remain until May 15 or until the “public health threat is eliminated.”
Delaware has joined a coalition of six Northeastern states to coordinate the reopening of the regional economy.
The governor said April 17 that even after the state reopens, social distancing, face coverings in public, washing hands, limited gatherings and vulnerable populations sheltering in place will remain.
Mayor Muriel Bowser has extended the state’s lockdown until May 15.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order for Floridians until April 30 and plans to announce plans for reopening next week. He has already allowed some beaches in the state to reopen, a controversial move that was widely criticized by the NYT and MSNBC, among others.
Southeast Florida, the epicenter of the state’s outbreak, might reopen more slowly than the rest of the state.
As we noted last night, Gov. Brian Kemp, who issued a statewide shelter-in-place order until April 30 and set a public emergency for schools in the state until May 13, announced plans for reopening the state by this time next week.
Gov. David Ige issued a stay-at-home order until at least April 30. He said last week that the state isn’t close to meeting the reopening criteria, and it’s not clear when that will happen.
Gov. Brad Little amended his order April 15 to allow for some businesses and facilities to reopen for curbside pickup, drive-in and drive-thru service and for mailed or delivery services. It is now effective through the end of the month. As of now, the state’s “order to self-isolate” will expire on April 30, unless extended.
Little says the measures are working and Idaho is “truly seeing a flattening of the curve.”
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order in effect through the end of the month unless extended.
Pritzker said during a media briefing Monday that he believes the current state in Illinois has been enough to slowly start lifting shelter-in-place orders so that some industry workers can go back to work, although he hasn’t laid out a clear timeline.
Gov. Eric Holcomb extended his state’s stay-at-home order through May 1 to give it more time to look into what “the best way is to reopen sectors of the economy.”
He said he would work with the state hospital association to see when elective surgeries could resume. The state is also part of that “midwestern coalition” we have mentioned.
Gov. Kim Reynolds has not declared a stay-at-home order, though she did issue a “State of Public Health Disaster Emergency” on March 17, which was tantamount to a closure order, forcing ‘nonessential’ businesses to close until the end of the month. She also formed a task force to look into how to reopen schools and the economy. Reynolds on April 16 announced that residents of the state’s hottest hot spot won’t be allowed to congregate at least until next month.
Gov. Laura Kelly has extended the closure order until May 3, with the state’s “peak” expected by the end of April.
Gov. Andy Beshear issued a “Healthy at Home” order March 25 with no end date. Oddly, Kentucky is actually part of the coalition of midwestern states working to reopen their economies together.
Gov. John Bel Edwards extended the state’s stay-at-home order through April 30. Residents will soon be able to start getting non-emergency surgeries.
Gov. Janet Mills issued a “Stay Healthy at Home” executive order through at least April 30, and has extended a civil state of emergency until May 15.
“We are in the midst of one of the greatest public health crises this world has seen in more than a century,” Mills said in a news release. “This virus will continue to sicken people across our state; our cases will only grow, and more people will die. I say this to be direct, to be as honest with you as I can. Because saving lives will depend on us.”
Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 30. There is no current potential end date.
The governor said during his appearance on CNN Newsroom on April 13 that the state is discussing ways to safely reopen the state with health officials.
Governor Charlie Baker has issued an emergency order requiring all nonessential businesses to remain closed until May 4. Mass is also part of the northeastern coalition.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said she “hopes” to start reopening May 1 despite her state being one of the hardest hit outside New York.
Gov. Tim Walz extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 3, while extending a peacetime emergency for an additional 30 days until May 13.
Gov. Tate Reeves has extended a shelter-in-place order to April 27, but said some non-essential businesses could reopen by offering services via drive-thru, delivery or ‘outside’ shopping.
Gov. Mike Parson on April 16 extended the stay-at-home order through May 3 and pledged to work with businesses and health-care providers on the reopening plan.
“Our reopening efforts will be careful, deliberate, and done in phases,” he said.
Bullock’s stay at home order for the state will expire on Friday, and the governor has said that the federal guidelines will allow it to reopen “sooner rather than later.”
Gov. Pete Ricketts issued the “21 Days to Stay Home and Stay Healthy” campaign on April 10, ordering all hair salons, tattoo parlors and strip clubs be closed through April 30. Nebraska is one of the states that has not issued a stay-at-home order.
Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a stay-at-home order that expires April 30.
When asked about how he’d make his decision to reopen the economy, Sisolak said “positive testing is important but it’s not my number one parameter,” adding that “basis hospitalizations” are seen as an important metric for him.
Gov. Chris Sununu issued a stay-at-home order until May 4, and told reporters that he’ll decide whether to extend it before it expires.
Gov. Phil Murphy issued a stay-at-home order on March 21 that has no specific end date. His state is part of the northeastern alliance.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham extended the state’s emergency order to April 30, and said Thursday that her state is evaluating the federal guidelines but couldn’t risk putting “the cart before the horse” and are still working on developing a plan.
Gov Cuomo’s “PAUSE” order is currently set to keep schools and businesses closed until at least May 15.
Gov. Roy Cooper issued a stay-at-home order for the state effective until April 29.
Gov. Doug Burgum is one of the governors who never issued a stay at home order, and has said he would like to reopen by May 1.
Mike DeWine has said he hopes to start reopening on May 1.
Gov. Kevin Stitt said April 15 that he is working on a plan to reopen the state’s economy, possibly as early as April 30.
Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order directing Oregonians to stay at home that “remains in effect until ended by the governor.”
Gov. Tom Wolf issued stay-at-home orders across the state until April 30. It is part of the coalition of northeastern states.
Gov. Gina Raimondo’s emergency order to keep the state closed is set to expire May 8.
The state’s governor said earlier he would push to start reopening by next Tuesday.
Gov. Kirsti Noem hasn’t issued a stay at home order.
Gov Bill Lee has said he plans to start reopening businesses as soon as Monday.
Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all Texans to stay home through April 30.
Gov. Gary Herbert extended the state’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive through May 1. Schools will be closed for the remainder of the year.
Gov. Phil Scott issued a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order that has been extended until May 15.
Scott on April 17 outlined a five-point plan to reopen the state while continuing to fight the spread of the coronavirus during a news conference.
Gov. Ralph Northam issued a stay-at-home order effective until June 10.
Gov. Jay Inslee extended Washignton’s stay-at-home order until May 4, saying “We are yet to see the full toll of this virus in our state and the modeling we’ve seen could be much worse if we don’t continue what we’re doing to slow the spread.”
Gov. Jim Justice issued a stay-at-home order until further notice.
“That curve is the curve we’re looking for to be able to look at the possibility of backing things off and going forward. We’re not there yet,” Justice said on April 13.
Gov. Tony Evers’ stay at home order will expire May 26, making his one of the latest dates in the country, along with Connecticut and the states that haven’t set a date.
Wyoming doesn’t have a stay at home order, and has been relatively unscathed by the outbreak. It was the last state to receive a federal disaster declaration.
Finally, we have begun to hear solutions that don’t require the government to enslave the population and people to give up their basic human rights in order to fight COVID-19. One epidemiologist has now said that if we want to “exterminate” the coronavirus, lockdowns will need to be lifted immediately.
Knut Wittkowski, previously the longtime head of the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design at the Rockefeller University in New York City, said in an interview with the Press and the Public Project that the coronavirus could be “exterminated” people were allowed to lead normal lives, free from the shackles of house arrest politicians have placed on them. We need to shelter only the most vulnerable parts of society until the danger had passed, not lockdown everyone.
When asked about Anthony Fauci, the White House “medical expert” who for weeks has been propagating fear in the public and predicting significant numbers of COVID-19 deaths in America as well as major ongoing disruptions to daily life possibly for years, Wittkowski replied: “Well, I’m not paid by the government, so I’m entitled to actually do science.”
The veteran scholar of epidemiology has warned that the ongoing lockdowns throughout the United States and the rest of the world are almost certainly just prolonging the coronavirus outbreak rather than doing anything to truly mitigate it. On top of that, the government has destroyed the most financially vulnerable people by prohibiting them from making a living. “Going outdoors is what stops every respiratory disease,” Wittkowski said.
And he isn’t the only doctor who says people need to go outside to get their vitamin D in order to fight off the virus. “[W]hat people are trying to do is flatten the curve. I don’t really know why. But, what happens is if you flatten the curve, you also prolong, to widen it, and it takes more time. And I don’t see a good reason for a respiratory disease to stay in the population longer than necessary,” he said according to a report by The College Fix.
Many politicians claim flattening the curve prevents hospitals from being overrun. But few hospitals have had problems keeping up with COVID-19 patients.
“With all respiratory diseases, the only thing that stops the disease is herd immunity. About 80% of the people need to have had contact with the virus, and the majority of them won’t even have recognized that they were infected, or they had very, very mild symptoms, especially if they are children. So, it’s very important to keep the schools open and kids mingling to spread the virus to get herd immunity as fast as possible, and then the elderly people, who should be separated, and the nursing homes should be closed during that time, can come back and meet their children and grandchildren after about 4 weeks when the virus has been exterminated,” he added.
Instead, the mainstream media took to fear-mongering and the government has instituted martial law in parts of the country to lock people in their homes to try and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As we have all seen going into a month worth of lockdowns, the only thing we have achieved is a guarantee this virus will come back and millions of people won’t be able to make ends meet for months or possibly even years. The damage done to society and some people’s livelihoods is irreparable. This lockdown experiment has been an abject failure and one that should never be repeated again. If people cared about their basic rights as human beings, they would have never allowed any government official to get away with closing their business and placing them on weeks of house arrest.
Wittkowski stated that the standard cycle of respiratory diseases is a two-week outbreak, including a peak, after which “it’s gone.” He pointed out that even in a regime of “social distancing,” the virus will still find ways to spread, just more slowly:
You cannot stop the spread of a respiratory disease within a family, and you cannot stop it from spreading with neighbors, with people who are delivering, who are physicians—anybody. People are social, and even in times of social distancing, they have contacts, and any of those contacts could spread the disease. It will go slowly, and so it will not build up herd immunity, but it will happen. And it will go on forever unless we let it go. -Dr. Knut Wittkowski
But if the lockdowns are lifted, and the chains removed from humanity, governments will be seen for what they really are: masters willing to use tyranny and destroy lives for profit. Don’t expect any government to relinquish power so willingly.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought chaos to lives and economies around the world. But efforts to curb the spread of the virus might mean that the planet itself is moving a little less. Researchers who study Earth’s movement are reporting a drop in seismic noise — the hum of vibrations in the planet’s crust — that could be the result of transport networks and other human activities being shut down. They say this could allow detectors to spot smaller earthquakes and boost efforts to monitor volcanic activity and other seismic events.
A noise reduction of this magnitude is usually only experienced briefly around Christmas, says Thomas Lecocq, a seismologist the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels, where the drop has been observed.
Just as natural events such as earthquakes cause Earth’s crust to move, so do vibrations caused by moving vehicles and industrial machinery. And although the effects from individual sources might be small, together they produce background noise, which reduces seismologists’ ability to detect other signals occurring at the same frequency.
Data from a seismometer at the observatory show that measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Brussels caused human-induced seismic noise to fall by about one-third, says Lecocq. The measures included closing schools, restaurants and other public venues from 14 March, and banning all non-essential travel from 18 March (see ‘Seismic noise’).
The current drop has boosted the sensitivity of the observatory’s equipment, improving its ability to detect waves in the same high frequency range as the noise. The facility’s surface seismometer is now almost as sensitive to small quakes and quarry blasts as a counterpart detector buried in a 100-metre borehole, he adds. “This is really getting quiet now in Belgium.”
If lockdowns continue in the coming months, city-based detectors around the world might be better than usual at detecting the locations of earthquake aftershocks, says Andy Frassetto, a seismologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology in Washington DC. “You’ll get a signal with less noise on top, allowing you to squeeze a little more information out of those events,” he says.
The fall in noise could also benefit seismologists who use naturally occurring background vibrations, such as those from crashing ocean waves, to probe Earth’s crust. Because volcanic activity and changing water tables affect how fast these natural waves travel, scientists can study these events by monitoring how long it takes a wave to reach a given detector. A fall in human-induced noise could boost the sensitivity of detectors to natural waves at similar frequencies, says Lecocq, whose team plans to begin testing this. “There’s a big chance indeed it could lead to better measurements,” he says.
Belgian seismologists are not the only ones to notice the effects of lockdown. Celeste Labedz, a graduate student in geophysics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, tweeted that a similar fall in noise had been picked up by a station in Los Angeles. “The drop is seriously wild,” she said.
However, not all seismic monitoring stations will see an effect as pronounced as the one observed in Brussels, says Emily Wolin, a geologist at the US Geological Survey in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Many stations are purposefully located in remote areas or deep boreholes to avoid human noise. These should see a smaller decrease, or no change at all, in the level of high-frequency noise they record, she says.
Corona Is Slowing Down, Humanity Will Survive, Says Biophysicist Michael Levitt
CTech – Nobel laureate Michael Levitt, an American-British-Israeli biophysicist who teaches structural biology at Stanford University and spends much of his time in Tel Aviv, unexpectedly became a household name in China, offering the public reassurance during the peak of the country’s coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Levitt did not discover a treatment or a cure, just did what he does best: crunched the numbers. The statistics led him to the conclusion that, contrary to the grim forecasts being branded about, the spread of the virus will come to a halt.
The calming messages Levitt sent to his friends in China were translated into Chinese and passed from person to person, making him a popular subject for interviews in the Asian nation. His forecasts turned out to be correct: the number of new cases reported each day started to fall as of February 7. A week later, the mortality rate started falling as well.
He might not be an expert in epidemiology, but Levitt understands calculations and statistics, he told Calcalist in a phone interview earlier this week.
The interview was initially scheduled to be held at the fashionable Sarona complex in Tel Aviv, where Levitt currently resides. But after he caught a cold — “not corona,” he jokingly remarked — the interview was rescheduled to be held over the phone. Even though he believes the pandemic will run its course, Levitt emphasizes his support of all the safety measures currently being taken and the need to adhere to them.
Levitt received his Nobel prize for chemistry in 2013 for “the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.” He did not in any way intend to be a prophet foretelling the end of a plague; it happened by accident. His wife Shoshan Brosh is a researcher of Chinese art and a curator for local photographers, meaning the couple splits their time between the US, Israel, and China.
When the pandemic broke out, Brosh wrote to friends in China to support them. “When they answered us, describing how complicated their situation was, I decided to take a deeper look at the numbers in the hope of reaching some conclusion,” Levitt explained. “The rate of infection of the virus in the Hubei province increased by 30 percent each day — that is a scary statistic. I am not an influenza expert but I can analyze numbers and that is exponential growth.” At this rate, the entire world should have been infected within 90 days, he said.
But then, the trend changed. When Levitt started analyzing the data on February 1, Hubei had 1,800 new cases each day and within six days this number reached 4,700, he said. “And then, on February 7, the number of new infections started to drop linearly and did not stop. A week later, the same happened with the number of the deaths. This dramatic change in the curve marked the median point and enabled better prediction of when the pandemic will end. Based on that, I concluded that the situation in all of China will improve within two weeks. And, indeed, now there are very few new infection cases.”
Levitt compared the situation to bank interest — if on the first day a person receives an interest rate of 30 percent on their savings, the next day of 29 percent, and so forth, “you understand that eventually, you will not earn very much.”
The messages his friends translated quickly made waves in China and people wanting to make sure he did indeed write the information attributed to him started contacting Levitt. “That is how I knew I needed to continue,” he said. “I could have said, yes, that’s what I said,’ and left it at that.”
New numbers were being reported every day by various entities, such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Levitt started sending regular reports to his Chinese friends, and their popularity led to interviews on Chinese television, for example on CNN-equivalent CGTN. Based on the diminishing number of infection cases and deaths, he said, the virus will probably disappear from China by the end of March.
Initially, Levitt said, every coronavirus patient in China infected on average 2.2 people a day — spelling exponential growth that can only lead to disaster. “But then it started dropping, and the number of new daily infections is now close to zero.” He compared it to interest rates again: “even if the interest rate keeps dropping, you still make money. The sum you invested does not lessen, it just grows more slowly. When discussing diseases, it frightens people a lot because they keep hearing about new cases every day. But the fact that the infection rate is slowing down means the end of the pandemic is near.”
There are several reasons for this, according to Levitt. “In exponential growth models, you assume that new people can be infected every day, because you keep meeting new people. But, if you consider your own social circle, you basically meet the same people every day. You can meet new people on public transportation, for example; but even on the bus, after some time most passengers will either be infected or immune.”
Another reason the infection rate has slowed has to do with the physical distance guidelines. “You don’t hug every person you meet on the street now, and you’ll avoid meeting face to face with someone that has a cold, like we did,” Levitt said. “The more you adhere, the more you can keep infection in check. So, under these circumstances, a carrier will only infect 1.5 people every three days and the rate will keep going down.”
Quarantine makes a difference, according to Levitt, but there are other factors at work. “We know China was under almost complete quarantine, people only left home to do crucial shopping and avoided contact with others. In Wuhan, which had the highest number of infection cases in the Hubei province, everyone had a chance of getting infected, but only 3 percent caught it,” he explained. “Even on the Diamond Princess (the virus-stricken cruise ship), the infection rate did not top 20 percent.” Based on these statistics, Levitt said, he concluded that many people are just naturally immune to the virus.
The explosion of cases in Italy is worrying, Levitt said, but he estimates it is a result of a higher percentage of elderly people than in China, France, or Spain. “Furthermore, Italian culture is very warm, and Italians have a very rich social life. For these reasons, it is important to keep people apart and prevent sick people from coming into contact with healthy people.”
China did great work and managed to gain complete control of the virus, Levitt said. “Currently, I am most worried about the US. It must isolate as many people as possible to buy time for preparations. Otherwise, it can end up in a situation where 20,000 infected people will descend on the nearest hospital at the same time and the healthcare system will collapse.”
Israel currently does not have enough cases to provide the data needed to make estimates, Levitt said, but from what he can tell, the Ministry of Health is dealing with the pandemic in a correct, positive way. “The more severe the defensive measures taken, the more they will buy time to prepare for needed treatment and develop a vaccine.”
Levitt avoids making global forecasts. In China, he said, the number of new infections will soon reach zero, and South Korea is past the median point and can already see the end. Regarding the rest of the world, it is still hard to tell, he said. “It will end when all those who are sick will only meet people they have already infected. The goal is not to reach the situation the cruise ship experienced.”
The Diamond Princess was the worst case scenario, according to Levitt. “If you compare the ship to a country — we are talking 250,000 people crowded into one square kilometer, which is horribly crowded. It is four times the crowding in Hong Kong. It is as if the entire Israeli population was crammed into 30 square kilometers.” Furthermore, he said, the ship had a central air conditioning and heating system and a communal dining room. “Those are extremely comfortable conditions for the virus and still, only 20 percent were infected. It is a lot, but pretty similar to the infection rate of the common flu.”
As with the flu, most of those dying as a result of coronavirus are over 70 years old, Levitt said. “It is a known fact that the flu mostly kills the elderly — around three-quarters of flu mortalities are people over 65.” To put things in proportion: “there are years when flu is raging, like in the US in 2017, when there were three times the regular number of mortalities. And still, we did not panic. That is my message: you need to think of corona like a severe flu. It is four to eight times as strong as a common flu, and yet, most people will remain healthy and humanity will survive.”