Wanneer komen we weer bij zinnen?

Dat we tot half maart erg bang waren voor de gevolgen van de verspreiding van het virus kon ik me voorstellen. De WHO gaf aan dat de sterftekans als je besmet raakte rond de 3% lag. De beelden van de ziekenhuizen in Bergamo waren verschrikkelijk. De virologen, epidemiologen en doktoren op televisie gaven aan, dat ze nog heel weinig wisten en waarschuwden ons voor de vele manieren waarop we besmet zouden kunnen raken, tot en met het aanraken van muntjes aan toe. Lees meer

Waarom ik boos ben

Bij Op1 gisteravond bleek Ab Osterhaus tot dezelfde conclusies gekomen, als die ik begin april al trok en in dit blog beschreef. De titel was “Eureka, dit zijn de verspreidingsversnellers: de aerosols”.

Op basis van onderzoeken die ik bestudeerd had en het geweldige krantenartikel in de L.A. Times over het superspreading event bij het koor in de buurt van Seattle, kwam ik op 2 april o.a. tot de conclusie dat: Bij hogere specifieke luchtvochtigheid (en goede ventilatie in ruimten) treedt het effect van de besmetting via aerosols (vrijwel) niet op”.

Besef dat prof. Blocken, die ook in de uitzending was, maandag ook al heel expliciet had gezegd dat aerosols verantwoordelijk zijn voor de vele besmettingen in zorginstellingen.

Begin april was het al duidelijk (o.a. in Spanje en Italie) dat er in bejaarden- en verpleeghuizen grote uitbraken hadden plaatsgevonden.  Er waren veel van die instellingen waar vrijwel iedereen was besmet en waarvan een niet gering deel ook was overleden.

Op 2 april besefte ik dat het grote gevaar niet het gebrek aan mondkapjes was, maar het gebrek aan ventilatie en lage luchtvochtigheid. En dat daardoor dus vele ouderen onnodig besmet zouden worden en zouden overlijden.

Ik heb geprobeerd die informatie gepubliceerd te krijgen in kranten. De reactie die ik kreeg, was dat ze die informatie hadden voorgelegd aan virologen, maar dat er geen bewijs was voor mijn conclusies. Ik probeerde om met die informatie bij Op1 aan te schuiven en het duurde ruim 2 weken voordat ik mocht komen. Maar omdat mijn bevindingen niet gedeeld werden door de usual suspects van het OMT, werd ik nadien in onder meer tv-kritieken weggezet als een amateur-viroloog (één van de 17 miljoen) die terug moest naar zijn Ikea-bureautje.

Achter de schermen heb ik mails gestuurd naar behoorlijk wat politici om ze te waarschuwen voor de ramp die zich aan het voltrekken was. Maar zelfs als zij mijn zorgen deelden, was het mantra dat volgens het RIVM (en de andere virologen, die dagelijks op tv verschenen) aerosols geen rol speelden. Als je maar minimaal 1,5 meter afstand hield, dan was je veilig.

Ik was -en ben- niet boos omdat ik nergens gehoor vond. En ook niet omdat Op1 gisteravond niet erkende -laat staan daarop doorvroeg- dat wat er nu gezegd werd, al 7 weken geleden door mij uit geografische patronen en internationaal wetenschappelijk onderzoek was geconcludeerd.

Nee, mijn boosheid betreft de onnodige slachtoffers en de dito schade aan onze economie en samenleving die het slaafs volgen van WHO en RIVM en de mediablokkade voor iedere vorm van wetenschappelijk onderzoek op basis van de nieuwste inzichten, inmiddels heeft veroorzaakt.

Onnodig verdriet en schade, veroorzaakt door de inmiddels grijs gedraaide grammofoonplaat (ja, zo oud is het onderzoek waarop onze gerenommeerde virologen zich baseren) met alle grote hits: “de 1,5 meter- samenleving”, “mondkapjes bieden schijnbescherming” , “ook via muntjes kun je het virus oplopen”, “er is geen wetenschappelijke basis voor aerosolverspreiding”  en “pas op voor de tweede golf”, waarmee de mensen thuis dagelijks de stuipen op het lijf wordt gejaagd. En niet één interviewer die daar enige tegenwicht aan gaf.

Dat is mijn boosheid. Die onnodige angst, verdriet en schade, die als men wel de nieuwste bevindingen mee in beschouwing had genomen, niet hadden hoeven te onstaan.

Een korte recapitulatie van wat er op basis van de nieuwste wetenschappelijke literatuur en van influenza en SARS uit 2003, plus een beetje logisch nadenken, valt onder de categorie “onnodig, en heel schadelijk voor economie, maatschappij en volksgezondheid”:

Buiten is het compleet onnodig. Binnen biedt het geen bescherming, maar zijn andere maatregelen veiliger en veel minder schadelijk voor economie en samenleving.

Onderwijl gingen en gaan er mensen onnodig dood en krijgen economie en samenleving onnodige klappen. Plus dat ook veel mensen (en ik krijg hierover dagelijks vele mails) al meer dan twee maanden lang in een vorm van hysterie leven door de -veelal ongebaseerde- angstverhalen over risico’s die je zou lopen).

Ik voorzie dat we, zelfs als de overheid snel een totaal ander beleid gaat voeren (wat ik betwijfel) de komende jaren door een heel zware periode zullen gaan. Economisch wereldwijd, maar ook met veel sociale onrust en spanningen binnen de samenleving en tussen landen. Het zou me niets verbazen als het de periode van de dertiger jaren van de vorige eeuw naar de kroon zal steken.

Wat ik wil voorkomen is dat als er ooit een parlementaire enquête komt, er wordt vastgesteld dat de schade voor ons land “met de kennis van nu” veel lager had kunnen zijn geweest. Spoiler alert: die kennis bestaat al een tijdje. Ze wordt alleen niet door het RIVM en het OMT gecommuniceerd en door de regering omarmd.

Besef dat onderzoek uitwijst dat 80% van alle COVID-19 besmettingen via aerosols tijdens superspreading events plaatsvinden. En dat buiten Den Haag inmiddels erkend wordt dat die vorm van besmetting veel meer plaatsvindt dan via contact binnen 1,5 meter. Vraag het bijvoorbeeld de belangrijkste adviseur van Angela Merkel, topviroloog Christian Drosten. In dat land wordt momenteel overwogen om de 1,5 meter-regel per 1 juli af te schaffen.

Hooguit 20% van alle besmettingen verloopt volgens de laatste inzichten niet via aerosols, en ik ben ervan overtuigd dat dit percentage dichter bij 0% ligt dan bij 20%. Want ook thuis spelen aerosols een duidelijke rol.

Wat blijft er dan nog over van de haast hysterische wijze waarop we (zelfs ook buiten, gekker kan het niet) de 1,5 meter-afstand hebben ingevoerd en handhaven? Nog een keer herhaald: onnodig, onveilig en onhaalbaar, met gigantische extra schade voor economie en samenleving.

Benieuwd of het nu ook weer 7 weken duurt voordat die conclusies gemeengoed worden.

En ondertussen loopt de schade dagelijks verder op: voor ondernemers en werknemers, voor burgers en samenleving  En zeker ook voor de volksgezondheid.  En nog steeds wordt dat door veel burgers geaccepteerd, omdat ze nog de naweeën ervaren van de veelal onterechte bangmakerij die we dagelijks over ons heen kregen gestort. Burgers, die nog amper beseffen welke ramp echt op ze afkomt, t.a.v. werk en inkomen, t.a.v. de stabiliteit van de samenleving en het volledig uit balans geraken van de relaties tussen landen in Europa en in de wereld.

Daarom ben ik boos, want het was en het is niet nodig.

De lage reproductiefactor van Nederlandse bestuurders en media

En weer zien we de bewijzen hoe de burgers en bedrijven via het creëren van angst, gevangen worden gehouden door een ring van RIVM, virologen, bestuurders en media.

Lees meer

Eerste resultaten van onderzoekcorona.nl

Inmiddels hebben 2659 mensen, die besmet zijn met het Coronavirus, meegedaan aan Onderzoekcorona.nl. Zij hebben de vragenlijst ingevuld. Via een check in de vragenlijst is de waarschijnlijkheid vastgesteld of men inderdaad die besmetting had.

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There is a provable causal connection!

I remember well when in university I was first explained what a mock relationship is. In Denmark there was a strong correlation between the birth rate and the number of storks that had their nests there.

The explanation was that there are more storks in the countryside, where also more children are born than in the city. But of course storks do not bring babies.

A good lesson to realize that if certain things are numerically connected, it doesn’t have to be because there is a causal connection.  So if you find a numerical connection, then the next task is to find out if there is a causal connection. By changing one variable, the other one should change as well.

So I briefly go through the steps that have been taken and the evidence that has been found. With the links to where that information comes from.

A. There is a numerical correlation between the specific humidity and the number of deaths caused by COVID-19. This was already found in this study in early March. In the meantime, a statistical analysis of 69 areas in Italy, the US and the Netherlands has also been carried out. In this research report.

you will find the numerical analysis of those regions, which shows, among other things, that if the specific air humidity was between 4 and 6 g/kg on average in the previous 3 weeks, a region reached 1 death per million inhabitants per day, twice as fast as if that value was higher or lower. So the correlation has been established. But that does not mean a causal connection.

  1. Several scientists are giving explanations, which could lead to this. Two possible explanations that are given are:

In this article, Prof. Evengalista (microbiologist and virologist) gives this possible explanation:

 

And there is also this explanation suggested by a group of scientists mentioned in this article.

In the U.S., the government commissioned research at the University of Utah to investigate both possibilities in the lab. I hope they come up with their results soon. Personally, I think it’s quite possible that both statements are valid, but time will tell.

In 2013 there has been large-scale research, based on data from 48 locations around the world, into the relationships between the development of a flu epidemic at those locations and the weather. For each location, several years of information was used. The result of this research was, that based on the specific air humidity, it could be predicted with more than 80% accuracy, that there would be a flu epidemic one month later. This is the graph that shows this relation well. It can be found in this article.

We see as well, that there is a clear relation between the specific humidity (the grey columns) and the start of the flu epidemic (the black dot). And that the limit of 6 g/kg is really visible.

But this is still no proof that there is a causal relationship. Other factors may play a role as well.

D. Subsequently, evidence has been provided in various ways, that a viral infection can occur via micro drops in the air (aerosols). The Japanese chairman of the association of virologists shows this in a video. Ejected micro droplets remain in the air for a long time and can infect those present.  Here I report on it.

This would be an excellent explanation for the large-scale distribution (super spread events) at après-ski, carnival, large church gatherings, choir rehearsals, the distribution within care institutions (the air circulation system) and the distribution on cruise ships and navy ships. Incidentally, this is a way of distribution that is not (yet) recognized by the WHO and RIVM.

In that video, the Japanese professor indicates that ventilation is a good way to make these micro drops disappear.  Based on the previous three findings, it is now very plausible that humidity also has an influence, on whether or not those drops float for a long time. Prof. Evangelista (see point B) says this literally.

The final proof came from animal experiments in which it was established that animals that released the influenza virus, at varying levels of humidity, infect other animals and the extent to which they do so. Professors of micro-biology and virology in Switzerland and at Yale University have recently written an article in which they report on past experiments on air humidity and the spread of the influenza virus. I am reporting on this here. (I now have intensive contact with them).

Several researchers have conducted experiments with mice, guinea pigs and ferrets. Some of the animals were infected with influenza. The uncontaminated animals were separated from the sick animals. So there was no direct contact. So the only possibility of infection was through the air (micro drops).

In the experiment the infection of the other animals was measured at different humidity levels. The researchers found that there was a clear correlation between the air humidity and the degree of spread of the virus. This picture shows their findings.

These experiments demonstrate conclusively that there is a causal relationship between the humidity and the extent to which one can be infected with a virus via aerosols.

So the correlation found, mentioned under A, is not a mock correlation but a causal relationship: the degree of specific humidity has a direct influence on the speed of spread of the virus.

Nevertheless, there may also be other factors that influence the speed of the virus spreading. Many possibilities have been put forward: the vitamin D level of the population, the UV content of the sun, pollen in the air and the fact that one is more indoors in winter.

I don’t explicitly exclude those, but there might just as well be a mock correlation with humidity (as I think is the case with pollen). And it would be nice if also with regard to those alternative explanations an equally hard proof would come, as through the evidence given by me.

Because any well-founded knowledge of how the speed of the virus spreading is slowed down is an important weapon in this battle.

Interesting international comparisons

Financial Times has a page with a nice way to read international comparisons regarding the changes in the spread of the virus.

It is important to understand what figures they show in those international comparisons.

  • They use the average number of deaths over the last 7 days.
  • As day zero for their graph, they use the first day with 3 deaths on average in that country/region,
  • The graph display is logarithmic. This is the usual way of showing the development of the spread of a virus.
  • The star indicates when a country went into Lock down.

Although the countries vary greatly in size -and most other statistics use the number of deaths per million inhabitants- this approach shows how the reproduction factor develops in that country. If the lines would not turn to the right, the virus would continue to spread unrestrainedly.

It is important to realize as well, that in smaller countries it takes longer to exceed the limit of 3 deaths per day, which may mean that measures are already in place before that country reaches that amount per day. In much larger countries the 3 deaths per day are reached quickly and therefore measures were usually not introduced until later.

From the charts that are alphabetically listed per country on the website, I have made a selection. And I rearranged them a bit differently.

 

Spain, France, Italy and England show the fastest increase up to and including the 25th day. In the other countries, including the Netherlands, we see a deflection sooner.  Sweden is a special case, because they have taken few measures, and I’ll go into that in another blog.

We see that the US has the steepest increase of all countries, including Western Europe. I myself am rather charmed by the alertness of the Czech response. Here you can read what happened there. From the 18th of March it is mandatory to wear mouth protection outdoors in that country. Since April 12th this is also the case in Israel.

With regard to the warmer and more humid countries, I think their curve is positively influenced because the weather has contributed to a slower spread than in the colder and less humid Western Europe and New York.

Finally, above we see the four Asian countries that immediately started to wear mouth protection en masse. There are many indications that as a result, people are less likely to infect other people. The number of deaths per million inhabitants is currently more than 100 times smaller in these countries than in Western Europe. So Japan with 100 million inhabitants has fewer deaths in total than France, Spain or Italy now have every day.

A number of countries are not listed (such as Singapore and Taiwan). That’s because they have not realized 3 deaths a day yet. In case they would be listed, the line goes straight down.

So these figures are on country level. But I also have the figures per region in Italy. And then it’s interesting to see that there are big differences there as well. At the beginning of March they had already taken restrictive measures in Lombardy. On 9 March all over Italy. When looking at the graphs per province it should be kept in mind that day 1 per province was sometimes well before the start of those measures and in other regions even after the start of those measures.

Below you can see the regions in Italy. The top four lines are regions in the North of the country. You can choose regions yourself and then only view that curve.

We did the same for the Dutch provinces.

The problem with the Dutch figures compared to those in other countries is that the RIVM does not register the provinces’ casualties per day that they announce that figure, but per date that the persons actually died, which implies that the figures may change for another week.

The curve seems to flatten out a bit more than in other countries. But that is also related to something else. Since a week, doctors try to register better, so we see an increase in death toll numbers, but that increase doesn’t seem to be accurate, because hospital admissions and the influx to the ICU’s is decreasing. While around 27 March the number of hospital admissions per day was around 500, it is now just over 100.

Here too, we see a pattern like in Italy, where the regions in the North of the country have a much more steeper line than in the rest of the country. Here we see that North Brabant developed steeper than the other provinces.

As I have often said (and this is also the case in the US, where I am still working on a similar chart), I think the most important factors are differences in distribution patterns between regions and countries:

  • Whether or not there have been major super spread events
  • The level of humidity in the air which has caused the spread of the virus to be faster or slower. (And in countries with very high humidity and the vast majority of people living in houses without windows, the rate of spread will approach zero).
  • The government measures. (And as for the latter, there are many indications that wearing mouth covers has a greater effect on slowing the spread than the 1.5 meter rule).

Personally, I think the first factor has been the most important in the major outbreaks we’ve seen. Now that these kind of gatherings are on hold worldwide, we see a clear flattening of the growth everywhere.

In countries south of the 20th parallel North we see relatively low numbers of infected people and generally flatter growth curves.

In countries where mouth protection is worn, the number of deaths per inhabitant remains a factor of 100 or more times lower than in Western Europe and New York.

In the coming weeks we will see almost everywhere, that measures are being weakened. And we will see what happens then. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see many new major outbreaks. But let’s agree that if there are any new increases in cases anywhere in the world, we’ll thoroughly analyze what’s going on and what the extent is. The past few weeks I’ve seen too much (also in statements by virologists on television) of claiming that there was a huge new outbreak, where a simple analysis showed that the extent of what was happening was not that dramatic at all

Especially in this day and age it would be important when it comes to the numbers of infected persons, hospitalizations, deaths, etc. that everyone sticks to the facts. And if you want to factcheck any for yourself, I advise you to just Google on “wikipedia, Covid-19” followed by the name of the country you want to know more about. And you will get a wealth of material.

 

 

Corona crisis research 19-4-2020

In the Peil.nl research with questions in relation to the Corona crisis, a number of issues were (again) raised, including the question of what to do with the exit strategy. Three weeks ago, 55% felt that exit measures should wait until the virus was (virtually) gone. 42% thought that we could also start with exit measures, even if there was still a chance of being infected; 3% wanted to stop the lockdown immediately.

These figures are gradually changing. Meanwhile, 55% (+13) want exit measures to start, even if there is still a chance of being infected, 6% (+2) want to stop immediately and 35% (-15) want to maintain the lockdown until the virus is (almost) gone.

This graph shows the results of the last few weeks by gender and age. We now see that within the group of 65+, 49% is in favor of a lockdown, while there is still a chance of being infected. That was 28% three weeks ago.

On the question of what chance one gives oneself to be infected, we also see an interesting development. Over time we see that percentage decrease. Whereas three weeks ago the percentage that gave itself a chance of more than 50% was 33%, now it is 22%. 6% indicates that they think they are (or have been) infected themselves.

We also asked if they know anyone infected with the Corona virus. That’s rising gradually.

We also tried to establish a relationship between places visited in the last 6 weeks and contamination in one’s own family and in the network of relationships.

Finally, workers were asked how easily the company/organisation where they work can adapt to the 1.5-metre society, as announced by Minister Wiebes. 28% of the workers indicate that it is not possible and 17% only with substantial adjustments, which will clearly have consequences.

The graph below shows these results, compared to the sector in which people work.